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Mahaasatta


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#1 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:36 AM

Dear Pali Scholars,

Mahaasatta.

Maha: worthiness, venerableness.

Asatta: not clinging or attached, free from attachment.

Satta: a sentient and rational being, a person.

The meaning of the compound would be something like: A venerable and worthy person free from clinging and attachment.

Is this the correct definition?

Sincerely,

Scott.

#2 RobertK

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:42 AM

Hi Scott,
Mahasatta - Great Being (the short version)smile.gif

So not sure about the asatta piece, it might be so if said that way in the commentary.

#3 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:46 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 8 2006, 05:42 AM) View Post

Hi Scott,
Mahasatta - Great Being (the short version)smile.gif

So not sure about the asatta piece, it might be so if said that way in the commentary.

Hi Robert,

Thank you. I just broke the compound at the point where the the two "a's" were and, obsessively, folded in the two words satta (with the sense as above) and asatta. To which commentary do you refer, if I may ask?

Sincerely,

Scott.

#4 RobertK

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:51 AM

HI Scott,
Any Commentary that comments on it:). As it is a common word it probably has a detailed word analysis somewhere, but I am not sure where..
Robert

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:59 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 8 2006, 05:51 AM) View Post

HI Scott,
Any Commentary that comments on it:). As it is a common word it probably has a detailed word analysis somewhere, but I am not sure where..
Robert

Okay, thanks.

S.

#6 Yuttadhammo

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 11:48 PM

Dear Scott, Robert,

Mahaa comes from mahanta, following the declension of bhagavanta. It means great.

satta is the pali equivalent of sanskrit satva = being, or satta is a past participle of saj = bent on. The word is only used as an epithet of the the Bodhisatta, AFAIK. Here is the etemology of that word:

QUOTE
Bodhisattoti paṇḍitasatto bujjhanakasatto. Bodhisaṅkhātesu vā catūsu maggesu satto āsatto laggamānasoti bodhisatto.

Source: MN ATT. 3.6 Pāsarāsisuttavaṇṇanā

"Bodhisatta" means a wise being, or an awakening being. Or, "fixed (satto) and affixed (āsatto) to the preperations for enlightenment (bodhi), with a mind bent thereupon" is the meaning of bodhisatta.

Best wishes,

Yuttadhammo

#7 RobertK

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 08:37 AM

Very nice explanation!

I am looking forward to any comments you have about the Buddhist conference too, Venerable Yuttadhammo.

#8 Yuttadhammo

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:32 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 12 2006, 03:37 PM) View Post
Very nice explanation!

I am looking forward to any comments you have about the Buddhist conference too, Venerable Yuttadhammo.


Dear Robert,

Here's my comment about the Buddhist conference:

asāre sāramatino, sāre cāsāradassino.
te sāraṃ nādhigacchanti, micchāsaṅkappagocarā.

wink.gif

If I held a Buddhist conference, I would hold meditation workshops and study workshops and engaged Buddhist action workshops and so on. Not just sit around listening to people move there lips in front of cameras. smile.gif

The best part of the conference was I got to do a simultaneous translation of the supreme patriarch's closing speech up in the translation booth. I put a picture and some highlights of my trip on my weblog:

http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/

Best wishes,

Yuttadhammo


#9 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE(Yuttadhammo @ May 11 2006, 05:48 PM) View Post

Mahaa comes from mahanta, following the declension of bhagavanta. It means great.
satta is the pali equivalent of sanskrit satva = being, or satta is a past participle of saj = bent on. The word is only used as an epithet of the the Bodhisatta, AFAIK. Here is the etemology of that word:
"Bodhisatta" means a wise being, or an awakening being. Or, "fixed (satto) and affixed (āsatto) to the preperations for enlightenment (bodhi), with a mind bent thereupon" is the meaning of bodhisatta.

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo,

Just a remark about translation. I see where a word, say "satta," is rendered or understood based on an amalgamation of its senses and that these related meanings are fused into the gestalt of the full meaning. In the above there is "being" and "bent on" as two aspects of the word. Is there an art here? Your pali definition was from a source, and I assume that there are conventions here. I realise that this is no different for any language. I guess I'm just thinking of how some words can be pivotal in a doctrinal sense and that various views can be inferred based on what sense one wishes to use. Just musing, really. Nothing to do with the words defined above.

Sincerely,

Scott.

#10 Yuttadhammo

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 12:52 AM

QUOTE(Scott Duncan @ May 12 2006, 07:37 PM) View Post

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo,

Just a remark about translation. I see where a word, say "satta," is rendered or understood based on an amalgamation of its senses and that these related meanings are fused into the gestalt of the full meaning. In the above there is "being" and "bent on" as two aspects of the word. Is there an art here? Your pali definition was from a source, and I assume that there are conventions here. I realise that this is no different for any language. I guess I'm just thinking of how some words can be pivotal in a doctrinal sense and that various views can be inferred based on what sense one wishes to use. Just musing, really. Nothing to do with the words defined above.

Sincerely,

Scott.


Dear Scott,

The problem with languages is that there is a constant evolution and devolution occuring, which often results in a clash of spellings, simply by accident. For instance the English word "fan", has two meanings and each meaning has a seperate etymology:

1 - an instrument for producing a current of air
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fann, from Latin vannus

2 - an enthusiastic devotee
Etymology: short for fanatic

satta is the same:

1 - bent on
Etymology: pp. of saj

2 - being
Etymology: Vedic "sattva"

Probably the word really should really be the pali equivalent of sattva in both bodhi- and mahaa-; the alternative is most likely given simply for pedagogical purposes.

Best wishes,

Yuttadhammo



#11 Guest_Scott Duncan_*

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 03:03 AM

QUOTE(Yuttadhammo @ May 12 2006, 06:52 PM) View Post

The problem with languages is that there is a constant evolution and devolution occuring, which often results in a clash of spellings, simply by accident. For instance the English word "fan", has two meanings and each meaning has a seperate etymology...

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo,

I suppose the "philosophical" concern here, when it comes to words with specific and pivotal doctrinal significance used over two thousand years ago, is that this natural evolution/devolution process is influenced by the understanding of those using the words. I've witnessed, as have you, debates on other fora in which the whole "argument" became based on differences in emphasis for the same word. These differences in emphasis surely were evidence for this process of evolution/devolution in the meaning of the word. Doctrinal points were then altered, subtly and not so subltly, in favour of whatever side of the debate was in question. Like with history, translation is prone to editorialising via the translation of words. This must be how the sasana declines. Accidents are one thing, altering meaning in favour of pet theories is another.

Just some thoughts . . .

Sincerely,

Scott.

#12 RobertK

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 04:47 AM

Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo,
I see you met Peter Masefield in Bangkok. I took Pali lessons with him in Sydney 13 or 14 years ago. I like his translations of the Udana commentary very much, it would be nice if he joined this forum:)
with respect
Robert

#13 Yuttadhammo

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Posted 13 May 2006 - 12:58 PM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 13 2006, 11:47 AM) View Post
Dear Venerable Yuttadhammo,
I see you met Peter Masefield in Bangkok. I took Pali lessons with him in Sydney 13 or 14 years ago. I like his translations of the Udana commentary very much, it would be nice if he joined this forum:)
with respect
Robert

Dear Robert,

I had long talks with Mr. Masefield... he's a nice guy with interesting (read: strange) ideas about Buddhism smile.gif He wants to retranslate the tipitaka into English along with the commentaries. I suggested that we start a foundation, and he agreed. I'll keep you posted on that.

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Me and Peter in Wat Phra Kaeo. Also my birthday, May 9th.


Best wishes,

Yuttadhammo