By Gadjin M. Nagao, L. S. Kawamura
Very important technical phrases utilized in the Mahayana textual culture, whose distinctive knowing is significant for the research of Mahayana Buddhism, are skillfully offered, making the booklet vital to students of Buddhist reviews.
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Extra info for Madhyamika and Yogacara: A Study of Mahayana Philosophies : Collected Papers of G.M. Nagao
Thinking thus, the Buddha elects to remain silent and enter directly into Nirval)a. According to the suttas, the god Brahma Sahampati appears and, suspecting that the Dharma is about to vanish forever, which would straightway plunge man into eternal wretchedness, he repeatedly beseeches the Buddha to reconsider and expound the Dharma: May the reverend Lord teach the Doctrine, may the Happy One (sugata) teach the Doctrine. There are beings of little impurity that are falling away through not hearing the Doctrine.
This fundamental attitude of Zen expresses the same view referred to above concerning the inadequacy of language, but in the most extreme terms. All of these Mahayana schools are founded upon the concept of 'slinyatil' (emptiness) that lies at the core of Nagarjuna's Madhyamic philosophy. Sunyata, furthermore, is described as inexpressible, inconceivable, devoid of designations, and so forth, which links it directly with the present problem of the silence of the Buddha. Of course, sunyata is not limited to the mere negation of language: it represents a much wider but consistent viewpoint that includes, besides other things, the negation of language.
And only with great misgivings did he consent to be persuaded to launch on the difficult task of preaching the Dharma. What is the significance of this hesitation, this silence of the Buddha? Indeed, the authors of the Buddha's biographies, in inserting this moment of hesitation between those of his Enlightenment and his momentous departure into the world, presented one of the stimuli for the cultivation of the subsequent forms of Buddhism. Now, there is another silence that must be understood in a more metaphysical tone.