The Harmonious Universe of Fa-tsang and Leibniz:

A Comparative Study
By Ming-wood Liu
Philosophy East and West
volume 32 no 1
January 1982
p. 61-76
(c) by University of Hawaii Press


p. 61 I This comparative study of the metaphysics of Fa-tsang(a) and Leibniz is done with two objectives in mind. First, in recent years, Japanese Buddhist scholars have repeatedly called our attention to the similarity between the teachings of Fa-tsang and Leibniz.(1) That Western philosophical concepts and methods can be fruitfully employed in the study of Oriental philosophy is amply demonstrated in the series of highly illuminating works put forth by such distinguished experts in the field of Chinese thought as Mou Tsang-san(b) and Cheng Chung-ying(c) .(2) However, any attempt to draw close parallels between two philosophical systems of two different cultures are bound to be misleading, if proper attention has not been paid to the often very different assumptions which have gone into the building up of these systems." (3) One of the most basic principles in the study of the history of philosophy is that what is central is not what the philosophers had said, but the reasons they had given for saying what they said. This principle has not been observed in the constant attempt to ally Leibniz' teaching with that of Fa-tsang. In this article I shall attempt to remedy that lack. Second, while it is my contention that Fa-tsang and Leibniz had very dissimilar reasons for saying what they said, it is also undeniable that some of their statements, when taken out of context, sound strikingly similar. Noting these surface resemblances while at the same time unraveling their diverse backgrounds would be of immense help to the clarification of the basic orientations of the teachings of both thinkers. A case in point is the prevalent belief that Fa-tsang has offered us a picture of Reality which is free from the so-called negativistic tendency which characterizes Buddhist metaphysics in general.(4) Even if we grant that it is the intention of Fa-tsang to construct a metaphysics which is more affirmative than the original Indian model, we still have to ask how far he has gone and can go in this direction, given the basic Buddhist standpoint that life is suffering and that enlightenment is a process of transcending the everyday world of impermanence. For this purpose, Leibniz' overtly affirmative metaphysics, which declares that the world as we have it, being the creation of an all benevolent and all omnipotent God, cannot but be the best possible world, comes to our aid, for it can serve as some sort of yardstick with which we can measure the degree of affirmativeness of Fatsang's world-view. In other words, in the discipline of comparative philosophy, the observation of contrasts is as meaningful and significant as the observation of parallels, as I hope to show in this study. ---------------------------------------- Ming-Wood Liu is Lecturer in Chinese Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. Philosophy East and West 32, no. 1 (January, 1982). p. 62 Since my interest is more on the side of Chinese than on the side of Western philosophy, the focus of this study will fall on Fa-tsang, commonly known as the third patriarch of the Hua-yen school(d) in Chinese Buddhism. Born in 643, Fa-tsang lived at a time when the T'ang dynasty'(e) was at the zenith of its power. With the exception of a short period of reclusion in his early years, Fa-tsang spent most of his life in the capital Chang-an(f) under imperial patronage, where he was so lavishly favored by the Empress Wu(g) that in recent years there has been much speculation that the Empress intended to use Fatsang's teaching as the ruling ideology.(5) Even though this is a rather far-fetched conjecture, the warm support Fa-tsang received from the Empress Wu and the next two emperors undoubtedly enhanced his prestige and paved the way for the later spread of Hua-yen Buddhism. Moreover, even though most of the central concepts in Fa-tsang's teaching can be traced back to Chih-yen(h), his teacher and the second patriarch of the Hua-yen school, it was Fa-tsang who developed these concepts and organized them into a systematic whole. Thus, both from the historical and the doctrinal points of view, Fa-tsang can be considered as the real founder of the Hua-yen school in Chinese Buddhism.(6) To understand Fa-tsang's philosophy, it is essential to stress a point which has often been passed over in modern works on Hua-yen Buddhism, that is, Fa-tsang shared with his contemporaries a common ideal, namely, the ideal of the "round," or in Chinese, "yuan-jung(i)". " Round" as an evaluative term in Chinese Buddhism has the double connotation of "all-inclusiveness'' and "freedom from all extremes." This idea of the round has its origin in the doctrine of the middle way, which was believed to be the first doctrine taught by the Buddha and so was accepted as authoritative by all Buddhist schools, Hiinayaana and Mahaayaana alike. In the Sutta of the Setting-Rolling of the Wheel of the Law, the Buddha is reported to have said: Monks, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth as a wanderer. What two? Devotion to the pleasure of sense, a low practice of villagers, a practice unworthy, unprofitable, the way of the world [on the one hand]; and [on the other] devotion to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable.(7) In this passage, the idea of the middle way is applied to the area of religious practice, that is, one should avoid the extreme of indulgence in sense pleasure on the one hand, and the extreme of asceticism on tke other. When the idea of the middle way is applied to the area of metaphysical discourse, we find the Buddha enjoining his followers to stay free from such extremes as "being" and "non-being," "self" and "no-self," and so on. This middle doctrine is later further developed in the Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras and in Maadhyamika Buddhism in their concepts of "the two truths" and of "emptiness" as detachment from the making of essential distinctions. p. 63 The Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras and the works of the Maadhyamika school are among the early Mahaayaana texts to be translated into Chinese. The middle way they teach found a ready audience among Chinese intellectuals, as witnessed by the content of some of the earliest works on Buddhism written by the Chinese themselves, such as the Feng-fa-yao(j) by Hsi Chao(k) and the Treatises of Seng-chao(l). This is, of course, not surprising, for the Chinese always have an almost instinctive dislike for all forms of extremes.