Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The metaphysics of Buddhist experience and the Whiteheadian encounter

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Anyoin02 1024.jpg
7340272 n.jpg
15827965-stat stery.jpg
Olmo Ling.jpg
B VietnaxNun.jpg
Milarepa thangka.jpg
DSC 2321.JPG
760 1 z.jpg
Jodo monk.JPG
An13 975.jpg
Me 02.jpg
102vbnn3 n.jpg
10vcc13 n.jpg
Little monks walking.jpg
500 det.jpg

By Kenneth K. Inada Philosophy East and West Vol. 25/1975.10 P.465-487 (C) by the University of Hawaii Press

In many respects, the metaphysics of Buddhism is equal or even superior to that of Whitehead's.

It is so deep and implicated that, to date, no ample philosophic justification has been accorded it.

On the other hand, it falls short of Whitehead's system in terms of a consistent and systematic treatment, that is,

"to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted."' Whitehead was blessed with a good mathematical

and scientific background and the time to mature his thinking which arise from such a background to touch upon the final things that count. For all intents and purposes, his metaphysics was nearly complete, such that he dared to articulate an exhaustive categorical scheme.

With the Buddha, however, we see a different story.

Any treatment of any entity or aspect of reality was suspect for he did not allow any definitive metaphysicizing, generally referred to as views or points of view concerning reality (d.r.s.ti or ditthi).

(2) Yet, despite strong condemnation of metaphysical views, we note that in subsequent Buddhist literature,

both in the Theravaada and Mahaayaana traditions, there is a vast array of doctrines dealing with empirical or phenomenal matters, together with the so-called nonempirical or non-phenomenal matters, to suggest indeed a serious attempt at a complete accounting of the nature of things.

This attempt becomes more prominent with the Mahaayaana schools of thought, but the Theravaada, or early foundational doctrines, are kept intact and are only expanded.

In a rather strange way then there is a convergence on a similar philosophical track by Whitehead and Buddhism. But the convergence is, from the Buddhist side, unintentional and places some of us who are Western-oriented in an awkward position of being a bit presumptive in the comparative analysis.

More than this, I suppose, a comparative approach would be strained and pointless unless we can present a fairly strong case for a Buddhist metaphysics of experience along the general lines delineated by Whitehead.

Therefore, I shall first try to construct a consistent Buddhist metaphysical basis of experience, one which is based on the faith and premise that the Buddhist view of reality is complete and sufficient.

I. Buddhist Reality

General Remarks

Within a few centuries of the Buddha's demise, Buddhism distinguished itself from other "forsaken ways" by the well-known Three Marks (, that is, impermanence (anitya), non-self (anaatman) and the enlightened state of existence (

Later on, universal suffering (du.hkha) was added to make the Four Marks.

Buddhist literature is replete with references to these doctrines as a way of extolling the Buddhist way of life, but there is hardly any systematic accounting of them in ways that would render understanding their true import clear and unmistakable.

In the highly metaphysical treatment of dharmas, such as in the Abhidharma section, the analysis turns out to be too succinct, too abstract, and too presumptive of basic Buddhist knowledge.

Given this state of affairs, it is indeed significant that Buddhism was able to perpetuate itself by reaching down to the masses and commanding their attention;

given the same state of affairs, on the other hand, it is indeed understandable why there have been generated so many variant and misleading conceptions in the name of Buddhism.

This certainly calls for a reexamination of what we call Buddhist reality.

The four doctrines mentioned earlier are, to be sure, crystallizations of Buddhist thought over the years, but they are nevertheless good indicators and guidelines to follow in any metaphysical understanding.

In many ways, they constitute the marks of Buddhist reality, in the sense that any and all entities or elements of experience must be in conformity with them.

To the non-Buddhist, it is rather difficult to comprehend, without adequate exemplification, the nature and function of these marks.

The first factor to note is that the four doctrines are not principles which govern or order the nature of existence. They are purely descriptive of true reality and never deterministic in any way.

Moreover, none is aloof from the empirical nature of things. As a matter of fact, it is really the other way around, that is, each is educible from the empirical nature of things.

The second factor is that all four have the character of mutually amplifying and defining each other. They involve or implicate each other and are not separated or given an independent status of whatever nature.

For example, the doctrines of impermanence and non-self have a similar character in that as non-self is the "ontological" opposite of self (aatman), so is impermanence the opposite of permanence (nitya).

As such, both are antithetic to any persisting entities and both point at the selfsame facet of reality.

The third factor is that, as the enlightened content, is at once in harmony, indeed identifiable, with the nature expressed by the doctrines of impermanence and non-self.

These three doctrines, as the Sanskrit language reveals, are negative terms depicting the reality of things.

The other side of these negative terms, of course, is the fact of universal suffering (du.hkha). Suffering has then an unique function and meaning in Buddhism. It is the starting point but a point that is not left behind or completely obliterated without "traces" or references. It remains just as much a part of reality, albeit in a deficient sense.

And herein lies the basis for the inclusive and extensive nature of Buddhist reality.

The Genetic Structure of Experience

No one intent on understanding the basic elements of experience could ill afford to gloss over the Abhidharma section of the Tripitaka [[[Three baskets]] of knowledge].

As stated earlier, this section is a very abstract presentation, which rambles on in detail and repetition of the mass of doctrines and factors of experience, including the subtle factors leading to the enlightened realm; but it must be granted that the section. being a later development in Buddhist literature, does integrate, focus on and give a structural analysis of experience.

It brings into focus the principal ideas manifest in the Suutra (Discourses) and Vinaya (Disciplines) sections.

It is to be noted that the structural nature of experience is not forsaken by the Mahaayaana developments, although some schools may show trends of denying or not bothering with such a scheme.

And in time no doubt some modern scholars will take up such trends and analyze only those unique features beyond the basic Abhidharmic thought, in order to confer independent statuses to the schools in question.

This is too simplistic and erroneous.

It runs counter to the Buddhist spirit of "unity and diversity" and does not heed the advice enunciated so clearly by the various patriarchs from Naagaarjuna, Buddhaghosa, Hui-neng to Shinran that they were only transmitting what the Buddha had taught. One case in point is the philosophy of Vasubandhu.

He was an Abhidharmist converted to Mahaayaana at the instigation of his brother Asa^nga. But conversion was not abandonment of previous doctrines.

In the subsequent school which Vasubandhu helped to establish, the Vij~naanavaada (Fa-hsiang, Consciousness-only or Phenomenalistic school) , the basic structure of experience is retained but rendered more elaborate and accommodative by way of the 100 dharmic analyses.

In the analysis, Vasubandhu was careful to give due respect to the foundational elements but added new elements or phases of experience in order to present a more consistent and coherent nature of the highly complex functions of the mental pole.

Let us keep this in mind and return to the discussion at hand.

The genetic structure of experience has been described in different ways, from the general to the more specific and detailed.

1. Five skandhas (constituents of being)

a. ruupa (corporeal nature of being)

b. vedanaa (sensitivity or general feeling of being, in the sense that a being is a "bundle of feeling")

c. ssamj~naa (integrated awareness of perceptual objects)

d. sa.mskaara (activity in the being relative to the perceptual objects)

e. vij~naana (discriminative play of ideas or concepts based on the perceptual objects)

The five skandhas are listed serially to show the genetic flow, the continuity, from the basic corporeal nature and up to the conscious realm. Each component implicates or flows into the other realm.

In the already complex organism that we are, the inception of any particular experience is hard to pinpoint or locate. because we must be mindful of the doctrines of anitya and anaatman.

The early Buddhists spoke of sixteen moments of existence before one becomes conscious of a perceptual object. The moments in question are the momentary How within the skandhas.

Thus, according to this theory, we are forever "looking" to the past moments for the thing or object.

2. Twelve aayatanas (bases of Being)

Six "internal bases: [[Six "objective" bases]]:

A. Sense faculties (indriyas)

B. Objective realms (vi.sayas)

1.eye (cak.sus) 7. eye objective datum (ruupa)
2.ear (srotra) 8. ear objective datum (`sabda)
3.nose ( 9. nose objective datum (gandha)
4.tongue (jijhvaa) 10. tongue objective datum (rasa)
5.body (kaaya) 11. body objective datum (spra.s.tavya)
6.mind (manas) 12. mind objective datum (dharma)

The best way to describe the aayatanas is by reference to the empiricist's (Humean) accounting of perceptual process, that is, that one sees with the eye, hears with the ear, etc., with the rise of the respective attendant subjective-objective components. In this way, there is no mere subject or mere object apart from the ongoing process.

The one advance of the Buddhist, here, is the treatment of the mind as just another sense faculty, an integrative one, whose objective components are by and large fed by way of the five senses.

The mind is never closed in this sense but always remains a fluid force which integrates as well as gives direction to the continuity of being.

3. Eighteen dhaatus (spheres or regions of being)

1. ear faculty 13. consciousness by way of the eye
2. ear faculty region or realm (cak.sur-vij~naana)
3. nose faculty 14. consciousness by way of the ear
4. tongue faculty region of realm (`srotra-vij~naana)
5. body faculty 15. consciousness by way of the nose
6. mind faculty region or realm (ghrana-vij~naana)
7. eye objective datum 16, consciousness by way of the tongue
8. ear objective datum region or realm (jihvaa-vij~naana)
9. nose objective datum 17. consciousness by way of the body
10. tongue objective datum region or realm (kaaya-vij~naana)
11. body objective datum 18. consciousness by way of the mental
12. mind objective datum objects (mano-vij~naana)

As can be seen, the dhaatus are further analysis of the aayatanas. They detail the "conscious" realms of the faculties and show the interpenetrative nature of all. The movements can be seen in different ways, that is, across numbers 1-7-13, 2-8-14, etc., downward numbers 1 through 6, 7 through 12, etc., any combination across and downward. or just number 18 as a collective organization of the whole process. It is with the dhaatus that the philosophy of Vasubandhu, Vij~naanavaada, begins by the elaborate analysis of the Eight-Vij~naana Theory and makes way for a greater cosmological reatment of the nature of being.

4. Dharma theory (factors or forms of experience)(3)

I refrain from enumerating the number of dharmas due to involvements of space and time. Suffice it to say that they range from seventy-five for the Sarvaastivaada to one hundred for the Vij~naanavaada.

In this genetic structuring of experience, once again, the basic.skandhas, indriyas, vi.sayas, dhaatus, and dhaatus, and vij~naanas are incorporated and given their due import, but it goes further in elaborately analyzing the activities relative to the mental (caitasika or cittasamprayukta-sa.mskaara) and nonmental (citta-viprayukta-sa.mskaara) forms of experience.

For example, greed, ill will, anger, arrogance, shame, idleness, etc., are considered to be mental dharmic factors or forms; and acquisition, lifeforce,

subjective-objective components, life, and aging are nonmental factors. In either case, these dharmas describe and alter the nature of one's being.

One of the greatest contributions or insights of the early Buddhists (perhaps attributable directly to the historical Buddha) and followed very closely by the Mahaayaana, is to divide the dharmic factors into the "constructive" or "creative" (sa.msk.rta-dharmas) and the "nonconstructive" or "noncreative" (asa.msk.rta-dharmas) realms.

The former is the category of the formed or that which has been carved out, something done within the existential process.

There is a carving-out phenomenon of existence in that it is the result of appropriation by way of the dharmic forces, ending in fragmentation of the process. The latter (asa.msk.rta-dharmas) , however, is the exact opposite of the former.

It is the realm where the existential process is not strained, hindered, or hampered by any of the dharmic factors.

Thus although this category has also dharmic character, it does not have it in the same manner as the former.

For example, one of the "nonconstructive" dharmas is space. Space is an universal dharma in the sense that it exists pervasively throughout the total existential process. It is neither a locatable nor manipulable dharma.

It is not here or there but always remains a vital component of any experience.

Another example is the nature of suchness or thusness of being (tathataa), which is the result of achieving enlightenment.

Nevertheless, it functions thereafter as a "nonconstructive dharmic force of existence.

Thus we observe that there must be an internal consistency to all human experience, from the ordinary du.hkha-bound realm to the unbounded enlightened realm of existence.

The Abhidharma thought made it clear that no extraneous or transcendental force or factor is introduced to explain the seen and unseen factors of experience.

This is a basic position which shows up in force in the subsequent developments of the Mahayana but which scholars have tended to overlook.

We have now gone through a tedious abstract analysis of the Abhidharma genetic structure of experience but have left out the crucial examination of the term, genetic.

The term is what makes possible the structural dynamics of experience or what explains the nature of the experiential process itself. The heart of the matter is to be seen in the next important doctrine.

The Experiential process (pratiitya-samutpaada)

The Buddha, in a rather general way, explained to his disciples the causal nature of experience: in terms of the often quoted format (not formula) thus: "This being, that becomes; from the arising of this. that arises; this not becoming, that does not become; from the ceasing of this, that ceases."(4)

The format i applied to the famous Twelve-membered Wheel of Life which begins with ignorance (avidyaa) and ends with aging and death (

So the popular translation reads, "Conditioned by ignorance arise the play of perceptual objects (sa.mskaara) . conditioned by the play of perceptual objects arise consciousness (vij~naana), etc."

The Wheel of Life is technically known as pratiitya-samutpaada (Sanskrit) , or pa.ticca-samuppaada (Paali). It is one of the most crucial concepts in Buddhism. perhaps the alpha and omega of life-concept.

The term is referred to in Early Buddhism as the nidaana doctrine because it exhibits the linking of the different phases of experience, thus indicating the basis or ground of experience itself.

Pratitya-samutpada has been translated in such various ways as, "causal chain, " "chain of causation, " "causal genesis, " "dependent origination." "theory of twelve causes." "relational origination." "conditioned origination." "dependent coarising," "dependently-coordinated-origination, " etc.

However, one thing is clear; it is not a strict causality principle or a simple causation theory. It is not a universal law or a formula that governs the order or the cosmology of the world or the individual.

In essence, it only depicts the multifacted dependent or relational nature of ordinary experiential process, that is, how events come and go or arise and subside.

Most importantly, it has reference to the concept of du.hkha (suffering). In this respect, it is also synonymous with the concept of sa.msaara, the du.hkha-bound cycle of being.

The cycle is usually referred to as the life-death cycle of being, to emphasize the incessant rounds of grasping for something in the unenlightened realm of existence.

Let us pause here to examine the term in its Theravaada (Hiinayaana, Abhiciharma) and Mahaayaana senses.

The great Russian Buddhologist, Th. Stcherbatsky, made a remarkable distinction between the two as follows: In Hiinayaana, in a word. we have a radical Pluralism, converted in Mahaayaana in as radical a Monism."(5)

I wish to take exception to this assertion which has misled many since its publication.

In a very fundamental sense, Stcherbatsky has fallen into a mental trap of his own making. He is eager to classify both schools as belonging rigidly into the camps of either pluralism or monism. His logic is very simple.

If a school does not assert the categories of substance, quality, and motion but admits the reality of sense data and the elements of the mind (dharmas), then it must be a pluralistic system.(6)

If, on the other hand, a school looks at reality as possessing a reality of its own (sva-bhaava) , something. unproduced by causes (ak.rtaka-asa.mak.rta) and not dependent upon anything else (paratra

then it must be a monistic system.(7) His logic contains sweeping generalizations, which may make sense from the general standpoint, but foes drastically counter to the nature of Buddhist experience. Let us examine his point closely.

