ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby atulo » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:28 am

Extract from Ven. Ñānamoli's letter to his friend in UK.
Undated letter, probably in 1956:

"My famous (?) magnum opus (translation) was published last month. I have asked them to send you a copy. If it hasn't arrived by March, let me know (parcels seem to take 6 to 8 weeks to Europe now). It seems rather alien and odd, like something done by someone else. For amusement I concealed my name in the first letters of each sentence in the preface. I haven't told anyone but you at all. It amuses me to see if anyone will notice it (but of course they won't). I do not really like the book at all, or agree with some of its content, and it really represents partly the getting past an obstacle and partly some rather abstruse literary amusement for myself. I recommend you to put it on a shelf rather than read it. I think the printers, the best in Ceylon, could have done a better job. Had I known, I would have left less in their hands, still... The "18 faults of a monastery" at the beginning of chapter IV might amuse you."


Cf. EL 10. Nanavira's letter to Nanamoli of 2. Xii. 54.

Source: http://nanavira.top-talk.net/dhamma-dis ... ga-t43.htm
User avatar
atulo
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:22 pm

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:24 am

And the point of this thread is ...?

Have you ever actually studied The Path of Purification?
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7532
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:29 am

cooran wrote:And the point of this thread is ...?

Have you ever actually studied The Path of Purification?
It would have been nice had Ven Nanamoli been a bit more positive about the text, but in looking at his intro and the notes, I do not think it is as bleak as this letter makes it out to be. And I agree with asking the question: And the point of this thread 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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19416
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:35 am

Hi atulo

That is interesting. But I wonder what myriad contexts are absent from that conversation that would throw some light on Ven Nanamoli's observations regarding the Vism. Unlike Namamoli Bhikkhu, I am no scholar nor a Pali language expert.
As a mere practitioner, I have found the Vism to be an incredible resource that has given me insights into the doctrine and practice.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16077
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:42 am

Greetings,

cooran wrote:Have you ever actually studied The Path of Purification?

Whether atulo has or not, I suspect the point is that if anyone has, it's Nanamoli Bhikkhu.

It's a pretty damning statement from someone who spent the time to do a 900-odd page translation.

Hopefully others have found more of value in it than Nanamoli Bhikkhu himself did.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14657
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:50 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

cooran wrote:Have you ever actually studied The Path of Purification?

Whether atulo has or not, I suspect the point is that if anyone has, it's Nanamoli Bhikkhu.

It's a pretty damning statement from someone who spent the time to do a 900-odd page translation.

Hopefully others have found more of value in it than Nanamoli Bhikkhu himself did.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Apparently damning, but without further information, I hazard to draw the same conclusion that atulo has.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16077
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:00 am

Greetings Ben,

Could well be, but it is funny how he slipped his name (Osbert John Salvin Moore) into the Translator's Prefix using the first letter of each sentence. This would suggest that the note is at least authentic and that Bhikkhu Nanamoli kept his sense of humour.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14657
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby atulo » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Whether atulo has or not, I suspect the point is that if anyone has, it's Nanamoli Bhikkhu.

It's a pretty damning statement from someone who spent the time to do a 900-odd page translation.


Retro got the point. Ven. Nanamoli was the traslator of the VM and he is quite well informed of the that commentry. Even more, he is reagarded as respected scholar and a man of briliant mind. But still, he does not have faith in Buddhaghosa. I think he would not be pleased to be informed that the book has been reprinted many times.
User avatar
atulo
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:22 pm

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:20 am

atulo wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Whether atulo has or not, I suspect the point is that if anyone has, it's Nanamoli Bhikkhu.

It's a pretty damning statement from someone who spent the time to do a 900-odd page translation.


Retro got the point. Ven. Nanamoli was the traslator of the VM and he is quite well informed of the that commentry. Even more, he is reagarded as respected scholar and a man of briliant mind. But still, he does not have faith in Buddhaghosa. I think he would not be pleased to be informed that the book has been reprinted many times.
So, in other words, this thread is a bit of a poke at the text itself?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19416
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:54 am

Hi Atulo,
atulo wrote:Retro got the point. Ven. Nanamoli was the traslator of the VM and he is quite well informed of the that commentry. Even more, he is reagarded as respected scholar and a man of briliant mind. But still, he does not have faith in Buddhaghosa. I think he would not be pleased to be informed that the book has been reprinted many times.

LIke others here, I'm unsure of your point, apart from your already obvious enthusiasm for Ven Nanavira and distaste for the classical commentaries. You are, of course, welcome to your opinion on that, but it seems to me that you are putting a lot of your own spin into Ven Nanamoli's words.

