Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

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Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:21 am

Dear kalyānamitrāni,

For your learned comment and criticism:

Huìfēng, Shì. “Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems: “Non-attainment”,“Apprehension” and “Mental Hanging” in the Prajñāpāramitā Hrdaya.” Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 6 (2014).

http://ocbs.org/ojs/index.php/jocbs/article/view/75

Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems:
“Non-attainment”, “Apprehension” and “Mental Hanging” in the Prajñāpāramitā Hrdaya

Shì Huìfēng

Abstract

Conze’s critical editions, translations and commentary on the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra indicated three problematic statements: 1. “no attainment and no non-attainment” (§1.1); 2. “because of non-attainment(ness)” (§1..2); and 3. “without thought coverings” (§1.3). Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history (§1.4), we trace back these three phrases from the Chinese Heart Sūtra, to the Chinese larger Prajñāpāramitā texts, to the Sanskrit Pañcavimśati (§1.5). Subsequently, we generate new readings and incidentally a new structure for these three phrases, distinct from the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra, which is possibly apocryphal. Our new readings are: 1. “no attainment” as no realization (§2). 2. “due to engagement in non-apprehension” (§3). 3.“the mind does not hang on anything” (§4). The new structure ties the usage of the second phrase back to the first phrase within the Sūtra context of “therefore, in emptiness there is no form, … no attainment; due to engagement in non-apprehension”, rather than at the start of the next section. The third phrase indicates the mind which does not take any object, a synonym for non-apprehension. While the readings and overall structure are new, they still reflect the core notions, i.e. the heart, of the Astasāhasrikā and Pañcavimśatisāhasrikā, the key Perfection of Wisdom texts (§5).



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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:57 am

Huifeng wrote: Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history...


It's better to forget such nonsense. It won't help anyone understand anything about the Dharma. People like Nattier should not be regarded as authorities on any level.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby plwk » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:42 am

Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history...


It's better to forget such nonsense. It won't help anyone understand anything about the Dharma. People like Nattier should not be regarded as authorities on any level.
If some further elucidation on this is possible, for the sake of us who are unfamiliar, the reason(s) for this statement? :thanks:
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:29 am

I came into this thread expecting to give well wishes to a man who has a heart disease. Boy, was I off the mark. :jumping:

:heart:
Peace,
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:40 pm

plwk wrote:
Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history...


It's better to forget such nonsense. It won't help anyone understand anything about the Dharma. People like Nattier should not be regarded as authorities on any level.
If some further elucidation on this is possible, for the sake of us who are unfamiliar, the reason(s) for this statement? :thanks:


Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history...


It means that there is absolutely not a shred of evidence that Nattier's theory is correct. And it is useless for practitioners.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby cdpatton » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:
plwk wrote:

It's better to forget such nonsense. It won't help anyone understand anything about the Dharma. People like Nattier should not be regarded as authorities on any level.
If some further elucidation on this is possible, for the sake of us who are unfamiliar, the reason(s) for this statement? :thanks:


Utilizing Nattier’s theory of the text’s history...


It means that there is absolutely not a shred of evidence that Nattier's theory is correct. And it is useless for practitioners.


I've read her old article--she says some things she probably wouldn't these days. It's actually much more likely than her "intolerably convoluted" theory (sorry, couldn't stop myself) that the Sanskrit Heart Sutra dates back to Kumarajiva's days. And, well--look there!--there's a Chinese translation that is attributed to Kumarajiva. And several others. Did it go back and forth between Chinese and Sanskrit that many times? Are they all fakes to give us the slip? It's gets a little bit humorous.

It's also ironic to me that the Taisho text of K's Pancavimsati may well have been doctored a little in later times--the reading "form is not different from emptiness" etc does have variant readings in other editions. Hsuan-tsang wasn't grabbing the passage from the Pancavimsati though--his translation of that passage is verbatim the Gilgit text.

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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Greg » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:39 pm

Mkoll wrote:I came into this thread expecting to give well wishes to a man who has a heart disease. Boy, was I off the mark. :jumping:

:heart:


Don't worry, his health problems are long since resolved.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Alfredo » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:25 am

People like Nattier should not be regarded as authorities on any level.


Say that in a referreed academic article, beeyatch!