(8) Thus, every major Chinese Buddhist school, such as the T'ien-t'ai school(m), the Hua-yen school and the Fa-hsiang school(n), has found it necessary to justify its teaching by evoking the standard of the "round", and it is to the construction of a conception of Reality which most perfectly expresses this ideal of the "round" that Fatsang devotes most of his labor. Central to Fa-tsang's attempt to draw up a world view most fully embodying the ideal of the round is his classification of the teachings of various main Buddhist traditions according to how closely they approach this ideal, an enterprise commonly known in Chinese Buddhism as "p'an-chiao(o)". P'an-chiao has as its doctrinal basis in the idea of "skilful means" in Mahaayaana Buddhism, and is essentially an attempt to integrate various systems of Buddhist thought into one unified hierarchy, with the view to reconcile and to explain away the apparent contradictions which exist among them. Most Chinese Buddhist schools consider their p'an-chiao systems to be the core of their teaching, and it is no exception with the Hua-yen school, as the title of Fa-tsang's most important work, the Hua-yen wu-chiao chang(p) (Treatise on the Five Teachings) , readily demonstrates. The most inferior among the five teachings is the Hiinayaana teaching, which Fa-tsang characterizes as "the teaching of the existence of dharmas and the non-existence of the self".(9) By this he has in mind especially the teaching of the Sarvaastivaadins, who attempt to show the error of the commonsense belief in the existence of permanent objects and selves by analyzing them into their constituents, which they call dharmas. However, even though the Sarvastivaadins are correct in maintaining the nonexistence of self-sufficient objects and selves, they consider the dharmas, which compose these objects and selves to be not only real but real eternally. This seems to fly in the face of the cardinal Buddhist dogma of impermanence, and in Fa-tsang's opinion, the Hiinayaana teaching is one-sided in its emphasis on "being." It is to counteract this realistic and pluralistic tendency in Hiinayaana Buddhism that the Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras declare all entities, whether simple or composite, to be "illusory, " "inactive" and "in a state of nonexistence." Fa-tsang puts the teaching of the Praj~naapaaramitaa-suutras, together with the teaching of the Maadhyamika school, under the category of "the elementary teaching of the Mahaayaana," which he labels as "the teaching that the conditioned is without self-nature."(10) This teaching, according to Fa-tsang, is superior to the Hiinayaana teaching, for it has overcome the latter's one-sided p. 64 emphasis on "being.'' However, in instructing that all entities are illusory as a dream or an echo, it has gone too far in the opposite direction, and falls into the extreme of "emptiness." The merit of "the final teaching of the Mahaayaana," the third of the five teachings, lies in the fact that unlike the first two teachings, it has eschewed the extreme of "being" on the one hand, and the extreme of "emptiness" on the other, in its concept of the tathaagatagarbha. The history of the evolution of the concept of the tathaagatagarbha constitutes one of the most intricate chapters in the history of Buddhism, which we cannot dwell on here. However, it is safe to say that in the case of Fa-tsang, by "tathaagatagarbha," he usually has in mind the concept as it is presented in the Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsin lun(q), which is roughly equivalent to the concept of "the transcendental mind" in Western philosophy. According to the Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsin lun, the tathaagatagarbha has two aspects, the absolute and the phenomenal. In its absolute aspect, it is unborn, imperishable, pure and self-sufficient, and so can be described as "truly nonempty." However, since it is devoid of all distinctions and discriminations, it can also be described as "truly empty." In this way, the tathaagatagarbha unites in itself both aspects of "emptiness" and "nonemptiness." Furthermore, in the ontological scheme of the Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsin lun, even though the tathaagatagarbha is considered as pure in itself, it is always accompanied by ignorance, under the influence of which it gives rise to all forms of phenomenal existence. Based on this understanding, Fa-tsang further claims that the tathaagatagarbha doctrine has succeeded in overcoming the dichotomy of the noumenal and the phenomenal, for phenomena, considered as the transformation of the tathaagatagarbha when the latter is permeated by ignorance, do not and cannot exist apart from the tathaagatagarbha from which they arise. We can pass over the "sudden teaching," that is, the fourth of the five teachings, here, for so far as Metaphysics is concerned, it does not differ materially from the final teaching of the Mahaayaana. Fa-tsang accepts rather uncritically the claim that both the final teaching and the sudden teaching have succeeded in bridging the gap between "emptiness" and the noumenal on the one hand, and "being" and the phenomenal on the other; and in this respect, they come closer to the ideal of the round than the Hiinayaana teaching and the elementary teaching of the Mahaayaana. Nevertheless, there is still one distinction which remains unreconciled in these two teachings, that is, the distinction among the phenomena themselves, which are still understood in the final and the sudden teaching as existing separate from each other. This distinction is only overcome in "the round teaching," that is, the teaching of the Hua-yen school, which maintains that each element of the phenomenal world includes in it all other elements and pervades the entire totality in which it exists. The preceding is roughly the way Fa-tsang arrives at his doctrine of universal p. 65 harmony, which, in its being the most perfect embodiment of the ideal of the round, is called "the round teaching" by Fa-tsang. This account, though sketchily presented,"(11) should be sufficient to warn us against the drawing of easy parallels between