Pāli Meaning: Your Translation of a Talk on Dhamma (?)

Further down below a translation on this commentarial explanation: “Ayaṃ saṅkhiyadhammoti saṅkhiyā vuccati kathā , kathādhammoti attho.” (comy. to the brahmajālasutta)

The original context from the brahmajālasutta in which the glossed group of words (Ayaṃ saṅkhiyadhammo) originally occurs: “Atha kho sambahulānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ rattiyā paccūsasamayaṃ paccuṭṭhitānaṃ maṇḍalamāḷe sannisinnānaṃ sannipatitānaṃ ayaṃ saṅkhiyadhammo udapādi.”

I take the first sentence, the commentarial one, to mean: This esteeming dhamma: “Estimation is called a talk, is a talk on (or of) the teaching.” This translation of saṅkhiyadhammo as “an esteeming talk on the teaching” is at variance with all translations I have consulted, which render saṅkhiyadhammo mostly as “a trend of talk”, but this seems to me not being supported neither by the commentarial gloss nor the dictionaries which translate a reference of saṅkhya with words like “enumeration”, “calculation” or “considered”, “weighed”, and “estimated”. So I am a little confused. Only Neumann taking it as meaning “thoughtful” (nachdenklich) would perhaps support my translation in this. Which reading would you chose and for what reason? Thank you!

A. Bhikkhu

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Yes, it’s a tricky one. The normal meaning of saṅkhyā in the suttas is to “reckon, assess, evaluate”. Now, the usage here is unique, and it is in a unusual context, so it reasonable to suppose that the meaning is specific to this context, rather than something general like “trend” or even “esteeming”.

What are the monks doing that is different from what monks normally do when talking? They’re discussing how Suppiya and Brahmadatta have differing evaluations of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and how the Buddha understands the differences between beings.

So the term surely has a meaning like “discussion about evaluations”, or “the topic of evaluation”, or something like that.

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thank you for your nice trend of talk. :slight_smile:

I suppose the topic which the monks discuss is merely on the differing views of Suppiya and Brahmadatta, the esteem in regard to the talk on the Buddha serves, I think it seems, only as a kind of respectful introduction. So “discussion about evaluation” fits the context of the canonical text then very well, and rather not my “esteeming”. Thank you! What I also could envision as being correct is perhaps not a discussion about but just an evaluating talk, since they themselves are evaluating also – evaluating evaluations. :slight_smile: Or is your “the topic of evaluation” probably intending such a meaning already?

If I may ask briefly further: Would you take the commentarial gloss: “saṅkhiyā vuccati kathā, kathādhammoti attho.” in this case to mean then: “Evaluation is called a talk, it is a 'dhamma of the talk’ (or pertaining to talk).” or something like that? Not “talk on dhamma” for kathādhammo?

In mettā
A. Bhikkhu

Yes, I’m not sure how recursive we should get here. Originally I thought it had a more negative sense, “judgmental talk”, but I think that’s wrong.

Yes, that seems to be the sense. It feels odd to me!

I’m not a pali scholar but doesn’t sankhitta mean summary/summarised as well? If we are to entertain that, could it mean 'the story is called a ‘summary’, pertaining to the meaning of the story OR ‘the meaning/gist of the story is called the ‘summary’?’ Just my two cents.

with metta

I looked up the dictionaries to see if these words are cognate, if they have the same derivation, but seemingly not, although I am no Pāli scholar too … Here is what I found:

For Sankhitta:
Sankhitta is given as the past participle of sankhipati: [saŋ+khipati] 1. to collect, heap together Mhvs 1, 31. – 2. to withdraw, put off Dāvs iv.35. <-> 3. to concentrate J i.82. – 4. to abridge, shorten. <-> pp. sankhitta. (PED)

Saŋ: prefix implying conjunction and completeness […] it’s primary meaning is “together”. (PED)

Khipati [Vedic kṣipati] to throw, to cast, to throw out or forth, to upset Sn p. 32 (cittaŋ); J i.223 (sīsaŋ). 290 (pāsake); ii.3 (daḷhaŋ dalhassa: to pit force against force) (PED)

Kṣipa (root): driving out […] setting in motion, urging, inciting, direction, command, impelling to (Monier Williams: A Sanskrit–English Dict. [MW])

For Sankhā & Sankhyā:
Sankhā (f.) & Sankhyā (f.) [fr. saŋ+khyā] 1. enumeration, calculation, estimating D ii.277; M i.109; Miln 59 <-> 2. number Dāvs i.25. – 3. denomination, definition, word, name …

Khyā: to be named, be known. (MW)

Saṅkhyā: reflection. (MW)

After this little research I find the translation of Neumann quite appealing (nachdenklich – thoughtful).

With mettā
A. Bhikkhu

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Thank you, bhante! :pray: