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A Satipathana Grammar Question

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  • Ray Mondor
    Hi everyone, I am a beginner in the study of Pali and I am seeking help in understanding the translation of a familiar phrase from the Satipathana Sutta, Kaye
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 22, 2005
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      Hi everyone, I am a beginner in the study of Pali and I am seeking help in understanding the translation of a familiar phrase from the Satipathana Sutta, "Kaye kayanupassi viharati". I know the commentaries have much to say about this passage but I would like to stick with the grammar as much as possible, at least as a starting point.

      My attempt:
      Kaye kayanupassi viharati.
      Kaye - locative singular noun
      "in the body"
      kayanupassi - compound nominative singular adjective
      "body-contemplating"
      viharati - present active third person singular
      "he abides"
      My translation: "In the body, body-contemplating, he abides."
      In this translation "in the body" would modify "he abides".


      But all the translations I have seen render it as (approximately) "He abides contemplating the body in the body." This means that "in the body" modifies the first half of the compound "kayanupassi", no? I assume this relates in some way to the current "compound algorithm" discussion but that discussion is so far above my head that I will not even attempt to guess how.


      Is it grammatically valid to interpret it in the way I have done above? In other words, can it mean that the meditator abides in the body while contemplating the body? And can the similar passages that occur later in the sutta mean that the meditator abides in the feelings while contemplating the feelings, abides in the mind while contemplating the mind, and abides in the mental objects while contemplating the mental objects? Leaving aside the question of what those phrases might mean, is this a valid grammatical reading?

      Thanks for any help,
      Ray





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