Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutta?

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutta?

Postby mahat » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:35 am

The following has been translated in English, and I think it is incorrect:

"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

Now the Pali has:

Vanijja Sutam

Satthavaṇijjā, sattavaṇijjā, maṃsavaṇijjā, majjavaṇijjā, visavaṇijjā.

-Vanijja itself means "trade" or even loosely "exchange"

So it's:

Sattha vanijja = weapons trade (exchanging ill will)

Satta vanijja = trade in beings (contradicts the Vyagpagga Sutta where Buddha clearly states you can breed cattle and other animals, so I think it means "exchanging fetters" (see satta Sutta)

Mamsa vanijja = flesh trade or prostitution -mamsa means flesh and identifies it with lust in the Silavimamsa Jataka- which in my mind immediately came to mean prostitution and certainly NOT meat which Buddha clearly allowed us to eat.

Majja vanijja = intoxicant trade - Varuni Jataka has Anathpindka's friend owning a tavern.

Visa vanijja = poison trade (ie anger, lust, aversion, greed are poisons)

Thanks for anyone who can throw light on the current English translation.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby ihrjordan » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:49 am

mahat wrote:The following has been translated in English, and I think it is incorrect:

"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

Now the Pali has:

Vanijja Sutam

Satthavaṇijjā, sattavaṇijjā, maṃsavaṇijjā, majjavaṇijjā, visavaṇijjā.

-Vanijja itself means "trade" or even loosely "exchange"

So it's:

Sattha vanijja = weapons trade (exchanging ill will)

Satta vanijja = trade in beings (contradicts the Vyagpagga Sutta where Buddha clearly states you can breed cattle and other animals, so I think it means "exchanging fetters" (see satta Sutta)

Mamsa vanijja = flesh trade or prostitution -mamsa means flesh and identifies it with lust in the Silavimamsa Jataka- which in my mind immediately came to mean prostitution and certainly NOT meat which Buddha clearly allowed us to eat.

Majja vanijja = intoxicant trade - Varuni Jataka has Anathpindka's friend owning a tavern.

Visa vanijja = poison trade (ie anger, lust, aversion, greed are poisons)

Thanks for anyone who can throw light on the current English translation.

I don't see what's wrong here. The first quote you gave us says not to trade in human beings and the Buddha never advocated that. Theres nothing wrong with trading cattle and even though the Buddha said not to trade in meat some do anyways and it's not immoral to consume meat. And besides they can provide plenty of non-meat products like milk, cream, butter, cheese etc. and even if Anathpindka's friend did own a tavern the Buddha's words weren't law per say and not everyone was interested in his teachings and did immoral things anyways as we see here.
"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"
User avatar
ihrjordan
 
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:42 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby LXNDR » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:16 pm

so mahat you mean the sutta is an allegory and doesn't speak of actual types of commerce?
LXNDR
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby martinfrank » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:30 pm

Christians believe that man has concluded a pact with God which somehow is a promise that if man keeps the Ten Commandments man will be fine after death. And if you don't manage there is still Divine Grace.

Lord Buddha never offered such a deal to his followers. He didn't say that if you keep Five Precepts (or Eight or Ten or 227) you'll be fine. There is no Divine Grace in Buddhism. We are responsible for our acts and will earn the fruits of our acts. There is no guarantee that if you are better than average you'll not go to hell or animal birth.

Lord Buddha recommended to abstain from unwholesome businesses:

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/anguttara/05/an05-177.html ... see the note: "satta means actually any living being." The Pali is clear "business in living beings" is not recommended. There is no word meaning "slave" in the Pali sentence (like "daasa" etc.).

Jesus instructed people not to kill. Christians believe it means not to kill people.

Lord Buddha instructed people not to deal in living beings. Some Buddhists believe it means not to deal in slaves.

Instead of discussing minimal standards, we should discuss how we can improve our chances of fairing well when we die. What if your dog too thought that better than average is good enough?
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
User avatar
martinfrank
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:55 am
Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:18 pm

martinfrank wrote:Christians believe that man has concluded a pact with God which somehow is a promise that if man keeps the Ten Commandments man will be fine after death. And if you don't manage there is still Divine Grace.

