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My question regards the terminology for translated Buddhist texts and terms therein into Russian. The tradition goes back as long as to the early 1900s and I've noticed a strange fact.

While modern Russian tesaurus offers an abundance of nouns and adjectives deriving from Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese and Tibetan, there are absolutely no verbs with the same root or any Oriental root.

E.g. one can say Будда, бодхисаттва, архат, дэв / дэви, дакини (and even дакиня), асур / асура, дак-па, тулку, гуру, терма, тертон, чод, ушниша, пурба, капала, дигуг, мантра, дзен, да-дзен, коан, син, у-вэй и т.д., but not *упайять, *увэйствовать, *мантровать, *дигугнуть, *чоднить/*чодовать, *шаматхить и так далее.

Instead, the loanwords for verbs covering this terminology derive from the Occidental languages or Russian: наставлять, быть спокойным, концентрироваться, отсекать, проводить ритуал чод, медитировать, просветляться, рецитировать, etc.

Can anybody give any example of a Russian loanword that is a verb deriving from Sanskrit, Pali, Mongolian, Chinese and/or Tibetan?

1 Answer 1


Oriental spiritual practices have not been that big part of everyday Russian life long enough for such verbs to emerge in everyday language other than in analytic form (делать + noun).

However, Russian speakers practicing them of course do form and use such verbs.

In a yoga class you can hear verbs like пранаямить ("practice Pranayama") or шавасанить ("assume Shavasana"; also metaphorically, meaning "to lie idly": ничего не хочется, только прийти домой, лечь на диван и шавасанить)

Those practicing Japanese martial arts use verbs макиварить ("beat mercilessly", from makiwara "straw dummy used as a punch bag") and мавашить ("practice round kicks").

I'm not familiar with the slang of Japanese animation community, but it's for sure large and vibrant enough to form its own verbs based on Japanese.

So pick any Russian speaking subculture whose vocabulary is influenced by the any of the languages you mentioned, and you'll undoubtedly find the verbs you're after in the jargons they use.


Brief googling shows that words гурить, коанить and дзенить are in fact used in the Russian-speaking Buddhist subculture. And, since гуру is widely used outside this subculture, гурить has all chances to make it into everyday Russian as well.

  • Nope. The spiritual practices of Buddhism were integrated into the everyday Russian life as early as in the 1700s when Buddhism was stated to be one of the official religions within the Russian empire. The yoga practices you are referring to are not identical to those of Buddhism, and, regarding the fact that the modern Russian culture itself is just about the same period long, this is a strange fact.
    – Manjusri
    Jan 6, 2016 at 19:06
  • 3
    @Manjusri: those practicing Buddhism are and have always been but a tiny fraction of Russian speakers. However, I'm sure they have their own slang and verbs formed from oriental loanwords as a part of that slang. It's just that Russian does not accept such verbs (unlike nouns) that easily. Words like парковаться and газовать were once considered ugly jargonisms too, before the automobiles made their way into everyday Russian life.
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 6, 2016 at 19:41
  • @Manjusri - "stated to be one of the official religions" does not at all mean "integrated into the everyday Russian life". Source: personal experience.
    – mustaccio
    Jan 7, 2016 at 1:10
  • @Quassnoi: one million is not a 'tiny fraction',
    – Manjusri
    Jan 7, 2016 at 4:22
  • @mustaccio - personal experiences are different and cannot be a valid source of knowledge, unless we speak about a native speaker's experience
    – Manjusri
    Jan 7, 2016 at 4:23

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