[INDOLOGY] R: Origin of Mahācīna

Paolo Eugenio Rosati paoloe.rosati at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 21:00:28 UTC 2016

Hello Deven,

I noticed the name Mahacina occurred in the Cinacara Tantra, where is narrated that Vashistha went there from Kamarupa (Assam) to learn from the Buddha the Kaula system of panchamakara/panchatattva, needed to worship the goddess Tara/Kamakhya. If I remember well, 
L. Biernacki (2007. The Renowned Goddess of Desire; and an article on Vashstha published in 2006) speculated that for the text's compiler(s) the Buddha is an avatara of Vishnu. 
Sorry for lack of diacritics but I'm using the mobile to write.

Paolo E. Rosati 
Oriental Archaeologist
PhD candidate in Civilisations of Asia & Africa
Section: South Asia
Dep. Italian Institute of Oriental Studies (ISO)
'Sapienza' University of Rome

paoloe.rosati at uniroma1.it
paoloe.rosati at gmail.com
Mobile: (+39) 3387383472
Skype: paoloe.rosati

----- Messaggio originale -----
Da: "Deven Patel" <deven.m.patel at gmail.com>
Inviato: ‎10/‎03/‎2016 20:49
A: "indology at list.indology.info" <indology at list.indology.info>
Oggetto: [INDOLOGY] Origin of Mahācīna

Dear list members,

A Sinologist colleague of mine has raised the following question to me.  Any thoughts would be appreciated:  

Conventional wisdom among certain Sinologists is that the Western name "China" derives from the Sanskrit Mahācīna, etc.  Sinologists do not seem to know, or at least do not cite, sources for this attribution.  How old is the name, and how trustworthy are the texts?

Thank you,


Deven M. Patel
South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania

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