Translating saññāmanasikārā

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Kumara
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Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by Kumara » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:40 am

I've been pondering over this term: saññāmanasikārā

Bhikkhu Bodhi: perception and attention (From Connected Discourses of the Buddha, SN 40.1)
Ajahn Thanissaro: attention to perceptions (From https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html)

Would like to ask those who has researched into this for comments.

I'm post this under Early Buddhism because I want to just stick to understandings from the Suttas. Please leave out commentarial interpretations. Thanks.
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Tassa mayhaṃ, āvuso, iminā vihārena viharato kāmasahagatā saññāmanasikārā samudācaranti.

While I was in that meditation, perceptions and attentions accompanied by sensual pleasures beset me. (Sujato)

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. (Thanissaro)

While I dwelt therein perception and attention accompanied by sensuality assailed me. (Bodhi).
I cannot comment on the grammar of the Pali however Thanissaro's translation sounds realistic in the context. I imagine it is:
As I abided in that dwelling, I was assailed/beset by attention to perceptions connected with sensuality.
The translations of Bodhi & Sujato make it sound like the perception & attention are things that assailed his mind.

santa100
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by santa100 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:18 pm

Ven. Bodhi's version from SN 40.1:
While I dwelt therein perception and attention accompanied by sensuality assailed me"

and Ven. Thanissaro's from AN 9.41:
As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality.

Not sure what the issue is? Both mental factors accompanied by one defilement are still present regardless of how they're rendered.

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pitakele
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by pitakele » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:11 am

Here the qualifier kāmasahāgatā, substantive saññāmanasikārā and verb samudācaranti are all in plural case. This indicates that saññāmanasikārā is a plural copulative compound, i.e. perceptions + ideations, in which case, the translation would be 'assailed by perceptions and ideations associated with lust'.

For the translation to be 'beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality', the Pali would need to read something like kāmasahāgatāsaññā manasikāro samudācarati.
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:00 pm

pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:11 am
..all in plural case.
So Bhikkhu Bodhi was wrong?

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pitakele
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by pitakele » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:22 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:00 pm
pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:11 am
..all in plural case.
So Bhikkhu Bodhi was wrong?
Sorry, I should have mentioned that a plural copulative compound can include two singular or two plural substantives. - perception/s and ideation/s. I would suggest Ven. Sujato's translation is a better fit.

edited
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:45 pm

pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:22 pm
Sorry, I should have mentioned that a plural copulative compound can include two singular or two plural substantives. - perception/s and ideation/s. I would suggest Ven. Sujato's translation is a better fit.
Difficult to follow the above. What is the case for manasikara (if relevent)? Nominative, instrumental or ablative? Instrumental?

Also, please kindly provide an example from the suttas where manasikara means "ideation"? Thanks

Regardless, upon consideration, I see no reason to insist on: "attention to perceptions" because it makes no difference. "Perception/s and attention/s" is fine because any attention always includes perception.

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pitakele
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by pitakele » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:40 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:45 pm

What is the case for manasikara (if relevent)? Nominative, instrumental or ablative? Instrumental?

Also, please kindly provide an example from the suttas where manasikara means "ideation"? Thanks
Nominative.

'Ideation' is just a definition from Concise PED. I prefer to understand this term literally, 'making in the mind' - manasi (loc.) 'in the mind'+ kāra 'making'
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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:22 pm

pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:40 pm
'Ideation' is just a definition from Concise PED. I prefer to understand this term literally, 'making in the mind' - manasi (loc.) 'in the mind'+ kāra 'making'
Why don't you just respond to the questions asked? Dhamma is not found in dictionaries but in contextual use of term thus the need to quote sutta to support dictionary meanings. Sujato translated it as "attentions".
pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:40 pm
Nominative.
Why? Why was Bhikkhu Bodhi wrong?

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pitakele
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by pitakele » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:57 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:22 pm
Sujato translated it as "attentions".

Nominative.
As I mentioned, I prefer to understand manasikāra literally as 'making in the mind'. I don't know what the best English translation is, maybe 'consideration'? I think the most common translation is 'attention', but this doesn't convey the meaning of manasikāra for me.

Nominatives can be singular or plural. A copulative compound can include singular or plural nouns. Ven. Sujato's translation with the plurals 'perceptions and attentions', makes more sense and reads as better English for me. If you have a traditional Pali textbook on hand, there should be information re the various types of compounds. If not, please look for Compounds, 4. dvanda here http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/pgt/
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rightviewftw
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:02 pm
Tassa mayhaṃ, āvuso, iminā vihārena viharato kāmasahagatā saññāmanasikārā samudācaranti.

