Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Introduction to Pabbajjavinicchaya (5)

General survey upon Pabbajja vinicchayakathæ
The explanation of pabbajja is available at diverse of canonical texts and commentarial treatises, such as mahavagga pali (p- 20), vinaya sangaha(p-133), vinayæla³kara ¥økæ,vol.1 (p-229),mahævagga a¥¥hakathæ (p-247), Sarattha døpani ¥økæ, vol. 3 (p-201) ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ  (-p104), vajørabuddhi ¥økæ (p, 407) vinayavinodanø ¥økæ, vol.2 (p-93),  vinaya vinicchaya ¥økæ, vol.2 (129), pæcityædiyojanæ pæ¹i, ( p-204), viyana vinicchaya uttara vinicchaya (p-235).
Although these explanations are described in different books, each of these explanations can be summarised just into three main parts: perfection of novice-hood, perfection of monkhood and the rules and regulations of them.
In connection with becoming a novice, the following components must be included:
1.shaving off the postulant’s hair and beard.
2.dressing in robes putting the upper robe on one shoulder.
3.taking refuge in the Budhha, Dhamma and Saµgha by reciting clearly from the preceptor (Vinaya mahævaggapæ¹i, p-115: the Buddha and his disciples, p-105).
In this account, a problematic issue is the robe-wearing style. It is mentioned in the text “dressing in robes putting the upper robe on one shoulder”. The ambiguity as to whether the upper robe should be put on the right shoulder or left shoulder allowed a slight controversial issue. In practice, all the monks and novices are putting it on left shoulder keeping the right shoulder open. Some say “most people are right-handed; the convenience is to use right hand for making an action while wearing the robe; therefore the one shoulder refers to the left shoulder”.
Regarding the monks-to-be, the followings are required:
1.the perfection of postulant
2. the perfection of motion
3.the perfection of pronouncement
4.the  perfection of Sømæ (jurisdiction)
5.the  perfection of Sa¼gha audiences (Ka³khævitara¼øa¥¥hakathæ, p-104).   
Among them, the author emphasizes aspects of the perfection of the postulant in this section, such as the postulant is required to be free from several diseases, deformed body, governmental duty, slavery, theft, debt, etc. and also the postulant must not be a eunuch, a monk by theft, a believer of other religion, an animal,  a mother-killer, a father-killer, an arahat-killer, one who bleeds the Buddha, one who makes schism of Saµgha, one who seduces a bhikkhunø and one who has both sexes. The qualification of a postulant is rather crucial than the other facts. Other important issue is becoming a monk by theft. It distinguishes three kinds of theft: theft of appearance (putting on robes oneself without the authorization of the Saµgha), theft of seniority (claiming rights of novicehood or monkhood, such as seniority, participating in Saµgha performances, having meal together, etc.), and theft of both. If the postulant entered the Order involving one of the thefts, he could not be a real monk. Therefore the novice who desires for becoming a monk generally disrobes (Shin lain pyan tal), then receives lower ordination again before receiving higher ordination lest he would be one of the three thefts unintentionally in his novice life.
The Pabbajjavinicchayakathæ offers many pieces of information about the means and ways of becoming a novice and monk as mentioned above.

The sources of pæ¹i cannon (texts)
- Cþ¹avagga pæ¹i, 3rd Ed (1999) Yangon: Win Light Mate Press House
- Mahævagga (Vinaya) pæ¹i, 5th Ed (1991)   Yangon: Religious Affairs House
- Pariværa pæ¹i, 8th Ed (1997) Yangon: Religious Affairs Press House

The sources of A¥¥hakathæ (commentaries)
- Mahæbuddhaghosa, Bhaddanta (1986) Cþ¹avaggædi A¥¥hakathæ, Yangon: Religious
Affairs Press House
- Mahæbuddhaghosa, Bhaddanta (1986) Ka³khævira¼ø a¥¥hakathæ, Yangon: Religious
Affairs Press House
- Mahæbuddhaghosa, Bhaddanta (1986) Pæcityædi  A¥¥hakathæ,   Yangon: Religious 
            Affair Press House,
-Særiputta thera (1991) Vinaya sa³gaha a¥¥hakathæ, Yangon: Religious Affair Press

The sources of ¿økæ (Sub-commentaries) and Ganthantara (treatises)
-Co¹iyakassapathera, Bhaddanta (1960) Vimativinodanø ¥økæ,Vol 2, Yangon: Religious
            Affairs Press House,
-Dhammasiri mahæthera and Mahæsæmi mahæthera (1962) Khuddasikkhæ Mþlasikkhæ 
 ¥økæ, Yangon: Religious Affair Press House
- Taungphila, Sayadaw (1962) Vinayæla³kæra ¥økæ,Vol 1, Yangon: Religious Affairs
            Press House
- Særiputtathera, Bhaddanta (1977) Vinayavinicchaya ¥økæ, Vol 2, Yangon: Religious
            Affairs Press House

