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Oblog: [O.05.08.21] Saturday, May 08, 2021 1:34 PM

 

Lecture II

The Authorities on Which Our Knowledge of Buddhism is Based

—American Lectures On The History Of Religions. First Series — 1894-1895.
Buddhism Its History And Literature
By T.W. Rhys Davids, Ll.D., Ph.D.
Chairman of the Pali Text Society,
Secretary and Librarian of the Royal Asiatic Society,
Professor of Pali and Buddhist Literature at University College, London

 

HOW keen must have been the intellectual pleasure of that small band of scholars in the West of Europe, who, at the end of the fifteenth century, were able to appreciate the meaning and the value of Greek MSS. The taking of Constantinople by the Turks (1453) was the last step in a great catastrophe which threatened no less than destruction to the MS. treasures preserved in the Greek Empire, and death or poverty to their cultured if effeminate owners. The owners were scattered to the West, and their MSS. changed hands and found new homes. Whoever has had the good fortune to study the entrancing story of that time, more especially as it is focussed in the life of Scaliger, will be able to realise the vivid state of expectancy with which the advent of each new MS. was hailed. The scholars had a very considerable knowledge of what had been written in Greece, and lost in the West; and devoured each new MS. to see whether it would fill up any of the gaps. Too many of those gaps are, alas, still unfilled; and hope has almost faded away now. But in those days almost anything could be hoped for, and the indescribable charm of reading something quite new, of editing a work never edited before, of translating a book never translated before, was within the reach of all. Well we can now live a life of equal expectancy and hope, rewarded quite as often with an equal intellectual prize.

The discoveries that have been made in the ancient libraries of Mesopotamia will no doubt have some day become of even greater importance to the historian of human ideas and institutions than the MSS. acquired by the scholars of the Renaissance. For when completely understood and interpreted they will reveal a whole series of phenomena, independent of the Greek, and reaching farther back into the mists of antiquity. So also the discoveries in Egypt, made piecemeal from year to year, have the charm of constant expectancy in a very high degree. And now we have as a third factor of the same kind in the intellectual life of modern Europe, the gradual unveiling of that unique and original literature, which is our subject-matter to-day.

Compared with the Egyptian and the Assyrian, it has the disadvantage of youth. For the Pali books are no older than the Greek ones rediscovered in the fifteenth century. But they have the corresponding advantage of containing a rounded and complete picture of a new and strange religious movement, the outcome of many generations of intelligent and earnest thought, and of the very curious social conditions by which it was surrounded and furthered.

The story of the discovery of Pali is not without its interest. When in the thirties that most gifted and original of Indian archaeologists, James Prinsep — clarum et venerabile nomen — , was wearing himself out in his enthusiastic efforts to decipher the coins and inscriptions of India, whilst the very alphabets and dialects were as yet uncertain, he received constant help from George Turnour, of the Ceylon Civil Service. For in Ceylon there was a history, indeed several books of history, whereas in Calcutta the native records were devoid of any reliable data to help in the identification of the new names Prinsep thought he could make out. It is not too much to say that without the help of the Ceylon books the striking indentification of the King Piyadassi of the inscriptions with the King Asoka of history would never have been made. Once made it rendered subsequent steps comparatively easy, and it gave to Prinsep and his co-adjutors just that encouragement, and that element of certainty, which were needed to keep their enthusiasm alive.

Tumour was of course much pleased. He was a very busy man, at the head of the Ceylon Civil Service. But he had most intelligent and learned native assistants at his command. And by their help he published in the Calcutta Asiatic Society's journal a short series of articles on the Pali books, and finally brought out in 1837 a complete edition of the text of the Mahā Vansa (or "Great Chronicle" of Ceylon) with a translation into English, and a most interesting introductory essay.

The value of this editio princeps was at once and widely acknowledged. But on the death of Turnour, no one was found to carry on his work. There was no dictionary of Pali, and no grammar worthy of the name. European scholars could not go out to Ceylon, and there enjoy the benefit of the help which had made Tumour's labours possible. His book remained, like a solitary landmark in an unexplored country, chiefly useful as a continual inducement to some scholar with ability and leisure to explore beyond. Only a few insignificant essays, nibbling inefficiently at the outskirts of the subject, appeared in Europe, till at last in 1855 Mr. Vincent Fausböll came forward with an editio princeps of another Pali text.

Mr. Fausböll, now Professor of Sanskrit at Copenhagen, was then engaged at the University Library there, and it was a very bold undertaking to attempt such a task with the limited aids at his disposal. He chose, not an historical work, but a religious one, the Dhammapada, a collection of 423 verses mostly culled from the Buddhist Scriptures (a sort of hymn-book); and he published, with the text, not only a translation into Latin, but also very copious extracts from the ancient Pali commentary upon it. His work has been of the utmost service, and it is the second landmark in the story of our knowledge of Pali. It is pleasant to be able to remind the reader that the veteran scholar has steadily adhered to his first love. He subsequently brought out a number of specimens of that wonderful collection of ancient folk-lore included by a fortunate chance in the canon of the Buddhist Scriptures. And finding how great was the interest they excited, he has now, for many years, been printing an editio princeps of the whole collection. Five substantial volumes have already appeared, the sixth is well advanced in the press, and we may legitimately turn aside for a moment to send to Professor Fausböll our congratulations, and our thanks, and to express a hope, in the interests of historical study, that he will be spared not only to complete this magnum opus, but to add in other ways to the great services he has already rendered to historical research.

But to return to our story. After the publication of the Dhammapada by Professor Fausböll in 1855, the study of Pali again languished for a whole generation, and would in all probability have languished still had it not been for the third landmark in the history of our knowledge of Pali, the publication in two volumes in the years 1870 and 1873, of the Dictionary.

This great work was due to the self-sacrificing labour of Robert Caesar Childers of the Ceylon Civil Service. Soon after his retirement in 1866 he set to work to arrange alphabetically all the words found in the Abhidhāna Padīpikā, a vocabulary of Pali in 1203 Pali verses, then already edited by Subhūti Unnānsē, a well known Ceylon scholar. In making this re-arrangement Childers carefully added references to, and also other words taken from, the published texts, and from scholarly European books on the subject of Buddhism. His work rapidly improved as it went on, and there can be no doubt that its completion was almost a necessary preliminary to any further serious work in Pali scholarship.

The points to which I would most especially desire to invite your attention in this slight sketch are, that up to the year 1870 only two Pali texts of any size or importance had appeared in editions accessible to scholars in the West; and that, of these two, only one was a book out of the Buddhist Scriptures, and that this one was a short collection of edifying stanzas, not composed as a book by themselves, but selected, without their original context, from other Buddhist books, then, in 1870, still buried in MS.

Nevertheless, the number of books, good, bad, and indifferent, published on the subject of Buddhism, was at that date very large. The reader will be able to judge how far they were likely to be of any permanent value when he calls to mind that no one of the authors of any one of these books had ever even read the Buddhist Bible in the original. Now I would not for a moment quarrel with the enthusiasm for the study of Buddhism which leads people to write so much about it. But surely an enthusiasm according to knowledge would lead people to devote their leisure, their ability, and their means, rather to the publication and translation of the sacred books themselves, than to discussions about their contents carried on in much the same way as some chess-players play chess, sans voir, without seeing the pieces. What we want then is the texts themselves, and not extracts or abstracts, but the whole texts. And we want also the whole of such aids to the right understanding of the text, as are still extant in the shape of ancient Pali commentaries, and even of more modern Pali treatises, written by Buddhist authors. To this aim — the publication and elucidation of the Buddhist texts — I have devoted what remains of my life; and I must trust myself entirely to your courtesy when I find myself here to-day — in spite of what I have just said, and have so often said before — turning away from that work to tell you how far it has got, what prospects it has of going on, and chiefly in some detail what is the nature and magnitude of the work that has to be accomplished.

A rough list of the Piṭakas, with notes on the contents of each book, will be found in my little manual of Buddhism and another list in my Milinda gives the number of pages, printed and not yet printed, in each of the twenty-nine books. A similar list brought up to date is appended to this lecture.

From this last list it appears that the whole of the Piṭakas will occupy about 10,000 pages 8vo., of the size and type used by the Pali Text Society (about the same as these lectures). And from the calculations set out in the note to the list in follows that the number of Pali words in the whole is about twice the number of words in our English Bible. These figures are sufficient to show the extent of the Buddhist Scriptures. To give an idea of their contents is not so easy, and it would be really impossible to frame any general description of the whole. The most accurate, and I believe also the most interesting method will be to run through the whole list (it is not a very long one), giving a paragraph or two to each. You will thus be able to realise what it is that the books do, and what is perhaps of more importance, what they do not, contain.

And firstly: The whole collection as we have it is divided into three parts, now called Piṭakas or Baskets. In that technical sense the word Piṭaka does not of course occur in the books themselves, just as the word Testament (in its technical sense of a division of the Bible) does not occur in the Bible itself. The meaning of the term Piṭaka or Basket is not to be taken in the sense of a thing to put things away in, like a box or other receptacle, but in the sense of tradition. Excavations in early times, and not in the East only, used to be carried out by the aid of baskets handed on from workman to workman, posted in a long line from the point of removal to the point of deposit. So we are to understand a long line of teachers and pupils handing on, in these three sacred Piṭakas or Baskets, from ancient times down to to-day, the treasures of the Dhamma (of the Norm).

The first of the three — the Vinaya — contains all that relates to the Order of Mendicant Recluses, how it came about that the Order was founded; the rules which the Brethren and Sisters have to observe, and so on. The second — the Suttas — contains the truths of the religion itself presented from very varied points of view, and in very varied style; together with the discussion and elucidation of the psychological system on which those truths are based. The third — the Abhidhamma — contains a further supplementary and more detailed discussion of that psychological system, and of various points arising out of it.

So much for the leading division into Piṭakas or Baskets. We will now consider the details of each.

Vinaya — the Canon Law-(literally "guidance") is divided into three partitions, the Sutta Vibhanga, the Khandhakas, and the Parivāra.

The word Sutta (sūtra in Sanskrit) is a very ancient literary term in India. The literal meaning is "thread," and it is applied to a kind of book, the contents of which are, as it were, a thread, giving the gist or substance of more than is expressed in them in words. This sort of book was the latest development in Vedic literature just before and after the rise of Buddhism. The word was adopted by the Buddhists to mean a discourse, a chapter, a small portion of a sacred book in which for the most part some one point is raised, and more or less disposed of. But the Sutta par excellence, is that short statement of all the rules of the Order, which is also called the Pātimokkha, and is recited on every Uposatha day. On that day, the day of the full moon, the members of the Order resident in any one district are to meet together and hear this statement of the rules read.

The 227 rules are divided into eight sections, according to the gravity of the matter dealt with, and at the end of each section the reciter asks the assembly, whether it is blameless in respect thereof, and receives the assurance that it is. If any member has offended, he has then and there to confess, and receive absolution, or withdraw. The completion of the recitation is therefore evidence that all who have taken part in it are pure in respect of the specified offences. And this is the origin of that second name, the Pātimokkha, which means the Acquittal, or Deliverance, or Discharge. A complete translation, with notes, of this statement of the Rules of the Order will be found in Vinaya Texts, the join work of Professor Oldenberg and myself, contributed to the Oxford series of Sacred Books of the East.

This is the Sutta, of which the first book in the Vinaya, the Sutta Vibhanga, is the exposition in full — for that is the meaning of Vibhanga. The book deals with each of the 227 rules in order and following throughout one set scheme or method. That is to say it tells us firstly how and when and why the particular rule in question came to be laid down. This historical introduction always closes with the words of the rule in full. Then follows a very ancient word-for-word commentary on the rule — a commentary so old that it was already about B.C. 400 (the probable approximate date of the Sutta Vibhanga) considered so sacred that it was included in the canon. And the Old Commentary is succeeded, where necessary, by further explanations and discussions of doubtful points. These are sometimes of very great historical value. The discussions, for instance (in the rules as to murder and theft), of what constitutes murder, and what constitutes theft, anticipate in a very remarkable degree the kind of fine-drawn distinctions found in modern law books. These passages when made accessible, in translation, to Western scholars, must be of the greatest interest to students of the history of law, as they are quite the oldest documents of that particular kind in the world.

The second book in the Vinaya Piṭaka is called simply the Khandhakas or Treatises. It deals one after another with all those matters relating to the Order which are not stated in so many words in the Rules of the Pātimokkha. There are twenty of these treatises, and the points discussed in them are of the following kind:

1. Admission into the Order.

2. The Uposatha Ceremony and the Pātimokkha.

3. On retreats, to be held during the rainy season

4. On a ceremony called Pavarana held at the end of the retreat.

5. On food, dwellings, etc.

6. On medicaments.

7. On clothes.

8. On the regulation by arbitration of differences of opinion.

9. On suspension and rehabilitation.

10. On the special rules for Sisters of the Order.

It would carry us too far to attempt a description in detail of these treatises. But I may describe one of them, as a specimen, and will choose that on medicaments, as it has an especial interest of its own.

The general rule as to the food of members of the Order is stated quite clearly in the Pātimokkha. There was a slight repast of fruit and cakes, with milk or water as the beverage, in the early morning, no doubt very early according to our ideas. Then between 11 and 12 was taken the principal meal of the day, usually consisting of curry and rice, and great importance was attached to the regulation that this meal was not to be prolonged beyond the time when the sun cast a shadow. In the latitude of the valley of the Ganges that means midday. After sunturn no more solid substantial food was to be taken that day. But slight repasts in the afternoon, and at what we should call supper-time, were allowed and practised. Now it became a pretty point of casuistry to determine what was solid food and what was not, and a longish list of things held permissible might be compiled from the earlier portions of the Khandhakas. Among the rest there was a considerable number of things allowed as medicine in the case of sufferers from certain specified diseases. And so in the Khandhaka or Treatise on this matter we obtain quite incidentally a very fair insight into a good deal of the medical lore current at that early period, that is about 400 B.C., in the valley of the Ganges. It is a pity that the current authorities on the history of law and medicine have entirely ignored the details obtainable from these ancient books of Buddhist Canon Law. The whole of these Khandhakas have been translated by myself and Professor Oldenberg in the Vinaya Texts already referred to.

There is only one other book included in the canon under the head of Vinaya. This is the book called the Parivāra (or Appendix). It is very short, and is little more than a kind of student's manual, containing lists to assist the memory, and various sets of puzzles which are not unlike some modern examination papers. It is of course later than the other books on which it is founded, and is a very interesting bit of evidence on early methods of education.

The next great division is the Sutta Piṭaka, or the Basket of Discourses, and here we come to the sources of our knowledge of the most ancient Buddhism. The whole Basket consists of four great Nikāyas (or collections), and of these the first two form what we should now call a single book. It is in two volumes, so to speak, called respectively Dīgha and Majjhima — that is to say, long and of medium length (or to translate more idiomatically, longer and shorter). It contains 186 dialogues of Gotama arranged according to their length. They are discussions on all the religious and philosophical points of the Buddhist view of life. The Buddha himself is the principal interlocutor, but several of his principal disciples play a distinguished part in the book. In depth of philosophic insight, in the method of Socratic questioning often adopted, in the earnest and elevated tone of the whole, in the evidence they afford of the most cultured thought of the day, these discourses constantly remind the reader of the Dialogues of Plato. It would be worse than foolish to attempt any description of their contents. Each of the 183 dialogues would demand at least a single lecture to make its meaning clear. They have a style of their own, always dignified and occasionally rising into eloquence. It is a style intended, however, not to be read, but to be learnt by heart. You will easily understand therefore that it is a style intensely abhorrent to the modern devourer of newspapers and reviews and the last new novel. Scholars however will revere this book as one of the most priceless of the treasures of antiquity still preserved to us. And it is quite inevitable that, as soon as it is properly translated and understood, this collection of the Dialogues of Gotama will come to be placed, in our schools of philosophy and history, on a level with the Dialogues of Plato.

Ninety-one out of the 186 have now been edited in the original Pali for the Pali Text Society, and about a dozen have been translated into English, seven of them by myself in the volume entitled "Buddhist Suttas" in the Sacred Books of the East.

A disadvantage of the arrangement in dialogues, more especially as they follow one another according to length and not according to subject, is that it is not easy to find the statement of doctrine on any particular point which is interesting one at the moment. It was very likely just this consideration which led to the compilation of the other two collections included in this Piṭaka. In the first, called the Anguttara Nikāya, all those points of Buddhist doctrine capable of expression in classes are set out in order. This practically includes most of the psychology and ethics of Buddhism. For it is a distinguishing mark of the Dialogues themselves to arrange the results arrived at in carefully systematised groups. You are familiar enough in the West with similar classifications, summed up in such expressions as the Seven Deadly Sins, the Ten Commandments, the Thirty-nine Articles, the Four Cardinal Virtues, the Seven Sacraments, and a host of others. These numbered lists (it is true) are going out of fashion. The aid which they afford to memory is no longer required in an age in which books of reference abound. It was precisely as a help to memory that they were found so useful in the early Buddhist times, when the books were all learnt by heart, and had never as yet been written. And in the Anguttara we find set out in order first of all the ones, then all the pairs, then all the trios, and so on up to the thirty-four constituent parts of the human organism, or the thirty-seven constituent elements of Arahatship. It is the longest book in the Buddhist Bible and will fill 1800 pages 8vo. About two-fifths of the Pali text has been published by the Pali Text Society, and none of it has yet been translated into English.

The next — and last — of these great collections contains again the whole of the Buddhist doctrine, but arranged this time in the order of subjects. It consists of fifty-five so-called Saṃyuttas, or Groups, and in each of these a number of short chapters (Suttas), either on the same subject or addressed to the same sort of people, are grouped together. The Saṃyutta is divided into five volumes, four of which have been already published by the Pali Text Society, the fifth and last being in preparation. None of it has been translated into English.

It would be useless to speculate whether these two re-arrangements of the Buddhist doctrine are entirely dependent upon the Dialogues for their matter, or vice versa, or whether they are drawn also from other sources. We know that large portions of them recur bodily in the Dialogues, and that those portions not yet traced in the Dialogues contain nothing inconsistent with them. And it will not be very long before the publication of the whole of the three books, Dialogues, Anguttara, and Saṃyuttas, will enable us to state with accuracy the relation between them. This concludes the second Basket.

The third and last of the Piṭakas or Baskets, is the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, containing seven books of which at present only three have been published by the Pali Text Society. Abhidhamma has hitherto been rendered Metaphysics. But this is an entirely misleading translation. You will have realised from the previous lecture that the whole Buddhist view of life is constructed without the time-honoured conception of a soul within the body. We know nothing, according to Buddhism, except that which is derived from experience, the apprehension of phenomena. In such a system there is no room for Metaphysics at all. The noumenon is not discussed. What the Buddhists themselves understand by Abhidhamma is clear from the explanation given of the word by the great Buddhist scholar and commentator, Buddhaghosa. The passage, discovered by Mr. Arnold C. Taylor, has been edited and translated by him in a recent issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. According to that greatest of Buddhist scholars, Abhidhamma means merely the expansion, enlarged treatment, exposition in detail, of the Dhamma. And the Dhamma, as you know, is the Religion, the Truth, the Norm. The three books already published entirely, and the complete abstract of a fourth printed by me two years ago, entirely confirm this view.

One, the Puggala Paññatti, or "Identification of Individuals," is a small tract of less than eighty pages, in which men and women are considered and classified from the ethical point of view. Another, the Dhātu Kathā, is on the bases of character, and discusses the mental characteristics most likely to be found in conjunction in converted and earnest folk.

The third already printed is the Dhamma Sangaṇi, or "Enumeration of States," and it analyses the states of mind reached by religious people, Buddhists and others. The fourth book above referred to is the Kathā Vatthu, or "Account of Opinions" and is the only book in the Buddhist Scriptures of which we know the author and date. It was written (or rather put together, for books were not then written) by Tissa, the son of Moggali, about the year 250 B.C., at the Court of Asoka, the famous Buddhist Emperor of India. At that late period in the history of early Buddhism, the church or community was much torn by dissension and heresies. Asoka took great pains to restore the purity of the original faith. And Tissa, in furtherance of that object, refuted in this most curious ancient book two hundred and fifty-two of the most dangerous and important heresies put forward by the leading opponents of the orthodox school. There is nothing metaphysical in it. But it is most interesting from the comparative point of view that the most far-reaching cause of the decay of the primitive faith is here shown to have been the growth of what we should call superstitious views about the person of the Buddha. You will recollect how, in the history of the Christian Church, a very similar state of things existed, how the early Church was rent by dissensions arising out of the differing views as to the person of Christ, and as to his relation to the First Person in the Trinity. But in the Christian Church it was the new views, not found in the New Testament, that prevailed. In the Buddhist community, the new views were held at bay, and only succeeded, after a long interval, and in distant lands, in obtaining wide recognition. We shall have to deal with this subject further in our last lecture, so it need not detain us longer here. Mr. Arnold C. Taylor has nearly completed his edition of the Kathā Vatthu for the Pali Text Society, and has undertaken to translate it also.

We have now gone through the principal books in the Three Piṭakas, but there is a miscellaneous collection, mostly of shorter works, which has come to be included in the Canon. I have left this to the last, because Buddhists themselves from the very earliest times have been divided in opinion about it; some of them considering this Nikāya as an appendix to the Sutta Piṭaka, some of them considering it as an appendix to the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. The reason of this difference of opinion was probably something of the following kind. The most important things for the members of the Buddhist Order to preserve most carefully in their memory were essentially the Rules of the Community or Association they had joined, and the tenets of the Faith they professed. These were contained in the Canon Law, and in the Dialogues of Gotama, and in the various other books already referred to in which the doctrine set out in the Dialogues was re-arranged, elucidated, and expounded. During the time when the Canon was still unsettled, there was great activity in learning, rehearsing, repeating, and discussing these sacred books. But there was also considerable activity in what we should now call a more literary direction. There was a great love of poetry in the communities among which Buddhism arose. The adherents of the new faith found pleasure in putting into appropriate verse the feelings of enthusiasm and of ecstasy which their faith inspired. When peculiarly happy in their literary finish, or peculiarly rich in religious feeling, such poems would not be lost. They would be handed on from mouth to mouth in the small companies of the Brethren or Sisters, and some of them, either the oldest or the most popular, would gradually come to inspire so much veneration, so much love, that when the Canon was finally fixed, they could scarcely be left out. The question where to put them was however difficult. They could not, except in a very few instances, be inserted either in the books on the Rules of the Order, nor in the collection of the Dialogues of the Master. They must be added therefore either to the other parts of the Sutta Piṭaka in which the doctrine is set out, or to the Abhidhamma where the psychological side of it is enlarged upon in detail. It was not a point of vital importance, and we need not be too much surprised that some put these books as an appendix in one place, and some in another. It was not only poems that found their way into this appendix. It contains at least one very ancient commentary ascribed to a famous leader and teacher in the Order. There is also a book on the Lives of the Saints, and another of ancient folk-lore. But the same sort of reason that led to the inclusion of the poetry, covered also these other works. And the whole collection is so very interesting as evidence of the literary life in the valley of the Ganges in those early times, that I hope you will allow me to devote a short time to each of these curious books.

