Reading of 折 in 折伏

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Александр Запрягаев

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May 19, 2022, 6:40:13 AMMay 19
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Is there any new insight (since Unger 1988) towards the unexpected reading シャク in the Nichiren Buddhist term 折伏?

The term itself obviously precedes Nichiren; it actually occurs in the Samantabhadra Visualization Sūtra (T. 277), the "epilogue to the Lotus" [0393b01: 若欲折伏者 當勤誦大乘, translated by Tsugunari Kubo and Joseph M. Logan as "When you aspire to govern it, You must diligently internalize the Great Vehicle"]. It doesn't seem that there were any peculiarities in the pronunciation: neither the Mandarin zhéfú mor the Korean chŏlbok suggest anything but the usual Chinese verb tsjiet "to bend, break".

Furthermore, the binome is clearly used in from the earliest times in the Man'youshuu to render the expected compound wori-pus-:

神風之 伊勢乃濱荻 折伏 客宿也将為 荒濱邊尓 (MYS.4.500): KAMUKAZE NÖ ise nö PAMAWOGÏ WORIPUSETE TABÎNE yaSU RAMU ARAKΠPAMAPÊ ni

On the other hand, the modern Japanese ondoku pronunciation is シャクブク, with the unexpected -k final. (Kotobank also gives an alternate reading ジャクブク, with the same final.) There is no Chinese precedent for -k in 折, and there seems to be no way of confusion, as the word with 折 is amply attested in the Buddhist canon.

Unger proposes a possibility of the contamination from a similarly spelt character which actually has the reading シャク; with options like 拆 "to rip open" (サク, still not similar), and 斫 "to cut" (シャク). But that still begs the question of why the reading in an established Buddhist compound was altered.

In order for that to happen, there should have been 1) little awareness of the actual reading for 折 and 2) high exposure to the characters with 斤 or 斥 read シャク. Meanwhile, 折 in its expected reading セツ seems to be very frequent (at least 
曲折 has very early attestations
), while 拆 and especially 斫 are probably marginal (析 is frequent, but so is its meaning "to analyse", which does not really fit).

Another option would be an application of 有邊讀邊, but, once again, not only is 折 frequent on itself, the readings of characters with 斤 on right are too divergent to make any guesses (and 斤 itself is キン).

To summarize, it still seems not clear at all why did シャクブク gain its pronunciation (and where: Nichiren himself seemed to spell it only in kanji, probably without furigana). Are there any new ideas in the field or at least additional evidence towards one of those already existing?

Alexander Zapryagaev

[Unger 1988] Unger, J. Marshall. "Chinese Final Stops in Japanese: A Critique of Vance's Theory." Journal of the American Oriental Society (1988): 627-631.

Richard Bowring

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May 19, 2022, 5:47:15 PMMay 19
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Just to note that although 折 is indeed zhé, I suspect the answer is indeed a mix-up with 拆 chāi or chè, for both of which Pulleyblank reconstructs a Late Middle Chinese reading of trha:jk. Whether we can go on to say that an “established Buddhist compound was altered” is a moot point. 
Richard Bowring


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John Kupchik

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May 19, 2022, 8:50:31 PMMay 19
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On 19/05/22 10:39 pm, Александр Запрягаев wrote:
On the other hand, the modern Japanese ondoku pronunciation is シャクブク, with the unexpected -k final. (Kotobank also gives an alternate reading ジャクブク, with the same final.) There is no Chinese precedent for -k in 折

Some Chinese languages do have final -k in 折. For example, in Hakka it is pronounced "chak" and in Taiwanese Southern Min it is "tsik". The Songshan district of Taipei used to be called 麻里折 "Bâ-lí-tsik-kháu" in Taiwanese Southern Min (based on the original Ketagalan name of the area).


Best regards,

John Kupchik
The University of Auckland

GUELBERG Niels

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May 19, 2022, 9:49:07 PMMay 19
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Dear Alexander,

the reading シャクフク can be found in koushiki manuscripts.

A critical edition of a manuscript from the Daigoji (Joukei's abridged version of Chouken's Nyoirin koushiki) was produced by Shiba Kayono, and she has her article online:

You can find シャクフク in line 35.

There are more examples, but for the most you have to go to the temples and check the manuscripts by yourself. 
(There is an example in Gyouson's Shaka koushiki, but even the Shiryo hensanjo couldn't check the manuscript at Kozanji for their edition in Dai Nihon Shiryo.)

These examples do not answer your question, but they show that it wasn't Nichiren's idea.

Hope that helps.

Niels


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件名: Re: [PMJS] Reading of 折 in 折伏
 
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Tomasz Majtczak

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May 21, 2022, 9:55:50 AMMay 21
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Dear John,

I am not a Sinologist, but based on my very occasional observation I noticed that some Chinese languages (especially the southern ones) seem sporadically to dissimilate syllable-initial and syllable-final consonants as for their place of articulation. I took a quick look at Ким’s phonetic dictionary and checked the situation in Cantonese. Here are some examples I could find:

(MC: Baxter-Sagart|Pulleyblank|李榮; Cantonese: JyutPing)

法 (fǎ) MC *pjop|puap|piuɐp⁴ — Cant. faat³
凡 (fán) MC *bjom|buam|biuɐm¹ — Cant. faan⁴
核 (hé) MC *heak|ɣəɨjk/ɣɛːjk|ɣäk⁴ — Cant. hat⁶
捏/揑 (niē) MC *--|nɛt[捤?]|net⁴ — Cant. nip⁶
品 (pǐn) MC *phimX|pʰim’|p’iem² — Cant. ban²
(折, however, is zit³ in Cantonese)

But I am not sure if the phenomenon is old enough to have played any role in the Sino-Japanese pronunciation.

Best regards
Tomek Majtczak


Tomasz Majtczak
Wadowice / Kraków
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