I certainly appreciate all your efforts here. Thanks!
For the sake of discussion, I'd like to take a closer look at how the root word "thana" is used in other words, because that might help inform how we interpret it here.
Generally speaking, I've noticed that root words take on subtly different meanings and nuances when they are put together with other words, because the root-word meaning becomes flavored with the other words connected to it. Based on what I've seen, it doesn't make sense to say that one root word has complete primacy over the others in terms of emphasis of meaning.
For example, the most common "thana" word I know is "satipatthana," which has the roots:sati
: presence of mind, to rememberpa
: intense, or going beyondthana
: a state or condition, standing still
Please note that "thana" has both a being
definition as well as a doing
definition. I don't think we can ignore that.
If we were to analyze the word "satipatthana" in the same manner that you have analyzed the word "suramerayamajjapadamatthana," then we'd have to conclude that satipatthana is some kind of condition caused by sati. But in practical usage, the word "satipatthana" is much more than just that. The meaning of the word is not just some condition, but also a practice
, an activity. I think this is crucial for understanding the word "satipatthana" (and also the way "thana" fits into this word): It is a practice, and it is flavored with sati.
Another example might be "thirasanna padatthana," or strong perception, which is one of the causes for the arising of sati. Again, it has the root word "thana." But does that mean it's just a condition? Or it is also a practice, an activity?
By the same token, "suramerayamajjapadamatthana" strikes me as a word that describes not just
a condition, but also a practice, in this case an activity flavored with alcohol and heedlessness, all blended together in a unified concept. One stumbling block for me in your translation, Kare, is your use of the phrase "caused by" to separate alcohol away from what you perceive as the more important root words. You attribute this separation to grammar, but your selection of "caused by" does not appear to me to be a function of grammar. Rather, it appears to be a function of your interpretation.
So in trying to understand the Pali, I would be inclined to look at "satipatthana" and "suramerayamajjapadamatthana" in the same way. If "satipatthana" is a word for a kind of practice, then that means "suramerayamajjapadamatthana" also is a word for a kind of practice.
Which means that the 5th precept (as enunciated in Pali) is best understood as abstention from a certain practice.
I stand to be corrected. Thanks for your willingness to discuss.