Hase article on Nishitani

download Hase article on Nishitani

of 17

  • date post

    03-Jun-2018
  • Category

    Documents

  • view

    216
  • download

    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of Hase article on Nishitani

  • 8/12/2019 Hase article on Nishitani

    1/17

    Nihilism, Science, and Emptiness in NishitaniAuthor(s): Hase Shoto

    Source: Buddhist-Christian Studies, Vol. 19 (1999), pp. 139-154Published by: University of Hawai'i PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1390532.

    Accessed: 05/04/2014 14:03

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at.http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of

    content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms

    of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]

    .

    University of Hawai'i Pressis collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toBuddhist-

    Christian Studies.

    http://www.jstor.org

    This content downloaded from 66.11.2.165 on Sat, 5 Apr 201414:03:16 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=uhphttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1390532?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1390532?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=uhp
  • 8/12/2019 Hase article on Nishitani

    2/17

    NISHITANI

    Nihilism, Science,

    and

    Emptiness

    in

    Nishitani

    Hase Shoto

    EMPTINESS AND NIHILISM

    It

    may

    be

    sufficiently

    known

    by

    now

    that

    the

    trunk ine of Nishitani's

    philosophy

    s

    the 'idea

    of

    emptiness.'

    ndeed,

    rom his

    Philosophy

    fPrimordial

    ubjectivity

    1940)

    through

    his God and

    Absolute

    Nothingness

    1948)

    and

    Nihilism

    (1949)

    right

    into

    Religion

    and

    Nothingness

    1961),

    Nishitani's

    thinking

    has

    fundamentally

    urned

    around

    he

    idea of

    emptiness.1

    Not that in the

    threeworks

    precedingReligion

    nd

    Nothingness

    he idea of

    emptiness

    s treated

    overtly

    as

    such.

    Rather,

    n

    those

    works

    the

    idea

    is

    continually

    growing,

    as it

    were,

    on an invisible

    underground

    evel,

    to

    come

    finally

    o

    the surface

    n

    Religion

    nd

    Nothingness.

    t is

    as if the

    emptiness

    hat

    had

    grown

    strong

    by

    withstanding

    he

    pressure

    f

    the

    'rock'

    of

    nihilism

    came into

    the

    open

    by

    overthrowing

    hat rock.

    As it

    was

    the

    key

    to the

    solution

    of

    the

    problem

    of

    nihilismthat

    had beset

    him

    in his

    youth,

    the

    idea of

    emptiness

    was more than a mere

    dea

    for

    Nishitani.It was

    something

    on which the

    possibility

    of existence

    entirely

    depended

    or him.

    There-

    fore,

    he

    did

    not

    speak

    of the

    idea of

    emptiness

    but of the

    'standpoint

    f

    emptiness.'

    For

    Nishitani,

    nihilism

    was not

    simply

    a

    philosophical roblem,

    a

    problem

    acciden-

    tally

    encountered

    n the

    courseof his

    philosophical

    nvestigations.

    t

    was a

    problem

    he had beensaddledwithwilly nillyas a resultof his own natureandtemperament

    as well as of the conditionsof his

    time. He then

    decided o

    shoulder he

    problem

    as

    his

    particular

    ask.In

    other

    words,

    nihilism

    assumed or him the

    natureof a

    destiny.

    Consequently,

    he

    'standpoint

    f

    emptiness,'

    at which

    he arrived t the

    end

    of

    the

    arduous

    struggle

    or the

    solution of the

    problem

    of

    nihilism,

    took

    on for

    him

    the

    character f a reliable

    lab of

    granite

    discovered t the

    bottom

    of

    his own

    existence:

    something

    with

    a

    depth

    reaching

    all the

    way

    to

    the

    core of the earth

    and a

    solidity

    sufficient o

    carry

    he

    weight

    of

    nihilism. Of all

    this

    Nishitani himself

    was

    clearly

    aware.Let

    me

    reflect

    a few moments

    on Nishitani's

    dea of

    emptiness

    n

    its

    relation-

    shipwith nihilism.

