"Existentialism," Interpretation, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Spring 1995). Talk given in February 1956 at the University of Chicago. Reprinted in The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism.
The deepest root of the west is a specific understanding of being, a specific experience of being. The specifically western experience of being led to the consequence that the ground of grounds was forgotten and the primary experience of being was used only for the investigation of the beings. The east has experienced being in a way which prevented the investigation of beings and therewith the concern with the mastery of beings. But the western experience of being makes possible in principle, coherent speech about being. By opening ourselves to the problem of being and to the problematic character of the westem understanding of being, we may gain access to the deepest root of the east. The ground of grounds which is indicated by the word being will be the ground not only of religion but even of any possible gods. From here one can begin to understand the possibility of a world religion.
The meeting of east and west depends on an understanding of being. More precisely it depends on an understanding of that by virtue of which beings are esse, etre, to be, as distinguished from entia, etants, beings. Esse as Heidegger understands it may be described crudely and superficially and even misleadingly, but not altogether misleadingly, by saying that it is a synthesis of Platonic ideas and the biblical God: it is as impersonal as the Platonic ideas and as elusive as the biblical God.