Support Charles Patton in his translation work!

Those familiar with this forum will know Charles Patton, @cdpatton. He’s an experienced and lucid scholar and translator, with a long-term goal to create translations of Chinese Buddhist texts for free distribution. He is working closely with us here at SC on the Chinese Agama texts.

Charles is looking for financial support to enable him to focus on his translation work. He’s started a Patreon for this, and I’d encourage you to consider helping him. We have very few scholars of his quality, and it would be wonderful to see the Buddhist community show their interest and appreciation in his work. :pray:


Thank you for bringing this to our attention! A worthy cause indeed!

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu


Maybe @cdpatton can benefit from applying for one of the funding sources listed below?


Here is the relevant exceprt from the Khyentse Foundation. (Bikkhu Bodhi won it for the AngutaraNikaya in 2013 )

With the aim of encouraging and honoring excellence in translation works that make the Buddhist heritage accessible to a broader public, the Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation was initiated in 2011. The prize is for translations from the main classical languages of Buddhism—Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese—into English. The original text may be a sutra, commentary, treatise, biography, history, liturgy, or practice manual, from any tradition of Buddhism, published within the preceding 2 years. It may be by a single individual or a collaboration. In the latter case, the US$8,000 prize is divided equally among the translators.


This would be a great way to get a funding boost after completing a major text. I will look into the other foundations that are out there. I recall once broaching the topic of the National Endowment for the Arts with an academic I knew and was basically told that it wasn’t realistic. That was something people at the pinnacle of their careers dreamed about.

I don’t need a large amount of funding. 100 people donating $20/month (in any given month) would be plenty. With that level of funding, I would be able to work full-time and get a significant project (like the Samyukta Agama) completed in about a year.


What about pinning this topic to the D&D front page for a month? That way many more people will get to know about Charles’s translation project! (And hopefully become patrons!) :top: :dharmawheel:


And I was thinking that perhaps a link to it could go into a more public space, like a newsletter, or maybe something like the BSWA facebook group ?.. something with more traffic.



Good idea, I have pinned it. And if anyone wants to share, especially Charles’ Patreon, please do so!


Yes, that would be great! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m not in any groups myself, but would be great if people would share Charles’s Patron!


IMO it’s probably important to ensure there’s enough background context for people not familiar with EBTs and the like. That’s not needed for the typical poster here. But, for example, if this is sent out on the email list of some local Buddhist group, I suppose it might be worth having a few paragraphs of background on the linked to page setting out in general terms what all this means. Certainly not everyone will be familiar with stuff like suttas, early Buddhist texts etc. Vulgar as it might be, a touch of salesmanship could be useful too, for example, describing in positive terms things like what’s the important problem/issue being addressed, mentioning the rare skills being brought to bear, the unique selling point, general plans and translation approach, how this is so good for propagating the Dhamma, why you just have to lend your support etc. etc. (maybe a bit more low-key and less blatant than that :wink: ). It’s one thing to be beavering away doing some great work. I suppose the ideal is to also have lots of people realize: “Wow, this guy is really doing fantastic and important work here! Wouldn’t it be great to donate a small amount in support every month?” :grin:


Dear @suaimhneas, do I hear you volunteering to write such a paragraph, that people could use - it would be great :slightly_smiling_face::pray:


I’ve submitted a post to the BSWA FB group, but it needs to be approved for posting. They may have a condition of no fundraising posts - so we will see. :slight_smile:


HaHa. I walked myself into that! Happy to help if needed (though might not necessarily be the best person :slight_smile: ). It’s possible low-key and leaving things develop organically might work better. I am personally not very keen on the whole selling oneself thing (though sometimes it’s unavoidable). I’d feel a bit more context could be useful though. I suppose on determining the content, that’ll be up to the translator @cdpatton. The next step, after figuring out what to say, is figuring out how best to say it. It strikes me there are lots of very articulate people here who could help on that if necessary (getting the balance right on how best to pitch things; that’s a skill in itself).


Bhantes’ introduction is pretty nice, and Charles has a nice intro on the Patreon page as well. I used a combo of these, and submitted a link here, as I thought seeing Bhantes’ post would add weight to the project :slight_smile:


Well, now that I have actual Patreon patrons, I’ll make it point to post updates there regularly. I’m finishing up a project due at the end of his month (tomorrow already?!), and then I’ll get back to the Agamas. Writing more about the Agamas and why they matter is a good idea. I have a couple basic essays at my blog, but I could certainly expand on them more.


Maybe a paragraph that we could use about the significance of the work - so that people can get a general idea, even if they are not interested enough to go into detail. Many people are happy to support such work without being of a scholarly bent themselves :slight_smile:


Would be great to have an introduction video and also a clear problem sketch. For example, an image of the Chinese original suttas. The problem being that the words of the Buddha are written in an inaccessible language . . . but you’re going to solve that! And then a few highligts from some of your recent translations from the āgamas + the cool features of the new translations :wink:


That seems like a doable number for a fair number of people. I wonder if it would be helpful to add a $20 per month option on patreon? Right now I see a $1, $10, and $50 option. Perhaps adding a $20 option would be helpful?

Regardless, I appreciate your work Charles and intend to financially support it. And I really look forward to reading the agamas you translate.


How much would it cost to “commission” / “sponsor” a translation? Like if @Christopher wants a particular MĀ sutra translated, could he pay a certain amount to ensure it gets done?