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Re: [SGI] What language is Gongyo in?

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  • djgropp
    Theoretically, because
    Message 1 of 37 , Oct 2, 2011
      <<[as] an Original Disciple of the Original Shakyamuni Buddha...there is no question of being old or young at any given point in time>>

      Theoretically, because life is eternal, being young or old may not seem to matter, but on a down-to-earth level, the question of age is absolutely relevant, i.e., as in the theories of the stages of child development which teachers know to be vital in understanding the needs of children's education. To them, timing seems to be everything.

      One example is that of feral children who never learn a vocabulary. Another is the famous case of a girl known as Genie who spent the first 12 years of her life locked in her bedroom. After she was discovered, researchers and scientists spent years working with her, but she never learned to speak, and to this day she lives in a private institution for the mentally undeveloped.

      Here's another case of "being young or old." Dr. Linus Pauling, the Father of Modern Chemistry, would advise his students saying, "Listen to your elders. You don't have to believe everything they say, but listen to them. The reason we're called elders is because we know more dead people."

      My introduction to Buddhism was from a book called "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse. I was 14 years old in 1963 when my stepfather, in total frustration, tossed it at me shouting, "Read this; maybe it will help you!" The timing and my age were ideal, for the story opened in me a seeking mind which has never ceased. The one thing I remember most was the metaphor of the river which "always changes, but never changes."








      --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, ryuei2000 <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > The Bunno Kato version was also the first one I read. Gene Reeves version is basically an updated/improved version of that.
      >
      > Since I chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, Nichiren states in Shoho Jisso Sho that I must be either a Bodhisattva of the Earth or part of their entourage. As such that makes me, like all of us who chant Odaimoku with sincere faith, there is no question of being old or young at any given point in time.
      >
      > Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,
      > Ryuei
      >
      > --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, "djgropp" <djgropp@> wrote:
      > >
      > > <<Have you read any of these others and actually compared them or even compared them to Kumarajiva's Chinese version>>
      > >
      > > My first reading of the Lotus Sutra, before reading "The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras," had been, "The Threefold Lotus Sutra" by Bunno Kato, Yoshiro Tamura, which sent to me by a friend going to school in Hawaii. I loved it so much that I re-read it several times, and I believe I got the gist of it. My first impression was I didn't know there were so many ways to praise the wonderfulness of human beings. That was in 1975.
      > >
      > > The only other versions I've read are, "The Lotus Sutra by Burton Watson (Jul 1, 1993), and "The Essential Lotus; Selections from the Lotus Sutra" published by Columbia University Press, 2002.
      > >
      > > Ryuei, I'm wondering, how old were you in 1975?
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, ryuei2000 <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, "djgropp" <djgropp@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > "Don Gropp posted an article about dharanis...that is mostly irrelevant for SGI practice. SGI does not recite the dharanis."
      > > > >
      > > > > Ryuei claims, "dharani chanting is quite enjoyable and I happily teach it to anyone who wants to learn."
      > > > >
      > > > > Is that practice commom among Nichiren Shu priests? I'm guessing it's because Nichiren Shu doesn't give credence to the Oral Teachings; am I right?
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > The chanting of dharani is occasionally done by just about all Nichiren Shu priests, but it is only regularly practiced by those who have done the ascetic training called Aragyo and who do Kito (special blessings).
      > > >
      > > > No one outside of SGI or the Shoshu seriously argues that the Ongi Kuden is a verbatim oral teaching from Nichiren's time. Even the Burton Watson translation notes that the earliest extant copy is from the 16th century. On the other hand, there are many Nichiren Shu priests who find great inspiration in the Ongi Kuden.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Ryuei, you said the dharanis actually have a meaning, and I agree, but one doesn't have to study a "heavy duty scholarly book" to understand it. There is no such thing.
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > I'm not sure what you are referring to as there being no such thing. Scholarly books? There certainly are such things. A literal translation of the dharanis? There are such things as those too. You just have to be a Sanskrit scholar.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > The Daishonin flatly states in the "Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings," "Dharani here means Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" (GZ, 777). He continues, "Therefore, dharani represent the secret words of all Buddhas." He is saying that it is a secret language that only Buddhas understand.
      > > > >
      > > > > The Daishonin further says: "The five characters of the daimoku are the secret words of the secret of all Buddhas over the three existences of past, present and future." In other words, they are the secrets of all secrets.
      > > > >
      > > > > So if it's really the "secret of all secrets" among Buddhas, I wouldn't trust any scholar who says they understand it.
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > First of all, Nichiren didn't flatly state anything. No one knows who the actual author(s) of the Ongi Kuden were. But even if those statements were by Nichiren, it is referring to the deepest non-textual meaning of the dharanis and not to what the Sanskrit syllables mean in a linguistic sense. Sanskrit scholars can certainly puzzle out how to translate the dharanis just as they can anything else written in Sanskrit. I will soon be posting on my blog what the dharanis mean as far as a literal translation goes.
      > > >
      > > > Now as far as these statements from the Ongi Kuden, that is also what we teach in Nichiren Shu. Basically the Ongi Kuden equates everything in the Lotus Sutra with Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. And we also teach that all the merits, meanings, insights, etc... in the text of the Lotus Sutra are contained in the Odaimoku. But this is not the same as the linguistic meaning or the meaning on the level of more straightforward Buddhist concepts and systematic teaching. It is a more spiritual or metaphorical meaning in terms of how the sutra points to actual practice and how practice actualizes the sutra.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Finally, if I were going to recommend a version of the Lotus Sutra, it would be Burton Watson's 2009 translation, "The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras."
      > > > >
      > > > > Have you read it, yet?
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I have read it, and have a copy of it. However, it is not as precise as the Hurvitz translation, and there are problems I have with how Watson translates some words (like translating jihi as "pity" when it should be as loving-kindness and compassion) and his translation of the ten suchnesses section of the Hoben-pon obscures the meaning and importance of that passage for T'ien-t'ai and Nichiren Buddhism. That is why I prefer the Gene Reeves or even the Senchu Murano translations. I am not at all convinced that the Watson translation is the best. I most often recommend Reeves (for the Threefold), Hurvitz, or Murano in that order. I have also heard good things about the translation put out by the Numata Center (Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai) but have not read it. Have you read any of these others and actually compared them or even compared them to Kumarajiva's Chinese version (I have also done this with some passages)? Or are you just saying Watson is the best because it is the SGI house translation?
      > > >
      > > > Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,
      > > > Ryuei
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • carlos
      Reverend.... You are profoundly patient...
      Message 37 of 37 , Nov 3, 2011
        Reverend.... You are profoundly patient...

        --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, ryuei2000 <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > test
        >
        > --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, "Healing" <aesculapius_healing@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi again everyone. I'm the one who started this thread. I'm delighted by the way it has taken off. I have a lot of reading to catch up on. I wonder, however, if my question has been answered. My original question was: "What language is Gongyo in?"
        > >
        > > I'll try, again, to see if I can put it into words. To my understanding as a result of this thread, Gongyo is not in Chinese or Japanese either. Gongyo is a reading of the Lotus Sutra as translated into ancient Tang-era Chinese -- BUT it is not read in Chinese. Gongyo is the letter-by-letter Japanese pronunciation of the Tang-era Chinese translation.
        > >
        > > Would it be something like this?
        > >
        > > "What language is Gongyo in?"
        > >
        > > "Double-U, ay-che, aye, tee; elle, aye, en, gee, you, gee, eee; iz es .... (etc.)"
        > >
        > > Get what I mean?
        > >
        > > Again, I'm still just a bit surprised that this isn't more readily known or available information. The books I have simply make reference to it being an "archaic" language. This is all fascinating for me and I really want to get to the bottom of it! lol
        > >
        > > I suppose the other question I have is: if Gongyo as practiced by Sokka Gakkai and other Nichiren schools is not Chinese or even really Japanese, then why practice it this way? Why not chant it in modern day Japanese? Or modern day Chinese? Or something like that? Why was an ancient translation of the Lotus Sutra chosen? Why didn't Nichiren choose a more modern (at least for him) translation of the Lotus Sutra in Japanese?
        > >
        > > Funny thing, but somewhere along the line I started to get the idea that in addition to feeding my spirit I may also be gaining a skill by learning Japanese via Gongyo. It sort of burst my bubble to realize that this is not in fact the case. It just sort of boggles my mind that Gongyo ultimately isn't in any language at all.
        > >
        > > Thanks,
        > >
        > > Andrew
        > >
        > > --- In SokaGakkaiUnofficial@yahoogroups.com, "djgropp" <djgropp@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > <<Nikkyo Niwano's "Buddhism For Today" ... Shinjo Siguro's "Introduction to the Lotus Sutra">>
        > > >
        > > > I will check them out since you've recommended them, but wow, it seems I already have too much to ever read it all.
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        >
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