Bahai

Taken from a manuscript kept at the BNF (Mandchou 149). This manuscript is a collection of short biographies of Mongol individuals, recording mainly when they were promoted to a new rank or bestowed some title.

kalkai jasak i gurun de aisilara gung bahai i da sekiyen.

bahai i dade kalkai taiji bihe. hūwaliyasun tob i uyuci aniya suke aldaho i bade geren ci colgorome faššahangge ambula saišacuka seme cohotoi kesi isibume jasak i uju jergi taiji obuha. amala erdeni joo i bade geli hūlha be ambarame wafi gung ilibuhangge ambula saišacuka seme hūwaliyasun tob i juwanci aniya dabali kesi isibume imbe gurun de aisilara gung obuha:

Origin of Bahai bulwark duke of the Khalkha jasak (1)

Originally Bahai was a Khalkha taiji. Because in the 9th year of Yongzheng (1732) at Suke Aldaho he surpassed everyone and his efforts were highly praiseworthy, special favor was bestowed on him and he was made first rank taiji of the jasak. Because later at Erdeni Joo (2) he killed a great number of rebels and showed great merit, bestowing additional favor he was made bulwark duke in the 10th year of Yongzheng (1733).

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(1) jasak is translated in Norman as “chief of a Mongol banner”, but here it seems to mean the banner itself.
(2) Erdeni Zhao/Erdeni Zuu.

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Dai yuwan gurun i suduri (4)

“Temujin can not be trusted” (Klaproth, Chrestomathie Mandchou, p. 151-152).

taidzu temujin geli naiman aiman i cioi siowei u. sabar gebungge juwe jiyangjiyūn i cooha be ucarafi. šun yamjire jakade: cimaha inenggi afaki seme boljofi. meni meni ing de bederehe: samuho aiman i ejen niyalma takūrafi wang han i baru hendume: bi. si seci šanggiyan ashangga cecike i adali: tereci gūwa gemu niongniyaha i adali kai: šanggiyan cecike šahūrun halhūn ocibe kemuni amargi bade bimbi: niongniyaha šahūrun ohode halukan babe baime julesi deyeme genembikai: temujin i mujilen de akdaci ojorakū:

Then Taidzu Temujin met the army of Cioi Siowei U and Sabar, two generals of the Naiman tribe. Because the sun was setting, they decided that the fight would take place on the morrow and they all went back to their camp. The chief of the Samuho tribe sent someone to Wang Han to say : “You and I, we are like small white-winged birds. Compared to us, the others are like geese. Should it be cold or hot, small white-winged birds remain in the north. But geese, when the cold has come, they go south, looking for heat. Taidzu Temujin can not be trusted.”

Mongols through the eyes of Nurhaci

Reading Johan Elverskog’s Our Great Qing and finding it very interesting. His main point is a reassessment of the centuries old paradigm , i. e. that the Qing used Buddhism to “ensure the undying loyalty of the Mongols” (p. 3). He shows how things are more complex than that, starting with the fact that when Khorchin Mongols turned to the Jurchen ruler Nurhaci for protection, there were “no Manchus, no Mongols and no Buddhist words or rites” involved (p. 14).This reminded me of the following extract of the Sacred Instructions of Nurhaci. Here, Khalkha and Urut (1) Mongols are scolded, maybe not for being Buddhists but at least for being too easy-going on robbers and other troublemakers.

