Dao
, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1-19
Date: 25 Jan 2012

The Nonduality of Speech and Silence: A Comparative Analysis of Jizang’s Thought on Language and Beyond

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Abstract

Jizang 吉藏 (549−623 CE), the key philosophical exponent of the Sanlun 三論 school of Chinese Buddhism, based his philosophy considerably on his reading of the works of Nāgārjuna (c. 150−250 CE), the founder of the Indian Madhyamaka school. However, there are salient features in his thought on language that are notably absent from the works. In this article, I present a philosophical analysis of Jizang’s views of the relationship between speech and silence and compare them with those of Nāgārjuna. It is shown that while Nāgārjuna leans toward affirming a clear-cut distinction between speech and ineffable quiescence, Jizang endorses the nonduality of conventional speech and sacred silence.