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  • Ong Yong Peng
    Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera a hundred years from birth Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi President and Editor-in-Chief, Buddhist Publication Society Introduction July 21st
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 23 8:18 PM
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      Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera a hundred years from birth

      Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
      President and Editor-in-Chief, Buddhist Publication Society

      Introduction

      July 21st this year marks the hundredth birth anniversary of the late Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera and on this occasion I wish to offer some reflections on the significance of his life and work. Ven. Nyanaponika was a colossal bridge-builder in understanding who through his writings helped to shape the contemporary expression of Theravada Buddhism. A thinker with deep insight into the human condition, a gifted communicator and masterly stylist, he sought in his writings to relate the Buddha’s teachings to the momentous existential problems that face humankind in the modern age. Like his teacher, Ven. Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), also from Germany, he possessed a thorough and profound grasp of the essential principles of the Dhamma. But as a creative thinker he went far beyond the exposition of orthodox Buddhist doctrine and clarification of technical terms to forge a distinctive vision of Dhamma which is at once uniquely his own yet true to the authentic Buddhist tradition at its best.

      Keenly aware of the moral and spiritual vacuum that had opened up at the very core of Western civilization, he saw in the Buddha’s Teaching the most effective remedy for the spiritual malaise besetting contemporary man. Through his work as a scholar and commentator he sought to make this remedy known to the world at large. His silent labour in solitude bore as its fruit an impressive body of translations and expository works in both German and English which have guided thousands of people, both in the East and the West, to a correct understanding and practice of the Dhamma.

      Life sketch

      The person who was to become Nyanaponika Mahathera was born in Hanau on 21st July 1901 as Siegmund Feniger, the only child of a Jewish couple. His parents gave him a traditional Jewish upbringing, and even at a young age he evinced a keen personal interest in religion. In his late teens, soon after he finished his schooling, he started work in the book trade. At this time disturbing religious doubts stirred him to an intense spiritual search, in the course of which he came across books on Buddhism. The new discovery had an immediate appeal to him, an appeal which grew increasingly stronger until by his twentieth year he considered himself a convinced Buddhist.

      When he encountered the writings and translations of Ven. Nyanatiloka, a compelling urge took shape in his mind to go to Asia and become a monk. This idea, however, could not be acted upon for some time. For in 1933, shortly after the death of his father, Hitler came to power and began his heartless program of persecuting German Jews. At first Siegmund tried his best to stand his ground in the expectation, shared by many, that the persecution was a passing phase that would soon cease. In time, however, it became clear to him that the waves of hatred, ignorance, and violence unleashed by the Nazis were gaining momentum at an alarming rate, and he realized that neither he nor his mother could safely remain in Germany. Thus in November 1935 he left Germany along with his mother heading for Vienna, where relatives of theirs were living. Having arranged for his mother to stay with their relatives, in early 1936 he left Europe for Sri Lanka, where he joined the Sangha as a pupil of Ven. Nyanatilka at Island Hermitage.

      When war broke out between Germany and Britain in 1939, the two German bhikkhus, like all German males resident in British colonies, were consigned to internment camps, first at Diyatalawa and later at Dehra Dun, in northern India. Despite the difficult circumstances of internment, Ven. Nyanaponika completed German translations of the Sutta Nipata, the Dhammasangani (the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka), and its commentary the Atthasalini. He also compiled an anthology of texts on Satipatthana meditation. When the war ended the two monks were released from internment in 1946 and returned to Sri Lanka, where they resumed residency at Island Hermitage. In early 1951 they were both made citizens of the newly independent Sri Lanka, their adopted homeland.

      In May 1957 Ven. Nyanatiloka passed away after a long illness. Six months later Ven. Nyanaponika’s career as an exponent of the Dhamma launched out in a new direction when, together with several lay friends, he established the Buddhist Publication Society (BPS). In his earlier writings Ven. Nyanaponika had been developing a vision of the Buddha’s teachings as the most viable solution to the spiritual crisis faced by modern man. Now, as President and Editor of the new society, he found himself presented with the opportunity to transform this vision from the personal guideline of his own writing into the governing philosophy of an entire publishing enterprise aimed at an incipient world-wide interest in Buddhism. The measure of his success in achieving his aim is indicated by the success of the BPS itself, which through his guidance has become one of the world’s most prolific publishers of Theravada Buddhist literature.

      As advancing age began to sap his strength, in 1984 Ven. Nyanaponika retired as Editor of the BPS, and in 1988 he retired as President, accepting appointment as the BPS’s distinguished Patron. Despite minor infirmities and advancing blindness over the last years of his life, Ven. Nyanaponika had enjoyed remarkably good health through his 93rd birthday on 21 July 1994. His last birthday was celebrated joyously by his friends and the BPS staff with the release of the BPS edition of his book The Vision of Dhamma, a collection of his writings from the Wheel and Bodhi Leaves series. In late August, however, the relentless process of ageing suddenly accelerated, and on 19 October, the last day of his 58th Rains Retreat as a bhikkhu, he breathed his last in the pre-dawn quiet at the Forest Hermitage in Kandy.

      The exponent of the Dhamma

      Through his own writings and in his editorship of the BPS, Ven. Nyanaponika played a momentous role in shaping the expression of Theravada Buddhism appropriate for the latter half of the twentieth century. Gifted with keen intelligence, a profound grasp of the Dhamma, and extraordinary sensitivity to the needs of his fellow human beings, he endeavoured both in his personal writings and in his publication policy to articulate a vision of the Buddha’s teachings that underscored its crucial relevance to the present age. The early decades of the century provided the background to this vision. In his own mature years he had witnessed two world wars (one involving the mass extermination of his own ancestral people, the European Jews) as well as countless smaller scale conflicts and, in the post-war period, the breakdown of existential meaning in the lives of so many thoughtful, well-intentioned people. Against this background he constantly sought to emphasize, from different angles, those aspects of the Buddha’s teachings that speak most directly and meaningfully to earnest men and women in search of clear spiritual direction.

      Here I would like to discuss briefly several of the dominant strands that enter into Ven. Nyanaponika’s vision of Dhamma, the themes that give his presentation of the Teaching its distinctive stamp. I have organized these themes under four headings.

