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introduction to Buddhism and its permutations

JiJi Muge Hokkai


Amongst all the Buddhist documents you can find the highest expression of "harmony within diversity" in the Avatamsaka Sutra (Kegon-gyo).

Broadly stated the gist of the philosophy expounded in the sutra consists in viewing the world in a fourfold way:

1) A world of ji 2) A world of ri 3) A world of ri and ji perfectly interfused 4) A world where each individual ji is seen as interfused with every other. The last one, jiji muge hokkai, is said to be the highest world of Enlightenment.

To explain this philosophy of jiji muge hokkai D. T. Suzuki says in The Essence of Buddhism.

"The Kegon term for the world, hokkai is dhaima-dhatu in Sanskrit.

Ho, dharma, is a very comprehensive term, and it means many things. It means 'reality as object of sense', 'an idea', 'principle governing human existence', and some other things, whereas kai, dhatu, corresponds to our common notion of the 'world' or 'universe'. The hokkai in Kegon, therefore, may be defined as a world revealing itself to the enlightened mind, and its real significance will not be understood by us until we have entered the jiji muge hokkai, that is the last of the four world-conceptions above mentioned.

Most philosophers and religious thinkers may reach the stage of riji muge, but not that of jiji muge. They may teach pantheism or'panentheism [Panentheismus]', a term used by some German philosophers; they may follow the mystic way, but they have not yet attained the Kegon interpretation of the world".

Suzuki explains the two term's ji and ri as follows:

"To understand Kegon [philosophy] we must get well acquainted with the two key terms ii and n. Ji means ordinarily 'an event', 'a happening', but in Buddhist philosophy, 'the individual', 'the particular', 'the concrete', 'the monad', while ii means 'a principle', 'reason', 'the whole', 'the all', 'totality', 'the universal', 'the absolute', etc. Ji always stands contrasted to ri, and ri to ji. Ji is distinction and discrimination, and RI is non-distinction and non-discrimination. In regular Buddhist terminology, ii corresponds to sunyata, void or emptiness (~6), while ji is rupam, form (~7)."

'To illustrate this thought [of jiji muge hokkai], Kegon philosophy suggests a metaphor of ten mirrors. Set them up at the eight points of the compass and at the zenith and the nadir. If you then place a lamp at the centre, you will see that each one of the ten mirrors reflects the light; now pick up one of the ten and you will see that this one mirror also reflects all the other mirrors containing the light, together with their reflection of itself (the minor you have just picked up). Each one of the other nine is in the one and the one is in each one of the nine, not only individually but totalistically. This metaphor illustrates the way Kegon philosophy conceives the world of ji, but as it is only a metaphor it gives but a static, spatial view in the following fourfold manner:

1) One in one; 2) One in all; 3) All in one; 4) All in all.

But the central idea of Kegon is to grasp the universe dynamically, for the universe is always moving onward, forever moving, which is the essential characteristic of life. The use of such terms as 'entering-into' and 'being-taken-in' (or 'taking-in'), 'embracing and pervading', 'simultaneous unimpeded diffusion', shows that Kegon is time-minded. This is expressed as follows:

    1. When one is taken-in by all, one enters into al

2) When all is taken-in by one, all enters into one;

3) When one is taken-in by one, one enters into one;

4) When all is taken-in by all, all enters into all.

There is another fourfold formula expressing the same idea in working modes:

1) To enter into one by taking-in one;

2) To enter into one by taking-in all;

3) To enter into all by taking-in one;

4) To enter into all by taking-in all.

Practically speaking, both formulas describe the same event taking place in the world of ji.

In the world known as fiji muge hokkai, each individual ji is seen as interfused with every other without obstruction, just as is described in the

two formulas.

Certainly this is an extremely profound philosophy. Unfortunately I don't know how to apply it to modern science. In the field of interpersonal relationships, however, it could be the philosophical and religious foundation for the notion of "Harmony within Diversity".

According to the Kegon philosophy, in the world of harmonious unity between different individuals, each individual being mirrors every other and their world as a whole and every individual is interfused with each other individually and totalistically. They are all independent and at the same time they are also interactive and interdependent. In this world of harmony, jiji muge hokkai, there is no distinction between mind and matter and both are interfused in oneness.

In this context I have just remembered a conversation I had with my master last summer, which gave a new dimension to the meaning of 'harmony within diversity'. Let me quote from my own talk given at the 24th London Eza.

When I met my master at Hinosato last summer, he said to me as we were discussing the talk Prof. J. White was to give at the Summer Training Assembly: 'The content of his talk is truly excellent. The meaning of our encounter is getting deeper and deeper. The organic and the inorganic are finally merging into oneness, aren't they? If our encounter is deepened to this extent, people will feel peacefulness and tranquillity'.

By 'the inorganic' he meant the stones of the Zen garden at Three Wheels and by 'the organic' our fellow human beings. I was so moved to understand what he meant.

I have been talking about how happy I am to find 'harmony within diversity' at Three Wheels, not only in the context of the way all the different stones interrelate but also in the context of the human relationship linking all the different friends. What I found through my conversation with my master was that these two groups, the organic and the inorganic, or being and non-being, had already melted into oneness in our garden."

When you enter the garden, you are part of the garden and mirror the whole garden and all its parts. At the same time the garden mirrors what you are, each constituent interfused with every other without obstruction. If a friend comes and join you, he or she also becomes part of the garden and together you enjoy sharing the pure experience of harmony within diversity. If there comes a breeze or a bird it is also part of the harmonious unity of the garden. You are in the garden and the garden is in you. "Allis in one and one in all", melting without obstruction into oneness.

In order for this to happen, we have to continue to change. This is because we always tend to be selfish and to reconstruct the me-centered world, so far removed from the world of harmony. To attain "Harmony within Diversity" through our encounter with others we have to change and go beyond our own selfish attachments.




Most philosophers and religious thinkers may reach the stage of riji muge, but not that of jiji muge. They may teach pantheism or'panentheism [Panentheismus]', a term used by some German philosophers; they may follow the mystic way, but they have not yet attained the Kegon interpretation of the world".

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