An Old Uighur Fictional Letter Supposedly Written by Prince Gautama from a Fragment in the Serindia Collection at the IOM, RAS

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Abstract


In this paper the Old Uighur fragment SI 4bKr 11 (SI 4028) of the Serindia Collection at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, the Russian Academy of Sciences is edited together with notes. Its content are rather peculiar and shed some light on the attitude of Uighur monks towards their Buddhism.


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Peter Zieme An Old Uighur Fictional Letter Supposedly Written by Prince Gautama from a Fragment in the Serindia Collection at the IOM, RAS Abstract: In this paper the Old Uighur fragment SI 4bKr 11 (SI 4028) of the Serindia Collection at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, the Russian Academy of Sciences is edited together with notes. Its content are rather peculiar and shed some light on the attitude of Uighur monks towards their Buddhism. Key words: Old Uighur, Buddhist culture, fiction, rare words The recto side of fragment SI 4bKr 11 (SI 4028) of the Serindia Collection at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (IOM) of the Russian Academy of Sciences is part of a copy of the 菩薩瓔珞本業經 Pusa yingluo benye 1 jing (“Gem-Necklace Scripture of Bodhisattvas”) attributed to Zhu Fonian. The verso side is a remarkable testimony to the activities of Old Uighur Buddhist monks. From left to right the leaf can be divided into four sections. A is the concluding passage of an Old Uighur Buddhist text, B is a colophon, C is a part of a loan contract, and D is the transcription of a Chinese phrase in Uighur script. Before coming to A, which is the main subject of this paper, I shall discuss the other sections briefly. Section B (colophon) 2 Section B was introduced by D. Matsui. The text of this colophon can be read as follows. (10) kwyskw yyl ʾltync ʾy pyr ynkyqʾ pw tʾvqʾc kwyn tʾ mn (10) küskü yıl altınč ay bir yaŋıka bo tavgač kön-tä m(ä)n (11) <t> tʾqycwq twtwnk qy ʾyrykyp ʾwlwrwp ʾyky kʾzyk ky ʾ (11) <t> takıčok tutuŋ k(ı)y-a irikip olurup iki käzig-k(i)y-ä ------- © Peter Zieme, Free University, Berlin and Tōyō Bunko, Tokyo 1 T. 1485, vol. 24, pp. 1014b12-29. 2 Further notes in MATSUI 2004, 58, 61, 66. (12) py[ ]dym cyn ʾwl ʾzwk ymʾ ʾrmʾz ʾwl typ pytydym cyn tʾkynwr mn (12) bitidim čın ol äzüg ymä ärmäz ol tep bitidim čın täginür m(ä)n “In the year of mouse, in the sixth month, on the first day. On this Chinese 3 4 scroll I, Takıčok(?) Tutuŋ K(ı)ya, sitting about lazily, only wrote a couple of lines. It is true; it is not wrong. It is true, I affirm.” Section C (loan contract) (13) qwyn yyl ʾwycwnc ʾʾy vyty ykrmy kʾ mʾnkʾ (13) koyn yıl üčünč ay yeti ygrmikä maŋa (14) smpwdw twtwnk qʾ ʾʾsyq qʾ kwymws krkʾk (14) s(a)mbodu tutuŋ-ka asıg-ka kümüš kärgäk “Sheep year, third month, on the seventeenth. I, S(a)mbodu Tutuŋ, was in need of silver on interest.” Section D D is a separate section (lines 15 to 19). This passage edited by M. Shō- 5 gaito contains the Chinese phrase 四種族性清浄諸勝刹利王帝 followed by a transcription in Uigur script and an Old Uighur translation. The first attempt at translating the Chinese phrase - tegmä tört türlüg 6 tözüg ugušıg kitärtäči t (ll. 15-16) - was determined to be wrong, without a mark of deletion. In his new attempt the writer started with a transcription of the Chinese sounds into Uighur script, after which he translated the 7 phrase. Here I present the text in the following table. ------- 3 tʾqycwq or tʾrnycwq. I follow Matsui’s reading although it is not definitive. 