The fraught encounters between biological sciences and religions such as Buddhism have raised philosophical issues for many. This essay will focus on one of them: Can form ground the truth of life? The author suggests that, along with the introduction of evolutionary biology from Europe, literary realism in China has emerged as a technology of biomimesis, among other such technologies, to grapple with the problem of “life as form.” Focusing on Lu Xun's early interest in Ernst Haeckel and science fiction, especially his translation of “Technique for Creating Humans” and his narrative fiction “Prayers for Blessing,” which drew extensively on a Buddhist avadāna, the essay seeks to throw some new light on the familiar as well as unfamiliar sources relating to Lu Xun's life and works and to develop a new understanding of how the debates on science and metaphysics have developed in modern China.

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