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A Primer in Chinese Buddhist Writings

Volume One: Foundations

Acknowledgments
Rupert Gethin suffered through the first incarnation of this volume, providing helpful
corrections that all readers should be grateful for. Marcus Bingenheimer, David Carpenter,
Kin Cheung, Rafal Felbur, Tom Mazanec and Adrian Tiethof-Aronson caught many mistakes
and provided advice on what worked and what didn't. Simon Wiles has put so much work
into this volumefrom Sanskrit reconstructions and tone corrections to formatting and
designthat he should be considered as co-author.
In this and in the subsequent volumes, I have drawn heavily on Charles A Muller ed., Digital
Dictionary of Buddhism. http://buddhism-dict.net/ddb.
Please send corrections and suggestions to:
John.Kieschnick@stanford.edu
March, 2014

Table of Contents
Introduction...............................................................................................................................iii
Pronunciation........................................................................................................................iii
Characters............................................................................................................................iv
Grammar...............................................................................................................................v
Lessons in Grammar.................................................................................................................1
Lesson 1: Subject + Predicate..........................................................................................1
Lesson 2: The Implicit Subject..........................................................................................6
Lesson 3: Time Words....................................................................................................13
Lesson 4: Negation.........................................................................................................19
Lesson 5: y ................................................................................................................26
Lesson 6: su .............................................................................................................32
Lesson 7: g , reason..................................................................................................37
Lesson 8: zh .............................................................................................................43
Lesson 9: Grammatical Flexibility...................................................................................48
Lesson 10: Parallel and Rhythm.....................................................................................53
The Scripture of the Great Origin (Dbn jng )............................................................57
Introduction to the Dbn jng .............................................................................57

Selected passages from the Dbn jng.........................................................................58

ii

Introduction
Close to two thousand years of Buddhism in China have produced a wealth of writings on Buddhist subjects.
These include Indian texts (many no longer extant in their original language) translated into Chinese in
medieval times; works on various aspects of Buddhist doctrine written originally in Chinese; biographies of
monks and chronologies of Buddhist history; liturgical writings with musical notation, epigraphy
commemorating devotional societies, monasteries, stupas and icons; poetry and letters on Buddhist themes;
autobiography; and official court documents relating to Buddhism. Each of these genres follows its own
conventions and employs distinctive vocabulary. Most require not just knowledge of Buddhist texts, but
familiarity with other genres of Chinese writing as well. In short, Buddhist texts encompasses a vast
literaturemore than any one scholar could hope to master in a lifetime. This course can at most introduce
some of the vocabulary and grammatical conventions of a few of these genres.
In most Chinese programs at Western universities, the student begins by studying modern Chinese for a year
or two before studying classical Chinese. After a year of classical Chinese (reading philosophical works like
the Analects of Confucius, historical works like the Shj or Zuzhun, and literary works like the Book of
Poetry and Tang poems),1 the student is exposed to Buddhist writings. But some studentsparticularly those
interested in Chinese chiefly as a means of accessing texts originally written in Indiaare understandably
reluctant to invest three years of intensive study of works unrelated to Buddhism before beginning to read
Buddhist texts in Chinese. It is in fact possible for Indologists to learn to read medieval Chinese translations
of Indian Buddhist texts directly, without previous knowledge of Chinese.
In this course, I attempt to satisfy both types of students. We begin with a series of lessons that introduce
basic vocabulary and grammar, drawing on one authentic text and then read through the prose sections of
this text in their entirety. Readers already familiar with the basics of modern or classical Chinese can cover
the first ten lessons in one or two sittings, while those with no previous knowledge of Chinese will require
more time (memorizing characters becomes easier with timethe hardest characters to memorize are the
first 100).

Pronunciation
The dominant form of Chinese today is Mandarin. Like all forms of Chinese, Mandarin is tonal: the same
sound, pronounced in different tones can mean radically different things. In medieval times, when most of
the texts provided below were composed or translated, there were more tones, and the pronunciation
1

Two good introductions to literary Chinese are Michael A. Fuller, An Introduction to Literary Chinese (Cambridge MA: Harvard
University Press, 2004), and Paul Rouzer, A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press,
2007). Mark Lewis provides an excellent reader in philosophical Chinese texts, including English translations for self-study, for
free at: http://chinesetexts.stanford.edu/

iii

differed significantly. This explains in part why medieval transliterations of Sanskrit words (like Ftu
for Buddha) in modern Mandarin pronunciation often do not sound much like their Sanskrit equivalents
(the medieval pronunciation of the word was probably much closer to Buddha). Linguists, working with
rhymed poetry as well as translations of foreign terms, have made various attempts to reconstruct medieval
pronunciations of Chinese words.2 While Mandarin is the official language of the PRC and Taiwan, used in
news broadcasts and political speeches, many other forms of Chinese are also in use. For the most part, these
share grammar and vocabulary with Mandarin. Some, probably owing to geographic isolation, have changed
less rapidly over time than others and preserve more ancient pronunciations. For this reason, Cantonese
(spoken in Canton [Guangdong] and Hong Kong) and Minnan (spoken in southern Fujian and Taiwan) are
probably closer to the way Chinese was spoken in the capital in the Tang dynasty than Mandarin is.
Nonetheless, for the purposes of this course, I gloss all terms according to Mandarin pronunciation, the basis
for most modern dictionaries of Chinese. Various systems have been used to romanize Chinese (represent
Chinese with Roman letters). The dominate system today is pnyn, a system developed in the PRC. Proper
pronunciation of Mandarin is best learned with recordings and a native speaker (much of the first year of a
modern Chinese course is spent mastering tones). Absent a teacher, your best option is to learn from an
introduction to pinyin with recordings (e.g. http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/pinyin_notes.htm ). Online videos with
native speakers are also useful.

Characters
Each Chinese character is pronounced with a single syllable. Words can, however, be composed with more
than one character. For example, the word for disciple, dzi is composed of the two characters d
and zi . In archaic Chinese, words composed of two or more characters were relatively few. From medieval
times to the present they have become increasingly common.
There are various styles of writing characters. The earliest Chinese characters are those found on the oracle
bones, dating to ca. 1500 B.C. Discovered by scholars only in the twentieth century, these characters are quite
different from later Chinese and are only decipherable by specialists. In contrast, from circa 200BC on, the
way characters are written has changed relatively little. An educated Chinese person with minimal training
can recognize the characters in most medieval manuscripts, even if he or she doesnt understand the overall
meaning of the text.3
The standard division of characters into different types is that first proposed by X Shn in his
dictionary of Chinese, the Shuwn jiz (Explanations of Graphs and Analysis of Characters) at the
2

See for instance Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese
and Early Mandarin (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1991). The historical phonology of Chinese is a hotly
contested field; there is as yet no firm consensus on how Chinese sounded in medieval times.

There are exceptions. Medieval manuscripts (in particular epigraphy) makes frequent use of unusual forms for characters that
are only recognized by specialists.

iv

beginning of the second century. He proposed six types of characters:


1) zh sh , pointing to things. These are characters that symbolize ideas, e.g. xi for down
and shng for up.
2) xing xng , imitating shapes. These are words that derive from pictograms like r sun
and yu , moon.
3) xng shng , form and sound. Characters that combine two graphs, one representing the sound
and one the meaning. For example, in the word ko , to roast, the part on the left means fire;
the part on the right has nothing to do with the meaning, representing instead the sound of the
character.
4) hu y , combined meanings. For example mng combines sun (r ) and moon (yu )
and means bright.
5) zhan zh , transferred notation, an obscure category for words with similar meaning written
with similar graphs.
6) ji ji , borrowing, where a character is used for another of the same or similar sound.
For practical purposes, these categories are not particularly useful for learning characters; they do, however,
illustrate that Chinese characters are not simple pictograms. When first learning characters, some students
invent their own folk etymologies as a mnemonic device. Some use flashcards, and others go over lists. Since
many elements of characters are repeated in different characters, the more characters you know, the easier
they are to memorize. The most difficult phase of learning characters is the first.
Each Chinese character has been assigned a radical.4 This is an element of the character (or in some cases
the character as a whole) that can be used to find the character in a dictionary. As on-line dictionaries and
digital resources become more common, allowing the reader to cut and paste unknown characters into an
on-line dictionary, radicals will become less important for finding characters.
In the second part of the course you will be given instruction in the use of dictionaries. For the first part you
will be given glossaries designed especially for this course. None the less, you may want to experiment with
on-line dictionaries (links provided separately) which are easy enough to use. Since the texts for this class
are available here, you can cut and paste them into on-line dictionaries relatively easily.

