Discourse Scholarship

Dharma PhD (the podcast) Episode 2!

Dharma PhD podcast Episode 2, hit the airwaves this morning. Yay! Come and have a listen while Co-host and I figure out this podcasting thing over chats about John Peacock’s dharma talk, “Buddhism Before the Theravada, Part 1”.

If you’d like to explore further, I’ve transcribed Peacock’s talk here, and I wrote an in-depth commentary on the talk over here. If you have any feedback or comments, I’d love to hear from you!

I haven’t figured out how to get WordPress to show you a fancy player. Here’s a not-fancy one:

John Peacock’s “Buddhism Before the Theravada Part 1”, Dharma PhD Podcast Episode 2.

Or click on the image below to be taken to the episode webpage:

Here’s a mostly-AI-produced transcript of the podcast, if that’s of interest…

Shannon M Whitaker 0:01
Greetings, Friendlies! Welcome to Dharma PhD: conversations about the science, philosophy and culture of mindfulness and secular Buddhism. I’m your host, Shannon M. Whitaker, joined by my fabulous co-host. Welcome, Jeff.

Jeff Street 0:15
Hello; it’s a pleasure to be here.

Shannon M Whitaker 0:16
Welcome to Episode Two.

Jeff Street 0:18
What are we talking about today?

Shannon M Whitaker 0:20
Today, we are going to talk about the first in a series of six talks given by John Peacock. The name of the series is, “Buddhism before the Theravada. So the Theravada is…

Jeff Street 0:33
Thanks for anticipating my question.

Shannon M Whitaker 0:34
Yeah. You’re welcome. I could see it in your eyes. I think the easiest way to describe it is that there’s two main veins right now of religious Buddhist practice. One is called Mahayana. We’re not talking about them today. The one we’re going to be talking about is called Theravada. It’s more prevalent in India, Southeast Asia. The Mahayana is more in China, Japan. So scholars often believe that Theravadan Buddhism began earlier than Mahayana. So that’s why this talk is called Buddhism before the Theravada.

The idea for this series of talks, obstensibly, Peacock is talking about what it was actually like for Siddhattha Gotama when he was alive, what was the culture of India like? So his point is, let’s look at these texts. And let’s try to think about what was actually going on. When Siddhattha was alive. In the same way that with the Christian religion, some scholars look back and say, what, what was it like in Jesus’s time? For example, what was he actually dealing with?

Jeff Street 1:43
Okay, what was the world like?

Shannon M Whitaker 1:45
Yeah, what were the worldviews? Yeah. What were the worldviews that he was brought up in? What who were the other people that he was dealing with? Who were his friends who were his frenemies.

Jeff Street 1:58
And then we’ll use that stuff to form, how we interpret the writings

Shannon M Whitaker 2:02

Unknown Speaker 2:05
The series of texts that I’m also interested in and that Peacock is talking about are called the Nikayan texts. And they are supposed to be oral histories of things that Gotama actually said. So he would give a talk, people would memorize the talk because they didn’t write anything down. And then they pass that tradition down orally for 500 years before anybody wrote the stuff down.

Jeff Street 2:25

Shannon M Whitaker 2:25
Yeah. So we’re talking about

Jeff Street 2:27
That’s a long oral tradition, then.

Shannon M Whitaker 2:28
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And you can imagine that stuff probably slipped in from time to

Jeff Street 2:33
Sure. Well, in comparison, Christianity, the the New Testament was written much closer to the time of Jesus.

Shannon M Whitaker 2:40
Yeah. Yeah. Whereas with Gotama much further down the road. They actually had writing at the time of Gotama but what I understand is that… who said this? “No self respecting spiritual teacher would let anybody write anything down.” Because it was really about having a relationship with a teacher, it wasn’t about going and reading a book.

Jeff Street 3:06
Okay, is it because there’s this this little aphorism no self respecting isn’t because they will they will lose business. If people were able to simply read their teachings?

