The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

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ToVincent
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The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

We all know how crucial this pericope is in understanding "how things have come to be".
Paccaya has usually been translated as "condition" — for instance :
Ignorance is a condition for choices” (Sujato - late translation)
Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā

With ignorance as condition, volitional formations (Bodhi)
Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā
And I wonder if that translation of paccaya as "condition", can make any sense if — as I believe, and ask for confirmation — a more accurate grammatical translation is used.
Note that I am not good at grammar. So please, be tolerant.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Paccayā (instr. sing. of paccaya (m.))
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā
Saṅkhārā (nom. pl. m.) are the feedback of (by) avijjā.
In other words, avijjā is the "impulse" (hetu), whose feedbacks (paccaya) are saṅkhārā.

Saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ
Viññāṇaṃ (nom. sing. nt.) is the feedback of saṅkhāra.

Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ
Nāmarūpaṃ (nom. sing. nt.) is the feedback of viññāṇa.

Nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ
Saḷāyatanaṃ (nom. sing. nt.) is the feedback of nāmarūpa.

Saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso
Phasso (nom. sing. m.) is the feedback of saḷāyatana.

phassapaccayā vedanā (f.)
Vedanā (nom. sing. f.) is the feedback of phassa.

etc.
vedanāpaccayā taṇhā, (f.)
taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ, (nt.)
upādānapaccayā bhavo, (m.)
bhavapaccayā jāti, (f. )
jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ (f. nt.)

----------

Again:
- With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases [come to be] (Bodhi)

- From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. (Thanissaro)

- Name and form are conditions for the six sense fields. (Sujato's old translation)
Bhikkhu Bodhi connotes that the verb "come to be" is implied.

In Thanissaro's definition (SN 12.20), the implied verb "come", makes an accusative out of the six sense media.

In Sujato's definition, the six sense fields (saḷāyatanaṃ) are also considered as accusatives.

But what about: Vedanāpaccayā taṇhā (f.)
Does it mean that taṇhā is an accusative plural?
Would the translation be correct, as: Vedanā is a condition for cravings (plural)?

What to say about: bhavapaccayā jāti (f.)?
Would jāti be plural? — births?

What to say about: upādānapaccayā bhavo (m.)
Bhavo as accusative ?!?!?

_________


How would these translations, that use wrongly the xxxxx in xxxxxpaccayā as nominative in all cases, should translate, with a more proper grammar - AND with paccaya as meaning "condition"? :
Saṅkhārā are the conditions of avijjā.
Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā
Pretty odd isn't it?

Unless I'm wrong grammatically.

In case that I'm right — and because I'm better at accurate historical meanings than at grammar — maybe paccaya means "come back to" (aka "feedback") as seen here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=38198&p=605323&hil ... ya#p605323

Be lenient!
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In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
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Ontheway
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Ontheway »

I normally read it as "Ignorance conditions Formations". Then, when it comes to explanation, the entire phrase need to be analysed.

"Ignorance conditions Formations"

What was meant by "Ignorance"?
It means not knowing the Four Noble Truths.

What was meant by "conditions"?
Being a proximate cause of next phenomenon, with previous factor as prerequisite, the next phenomenon arises. It is not simple arising.

What was meant by "Formations"?
The Kusala Dhamma, Akusala Dhamma, Abyakata Dhamma that performed by Body, Verbal, and Mind. These are known as "Formations". It was called "Formations" because it leads to the accumulation of Kammas and thus generating future lives.

This is how I read it.
"They take untruth for truth; they take truth for untruth; such persons can never arrive at the truth, for they hold wrong views." - Dhammapada 1:11

"Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions." - Proverbs 18:2
ToVincent
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

Just one more thing to add to the above:

We have seen that there is nothing like "condition", or "cause" — There is just a "correlation" between two things — might they be closely or distantly correlated.

All English translations so far, are misleading. That's the point.

For instance - with a proper grammar - phassapaccayā vedanā does not mean":
"Vedanā is the condition of phassa" !?!?!?
BUT
"Vedanā is the feedback of phassa".

-------

"Feedback" might be a bit difficult to understand; although this remains the shortest and most adequate meaning to use. That's why this meaning needs some explanation, to explain what it encompasses, from the different historical meanings that existed before, or at the time of the Buddha.

Literally, "vedanā is the feedback of phassa" means that "vedanā comes back to (come on to) phassa". As in "appear", "make ~visible~", and "make progress in knowledge" - (if we can speak of "progress").

Any "impulse" (hetu), brings a "feedback" (paccaya) — a manifestation of some sort - not always actually/sensorially visible - that feeds back some sort of "knowledge", to the previous stage in question, (might it be directly related like two nidānā).

Note:
Paccaya, Paṭicca, Pacceti, all come from pati+i *— Therefore, one can wonder why the PTS has translated them so differently.
The best translation comes from the definition of pacceti in the PTS - namely: Pacceti [fr. paṭi+i] = to come on to; to come back to.
This is the preferred meaning.

* प्रती pratī [prati-√ इ i ]
- to come back, return RV.
- Desid. [ pratīṣiṣati ], to wish or try to understand Pāṇ.


