Talk:唵

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"oṃ" Sanskrit borrowing[edit]

Note that (auṃ) is never used in Buddhist texts and is therefore very unlikely to occur in Chinese/Japanese. Buddhist texts invariably use ओँ (oṃ) instead. Jayarava (talk) 08:49, 26 April 2018 (UTC)

Namaste, @Jayarava; you may be right, but do the East Asian texts had the oṃ written mainly in the Siddham script or Devanagari?
Also, is the ओँ (om̐) one glyph or more than one with a combining form? Never seen this glyph before in my character maps... Wait, anyone tell me why the transliteration on the red-link has the chandrabindu above the Latin "m"? ~ POKéTalker) 09:32, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
My bad. It should be o + anusvāra (ṃ), i.e. ओं (it's a combining form). Of course, Devanāgarī is a modern script and Buddhist texts were preserved in medieval versions of North Indian scripts, which can generally be categorised as "Siddham" (though be warned that learning the modern "Siddham" script is almost useless for reading old Indian manuscripts in my experience). There is still no usable Siddham font, so if I'm making a point about written Sanskrit, I use Devanāgarī (which I can just type on my keyboard). My main point was that ॐ is not appropriate to a Buddhist context as it is never used except by confused modern people. Manuscripts invariably use oṃ. Jayarava (talk) 16:08, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
It's confusing. Trying to avoid a heated debate here... For now, the Devanagari stays until there's some documented evidence regarding which script was used that derived the Chinese character . ~ POKéTalker) 19:32, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
Pinging @Erutuon for the glyph issue, and @Eirikr, Justinrleung, Suzukaze-c, Wyang for the etymological help, anyone else needed? ~ POKéTalker) 05:47, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
My JavaScript tool tells me it ओँ consists of devanagari letter o, devanagari sign candrabindu, so it is a letter and combining diacritic. — Eru·tuon 06:40, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
@POKéTalker, I'm unsure what you need?
FWIW, KDJ's entry for (on) states:

(梵 oṃ の音写)

The Japanese aun is not from Sanskrit (auṃ). The KDJ entry for 阿吽阿呍 (aun) gives this as:

(梵 a-hùṃ の音訳)

Does that help? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:08, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
We still don't know what script the East Asian Buddhists used to derive the as transliteration of the om syllable.
The original problem here was that the om symbol (oṃ) was and is not used in Buddhist texts. But there's probably lack of evidence regarding the derivation of the Sanskrit om to Sinitic texts, that is transliterated as (for example, whether they used Siddham, Devanagari, or the om symbol). This is confusing, it would take at least a round of meditation, likely with multiple chants of oṃ. This one is outright misleading 阿吽 - 1. Om; Aun; syllable representing the primordial trinity of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma For now, let's stick with the Devanagari, for @Jayrava's sake.~ POKéTalker) 19:32, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
Bear in mind that Jisho.org is rather sloppy in their lexicography, and should not be trusted for sourcing purposes.
Also, the Devanagari script used to spell apparently arose after the main period of transmission of Buddhism to China. See w:History_of_Buddhism#China and w:Devanagari#Origins. As such, the "om symbol" (really just the spelling of the term) in Devanagari as (oṃ) probably didn't even exist at that period, and exploring the origins of this spelling is orthogonal to the origins of the term.
And lastly, Sanskrit is a language. This side-discussion about the script used to write Sanskrit a-hùṃ, etc. strikes me as irrelevant to the key issue of etyma. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:31, 27 April 2018 (UTC)


I agree with Eiríkr Útlendi that questions of Sanskrit orthography are entirely irrelevant to the phonology, etymology, and semantics of a Chinese word in this dictionary. The point is that 唵 is used in some Chinese Buddhist texts (e.g. on the last page of T220) to convey oṃ in some mantras: oṃ ( /õː/ nasalised monophthong), not auṃ (/əũ/ nasalised diphthong). Therefore any ways of writing auṃ such as "auṃ", "ॐ", or "औं", are not appropriate in the definition for this character. And hence I have removed ॐ from the definition - how we write oṃ must surely be a simple matter of Wiktionary convention (of which I am admittedly ignorant). In this context 唵 = oṃ, though of course 唵 has an independent meaning as well and other characters have also been used to convey oṃ by different translators. And please note that the character 唵 does not "derive" from Siddham. It was a pre-existing Chinese character used by some translators to convey a Sanskrit phoneme /õː/ which has no equivalent in Chinese phonology Jayarava (talk) 08:36, 28 April 2018 (UTC)


