Nietzsche and Japanese Buddhism on the Cultivation of the Body: To What Extent Does Truth Bear Incorporation?
Graduate studies at Western
Comparative and Continental Philosophy 1 (2) (2010)
|Abstract||In order to overcome the unhealthy perspective of body-mind dualism and become capable of holding the “higher” and healthier perspective of body and mind as will to power, Nietzsche stresses that one must engage in a process of cultivation of the body. Such a practice of self-cultivation involves leaving behind incorporated illusory and life-denying perspectives and incorporating more “truthful” and affirmative perspectives on life. In this article, Nietzsche’s views on the body and its cultivation will be further explored and compared with Japanese Buddhist thought on body, mind, and cultivation. In Japanese thought, the notion of shinjin-ichinyō (oneness of body and mind) was developed in order to overcome a dualistic approach to body and mind. The unity of body and mind plays an essential part in the philosophies of both Kūkai and Dōgen. Whereas in early Indian Buddhism, self-cultivation took place primarily through the mind (citta), in Japanese Buddhist practice the body, not the mind, is the primary locus as exemplified in Dōgen’s somatic practice of zazen. Although from the everyday perspective, body and mind are experienced as two separate things, a higher perspective is possible in which body-mind is experienced as a continually changing configuration of dharmas that doesn’t contain any “I.” Such a higher perspective is called “samadhic awareness” by Dōgen, in which “body and mind are cast off” (shinjin totsuraku). For both Nietzsche and Dōgen, their “philosophy am Leitfaden des Leibes” does not aim at discovering “truths” by means of introspection and thinking, but at increasing the body’s capacity for the incorporation of new and liberating perspectives|
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