The Benefits & Drawbacks of Pali

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Mr Man » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:37 am

danieLion wrote:Take it as you wish.

Hi danieLion
I asked the question as I thought it was relevant to the OP and the topic not because it is relevant to me. Not sure why a straight answer is so hard.
:)
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Kamran » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:44 pm

danieLion wrote:The Buddha and the dhamma are the "source," not a language.


Unfortunateley, the Buddha is unavailable to answer questions because he died over 2,500 years ago :)

What we have, and interestingly, what are still being discovered, are documents which are the result of oral transmissions in various languages including pali, sanskrit, gundari, chinese, etc.

If interested, I would highly recommend Bikhu Analayo's comparative analysis lectures. I think the value of learning the languages that the dhamma has been written will be apparent when listening to this course.

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... es2012.htm
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:54 am

Kamran,
I've listend to about half so far. I feel annoyed that you presumed I hadn't heard of them, and their content has little to do with the importance of Pali. If anything, they de-prioritize Pali.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:58 am

Too many great Buddhist teachers have not mastered Pali--and many others have not even come close--for me to think it should be placed above using translations to guide our practice.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:17 am

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Too many great Buddhist teachers have not mastered Pali--and many others have not even come close--for me to think it should be placed above using translations to guide our practice.

I have mixed feelings about this. For me, I'd rather spend time on practice and reading than to spend a lot of time mastering Pali idioms.

However, for teachers it may be a different story. I presume that if you're talking about Theravadin teachers above you're referring mostly to non-monastic and presumably Western teachers. I've come across very few Bhikkus who don't have a reasonable knowledge of Pali.

While the recent fashion for historical and comparative studies is interesting, it doesn't change the fact that we have a complete Canon, Commentary, Sub-Commentary, and living tradition in Theravada. And most of that is quite inaccessible without Pali. I don't need to personally read all that, but I appreciate having the work of dedicated teacher-scholars (especially Bhikkhu Bodhi) who do, and have shared their knowledge in English.

:anjali:
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Kamran » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:16 am

Its certainly better to read the texts in translation than not to read them at all.

But if you enjoy reading the suttas, why not try learning Pali?

In English speaking countries most people do not learn additional languages, so it may seem to be more difficult for them.

However, Pali is an Indo-European language, and the Pali Text Society has published everything in the Latin script, so there is no need to learn Pali script.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby BlackBird » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:09 am

Kamran wrote: so there is no need to learn Pali script.


I don't believe there is one.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:45 am

Kamran wrote:But if you enjoy reading the suttas, why not try learning Pali?
I usually enjoy reading the suttas and I usually enjoy learing Pali. It's not a matter of enjoyment. It's a matter of priorities. When I can't keep up with my Mexican maintenance man's Spanish, we don't stop and have a Spanish lesson. He just starts speaking English.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Sylvester » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:17 am

Hmm, without some Pali, would one know how to interpret the 5th Precept? I see some really wonky interpretations out there that try to take advantage of a supposed loophole that exists only in English translations ("intoxicants that cause heedlessness"). See how BB now translates the Precept in the AN.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Kare » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:41 am

I find this thread rather strange and unreal. But maybe it's only me, being baffled by seeing someone working so hard to defend and justify ignorance.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby SDC » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:16 pm

danieLion wrote:Too many great Buddhist teachers have not mastered Pali--and many others have not even come close--for me to think it should be placed above using translations to guide our practice.


In conjunction, not above.

And it's not so much "mastering Pali" as it is to get the most out of the literature. If the translations are enough for you that's awesome.

EDIT - Just to echo Mike, I'm not sure what teachers your referring to.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:52 am

Sylvester wrote:Hmm, without some Pali, would one know how to interpret the 5th Precept? I see some really wonky interpretations out there that try to take advantage of a supposed loophole that exists only in English translations ("intoxicants that cause heedlessness"). See how BB now translates the Precept in the AN.

How does he? I don't have a copy of AN translation.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:55 am

Kare wrote:I find this thread rather strange and unreal.
Don't worry about it. That's just the collapse of your clinging to a belief happening.
Kare wrote:But maybe it's only me, being baffled by seeing someone working so hard...
Hard? :rofl: Nothing hard about it.
Kare wrote:...to defend and justify ignorance.

