Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

Tiam meaning always did appear in teochew dictionary. So it is just teochew word being used by minnan people .No,we cannot learn any good hokkien from theravada monks in malaysia.One of them called kumara is horrible.
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

SimL wrote:Hi there,

I've been transcribing some Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien, and came across a couple of terms I haven't been able to find in Douglas-Barclay, nor on the internet. Some of them seem to be known expressions (on the internet), I just haven't managed to get a meaning for them.

I wonder if anyone could help me? Here they are:

#) "gua3-toh4-kau3": some sort of religion. It's mentioned in connection with other ancient religions, like Buddhism.

#) "hO-hue sim" or "hO-hue e sim". This is a very undesirable state of mind or heart to have, and can be a condition one has, if one doesn't practice one's religion regularly.

#) "huan5-lo2" and "huan5-ho2". Both mean "to worry" (I'm only familiar with "huan5-ho2"). The first character is apparently 煩. Does anyone know the characters for "lo2" and "ho2"?

#) "lo2-mO3/7": The first character is apparenetly 老. Does anyone know the second character?

BTW, Douglas-Barclay says this means "aged and infirm". But in my usage of Penang Hokkien, it is specialized to mean "demented" and then weakened to "very forgetful" (used even for a young person). In my usage, it cannot be used for a very weak and old person, if that person's mental faculties are still fine.

#) "pO2-si1": What does this term mean, and what are the characters for it?

The context is "co3 pO-si" = 做 XXX.

#) "thuan5-kiet4": Is this 轉結, and if so, what does it mean?

The context is "tioh-be e-hiau thuan-kiet" = "has to be able to (or 'to know how to') XXX".

#) "tiau5-ti5". Douglas says that this can also be pronounced "tiuN1-ti5", and gives the characters as 張持.

Now, "tiuN1" could be pronounced "tiauN1" in some varieties, so I'd accept 張 as the character for either "tiuN1" or "tiauN1" (i.e. nasalized and tone-1). But, what is the character for "tiau5" (not nasalized and tone-5)?

#) "thiN1 e to7/to3". What might "to7/3" mean in this context, and what is the character for it?

The context that this occurs in is: "chut-si ti thiN e to" = "to be born in Heaven's XXX".

Thanks in advance,
天道 the last one.
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

SimL wrote:Another few questions. (Sorry there are so many!)

#) "co3-ci(t)8-E7"

Douglas gives this as "making one lot, all at once; all in one". However, in one sermon, the monk seems to use it to mean "to get together".

Does anyone know of this usage?


o) "ci-le-pai ci-pai - le-pai jit - i-lang to lai <co-ci-E>"
= "once a week - (on) Sunday - they hence come <to get together>"

o) "hue-kau, i-lang pai-gO - ta-ta e pai-gO - tiaN-tioh tioh be lai <co-ci-E>"
= "[In] Islam, they (on) Friday - every Friday - definitely have to come <to get together>"

o) "hut kah lang2 - ci-le-pai ci-pai - lang2 lai <co-ci-E>"
= "the Buddha taught us - once a week - we come <together>"

#) ki3-ti5: 記持 "memory, the mental powers of memory"

This is known from Douglas, and my parents know it too. However, it struck me that the *spleen* of a chicken is also pronounced identically "ki3-ti5", sandhied form in PgHk would be "ki1-ti5" (because tone-3 => tone-1, rather than the standard Hokkien rule of tone-3 => tone-2). This was yet another item which I found quite revolting in the soup when I was young!

Does anyone know the hanzi for it? The mandarin form 脾脏 pi2-zang4 would appear to be quite unrelated.

#) siong5-siong5

This is given by Douglas as "usually, generally". Can it also mean *regularly*? The monk seems to use it in this way:

"lu na-si siu peh-kai - <siong-siong> siu peh-kai - lu e ki-hue chut-si ti thiN e to cin-nia kuan" = "if you cultivate the Eight Precepts - <regularly> cultivate the Eight Precepts - your chances of being born in Heaven's <to> are very high".

Quite aside from the fact that no one seems to know what "to3/7" means, it appears to me that the monk means "regularly" rather than something as weak as "usually, generally" in his use of "siong5-siong5" here.

#) "tue3" = "to follow". Does anyone know the hanzi for this?

