NOTHINGNESS AND `SUUYATAA:

A COMPARISON OF HEIDEGGER AND NISHITANI
By Fred Dallmayr
Philosophy East and West
Volume 42, Number 1(January 1992)
P.37-48
(C) by University of Hawaii Press


P.37 From the pine tree learn of the pine tree (Basho) For Western readers, Heidegger seems both close and exceedingly distant; his thought appears in some ways home-grown and quite familiar, and in other ways alien and strangely unfamiliar. Critics of his work sometimes attack it as narrowly parochial or provincial, because of its presumed rootedness in a local habitat (the Black Forest region) yet critics (sometimes the same ones) also object to its aloofness, unintelligibility, and penchant for "mysticism"--charges which (more than personal bias) reflect a sense of cultural rupture. Heidegger himself would hardly have been surprised by this conflicting reception. In his "Vom Wesen des Grundes" he described human Dasein as a creature of "distance" or farness, a distance which alone could nurture a true closeness to things and fellow beings. Likewise, in his comments on Holderlin, he portrayed "homecoming" not as a retreat into a native habitat but as a journey homeward through the most distant peregrinations. These considerations apply to his own philosophical journey, particularly to his much-discussed "overcoming" of Western metaphysics-which by no means equals its simple erasure. Without encouraging a cultural leap, Heidegger's "overcoming" led him into distant and alien terrain, and ultimately in the direction of Eastern culture and thought--a culture which Kitaro Nishida, the founder of the so-called Kyoto School, has circumscribed as "the urge to see the form of the formless, and hear the sound of the soundless."(1) Attentiveness to this far-off sound, I believe, is at the heart of Heidegger's distance and seeming aloofness. More than any other Western thinker in the twentieth century, his thought is culturally decentered, lodged at the crossroads of East and West---and thus at the site of a possible or impending global dialogue. In the present pages I want to explore one facet of this dialogue, namely, the relationship between Heidegger and Zen Buddhism, as the latter is represented or articulated by Keiji Nishitani. The choice of this facet is not fortuitous. A leading representative of the Kyoto School and a former pupil of Nishida, Nishitani has also been a close student of Heidegger's work and refers in his publications frequently to the latter's teachings. For his own part, Heidegger was not unfamiliar with the Kyoto School, having become acquainted with its activities through visits by Count Shuzo Kuki, a contemporary of Nishitani and, like him, a pupil or associate of Nishida. References to the same Count Kuki, one may note, P.38 are interspersed throughout the "Dialogue on Language" (or dialogue with a Japanese) contained in Unterwegs zur Sprache.(2) Given the extensive life work of Keiii Nishitani, my discussion in the following will have to be selective and circumscribed--in a manner which hopefully does not truncate the richness of his insights. For English-speaking readers, the major publication available in translation is Religion and Nothingness, a study which, I believe, ably reflects the core of Nishitani's Buddhist outlook and which I have chosen therefore as my guiding text. Again, my ambition is not to present a comprehensive review; instead, I shall focus on one crucial theme which permeates the entire study and which is central both to Heidegger's philosophy and to Zen Buddhism: the theme of nothingness, emptiness, or `suunyataa. My discussion shall explore affinities and differences between Nishitani's and Heidegger's accounts--in the hope of fostering and perhaps deepening an understanding of the respective philosophical orientations and thus of contributing (modestly) to the East-West dialogue. As is well known, nothingness or emptiness stands at the center of all forms of Buddhist thought, including Zen Buddhism; it is this aspect which, to Western minds, frequently suggests an attitude of complete withdrawal or world-denial. Yet, as one should note, nothingness here does not simply mean negativity or denial; far from denoting a vacuum, the term designates the inner core of reality or the other side of being--which carries life-affirming and sustaining implications. It is in this sense that the term figures in the title of Nishitani's Religion and Nothingness. As he states in the opening chapter, nothingness or nihility comes to the fore whenever the routine course of our life is disrupted by calamities or inner doubt. "When we become a question to ourselves and when the problem of why we exist arises," he says, "this means that nihility has emerged from the ground of existence and that our very existence has turned into a question mark." Once this happens, the taken-for-granted