The Battle of the Translators !!!

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

MN 62

Horner
4
24%
Sujato
0
No votes
Thanissaro
5
29%
Bodhi
8
47%
 
Total votes: 17

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DooDoot
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by DooDoot » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:58 am

Assaji wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:48 am
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi does not say anything about Ven. Thanissaro's translation in footnote 329 of his Majjhima Nikaya.
Yes. VBB did not refer directly to Ven. Thanissaro's translation. However, in the context of MN 62, VBB did appear to reject a Abhidhamma view that "upadinna" means "bodily phenomena that are produced by kamma", which appears to be the view in Ven. Thanissaro's translation; when Ven. Thanissaro's translates as "sustained by craving".
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Volo
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Volo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:28 am

Assaji wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:53 am
Here's a relevant article by highly qualified translator, Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors ... pect5.html
The article is quite big. Could you, please, quote here the part which discusses translation of upādinna.

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Assaji
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Assaji » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:29 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:58 am
Abhidhamma view that "upadinna" means "bodily phenomena that are produced by kamma", which appears to be the view in Ven. Thanissaro's translation; when Ven. Thanissaro's translates as "sustained by craving".
These are very different things.

Pulsar
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Pulsar » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:55 pm

Some issues the translators have to deal with

an excerpt of notes Thanissaro made under SN 35.117
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN35_117.html. DooDoot thanks for spotlighting this sutta in a past post.
Reading the texts of Bodhi and Thannissaro on this sutta, it appears that Bodhi left out some of the clutter that they tend to add to the suttas, and Thanissaro retained it. Personally I think less is better, just stick to the message, but Thanissaro's translation makes the critical message reach home more effectively,
'like a person has a tendency to visit the mental aggregates habitually, which does not help, 'cause those are already stamped by past biases'. Hopefully this is not off topic, but below is on topic.

"Notes
1. More idiomatically, this sentence could be rendered as, “My mind—going often to those five strings of sensuality that previously made contact with my awareness and are past, ceased, changed—might go to those that are present, or occasionally to those that are future.” This sentence is mistranslated both in KSB and CDB.
2. This phrase, se āyatane veditabbe, bears traces of the eastern dialect that is believed to have been the Buddha’s native dialect. It was not regularized into the Pali form, apparently because this statement, with the rhapsodic quality of its repetitions, was so closely associated with the Buddha that there was a desire to preserve the way in which he said it. There are other examples in the Canon of phrases closely associated with the Buddha that maintained the form of his native dialect. The most common example is
bhikkhave
, instead of the standard Pali, bhikkhavo. The phrasing of the four noble truths is also not in standard Pali syntax, a fact that might possibly be attributed to a similar desire to preserve the Buddha’s way of speaking in phrases that were particularly common to him.
In CDB, veditabbe in this passage is translated as “should be understood,” but the term more usually means, “should be felt” or “should be experienced.”
The Commentary explains the “therefore” at the beginning of this paragraph by saying that once the dimension described in this paragraph is experienced, there is no longer any need to exercise heedfulness and mindfulness to protect the mind. The mind in this dimension needs no protection."...
Assaji you said
These are very different things
referring to kamma and craving. My take yes and no, kamma creates craving, and craving leads to kamma, they are not divorced from each other. Language is a tricky thing, by its very nature of labelling things, it creates limits on effective communication.

Thanks DooDoot for the therigatha.

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Assaji
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Assaji » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:28 pm

Volo wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:26 am
So... And what is your opinion on the OP question?
As I've said, Dunning-Kruger effect is the clear winner.
Volo wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:26 am
Can you cite what Margaret Cone or a "highly qualified translator" thinks on the issue?
Here's the quote: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5560&p=505648#p505648
Volo wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:26 am
BTW, The name of Ms. I. B. Horner is not Irene, but Isaline Blew Horner.
Thanks for correction.

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Volo
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Volo » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:55 pm

Assaji wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:28 pm
As I've said, Dunning-Kruger effect is the clear winner.
I don't know what does it have to do with the discussed question, since we don't propose here our own translation, we just discuss what has been translated by other famous translators.
Thanks. So we have:
upādinna, upādiṇṇa, mfn., 1. taken hold of, taken for one's own; grasped; used; ...
-- 2. evolved, derived, esp. evolved by the influence of previous kamma (usually explained by cts as meaning 1.); animate; ...
-- 3. evolved from, being the basis for derivation; ? ...
Which further supports I. B. Horner rendering.

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Assaji
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Assaji » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:19 am

Volo wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:55 pm
upādinna, upādiṇṇa, mfn., 1. taken hold of, taken for one's own; grasped; used; ...
-- 2. evolved, derived, esp. evolved by the influence of previous kamma (usually explained by cts as meaning 1.); animate; ...
-- 3. evolved from, being the basis for derivation; ? ...
I quoted just a tiny part of the article in Margaret Con'e dictionary. It mostly consists of Pali glosses.
Why they are necessary for proper interpretation?

First, there's a semantic shift of meanings over time. Meanings of Pali words changed over the centuries. That's why it's essential to look up the temporal strata of the various meanings, and select the meanings which are appropriate to temporal stratum at hand.

