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#1 RobertK

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:13 AM

I remember reading that the Vinaya prohibits monks using sanskrit. Anyone have details?

#2 Alan McClure

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 02:01 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 3 2006, 11:13 PM) View Post

I remember reading that the Vinaya prohibits monks using sanskrit. Anyone have details?


Dear Robert,

http://www.lioncity....showtopic=21867

That should interest you.

With metta,

Alan


#3 RobertK

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 02:33 PM

Dear Alan,
Thank you! I have taken the liberty of reposting your letter here:

Dear all,

There has been some debate and confusion about a section in the Cuu.lavagga from the Vinaya Pitaka wherein the Buddha clarifies which language he officially sanctions for passing on the Dhamma that he has taught.

Though it is clear that Sanskrit is to be avoided, there have been two main positions regarding which language is acceptable.

Below I have outlined the Pali passage and have translated it roughly. I have left a "(??)" in the final line to designate the problematic section. This "(??) should be replaced with one of the following:

1) "each one's"
2) "my"

"Each one's" refers to the various dialects of all the different bhikkhus, while "my" refers to the Buddha's own dialect (Maagadhi). The particularity of the possessive pronoun "saka" is what has caused all the confusion it seems.

I will outline the various arguments made for each of these cases after having given my rough translation and an accompanying translation by T.W Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg.

Cuu.lavagga V.33.1

Buddha Jayanti Version:

tena kho pana samayena yame.lutekulaa naama bhikkhuu dve bhaatikaa honti braahma.najaatikaa kalyaa.navaacaakalyaa.navaakkara.naa. Te yena bhagavaa tenupasa”nkami.msu. Upasa”nkamitvaa bhagavanta.m abhivaadetvaa ekamanta.m nisiidi.msu. Ekamanta.m nisinnaa kho te bhikkhuu bhagavanta.m etadavocu.m: " etarahi bhante bhikkhuu naanaanaamaa naanaagottaa naanaajaccaa naanaakulaa pabbajitaa. Te sakaaya niruttiyaa buddhavacana.m duusenti. Handa maya.m bhante buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropemaa"ti. Vigarahi buddho bhagavaa. " Katha.m hi naama tumhe moghapurisaa eva.m vakkhatha 'handa maya.m bhante buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropemaa'ti. Neta.m moghapurisaa appasannaana.m vaa pasaadaaya pasantaana.m vaa bhiyyobhaavaaya. Atha khveta.m bhikkhave appasannaana.m ceva appasaadaaya pasannaana~nca ekaccaana.m a~n~nathattaayaa"ti. Vigarahitvaa dhammi.m katha.m katvaa bhikkhuu aamantesi:
"Na bhikkhave buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropetabba.m. Yo aaropeyya aapatti dukka.tassa. Anujaanaami bhikkhave sakaaya niruttiyaa buddhavacana.m pariyaapu.nitunti.


My Translation:

tena kho pana samayena yame.lutekulaa naama bhikkhuu dve bhaatikaa honti braahma.najaatikaa kalyaa.navaacaa kalyaa.navaakkara.naa.
therefore/ indeed/ but/ by time/ Yame.lu and Tekula /by name/bhikkhus/ two/ brothers/ they are/ of the Brahmin caste/ with speech pleasing to the ear / with proficient enunciation./

Indeed, at that time, bhikkhus, there were two brothers of the Brahmin caste named Yame.lu and Tekula, whose speech was pleasing, and whose pronunciation was proficient.


Te yena bhagavaa tenupasa”nkami.msu. Upasa”nkamitvaa bhagavanta.m abhivaadetvaa ekamanta.m nisiidi.msu.
They/ by which/ the Blessed One/ by him/ approached/, having approached/ the Blessed One/ having greeted/

Ekamanta.m nisinnaa kho te bhikkhuu bhagavanta.m etadavocu.m:
one side/ they sat down./ one side/ seated/ indeed/ these/ bhikkhus/ the Blessed One/ said this

They approached the Blessed One, and having approached and greeted him, they sat down at one side. While seated, the bhikkhus said this to the Blessed One:


" etarahi bhante bhikkhuu naanaanaamaa naanaagottaa naanaajaccaa naanaakulaa pabbajitaa. Te sakaaya niruttiyaa buddhavacana.m
Currently/ Venerable Sir/ bhikkhus /different names/ different lineages/ different births/ different clans/ gone forth. They/ own/ with dialect/ teachings of the Buddha/

duusenti. Handa maya.m bhante buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropemaa"ti..
destroy./ Alas,/ we,/ Venerable Sir, / teaching of the Buddha/ verse/ let us commit to/ end quote

“Currently, Venerable Sir, there are bhikkhus who have gone forth with different names, different lineages, different births and different clans; [and] they are destroying the teachings of the Buddha by using their own dialects. Alas, let us, Venerable Sir, commit the teachings of the Buddha to verse.”