#) "cam5-si5"

Context: "se-kan e khuai-lok lang2 hiong-siu <cam-si> nia - ci-le tiam-siaN nia" = "worldly happiness we enjoy <occasionally?> only - for a (short) time only".

Douglas doesn't give this compound, but does give: "tsam5 lang5 e5 oe" = "to interrupt a man's talk"; "hO7 i1 tsam5" = "to be interrupted by him". Unfortunately, Barclay doesn't give a hanzi for this.

I speculate that this is "cam-時" (literally "interrupted time"), so that it could be translated as "occasionally, every now and again".

Does anyone know this as a Hokkien 詞語? My parents have never heard of it.

Any idea of the correct hanzi?

#) This one is more complicated

I'm quite familiar with "seng3-te7" 性地 = "temper". However, the monk says in a number of spots "chai1-seng1-te7" or "sai1-seng1-te7" (sandhied). Nobody I've asked knows what this first word could be. There is of course "phaiN1-seng1-te" (sandhied) for "bad tempered", but this is clearly not what the monk is saying.


"lang5 na kong lang2 bo-ho e ua, lang2 pun mai <chai> seng-te, in-ui lu na <chai> seng-te, co lu e sim luan liau, sua be song" = "if people say bad things about us, even then you won't want to <lose your temper?>, because if you <lose your temper?>, [if you] make your heart in turmoil, then your won't feel at ease."

"i na-si cin-nia ok e lang5 - ta-ta jit <sai> seng-te e lang5, i siauN e siauN ka-liau si ok e" = "if he is a very aggressive person - a person who <loses his temper?> every day - [then] the thoughts he would think would all be aggressive ones"

In one sermon, it sounds more like "chai", and in another more like "sai", but i think the same word is meant in all cases. Of course, if anyone both knows the word AND can give the hanzi, I would be *most* grateful!

Furthermore, at one stage he says "na-si kong lu seng-te cin-nia TUA" = "if your temper is very BIG". This is a bit puzzling. There is of course "seng-te cin-nia ho2" and "seng-te cin-nia phaiN1" for "good tempered" and "bad tempered", but *big* tempered is not a phrase I was aware of, either in Hokkien or English. Anyone every come across this usage?

#) "si1-cin2" (sandhied)

This is perhaps a kind of worm. I'm thinking of "ca3-cin2" or "ca3-cing2" (sandhied tones), which is also a kind of very small (aquatic) worm - found in drains (and fed to aquarium fishes). However, I believe that this latter is borrowed from Malay "cacing", so this might not be related in any way.

The context is where the monk is speaking about someone with leprosy: "thai-ko e lang5, i-e phue nua. tapi i ci-le phue nua, cin-nia gatai; in-ui ci-le <si-cin> - ci-le thang a-si ha-mi, ti-ti ka i" = "A leper, his skin goes rotten. But this rotting of his skin [causes him to] itch a lot; because these <si-cin> - these worms or whatever, keep biting at him."

#) "na2 ka1" = "similar to, like"

Anyone know the hanzi for this?

#) "ti7-ti7" + verb = "to keep on, to repeatedly, constantly" + verb. e.g. "ti-ti cau" = "to keep running", "ti-ti ciah" = "to keep eating", etc.

Is the hanzi for this "直直" or "在在"?

Again, any help would be much appreciated,
I‘ m sure he just don't know how to pronounce se khun 细菌 not cacing
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

SimL wrote:Hi everyone,

I'm doing my next lot of transcriptions, and these are the terms I need some help with. In all cases where I don't have the hanzi, I'd be grateful if anyone knows them.

I give first the original sentence(s), then my attempted translation, then the words I'm unfamiliar with, as a list. These are rendered in bold - in the original sentence, the translated sentence, and in the list. I've transcribed without tones (too much effort otherwise), but in the word lists, I have added the tones I think it might have. For final syllables which sound like tone-3, I have to say tone-3/7 because I can't tell which of the two is intended. For non-final syllables, I have to give all the tones which could have resulted in the sandhied tone I hear: for example "sin1/5/7", because I heard a tone-3 (or tone-7) in non-final position.

Thanks a lot!


P.S. I don't lightly "impose" on the good nature and time of the more learned members of the Forum. For most of the passages I've transcribed, I've already done hours of work, looking up stuff in Douglas/Barclay, asking my parents, guessing at equivalents in Mandarin and looking them up in my Mandarin-English dictionary, etc. The questions I've posted here are the remaining ones which I haven't been able to solve any other way.


"i e pue cin-nia ce keng"

= "he can recite [from memory] a lot of scriptures"

• "pue3/7": I think I got the meaning right; I just need the hanzi and tone for it. Is it as in Mandarin?


"u-e lang lai hut-kau-hue, cong-cong e bok-tek pun bo ha-mi ho e, na-ka u-e hau-sEN-lang: ca-bO toh ai chue ta-pO peng-iu; ta-pO toh ai chue ca-bO peng-iu. ci-le si cu-ien e la, m-si kong cin-nia phaiN e bok-tek, tapi i bo ha-mi kong ho i-su la.

= "some people come to the Buddhist Institute for all sorts of not very good reasons, like some <hau-sEN-lang>: girls wanting to find a boyfriend; boys wanting to find a girlfriend. This is a <cu-ien> reason, not a very bad reason, but still not a very good motivation."

• "hau-sEN-lang5": I'm only familiar with the word "hau-sEN" meaning "son". Can "hau-sEN-lang" refer to both guys and girls? Perhaps it means "young people"? How is this written in hanzi?
• "cu1/5/7-ien5": could this be "cu7-jien5" 自然? The speaker seems to definitely say "ien" not "jien".


"na-kong lang iong ci-le sin-tong e mih-kiaN; bo ha-mi ho, in-ui na-kong i hO lu ho ci le ui, i u ci le "price" la. u ci le bo-ho chu la. i hO lu ho chu, tapi au-bue lai, i u bo-ho chu la."

= "say we use this <sin-tong> thing; it's not very good (to do so) because (even though) it gives you something good at one spot, it has a 'price'. There is (later) a bad <chu>. (First) it gives you a good <chu>, but in the end, there is a bad <chu>"

The above follows a passage about a heroin addict, so perhaps "sin-tong" has something to do with ""? The idea he's seems to be trying to convey is that things which give you pleasure at one stage have a "price" (he uses the English word "price" at this point in the lecture): a good "chu" first, but later a bad "chu".

• "sin1/5/7-tong1": what about 神通, or perhaps something with ?
• "chu3/7": meaning and hanzi?


"lang na-si kong ciaN-ciaN gian-kiu hut-li, liau lu beng-pek in-ko, a beng-pek ci-le si-seng-ti, cin-pun e hut-li, hut kong lang jip-to liau la - than-tioh it-to la. than-tioh it-to liau, siang koh ci si, lang tiaN-tioh than-tioh it-ko la."

= "if we truly study Buddhist teachings, and you understand (about) karma, and you also understand this <si-seng-ti>, the <cin-pun> Buddhist teachings, (then) the Buddha says we would have <jip-to> - (we would) have achieved <it-to>. (And) after we have achieved <it-to>, similarly, another time, we will definitely achieve <it-ko>."

This passage is full of Buddhist terminology. Thanks to Ah-Bin who gave me a reference to Soothill (http://www.acmuller.net/soothill/soothill-hodous.html), I've been able to find some terms which might be relevant, but of course I can't be sure that they are correct. If anyone knows these terms from their own personal experience, I'd be very grateful for help.

• "cin1-pun2": 真本??? "truly original"???
• "it4-ko2": 一果??? [Soothill "九因一果. Nine of the 十界 ten dhotu or regions are causative, the tenth is the effect or resultant."]
• "it4-to3/7": 一道??? [Soothill "one way, the one way; the way of deliverance from mortality, the Mahayana"]
• "jip8-to3/7": 入道??? [Soothill "to become a monk"]. Doesn't quite fit into the context.
• "si-seng-ti": 四聖 "The Four Noble Truths"???, or 四眞 [Soothill] (http://www.internationalscientific.org gives the pronunciation of as "the5")


"lang puah 'ampat ekor' a-si 'ban-ji', lang e ki-ui than, si cin-nia cio e"

= "if we gamble 'ampat ekor' or "ban-ji", (then) the <ki-ui> that we get, (it) is very little"

• "ban-ji": "ampat ekor" is the gambling system known in Malaysia where one can bet on any 4-digit number; "ban-ji" is presumably 萬字, but I'm unfamiliar with this game. Does anyone know anything more about it?
• "ki2/3-ui3/7": Can't work this out from context.


