- The Difference between Sa.msaara and Nirvaa.na
- By David
That sa.msaara is nirvaa.na
is a major tenet of Mahaayaana philosophy. "Nothing of sa.msaara is different
from nirvaa.na, nothing of nirvaa.na
is different from sa.msaara. That
which is the limit of nirvaa.na is also the
limit of sa^msaara; there is not the slightest difference between the
two." And yet there must be some difference between them, for otherwise
no distinction would have been made
and there would be no need for two words to describe the same state.
So Naagaarjuna also distinguishes them:
"That which, taken as causal or
dependent, is the process of being born and passing on,
is, taken noncausally and beyond all dependence, declared to be nirvaa.na." There
is only one reality this world, right here but this world may be experienced in two different ways. Sa.msaara is the "relative" world as
usually experienced, in which "I"
dualistically perceive "it" as a collection of objects which
interact causally in space and time. Nirvaa.na is the world
as it is in itself,
nondualistic in that it incorporates
both subject and object into
a whole which, Maadhyamika insists, cannot be characterized (Chandrakiirti: "Nirvaa.na or Reality is
that which is absolved of all
thought-construction"), but which Yogaacaara nevertheless sometimes calls
"Mind" or "Buddhanature,"
and so forth.
But if, as Buddhism claims, there
never was an "I, " how can "I" experience dualistically?
The answer, of course, is that "I"
do not experience
dualistically; the sense of duality is only an
illusion, since all experience is
was nondual. However, this
only raises the question in a different form:
if not how
does the delusion of
duality originate (since Buddhism "turns aside" all such questions about first causes), then how is this delusion of
duality perpetuated? Since we are told it is possible
to overcome the sense of
duality and attain or, more precisely,
realize-nirvaa.na, what obstructs the experience of nonduality?
The purpose of this paper is to outline an
answer to that question. It seems to me that there are three main factors which constitute "the process
of being born and passing on,"
two of which
craving and conceptualizing are well-known. What is not so well understood is the relation
between them and their relation
with a third factor which Naagaarjuna
identifies-causality. The interaction of
these three factors works to sustain the sense of duality.
Avidyaa, ignorance, is not a separate factor but
a generic term for their interaction.
Craving, ta^nhaa, is the most obvious factor,
since the Buddha's Second Truth identifies it
as the cause of our dukkha (dissatisfaction). Fundamentally, the problem of craving is
desire but attachment in
general, whether to sense-experience or to "mental events." How does such
attachment generate the David Loy is a Senior Tutor with the Department of Philosophy
at the National
University of Singapore. This paper is part
of his doctoral dissertation to be submitted to the National University of Singapore. Philosophy
East and West 33, no. 4
(October 1983). Sense of duality? Does not the concept
of attachment presuppose duality
an "I" which is
necessary in order to cling to something?
The Yogaacaara answer is that the tendency of nondual Mind to "freeze" or
"fix itself" gives rise to the distinction between subject and object:
"that-which-is-grasped" becomes reified into
an objective "thing" and "that-which-grasps" becomes the
"self." Here the mutual
interdependence of subject and object is
obvious: there can be no
"that-which-is-grasped." But it is claimed that this dualism is delusory, for there is no real distinction between the
content of consciousness and consciousness
cognition no longer apprehends an
object, then it stands fully in [nondual]
consciousness-only, because where there is nothing to
is no more grasping. The absence of an object results in the absence also of
a subject, and not merely in that grasping." Nirvaa.na, of course, is "the end of
craving" and therefore the end of such grasping. "The tendencies to treat object
and subject as distinct and
real entities are forsaken, and consciousness is
established in just the true nature of one's own [nondual] consciousness."
So the problem of craving
is not "moral" (whatever that could mean) but epistemological: it distorts
"my" perception of the world.
attachment seems limited to
what is immediately presented.
"I" can "grasp
at" a particular
appearance only because that appearance is now appearing.
How can I grasp at something that
is not present any more? In such a case, the
ability tore-present" an appearance will
be beneficial. It gives me
a way of retaining "it" and referring
to "it." It enables "grasping at a distance." Hence the advantage
of a system of re-presentation that is, a language.
is also the origin of a problem.
