Transmetaphysical thinking in Heidegger and Zen Buddhism
By John Steffney

Philosophy East & West
Vol. 27, No. 3 (July 1977)
pp. 323-335

Copyright 1977 by University of Hawaii Press
Hawaii, USA


NOTE: The author has relied mainly on the exposition of Zen provided by D. T. Suzuki.

 

 

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I

By transcending metaphysics, Heidegger hopes to arrive at the ground of metaphysics, a ground that has been concealed in the history of Western philosophy, for it is precisely this concealed ground that is responsible for the illumination of beings to man. The problem is, this underlying ground is not easily accessible, because it does not have any of the characteristics of beings, [1] characteristics with which man is usually concerned. Because traditional metaphysics has been concerned with beings and not with the illumination process as such, with ontic matters at the expense of ontological ones, Heidegger concludes that "metaphysics is excluded from the experience of Being because of its very nature." [2] Not only that, because traditional metaphysics from Plato to Nietzsche has forgotten the problem of Being, "metaphysics," according to Heidegger, "in essence is nihilism." [3] The way to transcend metaphysics (and nihilism) is to ground it in a foundational thought [das wesentliche Denken], that is, to think that which gives rise to Being and beings (ontological difference [ontologische Differenz]). Even Nietzsche must be dispensed with because, despite his originality, he still treats man as an "animal rationale." [4] In contradistinction to Nietzsche, Heidegger probes into a primordial mode of consciousness and questions, therefore, not only the nature of Western metaphysics, but also its very conception of human nature: "As long as man understands himself as a rational animal, metaphysics, according to Kant, belongs to the nature of man. But if thinking can succeed in returning to the ground of metaphysics, there might be a change in human nature, in conjunction with a transformation of metaphysics." [5] Getting back to the ground of metaphysics -- transcending metaphysics -- therefore, entails a transcendence of the ordinary function of human consciousness. As Heidegger puts it, "foundational thinking starts only when we have experienced that reason, exhonerated for hundreds of years, is the toughest obstacle to thought." [6] In Heidegger's philosophy, transmetaphysical thinking and transconceptual thinking are synonymous.

    Heidegger rejects not only metaphysics, but all forms of humanism -- whether they be Marxian, Sartrean, or Freudian -- because humanism is always, in one way or another, linked with metaphysics: "Every humanism is either grounded in a metaphysics or itself becomes the ground of one." [7] Moreover, humanism forgets the ontological difference and focuses its attention on beings: "The humanitas of homo humanus is determined with a view of pre-established notions of nature, history, the world, ground of the world, that is, the collective sense of beings." [8] But for Heidegger, man is more than his relation to beings; he also has a relation to Being, and it is this more inclusive ontological re-

 

 

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lationship that marks the limit of philosophical anthropology. With reference to this limit, Heidegger writes: "If man is only man on the basis of Dasein in him, then the question in regards to what is more primordial than man cannot in principle be anthropological." [9] In fact humanism, Heidegger insists, is a measure of man's homelessness (Heimatlosigkeit), for in his forgetfulness of Being, he forgets his original home. This is precisely the brunt of Heidegger's criticism of Sartre, for despite Sartre's reversal -- his emphasis on existence over essence -- Sartre is still a metaphysician. As I have explained elsewhere, "juggling the terms existence and essence, either in Sartre's sense of existence being prior, or in Plato's sense of essence being prior, is metaphysical thinking, according to Heidegger, and he will have none of it." [10] As Heidegger puts it, "the reversal of a metaphysical principle remains a metaphysical principle." [11] Moreover, Sartre is more nihilistic than the metaphysicians before him, according to Heidegger, because in his concern with beings, he has abandoned Being entirely.

    Zen is certainly in agreement with Heidegger that metaphysics must be transcended; in fact, in congruence with Heidegger's "forgottenness of Being" (Seinsvergessenheit), Suzuki writes: "The power of dichotomizing has made us forgetful of the source in which it preserves its creative potentialities." [12] Also like Heidegger, Zen confirms transconceptual thinking as an accompaniment to transmetaphysical thinking. A radical transformation of consciousness is essential if one is to transcend the realm of beings and "break through" the dichotomous matrix of ordinary thinking with its inherent subject-object duality. According to Suzuki, "to turn away from all this [the world of relativity], what may psychologically be called a 'revulsion' or 'revolution' must take place in our inmost consciousness." [13] That this transformation of consciousness is a transcendence of metaphysics is explicit in Suzuki's statement, "knowable knowledge is relative, while unknown knowledge is absolute and transcendental and is not communicable through the medium of ideas." [14] The major difference between Heidegger and Zen, however, is that Zen's transformation of consciousness (as we shall see) is much more radical than Heidegger's -- especially with regard to subject-object duality -- and therefore its transcendence of metaphysics also more radical.

