A history question

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Jie Lei Jian
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A history question

Post by Jie Lei Jian » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:01 pm

Greetings everyone!

What was the early Chinese name for Buddhism when it first entered China? I used to have this information and from memory it was two words, being ……… tao. I can’t remember what the first word was (hey, even the “tao” might be wrong!).

Thanks for any help with this!

Sentient Light
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Re: A history question

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:53 pm

If it leads you anywhere, the Vietnamese term is either "Phat giao" or "Phat dao" (not bothering with diacritics cause I don't know them). I am not entirely sure what the first version means, but the second one seems to just be "way of Buddha(s)".
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

Fortyeightvows
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Re: A history question

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:46 pm

佛教 :shrug:

Jie Lei Jian
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Re: A history question

Post by Jie Lei Jian » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:10 am

Thanks for your responses Sentient Light and Fortyeightvows. I had wondered if the Chinese was Way of the Buddha (Fo Tao?) or Dharma Way (Fa Tao?), but I’m fairly sure that the first word of the term was longer than Fo or Fa.

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: A history question

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:17 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:53 pm
If it leads you anywhere, the Vietnamese term is either "Phat giao" or "Phat dao" (not bothering with diacritics cause I don't know them). I am not entirely sure what the first version means, but the second one seems to just be "way of Buddha(s)".
The first comes from 佛教 or Budda's Teaching, the later is 佛道 or Buddas's Ways as you guess.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

Fortyeightvows
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Re: A history question

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:45 pm

Jie Lei Jian wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:10 am
but I’m fairly sure that the first word of the term was longer than Fo
you mean 佛陀 or 佛陀耶?
but not to refer to the religion itself, most of the time people use 佛教

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Coëmgenu
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Re: A history question

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:13 pm

Jie Lei Jian wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:01 pm
What was the early Chinese name for Buddhism when it first entered China?
Its possible that there might have been various local Chinese-language adaptions of the term dharmavinaya (which seems attested as 法律 in the Pāli Canon E-dictionary). I don't know if there is any record of this being used, though.
佛子。如來智慧。無相智慧。無閡智慧。具足在於眾生身中。但愚癡眾生顛倒想覆。不知不見不生信心。
O, sons and daughters. The Thus-Gone's wisdom. The signless wisdom. The unobstructed wisdom. It perfectly dwells within all sentient beings’ minds. Yet in ignorance, sentient beings err and think it covered. Not knowing, not seeing, not giving rise to faith.
Āryamaitreyanāthasyottarekayānaratnagotraśāstra T1611.827b20

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: A history question

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:03 pm

The common translation for Buddhadharma, or Buddha's doctrine is also 佛法 or Fo Fa, the second character meaning Dharma.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

PeterC
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Re: A history question

Post by PeterC » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:38 am

I'm not at all certain it was originally 佛法. I'm struggling to find an attestation, though. I would guess the best place to start would be the 四十二章经, the only one extant of the first five translated/composed sutras, or the dozen or so sutras translated by 安世高. The latter certainly contain "法" in the title but I haven't looked at how it's used in the texts.

PeterC
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Re: A history question

Post by PeterC » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:20 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:38 am
I'm not at all certain it was originally 佛法. I'm struggling to find an attestation, though. I would guess the best place to start would be the 四十二章经, the only one extant of the first five translated/composed sutras, or the dozen or so sutras translated by 安世高. The latter certainly contain "法" in the title but I haven't looked at how it's used in the texts.
Someone who is better at this than me should try, but looking at the 长阿含十报法经, which is one of the sutras where it's not disputed that 安世高 was the translator, you have 21 occurrences of 佛, 220 of 法, 2 of 律 both referring to vows, and zero occurrences of 法道,佛法 or 法律. But we probably need to look at contemporary histories rather than sutras. The 牟子理惑论 may date from a few centuries after that. If there was a reference in 史记 or 汉书 that would probably do it but the overlap with the supposed arrival of Buddhism and those texts is very limited. I'm not too familiar with subsequent histories.

PeterC
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: A history question

Post by PeterC » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:33 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:20 am
PeterC wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:38 am
I'm not at all certain it was originally 佛法. I'm struggling to find an attestation, though. I would guess the best place to start would be the 四十二章经, the only one extant of the first five translated/composed sutras, or the dozen or so sutras translated by 安世高. The latter certainly contain "法" in the title but I haven't looked at how it's used in the texts.
Someone who is better at this than me should try, but looking at the 长阿含十报法经, which is one of the sutras where it's not disputed that 安世高 was the translator, you have 21 occurrences of 佛, 220 of 法, 2 of 律 both referring to vows, and zero occurrences of 法道,佛法 or 法律. But we probably need to look at contemporary histories rather than sutras. The 牟子理惑论 may date from a few centuries after that. If there was a reference in 史记 or 汉书 that would probably do it but the overlap with the supposed arrival of Buddhism and those texts is very limited. I'm not too familiar with subsequent histories.
The contemporary histories don't use the word 佛 in that meaning (e.g. only things like 仿佛). The 牟子理惑论, which despite uncertainty over its exact provenance is still probably the earliest Chinese commentary on Buddhism written by a native Chinese speaker, has 71 occurrences of 佛, after discarding single-character usage or things like 佛经, 佛寺 etc. you're left with 16 occurrences of 佛道, used to mean what you'd expect. Interestingly there are only 12 occurrences of 法 and none use it to refer to the Dharma, and no appearances of either 佛法 or 佛教 at all.

tingdzin
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Re: A history question

Post by tingdzin » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:56 pm

I have recently read a work that implied that in the earliest days of Buddhism in China, there was no standard name because there was no standard Buddhism, only Buddhist practitioners who may or may not have been monks introducing one or another aspect of Buddhist doctrine and/or practice to groups of lay followers.

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