With respect to the Siddham script question, the text I cited above, T220, was translated by roughly 660 CE. This is well before the script known as Siddham developed. I can read and write Sanskrit in Siddham script. However, to read a roughly contemporary manuscript of the Large Sutra on Perfection of Wisdom I had to learn a script as different from Siddham, as Siddham is from Devanāgarī. Part of the problem is that Siddham is a very broad term, used vaguely by non-specialists, mainly to refer to the modern Sino-Japanese script used by Buddhists to write mantras. If you want to be pedantic, then yes, the glyph ॐ does derive from a script somewhat like Siddham. It's just that it is the glyph for auṃ, not oṃ. For the graphic differences one can consult my book or website. Jayarava (talk) 08:36, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

The difference now seems clear now. Unicode actually has glyphs for Siddham. It's imperative for me to bring up the script problem because I couldn't find a way to transliterate using my keyboard, that's why I'm blindly copypasting this so-called om symbol. Your information actually enlightened me from that ignorance.
Someone should correctly re-transliterate (oṃ) as soon as possible. As of this time, it's still oṃ. Domo, ~ POKéTalker) 20:01, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
@Jayarava: Hi, what exactly is the problem here? I can help out as a native Devanagari user, and I'm familiar with the Brahmi script. You can also use Sanskrit औम् (aum) or ओम् (om). The afaik is the result of sandhi in Sanskrit, or later developments in Pali where final m becomes nasalized. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 20:09, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
No problem. Jayarava (talk) 12:19, 29 April 2018 (UTC)
Also note that we've standardized Sanskrit to use only the Devanagari script on Wiktionary, so if you are referring to the Sanskrit word it must use the Devanagari script. This is a matter of convenience, since Devanagari has been established as the modern standard for Sanskrit (along with IAST transliteration in the West). —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 20:12, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
Good to know, thanks. Jayarava (talk) 12:19, 29 April 2018 (UTC)
@Poketalker: What's wrong with its transliteration? —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 22:38, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
@AryamanA, for me, it's still a little bit confusing whether the om symbol is actually read as and is pronounced aum (candabindu or anusvara, Unicode naming error). That is all.
So finally, should it be said that the Chinese character usage for the seed syllable is a borrowing/transliteration for ओम् (om) or ओं (oṃ)? ~ POKéTalker) 03:01, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
@Poketalker: First of all, m and don't matter here, because nasalization occurs at the end of words endings in nasal consonants in Sanskrit following the rules of sandhi. Second, o was a diphthong in Classical Sanskrit and the IAST transliteration system always uses o for that letter. A variant औम् (aum) also exists, but ओम् (om) is the standard representation and should be the one mentioned in this entry. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 10:18, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
We are not talking about "Classical" Sanskrit here, we are talking about Buddhist Sanskrit and it has some different conventions. The nasalisation is important and one never sees om in manuscripts; only ever oṃ. This is because oṃ is one akṣara, while om is two and the distinction is important. Moreover, as I say, one never sees auṃ in a traditional (i.e. a manuscript) Buddhist context. Therefore, to say that "ओम् (om) is the standard representation" is quite wrong because it never occurs in practice (and to the best of my recollection is not used in the Upaniṣads either). The standard representation is oṃ or in Devanāgarī ओं. And that is what should be used in the entry. Jayarava (talk) 08:41, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

Chinese sense[edit]

@Jayarava May I ask where did you get the "darkened sky" sense? Thanks. Dokurrat (talk) 05:03, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

D'oh! Sorry I was looking at 晻. Silly mistake to make. Jayarava (talk) 08:14, 16 May 2018 (UTC)