August 05, 2012


I am not a “treasure revealer” (gter ston/bton) who reveals treasures from his own mind although this crazy idea popped into my head this morning. So we have yod do cog and yin no cog, etc. kind of construction and the function of -o cog is clear. It is a “totaliser.” Hence sangs rgyas kyi gsung yod do cog may be rendered as “all those teachings of the Buddha that exist.” So my crazy idea is that cog in yod do cog is actually chog meaning “to suffice” or “to be adequate.” So what sangs rgyas kyi gsung yod do cog actually says is that “the teachings of the Buddha exist, [to the extent that they would] suffice (or be adequate).” Now my beloved readers, you may either say that this makes no sense whatsoever, or, that it makes sense, but there is nothing new or original in it. In either case, I would not mind at all.

In the OTDO, the number of occurrences of -o chog is greater than that of -o cog.


  1. If anyone might want to be a treasure revealer (your letter of recognition is in the mail), to my thinking there is no better place to go than the OTDO.

    I went there, and as you know in Old Tibetan docs the 'c' / 'ch' distinction is no big deal, so your cog = chog idea may really be flying quite high as far as I see.

    Well, the server doesn't seem to be responding right now, but you can go to OTDO yourself. If I remember right, the constructions mi-'o-cog and lha-'o-cog are repeated several times. These examples are not (I repeat not) used with verbal forms, but simple nouns! Does this help or hinder our insight, oh wise one?

    Grasshopper (on the understanding that che-ge-mo must be from cog-cog-pa, or cha-ga-pa, or tsa-ga-pa?).

  2. Dear Dan,

    I cannot go to the either. The server does not react.

    But I still think our examples mi’o cog and lha’o cog would not hinder our insight. As for the examples NOT being used with verbal forms but with simple nouns, I must point out this. I am wont to argue that a final particle (rdzogs tshig) in a sentences with the syntactical structure “X ni Y’o” functions like the verb “to be.” So mi’o and lha’o in our examples DO contain verb “to be” (cf. also the use of the final participle in nga’o snyam pa). So mi'o/lha’o cog can be rendered as “all [beings that] were/are humans/gods.”

    Hope I am making some sense.



  3. Dear D,

    No, not the least reason to worry about it. You're making perfect sense!

    Here's an example from one of the edicts of Trisongdetsen (from Mkhas-pa'i Dga'-ston, p. 371):

    gnam sa'i rim pa lha 'o cog dang / bod yul gyi sku lha dang / lha dgu thams cad dang /

    But soon after (p. 375), an example with a verbal form:

    skye ba rnam bzhi'i nang du skye zhing 'khor ba la gtogs so cog / dang po'i thog ma med pa nas / tha ma'i mtha' myed pa'i bar du / (several more example of usages with verbal forms in following lines).

    There's one example in the Mtshur-phu Rdo-ring inscription, too.

    So anyway, Old Tibetan seems to know usage with pukka verbs. I seem to remember some examples of legs-so-cog and the like that could be seen as using adjectives, too, which I think would only go to support the idea of the 'invisible verb' inherent in the final 'O' in this construction...

    Enough for now!


  4. Dear Dan,

    Thank you for the examples. I would, however, like to clearly distinguish in Tibetan between adjectives (e.g. chen po “big”) and adjectival verbs (e.g. che ba “to be big”) (to be distinguished from “verbal adjectives”). In the example legs so cog, I would consider legs to be an adjectival verb ”to be good” rather than an adjective “good.”



  5. There is the similar +o-'tshal (also spelled +o-'tsal) suffix in Dunhuang documents (there are a lot of examples of both spellings that can be found in the above-mentioned OTDO website). How would you understand the 'tshal in these types of constructions (It seems to me relevant to the +o-cog (or +o-chog) you blogged about here.