Lord Buddha never offered such a deal to his followers. He didn't say that if you keep Five Precepts (or Eight or Ten or 227) you'll be fine. There is no Divine Grace in Buddhism. We are responsible for our acts and will earn the fruits of our acts. There is no guarantee that if you are better than average you'll not go to hell or animal birth.

Lord Buddha recommended to abstain from unwholesome businesses:

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/anguttara/05/an05-177.html ... see the note: "satta means actually any living being." The Pali is clear "business in living beings" is not recommended. There is no word meaning "slave" in the Pali sentence (like "daasa" etc.).

Jesus instructed people not to kill. Christians believe it means not to kill people.

Lord Buddha instructed people not to deal in living beings. Some Buddhists believe it means not to deal in slaves.

Instead of discussing minimal standards, we should discuss how we can improve our chances of fairing well when we die. What if your dog too thought that better than average is good enough?


Of course he did. Those who keep the five precepts and observe the Buddhist sabbath go to heaven and Jesus did not have the ability to know all the heavens, only Buddha describes them in the Suttas. However, Buddhists go for the highest, Nibbana which is deathless. That requires meditation and faith in the Triple Gem only, Jesus can't take you to immortality.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:23 pm

LXNDR wrote:so mahat you mean the sutta is an allegory and doesn't speak of actual types of commerce?


Yes, and incorrectly translated in English. Mansa means flesh, if you read the Silavimamsa Jataka, Buddha defines Lust as "Mansa". If you can't find it, I'll post it. So Mamsa Vanijja means flesh trade--- which is prostitution, not purchasing your burger from McDonalds. :smile:
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:37 pm

mahat wrote:Yes, and incorrectly translated in English. Mansa means flesh, if you read the Silavimamsa Jataka, Buddha defines Lust as "Mansa". If you can't find it, I'll post it. So Mamsa Vanijja means flesh trade--- which is prostitution, not purchasing your burger from McDonalds. :smile:


maṃsa does not mean lust; it is the flesh of animals, i.e., meat. You are mistaken and given your posts in the great vegetarian debate, you appear to be trying to find further justification for your love of eating meat. The Buddha opposed the killing of animals in numerous instances and did not allow Buddhists to have occupations involving killing -- and killing includes killing humans or animals.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8011
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:37 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
mahat wrote:Yes, and incorrectly translated in English. Mansa means flesh, if you read the Silavimamsa Jataka, Buddha defines Lust as "Mansa". If you can't find it, I'll post it. So Mamsa Vanijja means flesh trade--- which is prostitution, not purchasing your burger from McDonalds. :smile:


maṃsa does not mean lust; it is the flesh of animals, i.e., meat. You are mistaken and given your posts in the great vegetarian debate, you appear to be trying to find further justification for your love of eating meat. The Buddha opposed the killing of animals in numerous instances and did not allow Buddhists to have occupations involving killing -- and killing includes killing humans or animals.


I can say vegetarians are mistranslating Suttas to make Buddha into a vegetarian which he was not. Bhikku Bodhi intentionally mistranslated the online version of The Mahasutosoma Jataka, where he purposely deleted the part where Buddha describes how meat is wonderful. Why are vegetarians misinforming people about Buddhism?

I can defend my translation of "Mansa" as lust from Buddha's own words:

In the Silavimamsa Jataka, we come to understand that Buddha means "desire" by meat, that which is carnal -this is similar to the word "sweet meat" which is vegetarian but a sweet you lust after,

Now a hawk seized a piece of meat in a butcher's shop and darted up into the air. The other birds surrounded him and struck at him with feet, claws and beaks. Unable to bear the pain he dropped the piece of meat. Another bird seized it. It too in like manner being hard pressed let the meat fall. Then another bird pounced on it, and whosoever got the meat was pursued by the rest, and whosoever let it go was left in peace. The

Bodhisatta on seeing this thought, "These desires of ours are like pieces of meat. To those that grasp at them is sorrow, and to those that let them go is peace." And he repeated the second stanza

While the hawk had aught to eat,
Birds of prey pecked at him sore,
When perforce he dropped the meat,
Then they pecked at him no more.
------
So
It's not about meat, it's lust. Farming involves killing of millions of sentient beings. Why didn't Buddha stop people from farming? Because this killing was accepted by society.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:50 pm

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I'll stick with the venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8011
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:52 pm

If anything requiring killing was wrong livelihood, than why wasn't farming banned too?

