Mount Potalaka in Malaya mountains

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 17 12:41:28 UTC 1999

Ganesan>  nAgArjunakoNDA and Mount Potalaka are two different places
Ganesan>  in Buddhist texts. Both of them are in Southern India
Ganesan>  separated hundreds of miles.

Mr. DVN Sarma wrote:
>  As can be seen from the name of the Dalailama's palace which is
>  potala palace, the basic word is potala and not potalaka.
>In that case we have to say that potala and potalaka are different

 The terms Potala and Potalaka refer to only one place which is
 Mt. Potikai/Potiyil in Malaya mountain range.

 Potala palace is a secondary derivation of Mt. Potalaka.
 Potala palace is built in the 17th century based on Mt. Potalaka,
 the permanent residence of Avalokitezvara mentioned in
 the GaNDavyUha of 2nd century AD. Dalai Lama is considered an
 incarnation of Avalokitezvara and hence his palace is Potala.

 Upto 14-15th centuries AD, Tibetans were transmitting to
 Chinese, the term Potalaka as the abode of Avalokitezvara.
 Pl. see, Chun-fang Yu, P'u-t'o Shan: Pilgrimage and the creation
 of the Chinese Potalaka, 1992
 "Indeed, when Sheng came to write the first account pf
 the P'u-t'o island in 1361 ...
 Sheng said that when he made a pilgrimage to Mount Wu-t'ai,
 he heard from a Tibetan master the description of Mount Potalaka
 found in a "barbarian" (fan) book, Pu-t'o-lo-chia shan
 hsing-ch'eng chi (A travel account to Mount Potalaka)."

 Matthew Kapstein says in "Remarks on the MaNi bKa'-'bum and the Cult
 of Avalokitezvara in Tibet", (in S. Goodman, Tibetan Buddhism,
 SUNY, 1992) p. 88,
 "Can it be any any wonder, then, that when Tibet finally
 achieved a measure of real unity during the XVIIth century
 -after some seven centuries of strife-it did so under the
 leadership of a latter day emanation of Mahakarunika (Avalokita)
 residing in the ancient capital of Lhasa, and constucting for
 himself a palace on a hill named after the divine Mount
 Potalaka? ... The notion that Avalokitezvara might be regarded
 as the primodial deity was introduced into Tibet no later than
 the IXth century".

Lokesh Chandra, Origin of the Avalokitezvara of Potala, 1974,
Kailash jl.,
"Buddhabhadra (AD 420) calls Kuanyin's mountaion Kuang-ming
or 'Brilliance', which is usually given as the rendering for
Malaya ...
Tamil pottu (potti-) 'to light', Kannada pottu n. flaming,
pottige 'flame', Tulu potta 'hot, burning'..."

At many instances, Kuanyin is seated on the 'diamond boulder'
of Mount Potalaka in Chinese translations. Note that
Tamil Lexicon gives Poti-vai as 'placing treasure' and putaiyal
as 'treasure'. Note the sonoric correspondence between
Potiyil and Putaiyal or Potikai with Potivai.

The ancient Chinese translators know Potalaka as
'Brilliant Mountain' and 'Diamond Boulder', but not as

N. Ganesan

Is there any Telugu evidence before 9th century that the name of the
waterfalls near nAgArjunakONDa was something similar to etti potala?
Is the form of the Telugu word for waterfalls was something similar
to "potala" before 9th century?

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