A philological approach to Buddhism : the Bukkyō Dendō by K. R. Norman

By K. R. Norman

This quantity comprises just a little revised types of the lectures given by means of Professor Norman as Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai traveling Professor on the institution of Oriental and African experiences from January to March 1994. The lectures are designed for readers with little

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Sample text

In the same way that people used to say, “It must be true, because I read it in The Times”, so when I offer critical comments on suggestions which people send me, and hint that their translation of some Pāli word or phrase should be changed, they reply that I must be wrong, because they took whatever it is they have written from the PED. When I come back with the retort, “Yes, I know it is in the PED, but it is wrong, and we are going to change it in the revised edition”, they are still very reluctant to believe that anything which has appeared in print can be incorrect.

You are identical with that world spirit—the view that we all have a portion of that spirit in us and when everything which hides that identity is removed then we can be absorbed into ātman/brahman. The Buddha, on the other hand, specifically condemned the view that the world and the self were the same thing, and that after death one might become permanent, lasting, eternal and not liable to change, and he rejected the idea that one could look at the various aspects of the world and say “that is mine, I am that, that is my self”, which is a clear echo of tat tvam asi, expressed from a different point of view.

When we come to look at the words themselves we find that the meanings which we have accepted for so long are very often not the only possible meanings but in some cases not even the most likely meanings. Take for example, the phrase “noble truth”, which I mentioned a few minutes ago. It has become a commonplace to talk about the four noble truths, and this is a perfectly acceptable translation of the compound ariya-sacca: ariya means noble and sacca means truth, so ariya-sacca means noble truth.

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