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re: du.t.thulla.m

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  • Buddhayatana
    Dear John, I too was a bit surprised when I came across this translation - not that I cannot see inertia as being some sort of impediment, but the meaning
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 19, 2002
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      Dear John,

      I too was a bit surprised when I came across this translation - not that I
      cannot see inertia as being some sort of impediment, but the meaning seemed
      more like (from the vedic roots):

      dus - yat

      aka BAD aiming

      Now perhaps commentarial tradition has made of the pp. of dus-sati
      something like badly aimed at -- thus NOT aimed at -- thus sloth (or even
      "lewd" :-) ?

      Whatever...

      Metta-cittena,

      Dr Gabriel Bittar

      PS On Sunday the 22nd 01h15 UT it's the December solstice - my best wishing
      to everyone on the spiritual path.


      ------------------

      Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 14:48:00 -0800 (PST)
      From: John Kelly <palistudent@...>
      Subject: du.t.thull.m

      Dear Friends,
      At our sutta study group last night, we were going
      through MN 128 (Upakkilesa - Imperfections) - in
      English, and when we got to the part where the Buddha
      was describing to Anuruddha all the ways in which he
      noticed imperfections preventing his concentration,
      there was one which ~Nanamoli/Bodhi translate as
      "inertia". Trying to fathom what this was all about,
      I looked up the Pali word being translated, and it was
      "du.t.thulla.m". (See PTS M.iii.159). The PED
      translated this as "wickedness", and in adjectival
      form as "wicked, lewd". Does anyone have an idea
      where "inertia" might come from? And what is the
      sense of this as an imperfection?

      Thanks,
      John


      --------------------------------------------------
      Jacqueline "Gotamî Jîvarakkhî" Bittar
      Dr Gabriel "Ananda Jîvasattha" Bittar,
      PhD University of Geneva
      phone +61 8 8553 7442 , fax +61 8 8553 7444
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      email: buddhayatana@...

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      a'niccâ vata san'khârâ
      ( a'niccaa vata san'khaaraa )
      "impermanent are structural processes"
      "instables sont les flux structurels"
      Siddhârtha (Siddhaartha) Gautama Buddha
      ---------------------------------------------------
    • nina van gorkom
      Dear John and Dr. Gabriel, I looked up my a.t.thakathaa in Thai:
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 21, 2002
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        Dear John and Dr. Gabriel,
        I looked up my a.t.thakathaa in Thai:
        <du.t.thulla.m, meaning: the endeavour which we firmly applied was overcome
        by the excitement that arose in us, and this made us slack. Therefore, there
        will only be excitement. The word kaaya du.t.thulla.m, means excitement ,
        the nature (bhaava) which causes the arising of laziness of the body.>
        Can this be of help, I did not study the whole context of the sutta.
        Nina.

        op 19-12-2002 22:00 schreef Buddhayatana op buddhayatana@...:

        >
        > Now perhaps commentarial tradition has made of the pp. of dus-sati
        > something like badly aimed at -- thus NOT aimed at -- thus sloth (or even
        > "lewd" :-) ?
        >
        > Whatever...
        >
        > Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 14:48:00 -0800 (PST)
        > From: John Kelly <palistudent@...>
        > Subject: du.t.thull.m

        > "du.t.thulla.m". (See PTS M.iii.159). The PED
        > translated this as "wickedness", and in adjectival
        > form as "wicked, lewd".
      • John Kelly
        Dear Nina and Gabriel, Thank you both for your responses to my question about du.t.thulla.m . I find the commentary very interesting, but still not very
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 24, 2002
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          Dear Nina and Gabriel,
          Thank you both for your responses to my question about
          "du.t.thulla.m".
          I find the commentary very interesting, but still not
          very clear. Are you saying that the meaning of the
          word is "the excitement associated by wickedness, that
          causes one to get stuck"? Thus, inertia in the sense
          used in physics, whereby a body in motion will remain
          in motion, or a body at rest will remain at rest,
          until some force acts upon it; rather than the common
          English meaning of laziness?

