Buddha in Chinese script

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Sun Aug 2 21:26:16 UTC 1998

>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.
  Would Xuan Zang (Hsuan Tsang) around 640 A.D.write Buddha as
  Pu-ta or Po-ta?? It does not appear that he travelled south
  of Kanchi where he stayed. He must have heard about Potiyil/Potikai from
  Kanchi or north of Kanchi.
Dear Mr. Ganesan
I am not at all expert on the 6th century China neither on Xuan Zang's Ta
Tang Xi Yu Ji (he traveled much later than Lankavatara was first
I have the the Yi Jing and Fa Xian's travel diaries in Chinese here but
unfortunately not the Xuan Zang's Ta Tang Xi Yu Ji. If I see the Character
he used for Buddha I can tell you its 7th century pronounciation in Northern
China. If nobody else will tell you before I will know after I visit
University Library where I saw XuanZang in Chinese some time ago.
Waters was using Modern Standard pronounciation in kind of Wide-Gilles
transcription (even that not correctly) not considering that  characters
were pronounced very differently 1300 years ago.
I have small part of his translation here where he shows some chinese
characters for places.
The first of the four characters of what Waters in his book mentions as
P'o-ta-li-pu would in 7th century Northern China from where Xuan Zang came
sounded almost certainly BA ( meaning "old lady").
The first of the four character that  Waters transcribes as P'o-ta-li-tzu
(should be Po in his transcription) would in 7th century N. China according
to original character sound PA (ipa transcription) (meaning "wave").

I have just a very small part of Waters translation and he does not show the
character for Buddha there. If you know see the character anywhere in the
book I can tell you its 6th cent. pronouncition. Otherwise I will have to
look into Xuan Zang original sometime next week.
There is a wanderfull article on location of Lanka of Ramyana in one of the
recent Journal of American Oriental Society considering many places where it
could have been. And Ceylon is I remember not taken in account, neither is
South India. This is not much of my field (India) but in the article are
mentioned many studies placing the Lanka of Ramayana variously to Western
Ghats, Eastern Coast and many other places.
I wander why the story of Lankavatara is first time being connected with
Ravana (and e.i. Ramayana) only in its second and third translation starting
from 6th century  (the first translation only mentions the Malaya mountains
and Lanka City=Kingdom)
  >However, Potalaka in Hsuan Tsang's narrative is said to be near the
  >Malaya mountain range in the extreme South of India.
  >The Malaya mountains in South India are mentioned from Ramayana
>Dr. Anne Monius informed me:
>*a variety of Chinese folktales speak of Hsuan Tsang bringing
>*Potalaka mountain with him from South India and depositing it in Western
   Note that these tales also place Potalaks in the South India.
   Does the Journey to the West novel speak of Potalaka?
I have not read the novel. But there are English translationa, one I think
by Arthur Waley, so you can check it.

More later,
Petr Mares

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