Tirhuta or Mithilakshar is the script used for the Maithili language originating in the Mithila region of Bihar and the eastern Terai region of Nepal. The oldest reference to Tirhuta script is Sahodara Temple of Narkatiyaganj, dated 950 CE The script has a rich history spanning a thousand years, believed to be originated in the 10th century CE, but years of neglect by Nepal and the Bihar government have taken their toll on the use of Tirhuta, it is similar to Assamese script and Bengali script. Most speakers of Maithili have switched to using the Devanagari script, used to write neighboring Central Indic languages such as Nepali and Hindi; as a result, the number of people with a working knowledge of Tirhuta has dropped in recent years. Before 14th CE, Tirhuta was used to write Sanskrit Maithili was written in this script. Despite the near universal switch from Tirhuta to the Devanagari script for writing Maithili, some traditional pundits still use the script for sending one another ceremonial letters related to some important function such as marriage.
Metal type for this script was first produced in the 1920s, digital fonts in the 1990s. The 2003 inclusion of Maithili in the VIIIth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, having accorded official recognition to it as a language independent of Hindi, there is a possibility that this might lead to efforts to re-implement Tirhuta on a wider basis, in accord with similar trends in India reinforcing separate identities; however only Maithili in the Devanagari script is recognized. Tirhuta script uses its own signs for the positional decimal numeral system; the first two images shown below are samples illustrating the history of Tirhuta. The first is the sacred sign of Ganesha, called āñjī, used for millennia by students before beginning Tirhuta studies. Displayed further below are images of tables comparing the Devanagari scripts. Tirhuta script was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0. The Unicode block for Tirhuta is U+11480–U+114DF: free Download Tirhuta Fonts Tirhuta Lipi: Native Script of Maithili Mithila Online Learn Mithilakshara by Gajendra Thakur
Buddhist texts were passed on orally by monks, but were written down and composed as manuscripts in various Indo-Aryan languages which were translated into other local languages as Buddhism spread. They can be categorized in a number of ways; the Western terms "scripture" and "canonical" are applied to Buddhism in inconsistent ways by Western scholars: for example, one authority refers to "scriptures and other canonical texts", while another says that scriptures can be categorized into canonical and pseudo-canonical. Buddhist traditions have divided these texts with their own categories and divisions, such as that between buddhavacana "word of the Buddha," many of which are known as "sutras," and other texts, such as shastras or Abhidharma; these religious texts were written in many different languages and scripts but memorizing and copying the texts were of high value. After the development of printing, Buddhists preferred to keep to their original practices with these texts. According to Donald Lopez, criteria for determining what should be considered buddhavacana were developed at an early stage, that the early formulations do not suggest that Dharma is limited to what was spoken by the historical Buddha.
The Mahāsāṃghika and the Mūlasarvāstivāda considered both the Buddha's discourses, of his disciples, to be buddhavacana. A number of different beings such as buddhas, disciples of the buddha, ṛṣis, devas were considered capable to transmitting buddhavacana; the content of such a discourse was to be collated with the sūtras, compared with the Vinaya, evaluated against the nature of the Dharma. These texts may be certified as true buddhavacana by a buddha, a saṃgha, a small group of elders, or one knowledgeable elder. In Theravada Buddhism, the standard collection of buddhavacana is the Pāli Canon; some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and Agamas could contain the actual substance of the historical teachings of the Buddha. In East Asian Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Chinese Buddhist canon; the most common edition of this is the Taishō Tripiṭaka. According to Venerable Hsuan Hua from the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, there are five types of beings who may speak the sutras of Buddhism: a buddha, a disciple of a buddha, a deva, a ṛṣi, or an emanation of one of these beings.
These sutras may be properly regarded as buddhavacana. Sometimes texts that are considered commentaries by some are regarded by others as Buddhavacana. Shingon Buddhism developed a system that assigned authorship of the early sutras to Gautama Buddha in his physical manifestation, of the Ekayana sutras to the Buddhas as Sambhoghakaya, the Vajrayana texts to the Buddha as Dharmakaya. In Tibetan Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Kangyur; the East Asian and Tibetan Buddhist canons always combined Buddhavacana with other literature in their standard collected editions. However, the general view of what is and is not buddhavacana is broadly similar between East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; the Tibetan Kangyur, which belongs to the various schools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in addition to containing sutras and vinaya contains tantras. The earliest Buddhist texts were passed down orally in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, including Gāndhārī language, the early Magadhan language and Pali through the use of repetition, communal recitation and mnemonic devices.
