- Hi Khael & Pali friends,
[Apologies the for the rushed reply which was full of errors: hope it makes some of you laugh! Anyway here is the same reply corrected. Please disregard previous mail.]
Welcome to the exciting world of Pali and translation.
The Mahaavedalla Sutta (M 1:298/43.35) has a very interesting and beautiful
statement in connection with "pamaa.na":
Lust...hate...delusion is a maker of measurement.
(Bhikkhu Bodhi in "The Middle Length Discourses" 2001:395 & n)
A similar statement is made in the Pa.tisambhidaamagga 2:127/13.46:
Defilements are bound up with [the limitation of] measure.
(Nyanamoli in Pm:~N 314).
Of course both Bhikkhus Bodhi and Nyanamoli could be wrong, but how more wrong we are, lacking their wisdom and spirituality!
By extension and practice, it is acceptable to regard the "appam~n~na" as
"illimitable, immeasurable" (or even "without criteria" if one is
broad-minded enough). Those who have done the Cultivation of Lovingkindness,
or even know some theory regarding it, would never fail to be told that for
Lovingkindness to be fulfilled, the cultivation has to go beyond any barrier, that is, to
be all inclusive, to include especially those whom one does not like, those
who are different from one (including, of course, those who translate
differently from one :)
What I love about the Pali Suttas (the canon I mean) is their innate
simplicity, where different sections of the canon help explain difficulties
elsewhere (even without Commentaries, which are of course often useful).
I suppose we have to choose between pontificating over the right
translations, definitions etc. and the giving up of the notion "I am right" so as to
seek the right answers (or path). If we keep this latter open,
friendly shoulder-standing, then we have the benefit of those giants before us who have
helped us understand the Suttas and Buddhism better.
Some two decades ago (when I was a young Theravada monk) and was corresponding
with Miss I.B. Horner (then President of the Pali Text Society), I pointed
out to her a minor error in her "the Book of Discipline" (her translation of the
Vinaya). Her reply had no trace whatsoever of pontification or even scholarly air: she
humbly remarked how easy it is even for scholars (read experts) to err
and thanked me for pointing out the error. My good karma is to have met
many such giants and scholars when I was in Europe and Berkeley, California, and now to continue to meet them on the Internet..
Although some might dismiss the early translations of the Pali texts by the
Pali Text Society as being dated and containing many inaccuracies, etc, I
prefer to see them as a quantum leap, a great development or evolution, an awakening towards a better
presentation and understanding of Pali literature, a growing focus and depth of field over many lives in our
vision of Buddhist texts. What is so admirable about these early translations
is that they employ a very high standard of academic discipline and system that
helps us to locate and use the Pali texts with authenticity, clarity and skillfulness.
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