manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries
frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:51 pm

excerpt:
At the mind and sensory data level, 'dhamma' could represent any of the following:
1. vinnana/conciousness
2. sanna/perception
3. samadhi nimitta (a meditation subject used to enter samadhi)
4. an implicit object of 'sati' ('dhamma' is what sati 'remembers')
5. sukha vedana, or any kind of vedana
6. vitakka & vicara (thinking and evaluation)
(there are more, those are just some prominent examples)

So to translate 'dhamma' as 'thought', limiting it to the scope of vitakka, is a catastrophic error. The best way, as the Chinese did in translating 'dharma' in the Agamas, is to leave dhamma untranslated. But if you're not going to do that, then you at least need to select a translation that does not collide with the meanings of vitkakka and other mental inputs in the hierarchy of mind data sensory input.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:53 pm

Is there a way to cross post with 'early buddhism' forum?
This is both a pali translation issue and an important doctrinal point about how thinking and thoughts work in EBT.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1017
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:37 pm

Have you told Bhante Sujato? He's active on Suttacentral.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 5992
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:24 am

frank k wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:51 pm
At the mind and sensory data level, 'dhamma' could represent any of the following:
1. vinnana/conciousness
2. sanna/perception
3. samadhi nimitta (a meditation subject used to enter samadhi)
4. an implicit object of 'sati' ('dhamma' is what sati 'remembers')
5. sukha vedana, or any kind of vedana
6. vitakka & vicara (thinking and evaluation)
(there are more, those are just some prominent examples)
Hi Frank. The above appears to have catastrophically overlooked the most important 'dhammas', namely, Reality/Truth (such as the Three Characteristics) and Nibbana.
frank k wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:51 pm
The best way, as the Chinese did in translating 'dharma' in the Agamas
Since Bhikkhu Sujato was one of the leaders in introducing the 'drivel' called 'Agama' into the consciousness of Theravada, it seems sort of contradictory to use Agama to criticise him.
frank k wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:51 pm
is to leave dhamma untranslated.
Certainly not. Bhikkhu Bodhi had no problem originally translating 'dhammas' in this context as "mind object". I have studied Dhamma for at least 30 years and 'dhamma' in this context has always meant 'mind objects' to me.
frank k wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:51 pm
But if you're not going to do that, then you at least need to select a translation that does not collide with the meanings of vitkakka and other mental inputs in the hierarchy of mind data sensory input.
Vitakka is papanca for most. It seems obvious the reason why the word 'dhammaṃ' is used in this context is because the mind (manasā) is conscious (viññāya) of the dhammaṃ of Truth (during Vipassana) and conscious of Nibbana. Do you think the dhamma realisations of the Buddha below occurred without manasā viññāya? Kind regards :smile:
‘This principle I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, sublime, beyond the scope of reason, subtle, comprehensible to the astute.

‘adhigato kho myāyaṃ dhammo gambhīro duddaso duranubodho santo paṇīto atakkāvacaro nipuṇo paṇḍitavedanīyo.

It’s hard for them to see this thing; that is, specific conditionality, dependent origination.

Ālayarāmāya kho pana pajāya ālayaratāya ālayasammuditāya duddasaṃ idaṃ ṭhānaṃ yadidaṃ—idappaccayatā paṭiccasamuppādo.

It’s also hard for them to see this thing; that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment.

Idampi kho ṭhānaṃ duddasaṃ yadidaṃ—sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṃ.

And if I were to teach the Dhamma, others might not understand me, which would be wearying and troublesome for me.’

Ahañceva kho pana dhammaṃ deseyyaṃ, pare ca me na ājāneyyuṃ, so mamassa kilamatho, sā mamassa vihesā’ti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn26/en/sujato
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

ToVincent
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by ToVincent » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:35 am

Problem #1
No pundit (but maybe somewhat Thanissaro) makes a clear distinction between "minds".
As long as the "ajhans" will continue to call citta & mano "minds"; we (humans,) are certainly going to ride the nonsense merry-go-round for a long time.

