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Pali, etc. (was Re: Old Languages)

From:J Y S Czhang <czhang23@...>
Date:Thursday, October 4, 2001, 23:19
In a message dated 03.10.2001 08:24:29 PM, romilly@EGL.NET writes:

>Sanskrit (the literary language that has come down to us) probably stands >in the same relation (close but not direct ancestor) to the modern IE
>of India, which descend from spoken versions (the Prakrits; I may be >mistaken, but Pali may be a literary version of one of the Prakrits-- I >recall that Buddhist monks in Vietnam and Cambodia learned their scriptures >in Pali, and my impression was that it was still used in much the same >way Latin is used in the RC Church, so not totally "dead".)
Pali, one of the Prakits - vernacular offshoots of Sanskrit, is still used in Theravada Buddhist influenced countries (i.e. Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, etc.). The Pali Canon contains the original teachings of Buddha (i.e. the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path). The Theravada Buddhists - especially the modern/progressive Thais - make specialized scientific efforts & linguistic study of the oldest versions of the Pali Canon to determine what was really said (& done) by Buddha as opposed to all the commentaries & editorial accretions that have been added onto the original Canon. Other Buddhist sects have translated selected parts of the Pali Canon into their various native languages (i.e. Chinese, Tibetan & Japanese) and added much* onto the original texts (& teachings). * according to some Theravada Buddhists, way too much BTW Theravada Buddhists tend to refer to Gautama Buddha or Lord/Prince Buddha; other Buddhists tend to say "the Buddha." There is a crucial difference in Buddhism stemming from whether one believes that the historical Gautama Buddha was an enlightened teacher-saint or one of many countless Buddha-Incarnations. Languages like Bahasa Indonesian and Thai have a lot of Pali borrowings. IIRC, in Thailand there are contests to coin new scientific/technological words based on Pali - a seemingly popular effort to stem the invading tide of Greco-Latinized "techno-English." czHANg hopin' to find resources for Pali (in addition to the local Thai Buddhist temple)


Boudewijn Rempt <boud@...>