 

II

One reason Heidegger feels obliged to confront the problem of Being and Non-being is that Dasein, [15] he contends, by its very nature, is transcendence. Dasein obviously has a correlation with persons and human finitude and possesses an ontic dimension. But Dasein is not merely an entity among entities: it is a very special entity in that its being and nonbeing become problems for it; moreover, in its relation to Being and Nonbeing. In this sense, Dasein cannot be thought of as an isolated subject over against an objective world. Because of its transcendental nature, Dasein must be thought of as

 

 

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comprising not merely a "self" but, more inclusively, a world and -- even more inclusively -- Being. This is why Heidegger refers to Dasein and human existence in general as "ek-sistence" -- that which reaches beyond itself toward Being: "The standing in the light of Being is what I call the ek-sistence of man." [16] Being ek-sistent, Dasein is obviously ontic but also ontological, in that Being allows for Dasein's existence to be possible: "The ontic excellence of Dasein lies in the fact that it is ontological." [17] There is an integralness between beings and Being, for without Being there would be no beings, but, similarly, without Dasein there could not be Being: "To be sure, only so long as Dasein is, i.e., the ontic possibility of the understanding of Being, 'is there' Being." [18] Although Dasein comprehends Being itself, Being itself is never separate from beings.

    Though Dasein might be thought of as a mode of consciousness, Dasein cannot be simply equated with consciousness. It is more akin to Being (the "there" of Being) than consciousness, and therefore is more ontological than conceptual. As William Richardson explains, Dasein "is a self to be sure, but not a conscious subject. It is a pre-subjective, onto-conscious self." [19] Dasein cannot be thought of as being even preconceptual, because that has loaded implications with Freudianism and humanism in general. Dasein, rather, is that ontological realm which exits between Being and beings. That Dasein is this "between" is supported by Richardson in his contention that "There-being is not a subject in relation to an object but it is this relation itself, sc. that which is 'between' subject and object. " [20] And for Karsten Harris, Dasein is "a relation, a gap, an in-between." [21] Dasein, thus, is the heart of the ontological difference, the link between Being and beings, the onto-conscious dimension that transmits the revealment of Being.

    Just as Heidegger does not mean Dasein to be the unconscious or preconscious self in the Freudian sense, Zen does not think of its Unconscious (No-Mind) in strictly psychological terms. "When Hui-neng speaks of the Unconscious in Consciousness," Suzuki contends, "he steps beyond psychology; he is not referring even to the Unconscious, which goes to the remotest past when the mind has not yet evolved, the mind still being in a state of mere sustenance." [22] In the manner in which Heidegger poses Dasein as the ontological source of consciousness, Suzuki writes: "As long as this unconscious belongs to the domain of psychology, there cannot be any satori in the Zen sense. The psychology must be transcended and what may be termed the 'ontological un-conscious' must be tapped." [23] This is astoundingly similar to Richardson's description of Dasein as onto-consciousness. Not strictly psychological, there is an implicit ontological dimension to Zen's Unconscious. Nonetheless, though Zen's Unconscious completely transcends what we ordinarily think of as consciousness, the Unconscious is not without consciousness. According to Suzuki, "the Unconscious is by no means unconscious of itself." [24] It is conscious, but in a way that transcends the function of ordinary consciousness;

 

 

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moreover, a consciousness which ordinary consciousness is incapable of grasping. There is indeed a similarity, thus, between Heidegger's Dasein and Zen's Unconscious Consciousness. But there is also a more fundamental dissimilarity.

    Dasein is inseparable from Being and beings -- at the heart of the ontological difference -- and allows for both the connection and the revealment of Being to man. But for Zen, ultimately no separation exists between Being and man: and despite his efforts to transcend Western metaphysical thinking, Heidegger is still confined to its limitations by thinking of man in relational -- even though it be integral -- terms. For Zen, however, neither relational nor integral terms are adequate for the treatment of man and Being; and whereas Heidegger's approach is integral, Zen's approach may be said to be paradoxical. Heidegger could never say about his Dasein what Suzuki says about praj~na-intuition -- that it is "utterly convincing and contributive to the feeling that 'I am the ultimate reality itself,' that I am absolute knower,' that 'I am free to know no fear of any kind.'" [25] Whereas Heidegger postulates an integral relation between Dasein and man, between Dasein and Being, Zen would say that, though phenomenally a difference can be perceived, ultimately no difference exists. According to Shinichi Hisamatsu, "Buddha as the Mind of which I am speaking, however, is not such a subject which is 'other,' but is a subject in which something 'other,' is completely Oneself." [26] Whereas Heidegger proposes an integralness between man and Dasein, between Dasein and Being, and between man and Being, Zen would say that man is Mind, Mind is Being, and man is Being. As Suzuki puts it, "When you ask what Zen is, I say that Zen is you and you are Zen." [27] And this is why Hisamatsu refers to Zen as "Mind," "Self," or the "True Man." [28]

