“The Buddhas do but tell the way, it is for you to swelter at the task.”
I have this photo from the Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal. It’s one of many signs around the area with various quotes. But it’s unattributed, and I want to use it in an official capacity, so I want to find a source for it. Maybe it’s from the Dhammapada? I cannot find any leads. It’s all over the internet, but no sources. Does anyone know anything about it? Thanks!
Actually, If anyone can find who this rendering belongs to I would really appreciate it, @sujato you have immersed yourself in Dhammpada translations recently, does it ring a bell, i.b Horner uses is in their introduction to MN vol 2, but only gives “Dhp” as a source, is it her own rendering? I’v checked Muller, Rhys Davids, Beal, and several others and I can’t find it anywhere.
The translation is from the 1948 sutta anthology, The Living Thoughts of Gotama Buddha, by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and I.B. Horner. The collection actually includes the same Dhammapada verse twice. First a prose rendering of just the first lines:
“The Buddhas do but tell the Way, it is for you to swelter at the task.”
(p. 23, emphasis in the original)
And later a metrical one of the whole verse:
“Yours 'tis to swelter at the task,
Truth-finders are showers (only).
Meditators, as they faring go,
From Māra’s bonds releasèd are.”
From the choice of diction I think the prose rendering is most likely Coomaraswamy’s and the verse one Horner’s.
Owing to her commitment to form-equivalence, it would have been out of character for Horner to translate tathāgatā as “Buddhas”.
Similarly, the placing of brackets around “only”, to show that it’s implied but not actually present in the Pali, is typical of form-equivalent translators. Coomaraswamy, by contrast, doesn’t bother to place brackets around “but”.
“Tell the way”, in the sense used here is a Jacobeanism. Horner consistently translated into workaday Edwardian English. It would have been out of character for her to insert show-off archaisms into her work. It would have been quite in character for an arty-farty type like Coomaraswamy.
“Faring” was one of Horner’s favourite words. She was as addicted to it as Edward Conze was to “coursing”. In both cases the translators use these words to translate the verbs carati and paṭipajjati and their derivatives.