zixing or self-nature

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zixing or self-nature

Postby Will » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:14 pm

What Sanskrit term does zixing 自性 commonly translate - svabhava - or something else?

Just asking about the translation usage, not the understanding or meaning of zixing.
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: zixing or self-nature

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:48 am

Will wrote:What Sanskrit term does zixing 自性 commonly translate - svabhava - or something else?

Just asking about the translation usage, not the understanding or meaning of zixing.


Hi Will,

You are correct. The most common Sanskrit term that Zìxìng 自性 translates is svabhāva.
However, it can also be used to translate a couple of other Sanskrit terms. For example:

svabhāvatā, svabhāvatva, bhāvatā, prakṛti, prakṛtyā, svalakṣaṇa,
svarūpa, ātmaka, ātmakatā, ātman, ātmanbhāva, etc.

(See Akira HIRAKAWA, Buddhist Chinese-Sanskrit Dictionary, 1997; pp. 987f.)

Many of these terms are synonyms in some contexts, but possibly subtly different in others.
But to reiterate, Zìxìng 自性 does most commonly translate svabhāva.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: zixing or self-nature

Postby Will » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:12 am

Huifeng wrote:
Will wrote:What Sanskrit term does zixing 自性 commonly translate - svabhava - or something else?

Just asking about the translation usage, not the understanding or meaning of zixing.


Hi Will,

You are correct. The most common Sanskrit term that Zìxìng 自性 translates is svabhāva.
However, it can also be used to translate a couple of other Sanskrit terms. For example:

svabhāvatā, svabhāvatva, bhāvatā, prakṛti, prakṛtyā, svalakṣaṇa,
svarūpa, ātmaka, ātmakatā, ātman, ātmanbhāva, etc.

(See Akira HIRAKAWA, Buddhist Chinese-Sanskrit Dictionary, 1997; pp. 987f.)

Many of these terms are synonyms in some contexts, but possibly subtly different in others.
But to reiterate, Zìxìng 自性 does most commonly translate svabhāva.

~~ Huifeng


Much gratitude for your help Venerable :bow: :bow: :bow:
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: zixing or self-nature

Postby Will » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:19 am

But to pester you again... Are these two 'self-nature' translations from the end of the Platform Sutra both plain 'svabhava' or something else?

“Now, to say goodbye, I will leave you a verse called the ‘Self-Nature’s True Buddha Verse.’ People of the future who understand its meaning will see their original mind and realize the Buddha Way. The verse runs: The true-suchness self-nature is the true Buddha.
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: zixing or self-nature

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:04 am

Will wrote:But to pester you again... Are these two 'self-nature' translations from the end of the Platform Sutra both plain 'svabhava' or something else?

“Now, to say goodbye, I will leave you a verse called the ‘Self-Nature’s True Buddha Verse.’ People of the future who understand its meaning will see their original mind and realize the Buddha Way. The verse runs: The true-suchness self-nature is the true Buddha.


Hi Will,

The lines from the Altar Classic are 自性.

Personally I would be loathe to render them into anything in Sanskrit at all. Partly because it's a Chinese work, but also because I feel that by this point, the author(s) would have their own understanding of what 自性 means, that doesn't necessarily correspond to any given Sanskrit term or sense. It may have it's roots in some Sanskrit text, but it's a Chinese term, and should be read as such.

I find it curious, and dubious at times, when some force Sanskrit "back-translations" on certain Chinese terms. Sometimes it is not a problem, such as for Chinese transliterated terms, eg. bodhisattva, buddha. But this is not the case here.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: zixing or self-nature

Postby some1 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:41 am

By the way, there is a post in Chinese at http://www.douban.com/group/topic/31551858/ The original poster there mentioned this:咱們六祖是個打柴的文盲出身,他可不知道佛經中「自性」這個詞是對應於「svabhāva」 的譯文。。。六祖所言的「自性」,絕對不是般若、瑜珈部經論中所言的「自性」,這點一定要確實辨明。(i.e. the Sixth Patriarch HuiNeng was not a well educated person and he should be unaware of the Sanskrit terms ... "self-nature" coined by him, definitely carry a different meaning from "self-nature" mentioned in the earlier sutras.)
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Re: zixing or self-nature

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:54 am

some1 wrote:the Sixth Patriarch HuiNeng was not a well educated person and he should be unaware of the Sanskrit terms


Except that the writer(s) of the Platform Sutra were well educated, but it still doesn't have to do anything with Sanskrit.
"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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