The 9th year of the Xuantong emperor

One can often read, at least in benevolent accounts, that Manchu remained in use as an official language until the end of the Qing dynasty, that is 1911-1912. It seems that this could be stretched even a bit further as is exemplified by a stone rubbing found in the 北图中国历代石刻拓本汇编, vol. 90. It is dated gehungge yoso i uyuci aniya ilan biya, i. e. april 1917, a rather unusual date for a Qing document.

GY 9


Sun eclipse in the Manchu Kangyur

RahûThought I would try my hand at a Buddhist text for a change, not that I deem myself very familiar with this kind of texts but this one is not riddled with Buddhist terminology, which makes things easier.

For anything related to Manchu Buddhist texts, the Research Material on Manchu Buddhist Canon website is the place to go. Ten cases out of 108 have already been digitized a few years ago, I hope they have plans to do more at some point. The glossary and the catalog they provide are also very useful.

For those interested in the genesis of the Manchu Tripitaka/Kangyur, M. Bingenheimer has written an article entitled History of the Manchu Buddhist Canon and First Steps towards its Digitization which makes for a very interesting read.

šun be jetere de hūlara nomun.
A sutra told when the sun was eaten.

uttu seme mini donjiha
Thus have I heard.

emu forgon de. fucihi sirawasdi hecen i dzida bujan anata bindadi i eiten be urgunjebure kūwaran de tembihebi.
At one time, the Buddha was dwelling in the Dzida woods (2) of the city of Sirawasdi (3), in the place-of-enjoying-all-things of Anata Bindadi (4).

nergin de rahū asuri han. šun i enduri be daliha manggi.
At that time, after Rahû, king of the Asuri, had concealed the sun,

šun i enduri. jalan i wesihun fucihi be hing seme gūninafi irgebuhe gisun. (5)
the sun god sincerely remembered the revered Buddha of the world and said:

eteme yongkiyafi colgoroko fucihi de dorolorongge.
“Hail to the all-victorious and prominent Buddha!

eiten dalibun be ukcabume geterembureo.
Would you please remove all obstacles quickly?

bi te dalibure jobolon de tušaha.
I am currently suffering from the sun being concealed.

hing sere unenggi gūnin i fucihi de dahambi.
I will sincerely submit to the Buddha.”

nergin de jalan i wesihun fucihi. šun i enduri i jalin. rahū asuri han i baru irgebume wasimbuha hese.
So the revered Buddha of the world, on behalf of the sun god, spoke to Rahû, king of the Asuri:

fucihi i jilan bireme jalan de akūnaha.
“The compassion of the Buddha has reached the whole world.

bata be etehe ineku jihe wesihun de šun i enduri emgeri dahaha be dahame.
Because the sun god now follows the revered thus-come who-has-vanquished-the-enemy,

rahū si hūdun subukini.
Rahû, quickly let [the blockade] be removed!

eiten butu farhūn be efulefi elden genggiyen abkai untuhun de eldekini.
Let every obscurity be destroyed and a bright light shine in the sky!

rahū si ume dalire.
Rahû, do not conceal [the sun]!

hūdun šun i elden be dahūbukini.
Let the light of the sun be restored quickly!”

uthai šun i enduri ci aljafi. da arbun dahūbufi.
At that moment, Rahû left the sun god and its previous form was restored.

asuri han bimadzidara i jakade genefi.
He went before Bimadzidara, king of the Asuri,

mujilen elhe akū beye šurgeme funiyehe sehehun ilifi bederefi
his mind was troubled, his body was trembling and his hair was raised on its head.

emu ergide tehe manggi. asuri han bimadzidara. rahū i baru irgebuhe gisun.
After he sat on one side, Bimadzidara, king of the Asuri, said:

rahū asuri si. ai turgunde šun ci aljahade. arbun giru yooni gūwaliyafi. geleme olhome mini jakade jiheni.
“Rahû! Why, when leaving the sun, has your whole appearance changed? And why did you come to me being fearful?”

rahū asuri han jabume irgebuhe gisun.
Rahû, king of the Asuri, answered:

bi fucihi i irgebun be donjifi.
“I heard the words of the Buddha saying:

aika šun ci aljarakū oci. uju nadan ubu efujefi. eiten jobolon gosihon be alimbi sehe:
‘if you do not leave the sun, I will break your head into seven pieces and you will experience every kind of suffering.'”

(1) Lin Shih-Hsuan has written an article about this text and its obscure origin (it is not referenced in the Taisho catalog and no Chinese parallel is known).
(2) Dzida bujan > (Skt.) Jetavana, “Jeta’s grove”. Jeta was the owner of the place before it became a monastery.
(3) Śravasti.
(4) Anāthapindika.
(5) One charming aspect of this text (and other Buddhist texts I have seen) is that characters are not merely “speaking” or “saying” but they “compose poetry” (irgebumbi) and “order” (wasimbuha hese). The latter is reminiscent of the treatment of the imperial utterances in other Manchu texts.

The Kangxi emperor on his health

 Kangxi’s instructions to Similai, quoted in a memorial by Funingga (KX61.9.21/30.10.1722)

si isinaha manggi. jiyanggiyūn. geren ambasai sain be fonji. bi onggolo aniya ci gala bethe umesi hūsungge. jetere omirengge sain bime. singgerengge inu sain. beye umesi mangga. yamji cimari hono muran i aba de genembi. erebe jiyanggiyūn ambasa de ala.

“After arriving, ask after the general’s and the officials’ health. As for me, arms and legs have been very strong during last year. Eating and drinking go fine, as well as digestion. My body is robust. Tomorrow evening (1), I am going to the Mulan hunt. Tell that to the general and the officials.”


(1) Not sure about that. Hauer (p. 524) has “die ganze Nacht” for yamji cimari but this does not seem to fit very well here. See the Muwa gisun on the Manchu Studies Group website for a translation by “tomorrow night”.