Precepts in China and Japan

Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Sara H » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:12 am

Huifeng wrote:
Sara H wrote:
"Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!"

In Gassho,

Sara H.


Is this some rendition of the Hrdaya mantra?

~~ Huifeng


It's from the Heart Sutra.

The Japanese version is Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara Sō Gyate Bodhi Sowaka!

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:48 am

Sara H wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
Sara H wrote:
"Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!"

In Gassho,

Sara H.


Is this some rendition of the Hrdaya mantra?

~~ Huifeng


It's from the Heart Sutra.

The Japanese version is Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara Sō Gyate Bodhi Sowaka!

In Gassho,

Sara H.


It is rather, shall we say, a creative rendition. The Japanese, as the Chinese, is just a transliteration. The Sanskrit that we have is as follows:

[tadyathā oṃ] gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.

Conze has a nice break down of it:

Conze wrote: Gone—the ending – in gate, etc., can, grammatically, have two meanings: It may denote a feminine vocative—‘O, she (i.e. the Prajñāpāramitā), who is gone, etc!’ the mantra would then resume the initial invocation (no 1). Or It may be a masculine or feminine locative—‘in him, or in her who is gone, etc., there is enlightenment’. Then it states, as I have shown in some detail SS pp 22-4, what must be done to get to enlightenment. The locative can in Sanskrit be used as an absolute case, and the meaning then would be—‘he is gone’, or ‘she is gone’, etc. the mantra therefore represents a dialogue with an invisible force, or with oneself.

Beyond, pāra, occurs, as we saw at no. 5, in the very name of the Prajñā pāram ita, as a technical term it is opposed to a Not-Beyond, which comprises:
1. Suffering,
2. its basis, i.e. the round of births,
3. The place where suffering takes place, i.e. that skandhas, and
4. its cause, i.e. craving and other bad habits. The unwholesome states are compared to a flood, or to a river in full spate. We are on the hither shore, beset with fears and dangers. Security can be found only on the other shore, beyond flood, which has to be crossed by means of the ship, or raft, of the Dharma.

Awakening, equals enlightenment (of no. 48), wisdom, emptiness and Nirvāṇa (no. 44).
All hail, Svāhā only imperfectly reproduced by ‘all hail’, is a term of blessing used traditionally by the Brahmin priests in their ritual. It is an ecstatic shout of joy, expressive of a feeling of complete release, just as Io triumpe was in Latin, Hailly in Mexican, or Axie Taure in Dionysian ritual. In the Tantric system svāhā is reserved for mantras addressed to feminine deities.
The six words. Of the mantra correspond to sections III to VIII respectively. This is quite obvious for bodhi, which takes up the ‘enlightenment’ of section VII. After the two initial steps of sections III and IV we come to V at the pāragate, which is the traditional term for the plunge into the Unconditioned. In pāra-saṃ-gate, the sam- has the meaning of completeness, as with saṃ-bodhi in 48. Readers can work out the further details for themselves.


In short, there is no way to read it as "Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!", either from Chinese / Japanese, or Sanskrit. It appears to be forcing a particular type of interpretation onto it, which is rather unjustified.

Further resources in Chinese and Sanskrit available on my blog, here: http://prajnacara.blogspot.co.uk/search ... 8Hrdaya%29

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby dearreader » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:28 am

Sara H wrote:It's from the Heart Sutra.

The Japanese version is Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara Sō Gyate Bodhi Sowaka!

In Gassho,

Sara H.


Hi Sara H. You may already know this but for those that may not, the mantra you quote is named the Hrdaya mantra so you and the Venerable were speaking of the same thing. I am always curious why certain Buddhist groups in the West translate the Sanskrit mantras into English for practice when historically they remain Sanskrit (for practice) but often take on the pronunciation of the local culture (e.g. "Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara So Gyate Bodhi Sowaka" is Sanskrit with Japanese pronunciation though perhaps slightly more accurate than the way American's pronounce some French words or how the French pronounce American actors' names ;-) )

Where did you learn to recite this english version of the Hrdaya mantra and were you taught the rational for reciting it in English instead of Sanskrit as is typically the case in practices with long Buddhist lineage?

I understand this deviates a bit from the OP but it is a matter that greatly interests me and perhaps related to the question of precepts (and how they change as well).

Thank you for your time
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:01 pm

Sara H wrote:"Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!"

In Gassho,

Sara H.
Did you torture and then subsequently execute the translator for doing such a bad job? I would. :guns:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby tigerdown » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:27 am

Huifeng wrote:
It is rather, shall we say, a creative rendition. The Japanese, as the Chinese, is just a transliteration. The Sanskrit that we have is as follows:

[tadyathā oṃ] gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.