Grammar
There is very little morphology in Chinese; that is, changes in the form of words to convey different
meanings.5 There are no conjugations or tenses. For understanding classical texts, it is most important to
recognize the function of a small set of grammatical particles, to note parallelisms (that is, if we are given a
4

Today, the most common list of radicals consists of 214 radicals, laid out in a dictionary compiled at the behest of the
eighteenth-century emperor Kangxi . For a complete list, see http://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/radicals.php.

series of five-character lines, the word order is usually the same for each of the lines), and above all,
familiarity with vocabulary. It is often possible to interpret a given line in various ways, taking a given word,
for instance, as either a verb or a noun. In such cases, the key is context: how is a given word used elsewhere
in the same text and, the strongest argument of all: what makes sense.

There is as yet no good grammar for Buddhist Chinese texts, but there is a good grammar for Classical Chinese in general:
Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1995).

vi

Lessons in Grammar
Lesson 1: Subject + Predicate
Grammar

The three basic rules of Chinese word order are: 1) the subject precedes the predicate; 2) a modifier precedes
the word it modifies; and 3) the verb precedes its object (Pulleyblank, p.14). There are exceptions to all of
these rules. Below are examples of the first of these rulessubject + predicatetaken from the Chng hn
jng , the Chinese translation of the Drghgama.

In the following examples, translate the line or passage that follows the vocabulary.

Example 1.1

Vocabulary

Zh Fnin

Name of monk

to translate

The beginning of the Chng hn jng records the translator of the text as follows:

The object, the sutra itself, is understood.

Example 1.2
Vocabulary

rn

man, men, people

shu

lifespan

eight

wn

ten thousand

su

years

The Chng hn jng, describing conditions at the time of a previous Buddha, states that during
the time of that Buddha...

Example 1.3
Vocabulary

Jish

(Skt.) Kyapa (a Buddha of the Past)

Buddha

zu

to sit

njlsh

(type of tree), (Skt.) nyagrodha

xi

beneath

Before his enlightenment, one of the Buddhas of the past did the following:

Example 1.4
Vocabulary

Shq

(Skt.) ikhin (a Buddha of the Past)

yu

to have, to possess

two

dzi

disciple


Example 1.5
Vocabulary

I, me, mine

father

mng

to be named

Jngfn

(personal name) Skt. uddhodana (translates uddha,


pure + odana, boiled rice)

In this line, the Buddha is speaking:

Note that, depending on context, the same word can be read as a verb or a noun. can be
either name or to be named.

Example 1.6
Vocabulary

go

to tell, to announce to

bqi

bhiku

This phrase introduces a statement by the Buddha.

Example 1.7
Vocabulary

this, these

sh

to be; this; thus

chng

constant, enduring, eternal

law, Skt. dharma


3

The text describes patterns common to all of the Buddhas of the past, concluding each
description of a particular facet of a Buddha's life (e.g. being born with special physical marks)
with the following passage:

Example 1.8
Vocabulary

like, as

wn

to hear

The Chang ahan jing, after listing the translators and date of translation, begins with the phrase:

Note that is not here a verb; in classical Chinese, it rarely is.

Example 1.9
Vocabulary

zh

all

du

to respond, to answer

After the Buddha asks his disciples a question, the following phrase introduces their response:

...
Example 1.10
Vocabulary

zhhu

wisdom

zngy

to increase

When a Buddha is in his mother's womb, this happens to the mother:

Review 1
You should now be able to translate the following passages without consulting the vocabulary lists:

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.5

1.6

1.7

1.8

1.9

... ...

1.10

Lesson 2: The Implicit Subject


We saw in the last lesson that Chinese sentences can usually be divided into a subject and a predicate.
However, the subject is often unexpressed in declarative sentences when it can be understood from context.
The preceding example () comes close since it is understood from context that it is the mother's
wisdom that increases. In the examples below the subject is entirely implicit.

Example 2.1
Vocabulary

zi

at

Shwi

(Skt.) rvast

gu

kingdom

Qsh

An abbreviation of (Skt. Jetavana


Anthapiada-rma)

Hulnk

(Skt.) Kareri-kuik; literally Flower-copse Cave

big, great

together, with

bqi

bhiku

zhng

assembly

qan

thousand

two

bi

hundred

five

sh

ten

rn

man, men, people

together

Note that in this passage, the preposition (with) works with the verb (together).

Example 2.2
Vocabulary

wi

only; (a sentence-opening particle with no translatable


meaning)

wshngzn

without superior, exalted one

wi

to be, is

zu

most

qt

special, remarkable

shntng

lit. divine perspicacity; Skt. abhij, divine powers,


supernormal powers, supernormal cognitions.

yun d

far reaching

wil

authority, power, might

hngd

great, expansive

Note here that, in addition to dropping the subject in the second part of the sentence, no copula
(verb like to be) is necessary in the second part of the sentence either.

Example 2.3
Vocabulary

to enter

(preposition) in, at

nipn

nirvana

dun

to cut off

jish

lit. bounds and manipulations; afflictions

xiomi

to destroy, to dispense with

funny, playful, absurd, fanciful, frivolous

ln

discourse, discussion, theory, deliberations


Again, once the subject () is understood, it is not necessary to repeat it for the following
phrases.

Example 2.4
Vocabulary

ji

precepts; morality; (Skt. la)

hu

Wisdom, insight

After describing the qualities of a Buddha, the text concludes:

Example 2.5
Vocabulary

Shzn

World-Honored One

xinjng

peaceful and quiet

ch

place

tinr

divine ear (one of the supernormal powers of a buddha)

qngjng

pure

zu

to do, to make

discussion, argument, opinion

After describing a discussion among the Buddha's disciples when the Buddha was
not present, the text continues:

Example 2.6
Vocabulary

carefully

tng

to listen

shn

well

snin

think on, contemplate

zh

it

The verbs in quotations could, grammatically, refer to the Buddha himself. We know they are
commands from the context.

Example 2.7
Vocabulary

Shq

ikhin

rli

Thus-come, Skt. tathgatha (we have already seen as


thus in )

zh

utmost; extreme, most

zhn

true

zhzhn

most true (a translation of arhat).

chxin

to appear

(preposition) in, at

sh

world (we have seen in the expression )

We are accustomed to think of an arhat as distinct from a buddha, but in fact the Buddha is
often described as an arhat.

Example 2.8
Vocabulary

chng

to complete, to accomplish

zuzhngju

lit. most correct awakening, Skt. abhisabuddha

Example 2.9
Vocabulary

Ppsh

(Skt.) Vipayin (a Buddha of the Past)

sn

three

hu

gathering, meeting

sho

to say, speak, expound

ch

first

li

six

wn

ten thousand

eight

qin

thousand

two

10

Example 2.10
Vocabulary

taz

prince

shng

to be born

father

wng

king

Pntu

(personal name) Pali: Bandhum; Skt. Pu?

zhoj

to summon, to call together

xingsh

fortune teller, soothsayer

and

dosh

the magical arts, practitioners of magical arts

lng

order to, direct to

gun

to observe

zh

to know, to recognize

his [grammatical particle]

jxing

good and bad fortune, fortune

11

Review 2

2.1

2.2

2.3

2.4

2.5

2.6

2.7

2.8

2.9

2.10

12

Lesson 3: Time Words


Time is expressed through time words and in some cases grammatical particles. We will look at grammatical
particles later.

Example 3.1
sh , time or when, is probably the most common word indicating time.
Vocabulary

one

sh

time

Shwi

(Skt.) rvast

gu

kingdom

Qsh

Jeta Grove, an abbreviation of


(Skt. Jetavana Anthapiada-rma), = grove

Hulnk

Flower Copse Grotto (Skt. Kareri-kuik), = grotto

Example 3.2
Vocabulary

sng

in verse

yu

to say

...

13

Example 3.3
Vocabulary

that

xinjng

peaceful and quiet

ch

place

Example 3.4
Vocabulary

shu

to receive

jio

teaching

[verbal connector] and, but; [adverbial connector, with


the preceding word or phrase modifying the verb that
follows]

tng

to listen

Example 3.5
is a common compound, meaning in the past.

