The ambiguity in the use of the proper noun in Buddhacharita of Ashvaghosha

On the basis of translations available in Chinese and Tibetan languages, while translating the missing parts into Sanskrit verse of Buddhacharita the ambiguity in the use of the proper noun was a different problem. An example would be enough to make it clear. The 20th verse of 21st serpent is translated by Johnston in this way:

At Gaya the seer instructed the Tamkita(?) Sages and the two Yakshas, Khara and Suchiloma.

            At this place, Johnston has reported the monster named Tacon and the connection of this incident has been linked to the Lomash cave of Barabar hill near Gaya. Charles Wilman has translated it on the basis of Chinese Taisho text:

            [The Budda] retuned to Gaja mountain and saved the demon Taken(?) and the Yaksha Suchiloma and his sister’s son.

            Samuel Beal has translated this verse in the form of the last half of verse no. 1996 and the first half of 1997.

            …; then going back to mount Gaga (Gayãshirsha) he converted the demon Kangam. (verse1996.

            And Kamo (kin-man) the yaksha, with the sister and son. —(verse.1997)

            Even with these varied translations, when the problem of the Tankita sage was not resolved, then the present translator resorted to Tripitkas and its writings. From the following the writings of Buddhaghosh on Suttanipata, it was clear from the commentary that no sage was named Tankita, but it was the name of the place, where Buddha had initiated two Yakshas named Khara and Suchiloma. Buddhaghosh has written:

            एकं समयं गयायं विहरति टङ्कितमञ्चे सूचीलोमस्स यक्खस्स भवने ति। एत्थ पन का गया को टंकित मंञ्चो कस्मा च भगवा तस्स यक्खवस्स भवने विहरतीति। टङ्कित मञ्चो ति चतुन्नं पांसाणानं उपरि वित्थतं पासाणं आरोपेत्वा कतो पासाणमञ्चो।   

Ēkaṁ samayaṁ gayāyaṁ viharati ṭaṅkitamañcē sūcīlōmas’sa yakkhas’sa bhavanē ti. Ēt’tha pana kā gayā kō ṭaṅkita man̄ñcō kasmā ca bhagavā tas’sa yakkhavas’sa bhavanē viharatīti. Ṭaṅkita mañcō ti catunnaṁ pānsāṇānaṁ upari vit’thataṁ pāsāṇaṁ ārōpētvā katō pāsāṇamañcō.

Thus it was clear that in Tibetan version the proper name Tamkita indicates a chiseled platform. Therefore, Bhavanath Jha has translated this verse in this way considering the information given by Buddhaghosha as the most authentic.

गयायां  टङ्किते मञ्चे गुहासंस्थौ विनायकः।

खरसूचीलोमसंज्ञौ  यक्षौ  च  समुपादिशत्।।

Gayāyāṁ ṭaṅkitē mañcē guhāsansthau vināyakaḥ.

Kharasūcīlōmasan̄jñau yakṣau ca samupādiśat..

Where is this place situated now?

Thus, a place should be somewhere around Gaya, where there is a flat rock on four rocks. There should also be a cave in front of it. Ashvaghosha (2nd century) has mentioned this place and later Buddhaghosa (5th century) has also told it to be a platform built by cutting it. This was the place where Buddha had preached to Khara and SuchilomaYaksha. It is possible that this platform situated in front of a cave, has been destroyed, because this type of platform is not visible anywhere near Gaya.

However, this platform can be traced as Tamkita platform(टंकित मंच). It is located above a cave.

The Tamkita platform on Barabar hill area
The Tamkita platform on Barabar hill area

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