August 25, 2012

ས་ཕུད་བླ་མ། ས་གཅོད་བླ་མ།

Some of us might like to ask: “What on earth is a Sa-phud-bla-ma (“Sa-omitting-bla-ma”) or Sa-gcod-bla-ma (“Sa-excluding-bla-ma”)? Well, these are nicknames given by Tibetan grammarians to sDe-dge-bla-ma Nor-bu-bstan-’dzin, who has maintained that secondary postscripts (yang ’jug), are not attested in Thon-mi’s treatise but were created later at around the time of gTsang-nag-pa Rig-pa’i-seng-ge. Sa-phud-bla-ma was a contemporary of Mi-pham (1846–1912). For a discussion, see Tshe-tan-zhabs-drung, Thon mi’i zhal lung (pp. 95–104, 198–199).


  1. Dear D,

    Do you think your SA-subtracting Lama is the same as this author?

    Tshogs shul Bla ma Nor bu bstan 'dzin (b. 1835)
    Yi ge'i dag sdeb skor, Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang (Chengdu 1987).

    Actually, I'm sure it is. There is a reference to Tshogs-shul Bla-ma Nor-bu-bstan-'dzin's work Yi ge'i dag sdeb in Acarya Sangye T. Naga, On the Function of Tibetan Letters, The Tibet Journal, vol. 24, no. 3 (Autumn 1999), pp. 57-76, at p. 66.

    It says there he actually spelled like 'Jam-dpal-dbyang, and leg-bshad!

    Another misguided attempt at language reform, you think?


  2. Dear Dan,

    Apologies for the delay. And as always, thank you for the reference. I think, too, he must be the same Nor-bu-bstan-’dzin mentioned by Tshe-tan-zhabs-drung. Yes, I do think that people like Mi-pham saw it as a misguided attempt to reform the orthography. His Sa mtha’ rnam ’byed clearly shows the necessity of sa mtha’.

    gzigs shig gzigs shig lugs ’di gnyis la gzigs ||
    gzig gcig gzig gcig lug ’di gnyis la gzig ||

    Greetings from Korea!


  3. One leopard! One leopard! This sheep is a leopard for two.


    Leopard is one! Leopard is one! A leopard for these two sheep!

    Sorry, I couldn't resist risking a translation or two (two translations for the price of one, what a deal!)