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Lesson 22: Understand the Burmese Mind

Mind precedes all mental states.

Speak evil, and suffering is certain;

speak with a pure heart,

and happiness will follow

like a never departing shadow.


Dhammapada

In order to better understand the Burmese mind, I must include some aspects of boat-da1 ba2-dtha2 MP3 Audio File (Buddhism), as approximately 85% of the population in this country are Buddhists, and Burmese culture is influenced by Buddhism.

Buddhist Devotees at Shwedagon Pagoda

Throughout our lives, we are swayed by the "Winds of the World" that shake our emotions like characters in the novels and block-buster movies. The term "Winds of the World" in Buddhism refers to the opposite pairs of "Eight Worldly Conditions":

Pleasure and Pain

Praise and Blame

Gain and Loss

Fame and Disgrace.

While most of us are naturally attracted to the positive extremes, we avoid the unpleasant situations at the polar opposite end. Unfortunately, those worldly conditions cannot be avoided in life all the time. In the process of seeking and avoiding those conditions, or when in contact with those conditions, we experience a colorful spectrum of emotions such as...

excitementsate-hloat-sha3 jin3 MP3 Audio File (be excited [verb] + noun forming particle)

anguishway2-da1-na2 MP3 Audio File

pridema2-na1 MP3 Audio File

angerdau3-dtha1 MP3 Audio File

jealousyma1-na2-lo2 zate MP3 Audio File (feel jealous [verb] + mind [noun])

guiltlate-pya2 ma1-thun1 jin3 MP3 Audio File (spirit + not + clean + noun forming particle)

happinesspyau2-shwin2 jin3 MP3 Audio File (be happy [verb] + noun forming particle)

sorrowwun3-neare3 jin3 MP3 Audio File (feel sorry [verb] + noun forming particle)

conceitba1-win2-myin1 jin3 MP3 Audio File (be conceited [verb] + noun forming particle)

shamea-shet kweare3 jin3 MP3 Audio File (be put to shame [verb] + noun forming particle)

worrysate pu2 jin3 MP3 Audio File (be worried [verb] + noun forming particle)

Myanmar Grammar Notes: The particle chin3 or hmu1 modifies verbs to nouns in several words. Such words are more often seen in literary form.

In spoken Burmese, the verb portion is usually used in combination with other words in phrases.

For example, sate pu2 jin3 is a worry (noun). The verb portion sate pu2 can be combined with the present participle forming particle nay2 and the ending affirmation word deare2 to form the phrase sate-pu2 nay2 deare2 meaning He/She is (or I am) worried.

If we don't constantly guard our minds, we are simply swept away by the flood of those emotions, which often result in negative cycle of effects and consequences. While we cannot avoid those worldly conditions, our conditioned responses and emotions are optional that are within our capability to control and "re-program" with practice.

For someone who is skilled in the art of Buddhist meditation as well as moral philosophy, he or she is indifferent to those worldly conditions. What remains is the state of tranquility, where

calmnessti2-nyain2 zate MP3 Audio File for oneself and

compassionga1-yu1-na2 zate MP3 Audio File or

empathymu1-de1-ta2 MP3 Audio File for the others is felt in place of

jealousyma1-na2-lo2 zate MP3 Audio File and

sorrowwun3-neare3 zate. MP3 Audio File

Simple emotional phrases

sate — mind

hloat-sha3 — move around

nay2 — present participle [..ing]

deare2 — affirmation.

sate hloat sha3 nay2 deare2(He is/ She is / I am) excited.

ma2-na1 — pride; ego; conceit

kji3 — big

deare2 — affirmation

ma2-na1 kji3 deare2He/she has a big ego.

de2 — this

lu2 — man

dau3-dtha1 — anger

kji3 — big

deare2 — affirmation.

de2 lu2 dau3-dtha1 kji3 deare2He is a wrathful person. He is someone who cannot control his anger.

Myanmar Grammar Notes: dau3-dtha1 | anger (noun) + kji3 | big (adjective) = dau3-tha1 kji3 (verb) = be exceedingly wrathful.

ma1-na2-lo2 — be jealous (verb)

pfyit — become (verb)

nay2 — present participle [~ing] (particle)

deare2 — affirmation (postpositional marker)

ma1-na2-lo2 pfyit nay2 deare2He/she is jealous. (is displaying jealousy)

late-pya2 — spirit

ma1 — not

thun1 — clean

bu3 — negative ending

late-pya2 ma1-thun1 bu3 I (or someone is) feeling guilty. My conscience is not clear.

wun3 neare3 — be sorry

ba2 deare2 — polite affirmation

wun3 neare3 ba2 deare2I'm sorry. (I feel sorry for you)

de2 — this

lu2 — man

ba1-win2 — perception of self

myin1 — tall

deare2 — affirmation.

de2 lu2 ba1-win2 myin1 deare2He is a haughty person.

shet — feel ashamed (verb)

sa1-ya2 — matter (this particle modifies the verb to noun)

ji3 — suffix parfticle to mean "big" and "considerable".

shet sa1-ya2 ji3It's so shameful; I am so ashamed. (Lit: it is something shameful.)

sate — mind

pu2 — hot

nay2 — present participle [~ing]

deare2 — affirmation.

sate pu2 nay2 deare2I am worried.

thu1 — him

a-twet — for

sate — mind

pu2 — hot

nay2 — present participle [~ing]

deare2 — affirmation.

thu1 a-twet sate pu2 nay2 deare2I feel worried about him/her.

sate — mind

ma1 — not

pu2 — be worried

ba2 — polite suggestion

neare1 — negative imperative.

sate ma1-pu2 ba2 neare1Don't worry!

