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Man and Culture

Symbolic language for the description of human nature in Buddhism

Pupysheva Natalia Valentinovna

PhD in Cultural Studies

Scientific Associate, Laboratory of Wave Diagnostics of Living Systems of Institute of Physical Material Science of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

670000, Russia, the Republic of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, Sakhyanovoi Street 6A, office #320






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Abstract: The subject of this study is a special symbolic language used in the Buddhist teaching for a comprehensive description of a person (the physiological and psychological constituents of a personality) within the framework of the characteristic to Buddhism integral approach towards personality. The object of this research is the system of "great elements" of Indian origin (mahabhūta, i.e. earth, water, wind, fire and space) that, on the physiological level, are condensed into the "three humors" of an organism (phlegm, bile and wind). The analysis carried out in the paper allows revealing the conceptual peculiarities of the terms  through viewing them in accordance with the principles of Tibetan linguistics on three levels of the meaning (literary meaning; verbal meaning, which represents the conceptual matrix of the term; and true meaning, revealed through the pragmatics of the text). Based on examination of the complicated hierarchic structure of meanings of these terms, the author concludes that the use of this system allows interpreting texts, which describe different levels of the reality. It results in the productive method of presentation of the knowledge in Buddhist doctrine and makes it possible to include the knowledge on human as the personality into the general context of concepts about the world, using the universal language of description. The article provides the examples of interpretation of the phenomena of different levels of reality, applying the system of "great elements".

Keywords: pragmatics of the text, true meaning, conceptual matrix of the term, word meaning, literary meaning, three levels of meaning, system of great elements, Buddhist philosophy, interpretation of the phenomena, different levels of reality
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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