Yúan is a Mandarin Chinese word which I translate as: “vibrant connections“. I lived in Asia for about a dozen years and this word came to be very important to me. The acute (´) mark means it is pronounce with a rising (2nd) tone. The same concept is pronounced and written differently in different East Asian languages:
缘 “Yuan2″ (Mandarin Chinese)
縁 “En” (Japanese)
연 “Yeon” (Korean)
My blog name, “Fields of Yuan”, is meant to convey that my posts (‘fields’) are areas where I romp about naively experimenting with “Yuan” – exploring the vibrant connective power of words and images.
“Yúan” is a difficult concept to explain. The definitions in common Japanese-English and Chinese-English dictionaries include:
- a relation, a relationship, a connection, bonds, ties
- karma, fate.
- But “En” has a philosophical nuance too. It is used to discuss the central Buddhist concepts of interrelatedness and interdependence. This is the definition I am using but which I translate as “vibrant and resonant connectedness”.
Yúan often gives me a feeling of awe. It is richness and wonder. Yúan is to be sought after, nurtured and honored.
In Chinese philosophy, Yúan (Chinese for “En”) is what gives affinity between friends and lovers. Yuan has the feel of being a mysterious binding force or cause.
“En” also has a mundane meaning, but a meaning that shows its philosophical flavor. In fabric, “En” is the hem — part of the threads in a cloth. The left-side of the Chinese character actually means “thread”.
Yúan is not a thing !! Yúan does not even exist except as a description of relationships. It is only mystical in that it is hard to wrap our heads around because of natural difficulty humans have in understanding very complex systems. But Yúan is inspiring for me.