    It is important to note that, though Zen affirms that man is Being, Zen does not affirm (as it is usually thought) that man is One with Being. The important distinction between Heidegger and Zen is not that Heidegger postulates an integralness between man and Being while Zen postulates a Oneness of man and Being, but that Zen transcends duality and nonduality altogether. Oneness itself is a dualistic concept, that is, in relation to Twoness. That Zen is not a Oneness is a major point of Suzuki's:

I am not certain whether Zen can be identified with mysticism. Mysticism as it is understood in the West starts generally with an antithesis and ends with its unification or identification. If there is an antithesis, Zen accepts it as it is, and makes no attempt to unify it. Instead of starting with dualism or pluralism, Zen wants us to have a Zen-experience, and with this experience it purveys a world of suchness. [29]

Zen starts neither with the duality of ontic and ontological nor with the oneness of ontic and ontological, but with a (paradoxical) distinguishment and non-distinguishment at the same time. As Suzuki puts it, "'Not two!' may lead

 

 

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the logician to think It is One.' But the master would go on saying, 'Not One either!'" [30] This non-distinguishment of ontic and ontological paradoxically coupled with a distinguishment of ontic and ontological is precisely the thrust of Richard DeMartino's term, "non-dualistic dualism." [31] To assert the Oneness of being and beings (as does Hinduism, for example) is dualistic, for Oneness is an antinomy to Twoness. Genuine paradox overcomes the distinction between Oneness and Twoness by obliterating and affirming them simultaneously -- hence, a dualism that is paradoxically nondualistic. For Zen, therefore, not only must dualism be transcended, Oneness itself must also be transcended and posed, rather, as a nondualistic duality.

 

III

If Being -- just Being -- was the apex of Heidegger's quest, Heidegger's relation to Zen would be tenuous, not worthy of comparison. What makes Heidegger's relation to Zen fruitful -- and most deserving of comparison -- is his concern with Nonbeing, for it is precisely through Nonbeing that Dasein can come to terms with Being: "The Being of beings, however, is comprehensible only -- and in this lies the deepest finitude of transcendence -- when Dasein, by its very nature, plunges into Non-being." [32] Nonbeing, in Heidegger, is the gateway to Being.

    Nonbeing, of course, reverberates throughout Heidegger's works. In Sein und Zeit Heidegger portrays Dasein, in its transcendence, as a movement into Nonbeing, a movement which is disclosed to it through anxiety (Angst). Anxiety, in contradistinction to fear (Furcht), has no objective reference point, no definite detrimentality. The ground of anxiety, rather, is indefinite: "Anxiety is characterized by the fact that what threatens is nowhere. Anxiety 'does not know' even what it is anxious about." [33] Heidegger also writes, "anxiety renders manifest Non-being." [34] And yet, by reversal, it is precisely this confrontation with Nonbeing that allows Dasein to realize the awesome fact that beings exist: "In the bright night of Non-being of anxiety, there occurs for the first time the pristine openness of beings as such: that they are beings and not Non-being." [35] In the early Heidegger, therefore -- especially in Sein und Zeit -- anxiety discloses Nonbeing, which in turn discloses a world: "Anxiety throws Dasein back upon that about which it is anxious -- its authentic-potentiality-for-being-in-the-world." [36] In the later Heidegger, however, anxiety is no longer merely a disclosure of Dasein's authentic potentiality-for-being-in-the-world, but a disclosure of Dasein's relation to Being. In this we have the famous reversal (Kehre) of Heidegger, the shift in emphasis from world and beings to Being and Nonbeing.

    Being and Nonbeing are integral to each other, according to Heidegger, because one of the most salient qualities about Being is its hiddenness. Heidegger contends that it is "on the hiddenness of öv that metaphysics remains ground-

 

 

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ed." [37] Unconcealment and concealment, therefore, are fundamental characteristics of this transmetaphysical ground, and the problem with metaphysics is not only that it has failed to deal with unconcealment, but that it has dismissed the problem of concealment entirely. As Heidegger explains, "metaphysics never pays attention to what has concealed itself in this very on [beings] insofar as it has been unconcealed." [38] Nonbeing, however, is not necessarily negativity as such and cannot be equated with negation or negativity in the finite sense. Nonbeing, because of its ontological status, is prior to negativity. As Heidegger maintains, "Nothing is more original than the 'not' and 'negation.'" [39] Nonbeing cannot be thought of as negativity in the finite sense because, though it certainly is the concealment of Being, it never negates Being. Being can never be negated, only concealed; for Being, even in its concealment, always "is." This is why Heidegger, in his discussion of Nonbeing, does not refer to it as the negation of Being but only as the "veil" of Being. [40] The very nature of Being, then, is one of self-concealment. It gives birth to beings -- in the sense that it is the source of beings -- but in giving birth, it does not itself become a being.