14

Vocabulary

guq

the past

wsh

without number, limitless

to enter

nipn

nirvana

dun

to cut off

jish

lit. bounds and manipulations; afflictions, defilements

xiomi

to destroy

funny, playful, absurd, fanciful

ln

discourse, theory, deliberations

Example 3.6
Vocabulary

ji

aeon (transliteration of kalpa)

Shq

(Skt.) ikhin

Example 3.7
Vocabulary

then, next, thereupon

cng

from

zu

seat

to arise, get up

15

The Buddha, sitting apart from the bhikus, uses his supernormal powers to hear them converse.
Then...

Example 3.8
Vocabulary

xingsh

fortune teller, master of physiognomy

bi

white; to address

yn

to say

... ...

Example 3.9
Vocabulary

multi-purpose particle (see note below).

to beg

sh

food

to gather

Huln

Flower Copse

tng

hall

hu , after, appears in the middle of sentences, between verbs. Here hu is working together
with the particle y. Y is a preposition which can be used for space (i.e. at) or, as here, for
time.

16

Example 3.10
Vocabulary

tch

to cut off

xf

hair and beard

17

Review 3

3.1

3.2

...

3.3

3.4

3.5

3.6

3.7

3.8

...

3.9

3.10

18

Lesson 4: Negation
One of the most common negatives is b . In declarative sentences, it comes before the word it negates.

Example 4.1
Vocabulary

Ppsh

(Skt.) Vipayin

ps

bodhisattva

mother

ti

womb

zhun

to concentrate

nin

to think, to ponder

lun

chaos, confusion

Note: Grammatically, could refer to either the bodhisattva or to his mother. The
implicit subject is usually carried over from the previous sentence. From the context of the
larger passage that we see that it refers to the bodhisattva.

19

Example 4.2
In questions, b can come at the very end of a sentence, and can be translated or not. This construction
is particularly common in Buddhist texts.
Vocabulary

I, me

jn

today, now

to want, to desire

( is a co-verb, meaning it works in conjunction with


another verb. We will look at this word more closely in a
later lesson). To use, to employ; with, by means of

smngzh

knowledge of past lives (lit. past-destinies-wisdom)

sh

thing, event

you

Example 4.3
W normally indicates non-existence (often negating to have yu ), meaning there is no... In these
cases, it takes a noun as its object. It is also used, as below, in double negatives.
Immediately upon the Buddha's birth, a great light fills the universe. The light is so great that...
Vocabulary

ch

place

nmng

darkness

not, none

mng

to receive

mng

brightness

20

Example 4.4:
Vocabulary

sh

number

Example 4.5
Vocabulary

Ppsh

(Skt.) Vipayin (a Buddha of the Past)

cng

from

Dushui

Tuita

tin

Heaven; god, deva

jing

to descend

shn

divine; spirit

ti

womb

shn

body; physically

nyn

serene, at peace

nohun

troubles, difficulties

Note: Grammatically, the phrase could be read either as he descended in spirit into his mothers
womb or he descended into the divine mothers womb. We know from context (and that fact that is
not a common term for a Buddhas mother) that the former is correct.

Example 4.6: fi
is the negative copula meaning is not. Normally, it is itself a verb and takes a noun as object.

21

Vocabulary

four

tinz

lit. children of heaven, heavenly beings, minor deities

zh

to hold

halberd

mo

spear

sh

to attend

to protect

to be able to

qnro

to harass

Example 4.7
Vocabulary

jin

between, among

kuno

hubub, noise

this, these

appropriate

Before leaving the palace, the bodhisattva determines that...

22

Example 4.8: w .
w is imperative, do not.
Vocabulary

tin

heavenly, celestial

mother

tinm

here: queen

shng

holy

child; son

hui

to harbor

yuq

worries and sadness

Just before the bodhisattva's mother gives birth, four deities tell her:

Example 4.9
Vocabulary

sh

to cause, to make

zhngshng

all beings

zhulu

to fall, to descend to

other, remaining

destination, realm, path of existence

When the Buddha hesitates to preach the Dharma, Brahma pleads with him to do so, saying:

23

Example 4.10: wi , not yet


Vocabulary

to leave

ji

long (duration)

...

24

Review 4

4.1

4.2

4.3

4.4

4.5

4.6

4.7

4.8

4.9

4.10 ...

25

Lesson 5: y
is a co-verb, meaning to take, use; with, by means of.

Example 5.1
Vocabulary

to answer, to reply

together

The Buddha returns to a gathering of his disciples and asks them what they have been
discussing...

Example 5.2
Vocabulary

smngzh

knowledge of past lives (lit. past-destinies-wisdom)

Example 5.3
Vocabulary

shnzi

excellent! ( marks the previous as emphaticthe


equivalent of an exclamation mark)

pngdng

equal, with equanimity

xn

faith

xi

to cultivate, practice

do

the Way, path, the Tao; to speak

26

Note that in this example dng is used in two different ways: first as a plural
marker, and then as part of a compount indicating equanimity.
Example 5.4
After his enlightenment, the Buddha is reluctant to preach since he fears the beings of the world will not be
able to understand his teachings. Brahma insists that there are some in the world who are capable of
receiving his teachings. The Buddha then decides to have a look for himself...
Vocabulary

yn

eye

sh

to see, to view

shji

world

Example 5.5
can also be used to express purpose, and thereby, in order to.
Vocabulary

shu

hand

zh

to grasp, to hold

bi

white

gi

parasol

bo

precious; jeweled

shn

fan

zhng

to impede, to protect from

hn

cold

sh

summer; heat

When the bodhisattva is born, devas protect the infant by doing the following:

27

Example 5.6

Vocabulary

zng

to increase

performers

yu

music; musicians (note that this word can also be read l


in which case it means happiness)

yu

to be pleased; to please

xn

heart, mind

To keep the bodhisattva from leaving the palace, his father did the following:

Example 5.7
Vocabulary

qun

fountain, spring

yng

to bubble forth, to spring forth

ch

out; to merge, go out

wn

warm

lng

cold

gng

to supply

zoy

bath; to bathe

Immediately after the bodhisattva's birth, the following happened:

28

Example 5.8
Vocabulary

jinz

to select

ci

beautiful; colourful

woman, women

to entertain

happy, joyful; pleasure

To keep the bodhisattva at home, his father...

Example 5.9
The phrase shy means because of, therefore.
Vocabulary

do

road

fng

to meet

lo

old

The king asks the bodhisattva's attendant why the boy is not happy. The attendant replies:

29

Example 5.10
Vocabulary

silence, quiet

rn

(suffix forming stative verb, describing a continuing


action or state)

When Brahma encourages the Buddha to preach the Dharma, he explains that the people of the
world are not receptive to his teachings, concluding by saying...

30

Review 5

5.1

5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

5.6

5.7

5.8

5.9

5.10

31

Lesson 6: su
su is a common relative pronoun, normally meaning where, which, or what depending on context.
As a noun it means place, location.

Example 6.1

Example 6.2

This is a noun phrase rather than a complete sentence.

Example 6.3
Vocabulary

zh

to govern

chng

city

This is a noun phrase rather than a complete sentence.

Example 6.4
Vocabulary

sun

yu

moon

to reach

ch

place, location

32

This is a noun phrase rather than a complete sentence.

Example 6.5
Vocabulary

ynyun

lit. causes and conditions; here: circumstances

mngho

lit. name and style name; here: name

zhngz

class

Example 6.6
Vocabulary

xing

characteristic, mark (this is why lit. master of


marks means fortune teller).

son; child

Example 6.7
Vocabulary

what

to speak (y); words, language, speech

33

Example 6.8
Vocabulary

Fn

Brahma

tin

deity, Skt. deva; heaven

Ppsh

(Skt.) Vipayin (a Buddha of the Past)

Example 6.9
Vocabulary

qngjng

clear and pure

desire; desirous

xing

to think; thoughts

wi

(we have already seen as meaning to be here it


marks the verb as passive) by

yn

lasciviousness; lust

hu

fire

shorn

to burn

34

Example 6.10
Vocabulary

ni

to the extent that

dusho

lit. many and few; amount

Yu

further, moreover

that (pronoun)

mngho

name and style name

xngz

surname and cognomen

35

Review 6
6.1

6.2

6.3

6.4

6.5

6.6

6.7

6.8

6.9

6.10

36

Lesson 7: g , reason
In Buddhist texts, most often appears at the end of a sentence, meaning for this reason or because of
what preceded it. It can also appear at the beginning of a sentence, meaning therefore, for this reason.

Example 7.1

Example 7.2
Vocabulary

love, affection; craving

me

to destroy (we have seen this word in the compound


. The meaning is identical).

grasping, taking

What follows is part of a description of the twelve-fold chain of causation.