Doctrinal elaborations were preserved in Abhidharma works and Karikas. As Buddhism spread geographically, these texts were translated into the local language, such as Chinese and Tibetan; the Pali canon was preserved in Sri Lanka where it was first written down in the first century BCE and the Theravadan Pali textual tradition developed there. The Sri Lankan Pali tradition developed extensive commentaries as well as sub-commentaries for the Pali Canon as well as treatises on Abhidhamma. Sutra commentaries and Abhidharma works exist in Tibetan, Chinese and other East Asian languages. Important examples of non-canonical Pali texts are the Visuddhimagga, by Buddhaghosa, a compendium of Theravada teachings and the Mahavamsa, a historical Sri Lankan chronicle; the earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from the ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan are dated to the 1st century and constitute the Buddhist textual tradition of Gandharan Buddhism, an important link between Indian and East Asian Buddhism.
After the rise of the Kushans in India, Sanskrit was widely used to record Buddhist texts. Sanskrit Buddhist literature became the dominant tradition in India until the decline of Buddhism in India. Around the beginning of the Christian era, a new genre of sutra literature began to be written with a focus on the Bodhisattva idea known as Mahayana sutras. Many of the Mahayana sutras were written in Sanskrit and translated into the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist canons which developed their own textual histories; the Mahayana sutras are traditionally considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of supernatural beings, or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation. In the Mahayana tradition there are important works termed Shastras, or treatises which attempt to outline the sutra teachings and defend or exp
Siddhaṃ known in its evolved form as Siddhamātṛkā, is a medieval Brahmic abugida, derived from the Gupta script and ancestral to the Bengali alphabet, Maithili alphabet, the Tibetan alphabet. The word Siddhaṃ means "accomplished" or "perfected" in Sanskrit; the script received its name from the practice of writing Siddhaṃ, or Siddhaṃ astu, at the head of documents. Other names for the script include. "Brahma's characters" and "Sanskrit script" and Chinese: 悉曇文字. "Siddhaṃ script". Siddhaṃ is an abugida rather than an alphabet, as each character indicates a syllable, including a consonant and a vowel. If the vowel sound is not explicitly indicated, the short'a' is assumed. Diacritic marks are used to indicate other vowels, as well as the visarga. A virama can be used to indicate that the consonant letter stands alone with no vowel, which sometimes happens at the end of Sanskrit words. Many Buddhist texts taken to China along the Silk Road were written using a version of the Siddhaṃ script; this continued to evolve, minor variations are seen across time, in different regions.
It was used for transmitting the Buddhist tantra texts. At the time it was considered important to preserve the pronunciation of mantras, Chinese was not suitable for writing the sounds of Sanskrit; this led to the retention of the Siddhaṃ script in East Asia. The practice of writing using Siddhaṃ survived in East Asia. Kūkai introduced the Siddhaṃ script to Japan when he returned from China in 806, where he studied Sanskrit with Nalanda-trained monks including one known as Prajñā. By the time Kūkai learned this script, the trading and pilgrimage routes over land to India had been closed by the expanding Abbasid Caliphate. In Japan, the writing of mantras and copying/reading of sutras using the Siddhaṃ script is still practiced in the esoteric schools of Shingon Buddhism and Tendai as well as in the syncretic sect of Shugendō; the characters are known as bonji. The Taishō Tripiṭaka version of the Chinese Buddhist canon preserves the Siddhaṃ characters for most mantras, Korean Buddhists still write bījas in a modified form of Siddhaṃ.
