January 04, 2012


’du shes:

Tibetan translators when translating Sanskrit saṃjñā “notion” as ’du shes must have thought of a sense. What could that be? Were they thinking of saṃjñā in the sense of “agreement, mutual understanding, harmony”? But does Tibetan ’du shes indeed suggest this meaning? Perhaps it does although we would hardly think of its etymology, for we all know its definition “grasping of characteristics” (mtshan mar ’dzin pa). So ’du shes seems to etymologically mean something like ’du ba’i shes pa, that is, “cognition/conception/notion (shes) that gathers (’du) (i.e. sums up or crystallises) [its content].” What saṃjñā does, for instance, after the visual perception of colour blue, is to conceptualise “This is blue.”

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