Unknown Speaker 3:17
I think it was more. I don’t know, I haven’t asked. It’s an interesting question. My sense is that, at that time, things that were written down were things about the law, and things about commerce.

Jeff Street 3:30
So cultural, you wouldn’t you wouldn’t write this, this sort of topic, right about the sort of topic.

Unknown Speaker 3:34
Philosophy, teachings about paths of liberation wouldn’t be written down, not only because that’s just not what you did, but also it’s very much a tradition of one person teaching another person have a sort of one on one and many to many. It’s really about the relationship. I’ve heard some senior practitioners say, the reason there aren’t details about how to meditate in those books is because the expectation You would be working with a teacher, you wouldn’t even have access to this material unless you’re working with a teacher who could tell you what to do.

Jeff Street 4:07

Episode 2, we’re going to talk about some talks by John Peacock. What are the main points you’d like to make in today’s conversation?

Unknown Speaker 4:19
The first is that Gotama was not trying to start a religion. He was interested in a philosophy of human flourishing.

Jeff Street 4:27
Okay. It seemed as though there might be some objection to what you were saying, and then you need to argue for it. Is that the case?

Unknown Speaker 4:35
Well, I certainly Yeah, I do think that people would argue that because they’re gonna say,

Jeff Street 4:39
What wouldpeople argue?

Shannon M Whitaker 4:40
They’ll say he didn’t teach human flourishing. He taught dukkha.

Jeff Street 4:44
What’s dukkha?

Unknown Speaker 4:46
Yeah, exactly. Duke is a Pali word. And it’s a spectrum term. Etymologically it means the dirty hole inside of an axle wheel, when you’re driving a cart.

Jeff Street 4:59

Shannon M Whitaker 4:59
So A dirty space and unpleasant a bumpy ride anything unpleasant and it can go from it’s a little too cool in this room right now to I’m dying of COVID…

Jeff Street 5:15
To, like, gross.

Shannon M Whitaker 5:16
No to like much more than miserable suffering deep agony like it runs it’s a spectrum terminal runs the gamut it’s anything that you don’t want. Right.

Jeff Street 5:28

Shannon M Whitaker 5:31
Not dookie.

Jeff Street 5:33
That’s not what I said, I got “A” in there. No, no poop jokes. This is a this is a family friendly podcast. Did the Buddha make poop jokes?

Unknown Speaker 5:47
Not that I’m aware of, but I can’t read Pali yet. I’m hoping.

Jeff Street 5:51
Stay tuned listeners. Yeah, I’m optimistic.

Shannon M Whitaker 5:56
So that’s one of my claims. The second claim

Jeff Street 5:59
The claim again, just …

Unknown Speaker 6:01
Yeah, the claim again, he was not trying to start a religion, he was interested in a philosophy of human flourishing. Okay. point, point one. Point two was that he engaged intensely, as Peacock says, with his culture, and that we need to do the same. And that’s really important for me because I see so many people who are interested in these teachings who are negating our culture.

Jeff Street 6:33
So if I understand correctly, Gotama engaged with the culture of his time, yes. And, and therefore, is the point you’re making. Therefore, we too ought to engage now with the culture of Gotama’s time, right, but with the culture of today.

Shannon M Whitaker 6:48
Yeah. And not even like he did therefore we should, but he did. And also we should. You know, a and it isn’t helpful to engage with a culture that didn’t have evolution as a concept and didn’t know about antibiotics. And it’s

Jeff Street 7:06
We can get stuck a little bit. Yeah, create paradoxes for ourselves. Yeah, totally. If we get too invested in the culture of Gotama’s time.

Shannon M Whitaker 7:13
There are some people who say that you can’t be Buddhist or practice Buddhism and I’m not Buddhist and but there are people who make the claim that you can’t do this stuff unless you believe in rebirth.

Jeff Street 7:28
Yeah, this is one of the classic examples of creating a you know, a little time warp for yourself.

Unknown Speaker 7:34
Yeah. And so what happens is you get these modern Western people who were raised in a secular way, who want these teachings who want to understand how their mind works and engage with this material trying to convince themselves that rebirth happens.