      (i) The Prospect and Challenge of Freedom

      For Ven. Nyanaponika the Buddha’s Teaching is first and foremost a doctrine of freedom, of freedom from suffering. This is the explicit aim of the Dhamma as embedded in the Four Noble Truths, and for Ven. Nayanaponika it is also the underlying aim and origin of all religion. The uniqueness and greatness of the Buddha’s Teaching, among the various world religions, consists in its enunciation of a path that leads to experiential release from suffering. What it offers is not the promise of salvation in the next world, but the prospect of deliverance attainable here and now through an utterly realistic insight into the human situation.

      For Ven. Nyanaponika, what is most impressive in the Buddha’s Teaching is its clear definition of the path to freedom. The path is explained in minute detail with all its essential elements plainly described and its major milestones marked. To follow this path does not depend upon momentous leaps of faith or reliance upon external redeemers. The path calls only for moral earnestness, self-reliance, honest reflection, and diligent effort. It does not lead us away from immediate experience, but to a profound penetration of the true nature of experience through the cultivation of the simple faculty of close, careful attention to ones’s own processes of body and mind. Even though the path may be long and hard, Ven. Nyanaponika repeatedly stresses that it is a gradual path which advances in stages. Thus even those without much spiritual strength to start with can still take the first steps, and any earnest effort brings concrete results.

      Ven. Nyanaponika’s couches this conception of the Dhamma in terms especially addressed to Western man in the late 20th century and by extension to those in Asia whose mental horizons have been shaped by Western influences. He speaks to those who can no longer rest content with doctrines of salvation through faith, who no longer seek refuge in ideologies or systems of belief, yet who demand deeper answers to the fundamental questions of existence than materialistic modes of thought can provide. He is thus tackling the doubts of the countless men and women who find themselves stranded between the old religions of faith, which they no longer believe in, and the new religions of technological progress and economic consumerism, which they find vain and hollow. For such seekers, the Buddha’s teaching offers a path to freedom that scales the highest towers of spirituality yet remains fully respectful of the moral and intellectual autonomy of the individual.

      (ii) A secure foundation for ethics

      One of the major spiritual problems of our age that weighed heavily on Ven. Nyanaponika’s mind was the widespread erosion in moral standards that had infected modern society. He was keenly aware of course that even in past ages, when religion reigned supreme human behaviour was often ruled by blind lust, ambition, cruelty, and hatred. In our epoch, however, even an objective foundation for ethics was in jeopardy. ln the West, ethics had always been seen as rooted in God. Hence, as belief in God ceased to be an effective force in many people’s lives, moral principles were left without an anchor. The cult of unrestrained self-interest had started to spread with alarming speed, threatening to trample all higher ideals underfoot.

      Ven. Nyanaponika saw in the Buddha’s Teaching a secure foundation for ethics that does not require any appeals to external authority but can be derived directly from the constitution of the human mind. He found the key he was seeking above all in the teaching on the unwholesome and wholesome roots if greed, hatred, and delusion, and their opposites to which he devoted an entire booklet, The Roots of Good and Evil.

      In this essay Ven. Nyanaponika investigates the teaching on the roots in extensive detail. With numerous citations from the Pali texts he explores not only the psychological inter-relations of the roots, but their kammic consequences, their effect on the process of rebirth, and their social repercussions. He devotes separate sections to the methods for overcoming the evil roots by meditative training, and finally he discusses the significance of Nibbana as the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion. For him it is important that the Buddha’s Teaching displays an inviolable internal consistency: from its simplest maxims on ethics to its conception of final liberation, it focuses upon the task of internal purification through the overcoming of the three unwholesome roots and the perfecting of detachment, loving kindness, and wisdom.

      (iii) The comprehension of Inner reality

      This theme leads us to the next strand in Ven. Nyanaponika’s vision of Dhamma. According to Ven. Nyanaponika, the process of self-transformation to which the Buddha directs us must begin with self-knowledge, with the understanding of one’s own mind: In the Buddhist doctrine, mind is the starting point, the focal point, and also, as the liberated and purified mind of the Saint, the culiminating point. Self-understanding, according to the Mahathera, requires the discipline of inward contemplation, particularly the practice of methodical mindfulness. But besides this, it also calls for a precise and detailed analysis of the contents of the mind. Through his deep study of the Buddha’s discourses and the Abhidhamma, as well as through his long meditative experience, Ven. Nyanaponika had acquired a profound understanding of man’s psychological makeup his passions, struggles, and anxieties, his potential for good and for evil, which he explores with extraordinary acumen in his writings.

      Ven. Nyanaponika is perspicacious not only when describing our disruptive psychological pathologies, but also (or especially) when exposing the condition of the ordinary undeveloped mind, which we commonly take for granted as normal and unquestionable. Thus, on the theme of tidying up the mental household, he writes:

      If anyone whose mind is not harmonized and controlled through methodical meditative training should take a close look at his own everyday thoughts and activities he will meet with a rather disconcerting sight. Apart from the few main channels of his purposeful thoughts and activities, he will everywhere be faced with a tangled mass of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and casual bodily movements, showing a disorderliness and confusion which he would certainly not tolerate in his living room.... Hundreds of cross-currents flash through the mind, and everywhere there are bits and ends of unfinished thoughts, stifled emotions, and passing moods.... If we observe our own minds we shall notice how easily diverted our thoughts are, how often they behave like undisciplined disputants constantly interrupting each other and refusing to listen to the other sides arguments.

      (iv) The training and liberation of the mind

      Examing the long-neglected quarters of our own minds will deliver a wholesome shock, convincing us of the urgent need for methodical mental training. This brings us to the fourth topic in our study, the most significant contribution Ven. Nyanaponika has made to our understanding of the Dhamma: his disclosure of Satipatthana, the meditative discipline of right mindfulness, as the foundation-stone of Buddhist mental training. This thesis is already indicated by the title of his best known book The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, which squarely demonstrates that the systematic practice of right mindfulness is indeed the heart of Buddhist meditation.

      The book, translated into some seven languages, takes the form of a modern commentary on the Satipatthana Sutta, which it includes in translation along with an anthology of texts on Satipatthana. But Ven. Nyanaponika does not merely repeat stereotyped explanations of right mindfulness: instead, happens our eyes to aspects of this system of meditative discipline that had never been articulated so clearly before, at least not in European languages. He begins his work by placing the practice of Buddhist meditation in the particular historical context in which he is writing opening with a chilling account of the crisis confronting the world at the height of the Cold War. After two world wars, he cautions, humankind has still not learned its lesson; again, it is preparing for a new bout of that raving madness called war. And at its root the same old mechanism is at work again: the interaction of greed and fear, lust for power and the fear of our own instruments of destruction. Yet the author observes despite the gravity of the danger, men are still bungling only with the symptoms of the malady, their own undeveloped minds.

