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Re: Translating anatta

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  • Ong Yong Peng
    Dear friends, please allow me to expand one of the points: The Buddha s teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space (perhaps higher-dimensional)
    Message 1 of 28 , May 14 8:13 PM
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      Dear friends,

      please allow me to expand one of the points:

      The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space (perhaps higher-dimensional) construct which we call the "world". I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

      In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown", "danger", "death". As the nomadic tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interacted, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a single tribe or nation, but is the Earth as we came to call it.

      metta,
      Yong Peng.


      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ong Yong Peng wrote:

      2. The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space construct which we call the world. I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

      In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown". As the tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interact, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a tribe or a nation, but the Earth.

      In our scientific age, Science helps us further the knowledge of "our world", namely, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe, even multiverse.
    • Ken O
      Dear Dhammadarsa [Darsa] Bhikkhu ... KO:  the wrong thinking that there is a self arise because there is miccha ditthi.  Ego is mana, another dhamma.  When
      Message 2 of 28 , May 15 6:48 AM
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        Dear Dhammadarsa [Darsa] Bhikkhu

        >
        >In modern terminology and reflecting on my practice, greed, hatred and
        >delusion, the ending of which is called Nibbaana, is the same as "ego" [as
        >in egotistic] rather than "self". At times I experience an impermanent self
        >that has no greed, hatred and delusion - no ego. At those times I am working
        >towards the benefit of myself and others, not just myself. In the
        >consideration of "myself and others", there is a self and others and the
        >Buddha taught that the wholesome that we should develop [kusalassupasampada a
        >Dhammapada v 183] is defined as not harming oneself and, or others.
        >
        >Hindu/Brahmin philosophy tries to merge [or obliterate] these, thinking that
        >the distinction is the cause of suffering, but that was not accepted or
        >taught by the Buddha. The ending of the distinction occurs in the first
        >formless state of meditation [aruupa-jhaana] and the Buddha made very clear
        >that the formless states were not necessary for enlightenment.

        KO:  the wrong thinking that there is a self arise because there is miccha ditthi.  Ego is mana, another dhamma.  When you experience no greed, hatred or delusion is not a impermanent self, it is panna that arise that understand anatta.   If there is a miccha ditthi arise, panna cannot arise, they are exclusive.  If oet think there is no permanent self, it is panna that understands and not otherwise.  When you are  thinking of benefiting others, it is dana or karuna, and it could arise with or without panna. 

        One must be distinct and clear on the dhamma that arise so there is no confusion in the application in our daily lifes or the development of the path one taken to practise


        thanks
        ken O
      • Peter Tomlinson
        I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that science has revealed anything not know
        Message 3 of 28 , May 15 9:17 AM
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          I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that "science" has revealed anything not know to the rishis and Buddhas of ages past.  It is not,  Dhamma - one thing, and science, everything else.  If so then Dhamma is mere quaint ancient proto-Indian ritualised explanation of the unknowable which "Science" the secular moderns world"s New God / Dhamma, can explain ever so much better than a fat brown guy in a funny outfit, too dumb to get in out of the weather.

          Surely not.
          Pete Tomlinson




          ________________________________
          From: Ong Yong Peng <palismith@...>
          To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Fri, May 14, 2010 9:13:53 PM
          Subject: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta

           
          Dear friends,

          please allow me to expand one of the points:

          The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space (perhaps higher-dimensional) construct which we call the "world". I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

          In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown", "danger", "death". As the nomadic tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interacted, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a single tribe or nation, but is the Earth as we came to call it.

          metta,
          Yong Peng.

          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Ong Yong Peng wrote:

          2. The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space construct which we call the world. I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

          In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown". As the tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interact, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a tribe or a nation, but the Earth.

          In our scientific age, Science helps us further the knowledge of "our world", namely, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe, even multiverse.




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ong Yong Peng
          Dear Peter, I do not want to speculate your background, but I guess it is some Abrahamic religious background, given your name. I would say fanatic ideologies
          Message 4 of 28 , May 15 7:23 PM
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            Dear Peter,

            I do not want to speculate your background, but I guess it is some Abrahamic religious background, given your name. I would say fanatic ideologies exist in both political and religious realms in too many forms. But, Buddhism does not fall into such category.

            The Buddha acknowledged other religions and philosophies. The Buddha also mentioned that what he taught his disciples was only a very minute portion of what he knew.

            Western Buddhists should not perpetrate such ill attitude and intolerance mentality towards Science. The Dalai Lama who is openly holding dialogs with scientists should be your example.

            Also, I do not really know the "fat brown guy in a funny outfit" you mention. I believe there is a limit to idolising the Buddha. He would probably laugh if he sees how much people overdo it.


            metta,
            Yong Peng.


            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Peter Tomlinson wrote:

            I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that "science" has revealed anything not know to the rishis and Buddhas of ages past.  It is not,  Dhamma - one thing, and science, everything else.  If so then Dhamma is mere quaint ancient proto-Indian ritualised explanation of the unknowable which "Science" the secular moderns world"s New God / Dhamma, can explain ever so much better than a fat brown guy in a funny outfit, too dumb to get in out of the weather.
          • Dhammadarsa
            Replies interwoven below. Integrating Emotion and Intellect = Intelligence Dhammadarsa [Darsa] Bhikkhu Buddhist Monk
            Message 5 of 28 , May 15 8:12 PM
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              Replies interwoven below.









