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As a mother protects with her life - Dhamma Wheel

As a mother protects with her life

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

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Coyote
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As a mother protects with her life

Postby Coyote » Sun May 12, 2013 12:01 pm

(taken from the thread in general and posted here as the resident Pali experts may be more likely to notice it)

"As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings
." (trans. Thanissaro)

In a dhamma talk by Ven Thanissaro he mentioned that the phrase mentioned above refers not to the quality of the metta, but to the care and protection put into cultivating the metta itself.

"Some people misread this passage—in fact, many translators have mistranslated it—thinking that the Buddha is telling us to cherish all living beings the same way a mother would cherish her only child. But that’s not what he’s actually saying. To begin with, he doesn’t mention the word “cherish” at all. And instead of drawing a parallel between protecting your only child and protecting other beings, he draws the parallel between protecting the child and protecting your goodwill. This fits in with his other teachings in the Canon."



What do those here knowledgeable about Pali say?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 12, 2013 4:28 pm

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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fivebells
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby fivebells » Sun May 12, 2013 7:17 pm

Ven. Pesala, is that Buddhaghosa's commentary? If so, isn't citing it to resolve an ambiguity in favor of the traditional translation a bit circular?

Coyote
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby Coyote » Sun May 12, 2013 8:16 pm

Thanks for the commentary bhante. But as fivebells suggested I am more interested in what the Pali grammer says about how it should be translated and what it means.
Is there ambiguity in the verse about what the object of the simile is? Is the translation in your post "thus too, upon all beings, one cultivates a mind of loving-kindness." a literal one? If so it would seem to support the traditional interpretation.

Metta
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

binocular
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby binocular » Mon May 13, 2013 5:36 am


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mikenz66
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby mikenz66 » Mon May 13, 2013 7:06 am

Is it possible it's not a matter of the grammar? There is a simile of being as protective as a mother for her only child. There is the cultivation of boundless metta towards all beings. Whether the simile applies to the cultivation or to the metta itself is the question.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu has an interesting argument based on examining other suttas. Others, such as Bhikkhu Bodhi in his lessons on the Sutta Nipata, gives the more common interpretation that the feeling one should cultivate is like the love of a mother for her only child.
See http://bodhimonastery.org/sutta-nipata.html
Sn 1.8 Mettā Sutta — Loving-kindness (part 2), from about 21:40 (where Bhikkhu Bodhi reads the verse in Pali).

:anjali:
Mike

binocular
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby binocular » Mon May 13, 2013 9:08 am

Compare:


:
As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.



And just as might a mother with her life
Protect the son that was her only child,
So let him then for every living thing
Maintain unbounded consciousness in being;


:
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;



Just as with her own life
A mother shields from hurt
Her own son, her only child,
Let all-embracing thoughts
For all beings be yours.



"Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.

binocular
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby binocular » Mon May 13, 2013 9:09 am


Coyote
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby Coyote » Mon May 13, 2013 12:05 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

Rasko
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby Rasko » Mon May 13, 2013 12:10 pm


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piotr
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby piotr » Mon May 13, 2013 2:35 pm

Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

binocular
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby binocular » Mon May 13, 2013 6:47 pm


Sylvester
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Re: As a mother protects with her life

Postby Sylvester » Tue May 14, 2013 8:45 am



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