Samma

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Samma

Postby adosa » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:25 am

Hello,

In regards to let's say the Noble Eight-fold Path, is it proper to interpret Samma as "Harmonious"? It seems the stock interpretation is always "Right" which is I'm sure has its merits but "Harmonious" for me brings a more subtle depth to the meaning. But is this right?

Any thoughts?

Thanks.


adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
User avatar
adosa
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Samma

Postby Virgo » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:35 am

adosa wrote:Hello,

In regards to let's say the Noble Eight-fold Path, is it proper to interpret Samma as "Harmonious"? It seems the stock interpretation is always "Right" which is I'm sure has its merits but "Harmonious" for me brings a more subtle depth to the meaning. But is this right?

Any thoughts?

Thanks.


adosa

I like Right. There is Right Understanding and Wrong Understanding. For example, understanding that kamma has affects if part of Right Understanding. Harmonious doesn't sound right to me there. Harmony is good, but Right may go against the popular belief, so I think 'Right' works better.

Kevin
Virgo
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Samma

Postby bodom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:46 am

Harmonious isn't too far off from what samma actually implies, which is "completion", "togetherness", or "coherence" and can also mean "perfect" or "ideal". I like the translations "skillful" and "unskillful" as well.

: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: 4621
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Samma

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:17 am

adosa wrote:Hello,

In regards to let's say the Noble Eight-fold Path, is it proper to interpret Samma as "Harmonious"? It seems the stock interpretation is always "Right" which is I'm sure has its merits but "Harmonious" for me brings a more subtle depth to the meaning. But is this right?


I'd say harmonious is definately much more in the spirit of the meaning. "Right" appeals too much to a judeo-christian black and white outlook on things. Bodoms synonyms are good too.

You want your practise to be in harmony with dhamma, rather than puffed up with the feeling of being "right" while those others not practising the dhamma are "wrong".
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1951
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Samma

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:54 am

When I went looking for translations a couple of years ago I found right, whole/complete, perfect, ideal, appropriate and harmonious.
As far as I can see, no single translation is samma.
:tongue:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3088
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Samma

Postby yuttadhammo » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:55 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
adosa wrote:Hello,

In regards to let's say the Noble Eight-fold Path, is it proper to interpret Samma as "Harmonious"? It seems the stock interpretation is always "Right" which is I'm sure has its merits but "Harmonious" for me brings a more subtle depth to the meaning. But is this right?


I'd say harmonious is definately much more in the spirit of the meaning. "Right" appeals too much to a judeo-christian black and white outlook on things. Bodoms synonyms are good too.

You want your practise to be in harmony with dhamma, rather than puffed up with the feeling of being "right" while those others not practising the dhamma are "wrong".


Except that "right" is pretty much the meaning of the word... sammaa is in contrast with micchaa which just means "wrong". If you are into interpretive translation, power to you, but sammaa really does just mean "right". Do you think it's really the case that by calling something "right", people will necessarily become puffed up over it? I would have thought there were other reasons for that... Personally, I find "right" to be much easier to understand and appreciate than "harmonious", the latter requiring more ratiocination than I am prepared for. Like, "harmonious mindfulness"? "Harmonious concentration"? Maybe it's just me :)

asāre sāramatino, sāre cāsāradassino.
te sāraṃ nādhigacchanti, micchāsaṅkappagocarā.

sārañca sārato ñatvā, asārañca asārato.
te sāraṃ adhigacchanti, sammāsaṅkappagocarā.

Dhp. 12, 13
User avatar
yuttadhammo
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: Sri Lanka

Re: Samma

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:37 pm

I always liked the translation as "Right" too. But of the other translations, "Harmonious" seems to be very good too. The only teacher-translator that I know of that uses Harmonious is my teacher, Bhante Madawela Punnaji and he is much smarter and wiser than me.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8126
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada


Return to Pali

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests