Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The First Day of Spring: Tree Leaves (sutra)

Maurice O'Connell Walshe (trans.), Simsapa Sutra, "The Simsapa Tree Leaves" (SN 56.31), Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly partial Wiki edit

At one time the Blessed One [a name for the Buddha] was staying at Kosambi in the Simsapa Tree Grove.
Trees are sacred in Buddhism, e.g., the pipal
Then the Blessed One, taking a few simsapa leaves in his hand, said to the meditators: "What do you think, meditators? Which are the more numerous, the few leaves I have here in my hand, or those up in the trees of the grove?"
"Venerable sir, the Blessed One is holding only a few leaves: those up in the trees are far more numerous."
"In the same way, meditators, there are many more things that I have found out but not revealed to you.*

The Buddha was first represented as a bo tree
"What I have revealed to you is only a little. And why, meditators, have I not revealed it?
"Meditators, it is because it is not related to the goal [of awakening and complete liberation], it is not fundamental to the pure life [leading directly to the goal], does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment, and nirvana. That is why I have not revealed it. But, meditators, what have I revealed?

"What I have revealed is:
  1. 'This is suffering (disappointment, woe, ill, pain)
  2. This is the arising of suffering
  3. This is the cessation of suffering
  4. This is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.'
The "Tree of Life" in Kabbalah
"'And why, meditators, have I revealed it?

"It is because this [set of teachings called the Four Ennobling Truths] is related to the goal, fundamental to the pure life; it conduces to disenchantment, dispassion (letting go), cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment, and nirvana, so I have revealed it.
"Therefore, meditators, your task is to learn [the deep and profound meaning of]: 'This is suffering, this is the arising (origin) of suffering, this is the cessation of suffering, this is the PATH leading to the cessation of suffering.' This is your task."

How many leaves are there in a grove of trees? Many, many more than fit in a hand.

In Buddhism's Pali canon there is a sutra titled "The Simsapa Grove" (SN 56.31). This discourse is described as having been delivered by the Buddha to monastics while dwelling beneath a grove of simsapa trees in the city of Kosambi. In this discourse, the Buddha compares the few simsapa leaves he picks up in his hand with the number of simsapa leaves overhead in the grove to illustrate what he teaches (in particular, the Four Noble Truths) and what he does not teach (things unrelated to the achieving enlightenment). Elsewhere in the Pali canon, simsapa groves are mentioned in the Payasi Sutra (DN 23) and in the Hatthaka Sutra (AN 3.34). See also Ashoka tree.
  • NOTES: For example, Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 708, entry for siŋsapā (dsal.uchicago.edu) associates the simsapa tree with Dalbergia sisu. The Pali canon is the main scriptural source for Theravada Buddhism and is at least nominally incorporated in the canons of other branches [Mahayana and Vajrayana] of Buddhism as well. Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000), pp. 1857-58; Thanissaro (1997); and, Walshe (1985), Sutra 68. Note that in an endnote to this sutra (n. 313), Walshe states that this tree is "also known as the Asoka tree" (Walshe, 1987, p. 351). This discourse is said to have been given in Kosala. In Thanissaro (1999) this discourse is said to have been given near Alavi. For both canonical and post-canonical references, see Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 708, entry for siŋsapā.
Translator Maurice O'Connell Walshe edited by Wisdom Quarterly
This famous saying has been taken to justify the [post-Buddhist] doctrines of various Mahayana schools, Theosophy, and so on. While it may do so in many cases, the real meaning is somewhat different:

The Buddha was naturally aware of many things, things unknown to others, which he did not deem necessary to teach for the gaining of enlightenment.

We can accept, even without interpreting full enlightenment vulgarly as "omniscience," that the Buddha was at least potentially aware of whatever he wished or needed to know. [In Buddhism, the Buddha is considered "omniscient" not because he knows everything at once but because he can know anything he wishes by contemplating it.]

He knew precisely which religious and philosophical doctrines that had been or might be propounded were (a) true and/or (b) conducive to enlightenment. He borrowed nothing, as such, from previous religious systems because he did not need to. But he gave his approval to whatever conformed to these criteria.
It has occasionally been urged that if the Buddha were really all-enlightened, he must have been able to foresee modern scientific discoveries. In fact, he probably could have done so, but that was not his task. And he will certainly have been more aware than such critics of the dangers inherent in modern discoveries, with their power not only to destroy but also to corrupt.

