Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

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Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby chownah » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:43 am

Why is the Buddha translated to have said that fabrications are called that because they fabricate things? Seems like they should not be called fabrications, seems like they should be called fabricators. It seems like if you call them fabrications then you should say that they are called that because they are fabricated by a fabricator.

This is based on the English language and it's usual usage in the USA.
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:21 am

chownah wrote:
This is based on the English language and it's usual usage in the USA.
This is a question or a statement? I really do not like Ven T's translation of this.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby chownah » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:00 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:
This is based on the English language and it's usual usage in the USA.
This is a question or a statement? I really do not like Ven T's translation of this.

Statement. Just trying to make it clear that what is usual usage of the words in American English is that something is NOT called a fabrication if it fabricates things...I.e. it is called a fabricator if it fabricates things. The usual constructionist that a thing is called a fabrication if it is fabricated.

In another thread you said you like Ven Bodhi's translation better and I asked if you had a link to it but I think you have not seen that post yet....so after waiting a couple of days I went ahead and started this thread to try and figure out what is going on with the terminology here.

In summary, are "fabrications" (as used to represent the buddha's teachings) something that fabricates things or are "fabrications" things that are fabricated?
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:11 am

Hi Chownah, Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation and explanation from SN 22.79:
“And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations.[112] And what is the conditioned that they construct? They construct conditioned form as form;[113] they construct conditioned feeling as feeling; they construct conditioned perception as perception; they construct conditioned volitional formations as volitional formations; they construct conditioned consciousness as consciousness. ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations.

    112. Saṅkhataṃ abhisaṅkharontī ti bhikkhave tasmā saṅkhārā ti vuccanti . Unfortunately English is a poor medium for capturing the interconnections of this sentence in the Pāli, with the object (saṅkhataṃ), the verb (abhisaṅkharonti), and the subject (saṅkhārā) all derived from the same stem. See my discussion of saṅkhārā in the General Introduction, pp. 44-47. To replicate the Pāli we might have rendered it, “They construct the constructed, therefore they are called volitional constructions,” though this would bear certain connotations quite alien to the original. It is also an unfortunate coincidence that “volitional formations,” my rendering for saṅkhārā, is related to “form,” my rendering for rūpa. In Pāli there is no etymological tie between rūpa and saṅkhārā. To capture the several nuances of the verb abhisaṅkharotiwe might have taken the liberty of rendering it, in this passage, by two verbs: “to generate,” which conveys the idea that the volitional formations actually produce the other aggregates (see the following note); and “to form,” which makes apparent the correspondence with the noun “formations.”

    This passage shows the active role of cetanā, volition, in constructing experienced reality. Not only does volition influence the objective content of the experience, but it also shapes the psychophysical organism within which it has arisen and, via its role as kamma, shapes the future configurations of the five aggregates to be produced by kamma. In this connection see 35:146, on the six sense bases as “old kamma.”


    113. All three printed eds. of SN read, rūpaṃ rūpattāya saṅkhataṃ abhisaṅkharonti, and so for the other aggregates, except viññāṇa, where Ee reads, viññāṇatthāya; however, since Ee has no note on vv.ll., this is almost certainly an editorial inconsistency rather than a meaningful variant. Spk (Se and Ee) reads rūpatthāya in its lemma, implying that the termination -atthāya should apply to every aggregate, and apparently old Sinhalese mss of SN had this reading. Spk (Be), however, has rūpattāya. The explanation in Spk is equally intelligible on either reading of SN.

    I follow Be here: “As one is said to cook conjee as conjee, to bake a cake as a cake, so it [Spk-pṭ: the collection of states headed by volition] constructs, builds up, amasses (abhisaṅkharoti āyūhati sampiṇḍati) form itself—called ‘the conditioned’ because it is made by a combination of conditions—so that it becomes ‘conditioned form’ in accordance with its nature, for its formness (tathattāya rūpabhāvāya); the meaning is that it produces it (nipphādetī ti attho). This is the sense in brief: It constructs, produces the form arising along with itself and the associated feeling, etc. Here, too, the Blessed One shows just the specific characteristic of volitional formations, whose characteristic is volition. [Spk-pṭ: This is said because volition is the chief of the states belonging to the aggregate of volitional formations.]”

The text is on-line at: http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... _link-2683 but that site does not credit Bhikkhu Bodhi...

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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:21 am

Thanks, Mike.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:47 am

It is clear from Bhikkhu Bodhi's note #112 that translating that passage into English is non-trivial.

Here is Thanissaro Bhikku's translation: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And why do you call them 'fabrications'? Because they fabricate fabricated things, thus they are called 'fabrications.' What do they fabricate as a fabricated thing? For the sake of form-ness, they fabricate form as a fabricated thing. For the sake of feeling-ness, they fabricate feeling as a fabricated thing. For the sake of perception-hood... For the sake of fabrication-hood... For the sake of consciousness-hood, they fabricate consciousness as a fabricated thing. Because they fabricate fabricated things, they are called fabrications.


