Continuing the discussion from The Proto-History of Buddhist Translation, lecture by Jan Nattier:
The Buddha wanted his very words, in his own vocabulary and designations, memorized, repeated and recited. This is the gist of the Cullavagga incident, and the significance of the phrase sakaya niruttiya. (Levman, Bryan Geoffrey (2008-2009): Sakaya niruttiya revisited. In: Bulletin D’Etudes Indiennes 26-27, S. 33–51).
I would like to pick up this topic again: Did the Buddha allow his mendicants to use their own dialect?
The topic is raised in SuttaCentral
Now at that time Yameḷu and Tekula were the names of two monks who were brothers, brahmins by birth, with lovely voices, with lovely enunciation. They approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, they sat down BD.5.194at a respectful distance. As they were sitting down at a respectful distance, these monks spoke thus to the Lord: “At present, Lord, monks of various names, various clans, various social strata have gone forth from various families; these corrupt the speech of the Awakened One in (using) his own dialect. Now we, Lord, give the speech of the Awakened One in metrical form.” The Awakened One, the Lord rebuked them, saying:
“How can you, foolish men, speak thus: ‘Now we, Lord, give the speech of the Awakened One in metrical form’? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased …” And having rebuked them, having given reasoned talk, he addressed the monks, saying:
“Monks, the speech of the Awakened One should not be given in metrical form. Whoever should (so) give it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow you, monks, to learn the speech of the Awakened One according to his own dialect.”
Tena kho pana samayena yameḷakekuṭā nāma bhikkhū dve bhātikā honti brāhmaṇajātikā kalyāṇavācā kalyāṇavākkaraṇā. Te yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṃsu, upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṃ abhivādetvā ekamantaṃ nisīdiṃsu. Ekamantaṃ nisinnā kho te bhikkhū bhagavantaṃ etadavocuṃ—“etarahi, bhante, bhikkhū nānānāmā nānāgottā nānājaccā nānākulā pabbajitā. Te sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanaṃ dūsenti. Handa mayaṃ, bhante, buddhavacanaṃ chandaso āropemā”ti. Vigarahi buddho bhagavā … pe … kathañhi nāma tumhe, moghapurisā, evaṃ vakkhatha—“handa mayaṃ, bhante, buddhavacanaṃ chandaso āropemā”ti. Netaṃ, moghapurisā, appasannānaṃ vā pasādāya … pe … vigarahitvā … pe … dhammiṃ kathaṃ katvā bhikkhū āmantesi—“na, bhikkhave, buddhavacanaṃ chandaso āropetabbaṃ. Yo āropeyya, āpatti dukkaṭassa. Anujānāmi, bhikkhave, sakāya niruttiyā buddhavacanaṃ pariyāpuṇitun”ti.
And is addressed by Bryan Levman in Sakaya niruttiya revisited. For discussion purposes I have attached his paper. The questions are:
nirutti is not dialect/language?
sakaya refers to the Buddha and not the mendicants?
therefore the Buddha dictates that his teachings are to be recited (and taught) in the Buddha’s own expressions and words?
Would you agree with Levman’s conclusion? I would especially like to invite the Venerables @Brahmali, @sujato and @Dhammanando to express their opinion if they feel so inclined, but of course everyone else is welcomed to discuss.