An interesting entry from Koshigaya Gozan 越谷吾山's 1775 dialect dictionary, Butsurui shōko 物類称呼 ("Names for things, by type"):

こめ(よね) ◯遠江國天龍の川上にて○ぼさつと稱す(此所にては 米といはずしてぼさつとのみとなふ)按に 諸國より大峰或は羽黑山なとへ詣るもの 一七日齋す 其内はぼさつと稱して米とは呼ずとなん 西國又は朝鮮の方言にも 穀 を菩薩と云よし見えぬ 『東雅』に『雜林類事』を引て 白米を漢菩薩といひ、栗を田菩薩といふを記せりと有 又俗間に糠味噌といふは 糠と鹽を和して制れるを名づけて さゝぢん と云 是は佛經を書寫する早書の法に 菩薩の二字の艸冠のみをとりて としるす事有 さればさゝとはぼさつの義にて 是も又米を ぼさつ といふ事によれる也
Rice: In the upper reaches of the Tenryū River in Tōtōmi Province, they call rice bosatsu ["Bodhisattva"]. (They do not use the word kome here, but only bosatsu.) It seems to me that whenever someone comes on pilgrimage from any province to Mount Ōmine, Mount Haguro, etc., during the 17-day abstention period, they call rice bosatsu and do not use the word kome. One also sees reports that in the western provinces and in Korea, people call grains bosatsu. Tōga ["Eastern elegance", an Edo-period work on linguistics], quotes Gyerim yusa [a 12th-century Chinese source on Korean language — note that I am assuming that the 雜林類事 I see in my Iwanami Edition is somebody's type-/brusho for 鷄林類事] in saying that white rice is called kanbosatsu ("Han bodhisattva") and millet denbosatsu ("paddy bodhisattva"). Additionally, in everyday speech, nukamiso is known as sasajin ("bamboo grass and dust"), because it is made by combining rice bran with salt. This in turn refers to the sutra-copying shorthand by which the two characters for bodhisattva are reduced to their grass radicals, which are then combined into a single character like so: . This being the case, sasa ("bamboo grass") has the meaning bodhisattva [in sasajin]. This in turn has the meaning "rice".

Koshigaya lists a few more abbreviations like this, including:

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That's a rather interesting case. I wonder if the spread of such a term shows links of literacy--or if, perhaps, it might have more to do with something like an argot used by oshi (since, after all, it is when people return from a pilgrimage that they adopt the term).

But why would kome be a taboo'ed word? (Niku--replaced with "kusuri"--I understand, but.) Interesting indeed.

L.N. Hammer:

Okay, any idea how 聲聞 reduces to that?


LNH: Not sure! At first it seemed like maybe the cross at the very top left of 聲 (still at the top of 声) could be the メ, but I don't see a corresponding shape in 聞. On the other hand both contain the 耳 element, so if that becomes メ that would give you a simpler route to メメ.

UMS: Taboo due to excess 有り難み? Maybe a Koreanologist would have a better idea...

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