[Buddha-l] Lists in Pali
richard.nance at gmail.com
Tue Sep 25 09:26:00 MDT 2012
I can't tell you what is going on in such lists, but I can tell you what
Vasubandhu appears to have thought was going on.
In the second book of the *Logic of Explication* (*Vyākhyāyukti*, extant in
Tibetan as *rnam par bshad pa'i rigs pa*), Vasubandhu undertakes to comment
on about 100 short scriptural passages. In doing so, he occasionally
splinters lists of this kind (which, of course, are also found in Buddhist
scriptural texts outside the Pali canon) into what he terms the "teaching" (
*bstan pa*)--i.e., one or more of the initial terms in the list--and the
"explication" (*bshad pa*)--i.e., the remaining terms.
In Vasubandhu's view, therefore, the Buddha himself was a commentator: *
buddhavacana* comprises both teaching and (at least some) commentary.
Of course, to say that some stretch of discourse is offered as a commentary
on another isn't to say all that much, since commentators have--and were
historically presumed to have--a lot of tools from which they could draw.
So the observation doesn't help much to answer the question you're asking.
But it does serve to place Buddhist commentators in very good company.
On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 9:03 AM, Bruce Burrill <brburl at charter.net> wrote:
> the seven factors of awakening, when developed and cultivated, lead to
> utter revulsion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to bodhi, to
> nibbana. SN v 82
> lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct
> knowledge, to self-awakening [sambodhi], to nibbana. This is why I have
> taught them. SN v 437
> When a list of words such as this is used in the Pali suttas, what is
> going on? I have recently been told: "In Pali as well, consecutive listing
> of the words doesn't mean they are synonyms. On the contrary, Buddha's
> words are so laconic that he wouldn't waste two words to denote the same
> thing." That does not seem quite correct.
> Now, somewhere I have either been told by one my Pali teachers(Paul
> Griffiths and Frances Wilson), or I read from Warder, Gombrich or
> Johansson or somebody that such lists are making a point, either pointing
> to a progression or to differing attributes of the same thing. I'd
> appreciate a learned opinion.or two on this matter.
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