Nietzsche and Zen: Self Overcoming Without a Self (Studies in Comparative Philosophy and Religion)

Language: English

Pages: 250

ISBN: 073918444X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In Nietzsche and Zen: Self-Overcoming Without a Self, André van der Braak engages Nietzsche in a dialogue with four representatives of the Buddhist Zen tradition: Nagarjuna (c. 150-250), Linji (d. 860), Dogen (1200-1253), and Nishitani (1900-1990). In doing so, he reveals Nietzsche's thought as a philosophy of continuous self-overcoming, in which even the notion of "self" has been overcome. Van der Braak begins by analyzing Nietzsche's relationship to Buddhism and status as a transcultural thinker, recalling research on Nietzsche and Zen to date and setting out the basic argument of the study. He continues by examining the practices of self-overcoming in Nietzsche and Zen, comparing Nietzsche's radical skepticism with that of Nagarjuna and comparing Nietzsche's approach to truth to Linji's. Nietzsche's methods of self-overcoming are compared to Dogen's zazen, or sitting meditation practice, and Dogen's notion of forgetting the self. These comparisons and others build van der Braak's case for a criticism of Nietzsche informed by the ideas of Zen Buddhism and a criticism of Zen Buddhism seen through the Western lens of Nietzsche - coalescing into one world philosophy. This treatment, focusing on one of the most fruitful areas of research within contemporary comparative and intercultural philosophy, will be useful to Nietzsche scholars, continental philosophers, and comparative philosophers.

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followed Schopenhauer in confounding Buddhism and Vedanta, Mistry claims that the later Nietzsche recognized Buddhism to be a revolutionary movement against both the metaphysical absolutism of Vedanta and the resulting skepticism of some other Indian schools: In Buddhism’s rational confrontation with the prevailing intellectual events that had culminated in a skepticism regarding the concept of deity and attendant metaphysical equivalents, on the other hand, Nietzsche recognized a highly

because it is divine: “From the moment faith in the God of the ascetic ideal is denied, a new problem arises: that of the value of truth” (GM III, 20). The question of the value of truth has never been posed before, Nietzsche claims. The problem with the idea of truth as correspondence is that it gives no account of why we should value the truth, why it is preferable to error. A possible answer would be that truth is valuable for the pragmatic reason that it is effective. Nietzsche describes

can dominate the mind. The question could arise, what is it that puts the body in the right situation? And what recognizes what is the right situation? The Buddhist answer to this would be: bodaishin, the drive toward awakening. Bodaishin manifests itself as a conscious intention to practice zazen but is itself a result of a particular configuration of bodily drives. Therefore, bodaishin cannot be cultivated directly; it will develop as the body is further cultivated. Nagatomo speculates that

conception of it, the notion of nirvana as it appears in the Pali Canon (obviously, as we have seen in chapter 1, through the lens of its nineteenth-century Western interpreters such as Oldenberg). And what would Dōgen say about Nietzsche’s critique of redemption? Does Nietzsche’s áskēsis perhaps culminate in some kind of Zen enlightenment, or non-enlightenment? In part III I will critically examine such questions. NOTES 1. Damien Keown, “trikaya.” Encyclopedia.com : A Dictionary of

These ways of teaching are rhetorical in the original sense of the word. They are not meant to seduce the student, but to educate him, to teach him how to think, to raise him to be capable of a “more divine way of thinking.” In order to be capable of such a thing, preliminary exercises are needed. As Nietzsche formulates it, one has to learn to walk before one can dance. This interpretation can be supported by looking at the way in which Nietzsche presents his theory of will to power in Beyond

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