the teaching of Fa-tsang and those of Western philosophers. In the West, it is usually logical, epistemic, or theodicean considerations that dictate a philosopher's choice of his metaphysical system. However, to Fa-tsang, his picture of a harmonious universe is the best picture not because it is aesthetically the most appealing, nor because it is logically the most consistent, nor because it brings forth best the divine design underlying all forms of existence, but because it approaches most closely to the Buddhist ideal of the round. In other words, Fa-tsang's teaching of universal harmony is not a conclusion which comes with his mediating on such philosophical problems as the nature of truth, the status of universals, the relation of body and mind, and so on, but is rather a consequence of his p'an-chiao. Equipped with the ideal of the round, he examines a number of traditional Buddhist theories on the nature of reality and finds them wanting, which in turn prompts him to search for a solution of his own. His round teaching is the end product of his search. To illustrate his round teaching, Fa-tsang often resorts to similes. For example, he sees as confirmations of his universal harmony the breathtaking and highly mystical descriptions of the world of Lotus-Womb and the tower of the bodhisattva Maitreya in chapter 2 and chapter 34 of Buddhabhadra's translation of the Hua-yen Suutra.(12) However, by far his most favorite similes are the precious mirror of the Buddha Diipa.mkara and the jewel net of the deva Indra. Fa-tsang compares the relation between each phenomenon in his harmonious universe with the rest to the relation between the precious mirror of Diipa.mkara with the worlds of the ten directions, all the inhabitants of which are reflected in the mirror vividly at the same time. Fa-tsang gives the following description of the jewel net of Indra: It is like the net of Indra which is entirely made up of jewels. Due to their brightness and transparence, they reflect each other. In each of the jewels, the images of all the other jewels are [completely] reflected. This is the case with any one of the jewels, and will remain forever so. Now, if we take a jewel in the southwestern direction and examine it, [we can see] that this one jewel can reflect simultaneously the images of all other jewels at once. It is so with the one jewel, and is also so with each of all the others. Since each of the jewels simultaneously reflects the images of all other jewels at once, it follows that this jewel in the southwestern direction also reflects all the images of the jewels in each of the other jewels [at once]. It is so with this jewel, and is also so with all the others. Thus, the images multiply infinitely, and all these multiple infinite images are bright and clear inside this single jewel. The rest of the jewels can be understood in the same manner.(13) Just as the jewels on Indra's net illuminate and mirror each other to form a great symphony of light, the elements in Fa-tsang's universe pervade and support each other in perfect concord. p. 66 More interesting philosophically is Fa-tsang's reinterpretation of the concept of causality to bring it in line with the general metaphysical orientation of his round teaching. It represents Fa-tsang's most unique contribution to the history of Buddhist ideas, an adequate treatment of which would take tens of pages. What follows is a greatly simplified and so a somewhat distorted account of the subject. To explain Fa-tsang's peculiar understanding of the concept of causality, we may borrow and slightly expand upon Fa-tsang's famous analogy of the ten coins. Suppose that the government of a certain community issues coins and stipulates that they have monetary value only when used in groups of ten. Then each coin strictly speaking is not a coin, for alone it cannot be used to exchange goods; yet when it is grouped together with nine other coins, it becomes a coin, for then it assumes all the characteristics of a form of currency. The same is true of the nine other coins, which are associated with this one piece of coin to form a monetary unit. In this way, the ten coins are dependent on each other and have their nature defined by each other. The same is true of the elements of Fa-tsang's universe. All elements in the totality become what they are as they are because of their relation with the other members of the totality, and would not be what they are as they are if one element is missing. This relation of interconditionality, when considered simply as each element defining as well as having its nature defined by all other elements in the totality, is called "mutual determination" (hsiang-chi(r)) by Fa-tsang. When considered dynamically as each element exerting its power on, as well as being moulded by, the powers of all other elements, it is called "interpenetration" (hsiang-ju(s)). III This vision of a universe of great harmony made up of mutually determining and interpenetrating elements has invited comparison with the thought of such famous Western philosophers as Plotinus(14) and Whitehead,(15) but the Western thinker which this teaching most readily brings to mind is undoubtedly Leibniz (1646-1716) , the well-known German rationalist whose vast learning and cosmopolitan outlook represented the spirit of the Enlightenment at its very best. This is the way Leibniz depicts his universe of preestablished harmony, a universe consisting of basic units known as monads which are eternally in harmony with each other, for all of them represent in their essence the same cosmos: I believe that every individual substance expresses the whole universe in its own way... but as all substances are a continual production of the sovereign Being, and express the same universe or the same phenomena, they agree exactly with each other.(16) Leibniz explains what he means by "expresses in the preceding quotation as follows: p. 67 One thing expresses another (in my language) when there is a constant and ordered relation between what can be asserted of the one and what can be asserted of the other. In this sense a projection in perspective expresses its ground plan.(17) So, each monad, like each element in Fa-tsang's totality, reflects the entire world from its own "perspective": And just as the same town, when looked at from different sides, appears quite different and is, as it were, multiplied in perspective, so also it happens that because of the infinite number of simple substances, it is as if there were as many different universes, which are however but different perspectives of a single universe in accordance with the different points of view of each monad.