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What language did the Buddha speak? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

What language did the Buddha speak?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Luke
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Luke » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:05 pm


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Dmytro
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:03 am



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Hanzze
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:42 am

_/\_
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

johnnylondon
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby johnnylondon » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:49 am


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Dmytro
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Dmytro » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:10 am

Hi Johnnylondon,

Sanskrit as a language didn't exist in the Buddha's time:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3215

Best wishes, Dmytro


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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby johnnylondon » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:31 pm

Evidence please?

Vedic sanskrit, as used by the Rig Veda was written word perfect over the course of Kaal (time). During the time of the Buddha, oral recitation of of doctrines and paradigms where the usual practise.

I can appreciate how one can read wikipedia and feel an expert, however in order to reject a theory or hypothesis, one must actually have an awareness (mindfully!) of what that hypothesis was.

The vedas, were not always categorised into 4 distinct components, this was not done until the time of Veda Vyas, which has been argued by Scholars to be 3rd millenia BCE. Again the vedic language or pre-classical sanskrit was later evolved to classical sanskrit later used in the puranas. This i can comprehend is what is causing you confusion.

I can appreciate that it is very easy to use the little sources out there, such as wiki as a framework to direct intellectual curiosities, however, one should also understand that the esoteric scholars at Haridar and Varansi, whom have studied the language in-depth will refute from arguing in such affairs, as to do so in an expression of ego and trapped in a web of delusion. I have read your other thread and actually find it amusing - like a scientist who practises evidence based medicine, one must be mindfully aware of where such sources have arisen, and any bias incorporated. Just because a language has evolved over time can not mean to deny the origin of the language, where the core structure has remained intact.

One must also appreciate that despite there being a grammatical difference between the early Rig vedic sanskrit, and the later upanishads - you should also be aware of even older recited sanskrit tantric verses, that have over time only been passed orally from guru to student. These verses, can not and will not be littered over wikipedia. The language and grammatical content of these are remarkably identical to the rig-vedic language you keep harping on about - i.e. sanskrit.

You observation is that since the language used in the Rig vedic sanskirt, is different grammatically to the Sanskrit used in later texts is true. However, to claim that 'Sanskrit' did not exist per se during the time of the Buddha is incorrect, and evidence points to the contrary. A proponent to my theory would be the chandi, in the markenda purana. The Rig Vedic hymn, the Ratri Suktam is a composite and integral part in the purana, however a customarily evaluation of the core sanskriti grammar used between the Vedic and puranic language supports that between this and the later added dyanams, that there is a subtle differences in the construct of the sentences. However both undeniably share a common structure, pronunciation and thus origin.

You claim the language of the Vedas were not Sanskrit - evidence please? Give me written examples and exact verses that support your theory. Please show me the difference in vocabulary and grammar between the vyas sanskriti and that of the rig vedas.

I mean do you even understand pali and Sanskrit? Or are you just echoing the opinions of others.

What i find comical is that you fail to see the most obvious: praciti and sanskriti. This again has significant esoteric levels of understanding consciousness.

I fail to find your subjective interpretations of a questionable series of wikipedia articles as actual evidence convincing - more like propaganda and dogma.

Vedic Sanskrit corpus - since you like to draw your opinions from wiki - you might want to to read this page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

Om mane padme hum

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mikenz66
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:08 pm


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Alex123
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Alex123 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:31 pm

Hello all,

It is also possible that the Buddha spoke various dialects depending on whom he talked to and in what state. It is not impossible that the Buddha knew early dialect that we call Sanskrit and spoke it to the Brahmins and Kings, while speaking Pali to those who spoke Pali. From what I've heard, the sacred Vedic stuff was taught in (early) Sanskrit only. So considering Buddha's familiarity with what Brahmins believed, it is possible that he, being an educated prince, knew the language. It may be possible that he knew as much as 7 dialects or more (because he mentioned 7 different words for bowl in MN139).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:25 pm

It seems that the concept of mutually intelligible dialects and language variants is difficult to grasp. Please read again my posting about the mutually intelligible dialects and languages of Scandinavia. Then you will see that whatever dialect the Buddha himself spoke, he would probably have understood both "literary sanskrit/vedic" and other spoken dialects. And whatever dialect he spoke, he will probably have been understood by most of his listeners. The dialects of Northern India at the time of the Buddha were not very different, and they must have been mutually intelligible. Therefore, the question of his dialect is not a very important one. We may call it Pali, a variant of Pali, Ardha-Magadhi, early Prakrit, or whatever. Probability indicates that his language was not exactly what we know as "grammatical correct" Pali, but fairly close to it. We will know with full certainty the day we find his words written with his own hand. Until then we have to learn to live with some uncertainty. :lol:
Mettāya,
Kåre

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Dmytro
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Dmytro » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:42 am



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Dmytro
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Dmytro » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:10 am

Last edited by Dmytro on Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:15 am


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Dmytro
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Dmytro » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:09 am



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mikenz66
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:28 am

Thanks, Dmytro for the clarifications about the relationship between the Vedic and Sanskrit languages.

