Friday, October 24, 2003

The World

I am no scholar, but I think I have found that the Tibetan word for the world or the universe is "jig ten". It seems to be composed of two parts. Jig ('jig pa) means to disintegrate and when coupled to other words, as it is here, means transitory and subject to decay. Ten (rTen) means to rely or depend on, in the sense that something is supported by something else. World is such a non-descript term, at least to me - just a nice sound. Although I am not sure I have rendered the term correctly, I like to imagine nonetheless how I would feel if every time I reached for the word "world" I had say something like "the transitory support that is subject to decay and disintegration" instead. Now, that is a mouthful, to be sure, but it also conveys a lot more information than our word "world" and it is the kind of information I need to be reminded of daily. How different it feels to say "Someday I'd like to rule the transitory support that is subject to decay and disintegration!" rather than "Someday I'd like to rule the world". It just takes the wax right out of your twisted mustache. Nyah ah ah!


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