SuttaCentral

Improving the elisions/peyalas for clarity in the translations by Bhante Sujato


#1

I’m wondering if Bhante @Sujato and the team are open to the possibility of improving the elisions /peyalas in the translations.

I appreciate having a translation where it is more heavily elided as the repetitions are often an obstacle for new readers. However I find that in several cases the text is so heavily abbreviated that even as someone who is very familiar with the texts it is difficult to catch what is going on.

One example is MN 61 Advice to Rāhula at Ambalaṭṭhika (SuttaCentral).

At the end of the text the pattern is basically body(future-present-past), speech (future-present-past), mind (future-present-past). Body is done in full. This is the speech section:

When you want to act with speech, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act of speech that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both?’ …

If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I have done leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should confess, reveal, and clarify such a deed to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. And having revealed it you should restrain yourself in future. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I have done doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should live in rapture and joy because of this, training day and night in skillful qualities.

As it is written the text jumps from future situation to past situation, but this is not clear until you are a ways into the following paragraph.
I suggest that at a minimum the first paragraph should be:

When you want to act with speech, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act of speech that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both?’ … ‘Does this act of speech that I am doing…’ … ‘Does this act of speech that I have done…’

or

When you want to act with speech, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act of speech that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both?’ … While you are acting with speech … After you have acted with speech …

I frequently find myself coming to the end of a section and asking myself what just happened, where did the text go?

So my question is, would you like to hear these suggestions? Or are you fairly set on how the elisions are done. I realize they may be the way they are because of the original text, etc.


Please report any errors or typos!
#2

The elisions don’t worry me, but it does seem that in this case the translation is much more elided than the Pali (which you can see by turning on the English/Pali display.