Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Ali, Kali as Grammatical Terms in Tibet

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  • Harvard-Yenching Institute

    Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit li, Kli as Grammatical Terms in TibetAuthor(s): Roy Andrew MillerSource: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 26 (1966), pp. 125-147Published by: Harvard-Yenching InstituteStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2718462 .Accessed: 01/10/2014 17:31

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  • BUDDHIST HYBRID SANSKRIT ALI, KALI AS GRAMMATICAL TERMS IN TIBET

    ROY ANDREW MILLER YALE UNIVERSITY

    ; E Luil-ston-pa rtsa-ba sum-cu-pa (hereafter: SCP) = Vye2yka- rana-mula-trimsat, the first of the two early Tibetan gram- matical treatises attributed to Thon-mi Sambhota,1 begins its

    description in sloka 1 :1-3 with the introduction of two untranslated Indic grammatical terms:

    yi ge 'ah li kah li giiis/ 'ah 1i gsal byed 'i sogs bzi / kah 1i sum cu tham paho / "The letters [of the Tibetan script consist of] two [varieties], 2li

    and kli; [if we] make clear the li [they consist of] four, 'i, etc., [and] the kli are thirty." At first glance the passage does not appear to be a particularly

    difficult one, but closer inspection soon shows it to be more carefully put together and more demanding in its interpretation than it might at first appear. These difficulties are most apparent in any attempt at

    1 Texts, translations, and commentaries in Jacques Bacot, Les slokas grammaticaux de Thonmi Sambhota, avec leurs commentaires, traduits du tibetain et annotes [= Annales du Musee Guimet, Bibliotheque d'etudes, tome 37] (Paris, 1928); Johannes Schubert, "Tibetische Nationalgrammatik, i. Teil: Das Sum-cu-pa und Rtags-kyi-'ajug-pa des Lama Dbyanis-can-grub-pai-rod-rje, Ein Kommentar zu den gleichnamigen Schriften Thon-mi Sam-bho-ta's. Ubersetzt und erkliirt," MSOS 31(1928).1-59; idem, tI. Teil," MSOS 32(1929) .1-54; Johannes Schubert, Tibetische Nationalgrammatik, Das Sum cu fia und rtags kyi 'ajug fia des Grosslamas von Peking Rol fiai rdo rje, Ein Kommentar zu den gleichnamigen Schriften Thon. mi Sambhota's auf Grund der Erk1drung des Lamas Chos skyon- bzaii -Po,Lo. tsa ba vonZha -lu [= Artibus Asiae, Supplementum Primum] (Leipzig, 1937); Inaba Shoju ri ft Chibetto-go koten bunpogaku 1- -Z '!1

    M (Kyoto, 1954), for which cf. the review by G. Morichini, East and West 6(1955). 172-175, and that by the author in Language 31(1955).477-485, as well as Nils Simons-

    son, Indo-tibetische Studien (Uppsala, 1957), p. 225, n. 2.

    125

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  • 126 ROY ANDREW MILLER

    rendering the second line of the sloka; the version above is simply an English equivalent which follows closely Inaba Shoju's Japanese ren- dering, shion wo [akiraka ni sureba] sanjui de aru, with brackets as in his translation.2 Here the Japanese scholar has taken 'ah li in the second line of the sloka as the direct object of gsal byed, which he treats as a subordinate verbal element in the sentence; here as in other instances it is more than worthwhile to inspect Inaba's meticulous renderings of the SCP slokas with some care, since even when it is eventually necessary to differ with his interpretation, he still always provides a solid basis for the discussion. Bacot, for example, in his translation of the sloka text has simply: "I1 y a deux sortes de lettres, les voyelles et les consonnes. / Les voyelles sont quatre, i, u, e, o. / Les consonnes sont trente,"3 which gives the over-all sense in a gen- eral way but completely obscures the details of the sloka's statement.

    The difficulties of the sloka cluster around two main problems: (1) the identification and origin of the Indic grammatical terms written in the Tibetan text as 'ah li and kaht li, i.e. the terms ali and kali. Chandra Das' Introduction to the Grammar of the Tibetan language. .. (Darjeeling, 1915), page 1, and the usual bilingual Tibetan lexical sources of the West following him, simply refer them to "Sanskrit ali, kali," but these are terms which are wholly unknown to the standard Sanskrit lexical tools, surely a surprising omission if they are indeed Sanskrit, and unknown to the Sanskrit grammarians as well. Most surprisingly (and significantly) they are unknown as grammatical terms to the Mahizvyutpatti (hereafter: MVP) ,4 which registers only ali as yur-phran, "a small ditch, water-course, conduit," with the later and slightly misleading Chinese gloss hsiao ch'i 4'I9 "small rivulet, creek" (No. 4177). They are also unknown to the Tibetan-Sanskrit dictionary of Tse-rifi dbafi-rgyal,5 who does however register a full repertory

    2Inaba, oP. cit., p. 325: JoS [RF 6; tb 11_ =] ~+Z C ) 7. Perhaps he meant to write "shion wo akiraka [ni sureba], etc."; this would more closely agree with the Tibetan.

