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

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

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.]

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