Zen Buddhism, Modernity and Western Philosophy essay

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The silence and the language as two opposite concepts reveal double nature of man’s perception of the world. The harmony preserved in silence unchains the person from distortion of reality. According to Bodhidharma, the ultimate truth is understood not by verbal explanation, but only by accepting in the heart. Verbal representation is a product of subjective comprehension. Being distorted, changed and influenced by inaccuracy of human expression, the truth becomes imaginary concept, rather than universally systematized thinking.

In Huineng teachings language is an external intermediary code that is often fail to be understood due to the fact, that internal perception of the truth is the only way of its comprehension. Nevertheless, language has its own purpose and it is highly appreciated as a form of realization, rather then the ultimate gist. Chinul considers personal ultimate subjectivity of Buddha comprehension as the possible misleading of solipsism that rejects ultimate reality. The ultimate subjectivity is the crank link on the way to ultimate objectivity, not its final destination.

Wonhyo explains that individual’s transgression is the burden for consciousness. Transgression should be realized and removed from one’s mind (Park, 196). Moreover, analyzing ethical aspects of an individual’s actions, a human being used to believe that there is the only right decision, however, due to the inaccessibility of the ultimate reality, ethics becomes the notational convention (Park, 202). That is why the connection between ultimate reality and notional objective laws form interrelation between the absolute as the gist and practical organization of values and rules (Park, 211). 

To sum up, one can notice the interdependence between Zen appreciations of the language and silence are realized in individual’s perception that is distorted by subjectivity of verbal realization. Huatou explains possibility to overcome this miscomprehension. Codification is the limitation of inner sense that should be released to understand it properly. Complete comprehension is possible only after releasing transgression. The ultimate reality cannot be universally systematized, but should be understood as the nominal formal organization of ethical laws that could be apprehended only by heart.

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