[Buddha-l] liturgical languages

Tom Troughton ghoti at consultron.ca
Fri May 13 18:08:53 MDT 2005

On Fri, 13 May 2005 14:35:00 -0400, Richard Nance wrote:

>Joanna wrote:
>"Awakened" also is a past perfect, so I'd jettison it in favor of merely
>> using "awake" for bodhi and for a Buddha----one who is awake.
>If you want to stick close to the Sanskrit, the appropriate
>translation would be something like "awakening" for the Sanskrit
>"bodhi" (the term is a noun) and one who is (or has) "awakened" for
>the Sanskrit "buddha" (it's a bhuute k.rdanta, past passive

Dear Richard,

I'd like your opinion on Dayal's argument (Pp. 18-29) that bodhi has
little to do with 'waking up', but rather is concerned with 'knowing'
and 'understanding'. He traces its etymology to the R.g Veda
'bodhin-manas' (having an attentive mind), and concludes that it refers
to a Buddha's knowledge, knowledge defined rather more broadly than we
use the term today - buddha-j~naana, sarvaj~naata,
sarva-akaaraj~naataa, maarga-akaaraj~naata, etc, i.e. omniscience.

Further he seems to draw a distinction between bodhi and the Buddha,
arguing that "the characteristic attributes and qualities of a Buddha
have been described in several definite formulae", such as the 10 
balaani, the 4 vai'saaradyas, the 18 aaven.ika dharmas, and so forth,
and particularly karun.a, although this last point was disputed. His
discussion of the 37 bodhipaks.yaa dharmas (Pp. 81-164), particularly
the 7 bodhya.ngas, seems to support a reading of bodhi as knowledge -
smr.ti (mindfulness), dharmapravicaya (discernement of dharma[s]),
viirya (energy), priiti (joy), pra'srabdhi (tranquility arising from
joy), samaadhi (concentration), and upeks.aa (equanimity). Sorry, I
didn't write down the paali - I'll have to go back and fix that.

Anyway, none of these seems to my mind necessarily related to waking up
- indeed they seem to require some active mental faculties to begin
with. While the list of 37 dharmas is rather late, I think that its
elements are all well attested throughout Buddhist literature. I'm sure
you know all this. What do you think of its relevance to the meaning of
bodhi: awakening vs understanding, or perhaps knowing through
attending? What did Paali textual traditions do with these materials?

Best wishes


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