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Comparaison de différentes traductions du Maṅgala
(stances dédicatoires / Dedicatory Verses) des
Stances fondamentales de la Voie médiane

de Nāgārjuna

Here are some translations of the “Dedicatory Verses” of The Fundamental Stanzas of the Middle Way. I find very, very interesting to investigate into the different translations of the same Sanskrit original in order to get a feeling of what I call “the space of translation”. As we’ll meet very soon in Altlanta in order to exchange some ideas about our work in translation, I felt it could be interesting for everyone to have a clear example of what I’m trying to express: is it possible to theorize the seeming openness suggested by all these different expressions of the same ? Can we seriously condemn certain translations in favor of other ones ? What are the criteria which could definitely define a good & authorized translation ? The matter may seem trivial, but it is not at all, and I’m sure there are still many discoveries to be done on that subject.

And please excuse my barbarian English…

anirodham anutpādam anucchedam aśāśvataṃ |
anekārtham anānārtham anāgamam anirgamaṃ ||

yaḥ pratītyasamutpādaṃ prapañcopaśamaṃ śivaṃ |
deśayām āsa saṃbuddhas taṃ vande vadatāṃ varaṃ ||

[Literally: without cessation, without birth, without annihilation, without eternity,
without unity, without multiplicity, without coming, without going,
To him who has shown that what interdependently arises is the auspicious appeasement of the conceptual constructions, the perfect Buddha, the best of “speakers”, I pay homage.]

Kumārajīva, 410

(T 1564, vol. 30, 1b17)

不生亦不滅  不常亦不斷
不一亦不異  不來亦不出
能說是因緣  善滅諸戲論
我稽首禮佛  諸說中第一

[Literally: not being born, not ceasing, not eternal, not annihilated,
not one, not different, not coming, not going out,
to him who can say this cause-and-conditions, good at extinguishing all plays-on-words,
to the Buddha I respectfully pay homage, for he is the first amongst all who speak.]

Cog ro klu yi rgyal mtshan (fin VIIIe siècle)

/gang gis rten cing ‘brel bar ‘byung//’gag pa med pa skye med pa/
/chad pa med pa rtag med pa//’ong ba med pa ‘gro med pa/

/tha dad don min don gcig min//spros pa nyer zhi zhi bstan pa/
/rdzogs pa’i sangs rgyas smra rnams kyi//dam pa de la phyag ‘tshal lo/

David J. Kalupahana, 1986

I salute him, the fully enlightened, the best of speakers, who
preached the non-ceasing and the non-arising, the non-
annihilation and the non-permanence, the non-identity and the
non-difference, the non-appearance and the non-disappearence,
the dependent arising, the appeasement of obsessions and the
auspicious.

Jay L. Garfield, 1995

I prostrate to the perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
Whatever is dependently arisen is
Unceasing, unborn,
Unannihilated, not permanent,
Not coming, not going,
Without distinction, without identity,
And free from conceptual construction.

Stephen Batchelor, avril 2000

I bow down to the most sublime of speakers, the completely awakened one who taught contingency (no cessation, no birth, no annihilation, no permanence, no coming, no going, no difference, no identity) to ease fixations.

Guy Bugault (2002)

Sans rien qui cesse ou se produise, sans rien qui soit
anéanti ou qui soit éternel, sans unité ni diversité, sans
arrivée ni départ, telle est la coproduction conditionnée,
des mots et des choses apaisement béni. Celui qui nous l’a
enseignée, l’Éveillé parfait, le meilleur des instructeurs, je
le salue.

[Literally : without anything that ceases or arises, without anything that is
annihilated or eternal, without unity nor diversity, without
arrival nor departure, such is the conditioned co-production,
the blessed appeasement of words and things. The one who has taught
it to us, the perfect Enlightened One, the best amongst teachers, I
salute.]

Padmakara (English), 2008

To him who taught that things arise dependently,
Not ceasing, not arising,
Not annihilated nor yet permanent,
Not coming, not departing,
Not different, not the same :
The stilling of all thought, and perfect peace :
To him, the best of teachers, perfect Buddha,
I bow down.

Padmakara (français), 2008

À celui qui, montrant que ce qui se produit en interdépendance
N’a ni cessation ni naissance,
Ni interruption ni pérennité,
Ni venue ni allée,

Et n’est ni multiple ni un,
[Montre] l’apaisement des concepts, la paix,
À cet Éveillé parfait, le plus saint
Des philosophes, je rends hommage.