(18) Furthermore, similar to Fa-tsang's universe, in Leibniz' universe, nothing can happen to one element without its consequence being felt either distinctly or confusedly by all other elements: The nature of the monad is representative, and consequently nothing can limit it to representing a part of things only, although it is true that its representation is confused as regards the details of the whole universe and can only be distinct as regards a small part of things;... Consequently every body is sensitive to everything which is happening in the universe, so much so that one who saw everything could read in each body what is happening everywhere, and even what has happened or what will happen, by observing in the present the things that are distant in time as well as in space....(19) Even the language used by the two thinkers are reminiscent of each other: Furthermore, every substance is like an entire world and like a mirror of God, or of the whole universe, which each one expresses in its own way, very much as one and the same town is variously represented in accordance with different positions of the observer. Thus the universe is in a way multiplied as many times as there are substances, and in the same way the glory of God is redoubled by so many wholly different representations of his work.(20) The "mirror of God" in this passage calls to mind the precious mirror of the Buddha Diipa.mkara, and the talk of the multiplication of images in the substances reminds us of the multiplication of images in the jewels of the net of Indra, the standard symbol of the Hua-yen teaching of great harmony. IV After having identified the points of similarity in the systems of thought of Fa-tsang and Leibniz, we should ask if these similarities are established on common grounds and so are similarities in the strict sense of the term or are merely surface similarities which carry different connotation and significance when understood in their proper context. In this respect, I would like to argue that even though the pictures Fa-tsang and Leibniz give of the universe may resemble each other in many aspects, the reasons they give for proposing these pictures as well as the lessons they intend to derive from them are miles apart, so much so that any elaborate attempt to draw close parallels between p. 68 them would only confound our understanding of both thinkers. What follow are some of the basic differences which argue against the drawing of easy parallels between the world views of Fa-tsang and Leibniz. To begin with, we should observe that Leibniz is very specific regarding the ontological status of the constituents of his harmonious universe. Monads, according to Leibniz, are "spiritual substances," "primitive forces," and "metaphysical points," which are distinguished from each other by their perceptions and appetitions rather than by their spatial and temporal positions: Monads, having no parts, cannot be made or unmade. They can neither begin nor end naturally and consequently they last as long as the universe, which will be changed but not destroyed. They cannot have shapes, otherwise they would have parts. Therefore one monad, in itself and at a particular moment, can only be distinguished from another by internal qualities and activities, which can be nothing else but its perceptions (that is to say, the representations in the simple of the compound or of that which is outside) and its appetitions (that is to say, its tendencies to pass from one perception to another), which are the principles of change.(21) Furthermore, being perfectly simple and immutable, monads are the "true things" which participate in the world of the real, whereas all the other entities of our cosmos are "beings by aggregation" dependent on the monads for their being and nature: You doubt whether a simple thing is subject to changes. But since only simple things are true things, and the rest are beings by aggregation and therefore phenomena, existing, as Democritus put it, by convention but not by nature, it is obvious that unless there is change in the simple things, there will be no change in things at all.(22) Fa-tsang, on the other hand, never defines the elements of his harmonious universe in precise philosophical terms. Thus far as is suggested by his writings, these elements include the tathataa, truths, wisdom, masters, students, ordinary objects, and in fact, practically anything we can set our mind on. Also to be noted is that, in Fa-tsang's ontological scheme, most of these elements come into being as a consequence of the permeation of the tathaagatagarbha by ignorance. As such, they belong to the realm of the phenomenal, and so are metaphysically more akin to Leibniz' monadic aggregates than to the monads themselves. Second, we have seen that Fa-tsang attempts to illustrate what he means by "harmony" by analyzing the concept of causality into the two relations of interpenetration and mutual determination; and in Fa-tsang's system of thought, "harmony" is perceived as some sort of balance of power among the elements of the universe themselves. This way of conceiving "harmony" Leibniz would call "the way of influence," a way which, in Leibniz' opinion, is philosophically totally untenable. Leibniz has considered three possible explanations for the agreement among monads, and concludes that the only acceptable solution is the way of preestablished harmony: p. 69 Their agreement or sympathy will also arise in one of these three ways. The way, of influence is that of ordinary philosophy; but as it is impossible to conceive of either material particles, or immaterial species of qualities, as capable of passing from one of these substances to the other, we are obliged to abandon this view. The way of assistance is that of the system of occasional causes. But I hold that this is bringing in the deus ex machina for a natural and ordinary thing, where reason requires him to intervene only in the way he concurs with all other things in nature. Thus there remains only my hypothesis, that is to say the way of pre-established harmony-pre-established, that is, by a Divine anticipatory artifice, which so formed each of these substances from the beginning, that in merely following its own laws, which it received with its being, it is yet in accord with the other, just as if they mutually influenced one another, or as if, over and above his general concourse, God were for ever putting in his hand to set them right.