          John

          --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote:
          > Dear John and Dr. Gabriel,
          > I looked up my a.t.thakathaa in Thai:
          > <du.t.thulla.m, meaning: the endeavour which we
          > firmly applied was overcome
          > by the excitement that arose in us, and this made us
          > slack. Therefore, there
          > will only be excitement. The word kaaya
          > du.t.thulla.m, means excitement ,
          > the nature (bhaava) which causes the arising of
          > laziness of the body.>
          > Can this be of help, I did not study the whole
          > context of the sutta.
          > Nina.
          >
          > op 19-12-2002 22:00 schreef Buddhayatana op
          > buddhayatana@...:
          >
          > >
          > > Now perhaps commentarial tradition has made of the
          > pp. of dus-sati
          > > something like badly aimed at -- thus NOT aimed at
          > -- thus sloth (or even
          > > "lewd" :-) ?
          > >
          > > Whatever...
          > >
          > > Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 14:48:00 -0800 (PST)
          > > From: John Kelly <palistudent@...>
          > > Subject: du.t.thull.m
          >
          > > "du.t.thulla.m". (See PTS M.iii.159). The PED
          > > translated this as "wickedness", and in adjectival
          > > form as "wicked, lewd".
          >
          >
          >


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        • nina van gorkom
          ... Dear John, The du indicates something negative. It is under the heading of upakilesa: kilesa: it makes the accompanying dhammas impure. Upa: what about
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 26, 2002
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            op 24-12-2002 23:42 schreef John Kelly op palistudent@...:

            > Dear Nina and Gabriel,
            > Thank you both for your responses to my question about
            > "du.t.thulla.m".
            > I find the commentary very interesting, but still not
            > very clear. Are you saying that the meaning of the
            > word is "the excitement associated by wickedness, that
            > causes one to get stuck"? Thus, inertia in the sense
            > used in physics, whereby a body in motion will remain
            > in motion, or a body at rest will remain at rest,
            > until some force acts upon it; rather than the common
            > English meaning of laziness?
            Dear John,
            The du indicates something negative. It is under the heading of upakilesa:
            kilesa: it makes the accompanying dhammas impure. Upa: what about this
            prefix, is it an reinforcement?
            I liked Gabriel's elaboration. And think of the lute that is overstrung
            (Sona).
            The Commentary (in Thai) I quoted, elaborates further about the endeavour
            which is too much and states that the Bhikkhu applies endeavour enew. He
            thinks about it that excitement makes his endeavour slack, and thus what is
            bad can arise. He realizes that when he makes a strong effort it is like
            that, and when he causes his endeavour to be slack weak endeavour arises.
            Nina.
          • Kumaara Bhikkhu
            Not if you re still interested in this, John. But anyway, Ven. Buddhadasa dictionary gave inferior as one of the meanings of du.t.thulla. I think the
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 31, 2002
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              Not if you're still interested in this, John. But anyway, Ven. Buddhadasa dictionary gave "inferior" as one of the meanings of du.t.thulla.

              I think the translator finds it somewhat inadequate a translation in the context of the sutta (Upakkilesa - Imperfections, of concentration), and so referred to the commentary for a more definite idea of it.

              The PED, which was compiled when Pali study in the English world was still relatively young, is still not a complete dictionary. That's why it's good to have Ven. Buddhadasa's dictionary as a supplement.

              Taking into account the meaning "inferior", the commentary's explanation (as posted by Nina), and the context of the sutta, I think the meaning "inertia" is quite justified.

              Happy New Year, everyone! (Can you imagine that I forgot that today's is a new year's day until a devotee at my pindapat told me?)

              metta,
              Kumaara

              At 06:42 AM 25-12-02, you wrote:
              >Dear Nina and Gabriel,
              >Thank you both for your responses to my question about
              >"du.t.thulla.m".
              >I find the commentary very interesting, but still not
              >very clear. Are you saying that the meaning of the
              >word is "the excitement associated by wickedness, that
              >causes one to get stuck"? Thus, inertia in the sense
              >used in physics, whereby a body in motion will remain
              >in motion, or a body at rest will remain at rest,
              >until some force acts upon it; rather than the common
              >English meaning of laziness?
              >
              >John
            • John Kelly
              Thanks for your comments on this, Venerable Kumaara. I am indeed still interested in this, and having just returned from a brief 5-day retreat over the New
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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                Thanks for your comments on this, Venerable Kumaara.

