Samadhi (best English translation?)

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Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:53 am

Greetings,

Samadhi, particularly in the context of Samma Samadhi is often translated as "concentration".

Personally, I find that "clarity" is probably a more suitable translation.

Does anyone have any thoughts on either of those translations, or wish to offer up another?

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Samadhi, particularly in the context of Samma Samadhi is often translated as "concentration".

Personally, I find that "clarity" is probably a more suitable translation.

Does anyone have any thoughts on either of those translations, or wish to offer up another?

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Best to start by breaking the word down into components.
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: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby David2 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:12 am

This video could be of interest:

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:21 pm

I have seen it also translated as 'tranquility' and also 'one-pointedness of mind'.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Best to start by breaking the word down into components.


"the state of being firmly fixed" ?

My comprehension of Pali is very, very rudimentary...
    "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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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Viscid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:36 pm

At what point can someone be considered to have Samma-Samadhi? Our personal translations of the word will likely reflect what we believe the state to be..
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:52 pm

Viscid wrote:At what point can someone be considered to have Samma-Samadhi? Our personal translations of the word will likely reflect what we believe the state to be..


I think Tilt's suggestion will get around the inherent subjectivity in that approach, to great benefit.
    "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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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:18 pm

David2 wrote:This video could be of interest:

"The Buddha made up the word samadhi." I'd would like to see basis from he makes this statement. It is possible, I suppose; however, given this crappy handling of other historical issues, I would never take his word at face value. Some of the talk was actual very good and some it was, well, not so much.
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: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:28 pm

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: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Viscid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote: "The Buddha made up the word samadhi." I'd would like to see basis from he makes this statement. It is possible, I suppose; however, given this crappy handling of other historical issues, I would never take his word at face value.


Yeah. I guess he believes that The Buddha made up the word 'Samadhi' because it's a word which we first see appearing in the Pitakas. I see his assertion also being reflective of his faith in The Buddha as a brilliant, supernormal teacher who will go to such great lengths as to create new terminology in order to accurately express The Dhamma.

tiltbillings wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitri_Upanishad


And the date for the Maitri Upanishad I've found is 200-300 BC..
Last edited by Viscid on Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:51 pm



From that link:

The term's etymology involves "sam" (together or integrated), "ā" (towards), and "dhā" (to get, to hold). Thus the result might be seen to be "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth" (samāpatti). Another possible etymological analysis of "samādhi" is "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium ("samā") of a detached intellect ("dhi").

Rhys Davis holds that the first attested usage of the term samādhi in Sanskrit literature was in the Maitri Upanishad.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:52 pm

Samatha is a synonym of samadhi and its definition is usually put as 'tranquility' or 'serenity'.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:15 pm

And here is the entry from Monier-Williams' dictionary:

http://lexica.indica-et-buddhica.org/dict/lexica

m. setting to rights , adjustment , settlement MBh [Mahabhatra]. 1159

samādhi in it most basic meaning: putting together, joining, combing with MW 1159

The fact that it had a non-meditative usage points to the likelihood that it is a far older word than the Buddha's time, but like a lot of words current at the time, Buddha used it to his own purposes.
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: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:27 pm

Hello Paul,

Huge number of multiple meanings depending on context, as per:

Samādhi
'concentration'
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... li.1819593

Samādhi
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... _s.htm#samādhi
(will need to scroll down - link not forming properly)

with metta
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Mr Man » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:55 pm

Idealy I don't think that we should translate the word we should introduce "samadhi" in to English. I think "concentration" is okay.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:33 pm

Today I went to a session by Ajhan Brahm who suggested 'stilling' as the best translation, and that concentration was a very poor translation.

Also this gives some hints as to what it is about:

"As for the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness, he should approach an individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Also..

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

with metta

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:40 am

It may also be possible to derive the term from not "sam-", but "sama".

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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:51 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:It may also be possible to derive the term from not "sam-", but "sama".

~~ Huifeng
As in?:

Samadhi (समाधि samādhi, Hindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi]) is the state of consciousness induced by complete meditation. The term's etymology involves "sam" (together or integrated), "ā" (towards), and "dhā" (to get, to hold). Thus the result might be seen to be "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth" (samāpatti). Another possible etymological analysis of "samādhi" is "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium ("samā") of a detached intellect ("dhi").
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi
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: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:09 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:It may also be possible to derive the term from not "sam-", but "sama".

~~ Huifeng
As in?:

Samadhi (समाधि samādhi, Hindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi]) is the state of consciousness induced by complete meditation. The term's etymology involves "sam" (together or integrated), "ā" (towards), and "dhā" (to get, to hold). Thus the result might be seen to be "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth" (samāpatti). Another possible etymological analysis of "samādhi" is "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium ("samā") of a detached intellect ("dhi").
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samadhi


As in the second definition given above. :thinking:
- equal / even / etc...

~~ Huifeng
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
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Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:15 am

Welcome back Venerable! :group:

I wonder if this ambiguity in Pali compounds is a disadvantage (because the meaning seems unclear) or an advantage (giving a rich set of multiple meanings). :thinking:

:anjali:
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