So I have a question regarding the merit of learning Pali, and no I don't mean merit as in puñña
, I mean merit as in whether or not it would be worthwhile in my situation. Basically I have been studying Buddhism for almost a year. I try to study the Pali Canon as much as possible, and I have a keen interest and knack for learning other languages. So of course, on an intellectual level learning Pali is something that I think would be very interesting.
However, I have a couple of reservations. First of all, will it really enrich my study of the Suttas? I'm sure that, just as Shakespeare is much more profound in it's original Klingon, the Buddha's teachings are probably much more significant in his own vernacular (or at least a language that is somewhat close to whatever he spoke). I mean I am really not a scholar at all, so how deep do I really need to go? There seem to be some great English translations of the Suttas, both on websites like Access to Insight, and in print with books like In The Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses From the Pali Canon
. Also, I attend a Thai Buddhist temple, so shouldn't I devote my attention to learning Thai first? As far as I can tell, nobody really speaks Pali (except for chanting, and even this is mainly done in Thai), and I'd love to know what the hell the bhikkus are talking about!
So any suggestions? Is learning Pali really better put off until later? And does anyone know any good resources for learning Thai?