                I am indeed still interested in this, and having just
                returned from a brief 5-day retreat over the New Year,
                I was delighted to find not just your message, but two
                extremely elucidating emails about this from very
                knowledgable 3rd parties, which I will now share with
                the group.

                First, from Prof. Andrew Olendzki, noted Pali scholar
                and Director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
                in Barre, Massachussetts, USA, who is also a personal
                friend:
                " Although it is true that looking up du.t.thulla
                and its related words in the dictionary yield the
                sense of "wickedness," but if you unpack it another
                way it can also suggest inertia. As you know, "du" is
                a prefix meaning "difficult or bad" and is here
                attached to .t.thulla, which can also be spelled
                thulla which can also be spelled th-ula (see PED p.
                309). This word has the sense of thick, heavy, and
                other images suggesting something hard to move. When
                you combine this with the context, which pairs the
                word with an opposite of "elation," it seems
                reasonable for the translators, either on their own
                initiative or following the commentary (which I did
                not check), to come up with "inertia."
                Three points to remember: 1) context has a lot to
                do with how best to translate a technical term; and 2)
                there are alternate and related spellings of many Pali
                words to consult; and 3) whenever you come across a
                prefix always look up the word it is attached to.
                Sounds like you are having fun with all this. Look
                forward to seeing you soon."

                This is now me (John) again. I think Andy's 3
                suggestions for translating will be very helpful to
                all of us struggling Pali translators on this list.

                Then the coup-de-grace came this morning, when I got a
                response from Bhikkhu Bodhi himself! (I obtained his
                email through a friend, and just on the off chance he
                might respond, sent him a message of inquiry about
                this). I quote:
                " "Du.t.thulla" in relation to speech, has the meaning
                "wicked, lewd," as in the expression "du.t.thullaahi
                vaacaahi". But in the compound "kaayadu.t.thulla" the
                word takes on a different nuance. The commentaries
                (including the comy to MN 127) consistently gloss this
                compound as meaning
                "kaayaalasiyabhaava", which might be translated
                "lassitude of body." It was Ven. Nyanamoli who chose
                "inertia" as the rendering, and given the comy gloss,
                I saw no reason to change this."

                Blessings to all,
                John
                --- Kumaara Bhikkhu <venkumara@...> wrote:
                > Not if you're still interested in this, John. But
                > anyway, Ven. Buddhadasa dictionary gave "inferior"
                > as one of the meanings of du.t.thulla.
                >
                > I think the translator finds it somewhat inadequate
                > a translation in the context of the sutta
                > (Upakkilesa - Imperfections, of concentration), and
                > so referred to the commentary for a more definite
                > idea of it.
                >
                > The PED, which was compiled when Pali study in the
                > English world was still relatively young, is still
                > not a complete dictionary. That's why it's good to
                > have Ven. Buddhadasa's dictionary as a supplement.
                >
                > Taking into account the meaning "inferior", the
                > commentary's explanation (as posted by Nina), and
                > the context of the sutta, I think the meaning
                > "inertia" is quite justified.
                >
                > Happy New Year, everyone! (Can you imagine that I
                > forgot that today's is a new year's day until a
                > devotee at my pindapat told me?)
                >
                > metta,
                > Kumaara
                >
                > At 06:42 AM 25-12-02, you wrote:
                > >Dear Nina and Gabriel,
                > >Thank you both for your responses to my question
                > about
                > >"du.t.thulla.m".
                > >I find the commentary very interesting, but still
                > not
                > >very clear. Are you saying that the meaning of the
                > >word is "the excitement associated by wickedness,
                > that
                > >causes one to get stuck"? Thus, inertia in the
                > sense
                > >used in physics, whereby a body in motion will
                > remain
                > >in motion, or a body at rest will remain at rest,
                > >until some force acts upon it; rather than the
                > common
                > >English meaning of laziness?
                > >
                > >John
                >
                >


