Author Topic: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..  (Read 15830 times)

Offline KarmaPolice

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Is there any meaning behind the differences in these spellings? Or, are they just different translations? 
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Offline Shi Hong Yang

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Sutta is Pali for Sutra and Sutra is Sanskrit for Sutta and they both mean literally "thread"; ie, the binding used for books, clothes

Nibbana is Pali for Nirvana and Nirvana is Sanskrit for Nibbana and they both mean "free from all ties, enlightenment, aware; ie, the state of the Buddha and anyother buddhas.

Kamma is Pali for Karma and Karma is Sanskrit for Kamma and they both mean a complex set of chain of cause and effect, etc.

Pali and Sanskrit uses:  Traditionally Theravada as practiced in Thailand has been using Pali with Sanskrit being used in Sri Lanka and some Asian Mahayana countries with local languages while Mahayana uses both plus local languages.  These two languages Pali and Sanskrit have been used in copying Buddhist Sutras/Suttas since it's early written history; some scholars debate on what came first the ....maybe it's the ole chicken and egg situation...

Buddhist Literary Project is just getting active with a website, so for those interested in Mahayana or translations of the cannons all will be included here; including current english translations; it's brand new effort to provide comprehensive sources for the entire cannon., YAAAAH! 

 :r4wheel:
Chinese Buddhism is the oldest form of Buddhism in the USA, in 2013 it is 161 years old.  The first Buddhist temples were built in California in 1952 & 1854. Second oldest is Korean in 1900 and Japanese in 1902 both in Hawaii.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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You may explore both Sanskrit and Pali Here:

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Timbo

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Sutta is Pali for Sutra and Sutra is Sanskrit for Sutta and they both mean literally "thread"; ie, the binding used for books, clothes

Nibbana is Pali for Nirvana and Nirvana is Sanskrit for Nibbana and they both mean "free from all ties, enlightenment, aware; ie, the state of the Buddha and anyother buddhas.

Kamma is Pali for Karma and Karma is Sanskrit for Kamma and they both mean a complex set of chain of cause and effect, etc.
--snip--

What if you want to appear even handed regarding Theravada vs. Mahayana? Do you use the Pali form or the Sanskrit form? Or alternate?

Do many Buddhists care about that?

Hugs and puppies,


Timbo

Offline Kojip

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There are times when Sanskrit has a different meaning, or inflection, than Pali. For instance in Zen we talk about "not choosing Nirvana over Samsara".  In Theravada you don't really hear talk of "not choosing Nibbana over Samsara".  There is a subtle difference in the sense of the terms.  "Nirvana" in this Zen context seems closer to "The Unconditioned" in Theravada,  rather than Nibbana.  Nibbana refers more to the cessation of of clinging, suffering.   

There are other subtle differences, where a Sanskrit or Pali term may seem more effective.    INHO


Offline Timbo

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There are times when Sanskrit has a different meaning, or inflection, than Pali. For instance in Zen we talk about "not choosing Nirvana over Samsara".  In Theravada you don't really hear talk of "not choosing Nibbana over Samsara".  There is a subtle difference in the sense of the terms.  "Nirvana" in this Zen context seems closer to "The Unconditioned" in Theravada,  rather than Nibbana.  Nibbana refers more to the cessation of of clinging, suffering.   

There are other subtle differences, where a Sanskrit or Pali term may seem more effective.    INHO

That's cool, though it may lie beyond my sophistication for now.

I don't want to appear rude by using the Pali term with a Mahayana Buddhist, or the Sanskit term with a Theravadin Buddhist. (Personally, for now, I'm kinda neither and both.) Should I be concerned about this?


Hugs and puppies,



Timbo

Offline Monkey Mind

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What if you want to appear even handed regarding Theravada vs. Mahayana? Do you use the Pali form or the Sanskrit form? Or alternate?
I struggle with that in pan-Buddhist environments like FreeSangha. Also, in my local community, where more people are familiar with Mahayana Buddhism than Theravada. I tend to use the Pali words when my audience are fellow Theravadans, and around here or with my coworkers I tend to use the Sanskrit just to avoid confusion.

Offline Karma Dondrup Tashi

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Simple rule: when in doubt use Tibetan.

:)

Just kidding.
[size=90]what I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter[/size]

Offline FaDao

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There are times when Sanskrit has a different meaning, or inflection, than Pali. For instance in Zen we talk about "not choosing Nirvana over Samsara".  In Theravada you don't really hear talk of "not choosing Nibbana over Samsara".  There is a subtle difference in the sense of the terms.  "Nirvana" in this Zen context seems closer to "The Unconditioned" in Theravada,  rather than Nibbana.  Nibbana refers more to the cessation of of clinging, suffering.   

There are other subtle differences, where a Sanskrit or Pali term may seem more effective.    INHO

That's cool, though it may lie beyond my sophistication for now.

I don't want to appear rude by using the Pali term with a Mahayana Buddhist, or the Sanskit term with a Theravadin Buddhist. (Personally, for now, I'm kinda neither and both.) Should I be concerned about this?


Hugs and puppies,



Timbo
No need for concern.

I am a student of Linji Ch'an (Chinese Zen). I tend to use the Pali terms "khamma" and "dhamma" because both schools understand the basic context.

I don't talk about "nibbana" or "nirvana" much because my arse is in samsara at the moment.

When I get to "nibbana" or "nirvana", I'll send back a message in a bottle to try to explain the difference. The adherents of one school will accept the bottle -- while another school may adamantly object.

That part is not "my" problem.

Namo Amitofo
- Fa Dao -

Offline pickledpitbull

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Timbo,

No, it's not important.  I think that we all get it, regardless which language it's in, and if it's not, then hopefully someone will feel free to ask.

I believe it matters more (if at all) that you stick with one or the other in the the context of the conversation.  Otherwise it's kind of like speaking Spanglish.

You've been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn't and you're not.


~ Cheri Huber

Offline Shi Hong Yang

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Re: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2010, 04:15:19 pm »
Don't worry about it, most people are pretty familiar with terms being used in temples and monasteries; for those that go regularly.  And when they go regularly, they often outdo scholars in their own personal education efforts, just regular folks mind you like workers in factories, waitresses, nail ladies....

It's not as common to find this in the westerners who tend to favor one approach or limit their exposures to full on Buddhist experience...! :D  I hope that will change; for the dharma classes are so different offered to ethnic (not necesarily generational) Buddhists versus a majority of westerners; a little like grad-school is different from nursery or kindergarten. Doesn't mean westerners aren't capable at all, just means the some who are actually participating in Buddhist events like where they are at  :square: :donlook: :meditating:  and won't advance to grad-school so to speak.
:onfire:

 
Terms in either tradition are perfectly fine as you are comfortably speaking them.  I do correct myself in print tho' often finding folks that prefer one over the other in online forums so I will provide both in many cases.
Chinese Buddhism is the oldest form of Buddhism in the USA, in 2013 it is 161 years old.  The first Buddhist temples were built in California in 1952 & 1854. Second oldest is Korean in 1900 and Japanese in 1902 both in Hawaii.

Offline TongueTied

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Re: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2010, 05:32:53 pm »
Karma, nirvana, etc., are more familiar to non-Buddhists so I default to those.  When I am conversing with someone specifically I adopt their convention.  When I am in the Theravada forum I used kamma, nibanna, etc.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2010, 07:27:21 pm »
I just use karma dharma and so on, because that's the usage in the sects I follow. I don't want to be tripping all over myself in an effort to be PC.

If I am speaking to someone from a theravada tradition, I happily use the terms I'm comfortable with and I expect them to use the terms they are comfy with too. I don't want them going through verbal contortions for no good reason either.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Kojip

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Re: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2010, 04:13:20 am »

It's not as common to find this in the westerners who tend to favor one approach or limit their exposures to full on Buddhist experience...! :D  I hope that will change; for the dharma classes are so different offered to ethnic (not necesarily generational) Buddhists versus a majority of westerners; a little like grad-school is different from nursery or kindergarten. Doesn't mean westerners aren't capable at all, just means the some who are actually participating in Buddhist events like where they are at  :square: :donlook: :meditating:  and won't advance to grad-school so to speak.
:onfire:

Very sweeping. Very general. Culturally chauvinistic.   Bares no resemblence to the remarkable western Buddhists, both ordained and lay, I have had the good fortune to know.

Offline Kojip

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Re: Sutta vs Sutra, Dhamma vs Dharma, Kamma vs Karma, Nibbana vs Nirvana..
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2010, 11:12:35 am »
Come to think of it. Your right in a way.  Western Buddhists are practicing the full-on Dharma Experience, and not so much the " full-on Buddhist experience."  Hopefully that won't change. Having had their fill of the full-on Christian/Jewish experience it is refreshing to have  Dharma practice without the encrustations, like seeing a Bhikkhu bless the laity's new car to keep donations rolling into the Vihara , and that kind of thing. They have had their fill of the western religious equivalent, and are mainly interested in doing practice,..... except for some newbies who go in for the wannabe thing.    Western Dharma is now Western and does not look to the east to dispense legitimacy.

 :hug:   But we love the old country just the same.   :hug:






 


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