[Ads-l] yana (religious vehicle) - 1861/1863, Ramayana - 1799

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Fri Nov 7 07:42:26 UTC 2014

Yana is defined in Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yana) with a citation of 2013 but not on the Oxford Dictionary site. I did not search for any of the specific vehicles, but here is what I found for "yana":

1. By 1861, it seems this word is found in English, though not glossed. In the below citation (http://bit.ly/1tOArSO), "metaphysical" has a footnote that says simply "Maha Yana":

Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sykes, FRS, "Notes on the Religious, Moral, and Political State of India before the Mahomedan Invasion, chiefly founded on the ..." in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1861, p. 305

"At that time [As-o-ko's reign] there was a Brahman of the transcendental or metaphysical section of the [Buddhist] priesthood living in Patna [Pataliputto], of unbounded knowledge, prudence, and ability; whose conduct was so pure that the king paid him all possible honour...

2. In 1863, there is a clear gloss of "yana" (http://bit.ly/1u5ttIX):

Emil Schlagintweit, LL.D., "Buddhism in Tibet ...", 1863, p. 22

... the ancient sects are called the Hīnayāna system. The name means "little vehicle," and has originated with the later Buddhists. The epithet "little" was given because the adherents of this system restrict themselves to morality and to external observance only, without making use of such an abstruse, refined, and highly mystical theology, as did, at a later period, the Mahāyāna schools, or those of the "great vehicle." Yāna, vehicle, is a mystical expression, indicating, that man may escape the troubles attendant upon birth and death by practising the virtues inculcated by the Buddhas, and finally attain salvation.

3. In 1863, Anna C Lynch Botta (http://bit.ly/13PW8I0) provides a gloss for "Ramayana" as "Rama" (i.e., the name) plus "yana" meaning expedition in "Hand-Book of University Literature, from the Best and Latest Authorities." I don't know if this yana is related to the other yana, but Ramayana is found in English much earlier. For example, 1799 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (http://bit.ly/10whzf7).

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/home
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list