Did Gautama Buddha ever read the Vedas

The gradual arrival of the Buddha in the west.

Hermann Hesse, Luise Rinser and Adolf Muschg

 Dr. Christoph Gellner, Lucerne

"The spiritual wave from India, which had been effective in Europe, especially in Germany, for a hundred years, is now generally palpable and visible", "Europe's longing for the spiritual culture of the East has become glaring", writes Hermann Hesse on the occasion of 1921/22 the new edition of the speeches of the Buddha in the translation of the Viennese orientalist Karl Eugen Neumann, with whose translation work influenced by Schopenhauer the Buddha finally entered the German intellectual world[1]. "Europe is beginning to feel through various signs of decline that the exaggerated one-sidedness of its intellectual culture needs a correction, a refreshment from the opposite pole" (XII, 20), continues Hesse. "As soon as we stop looking at the Buddha's teaching purely intellectually and content ourselves with a certain sympathy for the ancient unity of the East, as soon as we let Buddha speak to us as an appearance, as an image, as the awakened, the perfect one, we find almost independent of the philosophical content and dogmatic core of his teaching, one of the great models of humanity in him. Whoever reads even a small number of the countless 'speeches' of the Buddha will soon be confronted with a harmony, a calm of soul, a smile and standing over it, one completely unshakable firmness, but also unshakable goodness, infinite tolerance. And the speeches are full of advice, rules, and waves about the ways and means to get to this holy soul. " (XII, 22f)

Time-diagnostic reflections in the space of literature

This particular fascination for the figure of Gautama Buddha - "the thought content of the Buddha's teaching is only one half of the Buddha's work, the other", which is much more decisive for Hesse, "is his life", his "lived life", his "accomplished" Work "(XII, 23) - should not be untypical of the literary, scientific and philosophical variety that goes back as far as the Romantic period Buddhism reception in the west, for whom Hermann Hesse represents a crystallization figure far beyond the realm of literature. With the appearance of Eastern wisdom teachers in the West since the end of the 19th century, the growing influence of theosophy and the formation of the first Buddhist communities and groups in Germany, Europe and America since the beginning of the 20th century, this widespread discussion of Asian religiosity was further compounded -strengthens. One first climax experienced the fascination for Buddhism especially among writers, artists and intellectuals after the catastrophe of the First World Warwhen, in addition to Hesse, well-known authors such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Theodor Lessing and Rudolf Pannwitz, Alfred Döblin, Klabund and Lion Feucht-wanger spoke of Eastern spirituality and wisdom Impulses for the healing of Europe promises[2]. In the area of ​​literature in particular, they developed completely through preoccupation with Asian religion and philosophy new mental and spiritual amalgams out, West-eastern metamorphoses of the religious, which are informative in terms of diagnosis, in which the The shocks of western industrial modernity reflect immediately. Exemplarily articulating what many of their contemporaries perceive in themselves in spiritual-religious crisis processes, writers are more than other border crossers, seismographs and mediators. The fascination of Buddhist spirituality in the West becomes existentially more concrete in the mirror of literature and more vivid in its poetic vividness.

Hermann Hesse: crystallization figure of the Far East fascination in the west

The extent to which individual biographical and time-typical motifs, the religious and spiritual search of an individual interacted with the socio-cultural crisis of western industrial civilization is exemplified by life and work Hermann Hesses (1877-1962)[3]. Alienated early on from Christianity through the hopeless moralism of its Christian-pietistic origins and upbringing, but became at home early on in the religions of India and China - Hesse received suggestions for this in his parents' home in Calw, which was connected to the India Mission -, sought Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) Throughout my life the religion that corresponded to him: “In my early youth I did not succeed in developing myself out of defiance against parental things within the religious-spiritual world in which I grew up, ie a Christian in my own way and without losing my personality to become “, is how Hesse describes his path. "Very early on I turned to Indian studies, including Indian ways of life, and found my religion within Indian and Chinese imagery, i.e. the one that Europe seemed to lack." (GB II, 52)

At the same time, Hesse's preoccupation with Vedantic and Buddhist India, and a little later also with Taoist China, hardly coincidentally coincided with a broad one Rediscovery of old and new mysticism at the beginning of the 20th century. As evidenced not least by his relationships with the life and cultural reformist search movements on Monte Verita, Hesse moved in the stream of one widespread search for a new unity of rationality and mysticism, which occidental activity should combine with eastern self-knowledge and contemplative immersion. Hesse's enthusiasm for Asia has been there right from the start seismographic expression of a culture and civilization critical awareness of criseswho believed to have found a spiritual and religious alternative to the spiritual anemia of the “West” in the “East”: “The whole East breathes religion like the West breathes reason and technology”, was Hesse's culturally critical diagnosis even before the outbreak of the First World War. "It is clear that no import from the East can help us here, no going back to India and China, also no fleeing back to a somehow formulated ecclesiastical Christianity." But that religion "is what we are deeply lacking has never become so inexorably clear to me as among the peoples of Asia"[4]. Up to the "Morgenland-Fahrt" and the "Glasperlenspiel", the great synthesis of Eastern and Western spirituality that transcends religions and cultures, the religiosity and wisdom of Asia in Hermann Hesse's thought and writing is a source of the spiritual renewal, Yes the Spiritual redemption from the one-sidedness of the technical-scientific rational modernity.

Hesse, who claimed to have been a Buddhist at the age of 30 (GB II, 96), first had to think of himself Evanescent Buddhism enthusiasm solve the pre-war period: "My philosophy at that time was that of a successful, but tired and saturated life, I understood all of Buddhism as resignation and asceticism, as an escape into desirelessness, and stayed with it for years."[5] Hesse had to recognize that we Europeans could ultimately not find the source of spiritual renewal in some strange past or through the superficial adoption of read Asian wisdom, but only "in ourselves": "My way to India and China did not go on ships and railways, I had to find the magic bridges myself, I had to stop looking for the redemption of Europe there, I had to stop attacking Europe in my heart, I had to make the real Europe and the real East my own in my heart and in spirit. " It was only through this that this Christian educated European was able to "live in the peace of a spiritual world in which Europe and Asia, the Vedas and the Bible, Buddha and Goethe have an equal share" (VI, 295).

Encounter with popular Buddhism in Ceylon

The main reason for this was undoubtedly his disappointing experience Journey to India (1911)which, although it showed him all the exotic oriental clichés, in the end more separated him from the Indian spirit than fed him. In any case, Hesse did not reveal anything to himself in Asia that had driven him there in his longing, on the contrary: "In the middle of Kandy among the Buddha priests I had a living touch of true India, of India's spirit with him the unsatisfied homesickness as before in Europe "(VI, 294), we read in Hesse's travel book" From India "(1913). Ironically on Ceylon, the classic "island of the Buddha's teachings", when visiting the temple with the relic of the holy Buddha tooth in Kandy, one of the most important shrines in the Buddhist world, Hesse "the beautiful, bright Buddhism" seemed to have become a true rarity of idolatry ", next to which" the most Spanish Catholicism still seemed spiritual "(VI, 278)! "I had no respect whatsoever for the miserable priests, I despised the pictures and shrines, the ridiculous gold and ivory, but I felt deeply and compassionately for the good, gentle Indian peoples who have made a wonderfully pure teaching grimace here over the centuries and for this they had built a gigantic building of helpless piety, of foolish, heartfelt prayers and sacrifices, of touchingly erring human folly and childlike nature and adorned, to which they made sacrifices and erected precious images - what do we clever and spiritual people from the West do on the other hand, who are much closer to the source of Buddhas and of all knowledge? " (VI, 279)

In his distance from the popular Buddhist pilgrimage, Hesse believed himself to the pure teaching of the "Buddha who was not made of stone and crystal and alabaster", to whom everything was holy, everything was God, who therefore also gave his disciples the relic, and indeed every veneration of his person had forbidden, closer than the bearers of the lived Buddhist folk religion, in whose temples one could "buy oneself from all Buddhism". Hesse regarded what he had learned from translated texts and performing European literature as pure doctrine: an original Buddhism that could only be found in books, but hardly among people. In Karl Eugen Neumann's poetic adaptation of Gautama's speeches, for example, which consciously sought access to the un-falsified, original teaching of Gautama. It is precisely from this that you can read off very well how strong the western reception of Buddhism was at the turn of the century, especially among the educated, under Indological, yes, ideological auspices.

