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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ending the confusion of Nam and Namu

Namaste : I was looking at a Indo-European Language Chart. It began at Proto Indo-European then went to Indo-Iranian, then to Indic, then to Vedic Sanskrit, then it had two languages that were not separated by a line, they were Classical Sanskrit & Middle Indic (Pali, Prakrits). Why was this chart this way, is it because they are so similar? Narapati m. Pali-English English-Pali | Pali grammar | Pali Alphabet 
Nagara - m. city. Naagarika - urban. Naama - n. name, mind. Namo - ind. honour. Narapati - m. king. Naar( - f. woman. Nara - m. man. Naatha - m. lord, refuge. „aati - m. relative. Nattu - m. nephew. „aatu - m. knower. Naavaa - f. ship, boat. Naavika - m. navigator. Nava - nine. Navama - ninth. Navuti - ninety. Netu - m. leader. Niraahaara - without food. N(ca - mean, low. Nicaya - n. accumulation. Nidahati - (ni + daha) lays aside. Nidhaaya - ind. p.p. having left aside. Nigacchati - (ni + gamu) goes away. Nigama - m. town, market N(harati - (n( + hara) takes away, removes. Nikkhamati - (ni + kamu) departs. Nikkha.nati - (ni buries. N(la - adj. blue. N(rasa - sapless, tasteless. N(roga - healthy. Nis(dati - (ni + sada) sits. Nitta.nho - arahant (Desireless One). Nivattati - (ni + vatu) ceases. 

Namaste or Namo transliterates into Namu (Indo-Aryan Prakrits.) not Nam there simply is no justification for the transliteration of Namaste to Nam . Nam can only be found in the Vietmamese dictionary meaning "burnt". 

Viet-nam or nam of Vietnam meaning possibly to go to a southern region or area, going south. To Chant Nam would not mean devotion to the law but would translate to mean burnt- Myohorengekyo or I guess possibly going south. If you find a english to Viet'nam'ese dictionary you will find this to be the case. 

Namah; Pali: Namo; to submit oneself to, from to bend, bow to, make obeisance, pay homage to; an expression of submission to command, complete commitment, reverence, devotion, trust for salvation, etc. -- Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms; with Sanskrit and Sanskrit -Pali index. William Edward Soothill & Lewis Hodous (page 298) 

If you study the religions or history of India the origin of Namaste (Namah; Pali: Namo) a sanskrit language from a time before the birth of the Buddha. Namo was used as above. Nam is not a correct translation in any way shape or form. Nam simple has no origin or relation to Namaste and completely alters the meaning and invocation of the title of the Lotus Sutra. 

Namaste (num'e sta'), n. a conventional Hindu expression on meeting or parting, used by the speaker usually while holding his palms together vertically in front of the bosom. [?]  -- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (page.949) 

Transliterate; to change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language: to transliterate the greek --Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. (page. 1505) 

Transliterate; To represent (letters or words)in the characters of another alphabet. The American Heritage Dictionary. (page. 719) 

Translation; 1.The rendering of something into another language. 2.a version a different language: a french translation of hamlet. 3. change or conversion to another form, appearse, etc.; transformation: a swift translation of thought into action. 4. act or process of translating; stateof being translated. 5. Mech. motion in which all particles of a body movewith the same velocity along parallel paths. 6. Telegraghy. the retransmitting or forwarding of a message, as by rely. 7. Math. a function obtained from a given function by adding the same constant to each value of the variable of the given function and moving the graph of the function a constant distance to the right or left.  -- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. (page 1505) 

Translational, adj--- translationally, adv-syn 2. Translation, paraphrase, version refer to a rewording of something. A translation is a rendering of the same ideas in a different language from the original: a translation from Greek into English. A paraphrase is a free rendering of the sense of a passage in other words, usually in the same language: a paraphrase of a poem. A version is a translation,esp. of the Bible, or else an account of something illustrating a particular point of view: the Douy Version. -- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. (page 1505) 

If someone still can not understand that Nam simply has no origin in any prakrit or sanskirt language that has any relation to the transliteration from Namha, namo, namaste to nam , it can only be from not wanting to see the truth or just ignorance of the process of learning or thinking. Lets look at the thinking process based on a linguistic's point of view. 

