Wittgenstein and Zen Buddhism
Hudson, H
15/10/2011 01:39 (GMT+7)

In recent years there have been those who assert that the philosophy of Wittgenstein resembles Zen Buddhism and those who deny it on the ground that any supposed resemblances are only apparent. But, so far as I know, neither party has made any serious attempt to substantiate his claim. Normally this is understandable because their main purposes lie in a different directions. It is, for instance, quite common for the latter merely to locate Wittgenstein in a different philosophical tradition and pin a label such as Logical Positivism or Logical Empiricism on him. I think the matter is much more complex than this or indeed than either party seems to allow. I want to try to see to what extent either position can be supported. Any errors and confusions of which I am guilty may perhaps stimulate someone to give a more thorough treatment or to attempt further clarification by way of correction. [1]

In one of his typical dissertations Wittgenstein himself pointed out that its spirit was different from the mainstream of European and American civilization. [2] About this K. T. Fann comments: "It is not surprising that we should find striking resemblances between Wittgenstein's methods and those of Zen Buddhism -- a philosophy from a very different culture." [3] Because it is not relevant to his main purpose Fann does not proceed to clarify or support his assertion about these resemblances. He merely contents himself with one or two general remarks about the well-known ability of Zen masters to show the nonsensical character of metaphysical questions along with a remark about a resemblance between the enlightenment attributed to the Buddha and the state of complete clarity for which Wittgenstein was striving. This seems as good a starting point as any other, and I will begin negatively by challenging some of the resemblances mentioned by Fann.

At the outset one of his assertions must be rejected and another regarded as seriously misleading. In the first place Zen is described as "a philosophy from a very different culture." That Zen is the product of a very different culture cannot be disputed; but that it is a philosophy has to be denied, and Zennists have always done so. Indeed Zen is a deliberate and clearheaded rejection of the propriety of importing philosophizing of any kind into the types of situation where the person is directly concerned with the attainment of the enlightenment and liberation attributed to the Buddha. This may well give Zen a certain philosophical interest, especially when some of the methods used by Zen


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H. Hudson is a member of the Philosophy Department, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

1. Whenever I write about Buddhism I include Zen Buddhism, and instead of "Zen Buddhism" I have used the term "Zen" for convenience. The Wittgenstein of whom I write is the Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations and other associated works, not the earlier Wittgenstein who wrote the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

2. Cf. Wittgenstein's Foreword to his Philosophische Bermerkugen.

3. K. T. Fann, Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969), p. 110.

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masters have the purpose of helping the individual to realize the absurdity of doing this. One may also, of course, philosophize about the "aim" of Zen and its methods but as has often been pointed out, this is not to practice it.

Secondly, Fann speaks of Zen masters showing the nonsensical character of metaphysical questions. This is true, but misleading. It might be interpreted as meaning, for example, that Zen masters hold implicitly at least some general thesis about the nonsensicality of such questions and assertions. But this is not so, either in Zen in particular or in Buddhism in general. When the Buddha was asked the famous Four Questions we are told that he refused to answer, saying that they were profitless because they are irrelevant to the problem of freeing us from suffering and are unanswerable or undecidable. By the latter he has to be taken as meaning just what he says and exhorting us to leave what is undecidable as undecidable. By abstaining from any kind of yes or no answer he takes the Middle Way or the freedom of no position on such matters. The questions have been said to be like asking whether the hair of a tortoise is smooth or hard; but whatever we may think of this analogy, the error involved seems to be that of confusing the Transcendent with what is empirical in the ordinary sense of the latter word. [4] Alternatively it amounts to confusing what is beyond all conceptualization with what is conceptualized, or confusing two different categories. Later in the Maadhyamika dialectic, there is a systematic effort to show that if we abandon the Buddha's position on such questions and relapse into dogmatism or giving a yes or a no answer, the result is self-contradiction and nonsense. But the dialectic is an attempt to demonstrate the absurdity of dogmatic attitudes to propositions rather than the absurdity of the propositions themselves. There is nothing wrong in conceptualization, the fault lies in us when we confuse it with what is beyond conceptualization and take a dogmatic attitude about the truth of the consequences of our mistake or about the falsity of someone else's. In Zen, where the chief concern is with the practice of meditation, a Zen master may indeed show the nonsensical character of metaphysical questions and assertions, but when doing so he speaks from the position of the Buddha, with such points as those mentioned in mind, to those who are actively and directly engaged in attaining enlightenment.

Nevertheless there is a perfectly legitimate function for Buddhist metaphysics, although it is subject to certain provisos. It must be constructed in such a way that it is helpful in freeing us from attachment and, in accordance with the principles of the nonsubstantiality of all things, their impermanence and conditionality. In so helping us it will not and cannot describe or give us a picture of the world as seen by a buddha, but it can point to the experience of a


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4. Cf. T. R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, 2d ed. (London: Allen and Unwin, 1960), pp. 44-45.

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buddha. Such schemes give us an account in terms of basic constituents or the interrelatedness of things of such a kind that it would be impossible or even conceptually absurd to be attached to them. We are apt to become attached to our own pictures or constructions, which we make from such accounts, and when this happens we are victims of illusion. So we can say that any Buddhist metaphysic contains an inbuilt correction against dogmatic attachment to it: like a kind of medicine that carries with it an antidote against addiction.

From a conventional point of view such a metaphysic may be regarded as true, and certainly every effort will be made to provide something which can be so regarded. But this kind of truth applies only to conceptual constructions, and its importance lies in the fact that it enhances the scheme's utility for helping people. In short, its function is basically therapeutic, and the motive involved is compassion. One is not guilty of dogmatism even if one does regard such a scheme as true, for one can see through it, so to speak -- see that it is only a mere set of conceptual constructions and see that it points to what is really important. It is the kind of thing to which it would be absurd to be attached, so one is free to take it up or put it down according to circumstances. Buddhism has often been described as antimetaphysical, but this is a serious oversimplification. It all depends on what we have in mind by metaphysics.

Wittgenstein was not antimetaphysical either, at least not in the way that it has often been supposed. He has no project such as the elimination of metaphysics nor has he any intention of reducing metaphysical propositions to nonsense. When doing Wittgensteinian philosophy, metaphysical assertions are at first typically puzzling. Then we are able to see that a feature of such propositions is that they obliterate the distinction between empirical and conceptual inquiries. [5] They then take on the aspect of nonsense. But at a deeper level of analysis we realize that they are illuminating because they help to give us a clear view of the logical or philosophical grammar of important terms in our language. It is because we lack such a view that so many of our philosophical troubles arise. [6] The metaphysical assertions remain quite undisturbed or unaltered for now we can see that they are quite all right as they stand. Our angle of vision of them has changed. This situation calls to mind a Zen master's characterization of what happens in Zen practice. "Before you study Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; while you are studying it, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; but once you have Enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers are rivers." [7] Despite the obvious difference between the philosophical practice of


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5. Cf. Wittgenstein, Zettel trans. C. E. M. Anscombe, ed. C. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), para. 458.

6. Cf. Philosophical Investigations, trans. C. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1953), para. 122.

7. D. T. Suzuki, Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of Suzuki, ed. William Barrett (New York: Doubleday, 1956), pp. xvi-xvii.

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Wittgenstein and Zen meditation there is an intriguing parallel between the steps taken to enlightenment or understanding in each.

When Wittgenstein speaks of bringing metaphysical terms back to their uses in everyday language, [8] he does not do so from any spirit of hostility to metaphysics but because he wishes to show how they illuminate the deeper logical grammar of our language. This consists of rules analogous to "A sphere has no length" or "A rod must have length," and rules of course are not descriptions. But with metaphysical assertions we get what could be described as proposals to alter some of the basic grammar. It is this which makes them illuminating and, even at this deeper level of analysis, can give them a paradoxical look; although once we can see what is going on they lose this. But as far as this kind of view is concerned there is, to my knowledge, no parallel in Buddhist thought.

As for the view that a feature of metaphysical propositions is that they obliterate the distinction between conceptual and empirical inquiries, there may appear to be some agreement but this is superficial and masks an important difference. The word 'empirical' can be misleading here. What Wittgenstein has in mind by an empirical inquiry would be regarded in Buddhism as merely another conceptual type. For Wittgenstein, for instance, natural science would certainly count as an empirical inquiry, but not for Buddhism, because it has an elaborate conceptual structure. Again, Zen is often said to be concerned with direct, concrete experience. When we speak of an experience in this way, we might think of direct perceptual experience as a typical example, albeit this kind of experience is conceptualized; in Zen we have to think in terms of nonconceptualized sensory experience. But this kind of experience should not be thought of merely as nonconceptual. It is the experience of one who is free from selfcenteredness and the attachments that go with it. It is no use protesting that to do this is strictly impossible. A whack with a master's stick or the first moment of pain after burning ourselves on a hot stove will cut through our sophistries. So the demarcation between the empirical and the conceptual is drawn along different lines from that taken in Western philosophy.