      The Buddha’s Teaching addresses this sick and truly demented world of ours with words of eternal wisdom and unfailing guidances. The advice the Teaching offers can be summed up in three challenges, which the Ven. Nyanaponika expresses thus: (i) to know the mind, that is so near to us, and yet is so unknown? (ii) to shape the mind, that is so unwieldy and obstinate, and yet may turn so pliant; (iii) to free the mind, that is in bondage all over and yet may win freedom here and now. Hence he writes, the resolute turning away from disastrous paths, the turning that might save the world in its present crisis, must necessarily be a turning inward, into the recesses of man’s own mind. Only through a change within will there be a change without.

      The instrument for this transformation, and for mind’s final liberation, is the practice of Satipatthana meditation. Satipatthana, the Mahathera holds, is the master key for knowing the mind; the perfect tool for shaping the mind; and the lofty manifestation of the mind that has been liberated. The first task represents the theoretical aspect of Satipatthana, the other two its practical application.

      Ven. Nyanaponika’s treatment of Satipatthana in the book harmonizes with his entire approach to the Dhamma. He stresses its balanced combination of simplicity with profundity, its practicality, its univerality. It is beneficial not only to the confirmed Buddhist but to all who endeavour to master the mind and develop its latent potential. It is a message of self-help and self-reliance which leads to tangible results, results that unfold in a eraded sequence throughout the gradual training: in the initial stages it brings the immediate fruits of greater self-understanding, deeper contentment, pliancy and adaptability. It restores simplicity and naturalness to a complicated, problematic world addicted to artificial devices. At deeper levels it reveals more and more clearly the three characteristics of phenomena impermanence, suffering, and egolessness; and at its highest level it eradicates the root-causes of all bondage and suffering, greed, hatred and delusion.

      What Ven. Nyanaponika stresses in his writings on Satipatthana is that Buddhist meditation is not an exotic, spiritual technology that leads to bizarre landscapes of the imaginary beyond. At its core it is, rather, a decipline that centres around the systematic cultivation of a simple, very ordinary mental faculty that is normally employed only in a superficial manner. This is the faculty of awareness or attention. In our usual dealings with the world, the initial moment of attention with which any experience begins is almost immediately overwhelmed by currents of associative thought and conceptual construction, by which our awareness of our object is subordinated to our ego-centred desires and pragmatic aims. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness aims at sustaining the rudimentary moment of attention, and, by repeated practice, at transforming it into a steady, uninterrupted, potent beam of awareness that can then be used to probe into the very constitution and structure of conscious experience. Ven. Nyanaponika states that it required the genius of the Buddha to discover the hidden talent in this homely, unobtrusive faculty of bare attention: Through the master mind of the Buddha, mindfulness is finally revealed as the Archimedean point where the vast revolving mass of world suffering is levered out of its twofold anchorage in ignorance and craving. I would add that while the efficacy of mindfulness has been known to Buddhist meditators through the ages, it took the master mind of Ven. Nyanaponika to reveal so lucidly, with such penetrating psychological insight, exactly how mindfulness fulfils the onerous duties entrusted to it by the Enlightened One.


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


      "an just evan so, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors evan to the seventh generation have ever seen Brahma (GOD).
      and you further say that even the rishis of old whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretended to know, or to have seen where or whence or whither Brahma is, yet these Brahmans versed in the three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not. neither have seen! Now what think you, vasettha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolished talk?"

      Discourses of Buddha - Knowers of Veda
      The Wheel publication #57/58
      BUDDHIST INTERNATIONAL
      Radical approach to Human Rights


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Piya Tan
      Hi Sukhdev, If you check the Buddhist Dictionary again, you will notice that the compiler is Ven Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), and not Nyanaponika. Sukhi Piya
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 10, 2005
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        Hi Sukhdev,

        If you check the Buddhist Dictionary again, you will notice that the compiler is Ven
        Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), and not Nyanaponika.

        Sukhi

        Piya

        Sukhdev Singh wrote:

