A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby cdpatton » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:25 am

Will wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Will wrote:In Porter's defense, he avoided translating the Lanka for many years because he could not understand Gunabhadra's Chinese. It followed the Sanskrit syntax, which makes a profound text many times harder to understand, much less translate into English. The fact that only one other translation has appeared since 1932, suggests it was & is a very hard nut to crack.



If you don't know Tibetan or Sanskrit, then yes it could be.

The Tibetan version reads very straightfowardly though.


Good for Chos-grub, but he was translating from the Chinese of Gunabhadra, not the Sanskrit - why? - beats me. Also I wrote "Sanskrit syntax", but Porter wrote "Sanskrit word sequence" - if that makes any difference. A later Tibetan version by Anonymous is from the Sanskrit.


Gunabhadra's version represents an earlier version of the Lankavatara, before the Ravana story was added to the beginning (for example). I personally was glad to hear someone was translating it. It's still mysterious and disappointing to me that one would choose to translate Gunabhadra and then add-back the "missing" material from the later versions. It defeats the purpose of translating that version. But I don't have the book and anyway, the Lanka isn't the project I'm working on at the moment. So I can't say anything more about it. Just mystified by that bit of information.

Personally, I think (of his time period) Gunabhadra is a good, clear, accurate translator. Not difficult at all. And, really, it boils down to time period and dialect. When I find so-and-so hard to read (e.g. Chu Fa-hu), its because I don't know his Chinese very well. I wouldn't think *he* is the trouble. The Lanka may of just been too technical of a text to choose.

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Huifeng » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:32 am

Will wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Will wrote:In Porter's defense, he avoided translating the Lanka for many years because he could not understand Gunabhadra's Chinese. It followed the Sanskrit syntax, which makes a profound text many times harder to understand, much less translate into English. The fact that only one other translation has appeared since 1932, suggests it was & is a very hard nut to crack.



If you don't know Tibetan or Sanskrit, then yes it could be.

The Tibetan version reads very straightfowardly though.


Good for Chos-grub, but he was translating from the Chinese of Gunabhadra, not the Sanskrit - why? - beats me. Also I wrote "Sanskrit syntax", but Porter wrote "Sanskrit word sequence" - if that makes any difference. A later Tibetan version by Anonymous is from the Sanskrit.


To my mind, Gunabhadra's is not too difficult. Not exactly easy, but not as opaque as Lokaksema or the like. Moreover, with a number of translations to read synoptically (eg. just use the 楞伽會譯), along with the Sanskrit (and Tibetan too), things can easily be worked out. And that is not even considering the various commentaries, and so forth. It's isn't too difficult to render a given passage with this wealth of material. However, it's more just a matter of having all the time required to go through the entire text thoroughly.

While somewhere I recall that Porter says he reads Sanskrit, from what I've seen, I'm not entirely convinced. Sanskrit is a grammar heavy language. Before I studied Sanskrit, I already knew a lot of Sanskrit basic terms, but no grammar. Which meant that I couldn't really make sense of it, just guessing. And using Suzuki isn't really going to help much here.

And actually, no - Gunabhadra does not really appear to follow the Sanskrit word order or syntax from what I can see. eg.

utpādabhaṅgarahito lokaḥ khapuṣpasaṃnibhaḥ|
sadasannopalabdhas te prajñayā kṛpayā ca te|| Lank_2.1||
世間離生滅,  猶如虛空華
 不得有無,  而興大悲心

māyopamāḥ sarvadharmāḥ cittavijñānavarjitāḥ|
sadasannopalabdhas te prajñayā kṛpayā ca te|| Lank_2.2||
 一切法如幻,  遠離於心識
 不得有無,  而興大悲心

śāśvatocchedavarjyaśca lokaḥ svapnopamaḥ sadā|
sadasannopalabdhas te prajñayā kṛpayā ca te|| Lank_2.3||
 遠離於,  世間如夢
 不得有無,  而興大悲心

etc. you get the idea. (Hope it didn't psychedelic everyone out!) No. The Chinese word order is standard Chinese - SVO. And very standard word order / style for translation of Sutra, too. The Sanskrit is the usual, kind of SOV (skipping the instru. etc. etc.) So, don't know where this idea comes from at all, to be honest.

