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

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By Fabio Rambelli

One of many first makes an attempt ever to offer in a scientific method a non-western semiotic procedure. This ebook appears to be like at jap esoteric Buddhism and relies round unique texts, educated by means of particular and rigorous semiotic different types. it's a detailed advent to special features 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 that the area isn't what apparently to be, which demands a extra actual knowing of the self and fact. This in flip ends up in sustained discussions at the prestige of language and representations, and at the chance and techniques to grasp fact past fable; such odd wisdom is explicitly outlined as enlightenment. therefore, for Buddhism, semiotics is at once appropriate to salvation; this can be a key aspect that's frequently overlooked even by way of Buddhologists. This publication discusses extensive the most parts of Buddhist semiotics as established totally on unique jap pre-modern assets. it's a an important book within the fields of semiotics and spiritual stories.

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

Example text

Whereas early representations of the Buddha are based on the principle of metonymy, as we have seen, anthropomorphic Buddhist images can be defined, in semiotic terms, as doubles, copies, samples, or examples. This nature of Mahayana images is well rendered by the Japanese term funjin (lit. “splintered bodies,” that is, alternative bodies or alloforms; Sk. vigraha). What matters here is that both modalities of representation employ ostensive signs: on the one hand, the physical absence of the Buddha in the image is an example (or a sample) of nirvana; on the other hand, the hieratic presence of the Buddha as a sacred image is a double of the realized Buddha.

The Esoteric Buddhist episteme, in its more conscious and systematic manifestations, was essentially a “high” culture phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is important to trace the dissemination of Esoteric doctrines and practices among the general populace, and to analyze their transformations and the counter-practices they produced. This dissemination was extremely Adamantine signs 17 important for the establishment, which saw the “Esotericization” of the lives, activities, and environment of ordinary people as a powerful device for controlling them.

Within a pansemiotic universe every thing is a multiple entity, with different aspects, and interrelated with other things. As in the case of sacred objects discussed previously, in Esoteric Buddhism too, each entity can be a double, an example, and a sample of any other entity, within a semiotic system based on ostension. Thus, each component of the mandalic cosmos is both related to any number of other entities and equivalent to the totality itself. Relations between entities are based on either their inner structure (as in correlations based on the five cosmic elements) or phenomenal configurations (associations of different phenomena on the basis of other criteria).

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