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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

梵文課
Sanskrit Lesson#7

by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien 比丘尼恒賢 文
Chinese translation by Bhikshuni Heng Yi 比丘尼恒懿 中譯

Ekasmin samaye 「一時」

《佛說阿彌陀經》的梵文題目是Sukhāvatīvyūha--極樂邦展現,經文開始是(1)字。現在我們繼續下一句,。佛的弟子阿難(2)尊者繼續描述佛陀講說這部經的情況。

在每個講經的法會裡,都會有六種成就(3):信、聞、時、處、主、眾。「如是我聞」是屬信成就和聞成就。一時就是時成就。

ekasmin 是「一」的意思,一個什麼?一時所以要和下一字一起,意義才完全。 samaye「時間」,它與 ekasmin 一致,成一描述之語。是「一」的意思,加上字尾-smin 表示時間或地點,在英文會用的前置詞是 「in 」或「at 」或「on」。

在寫 ekasmin, 是 e; 是 ka,如只寫 k 則是,因為是 s ,表示子音之後沒有母音,是 sa ,那為什麼 -smi 寫成,而不是?兩種都可以。但既然 s 和 m 的音這樣相近,當想像所寫的字時,是應放一起比較合理。如表示短音 i,再加上字,就成 ekasmin。

當下個字和這個字的發音沒有分開時,寫字時也可以連起來。所以這個字的字尾,與下個的字首s,可合併起來成 ns ,成為。這還是兩個字,不是一個長的複合字。只是寫起來是合併一起。本來在梵文裡,字寫起來都是連在一起的,一直到一行結束為止。現在如果字尾是母音,往往會空一格,再寫下一個字。但如果字尾是子音,就會和下一個字合併而寫。

samaye 的意思是時間或時機。它的字尾 -e ,表示英文的前置詞 in、at 或 on,就和 ekasmin 裡的smin一樣。這兩個字尾,外表和音都不同,但卻是同樣的作用。二個字一起的意思是「一時」, samaya 是沒有任何作用的記號,或字尾的字。它的意思是「聚集」,可說是一個「會議」或「事件」,一個「協議」或「集會」(4)

這裡的時間,表示來自一個眾所同意的時間,一個正確的時間、正當的時機。在梵文表「時間」較常用的字是Kāla 但這個字沒有這種的意味。

用 samaya 而不用 kāla ,是因為經典是上契諸佛之理,下契眾生之機。這個時間契合了六成就中的第三成就,這個是佛陀的說法符合眾生聽法的機的時候,而這個法就是誦念 佛的名號,可以往生淨土。(5)

註:
1 「如是我聞」請看萬佛城金剛菩提海月刊第 335 期1998年4月 。
2 名字的意思是慶喜、喜悅。
3 下期有更多的六成就。
4 convention 是集會的意思,在英文裡直譯是聚集一起。由拉丁文cum「在一起」和 venīre 合聚。
5 上一期的小考答案是﹕梵文字的答案是 mayā 意思是「我是這麼聽佛說」和「如是我聞」一樣的意思。

小考﹕

待續

Ekasmin samaye "at one time"

The Buddha Speaks of Amitābha S&tra, whose Sanskrit title is Sukhāvatīvyūha, "Layout of the Land of Happiness", began with the words 1 and now continues . The Buddha's disciple Ananda2 continues to speak, describing the circumstances in which the Buddha spoke this Sūtra. These circumstances are concisely described in a list called the Six Establishments. Of the Six Establishments necessary at each Dharma assembly at which S&tras are explained,3 faith, hearing, time, place, host, and assembly, "Thus I have heard" fulfills those of faith and hearing, and "at one time" that of time.

Ekasmin means "at one". At one what? At one time.

The meaning is not complete until you come to the next word, samaye, "time", with which ekasmin agrees and which it serves to describe. eka, by itself means "one".,-smin, is an ending showing location in time or place, which we translate with the prepositions "in",  "at", or "on".

In writing ekasmin, is e; is ka. To write the k alone you would have to write . Because is s, (the  ( means no vowel follows; is sa) why is -smi written and not ? You can write it both ways, but since the two sounds s and m go so closely together, when picturing them in writing it makes sense to bunch them close together as .stands for the short vowel i. Adding we get  ekasmin.When the second word follows, because there is no break in pronounciation there is also no need to break the writing , thus the at the end of  combines with the first letter of the following word, in this case s, to form the group ns in . These are still two separate words, not one one long compound word, but in writing their letters are combined. Originally Sanskrit wrote all words together with no break until the end of a line of writing. Today if a word ends neatly with a vowel, we leave a space before writing the next word, but final consonants are written in combination with the first letter of the following word.

Samaye means "time" or "occasion". It has the ending -e which translates "on", "at" or "in", just as the ending -smin in the word ekasmin. The two endings look and sound different, but they have the same function, and the two words go together to mean "at one time". Without any function marker or ending the word is samaya. Literally it means "a coming together". It can refer to a meeting or event, an agreement or convention.4 The meaning "time" comes from the idea of agreeing upon a time, the right time or proper occasion. The Buddha speaks Dharma when the opportunities of living beings are ripe to hear that Dharma, when the conditions "come together". The more common Sanskrit word for time is kāla, but kāla lacks this suggestion of agreement. Samaya is used instead of kāla because the Sūtra

Agrees with the principles of all Buddhas above,
And accord with the opportunities of living beings below.

This "time" fulfills the requirement of the third of the Six Establishments. It is the time when the Buddha's speech comes together with the potentials of beings who hear this Dharma, the Dharma of reciting the name of the Buddha to be reborn in the Pure Land .5

Notes:
1 , "Thus I have heard". See VBS 335, April 1998.
2 His name means 'Bliss' or 'Blissful'.
3 For more about the Six Establishments, see VBS 28.
4 'Convention' in English is also literally a 'coming together'; based on the Latin cum 'together' and venīre 'to come'.
5 Answer to last lesson's quiz: Sukhāvatī. The words to figure out read: mayā , "By me the Buddha was heard" which is the same as "I heard the Buddha".

Quiz:

To be continued

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