Hesse's Indian poem "Siddhartha"

In 1922, at the height of enthusiasm for the Far East after the First World War, Hesse put his Indian poetry "Siddhartha" presents the most significant story in terms of historical impact, which literarily prepares the life story of the historical Siddhar-ta Gautama, yes, in which the Buddha himself encounters. Hesse rightly saw in this an attempt to combine the Indian meditative ideal of life and the old Asian doctrine of the divine Unity of all things, the core of all "Eastern" life and wisdom teachings, "for our time and in our language"[6] to reformulate. The effort to penetrate into the holistic connection of all life in meditative immersion, in an area that leaves everything individual, everything self-conscious, all ideas of being different - all of this makes the special fascination of Eastern self-awareness and meditation to this day methods like Zen and Yoga in the West. No wonder that “Siddhartha” became one among the hippies, flower children and India pilgrims of the 60s and 70s Cult book of Buddhism fascination in the West has been. It conveys a lot more about them spiritual world of ancient India than comparable non-fiction books or religious stories. Last but not least, the unmistakable stylistic echoes of the liturgical-litany-like doctrinal conversations of the enlightened one in Karl Eugen Neumann's congenial translation, which additionally underlines the legendary similitude of the novel.

Even if Hesse's Siddhartha in the end Gautama Buddha turns your back, there are still quite a number of Similarities: Like the historical Siddhar-tha Gautama, Hesse's fictional Brahmin son, against the wishes of his parents, turns away from the traditional Vedic-Brahmanic traditionalism, ritualism and clericalism in order to avoid it spiritual awakening of the Samanas to connect. As a dispossessed and caste-free mendicant monk, Hesse's Siddhartha also moves "out of the house into homelessness" together with his friend Govinda in order to find enlightenment, as he had learned from the holy books and the speeches of the learned Brahmins, without of course ever self Experienced to have. Like the historical Buddha Gautama, Hesse's Siddhartha also submitted to the strictest asceticism and the most severe mortification for three years. He becomes a forest hermit and learns to control his body through the mind. He learns to overcome hunger and thirst, pain and tiredness through yoga and meditation, but in the end he has to find out that all these fasting, breathing and contemplation exercises were little more than escape movements, artistic skills of self-deception and numbness. Religion, too, he realized, could be a selfish obsession, a dependence on rites and rituals that enslave the meditator rather than free him.

It is precisely for this reason that Hesse's Siddhartha finally turns his back on Gautama's path of salvation and redemption. Because even in the "noble eightfold path of wisdom" taught by the Buddha, Siddharta was ultimately only able to recognize an escape from the true self: "If I were now one of your disciples", Siddhartha countered the Buddha in his encounter with the sublime, “So I am afraid it would happen to me that only apparently, only deceptively, my self would come to rest and be redeemed, but that in truth it would continue to live and grow, because then I would have the teaching, would have my followers, would have my love for to you, would have made the community of monks my self! ”(V, 382) No, despite all the reverence and admiration for the compelling personality of the enlightened one, it became clear to him that he“ left all teachings and all teachers ”, any teacher- and must reject the student body, because “no one receives salvation through teaching!” Even the Buddha is only on the way to redeeming wisdom individual experience, of your own experience: "You have found enlightenment from your own search, on your own path ... it did not come to you through teaching", is Siddhartha's decisive objection. “Nobody, O venerable one, will you be able to communicate and say in words and teaching what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment! This is why I continue my wandering - not to look for a different, better teaching, for I know there are none, but to leave all teachings and all teachers and only to achieve my goal. ”(V, 381 )

