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Re: Problems translating a sentence from the Jaataka

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  • Jim Anderson
    ... Thanks, Florent, I look forward to hearing what you can find out in Yangon. It s good that you have a Pali teacher to help you. About a month ago, I met
    Message 1 of 25 , Mar 1, 2008
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      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "flrobert2000" <flrobert2000@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Jim,
      >
      > Thanks for your attempts to explains this use of vandite. I will ask
      > my Pali teachers in Yangon as soon as I get back there and will let
      > you know what they think. I will also try to find out how it has
      > been translated in Burmese.
      > With metta,
      >
      > Florent

      Thanks, Florent, I look forward to hearing what you can find out in
      Yangon. It's good that you have a Pali teacher to help you. About a
      month ago, I met and spoke with a senior Burmese bhikkhu, also a Pali
      teacher, who was visiting a meditation centre just outside of
      Montreal and he tells me that one can learn Pali much more quickly
      with a good teacher. It takes about two years to teach a student the
      Kaccaayanabyaakara.na or one year for a bright student.
      Unfortunately, Pali teachers are few and far between outside of South
      Asia.

      Best wishes,
      Jim
    • Jon Fernquest
      Florent wrote: I will also try to find out how it has been translated in Burmese. The nissaya genre of Burmese literature (also genre of Mon, Yuan/Chiang
      Message 2 of 25 , Mar 1, 2008
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        Florent wrote: "I will also try to find out how it has been translated
        in Burmese."

        The "nissaya" genre of Burmese literature
        (also genre of Mon, Yuan/Chiang Mai literature),
        essentially a phrase by phrase interleaved translation
        of Pali into Burmese, addresses this exact issue.

        Some of these works exist in published book form
        (listed in front of Stewart's Burmese dictionary)
        but most I suspect are only in palm leaf.
        Something to check for in Peter Skilling's
        palm leaf text library in Nonthaburi.

        The following book in French supposedly
        describes the genre in detail.
        Has anyone had a chance to read it?

        Pruitt, William
        Etude linguistique de nissaya birmans:
        traduction commentee de textes bouddhiques
        Paris :
        Presses de l'Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient,
        1994
        Monographies ; no. 174
        Tipitaka. Vinayapitaka. Suttavibhanga.
        Patimokkha. Bhikkhupatimokkha. Burmese
        Buddhist literature, Burmese --
        Translations from Pali
        ISBN 2 85 539 774 X
        http://lib.sac.or.th/search/

        I believe that Justin McDaniels is coming out with a book this year
        that addresses nissaya for Yuan/Chiang Mai language.

        Anyway what I am reading from these discussions is a parallel
        Pali-English corpus is needed:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_text
        I'm doing a parallel alignment/translation of my favorite Jataka,
        the Mahasuddasana Jataka, no 95.

        [Also an extensive and complete master syllabus for Pali that has all
        grammar points systematically arranged, perhaps in flow chart form,
        for example, the locative case ending on a word may indicate a
        locative absolute phrase which requires a noun object, no object?,
        then possible ellipsis, must substitute object, find object, which
        object is most reasonable choice?....BTW the quickest way to come up
        to speed on locative absolute phrases seems to be Yong Peng's answers
        to exercises chapter 16, Warder, what I will be quizzing myself with
        while walking to work this week, thanks Yong Peng!]

        [Also Thanks for the references to those grammars]

        With metta
        Jon Fernquest
      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Jon, the answers which you referred to was contributed by John (Kelly). And, so, thanks John! http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/pali.php?palidd=c16 metta, Yong
        Message 3 of 25 , Mar 1, 2008
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          Dear Jon,

          the answers which you referred to was contributed by John (Kelly).
          And, so, thanks John!

          http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/pali.php?palidd=c16

          metta,
          Yong Peng.


