Kashmir, Tamilnadu, Panini, Abhinavagupta, etc.

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Thu Feb 18 21:21:15 UTC 1999

> Dear Petr Mares,
> On the Mount Potalaka info, the abode of Avalokitezvara
> from GaNDavyUhasUtra, I am relying on the Chinese
> translation done under the direction of a Khotanese
> monk named Shikshananda (652-710 AD).
Coincidently the same monk translated the lankavatara sutra.  He
was great  scholar but he was sent back to Khotan before he
finished the translation.

> Exactly in the very same 7th century AD, Mt. Potalaka
> is located in Malaya country by the Buddhist monk, Chih-sheng
> (688-740 AD)
I what text?

as well as in the passage attributed to
> Hsuan Tsang (640 AD).

> There exists three bulky volumes in English (Translator: Thomas
> Cleary) of "The Flower ornament scripture, A translation of
> the Avatamsaka Sutra, Translated from Chinese by Thomas Cleary",
> Shambala publications, 1984.
His are ussually very free and populist translations. I do not think
he ever go to the details such asa chacking manuscripts at least
he never mention the sources of his work. As I remember he did
not mention it in the Avatamsaka you cite. ( he probably used the
Taisho version but he did not include the varients - there are many).

> Vol. I, p.1
> "Certainly one of the most colorful and dramatic rehearsals of
> Buddhist teachings, The Flower Ornament Scripture became one of the
> pillars of East Asian Buddhism. It was a source of some of the
> very first Buddhist literature to be introduced by China, where
> there eventually developed a major school of philosophy based on
> its teachings. [...]
>   The work of translating from the Flower Ornament Scripture
> into Chinese apparently began in the second century AD, and
> continued for the better part of a thousand years. During
> this time more than thirty translations and retranslations
> of various books (of Av) and selections from the scripture
> were produced. [...] The first comprehensive translation of the
> Flower Ornament Scripture was done under the direction of an
> Indian monk named Buddhabhadra (359-429); the second, under
> the direction of a Khotanese monk named Shiksananda (652-710).
> The latter version, from which the present English version is
>                                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> made, was based on a more complete text imported from Khotan
> at the request of the Empress of China; it is somewhat more than
> ten percent longer than Buddhabhadra's translation".
> Lokesh Chandra, Origin of Avalokitezvara, Kailash jl, 1974
> gives similar details on Potalaka Mountain, Avalokita's home
> from Buddhabhadra (420 AD) version.

Mr. Cleary is perfect example of putting the source into mist. He
does not let you know the edition and manuscripts he was using (I
doubt he used any) and you will not know are the different readings
of various manuscripts from which some may not even contain the
passage you are using as a base. I am not a specialist in this
particular sutra. So I cannot tell you what manuscripts are there,
how old they are and how do they differ from the received version.
But if you want to claim that some sentence  was written in the 7th
century you cannot do it out of the received version that went
through centuries of rewritings full of mistekes of the scrribes. Very
often the commentary of some scribe was included into the original
text when being rewriten again, so you may be using some 15
century commentary that had found its way into the main text after
the original manuscripts were lost. These are just the cases I know
to appear very often in the old chinese writing, I do not know
anything particular about gandavyuha, you will have to contact the
scholar of this text to learn whether the Potalaka part you study
belongs to the early days layer of the Shikshananda version, that
can only be proved through the manuscripts. As the Avatamsaka is
one of the most (if not The Most popular sutra in Taiwan, there will
certainly be many critical editions and scholarly works on its
Shikshananda version. I hope I am less obscure now.
I am not following this thread very closely so I do not the points of
this discussions in its entirety. All I am trying to say here is that
texts significantly change wit time and unles we have the
manuscript of the apricular date we cannot claim the authenticity
out of the received version. If that is out of the point in this
particular discussion I apologize for stirring the water.
> Essentially I use English translations of Gv.: The section I
> am interested is evidently Potalaka mount and its Chief,
> Avalokita. From Buddhabhadra (5th century AD) as given in
> Lokesh Chandra
I do not know this particular work of Lokesh Chandra
 and Shikshananda (7th century AD) as given
> in Thomas Cleary.
but I know some of T. Cleary (including Avatamsaka) and there is
no doubt his works are easy to read, they are often entertaining but
they cannot in any case be called scholarly or critical.

Hope this clears the air where my data
> on Mt. Potalaka of Gv comes from.

Petr Mares
Petr Mares
Lengqie Research
Hlavacova 1163
182 00, Prague 8
Czech Republic
Tel: 420-2-2422-9755
email: lengqie at gmx.net

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