The experience of unity

Certainly, Buddhist experience also knows that only lived, but not learned, wisdom brings the seeker closer to his goal: it is of no use to appeal to the wisdom of the Buddha if one only knows it as a word and formula. As a teacher, the Buddha can ultimately only sensitize to the “hidden teacher” within. In Hesse's "Siddhartha" this insight into spiritual experience is radicalized and individualistically pointed.After all, in Hesse's fictional Brahmin son Siddhartha, the Buddha encounters a modern, European individualist who, out of his deep distrust of dogmas and institutions, rejects all doctrinal opinions that can be formulated in any way. For whom wisdom is only tangible on the path of individual search in one's own experience: on one Path of experienceThat each and every one has to go by himself. Hesse's Siddhartha finally stays on Flow with the old ferryman Vasudeva, who becomes Siddhartha's decisive teacher precisely because he has no teaching, teaches him nothing in words, rather refers Siddhartha to the river. In meditation by the river, he gradually began to realize what wisdom actually was and what the goal of his long search was: It was nothing but "the willingness of the soul ... every moment, in the middle of life, to think the thought of unity to feel the unity and to be able to breathe in "(V, 454), as symbolized by the polyphonic rushing river." Everything was one, everything was interwoven and connected, a thousand folds. And everything together, all voices, all Goals, all longing, all suffering, all pleasure, all good and bad, everything together was the world. Everything together was the flow of events, was the music of life. " Basic connection with the whole of realityto the mystical-meditative Experience of the unity of all being, with which for Hesse the Love for all things and beings connects, one all-pervasive sympathy: “That is what makes them so dear to me and admirable: they are my own kind. That is why I can love her ... Love, O Govinda, seems to me to be the main thing of everything. To see through the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be a matter for great thinkers. But my only concern is to be able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look at it and me and all beings with love and admiration and awe. ”Govin-da immediately feels the contradiction to the world-conquering Buddha-teaching. Didn't the Blessed One see through exactly this love as a "deception"? Had he not warned against “tying our hearts to earthly things in love”, did he not command “benevolence, protection, compassion, tolerance, but not love”? "I know, Govinda," replies Siddhartha, "there we are in the middle ... in a dispute about words ... That is precisely why I mistrust the words so much", Siddhartha replies, typical for Hesse, not from the Buddha learned theory, but rather from its lived practice, and in fact Christian love and Buddhist compassion should touch each other at least in practice: "I know that I am at one with Gotama. How should He not know love either. He who recognized all humanity in its transience, in its nullity, and yet loved people so much that he spent a long, hard life just helping them, teaching them! He too, too with your great teacher, to me ... what he does and what he lives is more important than what he speaks ... I see his greatness not in speaking, not in thinking, only in doing, in life. " (V, 466f)

Luise Rinser: Mysticism in East and West

"The first religious wave in East Asia," recalls Luise Rinser (* 1911) in her autobiography "Embracing the Wolf" (1981)[7]"came after World War I. At that time Hermann Hesse wrote his Buddha book 'Siddhartha', which made a deep impression on me a few years later, although I actually didn't understand it," says Luise Rinser, testifying to the effect of Hesse's "Indian" which can hardly be underestimated Poetry". Contact with Eastern religions is still common today literarily mediated Phenomenon! Hesse addressed the then 20-year-old as "an old, young sage". "He had experiences that ... came like a redeeming rain over the intellectually karstified European youth. He expressed what we longed for." (DWU 334) At that time, the Bavarian teacher's daughter had already read the Buddha's speeches (as translated by Karl Eugen Neumann), the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, yes, even in her youth she was "interested in everything that came out of it Far East originates "(SAS 87). At the beginning of the 30s - "the longing for India was in the air" (DWU 334) - before she got to know Hesse and Bud-dhism better, Luise Rinser wrote a story that was later destroyed with the title "On the Roof of the World" , in which she had a group of young people, tired of Europe and tired of civilization, set off for India and Tibet, found a kind of monastery in the Himalayas and had a spiritual life.

What fascinated Luise Rinser about Hesse's Indian poetry is also instructive for her own view of Buddhism: She enchants Hesse's "Siddhartha" because in it "what I said earlier Schopenhauer had found, had become pure poetry ":" the idea of all-encompassing loving one-being of all living things. That also coincided with what I did with the German mystics had found: the idea of All-love. I understood what Hesse lets his Siddhartha experience, looking into the river: the one whole, the 'Tat twam asi', the key word: 'That's you', namely everything: stone and plant, animal and human. This his love mysticism hit me and was related to me and connected to me with the words of C. G. Jung about the prinzipium individuationis and the conception of life as the path of self-discovery. "[8]

Just as the young Hermann Hesse rebelled against the narrowness of Swabian pietism, Luise Rinser also revolted early on against the constraints of the Catholic Church in her parents' home, school and boarding school. The Rejection and detachment from religion in Christian form favored the people who grew up under Bavarian-Baroque Catholicism Turning to Asian religion and spirituality: "I, no longer touched by Christianity, reached out to Eastern teachings with passion," she reports from the 1930s. "I didn't understand them, but they seeped into me and merged with the groundwater of my being." (DWU 331) Especially her diaries and autobiographical writings, which have been published since the early 1970s, in which Luise Rinser repeatedly draws connections from Christian-Occidental mysticism to Zen Buddhism and Taoism, reflect her longstanding occupation with mystical theology of the European Middle Ages as well as Eastern spirituality. Their numerous are of great importance to travel to India, Indonesia, South and North Korea, Japan and China Since the late 1960s, her encounters with Lama A are hardly less significantNagarika Govinda, Sri Aurobindo and the Dalai Lama.

