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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.20 pp.35-56

A Comparative Study of Yeats’s Symbolism With the Thoughts of Master Won-hyo

Ryoo Seok Hyung


The focus of study in this paper is put on the comparison of symbolismmanifested in the world of W. B. Yeats’ poetry and the thoughts of MasterWon-hyo.. The comparing works include the identification of their understandingways of life. The symbols in common to bridge W. B. Yeats and Master Won-hyoare, for instance, circle, cone, cycle, sphere, spiral, wheel, vehicle, etc. Such a signsymbolizes a round thing, in another expression, the world or the cosmos whereman belongs to. The phenomenological world or the cosmos by oriental thoughts isrepresented as the 28 phases of the moon, ranging from the dark moon(objectivity)to the full moon(subjectivity), which according to W. B. Yeats’ theory are identifiedthe same kinds of character of man.
Won-hyo(元曉, 617~686), a life-long friend of another Buddhist MasterUi-sang., insisted on the necessity for every living being to return to the foundationof the One Mind(一心), which is the original state of being, in another words, or“Ultimate Reality” to which every living being has to return. The Hwa-yen Sutra(華嚴經), a rare scripture of Mahayana Buddhism(大乘佛敎), emphasizes that theUltimate Reality is the Source of One Mind of Won-hyo. We can say thatMahayana Buddhism teaches every living being the way to return to the world ofthe Ultimate Reality by great vehicle of "Mahayana"(大乘) in sanskrit. Anotherprinciple of Hwa-yen philosophy may be expressed as "All in one, one in all. Oneis all, all is one"(一中一切一切中一, 一卽一切一切卽一). "The Six Aspects"(六相)is interpretated by the principle. The mutual relationships are harmonized betweenthe whole and a part, between the unity of the whole and the diversity of the part,and between the completion of the whole and the self-denial of the part.
The One Mind is synonymous with the Great Vehicle with great wheels, whichreturn to the Source of One Mind, the original state of being, or the UltimateReality( or Nirvana). The meaning of the One Mind may be expanded to thesynonym of the existential world or the cosmos, at the center of which the OneMind lies. Accordingly, The One Mind, the Great Vehicle or Great Wheel and theWorld has a similar analogy, which make a system of symbolism, so called“Yeatsian gyre theory.”
Yeats imagined a spiral, which he preferred to call a gyre) or whirling cone.Then two such cones were drawn and considered to pass like the human soulthrough a cycle from subjectivity to objectivity. These cones were imagined asinterpenetrating, whirling around inside one another, one subjective, the otherobjective. The cones were not restricted to symbolizing objectivity and subjectivity.They were beauty and truth, value and fact, particular and universal, quality andquantity, abstract and concrete, and the living and the dead. Yeats thought that hehad discovered in the figure of interpenetrating gyres the archetypal pattern which ismirrored and remirrored by all life, by all movements of civilization or mind ornature. Man or movement is conceived of as moving from left to right and thenfrom right to left. No sooner is the fullest expansion of the objective cone reachedthan the counter-movement towards the fullest expansion of the subjective conebegins. These movements slide to the 28 phases of the moon. The dark moon, inthe course of wane and wax sways to the full moon. The different 28 patterns ofthe moon is mirrored by all life or mind, ranging from the highest state ofsubjective mind(the 15th phase: the full moon) to the highest cast of objectivemind(the 1st phase; the dark moon).
In the long run, the world which Won-hyo and Yeats seek for as an idealspace of mind is a unified one, into which melted are the binominal opposites suchas objectivity and subjectivity, the sacred and the profane, the bishop and Jane, fairand foul, the dancer and the dance, beauty and truth, value and fact, particular anduniversal, quality and quantity, abstract and concrete, and the living and the dead.

W. B. 예이츠의 시세계에 나타난 상징과 원효사상 비교연구



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