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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:49 am

To my surprise, PTS has not.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:51 am

I don't know of any translation. They are Commentaries, which is why the PTS hasn't translated them yet.

This is from U Ko Lay's Guide to Tpitaka:

This division of the Khuddaka Nikāya consists of two parts: Mahāniddesa, the major exposition which is the commentary on the fourth vagga (Aṭṭhakavagga) of the Suttanipāta, and Cūḷaniddesa, the minor exposition which is the commentary on the fifth vagga (Pārāyanavagga) and on the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta in the first vagga.

Attributed to the Venerable Sāriputta, these exegetical works contain much material on the Abhidhamma and constitute the earliest forms of commentaries, providing evidence of commentarial tradition many centuries before the Venerable Buddhaghosa appeared on the scene.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:30 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I don't know of any translation. They are Commentaries, which is why the PTS hasn't translated them yet.

This is from U Ko Lay's Guide to Tpitaka:

This division of the Khuddaka Nikāya consists of two parts: Mahāniddesa, the major exposition which is the commentary on the fourth vagga (Aṭṭhakavagga) of the Suttanipāta, and Cūḷaniddesa, the minor exposition which is the commentary on the fifth vagga (Pārāyanavagga) and on the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta in the first vagga.

Attributed to the Venerable Sāriputta, these exegetical works contain much material on the Abhidhamma and constitute the earliest forms of commentaries, providing evidence of commentarial tradition many centuries before the Venerable Buddhaghosa appeared on the scene.



Thanks. metta.lk does not make that clear.http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/5Khuddaka-Nikaya/index.html
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:44 pm

tharpa wrote:Thanks. metta.lk does not make that clear.

They deserve some credit for making their translation available online, but they are not the most reliable.

They didn't spell Khuddaka correctly. Probably a transliteration error, unless they use a variant spelling in the Sinhalese texts.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby waterchan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:03 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
tharpa wrote:Thanks. metta.lk does not make that clear.

They deserve some credit for making their translation available online, but they are not the most reliable.

They didn't spell Khuddaka correctly. Probably a transliteration error, unless they use a variant spelling in the Sinhalese texts.


They also have some shortcomings in some of their sutta translations. I remember I posted one of them, the one about not recommending existence for so long as a fingersnap, and you corrected it.

Is there a free version of the Khuddaka Atthagata anywhere on the web? Khuddakanikaye Paramatthajotika Khuddakapatha-atthakatha is on Amazon but it's out of stock. (Imagine trying to ask for that book over the counter!)

By the way, it would be nice if someone could draw a tree-like structure depicting the relationship between all the commentaries and sub-commentaries and sub-sub-...-sub-commentaries. The structure of the Sutta Pitaka is much easier to grasp because of accesstoinsight but they don't seem to have much on the commentaries.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:07 pm

One very truncated, yet gentle, introduction to the structure of the Commentaries can be had here. There is a link at the bottom to the subcommentaries page.
    "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: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby waterchan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:23 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:They are Commentaries, which is why the PTS hasn't translated them yet.


In the wikipedia article linked in daverupa's post, the PTS is credited with the translation of quite a few commentaries...
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:56 pm

I think that the point is that they concentrated on getting the Vinaya, Sutta, Abdhidhamma translated first.

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations of the MN (with Ven Nanamoli), SN, and AN often have quite detailed notes about the Commentaries (as do many of the PTS translations and Maurice Walshe's translation of the DN). My recollection is that the PTS translation of the Sutta Nipata makes extensive use of the Maha Niddesa commentary (since translating verse is fraught with difficulty).

:anjali:
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:25 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I don't know of any translation. They are Commentaries, which is why the PTS hasn't translated them yet.

This is from U Ko Lay's Guide to Tpitaka:

This division of the Khuddaka Nikāya consists of two parts: Mahāniddesa, the major exposition which is the commentary on the fourth vagga (Aṭṭhakavagga) of the Suttanipāta, and Cūḷaniddesa, the minor exposition which is the commentary on the fifth vagga (Pārāyanavagga) and on the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta in the first vagga.

