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Re: About 'neta.m mama, nesoham asmi, na meso attaa'ti

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  • k_nizamis
    Dear Ven. Dhammadarsa, You have raised a very good point, and made an excellent recommendation with respect to checking the Sanskrit (especially seeking a
    Message 1 of 26 , Jul 5, 2010
      Dear Ven. Dhammadarsa,

      You have raised a very good point, and made an excellent recommendation with respect to checking the Sanskrit (especially seeking a Sanskrit rendering of this formula). But I wonder, too, whether the Thai and other Asian translations of the Pali reveal anything in this respect?

      In my reply to Nina's first response to this question, I had flagged the historical problem, but didn't pursue it: <<Reflecting on this, there are probably at least a couple of possible (essentially historical) explanations for the unchanging form of this formula,in whatever context it occurs.>> (14809) But your message has kicked that idea back into gear for me! Of course, any interpretation is going to have to square itself also with the historical-linguistic dimension. Thank you.

      If you have the opportunity to put the question to your friend who teaches Sanskrit, that would be very interesting and helpful. I will report here some information I have just found, which might be useful to pass on to your friend, too; and also a further suggestion.

      My first reference is to F. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, Vol. 1 Grammar (originally published 1953, reprinted 1993). No doubt Indic language studies have moved on since 1953. In any case, Edgerton explains that Buddhadhamma has been preserved in at least 4 Indic languages: standard Sanskrit, two middle Indic languages, Pali and Prakrit (of course 'Pali' is not the name of a language, but has come to be used for the language of the 'Pali Canon'), and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS), which was used in the North, although Edgerton supposes it was based on an otherwise unidentifiable Middle Indic vernacular. (Edgerton, p. 1, 1.1-1.4).

      It seems that very little of the 'early Buddhist canon' has been preserved in Sanskrit, and what has been preserved is not easily accessible to most of us. However, the Tibetan and Chinese canons are supposed to be translations of 'Sanskrit canons'. It should be kept in mind, thought, that these translations were made from written texts; the earlier oral canons had therefore already been inscribed, and so there is also the question of the historical development of the oral texts to be kept in mind.

      Still, it would of course be informative (but not conclusive, for a number of reasons) to know how `eta.m mama...' has been translated into Chinese and Tibetan within those respective Asian canons. If someone were able to check on this, it would be very helpful (I know a couple of people I can pass this request on to).

      As for BHS, in his section on BHS pronouns, Edgerton does have a reference to a peculiar usage of the nom.-acc. sg. nt. He notes: "The masc. `so' replaces `tad', e.g. Saddharmapu.n.dariika 62.7." But of course, this is a later Mahaayaana text. Similarly, Edgerton cites the use of some variant forms of 'so': e.g., with `se' and `su', he indicates a text Apabhra.m'sa or Apadaana (which he identifies as a Paa.li text?); he also cites these examples: `su bhava.nu', `ehu' for `etad', in Sanatkumaaracaritam (Apabhra.m'sa or Apadaana). (Edgerton, p. 114, 21.10.) I suspect that it is because of these examples that, in his table of paradigms for the 'generic pronouns' (p. 116, 21.46), he includes `so' along with `ta.m' under the forms for the Nt. Sg. Nom.-Acc., as well as giving it as the main form of the Mas. Sg. Nom. I was hoping Edgerton might cited the BHS version of 'eta.m mama...' in his Grammar or Dictionary, but so far, I haven't found anything.

      Edgerton's references are interesting, but perhaps a bit far away from our question. They might suggest another 'substitution' possibility (cf. Edgerton, p. 114, 21.2): if anyone is well-versed in Paa.li metrics, they might want to check the `neta.m mama...' formula metrically; but it seems very improbable that `metri causa' could be any adequate explanation of `eso' here.

      On the other hand, a very interesting reference emerges from W. D. Whitney, Sanskrit Grammar (2nd ed. 1889, reprinted 1993), in the section on Demonstrative Pronouns, which reads:

      "Though the demonstrative root `ta' is prevailingly of the third person, it is also freely used, both in the earlier language and in the later, as qualifying the pronouns of the first and second person, giving emphasis to them: thus, `so 'ham', `this I', or `I here'; `sa' or `saa tvam', `thou there'; `te vayam', `we here'; `tasya mama', `of me here', `tasmi"ns tvayi', `in thee there', and so on." (Whitney, p. 495, para. 498.)

      I'll inquire further into this and let you know whatever else I find out.

      Respectfully, with metta,

      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Dhammadarsa" <dhammadaso@...> wrote:
      > Ven Sirs and Ladies and Kind Sirs and Ladies
      > I appreciate everyone's enquiring mind and contribution to this question.
      > As we know Pali has elements from different languages, e.g. Vedic and I have
      > read, maybe some other Prakrits, e.g. the vocative form 'Bhikkhave'. The
      > irregularity we have been discussing may also be related to another Prakrit
      > and the form could have been frozen due to later misunderstanding, thus
      > accounting for its unchanged appearance in many contexts in the Pali texts.
      > One thing I think is useful when we come to such questions is comparison
      > with other versions, e.g. Sanskrit. Sometimes such comparison can throw
      > light on irregularities in texts, but that may be beyond the scope of this
      > list. In any case, I'm not the one to do that, but I do know a Sanskrit
      > lecturer at a university here in Thailand I could ask, if people wished to
      > know.
      > Kind Regards
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      > From: Pali@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Pali@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nina
      > van Gorkom
      > Sent: Thursday, 1 July 2010 4:09 PM
      > To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [Pali] Re: About 'neta.m mama, nesoham asmi, na meso attaa'ti
      > Dear Khristos and all,
      > Thank you for your interesting observations.
      > Khristos, I admire your keen observance, before I never gave this
      > matter a thought. In fact your question makes me penetrate more
      > deeply into the meaning of the text.
      > For the sake of analysing I find it easier not to use the negation.
      > The neuter eta.m as object of tanhaa can comprise so many things,
      > even pa~n~nattis, which are not realities. Is it a solution to think
      > of sabba.m? I cling to this or that, whatever appears. So, perhaps we
      > can say that the neutre gender is sufficient, no need for another
      > gender.
      > 'This is of me'.
      > I consulted 'The Root of Existence', Bikkhu Bodhi's translation of
      > the Muulapariyaaya Sutta , and in his intro he says: <The construct
      > 'this is mine' is a projection born of craving, for it is craving's
      > function to appropriate things as the property of the self. >
      > <Under the influence of conceit it becomes manifest in judgements and
      > comparisons whereby we rank ourselves in relation to others as
      > superior, equal of inferior. and under the influence of views, i.e.
      > the theoretical bent of thought, the ego-bias issues in dogmas,
      > tenets, and speculations concerning reality and nature of the
      > personal self and its locus, the world.>
      > N: As to conceit, esoham asmi, here the eso is correct, because one
      > thinks of oneself to be thus or thus. I think of the 'I am conceit",
      > asmi maana.
      > As to the wrong view of self, one sees the self as controller (as
      > Lennart mentioned), as possessor. For instance, one believes that
      > there is a self who can at will induce the arising of Pa~n~naa.
      > Whereas pa~n~naa is a cetasika that can only arise because of the
      > appropriate conditions.
      > Nina.
      > Op 30-jun-2010, om 5:57 heeft k_nizamis het volgende geschreven:
      > > Yet, please be patient with me a moment more, because I'm not yet
      > > completely satisfied with the explanation at an intuitive
      > > linguistic level. I'm still trying to understand the `sense' of the
      > > one nt. nom. sg. and the two masc. nom. sg. demonstrative pronouns
      > > in this formula.
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Nina van Gorkom
      Dear Khristos, Thank you for all the useful texts with the Pali and your interesting remarks. ... N: True, pa~n~naa can accompany vi~n~naa.na. It could not
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 13, 2010
        Dear Khristos,
        Thank you for all the useful texts with the Pali and your interesting
        Op 5-jul-2010, om 5:26 heeft k_nizamis het volgende geschreven:
        > In your post you wrote:
        > 1. Agreed that pa~n~naa is a `cetasika' (in the Abhidhamma sense),
        > inasmuch as, in the Suttaani, it is referred to as a dhamma: e.g.,
        > MN 43 says (at i.292):
        > "Pa~n~naa ya~nca vi~n~naa.na.m ime dhammaa sa.msa.t.thaa no
        > visa.msa.t.thaa. . . . Ya~ncaavuso pajaanaati ta.m vijaanaati. Ya.m
        > vijaanaati ta.m pajaanaati."
        > "Pa~n~naa and vi~n~naa.na.m - these dhammaa are conjoined, not
        > disjoined. . . . For, friend, what one wisely understands, that one
        > cognizes, and what one cognizes, that one wisely understands."
        N: True, pa~n~naa can accompany vi~n~naa.na. It could not arise
        without citta. Vi~n~naa.na or citta cognizes the object and pa~n~naa
        penetrates its true nature. Pa~n~naa illuminates the darkness of
        I like your quote:
        > <"Friend, with what does one wisely understand a dhamma that can be
        > wisely known?"
        > "Friend, one understands a dhamma that can be wisely known with the
        > `wisdom-eye' (pa~n~naacakkhunaa)."
        > "Friend, what is the purpose of pa~n~naa?"
        > "The purpose of pa~n~naa, friend, is direct knowledge, its purpose
        > is full understanding, its purpose is abandoning.">
        > -----------
        > 2. Again, since pa~n~naa is a dhamma (of the type `cetasika',
        > according to Abhidhamma), it is paticca-samuppanna, dependently co-
        > arisen, it is dependent upon conditions. But it does not arise
        > arbitrarily, nor does it arise merely automatically or
        > deterministically. ...
        > This raises the deep and fascinating problem of `agency'. True, we
        > cannot just `will' pa~n~naa to arise. But we can, and we are
        > exhorted to, develop and cultivate the conditions that will be
        > conducive for pa~n~naa to arise
        N: Yes, that is quite right.
        > K: that is a matter for which we have some volitional
        > responsibility, and also some volitional effectivity. Just a couple
        > of classical examples, with which you will be familiar, of this
        > sense of agency, are the following:
        > MN 32 (M i.215) "Idhaavuso . . . bhikkhu citta.m vasa.m vatteti, no
        > ca bhikkhu cittassa vasena vattati."
        > "Here, friend, . . . a bhikkhu wields mastery over his mind, he
        > does not let the mind wield mastery over him."
        N: All your quoted texts are very good. The Buddha also spoke daily
        language to help the listeners. His disciples had no
        misunderstandings about anattaa. Such daily language is very
        effective. For instance, when I say to you: take courage, do the best
        you can, it is more direct than if I would say: let the five khandhas
        be courageous and not be disheartened. So, we can take this in the
        right way: "Here, friend, . . . a bhikkhu wields mastery over his
        mind, he does not let the mind wield mastery over him."
        This is said in a very impressive way. It is something we can remember.
        When we read the many lists of classifications of the Abhidhamma we
        may think it dry and not so effective. But also this we can take in
        the right way, see through it to get the deep meaning. Whatever we
        read refers to the understanding of the reality of the present
        moment, it refers to our life at this moment. In this way the
        Abhidhamma can become very lively. It is not just in the book.

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