Does a Table Have Buddha-Nature? A Moment of Yes and No. Answer! But Not in Words or Signs! A Response to Mark Siderits

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Does a Table Have Buddha-Nature? A Moment of Yes and No. Answer! But Not in Words or Signs! A Response to Mark Siderits
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Citation: Deguchi, Yasuo, Jay L. Garfield, and Graham Priest. "Does a Table Have Buddha-Nature? A Moment of Yes and No. Answer! But Not in Words or Signs! A Response to Mark Siderits." Philosophy East and West 63, no. 3 (2013): 387–98.

Abstract

Siderits argues that Nāgārjuna is not committed to the paradoxical claim that emptiness is the lack of intrinsic nature and that it is the intrinsic nature of all things, on the ground that the apparently paradoxical claims Nāgārjuna makes are simply admonitions to recuse oneself from the project of ontology. We argue that to recuse oneself from that project is to do ontology and so is no route out of paradox. We dispute Siderits' reading of several crucial passages, demonstrating that his readings are unattested in the commentarial literature and that they are implausible. Siderits argues on the basis of these readings that Candrakīrti and Nāgārjuna are not committed to paradoxes. We show that more plausible readings that are better attested in the commentarial literature do so commit them. Siderits and we agree that the ultimate nature of reality is to lack any ultimate nature. He thinks that this is consistent; we think that it is paradoxical.