Emptiness and experience: Pure and impure

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 4 (1):57-76 (2004)
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This paper discusses the idea of "pure experience" within the context of the Buddhist tradition and in connection with the notions of emptiness and dependent origination via a reading of Dale Wright's reading of 'Huangbo' in his 'Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism'. The purpose is to appropriate Wright's text in order to engender a response to Steven Katz's contextualist-constructivist thesis that there are no "pure" (i.e., unmediated) experiences. In light of the Mahayana claim that everything is empty of substance, i.e., originates dependently through conditions, contingencies, and contexts, what does the "purity" of the Enlightenment experience mean for Chan/Zen Buddhism?

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John Krummel
Hobart and William Smith Colleges


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