Second, there's ambiguity. One can find the glosses with context similar to context at hand, and arrive thus to proper meaning.

Third, Pali lexicography is still a very young science, which is slowly developing thanks to handful of enthusiasts. So the English summaries in the dictionary are still far from perfect. For high quality translation, one still needs to work directly with the Pali glosses.

So it doesn't make any sense to judge the work of competent translators on the basis of English text of dictionary entries, or simplified English sutta renderings at Suttacentral. This is just ridiculous.

To research the terms, it's necessary to look up the Pali glosses, for example, as described at:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2790

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Volo
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Volo » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:33 am

Assaji wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:19 am
I quoted just a tiny part of the article in Margaret Con'e dictionary. It mostly consists of Pali glosses.
Why they are necessary for proper interpretation?

First, there's a semantic shift of meanings over time. Meanings of Pali words changed over the centuries. That's why it's essential to look up the temporal strata of the various meanings, and select the meanings which are appropriate to temporal stratum at hand.

Second, there's ambiguity. One can find the glosses with context similar to context at hand, and arrive thus to proper meaning.

Third, Pali lexicography is still a very young science, which is slowly developing thanks to handful of enthusiasts. So the English summaries in the dictionary are still far from perfect. For high quality translation, one still needs to work directly with the Pali glosses.

So it doesn't make any sense to judge the work of competent translators on the basis of English text of dictionary entries, or simplified English sutta renderings at Suttacentral. This is just ridiculous.

To research the terms, it's necessary to look up the Pali glosses, for example, as described at:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2790
All this is quite vague. Who says meaning "derived" is later development of the language (if this is what you are pointing to)? What are the arguments for that?
Yaṃ kiñci, rāhula, ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ kakkhaḷaṃ kharigataṃ upādinnaṃ

Whatever, Rāhula, is hard, solid, is internal, referable to an individual and derived therefrom ... (I. B. Horner)

Rāhula, the interior earth element is said to be anything hard, solid and organic that’s internal, pertaining to an individual... (Sujato).

Anything internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, & sustained [by craving]... (Thanissaro)

Internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified & clung-to... (Bhikkhu Bodhi).
The arguments for translation upādinna as "derived" in MN 62 are quite straightforward:

1. Buddha is using upādinna when referring to rūpa, and upādāyarūpa usually is translated as "derived materiality".
2. Dictionary of M. Cone supports such rendering at least as possible.
3. Former president of PTS and famous translator I. B. Horner prefered such rendering.
4. Translation as "clung to" not only unclear, but contradicts to some other parts of Canon as was pointed by DooDoot.

You keep telling we cannot investigate on such issues, because non of us is qualified. I am also against amateurs who learned how to use dictionary and think they will now make a revolution in understanding of EBT. But what we are talking right now is a bit more than that, it's supported by a number of authoritative sources. If you have concrete objections against "derived" for upādinna, please, present them.

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Assaji
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Assaji » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:19 am

Volo wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:33 am
You keep telling we cannot investigate on such issues, because non of us is qualified.
Really? I never said such a thing.

It's unfortunate that you didn't understand me. Please reread my previous post.
it's supported by a number of authoritative sources.
The only really authoritative sources are Pali glosses. The considerations like "usually translated as", "supports rendering as possible", "famous translator preferred such rendering", "in another context this word certainly means ..." are not valid arguments for thorough research of Pali terms. I have not seen a single sound argument in this thread.

I'm not going to take part in this distasteful "Battle" reality show by discussing here the meanings of Pali words. If someone is really interested why Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi or Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu translated certain terms in certain way, one can ask them, instead of contruding their translations behind their backs.

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Volo
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Volo » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:15 am

Assaji wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:19 am
Really? I never said such a thing.

It's unfortunate that you didn't understand me. Please reread my previous post.
I've read it several times, and this is how I understood it. May be next time try to express yourself more clear.
The only really authoritative sources are Pali glosses.
Unfortunately sutta doesn't define the word in question. If it would, four translators wouldn't give four different renderings.
I'm not going to take part in this distasteful "Battle" reality show by discussing here the meanings of Pali words.
"Distasteful battle"? "Reality show"? Calm down, we just calmly and respectfully exchange opinions about a word with obscure meaning.
If someone is really interested why Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi or Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu translated certain terms in certain way, one can ask them, instead of contruding their translations behind their backs.
I'm not sure what "contruding their translations" means, and why "behind their backs", since this is an open forum: anyone can read, anyone can write. But I'm not so much interested in why VBB and Ven Thanissaro translated the way they did (I can imagine more or less why). I would be more interested to hear, what they think on I. B. Horner version. If you have access to them, please, ask.

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Volo
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Re: The Battle of the Translators !!!

Post by Volo » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:11 pm

Okay, the opinion of VBB i have probably already found in one of his notes to SN (n. 146, Khandhavagga):
Upādāya has a double meaning that is difficult to capture in translation. As absolutive of upādiyati it means “having clung to,” but it also has an idiomatic sense, “derived from, dependent on,” as in the expression catunnañ ca mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya rūpaṃ, “the form derived from the four great elements.
So, I believe he would, probably, be quite okay with "derived".

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