Jeff Street 7:55
Feeling obligated to.

Shannon M Whitaker 7:56
Yeah and and really struggling with it in ways that, A, Don’t make any sense and, B, aren’t helpful, and C, aren’t what the guy was doing in the first place.

Jeff Street 8:05
So you’re making the case that if, if a person wants once the benefits of as you’re saying secular Buddhism, as we said off the top, if a person wants the benefits of that, it’s not necessary to engage with things like rebirth things like hmm. Other other religious aspects. Yeah, of Buddhism that there that there can be a separation there.

Shannon M Whitaker 8:29
Yeah. And whether it’s religion or whether it’s just holdover from these times, right, because the way I understand a lot of this stuff is that what happened is, here is a guy who was incredibly smart and had a brilliant mind and was incredibly contemplative. and learned things about how his mind worked. And he shared that with people and those people found it really helpful and they prospered as humans, they like they lived well made, they like that.

Jeff Street 8:58
The people, the people studying with them.

Shannon M Whitaker 8:59
Yeah. He taught a bunch of stuff. And then people were like, We have to just save all of this. We can’t get rid of any of it. This story, this story kills me on his deathbed. The poor guy, he’s 80 years old. He’s dying of dysentery in a field. And he says to his attendant who has been caring for him for many years, “you may dispense with the minor rules”, because there’s like 150 rules for monks and 250 rules for nuns. And he says to the guy, you may dispense with the minor rules and so here is Ananda with his beloved teacher dying before him suffering and not suffering because he doesn’t suffer right but dying painfully before him, you know, this unpleasant way. Any any says you may dispense with the minor rules and he goes, Okay, you know, like, What do you say? And so then Ananda goes later to the, they have a big Council, they bring everybody together and he says, you know, Gotama said, we can dispense with the minor roles, and they said, well, Did you ask him Which ones?

Jeff Street 10:02
Everyone has their own idea? What’s minor.

Unknown Speaker 10:04
Yeah! So what they said was, we’re not gonna get rid of any of them. So all of these rules that we’re

Jeff Street 10:09
Is that what we’re gonna do on this podcast? Are we can go through with a red pen?

Unknown Speaker 10:16
Oh, man. So instead of saying, Okay, what were the rules that were contextual, that had to do because somebody, somebody got into trouble. And so we had to make a rule to cover that, that situations why there are rules, right? Instead of saying, I mean, you can kind of say the same thing about legal systems in nations, right? We didn’t start out with all these laws. And then we got them and now you can’t like have a horse in downtown Houston.

Jeff Street 10:41
It’s antiquated you can’t spit on the left side of that, at some point need to clear the cruft.

Unknown Speaker 10:46
Yeah, at some point, you need to go through that and be like, not doesn’t apply anymore doesn’t apply anymore. Get rid of that one. And they just didn’t because they didn’t they didn’t have enough confidence, or they were… the way I understand it is: They didn’t know what was important. So they just hung on to everything. And they weren’t willing.

Jeff Street 11:05
They didn’t feel comfortable making a cut.

Unknown Speaker 11:06
Right. They weren’t willing to take the risk to lose something. And so they just kept it all.

Jeff Street 11:12
That sounds like a committee meeting too, right? Yeah, classic committee strategy, oh, we’re designing a logo. And we brought four concepts. Great. Let’s just use a shield with four quadrants, and we’ll pop one concept and each quadrant. Done! No one will be able to see anything, it will be tiny. It just will not be it won’t. It won’t express a singular vision.

Shannon M Whitaker 11:33
Right. Yeah.

Jeff Street 11:34
Which is the kind of thing that seems like is needed here. There’s a lot of a lot of cruft Yeah, built up and needs to be absolutely cleared out. But we’re not we’re not starting a new religion.

Unknown Speaker 11:46
No. Anyone if anyone thinks that I’d like to clarify right now, I am also not starting a religion.

Jeff Street 11:52
He didn’t intend to either, though.

