Dhamma written in ten different scripts

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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:39 pm

:thumbsup:

I like the 'H' with what almost looks like an eternal knot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_knot
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:31 pm

I updated the image in the OP for the corrections for the Sinhala and Cyrillic. Let me know if you see any other corrections needed. :thanks:
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby vinodh » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:08 pm

The Sinhala Text is wrong.

The Virama should ligate with Ma.

Also, when Pali is written in Sinhala, special conjuncts are used used. i.e in Dhamma - both ma ma touch each other to show they are a single consonant cluster.

Though, the Virama forms are acceptable.

The Brahmi Text is also wrong..

It must have a small ma below the Big ma
http://www.virtualvinodh.com

Buddhists Texts in Brahmi Script : http://www.virtualvinodh.com/brahmi-lipitva

yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati
One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Chula » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:23 pm

The Sinhala script should be:
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:23 pm

vinodh wrote:The Brahmi Text is also wrong..

It must have a small ma below the Big ma


Okay, thanks.

The second character after the D should be the same, but a smaller version?
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:25 pm

Chula wrote:The Sinhala script should be:


Okay, thanks. I have been having a hard time getting the Sinhala script right, even after consulting with Sri Lankans! It is best just to receive the correct script from a Sinhala writer in an image form, like you have done.
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Dhamma written in Sinhala (conjoined consonants)

Postby jsv » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:24 pm

vinodh wrote:Also, when Pali is written in Sinhala, special conjuncts are used used. i.e in Dhamma - both ma ma touch each other to show they are a single consonant cluster.

That's the closest I can get to the correct rendering:
Image

David N. Snyder wrote:I have been having a hard time getting the Sinhala script right, even after consulting with Sri Lankans!

It takes some very strong magic. :) Support for such "exotic" languages in modern OSes is still far from perfect.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Chula » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:32 am

Yes this is the more historically accurate rendering of Pāḷi in Sinhala script. Letters are not conjoined in this fashion in Sinhala anymore, and there is no loss if one were to switch to a modern Sinhala rendering for convenience (especially since Unicode doesn't support this as far as I know).
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:47 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Dhamma is a Pali word but Pali does not have a script of its own. It uses the script of various languages where the Dhamma is being taught. The Tipitaka was an oral tradition and written down in the first century BCE in Pali. But several hundred years before that, King Ashoka had many edicts written in Pali using the Brahmi script. Listed below is the word Dhamma written in ten major scripts. Notice that the Brahmi script has the first character which makes the "Dha" sound and is almost identical to our letter "D."

Image


Hi David

Thanks for this list. Interesting. I just have 2 brief comments.

The Chinese, would be pronounced Zhenfa (Zhen means true and Fa means dhamma) in modern Mandarin, so I would say it is probably a translation rather than a transliteration into another script. On the hand it could have been a transliteration as the pronunciation of Chinese characters varies considerably from region to region and dialect to dialect. Da -ma could be the prounciation of the 2 characters in the western regions in 400AD.

The Japanese is just a transliteration though, Daruma.

And you write the language of the Asokan inscriptions was Pali (and in another post in reply to another question of mine). I have never heard this before. Asoka write a large number of edicts in a variety of languages - some even bilingual and one of 2 in Greek I believe, but I have never heard of any being in Pali. Prof K.R. Norman writes that he thinks the scribes wrote in, and translated into, the local dialect of the region. Do you have a source for Pali edicts?

It is also interesting to note that new Asokan edicts or fragments are still being discovered, with one as recent as 1989 at Sannati.

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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:17 am

Hi Bankei,

Bankei wrote:The Chinese, would be pronounced Zhenfa (Zhen means true and Fa means dhamma) in modern Mandarin, so I would say it is probably a translation rather than a transliteration into another script. On the hand it could have been a transliteration as the pronunciation of Chinese characters varies considerably from region to region and dialect to dialect. Da -ma could be the prounciation of the 2 characters in the western regions in 400AD.

The Japanese is just a transliteration though, Daruma.


Thanks!

