How to best render 罪 into English?

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How to best render 罪 into English?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:31 am

This is something I've encountered and wonder what other folks here who read Chinese think.

How do you render zui (Japanese: zai / tsumi)?

If we say "sin" in English it tends to summon associations with Christianity, and this isn't necessarily desirable when translating Buddhist texts, though it is still by definition at least appropriate provided the context is kept in mind.

Would it maybe better to defer to Sanskrit terms (āpatti, avadya, adharma...)?
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Re: How to best render 罪 into English?

Postby Devotee » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:32 pm

I've seen most translations as "Karmic offenses" (accurate in my opinion, though rather academic, and it begs the question: "Who is being offended?").

Perhaps "karmic faults?"

"Wrong doings"? (Although this again raises the question of "wrong" vs "right," duality, etc)

Also, "harm." As in, "the harm I have caused to all sentient beings..."

Ven. Hui Feng will be the most qualified to answer your question, I think :p
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Re: How to best render 罪 into English?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:00 am

Huseng wrote:This is something I've encountered and wonder what other folks here who read Chinese think.

How do you render zui (Japanese: zai / tsumi)?

If we say "sin" in English it tends to summon associations with Christianity, and this isn't necessarily desirable when translating Buddhist texts, though it is still by definition at least appropriate provided the context is kept in mind.

Would it maybe better to defer to Sanskrit terms (āpatti, avadya, adharma...)?


Words only really have meanings in context. To give a definition to a word outside of context is usually not helpful, as people then apply that in other contexts, where it would be incorrect. So, perhaps some examples, preferably a range of different ones, would be in order. In particular, where it is used in a verbal sense, or in a noun sense.
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