An image of the Buddha from the Song dynasty (1127-1279). Photo: Getty Images
An image of the Buddha from the Song dynasty (1127-1279). Photo: Getty Images
Wee Kek Koon
Opinion

Opinion

Reflections by Wee Kek Koon

Why ‘fotuo’ is the Chinese word for the Buddha as his birthday is celebrated this week

  • When the Chinese came across the Buddhist faith in the Han period (206BC-AD220), the Sanskrit and Pali word ‘Buddha’ was transliterated into Chinese as ‘fotuo’
  • The phonology, or patterns of sounds, of the Chinese language evolved over several millennia, with the same words pronounced very differently in ancient times

An image of the Buddha from the Song dynasty (1127-1279). Photo: Getty Images
An image of the Buddha from the Song dynasty (1127-1279). Photo: Getty Images
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