Garbhavakranti

Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Fri Feb 7 00:50:57 EST 2003


Well, since a bit of  info in need of modification has been put forth
here, I would like to clarify things a bit.

First, Bob Thurman has mistyped: there are 49 texts in the Ratnakuta,
not 51 (but if he did not translate 2, that brings it down to 49, so
from the point of gematria... well, anyway...)

There are two Garbhavakrantis in the collection: as Stephen said an
Ananda-, but also a nanda-. They are partially the same, partially
different.  What is most interesting, from one point of view, about
this text is that it is in fact an excerpt from the Mulasarvastivada
Vinaya, a fact which has been long known. (The Tibetan versions are
renderings from Chinese).

The texts have been mentioned in scholarship from time to time, as
Ken Zysk must know, for instance in Demieville's Byo article in
Hobogirin, and there is a German translation of one, but not very
good.   Some important observations were also given long ago by Lalou
in her examination of the Ratnakuta collection (in Journal Asiatique).

I have long had a vague idea to edit and translate these texts, but I
wonder if I will ever get around to it. Robert Kritzer has lately
worked on some of this material.

It is worth mentioning M. Hahn's recent edition and translation of
the Garbhavakranti section of the Bodhisattvavadanakalpalata, also I
am sure known to Zysk, since it was published in the European
Ayurveda Journal.

I might also remark here that I believe that this text is very
important in one most interesting respect: it counts pregnancy in
weeks. This idea could only have come through the Greeks, and I
believe that it is through this text that the idea was transmitted to
Tibet and to the Rgyud bzhi, and also probably to China.  I confess I
have not found the leisure to follow up this hunch of mine.

best regards, jonathan silk
silk at humnet.ucla.edu



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