Shannon M Whitaker 11:54
I am interested in human flourishing. In fact, that’s

Jeff Street 11:57
Uh-huh. Famous Last Words.

Unknown Speaker 12:01
That’s actually something that I that I did want to articulate was, for me, what is most important is human flourishing. It’s not mindfulness with a capital M, or secular Buddhism, or even neuroscience or cognitive science for me, it’s, I’m so enraptured with the art and the practice of human flourishing. How do we live well as human beings in this life,

Jeff Street 12:31
in this time,

Unknown Speaker 12:32
in this time on this planet, and so all of these other things, I think that mindfulness and and the teachings of Gotama and the wisdom that has come up through the traditions, I mean, there’s a lot as 2500 years of people working and thinking and sitting and meditating and there’s a lot of wisdom there. But to me, what’s most interesting is how does that lend itself to human flourishing? Same with the neuroscience. Same with the philosophy and the psychology, all that stuff. That’s a thing I wanted to say, thanks.

Jeff Street 13:09
That’s a good. It’s a good starting point. That’s a good thesis good. In the same way that that I Gotoma and each of the scholars since then were viewing this with their own lens, yeah, they’re on their own goals. It’s good for you to say right off the top. Here are my goals.

Unknown Speaker 13:26
Yeah. People, you know, I, I teach mindfulness. I’m ostensibly a philosopher of mindfulness. And so people think like, oh, mindfulness is your thing. And yes, and

Jeff Street 13:37
it’s not mindfulness trademark.

Unknown Speaker 13:39
Yeah. Because mindfulness or philosophy of human flourishing. Just sounds weird. People just stare at me.

Jeff Street 13:45
It’s a big horizontal business card. It’s more it’s more like an illegible bumper sticker.

It sounds like this lecture by john peacock was really formative for you. Yeah. It’s something you’ve invested a lot of effort into. There’s There are six of them. You’ve listened to all of them. You’ve transcribed all of them. Yeah. And there’s a link in the show notes.

Shannon M Whitaker 14:04
Yeah, there’ll be a link in the show notes to the talk itself to this whole series. We’re going to do all six of them. But there’ll be a link to the first one, and also to the transcript that I wrote. So if you’re more of a text person than a listening person that’s also available and that link will be in the show notes.

Jeff Street 14:24
You really, you really digested these? Yeah, why did you? There are a lot of talks out there. That’s true. Why did you Why did you invest so much effort in these?

Unknown Speaker 14:35
When I first heard these talks, I was, I was on a bus on my way to Omega, which is a grab bag of spirituality if there ever was one. To take my first MBSR teacher training class. I already explored several different traditions. I had done the residency at the Zen monastery I had done treats with Goenka’s people I had done retreats with Bhante Gunaratana in West Virginia. And with the Shambala, folks. So I had a broad exposure to different traditions and practices. But nothing really resonated. Nothing really grabbed me, including including MBSR. It was it was great but wasn’t quite landed. And so I’m I’m on this bus for an entire day. And I had happened to download this series of six talks for the trip, as I’m sitting in my window seat and I wrapped up in this enormous scarf. And I’m listening to this person and he starts talking in a way that totally resonated with me here was a deeply experienced practitioner. Like many teachers in his generation, you know, he’d spent several decades in monasteries in Asia. But he’s also a deeply learned scholar,

Jeff Street 16:03
A scholar of other traditions as well?

Unknown Speaker 16:07
Well of Buddhism, as far as I know. But he was the they say it in the talk. He was at Oxford, the guy that did mindfulness stuff.

Jeff Street 16:17
Oh, I see. So both both a scholar and a practitioner.

Unknown Speaker 16:19
Yeah. Okay. And so he was interested not just in the air quotes, religious aspect, but also in like, what were they actually talking about? Let’s, let’s take a break for a minute from what people are saying. And let’s actually go and look at the material and and say, Okay, what was actually written down, which really resonated with me.

Jeff Street 16:39
Yeah, go to the source.