          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jon Fernquest wrote:

          the quickest way to come up to speed on locative absolute phrases
          seems to be Yong Peng's answers to exercises chapter 16, Warder, what
          I will be quizzing myself with while walking to work this week, thanks
          Yong Peng!
        • flrobert2000
          Dear Mahapaliha and Jim, I asked my teacher about the use of vandite in the sentence: Ra~n~naa pana vandite bhagavanta.m avanditvaa .thaatu.m samattho naama
          Message 4 of 25 , Mar 16, 2008
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            Dear Mahapaliha and Jim,

            I asked my teacher about the use of vandite in the sentence:

            "Ra~n~naa pana vandite bhagavanta.m avanditvaa .thaatu.m samattho
            naama ekasaakiyopi naahosi."

            According to him, vandite stands instead of vandito (vandite vandito
            hutvaa he told me), and Bhagavaa in the nominative singular is
            understood. He said that here the passive form implied by Ra~n~naa
            competes with the locative absolute. This happens sometimes,
            especially in the commentarial litterature and in this case the
            passive form is stronger.

            However after researching a bit I also found this sentence in the texts

            "Suddhodanamahaaraajena pana vandite bhagavati avanditvaa .thito
            naama ekasaakiyopi naahosi"

            which further confuses me! I haven't talked about it with my teacher
            yet but I will do so as soon as I meet him.

            Regards,

            Florent
          • Mahinda Palihawadana
            Dear friend, No problem here, really. The new sentence you have quoted is a recast of the earlier one. It means When the Blessed One was worshipped by king
            Message 5 of 25 , Mar 16, 2008
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              Dear friend,
              No problem here, really. The new sentence you have quoted is a recast of the
              earlier one. It means" When the Blessed One was worshipped by king
              Suddhodana, there was not even a single Sakiyan (who was) able to stay
              without worshipping him". Note the locative absolute "mhaaraajena
              bhagavati vandite". It confirms our guess that bhagavati was understood in
              the earlier sentence too.

              Mahinda


              On 3/16/08, flrobert2000 <flrobert2000@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dear Mahapaliha and Jim,
              >
              > I asked my teacher about the use of vandite in the sentence:
              >
              > "Ra~n~naa pana vandite bhagavanta.m avanditvaa .thaatu.m samattho
              > naama ekasaakiyopi naahosi."
              >
              > According to him, vandite stands instead of vandito (vandite vandito
              > hutvaa he told me), and Bhagavaa in the nominative singular is
              > understood. He said that here the passive form implied by Ra~n~naa
              > competes with the locative absolute. This happens sometimes,
              > especially in the commentarial litterature and in this case the
              > passive form is stronger.
              >
              > However after researching a bit I also found this sentence in the texts
              >
              > "Suddhodanamahaaraajena pana vandite bhagavati avanditvaa .thito
              > naama ekasaakiyopi naahosi"
              >
              > which further confuses me! I haven't talked about it with my teacher
              > yet but I will do so as soon as I meet him.
              >
              > Regards,
              >
              > Florent
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jim Anderson
              Dear Florent (and Mahinda), Thank-you for sharing your teacher s explanation of this puzzling matter and for the Suddhodana quote from Sp V 1006 which I wasn t
              Message 6 of 25 , Mar 17, 2008
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                Dear Florent (and Mahinda),

                Thank-you for sharing your teacher's explanation of this puzzling
                matter and for the Suddhodana quote from Sp V 1006 which I wasn't aware
                of. I would like to pass on another possible solution, offered by Ole
                Pind on my own list and supported by Lance Cousins, which is to
                take "vandite" as an accusative plural in association with "paade" of
                the previous sentence. "...tumhaaka.m paade vandaami, aya.m me vandanaa
                ti. ra~n~naa pana vandite. . ." --- " . . . I honour your feet, 'this
                is my third salutation'. And (his feet) being honoured by the
                king, . . ." The same usage of 'vandite' with 'paade' also occurs at D
                II 164. I hadn't considered this possibility before but it sounds
                plausible to me.

