On the Paṭisambhidās: why Theravadins get so mixed up about words


There will be other less gassy things to compensate the parippu. :grin:


Or a rock.


Well said, Bhante. Thank you.
Part of the problem has perhaps been carried over from the Sanskrit tradition, where, from Vedic times, the language itself was invested with tremendous power, apart from and superceding its usage as a vehicle for communication. The Pali tradition in India and Sri Lanka was under pressure through the centuries to compete with the magical power of Sanskrit. Many of the claims for Pali as a magical language of power are based on the Sanskrit model, and in competition with it. Most of these sorts of claims were developed in Sri Lanka, which was in close proximity to the Indian sub-continent, and also had a large Hindu Tamil population in the north. The Sanskrit tradition also has the idea of sruti, which is a kind of divine inspiration based on hearing of the sacred word, the sacred sound. This provides plenty of space for new teachings to pop up, and it is easy enough to claim any such teachings are in alignment with the original Vedic tradition.


Happy Pavarana, venerable Sujato.


They use the power of the perennial philosophy to communicate.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


Or maybe they use… :babel_fish:?


I think after the studies of Whorf on north-american indigene languages which propose an constitutive element in the grammar of a language and the style and form for a possible understanding, there had been a optimism, similarly to that which you mention, evolved, that the Hopi-language was something special basic for the human being.

Recently I heard that there is an assumption that the arabic language is the (only) natural language for representing and understanding the will of God, transmitted by Mohammed.

Also I think to remember that in the context of meeting “Caspar Hauser” (the woolf-educated child) scientistst or philologists tried to derive from this the idea of a decidive basic human language.

Possibly even in the modern attempts to apply artificial intelligence on analysis of written language -digitalized available in the internet- we seem to rediscover that prevalent structures and vocabularies of speech determine the style of thinking (measured by the text-synthesis of the AI); some eminent example was the production of original hate-speech after training of the AI-software with texts from facebook.

Ideas or visions of such might easily lead to the idea that some specific language/grammatic/vocabulary system might best be appropriate to comply with the mindset of the buddha and his analysis and recognition of the co-arising and co-existence in the physical, mental and spiritual world. (I remember a diploma authored by Andreas Goppold (german), who has worked out in the 1994ies a different appropriateness of the greek style of language compared with for instance chinese style of language for the representation of the teachings of the Buddha.
He has put it on a webspace, see here The most relevant part for my contribution here is chapter 4 (unfortunately for the most readers here it is in german only)


I had forgotten them. That is another religion in which some people believe that God speaks the same language as their holy text.

So it’s clearly something of a very common tendency for human cultures to develop. A parallel in the former Christendom of the New World might be the development of the “King James Only” movement in its Ruckmanist form.


Well, a bit reducing the joke, but not completely, of course… : a true mystics of both traditions would assume, that the daily action, the moves, the stays, the borns and deaths and communications of some tribe/people is the word of its (well: respective :-)) god … So consequently the dialogue of their gods is the dialogue of that cultures, and whether there is some deep understanding about the human conditions between the members of that different cultures… and possibly peaceful mixture between them in the daily samsara… (just some reflections from some interfaith discourses with clever people here in Kassel some years ago)


Same with Hebrew.


What would be the seed of faith ?


Hearing the dhamma.