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

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

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:43 pm

Hi Frank,
frank k wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:24 pm
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.
My impression from reading SC discussion over the past few years is that B. Sujato would have liked to have done that, and only did his own translations because he couldn't use B. Bodhi's. I think that the segmentation to match the Pali with the English grew out of the software he used to aid translation.

B. Sujato's translations are public domain and the software used on SC is all open-source. If you are concerned about the translations, then you could clone the Nikaya English and Pali from github and edit the translation choices to your preferences, for example, replacing them with Bhikkhu Bodh's choices.

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

Post by frank k » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:43 pm
Hi Frank,
frank k wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:24 pm
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.
My impression from reading SC discussion over the past few years is that B. Sujato would have liked to have done that, and only did his own translations because he couldn't use B. Bodhi's. I think that the segmentation to match the Pali with the English grew out of the software he used to aid translation.

B. Sujato's translations are public domain and the software used on SC is all open-source. If you are concerned about the translations, then you could clone the Nikaya English and Pali from github and edit the translation choices to your preferences, for example, replacing them with Bhikkhu Bodh's choices.

:heart:
Mike
Already done that, http://lucid24.org/ , replaced his wrong 4 jhana translation with corrected ones for his entire set of translations. But whether anyone ever takes advantage of that resource, who knows? The network effect is hard to overcome. That is, once something becomes an established standard, it's winner take all. It's a relatively small minority people that care about having pali and english shown simultaneously.

What really needs to happen is for a collective effort of other people to do a similar thing, cloning his pali and english in the suttacentral source code pootle format.

What we really need to see, is a bodhi-esque version of the complete pali english B. sujato translation, and also one with b. Thanissaro's, in the pootle source format, so we can see it on sutta central presented as alternative options.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:12 pm

frank k wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 am
What really needs to happen is for a collective effort of other people to do a similar thing, cloning his pali and english in the suttacentral source code pootle format.
Yes, that's what I meant. I know you have some translations on your site, but it seems to me that the format and content is such that it is only likely to be read by a few enthusiasts.

I understand you have a disagreement for a few terms, in particular vitakka & vicara. However, it appears to me that your real disagreement is not about translation, it's about interpretation, in particular the nature of the first jhana. The Commentaries, and Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes based on them give a non-discursive interpretation, in line with the "applying the mind and keeping it connected" translation:
Connected Discourses Introduction wrote: When, however, vitakka and vicāra occur as constituents of the first jhāna, they do not exercise the function of discursive thinking characteristic of ordinary consciousness. Here, rather, vitakka is the mental factor with the function of applying the mind to the object, and vicāra the factor with the function of examining the object nondiscursively in order to anchor the mind in the object.
I'm not saying this to arguing for a particular interpretation, but to point out that Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations, taken with the notes, carry the same message.

There are always going to be difficulties with translations. We have seen, on this Forum, variations on the following:
1. The early English translations were unduly influenced by Christian ideas.
2. The translations that originated from the early Western Bhikkhus in Sri Lanka (i.e. Bhikkhu Bodhi and his predecessors) take too much notice of the Commentaries, so are misleading and contain too much baggage.
3. Access to Insight, being the first user-friendly site with a good number of translations, gave undue influence to some odd translation choices, which are used to argue for interpretations that differ from traditional Theravada doctrine and push a form of eternalism.
4. The Sutta Central translations are overly simplistic and misleading and have too much influence because the site is very well built.


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

Post by frank k » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:05 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:12 pm
...
I understand you have a disagreement for a few terms, in particular vitakka & vicara. However, it appears to me that your real disagreement is not about translation, it's about interpretation, in particular the nature of the first jhana. The Commentaries, and Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes based on them give a non-discursive interpretation, in line with the "applying the mind and keeping it connected" translation:
Connected Discourses Introduction wrote: When, however, vitakka and vicāra occur as constituents of the first jhāna, they do not exercise the function of discursive thinking characteristic of ordinary consciousness. Here, rather, vitakka is the mental factor with the function of applying the mind to the object, and vicāra the factor with the function of examining the object nondiscursively in order to anchor the mind in the object.
I'm not saying this to arguing for a particular interpretation, but to point out that Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations, taken with the notes, carry the same message.
...
It's interpretation that's an issue, but also a translation issue. I didn't realize B. Bodhi had that interpretation in SN. But at least with his TRANSLATION of V&V, people can get the correct interpretation from it. With B. Sujato's translation, there's no way you can arrive at a correct EBT interpretation from "placing the mind and keeping it connected."

