What is it about?

The name of Buddha in Japanese was borrowed from Korean, and both derive from a Chinese imitation of the Sanskrit name Buddha, followed by a word meaning ‘lord, king’. The same pattern ‘lord Buddha’ is also found in Turkic and Mongolian.

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Why is it important?

This work solves the problem of the hitherto mysterious origin of a culturally important word by replacing it within its geographical and historical context.


Solving an etymological puzzle is always a pleasure, especially in the case of culturally important words and when it makes sense from a larger historical perspective. Such etymologies are by no means negligible contributions but are often solid achievements.

Thomas Pellard
Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

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This page is a summary of: The Awakened Lord: The Name of the Buddha in East Asia, Journal of the American Oriental Society, January 2014, American Oriental Society,
DOI: 10.7817/jameroriesoci.134.4.689.
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