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Proposed new translations of the Satipatthana Suttas

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  • macdocaz1@aol.com
    In an effort to support my contemplative insights I have recently been concentrating my studies on the various suttas in the Pali canon that are dedicated to
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30, 2003
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      In an effort to support my contemplative insights I have recently been
      concentrating my studies on the various suttas in the Pali canon that are dedicated
      to meditation, consciousness and cognition. I have found I have a conflict
      over some of the uses of words, like 'consciousness' and 'mind,' in the
      translations that have been available to us.

      I have spent some time examining these suttas in search of the intent that I
      believe was behind the Buddha's discourses, and I have informed my study
      through reflecting upon my 30 years of meditation practice. This reflection and
      contemplation has confirmed my belief that our language of consciousness and
      cognition is not properly represented in the present translations of these
      ancient documents. A classic example of what I believe is the incorrect use of our
      language of gnosis, consciousness and cognition is in the use of the word
      'consciousness' which too often seems to imply that through meditation we are
      seeking an unconscious state, which cannot be true.

      Also the Pali term 'citta' is often translated as 'mind.' Mind in the
      English language means "The faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge,"
      whereas in the Pali canon and other Buddhist literature it is often used to
      represent bare essential awareness. In this case I believe the word
      'consciousness' would be far more appropriate for the Pali term 'citta' than is the word
      'mind.'

      Also there are numerous unsuccessful compound words used in these
      translations, like 'eye-consciousness' which should be replaced by something that uses
      our language more effectively, such as 'visual perception.' I have therefore
      gone through the translations of the three suttas (Anapanasati,
      Maha-satipatthana and Satipatthana) from the Pali by Bhikkhus Nanamoli, Bodhi and Thanissaro,
      Nyanasatta Thera, and Maurice Walshe, and I have made suggestions for changes.
      And, I have uploaded them to the web (please see the URL below).

      If you examine these recent uploads I believe you will find them far more
      readable and accessible. And, for ease of use they are in Acrobat Reader .PDF
      format as well as MS Word. I also find the translations of the canon far too
      heavily waited on the male sex, which is somewhat offensive to present Western
      cultural values. Therefore I have removed many of the gender specifying
      references as well.

      The files uploaded are:
      Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118)
      Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22)
      Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)
      Bahiya Sutta, Udana I.10

      They are available at this URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/files/

      Best regards to you,

      Jeff Brooks
      editor, Southwest Insight E'letter
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SWI_E_letter/
      moderator, Ecstatic Buddhism
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ecstatic_Buddhism/
      moderator, Jhana Support Group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
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