General sources
- I.B. Horner (1942a) The book of the discipline, Vol 4, London: Humphrey milford
            oxford University  Press Amen House
-- I.B. Horner (1942b) The book of the discipline, Vol 5, London: Humphrey milford
oxford University  Press Amen House
-Kanai Lah. Hazre (1998) Pæ¹i language and literature, vol 1 and 2, 2nd edition,
New Delhi: D.K Printworld
-Martin Perenchio and group (1993) Guide to the Tipi¥aka, Bangkok:
White lotus Co.Ltd.
-Oskar V. Hinuber (1996) A handbook of Pæ¹i literature, Berlin; New York:
De Gruyter.
-Rewata Dhamma (2001) The Buddha and his Disciples, United Kingdom:
Dhamma Talaka Publication.
-Sayagyi Goenka (1999) Cha¥¥hasa³gæyanæ CD (version 3) [it embodies all canonical
            texts, commentaries, sub-commentaries and other treatises], India: Vipassanæ
            research institute
-Spiro, M. E (1982) Buddhism and Society, Los Angeles: University of California
--Somdet Phra Mahæ (1973a) The Entrance to the Vinaya, Vol 2, Bangkok: Sama¼a
            Choa Mahæmakut Ræjavidyælaya Press
-Somdet Phra Mahæ (1973b) The Entrance to the Vinaya, Vol 3, Bangkok: Sama¼a
            Choa Mahæmakut Ræjavidyælaya Press
-Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1994) The Buddhist Monastic Code, vol 1, U.S.A: Valley
            Centre (free distribution)  
-Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2007) The Buddhist Monastic Code, vol 2, U.S.A: Valley
            centre (free distribution), 
-T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg, part 1 (1881), Vinaya texts, Delhi:
            Motilal Banarsidass

Burmese sources
- Janakæbhivaµsa Ashin (1959) Ka³khæbhæsæ¥økæ, vol.1, Amarapura: New Burma
            Offset Press  
- Janakæbhivaµsa, Ashin (1959) Ka³khæbhæsæ¥økæ, vol.2,  Amarapura: New Burma
            Offset Press
- Janakæbhivaµsa, Ashin (1973) Pariværabhæsæ¥økæ, Amarapura: New Burma Offset
- Janakæbhivaµsa, Ashin (1938) Pætimok bhæsæ¥økæ, Amarapura: New Burma Offset
- Janakæbhivaµsa, Ashin (1966) Mahævaggabhæsæ¥økæ, Amarapura: New Burma
            Offset Press
-Taungbilar Sayadaw (1986) Yasavaððhanavatthu, Yangon: Religious Affair Press

Introduction to Pabbajjavinicchaya (4)

The reason for this translation
There is scarcity of translation about Vinaya commentary and sub-commentary into English.   The book Guide to the Tipi¥aka (pp-5-12) shows just guidelines of Vinaya pi¥aka. The book An introduction to Buddhism (pp- 217-240) gives some of the Buddhist practices in article style. The book Theravada Buddhism (pp- 89-115) describes a critical study of vinaya rules and practices. The book Buddhism and society (pp-279-421) approaches the Monastism in anthropology style. The book A handbook of Pæ¹i literature (pp-7-23) states a detailed survey of Suttavibha³ga (rules), Khandhakas (divisions), Pariværa (appendices to Vinaya) and the lists of commentaries and sub-commentaries with short explanations. The books Vinaya texts translated by T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg, part 1 (1881), part 2 (1882) and part 3 (1885) express the rules of monks and bhikkhunøs without background stories, and Khandhakas and Pariværa. The books Book of the discipline translated by I.B. Horner, Vol. 1 (1938), Vol. 2 (1940), Vol. 3 (1942), Vol. 4 (1962), Vol. 5 (1963) and Vol. 6 (1966) describe all the Vinaya texts, but not commentaries and sub-commentaries. Due to scarcity of the translation of vinaya commentaries and sub-commentaries, the thought occurred to my mind to translate some parts of vinaya commentary or sub-commentary. Therefore I did this translation.
However, this is a translation of a part of sub-commentary. Neither commentary nor sub-commentary can stand alone without the original canonical texts. All of them are interrelated each other.  One can only understand the meaning of the sub-commentary when reading it alongside the commentary and root text. 

