I’ve been away from the forum for long, sorry if I left any conversations unfinished!
I was looking at the ‘2 extremes’ and noticed this in the PED:
- Tapa & Tapo (p. 297) Tapa & Tapo Tapa & Tapo [from tapati, cp. Lat. tepor, heat] 1. torment, punishment, penance, esp. religious austerity, selfchastisement, ascetic practice. This was condemned by the Buddha: Gotamo sabbaŋ tapaŋ garahati tapassiŋ lūkhajīviŋ upavadati D i.161=S iv.330; anattha – sañhitaŋ ñatvā yaŋ kiñci aparaŋ tapaŋ S i.103; J iv.306 (tattatapa: see tatta).
This seems to be a mistake - I have put the relevant part in bold.
Now here’s what we actually have in SN 42.12:
“Sir, I have heard this: ‘The ascetic Gotama criticizes all forms of mortification. He categorically condemns and denounces those self-mortifiers who live rough.’
“sutaṃ metaṃ, bhante, ‘samaṇo gotamo sabbaṃ tapaṃ garahati, sabbaṃ tapassiṃ lūkhajīviṃ ekaṃsena upavadati upakkosatī’ti.
Do those who say this repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? Is their explanation in line with the teaching? Are there any legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”
Ye te, bhante, evamāhaṃsu: ‘samaṇo gotamo sabbaṃ tapaṃ garahati, sabbaṃ tapassiṃ lūkhajīviṃ ekaṃsena upavadati upakkosatī’ti, kacci te, bhante, bhagavato vuttavādino, na ca bhagavantaṃ abhūtena abbhācikkhanti, dhammassa cānudhammaṃ byākaronti, na ca koci sahadhammiko vādānuvādo gārayhaṃ ṭhānaṃ āgacchatī”ti?
So this is actually Rāsiya the chief reporting what he had heard that the Buddha had said. In DN 8, the other text the dictionary is citing, we have the same question but asked instead by the naked ascetic Kassapa. And on both occasions, the Buddha replies:
“Chief, those who say this do not repeat what I have said. They misrepresent me with what is false, hollow, and untrue.
“Ye te, gāmaṇi, evamāhaṃsu: ‘samaṇo gotamo sabbaṃ tapaṃ garahati, sabbaṃ tapassiṃ lūkhajīviṃ ekaṃsena upavadati upakkosatī’ti, na me te vuttavādino, abbhācikkhanti ca pana maṃ te asatā tucchā abhūtena.
In both suttas I see no instance of the Buddha making any categorical criticism of tapa. Rather, he does the exact opposite, and denies teaching that.
Similarly, when he goes to explain the two extremes to be avoided, he does not use the term tapa:
Indulgence in sensual pleasures, which is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. And indulgence in self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, and pointless.
yo cāyaṃ kāmesu kāmasukhallikānuyogo hīno gammo pothujjaniko anariyo anatthasaṃhito, yo cāyaṃ attakilamathānuyogo dukkho anariyo anatthasaṃhito.
He uses the term attakilamathānuyogo.
I therefore wonder if it might not be a good idea to translate, as @sujato seems to, both tapa and attakilamathānuyogo, as ‘self-mortification’. The Buddha is opposing one but not the other, it seems. Well at the very least he’s opposing attakilamathānuyogo that is ‘dukkho anariyo anatthasaṃhito’.
Logically if we adopt ‘self mortification’ for ‘tapa’, then we have to say that the Buddha is not opposed to all self-mortification. Which would also mean that the Buddha is not opposed to all attakilamathānuyogo. Doesn’t that leave us in a mess? And perhaps the Pali English Dictionary is a part or even connected to the cause of the mess?
[Edit: in these passages it seems @sujato has translated tapaṃ as ‘mortification’ and tapassiṃ as ‘self-mortifiers’. So he seems to be switching between ‘mortification’ and ‘self-mortification’. I wanted to clarify that.]
I suggest instead translating tapa as ‘religious austerity’ (which Monier also gives in the Sanskrit dictionary) or ‘ascetic practice’, two of the definitions given in the PED. And perhaps tapassiṃ as ‘ascetic practitioners’ or ‘practitioners of religious austerities’, or even the PED’s definition, ‘ascetic’.
If I have simply misunderstood something here, please correct me.