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              • Kumaara Bhikkhu
                ... I think that was an excellent answer. Would the Prof. be interested to join this group? As for Ven. Bodhi, I don t think so. Some months ago, I came to
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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                  At 05:05 AM 03-01-03, you wrote:
                  >First, from Prof. Andrew Olendzki, noted Pali scholar
                  >and Director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
                  >in Barre, Massachussetts, USA, who is also a personal
                  >friend:

                  I think that was an excellent answer. Would the Prof. be interested to join this group?

                  As for Ven. Bodhi, I don't think so. Some months ago, I came to know that he had long suffered a headache so serious that he can only bear to read for a short period of time. That's why he left BPS. Hope he's better now.

                  I've been thinking of this in terms of experience. Ever become so engrossed in a very exciting thing that you spend a long time with it, like chatting in IRC, or playing a computer game. I have--when I was a lay man, or course. Then at the end, you feel this lethargy? It think that's a gross form of "kaayadu.t.thulla". What do you all think?


                  peace

                  Kumâra Bhikkhu
                • nina van gorkom
                  Hi John, Very interesting, helpful suggestions about the way to translate. Could I have the link to Andi s Pali page once more, it did not come out so clear.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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                    Hi John,
                    Very interesting, helpful suggestions about the way to translate. Could I
                    have the link to Andi's Pali page once more, it did not come out so clear.
                    Now see below.

                    Nina: my remarks. I am glad Yang Peng shares my admiration for Buddhaghosa.
                    I find that translators of commentaries have much merit, but I regret it
                    that they do not put dots where they leave out passages. I shall give an
                    example where I find that it makes a great difference to have the original
                    text. We read on dsg list The Way of Mindfulness, commentary to the
                    Satipa.t.thaana sutta by Ven. Soma. Again , he made a good translation, I
                    appreciate all his efforts, but left out a passage which is to me essential:
                    After the end of the summary, the sutta starts with the section on
                    breathing, and after the section on the verse about the taming of the
                    wild,young calf, Ven Soma goes on: gone to the forest. He translates:

                    <Because the subject of meditation of mindfulness on in-and-out-breathing
                    is not easy to accomplish without leaving the neighbourhood of a
                    village, owing to sound, which is a thorn to absorption; and because in
                    a place not become a township it is easy for the meditator to lay hold
                    of this subject of meditation, the
                    Blessed One, pointing out the abode suitable for that, spoke the words,
                    "Gone to the forest," and so forth. >

                    Right before the beginning of these phrases, <Because the subject...>
                    Ven. Soma left out a passage which I believe is essential for understanding
                    this subject, namely, for whom it is suitable and also what is the goal of
                    anapanasati: developing insight and calm to the degree of jhana, using jhana
                    as foundation for vipassana and attaining fruition of the arahat.
                    Here is my translation of the left out passage (I am so glad if I get
                    corrected, learning from corrections):

                    apica, yasmaa ida.m kaayaanupassanaaya muddhabhuuta.m
                    sabbabuddhapaccekabuddhabuddhasaavakaana.m
                    visesaadhigama-di.t.thadhammasukhavihaarapada.t.thaana.m
                    aanaapaanassatikamma.t.thaana.m

                    N: And thus also, with regard to the meditation subject of anapanasati which
                    has become the topmost of Body Contemplation, being the proximate cause for
                    abiding in ease here, now (di.t.thadhammasukhavihaara, fruition attainment)
                    for all Buddhas, Silent Buddhas and disciples of the Buddha,

                    itthipurisahatthiassaadisaddasamaakula.m gaamanta.m apariccajitvaa na
                    sukara.m sampaadetu.m, saddaka.n.takattaa jhaanassa.