The first, the Khuddaka Pāṭha, or "Short Recitations" is a little tract of only a few pages, starting with the so-called Buddhist creed:

" I take my refuge in the Buddha,
I take my refuge in the Religion,
I take my refuge in the Order."

Then follows a paragraph setting out the thirty-four constituents of the human body — bones, blood, nerves, and so on, — strangely incongruous with what follows. For that is simply a selection of a few of the most beautiful poems to be found in the Buddhist Scriptures. There is no apparent reason, except their exquisite versification, why these particular pieces should have been here brought together. I cannot help thinking that this tiny volume was simply a sort of first lesson book for young neophytes when they joined the Order. In any case that is one of the uses to which it is put at present.

The Dhammapada, already mentioned to you (as having been edited by Professor Fausböll in 1855), is another of such selections, but this time not of entire poems. Here are brought together from ten to twenty stanzas on each of twenty-six selected points of Buddhist self-training or ethics. In almost all cases these verses, gathered from various sources, are here strung together without any other internal connection than that they relate more or less to the same subject, and the collector has not thought it at all necessary to choose stanzas written in the same metre or in the same number of lines. We know that the early Christians were accustomed to sing hymns both in their homes and on the occasions of their meeting together. These hymns are now irretrievably lost. Had some one made a collection of about twenty isolated stanzas, chosen from those hymns, on each of about twenty subjects — such as Faith, Hope, Love, The Converted Man, Times of Trouble, Quiet Days, The Saviour, The Tree of Life, The Sweet Name, The Dove, The King, The Angels, The Land of Peace, The Joy Unspeakable, and so on-we should have a Christian Dhammapada; and very precious such a collection would be. The Buddhist Dhammapada has been frequently translated. Where the verses deal with those ideas that are common ground to Christians and Buddhists, the versions are easily intelligible and some of the verses appeal very strongly to the Western sense of religious beauty. Where the stanzas are full of the technical terms of the Buddhist system of self-culture and self-control, it is often impossible, without expansions that spoil the set of the thought, or learned notes that ruin the poetry, to convey the full sense of the original. In all these distinctively Buddhist verses the existing translations are inadequate, and sometimes quite erroneous. The ancient commentary on these 423 verses tells a story about each of them, setting forth how, and when, and by whom, and on what occasion each of these stanzas was originally pronounced. These stories are written in very easy Pali and many of them are full of human interest. The late Dr. Wenzel and myself were preparing in collaboration a complete editio princeps of these stories — the copy is finished and nearly ready for the press, and will be issued as soon as I can find the time and the money. Cannnot some one undertake a translation for us into English of these strange and interesting old-world stories about a collection of verses so widely popular among Buddhists, and now attracting so much attention in the West?

As a general rule such stories explanatory of ancient verses — and without which very often the verses themselves would be quite unintelligible — were handed down in India by way of traditional comment. In two cases the Buddhists have included the stories themselves as well as the verses in the miscellaneous appendix to their Canon. One instance is the Udāna, or "Ecstatic Utterances." The Buddha is represented on various occasions during his long career to have been so much moved by some event, or speech, or action, that he gave vent, as it were, to his pent up feelings in a short ecstatic utterance, couched for the most part in one or two lines of poetry. These outbursts, very terse and enigmatic, are charged with religious emotion, and turn often on some subtle point of Arahatship, that is of the Buddhist ideal of life. The original text has been published by the Pali Text Society. But the little book — a garland of fifty of these gems — has not yet been translated.

The other instance (also edited but not translated) is the Iti Vuttakam. This contains 120 short passages, each of them leading up to a terse, deep saying of the Buddha's, and introduced in each case with the words Iti Vuttam Bhagavatā, "Thus was it said by the Blessed One." It is always invidious to look a gift horse in the mouth, and even did we wish to do so, the time has not yet come to discuss with profit whether these sayings were actually said as here represented. What we know, is, that these (often delicately beautiful) puzzles of thought on some of the deepest questions of human life were actually extant and so widely known and appreciated that they were included in the Canon, when the Canon was finally fixed. I think it would be impossible to assign them to a later date than 400 B.C., and I have no hesitation in saying that, at that time, there had been produced nowhere in the world any works approaching to these four booklets in delicacy of construction, in exquisite beauty of terse enigmatic expression, in depth of earnestness, and in real grasp of the most difficult problems that mankind has had to face.

These ecstatic utterances and deep sayings are attributed to the Buddha himself. There is also included in the Canon a collection (called, the Thera-theri-gāthā, or "Songs of the Elders," men and women) of stanzas attributed to 107 of the leading. Theras (i.e. Brethren), and 73 of the leading Therīs (i.e., Sisters), in the Order during the lifetime of Gotama himself. The stories explanatory of the verses, giving a short account of the life history of each of the authors and authoresses, are handed down in the commentary. The commentary on the men's verses has not yet been published; but that on the women's verses has just been edited by Professor Eduard Müller, of Bern, for the Pali Text Society. With the help of this commentary my wife wrote an account of these Buddhist lady scholars for the Oriental Congress, held in London in 1892. It is published in the Proceedings of the Congress, and affords a very instructive picture of the life they led in the valley of the Ganges in the time of Gotama the Buddha. It was a bold step on the part of the leaders of the Buddhist reformation to allow so much freedom, and to concede so high a position to women. But it is quite clear that the step was a great success, and that many of these ladies were as distinguished for high intellectual attainments as they were for religious earnestness and insight. A good many of the verses ascribed to them are beautiful in form, and not a few give evidence of a very high degree of that mental self-culture which played so great a part in the Buddhist ideal of the perfect life. Women of acknowledged culture are represented as being the teachers of men, and as expounding, to less advanced Brethren or Sisters in the Order, the deeper and more subtle points in the Buddhist philosophy of life.

As I have not so far troubled you with quotations, I venture to give the substance of two of these legends. The first is about Somā. She was born, says the Commentator, Dhammapāla, as the daughter of the Court Chaplain of King Bimbisara at Rājagaha. Then, after taking the vows, she, with insight and good works, became an Arahat (that is, attained to Nirvana, the Buddhist ideal of the perfect life). Dwelling thus in the happiness of freedom at Sāvatthi, she entered one day the Andha Grove to pass the heat of the day, and sat there at the foot of a tree. Then Māra, the Evil One, wishing to frighten her from her meditations, stood there in invisible form and uttered the words,

"The vantage ground the sages may attain, is hard to reach.

With her two-finger test, woman cannot achieve those distant heights."

The Commentator pauses here to explain that what the Evil One refers to, is that women, though from their seventh year upwards they are always cooking rice, yet they cannot tell whether it has been boiled or not. They have to take some out in a spoon and squeeze it between their two fingers; then they know.

Now when she heard this the Therī rebuked the Evil One, and said:

"How should our woman's nature hinder us,
Whose hearts are firmly set, whose feet mount up
Unfaltering to those cool heights of Truth,
n growing knowledge of the Arahat way?
On every hand the love of pleasure yields,
Borne down by knowledge and the sense of Law,
And the thick gloom of ignorance is rent
In twain. Know this, 0 Evil One and know
Thyself, 0 death! found out and worsted!"

Then the Evil One, thus rebuked, vanished away; and the Therl, strong in the sense of base suggestions overcome, continued in meditation till the cool of the evening.

The other poem is Sukkā's. Born of a wealthy family in Rājagaha, she became an adherent of the Buddha's, already in the first year of his public appearance as a teacher, and afterwards studying under another famous lady teacher (the Dhamma-Dinnā, whose story Mrs. Bode has told us in the J.R.A.S. for 1893), she was converted, and became an Arahat. She then attained to such mastery in exegesis and extemporary exposition that, in her hermitage near Rājagaha, she gave lectures open to the public, and gained great influence for good among the residents in her native city. Such was her eloquence as she taught, walking to and fro in her shady terrace, all who came from the city to see her, that the Dryad in the tree at the end of the terrace was filled with impetuous enthusiasm at her wisdom, and quitting its cool shrine, went off to Rājagaha and called aloud:

"What would ye men of Rājagaha have?
What have ye done ? that mute and idle here
Ye lie about, like men bemused with wine,
Nor upon Sukkā wait, while she reveals
The precious truths of the Ambrosial way.
The wise in heart, methinks, were fain to quaff
That life's Elixir (once gained, never lost,
That welleth ever up in her sweet words)
E'en as the wayfarer welcomes the rain."

And when the people heard, they forthwith with eagerness went forth to Sukkā, and would not make an end of listening to her.

And when the Therī had reached her appointed span of life, and was about to pass away, she bore witness to the victory she had gained, and to herself, as to another person, uttered these words:

"0 child of light, Sukkā, by Truth set free
From cravings dire; firm, self-possessed, serene,
Bear to the end thy last incarnate frame;
For thou hast conquered Māra and his hosts!"

There is one instance, and one only, of a commentary, detached from its subject-matter, having been allotted a place among the Sacred Books. There must be some special reason for this. But it would be premature to discuss the matter till we have the text before us, and I am very happy to say that a distinguished American scholar, Professor Lanman of Harvard College, has undertaken an edition of this unique text for the Pali Text Society. It is called the Niddesa; and it is a commentary ascribed to Sāriputta, one of the most distinguished of the personal disciples of the Buddha, on the first part of the Sutta Nipāta. This last book, also included in our appendix to the canon, has been edited and translated by Professor Fausböll of Copenhagen. It consists of poems arranged in five books, the first four of which contain fifty-four separate poems, each of them only a page or two in length. But the fifth book is one poem almost certainly forming an independent whole. It is very unlikely that the other poems are all the work of the same hand. In all probability we have here another collection, — this time not of verses, but of complete hymns, — popular among the early Buddhists, but due to separate minds.

I hope to read to you in a future lecture translations of two of these lyrics.

There are two other short poems included in our appendix, each of them the work of one unknown author, and probably later than the other books in the appendix. One of these is the Buddha Vansa, poetical memoranda on the legends of the Buddhas supposed to have preceded the historical Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The other is the Cariyā Piṭaka — a fragment never completed — giving a few short verses (scarcely more than an aid to the memory) on thirty-four of the supposed previous births of the historical Buddha himself. Both of these short, and from a literary point of view uninteresting, texts have been published for the Pali Text Society.

There are two other short poems in which legends regarding the future life are put into verse. They are called respectively the Peta- and Vimāna-Vatthu, and have been edited for the Pali Text Society, but not yet translated. Some of the longer legends are interesting as poems, and the whole set of beliefs exemplified in these books is historically interesting as being in all probability the source of a good deal of mediaeval Christian belief in Heaven and Hell. But the greater part of these books, composed according to a set pattern, is devoid of style; and the collection is altogether of an evidently later date than the bulk of the books included in this appendix.

We now come to the Jātakas. These are stories nominally of the 550 previous births of the Buddha, but really a collection of the most popular folk-lore tales of all kinds — fables, fairy tales, riddles, puzzles, old-world legends, clever and witty judgments, instances of current superstitions good-humouredly laughed at, tales of magic cups and vanishing caps and wishing trees, stories of old mythology, and so on. At some period not quite ascertained, but certainly before 300 B.C., it had become the custom to identify the principal hero of each of these popular tales with the Buddha himself in a previous birth. It would be ungenerous to lay stress on the fact that this identification is entirely without foundation. For it is solely due to the fortunate chance of the growth of this idea that we have thus preserved to us the most complete, the most authentic, and the most ancient collection of folk-lore in the world — a collection entirely unadulterated, as modern folk-lore stories so often are, by the inevitable process of passing through a Western mind. Each story contains a stanza or stanzas attributed to the Buddha himself, either in his present or in his previous births. And it is only the verses that are included in the canon. They are usually unintelligible by themselves; but the comment, which gives the whole story in prose, gives also a further explanation of them; and Professor Fausböll edits the whole, text and commentary, together. I had at one time contemplated a translation into English of this most interesting, but also most voluminous work. The first volume of this translation appeared in 1881, under the title of Buddhist Birth Stories. But I have long been obliged to give up the hope of carrying on this work, and am now delighted to be able to say that a complete translation is being brought out by a syndicate of English scholars, under the editorship of Professor Cowell of Cambridge, and that the first two volumes, by Mr. Robert Chalmers and Mr. W. H. D. Rouse, members of the Pali Text Society, have just been issued by the Cambridge University Press.

There are one or two other books included in this appendix to the Three Piṭakas, but as they are not yet published, it would be premature to discuss their contents. You will have sufficiently understood the nature of the authorities on which our knowledge of early Buddhism must principally rest. You will have noticed that the rules of the Order — the books of Canon Law, if I may be allowed so to describe them — and the books of the Abhidhamma, the expansion of the psychological doctrines laid down in the Dialogues, are of historical rather than of literary value. But in the Dialogues themselves, and in some of the more ancient poems, we have documents of the first literary importance. You will have observed also that the contents of the books are not mythological, nor theological, nor metaphysical, but above all ethical, and in the second place psychological. You will have observed also that there is very little of what is popularly supposed to be the essential characteristic of religion — nothing about God and the soul, and the nature of them both, and the relation between the two. But Buddhism is none the less a religion; and it is the religion which comes nearest of all the other religions in the world to Christianity, and the religion which has influenced more lives than any other religion, not excepting even Christianity. It would not be the place here to discuss the doctrines of Buddhism, or to attempt to give the reasons of its great successes, and of its equally great failures. I shall have time in the subsequent lectures to lay before you the essence at least of its positive philosophy of life. Here I would only invite your attention to the fact that a small band of scholars are endeavouring, without pecuniary reward of any kind, to make accessible to the West the earliest documents of one of the most important and most interesting intellectual movements the world has ever seen. And I do not hesitate to appeal to you for your cordial sympathy with their self-denying labours.

When I returned from Ceylon, I made up my mind that, if my life was spared, I would try to get the whole of this literature edited and translated. When I began to speak of the advisability of starting a Pali Text Society with this object, I was told that the project was doomed to failure. No one cared enough for Pali to contribute the necessary funds; and even if they did, there were no competent scholars, not already otherwise engaged, to carry out the work. Well! the King of Siam, one of the most cultured and enlightened of sovereigns, sent me enough money to bring out the first volume; and private friends of my own showed their interest in historical enquiry by subscribing enough to bring out a second; and I soon had a small list of supporters, mostly poor men and scholars, willing to subscribe a guinea a year. This was enough for me to venture on a beginning. It was no easy task to find MSS. and competent scholars willing to spend years of labour without fee or reward of any kind. But both difficulties have been surmounted. The work has now gone on for twelve years. We have published thirty-four volumes, amounting in the whole to 7200 pages. Out of the twenty-seven books in the Buddhist Piṭakas, thirteen are now published in full, five others in part, one more is in the press, and nearly all the remainder are in preparation.

About one half of the work has been done, and the interest of scholars throughout the world has been so thoroughly aroused, that it is now only a question of money whether the work shall go on, and how soon it shall be completed. There are already three or four public libraries in Europe which have a fair collection of Buddhist MSS.; and I have a good many in my private collection, and correspondents both in Burma and Ceylon, who are helping to procure others as they are wanted. The number of scholars able and willing to co-operate in the undertaking is slowly but steadily increasing. But the printers will not work for nothing, and the only difficulty is the want of money to pay the printer's bills. Will not America come forward to assist in the important work of disentombing this ancient literature, now buried in MSS.?

I shall be happy to receive the subscriptions or donations of any one intelligent enough to see the importance of the work, and generous enough to give.

 


 

Oblog: [O.05.06.21] Thursday, May 06, 2021 6:22 AM

 

[JAT Index]Buddhist Birth Stories or Jātaka Tales, the T.W. Rhys Davids translation of the first 40 birth stories. Complete. Including Rhys Davids Introduction, 8 tables giving detailed supplementary information, and the Ceylon Compiler's Introduction called the Nidāna Kathā. Subject Index (not linked to subjects). Extensively footnoted (notes are linked and link back).

 


 

Oblog: [O.05.05.21] Wednesday, May 05, 2021 7:30 AM

 

"At this time a splendid and lasting monument was created to the genius of the English-speaking peoples. All the Puritan demands had been rejected, but towards the end of the Hampton Court conference a Puritan divine, Dr John Reynolds, President of the Oxford College of Corpus Christi, had asked, seemingly on the spur of the moment, if a new version of the Bible could be produced. The idea appealed to James. Till now the clergy and laity had relied on a number of different translations — Tyndal's, Coverdale's, the Geneva Bible, the "Bishop's Bible" of Queen Elizabeth. Their texts varied. Some were disfigured by marginal notes and glosses upholding and advocating partisan interpretations of Scripture and extremist theories of ecclesiastical organisation. Each party and sect used the version which best suited its own views and doctrines. Here, thought James, was the chance to rid the Scriptures of propaganda and produce a uniform version which could be entrusted to all. Within a few months committees or "companies" were set up, two each in Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, comprising in all about fifty scholars and divines. They were selected for this work without regard to their theological or ecclesiastical bias. Directions were issued with speed. Each committee was assigned a portion of the text, and their draft was to be scrutinised by all the other committees and finally revised by a committee of twelve. Tendentious renderings were forbidden, and marginal notes or glosses were prohibited except for cross-references or to explain the meaning of Greek or Hebrew words which were difficult to translate. About three years passed in preliminary research, and the main work did not get under way till 1607, but it was then accomplished with remarkable swiftness. In an age without an efficient postal service or mechanical methods of copying and duplicating texts, the committees, though separated by considerable distances, finished their task in 1609. Nine months sufficed for the scrutiny of the supervisory committee, and in 1611 the Authorised Version of the Bible was produced by the King's Printer."

—Winston Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Volume II, pages 152-153.

 

 

Well we have no King and no King's printer, but we have billionairs and perhaps one of them is a Buddhist, and perhaps might think it wise to put some of the money the Governments of the world are about to confiscate to cover their debts, to sponsor a First Council for the English Translation of the Pali Canon.

 


 

Oblog: [O.05.02.21.2] Sunday, May 02, 2021 4:57 AM

 

In the past couple of years we have had, I believe, two cases where wildfires stopped short of damaging viharas. A Jātaka story that relates to that phenomena is #35: Vaṭṭaka-Jātaka. Skeptical voices have been heard attempting to debunk any idea that there was magic power connected to these events. A special criticism is aimed at the idea that is frequently found in the descriptions, that is, an almost exact repetition of events. Almost all the Jātaka stories begin with such a 'coinsidence.' Here we have just a peek at such a 'miracle' in our own time and life.

 


 

Oblog: [O.05.02.21] Sunday, May 02, 2021 4:57 AM

 

The Ox who Envied the Pig

Long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodisat came to life in the house of a landed proprietor in a certain village as an ox, with the name of 'Big-red.' And he had a younger brother called 'Little-red.' And all the carting work in the household was carried on by means of the two brothers.

Now there was an only daughter in that family, and she was asked in marriage for the son of a man of rank in a neighbouring city. Then her parents thinking, "It will do for a feast of delicacies for the guests who come to the girl's wedding," fattened up a pig with boiled rice. And his name was 'Sausages.'

When Little-red saw this, he asked his brother, "All the carting work in the household falls to our lot. Yet these people give us mere grass and straw to eat; while they bring up that pig on boiled rice! What can be the reason of that fellow getting that?"

Then his brother said to him, "Dear Little-red, don't envy the creature his food! This poor pig is eating the food of death! These people are fattening the pig to provide a feast for the guests at their daughter's wedding. But a few days more, and you shall see how these men will come and seize the pig by his legs, and drag him off out of his sty, and deprive him of his life, and make curry for the guests! "And so saying, he uttered the following stanza:

"Envy not 'Sausages!'
'Tis deadly food he eats!
Eat your chaff, and be content;
'Tis the sign of length of life!"

And, not long after, those men came there; and they killed 'Sausages,' and cookcd him up in various ways.

Then the Bodisat said to Little-red, "Have you seen 'Sausages,' my dear?"

"I have seen, brother," said he, "what has come of the food poor Sausages ate. Better a hundred, a thousand times, than his rice, is our food of only grass and straw and chaff; for it works no harm, and is evidence that our lives will last."

—Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories, #30


PDFÆsop's Fables, Complete, by Rev. T. James, sourced from Google Books.

 


 

Oblog: [O.05.01.21] Saturday, May 01, 2021 6:28 AM

 

A very interesting footnote from Rhys Davids' Buddhist Birth Stories, #26, n. 311: re the term samaṇa-brāhmaṇā usually translated 'ascetics and brāhmans':

"Literally Samaṇa-Brāhmans, the Samaṇas, or Self-conquering Ones, being those who have given up the world, and devoted themselves to lives of self-renunciation and of peace. Real superiority of caste — true Brāhmanship — is the result, not of birth, but of self-culture and self-control. The Samaṇas are therefore the true Brāhmans, 'Brāhmans by saintliness of life.' The Samaṇas were not necessarily Buddhists, though they disregarded the rites and ceremonies inculcated by the Brāhmans. It would not have answered the king's purpose to send Brāhmans: who are distinguished throughout the Jātakas, not by holiness of life, but by birth; and who would be represented as likely to talk, not of righteousness, but of ritual. I cannot render the compound, therefore, by 'Samaṇas and Brāhmans,' and I very much doubt whether it ever has that meaning (but see Childers contra, under Samaṇa). It certainly never has the sense of 'Samaṇas or Brāhmans.' It was an early Buddhist idea that the only true Samaṇas were those members of the Order who had entered the Noble Path, and the only true Brāhmans those who had reached to the goal of the Noble Path, that is, to Nirvāna. See Mahā Parinibbana Sutta, p. 58.

Childers Long articles on the Samaṇa and Samaṇa-ship boil down to the term being exclusivly applied to the Buddhist bhikkhu and meaning either one who is practicing for or has attained Arahantship.

Etymology of Shaman: 1690s, "priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples," probably via German Schamane, from Russian sha'man, from Tungus saman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men "Buddhist monk," from Prakrit samaya-, from Sanskrit sramana-s "Buddhist ascetic" [OED] via Online Etymological Dictionary.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.30.21] Friday, April 30, 2021 11:48 AM

 

Kamma, Rebirth, God, gods and seers who have seen, etc.