meaning of our life and our world suddenly is shattered and we realize that we have been hovering over an abyss all along. From the vantage of ordinary meaning, what surfaces at this point is the "meaninglessness" that "lies in wait" at the bottom of everyday, routine engagements and activities; in Zen Buddhist terms, a nagging sense of nihility brings the "restless, forward-advancing pace of life" to a halt and, instead, "turns the light to what is directly underfoot." Both religiously and philosophically, this experience of rupture or disruption, this stepping back to see what is underfoot, may be described as a turning or conversion. In Nishitani's words: "This fundamental conversion in life is occasioned by the opening up of the horizon of nihility at the ground of life. It is nothing less than a conversion from the self-centered (or mancentered) mode of being, which always asks what use things have for us P.39 (or for man), to an attitude that asks for what purpose we ourselves (or Man) exist."(3) According to Nishitani, the turn to nothingness as emptiness is slow and arduous and occurs over several successive steps. The first step of human awareness is the standpoint of sense-perception and rational analysis---a standpoint familiar to Western readers from the traditions of empiricism and rationalism. For Nishitani, these traditions are predicated on the separation or juxtaposition of consciousness and world, that is, on the subject-object division pervading particularly modern Western thought. To confront the world in this manner, he writes, means "to look at things without from a field within the self"; it means assuming "a position vis-a-vis things from which self and things remain fundamentally separated from one another"-a position he variously calls the "field of consciousness" or "field of reason." This position was epitomized and made canonical in the thought of Descartes with his categorial distinction between res cogitans (or consciousness) and res extensa (or extended matter). On the one hand, he notes, Descartes established the ego cogito as "a reality that is beyond all doubt," while on the other hand, things in the natural world "came to appear as bearing no living connection with the internal ego" and thus resembled "the cold and lifeless world of death." As the study adds, this division and the treatment of the world as lifeless mechanism came to furnish the foundation for natural science and for modern scientific technology; for, from the vantage of the cogito, the world of nature was bound to look "like so much raw material" available for human control and exploitation. Although modern natural science seeks to uncover the objective and invariant "laws of nature," these laws are not independent of the cogito and its designs to enhance its self-preservation. "The significance of man operating in accord with the laws of nature, as well as of the laws of nature becoming manifest through and as the work of man," we read, is most thoroughly visible in "a technology dependent on machinery." It is in this domain where "knowledge and purposive activity" work in closest unity, that "the fog lifts" from modern science: "Machines and mechanical technology are man's ultimate embodiment and appropriation of the laws of nature."(4) In Nishitani's view, Descartes' skepticism or doubt was only partially radical: because it accepted as given, or left unexplored, the status and meaning of the cogito and its relation to the world. Once this acceptance is canceled, once the cogito is no longer seen as a substance (or res), the path is opened to a deeper radicalism, to the level of a non-substantive subjectivity positing the world and itself out of its own nothingness. In his words, this path leads to "the ground of the subjectivity of the cogito," on a plane where "the orientation of the subject to its ground is more radical and thoroughgoing than it is with the cogito." p.40 According to Religion and Nothingness, this path has been opened up chiefly by modern existentialism with its focus on alienated existence and the abyss of self-constitution. "This way of thinking about the cogito, " we read, "is 'existential' thinking." Radical reflection of this kind penetrates deeper than "the self-evidence of self-consciousness clinging to itself"; rather, it yields an awareness that "can only emerge in the reality of an Existent that oversteps the limits of being." In existentialist terminology, this overstepping or transgressing is the hallmark of "ecstasy" or the ek-static quality of existence--a quality which radically subjectifies nothingness. From this deeper vantage, the study observes, nothingness is "shifted to the side of the subject itself, and the freedom or autonomy of the subject is said to be a function of existence (Existenz) stepping over itself into the midst of nihility." Nishitani calls the domain opened up by existential questioning the "field of nihility," a field closely connected with the modern (Western) problem of nihilism. "Only when the self breaks through the field of consciousness, the field of beings," he writes, "and stands on the ground of nihility is it able to achieve a subjectivity that can in no way be objectified." At this point, "nihility appears as the ground of everything that exists"; as a corollary, consciousness with its separation of inside and outside is "surpassed subjectively," so that nihility also "opens up the ground of the within and the without."