                    N: this is not easy to undertake when one has not abandoned the border of
                    the village, full of sounds of women, men, elephants, horses etc.

                    agaamake pana ara~n~ne sukara.m yogaavacarena ida.m kamma.t.thaana.m
                    pariggahetvaa aanaapaanacatutthajjhaana.m nibbattetvaa tadeva jhaana.m
                    paadaka.m katvaa sa"nkhaare sammasitvaa aggaphala.m arahatta.m paapu.nitu.m.
                    N: If the meditator does not live in a village but in the forest, it is easy
                    for him, after he has mastered this meditation subject, attained the fourth
                    jhana of anapana sati, and made this jhana the foundation and has thoroughly
                    comprehended conditioned dhammas (sankhare),
                    to fulfill the highets frutuion, the fruition of arahatship;

                    tasmaassa anuruupasenaasana.m dassento bhagavaa ``ara~n~nagato
                    vaa''tiaadimaaha.

                    N: Therefore the Blessed One, pointing out the dwelling suitable for that,
                    said, gone to the forets etc. (As is)

                    Here is also a passage translated in the Vis. VIII, 155, some time ago
                    discussed by Rob K and Robert Edison:
                    <Or alternatively, this mindfulness of breathing as a meditation subject-
                    which is foremost among the various meditation subjects of all Buddhas,
                    [some] Paccekaa Buddhas and [some] Buddhas¹ disciples as a basis for
                    attaining distinction and abiding in bliss here and now- is not easy to
                    develop without leaving the neighbourhood of villages... , whereas in the
                    forest away from a village a meditator can at his ease set about discerning
                    this meditation subject and achieve the fourth jhana in mindfulness of
                    breathing; and then, by making that same jhana the basis for comprehension
                    of formations [with insight] (Ch XX, §2f.) , he can reach Arahantship, the
                    highest fruit...>
                    This is almost the same as my translation (I saw the Vis tr later on).

                    Some time ago I made a study of the Co to the Anapana Sati sutta. I quote :
                    We read in the Co. to the Anapana Sati Sutta:
                    <But here the mindfulness which lays hold of breathing in and out is mundane
                    (lokiya); mundane breathing in and out perfects the mundane foundations of
                    mindfulness; the mundane foundations of mindfulness perfect the supramundane
                    (lokuttara) enlightenment factors; the supramundane enlightenment factors
                    perfect nibbana as the fruit of clear vision and deliverance>
                    The Co states that it is thus elsewhere (in other texts), but that in this
                    sutta it is handed down that the mundane foundations of mindfulness perfect
                    the mundane enlightenment factors, and that these perfect clear vision
                    (vijjå), deliverance (vimutti), fruition (phala) and nibbana, which are
                    lokuttara. Because in this sutta ³clear vision and deliverance² designate
                    clear vision, fruition (phala) and nibbana.
                    N : If jhana is not reached, and there are not the masteries (vasis) in
                    jhana, such as attaining and emerging at any time, at any place, samatha,
                    the development of calm, cannot be a foundation for vipassana.
                    To me personally the passage above I translated puts the section on
                    breathing in a different perspective. It is also in conformity with the co
                    to the Anapana sati sutta. With this example I want to show the importance
                    to read the Pali commentaries themselves, and I am greatly motivated to
                    continue reading the Pali texts themselves.
                    Nina.

                    op 02-01-2003 22:05 schreef John Kelly op palistudent@...:

                    > First, from Prof. Andrew Olendzki, noted Pali scholar
                    > and Director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
                    > in Barre, Massachussetts, USA, who is also a personal
                    > friend:
                    >
                    > Three points to remember: 1) context has a lot to
                    > do with how best to translate a technical term; and 2)
                    > there are alternate and related spellings of many Pali
                    > words to consult; and 3) whenever you come across a
                    > prefix always look up the word it is attached to.
                    (snip) the comy to MN 127) consistently gloss this
                    > compound as meaning
                    > "kaayaalasiyabhaava", which might be translated
                    > "lassitude of body." It was Ven. Nyanamoli who chose
                    > "inertia" as the rendering, and given the comy gloss,
                    > I saw no reason to change this."
                    >
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