Example 7.3
Vocabulary

nh

lit. Peaceful Harmony. Here, a personal name, (P.) Sotthi


(Skt.) Svstika.

su

to follow; according to

37

Example 7.4
Vocabulary

lo

old

death

yu

worry, grief

bi

sadness, sorrow

kno

suffering, affliction

We return here to the twelve-fold chain of causation.

Example 7.5
Vocabulary

ling

the pair; both

xing

mutually (we saw this word earlier pronounced xing


and meaning mark or characteristic)

both

to stain, to sully

The following is a metaphor which describes the condition of a pure gem placed
on a clean piece of silk.

38

Example 7.6

Vocabulary

wn

to ask, to inquire

to reply, to answer

yu

to say

(an introductory particle announcing a topic)

zh

(here, a particle marking off a topic. We will examine


this word more closely in the next lesson)

shng

life (we have seen this word earlier meaning to give birth
and to arise)

xing

(preposition) towards

jn

termination, ending

mng

destiny, life

several, few

wi

to say to, to address; to call, to label

After seeing his first old man, the bodhisattva asks his charioteer to explain.

Example 7.7
Vocabulary

intentionally (we have seen earlier in another


meaning, as cause)

The Buddha has already used his supernormal powers to overhear a conversation, but
nonetheless...

39

Example 7.8
Vocabulary

that, those

zh

(particle that nominalizes the preceding verb, in this


case he who attends, attendant)

yu

to travel, to wander

hun

joyous, blissful

happy

(particle indicating a question)

Example 7.9
Vocabulary

bng

sick

tng

pain

pqi

to press upon

cnwng

to live and to die, survival

date, appointment; to predict, to know in advance

(final particle serving function of the verb to be)

40

Example 7.10
often works together with , meaning for this reason, because.
Vocabulary

cbi

compassion

wi

for the sake of, in order to (we have previously seen


in the second tone meaning to be and elsewhere
indicating the passive, by).

zhnd

noble truth

In one of the verses (which I omitted from the text you will read below), the Buddha explains
why he explained the Four Noble Truths.

41

Review 7

7.1

7.2

7.3

7.4

7.5

7.6

7.7

7.8

7.9

7.10

42

Lesson 8: zh
is most commonly used as a nominalizer; it makes a verb a noun.

Example 8.1
Vocabulary

what; why; how

zh

wisdom, intelligence

hunx

happy, delighted

Example 8.2
Vocabulary

to look at

Example 8.3
Vocabulary

(interrogative particle, the equivalent of a question


mark)

43

Example 8.4
Vocabulary

to drive

shmn

Skt. ramaa

Example 8.5
Vocabulary

xn

faith

Example 8.6
does not always come immediately after the verb it nominalizes.
Vocabulary

dng

will; should

to go to a destination

necessary

doubt, suspicion

Example 8.7
When the bodhisattva is born, fortune-tellers augur two possible destinies...
44

Vocabulary

ru

if

ji

family; home, household

zhun

to turn

ln

wheel

zhunln wng

Wheel-turning King, Skt. Cakravartin

Example 8.8
At times, rather than make a verb a noun, marks the preceding word as the topic of the sentence.
Vocabulary

feet

peace; stable, steady

png

level

mn

full

Example 8.9

45

Example 8.10
Vocabulary

gi

to supply

milk

to suckle

zoy

to bathe

to smear, to coat

xing

incense

yl

entertainment

Soon after the bodhisattva's birth, his father supplied him with all of the necessities, including...

46

Review 8

8.1

8.2

8.3

8.4

8.5

8.6

8.7

8.8

8.9

8.10

47

Lesson 9: Grammatical Flexibility


Grammatical flexibility: nouns become verbs; verbs, nouns; verbs become adjectives, etc.

Example 9.1
Vocabulary

words; language, speech

to speak to

to approve, to accept

Compare the word in the following sentences. The first describes the Buddha's response to what the
devas told him. In the second, he explains how it is that he knows of the lives of Buddhas of the distant past.

9.1.1

9.1.2

48

Example 9.2
Vocabulary

sh

establish, make, set out; take

fngbin

expedience, Skt. upya; measures

sh

to cause to

ch

to place

shn

deep, profound

zh

to, until

ch

place

gngjng

to respect, venerate

ssh

the four things (i.e. the four basic necessities: clothing,


food, bedding, medicine).

gngyng

to provide

Compare the word in the following sentences. The first describes the actions of the Bodhisattva's father,
intended to prevent him from becoming a wandering ascetic. The second describes the reception of the
Buddha during his period of wandering.

9.2.1

9.2.2

49

Example 9.3
Vocabulary

Shnzh

(personal name) lit. Good Branch

nh

(personal name) lit. Peaceful Harmony (P.) Sotthija


(Skt.) Svstika

ru

if

ji

home, household

zhunln
shngwng

Wheel-turning Sagely King, Skt. Cakravartin

Tinxi

lit. All under heaven; here: continent

wng / wng

king / to be king of, to rule

Compare in the following passages. In the first, the text describes the names of the parents of one of the
buddhas of the past:

9.3.1
9.3.2
Example 9.4
Vocabulary

happiness, pleasure; to please; to be happy

suffering

sadness, sorrow

xn

to enjoy, to delight

Compare in the following sentences.

9.4.1
9.4.2

50

9.4.3
Example 9.5
Notice the word in the following two sentences you have seen above.

9.5.1
9.5.2

51

Review 9
9.1.1
9.1.2

9.2.1

9.2.2

9.3.1

9.3.2

9.4.1

9.4.2

9.4.3

9.5.1

9.5.2
52

Lesson 10: Parallel and Rhythm


Classical Chinese prose often employs parallel passages: two phrases or sentences in which the word order of
the first is parallel to that of the second. This fondness for parallel often explains word choice and grammar:
if a particular word is clearly a verb in the first phrase, the word in the same position of the second phrase is
probably also to be taken as a verb. Similarly, the number of characters in classical Chinese texts was also
often regulated. The text from which these lessons draw, the D bn jng, for instance, has a particular
fondness for four-character phrases. You will notice many instances in which the text could have been just as
clear with three characters as four, or would have been clearer with five characters instead of four; in these
instances, clarity or concision are sacrificed for rhythm. Remember that use of punctuation in Chinese is a
modern phenomenon. In the absence of punctuation, regulating the number of characters in a passage
provided clues to meaning and made for ease of reading. The examples below illustrate this tendency.

Example 10.1
Vocabulary

ynji

to adorn (a vehicle), to make ready, to harness

qy

to finish, complete

hun

to return

zhng

right; just so; truly

chng

to ride

bo

precious

ch

cart, chariot

to go to

that

yun

park

gun

to see, to observe

There is no semantic distinction between and , both of which mean then. Divide the following
passage into four character units and you will see why the translators used instead of just in the
second instance.

53

Example 10.2
Vocabulary

in the past

zhnxing

to read someones signs, to tell ones fortune

dw

is or is not, could it be?

(interrogative)

anger

ch

foolishness, stupidity

chng

to bear

yng

to use

We have seen that the word normally acts to nominalize verbs. But in the following sentences, while
perhaps it serves to emphasize the character before it, the primary function is to add a fourth character to
the phrase.

10.2.1
When the Buddha is enlightened, at first he is reluctant to preach because...

10.2.2
Example 10.3
Vocabulary

fny

mundane, ordinary

to reach

In the following sentences, the concluding word is also primarily used to fill out the four-character
phrase.

10.3.1
10.3.2

54

Example 10.4
Compare the following two sentences which you have seen in previous lessons. Why does one conclude with
the interrogative ?

10.4.1
10.4.2
Example 10.5
Vocabulary

jngm

quietly, silently

swi

to think, to reflect

Despite the restrictions imposed by the four-character phrase, there is still considerable room for variations
in phrasing. Consider the two following phrases.

10.5.1
10.5.2

55

Review 10

10.1

10.2.1

10.2.2

10.3.1

10.3.2

10.4.1

10.4.2

10.5.1

10.5.2

56

The Scripture of the Great Origin (Dbn jng )


Introduction to the Dbn jng
This is the first scripture in the Chng hnjng , literally the long gama scripture, known in
Sanskrit as the Drghgama. It is indeed a long scripture, containing many independent scriptures and
forming one of the four gamas.
The Chng hnjng was translated into Chinese in the capital city of Chngn in 413 by Buddhayaas
and Zh Fnin from an Indian version of the text. Zh Fnin is unusual among
Chinese monks for being one of the few said to have mastered Sanskrit. Only fragments of a Sanskrit version
of the Drghgama are extant. A Pali version of the text exists as the Dgha Nikya.6
The section we will read is the Dbn jng , literally the scripture of the great origin. (Pali,
Mahpadna-suttanta; Skt. Mahvadna-stra). It describes the characteristics of a Buddha. In addition to
the Chinese and Pali versions of the Scripture of the Great Origin, one fairly substantial part of the sutra
survives in Sanskrit in one fragment which, together with several other manuscripts gives nearly the whole
sutra.7
The Chinese text before you is useful, particularly in comparison with the Pali and Sanskrit versions, for
reconstructing what many consider to be among the earliest Buddhist texts. It is also useful for
understanding the Dharmaguptaka School from which it came.8
And while the gamas were not as influential in China as key Mahyna sutras, they were well known
among Buddhist thinkers and were studied by eminent monks throughout Chinese history from the time of
their translation in the fifth century to the present day and are hence important for understanding the
6

On the various versions of this text and it significance, see Andr Bareau, Les sectes bouddhiques du Petit Vhicule (Paris:
Publications de lcole Franaise dExtrme-Orient 38, 1955), p.191; tienne Lamotte, Histoire du bouddhisme indien des
origines lre aka (Louvain: Bibliothque du Muson 43, 1958), pp.629-630. For a recent English translation of the work, see
The Long Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Dgha Nikya by Maurice Walshe (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1987).
The Pali version of the text we will be reading is translated in section 14, pp.199-222.

What is missing are mostly verses. The sections dealing with the bodhisattva's birth are also paralleled in The Gilgit
manuscript of the Saghabhedavastu: being the 17th and last section of the Vinaya of the Mlasarvstivdin, edited by Raniero
Gnoli with the assistance of T. Venkatacharya (Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1977). The fragments
of the Mahvadnastra were originally edited by Ernst Waldschmidt, Das Mahvadnastra: ein kanonischer Text ber die
sieben letzten Buddhas; Sanskrit, verglichen mit dem Pli nebst einer Analyse der in chinesischer bersetzung berlieferten
Parallelversionen auf Grund von Turfan-Handschriften (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1953-1956). The Sanskrit text was revised
using additional fragments by Takamichi Fukita, The Mahvadnastra: a new edition based on manuscripts discovered in
Northern Turkestan, Sanskrit-Wrterbuch der buddhistischen Texte aus den Turfan-Funden 10 (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 2003). There is no published English translation of the Sanskrit text, but there is a German one: Claudia Weber,
Buddhistische Sutras: das Leben des Buddha in Quellentexten (Munich: Diederichs, 1999), pp. 35-103.

On this once-thriving school, most of the works of which are extant only in Chinese translation, see Ann Heirman, Can We
Trace the Early Dharmaguptakas? Toung Pao Vol.88, no.4-5 (2002), pp.396-429.

57

development of Chinese as well as Indian Buddhism.9

Selected passages from the Dbn jng


The passages below follow the order of the original. I have skipped some of the introductory material that
lists the date of translation (we will cover Chinese dates later in the class), and have skipped most of the
verse. Passages deleted are noted with ellipses.
You should memorize all of the characters in the vocabulary lists with the exception of rarer words, in
parentheses, which you may want to save for later.

For a useful Japanese translation of the Chng hnjng with extensive annotation, see Okayama Hajime et al.,
Gendai goyaku Agon kyten : (Tky : Hirakawa Shuppansha, 1995-2002).

58

Dbn jng : 1
Vocabulary

each

gng

together (we have previously seen and , each also


meaning together)

xin

wise, sagacious

yn

to drink

xi

long

dun

short

()

gng

to experience

suffering

je

understanding

zh

to abide, to dwell (either literally where or how he lived,


or metaphorically, as in to dwell in a particular state)

bi

to distinguish

ynh

how, why

fxng

dharma nature, Skt. dharmat

li

to come

59

Note: Above, could be taken to mean among the worthy monks, but we would
expect the character in the phrase to indicate among, and elsewhere, similar sentences
begin by addressing the audience. Note below how often the Buddha begins a phrase by saying
bhikus.

Dbn jng : 2
Vocabulary

to go to, to arrive at

ji

then, thereupon; to go to, to approach

zi

(exclamation, indicates emphasis)

pngdng

equal, with equanimity, non-discriminating

xn

faith

xi

to cultivate, practice

do

the Way, path, the Tao; to speak

yng

should, ought to

xng

conduct, action

fn

in total, overall

karma; duties, tasks

xinshng

wise and sagely (from Skt. bhadra and arya)

jingf

to lecture on the Law, to speak on the Dharma

zhng

right; just so; truly

60

Dbn jng : 3
Vocabulary

smngzh

knowledge of past lives

yun

to be willing

fng

respectfully

ji

nine

Ppsh

(Skt.) Vipayin

chxin

to appear

(preposition) at, in, by

fc

moreover, furthermore, and so (we will later see f by


itself. In this text it is used as the compound fc only at
the beginning of sentences.)

Shq

(Skt.) ikhi

Pshp

(Skt.) Vivabhu

xinje

lit., the worthy aeon, (Skt.) bhadrakalpa. This is the


kalpa in which we live.

Jlusn

(Skt.) Krakucchanda

Jnhn

(Skt.) Kanakamuni

also, furthermore

zuzhngju

lit., most correct awakening, Skt. abhisabuddha

... ...

61

Dbn jng : 4
Vocabulary

seven

sho

few

ch

go beyond, exceed

du

many

jin

reduce; less than

... ...

... ...

62

Dbn jng : 5
Vocabulary

chl

(Skt.) katriya, the ruling class

zhng

class

xng

surname

Jlru

(Skt.) Kauinya

plumn

(Skt.) brahmin

Jtn

(Skt.) Gautama

... ...
Dbn jng : 6
Vocabulary

bblush

Skt. pal, trumpet-flower tree

fntulsh

Skt. puar, lotus tree

plush

Skt. la, shala tree

shlshsh

Skt. ira, acacia tree

wznplu
mensh

Skt. uumbara, cluster fig tree

nj l sh

Skt. nyagrodha, banyan tree

bdush

Skt. pippala, sacred fig tree

... ...
63

Dbn jng : 7
Vocabulary

next

... ...
From context, assembly here refers to groups of disciples, rather than to the number of
times a Buddha preached.

64

Dbn jng : 8
Vocabulary

Jinch

(personal name), Skt. Skanda

Tsh

(personal name), Skt. Tiya

zhng

middle; among

dy

first

pf

(personal name), Skt. Abhibh

Snpp

(personal name), Skt. Sabhava

Fyu

(personal name), Skt. roa

Ydum

(personal name), Skt. Uttama

Sn

(personal name), Skt. Sajva

Plu

(personal name), Skt. Vidhra

Shpnn

(personal name), Skt. Bhujiya

Ydulu

(personal name), Skt. Uttara

Plup

(personal name), Skt. Bhradvja

Shlf

(personal name), Skt. riputra

Mjinlin

(personal name), Skt. Maudgalyyana

... ...

65

Dbn jng : 9
Vocabulary

zhsh

administrative; administrator, attendant

Wyu

(personal name) lit. Without Grief, Skt. Aoka

Rnxng

(personal name) lit. Tolerant Practice; P. Khemakara;


Skt. Kemakara?

Jmi

(personal name) lit. Tranquil Extinction; P. Upasannaka;


Skt. Upanta?

Shnju

(personal name) lit. Well-Awakened; P. Buddhija; Skt.


Bhadrika?

nh

(personal name) lit. Peaceful Harmony; P. Sotthija; Skt.


Svstika?

Shnyu

(personal name) lit Good Friend; P. Sabbamitta; Skt.


Sarvamitra

nn

(personal name) Skt. nanda

... ...

66

Dbn jng : 10
Vocabulary

Fngyng

(personal name) lit. Broad-Shouldered; Skt.


Susavttaskandha

Wling

(personal name) lit. Immeasurable; Skt. Atula

Mioju

(personal name) lit. Marvelous Awakening; Skt.


Suprabuddha

Shngshng

(personal name) lit. Superior, Majestic; Skt.


Pratpana?

Dosh

(personal name) lit. Leader; Skt. Srthavha

Jjn

(personal name) lit. Gathered Army; Vijitasena

Luhulu

(personal name) Skt. Rhula

... ...

