Re: Of words and translation
- --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Sankrant Sanu"
>to my understanding of dharma. Dharmam sharanam gacchami -- means exactly
> Dear Arun,
> Thanks for the cheers. :)
> Regarding Buddha dharma I am not at all convinced since it appears very awkward
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?
>anything it affirms it.
> Of course, this discussion is an aside on my point on words and translation. If
>The Buddha, His Sangha and (His?) Dharma constitute the Triratna.
> Regards, Sankrant.
Why would it constitute two specifics and one universal?
- 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.
> 1. Since everybody (Westerners included) is capable of--1 & 2 restate it very well.
> 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.
> 3. There is something very particular about the way--Point 3 actually puts it more interestingly than I had thought about it. I'm not sure if
> dharm and adharm are used in describing (?) certain
> circumstances. The particularity has something to do
> with the absence of theory.
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
> Your observation, you write, is:--Right after I wrote this part, I was not very happy with the way I formulated it either. Let
> "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?
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.
[ps apologies for the formatting]