It is no coincidence that Luise Rinser keeps referring to a topic in her diary notes that has preoccupied her since her youth, when she first came into contact with Meister Eckart, Amos Comenius and Nicolaus Cusanus at the age of 16 or 17: the understanding of God and world as basic polarity, as coincidentia oppositorumthat reality as great Unity of all things lets experience. She finally found this mystical primal experience articulated in Chinese Taoism as well as in Hinduism or Zen Buddhism, in both Jewish and Islamic mysticism: "There are no contradictions in the world, there are no contradictions, it is us that they create; there are only polarities, the day is not day if there is no night, life is not life if there is no death, one thing is enclosed in the other, one becomes another, everything changes, what remains is change. From this I boldly drew the conclusion that even good would not be without what we call evil, and that God would not be without the devil ... Decades later I gave one of my books the title: ' Marriage of contradictions'. " (DWU 145) Characteristic for the thinking and writing of Luise Rinsers is also a ecumenical-universal unity thinkingwhich, like Hermann Hesse's, emphasizes less the dogmatic divisiveness than the universal unifying element of the great wisdom and religious traditions of "East" and "West". A cross-religious and cross-cultural thinking in syntheses, which is deeply permeated by the spiritual knowledge that "all religions on our planet" ultimately in one and the same mystical-meditative basic experience root: "They all have the deepest depth in common", Luise Rinser describes this mystical core of all religions With the help of Buddhist terminology: "the experience of 'emptiness', which appears like 'nothing', but in reality is fullness: 'everything'." (SAS 195)

Religion as love for the whole

"Everything is nothing. Nothing is everything": This Buddhist riddle and saying of life that the abbot of the South Korean monastery Bulgugsa gave her - in "War Toys" (1978) the visit to this Buddhist monastery in October 1975 is vividly described ( KS168ff) - runs like a red thread through Luise Rinser's autobiographical writings. Hardly by chance comes across this koan on the occasion of a visit to an old Zen temple in Kyoto on her first trip to Japan in May 1981: "I experienced the great silence in the Zen temple in Kyoto. Actually, I dreamed of being a Zen master meet, but there is hardly anyone left, someone is sitting in Nara, very old, and he is not in the place at the moment. So I do not meet anybody, nowhere and yet: here in the temple there is an invisible presence of masters ... There are no tourists at this noon hour. I crouch on the bast mat in one of the open rooms. The room is empty. The large sliding door to the garden is open ... the shadow of a pine on a moss-covered rock with water running over it . It splashes gently and makes the silence audible. That is all. Yes, that is EVERYTHING. This is Zen. Nothing is everything, emptiness is abundance. " (WF 127) She experiences this silence and this peace a few days later in front of the great Buddha in the Daibutsu Temple: "The Buddha is not just great, he is huge, but he is still not too big for the human eye, he just still has human dimensions. The all too big appears human in human proximity. A blessing Buddha. In a Catholic church I would kneel down. Numen adest. The divine is present ... Buddhism and Christianity are the parallels that meet in infinity . " (WF 128-131). Finally, paradigmatic is the Buddhist story with which Luise Rinser illustrates the fascinating attitude of the Dalai Lama, who even invited her to Dharamsala for a week in 1994: "There is a Buddhist story: a man desperately wants to see the great Gautama Buddha. To be Friend says: 'You can't see him, he's been dead a long time.' A third says: 'You can meet him: just go down to the market, the first old beggar woman, the first mangy dog, that's HE.' He could also have said: Look at yourself, you are HE yourself. That is Buddhist mysticism: Everything is ONE. Everything is THE ONE. " (KDS 25)

