2

This is from T263, the Lotus Sūtra, eight groups of 4 characters:

如來所詔 常以知時 為其眾生 而行智慧 || 以何方便 而受道法 何因令獲 從佛經教

Does 何, particularly in 以何方便, mean that there is a question being asked here? Or is it simply the word "which"? How does 以 interact with 何 here?

  • q being asked: cf. 未婚男友如果淫欲心炽盛,应以何方便令其离欲?(转载) see 便 bkrs:II (1) 有利于; 有益于 [go a long way in; go far towards; be of value to; serve the interests of] 以便事也。 --《吕氏春秋·忠廉》 便国不必法古。 --《商君书·更法》 (2) 又如: 便地(有利的地形地势); 便家(富翁); 便会(有利时机); 便风(顺风)。。。 (6) 使, 让 [cause; make] 。。。how (in what way) should practice his 离欲 (buddhism term 佛教语。绝离贪、淫等欲念,离欲随观 one 0f 16 forms of meditation)) – user6065 Mar 14 '18 at 11:51
  • so there is no reasonable way that this is not phrased as a question? I ask because the Sanskrit doesn't have a question. The Chinese might be phrased differently, though. But I am wondering if there is any way this can be not a question. – Caoimhghin Mar 14 '18 at 11:56
  • could it not be a rhetorical question, how does it continue? – user6065 Mar 14 '18 at 12:01
  • That is the end of the sentence. It is the last sentence of the Tathāgatāyuṣpramāṇaparivartaḥ (如來壽限章) Ch 15 of the Lotus Sūtra in the version translated by the venerable Dharmarakṣa. The 如來壽限 chapter is usually 16 but it is 15 in Ven Dharmarakṣa's. – Caoimhghin Mar 14 '18 at 12:16
1

"以何" was used in classical chinese roughly as "by (以) which / what (何)".

eg 禮記﹒問喪

或問曰﹒杖者﹒以何為也

三國志﹒董昭傳

問﹒禦以何術

though, it's not 100%, most of this usages were questions.

the verses "以何方便 而受道法 何因令獲 從佛經教" is from 正法華經 卷第七

http://tripitaka.cbeta.org/mobile/index.php?index=T09n0263_007

in which 方便 is upāya-mukha (方便門), since there're many ways to learn buddhism, "以何方便" in this context means by (以) which [one] (何) of the ways (方便).

about the question mark, it depends on the version of translation. here's one that text are punctuated with dot only.

enter image description here

0

以何 can be found in the Chinese to French Grand Ricci dictionary as follows:

以何

yǐ hé

Avec quoi? par quel moyen?

Which roughly translates as:

With what? In what way? By what means?

  • 以 = by / with / based on

  • 何 = what / who / how, etc.

Here’s a slightly more modern day example from Oxford:

你以何为生?

what do you do for a living?

and another from New Century English-Chinese

他们想要了解的是, 我们究竟要以何种基本策略来改善这个国家的状况并使其再度向前发展。

What they want is the meat and potatoes of how we're going to improve this country and get our country moving again.

It’s not technically a word or word-phrase but you might see it together every now and then.

0

Let me quote more sentences so that we can know the whole story.

竺法護《正法華經》第七卷〈如來現壽品〉第十五

受諸等友,而自由用,世吼療治,眾生之病,開導癡騃,令離愚冥,而現泥洹,亦不滅度。
何故慇懃,欲得現已,人常闇弊,使意信樂,以放逸故,墜墮三處,其心踊躍,欲令覺了。
如來所詔,常以知時,為其眾生,而行智慧,以何方便,而受道法,何因令獲,從佛經教。

If it is not easy to understand these, we can take a look other translations. Another version of the same sutra was translated by one of the best translators in the history.

鳩摩羅什《妙法蓮華經》第五卷〈如來壽量品〉第十六

我亦為世父,救諸苦患者,為凡夫顛倒,實在而言滅。
以常見我故,而生憍恣心,放逸著五欲,墮於惡道中。
我常知眾生,行道不行道,隨所應可度,為說種種法。
每自作是意:以何令眾生,得入無上慧,速成就佛身。

The last line shows the following meaning.

I myself often have the following thought. I should use what methods to make all sentient beings to get the supreme Wisdom and to become Buddhas quickly.

Therefore, 以何方便 means to use (以) what (何) methods (方便).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.