Searching for the Power-I: Nietzsche and Nirvana
The usual approach in Buddhist-Western writings uses Buddhist perspectives to help answer Western philosophical-psychological questions. This paper reverses the process and uses the Western philosophical perspective of Nietzsche to answer questions of Buddhist-conceived nirvana. Nietzsche's philosophy of will, expounded primarily through the Zarathustra essays, provides an active and affirmative alternative for understanding and attaining nirvana. His ideas of free will and will to power have commonalities with Buddhist practice and thought, including nonattachment, nihilism, no-self, and meditation. Nietzschean will revises the Buddhist notion of right effort to answer questions about coping with inner suffering and outer-world corruption. It shows nirvana to be less a state of passive being and more a state of active becoming. Why approach such important matters as transcendence, power, and God from the standpoint of the 'I'? First, I-centered analysis can clarify egological concepts such as the subject-I, object-self, and conceptualizing-ego and what these concepts contribute to an experience-based metaphysics, for even the most objective factual or mathematical expression must be stated and understood by an active subject-I. Second, I-centered analysis can advance the phenomenological study of the role of the I in the subjective realms of mind. Third, it can help resolve issues in both Western and Buddhist philosophy such as activism-passivism, subjectivity-objectivity, will and freedom, I and other, and secular/sacred presence in consciousness.
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