Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Pali] Translating by the views of Theravadin commentaries

Expand Messages
  • Kumara Bhikkhu
    I don t doubt that there s some good stuff in there. I too refer to them sometimes, but not before I read the early text closely first. I try not to view the
    Message 1 of 21 , Jan 16, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      I don't doubt that there's some good stuff in there. I too refer to them sometimes, but not before I read the early text closely first. I try not to view the Suttas through the lens of any commentary, Theravadin or otherwise, lest the view is coloured by them.

      The reason why the older commentaries are now "lost", is that (as I've learnt from my teacher) they were burnt after the Atthakathas (as we now know) have been composed. Texts of other sects in Ceylon (Jetavana and Abhayagiri) met with the same fate.

      kb

      Nina van Gorkom wrote thus at 22:45 14/01/2012:

      >Venerable Bhikkhu Kumara,
      >Op 11-jan-2012, om 4:50 heeft Kumara Bhikkhu het volgende geschreven:
      >
      >> What if the commentaries got it wrong?
      >------
      >N: The oldest commentaries, the Mahaa-Atthakathaa, the Mahaa-paccari
      >and the Kuru.n.di are now lost.
      >
      >Buddhaghosa translated into Pali,
      >compiled and arranged material from the ancient commentaries which
      >were written in Singhalese.
      >More convincing than historical arguments is reading the ancient
      >commentaries themselves as we have them today. The Visuddhimamagga
      >and the Atthasaalini constantly refer to texts of the Tipi.taka. I
      >just read to my husband about stinginess, as defined in the
      >Dhammasanga.ni (first book of the Abhidhamma) and elaborated on in
      >the commentary. Just an example to show that one can see for oneself
      >whether this is helpful or not in daily life:
      >
      >{Atthasālinī} (II, Book II, Part II, Chapter II, 376), in its
      >explanation of the words of the Dhammasangaṇi, states that the
      >mean person also hinders someone else from giving. Stinginess can
      >motivate one to try to persuade someone else, for example one's
      >husband or wife, to give less or not to give at all. We read in the
      >Atthasālinii :
      >
      >...and this also has been said,
      >Malicious, miserly, ignoble, wrong...
      >Such men hinder the feeding of the poor...
      >
      >A ``niggardly'' person seeing mendicants causes his mind to shrink as
      >by sourness. His state is ``niggardliness''. Another way (of
      >definition):- ``niggardliness is a ``spoon-feeding''. For when the pot
      >is full to the brim, one takes food from it by a spoon with the edge
      >bent on all sides; it is not possible to get a spoonful; so is the
      >mind of a mean person bent in. When it is bent in, the body also is
      >bent in, recedes, is not diffused---thus stinginess is said to be
      >niggardliness.
      >
      >``Lack of generosity of heart'' is the state of a mind which is shut
      >and gripped, so that it is not stretched out in the mode of making
      >gifts, etc., in doing service to others. But because the mean person
      >wishes not to give to others what belongs to himself, and wishes to
      >take what belongs to others, therefore this meanness should be
      >understood to have the characteristic of hiding or seizing one's own
      >property, occurring thus: ``May it be for me and not for
      >another''
      >(end quote).
      >
      >--------
      >Nina.
      >
      >
      >
      >[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
      >
      >
      >
    • Kumara Bhikkhu
      I can really empathize with that. :-) To be fair, even in MLDB, he mentioned in the introduction that including a comment from the commentaries doesn t mean he
      Message 2 of 21 , Jan 20, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        I can really empathize with that. :-)

        To be fair, even in MLDB, he mentioned in the introduction that including a comment from the commentaries doesn't mean he agrees with it. It's nonetheless more heartening to see in CDB that he is willing to voice his disagreement, sometimes citing concrete evidence from the Suttas.

        Kumara, a disciple of the Buddha

        Mahinda Palihawadana wrote thus at 14:02 20/01/2012:
        >It's very encouraging to hear this about Bhiikhu Bodhi. I was always a bit
        >disappointed with the excessive reliance on commentaries that we can see in
        >the work of Bhikkhus Nyanatiloka, Nanaponika and Bodhi.
        >
        >Mahinda
        >
        >
        >[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
        >
        >
        >
      • Noah Yuttadhammo
        The only problem is that one s own view will always colour the text; that s what the commentaries are designed to dispel - whether you agree with their
        Message 3 of 21 , Jan 21, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          The only problem is that one's own view will always colour the text; that's
          what the commentaries are designed to dispel - whether you agree with their
          interpetation or not, it is a valid interpretation, and one that has lead
          to a more or less harmonious understanding of the texts among Theravada
          Buddhists.

          I read an article recently about a monastic dating service in Japan, and it
          made me wonder if the relative cohesion found in Theravada Buddhism can be
          attributed at least in part to the homogenous interpretation of the
          Buddha's teaching.

          Another story is of Ajaan Mun, who is claimed to remember the time of the
          Buddha and talked to the Buddha to find out the right interpretation. My
          understanding is that to this day his followers adhere to his
          interpretation as the Buddha's way even when it is not supported by the
          texts.

