First post: Sadhu anumodami

My respect and greetings to the Venerable Monks, Sisters of the Bhikkhuni Sangha, Anagarikas and Friends,

I certainly knew about SC few years ago as it begun to appear more frequently on google; I even had a correspondence with Venerable Sujato a year and half ago about some suggestions concerning Pali sources and downloads; but it was only very recently that I found out about this pleasant and lively forum. I have been reading some of the posts here throughout the past week or so and in many occasions I felt a desire to write a reply or engage with others in discussion! You have succeeded in creating a really pleasant and friendly and respectful environment, and with interesting and useful content for me. I was encouraged to participate also due to the leading presence of Venerable Sujato and other monastics here, the work of whom I really appreciate. So Anumodami.

My name is Dhammarakkhita and … well … nothing really is unique about me except perhaps that, as far as I know, I am the only Theravada monk from Egypt. I am very interested in the Suttas -precious texts!- and hoping to translate them from one of the easiest languages, which is Pali - to one of the hardest: Arabic! I hope to be active in this forum particularly in the “translation” section. Though honestly, and despite of the fact that I “enjoy” translating Pali very much, yet it often interferes negatively with my overall samadhi, and sometimes I avoid translating completely especially in those phases when even the objective of translating Dhamma becomes dwarfed by that of developing a true intuitive or experiential understanding of it! I wonder if you experience the same thing and what experience or skills have you developed in dealing with this situation?!

SC has grown so neat and efficient and I am impressed by the work done by programmers and designers here. I am also quite impressed to see “monastic geeks” because, although I myself am good for nothing in this domain, yet I lived all my life at home with friends who were mostly professional computer geeks; free open source and all! But they were all heathen and godless … [well, we fall in that category as well] … what I meant is that they had no spiritual inclinations whatsoever, except perhaps from a certain belief in the possibility of some “singularity” or deliverance of consciousness through the AI or something of that intriguing sort! So I had developed some bias in my mind about how geeky and spiritual don’t fit together! It is evidently a clear case of moha on my part.

I grew up with those geeky friends of mine in that quasi-western quasi- … something else … environment of free and “safe” self-expression and liberty of thought. If anything it was precisely this that at last delivered me to Dhamma. But I have been traveling and living in Asia for four years now. I experience no aversion regarding some of the Asian sociocultural standards and practices that I have to adapt to within and without monastic communities here, and that are very much unlike those I grew up taking for granted; I remind myself that this is the way things are here, and if anything, I should only be respectful and appreciative for the social respect and requisites afforded me as I persevere here. Yet i was able to perceive a sense of “familiarity” while reading the posts in this forum that brought me closer to the spirit of home! People here speak freely, and neither monk nor nun nor anagarika nor lay have to worry so much about self-censorship(!) given the bounds of mutual respect and friendliness. In my experience, this is rare! And I have not had the occasion to feel this way in quite a long time, and I sincerely thank you for it, and hope from my heart that -while you are here now- you yourselves are enjoying and appreciating it, and not taking it so much for granted! :slight_smile:

So I really wish to congratulate you for this wonderful work, and I really appreciate the courage of Venerable Sujato in establishing this forum. And thank you a lot for providing this fine space.

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Wow, that’s fantastic! Is Arabic script universally used in all Muslim countries? I can’ t wait to see “ara” show up in the list of sutta languages to choose from in the suttacentral sutta collection.

Between chinese, spanish, english, arabic, hindi, and most of India speaks and reads English anyway I believe, that would make Dhamma available in over 90% of the world population. Arabic in the next 50 years probably would be the biggest proportion of the pie. India is probably going to pass China in population in not too long.

On the issue of translation and personal understanding, we can only do our best. Bhikhhu Bodhi’s understanding of some things changed over time. So there’s always second edition, third edition, and in the digital age, the digital editions can be updated even faster.

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I can’t wait to see the suttas in the Arabic script I am such a big fan of. Welcome indeed! Reverence and respect :anjal:

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Hi Bhante @anon61506839,

thanks for introducing yourself to the forum with this nice post.

This sounds like a huge job! Thank you very much for considering to do that!

