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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:41 am 
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Astus wrote:
Dharma Atma wrote:
But why to translate them in the dead languages... :shrug:


Buddhist sutras were translated into literary Chinese, a dead language by that time. Same can be said about Sanskrit. Latin, of course, is not that popular now as those were in their respective cultural spheres. Still, there is some beauty in Latin. Even two volumes of Harry Potter were translated to Latin (and one volume to ancient Greek).


"Buddhist sutras were translated into literary Chinese, a dead language by that time."

If you mean that literary Chinese was dead at the time the Buddhist sutras were translated, I would have to disagree with you very strongly.
Even to this day, a fair percentage of Chinese Buddhists can still read these translations without too much difficulty.
Classical Chinese is still taught at most levels of education in Taiwan, for example, and plenty of people can read and recite some classics from memory.
It's not dead today, let alone 1500 years ago.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Huifeng wrote:
"Buddhist sutras were translated into literary Chinese, a dead language by that time."

If you mean that literary Chinese was dead at the time the Buddhist sutras were translated, I would have to disagree with you very strongly.
Even to this day, a fair percentage of Chinese Buddhists can still read these translations without too much difficulty.
Classical Chinese is still taught at most levels of education in Taiwan, for example, and plenty of people can read and recite some classics from memory.
It's not dead today, let alone 1500 years ago.


Dead language in the sense that it is not a spoken, everyday language. Latin is also preserved in its written, literary form, and in the USA it's the 8th most popular language learned by university students (2006 data).

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:52 am 
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kirtu wrote:
Okay it's a stretch but I'm thinking about the late survival of languages like Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and so forth (not that these examples are all that close to Latin either but there might be some Romance/Rhaeto mix hold up in some village somewhere that might be close enough - dialects can be amazing).

Thank you for mentioning these languages (Friulian, Ladin) - I've never heard of them before. It was interesting to read about them (and Romansh as well), but it doesn't belong to our "Latin issue".
rory wrote:
Occitan comes from Provencal, the language of the troubadors, an incredibly rich language that was probably closest to Latin.

"Probably closest" and "really closest" are the two different things :toilet:
Latin was a really beautiful language, a language of the great civilization. There were two great languages of the ancient times - Latin and Greek. The former gave birth to the Western European civilization, and the latter - to the Eastern Europe. And it's very good mental exercise to learn these ones. But Dharma has nothing to do with that.
When the talk turns to Dharma the major thing is what benefit is for the creatures, what good would it bring, for the sake of who it's done... et cetera. I don't see benefit of Latin translations as it's been already said.
Astus wrote:
in the USA it's the 8th most popular language learned by university students

It's very good for their brains if they do so. But for their hearts they'd better read these sutras in English :smile:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:45 am 
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Oy, only someone clueless can question the value of Latin Buddhist sutras. Latin used to be the common intellectual language of Europe; it's now becoming very popular in Europe, the US and other countries, so if I read the sutras in Latin or wrote a book on the Lotus Sutra in Latin, tons of people in Finland, Italy, Russia, Britain, the US, Germany, China etc could read them & we could discuss them without reading or speaking Finnish, German,Russian, Italian, Chinese.
It would probably be the most efficient way to propagate and transmit Dharma imaginable.
gassho
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:22 am 
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Hello Dharma Atma

and sorry to others for barging into the discussion, but may I ask, Dharma Atma who is that blue fellow in your avatar? He looks so funny. Sorry, couldn't help myself asking - I know it has nothing to do with the topic on hand.

As for Latin, I would say that it is much easier to study Sanskrit (an consequently Pali) if you have a solid background in Greek and Latin. The grammatical systems of these three (four) languages are quite similar. Greek, Latin and Sanskrit are the holy trinity of Indo-European languages. Although there is also Hittite.

These are just my two cents.

Ailurus Fulgens


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:06 pm 
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Dharma Atma wrote:
It's very good for their brains if they do so. But for their hearts they'd better read these sutras in English :smile:


In the US many people's primary language isn't English (and this is not a new development as the English only people would like to have us believe).

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:12 pm 
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rory wrote:
Oy, only someone clueless can question the value of Latin Buddhist sutras. Latin used to be the common intellectual language of Europe; it's now becoming very popular in Europe, the US and other countries, so if I read the sutras in Latin or wrote a book on the Lotus Sutra in Latin, tons of people in Finland, Italy, Russia, Britain, the US, Germany, China etc could read them & we could discuss them without reading or speaking Finnish, German,Russian, Italian, Chinese.

I'd say "tens" instead of "tons" :twothumbsup:
I don't know about any clueless people (funny word though), but I'm not sure that you correctly got what I was talking about.
AilurusFulgens wrote:
Dharma Atma who is that blue fellow in your avatar? He looks so funny. Sorry, couldn't help myself asking

It's a caterpillar, the only Buddhist creature of the Wonderland where Alice was wandering about :) Yeah, it's funny, and that was one of the reasons to use it.
kirtu wrote:
In the US many people's primary language isn't English (and this is not a new development as the English only people would like to have us believe).

When I said "English" I meant "their mother language". In French forum I'd say "they'd better read these sutras in French". I was talking in general, as you see.

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