Malaya location in 5th cent.

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Tue Feb 16 20:37:56 UTC 1999

>   Taranatha is very late. Seventeenth century AD.
Dear colleagues
>   Even though earlier Chinese texts put Mt. Potalaka
>   in the Malaya mountains, post tenth-century tradition
>   puts the Mountain Potalaka in an island. Hence the
>   sea voyage.
Let me tell you interesting thing regarding the location of Malaya as it is mentioned in the Lankavatara sutra.
 The Sanskrit text has oldest manuscripts just few hundred years old (mostly 17th cent. but the
 first Chinese translation of Gunabhadra written in the beginning of the 5th century
 has perfectly preserved manuscripts from 7th or 8th century and they show much older layer of the text than the
Sanskrit as we have it now at least for many parts.
In the Gunabhadra translation a location of the discourse is
mentioned just twice. The passage in the very beginning is
probably not of the oldest layers as is the other part where the
Malaya is mentioned. The begining is not in the manuscripts - it
has rotten away. In the received vesrion of the text which is based
on manuscript no older than 12 century however we can see the
place as "the top of the Lanka mountain on the SHORE of the
southern sea"

In the second mentioning in the text that survived even in the
chinese manuscripts and which is probably the begining of the
sutra in its early form, there in this text from the 420 A.D. in
manuscripts from 7th or 8th cent. is Buddha requested to preach in
the kingdom of Lanka on the mountain of Mala (MaLaShan)
(received version from the 12th cent. manuscript has MalayaShan)
IN THE OCEAN. I wonder if this word "Mala" can suggest any
meaning in Sanskrit language especially in the passage bellow.

The Sanskrit text of Buniyu Nanjio has for this passage which is
probably the earliest opening of this text we have now following:
II de/Sayatu me
kusumadharma(paryAyam) (also -kusuma or -kusumamapa)
buddhabodhisattvAnuyAtam sva-(also yAtasva-)
cittadr/Syagocaravisamyojanam sarvabh(-ASya) (also -
sarvabuddhapravacanah.rdaya la.NkApurigirimalaye nivAsino
dharmakAyam  tathAgatAnugitam prabhASasva II

Can somebody please help me and translate this Sanskrit opening
above? the transcription is of TITUS-Ascii.


Petr Mares

>   BTW, you were identifying Potala as Tirupati(tiruvEngaDam)
>   in Indology  before I started my Potalaka posts.
>   What happened to that id.?
> DVN Sarma writes:
> >The basic requrement for Potala is that it should be primarily
> >a Buddhist center and for its bonafides it should not
> >invoke proxies like Siva and Daksinamurti.
>   Thanks for the summary of your views.
>   But, it cannot be supported with available evidence
>   from pre-10th century material in Tamil, Sanskrit
>   and Chinese.
>   Few points:
>   1) Pl. look at the Avalokitezvara sitting cross-legged
>   in the Mt. Potalaka in BorobudUr GaNDavyUha panels
>   (800 AD). He resembles 'Siva very much. He wears
>   matted hair like 'Siva, holds rosary beads and a
>   kamaNdalam. Exactly like a great yogin. ('Siva mahadeva).
>   2) Xuan Zang (or, may be his disciple (cf. Petr Mares'
>   posts)) in 640 AD and Chih-Sheng, Buddhist monk
>   (688-740 AD) who lived in the T'ang dynasty give
>   descriptions of Mt Potalaka in Malaya mountains
>   where the Bodhisattva appears as
>   Avalokitezvara or 'Siva depending on the religious
>   affliation of the devotees.
>   3) There is a very long tradition in Tamil telling that
>   'Siva taught Tamil grammar to Agastya, the Malayamuni.
>   In Sanskrit, there is a long traditon that 'Siva taught
>   grammar to Panini (Who inspired Panini, JAOS, 1997).
>   Note that the Sanskrit texts narrating this myth are from
>   South India (eg., Haradatta's padamaJjari, Nandikezvara
>   kArikA, ..) Tamil tradition also has Avalikitezvara teaching
>   Tamil to Agastya. Southern Sanskrit tradition talks of
>   Avalokitezvara inspiring Panini also. These Saivaite
>   and Buddhist claims point to DakSiNAmUrti, the teacher
>   par excellence, under the banyan tree. Classical Tamil texts
>   have this motif. MahabhArata XII talking of "Siva as the
>   Supreme teacher is ONLY from Southern recension (cf. de Jong).
>   Note also that dakSiNAmUrti sculpture is only
>   found in Tamilakam (Of course, there are Nolamba
>   dakSiNAmUrtis in Dharmapuri situated in Tamil Nadu).
>   4)Why would the following authorities say the following
>   if there is no connection between 'Siva and Avalokitezvara:
> A. C. Soper writes 'Siva has a Buddhist alter ego Avalokitzevara.
> Alexander C. Soper, Literary evidence for early Buddhist art in China,
> Artibus Asiae publishers, 1959 p.59: "; not, I think, by abrupt transition
> to a rival cult, but because 'Siva had probably been accepted for the time
> being in the Cambodian Buddhist pantheon as a Bodhisattva, with attributes
> similar in many ways to those of his Buddhist *alter ego* Avalokitezvara."
>  A. L. Basham (The Wonder That was India, p. 308) says, " A further
>  form in which the god is worshipped is known as the "South-facing"
>  (DakSiNAmUrti) (pl. LXVIII); in this aspect he is the universal
>  teacher, depicted in an informal pose, with one foot on the ground
>  and the other on the throne on which he sits, and with one hand
>  raised in a gesture of explanation. This form of ziva
>  perhaps owes something to Buddhist inspiration."
> Regards
> N. Ganesan
> ______________________________________________________
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Petr Mares
Lengqie Research
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