Existence - Dharmic "middle Way" View

Dharmic "middle Way" View

The Indian philosopher Nagarjuna (c. 150 - 250 CE) largely advanced existence concepts and founded the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

In eastern philosophy, Anicca (Sanskrit anitya) or "impermanence" describes existence. It refers to the fact that all conditioned things (sankhara) are in a constant state of flux. In reality there is no thing that ultimately ceases to exist; only the appearance of a thing ceases as it changes from one form to another. Imagine a leaf that falls to the ground and decomposes. While the appearance and relative existence of the leaf ceases, the components that formed the leaf become particulate material that goes on to form new plants. Buddhism teaches a middle way, avoiding the extreme views of eternalism and nihilism. The middle way recognizes there are vast differences between the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist. The differences are reconciled in the concept of Shunyata by addressing the existing object's served purpose for the subject's identity in being. What exists is in non-existence, because the subject changes.

Trailokya elaborates on three kinds of existence, those of desire, form, and formlessness in which there are karmic rebirths. Taken further to the Trikaya doctrine, it describes how the Buddha exists. In this philosophy, it is accepted that the Buddha exists in more than one absolute way.

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