And you write the language of the Asokan inscriptions was Pali (and in another post in reply to another question of mine). I have never heard this before. Asoka write a large number of edicts in a variety of languages - some even bilingual and one of 2 in Greek I believe, but I have never heard of any being in Pali. Prof K.R. Norman writes that he thinks the scribes wrote in, and translated into, the local dialect of the region. Do you have a source for Pali edicts?

It is also interesting to note that new Asokan edicts or fragments are still being discovered, with one as recent as 1989 at Sannati.


Yes, you are correct. Apparently the edicts were written in several languages including Prakrit and Magadhi and one even in Greek and another in Aramaic!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edicts_of_Ashoka

Prakrit and Magadhi are pretty close to Pali, as Kare noted in another thread, but not the same.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:27 am

zavk wrote:Hmmmm..... it never occurred to me that Dhamma in Chinese is 正 法. That's very interesting. I've only known of Buddhism in Chinese as 佛 教 --- the first character signifies 'Buddha' or 'Bodhi' whilst the second character signifies 'teaching' or 'religion'. So 佛 教 really connotes something like 'Bodhi teaching' or the 'Buddha religion'. Read in this manner, 佛 教 has a certain specificity--and some might say, an institutionalism--about it.

正 法 on the other hand is much broader, like the word Dhamma (as opposed to Buddhism). The first character signifies: 'just (right); main; upright; straight; correct; principle'.

The Chinese script is pictorial in nature, and uses ideograms. So unlike English and other alphabet-based languages, ideograms are often combinations of different characters and can convey multiple meanings, often in poetic ways.

So looking at the character we can speculate on why it signifies 'just, upright, principle,' and so forth. It is is composed of five straight lines, each at a right angle to one another. There is a certain symmetry to the character. It reminds me of mandala patterns.

The second character signifies: 'law; method; way'.

is made up of two components. On the left are three strokes. These three strokes do not stand alone as a character themselves. But they are usually added to other characters as a kind of 'modification' to shift the meaning. The three strokes signify an association with water (although the three strokes themselves do not form the character for 'water'). When added to characters they suggest connotations of fluidity or smoothness.

To the right of the three strokes is which signifies: 'to go; to leave; to remove'. I'm trying to speculate on why this character signifies 'to go' and so forth. It occurred to me that it looks like the outline of a boat: it has a broad base and with a vertical line at the top that resembles a mast. So might connote a sense of being 'ferried across water' or 'that which moves fluidly'.

But this character when combined with other characters signify things as diverse as 'sleeve opening', 'to exercise', 'a pen (that which surrounds)'. So my reading of it as symbolizing a boat could be totally wrong.

Therefore we could say that 正 法 means something like 'the upright/principled/correct way (or law or method)'. And following my speculations about the character as connoting 'fluid ferrying', 正 法 then coincides with the Buddha's simile of the raft, which describes the Dhamma as the 'right teaching that takes one across the river, and which removes one from the shore of suffering and brings them to the shore of awakening.'

India and China are both ancient civilizations. It is likely that the word Dhamma and the Chinese characters that are later used to express Dhamma developed separately. If so, it is fascinating how when the Buddha's teaching eventually reached China, the languages (and thus modes of thinking) so readily support one another.

(BTW, I'm not an expert with the Chinese language. I am, in fact, pretty bad at it. But it is my cultural ancestry and I do have a decent grasp of these basic words. I am NOT trained in Chinese linguistics; these are just speculations on what little I know. Because of my interest in Chan/Zen, I've been curious about how Chinese characters can uniquely express the Dhamma in ways that the English language is unable to. Hopefully, you find this interesting too. :smile: )

EDIT: Just realised this is the Pali forum. This is not quite Pali... sorry.


Actually, 正法 is NOT the Chinese for "dhamma", but the Chinese for "saddhamma".
"dhamma" is just 法.

I think that any etymological analysis of this character in terms of the 氵 radical and 去 are just going to lead to a lot of confusion, as the meaning derived from the radicals and roots was already long since passed before Buddhism made it to China and they decided to use this word as a translation glyph.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:32 am

Bankei wrote:Hi David

Thanks for this list. Interesting. I just have 2 brief comments.

The Chinese, would be pronounced Zhenfa (Zhen means true and Fa means dhamma) in modern Mandarin, so I would say it is probably a translation rather than a transliteration into another script. On the hand it could have been a transliteration as the pronunciation of Chinese characters varies considerably from region to region and dialect to dialect. Da -ma could be the prounciation of the 2 characters in the western regions in 400AD.