        > Hi Ong Yong Peng,
        >
        > I might be using your Pali forum for my learning in a little
        > different way.� I visited your `genesis' and it was very
        > interesting to find out how the reigns of this forum were placed in
        > your hands way back in the year 2001 and how you, with the help of
        > other members, have progressed from there.
        >
        > However, it was msg #9 that got this response going because I
        > recognised the name of� Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera as the person who
        > edited the third� and enlarged revised version of the "Buddhist
        > Dictionary" authored by his beloved teacher and mentor Ven.
        > Nyanatiloka.� I happen to own a copy of this wonderful dictionary,
        > mine, having been published by the Buddhist Missionary Soceity, based
        > at the Buddhist Maha Vihara, here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
        >
        > The most poignant matter that I learnt was about how Ven. Nyanatiloka
        > completed� this dictionary and other publications while at
        > the "Central Internment Camp" in Dehra-Dun, India.� This
        > matter appears in the "Preface to the First Edition" dated
        > 28-8-1946, from the the premises of the "Central Internment Camp".
        >
        > All that you have posted in your post helped to fill in the gap and
        > the "mystery" of the "Central Internment Camp".
        >
        > However, I would also like to take this opporuinity to hightlight
        > possible discrepancies in your dates about the passing away of Ven.
        > Nyanatiloka.
        >
        > The date given in the "Editor's (Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera)
        > Preface to the Third Edition" is 28th May 1947 and not May 1957 as you
        > have mentined in your post.
        >
        > Actually, it is not directly mentioned like this but here is the
        > statement :
        >
        > <<<The present revised and enlarged Third Edition was intended to be
        > issued in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Venerable
        > Author's passing away on the 28th May 1957.>>>
        >
        > Your two statements are as follows:
        >
        > <<< Like his teacher, Ven. Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), also from
        > Germany,...� >>>
        >
        > And
        >
        > <<<In May 1957 Ven. Nyanatiloka passed away after a long illness.>>>
        >
        > Anyway, your post about the good Venerable and some information about
        > his mentor is rather long and I need more time to study it after I
        > have printed a hard copy of it.
        >
        > Let me also join some other early members, some of whose posts� I
        > have read, in congratulating you on your good work on this forum
        > which has brought benefit to many students of the Dhamma.
        >
        > Regards
        >
        > Sukhdev Singh
        >
        > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Ong Yong Peng" <ypong001@c...> wrote:
        > > Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera a hundred years from birth
        > >
        > > Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
        > > President and Editor-in-Chief, Buddhist Publication Society
        > >
        > > Introduction
        > >
        > > July 21st this year marks the hundredth birth anniversary of the
        > late Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera and on this occasion I wish to offer
        > some reflections on the significance of his life and work. Ven.
        > Nyanaponika was a colossal bridge-builder in understanding who
        > through his writings helped to shape the contemporary expression of
        > Theravada Buddhism. A thinker with deep insight into the human
        > condition, a gifted communicator and masterly stylist, he sought in
        > his writings to relate the Buddha's teachings to the momentous
        > existential problems that face humankind in the modern age. Like his
        > teacher, Ven. Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), also from Germany, he
        > possessed a thorough and profound grasp of the essential principles
        > of the Dhamma. But as a creative thinker he went far beyond the
        > exposition of orthodox Buddhist doctrine and clarification of
        > technical terms to forge a distinctive vision of Dhamma which is at
        > once uniquely his own yet true to the authentic Buddhist tradition at
        > its best.
        > >
        > > Keenly aware of the moral and spiritual vacuum that had opened up
        > at the very core of Western civilization, he saw in the Buddha's
        > Teaching the most effective remedy for the spiritual malaise
        > besetting contemporary man. Through his work as a scholar and
        > commentator he sought to make this remedy known to the world at
        > large. His silent labour in solitude bore as its fruit an impressive
        > body of translations and expository works in both German and English
        > which have guided thousands of people, both in the East and the West,
        > to a correct understanding and practice of the Dhamma.
        > >
        > > Life sketch
        > >
        > > The person who was to become Nyanaponika Mahathera was born in
        > Hanau on 21st July 1901 as Siegmund Feniger, the only child of a
        > Jewish couple. His parents gave him a traditional Jewish upbringing,
        > and even at a young age he evinced a keen personal interest in
        > religion. In his late teens, soon after he finished his schooling, he
        > started work in the book trade. At this time disturbing religious
        > doubts stirred him to an intense spiritual search, in the course of
        > which he came across books on Buddhism. The new discovery had an
        > immediate appeal to him, an appeal which grew increasingly stronger
        > until by his twentieth year he considered himself a convinced
        > Buddhist.
        > >
        > > When he encountered the writings and translations of Ven.
        > Nyanatiloka, a compelling urge took shape in his mind to go to Asia
        > and become a monk. This idea, however, could not be acted upon for
        > some time. For in 1933, shortly after the death of his father, Hitler
        > came to power and began his heartless program of persecuting German
        > Jews. At first Siegmund tried his best to stand his ground in the
        > expectation, shared by many, that the persecution was a passing phase
        > that would soon cease. In time, however, it became clear to him that
        > the waves of hatred, ignorance, and violence unleashed by the Nazis
        > were gaining momentum at an alarming rate, and he realized that
        > neither he nor his mother could safely remain in Germany. Thus in
        > November 1935 he left Germany along with his mother heading for
        > Vienna, where relatives of theirs were living. Having arranged for
        > his mother to stay with their relatives, in early 1936 he left Europe
        > for Sri Lanka, where he joined the Sangha as a pupil of Ven.
        > Nyanatilka at Island Hermitage.
        > >
        > > When war broke out between Germany and Britain in 1939, the two
        > German bhikkhus, like all German males resident in British colonies,
        > were consigned to internment camps, first at Diyatalawa and later at
        > Dehra Dun, in northern India. Despite the difficult circumstances of
        > internment, Ven. Nyanaponika completed German translations of the
        > Sutta Nipata, the Dhammasangani (the first book of the Abhidhamma
        > Pitaka), and its commentary the Atthasalini. He also compiled an
        > anthology of texts on Satipatthana meditation. When the war ended the
        > two monks were released from internment in 1946 and returned to Sri
        > Lanka, where they resumed residency at Island Hermitage. In early
        > 1951 they were both made citizens of the newly independent Sri Lanka,
        > their adopted homeland.
        > >
        > > In May 1957 Ven. Nyanatiloka passed away after a long illness. Six
        > months later Ven. Nyanaponika's career as an exponent of the
        > Dhamma
        > launched out in a new direction when, together with several lay
        > friends, he established the Buddhist Publication Society (BPS). In
        > his earlier writings Ven. Nyanaponika had been developing a vision of
        > the Buddha's teachings as the most viable solution to the
        > spiritual
        > crisis faced by modern man. Now, as President and Editor of the new
        > society, he found himself presented with the opportunity to transform
        > this vision from the personal guideline of his own writing into the
        > governing philosophy of an entire publishing enterprise aimed at an
        > incipient world-wide interest in Buddhism. The measure of his success
        > in achieving his aim is indicated by the success of the BPS itself,
        > which through his guidance has become one of the world's most
        > prolific publishers of Theravada Buddhist literature.
        > >
        > > As advancing age began to sap his strength, in 1984 Ven.
        > Nyanaponika retired as Editor of the BPS, and in 1988 he retired as
