Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

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Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:56 pm

The word "supposings" appears frequently in the following link. I think this is an interesting word in English. Anyone know what Thai word was translated as "supposings" and possibly give some examples of how the Thai word is used in context? Also, anyone want to take a stab at a possible equivalent in Pali?
Then we will see that the mental fashionings that suppose, 'This is mine... That is me,' are inconstancy; and that because of attachment they are suffering — for all elements have been the way they are all along: arising, aging, growing ill, and dying, arising and deteriorating since before we were born. From time immemorial, this is the way they have been. But because the conditions of the mind and the five khandhas — rupa, vedana, sañña, sankhara, and viññana — have fashioned and labeled throughout every existence up to the present, through lives too numerous to number, the mind has been deluded into following its supposings.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eased.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:50 pm

The original word in Pali/Thai would be "sammuti" which is also sometimes translated as conventional truth.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:04 pm

Very interesting Bhante, thank you. So Ajahn Mun's usage of sammuti would appear to be at least conceptually related to the "two truths doctrine" - sammuti sacca, paramattha sacca (although not explicitly developed in that way).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby dagon » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:38 pm

kirk5a wrote:The word "supposings" appears frequently in the following link. I think this is an interesting word in English. Anyone know what Thai word was translated as "supposings" and possibly give some examples of how the Thai word is used in context? Also, anyone want to take a stab at a possible equivalent in Pali?
Then we will see that the mental fashionings that suppose, 'This is mine... That is me,' are inconstancy; and that because of attachment they are suffering — for all elements have been the way they are all along: arising, aging, growing ill, and dying, arising and deteriorating since before we were born. From time immemorial, this is the way they have been. But because the conditions of the mind and the five khandhas — rupa, vedana, sañña, sankhara, and viññana — have fashioned and labeled throughout every existence up to the present, through lives too numerous to number, the mind has been deluded into following its supposings.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eased.html


Thanks for the thread - personaly i think that you are looking at the bigest issue that those of us from western backgrounds face when looking at the forest dhamma.

Ajahn Mun is not realy Thai, he was from Isaan, at that time Isaan was the language that he grew up with and carried the cultural conditioning that he carried at the start of his journey. Esentially what i am saying is that i think your approach is right but looking at Isaan language may inform us more about his use of language. The Lao cultural and linguistic roots that he had were shared by many/most of those that he taught. The majority of his audeance had the same background as he had, even when he was teaching in thai the teachings would have been shaped by his roots and the background of those he taught earlier.

Ajhan Mun started off as some one who had no illusions that life is suffering which for many in the west is the first hurdle in the path. Suffering was a daily part of life for the early AM and for those he taught. For this reason the starting point in the teachings is not self. In discusions about the dhamma in isaan the term head and heart are often interchangable and are used extensivley to describe what is deeper in the conciousness than the physical body. The word "susposing" is used to lable ideas that have been formulated in the mind and have been adopted as self.

This is like the discernment that knows all around, because it destroys the activity of supposing. In other words, it erases supposing completely and doesn't become involved with or hold on to any supposings at all. With the words 'erasing' or 'destroying' the activity of supposing, the question arises, 'When supposing is entirely destroyed, where will we stay?' The answer is that we will stay in a place that isn't supposed: right there with activityless-ness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eased.html

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby chownah » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:26 am

kirk5a wrote:Very interesting Bhante, thank you. So Ajahn Mun's usage of sammuti would appear to be at least conceptually related to the "two truths doctrine" - sammuti sacca, paramattha sacca (although not explicitly developed in that way).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine

Seems to me that in the excerpt you gave above that perhaps Ajahn Mun was trying to avoid the two truths doctrine by using the term supposings and avoiding the term sammuti.
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:25 am

chownah wrote:Seems to me that in the excerpt you gave above that perhaps Ajahn Mun was trying to avoid the two truths doctrine by using the term supposings and avoiding the term sammuti.
chownah

The original was in Thai, which is why I asked what Thai word was translated by Ven. Thanissaro as "supposings." Ven. Gavesako said it was "sammuti."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:47 am

