dhamma follower wrote:
I am vietnamese but not expert in Vietnamese Buddhism. What I can say is that before I got to know Ven TNH, I had never heard the word Tiếp Hiện, and without reading its english version "inter-being", I'd had no clue what it means. My guess is that it's a word entirely invented by the Ven, translated from the word "inter-being" (and not the other way around- it seems that this Order was founded when he was in the US in 1966- though I am not 100% sure), which is used to convey the idea of "continue to be" instead of "individuals" , in case of his Order of inter-beings. Note that when talking about birthdays, he uses the expression "continuation of birth".
Inter-being, when used to talk about the emptiness nature of all things in his books in vietnamese, is Vô Ngã, which is the standard translation of selflessness, anatta or sunyata.
His elaboration of Vô Ngã (translated by him as Inter-being) is not found in other vietnamese Buddhist books (to my knowledge), and if he chooses to translate it as "inter-being" instead of selflessness or emptiness, it is most probably because it is how HE understands it and thinks it's easier to be understood and accepted by westerners.
just my 2 cents.
Thanks for sharing your understanding, D.F.
It sounds like "Inter-being" is not a direct translation of any specific phrase, but simply a new combination of English terms meant to draw attention to the interdependence of parts forming compounded things. It makes most sense when trying to explain sunyata
to Westerners, as the idea doesn't translate well as simply "emptiness" in English. Many Western Zen Buddhists become confused (imo) when they have done that, simply translated sunyata
as "emptiness." That's probably why TNH's contribution is appreciated in many Zen Circles, but not seen as relevant to others...
beeblebrox- i'm not familiar with those combinations of Chinese characters, they don't make sense in Japanese. Venerable Huifeng can probably translate then, but even then we run into the problem that D.F. has pointed out, that TNH may not have been trying to translate any one term, Vietnamese or Chinese.
Peter- yes, we can go in that direction, but i fear that the deeper we travel into Mahayana territory the less likely there will be any satisfactory conclusions reached.
Which is fine.