DR. paul dahlke



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BUDDHISM

AND ITS PLACE IN

THE MENTAL LIFE OF MANKIND

BY

DR. PAUL DAHLKE


MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

1927


FOREWORD

This book makes no claims either of a philological or an aesthetic nature : it is to offer nothing but Buddhism. This, of course, does not mean that it is written only for Buddhists. Buddhism is the Doctrine of Actuality. Actuality is always actual, is always important and, in the last analysis, the only subject worthy of the actual thinker.

To offer something to this actual thinker, to assist him in the struggle against the all-over­whelming might of current thoughts and opinions, with such a high claim does this book appear before the world. What I myself have learnt and experienced as the most important thing of all, in this book I endeavour to pass on to others. I well know that those who understand are hard to find. But when has anything great ever been easy of attainment ?

CONTENTS

PAGE


Introduction and First Chapter i

SECOND CHAPTER


Buddhism as Historical-superhistorical Phenomenon . 16

THIRD CHAPTER



Concept and Object ...... 45

FOURTH CHAPTER
The Constituents of Actuality . . . 70

FIFTH CHAPTER



Faith and Science, as Fiction and Hypothesis . . 80

SIXTH CHAPTER



The Concept ....... 98

SEVENTH CHAPTER



The Ego . . . . . . . .116

EIGHTH CHAPTER


Nutrition as Living Experience . . . .124
vii

viii BUDDHISM
NINTH CHAPTER

PAGE


The Five Grasping-groups . . . . .129

TENTH CHAPTER



Consciousness . . . . . . .137

ELEVENTH CHAPTER



Mind-form and Consciousness . . . .154

TWELFTH CHAPTER



Dependent-simultaneous Arising . . . .162

THIRTEENTH CHAPTER


IGNORANCE ....... 168

FOURTEENTH CHAPTER



Re-birth . . . . . . . .189

FIFTEENTH CHAPTER



NlBBANA ........ 209

SIXTEENTH CHAPTER
The Buddha . .... 227

SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER



AVYAKATAS AND DhATUS . . . . . 241

INTRODUCTION AND FIRST CHAPTER



As every entrance by its nature is also an exit, so every good introduction to a book ought not only to introduce it but also to close it: it ought to be foreword and after-word in one.

With none of my books yet have I felt the need of a closing word with such compelling necessity as with this book. With a clear conscience I can say before all the world : I have not written this book, but it has been forced out of me by that pressure of inner living experience which, like all living experience, seeks to comprehend itself, and, in comprehending, to take to itself a form.

This book is new country—from the first to the last line, I might almost say. Not as if it contained new ideas such as have not before been heard of! O no! What I offer is the Buddha-word, the pure, original Buddha-word. But the Doctrine, the Dhamma, is a germ, a ferment, with reference to which all depends on what it works upon, and to what extent it works upon it—whether it works merely on the upper surfaces where shine light and air, or whether it penetrates into the depths of the mother-soil.



So also with the noble doctrine, the Ariya-dhamma: all depends upon whether it only

I B


2 BUDDHISM

germinates and ferments in the thin husk of the concepts, or whether it penetrates right into the marrow of life, and produces that mental fermenta­tion which threatens the entire constituents of life, in which he whose fate it is to have to suffer it observes : Here there is no turning back ! Here there is no standing still! Here there is only one thing—that perfect fulfilment which makes to come forth from the mass in this fermenting tub the clear wine of that assured knowledge which nevermore can be shaken by any new phenomena, near or far, inward or outward, because it has not sprung from phenomena but from living experience: it is the passing over from previous ignorance to new knowledge.

Speaking paradoxically, one might say: If there were no Buddhism, it would have to be invented. Without that which the Buddha offers the world as his gift to it, its mental life can never be complete, can never come to full mentalising, upon which in the final issue mental life solely depends. If mental life so squanders and misuses itself, that it burdens itself with ever new phenomena and objectivities, and ever anew puts its own mentality in question—in all this, in truth, it is not mental life, but only the endeavour after such. In order that mental life may in truth be that which it ought to be, namely, mental, it must have a purely mental object, something which is not in its mentality besmirched by objectivity.

In the ultimate analysis there are only two things : the world, Actuality, life, or whatever else one chooses to call it; and the knowledge of all this, consciousness. More there is not; and yet

INTRODUCTION 3

this is not enough. The fact that mental life is present proves that; for mental life, whether it present itself as religion, as science, as philosophy, or however else, is nothing but the unresting search for a mental life. Religion, ultimately, is nothing but the search for a religion, science nothing but the search for science, philosophy nothing but the ever repeated, ever, unsuccessful search for such a thing. All mental life is hunger! Satisfied only are the shallow!

Why all this ? Not because all these attempts have made a bad start, and can reckon upon success in the future (as the famous " Religion of the Future ", " Science of the Future ", and so forth), but because all these attempts are lacking in the object that is needed in order to guarantee mentality.

To the believer, God can become nothing more than a " certain hope". Were God to assume a form, as once to Abraham in the grove of Mamre, or to Moses in the burning bush, he no longer would be God but a creature. Were the Primum Movens of Science to become intelligible, it no longer would remain a Primum Movens, but would, on its part, demand such a thing in order to derive from it its own motive force.

Thus does all mental life suffer from the im­possibility of its own fulfilment; not because it is impossibility of fulfilment in itself, but because that pure mental value is lacking which alone is the single valuable object of all mental life, and in its pure mentality proves itself through itself, inasmuch as there where it is present as such, as conceptual object, it is no longer present at all.

This single mental value which is proper to

4 BUDDHISM

mental life and guarantees to it its pure mentality is ignorance about life itself. Ignorance is the beginningless starting-point from which life, with all its joys and sorrows, with its truths and its errors, its living and its dying, ever and again springs forth as from some hidden source that never dries up, so long as it remains undiscovered. Herein precisely is proven its pure, object-free mentality, that it can be wholly and completely abrogated !
Discovered art thou, House-builder !

No more shalt thou build up this house !



With this word of a victor did 'Gotama, now become the Buddha, the Awakened One, from the holy night at Uruvela come forth before the world from which he had torn its secret.

Thus is the Buddha—he who already during his lifetime was stigmatised as a denier, as a pessimist —in truth the final fulfiller of all mental life, he who created for mental life what it needed for the fulfilment of its true mentality—the pure mental object.

The contradiction herewith given is for the actual thinker the compelling force, the spur in the flank of his thinking, which nevermore will let him rest till all this is fulfilled.

Mentality and object mutually exclude each other. This is the contradiction which, as problem, can only be proven through itself.

This " through itself " {paccattam) is the guiding clue, the key-word to Buddhism. From it proceeds that most profound shock in which, as in a last struggle, it is to be decided whether, as hitherto has
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