Probative and Imaginative Modes of Engagement in Buddhism and Process Thought

At face value, Alfred North Whitehead's Process thought and the view of Madhyamaka Buddhists seem to characterize reality in diametrically opposed manners. Whitehead's view, that all events go through a process of "concrescence" culminating in a final satisfaction that passes into objective immortality, seems to contradict the Buddha's teaching that all conditioned things, which are …

Negative Dialectics and Dialogical Process Semantics (Cursory Notes)

In order to disclose the nature of the actual world (equivalent to the settled facts of the immediate past) as openly-empty (meaning, being empty or without an ultimate foundation) we deploy the method of negative dialectics whereby presuppositions of an inherently existent entity, process or relation that could serve as the ground of the actual …

On the Symmetrical Logic and Asymmetrical Causality of Samsara and Nirvana

In verses 19 and 20 of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā in the chapter analyzing Nirvana, Nāgārjuna states that "There is no distinction whatsoever between samsara and nirvana. There is no distinction whatsoever between nirvana and samsara. What is the limit of nirvana, that is the limit of samsara. There is not even the finest gap to be …

Variations on the Two Truths: Distinct, Identical, or Coalescent

There's something paradoxical or even ironic about the concept of the conventional (saṃvṛti) being understood as a kind of "truth" (satya), since in some interpretations of the two truths the conventional is understood as false in contrast to the ultimate (paramārtha) which is alone true. Generally, according to these views, often associated with the Sakya …

Beyond the Impasse of Self-Emptiness and Other-Emptiness in Tibetan Madhyamaka

Some thoughts on the dichotomy of self-empty (rang stong) and other-empty (gzhan stong): The basis of the dichotomy comes about from considering the role and scope of negation in the apprehension of emptiness.  The dialectic of emptiness that runs through the various tenet systems (from Vaibhashika to Sautantrika to Cittamatra to Madhyamaka) progressively refines the negandum or …