Halkyon Academy

​ Nishitani Keiji
Religion and Nothingness

8 Week Masterclass

In this masterclass, we will consider the most important thoughts and ideas of the Japanese philosopher Nishitani Keiji. We will read and discuss his major treatise “Religion and Nothingness”. The central motive of this course will be the fundamental problem of Nishitani‘s thought: nihilism.

The course is developed and taught by Daniel Zaruba, Headmaster of Japanese Studies at the Halkyon Academy.

Get the Syllabus here 

Thanks for your interest!


Course Overview

Following in the footsteps of Nishitani we will closely examine the problem of nihilism and aim to understand how Nishitani attempted to overcome it, namely by confronting Western philosophy with the Buddhist concept of emptiness Śūnyatā.

In doing so, we will also take other issues into question, such as the nature of God, the mutual opposition between science and religion, and the fundamental presuppositions of Western metaphysics.

Topics we will discuss

  • Nishitani‘s three field topology

  • The logic of soku hi

  • Absolute nothingness, True Suchness and Śūnyatā

  •  Nishitani‘s complex critique of Nietzsche and modern existentialism

  • His account of the encounter between science and religion


Your Teacher: Daniel Zaruba

Daniel is a student and teacher of East Asian studies in Vienna and Headmaster of Japanese Thought at Halkyon. His academic interests include existentialism, nihilism, the condition of late modern subjectivity, religious philosophy and inter religious dialogue, and the conflict between science and religion. Daniel spent a year studying in Kyoto in Japan and speaks Japanese. Daniel has been a member of the Halkyon guild since early 2020.

At Halkyon he is also in charge of organising and running several reading groups.