The Buddha spoke Pāli

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 10673
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings everyone,

I’ve just bought Richard Gombrich’s “Buddhism and Pali” where he argues that the Buddha spoke Pali. Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts on it and it’s claims? Did the Blessed One speak Pali?

Metta

:)
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
User avatar
Nicolas
Posts: 1119
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:59 pm
Location: Somerville, MA, USA

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Nicolas »

Some related Dhamma Wheel topics:
- What language did the Buddha speak?
- Did the Buddha Know Pali?
- Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?
- The Buddha spoke pali by Stefan Karpik
- Pali and Sanskrit: some history

It seems that the majority opinion among scholars is that the Buddha spoke a language close to Pali.
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 7691
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Sam Vara »

I've read it, and thought it was good. I like nearly everything Gombrich has done, and the effect that reading his work has on my mind.

As to whether he is right about what the Buddha spoke, I'm nowhere near competent enough to question his impressive level of scholarship and intellect. I think Gombrich himself - as a lifelong Popperian - would be happy for me to say that I provisionally accept his claim as a working hypothesis....
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18097
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by mikenz66 »

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 5500
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by cappuccino »

Pali is the language of the common people


Sanskrit is higher…
Last edited by cappuccino on Fri May 29, 2020 1:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine." -Socrates
Good for Your Soul
polaris
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:59 am

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by polaris »

Nicolas wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:46 pm Some related Dhamma Wheel topics:
- What language did the Buddha speak?
- Did the Buddha Know Pali?
- Was Pali Lord Buddha's "native" or spoken language?
- The Buddha spoke pali by Stefan Karpik
- Pali and Sanskrit: some history

It seems that the majority opinion among scholars is that the Buddha spoke a language close to Pali.
I read somewhere that Buddha taught in a dialect widely spoken in that part of India during his time. He chose the dialect called Madhaga(spelling?) because it was the widely spoken dialect at that time so people could understand his teaching.
Pali was also used by Buddha. I also read that "Pali" was an artificial language. By artificial the author said that Pali was invented so that many of the Buddhist terms could be named and made known. It wasn't a nature language like other languages which were spoken by large number of people and families. Pali was also said to be a written language to record the teaching of Buddha and later it evolved into a spoken language. It sounds like an ancient successful attempt at 'Esperanto' to me.
Of course what I wrote could be all wrong because it's all hearsay. Anyone read anything interesting regarding this matter? Would love to hear it. Metta
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 23569
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
cappuccino wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 12:13 am Pali is the language of the common people


Sanskrit is higher…
Ok brahman.

:roll:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
sentinel
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by sentinel »

Buddha was a warrior n raja descendent , He learned the vedas in sanskrit (an elite language) . Pali is not a name of language until 6th CE , but Pali is a mixture of middle , western and eastern local dialects , where Pali is close to western (Avanti) dialect . The inscriptions on Asokan pillars wasnt exactly the Pali but with some variations and resemble the mixture of local dialects . However Buddha was from eastern region and never been to western region in His lifetimes . But of course Buddha can speak or able to converse in many dialects , when His audience is Brahmins , He possibly spoken in Chhanda a vedic sanskrit , and to local magadhan could be conversing in magadhi prakrit .
You always gain by giving
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 10673
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Ceisiwr »

sentinel wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 6:56 am Buddha was a warrior n raja descendent , He learned the vedas in sanskrit (an elite language) . Pali is not a name of language until 6th CE , but Pali is a mixture of middle , western and eastern local dialects , where Pali is close to western (Avanti) dialect . The inscriptions on Asokan pillars wasnt exactly the Pali but with some variations and resemble the mixture of local dialects . However Buddha was from eastern region and never been to western region in His lifetimes . But of course Buddha can speak or able to converse in many dialects , when His audience is Brahmins , He possibly spoken in Chhanda a vedic sanskrit , and to local magadhan could be conversing in magadhi prakrit .
Buddha grew up in a non-Vedic land. I doubt he would have learnt the Vedas.
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
sentinel
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by sentinel »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 am Buddha grew up in a non-Vedic land. I doubt he would have learnt the Vedas.
DN13

13.‘Well then, Vaseṭṭha, what about the early sages of those Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas, the makers of the mantras, the expounders of the mantras, whose ancient verses are chanted, pronounced and collected by the Brahmins of today, and sung and spoken about — such as Atthaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāsettha, Kassapa, Bhagu - did they ever say: “We know and see when, how and where Brahmā appears”?’ ‘No, Reverend Gotama.’

14.‘So, Vāseṭṭha, not one of these Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas has seen Brahmā face to face, nor has one of their teachers, or teacher’s teachers, nor even the ancestor seven generations back of one of their teachers. Nor could any of the early sages say: “We know and see when, how and where Brahmā appears.” So what these Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas are saying is: “We teach this path to union with Brahmā that we do not know or see, this is the only straight path...leading to union with Brahmā.” What do you think, Vāseṭṭha? Such being the case, does not what these Brahmins declare turn out to be ill-founded?’ ‘Yes indeed, Reverend Gotama.’

--DN 13
You always gain by giving
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 10673
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Ceisiwr »

sentinel wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 8:34 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 am Buddha grew up in a non-Vedic land. I doubt he would have learnt the Vedas.
DN13

13.‘Well then, Vaseṭṭha, what about the early sages of those Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas, the makers of the mantras, the expounders of the mantras, whose ancient verses are chanted, pronounced and collected by the Brahmins of today, and sung and spoken about — such as Atthaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāsettha, Kassapa, Bhagu - did they ever say: “We know and see when, how and where Brahmā appears”?’ ‘No, Reverend Gotama.’

14.‘So, Vāseṭṭha, not one of these Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas has seen Brahmā face to face, nor has one of their teachers, or teacher’s teachers, nor even the ancestor seven generations back of one of their teachers. Nor could any of the early sages say: “We know and see when, how and where Brahmā appears.” So what these Brahmins learned in the Three Vedas are saying is: “We teach this path to union with Brahmā that we do not know or see, this is the only straight path...leading to union with Brahmā.” What do you think, Vāseṭṭha? Such being the case, does not what these Brahmins declare turn out to be ill-founded?’ ‘Yes indeed, Reverend Gotama.’

--DN 13
That doesn’t show that he was raised in a Vedic culture. The Sakyans along with Magadha were classed as foreign lands by the Vedic texts. Whilst some Brahmins did live there Greater Magadha was a distinct culture which the Vedic culture looked down upon, despite absorbing some of their ideas into the Upanishads such as kamma and rebirth. Have a read of “Greater Magadha” by Johannes Bronkhorst. He points out how the Buddha was very likely not raised in a Vedic society and could possibly have had little knowledge of the Vedas outside of what was common knowledge at the time. He also argues he might not have even been aware of the Upanishads at all.

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... khorst.pdf
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 10673
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Ceisiwr »

cappuccino wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 12:13 am Pali is the language of the common people


Sanskrit is higher…
Makes this claim.

Likes the Upanishads.

Believes in a True self.

How are you not an Advaita Vedantin?
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
sentinel
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by sentinel »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 8:39 am
That doesn’t show that he was raised in a Vedic culture. The Sakyans along with Magadha were classed as foreign lands by the Vedic texts. Whilst some Brahmins did live there Greater Magadha was a distinct culture which the Vedic culture looked down upon, despite absorbing some of their ideas into the Upanishads such as kamma and rebirth. Have a read of “Greater Magadha” by Johannes Bronkhorst. He points out how the Buddha was very likely not raised in a Vedic society and could possibly have had little knowledge of the Vedas outside of what was common knowledge at the time. He also argues he might not have even been aware of the Upanishads at all.

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... khorst.pdf
Actually , if you never studies the dhamma , would you able to refute the teachings ?
Similarly , if Buddha never studied vedas , learned all type of knowledges and trainings meditations under the adept ascetics and eventually on His own came to enlightenment , there is No Way for Him to refute something you totally dont know !
You always gain by giving
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 10673
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by Ceisiwr »

sentinel wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 9:31 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 8:39 am
That doesn’t show that he was raised in a Vedic culture. The Sakyans along with Magadha were classed as foreign lands by the Vedic texts. Whilst some Brahmins did live there Greater Magadha was a distinct culture which the Vedic culture looked down upon, despite absorbing some of their ideas into the Upanishads such as kamma and rebirth. Have a read of “Greater Magadha” by Johannes Bronkhorst. He points out how the Buddha was very likely not raised in a Vedic society and could possibly have had little knowledge of the Vedas outside of what was common knowledge at the time. He also argues he might not have even been aware of the Upanishads at all.

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/documen ... khorst.pdf
Actually , if you never studies the dhamma , would you able to refute the teachings ?
Similarly , if Buddha never studied vedas , learned all type of knowledges and trainings meditations under the adept ascetics and eventually on His own came to enlightenment , there is No Way for Him to refute something you totally dont know !
You don’t have to have fully studied the Vedic texts to dismiss Vedic and Brahmin claims.
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti
“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
sentinel
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: The Buddha spoke Pāli

Post by sentinel »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 9:36 am You don’t have to have fully studied the Vedic texts to dismiss Vedic and Brahmin claims.
Really ? All those learned brahmins in three vedas does not seems can easily accept someone if one is not more erudite than them . Where does the notion of "atta" came from ? Eg . Can you refute the theory of quantum physics if you dont know the subject ?
You always gain by giving
Post Reply