I have a problem with that -in my feeling- contradictory translations of a remark in MN26. While K.E.Neumann uses an expression like "(...) not even Alaro Kalamo has (...), but I have (...) " Kay Zumwinkel translates: " not only Alaro Kalamo has (...), but also I have (...)"
The Zumwinkel's version is also compatible with the english version by Thanissaro Bhikku at AtI.org (still the focus of the sentence is a bit shifted). But the two other versions suggest that Neumann has an error here.
But of what type is the error with respect to the original? Is the expression in the original ambiguous (look at the additional tiny discrepancy between Zuminkel and Thanissaro)? Or is there some other reason why Neumann could possibly have made that translation which could be a bit more sensical than a simple error?

Palikanon.com, MN26, K. E. Neumann

Da kam mir, ihr Mönche, der Gedanke: 'Nicht einmal Alaro Kalamo hat Zuversicht, ich aber habe Zuversicht; nicht einmal Alaro Kalamo hat Standhaftigkeit, ich aber habe Standhaftigkeit; nicht einmal Alaro Kalamo hat Einsicht, ich aber habe Einsicht; nicht einmal Alaro Kalamo hat Selbstvertiefung, ich aber habe Selbstvertiefung; nicht einmal Alaro Kalamo hat Weisheit, ich aber habe Weisheit.

"(...) not even Alaro Kalamo has faith/conviction, but I have; not even Alaro Kalamo has persistence, but I have (...)"

Palikanon.com, MN26, Kay Zumwinkel

"Ich erwog: 'Nicht nur Āḷāra Kālāma hat Vertrauen, Energie, Achtsamkeit, Konzentration und Weisheit. Auch ich habe Vertrauen, Energie, Achtsamkeit, Konzentration und Weisheit.

"(...) not only Alaro Kalamo has faith/conviction, persistence, mindfulness... Also I have faith/conviction, persistence, mindfulness... (...)"

Access to Insight, MN 26, Thanissaro Bhikku

"I thought: 'Not only does Alara Kalama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment.(...)

Palikanon.com, MN26, Pali
(I hope I managed to extract the correct, relevant record below.... )

Tassa mayhaṃ, bhikkhave, etadahosi –
‘na kho āḷārasseva kālāmassa atthi saddhā, mayhaṃpatthi saddhā;
na kho āḷārasseva kālāmassa atthi vīriyaṃ, mayhaṃpatthi vīriyaṃ;
na kho āḷārasseva kālāmassa atthi sati, mayhaṃpatthi sati;
na kho āḷārasseva kālāmassa atthi samādhi, mayhaṃpatthi samādhi;
na kho āḷārasseva kālāmassa atthi paññā, mayhaṃpatthi paññā.

(If in fact that is the relevant Pali-expression, then at least the form <something> kalama, <something> me seems to be preserved by the translation of K.E. Neumann as far as I can regognize the pattern of sentences)


Either is technically possible, I think, but only one makes sense in the context. Here eva in āḷārasseva means "only", not "even", since we know that āḷāra indeed has faith, etc., according to the passage prior to this:

tassa mayhaṃ, bhikkhave, etadahosi — ‘na kho āḷāro kālāmo imaṃ dhammaṃ kevalaṃ saddhāmattakena sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharāmīti pavedeti; addhā āḷāro kālāmo imaṃ dhammaṃ jānaṃ passaṃ viharatī’ti.

"At that, monks, it came to me thus: 'not indeed by faith alone does āḷāra kālāma declare this dhamma in its entirety thus: "having known for myself with higher knowledge I dwell having attained it". Indeed, āḷāra kālāma dwells having known and seen this dhamma."

So the context implies that indeed he does have the faith, etc., he's just not alone in having that faith, etc..

Also, if it was going to be "but I have faith...", we would expect mayhaṃ pana rather than mayhaṃpi (mayhaṃpatthi = mayhaṃ+pi+atthi), since pi generally means "and, also", and not usually "but".

  • Thanks for working that out! It still left me a bit puzzled; with K.E. Neumann not being squarely wrong I try to find an intuition, why he might have put the former seeker Siddharta in such a bold position. For me, reading the Palicanon suttas, it is also important to "taste" the occuring personality of the Buddha (which helps for instance in sorting out apocryphas which paint out a completely different person than that in the suttas) - and even if Neumann's bold ascetic here could be realistic: is it likely? ... Hmm, too little info, I think I'd postpone this for another time... – Gottfried Helms Mar 11 '15 at 10:33
  • ... and better assume your interpretation as the best one for the time being. – Gottfried Helms Mar 11 '15 at 10:34

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