The fundamental difficulty with craving is that it generates a sense of duality "I"
desire that "thing" which, more fundamentally, I already am. The problem of re-presentation is that it widens
the gulf between the "I" and the "object." I re-present
a particular "object" by
calling it, say, an "urg." This
enables me to refer to the "object" even when it does not immediately appear. But when the appearance is again introduced, the re-presentation "urg" does not
disappear, as having no more function. It still re-presents
the appearance. Now we know what the appearance
is. It is "urg"; or it is
a particular instance of a universal:
"an urg." Now I experience the appearance "through"
the re-presentation. The
problem is that, the more successfully a system of
representation functions, the more likely we are to confuse
the representation with the
appearance. So tathataa, the
"thusness" quality of things as
they really are, is subjected to vitarka, conceptualizing, and to vikalpa, false imaginings, which
filter and distort sense experience; we are urged to "cut through"
this "fog of concepts" if we want to realize the true nature of the world. Mahaayaana emphasizes
this problem of conceptualizing more than Theravaada, which emphasizes craving generally.
In fact this is the source of much of the quarrel between
them: Mahayanists criticize Theravaadins for reifying
the Buddha's words into a doctrinal
system, and the
paradoxes of the
Praj^naapaaramitaa suutras may
be understood as an attempt to avoid that
But there is a serious
confusion in the above
analysis. It is not the case that the presented world is divided up into grasped "objects" which we later re-present; rather, we divide up
the world the way we do (that is, learn to notice what
is present) with a system of representation. John Searle, a contemporary philosopher of
language, explains this well: I am not saying the language creates reality. Far from it. Rather, I am saying that what counts as reality is
a matter of the categories that we impose on the world; and those categories are
for the most part linguistic.
And furthermore: when we
experience the world we experience
it through linguistic categories
that help to shape the experiences themselves. The world doesn't come to us already sliced up into objects and experience: what counts as an
object is already a function of
our system of representation, and how we
perceive the world in our experiences is
influenced by that system of representation. The mistake is to suppose that the
application of language to the world consists of
attaching labels to objects that
are, so to speak, self-identifying. On my
view, the world divides the way we divide it,
and our main way of dividing things up is in language. Our concept of reality is a matter
of our linguistic categories. 
an approach is reminiscent of Kant's
distinction between things-in themselves and phenomenal things-as-we-perceive-them the same distinction
we have made in
order to distinguish sa^msaara from nirvaana. In place of
Kant's twelve "Aristotelian" categories Searle offers language,
"our system of representation." Searle
and Kant both doubt that it
is possible to
experience "things-in-themselves," but the contemporary
view seems to leave the door open in a way that Kant did not: Is it
possible to get behind language? Is that not what occurs in meditation, when one "lets go" of
all ideas and concepts?
That this contemporary Western view
of language is consistent with Buddhist
teachings may be seen by looking at the Buddhist analysis of perception.
schools divide up the act
of apperception into a different number of
the five skandhas may be interpreted as one such version), but fundamentally they agree about the
nature of the process. This is ummarized by Conze into "three levels
of the apperception
of stimuli," to which "three
kinds of `sign' correspond the sign as (1) an object
of attention, as (2) a basis for recognition, and as (3) an occasion
for entrancement." In the
first stage, one turns towards a stimulus; attention
is directed to a "bare" percept. In the second stage, what has been perceived is recognized, "as a sign of its being such and such
a part of the universe of discourse, and
of habitually perceived and named things." So the "bare"
percept is now recognized as a girl, or table, or whatever,
with all its connotations. These connotations
are elaborated in the third stage,
which "is marked by the emotional and volitional adjustment to
the `sign'." In the case of a girl, I may be attracted by her and so try to get to know her.
sequence usually occurs so
quickly that we are not able to distinguish one stage from another; hence we take it to be one simple mental event: "seeing
a pretty girl."
Consequently, we are normally never aware of
what it is like to experience just the first
stage, for we never have experienced just that by itself. So
philosophers as different
as Wittgenstein and Heidegger
assert that what we do immediately
experience is "a pretty girl."
emphasizes that we can learn
to distinguish these separate
stages, and in fact to experience that first stage by itself is the goal of the Buddhist
is to bring the process back to the initial point, before any
'superimpositions' have distorted the actual and initial datum. The seemingly innocuous
phraseology of the formula which describes
the restraint of the senses
opens up vast philosophical
vistas, and involves
philosophical programme which is gradually worked out over
the centuries in the Abhidharma
Praj~naapaaramitaa.`He does not
seize on its appearance
as man or woman, or its
appearance as attractive, etc.,
which makes it onto a basis for the defiling passions. But he stops at what is actually seen.' He
on that which is really there.
claim of Buddhism,
and most Indian philosophy, is that "that which
is really there" is very different
from what we would normally think
it to be. The Yogaacaara view is that,
contrary to what Conze writes, I can let go
of the seizing," too that is, the "I"
can be let go
is then experienced is the original thing-in-itself, nondual
One might therefore conclude that thinking (and language),
because they distort perception, have solely the negative function of
obscuring reality; hence we should strive to "transcend" or minimize them.
