Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 7:36 am
Ontheway wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:21 am Pali language is unique. That's why the historical Buddha allowed all his followers to study Dhamma using this language. And not others such as Sanskrit.

Just like Citta, Mana, Viññāṇa...all describing the mental quality of the mind; but English is only using consciousness by far... It is insufficient to convey the Buddha's teachings in complete sense.
Now you're just making stuff up 😅

Few questions...

When did Pali appear?

Are you actually saying that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali?

Did the Buddha urge his followers to teach in local dialects?
Gomrich thinks it possible that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali. He also thinks Pali was something of a common language back then, amongst the different people. Similar to how English is today.
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


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BrokenBones
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 8:14 am
BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 7:36 am
Ontheway wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 3:21 am Pali language is unique. That's why the historical Buddha allowed all his followers to study Dhamma using this language. And not others such as Sanskrit.

Just like Citta, Mana, Viññāṇa...all describing the mental quality of the mind; but English is only using consciousness by far... It is insufficient to convey the Buddha's teachings in complete sense.
Now you're just making stuff up 😅

Few questions...

When did Pali appear?

Are you actually saying that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali?

Did the Buddha urge his followers to teach in local dialects?
Gomrich thinks it possible that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali. He also thinks Pali was something of a common language back then, amongst the different people. Similar to how English is today.
Which part of the suttas/vinaya does this pretty monumental statement have its roots? Maybe just a smidgeon of a trace?

Everything is 'possible'... but that doesn't mean it is 😉

Sounds like an Abhidhamma fairytale.

You can't just throw out ludicrous statements and expect to have them believed... I'm still awaiting a reference for Keren Arbel being a Burmese vipassana practitioner.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 9:45 am

Which part of the suttas/vinaya does this pretty monumental statement have its roots? Maybe just a smidgeon of a trace?

Everything is 'possible'... but that doesn't mean it is 😉

Sounds like an Abhidhamma fairytale.

You can't just throw out ludicrous statements and expect to have them believed... I'm still awaiting a reference for Keren Arbel being a Burmese vipassana practitioner.
It's been a while since I have read the book, but his argument is based in part on the Buddha spending most of his time living and teaching in Sāvatthī (the majority of suttas are set there), which is an area where Pāli is said to have originated from as opposed to Magadha. As for Keren Arbel, her meditation is where one discriminates dhammas arising and ceasing in the present moment and that this state can be accompanied by rapture, joy and so on. It's very similar in practice to the Burmese insight meditations where one focuses on the rising and ceasing of dhammas in the present moment, which can be accompanied by rapture, joy and so on.

If you want to read Gombrich's argument this is the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Buddhism-Pali- ... 0993477046
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


Tekicchakārittheragāthā 6.2
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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by mikenz66 »

Here is a discussion between Richard Gombrich and Alexander Wynn

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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:32 pm
BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 9:45 am

Which part of the suttas/vinaya does this pretty monumental statement have its roots? Maybe just a smidgeon of a trace?

Everything is 'possible'... but that doesn't mean it is 😉

Sounds like an Abhidhamma fairytale.

You can't just throw out ludicrous statements and expect to have them believed... I'm still awaiting a reference for Keren Arbel being a Burmese vipassana practitioner.
It's been a while since I have read the book, but his argument is based in part on the Buddha spending most of his time living and teaching in Sāvatthī (the majority of suttas are set there), which is an area where Pāli is said to have originated from as opposed to Magadha. As for Keren Arbel, her meditation is where one discriminates dhammas arising and ceasing in the present moment and that this state can be accompanied by rapture, joy and so on. It's very similar in practice to the Burmese insight meditations where one focuses on the rising and ceasing of dhammas in the present moment, which can be accompanied by rapture, joy and so on.

If you want to read Gombrich's argument this is the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Buddhism-Pali- ... 0993477046
Hi

Gombrich is widely respected but I think his opinion on this is just wild speculation and wishful thinking.