Attributed to the Venerable Sāriputta, these exegetical works contain much material on the Abhidhamma and constitute the earliest forms of commentaries, providing evidence of commentarial tradition many centuries before the Venerable Buddhaghosa appeared on the scene.


Bhante,

PTS also includes the the Niddesa in their list of books of the Khuddaka. They do not include the commentaries in that list. The quote from U Ko Lay does make it sound that the Mahà Niddesa is part of the Tipitika. I am forced to conclude that the Mahà Niddesa is part of the Tipitika. So a view that I held for a long time turns out to be false: I now believe that the Tipitika has not been translated into English in its entirety. Do you know if anyone is working on translating the untranslated books?

Mudita,

Tharpa
Last edited by tharpa on Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:28 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
tharpa wrote:Thanks. metta.lk does not make that clear.

They deserve some credit for making their translation available online, but they are not the most reliable.

They didn't spell Khuddaka correctly. Probably a transliteration error, unless they use a variant spelling in the Sinhalese texts.

Bhante,

They may not have spelled Khuddaka correctly, but I now see that they were correct in including the Mahà Niddesa as part of the Tipitika.

The first great modern scholarly Buddhist achievement has not yet been achieved: The Tipitika has not been fully translated into a non-Asian language.

Mudita,

Tharpa
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:31 am

waterchan wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
tharpa wrote:Thanks. metta.lk does not make that clear.

They deserve some credit for making their translation available online, but they are not the most reliable.

They didn't spell Khuddaka correctly. Probably a transliteration error, unless they use a variant spelling in the Sinhalese texts.


They also have some shortcomings in some of their sutta translations. I remember I posted one of them, the one about not recommending existence for so long as a fingersnap, and you corrected it.

Is there a free version of the Khuddaka Atthagata anywhere on the web? Khuddakanikaye Paramatthajotika Khuddakapatha-atthakatha is on Amazon but it's out of stock. (Imagine trying to ask for that book over the counter!)

By the way, it would be nice if someone could draw a tree-like structure depicting the relationship between all the commentaries and sub-commentaries and sub-sub-...-sub-commentaries. The structure of the Sutta Pitaka is much easier to grasp because of accesstoinsight but they don't seem to have much on the commentaries.


As I understand it now, though the Mahà Niddesa may be informally described as "commentarial", it is part of the Tipitika, and thus in the Sutta Pitaka and not part of the commentaries.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:33 am

waterchan wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:They are Commentaries, which is why the PTS hasn't translated them yet.


In the wikipedia article linked in daverupa's post, the PTS is credited with the translation of quite a few commentaries...


As I understand it now, though they may be "commentaries", they (the Mahà Niddesa) are not "Commentaries", as they are part of the Sutta-Pitaka.
Last edited by tharpa on Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby tharpa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:35 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think that the point is that they concentrated on getting the Vinaya, Sutta, Abdhidhamma translated first.

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations of the MN (with Ven Nanamoli), SN, and AN often have quite detailed notes about the Commentaries (as do many of the PTS translations and Maurice Walshe's translation of the DN). My recollection is that the PTS translation of the Sutta Nipata makes extensive use of the Maha Niddesa commentary (since translating verse is fraught with difficulty).

:anjali:
Mike


As I understand it now, the Mahà Niddesa is part of the Sutta-Pitaka, not the Commentaries. Both metta.lk and the PTS website agree on this.
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:50 am

Yes, I understand that the Niddesa is considered part of the KN. From the PTS: http://www.palitext.com/
Niddesa,
Set (including Index volume)
ISBN 365 6 £74.00 « Add to Basket »
Mahāniddesa,
ed. L. de La Vallée Poussin and E.J. Thomas, 2 volumes, 1916, 1917, reprinted as one volume 1978
ISBN 136 X £34.00 « Add to Basket »
Cullaniddesa,
ed. W. Stede, 1918, 1988
ISBN 277 3 £22.30 « Add to Basket »
Index to the Mahāniddesa,
L.S. Cousins, 1995. (Computer-generated index to the first part of the Niddesa.)
ISBN 310 9 £26.00 « Add to Basket »
The eleventh book of the Khuddaka-nikāya of the Sutta-piṭaka is divided into two parts, each containing a commentary considered to be canonical.
Both the Mahāniddesa and Cullaniddesa comment on texts from the Suttanipāta. (Not later than the 1st century BCE)