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Introduction to Pabbajjavinicchaya (3)

The feature of pæ¹i construction
            The creation of a translation or English version of a Pali text entails a scholarly attempt to render the stories, situation and thoughts of people from ancient cultures who spoke ancient languages into a modern language that is spoken by people who live in very different, contemporary cultures. The Pæ¹i language is believed to be spoken language of the Buddha and formulated to record the Buddha’s teaching. A translation is an art rather than a precise science. The analysis of words, grammatical constructions, contexts, and other factors in translation is seldom straightforward, always requiring intellectual agility and sensitivity. Some words have a very limited range of function or meaning in a language, but most words have a wide range of meaning. Furthermore, the function of many words changes when they are combined in phrases with other words or when used to serve particular functions. For example, the word pa¥a³gama¼ðþka (Vinayæla³kæra¥økæ, vol. 1, p-236) is a combination of two words pa¥a³ga and ma¼ðþka. Pa¥a³ga means a grasshopper and ma¼ðþka means a frog. When the two words are combined together, the meaning of pa¥a³ga changes into a supporting word for ma¼ðþka; the meaning of pa¥a³gama¼ðþka is a frog whose mouth is wider.
            On the other hand, a word or phrase has a range of possible meaning according to context. For instance, the word gøvæ (Ibid, 232) can be rendered into two types of meanings: neck and debt. The majority of Pæ¹i learners have familiarity with the former one only, not the latter. In this context of disciplinary rule connected with debt, the latter meaning is, however, to be taken. Herein the word gøvæ (debt to be owed) and bha¼ðaggha (debt to be owed) has their own separate senses (Ibid). For example, a monk borrowed #100 (money) from one of his friend; then he has to owe #100 (money) to him; that is the sense of gøvæ. Nevertheless, a monk borrowed #100 (money) from one of his friends; then he has to owe something, such as, robes, books, etc, equivalent to #100 (not money) to him; that is the sense of bha¼ðaggha.
         Different interpreters are going to arrive at differing interpretations of the same texts. Such different views of different interpreters are known as samænavæda (view of similarity or agreeable view), kecivæda (view of some scholar), ekevæda (view of the one), aññevæda (view of other) and aparevæda (view of the some other) [Sølakkhandhavagga abhinava¥økæ, vol, 1, p-299]. Furthermore, the authors of commentaries or sub-commentaries occasionally describe their preferences on the work of writing. For instances, when the authors intend to emphasize their strong opinion, they generally describe the words: amhækaµ khanti (our view) [Ibid, 231], amhækaµ mati (our inference) and amhækaµ ruci (our preference). Moreover, in connection with quotations or references, the commentators including Buddhaghosa mainly refer to the old commentaries in Sinhalese language such as, Mahæa¥¥hakathæ, Mahæpaccarøa¥¥hakathæ and Kurundø a¥¥hakathæ.
         Each and every canonical text of Vinaya and Suttanta basket has its own genre feature or textual style at the commencement of first paragraph: all the Vinaya texts except Pariværa are always commenced with tena samayena buddho bhagavæ.. [while the Buddha was residing at..], while Suttanta texts are commenced with Evaµ me sutaµ.[thus have I heard]. Unlike canonical texts, all the commentaries and sub-commentaries of three baskets open by and large their writings with several verses by paying homage to the Buddha, Dhamma and Saµgha believing that by doing so, their pieces of writings would be successful smoothly and conveniently without any disturbances. In the conclusion of their writings, they compose normally quite a few verses in order to express the year of their works completed and aspiration for something depending on particular persons such as aspiration for deity, human or Budhha in the future existence (Vinayæla³kæra¥økæ,vol, 2,  p-434).
However, nowadays, the formal style of religious books and any other religious publications begin with Namotassa bhagavato arahato sammæsambuddhassa [I pay homage to the blessed one, exalted one and self-enlightened one] at top of the first page apart from the paragraph. This tradition has affiliated into the religious rites and rituals. In Myanmar every religious ceremony is always opened by reciting Namotassa bhagavato arahato sammæsambuddhassa three times. Even this tradition is habitually practiced by monks and novices who learn by heart the Pi¥aka literature with regular recitation of Namotassa bhagavato arahato sammæsambuddhassa before memorizing.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Introduction to Pabbajjavinicchaya (2)