He elaborates:

In Hiinayaana the elements, although inter(de)pendent (sa.msk.rta-pratiitya-samutpanna), were real (vastu) . In Mahaayaana all elements, because interdependent

(Italics his) were unreal (`suunya-svabhaava-`suunya). In Hinayana every whole (raa`si-avayavin) is regarded as a nominal existence (praj~naptisat) and only parts or ultimate elements (dharma) are real (vastu).

In Mahaayaana all parts or elements are unreal (`suunya), and only the whole, i.e., the Whole of wholes (dharmataa-dharma-kaaya), is real.(8)

The most questionable interpretation in the preceding passage is with respect to the term. '"pratiitya-samupana, " which he translates as "interdependent.

This presents a strong relational or coordinated connotation. He thinks that the interdependent nature at once issues forth a kind of reality.

It is tantamount to saving that mutuality (paraspara is sufficient to produce reality in the Abhidharma or Hiinayaana system.

Thus, according to him, for the Hinayana the term signifies a phenomenon of dharmas in such a state; whereas, for the Mahaayaana, it becomes the basis for the unreality (`suunya) of the dharmas.

Furthermore, he is satisfied with the definition that dharmas are separate entities or forces, that existence is an interplay of a plurality of subtle, ultimate, and not further analyzable elements of matter,

mind, and forces.(9)

These dharmas obey the causal law of "dependently-coordinated-origination" (pratiitya-samutpaada).(10)

It is clear that Stcherbatsky has centered on the concept of ultimate elements of existence to construct the basic Buddhist metaphysical position.

(Indeed, the title of his work, The Central Conception of Buddhism and the Meaning of the Word, "Dharma, says so much.)

It was a convenient position to arrive at, but one that had a basic shortcoming, that is, a case of mistaken emphasis.

He saw or tried to see the elements (dharmas) first and not the process (pratiitya-samutpaada). Or, he placed the primacy of the elements over that of the process.

In a way one cannot be too harsh on his oversight here. because he, as everyone else, is accustomed to stress on the visible or tangible nature of things. So, once establishing pluralism in Early Buddhism, he had nowhere to turn but to monism of the Mahaavaana type to account for the so-called unreality (`suunya) of things.

The correct (proper) view of reality should be (as has always been in Buddhism) on the experiential process and that within which the attendant factors or forms (dharmas) should be understood as defining or characterizing that process. The reality of experiential events is undeniable, but the manner in which man describes his experience is in question.

By way of expansion, it should be noted that all of Naagaarjuna's polemics against the Abhidharmic views, starting with the initial chapter on Pratyaya (Relational Condition), are lodged not so much on the "elements" of existence (dharmas) per se as it is on the manner in which the dharmas are foistered into the dominant position in the experiential process (pratiitya-samutpaada).

Whether it is the Abhidharmika or Maadhyamika the process is granted, but the way in which it is explained shows up the difference, The Abhidharmika stressed the evanescent momentary dharmic states as they come and go, hence, their

"realities." The Maadhyamika, on the other hand, sought the basis for the coming and going phenomenon with the "shadowy" existences of the various dharmas.

Thus, the fact of relational condition (pratyaya) or interdependent nature ( is not sufficient to explain the unique experiential process.

In the Prasannapadaa(11), Candrakiirti explains that the term pratiitya is a gerund signifying the phenomenon of "reaching" or extending over." and the term samutpaada means origination or manifestation of the momentary event.

Thus in conjunction, pratiitya-samutpaada, refers to the dynamics of momentary experiential existence.

The concept of du.hkha again enters at this point. In a very significant sense. it has direct reference to the experiential process in terms of pointing to the inability to understand the nature and function of the process.

That is, any dharmic reference to the Wheel itself or its twelve components hampers understanding of the Buddhist nature of existence.

The Wheel is not to be seen in terms of the components or segments but as the continuity, the linking (nidaana) process itself.

If one is able to see the Wheel in the latter sense, then the Wheel turns either clockwise (anuloma) or counterclockwise (pa.tiloma) , or serially or aserially, that is, it turns at a nondesignatable referential point.

This is indeed cryptic but not in the sense of the transcendental or impossible.

The concept of du.hkha is basically in the "constructive" or "creative" (sa.mskrta) realm of existence.(12) As all dharmas are forms of grasping phenomena, the dharmic reference is decidedly forced or strained.

As we know, basic Buddhist teaching says that suffering is owing to desires or passions (t.r.s.naa) and the attachments (upaadana) thereof.

Now, in the above analysis, the dharmas are the mental conformations (sa.mskaara) which are adhered to in the entifiable sense.

Such adherence is, to be sure. the very basis of consciousness (vij~naana, vikalpa), where postulated entities must be clear and distinct.

However, the postulational is narrow and limited as compared with the aesthetic nature of experience which goes beyond any circumscription.

Let us now expand on the inordinate nature of the experiential process. It should not be doomed or fated to du.hkha. Du.hkha, after all, only refers to the sa.msaaric realm of existence.

One need not be tied down to it. In fact, as suggested all along. the tying-down process is of one's own making due to the upaadaana-objectifying phenomenon.

Even the Theravaada tradition made it plain that the grasping of the skandhas entails a basic form of suffering (pa~ncaskandhaupaadaana).(13)

But it was Naagaarjuna who gave the clearest expression to the bold insight that the sa.msaaric realm is only the "covered" side of reality (, in the famous verses treating the spheres and limits of the twin concepts of sa.msaara and

The empirical world of grasping and conceptual play are not foreclosed to the states of release (nirodha) or rest (upa`sama) .(15)

They are the very ingredients whereby the opening to the enlightened realin is possible, since the Buddhist truth of existence spans the relative as well as supreme natures.(16)

Thus in the classic verse on "doctrinal equation," Naagaarjuna wraps up everything in the following manner:(17)

We declare that whatever is relational origination (pratiitya-samutpaada) is of the nature of emptiness (`suunyata). It is a provisional name (thought construction, praj~napti) for the mutuality of being, and indeed, it is the middle path (madhyamaa-pratipad).

The equation (pratiitya-samutpaada=`suunyataa=praj~n The equahyamaa-pratipad) is the crystallized message of Mahaayaana metaphysics. Subsequent developments all take note of it, the supreme example being the development of the Chinese T'ien T'ai School, which centers on the Triple Nature of Truth: `Suunyataa, Praj~napti, and Madhyamaa-pratipad.

Now, the concept of `suunyataa, or `sunyataa as the basis of continued enlightened existence. is not new to Naagaarjuna. He was heir to the mass of Maahaayana literature known as the Praj~naapaaramitaa Suutras.(18)

These early suutras of unknown authorship exhibit the shift from the Theravaada view of the Arhant Ideal to the Mahaayaana view, which is the practice of the bodhisattva way of life (bodhisattvacaryaa).

The shift is underscored by a sweeping reassessment of Buddhist doctrines and a reorientation of the nature of experience. It is a basically revolutionary accounting of the content of enlightenment. Let us explore.

The A.s.tasaahasriskaa Praj~naapaaramitaa Suutra, considered to be the oldest suutra in this class, sets the tone of the Mahayana by raising several questions:

(1) What is the meaning of Mahaayaana (The Great Vehicle)?

"The term, Mahaayaana, is a synonym of immeasurableness. 'Immeasurableness' means infinitude. It is the same as space. As in space so in this vehicle there is room for immeasurable and incalculable beings. One cannot see its coming, its going, and its abiding natures. Thus one cannot seize its beginning, its end nor its middle."(19)

This accounting points to the fact that the realm of existence is a totally open and extensive affair.

