(another)Translation request - Two Agama parallels to Nibbedhika Sutta AN 6.63 (Cetana/Kamma)

Here’s another translation request for the portion of the Nibbedhika sutta which talks about Kamma;
Can I push your kindness a bit, @cdpatton, and request a translation please?

This is the sutta which has the equation Cetana = Kamma; it also talks about kinds of Kamma, cause and vipaka.

The two chinese parallels, from what I gather of google translate, are not exactly same as Pali but are close. They seem to talk about Kanha, Sukka, Kanhasukka kamma which is not found in this Sutta in Pali (but is found elsewhere).

What does the MA parallel MA 111 and the other independent translation T 57 have to say on Kamma?

Pali sutta:

Parallel 1:

Parallel 2:

With thanks and Metta,

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Yes, I would say MA 111 is essentially the same as the Pali in that it doesn’t contradict it, but the presentation is a little different. T57 is an early An Shigao translation that isn’t easy to translate because his vocabulary is different than later texts that I’m more familiar with.

MA 111’s section on karma reads:


"How is karma known? There are two kinds of karma: karma of intentions and of past intention. This is called knowing karma.


"How is the cause of karma’s arising known? Contact.* Because of contact then there’s karma. This is called knowing the cause that gives rise to karma.

  • 更樂 literally means something like “to experience,” but it’s used in MA to translate sparśa.


"How is the result of karma known? Some karma is dark and has dark result. Sometimes karma is light and has light result. Sometimes karma is dark and light and has dark and light result. Sometimes karma is neither dark nor light and has no result. That’s the entirety of various karmas. This is called knowing the results that karma has.


"How are the comparisons* of karma known? Some karma lead to birth in hell; some karma lead to birth among animals; some karma lead to birth among hungry ghosts; some karma lead to birth up in the heavens; and some karma leads to birth among humans. This is called knowing the comparisons of karma.

  • 勝如 literally means “greater likeness,” which is awkward in English.


"How is the cessation of karma known? Contact ceases and then karma ceases. This is called knowing the cessation of karma.


“How is the path to the cessation of karma known? It’s the noble eightfold path. Right view to right concentration are the eight. This is called knowing the path to the cessation of karma. If a monk thus knows karma, knows the cause that gives rise to karma, knows the result that karma has, knows the comparisons of karma, knows the cessation of karma, and knows the path to the cessation of karma, then he’s comprehended the religious life (brahmacaryā). He’s able to end all karma.”


Thank you so much Charles!

There are two kinds of karma: karma of intentions and of past intention. This is called knowing karma.

This seems to translate cetana karma and cetayitva karma; Apparently, sarvastivada considered Karma to be of two types. (1) Cetana(intention) karma- restricted to mind karma
and (2) Cetayitva(having intended) karma referring to speech and bodily karma which are done having been intended by mind.

Ref: Verses quoted here in the notes to the English translation of Abhidharmakosa Bhasya:

T57 is an early An Shigao translation that isn’t easy to translate because his vocabulary is different than later texts that I’m more familiar with.

Oh my, now you have kindled my curiosity even further; Would love to know what the text available to An Shigao , being such an early translator, said!

From google translate, it appears not to mention the five gatis or rebirth as hungry ghosts etc;
Both Vipaka(results) and Vematta(differences) sections of the Pali sutta seem to be explained with reference to black and white deeds unlike the MA and Pali versions…

Of course no conclusions can be drawn based on isolated passages but it is interesting nonetheless…

Much metta,


That would make sense. The Chinese places an adverb/particle in front of cetana that’s used to indicate a verb is past tense or a sentence has already happened.



Can I still please request to translate this one? SA-2 121

I would like to compare them since it a important sutta.

Please @cdpatton thank you in advance

Will not bother anymore.

(But I was just wondering why don’t we make a project to translate the untranslated sutras on suttacentral)

@cdpatton has a big translation project he is working on :smiley:.

I’ll leave it to him to give the links to it :pray:t2:

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Mmmm interesting to know if it’s related to Chinese texts. (Probably not)

Hi Charles ,

勝如 here refers to quality , classification or relative merits .

Yeah. Comparison doesn’t capture that it means one thing being better than the other. A good English translation escapes me.

