Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

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DooDoot
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Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

Dear Pali gurus

I am struggling with what appear to be genitives (or datives) in SN 22.99, which, per Ven. Sujato's translation, says:
“Mendicants, transmigration has no known beginning.

“Anamataggoyaṁ, bhikkhave, saṁsāro.

No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.

Pubbā koṭi na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṁ sattānaṁ taṇhāsaṁyojanānaṁ sandhāvataṁ saṁsarataṁ.

Suppose a dog on a leash was tethered to a strong post or pillar. It would just keep running and circling around that post or pillar.

Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, sā gaddulabaddho daḷhe khīle vā thambhe vā upanibaddho tameva khīlaṁ vā thambhaṁ vā anuparidhāvati anuparivattati;

https://suttacentral.net/sn22.99/en/sujato
As an example, SN 12.2 says, per Ven. Sujato:
And what is rebirth?
Katamā ca, bhikkhave, jāti?

The rebirth, inception, conception, reincarnation, manifestation of the aggregates, and acquisition of the sense fields of the various sentient beings in the various orders of sentient beings.

Yā tesaṁ tesaṁ sattānaṁ tamhi tamhi sattanikāye jāti sañjāti okkanti abhinibbatti khandhānaṁ pātubhāvo āyatanānaṁ paṭilābho.

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/sujato
I assume about SN 12.2 & SN 22.99:

(a) sattānaṁ, khandhānaṁ & āyatanānaṁ are plural genitives; and the sentence says about these genitives: the beings' (their) rebirth, inception, conception & reincarnation; their aggregates' manifestation; their sense fields' acquisition

(b) anuparidhāvati and anuparivattati are verbs

Therefore, my questions are:

1. Why are there so many genitives in the sentence: pubbā koṭi na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṁ sattānaṁ taṇhāsaṁyojanānaṁ sandhāvataṁ saṁsarataṁ?

2. How do these genitives relate to each other?

Thank you :)
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

i think i worked it out. The genitives might be in relation to: "No first point is found"

So the text may say:

* No first point is found of sentient beings

* No first point is found of roaming and transmigrating

* No first point is found of hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving

Is this correct?

Thanks :thanks:
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by Coëmgenu »

This is why we don't yet have "critical translations" of Buddhist scriptures. None of the versions given are a clause-for-clause translation. The list of genitives in Pāli should correspond to something like "of X's, of Y's, of Z's," etc. That is how translation of the Bible, for instance, is done. When you've a clause in the Bible, the English tries to get as close as possible to the original. The KJV, though it is very dated, is translated as close to "word for word" as you could get at the time. We don't have translations like this AFAIK. Some try, but Buddhism hasn't settled into the English language in the way that Christianity has as of yet.
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:30 am The list of genitives in Pāli should correspond to something like "of X's, of Y's, of Z's," etc.
That is what I posted, namely:

* No sentient beings' first point is found

* No roamings' and transmigratings' first point is found

* No hindered by ignorances' and fettered by cravings' first point is found.

However, I am also inquiring here if there is a "double genitive", namely, if the genitive "fettered by craving" can be the object of another genitive, namely, "beings'". :smile:

At least to my grammar ignorance, Ven. Sujato's translation makes it sound like "roaming" and "transmigrating" are verbs (which they appear obviously not). My impression there should be an apostrophe somewhere, such as in red color below:
No first point is found of sentient beings' roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
I guess or speculate the translation should be:
Doot wrote:No first point is found of the hindrance of ignorance and fetter of craving of [pertaining to] the roaming and transmigrating of beings.
Such a translation highlighting the genitive of the hindrance of ignorance would align with the following:
“Mendicants, it is said that no first point of ignorance is evident, before which there was no ignorance, and afterwards it came to be.

“Purimā, bhikkhave, koṭi na paññāyati avijjāya: ‘ito pubbe avijjā nāhosi, atha pacchā samabhavī’ti.

AN 10.61
:shrug:
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:19 am, edited 5 times in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:30 am The list of genitives in Pāli should correspond to something like "of X's, of Y's, of Z's," etc.
Actually, i think its straightforward, namely, all the genitives, except "beings", are adjectives.

So the Pali says:
No first point is found of roaming (adjective) transmigrating (adjective) hindered by ignorance ( adjective) fettered by craving (adjective) beings (noun).

Pubbā koṭi na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṁ sattānaṁ taṇhāsaṁyojanānaṁ sandhāvataṁ saṁsarataṁ.
Or more literally:
It is not found the roaming (adjective) transmigrating (adjective) hindered by ignorance ( adjective) fettered by craving (adjective) beings' (noun) first point.

Pubbā koṭi na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṁ sattānaṁ taṇhāsaṁyojanānaṁ sandhāvataṁ saṁsarataṁ.
:smile:
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by Coëmgenu »

You can put "of" in front of your list in general or in front of each element separately. Each will be semantically equivalent, because, either way, the things doing the elements of the list are sentient beings. The adjective thing seems eccentric, but I'm not familiar with Pāli adjectives. I'm a tourist in Pāli.

There is no first point of the wanderings.

What wanders? Beings. The same is true of the other elements in the list. We'll have to wait for a Pāli expert to gauge your claim. I don't think it makes sense, but maybe that's how things are with the grammar here.

I should clarify that the above sentence was not in any way a translation of any of the OP quotations.
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:41 am What wanders? Beings.
In the suttas, "a being" is merely a "view" (SN 23.2; SN 5.10). What wanders is the mind.
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by Coëmgenu »

Fine, the mind of the being. Either way, the being "wanders," whether we specify that it is via his mind or not.

Truth be told, IMO, the import of the OP quote is that, amongst other things, the Buddha can see no beginning to both "beings" and "wanderings," amongst other functional synonyms. If we read "beings" to mean "cravings" or something else, then that's that.
"...and so concludes the exposition of the originated," spake Thomas the Bodhi Wizard. Then, he summarized in a verse:

"I tell you as I told my darling Auntie Wanda,
'It's all a ball of wibbly-wobbly Dharma-Wharma.'"

They rejoiced and lauded.

(Dharmatā verse from the Sūtra of Dubious Import)
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating SN 15.1, SN 22.99, etc ???

Post by DooDoot »

Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:54 am Fine, the mind of the being.
No. I said the suttas refer to the being-delusion of the mind rather than the mind of a being.

:focus:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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