120  Engaging Heidegger


appropriated by the clearing. Da-sein’s being-needed as the shepherd of the clearing [through language] is a distinguished manner of belonging to the clearing.53

Gathering together and thinking through these basic features of the ‘clearing’ is an important task in itself; but in doing so, we also realize that there are as many challenges as there are possibilities in any attempt to relate the clearing to key ideas in the ‘East Asian’ traditions. If Heidegger’s position is that the clearing is an irreducibly temporal-spatial phenomenon, can a proper correspondence be drawn with traditional notions in the Chinese and Japanese philosophical and spiritual traditions? Also, does Heidegger’s insistence on the fi nite and negatived character of the clearing pose a signifi cant diffi culty? Even Koichi Tsujimura, perhaps the foremost proponent of relating Heidegger’s thinking to Zen, admitted that

while Zen Buddhism has not yet arrived at clarifying in a thinking way the field of truth, or more precisely, of un-truth with respect to its essential features, Heidegger’s thinking unceasingly attempts to bring to light the essential features of Aletheia (un-concealment).54

Furthermore, if, in accordance with Heidegger’s fundamental phenomenological approach, Dasein must be considered an irreducible component of the clearing (albeit certainly not the whole of the clearing), can this view be accommodated by the major East Asian traditions? This matter is further complicated by the consideration that Dasein is structurally an ontic/ontological unity, and therefore Dasein’s ontic features are constitutive (whether ‘authentic’ or ‘inauthentic’) and cannot be entirely disengaged, released, or stepped back from. Is this position reconcilable with Eastern perspectives? The answers to all of these questions are not immediately apparent, and much more careful and patient thinking is required. Given such difficult questions, it is perfectly understandable that though Heidegger welcomed a dialogue with ‘East Asian’ thinking, he was, for his own part, quite careful not to say or claim too much. There is more thinking to be done along this promising path.

Finally, let us reflect on his words in the foreword, echoed in many places in his later work, that our getting in view the phenomenon of the ‘clearing’ is decisive in ‘the effort to save the essencing of the human being.’ Dasein’s attunement or step back or ‘releasement’ (Gelassenheit) to the clearing grants a measure of freedom from technicity, the calculating


Richard Capobianco - Engaging Heidegger