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Fwd: Aranavibhanga Sutta Re: Maharahulovada Sutta update

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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
                >
                >
                > __________________________________________________
                > Do you Yahoo!?
                > Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.
                > http://mailplus.yahoo.com
                >
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                web only.
                > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
                > [Send Message] pali@yahoogroups.com
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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 7 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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