Might it be maññati: to conceive? I'd change "inconstancy" to "inconstant" and we'd end up with:

Then we will see that the mental fashionings that conceive, 'This is mine... That is me,' are inconstant; and that because of attachment they are suffering....
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby chownah » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:09 am

kirk5a wrote:
chownah wrote:Seems to me that in the excerpt you gave above that perhaps Ajahn Mun was trying to avoid the two truths doctrine by using the term supposings and avoiding the term sammuti.
chownah

The original was in Thai, which is why I asked what Thai word was translated by Ven. Thanissaro as "supposings." Ven. Gavesako said it was "sammuti."

I see. It is not clear to me if Gavesako was indicating that Mun actually said the word "sammuti" or if Gavesako was just back translating.......Gavesako said "would be" which I (perhaps wrongly) interpreted as meaning a back translation.
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby gavesako » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:14 am

You have to be careful in reading too much into a simple Thai sentence. Thai/Lao language has many loanwords from Sanskrit and Pali, and the word "sammuti/sammati" is one of them. It is used in non-technical contexts in everyday conversation as well, such as "Sommoot waa..." (Assuming that...). I don't think Ajahn Mun was particuarly thinking of the "Two Truths" distinction here, or that it was even an issue for him. One cannot simply back-translate a Thai sentence into its supposed Pali roots without distorting the meaning. More appropriate approach is to become familiar with how particular expressions are used in a particular Buddhist culture within their own context, and then translate them into English on the basis of that.
:reading:
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby Mkoll » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:15 am

The quote below is from Ajahn Mun's biography written by Ajahn Bua. Ajahn Mun is speaking to a monk with a strong fever.

"I haven’t learned any grade of Pāli studies – not one. I have learned only the five kammaṭṭhāna that my preceptor gave me at my ordination, which I still have with me today. They are all I need to take care of myself."


You can download the book for free here.

:anjali:
Peace,
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby pulga » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:17 am

gavesako wrote:You have to be careful in reading too much into a simple Thai sentence. Thai/Lao language has many loanwords from Sanskrit and Pali, and the word "sammuti/sammati" is one of them. It is used in non-technical contexts in everyday conversation as well, such as "Sommoot waa..." (Assuming that...). I don't think Ajahn Mun was particuarly thinking of the "Two Truths" distinction here, or that it was even an issue for him. One cannot simply back-translate a Thai sentence into its supposed Pali roots without distorting the meaning. More appropriate approach is to become familiar with how particular expressions are used in a particular Buddhist culture within their own context, and then translate them into English on the basis of that.
:reading:


Thank you, Bhante. I can imagine the challenges Ven. Thanissaro must have faced in translating the text. For those of us like myself who know no Thai there's a tendency to read Pali terminology into the English translation when the nuance of the original Thai isn't quite so precise: in effect going beyond what was actually said or written.
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby chownah » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:45 pm

Gavesako,
Thanks. I have often had a difficult time asking my wife to assume something while teaching her about farming technique.....knowing "sommoot waa" will definitely improve our interpersonal communication!
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:57 pm

The term "supposings" is found within the teachings of other Thai Ajahns as well. In the cases I have, Ven. Thanissaro has translated each one. They are making a crucial point with this term.

In The Craft of the Heart by Ajahn Lee
sammati: In Thai, the primary meaning of this word is “supposing,” which is
how it is translated here, but it also conveys the meaning of convention (i.e.,
usages which are commonly designated or agreed upon), make-believe, and
conjuring into being with the mind.

example from the text (there are several)
We don’t understand the states
of mind that have been supposed into being, and so don’t see the mind that is
released from supposing.

So it is with the heart when the expert craftsman, discernment, has finished
training it: We call it nibbana. We don’t call it by its old name. When we no longer
call it the “heart,” some people think that the heart vanishes, but actually it’s
simply the primal heart that we call nibbana. Or, again it’s simply the heart
released, untouched by supposing.