(5) As portrayed in the study, the leading representatives of subjective existentialism are Nietzsche and Sartre, with Nietzsche being the more radical of the two. Both thinkers, Nishitani notes, show similar tendencies: "In each of them atheism is bound up with existentialism" which means that atheism or nothingness has been "subjectivized" and nihility has become "the field of the so-called ekstasis of self-existence." Yet, between the! two, he adds, Nietzsche's position is "far more comprehensive and penetrating" than Sartre's, due to the latter's identification of existentialism with a subjective humanism. Sartre, we are told, describes existence as a human "project," namely, as the project of continually going beyond the self or continually "overstepping" oneself. Thus, he recognizes a mode of transcendence or self-transcendence which has the "form of ekstasis, a standing-outside-of-oneself." However, this ekstasis remains grounded in human subjectivity--which reconnects his thought with the Cartesian ego (despite a shift from theism to atheism). Together with Descartes, he shares the belief in the ego or cogito as basic warrant of cognitive truth. Thus, whatever transcendence Sartre's position may allow for "remains glued to the ego." While considering nothingness to be "the ground of the subject," he nonetheless presents it "like a wall at the bottom of the ego or like a springboard underfoot of the cogito," thus turning it into a principle shutting the ego up within itself." By contrast, Nietzsche much more resolutely sought to transgress the ego. As shown in his mature works, Nishitani observes, Nietzsche P.41 attempted "to Posit a new way of being human beyond the frame of the 'human', to forge a new form of the human from the 'far side', beyond the limits of man-centered existence, from 'beyond good and evil'." This direction was clearly evident in his image of the "overman" seen as the embodiment of the doctrine that "man is something that shall be overcome." Consequently, he adds, it was chiefly and centrally in Nietzsche's work that atheism achieved "its truly radical subjectivization" and that nihility acquired "a transcendent quality by becoming the field of the ecstasy of self-being."(6) Yet, no matter how radicalized, subjectivity and subjectivization for Nishitani do not constitute the endpoint of relentless doubt. What still needs to happen, he points out, is a radical questioning of subjectivity itself and of its ecstatic nihility; only through such questioning is it possible to reach the level of "absolute emptiness" or `suunyataa--which is the heart of Buddhist thought. Buddhism, he writes, goes beyond the previous positions in speaking of "the emptiness of the nihilizing view" by which it means "that 'absolute emptiness' in which nihilizing emptiness would itself be emptied." From the vantage of this emptiness, both the field of consciousness with its separation of inside and outside and the nihility grounded in ecstatic self-being can for the first time "be overstepped" or left behind---in favor of a sphere which is "the true noground (Ungrund)." Buddhism thematizes as gateway to this no-ground the experience of the "Great Doubt" where the distinction between doubter and doubted drops away and where the self turns into or becomes doubt itself. In the tradition of Zen, this passage is known as "the doubt of samaadhi (concentration)," which, in turn, is closely linked with the "Great Death" and the achievement of the non-ego (anaatman). In Western philosophical and religious thought, the same passage was most perceptively envisaged by Meister Eckhart with his distinction between Cod and godhead and his equation of the latter with "absolute nothingness" which is also seen as the matrix or field of "our absolute deathsive-life." The nothingness of godhead envisaged by Eckhart, Nishitani comments, "must be said to be still more profound than the nihility that contemporary existentialism has put in the place of God"; in existentialist terms, nihility appears "as the ground of self-being and renders it ecstatic, but this ecstasy is not yet the absolute negation of being and thus does not open up to absolute nothingness." This reservation applies even to Nietzsche's work. His later thought, it is true, adumbrates distinctly the standpoint of "an absolute negation-sive-affirmation." Yet, his "absolute affirmation or Ja-sagen" finds expression in confusing formulas like "life" or "will to power"--which brings into view the difference between life-affirmation as a power "forcing its way through nihility to gush forth" and life as "absolute death-sive-life."