4 Translated as kokoro-o itame 心を痛め “in sorrow” (MATSUI 2004, 53, 66). The verb irik- (erik-?, ED, 226a) has the meaning “to be disgusted, bored”. M. Erdal (OTWF, 366) reminds of Maḥmūd al-Kāšgarī’s ir- “to be lonely”, but Clauson combines ir- and irik-. In Kirgiz (JUDACHIN 1965, 461b) the verb irik- has two meanings “to be bored” and “to be lazy”. I think that the latter meaning fits the phrase above, expressing the self-deprecating attitude of scribes: “sitting about lazily I only wrote a couple of lines”, or in a more natural rendering as Nicholas Sims-Williams suggested to me: “owing to my laziness I only wrote a couple of lines”. The expression “two lines” is probably not meant literally: it should rather be interpreted as “a couple of lines”. 5 SHŌGAITO 1997, 28-29. Mentioned in MATSUI 2010, 700. 6 Emended to ta[rkartačı]. 7 For details see SHŌGAITO 1997, 28-29. In lines 3 and 10 the characters were not transcribed. Line 12: The phrase beginning with töpüdä abižek “abhiṣeka on the head” definitely refers to the emperor or ruler (wangdi), cf. RÖHRBORN 2015, 5-6. Chinese Pinyin Тranscription OU translation character in Uighur script (1) 四 si sy tört (2) 種 zhong cwnk türlüg (3) 族 zu - tözlüg (4) 性 xing sy ugušluglarnıŋ arasınta (5) 清 qing sy arıgı (6) 浄 jing sy süzüki üzä (7) 諸 zhu cw alkuta (8) 勝 sheng šynk utmıš yegädmiš (9) 刹利 chali cʾ r ly kšatrik (10) 王 wang - (11) 帝 di ty (12) töpüdä abižek The kṣatriya is the name of the second in the system of the four castes in India, but in the phrase above it is placed first. This deviates from the traditional sequence of the four castes, i.e. brāḥmana (priests), kṣatriya (military), vaiśya (farmers, traders), śūdra (serfs), but agrees with a passage in the Old Uighur Insadi-sūtra: kištirik braman uz tarıgčı bo tört ugušluglar “those 8 who belong to the four castes, i.e. kṣatriya, brāḥmana, artisans, farmers”. While the artisans are chosen as representatives of the third caste, the farmers were regarded as the lowest caste. In at least four Chinese texts, too, the 9 sequence begins with kṣatriya: T. 374, T. 375, T. 397, T. 1763. Section A Finally, the first section (A) on the verso side of the fragment is the most interesting and most difficult. Transliteration and transcription 10 (01) [ ] mn pww pys ʾʾšwn nwk ywl ʾycyn tʾ k[ ] (01) [ ] m(ä)n bo beš ažun-nuŋ yol ičin-tä-k[i ] ------- 8 BT III 119. 9 T. 374, vol. 12, p. 372a2, T. 375, vol. 12, p. 611b24, T. 397, vol. 13, p. 359b8, T. 1763, vol. 37, p. 390b4. 10 Peculiar spelling pww for bo “this”. (02) qʾ tʾk +y+ yʾnmʾqʾy mn qʾcʾn pwqʾn qwdyn pwlmʾqyn cʾ qʾpylpʾq kʾ[ ] (02) -ka-tägi yanmagay-m(ä)n kačan burhan kutın bulmagın-ča kapılbak kʾ[ ] (03) tʾqy tydymym qʾnkym šwdwtʾnʾ ʾylyk plʾk ʾwytwnwr mn ʾʾrʾswd 11 ʾwyk lp (03) -takı tidimim kaŋım šudotana elig b(ä)läk ötünür-m(ä)n arašud öŋ-l(ü)g 12 (04) kwyk sʾcyqmy ʾwykwm mʾqʾ mʾy qʾdwn qʾ plʾk ʾwydwnwr mn pwqwnwm tʾqy mwrmw (04) kök sačımnı ögüm maha-may hatun-ka b(ä)läk ötünür-m(ä)n bogunum-takı murmu (05) -twmwmy kwykwyym ʾʾkʾm qʾʾdwn qʾ pwyrlʾkym tʾky pwyrlʾk swk kwk myn ʾʾmrʾq (05) -tum{um}nı kügüyim äkäm hatun-ka *bürläkim-täki *bürläk süŋük-(ü)min amrak (06) qʾʾdwnwm yʾš tʾryq qʾ pʾlʾk ʾydwr mn. ʾʾlty ywz twymʾn ʾyckʾk qyrqyyn 13 (06) hatunum yaš-tarıh-ka bäläk ıdur-m(ä)n . altı yüz tümän inčgä kırkın (07) qʾnym qʾ cwtʾmʾnym ʾʾsʾn kwylʾyw ʾʾytw ʾydwr mn ʾlty yyl twynyn 14 (07) hanım -ka čutamanim äsän-güläyü aytu ıdur-m(ä)n altı yıl tönin (08) twysqʾcʾr lyq ʾʾcyq ʾmkk ʾmkʾnwr mn pwqʾn qwdyn ʾwycwn (08) dwyšqʾčʾr-lıg ačıg ämgäk ämgänür-m(ä)n bu(r)han kutın üčün (09) pw sʾkymwny ny mn ʾydswyn twtwk qy ʾpytydym cyn ʾwl (09) bo šakimuni-nı m(ä)n ʾydswyn tutuŋ k(ı)y-a bitidim čın ol Translation I will not return into […] of the ways of these five existences as long as I do not attain Buddhahood. I offer as a present my diadem on the headgear kʾ [ ] to my father, King Śuddhodana. I offer as a present my rājavarta coloured blue hair to my mother, Queen Mahāmāya. ------- 11 The word ʾwyk lp seems to be written in error for öŋ-lüg. 12 In sʾcyq̈ my the dots cannot be explained. 