formation of the name mahaasaamghika

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Wed Nov 26 01:27:49 UTC 2003

Hi Jonathan,

There are couple of ways of going about it.  Monier-Williams lists a large number of words with maahaa- and hence the V.rddhi is a commonly attested form.  Given that the form is Mahaasaamghika, one can check how widely words like mahaasangha, and saamghika are attested.  If the word saamghika is attested, then mahaasaamghika would make perfect sense.  On the other hand, if the word mahaasamgha is widely attested, then mahaasaamghika is an anomaly.   Of course, there are forms like aabhidhaarmika and paaralaukika with double v.rddhi, and one could have maahaasamghika, but evidently we don't.  


-----Original Message-----
From: Indology on behalf of Jonathan Silk
Sent: Tue 11/25/2003 3:49 PM
Subject:      formation of the name mahaasaamghika
The name of one of the Indian Buddhist schools is Mahaasaamghika.
Since I was asked about this more than ten years ago, I have wondered
about it. The traditional explanation has it that the name signifies
"those who belong to the great community" or something along that
line. BUT:


mahaasamgha + ika

then, should >



To generate mahaasaamghika, we need to assume

mahaa + saamghika < samgha + ika


I cannot reconcile what I understand to be the grammer with what I
understand the tradition to understand. Any ideas?

Jonathan Silk
Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Buddhist Studies
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
phone: (310)206-8235
fax:  (310)825-8808
silk at

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