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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby santa100 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:14 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Chownah, Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation and explanation from SN 12.79:


Just a quick correction, it's SN 22.79 in Khandha Vagga/Book of the Aggregates (12.79 is in Nidana Vagga/Book of Causation).

[Thanks - now fixed above - Mike]
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby chownah » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:35 pm

mikenz66,
Thanks for the link and excerpt. In the excerpt, ven Bodhisattva mentions some pages in the general introduction but I looked at the link you gave and could not find that.....do you know where too look for that?

Ven Bodhi mentions the difficulty of translating into English the three words all having the same stem.....seems like this is what Ven Thannisaro has done with his assertion that fabrications fabricate fabricated things.

Also, it seems that volitional formations construct themselves!!!!! Is this what it is saying....if this incorrect then Thannisaro's use of "fabrications" makes more sense in that they are indeed fabricated as well as being the fabricator...so the nonstandard use of fabrication(as subject rather than object) may be intentional and it is meant to point to the dual role of creator and created.

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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby SamKR » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:44 pm

chownah wrote: Seems like they should not be called fabrications, seems like they should be called fabricators.

Same thing can be said for feeling, perception, consciousness:

"And why do you call it 'feeling'? Because it feels, thus it is called 'feeling.' What does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, it feels neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Because it feels, it is called feeling.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-3

It feels, but it is not translated as "feeler" because it is actually feeling. That is, if anything feels then it is feeling itself that feels. The assumption of someone who feels is wrong, as we can see in Phagguna Sutta:
"Lord, who feels?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'feels.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Similary, if anything perceives or cognizes it is perception itself or consciousness itself. Since feeling, perception, consciousness themselves are what feel, perceive, cognize, it is not necessary to translate them as feeler, perceptor or cognizer, but it is better to simply label them as feeling, perception, consciousness.

In the same way, if anything fabricates it is fabrication-process itself that fabricates. Otherwise it is wrong to assume there is anyone who fabricates. Since fabrication process itself is what fabricates, it is better to translate it as a fabrication (or formation or determination) and not as a fabricator.
(That is how I understand it currently; I would appreciate corrections if something sounds wrong in my understanding.)
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby daverupa » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:25 pm

Constructions contrive constructs v Constructions construct contrivances v Contrivances construct constructions...

I don't really like using "contrive" for each of them (contrivances contrive contrivances), but I'm trying to get the volitional component in there...

I guess I think of it in this way: just as parents make children, and in this sense we can say humans make humans without contradiction, so too sankhara. It isn't that one sankhara makes itself, it's just that sankhara is an altogether broad category. It's not really complicated, as I see it.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby Zom » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:23 pm

Why is the Buddha translated to have said that fabrications are called that because they fabricate things? Seems like they should not be called fabrications, seems like they should be called fabricators. It seems like if you call them fabrications then you should say that they are called that because they are fabricated by a fabricator.


Exactly so, this is the perfect translation. Sankharas are both active and passive things, this term is very complex.
One should take a look >>> http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_43.html
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:12 pm

chownah wrote:mikenz66,
Thanks for the link and excerpt. In the excerpt, ven Bodhisattva mentions some pages in the general introduction but I looked at the link you gave and could not find that.....do you know where too look for that?

Hi Chownah,

You can (probably) read the Introduction on Google Books here: http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=HJCv ... 22&f=false

And Ben has transcribed it here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3850

Bhikkhu Bodhi's Nikaya translations are well worth having. His notes clarify many puzzling issues of the translations, such as this one.

:anjali:
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby gavesako » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:43 pm

Languages are ambiguous, and although some people maintain that Pali language accurately represents "ultimate reality" and is therefore sacred, the Buddha obviously regarded it as merely a tool for communication and used many similes to point to what can't be expressed by linguistic means.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby Kare » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:54 pm

gavesako wrote:Languages are ambiguous, and although some people maintain that Pali language accurately represents "ultimate reality" and is therefore sacred, the Buddha obviously regarded it as merely a tool for communication and used many similes to point to what can't be expressed by linguistic means.


:goodpost:

Besides, we should always remember that the exact meaning of a word is defined by the context in which it appears. One and the same word may have different meanings in different contexts, and this goes for any language, not only for Pali.