          Even an Arahant can make mistakes about the dhamma, at least that which is
          outside the realm of their own practice. Hearing modern teachers decry the
          commentarial interpretation based solely on the fact that it doesn't accord
          with their own limited (relative to to the vastness of the Buddha's)
          experience is a bit disappointing, especially in cases where the commentary
          offers multiple interpretations, only some of which are found acceptable.
          I'm thinking of the great Jhana debate, for example.
          On Jan 22, 2012 6:53 AM, "Kumara Bhikkhu" <kumara.bhikkhu@...> wrote:

          > I don't doubt that there's some good stuff in there. I too refer to them
          > sometimes, but not before I read the early text closely first. I try not to
          > view the Suttas through the lens of any commentary, Theravadin or
          > otherwise, lest the view is coloured by them.
          >
          > The reason why the older commentaries are now "lost", is that (as I've
          > learnt from my teacher) they were burnt after the Atthakathas (as we now
          > know) have been composed. Texts of other sects in Ceylon (Jetavana and
          > Abhayagiri) met with the same fate.
          >
          > kb
          >
          > Nina van Gorkom wrote thus at 22:45 14/01/2012:
          >
          > >Venerable Bhikkhu Kumara,
          > >Op 11-jan-2012, om 4:50 heeft Kumara Bhikkhu het volgende geschreven:
          > >
          > >> What if the commentaries got it wrong?
          > >------
          > >N: The oldest commentaries, the Mahaa-Atthakathaa, the Mahaa-paccari
          > >and the Kuru.n.di are now lost.
          > >
          > >Buddhaghosa translated into Pali,
          > >compiled and arranged material from the ancient commentaries which
          > >were written in Singhalese.
          > >More convincing than historical arguments is reading the ancient
          > >commentaries themselves as we have them today. The Visuddhimamagga
          > >and the Atthasaalini constantly refer to texts of the Tipi.taka. I
          > >just read to my husband about stinginess, as defined in the
          > >Dhammasanga.ni (first book of the Abhidhamma) and elaborated on in
          > >the commentary. Just an example to show that one can see for oneself
          > >whether this is helpful or not in daily life:
          > >
          > >{AtthasÄ linÄ«} (II, Book II, Part II, Chapter II, 376), in its
          > >explanation of the words of the Dhammasangaṇi, states that the
          > >mean person also hinders someone else from giving. Stinginess can
          > >motivate one to try to persuade someone else, for example one's
          > >husband or wife, to give less or not to give at all. We read in the
          > >AtthasÄ linii :
          > >
          > >...and this also has been said,
          > >Malicious, miserly, ignoble, wrong...
          > >Such men hinder the feeding of the poor...
          > >
          > >A ``niggardly'' person seeing mendicants causes his mind to shrink as
          > >by sourness. His state is ``niggardliness''. Another way (of
          > >definition):- ``niggardliness is a ``spoon-feeding''. For when the pot
          > >is full to the brim, one takes food from it by a spoon with the edge
          > >bent on all sides; it is not possible to get a spoonful; so is the
          > >mind of a mean person bent in. When it is bent in, the body also is
          > >bent in, recedes, is not diffused---thus stinginess is said to be
          > >niggardliness.
          > >
          > >``Lack of generosity of heart'' is the state of a mind which is shut
          > >and gripped, so that it is not stretched out in the mode of making
          > >gifts, etc., in doing service to others. But because the mean person
          > >wishes not to give to others what belongs to himself, and wishes to
          > >take what belongs to others, therefore this meanness should be
          > >understood to have the characteristic of hiding or seizing one's own
          > >property, occurring thus: ``May it be for me and not for
          > >another''
          > >(end quote).
          > >
          > >--------
          > >Nina.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >[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
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
          > 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
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ong Yong Peng
          Dear Vens Kumara, Yuttadhammo and friends, thank you for the interesting discussion. Allow me to add my approach in regards to the translation of Pali suttas:
          Message 4 of 21 , Jan 31, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Vens Kumara, Yuttadhammo and friends,

            thank you for the interesting discussion.

            Allow me to add my approach in regards to the translation of Pali suttas:

            1. promote the Buddhist ideals of the middle way, wisdom and compassion
            2. spread the message of loving-kindness, goodwill, equity and peace
            3. accept that the commentaries and subcommentaries were compiled at a different age, under very different social settings, and learn to distinguish its essence
            4. deviations from traditional interpretation has to be based on progressive scientific knowledge, not individual claims of enlightenment or doctrinal authority
            5. understand the impermanence and imperfections of life, and share the values of care, harmony, tolerance and mutual respect
            6. at a deeper philosophical level, there has to be connections with the Buddha's teachings of the four noble truths and dependent origination

            + dismiss and discourage superstitious beliefs in the society
            + establish, not dilute, the distinction between ordained Sangha members (monks and nuns) and ordinary Buddhist followers


            metta,
            Yong Peng.



            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Kumara Bhikkhu wrote:

            I'm writing an article on samadhi, proposing some new English translations for some key Pali terms related to samadhi. I wanted to add something that I remember Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi said. It's about his mentor, Ven Nyanaponika advising that in translating the Pali they should go by the views of Theravadin commentaries. I can't find where I've read that now. Anyone has any idea?
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.