Cosmic triage


Literally: evil – person – correct – loom / machine

Alternately: No matter how evil a person is, the Buddha’s wish is for them to be saved. Or perhaps, the worse a person is, the more important it is for them to be saved. It is better to take evil and turn it toward good instead of simply fighting or condemning it. A Buddhist teaching that salvation is better than destruction. (Maybe Christians should consider adopting it.)

Notes: The term 正機 is a bit of Buddhist jargon that refers to the conditions and qualities necessary to achieve enlightenment, or at least to receive the Buddha’s aid and teachings and become a good person. According to the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism, the people with heavy loads of karmic sin are those for whom the Buddha’s teachings are most appropriate.

This compound comes to us from the third chapter of the Lamentations of Divergences, (歎異抄, Tannishou) a record of conversations between the Pure Land sect’s founder and one of his disciples, somewhat reminiscent of Socrates and Plato.

Reading 正 as sei or writing the ki as 気 are both considered errors.


It’s interesting to think that this is a system where being reborn is the bad option.

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
This entry was posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s