              <http://www.vicnet.net.au/~dhammadarsa> Integrating Emotion and Intellect = Intelligence




              Dhammadarsa [Darsa] Bhikkhu
              Buddhist Monk

              Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
              Wang Noi
              Ayuthaya
              Thailand


              <http://www.vicnet.net.au/~dhammadarsa> www.vicnet.net.au/~dhammadarsa


              mobile:

              +66850941669




              <https://www.plaxo.com/add_me?u=210453914412&src=client_sig_212_1_card_join&invite=1&lang=en> Always have my latest info

              <http://www.plaxo.com/signature?src=client_sig_212_1_card_sig&lang=en> Want a signature like this?



              From: Pali@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Pali@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter Tomlinson
              Sent: Sunday, 16 May 2010 2:18 AM
              To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta



              Hello Peter

              I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that "science" has revealed anything not know to the rishis and Buddhas of ages past. It is not, Dhamma - one thing, and science, everything else.

              [Dhammadarsa] As Ong Yong Peng pointed out, it is recorded that the Buddha said, he only taught what was necessary to end suffering and there was much more that he didn’t teach, which was not necessary. So, even though I could accept that Buddhas might know everything [though it seems the Buddha only claimed to know the five aggregates completely and without a break] I DO think Dhamma is one thing and science everything else, [but the Buddha may have known both, not just the former]. J Therefore I don’t follow your line of reasoning.

              If so then Dhamma is mere quaint ancient proto-Indian ritualised explanation of the unknowable which "Science" the secular moderns world"s New God / Dhamma, can explain ever so much better than a fat brown guy in a funny outfit, too dumb to get in out of the weather.

              [Dhammadarsa] I understand the Buddha-Dhamma to be anti-ritual and an explanation of the then unknown, that is the mind, which still seems to be unknown by those seeking such knowledge in a ‘scientific’ [read objective] manner, the psychologists. I understand that the mind must be known subjectively and objectively [internally and externally as it says in the section on Cittaanupassanaa in the Satipa.t.thaana Sutta].

              Surely not.
              Pete Tomlinson

              [Dhammadarsa] Kind Regards



              ________________________________
              From: Ong Yong Peng <palismith@... <mailto:palismith%40gmail.com> >
              To: Pali@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Pali%40yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Fri, May 14, 2010 9:13:53 PM
              Subject: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta


              Dear friends,

              please allow me to expand one of the points:

              The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space (perhaps higher-dimensional) construct which we call the "world". I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

              In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown", "danger", "death". As the nomadic tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interacted, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a single tribe or nation, but is the Earth as we came to call it.

              metta,
              Yong Peng.

              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Pali%40yahoogroups.com> , Ong Yong Peng wrote:

              2. The Buddha's teachings talk about Samsara, existence in a time-space construct which we call the world. I had an interesting discussion many years ago with a friend in university about our understanding of the "world", which I summarise as follows:

              In the tribal times, the "world" is the tribe, anything else is "unknown". As the tribe became territorial and expanded, the concept of "world" expanded too. And slowly, as cultures interact, and as people and goods moved around, the "world" is no longer a tribe or a nation, but the Earth.

              In our scientific age, Science helps us further the knowledge of "our world", namely, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe, even multiverse.

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Peter Tomlinson
              Dear Ong Yong Peng, Science is appropriate to answer secular, i.e. lokuttara matters.  Lord Buddha did not much concern himself with such.  Isn t it true
              Message 6 of 28 , May 15 8:37 PM
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                Dear Ong Yong Peng,
                Science is appropriate to answer secular, i.e. lokuttara matters.  Lord Buddha did not much concern himself with such.  Isn't it true that He often refused to respond to questions about whether ther was a god, whether the sould was eternal or non eternal etc.  I mention Culamalunkyaputta Sutta here.  And wouldn't we see in the simile of the poisoned arrow the trap of conflating science with Dhamma?  Lord Buddha isn't concerned with those issues of the origins of the Universe, brain science whether there is or is ot "self".  

                What I say here isn't a bad attitude towards science or any "modern" point of view.  Simply they are incapable of solving the problem of existence which only Buddha Dhamma approaches wisely and effectively if one wishes to end samsara.
                Science has no such interest or indeed wisdom and viriya to achieve.

                Lord Buddha is the little brown fat guy in funny robes.  And believe me I think Ajahn Chah and others would fulfill that picture nicely.  




                ________________________________
                From: Ong Yong Peng <palismith@...>
                To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Sat, May 15, 2010 8:23:11 PM
                Subject: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta

                 
                Dear Peter,

                I do not want to speculate your background, but I guess it is some Abrahamic religious background, given your name. I would say fanatic ideologies exist in both political and religious realms in too many forms. But, Buddhism does not fall into such category.

                The Buddha acknowledged other religions and philosophies. The Buddha also mentioned that what he taught his disciples was only a very minute portion of what he knew.

                Western Buddhists should not perpetrate such ill attitude and intolerance mentality towards Science. The Dalai Lama who is openly holding dialogs with scientists should be your example.

                Also, I do not really know the "fat brown guy in a funny outfit" you mention. I believe there is a limit to idolising the Buddha. He would probably laugh if he sees how much people overdo it.

                metta,
                Yong Peng.

                --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Peter Tomlinson wrote:

                I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that "science" has revealed anything not know to the rishis and Buddhas of ages past.  It is not,  Dhamma - one thing, and science, everything else.  If so then Dhamma is mere quaint ancient proto-Indian ritualised explanation of the unknowable which "Science" the secular moderns world"s New God / Dhamma, can explain ever so much better than a fat brown guy in a funny outfit, too dumb to get in out of the weather.




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anton Bjerke
                Dear everyone, Just some thoughts from someone involved in translation. I think that the sutta referred to is the best answer to this discussion. The
                Message 7 of 28 , May 16 5:28 AM
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                  Dear everyone,

                  Just some thoughts from someone involved in translation. I think that
                  the sutta referred to is the best answer to this discussion. The
                  discussion has concerned mostly the definition of the concept atta -
                  anatta, so my thoughts are more of a side-topic really.
                  Of course a translation should always convey /meaning/ from one language
                  to another, and in that sense as a translator one should always search
                  for a word, whose meaning in the target language is most similar to that
                  of the source language. But then there is the danger of this word in the
                  target language having too many or too strong denotations that are
                  contradictive with the meaning in the source language (perhaps an
                  example would be using words like 'angel', 'gospel' in Buddhist
                  translations).
                  So when it comes down to transferring a new meaning into another
                  language we always have to presume that the reader anyhow will have to
                  understand the meaning not merely by looking at this one word, but
                  rather by reading a whole text or a bulk of texts that explains it. It
                  is not reasonable to think that you can express all meanings in all
                  languages - a language always exists in semantical and pragmatical
                  dependency of a cultural tradition, and meaning has to be conveyed in
                  context. Words themselves are arbitrary labels and individuals can
                  easily connect slightly different meanings to the same words. So I don't
                  think one should get stuck on whether this or that word conveys this or
                  that /interpretation/ of some meaning to 100 % - that is not realistic.
                  In the case of Buddhist thought one does have to assume that the reader
                  will be making an effort himself to understand what this or that term
                  would mean (and with the guiding of a teacher). So of course you should
                  make an effort to find the best translation, but be realistic.
                  Another aspect is that when translating to English the audience will
                  probably be just as culturally homogeneous as "the population of
                  Eurasia", i.e. to a very small extent.
                  Language meaning in human language is basically the same as language
                  behaviour, and something that is /defined and altered/ by the speakers.
                  A terminology on the other hand, as e.g. Buddhist terminology, cannot be
                  allowed to be defined and altered by common language use, so there is a
                  fundamental difference between meaning of "common" words and e.g.
                  "Buddhist" words - the latter have a meaning that is defined not by
                  language use but by Buddha through the Tipitaka and commentaries, i.e.
                  something basically extra-linguistic.
                  I guess that the most important thing is that the Buddhist translator
                  have the right education and perhaps some kind of "realization"...
                  Though not being able to qualify as a Buddhist translator in that sense,
                  I personally feel perfectly alright with 'selfless', and by the way also
                  with /dukkha /being translated as 'suffering'. But that would be a new
                  topic, I guess.

                  Anton Bjerke




                  Nina van Gorkom skrev:
                  >
                  > Dear DC,
                  > Thank you for your contribution. The sutta is in the beginning of
                  > the Mahaavagga. It is a perfect explanation of anattaa.
                  > Nina.
                  > Op 16-apr-2010, om 20:20 heeft dcwijeratna het volgende geschreven:
                  >
                  > > The definition of anatta is given in the anattalakkhanasutta, the
                  > > second discourse of the Buddha. See Vinaya Mahavagga, I. B. Horner.
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                • Магуба
                  Dear friends, I think that every age and culture develops its own languages or symbolic systems for mapping and describing the observed flux of phenomena.
                  Message 8 of 28 , May 16 3:51 PM
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                    Dear friends,

                    I think that every age and culture develops its own languages or symbolic systems for mapping and describing the observed flux of phenomena. Modern science is one of them which is probably the most appropriate to the present-day mentality. The Dhamma teachings as an invariant truth should possibly be expressed in many different ways i.e. in many different languages or systems of symbols. In this context some of the concepts developed in the new scientific paradigm during the last century (for a simple presentation I would recommend you to watch documentary film "The Secret Life of Chaos") can be very useful providing convenient metaphors for modern people to understand some of the basic Buddhist tenets. For instance I like to think about kamma as an feedback mechanism in the self-organizing system of the flux of psycho-somatic phenomena (naama-ruupa) which constitute our experience. Here "self-organization" means without any governing principle such as
                    soul, god etc. which, I think, is a neat illustration of anatta.

                    Metta,
                    Ardavarz

                    --- On Sun, 5/16/10, Peter Tomlinson <gnanayasa@...> wrote:

                    From: Peter Tomlinson <gnanayasa@...>
                    Subject: Re: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta
                    To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010, 6:37 AM







                     









                    Dear Ong Yong Peng,

                    Science is appropriate to answer secular, i.e. lokuttara matters.  Lord Buddha did not much concern himself with such.  Isn't it true that He often refused to respond to questions about whether ther was a god, whether the sould was eternal or non eternal etc.  I mention Culamalunkyaputta Sutta here.  And wouldn't we see in the simile of the poisoned arrow the trap of conflating science with Dhamma?  Lord Buddha isn't concerned with those issues of the origins of the Universe, brain science whether there is or is ot "self".  



                    What I say here isn't a bad attitude towards science or any "modern" point of view.  Simply they are incapable of solving the problem of existence which only Buddha Dhamma approaches wisely and effectively if one wishes to end samsara.

                    Science has no such interest or indeed wisdom and viriya to achieve.



                    Lord Buddha is the little brown fat guy in funny robes.  And believe me I think Ajahn Chah and others would fulfill that picture nicely.  



                    ________________________________

                    From: Ong Yong Peng <palismith@...>

                    To: Pali@yahoogroups.com

                    Sent: Sat, May 15, 2010 8:23:11 PM

                    Subject: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta



                     

                    Dear Peter,



                    I do not want to speculate your background, but I guess it is some Abrahamic religious background, given your name. I would say fanatic ideologies exist in both political and religious realms in too many forms. But, Buddhism does not fall into such category.



                    The Buddha acknowledged other religions and philosophies. The Buddha also mentioned that what he taught his disciples was only a very minute portion of what he knew.