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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Qianxi » Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:17 pm

cdpatton wrote:It's also ironic to me that the Taisho text of K's Pancavimsati may well have been doctored a little in later times--the reading "form is not different from emptiness" etc does have variant readings in other editions.


Yes, according to the notes on the Taisho version, the Song, Yuan and Ming versions of Kumarajiva's Large Perfection of Wisdom Sutra have 非色異空 for 'form is not different from emptiness', and this is also how Kumarajiva has the phrase in a couple of his other translations.
Xuanzang translates the phrase 色不異空, and that is also how we find it in the common version of the Heart Sutra.

This is in line with the pattern Nattier noticed, that the main body of the Heart sutra seems like an extract from Kumarajiva's Large Perfection of Wisdom sutra, with Xuanzang's preferred translation terminology substituted in a couple of places.

It's easy to imagine how the Korean version of the canon (on which the Taisho canon was based) could have been influenced by the popularity of the Heart Sutra, and mistakenly inserted Xuanzang's terminology back into Kumarajiva's Large Perfection of Wisdom Sutra. Luckily we have other versions of the canon and other translations by Kumarajiva to clear up the confusion.


QUESTION: what's the best way of differentiating between Kumarajiva's Large Perfection of Wisdom sutra (T 223) and Xuanzang's large collection of prajnaparamita literature (T 220)? What is the standard way of referring to these in English? I understand the indic source of T220 is contained within the Indic version of T223. In Chinese the names of both of these collections seem to be something like 'Mahaprajnaparamita', so it's probably easy to get confused.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:40 am

Qianxi wrote:QUESTION: what's the best way of differentiating between Kumarajiva's Large Perfection of Wisdom sutra (T 223) and Xuanzang's large collection of prajnaparamita literature (T 220)? What is the standard way of referring to these in English? I understand the indic source of T220 is contained within the Indic version of T223. In Chinese the names of both of these collections seem to be something like 'Mahaprajnaparamita', so it's probably easy to get confused.


My own practice is to use the Pinyin of the Chinese name of the text, or an abbreviated version thereof. eg. Kumarajiva's 小品般若波羅蜜 I call the "Xiaopin" or "Xiaopin Prajnaparamita"; and likewise for the "Mohe", etc. For Xuanzang's, I add the number of the 會, eg. "Dapin Prajnaparamita (3)", or "Dapin Prajnaparamita, Assembly 3". Something like that.

To note: I do NOT follow the common modern practice of using the Sanskrit equivalent text names as the standard default, eg. referring to the Xiaopin as something like "Kumarajiva's Astasahasrika". These Sanskrit names are a much later usage, for a start. Moreover, such a practice gives unwarranted precedence to the presently extant Sanskrit manuscripts, following the philologically problematic attitude of "the Sanskrit original texts" -- original, they are not.

See Chiasmus in the Early Prajñāpāramitā, Chp. 2, for a discussion on this usage, and my own names for the so-called "smaller" texts of the genre.

Also: A Survey of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Translations in Chinese. Though, my usage is not consistent in this (earlier) paper.

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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby White Lotus » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:10 pm

“Non-attainment”,“Apprehension” and “Mental Hanging”


there are stages of attainment, but ultimately no attainment. if no self and seeing emptiness are considered attainments, this can be considered incorrect. ultimately there is no attainment. the mind one begins with is the mind one ends with. so called stages of attainment are not attainments, only appearances and superficial to the Mind in which they appear. there is ultimately not even mind, nor emptiness. some would call this emptiness of emptiness, however in the unborn there is neither mind nor emptiness of emptiness. there is no observer nor observed. self and mind are gone. and yet i type.

Apprehension of emptiness, aprehension of the unborn (which is non existent), apprehension of no thought. all these things are as though apprehended by some and yet are not apprehended. nor is nothing apprehended. though not typing at the computer an individual is typing at the computer. not a self.