However, they are commentaries on the Suttanipata (though traditionally ascribed to Sariputta, and probably much earlier than the Commentaries assembled by Buddhaghosa), and so probably had a lower priority for translation than some other texts.

Also, as I pointed out, the PTS translation of the Sutta Nipata:
The Group of Discourses,
2nd ed., tr. K.R. Norman (with notes), 2001
ISBN 303 6 £35.75 « Add to Basket »
Fifth text of the Khuddaka-nikāya of the Sutta-piṭaka, consisting mainly of verses, apparently compiled from a number of sources. Two chapters of the Suttanipāta are mentioned by name in other Pāli canonical texts, and the commentary upon them is also included in the canon. It is apparent that this text contains some of the oldest Pāli poetry we possess.
Translation of Suttanipāta.

contains extensive, highly technical, notes that refer to the Niddesa to clarify meanings and correct possible corruptions of the Suttanipata text itself.

:anjali:
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby waterchan » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:55 am

*scratches head*

So are we saying that the Niddesa is canonical but not commentarial, or that it's commentarial but not canonical, or that it's both commentarial and canonical, or that it's neither?
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby daverupa » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:46 am

The Theravada Canon includes the Suttas, Vinaya, Abhidhamma, & Theravada Commentaries. All of this is Canonical.
    "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: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:48 pm

waterchan wrote:*scratches head*

So are we saying that the Niddesa is canonical but not commentarial, or that it's commentarial but not canonical, or that it's both commentarial and canonical, or that it's neither?

It is classified as part of the Sutta Pitaka, but it is a commentary on the Sutta Nipata, traditionally ascribed to Sariputta. I have not read it, but from the notes to the Sutta Nipata translation I referred to above, it explains the meanings of some of the passages.

The Sutta Nipata appears to be in the oldest strata of the Sutta Pitaka. From Thanissaro Bhikkhu's introduction to the fifth chapter of the SNP:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#vagga-5
'http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/parayanavagga.html
There is evidence that these sixteen dialogues were highly regarded right from the very early centuries of the Buddhist tradition. As concise statements of profound teachings particular to Buddhism, they sparked an attitude of devotion coupled with the desire to understand their more cryptic passages. Most of the Cula Niddesa, a late addition to the Pali canon, is devoted to explaining them in detail. Five discourses — one in the Samyutta Nikaya, four in the Anguttara — discuss specific verses in the set, and a sixth discourse tells of a lay woman who made a practice of rising before dawn to chant the full set of sixteen dialogues.

The notes to this translation include material drawn from the Cula Niddesa, together with extensive quotations from the five discourses mentioned above.

So, for example, snp 5.1: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html is commented on in SN 12.31: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 78&start=0 and the other discussions of the fifth chapter of the snp.

The point is that some of the Sutta Pitaka suttas contain commentaries on othe suttas. The Niddesa is an extreme case... Such cross-references are one of the indications of the different strata of the Sutta Pitaka.

The works normally classified as "Commentaries" are those that were collected together by Ven Buddhaghosa, several hundred years later.

:anjali:
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Re: Has the Mahà Niddesa been translated into English?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:35 pm

waterchan wrote:The structure of the Sutta Pitaka is much easier to grasp because of accesstoinsight but they don't seem to have much on the commentaries.


This may have already been discovered, but there is a brief Field Guide to Post-canonical Pali Literature available from accesstoinsight. The Maha Niddesa is an early enough commentary to have been included in the Sutta Pitaka and so it is not listed on the post-canonical literature page.
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