    Because of the integralness of Being and Nonbeing, the forgottenness of Being is grounded in the very structure of Being, that is, in its concealment, in Nonbeing. The forgottenness of Being, then, is not so much a property of man as much as it is a property of Being in its self-concealment. According to Heidegger, "it [Being] remains un-thought, because it withdraws. Being itself withdraws into its own truth." [41] This is the mystery [das Geheimnis] of Being -- that it conceals itself within itself, hiding behind the veil of Nonbeing. In Heidegger, therefore, there is an ontological primacy of Being over thought. Just as Being has primacy over beings because it gives birth to them, Being has primacy over thought because it makes thought possible. In this sense, thought does not do anything, but by its very nature is a recollection of its source: "Insofar as thought is, it is the recollection of Being and nothing else." [42] Truth, therefore, is not something that man invents, but that which is prior to his thinking. In this sense, both truth and Being are prior to thinking. As Heidegger explains, "it is not we who establish truth ahead of time, but truth which establishes the ontological possibility for us to be, in such a way as to be capable of establishing something ahead of time." [43] But just as Being and Nonbeing are integral to each other, truth and untruth accompany one another; for truth (revealment) is an equation to Being, and untruth (concealment) is an equation to Nonbeing. That this equation exists is most explicit in Heidegger's statement that "'there is' Being -- not beings -- insofar as truth is ... Being and truth are simultaneous." [44] And again, "if truth be considered as revealment, concealment is non-revealment and therefore un-truth, which is not only authentic but most proper to the essence of truth." [45] Man, therefore, because of an ontological priority, exists in both truth and untruth; and because truth and untruth are ontologically prior, man is not autonomous in

 

 

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the acquisition of truth -- that is to say, his freedom and unfreedom in regard to truth both have ontological priority. This is not to say that man is unfree, but that, because of the ontological priority of Being and Nonbeing, freedom and unfreedom are necessary - inseparable -- qualities of his existence. Freedom and unfreedom, truth and untruth, these are ontological conditions of human finitude, the poles that accompany man in his throwness.

    Again it must be said, from the Zen point of view, that Heidegger's concern with Being and Nonbeing is integral, not paradoxical. Zen could not embrace Heidegger's posing of Being as unconcealment and Nonbeing as concealment, because there is an obvious duality implied as in the conjoining of algebraic pluses and minuses. Even to submit that Nonbeing hides within Being, or to submit that Nonbeing hides behind beings, would not be adequate, for Zen insists on transcending the very notions of Being and Nonbeing, of concealment and unconcealment. In the Heart Sutra it is written: "Form (ruupa) does not differ from the void (`suunyataa), nor the void from form. Form is identical with void (and) void is identical with form." [46] Nowhere in Heidegger's philosophy is there that kind of paradox. In fact, Heidegger's famous statement -- "Why are there beings at all and not much rather nothing?" [47] -- is most illustrative of dualistic thinking. Zen would even refuse to affirm Heidegger's assertion that beings "are," for "is" and "is not" belong to the realm of ego-consciousness, not to the Groundless Unconscious Consciousness which transcends not only "is" and "is not" but even life and death. That Heidegger treats life and death in this dualistic manner -- "death is the potentiality for the absolute impotence of Dasein" [48] -- especially distinguishes him from Zen. [49] Even Heidegger's concern with truth and untruth, freedom and unfreedom -- these again are dualistic modes of thought in which Zen would prefer not to indulge. The only truth pertinent to Zen would be one that transcends the distinctions truth and untruth, and the only freedom pertinent to Zen would be a Freedom that transcends freedom and unfreedom, "freeing" the individual from such problematic distinctions. Even Heidegger's famous "letting beings be" (Seinlassen von Seiendem), [50] often compared with Eastern thought, would not be acceptable; for though Heidegger goes on to suggest that one should let Being be, he is still thinking in an integral context, not a context beyond subjectivity and objectivity. Zen also addresses itself to this state of dynamic nonaction -- Suzuki writes: "Buddhists call this kshaanati, 'patience,' or more properly, 'acceptance,' that is, acceptance of things in their suprarelative or transcendental aspect where no dualism of whatever sort avails" [51] -- but Zen's dynamic nonaction is beyond the dualism implicit in Heidegger's, that is, the dualism between Being and the one who is to let Being be. Rather than Heidegger's concern with an individual's dynamic nonactional relationship to Being, Zen is concerned with what Hisamatsu calls, with reference to dynamic nonaction, "Subject-Nothingness ... in which the duality of mind and object is left behind." [52]

 

 