What are the pros & cons. of the eclectic approach vs. the theory base approach? 

Namo ind. honour. Narapati m. If you are eclectic, you take in all the data you can and you ask all the questions you can think of, and you try to synthesis what you know. Because there is no particular direction to the questions you ask, you may ask interesting questions that will not occur to others. You may see facts which others will not see. The difficulty will be in knowing why or how these facts are important or whether they hang together. 

If you are theory-based, the theory tells you what facts to look for and what questions to ask. It provides a framework for your synthesis, and thus allows you to synthesize more neatly, and with less effort (because you are excluding irrelevancies). However, there will be some things that you never notice because the theory doesn't tell you to look for them. The theory will tell you to look in other places for other facts, and thus allow you to give a better description in some ways, at the same time as it may prevent you from finding some relevant things. 

Clearly, a mixture of the two is preferable: a framework gives you something to hang your work onto, but you don't want to be so blinkered that you can't see beyond the framework. 

In a theory-based approach, you have to try to find the answer to the question you are working on by using only the tools made available by the (latest version of) a particular theory. If the theory is appropriate for this domain of research and already accounts for a lot of other data within the same domain, then it just might be sufficient to solve your problem as well. 

In practice, theories dealing with complex phenomena are probably never perfect. We hope that they get better with time, but every improvement raises new questions and opens up new avenues of research. 

In the eclectic approach, you suppose that the most satisfactory answer to your question cannot be found in the latest version of your theory, so you look elsewhere and if you think you have found the answer elsewhere, you try to combine the new idea with the theory you already have. Nowadays there are millions of scientists around the world working on different theories of various phenomena. Sometimes these phenomena overlap with each other, e.g. biologists and chemists are both interested in the processes that are involved in creating life. So in such cases, it seems quite possible that one group can have the answer that another group is looking for, even without knowing it. n. name, mind. 

Namo ind. honour. What you're looking at is, of course, an oversimplification, as any such diagram would have to be. Old Indic (or, more properly, Old Indo-Aryan) was, like all well-established languages, a bundle of dialects, only of few of which are represented by what is commonly called `Vedic Sanskrit'. The others properly go under the generic label `Prakrit' (whose literal meaning is roughly `common language' as opposed to Sanskrit, which means `refined language'). Just about the only reason `Prakrit' typically appears on such charts as a label for certain varieties of Middle Indo-Aryan as opposed to Old Indo-Aryan is that it's only in the Middle Indo-Aryan period (roughly 1000 B.C.E. to 1000 C.E.) that you begin to get written records in Prakrit, as opposed to occasional Prakrit words or expressions getting into documents written primarily in Sanskrit. 

On the other side of the coin, once you get past about 1000 B.C.E. the language referred to as `Vedic Sanskrit' has developed into the language `Classical Sanskrit', so `Classical Sanskrit' is pretty much contemporary with Pali, Apabhramsa, Magadhi, and the other Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrits. The difference is that the Prakrits were *living* languages, as are the Modern Indo-Aryan languages like Hindi and Bengali: children were routinely learning them from their families and friends, and people were using them as all-purpose means of communication. Sanskrit, on the other hand, had turned into a literary language; few if any people learned it as their first language, but rather used it for very formal, elevated, or elite conversation and writing. It had become something like Latin in Mediaeval Western Europe -- and still to some extent has that status today. And so `Sanskrit' is never considered a `Middle Indo-Aryan' language, even though the `Classical' period of the language's *literary* history was coeval with the period that the Middle Indo-Aryan languages were being spoken, because most of the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Sanskrit was consciously based on that of the Vedic period, when Sanskrit had itself been a living language in the fullest sense of the term. 