Daicing gurun i Taidzu dergi hūwangdi i enduringge tacihiyan/大清太祖高皇帝聖訓 (duici debtelin, f°8b-10a)

abkai fulingga i nadaci aniya. sahaliyan indahūn. juwe biyai sahaliyan morin inenggi. monggoi urut gurun i minggan i jergi juwan nadan beile. kalkai ba ba i taiji. meni meni harangga jušen irgen be gajime dahame jihe manggi (2). han yamun de tucifi. amba sarin sarilafi. tacibume hese wasimbuhangge. meni gurun i banjire doro. tondo akdun. šajin i jurgan be jafafi. erdemungge sain niyalma be gidarakū wesimbume. ehe facuhūn niyalma be dere banjirakū šajin i gamame ofi. hūlha. holo ehe facuhūn akū. jugūn de tuheke jaka be saci. tunggiyeme gaifi ejen de bumbi. meni gurun i banjire doro uttu ofi. abkai gosire be alihabi. suweni monggo gurun i niyalma. gala de erihe jafafi fucihi be hūlambime. hūlha holo be nakarakū banjire be abka wakalafi. suweni beise i mujilen be gemu facuhūn obufi. gurun jobombikai. te suwe mimbe baime jihe be dahame. erdemungge sain niyalma oci. erdemui gung de dorolome ujire. erdemu akū niyalma oci. jihe gung de sain ujire. hūlha holo. ehe mujilen be ume deribure tenteke ehe mujilen be waliyarakū oci. meni šajin i gamambi kai sehe:

“The way of living of our (i. e. Manchus) gurun is loyalty and trust. Having grasped the duty of the doctrine, we do not oppress the virtuous and good persons but promote them. And since we practice a doctrine that does not have regard for the evil and confused person, there are no robbers and thieves, evil and confused persons. If someone sees something on the road, he picks it up and gives it back to its owner. Because this is the way of living of our gurun, we have received heavenly love. Someone of your gurun, Mongols, takes his rosary in hand and invokes Buddha. Heaven blames those who live and do not stop robbers and thieves, the minds of your beise become all confused and certainly the gurun suffers.”
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(1) Are these the Urad?

(2) At this early date, only groups of Khalkha Mongols had submitted to Nurhaci (cf. Cambridge History of China, vol. 09, p. 30-31). The text mistakenly gives the impression that the Khalkhas as a whole (kalkai ba ba i taiji) submitted on this occasion.

Dai yuwan gurun i suduri (3)

Going on with the Manchu History of the Yuan dynasty. Today extracts feature a sorrowful Gengis Khan, faithful amban and frightened bandits.
I’m pretty sure that there are things I misunderstood, so feel free to point any mistakes.(Klaproth, Chrestomathie mandchou, p. 147-150).taidzu temujin cooha gaifi ciyei liyei aiman be dailame genefi: taidzu temujin i cooha facuhūrafi taidzu temujin morin ci tuheke be: taidzu temujin i fejergi borji gebungge amban ini yaluha morin de taidzu temujin be tukiyeme yalubufi tucibuhe: tere inenggi abka nimarame ofi tatan be falabufi. taidzu temujin orho i dolo dedufi manggi: muhūli. borji gebungge juwe amban. taidzu temujin i oilo jafu be sarame jafafi geretele ilihai bethe be guribuhekū: nimanggi šumin emu udu ci bihe: tereci jobolon ci guwefi amasi jihe:Taidzu Temujin took his army and went to war against the Ciyei-liyei tribe. His army became confused and Taidzu Temujin fell down from his horse. One of his amban, Borji, took him on his horse and spirited him away. Snow was falling this day and Taidzu Temujin had sent (his) camp back. After he had laid down on the grass, Muhūli and Borji, two of his amban, spread a blanket over him and, standing until dawn, they did not move a foot. The snow was a few feet deep when, having shaken off his sorrow, he went back.

so o gebungge niyalma niyamniyara gabtara mangga bihebi: taidzu temujin ambula gosime mergen seme gebulehe: taidzu temujin hūlha be ucarafi teni afaki serede: juwe niyehe deyeme jimbi: taidzu temujin. so o be niyehe gabta sere jakade: so o jabume. amila be gabta sembio: emile be gabta sembio: taidzu temujin hendume: amila be gabta: so o uthai amila be gabtame tuhebuhe: tere be hūlha sabufi golofi hendume: ere niyalma uttu gabtara mangga de. deyere gasha hono tucirakūkai niyalma be ai hendure sefi. afahakū burlame genehe:

