Archive for China

‘English’ names for Chinese – For the gentlemen

Continuing from my previous post on ‘English’ names aka names which are short and easily romanisable (A to Z) with Sanskrit / Indian / Buddhist roots for my Chinese friends, here are some name options for the Gentlemen

Navīn (also written as Naveen): new or newness

Navin : related to number 9; sailor

Vishwa : Universe

Vishwa Shanti Stupa is a Pagoda (Buddhist worship place) built by the Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Japan in Vaisali – one of the places where Buddha visited

Kumara (popularly shortened to Kumar) : Boy, Prince, son – as per context

Bodhi : Enlighment ; literally means awakened

In Buddhism is the understanding possessed by a Buddha regarding the nature of things

Related: Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an(Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan

Vinaya : (fashionably shortened to Vinay) literally means 'leading out'; education; discipline


Vinaya Pitaka is the regulatory framework for the Buddhistmonastic community. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline. Another term for Buddhism is dharmavinay

Siddhartha (fashionably shortened to Sid) : one who has achieved his goal

Siddhartha wasa the birth name of The Buddha when he was a prince. He eventually became Siddhartha Gautama or Gautama Buddha

Yuva : young boy. Can be combined with Raj to become Yuvaraj meaning 'prince'

Raja : (fashionably shortened to Raj) – King

Ayur : root of the word Ayurveda (the knowledge of long life) which is the Indian system of medicine

Yogī : practitioner of Yoga. The word is also used to refer to ascetic practitioners of meditation in a number of South Asian religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism

Rahul : Conquerer of miseries

Buddha's son was called Rahul. Rahul is one of the most popular names in India currently

Manav : man ; human being

Amitābha (can be shortened to Amit) translates into Infinite Light

Amitābha is a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of the Mahāyāna school of Buddhism.

Neel – Blue. The name is short and catchy and sounds quite western too. Blue is the colour of Turquoise which is one of the highly regarded stones by Buddhist devouts

I will keep updating this post!

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‘English’ names for Chinese – For Ladies

Continuing from my previous post on ‘English’ names aka names which are short and easily romanisable (A to Z) with Sanskrit / Indian / Buddhist roots for my Chinese friends, here are some name options for the Ladies

Tārā –  Star
Tārā is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism who appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the “mother of liberation”, and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. In Japan she is known as Tarani Bosatsu, and little-known as Tuoluo in Chinese Buddhism.
Apsara – An Apsara is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Kaya – Body
According to Mahayana philosophy, the Buddhas have three bodies (trikaya), or three aspects of personality: the Dharmakaya, the Sambhoga-kaya, and the Nirmana-kay
Navya: Newness
Tanu : Self, Person, form or manifestation ; thin, slender
Wua Tanu – Sacred Bull statue is a Buddist Amulet in Thailand against black magic
Jala – water
Jāla – Magic, net embracing all views
Discourses of Buddha :  ‘Atthajala’ (Net of Essence), Dhammajala, (Net of the Dhamma), Ditthijala (Net of Views), Anuttarasangama Vijaya (Incomparable Victory in Battle).
Nita – well behaved, correct, led,
Anita – full of Grace, mercy, favor, variety , a leader, Without guile
Anita is also a fairly popular western name these days.
Anita Mui Yim-fong was a popular Hong Kong singer and actress
Uma – sky, friend
Umā – splendour, tranquility, light
Probably the most popular person with this name is Uma Karuna Thurman who is a practising Buddhist Hollywood actress
Nāda: mystic sound; subtle sound accompanied by an effulgence
Nāda yoga is an ancient Indian metaphysical system. It is both a philosophical system, a medicine, and- as the name suggests- a form of yoga.
Nīta : guided, gained, well-behaved
Nīti :  proper behaviour, morality
Niti was one of the lower caste (sic) persons whom Buddha handpicked to become a monk. However, Niti is better a Girls name than a Boy’s name
Sita : literal meaning is furrow but is famous for a famous character from Hindu Mythology
She appears in the Hindu epic of Ramayana where she is the wife of Hindu god Rama (avatar of Vishnu) and is an avatar of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and wife of Vishnu. She is esteemed as a standard-setter for wifely and womanly virtues for all Hindu women. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.
Sri : Radiant, diffusing light, treasure
One may come across both guys and girls names Sri. In the context of girls, it is quite likely a shortened version of Sridevi which is other name of the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. Sridevi is famous actress in Bollywood.
Veena – stringed Indian instrument.
It is a popular Indian name with a nice ring to it.

Nayana / Naina : Eyes . I have heard due to the fascination for eyes, some Chinese girls have picked up this name. As mentioned earlier, the person who picked up this name inspired me to write this post.

Niva (fashionably shorted to Niv) – fundamental, root , foundation
Veda  – Knowledge;  Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Buddhism also holds Vedas in high regard but does not accept it as an absolute authority.
Vidya – Knowledge.
Anu : (shortened version of Anuradha) Causing happiness;  Is a lunar mansion (loosely translated to ‘star’) in the Hindu astrology
Rani : Queen
One of the leading Bollywood Actress is named Rani Mukherjee
Mīra / Meera : Ocean
It is a fairly popular name. Historically, the most famous person with this name was a Hindu princess of 16th Century who became a Hindu Mystic singer and has composed poems in praise of her favourite God – Lord Krishna –  which are still popular devotional songs.
Famous people with this name include Mira Nair – Academy award winning American-Indian director, Mira Leung – Chinese-Canadian figure skater.
I will keep updating this post

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‘English’ names for Chinese – Indian / Buddhist Flavour

I have been living in the east for a few years now and spent a good part of my career in China and related territories. I even have a Chinese name which sounds very similar to my actual name in Mandarin and way off in Cantonese. Let me save that story for another day. I have been amused, appalled and sometimes even feeling nauseous hearing the ‘English’ names of several Chinese.
Some of my junior colleagues in Shanghai are named Juicy, Sissy , Glossy and what not. I saw a waitress in one of the popular clubs I frequent  in Hong Kong who calls herself Kinky. Every culture has its lingual nuances. One of my friends argued that Candy is a cute name but I am sure a educated westerner wouldn’t want to name their newborn ‘Candy’. Then I wonder, the ‘English’ names are really ‘Chinese English’ names. In that case, why go for one when the English speakers find it totally funny. I bit of scratching on the surface on why someone can proudly call himself ‘Monkey’ , my Chinese friend explained to me that pick up names when they are in school and college. With that explanation I can totally understands where they are coming from. If my classmates had officially retained the nicknames they got / acquired , they would have been called the Hindi equivalent of ‘nudist’ , ‘kiss’. Thank God, they were sensible enough not to put it on their ID cards.
The other nuance that I observe is that they take up religious Christian names as their ‘English’ names. It would be funny seeing A ‘Chris’ being a devout Buddisht. What most of the Chinese are really looking for is a name that can be easily romanised and pronounced by most of the world. I had a Chinese colleague of mine who went to India for a three month training and with the usual fascination of the Chinese towards bigger eyes, found out that eyes in Hindi are called ‘Nayana’ and a derived girls name would be Naina. Long story short, my colleague returned to Shanghai as Naina Chen.
That inspired me to put down a few names of Sanskrit origins which are contemporary, short , easily romanised and has lot of cultural context to the Chinese through Buddhism , Taoism or related philosophies. I will be happy if volunteers keep on adding to the list.
You will have separate blog entries for Girls’ names and Boys’ names. If any of my Chinese friends wants a Indian / Sanskrit name which can be easily romanised and easy to pronounce feel free to write to me. I can help you to find a name with meaning closer to your Chinese names

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Why Chinese ancient knowledge has survived more than Indian system?

It is very fascinating to me to see that Chinese medicine dominate the healthcare in Hong Kong. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine is at best just helping people from losing their hair or easing their bowel movement. For people how know about ayurveda, will endorse that it is a fairly advanced system of medicine. Similar story for therapautic massages, or say martial arts – Kalaripayyatu is far gone when Shaolin is venerated. I really do not want to get into the analysis of if one  system was stronger than the other. But at a high level, I can say the counterparts in Chinese ancient body knowledge and of Indian are both nearly of the same merit. Then, how are Chinese methods surviving and thriving so well, making the Indian system envious.

If I am forced to explain that in one sentence – Colonisation happened before commercialisation in India and vice-versa in China.

I am hoping to research this area one level more and publish those thoughts. But think of it. The British came with their system of medicine (of other things) and the semi-literate (but well knowledgable) village doctor was discredited. Had this village doctor understood the concept of commercialisation, branding and scientific analysis of the product, he would have given a good run for the money to the new system.

While in China, the got colonised quite late and quite briefly. The system was better equipped to learn about the ‘ways of the white man’ and the body of medicine got institutionalised well to guard itself aganist the near annhilation from the western mode of medicine.

What say?

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