Dhammapada Chinese and Pali

Jonathan.Silk at um.cc.umich.edu Jonathan.Silk at um.cc.umich.edu
Fri Jun 3 05:52:32 UTC 1994

I am sure we are all very grateful to Mr. John Richards for his
generous presentation of the data of various texts he has (or will?)
provide on the internet.  I offer one nitpicking remark:  He writes
with regard to the (it is actually "a") Chinese Dha(r)mmapada
that it is undoubtedly translated from Pali, giving the
misunderstanding of sati (not equal to sm.rti) as his example.
I am afraid the cas is much more complicated than he imagines.
In English one may turn to Brough's Gandhari Dharmapada which, while
not free from errors (what in this veil of tears is?), should
always be the first book opened when questions about the Dharmapada
arise.  More specifically with regard to the relations between the
Chinese texts one may see Nakatani's book in Japanese -- long
promised as being prepared in French or English (I believe the latter),
and works in Japanese by Mizuno Kogen, among others.  Anyway, to
return to the point at hand:  Nakatani (and actually also others
before him as well) has shown decisively that the Chinese versions
are not from Pali, but rather from some Middle Indic dialect (? --
I am not sure "dialect" is the word he would use), probably at
some stage through a Gandhari intermediary.  The whole status of
earlier Chinese translations has long been debated (those without
Japanese may be most familiar with the work on this topic by Weller),
but recently one may consult in English Seishi Karashima's massive
study of the old Chinese translation of the Saddharmapundarika, in which
he investigates the Middle Indic background of the text, unfortunately
reaching and inconclusive conclusion.  Well, this all got rather
long winded, but anyway, the bit about Chinese being translated 
from Pali is wrong.  Cheers,
jonathan.silk at um.cc.umich.edu

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