No. 11.

LAKKHAṆA-JĀTAKA.

Towards harvest-time in Magadha, when the crops stand thick in the fields, it is dangerous for the deer in the forests round. Anxious to kill the creatures that devour their crops, the peasants dig pitfalls, fix stakes, set stone-traps, and plant snares and other gins; so that many deer are slain.

From Access to Insight
One day, however, when Pipphali Kassapa was inspecting the fields, it happened that he saw, as if with new eyes, what he had seen so often before. He observed that when his people plowed, many birds gathered and eagerly picked the worms from the furrows. This sight, so common to a farmer, now startled him. It now struck him forcefully that what brought him his wealth, the produce of his fields, was bound up with the suffering of other living beings. His livelihood was purchased with the death of so many worms and other little creatures living in the soil. Thinking about this, he asked one of his laborers: "Who will have to bear the consequences of such an action?" — "You yourself, sir," was the answer.4
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:54 pm

mahat wrote:It's not about meat, it's lust.
This includes lust for eating meat which is something you are clearly demonstrating with your "meatism".

:pig:
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 2802
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:32 am

Mkoll wrote:
mahat wrote:It's not about meat, it's lust.
This includes lust for eating meat which is something you are clearly demonstrating with your "meatism".

:pig:


Now you are assuming I eat meat for lust. You know me? I and millions of others eat meat for nutrition.

Now you will say I love alcohol because I say The Bodhisat governed over a tavern.

Vegetarians are very quick to judge, and usually I find their judgement full of error and full of wrong view.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:47 am

Greetings,

Please, let's get back to discussion of Wrong Livelihood and the Vanijja Sutta.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby santa100 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:36 am

mahat wrote:Satta vanijja = trade in beings (contradicts the Vyagpagga Sutta where Buddha clearly states you can breed cattle and other animals, so I think it means "exchanging fetters" (see satta Sutta)
Mamsa vanijja = flesh trade or prostitution -mamsa means flesh and identifies it with lust in the Silavimamsa Jataka- which in my mind immediately came to mean prostitution and certainly NOT meat which Buddha clearly allowed us to eat.

Regarding Vyagpagga Sutta, see ihrjordan's post above regarding breeding animals for non-meat products like milk, cream, butter, cheese, etc.
About "flesh" trade, please see various translations below:
Ven. Nyanaponika wrote:These five trades, O monks, should not be taken up by a lay follower: trading with weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, trading in poison.

Ven. Thanissaro wrote:"Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.

Ven. Bodhi wrote:“Bhikkhus, a lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trading in weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, and trading in poisons. A lay follower should not engage in these five trades.”

Robert Bogoda further explained in "A Simple Guide to Life":
The Buddha teaches that for our own well-being and the well-being of others we should avoid these classes of occupations. Dealing in arms means just what you think — all kinds of weapons and instruments for killing. Dealing in living beings refers to animals, of course, and it also extends into areas like slavery, or prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults in one way or another. "Meat" refers to the bodies of beings after they are killed. And poisons are just as you say — all kinds of toxic products designed to kill.
santa100
 
Posts: 1516
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby SarathW » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:55 am

This thread may some help:

What is right livelihood?

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16659&start=20#p249335
SarathW
 
Posts: 1973
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:58 am

SarathW wrote:This thread may some help:

What is right livelihood?

Thank you for finding that thread. This is the first page
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1996
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby LXNDR » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:59 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Trading in meat means, having raised pigs or deer, etc., he sells them.

