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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Philosophy of act (3) Instantaneousness of the Universe

In Shobogenzo we can find the Chapter, entitled "UJI." "U" means existence, and "JI" means time. Therefore the words "UJI" suggest that, in the real world, existence of something always occurs at the same time as occurance of a real time. In other words, when something exists, time inevitably exists, and when time exists, something inevitably exists. That suggests the general identity between existence and time in the real world. Therefore in the Chapter of "UJI", it says that " Time is already just existence, and all Existence is Time." And this insistence suggests that time and existence inevitably exist together at once, and it is impossible for time and exitence separately to exist at all.
And this idea does not belong only to Buddhism today. In fact, a German philosopher called Martin Heidegger wrote a book entitled "ZEIN UND ZEIT, or BEING AND TIME," and he also suggested the identity of existence and time.
The real Time in Buddhism is never time, which is arranged as past, present, and future like a line, but the real Time in Buddhism is just a very short moment, which is called an instant. Therefore in the Chapter of Shobogenzo entitled "HOTSU-BODAISHIN, or Establishment of the Bodhi-mind," Master Dogen said, "In general, establishment of the mind and attainment of the truth rely upon the instantaneous arising and vanishing of all things. If [all things] did not arise and vanish instantaneously, bad done in the previous instant could not depart. If bad done in the previous instant had not yet departed, good in the next instant could not be realized in the present." And this is just the Buddhist Realism, which places the basis of the present instantaneousness in it.
Therefore Master Dogen describes at the several lines later in the same Chapter that "but no common man has ever sensed it or known it." And further "Those who do not know the Buddha-Dharma do not believe the principle of instantaneous arising and vanishing. One who clarifies the Tathagatha's right-Dharma-eye treasury and fine mind of nirvania inevitably believes this principle of instantaneous arising and vanishing."
The Real World does not exists as a long line of past, present, and future, but it exists as a real present moment, which is separated into a so short moment of instant.
Furthermore, the instantaneousness of the present moment, or the Universe, gives a very clear solution to the contradictory relations between human freedom and human determinim. For more than thousands of years, human beings have been keeping the very seriously difficult philosophical problem, which seem to be absolutely impossible to solve, that is
the contradictory situations of the human freedom and human determinism.
On the basis of idealism, or materialism, it is completely impossible for human beings to solve the contradictory situations between human freedom and human determinism. But utilizing the principle of instantaneousness of the present moment and the whole Universe in Buddhism, we can interpret that our human act at the present moment is like a piece of pearl on the edge of the razor, because the length of the real present moment is so short. And Buddhism insists that a human act at the present moment has so much flexible situations like the pearl on the razor edge, I think that we can solve the contradictory situations of human freedom and human determinism for the first time in human history.


Blogger Lone Wolf said...

A man walks down a sidewalk. There is not movement in the past because past doesn't exist as reality, there is no movement in the future cause future does not exist in reality. There is no place you can say movment occurs in the present. One can divide the short instant down to nothing. But yet movement still appears. Hmm? This makes me question action in the present moment. Any advice Gudo Nishijima Roshi?

5:05 PM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Schnibbles Tummykeg said...

Compatibilism is a philosophical proposition that resolves the apparent conflict between Determanism (Cause and Effect)and Free Will.

If anyone is interested I have a few good references to books but will have to wait until after work to post them.


4:53 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For Lone Wolf San

Thank you very much for your very interesting question.
I agree with your two former sentences, but it is impossible for me to accept your third sentence that "There is no place you can say movement occurs in the present" and "One can devide the short instant down to nothing." Because in Buddhism we believe in the real existence of the present moment fundamentally.

For Schnibbles Tummykeg San

Thank you very much for your advice to rely upon the theory of Compatibilism to solve the contradictory situations of human freedom and determinism. But I think that the problem belongs to not only the difference of intellectual philosophies, but it belongs to the fudamental religious viewpoint, and so I think that it is necessary for us to rely upon the difference of fundamental religious viewpoint at the beginning of the discussion.

11:48 AM, April 20, 2006  

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