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Publications of Nesterkin Sergei
Philosophical Thought, 2022-12
Nesterkin S. - The Main Principles and Directions of the Activity of Socially Engaged Buddhism pp. 23-32

DOI:
10.25136/2409-8728.2022.12.39181

Abstract: The work deals with the history, main principles and areas of activity of "Socially Engaged Buddhism" - an influential trend of modern Buddhist social activism that is especially popular in Western countries. It is noted that its relevance is caused by the need to develop new forms of interaction between Buddhism and society, brought about by a clash with the ideology and social practices of modernity as well as by the consequences of the globalization process; according to the ideologists of "Socially Engaged Buddhism," the traditional forms of Sangha social activity had ceased to meet the challenges of modernity. The main areas of activity of the movement are: 1) environmental issues; 2) racism and ethno-cultural diversity; 3) volunteer and educational work with prisoners; and 4) the women's movement and gender issues. The movement of Engaged Buddhism rather quickly acquired institutionalized forms in the West. Moreover, if initially its activity developed within the framework of Asian Buddhist organizations that have branches in the countries of the West, subsequently new forms and organizations developed within Western communities. These structures quite actively conduct publishing, educational and training activities, so that at present the "Engaged Buddhism" movement is one of the most influential forms of social activity of Buddhism in the countries of the West.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2022-1
Nesterkin S. - Sources of the Perception of Buddhism in the Russian Cultural Environment pp. 45-50

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2022.1.37082

Abstract: The goal of this work is to examine the sources of establishment of the image of Buddhism in the Russian cultural environment, as well as determine the degree of representativeness of this image. The author outlines the three primary sources: 1) academic research works of the Western Schools of Buddhism (based on Pali and Sanskrit material); 2) research carried out within the framework of the Russian School of Buddhology (mainly based on Tibetan and Mongolian material); 3) research of the Russian Orthodox missionaries. It is determined that the key theoretical provision developed in the Anglo-Germanic School of Buddhology is  the thesis on the authenticity of Theravāda Buddhism, which is considered as the "original,” and its other forms such as Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna) are its later modifications that emerged under the influence of external factors. The main features of Buddhism in Western Buddhology include: 1) Buddha Shakyamuni was not a transcendental being; 2) his nirvana is understood nihilistically, as the complete cessation of the process of existence; 3)  Buddhism denies the existence of soul; 4) the existence of God alongside the idea of the transcendental are also denied. Despite the fact that the research based on Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna material demonstrate the failure of such assessments, the aforementioned theses continued to be reproduced. This is explained by the interest of certain significant social groups in such image of Buddhism. Firstly, this view was supported by many Orthodox figures. The interpretation of Buddhism as a philosophical-ethical rather than religious system propelled Buddhism beyond the boundaries of the religious search for people who find foothold in faith. Secondly, similar interpretation entailed the antagonistic attitudes of scholars and scientifically oriented society. Rational aspects of Buddhism that align it with science were uncritically overemphasized. Buddhism was viewed as an ally of the scientific way of thinking, completely alien to faith.
Philosophical Thought, 2021-12
Nesterkin S. - Formation of the image of Buddhism in Russia (the end of the XIX the beginning of the XX centuries) pp. 1-7

DOI:
10.25136/2409-8728.2021.12.37040

Abstract: This article examines the sources of formation of the image of Buddhism in the Russian cultural environment and determine the degree of representativeness of this image. The author highlights the three main sources: 1) academic research works of the Western Schools of Buddhology (based on Pāli and Sanskrit material); 2) research conducted within the framework of the Russian School of Buddhology (based primarily on Tibetan- and Mongolian-language material); 3) research of the Orthodox Russian missionaries. It is determined that the fundamental theoretical position developed by the Anglo-Germanic School of Buddhology is the thesis on authenticity of Theravada Buddhism, which is considered as “initial”, and its other forms (such as Mahayana, Vajrayana) are considered as its later modifications that emerged under the influence of external factors. The key features of Buddhism in Buddhology imply that: 1) Buddha Shakyamuni was not a transcendent being; 2) his nirvana is understood nihilistically, as a complete cessation of the process of being; 3) Buddhism, denies the existence of soul; 4) the existence of God and the representation of the transcendent are also denied. Despite the fact that the studies of Mahayana and Vajrayana material indicated inadequacy of such assessment, these theses were reproduced over again. This is explained by the interest of significant social groups in such image of Buddhism: many Orthodox figures interpreted Buddhism as a philosophical-ethical, rather than religious system; atheistically-oriented scholars and scientifically-oriented public also supported such interpretation. The rational aspects of Buddhism, which give common grounds with science, were uncritically absolutized; Buddhism was viewed as an ally of scientific thinking, completely alien to faith.
History magazine - researches, 2020-6
Nesterkin S. - Hierarchical systems and their evolution in Buddhist communities of Central Asia pp. 15-21

