Samadhi (best English translation?)

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:Welcome back Venerable! :group:

I wonder if this ambiguity in Pali compounds is a disadvantage (because the meaning seems unclear) or an advantage (giving a rich set of multiple meanings). :thinking:

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It is simply a fact, which allows for playing with multiple meanings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:25 am

Greetings,

Another possible etymological analysis of "samādhi" is "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium ("samā") of a detached intellect ("dhi").

Right... that's how I understand samadhi and what I was getting at with my one word "clarity" definition.

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Mr Man » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:13 am

I think the translation of a word and the definition of a word a actually two different things.

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Gena1480 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:57 am

concentration has different levels
calm,stilling,one-pointless
and deep samadhi which is like a grenade blows up next to you
calm is like stretching
stilling is like holding
one pointless is like working
deep samadhi is rare since it follows by realization of not-self
metta

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:17 pm

Retro,
My only Pali vocabulary is only about 30-40 words, but I like your translation as clarity. It's a pretty easy, common word found in non-Buddhist contexts. I am a fan of those kinds of translations.

I have to ask, is "samma samadhi" a narrow focus like an ostrich with it's head in the ground, or unwavering focus that faces distractions unwaveringly like a mountain standing tall in a storm. If Samma Samadhi is like the mountain, I like your word clarity. Otherwise, concentration seems more apt.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:46 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I have seen it also translated as 'tranquility' and also 'one-pointedness of mind'.


Where? these are completely different words passadhi & cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ respectivly

Retro - I like focus, clarity seams strange to me as although it is a clear mind state it ignores the undistractedness of it, but concentration I feel adds to much emphasis on one aspect of samadhi, which is given credibility with the number of references to the jhanas, but ignores other infrequent occurrences, such as in MN117 which seams to me to give a more every day doing stuff/not just sitting meditation feel to the practice of Sammasamadhi.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:11 am

Please excuse my poor example above. Ostrich head in the ground is more fear than concentration. I meant to convey a sense of focus where other things are blocked out or repressed. That would contrast with the view of one that has a small acknowledgement of the distraction but never wavers from the real object of concentration. Clarity seems to convey that second sense, where the distraction is not repressed, but it is kept in check so that the object of concentration is seen with unwavering clarity.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Bakmoon » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:35 pm

I think a really good translation in both connotation and denotation is the word "collectedness." I like this translation in particular because it it expresses the meaning of the term in a way that doesn't imply force or the constriction of awareness to a single point (although it still leaves that as an open posibility), and gives people a better sense of what meditation is.
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The performance of what's skillful,
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Kumara » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:24 am

I too find concentration to be a poor translation for samadhi. My meditation teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, prefers stability or stability of mind. In terms of meaning, I think it’s really good as it makes sense in terms of practice—much better than concentration. However, I wasn’t satisfied. I set out to find the best translation, and here’s the result:

Samādhi is the noun for the verb samādhiyati.
Samādhiyati is the passive form for the active verb samādahati.
Samādahati: sam “together” + ādahati “put, place”. So, it means “put together” or “place together”. The English word compose shares a strikingly similar origin: com “together” + ponere “put, place”. (Source: http://www.myetymology.com/english/composure.html and http://dictionary.reference.com/etymology/compose) In modern usage, both words can also mean “to still or calm down the mind”.

Composed also share strikingly similar meaning as samāhita (participle of samādahati), which means “settled, composed, collected”. Both denotes a mental state that is not scattered, not “all over the place” (so to speak), but gathered, collected, composed.

Extrapolating from that, the noun samādhi should rightly mean “composure, collectedness”.It is probably the best English equivalent of samādhi.

I’m in the midst of writing an article (which is becoming a booklet) on this among other things related to samādhi. I’m pleasantly surprise to find this discussion on the very topic that set me off on a research spree! Shall share the work with you all when I’m done with it.

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Brizzy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:11 pm

Kumara wrote:I too find concentration to be a poor translation for samadhi. My meditation teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, prefers stability or stability of mind. In terms of meaning, I think it’s really good as it makes sense in terms of practice—much better than concentration. However, I wasn’t satisfied. I set out to find the best translation, and here’s the result:

Samādhi is the noun for the verb samādhiyati.
Samādhiyati is the passive form for the active verb samādahati.
Samādahati: sam “together” + ādahati “put, place”. So, it means “put together” or “place together”. The English word compose shares a strikingly similar origin: com “together” + ponere “put, place”. (Source: http://www.myetymology.com/english/composure.html and http://dictionary.reference.com/etymology/compose) In modern usage, both words can also mean “to still or calm down the mind”.

Composed also share strikingly similar meaning as samāhita (participle of samādahati), which means “settled, composed, collected”. Both denotes a mental state that is not scattered, not “all over the place” (so to speak), but gathered, collected, composed.

