By Sallie B. King
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Yet how different are the “flavors” of the two terms! The authors of the tathagatagarbha literature were intent on putting into some kind of positive language what they took to be the ultimate truths of Buddhism. They clearly felt that the sunya language was negative, or that it would inevitably be perceived as such. ” This, then, is sunya dialectics with a difference. According to the BNT, both the view that Buddha nature exists and the view that it does not exist are to be rejected because both imply that Buddha nature is something capable of existing as other things exist.
Given that the language and concepts of worldly truth are inherently deficient, they must represent a deficient perspective from which to speak of supreme truth. Therefore, this second-level understanding of the two truths also must be transcended. We thus are brought to the third and final position, representing the author’s own understanding of the two truths. Especially important is his understanding of supreme truth. In expressing this understanding he rejects the dualistic language of being and nonbeing characteristic of the position of worldly truth in favor of his own characteristic formulation: Neither being nor nonbeing is the case.
An interesting parallel can be found in the Daoist concept of wu. Daoist thinkers distinguished two senses of the term w u ： (1 ) “ that primal undifferentiated state rhat preceded the later state of manifested things (\ru ) [you]'' and (2 ) “ the perpetual alternation of the absence of something ( 切 w) as contrasted to the presence of something (yu) [you]/1The former “ was not . . ” 7 This sense of w u also was called ben wu, “ original or root nonexistence” to distinguish it from the second sense of merely contingent nonexistence.
Buddha Nature by Sallie B. King