    How

    did Nishitaniview this

    nihilism hat

    constituted he

    basic

    problem

    or

    him?

    He

    defined

    his own

    philosophical tandpoint

    as,

    in

    the final

    analysis,

    the

    overcom-

    ing

    of

    nihilism

    by

    way

    of

    nihilism. n his

    own

    estimate,

    he nihilismhe

    struggled

    with was an

    extremely

    difficult nd hard

    o solve

    problem

    for

    philosophy-a

    problem

    wherein

    ntellectual

    aporia

    and

    existential

    onundrum

    ntertwine;

    not the

    Buddhist-Christian

    tudies

    19

    (1999).

    ?

    by University

    f

    Hawai'iPress.All

    rights

    reserved.

    This content downloaded from 66.11.2.165 on Sat, 5 Apr 201414:03:16 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions

    http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
  • 8/12/2019 Hase article on Nishitani

    3/17

    HASE SHOTO

    kind of

    problem

    that

    finds

    a solution

    provided

    one makesthe

    necessary

    fforts;

    a

    problemthat is hardto get hold of: the studyof variousthoughtsystemsappears

    only

    to circle

    around

    ts

    periphery.

    hus,

    ata certain

    moment

    I

    decided

    o

    give up

    my

    philosophical

    ffortsand to

    tackle he

    problem

    by

    Zen

    [meditation],

    way

    rom

    all intellectual

    fforts.At that

    point,

    for

    the

    first ime and

    little

    by

    little,

    a

    way

    to its

    solutioncame

    in

    sight. 2

    This

    kind

    of

    patientstruggling

    with one

    particular roblem,

    as

    we see it

    in

    Nishi-

    tani's

    case,

    may

    not be unheard

    of

    but

    is

    certainly

    not

    commonplace.

    f

    we

    may

    call

    this attitude

    or

    way

    of

    facing

    problems

    a

    'method,'

    t

    appears

    o be described

    by

    Simone

    Weil,

    where she writes:

    The

    method

    proper

    to

    philosophy

    consists

    in

    clearlyseeing insolubleproblemsin their insolubility,and then to contemplate

    them,

    concentratedly

    nd

    indefatigably,

    or

    years,

    without

    any

    hope

    in the

    waiting.

    According

    o

    this

    criterion,

    here

    arefew

    philosophers.

    But

    'few'

    may

    be

    saying

    oo

    much.

    The

    passage

    o

    the transcendent

    s

    opened

    when

    the humanfaculties-intel-

    lect,

    will,

    human

    love-run

    into a

    limit,

    and

    then the human

    being

    stays

    on this

    threshold,

    beyond

    which

    it

    cannot

    put

    a

    single

    step-and

    this without

    turning

    away,

    without

    knowing

    what it

    desires,

    and concentrated

    n

    the

    waiting.

    It is a

    state

    of extreme

    humiliation.

    t is unachievable

    or

    anybody

    who is not

    capable

    f

    accept-

    ing

    humiliation. 3

    We

    may

    say

    that,

    just

    like SimoneWeil herself,who for

    many years

    struggled

    with the

    insoluble

    problem

    of'unhappiness'

    nd

    finally

    ound

    the

    way

    to

    a

    solution

    on a

    supernatural

    evel,

    Nishitani

    too,

    who faced

    the insoluble

    problem

    of nihilism

    and

    kept up

    a

    solitary

    ntellectual

    attlewith

    it for

    long

    years,

    was

    truly

    one of those

    rare

    philosophers

    worthy

    of the name.

    Under

    which

    guise

    did the idea

    of

    emptinesspresent

    tself to

    Nishitani

    in the

    midst

    of that

    Auseingndersetzung

    ith nihilism?

    Of

    course,

    the idea

    of

    emptiness

    forms

    the center

    of the doctrine

    of

    Mahayana

    Buddhism

    and as such

    has been end-

    lessly