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Ways of translating "bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti" ???

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:28 am
by DooDoot
Dear Pali gurus

MN 57 says:
Iti kho, puṇṇa, bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti; yaṃ karoti tena upapajjati,

This is how a being is born from a being; For your deeds determine your rebirth. (Sujato)

Thus a being’s reappearance is due to a being; one reappears through the actions one has performed. (Bodhi)

In this way, Puṇṇa, there is the uprising of a being from what has come to be; he uprises according to what he does. (Horner)

Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. (Thanissaro)
Now the word "bhuta" appears to have many meanings & uses, such as a generic stock phrase from MN 38:
Mendicants, do you see that this has come to be?”
Bhūtamidanti, bhikkhave, passathā”ti?

“Yes, sir.”
“Evaṃ, bhante”.

“Do you see that it originated with that as fuel?”
“Tadāhārasambhavanti, bhikkhave, passathā”ti?

“Yes, sir.”
“Evaṃ, bhante”.

“Do you see that when that fuel ceases, what has come to be is liable to cease?”
“Tadāhāranirodhā yaṃ bhūtaṃ, taṃ nirodhadhammanti, bhikkhave, passathā”ti?

https://suttacentral.net/mn38/en/sujato
Therefore, what are the options for translating "bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti"? Personally, the translation of "a being" (twice!!) does not resonate with me and I am more inclined to a translation related to "come to be"; such as "what has come to be is born from what [previously] came to be" or at least Horner's: "a being from what has come to be". :?:

Thank you :smile:

Re: Ways of translating "bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti" ???

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:43 am
by Volo
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:28 am
I am more inclined to a translation related to "come to be"; such as "what has come to be is born from what [previously] came to be"
I think such translation is possible, literally it would be something like "Birth (upapatti) of what has come to be (bhūtassa, Dat/Gen) is (hoti) from what [previously] came to be (bhūtā, Abl)". Although "birth of what has come to be" sounds a bit weird. Horner doesn't have this problem because she used "being" for bhūtassa. I also like more "being" in this case, like in most translations.

Re: Ways of translating "bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti" ???

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:44 am
by Sam Vara
Good question. I think one problem is that without a definite or indefinite article we have to rely on context to differentiate between "being" and "a being".

I'm puzzled as to why bhūta has a second macron in the sutta: bhūtā. Plural? Bhūtassa I can understand; from or of a being or being. But why bhūtā? :shrug:

Edit: Thanks Volo - Abl! Blimey, that's a complicated way of expressing something, and makes the meaning different from what I originally thought.

Re: Ways of translating "bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti" ???

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:12 am
by pitakele
Bhikkhu Bodhi's note based on the commentary
Bhūtā bhūtassa upapatti hoti. MA: Beings are reborn through the actions they perform and in ways conforming to those actions. The implications of this thesis are explored more fully in MN 135 and MN 136.
Note could be paraphrased: whatever one has been, with respect to actions, is what one becomes. Kammakass'omhi, kammadāyādo, kammayoni, kammabandhu, kammapatisarano - a daily contemplation Buddha recommends for the four congregations ...