Pronouncation (yes one of these)

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Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:48 am

This is sort of embarrassing, one would think that over the whole internet there would be easy to find answers that agree with each other for something so simple.

Nope.

I've been reciting the excellent Sutra of Golden Light and I am unsure of the pronunciation of part of this Dharani:

NAMO BUDDHĀYA/ NAMO DHARMĀYA/ NAMAH SANGHĀYA/ NAMO BRAHMĀYA/ NAMA INDRĀYA/ NAMA CHATURNĀM/ MAHĀRĀJĀNĀM/ TADYATHĀ/ HILI HILI/ MILI MILI/ GAURI/ MAHĀGAURI/ GANDHARI/ MAHĀGANDHARI/ DRIMIDI/ MAHĀDRIMIDI/ DANDAKHUKHUNATI/HA HA HA HA/ HI HI HI HI/ HU HU HU HU/ HALODHAME/ GUDHAME/ CHA CHA CHA CHA/ CHI CHI CHI CHI/ CHU CHU CHU CHU/ CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ

http://www.sutraofgoldenlight.com/2011/ ... rd-of.html

CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ should be pronounced as CHANDE SWARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAWĀN/ SAMVID NYAYE SWĀHĀ right?

Thank you.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Malcolm » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:02 am

Konchog1 wrote:This is sort of embarrassing, one would think that over the whole internet there would be easy to find answers that agree with each other for something so simple.

Nope.

I've been reciting the excellent Sutra of Golden Light and I am unsure of the pronunciation of part of this Dharani:

NAMO BUDDHĀYA/ NAMO DHARMĀYA/ NAMAH SANGHĀYA/ NAMO BRAHMĀYA/ NAMA INDRĀYA/ NAMA CHATURNĀM/ MAHĀRĀJĀNĀM/ TADYATHĀ/ HILI HILI/ MILI MILI/ GAURI/ MAHĀGAURI/ GANDHARI/ MAHĀGANDHARI/ DRIMIDI/ MAHĀDRIMIDI/ DANDAKHUKHUNATI/HA HA HA HA/ HI HI HI HI/ HU HU HU HU/ HALODHAME/ GUDHAME/ CHA CHA CHA CHA/ CHI CHI CHI CHI/ CHU CHU CHU CHU/ CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ

http://www.sutraofgoldenlight.com/2011/ ... rd-of.html

CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ should be pronounced as CHANDE SWARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAWĀN/ SAMVID NYAYE SWĀHĀ right?

Thank you.


Gnya
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:This is sort of embarrassing, one would think that over the whole internet there would be easy to find answers that agree with each other for something so simple.

Nope.

I've been reciting the excellent Sutra of Golden Light and I am unsure of the pronunciation of part of this Dharani:

NAMO BUDDHĀYA/ NAMO DHARMĀYA/ NAMAH SANGHĀYA/ NAMO BRAHMĀYA/ NAMA INDRĀYA/ NAMA CHATURNĀM/ MAHĀRĀJĀNĀM/ TADYATHĀ/ HILI HILI/ MILI MILI/ GAURI/ MAHĀGAURI/ GANDHARI/ MAHĀGANDHARI/ DRIMIDI/ MAHĀDRIMIDI/ DANDAKHUKHUNATI/HA HA HA HA/ HI HI HI HI/ HU HU HU HU/ HALODHAME/ GUDHAME/ CHA CHA CHA CHA/ CHI CHI CHI CHI/ CHU CHU CHU CHU/ CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ

http://www.sutraofgoldenlight.com/2011/ ... rd-of.html

CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ should be pronounced as CHANDE SWARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAWĀN/ SAMVID NYAYE SWĀHĀ right?

Thank you.


Gnya
Thanks Malcolm. So is this right?: http://www.forvo.com/word/jnana/ I can't hear the g sound.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Kunzang » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:08 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:This is sort of embarrassing, one would think that over the whole internet there would be easy to find answers that agree with each other for something so simple.

Nope.

I've been reciting the excellent Sutra of Golden Light and I am unsure of the pronunciation of part of this Dharani:

NAMO BUDDHĀYA/ NAMO DHARMĀYA/ NAMAH SANGHĀYA/ NAMO BRAHMĀYA/ NAMA INDRĀYA/ NAMA CHATURNĀM/ MAHĀRĀJĀNĀM/ TADYATHĀ/ HILI HILI/ MILI MILI/ GAURI/ MAHĀGAURI/ GANDHARI/ MAHĀGANDHARI/ DRIMIDI/ MAHĀDRIMIDI/ DANDAKHUKHUNATI/HA HA HA HA/ HI HI HI HI/ HU HU HU HU/ HALODHAME/ GUDHAME/ CHA CHA CHA CHA/ CHI CHI CHI CHI/ CHU CHU CHU CHU/ CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ

http://www.sutraofgoldenlight.com/2011/ ... rd-of.html

CHANDESHVARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAVĀN/ SAMVIDJÑĀYE SVĀHĀ should be pronounced as CHANDE SWARA/ SHIKHARA/ SHIKHARA/ UTISHTHAHE BHAGAWĀN/ SAMVID NYAYE SWĀHĀ right?

Thank you.


Gnya
Thanks Malcolm. So is this right?: http://www.forvo.com/word/jnana/ I can't hear the g sound.


Additonally to Malcolm's way, I've also been taught that it's pronounced "gya" (I think this may be the most common way now, but not necessarily the most historically accurate), also "dnya" which just seems weird to me, but is also supposedly correct. The "v" is kinda between "w" and "v" but it's more like "w". Try saying a "w" sound while having your lips shaped like you are saying a "v" is one way I've been taught.

I think you're worrying about fairly subtle things, though. There are a lot of subtleties in Sanskrit pronunciation, and it may be better to prioritize. I know you didn't ask about the following things and maybe you don't have a problem with them, but it's some things I've learned and thought it might be a good place to mention.

The main thing we (by "we", I'm mostly talking about Americans) get wrong is vowels: there is a distinct difference between short vowels and long vowels in Sanskrit. Those of us from the American South, but I don't think we're alone in this error, tend to turn every vowel into a dipthong (that is, a combination of vowels). This is probably the first thing you should be trying to figure out: short vowels, long vowels, dipthongs.

Also very important, is the difference between aspirated and unaspirated consonants. We generally don't have a problem with aspirated consonants, like the "dh" in "dharma", for example. Our real problem is with unaspirated consonants. Take the word "Tathāgata", for example. The first and last "t" is unaspirated (the "th" represents an aspirated "t", not the "th" sound in English "the"), as is the "g", but without training, we can't even really hear the difference between aspirated versions and unaspirated, much less pronounce the unaspirated consonants properly.

A useful trick to learn the difference is to put the back of your hand near your mouth and alternately pronounce such words like "key", and "ski", or "top" and "stop". You should notice the forceful breath (aspiration) on your hand with the words "key" and "top", but not with "ski" and "stop".

I think there's a misconception that Sanskrit is as easy to pronounce as, say, Italian, or Spanish, but there are a lot of difficulties that don't get talked about much. Often we spend so much time gloating on how we don't mispronounce Sanskrit the way the Chinese or the Tibetans do to notice our own shortcomings. I include myself in this criticism, as I've done that. I'm still learning.

Speaking of still learning: The "ñ" in "Mañjuśrī" seems completely unpronounceable to me by any grammar book rules...
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby vinodh » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:00 pm

Additonally to Malcolm's way, I've also been taught that it's pronounced "gya" (I think this may be the most common way now, but not necessarily the most historically accurate)


Usually, this is the North Indian pronunciation of the syllable.

South Indians (including me) still pronounce it as - <dʒɲa> (dʒ is same as English /j/ & ɲ is same as spanish ñ) You'll find South Indian pronunciation of Sanskrit more conservative compared to North India. For Instance, <ai> <au> are mostly realized as monophthongs in most of North India. But they are properly realized as diphthongs only in South India (and Maharashtra).

also "dnya" which just seems weird to me, but is also supposedly correct


It is the Marathi/Oriya way of pronouncing the letter.

----

Well... Ofcourse... You can pick any of the above pronunciations and still sound "native". But I would suggest to go with <dʒɲa> - the closest English rendering of which is <jnya>.

V
http://www.virtualvinodh.com

yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha
śālistamba sūtra

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Malcolm » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:11 pm

vinodh wrote:
Additonally to Malcolm's way, I've also been taught that it's pronounced "gya" (I think this may be the most common way now, but not necessarily the most historically accurate)


Usually, this is the North Indian pronunciation of the syllable.