But this would be a mistake,
just as it is a mistake to think that
sense-perception or physical activity must be "transcended." Nothing is
to be rejected, but its actual nature must be
clarified. The linkage between perception and conception
is a problem that has two sides. Just as concepts veil the true nature of
percepts, so perceptions also obscure the
true nature of thought. When the
thought-forming activity of the mind is used solely or primarily as a system of
representation, something fundamental about the
nature of thinking is concealed. Just as there is nondual perception,
so there must
be nondual thinking both of which must be radically different from
our dualistic way of understanding
calls our usual representational thinking
vij~naana and distinguishes it from praj~naa, which is defined as that
knowledge in which the known, the knower, and the act of knowledge are one. The
etymologies of the words are revealing:
they both share the same root j~naa, "to know," but the vi prefix
in vij~naana (and in vi-kalpa, vi-tarka)
signifies "separation, differentiation"; hence it
refers to that type of knowing which discriminates
from another--most fundamentally, the knower from the known. The pra- of praj~naa
signifies "to spring up (by itself)" evidently
referring to a more spontaneous and
creative thinking in which the thought no longer seems to
be the product
of a subject (which, of course,
was), but is experienced as
arising from a deeper, nondual source. In such knowing the thought and that which is conscious of the thought are one.
The second and third of Conze's stages
of apperception are subjective interpretations based upon the
first. The second, recognition, is part of
what we have called conceptualizing the application
of our system of representation to what
is immediately perceived. The third, our emotional and volitional response, will generally
be some expression of craving.
It is important to see how these
two work together. In order to crave something, I must
be able to distinguish
the object of my
craving from other things, and in order for this to be done most successfully, language a system of
Representation is necessary. It may be
possible for me to crave a particular taste
without being able to identify it, but it helps enormously if I can
represent that flavor as "chocolate." The vast number of possible conceptual distinctions
can thereby increase and
refine our cravings. This does not mean that
craving is dependent upon our concept-formation; the Buddhist view is the opposite: that
our system of representation is at the mercy of our desires, and in fact evolved
in order to help us satisfy and elaborate them.
The motivation behind the particular way in which we "divide up"
the world through language (hence transforming nirvaa.na into sa.msaara) is,
fundamentally, our craving. In this way Wittgenstein
and Searle turn out to have been right: we do not first perceptually "pick out"
objects and only later name
them and crave
them; rather, we learn to notice them
by naming them, and the motivation behind that naming was originally the assistance it gave in satisfying desires. (This
is not contradictory to the Buddhist view of
perception discussed above, for what is important to the
Buddhist is that the association of
perception with craving and conceptualizing can be broken.) So a child
learns to cry "Mama!" in order to be fed or comforted. Perhaps this can be stated more strongly: through
language I become conscious of that is, am able to represent
to "myself" desires
which otherwise remain
factor which polarizes nondual into
dualistic experience is causality.
Inasmuch as any connection between two bits of experience
can be interpreted as causal,
be the most fundemental
of the three; in this way Schopenhauer was able to reduce Kant's twelve categories to a single one. For both Kant and Schopenhauer,
causality cannot be predicated of things-in-themselves, because it is part of what we
superimpose upon the noumenal world in order
to experience it phenomenally.
Naagaarjuna agrees: The universe viewed as
a whole is the Absolute
[nirvaa.na], viewed as a process it is the
phenomenal [sa.msaara]. Having regard to
causes and conditions, we have the phenomenal world; this
same world when causes and conditions are disregarded, it is called the
Absolute. This is generally
the view of those who distinguish between Appearance and
Reality: Causality is the way we relate one
object or event to another in the phenomenal world, but it cannot be predicated of Reality
itself. In fact, the category of causality first becomes necessary because we phenomenally distinguish between one thing and another; insofar
as we then perceive the world as a collection of separate objects and occurrences, we must then determine their relationships to each
other. If and
when we experience the world as a "Whole," there is no such necessity, as
Nietzsche pointed out:
and effect: such a duality probably never occurs in reality there
us a continuum of which we isolate a
couple of pieces; just as we always perceive a movement only as
isolated points, therefore do not really see it but infer it.... An intellect
which saw cause and effect as a continuum and
not, as we do, as a capricious division and fragmentation, which saw the flux
of events would reject the concept of cause and effect and deny all
make use of "cause" and
"effect" as pure concepts only,
that is to say, as conventional fictions for the purposes of designation and communication, not for explanation.
