[INDOLOGY] Arya as prefix or suffix

David and Nancy Reigle dnreigle at gmail.com
Sat Sep 12 17:15:22 UTC 2015

Martin, if your compounded list of names is in a Buddhist text, then it is
almost certain that *ārya* is a prefix, as in Āryāvalokiteśvara. In many
Mahāyāna Buddhist texts *ārya* has a more specific meaning than just an
honorific. It means that one has reached the third of the five paths, the
path of seeing (*darśana-mārga*), when for the first time ones sees reality
directly. From that point on, one is an *ārya*, and the title *ārya* is
often prefixed to one's name. Thus, Ārya Nāgārjuna, Āryāsaṅga, etc.

Best regards,

David Reigle
Colorado, U.S.A.

On Sat, Sep 12, 2015 at 2:10 AM, Martin Gansten <martin.gansten at pbhome.se>

> One occasionally comes across *ārya* in Sanskrit texts either suffixed to
> a name (e.g., Rāmānujārya) or prefixed to it (e.g., Āryāvalokiteśvara), but
> I haven't seen this often enough to be certain if either variant is
> peculiar to a particular region, religious community, etc. (The two
> examples given are representative of my limited experience.) As a result, I
> am uncertain how to understand the occasional *ārya* in a compounded list
> of names. I'd be grateful if the vidvans of the list could tell me whether
> it is more usual as a prefix or suffix, or under what circumstances this
> might vary.
> Martin Gansten
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