August 14, 2012

འཐག ཐག

Someone may have already some time and somewhere already thematised this and if so my apologies for my ignorance. It just occurs to me that ’thag pa in the sense of “to grind” and in the sense of “to weave” maybe somehow related. What is but the commonality in the acts of grinding and weaving? Perhaps in both cases, some strings/ropes (thag pa) are (at least initially) involved? We also have to consider tha ga pa “weaver” and tha gu “small rope.” A question that gnaws at me at the moment is if we can assume a connection between thag in the sense of “distance” and thag pa “rope/string.”

And what about tha chad?


  1. Dear D,

    WHAT about thags, meaning the even spacing (of teeth)?

    Btags-pa can be a past form of both 'thag-pa (to grind, to weave) and of 'dogs-pa (to bind, tie up, label). Are you suggesting that thag-pa (rope) belongs to a semantic field that would include all these verbs? Isn't the rope itself woven? (Change ga-thu to tha-gu.) You can even say thag-pas btags-pa (tied up with rope).

    I've often puzzled about thag-ring-po (distant, faraway) and what it may have to do with ropes. But it seems more likely it has to do with mtha', doesn't it? Or is there a genuinely old term thag, meaning distance (as you find in the Tshig mdzod chen mo?), identical to the word for the even spacing of teeth I mentioned before?

    Do you think grinding and weaving both have to do with fine and even spacings of things? I'm still scratching my head. Maybe because I'm trying to wrap my mind around the conceptual problem. Or maybe because it itches. And what about tha-chad? Am I turning into one of those obnoxious rTog-ge-bas myself?


  2. Dear Dan,

    Actually one could somehow imagine that something that is ”well-set/arranged/knit/woven” can be also “well-spaced” and vice versa.

    Yes indeed one does get a feeling that in Tibetan there is some link among the acts of “weaving,” “grinding,” and (as you point out) also “labelling/affixing/superimposing or putting/pinning up.”

    My feeling (which is by no means a valid cognition) resists against connecting thag in thag ring ba with mtha’. I rather feel that thag (in thag ring ba) and thags (in thags bzang ba) are somehow related. But who knows?

    Maybe by “grinding” something, one renders it fine and “even-spaced.” The question with tha chad is if tha has to do with tha ma or tha gu. What about tha shal?

    Apropos I recall that for Klong-chen-pa (Shing rta chen po, p. 887), there are two kinds of rtog ge ba: sa mtshams kyi rtog ge ba (i.e. all so so skye bo) and grub mtha’i rtog ge ba (ie.g. dngos por smra ba).



  3. So if we accept words as truly existent objects that we could find out definite things about if we were to focus on them intently, we would surely be some kind of rtog-ge-ba! But how are ordinary unenlightened people supposed to be "borderline" rtog-ge-ba according to Longchenpa? Are they somehow 'on edge'?

  4. Let us make an entry for rtog ge ba. :–)