Mayā 是「被我」或「由我」。在中文要兩個字來表示其意思。梵文這個「被」或「由」是用 -ā 來表示。字尾 -ā 屬詞語作用的記號。（二）其作用是一句的主要動作是由人或事所完成的，而此句的「聽聞」是由「我」--阿難尊者，所完成的。
是「所聞」音節是寫成，雖然字母 r 字應寫成、但它和其它的子音和起來時就成較短的方式﹕
（1） 這是在它下個子音上面的符號如 。
當字和其他的子音一起而其中無母音時﹕如果 r 字是在另一個子音之前用（1）， 如果 r 字是在另一個子音之後用（2）。 注意子音群的發音次序如下﹕
（二）不要執著以為所有的字尾-ā，都是這種作用，也不要以為所有的助格都是有 -ā 字尾。如果梵文是這麼容易，每個人都會了。
（三）在 那一點是代表，但不表示這個鼻音是在 va 之前。它是給 va 字一種鼻音化，所以這個=字並不真的在 va 之前或者之後。本原這個字母應該是 m ，所以整個字應該是evam，但當你說 evam 和 mayā 第一個 m 無法真正地發出音來，所以在梵文裡用（·）點來代表 m 的短音。
"Thus I have heard..."
Mastering this Sanskrit lesson will enable you to pick up any Buddhist S&tra and begin to read. Why? Every S&tra spoken by the Buddha begins with the words 'Thus I have heard'.
"Fine," you think, "but isn't there a contradiction in those words? The last lesson explained the Sūtra's invocation, 'Homage to (the Buddha) the one who knows all'. If the Buddha is all-knowing, how can he say; 'I've heard'?"
Quite right. The Buddha indeed:
Is omniscient () and self-taught,
Follows no one else's system, plans, or path,
Speaks Dharma never having heard it spoken.1
Only the Buddha is beyond instruction, because there is not one thing he doesn't know. Therefore, the Buddha would not begin a Sūtra by saying, "So I 've heard." But it's not the Buddha who says the words : it's Ananda , the Buddha's cousin and disciple who speaks them. After the Buddha entered , the disciples met to assemble the Buddha's teachings. Because Ananda could remember every word the Buddha had said, it was he who recited the Sūtras for the assembly. At the begining of each S&tra Ananda said, "Thus I have heard".
The Sanskrit, which says this somewhat differently from English, reads literally, "Thus by me it was heard."
means 'thus', 'in this manner', 'in this way', 'so', 'such'. In translating Sanskrit don't think there's just one English word to match each single Sanskrit word. The meaning of the Sanskrit can often be conveyed by several different English words or phrases. Moreover it's frequently the case that one single Sanskrit word is more loaded with meanings than any one corresponding English word. Giving several English translations suggests the range of meaning of the Sanskrit word.
Mayā stands for 'by me'. In English we need two words to say 'by someone' or 'by me'. In Sanskrit the 'by' is represented by the -ā in mayā. The ending -ā is a function marker; the word in -ā functions as the person or thing by which the main action of the phrase is done.2 The hearing was done 'by me', and 'me' refers to Ananda.
translates 'it was heard'. The syllable is written. Although the letter r written in full has the form , in combination with another consonant it takes one of two shortened forms:
(1) written above a consonant which follows it, as in , and
(2) attached below a consonant which comes before it, as in.
When r and another consonant come together to form a cluster with no vowel in between, use form (1) if the r comes first; and if the r is second, use form (2). Notice that in figuring out how to pronounce consonant clusters, the order is:
left before right,
above before below.
The letter written first, either because it's on the left or because it's placed above, is the one that's pronounced first.3 , a single word, gives all the information of the English 'it was heard', much of which is contained in the ending. We'll learn more about the mysteries of Sanskrit word endings as we go along.
What Ananda heard and now recites is the Buddha Speaks of Amitābha Sūtra, the Sūtra which tells of Amitābha Buddha's Western Paradise, the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Can you write its name in Sanskrit?
Words to figure out:
1 Cf. the by the Bodhisattva Nāgārjuna.
2 Don't get attached: not every final -ā is this ending, nor is every 'instrumental' marked with -ā. If Sanskrit were easy, everyone would know it!
3 In the case of , the · which represents does not mean the nasalization comes before va; rather, the whole sound va is given a nasal flavour by the , so doesn't really come either before or after va . Originally was the full letter m, and the word was evam. But when you say evam plus mayā, you really don't fully pronounce the first m before the second one, in Sanskrit or in any language. Sanskrit therefore has a separate letter for the shortened m you end up saying, and writes it as this dot (·).