2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

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2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:11 pm

Anyone familiar with the most recent translation of the Surangama Sutra by the Buddhist Text Society? I've read the 2003 edition and I'd like to know if there's reason to check out the newer one. Can anyone explain the differences between these two?

many thanks
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby remm » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:15 pm

Hi Jikan,

David Rounds and a few other members of BTTS translated a few words from sanskrit a bit differently, they also enhanced the grammar and added footnotes at the bottom to make it a lot easier for the reader. I also believe that they didn't change any commentaries made by the Venerable Master. I don't think it is that much different besides the footnotes and different translation of the sanskrit words.

In Dharma,

D
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Will » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:47 am

Jikan wrote:Anyone familiar with the most recent translation of the Surangama Sutra by the Buddhist Text Society? I've read the 2003 edition and I'd like to know if there's reason to check out the newer one. Can anyone explain the differences between these two?

many thanks


The new one has a very much condensed commentary in order to put it in one volume. The translation is different, not just in the Sanskrit terms; cannot say if it is better or not. I kept only the 6-vol. 2003 version, which was a little different in translation than the old paperback ones, both of which differ from this new one.

It is fine, but I wish they had more of Master Hua's comments.
Last edited by Will on Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby remm » Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:24 am

Oh, you're right. I just took a look at the translation and they did leave out chunks of Ven. Master's commentaries on various parts. Well, I honestly prefer this version over the other because I think the footnotes help a lot, minus the fact that they didn't include a lot of Master Hua's commentary.
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Huifeng » Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:11 am

Jikan wrote:Anyone familiar with the most recent translation of the Surangama Sutra by the Buddhist Text Society? I've read the 2003 edition and I'd like to know if there's reason to check out the newer one. Can anyone explain the differences between these two?

many thanks


Hi,

As per Will, above. I think that there is definitely good reason to get a copy of this one. First of all, time wise, they've had much longer to work on the text, not just as a translation but through their practice. That will always reflect, even if not on the words on the page.

Also, having in one, albeit large, volume, is much more usable than the previous multi-volume set. It's also in hard cover, so I'll keep better.

It seems to me that they had to restrain usage of Master's commentary to keep the size down. I think they've done a good job. It is easy to put a lot of stuff in, make it huge, but it takes a lot of work to keep it down to the essentials. I think that they've put in the commentary where it is needed most.

I guess, if one needs the full commentary, they can always get the old version and read that too.
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Jikan » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:44 pm

Thanks, everyone. I only read the first volume of the 2003 edition, the sutra text itself, and found myself scratching my head over certain passages. I began to suspect that my poor head wasn't interfacing very well with the translation. I'll check out the new one and have a look at what commentaries are provided in it. :reading:

This may or may not be an appropriate place to ask, but could someone please help me understand how the concept of emptiness works in this sutra? Nearly all my questions while reading arose around its treatment.

Again, many thanks. :namaste:
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Jikan » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:18 pm

:woohoo: my copy of the new translation has arrived in my mailbox and I am delighted.

Thanks for the help everyone.
Thanks to the help of generous sponsors (most of them from DharmaWheel), I'm doing a Vajra Armor (Dorje Kotrab) self-retreat this summer. May the merit be yours!
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Mr. G » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:46 pm

Hi all,

I was thinking about ordering the new translation as well, however I came across this review:


Well, I compared this one to the first BTTS translation of this sutra: in this new version, they condensed eight volumes into one. How? By deleting most of their now-deceased Master Hsuan Hua's commentary, and only summarizing selections from it, while replacing most of it with their own -- somewhat dubious -- explanations. They also reinterpreted and rephrased virtually all of the text, making it more wordy and vague, with repetitive use of a limited range of vocabulary. Nor are the English grammar and syntax any better in this new version.

Most noticeably, their rewriting drastically softened the most stunning, thought-provoking pronouncements of both Master Hua and the Sutra itself, as found in the first version. Topics included here are sex, meat-eating, and self-mutilation. Apparently, this translation group is sheepishly trying to mitigate the impact of this famously difficult and controversial sutra's statements, to make it palatable for non-Buddhists.


I still plan on ordering this new translation some time in the near future, but was wondering about members thoughts on this.

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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Will » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:36 pm

mr. G, why pick one of the one star reviews? Andy Ferguson at Amazon has a good one and he reads Chinese; does "Verification Service" also?
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Mr. G » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:54 pm

Hi Will,

I picked out that one review because all the others were in praise of the book and wanted to see if there was any merit to it. I was hoping someone who had read both the early translations with commentary as well as the new translation could chime in.

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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Huifeng » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:54 am

mr. gordo wrote:Hi Will,

I picked out that one review because all the others were in praise of the book and wanted to see if there was any merit to it. I was hoping someone who had read both the early translations with commentary as well as the new translation could chime in.

:namaste:


I disagree with that review given above.

For a start, didn't find any of "their own" explanations at all. They have the translation of the sutra, and at times parts of Master Hua's own commentary. That's it. There are a few very little portions in the footnotes, but these are minor and helpful.

The vocab is much better. The first version, like many of BTTS early translations, was rather Chinglish, heavily reliant on literal translations from the Chinese. eg. binomes are always binomes, word for word. This new version avoids that to quite an extent.

I don't think that they are trying to mitigate statements from Master Hua. The group is still very very loyal to him and his teachings. You almost get the feeling that he was still physically alive at their centers.

Lastly, I don't think that their target audience is non-Buddhists at all. It is rather for rather high-end practitioners of the Mahayana.
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Mr. G » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:45 pm

Thank you for your insights Huifeng!

:namaste:

Huifeng wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:Hi Will,

I picked out that one review because all the others were in praise of the book and wanted to see if there was any merit to it. I was hoping someone who had read both the early translations with commentary as well as the new translation could chime in.

:namaste:


I disagree with that review given above.

For a start, didn't find any of "their own" explanations at all. They have the translation of the sutra, and at times parts of Master Hua's own commentary. That's it. There are a few very little portions in the footnotes, but these are minor and helpful.

The vocab is much better. The first version, like many of BTTS early translations, was rather Chinglish, heavily reliant on literal translations from the Chinese. eg. binomes are always binomes, word for word. This new version avoids that to quite an extent.

I don't think that they are trying to mitigate statements from Master Hua. The group is still very very loyal to him and his teachings. You almost get the feeling that he was still physically alive at their centers.

Lastly, I don't think that their target audience is non-Buddhists at all. It is rather for rather high-end practitioners of the Mahayana.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:04 am

I just ordered the new translation. Thank you all for your input.

:namaste:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:26 pm

I've read and revisited this translation over the last months, and found it really really useful. I find myself sharing it with people not infrequently. I'm very grateful for the new translation.
Thanks to the help of generous sponsors (most of them from DharmaWheel), I'm doing a Vajra Armor (Dorje Kotrab) self-retreat this summer. May the merit be yours!
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Re: 2009 Surangama Sutra Translation

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:37 pm

I received my copy recently and just started reading. It's a beautiful text.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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