Can you explain the word grace?
This is the way that I’ve chosen to translate somanassa. It can be broken down to su – which is same root as sukkha – which means happiness or joy, ease, pleasant. It has a very wide range of uses and su always means good, du like dukkha always means not good. Manassa is: of the mind. So, it means pleasance of mind. It’s often translated as mental pleasance or ease.
I thought the word grace was fairly good to evoke this uplifted ease of mind. It’s also translated often as mental bliss. It’s a word that the Buddha used quite a bit; somanassa, and domanassa for that matter, and it’s simply pointing at the state of a mind that is uplifted, that is at ease or pleasant. It’s also used in a very wide variety of contexts, so it’s not just one possible definition.
Did you have a particular aspect of the word that you were wondering about?
[Person that asked the question]:
I just hadn’t heard it before in this context, and it does have a different way, in Christianity, that they talk about it. So, I was wondering if that was the same, but I think that your explanation is really good.
I don’t have a very particularly strong Christian background, so I probably couldn’t differentiate very clearly, but if you look it up in the dictionary, it will explain the Christian view on it. It will also explain a more neutral thing.
I am also very tempted to translate upekkha – which is usually called equanimity – as grace and I do translate it as mental grace sometimes. Because equanimity is relevant, but in some cases not so much. Mental grace, I feel, is closer to how the mind truly feels when it is experiencing the deep bliss of meditation. It is very steady and present, but very open and at ease, very light. So, that’s the word grace.