Saturday, November 24, 2007

Does a dog possess Buddha-nature


This is not often explicit in Jung’s writing, as for instance in his argument that Westerners must take a different approach from “Easterners” to the same goal, and therefore utilize different techniques. That is the argument that “this is how it is for us;” and it is an undercurrent in Jung’s analyses which serves to use Buddhism as a vehicle for the validation of Depth Psychology, rather than an open investigation of their mutual limitations and strengths. This sharp distinction between “East” and ‘West” appears to serve Jung both in his argument that Buddhism is by and large not for Europeans (whereas by inference, Depth Psychology is) and in allowing his sweeping generalizations about the radically “introverted East” which Said has criticized as Orientalism. It is clearer in his apparent disinterest in actually investigating his source materials at any length. As Jungian analyst J. M. Spiegleman points out in a panel discussion, “Jung’s position on this is, which I think is subject to real criticism. . . was that he refused. . . for example he went to India and wouldn’t even talk to those masters because he was trying to protect his own alchemy. He took Western alchemy to India, he talked a little bit, but he was trying to protect that treasure. So he could have talked to some pretty big people, which how great for us all if he would have done that, but he didn’t.” (Vreeland, 1996). We have in addition Jung’s own assertion that “we do not assume that the mind is a metaphysical entity or that there is any connexion between an individual mind and a hypothetical Universal Mind. Our psychology is, therefore, a science of mere phenomena without any metaphysical implications.” (Evans-Wentz, 1954)

In the context of his discussion of Zen, this essentially Judaeo-Christian notion is introduced in his comment on the famous koan “Joshu’s Mu” (or “Wu” here). In appreciating the fact that “Nature herself” answers the monk’s question “Does a dog have Buddha nature?” with Joshu’s answer of “Mu!” Jung goes on to introduce a very non-Buddhist interpretation. He reads “wu” as “wu-wu” (as in bow-wow) and comments “. . . how much wisdom there is in the Master’s “Wu,” the answer to the question about the Buddha-nature of the dog! One must always bear in mind, however, that there are a great many people who cannot distinguish between a metaphysical joke and nonsense. . . “ (1992). This would unfortunately seem to include Jung himself.

"Buddha nature of the dog" - Google Search

"Buddha nature" dog - Google Search


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