Nothing is left out, nothing is added on. In a grand metaphysical sweep, the Mahaayaana wishes to account for everything within the wide nature of experience but such experience or knowledge can only be attained by the truly aspiring Buddhist,

the bodhisattva, as distinguished from the lesser aspirants called the `sraavaka (or `sraavaka-yaana, the way of one who subscribes to Buddhist principles) , and the pratyeka-buddha (or pratyekabuddha-yaana, the way of intellectual effort and understanding of Buddhist principles).

2) What is the bodhisattva? Again the suutra says: "Nothing real is meant by the word, `Bodhisattva.' Because a Bodhisattva trains himself in non-attachment to all dharmas.

For the Bodhisattva, the great being, awakes in non-attachment to full enlightenment in the sense that he understands all dharmas."(20) Further,

"A Bodhisattva is called a 'great being' (Mahaasattva) in the sense that he will cause a great mass and collection of beings to achieve the highest (state of existence)."(21)

Then `Saariputra. a disciple with a Theravaada background, is made to say.

"A Bodhisattva is called a great being in the sense that he will demonstrate dharmas so that the great errors should be forsaken--such erroneous views as the assumption of a self (aatman),

a being (sattva), a living soul (jiiva), a person (pudgala), of becoming (bhava) , of not-becoming (abhava), of annihilation (uccheda) , of eternity (nitya) , etc."(22)

(3) What are dharmas? After all, it is said that the bodhisattva trains or disciplines himself in the praj~naapaaramitaas.

The paaramitaas refer to the six (or ten) so-called spiritual excellences that,(23) if practiced properly, will bring about the nature of irreversibility, that is, the movement from one stage to the next without retrogression until full enlightenment is attained.

In the spiritual development, the bodhisattva courses in the paaramitaas but does not tre at them as dharmas, as objective factors, or as components of existence.

The suutra says, "He does not go near any dharma at all, because all dharmas are unapproachable and unappropriable."(24) It is the foolish, untaught, and common people who are accustomed to treat the dharmas as realities.

But these people "have constructed all the dharmas. And, having constructed them, attached themselves to (the idea of) the two extremes (i.e., existence and non-existence)."(25)

Because of the adherence to the concepts of existence and nonexistence, (is or is not framework) , ordinary people attach the three temporal moments...past. present and future--to the dharmas.

But dharmas do not go anywhere nor remain in a place. Finally, having established or constructed their own limits (ko.ti) of being, ordinary people are not able to expand, extend, and realize the true realm of existence (bhuuta-ko.ti).(26)

The dharmas are not objects of manipulation (anupalambha, anupalabdhi). They are not made (sa.msk.rta) nor are they brought about (anutpaada) .

They do not have self-nature of own-being (savbhaava).(27)

Another suutra belonging to the same genre, goes on to say that the bodhisaatva "does not see any dharma as conditioned (sa.msk.rta) nor unconditioned (asa.msk.rta) ;

he does not see existence as conditioned, or non-existence as unconditioned;

he does not see the sign as conditioned, or the signless as unconditioned;

he does not review the beingness or non-beingness of any dharma, except in such a way that he does not transgress against the suchness (tathataa, `suunyataa) of all dharmas."(28)

A word of caution is in order here.

The `suunyataa of all dharmas spoken of so frequently in the suutras is not really an imputation of the nature of suchness or emptiness of the dharmas themselves as independent of the experiential process. `Suunyataa is a unique experience arrived at and has reference to the experiential process as a whole and not to any of its constituent parts.

The Buddhist is not saying that each skandha or each dharma is empty or void, nor is he saying that all these are grounded in the nature of `suunyataa. On the contrary, they become empty or void as a result of enlightenment whose content is `sunyata.

Their "appearances" or signs (nimitta, are recognized by the bodhisattva but "he surrenders himself completely to the signless (animitta, , in the end."(29)

Thus, the signless state which is another characterization of suchness (`suunyataa) means that the bodhisattva has no particular abode and is therefore free and unlimitable.

In sum, the bodhisattvacaryaa is to realize at once both the "constructive," appropriating nature and the "nonconstructive", nonappropriating nature of all dharmas.

When this is done, there is a further relinquishment of all signs and the desiring process in order to gain full knowledge of all modes of being (sarvaakaaraj~nataa).

Thus, all outflows (aasravas) cease, and one thrives in the state of nonstraining outflows (anaasrava-dharmas).

The bodhisattvacaryaa has two basic facets: one is the strong vow to become a buddha, and the other is to have concern for the welfare of all beings.

On the one hand, there is the path to full or complete knowledge (sarvaj~nataa, praj~naar), and, on the other, the extensive nature of love, compassion (karu.naa).

Both facets are mutually involved and are thus unique simultaneous developments. For the Buddhist, the most basic question is: What is wisdom without compassion and what is compassion without wisdom? Or, put another way, he would say, Aren't the two aspects really depicting the self-same reality?

In correcting perverted views on/of reality, the bodhisattva is skillful-in-means (upaaya-kau`salya), not only in leading ordinary beings into the right path (the classic example is given in Chapter II of the Lotus Suutra, where the father succeeds in leading his children out of the burning house), but also in developing his own existential (ontological) purity by increasing his wholesome forms of existence.

With respect to his own development. he moves from the conditioned to the unconditioned, from the sign to the signless, from the dharmic to the nondharmic nature of existence.

In short, the bodhisattva sees the dharmic signs. that is. understands the cause of their formations (sa.msk.rta-dharma), but he is not caught up in them since he strives for the `suunyataa aspect of all dharmas.

The skillful-in-means also entails the fact that the bodhisattva cannot abandon or will not realize for himself the true realm of existence (bhuuta-ko.ti), while in the midst of his practice (paaramitas) unless all dharmas have been realized within the context of `suunyataa.(30)

This is the philosophic expression of Dharmaakara bodhisattva's vow, as expressed in the Larger Sukhaavatii-vyuuha Suutra, that he will not forsake the sentient creatures of the world until all enter the Buddhafield (Buddha-k.setra) .

At each state of development, the bodhisattva, without losing sight of the Buddha-held, works at the identification or assimilation (samataa) process. This is the meaning of the term, abhisamaya, a term central to the host of commentarial suutras based on the Praj~naapaaramitaa Suutras.

In the foregoing discussion, we have witnessed the standard doctrines of early Buddhism displayed but interpreted in a different sense. The main focus should be on the manifestation of dharmas in the experiential process.

In the conditioned realm, all dharmas are "real" from one standpoint hut from another they are illusory, imaginary, and misleading. In the nonconditioned realm, however, all dharmas are nonproductive. nonarising, nonseizable, and noncharacterizable.

It is another way of asserting that' the Wheel of Life both turns and does not turn, neither affirms nor denies the dharmic structure of things. The Wheel or pratiitya-samutpaada, in this sense, is deep and profound (gambhiira) as are the natures of `suunyataa and bhuuta-ko.ti (true realm of existence).

Rightly seen, it is the supreme realm of existence in the potential and actual sense.

It is hoped that the discussion so far has brought on some understanding of the early or basic ideas relative to the Mahaayaana in a way that also leads to better understanding of its subsequent developments in the various forms.

So it is time to assess the ideas and derive some of the metaphysical implication expressed therein.

(1) Reality in the Mahaayaana. as the name indicates, is an open, unbounded (but not infinite) realm of existence. Every doctrine in Buddhism must be framed within it.

For example, the nature of `suunyataa is deep and profound from the standpoint of the individual's ontology, but it is vast and extensive in terms of the nonindividual or social ontology.

