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An Exploration of Two Sanskrit Issues on Chinese and English Renditions of Buddhist Scriptures: Using “The Dharma of Emancipation of the Exhaustible and Inexhaustible” in the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra as an Example=從梵文翻譯漢英佛典兩個問題之初探:以維摩詰所說經中闡釋「有盡無盡解脫法門」為例
Author 鄭鳳姬 (著)=Cheng, Fung-Kei (au.)
Source 2013東亞佛教思想文化國際學術研討會
Publisher Url
Location臺北市, 臺灣 [Taipei shih, Taiwan]
Content type會議論文=Proceeding Article
Language中文=Chinese; 英文=English
Keyworddestructible; exhaustible=有盡; indestructible; inexhaustible=無盡; Mahāyāna=大乘; translation=翻譯; Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra摩詰所說經
AbstractThe aims of the current research are as follows: first, review the challenges of rendering Buddhist texts into Chinese and English through the study of the passage “the dharma of emancipation of the exhaustible and inexhaustible”, as articulated in the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra; and second, discuss the scholarly argument by which these Chinese and English translations could have originated from different Sanskrit or Tibetan editions. This study tabulates the three full classical Chinese translations and five English editions, among which are included in the Chinese renditions the works of Zhi Qian (the third century A.D.), Kumārajīva (the fifth century A.D.), and Xuan Zang (the seventh century A.D.); and the English versions translated by Luk, Watson, McRae, Lamotte/Boin, and Thurman between the 1970s and the 2000s. The former three English translations were mainly based on Kumārajīva’s edition and the latter two on the Tibetan copy, illustrating a three-tier translation hierarchy in which the Chinese translations represent the first-tier, being directly translated from the Sanskrit original(s); the English renditions represent the second-tier, stemming from either Kumārajīva’s or the Tibetan edition; and with the third-tier represented by Boin’s translation of Lamotte’s French copy into English. By comparing their chaptering, chapter titles, transliteration of Buddhist terminology, translation of the passage, punctuation, linguistic expressions, and missing parts in each edition, this analysis unveils the intra- and inter-differences between the Chinese and English renditions. Prior research results suggest that it is difficult to evaluate the credibility and validity of the translations because of the uncertainties related to the origin of the text. They have also addressed the fact that the translation discrepancies in Buddhist terminology in English might create a risk of misinterpretation of Buddhist teachings. Conclusively, this research first substantiates recent discussion on directly using Sanskrit terminology, instead of the English terms, in modern English Buddhist publications; and second agrees that the renditions probably came from different Sanskrit or Tibetan originals. Importantly, it equally values the academic contributions of individual Chinese and English renditions and translators; thus proposing cross-reference among various renditions as a means to inspire researchers with insight from different translations.

Table of contentsIntroduction
Chaptering and Chapter Title
Translation of Key Buddhist Terminology in the Passage
Translation of the Passage
Discussion and Implications
Bases of the Renditions
Understanding and Interpretation
Linguistic Expressions
Buddhist Terminology
Buddhist canons
Sources cited
Created date2015.10.21

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