Publication details

Uji: Analysis of Dōgen’s Language Style as the Formation Ground for his Philosophy

Title in English Uji: Analysis of Dogen’s Language Style as the Formation Ground for his Philosophy


Year of publication 2021
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Dogen’s Uji – translated variously as Time Being, Being Time, Being-Time, or Existence-time – is written partly in Chinese and in Japanese. This is not a particular characteristic for which Uji is noted, as Dogen employs the dual use of Chinese and Japanese throughout the Shobogenzo texts, yet it is one that has enabled him to interpret and re-interpret the original Chinese Chan/Buddhist thought in a novel manner that allowed for the emergence of the more philosophical concepts of his teaching. In my paper, I will analyse the linguistic aspect of Uji and continue with specific ‘Dogenesque’ expressions and formulations mentioned in Uji that can be regarded as the linguistic backbone of Dogen’s philosophical reasoning. By proposing a set of aspects regarding Dogen’s original use of language, ranging from tendencies that would today be labelled as morphological, semantic, and/or rhetorical, I will illustrate Dogen’s literary genius and how his inventiveness in terms of language, his linguistic innovations and verbal creativity have allowed him to experiment with, elaborate and expound ideas that have become so characteristic of Dogen’s thought.

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