The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:12 am

christopher::: wrote:The Universe itself, Nature and the Great Circle of Life, is in my mind a refuge of sorts.

"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming." — SN 56.11

That's what us unawakened folks do - go for refuge to unstable places. You, me, likely everyone on this forum does it. :shrug: It doesn't change what the Buddha's message was.
- Peter

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:52 am

Thank you Peter and Tilt for your comments.

Peter wrote:You seem to be trying to oppose two ideas here which are in fact not opposed.

1] The passage basically restates that I am the owner of my kamma.
2] Therefore the passage cannot be used to support the atheist viewpoint.

Is that a fair restatement of your point?

No, it is not. My point is that a translation that uses the loaded term "Supreme God" lends itself to a narrower interpretation than I believe is appropriate, and such a translation appears to me to support an agenda that is not the point of this text.

tiltbillings wrote:
I believe layers upon layers of deep meaning are lost if we narrowly interpret "supreme protector" as meaning God and only God, and nothing other than God.


This is your basic complaint, and as I said: “The Buddha addressed the idea of god more than once in the suttas. The idea of a god as a supreme protector of the world is a potent idea. Abhi-issaro is a powerful way of making a point that there is no thing, no one, no force outside us that can protect us.”
That is fine, but those sentiments are not reflected in the translation you are putting forward, particularly if you use the term, "Supreme God." That on its face suggests something much more specific than "no thing, no one, no force outside us." The term "God" does not incapsulate all that. Therefore, it appears to me that your translation does not reflect your sentiments.

tiltbillings wrote:The problem with leaving abhi-issaro translated as "supreme protector" is the question of what is included in that somewhat odd expression and it would require a footnote to draw out what is actually meant by it.
It may be that the term "abhi-issaro," like other Pali terms, does not have an adequate English-language equivalent.

tiltbillings wrote:I am open to suggestions. Abhi, is an intensifier: supreme god, higher god, godly god. That sort of thing. Give us an expression that would illustrate - unambiguously - the range of meanings.

Sometimes that requires a clumsy compromise: “supreme protector/supreme god” sort of thing. Or “higher power,” which sort blows the 12 steppers away.

So, enough wrangling, let have some fun with this.
That seems reasonable. Although the term "god" (lower-case g) can be understood to mean something different than "God" (upper-case g), I think the word should be avoided for this translation, because it is prone to misunderstanding in our time and place. "Lord, ruler, master, chief" appear to be variants, based on what you wrote in the second post in this thread. None of those seems quite right, either.

Given the subject matter of the text, a loose translation for abhi-issaro in this context might be "great liberator." Who else can liberate but a master, one who is in charge, a ruler? There is no great liberator.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:15 am

Peter wrote:
christopher::: wrote:The Universe itself, Nature and the Great Circle of Life, is in my mind a refuge of sorts.

"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming." — SN 56.11

That's what us unawakened folks do - go for refuge to unstable places. You, me, likely everyone on this forum does it. :shrug: It doesn't change what the Buddha's message was.


Indeed. On one hand we see the impermanence, instability and fragility of this world- family, friends, sangha, nature, clouds, mountains, nature, universe. Attachment brings suffering, passion brings suffering, craving and pleasure bring suffering.

And yet, this place where we find one another, its still home, isn't it? The experiential realm of our lives, this place we are lucky enough to have been born into for practicing compassion, joy, unselfishness, metta, upekkha, for learning the dhamma...

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:45 am

Jechbi wrote:That is fine, but those sentiments are not reflected in the translation you are putting forward, particularly if you use the term, "Supreme God." That on its face suggests something much more specific than "no thing, no one, no force outside us." The term "God" does not incapsulate all that. Therefore, it appears to me that your translation does not reflect your sentiments.


Appears to me that you are, at best, giving an extremely narrow reading to what I am saying and to my translation. The terms God/god do indeed point to the idea of something greater than us, outside us, some bigger thing, some one or some force in charge that we turn to for protection, for shelter, and God or god can work nicely as a figurative way of expressing the idea of something greater than us, outside us, some bigger thing, some one or some force in charge that we turn to for protection, for shelter.

Given the subject matter of the text, a loose translation for abhi-issaro in this context might be "great liberator." Who else can liberate but a master, one who is in charge, a ruler? There is no great liberator.


