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 <> wrote:
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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