Dirghāgama translations

Apologies if this is redundant already-explored news.

Has SuttaCentral looked into the ability to link to BDK’s translations of the Dharmagupkata Dirghāgama? They are freely available online here & here, but I do not know if anyone is allowed to freely utilize their texts (on terms of hosting them), despite them being freely available on their website.

Search the text of the document for "Indra " (with the space after) for some surprising results, for me at least!


Thank you so much for letting us know. I have asked Bhante Anālayo for his opinion and will get back to you as soon as I know more.

Unfortunately the licence conditions explicitly prohibit any publishing without written permission, and they do not give written permission.

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Does this include linking to them as an external site? Presuming the translation is of suitable quality?

Sorry, but we will not do that any more on our new website. External links sometimes break or get changed and it’s too much effort to keep up all the time. But your message here in D&D will stay here for anybody who searches for Dirghāgama.

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Oh, and by the way, best not to flag your own posts: that’s not what flags are for. They are for notifying moderators of questionable content. Instead, send a PM to myself, Vimala, and/or moderators.

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My apologies. My usage of flags was based on not wanting to personally ‘annoy’ a moderator. I figured it was more polite to let whoever wanted to pick it up. I suppose, though, that SuttaCentral probably gets a fair amount of flags, and it is best not to add to the pile.

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I had a message back from Bhante Anālayo. As I suspected, this is indeed a translation of very dubious quality.
But the good news is that Bhante Anālayo will start translating the Dirghāgama soon and after that it will be available on SuttaCentral.


Out of curiousity, and I do not mean to cast doubt on Ven Anālayo’s judgement or your suspicions, but if I may ask, ayya, what is the criterion for what makes this translation of dubious quality?

I ask because there are several metrics by which to judge the text, and there are several metrics through which an interpreter/translator can interpret/translate the text.

For instance, from my own novice experience looking at the Buddhist Chinese of the āgamāḥ, when consulting dictionaries of Buddhist Chinese, the stratified layers in the language do not correspond. For instance, a technical term in the vocabulary of a Buddhist sūtra translated ~200AD will be retained, but will have a different technical meaning altogether in sūtrāṇi translated in ~4-500AD.

There is a tradition in China to treat the older material ( ~200AD etc) as newer material (~4-500AD), conflating the different stratified layers of Buddhist Chinese on occasion.

For instance, from SA 296 (Paccayasutta-parallel):


Whether or not one is a Mahāyāna Buddhist reading these texts (and translating) them will effect how one treats, understands, and renders the 法界 here, as “dharma realms”, as phenomenological realms, or as dharmadhātu.

Is the translation suspect because the “reading” of the text is a Mahāyāna reading? Similarly, is the translation suspect because the translator was only familiar with the Chinese, not with the Indic parallels, and thus is not a translation that takes full advantage of information that can be gleaned from EBT-parallels? Or is the translation simply a poor job by a translator of lesser accomplishment at this stage?


You are right that I should have been more specific in my wording: it is a translation of dubious quality according to Bhante Anālayo. I cannot say why because I’m not a scholar in this but I trust his judgement in such cases and as he will translate the text himself, we will feature his translation on SC. Moreover, as Bhante Sujato already pointed out, there are copyrights involved too.

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I remember Bhante Analayo saying that the translation contained a lot of interpolations by the translator that have no basis in the original text at all.

According to Bhante Analayo there is a good quality Japanese translations of the same Dirgha Agama text. So if anyone can read Japanese, that might be a good alternative.


I can’t read Japanese, but is this from the Chao Lun’s commentary on the Dirghama, from Taisho 1 -the Taisho tripitaka?

with metta

I don’t know. You’d have to ask Bhante Analayo.

@Vimala are you in contact with Bhante Analayo? It might be useful to find out.

with metta,

Wow, this is fascinating. But how about the Madhyama Agama? It has only volume I, when they will publish the volume II and III of the text?

The translation frequently misunderstands the text. It’s not to do with the linguistic strata of Chinese terms, but with simply not noticing or recognizing (often fairly basic) teachings and ideas in the text. And it’s not being petty or fault-finding either: there really are a lot of problems with it.

These have been completed and are at the publisher.


Please see more information on this here:

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Incidentally, I think I found out why Ven Anālayo was hesitant about the above translations that started this thread. They are from a Japanese school curriculum designed to teach Mahāyāna Buddhism. It is likely that the translator, as a result, put into intensive notes and asides that have to do with this curriculum, and the links between that curriculum and the text.