                Best wishes,
                Jim
              • mahipaliha
                ... aware ... Ole ... of ... vandanaa ... feet, this ... Dear Jim, I do not wish to split hairs, but this is perplexing. Even in terms of this
                Message 7 of 25 , Mar 20, 2008
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                  --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Anderson" <jimanderson_on@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear Florent (and Mahinda),
                  >
                  > Thank-you for sharing your teacher's explanation of this puzzling
                  > matter and for the Suddhodana quote from Sp V 1006 which I wasn't
                  aware
                  > of. I would like to pass on another possible solution, offered by
                  Ole
                  > Pind on my own list and supported by Lance Cousins, which is to
                  > take "vandite" as an accusative plural in association with "paade"
                  of
                  > the previous sentence. "...tumhaaka.m paade vandaami, aya.m me
                  vandanaa
                  > ti. ra~n~naa pana vandite. . ." --- " . . . I honour your
                  feet, 'this
                  > is my third salutation'. And (his feet) being honoured by the
                  > king, . . ."

                  Dear Jim,
                  I do not wish to split hairs, but this is perplexing. Even in terms
                  of this interpretation,it seems to me that we
                  cannot take paade ( the paade which you have put within
                  parenthesis) as an acc, pl. To get the sense "feet being honoured by
                  the king", we must assume that paade is in a locative absolute
                  construction, isn't it? But in that case, it should be "padesu
                  vanditesu", because otherwise it would mean that the king worshipped
                  only one foot. Are you thinking of an accusative absolute?

                  >The same usage of 'vandite' with 'paade' also occurs at D
                  > II 164.

                  What we have at D. ii 164 is "vandite ca pana aayasmataa mahaa-
                  kassapena ...sayam eva bhagavato citako pajjali" wich is similar
                  to "vandite pana ra~n~naa" in our passage. It means "when worshipped
                  by the venerable Mahaakassapa the Blessed One's pyre lighted of its
                  own accord. Here we have the locative absolute "vandite .. citake"
                  the latter word being again "understood". There is no 'paade' here.

                  Best wishes.
                  Mahinda
                • Jim Anderson
                  Dear Mahinda,
                  Message 8 of 25 , Mar 20, 2008
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                    Dear Mahinda,

                    << Dear Jim,
                    I do not wish to split hairs, but this is perplexing. Even in terms
                    of this interpretation,it seems to me that we
                    cannot take paade ( the paade which you have put within
                    parenthesis) as an acc, pl. To get the sense "feet being honoured by
                    the king", we must assume that paade is in a locative absolute
                    construction, isn't it? But in that case, it should be "padesu
                    vanditesu", because otherwise it would mean that the king worshipped
                    only one foot. Are you thinking of an accusative absolute? >>

                    Jim:
                    Yes, but only after Lance Cousins said " I would call that construction
                    'accusative absolute'. " (his words). Now I have never seen the accusative
                    absolute being described in any of the Pali grammars I'm aware of --- just
                    locative and genitive absolutes --- so it's rather new to me.

                    >The same usage of 'vandite' with 'paade' also occurs at D
                    > II 164.

                    Mahinda:
                    << What we have at D. ii 164 is "vandite ca pana aayasmataa mahaa-
                    kassapena ...sayam eva bhagavato citako pajjali" wich is similar
                    to "vandite pana ra~n~naa" in our passage. It means "when worshipped
                    by the venerable Mahaakassapa the Blessed One's pyre lighted of its
                    own accord. Here we have the locative absolute "vandite .. citake"
                    the latter word being again "understood". There is no 'paade' here. >>

                    Jim:
                    The relevant D II 164 passage is: ". . .bhagavato paade sirasaa vandi.msu.
                    vandite ca pana aayasmataa. . ." Ole Pind says there shouldn't be a period
                    after 'vandi.msu". Hence, ". . .they honoured the feet of the Bhagavant with
                    the head and, furthermore, while (the feet) were being honoured by the
                    Venerable. . ." or " . . .when (the feet were) worshipped by. . ." The
                    problem with an understood "citake" in a locative absolute construction is
                    that the object of honouring has shifted from the feet to the pyre. The
                    "paade" (acc. pl.) also occurs earlier in our Ja I 88 passage but its
                    connection to "vandite" would be more convincing if we had "vandite
                    ca pana ra~n~naa" instead of "ra~n~naa pana vandite". I cannot decide for
                    sure which of the two interpretations (yours or Ole's) is correct if only
                    one of them can be correct and, if so, for what reason. I simply do not know
                    enough Pali grammar to decide.

