Sanskrit-Tibetan Textual Work

Wed Oct 27 17:41:52 UTC 1999

Hi, Ulrich

> [Stephen Hodge wrote]
> >Gajin Nagao's reconstruction of the Mahayana Samgraha uses this
> >approach.  He had gathered together all the parallel passages from
> >works surviving in Sanskrit and then using his Sanskrit expertise
> >created his reconstruction.
> I have searched without luck for this work by Nagao. Do you have a
> bibliographical reference?

Shodaijoron 2 vols, Kodansha  ISBN 06-143784-4
The work is basically in Japanese with a Sanskrit reconstruction of
the first two chapters -- the later ones have the kind of annotations
that you are probably have in mind so it will perhaps be of interest
to you.

Where are you based ?  If you are ever able to be in London, I could
possibly lend you my set if you cannot get it from Japan.

> To use two texts originally by the same author, but now only extant
in two
> different languages involves linguistic problems. Sanskrit scholars
have so
> far focused on Prasannapadaa, since this text is available in
> while Tibetan scholars have focused on Madhyamakaakavataara being
> available in Tibetan.

> >Have you also collated all five existing Tibetan editions?
> I presume you mean of the Madhyamakaavataara? I am aware of the
bstan 'gyur
> editions of Peking (two different translations of the kaarikaa + one
> edition of the bhaas.ya), Derge, Narthang, and Cone. Are these the
> editions that you are thinking of?

There is also the Golden Tenjur MS recently available from China --
useful but it does not represent an entirely different stemma.

> I am, however, not in possession of any mss printed/written
> of these bstan 'gyur collections; are you aware of any?

I was not so much thinking of ms tenjurs but possible versions
surviving independently --- has anything turned up at Tabo for example
?   Perhaps it is less relevent in this case as the version you want
to use is late, but it might be worth collating quotes from early
Indo-Tibetan authors, possibly based on versions that have not been
revised (if the MAK has been revised).   For example, I have read a
lot of stuff by Long-chen-pa who quotes it extensively with variants.
There is a possibility that the MAK was translated more than once --
this certainly is the case with some texts.

> >Also, you might like to bear in mind that there IS an extant
> >copy of the Madhyamakaavataara held by the Chinese (stolen from
> >Tibet) -- but you have a cat's chance in hell of ever getting
> >to it at present -- but perhaps if you are still young ....
> [To which Dan Lusthaus added:]
> >What is your source for this?
> Yes, I have also heard these rumours from a number of scholars (e.g.
> Macdonnald, who currently does text-critical work on the
> During the cultural revolution, the Chinese brought a large amount
> Tibetan mss from Tibet to Beijing. Among these mss were also
> Sanskrit works preserved in Tibet since the translations were made
back in
> the 11th century onwards. These texts have this year been returned
> Tibet, where they are now kept at Norbu Lingka in Lhasa. The Chinese
> said to have microfilmed all the mss before returning them.
According to
> the rumour (which seems reliable), there are eye-wittness reports
> Chinese scholars that there exists at least one - possibly several -
> Sanskrit mss of Madhyamakaavataara. However, there exists no
> records of these mss. The Chinese officially deny these reports, but
> nevertheless let new Sanskrit mss of various texts surface once in a
> It seems to be politically motivated.

The Chinese definitely stole a lot of Sanskrit mss from various
monasteries in Tibet.  You are right about the political angle -- very
cynical !   Various Japanese scholars have had access to some of this
material -- this is mentioned, among other places, in the latest IABS
report.   Some mss have been illicitly microfilmed and smuggled out of
China -- I cannot give more details for obvious reasons but this is
factual.  There is also a published Chinese catalogue of some 100+
titles which I do not have unfortunately.   Also have you looked
through Sankrityayana's list of mss he noted during his several trips
to Tibet before WW2 ?  The whereabouts or fate of these mss is unclear
but some of them turned up in India after the Chinese invasion.
Though the Chinese are returning some material to Tibet, a lot of it
is very haphazard -- the texts are being returned to approved
monasteries and not necessarily the ones from where the originally
came -- I understand that Tashilhungpo has been one such recipient.
Seems like a cosmetic political ploy to fill the monastery shelves to
bolster their lies that they protect Tibetan culture.

> And yes - I am still young (just thirty years old), but I
> cannot put my research on hold until any such legendary ms surfaces

Yes, I agree but you know "Sod's Law" I presume.   I have spoken to a
Tibetan who actaully saw in his childhood the partial Tibetan
translation of the Maha-vibhasa together with the original Sanskrit --
who knows what became of that ?!

Anyway, though for me personally Chandrakirti is very unappealing as a
person and "thinker", I wish you well with your project.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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