vigarahi buddho bhagavaa. `` Katha.m hi naama tumhe moghapurisaa eva.m vakkhatha --
he scolded/ Buddha/ the Blessed One/ etc. /how/indeed/ by name/ you/ foolish men/ thus/ you will say/
The Buddha scolded: “How indeed can you foolish men say:”

'handa maya.m bhante buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropemaa'ti.
Alas/ we/ Venerable Sir/ teaching of the Buddha/ verse/ let us commit to/ end quote
Alas, let us, Venerable Sir, commit the teachings of the Buddha to verse

Neta.m moghapurisaa appasannaana.m vaa pasaadaaya pasantaana.m vaa bhiyyobhaavaaya.
no/ this/ foolish men/ of not-trusting/ or/ for brightening/ clarified/or/ for increasing
This is not [conducive to] strengthening the trust [in the Dhamma] of the doubtful nor for increasing [the trust] of the trusting

Atha khveta.m bhikkhave appasannaana.m ceva appasaadaaya pasannaana~nca ekaccaana.m a~n~nathattaayaa"ti.
Then/ indeed/ this/ bhikkhus/ of the not-trusting/ and indeed/ for the weakening/ of the trsuting/and/ for certain/ changing the mind
And indeed, bhikkhus, this is conducive to the doubting [of the Dhamma] of the already doubtful and the adding to doubt of the trusting.

Vigarahitvaa dhammi.m katha.m katvaa bhikkhuu aamantesi:
/having scolded/ Dhamma/ talk/ having done/ bhikkhus/ he said:
Having scolded [the bhikkhus] the Blessed One then gave a talk on the Dhamma and having finished [the talk] he said:

``na, bhikkhave, buddhavacana.m chandaso aaropetabba.m.
no/ bhikkhus/ the teaching of the Buddha/ verse/ to be committed to
Bhikkhus, the teaching of the Buddha is not to be committed to verse.

yo aaropeyya, aapatti dukka.tassa.
which/ having committed/ an offence/ of evil.
Those who do so, will have committed a Dukka.ta offence.

anujaanaami, bhikkhave, sakaaya niruttiyaa buddhavacana.m pariyaapu.nitu''nti.
I grant/ bhikkhus/ own/ with dialect/ teachings of the Buddha/ to be learned
I do [however] grant, bhikkhus, that the teachings of the Buddha are to be learned in (??) own dialect.

My Full Translation:


QUOTE
QUOTE
Indeed, at that time, bhikkhus, there were two brothers of the Brahmin caste named Yame.lu and Tekula, whose speech was pleasing, and whose pronunciation was proficient. They approached the Blessed One, and having approached and greeted him, they sat down at one side. While seated, the bhikkhus said this to the Blessed One:

“Currently, Venerable Sir, there are bhikkhus who have gone forth with different names, different lineages, different births and different clans; [and] they are destroying the teachings of the Buddha by using their own dialects. Alas, let us, Venerable Sir, commit the teachings of the Buddha to verse.”

The Buddha scolded: “’How indeed can you foolish men say:’
‘Alas, let us, Venerable Sir, commit the teachings of the Buddha to verse’
This is not [conducive to] strengthening the trust [in the Dhamma] of the doubtful nor for increasing [the trust] of the trusting
And indeed, bhikkhus, this is conducive to the doubting [of the Dhamma] of the already doubtful and the adding to doubt of the trusting.”

Having scolded [the bhikkhus] the Blessed One then gave a talk on the Dhamma and having finished [the talk] he said:

“Bhikkhus, the teaching of the Buddha is not to be committed to verse.
Those who do so, will have committed a Dukka.ta offence.
I do [however] grant, bhikkhus, that the teachings of the Buddha are to be learned in (??) own dialect.”






Translation from: http://www.sacred-te...20/sbe20048.htm
By T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg

QUOTE
QUOTE
1. Now at that time there were two brothers, Bhikkhus, by name Yamelu and Tekula, Brâhmans
by birth, excelling in speech, excelling in pronunciation. These went up to the place where the Blessed One was, and when they had come there, they saluted the Blessed One, and took their seats on one side. And so sitting those Bhikkhus spake to the Blessed One thus:

'At the present time, Lord, Bhikkhus, differing in name, differing in lineage, differing in birth, differing in family, have gone forth (from the world). These corrupt the word of the Buddhas by (repeating it in) their own dialect. Let us, Lord, put the word of the Buddhas into (Sanskrit) verse,’

'How can you, O foolish ones, speak thus, saying, "Let us, Lord, put the word of the Buddhas into verse?" This will not conduce, O foolish ones, either to the conversion of the unconverted, or to the increase of the converted; but rather to those who have not been converted being not converted, and to the turning back of those who have been converted.'
And when the Blessed One had rebuked those Bhikkhus, and had delivered a religious discourse 2, he addressed the Bhikkhus, and said:
'You are not, O Bhikkhus, to put the word of the Buddhas into (Sanskrit) verse. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkata. I allow you, O Bhikkhus, to learn the word of the Buddhas each in his own dialect.'



As you can see, they take the approach that the dialect to be used is that which belongs to each particular bhikkhu, and thus various dialects.

However, U. Razinda from the Dept. of Ancient Indian & Asian Studies, Nalanda, India makes the following comments:


QUOTE
QUOTE
1) From: U. Razinda of the Dept. of Ancient Indian & Asian Studies, Nalanda, India

“Rhys Davids and Oldenberg (Vinaya Texts III=Sacred Books of the East, XX, p.151. ) translate this passage by "I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the words of the Buddha each in his own dialect". This interpretation, however, is not accorded with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of the Buddha to be learnt in his own language (i.e., in Magadhi, the language used by Buddha himself)". In fact, the explanation given by Buddhaghosa is more acceptable, because neither the two monks nor Buddha himself have thought of preaching in different dialects in different cases.”



To see specifically what Oldenberg and Rhys-Davids were thinking, here is their footnote to the passage:

QUOTE
QUOTE
2) From: T.W. RHYS DAVIDS AND HERMANN OLDENBERG
“1- We think that in these words (khandaso âropema) there does lie a reference to the earlier Sanskrit. And this especially for four reasons: firstly, this is required by the antithesis to 'their own dialect;' secondly, the use of the word khandasi in Pânini, where it always means precisely 'in the Veda-dialect,' requires it; thirdly, it is difficult to understand otherwise the mention of 'Brâhmans by birth;' and fourthly, this is in accordance with the traditional interpretation of the passage handed down among the Bhikkhus. Buddhaghosa says, khandaso âropemâ ti Vedam viya sakkata-bhâsâya vâkanâ-maggam âropema. Sakkata is of course Samskrita.”



To see what both of the above arguments are referencing here is the commentary by Ven. Buddhaghosa. I have roughly translated it and hope that the general meaning is made clear. Feel free to PM me if you note any mistakes.


3) From: Buddhaghosa's commentary

“kalyaa.navaakkara.naati madhurasaddaa.
Pronouncing pleasantly/ sweet sounds
Pronouncing pleasantly entails sweet sounds.

chandaso aaropemaati veda.m viya sakkatabhaasaaya vaacanaamagga.m aaropema.
Verse/ it is commited to/ language of the Vedas/ as / Sanskrit/ having spoken/ way of recitation/commit to
“Verse” is committed to the language of the Vedas as in committing to a way of recitation spoken in Sanskrit.

sakaaya niruttiyaati ettha sakaa nirutti naama sammaasambuddhena vuttappakaaro maagadhiko vohaaro.”
own/ dialect speaking/ own/ dialect/ by name/ by the perfectly enlightened Buddha/ as said/ maagadhi/ mode of speech
Speaking “own-dialect” is the own-way of speaking by the Buddha, as the spoken mode of speech which is Maagadhi.


Finally, Wilhelm Geiger has quite a bit to say about this issue and references Oldenberg/Rhys-Davids and Buddhaghosa in his comments.

QUOTE
QUOTE
4) From: Pali Literature and Language by Wilhelm Geiger:
pp 6-7

"If Pali is the form of Magadhi used by the Buddha, then the Pali canon would have to be regarded as the most authentic form of the Buddhavacanam, even though the teachings of the master might have been preached and learnt from the very beginning in the various provinces of India in the respective local dialects. The conclusion has been drawn -- wrongly, in my opinion, -- from Culavagga V.33.1 = Vin II.139. Here it is related, how two Bhikkhus complained to the master that the members of the order were of various origins, and that they distorted the words of Buddha by their own dialect (sakaaya niruttiyaa). They therefore proposed that the words of Buddha should be translated into Sanskrit verses (chandaso). Buddha however refused to grant the request and added: anujaanaami bhikkhave sakaaya niruttiyaa buddhavacanam pariyaapu.nitum. Rhys Davids and Oldenberg translate this passage by 'I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the words of the Buddha each in his own dialect.' This interpretation however is not in harmony with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of Buddha to be learnt in _his_ own language (i.e.Magadhi, the language used by Buddha himself)." After repeated examination of this passage I have come to the conclusion that we have to stick to the explanation given by Buddhaghosa. Neither the two monks or the Buddha himself could have thought of preaching in different cases in different dialects. Here the question is merely whether the words of Buddha migth be translated into Sanskrit or not. This is however clearly forbidden by the Master, at first negatively and then positively by the injunction beginning with 'anujaanaami'. The real meaning of this injunction is, as is also best in consonance with Indian spirit, that there can be no other form of the words of Buddha than in which the Master himself had preched. Thus even in the life-time of Buddha people were concerned about the way in which the teaching might be handed down as accurately as possible, both in form and in content. How much more must have been the anxiety of the disciples after his death! The external form was however Magadhi, thought according to tradition it is Pali."





