To the suprise of many, in most scriptural narratives, the Buddha is commonly referred to as the Bhagavā(Pali) or Bhagavān(Sanskrit) and very seldom by the term “Buddha”.
From the previous lesson, we learned that bha means light. Bhaga is actually one of the sun gods of the Vedic religion that predates Buddhism. Emblematic of his solar lineage, Bhaga radiates light, energy and warmth. Bhaga is the bestower of wealth, bliss, and abundance (Rig Veda 7.41).
Bhaga-vān is therefore any being that posseses the radiating and blessing quality of Bhaga.
It is no wonder then, Krishna, is referred to as the Bhagavān in the famous Bhagavad Gītā (The Song of the Bhagavān).
In the Theravadin tradition the most common veneration for the Buddha is:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa
In English, Bhagavān is usually translated as the Blessed One. In light of what we now know about the solar nature of Bhaga, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to translate it as the Blessing One, the Bestowing One or the Illuminating One?
Nanda means happiness.
So Ānanda is very happy,
While Ananda is not happy at all.
Ānanda is very happy because ‘ā‘ is an intensifier.
The prefix ‘ā‘ makes Nanda very Nanda.
‘ā‘ is the life of the party!
Ananda is not happy at all because ‘a‘ is a negator.
The prefix ‘a‘ makes Nanda not Nanda at all.
‘a‘ likes to rain on your parade!
‘ā‘ sounds like this.
‘a‘ sounds like this.
‘ā‘ is pronounced twice as long as ‘a‘
that’s how you can tell them apart in speech.
bha is light.
ābha is incredible light, i.e. Splendor.
The splendor of the Sun is suriyābha.
The splendor of the Moon is candābha.
nicca is permanent, anicca is impermanent (Sanskrit: nitya/anitya)
attā is self, anattā is not self (Sanskrit: ātman/anātman)
vijjā is knowledge, avijjā is ignorance (Sanskrit: vidyā/avidyā)
By this time, you might be thinking
‘a‘ is such a downer, while ‘ā‘ is such an upper,
‘a‘ completely negates, while ‘ā‘ wholeheartedly substantiates
never the twain shall meet!
Hmm … Let’s see,
mita is finite.
amita is infinite.
bha is light.
ābha is incredible light.
‘a‘ the downer and ‘ā‘ the upper,
collide in the supernovic confluence of
amita + ābha = amitābha !
Amitābha: the Buddha of Infinite Splendor!