[INDOLOGY] Texts about translators and translation?

Valerie Roebuck vjroebuck at btinternet.com
Sat Jan 4 03:42:14 EST 2020


Dear Nataliya

Has anyone mentioned mentioned the Buddhist tale, based on mistranslation between Middle Indian languages and/or Sanskrit, retold by John Brough, Gāndhārī Dharmapada, pp. 45-6? It hinges on a misunderstanding of a Middle Indian form from the dvandva udaya-vyaya, ‘arising and passing away’, as being from a tatpuruṣa *udaka-baka, ‘heron of the water’.

"This curious tale concerns the last days of Ananda, and tells how he chanced to overhear a certain monk reciting a Dharmapada-verse in the following manner (according to the Chinese versions):

If a man were to live for a hundred years, and not see a water-heron, it were better that he live only for one day, and see a water-heron.

‘My son’, said Ānanda, 'the Buddha did not say this. What he said was:

If a man were to live for a hundred years, and not see the principle of coming into existence and passing away, it were better . . . (and so forth).

The monk thereupon reported the matter to his teacher, who replied, ‘Ānanda is an old fool. Go on reciting as before’. On hearing once more the same faulty recitation, Ānanda realized that it was futile to attempt to convince the monk of the error, since ail his seniors, to whom he might have appealed, had already entered Nirvāṇa. Being thus unable to do anything further to protect the Buddha’s words from corruption, he considered that there was no reason to delay his own Nirvāṇa”

Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester, UK


> On 3 Jan 2020, at 22:13, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> 
> Dear Nataliya, 
> 
> I recently wrote some remarks on this subject in another context.  I've extracted and lightly edited them here. (Attached)
> 
> Best,
> Dominik
> --
> Professor Dominik Wujastyk <https://www.ualberta.ca/arts/about/people-collection/dominik-wujastyk>,
> Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity,
> Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>,
> University of Alberta, Canada.
> South Asia at the U of A: sas.ualberta.ca <http://sas.ualberta.ca/>
> 
> 
> 
> On Wed, 1 Jan 2020 at 23:42, Nataliya Yanchevskaya via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info <mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> Happy New Year!
> A student of mine wants to study Sanskrit texts about translation and translators. She also asked me if I knew any short poems or jokes – again, in Sanskrit – about translators. Could you please kindly suggest anything? Frankly, I know nothing about this topic – have never encountered such texts!
> Many thanks and best wishes,
> Nataliya
> -----------
> Nataliya Yanchevskaya
> Lecturer in Sanskrit
> PIIRS, Princeton University
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