Shannon M Whitaker 16:40
Yeah, he also shared my secular worldview.

Jeff Street 16:43

Shannon M Whitaker 16:44
So here’s someone who isn’t telling me that I need to believe in rebirth in order to meditate.

Jeff Street 16:49
So he’s been a practitioner, but not a religious practitioner, and a scholar. So a lot of points of connection here.

Yeah, a lot of points of connection, the way he thought about it, and the way he talks about it. He says early on in the talk that he doesn’t like the word Buddhism and I am so on board with that. Because I do not like that word usually use the word the B word is what I usually call it, just get rid of it, because you know, and he brings up the same point, right, which is nobody, none of the people who are practicing Buddhism call themselves Buddhists. That word was invented by Western academia, who were like, well, what is this religion that’s happening? What is this thing that’s happening in Japan and in China and Sri Lanka and in India? Oh, it’s it’s Buddhism,

They have a Buddha therefore,

Shannon M Whitaker 17:33
Therefore, it’s Buddhism. So it’s a word that was created to identify basically, an “other” is philosophically a word that would be used, you know, and he says, we should get rid of that word. He says, it doesn’t mean anything. Anyway. If anything, it means awake-ism, because the word Buddha comes from the word Bodie which means to awaken and so it should just be awake ism, which is great. And I like too, so he starts off with that. He says at one point that we need to throw out, most of the translations

Jeff Street 18:06
So he’s really hitting your buttons. Pulling you right in.

Unknown Speaker 18:10
Absolutely. This this. The problem is not the books that have been the translations that have been done. The problem is the dictionary it’s actually the Pali to English dictionary is a huge part of the problem we need to rewrite the dictionary.

Jeff Street 18:23
The dictionary is incorrect.

Unknown Speaker 18:25
The dictionary has major problems because the dictionary that we’re using to do these translations, the dictionary that we’re using was written by a group of Westerners who were in India, they were lawyers, they were male, they were white. They were and they found this this religion and or they found this thing. And so they they used words that made sense to them, because they were said, well, it’s kind of like a religion to us. So we’re going to use a bunch of religious words. So there’s you don’t know that This part, Jeff, but there’s this thing called the Four Noble Truths, okay. And Peacock says, “The ex-professor of middle-indo-Aryan dialects at Cambridge.” And then he says, “this shows you how esoteric This is.” The guy’s name was Roy Norman, “once said, out of all the possible translations of the term Ariya Sacca,” that is translated Four Noble Truths, “Out of all the possible translations, Four Noble Truths is about the worst.” So here we have, I know you’re into the pillars. Here, we have a pillar of Buddhism, which esteemed scholars are saying, This is not a translation that is appropriate. So we’re actually using a dictionary that’s broken, we have to go back and actually fix the dictionary before we can start doing translations that really speak to modern people.

Jeff Street 18:26
Okay. That’s interesting.

Shannon M Whitaker 19:54
So here I am on this bus, you know, listening to I mean, I probably listened to five hours of these talks in one sitting and I was just agog. That’s why I wanted to start with this series because it was so formational in, you know, coming out of that I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t have anybody that I knew that was practicing in this way. And

Jeff Street 20:16
I don’t want to talk about these. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 20:19
Peacock is a founding member of Bhodi College, which listeners, you’re going to hear a lot about, the group of teachers that I really respect and that really resonate with me. But at the time, I didn’t know about them. And so I didn’t know what to do with this information. But it was very formative, you know, I showed up at this MBSR teacher training with this new vision that there were people out there that thought in the way that I did.

Jeff Street 20:47
So it must have been really, really reassuring. Because prior to that, you had been, as you mentioned, engaging with a bunch of different traditions, different communities. Yeah. And and kind of crossing them off of the list; nah, I don’t really fit in here nah really fit in there. But then in and so you’re on your way to try you know yet yet another and you find this handhold Yeah, you find this this, you know, place to grab onto.

