Is Lord Buddha called Buddha in Chinese culture or it a different word that is used?

As I understand it, Buddha 佛陀 means 覺者 the enlightened. As far as I know, the Indo-European root is *bheudh, and means to be aware, or to make aware. It is etymologically related to the English forbid or forboding, and the Lithuanian budėti to be awake. In all the decades I have followed the Buddha, I have never heard anyone claim that Buddha literally means he who sits under a fig tree. Online, I find अञ्जीर anjeer for fig, which doesn’t seem to fit the sound Buddha. Check your sources, I am pretty sure Buddha literally means the enlightened, the aware.

Anyway, in Chinese culture we never call him “Lord” Buddha. Buddha is usually transliterated 佛陀, but there are other less commonly used transliterations, such as 浮陀、休屠、浮屠、浮圖、浮頭、勃陀、勃馱、部多、部陀、毋陀、沒馱、沸馱、步他、復豆、佛圖、物他、馞陀、沒陀. (Like most languages, early Chinese did not have a F sound, so a lot of words we now pronounce with F were originally B or P.) He is also called 世尊 the Respected one on our World, which is a translation of Bhagavān, and also transliterated as 薄伽梵 with some variations. You could also call him 如來 the one who has come, and non-Buddhists often call him 佛祖 the Buddha Ancestor, because ancestors are cool.

There are some others, but these are all I can think of.

Leave a Comment