(23) Thus, in Leibniz' philosophy, harmony is not a matter of mutual exchange of influences among the monads themselves, but is a state preestablished by God.(24) Once a monad comes into being, not only will there be no intervention on its working from God, but it is also free from the interferences of all other monads. All changes that occur to it happen by internal principle only: Each of the substances contains in its nature a law of' the continuation of the series of its own operations and everything that has happened and will happen to it. Except for its dependence upon God, all its actions come from its own depths....The union of the soul with the body, and even the operation of one substance on another, consists only in this perfect mutual accord, explicitly established by the order of the original creation, in virtue of which each substance, following its own laws, agrees with the demands of the others, and the operations of the one thus follow or accompany the activity or change of the others.(25) If Leibniz still retains the vocabulary of cause and effect in his discussions, he makes it very clear that he does so as a concession to the way of everyday expression, (26) whereas in reality, the monads "have no windows, by which anything could come in or go out."(27) So he concludes: It could therefore be said in a way, and in a perfectly good sense (although remote from ordinary usage), that one particular substance never acts on another particular substance, nor is acted on by another, if one considers the fact that what happens to each is simply a consequence of its complete idea or notion alone, for this idea already contains all its predicates or events and expresses the entire universe.(28) If Fa-tsang and Leibniz do not agree on how harmony is achieved in their universe, the rationales they offer for maintaining the thesis of universal harmony also differ. As we have observed, Fa-tsang's doctrine of universal harmony is the end product of his critique of the teachings of his predecessors and is taught as an exemplification of the idea of the round. Leibniz, on the other hand, comes to this conclusion mainly by way of a number of assumptions on the form of proposition and the nature of truth. The second half of the last quotation hints at how Leibniz arrives at the conclusion that each monad in p. 70 his universe mirrors all the other monads from its own standpoint. "What happens to each is simply a consequence of its complete idea or notion alone, for this idea already contains all its predicates or events and expresses the entire universe" is Leibniz' own formulation of the so-called "predicate-in-notion" principle, which has been restated by Charlie D. Board as follows: "In every true affirmative proposition, whether it be necessary or contingent, universal or singular, the notion of the predicate is contained either explicitly or implicitly in that of the object."(29) Since according to Leibniz, "that what happens to each is simply a consequence of its complete idea or notion alone, " each monad has a notion, and on the predicate-in-notion principle, this notion is "a notion so complete that anyone who fully understood it could infer from it all the predicates, down to the minutest detail, which will ever belong to that substance."(30) Moreover, since Leibniz also maintains that there are no "absolutely extrinsic denominations in things,"(31) he does not distinguish between essential and accidental predicates, so that any predicate which comes to be associated with the monad would be as necesarry to its essence as any other predicate. With this in mind, it is not difficult to conceive how Leibniz comes to conclude that each monad is a world by itself and that "all the things that can ever happen to us are only consequences of our being,''(32) for every monad is related either directly or indirectly to all monads past, present, and future, and since all these relations are part of the notion of the monad and, as predicates of the notion of the monad, are considered to be equally essential to the substance of the monad, each monad can be what it is as it is only if all other monads are what they are as they are. In this manner, each monad "mirrors" all other monads in the universe even though they do not act on each other, for its substance includes in relations with all other monads. The next question to ask is why Leibniz maintains the predicate-in-notion principle and does not distinguish between essential and accidental properties. Many explanations have been offered by Leibniz and his interpreters, of which we need only to mention one here, that is, Leibniz' firm conviction in the principle of sufficient reason, which he has once described as "the great principle .... which holds that nothing takes place without sufficient reason, that is to say that nothing happens without its being possible for one who has enough knowledge of things to give a reason sufficient to determine why it is thus and not otherwise."(33) As a rationalist, it seems self-evident to Leibniz that "there is nothing without a reason... that there is no truth for which a reason does not subsist."(34) This principle, together with the assumption that every proposition about existence is of the subject-predicate form or reducible to such a form, explains why Leibniz upholds the predicate-in-notion principle, and obliterates the difference between accidental and essential properties: It is very true that when several predicates are attributed to one and the same subject, and this subject is not attributed to any other, one calls this subject an individual substance. But this is not enough, and such an explanation is p. 71 only nominal. It is necessary, therefore, to consider what it is to be truly attributed to a certain subject. Now, it is agreed that every true proposition has some basis in the nature of things, and when a proposition is not identical that is, when the predicate is not contained expressly in the subject--it must be contained in it virtually....The subject-term, therefore, must always include the predicate-term, in such a way that a man who understood the notion of the subject perfectly would also judge that the predicate belongs to it. That being so, we can say that it is the nature of an individual substance, or complete being, to have a notion so complete that it is sufficient to contain, and render deducible from itself, all the predicates of the subject to which this notion is attributed.