                    Western Buddhists should not perpetrate such ill attitude and intolerance mentality towards Science. The Dalai Lama who is openly holding dialogs with scientists should be your example.



                    Also, I do not really know the "fat brown guy in a funny outfit" you mention. I believe there is a limit to idolising the Buddha. He would probably laugh if he sees how much people overdo it.



                    metta,

                    Yong Peng.



                    --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Peter Tomlinson wrote:



                    I find it difficult to grasp how anyone who has taken refuge, i.e. has Saddha in the Buddha Dhamma, could imagine that "science" has revealed anything not know to the rishis and Buddhas of ages past.  It is not,  Dhamma - one thing, and science, everything else.  If so then Dhamma is mere quaint ancient proto-Indian ritualised explanation of the unknowable which "Science" the secular moderns world"s New God / Dhamma, can explain ever so much better than a fat brown guy in a funny outfit, too dumb to get in out of the weather.



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

























                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ong Yong Peng
                    Dear Peter, thank you. Allow me to put forward my views too. 1. The Buddha lived in the Iron Age, when the most advanced technology was probably iron horse
                    Message 9 of 28 , May 17 4:12 AM
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                      Dear Peter,

                      thank you. Allow me to put forward my views too.

                      1. The Buddha lived in the Iron Age, when the most advanced technology was probably iron horse chariots. I wouldn't even bother with Science too if we are still living in the Iron Age. In such primitive age, man may had mastered basic tool-making skills, understanding of the natural phenomenon was elementary at best, and often mixed up with myths and legends, which we wouldn't even call Science.

                      2. Many of the questions the Buddha refused to answer, I am sure scientists today would be skeptical about them too. When they are not, scientists approached these questions rationally, rather than philosophically. Science today is in every facet of our modern life, from keeping our drinking water is safe, to ensuring that planes do not fall from the sky.

                      3. Understanding Science, I believe, would help a meditator better understand and comprehend life experiences and natural phenomenon.

                      4. Depiction of the Buddha varies among different Buddhist cultures and communities.

                      5. The venerable Ajahn Chah was well-respected by the Thais, and had a large global following. Most of his followers know that Ajahn Chah was born in 1918 to a poor rural family in northern Thailand. Many respected the venerable for his austerity practices, not for lack of knowledge in Science. I think it isn't appropriate to bring him into the picture.

                      metta,
                      Yong Peng.


                      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Peter Tomlinson wrote:

                      > Science is appropriate to answer secular, i.e. lokuttara matters.  Lord Buddha did not much concern himself with such.  Isn't it true that He often refused to respond to questions about whether ther was a god, whether the sould was eternal or non eternal etc.  I mention Culamalunkyaputta Sutta here.  And wouldn't we see in the simile of the poisoned arrow the trap of conflating science with Dhamma?  Lord Buddha isn't concerned with those issues of the origins of the Universe, brain science whether there is or is ot "self".  
                      >
                      > What I say here isn't a bad attitude towards science or any "modern" point of view.  Simply they are incapable of solving the problem of existence which only Buddha Dhamma approaches wisely and effectively if one wishes to end samsara.
                      > Science has no such interest or indeed wisdom and viriya to achieve.
                      >
                      > Lord Buddha is the little brown fat guy in funny robes.  And believe me I think Ajahn Chah and others would fulfill that picture nicely.
                    • Peter Tomlinson
                      Dear Ong Yong Peng, If you took my comments about Luang Por to be disrespect of what may be taken as a lack of knowledge about science that is unfortunate
                      Message 10 of 28 , May 17 9:17 AM
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                        Dear Ong Yong Peng,
                        If you took my comments about Luang Por to be disrespect of what may be taken as a "lack of knowledge about science" that is unfortunate and wrong.  He is regarded by many as having been Arahat.   I cannot know this as I have no attainment other than to take what Lord Buddha stated in Suttas as characteristics of Arahat. 
                        Speculation is not wise in Dhamma practice and is indeed abjured by Lord Buddha as unneeded and unfruitful. 

                        I have no further wish to argue the rightness of my views as all views saving sammaditthi are useless - science notwithstanding.
                        Only sammaditthi can lead to nibbana.   We can spin endlessly in samsara and debate science, Western versus Eastern points of view etc.  All of that is unhelpful in overcoming suffering and the development of the four immeasurables and ultimate liberation.

                        I wish you great and speedy progress on the path of blissful liberation and hope I haven't caused uneccasary emotional follies.
                        If so I heartily and completely apologize and beg your forgiveness.  Obviously I need to return to bhavana, mindfulness and metta practice and never mind argument.

                        I am certain your intentions are only to clarify the Dhamma for yourself and others on the Path, and what can be amiss with that?

                        Let's all hope for great progress in Dhamma for us all.

                        with Metta
                        Peter Tomlinson




                        ________________________________
                        From: Ong Yong Peng <palismith@...>
                        To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Mon, May 17, 2010 5:12:22 AM
                        Subject: [Pali] Re: Translating anatta

                         
                        Dear Peter,

                        thank you. Allow me to put forward my views too.

                        1. The Buddha lived in the Iron Age, when the most advanced technology was probably iron horse chariots. I wouldn't even bother with Science too if we are still living in the Iron Age. In such primitive age, man may had mastered basic tool-making skills, understanding of the natural phenomenon was elementary at best, and often mixed up with myths and legends, which we wouldn't even call Science.

                        2. Many of the questions the Buddha refused to answer, I am sure scientists today would be skeptical about them too. When they are not, scientists approached these questions rationally, rather than philosophically. Science today is in every facet of our modern life, from keeping our drinking water is safe, to ensuring that planes do not fall from the sky.