"zheng", not "zhen". The meaning is more like "upright", "correct", than true. Maybe you are thinking of 真 which is pronounced "zhen", and also means "true" or "real". Actually, this second character may have been more accurate for the "sad-" in "saddharma", but they seldom used it, and preferred zheng 正 instead by a long way.
Though, as you say, this is just the modern Mandarin, which is usually somewhat different from the earlier dialects at the time of translation.

It is NOT a transliteration, but a translation of "sad-" for "saddharma", (and also "samyak", etc.).
For transliteration, often 達摩 or similar is used.

The Japanese is just a transliteration though, Daruma.


And I believe the Japanese just more commonly use the Kanji as shown above.
The use of transliterated Indic forms is most probably a modern thing, maybe scholastic.

And you write the language of the Asokan inscriptions was Pali (and in another post in reply to another question of mine). I have never heard this before. Asoka write a large number of edicts in a variety of languages - some even bilingual and one of 2 in Greek I believe, but I have never heard of any being in Pali. Prof K.R. Norman writes that he thinks the scribes wrote in, and translated into, the local dialect of the region. Do you have a source for Pali edicts?

It is also interesting to note that new Asokan edicts or fragments are still being discovered, with one as recent as 1989 at Sannati.

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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:00 am

Thanks venerable! :bow:

It is good to have so many linguistic experts here!
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:34 am

Hi Ven

Yes you were right, I did confuse Zheng and Zhen - I am a bit rusty.

In Japanese 達摩 would refer to the Chinese Chan Patriarch Bodhidharma which is would be pronounced Daruma, same as the David's transliteration above. Think it is Tamo in Chinese.

However the characters in Japan would be slightly different (the second one), 達磨.

Thanks

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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:52 am

Bankei wrote:Hi Ven

Yes you were right, I did confuse Zheng and Zhen - I am a bit rusty.

In Japanese 達摩 would refer to the Chinese Chan Patriarch Bodhidharma which is would be pronounced Daruma, same as the David's transliteration above. Think it is Tamo in Chinese.

However the characters in Japan would be slightly different (the second one), 達磨.

Thanks

Bankei


For 達摩 and 達磨, these two are basically interchangable, it is just a transliteration after all, and they are phonetically identical (or at least extremely similar).
There are plenty of examples where either form could be Bodhidharma or just Dharma. And there are other forms too.
The main difference is from the period when the writing is done. Both these two are more early-ish forms. But later, particularly with Tantric texts during the Tang, which contained a lot of transliteration, there is a great proliferation of transliteration variants.
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Unicode and touching letters in Sinhala

Postby jsv » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:55 am

Chula wrote:especially since Unicode doesn't support this as far as I know

Unicode itself does support this already, but most applications still don't.

Here are some Unicode strings for you to test:
Dhamma: ධම‍්ම
Buddha: බුද‍්ධ
sakyaputto: සක්‍යපුත‍්තො

On my linux machine I can see touching letters rendered correctly, but only using Iskoola Pota font and only in Firefox 3 and applications that use Pango rendering engine (that is, Gnome applications). And the picture in my previous post was made with XeLaTeX.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Chula » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:28 pm

Thanks jsv - good to know. It renders fine on Google Chrome. I'm still not clear on how to type that though..
When I do a "හල් කිරීම" after a ම and type another ම, I get ධම්ම. The link doesn't seem to clarify - not a big deal though.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:05 am

The last two posts with the fonts did not show for me at all, just boxes in Firefox or IE. Guess I need to finally download Google Chrome.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:15 am

I'm with Chrome, but it doesn't come out, either.
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Re: Dhamma written in ten different scripts

Postby seanpdx » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:28 am

Most applications these days do not use built-in fonts, so regardless of the application you are using, you still need a font that actually has those particular characters. The two posts in question work fine for me, in Firefox3 under Windows. I'm guessing they would show up fine for me in Firefox on my linux box, also. But I've installed a lot of foreign-character fonts for languages in theravadin countries on both my boxes. Before rushing out and installing new software, look for some fonts to install.
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