A recent innovation is the writing of Japanese language slogans on T-shirts using Bonji. Japanese Siddhaṃ has evolved from the original script used to write sūtras and is now somewhat different from the ancient script, it is typical to see Siddhaṃ written with a brush, as with Chinese writing. In Japan, a special brush called; the informal style is known as "fude". In the middle of the 9th century, China experienced a series of purges of "foreign religions", thus cutting Japan off from the sources of Siddhaṃ texts. In time, other scripts Devanagari, replaced Siddhaṃ in India, while in Eastern South Asia, Siddhaṃ evolved to become the Bengali script, Tirhuta script and Anga script, leaving East Asia as the only region where Siddhaṃ is still used. There were special forms of Siddhaṃ used in Korea that varied from those used in China and Japan, there is evidence that Siddhaṃ was written in Central Asia, as well, by the early 7th century; as was done with Chinese characters, Japanese Buddhist scholars sometimes created multiple characters with the same phonological value to add meaning to Siddhaṃ characters.
This practice, in effect, represents a'blend' of the Chinese style of writing and the Indian style of writing and allows Sanskrit texts in Siddhaṃ to be differentially interpreted as they are read, as was done with Chinese characters that the Japanese had adopted. This led to multiple variants of the same characters. With regards to directionality, Siddhaṃ texts were read from left-to-right top-to-bottom, as with Indic languages, but they were written in the traditional Chinese style, from top-to-bottom right-to-left. Bilingual Siddhaṃ-Japanese texts show the manuscript turned 90 degrees clockwise and the Japanese is written from top-to-bottom, as is typical of Japanese, the manuscript is turned back again, the Siddhaṃ writing is continued from left-to-right. Over time, additional markings were developed, including punctuation marks, head marks, repetition marks, end marks, special ligatures to combine conjuncts and to combine syllables, several ornaments of the scribe's choice, which are not encoded.
The nuqta is used in some modern Siddhaṃ texts. ↑ The combinations that contain adjoining duplicate letters should be deleted in this table. Alternative forms of conjuncts that contain ṇ. Siddhaṃ is still a hand written script; some efforts have been made to create computer fonts, though to date none of these are capable of reproducing all of the Siddhaṃ conjunct consonants. Notably, the Chinese Buddhist Electronic Texts Association has created a Siddhaṃ font for their electronic version of the Taisho Tripiṭaka, though this does not contain all possible conjuncts; the software Mojikyo contains fonts for Siddhaṃ, but split Siddhaṃ in different blocks and requires multiple fonts to render a single document. A Siddhaṃ input system which relies on the CBETA font Siddhamkey 3.0 has been produced. Siddhaṃ script was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0. The Unicode block for Siddhaṃ is U+11580–U+115FF: Bonji Taikan. Chaudhuri, Saroj Kumar. Siddham in China and Japan, Sino-Platonic papers No. 88 Stevens, John
An alphabet is a standard set of letters that represent the phonemes of any spoken language it is used to write. This is in contrast to other types such as syllabaries and logographic systems; the first phonemic script, the Proto-Canaanite script known as the Phoenician alphabet, is considered to be the first alphabet, is the ancestor of most modern alphabets, including Arabic, Latin, Cyrillic and Brahmic. Peter T. Daniels, distinguishes an abugida or alphasyllabary, a set of graphemes that represent consonantal base letters which diacritics modify to represent vowels, an abjad, in which letters predominantly or represent consonants, an "alphabet", a set of graphemes that represent both vowels and consonants. In this narrow sense of the word the first "true" alphabet was the Greek alphabet, developed on the basis of the earlier Phoenician alphabet. Of the dozens of alphabets in use today, the most popular is the Latin alphabet, derived from the Greek, which many languages modify by adding letters formed using diacritical marks.
While most alphabets have letters composed of lines, there are exceptions such as the alphabets used in Braille. The Khmer alphabet is the longest, with 74 letters. Alphabets are associated with a standard ordering of letters; this makes them useful for purposes of collation by allowing words to be sorted in alphabetical order. It means that their letters can be used as an alternative method of "numbering" ordered items, in such contexts as numbered lists and number placements; the English word alphabet came into Middle English from the Late Latin word alphabetum, which in turn originated in the Greek ἀλφάβητος. The Greek word was made from the first two letters and beta; the names for the Greek letters came from the first two letters of the Phoenician alphabet. Sometimes, like in the alphabet song in English, the term "ABCs" is used instead of the word "alphabet". "Knowing one's ABCs", in general, can be used as a metaphor for knowing the basics about anything. The history of the alphabet started in ancient Egypt.
