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clarification of buddhist terms, Re: [Pali] confidence in writings

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  • Frank Kuan
    Hi Gunnar, kung fu, or gong fu actually has a pretty general meaning in chinese, and is not restricted to philosophy or martial arts. kung fu = skill level.
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2004
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      Hi Gunnar,
      kung fu, or gong fu actually has a pretty general
      meaning in chinese, and is not restricted to
      philosophy or martial arts. kung fu = skill level.
      For example one can have excellent kung fu in cooking,
      or no kung fu in the art of right speech.
      from [majjhima 139], one of the aspects of right
      speech is that we should not insist on using local
      language, and that principle extends to not insisting
      on using theravada buddhist terms. In fact, the Buddha
      took common words like dukkha, arahant, brahmin, etc,
      and gave those words a new spin. The purpose of
      language is to convey meaning. By using the term kung
      fu, I was reasonably certain the context would make
      the meaning clear, which again is the point of
      language. And even if one were to speak in pedandic,
      genuine 100% theravada terminology, there would still
      be instances where qualification and clarification is
      necessary. Thus I see no harm in using a little flavor
      occasionally.

      --- Gunnar G�llmo <gunnargallmo@...> wrote:
      > --- Frank Kuan <fcckuan@...>
      >
      > wrote quite a lot, especially considering that he is
      > one who is sceptical about writings.

      Don't worry Gunnar. You might not see another post
      from me on this list for the next 3 years. I wasn't
      saying that writing has no value. Writing obviously
      can have immense value. My use of hyperbole was to
      emphasize a proper balance of learning theory (via
      reading/oral tradition/etc) and application of that
      theory through practice. Studying sutras all day can
      only get you so far. Application of that study to
      moment to moment practice of 8fold noble path is the
      only way to move beyond the realm of discursive
      thinking, attitudes, views, and bring genuine dukkha
      transcending realizations.

      "anyone can write a great book...": If you look at the
      context of how I use that phrase, you'd see that the
      point I'm trying to make is that someone can sound
      like a enlightened being based on the eloquence and
      sophistication of their writing, yet have no more
      dhamma realizations than the average buddhist. No need
      to get so worked up and defensive about the profession
      of writing. Like any other discipline, excellent kung
      fu in writing would require dedication and work, and
      on a worldly level certainly merits respect and
      admiration.

      -fk


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    • Gunnar Gällmo
      ... It is practical, when adressing an Internet discussion group, to stick to the language(s) known by all members of that group, and to explain when using
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 2, 2004
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        --- Frank Kuan <fcckuan@...> likhi:

        > from [majjhima 139], one of the aspects of right
        > speech is that we should not insist on using local
        > language, and that principle extends to not
        > insisting
        > on using theravada buddhist terms.

        It is practical, when adressing an Internet discussion
        group, to stick to the language(s) known by all
        members of that group, and to explain when using terms
        from other languages. In this group, these languages
        are Pali and English; you can't take for granted that
        the group members understand a certain third language,
        such as Chinese.

        It is also a fact that when a word is imported from
        one language to another, its meaning tends to become
        more restricted. What's interesting to this group,
        when you use a term existing both in English and
        Chinese, is its meaning in English.

        > "anyone can write a great book...": If you look at
        > the
        > context of how I use that phrase, you'd see that the
        > point I'm trying to make is that someone can sound
        > like a enlightened being based on the eloquence and
        > sophistication of their writing, yet have no more
        > dhamma realizations than the average buddhist.

        Yes, someone - but not anyone. Even a charlatan needs
        skill (although not a wholesome one). Or as some
        Sinhalese friends of mine use to say: Any idiot can
        speak the truth, but it takes a genius to lie
        consistently.

        (Excuse me for being pedantic about details of
        language; but this is, after all, that kind of list.
        And even if a raft is to be abandoned after crossing,
        is should preferably be well constructed when the
        crossing is started.)

        In the dhamma,

        Gunnar


        =====
        gunnargallmo@...

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