Translating the speech of the gods

Thanks to Indu for pointing me to this beautiful essay on the joys and struggles of Sanskrit translation. I am lucky that my own experience learning Pali was much easier!


Sanskrit is about 4 times harder than Pali. I taught myself Pali (from Warder), but I cannot imagine doing the same with Sanskrit.

However, one cannot fully understand Pali without some Sanskrit, so eventually most of us have to tackle it if we are serious. I was fortunate to have excellent Sanskrit teachers at Cambridge Uni.

And I agree with Schelling about the Perfection of Wisdom translations. I’m still publishing Conze’s Sanskrit mistakes and working on the original Sanskrit mistakes from the first translation from Chinese, so a definitive English translation must wait until the text is fully understood and edited.

Paul Harrison is further ahead on the Vajracchedikā and we can expect his new book some time soon. It will likely be revolutionary. No one I know of is working on the Aṣṭasāhasrikā, but an international group including Seishi Karashima and Stefano Zacchetti are working on the Pañcavimśātisāhasrikā.


Hopefully the money redirected towards Chinese studies, at the very least, resulted/results in some EBT translation projects addressing the voluminous Chinese literature!

Silver lining? Hopefully?