Problem #2
There should be a distinction between the undertaken (as in "actualised"), undergoing and prolonged thinking (√ मन् man) that is the धर्म dharma (धर्मन् dharman [dhṛ-man]); and the conjectural thinking that is vitakka.
The all thing is about having and idea and put some thoughts upon it - at a macro and micro level.
You know! - philosophy 101 kind of basic universal stuff - simply summarized as:
Essence has an idea - puts some thought upon it - actualizes it in form(s) to put some substance into it - brings back that substance into its essence - and the process (dharman) goes on & on, until knowledge is reached.
Basic philosophy - duh!

SN 35.240 tells us straightforwardly what manovitakka is all about.
What is served to the mano is that part of the dharman (dharma/dhamma), that is specifically concerned by what takes place with the descent of namarupa. That is to say the co-action (sankara) of the khandhas as a completed phenomenon.
A dhamma is just the phenomenon on which satta reflects (vitakka).

_______

Sattas are just "evolutionary material information structures" that store "abstract symbols or patterns".
To communicate these symbols, there is the need for a medium, called the salayatana nidāna.

Information philosophy 101, I suppose.
.
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... - In this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------

https://justpaste.it/j5o4

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:53 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:37 pm
Have you told Bhante Sujato? He's active on Suttacentral.
Many times, publicly on suttacentral. In general he's responsive to feedback and correcting his mistakes in his translations. But when it comes to deeply entrenched misinterpretations, of how vitakka & vicara works, he is extremely resistant.

The best I can do is provide a detailed pali & english audit showing where his reasoning is faulty, and it's probably going to take a collective effort for people to speak up and protest.

I'm in the process of trying to summarize some of the auditing I've already done, and explain things in a slightly different way so people might be able to understand the issue more clearly.

Here's another article:
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... gust.html
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:00 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:24 am
(quoting MN 26)
'dhamma' of course can include or primarily refer to 'Dhamma' (the Buddha's teaching that leads to nirvana). I don't know why you would assume otherwise. But that's precisely why it should remain untranslated. 'dhamma' often straddles many categories simultaneously, as I've analyzed in detail in many other articles.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

dharmacorps
Posts: 964
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:58 pm

frank k wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:53 am


Many times, publicly on suttacentral. In general he's responsive to feedback and correcting his mistakes in his translations. But when it comes to deeply entrenched misinterpretations, of how vitakka & vicara works, he is extremely resistant.
Most of the edits I have seen being made based on suggestions at Suttacentral are of more minor terms and language, whereas major translation choices and interpretations are not changed, and real discussion is not very welcome (especially with the new "extremism" policies). It's ok though: there are other translations which are as good and better, and we can discuss them other places.

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:21 am

This is what the vitakka & vicara "B. Sujato's placing the mind and keeping it connected" sounds like when vocalized-fabrication becomes vocalized vācā (speech).

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... n-44.html
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:34 am

Unfortunately that seems to be the case, we don't see real discussion (debating pros and cons) happening very much on suttacentral on important translation terms. Just like how communism works in practice, you see dissenting voices challenging authority just suddenly disappear.

The problem though, and I've already seen many cases of this, is B. Sujato's english translation is becoming a defacto standard, as I thought it would. Being digital, free, well designed user interface, available in pali + english, you see it quoted everywhere including Dhammawheel.
dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:58 pm
frank k wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:53 am


Many times, publicly on suttacentral. In general he's responsive to feedback and correcting his mistakes in his translations. But when it comes to deeply entrenched misinterpretations, of how vitakka & vicara works, he is extremely resistant.
Most of the edits I have seen being made based on suggestions at Suttacentral are of more minor terms and language, whereas major translation choices and interpretations are not changed, and real discussion is not very welcome (especially with the new "extremism" policies). It's ok though: there are other translations which are as good and better, and we can discuss them other places.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

User avatar
Volo
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:32 am

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:55 pm

I personally don't like Ven Sujato's translations, and don't use them. Therefore I have no idea what he translates by what. But every translator has his/her own right to choose renderings, they like. There is no crime in translating thing the way he likes and not the way frank k or Volo likes. Also, Ven Sujato seems to be open in including other translations, although Ven Thanissaro's are not available on sutta central for some reason, but those of bhikkhu Bodhi, which are copyright free, are there.