B. Bodhi, in SN 45.8, changed from his earlier MN tranlsations, to V&V = thinking & pondering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is right concentration? Here, bhikkhus, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:22 am

Here's the full context of B. Bodhi's quote:
In MLDB I rendered vitakka and vic›ra respectively as “applied
thought” and “sustained thought.” In this translation they
become “thought” and “examination.” The latter is surely closer
to the actual meaning of vic›ra. When vitakka is translated as
“thought,” however, a word of caution is necessary. In common
usage, vitakka corresponds so closely to our “thought” that no
other rendering seems feasible; for example, in k›mavitakka, sensual thought, or its opposite, nekkhammavitakka, thought of
renunciation. When, however, vitakka and vic›ra occur as constituents of the first jh›na, they do not exercise the function of
discursive thinking characteristic of ordinary consciousness.
Here, rather, vitakka is the mental factor with the function of
applying the mind to the object, and vic›ra the factor with the
function of examining the object nondiscursively in order to
anchor the mind in the object.
So here's the important point. Even though B. Bodhi personally believes in the Commentary and Vism. interpretation of V&V, he realized as an ethical translator, that V&V needs to be TRANSLATED with the same terms that are used for V&V outside of first jhana. If the Buddha had intended first jhana to have a different meaning than outside, then it's the Buddha's job to explain it in other suttas, it's not up to a translator to impose their own bias. No other English translator supposedly following a sutta based approach does what B. Sujato did for V&V.

A survey of how professional translators render V&V.
http://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/8samadhi/v ... ndex.html
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by frank k » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:58 pm

Mike,
B.Sujato's V&V translation, his redefinition of vaci-sankhara (with the mistranslated V&V) become corrupt, and his manasa & dhamma are corrupt. I think you, and most people, are under the wrong idea of how much interpretive license translators have. His mistranslation of V&V, is not in the category of "we should respect everyone's difference of opinon and choice of translation." It's wrong. It breaks the Dharma, and the coherence of how all the pieces of V&V, jhana, 4nt work together.

Example: If I were to translate vācā (vocalized speech) as "placing sound waves and connecting it to the listener's eardrum", that is extremely, extraordinarily wrong and destroys the meaning of the suttas. Even though that translation is partially correct, partially describing what happens with 'speech', it's missing the most important part of 'speech', the communicable ideas with meaning. 'Speech' isn't just any sound waves connecting with the ear drum, it's sounds in the form of language with communicable meaning.

In exactly the same way, for vitakka & vicara, it's not the 'placing of the mind and keeping it connected' , it's the thoughts that are connecting to it that are the important part.

Do you guys understand? It's a 'right' and 'wrong' situation here, not a translator preference.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by sentinel » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:51 pm

frank k wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:58 pm
Mike,
B.Sujato's V&V translation, his redefinition of vaci-sankhara (with the mistranslated V&V) become corrupt, and his manasa & dhamma are corrupt. I think you, and most people, are under the wrong idea of how much interpretive license translators have. His mistranslation of V&V, is not in the category of "we should respect everyone's difference of opinon and choice of translation." It's wrong. It breaks the Dharma, and the coherence of how all the pieces of V&V, jhana, 4nt work together.

Example: If I were to translate vācā (vocalized speech) as "placing sound waves and connecting it to the listener's eardrum", that is extremely, extraordinarily wrong and destroys the meaning of the suttas. Even though that translation is partially correct, partially describing what happens with 'speech', it's missing the most important part of 'speech', the communicable ideas with meaning. 'Speech' isn't just any sound waves connecting with the ear drum, it's sounds in the form of language with communicable meaning.

In exactly the same way, for vitakka & vicara, it's not the 'placing of the mind and keeping it connected' , it's the thoughts that are connecting to it that are the important part.

Do you guys understand? It's a 'right' and 'wrong' situation here, not a translator preference.
I agree that the translation wording should be well judged or prudent . Some of the mistranslation was due to wrong notion with regard to the jhana .
The core of the problem lies on the conjecture that the jhana are without thought which is wrong .
The other issue is about Wrong translation in which mainly because of the ill advised translation as Frank mentioned .

My understanding , according to ebt ,
vitakka refer to = deliberately thinks ,
vicara refer to = reviewing the context
:coffee:

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

Post by frank k » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:53 pm

sentinel wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:51 pm
...
Thanks for speaking up, it would be good of Mike and others would give some feedback. I'll do my best to explain and clarify. Everyone understands the analogy with vācā, correct? If you understand that, then you understand the problem with V&V because it's the same type of partial equivalence fallacy.

