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  • Piya Tan
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2003
      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":

      raago...doso...moho pamaa.nakara.no
      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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