Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

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Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby vinodh » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:36 pm

Hi,

I am somewhat dissatisfied with Suzuki's translation of the Lankavatara Sutra.

Are there any good translations of the Lankavatara Sutra available other than Suzuki's.

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http://www.virtualvinodh.com

yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha
śālistamba sūtra

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:11 pm

Not in English. Strangely enough nobody yet tried to translate it again while we have half a dozen Lotus Sutra. So much for content vs. popularity.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby plwk » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:19 am

I am waiting for yours... :tongue:
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Kare » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:35 am

There is one in German, "Lankavatara-Sutra. Die makellose Wahrheit erschauen", translated from the Sanskrit by Karl-Heinz Golio.

http://www.amazon.de/Lankavatara-Sutra- ... 533&sr=8-1
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby kongmu » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:07 pm

Evidently, there is another English translation currently being prepared; however, I am a little unsure as to who is doing it, so I'm not confident in hazarding a guess. (I knew at one time....at least, I think I did...!)

I've inquired, and will pass along information when it comes in.

It will be good to see a contemporary English translation of this important text.

--Kongmu 釋空目
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Fa Dao » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:57 pm

Red Pine is coming out with a new translation. Not sure exactly when though. There is an English translation by Prof. Gishin Tokiwa of the 4 fascicle Song/Gunabhadra version but it is almost impossible to get a copy. I had to borrow the only copy that I know of in the US from Harvard University. Prof. Tokiwa's translation is good but all Sanskrit terms are translated into English terms that are not commonly seen. Good luck
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby kongmu » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:42 pm

Fa Dao wrote:Red Pine is coming out with a new translation. Not sure exactly when though.... Good luck


That's right...Red Pine.

Dan Lusthaus is helping a bit on the translation as well.

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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Fa Dao » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:22 pm

Red Pine IMHO is probably one of the best translators in our time. Unfortunately though from my understanding he is translating the 7 fascicle/Siksananda version instead of the 4 fascicle Song/Gunabhadra translation
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby kongmu » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:32 pm

Fa Dao wrote:Unfortunately though from my understanding he is translating the 7 fascicle/Siksananda version instead of the 4 fascicle Song/Gunabhadra translation


I'm ignorant of the differences between the two translations. From your comment, I assume that one is more widely used than the other.

From the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lankavatara_Sutra), it looks like the Chan/Zen school is more familiar with the Gunabhadra translation, as it was purportedly what Bodhidharma handed down; and I'm assuming this is what DT Suzuki used as well.

I'd be interested if you said more....
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Fa Dao » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:41 am

Suzuki actually used the nanjio/sanskrit/siksananda version. In the earlier Gunabhadra version, which Prof. Tokiwa believes is closer to what was the original, the 1st, 9th, and 10th chapters are missing. And yes, you are correct, the 4 fascicle version is what Bodhidharma passed along to Hui Ke along with his robe and bowl telling him "When I examine the land of China, it is clear that there is only this Sutra. If you rely on it to practice, you will be able to cross over the world".
Needless to say I have been somewhat obsessed with this for many years now. At one time I had even considered trying to translate it on my own with my limited Chinese skills. Unfortunately though even people who are from China have a difficult time with this due to the fact that when Gunabhadra translated it he used Sanskrit AND Chinese grammar, intermixed, with no apparent rhyme or reason. This is why the Empress Wu Zetian commissioned the master Siksananda to re-translate it.
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:17 am

Why would the 4 fascicle translation be better for being translated when it is not even a good Chinese translation? Just because it's supposed to be the text of a school that has almost zero relevance to Zen? The so called Lankavatara School was attached "posthumously" to the East Mountain School ("northern school") lineage. Also it was Gunabhadra who was first attributed with the position of the number one patriarch and Bodhidharma came only after him. Nevertheless, if there were translations of all the different editions it would be useful.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Fa Dao » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:46 pm

Astus,
although the 4 fascicle does have its flaws it is the oldest. During Prof. Tokiwa's research into all of the available editions he found errors in the Sanskrit editions. Not only did he create an English translation but he also restructured and created a Sanskrit version as well. He makes many compelling arguments in his book as to why he chose the 4 fascicle version for his translation and research, too many to list here. However, I agree that it would be nice to be able to study all of them side by side and do a contrast/compare.
Now as to your statement "...zero relevance to Zen"? My understanding is that the Lankavatara was the primary Sutra used in the early Chan/Lankavatara school up until the time of Hui Neng, the 6th Patriarch, at which time the Diamond Sutra overshadowed it. If you have read through the Lankavatara and are familiar with some of its core teachings you will see it quoted from numerous times by masters from the early Chan school. Prof. Jeffrey Broughton has done some wonderful research into this and other related subjects in his book "The Bodhidharma Anthology"
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:16 pm

Hongren's "Treatise on the Supreme Vehicle" (T48n2011) doesn't mention the Lankavatara Sutra at all, Daoxin's "The Fundamental Expedient Teachings for Calming the Mind Which Attains Enlightenment" (in T85n2837, i.e. Records of the Teachers and Students of the Lanka) only mentions the sutra once but doesn't quote from it (unlike from other scriptures), the complete Record of Lanka teachers, including preface, quotes the sutra 5x (compared to: Avatamsaka 8x, Lotus 5x, Vimalakirti 4x, Nirvana 3x, Dharmapada 2x) and refers to it 9x. In the Bodhidharma Anthology's translation part the Lankavatara Sutra is quoted only once. McRae explains it this way,

"Note, for example, the shift from Lankavatara Sutra to Diamond Sutra implied in the account (i.e., in the cancellation of the painting commission and Hongren's teaching to Huineng), which parallels the two texts' changes in popularity over the course of the eighth century. The position of the Lankavatara within Chan was always ambiguous, since the text was more revered in the abstract than actually studied. However, it was generally associated with ''Northern school" teachers. Shenhui was one of the first monks of his day, but by no means the only one, to favor the Diamond, which was becoming more widely popular throughout the Chinese tradition at the time. Hence, in the Platform Sutra the two texts roughly symbolize the Northern and Southern schools."
(Seeing Through Zen, p. 62)

Also, if you take the Records of Lanka Teachers, it lists Gunabhadra as the first and Bodhidharma as the second patriarch and Shenxiu is the sixth patriarch while Huineng is just a mediocre student of Hongren (among those who are "fit to be people's teachers, but will only be local figures"). It's just another thing that Daoxuan's story of Huike in his collection of biographies of eminent monks (T50n2060), where he is a Lankavatara teacher just as his students, has little connection to the later Zen tradition. Thus it is understood that it was Faru and other disciples in the "northern school" who made the connection between Bodhidharma and Huineng to Daoxin and Hongren. It also explains the lack of any reliable information on Sengcan.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Good Translation of Saddharma-Lankavatara-Sutra

Postby Fa Dao » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:30 pm

ok
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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