Nor is there any analogy in Wittgenstein's work corresponding to the mistake which the Buddhists think lies behind dogmatic metaphysics, that is, the confusion of transcendental experience with ordinary experience. And while metaphysics may be illuminating for each, it can hardly be said to be illuminating in the same way. Nevertheless, despite this difference, there is an interesting parallel in the various steps or stages of illumination and between the flexible attitudes toward metaphysics. I suppose that the mistake mentioned has some analogy with the kind of mistake which Gilbert Ryle called a "category confusion" or with what Wittgenstein would describe as a confusion of


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8. Philosophical Investigations, para 116.

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the rules of different kinds of language games. The Buddha seems to have laid down a basic rule for the conduct of religious thinking. It is not so much that this rule is peculiar to Buddhism but the way in which it is applied is a crucial factor in giving Buddhism its distinctive character.

Wittgenstein does not try to restrict us to any one view of metaphysics. Like most other assertions, metaphysical assertions are multifunctional. He has suggestions about another way of looking at them. Our ordinary language "holds our minds in one position, as it were, and in this position sometimes it feels cramped, having a desire for other positions as well." [9] A metaphysician invents a notation which stresses a difference more strongly, makes it more obvious than ordinary language does. In a way he has discovered "a new way of looking at things. As if [he] had invented a new way of painting, or again a new metre, or a new kind of song." [10] According to this suggestion then, metaphysics can be regarded as giving us the grammar so to speak, of a new way of thinking which is involved in seeing the world differently and which frees us from a kind of suffering -- from a sense of mental or spiritual cramp or constriction. There can be, at the very most, only a very limited analogy between the kind of suffering Wittgenstein and the Buddhists have in mind, and the notion of word 'liberation' serves to conceal an important difference rather than to indicate any significant similarity. For in Buddhism, liberation serves to fit us for life in this everyday world by freeing us from its grip not to give us a vision of a different world or even of this world seen in terms of different categories and conceptual distinctions. Despite his suggestion, perhaps it is significant that Wittgenstein himself in his work concentrated on the philosophical practice of trying to free us from deep, personal puzzles and perplexities. But whether this indicates a deeper resemblance requires separate and subsequent consideration.

Buddhism has been described as a set of methods and techniques rather than as a set of doctrines, for even though it is customary to speak of "doctrines," they are only conceptual constructions and their test is their utility. Accordingly they are best regarded methodologically rather than as statements of absolute and fundamental truths. Wittgenstein too, denied that he taught any philosophical theses or doctrines but only methods which function as kinds of therapy. For philosophical perplexities are like different kinds of illness, and so different methods are to be used according to the circumstances. Whether Buddhism and Wittgenstein are or are not concerned basically with the same thing, their attitudes toward dogmatism in philosophy are surprisingly similar. [11]


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9. Wittgenstein, Blue and Brown Books 1st ed., ed. Rush Rhees (Oxford: Blackwell, 1958), p. 59.

10. Philosophical Investigations, para. 401.

11. Cf. ibid., paras. 132 and 133.

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Because of his obvious interest in ordinary language and its connection with our perplexities, a lot of people seem to think that Wittgenstein was mainly concerned with a therapy of language. He is not concerned, however, with linguistic pathology and some type of surgical reconstruction of language, but with people -- the users of language -- and with some of the special features of the instrument they use when they use language. These are the features which are of special interest to philosophers, since lack of proper appreciation of them is an important cause of our philosophical troubles. There is nothing wrong with natural language; there is not even anything wrong with metaphysical language; the trouble lies in us: in our lack of knowledge and insight into what we are doing when we use language. Consequently he says: "Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it." [12] Of course he did not mean that philosophy may not affect our own personal use of language, for instance, by giving it greater clarity, but he did not see the task of philosophy, as he wanted to do it, as the introduction of linguistic reforms which substitute supposedly more precise and refined forms for ordinary language. He wanted to help the users to reform themselves. This, of course, is a far cry from the position of various contemporary purveyors of formal linguistic programs and systems who are eagerly contributing their mite to the process of fitting us for the dawning automated and computerized society.

From a Zen point of view there is nothing wrong with the forms of ordinary experience nor with the forms of life which make up ordinary existence. There is not even anything wrong with conceptual thinking and with metaphysics. The trouble lies in us. There is no program of substituting some special supermundane experience for ordinary experience nor some special type of holy life for ordinary everyday life. But after the kind of insight which can occur in Zen practice, although in a sense everything is left as it is, the person is different because his angle of vision has changed. Ordinary experience is now the experience of a bodhisattva and our ordinary life is the holy life. Here again, even though one might say that Wittgenstein and the Zen Buddhists are obviously talking about different things, there is an interesting similarity of attitude and approach to them. In connection with this, Wittgenstein emphasized that language was inescapably connected with life and with experience. "... the speaking of a language is part of an activity, or a form of life." [13] "... for is what is linguistic not an experience?" [14]

Wittgenstein tells us that philosophical problems have depth: that "they are deep disquietudes; their roots are as deep in us as the forms of our language


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12. Ibid., para. 124.

13. Ibid., para. 23.

14. Ibid., para. 649.

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and their significance is as great as the importance of our language." [15] I think that Zen Buddhists would agree with the first statement and would also agree with Wittgenstein's characterization of philosophy as a battle against the bewitchment of the intelligence by words, but they would not regard the second statement as adequate. We want a heart that is not bewitched, not merely an intelligence. The roots of our problems are certainly deep, but the depth differs from that of our linguistic forms and is proportional to the depth of our ego-centeredness.

Zen methods enable us to reach down or out through thought and language, as normally used, to quite a different level or kind of experience. Language can still be used here, of course, but not as it is normally used in everyday life and science; for example, as any reading of Zen literature quickly shows, and certainly not in a way appropriate to a more linguistic type of therapy of the users of language in a philosophical context. In order to help us reach out through thought and language and appreciate the different type of task or problem with which we are faced, certain more intellectual and philosophical moves are sometimes made as preliminary steps. It is here that Fann's remark about the well-known ability of Zen masters to show the nonsensical character of metaphysical questions and assertions applies. The swift ironic and sometimes humorous demolition of such questions and assertions serves to remind us that thinking of this type is out of place. The use of more philosophical comments as reminders calls to mind one of Wittgenstein's characterizations of philosophy as "assembling reminders for a certain purpose." [16] But although the general function is the same, the more special function is different for philosophical comments are used to remind us of different things. Wittgenstein keeps trying to bring us back from abstractions to what is concrete and familiar, but which we are apt to overlook when we are doing philosophy; and he keeps reminding us of these things and of what people do and do not merely say in familiar everyday situations. This should not be taken to mean that he gives what is familiar and everyday a special status at the expense of what is unusual or strange but that he uses one to illuminate the other. Obviously this cannot be done unless one can see what is before one's eyes or under one's nose all the time.

Since it is a severely practical form of Buddhism, Zen is par excellence meditational Buddhism. In Rinzai Zen, as is well known, kooans are introduced into the meditation situation. These kooans, among other things, can be regarded as functioning as reminders or warnings that intellectual and logical types of thinking are out of place. But whether kooans are introduced into the meditation situation or whether this situation is itself regarded as a kooan, the


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15. Ibid., para. 111.

16. Ibid., para. 127.

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effect at first is to generate deep puzzlement and perplexity. For here the individual does not know his way about, and even if he is given useful hints and admonitions he does not know how to adjust to the situation. Nor is he told or shown, supposing that were possible: this would defeat the entire point of the procedure. He must find his own way himself. This makes Zen deeply personal in a very direct way. Recognition of this adds another dimension to what we should understand by direct concrete experience in Zen and adds another difference to what we would understand even if we spoke of 'direct concrete personal experience'. This with all deference to Wittgenstein who also thought that philosophy was deeply personal and not something formal, neutral, and detached.