                        3. Understanding Science, I believe, would help a meditator better understand and comprehend life experiences and natural phenomenon.

                        4. Depiction of the Buddha varies among different Buddhist cultures and communities.

                        5. The venerable Ajahn Chah was well-respected by the Thais, and had a large global following. Most of his followers know that Ajahn Chah was born in 1918 to a poor rural family in northern Thailand. Many respected the venerable for his austerity practices, not for lack of knowledge in Science. I think it isn't appropriate to bring him into the picture.

                        metta,
                        Yong Peng.

                        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Peter Tomlinson wrote:

                        > Science is appropriate to answer secular, i.e. lokuttara matters.  Lord Buddha did not much concern himself with such.  Isn't it true that He often refused to respond to questions about whether ther was a god, whether the sould was eternal or non eternal etc.  I mention Culamalunkyaputta Sutta here.  And wouldn't we see in the simile of the poisoned arrow the trap of conflating science with Dhamma?  Lord Buddha isn't concerned with those issues of the origins of the Universe, brain science whether there is or is ot "self".  
                        >
                        > What I say here isn't a bad attitude towards science or any "modern" point of view.  Simply they are incapable of solving the problem of existence which only Buddha Dhamma approaches wisely and effectively if one wishes to end samsara.
                        > Science has no such interest or indeed wisdom and viriya to achieve.
                        >
                        > Lord Buddha is the little brown fat guy in funny robes.  And believe me I think Ajahn Chah and others would fulfill that picture nicely.




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Richard Blumberg
                        I ve been following this thread with enormous interest; this is quite a remarkably well-informed and thoughtful group, and I ve learned from every post. Thank
                        Message 11 of 28 , May 17 4:48 PM
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                          I've been following this thread with enormous interest; this is quite a
                          remarkably well-informed and thoughtful group, and I've learned from every
                          post. Thank you all. Here are a few observations, which I hope will help
                          keep people thinking skillfully about a most important idea.

                          First, we have been talking much more about 'atta' than about 'anatta'. In
                          my rendering of the Anattalakkhana Sutta, (
                          http://dharmastudy.org/suttas-2/anattalakkhana-sutta/), which I use in the
                          course I teach at our local university's continuing ed program, I use the
                          term "not-self" to translate 'anatta', and I provide the following note to
                          the passage in the sutta in which the Buddha tells the five 'bhikkhus' that
                          material form is 'anatta':

                          "The term 'not-self' really has no precise and idiomatic translation in
                          English. It�s not that the Buddha is saying that form is not what we mean
                          when we talk about self, as we might, for example, point to a duck and say
                          'that's not a chicken'. Rather, he�s making a positive statement about form,
                          saying that it falls into the category of those things that are 'anatta' �
                          'not-self'. Defining something as 'not-self' limits the meaning of 'self' in
                          a profound way. I can say that my house is not my self; that�s true from
                          both a Buddhist point of view and a Western point of view. But that�s a
                          trivial truth; no one really would claim otherwise. When I say that
                          form/body is 'not-self', though, I�m making a claim that radically denies
                          what many people believe, either unthinkingly or dogmatically, and I�m
                          radically limiting the possible scope of any practical notion of 'self'."

                          I think that part of the problem in thinking about 'atta' is that the term
                          points in two directions, which muddles our dualistically inclined minds. In
                          the one direction, it points toward a technical term in a doctrinal
                          tradition which the Buddha's thinking stood in explicitly radical opposition
                          to. The term 'atman' in the Brahminical teachings referred to a real entity
                          which is the foundation of our sense of Self and which was eternal and
                          "real" in a way that our transitory bodies were not (in some passages, the
                          'atman' is actually described as a tiny homunculus). In the Upanishadic
                          extension of Brahminism, 'atman' was in fact identical with 'brahman', the
                          monadic eternal Truth, and the goal of spiritual practice was to realize
                          (i.e. both to profoundly understand and to reify) that unity and so attain
                          'moksha' or "release". In this sense, the term 'atta' is equivalent to the
                          theistic idea of "soul", and the Buddha is saying, with relation to that
                          point of view, that nothing has the kind of essential nature attributed to
                          soul and that, therefore, there is no soul, or no Self. That's the direction
                          toward which, I think, Nagarjuna was looking when he developed his
                          understanding of emptiness.

                          That first understanding of 'anatta', as Noa Ronkin points out, is based on
                          an ontology that's focused on processes rather than on substances and their
                          attributes. The Buddha's teaching, it seems to me, is all about experience -
                          the process of experiencing. I'm not talking subjectivity or idealism here;
                          it's not like there are objective phenomena that we can only know through
                          subjective experience. Experience is real, and "real world" events - the
                          interactions of the physical 'dhammas'- are among the conditions from which
                          experience emerges. It's that understanding of conditioned emergence of
                          experienced phenomena ('paticcasamuppada', frequently translated as
                          "dependent arising") that I think, in some important but non-mystical way,
                          prefigures the current scientific understanding of "self-organization" that
                          ardavarz and others were introducing to the discussion.