Perhaps he did not believe in 'goodness' and 'badness' ...; but as he would have said: He didn't know — couldn't tell; there might be something in it; and why, by an unnecessary expression of disbelief, deprive yourself of possible advantage?

— Old Jolyon, in The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1937, page 207.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.24.21] Saturday, April 24, 2021 9:32 AM

 

When you assume a personality.
When you identify yourself with an individual.
You obscure infinity.
Our job is to rise above infinity.
You cannot rise above infinity,
if you cannot see infinity clearly.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.23.21] Friday, April 23, 2021 12:07 PM

 

It should be: "I wonder what he's looking for?"

That Kind of Vision

Theories, Points of View, Perspectives, Conclusions based on logic and reasoning, obscure vision. They summarize vast landscapes of perceptions and by that make them almost invisible to you. They create a picture, frozen in time (and wisdom), like a cataract over the lens of the eye. What you want to do is to loosen up and learn to live with unbroken change. That is in back of the problem of existence and that of having a body and that of having an identified-with personality; it has taken what is unbroken change and focusing on just a few aspects of the view, in panic at the idea of there being nothing there that is the you of you, graspes after anything that promises stability, stasis, steadyness, something to count on. But that is futile. It is trying to build a house on quicksand or an avalanch. It is an unskillful way to deal with the situation. What is the skillful way? Well Gotama figured that out: you need to detach from every existing thing, every theory, point of view, perspective, conclusion, picture, belief. You do that for even just so short a time as it takes to snap the fingers, and you will see that it doesn't cost you anything. You have been released from that which had you in bondage and find that you have not lost anything in the process. The whole of it, it meaning you-ness, was a lie, it had no stability itself. What Gotama did for us, seeing that, was to set up a method which from the first step both educates the practitioner about the advantages of detachment and shows that that method works. The liar starts the journey to escape the very first time he consciously refrains from a lie. The result is immediate: there is freedom from the consequences to be expected from the lie. With freedom comes also the vision of what those consequences could have been. If you look closely you will see: Not telling that lie, I did not get the most beautiful lass in the land. tap tap tap Not getting the most beautiful lass in the land, I did not get a house in the suburbs (or the 9 to 5 plus 2 hour commute for slave wages) with a white picket fence and two and a half children two boys and a girl to take care of her mother after I die but not before I can see that she ends as that crooked old hag there with the warts on her nose, runny eyes, flabby flab under her arms under her chin under her ass, broken teeth, hair falling out, needs help getting up, needs help lying down. Poor thing. Well maybe she dies young. And I am all alone again. Time to go. No! Wait! I havn't finished!

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.20.21] Tuesday, April 20, 2021 11:20 AM

 

Buddhist Birth Stories. The Nidānakathā. The narrator's Introduction in The Jātakatthavaṇṇanā, in Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories. Appended with its footnotes to the previous sections and located at: ../../dhamma-vinaya/twrd/kd/jat/buddhist-birth-stories.htm. This is one of the earliest translations of the Buddhist literature. This section relates the now familiar story of the Buddha's life from his first vow to become a Buddha to the time of his acceptance of Anāthapiṇḍica's Jeta Grove. It is full of nonsense and exageration but has a gem of information here and there.
A previous question concerning the labeling of this book as 'Volume 1' is resolved. This translation project was apparently abandoned in favor of the Lord Chalmers translation.
"I had at one time contemplated a translation into English of this most interesting, but also most voluminous work. The first volume of this translation appeared in 1881, under the title of Buddhist Birth Stories. But I have long been obliged to give up the hope of carrying on this work, and am now delighted to be able to say that a complete translation is being brought out by a syndicate of English scholars, under the editorship of Professor Cowell of Cambridge, and that the first two volumes, by Mr. Robert Chalmers and Mr. W.H.D. Rouse, members of the Pali Text Society, have just been issued by the Cambridge University Press. — Rhys Davids, Buddhism Its History and Literature. American Lectures on the History of Religions First Series-1894-1895.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.19.21] Monday, April 19, 2021 4:52 AM

 

"This must be the place!"

Finding the Spot

The Bodisat ... ascending the rising ground round the Bo-tree, he stood at the South of it, looking towards the North. At that moment the Southern horizon seemed to descend below the level of the lowest hell, and the Northern horizon mounting up seemed to reach above the highest heaven.

The Bodisat, saying, "This cannot, I think, be the right place for attaining Buddhahood," turned round it, keeping it on the right hand; and went to the Western side, and stood facing the East. Then the Western horizon seemed to descend beneath the lowest hell, and the Eastern horizon to ascend above the highest heaven; and to him, where he was standing, the earth seemed to bend up and down like a great cart wheel lying on its axis when its circumference is trodden on.

The Bodisat, saving, "This cannot, I think, be the right place for attaining Buddhahood," turned round it, keeping it on the right hand; and went to the Northern side, and stood facing the South. Then the Northern horizon seemed to descend beneath the lowest hell, and the Southern horizon to ascend above the highest heaven.

The Bodisat, saving, "This cannot, I think, be the right place for attaining Buddhahood," turned round it, keeping it on the right hand; and went to the Western side, and stood facing towards the East. Now in the East is the place where all the Buddhas have sat crosslegged; and that place neither trembles nor shakes.

The Great Being, perceiving, "This is the steadfast spot chosen by all the Buddhas, the spot for the throwing down of the temple of sin ...

—from The Nidānakathā, the narrator's Introduction in The Jātakatthavaṇṇanā, in Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.15.21] Thursday, April 15, 2021 9:01 AM

 

Is Consciousness An Aspect of Nama?

I see the Dhamma crumbling before my eyes.

This from
discourse.suttacentral.net : is-the-list-of-the-twelve-nidanas-late?
Adutiya's response to Javier of 4/15/21:

To quote Bhk. Analayo in Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research:

"In the context of dependent arising, an understanding of name as including consciousness, such as found in later tradition, would not work. On such a reading, the reciprocal conditional relationship between consciousness and name-and-form would result in presenting consciousness as self-conditioning."

This statement reflects the work of a mind based on worldly logic and reasoning and a misunderstanding of the main point of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda.

The main and most important function of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda is not a description of how the body develops or how things and beings come into existence, but the manner and stages over which there comes to be an identification by an individual with named forms.

Take a look. You can see that beings other than yourself come into existence and pass out of existence. What is the important thing in this that concerns you and your experience of the pain of Saṃsāra?

The Paṭicca-Samuppāda is a description of the process of personalizing the otherwise impersonal.

In dramatic form it looks like this:

Seeing in the mind's eye, some beings in some activities (or oneself in some future activity), one pays attention to the form and the details and begins to construct a history of that fantasy individuality or personal activity. As that fantasy grows, it draws in the consciousness of it by the mind of some previously existing individual.

Initially the fantasy individuality or situation presented itself to the observing individuality ("That would be a really neat life", "This would satisfy the lust I have for such and such"). At that point it is still objective and harmless. The second the observing individuality begins to pay attention and construct details (Think of planning tomorrow's dinner), the impetus has switched from the external presentation by itself to the mind (The Mind is corrupted from without) of some fantasy to the internal identification of the observing individual with the observed individual or situation. At that point it has become dangerous. It is understanding the danger and how to escape that danger that the Dhamma is all about.

The point of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda is to show how that process began and the primary stages of it's development (the stages not being a series of causes but a presentation of inter-related ingrediants (dependencies)) from fantasy to existence as that individuality or the self in some situation.

Bhante Punnaji in a number of communications with me (and likely to others as well), stated it this way (paraphrase): "First you find yourself existing, then you seek out your birth." First you imagine the part of the fantasy or being that you are attracted to, and then you build its back-history. With each addition to the details of the fantasy individuality or situation, it becomes more fascinating and attractive and at some point will have the power to capture the full attention of the observer in what we understand as 'identification'. You, "being" there. The con-struction has been own-made. Today the kids say you have been 'owned'.

Not seeing the end result in Pain, one identifies with the intent to create sense-experience for the self by way of acts of thought, word, and speech and the result is identified-with named-forms.

To make that clear I have translated the term Saṅkhāra in 'sort form' as 'own-making'. A certain bhikkhu has stated that that is not an etymologically correct translation. He is wrong in that, even within the school of etymology he understands ... um ... sort of understands. He is speaking from the point of view of one understanding of etymology. There are others and there is going deeper into the understanding of a word than its similarity to the Sanksrit; and, further, it should be understood that Pali does not come from the Latin ... more the other way around.

Bhante Punnaji and I both agreed that the main idea of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda is the explication of 'identification' or 'personalization' with or of existence. Bhante Punnaji differed with me concerning the location in the Paṭicca-Samuppāda of this identification: I say it is at Saṅkhāra, he places it in Upādāna.

I say Upadāna encompasses Saṅkhāra: Upadāna is the point where one plans and takes action in the construction of an existing individuality (Translators, to make what they understand clear have fixed on, and narrowed down the definition to the idea that this is 'grasping'. That is true in the same way that Saṅkhāra is 'identification with the intent to creat experience for the self through action' is narrowed down for clarity and convenience to 'construction' 'fabrication' 'volitional fabrication' 'volition' 'activities' and 'Own-making'. The only way this encompassing and re-encompassing does not work is if one insists on a strict linear construction of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda.

The step: Downbound blindness rebounds bound up in Saṅkhāring is an encapsulation of the whole process. The further steps are places where this process of transitioning from one existence to another can be stopped, or if not stopped where there is a strong likelihood (amounding to inevitability) of it rolling on.

The second step, from already having identified with the intent to create self-experienced sense-existence and having set rolling the result in identified-with named forms is consciousness.

This is perfectly clear in the Pali: Viññāṇa (the word translated 'consciousness') means: re-knowing knowing knowledge. The awareness of being aware. Some have called that a joke translation. It is no joke; it is perceiving the idea as it really is.

How could there not be consciousness in an intentional act and an identified-with result?

That consciousness that is being spoken of at this point is the awareness to some degree or another of the intended existence in named forms.

Every existing thing is a named-form.

Form is the entity (whether mental or material; thoughts, emotions, fantasies, sounds, and material objects are all 'forms'), name being that form's identity; with consciousness being the awareness of that identified-object ... entity/identity being Bhante Punnaji's great translation of nama-rūpa.

Name includes consciousness.

Consciousness is a named form.

The perception of named forms brings with it consciousness of them.

One of the things it is conscious of is the named form named consciousness.

Further, there being nothing there that is the self, what else is the Paṭicca-Samuppāda but consciousness as self-conditioning consciousness? Who said that wasn't allowed?

This description of the Paṭicca-Samuppāda has not been worked out with worldly-bound logical reasoning, but has been seen as it is in actual operation. It is a description, not a theory. You too, if you are going to get anywhere in this system, need to see this as an operation and let go of trying to work it out in word thought with logic and reasoning. When you have seen it, you can describe it, and it will appear well-reasoned and logical because that is the basis of reason and logic; that is, what is real.

And further, it is not that hard to see if you do not fog up your mind with logic and reasoning and the lust for fame, favors and flattery and impose mystery where there should be vision: Just think of what is happening when you think about how you are going to get your next meal. You are Saṅkhāraṃing, and the result is consciousnes of named forms. You have just 'own-made' identified with, made your own, a sense experience. When a fantasy presents itself to your mind, you are immediately aware of named-forms. What is that consciousness but a named form within named forms?

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.12.21] Monday, April 12, 2021 7:34 AM

 

Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention to what?
According to who?
In what setting?

Someone wants attention
they think what they
are saying or doing
or are telling you what to do
is worth paying
attention to
and that anyone
not paying attention
is mentally
disordered.

But
it may be
that what they are saying
or doing,
or telling you what to do

is
not

worth
'it

Turn
the story
around.

The person who accepts the opinion that one's distracted state is a disorder has a disorder, and has subjected himself to the opinion-maker's opinion as to when and if he will ever be 'cured' of that disorder. (Generally, never. There's too much money in keeping the sick sick.) The person who does not subject himself to external opinions of his sanity, knows what he knows.

In the same way the perception that smoking weed makes a person stupid, where this observation is being made by someone from the outside, it should be understood as the disorientation that can occur to anyone that is being dragged out of a deep (and deeply interesting) concentrated state and into this world of madnes by some fool's foolishness.[*] In the case of the second case, where the perception is being made by oneself of oneself, it should be understood not as "Weed makes me stupid", but as "I am being stupid and weed has given me self-awareness of the fact."

In the same way the Buddhist in meditation can be seen as "A lazy good-for-nothing; he just sits there being useless" or "A sage, he sits there doing nothing useless."

Turn
the story
around.

The Buddhist who finds himself continually distracted and has difficulty focusing down on his intended purpose should examine the possibility that his setting needs to be modified.

The first, and therefore the most important step to be taken by the Seeker seeking to develop jhāna, focus, knowledge, wisdom, awakening is, even before sitting, to find some place of solitude. There is no entering the state of the First Jhāna, without first securing solitude. The First Jhāna is "Born of Solitude" Vivekajaṃ. Hear "solitude" both literally and as being separated from the opinions of fools.

 


 

[*] I remind you of John Cleese's insightful statement:

"...very, very few people have any idea what they are talking about.

You must always remember that ninety per cent of what you're told is purest bullshit."

— John Cleese, So Anyway

And there is this two-word re-worded word of John Milton, from his "On His Blindness":

"They also serve who only sit and meditate"

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.09.21] Friday, April 09, 2021 9:31 AM

 

Buddhist Birth Stories. Tables Illustrative of the History and Migrations of the Buddhist Birth Stories. The third (and final) half of Rhys Davids' Introduction to to this work. Appended to the first parts and located at: ../../dhamma-vinaya/twrd/kd/jat/buddhist-birth-stories.htm. This section of this work should be of interest to researchers as there is extensive referencing to old documentation. Some gathering of statistics.

The tables:
I. Indian Works
II. The Kalilag and Damnag Literature
III. The Barlaam and Josaphat Literature
IV. The Cariyā-piṭaka; and the Jātaka Mala
V. Alphabetical List of Jātaka Stories in the Mahāvastu
VI. Places at which the Tales were Told
VIII. Jātakas Illustrated in Bas-relief on the Ancient Monuments.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.07.21] Wednesday, April 07, 2021 5:20 AM

 

At a certain point it becomes clear that you must so arrange your life such that your (genuine!) intent, every time you go to sit, should be the vow:

"Let me not rise up from this seated posture
though skin and sinew and bone wither away;
the flesh and blood of the body dry up;
that by the strength of a man,
the energy of a man,
the might of a man,
'til fulfilled,
energy fail me not
in striving,
and realized is my ambition."

You want to be able to look out from your seat on a world you are departing from forever!

This vow will be broken again and again, perhaps for hundreds or thousands of times over decades, but it should be renewed again and again every time you sit until such time as it is fulfilled.

The Dhamma, by its relentless destruction of one's blindness to the truly horrifying nature of existence inevitably brings one to the point where there is nothing out there worth a tinker's "Damn!" "There is nothing in the world anywhere anyhow for me!" and that the only rational thing to be doing in this life is to work at escaping it. Between letting your life roll on to its natural end and sitting to bring it to an end in a controlled sit-u-ation there is no rational choice but to make the effort even in the face of repeated failures. This way, even if you end up lying in bed in great pain, and/or drugged to the gills you will be able to live with yourself for having made the effort to do the rational thing.


Making English rational: "It's" should be the contraction as it is now, but the possessive should be written: "Its' ".


Buddhist Birth Stories. On the History of the Birth Stories in India The second half of Rhys Davids Introduction to this work. Appended to the first part and located at: ../../dhamma-vinaya/twrd/kd/jat/buddhist-birth-stories.htm Interesting but somewhat dry reading.
Once again please note that this is a 'first draft' of the conversion of this poorly scanned OCRecognized work into a formatted .html document and while it has been given a reasonably good (compared to the mess the OCR produced) proofreading while being formatted, it still needs a careful reading.
The Table of Contents for this much of this work is also now included and will be amended if/as/and/when further work is done on the book. The aim is to make it stand-alone at each updating.

 


 

Oblog: [O.04.04.21] Sunday, April 04, 2021 8:06 AM

Experiment:

Majjhima Nikāya Sutta 22 The Snake Simile

[e-pub] [mobi] [azw3] [ pdf]


Skip this long article

Buddhist Birth Stories

The frontmatter and the first part of the Introduction to Rhys Davids: Buddhist Birth Stories containing much interesting material on the relationship of the Buddhist Jātaka stories with those of other, European, collections of 'fairy tales' including those of Aesop. This excerpt does not contain the extensive footnoting that will be found at its permanent location at: ../../dhamma-vinaya/twrd/kd/jat/buddhist-birth-stories.htm.
This work has been given only a quick proofreading as the complete collection is currently viewed as a work in process. A more careful reading will be given it at such time as the extent of this work to be included on this site is determined and that work is completed.
This much is being prematurely released ... ahum ... because of its discussion of the possible relationships between early Buddhist and Western literature and commerse it suggests.
One avenue modern scholars should definitely explore is the likely fact that there are early Buddhist manuscripts to be found in the Vatacan Library and other European collections.
Still another avenue to explore would be the very likely fact that as well as these entertaining "children's stories" some of the Dhamma might have come along as well.
The next part of this long introduction gives a history of the Jātaka itself.

 


 

TRÜBNER'S

ORIENTAL SERIES

 


 

BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES

OR,

JĀTAKA TALES

The Oldest Collection of Fol-Lore Extant

Being

THE JĀTAKATTHAVAṆṆANĀ

For the first time edited in the original Pāli

By

V. FAUSBÖLL

 

 

 

Translated

By

T.W. RHYS DAVIDS

 

 

 

VOLUME I

 

 

 

LONDON
TRÜBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL
1880.

[Public Domain]

 


 

Hertford
Printed By Stephen Austin And Sons

 


 

TO
GEHEIM-RATH PROFESSOR DOCTOR
STENZLER
MY FIRST GUIDE IN ORIENTAL STUDIES
IN CONGRATULATION ON HIS 'DOCTOR JUBILÄUM'

AND IN DEEP RESPECT FOR HIS PROFOUND SCHOLARSHIP
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED BY
HIS GRATEFUL PUPIL
THE AUTHOR.

 


 

Sourced from the PDF digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from University of Toronto

 


 


{i}

INTRODUCTION

Part I

It is well known that amongst the Buddhist Scriptures there is one book in which a large number of old stories, fables, and fairy tales, lie enshrined in an edifying commentary; and have thus been preserved for the study and amusement of later times. How this came about is not at present quite certain. The belief of orthodox Buddhists on the subject is this. The Buddha, as occasion arose, was accustomed throughout his long career to explain and comment on the events happening around him, by telling of similar events that had occurred in his own previous births. The experience, not of one lifetime only, but of many lives, was always present to his mind; and it was this experience he so often used to point a moral, or adorn a tale. The stories so told are said to have been reverently learnt and repeated by his disciples; and immediately after his death 550 of them were gathered together in one collection, called the Book of the 550 Jiltakas or Births; the commentary to which gives for each Jātaka, or Birth Story, an account of the event in Gotama's life which led to his first telling that particular story. Both text and commentary were then handed down intact, and in the Pali language in which they were composed, to the time of the Council of Patna (held in or about the year 250 b.c.) ; and they were carried in the following year to Ceylon by the great missionary Mahinda. There the commentary was translated into Sinhalese, the Aryan dialect spoken in Ceylon; and was re — translated into its present form in the Pali language in the fifth century of our era. But the text of the Jātaka stories themselves has been throughout preserved in its original Pali form.

Unfortunately this orthodox Buddhist belief as to the history of the Book of Birth Stories rests on a foundation of quicksand. The Buddhist belief, that most of their sacred books were in existence immediately after the Buddha's death, is not only not supported, but is contradicted by the evidence of those books themselves. It may be necessary to state what that belief is, in order to show the importance which the Buddhists attach to the book; but in order to estimate the value we ourselves should give it, it will be necessary by critical, and more roundabout methods, to endeavour to arrive at some more reliable conclusion. Such an investigation cannot, it is true, be completed until the whole series of the Buddhist Birth Stories shall have bccome accessible in the original Pali text, and the history of those stories shall have been traced in other sources. With the present inadequate information at our command, it is only possible to arrive at probabilities. But it is therefore the more fortunate that the course of the inquiry will lead to some highly interesting and instructive results.

In the first place, the fairy tales, parables, fables, riddles, and comic and moral stories, of which the Buddhist Collection — known as the Jātaka Book — consists, have been found, in many instances, to bear a striking resemblance to similar ones current in the West. Now in many instances this resemblance is simply due to the fact that the Western stories were borrowed from the Buddhist ones.

To this resemblance much of the interest excited by the Buddhist Birth Stories is, very naturally, due. As, therefore, the stories translated in the body of this volume do not happen to contain among them any of those most generally known in England, I insert here one or two specimens which may at the same time afford some amusement, and also enable the reader to judge how far the alleged resemblances do actually exist.

It is absolutely essential for the correctness of such judgment that the stories should be presented exactly as they stand in the original. I am aware that a closc and literal translation involves the disadvantage of presenting the stories in a style which will probably seem strange, and even wooden, to the modern reader. But it cannot be admitted that, for even purposes of comparison, it would be sufficient to reproduce the stories in a modern form which should aim at combining substantial accuracy with a pleasing dress.

And the Book of Birth Stories has a value quite independent of the fact that many of its tales have been transplanted to the West. It contains a record of the every — day life, and every — day thought, of the people among whom the tales were told : it is the oldest, most complete, ancl most important Collection of Folk — lore extant.

The whole value of its evidence in this respect would be lost, if a translator, by slight additions in some places, slight omissions in others, and slight modifications here and there, should run the risk of conveying erroneous impressions of early Buddhist beliefs, and habits, and modes of thought. It is important, therefore, that the reader should understand, before reading the stories I intend to give, that while translating sentence by sentence, rather than word by word, I have never lost sight of the importance of retaining in the English version, as far as possible, not only the phraseology, but the style and spirit of the Buddhist story-teller.

The first specimen I propose to give is a half-moral half-comic story, which runs as follows.

 


 

The Ass in the Lion's Skin.

SĪHA — CAMMA JĀTAKA.

(Fausböll, No. 189)

Once upon a time, while Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the future Buddha was born one of a peasant family; and when he grew up, he gained his living by tilling the ground.