Dryads/devas live in/as trees.
As a matter of fact, he did not even utilize a very basic technical device that was already known by his time -- the art of writing. He clearly preferred that his teachings, the Buddha Dharma, should be preserved orally by those attempting to train them and indeed the ancient Indian oral tradition has continued to this day (Cf. T.W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, London 1903, pp. 107ff.)

There is, however, one "modern science" which the Buddha not only anticipated but far surpassed: psychology. The superiority of Buddhist psychological insights to the findings of the modern West can be readily verified. (Some examples can be found in this Anthology). Compare to Ven. Nyanaponika Thera's Abhidhamma Studies (BPS.lk 1965), and Douglas M. Burns' Buddhist Meditation and Depth Psychology (BPS Wheel #88-89).
We may compare the saying quoted here with another no less famous one occurring at SN 47.9 as well as in the Maha Parinibbana Sutra, Dialogues of the Buddha 16, II, 25 (= D ii, 100 [DN 16, Part Two, v. 32]): Desito Aananda mayaa dhammo anantaram abaahiram katvaa. natth'Aananda Tathaagatassa dhammesu aacariyamutthi.

[This translates from the Pali as] "I have taught Dharma, Ananda, making no 'inner' and 'outer' [esoteric and exoteric]: the Tathagata [the Buddha] has no 'teacher's fist' [secrets hidden in a tightfisted palm that is only opened to some students] in respect of the doctrines."

There is, of course, no contradiction between the two statements, which in fact point once again to the Middle Way between the extremes. Both equally imply that whatever else the Buddha may have been aware of about the world, he taught only what was needed for the gaining of enlightenment, holding back nothing, but refraining from imparting irrelevant information. As the life of the monastics was pared down to essentials, so was the Teaching.
It is fair to suggest that here, in the Pali canon, we have the Buddha's Dharma (Teaching) presented in its purest and simplest form, in the words of the Awakened Teacher himself. This statement is not meant to be in any way polemical, or to claim that doctrines developed later in the so-called "Mahayana schools" are necessarily wrong. Recent research, indeed, has conclusively shown that the essence of many such [Mahayana] doctrines can be traced back to the Pali canon.

For instance, there is little real conflict between the ideas expressed by Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamika school, and the Theravada (a school with which he was almost certainly entirely unacquainted).

Likewise, while the proposition recently put forward that Zen is the "Theravada of Japan" can scarcely be literally maintained, the idea nevertheless contains a strong element of truth because Zen visibly represents an effort to rid later Buddhism of some of the accretions that had tended to obscure the original message.

Zen, too, inclines more to something like the Arhat Ideal [enlightenment for all in this very life] of Theravada than to that of the Bodhisattva Ideal [martyrdom of never attaining enlightenment until everyone else goes first though they also vow to never attain until everyone else has been saved. You first. No, you. No, you, all Heckle & Jeckle style. No, really, you go first, for I am holier than thou. But I am holier and less selfish and must therefore go second, for the first shall be the last as Saint Issa/Jesus Christ is said to have taught].

On the other hand, it should not be overlooked that the bodhisattva career [the vow and commitment to develop the ten paramis or "perfections" to their utmost and thereby become a buddha far in the future] is one that is open to followers of the Theravada school [cf. SN 12.10, n. 3 and the work of Bhikkhu Bodhi there mentioned; also Ven. W. Rahula's Zen and the Taming of the Bull (Bedford 1978)].

And, as indicated in SN 55.24, n. 7, even the apparently extremist Pure Land [devotional Buddhist] schools with their emphasis on faith receive rather more support from the Pali canon than is sometimes thought [if only because their foundational idea of a "pure land" is based on the Pali canon's teaching of the suddhavasa worlds called the "pure abodes."] In this context K. Mizuno, Primitive Buddhism, tranl. K. Yamamoto (Oyama 1969) is of interest.
Finally, in connection with the relation of "Buddhism and Science," the wise words of an American astronaut, Ed Mitchell, in a recent TV program may be quoted. He said: "Science is a methodology. As a belief system, it is disastrous." Buddhism, it may be urged, is a spiritual methodology analogous to that of physical science, which makes the acceptance of any pure "belief system" superfluous.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Equinox 2018: Tree Hugging Day

Jerry Rubin (Tree Hugging Friends); Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Thank you to the Buddha's bodhi tree!
The 10th annual Tree Hugging Day will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, which is Spring Equinox -- the first day of spring in the western hemisphere.

