bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

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bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:30 pm

Tony Duff uses bodhisatva and suggests Tibetans have spelled it that way for hundreds of years. Is the Tibetan spelling of Sanskrit wrong or just a national method, like British English vs American spellings?
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:57 pm

I find it difficult to believe that the Tibetans have been using the Latin alphabet for centuries.

Perhaps I misunderstand Duff's point?
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:02 pm

The Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit, much as we do using the Latin alphabet, using their alphabet and some special characters and diacritic type markings.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:07 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:The Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit, much as we do using the Latin alphabet, using their alphabet and some special characters and diacritic type markings.


So why do they transliterate bodhisattva with only one 't' or whatever the proper devanagari letter is?
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:16 pm

I happen to have in front of me "From Turfan to Ajanta : festschrift for Dieter Schlingloff on the occasion of his eightieth birthday" which contains the paper "How to justify the spelling of the Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit term Bodhisatva?" by Gouriswar Bhattacharya. Apparently it was spelled 'bodhisatva' in many Buddhist texts and inscriptions, but in many modern editions of texts and studies this has been "corrected" or whatever.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby sukhamanveti » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:18 pm

I think Duff's point must be that Tibetans tend to read the second half of the word as satva ("warrior") instead of sattva ("being"). This is true.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:43 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:I think Duff's point must be that Tibetans tend to read the second half of the word as satva ("warrior") instead of sattva ("being"). This is true.


A ha - that makes sense. I wondered why 'bodhi warrior' was used so often by the Tibetans - thought it was just metaphor.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:49 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I happen to have in front of me "From Turfan to Ajanta : festschrift for Dieter Schlingloff on the occasion of his eightieth birthday" which contains the paper "How to justify the spelling of the Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit term Bodhisatva?" by Gouriswar Bhattacharya. Apparently it was spelled 'bodhisatva' in many Buddhist texts and inscriptions, but in many modern editions of texts and studies this has been "corrected" or whatever.


It was spelled bodhisatva in old Sanskrit texts?
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:11 pm

Yes. The article is not so clear, but yes that seems to be the gist.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:44 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Yes. The article is not so clear, but yes that seems to be the gist.


Wonder if the Sanskrit commentators made clear that Bodhi Warrior is what is meant by bodhisatva? That sure puts more life and color into bodhi being; suggesting a Warrior for Bodhi for others and a Warrior to become such. I like it.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:42 am

Will wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Yes. The article is not so clear, but yes that seems to be the gist.


Wonder if the Sanskrit commentators made clear that Bodhi Warrior is what is meant by bodhisatva? That sure puts more life and color into bodhi being; suggesting a Warrior for Bodhi for others and a Warrior to become such. I like it.

The article doesn't seem to mention that.

Here's a passage from Dayal's "The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature":
Now bodhisatta in the Pāli texts seems to mean "a bodhi-being ". But satta here does not denote a mere ordinary creature. It is almost certainly related to the Vedic word satvan, which means "Krieger", "a strong or valiant man, hero, warrior." In this way, we can also understand the final dpaḥ in the Tibetan equivalent. Satta in Pāli bodhisatta should be interpreted as "heroic being, spiritual warrior ".

(dpaḥ is an old transliteration for the word that is now usually transliterated dpa'. Bodhisat(t)va is translated as byang chub sems dpa' in Tibetan, with byang chub sems corresponding to bodhi and dpa' corresponding to sat(t)va. The meaning of dpa' is similar to that of satvan given above.)

Here's Duff's glossary entry on "Satva and sattva":
Satva and sattva: According to the Tibetan tradition established at the time of the great translation work done at Samye under the watch of Padmasambhava not to mention the one hundred and sixty three of the greatest Buddhist scholars of Sanskrit-speaking India, there is a difference of meaning between the Sanskrit terms "satva" and "sattva", with satva meaning "an heroic kind of being" and "sattva" meaning simply "a being". According to the Tibetan tradition established under the advice of the Indian scholars mentioned above, satva is correct for the words Vajrasatva and bodhisatva, whereas sattva is correct for the words samayasattva, samadhisattva, and jnanasattva, and is also used alone to refer to any or all of these three satvas.

