Every day for at least a half hour or so I try to do some Pali translations as part of my learning. Today I was doing a fairly simple translation and figured I’d share some of the process, for those who are interested in Pali.
So I currently finished up translating the Definition for the first Noble Truth..Dukkha, or Suffering/stress/dissatisfaction, however you wish to translate it, I prefer to leave it as it is:
And what, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of Dukkha? Birth is Dukkha, Old Age is Dukkha, Death is Dukkha. Sorrow, Lamentation,Pain,Distress,and Tribulation are Dukkha. Union with the disagreeable is Dukkha, Separation from the beloved is Dukkha. Not to obtain what one desires is Dukkha. In Brief, the Five Aggregates Subject to Clinging, are Dukkha.
Now the method. Top Layer Pali, Second Layer direct definition, bottom layer my translation:
Katamañ ca bhikkhave dukkhaṃ ariya‧saccaṃ?
And what, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of Dukkha?
Jāti pi dukkhā, jarā pi dukkhā, maraṇam pi dukkhaṃ,
(birth) (also/and also/even so) (dukkha) (old age) (death)
Birth is Dukkha, Old Age is Dukkha, Death is Dukkha
soka‧parideva‧dukkha‧domanass’upāyāsā pi dukkhā,
Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Distress, and Tribulation are Dukkha
appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho,
Union with the disagreeable is dukkha, Separation from the beloved is Dukkha
yaṃ p’icchaṃ na labhati tam pi dukkhaṃ,
(which/whatever)( wishes/desires) (no/t)(that)(get/obtain)
Not to obtain what one desires is suffering.
saṅkhittena pañc’upādānakkhandhā pi dukkhā.
(brief)(five aggregates subject to clinging)
In Brief, the Five Aggregates Subject to Clinging, are Suffering.
Thanks for these. Can you say what sources you are using to do the actual translation? A English-Pali – Pali-English dictionary? I’d like to be able to do some translating on my own.
Thank you, John –
best source ever is digital pali reader, its an all in one right in your browser, youll find it if you google “digital pali reader”