Important! Get the real meaning!

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
davidbrainerd
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:00 pm

Shuun wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:
Shuun wrote:Senses do not become ''conscious '' my friend. What does conscious mean?
In this case, sense contact.

Have you never experienced an instance where one of the six senses had sense contact with an object?
What is "sense contact", please expand on exact meaning, what are you referring to.
Have your senses ever sensed anything?

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Goofaholix
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:11 pm

Shuun wrote:What is "sense contact", please expand on exact meaning, what are you referring to.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spar%C5%9Ba

I find it unambiguous, playing dumb achieves nothing.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Goofaholix
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:12 pm

Shuun wrote:What do you need evidence for?
Because making sweeping claims without backing them up is poiintless.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:33 pm

Shuun wrote:The "paticcasamuppada" aka "dependent origination" is translated & interpreted incorrectly, if you understand the gravity of that. The individual links/points are translated incorrectly.
Surely part of Buddhism is taking refuge in the 3 jewels, including the Sangha.

One of the many functions of the Sangha, I suspect, is to preserve meaning over a multitude of different cultural and linguistic situations. Pali isn't a "divine language" which an absolutely accurate and absolutely efficacious manifestation of the Dharma itself flows through.

If such were the case, that the Dharma/Teaching/Truth (or whatever) was absolutely efficacious I mean, Buddhism, the Sangha, and the Buddha would be unnecessary for the propagation of the Dharma and all anyone would need to do is read the Buddha's absolutely efficacious expounding of the Dharma through the Canon to achieve perfect awakening.

The traditions of translating Buddhadharma into linguistic presentations reachable to foreign cultures flows from the inherited traditions of the Sangha, person-to-person, teacher-to-teacher, from the Buddha himself. This is how meaning is preserved in Buddhism, not through text-alone like in some fundamentalist traditions of Christianity (i.e. Biblical literalism).

The decision to translate pratītyasamutpāda into (inter)dependant origination has been accepted by both the monastic and lay communities of Buddhism in the West (and East I assume, when they use English) and it is taken for granted that the meaning of the aspect of the Dharma expounded through that word/concept is not inherit within the phonological and semantic natures of the word/concept itself. The word is a conventional truth modelled after the ultimately inexpressible Absolute Truth the Buddha's mind was awakened to.

Without engagement with the Sangha and the inherited tradition, neither pratītyasamutpāda nor (inter)dependant origination have the ability to properly convey the 'meaning' they represent (in and of themselves).

For the sake of argumentation though, pratītyasamutpāda (or its Pali equivalent: paṭiccasamuppāda), is a compound word comprised of pratītya, which sort of means "depending (on something)" and samutpāda, meaning "arising/originating/generating". So the word can be put into English, accurately to its surface-level meaning, as "the arising of dependancy" to refer to the interconnected monadic nature of what we incorrectly see to be dual and binary-opposition based objectifying consciousness. This puts the choice of (inter)dependant origination into some context, because English translators chose ‘origination’ instead of ‘arising’, and this was embraced by the monastic and lay communities as acceptable. Another translation could have been “the genesis of what is caused”, which would have conveyed an even different nuance of meaning, but is equally unsuitable as all language is to convey Absolute Truth grasped by only Awakened Beings.

Now I can easily throw out the definition I just gave (which may be incorrect from a Theravada understanding, as I am not a Theravada Buddhism myself), but I would be a fool to think that the material information that has been conveyed to me by the literal meanings of the words is absolutely accurate and efficacious Buddhadharma, because if that were the case, by knowing the word alone, I would have a perfect understanding of pratītyasamutpāda (and I don't need a monk to tell me that I definitely don't have a perfect understanding of the concept despite knowing the word).

So keep in mind that one of the functions of the Sangha is to manage the problems that upset you while you are navigating the chasm of difference between language and culture, east and west, English and Pali. The Sangha are the universalizers of Buddhadharma. That is why we seek refuge in them, that they may expound the Dharma to all peoples regardless of their language and cultural differences with the ancient Indian thought-world early Buddhism existed in.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Shuun
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Shuun » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:52 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Shuun wrote:What do you need evidence for?
Because making sweeping claims without backing them up is poiintless.
Goofaholix wrote:
I find it unambiguous, playing dumb achieves nothing.
If you understand it, find it unambiguous, why do you need anyone else to back it up for you? What is that for?

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Ben
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:58 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Shuun wrote:I have not said what are better translations for "contact" and "dependent arising".
Because you don't know.

We'll stick with the current translations then, problem solved.
I agree, totally.
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
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Shuun
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Shuun » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:04 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:...
I don't see this explained as such by large, I see it explained in some weird, confused materialistic kind of way, not like "“the genesis of what is caused”, but wrongly like "causes and effects", some sort of determinism, like feeling would directly arise from physical contact kind of sense. So i just taught to put this forward, so people really pay more attention to this, that is why "Important! Get the real meaning!" not "Important! Get the real translation!" :clap:

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Goofaholix
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:21 pm

Shuun wrote:If you understand it, find it unambiguous, why do you need anyone else to back it up for you? What is that for?
The generally accepted understandings of the words phassa are unambiguous.

