Ñāṇa wrote:Yes. Understanding something conceptually is one thing, applying that understanding is quite another.danieLion wrote:And for some, even adtger they've learned the foundations, produce no fruit.Ñāṇa wrote:Without learning the foundational principles of the teachings and the path structure of how to apply the teachings, examining direct experience can lead in any number of directions which may be quite fruitless.
They're not inferior. Of course, it would be interesting to have complete sutta collections from various textual traditions -- no matter what language they're preserved in.danieLion wrote:So, are the (Chinese) Agamas inferior to the Pali manuscripts because the latter are "closer" to the language(s) the Buddha spoke?
There's the statement from Cv 5.33 (Vin ii, 139):danieLion wrote:Didn't the Buddha tell his followers that when they encountered other cultures to teach the dhamma in their language?
Do we have any records of the Buddha making any rules about which language his teachings should be preserved in?
This subject has been somewhat controversial. For elaboration see Ven. Ñāṇananda's Concept & Reality in Early Buddhist Thought, pp. 45-47. But more generally, the discourses are composed of conventional expressions and designations, and there's no reason why they can't adequately be translated into any modern language, dependent, of course, on the skill of the translator (and the capacity of the reader). A good translation of a given passage is generally no more vague than the Pāli passage, and the translation is sometimes made more specific than the Pāli due, in part, to the translator's interpretation.
- I allow you, monks, to learn the speech of the Awakened One according to his own dialect.
- Though the wise one has transcended the conceived,
He still might say, 'I speak,'
He might say too, 'They speak to me.'
Skilful, knowing the world's parlance,
He uses such terms as mere expressions.
Compare with your man Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, § 120:
- Thus, Citta, there are these worldly expressions, worldly terms, worldly conventions, worldly concepts, which the Tathāgata uses without grasping them.
- When I talk about language (words, sentences, etc.) I must speak the language of every day. Is this language somehow too coarse and material for what we want to say? Then how is another one to be constructed?—And how strange that we should be able to do anything at all with the one we have!