There was a man named So-o who was skilled with a bow, both on foot and on a horse. Taidzu Temujin loved him a lot and had named him mergen. One day, when Taidzu Temujin met bandits and wanted to attack them, two ducks flew by. Taidzu Temujin said to So-o: “Shoot the duck”. So-o answered him: “Do you want me to shoot the male or the female duck?”. Taidzu Temujin said: “Shoot the male duck”. Then So-o shot and brought down the male duck. When the bandits saw that, they were frightened, saying: “This man is such a skilled shooter, ducks flying low never go out. What would he do to a man?” (1). Refusing the fight, they fled away.

emu inenggi taidzu temujin gūsin funcere moringga be gaifi. alin i dorgi mukei yohoron be generede: taidzu temujin ambasai baru hendume: ere bade ehe hūlha be ucaraha de ainambi: muhūli jabume. mini beye alime gaimbi dere: goidahakū hūlha uthai bujan i dorgici tucifi gabtarangge aga agarai adali: muhūli beri tucibufi gabtame ilan niyalma be goibuha: hūlhai da fonjime si we: muhūli jabume muhūli kai sefi. morin i enggemu be sufi. enggemu be jafafi taidzu temujin be dalime tucibuhe: tereci hūlha inu genehe:

One day, Taidzu Temujin took with him more than thirty horsemen. As they passed along a waterway in the mountain, Taidzu Temujin told his amban: “What should we do if we meet bandits here?”. Muhūli answered: “I will deal with them myself”. Not long after, bandits came out of the woods and sent arrows like rain. Muhūli took his bow, shot and hit three men. The chief of the bandits asked him: “Who are you ?”. Muhūli answered: “I am Muhūli”. Having removed his saddle, he protected Taidzu Temujin with it and spirited him away. The bandits left too.

tere fonde geren aiman toktoro unde ofi. borji gebungge amban dobori dari šurdeme kedereme yabume. taidzu temujin elheken bahafi amhambihe: taidzu temujin ini muhūli. borji. borogūl cilagūn gebungge duin amban be tondo baturu seme tukiyeme duin guluk seme gebulehe: taidzu temujin geli miyei li ci aiman be dailame genefi afara dulimbade. edun nimanggi burašame ofi. taidzu temujin i borji gebungge amban. batai dolo dosifi taidzu temujin be baici baharakū: borji tereci nuktei bade jifi tuwaci. taidzu temujin aifini bederefi sejen i dolo amhahabi: taidzu temujin ini borji isinjiha be donjifi hendume: abka minde aisilahangge kai sehe:

In these days, all the tribes were not pacified yet. One amban named Borji was on duty every night so that Taidzu Temujin could sleep peacefully. Taidzu Temujin bestowed his four amban the title ‘loyal hero’ and called them ‘the four guluk‘. Taidzu Temujin went to war against the Miyei-li-ci tribe. In the middle of the fighting, because snow and wind blew, Taidzu Temujin’s amban Borji entered enemy lines and could not find Taidzu Temujin anymore. When Borji arrived at the camp, Taidzu Temujin had come back long before and was sleeping in a chair. When Taidzu Temujin learnt that Borji was back, he said: “Heaven has helped me!”.

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(1) I’m not sure I got this sentence right :

ere niyalma uttu gabtara mangga de.
when this man (is) such a skilled shooter,

deyere gasha hono tucirakūkai
ducks flying low never go out (=escape?)

niyalma be ai hendure
much less a man. (= if he can shoot even ducks, how would a man escape him?). On the use of ai hendure, cf. Hauer, Handwörterbuch, p. 8.