"great liberator" Now, that is a confusing bit. What the heck is it supposed to mean? It is hardly catches the meanings of the word abhi-issaro; it is definitely not balanced with the first part of the line - "the world is without shelter." It may fit your understanding, but I'll go with either Supreme God or supreme god or supreme Lord/lord or supreme protector or even just protector (plus footnote) and feel content with the fact I am doing far more justice to the immediate context of the sutta and the broader context of the suttas and to the terminology than a confusing "great liberator."

"great liberator." Goodness. I am going to back away slowly now.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:14 am

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:"great liberator." Goodness. I am going to back away slowly now.

Well, the tone of your response is one of ridicule. So I guess once again we have a failure to communicate.

Editing post to add this:
tiltbillings wrote:"great liberator" Now, that is a confusing bit. What the heck is it supposed to mean?

If you think in terms of "liberation" as a term for the cessation of dukkha, that may help you understand what this means. I think this notion of liberation is very common, for example when we express the sentiment, "May all beings be liberated, may all beings be happy."

As I said, this is a loose translation. As I said, there may be no adequate English equivalent for the Pali. This often is the case, for example "suffering" is not an adequate equivalent for "dukkha."

I offered this alternative in the spirit of respectful discussion, and at your request. It's unfortunate that you choose not to receive it as it was intended.

Peace.
Last edited by Jechbi on Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:18 am

Jechbi wrote:
I offered this alternative in the spirit of respectful discussion, and at your request. It's unfortunate that you choose not to receive it as it was intended.


"Great liberator" does not seem to work very well, if at all. Certainly less so than Supreme God or supreme god or supreme protector or protector, all of which are far more balanced with the actual vocabulary and structure of the passage in question. The statement that God and god does not encompass “"no thing, no one, no force outside us” is also rather unusual.

As to how it was intended, hard to say. I was thinking you might have been joking, but after this exchange, I am thinking it is better to simply back away from this discussion with you.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:56 am

Tilt,

You do not seem to appreciate that the term "God" in this context is going to be divisive and prone to misunderstanding. You do not seem to appreciate that your "Supreme God" translation does not convey the sentiments that you espouse. If these discussions at Dhamma Wheel have taught you anything, I hope they have taught you that different people mean different things when they use the term "God," and also that the term "God" can be distracting and divisive. Why you want to introduce those obstacles into your translation of this sutta passage is puzzling. It seems completely unnecessary, and completely avoidable.
tiltbillings wrote:I was thinking you might have been joking ...

I didn't show up in this discussion to be regarded as a jokester. Your method of discussion here has become unnecessarily confrontational. I note that you have edited this discussion to address this concern that I raised earlier about your post, now deleted. Unfortunately, this comment of yours isn't much better than what you wrote before.

Sorry we couldn't have a more productive discussion.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:12 am

Hi Tilt and Jechbi,

It seems that you have both come to this conversation with sincerity. Problem is, some endeavors may simply be doomed to unravel, eventually. That's the conclusion i reached anyway, recently, with topics like this...

Something Ben shared yesterday in the Bhavana-maya-panna discussion.

:group:

Ben wrote:
On Differences in Views, Engage or Disengage from Discussions? I responded to Craig with:

Ben wrote:
clw_uk wrote:If no one ever challanged you and you never engaged in discussion and debate, how would you test the strength or your position? How would you know that your position isnt flawed in some way?


Bhavana-maya-panna


I wanted to draw attention to what I believe is the whole point of being a practitioner. And that is practice and the liberative wisdom that arises from practice. As others have said, including the article by SN Goenka, jechbi and zavk, sutta-maya-panna and cinta-maya-panna cannot be under-estimated in their efficacy in assisting one to walk the path, but it is bhavana-maya-panna which liberates one from suffering.

I’ve also heard my teacher use the expression pariyatti (study) and patipatti (practice) should go hand-in-hand. Elsewhere, he refers to the relationship between pariyatti and patipatti as ‘the gem set in gold’. And again elsewhere, and on the frontispiece of the Pariyatti website, we have ‘Pariyatti: illuminating the seeker’s path’.

My personal opinion is that there is limited value in continually debating points of Dhamma in some of the ways it is discussed and debated here.

I think it can be valuable in refuting someone who may be mistaken, someone intentionally spreading adhamma or for the instruction and interest to those new to Buddhism. Incessant discussions as a means of ‘challenging one’s views’, as a means of developing naana or insight into the nature of nama and rupa – its a fiction. I also think that a lot of questions that become the subject of long-running threads whether its rebirth, masturbation, bhavana-maya-pannna will evaporate if one consistently walks on the path.

