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Re: Saddaniiti Chapter 1 (8)

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  • ypong001
    Dear Mahinda, thank you for sharing your personal reflection. There is no doubt Pali is influenced by classical Sanskrit, which was the scholarly and religious
    Message 1 of 30 , Aug 22, 2009
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      Dear Mahinda,

      thank you for sharing your personal reflection. There is no doubt Pali is influenced by classical Sanskrit, which was the scholarly and religious language of ancient Brahmanical India.

      As to whether the study of classical Sanskrit is necessary for Pali students, and if so when, I think is an academic matter. It is almost like asking if a student of Sinhala should also study Sanskrit, and if so at what age. We shall not push for it on this list, but leave it to the individual member to pursue as an additional 'bondage', to use your word.

      On the other hand, we will definitely continue with our readings of the suttas and Saddaniti and other Pali readers.

      metta,
      Yong Peng.


      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Mahinda Palihawadana wrote:

      One has to become familiar with the ways of expression of these texts. Language of post-canonical texts is an almost dialectal variation of the Pali of Sutta and Vinaya texts. Most of the authors knew classical Sanskrit, even refer to it (as "sakkate: in Sanskrit" or "sakkata-ganthesu: in Skt texts"). The Kaccaayana grammar for example definitely follows Paanini, as James De Alwis pointed out long ago. Many commentaries, especially those of Dhammapala, often take recourse to the 'debating style' adopted by Sanskrit commentators.

      So, what can one do? One has to read these texts. Perhaps in bits, not large chunks at a time. You are doing that. You are reading from the Suttas to become familiar with those texts. And now this Saddaniiti, a very different terrain. Specially for these texts, it helps to be able to break up a word into all its constituent parts. Ex. aṭṭhivācakatte(pi) = aṭṭhi+vāc+aka+tta+i_(api). How does one identify these elements? There is no short cut. One has to learn the stems, roots, affixes. One who enjoys maths might like it. That's the other tool , a compatible frame of mind.
    • gdbedell
      Friends, ... I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is
      Message 2 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
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        Friends,

        Mahinda deserves our gratitude for his forthright assessment last week of the state of the Saddaniiti project:

        > I am sorry to say that I don't think we are making much progress in this
 venture. It is
        > not possible to translate (i.e., understand) this kind of text unless one (gradually) gets
        > used to the peculiar idiom found in Indian
 grammatical and exegetical works. Saddaniti > is just too difficult for anyone
 who is not familiar with this idiom. Even the
        > Baalaavataara, which is meant
 for the 'baala' (children, i.e., beginners) is not all that
        > easy to
 translate. I think however, things might have been less intricate had we
 first
        > gone through that text and become familiar with the idiom. Or, doing
 a systematic
        > study of any commentary could have helped, since the exegetical
 vocabulary is
        > somewhat akin to the grammatical. The vocabulary and style of
 Pali grammatical texts
        > are heavily influenced by the corresponding texts
 written for Sanskrit grammar.



        > Contributing to the present discussion of the Saddaniiti is, at least for
 me, a tiring and > unproductive effort. Please forgive me for saying this. I
 would be glad if the experience > of others who are more patient than me is
 different.


        I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is not an accurate and readable translation that might be of use to others. I also feel that `contributing to the present discussion of the Saddaniiti is ... a tiring and unproductive effort.' In my case that feeling is not based so much on the material that others have posted, as on my own efforts to continue the translation of pariccheda 2 that I started in January. I think this must be the `third thread' which Yong Peng said `did not start'. That does not seem a very fair statement, since the amount of text I covered (37 lines in Smith's edition) in my one post is roughly the same as what he has covered in all eight of his (40 lines). It is true that there wasn't much discussion of my translation, but I would like to think that is because little was called for. If anyone wishes to know why I have not continued posting, the answer is simple: my Pali is not adequate. I do not fully understand the following definitions of vibhatti or the discussion of noun and verb forms which lack them. It is impossible for me (not to mention pointless) to translate a text which I do not understand. The throw-enough-mud-against-the-wall-and-some-of-it-is-bound-to-stick method does not strike me as very effective in translation.

