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Showing posts from 2019

What is Pali Language? A little history

In all these grammar tutorials we have never stopped to ask: What is Pali?” “What does the word mean?” “What are the origins of Pali? And this is what we will investigate in this post.... Who Speaks the Pali language? Well, let's get the obvious answer out of the way: Pali is the language, in which, the scriptures of Theravada school of Buddhism have been preserved and passed down. True. Today Pali is studied mainly to gain access to Theravada Buddhist scriptures, and is frequently chanted in a ritual context. But when we say a ' language ', most languages are named either after a population or a region, and we have no evidence of a region called Pali or even a population of Pali speakers... So what is going on?

Dhamma section | Satipatthāna Sutta | Translation guide

This the final section of the Satipatthāna sutta deals with dhamma which literally translates as: 'to hold , bear (also bring forth)'.  As to what this term represents, whole books have been written! Here, in common with I think most translators, I take it in it's technical sense as the object to 'manas'; the constituents of mind, or knowable things; what is available to inner observation; in a word: phenomena. Note: Bhikkhu Ānandajoti points out: in other versions of this teaching it appears that the original structure of this section only included the hindrances (nīvaraṇa) and the factors of awakening (bojjhaṅga), which are both lists of ethical qualities of mind. I believe dhamma in this original context probably meant ethical states, a well-attested meaning for dhamma, but one no longer useable once the additions of the constituents (khandha), sense-spheres (āyatana) and truths (sacca) have been included. I'm switching to MN10 for this final sec

Syllables and Stress

I have received a couple of request now for information about accent or stress in Pali pronunciation. This is a poorly covered area - and I have to add I'm not an expert. But from reading mainly Sanskrit guides and guides to Pali Prosody (poetry & metre) I think there are a few things to be aware of. First, Pali tends towards time duration rather than accent or stress. So in pronunciation, a short vowel is half the length of a long vowel. Now, Vedic Sanskrit has a musical 'pitch accent' that I believe did not transfer to Pali.

Velthuis to Diacritics converter & Pali Dictionary Lookup Tool

Convert to Unicode Type these Velthuis codes to convert into Pali unicode. aa → ā .m → ṃ ii → ī .t → ṭ uu → ū .d → ḍ "n → ṅ .n → ṇ

Vedanā & Citta sections | Satipatthāna Sutta | Translation guide

This post continues the translation of the Satipatthāna Sutta and expounds the sections on Vedanā & Citta . Much of the translation hinges on how these two terms are themselves interpreted. Vedanā is generally seen as the sensations/feelings aroused by perception and is understood as feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, or neither. This is the bare affective quality of an experience, or valence which is the subjective positive-negative evaluation. It is generally associated with one’s attachment (positive or negative) to people, objects, ideas, etc This in turn leads to motivation; the intensity or strength of urge to move toward or away from a particular stimulus. The Pali-English Dictionary suggests citta as heart / mind, emphasizing the more emotive side of mind, as opposed to the intellect. Motivation is what directs behaviour, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behaviour, a set of forces that acts behind our rational exterior. In this way Vedanā & Citta ca

Intro & Kāya section | Satipatthāna Sutta | Translation guide

The Satipatthāna Sutta can be found in two forms: Majjhima Nikaya 10 (MN 10), & Digha Nikaya 22 (DN 22) There are also, I believe, versions in the Chinese āgama: Madhyama Āgama No. 26 & Ekottarika Āgama 12.1 The term satipaṭṭhāna is a compound of sati, (mindfulness) and either paṭṭhāna, (foundation) or upaṭṭhāna, (presence). The compound term could thus be interpreted as sati-paṭṭhāna ("foundation of mindfulness" : preferred by Buddhaghosa's commentary) or sati-upaṭṭhāna, "presence of mindfulness". According to Anālayo, "presence of mindfulness," is a more etymologically correct (cf. smṛty-upasthāna in BHS). Upaṭṭhāna is derived from the verb upaṭṭhāti (itself a variant of upatiṭṭhati), and literally means standing near, and by extension, attending on, serving. The word sati is a feminine action noun derived from the past participle of sarati the basic meaning of which is to remember. It is cognate with Vedic smṛti:memory, recogn

Pali Adjectival Suffixes

In this post we'll look at how both nouns and verbs can be formed into adjectives by use of suffixes. (And though a little off subject, how they can be formed for other uses...). It follows on from the post on  participles in Pali . What is an adjective? It's probably worth pointing out, in these posts I've been happily talking about word classes - nouns, verb, adjectives etc - without really defining what I mean. Linguists have categorised words as belonging to certain groups. And we are told that a noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea; a verb is an action or state; while an adjective is a description word that tells us more about a noun. The question arises 'how do we know?' Some words appear to belong to two or more categories: cold : 'I have a cold' (noun) or 'it is a cold night' (adj) smile : 'the monk smiled' (verb) or 'I like your smile' (noun)

Anguttara Nikāya :Book of Ones | Translation guide

I've decided to reproduce here my attempts at translation, as a guide for others. These are an ongoing work, but hopefully are of some use as an aid to other students attempting the same thing. I must stress that I myself am just a student of Pali and make mistakes. For the sake of example, the translations are very literal and of course could be phrased differently. The format of the table rows below is as follows: Pali text (class) Case, number, gender or person, number, tense [if a verb] Dictionary definition  Translation