What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

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Kumara
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What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:40 am

The early meaning of "sutta" appears to be "thread" and "principle", although now it commonly means "discourse".
"Suttanta" does seem to mean "discourse" though (such as in SN55.53). Any idea what the "anta" means? (A parallel: Vedanta)
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pilgrim
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by pilgrim » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:18 pm

I always thought it is the plural of sutta in Pali.
It isn't?

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by daverupa » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:37 pm

I thought it meant 'edge' or 'boundary' of some sort; in the case of suttanta, perhaps it can be seen as a sutta among suttas, a chapter or section from a larger whole. A piece of thread from the spool?
  • "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]

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by culaavuso » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:27 pm

Kumara wrote:The early meaning of "sutta" appears to be "thread" and "principle", although now it commonly means "discourse".
"Suttanta" does seem to mean "discourse" though (such as in SN55.53). Any idea what the "anta" means? (A parallel: Vedanta)
Pāḷi-English Dictionary: Sutta wrote: Sutta2 (nt.) [Vedic sūtra, fr. sīv to sew] 1. a thread, string
...
-- anta 1. a chapter of the Scriptures, a text, a discourse, a sutta, dialogue Vin i.140 sq., 169; ii.75; iii.159; iv.344; A i.60, 69, 72; ii.147; S ii.267=A iii.107 (suttantā kavi -- katā kāveyyā citt'akkharā cittavyañjanā bāhirakā sāvaka -- bhāsitā); Vism 246 sq. (three suttantas helpful for kāyagatā sati). -- 2. the Suttantapiṭaka, opp. to the Vinaya Vism 272 (˚aṭṭhakathā opp. to Vinay'aṭṭhakathā). As ˚piṭaka e. g. at KhA 12; VbhA 431.
Pāḷi-English Dictionary: Anta wrote: Anta1 [Vedic anta; Goth. andeis = Ohg. anti = E. end; cp. also Lat. antiae forehead (: E. antler), and the prep. anti opposite, antika near = Lat. ante; Gr. a)nti/ & a)/nta opposite; Goth., Ags. and; Ger. ant -- ; orig. the opposite (i. e. what stands against or faces the starting -- point)]. 1. end, finish, goal S iv.368 (of Nibbāna); Sn 467; J ii.159. antaŋ karoti to make an end (of) Sn 283, 512; Dh 275, cp. antakara, ˚kiriyā. -- loc. ante at the end of, immediately after J i.203 (vijay˚). -- 2. limit, border, edge Vin i.47; Dh 305 (van˚); J iii.188. -- 3. side: see ekamantaŋ (on one side, aside). -- 4. opposite side, opposite, counterpart; pl. parts, contrasts, extremes; thus also used as "constituent, principle"
...
Interpreted by Morris as "goal" (J P T S. 1894, 70). -- Often pleonastically, to be expld as a "pars pro toto" figure, like kammanta (q. v.) the end of the work, i. e. the whole work (cp. E. sea -- side, country -- side); vananta the border of the wood = the woods Dh 305; Pv ii.310 (expld by vana PvA 86; same use in BSk., vanânta e. g. at Jtm vi.21; cp. also grāmânta Av. Ś. i.210); suttanta (q. v.)
Wikipedia: Vedanta (Etymology) wrote: The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns". It is also said that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas". Vedanta can also be used as a noun to describe one who has mastered all four of the original Vedas.

In earlier writings, Sanskrit 'Vedānta' simply referred to the Upanishads, the most important and philosophical of the Vedic texts. However, in the medieval period of Hinduism, the word Vedānta came to mean the school of philosophy that interpreted the Upanishads.

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:40 pm

Kumara wrote:The early meaning of "sutta" appears to be "thread" and "principle", although now it commonly means "discourse".
"Suttanta" does seem to mean "discourse" though (such as in SN55.53). Any idea what the "anta" means? (A parallel: Vedanta)
Like bhavaṃ and bhavanta, or arahaṃ and arahanta, suttaṃ and suttanta are alternative forms of a single participle meaning "well-said". The meaning "thread" doesn't apply here at all and the Buddhist sanskritizers' rendering of sutta as sūtra was simply a mistake.

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Sylvester » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:40 am

Thanks Bhante. So, the suffix -anta is just another morphological possibility for a past participle, besides the more common -ta and -ita. Definitely not part of a tappurisa as was assumed.

Some notes from Warder on past participles -
Some have acquired special meanings as nouns. They are
inflected like nouns in a, in the three genders.

p.41
See one such use in AN 4.160 -
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhū duggahitaṃ suttantaṃ pariyāpuṇanti ...

