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The Way to the Beyond
An English translation of one of the earliest sections of the Buddha’s teaching in this discussion with sixteen brahmin meditation masters (with an embedded reading of the text).
a translation of Pārāyanavagga (Sn 5) by
(original translation 1999, revised, May 2007)
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I first completed this translation of Pārāyanavagga around 1999, and as this text was one of the works that first inspired me to study the Pāḷi language, it was also one of the first translations I worked on. Since that time, naturally enough, my ideas about translation have changed somewhat and I have now revised this work in line with my current thinking.
The main changes have entailed something of a simplification in the presentation on the one hand, and an attempt to be more fluent on the other. The simplification has meant dropping the so-called recitor’s remarks, and indicating the speaker by typographical conventions instead. Also in this revised version I have been less literal in the translation, and hopefully this makes the text easier to read.
I have also had a reading of the text in mind during the revision, and indeed I have read it over and over out loud to make sure the rhythms scan well. I originally made the translation into eight-syllabic lines, but later I made so many changes to vocabulary and so on that the metre was lost. Here I have been less strict about the syllablic count, and more intent on the inherent rhythm.
In making this revised translation I have preferred not to burden the text with notes, though it was tempting to explain many things that may seem obscure at first sight. However, I feel that many times these days the original words of the text are almost lost beneath the weight of the notes and explanations, and it may sometimes be better for the student to stop and think about the meaning for themselves rather than be given a pat answer.
For those who need help in reading the original text I would refer them to Pārāyanavagga in the Texts and Translations section of this website; those interested in how the text was established can see my original study of the Pārāyanavagga, A New Edition in the Prosody section, which also examines the metrical form in depth.
last updated: May 2007