[Buddha-l] Capitalisation of Buddhist Terms

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Thu Dec 9 07:43:16 MST 2010

erik observes:

> The capitalisation of 'I' is BTW curious to say the least.

Yes, i quite agree. This feature of english has always bothered Me. You'll be glad to know, Erik, that the advent of sms has led to a dramatic decrease in the use of capital letters, including the completely irrational and egotistical capitalization of the First Person Pronoun. Unfortunately, sms style has also led to a dramatic decrease in the use of apostrophes, which im sure youll agree is a lamentable development. i predict of the person who invented sms that hell go to hell (if he hasnt already).

As a point of curiosity, did it not used to be the case (if you'll pardon the expression) that in dutch the pronoun 'U' was written in upper case? Was it not at one time customary to write "Bent U ernstig?", or am I suffering again from one of my many linguistic delusions?

I hereby retract what i said earlier. My original stance was that the only buddhist word that should be capitalized was "the Buddha." I now think, upon reflection, that even that word should not be capitalized. People who practice buddhism should be described as going for refuge to the buddha, the dharma and the sangha. Come to think of it, the definite article is also unnecessary. Sufficient to say buddha, dharma, sangha.

Admittedly, I am rebelling against Sangharakshita, who capitalizes everything to which he attaches spiritual significance. One has to be prepared for the shock of discussions of Going For Refuge while in a state of Contemplation of Transcendent Truths. Reading that sort of thing makes my teeth sore.


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