Here, monks, the monks learn/master a badly held suttanta

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daverupa
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by daverupa » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:37 pm

Delightful. I feel as though I knew this & had forgotten it. :embarassed:
  • "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]

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Sat Dec 06, 2014 2:30 am

pilgrim wrote:I always thought it is the plural of sutta in Pali.
It isn't?
No. The plural is suttā or suttāni.
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Kumara
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:07 am

culaavuso wrote:
Wikipedia: Vedanta (Etymology) wrote: The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns". It is also said that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas".
This is interesting. If "anta" can carry this same figurative meaning as "end", then "suttanta" would mean the "the purpose of the principles".

For me, this solves the problem of translating this meaningfully:
‘ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatapaṭisaṁyuttā te kālena kālaṁ upasampajja viharissāmā’ti.

Just to highlight the relevant part:
suttantā... upasampajja viharissāma

BB's translation: "we will enter and dwell upon those discourses"
Huh? How do we enter discourses?

My current speculation: ""we will abide engaging in those purposes of the principles".
This may still need some refinement.
Last edited by Kumara on Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:12 am

Dhammanando wrote:Like bhavaṃ and bhavanta, or arahaṃ and arahanta, suttaṃ and suttanta are alternative forms of a single participle meaning "well-said". The meaning "thread" doesn't apply here at all and the Buddhist sanskritizers' rendering of sutta as sūtra was simply a mistake.
Thanks. So, you follow Walleser's suggestion that sutta is derived from su+ ukta ("well said"). I'm considering this too.
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by pilgrim » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:15 am

In this variation, what would the Sanskrit of su+ ukta ("well said"), be?

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:54 am

Sylvester wrote:Thanks Bhante. So, the suffix -anta is just another morphological possibility for a past participle, besides the more common -ta and -ita. Definitely not part of a tappurisa as was assumed.
Definitely?
See one such use in AN 4.160 -
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhū duggahitaṃ suttantaṃ pariyāpuṇanti ...

Here, monks, the monks learn/master a badly held suttanta
Hmm... Would "a badly held purpose of principles" make sense?
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Kumara
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Kumara » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:56 am

pilgrim wrote:In this variation, what would the Sanskrit of su+ ukta ("well said"), be?
sūkta
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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:10 am

Kumara wrote:So, you follow Walleser's suggestion that sutta is derived from su+ ukta ("well said"). I'm considering this too.
Right, though I wasn't aware that it was Walleser's suggestion. I think I first learned of it in my correspondence with either A.K. Warder or K.R. Norman, though I don't remember what the arguments were that convinced me.

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Re: What's does the "anta" in Suttanta mean?

Post by Sylvester » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:32 am

Kumara wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Thanks Bhante. So, the suffix -anta is just another morphological possibility for a past participle, besides the more common -ta and -ita. Definitely not part of a tappurisa as was assumed.
Definitely?

Well Bhante, do you think the tappurisa in your hypothetical translation below stands to reason?
See one such use in AN 4.160 -
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhū duggahitaṃ suttantaṃ pariyāpuṇanti ...

Here, monks, the monks learn/master a badly held suttanta
Hmm... Would "a badly held purpose of principles" make sense?
Does not look like a tenable resolution of the -anta to me, given that anta looks like it is carrying its normal sense of "extreme" (substantive noun, not adjective) if we render it as the main noun in a genitive tappurisa.

Kumara wrote:This is interesting. If "anta" can carry this same figurative meaning as "end", then "suttanta" would mean the "the purpose of the principles".

For me, this solves the problem of translating this meaningfully:
‘ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatapaṭisaṁyuttā te kālena kālaṁ upasampajja viharissāmā’ti.

Just to highlight the relevant part:
suttantā... upasampajja viharissāma

BB's translation: "we will enter and dwell upon those discourses"
Huh? How do we enter discourses?

My current speculation: ""we will abide engaging in those purposes of the principles".
This may still need some refinement.
Since we are in the Pali forum, we have the luxury of dissecting BB's rather idiomatic translation into English. The problem with the English idiom here is that it conceals the fact that there are 2 clauses here in a standard ya...ta relationship. If we are to render this precisely into the ugly Buddhist Hybrid English, we would get -
ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā gambhīrā gambhīratthā lokuttarā suññatapaṭisaṁyuttā te kālena kālaṁ upasampajja viharissāmā’ti.

"Of whatever suttantā spoken by the Tathāgata that are deep, deep in meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness, of those we will dwell having entered from time to time".

SN 55.53
"Upasampajja viharissāmā" is a periphrastic construction (of which, see Geiger and Warder), so we can render it less clumsily into "we will enter and dwell". You can do a scan of the suttas for this very common periphrastic construction to see what other sorts of things (not just abstract stuff) that one can "enter and dwell".

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