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What language did the Buddha speak? - Dhamma Wheel

What language did the Buddha speak?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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smokey
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What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby smokey » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:38 pm

Some sources say Sanskrit and some Magadhi. Now I wonder is there any evidence? I apologize if the question has been asked previously on this forum.

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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:43 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

PeterB
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby PeterB » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:45 pm

Illuminating as always Kare.

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smokey
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby smokey » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:51 pm

Thank you Kare.

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Sekha
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:17 pm

I would have another related question:

To which extent can one state rightly that there was no evolution of the Pali langage as well as the content of the tipitaka from the day they reached the shore of Sri Lanka?
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

Bankei
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Bankei » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:08 am

The Buddha probably spoke a number of dialects since his travels took him over a wide distance.

Pali certainly did change after its arrival in Sri Lanka. There are differences in the languages of the canon and the commentaries and later commentaries. All languages change. Just think how much English has changed over the last 10 years.

Prof Kenneth Roy Norman has written a lot on this topic.
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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:36 am

Mettāya,
Kåre

Bankei
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Bankei » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:06 am

hi Kare

This may be so, but wouldn't you expect large variations in language across the vast distances in which the Buddha traveled? eg. from Lumbini to Buddhgaya it is about 400km in distance.

Good point about the dialects of the listeners too.

Bankei
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mikenz66
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:28 am


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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:25 am

Mettāya,
Kåre

Bankei
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Bankei » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:33 am

I wonder how much variation there is today in the modern languages of these regions.

Thanks Kare

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sphairos
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby sphairos » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:22 am

Mamaetad cetaso parivitakko udapādi: (This train of thought occurred to me) What if Buddha spoke two or more different languages?

it has never crossed my mind, though it seems plausible: Ancient Indians knew many slightly different languages, and for the learned middle and high social class or strata persons it was a "must" to know the language of the sophisticated culture, some local "high" languages, and the vernacular widely spread languages. We know that Buddha was a learned person, why should we suppose that he knew only one language?
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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:20 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

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Sekha
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Sekha » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:41 pm

That would explain why there are so many synonyms and synonym expressions in Pali.

Is there any research trying to identify if some synonyms were used more often than others according to the place where the particular sutta was spoken?
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:35 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

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Sekha
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Sekha » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:16 am

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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ajbombadill
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby ajbombadill » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:54 pm



here is an interesting discourse on the origin of the Pali language...

Individual
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:47 am

The Buddha didn't speak. Whatever people heard, it was always their own language which they thought they heard him speak. :)
The best things in life aren't things.


Paññāsikhara
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:21 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby alan » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:23 am

Thank you Kare, You are a real treasure. Always well explained, always well researched. Bravo!


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