Zero in Pali

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

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DarwidHalim
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Zero in Pali

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:28 am

Hi,

How do you say zero in Pali?
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby Viscid » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:05 am

The mathematical concept of zero probably didn't exist when Pali was around. To them, one less than one was nothing/emptiness.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby Virgo » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:53 am

Viscid wrote:The mathematical concept of zero probably didn't exist when Pali was around. To them, one less than one was nothing/emptiness.

As far as I know there are rather complex engineering diagrams in the Vedas (though I may be wrong-- I have to search for references). So I looked up Vedic mathematics, which would of course pre-date Buddhism by thousands of years to see how complex it was. So far, all I have found is the following:

"Although there is controversy about whether the Vedas themselves actually include references to mathematics, the roots of sophisticated mathematics have actually been traced back to the Vedic era. Ancient Indian Vedic civilizations are known for being skilled in geometry, algebra and computational mathematics complex enough to incorporate things like irrational numbers (Dutta, 2002). Furthermore, all ancient Indian mathematics literature is composed completely in verse; there was a tradition of composing terse sūtras, like those of Vedic mathematics (my note: which is actually modern), to ensure that information would be preserved even if written records were damaged or lost (Dutta, 2002)."

The above is very interesting. However, what is referred to specifically as 'Vedic mathematics' (which contains 16 sutras) is actually a controversial addition by a modern person.

Interesting that their Sutras are much like ours-- composed to be terse for memorization and to be unpacked by those who know the "commentary".

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby Virgo » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:00 am

Indian mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the concept of zero as a number,[5] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_mathematics

[5]. ^ Bourbaki 1998, p. 46: "...our decimal system, which (by the agency of the Arabs) is derived from Hindu mathematics, where its use is attested already from the first centuries of our era. It must be noted moreover that the conception of zero as a number and not as a simple symbol of separation) and its introduction into calculations, also count amongst the original contribution of the Hindus."

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby SamKR » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:06 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Hi,

How do you say zero in Pali?


I guess, it is suñña.

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:07 am

MettaNet lists it as:

suñña-lakkhaṇa (which could make sense; empty-mark or empty characteristic)

or

bindu (nought)

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:39 am

Thank you.

I am actually trying to find where does this word sunyata come from. Zen master mark it as zero. As zero mean no value at all in anything, but zero is not non-existence.

Zero is a beautiful symbol uniting between nothing there, but it is not nonexistent. This union doesnt cause any conflict although each side alone they are conflicting.

I recently read in the web that sunyata actually mean zero literally.

Thank you by the way.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby SamKR » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:40 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Thank you.

I am actually trying to find where does this word sunyata come from. Zen master mark it as zero. As zero mean no value at all in anything, but zero is not non-existence.

Zero is a beautiful symbol uniting between nothing there, but it is not nonexistent. This union doesnt cause any conflict although each side alone they are conflicting.

Mathematically, zero, negative numbers, imaginary numbers, etc. all are interesting indeed. But it's hard to conclude about their existence and non-existence.

I recently read in the web that sunyata actually mean zero literally.


Śūnya means zero-ness, or emptiness, actually.

I am sure that in Sanskrit, Hindi, and Nepali śūnya means: zero; empty. And Śūnyatā means: zeroness; emptiness
I think in Pali too suñña means zero (or empty) and suññata means emptiness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

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Re: Zero in Pali

Postby daverupa » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:21 pm

I'm surprised there isn't a pun somewhere over suñña <--> saññā.
    "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: Zero in Pali

Postby bodom » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:30 pm

I recently read in the web that sunyata actually mean zero literally.


According to Buddhadãsa Bhikkhu 'zero' or 'zeroness' would be an incorrect translation for sunnatta within the context of actual practice:
“We aren’t certain about that; terms have been used incorrectly. Suññata was often translated into Thai as “sun plao” (zeroness, vacancy, nothingness). Ordinary people and Abhidhamma fans liked to translate it as “empty-zero,” as valueless or worthless. It was improperly translated because it was incorrectly understood. And because it was misunderstood, nobody gained any benefit from it. The Dhamma of this word had been lost. It ought to be understood simply as void of self, void from self.”


http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductExtr ... ?PID=14814

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah


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