You need to back up your claims.

They are two different things, please don't play dumb as it adds nothing to the discussion.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:30 pm

Shuun wrote:
I don't see this explained as such by large, I see it explained in some weird, confused materialistic kind of way, not like "“the genesis of what is caused”, but wrongly like "causes and effects", some sort of determinism, like feeling would directly arise from physical contact kind of sense. So i just taught to put this forward, so people really pay more attention to this, that is why "Important! Get the real meaning!" not "Important! Get the real translation!" :clap:
Exactly, the relying solely on the materialistic meanings of the words presented, themselves arising in historically conditioned situations, we don't arrive at a proper transmission of Buddhadharma.

Even the compound -samutpāda, as a word alone, arises out of historically conditioned material(ist) causes: samut shares a historical linguistic ancestor with the English "summit", "summation", and "sum". Padā, pada, shares a historical linguistic ancestor with the Latin pedes that we have inherit in English through verbal compounds such as "podiatrist" (foot-doctor) or "pedestrian".

Focusing on these material definitions, although they are materially true definitions, wont get one to a proper transmission of Buddhadharma though, because the Absolute Truth of the meanings of these words are not limited to (indeed they transcend) the material causes and conditions that lead to their formation in the Sanskrit and Pali languages.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Shuun
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Shuun » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:25 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Shuun wrote:If you understand it, find it unambiguous, why do you need anyone else to back it up for you? What is that for?
The generally accepted understandings of the words phassa are unambiguous.

You need to back up your claims.

They are two different things, please don't play dumb as it adds nothing to the discussion.
Really? That is not true. Just in this very thread there was at least 2 meanings, just in the wikipedia article linked there are at least 5 meanings, what kind of unambiguous we are talking about? No unambiguous, pretty much everyone confused as the same.

There is 'shortage' or Arhats, there is backing up this claim.

Something that is a word/translation/name can be used in context where it is misleading or leading. If people en mass assume that contact means just kind of physical contact or even just 5 sense contact and similar, it means they are mislead and you can not say that the "unambiguous" choice of word "contact" is "doing it's job" of leading, instead of misleading. If there are heaps of "meditators" who clench their teeth "in meditation", you can not say that they are being lead by choice of translation of "concentration" for "samadhi". It is supposed to be a map, not a puzzle.
And if one says that there is no discernible misleading going on or that there is no shortage or Arhats, that is not factual. [insert stern sutta about negligence here]

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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:38 am

Shuun wrote: . . .
And upon what basis do you claim to know the "real meaning?"
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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SamKR
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by SamKR » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:36 am

Shuun wrote:
There is 'shortage' or Arhats, there is backing up this claim.
'Shortage' of Arahants and even Sotapannas (comparing to their numbers during the time of the Buddha) certainly implies that something is not quite right.
Shuun wrote: "concentration" for "samadhi".
This is one of the worst ones in my list. To me "concentration" sounds quite opposite to what "samadhi" might 'really' mean.

I agree with you, Shuun, regarding the gist of what you are saying. :thumbsup:

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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by chownah » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:06 am

There is a big difference between getting "the real meaning" of the words and understanding what is said.

The term "the real meaning" implies that there is one real meaning. It is clear to me that there are many meanings which can be made from the suttas and that this is how the teachings were meant to be. The buddha's teachings has many handles on all sides so that people can get a beginners grasp even if approaching from any angle.

Shuun has found a handle....just not a very popular one.
chownah

davidbrainerd
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:25 am

Shuun wrote:There is 'shortage' or Arhats
How does that instantly point to the translations "contact" and "dependent arising" being the culprits? I don't want to derail the discussion into a debate about anatta, but in my estimation if there really is a shortage of arhats it would be more likely due to taking the concept of anatta beyond Buddha's declaration that the 5 aggregates are anatta and expanding it to the idea that there is no self at all, which makes it essentially impossible to believe in reincarnation/rebirth, and makes it to where every time you read in a sutta something like the statements in Dhammapada 157-166 you must reject it, thus constantly lessening your trust in Buddha in order to trust in later commentaries and traditions. I'd say that's a much bigger problem than your issues with the translations of "contact" and "dependent arising." Furthermore, what incentive is there even to practice if you don't exist, or won't continue after death. If what is reborn is not a self but a "stream of consciousness" (not even consciousness but only a "stream" of it, and what is that, vague memories of what you used to be, whereas you already ceased to exist?) then there doesn't seem much point to practice, so who believing this version of Buddhism is actually going to put in the time to become an arhat? And even if they put in the time, being essentially nihilists, can they even achieve arhatship? I'd pinpoint this as the true problem.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:02 am

Shuun wrote:Really? That is not true. Just in this very thread there was at least 2 meanings, just in the wikipedia article linked there are at least 5 meanings, what kind of unambiguous we are talking about? No unambiguous, pretty much everyone confused as the same.
I have searched through this thread I can't find any suggestion of an alternative translation for phassa, everbody seems happy to use the word contact, including yourself.