        > President, accepting appointment as the BPS's distinguished
        > Patron.
        > Despite minor infirmities and advancing blindness over the last years
        > of his life, Ven. Nyanaponika had enjoyed remarkably good health
        > through his 93rd birthday on 21 July 1994. His last birthday was
        > celebrated joyously by his friends and the BPS staff with the release
        > of the BPS edition of his book The Vision of Dhamma, a collection of
        > his writings from the Wheel and Bodhi Leaves series. In late August,
        > however, the relentless process of ageing suddenly accelerated, and
        > on 19 October, the last day of his 58th Rains Retreat as a bhikkhu,
        > he breathed his last in the pre-dawn quiet at the Forest Hermitage in
        > Kandy.
        > >
        > > The exponent of the Dhamma
        > >
        > > Through his own writings and in his editorship of the BPS, Ven.
        > Nyanaponika played a momentous role in shaping the expression of
        > Theravada Buddhism appropriate for the latter half of the twentieth
        > century. Gifted with keen intelligence, a profound grasp of the
        > Dhamma, and extraordinary sensitivity to the needs of his fellow
        > human beings, he endeavoured both in his personal writings and in his
        > publication policy to articulate a vision of the Buddha's
        > teachings
        > that underscored its crucial relevance to the present age. The early
        > decades of the century provided the background to this vision. In his
        > own mature years he had witnessed two world wars (one involving the
        > mass extermination of his own ancestral people, the European Jews) as
        > well as countless smaller scale conflicts and, in the post-war
        > period, the breakdown of existential meaning in the lives of so many
        > thoughtful, well-intentioned people. Against this background he
        > constantly sought to emphasize, from different angles, those aspects
        > of the Buddha's teachings that speak most directly and
        > meaningfully
        > to earnest men and women in search of clear spiritual direction.
        > >
        > > Here I would like to discuss briefly several of the dominant
        > strands that enter into Ven. Nyanaponika's vision of Dhamma, the
        > themes that give his presentation of the Teaching its distinctive
        > stamp. I have organized these themes under four headings.
        > >
        > > (i) The Prospect and Challenge of Freedom
        > >
        > > For Ven. Nyanaponika the Buddha's Teaching is first and
        > foremost a
        > doctrine of freedom, of freedom from suffering. This is the explicit
        > aim of the Dhamma as embedded in the Four Noble Truths, and for Ven.
        > Nayanaponika it is also the underlying aim and origin of all
        > religion. The uniqueness and greatness of the Buddha's Teaching,
        > among the various world religions, consists in its enunciation of a
        > path that leads to experiential release from suffering. What it
        > offers is not the promise of salvation in the next world, but the
        > prospect of deliverance attainable here and now through an utterly
        > realistic insight into the human situation.
        > >
        > > For Ven. Nyanaponika, what is most impressive in the Buddha's
        > Teaching is its clear definition of the path to freedom. The path is
        > explained in minute detail with all its essential elements plainly
        > described and its major milestones marked. To follow this path does
        > not depend upon momentous leaps of faith or reliance upon external
        > redeemers. The path calls only for moral earnestness, self-reliance,
        > honest reflection, and diligent effort. It does not lead us away from
        > immediate experience, but to a profound penetration of the true
        > nature of experience through the cultivation of the simple faculty of
        > close, careful attention to ones's own processes of body and
        > mind.
        > Even though the path may be long and hard, Ven. Nyanaponika
        > repeatedly stresses that it is a gradual path which advances in
        > stages. Thus even those without much spiritual strength to start with
        > can still take the first steps, and any earnest effort brings
        > concrete results.
        > >
        > > Ven. Nyanaponika's couches this conception of the Dhamma in
        > terms
        > especially addressed to Western man in the late 20th century and by
        > extension to those in Asia whose mental horizons have been shaped by
        > Western influences. He speaks to those who can no longer rest content
        > with doctrines of salvation through faith, who no longer seek refuge
        > in ideologies or systems of belief, yet who demand deeper answers to
        > the fundamental questions of existence than materialistic modes of
        > thought can provide. He is thus tackling the doubts of the countless
        > men and women who find themselves stranded between the old religions
        > of faith, which they no longer believe in, and the new religions of
        > technological progress and economic consumerism, which they find vain
        > and hollow. For such seekers, the Buddha's teaching offers a path
        > to
        > freedom that scales the highest towers of spirituality yet remains
        > fully respectful of the moral and intellectual autonomy of the
        > individual.
        > >
        > > (ii) A secure foundation for ethics
        > >
        > > One of the major spiritual problems of our age that weighed heavily
        > on Ven. Nyanaponika's mind was the widespread erosion in moral
        > standards that had infected modern society. He was keenly aware of
        > course that even in past ages, when religion reigned supreme human
        > behaviour was often ruled by blind lust, ambition, cruelty, and
        > hatred. In our epoch, however, even an objective foundation for
        > ethics was in jeopardy. ln the West, ethics had always been seen as
        > rooted in God. Hence, as belief in God ceased to be an effective
        > force in many people's lives, moral principles were left without
        > an
        > anchor. The cult of unrestrained self-interest had started to spread
        > with alarming speed, threatening to trample all higher ideals
        > underfoot.
        > >
        > > Ven. Nyanaponika saw in the Buddha's Teaching a secure
        > foundation
        > for ethics that does not require any appeals to external authority
        > but can be derived directly from the constitution of the human mind.
        > He found the key he was seeking above all in the teaching on the
        > unwholesome and wholesome roots if greed, hatred, and delusion, and
        > their opposites to which he devoted an entire booklet, The Roots of
        > Good and Evil.
        > >
        > > In this essay Ven. Nyanaponika investigates the teaching on the
        > roots in extensive detail. With numerous citations from the Pali
        > texts he explores not only the psychological inter-relations of the
        > roots, but their kammic consequences, their effect on the process of
        > rebirth, and their social repercussions. He devotes separate sections
        > to the methods for overcoming the evil roots by meditative training,
        > and finally he discusses the significance of Nibbana as the
        > destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion. For him it is important
        > that the Buddha's Teaching displays an inviolable internal
        > consistency: from its simplest maxims on ethics to its conception of
        > final liberation, it focuses upon the task of internal purification
        > through the overcoming of the three unwholesome roots and the
        > perfecting of detachment, loving kindness, and wisdom.
        > >
        > > (iii) The comprehension of Inner reality
        > >
        > > This theme leads us to the next strand in Ven. Nyanaponika's
        > vision
        > of Dhamma. According to Ven. Nyanaponika, the process of self-
        > transformation to which the Buddha directs us must begin with self-
        > knowledge, with the understanding of one's own mind: In the
        > Buddhist
        > doctrine, mind is the starting point, the focal point, and also, as
        > the liberated and purified mind of the Saint, the culiminating point.
        > Self-understanding, according to the Mahathera, requires the
        > discipline of inward contemplation, particularly the practice of
        > methodical mindfulness. But besides this, it also calls for a precise
        > and detailed analysis of the contents of the mind. Through his deep
        > study of the Buddha's discourses and the Abhidhamma, as well as
        > through his long meditative experience, Ven. Nyanaponika had acquired
        > a profound understanding of man's psychological makeup his
        > passions,
        > struggles, and anxieties, his potential for good and for evil, which
        > he explores with extraordinary acumen in his writings.
        > >
        > > Ven. Nyanaponika is perspicacious not only when describing our
        > disruptive psychological pathologies, but also (or especially) when
        > exposing the condition of the ordinary undeveloped mind, which we
        > commonly take for granted as normal and unquestionable. Thus, on the
        > theme of tidying up the mental household, he writes:
        > >
        > > If anyone whose mind is not harmonized and controlled through
        > methodical meditative training should take a close look at his own
        > everyday thoughts and activities he will meet with a rather
        > disconcerting sight. Apart from the few main channels of his
        > purposeful thoughts and activities, he will everywhere be faced with
        > a tangled mass of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and casual bodily
        > movements, showing a disorderliness and confusion which he would
        > certainly not tolerate in his living room.... Hundreds of cross-
        > currents flash through the mind, and everywhere there are bits and
        > ends of unfinished thoughts, stifled emotions, and passing moods....
        > If we observe our own minds we shall notice how easily diverted our
        > thoughts are, how often they behave like undisciplined disputants
        > constantly interrupting each other and refusing to listen to the
        > other sides arguments.
        > >
        > > (iv) The training and liberation of the mind
        > >
        > > Examing the long-neglected quarters of our own minds will deliver a
        > wholesome shock, convincing us of the urgent need for methodical
        > mental training. This brings us to the fourth topic in our study, the
        > most significant contribution Ven. Nyanaponika has made to our
        > understanding of the Dhamma: his disclosure of Satipatthana, the
        > meditative discipline of right mindfulness, as the foundation-stone
        > of Buddhist mental training. This thesis is already indicated by the
        > title of his best known book The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, which
        > squarely demonstrates that the systematic practice of right
        > mindfulness is indeed the heart of Buddhist meditation.
        > >
        > > The book, translated into some seven languages, takes the form of a
        > modern commentary on the Satipatthana Sutta, which it includes in
        > translation along with an anthology of texts on Satipatthana. But
        > Ven. Nyanaponika does not merely repeat stereotyped explanations of
        > right mindfulness: instead, happens our eyes to aspects of this
        > system of meditative discipline that had never been articulated so
        > clearly before, at least not in European languages. He begins his
        > work by placing the practice of Buddhist meditation in the particular
        > historical context in which he is writing opening with a chilling
        > account of the crisis confronting the world at the height of the Cold
        > War. After two world wars, he cautions, humankind has still not
        > learned its lesson; again, it is preparing for a new bout of that
        > raving madness called war. And at its root the same old mechanism is
        > at work again: the interaction of greed and fear, lust for power and
        > the fear of our own instruments of destruction. Yet the author
        > observes despite the gravity of the danger, men are still bungling
        > only with the symptoms of the malady, their own undeveloped minds.
        > >
        > > The Buddha's Teaching addresses this sick and truly demented
        > world
        > of ours with words of eternal wisdom and unfailing guidances. The
        > advice the Teaching offers can be summed up in three challenges,
        > which the Ven. Nyanaponika expresses thus: (i) to know the mind, that
        > is so near to us, and yet is so unknown? (ii) to shape the mind, that
        > is so unwieldy and obstinate, and yet may turn so pliant; (iii) to
        > free the mind, that is in bondage all over and yet may win freedom
        > here and now. Hence he writes, the resolute turning away from
        > disastrous paths, the turning that might save the world in its
        > present crisis, must necessarily be a turning inward, into the
        > recesses of man's own mind. Only through a change within will
        > there
        > be a change without.
        > >
        > > The instrument for this transformation, and for mind's final
        > liberation, is the practice of Satipatthana meditation. Satipatthana,
        > the Mahathera holds, is the master key for knowing the mind; the
        > perfect tool for shaping the mind; and the lofty manifestation of the
        > mind that has been liberated. The first task represents the
        > theoretical aspect of Satipatthana, the other two its practical
        > application.
        > >
        > > Ven. Nyanaponika's treatment of Satipatthana in the book
        > harmonizes
        > with his entire approach to the Dhamma. He stresses its balanced
        > combination of simplicity with profundity, its practicality, its
        > univerality. It is beneficial not only to the confirmed Buddhist but
        > to all who endeavour to master the mind and develop its latent
        > potential. It is a message of self-help and self-reliance which leads
        > to tangible results, results that unfold in a eraded sequence
        > throughout the gradual training: in the initial stages it brings the
        > immediate fruits of greater self-understanding, deeper contentment,
        > pliancy and adaptability. It restores simplicity and naturalness to a
        > complicated, problematic world addicted to artificial devices. At
        > deeper levels it reveals more and more clearly the three
        > characteristics of phenomena impermanence, suffering, and
        > egolessness; and at its highest level it eradicates the root-causes
        > of all bondage and suffering, greed, hatred and delusion.
        > >
        > > What Ven. Nyanaponika stresses in his writings on Satipatthana is
        > that Buddhist meditation is not an exotic, spiritual technology that
        > leads to bizarre landscapes of the imaginary beyond. At its core it
        > is, rather, a decipline that centres around the systematic
        > cultivation of a simple, very ordinary mental faculty that is
        > normally employed only in a superficial manner. This is the faculty
        > of awareness or attention. In our usual dealings with the world, the
        > initial moment of attention with which any experience begins is
        > almost immediately overwhelmed by currents of associative thought and
        > conceptual construction, by which our awareness of our object is
        > subordinated to our ego-centred desires and pragmatic aims. The
        > Buddhist practice of mindfulness aims at sustaining the rudimentary
        > moment of attention, and, by repeated practice, at transforming it
        > into a steady, uninterrupted, potent beam of awareness that can then
        > be used to probe into the very constitution and structure of
        > conscious experience. Ven. Nyanaponika states that it required the
        > genius of the Buddha to discover the hidden talent in this homely,
        > unobtrusive faculty of bare attention: Through the master mind of the
        > Buddha, mindfulness is finally revealed as the Archimedean point
        > where the vast revolving mass of world suffering is levered out of
        > its twofold anchorage in ignorance and craving. I would add that
        > while the efficacy of mindfulness has been known to Buddhist
        > meditators through the ages, it took the master mind of Ven.
        > Nyanaponika to reveal so lucidly, with such penetrating psychological
        > insight, exactly how mindfulness fulfils the onerous duties entrusted
        > to it by the Enlightened One.
        > >
        > >
        > > --------------------------------------------------------------------
        > ------------
        > >
        > >
        > > "an just evan so, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to
        > point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you
        > further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of
        > their predecessors evan to the seventh generation have ever seen
        > Brahma (GOD).
        > > and you further say that even the rishis of old whose words they
        > hold in such deep respect, did not pretended to know, or to have seen
        > where or whence or whither Brahma is, yet these Brahmans versed in
        > the three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to
        > union with that which they know not. neither have seen! Now what
        > think you, vasettha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk
        > of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolished talk?"
        > >
        > > Discourses of Buddha - Knowers of Veda
        > > The Wheel publication #57/58
        > > BUDDHIST INTERNATIONAL
        > > Radical approach to Human Rights
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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        >
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        > �
      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Sukhdev, Piya and friends, Sukhdev: please do not take it too hard upon yourself. I am glad the material in the archive has inspired you in your study.
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 11, 2005
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          Dear Sukhdev, Piya and friends,

