Re: [Pali] re: du.t.thulla.m
- 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?)
At 06:42 AM 25-12-02, you wrote:
>Dear Nina and Gabriel,
>Thank you both for your responses to my question about
>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?
- 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
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
" 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,
--- 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?)
> At 06:42 AM 25-12-02, you wrote:
> >Dear Nina and Gabriel,
> >Thank you both for your responses to my question
> >I find the commentary very interesting, but still
> >very clear. Are you saying that the meaning of the
> >word is "the excitement associated by wickedness,
> >causes one to get stuck"? Thus, inertia in the
> >used in physics, whereby a body in motion will
> >in motion, or a body at rest will remain at rest,
> >until some force acts upon it; rather than the
> >English meaning of laziness?
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- At 05:05 AM 03-01-03, you wrote:
>First, from Prof. Andrew Olendzki, noted Pali scholarI think that was an excellent answer. Would the Prof. be interested to join this group?
>and Director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
>in Barre, Massachussetts, USA, who is also a personal
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?
- 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
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
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
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.
op 02-01-2003 22:05 schreef John Kelly op palistudent@...:
> First, from Prof. Andrew Olendzki, noted Pali scholar(snip) the comy to MN 127) consistently gloss this
> and Director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
> in Barre, Massachussetts, USA, who is also a personal
> 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.
> 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."