        We find the Saddaniiti difficult not because it is `advanced Pali' but because (i) it was written at least a thousand years after the Tipitaka in another country and another culture and (ii) it belongs to a highly specialized and technical genre: grammar. The majority of Pali reference works (dictionaries and grammars) were compiled to be used in reading the Tipitaka, and did not put much (if any) effort into medieval technical prose. Mahinda is right that we need to beome familiar with this variety of the language. He is also right about the role of Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar in understanding Aggava.msa. This point is quite separate from any help a knowledge of Sanskrit might provide in learning Pali. The Pali grammars were written by people who were familiar with Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar, and who were trying to show that Pali could be analyzed in the same way. Their work cannot be understood out of that context. So I am disappointed that Mahinda's remarks have not been taken very seriously.

        George
      • ypong001
        Dear George and friends, thank you for your feedback. ... Allow me to say that what we doing is unconventional. For a typical translation be published, it
        Message 3 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
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          Dear George and friends,

          thank you for your feedback.

          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, gdbedell wrote:

          > I agree with Mahinda that we are not making much progress, and it not just that the going is slow, but also that the result (so far, at least) is not an accurate and readable translation that might be of use to others.

          Allow me to say that what we doing is unconventional. For a typical translation be published, it would be going through several rounds of drafts, proof-readings, and revisions, before it sees daylight. Here, we are only making the first draft, and purely for the purpose of group discussion and self-discovery.

          > I think this must be the `third thread' which Yong Peng said 'did not start'.

          You are correct. It was my mistake to have missed it. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pali/message/13095

          > The throw-enough-mud-against-the-wall-and-some-of-it-is-bound-to-stick method does not strike me as very effective in translation.

          Rome was not built in a day.

          Translation is never an easy task. I know that some may prefer we work on something which has already been translated, as we do now for AN (not its commentary, or something not yet available in English). I thought people would appreciate that Saddaniiti is of a different genre, and a different mindset can be acquired in this project, that we be less conscious of making mistakes.

          > We find the Saddaniiti difficult not because it is `advanced Pali' but because (i) it was written at least a thousand years after the Tipitaka in another country and another culture and (ii) it belongs to a highly specialized and technical genre: grammar. The majority of Pali reference works (dictionaries and grammars) were compiled to be used in reading the Tipitaka, and did not put much (if any) effort into medieval technical prose. Mahinda is right that we need to beome familiar with this variety of the language. He is also right about the role of Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar in understanding Aggava.msa. This point is quite separate from any help a knowledge of Sanskrit might provide in learning Pali. The Pali grammars were written by people who were familiar with Sanskrit and Sanskrit grammar, and who were trying to show that Pali could be analyzed in the same way. Their work cannot be understood out of that context. So I am disappointed that Mahinda's remarks have not been taken very seriously.

          I have been highlighting that Saddaniti is a classical grammar, and had also pointed out a grammar is a different genre, a technical text for language study. I have also provided a brief background of Saddaniti and its author Aggavamsa, including the time and place the text was written. In addition, I consider Saddaniti an advance text, as I similarly consider Kaccayana and Moggallana.

          I had offered to stop Saddaniti and let Mahinda run us through Balavatara. I thought that is a constructive move. Otherwise, we will have to progress with Saddaniti. I do not see how we can become familiar with classical grammars without getting our hands dirty. But, that doesn't mean we can just throw mud against the wall.

          As for classical Sanskrit, I am all with Mahinda's remarks. The two languages are closely related, and we can comfortably discuss similarities and differences. Still, we have to rely on members who have that knowledge for assistance. Our group focus is on Pali, and we are not abandoning that just yet.

          I hope this would generate some ideas how we can improve our group discussions, particularly on Saddaniti.


          metta,
          Yong Peng.
        • Jim Anderson
          Dear Yong Peng and others, ... discussions, particularly on Saddaniti. My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that is too difficult
          Message 4 of 30 , Aug 23, 2009
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            Dear Yong Peng and others,

            > I hope this would generate some ideas how we can improve our group
            discussions, particularly on Saddaniti.