Though I think it great that Porter has made a translation - the more the better, and that he'll have the basic gist of the text, I have a few reservations. A while back, while this was being proof read, I heard from a real authority in this area who was involved in the process that it wasn't much of an improvement over Suzuki. I won't mention who this was, but if I have any credit on this Forum, I hope you can take my word for it. And, the philological issues like taking parts of one text and mixing them with parts of other texts is really just ... not on! Said authority also expressed serious concern about this too. (Okay, now I know that Conze did this for his "Large Sutra" translation, too, but ... now who is going to go out there and actually translate either the entire Astadasa- or Pancavimsati- now that he's done his hybrid philo-travesty thing? ... apart from fools like me, of course ... Again, useful, better than nothing, but it's a translation of "a text that never was", not really representing any actual text in existence.)

Still, it's easy to be a critic. Right now I'm getting some feedback from some of my own translation works, and it's that kind of petty stuff about a word here or a sentence there. But, I think, if the proof reader is so hot and sharp, why don't they just translate the whole thing? Exactly! Because picking apart a sentence or two is easy and has no responsibility. Sitting down to do the hard yards, or miles, or yojanas, of a complete translation ... that is certainly something that we should commend and appreciate.

And in the end, if we have any real complaints, the best way is to just get out there and do a better job ourselves!

</rant-off> grumble grumble .. .. ..

~~ Huifeng
Getting back to the translation job over the winter break.
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:43 am

Will wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Will wrote:In Porter's defense, he avoided translating the Lanka for many years because he could not understand Gunabhadra's Chinese. It followed the Sanskrit syntax, which makes a profound text many times harder to understand, much less translate into English. The fact that only one other translation has appeared since 1932, suggests it was & is a very hard nut to crack.



If you don't know Tibetan or Sanskrit, then yes it could be.

The Tibetan version reads very straightfowardly though.


Good for Chos-grub, but he was translating from the Chinese of Gunabhadra, not the Sanskrit - why? - beats me. Also I wrote "Sanskrit syntax", but Porter wrote "Sanskrit word sequence" - if that makes any difference. A later Tibetan version by Anonymous is from the Sanskrit.


'gos chos grub kyis rgya dpe las bsgyur te gtan la phab pa'o

"Gos Chodrup translated from the Indian text and established it."

rgya dpe - rgya gar gyi yi ge dpe cha,

rgya dpe -- a book of Indian letters

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Will » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:32 am

Will:
Good for Chos-grub, but he was translating from the Chinese of Gunabhadra, not the Sanskrit - why? - beats me. Also I wrote "Sanskrit syntax", but Porter wrote "Sanskrit word sequence" - if that makes any difference. A later Tibetan version by Anonymous is from the Sanskrit.


cdpatton wrote:Gunabhadra's version represents an earlier version of the Lankavatara, before the Ravana story was added to the beginning (for example). I personally was glad to hear someone was translating it. It's still mysterious and disappointing to me that one would choose to translate Gunabhadra and then add-back the "missing" material from the later versions. It defeats the purpose of translating that version. But I don't have the book and anyway, the Lanka isn't the project I'm working on at the moment. So I can't say anything more about it. Just mystified by that bit of information.

Personally, I think (of his time period) Gunabhadra is a good, clear, accurate translator. Not difficult at all. And, really, it boils down to time period and dialect. When I find so-and-so hard to read (e.g. Chu Fa-hu), its because I don't know his Chinese very well. I wouldn't think *he* is the trouble. The Lanka may of just been too technical of a text to choose.

Charlie.