This free-to-the-public event will include a "Group Tree Hug," environmentalist speakers, music, poetry, and tree huggers of all ages showing off their unique and varied tree hugging techniques.

It will take place from 6:00-7:00 pm, which is sunset in Santa Monica Bay, in the City of Santa Monica's Palisades Park at the Children's Tree of Life located at Ocean and Colorado Avenues, just north of the gateway to the Santa Monica Pier.

The family-friendly event is being sponsored by Tree Hugging Friends (THF), founded by Santa Monica peace and environmental activists Marissa and Jerry Rubin.
Coastal California has beautiful piers with gorgeous sunsets like Santa Monica Pier:

The trees in the grove know.
The annual "hands on," tree-friendly, educational and interactive event is held to show love, support, and caring for our trees, urban forests, and environment.

Tree lovers are urged to tell everyone about the day and to hug a tree on for Spring Equinox and for other special days throughout the year. It's important to routinely practice tree hugging styles in preparation for Tree Hugging Day!

It's snowing and bitter cold in Ireland.
Event organizers say, "Let's bring tree hugging back by popular demand!" And THFs say, "Thank you TREE-MENDOUSLY for sharing this event with everyone!" More:
Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life

Saturday, March 17, 2018

First white Buddhist monk was IRISH (video)

TheDharmaBum.eu, Dana.IO/thedharmabum; Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly


I think I'll be a Buddhist monk
The Dharma Bum is a feature-length, partially animated documentary film telling the tantalizing true story of Dubliner Laurence Carroll.
Carroll was born in Dublin in 1856 and spent his early life as an alcoholic hobo drifter bumming his way across the USA.
I'm glad I became a Buddhist monk
This un-Catholic, un-Christian atheist activist worked the shipping route from San Francisco to Japan.

Then he found himself on the beach, hungover and homeless, after being kicked off the vessel for drunk and disorderly conduct.
He eventually made his way to Theravada Buddhist Burma, where he was helped by local Buddhist monks.

After five years as an apprentice, he became the first white man to ever don the saffron robes of a Buddhist monk.

Do it for Ireland, Laurence Carroll, and for the whole of the Western world!

UK-occupied Northern Ireland
They gave him the new Buddhist name U Dhammaloka.* And that is just the beginning of the story!
  • [*In Burmese U signifies "sir," Dhamma is the Pali spelling of "Dharma," and loka means "world."]
U Dhammaloka was erased from history. His existence lay dormant for over 100 years. Why? The reasons are explored in the film.

Teach those Brits not to mess with the Celts
This man caused quite a stir in his life, as he singlehandedly took on the might of the Christian British Empire in colonial Burma.
In the film we discover why he was under constant police surveillance and ultimately faked his own death as he transformed himself from an alcoholic bum to the original Dharma Bum. More

Irish whimsy, St. Paddy's Day (jokes, poetry)

Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson; Ashley Wells (ed.) Wisdom Quarterly  Saint Patrick's Day 2018

Parson's Nose presents "An Irish Celebration" in Los Angeles (pasadenaweekly.com)

To a drop of the craythur I was born
a thimble of whiskey, a mash of the corn

Unlike Bushmills a comforting 'board
No room for the cups where the tankards are stored

To a tuber's fine tincture I was turned on
a poteen, a poiton, all mellow and brown

A Liam, a Rhea, a Ryan, a Rip
around a cadaver a sway and a sip

A Pat, a Maria, a Michael, and a Mc
slosh the carcass in a rite Cath'lic rinse

Shillelagh to shake shellac shenanigans
Sheet 'n shout 'n shoot sharp shingles to shush 'em

Unsheathe and shear and bathe sheep in springs
Finn'-Ph'n, friend us again...
  • “Finn?
  • Aye, Finnegan.
  • Friend, how so?

The great Irish writer James Joyce based his magnum opus, Finnegans Wake, on the Irish ditty "Finnegan's Wake" here performed with lyrics by The Irish Rovers.
File:Riders of the Sidhe.jpg
Triumph of the Fairies: The Tuatha De Danann or "Peoples of the Goddess Danu"
“Finnegan's Awake
Siddhartha saw samsara end
Revolving Round, spin no more instead
But we pose to our old friend
Come, Finnegan, become again!

