Reinventing The Wheel

Somewhere, probably on the Ino’s Blog back in the day, I had a little rant about a particular English 20th Century philosopher who seemed to be very pleased with himself for having discovered that the self didn’t exist as an independent entity. Apart from the irony of what looked like self-aggrandisement, I could only wonder how anyone making a living as a philosopher these days can have managed not to read a word of Buddhism. And then the other day I was reading an article on the New Yorker website, and came across this paragraph:

‘We are not, as many of the most influential twentieth-century philosophers would have it, trapped within language or mind or culture or anything else. Reality is real, and right there to experience—but it also escapes complete knowability. One must confront reality with the full realization that you’ll always be missing something in the confrontation. Objects are always revealing something, and always concealing something, simply because they are Other. The ethics implied by such a strangely strange world hold that every single object everywhere is real in its own way. This realness cannot be avoided or backed away from. There is no “outside”—just the entire universe of entities constantly interacting, and you are one of them.’

If this is a revelation to you, I sincerely urge you to head over to the Genjo Koan, where Dogen expounded all of this more succintly and poetically, and which he elsewhere summarised as ‘shoho jisso’, which, depending on your mood, you can translate as ‘all things are ultimate reality,’ or, ‘the ultimate reality of all things.’


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