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Re: Of words and translation

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  • macgupta123
    ... to my understanding of dharma. Dharmam sharanam gacchami -- means exactly what it says -- I seek refuge in dharma -- dharma that upholds and sustains etc.
    Message 1 of 37 , Dec 1, 2005
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      --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Sankrant Sanu"
      <Sankrant@m...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Arun,
      >
      > Thanks for the cheers. :)
      >
      > Regarding Buddha dharma I am not at all convinced since it appears very awkward
      to my understanding of dharma. Dharmam sharanam gacchami -- means exactly
      what it says -- I seek refuge in dharma -- dharma that upholds and sustains etc. I
      don't see it to mean "I seek refuge in Buddha dharma" -- I am actually unable to
      parse the phrase "Buddha dharma" -- what could it possibly mean? Do we find it
      anywhere in pre-colonial texts with that meaning?
      >
      > Of course, this discussion is an aside on my point on words and translation. If
      anything it affirms it.
      >
      > Regards, Sankrant.

      The Buddha, His Sangha and (His?) Dharma constitute the Triratna.
      Why would it constitute two specifics and one universal?

      -Arun
    • ss
      Dear Jochem: On the contrary, I am very grateful for your response to my earlier post, and especially for your critique! Please continue as far as seems
      Message 37 of 37 , Dec 11, 2005
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        Dear Jochem:
        On the contrary, I am very grateful for your response to my earlier post, and especially for
        your critique! Please continue as far as seems fruitful.

        To recap:

        > 1. Since everybody (Westerners included) is capable of
        > acting in accordance with dharm, it is therefore
        > possible for everybody to make sense of dharm.
        > 2. Making sense of dharma does not necessarily equal
        > formulating a theory or hypothesis of it.

        --1 & 2 restate it very well.

        > 3. There is something very particular about the way
        > dharm and adharm are used in describing (?) certain
        > circumstances. The particularity has something to do
        > with the absence of theory.

        --Point 3 actually puts it more interestingly than I had thought about it. I'm not sure if
        describing is the exact description either. It's more like "those categories (dharm/adharm)
        are applied to certain circumstances in a particular way". You've added a very interesting
        dimension by observing that the particularity has something to do with the absence of
        theory.

        You asked:
        > Your observation, you write, is:
        >
        > "even though we might describe certain circumstances
        > as constituting 'dharm', it is not a theory of 'dharm'
        > that helps us conceptualize what constitutes 'dharm'.
        >
        > This may be an entirely trivial observation, but it
        > strikes me (for some reason I am not able to specify)
        > as very curious. For instance, I don't think I could
        > do this in English very easily. I could not say
        > something is "morally right" without having some sort
        > of theory of 'moral rectitude'."
        >
        > I have trouble grasping this. Is my sense of moral
        > right or wrong depended on a theory? Saying that
        > something is right or wrong usually implies reference
        > to some moral rule, a measure by with to judge my
        > action (ten commandments). This I get, but it seems a
        > long way from theory of moral rectitude. Still, is it
        > then this implicit reference to a rule that is absent
        > in saying that something is `dharm' or `adharm'? How
        > am I to understand it?
        >
        --Right after I wrote this part, I was not very happy with the way I formulated it either. Let
        me try to express it better.

        I think our usage of "dharm" (if I'm right in the way I've described it) seems very different
        than the way one uses words in English. if I said in English that "such-and-such a
        circumstance is immoral", it would be natural for anyone hearing me to assume that I
        could say what "immoral" (and hence "moral") means. Whereas when I call something as
        "adharm", I am apparently able to do so without being able to say what "dharm" (and
        hence "adharm") means.

        It's almost as if I don't have to conceptualize the *entity* "adharm" in order to
        conceptualize some event *as* "adharm".

        Maybe there is some mundane example of language use that follows this pattern that I've
        not thought of. But at the moment, it seems quite different.
        --Satya

        [ps apologies for the formatting]
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