At that time a hawker used to go from place to place, trafficking in goods carried by an ass. Now at each place he came to, when he took the pack down from the ass's back, he used to clothe him in a lion's skin, and turn him loose in the rice and barley — fields. And when the watchmen in the fields saw the ass, they dared not go near him, taking him for a lion.

So one day the hawker stopped in a village ; and whilst he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he dressed the ass in a lion's skin, and turned him loose in a barley — field. The watchmen in the field dared not go up to him; but going home, they published the news. Then all the villagers came out with weapons in their hands; and blowing chanks, and beating drums, they went near the field and shouted. Terrified with the fear of death, the ass uttered a cry — the cry of an ass!

And when he knew him then to be an ass, the future Buddha pronounced the First Stanza:

"This is not a lion's roaring,
Nor a tiger's, nor a panther's;
Dressed in a lion's skin,
'Tis a wretched ass that roars!"

But when the villagers knew the creature to be an ass, they beat him till his bones broke; and, carrying off the lion's skin, went away. Then the hawker came; and seeing the ass fallen into so bad a plight, pronounced the Second Stanza:

"Long might the ass,
Clad in a lion's skin,
Have fed on the barley green.
But he brayed!
And that moment he came to ruin."

And even whilst he was yet speaking the ass died on the spot!

 


 

This story will doubtless sound familiar enough to English ears; for a similar tale is found in our modern collections of so-called 'Æsop's Fables.' Professor Benfey has further traced it in mediaeval French, German, Turkish, and Indian literature. But it may have been much older than any of these books; for the fable possibly gave rise to a proverb of which we find traces among the Greeks as early as the time of Plato. Lucian gives the fable in full, localizing it at Kume, in South Italy, and Julien has given us a Chinese version in his 'Avadimas.' Erasmus, in his work on proverbs, alludes to the fable; and so also does our own Shakespeare in 'King John.' It is worthy of mention that in one of the later story-books — in a Persian translation, that is, of the Hitopadesa — there is a version of our fable in which it is the vanity of the ass in trying to sing which leads to his disguise being discovered, and thus brings him to grief. But Professor Benfey has shown that this version is simply the rolling into one of the present tale and of another, also widely prevalent, where an ass by trying to sing earns for himself, not thanks, but blows. I shall hereafter attempt to draw some conclusions from the history of the story. But I would here point out that the fable could scarcely have originated in any country in which lions were not common; and that the Jātaka story gives a reasonable explanation of the ass being dressed in the skin, instead of saying that he dressed himself in it, as is said in our 'Æsop's Fables.'

The reader will notice that the 'moral' of the tale is contained in two stanzas, one of which is put into the mouth of the Bodisat or future Buddha. This will be found to be the case in all the Birth Stories, save that the number of the stanzas differs, and that they are usually all spoken by the Bodisat. It should also be noticed that the identification of the peasant's son with the Bodisat, which is of so little importance to the story, is the only part of it which is essentially Buddhistic. Both these points will be of importance further on.

The introduction of the human element takes this story, perhaps, out of the class of fables in the most exact sense of that word. I therefore add a story containing a fable proper, where animals speak and act like men.

 


 

The Talkative Tortoise.

KACCHAPA JĀTAKA

(Fausböll, No. 215.)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the future Buddha was born in a minister's family; and when he grew up, he became the king's adviser in things temporal and spiritual.

Now this king was very talkative: while he was speaking, others had no opportunity for a word. And the future Buddha, wanting to cure this talkativeness of his, was constantly seeking for some means of doing so.

At that time there was living, in a pond in the Himalaya mountains, a tortoise. Two young haŋsas {i.e. wild ducks who came to feed there, made friends with him. And one day, when they had become very intimate with him, they said to the tortoise —

"Friend tortoise! the place where we live, at the Golden Cave on Mount Beautiful in the Himalaya country, is a delightful spot. Will you come there with us?"

"But how can I get there?"

"We can take you, if you can only hold your tongue, and will say nothing to anybody."

"0! that I can do. Take me with you."

"That's right," said they. And making the tortoise bite hold of a stick, they themselves took the two ends in their teeth, and flew up into the air.

Seeing him thus carried by the haŋsas, some villagers called out, "Two wild ducks are carrying a tortoise along on a stick!" Whereupon the tortoise wanted to say, "If my friends choose to carry me, what is that to you, you wretched slaves!" So just as the swift flight of the wild ducks had brought him over the king's palace in the city of Benares, he let go of the stick he was biting, and falling in the open courtyard, split in two! And there arose a universal cry, "A tortoise has fallen in the open courtyard, and has split in two!"

The king, taking the future Buddha, went to the place, surrounded by his courtiers; and looking at the tortoise, he asked the Bodisat, "Teacher! how comes he to be fallen here?"

The future Buddha thought to himself, "Long expecting, wishing to admonish the king, have I sought for some means of doing so. This tortoise must have made friends with the wild ducks; and they must have made him bite hold of the stick, and have flown up into the air to take him to the hills. But he, being unable to hold his tongue when he hears any one else talk, must have wanted to say something, and let go the stick; and so must have fallen down from the sky, and thus lost his life." And saying, "Truly, 0 king! those who are called chatter-boxes — people whose words have no end — come to grief like this," he uttered these verses:

"Verily the tortoise killed himself
Whilst uttering his voice;
Though he was holding tight the stick,
By a word himself he slew.

"Behold him then, 0 excellent by strength!
And speak wise words, not out of season.
You see how, by his talking overmuch,
The tortoise fell into this wretched plight!"

The king saw that he was himself referred to, and said, "0 Teacher! are you speaking of us?"

And the Bodisat spake openly, and said, "0 great king! be it thou, or be it any other, whoever talks beyond measure meets with some mishap like this."

And the king henceforth refrained himself, and became a man of few words.

 


 

This story too is found also in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, and in most European languages, though, strangely enough, it does not occur in our books of Æsop's Eables. But in the 'Æsop's Fables' is usually included a story of a tortoise who asked an eagle to teach him to fly; and being dropped, split into two! It is worthy of notice that in the Southern recension of the Pañca Tantra it is eagles, and not wild ducks or swans, who carry the tortoise; and there can, I think, be little doubt that the two fables are historically connected.

Another fable, very familiar to modern readers, is stated in the commentary to have been first related in ridicule of a kind of Mutual Admiration Society existing among the opponents of the Buddha. Hearing the monks talking about the foolish way in which Devadatta and Kokālika went about among the people ascribing each to the other virtues which neither possessed, he is said to have told this tale.

 


The Jackal and the Crow

JAMBU-KHĀDAKA JĀTAKA

(Fausböll, No. 294)

Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodisat had come to life as a tree-god, dwelling in a certain grove of Jambu-trees.

Now a crow was sitting there one day on the branch of a Jambu-tree, eating the Jambu-fruits, when a jackal coming by, looked up and saw him.

"Ha!" thought he. "I'll flatter that fellow, and get some of those Jambus to eat." And thereupon he uttered this verse in his praise:

"Who may this be, whose rich and pleasant notes
Proclaim him best of all the singing-birds?
"Warbling so sweetly on the Jambu-branch,
Where like a peacock he sits firm and grand!"

Then the crow, to pay him back his compliments, replied in this second verse:

"'Tis a well-bred young gentleman, who understands
To speak of gentlemen in terms polite!
Good Sir! — whose shape and glossy coat reveal
The tiger's offspring — eat of these, I pray!"

And so saying, he shook the branch of the Jambu-tree till he made the fruit to fall.

But when the god who dwelt in that tree saw the two of them, now they had done flattering one another, eating the Jambus together, he uttered a third verse:

"Too long, forsooth, I've borne the sight
Of these poor chatterers of lies —
The refuse-eater and the offa-eater
Belauding each other!"

And making himself visible in awful shape, he frightened them away from the place!

 


 

It is easy to understand, that when this story had been carried out of those countries where the crow and the jackal are the common scavengers, it would lose its point; and it may very well, therefore, have been shortened into the fable of the Fox and the Crow and the piece of cheese. On the other hand, the latter is so complete and excellent a story, that it would scarcely have been expanded, if it had been the original, into the tale of the Jackal and the Crow.

The next tale to be quoted is one showing how a wise man solves a difficulty. I am sorry that Mr. Fausböll has not yet reached this Jātaka in his edition of the Pali text; but I give it from a Sinhalese version of the fourteenth century, which is nearer to the Pali than any other as yet known. It is an episode in:

 


The Birth as 'Great Physician.'

MAHOSADHA JĀTAKA

A woman, carrying her child, went to the future Buddha's tank to wash. And having first bathed the child, she put on her upper garment and descended into the water to bathe herself.

Then a Yakshiṇī, seeing the child, had a craving to eat it. And taking the form of a woman, she drew near, and asked the mother —

"Friend, this is a very pretty child, is it one of yours?"

And when she was told it was, she asked if she might nurse it. And this being allowed, she nursed it a little, and then carried it off.

But when the mother saw this, she ran after her, and cried out, "Where are you taking my child to?" and caught hold of her.

The Yakshiṇī boldly said, "Where did you get the child from? It is mine!" And so quarrelling, they passed the door of the future Buddha's Judgment Hall.

He heard the noise, sent for them, inquired into the matter, and asked them whether they would abide by his decision. And they agreed. Then he had a line drawn on the ground; and told the Yakshiṇī to take hold of the child's arms, and the mother to take hold of its legs; and said, "The child shall be hers who drags him over the line."

But as soon as they pulled at him, the mother, seeing how he suffered, grieved as if her heart would break. And letting him go, she stood there weeping.

Then the future Buddha asked the bystanders, "Whose hearts are tender to babes? those who have borne children, or those who have not?"

And they answered, "0 Sire! the hearts of mothers are tender."

Then he said, "Whom think you is the mother? she who has the child in her arms, or she who has let go?" And they answered, "She who has let go is the mother."

And he said, "Then do you all think that the other was the thief?"

And they answered, "Sire! we cannot tell."

And he said, "Verily this is a Yakshiṇī, who took the child to eat it."

And they asked, "0 Sire! how did you know it?" And he replied, "Because her eyes winked not, and were red, and she knew no fear, and had no pity, I knew it."

And so saying, he demanded of the thief, "Who are you?"

And she said, "Lord! I am a Yakshiṇī."

And he asked, "Why did you take away this child?" And she said, "I thought to eat him, 0 my Lord!" And he rebuked her, saying, "0 foolish woman! For your former sins you have been born a Yakshiṇī, and now do you still sin!" And he laid a vow upon her to keep the Five Commandments, and let her go.

But the mother of the child exalted the future Buddha, and said, "0 my Lord! 0 Great Physician! may thy life be long!" And she went away, with her babe clasped to her bosom.

 


 

The Hebrew story, in which a similar judgment is ascribed to Solomon, occurs in the Book of Kings, which is more than a century older than the time of Gotama. We shall consider below what may be the connexion between the two.

The next specimen is a tale about lifeless things endowed with miraculous powers; perhaps the oldest tale in the world of that kind which has been yet published. It is an episode in:

 


 

Sakka's Presents

DADHI-VĀHANA JĀTAKA

(Fausböll, No. 186)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, four brothers, Brahmans, of that kingdom, devoted themselves to an ascetic life; and having built themselves huts at equal distances in the region of the Himalaya mountains, took up their residence there.

The eldest of them died, and was re-born as the god Sakka. When he became aware of this, he used to go and render help at intervals every seven or eight days to the others. And one day, having greeted the eldest hermit, and sat down beside him, he asked him, "Reverend Sir, what are you in need of?"

The hermit, who suffered from jaundice, answered, "I want fire!" So he gave him a double-edged hatchet.

But the hermit said, "Who is to take this, and bring me firewood?"

Then Sakka spake thus to him, "Whenever, reverend Sir, you want firewood, you should let go the hatchet from your hand, and say, 'Please fetch me firewood: make me fire!' And it will do so."

So he gave him the hatchet; and went to the second hermit, and asked, "ReYerend Sir, what are you in need of?"

Now the elephants had made a track for themselves close to his hut. And he was annoyed by those elephants, and said, "I am much troubled by elephants; drive them away."

Sakka, handing him a drum, said, "Reverend Sir, if you strike on this side of it, your enemies will take to flight; but if you strike on this side, they will become friendly, and surround you on all sides with an army in fourfold array."

So he gave him the drum; and went to the third hermit, and asked, "Reverend Sir, what are you in need of?"

He was also affected with jaundice, and said, therefore, "I want sour milk."

Sakka gave him a milk-bowl, and said, "If you wish for anything, and turn this bowl over, it will become a great river, and pour out such a torrent, that it will be able to take a kingdom, and give it to you."

And Sakka went away. But thenceforward the hatchet made fire for the eldest hermit; when the second struck one side of his drum, the elephants ran away; and the third enjoyed his curds.

Now at that time a wild boar, straying in a forsaken village, saw a gem of magical power. When he seized this in his mouth, he rose by its magic into the air, and went to an island in the midst of the ocean. And thinking, "Here now I ought to live," he descended, and took up his abode in a convenient spot under an Udumbara-tree. And one day, placing the gem before him, he fell asleep at the foot of the tree.

Now a certain man of the land of Kasi had been expelled from home by his parents, who said, "This fellow is of no use to us." So he went to a seaport, and embarked in a ship as a servant to the sailors. And the ship was wrecked; but by the help of a plank he reached that very island. And while he was looking about for fruits, he saw the boar asleep; and going softly up, he took hold of the gem.

Then by its magical power he straightway rose right up into the air! So, taking a seat on the Udumbara-tree, he said to himself, "Methinks this boar must have become a sky-walker through the magic power of this gem. That's how he got to be living here! It's plain enough what I ought to do; I'll first of all kill and eat him, and then I can get away!"

So he broke a twig off the tree, and dropped it on his head. The boar woke up, and not seeing the gem, ran about, trembling, this way and that way. The man seated on the tree laughed. The boar, looking up, saw him, and dashing his head against the tree, died on the spot.

But the man descended, cooked his flesh, ate it, and rose into the air. And as he was passing along the summit of the Himalaya range, he saw a hermitage; and descending at the hut of the eldest hermit, he stayed there two or three days, and waited on the hermit; and thus became aware of the magic power of the hatchet.

"I must get that," thought he. And he showed the hermit the magic power of his gem, and said, "Sir, do you take this, and give me your hatchet." The ascetic, full of longing to be able to fly through the air, did so. But the man, taking the hatchet, went a little way off, and letting it go, said, "0 hatchet! cut off that hermit's head, and bring the gem to me!" And it went, and cut off the hermit's head, and brought him the gem.

Then he put the hatchet in a secret place, and went to the second hermit, and stayed there a few days. And having thus become aware of the magic power of the drum, he exchanged the gem for the drum; and cut off his head too in the same way as before.

Then he went to the third hermit, and saw the magic power of the milk-bowl; and exchanging the gem for it, caused his head to be cut off in the same manner. And taking the Gem, and the Hatchet, and the Drum, and the Milk-bowl, he flew away up into the air.

Not far from the city of Benares he stopped, and sent by the hand of a man a letter to the king of Benares to this effect, "Either do battle, or give me up your kingdom!"

No sooner had he heard that message, than the king sallied forth, saying, "Let us catch the scoundrel!"

But the man beat one side of his drum, and a fourfold army stood around him! And directly he saw that the king's army was drawn out in battle array, he poured out his milk-bowl; and a mighty river arose, and the multitude, sinking down in it, were not able to escape! Then letting go the hatchet, he said, "Bring me the king's head!" And the hatchet went, and brought the king's head, and threw it at his feet; and no one had time even to raise a weapon!

Then he entered the city in the midst of his great army, and caused himself to be anointed king, under the name of Dadhi-vahana (The Lord of Milk), and governed the kingdom with righteousness.

The story goes on to relate how the king planted a wonderful mango, how the sweetness of its fruit turned to sourness through the too-close proximity of bitter herbs, (!) and how the Bodisat, then the king's minister, pointed out that evil communications corrupt good things. But it is the portion above translated which deserves notice as the most ancient example known of those tales in which inanimate objects are endowed with magical powers; and in which the Seven League Boots, or the Wishing Cup, or the Vanishing Hat, or the Wonderful Lamp, render their fortunate possessors happy and glorious. There is a very tragical story of a Wishing Cup in the Buddhist Collection, where the Wishing Cup, however, is turned into ridicule. It is not unpleasant to find that beliefs akin to, and perhaps the result of, fetish-worship, had faded away, among Buddhist story-tellers, into sources of innocent amusement.

In this curious tale the Hatchet, the Drum, and the Milk-bowl are endowed with qualities much more fit for the use they were put to in the latter part of the story, than to satisfy the wants of the hermits. It is common ground with satirists how little, save sorrow, men would gain if they could have anything they chose to ask for. But, unlike the others we have quoted, the tale in its present shape has a flavour distinctively Buddhist in the irreverent way in which it treats the great god Sakka, the Jupiter of the pre-Buddhistic Hindus. It takes for granted, too, that the hero ruled in righteousness; and this is as common in the Jātakas, as the 'lived happily ever after' of modem love stories.

This last idea recurs more strongly in the Birth Story called:

 


 

A Lesson for Kings

RĀJOVĀDA JĀTAKA

(Fausböll, No. 151)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the future Buddha returned to life in the womb of his chief queen; and after the conception ceremony had been performed, he was safely born. And when the day came for choosing a name, they called him Prince Brahmadatta. He grew up in due course; and when he was sixteen years old, went to Takkasila, and became accomplished in all arts. And after his father died he ascended the throne, and ruled the kingdom with righteousness and equity. He gave judgments without partiality, hatred, ignorance, or fear. Since he thus reigned with justice, with justice also his ministers administered the law. Lawsuits being thus decided with justice, there were none who brought false cases. And as these ceased, the noise and tumult of litigation ceased in the king's court. Though the judges sat all day in the court, they had to leave without any one coming for justice. It came to this, that the Hall of Justice would have to be closed!

Then the future Buddha thought, "From my reigning with righteousness there are none who come for judgment; the bustle has ceased, and the Hall of Justice will have to be closed. It behoves me, therefore, now to examine into my own faults; and if I find that anything is wrong in me, to put that away, and practise only virtue."

Thenceforth he sought for some one to tell him his faults; but among those around him he found no one who would tell him of any fault, but heard only his own praise.

Then he thought, "It is from fear of me that these men speak only good things, and not evil things," and he sought among those people who lived outside the palace. And finding no fault-finder there, he sought among those who lived outside the city, in the suburbs, at the four gates. And there too finding no one to find fault, and hearing only his own praise, he determined to search the couutry places.

So he made over the kingdom to his ministers, and mounted his chariot; and taking only his charioteer, left the city in disguise. And searching the country through, up to the very boundary, he found no faultfinder, and heard only of his own virtue; and so he turned back from the outermost boundary, and returned by the high road towards the city.

Now at that time the king of Kosala, Mallika by name, was also ruling his kingdom with righteousness; and when seeking for some fault in himself, — he also found no fault-finder in the palace, but only heard of his own virtue! So seeking in country places, he too came to that very spot. And these two came face to face in a low cart-track with precipitous sides, where there was no space for a chariot to get out of the way!

Then the charioteer of Mallika the king said to the charioteer of the king of Benares, "Take thy chariot out of the way!"

But he said, "Take thy chariot out of the way, 0 charioteer! In this chariot sitteth the lord over the kingdom of Benares, the great king Brahma-datta."

Yet the other replied, "In this chariot, 0 charioteer, sitteth the lord over the kingdom of Kosala, the great king Mallika. Take thy carriage out of the way, and make room for the chariot of our king!"

Then the charioteer of the king of Benares thought, "They say then that he too is a king! What is now to be done?" After some consideration, he said to himself, "I know a way. I'll find out how old he is, and then I'll let the chariot of the younger be got out of the way, and so make room for the elder."

And when he had arrived at that conclusion, he asked that charioteer what the age of the king of Kosala was. But on inquiry he found that the ages of both were equal. Then he inquired about the extent of his kingdom, and about his army, and his wealth, and his renown, and about the country he lived in, and his caste and tribe and family. And he found that both were lords of a kingdom three hundred leagues in extent; and that in respect of army and wealth and renown, and the countries in which they lived, and their caste and their tribe and their family, they were just on a par!

Then he thought, "I will make way for the most righteous." And he asked, "What kind of righteousness has this king of yours?"

And the other saying, "Such and such is our king's righteousness," and so proclaiming his king's wickedness as goodness, uttered the First Stanza:

The strong he overthrows by strength,
The mild by mildness, does Mallika;
The good he conquers by goodness,
And the wicked by wickedness too.
Such is the nature of this king!
Move out of the way, 0 charioteer!

But the charioteer of the king of Benares asked him, "Well, have you told all the virtues of your king?"

"Yes," said the other.

"If these are his virtues, where are then his faults?" replied he.

The other said, "Well, for the nonce, they shall be faults, if you like! But pray, then, what is the kind of goodness your king has?"

And then the charioteer of the king of Benares called unto him to hearken, and uttered the Second Stanza:

Anger he conquers by calmness,
And by goodness the wicked;
The stingy he conquers by gifts,
And by truth the speaker of lies.
Such is the nature of this king!
Move out of the way, 0 charioteer!"

And when he had thus spoken, both Mallika the king and his charioteer alighted from their chariot. And they took out the horses, and removed their chariot, and made way for the king of Benares!

But the king of Benares exhorted Mallika the king, saying, "Thus and thus is it right to do." And returning to Benares, he practised charity, and did other good deeds, and so when his life was ended he passed away to heaven.

And Mallika the king took his exhortation to heart; and having in vain searched the country through for a fault-finder, he too returned to his own city, and practised charity and other good deeds; and so at the end of his life he went to heaven.

 


 

The mixture in this Jātaka of earnestness with dry humour is very instructive. The exaggeration in the earlier part of the story; the hint that law depends in reality on false cases; the suggestion that to decide eases justly would by itself put an end, not only to 'the block in the law courts' but even to all lawsuits; the way in which it is brought about that two mighty kings should meet, unattended, in a narrow lane; the cleverness of the first chariotcer in getting; out of his difficulties; the brand-new method of settling the delicate question of precedence — a method which, logically carried out, would destroy the necessity of such questions being raised at all; — all this is the amusing side of the Jātaka. It throws, and is meant to throw, an air of unreality over the story; and it is none the less humour because it is left to be inferred, because it is only an aroma which might easily escape unnoticed, only the humour of naïve absurdity and of clever repartee.

