Why learn Pali?

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby bjmwalsh » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:14 am

I do not know Pali, and may not learn it, probably falling into the category of "looking up the words" to know what I am reading or chanting. However, I appreciate the language. I am inspired by the chants in the Pali language and by the majesty of the long lineages who have maintained the Buddha's words in that way. The careful and continuous chanting of the scriptures over the centuries is a venerable container for the precious teachings that I am so grateful to be receiving. It is very joyful to me, as an American, to be able to walk into a Sri Lankan temple, or a Thai temple, or a Burmese temple or others, and be able to know what they are chanting of the Buddha's Dhamma, and how happily the energy of the teachings come to us over so many centuries in the hearts, minds and voices of the living Sangha. These lineages do not ignore the Buddha's advice to spread the teachings in the local languages: Pali is almost invariably translated into the local language, simultaneously or as an aside. But the language and teachings have been polished by the dedicated memorization in the hearts and minds of countless devoted practitioners over the centuries. I do not see it as a dead language. It is not a language spoken in everyday dialect, but it is a living testament to the teaching of the Dhamma and for that reason, I say "sadhu" to all those who have taken the time to learn the language, translate it, and keep it as a living testament to the Dhamma.
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby vkasdn » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:46 pm

I enjoy learning pali, both expanding my vocabulary, and learning the grammar...I enjoy it because for me it is not a dead language but very much alive. The aim for me in learning pali is to interpret the texts on my own, for myself, not to depend on others. My only question is now of which script should i learn? i understand most pali scripture is written in sinhalese, not the romanized pali im used to...i guess it doesnt matter because the original was not written but spoken...either way, im intent in becoming capable of speaking conversational pali. Im learning about the grammer and its very fascinating and fun for me, a most enjoyable use of my time.
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby Dmytro » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:15 am

vkasdn wrote:My only question is now of which script should i learn? i understand most pali scripture is written in sinhalese, not the romanized pali im used to...i guess it doesnt matter because the original was not written but spoken...


Greetings Vkasdn,

Pali scriptures have been written in Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, in Thai in Thailand, and in Burmese in Myanmar. Romanized Pali is a natural choice for Western people, especially since all the Pali Canon and Commentaries are available in romanized Pali in several versions, on-line and off-line.
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:10 am

The reason obviously become to you, when you compare Mahasatipatthannasutta between Access Insign and Pali Text Society. :lol:

Another, some important book like Patisambhidamagga by Saareeputtamahathera school, the heart of Vipassana for me, hadn't translated on Access Insign.
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby Kare » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:13 am

UhBaUnTaUh wrote:The reason obviously become to you, when you compare Mahasatipatthannasutta between Access Insign and Pali Text Society. :lol:

Another, some important book like Patisambhidamagga by Saareeputtamahathera school, the heart of Vipassana for me, hadn't translated on Access Insign.


There exists an English translation of Patisambhidamagga (from the Pali Text Society). But the Pali original is much clearer and easier to understand than the English translation. The same goes for Visuddhimagga.

The Bhumibalobhikkhu Foundation (Bhumibalobhikkhumulanidhi) in Bangkok has published some very practical editions of these books (in addition to Dhammasangani, Saddaniti and others) with commentaries and subcommentaries. The texts have a paragraph numbering that runs consistently through the commentaries and subcommentaries, and words in the commentaries (and sub-...) that refer back to the main text are underlined.

The publications from the Bhumibalobhikkhu Foundation are in Thai script. So this is another good reason for learning the Thai script: getting access to these books. Another good reason is of course the pure esthetical joy of reading the beautiful Thai script.
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:17 am

Kare wrote: Another good reason is of course the pure esthetical joy of reading the beautiful Thai script.
Buddhists are supposed to be proper, grim, and dour. No enjoyment because enjoyment leads to attachment and frivolity and getting stuck in some damnable hell realm.

Learning Pali should be hard, unpleasant work to remind us what a drag samsara is.
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: Why learn Pali?

Postby Kare » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Kare wrote: Another good reason is of course the pure esthetical joy of reading the beautiful Thai script.
Buddhists are supposed to be proper, grim, and dour. No enjoyment because enjoyment leads to attachment and frivolity and getting stuck in some damnable hell realm.

Learning Pali should be hard, unpleasant work to remind us what a drag samsara is.


Ooops ... then I fear I'm in for a long sojourn in the Pali Hell Realm, being surrounded by towers of tempting books in Pali, turning to dust the moment I touch them ...
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Re: Why learn Pali?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:59 pm

Kare wrote:
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:The reason obviously become to you, when you compare Mahasatipatthannasutta between Access Insign and Pali Text Society. :lol:

Another, some important book like Patisambhidamagga by Saareeputtamahathera school, the heart of Vipassana for me, hadn't translated on Access Insign.


There exists an English translation of Patisambhidamagga (from the Pali Text Society). But the Pali original is much clearer and easier to understand than the English translation. The same goes for Visuddhimagga.

The Bhumibalobhikkhu Foundation (Bhumibalobhikkhumulanidhi) in Bangkok has published some very practical editions of these books (in addition to Dhammasangani, Saddaniti and others) with commentaries and subcommentaries. The texts have a paragraph numbering that runs consistently through the commentaries and subcommentaries, and words in the commentaries (and sub-...) that refer back to the main text are underlined.

The publications from the Bhumibalobhikkhu Foundation are in Thai script. So this is another good reason for learning the Thai script: getting access to these books. Another good reason is of course the pure esthetical joy of reading the beautiful Thai script.


Has it on internet, Mahaniddasa, too ?

We have newer version of tipitaka, commentary, and subcommentary set that easier to constantly open, fully more than Bhumibalo, and I guess it maybe cheaper than Bhumibalo, too . It is Mahacula's set made by Porn Ratanasubarn.

PS. Pali is very important when I wanna to judge some deep case such as Anusaya Arising.
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