Avestan: buiti

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Artaxerxes I

Senior Member
German, Persian
Hi everyone!

In the nineteenth chapter of the extant Vendidad it is told that Angra.Mainiiu sent the demon Buiti to kill Zarathushtra. Is the name Buiti the avestan precursor of Mp. but - "idol" (> Np. bot - "idol")? And did buiti already mean "idol" in the avestan language or did it later got this meaning due to the similiarity with the name Buddha whose religion was then known for making much use of imagery which was perceived by the zarathustrian priests as idolatry? I ask this because the demon Buiti is known in the middlepersian-zarathustrian literature as But and is connected with idolatry.

Thanks in advance!
  • fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The Persian word but means “Buddha, Buddha image”, but usually just “idol”. Middle Persian apparently borrowed it from Sogdian, which had it from Sanskrit or from one of the Middle Indian languages. Skt buddha- is cognate with Avestan bud- “to perceive” and with NP bōy “fragrance”.

    The name of the Avestan demon būiti- is possibly cognate with Skt bhūta- “ghost”. Due to the vagrancies of Pahlavi script būt (the demon) and but (the Buddha) are both spelt bwt. But any confusion between the two is accidental.
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