More Burmese Phrases on the mental states

If there is just one word you that should remember from this page, it would be "sate".

sate — mind (noun)

mau3 — feel tired (verb)

deare2 — affirmation (postpositional marker)

sate mau3 deare2(I am) feeling anxious; having anxiety. (verb + postpositional marker)

sate — mind (noun)

na2 — to be painful (verb)

deare2 — affirmation (postpositional marker)

sate na2 deare2I feel hurt inside. (verb + postpositional marker)

sate — mind (noun)

kone2 — to have run out (verb)

deare2 — affirmation (postpositional marker)

sate kone2 deare2I am fed up. I have run out of patience.

(verb + postpositional marker)

sate — mind

ma1 — not

hso3 — bad

ba2 neare1 — please don't (polite suggestion + negative imperative ending)

sate ma1-hso3 ba2 neare1Please don't be angry with me.

Myanmar Grammar Notes: sate hso3 (verb) means to be angry is a compound word made of sate (noun) and hso3 (adjective). In negative imperative, negative particle ma1 is inserted between the noun and adjective.

sate — mind

ma1 — not

shi1 — have; to have

ba2 — polite

neare1 — negative imperative

sate ma1-shi1 ba2 neare1Please don't be angry.

In another words, it's like saying: Please don't have the mind with anger.

sate — mind

ma1 — not

chan3-dtha2 — be rich; be affluent

bu3 — negative ending.

sate ma1-chan3-dtha2 bu3I am unhappy.

When you say the opposite:

sate chan3-dtha2 deare2,

it means you are free from all the negative states of the mind such as worry, guilt, craving, rage, jealousy, and anxiety. In ancient Buddhist philosophy, freeing the mind from the shackles of those negative and unwholesome states is called the true happiness.

Happy Thingyan

This is different from the modern Western idea of happiness as in

pyau2 lite da2



I am so happy! (happy + so much)

In Search of Happiness

In search of Happiness. [19 Seconds] The modern idea of happiness has thrill and excitement in it. Such agitated state of the mind is fleeting and unstable because of the impermanent nature of all existence. The Buddhist philosophy of true happiness is the state where you are free from the shackles of negative states of the mind such as worry, guilt, craving, range, jealously, and anxiety. Perhaps, we living in the modern time, can somehow find the middle ground where we find happiness in the modern world minus the extra burdens of the negative states of the mind.

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Thursday, May 5, 2016
မိုက်ရင်က | mite yin2 ka1 by Supermodels (Water Party 3)

There is thrill and excitement in the later type of happiness. At the same time, such agitated state of the mind is fleeting and unstable because of the impermanent nature of all existence, says the wise. Sooner or later, we will have to part with conditions that make us

pyau2 lite da2,

and we are left with

toun1-ta1 sate - yearning

and struggle for the constant supply of the thrill. And, if we can't get it, we end up saying:

sate ma1-chan3-dtha2 bu3.

When someone tells you he or she is

sate ma1-chan3-dtha2 bu3,

you can say:

sate — mind

ma1 — not

koun3 — good

ba2 bu3 — polite negative ending word.

sate ma1-koun3 ba2 bu3

I'm sorry to hear that.

This is a useful phrase to sympathize with someone.

Do you find this sate-win2-za3 za1-ya2 ?

Do you find this lesson

sate-win2-za3 sa1-ya2 | interesting?

If you remember, back in lesson 20,

sa1-ya2 roughly means "matter".

sate-win2-za3 means "having interest". So,

sate-win2-za3 za1-ya2 (noun) is something interesting.

In deep analysis of the word

sate-win2-za3,

it could mean that whatever the state of the mind of the author is within you, and information or the knowledge has been transferred. In another words, my spirit comes alive as you read this sentence, no matter where or who you are, and no matter how far apart the time is when you observe this.

sate — mind

win2-za3 — be enticed

za1-ya2 — matter

beare3 — affirmation

sate win2-za3 za1-ya2 beare3That's interesting!

Bored and nyi3-ngway1

Perhaps, you find this mumbo jumbo extremely boring. "Feeling bored" in Burmese is

nyi3-ngway1.

You can say:

nyi3-ngway1 la2 byi2,

which means "I've started to get bored."

Myanmar Grammar Note: la2 (verb) meaning "come" is used here as a particle meaning "started to".

Another example:

mo3-ywa2 la2 byi2 — It starts raining.

In that case ....

Pure & Angelic late-pya2

I'd like to end this lesson with

late-pya2 thun1-dthun1,

meaning having a good heart, pure in spirit, and free from greed, hate and delusion as much as possible.

late-pya2 thun1 means having a clear conscience. May you all

sate — mind (noun)

hna1-lone3 — heart (noun)

shwin2-lun3 — feel fresh and energetic (verb)

chan3-myay1 — be serene, peaceful and tranquil (verb)

ja1 — plural word (particle)

ba2 zay2 — I wish ("may this happen" [postpositional marker])

sate hna1-lone3 shwin2-lun3 chan3-myay1 ja1 ba2 zay2

May all beings free from distress and find happiness!