Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

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Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Nibbida » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:24 am

I noticed that Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation of Visuddhimagga is being sold for $37. I understand the economics of publishing, even non-profit publishing. But I'm wondering why this book is being sold while others are available for free online, e.g. Bhikkhu Bodhi's Noble Eightfold Path, books by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante G., etc.

Just curious.
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:35 am

It says $20 at http://www.bps.lk

This is a non-profit orgainization. Note that they have put many of their publications up as PDFs:
http://www.bps.lk/book_index.asp

Also see: http://www.bps.lk/ourpublications.asp
For the last year, the BPS has been busy digitalising, typesetting, and reprinting many of its publications that have gone out of print. We intend to digitalise most of our older publications and then make them available either as good quality printed books or as free online publications both in html and pdf formats. Eventually, all Wheel publications will be combined and republished as books. An online ordering catalogue is being created to enable our readers to order our printed books online through this website.


I'm not sure whether they intend to do this with the VM. Personally, I'd rather pay the order of 30USD for a nicely-bound version than print and bind it myself (which would probably be more expensive). I'd love to have a searchable PDF on my computer of course...

Mike
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Nibbida » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:42 am

Many thanks. :-)

I really hope they are able to put Visuddhimagga and other valuable works online for free. I'm happy to cough up the cash, but it's so valuable and it would make it available to so many. This is one area where I believe Buddhists are very advanced and organized compared to other philosophies, religions, and psychology. Online audio talks and books are so freely available, which makes them appealing to people with casual but curious interest.
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:44 am

Here is is for 23 Pounds (37USD) including shipping to most places:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/97 ... rification

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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Individual » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:16 am

Nibbida wrote:I noticed that Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation of Visuddhimagga is being sold for $37. I understand the economics of publishing, even non-profit publishing. But I'm wondering why this book is being sold while others are available for free online, e.g. Bhikkhu Bodhi's Noble Eightfold Path, books by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante G., etc.

Just curious.

Although you personally might see each book as equally valuable, that's not the case for others. Translations of central texts of Buddhism are far more valuable than commentaries on commentaries!

I think that books like the Visuddhimagga aren't free merely because those involved in the translating are either motivated by personal gain or don't have the insight to understand that with modern technology, online collaboration among translators is cheaper and easier than seeking grants from formal institutions, and such texts also proliferate more widely. If books are copyrighted, eventually they may even be lost if they're out of print and paper copies eventually decay. People who digitally scan and distribute texts like the Visuddhimagga may be violating copyright, but they are also encouraging more people to read the text and possibly saving the text from extinction (for a little while longer at least, since everything is impermanent, of course).
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby pink_trike » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:32 am

Good question in an era when it could be released in electronic format on file sharing networks that would make it available to anyone with interest in every part of the globe for free. If there's a printed version then there's an electronic version already, just waiting to be converted into a PDF doc with a few clicks.
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby bazzaman » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:03 am

I was given a free copy published by the Penang Buddhist Association. Limited distribution though...
A couple of years ago accesstoinsight.org had some transcription projects going on... one of which was the Vm. The idea was that it would be available online; but so far no joy. I wonder what happened?
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:03 am

Nibbida wrote:Many thanks. :-)

I really hope they are able to put Visuddhimagga and other valuable works online for free. I'm happy to cough up the cash, but it's so valuable and it would make it available to so many. This is one area where I believe Buddhists are very advanced and organized compared to other philosophies, religions, and psychology. Online audio talks and books are so freely available, which makes them appealing to people with casual but curious interest.


it is online for free, I don't have a link saved but one of retro's posts to do with the safron seach engine has the link in it.
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby cooran » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:24 am

Hello all,

The Vissuddhimagga is 885 pages of text and no doubt about the same again in footnotes ~ I wouldn't be able to download it online even if it were offered (which it isn't).

RobertK's website has the first 90 pages online:

http://www.abhidhamma.org/visuddhimagga-1.htm

metta
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:44 am

Edited
removed Link
it is 32.74MB
Last edited by Cittasanto on Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:56 am

Manapa wrote:http://lirs.ru/do/The_Path_of_Purification,Visuddhimagga,Nanamoli,1991.pdf
it is 32.74MB


Hi Manapa, all.

Are we allowed to download this? The reason I ask is this link it is the same translation as available here, for a $38 charge

Individual wrote:Although you personally might see each book as equally valuable, that's not the case for others. Translations of central texts of Buddhism are far more valuable than commentaries on commentaries!


The Visuddhimagga is the most important post canonical text of our religion.

Metta
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"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:27 am

BlackBird wrote:
Manapa wrote:http://lirs.ru/do/The_Path_of_Purification,Visuddhimagga,Nanamoli,1991.pdf
it is 32.74MB


Hi Manapa, all.

Are we allowed to download this? The reason I ask is this link it is the same translation as available here, for a $38 charge

Metta
Jack

Hi Jack
this is something I am unsure of? I do know that BPS do allow great chunks of work to be reproduced (as in full or almost full copies see google books) but I don't read russan. here is a preview (I think it is about half) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C389 ... q=&f=false and yes it is the same book again.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby EOD » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:33 am

Nibbida wrote:I noticed that Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation of Visuddhimagga is being sold for $37. I understand the economics of publishing, even non-profit publishing. But I'm wondering why this book is being sold while others are available for free online, e.g. Bhikkhu Bodhi's Noble Eightfold Path, books by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante G., etc.

