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In researching a Tang inscription (661 CE) I came across this in a journal article.

此外,玄导时代刻经有年号、施主、住僧可考的,有唐显庆六年(661)涿城府左果毅都尉杨社生及其一家施刻的“心经”[附注11]

 (11)显庆六年“心经”题记:“雍州栎阳县游骑将军守左卫涿城府左果毅都尉杨社生、母段、妻扈、息怀庆、玄嗣、玄黎、玄……眷属、缘此功德、齐成正觉。显庆六年二月八日造。

I think I mostly understand what it says, but I'd like to get a second opinion. The first passage is modern Chinese, the inscription is from 661 CE.

Very roughly...

Furthermore, from the era of Xuándǎo (玄导) there is an inscription dated to the 6th year of Tang Dynasty, Xiǎnqìng era [a reign name of 唐高宗 Táng Gāozōng] (661). The donor, one 杨社生 Yáng Shèshēng (涿城府左果毅都尉 city guard, commander of the left) had “心经” the Heart Sutra 其一家施刻的 engraved for the benefit of his family. (See note 11)

(Note 11) The Xiǎnqìng era 6 "Heart Sutra" inscription: 雍州 Yōng Province, 櫟陽縣 Yueyang county [50 km NE of Chang'an], 游騎將軍守 mobile cavalry/chariot unit, 衛涿城府 city and government defense force, 左果毅都尉 courageous commander of the left, [named] 杨社生 Yáng Shèshēng, [To] 母段 Mother Duan, 妻扈 Wife Hu, 息仗炭, 玄嗣, 玄黎, 玄... [and individuals named] Xī Zhàngtàn, Xuánsì, Xuánlí, and Xuán[zhēn]... [and to] 眷属 family dependents 缘此功德 go the merits 齐成正觉 to make them equal to the awakening of the Buddha [正觉 = Sanskrit abhisambodhi]. Made in 顯慶 Xiǎnqìng era, 六年 6th Year, 二月 2nd month, 六日 6th day (13 March 661).

The elided text, between 玄... 眷属 (reading directly from a blurry photo of the inscription) appears to be: "貞女天娘○○○利○山家", where ○ = a character I cannot read. The whole colophon is in three lines like this (with the extra part in square brackets):

雍州爍陽縣游騎將軍守左衛涿城府左果毅都尉楊社生
母段 妻屆息仗炭玄嗣玄黎玄[貞女天娘○○○利○山
家]眷屁線此功德齊成正覓○○顯慶六年二月六日造

I am not clear on the exact meaning on the phrases:

  • 玄导时
  • 住僧可考的
  • 衛涿城府
  • 齐成正觉
  • 母段, 妻扈

I assume that 息怀庆 is also a name, and that 玄嗣, 玄黎, and 玄貞 are the names of Buddhist monks.

I've included an image of the source text for reference. The colophon is the last three columns on the left.

Fangshan Stone Heart Sutra

  • 1
    I think I mostly understand what it says, but I'd like to get a second opinion. Please edit the question to include your understanding of what it says. – droooze Jun 13 '18 at 11:01
  • +1 to what @droooze said. Please also include the points you’re not sure about. – user3306356 Jun 13 '18 at 12:21
  • do you have a clearer image? – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 13 '18 at 18:55
  • Unfortunately not. I am trying to contact the Chinese officials in charge, but reading Middle Chinese a little (usually with a Sanskrit original to help) and composing sentences in modern Chinese are two very different things! – Jayarava Jun 14 '18 at 7:06
  • It's Classical Chinese, and even being trained in Classical Chinese has serious limitations in reading this type of text. You need to be also specifically knowledgeable about Buddhist history and religious terms to be fluent for these scriptures, and the rest of us can only interpret it with the help of a very comprehensive Buddhist dictionary. One thing that may help when reconstructing the text for a degraded sample like this is to use other textual editions of 心經 to infer what the text might be. – droooze Jun 14 '18 at 7:54
3

interesting question :) i answered the easier parts first:

玄导时

the modern text should be interpreted as "玄導時代"

the era (時代) of "玄導" (a monk's dharma name 法號)

母段, 妻扈

the surname of the mother of "楊社生" is 段. then a space, the surname of mrs "楊" is "扈".

住僧可考的

this modern text would be

[the era name (年号), donors (施主),] monk-in-charge (住僧) which can be (可) researchable, provable (考 --> 考據, 考證)

齐成正觉

"齊成正覺", though i can't recognise this verse from the picture, it's quite likely correct. it means

all together (齊) achieve (成 --> 成就) enlightenment (abhisaṃbudhya 正覺 is a specialised buddhism term)

ok, my recognition & best guess:

321 
家母雍a
眷段州b
屬 櫟c
緣妻陽d
此扈縣e
功息游f
德懷騎g
齊慶將h
成玄軍i
正嗣守j
覺玄左k
 黎衛l
 玄涿m
顯貞城n
慶女府o
六大左p
年娘果q
二二毅r
月娘都s
八隸尉t
日利楊u
造庄社v
 山生w
   x
 ..y
 ..z

judging from the heart sutra on the right, the inscription on the left had three column, each had 26 characters.