While I was in that meditation, perceptions and attentions accompanied by sensual pleasures beset me. (Sujato)

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. (Thanissaro)

While I dwelt therein perception and attention accompanied by sensuality assailed me. (Bodhi).
I cannot comment on the grammar of the Pali however Thanissaro's translation sounds realistic in the context. I imagine it is:
As I abided in that dwelling, I was assailed/beset by attention to perceptions connected with sensuality.
The translations of Bodhi & Sujato make it sound like the perception & attention are things that assailed his mind.
Friends, I agree with DooDoot here that it is the most sensible translation for what one perceives that one directs attention to.
. 'Ánanda, just as the Palace of Migara's Mother is void of elephants, cattle, horses and mares, void of gold and silver, void of the forgathering of women and men, and there is (present) only this non-void ness, that is to say, the single state (of non-void ness) dependent on (the presence of) the community of Bhikkhus; so too, without giving attention to perception of village, without giving attention to perception of man, a Bhikkhu gives attention to the single state (of non-void ness) dependent on (the presence of) perception of forest.
thus here;
santa100 wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:18 pm
Ven. Bodhi's version from SN 40.1:
While I dwelt therein perception and attention accompanied by sensuality assailed me"

and Ven. Thanissaro's from AN 9.41:
As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality.

Not sure what the issue is? Both mental factors accompanied by one defilement are still present regardless of how they're rendered.
I do not think that a mind can technically be beset with attention in itself accompanied by sensuality. It can be beset with attention to thoughts, feelings, sounds, perceptions, tastes and smells connected to sensuality. One could in that case say that a mind was assailed by attentions dealing with sensuality but i don't think attention in itself can be accompanied by sensuality.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:26 am, edited 4 times in total.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:17 am

pitakele wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:57 am
Nominatives can be singular or plural. A copulative compound can include singular or plural nouns. Ven. Sujato's translation with the plurals 'perceptions and attentions', makes more sense and reads as better English for me. If you have a traditional Pali textbook on hand, there should be information re the various types of compounds. If not, please look for Compounds, 4. dvanda here http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/pgt/
Thanks. I searched the verb "samudācaranti" in some suttas (about an hour ago but already forgot the suttas). But I recall I found that:

1. If samudācaranti is generated internally for internal experience, the thing is nominative.

2. If samudācaranti is used externally, towards others, the thing is instrumental.

Its interesting why Bikkhu Bodhi would translate as singular, which fits instrumental case.
rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 am
Friends, I agree with DooDoot here that it is the most sensible translation for what one perceives that one directs attention to.
Pitakele sounds reasonable in his grammar analysis thus maybe the compound (saññāmanasikārā) itself needs to be examined more.
pitakele wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:57 am
If you have a traditional Pali textbook on hand, there should be information re the various types of compounds. If not, please look for Compounds, 4. dvanda here http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/pgt/
OK. Thanks. So why is saññāmanasikārā not a tappurisa compound, such as lokavidū (knower of world); sīlasampanno (perfection of morality); bhikkusaṅgho (community of monks); dukkhasamudayo (arising of suffering); kālaṃkato (end of time); i.e., saññāmanasikārā (attentions of/to perception)?
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:37 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:17 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 am
Friends, I agree with DooDoot here that it is the most sensible translation for what one perceives that one directs attention to.
Pitakele sounds reasonable in his grammar analysis thus maybe the compound (saññāmanasikārā) itself needs to be examined more.
pitakele wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:11 am
[...]This indicates that saññāmanasikārā is a plural copulative compound, i.e. perceptions + ideations, in which case, the translation would be 'assailed by perceptions and ideations associated with lust'.
[...]
the statement suggested for translation also makes sense and would seem very reasonable and supported by Sutta thus;
What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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DooDoot
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:46 am

:alien:
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:38 am, edited 13 times in total.

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rightviewftw
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Re: Translating saññāmanasikārā

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:59 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:46 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:37 am
the statement suggested for translation also makes sense and would seem very reasonable and supported by Sutta thus;
What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
Very good but this might be against the view of a dvanda compound and might support my considering of a tappurisa compound. Below is the same translator (Sujato), who appears to have treated papañcasaññāsaṅkhā has a tappurisa compound.
Mendicant, a person is beset by concepts of identity that emerge from the proliferation of perceptions.

Yatonidānaṃ, bhikkhu, purisaṃ papañcasaññāsaṅkhā samudācaranti
the origin of the number (saṅkhā) of perceptions and obsessions which assail a man - Horner

the source, perceptions and notions [born of] mental proliferation beset a man - Bodhi

the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her - Thanissaro
:shock:
while i can't comment on the pali and even less the grammar i think utilizing the words concept or conceptualization is very useful when explaining what is happening in that case.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
How to Meditate: Mindfulness of Breathing
Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
How to Meditate: Basic Satipatthana
Parallel Dhammapada Reading

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