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Sanskrit-Chinese Lexicon (being Fan Fan Yu, the first known lexicon of its kind dated to AD 517

Sanskrit-Chinese Lexicon (being Fan Fan Yu, the first known lexicon of its kind dated to AD 517
Item Code: IDK119
Author: Prof. Lokesh Chandra , Prof. Dr. Raghu Vira & Dr. Yamamoto Chikyo
Publisher: International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 9788177420746
Pages: Xiii+245
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 11.2" X 8.8"
Back of the Book

The Sanskrit-Chinese Lexicon is a transcription, reconstruction and translation of the Chinese work Fan Fan yu, compiled from sutras, vinaya, sastras and lost travel accounts. It is the earliest known themtic lexicon of Sanskrit complied by the eminent Chinese monk Pao-ch'ang in AD 517. It includes words from lost Chinese translations of Buddhist sutras. The names of Central Asian and Indian cities, monasteries and caityas quoted from the records of the travels of Chih-meng and T'angwu-chieh is of historic importance. They followed Fa-hsien and preceded Hsuan-tsang by two centuries. Chih-meng left the Chinese capital in 404. He traveled through Central Asia to the NW and as far as Pataliputra. He visited South India and Srilanka long before Hsuan-tsang. He returned to China by the land route in 447, after having traveled across India for forty years. He names his teachers. The second pilgrim T'ang -wu-chieh started from China in 420-22 with twenty-five companions. He traveled via Central Asia across the north and south of India to Srilanka. He too names his teachers. He went to Srivijaya and returned to China by sea. The names of cities, kingdoms, kings, teachers, monasteries and stupas in this Lexicon are important material for the study of ancient Indian history and the evolution of Buddhism. As early as 1905, Prof. Sylvain Levi and pointed out the importance of this Lexicon in the BEFEO. The present translation of this Lexicon will provide valuable materials for the study of Buddhism in Central Asia, India, Srilanka, Indonesia and China. Scholars will be able to take up the analysis of this Lexicon as a source for the history and geography of the aforesaid of Asia.

Prof. Lokesh Chandra has edited this book from three drafts and notes by his father the late Prof. Raghu Vira and Prof. Yamamoto Chikyo. This posthumous work is a tribute to the academic contributions of Prof. Raghu Vira and his Japanese Dr. Yamamoto.

Areas of interest: China, Central Asia, India, Srilanka, Indonesia, Buddhism, monasteries, Buddhist masters, geography and history of these countries.


Fan Fan Yu (Jap. Hombongo) is the earliest known Sanskrit-Chinese lexicon, classified according to subjects. It gives the Sanskrit word in Chinese transcription, followed by variant transcriptions, correction of the transcription introduced by 'should say', meaning and finally its source: sutras, vinayas, sastras, or travel accounts from which the word has been taken. The entire text is in ten scrolls, divided into 73 sections. It was edited in the Taisho edition of the Chinese Tripitaka (no.2130 in volume 54, pages 981-1054) on the basis of a copy in the collection of Bunyiu Nanjio (called A) with his notes (Taisho 54p. 981 n.1). Variant readings have been cited from another copy owned by Prof. Junjiro Takakusu (referred to as B).

The name of the compiler has been lost. It carries a foreword by Abbot Kenga, who was appointed as the Deputy Abbot of the Toji monastery by the Government. He was a resident of Jodo in of the Kajuji monstery. He wrote the foreword at the age of 58 years or 49 years after entering the Buddhist Sangha, on the 16th day of August of the Kampo era (AD 1741). He attributes the lexicon to Shingyo of Asukaji monastery.

According to the introduction of Abbot Kenga of the Toji Monastery, "This book consists of ten introduction of ten scrolls. It was edited by Shingyo of the Asukaji monastery. This is sought for by the world (of scholars). One day I went up to the Daigoji monastery. The day I lectured on Shittan-jiki (Record of Siddham), Sango-shiki (Directions on the Three Doctrines), Gyojo-ki (Record of the Life) etc. at the guest-room in the Kodai-in temple, companions (by chance: note of A) saw this book. This is the copy in the possession of Reverend Shinken. It has been preserved for long at the bottom of the book-box. It is very much eaten by bookworms. I returned home with it. I read it on loan when…. I cloud not restrain from feeling that I was traveling to the Land of the Buddha or that I was going to China. I have made Joshin Miyano copy it. Even taking the correct version, there might be something unintelligible. So much the more of the handed down version. Such errors as a tiger is changed into a dog cannot be avoided. When later people read it, they should bear this in mind. Please not that it is not allowed to be taken outside. Never be negligent. Be careful when you use this book".

