Akashagarbha Sutra ?

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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby kirtu » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:50 pm

Huseng wrote:
One should never expect to be able to pick up a sutra in English, for example, and immediately understand what it means. Of course, it somewhat depends on the sutra. Some sutras have a narrative style that is conducive to relatively easy understanding, like the Saddharmapundarika. But this is not the case with most sutras.

N



It doesn't matter which language you read it in -- you often need commentary literature to fully grasp the import of the sutra.


With a commentary you are able to enjoy the distilled wisdom of some past scholar. More often than not the commentary will clarify ambiguous parts of the translation that even native readers centuries ago found difficult to read.

The unfortunate reality is that English there are relatively few commentaries to sutra. In the old days you read a sutra alongside a commentary. Most often this was done with the standard commentary literature within your tradition. Nowadays people just read translations and come up with their own ideas.


Namdrol and Huseng -

Unfortunately there are many problems with reading sutras. People can come up with strange ideas or fabricate their own views. However if people are sincere then eventually the sutras themselves will correct these views.

Unfortunately many TB lamas approach their Western students as if these students were also preliterate Himalayan people from the old days. This isn't the case. It is also true that many academics have produced translations and interpretations that are problematic. However the solution is not to restrict access to sutras but to teach them more openly. In the past 40 years this is what the Chinese traditions have generally done.

I was shocked and upset last year when a visiting Sakya khenpo said in response to a question from me concerning reading sutras that basically lay people should not read sutras. He went on to explain that sutras were carefully explained to monks over time and that monks generally did not read sutras without permission and prior teaching. Well I'm sure this was and is still true. But literacy was very low even in pre-invasion Tibet. Literacy with all it's implications is very high in the West and even in the US (it's what - 95% literate depending on how you measure it?). Many people are familiar with some sutras. I had expected this khenpo to say something somewhat cautionary concerning sutra reading but he basically closed it down in his comments. However at the same center we have been exposed to the traditional practice of sutra reading as blessing (i.e. reading out loud and not for content or reflection - not my favorite) - but we have also read the Tsedo Sutra. We have also had childern enact stories from some sutras. Telling dharma students today to not read sutras is somewhat damaging. Warning them and then following up with education would be the way to go (and this visting khenpo may have done that - I was not able to attend his further teachings but I have to tell you his extended admonition that day was very problematic for me).

It is also true that the commentarial material is lacking. However many translations do have some commentarial material. I am also serious that over time the sutras will tend to correct erroneous concepts in people who approach them seriously. They are after all a kind of nirmanakaya.

It is also counterproductive to not educate dharma students about sutras that they will definitely encounter in the Tradition. The Akashagarbha Sutra is just one of several sutras that people will definitely encounter if just in name. One cannot predict how people come to the Dharma in the West. Some people have encountered the Dharma even in the West because they grew up around it and/or because there were sutras in the home and they read sutra excepts growing up. There is too much diversity to assume that people come in as complete blank slates. So some focus IMO needs to be made on sutra study in a more modern sense.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby plwk » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:02 pm

I was shocked and upset last year when a visiting Sakya khenpo said in response to a question from me concerning reading sutras that basically lay people should not read sutras. He went on to explain that sutras were carefully explained to monks over time and that monks generally did not read sutras without permission and prior teaching.
This sounds like what was done during Martin Luther's time...the Bible kept away from the laity and even priests and the religious (monks and nuns) were given restrictive Scriptural readings in the name of safeguarding Holy Writ from abuse and misinterpretation...
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby narraboth » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:55 pm

well, i have never heard of that kind of ban.
(I don't think a Tibetan lama can ban a Chinese to read sutra in Chinese, especially in nowadays)
and luckily i am a chinese who happen could read most of sutra in original form.
no one told me that i can not.

but still, if i find some places puzzle me, i would look for explanation rather than guess by myself.

also to hengfan, reading sutra can be either easy or difficult compare to reading commentaries (at least for me as a chinese user), depends on what sutra you are reading.
Pureland sutras are easy to read, but some philosophical topics are quite difficult to catch without proper explanation.
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby Dharmaspace » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:26 pm

pueraeternus wrote:M.W. Visser did an extension research on Akasagarbha, and published it in the 1930s as "The Bodhisattva Akdsagarbha (Kokuzo) in China and Japan". It's not a translation, but contains an exhaustive summary of the various Akasagarbha sutras r
ecorded in the Taisho. I could not find any copies of it, but managed to loan microfilm copy. I did a pdf copy and can email it to anyone who might be interested.


I would be extremely grateful for a copy of your pdf, thanks
Does anybody know the background of the Akasagarbha Bodhisattva's depiction as riding a fish in the ocean and holding a stick (?)
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:54 pm

Due to the 2MB file size, I wasn't able to attach it here on DW. Anyone who like to have a microfilm copy of Visser's work, send me a PM with your email address.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby Will » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:28 am

About ten pages of the Arya-Akasagarbha-Mahayana Sutra are translated in this book about the Arya Sangha of the Eight Mahabodhisattvas:

A Garland of Jewels by Jamgon Mipham
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby WuMing » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:31 am

There is a German translation available (translated from Korean and Chinese) by Bop Jon Sunim Tenzin Tharchin

http://tinyurl.com/k6ekqzx
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
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Re: Akashagarbha Sutra ?

Postby kirtu » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:43 pm

WuMing wrote:There is a German translation available (translated from Korean and Chinese) by Bop Jon Sunim Tenzin Tharchin

http://tinyurl.com/k6ekqzx


WOW! Thanks very much!

Kirt
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