                          'Paticcasamuppada' is also a bridge to the other direction in which 'atta'
                          points - the sense of an identity that, while it may not be eternal,
                          persists from moment to moment despite impermanent and constantly changing
                          conditions. Again, 'anatta' in this sense may prefigure modern science: in
                          this case, the Uncertainty Principle. The most common statement of the
                          Uncertainty Principle is that we can't know simultaneously know both the
                          location and the velocity of quantum level objects, such as photons. A
                          necessary correlate of that principle is that there's no individual photon
                          (call it "Jim" or "Agnes") that's recognizably distinct from other photons,
                          i.e. that has self-identity. It may be significant here that in defining the
                          three basic 'dhamma' seals, the Buddha used a different term for the third
                          seal than for the first two. It's 'sabbe sankhara dukkha' and 'sabbe
                          sankhara anicca' ("all contingent things are 'dukkha'", "all contingent
                          things are impermanent"), but 'sabbe dhammata anatta' ("all things whatever
                          are not-self"). (I may have the Pali a little bolloxed; I don't have my
                          notes here.) I don't think it's wrong to see quantum objects as 'dhammas' in
                          this sense, but I also don't think that it requires that we conceive the
                          Buddha as a being who "knew" the world in the same way that, say, Stephen
                          Hawking does.

                          So, with the term 'anatta', the Buddha is saying that there is no essential
                          "Self" (or "soul"), and that it is not possible, from any given experience
                          or sequence of experiences, to identify a "self" which in any way embodies
                          or owns or is embodied in or owned by that experience or sequence of
                          experiences; another way of saying that is that while the "self" we
                          experience at any moment emerges from precedent conditions, it is not
                          possible, even if it were possible to know all current conditions, to
                          predict what "self" that particular body or cognizing being will experience
                          next moment. The Buddha, I believe, rejected determinism; that rejection is
                          what allows us to behave intentionally, to behave skillfully, to influence
                          the experience that becomes the next moment, the next day, perhaps the next
                          life.

                          This certainly doesn't resolve any question, but it may help us see more
                          clearly why it's good to be done with "I-making, my-making, the conceit of
                          self".

                          With regard,

                          Richard


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Piya Tan
                          Dear Richard, You re right, most scholars today prefer not-self as the most useful translation of anatta. Ven Thanissaro has written an article on this: see
                          Message 12 of 28 , May 20 5:26 PM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Dear Richard,

                            You're right, most scholars today prefer "not-self" as the most useful
                            translation of anatta. Ven Thanissaro has written an article on this: see
                            his website "Access to Insight."

                            With metta,

                            Piya

                            On Tue, May 18, 2010 at 7:48 AM, Richard Blumberg <richard@...> wrote:

                            > I've been following this thread with enormous interest; this is quite a
                            > remarkably well-informed and thoughtful group, and I've learned from every
                            > post. Thank you all. Here are a few observations, which I hope will help
                            > keep people thinking skillfully about a most important idea.
                            >
                            > First, we have been talking much more about 'atta' than about 'anatta'. In
                            > my rendering of the Anattalakkhana Sutta, (
                            > http://dharmastudy.org/suttas-2/anattalakkhana-sutta/), which I use in the
                            > course I teach at our local university's continuing ed program, I use the
                            > term "not-self" to translate 'anatta', and I provide the following note to
                            > the passage in the sutta in which the Buddha tells the five 'bhikkhus' that
                            > material form is 'anatta':
                            >
                            > "The term 'not-self' really has no precise and idiomatic translation in
                            > English. It�s not that the Buddha is saying that form is not what we mean
                            > when we talk about self, as we might, for example, point to a duck and say
                            > 'that's not a chicken'. Rather, he�s making a positive statement about
                            > form,
                            > saying that it falls into the category of those things that are 'anatta' �
                            > 'not-self'. Defining something as 'not-self' limits the meaning of 'self'
                            > in
                            > a profound way. I can say that my house is not my self; that�s true from
                            > both a Buddhist point of view and a Western point of view. But that�s a
                            > trivial truth; no one really would claim otherwise. When I say that
                            > form/body is 'not-self', though, I�m making a claim that radically denies
                            > what many people believe, either unthinkingly or dogmatically, and I�m
                            > radically limiting the possible scope of any practical notion of 'self'."
                            >
                            > I think that part of the problem in thinking about 'atta' is that the term
                            > points in two directions, which muddles our dualistically inclined minds.
                            > In
                            > the one direction, it points toward a technical term in a doctrinal
                            > tradition which the Buddha's thinking stood in explicitly radical