"placing the mind and keeping it connected" (B. Sujato's translation of V&V), is not even a correct translation for the Vism. context of kasina absorption "first jhana"!

See the section in the article:
Vism. 1st jhana gloss, earth kasina
http://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/8samadhi/v ... #flink-95
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:35 pm

frank k wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:22 am
So here's the important point. Even though B. Bodhi personally believes in the Commentary and Vism. interpretation of V&V, he realized as an ethical translator, that V&V needs to be TRANSLATED with the same terms that are used for V&V outside of first jhana. If the Buddha had intended first jhana to have a different meaning than outside, then it's the Buddha's job to explain it in other suttas, it's not up to a translator to impose their own bias.
I was answering to another question, and recollected, that in AN 9.1 and AN 9.3 Buddha said:
Mindfulness of breathing should be developed to cut off thoughts.

ānāpānassati bhāvetabbā vitakkupacchedāya
If we accept that practice of ānāpānasati leads to the first jhāna, then vitakka in AN 9.1&3 is not the same as jhāna factor vitakka. So, we have two meanings of vitakka: distracting thoughts and jhāna factor. This is not unique for vitakka, we see multiple meanings for other words as well. Therefore using two words for translating it is justified.

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

Post by frank k » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:40 pm

No, it's not two meanings. distractive thoughts and permissable thoughts are both 'thoughts'. In first jhana you have thoughts which are not distractive, they're nekhamma, abyapada, avihimsa sankappo/vitakka, such as "may you be happy", or "i will pervade my awareness of breath within the entire physical body". This is clearly explained in MN 19, MN 125, MN 78. What makes the vitakka outside first different from inside (MN 19) is that intensity and frequency of vitakka is attenuated to not tire the body, and allow passadhi-sambojjhanga to take you into first jhana.
Volo wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:35 pm
frank k wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:22 am
So here's the important point. Even though B. Bodhi personally believes in the Commentary and Vism. interpretation of V&V, he realized as an ethical translator, that V&V needs to be TRANSLATED with the same terms that are used for V&V outside of first jhana. If the Buddha had intended first jhana to have a different meaning than outside, then it's the Buddha's job to explain it in other suttas, it's not up to a translator to impose their own bias.
I was answering to another question, and recollected, that in AN 9.1 and AN 9.3 Buddha said:
Mindfulness of breathing should be developed to cut off thoughts.

ānāpānassati bhāvetabbā vitakkupacchedāya
If we accept that practice of ānāpānasati leads to the first jhāna, then vitakka in AN 9.1&3 is not the same as jhāna factor vitakka. So, we have two meanings of vitakka: distracting thoughts and jhāna factor. This is not unique for vitakka, we see multiple meanings for other words as well. Therefore using two words for translating it is justified.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:13 pm

frank k wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:40 pm
No, it's not two meanings. distractive thoughts and permissable thoughts are both 'thoughts'. In first jhana you have thoughts which are not distractive, they're nekhamma, abyapada, avihimsa sankappo/vitakka, such as "may you be happy", or "i will pervade my awareness of breath within the entire physical body". This is clearly explained in MN 19, MN 125, MN 78. What makes the vitakka outside first different from inside (MN 19) is that intensity and frequency of vitakka is attenuated to not tire the body, and allow passadhi-sambojjhanga to take you into first jhana.
My point is simple: Buddha said that ānāpānasati should be practiced on order to cut vitakka (the way VBB translated it is not important now). Then either ānāpānasati doesn't lead to the first jhāna (where vitakka is a factor) or vitakka in the first jhāna is not the same as vitakka, which is cut by ānāpānasati.

For the future I kindly request you to always provide quotations from the suttas, which support your claims, when replying to my posts. Not just explaining your position and saying in the end "Buddha clearly explained it in MN X" or "read my blog, where I provide evidences for that". Thanks.

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

Post by frank k » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:19 pm

2nd jhana, not first jhana, is where thoughts are cut off, for anapana breath meditation.
There is no reason to force vitakka in first jhana to mean something other than 'directed thought'.
The burden of proof is on you to show why vitakka needs to mean something completely different.
You're putting the cart before the horse, and then using circular reasoning to 'prove' that vitakka in first jhana must be different.