I have posted all of this to hear some feedback from others and will post tomorrow regarding my own position after having given everything some more thought. I will try to get back to the issue of why this passage is so confusing to various people by looking at the possessive pronoun "saka" in its context and its particular grammatical usage.

With metta,

Alan

#4 Alan McClure

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 10:45 PM

Dear Robert,

Thank you. Let me note yet again that the commentarial passage that I translated is only quickly translated and that it might well be slightly off in a couple of spots. I was just trying to give the gist of the meaning, given that I do not have a lot of experience in translating commentarial Pali.

With metta,

Alan

#5 RobertK

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 10:05 AM

Dhammanando Bhikkhu;
Now at that time there were two bhikkhus named Yameḷa and Kekuṭa, who were brothers and brāhmaṇas by birth, with lovely voices and lovely enunciation. They approached the Blessed One; having approached, having greeted the Blessed One, they sat down at one side. As they were sitting down at one side, these bhikkhus spoke thus to the Blessed One: "At present, bhante, bhikkhus of various names, various clans, various castes, various families, have gone forth; these men spoil the Buddha-word by quoting it in sakkā nirutti. So let us from now on recite the Buddha-word in chandasa."

The Buddha, the Blessed One, rebuked them, saying: "How can you, foolish men, speak thus: 'Let us from now on recite the Buddha-word in chandasa' ? [...] The Buddha-word, bhikkhus, is not to be recited in chandasa. For him who does so it is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow you, bhikkhus, to learn the Buddha-word in sakkā nirutti."
(Vin. ii. 138-9)


Buddhaghosa's Vinaya Atthakathā:


"Let us recite ... in chandasa" means "Let us recite metrically in the Sanskrit language, as is done with the Vedas."

"Sakkā nirutti" in this context refers to the Magadhan dialect as spoken by the Sammāsambuddha.
(Sp. vi. 1214)


The reason the commentator specifies "in this context" (ettha) is because because of the ambiguity of the phrase "sakkāya niruttiyā". It could mean either that each bhikkhu should learn the teaching in "his own dialect", or that he should learn it in "its own dialect" (i.e. the dialect in which the Buddha taught it). The Theravada tradition, following Buddhaghosa, holds to the latter interpretation and insists, for example, that formal acts of the sangha must be carried out in Pali (which is taken to be identical with the Magadhan dialect).

Modern academic scholars, on the other hand, seem to be divided over which of the two readings is the more plausible. My impression is that most tend to favour "in his own dialect", but Buddhaghosa's take on the passage also has some heavyweight defenders.

As for the identification of chandasa with the Sanskrit of the Vedas, this seems to be uncontroversial, being accepted by both traditional and modern scholars.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

#6 RobertK

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:33 AM

Visuddhimagga XIV 30. Herein, prior effort is the same as that already stated. Great learning is skill in some science or sphere of craft. Dialects means skill in the hundred-and-one tongues, particularly in that of Magadha. Scriptures means mastery of the Buddha's word, even if only of the Chapter of Similes. {12}

25. Knowledge about enunciation of language dealing with meaning and law (§21): there is the language that is individual essence, and usage that has no exceptions, {9} and deals with that meaning and that law. Any knowledge falling within that category concerned with the enunciation of that, with the speaking, with the utterance of that, concerned with the root-speech of all beings, the Magadhan language that is individual essence, in other words, the language of law (dhamma), [any knowledge that] as soon as it hears it spoken, pronounced, uttered, knows 'This is the individual-essence language; this is not the individual-essence language' - [such knowledge] is discrimination of language. {10} [442] One who has reached the discrimination of language knows, on hearing the words 'phasso, vedanaa', etc., that that is the individual-essence language, and on hearing 'phasaa, vedano', etc., he knows that that is not the individual-essence language.
{9}. 'Byabhicaara (vyabhicaara)': not in PTS Dict.; normal grammarian's term for an 'exception'.
{10}. The idea behind the term 'individual-essence language' (sabhaava-nirutti) ... that is to say, that there is a real name for each thing that is part of that thing's individual essence ... is dealt with at Dhs.391-2. Magadhan as 'the root speech of all beings' and the 'individual-essence language' is dealt with in greater detail at VbhA.387.
'Phasso' and 'Vedanaa' as respectively masc. and fem. nom. sing. have the correct terminations. 'Phassaa' and 'vedano' are wrong.