New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Sherlock » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:14 pm

I came across Chökyi Gyatso Translation Committee's new translation of Louis de La Vallée Poussin's Abhidharmakośa-Bhāṣya which apparently includes updated notes by Gelong Lodrö Sangpo. Has anyone here read it? It's quite a bit cheaper than the Pruden translation.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Greg » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:27 pm

Sherlock wrote:I came across Chökyi Gyatso Translation Committee's new translation of Louis de La Vallée Poussin's Abhidharmakośa-Bhāṣya which apparently includes updated notes by Gelong Lodrö Sangpo. Has anyone here read it? It's quite a bit cheaper than the Pruden translation.


Hopefully someone will do a direct Sanskrit > English version. I understand that is no small task. But a second detour through an early-20th century French version? It is hard to believe that doesn't introduce significant distortions.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:16 pm

Greg wrote:Hopefully someone will do a direct Sanskrit > English version.


That would be nice.

Greg wrote:But a second detour through an early-20th century French version? It is hard to believe that doesn't introduce significant distortions.


I've only seen some extracts, but it seems a sound enough. English is my first language, French a second, but what I've read seems good. English -> French should not distort, in and of itself. Along with added notes and materials, it seems worth it for non-French speakers. If I had the funds, I would purchase.

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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:13 am

Sherlock wrote:I came across Chökyi Gyatso Translation Committee's new translation of Louis de La Vallée Poussin's Abhidharmakośa-Bhāṣya which apparently includes updated notes by Gelong Lodrö Sangpo. Has anyone here read it? It's quite a bit cheaper than the Pruden translation.


I have copies of all four volumes already, from Bhante Dhammajoti in HK who wrote Ven. Sangpo's introduction (Ven. Sangpo had earlier helped Bhante with the publication of the former's Sarvastivada Abhidharma book).

Alas, though, haven't had time to get into it yet. I'm already quite used to referencing Pruden's / Poussin's English when need be, and it may take me a while to rehabituate myself to this newer version. What little I did check out looked very good, however.

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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Greg » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:55 pm

viniketa wrote:
Greg wrote:Hopefully someone will do a direct Sanskrit > English version.


That would be nice.

Greg wrote:But a second detour through an early-20th century French version? It is hard to believe that doesn't introduce significant distortions.


I've only seen some extracts, but it seems a sound enough. English is my first language, French a second, but what I've read seems good. English -> French should not distort, in and of itself. Along with added notes and materials, it seems worth it for non-French speakers. If I had the funds, I would purchase.

:namaste:


True enough, but with all due respect to Poussin his version was done a long time ago, before Buddhist studies had developed much at all.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Huifeng » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:58 am

Not to mention before they found a Sanskrit manuscript...

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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:03 am

Huifeng wrote:Not to mention before they found a Sanskrit manuscript...

~~ Huifeng

Oh! So that's why we've translated it from the French. I always wondered about that.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Indrajala » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:38 am

tomamundsen wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Not to mention before they found a Sanskrit manuscript...

~~ Huifeng

Oh! So that's why we've translated it from the French. I always wondered about that.


We also have the ancient translations by Paramartha and Xuanzang. The former is, in my mind, easier to read than the latter, though Xuanzang disagreed and translated it again. I believe there is also a Tibetan translation(s).

With all these plus the Sanskrit and commentaries a translator would have ample resources at hand.

It would just be a long long project. :smile:
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Huifeng » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:28 am

tomamundsen wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Not to mention before they found a Sanskrit manuscript...

~~ Huifeng

Oh! So that's why we've translated it from the French. I always wondered about that.


Poussin used Xuanzang's Chinese, with reference to other materials (eg. Paramartha's Chinese and the Tibetan), and then Pruden went from French to English. Only later did modern scholars find a Sanskrit text, previously thought lost.

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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Nikolay » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:19 am

I actually have an Abhidharmakosa translation directly from Sanskrit. But it is from Sanskrit to Russian ;)
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:23 pm

mirage wrote:I actually have an Abhidharmakosa translation directly from Sanskrit. But it is from Sanskrit to Russian ;)


Russian Buddhist studies seems to be a whole other realm that is inaccessible to most of the rest of the world.

Japanese Buddhist studies is a well of resources for the western world and some of it gets translated into English as well.