Volo wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:13 pm
frank k wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:40 pm
No, it's not two meanings. distractive thoughts and permissable thoughts are both 'thoughts'. In first jhana you have thoughts which are not distractive, they're nekhamma, abyapada, avihimsa sankappo/vitakka, such as "may you be happy", or "i will pervade my awareness of breath within the entire physical body". This is clearly explained in MN 19, MN 125, MN 78. What makes the vitakka outside first different from inside (MN 19) is that intensity and frequency of vitakka is attenuated to not tire the body, and allow passadhi-sambojjhanga to take you into first jhana.
My point is simple: Buddha said that ānāpānasati should be practiced on order to cut vitakka (the way VBB translated it is not important now). Then either ānāpānasati doesn't lead to the first jhāna (where vitakka is a factor) or vitakka in the first jhāna is not the same as vitakka, which is cut by ānāpānasati.

For the future I kindly request you to always provide quotations from the suttas, which support your claims, when replying to my posts. Not just explaining your position and saying in the end "Buddha clearly explained it in MN X" or "read my blog, where I provide evidences for that". Thanks.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:08 pm

frank k wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:19 pm
2nd jhana, not first jhana, is where thoughts are cut off, for anapana breath meditation.
There is no reason to force vitakka in first jhana to mean something other than 'directed thought'.
The burden of proof is on you to show why vitakka needs to mean something completely different.
You're putting the cart before the horse, and then using circular reasoning to 'prove' that vitakka in first jhana must be different.
Vitakka is cut in the second jhāna on any meditation object which can lead to higher jhānas, there would be no need to mention ānāpānasati in particular. But again you are not providing any quotes. Therefore all you write is preaching, not a study or a search for the truth.

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

Post by frank k » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:29 pm

The reason breath meditation is mentioned in particular, is because it need not involve any thinking (for a learner mentally reciting instruction words) once one becomes competent or at least familiar from practice with the instructions. This is in contrast with the meditations such as metta, brahmaviharas, 31 body parts, dukkha, anicca, nirodha, etc, that do involve more mental processing/cogitation.

Just like learning a new physical skill, like juggling, riding a bike, walking on a tightrope, is challenging enough to drive out any irrelevant vitakka/thoughts. You have to completely be in samadhi of what's happening with your body or you lose your balance, fall and experience great pain. There's no room or time for extraneous thinking. Similarly, breath meditation done properly fills the entire bandwidth of your attention with pleasant tactile breath sensations.


Volo wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:08 pm
frank k wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:19 pm
2nd jhana, not first jhana, is where thoughts are cut off, for anapana breath meditation.
There is no reason to force vitakka in first jhana to mean something other than 'directed thought'.
The burden of proof is on you to show why vitakka needs to mean something completely different.
You're putting the cart before the horse, and then using circular reasoning to 'prove' that vitakka in first jhana must be different.
Vitakka is cut in the second jhāna on any meditation object which can lead to higher jhānas, there would be no need to mention ānāpānasati in particular. But again you are not providing any quotes. Therefore all you write is preaching, not a study or a search for the truth.
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Re: manasā dhammaṃ viññāya: b.sujato's translation is grievously wrong

Post by Volo » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:46 pm

frank k wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:29 pm
The reason breath meditation is mentioned in particular, is because it need not involve any thinking (for a learner mentally reciting instruction words) once one becomes competent or at least familiar from practice with the instructions. This is in contrast with the meditations such as metta, brahmaviharas, 31 body parts, dukkha, anicca, nirodha, etc, that do involve more mental processing/cogitation.

Just like learning a new physical skill, like juggling, riding a bike, walking on a tightrope, is challenging enough to drive out any irrelevant vitakka/thoughts. You have to completely be in samadhi of what's happening with your body or you lose your balance, fall and experience great pain. There's no room or time for extraneous thinking. Similarly, breath meditation done properly fills the entire bandwidth of your attention with pleasant tactile breath sensations.
So, at the beginning you said that ānāpānasati for cutting off vitakka is referring to the 2nd jhāna. I replied that any second jhāna is without vitakka. About what stage are you taking now? Is it when the meditator is attempting to attain the first jhāna or when he attained it? If you are talking about preliminary stage (before 1st jhāna) then it is nonsense: the yogi cut vitakka on preliminary stage, and at the first jhāna vitakka is back! If you are talking about a person who is in the first ānāpānasati jhāna in contrast to, say, 1st metta jhāna, then again it doesn't make sense, because there's no cutting off vitakka in the first ānāpānasati jhāna by definition. Please clarify.

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