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IV

Being and Nonbeing, of course, is not the ultimate ontological ground for the most recent Heidegger, the Heidegger Hermann Grimm refers to as "Heidegger III." [53] In his transmetaphysical quest, Heidegger has not only transcended Western philosophy's concern with being, he has transcended his own concern with ontological difference. In other words, Heidegger III is pursuing the question -- If Being is the source of beings (accounting for the ontological difference), what then is the source of Being and Nonbeing? Of truth and untruth? Of freedom and unfreedom? Heidegger's answer is Ereignis. L. M. Vail translates Ereignis as "self-spectacle," [54] William Richardson renders it as "e-vent," [55] and Otto Pöggeler's version is "appropriation," [56] but because of the obvious translation difficulties and especially because Heidegger tells us that Ereignis is untranslatable as the Tao, I will use it in the original, as I have with Dasein. Despite the difficulties of translation, it is clear that what Heidegger means by Ereignis is that which transcends Being and Nonbeing and which, in fact, sanctions them. Just as Being (unconcealment) is responsible for the revealment of beings, Ereignis is responsible for sanctioning both Being and Nonbeing. As Heidegger puts it, "the extensive sanctioning, which stimulates or moves Saga in behalf of its showing, can be called Ereignis. It gives birth to the free openness of the illuminative clearing, in which things-present linger in their duration; out of which things-absent escape and, even within withdrawal, still keep their continuance." [57] Ereignis, thus, is the supreme realm in Heidegger's thought, the Realm of all Realms out of which all of our distinctions arise.

    Does this mean that Heidegger -- Heidegger III -- has finally entered Zen territory? Not quite. For despite this source that appropriates Being and Nonbeing, there is still that overwhelming obstacle of integralness that separates Heidegger from Zen. Heidegger's philosophy is a series of integral stages which starts with Dasein, ascends to the relation between Being and Nonbeing, and finally culminates in Ereignis. Zen, of course, could not affirm such a hierarchy -- using Heidegger's terminology, Zen would say that Dasein is Ereignis [58] -- moreover, that Heidegger postulates Ereignis as something in addition to Being and Nonbeing is not acceptable to Zen. Zen would not want to say that Ereignis stands outside of or beyond Being and Nonbeing, and Zen's `suunyataa cannot be thought of as a third, appropriating ontological link. In this, Heidegger's Ereignis would come under the classification of "relative" `suunyataa. According to Masao Abe, "if Emptiness or absolute Mu is the third thing which simply transcends and stands somewhat outside of the duality of u and mu ... it cannot be called true Emptiness or absolute Mu... In other words, it still stands in a dualistic relation to the u and mu." [59] Heidegger's Ereignis, therefore, is both relative and relational, and lacks the absolutely paradoxical quality of Zen's `suunyataa.

 

 

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    Another -- and most obvious characteristic -- of Heidegger's Ereignis that distinguishes it from Zen's `suunyataa is its "historicality," a subject which has echoed throughout Heidegger from the writing of Sein und Zeit. Considering whether Heidegger admits an absolute truth, William Richardson writes: "If 'absolute' be taken to mean 'eternal,' and if this is to be understood in the sense of 'praeter-historical,' certainly not, for Heidegger's Being is essentially a history." [60] And as W. B. Macomber explains, "Heidegger's nothing has much in common with Kant's thing-in-itself, only with the decisive difference that it is not primarily a logical postulate and is not conceived of as beyond time; on the contrary, it is inextricably bound up with time." [61] But just as Zen transcends Being and Nonbeing, truth and untruth, freedom and unfreedom, life and death -- opposites altogether -- it transcends time and timelessness; and `suunyataa, therefore, cannot be said to reside in time or timelessness. As Suzuki explains, "Zen takes us at once to the realm of non-dichotomy, which is the beginningless beginning of all things." [62] In contradistinction to Heidegger's Ereignis as temporo-historicality, when Zen speaks of one's "original face" or "original Mind," it does not mean that which is historically prior. "Original," in Zen, is not temporal but ontological. Questioning this Ereignis-as-finitude that is supposed to transcend Western metaphysical thinking, Charles Fu asks rhetorically, "How can Heidegger's Seinsdenken, then, be liberated from Ontological Difference, as long as his conception of Being-as-Ereignis remains temporo-historical?" [63]

    The later Heidegger continually writes about the "Homeland" (die Heimat), the Homeland where one arrives when one succeeds in transcending metaphysics by way of fundamental thinking: "What is most appropriate and most precious in the Homeland consists simply in the fact that it is this nearness to the Origin -- and nothing else besides." [64] Zen, however, would say that Heidegger must come nearer to this Origin than his own understanding of "near," for the Zen Origin cannot be confined to the boundary of time; and only when Heidegger has come to terms with the Originless Origin, when he has transcended time and timelessness altogether, will he finally have "come home."

 

V

Heidegger is indeed attempting to think transmetaphysically, but because of the recurrent dualism in his philosophy -- especially with regard to time [65] -- he has not fully completed his task; for it is dualism that most emphatically marks the beginning of Western metaphysics. [66] But because Zen has transcended duality (and nonduality) -- whether it be in regard to Being and beings, Being and Nonbeing, time and timelessness, life and death -- Zen most certainly represents a thinking which is transmetaphysical, a thinking which goes beyond the boundaries of ego-consciousness or what we generally regard as conceptual. And because Zen has found the "Original Source," it may, in Heidegger's language, be said to have "come home." There is another ingredient

 

 