In the an sich [Kant's "things-in-themselves"] there is nothing of "causal connection, "
of "necessity, "
or "psychological unfreedom." There is no following of effect after cause. No
laws hold. It is we alone who have invented
the causes, the after-one-anothers, the for-one-anothers, the relations, the constraint, the number, the law, the freedom, the ground, the purpose.
The well-known problem with Kant's metaphysic is that, while
agreeing that causality is a phenomenal category, he also illegitimately
things-in- themselves must be the cause of our
phenomenal appearances. Nor can be easily escape this difficulty, for without some such view
there is no reason to
the existence of things-in-themselves at all, since he believed they cannot in principle ever be directly
experienced. The Mahayana view is not subject
to either criticism, since "things-in-themselves" the Absolute in Naagaarjuna's quotation just given
are experienced immediately upon the cessation
of appropriation or
dependence that is, of attachment. Furthermore, the view that reality
is actually non-dual avoids the
error of postulating a Reality
"behind" Appearance; rather, Reality is "within"
Appearance or, more precisely,
the Reality that is sought is Appearance itself, but not, of course,
appearance as we normally understand it. From this perspective, it is our usual
"common sense" view in which we distinguish
between material objects and their appearance to us that is (as
Berkeley realized) guilty of metaphysically
postulating a Reality "behind"
appearance. Vasubandhu, like Berkeley,
denied not sensible qualities,
such as solidity, but
the independent substratum matter in which they supposedly adhere.
Kant, of course, was responding to
the problem with causality that Hume had
pointed out. To say that one event causes another is
to assume a necessary
connection between the two, but such
necessity is not something we can ever observe or infer from the events themselves; we can conclude
only that there seems to be a constant conjunction. The idea of necessary connection is something we
superimpose upon our sense-perceptions. Hume's view is that this arises due to the constant association of
ideas, that we eventually notice the
connection between events and then come to expect it. But Kant and
others since him have pointed out
that our minds
are not so passive: we
instinctively look for try to make causal
relations between events.
would agree that causal connections
are something that we superimpose upon the world we experience hence one of
nirvaa.na into sa^msaara. This applies
not only to relations between
perceptions but also to relations between
thoughts. Objectively, exploring the relationships between thoughts
results in logic; subjectively, the
apparent connection between thoughts is an essential aspect of
our sense of self. But this link, like the self, is an illusion:
So with former thoughts,
later thoughts, and thoughts
in between: the thoughts follow one another without being linked together.
Each one is absolutely tranquil.
In the exercise of our thinking faculty, let the past be dead. If we allow our thoughts, past,
present, and future, to link up in a series, we put ourselves under restraint.
On the other hand, if we never let the mind attach to anything, we shall gain liberation.
general problem with
connections is that in so doing we never experience the thing-in-itself (tathataa) wholly, because only
part of the mind is perceiving it; the
rest is busy relating it to something else. Of
course, insofar as objects are perceived as distinct, they
related, but as a consequence we miss something
important about the true nature
of that "object." Just as recognizing
and craving for an object mean we distort "what is actually there," so does relating the object causally to other objects and events. The
ingrained tendency to see causal
is part of that subjective gloss which distances
me from the object and keeps me from realizing that I am it.
concept of zuhanden ("utensils"; Greek, pragmata) is helpful here: In our usual day-to-day living what we immediately experience are not objects just "simply
there" but utensils to be
used in various ways. I do not perceive the pen I am writing with as
it is in itself because I am busy utilizing it to write down words, and the paper I
write upon is not perceived in its full presence but also just utilized as
something to write words upon; the table is utilized as
something to support the paper; the
chair as that which supports me, and so forth.
Heidegger concludes that we immediately experience the world as a "totality of
destinations" (purposes) which ultimately
refers back to me.
objects just "lying
there, " are a derivative
category dependent upon
zuhanden, for we become aware of objects as zuhanden only
when they fail or are not where they should be, or as something unexpected that "gets
in the way"; so, for example, I will experience my pen as vorhanden only when it runs
out of ink and perhaps not even then: for I may see
it then as a utensil whose utensility
is that it is something to be thrown away into the rubbish bin.
The fact that we normally experience things in this way fits perfectly with the Buddhist
view that we do not experience things as
they are because we
them causally. But there are
two significant differences between Heidegger and the Buddhist attitude. First,
in Buddhism the "totality
of destination" does not refer back to me, it is "me"; that is, the tendency to treat things in this way (part of our sa.mskaaras) constitutes the sense
of self, or an important part of it. Second, Heidegger views
vorhanden as derivative
from zuhanden; he saw his
project in Being and Time as
overcoming the error (prevailing since
Parmenides) of basing a metaphysics upon vorhanden. The Buddhist view,
as we saw in Conze's
three levels of apperception, is that the primary category is
"that which is actually given, " upon which craving, conceptualizing, and causality build except,
the Buddhist agrees, for the fact that usually the
various processes occur so quickly
that we are not able to distinguish between them.
Why do we tend to see objects causally, that is, as utensils? This
is obvious enough: insofar as I crave, I will need to manipulate the world in
to obtain what I want. To manipulate
requires us to think causally: what causal
factor will lead to the
desired effect? In fact, the desire for such
manipulation may be seen as the root of the concept of causality:
The idea of cause has
in purposive activity and is
employed in the first instance when we are
concerned to produce or to prevent something.
the cause of something
is to discover what has to be attested
by our activity in order to
produce or to prevent that thing; but once the word
"cause" comes to be applied
to natural events, the notion
of altering the course of events tends to be dropped. "Cause"
is then used in a
nonpractical, purely diagnostic way in
we have no interest in altering events or power to alter them.
this view that causality is merely
phenomenal would seem to contradict
the Mahaayaana understanding of `sunyataa as dharma-nairaatmya. `Sunyataa in Mahaayaana
has two primary meanings:
first, that the world (the true world, nirvaa.na) is empty of
predication; this is essentially the point already
made about conceptualizing
Second, `sunyataa means
dharmanairaatmya, that there is not anything `in' the world
that has any self-nature, because all
things are conditioned by each other and
hence are relative. So Naagaarjuna
interpreted pratiityasamutpaada, the law
of dependent origination, as showing the interdependence
of all things presumably, as their causal
This seems inconsistent with our view that causality is merely
thought-expectation, part of the subjective filter
which interprets what
But there is no
contradiction. The essential interdependence of all phenomena does not mean
causality, in the sense that we and Nowell-Smith have meant, which is rooted in purposive activity to
attain something desired or to prevent something
sense is temporal and linear: some specific cause A will produce effect B. This presupposes experiencing the world as a
collection of separated objects;
causality explains their relationship, and our understanding of
their interaction is used to obtain one object and
not another. `Sunyataa as complete
interdependence means that there are no objects and
hence no linear causal relations between objects. Dharma-nairaamya implies that the world, as Nietzsche pointed out,
is a continuum. We may isolate a couple of pieces, designate them as objects and try to
determine their causal relationship; but in fact there
are no such isolated pieces; there is only a holistic flux of events. All particulars
are simply momentary appearances, empty forms that the continuum takes in its constant
transformation. Each form is
it has no nature of its own:
it is simply what the whole continuum is doing at
this place at this moment. The other side of the coin is that because each form is
empty it is the complete manifestation of
the entire continuum.
Each particular contains and manifests the whole. Hua-yen expresses
this insight with the analogy of Indra's infinite net: at each interstice is a
jewel which may be said to be empty because it
simply reflects all the other jewels; but it may also be said to contain all the others. Thus our cosmos is symbolized as an infinitely
repeated interrelationship among
all its members each one of which encompasses
and expresses all the others. This is very
different from our more
usual linear and temporal
conception of causality; Jung's concept
"an a causal connecting principle" is closer.
Let me summarize what has been
said so far. In answer to the question of why we
experience this world (which in
itself is nirvaa.na) as sa^msaara,
factors have been
conceptualizing, and causality. The relations between craving and the other two have been discussed: insofar
as I crave, I will need to distinguish conceptually the objects I
crave, and I will relate to objects causally in
order to obtain that which is craved. To complete the triangle, we must look at the
relation between conceptualizing and causality. What
remains to be seen is how causality
is built into language itself.
