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Nietzsche and Zen. Nietzsche on Buddhism -Life-denying nihilism -European Buddhism -I could be the Buddha of Europe… -Buddhism and Christianity.

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Presentation on theme: "Nietzsche and Zen. Nietzsche on Buddhism -Life-denying nihilism -European Buddhism -I could be the Buddha of Europe… -Buddhism and Christianity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nietzsche and Zen

2 Nietzsche on Buddhism -Life-denying nihilism -European Buddhism -I could be the Buddha of Europe… -Buddhism and Christianity

3 Central Teachings of the Pali Canon

4 The Heart Sūtra Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva doing deep prajñāpāramitā Perceived the emptiness of all five conditions, And was freed of pain. O Śāriputra, form is no other than emptiness, Emptiness no other than form, Form is precisely emptiness, Emptiness precisely form.

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6 There is not the slightest difference between samsāra and nirvāna (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā XXV 19) Mahayana Buddhism The ultimate truth (paramartha satya) cannot be taught, but must be directly realized. Upaya: skillful means employed by the teacher. The bodhisattva vow

7 "All living beings should be led by me to final nirvā ṇ a in the realm of nirvā ṇ a which leaves nothing behind. But after having led living beings thus to final nirvā ṇ a, there is no living being whatsoever who has been led to final nirvā ṇ a."

8 “New struggles.—After Buddha was dead, his shadow was still shown for centuries in a cave—a tremendous, gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown.—And we—we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.” The Gay Science §108

9 Main Thought! […] the individuum himself is a fallacy. Everything which happens in us is in itself something else which we do not know. [...] ‘the individuum’ is merely a sum of conscious feelings and judgments and misconceptions, a belief, a piece of the true life system or many pieces thought together and spun together, a unity that doesn’t hold together. We are buds on one tree, - what do we know of what can become of us in the interest of the one tree? But we have a consciousness as though we would and should be all, a phantasy of “I” and all “not I”. Stop feeling like such a phantastic ego! Learn gradually to discard the supposed individuum! Discover the fallacies of the ego! Recognise the ego as misconception! The opposite is not to be understood as altruism! This would be love of other supposed individuals! No! Beyond “me” and “you”! Feel cosmically! (KSA 9,11[7])

10 Amor fati: that is my innermost nature. [And as far as my long period of illness is concerned, do I not owe it infinitely more than I owe my health?] I owe it a higher health, [one that becomes stronger from everything that does not kill it!] – I also owe my philosophy to it. Only the great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit, as the teacher of the great suspicion […] Only the great pain […] forces us philosophers to descend into our ultimate depths and to disabuse ourselves of all trusting, of everything good-natured, concealing, mild, mediocre, in which we have perhaps placed our humanity up until now […] [and] out of the abyss of the great suspicion one returns newly born (NCW, Epilogue, Sections 1 and 2)

11 Such a liberated spirit stands with a joyful and trusting fatalism in the midst of everything, in the faith that only the individual thing is to be rejected, that in the totality of life, everything is redeemed and affirmed — he doesn’t say no anymore […] But such a faith is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name of Dionysus. — (TI 9,49).

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13 The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism “it is in such ideas as amorfati and the Dionysian as the overcoming of nihilism that Nietzsche came closest to Buddhism, and especially to Mahāyāna.” hints that there is a standpoint in Mahāyāna that goes even further than Nietzsche Religion and Nothingness reveals this to be the standpoint of śūnyatā KeijiNishitani ( )

14 Standpoint of Śūnyatā Standpoint of the self Standpoint of nihility

15 Śūnyatā is the point at which we become manifest in our own suchness as concrete human beings, as individuals with both body and personality. And at the same time, it is the point at which everything around us becomes manifest in its own suchness. Religion and Nothingness, 90

16 Nishitani finds in Nietzsche’s notebooks the reflection that it follows from amorfati that “every action of a person has an infinitely great influence on everything that is to come.” “Every action of the self in this context is influenced by all things and in turn influences all things. All things become the fate of the self, and the self becomes the fate of all things. At such a fundamental level the world moves at one with the self, and the self moves at one with the world” The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism, 50

17 The three transformations of the spirit The camel The lion The child

18 Thirty years ago, before I practiced Zen, I saw that mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. However, after having achieved intimate knowledge and having gotten a way in, I saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have found rest, as before I see mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. Zen Master Qingyuan Compendium of the Five Lamps, 1252

19 Nietzsche and Linji as lions Bodhi and nirvāna are hitching posts for donkeys There’s no Buddha, no Dharma, no practice, no enlightenment There is no Buddha to be sought, no Way to be carried out, no Dharma to be gained If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha

20 The going-under of the lion Living nihilism through to the end. Both “I” and “will” are an illusion. The temptation of nihilism. The transformation into the child

21 DōgenZenji ( ) To learn the Buddha Way is to learn one’s self. To learn one’s self is to forget one’s self. To forget one’s self is to be confirmed by all dharmas. To be confirmed by all dharma’s is to cast off one’s body and mind and the bodies and minds of others as well. (Shōbōgenzō, Genjokoan)

22 The emptiness of emptiness Back to the marketplace Hui-neng cutting the bamboo. Liang K’ai, early 13th century.

23 There is nothing besides the whole. That nobody is held responsible any longer, that the mode of being may not be traced back to a causa prima, that the world does not form a unity either as a sensorium or as “spirit” – that alone is the great liberation: with this alone is the innocence of becoming restored. The concept of “God” was until now the greatest objection to existence. We deny God, we deny responsibility in God: only thereby do we redeem the world (TI)

24 Actually, I would much rather be a Basel professor than God, but I have not ventured to carry my private egoism so far as to desist from creating the world on his account. You see, one must make sacrifices, however one may be living, and wherever.... Letter to Jacob Burckhardt, 6 January, 1889


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