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to Zen's "coming home," a most important one. According to Suzuki, "coming home" and "quietly resting" accompany one another. [67] But where is this "quietly resting" in Heidegger? Heidegger's philosophy, rather, may be said to be a restless adventure, and considering the importance he gives to anxiety, "quietly resting" is hardly descriptive of his philosophy. Zen would say that Heidegger's difficulty (and his restlessness) is that he is still thinking (metaphysically). In a dialogue between Bodhidharma and the Second Ch'an Patriarch, Bodhidharma supposedly said. "Bring me your mind so that I can quiet it" -- to which the Second Patriarch replied, "I cannot find my mind." To this, Bodhidharma responded, "I have now quieted your mind." [68] Whether Heidegger would have quieted his mind, had he lived longer, of course, is speculation, but in view of the bulk of the writing he produced, this would not have been likely. Heidegger could have built still another ontological mountain upon his Ereignis, could have plunged even further into the depths of Dasein, but because he could not break - entirely -- through the matrix of ego-consciousness with its inherent bifurcations, his thinking was never genuinely transmetaphysical. It was at best quasi-metaphysical.

 

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NOTES

1. According to Heidegger, "that which never and nowhere 'is' a being discloses itself as that which is different from everything that 'is', that is, what we call Being" (Was nie und nirgends ein Seiendes ist, sich entschleiert als das von allem Seienden Sichunterscheidende, das wir das Sein nennen. [Was ist Metaphysik? (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1955), p. 45]); hereafter cited as WM. Again, "Being, however, is no existing quality of beings. Being, unlike beings, cannot allow itself to be objectively established and understood. This, which is purely Other than beings is that which is not being. However, this Nothingness is the same as Being" (Das Sein jedoch ist keine seiende Beschaffenheit as Seiendem. Das Sein lässt sich nicht gleich dem Seienden gegenständlich vor- und herstellen. Dies schlechthin Andere zu allem Seienden ist das Nicht-Seiende. Aber dieses Nichts west das Sein, WM, p. 45).

2. "Als Metaphysik ist sie von der Erfahrung des Seins durch ihr eigenes Wesen ausgeschlossen," WM, p. 20.

3. "In ihrem Wesen aber ist die Metaphysik Nihilismus" (Holzwege [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1950], p. 245); hereafter cited as HW.

4. Nietzsche I und II (Pfullingen: Neske, 1961), II: 23; hereafter cited as N. Heidegger rejects Nietzsche's Übermensch not only as an animal rationale, but because of its ideal of subjectivity and self-control. Transsubjectivity, therefore, is implicit in Heidegger's transmetaphysics, and this is precisely why he had to depart from the thrust of Sein und Zeit. As Michael Zimmerman explains, "Being and Time has exhausted the final possibility of approaching Being by way of subjectivity. The failure of Being and Time thus points to a new way of thinking, if Being is to reveal itself to human Dasein" ("The Foundering of Being and Time" Philosophy Today 19, [Summer], 1975: 100).

5. "Solange der Mensche das animal rationale bleibt, ist er das animal metaphysicum. Solange der Mensch sich als das vernüftige Lebenwesen versteht, gehört die Metaphysik nach dem Wort Kants zur Natur des Menschen. Wohl könnte dagegen das Denken, wenn ihm glückt, in den Grund des Metaphysik zurückzugehen, einen Wandel des Wesens des Menschen mitveranlassen, mit welchem Wandel eine Verwandlung der Metaphysik einherginge," WM, p. 9.

 

 

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6. "Das Denken beginnt erst dann, wenn wir erfahren haben. das die seit Jahrhunderten verherrlichte Vernunft die hartnäckigste Widersacherin des Denkens ist," HW, p. 247. That Heidegger is concerned with an understanding of Being that is not on the level of ordinary consciousness is expressed even as early as Sein und Zeit in his statement, "that which is to be acquired by the asking -- the meaning of Being -- requires that it be understood in a way of its own, differing basically with the concepts in which entities acquire their determinate quality of significance" (Sonach wird auch das Erfragte, der Sinn von Sein, eine eigne Begrifflichkeit verlangen, die sich wider wesenhaft abhebt gegen die Begriffe, in denen Seiendes seine bedeutungsmässige Bestimmtheit erricht. (Sein und Zeit [Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1927], p. 6; hereafter cited as SZ.)

7. "Jeder Humanismus gründet entweder in einer Metaphysik, odor er macht sich selbst zum Grund einer solchen" (Platos Lehre von der Wahrheit: Mit einem Brief über den "Humanismus" [Bern: Francke, 1947], pp. 63-64; hereafter cited as HB).

8. "Das ie humanitas des homo humanus aus dem Hinblick auf eine schon feststehende Auslegung der Natur, der Geschichte, der Welt, des Weltgrundes, das heisst des Seienden im Ganzen bestimmt wird," HB. p. 63.

9. "Wenn der Mensche nur Mensch ist auf dem Grunde des Daseins in ihm, dann kann die Frage nach dem, was ursprünglicher ist als der Mensch, grundsätzlich keine anthropologische sein" (Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1951], p. 207: hereafter cited as KM).

