Sanskrit Lexicon

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Sanskrit Lexicon

Post by LoveFromColorado » Sun May 26, 2019 7:52 pm

Hi all, I am reading Alan Watts' The Way of Zen, and he mentions at one point that the lexicon used for Sanskrit (in 1957) is by Bothlingk and Roth from the latter nineteenth century. I assume in this day and age more accurate and modern lexicons are now in use, correct?

Additionally, he mentions that the Upanishads are not characteristic of Buddhist scriptures in that they lack the repetitious and scholastic nature of other Buddhist scriptures during the period of 800 to 300 BCE. I am curious as to more modern thoughts on that as well.

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Re: Sanskrit Lexicon

Post by Wayfarer » Mon May 27, 2019 12:36 am

The Upanishads are not Buddhist scriptures - they're a part of the Hindu Vedas (although in some respects they form a core of teachings common to all the Indian traditions). Buddhism is a heterodox sect from the perspective of the Hindu tradition, because the Buddha does not recognise the divine inspiration of the Vedas. But I think there's a strong kind of dialectical influence of the Upanishads on Buddhist thought, because it was those teachings that the Buddha differentiated his own teaching from. So they're very different in key respects, but it might be said that they differ in regards to the shared ideal of 'liberation from the round of birth and death'.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Sanskrit Lexicon

Post by LoveFromColorado » Mon May 27, 2019 1:36 am

Great responses, thank you!
Intellectual sectarian scholars which rely only on empirical observation and divisive facts are so boring.....
I fear I may have asked the latter of the two questions out of context. Watts was a Taoist/Zen Buddhist (I'm not really sure which and I don't think he would draw a distinction). This particular book is an explanation of Zen Buddhism, and he is drawing out the origins of Taoism and Buddhism in the chapters I am currently on. In Watts' opinion, Taoism was present likely prior to Confucianism and was a strong influence on Chan Buddhism which became Zen Buddhism (or from what I understand). Thus, he is not trying to draw division. He also echoes the above responses in that in the day of Gautama Buddha there was no such thing as Hinduism or Buddhism.

In this portion of the book, he is discussing the discrepancy between the "Southern" (Theravada) and "Northern" (Sanskrit-Tibetan-Chinese Mahayana) schools, and, although the Pali Canon is considered to be older, he writes:
...the literary form of the Pali Canon does not suggest that it represents the actual words of Gautama the Buddha. If the Upanishads are characteristic of the style of discourse of an Indian teacher between 800 and 300 B.C., they bear little resemblance to the tediously repetitious and scholastic style of most Buddhist scriptures. There can be little doubt that the greater part of both Buddhist Canons is the work of the pandits of the Sangha... for it shows every sign of being the reverential elaboration of an original doctrine. As with Russian icons, the original painting has been almost lost to sight in the overlay of jewels and gold.
He is not dismissing the Pali Canon here - he is just showing the difficulties of describing early Buddhist thoughts in a scholastic manner. He also offers the suggestion that:
There is, however, enough reliable information to suggest the grand and beautifully ordered form of Upanishadic Hinduism if we do not read it with our noses against the page.
The spirit of the book offers the same "forest from the trees" approach when it comes to Buddhist writings.
So they're very different in key respects, but it might be said that they differ in regards to the shared ideal of 'liberation from the round of birth and death'.
I 100% agree - that said, the understanding of Buddhist emptiness set in context of the broader "Hindu" understanding of non-duality is helpful in this book to see things from a different angle, so to speak.

My second question above is to know if this is a (relatively) agreed upon point in regards to the Pali Canon.

All that said, my main question was my first - I assume there are more modern Sanskrit lexicons but wanted to confirm.

All of this is not to get too heady about the matter but instead just as a point of interest to me given that this book was written in 1957.

Thanks again!!

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Re: Sanskrit Lexicon

Post by Aemilius » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:31 am

There is the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon which is well known, it is vast, it contains the old material from the sanskrit lexicons produced in 1800's, that are still held in high esteem.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Sanskrit Lexicon

Post by WesleyP » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:56 am


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