Or, the concept of Bodhisattva Ideal is synonymous with the concept of Mahaayaana Reality (bhuuta-ko.ti).

(2) `Suunyataa is the state of clear (ontological) being.

Contrary to accepted views on it, it is not what makes existence possible in the sense of a principle or a substratum of existence.

Rather, it is the foundation of true reality when that clear state of being is achieved.

When that happens, it becomes the ground for the extensive, relational nature of all things. Thus it can be asserted that `suunyataa is the ontological principle of Buddhism.

It "brings" the various dharmas togehter by not allowing the dharmas to assert their false natures; thus I have at times referred to it as the supreme experience of ontological togetherness.

(3) Following from the preceding. the ground of reality is not given but evolves out of a serious consideration and aspiration for the true nature of things (true experiential process), which in turn involves an inordinate effort by way of proper disciplinary training and practice, the Bodhisattvacaryaa.

`Suunyataa is not everywhere. unless one is speaking about the enlightened nature.

The initial von; (pra.nidhi-citta) of the bodhisattva is an exhibition of a strong, faith in the "other side" of what we normally assume to be reality. But this does not entail any form of duality or dual nature of being or of reality.

Parenthetically, there is no flat, undifferentiated aesthetic continuum, for such a continuum cannot be an "unproduced" gift of nature.

(4) Full knowledge of the modes of being or simply wisdom is not an isolated but a total affair. The best exemplification of the inclusive nature of any knowledge or act is the concept of compassion (karu.naa). Nothing is left alone or behind, for everything is accountable however dim or inconsequential the force may seem to be.

5) Individual ontology or the dynamic cosmological construction (that is, the genetic structure of being) is always coterminus or coextensive with the rest of nature,

The problem with unenlightened beings is that they do not realize the nature of the terminus and extension: their understanding of the terminus and extension is inherently closed or self-limiting. Therefore. their efforts are usually misdirected.

The Kaa`syapa Parivarta(31) says in a graphic manner that the clear nature of being or `suunyataa striven for by the Sraavaka or Pratyekbuddha is like a hole made in a wood by a termite, whereas, the bodhisattva's `suunyataa is like the infinite space (aakaa`sa).

The former achievement is known as pudgala`suunyataa, the `suunyata a limited to the individual only, whereas the latter, as dharma`suunyataa, is the `suunyataa of all dharmic elements or dharmic framework of being and thus extends over and beyond the nature of the individual.

In consequence, for the Mahaayaana, reality that extends beyond the individual process remains a potential ground for the process of enlightenment.

(6) From the foregoing, it can be asserted that the metaphysical and ethical grounds are one and the same.

There is a sense of the idealistic, but this is not metaphysical idealism so far as it is known in the West, Buddhahood or is the summum bonum. but it entails an expansive nature which "transcends" local or individual cosmologies.

Or that moral questions or morality must take on larger dimensions beyond the individual or individuals concerned, if there are to be any binding effects in the interrelational sense.

(7) The suffering or du.hkha that the Buddhist speaks of is basically an ontological problem. Du.hkha is much more than what is related to the mere physical or mere mental poles, or a combination of the two,

It arises in a subtle way by virtue of the inability to come to terms with the impermanent nature of being as well as the inability to resolve the dharmic factors at play.

It is in the karmically enforced realm of existence (sa.msk.rta) .

The question of good and/or evil is not really germane to Buddhist ethics unless it is tied in with the metaphysical and ontological nature of things. "Evil for oneself and the resolution thereof are activities that involve more than the self.

(8) Buddhahood, as the realization of the enlightened realm, is also characterized by peaceful calm (`saanta) and the feelings of freedom and bliss (`siva). As such it is far from mere quietism or indifference.

It is in fact an extension of the Bodhisattvacaryaa where, in having concern over the welfare of sentient creatures, he develops a feeling of ultimate pity (anukampaa). But as Buddhahood is attained, the former bodhisattva, now a buddha, expresses his satisfaction in total or whole ontological terms of peace. calm, and joy or bliss.

Herein lies the nature of complete or full freedom because it is now the abode of no dharmas, no dharmic framework, no outflows, no du.hkha of whatever kind.

It is the realm of suchness (tathataa) , the receptacle of all beings (Tathaagata-garbha) , and the embodiment of all dharmas (Dharmakaaya, Dharmadhaatu). Despite all of this, Buddhism is not a philosophy advancing an Absolute or an Absolute Realm of Existence in the prexising as well as postexisting senses.

(9) Despite the foregoing analysis, which has bordered on the mystical and the impossible at times, Buddhist metaphysics is, nevertheless, consistent and coherent within the nature of things.

The one doctrine that has always been at the core, whether in the unenlightened or enlightened sense, is relational origination (pratiitya-samutpaada). It is a doctrine that one begins with in terms of the du.hkha-oriented nature and ends up with in terms of the `suunyataa-oriented nature.

The doctrine is pervasive but makes its curious (or unique) Buddhist turn in the process from the conditioned to the unconditioned nature of things. Subsequent literatures. such as the Laankaavataara Suutra, speak of that turn as a revulsion (paraav.rtti) or a transformation (pari.naamana) of being; it is a turning over of the du.hkha-oriented outflows (aa`sraya-paraav.rtti).

The result of such a turn has inspired such men as Naagaarjuna to spell it out in the famous "doctrinal equation" seen earlier (pra (pratipaad). Such an equation is quite baffling even to the Buddhist; how much more to the non-Buddhist?


Whitehead says that metaphysics is nothing but the description of the generalities which apply to all the details of practice.(32) And in terms of the foundation of metaphysics, he says that it "should be sought in the understanding of the subject-object structure of experience, and in the respective roles of the physical and mental functionings."(33)

This also implicates metaphysics into two contrasting terms. that is, "appearance" and "reality." Their distinction arises in the process of self-formation of each actual occasion.(34) "Reality" according to Whitehead, is the objective content as given in the antecedent world of that occasion.(35)

It is from which the occasion advances creatively, "Appearance," on the other hand, refers to the "difference between the objective content of the initial phase of the physical pole and the objective content of the final phase, after the integration of physical and mental poles."(36) It is the effect of the activity of the mental pole."(37)

There is thus an intimate interplay or bond between "reality" and "appearance" in the subject-object perceptual process of the actual occasion.

Parenthetically, it must be understood that Whitehead refers to the human individual as a grouping of occasions, a society of occasions, a person or personal, but the manner in which a single occasion and a society of occasions are involved in process is essentially the same. Whitehead is keen on understanding the proper function of the percipient subject.

He says, "the living organ of experience is the living body as a whole."(38)

Further, "there is inheritance of sense-perception from the antecedent members of the personal succession."(39) And he cautions that "a mere sensationalist perception does not account for our direct observation of the contemporary world.

There is some other factor present, which is equally primitive with our perception of sensa. This factor is provided by the immanence of the past in the immediate occasion whose percipience is under discussion."(40)

The foregoing metaphysics of experience bears striking resemblance to that of the basic Buddhist genetic structure of being that was delineated earlier.

In both at least three factors are prominent:

(1)there are no mere subject and no mere object in the percipient process;

(2) the process is not an isolated phenomenon but extends beyond the living organism:

and (3) the process, in its internal activities, must be seen as movement from past states to the present where much of the activities lodges within the organism. the human body.

There is, in short, relatedness that extends beyond the percipient as well as within the unnoticed process that makes up the percipient itself.

In Buddhism, the continuity in terms of the skandha-members is inviolable. Corporeal nature (ruupa) may be taken to be the initial phase, but its content of percipience is passed on to the high-grade activities called consciousness (vij~naana) by way of the visceral conditions (vedaana) manifesting themselves throughout the organism.