There's no question that Sanskrit and Prakrit are very similar. Both are descended from Old Indo-Aryan, and almost all Sanskrit-speakers in any age have also of necessity been Prakrit-speakers. And, especially in the usage of the educated classes, because of the status that Sanskrit enjoys in the Hindu world the similarity is going to be emphasized; it's been said that any word that is a possible word in Sanskrit is ipso facto also a possible word in Hindi. So there would always be strong tendencies to keep the two types of language recognizably similar (while still maintaining the indications of class distinction that they imply; for instance, unlike the Prakrits Sanskrit never lost the Proto-Indo-European dual number or the three distinct past tenses, these being felt to be distinctive markers of an elite, highly civilized language). But it would be incorrect to say that the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrits evolved out of Vedic Sanskrit; it would be more correct to say that they evolved out of Old Indo-Aryan Prakrits (of which we have *almost* no record), with a little bit of infusion from Sanskrit. 

The next section is I believe a good personal experience and further explanation of this issue. In my mind this ends anymore doubt to the controversy of whether to Chant Nam or Namu. Otherwise I can only conclude that a persons thinking process is not able to comprehend a basic documented fact that is backed up by all the known transliterations, dictionaries and literary proof. Also notwithstanding the testimonies of linguist and scholars in every direction. 

Great Vowel Shift 

From the Hokkedaimokusho ("On the Title of the Lotus Sutra"), Nichiren propagates the sacred formula "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" (not Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) as being infallible as a means to achieve Buddhahood. "When the Buddha preached the Lotus Sutra, he disclosed the basket of all sutras. At this time living beings of the nine worlds saw for the first time the treasure of the basket of all sutras of forty years [period of Buddha's preaching]. 

"Is not, however, the title of the Lotus Sutra the heart of the 80,000 (i.e. all) sacred scriptures and the eye of all the Buddhas?" 

Nichiren said that we should chant the title of the Lotus Sutra wholeheartedly, in purity of mind,  stimulated by the wondrous recitation of the formula of Avalokitesvara (Chap. 25 of the Lotus Sutra). Attention has to be paid even to the sound of the utterance in order to gain deep joy and peace. Salvation by faith in a sacramental efficacy of "Namu 

Myoho Renge Kyo" which Nichiren propagates, and this activity for lay believers who cannot penetrate into the fine delicacies of the Sutra, can engage with their body and mind by recitation of the Title of the Sutra and the Sutra itself. 

"They have to regard it more delightful than a blind-born man who opens his eyes for the first time and sees his parents, or more rare than somebody who has been overthrown by a strong enemy, will have the chance to be dismissed and see again wife and children." (Borsig, op.cit, 375) 

From the Great Nirvana Sutra: 

"When someone enters the great ocean and bathes, he already has used water from al the various rivers." 

By chanting the title: "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" we consume all the sutras, their teachings and blessings. 

I, like most of you, chanted the "6 Character Counterfeit Daimoku" while a member of Nichiren Shoshu/SGI. After I left in January 1975 I started reading other books about Nichiren Buddhism that were published by scholars and sects other than the SokaGakkai or Nichiren Shoshu. I noticed that in ALL the books that were not published by the Soka Gakkai, the Daimoku was written as "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo." 

But, if the book was published by the SGI/NShoshu, the daimoku was written as "Nam....." I called a friend who was a translator for Nichiren Shoshu, and she told me that they were instructed to write the daimoku as "Nam...", but it really was "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo." Since then, we learned about the "great vowel shift" in Japan in the 14th century, and the fact that the Soka Gakkai asked Taisekiji to drop the "mu" so they could chant faster. 

Needless to say, Universal Virtue woke me up, and every day during my morning and evening service I say "thank you". By the same token, when we tell those who insist that Nam is OK, that they have forgotten "a whole character", we fulfill the function of Universal Virtue. 

You might ask yourself, how can so many people be fooled? 

