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Okaya

A request for some help in translating a few Chinese phrases in English

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Okaya

Greetings everyone,

I am glad to have joined this forum. I have visited periodically for some time now and have been finding the information and discussions conducted here most interesting. Thus, I eventually decided to join the forum formally.

I have a question regarding translating some phrases from a book I got recently. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Having a knowledge of Sanskrit and being desirous to translate some texts, I ordered this book recently: "A catalogue-index of the Tibetan Buddhist Canons", and upon receiving it I found out that the chapter titles (and one whole chapter), are in Chinese. Now, Chinese is a language I know very little of, apart from having a general idea of it's structure while also being able to recognize a small number of characters. Other languages present in the book I mentioned include Sanskrit, and Tibetan. I got it for the Sanskrit entries in it, and expected that since the title was in English, the book itself would be probably arranged in a similar language. But it appears that this is a partial reprint of a 1934 Tokyo edition, which may have been written in Chinese (and thus the chapter titles remained). I have tried to decipher the chapter titles and have made some progress, but there remain some characters I have not found in the online dictionaries I consulted. Images of the titles can be found below.

Table of contents.

Chapter 1.

I have failed to find the first character, which appears throughout the chapter titles, although I gather that it means something akin to "chapter", "part", or something similar. By searching I found that 西藏 denotes "Tibet". I have failed to find the last character though, which probably is meant to denote "text", or "written work" perhaps? This chapter is in Tibetan, I gather that it may mean "List of works in Tibetan".

Chapter 2.

This is mostly resolved for me, as I found that 梵 denotes "Sanskrit". So following my previous reasoning, "list of works in Sanskrit" maybe?

Chapter 3.

Apart from previously mentioned characters, and "3", I do not know what this may denote. The chapter is in Tibetan.

Chapter 4.

I am not aware of what "Bru-sha" might denote.

Chapter 5.

I've failed to locate these. The chapter is in Chinese throughout.

Chapter 6.

Here I recognize only 名 . Judging from this and the chapter's content, could this be a list of author's names?

Chapter 7.

Chapter 8.

Chapters 7 and 8 appear to be complementary lists, one reffering to the other. I suppose that "西藏藏" may be a compound, and "大正藏" another?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time.

Kind regards, and best wishes,

Okoya

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Mugi

The contents page is actually written in Japanese (so presumeably, the one whole chapter you mention is also in Japanese)

Table of Contents

1. Tibetan [the first character simply denotes ordinal numbers = "No.", but "chapter", "section" or "part" would be good translations here, depending on the actual content of each section; the final character means "language"]

2. Sanskrit

3. Chinese

4. Bru-sha language [not familiar with this language either]

5. Chinese translation(s)

6. Authors

7. Tibet collection - Taisho collection cross-reference? numbers

8. Taisho collection - Tibet collection cross-reference? numbers

Regarding the last two, without seeing the content I'm not sure exactly what the relationship is, but my guess is that the same texts are held by the two collections but catalogued differently, so these are cross-reference lists.

Hope this sheds a little more light.

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roddy

I am glad to have joined this forum. I have visited periodically for some time now and have been finding the information and discussions conducted here most interesting. Thus, I eventually decided to join the forum formally.

And allow us to formally welcome you to the site :)

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Okaya

Thank you for your reply Mugi, this sheds a lot more light, I greatly appreciate the feedback!

I thought that perhaps Japanese might have been the language in question, although seeing that I recognized a number of characters that I was quite aware of in Chinese context, I didn't press on in that train of thought. I apologize for the misleading introduction.

And allow us to formally welcome you to the site :)

Thank you very much for your welcome roddy :) Again, sorry for the slight irrelevancy of my thread, as it appears in retrospection.

Chapter 3 is, after closer inspection, in transliterated Chinese, most probably. I was mistaken because of seeing the latin script transliteration, thinking that it was Tibetan. However, Chapter 5 is the large chapter "in chinese" I was originally referring to. Seeing that the chapter's title is "Chinese translation", I suppose the content is Chinese rather than Japanese. Here are some sample images of the text in Chapter 5. Not very easy to reproduce legibly using a camera, and as parts of each image show more clearly than the rest of it, I make available a few images, while each is a bit shaky or illegible in one way or another. I recognize a number of characters used in Chinese in the text, although as previously, I may be wrong and the language being Japanese.

