January 17, 2012

རྨད་དུ་བྱུང་བ། ཕུལ་དུ་བྱུང་བ། ཕུལ་དུ་ཕྱིན་པ།

rmad u byung ba = phul du byung ba = phul du phyin pa. Both mean something like “stunning,” “supreme,” “superlative,” and so on. But what do rmad and phul mean? Jäschke has for rmad pa “wonderful, amazing” but again this meaning seems to be based on the usage of rmad in the phrase rmad du byung ba. Compare also rmad pa = rmad po = rmad po che (Bod rgya). It seems that rmad is a direct opposite of smad and hence if smad means “base” or “nadir,” rmad could well mean “apex, zenith.” Thus rmad du byung ba could literally mean something like “that which has emerged on the apex,” i.e. the best. What about phul? Jäschke knew phul only in the phrase phul du phyin pa and wondered (with a question mark) if it means “end.” I wonder if phul here is linked with phul in the sense of “a handful” and rather means “palm of the hand” and thus phul du byung/phyin pa may mean something like “that which has emerged on or arrived in the hand/palm,” and thus having the meaning of, so to speak, “something that is handpicked,” meaning “exquisite and superb.” But as usual these are very uncertain and highly speculative. 


  1. PHUL BA — mthar skrod pa'am 'ded pa'i don la 'jug ste / " 'dul ba lung rnam 'byed" las / tshe dang ldan pa 'char kas kyang de'i phyi bzhin skas las khang steng 'dzeg par brtsams so // des skas phul ba dang / tshe dang ldan pa 'char ka sa la sgyel nas / zhes dang / "be'u bum sngon po'i 'grel pa" las / de tsa na ngan song du phul yang mi skye / mtho ris kyi skye ba brgyad nas phyir mi ldog par 'tshang rgya bas na / zhes pa lta bu'o //

    Btsan-lha dictionary, p. 484. Banished or chased to the furthest limit? Extra-ordinary? Out of this world?

    RMAD PA / dris pa'i don la 'jug pa yod de / "ngag sgron gyi 'grel pa" las / dris pa'i don can gyi rmas pa rmed pa rmad pa gtam 'dri ba zhu ba / zhes gsungs pa ltar ro // "tun hong gter yig gna' bo'i bod yig shog dril" las / phyis bzhin du bdas pa las / rmad pa khungs ma phyin nas / phyogs bcur 'tshol zhing 'gro ba las / zhes pa lta bu'o //

    Btsam-lha dictionary, p. 667.

  2. Dear Dan, I thought you gave up commenting. :) Thanks for drawing my attention to the brDal dkrol.

    It is true that phul ba has also the meaning of “to push,” “to jostle” as you pointed out from the brDa dkrol (s.v. phul ba). See also Jäschke 1881: s.v. ’phul ba. But I still have difficulty in explaining phul du byung ba or phul du phyin pa.

    This is also true for rmad du byung ba. I still have to rack my brain.


  3. I think we ought to be wracking our brains rather than racking, let alone wrecking, them. But wait, I guess we're not here to make speculative etymologies of English. Or are we? My brain is too much of a wreck today to wrack it, really. ; \|? And now I'm forced to prove I'm not a robot?

  4. Of course, my bad! No, we are not here to make speculative etymologies of English. Nonetheless, the relationship between the usages of wrack and rack is said to be complicated. My Apple Dictionary says “rack (or wrack) one's brains (or brain)” = “make a great effort to think of or remember something.”