Saturday, April 19, 2008

The New Empty of Graduate School

Here's a sample of some of the crazy shit I end up saying in class:
Just as the Skeptics refuse to rely on the senses, so too do the Buddhists. But in Buddhism, the mind (or mentality) is considered one of the six senses, so that every thought construction is as susceptible to error as every sense impression. In this way, prajñā too is empty (śūnyatā): it is not a knowing of a thing, or any thing; rather it is a way of knowing that all things are not things-in-themselves or things-as-such. Prajñā is a knowing that everything is beyond the conception of thingness; it is a knowledge void (śūnyatā) of content.

If it weren't for Andy's whispered admonitions and sometimes passed notes that read "Don't hate," I think my head would explode from frustration with my classmates, particularly the one who attempts to reduce (meant in the most derogatory manner possible) everything that is not Aristotelian metaphysics to Aristotelian metaphysics. For fuck sake: is that your frame of reference for everything? Including all those things that aren't really things at all?

Andy's right, of course. What's even more frustrating, however, is that I have no vested interest in Buddhism. No intention of being a Buddhist. No design to convert anyone. But if we're talking about Buddhism, should we not use terms and metaphors proper to it instead of imposing and superimposing our own sorry worldview, opposing a new thought or a new way of thinking, disposing of an opportunity for transformational thinking, hiding ourselves--what we conceive to be ourselves--from possible exposure to something wholly other? I suppose so. Otherwise, education becomes more of an unnecessary travesty and a waste of time.

Two days after my last class meeting, I still find myself seeking composure, a releasement toward letting-be. Away from any egoism or intentionality. À la Buddha himself. But there's still another class next week with the same sorry people. Thank G-d Andy will be there to remind me what I most need to learn.

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