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[Xmca-l] Re: Meaning extended from index to Correspondence

A colleague of mine down the hall is working on the translation of the
Platform Sutra of the eighth century Sixth Patriarch, Huineng. Huineng was
the first Buddhist patriarch who could neither read nor write, and (more
importantly) the Platform Sutra is the historical moment when Buddhism
became a religious option for the illiterate masses of China. It is a
written text, but it is a written account of speaking, and it is written to
be spoken.

One way in which Christianity became a religious option for the illiterate
masses was through simple, narrativistic artforms, such as the mosaics of
San Marco in Venice, or the icons of Russia. Buddhists have this too--there
has already been some discussion here on the ox pictures (there is, by the
way, a beautiful text that goes with the pictures, and there is a place on
the lintel of most temples in Korea where the pictures with their exegesis
can be seen). In one of our books we use the ox pictures for Vygotsky's
account of the six periods and five crises in which the child's personality

But that's not what my colleague is doing. She is using two pictures by the
same twelfth century artist Liang Kai. They adorn different translations of
the Platform Sutra, and each has a specific relation to the way the
Platform Sutra has been translated. In one, the patriarch is at eye level
and he is tearing up the previous sutras in disgust, a roguish gleam in his
eye and his tongue protruding in fun. In the other, the patriarch is
kneeling to cut bamboo (which he did for many years before being recognized
as a patriarch) and we see the top of his head.

The idea is that eye-level and from above represent two different camera
angles and two different stances towards the represented object: one of
which is egalitarian and the other of which is authoritarian. There are two
other relevant systems of interpersonal meaning: the "shot" (close up or
distant) and the "gaze" (direct or avoidant). Now, these systems are all
meaningful: "shot" is about the relation of text to context, and "gaze" is
about willingness to engage withe the participants.As for the system of
"angle", it expresses the power relation between the viewer and the Sixth

I think this is somewhat anachronistic--Chinese painting is more like
calligraphy than like cinematography. I also don't think that my
colleague's systems are textual systems, because they don't have a
lexicogrammar: the meanings are not encoded in symbols but rather, as with
child proto-language, more directly in indexes. What they lack is precisely
"correspondence"--a relationship that can be uncoupled and recoupled in
different ways, a relationship which involves "realization" in both senses,
because as the content is encoded in expression it is "realized" in the
sense of being made material, and as the expression is coded as content it
is "realized" in the sense of being made aware, or being made awareable.
Instead, they are attempts to get around language, or anyway, to get around
written language, and make the fundamental insight of common Buddha-nature
part of the everyday garb of the illiterate masses (awearable?)

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 11:57 PM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> We have been exploring identity and subjectivity and selfhood.
> In relation to a few themes:
> • We have been exploring perezhivanie and this phenomena expressing
> *meaning*
> • James Ma shifts the focus to *potential* in (meaning) potential
> • In relation to James Ma’s contribution we turned to Paul Kockleman and
> the Semiotic Stance.
> • The semiotic stance has classically referred to an indexical relation of
> a sign standing for an object
> • Kockleman expands the classical semiotic stance to always being
> (thirds). Thirds include double relations of (standing for): The sign
> standing for the object AND the sign standing for the interpretant in a
> double relation of (standing for) which expands from (2nds indexical) to
> (thirds corresponding)
> • An example is the correspondence of pronouns (you) (me)  (it).  Me as I
> Stand in relation to it and Me as I stand in relation to you. In such a way
> that you stand in relation to it and you stand in relation to me in a
> double relation of standing for that (corresponds). The object’s relation
> to both you and to I correspond as (thirds) which is general and abstract.
> • Rein introduced (ity) as (arising) phenomena that do not exist as
> objects (in potential) or as objects with  (essence). All is impermanence
> as thematic NOT STRUCTURALLY opposite to permanence or stability or
> solidity. (ity) has existence as arising when the *now* HAS arrived. This
> arising of existents do not exist in potential. (ity) is also not under an
> agents *control*. Arising phenomena exist as momentary things materially
> but radically particular and idio/syncretic.
> • Ity is not general
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone