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Warrior Language?

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  • dkotschessa
    My question might seem a bit unspecific. I am hoping maybe somebody has already given thought to, or done some research on this topic, or at least finds it
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 31, 2008
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      My question might seem a bit unspecific. I am hoping maybe somebody
      has already given thought to, or done some research on this topic,
      or at least finds it interesting enough to give their thoughts.

      It occured to my in my reading of the Dhammapada today just how much
      of the Buddha's presentation of Dhamma was influenced by his
      upbringing in the kshatriya/warrior class.

      "...fight out Mara with the sword of wisdom. Then, guarding the
      conquest, remain unattached." (Dhammapada Verse 40)

      Fight, swords, conquest - this kind of language is all over the Pali
      canon. Yet when presented to somebody with a novice or superficial
      understanding of Buddhism they come across as quite harsh, and even
      antithetical to their conception of Buddhism - the supposed religion
      of a peaceful, tolerant, all embracing unity.

      So, I guess I'm wondering how much the Pali language was influenced
      by Prince Siddhartha's caste. What would it have looked like if he
      had been a Brahmin or a Vaishya?

      -DaveK
    • Jon Fernquest
      Dave wrote: I guess I m wondering how much the Pali language was influenced by Prince Siddhartha s caste. What would it have looked like if he had been a
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 2, 2008
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        Dave wrote: "I guess I'm wondering how much the Pali language was
        influenced by Prince Siddhartha's caste. What would it have looked like
        if he had been a Brahmin or a Vaishya?"

        I don't know about language but the advice given sometimes seems to be
        very Kshatriyan. There is the famous passage in the Mahaparinibbana
        sutta when the Buddha lays out how a state can survive in the face of
        warfare, the Seven Ways to Avoid Decline or Aparihaniya (see below), and
        then hints how the parricide Ajaatasattu can defeat and put and end to
        the tribal republic of the Vajjians, and then goes even further and
        applies the same rules to the long term survival of the Sangha (Steven
        Collins, 1998, Nirvana and other Buddhist Felicities, "The Vajjis
        Exemplary Community," pages 437-448). Here is the key passage:

        rañña magadhena ajatasattuna vedehiputtena
        yadidaṃ yuddhassa, aññatra upalapanaya aññatra
        mithubheda.

        King Ajaatasattu will not be able to conquer the vajjis, at least not
        (simply) in warfare without deceit and (fomenting) internal dissension.
        [upalapana = deceit]


        The whole passage:

        evaṃ vutte,
        At these words,

        vassakaro brahmaṇo the Brahman Vassakaara

        magadhamahamatto
        Chief minister of the Maaghadans

        bhagavantaṃ etadavoca
        spoke to the blessed one

        – ``ekamekenapi, bho gotama, aparihaniyena dhammena
        samannagatanaṃ vajjinaṃ vuddhiyeva
        pāṭikaṅkha, no parihani .

        If the Vajjis possess even one of these things, they can be expected to
        prosper and not decline

        ko pana vado sattahi aparihaniyehi dhammehi.

        What can we say if they possess all seven?

        akaraṇīyava akaraṇīya ca (sya. ka.), bho
        gotama, vajji vajjinaṃ (ka.)

        rañña magadhena ajatasattuna vedehiputtena
        yadidaṃ yuddhassa, aññatra upalapanaya aññatra
        mithubheda.

        King Ajaatasattu will not be able to conquer the vajjis, at least not
        (simply) in warfare without deceit and (fomenting) internal dissension.
        [upalapana = deceit]

        handa ca dani mayaṃ, bho gotama, gacchama ,
        bahukicca mayaṃ bahukaraṇīya''ti.

        Well, I must be going now, Gotama sir, I have a lot to do.

        ``yassadani tvaṃ, brahmaṇa, kalaṃ
        maññasi''ti.

        (Go and do) whatever you now think appropriate, Brahmin.

        atha kho vassakaro brahmaṇo magadhamahamatto
        bhagavato bhasitaṃ abhinanditva anumoditva
        uá¹­á¹­hayasana pakkami.

        The Brahmin Vassakaara, Chief Minister of the Maghadans, happily what
        the Blessed One had said, got up from his seat and left.

