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2005 Vol.12
31 December 2005. pp. 7~40
In Buddhism, Chinese characters 壽命 (yur, life ornate by the heaven) or 生 (utpda, jti, to live) and命 (jivita, heavenly order) are used instead of 生命 (life) to represent the notion of life.Nevertheless, life phenomenon and organisms, as the subjects of this study, can be most appropriately represented by Buddhist terminology 衆生 (sattva, living beings).The Sanskrit word sattva stands for "being" or "entity" as we can be tell from sat, which means "existence." "Being"is a very general word which has been divided by territorial ontology in Western metaphysics and is in need of territorial classification, as is sattva, for an in-depth study.The notion of being is divided into humans, organisms, and eco-system (organisms + environment); and sattva is sorted into 'ordinary persons', 'sentient being', and 'arising from conditional causation'.In terms of territory, 'ordinary persons', 'sentient being', and 'arising from conditional causation' coincide with humans, organisms, and eco-system, respectively.Individual organisms exist based on metabolism, reproduction, and evolution.This life phenomenon can be described in Buddhist terms as "something that is neither same nor different (不一不異)" and "something that neither continues forever nor completely disappears (不常不斷)".First of all, metabolism is the phenomenon of inconsistency (不一, anekatva).A life being continues to metabolize and to grow through cell division; I am not the same person I was a month ago.All cells in a human body are replaced in merely six months.However, I am not a completely different (不異, ananya) person from what I was a month ago.A series of thought processes are stored in memory, and an assumption that thoughts continue consistently with memories.The storage of life-long experience that takes the gene-like form is called ālaya-vijṅāna in Yogacara Buddhism, and it becomes the subject of transmigration as the storage of karma force (業力). Therefore, one does not completely disappearin death (不斷, anuccheda), and a life-long experience, information, and kamma force are stored in genes or ālaya-vijṅāna to be handed down.All living beings are merely one stage of the historical transfer and continuance; they are not completely destroyed in death (不滅, aniruddha), yet they are not completely new at birth (不生, anutpatti).Nothing lasts forever (不常, anitya), and a being must continuously change itself to better adapt to the environment through evolvement for survival.The life phenomenon of an individual based on metabolism (不一), reproduction (不異. 不斷), and evolution (不常) is something neither same nor different, all the while neither lasting forever nor disappearing completely, and neither new nor destroyed in entirety.It is a process of continuous change broken away from immutability in variability(無常, anitya), selflessness (無我, anātman), and emptiness (空, śūnyatā).Individual life as an organism is a sentient being (有情, sattva) based on emptiness (空性, śūnyatā) that features sensitivity (情, indriya), intentionality (行, saṃkāra), and conductability (業. karma).
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  • Publisher :Korean Association of Buddhist Studies
  • Publisher(Ko) :불교학연구회
  • Journal Title :Korea Journal of Buddhist Studies
  • Journal Title(Ko) :불교학연구
  • Volume : 12
  • No :0
  • Pages :7~40