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

By Fabio Rambelli

One of many first makes an attempt ever to offer in a scientific approach a non-western semiotic process. This ebook seems to be at jap esoteric Buddhism and is predicated round unique texts, knowledgeable by means of specific and rigorous semiotic different types. it's a particular advent to big points of the idea and rituals of the japanese Shingon tradition.

Semiotic matters are deeply ingrained within the Buddhist highbrow and spiritual discourse, starting with the concept the realm isn't what it seems that to be, which demands a extra actual figuring out of the self and fact. This in flip leads to sustained discussions at the prestige of language and representations, and at the chance and techniques to understand truth past fable; such ordinary wisdom is explicitly outlined as enlightenment. hence, for Buddhism, semiotics is at once proper to salvation; this can be a key element that's frequently overlooked even by way of Buddhologists. This publication discusses intensive the most parts of Buddhist semiotics as dependent totally on unique jap pre-modern assets. it's a an important ebook within the fields of semiotics and non secular reviews.

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

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E. the body, speech, and mind) pervading the Dharma-realm; thus language and signs (sōdai) cannot exist separately from the cosmic substratum (taidai) of original enlightenment. ’”55 As a consequence, one of the fundamental activities of Esoteric Buddhist exegetes is a work on language and signs aimed at “re-motivating” them— that is, overcoming the arbitrariness of language and signs by finding a special “natural” relation between expression, meaning, and referential object. Remotivation is accomplished by reorganizing each expression’s semantic structure and thereby making the expression “identical” to its meaning.

71 One of the ways in which the transformation of the consciousness apparatus was believed to occur also involved the manipulation of specific mantras. For example, a ritual commentary by the Pure Land and Shingon monk Shōgei (1341–1420) suggests that the transformation of the mental apparatus from discriminative machinery into a clear and undifferentiated pure mirror usually referred to as the five wisdoms (gochi) takes place thanks to the mantra vaṃ hūṃ trāḥ hrīḥ aḥ, representing the state of enlightenment associated with the Vajra realm.

Nyatā, Jp. kūshō or kū) and nirvana on the other— concepts that were nonetheless represented copiously in texts. However, it is important to emphasize that, even at this early stage, Buddhism did not deny the possibility of representation. In fact, early Buddhist images do give shape to something that the scriptures define as beyond representation, namely, the radical difference of Buddha’s ontological status: these images represent both the Buddha’s absence (Buddha extinguished himself into nirvana) and his provisional presence (his traces) in this world.

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