(35) Since every proposition true of a monad is of the subject-predicate form, all that can be said of a monad are predicates of the monad. Furthermore, since according to the principle of sufficient reason, nothing can be true of a monad that is not supported by sufficient reason, there must be something in the substance of the monad which explains completely why it comes to be associated with some particular predicates and not otherwise. Thus, it follows that anyone who understands the nature of the monad perfectly can deduce from its notion all its predicates a priori, and there is no distinction between what is accidental and what is essential. Thus, to God who knows the reasons of all things, all truths regarding particular substances are true a priori: On the other hand, an accident is a being whose notion does not include all that can be attributed to the subject to which this notion is attributed. Take, for example, the quality of being a king, which belongs to Alexander the Great. This quality, when abstracted from its subject, is not sufficiently determinate for an individual and does not contain the other qualities of the same subject, nor everything that the notion of this prince contains. God, on the other hand, seeing the individual notion or haecceitas of Alexander, sees in it at the same time the foundation of and reason for all the predicates which can truly be stated of him--as, for example, that he is the conquerer of Darius and Porus-- even to the extent of knowing a priori, and not by experience, whether he died a natural death or died by poison, which we can know only from history. Therefore, when one considers properly the connexion between things, one can say that there are in the soul of Alexander, from all time, traces of all that has happened to him, and marks of everything that will happen to him--and even traces of everything that happens in the universe--though no one but God can know all of them.(36) Discussion on the principle of sufficient reason brings us finally to the point where Leibniz definitely parts way with Fa-tsang, that is, his almost unabated optimism. Underlying the principle of sufficient reason is the belief that to be rational is a perfection, and that God, being the most perfect being, must be, by necessity, the most rational being. Thus, there is nothing which God creates whose rationale of existence cannot be sought in the ultimate wisdom of the Creator himself(37): Now as there is an infinite number of possible universes in the ideas of God, and as only one can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God's choice, determining him to one rather than to another. p. 72 And this reason can only be found in the fitness, or in the degrees of perfection, which these worlds contain, each possible world having the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection which it involves. And it is this which causes the existence of the best, which God knows through his wisdom, chooses through his goodness, and produces through his power.(38) Since everything possible has a claim to existence, God's choice to actualize one possible world rather than the rest must be based on the principle of fitness, that is, "in the degrees of perfection, which these worlds contain."(39) It follows that our world, being the world God chooses to create, cannot but be the most perfect world possible: It follows from the supreme perfection of God that in producing the universe. He chose the best possible plan, containing the greatest variety together with the greatest order... the most power, the most knowledge, the most happiness and goodness in created things of which the universe admitted. For as all possible things have a claim to existence in the understanding of God in proportion to their perfections, the result of all these claims must be the most perfect actual world which is possible. Otherwise it would not be possible to explain why things have happened as they have rather than otherwise.(40) Furthermore, every entity in this most perfect universe, being a member of "the City of God" and an indispensable component of this best possible order, has absolute value: Since each mind is as a world apart and sufficient unto itself, independent of every other created being, enveloping the infinite and expressing the universe, it is as durable, as subsistent, as absolute as the universe of creatures itself. We must therefore conclude that it must always play such a part as is most fitting to contribute to the perfection of the society of all minds, which is their moral union in the City of God.(41) Such unreserved glorification of the goodness of earthy existence is foreign to the spirit of Buddhism that considers the mundane world to be "a mass of ills" and life a burden which one has to reconcile with rather than revel in. Indeed, Fa-tsang sincerely believes that his round teaching has transcended the so called one-sided emphasis on emptiness in Maadhyamika Buddhism. Moreover, by adopting the view of the Ta-ch'eng ch'i-hsin lun that the phenomenal is the transformation of the talhaagatagarbha and through his doctrine of causality conferring on all elements of his harmonious universe the function of determining and penetrating each other, Fa-tsang's metaphysics does sometimes sound highly affirmative. For example, in the Wang-chin huan-yuan kuan(t), he talks of a single particle of dust pervading the entire dharma-realm, embodying all forms of existence and including in itself both aspects of being and emptiness.(42) Yet, in this same work, we find him declaring that a particle of dust (dharma) is "without self essence" and "without substance." And despite the enthusiasm he so often displays in his portrayal of his universe of great harmony, when he finally gets down to contemplating the ontological status of its elements, he writes, "Since dusts (dharmas) come into being depending p. 73 on conditions, all of them are without self-essence. Even though there are myriad forms of beings and teachings, all of them are merely one single taste of emptiness."