In the further analysis by way of the eighteen realms (dhaatu) of being or the dharmaic structuring of experience. the sensa derived from the sense faculties are granted but they are not dominant in the analysis since there is something more important, more supreme in experience, that is, the relational nature of being, both externally and internally but. in our discussion at hand, more internally.

In early Buddhism, the relational nature was described in terms of the twenty-four paccayas (pratyayas).

Beginning with hetu, the "root cause" (for example, the root of a tree), the Buddhist elaborated on the very minute relational conditions present with respect to the rise of the nature of ordinary (unenlightened) experience as well as to the development of the path leading to enlightenment.

The Sarvaastivaadins or later Abhidharmikas reduced the twenty-four paccayas to a more manageable Doctrine of Ten Causes.(41) Whether the latter is an improvement over the former is a moot question, however. The doctrine is divided into six major causes (hetu) and four subsidiary relational conditions (pratyaya).

They are minute or microscopic facets, which describe the rise and subsidence of the experiential events or of the process itself. The Mahaayaanist's pet metaphor here is the conditions relative to the rise and subsidence of a wave (or waves) in the ocean.

A single wave or an aggregation of waves is not an isolatable or independent phenomenon.

Each has a relational structure as well as a content, both of which are dynamically involved such that the mere sensationalist perception is wholly inadequate in accounting for the nature of things.

Whitehead focuses on the same problem. He says, "the basis of experience is emotional. Stated more generally, the basic fact is the rise of an affective tone originating from things whose relevance is given."(42)

This is crystallized into the doctrine of prehension whose mode of activity is defined as follows. "An occasion is a subject in respect to its special activity concerning an object; and anything is an object in respect to its provocation of some special activity within the subject."(43)

While datum becomes the prehended object, the subject is thereby affected and develops a subjective form in regard to the datum. The prehending subject is the way experience occurs.

The notion of a subjective form, the affective tone. strongly suggests a relationship to the Buddhist dharmic analysis of experience.

For, each dharma is a definite form or mode of being expressing a particular evnet whether in the conditioned or nonconditioned realm of existence. As seen earlier. even a particular skandha is a form or dharma, so are the sense faculties.

the different kinds of consciousness, and the various mental conformations But in Buddhism: a form or mode in and of itself ii nor self-generative nor self-sustaining, because it has to give way to the relational nature of being as well as the larger context in which the concept of being ultimately appears. A dharma, being evanescent. still exerts itself long enough to exhibit a certain characteristic to an experience or of the percipient.

Both Whitehead and Buddhism converge upon several crucial elements of experience as a way of accommodating the larger aspects of things. There are three aspects in particular worth mentioning:

(1) An actual occasion or an event is never independent. As an actual occasion prehends other entities, so is it influenced by them The doctrine of mutuality or mutual immanence holds Tar both systems.

(2) An actual occasion is never "vacuous." Part of this idea naturally comes from the above. Whitehead says that "the term vacuous actuality' here means the notion of a res vera devoid of subjective immediacy."(44)

This notion is closely allied with the notion of "inherence of quality in substance" which is also denied by him"

The "other side" of vacuous actuality will then be an actuality which is vitally related to the rest of nature including its own self-enjoyment....the subjective immediacy which takes on the dynamic nature of a subject-superject structure

But this entails a reassessment of the notions of presentational immediacy and extensive continuum, both of which are elaborate descriptions of the so-called orizontal (or serial) and vertical relationships with respect to the concrescent process. This type of description is not alien to the whole scheme of Buddhist experiential process.

(3) Given the nature of muruality and nonvacnous actuality. Whitehead goes on further to complete his cosmology. As he says, "the cosmological story, in every part and in every chapter, relates the interplay of the static vision and the dynamic history."(46)

The interplay of course reveals the paradoxical nature involved that is. permanent factors in the impermanent nature of things: in general the play of the ideal opposites in process,

For example, he says that the ultimate facts of immediate experience are the actual entities, prehension and nexuus.(47) Although these exhibit the facts of the concrescent process, they are at the same rime pail and parcel of the dynamic nature of that process itself.

But the process is extensive since it "is an individualization of the whole universe."(48) By saying this. Whitehead is cautious and does not wish to advance the Platonic concept of a receptacle since the latter is "bare of all forms...void, abstract from all individual occasions."(49)

He wishes to work not from the abstract notion of a container but from the concrete facts of experience as they are related to the whole.

He says that the "connectedness of things is nothing else than the togetherness of thins in occasions of experience."(50) But in the interplay of the static vision and the dynamic history there in a sense of the "unbound permanence."

As seen earlier. there is no difficulty here in relating to the metaphysics of Buddhist experience. Although the Whiteheadian concepts of actual entities, prehension and nexus are nut precisely formulated in Buddhism, they seem to be implicit in the metaphysics and are quite relevant for our discussion.

For instance, the Buddhist doctrine of anaatman (non-self) is a kind of correlate of the concept of actual entity for there is no way in which a self can ever be given a definitive (continual) status within the impermanent nature of things.

Whitehead, in turn, is saying about the same thing when he asserts that..."how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is: so that the two descriptions of an actual entity are not independent. Its `being' is constituted by its becoming."(51)

The becoming process is expanded by the concept of prehension with regard to the three factors. (1) subject, (b) datum, and (c) subjective form. These prehensions can either be physical (other actual entities) or conceptual (cternal objects). And they are also positive or negative in nature with their respective subjective forms.(52)

In Buddhism the closest overall concept to prehension is t.r.s.naa, the desiring process.(53) It may take on positive and negative characters with their respective forms (dharmas).

Each dharma, as I understand it, is a kind of (subjective) form of experience which specifics what that experience is about. but it single dharma or a set of dharmas is still inadequate to describe fully the becomingness (bhava).

So just as Whitehead introduced the third ultimale fact of experience, nexuus, Buddhism also introduced the concept of paccayas (pratyayas) to account for the interrelated nature of things.

But, as seen earlier again. Buddhism stressed on the foundation of all experiences as a unique process of relational origination (pratiitya-samutpaada) .

The understanding of this latter concept war the key to grasping the depth and breadth of being, from the microscopic to the macroscopic realm of existence. This concept.

I believe, is nearly identical to the Whiteheadian concept of creativity "Creativity is the universal of universals characterizing ultimate matter of fact it is that ultimate principle by which the many, which are the universe disjunctively, become the one actual occasion, which is the universe conjunctively."(54)

Thus creativity is the way all experiences arise in a novel sense.

Whether Buddhism would interpret relational origination as the principle of novelty as Whitehead doer is not clear. hut both would agree on the fact that their respective doctrines are central or ultimate concepts with respect to experience In Buddhism.

relational origination has two aspects: one the du.hkha-bound turning of the Wheel and the other. the non-duhkha or released (nirodha) aspect in the turning of the Wheel.

From the standpoint of the former, there is no novelty of experience in the strictest sense since the flow of existence is interrupted by the dharmic seizures, as it were and from the latter, there is nothing hut novelty since there is no interruption of whatever kind and life is co-incident (harmonious) with the larger framework of nature.

On the other hand, Whitehea in turn seems to be suggesting it type of

Buddhist du.hkha (dukkhu in Paali) in his analysis of the concept of evil. He says, "the ultimate evil in the temporal world is deeper than any specific evil.

It lies in the fact that the past fades, that time is a `perpetually perishing'....

The present fact has not the past fact with it in any full immediacy."(55)

This concept of the ultimate evil is very close to the early Buddhist concept of viparinaamadukkha, that is, evil or suffering due to the inability to accommodate changes in the existential flow.

