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Thread: Help with understanding meanings or words in Sutta

  1. #1
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    Help with understanding meanings or words in Sutta

    Hello, I am currently reading Nakulapita Sutta, link here - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....001.than.html

    My question is what is the true meaning of this -
    "How could it be otherwise, lord? I have just now been sprinkled by the Blessed One with the deathless ambrosia of a Dhamma talk."
    and in particular
    Deathless Ambrosia
    .

    All help much respected.

  2. #2
    Hi John,

    Sometimes we need to do a little research with individual suttas and its a good idea to see if there are any other translations available anywhere, and then compare them.

    Sutta Central is a newer site than Access to Insight. https://suttacentral.net/

    Here's an alternative translation from Sutta Central:

    https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.1

    In this translation it says :

    "Just now I was anointed by the Blessed One with the ambrosia of a Dhamma talk.”
    "Anointed" is used rather than "sprinkled" and "deathless" is missed out altogether.

    "The deathless" used in the other translation, is an expression which is sometimes used to mean "Nibanna" - and I think that sentence is probably just a flowery way of saying that the Buddha gave a very special Dhamma talk.




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    Thanks Aloka, I was pondering Ambrosia being a Greek expression?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by slowjohn View Post
    I was pondering Ambrosia being a Greek expression?
    I don't think the fact that 'ambrosia' is a Greek word has any significance. We have words we use in the English language which are from a variety of different origins.

    Its probably the nearest the translators could get to a Pali word which seemed similar to the meaning of ambrosia or 'giving of the divine,' - which is why I said that it was probably a flowery way of saying that the Buddha was giving a very special Dhamma talk. ( leading to Nibanna/the cessation of dukkha.)



  5. #5
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    Don't you just love the classical background of many scholars, used to blame victorian translators but that is no longer the case

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by McKmike View Post
    Don't you just love the classical background of many scholars, used to blame victorian translators but that is no longer the case
    That might possibly be an ongoing problem as time goes by and our use of language changes.

    Sometimes with a translator like Thanissaro Bhikkhu though, the results can be a little odd, which is why its a good idea to look at the alternatives, if there are any!

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