Ksanti / khanti

ksanti
The illustration given has the Sanskrit word ksanti in classical Chinese script. Chinese Buddhism knows three forms of ksanti: ksanti that endures hatred, ksanti that endures physical hardship, and ksanti in pursuit of the Buddhist goal. We find this threefold ksanti in Soothill and Hodous’ “Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms” and they, as other Western translators, give “pursuing the Buddhist goal” as “pursuing the religious goal”. That’s how they were raised; beside religion you had the void.

Tolerance, says a 20th/21rst Cent. Indian writer, ought to be understood in its Latin form as tolerating the unavoidable, tolerating the perhaps even unwanted other.
Of course we find the word tolerance in health and medical circles as tolerance or intolerance to this or that medicine. In that case a purely physical process is meant, not a moral appreciation of the to be tolerated.

All three dictionaries, Soothill and Hodous (Chinese), Monier-Williams (classical Sanskrit), and Pāli Text Society (Pāli) mention the word “tolerance” when describing or translating the word ksanti (Sanskrit) or khanti (Pāli) — among other possible translations, that is.

The word tolerance however, does not apply. “Patient endurance” is a more common translation of ksanti/khanti but even this is not entirely satisfactory.

It is in Franklin Edgerton’s dictionary “Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit” that we find a fully satisfactory translation by the hand of the late Louis Finot, chronicler of the Societé Asiatique. Finot cites the Rāstrapālapariprcchā (RP 34,13-14) when giving the

“nāham … tesām … ānulomikām api ksāntim vadāmi, kutah punar buddhajnānam” as “I do not attribute to them even the intellectual receptivity that conforms (to continued religious development), still less Buddha-knowledge.”

In other words “patient endurance” is a satisfactory translation of the word ksanti/khanti, “receptivity” is even better. It presupposes a hearer who is prepared to listen with an open mind without preconceptions; i.e. s/he is receptive.
Even E. Buswell Jr. (trained in Korean Buddhism) and D.S. Lopez (trained in Himalayan philosophy) received ksanti from their masters as “Not to be overwhelmed by the profound nature of reality but instead to be receptive or acquiescent to it.”
Therefore, Mahāhāyanism throughout the Indian, Himalayan and Korean lands seems to be of the same opinion when it comes to the intrinsic meaning of ksanti. Moreover, they do not disagree with the Theravādan khanti as “patient endurance”.

Hinduïsm, that is, modern Hinduïsm sees (Skr.) ksanti in the yogic-meditative practice as the ability to abstraction.

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