This is the correlation between a hetu, and a paccaya.
"Vedanā is the feedback of phassa", means that vedanā becomes somewhat "visible", and makes progress in knowledge, and feeds it back to phassa.
The correlation does not have to be as close as two nidānā — although the meaning of nidāna is just about that downward and backward correlation.
Nidāna (instr. of nidā)
nidā (ni-√ dā)
ni = down , back
√ dā = to bind VS.
Nidāna = (what) binds down (and back).

PTS gives the right meaning of nidāna :"tying down to" - (but forgot the "back" underlying meaning).


___________
Phassapaccayā vedanā
Vedanā is the feedback of phassa.

Phassanirodhā vedanānirodho
Cessation of vedanā (is) by cessation of phassa.
In other words, if phassa (transference*) ceases, there will be no more feedback from vedanā.
Vedanā will be no more "visible" (will not manifest physically or mentally). Vedanā will not vehiculate downward and feed-back upward, more "progress in knowledge" - (if any "progress" can be found in that new manifested knowledge).

Etc. (idem for the other nidānā)


* Note on the side, that phoṭṭhabba and phassa come from the same root √ spṛś.
It means to "touch" (phoṭṭhabba), as well as to "convey to", "come upon" , to "fall to the lot of", and even "to afflict".
"Transference" seems to be the best single word that describe this process.

In the case of phassa, it is that transference that counts.
Surely, if you hit your foot (phassa) , there will be affliction (vedanā).
On the other hand, if you don't transfer, and fall to the lot of a feeling coming from a movie (phassa) , you will not have an extra vedanā.

.
.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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mjaviem
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by mjaviem »

Oh, I like the part about correlation (feedback part I don't understand). It seems better to say "y correlates with z" than to say "y conditions z" or to say "y correlates with x and z" than to say "y conditions z and is conditioned by x" in my humble understanding. And I would have defined sankharas as "the things that condition other things and things that are conditioned by other things" but "things with correlations" looks much better to me. Correlation makes me think in scientists who make their experiments and find "high correlation" between apparently not connected phenomena and not a "conditional relation" between phenomena. The study of dhamma must be like a scientific approach. Correlates seems a more fair translation, it doesn't go beyond the facts. Conditions assumes something beyond the facts IMO
If it makes sense, credit those who taught me. If it is nonsense, you can credit me.

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ToVincent
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

mjaviem wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:40 pm .....
Before you go into the "correlation is better than condition" thing, or whatever - you must understand how all the translators (Thanissaro, Bodhi, and Sujato) have wrongly used the xxxxxpaccayā as a kind of nominative - (if not as mere nominative by Sujato).
xxxxxpaccayā is not a nominative - It is an instrumental.

In other words when they all ambiguously translate "nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ" as:
Name and form are conditions for the six sense fields.
This is grammatically wrong.
Saḷāyatanaṃ is the nominative — not the nāmarūpa in nāmarūpapaccayā.
And as shown above, this applies to the all series of nidānas.

Therefore, they should have properly translated "nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ" as:
The six sense-fields are conditions to Name and form.

But that makes no sense!

The right translation is:
Saḷāyatanaṃ (nom. sing. nt.) is the feedback of nāmarūpa.
Etc.
where the "feedback" (the come on and come back to,) is a direct correlation between two nidānas.
Note that the correlation does not have to be direct.

.
.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Coëmgenu
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

The sense of "conditioned by" that is used by Buddhist translators is "to have a significant influence on or to determine."

So we can easily see that this hullabaloo over supposedly-incorrect translations from Vens Bodhi, Thanissaro, Sujato, etc., as well as supposedly-incorrect translations in the PTS dictionary, is a tempest in a teapot, or a big deal over nothing. "Conditioned by" is fine semantically in the English language to serve as "paccayā."
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

Let us take the objections to Ven Thanissaro's...

From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.

...from the OP as an example. This is supposedly a faulty translation because it "makes an accusative" out of the six sense media.

Looking at Ven Bodhi's more literal rendering, we see:

With ignorance as condition, volitional formations

Inverting the two clauses, the full sentence is naturally seen in English

(There are) volitional formations with ignorance as condition.

The "(There are)" added is the dropped existential quantifier from Pali (note: I accidentally misidentified this as a copula originally), unless I'm atrociously mistaken (and I would need proof of that). Doing the same with Ven Thanissaro's, we see

(There come to be) the six sense media from name-and-form as a requisite condition.

This re-ordering of the clauses is what the OP is doing. It doesn't mean that the Venerables' translations are wrong. They are simply preserving the ordering of the Pali in Englihs. Because English is largely uninflected, it's accusatives and nominals are more ambiguously distributed. Indeed, accusativity and nominality can be changed between a translation and its root text if the result is semantically identical.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
ToVincent
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 3:32 pm The sense of "conditioned by" that is used by Buddhist translators is "to have a significant influence on or to determine."

