December 22, 2016


A small word such as go ’dun can cause some problems. The Tshig mdzod chen mo (s.v.) notes that it is an old (rnying) word (i.e. archaic or obsolete). It provides four meanings: (1) “whatever desired” (gang mos) (as a noun?), (2) “various” (sna tshogs), (3) “cleansing substance (i.e. soap?)” (’dag rdzas), and (4) “gathering” (tshogs pa) or “assembly” (’du ba). The word is found in the Mahāvyutpatti (no. 6262): skad go ’dun gyi ming. Sakaki seems to have misunderstood the word go ’dun for he has rendered it into Chinese as ninety-seven (i.e. as if go bdun). Jäschke correctly understood the word where he renders it as “of different sorts” and provides sna ’dun as its equivalence (Jäschke 1881: s.v. go). Etymologically, I wonder how we should understand? Perhaps go should be understood as in the case of go skabs and go ’phang and hence something like “situation” or “occasion” and ’dun as “wish.” Thus: “as occasioned by one’s wish” and hence “various” (i.e. all that can be considered according to one’s wish)?


  1. D, I'm scratching my head over this, but besides relieving my itchy scalp nothing seems to result from it. So I'll just congratulate you on an interesting post, with hopes to see more of them in the coming year. Happy light holy days! I guess he's not at the center of your devotional life, but anyway, Happy Tsongkhapa Day to you and yours from me and mine.
    Yours, D