Greetings friends in Dhamma!
I want to introduce you to translations and other work of not so widely known and somewhat controversial Bhante Punnaji which i have seriously studied, thought about and practiced for several years now along with other teachers.
I have been investing most of my time in past years solely to study and practice early Buddhism always having the intention to ordain eventually, but keeping back from it so that i can spend all the time I need to study and research all the various branches of Buddhism and their teachings, listening to all the teachers i could find, commentaries, interpretations and translations before i commit to ordination as being ordained my research would be limited along with access to internet etc. So you can say that i have been one foot monastic one foot lay for many years now living like a yogi and keeping 10 precepts while spending most of my time on research of early Buddhism.
I discovered Bhante Punnaji when i noticed that in the popular translations ‘mind’ refers to what is actually two words in Pali - ‘citta’ and ‘mano’ and that in the Pali dictionaries those two words have a crucial difference in meaning which then led me to further investigations in Pali and Very Early Buddhism. Before that i was mostly just blindly following what the traditional and popular interpretations and translations were saying, but this discovery led me to be more skeptical and investigative of the kind of interpretations and explanations that are going around and led me to rely on myself and my own investigations and verification more than anything. I guess i never took those suttas about not relying on something just because teachers say it or just because its believed by many or because its a tradition seriously. I realized that the translations and relying on interpretations of the meaning by someone else can prevent one to get to the actual message of the Buddha as in the case of mano and citta a crucial message is hidden by translating both of them as mind - how can one understand meaning of something if one does not fully know the terms involved?
After that i started to investigate Early Buddhism, Pali language and specifically Bhante Punnajis work in translations and hes explanation of paticca samuppada. At first i was very skeptical as he was going against what i have been told by most other Buddhist Teachers today and i was clinging to my existing views, but the more i investigated the more i realized that the things that never really made sense before started to make sense and that by this investigation and lending ear to Bhante Punnaji my practice and understanding was elevated to a level which i was to unable to accomplish over many years while following the popular interpretations and translations. The more i investigated the more all the doubts and confusion was eliminated and the more i started to see the how Bhante Punnaji translations and explanations were verified by my own experience and made sense in a profound way.
This is not to say that all others are wrong and Bhante Punnaji is right, but I want to encourage anyone interested in Early Buddhism, Pali and alternative translations to investigate the work of Bhante Punnaji. It will most likely require a good measure of patience as Bhante Punnaji goes in a different direction than the more widely known interpretations and translations and because just hearing Bhante Punnaji out will most likely not result in sudden epiphany and will likely require quite a bit of serious reflection and practice before one can understand and verify what Bhante Punnaji actually means, but with intelligent investigation and perseverance it is very unlikely that one will left empty handed. The biggest obstacle for most people probably would be dismissing something because it goes against the popular interpretations and clinging to ones own views as it was in my own case at the beginning, but as long as there is perseverance eventually one will be able to see the value of and verify in ones own experience teaching of what i now believe to be the most profound Dhamma teacher in modern age.
Unfortunately the Venerable Teacher passed away last year, but -
Bhante Punnaji has left a youtube channel: YouTube
Venerable Teacher has also written several books and articles with the digital versions freely available to everyone: Proto Buddhism - The Original Teachings of the Buddha : Level I - Selective Thinking (see more in the book section)
And if anyone is interested i can assist one in answering questions about and around how Bhante has explained the Dhamma.