Ignorance includes thinking your way of viewing things is how everyone else should see view them.
Last edited by danieLion on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby danieLion » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:57 am

SDC wrote:
danieLion wrote:Too many great Buddhist teachers have not mastered Pali--and many others have not even come close--for me to think it should be placed above using translations to guide our practice.


In conjunction, not above.

And it's not so much "mastering Pali" as it is to get the most out of the literature. If the translations are enough for you that's awesome.

EDIT - Just to echo Mike, I'm not sure what teachers your referring to.

Goldstein, Kornfield, Fella, Catherine...do I really need to go on?
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Mr Man » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:27 pm

danieLion wrote:When I can't keep up with my Mexican maintenance man's Spanish, we don't stop and have a Spanish lesson. He just starts speaking English.
Now if you had bothered to learn Spanish properly......
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Sylvester » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:01 pm

danieLion wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Hmm, without some Pali, would one know how to interpret the 5th Precept? I see some really wonky interpretations out there that try to take advantage of a supposed loophole that exists only in English translations ("intoxicants that cause heedlessness"). See how BB now translates the Precept in the AN.

How does he? I don't have a copy of AN translation.


The Pali is surāmerayamajja pamādaṭṭhānā.

BB now translates it as "liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness".

The Pali syntax shows a nexus between the nouns and the quality, not a junction. In English, a Pali nexus is translated as above, or as "intoxicants, which are the basis for heedlessness". "That" is used more properly for Pali junctions, when the sutta is proposing a limited set of nouns possessing that quality. If the syntax indicates a nexus, the sutta is proposing the non-limitation of the set, ie all of the nouns in the universe possess the quality and in fact define the quality.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:02 pm

danieLion wrote:
SDC wrote:
danieLion wrote:Too many great Buddhist teachers have not mastered Pali--and many others have not even come close--for me to think it should be placed above using translations to guide our practice.


In conjunction, not above.

And it's not so much "mastering Pali" as it is to get the most out of the literature. If the translations are enough for you that's awesome.

EDIT - Just to echo Mike, I'm not sure what teachers your referring to.

Goldstein, Kornfield, Fella, Catherine...do I really need to go on?
I can say for a fact that Goldstein has studied Pali under the guidance of a scholar of Pali. How far he went with it, I cannot say.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Kare » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:52 pm

danieLion wrote:
Kare wrote:I find this thread rather strange and unreal.
Don't worry about it. That's just the collapse of your clinging to a belief happening.
Kare wrote:But maybe it's only me, being baffled by seeing someone working so hard...
Hard? :rofl: Nothing hard about it.


I see. To some a preference of ignorance comes easily and naturally, then.

Kare wrote:...to defend and justify ignorance.

Ignorance includes thinking your way of viewing things is how everyone else should see view them.


Not learning Pali = not knowing Pali. Not knowing = ignorance.

My views are irrelevant here.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby Kare » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:56 pm

Sylvester wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Hmm, without some Pali, would one know how to interpret the 5th Precept? I see some really wonky interpretations out there that try to take advantage of a supposed loophole that exists only in English translations ("intoxicants that cause heedlessness"). See how BB now translates the Precept in the AN.

How does he? I don't have a copy of AN translation.


The Pali is surāmerayamajja pamādaṭṭhānā.

BB now translates it as "liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness".

The Pali syntax shows a nexus between the nouns and the quality, not a junction. In English, a Pali nexus is translated as above, or as "intoxicants, which are the basis for heedlessness". "That" is used more properly for Pali junctions, when the sutta is proposing a limited set of nouns possessing that quality. If the syntax indicates a nexus, the sutta is proposing the non-limitation of the set, ie all of the nouns in the universe possess the quality and in fact define the quality.


I don't know what you are referring to here. A nexus? In Pali the whole phrase is one composite word: surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā. And all of the elements are nouns. So I'm sorry, but I see no basis for your analysis.
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Postby SDC » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:26 am

danieLion wrote:Goldstein, Kornfield, Fella, Catherine...do I really need to go on?


Why so smug? Was I supposed to automatically know who you were referring to when you said 'great teachers'?
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