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


It was a joke. A lot of Huineng's adventures have to do with his
inheritance of the Fifth Patriarch's resplendent prayer shawl and his
golden (!) begging bowl--he has to flee an army of jealous monks who want
to steal them, and he simply goes back to his humble wood-cutting way sand
his homespun clothes.

But it was a serious joke. I think all religions have a basic
contradiction. It's not the usual ones that religious people worry about
(e.g. how do you squrae the omnipotence of God with the omnipresence of
evil), it's the problem of conveying what are essentially literate ways of
thinking to people who are not yet literate (because people who are fully
literate tend to move well past religion in their explanations of

One way they do this is to dress up written texts as spoken ones, and one
amusing way they do this is to ascrbe written texts to people who could not
themselves read or write. Given the time and place where he lived (and
given the lack of any written text authored by him), Christ was certainly,
like Muhammad, illiterate--the books of Moses were--ostentatiously, since
they include the death of Moses--not written by Moses, and nor were the
psalms of David by Bathsheba's second husband.

I think that Hui-neng presents a similar problem. He has to present an
essentially written body of knowledge to people who cannot read or write
themselves. He solves it through a somewhat demagogic and disingenuous
anti-intellectualism. For example, he wants to make Buddhism into a
religion that does not require years of contemplative retreat and can be
combined with productive, tithe-paying activity. So he writes:

In life, sit without lying
In death, lie without sitting
In both, a bag of bones that stink!
In neither the great lesson of living.

(Poor Huineng! He was mummified sitting up, and his bag of stinking bones
is still kept in Namshan Temple near Guangzhou!)


David Kellogg
Macquarie University

All religions confront this basthe omnipostence

On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 9:10 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

> David,
> Nice!
> But I am curious about what (awearable?) is doing at the end of your post.
> You can’t put on the Buddha nature?
> Henry
> > On Aug 4, 2016, at 3:54 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > 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
> > arises.
> >
> > 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
> > Patriarch.
> >
> > 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
> >>
> >>