The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Nomenclature, orthography and etymology
用, this character is known as Radical 101 and romanized as "Jung" or "Yung" and is employed in both Cantonese and Mandarin written Chinese where it holds the semantic field: use; employ; apply; operate exert use effect finance need eat; drink Kangxi radical 101. Korean pronunciation is 용, or YONG using the MCT-2000 Romanization.
Essence-Function (t'i-yung, 體用 : che-yong, 체용)
Although arising-ceasing is the opposite of true suchness, it derives from one-mind in the same way that true suchness does. Arising-ceasing is thus not different from one-mind, as yung is not different from t'i."
is employed as a teaching tool or hermeneutic device for explaining the relationship and operation of Essence-Function where 'Essence' the deep underlying ineffable cause are the "roots", and the 'Function' are the discernible effects, the "branches".
Muller (2005: unpaginated) identifies the metaphor of the "roots" and "branches" as an analogue of Essence-Function within the Great Learning: "Things have their roots and branches, affairs have their end and beginning.
When you know what comes first and what comes last, then you are near the Way."
Mipham , familiar with Woncheuk's Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra commentary (known in Tibet as the Great Chinese Commentary as it was referred to by Tsongkhapa ) that employs essence-function, includes in his Commentary to the Madhyamālaṃkāra of Śāntarakṣita an open quotation from the 'Mother of the Victorious Ones' (Sanskrit : Prajñāpāramitā):
- Yet although it is definitely necessary to embrace general learning and reflection, it is meaningful to condense one's practice to its core.
The Mother of the Victorious Ones give examples of those who abandon the root to search for the branches, those who have come to a sublime feast but search for an inferior meal, those who have found the elephant but search for its foot prints,
Application of concept
- The most important application of t'i-yung thought , however, is to the human being, where the human mind is seen as "essence," and one's words, thoughts and actions are seen as "function."
Interpenetration and nonduality
- Since the t'i-yung or "essence-function" construction is originally used by East Asian Buddhists to show a non-dualistic and non-discriminate nature in their enlightenment experience, it should not exclude any other frameworks such as neng-so or "subject-object" constructions.
Nevertheless the essence-function construction must be distinguished from the subject-object construction from a scholastic perspective because the two are completely different from each other in terms of their way of thinking .
Sung-bae Park (2009: p. 11) holds that:
The term essence/function (which is often translated by East Asian scholars into the Chinese term t'i-yung) has a rather abstract, philosophical tone, connoting an impression of being somewhat removed from the nitty-gritty details of everyday life .
Origins of the term
the quest for a theoretical reconciliation among Confucianism , Daoism , and Buddhism . The theory was at first known as pen-mo ("primary-last" or "primary-subordinate"), which developed into t'i-yung.
In the initial development of the theory, "thinkers considered one of the three philosophies as 'the primary' or 't'i' and the others as 'the last' or 'yung,' insisting that their own philosophy was superior to the others."