I think Bhante Sujato would be very happy to learn about this. If you would like to make him aware of your post the best way is to mention his @name: Bhante @sujato. Then he will receive a message and can look at the post; for no one on this forum is able to keep track of everything that is written here…

Good luck with this huge and valuable project! :anjal:

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Welcome to the forum Bhanthe! Hope it is of much benefit to you and your endeavours! :anjal:

with metta

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Dear Venerable,

So wonderful to see you here, and to hear your kind words. I am so happy that your journey in the Dhamma has been a joyful one for you.

You ask about the relation between meditation and translation. Well, let me share some of my background.

As you may know, I was ordained in the Thai forest tradition, who are well known for not being very enthusiastic about study of Dhamma. Now, I think this is often misunderstood, and makes more sense in the Thai context. For there, the usual situation is that monks who want to study do so, but without any interest in meditation and practice generally. Often it is little more than a career path. The forest tradition of course is a reaction to that. So what they mean by “study” is often a formal procedure that has little to do with dhamma practice. Nevertheless, it is still not the case that they completely dismiss formal study. For example, when Ajahn Mahabua as a young monk spoke with Ajahn Mun about this, he told him, don’t think of your time studying as wasted; it will come back to help you when you need it. (Or something like that, it’s been a long time!)

Anyway, the upshot is that when I was a young monk, I was interested in studying the suttas, but I always felt a little guilty about it.

In my third vassa, I was lucky enough to spend time in the meditation paradise of Poo Jorm Gorm, to the far east of Thailand, and my very favorite place in the world. I had spent my first vassa there, and was totally looking forward to spending three months in blissful solitude and meditation. But near the beginning, I tripped, and injured my leg; my knee had been playing up for a long time due to the Thai monastic lifestyle, and know it was gone completely. I couldn’t sit cross-legged—still can’t—and had to walk on crutches. I still did some meditation in a chair, but I couldn’t do walking meditation, and so I spent more time studying and learning Pali.

After the vassa, I went to see my teacher Ajahn Mahachatchai, and shared my self-pitying tale of woe. He saw through me right away, and said: “You should never feel bad about studying the Buddha’s words. Appreciate the blessing that it is, and feel grateful and joyful for the opportunity. Then, when you come to meditate, the joy of the Dhamma will support you.”

Any translation work that you are interested in doing, please let us know and we will support you as best we can. Arabic is one of the major language areas where we are most lacking (the other being Swahili and other African languages.) In the coming months we will be making our new translation platform available, and we would invite you to take part in that.

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Dear Venerable @sujato :anjal:

Thanks a lot for your warm words and for sharing these biographical insights, and I’m sorry to learn that you haven’t fully recovered from your leg injury. One of my favourite teachers in Myanmar once said that he no longer meditates in the cross-legged posture, and that it was not necessary to sit like this in order to meditate. Till then I was not very open with others about how I meditate in the lotus posture only for specific types of meditation. Otherwise I just sit with the back erect on a chair in order not to strain my body all the time. I just really hope that the discomfort associated with your leg injury is not so pervasive or persistent.

I agree with you Venerable, that reading and contemplating the Suttas is wonderful, including posing at certain expressions and really taking time to examine them. In fact I even enjoy translation, because the result in a colloquial form of Arabic is so much more juicy and appealing than it is in English (even the Buddha sounds so terribly awesome in Arabic!!). Perhaps I feel this way because it is my mother tongue; although sometimes I feel that even French translations are more vibrant than English for some reason that I can’t really pinpoint. There are so many tricky issues associated with the translation of the Suttas, because on the one hand we have something so subtle and conceptually developed as Dhamma, but on the other we have a very flexible language and also a flexible use of language. I feel for translators and for myself! Because these tricky aspects complicate the task in ways which are not found in the translation of other modern languages and of less subtle subjects.

But it is precisely plunging in this kaleidoscope of words and interpretations that challenges my samadhi, not the mere reading of Suttas. During translation, which is largely analytic, the attention and intuition seem to work in ways which hold back the momentum of their working in other ways that are required for … it is difficult to describe it Venerable. There has been some improvement in managing the interrelated effects of these two types of mental activity but this improvement is slower and more sporadic than my heart wishes!

Venerable Sujato your warm words are really comforting to my heart. I am really happy and appreciative to have this dialogue with you, and certainly looking forward to participate in any upcoming SC developments.

Sādhu Anumodami.
:anjal:

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Thanks to all of you for the likes and the welcome notes :slight_smile:

Hi @frankk
The Arabic “script” is used tightly in connection with the Arabic “language”, except for Persian and Urdu; these are the only languages I know which use the Arabic script.
But if by “script” you also mean “language”; then Arabic is spoken by nearly half billion people, including non-Muslims, predominantly in the Middle East.

