The "Net of Indra"

Sun Aug 20 01:24:47 UTC 2000

Dear Lance,

> >  > Not the Avatam.saka which is a Chinese collection of materials,
> >>  all of which has been proven to be of Indian origin.

> All I said was 'not proven' !
I have no problems with that part of your statement but I was querying
the "Chinese collection of materials" bit since, as I said, the
Tibetan version is clearly not dependent on any of the extant Chinese

> Some of them
> could have been composed in Central Asia. Conceivably they could
> been written there in Sanskrit or in some other language. But none
> this seems very certain; so I simply said 'not proven to be of
> origin'.

Does this imply any extra validity to Mahayana texts written in
Sanskrit/Prakrit in India rather than in Central Asia ?   -- given
that Mahayana sutras in general are not really what they claim to be.
The situation seems to be similar with the other large "collections"
like the Ratnaku.ta, the Nirvana Sutra and others.

> I do not know sufficient about the Tibetan version. I have seen you
> mention this before, but I do not know why older scholarship did not
> accept this.
It's a mystery to me as well !

> Assuming that it is not from one of the extant Chinese
> versions (as I had earlier understood) how do we know that it is not
> translated from a Central Asian or lost Chinese original ?
If you read a lot of Tibetan texts, one gradually gets a feel for the
language of the texts.  Ones from  Indic sources betray the underlying
language by traces of construction, circumlocution etc.  The same
applies for the few texts of Chinese origin in Tibetan -- they also
reflect the underlying Chinese for the same reasons.   On the other
hand, texts of native Tibetan composition that pose as authentic Indic
texts (like some Nyingma tantras) read differently -- generally more
smoothly as Tibetan.

Best wishes,

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