Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?

You prefer traductions of Thanissaro Bhikkhu or Bhikkhu Bodhi ?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu
17
39%
Bhikkhu Bodhi
27
61%
 
Total votes: 44

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:26 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:30 am
Greetings,
Cittasanto wrote:This is true, however I feel some of Tanissaros choices for word - word renderings to be better, and Bodhi sides with the commentaries more.
Agreed.

The best feature of Bodhi's work is his fluency of language (and I think he gets away with more than he should, on account of it).

Metta,
Retro. :)
hi, will you explain your meaning here

anyway, for me i dislike that bhikkhu bodhi or his monastery charges for translations. dhamma should always be free and it was freely given.
there is supposedly a serious issue with ven bodhi's trans of this sutta, viewtopic.php?t=19658
i have heard negative things about bodhis translations and i would like to know if it is true and i should not read his edition of nanamoli's majjhima nikaya. i am concerned bodhi's political tendencies may influence his work
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:16 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:26 pm
there is supposedly a serious issue with ven bodhi's trans of this sutta, viewtopic.php?t=19658
Exactly what is the issue? Thanks
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:26 pm
i have heard negative things about bodhis translations and i would like to know if it is true and i should not read his edition of nanamoli's majjhima nikaya. i am concerned bodhi's political tendencies may influence his work
While I often disagree with VBBs footnotes & commentaries (which are often sectarian), for me, VBBs translations are the best available (although not perfect); translated with the most intregity & lack of ulterior sectarian agenda; far superior to Thanissaro or Sujato. Thanissaro's translations are characterised by a Zen bent towards non-conceptualisation as Nibbana (eg. in MN 1) plus include other weird stuff (such as the translation 'clinging-aggregates'). As for the MN, it provides no scope for political tendencies to influence the translation. The flaws I personally percieve in VVB's translations I attribute to ignorance &/or adherence to historical linguistic norms rather than to any intentional sectarianism.
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:02 pm
I have to go with Venerable Thanissaro because it is my personal opinion that he is consistently reliable
Since my view is complete opposite, what grounds or evidence can be offered that Venerable Thanissaro is consistently reliable?

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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:39 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:16 pm
While I often disagree with VBBs footnotes & commentaries (which are often sectarian), for me, VBBs translations are the best available (although not perfect); translated with the most intregity & lack of ulterior sectarian agenda; far superior to Thanissaro or Sujato.
I tend to agree. Actually Bhante Sujato has also described Ven Bodhi's translations as the best available. I think that if they were freely available he wouldn't have felt such a strong need for his own translations. However, It's very useful to now have two complete translations of the first four Nikayas (Walsh/Nanamoli/Bodhi and Sujato), and selections from Ven Thanissaro to compare. And also Piya Tan's http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/ analyses, which are probably at least as comprehensive as Thanissaro's.

What I like about Ven Bodhi's translations (and the numerous talks he has given on the MN in particular) is that he generally makes clear what is his opinion, what is the opinion of the commentators, and what is the opinion of others. So even where you might differ from his opinion, or that of the commentators, you have access to the information.

Bhante Sujato has a rather different approach with his translation project - to provide accessible, easy to read, unfootnoted, translations.
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/wh ... notes/3169
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/te ... tions/8310

Since Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations with extensive footnotes and cross-referencing are available for those interested in such details, this seems like a good approach - no point in reinventing the wheel...

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:04 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:39 am
So even where you might differ from his opinion, or that of the commentators, you have access to the information.
I agree. VBB had made some (but very few) deliberate dodgy translations but generally footnotes these and provides what he regards should be the literal translation (eg MN footnote 897). Or he has the honesty to bracket words that are not in the Pali, such as "into the womb" in SN 12.2:
And what, bhikkhus, is birth? The birth of the various beings into the various orders of beings, their being born, descent [into the womb], production, the manifestation of the aggregates, the obtaining of the sense bases. This is called birth.

SN 12.2
This said, his translation of 'kamabhava' (sensual existence) is plainly wrong and difficult to understand both him doing this and his lack of explanation:
Katamo ca, bhikkhave, bhavo? Tayome, bhikkhave, bhavā — kāmabhavo, rūpabhavo, arūpabhavo. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, bhavo

And what, bhikkhus, is existence? There are these three kinds of existence: sense-sphere existence, form-sphere existence, formless-sphere existence. This is called existence.