Russian stuff not so much.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Nikolay » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:46 pm

Huseng wrote:
mirage wrote:I actually have an Abhidharmakosa translation directly from Sanskrit. But it is from Sanskrit to Russian ;)


Russian Buddhist studies seems to be a whole other realm that is inaccessible to most of the rest of the world.

Japanese Buddhist studies is a well of resources for the western world and some of it gets translated into English as well.

Russian stuff not so much.

Yes, I imagine stuff from Soviet times did not get translated a lot. Currently Buddhist studies are on decline, like everything else in Russia. Good works still get published, but they are almost entirely written by the remaining Soviet academics.

Works by Evgeny Torchinov probably were never translated into English, for example. I'm not sure.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:01 pm

mirage wrote:Yes, I imagine stuff from Soviet times did not get translated a lot. Currently Buddhist studies are on decline, like everything else in Russia. Good works still get published, but they are almost entirely written by the remaining Soviet academics.

Works by Evgeny Torchinov probably were never translated into English, for example. I'm not sure.


I think part of the problem right now in Buddhist Studies is the law of diminishing returns.

Most of the major work has been covered and a lot of research now is just rehashing old ideas with updated research and so on. There is plenty of translation work to do, but that's only a part of the field. There are still unexplored areas (Tangut or Khotanese Buddhism?), but honestly I think so much of the primary and secondary strata have been covered that there is less need for extensive scholarship.

The declining global economy is reflected in academia where funding is slashed everywhere and humanities is crumbling.

I mean someone could translate the Abhidharma-kosa into English from Sanskrit, but then we already have two Abhidharma-kosa editions in English now, so it would again in the same vein just be an update rather than ground breaking new work. How much would it contribute to the greater field in relate to the existing translations?

Buddhist Studies might have matured to the point that we can make practical application of it and do practical Buddhology rather than surgical Buddhist Studies. This is already happening.
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Nikolay » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:11 pm

Huseng wrote:
mirage wrote:Yes, I imagine stuff from Soviet times did not get translated a lot. Currently Buddhist studies are on decline, like everything else in Russia. Good works still get published, but they are almost entirely written by the remaining Soviet academics.

Works by Evgeny Torchinov probably were never translated into English, for example. I'm not sure.


I think part of the problem right now in Buddhist Studies is the law of diminishing returns.

Most of the major work has been covered and a lot of research now is just rehashing old ideas with updated research and so on. There is plenty of translation work to do, but that's only a part of the field. There are still unexplored areas (Tangut or Khotanese Buddhism?), but honestly I think so much of the primary and secondary strata have been covered that there is less need for extensive scholarship.

The declining global economy is reflected in academia where funding is slashed everywhere and humanities is crumbling.

I mean someone could translate the Abhidharma-kosa into English from Sanskrit, but then we already have two Abhidharma-kosa editions in English now, so it would again in the same vein just be an update rather than ground breaking new work. How much would it contribute to the greater field in relate to the existing translations?

Buddhist Studies might have matured to the point that we can make practical application of it and do practical Buddhology rather than surgical Buddhist Studies. This is already happening.

This may be a concern in the English-speaking world, but in Russia it does not even come to this, simply because science as a whole is slowly but surely dying here, humanities first of all, of course. Humanities in Soviet Union were often in a sorry state because of ideological pressure, but there was still lots of good work done. In modern Russia it is simply inertia. Once all Soviet-trained people retire, Russia will probably rank somewhere close to Nigeria on the scientific publications scale.

I am curious, what do you mean by "Buddhology", especially "practical" one? I probably miss the linguistic difference. In Russian, a Buddhologist (буддолог) is simply the person engaged in Buddhist Studies (as far as I understand it).
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Re: New translation of Poussin's Abhidharmakosa

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:19 pm

mirage wrote:I am curious, what do you mean by "Buddhology", especially "practical" one? I probably miss the linguistic difference. In Russian, a Buddhologist (буддолог) is simply the person engaged in Buddhist Studies (as far as I understand it).


I think of Buddhology like Theology: a practical interpretation of scriptures and various religious ideas.

Buddhist Studies, on the other hand, is the surgical and scientific analysis of Buddhist texts and history from an objective perspective with minimal value judgements.

So, the surgical analysis of textual layers in the Pali canon for instance is an example of the latter while detailing the value of the Buddha's teachings and how you can change your life for the better with them is the former.
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