Re: [INDOLOGY] Fwd: Udānavarga verses from the Tibetan

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at
Wed Apr 24 19:13:08 UTC 2019

What is the basis of the English translation, Sanskrit, Tibetan or Chinese?


On Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 10:29 AM Dan Lusthaus via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> Dear  all,
> This is only slightly off point. While the  Sanskrit version and the
> Tibetan are in accord, the Chinese poses a different verse in place of
> the weaver stanza; it is the strings of a musical instrument, not a
> piece of fabric, that are snapped.
> The earliest Chinese translation of the corresponding verses is by Zhu
> Fonian in 374 CE (T 212), which  reads.
> 猶如張綜,
> 以杼投織,
> 漸盡其縷,
> 人命如是。
> Just as stretching out and weaving together,
> in order to throw the loom's shuttle through the weave,
> gradually exhausts its threads,
> human life is like this.
> 猶如死囚,
> 將詣都市,
> 動向死道,
> 人命如是。
> Just as a prisoner [about to] die,
> will be brought through the entire town,
> moving toward the street of his death,
> human life is like this.
> --
> The version included on the Bibliotheca Polyglotta site (T 213), the
> last of several Chinese renderings, was tr. by Tian Xizai ca. 985 CE,
> fairly late for a Chinese translation. The weaving verse does not
> appear, but in its place is a musician: the strings of a musical
> instrument are severed, rather than threads:
> 如人彈琴瑟 具足衆妙音
> 絃斷無少聲 人命亦如是 11
> Just as a person strumming a chin-se (Chinese "lute")
> fully embodies a plethora of wondrous tones,
> If the instrument's strings are cut there isn't even the tiniest of sounds.
> A person's life is also like this.
> 如囚被繋縛 拘牽詣都市
> 動則向死路 壽命亦如是 12
> Just as a prisoner bound in fetters
> is dragged through all the town,
> moving toward the street of his execution,
> [a person's] life-span is also like this.
> In the series of "a person's life is also like this" stanzas, regardless
> of version, there is no mention of a spider.
> regards,
> Dan Lusthaus
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Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus
Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan
[Residence: Campbell, California]

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