Ajahn Chah:
All the things in the world are suppositions that we've supposed into being. Once we've supposed them, we fall for our own supposings, so nobody lets them go. They turn into views and pride, into attachment. This attachment is something that never ends. It's an affair of samsara that flows without respite, with no way of coming to closure. But if we really know our suppositions, we'll know release. If we really know release, we'll know our suppositions. That's when you know the Dhamma that can come to closure.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... _sure.html

The above, as translated in "Food for the Heart" p 307 (Ajahn Amaro translation I think) - referenced in the index under "sammuti sacca (conventional reality)"
The things of this world are merely conventions of our own making. Having established them we get lost in them and refuse to let go, clinging to our personal views and opinions. This clinging never ends, it is samsara, flowing endlessly on. It has no completion. Now, if we know conventional reality, we'll know liberation. If we clearly know liberation, we'll know conventional reality. This is to know the Dhamma. Here there is completion.


My suggestion is the way there are using the term, is what the "two truths doctrine" is pointing at. Regardless of whether they are explicitly developing that notion (which they don't appear to be). That "sammuti" is the crucial word here, I think is quite interesting, and I doubt it is simply coincidence.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:11 am

kirk5a,
Can you give a short definition of the two truths doctrine?
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby pegembara » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:31 am

"Citta, these are the world's designations, the world's expressions, the world's ways of speaking, the world's descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:56 am

Hello chownah, all,

Tilt once posted this link:

Theravada Version of the Two Truths doctrine

http://skb.or.kr/down/papers/094.pdf

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby gavesako » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:08 am

In this clip you will hear Ajahn Chah actually using the term "sammuti" (sommoot) to explain anatta:

Ajahn Chah Speaks หลวงพ่อชา สอนธรรมะ
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPN-Lc6lBi4

By the way, in the Thai forest tradition "sammuti" (conventional) is not normally contrasted with "paramattha" (ultimate) but rather with "vimutti" (liberation). "Sommoot" and "vimoot" rhyme in Thai.
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:13 am

chownah wrote:Seems to me that in the excerpt you gave above that perhaps Ajahn Mun was trying to avoid the two truths doctrine by using the term supposings and avoiding the term sammuti.
chownah

Why do you think that he would he avoid it? I have not studied Ajahn Mun extensively, but most Asian teachers that I am familiar with, including forest ajahns such as Ajahn Chah, use conventional Theravada concepts like conventional and ultimate reality...
Ajahn Chah wrote:Some people will hear the words, ''Nothing is mine,'' and they will get the idea they should throw away all their possessions. With only superficial understanding, people will get into arguments about what this means and how to apply it. ''This is not my self,'' doesn't mean you should end your life or throw away your possessions. It means you should give up attachment. There is the level of conventional reality and the level of ultimate reality - supposition and liberation. On the level of convention, there is Mr. A, Mrs. B, Mr. M., Mrs. N. and so on. We use these suppositions for convenience in communicating and functioning in the world. The Buddha did not teach that we shouldn't use these things, but that we shouldn't be attached to them. We should realize that they are empty.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Dhamma_Goes_Westward.php

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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:08 pm

mikenz66,
I have no idea if Mun would want to avoid it or if he would not want to avoid it. My comment was based on my understanding of the excerpt and what it might indicate.....I now know that my understanding of the excerpt was mistaken....I thought Mun had not used the term sammuti and it has now come to light that in fact he did. If I had known that he actually did use the word sammuti I would not have commented.
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Re: Ajahn Mun - "supposings"

Postby kirk5a » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:12 pm

chownah wrote:kirk5a,
Can you give a short definition of the two truths doctrine?
chownah

The link I gave earlier gives a variety of takes on the idea.

The two truths doctrine states that there is:
Relative or common-sense truth (Sanskrit samvṛtisatya, Pāli sammuti sacca, Tibetan kun-rdzob bden-pa), which describes our daily experience of a concrete world, and
Ultimate truth (Sanskrit, paramārthasatya, Pāli paramattha sacca, Tibetan: don-dam bden-pa), which describes the ultimate reality as sunyata, empty of concrete and inherent characteristics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_truths_doctrine
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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