All Tibetan texts produced since the time of the great translations conform to this system and all Tibetan experts agree that this is correct, but Western translators of Tibetan texts have for last few hundreds of years claimed that they know better and have "satva" to "sattva" in every case, causing confusion amongst Westerners confronted by the correct spellings. Recently, publications by Western Sanskrit scholars have been appearing in which these great experts finally admit that they were wrong and that the Tibetan system is and always has been correct!

Gotta love Tony's style. :smile:
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Will » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:12 am

dzogchungpa, Where is this Duff Glossary - online I hope.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:17 am

His books often have glossaries. I used the one from "Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra", I think. The definitions seem to be more or less the same in all of his books, many of which seem to be available online if one knows where to look :wink:
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Jikan » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:56 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:The Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit, much as we do using the Latin alphabet, using their alphabet and some special characters and diacritic type markings.


Obviously. Which means that there's no debate whether there should be one or two Ts, the debate is over the usage of Tibetan orthography.

sukhamanveti wrote:I think Duff's point must be that Tibetans tend to read the second half of the word as satva ("warrior") instead of sattva ("being"). This is true.


This makes a great deal of sense: it's not a mere orthographic distinction but a completely different word.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby yegyal » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:01 pm

Jikan wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:The Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit, much as we do using the Latin alphabet, using their alphabet and some special characters and diacritic type markings.


Obviously. Which means that there's no debate whether there should be one or two Ts, the debate is over the usage of Tibetan orthography.


Actually, the debate is completely about whether the word should be spelled bodhisattva or bodhisatva, it has nothing to do with orthography. There is no "Sanskrit script," so it can just as accurately be written in Tibetan, the latin alphabet, devanagiri, and so forth.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby Kare » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:17 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Here's a passage from Dayal's "The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature":
Now bodhisatta in the Pāli texts seems to mean "a bodhi-being ". But satta here does not denote a mere ordinary creature. It is almost certainly related to the Vedic word satvan, which means "Krieger", "a strong or valiant man, hero, warrior." In this way, we can also understand the final dpaḥ in the Tibetan equivalent. Satta in Pāli bodhisatta should be interpreted as "heroic being, spiritual warrior ".




There is another possibility as well. 'Satta' can have several meanings in Pali. It can mean 'seven', but that is of course not relevant here. It can mean 'a (living) being', 'sattva' in Sanskrit, and that is the usual interpretation of 'Bodhisatta' > 'Bodhisattva': 'awakening-being'. It can, however, also mean 'able to, intent on', 'shakta' in Sanskrit. If that is the original meaning intended in Bodhisatta, then the title would mean '(a person) intent on (or able to reach) awakening'. And that would in fact be a very good and apt description of Gotama before he became a Buddha. Therefore it has been suggested that those who transferred the texts from Middle Indian dialects (Pali and other Prakrits) into Sanskrit, made an error, and that the correct translation of 'Bodhisatta' ought to be 'Bodhishakta', instead of 'Bodhisattva'. This is of course an unproven theory. It makes some sense, however, but I suppose we'll never know for sure.
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:25 am

Yes, the first sentence from the paragraph the Dayal quote is from reads as follows:
One is tempted to believe that Pāli satta may really be rendered by Skt. sakta, as this interpretation seems to define the chief quality of an aspirant for bodhi.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:41 am

dzogchungpa wrote:(dpaḥ is an old transliteration for the word that is now usually transliterated dpa'. Bodhisat(t)va is translated as byang chub sems dpa' in Tibetan, with byang chub sems corresponding to bodhi and dpa' corresponding to sat(t)va. The meaning of dpa' is similar to that of satvan given above.)

Actually, I made a mistake here, it is byang chub that corresponds to bodhi and sems dpa' which corresponds to sat(t)va.
Sems basically means mind. Anyway, the point is the same.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:37 am

You can read Dayal's discussion of the word bodhisattva here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/mm7ypvc
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: bodhisattva vs bodhisatva

Postby disjointed » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:13 am

Good thing we have context to clarify the meaning of the term.
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