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November 16, 2011

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Great article, as always, however you're a bit too generalizing about the West. There are many instances in the West where thinkers and contemplatives got to the substance itself. Suffice to remember Heraclitus, the first and greatest Western philosopher, who talked about the "Logos" ("Word"). There are other instances of course, like Heidegger's attempts to catch the Thing beyond metaphysical scaffolding, first as "Being" (Sein), then later the truth-function as a Lichtung (Clearing) and Con-cern (Er-eignis), "The Event" - similarly in Being and Time "Augenblick" (the Moment of Vision) - all these attempts have been made to express what ultimately cannot be expressed.

Cannot be expressed, cannot be attained. All that has to be grasped is that neither do phenomena arise by themselves (have self-nature), nor they do arise from not-self (hinayana view). Beyond this, it's about abolishing all opinions and views, since "There is absolutely nothing that can be attained" (The Zen Teaching of Huang po, p.125).

What this means is it's not about defining the "substance" in this or that terms; but - as Western philosopher Heidegger perfectly understood, hence he is respected and praised by Japanese scholars and Buddhists as a great inspirations; check Nishida, Nishitani, etc. - that it's not about a "substance" or defining the substratum, but about a certain attunement (is that a word? I'm not native English, sorry); about being attuned; or being in a certain dis-position, openness, so that IT can disclose. This "not seeking truth, but ceasing to cherish all opinions" is what Heidegger called Gelassenheit: "the spirit of Availability before What-Is which permits us simply to let things be in whatever may be their uncertainty and their mystery."

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