Mental Hanging. attachment to names, forms and concepts. attachment to any appearances or arisings is delusion and deluded, but when liberated, one is free to pick and chose reject or deny whatever one wants. it is not everything, nor is it nothing, nor even nothing at all. and yet it can be said to be a buttercup or a daisy, a raindrop or a bussy day in the park.
hanging on a thought or idea, a form or non form or concept is natural, but if one challenges these attachments one sees that they are not satisfying and one is left with no thought on matters of ultimate signification. one learns that all things are unapprehendable/just so, and then one realises that 'so' itself is a concept, so it is dropped. since knowledge evolves in stages like the unravelling of a ball of string 'so' may be used to take a person to the level of no thought. since however ultimately there is no self to experience mental hanging, where is the problem?

there is nothing to attain, nothing to apprehend and nothing to hang upon, not even nothing... so hang wherever you want for as long as you want. the mind has always been complete. all stages and seeing ultimately returns to this ordinary mind/seeing touching tasting etc which youve always had. if there is any form of attainment it is a removal of something rather than an accretion. a loss rather than an aquirement. and yet this loss can be a gain at the same time.

hope this is helpful. in my own judgement there is not enough freedom expressed in my post, also it is attempting to talk about things that defy ordinary logic since they are based in experience and not reason alone.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:22 am

Huifeng wrote:Subsequently, we generate new readings and incidentally a new structure for these three phrases, distinct from the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra, which is possibly apocryphal.

I am afraid the abstract is all I can access, but my suspicion is that when you claim that "the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra ... is possibly apocryphal" you mean that it was translated into Sanskrit from Chinese. I don't think this quite makes it "apocrypha," just unique. After all, plenty of Sutras, as you say, weren't even translated from Sanskrit, but from Prakrits or Central Asian languages, some into Sanskrit thereform, which doesn't make Sanskrit an automatic stamp of authenticity.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Greg » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:03 pm

Zhen Li wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Subsequently, we generate new readings and incidentally a new structure for these three phrases, distinct from the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra, which is possibly apocryphal.

I am afraid the abstract is all I can access, but my suspicion is that when you claim that "the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra ... is possibly apocryphal" you mean that it was translated into Sanskrit from Chinese. I don't think this quite makes it "apocrypha," just unique. After all, plenty of Sutras, as you say, weren't even translated from Sanskrit, but from Prakrits or Central Asian languages, some into Sanskrit thereform, which doesn't make Sanskrit an automatic stamp of authenticity.


It's more convoluted than that . .essentially Nattier's argument is that there is evidence that it was assembled in China from various disparate Sanskrit materials, and then back-translated from Chinese into Sanskrit again.

https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/i ... /8800/2707" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:51 pm

Greg wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Subsequently, we generate new readings and incidentally a new structure for these three phrases, distinct from the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra, which is possibly apocryphal.

I am afraid the abstract is all I can access, but my suspicion is that when you claim that "the Sanskrit Heart Sūtra ... is possibly apocryphal" you mean that it was translated into Sanskrit from Chinese. I don't think this quite makes it "apocrypha," just unique. After all, plenty of Sutras, as you say, weren't even translated from Sanskrit, but from Prakrits or Central Asian languages, some into Sanskrit thereform, which doesn't make Sanskrit an automatic stamp of authenticity.


It's more convoluted than that . .essentially Nattier's argument is that there is evidence that it was assembled in China from various disparate Sanskrit materials, and then back-translated from Chinese into Sanskrit again.

https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/i ... /8800/2707" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yes, I am aware of Nattier's argument.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Greg » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:54 am

Zhen Li wrote:Yes, I am aware of Nattier's argument.


Well, if Nattier is correct then the Heart Sūtra is certainly more apocryphal than something that simply originated in a Prakritic or Central Asian language.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:33 am

Greg wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:Yes, I am aware of Nattier's argument.


Well, if Nattier is correct then the Heart Sūtra is certainly more apocryphal than something that simply originated in a Prakritic or Central Asian language.

As I said, "I don't think this quite makes it "apocrypha," just unique. After all, plenty of Sutras, as you say, weren't even translated from Sanskrit, but from Prakrits or Central Asian languages, some into Sanskrit thereform, which doesn't make Sanskrit an automatic stamp of authenticity."

I.e. That something is not Sanskrit in origin does not make it apocryphal. The degrees of separation from Sanskrit don't change that.

The way in which it is written does not change that either - if using material from other Sutras disqualifies it, then we are suddenly going to have a dearth of hundreds of Sutras that yesterday were considered canonical. Strictly speaking, apocrypha doesn't quite work as a Buddhist concept. Also, canons weren't closed back then, new material was being included constantly.

The question isn't whether it was repeated by Ananda, or recovered by Nagarjuna from the Naga world, since no one can know the precise origin of anonymous texts - this is why the criteria for inclusion was always flexible, e.g. it agrees with and does not contradict the other teachings.

And of course, as you know, the Astasahasrika establishes that anything spoken by the disciples of the Buddha, who practice, have heard, have examined, and who bear bear the Buddhadharma, is spoken by the power of the Buddha, and is a dharma whose essence is not contradictory to the essence of Dharma.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Greg » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:39 pm

Zhen Li wrote:
Greg wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:Yes, I am aware of Nattier's argument.


Well, if Nattier is correct then the Heart Sūtra is certainly more apocryphal than something that simply originated in a Prakritic or Central Asian language.

As I said, "I don't think this quite makes it "apocrypha," just unique. After all, plenty of Sutras, as you say, weren't even translated from Sanskrit, but from Prakrits or Central Asian languages, some into Sanskrit thereform, which doesn't make Sanskrit an automatic stamp of authenticity."

I.e. That something is not Sanskrit in origin does not make it apocryphal. The degrees of separation from Sanskrit don't change that.

The way in which it is written does not change that either - if using material from other Sutras disqualifies it, then we are suddenly going to have a dearth of hundreds of Sutras that yesterday were considered canonical. Strictly speaking, apocrypha doesn't quite work as a Buddhist concept. Also, canons weren't closed back then, new material was being included constantly.

The question isn't whether it was repeated by Ananda, or recovered by Nagarjuna from the Naga world, since no one can know the precise origin of anonymous texts - this is why the criteria for inclusion was always flexible, e.g. it agrees with and does not contradict the other teachings.

And of course, as you know, the Astasahasrika establishes that anything spoken by the disciples of the Buddha, who practice, have heard, have examined, and who bear bear the Buddhadharma, is spoken by the power of the Buddha, and is a dharma whose essence is not contradictory to the essence of Dharma.


We should really clarify whether or not we're using an emic or etic standard for apocrypha - which is I would agree an imperfect word for the Buddhist context. We will probably never know much about how Indian Buddhists at the time would have regarded the cut and paste job if they had recognized it as such - or perhaps they did. Or, for that matter, how they managed to form a consensus about what to accept and what to reject regarding all of the emerging material that was attributed to the Buddha.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:30 am

I think it is clear that I am speaking from a textual perspective, which is a sort of emic perspective. If there's no evidence for a closed canon before Buddhaghosa, and not notion of apocrypha textually, then that's as much as we can say, and the term doesn't serve much use. From an etic perspective, it also doesn't make much sense, since many of the other Prajnaparamtia texts are fairly cut and paste.

Actually, the term doesn't serve much use in studying western religions either, at least from the etic perspective, since it presupposes that certain texts are inspired by the holy spirit and others are not. It does make sense in talking about the perspective of the churches - which in this case, with traditions of such and such a time, it doesn't quite seem to be a situation with which we are presently equipped to assess.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Greg » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:01 am

Zhen Li wrote:I think it is clear that I am speaking from a textual perspective, which is a sort of emic perspective. If there's no evidence for a closed canon before Buddhaghosa, and not notion of apocrypha textually, then that's as much as we can say, and the term doesn't serve much use. From an etic perspective, it also doesn't make much sense, since many of the other Prajnaparamtia texts are fairly cut and paste.


In India, no the term doesn't serve much use. In Tibet and China, it can be useful. Certainly Tibetan and Chinese Buddhists often had standards for what they considered apacryphal. Standards of which the Heart Sutra would have run afoul if they'd had the picture Nattier paints. Buswell has an interesting discussion of the term in his introduction to Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha.
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Re: Apocryphal Treatment for Conze’s Heart Problems, JOCBS

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:13 am

I would agree with Buswell's assessments. But I don't quite prefer when one adapts a particular emic perspective for one's etic perspective, especially if there are so many issues with that term, as Buswell lists. I guess it's just a matter of taste.
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