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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:49 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:16 pm
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:26 pm
there is supposedly a serious issue with ven bodhi's trans of this sutta, viewtopic.php?t=19658
Exactly what is the issue? Thanks
the issue has been explained to me that there is no 'seen', so thanissaros translation is superior. actually i havent sat down and figured it out for myself, maybe i should
While I often disagree with VBBs footnotes & commentaries (which are often sectarian), for me, VBBs translations are the best available (although not perfect); translated with the most intregity & lack of ulterior sectarian agenda; far superior to Thanissaro or Sujato. Thanissaro's translations are characterised by a Zen bent towards non-conceptualisation as Nibbana (eg. in MN 1) plus include other weird stuff (such as the translation 'clinging-aggregates'). As for the MN, it provides no scope for political tendencies to influence the translation. The flaws I personally percieve in VVB's translations I attribute to ignorance &/or adherence to historical linguistic norms rather than to any intentional sectarianism.
are they not clinging aggregates? mn 1 is about conceit
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Ven Thanissaro or Ven Bodhi's translation you prefer?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:44 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:49 am
the issue has been explained to me that there is no 'seen', so thanissaros translation is superior.
So arahants do not "see"? Was the Buddha visually blind?
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:49 am
are they not clinging aggregates? mn 1 is about conceit
What clings? Does the physical body cling? Does feeling cling? Does perception cling? Does mental formations cling? Does consciousness cling? Do the five aggregates engage in clinging behaviour? Or are the five aggregates things clung to? If the five aggregates are things clung to; do each of the aggregates engage in clinging or does only one of the aggregates engage in clinging behaviour? I suggest to examine 'your own' aggregates and investigate which aggregate/s engage in clinging. Kind regards :)

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by rightviewftw » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:57 pm

I think Ven. Bodhi's translation of a few crucial passages does not make any sense and is making the text irrational & illogical, that it effectively redacts crucial passages that are instrumental to refuting certain (Ven. Bodhi's?) views from the Sutta Pitaka. It seems to me like he is biased.
Example is AN 10.58 in particular the 9th enumeration. I wont analyze it here because it is a lot of work and is off-topic but comparing the two translations will show how big of a difference there is;

Ven. Thanissaro;
"'All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless.
Ven. Bodhi;
(9) They culminate in the deathless.
I assume that any smart person can appreciate the extent of the difference implied here and potential implications.

There is a similar problem in DN11 concerning Vinnana Anidassanam.

In general the relationship between the terms Vinnana Anidassanam, The Deathless and Nibbana needs to be explained and it needs to be explained in a way that consistently makes sense and so that it can not be refuted. Afaik there is only one way to do it and Ven. Bodhi has expressed wrong view in regards to this.

As i see it this is in no way a matter of preference, using the Ven. Bodhi's translations one can not make the Sutta Pitaka make sense because it starts contradicting itself and one will have to call Fake Sutta etc. Not to mention the relation of the conflicting positions to the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

Imo if i was to judge the not-proofread publication of Ven. Sujato's translations, some of it can not at all be defended and would constitute slander of the Tathagata.
Example is his translation of world-system as a Solar System, which appears in a very sensitive spot.

It seems to me that the translations of these Venerable Sirs are most reflective of their own interpretation of the Doctrine and what concerns Nibbana in particular in case of Ven. Bodhi.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by Zom » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:39 pm

Ven Bodhi's versions are supreme. Ven Thanissaro's eternalism terms like "unbinding" or "becoming" is a failure.

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by binocular » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:03 pm

Ven. Bodhi's translations are not that rarely more readable than Ven. Thanissaro's. But Ven. Bodhi's political stances, and esp. his stance on killing makes everything else that he says and his translations dislikeable for me.

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:57 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:57 pm
Example is AN 10.58 in particular the 9th enumeration. I wont analyze it here because it is a lot of work and is off-topic
I analyzed below in about 5 minutes.
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:57 pm
but comparing the two translations will show how big of a difference there is;

Ven. Thanissaro;
"'All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless.
Ven. Bodhi;
(9) They culminate in the deathless.
We have discussed this before. Both translations above were shown to be incorrect in their translating 'dhamma' as 'things' or 'phenomena'. As for "deathless footing" vs "deathless culminate", the Pali is "amatogadhā".
gādha1
neuter
firm footing (in water); firm ground.

gādha2
masculine or neuter
a hole; a refuge.
gādha1
depth; a hole, a dugout AN.ii.107 = Pp.43 (cp. Pp-a 225); Sdhp.394 (˚ṃ khaṇati). Cp. gāḷha2.

Sk. gāḷha pp. of gāh, see gāhati

gādha2
adj. passable, fordable in a˚ unfathomable, deep Pv-a.77 (= gambhīra). nt. a ford, a firm stand, firm ground, a safe place: gambhīre ˚ṃ vindati AN.v.202. ˚ṃ esati to seek the terra firma SN.i.127; similarly: ˚ṃ labhati to gain firm footing SN.i.47; ˚ṃ ajjhagā SN.iv.206; ˚ṃ labhate Ja.vi.440 (= patiṭṭhā). Cp. o˚, paṭi˚.
gādhati
to stand fast, to be on firm ground, to have a firm footing: āpo ca paṭhavī ca tejo vāyo na gādhati “the four elements have no footing DN.i.223 = SN.i.15
■ Dhamma-Vinaye gādhati “to stand fast in the Doctrine & Discipline” SN.iii.59 sq.

v. der. fr. gādha2
Formerly, Bodhi translated this as "merge".
Therefore, the question needs to be asked why VBB has translated as he has done? :shrug:
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:57 pm
There is a similar problem in DN11 concerning Vinnana Anidassanam.

In general the relationship between the terms Vinnana Anidassanam, The Deathless and Nibbana needs to be explained and it needs to be explained in a way that consistently makes sense and so that it can not be refuted. Afaik there is only one way to do it and Ven. Bodhi has expressed wrong view in regards to this.
Vinnana Anidassanam is not Nibbana. We have also discussed this before. Why do you keep repeating the same old unsubstantiated ideas?
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:57 pm
The Deathless and Nibbana needs to be explained and it needs to be explained in a way that consistently makes sense and so that it can not be refuted. Afaik there is only one way to do it and Ven. Bodhi has expressed wrong view in regards to this.
The Deathless and Nibbana are essentially synonyms; as stated in many suttas, such as in SN 45.7. Regardless, when making an allegation against someone, as has been done above, it should ideally be substantiated.

I have addressed three matters you have raised yet in all three matters you have not explained let alone substantiated your allegations. Imo, this is not how to conduct a discussion. You should provide your clear view about the following:

1. Why is VBB's translation of 'gādha' incorrect?

2. What relationship does Vinnana Anidassanam have with The Deathless and Nibbana?

3. Why are The Deathless and Nibbana different and why was VBB wrong in treating these as synonyms?
47. Since the Deathless and Nibbāna are synonymous, to justify the distinction between them here, A-a identifies “the Deathless” with the Nibbāna-element with a residue left, and “Nibbāna” with the Nibbāna-element with no residue left. See Ch.IV, n.10.

https://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh238_Nyanap ... I.html#N47

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:07 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:57 pm
47. Since the Deathless and Nibbāna are synonymous, to justify the distinction between them here, A-a identifies “the Deathless” with the Nibbāna-element with a residue left, and “Nibbāna” with the Nibbāna-element with no residue left. See Ch.IV, n.10.

https://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh238_Nyanap ... I.html#N47
Returning to the above idea VBB presents from a Commentary; it certainly appears to have some merits.

The Pali in AN 10.58 is:
amatogadhā sabbe dhammā

nib­bā­na­pari­yosānā sabbe dhammā
Contrary to VBB's comment, the term 'pari­yosānā' appears to not have a specific relationship to the 'Nibbāna-element without residue'. For example, in MN 29 & MN 30, the term 'pari­yosānā' is used in relation to the 'Nibbāna-element with a residue':
The goal, heartwood and final end of the spiritual life is the unshakable freedom of heart.

akuppā cetovimutti — etadatthamidaṃ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyaṃ, etaṃ sāraṃ etaṃ pariyosānan

MN 29 & 30
Also, 'pari­yosānā' is used in relation to The Deathless, as follows from AN 6.19 & 20:
Mendicants, when mindfulness of death is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial. It culminates in the deathless and ends with the deathless.

Maraṇassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṃsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā

https://suttacentral.net/an6.19/en/sujato.
Therefore, I would suggest the suttas need to be examined to find use of the term 'gadhā' ('footing') with Nibbana? I imagine such usage will not be found because, while the mind can establish a footing in 'Nibbana with residue', i.e. 'The Deathless'; the mind obviously cannot take a 'footing' in the 'Nibbāna-element without residue'.

In conclusion, it appears the term 'pari­yosānā' can be used with both The Deathless & Nibbana; but the term 'gadhā' cannot be used with 'Nibbana without residue' therefore is probably never used with the singular term 'Nibbana'.

It appears the term Nibbānogadha is found in Pali dictionaries but not found in any sutta.

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:04 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:07 am
It appears the term Nibbānogadha is found in Pali dictionaries but not found in any sutta.
Looks like I was wrong above: :shock: ;)
For extinguishment is the culmination, destination, and end of the spiritual life.