But none the less also is the story-teller thoroughly in earnest; he really means that justice is noble, that to conquer evil by good is the right thing, and that goodness is the true measure of greatness. The object is edification also, and not amusement only. The lesson itself is quite Buddhistic. The first four lines of the Second Moral are indeed included, as verse 223, in the Dhammapada or 'Scripture Verses' perhaps the most sacred and most widely-read book of the Buddhist Bible; and the distinction between the two ideals of virtue is in harmony with all Buddhist ethics. It is by no means, however, exclusively Buddhistic. It gives expression to an idea that would be consistent with most of the later religions; and is found also in the great Hindu Epic, the Mahā Bhārata, which has been called the Bible of the Hindus. It is true that fnrther on in the same poem is found the opposite sentiment, attributed in our story to the king of Mallika; and that the higher teaching is in one of the latest portions of the Mahā Bhārata, and probably of Buddhist origin. But when we find that the Buddhist principle of overcoming evil by good was received, as well as its opposite, into the Hindu poem, it is clear that this lofty doctrine was by no means repugnant to the best among the Brahmans.

It is to be regretted that some writers on Buddhism have been led away by their just admiration for the noble teaching of Gotama into an unjust depreciation of the religious system of which his own was, after all, but the highest product and result. There were doubtless among the Brahmans uncompromising advocates of the worst privileges of caste, of the most debasing belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies; but this verse is only one among many others which are incontestable evidence of the wide prevalence also of a spirit of justice, and of an earnest seeking after truth. It is, in fact, inaccurate to draw any hard-and-fast line between the Indian Buddhists and their countrymen of other faiths. After the first glow of the Buddhist reformation had passed away, there was probably as little difference between Buddhist and Hindu as there was between the two kings in the story which has just been told.

The Kalilag and Damnag Literature

Among the other points of similarity between Buddhists and Hindus, there is one which deserves more especial mention here, — that of their liking for the kind of mora-comic tales which form the bulk of the Buddhist Birth Stories. That this partiality was by no means confined to the Buddhists is apparent from the fact that books of such tales have been amongst the most favourite literature of the Hindus. And this is the more interesting to us, as it is these Hindu collections that have most nearly preserved the form in which many of the Indian stories have been carried to the West.

Pentateuch means simply "five books". In Greek, the Pentateuch (which Jews call the Torah) includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. This is commonly known as the Written Torah. It can also mean the continued narrative from all the 24 books, from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh. — Wikipedia
Pentamerone. (Neapolitan subtitle: Lo cunto de li cunti, "The Tale of Tales") is a seventeenth-century fairy tale collection by Italian poet and courtier Giambattista Basile. —Wikipedia.

p.p. explains it all —p.p.

The oldest of the collections now extant is the one already referred to, the Pancha Tantra, that is, the 'Five Books' a kind of Hindu 'Pentateuch' or 'Pentamerone.' In its earliest form this work is unfortunately no longer extant; but in the sixth century of our era a book very much like it formed part of a work translated into Pahlavi, or Ancient Persian; and thence, about 750 a.d., into Syriac, under the title of 'Kalilag and Damxag,' and into Arabic under the title 'Kalilah and Dimnah.'

These tales, though originally Buddhist, became great favourites among the Arabs; and as the Arabs were gradually brought into contact with Europeans, and penetrated into the South of Europe, they brought the stories with them; and we soon afterwards find them translated into Western tongues. It would be impossible within the limits of this preface to set out in full detail the intricate literary history involved in this statement; and while I must refer the student to the Tables appended to this Introduction for fuller information, I can only give here a short summary of the principal facts.

It is curious to notice that it was the Jews to whom we owe the earliest versions. "Whilst their mercantile pursuits took them much" amongst the followers of the Prophet, and the comparative nearness of their religious beliefs led to a freer intercourse than was usually possible between Christians and Moslems, they were naturally attracted by a kind of literature such as this — Oriental in morality, amusing in style, and perfectly free from Christian legend and from Christian dogma. It was also the kind of literature which travellers would most easily become acquainted with, and we need not therefore be surprised to hear that a Jew, named Symeon Seth, about 1080 A.D., made the first translation into a European language, viz. into modern Greek. Another Jew, about 1250, made a translation of a slightly different recension of the 'Kalilah and Dimnah' into Hebrew; and a third, John of Capua, turned this Hebrew version into Latin between 1263 and 1278.

At about the same time as the Hebrew version, another was made direct from the Arabic into Spanish, and a fifth into Latin; and from these five versions translations were afterwards made into German, Italian, French, and English.

The title of the second Latin version just mentioned is very striking — it is "Æsop the Old." To the translator, Baldo, it evidently seemed quite in order to ascribe these new stories to the traditional teller of similar stories in ancient times; just as witty sayings of more modern times have been collected into books ascribed to the once venerable Joe Miller. Baldo was neither sufficiently enlightened to consider a good story the worse for being an old one, nor sufficiently scrupulous to hesitate at giving his new book the advantage it would gain from its connexion with a well-known name.

Is it true, then, that the so-called Æsop's Fables — so popular still, in spite of many rivals, among our Western children — are merely adaptations from tales invented long ago to please and to instruct the childlike people of the East? I think I can give an answer, though not a complete answer, to the question.

Æsop himself is several times mentioned in classical literature, and always as the teller of stories or fables. Thus Plato says that Socrates in his imprisonment occupied himself by turning the stories (literally myths) of Æsop into verse: Aristophanes four times refers to his tales: and Aristotle quotes in one form a fable of his, which Lucian quotes in another. In accordance with these references, classical historians fix the date of Æsop in the sixth century B.C.; but some modern critics, relying on the vagueness and inconsistency of the traditions, have denied his existence altogether. This is, perhaps, pushing scepticism too far; but it may be admitted that he left no written works, and it is quite certain that if he did, they have been irretrievably lost.

Notwithstanding this, a learned monk of Constantinople, named Planudes, and the author also of numerous other works, did not hesitate, in the first half of the fourteenth century, to write a work which he called a collection of Æsop's Fables. This was first printed at Milan at the end of the fifteenth century; and two other supplementary collections have subsequently appeared. From these, and especially from the work of Planudes, all our so-called Æsop's Fables are derived.

Whence then did Planudes and his fellow-labourers draw their tales? This cannot be completely answered till the source of each one of them shall have been clearly found, and this has not yet been completely done. But Oriental and classical scholars have already traced a goodly number of them; and the general results of their investigations may be shortly stated.

Babrius, a Greek poet, who probably lived in the first century before Christ, wrote in verse a number of fables, of which a few fragments were known in the Middle Ages. The complete work was fortunately discovered by Mynas, in the year 1824, at Mount Athos; and both Bentley and Tyrwhitt from the fragments, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis in his well-known edition of the whole work, have shown that several of Planudes' Fables are also to be found in Babrius.

It is possible, also, that the Æsopean fables of the Latin poet Phædrus, who in the title of his work calls himself a freedman of Augustus, were known to Planudes. But the work of Phædrus, which is based on that of Babrius, existed only in very rare MSS. till the end of the sixteenth century, and may therefore have easily escaped the notice of Planudes.

On the other hand, we have seen that versions of Buddhist Birth Stories, and other Indian tales, had appeared in Europe before the time of Planudes in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Spanish; and many of his stories have been clearly traced back to this source. Further, as I shall presently show, some of the fables of Babrius and Phædrus, found in Planudes, were possibly derived by those authors from Buddhist sources. And lastly, other versions of the Jātakas, besides those which have been mentioned as coming through the Arabs, had reached Europe long before the time of Planudes; and some more of his stories have been traced back to Buddhist sources through these channels also.

What is at present known, then, with respect to the so-called Æsop's fables, amounts to this — that none of them are really Æsopean at all; that the collection was first formed in the Middle Ages; that a large number of them have been already traced back, in various ways, to our Buddhist Jātaka book; and that almost the whole of them are probably derived, in one way or another, from Indian sources.

It is perhaps worthy of mention, as a fitting close to the history of the so-called Æsop's Fables, that those of his stories which Planudes borrowed indirectly from India have at length been restored to their original home, and bid fair to be popular even in this much-altered form. For not only has an Englishman translated a few of them into several of the many languages spoken in the great continent of India, but Narāyan Balkrishṇa Godpole, B.A., one of the Masters of the Government High School at Ahmadnagar, has lately published a second edition of his translation into Sanskrit of the common English version of the successful spurious compilation of the old monk of Constantinople!

The Barlaam and Josaphat Literature

A complete answer to the question with which the last digression started can only be given when each one of the two hundred and thirty-one fables of Planudes and his successors shall have been traced back to its original author. But — whatever that complete answer may be — the discoveries just pointed out are at least most strange and most instructive. And yet, if I mistake not, the history of the Jātaka Book contains hidden amongst its details a fact more unexpected and more striking still.

In the eighth century the Khalif of Bagdad was that Almansur at whose court was written the Arabic book Kalilah and Dimnah, afterwards translated by the learned Jews I have mentioned into Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. A Christian, high in office at his court, afterwards became a monk, and is well known, under the name of St. John of Damascus, as the author in Greek of many theological works in defence of the orthodox faith. Among these is a religious romance called 'Barlaam and Jōasaph' giving the history of an Indian prince who was converted by Barlaam and became a hermit. This history, the reader will be surprised to learn, is taken from the life of the Buddha; and Jōasaph is merely the Buddha under another name, the word Joasaph, or Josaphat, being simply a corruption of the word Bodisat, that title of the future Buddha so constantly repeated in the Buddhist Birth Stories. Now a life of the Buddha forms the introduction to our Jātaka Book, and St. John's romance also contains a number of fables and stories, most of which have been traced back to the same source.

This book, the first religious romance published in a Western language, became very popular indeed, and, like the Arabic Kalilah and Dimnah, was translated into many other European languages. It exists in Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, English, Swedish, and Dutch. This will show how widely it was read, and how much its moral tone pleased the taste of the Middle Ages. It was also translated as early as 1204 into Icelandic, and has even been published in the Spanish dialect used in the Philippine Islands!

Now it was a very ancient custom among Christians to recite at the most sacred part of their most sacred service (in the so-called Canon of the Mass, immediately before the consecration of the Host) the names of deceased saints and martyrs. Religious men of local celebrity were inserted for this purpose in local lists, called Diptychs, and names universally honoured throughout Christendom appeared in all such catalogues. The confessors and martyrs so honoured are now said to be canonized, that is, they have become enrolled among the number of Christian saints mentioned in the 'Canon' whom it is the duty of every Catholic to revere, whose intercession may be invoked, who may be chosen as patron saints, and in whose honour images and altars and chapels may be set up.

For a long time it was permitted to the local ecclesiastics to continue the custom of inserting such names in their 'Diptychs' but about 1170 a decretal of Pope Alexander III confined the power of canonization, as far as the Roman Catholics were concerned, to the Pope himself. From the different Diptychs various martyrologies, or lists of persons so to be commemorated in the 'Canon' were composed to supply the place of the merely local lists or Diptychs. For as time went on, it began to be considered more and more improper to insert new names in so sacred a part of the Church prayers; and the old names being well known, the Diptychs fell into disuse. The names in the Martyrologies were at last no longer inserted in the Canon, but are repeated in the service called the 'Prime'; though the term 'canonized' was still used of the holy men mentioned in them. And when the increasing number of such Martyrologies threatened to lead to confusion, and to throw doubt on the exclusive power of the Popes to canonize, Pope Sixtus the Fifth (1585-1590) authorized a particular Martyrologium, drawn up by Cardinal Baronius, to be used throughout the Western Church. In that work are included not only the saints first canonized at Rome, but all those who, having been already canonized elsewhere, were then acknowledged by the Pope and the College of Rites to be saints of the Catholic Church of Christ. Among such, under the date of the 27th of November, are included "The holy Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, of India, on the borders of Persia, whose wonderful acts Saint John of Damascus has described."

Where and when they were first canonized, I have been unable, in spite of much investigation, to ascertain. Petrus de Natalibus, who was Bishop of Equilium, the modern Jesolo, near Venice, from 1370 to 1400, wrote a Martyrology called 'Catalogus Sanctorum'; and in it, among the 'saints' he inserts both Barlaam and Josaphat, giving also a short account of them derived from the old Latin translation of St. John of Damascus. It is from this work that Baronius, the compiler of the authorized Martyrology now in use, took over the names of these two saints, Barlaam and Josaphat. But, so far as I have been able to ascertain, they do not occur in any martyrologies or lists of saints of the Western Church older than that of Petrus de Natalibus.

In the corresponding manual of worship still used in the Greek Church, however, we find, under August 26, the name 'of the holy Iosaph, son of Abenēr, king of India.' Barlaam is not mentioned, and is not therefore recognized as a saint in the Greek Church. No history is added to the simple statement I have quoted; and I do not know on what authority it rests. But there is no doubt that it is in the East, and probably among the records of the ancient church of Syria, that a final solution of this question should be sought.

Some of the more learned of the numerous writers who translated or composed new works on the basis o£ the story of Josaphat, have pointed out in their notes that he had been canonized; and the hero of the romance is usually called St. Josaphat in the titles of these works, as will be seen from the Table of the Josaphat literature below. But Professor Liebrecht, when identifying Josaphat with the Buddha, took no notice of this; and it was Professor Max Müller, who has done so much to infuse the glow of life into the dry bones of Oriental scholarship, who first pointed out the strange fact — almost incredible, were it not for the completeness of the proof — that Gotama the Buddha, under the name of St. Josaphat, is now officially recognized and honoured and worshipped throughout the whole of Catholic Christendom as a Christian saint!

I have now followed the Western history of the Buddhist Book of Birth Stories along two channels only. Space would fail me, and the reader's patience perhaps too, if I attempted to do more. But I may mention that the inquiry is not by any means exhausted. A learned Italian has proved that a good many of the stories of the hero known throughout Europe as Sinbad the Sailor are derived from the same inexhaustible treasury of stories witty and wise; and a similar remark applies also to other well-known Tales included in the Arabian Nights. La Fontaine, whose charming versions of the Fables are so deservedly admired, openly acknowledges his indebtedness to the French versions of Kalilah and Dimnah; and Professor Benfey and others have traced the same stories, or ideas drawn from them, to Poggio, Boccaccio, Gower, Chaucer, Spenser, and many other later writers. Thus, for instance, the three caskets and the pound of flesh in 'The Merchant of Venice,' and the precious jewel which in 'As You Like It' the venomous toad wears in his head, are derived from the Buddhist tales. In a similar way it has been shown that tales current among the Hungarians and the numerous peoples of Slavonic race have been derived from Buddhist sources, through translations made by or for the Huns, who penetrated in the time of Genghis Khan into the East of Europe. And finally yet other Indian tales, not included in the Kalilag and Damnag literature, have been brought into the opposite corner of Europe, by the Arabs of Spain.

There is only one other point on which a few words should be said. I have purposely chosen as specimens one Buddhist Birth Story similar to the Judgment of Solomon; two which are found also in Babrius; and one which is found also in Phædrus. How are these similarities, on which the later history of Indian Fables throws no light, to be explained?

As regards the cases of Babrius and Phædrus, it can only be said that the Greeks who travelled with Alexander to India may have taken the tales there, but they may equally well have brought them back. We only know that at the end of the fourth, and still more in the third century before Christ, there was constant travelling to and fro between the Greek dominions in the East and the adjoining parts of India, which were then Buddhist, and that the Birth Stories were already popular among the Buddhists in Afghanistan, where the Greeks remained for a long time. Indeed, the very region which became the seat of the Graeco-Bactrian kings takes, in all the Northern versions of the Birth Stories, the place occupied by the country of Kasi in the Pali text, — so that the scene of the tales is laid in that district. And among the innumerable Buddhist remains still existing there, a large number are connected with the Birth Stories. It is also in this very district, and under the immediate successor of Alexander, that the original of the 'Kalilah and Dimnah' was said by its Arabian translators to have been written by Bidpai. It is possible that a smaller number of similar stories were also current among the Greeks; and that they not only heard the Buddhist ones, but told their own. But so far as the Greek and the Buddhist stories can at present be compared, it seems to me that the internal evidence is in favour of the Buddhist versions being the originals from which the Greek versions were adapted. Whether more than this can be at present said is very doubtful: when the Jātakas are all published, and the similarities between them and classical stories shall have been fully investigated, the contents of the stories may enable criticism to reach a more definite conclusion.

The case of Solomon's judgment is somewhat different. If there were only one fable in Babrius or Phædrus identical with a Buddhist Birth Story, we should suppose merely that the same idea had occurred to two different minds; and there would thus be no necessity to postulate any historical connexion. Now the similarity of the two judgments stands, as far as I know, in complete isolation; and the story is not so curious but that two writers may have hit upon the same idea. At the same time, it is just possible that when the Jews were in Babylon they may have told, or heard, the story.

Had we met with this story in a book unquestionably later than the Exile, we might suppose that they heard the story there; that some one repeating it had ascribed the judgment to King Solomon, whose great wisdom was a common tradition among them; and that it had thus been included in their history of that king. But we find it in the Book of Kings, which is usually assigned to the time of Jeremiah, who died during the Exile; and it should be remembered that the chronicle in question was based for the most part on traditions current much earlier among the Jewish people, and probably on earlier documents.

If, on the other hand, they told it there, we may expect to find some evidence of the fact in the details of the story as preserved in the Buddhist story-books current in the North of India, and more especially in the Buddhist countries bordering on Persia. Now Dr. Dennys, in his 'Folklore of China,' has given us a Chinese Buddhist version of a similar judgment, which is most probably derived from a Northern Buddhist Sanskrit original; and though this version is very late, and differs so much in its details from those of both the Pali and Hebrew tales that it affords no basis itself for argument, it yet holds out the hope that we may discover further evidence of a decisive character. This hope is confirmed by the occurrence of a similar tale in the Gesta Romanorum, a mediaeval work which quotes Barlaam and Josaphat, and is otherwise largely indebted in an indirect way to Buddhist sources. It is true that the basis of the judgment in that story is not the love of a mother to her son, but the love of a son to his father. But that very difference is encouraging. The orthodox compilers of the 'Gests of the Romans' dared not have so twisted the sacred record. They could not therefore have taken it from our Bible. Like all their other tales, however, this one was borrowed from somewhere; and its history, when discovered, may be expected to throw some light on this inquiry.

I should perhaps point out another way in which this tale may possibly be supposed to have wandered from the Jews to the Buddhists, or from India to the Jews. The land of Ophir was probably in India. The Hebrew names of the apes and peacocks said to have been brought thence by Solomon's coasting-vessels are merely corruptions of Indian names; and Ophir must therefore have been either an Indian port (and if so, almost certainly at the mouth of the Indus, afterwards a Buddhist country), or an entrepot, further west, for Indian trade. But the very gist of the account of Solomon's expedition by sea is its unprecedented and hazardous character; it would have been impossible even for him without the aid of Phoenician sailors; and it was not renewed by the Hebrews till after the time when the account of the judgment was recorded in the Book of Kings. Any intercourse between his servants and the people of Ophir must, from the difference of language, have been of the most meagre extent; and we may safely conclude that it was not the means of the migration of our tale. It is much more likely, if the Jews heard or told the Indian story at all, and before the time of the captivity, that the way of communication was overland. There is every reason to believe that there was a great and continual commercial intercourse between East and West from very early times by way of Palmyra and Mesopotamia. Though the intercourse by sea was not continued after Solomon's time, gold of Ophir, ivory, jade, and Eastern gems still found their way to the West; and it would be an interesting task for an Assyrian or Hebrew scholar to trace the evidence of this ancient overland route in other ways.

Summary

To sum up what can at present be said on the connexion between the Indian tales, preserved to us in the Book of Buddhist Birth Stories, and their counterparts in the West: —

1. In a few isolated passages of Greek and other writers, earlier than the invasion of India by Alexander the Great, there are references to a legendary Æsop, and perhaps also allusions to stories like some of the Buddhist ones.

2. After Alexander's time a number of tales also found in the Buddhist collection became current in Greece, and are preserved in the poetical versions of Babrius and Phædrus. They are probably of Buddhist origin.

3. From the time of Babrius to the time of the first Crusade no migration of Indian tales to Europe can be proved to have taken place. About the latter time a translation into Arabic of a Persian work containing tales found in the Buddhist book was translated by Jews into Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Translations of these versions afterwards appeared in all the principal languages of Europe.

4. In the eleventh or twelfth century a translation was made into Latin of the legend of Barlaam and Josaphat, a Greek romance written in the eighth century by St. John of Damascus on the basis of the Buddhist Jātaka book. Translations, poems, and plays founded on this work were rapidly produced throughout Western Europe.

5. Other Buddhist stories not included in either of the works mentioned in the two last paragraphs were introduced into Europe both during the Crusades and also during the dominion of the Arabs in Spain.

6. Versions of other Buddhist stories were introduced into Eastern Europe by the Huns under Genghis Khan.

7. The fables and stories introduced through these various channels became very popular during the Middle Ages, and were used as the subjects of numerous sermons, story-books, romances, poems, and edifying dramas. Thus extensively adopted and circulated, they had a considerable influence on the revival of literature, which, hand in hand with the revival of learning, did so much to render possible and to bring about the Great Reformation. The character of the hero of them — the Buddha, in his last or in one or other of his supposed previous births — appealed so strongly to the sympathies, and was so attractive to the minds of mediaeval Christians, that he became, and has ever since remained, an object of Christian worship. And a collection of these and similar stories — wrongly, but very naturally, ascribed to a famous story-teller of the ancient Greeks — has become the common property, the household literature, of all the nations of Europe; and, under the name of Æsop's Fables, has handed down, as a first moral lesson — book and as a continual feast for our children in the West, tales first invented to please and to instruct our far — off cousins in the distant East.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.31.21] Wednesday, March 31, 2021 11:47 AM

Hiri

Best is the upright purpose and the unswerving path;
next is the shame that knows some measure in transgressing.
—Nurse to Phaedra in Seneca's Phaedra, translated by Frank Justus Miller.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.30.21] Tuesday, March 30, 2021 8:48 AM

The Talkative Tortoise

KACCHAPA JĀTAKA

(Fausböll, No. 215.)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the future Buddha was born in a minister's family; and when he grew up, he became the king's adviser in things temporal and spiritual.

Now this king was very talkative: while he was speaking, others had no opportunity for a word. And the future Buddha, wanting to cure this talkativeness of his, was constantly seeking for some means of doing so.

At that time there was living, in a pond in the Himalaya mountains, a tortoise. Two young haŋsas (i.e. wild ducks) who came to feed there, made friends with him. And one day, when they had become very intimate with him, they said to the tortoise —

"Friend tortoise! the place where we live, at the Golden Cave on Mount Beautiful in the Himalaya country, is a delightful spot. Will you come there with us?"

