Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Isidore Demsky, Apr 17, 2014.
Is nishi (西) a Buddhist term (and does it mean heaven, paradise, or life after death)?
In general, Buddhists believe that their paradise is far away in west of our land.
I am not sure whether this belief is unique in Japan or common in Buddhist societies.
西 per se is not a buddhist term. It is a general term to mean "West".
However, 西方 or 西 is used to indicate the figurative direction of paradise or after-death.
The basic idea or notion originates probably from the movement of the sun, where the West is toward which the sun sinks, symbolizing the here-after.
This notion seems to exist from original texts in Sanskrit.
For Japanese buddhistic tradition in the old days , "West" used to also symbolize a certain source of wisdom, as India was situated at the west.
We can imagine the "West" (anything West of Japan) was source of much fascination.
Here's some interesting Chinese classic that relates to the notion of "the West" for the far easterners, the imagination it could stimulate, and a bit of buddhism:
Separate names with a comma.