We are all hurtling towards our destiny and the only thing standing between us and the grave is time. I don’t want to denigrate sincere and interested exploration and discovery of the Dhamma, but don’t just stop there, In the words of Jean Luc Picard (Star Trek: the next generation)...Engage!

Metta

Ben.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:21 am

Thanks, Christopher. I saw Ben's post, and I agree that it is full of wisdom.
Ben wrote:My personal opinion is that there is limited value in continually debating points of Dhamma in some of the ways it is discussed and debated here.
No question about that. I don't know how I allow myself to get drawn into these things sometimes.

Ben wrote:I think it can be valuable in refuting someone who may be mistaken, someone intentionally spreading adhamma or for the instruction and interest to those new to Buddhism.
I presume this is what some members here believe they are doing with confrontational approaches to discussions. We can all ask ourselves, though, whether it's possible to come to these discussions with a greater measure of kindness and respect. fwiw.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:36 am

You do not seem to appreciate that the term "God" in this context is going to be divisive and prone to misunderstanding.


Divisive in the context of Ven Ratthapala’s teachings? Probably not. We can get a fairly clear picture from the suttas of the sort of god notions that are extant at the time of the Buddha, and they are something that the laity would have likely understood when an expression such as abhi-issaro is used. Ven Ratthapala is very uncompromising in his exposition of the Dhamma.

As for being prone to misunderstanding, you make statements such as this but do not actually support them.

You do not seem to appreciate that your "Supreme God" translation does not convey the sentiments that you espouse


Not that you have shown.

If these discussions at Dhamma Wheel have taught you anything, I hope they have taught you that different people mean different things when they use the term "God," and also that the term "God" can be distracting and divisive.


Part of the problem that has been seen here is that we have a god advocate who does not understand the difference between god and godhead. If I were to use “protector” as do Vens Thanissaro and Bodhi, I would explain that abhi-issaro is a word, in this context, inclusive of the idea of God/god, and not just an anthropomorphic god. Then what?

Why you want to introduce those obstacles into your translation of this sutta passage is puzzling. It seems completely unnecessary, and completely avoidable


Okay, so I use “protector,” and in the course of conversation I draw out the meaning of abhi-issaro and the god advocate then says: Who is the author of these statements about God, attributed to the Buddha, and have phrases been edited, mistranslated or added over time? How can we verify these statements about metaphysics, conversations with Gods and the underlying unseen nature of the Universe as truths?
Then what?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:53 am

christopher::: wrote: Another even bigger question mark in my head though is how sure can we be that the Buddha really made these statements? I think its simply impossible to know.


That is one way to try to dismiss Buddhist teachings that make you uncomfortable. Given that this text is part of the Pali tradition and is also part of the Chinese version of what is found in the Pali suttas, what we have with this text is part of the larger early Buddhist tradition.

Who is the author of these statements about God, attributed to the Buddha, and have phrases been edited, mistranslated or added over time? How can we verify these statements about metaphysics, conversations with Gods and the underlying unseen nature of the Universe as truths?


You complain about the supposed anthropomorphized, literal god, and here you are responding to these things as if they are to be taken literally. Conversations with Brahma/God does not have to be taken as a literal fact to see that a point that is being made about what it is that the Buddha teaches concerning the supposed existence of something that is supposedly the cause of all existence.

Dalai Lama states:

"This principle [of Buddhism] means that all conditioned things and events in the universe come into being only as a result of the interaction of various causes and conditions. This is significant because it precludes two possibilities. One is the possibility that things can arise from nowhere, with no causes and conditions, and the second is that things can arise on account of a transcendent designer or creator. Both these possibilities are negated."


The Buddha's teachings about how our minds work, about the 4 noble truths, 8 fold path, importance of precepts, the 4 brahma viharas, dependent origination and the ending of suffering have been verified by hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the ages. This is a recipe that has been handed to us, that we can test and apply ourselves, bringing observable results. Unfortunately, when it comes to statements about Gods and metaphysics, these teachings are unverifiable, we need to take them on faith.


Again, you have very literalistic response to these things. Using mythic language, a considerable amount of information can be gotten across. One does not need to take the mythic language literally for the truth of what is being said to be understood.