(7) The problem at this point is how to formulate and render intelligible P.42 emptiness as absolute death-sive-life or negation-sive-affirmation. A central chapter in the study, titled "Nihility and `Suunyataa," is devoted to this question. As Nishitani observes, emptiness or `suunyataa is "another thing altogether from the nihility of nihilism.l As epitomized in Western existentialism, nothingness as nihility is still seen as a reference point of subjectivity or as something to which existence relates; differently put: it functions as representational correlate of existence. By contrast, nothingness in the sense of `suunyataa means emptiness of a kind that "empties itself even of the standpoint that represents it as some 'thing' that is emptiness" or to which existence merely relates. Basically, Buddhist `suunyataa does not denote nihilism or nihility in the sense of a simple negation of, or antithesis to, being; instead, it intimates the nothingness of being or the emptiness harbored by being itself. In Nishitani's words: "True emptiness is not to be posited as something outside of and other than 'being'; rather, it is to be realized as something united to and self-identical with being"---a point captured in the phrase "being-sivenothingness." This view has deep roots in the tradition of Mahaayaana Buddhism with its opposition to the subject-object split and all forms of conceptual bifurcation. "in the context of Mahaayaana thought," he adds, "the primary principle of which is to transcend all duality emerging from logical analysis, the phrase 'being-sive-nothingness' requires that one take up the stance of the 'sive' and from there view being as being and nothingness as nothingness." From the vantage of the sive, attachment both to (ontic) being and to nothingness as nihility is overturned or canceled. In this sense, `suunyataa represents "the endpoint of an orientation to negation" by operating a double negation (which does not yield a bland synthesis). In terms of the study, `suunyataa might be called "an absolute negativity," inasmuch as it is a standpoint "that has negated and thereby transcended nihility, which was itself a transcendencethrough-negation of all being." Along the same lines, emptiness can also be termed "an abyss for the abyss of nihility."(8) As Nishitani elaborates, Buddhist `suunyataa coincides neither with existentialist nihilism nor with Western-style atheism construed as denial of a personal God. Drawing again on Meister Eckhart's distinction between God and godhead, he sees the latter notion as transgressing the customary division of theism and atheism. Eckhart, he writes, "refers to the 'essence' of Cod that is free of all form--the complete 'image-free' (bildlos) godhead-as 'nothingness', and considers the soul to return to itself and acquire absolute freedom only when it becomes totally one with the 'nothingness' of godhead. This is not mere theism, but neither, of course, is it mere atheism." The critique of a personalized divinity in favor of emptiness finds a parallel in the transition from subjectivity or the ego to a "selfhood" moored in nonbeing or nothingness. On the level of everyday life--the level of sense-perception and reason--existence p.43 construes itself as a self or person, and moreover as a self seemingly at one with itself. At this point, selfhood or personality designates "a self-enclosed confinement or self-entangled unity," one which is "shackled to its own narcissism. It is a grasping of the self by the self, a confinement of the self by the self that spells attachment to the self." As previously indicated, existentialism opens up the "abyss of nihility," but only by radicalizing subjectivity into a mode of ecstatic self-constitution. Moving beyond this point, `suunyataa as emptiness involves a radical disentanglement" from self-attachment or subjectivity and a transgression of the latter in favor of the non-ego. "in a word," Nishitani writes, `suunyataa is "the field of what Buddhist teaching calls emancipation, or what Eckhart refers to as Abgeschiedenheit (detachment)." The same field might also be called selfhood in a new, nonsubjectivist sense: "True emptiness is nothing less than what reaches awareness in all of us as our own absolute self-nature." This paradox was well expressed in Dogen's statement: "To learn the Buddha way is to learn one's self; to learn one's self is to forget one's self."