Egyptian writing had a set of some 24 hieroglyphs that are called uniliterals, to represent syllables that begin with a single consonant of their language, plus a vowel to be supplied by the native speaker. These glyphs were used as pronunciation guides for logograms, to write grammatical inflections, to transcribe loan words and foreign names. In the Middle Bronze Age, an "alphabetic" system known as the Proto-Sinaitic script appears in Egyptian turquoise mines in the Sinai peninsula dated to circa the 15th century BC left by Canaanite workers. In 1999, John and Deborah Darnell discovered an earlier version of this first alphabet at Wadi el-Hol dated to circa 1800 BC and showing evidence of having been adapted from specific forms of Egyptian hieroglyphs that could be dated to circa 2000 BC suggesting that the first alphabet had been developed about that time. Based on letter appearances and names, it is believed to be based on Egyptian hieroglyphs; this script had no characters representing vowels, although it was a syllabary, but unneeded symbols were discarded.
An alphabetic cuneiform script with 30 signs including three that indicate the following vowel was invented in Ugarit before the 15th century BC. This script was not used after the destruction of Ugarit; the Proto-Sinaitic script developed into the Phoenician alphabet, conventionally called "Proto-Canaanite" before ca. 1050 BC. The oldest text in Phoenician script is an inscription on the sarcophagus of King Ahiram; this script is the parent script of all western alphabets. By the tenth century, two other forms can be distinguished, namely Aramaic; the Aramaic gave rise to the Hebrew script. The South Arabian alphabet, a sister script to the Phoenician alphabet, is the script from which the Ge'ez alphabet is descended. Vowelless alphabets, which are not true alphabets, are called abjads exemplified in scripts including Arabic and Syriac; the omission of vowels was not always a satisfactory solution and some "weak" consonants are sometimes used to indicate the vowel quality of a syllable. These letters have a dual function since they are used as pure consonants.
The Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite script and the Ugaritic script were the first scripts with a limited number of signs, in contrast to the other used writing systems at the time, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Linear B. The Phoenician script was the first phonemic script and it contained only about two dozen distinct letters, making it a script simple enough for common traders to learn. Another advantage of Phoenician was that it could be used to write down many different languages, since it recorded words phonemically; the script was spread by the Phoenicians across the Mediterranean. In Greece, the script was modified to add vowels, giving rise to the ancestor of all alphabets in the West; the vowels have independent letter forms separate from those of consonants. The Greeks chose letters representing sounds. Vowels are significant in the Greek language, the syllabical Linear B scri
Shingon Buddhism is one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan and one of the few surviving Vajrayana lineages in East Asia spread from India to China through traveling monks such as Vajrabodhi and Amoghavajra. Known in Chinese as the Tangmi, these esoteric teachings would flourish in Japan under the auspices of a Buddhist monk named Kūkai, who traveled to Tang China to acquire and request transmission of the esoteric teachings. For that reason, it is called Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, or Orthodox Esoteric Buddhism; the word shingon is the Japanese reading of the Chinese word 真言, the Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit word "mantra". Shingon Buddhist doctrine and teachings arose during the Heian period after a Buddhist monk named Kūkai traveled to China in 804 to study Esoteric Buddhist practices in the city of Xi'an called Chang-an, at Azure Dragon Temple under Huiguo, a favorite student of the legendary Amoghavajra. Kūkai returned to Japan as Huiguo's lineage- and Dharma-successor. Shingon followers refer to Kūkai as Kōbō-Daishi or Odaishi-sama, the posthumous name given to him years after his death by Emperor Daigo.
Before he went to China, Kūkai had been an independent monk in Japan for over a decade. He was well versed in Chinese literature and Buddhist texts. Esoteric Buddhism was not school yet at that time. Huiguo was the first person to gather the still scattered elements of Indian and Chinese Esoteric Buddhism into a cohesive system. A Japanese monk named Gonsō had brought back to Japan from China an esoteric mantra of the bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha, the Kokūzō-gumonjihō, translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Śubhakarasiṃha; when Kūkai was 22, he learned this mantra from Gonsō and would go into the forests of Shikoku to practice it for long periods of time. He mastered it. According to tradition, this practice brought him siddhis of superhuman memory retention and learning ability. Kūkai would praise the power and efficacy of Kokuzō-Gumonjiho practice, crediting it with enabling him to remember all of Huiguo's teachings in only three months. Kūkai's respect for Ākāśagarbha was so great that he regarded him as his honzon for the rest of his life.
