September 21, 2013

རྒོད་པ། རྒད་པ། བགད་པ། དགྱེས་པ། རྒྱས་པ། གྱེས་པ། འགྱེས་པ།

Do we see anything common in the meanings of these words: rgod pa, rgad pa, bgad pa, dgyes pa, rgyas pagyes pa, and ’gyes pa? One meaning of rgod pa is “to laugh.” As an adjective, it also means “wild.” And bgad pa also means “to laugh,” whereas dgyes pa “to be glad/pleased.” In addition, rgyas pa (cf. rgya ba) (opposite of rgud pa) means “to increase/spread,” gyes pa (cf. ’gye ba) “to separate or disperse,” and ’ges pa “to split.” In all of these I see the meaning “to expand (something in one way or another).” Or, is it pure coincidental? Perhaps should rgas pa also belong to this group?


  1. Perhaps it's just the sound of the laughter itself that inspired the words. Usually, in English we think that HA HA is the way to pronounce the sound of laughter, but there is a theory that in PIE (that hypothetical proto-language), people used the word KHA KHA for the same thing. Well, at least this PIE pronunciation would seem to work for the more cackling types of laughter. I'm a little hesitant about bring rgas-pa into the argument. There's nothing laughable about getting old... or is there?

  2. With reference to rgas pa, what I had in mind was as one goes on expanding, one may increasingly thin out and ultimately die. But of course, as Vasubandhu indicates, one does have to grow old to die.

    1. Please note that “…one does have to” > has to be corrected to “…one does NOT have to.”