"lang e tng-lang e am: tua-jit-ci e si, i-lang toh thai iauN, thai ke, lai kong-iong"

= "(in) our Chinese temples: during feast days, they'll slaughter sheep, slaughter chickens, to <kong-iong>"

• "kong1/5/7-iong2": From context, perhaps "offering, sacrifice"? What are the hanzi?


"lang na-si kiaN ho e lO, lang u kui-jin kO lang2 la"

= "If we walk the good road (i.e. live a good life), then we will have <kui-jin> looking after us"

• "kui2/3-jin3/7": No idea what this could be. Guardian spirits?

第一果=pali called sotapanna,第二果,etc.贵人kui jin.
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

SimL wrote:These are from the next sermon :-).

#) hE1/5/7(non-sandhied)-ran1, hE7/3(sandhied)-ran1.

Strange thing is that he uses a real "r" here, for the beginning of the second syllable. I thought perhaps he's borrowing a word from Mandarin (he sometimes does this).

Context: "tan-si wa <hE1/5/7-ran1>, peh-cap hue liau, i ko cin-nia kiaN1".

He's talking about an 80-year-old man who is still afraid (of dying). I wonder whether he's saying "赫然", with a quite unusual pronunciation?

#) "to3/7"

Context: "i be chut-si khO e to" = "he will be reborn [in] a bitter X".

This seems to be the same "to3/7" as in the previous sermon. There it was "thiN1 e to" (positive), and here it is "khO2 e to" (negative).

I speculate that it might be just "way" 道.

#) "pak4/pah4(not sandhied)-ak4"

"lang2 bo than control liau lo. bo than... bo pak/pah-ak liau lo." = "We have lost control, not able to... no XXX any more".

Here he's talking about the moments just before death, when we have lost control of speech, hearing, movement etc.

#) "phO1(sandhied)-thOng1" and "cu3/7(sandhied)-ien5"

Context: "i ta-ta jit e sim - i phO-thong e sim - a-mO kong i-e 'natural frequency'. i cu-ien e siauN" = "his 'everyday heart' - his X-X heart - in English, his 'natural frequency'. his X-X thoughts.

#) "se1(sandhied)-cun3" and "chut(8)-siaN3" and "thO7(sandhied)-hui1"

Context: "i kong 'se-cun a', wa ti siauN, na-si kong ci jit, wa hong-hiam si, na kong wa chut-siaN, hO lau-hO ka wa si la. a-si bo, thO-hui phah wa si' " = "he said: 'X-X a, iI was thinking, f say one day I meet a dangerous/violent death, like, say I X-X, and get bitten to death by a tiger. Or else a X-X beats me to death.

This is from a story he's telling, about a disciple asking the Buddha some questions.

"se-cun" seems to be the way the disciple addresses the Buddha.

"hong-hiam" I've found in Douglas-Barclay as meaning "dangerous", but "a dangerous death" doesn't make much sense, so I've translated it as "a violent death".

"chut-siaN". I wonder whether it means "to LEAVE the CITY" 出城?

Thanks again in advance,
The way he used hong-hiam is teochew way not hokkien.
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by dhamma »

forgot to say hong hiam si is just very danger not death :oops:
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Re: Buddhist sermons in Penang Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin »

Some biographic material on Bhante Suvanno:

Bhante Suvanno (1920-2007) was from near to Nibong Tebal. According to his biography his grandfather came from Fujian in the early 1900's, and he studied at the Anglo-Chinese school at Nibong Tebal, then at age 12 in the school at Bukit Mertajam, and then worked in the hospital at Kulim. His Hokkien is Penang style, with a lot of quite difficult words, but all of these acquired through the spoken language, as he never learnt to read Chinese.

I have also found Bhante Kumara's Dhamma talks. They don't sound so bad to me. It's just normal spoken Hokkien from northern Malaysia. I went digging around and found out he is from Bukit Mertajam as well. It is quite natural that he will have some admixture of Teochew in his Hokkien.