67

Dbn jng : 11
Vocabulary

Pntu

(personal name) P. Bandhum; Skt.Pu

Pntupt

(personal name) P. Bandhumat; Skt.?

zh

to govern

chng

city

Dbn jng : 12
Vocabulary

Mngxing

(personal name) lit. Brightness; P./Skt. Arua

Gungyo

(personal name) lit. Radiance; P. Pabhvat; Skt.


Prabhvat

Gungxing

(personal name) lit. Brilliance; P. Aruavat; Skt.?

Dbn jng : 13
Vocabulary

Shndng

(personal name) lit. Good Lamp; P. Suppatta; Skt.


Supradpa

Chngji

(personal name) lit. Proclaim Conduct; P. Yasavat;


Skt.Uttar?

Wy

(personal name) lit. Without Compare; P. Anopama;


Skt. Anupama

68

Dbn jng : 14
Vocabulary

Sd

(personal name) lit. Sacrifice Obtained; P. Aggidatta; Skt.


Agnidatta

Shnzh

(personal name) lit. Good Branch; P. Viskh; Skt.


Vikh

nh

(personal name) lit. Peaceful Harmony; P. Sotthija; Skt.


Svstika?

Dbn jng : 15
Vocabulary

Dd

(personal name) lit. Great Virtue ; P. Yaadatta; Skt.


Yajadatta?

Shnshng

(personal name) lit. Skilled in Victory; P. Uttara; Skt.


Yaovati?

Qngjng

(personal name) lit. Clear and Pure; P. Sobha; Skt.


obhavat?

69

Dbn jng : 16
Vocabulary

Fnd

(personal name) lit. Brahma Virtue; Skt./P.


Brahmadatta

Cazh

(personal name) lit. Patron; P. Dhanavat; Skt. Vikh

Jp

(personal name) P. Kikin; Skt. Kkin

Pluni

(personal name) Skt./P. Vrnas

Dbn jng : 17
Vocabulary

Jngfn

(personal name) lit. Pure Rice; Skt. uddhodana

Dqngjngmio

(personal name) lit. Great Pure and Marvelous; Skt.


My

Jipluwi

(place name) Skt. Kapilavastu; P. Kapilavatthu

70

Dbn jng : 18
Vocabulary

ynyun

causes and conditions; circumstances; story

zh

wisdom

hunx

bliss, happiness

al

love and joy

71

Dbn jng : 19
Vocabulary

yu

right

xi

side

to enter

earth

zhndng

to shake

fng

to emit, to put forth

gungmng

light

generally, universally, everywhere

zho

to shine

shji

world

sun

yu

moon

to reach

ji

all

mng

to receive

yumng

darkness

zhngshng

all beings

djin

to see

realm, path of existence

again; moreover, further

mgng

the devils palace, Maras palace

Sh

(usually ) akra / Indra

Fn

Brahma

zrn

of itself; naturally

xin

to appear, to make manifest

72

Dbn jng : 20
Vocabulary

tinz

lit. children of heaven, heavenly beings, minor deities

zh

to hold

halberd

mo

spear

qnro

to harass, harm

As noted above, grammatically, could refer to either the bodhisattva or his mother.
Use of the term later in the text suggest the former is right. See, for example, 23 and especially
26 below.

73

Dbn jng : 21
Vocabulary

nyn

serene, at peace

nohun

troubles, difficulties

oneself

gun

to see, to observe

jin

to see, to view

shn

body

gn

faculties; organs; limbs

jz

complete, fully formed

xi

faults, blemishes

zmjn

polished red gold

hu

dirt, filth

lil

beryl (often glossed as lapis lazuli, but lapis lazuli is


usually opaque, and here the gem is translucent)

niwi

inner and outer

qngch

clear; translucent

zhngy

clouded, visually impaired; obstruction

74

Dbn jng : 22
Vocabulary

yn

lasciviousness; lust

hu

fire

zhsu

(in <subject + object + verb> phrase, marks the verb as


passive; i.e. the subject is verbed by the object)

shorn

to burn

75

Dbn jng : 23
Vocabulary

fngch

to uphold, to honor

five

ji

precepts

fnxng

Skt. brahmacarya, pure practices; religious conduct;


often means celibacy

dxn

devotion and faith

rni

benevolence and love

chngji

to accomplish

wi

fear

hui

to go bad, to deteriorate, to fail

mng

life

zhng

to end

Doltin

the Daoli Heaven, Skt. Tryastria

76

Dbn jng : 24
Vocabulary

dng

when, at that time

his, her, its

sh

at first; to begin

nmng

darkness

mng

to receive

77

Dbn jng : 25
Vocabulary

shu

hand

pn

to climb; to grip

zh

branch

to recline, to lie down

xing

fragrant

shu

water

qin

before, in front of

to stand

wirn

only, uniquely; it is so

(negation)

hui

to harbor, to have

yuq

worries and sadness

Dbn jng : 26
Vocabulary

hu

dirt, filth

wrn

stained, polluted, sullied

78

Dbn jng : 27
Vocabulary

du

to fall

xng

to walk

paces, steps

fsh

to support

to raise

pin

pervasive; everywhere

fng

direction

shu

hand

yo

to want, will

to save, to deliver

bng

sickness

death

79

Dbn jng : 28
Vocabulary

qun

fountain, spring

yng

to bubble forth, to spring forth

wn

warm

lng

cold

gng

to supply

zoy

to bathe

Dbn jng : 29
Vocabulary

tizi

prince

Pntu

(personal name) P. Bandhum; Skt.?)

mng

command

to approach

to remove, pull back

clothing

complete

xing

marks, signs

zhn

to prognosticate, evaluate, assess, divine

to go to; (we have also seen as destination)

brn

necessarily

doubt

ru

if

ji

home, household

80

zhunln
shngwng

Wheel-turning Sagely King, Skt. Cakravartin

tinxi

lit. all under heaven; here: continent

wng

to be king of, to rule

sbng

fourfold army (four types of troops), Skt. caturagabala

pinwng

Bias, prejudice

benevolence

qbo

seven gems, Skt. saptaratni

of itself; of themselves

zh

to arrive

yngjin

brave and stout

to subdue

wi

external, outside; foreign

enemy

bngzhng

weapons

tapng

great peace

shho

The ten epithets (the ten major terms for a Buddha:


Tathgatha, Bhagavat, etc.)

81

Dbn jng : 30
Vocabulary

ynqn

sincere

zisn

lit. two and three; repeatedly

chng

again; repeatedly

gng

further (we have seen this word before meaning to


experience)

this; these

feet

peaceful; steady

png

flat, even

mn

full

do

step

yn

stable, steady

xingln

wheel

spoke

gung

light

zho

to shine

wngmn

webbed

goose

82

Dbn jng : 31
Vocabulary

rurun

soft

zh

digits

xin

slender

chng

long

gn

heels

chngmn

full

sh

to see

yn

to tire of; to dislike

deer

bchng

limbs

yngzh

straight

gu

hook; hooked

su

link; linked

bones

ji

joints

sulin

linked; chain

yn

penis

mcng

lit. hidden like a horses, i.e. retractable

chu

to hang down

gu

to exceed

knees

83

Dbn jng : 32
Vocabulary

kng

hole, pore

mo

hair

yu

right

xun

to turn, to spiral

yngm

to be upturned, facing up

gn

brownish black

lil

beryl

color

hungjn

gold

pfu

skin

xrun

soft

chn

dust

jin

shoulders

qtng

even, equal

yunho

perfect

xing

chest

wn

ten thousand; swastika

[Chinese] character, symbol, word

chng

length

bi

double

qch

lit. seven places (arms, feet, shoulders and neck)

