Author Topic: Cultural Appropriation in Western Buddhism  (Read 1723 times)

Offline Mrs Malaprop

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Re: Cultural Appropriation in Western Buddhism
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2020, 01:19:28 am »
Translations can be quite misleading, particularly the idiosyncratic ones.

I always have some discomfort with statements like that.  I tend to think, to offer commentary on the quality of a translation, some qualification as a translator of the source language would be needed, wouldn't you say?

The problem is that translators don't always agree. Also the meanings of common terms can vary according to which text they appear in. And different teachers and schools might well interpret he meaning of particular terms in different ways.
We do need translations, but I think they should always be regarded as provisional, and approached with caution.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Cultural Appropriation in Western Buddhism
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2020, 07:27:03 am »
The problem is that translators don't always agree. Also the meanings of common terms can vary according to which text they appear in.

Can you offer an example?

Quote
And different teachers and schools might well interpret he meaning of particular terms in different ways.

That's very true.

This could go all the way back to when the Buddha taught.  He probably have a teaching more than once.  It's quite likely he gave a teaching differently.  I would say this was to address the paricular needs of his audience on any given day.


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We do need translations, but I think they should always be regarded as provisional, and approached with caution.

I don't think differences in translation are a bad thing and no reason for circumspection.  Different translation can give a wider perspective on the dharma.  One translator will say the First Noble Truth is Suffering.  Another will say Stress.  Neither, I think, is wrong.  I have a friend and teacher in Boulder, Co who stated that a better translaion for the phrase  "Four Noble Truths" in Pali might be "The Four Truths  Of The Noble Ones" .  There's a difference and an interesting one.  Right?  Wrong?  No one here can say, but it does offer opportunity for contemplation.

Offline Mrs Malaprop

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Re: Cultural Appropriation in Western Buddhism
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2020, 05:13:24 am »
The problem is that translators don't always agree. Also the meanings of common terms can vary according to which text they appear in.

Can you offer an example?

Quote
And different teachers and schools might well interpret he meaning of particular terms in different ways.

That's very true.

This could go all the way back to when the Buddha taught.  He probably have a teaching more than once.  It's quite likely he gave a teaching differently.  I would say this was to address the paricular needs of his audience on any given day.


Quote
We do need translations, but I think they should always be regarded as provisional, and approached with caution.

I don't think differences in translation are a bad thing and no reason for circumspection.  Different translation can give a wider perspective on the dharma.  One translator will say the First Noble Truth is Suffering.  Another will say Stress.  Neither, I think, is wrong.  I have a friend and teacher in Boulder, Co who stated that a better translaion for the phrase  "Four Noble Truths" in Pali might be "The Four Truths  Of The Noble Ones" .  There's a difference and an interesting one.  Right?  Wrong?  No one here can say, but it does offer opportunity for contemplation.

For example the meaning of dukkha varies according to context. Sometimes it means "unsatisfactory" and sometimes it means "suffering".
So it's not just about different translations of the same word.

Generally I agree it's useful to read several different translations of the same text, the differences can be quite illuminating.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Cultural Appropriation in Western Buddhism
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2020, 06:57:48 pm »
That's true, MM, but it's not the subject at hand.  My intent was tto discuss appropriation and the word dukkha is a great example.  Dukkha is a word that has different meanings, depending on context, and that's good, except nobody knows what it means and that's bad.

Maybe we should use the word "sucks".

There is that which sucks.  It sucks for a reason.  It can cease to suck.  The path to the cessation of sucking.

To say something sucks can have somewhat different meanings depending on context/usage.  And everyone in the western world knows what it means
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 07:37:45 am by Chaz »

 


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