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Buddhadharma : Win 2012
10 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 2 as an equation: “zero = infinity, and infinity = zero.” Buddhists have long been aware of what Ludwig Wittgenstein called “the entrapment of concepts.” Concepts like “running” and “anger” cannot adequately represent the actual experi- ences of running and anger. Even less can concepts such as “emptiness” and “shunyata” communicate the experi- ence of their presumed referents. Those in all religious traditions who have experienced those states testify to their ineffability. The experience escapes even the most passionate and poetic expres- sion. It is signless, asemiotic. In the marvelous “33 Definitions of Nirvana,” the Buddha provides a method for dealing with the impoverish- ing tyranny of concepts. The cascading array of definitions includes about ten clearly cast as negative (e.g., with un-, non-, or -less prefixes and suffixes). The rest are mainly positive (e.g., “exqui- site,” “bliss,” “solace”). The inference is that no language captures what nirvana is: take this confetti of approximations and consult your finest experiences of the “taintless ... featureless ... wonder- ful ... pure.” I’m nobody’s model as a mystic, but my sense of connectedness in meditation and the pain and joy of everyday life is more resonant of repleteness, fullness, allness, and other such words that err on the side of wholeness. I suggest that a reconsideration of the language of the Heart Sutra might be a useful departure from convention in the evolution of Buddhism. Charles Suhor Montgomery, Alabama WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Angel Bai • Chris Banigan • Leslie Booker Peter Cunningham • A. Jesse Jiryu Davis Stéphan Doss • Michel Dubois • Noah Gordon Lama Sherab Gyatso • Gail Gibson Gallery Michael Kenna • Kal Kingi • Nikko Odiseos Megan Roarty • Claudia Roth