Dai Yuwan gurun i suduri (2)

Bodancar’s descendant Temujin (i. e. Gengis Khan) befriends Botu.tere fonde i ciyei liyei sy halai botu gebungge niyalma niyamniyara mangga bihebi: taidzu temujin ini fu el ce dan gebungge niyalma be hūlhame takūrafi. yelkune birade tehe botu i jakade jihe manggi: botu. taidzu temujin i takūraha niyalma be safi abka yamjiha seme emu dobori dedubufi honin wafi ulebuhe: fu el ce dan i yaluha morin šadara jakade botu ini emu sain morin be taka bufi yalubufi amasi unggihe: fu el ce dan jifi botu i ambula kundulehe be. taidzu temujin de wacihiyame alaha manggi: taidzu temujin ambula urgunjeme ini non tiyei mu lūn be botu de bure seme angga aljaha botu uthai ini uksun i yei bu jiyan dai gebungge niyalma be takūrafi taidzu temujin i jakade jifi hendume. bi donjici horon erdemu nonggihangge tugi hetefi šun be sabuha gese: niyengniyeri edun de. gecehengge wendere adali be urgunjeme wajirakū: taidzu temujin fonjime. botu de ulga udu bi: yei bu jiyai dai jabume. morin gūsin bi: tere morin be dulin jafan benjiki sembi: taidzu temujin hendume sadun jafafi de. ulin be gisurerengge hūda hūdašara adali kai: julgei niyalmai henduhengge: emu mujilen ojorongge yargiyan i mangga sehebi: bi te abkai fejergi be gaifi sembi (1): suweni i ciyei liyei halai irgen botu be dahame minde tondoi hūsun buhede wajiha kai: ulin be ainu gisurembi sefi: non be botu de buhe: hoidahakū dzacilatai: dzajuha. toyei gebungge niyalma ilan tumen cooha be gaifi afanjime jidere be. botu donjifi niyalma takūrafi. taidzu temujin de alanggiha: ini beye cooha gaifi toyei se be dailame etefi. terei aika jaka be gemu tabcilame gaifi irgen be dahabuha:

In these days, there was a member of the I-ciyei-liyei-sy clan named Botu who was very skilled at mounted archery. Taidzu Temujin called Fu-el-ce-dan and sent him [to Botu]. When he reached the Yelkune river where Botu lived, Botu saw him and, because the sun was setting, he invited him for the night. He killed a sheep and gave him to eat. Because Fu-el-ce-dan’s horse was tired, Botu lent him a good horse and sent him back. When Fu-el-ce-dan arrived and told Taidzu Temujin everything about how Botu had treated him with respect, Taidzu Temujin rejoiced greatly and promised to give his younger sister Tiyei-mu-lūn to Botu. Botu sent someone of his own clan to Taidzu Temujin, Yei-bu-jiyan-dai. When he arrived before Taidzu Temujin, he said: “I heard that your power and your virtue have increased. It is as if a cloud left, revealing the sun ; like frost melting in a spring wind. I rejoice to no end”. Taidzu Temujin asked: “How much livestock does Botu have?”. Yei-bu-jiyai-dai answered: “Thirty horses. This horse, he sends to you as half of the bridal gifts”. Taidzu Temujin said: “When people become in-laws, speaking of goods is like doing business. People of old have said that being of one heart is really difficult. Now I … (1) and the people of your I-ciyei- liyei clan follow Botu. Should he loyally give me his strength, that would be it! Why speak of goods?” He gave his younger sister to Botu. A short time after, Dzacilatai, Dzajuha and Toyei took 3000 men and went to attack him. When Botu learnt about it, he sent someone to Taidzu Temujin to let him know that. He took his troops himself and defeated Toyei and the others. He seized what belonged to them and had their people submit.

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(1) bi te abkai fejergi be gaifi sembi. Not sure about how this part should be translated. I wonder if a reading gaiki sembi would not make more sense: “Now I want to take the world, with you following Botu and Botu giving me his strength, it would be done”.

