November 05, 2014


Sabine Klein-Schwind has been working on the Mahāvyutpatti and integrating the items into the ITLR database, and we have been encountering several problems of various kinds. Today, we discussed, among others, mṛtagṛha (Ishihama 1989: no. 7068 = Sakaki 1916: no. 7104), which is said to be a “‘house of the dead,’ a tomb” (MW, s.v.). The problem is that in MW, the only source seems to be Buddhist literature (probably meaning the Mahāvyutpatti), and Isaacson tells me that it does not seem to be attested anywhere else. Another question is whether pramārita (Jäschke 1881: s.v. mchad pa) is attested, although mārita (“murdered”) is not a problem. And what about the Tibetan translation of mṛtagṛhaAs reported by Ishihama 1989, sDe-dge and Co-ne read chad pa’chad pa by Peking and sNar-thang, and mchad pa by Leningrad Ms. But Sakaki 1916, in addition to mchad pa and ’chad pa, has also mtshon pa. In older Tibetan sources, orthographies mchad pa and ’chad pa can well be interchangeable. So, this is not a big deal. But let us consider mchad pa to be standard and that it means “tomb” or “sepulchre” (as recorded by Jäschke 1881: s.v. mchad pa) and “cemetery” (dur khrod) according to the Tshig mdzod chen mo (s.v.). But can it be that the Jäschke’s only source is again the Mahāvyutpatti? If not, do we have other indications that mchad pa indeed means “cemetery” or “place for the tomb”? If we consider words such as mchad gnas (= dur gyi gnas) and mchad sgam (= ro sgam) also the component of the personal name “mChad-ka-pa,” which I believe means “Dur-khrod-pa” (i.e. one who leads a certain ascetic form of life), it seems that Tibetans have not forgotten the meaning of mchad pa as a “cemetery” or “tomb.” But what about mtshon pa given in Sakaki 1916 (no. 7104) as a translation of mṛtagṛha? I personally think it is simply a corruption or misreading of mchad pa caused by some certain graphic similarity.

1 comment:

  1. It seems there are a few other indications than the Mahāvyutpatti that mchad refers to a tomb: for example, the term dur mchad occurs in the Don yod zhags pa ("dur mchad du bcug pa'i ro"). Mchad also occurs a passage in the Vinaya-kṣudraka-vastu ('dul ba phran tshegs kyi gzhi): "ji tsam na rgyal po de yang dus las 'das nas/ btsun mo dang / gzhon nu dang / blon po dang / skye bo mang po dag gis de skem mo go'u ta mi dang lhan cig tu bkur sti cher byas te/ mchad pa'i nang du bcug go".