        The Seven Ways to Avoid Decline are laid out first:

        Mahaparinibbana Sutta

        Part One
        In Magadha

        1. Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One [1] dwelt at Rajagaha, on the
        hill called Vultures' Peak. At that time the king of Magadha,
        Ajatasattu, son of the Videhi queen, [2] desired to wage war against the
        Vajjis. He spoke in this fashion: "These Vajjis, powerful and glorious
        as they are, I shall annihilate them, I shall make them perish, I shall
        utterly destroy them."

        2. And Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha, addressed his chief minister,
        the brahmin Vassakara, saying: "Come, brahmin, go to the Blessed One,
        pay homage in my name at his feet, wish him good health, strength, ease,
        vigour, and comfort, and speak thus: 'O Lord, Ajatasattu, the king of
        Magadha, desires to wage war against the Vajjis. He has spoken in this
        fashion: "These Vajjis, powerful and glorious as they are, I shall
        annihilate them, I shall make them perish, I shall utterly destroy
        them."' And whatever the Blessed One should answer you, keep it well in
        mind and inform me; for Tathagatas [3] do not speak falsely."

        3. "Very well, sire," said the brahmin Vassakara in assent to
        Ajatasattu, king of Magadha. And he ordered a large number of
        magnificent carriages to be made ready, mounted one himself, and
        accompanied by the rest, drove out to Rajagaha towards Vultures' Peak.
        He went by carriage as far as the carriage could go, then dismounting,
        he approached the Blessed One on foot. After exchanging courteous
        greetings with the Blessed One, together with many pleasant words, he
        sat down at one side and addressed the Blessed One thus: "Venerable
        Gotama, Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha, pays homage at the feet of the
        Venerable Gotama and wishes him good health, strength, ease, vigour, and
        comfort. He desires to wage war against the Vajjis, and he has spoken in
        this fashion: 'These Vajjis, powerful and glorious as they are, I shall
        annihilate them, I shall make them perish, I shall utterly destroy
        them.'"

        Conditions of a Nation's Welfare

        4. At that time the Venerable Ananda [4] was standing behind the Blessed
        One, fanning him, and the Blessed One addressed the Venerable Ananda
        thus: "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis have frequent
        gatherings, and are their meetings well attended?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that this is so."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis assemble and disperse
        peacefully and attend to their affairs in concord?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis neither enact new decrees
        nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with their ancient
        constitutions?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis show respect, honour,
        esteem, and veneration towards their elders and think it worthwhile to
        listen to them?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis refrain from abducting women
        and maidens of good families and from detaining them?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they refrain from doing so."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis show respect, honour,
        esteem, and veneration towards their shrines, both those within the city
        and those outside it, and do not deprive them of the due offerings as
        given and made to them formerly?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they do venerate their shrines, and that they
        do not deprive them of their offerings."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline.

        "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis duly protect and guard the
        arahats, so that those who have not come to the realm yet might do so,
        and those who have already come might live there in peace?"

        "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

        "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be
        expected, not their decline."

        5. And the Blessed One addressed the brahmin Vassakara in these words:
        "Once, brahmin, I dwelt at Vesali, at the Sarandada shrine, and there it
        was that I taught the Vajjis these seven conditions leading to (a
        nation's) welfare. [5] So long, brahmin, as these endure among the
        Vajjis, and the Vajjis are known for it, their growth is to be expected,
        not their decline."

        Thereupon the brahmin Vassakara spoke thus to the Blessed One: "If the
        Vajjis, Venerable Gotama, were endowed with only one or another of these
        conditions leading to welfare, their growth would have to be expected,
        not their decline. What then of all the seven? No harm, indeed, can be
        done to the Vajjis in battle by Magadha's king, Ajatasattu, except
        through treachery or discord. Well, then, Venerable Gotama, we will take
        our leave, for we have much to perform, much work to do."

        "Do as now seems fit to you, brahmin." And the brahmin Vassakara, the
        chief minister of Magadha, approving of the Blessed One's words and
        delighted by them, rose from his seat and departed.

        http://www.vipassana.com/canon/digha/dn16.php

        With Metta,
        Jon Fernquest
      • Jon Fernquest
        Whoops. Just noticed that unicode didn t show up, so I converted it to Velthius using converter: http://pali.sirimangalo.org/convertpad.htm [Isn t there an
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 2, 2008
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          Whoops. Just noticed that unicode didn't show up,
          so I converted it to Velthius using converter:

          http://pali.sirimangalo.org/convertpad.htm

          [Isn't there an html tag that can be put around a posting to get the
          browser to use unicode UTF-8 to display?]

          Dave wrote: "I guess I'm wondering how much the Pali language was
          influenced by Prince Siddhartha's caste. What would it have looked
          like if he had been a Brahmin or a Vaishya?"

          I don't know about language per se but the advice given sometimes
          seems to be very Kshatriyan. There is the famous passage in the
          Mahaparinibbana sutta when the Buddha lays out how a state can survive
          in the face of warfare, the Seven Ways to Avoid Decline or Aparihaniya
          (see below), and then hints how the parricide Ajaatasattu can defeat
          and put an end to the tribal republic of the Vajjians, and then goes
          further and applies the same rules of survival to the long term
          survival of the Sangha (Steven Collins, 1998, Nirvana and other
          Buddhist Felicities, "The Vajjis Exemplary Community," pages 437-448).
          Here is the key passage:

          ra~n~naa maagadhena ajaatasattunaa vedehiputtena yadida.m yuddhassa,
          a~n~natra upalaapanaaya a~n~natra mithubhedaa.

          King Ajaatasattu will not be able to conquer the vajjis, at least not
          (simply) in warfare without deceit and (fomenting) internal
          dissension. [upalaapanaa = deceit]


          The whole passage:

          eva.m vutte,
          At these words,

          vassakaaro braahma.no the Brahman Vassakaara

          magadhamahaamatto
          Chief minister of the Maaghadans

          bhagavanta.m etadavoca
          spoke to the blessed one

          – ‘‘ekamekenapi, bho gotama, aparihaaniyena dhammena samannaagataana.m
          vajjiina.m vuddhiyeva paa.tika"nkhaa, no parihaani .

          If the Vajjis possess even one of these things, they can be expected
          to prosper and not decline

          ko pana vaado sattahi aparihaaniyehi dhammehi.

          What can we say if they possess all seven?

          akara.niiyaava akara.niiyaa ca (syaa. ka.), bho gotama, vajjii
          vajjiina.m (ka.)

          ra~n~naa maagadhena ajaatasattunaa vedehiputtena yadida.m yuddhassa,
          a~n~natra upalaapanaaya a~n~natra mithubhedaa.

          King Ajaatasattu will not be able to conquer the vajjis, at least not
          (simply) in warfare without deceit and (fomenting) internal
          dissension. [upalaapanaa = deceit]

          handa ca daani maya.m, bho gotama, gacchaama , bahukiccaa maya.m
          bahukara.niiyaa’’ti.

          Well, I must be going now, Gotama sir, I have a lot to do.

          ‘‘yassadaani tva.m, braahma.na, kaala.m
          ma~n~nasii’’ti.

          (Go and do) whatever you now think appropriate, Brahmin.

          atha kho vassakaaro braahma.no magadhamahaamatto bhagavato bhaasita.m
          abhinanditvaa anumoditvaa u.t.thaayaasanaa pakkaami.

          The Brahmin Vassakaara, Chief Minister of the Maghadans, happily what
          the Blessed One had said, got up from his seat and left.

          The Seven Ways to Avoid Decline are laid out first:

          Mahaparinibbana Sutta

          Part One
          In Magadha

          1. Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One [1] dwelt at Rajagaha, on
          the hill called Vultures' Peak. At that time the king of Magadha,
          Ajatasattu, son of the Videhi queen, [2] desired to wage war against
          the Vajjis. He spoke in this fashion: "These Vajjis, powerful and
          glorious as they are, I shall annihilate them, I shall make them
          perish, I shall utterly destroy them."

          2. And Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha, addressed his chief minister,
          the brahmin Vassakara, saying: "Come, brahmin, go to the Blessed One,
          pay homage in my name at his feet, wish him good health, strength,
          ease, vigour, and comfort, and speak thus: 'O Lord, Ajatasattu, the
          king of Magadha, desires to wage war against the Vajjis. He has spoken
          in this fashion: "These Vajjis, powerful and glorious as they are, I
          shall annihilate them, I shall make them perish, I shall utterly
          destroy them."' And whatever the Blessed One should answer you, keep
          it well in mind and inform me; for Tathagatas [3] do not speak falsely."

          3. "Very well, sire," said the brahmin Vassakara in assent to
          Ajatasattu, king of Magadha. And he ordered a large number of
          magnificent carriages to be made ready, mounted one himself, and
          accompanied by the rest, drove out to Rajagaha towards Vultures' Peak.
          He went by carriage as far as the carriage could go, then dismounting,
          he approached the Blessed One on foot. After exchanging courteous
          greetings with the Blessed One, together with many pleasant words, he
          sat down at one side and addressed the Blessed One thus: "Venerable
          Gotama, Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha, pays homage at the feet of
          the Venerable Gotama and wishes him good health, strength, ease,
          vigour, and comfort. He desires to wage war against the Vajjis, and he
          has spoken in this fashion: 'These Vajjis, powerful and glorious as
          they are, I shall annihilate them, I shall make them perish, I shall
          utterly destroy them.'"

          Conditions of a Nation's Welfare

          4. At that time the Venerable Ananda [4] was standing behind the
          Blessed One, fanning him, and the Blessed One addressed the Venerable
          Ananda thus: "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis have frequent
          gatherings, and are their meetings well attended?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that this is so."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis assemble and disperse
          peacefully and attend to their affairs in concord?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis neither enact new decrees
          nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with their
          ancient constitutions?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis show respect, honour,
          esteem, and veneration towards their elders and think it worthwhile to
          listen to them?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis refrain from abducting
          women and maidens of good families and from detaining them?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they refrain from doing so."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis show respect, honour,
          esteem, and veneration towards their shrines, both those within the
          city and those outside it, and do not deprive them of the due
          offerings as given and made to them formerly?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they do venerate their shrines, and that
          they do not deprive them of their offerings."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline.

          "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis duly protect and guard the
          arahats, so that those who have not come to the realm yet might do so,
          and those who have already come might live there in peace?"

          "I have heard, Lord, that they do."

          "So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to
          be expected, not their decline."

          5. And the Blessed One addressed the brahmin Vassakara in these words:
          "Once, brahmin, I dwelt at Vesali, at the Sarandada shrine, and there
          it was that I taught the Vajjis these seven conditions leading to (a
          nation's) welfare. [5] So long, brahmin, as these endure among the
          Vajjis, and the Vajjis are known for it, their growth is to be
          expected, not their decline."

          Thereupon the brahmin Vassakara spoke thus to the Blessed One: "If the
          Vajjis, Venerable Gotama, were endowed with only one or another of
          these conditions leading to welfare, their growth would have to be
          expected, not their decline. What then of all the seven? No harm,
          indeed, can be done to the Vajjis in battle by Magadha's king,
          Ajatasattu, except through treachery or discord. Well, then, Venerable
          Gotama, we will take our leave, for we have much to perform, much work
          to do."

          "Do as now seems fit to you, brahmin." And the brahmin Vassakara, the
          chief minister of Magadha, approving of the Blessed One's words and
          delighted by them, rose from his seat and departed.

          http://www.vipassana.com/canon/digha/dn16.php

          With Metta,
          Jon Fernquest
        • dkotschessa
          ... the ... survive ... Aparihaniya ... defeat ... goes ... 448). ... Thanks Jon. I suppose it is reflected, as you say, more in the teachings than
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 3, 2008
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            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Fernquest" <bayinnaung@...> wrote:
            >
            > Whoops. Just noticed that unicode didn't show up,
            > so I converted it to Velthius using converter:
            >
            > http://pali.sirimangalo.org/convertpad.htm
            >
            > [Isn't there an html tag that can be put around a posting to get
            the
            > browser to use unicode UTF-8 to display?]
            >
            > Dave wrote: "I guess I'm wondering how much the Pali language was
            > influenced by Prince Siddhartha's caste. What would it have looked
            > like if he had been a Brahmin or a Vaishya?"
            >
            > I don't know about language per se but the advice given sometimes
            > seems to be very Kshatriyan. There is the famous passage in the
            > Mahaparinibbana sutta when the Buddha lays out how a state can
            survive
            > in the face of warfare, the Seven Ways to Avoid Decline or
            Aparihaniya
            > (see below), and then hints how the parricide Ajaatasattu can
            defeat
            > and put an end to the tribal republic of the Vajjians, and then
            goes
            > further and applies the same rules of survival to the long term
            > survival of the Sangha (Steven Collins, 1998, Nirvana and other
            > Buddhist Felicities, "The Vajjis Exemplary Community," pages 437-
            448).
            > Here is the key passage:
            <trimmed>