            My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that
            is too difficult to translate, to leave it untransalted and to explain
            what one does make of it and point out the difficulty. If one doesn't
            understand it, it is certainly going to show in a translation.
            Pretending to understand it is counter-productive. We have to be
            honest about it and not be afraid to admit our lack of knowledge.

            I would also suggest that in addition to work on the 1st pariccheda
            that a start be made soon on the 25th pariccheda, the aakhyaatakappa.
            The concise sutta style is very different from the verbose style of
            the 1st pariccheda. I wouldn't mind making a start on this kappa by
            posting 1 sutta a week. At that rate it would take 5 years to go
            through all 249 suttas unless others chip in to speed things up.

            Learning Pali takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. There is no
            easy way. One reason why the project is moving so slow is the low
            interest (globally) in traditional Pali grammar and the fact that so
            very few are willing or able to put in the time and effort needed to
            learn it.

            Best wishes,
            Jim
          • ypong001
            Dear Jim and friends, thank you, Jim. I hope our group s little work has not upset some bigger ego out there. I hope to address some of the concerns which were
            Message 5 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
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              Dear Jim and friends,

              thank you, Jim. I hope our group's little work has not upset some bigger ego out there.

              I hope to address some of the concerns which were raised over the last few posts.

              I like to say that "pretending to understand" is different from "trying to understand". I do not claim to be an expert in classical Pali grammar. And, this is not the first occasion I spend time typing something like this, but I shall make it the last. If people do not like how we conduct our discussions, it does not bother me anymore.

              As George noted, it took me 8 posts to cover 40 lines, when it took him just one post to cover 37 lines. If I had left them untranslated, I could have covered 40 lines in one post, and we would be completing the first chapter in no time. However, this is not a commercial project with some dateline. The moving is slow not because of any of the reasons anyone has listed so far. I am the only one making the postings for chapter 1, and I am still trying to get use to the style, so I set the pace.

              Each post, I give my best attempt to provide a good rendering. The last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most of the text right the first time. I am abhorred if that is being misconstrued as "pretending to understand".

              After this episode, I have decided to take a break for as long as a year, which I hope to catch up on other stuff. So, I will stop further postings of the 1st pariccheda for the next twelve months.

              Jim, I am grateful for your assistance so far, and I am glad that you offer to start the 25th pariccheda, which isn't available on CSCD, meaning that you would have to type out the text.

              I do not have the text, but I like to make an appeal to everyone to consider helping Jim with the typing.

              Thank you.

              metta,
              Yong Peng.


              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jim Anderson wrote:

              My suggestion would be, that when one comes up against a passage that is too difficult to translate, to leave it untransalted and to explain what one does make of it and point out the difficulty. If one doesn't understand it, it is certainly going to show in a translation. Pretending to understand it is counter-productive. We have to be honest about it and not be afraid to admit our lack of knowledge.

              I would also suggest that in addition to work on the 1st pariccheda that a start be made soon on the 25th pariccheda, the aakhyaatakappa. The concise sutta style is very different from the verbose style of the 1st pariccheda. I wouldn't mind making a start on this kappa by posting 1 sutta a week. At that rate it would take 5 years to go through all 249 suttas unless others chip in to speed things up.

              Learning Pali takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. There is no easy way. One reason why the project is moving so slow is the low interest (globally) in traditional Pali grammar and the fact that so very few are willing or able to put in the time and effort needed to learn it.
            • Jim Anderson
              Dear Yong Peng, ... last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most
              Message 6 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
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                Dear Yong Peng,

                > Each post, I give my best attempt to provide a good rendering. The
                last post was even a rework of the previous, as I would also do for
                some of the sutta translations, when I believe that I did not get most
                of the text right the first time. I am abhorred if that is being
                misconstrued as "pretending to understand".
                >
                > After this episode, I have decided to take a break for as long as a
                year, which I hope to catch up on other stuff. So, I will stop further
                postings of the 1st pariccheda for the next twelve months.

