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Re: [Pali] Fwd: Aranavibhanga Sutta Re: Maharahulovada Sutta update

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  • Frank Kuan
    In reference to Piya s translation of M139, some comments: 1) Doesn t the Buddha contradict his own teaching on nonconflict, non praising and non disparaging
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 3, 2003
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      In reference to Piya's translation of M139, some
      comments:

      1) Doesn't the Buddha contradict his own teaching on
      nonconflict, non praising and non disparaging in
      teaching dhamma by explicitly calling out Subhuti at
      the end and praising him for being one who practices
      nonconflict? And at the beginning praises subhuti for
      being the foremost among his disciples among
      nonconflict? Rather high praise wouldn't you say?
      Imagine the other disciples who become jealous and
      resentful of Subhuti because of that praise :-)

      2) I like how Piya uses the translation "dung-like"
      for the description of sensual pleasures. Bhikhu Bodhi
      uses "filty". What is the pali phrase in question
      here? Is it literally "dung-like"? In light of how the
      Buddha talks about using conventional language to
      teach dhamma, I wonder how he would express the same
      teaching today. "Dudes, sense pleasures are like a
      shit sandwich."

      3) If by some gross misfortune, I am not enlightened
      by the time the next buddha appears in the world, I
      vow to be named, "the foremost in obnoxiousness among
      all of the buddha's disciples."

      -fk


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    • christine_forsyth <cforsyth@vtown.com.au>
      Hello Frank and All, Frank, I thought I recognised your forthright style. :-) With regard to point (2) of your post: I wonder if language in the Buddha s
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 3, 2003
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        Hello Frank and All,

        Frank, I thought I recognised your 'forthright' style. :-)
        With regard to point (2) of your post:
        I wonder if language in the Buddha's time had a few local variants
        e.g. a usage acceptable to the majority of people of all age groups
        and levels in society, as well as one for the 'upper' and educated
        classes, and a more impermanent type of language (such as one sees
        every couple of years with high school age people) identifying one as
        rebelling against authority, or having particular interests such as
        surfing, styles of music and dancing, or the political 'cause' of the
        moment?
        I can understand the Buddha wishing his teachings to be conveyed in a
        language that would be understood by most people, but another
        consideration would be that it is actually 'listened' to.
        You mention "how the Buddha talks about using conventional language to
        teach dhamma" But , by this, did he mean not using something like
        Latin, which until recent years was the language of the Catholic
        clergy though all but unintelligible to Everyman? Did this really
        mean using language that the majority would consider vulgar? Would
        most people be willing and able to 'hear' a message phrased in
        language they wouldn't allow in their own home?
        [Is it possible that your idea of 'conventional' could mean someone
        else's 'slang' or 'unacceptable'].

        metta,
        Christine

        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Frank Kuan <fcckuan@y...> wrote:
        > In reference to Piya's translation of M139, some
        > comments:
        >
        > 1) Doesn't the Buddha contradict his own teaching on
        > nonconflict, non praising and non disparaging in
        > teaching dhamma by explicitly calling out Subhuti at
        > the end and praising him for being one who practices
        > nonconflict? And at the beginning praises subhuti for
        > being the foremost among his disciples among
        > nonconflict? Rather high praise wouldn't you say?
        > Imagine the other disciples who become jealous and
        > resentful of Subhuti because of that praise :-)
        >
        > 2) I like how Piya uses the translation "dung-like"
        > for the description of sensual pleasures. Bhikhu Bodhi
        > uses "filty". What is the pali phrase in question
        > here? Is it literally "dung-like"? In light of how the
        > Buddha talks about using conventional language to
        > teach dhamma, I wonder how he would express the same
        > teaching today. "Dudes, sense pleasures are like a
        > shit sandwich."
        >
        > 3) If by some gross misfortune, I am not enlightened
        > by the time the next buddha appears in the world, I
        > vow to be named, "the foremost in obnoxiousness among
        > all of the buddha's disciples."
        >
        > -fk
      • Piya Tan
        Frank, ... If one speaks of the good qualities that is present in another, it is a wholesome truth, not praising. If one speaks of a negative quality in a
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 3, 2003
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          Frank,

          > 1) Doesn't the Buddha contradict his own teaching on
          > nonconflict, non praising and non disparaging in
          > teaching dhamma by explicitly calling out Subhuti at
          > the end and praising him for being one who practices
          > nonconflict? And at the beginning praises subhuti for
          > being the foremost among his disciples among
          > nonconflict? Rather high praise wouldn't you say?
          > Imagine the other disciples who become jealous and
          > resentful of Subhuti because of that praise :-)

          If one speaks of the good qualities that is present in another, it is a
          wholesome truth, not praising. If one speaks of a negative quality in a
          person that he or she has, that is not blame. In either case, then it should
          be done at the right time. Anyway, the Buddha is relating to Subhuti's
          spiritual state of mind or spiritual accomplishment, not the him as a person
          (which is the crux of the sutta). Perhaps a close reflective reading of
          section 8 might help.