Conze has a nice break down of it:

~~ Huifeng


If I may offer, having done some small research of this years back, an overly strict reliance on grammar may miss the point of the Heart Sutra itself. I very much recommend Donald Lopez' very fine ELABORATIONS ON EMPTINESS, USES OF THE HEART SUTRA on this point and the great flexibility the Sutra itself allows on grammatical forms and tense constructions. In a nutshell, "gone" is simultaneously timeless is going is coming. "Beyond" is here and in the very exertion of rafting the river to the other shore when all is encountered as empty. There is no "other shore", the "other shore" in on this side of the river and in the middle, and seeing clearly that truth is arriving at the "other shore" in emptiness. In other words, coming is going is gone gone gone. This perspective is very much that of Dogen and, I am guessing, may be part of the rendering of this translation if coming from the OBC, a Soto group.

So, ""Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!"" is perfectly fine and equivalent to "Gone Gone Gone Beyond". It might also be "Coming Coming Coming Always Coming Buddha" and "Being Being Being Always Being Buddha" simultanously with no distinction. Thus Come One, Thus Gone One, Thus Buddha. The Heart Sutra is very flexible!

So getting lost in time and grammatical structure may mean only looking at what can not be expressed in a fixed time and words from one angle.

Tig
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby tigerdown » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:32 am

Let me add that, as a Mantra beyond words, there is also no reason to recite it only in Chinese,San., Japanese, English, Martian or Silently. Anyway, that is also one interpretation.
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:03 am

Sure, one doesn't want to get overly caught up in a grammar only reading of anything. However, in the art of explanation, grammar still does count for something, and so cannot be simply ignored. In rendering a translation, it must be kept in mind.

What one can do after such a translation, is to provide a commentary in explanation on it, an interpretation if you will. At this point, one can explain it however one wishes, including reading through a particular system of thought or whatever. This differs from the act of forcing a given reading onto a translation, as if that is the intention of the original text.

Thanks for the Lopez reference, I am quite familiar with his book, having used it in the past. (Don't have access to it right now, because I'm away from my office.)

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:09 pm

"Going" and "becoming" do not give the sense of "arriving" or "being". Shakyamuni "went" and "became". The rendition offered by SaraH does not give one the sense that they will arrive. It is like the "hopeless" constant journey from the Bunuel film "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" whereas in Buddhism there is a clear and achievable "goal" or "end point" of liberation.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby tigerdown » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:29 pm

Relying on Tibetan commentators, Donald Lopez discusses other doctrinal views that also make a case for a reading quite close to "Going on, Going on, always Going on, Always Becoming Buddha, Hail, Hail, Hail!"

Look from the very bottom of page 170 here to 173.

http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=vg8d ... nd&f=false

To explain too simply, the Tibetan glosses by Shrimahajana and other read it something like

Gone [from stage A to Stage B]

Gone [from stage B to Stage C]

Gone Beyond [all those stages]

Really Gone Beyond [time and categories]

Buddha


So, actually, one is "going" from one stage to another. Lopez also points out (page 169) that the verb form Gata would be an adjective meaning "gone" or "understand", and nobody really has a grasp on why it is "gate" and not "gata". He appears to disagree with Conze on that.

in Buddhism there is a clear and achievable "goal" or "end point" of liberation.

Yes there is. It is simply a matter of some doctrinal differences about whether the "goal" of the "other shore" is (1) "only over there" or (2) "over there and here where we stand at the same time".

T
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby shel » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:54 pm

"over there and here where we stand at the same time" is not part of any Buddhist doctrine I've heard of. Not to say that non-duality can't be convenient, if convenience is desired.
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:32 pm

I'm still curious as to whether anyone actually thinks that "gate" should be translated as "going (on)", and how they explain the actual Sanskrit (or Prakrit, or whatever they wish to use) behind such a translation.

Two possible readings have already been given from my side, via Conze,
ie. feminine vocative declined from the passive past participle: gam --> gata --> gatā --> gate "She who has gone!";
or masculine locative again from the ppp: gam --> gata --> gate "In he who has gone...".

By the way, "gata" is not a "verb form", it's a noun derived from the verb stem "gam", a ppp which is thus an adjective, but can often stand alone without the qualified noun. Another good example is "buddha", from: budh+ta --> budh+dha --> buddha. We usually translate this as "awakened one", or "he who has awakened". We don't translate it as "awakening", which as a present continuous would be "buddhamāna", or as a basic noun just "bodhi", both from root budh. (The mantra itself has "bodhi", which thus obviously differs from "buddha".)

It would be nice if a respond could make reference to the actual term "gate" (or "bodhi"), or maybe even throw us a well thought alternate back rendition from the glyphs 揭帝 揭帝 般羅揭帝 般羅僧揭帝 菩提 僧莎訶 (a la Xuanzang); or maybe Kumarajiva's, etc. (resources available from the site I linked in an earlier post, or from my sig, below).

That is the translation I refer to, not how one parses it out through interpretive commentary or whatever.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Precepts in China and Japan

Postby Sara H » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:42 am

I think that this thread has forked, and has gone off topic of the Precepts in China and Japan thread.

Perhaps the moderators would like to split it into a separate topic on translating the Heart Sutra or some such appropriate title?

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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