Yeah, yeah it was it was great. It was frustrating too because suddenly I had someone affirming what I felt I didn’t have the training in the background to articulate that this way, right. Like I don’t, I didn’t feel like I could plant my flag and say four noble truths, terrible definition. You know, I didn’t feel confident with that. So it was a little frustrating to then re dive back into the waters of people who were more interested in the religious aspect and less interested in the secular…

Those waters being the place you were headed to on the bus.

Shannon M Whitaker 21:53

Jeff Street 21:55
Are you referring to something else?

Unknown Speaker 21:57
I’m referring to all of it. I’m returning. Yeah, I’m referring to The place I was headed, which was MBSR, which is secular. But also when I got back home, you know, I, I still didn’t have people to practice with.

Jeff Street 22:11
Okay. So there was a light but it was it was way down that tunnel.

Unknown Speaker 22:16
Yeah, it was one of those things. It wasn’t like I could see my North Star but I had suddenly I knew go north-ish. Yeah. head in this general direction. And between him and Stephen Batchelor. When I realized the two of them were working together. it all became clear and then, you know, Bhodi College all the way now. put a link in the show notes.

Jeff Street 22:42
So with that, with that context into this group of talks, yeah. What, what did you find in the first one,

Unknown Speaker 22:50
It was so powerful. It’s interesting to sort of think back to that time and to remember the experience of listening to it and hear it hearing him say that some of the the suttas in in these texts are jokes. Like they’re making fun of things in the culture. But that the tradition took it seriously. Oh, he’s actually Yeah, he’s parroting parodying these other Vedic texts. He’s making fun of them.

Jeff Street 23:25
But somehow that context had been lost.

Shannon M Whitaker 23:27
That context was lost, right? Because they because later on the tradition was like we have to keep everything keep everything he said and and, and not only keep it, make it holy. Sure. It has to be holy. Something that Peacock said is that and I’m inspired to do this from this talk and others is that learning Pali is actually great because you can read the puns because he’s punning with the language. The monks don’t, don’t don’t try to do that.

Jeff Street 23:53
It’s this kind of stuff as bad as like reading through the the Federal Code of Regulations in the United States, and finding “A Modest Proposal” in there. Is it? Is it that kind of thing?

Shannon M Whitaker 24:04
Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Street 24:06
Oh, wow. That’s pretty bad.

Shannon M Whitaker 24:07
Yeah, it’s shocking. It’s like, wait, what it was it? That was a joke.

Jeff Street 24:13
You’re writing this seriously? Yeah, no, you’re not writing this.

Shannon M Whitaker 24:17
So to learn that we have so much to learn about it. That was also, I don’t remember if it was refreshing at the time, but it is now. It’s, it’s inspirational now to recognize that we haven’t done all the work that that this personal PhD project, there’s plenty of room for me in this field. Okay.

Jeff Street 24:36
And like some pretty low hanging fruit, too.

Shannon M Whitaker 24:37
Yeah, some pretty low hanging fruit.

Jeff Street 24:39
I mean, there’s a lot of work to pick it all up. But, but it’s not, it’s not this kind of thing where we’re, you know, in nuclear physics, right, we need to get three or four PhDs and then be accepted to a particle accelerator and there’s only a couple of good ones and you’ll be in a team of 150 people and your name, your name will be Not on the paper. Right? That kind of thing. Like that kind of thing. We’re just using the wrong words. And let’s let’s give it another try.

Unknown Speaker 25:07
Yeah, that is really powerful to me. And it’s given me confidence in some of the work that I’ve been doing as I’m starting to do translations to really say, let’s translate this stuff in a way that makes sense in our culture. This, this is the second of these ideas that I mentioned, where we need to be engaging with our culture. One really basic example is in English, in American English, we usually talk about things in the positive we say this is like this, this is like that. But in the Pali they do a lot of negation. This is not like that. And so even, in my opinion, and there are many who would disagree with me. Doing the translations is easier to read if you just make it a positive sentence. Instead of a negative sentence. If you if you take those places where the negation is highlighted and actually change it so that it makes sense the way we talk.

