Title

論漢譯佛傳入胎相之白象符號意涵

Translated Titles

On the Symbolism of the White Elephant in Chinese Translations of the Buddha's Biography

Authors

王晴慧(WANG, Ching-hui)

Key Words

漢譯佛傳 ; 符號 ; 入胎相 ; 白象 ; 右脇 ; Chinese translations of the Buddha's biography ; symbol ; image of reincarnation ; white elephant ; right flank

PublicationName

佛光學報

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

新5卷2期(2019 / 07 / 01)

Page #

105 - 142

Content Language

繁體中文

Chinese Abstract

漢譯佛傳中的入胎相可大別為二:一為佛陀自兜率天「化為六牙白象」,從摩耶夫人右脇進入,以入母胎;二為佛陀「乘六牙白象」,從摩耶夫人右脇進入,以入母胎。此種異於常人的入胎之說,帶有文學的詩意想像,故其象徵意涵,可由「符徵」與「符旨」間的關係來思考。從符號學角度來看,人是生活在所創造的符號世界裡,宗教亦是符號世界的一環,故佛傳中充滿超自然表述的符號,並非是原始的迷信或妄想,而是一個具有系統或概念的形式。本文以漢譯佛傳作為研究文本,援引符號學的思維角度,聚焦於佛傳中以奇幻筆法表現的「白象入胎」,分析白象在印度文化及佛典中的普遍意涵,探究佛傳以「化為白象」或「化乘白象」自右脇入胎的符號意涵。「入胎相」出自佛典,係作為佛教徒對佛陀人格及佛教教義的象徵,與佛教對於生命的詮釋有所關連,故欲明瞭入胎相所傳達的意義,必須回歸佛典,從諸佛典中去尋繹白象的符號意義,考察白象在古印度及佛教觀點中的意義,並進而探求白象從「右脅入」的象徵意義,如此方能對「白象入胎」或「乘白象入胎」的符號,有相應的符旨詮釋,也才能瞭解佛典奇幻敘事下所欲揭示的奧妙義理。經由考察,本文認為「白象」在印度文化中,被視為是尊貴、祥瑞、珍寶、力大、純潔、清淨、無垢、無染、良善、調和溫順、堪任眾事等種種意涵的符旨,故引白象或六牙白象作為佛陀入胎的符徵,自應有象徵佛陀具備上述特質的意涵,亦暗喻佛教為世間殊勝之珍寶。「白象入右脇」,則是因循印度以右為尊、為吉祥之意,故從右脇入,除了象徵佛陀入胎的吉祥、尊貴、相好莊嚴,亦是象徵佛陀降世的清淨無染,及不起婬愛、不起欲想的宗教莊嚴性、神聖性。至於「化白象形」,有的佛典作「化乘白象」,或因佛典漢譯過程中的接受詮解所致;然比對諸佛傳,「白象入胎」與「乘白象入胎」,則皆是「聖神降胎」之夢兆,所象徵的意涵,皆是一致的。

English Abstract

The narrative of the Buddha's birth in Chinese translations of the Buddha's biography can be divided into two types: 1. The Buddha came from tushita heaven, became a six-tusked white elephant, and entered the right side of Mahamaya; 2. The Buddha rode a six-tusked white elephant from tushita heaven and entered the right side of Mahamaya. This differs from people's ordinary idea of conception, suggesting a literary poetic imagination. Therefore, its symbolic meaning can be considered through the relationship between signifier and signified. From the perspective of semiotics, people live in a created symbolic world, of which religion is also a part. Therefore, Chinese translations of the Buddha's biography are filled with symbols of supernatural expression, understood not as original superstition or delusion, but as representing a systematic conceptual structure. The present article analyzes Chinese translations of the Buddha's biography from the perspective of semiotics, focusing on the idea of a white elephant becoming a fetus. The analysis of the white elephant looks at its role in Indian culture and Buddhist scriptures. Biographies of the Buddha describe the symbolic significance of the Buddha's transformation into a white elephant or riding white elephant into his mother's right side, which is unique to Buddhism. This is a symbol representing the Buddha's personality and doctrine. It is related to Buddhism's interpretation of life. It can also be understood in terms of reincarnation. Only in this way can there be corresponding interpretations of the symbol, and an understanding of the subtleties of the Buddhist narrative. Through the study of the Buddhist scriptures, this article shows that the white elephant represents nobility, auspiciousness, treasure, braveness, purity, goodness, harmony, and the ability to take on all things in Indian culture. Symbolically, the white elephant or the six-tusked white elephant is used as a symbol of the Buddha's reincarnation, indicating that the Buddha possesses these qualities. It also means that Buddhism is rare in the world. Entering Mahamaya's right side is symbolic of right-handedness in India. It also symbolizes the solemnity and sacredness of the Buddha's birth, which is pure, unstained, without lust, and without desire. In addition, when the Buddha rides the white elephant rather than becoming it, this may be a product of receptive hermeneutics in the translation process. Nonetheless, the two versions have the same symbolic meaning.

Topic Category 人文學 > 宗教學