Continuing the discussion from The Validity of bhikkhunī Ordination by bhikkhus Only, According to the Pāli Vinaya:
I feel this discussion has made it evident that the current situation is unsatisfactory for Bhikkhunis. The Patimokkhas are comparatively less well preserved than the Bhikkhus’, and bhikkhunis should therefore have access to all the available Patimokkhas in English translation to at least have a broader basis to make informed decisions. The only translation so far - of Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (Ven. Dhammananda) - is unreliable. So this thread has two purposes: 1) Explore the possibilities of making new translations, and 2) collect resources of already existing translations and similar Patimokkha-related material.
I am exploring the possibility of making translations from the Chinese texts.
I am not sure what exactly would be involved, so I’d be very grateful for input from more experienced translators.
Recently someone mentioned on another thread that translators of EBTs need to have a thorough grounding in translation theory. In the translations I have done so far - non-EBT material between various Western languages - I just did the translation without considering much theoretical background. I only noticed that there seems to be a wide range of opinions on how literal the translation should be vs. readability in the target language. Maybe Bhante @Sujato can comment on this. I’d also be grateful for any best practices in doing the actual translation, such as software tools, useful methods etc. Maybe Ajahn @Brahmali has some input especially on translating Vinaya texts?
I studied Mandarin at university and have some familiarity with traditional Chinese characters as well, but I never actually learned Classical Chinese and I only recently started to study Chinese Buddhist texts in more detail. I’d be very grateful if the more experienced Chinese speakers, such as @coemgenu would share their knowledge about online resources (websites, dictionaries, etc.) and anything else they think would be helpful.
I also noticed that Patimokkhas of some schools exist in Chinese and Sanskrit/Tibetan versions. Have there been any studies to compare the versions? Can it be assumed that they are pretty much the same?
I believe that there must be more material on the non-Pali Patimokkhas in Western languages out there, at least from the schools that still exist today. So a good starting point would be to collect what we have so far. This is what I came up with:
- Kabilsingh’s The Bhikkhuni Patimokkha of the six schools: Useful overview, but contains too many mistakes to be used as a guide for monastics.
- Pachow’s A comparative study of the Pratimoksha: Contains only Bhikkhu rules, but since there is considerable overlap between Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni rules, it may be useful as a starting point for translations. Bhantes @sujato or @Brahmali: Are these translations considered reliable? (I don’t have access to that book.)
- Ven Wu Yin’s Choosing simplicity: Contains some rules of the Dharmaguptaka school, but not all. I don’t have access to the book either, and am not sure if the rules are actual translations or just paraphrases.
- The monastics at Plum Village have a rule in their revised Pratimoksha that they have to study the original one, too. Since they have so many Western monastics who surely don’t all speak Chinese or Vietnamese, I assume that they must have translations. Bhante @sujato, have we ever tried to approach them to ask if they would share their material for SC? If not, should we try that?
- The Bhikkhunis (and Bhikkhus) at Sravasti Abbey also take the Vinaya quite seriously, so I assume they must have translations. I’m not sure if they follow a Dharmaguptaka or a Mulasarvastivada Vinaya. Anyway, have we / should we ask them for their materials?
- Have any translations been made for the 2007 Hamburg conference that explored the Bhikkhuni ordination issue?
If you know of any more resources, please add to this list!