Extrapolating from that, the noun samādhi should rightly mean “composure, collectedness”.It is probably the best English equivalent of samādhi.

I’m in the midst of writing an article (which is becoming a booklet) on this among other things related to samādhi. I’m pleasantly surprise to find this discussion on the very topic that set me off on a research spree! Shall share the work with you all when I’m done with it.


:goodpost:

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Kumara » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:41 am

Bakmoon wrote:I think a really good translation in both connotation and denotation is the word "collectedness." I like this translation in particular because it it expresses the meaning of the term in a way that doesn't imply force or the constriction of awareness to a single point (although it still leaves that as an open posibility), and gives people a better sense of what meditation is.


Collectedness is a very suitable word. It feels so, so right. It's the word of my choice for samādhi before I considered composure. With this two to choose from, I experimented with the various grammatical forms and usage to see how they compare. When I came to "cittaṁ samādaha", I realise that it can evoke a funny image. "Let us all collect ours minds. Now, if I can just remember where I put mine..."

Don't get me wrong, Bakmoon. Collectedness is still an excellent choice. For the purpose of translation though, I find that composure is more suitable.

Update on my writing on samādhi: I've just finished my second draft. Now it's with my teacher, Āyasmā Aggacitta for reviewing.

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:23 pm

I'm starting to come around to really liking "absorption". I'm starting to see focus as implying the watcher and the watched, whereas when one is really focused on the breath, there's not so much the self focusing on the breath as much as the mind absorbed by the breath and vice versa. Collectedness seems to convey a similar meaning, but I just don't like the word linguistically. And I want to save composure as a replacement for equanimity. Just my opinions.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Kumara » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:18 am

Buckwheat wrote:I'm starting to come around to really liking "absorption". I'm starting to see focus as implying the watcher and the watched, whereas when one is really focused on the breath, there's not so much the self focusing on the breath as much as the mind absorbed by the breath and vice versa. Collectedness seems to convey a similar meaning, but I just don't like the word linguistically. And I want to save composure as a replacement for equanimity. Just my opinions.


"Absorption" does describe the Visuddhimagga type of jhana very well, but for the Sutta type, it's completely off.

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:25 am

Kumara wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:I'm starting to come around to really liking "absorption". I'm starting to see focus as implying the watcher and the watched, whereas when one is really focused on the breath, there's not so much the self focusing on the breath as much as the mind absorbed by the breath and vice versa. Collectedness seems to convey a similar meaning, but I just don't like the word linguistically. And I want to save composure as a replacement for equanimity. Just my opinions.


"Absorption" does describe the Visuddhimagga type of jhana very well, but for the Sutta type, it's completely off.
"Completely off" is, of course, reasonably debatable, but then it depends upon what is meant by absorption and also if there are instances in the suttas that look like absorption practice where the meditator is unaware of his surroundings, as in not hearing a storm or feeling a whack to the head.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby John1122 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:31 pm

I've heard it translated as discipline among many other things.

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby daverupa » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:13 pm

I have come to prefer "composure" for samadhi, given the word root correspondence.

"Concentration" reminds me of popping blood vessels in the head, squinting the eyes shut, and straining. "Composure", on the other hand, offers me connotations of a centralized, calm, and imperturbable serenity, which to me seems to align much more closely with the methods of practice and their results.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby SamKR » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:55 pm

daverupa wrote:I have come to prefer "composure" for samadhi, given the word root correspondence.

"Concentration" reminds me of popping blood vessels in the head, squinting the eyes shut, and straining. "Composure", on the other hand, offers me connotations of a centralized, calm, and imperturbable serenity, which to me seems to align much more closely with the methods of practice and their results.

I fully agree. I always disliked "right concentration".
"Right composure" might be a better translation of "samma samadhi".

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Kumara » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Kumara wrote:"Absorption" does describe the Visuddhimagga type of jhana very well, but for the Sutta type, it's completely off.
"Completely off" is, of course, reasonably debatable, but then it depends upon what is meant by absorption and also if there are instances in the suttas that look like absorption practice where the meditator is unaware of his surroundings, as in not hearing a storm or feeling a whack to the head.

Yes, there are such descriptions, but have you seen them in reference to the word jhana?

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:04 am

Kumara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Kumara wrote:"Absorption" does describe the Visuddhimagga type of jhana very well, but for the Sutta type, it's completely off.
"Completely off" is, of course, reasonably debatable, but then it depends upon what is meant by absorption and also if there are instances in the suttas that look like absorption practice where the meditator is unaware of his surroundings, as in not hearing a storm or feeling a whack to the head.

Yes, there are such descriptions, but have you seen them in reference to the word jhana?
No, but I would have to look at those accountings again, and I, for the life of me, cannot recall where they are. But if they were not jhana, what would they be? You have had some very interesting things to say here, so what do you think?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:03 pm

I came across "singleness of mind" recently - does that get near it?
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