Buddha in Chinese script

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Sun Aug 2 18:46:42 UTC 1998

Dear Mr. Ganesan
The word was sometime translated sometime transliterated. When
transliterated it of course would sound completely different in different
parts of Chinaeven when written with same character.
When translated it will of course only carry the meaning of awakening
without the sound connection.
The pronounciation of same charecters changes in time as well as locally.
There were dozens of charecters with differrent pronounciation used to
transcribe the word as well as transliterate and especially before the Tang
dynasty. You would have to know the location in China as well as the exact
time to be able to reconstruct the pronunciation.

>May be to Chinese Buddhsit ears, Potiyil was heard as
>something related to Buddhaloka.

It is very possible. Chinese would care much more for the tone and the
initial consonant than for the wovel.
There is no difference in modern Chinese between P and B. They use the
letter P now for what was in time of Watters written P'.
What is now in Modern Standard Mandarin (Beijing Dialect)  pronounced FO in
second tone [Buddha] was in 6th century in the same area  pronounced [BUT]
(international phonetic alphabet - not BUT as in English) in tenth cent.
A.D. something like [fhut] ( i cannot use IPA in email) and in 14th [FU].
That is for northern dialect, which formed the basis for the standard
The same character is ALSO  in today Modern Standard Mandarin pronounced FU
in the second tone which will however have no impact on early Middle Chinese
pronounciation [BUT] (IPA). It is again only one of the many translitaration
that ware used and the one that survived till now.

I am very interested if you will find more on Malaya in Sanskrit sources
since for years I work on Lankavatara Sutra in its first (second) Chinese
translation which in Chinese says that it is being delivered in the city of
Lanka in Malaya mountains on the shore of the South [China] Sea.
(I am just looking for more connections with Lankasuka kingdom [and Kedah
inscriptions] in various Chinese sources from the early A.D.)
Petr Mares

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