"'Everything is nothing, nothing is everything', and everything is worth undying love" (KDS 32), Luise Rinser takes up the basic idea of ​​Hesse's "Siddhartha", which is so important to her. The experience that what deeply determines reality, ultimately only as love, as all-pervading sympathy can be described: "The big one ... I call it love" (SAS 137). For Luise Rinser, religion is "nothing more than love for everything and everyone, for the whole, for being and all that is." (WH 15) Similar to how Hermann Hesse first had to delve deeply into the world of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism before he could reappropriate his own Christian origins, Luise Rinser also gained access to the Asian religion through her many years of preoccupation Importance of the Christian brand new: "I re-understood our Western Christianity through the detour via the Eastern religions," she confessed in an interview with Karl-Josef Kuschel[9]. "God is the great sympathy that holds everything together ... God is no longer 'up there', but he is the God-in-me." This universal sympathy shone in Jesus: "For me, Jesus is the embodiment of universal sympathy"[10], Luise Rinser outlines her interpretation of Jesus "Mirijam"-Romans (1983), which first opened up to her through the other religions, especially Buddhism. As the "eternal self in me", this Christ is "to be found in all religions" for Luise Rinser, "they just give him a different name"[11]. If, therefore, "all religious people on our earth your Really understand and live religion ", Luise Rinser is convinced," we will one day necessarily meet on one point. "(MWR 58)

Adolf Muschg: Japan, Zen Buddhism and Christianity

Hardly any other literary work in contemporary literature is that of the Swiss writer Adolf Muschg (* 1934) from meeting the Zen Buddhism and the complementary unified thinking in Asia embossed. Muschg was a German lecturer at the International Christian University in Tokyo from 1962 to 1964, has been to Japan and China many times since then and is now one of the most important authors of contemporary German-language literature[12]. His first novel, set in Japan, is already revealing in terms of time "In the summer of the hare" (1965), the one that began in the late 50s and early 60s second phase of western Buddhism reception in the 20th century reflects. At that time there was "unfortunately something like a Zen fashion" (XII, 37) in Europe and America, regretted the 80-year-old Hermann Hesse on the occasion of the translation of the Zen classic Bi-Yän-Lu by his "Japanese" cousin Wilhelm Gundert which is studied by all Zen practitioners to this day. Gundert is - next to Eugen Herriegel, Karlfried Graf Dürckheim and above all the two Jesuits Hugo Enomiya Lassalle and Heinrich Dumoulin - one of the most important mediators of Buddhism in Germany. Up until the 1920s the western reception of Buddhism focused on the almost exclusively intellectual confrontation with the Buddhist source texts of the Pali canon Meditation schools of Buddhism their triumphal march in Germany, Europe and America. At the beginning of the 1960s, a fascination for Zen Buddhism that was entirely focused on meditative practice and experience awoke, especially among the hippies and flower children of American youth and alternative culture. In addition, from the 1970s there was an increasing fascination for Tibetan Buddhism, which became accessible due to the exile situation of many lamas in the West.

Muschg's Japanese novel "In the summer of the hare" tells of seven westerners traveling to Japan with very different intentions and willingness to encounter the mysterious and fascinating world of Japan for western eyes. In our context, the tragicomic figure of the Zen enthusiast Adalbert Huhn is of particular interest, because Muschg is the fashionable and superficial zen enthusiasm of enlightenment-hungry westerners excellently satirized. While in Switzerland, Huhn had already contacted a student of the well-known Zen master Daisetz Taitaro Suzuki, who made a decisive contribution to carrying the spirit of Zen from his monasteries into western modernism of the 20th century. Huhn was well introduced to Zen Buddhism before he even set foot on Japanese soil, even before he had subjected himself to his harsh meditation practice.The "simplest things of Zen, sitting, breathing" (SH 127) are not enough for him, he is looking for satori, enlightenment, although these "simple things" are the main thing on the Zen path. Only someone who has practiced and experienced all of this himself can say that they too are ultimately superfluous. During his meeting with the abbot of the famous Zuiganji monastery in Matsushima, Huhn knows how to explain "the deepest and most paradoxical things to the heartily nodding old man." He has his learned wisdom translated by a local manure manufacturer, who is so good at it how nothing understands. In the end the Zen master, after having had a very animated conversation with the manure man about his living conditions and manure, has the chicken say, "He is happy you are such a good thinking man" (SH 132). The "mischievous blessings of Zen Buddhism" (SH 119), at that time already "a snobbery from the day before yesterday" (SH 121), as Muschg's narrator mockingly notes, remain inaccessible to Adalbert Huhn despite his efforts.

A Westerner can take much blessing from it

The fact that Zen Buddhism, with which Muschg already came into contact during his studies in Zurich, when he counted himself Hesse's "Morgenlandfahrern", means far more to himself than just a poetically attractive subject, is already in his narrative report, written in 1963 "Subject and Object in Kamakura" to listen to the Muschgs meeting with the then 93 year old Zen scholar Daisetz Suzuki In Japan there is a literary treatment: "There is something excitingly awake about this old man. We have noticed this with other Zen people: the degree to which the inner is expressed. There is no meaningful secret, no index finger taps the chime and dulls its sound ... In the face of Suzuki you can get an idea of ​​how the famous Zen masters of earlier centuries approached: they were radiant vagabonds, large-patterned peelers who carried their rags to the market like their nakedness, completely unconcerned whether anyone had the heart to suspect gold behind the drama; and these few led them all the more around by the fool's rope, until one day someone, stumbling and breathless, came to the point of being himself - to then as a master to inherit rag sacks and pitfalls and to go laughing at human trappings. " (PW 49f)

Asked about his personal Affinity for Zen Buddhism In a conversation with Karl-Josef Kuschel, Muschg gave the programmatic understanding that for him no other religion “points as clearly as Buddhism beyond unsuitable alternatives such as body - mind, body - soul, good and bad, black and white. No so much the chance of breakthrough this grid opens up. No one less has the need to proselytize and marginalize. There is no self-evident art of living, wisdom, love for everyday life, love for small things and details. "[13] If you keep in mind what Muschg said about them "Protestant eclipses of my childhood"[14] expressed - about the fearfulness of his parents' image of God, the hostility towards life and the body of their rigid Reformed-Puritan upbringing, the guilt complexes conveyed by this, the compulsions to perform, succeed and justify, the leitmotif of Muschg's narrative - is at least comprehensible, why he no longer trusts Christianity with this "above all necessary art of living": "If Lessing is right in his sentence that one should recognize religions by their fruits, then those of Christianity taste bitter - even for the Christians themselves." The redeemed would have to they look so that I could believe in their savior. '(Nietzsche). I wish for more corporeality - which was reserved for the devil for so long. In Japan the spiritual would be more concrete, more radiant. You can recognize a Zen master immediately by his smile. It is a movement of the whole body. "[15]

With this, the key keyword for Muschg's preoccupation with Zen Buddhism has fallen: overcoming that which largely determines Western thinking Subject and object dualism, of Head and body, of Mind and body, yes and no. "To think objectively, 'objectively', is in our tradition, is a dearly bought habit of the Western consciousness. Fortunately, the repertoire of consciousness is far from exhausted here."[16]. In the area of ​​occidental tradition, one has to fall back on the "godlessness of Christian mysticism", "in order to find a comparable sensitivity in Christianity," says Adolf Muschg. On Angelus Silesius and above all on Meister Eckhart, "whose so-called 'mysticism' consists in liberating religious experience from the compulsion to be objective in order to make it really free - but this is more Buddhist than Christian - for the love of objects "[17]. "The godlessness of Christian mysticism was a risk. That of Buddhist doctrine is a relaxed matter of course. 'God' is an auxiliary concept from which even the Buddha's disciple learns to detach himself. He knows no 'holy name', no 'Mr. Zebaoth', Also no representatives on the cross. In this he sees - without polemics - the uncovered remnants of a child's desires for security or metaphysical security needs, projected into an imaginary sky of size fantasies of people who know nothing better to do with their unresolvedness than screaming for a savior Such a god may be venerable like everything all too human. But he still has nothing to do with religion. Our culture is so strongly shaped on a 'personal God', on the you-form with the Redeemer, that we A- Can only imagine theism as irreligious. "[18]

What the religions talk about: BEING

In 1985, a good twenty years after his encounter with the then 93-year-old Zen scholar Daisetz Suzuki, Muschg describes his in the features section of the "Frankfurter Rund-schau" "Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery" in the north of Tokyo in May of the same year. "So again someone who could no longer stand the contradictions of his time co-op and has turned to the inside."[19]Muschg exclaims a critical reader."Get out get in!" is because his experience report is pointedly headed. Certainly, he did not experience a religious enlightenment even with this "Zen trial lesson", Muschg immediately rejects the expectation that extraordinary enlightenment experiences would be recorded here: "Few words about it, no words at all 'about' , rather the most modest act that made it superfluous; that which the religions speak of, BEING. "

