Meaning of the symbols on DH cover

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jarkko
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Meaning of the symbols on DH cover

Postby jarkko » Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:29 pm

From Jochen Grywatsch , Germany:

Image


...There is some more information that I like to provide you with, concerning one aspect of "Dear Heather". I presume, you don't know yet... The cover, as you have surely noticed, shows two signs beside the female face. The first one is - as you certainly know - the sign of the "Order of the Unified Heart". But do you know the meaning of the other one? Actually, the sign is a chinese word. As you may know, the characters of the chinese language are not abstract symbols but pictures. The word consists of two parts, one (on the right half) meaning: Self, I, Ego, the other (left half): good-natured, easy-going, comfortable. I didn't find out myself, rather I got the information of a taiwanese friend of mine. She wrote to me several weeks ago and sent me a stamp with exactly that sign on it and explained the meaning to me. In Taiwan and China building these stamps is an art-work. The one that I got was built by the hand of a master.
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Postby tom.d.stiller » Mon Feb 21, 2005 3:39 pm

Finally this information unearthed!

Thank you Jochen, and Jarkko, for telling us. Until now we only knew what Michael Petit posted about it:
mpetit wrote:The small square symbol is the mark of "Jikan" the Silent One, Leonard's Name as a monk. It is his personal symbol, a logo if you like. You will see it here and there in the cd booklet, and also in the new book
Do we have anyone with enough knowledge of the Chinese language to confirm that these translations ("good-natured, easy-going, comfortable self, I, or Ego" and "silent one") are both possible?

Thank you again for the explanation.

tom
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Postby jarkko » Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:24 pm

I have asked our Taiwanese friend Cheng-yi Chan who nowadays lives in Montreal. I will keep you informed.
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Postby Tchocolatl » Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:20 pm

Ah! Today is the day I finally know about this sign. Old chinese wisdom says that all moments are showing up, so no need to disturbe the cours of time with impatience. I was waiting interestingly but quietly by the cours of time, since I saw this symbol for the first time on this site, on one of his drawings, certain that this moment will show up. Then it is today.

Thanks to everybody that participates to the whole explanation.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

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Postby jarkko » Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:58 am

From Chengyi:
Our German friend is right about the meanings of the two Chinese charcters, "zi" (the one on the right, which means "self, ego," while "xian" means "at ease, at leisure, relaxed." Together, they form a phrase meaning "feeling at ease." The phrase is quite popular in Chinese poetry. For example, Li Po, the famous poet of the Tang dynasty, uses it in his poem "Shan zhong wuda" (an exchange of question and answer in the mountains). And the idea of "xian" has been a major motif in Chinese poetry.

Literally, jikan (zigan) means "time, period, hour" in Japanese. It has an extended meaning of "leisure." Also, in Japanese, "ziga" means "self, ego." This seems to answer your question. But I don't know why jikan is officially explained as "the silent one." The only explanation that I can come up with is that when one feels relaxed, peaceful and at ease, he or she has nothing which bothers him and feels no need to argue. And he or she might have reached the state of nirvana, thereby making silence prevail adn words unnecessary. But the explanation seems far-fetched to me. I guess you'll have to ask Cohen himself or a Japanese Cohen fan for an answer.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Chengyi
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Postby tom.d.stiller » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:15 am

Question and Answer in the Mountains

They ask me why I live in the green mountains.
I smile and don't reply; my heart's at ease.
Peach blossoms flow downstream, leaving no trace --
And there are other earths and skies than these.

Li Po

Thank you, Chengyi, and Jarkko, for the explanation. I brought along the poem mentioned in Chengyi's message.

The most interesting question, however, as Chengyi already pointed out, now seems to be about the reasons Leonard spreads "The Silent One" as the official version.

Thanks again.

tom
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Postby tom.d.stiller » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:48 am

My traveling companion immediately sat on the other side of the train when ..
She asked me: "Nan jikan matta?" - How long did you wait?
And I said: "Boku wa ichi chikan matta." - I waited like a pervert.
This is from a site on homophonic Japanese words ( http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunke ... aking.html ). The point is that "jikan" and "chikan" sound quite similar, I believe, but vastly differ in meaning. ;)

Indeed, "Jikan" comes up as meaning "time", "hour", even "(grammatical) tense" - there are combinations with other words meaning "silent hour" or such, but wherever "Jikan" appears a notion of Time is present.

This is very interesting.

tom
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Postby tomsakic » Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:28 am

I don't see why "the Silent One" is not "feeling at ease"? It seems that this translations, "washed up go ego", fits very well with Leonard. Also, "feeling at ease", or in poem, "my heart's at ease", isn't it
And like a blessing come from heaven,
for something like a second,
I was healed, and my heart
was at ease
?

Also, I read in one article (which I wasn't able never to identify later) that "the Silent One" is not correct translation, but actually "the one that brings silence", so I quoted that as meaning of Jikan in my article about Leonard last year. That fits well with this: the one who brings silence, the one who brings ease. It seems logical: such person is, after all, set free of his/hers own ego. And the person "feeling at ease" is the "silent one", I think.
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Postby jarkko » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:04 pm

FROM LEONARD:
Interesting
I never suggested that Jikan meant 'The Silent One'
that somehow got into the air
and was taken up by journalists –
whenever I've been asked
I've given Roshi's bad English translation
which is something like:
"ordinary silence, normal silence, just ok
everything don't sweat it silence"

Roshi always got pissed off when people wanted to explore the deep meanings of the names he'd given them – new versions of their self-importance he wasn't trying to honour you with some poetic revelation of your adorable nature that he had discerned he was just trying to give you a name that he could remember and he has his own private associational method I won't go into the matter, but Jikan was someone in his own life that he knew very well.
[Roshi will be 98 this coming April]
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Postby tom.d.stiller » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:27 pm

Many thanks to Leonard, and to Jarkko for bringing it along.

This finally settles it. I reckon a lot of people will have to update their files and biographies, because this (mis)-information really spread... I believe I got it originally from an interview I read somewhere (I'll try to locate it).

I'm sorry if I joined the choir of those repeating the wrong translation almost like a mantra, but if it finally ended well, it can't have been all bad.

Thanks again

tom
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Postby Kush » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:30 am

Nice answer Mr. Cohen. 8) I'll drink a cup of Sake for Roshi-san this coming April.
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Postby Teratogen » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:49 am

ok, now i feel like having some sushi. and maybe i'll try some sake, too! haha. i heard that stuff was something to stay away from... but i feel up for trying it now. thanks for the info, jarkko!
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Postby tomsakic » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:43 am

Thank you Mr. Cohen... :D
So it was almost Roshi :wink: At least one journalist was right :D Feeling at ease is even better name.
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Postby bee » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:48 am

"ordinary silence, normal silence, just ok
everything don't sweat it silence"
like- just shut up- silence? :wink:
bee
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Postby Kush » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:24 pm

T....sushi with hot sake (and good company) is what you want. That stuff is gonna burn you man but it feels so good.

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