Dharma Pearls Updates

If you are interested to know . The text consisting of 33 chapters overall . This text basic format appear to resemble of the Dharmaskandha-sastra and Vibhaṅga . But comparing to Dharmaskandha-sastra it lacks of Sotāpattivagga、aveccaparādavagga
、ārya-vaṃśavagga . If compare to pakaraṇa it appear to without cattāro avecca-ppasādā、cattāro ariya-vamsā . In comparing to Vibhanga then dhamma-hadaya are not in the list . One can see many similarity of the contents of the suttas (of pali canon) with Śāripūtrābhidharma .

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Last month, I added three new Dīrgha Āgama translations, a couple sutras from the Saṃyukta Āgama, and I also began work on the Chinese Dharmapāda, posting a couple commentary stories found in T211 for the first chapter. A quick list of the additions can be found on the What’s New page at Dharma Pearls.

DĀ 11 Increasing One by One

This mātṛkā sutra is essentially the Daśottara abbreviated to half it’s size. A direct parallel doesn’t exist in Pali, but the format, questions, and sets of dharmas all conform to both DĀ 10 and DN 34. It’s interesting that the five questions that are asked for each set of lists are the first four and the last question asked in the Daśottara, which is a pattern I see fairly often with lists that appear to have grown at some point.

Beyond that, there’s nothing especially remarkable other than the occasional differences between DĀ 10/11 and DN 34, which aren’t many. One thing I do note is that DN 34 tends to add more descriptions and explanations for the lists than DĀ 10/11, suggesting it may be a bit later in composition. Buddhist texts tended to get larger in that way over time.

DĀ 12 Three Categories

This is another DĀ sutra without a direct parallel in DN. It’s a brief mātṛkā sutra that presents lists of 1-10 items in three categories: Things leading to bad destinies, things leading to good destinies, and things leading to Nirvāṇa.

DĀ 22 Śroṇatāṇḍya

This sutra is a direct parallel to DN 4. The two sutras match each other closely in overall meaning and story events. As is usual, the details differ a bit when compared closely. For example, the 11 qualities of Śroṇatāṇḍya match DN 4 in both content and order for about 7 items, and there’s two/three that are different towards the end. The Pali version also tends to “put down” or cast the priest in a more negative light than DĀ does, which is also a pattern I’ve seen comparing other parallels like the Lohitya and Fruits of the Ascetic Sutras.

SĀ 25.57 Crossing the Flood

SĀ2 180 Crossing the Flood

These are two direct parallels to SN 1.1. What’s perhaps most surprising about the parallels to this sutra is that it’s the Buddha’s answer that varies across all of them. The Pali has him expressing the middle way, but the other parallels say other things like “I didn’t try too hard” or “I wasn’t too lax.” The Pali seems like a compromise between them.

Also, for those who are curious, SĀ2 is thought to be a partial translation of the Kāśyapīya Saṃyukta Āgama. It’s saṃyuktas are arranged very closely with SĀ, but like SN it has the Sagatha division first. Because it’s saṃyuktas otherwise match SĀ closely, it was another way Yinshun confirmed how SĀ should be reordered.

Dvs 1.1 Śakra Attains Stream Entry

Dvs 1.2 King Prasenajit’s Queen

Finally, I translated the first two stories found in T211 Dharma Verse Stories. As I began to work on the first chapter of the Chinese Dharmapāda (T210), I decided to translate the stories in T211 as I edit and check myself, so they’ll be released before the actual Dharmapāda chapters.

What’s Coming in March?

More of the same is planned. I’ve begun working on a translation of the Parinirvāṇa Sutra (DĀ 2), but it will take until April to complete and release. In the meantime, I’ll be translating other short DĀ sutras as well and continuing to work on the Dharmapāda as time allows.

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It’s interesting that in DA 11 the Buddha is giving the teaching. In DN 34 it’s Sariputta.

Thanks for all your work, Charles!

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Thank you very much.

Fyi, DA 11 has been translated by Analayo too in here:

Three Chinese Dīrgha-āgama Discourses Without Parallels

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Analayo’s translation are definitely better than the BDK translation of DA, which adds material and omits quite often. I would say, though, that aside from the Lohitya and Fruits of the Ascetics sutras (which I still need to edit), these translations I’m publishing are based on readings from the Japanese translation that was made by a team of scholars in the 90s and early 2000s. So, when my readings differ from his (like “achieved” instead of “greatly successful” in DA 11), it’s not just my opinion. In fact, Analayo recommended that we use the Japanese translation as a guide, and I’m glad I am. Dr. Karashima, who was on the team that produced it, was going to head up an English translation with the Agama Studies Group before he passed away (which left the project stalled last I knew).