Because the person does not know his way about in the kooan cum meditation situation, the situation seems to have the typical form of one which can be cleared up by intelligent inquiry, experimentation, and reflection. Despite warnings and reminders he will tend to treat it as if it were a situation of this kind and become more puzzled and perplexed than ever. He displays a tendency to force all problem situations into the same general mold, thus showing how his thinking is nourished by one-sided examples, which Wittgenstein remarks is a main cause of philosophical disease; a statement with which any Zen master could agree. A crucial step is made when the person sees, not merely intellectually but deeply feels, that his rigid and stereotyped approach is not correct. It is a very intelligent kind of insight. Rather too much by way of overcorrection of prevalent tendencies is apt to be made of the so-called non-rationality of Zen.

The deep puzzlement and frustration generated in this situation has an analog in Wittgenstein's procedure with his students. He did his utmost to ensure that they were thoroughly perplexed by a philosophical problem. They had to actually feel and live it and work their way into and through it. A person has to feel the need of the clarification, which a comment or observation on a philosophical problem may bring, otherwise it is worth very little. He does not give us any so-called answers, but only methods and suggestions to be used according to the circumstances; nor does he explain to us how to use his methods, although he gives us examples to illustrate their point, which we have to see for ourselves. Again, he believed that a question is often best disposed of by a question; to give an answer is often unfair for it is apt to involve one-sidedness and in any case is too apt to close up further inquiries. Sometimes he disposes of a question or a thesis by a joke. He once even suggested that a perfectly serious philosophical work could be written which consisted entirely of jokes or of questions. The similarity in the type of procedure used to that used by a Zen master is too obvious to require further comment.

Finally, Wittgenstein has no intention of trying to tie us to philosophy. On the contrary, by freeing us from philosophical perplexities he aims to free us

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from philosophy; for the discovery which really counts is the one that makes one capable of not philosophizing when one wants. It is hardly surprising that various professional philosophers should regard such a standpoint with amused incredulity and scepticism. In Buddhism too the aim, among other things, is to free us from the grip of doctrines and teachings, even Buddhist ones: for these are merely like rafts, which enable us to cross a river. When we have crossed we have no further use for them. Here again, whatever we may say about the similarity or lack of it between the final goal of peace and clarity for which Wittgenstein was striving and the goal of Zen, one can hardly deny a similarity in attitude to theses and doctrines.

Wittgenstein saw philosophical problems, not as interesting, intellectual puzzles but as deeply personal and genuinely tormenting, and for him the practice of philosophy was a way of life for freeing us from them. He speaks of the peace that comes from the real philosophical discovery, "the ... discovery which makes me capable of stopping doing philosophy when I want to." [17] So for him, philosophy can be regarded as a way of liberation from obsessive worries and perplexities that have a central role in our lives and find their expression in philosophical problems. The culminating question of whether there is any analogy between 'the real philosophical discovery' of which he speaks and the serenity and clarity and the ability to 'take up and put down' theses, attitudes, and feelings as they come and go, without agitation or disturbance, which are products of Zen meditation and training, must now be faced.

Enough has been said, I think, to show that to maintain there is no similarity between Zen and the philosophical practice of Wittgenstein, is untenable. But although the similarities mentioned may be interesting and surprising, and depending on our point of view and approach, even important, it does not follow that they warrant any claim of a similarity such as the one in question. Perhaps what they take to be the absence of this similarity is what some people have in mind when they say there is no real resemblance. I will now attempt to put forward some considerations which support this claim.

When all is said and done Buddhist philosophy and Zen practice are based on a faith which understandably finds no expression in Wittgenstein's position. Naagaarjuna, for example, may indeed have been a great critical and dialectical philosopher in his own right, but he was a deeply religious man and his philosophy is carried out from this position and can be properly understood only in terms of it. Again, it is doubtful, to say the least, whether Zen has anything even approaching the same view of the dispersal of doubt and perplexity that Wittgenstein has. In Rinzai Zen for instance, one does not try to clear up and resolve doubts and worries about the meaning of life, the world, and so on, by


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17. Ibid., para. 133.

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linguistic analysis or any other kind of analysis. One simply doubts and doubts until, as it has been said, one becomes one with the doubt. Indeed it is doubtful whether "doubt" is even quite the right word, for there is wonder and faith involved as well. Wittgenstein's procedure with his students is certainly surprisingly like that of a Zen master with his pupils. But their aim is different. The former wants to get his students to feel the doubt for themselves as a preliminary to exploring and probing it. The latter wants to help his pupils to dispose of anything that will distract them from just letting their doubt alone and becoming one with it. This, of course, applies, among other things, to the demonstrations of the absurdity of metaphysical types of questions and assertions. In other words he uses his supporting procedures to discourage the very kind of activities that Wittgenstein uses his to encourage.

It might be said that understandably there is no analog in Wittgenstein's philosophy for meditation, which is central and crucial in Zen and in Buddhism generally; accordingly there can be no place for the techniques appropriate to meditation in the practice of his philosophy. This, of course, is true but the difference goes deeper than that. It has to do with the different diagnoses of spiritual disorder, provided one is prepared to describe the puzzlement and perplexity with which Wittgenstein was so afflicted. For whereas he seems to ascribe it to our lack of a clear view of the logical grammar of our discourse and uses the knowledge of this gained by philosophy to make the distinctions which help to release us from our worries, in Zen we come to see how ego-centeredness and attachment lead us to make distinctions and keep things apart when really they are together all the time. If one says that both agree in regarding ignorance as a crucial source of our troubles, then it seems clear enough that each understands the term differently. Again, Wittgenstein is much more concerned with therapy than with the style of life which follows successful therapy. One gets the impression that he regarded the kind of enlightenment he sought as marking the end of crucial philosophical practice for a person, though he may, of course deepen and extend his understanding and try to help others by acquainting them with his skills and techniques. So far as Zen is concerned, there is an unfortunate and rather prevalent misconception that enlightenment or satori is the end and culmination of Zen practice; whereas it is the beginning of it.

For both Wittgenstein and Zen, enlightenment is thought of in terms of changing the angle of vision to what is natural or what is given rather than of replacing them with something else or of directing our attention elsewhere. Because the forms of nature, of life, and of language are all right as they stand, the source of our difficulties lies in ourselves. Wittgenstein likens philosophy to a therapy of the users of language rather than of language itself; there are different methods like different therapies and they should be used according to the circumstances. He refuses to tie us down to any one method and has no

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philosophical theses to propound. He is constantly trying to free us from the bewitchment of words and concepts and ignorance of what we are doing when we use language -- all of which lead to rigidity and dogmatism and one-sided emphases and theses. This instrumental approach and the attempt to free us from rigidity and dogmatism has obvious resemblances to what are regarded as the results of Zen practice. The enlightenment conferred by both Wittgensteinian and Zen practice is a kind of emancipation or freedom. For Wittgenstein it is the kind of emancipation which makes one capable of not philosophizing when one wants, of taking it up or putting it down. Above all it means freedom from the obsessive worries and perplexities which played a central role in his life. It might be said that any resemblance between the freedom attainable by Wittgensteinian and Zen methods can, at most, be only partial. But I think the position is that if a person did happen to attain Wittgensteinian freedom one could not guarantee that he would be free from such worries as those about death, the way he is treated by others, and the like; whereas if he genuinely attained the freedom sought by Zen one should be able to guarantee this. In other words one cannot assert that the Wittgensteinian would not be free from such worries but only that one could not guarantee it. Finally regarding procedure, there are certainly striking resemblances between Wittgenstein's practice of "assembling reminders for a certain purpose" and his procedure with his students, and certain aspects of Zen practice.

To dismiss the differences and resemblances mentioned as superficial and unimportant does not seem to me to be reasonable, but this means that any attempt to assess the claim that Wittgenstein was striving for the same goal as that sought by Zen is not a simple and straightforward matter. The differences are such that they cannot be said to be seeking the same identical goal. On the other hand, the resemblances are good enough to make it unreasonable to assert that they are completely different. In view of this I think we can conclude that there is a resemblance between the goal of Wittgenstein and that of Zen, and by saying this I mean that the resemblance is of a significant and not merely of a superficial kind. To go further than this does not seem possible because any argument for drawing them closer together can be countered by good arguments for keeping them further apart and vice versa. When it is claimed that the two goals have a likeness or resemblance it is natural to want some more definite statement and to ask: "How alike and how unlike are they?" But such a question gives rise to other difficult and complex ones, which it would be out of place to try to answer here; for example, What are the criteria to be employed in reaching a decision and what kind of person is best qualified to act as judge or assessor in such a matter? Indeed, has such a question any answer at all or in what sense if any has it one?

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