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0609.2020.6.34493

Abstract: This article examines the hierarchical systems established in Buddhist communities of Central Asia.  Hierarchies are viewed in the spiritual context: by level of taking of vows, educational attainment, level of practical implementation of knowledge, rank in the institution of “Reincarnated Lamas”; as well as hierarchies important in administrative context, such as levels of responsibility, governance of monasteries, rank within the structure of state administration, and interaction with government institutions. It is noted that genetically all of them ascend to Teacher – student hierarchy. This work explores the evolution of these hierarchies under the changing historical conditions, as well their complex interrelations. It is demonstrated that hierarchical system evolved depending on such factors, as the development of monastic education, increased role in the communities of “Reincarnated Lamas”, shift in the role of monasteries within state administration along with the role of government in regulation of the religious institutions. It is determined that hierarchies partially intersected, but also diverged due to the possibility of relatively autonomous practice of Sutra and Tantra, which formed different types of communities –  sangha and ganachakra respectively. In Russia, Buddhist communities were integrated into the system of state-religious relations, which required centralization of religious community resulting in the fact that the administrative church structures took the central stage. Liberalization of state control of the religious activity in post-Soviet Russia led to the emergence of multiple secular Buddhist associations that practiced Mahayanist and tantric methods structured as ganachakra. The central place was held by the structure of religious hierarchy along with “Teacher – student” relations. The conclusion is made that such structural differentiation of Buddhist communities is the results of the natural course of self-determination of various traditions in the conditions of freedom of religion.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2020-4
Nesterkin S. - Hierarchical systems and their evolution in Buddhist communities of Central Asia pp. 11-17

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2020.4.34529

Abstract: This article examines the hierarchical systems established in Buddhist communities of Central Asia.  Hierarchies are viewed in the spiritual context: by level of taking of vows, educational attainment, level of practical implementation of knowledge, rank in the institution of “Reincarnated Lamas”; as well as hierarchies important in administrative context, such as levels of responsibility, governance of monasteries, rank within the structure of state administration, and interaction with government institutions. It is noted that genetically all of them ascend to Teacher – student hierarchy. This work explores the evolution of these hierarchies under the changing historical conditions, as well their complex interrelations. It is demonstrated that hierarchical system evolved depending on such factors, as the development of monastic education, increased role in the communities of “Reincarnated Lamas”, shift in the role of monasteries within state administration along with the role of government in regulation of the religious institutions. It is determined that hierarchies partially intersected, but also diverged due to the possibility of relatively autonomous practice of Sutra and Tantra, which formed different types of communities –  sangha and ganachakra respectively. In Russia, Buddhist communities were integrated into the system of state-religious relations, which required centralization of religious community resulting in the fact that the administrative church structures took the central stage. Liberalization of state control of the religious activity in post-Soviet Russia led to the emergence of multiple secular Buddhist associations that practiced Mahayanist and tantric methods structured as ganachakra. The central place was held by the structure of religious hierarchy along with “Teacher – student” relations. The conclusion is made that such structural differentiation of Buddhist communities is the results of the natural course of self-determination of various traditions in the conditions of freedom of religion.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019-2
Nesterkin S. - Philosophy of language and problem of expressiveness of the Absolute in Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism pp. 42-48

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2019.2.28373

Abstract: The subject of this research is the concept of expressiveness of the Absolute, developed in Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. In majority of Buddhist schools it is established that the language, due to its binary nature, is capable of expressing only the relative truth, while the absolute truth can be cognized in the state of unidirectional meditative submersion, with the absence of any duality, including the linguistic symbolic structures. However, in Gelug School it is emphasized that it is impossible to explain an adept the technique of realization of direct vision of the absolute unless using the language, which also allows reaching enlightenment and further translation of the tradition. Based on the materials of Tibetan texts, the author explicates the philosophical views of Gelug School, which, according to the thought of its successors, eliminate such contradiction. The main conclusion consists in the fact the Gelug School developed the concept of language that subdivides the verbal/conceptual into two types. The first one  contains the verbal/conceptual, resulted from the ascription (Tibetan: sgro 'dogs) of false qualities of the objects of consideration, which should be obviated. The second one is deprived of false ascription, and forms in the course of using a specific type of philosophical discourse – prasangika, serving as the cause of emergence of the “middle view” (Tibetan: dbu lta) that sees all things properly. This allows the successor of prasangika to effectively use the verbal structures for adequate cognition at the conceptual level, and transition towards the direct cognition of the absolute truth, which ultimately helps to acquire freedom and reach a state of nirvana.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019-1
Nesterkin S. - The main trends in the renewal movement of Russian Buddhism in early 20th century. pp. 16-23