          > 2) I like how Piya uses the translation "dung-like"
          > for the description of sensual pleasures. Bhikhu Bodhi
          > uses "filty". What is the pali phrase in question
          > here? Is it literally "dung-like"? In light of how the
          > Buddha talks about using conventional language to
          > teach dhamma, I wonder how he would express the same
          > teaching today. "Dudes, sense pleasures are like a
          > shit sandwich."

          The pali word here is "mii.lha,sukha.m". PED gives only "excrement" (M 1:454
          = 2:230), but the Pali synonym appears to be "guutha" (same meaning) (Vv
          2.11, PvA 194, DhA 2:53 a truly "filthy" account this last one). Although
          Bodhi's "filthy" (or alternately "vile") is polite, I think "dung-like" or
          "turd-like" brings out the Pali sense more clearly here. (It might have been
          the Buddha's own word, or a redactor's, anyway.)

          As to the last part of your remark here: yes, I think the Buddha would
          communicate with people like those from the poorer Brooklyn side of NY or
          the black ghettos in Oakland & Berkeley on their level. Of course, the
          Buddha will do this in his own special way (exactly how I am ignorant of).

          > 3) If by some gross misfortune, I am not enlightened
          > by the time the next buddha appears in the world, I
          > vow to be named, "the foremost in obnoxiousness among
          > all of the buddha's disciples."

          If you are frank, then I am earnest.

          Sukhi.

          P
          >
          > -fk
          >
          >
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        • Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@yahoo.com>
          Dear Frank, Chrisine and friends, I would like to see the Indian people NOT as a homogenious people but one of varying languages and customs. It is like the
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 3, 2003
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            Dear Frank, Chrisine and friends,

            I would like to see the Indian people NOT as a homogenious people but
            one of varying languages and customs. It is like the many African
            tribes in Africa or the many dialect groups in China. I do not know
            much of Africa except the fact that communication between the African
            countries is now made possible only because they use English as the
            medium. In China, besides the many minority ethnic group, the main
            Han people has many dozen of dialect groups, each with its own unique
            dialect and customs. I think it is the same among the Australian
            aboriginal people and in Europe.

            Most people agree that the Buddha speaks more than one language, due
            to the fine education he received when young. And since he was
            trained to inherit the small Shakyan kingdom from his father, it was
            both politically and culturally important that he knows to speak the
            languages of the more powerful neighbours such as Magadha and Kosala.

            The Buddha, according to the Tipitaka, studied the Vedas as a boy and
            that would mean he knows Vedic Sanskrit. However, he may not have
            used Sanskrit in his teaching as he belongs to a new religious
            movement, the Samana movement, that would rather not embrace anything
            Vedic.

            Pali, or even the hybrid Sanskrit used in Mahayana buddhist texts,
            should not be perceived as a liturgical language as Arabic is in
            Islam or Hebrew/Greek/Latin is in Judaism/Christianity. In fact, in
            at least one place in the Tipitaka, the Buddha has disagreed with one
            disciple who wanted to make the Buddha's teaching available in one
            language only. Instead, the Buddha wants his disciples to share the
            dhamma with others in the language of their audiences. This is why we
            see that long before the Bible is translated to English (the first
            language outside Hebrew/Greek/Latin), the Buddhadharma is already
            available in dozens of Asian languages.


            metta,
            Yong Peng

            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, christine_forsyth wrote:
            I wonder if language in the Buddha's time had a few local variants
            e.g. a usage acceptable to the majority of people of all age groups
            and levels in society, as well as one for the 'upper' and educated
            classes, and a more impermanent type of language (such as one sees
            every couple of years with high school age people) identifying one as
            rebelling against authority, or having particular interests such as
            surfing, styles of music and dancing, or the political 'cause' of the
            moment?

            > I can understand the Buddha wishing his teachings to be conveyed in
            a language that would be understood by most people, but another
            consideration would be that it is actually 'listened' to.

            > You mention "how the Buddha talks about using conventional language
            to teach dhamma" But , by this, did he mean not using something
            like Latin, which until recent years was the language of the Catholic
            clergy though all but unintelligible to Everyman? Did this really
            mean using language that the majority would consider vulgar? Would
            most people be willing and able to 'hear' a message phrased in
            language they wouldn't allow in their own home?

            > [Is it possible that your idea of 'conventional' could mean someone
            else's 'slang' or 'unacceptable'].
          • Frank Kuan
            Hi Piya, ... I reread that section, both in your translation in B.Bodhi s, and I still have the same interpretation. The Buddha in many suttas calls out the
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 4, 2003
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              Hi Piya,
              --- Piya Tan <libris@...> wrote:
              > Perhaps a close
              > reflective reading of
              > section 8 might help. [of m139]

              I reread that section, both in your translation in
              B.Bodhi's, and I still have the same interpretation.
              The Buddha in many suttas calls out the name of the
              disciple when praising wholesome qualities. Stricly
              speaking, the Buddha contradicts his own advice in
              M139. Other examples from other suttas: when the
              Buddha points out wrong views in his disciples by
              calling them "misguided fools".

              What I conclude from this is that the Buddha could
              still use derogatory or complimentary phrases that
              appears "personal", but only the speaker would know
              whether they utter statements like that free of any
              ego-grasping. My guess is that in M139, the Buddha is
              probably cautioning his disciples to be prudent about
              pointing out wrong religious views for example to
              others who cling very dearly to them, rather than a
              directive to carry out that instruction in every minor
              situation, for example in the company of those noble
              disciples who would not wrongly grasp on to
              misperceptions of conventional language.


              > "turd-like" [describing sense-pleasures] brings out
              the Pali sense more clearly
              > here [than b.bodhi's translation "vile"]

              It's wonderful that the Buddha [when talking to
              disples who can handle the full truth] didn't pull any
              punches. "Filthy" tones it down too much. A muddy
              automobile is filthy. A dusty window is filthy. Sense
              pleasures are a shit-sandwich.

              For those of you in polite society, I should explain
              the nuance of this expression. A prime example of this
              occurs when for example, a boss passes down a very
              unsavory task to his staff, all of whom must perform
              the task rather than assign just one person to do the
              entire job. One of wiser senior members might utter
              the statement, "[The task] is a shit-sandwich, and
              everyone has to take a bite." Meaning it is
              unavoidable fate for everyone to partake in eating
              that dungheap.

              When applied to the context of sensual pleasures, it's
              a brilliant metaphor. The worldly view on the matter
              is that the only way to true happiness is to titillate
              the 5 cords of sense pleasure. Conventional wisdom
              holds that it is impossible to find happiness without
              taking a bite out of that sandwich and taking the
              negative side effects as a necessary consequence.

              The enlightened view is very different. They recognize
              shit as shit, and realize there is a sublime pleasure
              apart from sense pleasures that can come only from
              abandoning these pursuits that worldlings consider
              indispensable and unavoidable.

              -fk


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            • Frank Kuan
              Hi Chris, ... Would ... Consider the simile the Buddha uses comparing sense pleasures to leprosy. Consider all the contemplations of foulness and impurities of
              Message 6 of 10 , Feb 4, 2003
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                Hi Chris,
                --- "christine_forsyth <cforsyth@...>"
                Would
                > most people be willing and able to 'hear' a message
                > phrased in
                > language they wouldn't allow in their own home?
                > [Is it possible that your idea of 'conventional'
                > could mean someone
                > else's 'slang' or 'unacceptable'].

                Consider the simile the Buddha uses comparing sense
                pleasures to leprosy. Consider all the contemplations
                of foulness and impurities of the body. There's the
                instruction to the disciples to eat food for
                sustenance only, as parents crossing a desert would
                eat the flesh of their only child, only to survive,
                not for enjoyment or entertainment value. These are
                pretty extreme similes that would shock the
                sensibilities of most worldlings, no matter if the
                language was cloaked in civility or used in a
                colloquial way.
                The Buddha and enlightened arahants would not
                gratuitously give hard-to-swallow teachings or use
                colloquialism carelessly, but I believe there would be
                occasions where they would give the modern equivalent
                of a sermon on the shit-sandwich.

                Thus have I heard: At one time, the blessed one was
                visiting the recluse Frank and some of his friends
                from the Pali group. Encompassing their minds with his
                own, he knew that most of them, except for Frank,
                clung to erroneous notions of pure speech...

                "Friends, sense pleasures are a shit-sandwich."
                ...
                Delighted by this rousing talk, 500 disciples attained
                the stainless eye of dhamma.

                -fk


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              • Piya Tan
                Frank, And now, you should read section 10. We agree on the essentials, that s great. I like to visualize the Buddha as a man of constant good humour, and hear
                Message 7 of 10 , Feb 4, 2003
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                  Frank,

                  And now, you should read section 10. We agree on the essentials, that's
                  great.

                  I like to visualize the Buddha as a man of constant good humour, and hear
                  his words, even the strongest, in that light. It makes a lot of sense then
                  (to me anyway).