There is a reason why a god view can be seen as a problem. It could be stated directly in this way:

"The assumption that a God is the cause (of the world, etc.) is based on the false belief in the eternal self (atman, i.e. permanent spiritual substance, essence or personality); but that belief has to be abandoned, if one has clearly understood that everything is impermanent and subject to suffering." Abhidharmakosha 5, 8 vol IV, p 1.


Or it could be expressed in mythic terms as we find in the Pali suttas.

I just wonder how helpful the idea of "No God" is for our practice, if asserted to as an essential truth to defend. It could obscure and hinder one's practice as much as the idea of God, if made too important, or held too tightly.


Because someone questions the notion of a god being presented repeatedly in a Buddhist context, that does not mean that they are holding too tightly to anything. What about the god-advocate who continually insists that god has a place here?

But at this point i have too many questions, few or no answers...


You might actually want to spend some time learning what it is that the Buddha taught.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:08 am

Hi Tilt,

Just out of curiosity, do you read Pali? Are you a translator?

Best,
Drolma

:anjali:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:13 am

Peter wrote:If it makes you feel better... it's not that Buddhism denies God, rather it denies God as relevant in any way shape or form.


This has always, 100% been my understanding Image
Therefore, the issue just left my mind at one point as I considered it totally irrelevant. I don't really describe myself as a very strong atheist, it's just a non-issue for me. Too bad there's no such category for people who believe that way. Like a don't-care-it's-not-part-of-my-thing category.

Thanks Peter.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:25 am

tiltbillings wrote:
I just wonder how helpful the idea of "No God" is for our practice, if asserted to as an essential truth to defend. It could obscure and hinder one's practice as much as the idea of God, if made too important, or held too tightly.


Because someone questions the notion of a god being presented repeatedly in a Buddhist context, that does not mean that they are holding too tightly to anything. What about the god-advocate who continually insists that god has a place here?


I have not said that God has a place here, just that its an important (and helpful) belief for many people on our planet (who do not focus on the dhamma) and so (in my view) should be treated respectfully.

But i've said this so many times it no longer needs to be said. Better for me to simply stay out of discussions like this...


You might actually want to spend some time learning what it is that the Buddha taught.



Which I've been doing here at Dhamma Wheel, Tilt. Spending less time arguing and debating about God or masterbation, and instead focusing on things the Buddha taught, which i would like to understand better and are directly relevant to my practice...

Experiential Wisdom: Bhavana-maya panna

Cultivating upekkha (equanimity) day-to-day

Buddha's Views on Love, Compassion, Joy & Equanimity


If topics like these interest you, i'd be happy to discuss further.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:38 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Hi Tilt,

Just out of curiosity, do you read Pali? Are you a translator?

Best,
Drolma

:anjali:


I studied Pali for 4 years in the South Asian/Buddhist Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI in the mid 80's. I am not a translator. I did some translation as part of my studies. Over the years, however, I have not kept up with it, so the facility I had then I certainly do not have now. I certainly cannot read commentarial Pali, which is very difficult. Sutta Pali is much easier, with a dictionary and a grammar book I can get at a text, but mostly I use other's translation. Ven Bodhi's are better than Ven Thanisarro's, Ven T is to commend for at least trying to break out of the dull translation mode that afflicts so many translators.

The one thing the four years of Pali study with excellent teachers has given me is an appreciation of the idea of context for understanding how a term or phrase is used.

Here is a sutta I worked on as a student, the Itivuttaka, 37-8 which contains an oft quoted section of Udana 80, and most importantly the Buddha offers a verse auto-commentary to this passage.

===

This said by the Blessed One, the Worthy One, was heard by me in this way: "Monks, there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning. For, monks if there were not this freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, then escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning, would not be known here. But, monks, because there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning, therefore the escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known."

[Here the Buddha offers his own verse commentary on his statement.]

This meaning the Blessed One spoke, it is spoken here in this way:

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning [of greed, hatred and delusion] appeased,
This is ease [bliss].
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:46 am

christopher::: wrote:I have not said that God has a place here, just that its an important (and helpful) belief for many people on our planet (who do not focus on the dhamma) and so (in my view) should be treated respectfully.


More than anyone, you bring god or the mysterious force up with some degree of frequency. That people hold the idea of a god in whatever guise as being important does not mean it it cannot be critiqued from a Buddhist perspective. No one here is advocating picketing churches with photos of god inspired atrocities or going door-to-door advocating atheism. Within the context of this forum criticizing the ideas of god is appropriate.