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2019.1.28385

Abstract: In early 20th century part of the Buddhist Sangha started a process of revising its organization forms as well as its theoretical and practical heritage. Two essentially different movements existed in that sphere. They had different tasks and quite different approaches for solving those tasks. On the one hand, the activity of such Buryat enlightenment scholars as B. Baradin, Ts. Jamsarano as well as representatives of the clergy such as A. Dorjiev, Ch. Iroltuyev, Ganjurova-Gegen were part of the renewal processes in Buddhism that took place in many countries where it was spread. The renewal process was a reaction against the ideological and economic expansion of the colonialist countries and was designed to develop the ideological basis for preserving the national identity of the colonized nations. On the other hand, Lubsan Sandan Tsydenov and his followers had quite a different task: to reform Buddhism in order to enable it to develop in a new social and cultural environment – in the Western culture of Russia. Their task was not so much preserving the national identity as developing the Buddhist tradition in a new cultural environment, which also solved the question of identity in an indirect way.
Genesis: Historical research, 2018-12
Nesterkin S. - The main trends in the renewal movement of Russian Buddhism at the beginning of the XX century . pp. 8-15

DOI:
10.25136/2409-868X.2018.12.28244

Abstract: The object of the study is the renovationist movement in Russian Buddhism. At the beginning of the XX century, some part of the Buddhist community began the process of revising the organizational forms of its existence, revising its theoretical and practical baggage. The work focuses on defining the basic principles of the main directions of this movement, studying their goals and objectives and identifying differences in their approaches to reforming the Buddhist church in the context of the ongoing changes in the socio-political conditions of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. As a result of the analysis of documents and archival materials, the author investigated the doctrinal and ideological foundations of the movements and their organizational forms. The study found that there were two significantly different movements that set themselves very different tasks and used fundamentally different approaches to solve them. On the one hand, the activities of Buryat enlighteners B. Baradin, Ts.Zhamsarano, etc., and such representatives of the clergy as A. Dorzhiev, Ch. Iroltuev, Ganzhurova–Gegen were designed to develop an ideological basis for preserving the national identity of the Buddhist peoples of Russia in the conditions of ideological and political expansion. On the other hand, L.S. Tsydenov and his followers set themselves a significantly different task: to reform Buddhism in such a way that it could develop in a new socio–cultural environment, in the Western culture of Russia. The task here was not so much the preservation of national identity as the development of the Buddhist tradition in a new cultural space, which indirectly solved the first task.
Philosophy and Culture, 2018-11
Nesterkin S. - The Problem of the Expressibility of the Absolute in the Philosophy of Language of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism pp. 59-65

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0757.2018.11.28222

Abstract:  This paper analyzes the concept of language developed in Gelug School and discusses its specific features. The majority of the Buddhist schools state that language can express only the relative truth. As for the absolute truth, it can be cognized directly in the meditative state when any duality is absent, including the symbolic linguistic structures. However, the Gelug School accentuates the point that it is impossible to explain the techniques of realization of the absolute without the use of language. That is why the concept of language was developed in the Gelug School, according to which not all verbal structures are obstacles to enlightenment. The followers of the Gelug School subdivide concepts into two types. The first type includes the concepts that have arisen as a result of ascribin  (Tib. sgro ‘dogs) the false qualities to the objects. The second type is deprived of the false ascribing; it is formed in the process of using the special type of philosophical discourse – prasangika, which is the factor for emerging of the “middle view” (Tib. dbu lta), the proper view of things. This allows the follower of prasanga to efficiently use the verbal structures for (1) adequate cognition on the conceptual level and (2) transition towards the direct attainment of the absolute truth, which as a result leads to gaining freedom and achieving the state of Buddha. 
Philosophy and Culture, 2017-12
Donets A.M., Nesterkin S. - Philosopher and philosophical knowledge in Buddhist tradition of the Gelug School pp. 1-12

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0757.2017.12.24823

Abstract: This article sets an objective of explicating the representations of Buddhists of the Gelug School about who is a philosopher, what is an accurate philosophical knowledge, its role and place in the soteriological system of Buddhism. The authors determine and analyze the key characteristics that define a Buddhist philosopher: “coming to refuge” of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; using as true argument (Tibetan –  rtags yang dag) for proper conclusion a reputable opinion (lung); acquisition of assurance in the true idea of Buddhist philosophy as a special form of doctrine through evidence; impartial (Tibetan – ma chags pa, chags med) attitude towards any ideas that blends with confidence in accuracy of the own opinion in such way that both, impartiality and confidence secure each other. The article provides an analysis of the process of philosophical cognition as an essential component of soteriological project of Buddhism. The work is conduced based on the referential Tibetan language sources viewed in the context of living tradition of the Central Asian Buddhism. The authors establish that a Buddhist philosopher of the Gelug tradition by the virtue of prasanga (Tibetan – thal ‘gyur; a particular type of conclusions proposed in response to the opponent’s assertion, due to which, leaning only upon the acknowledged by the opponent assertion, reveals its falsehood), as well as ordinary evidence form a median position of mind, and remaining within the framework of philosophy, solve the task of refuting the false representations. The established true representation and assurance in its validity, possess specific peculiarities that make them suitable for further application in the process of realization of the direct control over the final truth with help of the meditative techniques.
Philosophical Thought, 2017-12
Nesterkin S. - Teaching on the Essence of Buddha in religious-philosophical tradition of Buddhism pp. 32-42