                    I have also been thinking about the "snehaanvayamiv osadhaa" passage which I
                    find even harder to interpret.

                    Best wishes,
                    Jim
                  • mahipaliha
                    ... construction ... I have much respect for Lance Cousins, but would not hesitate to form my own judgement on an issue. While working on the Dhammapada and
                    Message 9 of 25 , Mar 20, 2008
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                      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Anderson" <jimanderson.on@...>
                      wrote:
                      >Mahinda : Are you thinking of an accusative absolute? >>
                      >
                      > Jim:
                      > Yes, but only after Lance Cousins said " I would call that
                      construction
                      > 'accusative absolute'. " (his words).

                      I have much respect for Lance Cousins, but would not hesitate to
                      form my own judgement on an issue. While working on the Dhammapada
                      and its commentary (since published by OUP/USA), I realized how even
                      the brightest Pali scholars have on occaion tripped. So I won't be
                      overawed, nor would I reject a scholar's opinion out of hand. The
                      possibilty of this being an acc. abs. is admitted.

                      > Now I have never seen the accusative
                      > absolute being described in any of the Pali grammars I'm aware of -

                      The late O.H. de A. Wijesekaera,Sri Lankan scholar (incidentally my
                      Skt teacher) describes it in his Syntax of the Cases in the Pali
                      Nikayas, (Post Graduate Inst. of Pali & Buddh. Studies, Colombo
                      1993) p. 70 f. Just this morning I found that he alludes to this
                      very passage on p.240. He translates, "When worshipped by the Ven.
                      MK .. the funeral pyre of Bl One blazed forth by itself" and adds,"
                      (here) .. the loc. vandite canot be strictly regarded as as
                      absolute, for the construction can stand even if it were the nom
                      vandito."

                      > The relevant D II 164 passage is: ". . .bhagavato paade sirasaa
                      vandi.msu.
                      > vandite ca pana aayasmataa. . ." Ole Pind says there shouldn't be
                      a period
                      > after 'vandi.msu". Hence, ". . .they honoured the feet of the
                      Bhagavant with
                      > the head and, furthermore, while (the feet) were being honoured by
                      the
                      > Venerable. . ." or " . . .when (the feet were) worshipped by. . ."
                      The
                      > problem with an understood "citake" in a locative absolute
                      construction is
                      > that the object of honouring has shifted from the feet to the
                      pyre.

                      The pyre with the body of the Buddha inside. Not much of a shift.

                      The pnctuation question is difficult to resolve because MSS were
                      notoriously inattentive to punctuation.

                      I would, for now, assume that
                      (1)the loc. abs. or a simple locative of time (vandite: after the
                      act of worship) explains the Mahaprinibbana Sutta passage. But the
                      acc. abs. construction cannot be ruled out.

                      (2) In the JA psg, the elliptical loc. abs. vandite (bhagavati)is
                      more likely, because (a) there is another similar text where the
                      assumed bhagavati is explicitly present and (b) it suits the context
                      well. Context being the situation where some relatives of the Buddha
                      were reluctant to pay homage to their younger relation, but had to
                      do so when King Suddhodana himself paid homage.

                      Dear Jim, many thanks for the trouble you took to forward the
                      exchange of messages in your grammar group and for inviting me to be
                      a member. But I find that responding to messaages in this group
                      already consuming too much of my time, which I would gladly spend on
                      some other activities I am presently engaged in ( where
                      incidentally, grammar is such a nuisnace to a writer in modern
                      Sinhalese).
                      Best wishes.
                      Mahinda
                    • Jim Anderson
                      Dear Mahinda, You wrote:
                      Message 10 of 25 , Mar 21, 2008
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                        Dear Mahinda,