Harlez, Manuel, p. 89, gives an example of ellipsis involving a similar construction : coohabe gaifi sembi, “he says (that it was done) by raising an army”. Applying this to our text : “now, I say (it is done) by seizing the world”. Does this refer to the “being of one heart” mentioned just before? If so, the whole extract could be summarized thus: “Being of one heart is truly difficult, now I say this is done by seizing the world. With you following Botu and Botu giving me his strength, this would be done”.

Dai yuwan gurun i suduri (1)

Prompted by Fresco Sam-Sin’s tweet of December 4th, I thought this would not be an unfitting moment to post part of a translation I made some time ago of various bits of the Yuan dynasty official history (1646). The beginning of this work can be found in Klaproth, Chrestomathie mandchou, 1828, p. 121-192.The text makes for an interesting read. The blend of pastoral life, martial prowess and pride somehow reminds me of the Icelandic sagas.

dai yuwan gurun i da gebu monggo: monggo gurun i unggu mafa bodancar hala ci u wen: bodancar i eme i gebu alūn gūwa: alūn gūwa. dobon mergen be gaifi banjihangge juwe haha jui: amba jui gebu bugū hatagi: jacin jui gebu buhūci salci: dobon mergen akū oho manggi. alūn gūwa anggasi ofi emu dobori tolgin de šanggiyan elden monggo boo de dosifi. aisin i boconggo enduri ubaliyafi deduhe besergen i baru jidere de. alūn gūwa gelehei hetefi. tereci beye de ofi bodancar be banjiha: bodancar arbun hiru niyalma ci encu: nomohon ujen: gisun komso: booi urse beliyen sere jakade: alūn gūwa hendume: ere jui beliyen waka: amaga jalin i juse omosi urunakū amba wesihun ombi sehe: alūn gūwa akū oho manggi: geren ahūta booi aika jaka be dendere de isirakū ofi. bodancar hendume: wesihūn fusihūn. bayan yadahūn gemu hesebungge kai: ulin be ai seme gisurembi sefi: damu emu sirga morin yalufi geneme. geli ton alan gebungge bade isinafi tere bade uthai tehe:

The original name of the Yuwan dynasty was ‘Mongol’. The ancestor of the Mongol dynasty is Bodancar, of the clan Ci U Wen. The name of Bodancar’s mother was Alūn Gūwa. She married Dobon Mergen and gave birth to two male children. The oldest one’s name was Bugū Hatagi and the youngest one Buhūci Salci. After Dobon Mergen died, Alūn Gūwa became a widow. One night, she had a dream in which she saw a white light enter the mongol house and change itself into a golden spirit. As he approached her bed, Alūn Gūwa was scared and bowed (1). She became pregnant and gave birth to Bodancar. Bodancar’s appearance was different than that of other men. He was quiet, serious (2) and did not speak much. When the servants called him ‘dull-witted’, Alūn Gūwa said : “This child is not dull-witted. No doubt, (his) children and grand-children of future generations will be great and revered” (3). When Alūn Gūwa died, his older brothers shared everything in the house between themselves and Bodancar got nothing (4). He said : “Honor and humility, wealth and poverty, all is determined by fate (5). Why speak of goods?” He then climbed a light bay horse and departed. He arrived in a place named Ton Alan and settled there.

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(1) The text printed in Klaproth’s Chrestomathie makes it sometimes hard to distinguish between g and h. In his Manuel (1884, p. 172), de Harlez reads getefi, “she woke up”.

(2) Can nomohon ujen be understood not as two adjectives “quiet and serious” but as a construction mirroring gisun komso?

(3) De Harlez translates “Children and grand-children (…) will say : ‘he is great and honorable'”. I have to admit that I do not understand how he reaches this translation.

(4) My translation does not follow the Manchu text closely because, while the meaning seems clear, I am not sure of how -re de isirakū should be understood here. Is it literally “he did no went to the sharing” or is it an idiomatic use (“to be as good as”/”to be enough”)?

(5) De Harlez reads gesebungge and translates “the same”.