                I'm sorry to hear this and I apologize for my remarks which were never
                meant to offend you or anyone else. I do not entirely share the
                criticism that Mahinda and George have raised concerning the progress
                of your work on the 1st pariccheda and, in fact, I was agreeing with
                you in your responses to the criticism. I think progress is being made
                in gaining a better understanding of traditional Pali grammar. I know
                you're trying your best and you're to be commended for launching the
                Saddaniiti project. I wholehearedly agree that we need to keep it
                going in sptie of the obstacles and setbacks.

                > Jim, I am grateful for your assistance so far, and I am glad that
                you offer to start the 25th pariccheda, which isn't available on CSCD,
                meaning that you would have to type out the text.
                >
                > I do not have the text, but I like to make an appeal to everyone to
                consider helping Jim with the typing.

                I think I can do most of the typing. I already have the suttas typed
                out and only need to proofread ihem and type in the commentary. In
                addition to Smith's edition, I also have the Thai script BBF edition
                to work with. There are 241 suttas, not the 249 I mentioned earlier.
                The entire kappa takes up 33 pages in Smith's edition which is about
                the same no. of pages as the 1st and 2nd pariccheda combined. The
                kappa starts off with the definitons of parassapada, attanopada,
                purisa, pa.thama, majjhima, and uttama then takes up the uses of the
                tenses which should be interesting. I still have a lot more to learn
                about Pali grammar and will be dealing with troublesome terms. Well,
                let's see how far we can go with the 25th paricched without getting
                derailed!

                Best wishes,
                Jim
              • Nina van Gorkom
                Dear Jim and Yong Peng, ... N: I heartily agree with this. I am very grateful to you Jim, that you are willing to help us with the 25th pariccheda. Yong Peng,
                Message 7 of 30 , Aug 24, 2009
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                  Dear Jim and Yong Peng,
                  Op 24-aug-2009, om 17:53 heeft Jim Anderson het volgende geschreven:

                  > I think progress is being made
                  > in gaining a better understanding of traditional Pali grammar. I know
                  > you're trying your best and you're to be commended for launching the
                  > Saddaniiti project. I wholehearedly agree that we need to keep it
                  > going in sptie of the obstacles and setbacks.
                  ------
                  N: I heartily agree with this. I am very grateful to you Jim, that
                  you are willing to help us with the 25th pariccheda.
                  Yong Peng, I am sorry about your break, but it is understandable. All
                  the work you do must be a heavy burden taking many, many hours. I
                  admire all the work you do and have done.

                  Nina.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • ypong001
                  Dear Jim, Nina and friends, I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim
                  Message 8 of 30 , Aug 27, 2009
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                    Dear Jim, Nina and friends,

                    I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format for people to download and read offline.


                    metta,
                    Yong Peng.
                  • Jim Anderson
                    Dear Yong Peng, ... wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good
                    Message 9 of 30 , Aug 27, 2009
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                      Dear Yong Peng,

                      > I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just
                      wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be
                      providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with
                      good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format
                      for people to download and read offline.

                      As for typing in the text of the 25th pariccheda, I can look after
                      that and the proofreading. Help in this area will not speed things up.
                      I have not studied this pariccheda on verbs before in any
                      thoroughgoing fashion so this will be an opportunity for me to learn
                      and try to understand as well. Most of my work will no doubt involve
                      research on difficult points that usually entail extensive reading of
                      otheruntranslated grammatical commentaries. I'm planning to make my
                      first contribution this coming Monday. It will consist of the text and
                      translation of the one introductory verse followed by an etymological
                      definiton of the term "aakhyaata.m" (the finite verb) which I've
                      already done some reading up on. I have the 3 lines of text translated
                      in my mind. I will try to post an instalment each Monday with an
                      average of 1 sutta per week. Some of the postings will contain 2 or
                      more suttas if it can be done easily. In my readings so far it is
                      becoming clear that the aakhyaata.m is the most important word in a
                      sentence, grammatically speaking, as it carries vital information
                      about the sentence structure. It is for a good reason that it is
                      called the teller or the informer.