(9) It is in the context of his discussion of `suunyataa that Nishitani also comments on Heidegger's work--in a manner which I find dubious or at least puzzling. As he correctly remarks, Heidegger, since his early writings, effected a close connection of being and nothingness: "In Heidegger's terms, the being of beings discloses itself in the nullifying of nothingness (das Nichts nichtet)." He also sensibly and persuasively differentiates this conception from Sartre's mode of existentialism "insofar as Sartre locates subjectivity at the standpoint of the Cartesian ego, his nothingness is not even the 'death' of which Heidegger speaks, the mode of being of this ego is not a 'being unto death'." Despite these perceptive remarks, the study in the end ties Heidegger to existentialist nihility or nihilism, that is, to a view which still treats nothingness as negativity and as something outside of existence. In Heidegger's work, we read, nothingness is still being viewed "from the bias of self-existence as the groundlessness (Grundlosigkeit) of existence lying at the ground of self-existence" and thus as something "lying outside of the 'existence' of the self." This view, Nishitani asserts, is evident in Heidegger's talk of self-existence as "held suspended in nothingness"-despite the "fundamental difference of his standpoint from other brands of contemporary existentialism or nihilism." As he grants, the notion of a suspension in nothingness marks "a great step forward" in the conception of self-existence as "existencein -ecstasy." Nonetheless, the step falls short of reaching `suunyataa: "In Heidegger's case, traces of the representation of nothingness as some 'thing' that is nothingness still remain."(10) These comments can hardly be reconciled with Heidegger's texts. From his early period, I believe, his writings sought to extricate them- p.44 selves--by and large successfully--from the equation of nothingness with negativity or a realm "outside" being and existence. As articulated in Being and Time, the notion of "being-unto-death" did not designate a terminal point or a sphere beyond life, but an intrinsic possibility and defining character of human existence itself. As Heidegger wrote at the time: "As the end of Dasein or existence, death is Dasein's innermost possibility"--where possibility does not mean a theoretical or practical option which Dasein might or might not choose, but rather an inner latency or potential steadily permeating life from the beginning. "Poised toward this possibility, " he added, "Dasein discovers its innermost potentiality of being in which the very being of Dasein is at stake." As one may also recall, Being and Time contained a strong critique of the modern reliance on subjectivity and the cogito--a critique which in many ways resembled Nishitani's. Taking a broad historical view, Heidegger's remarks spanned the tradition of modern thought from Descartes over Kant to Husserl (and the beginning of existentialism). While acknowledging the power of Cartesian doubt, Heidegger challenged as dubious the basic Cartesian starting point, namely, the ego as a thinking substance. "With the principle 'cogito ergo sum'," he wrote, "Descartes claimed that he was putting philosophy on a new and secure footing; but what he left undetermined in this 'radical' departure was the mode of being of the res cogitans or--more precisely--the ontological meaning of the 'sum'." A similar half-heartedness, in his view, was operative in Kantian philosophy, despite its comparative refinement of critical reflection. While exposing previous misconceptions and confusions, Kant likewise neglected to undertake a "prior ontological analysis of the subjectivity of the subject"; although demonstrating the "unenability of the ontic thesis regarding a psychic substance, " he refrained from offering an "ontological interpretation of selfhood." In attenuated form, the same defect was still evident in Husserl's treatment of subjectivity and in Scheler's (quasi-existentialist) notion of personality. Irrespective of the differences between Husserl and Scheler, Heidegger observed, they concur at least negatively in this respect: "They no longer raise the question of the 'being of a person'."