Saturday, December 19, 2009


The meaning of 'transmigration' has been drawn from an existential interpretation of human existence. It was, in a word, the essence or true Form of finitude within human existence: the infinite finitude that is true finitude. Through a bottomless nihility at the ground of human existence, it was opened up existentially. Though a nihility so abyssal as to nullify everything that has being in the world (called collectively "the three worlds" in Buddhism), it came to actualize itself in the Dasein of man even as it nullified the being of Dasein.

In such a realization of nihility(nothingness), man takes possession of birth and death in its suchness, that is, he takes possession of the original Form of his own Dasein and the original Form of things in the world such as they are. What we have here, in short, is an existential encounter with nihility. Nihility can only be known existentially. If we stray but a step from the path of Existenz, nihility can only seem an utterly meaningless notion, devoid of reality. In fact, a great many philosophers, from a great many points of view, have come to that very conclusion. It is like a radio that has not been tuned in properly and picks up only senseless static that totally blocks out the real sound of the broadcast. For only in the existential confrontation with nihility do we see the earnest life-or-death struggle for the transcendence of birth-and-death, escape from the unending causality of karma, and attainment of the "yonder shore" beyond the fathomless sea of suffering. It is, in other words, the struggle for nirvana.

It is only in breaking through to the field of ecstatic transcendence (or trans-descendence), then, that the awareness of birth-and-death as "transmigration" comes about. This ecstatic trans-descendence appears in the endlessness of finite life and in the totality of the horizon that embraces the mode of being of man along with that of other species. Nihility opens up only in this transcendence. The nihility encountered in the nullification of all that is or might be constitutes the existential meaning contained in the notion of transmigration. In a universality that embraces all possible forms of existence (the six ways), and in the infinity of birth-and-death migrating through all these forms of existence, this nihility represents the final ground of being-in-the-world.

{Religion and Nothingness, Keiji Nishitani}

{Art by Shen Orion, Music from Office Ekiti & Esque}

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