Somewhere in COLDNESS lies Nibbāna: Lexical manifestations of COLDNESS

Jiajuan Xiong, Chu Ren Huang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper starts with an investigation of three coldness-related tactile words, viz. han2 ‘cold’, leng3 ‘cold’ and liang2 ‘cool’, in their synaesthetic and metaphorical uses in Modern Chinese. It is found that leng3 ‘cold’ is most versatile whereas liang2 ‘cool’ is most inert with regard to their synaesthetic and metaphorical mappings, with han2 ‘cold’ standing in the middle. Moreover, han2 ‘cold’ tends to be object-oriented, while liang2 ‘cool’ is likely to be subject-oriented, with leng3 ‘cold’ allowing both subject- and object-oriented readings. We further conduct a study on the uses of these three tactile words in Buddhist texts of Āgamas, finding that liang2 ‘cool’ was consistently employed to refer the nibbānic status. Apart from it, two counts of leng3 ‘cold’ exhibit the nibbānic meaning. However, han2 ‘cold’ is never attested in this philosophical meaning. It is interesting to note that a kind of tactile feeling is associated with nibbāna, even though nibbānic experience is supposed to transcend sensory experience. This finding, together with some other findings with regard to the relation between sensory expressions and nibbāna, can shed light on the linguistc expressions of the inexpressible nibbāna.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Lexical Semantics - 19th Workshop, CLSW 2018, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsQi Su, Jiun-Shiung Wu, Jia-Fei Hong
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030040147
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event19th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2018 - Minxiong, Taiwan
Duration: 26 May 201828 May 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11173 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference19th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2018


  • Han2 ‘cold’
  • Leng3 ‘cold’
  • Liang2 ‘cool’
  • Nibbāna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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