In an interview with Karl-Josef Kuschel, Muschg had stated that he wanted to "get away from the word religion and replace it with what it means: bond or experience of being integrated", "to live from the center, the focus of being there and to work ". Muschg's Zen monastery essay vividly illustrates the fascination of the obviously completely" different "spirituality and religiosity of Buddhism in the West:" The work on the Buddha in ourselves is by far more demanding and radical than any service that is performed under pressure from outside and above. But I also felt it to be more subtle, more humanly imaginative, more careful than any kind of service to a personal God thought and addressed in the you-form, as he encounters in Western Christianity. Because in the Zen monastery there is probably the communal reading of the sutra, the folding of hands not only for grace, but also when receiving each individual meal, there are of course the experiences that we tend to call 'religious' on our side of the world. But there is expressly no church service, any more than there is a Sunday and working day. Work day and holiday are the same as meditation and work. When praying and eating, brushing your teeth and begging, talking and not talking are not enough one When done spiritually, neither of the two happens right. Do you have to call religion, which is nothing else than the highest way of life, attention to the neighbor and the neighbor, the presence of what I am in what I do, not tomorrow, not beyond, but here and now? In the monastery I experienced that life can be one with itself and with its apparent opposite, death; and that when everything is equally valid, there is nothing more indifferent. That is a little more than I have learned so far in politics or in literature, in conversation or in love. Does this require a life in a Zen monastery? For me it was necessary: ​​as an experience that the obvious is difficult, but possible. "The same wind blows everywhere," says the calligraphy that the master gave me. Yes, if we only have the nose around which we can let this wind blow: then the first little enlightenment may be to no longer distinguish it from our own breath. An internal business? But on the contrary. And then: why actually 'on the contrary'? "

Dr. Christoph Gellner, Lucerne

[1]See. M. v. Brück / W. Lai, Buddhism and Christianity. History, Confrontation, Dialog, Munich 1997, esp. 200-240; M. Baumann, "Imported" Religions: The Example of Buddhism. In: Handbook of the German Reform Movements 1880 - 1933. Ed. D. Kerbs and J. Reulecke, Wuppertal 1998, 513-522; V. Zotz, On the blissful islands. Buddhism in German Culture, Berlin 2000.

[2]See. C. Günther, Departure to Asia. Cultural foreigners in German literature around 1900, Munich 1988; I. cobbler, China and Japan in German literature 1890-1925. Bern 1977.

[3]C. Gellner, Wisdom, art and the art of living. Far Eastern religion and philosophy with Hermann Hesse and Bertolt Brecht, Mainz 1997; that.What is common to Indians, Chinese and Christians. Hesse and the spirituality of the world religions, in: Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha". 11th International Hermann Hesse Colloquium in Calw 2002, ed. v. M. Limberg, Stuttgart 2002, 179-192. Hesse's writings are cited in abbreviated form from the 12-volume edition of the Gesammelte Werke, Frankfurt / M. 1970; Collected letters 4 vols., Frankfurt / M. 1973-1986 (= GB).

[7]K.-J. Cuddle, Luise Rinser - Religious skinning of a writer. In: Luise Rinser. Materials for life and work, ed. v. MR. Schwab, Frankfurt / M. 1986: 203-214; S. Polat, Luise Rinsers path to mystical religiosity. Faith grows from experience, Münster 2001. Luise Rinser's writings are cited in abbreviated form: Embracing the Wolf. Frankfurt / M. 1981 (DWU); Saturn on the sun. Frankfurt / M. 1994 (SAS); War toys. Diary 1972 to 1978, paperback edition Frankfurt / M. 1980 (KS); Winter spring 1979-1982. Frankfurt / M. 1982 (WF). Singing in the Dark 1982 to 1985. Frankfurt / M. 1985 (IDS); Wir Heimatlosen 1989-1992, paperback edition Frankfurt / M. 1995 (WH); Art of shadow play 1994-1997, Frankfurt / M. 1997 (KDS); Talk to who Frankfurt / M. 1980 (MWR).

[8]L. Rinser, Hermann Hesse and Far Eastern philosophy. In: Hermann Hesse and religion. 6th International Hermann Hesse Colloquium in Calw 1990, ed. v. F. Bran and M. Pfeifer, Bad Lieben-zell 1990, 17-31, quotation 20.