Monday, April 18, 2022

B.sujato translates 'metta' as 'love' . Weeding out some cognitive dissonance and fallacious counter arguments


Re: B.sujato translates 'metta' as 'love'. It's objectively and definitely wrong.

    Post by frank k »

    Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:02 am [frank's blog] reminds me of this passage from the Mahāsi Sayādaw's discourse on the Vammika Sutta. Although it is on the topic of metta, it is lacking in good-will. Translation is not an exact science, but an art.

    frank's response:

    How is it lacking in good will? There is a clear intention to bring public awareness to a wrong translation. That's good will motivated by a desire for public safety and civic responsibility to self-police each other. You could rightly criticize me for showing anger at Sujato's irresponsible and harmful translation, but that's a separate issue that has nothing to do with the merit of my argument. This is a huge problem most people have, with cognitive dissonance. They see something they don't like, for example, someone displaying anger at an injustice, and they dismiss the angry person's argument with the fallacious reasoning, "they're angry therefore I can't trust what they say." Meanwhile, they'll trust a two faced liar (I'm not accusing anyone in this thread of being a liar) who is skilled at publicly displaying an appearance of virtue, thinking, "They speak so gently, act so virtuous, their argument must be more trustworthy and correct than the angry person's argument."

    While I agree translation is an art and not an exact science, there are degrees of wrongness, and relative wrongness. Sujato is clearly and deeply embedded in the range of definitely wrong.

    He can't even use his own translation of metta as 'love' in MN 48! ... ta-as.html

    Because it would lead to monks who "consistently treats their spiritual companions with bodily LOVE, both in public and in private."

    If Sujato's translation was correct about metta as 'love', he should have no qualms about translating it consistently everywhere. In MN 48, he renders it as 'kindness', as he does probably in a number of other passages.

    Whereas if someone had translated metta correctly as 'friendliness', or 'benevolence', you could unilaterally plug that translation everywhere without leading to problems like above (MN 48 monks showing acts of bodily 'love' to each other in public or private).

    Again, just because translation is not an exact science doesn't mean there are no areas of "WRONG" we can clearly establish.

    The only acceptable situation for Sujato to translate metta as 'love', is in an informal, unrecorded Dharma talk to an audience that is culturally accustomed to having an ambiguous 'love' that has a spiritual context and a romantic context.

    Sujato's sutta translations, are for a global audience, for whom Christ's 'love' is only a minority of the global population. And even for a Christian religious text, they probably distinguish between agape, brotherly love, love and marriage, etc.

    Sujato's translation of metta as 'love' is objectively, definitely wrong in the context of his mission to translate the suttas for a global audience.

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