84

Dbn jng : 33
Vocabulary

chng

length

gung

width

dng

equal, the same

njl

(kind of tree) Skt. nyagrodha, banyan tree

jich

jowls, jaws

shzi

lion

xingyng

chest

fngzhng

square and complete; well proportioned; broad

ku

mouth

ch

teeth

qpng

even

dense

jin

space

xinmng

sparkling

ynhu

throat

wi

flavor

chngsh

to call satisfying, to be satisfied; to find agreeable

sh

tongue

ear

sh

to lick

zu

left

fnyn

the voice of Brahma (Skt. brahmasvara)

qngch

clear

yn

eyes

gnqng

deep blue; deep green; pitch black

ni

ox

shn

to squint; to blink

mi

eyebrows
85

ho

hair

rurun

soft

fine

moist

yn

to pull

xn

(a measure of length, about eight feet)

fng

to release

then

xunlu

to spiral, to coil

zhnzh

pearl

dng

the top of the head

ru

meat, flesh

bun, topknot

86

Dbn jng : 34
Vocabulary

xkng

space

fng

wind

rain

chn

dust

earth

hunx

happy, joyful

yngy

to raise, to nurture

xijun

tired

Dbn jng : 35

87

Vocabulary

tngz

child

entire

gu

kingdom, country

sh

men of standing; men

women

sh

to view, to see

ynz

surfeit, feel is in excess

fbo

to assist and protect, to coddle

bo

precious, valuable

hu

flowers

Doltin

the Daoli Heaven, Skt. Tryastria

harmonious

elegant

jilupnji

Skt. kalavika, a melodious bird (perhaps a cuckoo)

nio

bird

ch

thoroughly, completely

yuxn

Skt. yojana (measure of distance)

jin

gradual

zhngd

to mature, grow up

zitin

(he who is) in heaven; the ruler, the king, the emperor

zhngtng

main hall

do

way, path; moral teachings

kihu

to preach, to enlighten

benevolence

to reach

shmn

common people

mng

famous

virtue

88

Note: is apparently a folk etymology of the word vipayin (paya means


to see); a common Chinese translation of the name Vipayin was Shnggunf
(Buddha of superior vision).
The Scripture of the Account of the World (Shj jng ) , another scripture included in the
Chng hn jng (from which you will read a selection in volume two of the primer),
describes ten characteristics of the gods of , one of which is that they do not blink.(T.
no.1, Vol.1, p. 132c).

89

Dbn jng : 36
Vocabulary

yugung

to travel; to tour, to go on an excursion

goch

to command

to drive

ynji

to adorn (a vehicle), to make ready, to harness

bo

precious

ch

cart, chariot

to go to

that

yunln

park

xnxng

to tour, to inspect

bin

thereupon, then

qy

to finish, complete

hun

to return

jn

today, now

tizi

prince

chng

to ride

road

jin

to see

tu

head

ch

teeth

lu

fall

min

face

zhu

wrinkles

shn

body

bent over, stooped

zhzhng

cane, staff

li

weak, sick
90

steps

chunx

to pant

xng

to walk

to look at

wn

to ask

to answer

shngshu

lifespan

min

to avoid

hun

sickness; disaster

(interrogative)

rn

it is so

inevitable, necessarily

ho

wealthy, prosperous

jin

poor; miserable; low born

ysh

thereupon

chngrn

disappointed, disillusioned

yu

to be happy

hu

to return

ji

to drive

gng

palace

jngm

quietly, silently

swi

to think, to reflect

91

Note: We know that in the phrase it is the charioteer speaking because


is used by an inferior to address a superior.

92

Dbn jng : 37
Vocabulary

do

road

fng

to meet

to be silent

in the past

zhnxing

to read someones signs, to tell ones fortune

dw

is or is not, could it be?

(interrogative)

sh

establish, make, set out; take

fngbin

expedience, Skt. u pya; measures

sh

to cause to

shn

deep, profound

wy

five desires (there are various sets)

yl

entertainment

ynsh

ornament, adorn, decorate

gnggun

palace buildings

jinz

to select

cin

beautiful women

93

Dbn jng : 38
Vocabulary

moreover, furthermore

mng

life; to order

bng

sick

belly

minm

countenance

lhi

dark yellow

alone

to lie down

fnch

the removal of filth, to clean; what is taken away after


cleaning, i.e. filth, rubbish (other editions of the text give
the more usual fnhu ).

zhnsh

to gaze upon, to watch over

kd

painful; intense suffering, acute pain

nng

can, to be able to

tng

pain

pqi

to press upon

cnwng

to live and to die, survival

date, appointment

gu

noble, high born

94

Dbn jng : 39
Vocabulary

gng

further, again

zng

to increase

jyu

performers and musicians

95

Dbn jng : 40
Vocabulary

diverse, varied

color

zng

fabric, cloth

fn

banner

qinhu

before and after

doyn

lead, precede; here, accompanying

zngz

family, clan

qnl

relatives and neighbors

bi

bad, sorrowful

ho

to shout,to wail

kq

to cry, to weep

sng

to send off

jn

termination, ending

fng

wind; here, breath?

xin

first

hu

fire; here, warmth?

next

zh

all

gn

organs; faculties

huibi

to destroy, to break, decay

different

shji

home; husband and wife

lbi

to depart; to separate

96

Dbn jng : 41

97

Dbn jng : 42
Vocabulary

shmn

Skt. ramaa

clothing; to wear

ch

to hold, to grip

alms bowl

ground

shl

to abandon, to cast off

ni

affection and love, attachments

xi

to cultivate

shy

to drive, to ride; to control, to master

rn

to taint; be tainted by

wi

external

compassion

yqi

all

shnghi

to hurt, to harm

sadness, sorrow

to meet

xn

to enjoy, to delight

rn

to tolerate

yng

forever, always

ju

cut off

chnli

lit. burden of dust, burdens of the world

qngx

pristine, pure

wimio

subtle, marvelous

wi

only

kui

happy; pleasure

98

99

Dbn jng : 43
Vocabulary

tch

to cut off

xf

hair and beard

zh

aspiration, will

qi

to seek, to request

tiof

to tame

xny

intention

to depart from

chngu

filth, dirt

nurture

qnshng

the masses of beings; all beings

qnro

disturbance, harassment

xxn

modest, humble

jngm

silent

duty; to take as a duty, to devote oneself

xn

then, subsequently

ch

to order

to carry; to take

bng

together with

and

nin

cart, chariot

custom, habit

zj

self reliant

sh

arts

100

101

Dbn jng : 44
Vocabulary

kno

suffering, affliction

lin

to be enamored of, to crave

qng

emotion

mi

to extinguish, destroy

kurn

expansive

to be enlightened; enlightenment, insight

xi

to go down, descend

step; to take a step

zhngjin

in the midst of

zhan

to turn, revolve, in turns; gradually

yan

distant; to distance oneself

fzhu

to bind, to tie; attachments

xin

all

sh

to abandon

rng

honor, glory

wi

position

snq

to cast off

zhng

to value

wngji

to go towards

qu

to beg, to ask

102

Note that the Buddha here is reasserted as speaker.

103

Dbn jng : 45
Vocabulary

nshu

to receive, to accept, to take in

together with

zh

(marker of possession); him; her; to go

zizi

everywhere

jiohu

to teach and transform, to proselytize

cn

village

gngjng

to respect, venerate

ssh

the four things (i.e. the four basic necessities: clothing,


food, bedding, medicine).

gngyng

to provide

kuno

hubbub, noise

qnzhng

masses, throng

xn

then, subsequently

hu

to obtain, to get

zhyun

goal, ambition

zhanjng

concentrated, with intensity

xi

to cultivate

zu

to do, to make

mn

to pity

nmng

darkness

wicu

fragile, weak

yun

on this basis, according to these conditions, following

yn

dark (the yin of yinyang); group, mass

lizhan

to circulate, flow

qing

to exhaust, to end

xio

to understand

lio

completely; to complete

104

105

Dbn jng : 46
Vocabulary

yu

to exist; being (the conventional translation in this


context is becoming, but this is based on Sanskrit and
Pali and isnt easily derived for the word ).

gunch

to observe

yu

to come from; source

to arise

grasping, taking

love, affection, craving

shu

receive; here: to sense, feel

ch

contact

lir

lit. the six entrances; the six sense organs (organs for
sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and thought)

mngs

name and form

sh

consciousness

xng

to act; conduct (the conventional translation in this


context is dispositions )

ch

ignorance; madness

yu

worry, grief

bi

sadness, sorrow

pain

no

frustration

shng

full, abundant; to flourish

zh

wisdom; knowledge

yn

eyes; sight, vision

ju

feeling, perception; awakening

mng

light, clarity

tng

understanding

hu

wisdom

zhng

verification; realization
106

107

Dbn jng : 47
Vocabulary

nshn

backwards and forwards; upstream and downstream

sh

truthfully

zu

seat

nudulu
snmio snpt

Skt. anuttarasamyaksambodhi, complete and perfect


enlightenment

108

Dbn jng : 48
Vocabulary

xi

to cultivate

gun

contemplation

nyn

peace, tranquility

chl

separation; to depart; to distance oneself from

109

Dbn jng : 49
Vocabulary

shn

profound

wimio

subtle

nn

difficult

ji

to understand

xmi

to extinguish; to be extinguished; extinction

fny

mundane, ordinary

to reach

this

different

rn

to endure, to tolerate

according to

to delight in, to like

qi

to seek; to request

duty; to take as a duty, to devote oneself to

custom, habit

shn

very, extreme

lio

completely, entirely

rn

yet

pi

double, twice as much

gng

moreover

chro

disturbed, anxious

mrn

silently; to be silent

110

Dbn jng : 50
Vocabulary

Fn

Brahma

bin

thereupon, then

bihui

corrupt, in decay

can be

but, yet

imn

sorrowful compassion

mio

marvelous

pr

it is like

lsh

strongman

qshn

to bend and extend, to flex

arm

qng

instant, moment

gng

palace

hrn

suddenly

to stand

tu

head

min

face

ritual; to pay obeisance

feet

qu

to retreat; but
111

zh

to stop; to abide

ymin

one side

knee

zhu

to touch

ground

ch

to cross; to interlink

hzhng

to press the palms together

chngu

dust, filth

wib

slight, thin, meager

gn

roots, faculties

mngl

fiercely sharp, very sharp

gngjng

to respect

easy

kihu

enlighten and transform; to teach

wib

to fear

ji

to save; to expiate

zu

crime; sin, fault

112

Note: Above, could be taken to refer to either the Buddha, or those who hear his
instruction. That is, is the Buddha saying that teaching those incapable of understanding him
would be troublesome to them or to him?

