Felt-wearers

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Nicholas Weeks
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Felt-wearers

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri May 03, 2019 10:13 pm

In the new 84,000 translation of the Ratnamegha Sutra (495), after discussing wearing of the three robes & ascetic robes made of rags is this passage:
Noble son, bodhisattvas endowed with ten qualities are felt-wearers. What are
those ten? They are as follows. Felt-wearers are known as such because they are
not swayed by thoughts of desire. Neither are they swayed by thoughts of anger,
dullness, fury and ill will, envy and stinginess, pride, the wish for fame, the wish
for mundane attainments, nor the wish for wealth and honor. They do not pay
homage to the demons, and they do not become arrogant when pleased. Thus,
they are known as ‘felt-wearers.’ Noble son, bodhisattvas endowed with these
ten qualities are felt-wearers.
There is no note, nor is 'felt-wearer' in their Glossary. I am guessing it is some sort of attire for a lay person, but Felt?? What is that?
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha » Fri May 03, 2019 10:42 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felt

When i googled what felt was was surprised it could be made up of wool & other natural or unnatural materia (synthetic)l....yak wool was used in Tibet maybe they made felt from it & other materials (felt making is an ancient technique).....i also ran across this wonderful web sight during my search for this question of yours :

https://www.norlha.com/?ref=t_g_bs_1&gc ... cYQAvD_BwE


I have desires now to buy something from them !!!!


:heart:

shaunc
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by shaunc » Fri May 03, 2019 11:44 pm

As far as I know felt is usually made of rabbit fur, but I suppose other animal fur could be used as well.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri May 03, 2019 11:55 pm

Being in the language area of this site I was hoping someone could check the original Tibetan to find out what 'felt-wearer' translated.

But thanks for those who told me what the English word felt means.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 04, 2019 12:59 am

Could be wool or hair or wood fibers - not certain. I lean toward the last one as I recall reading about bark wearing practitioners.

Thanks to a PM for clues.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat May 04, 2019 8:54 am

shaunc wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:44 pm
As far as I know felt is usually made of rabbit fur, but I suppose other animal fur could be used as well.
Your Aussieness is showing, Shaun. :smile:
https://akubra.com.au/pages/how-akubra-makes-hats
HOW AN AKUBRA HAT IS MADE
STEP 1
First, the rabbit fur is blended together cleaned and then the hat manufacturing process can begin. ...
:reading:
Kim

Simon E.
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Simon E. » Sat May 04, 2019 9:41 am

In the UK at least, felt, which is still used to make hats and the green baize of snooker/billiard/pool tables, is made by macerating cotton rags and then subjecting them to pressure so that they form a coherent whole. Rather like making paper mache but with cloth.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

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shaunc
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by shaunc » Sat May 04, 2019 11:03 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:54 am
shaunc wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 11:44 pm
As far as I know felt is usually made of rabbit fur, but I suppose other animal fur could be used as well.
Your Aussieness is showing, Shaun. :smile:
https://akubra.com.au/pages/how-akubra-makes-hats
HOW AN AKUBRA HAT IS MADE
STEP 1
First, the rabbit fur is blended together cleaned and then the hat manufacturing process can begin. ...
:reading:
Kim
Not anymore Kim, like everything else they're made in China too, at least the felt anyway.

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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by pemachophel » Sat May 04, 2019 5:19 pm

Oh boy, this is one of those thorny translation problems. In my mind, there are a number of possibilities:

1. There was a typo in the Tibetan translation. This happens more commonly than many of us would suppose. Because Tibetan is essentially a mono- or di-syllabic language (I could argue this in either direction), there are many, many words that sound the same (homonyms) or are very close to each other. Since Tibetan spelling is very complicated, Tibetans often make mistakes. Then sometimes whole commentaries are written based on this typo. :emb:

2. The Tibetan translator mistranslated the Sanskrit term. Translators make mistakes all the time. Our English language Tibetan literature is rife with mistranslations.

3. If "felt" was actually correct in Sanskrit, then it may be a colloquialism or an allusion. In other words, the word may be "felt," but Sanskrit speakers of the day would have understood it to mean something else. Imagine translating "cat o' nine tails" into another language meaningfully, or even the words "cool" or "hip" when used colloquially for the last 70 years.

Personally, I wonder if the word was "felt." Felt is typically made in pastoral and nomadic cultures, not places like north central India 2,000+ years ago. (BTW, in my experience, felt in central Asia is generally made of wool -- sheep, goat, camel, yak.)

One possibility that comes to mind is that the term is correct and that it is some kind of allusive reference to "barbarians" who wear felt. But then the question remains, why would Bodhisatvas with 10 qualities be likened to barbarian felt-wearers?

Another related question one needs to ask and answer is what did Indians in north central India make their clothes from? I assume cotton, but I don't actually know. So did cotton grow there 2,000+? Did Indians use cotton for clothes? If not, then what did they use? Anyone actually know? So now we're talking about maybe getting an archeologist specializing in Indian 2000 years ago in on this discussion.

This is the kind of translation issue that absolutely requires a foot-note. At the very least, an honest translator will admit that, although these are the words that appear in the text, he/she has no idea what they mean.

This is also the kind of translation problem that requires a Buddhist Sanskritist. This is why translations like this are best done by a team: an expert in the departure language (in this case two: Sanskrit and Tibetan), an expert in the subject matter of the literature of the departure language, a translator who is a native-speaker of the arrival language (in this case English), an expert in the arrival language, an expert editor, and an expert proof-reader. It is rare to find all these skill-sets in a single person. In addition, it is important that the translator be well trained in the standard practices and procedures of professional translational, also very, very rare among our translators. The problem is that once a wrong translation gets published, especially on the Internet, it is almost impossible to correct that at a later date. The mistranslation becomes habit and eventually becomes the new, however erroneous, norm.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Oheso
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Oheso » Sat May 04, 2019 10:08 pm

felt primarily is made of wool. wool fibers will mechanically fuse on a molecular level when properly prepared. other fibers and fur can be mixed in but the wool fibers hold it together. Felt is non-woven and is the oldest fabric known, a poor man’s fabric.
upon investigation, the Buddha's enlightenment is all around. -Dogen Zenji

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat May 04, 2019 10:59 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:19 pm
Oh boy, this is one of those thorny translation problems. In my mind, there are a number of possibilities:

1. There was a typo in the Tibetan translation. This happens more commonly than many of us would suppose. Because Tibetan is essentially a mono- or di-syllabic language (I could argue this in either direction), there are many, many words that sound the same (homonyms) or are very close to each other. Since Tibetan spelling is very complicated, Tibetans often make mistakes. Then sometimes whole commentaries are written based on this typo. :emb:

2. The Tibetan translator mistranslated the Sanskrit term. Translators make mistakes all the time. Our English language Tibetan literature is rife with mistranslations.

3. If "felt" was actually correct in Sanskrit, then it may be a colloquialism or an allusion. In other words, the word may be "felt," but Sanskrit speakers of the day would have understood it to mean something else. Imagine translating "cat o' nine tails" into another language meaningfully, or even the words "cool" or "hip" when used colloquially for the last 70 years.

Personally, I wonder if the word was "felt." Felt is typically made in pastoral and nomadic cultures, not places like north central India 2,000+ years ago. (BTW, in my experience, felt in central Asia is generally made of wool -- sheep, goat, camel, yak.)

One possibility that comes to mind is that the term is correct and that it is some kind of allusive reference to "barbarians" who wear felt. But then the question remains, why would Bodhisatvas with 10 qualities be likened to barbarian felt-wearers?

Another related question one needs to ask and answer is what did Indians in north central India make their clothes from? I assume cotton, but I don't actually know. So did cotton grow there 2,000+? Did Indians use cotton for clothes? If not, then what did they use? Anyone actually know? So now we're talking about maybe getting an archeologist specializing in Indian 2000 years ago in on this discussion. ...
:good: but I would add
4. It may be a substitution by the Tibetan translator, who used a familiar local word for the name of a material used for robes in Tibet instead of an unfamiliar Sanskrit word which (he knew) meant a material used for robes in Northern India. In that case, it simply means "robe-wearer."

:namaste:
Kim

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Felt-wearers

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat May 04, 2019 11:17 pm

The context goes thru 3 robes of bhiksus, sramanas, felt-wearers and one other I forget... So 'felt-wearers' are in a distinct category regarding their costume, thus the Tibetan translator would not use a word that was commonly applied to monastics or wanderers etc.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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