Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

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Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Kwaingo » Thu May 15, 2014 3:20 am

Was Pali the language that Lord Buddha spoke in everyday life? Or just the liturgical language of Dhamma?
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby culaavuso » Thu May 15, 2014 4:34 am

Some informative discussions of this topic can be found in other threads:

What language did the Buddha speak?
Pali and Sanskrit: some history
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Kwaingo » Thu May 15, 2014 7:52 am

Cheers culaavuso, very informative and interesting links.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu May 15, 2014 8:07 am

The common peoples language of the Buddha's time probably had a lot of similarities to what we know as Pali today, however the Pali of the scriptures dates from about 500 years later, and we really have no idea what if any changes occurred in the language from when the Buddha spoke it, to when it was recorded centuries later. We can be pretty sure the language didn't have an alphabet, ie was not a written language, until, in moving to other regions, pali adopted the alphabet of that regions written language, or fairly similar.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 11:54 am

According to popular opinion Pali as currently found in the Tipitaka was a few hundred years later than the Buddha (my view is completely different but let us assume this is the truth).

So going by the above notion, Pali would be as different from the Buddha's language as the language of 'The Spanish Tragedie' (late 16th or early 17th century) would be from our own English. Read it up at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/6043/6043-h/6043-h.htm
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 15, 2014 8:47 pm

arhat wrote:According to popular opinion Pali as currently found in the Tipitaka was a few hundred years later than the Buddha (my view is completely different but let us assume this is the truth).

So going by the above notion, Pali would be as different from the Buddha's language as the language of 'The Spanish Tragedie' (late 16th or early 17th century) would be from our own English. Read it up at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/6043/6043-h/6043-h.htm

What is your view?
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Thu May 15, 2014 9:30 pm

Mkoll wrote:What is your view?

In short - Pali is an orthographically distorted form of the Old-Indo-Aryan language. The orthographic distortion happened due to the decision of the pre-sectarian Buddhist sangha (of the 4th & 3rd century BCE) to use writing (in a foreign script) to preserve the canon. Writing was previously unknown and unused in India. The use of a foreign script resulted in epigraphical abnormalities, leading to the language being spoken differently from the way in which it was written. For a few centuries, this seemed obvious to all... but as the script evolved and became capable of phonetic representation, the spoken language (i.e. Old-Indo-Aryan, which we colloquially call by the name of its grammar i.e. as 'sanskrit') could now be represented phonetically. People (towards the start of the common era) started thinking that the canon was written in a different language, what we now call Pali.

I have mentioned more about this at the following threads:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4630
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20299
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3215
Last edited by bharadwaja on Fri May 16, 2014 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 15, 2014 10:20 pm

Thanks arhat.
Peace,
James
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Kwaingo » Fri May 16, 2014 11:33 am

Is arhat really an arhat? Anyhow what about Prakrit, is that perhaps the spoken lanugage of everyday life in Buddha's time?
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Kare » Fri May 16, 2014 12:05 pm

Kwaingo wrote:Is arhat really an arhat? Anyhow what about Prakrit, is that perhaps the spoken lanugage of everyday life in Buddha's time?


It's just a nickname, nothing more. You can safely disregard his pet theories.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Fri May 16, 2014 7:16 pm

Kwaingo wrote:Is arhat really an arhat? Anyhow what about Prakrit, is that perhaps the spoken lanugage of everyday life in Buddha's time?

What do you understand by 'arhat' anyways?

Prakrit is not a single language, it is an umbrella term for the common-era literary dialects that evolved from canonical Pali. Prakrits were recognized as languages but their use was very limited in the early centuries of the common era. Canonical Pali was not a Prakrit.

There were no Prakrits in the Buddha's or Ashoka's time. The term prakrit as a linguistic term attained prominence centuries after the 4th century BCE grammar of Old Indic called "Sanskrit" was composed.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby Mkoll » Fri May 16, 2014 8:28 pm

arhat wrote:What do you understand by 'arhat' anyways?


Hi arhat,

Another question: what is your definition of the word arhat or arahant?
Peace,
James
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Fri May 16, 2014 9:42 pm

Arhat originally meant foe-destroyer i.e. enemy-slayer.

In Buddhism, the Buddhahood is attained by realizing the nature of duality. The individual is mired in duality (pleasure & pain, joy & sorrow, strength & weakness etc). One's own identity is also formed of this duality -- the noble Buddha nature vs the vile Māra nature (both are within the same individual).

To succeed in the noble life, one has to isolate the vile aspect's of one's nature and metaphorically kill it... just as the Buddha overcame Māra ("death"). This is what the buddha means by saying he preaches the cessation of dukkha.

Arhat (or Arahat, or Arahant, or Arihat, Arihant) is a compound derived from the "ari" (enemy) & "hata" ("destroyed"). The arhat is one who has gone beyond duality and attained the non-dual nature (i.e. non-hypocritical integrity) of Buddhahood by slaying his own vile alter-ego.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby cooran » Fri May 16, 2014 9:59 pm

Hello arhat,

So - by using the word "arhat" as your member name, are you in any way hinting or maintaining that you are an Arahant?

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Fri May 16, 2014 10:09 pm

If anyone can legitimately use the term Arhat today as a self-designator, it would be someone like me. Perhaps there are a lot of arhats in this dhammawheel sangha, but only one decided to use it to identify oneself.
:namaste:
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 16, 2014 10:45 pm

arhat wrote:If anyone can legitimately use the term Arhat today as a self-designator, it would be someone like me. Perhaps there are a lot of arhats in this dhammawheel sangha, but only one decided to use it to identify oneself.
:namaste:


Or more likely, an arahant wouldn't want to use such a username, wouldn't want to publicly make such a claim.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 16, 2014 10:45 pm

arhat wrote:If anyone can legitimately use the term Arhat today as a self-designator, it would be someone like me. Perhaps there are a lot of arhats in this dhammawheel sangha, but only one decided to use it to identify oneself.
:namaste:
Just to clarify, you are an arahant.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Fri May 16, 2014 10:57 pm

Or more likely, an arahant wouldn't want to use such a username, wouldn't want to publicly make such a claim.

I didn't make any claim until I was asked about it... and nobody declares an arahant into existence, one knows it of one's own accord, and one decides not to shy away from it. But it seems to me that among the sangha there is a lot of misconception about arahants. The very term evokes insecurity in some - it shouldn't.
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby lyndon taylor » Fri May 16, 2014 11:15 pm

Arhat, I suggest you make friends with gben, our resident "buddha"!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?

Postby bharadwaja » Fri May 16, 2014 11:20 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Arhat, I suggest you make friends with gben, our resident "buddha"!!

:tongue: No thanks, I like the solitude of the sangha. :meditate:
Regardless of your misgivings about the use of the term, an arahant is a striver, a truth seeker... an original - while most modern Buddhists seem to think it's an ideological being who must claim himself/herself a theravadin to realize the theravadin dhamma of the theravadin Buddha... reality is far from these dogmatic ideological bases.
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