In my opinion this would include any kind of living-being sold for its meat or hide, but not if sold for other purposes, e.g. oxen for pulling carts, horses for riding, or dogs for pets or work.


but then there's sattavanijja trade in living beings (one translation of satta is animal) which isn't right, how does breeding, trading and using animals for labor accord with it?
LXNDR
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby LXNDR » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:05 am

mahat wrote:
LXNDR wrote:so mahat you mean the sutta is an allegory and doesn't speak of actual types of commerce?


Yes, and incorrectly translated in English. Mansa means flesh, if you read the Silavimamsa Jataka, Buddha defines Lust as "Mansa". If you can't find it, I'll post it. So Mamsa Vanijja means flesh trade--- which is prostitution, not purchasing your burger from McDonalds. :smile:


that's not what i meant, i thought your claim was that in the sutta these words were used allegorically meaning defilements, but now see that my assumption was incorrect
LXNDR
 
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby mahat » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:34 pm

mahat wrote:If anything requiring killing was wrong livelihood, than why wasn't farming banned too?

No. 11.

LAKKHAṆA-JĀTAKA.

Towards harvest-time in Magadha, when the crops stand thick in the fields, it is dangerous for the deer in the forests round. Anxious to kill the creatures that devour their crops, the peasants dig pitfalls, fix stakes, set stone-traps, and plant snares and other gins; so that many deer are slain.

From Access to Insight
One day, however, when Pipphali Kassapa was inspecting the fields, it happened that he saw, as if with new eyes, what he had seen so often before. He observed that when his people plowed, many birds gathered and eagerly picked the worms from the furrows. This sight, so common to a farmer, now startled him. It now struck him forcefully that what brought him his wealth, the produce of his fields, was bound up with the suffering of other living beings. His livelihood was purchased with the death of so many worms and other little creatures living in the soil. Thinking about this, he asked one of his laborers: "Who will have to bear the consequences of such an action?" — "You yourself, sir," was the answer.4


Again, no one has responded to this. Why was farming where farmers kill millions of beings not termed as wrong livelihood?

The Vyagpaggha Sutta Directly contradicts the Vanijja Sutta:

Vyagghapajja Sutta

“Herein, Vyagghapajja, by whatsoever activity a householder earns his living,
whether by farming,
by trading,
by rearing cattle, (this is trading in beings - you have to buy cattle to breed it and sell it)
by archery, (archery?That's weapons trading and practicing)
by service under the king,
or by any other kind of craft-

at that he becomes skilful and is not lazy. He is endowed with the power of discernment as to the proper ways and means; he is able to carry out and allocate (duties). This is called the accomplishment of persistent effort.


Frankly these contradictions mean there is something missing.

Again, it is not meat trade, it is flesh trade. I speak Hindi and I know Mansa also means flesh and in English, flesh trade immediately means prostitution and sex trade. Sirima is a case in point, she was a prostitute and upon becoming a stream enterer no longer remained in this profession.

Meat is NOT illegal. Buddha states in the Jatakas, Mahasutosoma Jataka, that the right to eat meat is given by Trayistrimsa Heaven to duly elected rulers on earth and they can decide how to delegate it but not ordinary lay people since animals have to be treated properly they all come under the jurisdiction of the elected officials. Meat must be government certified.

Similarly Maccha Jataka, The Bodhisat, a government officer, saves only one fish that was going to hell. That means fish and meat granted from rulers are Legal.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: Wrong Livelihood - incorrect Translation of Vanijja Sutt

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:42 pm

mahat wrote:Again, no one has responded to this. Why was farming where farmers kill millions of beings not termed as wrong livelihood?


I forget the reference, but the Buddha states that accidentally killing a being one cannot see, there is no offense. Farmers who kill unintentionally from their plows do not incur an offense. However, a butcher or slaughterhouse worker must intentionally kill / slaughter an animal to make it into meat.

As to your statements about meat eating being acceptable, refer to the great vegetarian debate discussion for that. In terms of Right Livelihood, the Buddha was very clear: No killing of humans or animals.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8011
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada


Return to Classical Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests