The Axiom Of Object: Co-Dependence

The Founding Patriatch of C’han-Zen was Bodhidharman [Around 500 CE: See the Posts].

But the dominant East-Asian [Sino-Korean-Japanese] flavor of C’han-Zen was given to it by its 6th Chinese patriarch, Hui-neng [638-713 CE].

The story goes that the illiterate Hui-neng awoke to his conviction upon hearing the Diamond Sūtra recited just once at a public-square.

From the first Nothing is!’ roared Hui neng.

[So what does ‘From the first Nothing is!’ mean? It’s not clear and his later Platform Sūtra'[T’an-cheng] doesn’t help. We’ll get around to unpacking Hui-neng’s claim in a later Post.]

Now, 1,300 years after Hui-neng, a new and widely-publicized survey solemnly titled: ‘The Most Important Unresolved Question Of All Time’ was carried out among established Intellectuals.

The prize went to Martin Heidegger and his celebrated query [itself, a variation on Aristotle’s ‘ti on’]: ‘Why is there Something and not Nothing?’

Jeez! You know, smart people say the darndest things.


Anything I spot is only spotted in relationship to what it is not. There has to be a minimum of two colors showing in order for me to see one color.

This is the Axiom of Object.

This is the basic idea underlying the much-mauled Principle of Co-Dependence, also called the ‘Doctrine of Dependent Designation’.

There has to be a minimum of two colors showing in order for me to see one color. If the universe was entirely pink, I will never know it to be so. There has to be a spot of purple, a spot of not-pink somewhere so that I can see the pink.

I see a yellow banana only in relation to a ‘not-yellow banana’, only in relationship to the ‘not-yellow banananess’ surrounding it. Nothing mysterious here. Place a banana on the dining-table and confirm it for yourself.

[This gets more involved when we expand the condition to all sensory, affective and analytical blocks such as the use of Language and ‘Thought’. But the result is unchanged. See the Posts.]


And one more thing. I need to be able stand apart from this yellow banana, this pink and purple Universe in order to see that indeed this is a yellow banana, to see that indeed the Universe is pink and purple.

I need, in other words, to be an ‘Independent and Separated Observer’. [‘Independent and Separate’ is a helpful redundancy, a shoulder-strap in addition to a seat-belt.]

When Professor Heidegger affirms a ‘Something’, he simultaneously affirms his presence as an ‘Independent and Separated Observer’.

In other words, he simultaneously affirms himself.

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