花の辺り | Time of flower

花を生ければ、花の辺りが変わる。そこで、花の辺りまで含めて「花」と呼ぶ。どこまで「〜の辺り」というかは決まっていない。最大限にすれば、宇宙だ。花は無数に咲いているので、花の辺りも無数にあり、草の辺り、樹の辺り、水の辺り、山の辺りもやはり無数にある。その全部合わせたのが宇宙の辺りということになる。

正法眼蔵には、竹の辺りのことが書いてある。空間にかぎらない。時間に関しても「〜の辺り」はありうる。

修竹は長竹なり 陰陽の運なりといへども 陰陽をして運ならしむるに 修竹の年月あり |正法眼蔵第二十四・画餅

「陰陽の運」とは、自然界の法則を唐風に言ったものだ。修竹は陰陽に随って生長するのかと思ったら、陰陽の方が修竹に随って「運ならしめられている」というわけだ。

「辺り」のことを数学では「近傍」という。空間を近傍系とみる。それは20世紀前半にわかった。道元はこれを待っていたことだろう。

 

Put a vase of flowers somewhere, and you will see a change in the tone, air, or atmosphere of the space around the vase. A “flower” is considered to be a name not just for the plant but for the space (and time) that contains the plant. There is no definition to
determine how far the “space and time around an object x” should be. In its largest sense, it would be the universe. Because the number of flowers on the earth is infinite, the number of the universes around all flowers is also infinite. In addition, there are also countless number of grasses, trees, waters, mountains and everything with their each universe. The total of universes around all objects makes the universe.

Dogen writes about the time around bamboo.

A tall bamboo is long. Although it is moved by yin and yang, the months and years of the tall bamboo move yin and yang.

––– Painting a Rice Cake, Shobogenzo.

“Yin and yang” refers to the Chinese version of laws of nature. Bamboos do not grow according to yin and yang. On the contrary, yin and yang moves around a tall bamboo.

In mathematical language, the space and time around a point x is called “neighborhood” of x. In the first half of the 20th century, mathematics arrived at a view in which the space-time is a system of neighborhoods. That is exactly the idea that Dogen must have long waited for.

5 thoughts on “花の辺り | Time of flower

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  1. Thank-you for your posts. I find them thought-provoking. I was wondering if Yin-yang would have referred to as In-yo in Dogen’s time? The philosophy is of great interest to me so I was pleased to see it referred to.

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  2. To Jann,
    Thank you for your comment. As you mentioned, Yin-yang in Chinese and In-yo in Japanese are phonemic equivalents for the same character 陰陽. More precisely, In-yo is the modern form of an earlier sound Yin-yau, which was probably the way how Japanese people in Dogen’s time would have spoken. Its philosophy is very interesting for me, too.
    Yoshi

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    1. To Yoshi: Thank-you for you informative response. If it is not too much to ask I have one more question about the terminology used for Yin-yang in Japan. As you would know, words have power so I would like to understand the different ways Yin-yang is represented. I often see reference to Onmyoryo/Onyoryo in relation to the Bureau of Yin-yang. Are ‘On myo’ or ‘On yo’ also modern Japanese forms of Yin-yang? On further reflection on your post, it has relevance to one of my own blogs titled ‘Space, time and flowers’ https://wordpress.com/post/elementaljapan.com/544. I will revisit what I have written with a new perspective.

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  3. To Jann:
    I read your blog ‘Space, time and flowers’ with great interest. A feeling for ephemerality prevailing in Japanese culture may have come from the ‘elements’ and flowers among others, which shaped the archipelago.
    As to your question, On-myo or its infrequent variant On-yo is linguistically accountable as a sound for 陰陽, and it has been in use within the context of astrology and horoscope which had influence over the aristocrat society in Hei-an Era. I have an impression that, although On-myo was originally based on the Yin-Yang/In-yo theory, most of its horoscopic ideas were invented by some of the talented Japanese families of that age.
    Yoshi

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