13 Written qʾdtwn. 14 As hanım is difficult in this position, it is perhaps better to assume that an l-hook was forgotten so that we should read kırkın-larım. I send as a present my mumurt on my knuckle to my aunt and my elder sister, the ladies, and my *bürläk bones in my *bürläk to (my) beloved wife Yaśodharā. Asking about their health, I send my cūḍāmaṇi to my 600 times 10,000 tender servant girls. I suffer the bitter pains of duṣkaracaryā suffering through six years for Buddhahood. I, Idsön Tutuŋ k(ı)ya, wrote this Śākyamuni (text). This is true. General notes The “I” of this fictional letter can be none other than Prince Gautama himself. The actual writer was an Old Uighur monk by name ʾydswyn Tutuŋ. That name consists of two elements: ʾydswyn + tutuŋ. The latter is the title dutong 都統 widely used in Buddhist Uighur clerical circles. The first part is certainly also derived from Chinese, but only its second syllable can be identified - coming from quan 泉 “fountain”, while the source of the first syllable ʾy, which can be read as i, ay, ni and other variants, remains unclear. What was the purpose of this fictional letter? There is no easy answer. I would like to think of it as a special act of devotion, but possibly it was nothing more than a writing exercise. Notes on some words (02) qʾpylpʾq may be read *kapılbak. This word can be regarded as the original form of kalpak denoting in Turkic languages “head-cover, hat”, 15 etc. The modern Turkish form reflects a reduction and metathesis from *kapılbak>*kalpbak>kalpak. A similar formation is kögüsbäg in the Old 16 Uighur Family archive. 17 (03) tidim “crown” is ultimately derived from Greek διάδημα “crown” and means here in all probability the ūrṇa on Buddha’s forehead. (03-04) ʾʾrʾswd. If read arašud, this seems to be a previously unnoted 18 spelling of ražvart < Skt. rājavarta “lapislazuli”, the colour of Buddha’s 19 uṣṇīṣa, here sač “hair”. Cf. ražawrt öŋlüg kök sačı . ------- 15 Cf. TMEN No. 1506; ED, 584b-585a; ESTJa 1997, 234-236. 16 UMEMURA 1987, l. 29; ED, 714b (köküzmek “breastplate”). 17 ED 456b: “the crown which a bride wears on her wedding night”, thus recorded in the Family archive, cp. UMEMURA 1987, l. 87. 18 KARA 2001, 106. 19 GENG and KLIMKEIT 1988, ll. 2000-2001 (“his rājavarta-blue hair”, mark of Buddha). 20 (04) Mahāmāya, Prince Gautama’s mother. (04-05) mwrmwtwm. If one regards the last two letters wm as dittography one gets mwrmwt. The most similar word is mwrmwt in Mainz 724 verso 51 = BT.XXIII.D093: ärtini-lig murmut meaning ratnamālā 寶鬘 “jewel necklace”. (05) kügüy “aunt”, this seems to be the first occurrence in an Old Uighur 21 22 text. The following word is äkä which can also mean “aunt”. Buddha’s maternal aunt and adoptive mother was Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī (Pāli) / Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī (Sanskrit). In a famous story she made a special dress for the Buddha, but the Lord accepted it only after long discussions. This 23 story is told at length in the Old Uighur Maitrisimit nom bitig. (05) pwyrlʾkym tʾky pwyrlʾk swk kwk myn. The first word *bürläk (pwyrlwk) denotes something like a head-cover, to be explained from 24 *bürülüg/bürülük “something twisted” <bürül- “to be twisted, folded” ; swk kwk myn = süŋük(ü)min “my bones”. But the expression as a whole is enigmatic: *bürläkim-täki *bürläk süŋük(ü)min “my *bürläk bones in my *bürläk”. (05-06) amrak hatun yaš-tarıh “beloved lady Yaśodharā”, the wife of Prince Gautama. The name is written in a strange way: yʾš tʾryq. In the 25 Maitrisimit nom bitig the spelling is yʾswdʾrʾ. (06) altı yüz tümän “600×10,000”. In the Maitrisimit