This concept also extends over into the other more complicated concept of suffer ing, sankhaata-dukkha, that is, suffering due to the "constructive" nature of mental play which in Whiteheadian terms might he the indulgence in abstractive (conceptual) analysis or with reference to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Whitehead goes on to say that, "the nature of evil is that the characters of things are mutually obstructive."(56) This comes about because of "three metaphysical principle:

(1)that all actualization is finite;

(2) that finitude involves the exclusion of alternative possibility; (3) that mental functioning introduces into realization suhjective forms conformal to relevant alternatives excluded from completeness of physical realization."(57)

While these metaphysical principles are nor mentioned or elaborated in Buddhism, still, the basis for the rise or evil or suffering seems to focus for both on the same aspect of existence, that is, the inability to a ccommodate the finite within the infinite nature of things or the clash arising between the two.

In Buddhism, we have noted that despite du.hkha the ultimate experiential process must be known or felt in terms of its empty(`suunyataa) aspect. It enables the process to "entertain" all entities without being caught up (obstructed) in their dharmic natures.

It is difficult to find a correlate term in Whitehead for `suunyataa. However, its implications are nor lacking. For this, we are invariably led to Whitehead's own religious orientation.

He says: "The task of Theology is to show how the World is founded on something beyond mere transient fact, and how it issues in something beyond the perishing of occasions.....

We ask of Theology to express that element in perishing lives which ii undying by reason of its expression of perfcctiuns proper to our finite natures. In this way we shall understand how life includes a mode of satisfaction deeper than joy or sorrow."(58)

The undying is the everlasting nature of things, which "is the content of that vision upon which the finer religions are built.... the `many' absorbed everlastingly in the final unity."(59)

It is in religion then that Whitehead's philosophy or metaphysics comes to full fruition and exposition. The seeming clashes of doctrines, such as the metaphysical opposites, all arrive at a harmonious accommodation. 

From the minuscule actual occasion to God, he has finally dared to seek the basis of the everlasting undying nature and for the deeper ultimate satisfaction of the universe.

In his last lecture on "Immortality,"

Whitehead is quite explicit concerning the two aspects of the universe, that is, the World of Fact and the World of Value, which require each other.(60) On the former, he also describes it as the World of Activity, of Change, of Origination and of Creativity. But of the latte, he describes ii as the world which emphasizes persistence.(61)

Value. according to him, is independent of any moment of time; it is timeless and immortal.(62)

Yet, without the passing world of facts, value cannot exist it is relevant to the process of realization in the World of Activity, which there is modification of events whose process of judgment is called evaluation.

So the process of evaluation exhibits an immortal world of coordinated value.(63)

Whitehead sums up: "Origination is creation, whereas Value issues into modification of creative action. Creation aims at Value, whereas Value is saved from the futility of abstraction by its impact upon the process of Creation. But in this fusion. Value preserves its Immortality."(64)

Close observation reveals that Whitehead's terms. origination and creation (creativity), are quite similar in intent to the Buddhist concept of relational origination, which covers the whole range of events from the simple to the complex.

In both, the respective concepts refer to the total nature of change or the creative process Moreover, the Whiteheadian term, value or valuation. can he related to the concept of `suunyataa.

Though normally translated as empty or emptiness (voidness) due to its etymological origin, `suunyataa actually refers to the state of completeness or fullness of being It gives the "permanent" nature or flavor to the process. and- in this sense, it is the supreme value of existence.

As we have seen. the world of dharmic factors must eventually be transformed into a world of nondharmic factors without disrupting the general flow of existence, a state of existence which takes on. as in Whiteheadian analysis, a "permanent" or immortal character.

Thus for the Buddhist he who embodies `suunyataa by attaining enlightenment lives immortally. This has a definite correlate in Whitehead He employs such terms as personal ] dentity and personality and asserts that. "Personality is the extreme example of the sustained realization of a type of value."(65)

There are, of cours,. problems involved in correlating the concepts of `sunyataa and value, Although both refer to the "supreme essence" of the experiential or creative process, the method by which the concepts are arrived at differ drastically;

one as a result of meditation. the other without such aids Where one is a description of the mirrorlike state of existence where all relative plays cease. the other is not exactly that but the outcome of the intimate play of the physical and mental poles.

Whitehead was not satisfied with the concept of Personality unless he could relate it to the vision of the infinitude. After fumbling about for an appropriate term. he settled for "Peace."

He says, "I choose the term 'Peace` for that Harmony of Harmonies which calms destructive turbulence and completes civilization."(66) He elaborates.

"It is a broadening of feeling due to the emergence of some deep metaphysical insight, unverbalized and yet momentous in its coordination of values.

Its first offect is the removal of the stress of acquisitive feeling arising from the soul's preoccupation with itself. Thus peace carries with it it surpassing of ersonality. There is an inversion of relative values."(67) A few pages down he says that peace is the intuition of permanence.(68)

These passages certainly could have been uttered by a Buddhist, only substitute the word peace with As a matter of fact, he introduces the terms "Buddhist" later on but in a different and mistaken context.(69)

Although. Peace is what Whitehead concluded with, in terms of the ultimate status of things, it would seem that the concept was in reality a crystallization of the successful incorporation of the concept of God as the highest form of actuality.

Peace is the conformation of Appearance and Reality. much the same way that is the conformation (collapse of the relative and supreme statuses at truth.

But the conformation in Whitehead's case must be a participation of God for "he is not before all creation but with all creation."(70)

He goes on to say that, "analogous to all actual entities, the nature of God is dipolar. He has it primordial nature and a consequent nature.

The consequent nature of God is conscious; and it is the realization of the actual world in the unity of his nature, and through the transformation of his wisdom.

The primordial nature is conceptual, the consequent nature is the weaving of God's physical feelings upon his primordial concepts."(71) While the primordial side is infinite, free, complete, eternal, actually deficient and unconscious, the consequent side is determined, incomplete, 'everlasting', fully actual and conscious.(72)

We have finally arrived at the ultimate concepts in the comparative exploration. If God is the finest entity, is there something in the Mahaayaana to match it? One could easily present a whole array of cognate terms, to be sure but one must he extremely wary of easy correspondence.

What follows must be taken as a conjecture with measured qualifications to go alone with it.

It seems that Whitehead's God is a combination of several concepts derived from the Mahaayaana tradition.

For example, looking at it from the dipolar aspect, the buddha(s) or tathaagata(s) represents the primordial nature, and the bodhisattva(s) represents the consequent nature

The Buddha-field or realm (k.setra) it a potential ground of existence, a lure for all beings.

The various types of buddhas or tathaagatas, such as Vairocana (Infinite Light) and Amitayus (Infinite Life) depict the total universal nature of existence.

But the Buddha-field is not alien to or transcendent of the world for, in a meaningful sense, it manifests the world in terms of the Bodhisattva Ideal.

The Ideal, as delineated earlier, refers to the concern for the welfare of all beings and the utilization of skillful means to fare beings across in the other shore.

This is exemplified by the unselfish act or acts of the Bodhisattva Dharmaakara, who patiently post-pones his entrance into the nirvaanic Realm or the Buddha-field until or unless all beings are enlightened.

Another graphic example is that of the Bodhisattva Abalokite`svara, the God(dess) of Mercy, that is, literally, the God who looks down on the sentient creatures.

This bodhisattva, one of the most popular deities in the East, has become the object of worship in a multipurpose sense. such as, supplication for health, wealth, cure of illness, and the general well-being of society it is the personification of the faith and embodiment of the realms of ideality and actuality, and the ultimate concern for the individual and society at large.

There is another set of concepts in the Mahaayaana which can be correlated although specific details are lacking.

This is the doctrine of Trikaaya, that is, Dharmakaaya (Realm of Truth or Principle), Nirma.nakaaya (Realm of Transformation), and Sambhagakaaya (Realm of Bliss, Enjoyment or Peace).

