Prajna Vihara: Vol. 21, No. 2 (July - December 2020)

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    Some Wittgensteinian reflections on translation practice in a Chinese context
    (Assumption University Press, 2020) Fayang, Huang ; Clark, Michael
    The global integration of economic, social and cultural activities has pushed the importance of translation to a new level. With the sheer volume of translation, and the increased demand for near instantaneous translation, there is a growing reliance on technological systems. This paper begins from the assumption that an examination of the conceptual foundations of translation is needed to understand the growing reliance on technological systems. The philosophy of language in later Wittgenstein provides a rich resource for reconsidering current translation theories and practice, especially his ideas concerning “language games” and his theory of meaning. This paper discusses translation from a Wittgensteinian perspective and urges caution against over-reliance on technological systems.
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    Overcoming the passions in Spinoza: a Buddhist reading
    (Assumption University Press, 2020) Vinayaparla, U. ; Giordano, John
    Spinoza’s philosophy and Buddhism have often been compared based upon their tendencies towards seeing the world as a single order and moving beyond our passions and desires. But the comparison of these philosophies also creates interesting problems. One problem is the way we relate to this order itself. In Spinoza we achieve enlightenment when we recognize that we are a part of a single substance which has its own order and necessity. This leads us to transcend the bondage of our passions through reason. And when we reach the highest level of the intellectual love of God, we show kindness on all beings still trapped in this bondage. Buddhist enlightenment is the recognition of the dependent origination of all things. It is a larger order of causality which we are a part. We suffer within this order through our attachments so our goal is to eliminate our attachments. When we see the world in this way, we do not judge through the categories of good and evil and we show compassion to all living creatures still in the state of ignorance. So there are obvious similarities. But a major difference in these two approaches is differing ways they regard the order itself. Spinoza focuses on the love of this order – intellectual love of God – which leads him affirm non-judgment and kindness. And Buddhism focuses on the non-attachment to this order which leads to compassion. Comparing and contrasting these two philosophies is valuable because it allows a deeper understanding of the Buddhist role of compassion as a special kind of (non-passive) passion which breaks the suffering of others. It also clarifies elements of Spinoza’s philosophy which are not easily understood, for instance, his claim that pity as a useless emotion.
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    Understanding Mehm Tin Mon's interpretation of alobha (non-greed) and the practice of generosity
    (Assumption University Press, 2020) Kuvera ; Kajornpat Tangyin
    A great scholar of the Abhidhamma in Myanmar, Mehm Tin Mon interpreted alobha as a mental state. He considered non-attachment to sense-objects and greedlessness as the chief characteristics of alobha. To put alobha into practice he recommended generosity, morality called abstinence from sensual objects and non-covetousness, meditation called tranquility meditation and insight meditation. They are generally practices to reduce and remove greed. He explains how to practice these techniques in connection with contemporary social development. Yet his interpretations of the stages of Buddhist social development are respectively criticized by some Buddhists scholars. This paper intends to provide an understanding of his interpretations of alobhaand its relevance for the contemporary times.