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Working Emptiness: Toward a Third Reading of Emptiness in Buddhism and Postmodern Thought

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Newman Robert Glass argues that there are three workings of emptiness capable of grounding thinking and behavior: presence, difference, and essence. The first two readings, exemplified by Heidegger and Mark C. Taylor respectively, present opposing views of the work of emptiness in thinking. The third, essence, presents a position on the work of emptiness in desire and affe Newman Robert Glass argues that there are three workings of emptiness capable of grounding thinking and behavior: presence, difference, and essence. The first two readings, exemplified by Heidegger and Mark C. Taylor respectively, present opposing views of the work of emptiness in thinking. The third, essence, presents a position on the work of emptiness in desire and affect. Glass begins by offering a close analysis of presence and difference. He then fashions his own understanding of essence, or emptiness. He goes on to use this third reading to construct a comprehensive Buddhist position based in desire and affect -- a Buddhism of essence.


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Newman Robert Glass argues that there are three workings of emptiness capable of grounding thinking and behavior: presence, difference, and essence. The first two readings, exemplified by Heidegger and Mark C. Taylor respectively, present opposing views of the work of emptiness in thinking. The third, essence, presents a position on the work of emptiness in desire and affe Newman Robert Glass argues that there are three workings of emptiness capable of grounding thinking and behavior: presence, difference, and essence. The first two readings, exemplified by Heidegger and Mark C. Taylor respectively, present opposing views of the work of emptiness in thinking. The third, essence, presents a position on the work of emptiness in desire and affect. Glass begins by offering a close analysis of presence and difference. He then fashions his own understanding of essence, or emptiness. He goes on to use this third reading to construct a comprehensive Buddhist position based in desire and affect -- a Buddhism of essence.

16 review for Working Emptiness: Toward a Third Reading of Emptiness in Buddhism and Postmodern Thought

  1. 5 out of 5

    Corbin

    I'm no expert on Buddhism, but I thought Glass provided a careful analysis of three different ways of interpreting the notion of "emptiness" and comparing it to three different veins of "Continental" or "postmodern" thought. He drew parallels between Nagarjuna and Heidegger, Nagarjuna and Mark Taylor (and vicariously, Derrida), and Dogen and Deleuze which served as the basis of three competing conceptions of emptiness. He also tried to show what impact these conceptions would have on the ethical I'm no expert on Buddhism, but I thought Glass provided a careful analysis of three different ways of interpreting the notion of "emptiness" and comparing it to three different veins of "Continental" or "postmodern" thought. He drew parallels between Nagarjuna and Heidegger, Nagarjuna and Mark Taylor (and vicariously, Derrida), and Dogen and Deleuze which served as the basis of three competing conceptions of emptiness. He also tried to show what impact these conceptions would have on the ethical and practical conclusions for a practitioner. Briefly, the first conception can be characterized as "presence," and it emphasizes the dependent origination of every phenomenon; as a result, we are tasked with recognizing the "suchness" of experience--but this does not provide any particular ethical imperatives. The second conception can be characterized as "difference," and it emphasizes "the emptiness of emptiness." While both the first and second views resist the rigid conceptualization of reality, the former takes the detachment from concepts to bring us into closer contact with reality so that we can be with it in its impermanent flux. The "difference" view acknowledges persistent gaps and deferments that prevent us from either avowing or disavowing any understanding. The ethical task then is to acknowledge otherness, to resist reducing it to immediacy-for-me. The third view is Glass' take on a distinction he finds in Dogen between "cutting the root of thinking" and dropping off body and mind," and it can be characterized as "subtraction." Though some scholars (per Glass) treat these as equivalent, he tries to show that Dogen saw these as complementary processes with different attitudes towards or respecting different aspects of emptiness. The former rejects the various "coverings" which obscure the pure "Buddha-soul" in all things, while the latter affirms this Buddha-soul. Thus, there is a negation and an affirmation that work in tandem. This means that "is empty" and "is not empty" do not apply to the same things in the same ways. Intriguingly, Glass suggests that Dogen's Buddhism is actually a type of essentialism, where the nonessential (impure, pleasure-seeking) aspects of reality are subtracted so that the essential (pure, compassion-provoking) aspects of reality can be embraced. I have certainly never thought of Buddhism as a type of essentialism, but the parallels that Glass draws between Heidegger, Derrida (via Taylor), and Deleuze were helpful for me in my own reflections.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ri

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meg

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jin Yi

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Cheng

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  7. 4 out of 5

    Godiva Reisenbichler

  8. 4 out of 5

    Niklas

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milissa

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

  11. 5 out of 5

    r0b

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sichu

  13. 4 out of 5

    James

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amal Baqshy

  15. 4 out of 5

    ERF

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dwayne Dukes

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