"disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

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"disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby ground » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:40 am

From another thread:

TMingyur wrote:As to the Upanisa Sutta I noticed that where Thanissaro B. has "disenchantment" B. Bodhi has "revulsion". This difference in translation seem to prevade all their sutta translations.

Kind regards

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings TMingyur,

Interesting observation. I prefer 'disenchantment' as I find it difficult to see how 'revulsion' does not entail 'aversion'... and I doubt aversion is what is intended.

Metta,
Retro. :)

TMingyur wrote:Hi retro

not being a native speaker I am somewhat dependent of dictionaries. The "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English" (Edition 1977) has for
revulsion:
"sudden and complete change of feeling
disenchant:
"free from enchantment or illusion" [-ment, noun]

Some directly translating dictionaries seem to take revulsion to be sort of synonym for "disgust" and disenchantment to be sort of synonym for "soberness".

Although I feel that "disgust" may allude to "nausea" which I find inappropriate for me "revulsion" has more of "determination" and "irreversibility" which is why I tend to prefer revulsion.




What's your preference as to these terms and why?


Kind regards
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:52 am

That's a very weak definition of revulsion, I'm with Retro on this, see from dictionary.com...

–noun
1.
a strong feeling of repugnance, distaste, or dislike: Cruelty fills me with revulsion.
2.
a sudden and violent change of feeling or response in sentiment, taste, etc.
3.
the act of drawing something back or away.

Looks like a synonym of aversion to me.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:01 am

Perhaps it would be useful to point out that the Pali word is nibbida.

See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7208

In the Introduction to his SN translation Bhikkhu Bodhi notes:
Nibbida, in [MN translation] was translated "disenchantment". However, the word or its cognates is sometimes used in ways which suggest that something stronger is intended. Hence I now translate the noun as "revulsion", and the corresponding verb nibbindati as "to experience revulsion". What is intended by this is not a reaction of emotional disgust, accompanied by horror and aversion, but a calm inward turning away from all conditioned existence as comprised in the five aggregates, the six sense bases, and the first noble truth. Revulsion arises from knowledge and vision of things as they really are (yathabhutananadassana), and naturally leads to dispassion (viraga) and liberation (vimutti; on the sequence see SN 12.23 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.023.bodh.html]).


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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Nyana » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:55 am

TMingyur wrote:What's your preference as to these terms and why?

I prefer "disenchantment," for the reasons that Retro gave. See also Buddhadharma: The Practitioners Quarterly Dharma Dictionary: Nibbida by Andrew Olendzki.

All the best,

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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby chownah » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:57 am

from the quote in the previous post:
Revulsion arises from knowledge and vision of things as they really are (yathabhutananadassana), and naturally leads to dispassion

To me it makes more sense that disenchantment would naturally result in dispassion rather than revulsion. To paraphrase....the state of no longer being enchanted (disenchantment) would naturally result in dispassion....this makes sense to me.... stop the enchantment and then reach an equilibrium (dispassion)...........on the other hand revulsion is in my mind an active and agitated thing and so does not seem to naturally result in dispassion...put another way, disenchantment is a cooling while revulsion is a heating of mind....in my view.
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:06 am

chownah wrote:from the quote in the previous post:
Revulsion arises from knowledge and vision of things as they really are (yathabhutananadassana), and naturally leads to dispassion

To me it makes more sense that disenchantment would naturally result in dispassion rather than revulsion. To paraphrase....the state of no longer being enchanted (disenchantment) would naturally result in dispassion....this makes sense to me.... stop the enchantment and then reach an equilibrium (dispassion)...........on the other hand revulsion is in my mind an active and agitated thing and so does not seem to naturally result in dispassion...put another way, disenchantment is a cooling while revulsion is a heating of mind....in my view.
chownah



Yes I agree, personally I find the word 'revulsion' brings to mind a passionate reaction. Indeed in my Oxford Dictionary, one of the main definitions is " sudden violent change of feeling" .

with kind wishes,

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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Adrien » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:49 am

I always agreed with you, but now I'm thinking that it could be a part of the path, and not the fruit. Ultimately, aversion is unskillfull, but maybe there is a stage when we stop craving for sensual pleasures, and start to be disgusted by them. It's far better to be revulsed by the sensual pleasures than attracted. And it may be considered as usefull on the path to renouncement. Then, instead of working on our passion to sensual pleasures, we will have to work with this aversion, and we will progress.

Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to replace my craving for pleasure by aversion.

Also, I've read that some christian monks use the same vocabulary : "what seemed very nice to me, today I find it to be horrible" (free quotation).
My mother said to me that when she first read that, she thought "this is exagerate", but now, she's starting to feel the same (she's a christian, and practice orthodox meditations).

I found this article quite interesting (though I didn't read all of it) : http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/20.1-Nibbida-piya.pdf
He says that revulsion is a better translation than disenchantment.
And here the sutta collection that goes with it : http://dharmafarer.net/index.html
Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:40 am

Perhaps there is room for both...and once more maybe this illustrates the limitations in attempting a one word for word English/Pali translation...

I am revolted by rape.
I am disenchanted by porn.
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:03 am

I am revolted by cruelty to children and animals

I am disenchanted with Santa Claus
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:37 am

Aloka wrote:I am revolted by cruelty to children and animals

I am disenchanted with Santa Claus

Translation is a tricky thing. Revulsion may not be an ideal translation but disenchantment with something harmless like Santa Claus doesn't seem to me to capture the seriousness of samsara:
Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering — in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering..


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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Antipathy, perhaps dyspathy.
    "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: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:00 pm

TMingyur wrote:From another thread:

TMingyur wrote:As to the Upanisa Sutta I noticed that where Thanissaro B. has "disenchantment" B. Bodhi has "revulsion". This difference in translation seem to pervade all their sutta translations.



The connotations of some alternate word choices for translations seem to foster what is reminiscent of a puritan orthodoxy to me. "Revulsion" vs "disenchantment" is one example. "Defilements" vs "hindrances" is another. Why an American born in modern times would want to risk encouraging such a puritanish orthodoxish mentality is a mystery.

To give Bhikku Bodhi the benefit of the doubt, he simply may be picking the words that are most technically correct by his view. I don't know Pali. I wonder though if anyone does. Pali is a dead language. Students depend on teachers to convey the words and the connotations to them. Mistakes and misunderstands likely happened over 2000 years passing down that knowledge. There is no place where people still speak Pali to go and check and if there was that wouldn't mean that a "modern Pali" would use words in the same ways as an ancient Pali.

An accurate translation of the Pali Canon may be something forever beyond our reach.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:19 pm

I've gotten a lot out of reading alternate translations of suttas, something the internet makes much convenient. A thought provoking exercise is to swap out the nouns and adjectives in a passage with words with similar meanings but different connotations.

"Suffering" is a good example. My understanding is that "dukkha" refers to a range of negative emotions from dissatisfaction at one extreme to "suffering" at another. When I think of "suffering" I think of child birth or someone being in a POW camp. Occasionally thinking of "dukkha" as "dissatisfaction" helps me connect my everyday experiences to the suttas.

Swapping "cultivating disenchantment to reduce the hindrances" seems to "connect" with me much more than "cultivating revulsion to uproot the defilements", which sounds like some old anti-life religious, rigid orthodoxy to me.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Nyana » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:24 pm

The Pāḷi term nibbidā is related to nibbindati, which is derived from the negative prefix nis-, meaning “not,” and the verb root vindati, meaning “to find.” And so nibbindati means “without finding,” and carries the connotations of “becoming weary of” and “turning away from.” When we clearly see each and every experience as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and empty, we no longer find satisfaction in fabricated things. We grow weary of trying to propagate and seek delight in worldly comforts and worldly concerns. This sense of weariness is expressed in Dhammapada 277-279:

    ‘All fabrications are impermanent.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

    ‘All fabrications are unsatisfactory.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

    ‘All phenomena are not-self.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

This weariness with what is unsatisfactory is disenchantment, which arises due to knowing and seeing things as they are. We begin to feel the hollowness of engaging in affairs which aren’t directly related to the development of the path.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:58 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The Pāḷi term nibbidā is related to nibbindati, which is derived from the negative prefix nis-, meaning “not,” and the verb root vindati, meaning “to find.” And so nibbindati means “without finding,” and carries the connotations of “becoming weary of” and “turning away from.” When we clearly see each and every experience as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and empty, we no longer find satisfaction in fabricated things. We grow weary of trying to propagate and seek delight in worldly comforts and worldly concerns. This sense of weariness is expressed in Dhammapada 277-279:

    ‘All fabrications are impermanent.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

    ‘All fabrications are unsatisfactory.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

    ‘All phenomena are not-self.’
    Seeing this with discernment
    One grows weary of unsatisfactoriness.
    This is the path to purity.

This weariness with what is unsatisfactory is disenchantment, which arises due to knowing and seeing things as they are. We begin to feel the hollowness of engaging in affairs which aren’t directly related to the development of the path.

All the best,

Geoff


This is very well said. It is hard to give a single word which sums up nibbindati, but I prefer disenchantment. For my own contemplation of this nuance of release ‘being over it’ fits, where the tedious fault of seeking satisfaction in any condition is revealed and let go of.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:05 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
TMingyur wrote:From another thread:

TMingyur wrote:As to the Upanisa Sutta I noticed that where Thanissaro B. has "disenchantment" B. Bodhi has "revulsion". This difference in translation seem to pervade all their sutta translations.



The connotations of some alternate word choices for translations seem to foster what is reminiscent of a puritan orthodoxy to me. "Revulsion" vs "disenchantment" is one example. "Defilements" vs "hindrances" is another. Why an American born in modern times would want to risk encouraging such a puritanish orthodoxish mentality is a mystery.

To give Bhikku Bodhi the benefit of the doubt, he simply may be picking the words that are most technically correct by his view. I don't know Pali. I wonder though if anyone does. Pali is a dead language. Students depend on teachers to convey the words and the connotations to them. Mistakes and misunderstands likely happened over 2000 years passing down that knowledge. There is no place where people still speak Pali to go and check and if there was that wouldn't mean that a "modern Pali" would use words in the same ways as an ancient Pali.

An accurate translation of the Pali Canon may be something forever beyond our reach.

Pali is not a " dead language " . Pali was and is to all extents and purposes an artificially constructed literary language , which was possibly never spoken outside of its own context, and which evolved precisely because none of the lingua franca past or present could convey the subtleties that were in need of expression and which yields its meaning only to those who go to it with the right mindset. It was ever thus. It was true for ancient Thais and Burmese. It was true for Sri Lankans . There was no place where Pali was spoken as the language of the market place. It evolved for a specific purpose and to attempt to bypass that is to lose sight of that purpose.
It does not yield itself to those who would drag IT into THEIR world view even if they have the extraordinary good fortune to be modern Americans...Pali is not Iraq. The Dhamma is not understood by using in as a vehicle to reject or subvert ones own cultural conditioning merely.
Personally I find homilies from those whose half digested ideas about Dhamma reveal themselves at every turn a valuable lesson in Kshanti...As one who after nearly forty years is still chewing..
"Oh" as the poet Burns has it " for the gift to see ourselves as others see us".

No amount of spin will alter the fact the Buddha saw as a prerequisite of understanding his dhamma a degree of turning away from life as conventionally lived. And turning away with some urgency. Buddha Dhamma is not a series of positive affirmations. It should and does lead to a greater degree of happiness, but that happiness comes at a cost. And the cost is a degree of disillusionment with and rejection of the kama, passing world . And if that rankles then we need to ask ourselves if we are in the right place.
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Adrien » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:21 pm

When I say "disenchantment", I'm thinking "not fooled anymore", and I would express it as : "it doesn't interest me anymore".

But I'm really wondering if nibbida could be a bit more. What drives common people's lifes is the pleasant and the unpleasant. What drives the people well established in the spiritual path is the wholesome and the unwholesome. It's like a new sort of liking and disliking (they don't "feel" the same about the wholesome and the unwholesome), but totally different, with no craving.

Are the sensual pleasures seen by the spiritual person as "not interesting" (neutral), or as "an undesirable thing" (unwholesome, dangerous) ?

Disenchantment is exactly the same as dispassion, except that what I'm disenchanted at, I once was enchanted by it (which is not necessarly the case for things I'm dispassionated at). But in the present, the feeling is exactly the same.
I would say that the "spiritual person" has this feeling (dispassion) about eating average bread, or walking in a corridor (pure neutral things -> he just doesn't care), while he would have "nibbida" for sensual pleasures, as he has nibbida for killing and stealing. In a way, these people do not "like" killing, they have a kind of repulsion for it, but that doesn't mean there is aversion. In a same way, they could have a kind of repulsion for the sensual pleasures, without any aversion.

__________________
Writing this message made me notice that in the two translations of nibbida, one involves the past while the other doesn't :
- disenchantmant -> in the past, I liked it (but I don't anymore).
- revulsion -> dosen't say anything about the past.
Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:46 am

I'm with Retro and others in preferring 'disenchantment'.
To me, 'revulsion' is too close to 'aversion'.
My nearest dictionary gave me 'disillusionment', 'dissatisfaction' and 'world-weariness' as alternatives for 'disenchantment', and they feel about right: knowing that worldly pleasures are limited and temporary, we should stop craving for them, stop thinking that they can solve our dissatisfactions, and look for something better.
The same dictionary gave me 'disgust', 'nausea', 'loathing' and 'aversion' itself as alternatives to 'revulsion'. They are all much stronger words than any in the first group, and they therefore describe a stronger emotional engagement with the object of the feeling. Such an engagement may be a necessary short-term antidote to a strong positive engagement but should be transcended - the long term aim, surely, is dispassion and equanimity, not aversion.

:namaste:
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby ground » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:21 am

Interesting comments ... but still ... I think I cannot agree with the predominant view which seems to express that 'disgust', 'nausea', 'loathing' amd 'aversion' are "wrong" in the first place, i.e. "naturally wrong".

In other contexts the Buddha e.g. accepted as a good qualities those that are considered "wrong" in worldly contexts e.g. "desire" for liberation or "grief" based on a longing for liberation that is not yet attained.

IMO if one feels 'disgust', 'nausea', 'loathing' and even 'aversion' towards the habitual appearance of allure of (inanimate or animate) objects (of mind) because one knows "what is behind the curtain" then this enhances consequent renunciation. What is important however is not to show it to the outside world because it is directed against one's own habits as such (i.e. underlying tendencies of which there is no possessor!!).

Kind regards
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Re: "disenchantment" or "revulsion"?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:41 am

TMingyur wrote:Interesting comments ... but still ... I think I cannot agree with the predominant view which seems to express that 'disgust', 'nausea', 'loathing' amd 'aversion' are "wrong" in the first place, i.e. "naturally wrong".

In other contexts the Buddha e.g. accepted as a good qualities those that are considered "wrong" in worldly contexts e.g. "desire" for liberation or "grief" based on a longing for liberation that is not yet attained.

IMO if one feels 'disgust', 'nausea', 'loathing' and even 'aversion' towards the habitual appearance of allure of (inanimate or animate) objects (of mind) because one knows "what is behind the curtain" then this enhances consequent renunciation. What is important however is not to show it to the outside world because it is directed against one's own habits as such (i.e. underlying tendencies of which there is no possessor!!).

Kind regards


I think you are right. The Buddha has stated that He himself:

"Seeing this drawback to the miracle of telepathy, Kevatta, I feel horrified, humiliated, and disgusted with the miracle of telepathy."
"Imaṃ kho ahaṃ kevaḍḍha iddhipāṭihāriye ādīnavaṃ sampassamāno iddhipāṭihāriyena aṭṭiyāmi harāyāmi jigucchāmi.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And how is one a person in training (sekho hoti pāṭipado), someone following the way? There is the case where, when seeing a form with the eye, there arises in a monk what is agreeable, what is disagreeable, what is agreeable & disagreeable. He feels horrified, humiliated, & disgusted (aṭṭīyati harāyati jīgucchati) with the arisen agreeable thing... disagreeable thing... agreeable & disagreeable thing.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Sariputta, an Arahant:
Venerable sir, just as a woman, man or child fond of adornment, when had bathed the head, was to be wrapped round the neck with the carcase of a snake dog or a human would loathe it and be disgusted of it. In the same manner, I abide disgusted and loathing this putrid body. (iminā pūtikāyena aṭṭīyāmi harāyāmi jigucchāmi.) Venerable sir, if mindfulness of the body in the body was not established, I would have offended a certain co-associate in the holy life and without reconciling, would have left on a tour.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ggo-e.html

aṭṭiyāmi =I am in trouble; worried.
harāyāmi = I am ashamed, depressed or vexed; worried.
jigucchāmi = I shun; loathe; is disgusted at.
pūti=rotten; putrid; stinking.

So revulsion is in nibbidā, feels tame in comparison with aṭṭīyati, harāyati, jīgucchati and pūtikāya.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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