Charlie,

Porter says that he put in the Ravana section because it was a good lead in to what followed. Besides he tells the reader that Gunabhadra did not have this section, so no harm no foul. I was interested to know that Dharmakshema did the first translation 50? years earlier, but it seems to have disappeared.

'gos chos grub kyis rgya dpe las bsgyur te gtan la phab pa'o

"Gos Chodrup translated from the Indian text and established it."

rgya dpe - rgya gar gyi yi ge dpe cha,

rgya dpe -- a book of Indian letters

N


Could this "book of Indian letters" be some sort of dictionary and he was just back translating from Chinese into Sanskrit, then Tibetan? Why say he then "established it"; why not simply write "he translated it."?
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: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:26 pm

Will wrote:Could this "book of Indian letters" be some sort of dictionary and he was just back translating from Chinese into Sanskrit, then Tibetan? Why say he then "established it"; why not simply write "he translated it."?


No,it cannot mean that.

It means that he had an Indian manuscript of the textin front of him. Established here means somthing like "edited it". Means he translated it and checked it for accuracy.

It is quite likely he had a Chinese version with him as well. Many early sutras translated into Tibetan were translations which triangulated between Sanskrit originals and Chinese translations.

For example, here is another colophon for the 'phags pa legs nyes kyi rgyu dang 'bras bu bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po'i mdo

zhus chen gyi lo tstsha ba bande chos grub kyis rgya gar dang rgya'i dpe las bsgyur cing zhus te gtan la phab pa/

The Zhuchen Lotsawa, the monk Chosdrup, translated it from an Indian and an Chinese text, edited it and established it.

Or here from one of the Ratnakuta sutras, the āryāyuṣmannandagarbhāvakrāntinirdeśa

lo tstsha ba 'gos chos grub kyis rgya nag gi dpe las bsgyur cing zhus te gtan la phab pa

Lotsawa Gos Chosdrup translated from a Chinese book, edited it, and established it.

I will grant you however, it seems that our Lotsawa Gos here is more comfortable with Chinese than Sanskrit. However, given than the Sanskrit was available to Gos at the time, and that he knew it, it seems unlikely he translated the Lanka directly from Chinese.

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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Thug4lyfe » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:31 pm

wat da?! Isn't it common knowledge dat da 5 Skandahs are:

Form
feeling
thought
volation
consciousness

Da Chinese word is 行, got no corrolation wid da word "memory". Is deez Red Pine homeboys doing it on his own as a hobby or with Monastic help?
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Will » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:51 am

Unusual use of terms in this sutra; such as "three continuities" or tri-samtati, which is another term equal to the "three poisons".

Also kenpen julai or primordial or ancient buddha may be unique to this sutra. It is from the Sanskrit maula; Suzuki read mauna, tathagatas of "silence". On the same page 37 "apparition buddhas" is mentioned.

The primordial buddhas cultivate the bliss of samadhi and do not speak about realms imagined by the mind.
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: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby cdpatton » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:51 am

Will wrote:Unusual use of terms in this sutra; such as "three continuities" or tri-samtati, which is another term equal to the "three poisons".

Also kenpen julai or primordial or ancient buddha may be unique to this sutra. It is from the Sanskrit maula; Suzuki read mauna, tathagatas of "silence". On the same page 37 "apparition buddhas" is mentioned.

The primordial buddhas cultivate the bliss of samadhi and do not speak about realms imagined by the mind.


Edgerton says maula should be read without the temporal meaning; i.e., fundamental or essential (not original or primordial). He cites Suzuki re: the Lanka's use of the term and doesn't like "original." Apparently, the term is used in the context of dhyana in other places, rather than applied to the Buddha -- which is peculiar to the Lanka. The Chinese does not really suggest primordial to me either. It literally means "root" and is usually translation for mula. Apparition is probably a translation of what is usually conjuration or illusion -- something magically created and not real (sanskrit nirmita or nirmana). So, basically, as a pair, they are terms for the mortal and immortal Buddha, nirmana-kaya vs. dharma-kaya, etc.