I found this story in, "The Transmission of the Dharma-pita" 

"A man lives up to a hundred years 
Without seeing a heron. 
Another man lives for only one day, 
But he has seen a heron. 
This man has much more wisdom and fame" 
At that time, Ananda was walking nearby and heard the bhiksu's recitation. 
He said to him, "the stanza you are reciting was not spoken by the Buddha. 
You should say, 
'If one man lives for a hundred years 
without perceiving the rise and fall of things, 
and if another lives for only one day 
but perceives the rise and fall of things, 
this [second] man possesses much more wisdom 
than the one who lives a hundred years.'*

Moreover, there are two kinds of people who slander the Buddha. One kind of people are infidels who slander the Buddha out of hatred and resentment. The other kind, though believers, do not properly accept and understand the meanings of the Sutras and are also considered slanderers of the Buddha. Just as a man with no feet and no mouth is nonfunctioning, these two kinds of people are nonfunctioning, as they cannot understand the proper meanings of the words jati (rebirth) and aristaka (heron) mentioned in the Sutra." And he also uttered the following stanza: 

An ignorant man has no wisdom; 
His actions are useless. 
If a wise man does not accept the Dharma, 
His wisdom is like poison. 
By hearing the recitation of right knowledge, 
One may gain the fruit of liberation. 

The bhiksu who recited the stanza returned to the place of his teacher and said, "Ananda said,'The World-honored One spoke thus: If one man lives for a hundred years without perceiving the rise and fall of things, and if another lives for only one day and perceives the rise and fall of things, the second man is much better than the one who lives a hundred years." The teacher said to his disciples, "Ananda is getting old. His memory has become poor." And he also uttered the following stanza: 

If a man reaches senility, 
He loses his power of memory. 
His wisdom and vigor 
Also grow old. 

He also said to his disciple, "Recite as you do. Do not follow his words." When Ananda went again to that place, he heard [the bhiksu] reciting the same stanza. The Elder Ananda said to him, "I have told you, this was not spoken by the Buddha." He answered Ananda, saying, "My teacher said that Ananda was getting old and that his memory had become poor." Ananda reflected and wished to go to the teacher to tell him the meaning. Then he considered the mind of the teacher: Would he accept his words? He saw in his mind that the teacher would not accept the meaning. He thought again: Was there any other bhiksu who could tell the teacher? And he saw that nobody could tell him. Ananda considered the matter, *

"If the Buddha were in the world, 
I would report the matter to him 
and to Sariputra, Maudgalyayana, Kasyapa, and others. 
But the Buddha and all the others have entered nirvana. 
I also wish to enter nirvana. 
By the power of the Buddha, 
the Dharma will abide for one thousand years." He also uttered the following stanza: 

Recluses such as they 
Have all passed away. 
Now between them and me, 
No distinctive mark will there be. 
I am now thinking of myself 
As a bird wafting in the wind. 
They have entered nirvana, 
Having cleared all impurities and bonds. 
They were lamps in the world 
That dispelled the darkness of ignorance. 
Of those great energetic ones 
Who observed numerous rules and ceremonies, 
I am the only one surviving, 
Like one tree remaining in a forest. 

The following quotes are from the Gassui Gosho, commonly known as the "Letter on Menstruation". This letter was written to the wife of Daigaku Saburo, answering her questions. The date of this writing is the 17th of the 4th month in the first year of Bun'ei Era (1264). 

"You should know that the merit of the Lotus Sutra is the same whether you chant the whole eight scrolls or just one scroll, one chapter, one stanza, one phrase, one character, or the Daimoku. For instance, a drop of ocean water contains the water of numerous rivers, large and small, while a wish-fulfilling gem produces numerous treasures. In this sense, a drop of ocean water is the same as numerous drops and a gem is the same as numerous gems. One character of the Lotus Sutra is like this one drop of ocean water or one wish fulfilling gem. Numerous characters of the sutra are like numerous drops of ocean water or numerous wish-fulfilling gems." 

