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Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:47 pm
by Mantrik
In an article, Robert Mayer argues that some of the early Tantras in Tibet were not simply translated from Sanskrit but redacted and even merged elements into something meeting the expectations of Tibetan culture.

Tibet did not have the 'polytropic' approach to practice which existed (exists) in India, where someone may simultaneously engage with deities and spirits from several religions and local belief systems.

So, I wondered, are there any which have remained intact, simply translated without alteration?
I'm especially interested in any Phurba practices which may have been carried over intact, and for which there is an English translation.

Here is the article:
https://www.academia.edu/11719871/Indig ... n_overview

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 am
by tingdzin
This is an interesting issue. More and more it appears that material in the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist canons was very often not a matter of someone sitting down with an authoritative text in an Indic language (not necessarily Sanskrit, for the early sutras Gandhari Prakrit was used most, and a lot of the later tantras probably first appeared in Middle Indic Prakrits of the area where they originated ) and producing an authoritative Chinese or Tibetan text. There are lots of texts that are combinations or expansions or reductions or adaptations of others, and this is particularly true in instances where there was no officially-sanctioned translation authority, which was much of the time. Further, some Indic "originals" seem to have been back-translated from Chinese. I doubt that there is much chance of finding a "pure" phurpa text in the sense that you mean it, though Mayer is working well to establish early versions, variants,etc.

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 pm
by Mantrik
tingdzin wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 am
This is an interesting issue. More and more it appears that material in the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist canons was very often not a matter of someone sitting down with an authoritative text in an Indic language (not necessarily Sanskrit, for the early sutras Gandhari Prakrit was used most, and a lot of the later tantras probably first appeared in Middle Indic Prakrits of the area where they originated ) and producing an authoritative Chinese or Tibetan text. There are lots of texts that are combinations or expansions or reductions or adaptations of others, and this is particularly true in instances where there was no officially-sanctioned translation authority, which was much of the time. Further, some Indic "originals" seem to have been back-translated from Chinese. I doubt that there is much chance of finding a "pure" phurpa text in the sense that you mean it, though Mayer is working well to establish early versions, variants,etc.
Yes, I follow Robert Mayer and Cathy Cantwell and they produce some fascinating research.
It is probably an impossible task, for sure. :)

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:49 pm
by ratna
I'm sure you know that book already, but in A Bolt of Lightning From the Blue, Martin Boord has assembled a collection of quotes from Tantras in Sanskrit that have to do with phur pa. He also translates an extract from a Vajrakīlaya tantra that was translated directly from Sanskrit by Sakya Pandita, who was adamantly against any "adaptation" or modification when translating or transmitting Indian sources. I think these are probably the closest you can get to an "unaltered" sources.

Then there is the question, which some Western scholars have raised, of to what extent the Sanskrit "original" texts that Tibetans translated where already adapted to local audiences' needs and interests by the Indians who introduced those texts to Tibet. In such cases, Tibetan translators may have followed the Sanskrit faithfully, but the source text itself may have contained some adaptations or even be made up on the spot altogether.

R

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:19 am
by Mantrik
ratna wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:49 pm
I'm sure you know that book already, but in A Bolt of Lightning From the Blue, Martin Boord has assembled a collection of quotes from Tantras in Sanskrit that have to do with phur pa. He also translates an extract from a Vajrakīlaya tantra that was translated directly from Sanskrit by Sakya Pandita, who was adamantly against any "adaptation" or modification when translating or transmitting Indian sources. I think these are probably the closest you can get to an "unaltered" sources.

Then there is the question, which some Western scholars have raised, of to what extent the Sanskrit "original" texts that Tibetans translated where already adapted to local audiences' needs and interests by the Indians who introduced those texts to Tibet. In such cases, Tibetan translators may have followed the Sanskrit faithfully, but the source text itself may have contained some adaptations or even be made up on the spot altogether.

R
Thank you. it's ages since I last read that book - obviously time to reacquaint myself!
Yes, there is the ongoing debate whether it is best to find the oldest and/or most proven texts, or whether fresh termas are better having experienced less change. Most important of all, I think, faith in the guru and lineage.