These are three aspects of existence, that is, the descriptions on the slater of existence or forms of truth.

Thus, the Dharmakaaya expresses the general status of existence, the Nirma.nakaaya the possibility of change in the dharmic existence, and the Sambhogakaaya the nature of total enjoyment in the world, all of which have related aspects in Whitehead's God.

Whitehead's characterization of God's nature shows striking similarities to the Bodhisattva Ideal.

God has concern for his purpose is "the attainment of value in the temporal world."(73) In the universe's crealive act, "we conceive of the patience of God tenderly saving the turmoil of the intermediate world by the completion of his own nature."(74) or,

"He does not create the world, he saves it; or more accurately he is the poet of the world with tender patience leading it by his vision of truth, beauty, and goodness."(75)

And finally, "What is done in the world is transformed into reality in heaven, and the reality in heaven passes back into the world.

By reason of this reciprocal relation, the love in the world passer into the love in heaven, and floods back again into the world In this sense, God is the great companion... the fellow-sufferer who underrtanda."(76) Such a creature is indeed no less than it bodhisattva.

In the foregoing discussion. we have seen where both systems of metaphysies have made way for a consistent treatment of the actualities or events in nature.

The Buddhist has a firm foundation in the experiential process anti allows it to expand further into the extensive nature of things by way of resolving the realm of Appearance, the "constructed" nature of things, into Reality (tattva, tathataa, buddhataa, etc.).

And in the process, it permitted the yogic and devotional aspects of life to nourish ones grasp of the great metaphysical heights which are the two aspects or wisdom and compassion (praj~naa and karu.naa).

the final status or things. With Whitehead, again the metaphysics, grounded in a consistent constitution of the tinest actual entity, was carried through to its logical conclusion in the nature of God, the greatest and highest exemplar.

Whitehead, however, had no need for the strictly devotional discipline but he pointed, time and again, at the translinguistic vision to see things in the deeper sense.... the permanence in the flux, the infinitude in the finitude, and the value in the valuational process.

1. Alfred North Whilehead, Process and Reality (New York: Macmillan, 1927), p.4: hereafter cited as PR.

2. The Brahmajaala Sutta of Diigha Nikaaya, I, treats the "Sixty-two Theories," such as, to hold that the world is eternal, noneternal, infinite, finite; that the soul is in the body, it is different from the body; that the truth is destroyed at death, it continues despite death, etc.

3. Dharma(Sanskrit) or dhamma (Paali) is derived from the verb dharati, wihch means to hold, carry, bear in mind, endure, and lasting. (Cf. Paali Text Society Paali-English Dictionary.

Edited by Rhys Davids and William Stede, p.175.) The root of these terms is dh.r which signifies the phenomenon of holding or supporting. Generally speaking, the dharma in terms of this penomenon reveals the basis for the structured nature of each monent or event.

4. Majjhimaa-Nikaaya, II, 32; Samyutta-Nikaaya, II, 28; Anguttara-Nikaaya, V, 184, etc, Imasmin sati, idam hoti, imass' uppadaa, idam uppajjati; imasmin asati, idam na hoti; imassa nirodhaa, idam nirujjhati.

5. The Conception of Buddhist Nirvaana (Leningrad: Publishing Office of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1927), p.41.

9. Th. Stcherbatsky: The Central Conception of Buddhism and the Meaning of the Word "Dharma," Second Printing (Calcutta: Susil Gupta Ltd., 1956, pp.60-61.

11. Prasannapadaa, 5.1. Stcherbatsky, The Conception, p.85.

12. Buddhaghosa, the great Theravaada patriarch, crystallized all sufferings into three categories:

(1) ordinary phsical suffering (duhkha-duhkha),

(2) suffering due to the inability to accommodate change (vipari.naamadukkha) , and

(3) suffering due to mental constructions or dharmic analysis (sankhaata-dukkha) .

All three are, off course, incorporated in the Mahaayaana way of thinking. Confer Buddhabhosa's Visuddhimagga, XVI, 499-502; Bhikkhu ~Naanamoli's translation as The Path of Purification, published by R. Semage, (Colombo, Ceylon: M. D. Gunasean & Co., Ceylon: 1956) , pp.567-571.

13. Samyutta-Nikaaya, II, 20f, 31; Paali Text Socieyt trans. Kindred Sayings, III, p.20f, p.30.

14. Muulamadhyamakakaarikaa, XXV, 19, 20; hereafter cited as MK.

18. Edward Conze has done the most extensive work in this area by way of editing and translating the bulky major works. Cf. especially his The Praj~naa-paaramitaa Literature (The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1960), which analyzes the known works and their contents.

19. A.s.tasaahasrikaa Praj~naapaaramitaa, i, 23-24; Edward Conze, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Slokas (Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 1958); hereafter cited as AP. pp.9-10.

23. The six paaramitaas are:

daana (charity or generosity), `
siila (virtuous conduct),
k`saanti (forbearance,
patience), viirya (mental energy),
dhyaana (concentration), and
praj~naa (wisdom).

The four supplementary paaramitaas to make up ten in all are: upaaya or upaaya-kau`salya (skillful in means), pra.nidhaana (strong resolution), baala (strength, power), and j~naana (knowledge).

27. Edward Conze, The Large Suutra on Perfect Wisdom with the Divisions of the Abhismayaala^nkaara, Parts II and III (Madison, Wisconsin: College Printing and Typing Company, 1964),p.513.

28. The Gilgit Manuscript of the A.s.taada`sasaahasrikaapraj~naapaaramitaa, Chapters 55 to 70 Corresponding to the fifth Abhisamaya. Ed. and trans. Edward Conze (Rome: Instituto Italiano per II Medio Ed Estremo Oriente, 1962), pp.288-289.

31. I am indebted to Nalinaksha Dutt for this reference. Cf. his Aspects of Mahaayaana Buddhism and its Relation to Hiinayaana (London: Luzac & Company, 1930), p.133.

32. PR, 19; also Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making (London: Cambridge University Press, 1929), p.84, fn. 1; hereafter cited as RM.

33. Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p.268; hereafter cited as AI.

41. The Doctrine of Ten Causes:

1. (the main effectuating cause, for example, speaker speaks)
2. sahabhuu-hetu(coexistent or coevolving cause, for example, speaker-listener relationship)
3. sabhaga-hetu (similar nature cause, for example, relationship among listeners)
4. samprayukta-hetu (concomitant cause, for example, consistently present cause such as the room or lighting)
5. sarvatraga-hetu (universally present cause, for example, in Buddhism, this referto the universal nature of du.hkha)
6. vipaaka-hetu (maturing or fruition cause, for example, listener understands)

==Four Subsidiary Relational Conditions (pratyaya):==

1. hetu-pratyaya (principal condition)
2. samananiara-pratyaya (sequential condition)
3. aalambana-pratyaya (objective or objectifying condition)
4. adhipati-pratyaya (overtuning or dominant condition)

53. T.r.s.naa is the general concept for the questioning or thirsting phenomenon. It is what lies at the basis of the aatman or self-formation process.

Within t.r.s.naa proper, there is also the grasping or clinging phenomenon known as uppaadaana, a term which points up the staticizing or permanentizing activity, and which is at once antithetical to the fluency of life itself.

There are also other terms used by the Buddhist to point at some kind of a subjectivist principle, for example, graahaka (percipient, subject) and graahya (datum, object) interaction.

However, ike all other Buddhist doctrines, the final aim is toward a nonbifurcated state of being, where there is neither graahaka nor graahya in the percipient process.

60. The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, ed. Paul A. Schilpp (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1951), p.683; hereafter cited as PANW.