So we can easily see that this hullabaloo over supposedly-incorrect translations from Vens Bodhi, Thanissaro, Sujato, etc., as well as supposedly-incorrect translations in the PTS dictionary, is a tempest in a teapot, or a big deal over nothing. "Conditioned by" is fine semantically in the English language to serve as "paccayā." The argument about accusatives and nominals stems from not knowing enough grammatically about the functions of Pāli declensions. The accusative receives the action of the verb, which is omitted here. This entire business is resolved with a normal dropped copula. Dropping the copula is, as we know, common in Middle Indic Prākrits and Sanskrit alike.
What accusative?

You're starting your usual gist gallop — this time with an unrelated grammar point.
There is no accusative to be found on the right side of this pericope.

Saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ
Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ
Nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ
Saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso
phassapaccayā vedanā (f.)
vedanāpaccayā taṇhā, (f.)
taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ, (nt.)
upādānapaccayā bhavo, (m.)
bhavapaccayā jāti, (f. )
jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ (f. nt.)

Seems like your brothers took the left side, as some kind of nominative — At least Sujato did.
Grasping is a condition for continued existence …
upādānapaccayā, bhikkhave, bhavo …
SN 12.20
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.20/en/suj ... ript=latin
Upādāna as nominative? — Bhavo as "accusative"?!?!?!

Sujato should have translated that as (in his own words) :
Continued existence is the condition for grasping !!!!!!

And even with your help, it would still be:
Continued existence determines grasping! ?!?!?

Nonsense!

------

This is far from being a "tempest in a teapot, or a big deal over nothing", as you put it.

------

All that counts here for you, is to show that your PTS guys, who seemingly got all their meanings from the English (in fact German) Sanskrit dictionary (Monier-Williams), without any discrimination between pre and post Buddhist literature, should remain absolutely inexpugnables.
And the same goes from the English plagiarisers, who have followed blindly the PTS Mrs. Rhys Davids & friends' steps.
https://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pt ... yc.pts.htm

I have already told you that you usually embark on a rant, without even properly reading what people say.
.
.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

When you undermine translators who are more skilled and qualified than you, when you undermine the PTS dictionary and the scholarship that went into it, you merely undermine yourself and your own credibility. What is Gish gallop?

I don't think you can understand how you were wrong to call those translators' translations wrong. Also, you faulted Ven Thanissaro for "making an accusative" out of the six sense media. The talk of accusativity is on-topic.
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
ToVincent
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:30 pm
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.

...from the OP as an example. This is supposedly a faulty translation because it "makes an accusative" out of the six sense media.

No, the OP says that the "six sense media is a nominative".
.
.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

ToVincent, you literally typed this in your OP:
ToVincent wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 7:57 amIn Thanissaro's definition (SN 12.20), the implied verb "come", makes an accusative out of the six sense media.
...and this is me being "lenient," as you requested. To characterize my participation in this thread as a "rant" is disingenuous. The second item in the "Xpaccaya Y" pericope is to be read with a dropped existential quantifier. Indeed, because Pali is inflected, it has no need of separated existential quantifiers like "There is X," except for in special particular circumstances. The inflected nominality is just that: existence (semantically) quantified.
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
ToVincent
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:49 pm ToVincent, you literally typed this in your OP:
ToVincent wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 7:57 amIn Thanissaro's definition (SN 12.20), the implied verb "come", makes an accusative out of the six sense media.
...and this is me being "lenient," as you requested. To characterize my participation in this thread as a "rant" is disingenuous. The second item in the "Xpaccaya Y" pericope is to be read with a dropped existential quantifier. Indeed, because Pali is inflected, it has no need of separated existential quantifiers like "There is X," except for in special particular circumstances. The nominality is just that: existence (semantically) quantified.
What imports is the use of the nominatives — (not how Thanissaro considered them).
Please provide some grammatical reference for bhavo. (Warder, etc.)

_________

I'm not here to really undermine the PTS, or the translators. I'm just stating a fact.
"Condition" is a post Buddhist meaning.
PTS takes its meanings mostly from the M-W.
And the rest ensues.
.
.
Last edited by ToVincent on Sat Nov 27, 2021 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

ToVincent wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:58 pmPlease provide some grammatical reference for bhavo. (Warder, etc.)
I have to ask, before I do this, did you ask this because you think that I think that bhavo is accusative? I really don't know with you.

Why do you think I need to provide "grammatical reference" for bhavo? Once I actually know what and why I'm referencing, I can give you something.
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by ToVincent »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:59 pm
ToVincent wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:58 pmPlease provide some grammatical reference for bhavo. (Warder, etc.)
I have to ask, before I do this, did you ask this because you think that I think that bhavo is accusative? I really don't know with you.

Why do you think I need to provide "grammatical reference" for bhavo? Once I actually know what and why I'm referencing, I can give you something.
Answer the question, after you ask. And give references with your answer.
.
.
In this world, there are people acting and yearning for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: The proper translation of Avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, etc.

Post by Coëmgenu »

I can't answer the question because I've no clue what you are talking about or what you want me to substantiate by bringing up "bhava." You've clearly misunderstood me.

Are you asking me to "prove" that bhava is accusative? The issue is, I don't know how severely you've misread me.
I once met a traveller from an antique land who said that two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies. On the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair." Nothing beside remains.
(paraphrase of Percy Shelley)
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