            Thanks Jon. I suppose it is reflected, as you say, more in the
            teachings than in the language. In retrospect I may have been
            asking about the language because I thought it was more on topic for
            this group, though I realize that the Canon is our topic as well.
          • Jon Fernquest
            Thanks Jon. I suppose it is reflected, as you say, more in the teachings than in the language. In retrospect I may have been asking about the language
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 3, 2008
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              "Thanks Jon. I suppose it is reflected, as you say, more in the
              teachings than in the language. In retrospect I may have been asking
              about the language because I thought it was more on topic for this
              group, though I realize that the Canon is our topic as well."

              The following is figurative language:

              "...fight out Mara with the sword of wisdom. Then, guarding the
              conquest, remain unattached." (Dhammapada Verse 40)

              The following is also figurative language:

              Dhunaatha maccuno sena.m
              Destroy the army of death

              na.laagaara.m'va ku~njaro
              like the elephant a house of reeds

              (If someone uses a military metaphor, does that make them a warrior?)

              The following is non-figurative **language** (therefore not off-topic)
              and also far less clear in meaning (which is debated as can be seen by
              the footnote in Collin's book) than the above figurative language:

              ra~n~naa maagadhena ajaatasattunaa vedehiputtena yadida.m
              yuddhassa, a~n~natra upalaapanaaya a~n~natra mithubhedaa.

              King Ajaatasattu will not be able to conquer the vajjis, at least not
              (simply) in warfare without deceit and (fomenting) internal
              dissension.

              Anyway, there is a fundamental disconnect between my interests and
              that of this group, so I will simply listen from now on.

              My interest is specifically in **how Pali words have actually influenced
              people and history**, influence the actions of real people in the world,
              not abstract interpretation for purposes of religious devotion. For
              instance, there is specific language in the Vinaya that was used to justify
              the protest by monks in Burma this year.

              I can tell you for sure that this first part of the Mahaparinibana Sutta
              that I cited has found its way into several 19th century Burmese political
              works advising kings, advisors at court actually saw the Vajjis as a
              model of proto-democracy for political reform when faced with the
              threat of British colonialism, so it has had an influence on people's lives
              and history, see for example:
              http://burmalibrary.org/docs/THE_RAJADHAMMASANGAHA.pdf

              With metta,
              Jon


              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "dkotschessa" <dkotschessa@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Fernquest" <bayinnaung@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Whoops. Just noticed that unicode didn't show up,
              > > so I converted it to Velthius using converter:
              > >
              > > http://pali.sirimangalo.org/convertpad.htm
              > >
              > > [Isn't there an html tag that can be put around a posting to get
              > the
              > > browser to use unicode UTF-8 to display?]
              > >
              > > Dave wrote: "I guess I'm wondering how much the Pali language
              was
              > > influenced by Prince Siddhartha's caste. What would it have looked
              > > like if he had been a Brahmin or a Vaishya?"
              > >
              > > I don't know about language per se but the advice given sometimes
              > > seems to be very Kshatriyan. There is the famous passage in the
              > > Mahaparinibbana sutta when the Buddha lays out how a state can
              > survive
              > > in the face of warfare, the Seven Ways to Avoid Decline or
              > Aparihaniya
              > > (see below), and then hints how the parricide Ajaatasattu can
              > defeat
              > > and put an end to the tribal republic of the Vajjians, and then
              > goes
              > > further and applies the same rules of survival to the long term
              > > survival of the Sangha (Steven Collins, 1998, Nirvana and other
              > > Buddhist Felicities, "The Vajjis Exemplary Community," pages 437-
              > 448).
              > > Here is the key passage:
              > <trimmed>
              >
              > Thanks Jon. I suppose it is reflected, as you say, more in the
              > teachings than in the language. In retrospect I may have been
              > asking about the language because I thought it was more on topic for
              > this group, though I realize that the Canon is our topic as well.
              >
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