"But how can I get there?"

"We can take you, if you can only hold your tongue, and will say nothing to anybody."

"0! that I can do. Take me with you."

"That's right," said they. And making the tortoise bite hold of a stick, they themselves took the two ends in their teeth, and flew up into the air.

Seeing him thus carried by the haŋsas, some villagers called out, "Two wild ducks are carrying a tortoise along on a stick!" Whereupon the tortoise wanted to say, "If my friends choose to carry me, what is that to you, you wretched slaves!" So just as the swift flight of the wild ducks had brought him over the king's palace in the city of Benares, he let go of the stick he was biting, and falling in the open courtyard, split in two! And there arose a universal cry, "A tortoise has fallen in the open courtyard, and has split in two!"

The king, taking the future Buddha, went to the place, surrounded by his courtiers; and looking at the tortoise, he asked the Bodisat, "Teacher! how comes he to be fallen here?"

The future Buddha thought to himself, "Long expecting, wishing to admonish the king, have I sought for some means of doing so. This tortoise must have made friends with the wild ducks; and they must have made him bite hold of the stick, and have flown up into the air to take him to the hills. But he, being unable to hold his tongue when he hears any one else talk, must have wanted to say something, and let go the stick; and so must have fallen down from the sky, and thus lost his life." And saying, "Truly, 0 king! those who are called chatter-boxes — people whose words have no end — come to grief like this," he uttered these verses:

"Verily the tortoise killed himself
Whilst uttering his voice;
Though he was holding tight the stick,
By a word himself he slew.

"Behold him then, 0 excellent by strength!
And speak wise words, not out of season.
You see how, by his talking overmuch,
The tortoise fell into this wretched plight!"

The king saw that he was himself referred to, and said, "0 Teacher! are you speaking of us?"

And the Bodisat spake openly, and said, "0 great king! be it thou, or be it any other, whoever talks beyond measure meets with some mishap like this."

And the king henceforth refrained himself, and became a man of few words.

— Trübner's oriental series, Buddhist Birth Stories or, Jātaka Tales, the oldest collection of folk-lore extant, being, The jātakatthavaṇṇanā for the first time edited in the original Pāli by V. Fausböll. Translated by T.W. Rhys Davids. Volume I. London Trübner & Co., Ludgate Hill 1880.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.24.21] Wednesday, March 24, 2021 8:59 AM

Let skin and sinew and bone wither away;
The flesh and blood of the body dry up;
that by the strength of a man,
the energy of a man,
the might of a man,
'til fulfilled,
energy fail thee not
in striving,
and realized is thy ambition.
sn 2.21.3

Try this. Then, when five minutes later you get up to do something of vital importance, reflect on the alternative: lazing around until the basic nature of the material body breaks down and you die ... generally either in pain or drugged. In the first case you suffer some pretty fierce pains now but end all blindness to what comes hereafter; in the second case you had better have ended all blindness to what comes after, or ending in confusion your consciousness will appear in a new location according to what you deserve. So reflecting, the rationality of this radical vow and practice will come into clear focus.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.22.21] Monday, March 22, 2021 8:31 AM

Mindful, heedful,
his mind well-centered,
absorbed with restrained resolves,
inwardly delighting
in his conduct, his mindfulness,
alone, content:
He's called a monk.

Eating moist or dry food,
he shouldn't be heavily sated.
With unfilled belly, with measured food,
the monk should wander
mindfully.

(Bhk. Thanissaro): "Leaving ... uneaten". (Mrs. Rhys-Davids): "Hath he but eaten mouthfuls four or five". Bhk. Thanissaro's translation is correct and Mrs. Rhys Davids incorrect, but is the Pali correct? If it is a mistake it leaves wide open the amount that is eaten; if it is not a mistake it must be speaking about the self-restraint required to not "eat every scrap in the patta." I tend to think the Pali is mistaken here as Sāriputta is speaking about leaving the stomach unfilled.

p.p. explains it all —p.p.

Leaving four or five mouthfuls uneaten,
he should drink water:
This is enough
for the easeful abiding
of a resolute monk.

And he covers himself with a proper robe
enough for that purpose:
This is enough
for the easeful abiding
of a resolute monk.

"As he sits". This is not clear. It is speaking about what should be considered sufficient shelter.

p.p. explains it all —p.p.

As he sits cross-legged,
it doesn't rain on his knees:
This is enough
for the easeful abiding
of a resolute monk.

Whoever sees pleasure as pain,
and pain as an arrow,
and that there's nothing between the two:
With what will he be what in the world?

Thag 259-Bhk. Thanissaro.

[Thag 259] Sāriputta the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali and the Mrs. Rhys-Davids translation.
From Bhk. Thanissaro's Introduction: This is not a single, unified poem. Instead, it is a compilation of verses that — apparently over the course of many years — became associated with Ven. Sāriputta's name. Some of them may have been his original compositions. Others are verses that other people spoke about him. One in particular is also found in Ud 3:4, where the Buddha is said to have exclaimed it on seeing Sāriputta meditating. Some of the verses that make no mention of Sāriputta are, in other parts of the Canon, attributed to the Buddha, suggesting that they might have been those that Sāriputta's liked to repeat.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.21.21] Sunday, March 21, 2021 9:22 AM

[Ud] Verses of Uplift, the F.L. Woodward translation.
Linked via the Index to the translations of Ireland and Bhk. Thanissaro
An anthology of 80 suttas (all in one file) all of which are found in the four main Nikāyas (with some slight changes) with the common theme of ending with an inspired utterance.
The 'which comes first' issue comes up with this collection, but as far as learning Dhamma is concerned there is nothing to differentiate the suttas in this anthology from those in the Nikāyas.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.19.21] Friday, March 19, 2021 12:02 PM

[Thag 239] Gotama the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali and the Mrs. Rhys-Davids translation.
From Mrs. Rhys-Davids introductory story: "Reborn before the manifestation of our Exalted One at Sāvatthī, in a brahmin family from Udicca, he grew up an expert in the Vedas and an unrivalled orator. Now our Exalted One, having arisen and started the rolling of the wheel of the Norm, after converting Yasa and his friends,[2] came on to Sāvatthī at the urgent request of Anāthapiṇḍika. Gotama the brahmin saw and heard him, and asked for ordination. Ordained by a bhikkhu at the Master's bidding, he attained arahantship even as his hair was being shaved. After a long residence in the Kosala country, he returned to Sāvatthī. And many of his relations, eminent brahmins, waited upon him and asked him which, of the many gospels[3] as guides to life that were current, he judged should be followed. These verses are what he told them.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.16.21] Tuesday, March 16, 2021 3:58 PM

[Thag 243] Soṇa Koḷivisa the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali and the Mrs. Rhys-Davids translation.
Soṇa heard the Master teach the Norm, and, winning faith, obtained his parents' consent to enter the Order. He received a subject of study from the Master, but was unable to concentrate, owing to his maintaining intercourse with people while he stayed in Cool Wood. And he thought: 'My body is too delicately reared to arrive happily at happiness. A recluse's duties involve bodily fatigues.' So he disregarded the painful sores on his feet got from pacing up and down, and strove his utmost, but was unable to win. And he thought: 'I am not able to create either path or fruit. Of what use is the religious life to me? I will go back to lower things and work merit.' Then the Master discerned, and saved him by the lesson on the Parable of the Lute, showing him how to temper energy with calm. Thus corrected, he went to Vulture's Peak, and in due course won arahantship. Reflecting on his achievement, he thus declared his aññā.


 

Oblog: [O.3.14.21] Sunday, March 14, 2021 9:36 AM

Helpful Advice
for those whose hearts
are not yet fully liberated

[1] Find a Dhamma friend.

This may be looked for by one who has a Dhamma friend:

[2] One will develop a highly sophisticated standard of ethical behavior; will abide restrained by the Dhamma in the Dhamma, develop perfection in the practice of right behaviour, see danger in the slightest of faults, undertake and train himself in the ways of self-development.

[3] Then as regards talk that is serious and suitable for opening up the heart and conduces to downright revulsion, to dispassion, to ending, to calm, to comprehension, to perfect insight, to Nibbāna, that is to say:
talk about wanting little,
about contentment,
about solitude,
about avoiding society,
about putting forth energy;
talk about ethics,
concentration of mind
and wisdom,
talk about release,
knowledge and insight of release,
— such talk as this he gets at pleasure, without pain and without stint.

[4] Then again he will abide resolute in energy for the abandoning of unprofitable things, for the acquiring of profitable things, he will be stout and strong in effort, not laying aside the burden in things profitable.

[5] Then again he will become possessed of insight, endowed with the insight that goes on to discern the rise and fall, with the Ariyan penetration which goes on to penetrate the perfect ending of Pain.

Moreover by one who is established in these five conditions, four other things are to be cultivated, thus:

[1] The (idea of the) unlovely is to be made to grow for the abandoning of lust;
amity is to be made to grow for the abandoning of malice;

[2] mindfulness of inbreathing and outbreathing is to be made to grow for the suppression of discursive thought;

[3] the consciousness of impermanence is to be made to grow for the uprooting of the pride of egoism.

In him who is conscious of impermanence the consciousness of what is not the self is established.

[4] He who is conscious of what is not the self wins the uprooting of the pride of egoism in this very life, namely, he wins Nibbāna.'

— Adapted from Ud IV-1

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.13.21] Saturday, March 13, 2021 8:11 AM

The Legend of Bundala
by Kingsley Heendeniya

An interesting personal account of a student/friend of Harold Musson (aka Ven. Ñanavira) and Osbert Moore (aka Ven. Ñanamoli) appended to the biographical essay on Ven Ñanavira in the gallery.


It may or may not be significant (obviously I think it is significant) that in Ud. III-5 and VII-8, the description of where mindfulness is placed by the seated Moggallāna is focused on the personal body kāya-gatāya satiyā ajjhattaṃ sūpaṭṭhitāya whereas just previously in III-4 where the Pali is the usual parimukhaṃ satiṃ upaṭṭhapetvā." To my ear this says that at this point the placing of sati is at a physical location and is not an instruction as to the status of sati in the meditator's mind (the usual: "keeping mindfulness before him" (Woodward) or "having mindfulness established to the fore." (Bhk. Thanissaro)). For me, sitting itself says all it needs to say about the intent to make minding the point of the exercise so the next consideration is logically "where?".


They cancel one thing
when they should be cancelling another.

They "cancel" people for their views when they should be cancelling their own envy, hate, anger and intollerance, vengence, self-righteous indignation.

'Is it true, Vaccha, as they say, that you accost the monks, calling them "menials"?

'Yes, sir.'

Then the Exalted One, after turning his attention to the former dwelling of the venerable Pilindavaccha, said to the monks,

'Monks, be not annoyed with the monk Vaccha.

It is not from any inward fault that Vaccha calls the monks "menials."

Monks, in five hundred births in succession Vaccha was reborn in a brāhmin family.

His use of the term "menial" is long engrained by habit.

That is why this Vaccha accosts the monks with the term "menial."'

Ud-III-6

"Judge not lest ye be judged"

— Matthew 7.23

Wherefore, Ānanda,
be no measurer of persons;
measure not the measure of persons;
verily, Ānanda,
he digs a pit for himself
who measures the measure of persons.

AN 6.44-Hare

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.11.21] Thursday, March 11, 2021 7:19 AM

He who has a hundred things he loves,
has a hundred pains.

He who has nothing he loves,
has no pains.

Ud VIII-8
... and, we should note, this includes the Dhamma, for what could be a more pitiful specticle than to see the mess it has become through the actions of time and the blindness of men? Respect for its wisdom: yes. Appreciation for the aid it provides the seeker: yes. Attachment to it? No. Remember the simile of the raft!


Here's one that is guaranteed to drive a certain element in our midst nutz: Ud I-8

The former wife of Saṅgāmaji tries to tempt him away from the pursuit of freedom by presenting him with his child and demanding that he support it. He pays no attention. The Buddha sees the situation and terms it "rudness" (Woodward's translation of "vippakāra")(on her part, not on his part!); "abuse" (PED); "an impropper thing" (Commentary); "improppriety" (Masefield); "discourteous behavior" (Ireland); "misbehaving" (Bhk. Thanissaro).

Anyone who thinks that they will make any significant progress towards escape from kamma or the end of pain who does not also realize that their ethical standards will need to change does not see the real nature of kamma or of dukkha. ... but here in this world the student schools the teacher as to what is proper ethics and the teachers, looking to their fame and fortune, we end up with the mess we are in because what leader of men would submit to such dictates? Far from finding this an indication that this was a late sutta or doctored by later editors, it should be seen as an indication that it is the product of a teacher who does see the problem in its propper light.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.10.21] Wednesday, March 10, 2021 6:37 AM

Knowing A Man

It is by dealing with a man,
that his virtue is to be known,
and that too after a long time;
not by one who gives it a passing thought
or no thought at all;
by a wise man, not by a fool.

It is by association, that a man's integrity is to be known,
and that too after a long time;
not by one who gives it a passing thought
or no thought at all;
by a wise man, not by a fool.

It is in times of trouble, that his fortitude is to be known,
and that too after a long time;
not by one who gives it a passing thought
or no thought at all;
by a wise man, not by a fool.

It is by conversing with him, that a man's wisdom is to be known,
and that too after a long time;
not by one who gives it a passing thought
or no thought at all;
by a wise man, not by a fool.

Ud VI-2 Woodward translation altered only by the elimination of the address to Rajah Pasenadi.

The sutta from which this quote is taken is also found at SN 1.3.11 translated by Mrs. Rhys-Davids where note she does not see that the 'ascetics' reverenced by Pasanadi that prompted this statement were actually his spys.


A Little Passage from Udāna VI.2

I did the little passage below because between Bhk. Thanissaro's "dependence on all acquisitions" and Masefield's "dependent on a substrate" and the fact that one version of the Pali has 'Na upadhi' and another has "upadhiṃ" I needed to see for myself what was what. (I could not make 'Na upadhi' work in any way.) In the end this proved to be, in effect, an informative restatement of the first sutta's:

"Two, me bhikkhus, are ends not to be gone after by one embarking on the seeker's life.

What two?

At the one end: whatever is desire, is yoked to desire for the sweet-life, inferior, peasant-like, of the common man, not aristocratic, destitute of character.

And at the other end: whatever is yoked to causing self-torment, is painful, not aristocratic, destitute of character."

With "all grasping destroyed there is no pain generated" being roughly equivalent to the Magga.

The first proposition, or grasping after a point of view or opinion, is that of the Nibbāna-here-and-now sort. Satisfaction with sense pleasures; satisfaction with living."

The second proposition goes to the other extreme: that somehow annihilation is an answer to the problem of pain and rebirth.

The third statement resolves the issue by pointing out that it is grasping after theories that is the basis for the actions which generate rebirth and result in pain and that the escape or emergence from existence is affected not by theories, points of view or opinions, but by eliminating the stimulus, that is, grasping after existence.


Ye hi keci samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā||
bhavena bhavassa vippamokkham āhaṃsu||
sabbe te 'avippamuttā bhavasmā' ti vadāmi.
|| ||

Ye vā pana keci samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā||
vibhavena bhavassa nissaraṇam āhaṃsu||
Sabbe te 'anissaṭā bhavasmā' ti vadāmi.
|| ||

Upadhiṃ hi paṭicca dukkham idaṃ sambhoti||
sabb'ūpādānakkhayā n'atthi dukkhassa sambhavo.
|| ||

Ud. III.10

Whatsoever is for some shamen or brahmins:
'Through existence, I say, is release from existence'
all these are 'unreleased from existence' say I.

And further, whatsoever is for some shaman or brahmins:
'Through non-existence, I say is emerging from existence'
all these are 'not emmerged from existence', say I.

Such are graspings that result in generating pain —
all grasping destroyed there is no pain generated.

Woodward:

Whatsoever recluses or brāhmins have said that by becoming is release from becoming, all of them are unreleased from becoming, I declare.

But whatsoever recluses or brāhmins have said that by the stopping of becoming there is a refuge from becoming, all such are not free from becoming, I declare.

It is due to the substrate that this Ill is produced.

By the ending of all grasping there is no production of Ill.

—Ud III.10-Woodward trans.

Masefield:

Some who are recluses or brahmins said the complete freedom from becoming is by way of becoming — all these, I say, are not completely released from becoming.

Moreover, some who are relcuses or brahmins said the escape from becoming is by way of non-becoming — all these, I say, are not escaped from becoming.

It is dependent on a substrate that this dukkha is generated; through the destruction of all grasping there is no generation of dukkha.

—Ud III.10-Masefield, The Udāna, The Pali Text Society, Lancaster, 2007.

Ireland:

Whatever recluses and brahmins have said that freedom from being comes about through some kind of being, none of them, I say, are freed from being. And whatever recluses and brahmins have said that escape from being comes about through non-being, none of them, I say have escaped from being. This suffering arises depended upon clinging. With the ending of all grasping, no suffering is produced.

Ud III.10-Ireland, The Udāna and the Itivuttaka, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, 2007.

Bhk. Thanissaro:

Whatever priests or contemplatives say that liberation from becoming is by means of becoming, all of them are not released from becoming, I say.

And whatever priests or contemplatives say that escape from becoming is by means of non-becoming, all of them have not escaped from becoming, I say.

This stress comes into play in dependence on all acquisitions. With the ending of all clinging/sustenance, there's no stress coming into play.

Ud III.10-Bhk. Thanissaro trans.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.06.21] Saturday, March 06, 2021 7:41 AM

PED Changes:
Links to Audio files Audio file (terms as well as to the letters of the alphabet) have now been incorporated into the .htm version of the PED. Where a 'main entry' term had a file it is linked-to only from the main entry; where the audio file was for a form of the term not given a main entry, it has been linked-to from a scattering of locations. Many important words do not have an audio file and for a number of reasons not all the files in the audio collection were able to be incorporated.
This work was done from a collection of audio files on hand which was very limited in scope and a thorough or at least thoroughly thought through set would be a great project for someone with knowledge of Pali pronunciation and audio recording to take on.
The symbol for a 'main entry' term has been changed from a single colon to a double colon '::'. The single colon finds main-entry terms but also the search term where it is found in the internal text where preceded by a colon. Whooda thought? Use of the double colon will now bring up only the main term. Once again note that only this .htm file is incorporating these changes. The .txt version and other versions available are adquate for those who wish to set up the dictionary on their desktops or their own websites and are intentionally being left more or less as the hard copy is found.

 


 

Oblog: [O.3.01.21] Monday, March 01, 2021 11:39 AM

[Iti 1-112] As It Was Said, the Woodward translation.
All (112 suttas) in one file, each sutta linked to the Pali, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation and the Ireland translation
A collection of short sayings grouped by the number of concepts dealt with.
This is the first time this translation has appeared in digital form. Woodward has elected to give us the verses in a style of his own, and the result is catastrophic. The most awkward presentation imaginable. Still it is worthwhile as to the content either to support or question the other translations. Copious (325) footnotes are included; a valuable resource.
This collection of suttas has many references to 'bases' and a 'baseless' state (e.g. Suttas 51 69 73) which I take to be equivalent to 'viññāṇā anidassana'; the unseen consciousness. (Don't try to look for it!). There was a time, not very long ago, when there were heated refutations of the existence of such a state and which claimed that there was only one reference to it in all the suttas. Once you get the idea of a consciousness that does not have an existing thing as its object, you find references to it all ova!
Those of you with long memories (see: Forum Archives: Understanding Understanding) will recall a discussion here concerning the statement made in this collection (#43) that 'there is' a not-reborn, not-living, not made, "Atthi bhikkhave ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ." What is clear now is that this is not a statement about an existing 'thing', but is more or less conventional speech. Standing apart from (being detached from), looking at that which does exist, does have rebirth, does involve living, and which was made, one sees the obvious fact that there is a being apart from those things. That is all.

When the Buddha says: "There is a not-reborn, not-living, not made" he is not saying:
"This is that,"
He is saying:
"There is a not that."

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.27 .21] Saturday, February 27, 2021 8:13 AM

The Propper Way of Explaining

Dhamm-ā-nu-Dhamma-paṭipanna
Itivuttaka: 3.86.

'Monks, in the case of a monk who fares on according to Dhamma this is the proper way of explaining the words "faring on according to dhamma."

Itivuttaka: 3.86-Woodward translation.

"...a bhikkhu who practises according to Dhamma, ... this is the proper way of defining 'practice according to Dhamma.'

Itivuttaka: 3.86-Ireland translation.

"... a monk who practices the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma,

Itivuttaka: 3.86-Bhk. Thanissaro translation.

... who practises that Dhamma that is consistent with Dhamma

—Itivuttaka: 3.86-Masefield translation.

Of these Bhk. Thanissaro and Masefield have understood it correctly, but neither Bhk. Thanissaro's translation nor that of Masefield make it quite as clear as it should be that what is being spoken of in this phrase is the distinction between the teaching and the behavior. ... don't just read or listen. Practice!

Dhamm-ā-nu-Dhamma. "The Dhamma following [upon] the Dhamma" or "The Dhamma within the Dhamma". You read or hear the Dhamma and you follow the Instructions, both.

There is a further issue in translating the practice:

Bhāsa-māno dhammaññeva bhāsati no adhammaṃ.|| ||
Vitakkaya-māno vā dhamma-vitakkaññeva vitakketi no adhamma-vitakkaṃ.|| ||
Tad-ubhayaṃ abhinivajchetvā upekkhako viharati sato sampajāno' ti.|| ||

Itivuttaka: 3.86.

When he speaks, he speaks not contrary to Dhamma.
When he thinks, he thinks not contrary to dhamma.
By avoiding these two he dwells indifferent, mindful and composed.'

—Itivuttaka: 3.86-Woodward translation.

When speaking he speaks only Dhamma, not non-Dhamma.
When thinking he thinks only thoughts of Dhamma, not thoughts of non-Dhamma.
By avoiding these two he lives with equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending."

Itivuttaka: 3.86-Ireland translation.

When speaking, he speaks Dhamma and not non-Dhamma.
When thinking, he thinks about Dhamma and not about non-Dhamma.
Avoiding both these things, he stays equanimous, mindful, alert."

Itivuttaka: 3.86-Bhk. Thanissaro translation.

"... that when speaking, he speaks only Dhamma, not that which is not Dhamma,
or when thinking, he thinks only thought connected with Dhamma, not thought connected with that which is not Dhamma,
or else both of these; spurning same, he abides possessing equanimity, mindful and attentive".

—Itivuttaka: 3.86-Masefield translation.

