The proposed paper wishes to reflect on the conception of non-self and Shunyta and how these ideas are discerned in the process of remaking of Man as it is understood in the classical Indian philosophy. The concept of non-self is very carefully elaborated in such a way that it could define the unique relationship that thehuman being have with the world of existence where remaking of man is an absolute necessity to transact with the uncertain and indescribable phenomenal world. The (...) paper would prefer to review this aspect based on the method employed by the Madhyamika Buddhist philosophy, using the idea of shnyata where allphenomenal experiences are delineated based on selflessness of the phenomenal world and of the subjective self (dharmanairatmya and pudgalanairatmya). It is argued here that the conception of self is understandable only contextually where a notional subjective self is in contact with phenomenal happenings of the world, but a proper understanding of either of the entities would reveal the conception of selflessness and the notional self. The procedure of “remaking ofman” is explained as the proper discernment of essencelessness of subjective self. The notion of a real self (pudgala) is clearly understood by reconstructing the psychophysical personality of man that the notion of selflessness is revealed by explaining the function of his dispositions and feelings. A proper conception of sunyata and the procedure remaking of man are intrinsically connected. (shrink)
_Keiji Nishitani's critique of technology as a dehumanizing force is objected to by showing that it is possible to establish a relationship with technology characterized by the standpoint of sunyata. In order to support my claim, I offer an interpretation of sunyata as a lived experience in which knowing and being are unified. One method used to experience the identity of knowing and being is the method of negatio negationis. I argue that technology embodies this method, and that (...) thus has a built-in process that allows users of technology to achieve a samadhi experience in the use of tools and machines. Hubert Dreyfus' theory of embodiment is offered in support of this claim. If it is possible to establish an intimate relation with certain technologies, then the nature of technology cannot be reduced to its most obvious dehumanizing and destructive effects_. (shrink)
This paper compares Kant's positions on space, time, the relational character of noumena, and the relational character of the self, with the somewhat similar accounts of those things in two philosophers of the Kyoto school: Keiji Nishitani and Nishida Kitaro. I will argue that the philosophers of the Kyoto school had a more coherent and better integrated account of those ideas, that was open to Kant. I think that the comparison both clarifies Kant's position on these topics, and elucidates the (...) topics. (shrink)
In the various texts the phrase “something does not exist there” was interpreted in the following way: “elephants, cows, etc.” (Cūlasuññata-sutta) “the imagined, or conceptualized” (Yogācāra tradition), “the five skandhas, the elements, the sensory fields as eternal and solid entities” (Abhidharmasamuccaya), “all conventional phenomena” (Dolpo-pa), “inherent reality” (rGyal-tshab-rje), “accidental pollution with regard to the tathāgatagarbha (Gung-thang). The phrase “something that remains there does exist as a real existent” was interpreted also in different ways: “monks, palace, world, etc” (Cūlasuññata-sutta), “the perfect, (...) or accomplished” (Yogācāra tradition), “the Selflessness” (Abhidharmasamuccaya), “the perfect, emptiness exists eternally” (Dol-po-pa), “the lack of inherent reality” (rGyal-tshab-rje), “the purity of tathāgatagarbha 's nature” (Gung-thang).This survey shows that the Buddhist tradition interpreted the same scriptural sentence in radically different ways. Each commentator attempted to present the scriptural statement in a way which suited best his own philosophical view. It is evident that no agreement with regard to the exegesis of this sentence can be obtained. After all, the Buddha has set up a model in the (Cūlasuññata-sutta), where he interpreted the statement in a process-manner. There is no definitive description of voidness. (shrink)
This paper proposes an interpretation of Nāgārjuna’s doctrine of the two truths that considers saṃvṛti and paramārtha-satya two visions of reality on which the Buddhas, for soteriological and pedagogical reasons, build teachings of two types: respectively in agreement with (for example, the teaching of the Four Noble Truths) or in contrast to (for example, the teaching of emptiness) the category of svabhāva. The early sections of the article show to what extent the various current interpretations of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of (...) the dve satye—despite their sometimes even macroscopic differences—have a common tendency to consider the notion of śūnyatā as a teaching not based on, but equivalent to supreme truth. This equivalence—philologically questionable—leads to interpretative paths that prove inevitably aporetic: indeed, according to whether the interpretation of śūnyatā is ‘metaphysical’ or ‘anti-metaphysical’, it gives rise to readings of Nāgārjuna’s thought incompatible, respectively, with anti-metaphysical and realistic types of verses traceable in the works of the author of the Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā (MMK). On the contrary, by giving more emphasis to the expression samupāśritya (“based on”), which recurs in MMK.24.8, and therefore, by epistemologically separating the notion of śūnyatā from the notion of paramārtha-satya (and of some of its conceptual equivalents such as nirvāṇa, tattva and dharmatā), we may obtain an interpretation—at once realistic and anti-metaphysical—of the theory of the two truths compatible with the vast majority (or even totality) of Nāgārjuna’s verses. (shrink)
Abstract. Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author of « The Jungle Book », born in India, wrote one day these words: « Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet ». In my paper I show that Kipling was not completely right. I try to show the common ground between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics. There is a surprising parallelism between the philosophical concept of reality articulated by Nagarjuna and the physical concept of reality (...) implied by quantum physics. For neither is there a fundamental core to reality, rather reality consists of systems of interacting objects. Such concepts of reality cannot be reconciled with the substantial, subjective, holistic or instrumentalistic concepts of reality which underlie modern modes of thought. (shrink)
Malcolm David Eckel takes us on a contemporary quest to discover the essential meaning behind the Buddha's many representations. Eckel's bold thesis proposes that the proper understanding of Buddhist philosophy must be thoroughly religious--an understanding revealed in Eckel's new translation of the philospher Bhavaviveka's major work, The Flame of Reason. Eckel shows that the dimensions of early Indian Buddhism--popular art, conventional piety, and critical philosophy--all work together to express the same religious yearning for the fullness of emptiness that Buddha conveys.
Emptiness means that all entities are empty of, or lack, inherent existence - entities have a merely conceptual, constructed existence. Though Nagarjuna advocates the Middle Way, his philosophy of emptiness nevertheless entails nihilism, and his critiques of the Nyaya theory of knowledge are shown to be unconvincing.
Newman Robert Glass argues that there are three workings of emptiness capable of grounding thinking and behavior: presence, difference, and essence. The first two readings, exemplified by Heidegger and Mark C. Taylor respectively, present opposing views of the work of emptiness in thinking. The third, essence, presents a position on the work of emptiness in desire and affect. Glass begins by offering a close analysis of presence and difference. He then fashions his own understanding of essence, or emptiness. He goes (...) on to use this third reading to construct a comprehensive Buddhist position based in desire and affect -- a Buddhism of essence. (shrink)
In this autoethnographic essay, I reflect on my brief personal experiences of conducting field research on ways in which way a small group of Tibetan Buddhist monks enact a monastic total institution in Ladakh, India. More specifically, I analyze my experiences in view of the relationship between dual and nondual mind, as discussed by Henry Vyner (2002) in Anthropology of Consciousness, and use this analysis to develop preliminary insights into the ways in which a Tibetan Buddhist monastery is constituted.
Emptiness ( śūnyatā ) is one of the most important topics in Buddhist thought and also is one of the most perplexing. Buddhists in Tibet have developed a sophisticated tradition of philosophical discourse on emptiness and ineffability. This paper discusses the meaning(s) of emptiness within three prominent traditions in Tibet: the Geluk ( dge lugs ), Jonang ( jo nang ), and Nyingma ( rnying ma ). I give a concise presentation of each tradition’s interpretation of emptiness and show how (...) each interpretation represents a distinctive aspect of its meaning. Given that Buddhist traditions (1) accept an extra-linguistic reality and (2) maintain a strong tradition of suspicion of language with the belief that language both constructs and distorts reality, this paper responds to an issue that is not so much whether or not an inexpressible reality can be expressed, but rather how it is best articulated. (shrink)
A pivotal focus of exegesis of Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārïkā (MMK) for the past half century has been the attempt to decipher the text's philosophy of language, and determine how this best aids us in characterizing Madhyamaka thought as a whole. In this vein, MMK 24:18 has been judged of particular weight insofar as it purportedly insists that the concepts pratītyasamutpāda (conditioned co-arising) and śūnyatā (emptiness), both indispensable to Buddhist praxis, are themselves only "nominal" or "conventional," that is, they are merely labels (...) that do not referentially signify anything that can be taken to be an ontologically ultimate reality. In various guises, as a result of this explication, Nāgārjuna's thought has been seen to embrace an overarching linguistic nominalism or conventionalism in which words, whether they are used for the purposes of theory or practice, though they serve as commonly accepted currency in the transactions of worldly business (vyavahāra), are in the end only ideas (prajñapti) or metaphysical fabrications (prapanca). This interpretation is largely due to tenaciously inaccurate translations and expositions of MMK 24:18 and their dependence on Candrakīrti's peculiar analysis of this verse in his Prasannapadā. This essay will attempt to correct both the diction of the major translations of MMK 24:18 and the fictions of nominalism and conventionalism that the consequent interpretations of this stanza have perpetuated. The argument that will be developed in the course of this essay is that Candrakīrti's reading of this verse proffers a strong form of linguistic nominalism that Nāgārjuna himself does not embrace. It will be shown, based on everything else found in the MMK, that Nāgārjuna, rather than advocating the mere nominal or conventional status of terms such as pratītyasamutpāda and sunyata, demands they be accepted as both pedagogically useful and even referentially accurate descriptions of the world as it is. (shrink)