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Will » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:19 pm

Another example of atypical terms are those used for the three kayas, or so says Red Pine - dharmata buddha - nishyanda buddha - nirmita-nirmana buddha

These also correspond to the three natures of Yogacara:

Dharmata buddha establishes the dependent reality of personal realization, while the nishyanda buddha reveals the imaginary reality conjured by the mind, and the nirmita-nirmana buddha teaches the perfected reality of spiritual practice.


From the glossary, p 276
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: First Jarring Note

Postby Will » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:33 pm

That would be note 62, wherein Red Pine's irreverent "wit" coruscates: "This reminds me of Groundhog Day..."

Ravana is asking Buddha a question, a question he has asked before and will again. This seems to bug Red Pine, so he repeats what the sutra just said, with the addition of the Groundhog Day crack.

Repetition of questions does not mean the answers are always the same, even if they were, the audience will not be the same. Oftentimes the questioner knows pretty well the answer coming from Buddha, but asks for the benefit of others.

Why he felt the need to be cute with this pointless note #62, beats me, but it stinks up the sutra. Hopefully there will be no more.
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: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Aemilius » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:47 pm

Thug4lyfe wrote:wat da?! Isn't it common knowledge dat da 5 Skandahs are:

Form
feeling
thought
volation
consciousness

Da Chinese word is 行, got no corrolation wid da word "memory". Is deez Red Pine homeboys doing it on his own as a hobby or with Monastic help?


Hi!
Here is something about Red Pine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Pine_(author)
In his preface to his translation of Diamond Sutra there is some interesting data about his life. His Diamond Sutra is good, in my opinion. When I heard that he is translating the Lankavatara I felt reservations immediately, I thought that I'll stick to the old Suzuki translation, I'll let that new one be. Red Pine has done good work in the past.
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Jinzang » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:26 am

I felt reservations immediately, I thought that I'll stick to the old Suzuki translation


I am not an authority on Chinese translations, but some who are have strongly criticized Suzuki's translation.
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Noah » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:49 am

Now that is the truth. I have Suzuki's translation and was wondering just this- is there any reason to invest in this? Is it "better" in any way? If the translation fails to make plain (or more plainly) concepts or fails to capture the "feel" (or just-as-adequately does so) or essence of the sutra, then there is no draw to get this translation at all. The text is quite an undertaking and it is awesome to have more available so, Red Pine is a badass :D

so, ALL translation is going to have criticism, is there any draw for someone who may be just as well reading over and referencing his current Suzuki translation?

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Leo Rivers » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:31 pm

What I would really like is someone who reads Sanskrit to compare the Red Pine and the DT Suzuki versions giving a few examples of verses that exemplify their distinction as translators and illustrate their different perspectives. That would be maybe a little more useful than trying to decide which ones better. I'm thinking of the book “Buddhist phenomenology” by which discusses each of the verses of Vasubandhu's “Trimsika” by giving the translations of each by Paramartha and Hsuan-tsang as well as a Professor Robertson then comparing the approaches and implicit beliefs of each as they are revealed and their different ways of translating each verse. A few key verses by Red Pine and the DT Suzuki from the “Lankavara sutra” might do the trick. Many people, like Master Huifeng who provided the break down above, who've already commented in this thread, are very competent to do something like this.

I don't want to sound like I'm begging, of course. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not begging. :bow: wow
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:40 am

Leo, while that is quite possible to do, such an approach must keep in mind that what Sanskrit texts we now have are usually from later manuscripts (often from Nepal, and seldom older than a few centuries), whereas the earlier Chinese translations represent earlier versions of the text. If we don't keep this in mind, it's easy to simply assume that the Sanskrit is the "original" and more "authentic", and criticize the Chinese text (or it's translators) as a result. Things are not quite that simple.

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:22 am

I think the translation of 5 skhandas as memory in this Sutta has a point. Because basically this Sutta tell us everything comes out from this mind or the reflection of mind.