The words provided in the Wikipedia article are either synonyms or provide extra depth of meaning, this is normal when words don't have a 1:1 translation.
Shuun wrote:There is 'shortage' or Arhats, there is backing up this claim.
How do you know there is a shortage of arahants? How many is enough?

Please provide evidence for the link between translations and the number of arahants?

Are only English speakers affected?

Are Sinhalese translations correct? Are there enough Sinhalese speaking arahants?
Are Burmese translations correct? Are there enough Burmese speaking arahants?
Are Thai translations correct? Are there enough Thai speaking arahants? ... and so on.
Shuun wrote: If there are heaps of "meditators" who clench their teeth "in meditation", you can not say that they are being lead by choice of translation of "concentration" for "samadhi".
This is a good example, it is also a well known example. Just because there are half a dozen well known examples of words that have been mistranslated doesn't mean all of the translations are rotten. We also have teachers, I find many are happy to explain and explore the meaning of words in more depth when needed.

Pali scholars and teachers are already well into the process of clarifying and fixing translations of individual words as needed. What you are saying is nothing new, no cause for alarm, not a conspiracy, and no cause to throw out the baby with the bath water.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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The Thinker
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:24 am

Putting too much emphasis on the final destination is craving, Is it this that makes one practice? everything changes that would include final destination would it not? that may very well include perception, consciousness,so indicating that no one destination would be the same? I simply do not know the destination but the path leading to that destination outlined by the Buddha makes this moment more peaceful,giving me the understanding that our problems will pass and change, this is mental activity is it not?
Last edited by The Thinker on Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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davidbrainerd
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:44 am

The Thinker wrote:Putting too much emphasis on the final destination is craving, Is it this that makes one practice?
I think its a misconception to think craving for the unconditioned is the same as craving for the conditioned. Either you crave the conditioned or the unconditioned, because its not possible to crave nothing. If it was wrong to put emphasis on the final destination then Buddha wouldn't keep bringing up the "deathless supreme security of Nibbana." I mean talk about talking it up, all those adjectives in there.

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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:14 am

And even if they put in the time, being essentially nihilists,
Nihilistic beliefs are not much different from the not knowing beliefs or faith in a promised change belief (not yet experienced). The Buddha emphasises knowing the thoughts that are the causes of our problems, this is perhaps Nibbana itself in this moment, the knowing, understanding and ability to let go and yes change? Or should I just use a few vague words to describe the unknown? bliss etc.
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

davidbrainerd
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by davidbrainerd » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:41 am

The Thinker wrote:The Buddha emphasises knowing the thoughts that are the causes of our problems, this is perhaps Nibbana itself in this moment, the knowing, understanding and ability to let go and yes change?
I don't know if you're saying a little slice of Nibbana can be experienced in the here and now or that Nibbana is only a state of mind in the physical brain that ceases to exist along with the physical self at the point of death.

The latter is highly problematic. Even getting back to the original discussion of "contact" and "dependent arising" this concept of Nibbana as only in the physical world, as actually a part of Samsara, a calm state of mind in a Samsaric mind, will cause confusion. Now all of the sudden Nibbana (the unconditioned) is subject to the law of "dependent/conditioned arising" so that Nibbana can only arise dependent on the (condition of) existence of a physical mind, a brain, in which to exist as a mental state of peace or calm. So then how do you untie the knot of Buddha calling Nibbana "the unconditioned" when you believe it to be conditioned and subject to "conditioned arising"?

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The Thinker
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Re: Important! Get the real meaning!

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:48 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
The Thinker wrote:The Buddha emphasises knowing the thoughts that are the causes of our problems, this is perhaps Nibbana itself in this moment, the knowing, understanding and ability to let go and yes change?
I don't know if you're saying a little slice of Nibbana can be experienced in the here and now or that Nibbana is only a state of mind in the physical brain that ceases to exist along with the physical self at the point of death.

The latter is highly problematic. Even getting back to the original discussion of "contact" and "dependent arising" this concept of Nibbana as only in the physical world, as actually a part of Samsara, a calm state of mind in a Samsaric mind, will cause confusion. Now all of the sudden Nibbana (the unconditioned) is subject to the law of "dependent/conditioned arising" so that Nibbana can only arise dependent on the (condition of) existence of a physical mind, a brain, in which to exist as a mental state of peace or calm. So then how do you untie the knot of Buddha calling Nibbana "the unconditioned" when you believe it to be conditioned and subject to "conditioned arising"?
Nibbana the unconditioned is self-explanatory. (changing all the time, not constant)
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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