But i've said this so many times it no longer needs to be said. Better for me to simply stay out of discussions like this...
But you never do.

[Which I've been doing here at Dhamma Wheel, Tilt. Spending less time arguing and debating about God or masterbation [masturbation], and instead focusing on things the Buddha taught, which i would like to understand better and are directly relevant to my practice...


I'd be happy to give you a reading list.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:25 am

tiltbillings wrote:
[Here the Buddha offers his own verse commentary on his statement.]

This meaning the Blessed One spoke, it is spoken here in this way:

That which is born, become, arisen, made, conditioned,
And thus unstable, put together of decay and death,
The seat of disease, brittle,
Caused and craving food,
That is not fit to find pleasure in.

Being freed of this, calmed beyond conjecture, stable,
Freed from birth, freed from arising, freed from sorrow,
Freed from passions, the elements of suffering stopped,
The conditioning [of greed, hatred and delusion] appeased,
This is ease [bliss].




Most excellent and wise. Do you think if the Buddha were born in this day and age, he might have added "freed from endless online discussions" to the list?

:computerproblem:

tiltbillings wrote:
I'd be happy to give you a reading list.


Cool. I just shared links to the 3 topics i'm most interested in learning more about. Would very much like to hear your views, experiences and reading suggestions, if any of these interest you as well.

Please do jump in..!

Experiential Wisdom: Bhavana-maya panna

Cultivating upekkha (equanimity) day-to-day

Buddha's Views on Love, Compassion, Joy & Equanimity


:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:52 am

Hi Tilt,

That is so cool. I mean it :twothumbsup:

I have a slight confusion. The first passage you offered is your translation, correct? And the second is the Buddha's words?. But did you not not translate the Buddha's words in Pali into English? The reason for my confusion is because the two paragraphs read so differently.

Also, I've looked up the definition for godhead twice and I can't figure out quite what that means. Could you please tell me when you have a moment?

I had toyed with the idea at one time of becoming a translator. Foreign languages have always come easily to me and it seems like really fun work. But then a professional translator told me that the only reason one would become a translator from Tibetan to English would be to read texts that would be otherwise inaccessible. Since there is so much, between Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana that's already translated into English, and I couldn't possibly read it all in one lifetime, I abandoned the idea.

As a total side note, if any TB practitioners are reading this and have an interest in reading little gems from someone who is currently translating and regularly publishing works into English, find Sherab Zangpo's webpage on myspace.com and you can find his works.

Best,
Drolma

ps. sorry to drag this off topic, I won't continue to do that once Tilt answers my question about those two paragraphs that he translated
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:12 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:The first passage you offered is your translation, correct? And the second is the Buddha's words?.


It is all one text by the Buddha.The first part is the basic text; the second part is the Buddha's own commentary on that. Here is a more standard translation by John Ireland:

This was said by the Lord...

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

The born, come-to-be, produced,
The made, the conditioned, the transient,
Conjoined with decay and death,
A nest of disease, perishable,
Sprung from nutriment and craving's cord —
That is not fit to take delight in.

The escape from that, the peaceful,
Beyond reasoning, everlasting,
The not-born, the unproduced,
The sorrowless state that is void of stain,
The cessation of states linked to suffering,
The stilling of the conditioned — bliss.


As for godhead; the various entries in the Wiki give a fairly good idea as the range of meaning encompassed by the term

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godhead

Since there is so much, between Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana that's already translated into English, and I couldn't possibly read it all in one lifetime, I abandoned the idea.
[/quote]

True, but there are tons of stuff that is crying to be translated. In the Tibetan there is not a complete translation of the Agamas, which would be equivalent to the Pali suttas, but there are large hunks of that material in Tibetan in the Tibetan Canon, which would be very interesting to have access to, given the careful way things were translated into Tibetan. It would a lot to our knowledge of early Buddhism.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Aloka » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:16 am

But then a professional translator told me that the only reason one would become a translator from Tibetan to English would be to read texts that would be otherwise inaccessible.



True. Years ago I was going to go into the traditional 3 -4 year closed retreat for which one had to be able to read Tibetan texts. I commenced lessons with a lama's translator and then laboriously began translating texts. However my retreat had to be cancelled because of some sudden unexpected and extreme family circumstances.
I neglected the Tibetan lessons after that and then after the family problems were over, didn't continue with the retreat preparation again either . :rolleye:

Sorry, :focus:
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