The Indian philosopher Acarya Nagarjuna (c. 150-250 CE) was the founder of the Madhyamaka (Middle Path) school of Mahayana Buddhism and arguably the most influential Buddhist thinker after Buddha himself. Indeed, in the Tibetan and East Asian traditions, Nagarjuna is often referred to as the "second Buddha." This book presents a survey of the whole of Nagarjuna's philosophy based on his key philosophical writings. His primary contribution to Buddhist thought lies in the further development of the concept of sunyata (...) or "emptiness." For Nagarjuna, all phenomena are without any svabhava, literally "own-nature" or "self-nature," and thus without any underlying substance. Particular emphasis is put on discussing Nagarjuna's thinking as philosophy. The present discussion shows how his thoughts on metaphysics, epistemology, the self, language, and truth present a unified theory of reality with considerable systematic appeal. The book offers a systematic account of Nagarjuna's philosophical position. It reads Nagarjuna in his own philosophical context, but also shows that the issues of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy have at least family resemblances to issues in European philosophy. (shrink)
The Madhyamaka school of Buddhism, the followers of which are called Mādhyamikas, was one of the two principal schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, the other school being the Yogācāra. The name of the school is a reference to the claim made of Buddhism in general that it is a middle path (madhyamā pratipad) that avoids the two extremes of eternalism—the doctrine that all things exist because of an eternal essence—and annihilationism—the doctrine that things have essences while they exist but (...) that these essences are annihilated just when the things themselves go out of existence. The conviction of the Madhyamaka school, which can be called the Centrist school in English, is that this middle path is best achieved by a denial that things have any inherent natures at all. All things are, in other words, empty of inherent natures. This doctrine of universal emptiness of inherent natures (svabhāva-śūnyatā) is the hallmark of the school, which places the school solidly in the tradition associated with the Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā) literature of Mahāyāna Buddhism. (shrink)
There is unanimous agreement that Nāgārjuna (ca 150–250 AD) is the most important Buddhist philosopher after the historical Buddha himself and one of the most original and influential thinkers in the history of Indian philosophy. His philosophy of the “middle way” (madhyamaka) based around the central notion of “emptiness” (śūnyatā) influenced the Indian philosophical debate for a thousand years after his death; with the spread of Buddhism to Tibet, China, Japan and other Asian countries the writings of Nāgārjuna became an (...) indispensable point of reference for their own philosophical inquiries. A specific reading of Nāgārjuna's thought, called Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka, became the official philosophical position of Tibetan Buddhism which regards it as the pinnacle of philosophical sophistication up to the present day. (shrink)
Nāgārjuna contends that the doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination), properly understood, constitutes the philosophical basis for the rejection and avoidance of all metaphysical theories and concepts (including causation). The companion doctrine of "śūnyatā" constitutes the denial of metaphysical realism (or "essentialism") but does not imply an anti-realist, conventionalist view of reality (as Jay Garfield maintains). "Pratītyasamutpāda," the true doctrine or, literally, "the exact or real nature of the case," is really two-sided: it is (1) a "causal" principle explaining the origin (...) of all that exists, and (2) a semantic principle concerning the mutual dependency of concepts and beliefs in both the systematic and historically contingent sense. The latter implies a pragmatic approach to meaning. (shrink)
In heidegger's philosophy, Getting back to the ground of metaphysics--Transcending metaphysics--Entails a transcendence of the ordinary function of human consciousness. Zen's transcendence however--Especially with regard to subject-Object duality--Is much more radical than heidegger's. Even the late heidegger, Heidegger iii, Presents his "ereignis" as a third, Appropriating ontological link, Existing beyond being and nonbeing. But in zen this would be classified as "relative" "sunyata", Not "absolute" "sunyata", Which is neither relative nor relational but paradoxical to the extent that it (...) does not even have itself. And in view of heidegger's concern--Obsession--With dread, His "homecoming" itself is questionable. Zen would say that heidegger's difficulty, Right to the end, Was that he was still thinking metaphysically, Despite his effort otherwise; moreover, That his thinking was never genuinely transmetaphysical but at best quasi-Metaphysical. (shrink)
This paper examines Sartre's dualistic ontology in the light of the non-duality asserted by Mahayana Buddhism. In the first section, I show, against the objection of Hazel E. Barnes, that Sartre and Buddhism have comparable theories of consciousness. The second section discusses Steven W. Laycock's use of Zen philosophy to solve the Sartrean metaphysical problem regarding the origin of being for-itself. This solution involves rejecting the ontological priority of being in-itself in favor of the Buddhist understanding of interdependent origination (pratitya-samutpada) (...) and emptiness (sunyata). Finally, I explain how this aspect of Buddhist thought is consistent with Sartre's ontology, thus making an acceptable solution. This consistency is possible if we understand Sartre's ontology as provisionally true in a sense gleaned from the Madhyamika and Yogacara schools of Indian Buddhism, which were influential to the formation of Zen philosophy. (shrink)
Buddhism, By denying the subject, And advaita, By denying the object, Both resolve the problematic subject-Object relationship. That they are mirror-Images suggests that "nirvana" and "moksha" might amount to the same thing-Nonduality. "there is no self" equals "everything is the self." buddhism emphasizes "sunyata" because it is a phenomenological description of enlightenment. Advaita speaks of monistic "brahman" because it is a philosophical attempt to describe reality from the fictional "outside.".
