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What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word? - Dhamma Wheel

What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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faraway
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What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby faraway » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:56 am

Hi everyone,

I found out that most of online english-chinese translator translate Theravada word as: 小乘 (Xiao Cheng) which means "Small Vehicle", which also equal to "Hinayana" term. From what I heard, many Theravada Buddhists regarded Hinayana and Theravada are two different schools. Also, the identification of Theravada with Hinayana is seen as derogatory term.

Is it true that currently there is no a proper chinese translation for Theravada word yet?

Sylvester
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Sylvester » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:17 am

A contemporary term for Theravada Buddhism in Chinese (used by Chinese Theravadins) is 上座部佛教.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:19 am

Hi Sylvester,

Thanks. It would be interesting for us to have a literal English translation.

:anjali:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:26 am

I did manage to get:

http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php
上座部
shàng​zuò​bù​
Theravada, the primary Buddhism, as spread to Sri Lanka and South-East Asia
佛教
Fó​jiào​
Buddhism

And I know the first character is something like "on top", but then I'm a bit stuck...

:anjali:
Mike

Sylvester
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Sylvester » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:32 am

Hee, hee. Chinese does tend to be florid, especially if one is catching up on shaking off the centuries of "Hinayana". I hesitated with the literal translation but here you go.

上 as you point out can mean "on top", but in literary annotations of book collections, 上 refers to the first in the series. Very laudatory.

座 literally means seat/chair, but it connotes the base.

部 is used in modern parlance to refer to ministries/govt depts, but I think "division" would do as well.

P.S. - a minor grumble as a Cantonese. The term 上座部 reads well in Mandarin, but not so well in Cantonese. A slight mispronunciation of the tone could end up meaning "going up the wrong path"! That's the problem with the Chinese languages.

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faraway
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby faraway » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:47 am

Last edited by faraway on Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:54 am, edited 3 times in total.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:51 am

Thanks Sylvester. So it has the same sort of implication as "elders", I guess.

As a some-time resident of Hong Kong, I can appreciate the dialect problem somewhat... Though my Cantonese isn't up to really appreciating this particular case...

:anjali:
Mike

plwk
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby plwk » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:24 am

Another 2 common terms used in Chinese:
南传佛教 nán chuán fó jiào or 'Southern School Buddhism'
聲聞僧 shēng wén sēng 'Śrāvaka (Sanskrit) / Sāvaka (Pāli) Sangha' or 'Sound Hearer/Disciple Sangha' (This is a common term used on all of the early Indian Buddhist Schools)

These days, more are aware and educated to stop the pejorative usage of 'xiǎo chéng' when referring to the Theravada.

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faraway
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby faraway » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:02 am

Hi all,

Thanks for the helps.

For now, I can conclude that the best chinese translation of Theravada is 上座部 (Shang Zuo Bu).

I found out this link might be helpful too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_Buddhism

It contains translation of Buddhist terms in different languages.

Cilla
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Cilla » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:55 am

Why did you want to know that?

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:51 pm

Hi Cilla,

Faraway has posted that he/she is from Indonesia, and from the post is fluent in Chinese, so is quite likely ethnically Chinese. These subtleties of translation would therefore of interest when interacting with Mahayana practitioners...

The "small vehicle" term is obviously not how the Theravada would refer to themselves, but is a Mahayana classification...

:anjali:
Mike

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Goofaholix
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:43 pm

Why translate a name?

If someones name is John do Chinese people call him John? or do they translate John into the Chinese somehow?

Theravada is a name, like most names it has a meaning behind it, but no need to translate it. We don't translate it into English we just use the name.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:25 pm

Because if you are reading and writing in Chinese you use Chinese characters. If you want to write John you need the characters for it.

As this thread has indicated, it is common to find reference in Chinese to 小乘 (Xiao Cheng), "Small Vehicle", which would be like using the term "hinayana", rather than "Theravada".

:anjali:
Mike

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Goofaholix
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:20 am


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mikenz66
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:32 am


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Goofaholix
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:38 am


plwk
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Re: What is the proper chinese translation for Theravada word?

Postby plwk » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:41 am



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