It was during this period of intense mantra practice that Kūkai dreamt of a man telling him to seek out the Mahavairocana Tantra for the doctrine that he sought. The Mahavairocana Tantra had only been made available in Japan, he was able to obtain a copy in Chinese but large portions were in Sanskrit in the Siddhaṃ script, which he did not know, the Chinese portions were too arcane for him to understand. He believed that this teaching was a door to the truth he sought, but he was unable to comprehend it and no one in Japan could help him. Thus, Kūkai resolved to travel to China to spend the time necessary to understand the Mahavairocana Tantra; when Kūkai reached China and first met Huiguo on the fifth month of 805, Huiguo was age sixty and on the verge of death from a long spate of illness. Huiguo exclaimed to Kūkai in Chinese, "At last, you have come! I have been waiting for you! Prepare yourself for initiation into the mandalas!" Huiguo had foreseen that Esoteric Buddhism would not survive in India and China in the near future and that it was Kukai's destiny to see it continue in Japan.
In the short space of three months, Huiguo initiated and taught Kūkai everything he knew on the doctrines and practices of the Mandala of the Two Realms as well as mastery of Sanskrit and Chinese. Huiguo declared Kūkai to be his final disciple and proclaimed him a Dharma successor, giving the lineage name Henjō-Kongō "All-Illuminating Vajra". In the twelfth month of the same year, Huiguo was buried next to his master, Amoghavajra. More than one thousand of his disciples gathered for his funeral; the honor of writing his funerary inscription on their behalf was given to Kūkai. Kukai returned to Japan after Huiguo's death. If he had not, Esoteric Buddhism might not have survived. An avid Daoist, Wuzong despised Buddhism and considered the sangha useless tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 40,000 temples. Around 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastic lives. Wuzong stated that Buddhism was an alien religion and promoted Daoism zealously as the ethnic religion of the Han Chinese.
Although Wuzong was soon assassinated by his own inner circle, the damage had been done. Chinese Buddhism Esoteric practices, never recovered from the persecution, esoteric elements were infused into other Buddhist sects and traditions. After returning to Japan, Kūkai collated and systematized all that he had learned from Huiguo into a cohesive doctrine of pure esoteric Buddhism that would become the basis for his school. Kūkai did not establish his teachings as a separate school. Kūkai took on disciples and offered transmission until his death in 835 at the age of 61. Kūkai's first established monastery was in Mount Kōya
The Śāradā, Sarada or Sharada script is an abugida writing system of the Brahmic family of scripts. The script was in widespread use between the 8th and 12th centuries in the northwestern parts of India, for writing Sanskrit and Kashmiri; the Gurmukhī script was developed from Śāradā. More widespread, its use became restricted to Kashmir, it is now used except by the Kashmiri Pandit community for ceremonial purposes, it is a native script of Kashmir and is named after Goddess Śāradā,the main deity of the legendary Sharada Peeth temple. The Bakhshali manuscript uses an early stage of the Sharada script; the Sharda script was used in Afghanistan as well as in the Himachal region in India. In Afghanistan, the Kabul Ganesh has a 6th century Proto-Sharda inscription mentioning king Khingala. At the historic Markula Devi Temple, the goddess Mahishamardini has a Sharada inscription of 1569AD. Sharada script uses its own signs for the positional decimal numeral system. Śāradā script was added to the Unicode Standard in January, 2012 with the release of version 6.1.
The Unicode block for Śāradā script, called Sharada, is U+11180–U+111DF: The chart below will be visible only in computer systems or cell phones that support the Sharada script. Lipi – writing scripts in Buddhist and Jaina texts Sharada Peeth in Kashmir Sharada ancientscripts.com Download Noto Sans Sharada, a Sharada font by Google. Prevalence of the Śāradā Script in Afghanistan Akṣara List of the Manuscript of Abhidharmadīpa, ca. the 11th Century, Collection of Sanskrit Mss. Preserved in the China Ethnic Library Modern Kashmiri Dictionary: Android based electronic Kashmiri Dictionary