雍州櫟陽縣

in 661, 雍州 was the prefecture where the capital (aka 長安) located, 櫟陽縣 is a county in the prefecture 雍州

edited. well, in the past, it's common to declare one's ancestral home (籍貫), in front of their name. e.g. "通州雷學淇", "武昌劉禺生"

游騎將軍守左衛涿城府左果毅都尉

"游騎將軍" is a rank name

守 --> 駐守 ~ to station, guard / defend

"左衛xx府" or "右衛xx府" indicated the place stationed, xx is the name of prefecture.

涿城府 is a prefecture name. now, it's 涿州市, located southwest of peking.

"左果毅都尉" is a post name, another post is, "右果毅都尉"

楊社生

donor, with surname "楊", name "社生"

all together, 雍州櫟陽縣游騎將軍守左衛涿城府左果毅都尉楊社生 means:

雍州櫟陽縣 --> mr 楊's ancestral home

游騎將軍 --> his current rank

守左衛涿城府 --> stationed 守 in (left guard, 左衛?) of prefecture 涿城府

左果毅都尉 --> his current post

楊社生 --> his surname & most likely, his courtesy name (字)

guess

1x: deliberate space

1y: 父 (father)

1z: ? (character of his father's name)

end of guess

母段 妻扈

explained, just to remind "段" & "扈" are surname

息懷慶玄嗣玄黎玄貞

息 is 子息 --> son

so, mr "楊" had four sons, named "懷慶", "玄嗣", "玄黎", and, "玄貞"

女大娘二娘

daughter (女), named "大娘" & "二娘"

guess

隸利庄山

assistant [in the office] (隸), with surname "利", and name "庄山"

2x: deliberate space

2y: 及

2z: 其

end of guess

家眷屬緣此功德齊成正覺

if one added "及其" in front of this verse, it would become "及其家眷屬緣此功德齊成正覺", which would be interpreted as:

[the above named persons] and (及) their '其" family (家) members (眷屬), caused by (緣) this (此) merit (功德) [of donating to the buddhism texts inscription project], all together (齊) achieve (成 --> 成就) enlightenment (abhisaṃbudhya 正覺)

guess

3l & 3m : deliberate space

end of guess

顯慶六年二月八日造

ok, i recommend this site to exchange lunisolar & gregorian calendar:

兩千年中西曆轉換, by academia sinica, taiwan

so, 顯慶六年二月八日 was 13th march 661 ad

"造" means "made"

have fun :)

  • Awesome. Thanks! That is really very helpful! – Jayarava Jun 14 '18 at 6:47
  • Supplementary question. We seem to have the names of two Prefectures: 雍州 and 涿城府. Why two? Also I can find info on the first, but not the second. Can you shed any light on this? – Jayarava Jun 14 '18 at 7:52
  • "涿城府 is a prefecture name. now, it's 涿州市," - this makes sense as the stone tablet is located at 房山 Fangshan, which is also in that region. – Jayarava Jun 15 '18 at 6:15
0

I am not clear on the exact meaning on the phrases:

玄导时 住僧可考的 衛涿城府 齐成正觉 母段, 妻扈 I assume that 息怀庆 is also a name, and that 玄嗣, 玄黎, and 玄貞 are the names of Buddhist monks.

I've included an image of the source text for reference. The colophon is the last three columns on the left.

玄导 i found maybe he is a monk. there is some information https://m.ftsx.net/390197.html 衛涿城府 look like a goverment palace. 齐成正觉 Means Became enlightment together 母段 母 means mother, 段 is the first name of his mother. 妻扈 妻 means wife, 扈 is the first name of his wife.

  • When I click on that link my virus protection program alerts me that the site is infected. – Jayarava Jun 14 '18 at 7:08
0

This morning I received another, slightly different transcription of the inscription if anyone is still interested. This one reads

雍州櫟阳縣游騎将軍守左衛淥城(府)左果毅都尉杨社生
母段 妻扈息懷慶玄嗣玄器玄貞女大良二娘秣利巫山
家眷屬缘此功德齊成正覺 顯慶六年二月八日造[經]

  • 淥城府 for 涿城府 (another possibility is 泳城府). Still don't know where this is.
  • 玄器 for玄嗣
  • 大良 for大娘
  • 秣利巫山 for隸利庄山 (秣 must be a mistake I think)
  • i edited the answer, reread :) btw, you mentioned the date as "11 April 661", which is different from my founding, any idea? – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 14 '18 at 17:33
  • an afterthought about given name (名), courtesy name (字) and dharma name (法號): most likely, "社生 "懷慶" were courtesy name; while "玄嗣", "玄器" & "玄貞" were dharma name, cause mr 楊 was a believer of buddhism, he sent his younger sons to become monks. then, "大娘" & "二娘" were just ordinal number reference, referring to his first daughter and second daughter. so, no given names were used in this inscription. anyway, it's my guess only :) – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 18 '18 at 17:49
  • you're welcome :) btw, the link buddhism-dict.net did not work, any idea? – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 20 '18 at 7:28
  • try this buddhism-dict.net/ddb BTW 府 in this context means "garrison" rather the prefecture. There is Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China which is proving very useful! – Jayarava Jun 21 '18 at 8:54
  • ok, then my adjustment: 涿城府 means the garrison (府) of 涿城 (a prefecture name). btw, the "通典" has this entry: ctext.org/text.pl?node=553618&if=gb which explained the name of 果毅都尉 and provided info about 府 (其府多因其地,各自為名), have fun :) – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 21 '18 at 9:45

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