Earlier, Searle was quoted to point out that naming is
not just a matter of pinning labels on objects that are self-identifying. "The
world doesn't come to us already sliced up into objects and experiences: what counts as
an object is already a function of our system
of representation, and how we perceive the world in our experiences is influenced by that system of representation." So, in naming, I do not first see a thing and then
decide to call it a "door," for example; to call
it a "door" is how we learn to pick it out and notice it. We divide up the world
and come to see it as a collection of
objects by giving names to those objects. But now we must take a further step. How
"mean"? The conclusion
of recent philosophers
Wittgenstein is that we cannot understand how language functions until we see its connection with our behavior.
Language is an integral part of
a way of life, and the only way we
determine whether a person "understands" certain
language patterns is by observing his behavior. A person understands the meaning of
"door" not by being able to give us a verbal
definition, but by being able to use it in the appropriate way for going in
and coming out. So to understand that "that" is a door includes understanding
the To understand that "that"
is "a door" is thus to define my relationship
with "that"; the concept
"door" itself is enough to identify the place of that thing in my vorhanden
system of utensils. As soon as I recognize something as "a piece of chalk,"
my causal relationship with it is
established: It is to be used for writing on a blackboard. At that point, I will usually put
it in its "place" and then pay no
to it until I need to write on the blackboard.
Of course, other recognitions are more emotionally charged, such as identifying particular forms as "cigarette" (if one is addicted to tobacco) or "a pretty girl"; in such cases my possible
relationships with these objects are more obviously defined in terms of cravings.
So causality is built into language. Names
do not simply cover things like a blanket of snow resting on the roof of a house. Learning a language is learning to make causal
connections, learning to see the world as a collection
of utensils used in order to
accomplish certain ends. Naming, in the act of
picking out objects, also determines how we relate to them. In this way, craving,
conceptualizing, and causality work together
to sustain a sense of self
"in" an objective world. If
"I" want to experience the "world-in-itself," all three must be overcome. The "thing-in-itself"
tathataa must be realized to be distinct from any craving for it,
from my representation of it, and from whatever causal
associations it may have for me. For only
then can I realize that I am it.
- 1. Na samsarasya
nirvanat kineid asti visesanam
- Na nirvanasaya samsarat
kineid asti visesanam
ca ya kotih kotih samsaramasya ca
- Na tayor antaram kincit susuksman api
Maadhyamaka Kaarikaa XXV, 19-20)
- 2. Ya ajavamjavibhava
upadava pratitya va
- So pratitya anupadaya nirvanam
XXV, 9 (Sprung's translation))
4. Ibid., 29.
5. From Men of Ideas, ed.Bryan Magee (New
York:Viking Press,1978), p.184.
Conze, Buddhist Thought in India: Three Phases of Buddhist Philosophy (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962), pages 62-63. The
emphasis is Conze's; he quotes
from his own Buddhist
7. Ibid., p.65.
8.Maadhyamaka Kaariikaa XXV,
9 (Murti's Vedaantic translation of footnote no. 2 above).
9. Nietzsche's The Gay Science, section 112, trans. Hollingdale; and Beyond Good and Evil,
section 21, trans. Danto.
master Ma-tsu (d.
788) , from the Ku-tsun-hsu
Yu-lu (Shanghai: Fu-hsueh-Shu-chu, no date), I:4.
11. From the Platform Suutra of the Sixth Patriarch, chapter IV:
"Samaadhi and Praj~naa."
12. This view of causality is intimately
related to a different way of understanding time. Causality
requires that the past become the present; that
is, that past causes determine present effects.
To deny causality is to deny this also. Past things are in the past and do not go there from the
present, and present things are in the present,
and do not go there from the
past.... Rivers which
compete with each other to cover the land do not flow.
The `wandering air' that blows about is not moving. (Seng-chao, Chao Lun)
Dogen later elaborated on this: we should not take the view
that what is latterly ashes was formerly
firewood. What we should understand is that, according to the
Buddhism, firewood stays at the
position of firewood. There
are former and later stages,
but these stages are clearly cut.We do not consider that winter becomes spring or that
spring becomes summer. (Shobogenzo, fascicle 1)
and Time, III; "The Worldhood of the World", 15.
14. P. H. Nowell-Smith, "Causality or
link between the two
Mahaayaana meanings of `suunyataa otherwise an obscure relationship is that by eliminating
thought constructions we experience the world as such a nondual continuum.
Transcribed for Buddhism Today by
Bhikkhuni Lien Hoa