"Since the Lotus Sutra is the true teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha, anyone who chants even one character of it will not fall into the three evil regions......" 

"If they don't believe in the Lotus Sutra, but consider it equal to other sutras; if they believe it superior to other sutras but practice other sutras all the time, with the Lotus Sutra only sometimes; if they believe in the Lotus Sutra but befriend "Pure Land" Buddhists who do not believe in it and slander it; or if they associate with those who claim that the Lotus Sutra is too difficult for us in the Latter Age of the Decadent Dharma to practice, but do not regard them as slanderers of the true dharma-such people will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. All the merit of these people accumulated in this life will vanish instantly, and even the merit of practicing the Lotus Sutra will eclipse temporarily. You should know that these people will go to the hell of incessant suffering. It is as certain as raindrops falling from the sky and mountain rocks rolling down into valleys." 

"As for chanting "Namu Ichijo Myoden" although it means the same, you should chant "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" as Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, Grand Master Tien-T'ai and others did. There is a reason for me to say this." 

Following the instructions of Nichiren Daishonin I declare the following: 

1. As for chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, although it may mean the same, you should chant "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" as the Great Bodhisattva's of the past did, as well as Nichiren Daishonin. To ignore this is not following the instruction of Nichiren Daishonin, but some inferior wanna-be Buddhist Honcho. 

2. Nichiren Shoshu and Soka Gakkai members have declared that the Lotus Sutra is inferior in this time period, and that it has lost it's power. These two groups have declared that Nichiren is a liar and continually spit on Shakyamuni Buddha's words. The members of these two groups will go to the hell of incessant suffering, for certain. I believe the words of Nichiren Daishonin, therefore I know that this is true. 

"It is written in the Lotus Sutra that one, who believes in every sutra, every Buddha and Bodhisattva, observes Buddhist precepts but doesn't believe in the Lotus Sutra and slanders it, will fall into the three evil regions without fail. In my opinion, everybody, laymen as well as monks, seem to slander the Lotus Sutra recently" 

3. By throwing Shakyamuni out of his own religion, by declaring a Bodhisattva (Jogyo) superior to the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, by declaring that the Lotus Sutra has no power, or has lost its power the members of Nichiren Shoshu and SokaGakkai cults observe some sort of Anti-Buddhist practice that slanders the intent of Buddhism Itself! These groups are the cause for calamities in the world.

*The parable of Ananda was also cited by Nichiren.

Much of the previous work taken from the works of Steven Schaufele

Steven Schaufele, Ph.D. home: Yusheng Street Asst. Prof. of Linguistics, English Department Lane 8, #10, 2F Soochow University, Waishuanghsi Campus Shihlin District Taipei 11102 Taipei 11118 Taiwan, ROC Taiwan, ROC (886)(02)881-9471 ext. 6504 (886)(02)835-6966 Fax: (886)(02)883-5158 

Steve writes: I keep hearing people say that mu means could or can't, not or nothing. This is completely erroneous. Where is your source, please post it. The Sanskrit of Namu means Devotion that is it. Nam does not mean devotion. The only thing that can be found for the definition of Nam is in a Vietnamese dictionary. Nam is not Japanese or Indo, Sanskrit or Pakrit. Only Namu Namo Namaste, this transliterates into Namu not nam!! 

Also someone said its what in the heart, I believe what is in the heart of faith is important to but we cannot change Namu to Nam. Otherwise why even say Myohorengekyo. This statement sounds nice but to drop a character and alter Nichiren's invocation and teachings I am sure is not what is in any of our hearts! 


Nam. Phtro'ng-south (sao-th) /dong- . South-east- (ist) / t`ay- south wind.....  (Viet-ANH ANH-VIET BY Thung Dung Tu-Dieu- Vietnamese dictionary pg.164) OR Nam-- Burnt (English to -Vietnamese dictionary pg.561)

Author of above? Bruce,Stephanie Maltz, or Steve Polito.

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