Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

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Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:38 pm

]Dear List Members,

Please be informed of my recent publication: Buddhavacana: A Pali
Reader. You may order it directly from the publisher, Pariyatti Publishing.

Bhikkhu Bodhi explains the scope of the Reader as follows:

``Glenn Wallis has compiled a comprehensive Pali reader intended to
enable the earnest student to move directly into reading the Pali
Nikayas. Wallis's purpose is not to explain the rules and structure of
Pali grammar. The book presupposes that the student has already
acquired an adequate grasp of the grammar—for which I recommend Lily
De Silva's A Pali Primer—and wants to learn to read the texts
themselves. Hence the format of the book is quite simple. After a
short introduction explaining his approach, Wallis presents each
section according to a fixed pattern. There is a sutta, usually fairly
short; blank pages where the student can write down their own
rendering; a word by word guide to the sutta, with brief grammatical
annotations; and at the end of the whole book, polished translations
by Wallis himself of all the suttas offered for study. Those students
who require fuller grammatical explanations may find that this
approach demands a greater intuitive capacity for understanding a
foreign language than they are endowed with. But those who have this
intuitive gift will find that by the time they complete this book,
they will be able to read virtually any sutta in the Nikayas.''


Glenn Wallis
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:16 am

I also enjoyed his Dhammapada translation. :thumbsup:

http://www.pariyatti.org/Bookstore/prod ... cfm?PC=585

: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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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby bodom » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:15 pm

Placed my order on friday.

: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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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby Reductor » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:47 am

Has anyone attempted to work through this book?

I am curious to know what it is like.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:40 am

Reductor wrote:Has anyone attempted to work through this book?

I am curious to know what it is like.


Hi Reductor

My copy has been sitting on my book shelf for a few months now as ive got quite a few books too work through before I get to this one.

: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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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby Reductor » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:56 pm

bodom wrote:
Reductor wrote:Has anyone attempted to work through this book?

I am curious to know what it is like.


Hi Reductor

My copy has been sitting on my book shelf for a few months now as ive got quite a few books too work through before I get to this one.

:anjali:


Understood.

It'll be a while before I can buy another book anyway, since my wife actually expects me to read all those currently on my shelf. :shrug: :lol:

But eventually I hope to finish them, and then I may buy this one. So if you get to it before I do, please let me/us know what you think of it.

Thanks.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby BKh » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:25 am

I haven't looked at this book in about a year, but here are my recollections.

When I say "reader" I mean a book like this with Pali passages meant for language students, not the person reading the book.

When I attempted to use this book I had just finished going through A New Course in Reading Pali by Gair and Karunatilaka on my own, aided by listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi's recorded lectures.

Overall, I would say it is hard to tell who the expected audience of Buddhavacana is. The book has passages in Pali, vocabularly lists for each passage, and complete translations. It seems that the point of a reader is to provide something more than what you would get by using a digital Pali text, a dictionary, and a completed translation.

Because the syntax and idiom of Pali and English are different, it is helpful for the beginner and intermediate student to have a somewhat literal translation available when working with a text. Obviously not word by word literal, but something that allows the student to see what is going on. In this book I found the translations to be quite loose. For a translation, this is not a big deal. But for someone learning Pali, it's not as helpful as it could be. And doesn't give any advantage over just using any published translation.

Another challenge for the Pali student is determining the orignial form of the Pali word, especially verbs. To look up a word in a dictionary you often need to know the stem form. So this is where a dictionary falls short. What one would expect from a reader's glossary is to list the form as it is found in the specific text and then the original form with the meaning and grammar. As I recall, the glossaries listed only the original form of the word, leaving the student to hunt it out and guess at the connection to to word as found in the text. So again, in this sense I'm not sure how this book is beneficial to the student.

The other issue related to vocabulary is that Pali words, as in any language, can have several meanings or shades of meanings. One would expect in a reader that the glossary would give the meaning of the word as it is found in the passage at hand. My recollection was this was not the case. What was especially odd was looking up a word in the glossary and then finding a completely different word used in the translation. It just left me scratching my head.

Additionally, I found it odd that the translations were all located in the back of the book, as if they were answers to a test. If one is learning to read Pali it is especially helpful to have the Pali and English side by side so one can quickly move back and forth as needed.

I believe that the translations in this book were originally published as a stand-alone anthology. Based on this, it is easy to think that the current reader was somewhat of an afterthought, simply adding the original pali and a vocabulary list.

So after working through a couple of passages I decided that this book offered nothing more than I would get simply working with a dictionary and an already published translation. The only reason I can see for using this book is if one had a strong personal connection to the previously published anthology, or had no access to the original Pali digitally, or was working with a teacher in a classroom setting.

If others have used this book and found it beneficial I would very much like to hear about their experience.
http://www.readingfaithfully.org Daily Practice with the Suttas
http://www.audtip.org Audio Sutta Recordings
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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby BKh » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:15 pm

I should have mentioned that a good resource for intermediate (and beginning) Pali students is the work done by Bhante Anandajoti on http://www.Ancient-buddhist-texts.net. There he had presented most of his translations in a line-by line Pali/English format. He doesn't provide a glossary, but the line by line structure makes it easy to work with.

Also, I would recommend Ven. A.P. Buddhadatta's Concise Pali English Dictionary for students who want to move to direct reading of the suttas. It's not a replacement for the PED, but it's concise definitions make the process of looking up words very quick.

And of course, there is the Digital Pali Reader. http://pali.sirimangalo.org. The word analysis it gives is automated so it is not 100% correct, but is is a huge help for beginning and intermediate students.

I mention all these as possible supports for someone attempting to use the Buddhavacana book for study.
http://www.readingfaithfully.org Daily Practice with the Suttas
http://www.audtip.org Audio Sutta Recordings
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Re: Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader

Postby Reductor » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:29 am

Hi Bkh,

Many thank-yous for the thorough review of this book. My interest has now waned.

Also, those other resources you have provided are appreciated.

:namaste:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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