The Benefits & Drawbacks of Pali

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:01 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And do not forget that meaning is determined by usage.
And cultural context of the people hearing it.

tiltbillings wrote:
On the other hand, I don't think that it is necessary to become fluent in Pali. We don't even know from what dialects it was translated to Pali. We don't know even if every pali word came correctly. For example I've noticed that some pali texts have anicca, and some have aniccha which drastically changes the meaning of one of contemplations in girimananda sutta. So I don't believe that pali canon is word for word accurate anyways.
This is an odd statement. I do not see here any reason not to learn Pali, and please give us the actual Pali of the that uses "aniccha" as opposed to anicca.
If learning pali comes at the EXPENSE of practice, then I wonder if it is worth it. If not, then great. Do what you want.

As for that word in Girimananda sutta:
For example in one edition there is: aniccasaññā somewhere I have seen anicchasaññā (one letter difference, sounds too similar, but entire word is different).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:03 pm

Kare wrote:Yes, key words are important. But what many people seem to forget (or ignore), is that in Pali the grammar is equally important. The grammar says how the key words relate to each other, and there is quite a difference between 'dog bites man' and 'man bites dog', although all the key words are the same.
Yes, I understand that. What I was doing was reading best translation I could find (from Ven BB or TB) and then checking key words in pali.

If learning Pali does NOT come at expense of practice, then I have no problem. If one studies rather than meditate, then it is different.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:08 pm

Alex123 wrote:
As for that word in Girimananda sutta:
For example in one edition there is: aniccasaññā somewhere I have seen anicchasaññā (one letter difference, sounds too similar, but entire word is different).
In other words, you cannot reproduce this "anomoly." But tell us, anyway, what the "h" does to the word in question.
>> 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

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
As for that word in Girimananda sutta:
For example in one edition there is: aniccasaññā somewhere I have seen anicchasaññā (one letter difference, sounds too similar, but entire word is different).
In other words, you cannot reproduce this "anomoly." But tell us, anyway, what the "h" does to the word in question.
I found it. "The Book of the Gradual Sayings Vol. 5"EM Hare 1936, page 76. Some years ago I read all 4 Nikayas (and some books from KN) and at that time that was the only complete set of AN that I could get.

anicca = impermanence
anicchā = disliking.

I was reading OLD translation of AN and there rather than saying something like: " perception of the undesirability of all fabrications" it was "idea of impermanence". The translator didn't notice "h" or that letter was missing in pali text used.

Checking that sutta again, there was mis-translation of impermanence as permanence as well... I believe that Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is 100x better, but who knows. Everyone is human.

The reason I noticed was because when I read the translation it didn't make sense so I checked the pali.


In any case, I don't believe that Buddha always spoke Pali. It appears that most likely Pali is already a translation of Buddha's speech. So we can't speak about 100% accuracy and be too dogmatic on precise meaning words. We can also know the "technically correct" meaning of a pali word, but what meaning did the Buddha intend when he was speaking to simple farmers?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:04 pm

Alex123 wrote: . . .
And all of that is no reason to learn Pali?
>> 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

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: . . .
And all of that is no reason to learn Pali?

As long as learning doesn't interfere with practice, it is OK.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Kare
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Kare » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:53 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: . . .
And all of that is no reason to learn Pali?

As long as learning doesn't interfere with practice, it is OK.
Make it part of the practice. To study Pali is to study Dhamma - and how can a study of Dhamma interfere with practice?
Mettāya,
Kåre

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:28 am

Kare wrote:Make it part of the practice. To study Pali is to study Dhamma - and how can a study of Dhamma interfere with practice?
To study the Dhamma is to meditate and contemplate the truths. If you can make it part of your practice, then great!
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:43 am

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: . . .
And all of that is no reason to learn Pali?

As long as learning doesn't interfere with practice, it is OK.
Is not learning part of practice?
>> 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

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:46 am

Alex123 wrote:
Kare wrote:Make it part of the practice. To study Pali is to study Dhamma - and how can a study of Dhamma interfere with practice?
To study the Dhamma is to meditate and contemplate the truths. If you can make it part of your practice, then great!
Yeah, well. The "truths" that one might contemplate, and the way of meditative practice, are all part of what is carefully described in the suttas.
>> 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

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:Is not learning part of practice?
If you can do that, great. Some people might not.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:52 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Is not learning part of practice?
If you can do that, great. Some people might not.
And you are one of the "might nots?"
>> 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

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Alex123
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by Alex123 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Is not learning part of practice?
If you can do that, great. Some people might not.
And you are one of the "might nots?"
I am not perfect. It would be difficult for me to seriously study pali and practice at the same time. If you can do it, Tilt, I am happy for you. Not everybody has time, energy, skill, etc.


I do know a bunch of key words, and can sometimes get the gist of paragraph in pali. I also have translation programs to check when I need to.
But as for serious study...
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

SamKR
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by SamKR » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:05 pm

Pali should not be hard for me to learn because my first language is close to Sanskrit and Pali. But currently I do not find enough motivation, as a layman, to master Pali except just knowing a few key words relevant to practice. When necessity arises I can depend on Pali scholars, thanks to them. I plan to learn more in the the future though.
If someone finds learning Pali useful and enjoyable, that's very good, not just OK and definitely not a waste of effort.

danieLion
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Re: The Problem With Pali

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:41 am

In which sutta(s) does the Buddha instruct us to learn Pali?

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