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In this following context, what does the phrase ''but rather'' mean? Is it ''whowever'' or ''in fact''?

Should I take as: Hence the body is not a persisting something, but the body is rather a continually changing process of arising ...?

Please, simplify to me this sentence...

Thanks to All...

The context:

Hence the body is not a persisting something, but rather a continually changing process of arising and passing away, consisting of a perpetual dying out and arising anew of cells.

Source: Page.6 ''Fundamentals of Buddhism'' by Nyanatiloka Mahåthera

2 Answers 2

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If you really want to simplify it, then replace "but rather" with "it is"

This is a common construct, if a little flowery.

The author basically means "instead" - the other key words in there are "is not a", if that helps?

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  • Thanks a lot @Mike Brockington...
    – Sakya Kim
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 14:44
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It means something like or/but is better described as: it supplements or replaces a less specific or appropriate description with a more specific or appropriate one.

In the passage you quoted it is explicitly giving a better description as opposed to a less good one ("not a persistent something").

So it's closer to "however" (which is what I think you meant) than "in fact", and your paraphrase is correct.

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  • Thanks a lot...
    – Sakya Kim
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 14:48
  • Definitely not an "or" situation , rather it is an "opposite of" situation.
    – MikeB
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 14:49
  • You're right, @MikeBrockington, in this use it's a "but" rather than an "or", so I've added that as an alternative.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 21:40

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