[Literally: to him who, showing that what arises interdependently
Has no cessation nor birth,
No interruption nor permanence,
No coming nor going,

And is neither multiple nor one,
(Shows) the appeasement of conceptions, peace,
To that perfect Enlightened One, the holiest
Amongst philosophers, I pay homage.]

Om arapacana dhîh

Discussion on the Intermediate State
in the Mahâvibhâsha

Translated from the Chinese version by Xuanzang
Apidamo da pibosha lun, T 1545, vol. 27, p. 356-64
玄奘譯阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論卷第六十九-七十
結蘊第二中有情納息第三之七-八

– Why have the venerable ones included a discussion about the intermediate state 中有 in this varga (納息 category) ?
– In order to put an end to heresies and manifest the right view. Indeed, some, like the Vibhâjyavâdins 分別論者, maintain that birth in the three worlds does not imply any intermediate state. Others explain that it is sure that birth in the Worlds of Desire and Form imply an intermediate state : such is the view of the Logicians ( ? 應理論者).
– What, then, are the criteria of the Vibhâjyavâdins allowing them to assert the non-existence of the intermediate state ?
– They refer to textual evidence 至教量 by quoting a sûtra 契經 which says that one who has committed one of the five actions « with immediate retribution » 五無間業 will for sure be immediately reborn in hell. This immediate rebirth in hell is a clear proof of the non-existence of any intermediate state. A gâthâ 伽他 says :
« You who are reborn today, you quit your lofty position
And utterly decline to approach Yamarâja 琰魔王.
You’d like to go forwards but have no provisions 資量,
And if you want to rest in between, you’ll find no place to stop over. »
This « no place to stop in between » 中間無所止處 allows them to ascertain the non-existence of this intermediate state.
Answering to our objections, they also prove 說過難證 this non-existence saying : as there is no gap between a form and its reflection 影光中無間隙, in the same way there is no gap between death and rebirth. How do you, Logicians, they say, prove the existence of an intermediate state with valid criteria ?
– We use a valid cognition derived from an authoritative text which says that « the one who enters its mother’s womb must have a direct experience of three things : 1) the mother’s body must be in time and fit 時調適 ; 2) father and mother must unite ; and 3) the gandharva 健達縛 must appear right in front of them. » So, what gandharva could it be if not a being in the intermediate state ? Who or what could make this experience once the previous aggregates are destroyed ? A being in the intermediate state is thus referred to as the gandharva.
Moreover, since texts mention « parinirvâna in between » 中般涅槃, if there is no intermediate state, how is such a parinirvâna possible ?
Another text reads : « When this body is destroyed and the next is not yet born, a mental sentient being, stopped by desire, engages in appropriation. » 意成有情依止於愛而設施取。
If the Bhagavân spoke thus, we can be definitely sure that there must be an intermediate state. If it were not the case, what would this « mental sentient being » refer to ?
Moreover, their denial can be countered by other evidences, for instance : if an individual dies here [in Jambudvîpa] to be reborn in the Northern Continent of Uttarakuru, etc. 北俱盧等, and if there is nothing like an intermediate state, there will be an interruption between the destruction of its present body and the birth in the next one. In that case, the next body would exist unpreceded and this one would be nothing in spite of its existence – thus goes the nature of things 法亦應爾. What basically does not exist would exist and the existing would return to nothingness. But as such defect is impossible, we have another evidence of the necessary existence of the intermediate state.

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Decus Lene Te Venero Magistrum

Tashima

Louange à Mañjushrî

Om

Immuable source de bonheur sont les Trois Joyaux
Dont tu émanes et rejaillis
Comme « Refuge sacré, digne refuge,
« Suprêmement glorieux Douce Gloire. »

Tu danses tes danses de fantasmagorie
Selon les perceptions des êtres des espaces et des temps,
Mais l’examen révèle que tu ne te fixes
Dans aucun objet intelligible, et je te rends hommage.

Tu es la plus paisible des déités paisibles,
Douce Gloire au comble de l’absence de misère,
Ton corps de grande compassion emplit l’espace :
Hommage à toi qui joues comme un enfant !

Tu es la plus terrible des déités terribles,
Bourreau de la Mort, à tout tu mets un terme
En avalant le devenir et la paix dans la Dimension :
Hommage à toi, suprême ennemi du temps !

Ton corps adamantin, où l’apparence est inséparable de la vacuité,
Incarne la sagesse de tous les Vainqueurs,
Perfection de Toujours, omniprésent seigneur,
Diamant de Douce Gloire, hommage à toi !

Par le mérite de ces hommages et louanges
Puissent les lumières de la sagesse de Douce Gloire
Rafraîchir le lotus de notre cœur
Jusqu’au cœur de l’Eveil !

Lama Mipham

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