So you want to reach 100% !! :slight_smile: What your heart desires is honourable! Even if only a tiny fraction of the 100% who can now read the Dhamma do actually read it; and even if yet a tinier fraction of those who read it do understand it; and even if yet a tinier fraction of those who understand it, do follow it!

@Gabriel_L i’m pleased to meet you! :slight_smile:

You will have to find a way to be much more patient in this regard! :slight_smile:

Here …

I have made this for you! I hope it will be enough to give some consolation to your heart as you “wait” for the Arabized Suttas to appear. It is a transliteration of “Namo tassa” in the Arabic script! :smiley:

Oh thank you so much @sabbamitta for understanding the gravity of the task! I was beginning to feel pressured to “produce something” right away! :slight_smile:

For me it is not merely the hugeness of the task, but also the hugeness of the “responsibility” associated with it. Somehow it naturally becomes no longer a lightly matter to pronounce the Dhamma for one who develops sincere reverence to it. Two years have passed [most of which I spent as anagarika!] since I started experimenting with and approaching the task of translation and interpretation from different various areas; given that at the same time I have to spend much effort attending to and caring for my practice and my renunciate life, with all its many details and good and bad surprises. But in general, it is working! :slight_smile: the task can certainly be done; even with shacking hands!

I think at the time I made the post I was not yet entitled to this and other certain features; I haven’t yet even done everything the Suttabot wants me to do! It has been quite patient with me (thank you @suttabot )! :slight_smile:

@sabbamitta I’m very pleased to meet you :slight_smile:

Many thanks @Mat :slight_smile: Yes the content is quite beneficial for me and so also is the social atmosphere! :slight_smile:

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Hi! To find out what I can do, say @suttabot display help.

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You must be translating to help your practice, and practicing to help your translation work! :anjal:

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Hi Bhante, you’re becoming really good at using the different features of the forum now!

And this is the first time I see @suttabot liking a post - he is getting ever more cute :grin:

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But, friend @sabbamitta … I have experience! :slight_smile: Even since the time when the internet ‘itself’ was just starting! Do you remember the bots of the IRC? And before that we had the “use nets”! (I can hear someone saying: “what in nirayaloka is he talking about?!”) :slight_smile: It was the only kind of forum available then. But it wasn’t really a forum like the ones available today, it was … well … use nets! Perhaps you already know them. Oh you reminded me of those times; those were the good old days! At that time, even ‘trolling’ was an art of the muse, the mastery of which took no small amount of eloquence and a highly sophisticated sense of humour! It was not just for anyone; and it entertained even it’s own victims! It was nothing like the cruelty and crude violence that we have these days.

I am not that :mage: though! It’s just that things have changed so quickly! :slight_smile:

thank you.

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Nice to see you here Bhante.
You remind me Ven. Buddharakhita from Uganda.

http://ugandabuddhistcentre.com/site/bhante-buddharakkhita-in-singapore/

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Thanks @SarathW1 :slight_smile:
It’s Ven. Buddharakkhita who chose my name! :slight_smile:

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Wow.
Say hello to him for me.

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Really, that’s fantastic. I met him in Sydney, we had a great time together. I have been trying to get him to do some translations to Swahili, or get his students to do so, no luck yet! But when the new translation platform is ready, I fully intend to pester him until we have something. I mean, at least the Metta Sutta, right?

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From Pāli to Swahili, I guess this will be tricky. But not if from other English or French translations to Swahili.
Venerable would you like me to translate karaṇīyamettā sutta to arabic for the new translation platform?

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That would be great. But no hurry!

The idea of the platform is that you can translate either from Pali directly, or else from a secondary language such as English, but with the Pali there to refer to.

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Very well Venerable. I’d like to do that. It’s a wonderful text. :anjal:
On a humorous note, it appears to me venerable that the extent of your enthusiasm for the inclusion of Arabic is equally proportional to the extent of your forgetfulness of the problems associated with implementing an RTL script! :anjal:

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Mā hevaṁ āvuso!

Rather my enthusiasm is proportionate to my confidence that our wonderful devas will continue to handle this challenge as well as they have done in the past.

https://suttacentral.net/fa/dn22

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