                        You wrote:
                        << The late O.H. de A. Wijesekaera,Sri Lankan scholar (incidentally my
                        Skt teacher) describes it in his Syntax of the Cases in the Pali
                        Nikayas, (Post Graduate Inst. of Pali & Buddh. Studies, Colombo
                        1993) p. 70 f. Just this morning I found that he alludes to this
                        very passage on p.240. He translates, "When worshipped by the Ven.
                        MK .. the funeral pyre of Bl One blazed forth by itself" and adds,"
                        (here) .. the loc. vandite canot be strictly regarded as as
                        absolute, for the construction can stand even if it were the nom
                        vandito." >>

                        I have not seen Wijesekaera's book but have been hearing about it on my list
                        over the past few years. I will see if I can get a copy. Thank-you for all
                        the points you've made about "vandite". I'm not ruling out the possibility
                        of a locative absolute construction especially in view of the Suddhodana
                        passage at Sp V 1006 with "bhagavati" I can also see the merits of
                        taking "vandite".as an accusative plural in agreement with "paade"
                        especially in the passage at D II 164. Either way, I don't think it makes
                        much of a difference in a translation. It's mostly a matter of concern to
                        grammarians.

                        Best wishes,
                        Jim
                      • flrobert2000
                        Dear Mahinda and Jim, Thank you very much for the very interesting discussions that followed my question about this sentence from the Jaataka. I do agree in
                        Message 11 of 25 , Mar 24, 2008
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                          Dear Mahinda and Jim,

                          Thank you very much for the very interesting discussions that
                          followed my question about this sentence from the Jaataka.

                          I do agree in the end that it doesn't make much difference in the
                          translation and that it mostly matters to grammarians. I am not sure
                          I mentioned it, but this sentence was actually cited in the last
                          exercise of Ven. Buddhadatta's New Pali Course Part II. I must say
                          that I have found some of the sentences very challenging to
                          translate, especially when the context is not very clear. Trying to
                          solve Buddhadatta's exercises, have been sometimes quite valuable
                          because of the grammatical research and discussions to which they
                          lead. Putting back the sentences into context has also helped me to
                          discover some inspiring stories, especially from the Dhammapada
                          Commentaries.

                          My teacher keeps on reminding me that I should try at this stage to
                          directly read the suttas (as Bhikkhu Bodhi recommends it in his very
                          inspiring pali lectures) in order to gain some fluency, and without
                          paying too much attention to some grammatical difficulties. However,
                          I still get "frightened" by the complexity of this language and I
                          feel sometimes completely hopeless in front of some constructions,
                          especially when reading the commentaries. I wonder how many more
                          years of studies it will take before I can approach the fluency of my
                          teachers, who have been studying it since they were children!

                          Regards,

                          Florent

                          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Anderson" <jimanderson.on@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Mahinda,
                          >
                          > You wrote:
                          > << The late O.H. de A. Wijesekaera,Sri Lankan scholar (incidentally
                          my
                          > Skt teacher) describes it in his Syntax of the Cases in the Pali
                          > Nikayas, (Post Graduate Inst. of Pali & Buddh. Studies, Colombo
                          > 1993) p. 70 f. Just this morning I found that he alludes to this
                          > very passage on p.240. He translates, "When worshipped by the Ven.
                          > MK .. the funeral pyre of Bl One blazed forth by itself" and adds,"
                          > (here) .. the loc. vandite canot be strictly regarded as as
                          > absolute, for the construction can stand even if it were the nom
                          > vandito." >>
                          >
                          > I have not seen Wijesekaera's book but have been hearing about it
                          on my list
                          > over the past few years. I will see if I can get a copy. Thank-you
                          for all
                          > the points you've made about "vandite". I'm not ruling out the
                          possibility
                          > of a locative absolute construction especially in view of the
                          Suddhodana
                          > passage at Sp V 1006 with "bhagavati" I can also see the merits of
                          > taking "vandite".as an accusative plural in agreement with "paade"
                          > especially in the passage at D II 164. Either way, I don't think it
                          makes
                          > much of a difference in a translation. It's mostly a matter of
                          concern to
                          > grammarians.
                          >
                          > Best wishes,
                          > Jim
                          >
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