                            > opposition
                            > to. The term 'atman' in the Brahminical teachings referred to a real entity
                            > which is the foundation of our sense of Self and which was eternal and
                            > "real" in a way that our transitory bodies were not (in some passages, the
                            > 'atman' is actually described as a tiny homunculus). In the Upanishadic
                            > extension of Brahminism, 'atman' was in fact identical with 'brahman', the
                            > monadic eternal Truth, and the goal of spiritual practice was to realize
                            > (i.e. both to profoundly understand and to reify) that unity and so attain
                            > 'moksha' or "release". In this sense, the term 'atta' is equivalent to the
                            > theistic idea of "soul", and the Buddha is saying, with relation to that
                            > point of view, that nothing has the kind of essential nature attributed to
                            > soul and that, therefore, there is no soul, or no Self. That's the
                            > direction
                            > toward which, I think, Nagarjuna was looking when he developed his
                            > understanding of emptiness.
                            >
                            > That first understanding of 'anatta', as Noa Ronkin points out, is based on
                            > an ontology that's focused on processes rather than on substances and their
                            > attributes. The Buddha's teaching, it seems to me, is all about experience
                            > -
                            > the process of experiencing. I'm not talking subjectivity or idealism here;
                            > it's not like there are objective phenomena that we can only know through
                            > subjective experience. Experience is real, and "real world" events - the
                            > interactions of the physical 'dhammas'- are among the conditions from which
                            > experience emerges. It's that understanding of conditioned emergence of
                            > experienced phenomena ('paticcasamuppada', frequently translated as
                            > "dependent arising") that I think, in some important but non-mystical way,
                            > prefigures the current scientific understanding of "self-organization" that
                            > ardavarz and others were introducing to the discussion.
                            >
                            > 'Paticcasamuppada' is also a bridge to the other direction in which 'atta'
                            > points - the sense of an identity that, while it may not be eternal,
                            > persists from moment to moment despite impermanent and constantly changing
                            > conditions. Again, 'anatta' in this sense may prefigure modern science: in
                            > this case, the Uncertainty Principle. The most common statement of the
                            > Uncertainty Principle is that we can't know simultaneously know both the
                            > location and the velocity of quantum level objects, such as photons. A
                            > necessary correlate of that principle is that there's no individual photon
                            > (call it "Jim" or "Agnes") that's recognizably distinct from other photons,
                            > i.e. that has self-identity. It may be significant here that in defining
                            > the
                            > three basic 'dhamma' seals, the Buddha used a different term for the third
                            > seal than for the first two. It's 'sabbe sankhara dukkha' and 'sabbe
                            > sankhara anicca' ("all contingent things are 'dukkha'", "all contingent
                            > things are impermanent"), but 'sabbe dhammata anatta' ("all things whatever
                            > are not-self"). (I may have the Pali a little bolloxed; I don't have my
                            > notes here.) I don't think it's wrong to see quantum objects as 'dhammas'
                            > in
                            > this sense, but I also don't think that it requires that we conceive the
                            > Buddha as a being who "knew" the world in the same way that, say, Stephen
                            > Hawking does.
                            >
                            > So, with the term 'anatta', the Buddha is saying that there is no essential
                            > "Self" (or "soul"), and that it is not possible, from any given experience
                            > or sequence of experiences, to identify a "self" which in any way embodies
                            > or owns or is embodied in or owned by that experience or sequence of
                            > experiences; another way of saying that is that while the "self" we
                            > experience at any moment emerges from precedent conditions, it is not
                            > possible, even if it were possible to know all current conditions, to
                            > predict what "self" that particular body or cognizing being will experience
                            > next moment. The Buddha, I believe, rejected determinism; that rejection is
                            > what allows us to behave intentionally, to behave skillfully, to influence
                            > the experience that becomes the next moment, the next day, perhaps the next
                            > life.
                            >
                            > This certainly doesn't resolve any question, but it may help us see more
                            > clearly why it's good to be done with "I-making, my-making, the conceit of
                            > self".
                            >
                            > With regard,
                            >
                            > Richard
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                            > Paa.li-Parisaa - The Pali Collective
                            > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
                            > [Pali Document Framework] http://www.tipitaka.net/forge/pdf/
                            > [Files] http://www.geocities.com/paligroup/
                            > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
                            > Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or web
                            > only.Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >


                            --
                            The Minding Centre
                            Blk 644 Bukit Batok Central #01-68 (2nd flr)
                            Singapore 650644
                            hpl: 8211 0879
                            Meditation courses & therapy: http://themindingcentre.org
                            Sutta translation: https://dharmafarer.org


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Gabriel Jaeger
                            Thanks very much Piya! Ven. Thanissaro explains precisely why we should translate anatta as not-self instead of no self or selfless The whole point is in
                            Message 13 of 28 , May 21 1:47 AM
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Thanks very much Piya!

                              Ven. Thanissaro explains precisely why we should translate anatta as
                              "not-self" instead of "no self" or "selfless"
                              The whole point is in his essay!

                              Thanks very much again,
                              tenphel

                              On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 6:11 AM, Piya Tan <dharmafarer@...> wrote:

                              > Dear Richard,
                              >
                              > You're right, most scholars today prefer "not-self" as the most useful
                              > translation of anatta. Ven Thanissaro has written an article on this: see
                              > his website "Access to Insight."
                              >
                              > With metta,
                              >
                              > Piya
                              >
                              > On Tue, May 18, 2010 at 7:48 AM, Richard Blumberg <richard@...>
                              > wrote:
                              >
                              > > I've been following this thread with enormous interest; this is quite a
                              > > remarkably well-informed and thoughtful group, and I've learned from
                              > every
                              > > post. Thank you all. Here are a few observations, which I hope will help
                              > > keep people thinking skillfully about a most important idea.
                              > >
                              > > First, we have been talking much more about 'atta' than about 'anatta'.
                              > In
                              > > my rendering of the Anattalakkhana Sutta, (
                              > > http://dharmastudy.org/suttas-2/anattalakkhana-sutta/), which I use in
                              > the
                              > > course I teach at our local university's continuing ed program, I use the
                              > > term "not-self" to translate 'anatta', and I provide the following note
                              > to
                              > > the passage in the sutta in which the Buddha tells the five 'bhikkhus'
                              > that
                              > > material form is 'anatta':
                              > >
                              > > "The term 'not-self' really has no precise and idiomatic translation in
                              > > English. It�s not that the Buddha is saying that form is not what we mean
                              > > when we talk about self, as we might, for example, point to a duck and
                              > say
                              > > 'that's not a chicken'. Rather, he�s making a positive statement about
                              > > form,
                              > > saying that it falls into the category of those things that are 'anatta'
                              > �
                              > > 'not-self'. Defining something as 'not-self' limits the meaning of 'self'
                              > > in
                              > > a profound way. I can say that my house is not my self; that�s true from
                              > > both a Buddhist point of view and a Western point of view. But that�s a
                              > > trivial truth; no one really would claim otherwise. When I say that
                              > > form/body is 'not-self', though, I�m making a claim that radically denies
                              > > what many people believe, either unthinkingly or dogmatically, and I�m
                              > > radically limiting the possible scope of any practical notion of 'self'."
                              > >
                              > > I think that part of the problem in thinking about 'atta' is that the
                              > term
                              > > points in two directions, which muddles our dualistically inclined minds.
                              > > In
                              > > the one direction, it points toward a technical term in a doctrinal
                              > > tradition which the Buddha's thinking stood in explicitly radical
                              > > opposition
                              > > to. The term 'atman' in the Brahminical teachings referred to a real
                              > entity
                              > > which is the foundation of our sense of Self and which was eternal and
                              > > "real" in a way that our transitory bodies were not (in some passages,
                              > the
                              > > 'atman' is actually described as a tiny homunculus). In the Upanishadic
                              > > extension of Brahminism, 'atman' was in fact identical with 'brahman',
                              > the
                              > > monadic eternal Truth, and the goal of spiritual practice was to realize
                              > > (i.e. both to profoundly understand and to reify) that unity and so
                              > attain
                              > > 'moksha' or "release". In this sense, the term 'atta' is equivalent to
                              > the
                              > > theistic idea of "soul", and the Buddha is saying, with relation to that
                              > > point of view, that nothing has the kind of essential nature attributed
                              > to
                              > > soul and that, therefore, there is no soul, or no Self. That's the
                              > > direction
                              > > toward which, I think, Nagarjuna was looking when he developed his
                              > > understanding of emptiness.
                              > >
                              > > That first understanding of 'anatta', as Noa Ronkin points out, is based
                              > on
                              > > an ontology that's focused on processes rather than on substances and
                              > their
                              > > attributes. The Buddha's teaching, it seems to me, is all about
                              > experience
                              > > -
                              > > the process of experiencing. I'm not talking subjectivity or idealism
                              > here;
                              > > it's not like there are objective phenomena that we can only know through
                              > > subjective experience. Experience is real, and "real world" events - the
                              > > interactions of the physical 'dhammas'- are among the conditions from
                              > which
                              > > experience emerges. It's that understanding of conditioned emergence of
                              > > experienced phenomena ('paticcasamuppada', frequently translated as
                              > > "dependent arising") that I think, in some important but non-mystical
                              > way,
                              > > prefigures the current scientific understanding of "self-organization"
                              > that
                              > > ardavarz and others were introducing to the discussion.
                              > >
                              > > 'Paticcasamuppada' is also a bridge to the other direction in which
                              > 'atta'
                              > > points - the sense of an identity that, while it may not be eternal,
                              > > persists from moment to moment despite impermanent and constantly
                              > changing
                              > > conditions. Again, 'anatta' in this sense may prefigure modern science:
                              > in
                              > > this case, the Uncertainty Principle. The most common statement of the
                              > > Uncertainty Principle is that we can't know simultaneously know both the
                              > > location and the velocity of quantum level objects, such as photons. A
                              > > necessary correlate of that principle is that there's no individual
                              > photon
                              > > (call it "Jim" or "Agnes") that's recognizably distinct from other
                              > photons,
                              > > i.e. that has self-identity. It may be significant here that in defining
                              > > the
                              > > three basic 'dhamma' seals, the Buddha used a different term for the
                              > third
                              > > seal than for the first two. It's 'sabbe sankhara dukkha' and 'sabbe
                              > > sankhara anicca' ("all contingent things are 'dukkha'", "all contingent
                              > > things are impermanent"), but 'sabbe dhammata anatta' ("all things
                              > whatever
                              > > are not-self"). (I may have the Pali a little bolloxed; I don't have my
                              > > notes here.) I don't think it's wrong to see quantum objects as 'dhammas'
                              > > in
                              > > this sense, but I also don't think that it requires that we conceive the
                              > > Buddha as a being who "knew" the world in the same way that, say, Stephen
                              > > Hawking does.
                              > >
                              > > So, with the term 'anatta', the Buddha is saying that there is no
                              > essential
                              > > "Self" (or "soul"), and that it is not possible, from any given
                              > experience
                              > > or sequence of experiences, to identify a "self" which in any way
                              > embodies
                              > > or owns or is embodied in or owned by that experience or sequence of
                              > > experiences; another way of saying that is that while the "self" we
                              > > experience at any moment emerges from precedent conditions, it is not
                              > > possible, even if it were possible to know all current conditions, to
                              > > predict what "self" that particular body or cognizing being will
                              > experience
                              > > next moment. The Buddha, I believe, rejected determinism; that rejection
                              > is
                              > > what allows us to behave intentionally, to behave skillfully, to
                              > influence
                              > > the experience that becomes the next moment, the next day, perhaps the
                              > next
                              > > life.
                              > >
                              > > This certainly doesn't resolve any question, but it may help us see more
                              > > clearly why it's good to be done with "I-making, my-making, the conceit
                              > of
                              > > self".
                              > >
                              > > With regard,
                              > >
                              > > Richard
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > ------------------------------------
                              > >
                              > > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                              > > Paa.li-Parisaa - The Pali Collective
                              > > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
                              > > [Pali Document Framework] http://www.tipitaka.net/forge/pdf/
                              > > [Files] http://www.geocities.com/paligroup/
                              > > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
                              > > Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or
                              > web
                              > > only.Yahoo! Groups Links
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              > --
                              > The Minding Centre
                              > Blk 644 Bukit Batok Central #01-68 (2nd flr)
                              > Singapore 650644
                              > hpl: 8211 0879
                              > Meditation courses & therapy: http://themindingcentre.org
                              > Sutta translation: https://dharmafarer.org
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                              > Paa.li-Parisaa - The Pali Collective
                              > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
                              > [Pali Document Framework] http://www.tipitaka.net/forge/pdf/
                              > [Files] http://www.geocities.com/paligroup/
                              > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
                              > Yahoo! Groups members can set their delivery options to daily digest or web
                              > only.Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >


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