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Episode 9 of Parasyte is titled 善悪{ぜんあく}の彼岸{ひがん}, translated as "Beyond Good and Evil". It's also apparently the official Japanese name for the "Beyond Good and Evil" book that was originally written by famous philosopher Nietzsche.

善悪{ぜんあく} is straightforward and I've known it before. But apparently 彼岸{ひがん} is a common word according to jisho.org that refers to a common Buddhist holiday in Japan. My question is, how in the heck does that word imply "beyond"?

My only guess is that jisho.org says that 彼岸 can mean "nirvana". I would guess that this "nirvana" is in the sense of being liberated from something mundane (e.g. being liberated/freed from the concept of simple good and evil). Is this the correct idea??

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    Did you check a monolingual dictionary? There is also the literal meaning, 向こう側の岸 (the shore on the other side).
    – Leebo
    Dec 28, 2023 at 0:56
  • @Leebo I wish there were a way to easily suggest updates to jisho.org (or other dictionaries) when they're missing relevant definitions like this <.<. Anyways, Thanks! <3
    – chausies
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:08
  • Under "Links" on the left side, there is "Edit in JMdict". Unless you were suggesting something easier.
    – Leebo
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:10
  • @Leebo I remember the last time I tried to do something on jisho, it was a ton of trouble and ultimately didn't work ;-;. I'll try the edit in JMDict though... Hopefully it works @.@.
    – chausies
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:12
  • BTW jensetis (as used in the Nitzsche's work) is literally 'that side'.
    – sundowner
    Dec 28, 2023 at 14:54

1 Answer 1

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Although the Buddhistic connotation1 could be intended, it can be understood as a literal usage of 彼岸:

4 向こうがわの岸。

It simply means the other side, usually over a river2, whence beyond. The antonym is 此岸{しがん}.


1彼岸 (bold added)

サンスクリットのpāram(パーラム)の意訳であり、仏教用語としては、「波羅蜜」(Pāramitā パーラミター)の意訳「至彼岸」に由来する3

Pāramitāをpāram(彼岸に)+ita(到った)、つまり、「彼岸」という場所に至ることと解釈している。悟りに至るために越えるべき渇愛や煩悩を川(暴流)に例え、その向こう岸に涅槃があるとする(三途川とは無関係)。

2 I guess it could be a strait. So Dover and Calais are 彼岸 to each other. Not that they are called as such normally, but they can be.

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    I would suggest there is still a strong Buddhist sense here. To speak of the "other shore" in Buddhist sutras and texts is not only a way to refer to nirvana but also to refer what is "beyond life and death" (some would say those two are the same, not a debate I'm trying to start here). In this sense, "beyond good and evil" makes very good sense as an interpretation for this phrase.
    – A.Ellett
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:42

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