I’ve been working on Dharma Pearls for a while now, and we’re beginning to work on segmented translations for SuttaCentral now, too. It’s just a one person project, though, so it’s slow-going.

I’m super-busy during the week, but I’ll see what I can do this weekend.


Thank you very much. No hurry. And you may achieve success in your project. :pray:t4:

Oh my goodness that a nice project. It afterwards that I went to see. Wow Sadhu Sadhu sadhu

My suggestion afterwards is early Abhidharma sastras. The simple version. Really ancient looks like Theravada first to second Abhidharma even simpler

Just my thoughts in reading Chinese translation of the suttas, which of course is written in old Chinese. I find that if you read the Chinese text in the vernacular voice i.e. Miannan or Cantonese, the meaning is clearer than to read it in Mandarin. Similarly, in reading Pali, equivalent terms in Malay seems to give clarity of meaning. As some of these languages interacted with Pali and Sanskrit millenia ago, I like to believe that some meaning of the orginal word has been retained.

For example, vijja which is widely translated as wise. This word is retained in Malay as ‘bijak’. Although it has connotations of the meaning of wisdom, this word also encompasses the meaning of smart and clever. I wonder if the Pali word may not have been as wide ranging as this in terms of the intended meaning?

Through my reading, I find that Mahayana sutras carry very similar concepts with contemporary Hinduism. Which I think just shows that the flowering of both religious thoughts took place around the same time.

This line makes sense to me better when I break it down in Minnan. ‘是謂知業勝如’ then may be translated to: Thus, the knowing of the attainments of karma.

These thoughts I shared is based on my reading alone, not from any scholarly pursuits. My conclusions are based on my passion to read and discover Buddhism, and limited to the limited selection of suttas / sutras that I have the good fortune of encountering.

Classical Chinese is the root for the modern Chinese languages, so there are definitely similarities and common vocabulary to some extent. But it is a dead language that is it’s own thing, so you’ll go astray by using modern languages. It reminds of when I first started with classical Chinese 25 years ago as a hobby. I learned the characters using a modern Japanese Kanji dictionary and a Mandarin dictionary bought at a local Barnes & Noble. Yeah, I went awry at times. :wink: At that point, though, I was learning the characters. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to change dictionaries to something that covered classical texts like Giles or Matthews.

This term also occurs in MA 1, which is AN 7.68, when comparing people. The Pali equivalent is paropara, which seems to simply mean “higher highs” literally. The Chinese is similar to that. 勝 means greater or superior. 勝如 is used when each item in a list is better than the last. Is there a good English word for that? “Hierarchy” is about all I can think of, and that doesn’t work very well.

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Welcome to the Forum @dykl76. I hope you enjoy lots of interesting discussion here. :slight_smile:

Feel free to ask relevant questions in the threads, contact @helpdesk-dd for technical help or to message @moderators with more difficult things.

@cdpatton thank you for sharing. I can’t agree with you more that Japanese Kanji is a great gateway to understanding the Chinese translation of Buddhist text. This I only realized when I first started attending dharma classes with a Taiwanese bhikkhuni. I have always wondered if some time in the distant past, the Japanese may have also adopted Sanskrit grammar. I feel that the lyricality of Japanese and Pali / Sanskrit to be astoundingly close. By lyricality, I just mean the feeling I get as someone who has studied Japanese as a teenager when attempting to learn Pali as an older mature man.

As I relate my current knowledge to my experiences of the many diverse cultures in East, and South-East Asia, I come to appreciate the immense influence indic and Buddhist thoughts have played in the lives of the people in the past and now. Perhaps, therein lies the workings of kamma, that we may have lost knowledge of what went before, it doesn’t make our current experience nor consciousness to be something new. Only when you perceive the threads that binds us, would we understand the folly of hurting one another as sentient beings.

As much as English translation has helped me in studying Buddhism, sadly it doesn’t 勝如 Chinese. When I am doubtful, I will look for equivalent Chinese text for clarification. Likely in this lifetime, I am unlikely to gain the knowledge of Tibetan, Burmese, nor Thai to help me understand the ancient texts better.

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Thank you for including me into this discussion forum, and helping me along my path. I seek your guidance where I have overstepped the rules and regulations of this forum, and I place my faith on the wisdom of the moderators, teachers and elders of this forum.