Have you any references for Arbel's meditation method? If it's just her book then I think you've misinterpreted her.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 8:03 pm

Gombrich is widely respected but I think his opinion on this is just wild speculation and wishful thinking.

Have you any references for Arbel's meditation method? If it's just her book then I think you've misinterpreted her.
I don't think he is engaging in wishful thinking. He is putting forward a hypothesis, but he recognises it's limitations. You will never be able to prove these things outright, not as it is at any rate. Even if the Buddha did not speak Pāli, most agree that he would at least be able to understand it meaning it would be close to whatever language the Buddha regularly spoke in.

On page 53 of her book she writes

"When one discerns (viveka) the true nature of phenomena, that is, the unreliability, impermanence and lack of substantiality of all phenomena, Jhānic pīti and sukha are born"

Which is very similar to how insight meditation is said to work. One becomes mindful of changing phenomena and discerns them in order to see their impermanence, suffering and lack of self. When developed the Jhāna factors then arise. What is different between the two is that for Keren this is Jhāna whilst for the Burmese and those who practice it is is access concentration, with actual Jhāna being a momentary experience during the meditation (and of the supramundane kind of Jhāna).

Interestingly, all of her meditation classes are advertised as insight meditation
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14-17 of Dec 2022 – Vipassana weekend with Simi Levi in Kibbutz Ein Dor (Tovana).

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7-16 of June: 10 days Vipassana retreat with Yahel Avigur in Kibbutz Ein Dor (Tovana).
https://kerenarbel.com/en/
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


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BrokenBones
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

Hi Ceisiwr

The term 'Insight' practice is not confined to Burmese practice nor is what you plucked from her book indicative of her thinking... rather it is... but not in the way you're trying to portray it.

The discernment here is initially a vicara/vittaka process into a 'truth'... not the arising and passing away of sensations/belly movements/footsteps or any other physically arising phenomena... impermanence etc. is to be understood by reflection and a unified mind... not by observing the effervescence of bodily processes... there is little wisdom to be found in that.

Can you point to a sutta where the Buddha urges meditators to "focus on the rising and ceasing of dhammas in the present moment"?

Everyone knows things arise & pass away in the present moment... Only a meditator knows how things arise and how they pass away. And they won't get that knowledge by just being aware.
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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by mikenz66 »

Much of the Samyutta Nikaya is about being aware of arising and passing away. For example:
“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu exercise clear comprehension? Here, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Perceptions are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu exercises clear comprehension.

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should dwell mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn47.35
“Sir, how does one know and see so as to give up ignorance and give rise to knowledge?”
“Mendicant, knowing and seeing the eye, sights, eye consciousness, and eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.
And also knowing and seeing the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.
...
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.53
:heart:
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

mikenz66 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:22 am Much of the Samyutta Nikaya is about being aware of arising and passing away. For example:
“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu exercise clear comprehension? Here, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Perceptions are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu exercises clear comprehension.

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should dwell mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn47.35
“Sir, how does one know and see so as to give up ignorance and give rise to knowledge?”
“Mendicant, knowing and seeing the eye, sights, eye consciousness, and eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.
And also knowing and seeing the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.
...
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.53
:heart:
Mike
The key point is 'knowing' & understanding... a mental process... simply being aware of sensations or movements of body doesn't cut it. If someone could explain how watching a belly rise & fall is the gateway to perfect nibbana... ultimate peace 🙄

Knowing & understanding what? Knowing and understanding how things arise and how their passing away is brought about. Impermanence is common knowledge... how is key... and the 'how' won't magically appear by divine intervention simply by observing which I take it is the Burmese method that Ceisiwr is referring to.

But perhaps we've all strayed off topic 🤣 how did this arise... I think it might have been me ☺️
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by mikenz66 »

BrokenBones wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 12:46 am
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:22 am The key point is 'knowing' & understanding... a mental process... simply being aware of sensations or movements of body doesn't cut it. If someone could explain how watching a belly rise & fall is the gateway to perfect nibbana... ultimate peace 🙄
Since I've not come across any teachers who teach that there is not need to explain it. I gave you some relevant sutta references about arising and passing away of phenomena, which is a key part of the Buddha's teaching.

:heart:
Mike
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

mikenz66 wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:51 am
BrokenBones wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 12:46 am
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:22 am The key point is 'knowing' & understanding... a mental process... simply being aware of sensations or movements of body doesn't cut it. If someone could explain how watching a belly rise & fall is the gateway to perfect nibbana... ultimate peace 🙄
Since I've not come across any teachers who teach that there is not need to explain it. I gave you some relevant sutta references about arising and passing away of phenomena, which is a key part of the Buddha's teaching.

:heart:
Mike
Not meaning to insult but have you been living in a cave?

What other mental process is engaged in or recommended in the Mahasi tradition other than 'noting'? At least the initial labelling has a certain discriminatory aspect to it, however slight.

Do you not think that the Buddha was referring to understanding Paticca-samuppada when referring to arising & passing away rather than the rise & fall of the belly or the evanescence of bodily sensations?

But this is wayyy off topic... perhaps if you wanted to continue we could open another topic.
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mikenz66
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by mikenz66 »

BrokenBones wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 10:59 am Not meaning to insult but have you been living in a cave?
Of course not. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what else I can say. The practice approaches I've been taught by various teachers involve a combination of calm (which breath, walking, etc meditation leads to, as described in various suttas) and observation of mental and physical phenomena including intentions, greed, aversion, states of mind, thoughts, and so on, as also described in various suttas.

Presumably you agree that, in the addition to the development of sila and basic understanding of the teachings, the Path involves the development of mindfulness and calm as a basis for clear investigation? That's my understanding.

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Mike
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by patta.1999 »

BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 9:45 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 8:14 am
BrokenBones wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 7:36 am

Now you're just making stuff up 😅

Few questions...

When did Pali appear?

Are you actually saying that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali?

Did the Buddha urge his followers to teach in local dialects?
Gomrich thinks it possible that the Buddha spoke and taught in Pali. He also thinks Pali was something of a common language back then, amongst the different people. Similar to how English is today.
Which part of the suttas/vinaya does this pretty monumental statement have its roots? Maybe just a smidgeon of a trace?

Everything is 'possible'... but that doesn't mean it is 😉

Sounds like an Abhidhamma fairytale.

You can't just throw out ludicrous statements and expect to have them believed... I'm still awaiting a reference for Keren Arbel being a Burmese vipassana practitioner.
My friend BrokenBones, maybe you have forgotten that you are on a Theravada site. Which means that we, the ones who visit this site, are the followers of the Theravada tradition. Which is the tradition of the Elders of the Sangha.

The Elders of the sangha shared with us about the knowledge of the language in the commentaries and in the grammar books.

So we do not just "throw out ludicrous statements".

Pāḷi together with the commentaries are safeguards to protect the Dhamma.

"The Dhamma, and the Vinaya, and the commentaries upon them were recorded in books without any interference with the regular succession of words as handed down by the Arahats who heard them from the mouth of the Blessed One himself..."
Sri Saddhanananda Thera of Ratgama 
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by BrokenBones »

Hi Patta.1999

I understand the cult around the Pali language, it's similar to the Tibetan worship on mantras. It's just a language. It's not special, it's not mystical, the Buddha didn't speak it and abandoned babies don't grow up magically speaking in Pali.

I think you've forgotten that this is the general section and alternative views are allowable ( I hope you're not one of those new age liberals who go into meltdown when their views are challenged). Whilst I adhere to a large amount of Theravada teaching I am not overly keen on tantric practices like 'magical languages' or brahmanical lineage worship (you missed out 'Ancients' 😉).

All you have is empty rhetoric... the suttas (the Buddha's actual words) warn against using specialised languages and insists on local language... you might not like to hear that but that's the way it is.
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Re: Why is Pali deemed a 'special' language?

Post by befriend »

The Pali word for buddha is Buddho, mentally reciting buddho gives rise to mindfulness of the present moment. Maybe some of Pali might be magical.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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