The Metaphysics of Identity in Fazang’s Huayan Wujiao Zhang: The Inexhaustible Freedom of Dependent Origination

  • Nicholaos JonesEmail author
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 9)


Fazang’s arguments in his Treatise on the Five Teachings of Huayan provide a philosophical foundation for the Avatamsaka Sutra’s rich and suggestive imagery. This chapter focuses on one of Fazang’s central arguments in that treatise, namely, his argument that mutually reliant dharmas are mutually identical. The chapter presents the background context for Fazang’s argument, reconstructs the argument’s logical structure, interprets the central concepts appearing therein, and explains why Fazang might have found plausible his argument’s premises. Specific discussion points include: the non-duality of existence and emptiness; relations between causes and their conditions; the meaning of creation and identity; connections with the ti-yong paradigm; Fazang’s analogy of the ten coins. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of Fazang’s metaphysics for contemporary discussions of substance and ontological foundations.


Causation Fazang Huayan Mutual identity (xiangjiti-yong 



I thank Youru Wang and Ryan Jordan for helpful comments on prior versions of this chapter.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleUSA

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