What concerns suggestion to leave some words untranslated (such as dhamma), I personally don't mind it. I think it's quite easy to get used to the pali terminology. When we study, say, science we need to learn many terms we've never heard before. Why should it be different for religion? In Islam or Greek Orthodox Christianity they keep a lot of words in original languages. I think it might also make sense for very common terms in Buddhism. The problem is only that there is no way to make other translators to accept it. So the only solution is to make your own translations. If they would be good, people would use them.

dharmacorps
Posts: 964
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:45 pm

Interesting, maybe things are changing, but to me, Bhikkhu Bodhi's and Ajahn Geoff's are the "standard" translations. Suttacentrals translations are very new. But I can see your point that people do reference translations a lot from SC on here.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16979
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:53 pm

Volo wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:55 pm
I personally don't like Ven Sujato's translations, and don't use them. Therefore I have no idea what he translates by what. But every translator has his/her own right to choose renderings, they like. There is no crime in translating thing the way he likes and not the way frank k or Volo likes. Also, Ven Sujato seems to be open in including other translations, although Ven Thanissaro's are not available on sutta central for some reason, but those of bhikkhu Bodhi, which are copyright free, are there.
There are some of Ven Thanissaro's translations there (there used to be more as links). However, since Ven Thanissaro's translations are being actively maintained on https://www.dhammatalks.org/ I presume that it was considered to be redundant or a low priority to have them on https://suttacentral.net/.

Personally, I've found it very helpful to be able to have quite different complete translations of the first four Nikayas in both the Sujato and the Bodhi/Nanamoli/Walshe versions, and to be able to use the Sujato translations to easily match the Pali with English, which saves a lot of fiddling about. And, of course, the Bodhi/Nanamoli/Walshe versions have extensive footnotes and cross references.

Even when I don't particularly like a particular translation, the differences give me some useful food for thought. Ven Sujato could have taken a much easier route and produced translations quite similar to Bhikkhu Bodhi's, but this would be rather redundant.

I do agree that the particular case that Frank is pointing out here reads very clumsily!

:heart:
Mike

User avatar
Volo
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:32 am

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:55 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:53 pm
and to be able to use the Sujato translations to easily match the Pali with English, which saves a lot of fiddling about. And, of course, the Bodhi/Nanamoli/Walshe versions have extensive footnotes and cross references.
Agree. His sometimes strange word choosing is partly compensated by the fact that it's easy to find original Pali equivalent with their Pali-English side-by-side tool.

frank k
Posts: 554
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:24 pm

Volo wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:55 pm
I personally don't like Ven Sujato's translations, and don't use them. Therefore I have no idea what he translates by what. But every translator has his/her own right to choose renderings, they like. There is no crime in translating thing the way he likes and not the way frank k or Volo likes. Also, Ven Sujato seems to be open in including other translations, although Ven Thanissaro's are not available on sutta central for some reason, but those of bhikkhu Bodhi, which are copyright free, are there.

What concerns suggestion to leave some words untranslated (such as dhamma), I personally don't mind it. I think it's quite easy to get used to the pali terminology. When we study, say, science we need to learn many terms we've never heard before. Why should it be different for religion? In Islam or Greek Orthodox Christianity they keep a lot of words in original languages. I think it might also make sense for very common terms in Buddhism. The problem is only that there is no way to make other translators to accept it. So the only solution is to make your own translations. If they would be good, people would use them.
B. Bodhi's translations, are copyrighted by Wisdom pub, and only a small portion of them are licensed to be used on suttacentral. His translations are good, as are B. Thanissaro's, but the fact that B. Sujato's are complete, free, and offer pali + english, means that I and probably most people as time goes on, are always going to default to that as a first choice, so his translation and interpretation of suttas is likely to become the authority as time goes on. It's like microsoft installing their edge browser with the windows operating system and using force to hinder and prevent other browsers like firefox, etc, from gaining a foothold. The Govt. stepped in, to make sure competing browsers have an equal opportunity.

If Bodhi's set of translations (in entirety) were available with side by side pali, and given equal opportunity on sutta central, then I wouldn't complain about B. sujato. Then if people are misled by B. Sujato's mistranslations and misinterpretations, that's their own choice.

An important distinction to note though, is the difference between translation preference, and important doctrinal points where mistranslations lead to wrong interpretation. For example, if someone were to translate the various terms that refer to rebirth, to effectively erase rebirth from the EBT, that's wrong. It's criminally wrong misrepresentation of what the EBT teaches.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
www.audtip.org/audtip: 🎙️🔊Audio Tales in Pāli: ☸Dharma and Vinaya in many languages

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests