formation of the name mahaasaamghika

Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Wed Nov 26 05:53:56 UTC 2003

I confess I am not quite sure why S Hodge wrote:

>Assuming, of course, that the term is Skt in origin but surely it was used
>in Pali etc long before it was seemingly sanskritized.

Unless this is a code for "Middle Indic," this appears to be wrong;
Mahaasaanghika in whatever shape it takes is not, as far as I know,
known in old Paali (that is to say, in any stratum which could be
considered older than known Skt sources, although the dating of much
of this is a nightmare, as usual.).

On the other hand, perhaps I should have elucidated that the term is
known from a number of inscriptions, among which (leaving aside those
in Kharosthi in which vowel length is not marked), the form maah-
does not appear. (A possible exception in Lüder's list 1106, from
Kaarli, which is printed as maahaasaghiyaanam--but I have not checked
the plates yet. Common in such inscriptional instances is the
non-occurence of nasal before -gh-. Although not a perfect
explanation, I wonder whether the usual short -a- in this position
might not be due to an assumption of nasal + aspirated velar, which
the Law of Morae would then cause to shorten the vowel. In Mathuraa
inscriptions and others from Kaarli, this -a- is always short, but
there is only the one (apparent) case of maahaa-

I'm still puzzled.


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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