In any case, it's not as if one would take Ven Nanamoli as the arbiter on the accuracy or usefulness to practice of Ven Buddhaghosa's translation (back into Pali from Sinhalese), organisation, and summary of the ancient commentaries. Ven Nanamoli happens to be the last person to do a full translation into English, but there are plenty of non-English speaking modern teachers and scholars, from Burma and elsewhere (Ledi Sayadaw, Mahasi Sayadaw, etc), who had lifetimes of experience using this information in their teaching.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10284
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby atulo » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:55 pm

When I shared this text with other friends, they fould the passage interesting, so I thought you might like it too. Sorry if it brought some conffusion.
Metta! :oops:
User avatar
atulo
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:22 pm

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby bodom » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:18 pm

atulo wrote:When I shared this text with other friends, they fould the passage interesting, so I thought you might like it too. Sorry if it brought some conffusion.
Metta! :oops:


I found the letter to be very interesting actually. If anyone happens to read anything more into this than that, your intention etc. then that is nothing more than their own papanca.

Heck if I had come across this I just might have posted it. We already have a thread on the Dalai Lamas opinion of the Vsm, why not the translator Bhikkhu Nanamoli himself?

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4605
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:24 pm

Hello bodom,

The Dalai Lama is alive and can be asked if there is any need to clarify his remarks. This is an undated quote, attributed to someone who is no longer alive. And so, the quote has been published without the permission of the Thera concerned, from what was a personal communication. I don't see any wholesome point behind the posting of this thread.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7532
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:28 pm

Very interesting, thank you -)

BTW., I too don't trust commentaries too much... :spy:
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:37 pm

cooran wrote:Hello bodom,

The Dalai Lama is alive and can be asked if there is any need to clarify his remarks. This is an undated quote, attributed to someone who is no longer alive. And so, the quote has been published without the permission of the Thera concerned, from what was a personal communication. I don't see any wholesome point behind the posting of this thread.

with metta
Chris
And we have no idea of the context of the letter. Is the letter's recipient a Buddhist, a scholar of things Buddhist? That likely would make a significant difference in how Ven Nanamoli would talk about his book and it contents. To a non-Buddhist the Visuddhimagga could be a dry read, indeed.

What we do see in Ven N's discussion of the book and in his footnotes an enthusiasm for the Visiddhimagga that if one believed the letter should not be there.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19416
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:38 pm

Zom wrote:Very interesting, thank you -)

BTW., I too don't trust commentaries too much...
And how many commentaries have you read?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19416
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby bodom » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
cooran wrote:Hello bodom,

The Dalai Lama is alive and can be asked if there is any need to clarify his remarks. This is an undated quote, attributed to someone who is no longer alive. And so, the quote has been published without the permission of the Thera concerned, from what was a personal communication. I don't see any wholesome point behind the posting of this thread.

with metta
Chris
And we have no idea of the context of the letter. Is the letter's recipient a Buddhist, a scholar of things Buddhist? That likely would make a significant difference in how Ven Nanamoli would talk about his book and it contents. To a non-Buddhist the Visuddhimagga could be a dry read, indeed.

What we do see in Ven N's discussion of the book and in his footnotes an enthusiasm for the Visiddhimagga that if one believed the letter should not be there.


My mistake. I thought the letter was from Nanamoli to Nanavira.

: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
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4605
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:09 pm

What we do see in Ven N's discussion of the book and in his footnotes an enthusiasm for the Visiddhimagga that if one believed the letter should not be there
.

Why not, if:

"and it really represents partly the getting past an obstacle and partly some rather abstruse literary amusement for myself"
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:20 pm

Zom wrote:
What we do see in Ven N's discussion of the book and in his footnotes an enthusiasm for the Visiddhimagga that if one believed the letter should not be there
.

Why not, if:

"and it really represents partly the getting past an obstacle and partly some rather abstruse literary amusement for myself"

Which is why this letter cannot be taken seriously, especially without context. What he has put into this work is far more than an amusement.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19416
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: ven. Nanamoli's opinion of Vissudhimagga

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:23 pm

Hi Bodom,
[quote="bodom"]
I found the letter to be very interesting actually. If anyone happens to read anything more into this than that, your intention etc. then that is nothing more than their own papanca. /quote]
Well, yes, I found it interesting. The fact that he slipped his name into the preface, and that he sounds fed up with the whole process, much like a lot like one of our PhD students who have just handed in their thesis...

I was pleased to have those interesting little insights, but it is obvious from his previous and subsequent posts that atulo has a particular view to push, and here is attempting to enlist Ven Nanamoli's letter in support of that position. As Tilt has pointed out, by only quoting an extract without revealing the content of the rest of the letter, or the recipient, makes any conclusions extremely suspect.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10284
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Next

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests