[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying [confused]

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Sat Jun 5 13:18:09 MDT 2010

On Jun 5, 2010, at 11:23 AM, lemmett at talk21.com wrote:

> I really don't understand what problem I have been in asking these questions. Maybe if I was trying to prove to the list that the tathagata did not exist and merely shouted down anyone who gave reason to believe that my opinion was wrong.

Whether the tathāgata exists or not is a red herring thrown on the path by Dr Funhouse. No Buddhist would ever deny that. What a Buddhist might ask, however, is in what sense a Tathāgata can be said to exist. Specifically, Buddhists would be inclined to ask whether a Tathāgata has an eternal essence or is some kind of abiding and unchanging self. And most Buddhists (in fact, all that I am aware of) would say that there cannot be such a thing as a tathāgata in THAT sense. So the tathāgata, like any other proper name or rigid designator, is a conventional term of convenience that has no unique referent. Therefore, any question based on the supposition that a tathāgata (or anything else you can name) has an abiding essence goes unanswered (avyākṛta).


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