Picture 1 , Picture 2 , Picture 3.

Regarding Chapter 4, I am unaware of what Bru-Sha refers to also. However, I made a search on it in accordance with your comments and help regarding the fact that the last character means "language". According to this blog entry: "The Bru-sha (pronounced drusha) script supposedly originated from the country of Bru-sha བྲུ་ཤ (also Bru-zha བྲུ་ཞ or Bru-tsha བྲུ་ཚ), which is commonly identified with Gilgit in Pakistan on the basis that bru sha represents Burushaski." . So maybe Bru-Sha denotes "Burushaski language", which according to this wikipedia article is a language spoken in North Pakistan.

Could the character you referred to as meaning "language" also be used to denote "script" (or "written language") in this case?

Regarding the last two, without seeing the content I'm not sure exactly what the relationship is, but my guess is that the same texts are held by the two collections but catalogued differently, so these are cross-reference lists.

Well, I think you are right in your assumption Mugi. The two chapters are composed of tables with catalogue numbers (see here). These are cross-referrenced in each of the two chapters with an apparently different "collection", so I assumed that they were reference tables for finding a given text's position in two different collections.

The feedback is most appreciated. Sorry if my exposition of the book's content seems somewhat fragmentary, but there is actually no introduction, expalanation, or even author's name mentioned therein. Just the table of contents at the beginning of the book, and then the chapters containing the lists themselves. So I'm grapling with the apparent patterns and structures found in it myself in trying to find just how all this fits together, and am not omitting to mention helpful information. I suppose contacting the publishing house would not be helpful either in this direction, seeing that they published the title in this condition in the first place.

Thank you for your help. Any further comments, by you or anyone else, would be most welcome.

Sincerely, and with best wishes,

Okaya

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Mugi
I recognize a number of characters used in Chinese in the text, although as previously, I may be wrong and the language being Japanese.

Yes, this section is ostensibly in Chinese. However, the entries have been ordered according to Japanese conventions, and given other clues (Contents page in Japanese, crossing referencing to the Japanese Taisho collection), the book would appear to be intended for a Japanese readership. That means that it is possible that there are small differences between this text and its equivalent printed in China (i.e. what you have here could be "Japanified Chinese"). I'm not very familiar with Buddhist terminology, so I can't make a cateforical statement one way or another.

Could the character you referred to as meaning "language" also be used to denote "script" (or "written language") in this case?

語 refers to language in general, both spoken and written. It doesn't mean "script" per se, which is a "system of writing". My guess is that section 4 contains Buddhist texts written in this so-called Bru-sha (Burushaki?) language.

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Okaya
Yes, this section is ostensibly in Chinese. However, the entries have been ordered according to Japanese conventions, and given other clues (Contents page in Japanese, crossing referencing to the Japanese Taisho collection), the book would appear to be intended for a Japanese readership. That means that it is possible that there are small differences between this text and its equivalent printed in China (i.e. what you have here could be "Japanified Chinese"). I'm not very familiar with Buddhist terminology, so I can't make a cateforical statement one way or another.
I see. This is most useful feedback Mugi, thank you very much for your help. So I guess the book (which was initially printed in Tokyo and reprinted in Delhi) was originally meant for a Japanese readership. And possibly in it being reprinted, sections remained as-is. The Taisho connection is also rather telling, now that I have made some research on it.
語 refers to language in general, both spoken and written. It doesn't mean "script" per se, which is a "system of writing". My guess is that section 4 contains Buddhist texts written in this so-called Bru-sha (Burushaki?) language.
Ah, I see. So I suppose the reference seems more fitting for referring to the Bru-sha (Burushaki, maybe) language proper, and not simply a script of that name. The 4th chapter, mentioning Bru-sha, has only a single entry and it is in latin transliteration, the entry not being in Tibetan, and I supposed it was Chinese at first. But comparing it with the Chinese entries of Ch.3, it is rather different phonetically. I suppose that it is rather probable that "Bru-Sha language" is referred to, then.

Thank you for your most helpful feedback Mugi, greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

Okaya

Edited by Okaya

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