DOI:
10.25136/2409-8728.2017.12.24952

Abstract: This article examines the teaching on the essence of Buddha (Sanskrit – tathāgatagarbha, . de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po) as in presented in the canonical literature of Sutra and Shastra, as well as commentator tradition of the Tibetan Buddhism. This teaching is the principal in personology of Buddhism, because through the notion of the “essence of Buddha” (tathāgatagarbha) and adjacent notions – “natural glow of mind (prakṛtiprabhāsvaratācitta)” and “naturally existing spiritual seed” (prakṛtipragotra)” is revealed the purpose of the perfecting motion, motion process towards the goal and its basis. The work is conducted based on the peer Tibetan-language sources viewed in the context of the living tradition of Central Asian Buddhism. It has been established that the essence of Buddha is considered in the literature of Sutra as a present in each person highest, absolute “Self” (ātman), different from the empirical “Self”, which Buddhism denies as the self-existent phenomenon. The key question within the Tibetan commentator tradition consisted in interpretation of the essence of Buddha as a positive being that manifests when an individual becomes disengaged from the distorting factors; or as such non-implying a positive content of negative factors.
Philosophy and Culture, 2017-11
Nesterkin S. - Confessional comparativism im Mahayana Buddhism pp. 1-9

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0757.2017.11.24513

Abstract: This work is dedicated to the examination of the Tibetan language sources on the confessional comparativism of Central Asian Buddhism. This direction of the traditional philosophical thought, having originated in India, received wide recognition in Tibet, particularly during the scholastic period of development of the Buddhist philosophy. It is mostly presented in the works of polemic character (dGag lan) dedicated to the discussion of contradictory moments in views of the main religious-philosophical schools of Buddhism, as well as historical-philosophical literature (grub mtha’) that provides a comparative-philosophical analysis of the philosophical schools of Indian Buddhism. The article is performed leaning on the referential Tibetan language sources viewed within the context of existing tradition of the Central Asian Buddhism. The research determined that the confessional Buddhism comparativism was responsible for the two key functions: propaedeutic and hermeneutic. The first implied that through the interpretation of simpler philosophical systems, the student was preparing for comprehending the more complex philosophical systems. The second solved the task of classification of the philosophical doctrines in accordance with how fully they reflect the concept of the Sermon of Buddha, which substantiated the supremacy of the own system over others. Theoretical space of the philosophical-religious doctrines of Buddhism was organized based on the principle of inclusivism, when the theoretical constructs of schools, so-called the “lowest”, were defines as incomplete and included into the general theoretical scheme of schools as the teachings that prepare adherers towards understanding of their own (complete) doctrine.
Philosophy and Culture, 2016-12
Nesterkin S. - The problem of determination of personality in Hindu spiritual and historical traditional

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0757.2016.12.21164

Abstract: Based on the Tibetan Buddhist scholastic literature, this article examines the approaches towards determination of personality in the Hindu Orthodox and non-Orthodox religious-philosophical schools. The work reviews the terms that serve as a personality marker (in the texts of sutra and schastra), as well as analyzed its main definitions. Significant attention is given to the analysis of the non-Buddhist views upon personality, as (1) constant, (2) single, and (3) independent. Argumentation of the Buddhists who criticized such views is revealed. The author determines that Buddhism in contradiction to the thesis of “heterodoxy” teachings regarding the presence of selfishness (Tibetan bdag) of personality, proposes the statement about in unselfishness (Tibetan bdag med), and provides analysis of interpretations of this notion in various Buddhist schools. This research in methodological aspect is built on the analysis of reference texts in the context of living philosophical-religious tradition of Buddhism. The conclusion is made that the denial of selfishness of personality in Buddhism must be understood on the context of polemic of Buddhism with the non-Buddhist religious-philosophical traditions. Objections of the Buddhists are aimed not against the personal principle as such, but rather erroneous in their opinion understanding of personality as the subject of liberation, developed in Orthodox and non-Orthodox Hindu spiritual traditions.
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