10. John Steffney, "Heidegger and Buber: Ontology and Philosophical Anthropology." Religion in Life 43 (Spring, 1974): 33.

11. "Aber die Umkehrung eines metaphysischen Satzes bleibt ein metaphysischer Satz," HB, p. 72.

12. What is Zen? (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), p. 3 (italics mine).

13. Manual of Zen Buddhism (New York: Grove Press, 1960). p. 52.

14. Studies in Zen, ed. Christmas Humphreys (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1955), p. 146. Suzuki also writes, "to trace the tracelessness of the Zen Master's life is to have an 'unknown knowledge' of the ultimate reality." Studies in Zen, p. 151.

15. "Being there" is Macquarrie's and Robinson's translation, but in his A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Michael Gelvin prefers "being here," on the ground that "here" is more suggestive of the immediacy which Gelvin believes was part of Heidegger's intention in using the term (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), pp. 22-23. But in Sein und Zeit, Heidegger writes that "the ontic character of Dasein lies in the fact that it is ontological" (Die ontische Auszeichnung des Daseins liegt darin, dass es ontologisch ist, p. 12). He also maintains that, though Dasein is ontically that which is closest to us, it is that "thereness" which is ontologically farthest (p. 15). In the light of this, I would say that Gelvin's preference for "being here" as opposed to "being there" (Macquarrie's and Robinson's translation) is still not adequate. A better translation of Dasein would be one in which both "being here" and "being there" were intended. It should also be noted that by Dasein Heidegger does not mean man, even though Heidegger himself does seem, at times, to make the equation, that is, "man is the there which is open" (Der Mensch is das in sich offene Da, Einführung in die Metaphysik [Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1953], p. 156); hereafter cited as EM. This "there," however, is not something that man owns, but something already given to him as he comes into the world: "More original than man is the finiteness of Dasein in him" (Ursprünglicher als der Mensch ist die Endlichkeit des Daseins in ihm, KM, p. 207). The "there" is the essence of man which allows Being to be revealed to him. As Heidegger puts it, "the essence of man is manifest as that relation which first opens up Being to man" (Das Menschen-wesen zeight sich hier als der Bezug, der dem Menschen erst das Sein eröffnet, EM, p. 130). Dasein, thus, is not man, but the there (da) of Being (Sein) that is capable of comprehending Being, a there which obviously resides in man. Also significant is that Dasein is not simply a facet of human consciousness, but a facet of Being to be comprehended by man.

16. "Das Stehen in der Lichtung des Seins nenne ich die Ek-sistenz des Menschen," HB. pp. 66-67.

17. "Die ontische Auszeichnung des Daseins liegt darin, dass es ontologisch ist," SZ, p. 12.

18. "Allerdings nur solange Dasein ist, d.h. die ontische Möglichkeit von Seinsverständnis 'gibt es' Sein," SZ, p. 212).

 

 

p. 334

19. "The Place of the Unconscious in Heidegger." Review of Psychology and Psychiatry 5 (Fall, 1965): 279.

20. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1963), p. 101.

21. "The Search for Meaning," in Existential Philosophers: Kierkegaard to Merleau-Ponty, ed. George Alfred Schrader. Jr. (New York: McGraw-Hill. 1967), p. 171.

22. The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind, ed. Christmas Humphreys (London: Rider and Company. 1969), p. 61.

23. Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis (New York: Grove Press, 1960), p. 49. Suzuki also contends that Basho "passed through the outer crust of consciousness away down into its deepest recesses, into a realm even beyond the unconscious generally conceived by the psychologists" (Zen and Japanese Culture, Bollingen Series 64 [Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1959], p. 241).

24. The Zen Doctrine of the No-Mind, p. 82.

25. Studies in Zen, p. 147.

26. "The Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness," in Philosophical Studies of Japan, trans. Richard DeMartino in collaboration with Jikai Fujiyoshi and Masao Abe (Tokyo: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1960), II: 89.

27. What is Zen", p. 18.

28. "The Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness," p. 82. That Heidegger is dealing in integral relationships and not paradox is evident in his famous "In-der-Welt-Sein." Whereas Heidegger poses a qualitative relationship between Dasein and the world, Zen goes further. Transcending subjectivity and objectivity, Zen cannot limit nature to an "other." As Suzuki explains, "I am in Nature and Nature is in me. Not mere participation in each other, but a fundamental identity between the two," Studies in Zen, p. 188. Moreover, Heidegger could never say as does Suzuki that "to know the flower is to become the flower, to be the flower, to bloom as the flower," Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, p. 11.

29. Studies in Zen, p. 14.

30. Zen and Japanese Culture, p. 32.

31. Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, p. 169.

32. "Das Sein des Seienden ist aber überhaupt nur verstehbar -- und darin liegt die tiefste Endlichkeit der Transzendenz -- wenn das Dasein im Grunde seines Wesens sich in das Nichts hineinhält," KM, p. 214.

33. "Das das Bedrohende nirgends ist, charakterisiert das Wovor der Angst," SZ, p. 186.