All four of these can be misunderstood as meaning to avoid or spurn the speaking and thinking of Dhamma. It is unlikely the translators have made this mistake but the wording could be clearer. Both speech and thought are given up in the movement from being involved with the world to being above it all in detachment, minding and self-awareness. When moving back into greater contact with the world the re-assumption of speech and thought should be according to the Dhamma found in the Dhamma. Spurning and avoiding speech and thought concerning the Dhamma found in the Dhamma has real application only in the case of venturing into the upper atmosphere.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.23.21] Tuesday, February 23, 2021 7:31 AM

Cogito, ergo sum[1]
— René Descartes "Je pense, donc je suis" in Discourse on the Method

"It would be much better if I could only stop thinking. Thoughts are the dullest things. Duller than flesh. They stretch out and there's no end to them and they leave a funny taste in the mouth. ... It goes, it goes ... and there's no end to it. It's worse than the rest because I feel responsible and have complicity in it. For example, this sort of painful rumination: I exist, I am the one who keeps it up. I. ... I am the one who continues it, unrolls it. I exist. How serpentine is this feeling of existing — I unwind it, slowly. ... If I could keep myself from thinking! I try, and succeed: my head seems to fill with smoke ... and then it starts again: "Smoke ... not to think ... don't want to think ... I think I don't want to think. I mustn't think that I don't want to think. Because that's still a thought." Will there never be an end to it?"

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, New Directions, N.Y. 1952; translated from the French, La Nausée, by Lloyd Alexander, First published in 1938 by Librairie Gallimard, Paris

 


[1] Usually translated "I think, therefore I am" for Buddhists it is better translated "I think therefore I exist," and that to be understood as meaning that in thinking one projects the (mistaken) idea of 'self' into future existence. To take 'thinking' as the self is the same sort of error as is being made in taking the body or sense-experience, or perception, or own-making or consciousness as the self.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.21.21] Sunday, February 21, 2021 2:53 PM

Iti 1-112 Itivuttaka: The Buddha's Sayings, the John D. Ireland translation. Includes an Introduction and the footnotes.
All (112 suttas) in one file; each sutta is linked to its Pali and the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
A collection of short sayings grouped by the number of concepts dealt with.
From DPPN: The fourth book of the Kuddaka Nikāya, containing 112 Suttas, each of which begins with the words: Vuttaṃ h'etaṃ Bhagavatā vuttam-arahatā ti me sutaṃ. According to Dhammapāla, the suttas were preached from time to time by the Buddha to Khujjuttarā at Kosambī. She then repeated them to the five hundred women of Udena's palace, chief of whom was Sāmāvatī. In order to emphasise to her audience the fact that she was repeating the Buddha's words and not her own, she prefaced each sutta with the phrase quoted above. There was no need to describe any special circumstances in which the suttas were preached, because they were familiar to Khujjuttarā's audience. At the Rājagaha Council, Ānanda repeated the suttas to the Assembly and they were gathered into this collection.
I do not see any problems with any of these suttas. Rather than spend a lot of time and energy debating whether this was an early addition to the main body of suttas or whether it was earlier than that, I suggest taking these suttas a confirmation of the Dhamma within the suttas.


I have put this up in other translations many times before, but it needs repeating:

"Bhikkhus, I say that for an individual who transgresses in one thing, there is no evil deed whatsoever he would not do. What is that one thing? It is this, bhikkhus: deliberately telling a lie."

—The Itivuttaka: 1.21-Ireland translation.

Nobdyslyintanobdydounear, boss!

"Bhikkhus, this holy life is not lived for the sake of deceiving people, for the sake of cajoling people, for the sake of profiting in gain, honour, and fame, nor with the idea, 'Let people know me thus.' This holy life, bhikkhus, is lived for the sake of restraint and abandoning."

—Iti 2.8-Ireland translation.

"Bhikkhus, possessing two things a bhikkhu lives here and now with much pleasure and happiness and is properly motivated for the destruction of the taints. What are the two things? Being moved by a sense of urgency on occasions for urgency, and, being moved, making a proper endeavour. These, bhikkhus, are the two things, possessing which, a bhikkhu lives here and now with much pleasure and happiness and is properly motivated for the destruction of the taints."

—Iti 2.10-Ireland translation.

The question here is then: "What is proper endeavour?"

When the Buddha speaks of making great effort what he is saying is master your willpower to let go where it is difficult to do so. You are sitting trying to develop calm and a memory of the most beautiful lass in the land makes its presence known. The effort there is to distance yourself from interest in this thought. It is not a matter of doing, but of not doing, in this case not paying attention, inattention.
Bad conditions are things that you are 'doing' that cause problems; good conditions are the absence of bad conditions. So the thing you want to see is how it is not productive of good conditions to be 'doing'.

The exceptions to this are activities at the beginning, the setting-up of practice, and those that, once set up (e.g., giving, mindfulness, knowledge of Dhamma; engendering enthusiasm (pīti)) are either things that once set up arise without intent, are matters of memory, or are done with the intent to bring kamma to an end. The experience of the individual practitioner up to the point of Arahantship will be a mixed bag, but that which effects Arahantship is always a matter of not-doing. How could escape from kamma be doing?

"There are, bhikkhus, two successive Dhamma-teachings of the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One. What are the two? 'See evil as evil' — this is the first Dhamma-teaching. 'Having seen evil as evil, be rid of it, be detached from it, be freed from it' — this is the second Dhamma-teaching. These, bhikkhus, are the two successive Dhamma-teachings of the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One."

—Iti 2.12-Ireland translation.

"For one knowing and seeing, bhikkhus, I say there is the destruction of the taints, not for one not knowing and not seeing. But for one knowing what, seeing what, is there the destruction of the taints? For one knowing and seeing, 'This is suffering,' there is the destruction of the taints. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the origin of suffering' there is the destruction of the taints. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the cessation of suffering' there is the destruction of the taints. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the course leading to the cessation of suffering,' there is the destruction of the taints. Thus it is, bhikkhus, that for one knowing and seeing there is the destruction of the taints."

—Iti 4.3-Ireland translation.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.18.21] Thursday, February 18, 2021 6:41 AM

[AN 4 90] Aggregates, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
Gotama takes the names commonly given at the time to various sorts of shaman and re-defines them in terms of his Dhamma.

If the four previous suttas were intended to be taken together as a puzzle, there seem to be errors in Blue-Lotus 1 and White-Lotus 1. Both should have been that 'he weakened the asavas', not destroyed them. The releases are attainable by even the Streamwinner but still there is a distinction there that would make the relationship rational. Then all four groups would have the structure: Streamwinner, Once Returner, Non-returner, Arahant. Blue Lotus 3 could be experiencing temporary release. Otherwise perhaps Woodward's speculation that the first group only was original and the others made up (carelessly) to form the usual group of four pairs of men (those on the four paths). Or there is also the (doubtful) possibility that there was no intention of making the four sets parallel each other.
Then there is the problem with the translation of 'appattamānaso' (appatta-mānaso) in the situation in Immovable Shaman 4. Woodward translates: 'has not made up his mind', Bhk. Bodhi: 'has not attained his mind's ideal'. Both of these appear to me at least as highly shakable. I sugest taking the word back a step: appa pa atta māmaso 'a little past mastering his mind'. Or 'mastering the mind' could be understood as a higher state than the certainty of attaining the goal of the Streamwinner. To be 'unshakable' he must have got at least this far.
Bhk. Bodhi argues from an assumption that Blue-Lotus 1 and White-Lotus 1 are correct that there appears to be a weakening of the standards for Arahantship involved. It could be that or it could be an error in the understanding of the situation on the part of the commentator or as I suggest, an error in the recollection of the sutta.

 

Samaṇa-m-acalo
The Immovable Shaman
Samaṇapuṇṭarīko
The Blue-lotus Shaman
Samaṇapadumo
The White-lotus Shaman
Samaṇesu samaṇasukhumālo
The Sweet-faced Shaman among Shaman
1 He aspires to the goal of ultimate release. He has destroyed the āsavas; is released in heart, released by wisdom; but does not attain the eight releases. He has destroyed the āsavas; is released in heart, released by wisdom; and does abide in the eight releases He receives the necessities, good health, and good will when desired and not when not desired; he attains the jhānas; has destroyed the āsavas; and is released in heart, released by wisdom.
2 He has broken the three saṅyojana and has become a Streamwinner He has broken the three saṅyojana and warn down lust, hate and stupidity and has become a Once-Returner. He has completely destroyed the five yokes to lower births will re-appear where he will attain Arahantship without returning to this world. He has destroyed the āsavas; is released in heart, released by wisdom
3 He lives following the eight dimensional way [not so named] He lives following the ten dimensional way [not so named] He lives following the ten dimensional way [not so named] and abides in the eight releases He receives the necessities, good health, and good will when desired and not when not desired; he attains the jhānas; has destroyed the āsavas; and is released in heart, released by wisdom.
4 He is a little developed in mind and aspires to the goal of ultimate release. He lives observing the appearance and disappearance of the stockpiles, but does not experience the releases. He lives observing the appearance and disappearance of the stockpiles, but does experience the releases. He receives the necessities, good health, and good will when desired and not when not desired; he attains the jhānas; has destroyed the āsavas; and is released in heart, released by wisdom.

[DN 34] Progressing by Tens, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys-Davids translation, and the Olds translation.
This sutta is very similar to DN 33 in that it is a catalog of various units of the Dhamma organized by way of the number of items in the unit. It becomes a form of mental gymnastics by imposing on the structure that it be limited to ten sets fit within 10 specific concepts: — so that section 1 is 10 units of one item each, each dealing with concepts 1-10; the second is 10 units of 2 items each, each dealing with concepts 1-10; on up to 10 units of 10 items each, each dealing with concepts 1-10.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.17.21] Wednesday, February 17, 2021 1:46 PM

[DN 33] The Discourse for Reciting Together, The Bhikkkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Rhys Davids, T. and C. translation, the Walshe translation, and the Olds translation.
An extensive categorization of all the main ideas in the Buddha's system grouped by the number of concepts covered.
An excellent translation with which to acquaint yourself with the vocabularies of the translators.
[AN 3.118] [DTO #121] Purities (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
The Buddha describes purity of body, speech and mind.
[AN 3.119] [DTO #122] Purities (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
The Buddha describes purity of body, speech and mind. A variation on the previous sutta. Purity of mind is in this sutta given as awareness of the Nivaranas (Diversions). Note that it is the presentation given here that is likely the source for it's presentation in the Satipatthana Sutta.
[AN 4 87] The Son, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
Gotama takes the names commonly given at the time to various sorts of shaman and re-defines them in terms of his Dhamma.
[AN 4 88] Fetters, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
Gotama takes the names commonly given at the time to various sorts of shaman and re-defines them in terms of his Dhamma.
[AN 4 89] View, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
Gotama takes the names commonly given at the time to various sorts of shaman and re-defines them in terms of his Dhamma.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.16.21] Tuesday, February 16, 2021 8:33 AM

Links to Audio files have been added to ped.htm in the section titled The Pāḷi Alphabet and to the dividers between letters, e.g., "A".

Please note that this .htm file is the only file I will be making continuous changes to; I will only be upgrading the other PED files on the site occasionally as most of what I will be adding is frippery like this.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.15.21] Monday, February 15, 2021 9:43 AM

Nagualism an article going into some detail on the subject of Nagualism. Attached to the discussion 'Don Juan's Table'.
A scholarly article, but a prime example of the sort of study that Don Juan would give his 'bemused scorn'. It is filled with speculations mostly backed up by the completely mad speculations (couched in terms of absolute certainty) of the Catholic priests and others of the time and mental set of the Conquest. The result is that it goes no further back than the Conquest.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.13.21] Saturday, February 13, 2021 5:58 AM
Also posted in the Come Beggar! section of the Forum.

From Time to Time

Evaluating Progress

It is natural to want to know where one stands with regard to achieving the goal. The Buddha suggests that 'from time to time' one should evaluate other's progress, and 'from time to time' one should evaluate one's own progress.[1]

In this matter it becomes very important to remember that this is a system which in it's highest form rests on intentional not-doing and letting go. That means that you do not evaluate your progress by measuring how close you are to the goal, but how much of the world you have left behind.

Think about it! At best all you know about the goal before you have realized it for yourself, is the idea of freedom. Thinking in this direction you can say: I can see I am not yet free. That will be the case whether you are near or far.

What you can know that will help you judge your progress is how much of that great pile of habits you have you have managed to eliminate. That is the important factor. Take a look at how much you have changed; focus on those turning points which were a result of having seen your behavior as self-destructive.

Evaluating the progress of others in the same way will help you by way of making you conscious of impediments to freedom you might not have thought of or which are hard to see in yourself, but easy to see in others.

Reflect: "Does this that I see as a fault in this person also exist in me?"

Bottom line? This evaluation should concern itself with the yokes to rebirth:

[1] Is there here any idea that this body is my body? Belongs to me? Is under my control? Can be done with as I please? Do I think of it in terms of "I" "Me" "Mine"? See this with your intuitive wisdom: draw inferences from grasping or protective behavior, anger when things do not go as one would wish, etc. Is there at least an intellectual understanding of the idea that a thing that changes and is out of one's control cannot belong to the self?

[2] Is there here evidence of doubts about the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha? Did the Buddha actually find a way out? Is this just another BS Dhamma hussle? Did he teach Dhamma such that one who follows the instructions can realize the goal for himself? Is the Great Saṅgha (Streamwinners, Once-Returners, Non-Returners, Arahants) a good description of the stages to awakening? A good example of walking the walk? You can judge partly by how far you have left painful behaviors behind; that much is a sound basis for faith. "I followed the instructions this far and this far they worked as described." You will have unshakable faith when you have seen for yourself: "All that which comes to be, comes to an end."

[3] Do I rely on good deeds, ethical conduct, and hocus pocus as being the way to the end of pain? Is there here a substitution of giving and scrupulous ethical conduct for self-discipline and mental development? Is there reliance on chanting, insense, candles, statues, amulets prayers, spells and wishes and other magic charms?

[4] To what degree have I let go of wishing to experience pleasures bound to the senses? Abandon all hope ye who enter here! Is there here evidence of ambitions? "I just want to accomplish ... before I die." "I'm not ready yet! I have more to do on my website!" Or just hankering after a good meal? It isn't all over once you have let go of sex! Have you let go of sex? Do you identify as a homosexual? transsexual? bisexual? That is a pretty clear sign that your orientation is not free from sexuality.

[5] Has contrary behavior (smart-ass going the wrong direction just to be difficult)? Behaviors like lies, boasting and braging, cruelty and even harm? Watch yourself carefully! What do you think all your Satipatthana practice is for? Do you whole-heartedly believe in the goal while doing everything that will prevent it from coming to be? Conflicted behaviors tell you what is going on on other levels of consciousness; you need to pay attention.

[6] To what degree have I let go of wishing to experience pleasures bound to material things? This is primarily desire for rebirth in some material world. The nostalgia for this world; for living in this world; to enjoy the comradery of man. Etc. Ambition to attain worldly gains; wealth, power. Secondarily it is ambition to be reborn in some heavenly state

[7] To what degree have I let go of wishing to experience pleasures bound to immaterial things? It is necessary to keep your interest in accomplishing the goal to the point where it has been accomplished. That is only a problem when you have reached the goal. Meanwhile what is a problem is desire for fame, magic powers, attaining jhāna, attaining one or another of the paths, wanting to amount to something, wanting to bring others into this system (it is the wanting that is the problem in this case; in this case just teach and let go of the desire to have helped (and the secret prideful dwelling on having helped) the wanting to make a difference in the world. Etc.

[8] Is there here evidence of unconquered pride? Looking down on others. Being a pompus ass. Striking attitudes and holding opinions.

[9] Has fear been faced here? Or is there evidence of avoiding the winds in the upper atmosphere? Here careless behavior points to un-recognized fears. A person who lies to keep control of his situation, never listens to others, one who can never be wrong is a person riddled with fear. A person that can admit to errors, listen carefully to others, abstain from saying what is not true is confident.

[10] Is there here evidence of having seen (not just understood) the Four Truths?

[1] AN 8.8

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.10.21] Wednesday, February 10, 2021 6:32 AM

[MN 22] The Snake Simile, the M. Olds translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Lord Chalmers translation, the Horner translation, the Bhk. Thanissaro translation, the Ñanamoli Thera/Bhk. Bodhi translation, the Sister Upalavanna translation, and the Nyanaponika Thera translation.
A wide-ranging very famous sutta that begins with a forceful teaching on the dangers of indulgence in sense pleasures. This sutta contains two famous similies: the similie of the snake illustrating how a wrong grasp of the Dhamma is like taking hold of a poisonous snake from the wrong end; and the simile of the raft illustrating how the Dhamma should be used to attain it's ends and then be let go. The sutta concludes with a thorough examination of the way 'not self' should be considered.
The interesting question here is why would Arittha hang on so stubbornly to his view about the harmlessness of sense-pleasure indulgence? It is possible of course that he was just a fool (but he was not unskilled in meditation, see: SN 5.54.6 where Gotama thought enough of him to give him special instruction on the in-and-out-breathing practice). But the likelihood is that he was trapped by a perception that befalls one who holds the view that there is no self. In this view a number of very dangerous conclusions can be reached because there is perceived to be no individuality there to experience the consequences of deeds. This would justify the simile of the snake and would explain the long dissertation that follows concerning the 'not-self' position. The presence here of the simile of the raft might also be explained as a hint to Arittha that if even the Dhamma could be let go, he could certainly let go his view.

 


 

Oblog: [O.2.07.21] Sunday, February 07, 2021 6:29 AM

Significant error in the most error-free Pali Dictionary: On page 396, from Pāli to Pālissuta the 'ā's should be changed to 'a's.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.31.21] Sunday, January 31, 2021 8:10 AM

[VP SV 1.01] Book of the Discipline, Vol. 1, Sutta-Vibhaṅga, Defeat 1, the Horner translation.
Linked to the Pali.
This is a monster of a sutta! The translation has been fully rolled out and proofread. It is clear from the rolled-out version that it consists of numerous strata. There is nothing in the stratification which invalidates the message, but about the only thing that remains as likely originally spoken by Gotama is his initial definition of the rule and the first exception. The rest is lawyer-speak and some padding at the beginning.
This translation is not Ms. Horner's finest work. It looks like she has taken each paragraph as a separate entity without reference to its immediate context. While the disjointedness is subtle, it is felt. And then there is the famous fact that she has censored some of the content. The censored content has been restored from a document supplied by the PTS and what do we find? A horror at the very idea of sex. Some stuff nobody today would give a second thought ... well, ok, maybe having a■■■ ■■x with yourself or with a decomposed animal is a little too much, but these descriptions are not pornographic, they are legalistic and to not make that distinction shows a defect in her reasoning (which is, presumably, to protect innocents from being stimulated to such things by the description of them ... little does she know, apparently, what gets discussed (has always been discussed) in college dorms). Maybe her generation was way too up tight or maybe our generation is way too caught up in lust. Who knows? Maybe both.
Finally, please note that the Pali here has been given only the most superficial look-see. My proofreading days are apparently over. I can no longer focus on the hard copy. Except that I would highly recommend that all the Pali and Translations here be given another proofing, there is currently on the site a fairly clean set of both the Pali and Translations that should serve anyone who is sincerly motivated to learn.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.19.21] Sunday, January 24, 2021 7:38 AM

Two new versions of the PTS PED Upgrade:

ped-stand-alone.zip 2.2MB This version has an internal style sheet and all images have been removed. Works on installation, no editing necessary.
ped.utf8-stripped.zip This version of the text file contains only the title page and the word listings; no introductory materials.

All the links to the various versions of this PED are permanently located on the Index of Downloads page under the listing for the available PTS works.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.19.21] Tuesday, January 19, 2021 8:59 AM

"Mendicant," literally "a beggar for alms," from mendicare, to beg, mendicus, "a beggar," is also doubtless etymologically correct as a translation of bhikkhu. — Ms. Horner from her Translator's Introducion to the Book of the Discipline, Volume I, Sutta Vibhaṅga, page xl.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.16.21] Saturday, January 16, 2021 4:09 AM

[SN 2.15.10] Person, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation.
The Buddha tells the bhikkhus that the pile of a single person's bones during only one aeon would be greater than a huge mountain. ... if there were a collector of such bones, and if the collection were not destroyed.
[SN 2.16.11] The Robe, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
Maha Kassapa criticizes Ananda for going around with a great crowd of novices and relates the story of his first encounter with the Buddha, his exchanging robes with the Buddha and the Buddha's high praise of him.
[SN 3.22.18] Cause (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha teaches the understanding that a thing built on the changeable is itself subject to change.
See Glossology: 'hetu', for a discussion as to why this term should not be being translated 'cause' as per Woodward and most other translators.
[SN 3.22.19] Cause (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha teaches the understanding that a thing built of the painful does not result in the pleasant.
[SN 3.22.20] Cause (3), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha teaches the understanding that a thing built of the not-self does not become a self.
The BJT Pali has apparently used copy and paste but forgot to make the appropriate changes. Woodward does a similar thing in not making the appropriate changes in the second and third of the previous three. The PTS Pali is correct although abridged; I have unabridged the Pali and corrected the Woodward.
[SN 3.22.76] Arahants, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha teaches that shape, sense-experience, perception, own-making and sense-consciousness are inconstant, that what is inconstant is painful, that what is painful is not the self and that such things should be regarded as 'not mine', not the self.
NOTE: This sutta concludes with a statement that among beings up to the highest of those who have become, Arahanship is the culmination and mastery. This is translated in a misleading way such as to indicate that Arahantship is to be included as one of the 'becomings.' I suppose that if one keeps in mind the fact that the body is not the self, then it is possible to think of the Arahant whose body has not yet died as 'having become', but the reality is that the Arahant has stopped becoming (there is a separation there between the consciousness of the Arahant and the body he used to identify with) and it is for that that such a one is considered the highest in the world of those who have existence. Woodward has mistranslated 'sattavasa' as 'the seven abodes.' This is 'being's vestments', or 'abodes of beings', and there are nine of such.
[SN 3.22.78] The Lion, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha compairs the effect of the teaching of the Dhamma on gods and men to the effect of the lion's roar on the creatures of the forest.
[SN 3.22.82] The Full-moon Night, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha delivers a comprehensive discourse on the fuel stockpiles, the 'panc-upadana-kkhandha'.
Here is a really good example of how the Dhamma was propagated among the bhikkhus. Together with his five hundred pupils, face-to-face with the Buddha, a group teacher asks a series of questions which when answered by the Buddha elucidate the entire spectrum of doctrines concerning the 'pañc-upādāna-kkhandhā,' the five fuel-stockpiles. Completely blurred over by abridgment.
[SN 3.22.96] Cow Dung, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
A bhikkhu asks if there is any shape, sense-experience, perception, own-making, or consciousness which is stable and everlasting. He is told that there is not, and then he is shown by way of example, a past life of Gotama where he was a king of extraordinary wealth and splendor and yet all that wealth and splendor has disappeared.
[SN 3.23.001] Mortality, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
Venerable Rādha asks about the extent of that which is subject to mortality and the value of seeing it the way described by the Buddha.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.15.21] Friday, January 15, 2021 4:31 AM

[SN 1.3.21] Persons, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation.
The Buddha teaches King Pasenadi how to classify people into four types: One who goes from darkness to darkness; one who goes from darkness to the light; one who goes from the light to the dark; and one who goes from the light to the light.
[SN 1.3.22] Grandmother, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation.
King Pasenadi visits the Buddha after his grandmother dies and is reconciled to the idea that all life ends in death.