nom bitig we find 26 altı tümän kunčuy hatunlar “60,000 princess ladies”. (06) ičgäk kırkın, taken as it is, would mean “demon girls”, but probably the scribe miswrote the first word, intending to put inčgä “tender”. The compound inčgä kırkın meaning “servant girls (of the harem)” is known from several texts. (07) As the paper is torn here, I cannot propose a definite reading, but it seems to be something like cw(n)tʾ rksy. Although I am assuming cūḍāmaṇi here, I should point out that the letters can also be interpreted as *cūḍārakṣa or *cūḍālakṣa, if the l-hook was forgotten or not written. The latter would mean “the mark of cūḍā”, Skt. has cūḍā-lakṣaṇa as the name of the “ton- 27 sure”, but that is not something that can be sent as a gift. Skt. cūḍāmaṇi is ------- 20 Cf. GENG and KLIMKEIT 1988, ll. 1299, 2226 (maxamaya qatun). 21 LI 1996. 22 ED, 100b “junior (paternal) aunt” and “elder sister”, later only “elder sister”. 23 GENG and KLIMKEIT 1988, ch. IV. 24 ED, 365b. 25 GENG and KLIMKEIT 1988, ll. 1330, 2456, 2484, 2488; yažotara l. 2474. 26 GENG and KLIMKEIT 1988, l. 2496. 27 MW, 401a. the precious stone in the uṣnīṣa. In Old Uighur it is known as the name of a 28 jewel only from the story of Sadāprarudita and Dharmodgata: anıŋ käntiniŋ tašında yana tägirmiläyü alp tap(ı)šguluk čintamani čudamani biliŋgn(a)mani brahmamanita ulatı ärdinilär üzä aralašturu etmiš yetirär kat tamlıg 29 adınčıg körklä yetirär kat kalıkları ısırgalıkları ol :: “Outside of his city around there were extremely beautiful castles and 30 palaces with seven layers each with seven walls each alternatively decorated with jewels like cintāmaṇi, cūḍāmaṇi, (śakrā)bhilagnamaṇi, brahmāmaṇi that are difficult to find.” 31 (07) tönin may be a variant of the postposition töni. (08) twysqʾcʾr < kt. duṣkaracaryā “arduous practices”, the term for “asceticism”, especially that of Buddha when he left home and spent six years 32 leading an ascetic life. In this spelling in Uighur script we see another rare 33 example of the letter q for a Sanskrit front k. Abbreviations BT III: Berliner Turfantexte III BT XXIII: Berliner Turfantexte XXIII DDB: Digital Dictionary of Buddhism ED: Etymological Dictionary ESTJa: Etimologicheskii slovar’ tiurkskikh iazykov GOT: Grammar of Old Turkic MW: M. Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary OTWF: Old Turkic Word Formation T.: Taishō Buddhist Canon TMEN: Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen References Das uigurische Insadi-sūtra (BT III) 1974: TEZCAN Semih. Das uigurische Insadi-sūtra. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag (Berliner Turfantexte III). Magische Texte des uigurischen Buddhismus, (BT XXIII) 2005: ZIEME, Peter. Magische Texte des uigurischen Buddhismus. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers (Berliner Turfantexte XXIII). ------- 28 TEKIN 1980, 190. 29 ll. 070-072. 30 OTWF, 816. 31 ZIEME 1992. 32 Cf. DDB; KUDARA and ZIEME 1997, 77. 33 RÖHRBORN 1988. Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (DDB) (Charles Muller). An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish (ED) 1972: CLAUSON, Gerard. An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Etimologicheskii slovar’ tiurkskikh iazykov (ESTJa) 1997: Etimologicheskii slovar’ tiurkskikh iazykov. Obshchetiurkskie i mezhtiurkskie osnovy na bukvy “k”, “ḳ”. [Etimological dictionary of the Turkic languages]. Moskva: Nauka, GRVL. GENG Shimin and KLIMKEIT, Hans-Joachim 1988: Das Zusammentreffen mit Maitreya. Die ersten fünf Kapitel der Hami-Version der Maitrisimit. I-II. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. A Grammar of Old Turkic (GOT) 2004: ERDAL Marcel. A Grammar of Old Turkic. Leiden/ Boston: Brill. JUDACHIN Konstantin Kuz’mich 1985: Kirgizsko-russkii slovar’ [Kyrgyz-Russian dictionary] Frunze: Glavnaia redaktsiia Kirgizskoi Sovetskoi Entsiklopedii. KARA, György 2001: “Late Medieval Turkic Elements in Mongolian”. De Dunhuang à Istanbul. Hommage à James Russell Hamilton. Ed. by L. Bazin and P. Zieme. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 73-119. KUDARA Kōgi and ZIEME, Peter 1997: “Two New Fragments of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūhasūtra in Uigur”. Nairiku ajia gengo no kenkyū. Studies on the Inner Asian Languages 12. Osaka: The Society of Central Eurasian Studies, 73-82. LI Yong-Song 1996: “Kügü~kügüy “Teyze” Hakkında”. Türk Dilleri Araştırmaları Istanbul 6, 71-79. MATSUI Dai 2004: “Notes on the Uigur Secular Documents from the St. Petersburg Collection. Buddhist Monastery of the Toyoq Caves as Revealed from the Texts Related to Monks Sivšidu and Yaqšidu”. Papers on the Pre-Islamic Documents and Other Materials Unearthed from Central Asia. Ed. by T. Moriyasu. Kyoto: Hōyū Shoten, 41-70. MATSUI Dai 2010: “Uigur Manuscripts Related to the Monks Sivšidu and Yaqšidu at “Abita-Cave Temple” of Toyoq”. Journal of the Turfan Studies Edited by Academia Turfanica. Essays on The Third International Conference on Turfan Studies. The Origins and Migrations of Eurasian Nomadic Peoples. Shanghai: Shanghai guji shubanshe, 697-714. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (MW) 1899: MONIER-WILLIAMS, Monier A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Old Turkic Word Formation (OTWF) 1991: ERDAL, Marcel. Old Turkic Word Formation. A Functional Approach to the Lexicon, I-II. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. RÖHRBORN, Klaus 1988: “Zur Darstellung der Gutturale in den indischen Fremdwörtern des Uigurischen”. Central Asiatic Journal 32 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz), 232-243. RÖHRBORN, Klaus 2015: Uigurisches Wörterbuch. Sprachmaterial der vorislamischen türkischen Texte aus Zentralasien - Neubearbeitung - II. Nomina - Pronomina - Partikeln. Band 1: a-asvık, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. SHŌGAITO Masahiro 1997: “Chinese Buddhist Texts in Uighur Script (cont’d)”. Bulletin of the Society for Western and Southern Asiatic Studies 46. Kyoto, 1-31. TEKIN, Şinasi 1980: Buddhistische Uigurica aus der Yüan-Zeit. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen (TMEN) 1963-1975: DOERFER G. Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen, I-IV. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. UMEMURA Hiroshi 梅村坦 1987: Uiguru monjo “SJ kr.4/638” - konrei sōgi hiyō no kiroku ウイグル文書「SJ kr.4/638」--婚礼・葬儀費用の記録 [A Re-Examination of the Uyghur Document “SJ kr.4/638”: An Account Book concerning Weddings and Funerals]. Risshō Daigaku Kyōyōbu kiyō 立正大学教養部紀要 [The Journal of Rissho University Liberal Arts Faculty] 20. Tokyo: Risshō Daigaku, 35-87. TWYNY: Zieme, Peter 1992: “= töni, eine bisher verkannte Postposition des Alttürkischen Altorientalische Forschungen Berlin: Akademie-Verlag 19, 160-165. Taishō: 大正新脩大蔵經 Taishō shinshu daizōkyō [Taishō Revised Tripiṭaka]. Ed. by Takakusu Junjiroō 高楠順次郎. Tōkyō: Taishō Issaikyō Kankōkai 大正一切經刊行會, 1924-1934.

About the authors

Peter Zieme

Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Author for correspondence.
Email: ziemepet@gmail.com
Scopus Author ID: 57081325900

Germany

References

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  3. Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (DDB) (Charles Muller)
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  5. Etimologicheskii slovar’ tiurkskikh iazykov (ESTJa) 1997: Etimologicheskii slovar’ tiurkskikh iazykov. Obshchetiurkskie i mezhtiurkskie osnovy na bukvy “k”, “ḳ”. [Etimological dictionary of the Turkic languages]. Moskva: Nauka, GRVL
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