What is a wake, to raise the dead?
Then shimmy toss my own two cents!
Shake the spirit and rouse the breath
Come, Finnegan, become again!

Shirley, Shannon, and Shay ahem
Like fiendish Daughters of the F'end
To pull thee from thy 'sorption then
Pale in search of spirits in a pen

Corked and screwed and waxed wick end
Bitter as the grape, Guinness, or grain
I say, I sing, I say again
Come, Finnegan, become again!

Now, Finn, he was a faithful Ph'n,
Phineas with half a head,
Who blew the top to smith' or rent
Come, Finnegan, become again!

Rocket to Murgatroyd
Murgatroyd's rock 't sea in ink
presses on lads whom it hurts to think
liberates the tongue as good as drink
Come, Finnegan, become again!

Wan wolves who wander for crimson drink
Retch and writhe by 'bane beside a splint
Hale men who haggle at Haddock hint
Then writhe and wretch to get a stint

A Shropshire Lad, a filly wink
Bard of Avon, cauldron ingredient
A skinny Finny to feed the fink
Finn-Ph'n, friend us again!

Ne plus ultra naiad and nymph
Dryad, damsel of Dark Forest, minx
Meadow maiden of mirth and myth
Finn-Ph'n, friend us again... and so on.
  • When will you be performing it in its entirety, Seacht?
  • Ah, Podge, tonight and tomorrow at The Parson's Nose. You and Donal will be there to back me on fiddle and drum?
  • We sure will, if only to hear your cheeky jokes!
  • Oh, jokes, is it? Would you like to hear one now?
  • I think everyone would like to!
Traditional Irish jokes: The Housewife
New York City downplays its illustrious past of anti-Irish racism with a parade (AP)
Let me tell you what Seamus and I expect.
One lad married a Welsh gal and said to her, “I expect a warm dinner every night, the laundry done, and the house clean!” He didn't notice any change on the first day. And he didn't notice any change on the second day. But by the third day, there was a warm dinner on the table, the laundry was done, and the house was clean.
A second lad married a Scottish gal and said to her, “I expect a hearty lunch, a warm dinner every night, the laundry done, and the house clean!” He didn't notice any change on the first day. And he didn't notice any change on the second day. But by the third day, there was a hearty lunch on the table, a warm dinner, the laundry was done, and the house was clean.
You expect me to do what, husband?
A third lad married an Irish gal and said to her, “I expect three warm meals on the table every day, the dishes washed, the laundry done, the house clean, and I don't want any lip!”

He didn't notice any change on the first day. And he didn't notice any change on the second day. But by the third day, the swelling had gone down and he was able to move his arm enough to make himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has trouble when he pees.
  • Tell us another!
Who dares to question?
Happily we live obeying all our rules.
A young man, weary of the foolish world, desiring only peace and solitude, decided to retire to an Irish hermitage. On his first day in the monastery, the abbot welcomed him into the great hall. As he entered, he could not believe his eyes: row after row of bald scribes hard at work.
“What's happening, Father?”
“We're making copies. We do it all day long!”
“Copies, Father, copies of what?”
“Why, copies of the Bible and the rules, of course!”
“But, Father, where are you making these copies from?”
“From earlier copies, of course.”
“You're making copies of copies from copies?!”
“We do it all day long!”
“But, Father, what if someone were to make a mistake?”
“I don't follow.”
“If someone ever made a mistake transcribing, you'd be copying that mistake over and over!”
“Look, smart guy, why don't you make it your job to check the original?”
The library'll help me get to the bottom of this.
“I will,” the young man said, then paid a visit to the monastery's creepy old library. As he arrived, he heard a strange drumbeat, Thump-thump-thump... Hesitantly, he ventured into the dark stacks until he came to a light in the inner sanctum. There he saw an old monk, the librarian, banging his head on a table next to an ancient book.
He dashed in and asked, "What is it, Father?!” The old monk stood up, pointed a trembling finger down at the ancient book, and announced: "Look, the original actually says celibrate! Ce-li-brate!!!”

It's a miracle!
Just plain water, officer.
An Irish priest pulls out of the church parking lot and starts swerving down the road. A policeman pulls him over. He immediately smells alcohol on the priest's breath and notices an empty wine bottle in the car.
The policeman asks, “Been drinking, Father?”

“Just water,” explains the priest.
The cop replies, “Then why do I smell wine?”
The priest looks at the bottle and exclaims, “Good Lord! He's done it again!”

The Dead
One morning Seamus opens the newspaper and is shocked to see his OWN obituary.
In a panic, he phones his friend O'Carrigan and asks: “Did you see the paper?! They say I died!”
His friend replies: “Yes, Seamus, I did see it....So, where ya calling from?”

A last request
After mass one Sunday, a sobbing Biddy Murphy approaches Father O’Grady.
He asks, “What’s bothering you, Biddy?”
She replies, “Oh, Father, I’ve terrible news! My husband, Gilly, he passed away last night!”
The priest says, “Oh, Biddy, that is terrible! Did he have any last requests?”
“That he did, Father,” she replies. “He said, 'Please, Biddy, put down that damn gun’.”

A new life
Bartender, I'll have three shots of whiskey.
An Irishman wakes up one morning and decides to lead a healthy life. He boards a plane and moves to California. But he soon comes down with a terrible case of homesickness. There's no remedy until someone suggests he find an authentic Irish pub to feel more at home.

He finds one. And as soon as he walks in and smells its wonderful odors, he starts feeling much better. He calls to the bartender at the other side of the room, “Barkeep, three whiskeys!”

The barman pours the shots and brings them over. “Oi, did you order three shots?”

“Aye, I did!”

The barman asks, “Why don't you tell me next time that they're just for you, that way I can put all three in one glass?”

The Irishman replies: “No! I have two brothers at home, so every time I come into a pub, I order a shot for each of them.”

“That's a lovely family tradition,” the barman commends. The following week, the Irishman walks in and orders just two whiskeys.
The barman brings them. And with a look of concern asks, “Oi, did something happen one of your brothers?”

“No. Why do you ask?” replies the Irishman.

“It's just that last week, you ordered three...did one of your brothers die?”

“Oh no, no! It's just that I've decided to stop drinking!”

Oi vey, public workers!
Two Irishmen were working for the public works department in the park. One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in.
After a while, some amazed onlookers said: “Why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?”
The hole digger wiped his brow and sighed, “Well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we're normally a three-person team. But today the lad who plants the trees called in sick.”
    (The Dubliners) "Seven Drunken Nights" animated version of a famous humorous Irish song

    A Brief History of Saint Patrick (video)

    TheWeekinDoubt; Merriam-Webster; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    Can "St. Patty's Day" refer to St. Patrick?

    The Week in Doubt
    March 17th is St. Patrick's Day -- the feast day of the [Roman-British] patron saint of Ireland.

    He is [blamed for] bringing Christianity to the island (and is the legendary figure said to have driven the "snakes" of Ireland into the sea).
    Typically, a feast day of a canonized saint is only referred to by the saint's given name, in this case Patrick.
    Nature-based wise ones killed
    However, St. Patrick's Day has evolved to become more than a religious observance.

    It is a secular celebration of Irish heritage and pride in the form of festivals and parades, as well as more than a few pub crawls.

    Many people (not just the Irish) get into the spirit of the day by dressing in green, eating smelly corned flesh and cabbage (a tradition from Irish immigrants in America), and drinking Irish intoxicants.

    The festive atmosphere has influenced partygoers to refer to the day informally by nicknames of Patrick, but one name tends to raise the hackles of many celebrants, be they Irish by heritage or just for the day. More

    The meaning of IRISH last names (video)

    Leslie Lang (Ancestry); Mike OLaughlin; Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

    "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're..."
    The earliest known Irish surname is O’Clery (O Cleirigh); it’s the earliest known because it was written that the Lord of Aidhne, Tigherneach Ua Cleirigh died in County Galway back in the year 916 ACE.
    In fact, that Irish name may actually be the earliest surname recorded in all of Europe.

    Until about the 10th century in Ireland, surnames were not passed down from generation to generation. Instead, surnames were patronymic, or based on someone’s father’s name. A person was identified by a given name plus mac, meaning “son of,” followed by the father’s name.

    I'all kyll ya, ya bassterd, for mee island!
    For instance, Brian mac Colum was Brian, son of Colum. Brian’s son might be Finnian mac Brian (Finnian, son of Brian).
    The female form of “mac” is “nic,” shortened from the Irish iníon mhic.
    Alternatively, the prefix “O” was sometimes used in place of “mac” and meant “grandson of” or “descended from.” If Colum was well known, his grandson might have gone by the name Finnian O Colum.
    There were no fixed surnames, so a surname changed every generation or two. That can make tracing a family tree a bit more complicated.
    These are the Top 10 Irish names (below)
    But even without hereditary surnames, names still hold clues. For example, a person named O’Clery or O Cleirigh (or Ua Cleirigh) was the grandson or descendant of someone named Cleirigh. (“Ua” was an earlier form of “O”).
    It was around the 1100s, as the population was increasing, that people in the upper social classes started taking hereditary surnames (names that remain fixed over the generations); others did not need surnames or even get around to them until the 1500s.