34. "Die Angst offenbart das Nichts," WM, p. 32.

35. "In der hellen Nacht des Nichts der Angst ersteht erst die unsprüngliche Offenheit des Seienden als eines solchen: dass es Seiendes ist -- and nicht Nichts," WM, p. 34.

36. "Sie wirft das Dasein auf das zurück, worum es sich ängstet, sein eigentliches In-der-Welt-sein-können," SZ, p. 187.

37. "Auf dieses Verborgene im -- bleibt Metaphysik gegründet," WM. p. 20.

38. "Die Metaphysik achtet jedoch dessen wie, was in eben diesem on, insofern es unverborgen wurde, auch schon verborgen hat," WM, p. 20.

39. "Das Nichts ist ursprünglicher als das Nicht und die Verneinung," WM. p. 28.

40. "Das Nichts als das Andere zum Seienden ist der Schleier des Seins," WM, p. 51.

41. "Das es ungedacht bleibt, weil es sich entzieht. Das Sein selbst entzieht sich in seine Wahrheit," HW, p. 244.

42. "Dieses Denken ist, insofern es ist, das Andenken an das Sein und nichts ausserdem," HB. p. 111.

43. "Nicht wir setzen die 'Wahrheit' voraus sondern sie ist es, die ontologisch überhaupt möglich macht, dars wir so sein können, das wir etwas 'voraussetzen'," SZ, pp. 227-228.

44. "Sein -- nicht Seiendes -- 'gibt es' nur, sofern Wahrheit ist... Sein und Wahrheit 'sind' gleichursprünglich," SZ, p. 230.

45. "Die Verborgenheit ist dann, von der Wahrheit als Entborgenheit her gedacht, die Unentborgenheit und somit die dem Wahrheitswesen eigenste und eigentliche Un-wahrheit." Von Wesen der Wahrheit (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1943), p. 19: hereafter cited as WW.

 

 

p. 335

46. Quoted in Charles Luk, Ch'an and Zen Teaching, First Series (Berkeley: Shambhala Publications. 1970), p. 213.

47. "Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes and nicht vielmehr Nichts?" WM. p. 42.

48. "Der Tod ist die Möglichkeit der schlechthinningen Daseinsunmöglichkeit," SZ, p. 250.

49. For a detailed discussion of the Zen position on death, see my article "Symbolism and Death in Jung and Zen Buddhism," Philosophy East and West 25 (Spring, 1975).

50. WM. p. 14.

51. Essays in Zen Buddhism, Second Series (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1970), p. 34.

52. "The Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness," p. 71.

53. "Introduction: Being as Appropriation." Philosophy Today 19 (Summer. 1975): 146.

54. Heidegger and Ontological Difference (University Park: Penn State University Press. 1972). p. 121.

55. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, p. 614.

56. "Being as Appropriation." Philosophy Today 19 (Summer, 1975): 169.

57. "Das erbringende Eignen, das die Sage als die Zeige in ihrem Zeigen regt, heisse das Ereignen. Es er-gibt das Freie der Lichtung, in die Anwesendes anwähren, aus der Abwesendes entgehen und im Entzug sein Währen behalten kann." Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen: Neske, 1959), p. 258: hereafter cited as US.

58. According to Hisamatsu. "Oriental Nothingness is not an objective world outside of me like an empty space in which there is not one single thing. Oriental Nothingness is the Nothingness-state of Myself, that is, it is no other than Myself being Nothingness," in "The Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness," p. 76.

59. "Non-being and Mu: The Metaphysical Nature of Negativity in the East and the West," Religious Studies 2 (June, 1975): 187.

60. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, p. 547.

61. The Anatomy of Disillusion: Martin Heidegger's Notion of Truth (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1967), p. 58.

62. Studies in Zen, p. 190.

63. "The Trans-Onto-Theo-Logical Foundations of Language in Heidegger and Taoism," Journal of Chinese Philosophy I (July, 1975): 147.

64. "Das Eigenste und das Beste der Heimat ruht darin, einzig diese Nähe zum Ursprung zu Sein, -- und nichts anderes ausserdem," Erläuterungen zu Hölderins Dichtung (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1944), p. 23; hereafter cited as HD.

65. Elisabeth Hirsch also recognizes time as a stumbling block between Heidegger and Zen, referring to it as "the great watershed that stands immovable between Heidegger and the East," in "Martin Heidegger and the East," Philosophy East and West 20 (July, 1970): 260. And according to Donald Mitchell, "there is to my knowledge no concept in the East of a continuing 'historical' revealment of Being like Heidegger's Historicity or event of Being" ("Commentary on Elisabeth Hirsch's 'Martin Heidegger and the East,'" Philosophy East and West 20 (July, 1970): 268).

66. Aristotle's contention that A can never be not-A.

67. Essays in Zen Buddhism. Second Series, p. 36.

68. This is a paraphrase of a dialogue recorded in Paul Reps' Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (New York: Doubleday, n.d), pp. 121-122.