Thank you dL for that fulsome catalogue of how BB and VT render kāmā
But was that my grouse?
If you revisit my earlier post, it should be apparent that I was not
talking about how these 2 venerables treat kāmā
in general, but how translators treat kāmā
in the context of the 1st Jhana's kāmā
seclusion pericope -
It is only in the Abhidhamma, starting with the Vibhanga, that the meaning of kāmā (plural) evolves into the set of "chando ~o rāgo ~o chanda-
rāgo ~o saṅkappo ~o saṅkapparāgo ~o". This unfortunate turn of course changed the meaning of the 1st Jhana's kāmā seclusion pericope, leaving poor Ven Buddhaghosa struggling to explain away the difference in the "eva" emphatic between the 2 seclusion pericopes.
The real issue to be posed to Ven T is why he chooses the singular noun "sensuality" to obscure the very clear Pali and Middle-Indic meaning conveyed by the plural kāmā. A lot of the translations floating out there, whether knowingly or unknowingly, use the Abhidhamma definition of kāmā, including Ven Nanamoli in his original translation of the MN. BB makes a global change of that to "sensual pleasures" in the MLDB, following a stricter philological approach.
The reference I gave to the Vibhanga was to the Vibhanga's definition of kāmā
in the 1st Jhana's kāmā
seclusion pericope -
“Vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehī”ti tattha katame kāmā? Chando kāmo, rāgo kāmo, chandarāgo kāmo, saṅkappo kāmo, rāgo kāmo, saṅkapparāgo kāmo— ime vuccanti “kāmā”.
I was not generalising about how translators (whether BB or VT) translated kāmā
, but how they were translating that term in the kāmā
seclusion pericope. I would have thought that the clear mention of the problem posed by the Vibhanga would have made it clear I was only interested in the 1st Jhana's seclusion formula, and not a broader philological treatment of kāmā
in every other contexts. To reiterate, VT 's rendition of vivicceva kāmehi
as "secluded from sensuality" is the object of my objection. As reflection's post just points out, VT makes no bones about what he means by sensuality in the Jhana pericope, ie saṅkapparāga
(passion for your sensual thoughts and plans). This is the Abhidhamma meaning.
Now, if we can get back to the business at hand, ie the meaning of kāmā
in the kāmā
seclusion pericope, please share what you understand kāmā
/sensuality/sensual pleasure to mean in this pericope within the Pali and in the translations.
PS - re the differences between BB's and VT's rendering of pañcakāmaguṇā
, it' doesn't seem to be relevant to talk about plural or singular here, since the plurality is obviously with reference to the noun guṇā
, rather than the noun kāma
. The lemma kāma
could have been inflected in either the singular or plural within the compound. Both have however translated the lemma to be in the singular. VT's translation harks back to an old explanation I recall him giving for the kāmaguṇā
being akin to the strings of an instrument producing music; his analogy being that the kāmaguṇā
when touched produces desire. BB's translation also has kāma
in the singular, but referring to a pleasant feeling, rather than desire. The doctrinal impact of this difference is significant, depending on whether or not one accepts the suttas' tajja
/correspondence model in describing the types of feelings that can arise with particular objects of cognition.