The ideal of the bodhisattva was crucial in the development of the Mah y na branch of the Buddhist tradition.<span class='Hi'></span> It provided a meeting ground for cardinal Mah y nist doctrines concerning praj <span class='Hi'></span>(wisdom)<span class='Hi'></span>, karun <span class='Hi'></span>(compassion)<span class='Hi'></span> and ś nvat <span class='Hi'></span>(voidness)<span class='Hi'></span>, as well as introducing into Buddhism more overtly religious elements which help to account for its popular appeal in those areas where the Mah y na took hold.<span class='Hi'></span> The vow of the bodhisattva (...) to forego entry into nirv na until all beings <span class='Hi'></span>“down to the last blade of grass”<span class='Hi'></span> have been delivered raises several apparent contradictions and condundrums;<span class='Hi'></span> these disappear in the light of a proper understanding of the pivotal Mah y nist doctrine of ś nvat <span class='Hi'></span>. This paper examines the relationship of the bodhisattva ideal to the metaphysic of sunyata and discusses the place of this ideal in the spiritual economy of the Mah y na. (shrink)
Zen-Buddhist nothingness is the nowhere is there something that is I, or conversely: the I that is the nowhere is there something. (Hisamatsu, FN, 25-26; quoted and trans. in Stambaugh, FS, 76)... it is empty of being. That means that it is beyond all measure ....... it is empty without emptiness. That means that it does not cling to itself.... it possesses nothing. That means that it doesn't possess and also cannot be possessed. (Hisamatsu, FN, 31; quoted and trans. in (...) Stambaugh, FS, 77-8)The emptiness of what is called "emptiness" is referred to as "the emptiness of emptiness" (ʼsūnyatāʼsūnyatā), and it is explained in this way for the purpose of controverting any understanding of emptiness as a[n ontological reference to] "being." (Candrakīrti, EMW, 180)A skillful Zen student will strive to be awakened to an identity with all phenomena, the student him- or herself emptyand continually changing as the phenomena come forth. (Codiga, ZPSP, 108)Zen practice is a means for the enlightenment of bushes and grasses, an activity that has no beginning or end in the vastness of any empty universe. (p. 110). (shrink)
This paper makes the case that environmental education needs to be taken up as a moral education to the extent that we see the connection between harm and destruction in the environment and harm and destruction within human individuals and their relationship, and proceeds to show this connection by introducing the key notion of human alienation and its psychological factors of wounding, dissociation or split, self and other oppression and exploitation, all of which result in compromised moral agency. To this (...) end, the paper further makes the case that we need to replace the culture of alienation with a culture of healing and reclamation of fundamental humanity manifest as compassion and wisdom, and presents an ideal of moral agency that would emerge when all parts and dimensions of one?s being?body?mind?heart?energetics?are aligned, attuned and integrated, having healed from the body?mind split, mind?heart split, body?spirit split and mind?matter split. Concepts and imagery borrowed from Asian philosophies, such as Buddhism and Daoism, are offered as illustrative resources for the project of reclaiming uncompromised moral agency and its manifestation through compassion and wisdom. These concepts include hungry ghosts, bodhicitta, sunyata and wu-wei. (shrink)
The article analyzes the figure of Indian philosopher Vasubandhu (ca. S. IV), one of the most important representative of the vijñānavāda school of mahāyāna Buddhism. After a brief account on the legendary biography of Vasubandhu and other members of his school, the article focuses on the understanding of two of his seminal works: Trimśikā and Trisvabhāvakārikā through the concepts of vijñāna (showing the different meanings of this widely used concept in Buddhist thought), ālayavijñāna (store consciousness), vāsanā (mental trace), parikalpa (imagination) (...) and trisvabāva (three natures): parikalpita (imaginative), paratantra (dependent) and parinispanna (consummated). It also establishes the links between Vasubandhu and the nāgārjuna’s doctrine of śūnyatā and the Buddhist practice of puöya-praöidhana (dedication of merit) and bodhicitta (thought of awakening), showing, in a coherent fashion, the practical aspects of this philosophy of mind. (shrink)