(11) Antisubjectivism (as a gateway to nonbeing) remained a persistent theme in Heidegger's evolving opus. While in Being and Time, nothingness was still viewed mainly from the vantage of Dasein--which may be the basis for Nishitani's objections--the issue was steadily radicalized in subsequent writings, in a manner pointing (in my view) toward the field of `suunyataa. A crucial marker along this road was the essay "What is Metaphysics?" written shortly after the publication of Being and Time. As is well known, metaphysics in that essay was placed in contrast to the outlook of modern science (deriving from Descartes) with its focus on the res extensa as an empirically given domain--and its consequent neglect of nothingness. "Nothingness," Heidegger observed, "is absolutely re- P.45 jected by science and abandoned as null and void"--which means that "science wishes to know nothing of nothing(ness)." In terms of the essay, nothingness was not simply a synonym for negation or negativity. Instead of being a derivative of negation or the semantic "not," Heidegger insisted that nothingness is "more original than the 'not' and negation." From the vantage of Dasein, nothingness was encountered in the state of "dread" (Angst), which was not equivalent to mere anxiety or nervousness, but rather meant a basic openness to nonbeing. It is at this point that the essay developed the notions of the "nihilating" quality of nothingness (das Nichts nichtet) and of the suspension or "suspendedness" (Hineingehaltenheit) of Dasein in nonbeing--a suspension denoting Dasein's exposure not to an alien domain outside of being but to its own intrinsic abyss. "Nothingness," Heidegger stated, "is neither an object nor anything that 'is' at all; it occurs neither by itself nor 'apart from' beings, as a sort of adjunct. Nothingness is that which makes the disclosure of being(s) as such possible for our human existence." Sharpening this point further, he added: "Nothingness not merely designates the conceptual opposite of beings but is an integral part of their essence. It is in the being of beings that the nihilation of nothingness (das Nichten des Nichts) occurs."(12) A further, still more important marker on the same road were the so-called Beitrage zur Philosophie, written about a decade after Being and Time (and only recently published). As Heidegger noted in Beitrage, traditional Western thought has tended to treat nothingness simply as negativity or a vacuum--a view which readily gave rise either to a "pessimistic nihilism" or to a "heroic" counterposture (centered on will to power) . Transgression of this traditional outlook required an "overcoming" of this kind of nihilism or negativism. "Nothingness," he wrote, "is neither negative nor is it a goal or endpoint; rather, it is the innermost trembling (Erzitterung) of being itself and thus more real than any (ontic) being." Seen from this vantage, nothingness denotes neither a representational or conceptual entity nor a propositional denial, but instead a "nihilating" potency participating obliquely in the ongoing happening or disclosure of being: "Non-being happens (west) and being happens or occurs; non-being occurs through non-happening or non-disclosure (Unwesen), while being occurs as nihilating agency." The relationship of being and nothingness is thus one of mutual implication and intertwining, and not predicated on antithesis or reciprocal exclusion. As Heidegger queried: "What if being itself happened through self-withdrawal and thus in the mode of refusal? Would such a refusal be simply nothing or rather the highest gift? And is it due to this nihilating refusal of being itself that 'nothingness' acquires that enabling potency on which all doing or creating depends? " In articulating the relation of being and nothingness, Beitrage approximated the "sive" postulated by Nishitani as P.46 characteristic of the field of `suunyataa (and surfacing in expressions like "life-sive-death," "negation-sive-affirmation"). In Heidegger's sense, sive meant neither a radical disjuncture nor a smooth blending but rather a chasm or discordant mutuality: "And finally, regarding the Yes and No-where do both originate together with their distinction and contrast? Differently phrased: Who founded the difference between affirmation and negation, and the 'And' relating affirmation and negation?"(13) In light of these and similar textual passages, Nishitani's critical objections can scarcely be sustained. Heidegger's thought, one may say, departed not only from scientific objectivism but also from existentialist nihilism (as defined in Religion and Nothingness) with its separation of subjectivity and nonbeing. More importantly, Nishitani's own presentation seems to depend strongly on something like Heidegger's notion of "ontological difference" and of the discordant juncture of being and nothingness. In the absence of these notions, fear, his portrayal of `suunyataa often appears strained or confusing and even perilously close to metaphysical bifurcations (of inside and outside, within and without) . As previously indicated, genuine emptiness is said to be "united to and self-identical with being." At the same time, however, `suunyataa is also depicted as an "absolute transcendence of being," in that it "absolutely denies and distances itself from any standpoint shackled in any way whatsoever to being." In this sense, Nishitani asserts, emptiness can "well be described as 'outside' of and absolutely 'other' than the standpoint shackled to being--provided we avoid the misconception that emptiness is some 'thing' distinct from being and subsisting 'outside' of it." The complexity of these comments--or their status at the verge of traditional metaphysics--is compounded by these additional observations: "In spite of its transcendence of the standpoint shackled to being, or rather because of it, emptiness can only appear as a self-identity with being, in a relationship of sive by which both being and emptiness are seen as co-present from the start and structurally inseparable from one another."