top of page

The Decoded Dhamma

The formulation of the problem would be as follows: How can the word of the Buddha be sent into the future unchanged?

The first is the choice of medium. We are in a time when written scripts have not yet been reintroduced in India and therefore writing was not possible and the languages are all exclusively oral in nature.

We have to choose a language.

When we choose a "natural" language to be spoken in a given area, it is subject to the natural evolution of languages, and what means one thing today will mean another tomorrow, and therefore any message encoded in it is degraded by the same semantic evolution .

So we have to choose an artificial language in which to encode the texts.

But artificial languages are created. They are formal languages, meaning there must be a one-to-one relationship between the signifier and the signified. It is absurd to create a language in which a word means one thing or another depending on the context, because there is no context. This only happens over time in natural languages as they evolve. However, this is not the case. We are talking about a language built to hold a message and only to hold that message.

Those who encoded the texts based on memories in different natural languages did not create a dictionary to accompany the texts for later decoding. logical. Since this dictionary would be in a natural language and would also be subject to evolution, we would face the same problem.

So... how can we enable faithful translation and transmission regardless of the elapsed time?

The answer lies in redundancy.

The scheduled repetition of partial reports serves to restore information in the event of loss and to determine its importance.

The first is very well known. Redundant coding is used for fail-safe transmission systems. But the second is even more interesting.

The texts are of enormous length and highly redundant. The same thing is not said just once, it is said on many different occasions, but never exactly the same thing. No two speeches are the same. The fact that a word appears in many places reveals its meaning. Only one meaning has to make sense in all its multiple occurrences. And indeed it has. It's like a giant Sodoku.

In order to decipher the texts, one must first collect as many meanings of each word as possible. Not only those that this or that translator has traditionally used, which is the basis of conventional dictionaries, but also the parallels of each word in Sanskrit, or even as originally translated into ancient Chinese, in the barely preserved collections called agamas . .

Then the word is located in all of its occurrences and each meaning is tested until the one that gives meaning to all of them is found. We will know that the result is correct when we have no meanings left, and that no meaning uses more than one word and that the message is coherent in all its parts, something that the rest of the sacred texts lack.

In this way, the later introduced apocryphal texts also stand out because they neither follow redundant structures nor agree in meaning with everything else.

The Dhamma decoded in 12 languages

Here is the Word of the Buddha decoded from Pāli, as a snapshot in popular languages, so you can see for yourself what the Buddha said without the intercession of a "teacher".

Originally it was decoded in Spanish. It was later translated from Spanish into English and finally from English into German, Danish, French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian Bökmal, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish.

Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese will join the group soon.

And we will continue...

bottom of page