All beings are subject to death, have death as their end, have not gone beyond death.

Just as all a potter's vessels — whether baked or unbaked — are subject to breaking, have breaking as their end, and have not gone beyond breaking, in the same way all beings are subject to death, have death as their end, have not gone beyond death."

—Bhk. Thanissaro translation


[SN 1.4.18] Alms, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation, and the Sister Upalavanna translation.
Māra, the Evil One works a spell that prevents the people from giving the Buddha alms. He is greatly frustrated by the fact that this does not upset the Buddha at all.
[SN 1.7.12] Udaya, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Olendzki translation.
Udaya the Brahman challenges the Buddha's worthiness to receive food. The Buddha responds in verses vividly picturing the endless round of rebirths. The brahman is so impressed that he becomes a disciple.
[SN 1.7.16] Contradiction, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation.
A Brahmin named Gainsayer thought he would try to mess with the Buddha by saying the opposite of anything he said. The Buddha cuts him short telling him he would not debate with a person of such a corrupt heart so full of animosity. The brahmin was so impressed he became a disciple.
[SN 1.11.14] Poor, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
A poor man takes on the faith and is reborn in the Heaven of the Three and Thirty more splendid than the others. The gods are offended, but Sakka explains the great power of the Dahmma to them.
[SN 1.11.15] A Delightful Place, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha explains to Sakka how material enjoyments are of little worth compared to association with men of knowledge.
[SN 1.11.22] Ugly, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
A daemon that becomes more beautiful and powerful the more he is the subject of anger but who shrivvles up and disappears when treated with kindness.
A sutta that is much deeper than it looks!
[SN 1.11.24] A Transgression, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha illustrates the folly of unforgiveness by relating a story of Sakka's wisdom.

"There are these two wise people.

Which two?

The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression.

—Bhk. Thanissaro translation

 


[SN 2.12.55] The Great Tree, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha likens the prospects for continued growth for one who delights in contimplation of whatever is included under the heading of fuel to the condition of a great tree with healthy roots sucking up it's nourishment.
Of course he recommends chopping the tree down and destroying it's every trace. It is interesting to note that there is a great variation in the use made of the same image in similes throughout the suttas. The Great Stable and Pithy Tree is often made to be the simile for the Buddha's Dhamma, where here it is made to be all that stands for the world of Pain.


 

Oblog: [O.1.14.21] Thursday, January 14, 2021 4:09 AM

[SN 4.35.118] To Sakka, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
Sakka, king of the devas, asks the Buddha why it is that some people attain Nibbana in this life while others do not. He is told that it is dependent on whether or not a person does those things which support sense-consciousness.
The introduction here of Sakka, a deva, the king of the devas, is so casual as to defeat any argument that it was so introduced by the editors to puff up Gotama's image. If that had been the intention the mind set of such would have dictated an array of fabulous circumstances to highlight the occasion. Here Sakka just has a simple question, gets a simple answer and that's the end of it. I would feel much safer, even were I one who disbelieved in devas, saying that it is I that cannot see devas rather than saying that devas do not exist. The latter statement would require of me a vision more astounding than that which would be required to see a deva.
[SN 4.35.134] At Devadaha, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha makes a distinction between the seeker and the Arahant with regard to being careful about guarding the senses.
[SN 4.35.136] Delight in Forms, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha teaches the bhikkhus that it is because of the instability of the objects of the senses that gods and men come to grief, but that the Arahant actually finds this instability his source of living at ease.
The sutta is especially interesting for the statement that it is the instability of sense objects that is the basis of ease for the Arahant. I don't believe this statement is made elsewhere in the suttas. How should this be understood? I would suggest that it is because the Arahant is free from the grief caused by this instability that perception of it is a reminder of what has been escaped. This is another way of stating that the consciousness of the Arahant is fed by perception of freedom; a statement that is made in several places throughout the suttas. See: Is Nibbana Conditioned? for more on this subject.
[SN 4.35.187] The Ocean (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha likens sense experience to the ocean with the sense objects being the source of it's turbulence. He who can transcend the turbulence is called free.
[SN 4.35.188] The Ocean (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha likens sense experience to the ocean in which the world, for the most part is drowned, tangled up and bound down. He who can get rid of lust, anger and blindness has transcended this ocean with it's great dangers.
[SN 4.35.190] The Milk Sap Tree, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha likens lust, hate and blindness to sap flowing from a cut in a sappy tree. In such a one even insignificant contact with sense objects overwhelms the heart, he has no hope when he comes into contact with powerful sense objects.
[SN 5.45.27] A Pot, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha illustrates the steadying effect of the Eightfold Way on the mind by the example of two pots, one with a stand and one without. The one without the stand is easily knocked over.
[SN 5.45.153] A Pot, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha provides a simile (as for previous sutta) illustrating the stability of the Dhamma. This is really an extract from a wheel sutta. See the other translations for the fully rolled out wheel.
[SN 5.46.3] One in Training, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation and the Olds translation.
The Buddha describes how even just the sight of an Arahant can lead to Awakening or non-returning.
The translations of both Woodward and Bhk. Bodhi are easy to misunderstand. They give the impression that the whole sequence from first seeing an Arahant to attaining the result is virtually instantaneous. "When a monk, so dwelling aloof, remembers and turns over in his mind the teaching of the Norm, it is then that the limb of wisdom which is mindfulness is established in that monk. When he cultivates the limb of wisdom which is mindfulness then it is that the monk's culture of it comes to perfection." etc. Bhk. Bodhi: "Dwelling thus withdrawn, one recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus withdrawn recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu." The idea is that when he starts one thing he has at that same time also started the next thing, to fully develop the first thing the second thing must be fully developed; when the first thing has been fully developed the other things are at that time also fully developed. Development is a circular thing; a revolving evolving enveloping developing.
[SN 5.46.38] Hindrances, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha lists the diversions, then states how when one focuses one's mind on the Dhamma and is not diverted at such a time the seven dimensions of awakening can develop and come to completion.
Bhk. Bodhi has divided this sutta into two and states that his perception is that they deal with two different subjects. I read this as dealing with one subject: first the statement of the diversions, then the statement as to how when they have been eliminated the seven dimensions of awakening can develop.
What I believe is going on here and in the previous sutta but one, is that we are seeing the work of late editors trying to organize what was likely originally one long lesson into the ten suttas usually making up a chapter.
[SN 5.48.8] To Be Seen, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
The Buddha describes where each of the forces is to be seen at work. An invaluable sutta for understanding the forces.


The Force of Faith Energy Minding Serenity Wisdom
is Manifest in Association with
the Good;
Listening to Dhamma;
Tracing out the Origins
of things;
Actual Practice
Putting forth Energy to:
Refrain from unarisen bad conditions;
Restrain arisen bad conditions;
Retain arisen good conditions;
Obtain unarisen good conditions
Living in a body,
in sense-experience,
in mental states,
in the Dhamma,
seeing how they arise, how they sustain themselves, how they fall,
above it all,
Mindful and alert,
restraining desires and depression,
not downbound to anything at all in the World
Appreciation of the Peace of solitude;
Appreciation of the pleasure in Serenity;
Being content with Mindfulness and Ease;
Living in the purity of Detachment.
In knowing and seeing that
'This' is Pain,
this pain originates in desire,
to end the pain, end the desire,
This is the way: High View, High Principles, High Talk, High Works, High Lifestyle, High Self-control, High Mind, and High Serenity.

[SN 5.51.022] The Iron Ball, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
Ananda asks the Buddha if he is able to reach the Brahma realm in the physical body as well as in the mental body and is told that he is able to do so and explains how. In this sutta we get the method for the Magic Power known today as 'shape-shifting'. Vikubbanā-iddhi, 'the power of transformation'. In this example it is the power to visit the brahma world in this body. This sutta is also interesting from the point of view of the fact that it is one of the few instances where Gotama is asked directly about his mastery of magic powers and specifically about one which is always at the top of the list of doubts by skeptics: the ability to do magic deeds in this body — the only state considered 'real' by the skeptic.
[SN 5.3.8] Mallikā, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Mrs. Rhys Davids translation.
King Pasenadi and his Queen Mallikā confess that there is no one more dear to the self than the self. The King visits the Buddha and the Buddha confirms this.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.13.21] Wednesday, January 13, 2021 4:17 AM

[AN 8.61] Desire, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
The Buddha deliniates the difference in attitude of eight sorts of persons who still wish for possessions, pointing out that it is the reaction with sorrow or joy to failure or success in their wishes that indicates that one has fallen from the path and the non-reaction with sorrow or joy that indicates that the other is still on the path.
[AN 9.8] To Sajjha, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation, the Sister Upalavanna translation and the Olds translation.
Nine ways in which it is impossible for an Arahant to transgress.


13 Things Impossible for an Arahant

The beggar who is arahant,
corruptions eliminated,
un-ocupied,
duty's doing done,
load laid down,
his own good gained,
yokes to existence thoroughly broken,
by the highest knowledge freed,
cannot behave in these thirteen manners of carring on:

[ 1] Such a one cannot behave with the purpose of cutting off breathing life;
[ 2] he cannot behave such as to take by theft what is not given;
[ 3] he cannot behave such as to engage in things related to copulation;
[ 4] he cannot behave such as to knowingly tell a lie;
[ 5] he cannot behave such as to store up for the pleasure of enjoyment in the same way as when earlier living in a house;
[ 6] he cannot behave such as to act upon wishes;
[ 7] he cannot behave such as to act upon repugnance;
[ 8] he cannot behave such as to act stupidly;
[ 9] he cannot behave such as to act in fear;
[10] he cannot reject the Buddha;
[11] he cannot reject the Dhamma;
[12] he cannot reject the Saṅgha;
[13] he cannot reject the training.


[AN 9.24] Beings, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
Nine ways in which beings tend to find rebirth stated in terms of body and consciousness.


What is Nine?
Nava Nama Kim?

What Nine Concepts, when seen to the Root with Penetrating Knowledge, and understood to the broadest limits, such that their repellant nature is seen as it really is and one has released them in their entirety, can bring one to the Uttermost Freedom of Detachment?

1. There are beings out there that inhabit separately appearing bodies and are differentiated in mind, such as human beings, certain gods and beings in the Lower Realms (animals, ghosts, demons, and creatures in the hells).

2. There are beings out there that inhabit separately appearing bodies but are of one mind, such as the beings of Brahma's Retinue.

3. There are beings out there that inhabit bodies that appear identical, but whose minds differ, such as the beings of the Abhassara Realm, who Radiate light.

4. There are beings out there that inhabit bodies that appear identical and who are of one mind, such as the beings of the Subhakinna Realm, who are Luminescent.

5. There are beings out there utterly without perception. These meditated on the idea that it was perception that was the cause of Dukkha, and aspired to non-percipience. Reborn in the Asaññā (nonpercipient) Realm, they abide there for as long as the power of the Wish that brought them there lasts, and then a thought occurs to them at which time they are reborn with the belief that they spontaneously appeared from nothing.

6. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of form, by eliminating the perception of limit (resistance, the sign of materiality), by not paying any attention to perceptions of difference, thinking "Space is Limitless" inhabit the Realm of Ākasa — Space. This sphere is reached using the arupajhana — immaterial burning high getting — of the same name, which is reached by the technique described here. This burning can be reached from the Fourth burning with ease, or with struggle from anyplace. Reentry is through what we call the collective unconscious, or collective memory. This is the place people "reach into" to materialize objects, and find things. "The Place Just Above the Place Where Allashi'tzah.").

7. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of the Sphere of Ākasa, thinking "Consciousness is Limitless" inhabit the realm of Consciousness — Viññāṇa. This is the second arūpajhāna, which is higher and more refined than the ākasa arupajhāna.

8. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of the Sphere of Viññāṇa, thinking, "There is nothing to be had there" inhabit the realm of Nothing to be Had There — Akincana. This is the third arūpajhāna, which is higher and more refined than the viññāṇa arupajhāna.

9. There are beings out there who, by passing completely beyond perceptions of Akincana, being completely unaware of any sphere where they are aware of being aware that they are there inhabit the realm named "N'evasaññānasaññā" The Realm of Neither-Perceiving-Nor-Non-Perceiving. This is the fourth arūpajhāna, which is higher and more refined than the akincana arūpajhāna. This, prior to the appearance of Gotama, was considered the highest achievement in personal evolution possible. Gotama pointed out that existence in the "N'evasaññānasaññā" sphere was subject to ending, and that the Jhāna that was the Ending-of-Sensation-Perception which was the door to Nibbāna was higher and more refined than that.


[AN 9.25] Discernment, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
The Buddha says that one with abundant wisdom may declare arahantship; then he defines what he means by wisdom.
[AN 10.18] Protectors (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
Ten things that are protections for the seeker with the additional protection that having these protections the bhikkhus are inclined to instruct and guide such a seeker.
Neither Bhk. Thanissaro nor Bhk. Bodhi have made translations that make sense. Woodward has it correctly.
[AN 10.73] Wished For, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
Ten things that are much wished for, but hard to get in the world; ten things that are obstacles to getting them and ten things that are helpful for getting them.
Here Bhikkhu Thanissaro's translation is not in error, but Woodward's is clearer. In these days of the Covid virus it is interesting to note that the reason stated for being subject to disease is 'acting out of season' (Bhk. Thanissaro: "Unsuitable actions"; Bhk. Bodhi:. "Doing what is unbeneficial.") The Pali is Asappāya and PED has "likely, beneficial, fit, suitable", but also notes uses where the meaning is: something that did him good, a remedy; giving a drugs; omething beneficial, benefit, help, which seems more appropriate to the meaning here. Lack of preventive measures? Lack of medications? But the citations for these uses are from late books. The key is likely in the understanding of what is "unseasonable". Is there a common unseasonable action; or is acting unseasonably a common trait in the case of those who contract the Covid virus? Stupid question.
[AN 10.76] Incapable, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
A Paṭicca-Samuppada-like (this being that becomes, from the ending of this, the ending of that) progression of 10 steps of three factors each showing how lack of sense of shame, a fear of blame and being careful pevents growth in the ability to eliminate lust, hate and delusion, factors necessay for attaining freedom from birth, aging and death. Followed by the reverse course showing how sense of shame, a fear of blame, and being careful end up leading to the elimination of lust, hate, and delusion and the end of birth, aging and death. Followed by the reverse course showing how sense of shame, a fear of blame, and being careful end up leading to the elimination of lust, hate, and delusion and the end of birth, aging and death. Here again the dependence is not cast in terms of 'cause' but of ability to grow.
[AN 10.101] Contemplative Perceptions, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
When three things about the reality of his situation as a bhikkhu are perceived it results in the fulfillment of seven highly advantageous conditions in his life.
[SN 4.35.17] If There Were Not This (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha explains that one must see the satisfactions, disadvantages, and the way of escape from the personal sense spheres in order to attain enlightenment.
[SN 4.35.18] If There Were Not This (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha explains that one must see the satisfactions, disadvantages, and the way of escape from the spheres of the external sense objects in order to attain enlightenment.
Should be read together with the previous sutta.
[SN 4.35.19] Delight (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
He who takes delight in the personal senses is not free from Pain; he who does not take delight in the personal senses is free from pain.
Note here the implication that 'taking delight' is a willful act, not something that simply happens to one.
[SN 4.35.20] Delight (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Woodward translation.
He who takes delight in external sense objects is not free from Pain; he who does not take delight in external sense objects is free from pain.
Should be read together with the previous sutta.

 


 

Oblog: [O.1.12.21] Tuesday, January 12, 2021 4:50 AM

PED

Digital Pali Text Society's Pali English Dictionary upgrade update.

The .html version is now available.

The Upgrade version of the .htm edition of the PTS PED:
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The Upgrade version of the .txt edition of the PTS PED:
ped.utf8.txt 5.5MB!
ped.utf8.zip 2.2MB
Zipped text file in unicode utf-8 with PC line endings.
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This work is based on a scanned version of an early reprint of an early edition of The Pali Text Society's Pali English Dictionary revised in accordance with the 2015 "Reprint with corrections" by K.R. Norman, William Pruitt and Peter Jackson.

Further details on this edition are to be found at the beginning of the file.

It is not being claimed that this edition is error-free or all-encompassing. What it is at this time is the most error-free and encompassing of the on-line Pali Dictionaries.

Although it is available for viewing and use on this site, due to the size of the file, on-line use is not very practical. It is intended for downloading to your desktop and use from there.

1. Download the .zip file (.txt or .htm according to your preference) and expand.
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[AN 2.74] Pleasures, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
The Buddha describes two sorts of pleasure.
This sutta can be read in two different ways: as pleasures resulting from some basis and as pleasures with some object in view. The translations here are of both sorts. I object, as usual to the translation of upekkha as equanimity over detachment; the former being a state of mind bound up in the world and not a worthy object for a Buddhist meditator.
[AN 2.120] Rarely Having Enough, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
The Buddha descibes two who are hard to satisfy.
[AN 2.134] Without Investigating, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Woodward translation and the Olds translation.
The danger of taking a position on a matter that one has not investigated; the advantages of taking a position on a matter that one has investigated.


Look
before
you
leap.


[AN 5.23] Defilements, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The Buddha likens the process of purifying the mind to the process of purifying gold. Then he describes five super-normal powers attainable with the purified mind.
[AN 6.31] Decline, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
Six things that lead to the falling away of a bhikkhu in training, and six things that lead to not falling away.


Things Leading to Decline

Delight in worldly activity,
delight in talk,
delight in sleep,
delight in company,
delight in being unguarded as to the doors of the senses
delight in immoderate eating.

Hare translation


[AN 6.73] Jhāna (1), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
Six things which are required to enter and abide in the First Jhāna.


Six Which Must be Let Go
to Enter and Abide in
the First Jhāna

Desire for Sense Pleasures
Angry and Violent thoughts
Sleepyness and Sluggishness
Fear and Trembling
Doubt in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha
and not seeing the danger in desire for Sense Pleasures


[AN 6.74] Jhāna (2), the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation and the Olds translation.
Six things which are required to enter and abide in the First Jhana.
A different set of six. Hare has translated 'vitakka' as 'brooding over', and 'saññā' as 'conjuring up thoughts of'. 'Vicāra' might be 'brooding over' but not 'vitakka' which is in the place of our 'thinking' in huge numbers of contexts throughout the suttas. I object strongly to the translation of 'saññā' as 'thought'. I have done a translation for comparison. Bhk. Bodhi's translation of the two terms is the same as mine; his usual understanding of vitakka is, however, the Commentarial idea of 'initial thought'. But what does it mean to 'give up perception of sense-pleasures, etc.?' There is thinking about a thing, and then there is allowing the idea of a thing to be understood as having the potential to provide sense-pleasures, etc. It's at an earlier stage than 'thinking about'. You see an individual of the opposite sex and going beyond the perception of shape, you allow in the idea 'attractive', etc. That first 'allowing in' is perception and is a 'sign' of 'self'. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
[AN 7.50] About Nandamātar, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation and the Sister Upalavanna translation.
Nanda's Mother declares seven wonderful things about herself including that she was a non-returner.
[AN 7.54] To Sīha, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, and the Hare translation.
General Siha questions the Buddha about the visible effects of giving.
[AN 8.19] Pahārāda, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
Gotama holds a conversation with an eminant Assura [Monster] and contrasts the eight things held to be delightful to them to eight things delightful to the bhikkhus.


Just as the Ocean has but one taste,
that is, the taste of salt;
In the same way this Dhamma/Discipline has but one taste,
that is, the taste of freedom.

This, in a nutshell, is the problem with activist Buddhism: it has two tastes: one for me and what I think is right and one for those who think differently.


[AN 8.22] About Ugga, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation.
Linked to the Pali, the Hare translation and the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.
The lay follower, Ugga, of Hatthigāma, is spoken of as having eight wonders associated with him, one of which was that he was a Non-returner. This is the same Ugga about whom it was said: "At the top, Beggars, of those of my Upasakas who serves the Order is Uggato Gahapati." — [AN 1 254]

 


 

Oblog: [O.01.08.21] Friday, January 08, 2021 4:09 AM

Sabbakāya

It's not
"All Body"
It is
"The Body as a Whole"
As a Whole.

Moving on from Minding just the Breating.


[AN 2.61] Communal Living, the Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.
Linked to the Pali and the Woodward translation.
The Buddha describes the thinking of asocial bhikkhus and of bhikkhus intent on living peacefully with their fellow seekers.


Another way to understand Nekkhamma: Departure.

 


 

Oblog: [O.01.07.21] Thursday, January 07, 2021 5:16 AM

Digital Pali Text Society's Pali English Dictionary upgrade update.

The Upgrade version of the .txt edition of the PTS PED:
ped.utf8.txt 5.5MB!

Zipped file 2.2MB

This work is based on a scanned version of an early reprint of an early edition of The Pali Text Society's Pali English Dictionary revised in accordance with the 2015 "Reprint with corrections" by K.R. Norman, William Pruitt and Peter Jackson.

Further details on this edition are to be found at the beginning of the file.

An .html version is upcoming.

This file is intended for active translators and will serve well in some exotic projects requiring a Pali dictionary that people are working on.

 


 

Welcome Friend!
CONTINUED: The listings for:

To use the Oblog, What's New? listings as a study guide, start from the foot of the 2010-2013 file and work up working down through each entry date working up to the current What's New? page.

What's New? 2020What's New? 2019What's New? 2018What's New? 2017What's New? 2016
What's New? 2015What's New? 2014What's New? 2010-2013

 



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