The Visuddhimagga is available for free on palikanon.com, but only in German and Pali.

Blackbird wrote:
Individual wrote:Although you personally might see each book as equally valuable, that's not the case for others. Translations of central texts of Buddhism are far more valuable than commentaries on commentaries!


Seeming disdain for the most important post-canonical work of our great religion? Or am I drawing conclusions here?

I think it depends on what "most important" means. The Visuddhimagga is certainly held in high esteem in the Theravadin tradition of Buddhism, but it doesn't belong to the authoritative texts according to the Buddha (see AN 4.180 and DN 16).

Best wishes,

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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:02 am

EOD wrote:I think it depends on what "most important" means. The Visuddhimagga is certainly held in high esteem in the Theravadin tradition of Buddhism, but it doesn't belong to the authoritative texts according to the Buddha (see AN 4.180 and DN 16).


Dear EOD

I can't find a passage in the Maha-paranibbana sutta that states that the Visuddhimagga is not an authoritative text according to the Buddha, or in this case that the Visuddhimagga does not meet the criteria for an authoritative text. Could you please quote this passage for me?

If it were to be similar to this:
"O bhikkhus, remember these four (citations of) Great Authorities - the words & syallables are to be closely scrutinized, laid beside Sutta & compared with Vinaya. If, when thus laid beside Sutta & compared with Vinaya, they lie not along with Sutta & agree not with Vinaya, to this conclusion must ye come: Sure this is not the word of that Exalted One, Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, & it was wrongly taken by that monk. So reject it, monks."

- http://www.lotsasites.com/topic?topic=associationofma2

Then the simple argument is that when you closely scrutinize the Visuddhimagga, lay it beside the Suttas and compare it with the Vinaya, it's a perfect fit to the Suttas, and agrees wholeheartedly with the Vinaya. Are there any exact points of the Visuddhimagga that you feel are at odds with the scriptures of the Pali Canon?

To turn this question around, if I may, what would you consider a more important post-canonical text?

Metta
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby cooran » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:11 am

Hello EOD,

I think it depends on what "most important" means. The Visuddhimagga is certainly held in high esteem in the Theravadin tradition of Buddhism, but it doesn't belong to the authoritative texts according to the Buddha (see AN 4.180 and DN 16).


As there were no texts at the time of the Buddha, I'm not sure what you are referring to ~ Please post for us the relevant quotes you are referring to.

metta
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:13 am

BlackBird wrote:Then the simple argument is that when you closely scrutinize the Visuddhimagga, lay it beside the Suttas and compare it with the Vinaya, it's a perfect fit to the Suttas, and agrees wholeheartedly with the Vinaya.

Yes, the Tradition would say that one looks at the layers:
1. Vinaya/Sutta/Abhidhamma
2. Ancient Commentary
3. Later works
If there is a contradiction, then the earlier layer "wins".

The Visuddhimagga is in a slightly odd position because it is not technically part of the ancient commentary, even though it is largely a summary of it.

See this guide to post canonical literature:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... guide.html

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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:21 am

Manapa wrote:Hi Jack
this is something I am unsure of? I do know that BPS do allow great chunks of work to be reproduced (as in full or almost full copies see google books) but I don't read russan. here is a preview (I think it is about half) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C389 ... q=&f=false and yes it is the same book again.


Dear Manapa, that sounds logical. I ended up downloading it, but maybe we should email BPS and ask what the story is?

Also thank you Mike.

Metta to you all and :anjali:
Jack
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby EOD » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:35 am

Chris wrote:As there were no texts at the time of the Buddha, I'm not sure what you are referring to ~ Please post for us the relevant quotes you are referring to.


DN 16:

"In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."


I don't want to quarrel whether the Visuddhimagga (Ven. Buddhaghosa) meets this standard or not. My point was that the Visuddhimagga (and any other commentary) doesn't belong to the authoritative texts but to the texts which need authorization (by comparing them with the words of the Buddha).

Best wishes,

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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:04 am

mikenz66 wrote:The Visuddhimagga is in a slightly odd position because it is not technically part of the ancient commentary, even though it is largely a summary of it.

Mike

Hi Mike & All
just a note on the Vism, I have been told By an Anerican Burmese Monk (Burmese tradition and living there) that the translation has some gramatical errors which alter the meaning, so some of the passages which can be cited to prove Buddhaghosa didn't know what he was talking about (to put it one way) may acctually be due to the gramatical errors in the translation process and when corrected do acctually lye well with the Suttas - but this may be a matter of opinion, and may not be accurate as the person who looked over the work wasn't a native english speaker, and as I don't know how fluent he is in translating pali to english may pose some doubts, although I do trust the Ashin who told be about it.
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Why isn't the Visuddhimagga free?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:33 pm

i bought the american version of the BPS one then got the same book free in hardcover from a chinese group, though i dont think they give them out anymore as it's a huge book and they can probably print and give out more smaller books for the same price. i ended up getting rid of my bought copy and kept the free one...

so sometimes this book is free, but thinking someone should print this monster and make it free for people is absurd, its a huge book and probably costs a lot to publish, and ship.

maybe some of the more well off lay buddhists should get together to start a printing co op
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