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I was speaking to a Pali speaking Sri Lankan Buddhist last weekend who did comment on how much we lose in the translation from Pali to English.
And how it makes the path seem so much more serious and dour than it is (or words to those affect).
You might be interested in this: http://content.dhamma.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-Path-to-Enlightenment-I.pdf
There is also a second volume.
It is sort of a how-to book (although not written at a childish level) which claims that many of us make Buddhism more difficult than it needs to be.
My Theravadan temple here is pretty much open any time. They welcome with open arms...literally. Once a week I join them for their evening chanting and meditation.
I have never understood why so many Buddhists will deny the existence of God so vehemently, and then believe in all these other "spirits". I think there's a lot of confusion between actual Buddhism and culture, and the two should not mix.
I'll give you my definition...not saying it's the definition:
An animal is sentient if it can express in any way emotion.
I know...it's as imperfect as all the other definitions.
No one knows how they will react when death comes. "And each one there has one thing shared. They have sweated beneath the same sun. Looked up in wonder at the same moon. And wept when it was all done, for being done too soon."