Nibbānogadhañhi, rādha, brahmacariyaṃ vussati, nibbānaparāyanaṃ nibbānapariyosānan”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/sn23.1/en/sujato
SN 48.42 : Uṇṇābhabrāhmaṇasutta
pañhaṃ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṃ gahetuṃ. Nibbānogadhañhi, brāhmaṇa, brahmacariyaṃ vussati nibbānaparāyaṇaṃ

SN 23.1 : Mārasutta
pañhaṃ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṃ gahetuṃ. Nibbānogadhañhi, rādha, brahmacariyaṃ vussati, nibbānaparāyanaṃ

MN 44 : Cūḷavedallasutta
pañhaṃ, nāsakkhi pañhānaṃ pariyantaṃ gahetuṃ. Nibbānogadhañhi, āvuso visākha, brahmacariyaṃ, nibbānaparāyanaṃ
:candle:
DooDoot wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:57 pm
1. Why is VBB's translation of 'gādha' incorrect?
Returning to the above question, VBB has used different translations in different suttas. For example:
Natthinatthi kiccaṃ brāhmaṇassa
Katakicco hi brāhmaṇo;
Yāva na gādhaṃ labhati nadīsu (while he has not gained a footing in the river)
Āyūhati sabbagattebhi jantu;
Gādhañca laddhāna thale ṭhito yo (but a footing gained, standing on the ground)
Nāyūhatī pāragato hi sova.

SN 2.5
Ye suppaṭipannā te imasmiṃ dhammavinaye gādhanti.

Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/sn22.56
Paritto, upāli, attabhāvo gambhīre gādhaṃ na vindati. Evamevaṃ kho, upāli, yo evaṃ vadeyya: ‘ahaṃ samādhiṃ alabhamāno arañña­vana­patthāni pantāni senāsanāni paṭisevissāmī’ti, tassetaṃ pāṭikaṅkhaṃ: ‘saṃsīdissati vā uplavissati vā’ti

A small boy does not find footing in the depths. So too, it can be expected that one who would say: "I do not gain concentration, yet I will resort to remote lodgings in forests & jungle groves' will either sink or fall away.

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/an10.99
sammāsamādhiṃ bhāveti amatogadhaṃ amataparāyanaṃ amata­pari­yosānaṃ

right concentration developed has the Deathless as its ground... its destination... its final goal,

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/sn45.115
Therefore, it remains unclear why VBB chose to use "culminate" (instead of "merge") in his most recent translation of AN 10.58. While Sujato's translation of AN 6.19 remains in "draft", Sujato also uses "culminate". It is of note VBB was influenced by the AB group in his AN translation (example, refer to AN footnote 1801 about Brahmali & AN 8.83, which is the same teaching as AN 10.58) therefore Bhikkhu Sujato might be able to answer the question about why "gādha' is translated as "culminate". :)
Mendicants, when mindfulness of death is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial. It culminates in the deathless and ends with the deathless.

maraṇassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṃsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā.

https://suttacentral.net/an6.19/en/sujato
I think VBB's original translation of MN 98 confirms my suspicion of influence by Bhikkhu Sujato's group. In his MN, published in 1995 (before the arising & influence of the AB group), VBB translates:
Amatogadhaṃ anuppattaṃ

Who has gained firm footing in the Deathless.

MN 98
:namaste:
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:30 am

maybe would someone give me a list of the controversial translations bhikkhu bodhi has made
not to say they are wrong just that it might be worth comparing to other translation(s)
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Which translation do you prefer: V Thanissaro or V Bodhi's ?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:51 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:30 am
maybe would someone give me a list of the controversial translations bhikkhu bodhi has made
I can't think of too many off the top of my head & will wait for others to post examples, such as the example discussed from AN 10.58 (however, AN 10.58 is generally universally translated contrary to the explanations in other suttas & the original commentary, discussed here with support of AN 4.245 & SN 48.44 and here on SC). Its Thanissaro that has the controversial translations to me.

I already mentioned the following personal disagreeements, which are actually not particularly "controversial" (apart from kamabhava):

* MN 96 footnote 897, where VBB appears to translate a passage to mean 'reincarnation' rather than 'social/verbal designation' of caste.

* In MN 60, it appears VBB might have chosen some words from Western philosophy (such as 'nihilism') to describe certain doctrines.

* Translation 'kamabhava' as 'sense-sphere existence' (rather than 'sensual-existence').

* Influence by the Ajahn Brahm group in both SN and AN to depart from his MN and to start using terms in Dependent Origination such as 'name-form' (instead of 'mentality-materiality'), 'volitional formations' (instead of 'formations'), 'existence' (instead of 'being').

Regards :reading:

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