Dharma Pearls Updates

Yes. That’s the parallel for MA 11.


Thanks, Charles. Do you plan on translating AN 3.70’s (Uposotha Day) parallel anytime soon? Thanks for your translations!


Dear @cdpatton,

When you start translating the Ekottarika Agama from Chinese? AFAIK, the EA has been less translated into English than other Agamas collection. Thank you :anjal:

I can certainly add it to the queue. Thanks for the suggestion.


Next month, I’ll be releasing a few EA parallels to the Pali texts above. The Ekottarika is proving to be more difficult to translate. It reads like the older translations before the Madhyama and Samyukta were translated even though it’s date is listed as around the same period. The texts themselves are quite interesting though because they diverge more from the Theravada/Sarvastivada tradition. The parallel to DN 2, for example, shines a much more sympathetic light on Ajatasatru. His repentance plays a bigger part of the narrative in EA, whereas he is treated more like a villain in the other traditions.


Thank you! There is a simile in that sutta that’s interesting and seems to have more than one meaning. I’m curious how the simile reads in the Chinese version.

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I read somewhere that that’s the problem with Agamas date. Transmission sometimes was earlier in India.

I’m looking forward. :pray:t4:

@cdpatton I guess your project now is parallels. I would like to read the ones maybe we had but was lost. Of course there is some later text. But there must be some are genuine.

I’ve been working on a set of parallels that I was commissioned to translate, but that isn’t my only focus. My overall goal is to translate the Agamas with priority on materials not translated yet, but I do have funding from supporters and I prioritize their requests as best I can. I am just one human being, alas.


Yeah, of course we are blessed your doing this. Thanks for starting.

You know what is maybe interesting it seems that when the transmission came to South Asia they tried to keep the transmission short right? I guess it’s a natural thing to do. Since it was from Indian language to Sinhala. But that didn’t happen alot I guess in Indian languages because they are still close related. I met a couple Sri lankan with a Indian, they cant of course understand each others

So I think that why it a sort of summary

We tend to believe the Indians expanded the transmission. But actually that’s probably the real detailed versions of original before King Asoka

Are you meaning that the texts were concise rather than verbose? Or that the Pali texts have more abbreviations? The Agamas do abbreviate, though it’s not always that clear in the Chinese. Sometimes it just looks like a list of items, but I think it’s really abbreviation of expanded passages.

Also, some things get abbreviated in the Agamas that aren’t in Pali. For instance, the Agamas often abbreviate the four dhyanas (jhanas) whereas it looks like the Theravada traditioned considered those passages more important and kept them fully stated. There’s many types of incongruities like that that I see when I compare the two traditions. Sometimes the Agama text is expanded more than the Pali and vice versa, which I suspect is because that particular text was more important in one tradition compared to the other. So, it was elevated and expanded. It’s hard to generalize without sitting down and studying these things statistically.


Your last updated sutras the ending says alot.

The monks handed it down.

It’s not a common expression.

I don’t think neither transmission did the expanding.

It’s just the way it was handed down.

Each tradition got it handed down from a different group Leader memory.

Buddhism had the freedom of memorizing as it was heard.

Yes. I think much of the divergence was a natural process, and I also think that we have only a partial view of how we got what exists today. It’s not really possible to know what exactly happened unless we discover troves of ancient texts in Pali or other languages that give us direct evidence of how they developed. It’s all speculative beyond what we can see today.

Sometimes, I see narratives that developed around the same name put into different contexts. For example, today I’m correcting my old translation of MA 17, which is SN 42.6. In Pali, the person visiting the Buddha was a headman, which is gamani in Pali. In the Chinese, we have instead a god named Gamini who questions the Buddha. Otherwise, the two sutras are very similar. It seems as though Gamani somewhere was changed to Gamini, and then the story evolved around that.

DN 2 and EA 43.7 have a similar case like that. In Pali, Komudi is referenced as the name of a particular full moon (it literally means moonlight). In EA it becomes the name of Ajatasatru’s wife. So, again, the stories change to accommodate that, but otherwise the sutras are the same.

It seems like there were fairly random or arbitrary changes that cropped up and were incorporated into the stories.


What I know only is that both India and Sri Lanka had kings that brought influence. And Sri Lanka had famine many times. Until there was few monk.

If kings didn’t destroy Tripitaka of both places. A early full manuscript of Tripitaka should have been preserved.

But as Sri Lanka there was a couple times there was famine until the island was empty of monks. At that time loosters came and stole and destroyed

So all these could have influenced that the current Pali full manuscript is not from long ago

That means the Chinese translated Agamas should be more trusted actually then believing that we have the same exact Pali version of 4 CE

So excited to see so many translations this month! Thank you and sadhu!


Another release of translations since the last update includes a first attempt at translating a few Ekottarika Sutras on the four abodes of mindfulness and the fruits of the ascetic life. I also cleaned up my old translation of MA 17 and released it.

Also, I managed to navigate the mysteries of domain names and DNS entries to give the Github site the dharmapearls.net domain and my blog a subdomain (blog.dharmapearls.net). I’m hoping to resurrect the blog and start posting musings a few times a month again.

MA 17 Gāminī

The most interesting thing about updating this translation was coming to the conclusion that Gāminī is indeed a god. The BDK translation is a head scratcher because they seem to deliberately change the reading in this sutra to make it sound like a human interlocutor is being described instead of a god. The names, however, are more mysterious, and I can only say that my version is a best guess.

DA 27 The Fruits of the Ascetics

The Dirgha Agama generally agrees with the Theravada parallel with a few added details that dovetail with the Ekottarika version, too. It’s worth comparing the three versions (DN 2, DA 27, and EA 43.7) to get a sense of how much different versions of traditional stories like this one varied.

EA 12.1 The Four Stations of Mind

The Ekottarika’s version of the four abodes of mindfulness agrees with the version in MN and MA, but with less expansion, especially in regard to the mindfulness of body practices.

EA 19.2 Two Extremes

This sutra was a minor parallel to one part of SN 56.11, the section at the start about the two extremes to be abandoned.

EA 43.7 The Fruits of the Ascetics

This version of DN 2 and DA 27 is remarkable mainly in the way Ajatasatru is depicted compared to the other two versions of this sutra. He’s depicted as discussing the need to repent with Jivaka as he weighed whether to visit the Buddha. Overall, he’s less a caricature of evil and more a character genuinely wanting to reform himself.


I love the fresh translation of EA 12.1 and comparing it to MN 10 and MA 98.

Can you elaborate on your choice of “four stations of mind”? Does stations of mind have a specific classical Chinese connotation? In MN 10, Ven. Sujato translates the Pali as “four kinds of mindfulness” and Horner “four applications of mindfulness”

  1. “What is that essential path that achieves right awakening, gives rise to vision and knowledge, stills the mind, attains the penetrating knowledges and fruits of the ascetic, and arrives at nirvāṇa? It’s this noble eightfold path, which is right view, right governance, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, right mindfulness, and right concentration. This is called the essential path.

Are these 2 noble path factors (in bold) different from right intention/thought (samma sankappa) and right effort (samma vayama)?


No, it’s just a difference in word choice in the Chinese translation. I decided to preserve the different interpretations.


The Chinese expression used in EA literally means “four mind/mental stops” 四意止 (like bus stops in modern language). I think they were trying to capture the idea of steps or phases of the practice of mindfulness. The more standard Chinese translation is similar with a word for “place” or “dwelling.”

Another way to read the EA term (止) if we didn’t know that it translates upasthāna is “calming,” and the text itself seems to focus on that, saying that the practitioner “relaxes” or feels at ease like they are doing something leisurely.