My translation of the sutta excerpts from "Pali Buddhist Texts" by Rune Johansson

I started learning Pali about six months ago, and one of the earliest books I read was Pali Buddhist Texts Explained to the Beginner, Rune E A Johansson, Curzon Press, Copenhagen, Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, Third Edition, 1981.

At that time, I had great difficulty parsing Pali, but I fell in love with the book. It consists of selected excerpts from various suttas, arranged to form a concise rendering of Buddha’s core teachings, in Pali, followed by a word for word explanation, and a translation to English, together with some commentary.

I felt this book elegantly captured the core concepts of what the Buddha taught, and one of my goals was to attempt my own independent translation of the texts, to prove to myself that I know enough Pali to be able to understand the texts on my own.

I finally was able to gain the confidence to complete this project, and I wish to present my results today. The endeavour took about a week: 1-2 days to identify and collect the sutta excerpts, about 3-4 days of translation, and 1-2 days to clean up and publish.

I also took the opportunity to have a plain English translation, taking out all the repetitions and vocatives, which I present at the end called “Concluding Summary”. If you wish to skip all the grammatical analysis and transliteration, you can jump straight to this section if you wish.

I can’t really describe the immense sense of satisfaction, and dare I say exuberance, from doing this project. It has also helped me enormously in understanding what the Buddha thought - I achieved full understanding at about 4am this morning, when everything clicked together, so now I feel liberated.

I also translated a few of them.

My Johanasson Translations

#2 to #5 I memorized them so I could translate them when I want mentally, so I haven’t done it on text.

6. The Impermanence Of Life

Days and nights pass
Life is ended
The life of mortals runs out
Like the water of streams

8. Definition Of Personality

Mara: Now why do you believe in “being”?
Vajira: Mara, this is a wrong view of yours.
This is only a collection of mental doings, a being is not found here.
As for these parts combined, it is like a “carriage”.
So, groups are a “being” is the common usage.

9. The Factors Of Personality

What there is exactly regarding matter, feeling, perception, mental doing, consciousness: that those things are impermanent, suffering, illness, swelling, an arrow, evil, disease, xeno, decay, empty, not self. He turns his mind away from these things

10. Feelings

These are three feelings: pleasant feelings, painful feelings, and neither pleasant nor painful feelings.

Then what are pleasant feelings? What are painful feelings? And what are neither pleasant nor painful feelings?

Pleasant feelings are sweet, pleasant experiences belonging to the body or the mind.
Painful feelings are unsweet, painful experiences belonging to the body or the mind.
Neither pleasant nor painful feelings are neither sweet nor unsweet experiences belonging to the body or the mind …
the tendency to have passion is to be abandoned from pleasant feelings,
the tendency to have repulsion is to be abandoned from painful feelings,
the tendency to have ignorance is to be abandoned from neither pleasant nor painful feelings is.

11. Perception And Ideation

Monks, these are six perceptions: perception of matter, sound, smell, taste, touch, and idea.
Friend, one cognizes and cognizes and it is said to therefore be perception. Which cognitions? cognition of blue, yellow, red, and white.

12. Three Types Of Activity

These are the three activities: activity of body, speech, and mind.
And what is the activity of body? What is the activity of speech? What is the activity of mind?
breathing out and breathing are an activity of body, reasoning and investigation are an activity of the body, perception and feeling are an activity of the mind.

13. Volition And The Activities

And what, monks, are activities?
Monks, these are six bodily intentions: form intention, sound intention, smell, taste, touch, idea. These, monks, are called activities.

14. The Origin Of Conscious Processes

Monks, whatever conditioned condition arises consciousness is defined as:
the eye conditioned by matter arises consciousness, this is defined as eye-consciousness.
ear conditioned by sound…
nose conditioned by smell…
tongue conditioned by taste…
body conditioned by touch…
mind conditioned by mental objects…
arises consciousness, this is defined as _-consciousness.

15. Consciousness And Rebirth

“Becoming becoming”, teacher, is said. To what extent is becoming?
The ripening of material desire, Ananda, if there were not a doing, could material becoming may be known?
Certainly not, teacher.

16. Consciousness May Be Calmed

Whatever suffering comes to be,
all of it has consciousness as condition.
With consciousness ceasing,
there is no making of suffering.

Having known this disadvantage that
suffering has consciousness as condition
a monk, from calming consciousness,
becomes satisfied and attains nirvana.

17. The Psychological Law Of Causality And Its Use

With cause and condition, a person’s recognition arises and disappears. With training some recognition arises; with training, some recognition disappears.

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Thanks. In Chapter 8, the analogy to the chariot being a collection of parts is a reference to Mil 3.1.1, I think:

Good to know you like these excerpts too!

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