A Buddhist path beyond an existential concept of human mortality?

Dr. Ralf Müller, GLE-D, Germany

To face impermanency (jap. mujô), is every Buddhist’s task. To face finitude: this is Heidegger’s idea of an authentic existence. While the term «impermanency» most commonly determines an ontological feature of all existing beings including humans, «finitude» usually means the mortality of human beings in contrast to all the rest of things that are existing. Heidegger’s inversion of thanatology in Being and Time clearly radicalizes the modern idea of the finite subject in that death does not mark, anymore, a passage to somewhere beyond where the subject is in unity with the absolute: death is its end, internalized into the structure of Dasein. But is this the appropriate model to «understand» death nowadays? The postmodern age is marked by a peculiar situation: humans are constantly confronted with the possibility of the self- or other-induced death of mankind as a whole. We contend that Buddhism in its idea of no-self (jap. muga) points to a way to open up the Dasein’s Jemeinigkeit (the «human» being’s individuation, i.e. in-each-case-mineness) to an encompassing awareness of all existing beings, an awareness that is not a derivative of Jemeinigkeit.

ORAL SESSION 28 Time: Saturday, 06/May/2023: 2:45pm – 4:15pm, Session Chair: Parisa Aghamohamadi


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