Sarah Shaw review of two books on the Therīgāthā

So here’s the dilemma: this is a book review that I’m sure would be of considerable interest to many who frequent this forum, but it’s in an academic publication behind a paywall and thus can’t be shared. I don’t know if Dr. Shaw has ever participated here or could be invited to do so, but it also occurred to me that some forum members may themselves be academics and have access to the review.

In any case, I thought it was a very thoughtful review of and response to Charles Hallisey’s translation of these poems and the controversial (especially here!) book by Matty Weingast that in its republishing has been reclassified as being “inspired by” them.

Freed in Translation

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Thanks KevinK, it’s available through my university library. Personally, I think it’s a great pity that Marty’s book did originally have the current “inspired” title. I think many here actually agree with Dr Shaw that creative use of these stories is a positive thing. The key issue was the way many people were mistaking them for translations - something I experienced from a teacher on a retreat soon after I learned about the issue!

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Thanks mikenz66!

Yes I agree with you that many here would concur with what Dr. Shaw says about creative use of stories helping to keep the tradition alive. But as you know Shambhala Publications originally represented the book as being a translation, while Marty and numerous well-known teachers in both the lay vipassana and Bhikkhuni communities spoke of it as such until they were called on it (and resisted reclassifying it as “original poems” to varying degrees even then). Dr. Shaw has the benefit of being able to review the second, revised edition but in my opinion she wouldn’t have had that opportunity were it not for a lot of courageous truth-telling on the part of several knowledgeable scholars on this forum.

I’m sure Matty Weingast will be relieved so some degree to read Dr. Shaw’s review - and meanwhile I sincerely hope that Dr. Hallisey’s translation finds at least as large an audience as the Weingast book!

Hi @KevinK, I agree, and I was among many of us who put our names to petitions to Shambala. Here is the first thread on this Forum about the issue, started by Ayya Sudhamma: