The metaphysics of Buddhist experience and the Whiteheadian encounter
On the other hand, it falls short of Whitehead's system in terms of a consistent and systematic treatment, that is,
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).
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.
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.
Within a few centuries of the Buddha's demise, Buddhism distinguished itself from other "forsaken ways" by the well-known Three Marks (tri-lak.sa.na), that is, impermanence (anitya), non-self (anaatman) and the enlightened state of existence (nirvaa.na).
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.
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.
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 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.
The Genetic Structure of Experience
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.
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.
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.
1. Five skandhas (constituents of being)
1.eye (cak.sus) 7. eye objective datum (ruupa)
2.ear (srotra) 8. ear objective datum (`sabda)
3.nose (ghraa.na) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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, 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 nirapek.sa).
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.
(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).
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)
It was a convenient position to arrive at, but one that had a basic shortcoming, that is, a case of mistaken emphasis.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (sa.mv.rtisatya), in the famous verses treating the spheres and limits of the twin concepts of sa.msaara and nirvaa.na.(14)
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 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).
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.
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 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)
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.
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.
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).
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.
(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.
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.
(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.
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.
There is a sense of the idealistic, but this is not metaphysical idealism so far as it is known in the West, Buddhahood or nirvaa.na is the summum bonum. but it entails an expansive nature which "transcends" local or individual cosmologies.
(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,
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
In both at least three factors are prominent:
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.
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.
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)
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.
(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)
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)
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)
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).
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)
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.
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
It lies in the fact that the past fades, that time is a `perpetually perishing'....
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.
(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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 nirvaa.na. As a matter of fact, he introduces the terms "Buddhist Nirvaa.na" 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
(2) suffering due to the inability to accommodate change (vipari.naamadukkha) , and
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.
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.
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.
41. The Doctrine of Ten Causes:
1. kaara.na-hetu (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)
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.