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AN 10.177 mistranslated?

In AN 10.177 Brahmana Jāṇussoṇi ask the Buddha if gifts he gave in the memorial rite (saddhā) performed for the departed relatives will aid or be of benefit for the dead. The Buddha answered it will aid or be of benefit for the departed if the condition/occasion is right and explained that rebirth in hell, animal, human, and gods realm are the wrong condition and rebirth as peta is the right condition.

Rebirth in hell, animal, and human realm is explained as:

Idampi kho, brāhmaṇa, aṭṭhānaṃ yattha ṭhitassa taṃ dānaṃ na upakappati. (#1)

Translation:

B. Sujato: The conditions there are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

B. Bodhi: This is a wrong occasion, when the gift is not of benefit to one living there.

Rebirth as peta is explained as:

Idaṃ kho, brāhmaṇa, ṭhānaṃ yattha ṭhitassa taṃ dānaṃ upakappatī. (#2)

Translation:

B. Sujato: The conditions there are right, so the gift aids the one who lives there.

B. Bodhi: This is a right occasion, when the gift is of benefit to one living there.

But, rebirth as gods is explained as:

Idampi, brāhmaṇa, aṭṭhānaṃ yattha ṭhitassa taṃ dānaṃ upakappati. (#3)

Which should be translated as:

The conditions there are wrong, but the gift aids the one who lives there (in B. Sujato’s translation)

or

This is a wrong occasion, but the gift is of benefit to one living there (in B. Bodhi’s translation)

It because the negatif particle “na” before the verb “upakappati” is missing in the Pali text here, but it is translated the same as explanation of rebirth as hell, animal, and human realm (labelled as #1) above with inserting particle “na” before “upakapatti” in both English translations (B. Sujato dan B. Bodhi)

It seems this is a mistranslation, but when I further check into Sri Lanka Tipitaka Project (SLTP) edition of Pali Tipitaka from ATI site here, it has “na” before the verb for description of rebirth in gods realm.

I don’t have other editions, but Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana edition used in SC site always give variant reading from other editions in brackets and blue font color at their site tipitaka.org. When I check the site, it doesn’t show variant reading in this part of AN 10.177

It is strange that the English translations (including B. Thanissaro version) translate the text with adding “na” here. Is this a corruption of Pali text (in Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana edition) and corrected in the translations (and SLTP edition)? Or is this just a mistranslation (so it means SLTP edition is unrealible)?

Thank you :anjal:

Doesn’t anyone notice this?

But other reading have word “na” here:

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Let me tag Ven @Sujato here… perhaps he can clear up the matter!

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You’re right, it appears to be a case of a lost na in the VRI and MS editions. It is present in the BJT and PTS. Given that none of the editions mentions a variant here, it would appear that it is a simple editorial oversight rather than a divergence in the manuscripts.

That the problem is textual corruption is indirectly supported by the commentary. Given that, on the face of it, the lack of na would imply a contradiction, or at the very least something unusual, you’d expect the commentator to make some remark if that reading was before him. But there is no special comment in the case of the devas.

It would be interesting to check the 5th council edition, currently being compiled, to see if the corruption was already present then, or was introduced at the 6th council. Or else it may have been a mistake of the digitizers.

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Thank you, Bhante :anjal:

I expect you did your translation not from the MS edition. Neither did B. Bodhi and B. Thanissaro. Or, perhaps they know there is editorial problem in the MS text :grin:

Honestly I can’t recall. In the absence of a footnote it’s quite possible that I just assumed the na was there, and maybe they did too. These repetitive passages can easily fool you!

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