Authenticity: A comparative analysis between Zen Buddhism and Soren Aabye Kierkegaard


Jayme Ngo

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Major in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts




Awarded as best thesis, 1999


This study aims at comparing Zen Buddhism, as an Eastern perspective and Soren Kierkegaard, as a Western perspective, in the light of authenticity. The study answers how an authentic life is lived based on two diverse viewpoints. Then, a comparison is made on the similarities and differences between Zen Buddhism and Soren Kierkegaard's authentic person.

The authentic person is the true person. A person who is true to himself/herself with regards to all aspects of life. The authentic person in Zen is the enlightened person, one who has experienced satori. This person has realized that everything is empty but unique and retain their individuality, that we are all interconnected to each other, that the ego is dead, that he/she is completely detached from desires of the ego, and that he/she lives wholeheartedly in the here and now.

The authentic person in Kierkegaard's philosophy is the knight of faith who has synthesized the self, understands his/her task to be himself/herself, is in constant dread, passionately chooses to believe in the Paradox, and in his/her freedom chooses and bears responsibility for each consequence of choice. The knight of faith affirms and reaffirms his/her faith and finds truth in himself/herself, in relation to God. He/She hopes for heaven, the eternal happiness in suffering.

The following are the twenty points of comparison between Zen and Kierkegaard, namely: Self, Mind, and Will Middle Way and Essences Original Face Duailty Others Freedom Dread Reason Passion Paradox Ground of Reality and Salvation Intellectual Impasse Faith Satori and Knight of Faith Going Back to the Market Place Detachment Life and Society Truth Mindfulness and Here and Now, and Eternal Happiness and Suffering.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

334 leaves


Zen Buddhism; Authenticity (Philosophy); Enlightenment (Zen Buddhism); Philosophers; Philosophy and religion

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