SuttaCentral

Parallels for Chinese Dhammapada T 211


#1

This is a question specially for Ayya @vimala or anyone else who can help.

I’ve just been checking the Chinese Dhammapada text 法句譬喻經, found at T 211. This is the version that contains verses and stories. It has been translated via Numata and may be downloaded from their site. According to the introduction, this text was created in China by compiling selected verses from T 210 together with stories from unknown Indic sources.

Unlike the other Dhammapadas, this has few parallels. In fact the only noted parallels in the SC data are to non-Dhammapada texts, the Mangala Sutta and the Makhadeva Sutta. Obviously this is an omission, as it should share most or all its verses with T 210. Moreover, a glance reveals parallels with Pali; the very first verse is anicca vata saṅkhārā.

We should add these parallels. But I wonder why they are not there? Presumably the sources that we used for our parallels did not include this for some reason. Is there a source that lists these parallels?


#2

The only parallels we have for T211 were imported from the old site. For some reason T211 has not been studied much by other scholars.

Once we have Buddhanexus up and running, also with the Chinese, we can make a full comparison with T211 and other texts. I already did a test-run with T210, T212 and T213 and it seems to work well, picking up on the parallels. Comparisons between Chinese and other languages will however be difficult for a computer, but I expect that once we have parallels between T211 and other Chinese texts, it will by inference also pick up on Pali and Sanskrit parallels.


#3

Great, thanks. Going by the Introduction to the English version, it seems the verses of T 211 are merely plucked from T 210, which might suggest (a) why scholars have not been interested and (b) it should be pretty easy for a machine to identify parallels.


#4

The raw file (although that might still change) is here: http://buddhist-db.de/suttas/chn/T04_T0211.json.gz
There are quite a number of potential parallels with T210 and T212 as was to be expected, but also with other suttas/texts, some of which later texts.


#5

Bhante @sujato, I just had a quick check of the OCR of this English translation and that works very well. Although I think the English is a bit peculiar, I could easily add this for SC. I could ask at the Uni if we could use it as it has a copyright notice on it. What do you think?


#6

I sat down and compared the verses in the first chapter of all four Dharmapadas at one point, and yes, there’s basically two dharmapadas that vary a little bit. T210-211 is an early version and T212-213 is a larger later version. The translators seemed to avoid changing the existing verses, just amended them a bit when you compare T210 to T211 or T212 to T213 (and T213 was done centuries later). They aren’t identical, though. There’s added verses here and there. And the larger version is like an expanded edition. Most of the verses in T210-211 are in T212-T213. There’s just more material overall. So, there ought to be parallels that run through all four versions that are found in Pali and Sanskrit.


#7

Don’t bother, it is a Numata text and it falls under the same problems as all their texts. They say it is CC but then ask you not to publish it anywhere.

Okay.

Interesting, it makes sense.

This is the Udanavarga, which in Sanskrit has over a thousand verses. So yes, expanded.


#8

Here is a list of the parallels for the verses in T211 (not the prose) with other chinese texts on SC (so unlike Buddhanexus, this only takes SC texts into account and not the entire CBETA), mainly T210.

t211parallels.zip (28.2 KB)

I can add these at some point if you like.

Also just noticed we already have an English translation for T211. Albeit from 1878!!!


#9

Wow, amazing!

That would be fantastic, thank you.

Indeed, one of the very earliest works of Chinese Buddhist scholarship in English. It’s astonishing how little we have progressed.


#10

In that translation of T211, Venerable, we find “concealing six cravings, like the tortoise” as a reference to the Kummasutta (SuttaCentral has SN17.3 as the Kummasutta, but this website has a different scripture, the one I was actually thinking of, as “Kumma Sutta: The Tortoise, Samyutta Nikaya 35.199”, which is a blank in SuttaCentral’s database. Does anyone know why this would be?)

I don’t know what this was qualify as, but it is clearly some sort of intertextual reference.


#11

Note I edited my post: These are just parallels with other texts on SC. Buddhanexus has the entire CBETA so is much more complicated.


#12

Sure, well that is a good start, anyway.


#13

I think you mean SN35.240

There are different numbering systems.

Can you specify exactly what the parallel is (sorry … don’t read Chinese myself)? Is it https://suttacentral.net/sn35.240/pli/ms#3 with any of the verses in T211.11 verses 3 or 4? Or is the prose parallel as well (in that case, can you specify paragraph numbers for each)? Thanks a million!


#14

The mention of the “6 cravings” hints that this belongs in the Salayatanasamyutta, so SN 35. For us this is called the Kummopama Sutta, and is at SN 35.240.

We follow the numbering of Bhikkhu Bodhi, but “becoming Buddha” follows Ven Thanissaro, who in turn follows the PTS numbering.

The reason there is no SN 35.199 is because this is part of a peyyala series, so the text on SC is SN 35.198-200.


#15

There was alot of interest in Eastern religions in America in the 19th century. Writers like the Emerson and other Transcendentalists were influenced by those early translations.


#16

Bhante @Sujato - you should be able to pull this on the following PR:

Let me know if that works.


#17

Thanks so much!