Prof. Gemmyo Ono points out that Shingyo wrote a lexicon entitled Bongoshu (Collection of Sanskrit Words). It is later than the Fan Fan Yu by two or three hundred years. This is the first Sanskrit lexicon made in Japan. The life of Shingyo is not well known. His sect was Hosso (Vijnanavada). He was an incomparable authority in the science of lexicography. His works comprise 'Dictionary of Mahaprajnaparamita, 'Dictionary of Yoga-sastra' and Bongoshu. Extracts from the first work are contained in the Japanese Tripitaka. The 'Dictionary of Yoga-sastra' is quoted in Gashusho of Acarya Shinkaku. Bongoshu or 'Collection of Sanskrit Words' is in three rolls, and it seems to be shorter that the Fan Fan Yu. Tarayosho of Shinkaku quotes almost all of it. It is later than Sui and T'ang. It was popular up to the beginning of the Kamakura epoch. It may be preserved in some monastery even now. It is unfortunate that I have not been able to locate it."

Prof. Ono says further that the contents of the Fan Fan Yu clearly indicate that is written in China and was brought from there. The editors of the Taisho Tripitaka say that the author is unknown.

Fan Fan Yu is not found among the works by Pao-ch' ang (Jap. Hosho) in the official catalogue of the Chinese Tripitaka entitled Li-tai-san-pao-chi or "Record of Triratna of the Past Generations". Its 11th fascicule enumerates the following eight books by him: 1. Different aspects of Sutras and Vinayas, 55 rolls.
2. Lives of eminent priests, with introduction and catalogue, 31 rolls.
3. Shugyohankushosoho, 5 rolls.
4. Catalogue of scriptures, 4 rolls.
5. Catalogue of names of nagarajas who protect the land (from several scriptures), 3 rolls.
6. Names of Buddhas (from several scriptures), 3 rolls.
7. Catalogue of names of nagarajas who protect the land (from several scriptures), 3 rolls.
8. The method of how to repent and how to remove sins (taken from several scriptures), 3 rolls.

We cannot conclude simply that Fan Fan Yu is not by him, even though the names enumerated in the aforesaid "Record of Triratna" which he edited in the 17th year of Tenkan. This is evident from the commentary "these are seen in the catalogue of Paoch 'ang' at the end of the above quoted enumeration. The enumeration seems to be only of books edited under imperial orders. Perhaps the "Lives of Eminent Priests" is an exception. These are not all the works of Pao-ch'ang. In other words, there were books, which were authored by Pao-ch'ang. In other words, there were books, which were authored by Pao-ch'ang as an individual, as well as after the 17th year of Tenkan.

The "Catalogue of Siddham Books" by Acarya Shingen of Enryakuji monastery on Mount Hiei records: "Fan Fan Yu, 10 rolls, edited by Pao-ch' ang of the Chuang-yen-ssu monastery of the Liang, brought by Jikaku" alias Ennin (who lived 797-864). The "Catalogue of all the Siddham Collections" adopts this statement. The "Catalogue of Newly Acquired Scriptures from China" of the great teacher Jikaku lists the Fan Fan Yu, and indicates that Fan Fan Yu was broght from T'ang China by him in AD 847. Annen (born 841) had studied exoteric and esoteric teachings under Jikaku, from whom he received his bodhisattva precepts in 859. Annen wrote the Hakke-hiroku "Esoteric Record of Eight Masters" in which he cites the title Fan Fan Yu in ten scrolls, but the name of the author is not mentioned.

Acarya Shingen is the only one to record distinctly that the Fan Fan Yu was compiled by Pao-ch'ang (Hosho) in the Liang (Ryo) period. We have to await the discovery of the ancient document on which Acarya Shingen would have depended. Prof. Gemmyo One gives several reasons to attribute the Fan Fan Yu to Pao-ch'ang.

The first reason: looking at the contents of this book, its date cannot go before South Ch'i and cannot come after the Sui period in China. It pertains exactly to the epochs of Liang and Ch'en. The reason is that the sutras, vinayas and sastras which are quoted as the sources of each word are generally translations and works before the South Ch'i period. Few are the books current after the Sui and T'ang periods. Moreover, the sutras which had been lost long ago and whose authenticity had been doubted and works, which had been lost already in Sui and T'ang periods, are quoted in large number. This fact makes us consider that the present work was written in an quoted in large number. This fact makes us consider that the present work was written in an epoch when the Tripitaka was not well arranged, and both authentic and un-authentic sutras were current side by side. This state of the Tripitaka seems to be of the epoch of Liang. It is only after Sui that the Tripitaka was arranged.