A similar phrase in the next passage ()


is equally ambiguous. In the corresponding passages in the Pali it is clear that it is the Buddha
who would would find this sort of fruitless teaching troublesome.
The phrase could be taken in at least three different ways: Does Brahma
fear that people will commit these horrible sins? Or does he fear that the Buddha will commit
the sin of not saving them? Or is he saying that the people fear committing these sins? In this
case, a passage below (in 52) suggests that the third interpretation is correct. That is, it is the
people who fear committing unredeemable sins. The passage in question below is:

113

Dbn jng : 51
Vocabulary

you

dn

however, but

zhng

correct

sngq

Skt. asakhya (infinity, infinite)

qnk

diligent, hard-working

xi

to rest, to be slack

sh

begin; only now, just

hu

to obtain

yn

lasciviousness

anger

ch

foolishness, stupidity

chng

to bear

yng

to use

vainly

lop

to tire

xingfn

oppose, be in conflict with; opposite of

rn

to be polluted by

ymng

ignorance and darkness

covered, blanketed

114

Dbn jng : 52
Vocabulary

fchng

repeatedly

qunqng

to supplicate, to request

ynqn

sincerely, devoutly, diligently

knc

sincerely, devoutly, diligently

zisn

repeatedly

shjin

the world (Skt. loka)

bin

thereupon, then

huibi

to destroy, to ruin

yun

to hope, to wish for

fyn

to sermonize; to expostulate

zhilu

to fall, to descend

yq

lit. the remaining realms, that is, the realms of rebirth


other than the human realm.

fyn

Buddha eye, the sight of a Buddha

gu

dirt, pollution, defilement

hubo

thick and thin; mild and extreme

ldn

sharp and dull

nny

difficult and easy

wi

to fear

zu

fault, sin,bad ways

do

path (of existence)

hu

Flower (also written )

yublu

Skt. utpala, blue lotus

btum

Skt. padma, a kind of lotus

jiwtu

Skt. kumuda, white lotus

fntul

Skt. puarka, kind of lotus

hu

may, perhaps; some

wn

mud, dirt
115

ji

all

fki

to unfold; to blossom

Dbn jng : 53
Vocabulary

mn

to love

kiyn

to expound

gnl

sweet dew

shu

to receive

benefit

116

Dbn jng : 54
Vocabulary

hunx

bliss, joy

yngye

overjoyed

ro

to circle; to circumambulate

a circle, a round

xin

to appear, to manifest

xin

first

shi

who

Pntu

(place name) P. Bandhum; Skt.?

Tsh

(personal name) P. Tissa; Skt. Tiya

chnz

official, minister

Jinch

(personal name) Skt. Skanda; P. Khaa

lsh

strongman

qshn

to bend and extend, to flex

arm

qng

instant, moment

Lyyun

Deer Park (Skt. Saragantha)

dosh

lit. tree of the Way; the bodhi tree

to put out, to set forth

117

Dbn jng : 55
Vocabulary

it is appropriate, fitting

shu

to protect, to guard; keeper

xng

to carry out

su

location, place

to speak (y); words, language

qng

you

xun

to announce, to proclaim

jin

gradual; incrementally

sh

to demonstrate, show, teach

lx

profit and joy

sh

to give, to donate

ln

discourse, theory

jng

clean, pure

lu

lit. outflow (Skt. srava); affliction.

hun

troubled, afflicted

zntn

to praise

dy

first, foremost

rurun

soft, receptive, supple

kn

to sustain, be capable of

shngd

holy truth, noble truth

fyn

to expound

kiji

to explain

fnb

to announce, proclaim

xunsh

to explicate

yo

essential

118

119

Dbn jng : 56
Vocabulary

fynjng

lit. the purity of the eye of the Law (Skt.


dharmacakuviuddha); the ability to perceive
accurately.

plain, unadorned

zh

substance, material

rn

dye

earth

shn

spirit

chng

to sing out

zhan

to turn

ln

wheel

zhnzhan

continuously, one after the other

shng

voice; sound

ch

to penetrate; to reach

Thuzzitin

lit. Heaven of Those Who have Mastery Over the


Creation of Others (Skt. Paranirmitavaavartin)

xy

in an instant, in a moment

120

Dbn jng : 57
Vocabulary

gu

the fruit, the results, the benefits

zhnsh

true

to deceive

chngji

to accomplish, to achieve

wi

fear

zzi

mastery; freedom; unimpeded

kj

lit. the border of suffering; the last life in which one will
suffer

jji

the complete precepts

sh

things

shxin

to show, to demonstrate; demonstration

shnz

Lit. either divine feet or the basis of divine [power]; in


China often understood to mean the ability to move
great distances in an instant; here, the term refers to
supernormal powers more generally (Skt. ddhi-pda)

guntxn

lit. to see anothers heart; to read minds

jioji

instruction; the ability to instruct

wluxn

lit. mind of no outflows; untainted mind (Skt.


ansrava-citta).S

jitu

liberation, release

doubt

121

Dbn jng : 58
Vocabulary

rnmn

people

Dharma

clothing; to wear

ch

to hold, to grip

alms bowl

sh

to abandon

sh

world, worldly

rng

honor, glory

wi

position

sh

to cause

snq

to cast off

zhng

to value

wngy

to go towards

122

Dbn jng : 59
(You should know all of the vocabulary in this passage!)

Dbn jng : 60
Vocabulary

shngshng

to ascend

xkng

space

hu

fire

shnbin

divine transformations; miracles

qin

to dispatch, to send off

yuxng

to travel, to wander

together

123

Dbn jng : 61
Vocabulary

Shututin

Skt. uddhvsa, Pure Abodes

to disappear

fnb

to distribute

yngh

to protect

to wait

bin

convenient

to approve, assent

Dbn jng : 62
Vocabulary

xk

to approve of, to permit

zhch

to hold, to keep

124

Dbn jng : 63
Vocabulary

q y

to finish, complete

shch

to have, to hold

Dbn jng : 64
Vocabulary

jiji

to cross, to form

fzu

to sit cross-legged, in the lotus posture

rnr

tolerance (Skt. knti)

125

D bn jng : 65
Vocabulary

Luyuchng

(place name) Skt.Rjagraha

Qshjushn

(name of mountain) Skt. Gdhraka, Vulture Peak

bin

to reach

ch

besides

sh

if

Wzotin

Not Created Heaven (Skt. Avha, one of the five


uddhvsas, Pure Abodes)

zhungsh

mighty man, powerful man

janzh

Skt. Akaniha, of whom none is the youngest (one of


the five uddhvsas, Pure Abodes)

Only non-returners (bhun , nhn , Skt. angmin) are born in ,


which includes five separate worlds, including and .

Congratulations! You have now read an entire sutra (minus the versus). For review, read the sutra
again (given in full below), as much as possible without recourse to the vocabulary lists.

126

. ...

127

...
7

128

... ...

129

10

... ...
11

12

13

14

15

16

130

17

18

19

20

131

21

22

23

24

132

25

26

27

28

133

29

30

31

32

134

33

34

35

135

36

37

136

38

39

40

137

41

42

43

44

138

45

46

139

47

48

49

140

50

51

52

141

53

54

55

142

56

57

58

143

59

60

61

144

62

63

64

145

65

146