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Re: Kunstsprache

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  • Derek
    ... Dear Edward, It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply saying
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 9, 2004
      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Edward Miller <emillersa1@s...> wrote:
      > If Pali wasn't a lingua franca of northern India, then what
      > language did the Buddha speak?

      Dear Edward,

      It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The
      trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply
      saying "the Buddha spoke Magadhi" may or may not answer your
      question!

      Two hundred years after the time of the Buddha, yhe emperor Ashoka
      (3rd century B.C.) had pillars with edicts on them put up over large
      parts of India, and by studying the edicts on these pillars we can
      get some idea of the way language varied from place to place. Hence
      we can speculate a little about what Magadhi may have looked like.
      For example the vocative plural form bhikkhave is thought to be
      typically Magadhi. But that's about as far as we can go.

      Derek.
    • Ong Yong Peng
      Dear Derek, Edward, Gunnar, Piya and friends, thanks for the interesting discussion. To the common beliefs that 1. the Buddha may have never spoken Pali, 2.
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 9, 2004
        Dear Derek, Edward, Gunnar, Piya and friends,

        thanks for the interesting discussion. To the common beliefs that

        1. the Buddha may have never spoken Pali,
        2. the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language.

        I would like to add that due to the fact the Buddha spent a good
        portion of his time in Magadha, and Kapilavatu was a political ally
        of Magadha, Magadhi was the dialect most often used by Him.

        However, Magadhi was not the only vernacular the Buddha used. The
        Buddha had also learnt the 'religious language' of the Vedas.
        Furthermore, He did not set a particular language to be superior
        than others. As recorded in the Tipitaka, the Buddha allows his
        disciples to preach the Dhamma in the local language.

        The Buddha's footsteps covered the entire Northern India and Nepal.
        So, it is unlikely that he spoke only one language. Just like it was
        impossible to travel across Europe and preached to masses all in one
        language.

        It is interesting to note that while each sutta records certain
        statistics of the meeting, such as the place, time and attendees,
        there is no mention of the language used.

        My guesses are:

        1. The reciter (Ananda) of the suttas did not perceive language as
        an issue. It is known to the assembly of the Arhats the Buddhist
        attitude towards language usage (as the mean to an end, Zen
        saying: "finger pointing the moon"), hence it is not recorded.

        2. It is social norm for people to speak in different tongues in
        different places. This is especially true as the Buddhist sangha was
        not elitist and did not promote the use of the Vedic language. So,
        the language used was not much of a concern for the records, as it
        is (for academic purpose) today.


        metta,
        Yong Peng


        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Derek wrote:
        > If Pali wasn't a lingua franca of northern India, then what
        > language did the Buddha speak?


        It is sometimes said that the Buddha spoke the Magadhi language. The
        trouble is, we have no records of the Magadhi language, so simply
        saying "the Buddha spoke Magadhi" may or may not answer your
        question!

        Two hundred years after the time of the Buddha, yhe emperor Ashoka
        (3rd century B.C.) had pillars with edicts on them put up over large
        parts of India, and by studying the edicts on these pillars we can
        get some idea of the way language varied from place to place. Hence
        we can speculate a little about what Magadhi may have looked like.
        For example the vocative plural form bhikkhave is thought to be
        typically Magadhi. But that's about as far as we can go.
      • Gunnar Gällmo
        ... That s my theory as well. Asokas edicts, also, were written in different local Prakrits. That was practical when dealing with texts cut in stone, and not
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 10, 2004
          --- Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@...> skrev:
          >

          > However, Magadhi was not the only vernacular the
          > Buddha used.

          ...

          > The Buddha's footsteps covered the entire Northern
          > India and Nepal.
          > So, it is unlikely that he spoke only one language.

          That's my theory as well. Asokas edicts, also, were
          written in different local Prakrits. That was
          practical when dealing with texts cut in stone, and
          not to be carried around; but the Tipitaka, obviously,
          needed some kind of standardized language, so I think
          the members of the first council just elected one of
          the Prakrits, or perhaps made a new one, without
          making a great fuss about it.

          Gunnar


          =====
          gunnargallmo@...
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