Hui Neng to Heidegger

 

The dominant East-Asian [Sino-Korean-Japanese] flavor of C’han-Zen was given to it by its 6th Chinese patriarch, Hui-neng [638-713 CE] and his ‘Platform-Sutras‘ [T’an-cheng].

From the first Nothing is!’ roared Hui neng.

[The story goes that the illiterate Hui-neng awoke to this conviction upon hearing the Diamond Sūtra recited just once at a public-square.]

A recent, widely-publicized survey solemnly titled: ‘The Most Important Unresolved Question Of All Time’, came up with Martin Heidegger’s celebrated query [itself, a variation on Aristotle’s ‘ti on’]:

Why is there Something and not Nothing?’

Very helpful. Smart people say the darnedest things.


Did Hui Neng mean ‘Nothing’ as in Absolute Absence? Or did he mean ‘Nothing’ as a reified ontological presence? The T’an-cheng is 1,500 years. The answer is not clear. But his emphatic declaration is.