(43) Enlightenment, in Fa-tsang's opinion, consists in the comprehension of the unreal nature of phenomenal objects: "Those who are deluded say that dusts originate from somewhere, come into existence and then disappear. That is a delusion. Now, it is understood that dusts are without substance. That is awakening."(44) V This brief study naturally cannot do full justice to the teachings of these two profound thinkers of East and West. Nevertheless, I hope that it has accomplished to some extent the objectives outlined at the beginning of this study, and that in pinpointing where the similarities and dissimilarities of the metaphysics of these two thinkers lie, it has helped us to better comprehend the basic orientation of both of them. As for the degree of affirmativeness of Fa-tsang's Metaphysics, a full answer to the question would involve detailed examination of Fa-tsang's doctrine of "origination from essential nature" (hsing-ch'i(u)), which again would entail discussions of the historical and theoretical connection between Hua-yen Buddhism and the tathaagatagarbha doctrine and some of the dubious features of the latter, which would carry us too far afield. Still, it is of significance to observe that even though Fa-tsang's world-view does seem to exhibit some affirmative features, it is not affirmative in the same way as Leibniz' world-view is affirmative. To understand this is a step, if only a beginning step, toward a correct appreciation of this problem. NOTES 1. For some examples, refer to. Kametani Seikei(v), Kegon taikyo no kenkyuu(w) (Tokyo: 1931), pp. 218-220; Murakami Shunko(x), "Raibunittsu-shi to Kegonshuu(y)" in Kegon shiso(z), ed. Nakamura Hajime(aa) (Kyoto: 1960), pp. 453-483. 2. For example, see the former's Li-shi che-hsuueh(ab) and the latter's "On Zen (Ch'an) Language and Zen Paradoxes," Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 1, no. 1 (1973): 77-102. 3. Edward Conze has observed: When we compare Buddhist and European thought, it happens quite often that the formulations agree, whereas considerations of their context, of the motives behind them, and of the conclusions drawn from them suggest wide discrepancies. Verbal coincidences frequently mask fundamental divergences in the concepts underlying them. ("Spurious Parallels to Buddhist Philosophy, " Philosophy East and West, 13, no. 2 [1963]: 105.) 4. Francis H. Cook certainly has something of that kind in mind when he contrasts the Indian Buddhist view of Reality with that of the Chinese Buddhists in his recent article "Causation in the Chinese Hua-Yen Tradition": While both Indian and Chinese Buddhists understood emptiness as being synonymous with interdependence, the Indians emphasized the point that, because of the pervasive interdependence, things lack any ultimate reality and are unworthy of attachment. For the Indians, emptiness as p. 74 the absence of any enduring permanence, substantiality, and value was of paramount importance. The Chinese chose to stress the point that emptiness is the interdependent relationship of real phenomenal events. The Indian view tends to be negative in its devaluation of events, and reduces them to the level of insignificance and triviality. The Chinese view tends to raise all events to a common level of supreme value by seeing their crucial roles in the nexus of interconditionality. (Journal of Chinese Philosophy 6, no. 4 [1979]: 368) Professor Cook goes on to declare that Fa-tsang's teaching reflects most clearly this "crucial shift of emphasis" in Chinese Buddhism, with its "respect and appreciation for the many transient things of the natural world inasmuch as each of them played an important role in the nexus of interdependence" (Ibid., p. 371). 5. Refer to Kamata Shigeo(ac) , Chuugoku kegon hisoshi no kenkyuu(ad) (Tokyo: 1965), pp. 120-124, 144-148. Also consult Stanley Weinstein, "imperial Patronage in the Formation of T'ang Buddhism," in Perspective on the T'ang, ed. Arthur F. Wright and Denis Twitchett (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1973), pp. 297-306. 6. The problem of the founder of the Hua-yen school is much debated. For a short and orthodox account of the subject, see Kamata Shigeo, op. cit., pp. 50-58. 7. Sa.myutta-nikaaya LVI 47. F. L. Woodward, trans., The Book of Kindred Sayings, Part V (London: Pali Text Society, 1930), pp. 356-357. 8. David E. Mungello writes thus in his article "The Reconciliation of Neo-Confucianism with Christianity in the Writings of Joseph de Premare": "In fact, this stress on unity as opposed to discord had become so ingrained into Chinese nature that one could probably speak of it as a cultural ideal, if not a trait." Philosophy East and West 26, no. 4 (1976): p. 395. 9. Fa-tsang, Yu-hsin fa-chieh chi(ae) , Taisho shinshuu daizokyo(af) henceafter cited as T), vol. 45, p. 642c. 10. Ibid. 11. For a more detailed account of Fa-tsang's p'ain-chiao system and the concept of the round, refer to my article "The P'an-chiao System of the Hua-yen School in Chinese Buddhism", T'oung Pao 62, 1-2 (1981): 10-47. Some of the remarks in this study are drawn from that article. 12. A beautiful description of the Tower of Maitreya can be found in Daisetz T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism, 3d series (New York: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1976), pp. 120-141. 13. T, vol. 45, p. 647a-b. 14. See Nakamura Hajime, "Kegongyo no shiso-shi teki igi(ag)," in Kegon shiso, pp. 127-134. 15. Refer to. Garma C. C. Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1974) , pp. 122-124: Francis H. Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977), pp. 4, 44, 73, Francis H. Cook, "Causation in the Chinese Hua-Yen Tradition." For an article stressing dissimilarity rather than similarity, see Winston L. King, "Hua-Yen Mutually Interpenetrative Identity and Whiteheadean Organic Relation," Journal of Chinese Philosophy 6, no. 4 (1979): 387-410. 16. Bertrand Russell, A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz (London: George Allen & Unwin Co. Ltd., 1951), p. 263. 17. Mary Morris and George H. R. Parkinson, trans., Leibniz: Philosophical Writings (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1973), pp. 71-72. 18. Ibid., pp. 187-188. 19. Ibid., pp. 188-189. 20. Ibid., pp. 19-20. 21. Ibid., p. 195. 22. Leroy E. Loemker, trans., Philosophical Papers and Letters (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1969), p. 531. 