Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Keiji Nishitani on Our Dharma-Nature

Keiji Nishitani (西谷 啓治, 1900 – 1990)

Since Buddhism opens up an altogether revolutionary view of the essential nature of man, it is not surprising that it should offer a more fundamental and permanent principle of social transformation than could ever be offered by a mere ideology. From its very beginning, Buddhism was a religion that showed a way to transcend the “world.” According to Buddhism, all that is needed is to become emancipated from the innumerable attachments that arise spontaneously from within ourselves and tie us to things of this world. Hence it speaks of nirvana as the extinguishing of the fire. The Buddhist way of transcending the “world” as well as the “self-in-the-world,” is not a mere “otherworldliness,” but an awakening in which we become aware of our original and authentic nature (our Dharma-nature) and may thus live in accord with it. The possibility of attaining this enlightenment depends upon ourselves alone. That is to say, the ability to attain it lies deeply hidden in the Dharma-nature of each one of us. All that is required from us is that we cut the threads of attachment and so become “homeless” in the world. It was for this reason that the community of Buddhists, the Sangha, was from the beginning based on an absolute negation of all “worldly” differentiations, social as well as psychological, of the differentiation between the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, and so forth, and in particular of distinction between castes…

The above is an extract from the excellent book ‘The Buddha Eye’ edited by Frederick Franck, published by World Wisdom. Keiji Nishitani was an author & professor of philosophy, having studied with both Kitaro Nishida and Martin Heidegger.

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