                      There will be periods when I'll be in another location with limited
                      access to my research materials especially from late December to early
                      April. I may also lose access to the Internet should my old laptop
                      suddenly die. Just to let you know that things may not always go as
                      smoothly as one would like.

                      Best wishes,
                      Jim
                    • ypong001
                      Dear Jim, it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up
                      Message 10 of 30 , Aug 29, 2009
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                        Dear Jim,

                        it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions.

                        I can understand if you have to take occasional breaks in-between the postings, which will last for a few years. Keeping it short, I look forward to the very first post on "aakhyaata.m".

                        metta,
                        Yong Peng.


                        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jim Anderson wrote:

                        > I will still be providing administrative support as previous. I just wonder if anyone is interested to compile the material Jim will be providing over the next few years. It would be good if someone with good secretarial skills can help to put the materials in PDF format for people to download and read offline.

                        As for typing in the text of the 25th pariccheda, I can look after that and the proofreading. Help in this area will not speed things up. I have not studied this pariccheda on verbs before in any thoroughgoing fashion so this will be an opportunity for me to learn and try to understand as well. Most of my work will no doubt involve research on difficult points that usually entail extensive reading of otheruntranslated grammatical commentaries. I'm planning to make my first contribution this coming Monday. It will consist of the text and translation of the one introductory verse followed by an etymological definiton of the term "aakhyaata.m" (the finite verb) which I've already done some reading up on. I have the 3 lines of text translated in my mind. I will try to post an instalment each Monday with an average of 1 sutta per week. Some of the postings will contain 2 or more suttas if it can be done easily. In my readings so far it is becoming clear that the aakhyaata.m is the most important word in a sentence, grammatically speaking, as it carries vital information about the sentence structure. It is for a good reason that it is called the teller or the informer.

                        There will be periods when I'll be in another location with limited access to my research materials especially from late December to early April. I may also lose access to the Internet should my old laptop suddenly die. Just to let you know that things may not always go as smoothly as one would like.
                      • Jim Anderson
                        Dear Yong Peng, ... compiling your postings, including your translations and probably follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions. Please feel free to do
                        Message 11 of 30 , Aug 30, 2009
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                          Dear Yong Peng,

                          > it is good if you are alright with the typing. I was referring to
                          compiling your postings, including your translations and probably
                          follow-up discussions and ensuing conclusions.

                          Please feel free to do what you like with the postings on the 25th
                          pariccheda. I agree it's a good idea to put the material and the
                          discussions all together. I will probably be doing some compiling
                          myself and maintaining a master file for the text, translation, and
                          notes which will all be subject to future revisions. I won't be typing
                          in the text exactly as found in Smith's edition in that I'll be using
                          lower case letters only and leaving out the apostrophes that mark
                          elision. I will also compare with the Thai script edn. and take note
                          of significant differences in the readings. I find both editions very
                          reliable.

                          > I can understand if you have to take occasional breaks in-between
                          the postings, which will last for a few years. Keeping it short, I
                          look forward to the very first post on "aakhyaata.m".

                          I'll be sending in my first post tomorrow on Monday as planned.

                          Best wishes,
                          Jim
                        • ypong001
                          Dear Jim, thank you. I shall see what I can do. I hope you can start the 25th pariccheda on a new thread, rather than replying to this post. Thank you. metta,
                          Message 12 of 30 , Aug 31, 2009
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                            Dear Jim,

                            thank you. I shall see what I can do. I hope you can start the 25th pariccheda on a new thread, rather than replying to this post. Thank you.

                            metta,
                            Yong Peng.


                            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Jim Anderson wrote:

                            Please feel free to do what you like with the postings on the 25th pariccheda. I agree it's a good idea to put the material and the discussions all together. I will probably be doing some compiling myself and maintaining a master file for the text, translation, and notes which will all be subject to future revisions. I won't be typing in the text exactly as found in Smith's edition in that I'll be using lower case letters only and leaving out the apostrophes that mark elision. I will also compare with the Thai script edn. and take note of significant differences in the readings. I find both editions very reliable.
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