23. Morris and Parkinson, op. cit.. p. 131. 24. Leibniz conceives of creation as a choice from among possibles, and he considers it a sign of the greatness of the Creator that he needs only to produce the monads once, and then all of them will work together in perfect accord forever: The nature of every simple substance, soul, or true monad being such that its following state is a consequence of the preceding one, here now is the cause of the harmony found out. For God p.75 needs only to make a simple substance become once and from the beginning a representation of the universe according to its point of view, since from thence alone it follows that it will be so perpetually and that all simple substances will always have a harmony among themselves because they always represent the same universe. (Leroy E. Loemker, op. cit., pp. 711-712.) 25. Ibid., p. 360. 26. Leibniz explains what he understands as causality as follows: From the notion of an individual substance it also follows in metaphysical vigour that all the operations of substances, both actions and passions, are spontaneous, and that with the exception of the dependence of creatures on God, no real influx from one to the other is intelligible. For whatever happens to each one of them would flow from its nature and its notion even if the rest were supposed to be absent, for each one expresses the entire universe. However, that whose expression is the more distinct is judged to act, and that whose expression is the more confused is judged to be passive, since to act is a perfection and to.be passive is an imperfection. Again, that thing is thought to be a cause from whose state a reason for changes is most easily given. (Morris and Parkinson, op. cit., p. 79.) Causality in Leibniz' system is defined entirely in terms of monadic perceptions. In actuality, no created substance receives or exerts forces on another monad. Nevertheless, if we prefer to describe the "agreement" between two monads in causal terms, then the one whose perceptions of the common transaction are clearer, is the active one (that is, the cause), while the other is the passive one (that is, the effect): Action is attributed to that substance, whose expression is more distinct, and one calls this the cause. For instance, when a floating body moves through water, there is an infinity of movements of the parts of the water, such as are necessary so that the place which the body leaves may always be filled by the shortest way. Hence we say that the body is the cause of these movements; because by its means we can explain distinctly what happens. But if we examine what is physical and real in the motion, we can as well suppose that the body is at rest, and that everything else moves in conformity with this hypothesis, since all motion is in itself nothing but a relative thing, namely a change of situation, such that we cannot know to what to attribute it with mathematical precision. Actually we attribute it to a body by whose means everything is explained distinctly.... (Ibid., pp. 63-64.) 27. Ibid., p. 179. 28, lbid.,p.27. 29. Charlie D. Broad, "Leibniz's Predicate-in-Notion Principle," in Leibniz, ed. Harry G. Frankfurt (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972), pp. 1-2. Similar passages can also be found in Leibniz' own writings. For example, in a treatise written in 1686, he states: In every universal affirmative truth the predicate is in the subject: expressly in the case of primitive or identical truths, which are the only truths which are known per se, but implicitly in the case of all the rest. This implicit inclusion is shown by the analysis of terms, by substituting for one another definitions and what is defined. (Morris and Parkinson, op. cit., p. 75) 30. Board, op. cit., p. 2. 31. Morris and Parkinson, op. cit., p. 78. In another instance, Leibniz writes: It also follow that there are no purely extrinsic denominations, which have no foundation in the things denominated. For the notion of the subject denominated must involve the notion of the predicate: consequently, as often as the denomination of the thing is changed, there must be some variation in the thing itself. (p. 89) 32. Ibid., p. 26. 33. Ibid., p. 199. 34. Ibid., p. 172. 35. Ibid., p. 18. 36. Ibid., pp. 18-19. 37. Leibniz repeatedly criticizes the Cartesian view that things are good not by any rule of ex- cellence but solely by the will of God: For why praise him for what he has done if he would be equally praiseworthy in doing exactly the opposite? Where will his justice and wisdom be found if nothing is left but a certain despotic power, if will takes the place of reason, and if, according to the definition of tyrants, that which p. 76 is pleasing to the most powerful is by that very fact just? Besides it seems that every act of will implies some reason for willing and that this reason naturally precedes the act of will itself. This is why I find entirely strange, also, the expression of certain other philosophers who say that the external truths of metaphysics and geometry, and consequently also the rules of goodness, justice, and perfection, are merely the effects of the will of God, while it seems to me that they are rather the consequences of his understanding, which certainly does not depend upon his will any more than does his essence. (Loemker, op. cit., p. 304) 38. Morris and Parkinson, op. cit., p. 187. 39. Leibniz understands by "perfection" the attaining of the maximum effect with a minimum of expenditure: Hence it is seen to be most evident that out of the infinite combinations of possibles, and the infinite possible series, that one exists by whose means the greatest possible amount of essence or possibility is brought into existence. There is always to be found in things a principle of determination which turns on considerations of greatest and least; namely, that the greatest effect should be produced with (if I may so put it) the least expenditure. (Ibid., p. 138) 40. Ibid., p. 200. 41. Loemker, op. cit., p. 458. 42. T, vol. 45, pp. 637c-638a. 43. Fa-tsang, Hua-yen i-hai pai-men(ah), T, vol. 45, p. 629a. 44. Ibid., p. 636a. a 法藏 r 相即 b 牟宗三 s 相入 c 成中英 t 妄盡還源觀 d 華嚴宗 u 性起 e 唐朝 v 龜谷聖馨 f 長安 w 華嚴大經ソ研究 g 武后 x 村上俊江 h 智儼 y ьユйЯШШ氏シ華嚴宗 i 圓融 z 華嚴思想 j 奉法要 aa 中村元 k 郗超 ab 歷史哲學 l 僧肇 ac 鎌田茂雄 m 天台宗 ad 中國華嚴思想史ソ研究 n 法相宗 ae 遊心法界記 o 判教 af 大正新修大藏經 p 華嚴五教章 ag 華嚴經ソ思想史的意義 q 大乘起信論 ah 華嚴義海百門 proofread by Mei-Yu Chen, li-dai (陳麗黛居士)