A glance at the author and the meaning of Pabbajja
The word pabbajja, literally meaning ‘to go forth [from society] is the term for the process or ritual of renunciation. According to pæcityædiyojanæpæ¹i, there are four types of such renunciation, namely that of the sage (Tæsapa pabbajja), of the hermit (Isi pabbajja), of the novice (Sæme¼era pabbajja) and of the monk (Upasampada pabbajja) [Pæcityadiyojanæ, 206]. The last two are the ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ ordination for Buddhist monks and so are the only two described in the Pabbajjaviniccayakathæ.
However, the word pabbajja should be understood as it has two possible meanings: lower ordination (novice) and higher ordination (monk) [Vinayæla³kæra ¥økæ, vol, 1, p-239]. Initially, according to the evidence of the Pali canon, there was no separation between lower and higher ordination. Thus in case of the ordination of Yasa, a rich man who saw the sensual pleasures as disgusted elements and went to the deer park, finally met the Buddha, the word pabbajja referred to the state of being a fully ordained as a monk (Vinayamahævagga pæ¹i, p-21), while in the story of the ordination of Ræhulæ, the biological son of the Buddha who was born before he left the palace, it refers to the state of being a novice (Ibid, p-115). Rahula’s ordination is the model for childhood ordination, and pabbajja in contrast to upasampada refers to the novice ordination possible from childhood, while upasampada comes to refer to the higher ordination only possible for adults from the 20th year of their life (Pæcittiya pæ¹i, p-168).
Sometimes both words pabbajja and upasampada come together in the texts: pabbæjesuµ (to go forth) and upasampædisuµ (to ordain) [Vinayamahævagga pæ¹i,  p-100). In this regard, the former refers to the novice, and the latter to the monk. This theory is put into practice in every ordination ceremony: the postulant (monk-to-be) is required to go forth (lower ordination) at first, only then can he enter the state of monkhood. Regarding to this interpretation, Burmese scholar monks normally interpret the word pabbajja as the state of being a novice (Shin) and monk (Yahan). The word pabbajja is, which initially interpreted for both monk and novice ordination, gradually interpreted only to the novice ordination. In the practical way of performance in modern time, pabbajja is used just for the novice-ordination ceremony while the word upasamapa is for the monk in the monk-ordination ceremony. We can understand this from the culture of inviting people to join the ordination ceremony practised by the Burmese religious people. The following expressions can be seen in the invitation letter-- pabbajja ma³galæ( the auspicious ceremony of lower ordination [shinphu pwe]); upasampada ma³galæ( the auspicious ceremony of higher ordination [yahann khan pwe]) and punopasampadæ ma³galæ (the auspicious ceremony of higher re-ordination[thein htat pwe]). Even though the word ‘punopasampadæ’ (re-ordination), is correctly interpreted as re-ordination, this word ‘punopasampadæ’ does not find in the section of pabbajjakathæ in mahævagga. There is no recommendation of re-ordination to the same monk who has already been ordained either. Therefore, the concept of re-ordination is performed just for accumulation of merits for the Buddhist believers, especially in Burmese tradition.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Introduction to Pabbajjavinicchaya (1)

The exposition:
The decision on the state of being ordained
In this introduction I would like to discuss on the subject matter of definition of pabbajja (ordination) and the current practice that is relevant to the understanding of an ordination. I will also include the feature of pæli construction and its difficulty involved in the translation.
 I have translated the pabbajjavinicchayakathæ (the exposition of disciplinary decision upon Ordination) from vinayæla³kæra tikæ into English. This vinayæla³kæra tikæ was written by Taungphilar Sayædaw, a learned Burmese monk, at the request of the monks who were living around Taungphilar hill, Sagaing Division, Myanmar. His sub-commentary was to be based upon commentarial source of vinayasa³gaha a¥¥hakathæ written by Særiputtathera, a commentary to the vinaya canon. This vinayasa³gaha commentary is however different from samantapæsædika, the oldest commentary to the vinaya canon composed by the Buddhaghosa around fifth century. The vinayasa³gahaa¥¥hakathæ different from the samantapæsædika is that it is only dedicated on the monastic procedures and activities of the monks. According to the information reported in vinayasa³gaha a¥¥hakathæ, the date of composition is considered to be around 1153-1186. There are 34 sections in the vinayæla³kæra sub-commentary which are dealt with the different aspect of monastic procedures and activities, and the Pabbajjaviniccayakathæ [the exposition of disciplinary decision upon Ordination] is included as the 22nd section. The author, Taungphilar Sayādaw, also known as tipi¥akæla³kæra sayædaw, willingly devoted his life to the progress of Buddhism and the welfare and happiness of the others all over the land. He was well versed in Tipi¥aka, astrology, etc, and completed his work of writing this sub-commentary by 1647 AD (Vinayæla³kæra¥økæ, vol, 2, p-432). Pabbajjaviniccayakathæ in Vinayæla³kæra ¥økæ contains 37 pages [page number 229 to 266].  I, however, could have it done only 11 pages [page number 229 to 240] due to word limitation in this field.