can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:07 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Though the two languages are closely related, Classical Sanskrit did not necessarily come first. Classical Sanskrit is a far more studied language than is Pali. I would only recommend Sanskrit if you have a talent for languages.
It seems like it would be a whole lot easier learning all this (sanskrit and pali) at a University as opposed to on one's own.
Sanskrit, definely, but, as i said, Pali is easier, and one could probably do okay on one's own. But the advantage of learning Pali with a skillled teacher is that one is less likely to mislead oneself. One of the important things, for exmple, in translations is that while the lexical meaning is important, it is how the word is used is its contexts that determines actual meaning of how the word is being used. Such cognate words as dharma and dhamma would have much the same dictionary meanings, but as we see these words used in Brahmanical/Hindu texts and in Buddhist texts, we can see that there are also meanings that are quite different by virtue of contextual usage.
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Polar Bear
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Though the two languages are closely related, Classical Sanskrit did not necessarily come first. Classical Sanskrit is a far more studied language than is Pali. I would only recommend Sanskrit if you have a talent for languages.
It seems like it would be a whole lot easier learning all this (sanskrit and pali) at a University as opposed to on one's own.
Sanskrit, definely, but, as i said, Pali is easier, and one could probably do okay on one's own. But the advantage of learning Pali with a skillled teacher is that one is less likely to mislead oneself. One of the important things, for exmple, in translations is that while the lexical meaning is important, it is how the word is used is its contexts that determines actual meaning of how the word is being used. Such cognate words as dharma and dhamma would have much the same dictionary meanings, but as we see these words used in Brahmanical/Hindu texts and in Buddhist texts, we can see that there are also meanings that are quite different by virtue of contextual usage.
Well, I'm transferring to a University of California in the fall and I've found out that UC Santa Barbara offers courses in Pali and Sanskrit. However, I'm a philosophy major, so I've emailed the religious studies department there to find out if I would be allowed to engage in the study of Pali in depth even as a philosophy major. I was planning on going to UC Santa Cruz because I like the environment (redwoods) better but I suppose if I'm able to learn Pali in depth at Santa Barbara I may go there instead. If I did wind up going to UC Santa Barbara, do you think it would be a good idea to also learn Sanskrit while I'm there, because they teach that too.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Nyorai
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Nyorai » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:08 am

pretend there's two mandarin experts, one only speaks english, the other only pali, but both know spanish inside and out. could they communicate clearly by speaking spanish? Unlike languages, :heart: has no barrier. :buddha1:
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tiltbillings
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:28 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: If I did wind up going to UC Santa Barbara, do you think it would be a good idea to also learn Sanskrit while I'm there, because they teach that too.
Santa Barabara is a lovely community and it has a lot to offer. Talk to the instructors. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say. Taking two languages, even if related, is a big deal. Unless you are really good with language, it may be better to concentrate on one or the other, and if Pali is what you want, then go for that. Ideally, if college did not cost an arm and a leg and a bit more, and if you had the time, then doing both would be great. They share much in common. Also I am guessing that the instructor for one is the instructor of the other.

Also, there is something to be said for reading the texts in the original language, which is worth the effort.
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Kare
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Kare » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:12 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: Well, I'm transferring to a University of California in the fall and I've found out that UC Santa Barbara offers courses in Pali and Sanskrit. However, I'm a philosophy major, so I've emailed the religious studies department there to find out if I would be allowed to engage in the study of Pali in depth even as a philosophy major. I was planning on going to UC Santa Cruz because I like the environment (redwoods) better but I suppose if I'm able to learn Pali in depth at Santa Barbara I may go there instead. If I did wind up going to UC Santa Barbara, do you think it would be a good idea to also learn Sanskrit while I'm there, because they teach that too.

:anjali:
Even though Pali and Sanskrit are closely related, it may be a tough challenge to study both at the same time. You can easily get confused by the similarities and the differences. Much better to study one of them first and get familiar with it. Then it is much easier to study the other one afterwards.
Mettāya,
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:29 am

Thanks for the advice Tilt and Kare, I'll focus on Pali if I go to Santa Barbara and learn Sanskrit later in life if I feel compelled to do so.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Kare » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:10 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:Thanks for the advice Tilt and Kare, I'll focus on Pali if I go to Santa Barbara and learn Sanskrit later in life if I feel compelled to do so.

:anjali:
A wise decision. Pali is more useful if you are interested in Theravada. On the other hand, if you get an opportunity later to study Sanskrit, just grab it. When you have a firm basis of Pali, a knowledge of Sanskrit gives a better understanding both of Pali and of the dialect continuum in India at the time of the Buddha.

When I studied Sanskrit, I already had a fair knowledge of Pali. My initial feelings were that Sanskrit is so "unnecessarily" more complex than Pali, both in grammar and in the rigid sandhi-system. But as I got more familiar with that language, and as I worked my way (with lots of help from my teacher) through poems by Kalidasa, I came to realize and appreciate the special kind of beauty in Sanskrit poetry. Or maybe I appreciated that beauty the more just because it had taken quite a lot of work to get access to it.

Wishing you the best of luck in your studies!
Mettāya,
Kåre

alan...
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by alan... » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Nyorai wrote:pretend there's two mandarin experts, one only speaks english, the other only pali, but both know spanish inside and out. could they communicate clearly by speaking spanish? Unlike languages, :heart: has no barrier. :buddha1:
Yes, They could communicate in both spanish and mandarin.

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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:52 am

alan... wrote:
James the Giant wrote:I met a Canadian monk who was good at Pali but no other language, and when he went to some big international Buddhist conference he was able to speak in Pali to some of the other monks there who had good Pali.
very cool. so in theory, if one was an expert in pali, one could forgo learning the language of a country but still be able to move there and communicate within a community of monks! neat.

it's like our secret language... except it's not a secret. it's just really, really, really old, and dead, so no one but theravada buddhists care about it...
This is exactly the way Latin worked in the Catholic church up until maybe a century ago (not sure quite when it died out) and in the European university world up until maybe 1700. The academics of Galileo's time disparaged his work because he chose to write in Italian, not the universal Latin, and Newton wrote his big maths/physics book in Latin too. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_language and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin for more if you're curious.

:namaste:
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Re: can people who are pali experts converse in it?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:05 am

This writing of technical books in a common language was still alive in Burma last century. Mahasi Sayadaw translated The Progress of Insight http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... gress.html into Pali (from Burmese) from where it was translated from Pali to English by Nyanaponika Thera (a German monk, living in Sri Lanka, who presumably was more fluent in Pali than Burmese...). See his comment here: http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pro ... l#Foreword

:anjali:
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