Citation from COMMENTARY on Dogen Zenji's|
DOTOKU 道得 (Expression)
Dogen on Meditation and Thinking, by Hee-Jin Kim
(from Chapter Four: The Reason of Words and Letters)
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WORDS AND LETTERS, however socially constructed, are never mere signs in the abstract, theoretical sense, but alive and active "in flesh and blood."
Contrary to the conventional view that language is no more than a means of communication, it is profoundly internal to an individual's life as well as to the collective life. Language flows individually and collectively through the existential bloodstream, so much so that it is the breath, blood and soul of human existence. Herein lies the essence of Dogen's radical phenomenalism. Thus knowledge becomes ascesis, instead of gnosis or logos "seeing things as they are" now means "making things as they are." In this light the indexical analogy of "the finger pointing to the moon" is highly misleading, if not altogether wrong, because it draws on a salvifically inefficacious conception of language. [...]
[I]n such a context, expression (dotoku) signifies what is already expressed, and what can be expressed all simultaneously. The already expressed, the not yet expressed, and the expressable are dynamically related to one another within any given expression.
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