February 11, 2014


We all know Karma Pakṣi Chos-kyi-bla-ma. By the way is “Karma Pakṣi” a haplology or haplography for “Karma-pa Pakṣi”? That pakṣi is a Mongolian has been pointed (Tshig mdzod chen mo, s.vv. pakṣi & karma pakṣi) and is said to mean dge rganslob dpon, btsun pa, and bla ma. Also the Li shi’i gur khang by sKyogs-ston-lo-tsā-ba states that it is in Hor (i.e. Mongolian) language and means btsun pa. It is spelled there as pag shi but perhaps a typo?


  1. Hi,
    Paksi in Mongolian language is said to be borrowed from Chinese "fa shi"(法师, usually refered as good learned Samgha in Chinese), but in Manchu language baksi means "bo shi"(博士, scholar, learned man) in Chinese language.
    With best regards.

    1. Besides, according to Dan Martin's Tibskrit 2011
      Nam kwang pab shi, Rgya'i Slobs dpon
      — Poussin, Dunhuang catalogue, no. 26. He is called a 'Chinese Ācārya,' although
      Poussin gives his composition an Indic title *Jināvatāravṛtti (? Rgyal bzhugs pa'i 'grel
      pa). Pab shi is probably equivalent to pag shi (Bakshi).

  2. Dear Liushi, thanks for your additional insight. Is component “Nam kwang” Tibetan or Chinese? D.

    1. "Nam kwang" is Chinese name, I'm sure.
      About "paksi" in detail, you may check in "Loan Words in Tibetan" p485(157.pak-si), by Berthold Laufer, .

  3. Dear D.,
    But the real place to look is Leonard's long article on the subject: "Bagsi and Bagsi-s in Tibetan Historical, Biographical and Lexicographical Texts," Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 39 no. 2 (1995), pp. 275-302. It's great. I've also noticed late 12th-century Kagyu sources (and later) that treat the Pa[g]-shi as an itinerate entertainer, which might better fit the early Chinese meaning... but I'm not the person to ask about that. Off to Olmutz tomorrow. So I'll be out of your hair for a few days. Have a great weekend.
    Yours, D

    PS: Oh, and I'm not so sure there was a "pa" dropped in Karma-pakshi's name. Karma-pa name itself came from the name of a monastery called Karma (or Karma'i Dgon-pa). It was founded by the First Karmapa I in 1186.

  4. PS: How do you etymologize thu-lum, as in lcags-kyi thu-lum? Do the individual syllables make any sense separately or together? Do you think it might be a borrowing?

  5. Thanks to both of you. If we ever want to write a note on the word, we have some references. I personally did not intend to delve into the topic. As for thul lum, I may speculate later. By the way, in Tshangs-lha (that is how I want to spell the name of my mother-tongue), a spherical (ball-like) shape is called tul lum pi.