Good grief Buddha


WTF? For a couple decades I’m familiar with ぶつ and だいぶつ. Is this reading even used? Why? Why do you torment me so?


Isn’t ほとけ the actual person, whereas ぶつ is an abbreviation for various Buddhism related things, and だいぶつ is a giant statue of Buddha, not a way to refer to the person. 仏陀 (ぶっだ) would also be the person.

And the dictionary says the ほと in ほとけ comes from a sound change from ぶつ, and け comes from a word meaning “thing you can see”. It originally was just another word for 仏像 apparently.

I do recall hearing it spoken more than once in the time I’ve been in Japan, probably on TV.

ほとけ is a jouyou reading for 仏, so all Japanese people would learn it in 5th grade at school regardless of their interest in Buddhism.


I recall seeing it written with the furigana (on one of those tourist info signs) at a temple last time I visited one. I had only recently learned that reading, so it stuck out to me.


You also have this cool word: 喉仏 (のどぼとけ)

Literally - “throat buddha” it means Adam’s apple


As @Leebo said, ほとけ is the person. If you were praying as a Buddhist or participating in a religious discussion, you would call him ほとけ様 (さま), but refer to the religion as 仏教 (ぶっきょう). ぶつ is the reading you usually find in compounds. It’s kinda like how Jesus is イエス様 (at least, I think. I haven’t delved into Japanese Christianity just yet), but Christianity is キリスト教.


To be clear that’s how it works in English too. Christ-ianity. :slightly_smiling_face:


Yup, I’m aware. I figured I would draw parallels since most people on these forums are probably more familiar with Christianity than Japanese Buddhism.

Thank you all. As usual this forum is an invaluable knowledge resource.

The ‘person’ explanation makes a lot of sense. Especially the distinction between 仏様 and 仏教.

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