Early translation of Pali

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Early translation of Pali

Postby Tom » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:06 pm

When westerners first encountered the Pali language, how were they able to translate it?
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:20 pm

ccharles wrote:When westerners first encountered the Pali language, how were they able to translate it?
Sanskrit was a known language.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby Tom » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
ccharles wrote:When westerners first encountered the Pali language, how were they able to translate it?
Sanskrit was a known language.

I don't know much about the relationship between the two languages, but how did they use their knowledge of Sanskrit to translate Pali? I was wondering if whether or not the first western translators in Sri Lanka, for example, would've learned Pali, via their knowledge of the Sinhala language, from scholar monks who knew both languages.
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:39 pm

ccharles wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
ccharles wrote:When westerners first encountered the Pali language, how were they able to translate it?
Sanskrit was a known language.

I don't know much about the relationship between the two languages, but how did they use their knowledge of Sanskrit to translate Pali? I was wondering if whether or not the first western translators in Sri Lanka, for example, would've learned Pali, via their knowledge of the Sinhala language, from scholar monks who knew both languages.
Pali is a prakrit. Both Pali and Sanskrit come from a common source, making them very closely related following much the same grammatical rules. Knowing Sanskrit makes learning Pali very easy.

This is a decent discussion of Pali: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81li
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:23 pm

One of the more interesting early translations from the Pali:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/bits/index.htm
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby pulga » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:09 am

ccharles wrote:I don't know much about the relationship between the two languages, but how did they use their knowledge of Sanskrit to translate Pali? I was wondering if whether or not the first western translators in Sri Lanka, for example, would've learned Pali, via their knowledge of the Sinhala language, from scholar monks who knew both languages.


Some of the earliest comprehensive expositions of Theravada came from the Christian missionary Robert Spence Hardy. He knew no Pali: what he learned of Buddhism came from his fluency in Sinhala. Though his writings have a Christian bias, they do offer at times a fascinating, firsthand description of Sinhala Buddhism in Ceylon before Colonel Olcott and the Theosophists became involved with the religion.

As far as learning about Buddhism through Pali, I believe the Rev. D.J. Gogerly preceded Spence Hardy by a generation or so, and produced some of the earliest translations into English.
"...abstraction is illusory: abstraction is a discursive escape from the singularity of the real to the plurality of the imaginary—it is not an escape from the concrete." Ven. Ñanavira
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby Tom » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:22 am

pulga wrote:
ccharles wrote:I don't know much about the relationship between the two languages, but how did they use their knowledge of Sanskrit to translate Pali? I was wondering if whether or not the first western translators in Sri Lanka, for example, would've learned Pali, via their knowledge of the Sinhala language, from scholar monks who knew both languages.


Some of the earliest comprehensive expositions of Theravada came from the Christian missionary Robert Spence Hardy. He knew no Pali: what he learned of Buddhism came from his fluency in Sinhala. Though his writings have a Christian bias, they do offer at times a fascinating, firsthand description of Sinhala Buddhism in Ceylon before Colonel Olcott and the Theosophists became involved with the religion.

As far as learning about Buddhism through Pali, I believe the Rev. D.J. Gogerly preceded Spence Hardy by a generation or so, and produced some of the earliest translations into English.

By what process did the Rev. D.J. Gogerly learn Pali?
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby pulga » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:48 am

ccharles wrote:By what process did the Rev. D.J. Gogerly learn Pali?


I'm afraid I don't know that much about Gogerly. I believe a two volume set of his essays and translations were printed a long while ago. If you Google his name you should be able to locate the pdf download for his books which are in the public domain. Just reading over the preface should give you the answer you're looking for. Good luck.
"...abstraction is illusory: abstraction is a discursive escape from the singularity of the real to the plurality of the imaginary—it is not an escape from the concrete." Ven. Ñanavira
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Re: Early translation of Pali

Postby daverupa » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:21 pm

tiltbillings wrote:One of the more interesting early translations from the Pali:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/bits/index.htm


Then drew near Milinda the king to where the venerable Nâgasena; and having passed the compliments of friendship and civility, he sat down respectfully at one side. And the venerable Nâgasena returned the greeting; by which, verily, he won the heart of king Milinda.


:clap:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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