Samadhi (best English translation?)

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Post Reply
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20088
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:53 am

Greetings,

Samadhi, particularly in the context of Samma Samadhi is often translated as "concentration".

Personally, I find that "clarity" is probably a more suitable translation.

Does anyone have any thoughts on either of those translations, or wish to offer up another?

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Samadhi, particularly in the context of Samma Samadhi is often translated as "concentration".

Personally, I find that "clarity" is probably a more suitable translation.

Does anyone have any thoughts on either of those translations, or wish to offer up another?

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Best to start by breaking the word down into components.
>> 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

David2
Posts: 930
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by David2 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:12 am

This video could be of interest:


User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11776
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:21 pm

I have seen it also translated as 'tranquility' and also 'one-pointedness of mind'.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by daverupa » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Best to start by breaking the word down into components.
"the state of being firmly fixed" ?

My comprehension of Pali is very, very rudimentary...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by Viscid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:36 pm

At what point can someone be considered to have Samma-Samadhi? Our personal translations of the word will likely reflect what we believe the state to be..
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by daverupa » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:52 pm

Viscid wrote:At what point can someone be considered to have Samma-Samadhi? Our personal translations of the word will likely reflect what we believe the state to be..
I think Tilt's suggestion will get around the inherent subjectivity in that approach, to great benefit.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:18 pm

David2 wrote:This video could be of interest:

"The Buddha made up the word samadhi." I'd would like to see basis from he makes this statement. It is possible, I suppose; however, given this crappy handling of other historical issues, I would never take his word at face value. Some of the talk was actual very good and some it was, well, not so much.
>> 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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:28 pm

>> 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

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by Viscid » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:43 pm

tiltbillings wrote: "The Buddha made up the word samadhi." I'd would like to see basis from he makes this statement. It is possible, I suppose; however, given this crappy handling of other historical issues, I would never take his word at face value.
Yeah. I guess he believes that The Buddha made up the word 'Samadhi' because it's a word which we first see appearing in the Pitakas. I see his assertion also being reflective of his faith in The Buddha as a brilliant, supernormal teacher who will go to such great lengths as to create new terminology in order to accurately express The Dhamma.
And the date for the Maitri Upanishad I've found is 200-300 BC..
Last edited by Viscid on Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11776
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:51 pm

From that link:

The term's etymology involves "sam" (together or integrated), "ā" (towards), and "dhā" (to get, to hold). Thus the result might be seen to be "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth" (samāpatti). Another possible etymological analysis of "samādhi" is "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium ("samā") of a detached intellect ("dhi").

Rhys Davis holds that the first attested usage of the term samādhi in Sanskrit literature was in the Maitri Upanishad.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11776
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:52 pm

Samatha is a synonym of samadhi and its definition is usually put as 'tranquility' or 'serenity'.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:15 pm

And here is the entry from Monier-Williams' dictionary:

http://lexica.indica-et-buddhica.org/dict/lexica

m. setting to rights , adjustment , settlement MBh [Mahabhatra]. 1159

samādhi in it most basic meaning: putting together, joining, combing with MW 1159

The fact that it had a non-meditative usage points to the likelihood that it is a far older word than the Buddha's time, but like a lot of words current at the time, Buddha used it to his own purposes.
>> 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

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by cooran » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:27 pm

Hello Paul,

Huge number of multiple meanings depending on context, as per:

Samādhi
'concentration'
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... li.1819593" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Samādhi
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... _s.htm#sam" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;ādhi
(will need to scroll down - link not forming properly)

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3362
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Samadhi (best English translation?)

Post by Mr Man » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:55 pm

Idealy I don't think that we should translate the word we should introduce "samadhi" in to English. I think "concentration" is okay.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests