A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics: Signs, Ontology, and by Fabio Rambelli

By Fabio Rambelli

One of many first makes an attempt ever to give in a scientific means a non-western semiotic approach. This ebook appears to be like at jap esoteric Buddhism and relies round unique texts, trained by means of particular and rigorous semiotic different types. it's a special advent to special features of the concept and rituals of the japanese Shingon tradition.

Semiotic matters are deeply ingrained within the Buddhist highbrow and non secular discourse, starting with the concept that the realm isn't really what it sounds as if to be, which demands a extra actual knowing of the self and truth. This in flip ends up in sustained discussions at the prestige of language and representations, and at the hazard and techniques to understand fact past myth; such strange wisdom is explicitly outlined as enlightenment. hence, for Buddhism, semiotics is without delay correct to salvation; it is a key aspect that's usually neglected even by means of Buddhologists. This publication discusses intensive the most parts of Buddhist semiotics as established totally on unique eastern pre-modern assets. it's a the most important booklet within the fields of semiotics and spiritual stories.

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Extra info for A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics: Signs, Ontology, and Salvation in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (Continuum Advances in Semiotics)

Sample text

Kūkai found an interesting and productive way to overcome the limits of classic Mahayana philosophy of language, according to which linguistic expressions are related arbitrarily to their meaning and cannot signify the content of enlightenment.  . ) Systematized for the first time by Kūkai in the early ninth century, Shingon semiotics maintains instead that languages and signs are fallacious and sources of ignorance and suffering only to those who do not understand their origin and their real meaning.

Material dharmas include the five bodily sense organs and the corresponding five realms of material objects (respectively, eye/forms, ear/sounds, nose/odors, tongue/tastes, body/tactile perception). Among the independent immaterial entities we find dharmas such as acquisition, life, meditation, names, impermanence, succession, direction, time, and number. Finally, unconditioned entities include space, immobility, the elimination of ideation, and Suchness. This typology disrupts facile dichotomies such as mind/matter and conditioned/unconditioned, but at the same time points to a complex series of interactions that gesture toward the overcoming of conditioned thought.

This purification of the mind is called “transformation of consciousness to attain wisdom” (tenshiki tokuchi): the eight sections of the mind-king turn into “four wisdoms” (shichi), which constitute the mental apparatus of enlightenment—or, in other words, the mind of the Buddha. The five sense consciousnesses turn into the “wisdom that carries out completely Adamantine signs 25 what needs to be done” (jōshosachi), that is, the ability to bring benefits to sentient beings. The intellect (ishiki) turns into the “wisdom to observe the sublime aspect of things” (myōkanzatchi)—the capacity to transcend superficial aspects of things and attain their essence.

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