I have argued here for a change in a scientific world-view, from that of the study of forms to that of process. In doing so we need to understand as to how process creates form. In showing this I have at first drawn from the history of Buddhist philosophy; with its concepts of ‘Sunyata’ (Emptiness) and radical interdependency (Huayen). Then showed its parallel with modern Fractal geometries, which thru’ rather simple mathematics, shows as to how process could derive form. (...) I have then gone on to Quantum constructions, which is without doubt the most advanced scientific development in modern times, and attempted to show two vital directions which contradict the classical scientific world view. The usual scientific view retains a Descartian, ‘out there’ deterministic framework. I argue that with the break down of determinism, and the non locality of phenomena suggested by Quantum Mechanics allows for an independent functioning of consciousness; which then is not a mere epiphenomena of neural activity within the brain. Such a view has wide implications on how we live and how we die. (shrink)
The historical origins of the Kyoto School of Philosophy of modern Japan, represented by Kitaro Nishida and Hajime Tanabe, may be derived from both the ancient Chinese idea of Change and the ancient Indian Upanishadic idea of the mutual identity of Brahman and Atman. The ancient Chinese idea of Change signifies change as well as non-change, and even their dialectical unification. Both origins are structured by the self-identity of the opposed in logic, and these historical prototypes have been developed into (...) the various forms of Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist philosophy. The notion of Nothingness or Emptiness rather than Being has been set up as the fundamental principle. The principle of Nothingness as ultimate reality has been connected with the logic of self-identity of theopposed, and this is evident in Nishida’s concept of the self-identity in absolute contradistinction that is equivalent to the Place of Absolute Nothingness. Even though Nishida’s idea of Place is directly and explicitly influenced by the ancient Greek idea of Topos, it has indirectly and implicitly been affected by the traditional agricultural society as well, in which the land is regarded as the self-identical substratum despite the cyclic time of the four-seasons change. The ancient Chinese idea of Change also reflects the agricultural society in which the cyclic time plays an important role on the basis of the unchanging self-identical land as the underlying substratum. Nishida succeeds in establishing the new logical expression of Eastern traditional thought, deeply hidden in consciousness, in relation toWestern philosophy. The uniqueness of Nishida’s idea of Place may have its main source in the traditional agricultural background, and in this sense his way of thinking may be rural in character. On the other hand, Tanabe, though following Nishida at first, turns to making criticism of the mentor with the establishment of the triadic logic of species as the dialectic, which is characterized by the perpetual self-negating conversion in action. In contrast to Nishida, Tanabe represents the urban type of thinking, which is in pursuit of transforming in life. While Nishida’s idea of Absolute Nothingness has an affinity with the ancient Chinese philosopher Laotzu’s idea of Nothingness from and into which every entity comes and goes, Tanabe’s concept of Absolute Nothingness as the principle ofconversion is more closed to the Buddhist idea of sunyata, i.e., Emptiness, which is devoid of any substance in itself. As regards evil, the difference between them is obvious in that for Nishida evil and time or history disappear into the ultimate horizon or place of Nothingness with the tendency toward a kind of monism of goodness, whereas for Tanabe evil copes with goodness and retains its own status throughout, never being reduced to the opposed. Even if so, both of them, however, fail to construct a philosophy of history from the epochal or durational viewpoint, compared to Heidegger and Jaspers. (shrink)
Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author of The 'Jungle Book', born in India, wrote one day these words: 'Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'. In my Essay I show that Kipling was not completely right. I try to show the common ground between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics. There is a surprising paralelism between the philosophical concept of reality articulated by Nagarjuna and the physical concept of reality implied by quantum physics. For (...) neither is there a fundamental core to reality; rather, reality concists of systems of interacting objects. Such concepts of reality cannot be reconciled with the substantial, subjective, holistic or instrumentalistic concepts of reality that underlie modern modes of thought. (shrink)