          Sukhdev: please do not take it too hard upon yourself. I am glad the
          material in the archive has inspired you in your study. I'd suggest
          you advance into the subject proper, and join us in our ongoing
          discussion.


          metta,
          Yong Peng.


          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Sukhdev Singh wrote:

          I think I owe the members of this forum as well as Ong Yong Peng amd
          Piya Tan a more detailed aplogy as to how is it that I came to
          misread/misunderstand the statement on Ven. Nyanatiloka's passing
          away.
        • Piya Tan
          Dear Sukhdev, Please think nothing of this. It is a common error that even accomplished scholars (significantly often, too) who make such errors. Often you
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 12, 2005
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            Dear Sukhdev,

            Please think nothing of this. It is a common error that even accomplished scholars
            (significantly often, too) who make such errors. Often you will find wrong
            bibliographical entries (wrong dates, references, etc). Sometimes I think this is out
            of simple carelessness or the great minds do not care for such small details
            important to the less adept student or reader.

            Sukhi

            Piya

            Sukhdev Singh wrote:

            > I think I owe the members of this forum as well as Ong
            > Yong Peng amd Piya Tan a more detailed aplogy as to
            > how is it that I came to misread/misunderstand the
            > statement on Ven. Nyanatiloka's passing away.
            >
            > I bought the Buddhist Dicrtionary about two months ago
            > and read all the prefaces.  The crucial paragraph
            > which I misunderstood was as below:
            >
            > <<<The present revised and enlarged Third Edition was
            > intended to  be issued in commemoration of the tenth
            > anniversary of the Venerable Author's passing away on
            > the 28th May 1957.  But due to unavoidable
            > circumstances the publication had to be delayed.>>>
            >
            > The phrase from the above paragraph which made the
            > heaviest impresion upon me was "in commemoration of
            > the tenth anniversary".  And according to this
            > impression, two months ago, I made a little note by
            > the side of the paragraph saying "The author passed
            > away in 1947".
            >
            > Obviously I thought that the year 1957 was the tenth
            > aniversay of the passing of the Ven.
            >
            > Which actually means that it was the dictionary that
            > was published ten years after his passsing, that is in
            > the year 1967, and not that the author passed away ten
            > years earlier, that is in the year 1947.
            >
            > Actually there is nothing in this dictionary to
            > indicate that it was published in the year 1967, not
            > even in the page where one may find the lists of
            > "first print, second print, third print" and so on.
            >
            > This is just my inference based on that crucial
            > paragraph above.
            >
            > And next, how is it that I came to realise this
            > mistake.
            >
            > This morning, for the first time, I turned to look at
            > the back cover, and there staring right in front of me
            > below the name of "German Monk-scholar Ven.
            > Nyanatiloka" were the dates (1879 - 1957).
            >
            > Again my most humble apologies, and I thank the forum
            > for being there, otherwise I would have gone on
            > thinking that Ven. Nyanatiloka passed away in the year
            > 1947.
            >
            > regards
            >
            > Sukhdev Singh
            >
            > --- Sukhdev Singh <sukh2val@...> wrote:
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > Hi Piya,
            > >
            > > I know that, Piya, as a matter of fact there is
            > > nothing in my post that indicates that Ven.
            > > Nyanaponika is the compiler.  Ven. Nyanaponika is
            > > definitely the editor of the revised and enlarged
            > > version.
            > >
            > > This is the statement from my post:
            > >
            > > <<< The most poignant matter that I learnt was about
            > > how Ven. Nyanatiloka completed  this dictionary and
            > > other publications while at the "Central Internment
            > > Camp" in Dehra-Dun, India. >>>
            > >
            > > Anyway, I am not surprised that you mixed up the
            > > situation. Differentiating between these two
            > > venerable
            > > personalities within the same post, I have found
            > > out,
            > > is a rather "subtle skill" and it cant be
            > > acomplished
            > > with just one reading, or worst, with just a quick
            > > browse.
            > >
            > > Possibly because of their similiar sounding names,
            > > both beginning with the "preffix", if I may borrow
            > > that term, "Nyana".
            > >
            > > But the dates are still a question mark..., doesnt
            > > really matter though.  I have already learnt what
            > > there was to learn from that post for my needs.
            > > Thanks
            > > for your response.
            > >
            > > regards
            > >
            > > Sukhdev
            > > --- Piya Tan <libris@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > > Hi Sukhdev,
            > > >
            > > > If you check the Buddhist Dictionary again, you
            > > will
            > > > notice that the compiler is Ven
            > > > Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), and not Nyanaponika.
            > > >
            > > > Sukhi
            > > >
            > > > Piya
            > > >
            > > > Sukhdev Singh wrote:
            > > >
            > > > > Hi Ong Yong Peng,
            > > > >
            > > > > I might be using your Pali forum for my learning
            > > > in a little
            > > > > different way.  I visited your `genesis' and it
            > > > was very
            > > > > interesting to find out how the reigns of this
            > > > forum were placed in
            > > > > your hands way back in the year 2001 and how
            > > you,
            > > > with the help of
            > > > > other members, have progressed from there.
            > > > >
            > > > > However, it was msg #9 that got this response
            > > > going because I
            > > > > recognised the name of  Ven. Nyanaponika
            > > Mahathera
            > > > as the person who
            > > > > edited the third  and enlarged revised version
            > > of
            > > > the "Buddhist
            > > > > Dictionary" authored by his beloved teacher and
            > > > mentor Ven.
            > > > > Nyanatiloka.  I happen to own a copy of this
            > > > wonderful dictionary,
            > > > > mine, having been published by the Buddhist
            > > > Missionary Soceity, based
            > > > > at the Buddhist Maha Vihara, here in Kuala
            > > Lumpur,
            > > > Malaysia.
            > > > >
            > > > > The most poignant matter that I learnt was about
            > > > how Ven. Nyanatiloka
            > > > > completed  this dictionary and other
            > > publications
            > > > while at
            > > > > the "Central Internment Camp" in Dehra-Dun,
            > > > India.  This
            > > > > matter appears in the "Preface to the First
            > > > Edition" dated
            > > > > 28-8-1946, from the the premises of the "Central
            > > > Internment Camp".
            > > > >
            > > > > All that you have posted in your post helped to
            > > > fill in the gap and
            > > > > the "mystery" of the "Central Internment Camp".
            > > > >
            > > > > However, I would also like to take this
            > > > opporuinity to hightlight
            > > > > possible discrepancies in your dates about the
            > > > passing away of Ven.
            > > > > Nyanatiloka.
            > > > >
            > > > > The date given in the "Editor's (Ven.
            > > Nyanaponika
            > > > Mahathera)
            > > > > Preface to the Third Edition" is 28th May 1947
            > > and
            > > > not May 1957 as you
            > > > > have mentined in your post.
            > > > >
            > > > > Actually, it is not directly mentioned like this
            > > > but here is the
            > > > > statement :
            > > > >
            > > > > <<<The present revised and enlarged Third
            > > Edition
            > > > was intended to be
            > > > > issued in commemoration of the tenth anniversary
            > > > of the Venerable
            > > > > Author's passing away on the 28th May 1957.>>>
            > > > >
            > > > > Your two statements are as follows:
            > > > >
            > > > > <<< Like his teacher, Ven. Nyanatiloka
            > > > (1878-1957), also from
            > > > > Germany,...  >>>
            > > > >
            > > > > And
            > > > >
            > > > > <<<In May 1957 Ven. Nyanatiloka passed away
            > > after
            > > > a long illness.>>>
            > > > >
            > > > > Anyway, your post about the good Venerable and
            > > > some information about
            > > > > his mentor is rather long and I need more time
            > > to
            > > > study it after I
            > > > > have printed a hard copy of it.
            > > > >
            > > > > Let me also join some other early members, some
            > > of
            > > > whose posts  I
            > > > > have read, in congratulating you on your good
            > > work
            > > > on this forum
            > > > > which has brought benefit to many students of
            > > the
            > > > Dhamma.
            > > > >
            > > > > Regards
            > > > >
            > > > > Sukhdev Singh
            > > > >
            > > > > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Ong Yong Peng"
            > > > <ypong001@c...> wrote:
            > > > > > Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera a hundred years
            > > from
            > > > birth
            > > > > >
            > > > > > Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
            > > > > > President and Editor-in-Chief, Buddhist
            > > > Publication Society
            > > > > >
            > > > > > Introduction
            > > > > >
            > > > > > July 21st this year marks the hundredth birth
            > > > anniversary of the
            > > > > late Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera and on this
            > > > occasion I wish to offer
            > > > > some reflections on the significance of his life
            > > > and work. Ven.
            > > > > Nyanaponika was a colossal bridge-builder in
            > > > understanding who
            > > > > through his writings helped to shape the
            > > > contemporary expression of
            > > > > Theravada Buddhism. A thinker with deep insight
            > > > into the human
            > > > > condition, a gifted communicator and masterly
            > > > stylist, he sought in
            > > > > his writings to relate the Buddha's teachings to
            > > > the momentous
            > > > > existential problems that face humankind in the
            > > > modern age. Like his
            > > > > teacher, Ven. Nyanatiloka (1878-1957), also from
            > > > Germany, he
            > > > > possessed a thorough and profound grasp of the
            > > > essential principles
            > > > > of the Dhamma. But as a creative thinker he went
            > > > far beyond the
            > > > > exposition of orthodox Buddhist doctrine and
            > > > clarification of
            > > > > technical terms to forge a distinctive vision of
            > > > Dhamma which is at
            > > > > once uniquely his own yet true to the authentic
            > >
            > === message truncated ===
            >  
            >
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          • Sukhdev Singh
            Hi Ong Yong Peng and Piya too. Thanks for your encouragement. Right now, apart from this temporary interest in the forum s archives, which is actually helping
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 12, 2005
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              Hi Ong Yong Peng and Piya too.

              Thanks for your encouragement. Right now, apart from
              this temporary interest in the forum's archives, which
              is actually helping me, to sort of "connect to the
              spirit" (sorry for the mouthful)of this forum, like
              now I know who those "really old timers" are in this
              forum, but definitely not limited to that, I have
              already started from messages #5092.

              I am also trying to, "build up a refernce data base"
              for Pali within my mind, so I am also finding some of
              your language links useful for this purpose. You
              could say that I am trying to familiarise myself with
              the resources available on this fourm.

              So thats where I am now.

              Of course, I am browsing thro the daily lessons, but
              am unable to really "chew" upon much, but sometimes I
              do get caught up on some of Rett's long explainations
              often involving some "language theory" behind Pali.

              However, I need to say that I am no where an expert on
              the thoeries, perhaps the correct word would be
              'grammar', of any language, even English, so I am
              learning a little at a time as I browse thro his
              commentaries.

              Having placed all my cards on the table, if you have
              any hints or tips that you think might be of help to
              me, I would most certaily appreciate.


              Yours in the study of Pali,

              Sukhdev

              --- Ong Yong Peng <ypong001@...> wrote:

              >
              > Dear Sukhdev, Piya and friends,
              >
              > Sukhdev: please do not take it too hard upon
              > yourself. I am glad the
              > material in the archive has inspired you in your
              > study. I'd suggest
              > you advance into the subject proper, and join us in
              > our ongoing
              > discussion.
              >
              >
              > metta,
              > Yong Peng.
              >
              >
              > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Sukhdev Singh wrote:
              >
              > I think I owe the members of this forum as well as
              > Ong Yong Peng amd
              > Piya Tan a more detailed aplogy as to how is it that
              > I came to
              > misread/misunderstand the statement on Ven.
              > Nyanatiloka's passing
              > away.
              >
              >
              >
              >




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