    3 Bacot, oP. cit., p. 76. 4 Sakaki Ryosaburo I Honyaku myogi daishui ' [ = Kyoto

    teikoku daigaku bunka daigaku sosho Dai san -] (Kyoto, 1916); idem, [vol. ii, Sanskrit index] [= idem, Dai sanRfukan (Kyoto, 1925); Nishio Kyao , Honyaku myogi daishuF Chibettogo sakuin g,, p i [= Butten kenkyu, dai ichi 1 V- (Kyoto, 1936).

    5 Tse-ring-ouang-gyal (Che rifi dban rgyal), Dictionnaire tibetain-sanscrit, reproduction

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  • ALI, KALI AS GRAMMATICAL TERMS IN TIBET 127

    of all possible equivalents for Tibetan gsal byed, including the most common vyanjana of the grammarians and Panini's sivasuitra abbrevi- ation hal (more properly, hal) 6 for "consonant." And the MVP knows gsal byed as a translation of vyanijana (No. 2013). Tse-rifi dbafl-rgyal also registers many equivalents for dbyaiis, including the grammarians' most usual svara, the less common aksara, and Panini's abbreviation ac, i.e. ac for "vowel"; the MVP is familiar with the dbyanis = svara equivalence (No. 248, among numerous instances), but again ignorant of zli in this connection. All of this confronts us with the other chief problem presented by the SCP passage as cited, (2) why does the second line of the sloka appear to equate, or at the very least bring together into some sort of relationship, the term cli, concerning which those sources which know it all agree on the fact that it has reference to "vowels," and gsal byed, which all sources agree has reference to "consonants"? It should also be possible, in the course of considering these two problems, to arrive at a more or less satisfactory interpretation of sloka 1 of the SCP, especially of this second line. The first step in approaching both problems lies in an inspection of what the more important Tibetan commentators on the grammatical literature have said about the passage.

    The so-called Za-ma tog, actually the Bod kyi brdahi bstan-bcos legs- Par bsad-pa rin-po chehi za-ma tog bkod-pa of Dharmapalabhadra (1441-1528), does not appear, at least in those portions of the text available to us in Berthold Laufer's "Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft der Tibeter. Zamatog,"7 to use the terms ali and kali; it has instead

    Phototypique publie'e par J. Bacot [ = Buddhica, Documents et travaux pour I'etude du bouddhisme, deuxieme serie: Documents-tome II] (Paris, 1930). For the preface to this work, see now J. Bacot, "Titres et colophons d'ouvrages non canoniques tibetains. Textes et traduction," BEFEO 44(1954).275-337.

    6 Betty Shefts, Grammatical Method in Panini: His Treatment of Sanskrit Present Stems [= American Oriental Series, Essay i ] (New Haven, 1961), p. 7. The Paninian siivasiutra enumeration of sounds was known to the Tibetan grammarians in, for example, the translation by Jetakarna and Ni-ma rgyal-mchan dpal-bzafi-po of the Candra-vyakarana- sultra, Tanjur 116, no. 3604, where following Candragomin the fifth and sixth of the 14 sivasu7tras are put together into a single one, hayavaralan; cf. Bruno Liebich, "Das Candra-Vyakarana," NAachrichten von der Konigl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Got- tingen. Philologisch-historische Klasse, 1895, pp. 280-281.

    7 In Sitzungsberichte der Philosoplhisch-philologischen und der historischen Klasse der k. b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Miinchen, Jahrgang 1898, Erster Band, pp. 519-594.

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  • 128 ROY ANDREW MILLER

    the simple statement dbyaiis yig 'i 'u 'e 'o bzi / gsal byed ka sogs sum cu ... /, "die vier Vokalbuchstaben i, u, e, o und die dreissig Kon- sonanten k u.s.w." in Laufer's translation of the passage, which is in either the conclusion of part 7 or the beginning of part 8 of the work.8 In addition, the Za-ma tog employs the expression gsal byed tha ma at least twice; one instance is in the epitome of parts 1 through 6 of the work, in the following passage: re rehii gsal byed tha ma danl / 'i 'u 'e 'o ya ra la / wa yig rjes hjug bcu yis brgyan; this Laufer rendered "die einzelnen jeglich sind mit dem letzten Konsonanten, / mit i, u, e, o, y, r, 1, / w und den zehn Suffixbuchstaben geschmiicket," and added "unter dem letzten Konsonanten ist 'a yig go der Buchstabe 'a zu verstehen."9 The other instance is in a gloss inserted between lines 9 and 1o of the article from the Za-ma tog, part 1, on words in k-: ka yig la snion hjug mgo gsum med pa gsal byed tha ma daii dbyaiis bzi dani ya ra la wa danz rjes hjug gis phye bahi brda ste," which Laufer ren- dered, "der Buchstabe k ist ein Zeichen, das erlautert (weiter ausge- fiuhrt) wird durch den letzten Konsonanten ('a), die vier Vokale, y, r, 1, w und die Suffixbuchstaben; hier aber, wo es sich lediglich um den Buchstaben k handelt, kommen die drei Kopfprafixe (r, 1, s) nicht in betracht (da sie spater unter den Rubriken rk, 1k, sk abgehandelt werden) ."'0 In both these instances it is clear from the context and from the over-all meaning of the statements that gsal byed tha ma, though it appears literally to mean, as Laufer translated it, "the last consonant [i.e. of the Tibetan alphabet when given in its usual order, hence] 'a" and although the gloss to the passage in the epitome seems to state this explicitly, cannot be so understood here. The graph 'a is not used in the Tibetan script in any way that such an interpretation of these texts would imply, and hence the meaning is different. This is in fact the type of statement that Dharmapalabhadra employs in order to express the vowel a; for the same technique of statement in the translation of a Sanskrit grammatical work, see in the Tibetan transla- tion of the Cendrauna:di-vrtti, Tanjur No. 3726, by Thugs-rje dpal- bzaii-po = Krpa4ribhadra, rd/dha sdzdha yanz dag par grub pa laho / da yig dha yig dag gi 'a yig klog pahi don no /, "der Buchstabe a in da

    'Text in ibid., p. 546; translation, p. 548. 9 lbid., pp. 539, 540. 10 Ibid., PP. 574-575.

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  • ALI, KALI AS GRAMMATICAL TERMS IN TIBET 129

    und dha steht der Aussprache wegen.""l The Za-ma tog epitome is stating here, in effect, that various ones from among the simple graphs, and hence the simple phonemes, of Tibetan may have added to them the vowels a (gsal byed tha ma), i, u, e, and o, or -y-, -r-, -1- or -w-, or one of the ten final consonants; the second Za-ma tog passage too yields to this interpretation. The difficulty arose because of the double use of the last graph of the writing system as both a consonant and a vowel symbol, and Dharmapalabhadra is here actually making the statement unambiguous by using gsal byed tha ma for a as a vowel only.

    The grammatical views of Dharmapalabhadra are also available through the Sum-cu-pa dan rtags-hjug-gi don inuin-inur bsad -pa blo-ldan dgah bskyed, which Rol-pahi rdo-rje based on Dharmapalabhadra's school teachings,12 but this text has only a list of the four vowels 'i 'u 'e 'o which it equates with ali = dbyafis, and the thirty consonants which it equates with kali = gsal byed.13

    The great commentary of the Mahapandita of Si-tu, completed in 174414 (ed. Sarat Chandra Das, op. cit., p. 7, 1. 14), glosses ali as 'a-phren and kali as ka-phreni, in the sense of "the 'a (and k) rows, lines," and equates these with gsal (scil. byed) and dbyanis respectively; the Mahapandita's long note on the second line of SCP ?loka 1 is best approached through its epitome in the Si-tu hi Zal-lun of Dharma- bhadra,15 who draws upon the Mahapandita in writing as follows:

    spyir yi ge la 'ah li ste 'a la sogs pahi 4ph rein ba dbyafisyig danz / kah li ste ka la sogs pahi 4phrein ba gsal byed kyiyi ge giiis suyod la / bye brag tu bod yig la ni legs sbyar gyi 'ah lihi bya ba gsal byar mtshon par byed

    11 See Bruno Liebich, op. cit. (in n. 6 above), pp. 278, 300, 301. 12 Inaba, Op. cit., p. 35. 13 J. Schubert, Tibetische Nationalgrammatik ... , pp. 29, 43, 44. 14 See my paper "The Si-tu Mahapandita on Tibetan Phonology," in iaaM Vl

    i:tgn-B?n9;t [A Collection of Papers Commemorating Dr. Hachiro Yuasa's Seventieth Anniversary] (Tokyo, 1962), pp. 921-933.

    15 Dharmabhadra has unfortunately had a bad press in the West, beginning with Bacot's remark that the somewhat inferior text which he translated "a semble au dge s'es Don grub l'emporter sur le merite d'un autre abrege de la grammaire de Situ, celui de Dharma bhadra" (op. cit., p. i); but Inaba's Bunpigaku, with its meticulous edition of the text and carefully annotated translation, even though unfortunately only covering those portions of Dharmabhadra which are on the SCP, now restores this commentary to its rightful place.

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  • 130 ROY ANDREW MILLER

    pahiyi ge 'i 'u 'e 'o bzi dan / kah li mtshon par byed pa / ka kha ga ii...