A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics Signs, Ontology, and Salvation in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-05-16
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Oneof the first attempts ever to present in a systematic way a non-westernsemiotic system. This book looks at Japanese esoteric Buddhism and is basedaround original texts, informed by explicit and rigorous semiotic categories. Semiotic concerns are deeply ingrained in the Buddhist intellectual andreligious discourse, beginning with the idea that the world is not what itappears to be, which calls for a more accurate understanding of the self andreality. This in turn results in sustained discussions on the status oflanguage and representations, and on the possibility and methods to knowreality beyond delusion; such peculiar knowledge is explicitly defined asenlightenment. Thus, for Buddhism, semiotics is directly relevant to salvation;this is a key point that is often ignored even by Buddhologists. This bookdiscusses in depth the main elements of Buddhist semiotics as based primarilyon original Japanese pre-modern sources. It is a crucial publication in thefields of semiotics and religious studies.

Author Biography

Fabio Rambelli is Professor and International Shinto Foundation Chair of Shinto Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, and Department of Religious Studies, University of
California, Santa Barbara, USA.

Table of Contents

Preface: Semiotics and Buddhism \ 1. The Episteme of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism \ 2. Semiotics and Ontology: A Pansemiotic Universe \ 3. Mantra and Siddham: Esoteric Linguistics and Grammatology \ 4. The Semantic System of Esoteric Buddhism \ 5. Mandala and the Representation of Reality \ 6. Semiotic Soteriology \ 7. Conclusion: Buddhist Semiurgy \ Bibliography \ Index

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