Chinese language and Buddhism

Authored by: Jiandao Shi , Jianxun Shi , Jiajuan Xiong

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter gives an overview of important issues related to the Chinese language in the context of Buddhism as well as Buddhist philosophy and culture. First, important technical terms in Chinese Buddhism are introduced to outline Buddhist views on language, with focus on Chan genres and their unique manipulation of language. It is important to note that the development of Buddhist Chinese is influenced greatly by the translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese and eventually becomes a convention identified with Chinese Buddhists. The influence of translation on the Chinese grammar system is evident in vocabulary, phonological systems and syntax. To bring about new attention on an impact on Chinese word order, i.e. VO vs. OV, this chapter also provides a case study on translations of the stock phrases of the four dhyāna, ‘the four absorptions’.

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