I had an older thread in which I hashed over some of this, but I’ve learn some since then and I think a new discussion might be in order.
I would like to start with a presentation of an amateur translation of a section of the Paccayasutta parallel at T99.84b12/SA296. This translation is going to differ from the one by (Ven? I can’t figure out if he’s a monk or not) Choong Mun-Keat. I will discuss what’s differing between the established translation (which seems interpret the Chinese according to the Pāli, a sensible practice tbh) and (my) confusion regarding these seemingly very divergent recensions (well, it’s really just an plural at an odd place) of Buddhavacana after this:
Like this I heard:
One time, the Buddha dwelt at Rājagṛha in the bamboo garden.
At that time, the Bhagavān said to the myriad monks: "I now shall speak of the pratītyasamutpāda dharma and the pratītyasamutpannā dharmas.
And what is the pratītyasamutpāda dharma? It is ‘this is and therefore that is,’ it is ‘because of ignorance there are the activities, because of the activities, [there is] consciousness, and so on like this [to] the great aggregated mass of suffering.’
And what are the pratītyasamutpannā dharmas? They are ignorance, the activities, (etc.) Whether a Buddha arises in the world or if one doesn’t arise, these dharmas are permanently abiding, [they are] dharmas abiding as dharma-constituent (dhātu). The Tathāgata himself is that which has become aware of this, has attained samyaksaṁbodhi, and, for men, speaks of it, explains it, demonstrates it, and sends it out. It is because of ignorance there are the activities, and so on, dependently arisen (pratītyasamutpannā), there is age and death.
Whether a Buddha arises in the world or if one doesn’t arise, these dharmas are permanently abiding, are dharmas abiding as dharma-constituent. The Tathāgata himself is that which has become aware of this, has attained samyaksaṁbodhi, and, for men, speaks of it, explains it, demonstrates it, and sends it out. It is because of birth there is age, sickness, death, sadness, rage, and angst.
These pluralistic and myriad dharmas are dharmas abiding as dharmas of emptiness, are dharmas of suchness, are dharmas in their manner, are dharmas not contrary to suchness, are dharmas no different than suchness, are truth and reality without error. Like this, subordinated to pratītyasamutpāda, there are the pratītyasamutpannā dharmas. They are ignorance, the activities, consciousness, name-and-form, the six entrance bases, touching, feeling, craving, clinging, being, birth, age, sickness, death, sadness, rage, angst; these are called the pratītyasamutpannā dharmas.
I would like to tag @cdpatton and Ven @sujato should more of my daft mediocrity humour them. With 此等諸法, the translator seems to be really, really, stressing the plurality of these 法, which are clearly the pratītyasamutpannā dharmāḥ from the Sanskrit recension at SF 163 which is paṭiccasamuppanne ca dhamme in Pāli. The plurality is marked so thoroughly (a twofold signification, if you will), that it makes me wonder how the translator was addressing the slew of 法+X compounds that follow it on occasion. Choong Mun-Keat renders these in the singular, which matches the extant Indic manuscripts, it seems.
In addition, pratītyasamutpāda itself is being described as a dharma, something that never happens in either the Pāli or Sanskrit.
Corresponding to the tricky section in Chinese with 法住法界, we have something in the Sanskrit that mostly matches the gist of the Pāli, iti yātra dharmatā dharmasthititā dharmaniyāmatā dharmayathātathā avitathatā ananyathā bhūtaṃ satyatā tattvatā yāthātathā aviparītatā aviparyastatā idaṃpratyayatā pratītyasamutpādānulomatā ayam ucyate pratītyasamutpādaḥ. There is no need to think this applies to a 此等諸法, is there? Certainly, it has dharmatā, which I believe the Pāli lacks. Dharmatā could be 法如, but it is appearing in a different position in the sentence and it is unclear (to me at least) if 法如 would have necessarily meant dharmatā at this stage of Chinese translation.
There is no plurality spoken of, as far as I can see, in the Pāli or Sanskrit, that is dharmasthititā dharmaniyāmatā dharmayathātathā. The plurality is marked as so in the Chinese (Sarvāstivāda) recension.
Basically, in closing, in the Pāli & Sanskrit, pratītyasamutpāda is the element (I believe the Pāli has dhātu) that is dharmasthititā dharmaniyāmatā dharmayathātathā. In Chinese, the pratītyasamutpannā dharmāḥ are dharmasthititā dharmaniyāmatā dharmayathātathā, possibly dharmasthititā dharmanairātmyatā dharmayathātathā. The dharmāḥ vs the dharma.
Interesting, no? I apologize if people recognize this line of inquiry from years ago, I’m just better able to explain it now.
As usual, if there are silly mistakes in the rendering above, I am quite eager for correction.