In this paper we argue (hat the name of the temple, Bai Ma Si, 0 ,% comes from the Sanskrit word padma, which means 'lotus'. The white horse was all but unknown as a symbol in ancient India, from whence Buddhism came to China; but it was a potent topic in Chinese thought at least since the famous philosophical discussion of Gongsun Longzi. To support this argument we note that the endings -t and -k were already merging or varying at least as early as Shijing times, thereby explaining why the pad- in Sanskrit was transcribed with the Old Chinese syllable brok, which eventually evolved into Putonghua bai. We further speculate that the -d sound in pad- indicated a low pitch first syllable in the Sanskrit word. The fact this syllable was transcribed with a b- in Chinese, rather than directly with a p-, shows the greater saliency of pitch over the segmental feature of voicing.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Chinese Linguistics
|Published - Jan 1996
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Linguistics and Language