(14) Attention to Heidegger's writings, I believe, can rescue these statements from opacity or contradiction, thereby enhancing the persuasiveness of Nishitani's work--just as the latter can serve to elucidate Heidegger's exploration of being-sive-nothingness as an ontological happening (or Ereignis). NOTES 1 - Kitaro Nishida, A Study of Good, trans. V. H. Viglielmo (Tokyo: Japanese Government Printing Bureau, 1960) , p. 191. See also Martin Heidegger, "Vom Wesen des Grundes, " in Wegmarken(Frankfurt- P.47 Main: Klostermann, 1967) , p. 71; and "Heimkunft/An die Verwandten," in Erlauterungen zu Holderlins Dichtung, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 4 (Frankfurt-Main: Klostermann, 1981), pp. 29-30. 2 - See Heidegger, "Aus einem Gesprach von der Sprache (Zwischen einem Japaner und einem Fragenden) , " in Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen: Neske, 1959) , pp. 83-155. On Nishitani and the Kyoto School see the "Foreword" by Winston L. King and "Translator's Introduction" in Keiji Nishitani, Religion and Nothingness, trans. Jan Van Bragt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982) , pp. vii-xiv. Compare also Frederick Franck, ed., The Buddha Eye: An Anthology of the Kyoto School (New York: Crossroads, 1982) , and Hans Waldenfels, Absolute Nothingness: Foundations for a Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, trans. lames W. Heisig (New York: Paulist Press, 1980). On the relation of the school and of Nishitani to Heidegger see Yasuo Yuasa, "The Encounter of Modern Japanese Philosophy with Heidegger," and Nishitani, "Reflections on Two Addresses by Martin Heidegger, " in Graham Parkes, ed., Heidegger and Asian Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987), pp. 155-174 and 145-154. 3 - Nishitani, Religion and Nothingness, pp. 4-5. 4 - lbid., pp. 9-11, 81-82. 5 - lbid., pp, 14-17, 67. 6 - Ibid., pp. 31, 33, 55-56. With reference to Sartre, Nishitani further elaborates (pp. 32-33): "We may well appreciate his intentions, but... so long as we maintain the standpoint of self-consciousness, the tendency to take ourselves as objects remains, no matter how much we stress subjectivity. Moreover, even though Sartre's theory appears to preserve the dignity of man in his subjective autonomy and freedom, the real dignity of man seems to me to belong only to one who has been 'reborn', only in the 'new man' that emerges in us when we are born by dying, when we break through nihility." The citation in the text is to Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. Waiter Kaufmann (New York: Viking Press, 1966), p. 12. 7 - Nishitani, Religion and Nothingness pp. 18, 21, 34, 59, 63, 65-66. The difference, he adds (p. 66), can also be expressed as one "between a nihility proclaiming that 'God is dead' and an absolute nothingness reaching a point beyond even 'God'"; accordingly, one might perhaps say "that the nihility of Nietzsche's nihilism should be called a standpoint of relative absolute nothingness." In an intriguing sideglance (p. 59), Nishitani brings emptiness in connection with the Christian notions of kenosis and ekkenosis (self-emptying): "What is ekkenosis for the Son is kenosis for the Father. In the East, this would be called anaatman, or non-ego." P.48 8 - Religion and Nothingness, pp. 95-98. 9 - Ibid., pp. 99, 103, 105-107. The reference is to Dogen's Shobogenzo genjokoan, trans. W. Wadell and A. Masao, in The Eastern Buddhist n.s., vol. 5 (1972): 134. 10 - Nnishitani, Religion and Nothingness pp. 33, 96, 98, 109. 11 - Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, 11th ed. (Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1967), pp. 24, 47, 250, 258-259, 263 (paragraphs 6, 9, 50, 52-53); trans. john Maquarrie and Edward Robinson as Being and Time (London: SCM Press, 1962), pp. 45-46, 73, 303, 307-308, 366-367. 12 - Heidegger, "What is Metaphysics?" in Waiter Kaufmann, ed., Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (New York: Meridian, 1975), pp. 244-246, 248-251 (translation slightly changed for purposes of clarity). 13 - Heidegger, Beitrage zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) , Gesamtausgabe, vol. 65 (Frankfurt-Main: Klostermann, 1989) , pp. 246-247 (par. 129), 266-267 (pars. 145, 146). 14 - Nishitani, Religion and Nothingness, p. 97.