The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Inherent Existence in Buddhist Philosophy
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So what is this`'inherent existence' that it is so important to refute?
(3) It is indestructible.
(4) It is eternal.
(5) It is unchanging when viewed externally.
(6) It cannot undergo any internal changes of state.
(7) It either has no constituent parts, or if it has parts those parts are inseparable.
(8) Consequently, nothing can be ejected or removed from it.
(9) Nothing can be added to it (this would change its definition).
The fact that an inherently existent object would be indestructible rules out anything composed of physical particles, because every subatomic particle is destructible when it meets its nemesis, in the form of its corresponding antiparticle.
I used to think that mathematics might be inherently existent, but from my limited knowledge of Goedel's theorem, I understand that no system of mathematics can be completely self-defined, and must always reference something external to itself.
God might be another candidate for an inherently existing entity, but if he were truly inherently-existent he could never undergo a change of state in response to external conditions (eg become angry at sinners/infidels and send plagues, pestilences etc to destroy them). Neither would it matter to him whether he was worshipped or not, for no external factor could in the slightest degree affect him.
Also, if God is omnipotent, he has the power to destroy everything, including himself. So even God must be empty of inherent existence because his continued existence is contingent on his not committing suicide.
Returning to point (5), a physical, inherently existing object probably couldn't be viewed because the physics of viewing requires the electrons in the object to interact with the photons of light, which would require a rearrangement of the 'parts' of the object. Hence the object would be altered by external conditions.
So no physical object could ever be inherently existent, as it is composed entirely of parts which are dependently-related to the knower ( and some very weird things happen when you try to find the 'true nature' of fundamental particles.)