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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 30, Issue 3, 2020

Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics

Tomas Sodeika
Pages 205-224

Martin Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Boredom and Zen Practice

In this article, Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology of boredom is compared with some aspects of Zen practice. Heidegger is primarily interested in boredom as a “fundamental mood,” which takes us beyond the opposition of the subject and object. Thus, boredom reveals the existence more initially than those forms of cognition that are the basis of classical philosophy and special sciences. As an essential feature of the experience of boredom, Heidegger singles out that being in this state we feel that our attention is held by something in which we find nothing but emptiness. In the article, this emptiness is compared with the Buddhist concept of shunyata, and various forms of experiencing boredom are paralleled with the different types of concentration achieved in Zen practice (samadhi). Besides, the question is discussed how the Buddhist perception of emptiness corresponds to Heidegger’s “openness.”

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