Re: [Pali] Divine revelation in Pali Buddhism
- Peter Masefield wrote:
PM> In the third chapter of my book, I give textual references for five distinct ways in which
PM> this seems to have taken place:
Currently your valuable book is unavailable for me, however I may
consider buying it in the future.
PM> (5) by reviewing Dhamma heard (e.g. M I 501).
The excerpt from this Magandiya sutta is available at
PM> In addition, I append tables citing occassions upon which various individuals (a) received
PM> the Dhammacakkhu via an anupubbikathaa; and (b) attained arahantship through a further
PM> oral tecahing.
So far I have found ten instances of (b) with oral teaching included
in the sutta:
Mahaapu.n.nama MN 3.1.9 (109) III.15 (available at metta.lk)
Chachakka MN 3.5.6 (148) III.280 (available on the net)
Ti.msamatta SN 2.4.3 II.187
Anatta-lakkhana SN 22.59 III.66 (available)
Khemaka SN 3.1.7 III.126
Aaditta SN 35.28 IV.19 (available)
Aggikkhandhopama AN 7.7.8 IV.128
Dvayatanupassana Snp III.12 139 (available)
Pañcavaggiyakathaa Vin 1.6 I.7
Uruvelapaa.tihaariyakathaa Vin 1.12 I.24
- I say it ain't right
There are two problems connected with translating sammaa as "right":
The first is that here in the West this word has been taken from its
origins as a carpenters term for an upright or perpendicular angle, a
right angle, or Upright, and made into a term standing for power and
authority: "righteous" (or, as "correct" it means "the only correct"
or as "propper" it means the rest is impropper) and "with the right
to". The use as Upright is not heard at all, and that would be the
meaning that was needed, at least for the elements of the Magga,
although it would be awkward elsewhere. But that is not how, even, I
see the elements of the Magga, that is to say as being the upright
ways of things; I see them rather as the ways that work in a system
designed to accomplish something. This will become apparent if you
examine the structure of the individual elements. They are not stated
in terms of static states, they are stated in terms that will be
interpreted differently by different individuals at different stages
of progress. So what is needed is not a term that describes an
So the second is that this is a term that must be used as to describe
a conditional state of things, not an absolutely correct
position. "Right" allows only for any other alternative to
be "wrong", and that is not what is being said in most cases where
samma is being used, it is simply saying that this is the best for
those going This Way, second best is not necessarily wrong, and
certainly not wrong for those who are going that way. Samma ditthi is
the point of view you adopt in order to overcome views of self and
existence, once those have been overcome, samma ditthi too must be
abandoned as just one of the limitless ways of seeing things. (All
views are to be let go.) Remember the simile of the raft.If right
were right and wrong were wrong, then right view would be right for
the Arahant as well as for the student, and that is not the case. It
needs to be a word that stands for "best under these conditions".
I think that reliance on the fact that Pali is the root (or close to
it) of all IndoEuropean languages, as has been said, is a good
justification for seeking in the etymology of the word for the best
translation. From summa then, we have (at least) two alternatives:
the terms "high" (I suppose we could say "top") and "consummate"
depending on how closely you want to stick to the sound of the root.
Both these terms allow for understanding the thing it is conditioning
to be conditionally the best, and yet allow for that which is second
best to not necessarily be wrong, just not the highest, or the best
in this case.
My preference is for High, because that word fits all round, as
in. . . ahum. . . sammasamadhi = high getting high, or
sammasambuddhassa=the high #1 wide awakened one.
As for miccha, it breaks down (me>wee) into "small-stuff"; so you
could say "low", which is my preference. PED has, as well
as "wrong", "contrary".
By the way, a Google search reveals 500 plus references to Buddhology
and several universities and other institutions that offer degrees in
the science (many of them in Asia) (I have no idea what it is all
about). That fellow was a tad on the blunt side, for sure, and did
not consider his audience, but I believe a close look will reveal
that it was he that was being attacked and that there was a bit of
the pack mentality going on here. Not exactly something to be proud
Please understand, I must be off, it is not right that I should
linger where I have taken a stand against the owner of the list! I do
it wishing only that you not neglect to wish well even to your
enemies. This not being you, yourself, who then may they be but
suchas suchas you?
best to you all!
My next actions will be to resign from the list.
Bye bye, adios or better yet Ni banna!
- Generally, I believe that the word sammaa can be appropriately
translated into several English terms. To me, however, it is more
important to understand the meaning of "right" view than to enter a
hot debate as to whether "right" is right.
I have also pointed out in an earlier mail that the context in which
doctrine fit in is comparatively more important. I did mention that
"right" does not mean that only what the Buddha taught are "holy" and
good while the rest are evil and wrong. That's certainly not the
buddhist approach. The word "right" has to be understood in the
context of the Middle Path, in its effect of the eradication of
At times, the selection of words for English translation can be
disputable. This list is certainly open for members to post their
opinions for discussion and consideration, but the tone used has to
be friendly and non-agressive.