This text has been translated three times - once by Thomas Cleary as [a course in] Buddhist Yoga
and John Powers as The Wisdom of the Buddha
, and finally by Keenan in The Scripture on the Explication of Underlaying Meaning
The Cleary text is aimed at being very simple and straightforward, an effort to make it easy to assimilate text.
The Power's book is lovely having facing pages of Tibetan and English text and a full set of notes. In a review of John Powers book that you can find on the Internet by Tom Graham you can get the background picture of just how frustrating it is that a text this important as a background to both the Yogacara School and the view of the Tantras is almost completely overlooked by American Buddhists.
Both the Powers and the newest, excellent, translation by Keenan offer a both a crystal clarity of translation and insightful footnotes that make for a compact commentary on the text all by themselves.Key to Coordinating the available english translations:
I. The Samdhinirmochana Sutra as translated from The Tibetan of the sDe-dge bKa'-`gur:
1.) Powers, John. Wisdom of Buddha: The Samdhinirmochana Sutra
. Dharma Publishing, 1995
II. The Samdhinirmochana Sutra as translated from The Chinese of Hsuan-tsang (Taisho Vol. 16, Number 676):
2a.) Cleary, Thomas. Buddhist Yoga: A Comprehensive Course
. 1st ed. Shambhala, 1995. the same text republished in
2b.) Cleary, Classics of Buddhism and Zen
, Shambhalla, 2002
3.) Keenan, John P.. The Scripture on the Explication of Underlying Meaning
. Numata Center for Buddhist Translation & Research, 2000.
------------A Student's Guide to Using their version to Study the Samdhinirmochana Sutra
Keenan Chapter One Page 7
Cleary Chapter One Page 1 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 753]
[Powers Chapter One] Gambhirarrthasamdhinirmocana p.5
Keenan Chapter One Page 11
Cleary Chapter Two Page 5 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 755]
"Characteristics of Ultimate Truth"
[Powers Chapter Two] Dahrmodgata p. 25
[Powers Chapter Three] Suvisuddhamati p.35
[Powers Chapter Four] Subhuti p. 53
The first four chapters in Powers version focus on a discussion of the ultimate truth (paramartha).
Keenan Chapter Three Page 27
Cleary Chapter Three Page 19 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 766]
"Characteristics of Mind, Intellect, and Consciousness"
[Powers Chapter Five] Visalamati p.69
Keenan Chapter Four Page 31
Cleary Chapter Four p. 23 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 769]
"Characteristics of All Phenomena"
[Powers Chapter Six] Gunakara p.82
The fifth and sixth chapters discuss the concept of alayavijñana or "storehouse consciousness" and the three characteristics of phenomena (trilak'a'a), which refer to the incomplete and absolute truth of various phenomena.
Keenan Chapter Five Page 35
Cleary Chapter Five Page 27 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 772]
[Powers Chapter Seven] Paramarthasamudgata p.95
The seventh chapter is mainly concerned with outlining principles of Buddhist HERMENEUTICS
Keenan Chapter Six Page 51
Cleary Chapter Six Page 43 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 784]
[Powers Chapter Eight] Maitreya p. 151
The eighth chapter focuses on MEDITATION theory, (Yoga) and practice.
Keenan Chapter Seven Page 51
Cleary Chapter Seven Page 69 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 805]
[Chapter Nine] Avalokite'vara p. 221
"The Transcendent Way of the Sages"
The ninth chapter describes the Bodhisattva PATH (Marga).
Keenan Chapter Eight Page 99
Cleary Chapter Eight - Page 91 [ Classics Vol. 5 - p. 822]
"Deeds of the Enlightened "
Powers [Chapter Ten] Mañju'r' page 275
The final chapter is concerned with the characteristics of Buddhahood, the culmination of the practices the text describes.