South Indians (including me) still pronounce it as - <dʒɲa> (dʒ is same as English /j/ & ɲ is same as spanish ñ) You'll find South Indian pronunciation of Sanskrit more conservative compared to North India. For Instance, <ai> <au> are mostly realized as monophthongs in most of North India. But they are properly realized as diphthongs only in South India (and Maharashtra).

also "dnya" which just seems weird to me, but is also supposedly correct


It is the Marathi/Oriya way of pronouncing the letter.

----

Well... Ofcourse... You can pick any of the above pronunciations and still sound "native". But I would suggest to go with <dʒɲa> - the closest English rendering of which is <jnya>.

V


Sakya Pandita renders jñā and "gnya". Also in Varanasi, that is how it is taught there. In general, Tibetans who spoke Sanskrit followed the N. Indian mode of pronunciation and consider this the most correct. It may not match up with linguistic history, but indeed it is how they see it.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby vinodh » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:55 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sakya Pandita renders jñā and "gnya". Also in Varanasi, that is how it is taught there. In general, Tibetans who spoke Sanskrit followed the N. Indian mode of pronunciation and consider this the most correct. It may not match up with linguistic history, but indeed it is how they see it.


I do get that.

And I suppose the whole confusion of /va/ with /ba/ is probably due to Tibetans receiving texts from Eastern Indian regions (Bengal/Orissa).

V
http://www.virtualvinodh.com

yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha
śālistamba sūtra

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Sherlock » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:18 pm

I think it's more because /ba/ and /ʋa/ were allophones for Tibetans? I think some Khampas still pronounce /ʋa/ for བ although /wa/ is exclusively ཝ
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Re: Pronouncation (yes one of these)

Postby Karma Jinpa » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:52 pm

I can also attest for jñana being pronounced as "gyana." This was according Dr. Kathleen Erndl, my Hinduism professor at Florida State University who teaches Sanskrit at the graduate level. From what she told me, of all the Tibetans, the Sakyapas are generally the most accurate when it comes to pronunciation of Sanskrit.

http://religion.fsu.edu/faculty_kathleen_erndl.html


As has been mentioned already, Tibetans tend to follow the rules of phonology (i.e. speech patterns and rules of pronunciation) for their own language, even when pronouncing Sanskrit in mantras and dharanis. If you're a non-native speaker of either Tibetan or Sanskrit, you're in a unique position to be able to choose: some prefer to get as close as possible to the "correct" pronunciation of the Sanskrit (as this is the so-called "language of the gods" and what the mantras were originally transmitted in), while others prefer to maintain the pronunciation as they were taught it by their lama (as a way of maintaining the methods of their lineage and as a matter of devotion to their guru).

Personally, I find the insights of Jayarava to be invaluable regarding this subject. His site is very helpful for parsing individual mantras, and the following page is especially useful regarding one's pronunciation: http://www.visiblemantra.org/pronunciation.html

Of course, there is also a lovely little parable/anecdote that indicates reciting with devotion and faith is the primary factor, rather than the recitation itself. It has been retold countless times, and there are several sources for it (not all of them specifically Buddhist), so take it as you will:

A devoted meditator, after years concentrating on a particular mantra, had attained enough insight to begin teaching. The student’s humility was far from perfect, but the teachers at the monastery were not worried. A few years of successful teaching left the meditator with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.

The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so the meditator hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. The meditator was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made with herbs the meditator asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except for a mantra which he repeated all the time to himself. The meditator was pleased: the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself — but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, the meditator was horrified!

“What’s wrong?” asked the hermit.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid you’ve wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!”

“Oh, Dear! That is terrible. How should I say it?”

The meditator gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake the meditator, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit [and thought], “It’s so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies.”

Just then, the meditator noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

“Excuse me, please. I hate to bother you, but I’ve forgotten the correct pronunciation again. Would you please repeat it for me?”

“You obviously don’t need it,” stammered the meditator; but the old man persisted in his polite request until the meditator relented and told him again the way he thought the mantra should be pronounced.

The old hermit was saying the mantra very carefully, slowly, over and over, as he walked across the surface of the water back to the island.

:rolling:
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


:namaste:
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