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How would you say your approach differs from Analayo’s? I get the feeling that you prefer to translate the Chinese as is, whereas Analayo tries to get at the Indic terms that the Chinese texts are translating and translates that way.

Well, the trouble for me is how exactly were the Indic terms understood by the translators who produced the Chinese? Analayo generally uses Pali interpretations, and there’s nothing wrong with that; but it sometimes ignores the Chinese readings that differ. A good example is the term prahāṇa (P. pradhāna), which is most often translated in Chinese as “to end/cease” not “exertion” or “effort.” This gets awkward for the four right efforts; in Chinese, they are either “methods” or “eliminations.”

The question becomes, do we ignore this and translate the Chinese as though it were Pali in modern times, or do we preserve these different readings. The Japanese translators agreed with my method. I mean, what’s really the point of translating these texts if we sidestep the differences?

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Yes I agree. There’s no way to “restore” the original, so the best thing to do is to translate what we have.

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Yeah, and there’s also a more academic issue that I think the Sarvastivada texts interpret terms differently than Pali commentators. I’ve written a couple essays about that when I notice it. So, then translating the Madhyama Agama like it’s Pali kind of erases the Sarvastivada readings. That’s really my only criticism of Analayo’s translations. Overall, they are accurate and get the gist across to the reader. But if a reader cares about these issues, they won’t know it’s happening.

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Yes, the Dirgha Agama project is suspended till now (afaik). But they don’t want to include the translation of DA 30 which is no parallel in Pali. As you rightly pointed out, the BDK translation of Dirgha Agama is poorly translated.

And I hope you can also translate the DA 30 (its title is “Lokaprajnati Sutra” as rendered by some) which is about Buddhist cosmology and corresponded with the Abhidharmakosabhasya chapter on analysis of the world. But it’s a long and massive text, the longest sutra of all sutras in Chinese Agamas :grin:

Me, too! If we stick to DA this year, I should. It was apparently a popular sutra, as there are three other translations in Chinese.

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Hi cd , mind provide the chinese for above example you saids ? Thks

Sure. The four right “efforts” are translated as 四正斷 in the Madhyama and Samyukta; only a couple times is it translated as 四正勤 (so the reading of effort wasn’t unknown, but rare). In the Dirgha Agama and the Ekottarika it’s translated also as 四意斷. There’s lots of passages; a text search will find them.

In DA 11, there’s another example I’ll quote:

[0057c27] 「又有五成法、五修法、五覺法、五滅法、五證法。云何五成法?謂五滅盡支:一者信佛、如來、至真,十號具足。二者無病,身常安隱。三者質直無有諛諂,真趣如來涅槃徑路。四者專心不亂,諷誦不忘。五者善於觀察法之起滅,以賢聖行盡於苦本。云何五修法?謂五根:信根、精進根、念根、定根、慧根。云何五覺法?謂五受陰:色受陰,受、想、行、識受陰。云何五滅法?謂五蓋:貪欲蓋、瞋恚蓋、睡眠蓋、掉戱蓋、疑蓋。云何五證法?謂五無學聚:無學戒聚、無學定聚、慧聚、解脫聚、解脫知見聚。

What I translate as the five factors of complete cessation is 五滅盡支. In the Pali Dasuttara sutta, the parallel is pañca padhāniyaṅgāni, which Sujato translates as “five factors that support meditation” because the Pali reading of padhāniya is “connected with exertion” or “to be striven for”. The Chinese reads what’s probably prahāṇ- as “complete cessation.”

It’s the same in Tibetan translation, too, according to Edgerton. It’s interpreted as “getting rid of, abandonment” instead of exertion or effort.

Re: what I was saying about Analayo, he translates that term as “five limbs of exertion,” though he does point out the Chinese in a footnote without explaining that he’s changed it. I guess he assumes his audience knows.

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In MĀ 146, the first precept is: “He parts with killing, stops killing, and he discards blades and bludgeons. With conscience and modesty and with kindness and compassion, he’s beneficial to all living things, even insects and worms.”

In MN 27 it’s “Once they’ve gone forth, they take up the training and livelihood of the mendicants. They give up killing living creatures, renouncing the rod and the sword. They’re scrupulous and kind, living full of compassion for all living beings.”

I’ve often wondered why, when the Agamas express the first precept, that they include insects and the Pali does not. Any insight into why?

Thank you!

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There was a general tendency to add expressions that clarify or reiterate terms in Buddhist texts, which is the main reason they grew in size as the centuries went by. I imagine sometimes someone would ask, “But what about insects or worms I might step on?” So then that gets inserted to make it clear, yes, even crawling things you might step on. It seems to often be to resolve ambiguities.

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It’s time again for the monthly update. Since the beginning of March, I’ve added two new translations from the Dīrgha Āgama, one from the Madhyama Āgama, and 9 more sutras from the Saṃyukta Āgama. I’ve also re-edited MĀ 1-10 and all my current translations and drafts for SĀ 1 (41 sutras) for release on SuttaCentral.

The plan for April is to translate one short Dīrgha Āgama sutra per week while I edit the Ambāṣṭha Sutra (DĀ 20) and continue that pace of ~3 sutras a month. I’ll also go back and forth between the other three Āgamas, editing previously released translations and drafts for SuttaCentral.

New Dīrgha Āgama Translations

DĀ 4 Janavṛṣabha (DN 18)

This mythological sutra picks up a scene from the Parinirvāṇa Sutra in which Ananda asks the Buddha to describe the fates of Buddhist followers of Magadha who had passed away, especially King Bimbisāra. After Ānanda asks about this, the Buddha has an encounter with a yakṣa spirit named Janavṛṣabha (P. Janavasabha) who tells the Buddha a number of stories about the goings-on in the heavens. Nestled in among the stories, he notes the rebirths of Magadha followers of the Buddha.

Comparing this version of the sutra with the Pali carefully yields a good case study of the way ancient stories varied from source to source, sharing most of the important parts but often putting them in the mouths of different characters or rearranging their order.

DĀ 24 Dhruva (DN 11)

Despite the main character being named differently, this is a close parallel to the Kevaddha Sutta in the Dīgha Nikāya. The story follows the Pali rendition fairly closely, with most of the variations being minor details like names. One notable difference is that the monk who goes on a tour of the heavens looking for a god with knowledge of cessation is identified as the disciple Aśvajit (P. Assaji). The famous verses at the end are also a bit more straightforward.

Madhyama Āgama Translations

MĀ 8 Seven Suns (AN 7.66)

When I put my translations of MA 1-10 through a review and update, I also cleaned up a draft of MA 8 and released it, completing the first chapter of the Madhyama. Like the other sutras in the chapter, it’s parallel is found in AN 7 and centers around a parable about the impermanence of even things like oceans, mountains, and world. In it, the Buddha describes what happens when 1-7 suns arise in the world.

For science fiction fans out there, this sutra sounds very similar to the MMO game depicted in Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, though there’s only three suns in that story.

Saṃyukta Āgama Translations

SĀ 1.19 Enjoyment (SN 22.28)
SĀ 1.20 Enjoyment (2) (SN 22.27)

These two sutras present the argument that the five aggregates can be pleasurable and painful. Because they are pleasurable, sentient beings become attached to them, but because they are also painful, sentient beings become disillusioned with them.

SĀ 1.21 Tendencies (SN 22.35-36)
SĀ 1.22 Proliferation (SN 22.35-36)

These two sutras present some difficulties in translating them, mainly because of confusion about the meaning of words that appear to be shared between the Chinese and Pali sutras. While this is usually helpful, in this case it causes confusion because modern Pali dictionaries define the terms differently that older sources like these Chinese translations and Theravada commentaries. I posted a brief article about the translation issues.

SĀ 1.153 Five Turns (SN 22.56)

This is one of the SĀ/SN sutras that defines the five aggregates in more specific terms.

SĀ 1.159 Faithful (SN 22.146)
SĀ 1.160 Faithful (2) (SN 22.147)

In these two sutras, the Buddha says that new renunciates should focus on becoming disillusioned with the five aggregates in order become liberated from them.

SĀ 1.161 Ānanda (SN 22.37)
SĀ 1.163 What’s Destroyed (SN 22.32)

These two sutras make the point that the problem of impermanence, i.e. the arising and ceasing of things, lies with the five aggregates, and it’s escaped by completely ceasing them.

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Keep doing the good work. Hats off to you.

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Since my last update, I’ve added two Dīrgha Āgama and 16 Saṃyukta Āgama translations to Dharma Pearls. This brings the DĀ translation project up to 10 sutras complete and 13% of DĀ by length (~20 of 149 pages of Taisho). For the Saṃyukta Āgama, I’m continuing to edit drafted sutras, releasing them as I go.

In addition to these new translations, I’ve also created an initial index table of the Ekôttarika Āgama at the Dharma Pearls wiki site. Aside from copying over the Pali parallels, I also incorporated the existing uddāna verses and individual fascicles to help visualization the internal evidence we have of how EĀ was apparently redacted after the initial translation, which seems to have added about 10 fascicles of new material.

Below are the translations that were added last month:

DĀ 8 Sandhāna (DN 25)

This version of DN 25 doesn’t vary in any significant way from the Pali version. One thing to notice, which is evident in other DĀ sutras about non-Buddhists, is that the wanderers aren’t cast in such a bad light as they are in the Pali version. For another good example of this, compare the depiction of Ajātaśatru in DĀ 27 to DN 2.

DĀ 13 The Great Method of Conditionality (DN 15)

This sutra follows the Pali text fairly closely. The main differences are that the introduction initially presents the classic 12 links of dependent origination that begin with ignorance and action. As the discourse continues, however, it covers the same ten links that are described in the Pali version. It also has the list in the middle that traces craving as the condition for conflict and violence, which segues into a continuation of the ten links.

After the presentation of dependent origination, DĀ 13 explicitly treats the two types of arhats, implying that one can be liberated through the wisdom developed by dependent origination. This segues into the discussion of different views about self, which isn’t as clear in the discourse in the Pali version. It then ends with the same discussion of the abodes of consciousness and the eight liberations.

SĀ 2.1 Impermanent (SN 35.155-157)
SĀ 2.2 Painful (SN 35.155-157)
SĀ 2.3 Empty (SN 35.155-157)
SĀ 2.4 Not Self (SN 35.155-157)
SĀ 2.5 Correctly Contemplated (SN 35.158-159)
SĀ 2.6 Not Knowing (SN 35.26-27)
SĀ 2.7 Not Knowing (2)
SĀ 2.8 Not Knowing (3)

These sutras are very similar to SĀ 1.1-8, using the same templates applied to the six sense fields instead of the five aggregates. This parallelism is missing from the two Pali saṃyuttas, but parallels do exist for some of these sutras in SN 35.

SĀ 2.123 Samṛddhi (SN 35.68)
SĀ 2.124 Samṛddhi (2) (SN 35.66)
SĀ 2.125 Samṛddhi (3) (SN 35.65)
SĀ 2.126 Samṛddhi (4) (SN 35.82)
SĀ 2.127 Samṛddhi (5) (SN 35.85)

This group of sutras all feature a monk named Samṛddhi who asks the Buddha about the meaning of different expressions such as the world, ‘the world is empty,’ sentient beings, and Māra.

SĀ 2.128 The World (~SN 12.44)
SĀ 2.129 The End of the World (SN 35.116)

These sutras are interesting in that they confirm the experiential vs. ontological view of the world in Buddhist thinking.

SĀ 2.130 Having a Teacher and a Disciple (SN 35.151)

This sutra uses a metaphor of having a teacher or students who live nearby (presumably referring to the social irritations that can bring) as being similar to being affected by sensory experiences that give rise to the three poisons and abiding in them.

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Hi, everyone. I skipped a month for these updates, largely because the number of texts I’m releasing in a given month will be going down sharply as I focus on larger Dīrgha Āgama sutras. At this point, I’ve now released English translations of 15 DĀ sutras (out of 30), which brings the project to about 25% completed by length. (Three large DĀ sutras make up about 45% of the entire Āgama.)

I’m expecting this month and next to be the busiest in terms of releasing sutra translations. Going into the fall, things will slow down as I soldier through larger sutras like the Parinirvāṇa and Mahâvadāna sutras. I’m also planning to begin the work of adding these new translations to SuttaCentral in the Fall or Winter when I’m working on those larger projects.

For those who are unaware, these new translations are based both on my own studies of the text and the meticulous scholarship that produced the Japanese translation of DĀ. So, it’s a much more faithful translation than others that are currently available in English. I do occasionally disagree with the Japanese reading now and again, but on the whole it’s been a big help to have on hand.

Below are the translations that have been added at Dharma Pearls since May:

DĀ 5 Smaller Teaching on Origination [DN 27]
DĀ 6 The Noble Wheel-Turning King’s Cultivation [DN 26]
DĀ 9 The Gathered Saṅgha [DN 33]
DĀ 16 Sujata [DN 31]
DĀ 25 The Naked Wanderer [DN 8]

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