BONZE, s. A term long applied by Europeans in China to the Buddhist clergy, but originating with early visitors to Japan. Its origin is however not quite clear. The Chinese Fán-seng, ‘a religious person’ is in Japanese bonzi or bonzô; but Köppen prefers fa-sze, ‘Teacher of the Law,’ pron. in Japanese bo-zi (Die Rel. des Buddha, i. 321, and also Schott’s Zur Litt. des Chin. Buddhismus, 1873, p. 46). It will be seen that some of the old quotations favour one, and some the other, of these sources. On the other hand, Bandhya (for Skt. vandya, ‘to whom worship or reverence is due, very reverend’) seems to be applied in Nepal to the Buddhist clergy, and Hodgson considers the Japanese bonze (bonzô?) traceable to this. (Essays, 1874, p. 63.) The same word, as bandhe or bande, is in Tibetan similarly applied.—(See Jaeschke’s Dict., p. 365.) The word first occurs in Jorge Alvarez’s account of Japan, and next, a little later, in the letters of St. Francis Xavier. Cocks in his Diary uses forms approaching boze.

1549.—“I find the common secular people here less impure and more obedient to reason than their priests, whom they call bonzos.”—Letter of St. F. Xacier, in Coleridge’s Life, ii. 238.

1552.—“Erubescunt enim, et incredibiliter confunduntur Bonzii, ubi male cohaerere, ac pugnare inter sese ea, quae docent, palam ostenditur.”—Seti. Fr. Xaverii Epistt. V. xvii., ed. 1667.

1572.—“… sacerdotes … qui ipsorum linguâ Bonzii appellantur.”—E. Acosta, 58.

1585.—“They have amongst them (in Japan) many priests of their idols whom they call Bonsos, of the which there be great convents.”—Parkes’s Tr. of Mendoza (1589), ii. 300.

1590.—“This doctrine doe all they embrace, which are in China called Cen, but with us at Iapon are named Bonzi.”—An Exct. Treatise of the Kingd. of China, &c., Hakl. ii. 580.

c. 1606.—“Capt. Saris has Bonzees.”— Purchas, i. 374.

1618.—“And their is 300 boze (or pagon pristes) have alowance and mentaynance for eaver to pray for his sole, in the same sorte as munkes and fryres use to doe amongst the Roman papistes.”—Cocks’s Diary, ii. 75; [in i. 117, bose]; bosses (i. 143).

[1676.—“It is estimated that there are in this country (Siam) more than 200,000 priests called Bonzes.”—Tavernier, ed. Ball, ii. 293.]

1727.—“… or perhaps make him fadge in a China bonzee in his Calendar, under the name of a Christian Saint.”—A. Hamilton, i. 253.


“Alike to me encas’d in Grecian bronze
Koran or Vulgate, Veda, Priest, or Bonze.”

Pursuits of Literature, 6th ed., p. 335.

c. 1814.—

“While Fum deals in Mandarins, Bonzes,
Peers, Bishops, and Punch, Hum—are sacred to thee.”

T. Moore, Hum and Fum.

[(1) BORA, BOORA, s. Beng. bhada, a kind of cargo-boat used in the rivers of Bengal.

[1675.—“About noone overtook the eight boraes.”—Hedges, Diary, Hak. Soc. ii. ccxxxvii.

[1680.—“The boora … being a very floaty light boat, rowinge with 20 to 30 Owars, these carry Salt Peeter and other goods from Hugly downewards, and some trade to Dacca with salt; they also serve for tow boats for ye ships bound up or downe ye river.”—Ibid. ii. 15.]

(2) BORA, s. H. and Guz. bohra and bohora, which H. H. Wilson refers to the Skt. vyavahari, ‘a trader, or man of affairs,’ from which are formed the ordinary H. words byohara, byohariya (and a Guzerati form which comes very near bohora). This is confirmed by the quotation from Nurullah below, but it is not quite certain. Dr. John Wilson (see below) gives an Arabic derivation which we have been unable to verify. [There can be no reasonable doubt that this is incorrect.]

There are two classes of Bohras belonging to different Mohammedan sects, and different in habit of life.

1. The Shi’a Bohras, who are essentially townspeople, and especially congregate in Surat, Burhanpur, Ujjain, &c. They are those best known far and wide by the name, and are usually devoted to trading and money-lending. Their original seat was in Guzerat, and they are most numerous there, and in the Bombay territory generally, but are also to be found in various parts of Central India and the N.-W. Provinces, [where they are all Hindus]. The word in Bombay is often used as synonymous with pedlar or boxwallah. They are generally well-to-do

  By PanEris using Melati.

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