The End of World Religion

  • Masao Abe
  • William R. LaFleur
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)


To begin with I would like to clarify the implications of my title. The word ‘end’ has at least two meanings: it means ‘limit’, ‘boundary’, or ‘ceasing to be’, and ‘aim’, ‘objective’, ‘purpose’, or ‘reason for being’. In the first sense, it is somewhat negative, referring to a spatial, temporal, or existential limit of some kind. The second, more positive, meaning signifies a direction to move toward, a final goal to be attained, or an ultimate reason to be realized. This double implication gives a dynamic ambiguity quite appropriate to the present purpose, for I wish to discuss the limitations of ‘world religions’ in their present forms and the authentic form of the ‘world religion’ to be realized in the future.


Present Form Universal Form Universal Nature World Religion Nature Religion 
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  1. 1.
    Kazuo Muto, ‘Kirisutokyo to Mu no Shisō’, (Christianity and the Thought of Nothingness), Zen no Honshitsu to Ningen no Shinri (The Essence of Zen and Human Truth), ed. by Shin’ichi Hisamatsu and Keiji Nishitani (Tokyo, Sōbunsha, 1969) pp. 423–4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Masao Abe ‘Buddhism and Christianity as a Problem of Today’, Japanese Religions, vol. 3, no. 2 (Summer 1963) pp. 11–22, and vol. 3, no. 3 (Autumn 1963) pp. 10–31; see also ‘Man and Nature in Christianity and Buddhism’, Japanese Religions, vol. 7, no. I (July, 1971) pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Seishi Ishii, ‘Shūkyōteki Sekai toshiteno Ai no Ba nitsuite’ (On the Place of Love as the Religious World), Postmodernist, no. 2 (Tokyo, Ibunsha, 1973) p. 65.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Masao Abe and William R. LaFleur 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masao Abe
    • 1
  • William R. LaFleur
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HawaiiUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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