    Ireland's great shame: Magdalene asylums tortured girls for sex before marriage.
    Another strong influence on Irish names came with the Norman invasion of 1169, when a lot of Anglo-French names came marching into Ireland.

    (This is when the Latin-derived prefix “Fitz,” meaning “son of,” first came into Irish names). It’s from this influence that some of the names we now consider Irish — Costello, Power, Burke, and others — first entered the scene.
    And in the 1500s, the influence of the English was beginning to make itself felt in Ireland. Ireland was experiencing religious persecution and invasions, and many changes came to the island — including the changing of Irish names, steadily but surely over the ensuing years — into ones that sounded more English.
    The Irish are great writers and poets.
    An example of this was the common Irish surname Mac Gabhann, which meant “son of a smith.” Some Mac Gabhanns living in County Cavan had their name translated to Smith, and it remained that way. Others outside that area resisted, but the spelling became anglicized and they became Mac/McGowans. This was very common.
    In many cases the prefixes Mac and O were done away with.
    Many surnames originated as occupational or descriptive names. That earliest known name, O Cleirigh (O’Clery), was someone descended from a clerk; Mac an Bhaird (Ward) was son of a bard; and Mac Labhrain (MacCloran) was son of a spokesman.
    Descriptive names were names that described the first person to take them. The first person with the name Dubh (Duff) (“black” or “dark”) was probably dark featured. Other descriptive surnames include Bane (“white”), Crone (“brown”), and Lawder (“strong”).
    There are 10 types of Irish last names.
    Irish toponymic surnames, deriving from a place where the original name bearer once lived, are rare. They include Ardagh, Athy, Bray, Kelly, Sutton, and a few others.
    The most common Irish surnames in Ireland haven’t changed much for a century. Here are 10 of them.

    Top 10 Irish surnames
      How 'bout Aes Sidhe, the fairies, wee people?!
    1. Murphy — The Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Murchadha and Mac Murchadha, meaning “sea warrior.”
    2. Kelly — The origin of this Irish name is uncertain. An Anglicized version of the Irish name Ó Ceallaigh, it can describe a warrior or mean “white-headed,” “frequenting churches,” or “descendant of Ceallach.
    3. O’Sullivan — (Ó Súileabháin or Ó Súilleabháin in Irish). In 1890, 90 percent of the O’Sullivans were estimated to be in Munster. Many people agree that the basic surname means “eye,” but they do not agree whether the rest of the name means “one-eyed,” “hawk-eyed,” “black-eyed,” or something else.
    4. Walsh — This name came to Ireland via British soldiers during the Norman invasion of Ireland and means “from Wales.” It’s derived from Breathnach or Brannagh.
    5. Smith — This surname does not necessarily suggest English ancestry, as some think; often the surname was derived from Gabhann (which means “smith”).
    6. O’Brien — This name came down from Brian Boru (941-1014) who was king of Munster; his descendants took the name Ó Briain.
    7. Byrne (also Byrnes; O’Byrne) — from the Irish name Ó Broin (“raven”; also, descendant of Bran); this dates to the ancient Celtic chieftain Bran mac Máelmórda, a king of Leinster in the 11th century.
    8. Ryan — This name has various possible origins: from the Gaelic Ó Riagháin (grandson or descendant of Rían) or Ó Maoilriain (grandson/descendant of Maoilriaghain) or Ó Ruaidhín (grandson/descendant of the little red one). Or it may be a simplification of the name Mulryan, which means “little king.”
    9. O’Connor — From Ó Conchobhair (grandson or descendant of Conchobhar; “lover of hounds”).
    10. O’Neill — Anglicized from the Gaelic Ua Néill (grandson or descendant of Niall). The name is connected with meanings including “vehement” and “champion.” The main O’Niall family is descended from the historic “Niall of the Nine Hostages.”
    Whether you're lucky enough or not, learn MORE about ancestry and surnames at Ancestry.com.