Flavio Costa wrote: On another hand, I am contrary to the idea of translating deva and Brahma . If you say demi-god , god , you will be changing paliMessage 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2003View SourceFlavio Costa wrote:
On another hand, I am contrary to the idea of translating "deva"
"Brahma". If you say "demi-god", "god", you will be changing pali
with a clear meaning for others carried with a Western perspective,
alien to the
Buddhist view. If one is going to actually understand them, it won't
through such poor renderings.
Hello Flavio, and thank you for your remarks. Yes, to me, "deva"
contains many associations for a South Asian
that we don't have any longer in the West (the ancient Greeks were
closer to this concept, I think). In the same
way, "God" contains associations for a modern Westerner (especially a
Judeo-Christian) that the South Asian
may not relate to. So to substitute God for Deva is a little like
exchanging apples for oranges. However, to help
the lay reader, I suppose it is a good idea to have such words that are
left untranslated introduced by a footnote
or entry in a glossary.
F: However, I do not see why some people choose
to left "bhikkhu" untranslated. If I use this word, nobody would
understand it here in Brazil, but if I say "buddhist monk" anyone get
straight-forwardly. Any difference between a monk and a bhikkhu seems
quite more subtle than what you find between "deva" and "demi-god" or,
worse, "yakkha" and "spirit"!
R: Yes. I always translate "bhikkhu." Do you need the word "Buddhist"?
Readers, I think, will assume that the
monk being referred to is Buddhist. I note that the word bhikkhu
originally meant "beggar, almsperson,
mendicant" as seen in the Sanskrit root, bhiks.
In the Saama~n~naphala sutta (DN2) something interesting happens in
reference to "bhikkhu." A large part of
this sutta describes the spiritual journey of one who ultimately gains
enlightenment. At the beginning of the
spiritual journey (section 41) someone hears the word of the Buddha. He
is called a householder (gahapati), or a
householder's son (gahapatiputto), or a person from any clan / caste
(a~n~natarasmi.m vaa kule paccaajaato).
He becomes homeless (anagaariya.m) and therefore in sec. 42 is now
referred to as a samaa.no (recluse). But
he is a samaa.no only in this short paragraph. At the beginning of 43 he
Here I have a question, and I think some readers will also. I think:
Wait a minute! He was just now a recluse,
and suddenly hes a monk. I dont see any ordination, and it seems to me
that the recluse has been all alone.
How is it that he is now called a bhikkhu?
The paatimokkha is briefly mentioned in par. 42. (He adopts and trains
himself in the paatimokkha.) Are we
to assume that this implies ordination and involvement of the sangha? Or
does bhikkhu here just mean
almsperson, mendicant as its root implies? (I think back on the
earliest period of Buddhism, when you had
wandering mendicants not attached to a vihara, as described in the Sutta
Nipata and perhaps Thera- and
So, maybe monk is not the best translation for bhikkhu here, but
mendicant or some other word?
Any ideas are appreciated.-- Rene
So to substitute God for Deva is a little like exchanging apples for oranges. However, to help the lay reader, I suppose it is a good idea to have such wordsMessage 1 of 3 , Apr 2, 2003View Source"So to substitute God for Deva is a little like exchanging apples for
oranges. However, to help the lay reader, I suppose it is a good idea to
have such words that are left untranslated introduced by a footnote or entry
in a glossary."
this is the position I prefer, too. From getting acquainted with some pali
words readers may improve their understanding of the Dhamma. Still, we
should find proper translations if they exist.
"Yes. I always translate "bhikkhu." Do you need the word "Buddhist"?"
I did't made myself clear enough. In suttas I use only "monk", I specify
it more only when speaking to others without a context, so there is no way
for them to misunderstand it for something else.
"So, maybe "monk" is not the best translation for bhikkhu here [DN2], but
"mendicant" or some other word?"
I see this passage in another way. The Buddha is saying about the
benefits of sama~n~naphala, an so it's stated: "When he has thus gone forth,
he lives restrained by the rules of the monastic code (patimokkha), seeing
danger in the slightest faults. Consummate in his virtue, he guards the
doors of his senses, is possessed of mindfulness and alertness, and is
content." An that's all he says about him. This contentness is a clear and
direct consequence of his going forth and living as a samana.
The next section starts: "And how is a monk consummate in virtue?". Here
I do not see that "a monk" refers to the samana of the previous section. To
me, a bhikkhu is a specific kind of samana. Samana is anyone who dedicates
his/her life to the spiritual (ascetic) practice, and this includes, but is
not limited to monks. From this excerpt I do not conclude whether
"patimokkha" implies that he has ordained of not, but if the sutta doesn't
talk about just one person, it doesn't matter.
... Nina: I think so. I have some texts on paatimokkha: There are two kinds of Paatimokkha: the Ovaada-paatimokkha and the aa.naa-paatimokkha. TheMessage 1 of 3 , Apr 2, 2003View Sourceop 02-04-2003 09:48 schreef Rene Salm op rsalm@...:
>Nina: I think so. I have some texts on paatimokkha:
> The paatimokkha is briefly mentioned in par. 42. (He adopts and trains
> himself in the paatimokkha.) Are we
> to assume that this implies ordination and involvement of the sangha? Or
> does bhikkhu here just mean
There are two kinds of Paatimokkha: the Ovaada-paatimokkha and the
aa.naa-paatimokkha. The Ovaada-paatimokkha, the exhortation to the
Paatimokkha, is an important principle of teaching or instruction. The
aa.naa-paatimokkha are the rules of the Vinaya which are an important
foundation to be applied by the monks in their conduct.
We read in the Suma"ngalavilaasinii, the Co to the Mahaapadaana Sutta,
Dialogues of the Buddha II, no. XIV):
<The word ³paatimokkhe²(according to the paatimokkha) means, it liberates
completely, that is, the highest síla; it guards in a supreme way, namely,
it guards happy states; it liberates from danger, the danger of an unhappy
destination. Or it guards happy states and liberates from unhappy states.
Therefore, this síla is called paatimokkha.>
Paati means to guard or protect, and mokkheti means to liberate.