                  Sukhi.

                  P.
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Frank Kuan" <fcckuan@...>
                  To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 12:08 AM
                  Subject: Take a bite out of that sandwich Re: [Pali] Fwd: Aranavibhanga
                  Sutta Re: Maharahulovada Sutta update


                  > Hi Piya,
                  > --- Piya Tan <libris@...> wrote:
                  > > Perhaps a close
                  > > reflective reading of
                  > > section 8 might help. [of m139]
                  >
                  > I reread that section, both in your translation in
                  > B.Bodhi's, and I still have the same interpretation.
                  > The Buddha in many suttas calls out the name of the
                  > disciple when praising wholesome qualities. Stricly
                  > speaking, the Buddha contradicts his own advice in
                  > M139. Other examples from other suttas: when the
                  > Buddha points out wrong views in his disciples by
                  > calling them "misguided fools".
                  >
                  > What I conclude from this is that the Buddha could
                  > still use derogatory or complimentary phrases that
                  > appears "personal", but only the speaker would know
                  > whether they utter statements like that free of any
                  > ego-grasping. My guess is that in M139, the Buddha is
                  > probably cautioning his disciples to be prudent about
                  > pointing out wrong religious views for example to
                  > others who cling very dearly to them, rather than a
                  > directive to carry out that instruction in every minor
                  > situation, for example in the company of those noble
                  > disciples who would not wrongly grasp on to
                  > misperceptions of conventional language.
                  >
                  >
                  > > "turd-like" [describing sense-pleasures] brings out
                  > the Pali sense more clearly
                  > > here [than b.bodhi's translation "vile"]
                  >
                  > It's wonderful that the Buddha [when talking to
                  > disples who can handle the full truth] didn't pull any
                  > punches. "Filthy" tones it down too much. A muddy
                  > automobile is filthy. A dusty window is filthy. Sense
                  > pleasures are a shit-sandwich.
                  >
                  > For those of you in polite society, I should explain
                  > the nuance of this expression. A prime example of this
                  > occurs when for example, a boss passes down a very
                  > unsavory task to his staff, all of whom must perform
                  > the task rather than assign just one person to do the
                  > entire job. One of wiser senior members might utter
                  > the statement, "[The task] is a shit-sandwich, and
                  > everyone has to take a bite." Meaning it is
                  > unavoidable fate for everyone to partake in eating
                  > that dungheap.
                  >
                  > When applied to the context of sensual pleasures, it's
                  > a brilliant metaphor. The worldly view on the matter
                  > is that the only way to true happiness is to titillate
                  > the 5 cords of sense pleasure. Conventional wisdom
                  > holds that it is impossible to find happiness without
                  > taking a bite out of that sandwich and taking the
                  > negative side effects as a necessary consequence.
                  >
                  > The enlightened view is very different. They recognize
                  > shit as shit, and realize there is a sublime pleasure
                  > apart from sense pleasures that can come only from
                  > abandoning these pursuits that worldlings consider
                  > indispensable and unavoidable.
                  >
                  > -fk
                  >
                  >
                  > __________________________________________________
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                  > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
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                • Frank Kuan
                  ... Ok, I re-read it. We seem to disagree. What you are implying here as strong word , I consider clinging to regional language and rejecting common usage.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Feb 5, 2003
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                    --- Piya Tan <libris@...> wrote:
                    > Frank,
                    >
                    > And now, you should read section 10.

                    Ok, I re-read it. We seem to disagree. What you are
                    implying here as "strong word", I consider "clinging
                    to regional language and rejecting common usage." I'd
                    be very curious to know exactly the "strength" of the
                    pali regional term the buddha uses in the sutta.
                    Perhaps the pali term was equivalent to my regional
                    version. Also note that "strength" is a completely
                    relative concept. In the company of the Queen of
                    England, even the regional terms you may consider
                    acceptable might be to her "too strong".

                    In the context of this company, meaning the Pali
                    group, I would hope that we are all cultivators. As
                    such, my operating assumption has been that there is
                    little if any clinging to "regional
                    language/colloquialism" among the people here.
                    However, if I am too presumptuous, then I heartily
                    apologize.

                    I'd especially like to apologize to the fecal matter
                    that I had insensitively referred to in the tongue of
                    my regional language, which Mr. fecal matter has
                    informed me the politically correct term for his
                    people is "turd". It should be noted that as a result
                    of the great Turd war of 1850, the rival "Poo-poo"
                    clan had their regional title stripped, and is no
                    longer "recognized" by most other countries with the
                    notable exception of the Nation of Crap. In diplomatic
                    relations, the Queen of England refer to the
                    ambassador of Turd respectfully as "Number Two".

                    -fk


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