Jeff Street 26:09
it conforms to the conventions. Yeah. Modern speech.

Yeah. So you don’t, you don’t end up at the end of a, you know, a passage saying, they’re pretty negative, it’s kind of a downer.

Unknown Speaker 26:23
I think it’s really important to do really strict translations of this is this is what we think in this moment, is as close as we could possibly get it to the words that came out of his mouth. But I also think it’s important to say, What was he trying to say? How can we express that? So Douglas Hofstadter has this amazing book called Surfaces and Essences, and it’s about how we use analogy and metaphor in our language. And he has this beautiful passage, I only read the English version he wrote In the English and in French, and in the English version, they talk about little birds flying around inside of an airport. Like little sparrows, you know, they get in there and you’re like, what are they doing in here, you know, but it’s a big space and they’re flying around. And then later in the book, he says, For you English readers, he’s talking about translation, and he says, It’s not good enough to go word for word. When I tell this story in the French book, I don’t use an airport because many French people have not flown instead I talk about the metro.

Jeff Street 27:32
Right, the Parisian metro train.

Shannon M Whitaker 27:34
Because if you’re French, even if you haven’t, even if you don’t live in Paris, the Parisian Metro is part of your culture. Same with in the US, even if you have never flown you, you get air travel.

Jeff Street 27:47
You’ve seen it in movies; it’s part of the pop culture.

Shannon M Whitaker 27:49
Yeah, exactly. He says, If I had translated word for word, the Parisian Metro story in English, it would have been foreign; even if I had used the New York subway. The subway is really foreign to a lot of Americans, and they wouldn’t have identified with it in the same way. It wouldn’t have resonated. And so he argues that that big it seems like it might seem like a big gap between the one and the other, but actually it resonates with people better, if you what he calls transculturate. I think there’s room for that.

Jeff Street 28:20
Some of that’s needed here. It sounds like.

Shannon M Whitaker 28:22
I think that I think, I think it’s good to have both. I think it’s good to have both a monk looking at a dictionary and saying here is what the language says word for word. And I think it’s important to have someone, I hope will be me, who understands the language, understands, maybe not understands but is deep enough in it to have a sense of what would be skillful, who can then do a translation that will resonate with people.

Jeff Street 28:52
Is this one of your goals in the PhD project?

Unknown Speaker 28:54
Absolutely! I mean, well, not in the PhD project, but in the Life Project. I would love to do translations.

Jeff Street 29:00
Okay, yeah, maybe after the Dharma PhD project, there’ll be another Dharma translation project.

Shannon M Whitaker 29:06
Another PhD.

Jeff Street 29:08
That’s the thing about people with, you know, higher education degrees. You can get addicted to that kind of thing. You gotta watch out,

Unknown Speaker 29:14
Especially if you’re doing it without any bosses, right? Yeah. Yeah, I would love to. And I mean, I hope to do some during the PhD, it’s it’s I’m hoping it’ll be smaller, smaller,

Jeff Street 29:25
Self contained sort of projects rather than a sweeping.

Unknown Speaker 29:27
Oh, yeah. You know, like, pick out suttas that that I think are that they resonate with me and

Jeff Street 29:33
Sarcastic ones…

Shannon M Whitaker 29:34
Yeah. Preferably all the jokey ones.

Jeff Street 29:38
I think those are the ones that might resonate with me.

Shannon M Whitaker 29:40
Probably probably.

Jeff Street 29:44
Thanks very much. I found this informative and entertaining.

Shannon M Whitaker 29:47
Oh, good.

It was great.

Thanks so much for being my co host. You’re the best.

Jeff Street 29:50
You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Unknown Speaker 29:52
And to our audience. Thanks so much for listening. I hope that you enjoyed it. Please reach out and get in touch or available at…

Jeff Street 29:59
What’s the website again?

Shannon M Whitaker 30:00

Jeff Street 30:02
There it is.

Shannon M Whitaker 30:05
And yeah, may you be well,

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