using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
28 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 1 5 JuDy roiTMan (zen Master Bon hae) is a guiding teacher in the kwan um school of zen and a retired math professor. she lives in lawrence, kansas. inherent contradictions we face every time we try to speak. every time we try to say something, we are making a big mistake—we are pointing away from truth. Nagarjuna’s method is to analyze things so closely that our discursive thought just vanishes. When, as he says, “emptiness is the relinquishing of all views,” what are we then left with? There is a vast literature analyzing Nagarjuna’s thought. But how can we manifest Nagarjuna’s teaching directly? This is exactly the purpose of those quirky little stories that form Zen’s basic texts: to challenge us to respond right now, with no hesitation, neither forgetting the profound ethical possibilities of pratityasamutpada nor the falseness of any categories we use to analyze reality. Central to Nagarjuna’s technique is the tetra lemma—essentially, a dilemma with four options— otherwise known as the four propositions. The tetralemma traces back to ancient India and the sixth-century BCe Jain sage Sanjaya, possibly earlier. There are many ways to express the tetra- lemma. Here’s one: XisY,YisX. XisnotY,YisnotX. NoX,noY. XisX,YisY. In case you were traumatized by your middle school algebra class (full disclosure: I’m a retired math professor), another way to understand this is by taking two arbitrary nouns—I’ll pick form and emptiness because that’s traditional—and substitute them for X and Y: Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is not emptiness, emptiness is not form. No form, no emptiness. Form is form, emptiness is emptiness. We can summarize the first line as 1, the second as not 1, the third as 0, and the fourth as 2. Going back to my opening three lines, then, we have: There is only one thing from the very beginning, infinitely bright and mysterious in nature. It was never born and never dies. It cannot be described or given a name. These first lines are also the opening lines of the great sixteenth-century Korean master So Sahn Hyu Jong’s Mirror of Zen. They point to 1. But originally there is no thing, no light, no dark, no birth, no death, nothing to be named and no one to name it. This negates everything from the first line, much as the Heart Sutra negates the classifications of the Abhidharma (the extensive Buddhist analysis of mind attributed to Buddha’s disciple Shariputra). This points to 0. Yet0=0,1 =1,2 =2,indaytimeitislight,at night it is dark, my name is Judy, my husband’s name is Stan. This negates the negation. As one version of what the Buddha said when he woke up has it, each thing is exactly what it is, complete in itself. This points to 2, which in this context means 2 or more. Here we find the unmistakable stamp of Nagar- juna: three-fourths of the tetralemma shaping a rhetorical form that has lasted into the twenty-first century. There is a story from the early transmission of the Lamp records about the eighth-century Chinese master Shi Tou. In this story a young monk, Ya Shan, comes to Shi Tou and says, “I understand the Buddha’s teaching. But I heard that around here, you all just sit in silence. What does this mean?” And Shi Tou says, “This way won’t do. Not this way won’t do. Both this way and not this way won’t do. How about you?” (Hearing this story, Ta Hui’s great female dharma heir Miao Tsung awakened.) Again, we have three-fourths of the tetralemma, in a different form: X; not X; and neither X nor not X. The part left out is: X and not X. tracyrasmussen