:anjali:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:48 pm

As series of argumentative posts have been deleted. Please stay on the topic.

:anjali:
Mike

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Marten
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Marten » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:13 pm

I like to read here, but am always afraid to post something because I know so little. That being said, here's something I've been pondering and wondering why I can't spot the flaw:

Obviously we have a huge number of teachings preserved in Pāli. Whether there are lost teachings preserved in other languages no longer in use or whether the teachings/suttas we have have been translated into Pāli from some other language will persist as a great mystery, I'm sure; yet, it seems to me that the Buddha picked Ānanda for very complex reasons.

The suttas inform us that Ānanda had a wonderful memory; but is that all?

Did Ānanda remember the teachings in the lingua-fraca of the day (Pāli)? To me, Ānanda seems to constantly be portrayed as a kind of foil, the straight-man who doesn't get the Buddha's meaning so that the meaning can be further teased out. If Ānanda had such a great memory, then, perhaps, he didn't have much insight, hence not becoming awakened until the last minute?

Could it be possible that Ānanda was a savant?

No, I don't really mean Rain-Man, but someone who could simply recite what he heard in Pāli? is that any more mysterious than those fantastic persons who can tell you what day it was upon which a date in 1937 fell, or can do complex mathematics mentally!?!

The Buddha seems to have had tremendous admiration for Ānanda, despite having to almost dumb-down his teachings so that Ānanda could understand them.

I cannot figure out why my theoretical basis for Pāli is something others have not before spotted - although that it may be too simplistic and fantasy-based is probably a not-unreasonable thought. I'd definitely appreciate knowing what others think, because I have not been able to find any mention of Ānanda in this area of inquire: what language did the Buddha speak.

Many thanks

:anjali:

M

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cooran
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby cooran » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:16 pm

Hello Marten,

The Buddha set in place a system for summarising and preserving the Teachings so they would not be forgotten or altered. Thousands of Bhikkhus memorised the teachings and used to regularly chant them together. They were called Bhanakas - e.g. The Digha Bhanakas, that Majjhima Bhanakas.

This thread may be of interest to you:

Why didn't the Buddha write his Teachings down?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7946

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Marten
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Marten » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:14 pm

Thanks for this Cooran - I am a little familiar with the validation of an aural/oral tradition. As I recall reading somewhere, in the Buddha's time, "writing" was used for unimportant things like keeping track of business transactions. But this doesn't quite address the issue of language and how the suttas got preserved in Pāli. I have read that some of the Chinese "versions" of the suttas suggest that they came from languages other than Pāli, but that, also doesn't explain the huge body of Pāli literature or address the importance of Ānanda in the preservation of the literature, suttas, teachings.

In the Western medieval period, anything "important" was written in Latin - although it probably was not really an actual spoken language other than in the Vatican. Even in the Renaissance period, Latin remained the language of all types of academics. Perhaps in the time of the Buddha, Pāli was similarly regarded?

I also don't understand why Ānanda isn't given more consideration for preservation of the texts in Pāli. Those long rains retreats would have been ideal times for making sure the suttas were preserved in the most precise language! And Ānanda seems to have been the most regarded for the ability to remember and therefore preserve - preserve and pass on. Even today, highly technical writing does not emerge fully complete out of nothing, it goes through a very long process of review, revision, consideration and re-evaluation before it is published - and even the published version may be subject to revision so that, eventually, it becomes the standard of preservation and clarity. Why wouldn't the rains retreats have been utilized to do exactly the same with the Buddha's words in the most universal and widely understood language of the time? Or, perhaps Pāli was the language decided upon by the early saṅgha.

If one remembers Fahrenheit 451 - individuals specialized in particular books. Why wouldn't the rains retreats have been similar with Ānanda being the principle source for the "authorized" version!

When I was young, French was an almost universal language, definitely the language of diplomacy. Now, English, one of the most difficult of languages, is becoming universal. I am grateful that the suttas have been preserved in Pāli. It is about as close to the Buddha as we can get, other than practising the teachings themselves.

With thanks

:anjali:

M

Bakmoon
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Bakmoon » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:44 pm

Well, although the Buddhist texts are traditionally regarded as being written in the language of Magadha , the Buddha himself wasn't originally from Magadha. He was from the area around Kapilavatthu, which I think (that is to say, I'm just guessing) was far enough from Magadha to have its own distinct dialect, but close enough that it would have been understandable in Magadha without much difficulty, so I would guess that the Buddha spoke whatever dialect was spoken around Kapilavatthu (I think I heard somewhere that they spoke a form of Kosalan around Kapilavatthu but I could very well be wrong.)
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Kare
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Re: What language did the Buddha speak?

Postby Kare » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:16 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre


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