The disputes then comes from the reader side who interpret it.

If the reader has the view of yogacara, they may interpret it as shandka are absolute same with mind.

But, for madyamika reader, although in the Sutta it is written down as memory, they can see that how we misinterpret the reality, which is coming from this mind. It doesn't mean they agree that skhanda is equivalent to memory.

It is quite common that same writing is interpreted differently.

For Yogacara, madyamika position is wrong.
But for Madyamika, yogacara position is wrong.

So, at the end, it all depends on the reader side, how they interpret the Sutta.

If we translate word versus word, I guess that translation is correct. The reason is because basically that Sutta tell us everything comes from the Projection of the mind.

But if people then think everything is then equivalent to the mind, that is already different story.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Aemilius » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:02 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:I think the translation of 5 skhandas as memory in this Sutta has a point. Because basically this Sutta tell us everything comes out from this mind or the reflection of mind.

The disputes then comes from the reader side who interpret it.

If the reader has the view of yogacara, they may interpret it as shandka are absolute same with mind.

But, for madyamika reader, although in the Sutta it is written down as memory, they can see that how we misinterpret the reality, which is coming from this mind. It doesn't mean they agree that skhanda is equivalent to memory.

It is quite common that same writing is interpreted differently.

For Yogacara, madyamika position is wrong.
But for Madyamika, yogacara position is wrong.

So, at the end, it all depends on the reader side, how they interpret the Sutta.

If we translate word versus word, I guess that translation is correct. The reason is because basically that Sutta tell us everything comes from the Projection of the mind.

But if people then think everything is then equivalent to the mind, that is already different story.


They actually say that the 4th skandha is translated as "memory".

It is generally explained that all of the 51 mental events are included in the 4th skandha, samskara, except vedana and samñja, the 2. and 3. skandha.
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Aemilius » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:57 am

Vasubandhu says in his Discussion of the Five Aggregates (Pancha Skandha Prakarana) that alaya-vijñana belongs to the fifth aggregate, that of vijñana. Vasubandhu further says that alaya is citta, that is vijñana.

Stephen Anacker: Seven Works of Vasubandhu
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Leo Rivers » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:46 am

When concerning Name and Form, Naming being the act of the Subject as Form is the act of the Object

On the Form side is the Object as a presence made known

The response on the part of the observer or Subject side is a psychological 'Name(ing)', (like a christening or baptism by which an entity joined to a community)

by a anticipation of the intention of the person or object approaching - 'do we raise the drawbridge or sound a fanfare?'
by the location of the "incoming" on the mental map of our constructed mind-scape
by the contours of our welcome and intake based on president and attitude
and the ground of awareness on which this drama takes place.

The alaya-vijñana could be considered a "transcendentally embedded memory of karmic consequences" as distinct from "recollection" or "Mindfulness" as a workings of the mind.

There is a wonderful book edited by Janet Gyatso: Gyatso, J. ed., 1992. In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, State University of New York Press.
:reading:
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Postby Aemilius » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:31 am

I like the simplicity and clarity of Vasubandhu's explanations, as regards the five skandhas and the mind-only.

What do think of this piece in the Lankavatara sutra? It says that space has no prior existence. It is noteworthy because it touches the subject of how the world starts to evolve in the beginning of the aeon or the Great Kalpa. In this explanation of Lankavatara Sutra Buddha Shakyamuni says that there is no space before the other elements.

In Chapter Two XII, Suzuki's translation, page 48:
"But, Mahamati, space is form, and, Mahamati, as space penetrates into form, form is space. To establish the relation of supporting and supported, Mahamati, there obtains the separation of the two, space and form. Mahamati, when the elements begin to evolve [a world] they are distinguishable from another; they do not abide in space, and space is not non-existent in them."

It is somewhat in line with how Stephen Hawking, Patrick Moore and other scientific filosophers-astronomers conceive the beginning of the world period.
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