Chih Sheng (688-740 AD)

Nobumi Iyanaga n-iyanag at PPP.BEKKOAME.OR.JP
Wed Feb 24 03:23:21 UTC 1999

Dear Mr. Ganesan,

Thank you for clarifying the reason of this strange "translation".

At 0:13 PM -0800 2/23/99, N. Ganesan wrote:
>   Dear Dr. Nobumi Iyanaga,
> [snip...]
>   Is the name of the Malaya country translated as Kuang ming
> (Shining light)?

Yes, since Zhisheng says clearly "Vajrabodhi...  He is from the Country
Malaya (we say here [in China] the Country Guangming...)".

> Lokesh Chandra, Origin of the Avalokitezvara of Potala,
> Kailash journal, p. 6,
> "Hsuan-tsang must have read in the Avatamsaka sutra about the
> earthly paradise of Avalokitezvara: Potalaka is on the sea-side
> in the South. it has woods, and streams and tanks, and is in fact
> a sort of earthly paradise. Budhhabhadra (AD 420) calls Kuanyin's
> mountain Kuang-ming or 'Brilliance', which is usually given as
> the rendering for Malaya, but a later translator, zikshAnanda,
> transcribes the name Potalaka (Watters 1905:2.231)".

I don't have the article of Lokesh Chandra, but I have the book of Watters.
It seems that L. Chandra copies here simply the wording of Watters.

> Alexander C. Soper, Literary evidence for early Buddhist art in China,
> p. 163,
> "The six dynasties translation of the GaNDavyUha sUtra, done by
> Buddhabhadra between 418 and 420 or  421, introduces the two thus:
>  Going continually on and on, he made his way to Mount Radiant, which
>  he ascended. On it he looked everywhere for the Bodhisattva
>  Avalokitezvara ..

This is the exact translation of T. IX 278 li 718a14-15.

> Here the Bodhisattva is called "Kuan-shih-yin" and the mountain is
> "Kuang-ming Shan". In the T'ang translation of the same work, done
> between 695-699, both names are modernized, the first to
> "Kuan-tzu-tsai" and the second to "pu-ta-lo-chia" (i.e.,) Potalaka".

Yes.  The reference in Taisho is: T. X 279 lxviii 366c3-4 and sq.

> L. Chandra is saying that Malaya is Kuang-ming
> originally. But, A. C. Soper is saying the Mountain is
> Kuang-ming originally. Which is correct?

Well, L. Chandra, or rather, Watters, writes:

 Budhhabhadra (AD 420) calls Kuanyin's mountain Kuang-ming
 or 'Brilliance', which is usually given as the rendering for Malaya...

Now, I don't know if this is exact.  As I only discovered that the *Country
Malaya* is translated by "Guangming-guo" ("guo" means "country") by Zhishen
yesterday for the first time...

Without any further evidence, I would tend to consider that Zhisheng was
confusing some data:

1. He knew that the Mountain Potalaka, in which lives the Bodhisattva
Avalokite"svara, is translated by "Guangming" by Buddhabhadra;
2. He knew that this Mountain Potalaka was near to the Mountain Malaya by
reading the travel of Xuanzang.

->  First error of Zhisheng: he thought that Malaya was a country
->  Second error           : he thought that Guangming was a translation of

>  You have said that Zhisheng calls Malaya country as Guang-ming.
> Is the Malaya country called Guang-ming or the Potalaka
> called Guang-ming??? In Zhisheng and in Buddhabhadra??

In Zhisheng, it is the country Malaya which is rendred by "Guangming-guo",
the Country Shining-Light; and in the translation of Buddhabhadra, it is (or
seems) the Mountain Potalaka which is rendred "Guangming-shan", the Mountain
Shining-Light (I say "seems", because he doesn't give any transcription so
that we can not be sure about the original word that he was seeing...).

In the encyclopedy Mochizuki, p. 4429c sq., s.v. Fudaraku-san, we have first
some Chinese transcriptions of the word Potalaka or Potala, then as
"translations" "White Flower (baihua)", "Little White Flower (xiao baihua)",
"Little Flower Tree (xiao hua-shu)", "Little Tree ornemented with tendril
(xiaoshu wan zhuangyan)" or "Shining Light (guangming)" or "Sea Island

>  Thanks a lot for this help.

You are welcome!

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

P.S.  I am sorry to say: I am not a doctor.  So please call me simply
Iyanaga, or perhaps better, Nobumi.  Thank you (for my background, please
see my web page, if you have some spare time...).

Please note that my e-mai address has changed.
The new address is:
n-iyanag at

The old address:
n-iyanag at
will not work after March 1999

My web site url has changed also.
The new url is:

The old url:
will not work after March 1999

Thank you!

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list