Besides the sutras, vinayas and sastras, Fan Fan Yu often quotes the records of the travels of Buddhist pilgrims to India, like:
(i) Shusanjo-myosu. The author is not known. It may be Butsushosei-myosu of Oshu of the South Sei, in five rolls.
(ii) Record of the travels of Chih-meng at the end of Eastern Chin, entitled Wai-kuo-chuan "Record of Foreign Countries".
(iii) Travels of T'ang-wu-chief at the beginning of Sung, entitled Li-kuo-chuan 'Record of Many Countries'. T'ang-wu-chieh came from the Koryo province in the epoch of Ryuso. He has himself described his travels to the West in the Record of Triratna in Past Generations. It seems to correspond to the Lives of Eminent Priests of Liang, second roll: "Once there was a sramana called Hojo (Dharma-vardhana). He travelled to the Land of the Buddha and wrote a record in four rolls". Or it might be "he died in the last year of the Genka era of the so period at Seito. He went to the West and wrote a record"

There is the evidence of the Record of Foreign Countries to which sramana Chih-meng traveled. I saw it once in the capital of Shoku i.e. Seito in the article of Chihmeng of Ryuso in Shakahoshi. We do not know to which of the two books it belongs. Whatever it be, the two books are records of travels of one who went to India almost contemporary to Fa-hsien. These travels covered a large are and were more detailed than Fa-hsien's. As far as I have seen and heard, these two books have never been quoted elsewhere after Sui and T'ang. It shows that Fan Fan Yu was edited in a period when these two books were popular.

Sanskrit-Chinese Lexicon
1.Epithets of the Buddha1
2.Names of the Buddha2-7
3.Names of the merits of the Buddha7-8
4.Names of Buddhist dharmas8-15
5.Names of dharmas of non-Buddhist sects15-17
6.Names of various dharmas17-33
7.Names of Bodhisattvas34-38
8.Names of the abodes of Bodhisttvas38-39
9.Names of the meditations of Bodhisattvas40
10.Name of Pratyekbuddhas40-41
11.Names of bhiksus41-66
12.Names of Bhiksunis67-72
13.Name of sramaneras72-73
14.Names of sramanerikas73
15.Name of virtues of of sravakas73-75
16.Names of various meditations75-76
17.Names of sins and crimes76-77
18.Regulations of the kathina robes77-87
19.Names of brahmanas88-91
20.Names of ksatriyas92-101
21.Names of upasakas102
22.Names of upasakas103-104
23.Names of sages (rsis)104-106
24.Names of non-Buddhists106-113
25.Names of ministers113
26.Names of distinguished men (sresthin)113-115
27.Names of laymen (grhapati)115-116
28.Names of ladies (devi)116-117
29.Names of women117-120
30.Names of various men121-145
31.Names of various families145-146
32.Names of gods147-151
33.Names of demons152-154
34.Names of nagas154-157
35.Names of small horses158
36.Names of horses159
37.Names of various beasts of hunting159
38.Names of birds159-161
39.Names of fishes 161
40.Names of insects or worms161-162
41.Names of hells162-163
42.Names of worlds164-165
43.Names of countries165-176
44.Names of cities176-181
45.Names of towns181-182
46.Names of big villages182-183
47.Names of villages183-186
48.Names of monasteries186-187
49.Names of temples187-188
50.Names of localities188-189
51.Names of mountains190-195
52.Names of rivers195-197
53.Names of big rivers197-198
54.Names of ponds198
55.Names of islands198-199
56.Names of places199
57.Names of waters199-200
58.Names of fire200
59.Names of wind200
60.Names of gardens200-202
61.Names of forests202-204
62.Names of trees204-208
63.Names of grasses208-209
64.Names of grasses209-210
65.Names of flowers210-214
66.Names of fruits214-215
67.Names of dresses215-218
68.Names of medicines219
69.Names of beverages and foods219-222
70.Names of depositories222
71.Names of treasures222-224
72.Names of seasons224-225
73.Names of numbers225
Index of Sanskrit words226
Appendix:The transcriptions and translations of Pali and Sanskrit geographical names in the Chinese Tripitaka (cited from Akanuma Chizen, Indo Bukkyo koyu meishi jiten)226

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