Let me give an example from two languages that are rather close to each other: English and Norwegian. English 'tree' is Norwegian 'tre'. Historically/etymologically it is the same word, and 'a tree' is the same as 'et tre'. But as a material which you can make something from, it is still 'tre' in Norwegian, but in English it is 'wood'. If you put in on the fire, however, it is still 'wood' in English, but in Norwegian it is 'ved' (etymologically the same as 'wood'). And English 'wood' can also mean 'forest', that is 'skog' in Norwegian. So do we translate Norwegian 'tre' as 'tree' or 'wood'? Do we translate English 'wood' as 'tre', 'ved' or 'skog''? It all depends on the context. There is no mechanical one-to-one correspondence, but an overlapping network of meanings.

In the same way we should remember that there is not always a one-to-one correspondence between words in Pali and English. Professional translators have a saying: 'Context is King.' In order to understand a Pali word, we should of course use a dictionary. But the dictionary alone is not enough. We also need to read a large corpus of texts in order to get familiar with the different contexts in which the word appears.
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby chownah » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:53 am

SamKR wrote:
chownah wrote: Seems like they should not be called fabrications, seems like they should be called fabricators.

Same thing can be said for feeling, perception, consciousness:

"And why do you call it 'feeling'? Because it feels, thus it is called 'feeling.' What does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, it feels neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Because it feels, it is called feeling.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-3

It feels, but it is not translated as "feeler" because it is actually feeling. That is, if anything feels then it is feeling itself that feels. The assumption of someone who feels is wrong, as we can see in Phagguna Sutta:
"Lord, who feels?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'feels.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Similary, if anything perceives or cognizes it is perception itself or consciousness itself. Since feeling, perception, consciousness themselves are what feel, perceive, cognize, it is not necessary to translate them as feeler, perceptor or cognizer, but it is better to simply label them as feeling, perception, consciousness.

In the same way, if anything fabricates it is fabrication-process itself that fabricates. Otherwise it is wrong to assume there is anyone who fabricates. Since fabrication process itself is what fabricates, it is better to translate it as a fabrication (or formation or determination) and not as a fabricator.
(That is how I understand it currently; I would appreciate corrections if something sounds wrong in my understanding.)

SamKR,
I think you are absolutely correct. I was thinking of some THING which is doing the fabricating and so I was wanting to use "fabricator" with its thinginess connotation and then having the mistaken notion that it was this thing which did the fabricating. This is an example of me indulging in a doctrine of self towards the fabricating going on in this context. I'm really glad you pointed out that there is no identifiable agent we can say does the fabricating....better to view it as bare process and not imagine some agent in there somewhere......and actually it may be that this is what Thannisarro had in mind because "fabrication" can have the meaning of the process of fabricating.....like one might say "the fabrication of the parts is difficult while the assembly is easy." Of course it is possible to indulge in a doctrine of self around a process so one should be careful about that. I'm working on seeing these concepts as being merely descriptions of an overall process (kamma perhaps) and not really meant to be an analysis into parts or agents at all.....just descriptions to help us see the dynamics of the overall flow of the overall process.

Thanks again for your ideas...I think this is really helpful.
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby Zom » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:55 pm

I think you are absolutely correct. I was thinking of some THING which is doing the fabricating and so I was wanting to use "fabricator" with its thinginess connotation and then having the mistaken notion that it was this thing which did the fabricating. This is an example of me indulging in a doctrine of self towards the fabricating going on in this context. I'm really glad you pointed out that there is no identifiable agent we can say does the fabricating....better to view it as bare process and not imagine some agent in there somewhere......and actually it may be that this is what Thannisarro had in mind because "fabrication" can have the meaning of the process of fabricating....


Not necessarily. There is, for example, a mind - and it cognizes. There is a body, and it moves. There are fabrications and they fabricate. And still - there is no self in them and they are not-self.
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby chownah » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:34 am

Zom wrote:
I think you are absolutely correct. I was thinking of some THING which is doing the fabricating and so I was wanting to use "fabricator" with its thinginess connotation and then having the mistaken notion that it was this thing which did the fabricating. This is an example of me indulging in a doctrine of self towards the fabricating going on in this context. I'm really glad you pointed out that there is no identifiable agent we can say does the fabricating....better to view it as bare process and not imagine some agent in there somewhere......and actually it may be that this is what Thannisarro had in mind because "fabrication" can have the meaning of the process of fabricating....


Not necessarily. There is, for example, a mind - and it cognizes. There is a body, and it moves. There are fabrications and they fabricate. And still - there is no self in them and they are not-self.

I think we have different views on this...but it might just be a difference in the meanings of words. For me it seems that to say, "There are fabrications and they fabricate," is inconsistent with, "there is no self in them and they are not-self."
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Re: Fabricators fabricate fabrications.

Postby pegembara » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:22 am

Image

The bell is a series of processes as is the "one" who makes contact with the "bell". There is only the "eye" that sees, "ear" that hears etc.

"Lord, who makes contact?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'makes contact.' If I were to say 'makes contact,' then 'Who makes contact?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes contact?' And the valid answer is, 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.'"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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