Cleary Avatamsaka Translation Question

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Seeker12
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Cleary Avatamsaka Translation Question

Post by Seeker12 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:49 pm

As many know, Cleary seems to have tended to translate everything into English, including some words that are commonly left in a non-English form.

For example, the commonly used term "Bodhisattva" is translated as "enlightening being".

My question is this - when Cleary says "reality body", is that a translation of the term 'dharmakaya'?

Apart from that, are there any commonly used Buddhist terms that Cleary chose to translate into English that might be clarified?

Thanks for any input.

diamind
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Cleary Avatamsaka Translation Question

Post by diamind » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:39 pm

Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:49 pm
As many know, Cleary seems to have tended to translate everything into English, including some words that are commonly left in a non-English form.

For example, the commonly used term "Bodhisattva" is translated as "enlightening being".

My question is this - when Cleary says "reality body", is that a translation of the term 'dharmakaya'?

Apart from that, are there any commonly used Buddhist terms that Cleary chose to translate into English that might be clarified?

Thanks for any input.
I'm definitely not a fan of translating the Sanskrit into English but Lord Buddha was. So to answer your first question yes "reality body" or "truth body" are synonymous with Dharmakaya.

Other commonly used terms are "emanation body" and "complete enjoyment body" for nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya respectively.

Seeker12
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Cleary Avatamsaka Translation Question

Post by Seeker12 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:13 pm

diamind wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:39 pm
Seeker12 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:49 pm
As many know, Cleary seems to have tended to translate everything into English, including some words that are commonly left in a non-English form.

For example, the commonly used term "Bodhisattva" is translated as "enlightening being".

My question is this - when Cleary says "reality body", is that a translation of the term 'dharmakaya'?

Apart from that, are there any commonly used Buddhist terms that Cleary chose to translate into English that might be clarified?

Thanks for any input.
I'm definitely not a fan of translating the Sanskrit into English but Lord Buddha was. So to answer your first question yes "reality body" or "truth body" are synonymous with Dharmakaya.

Other commonly used terms are "emanation body" and "complete enjoyment body" for nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya respectively.
Thanks, I figured that was simply his translation of choice.

As Buddhism is more established in the West, IMO it's nice to keep some of the major terms untranslated. For example, śamatha, vipaśyanā, the various kayas, bodhisattva, even things like prajñā, etc. In general, it's fairly easy for someone who doesn't know the term to find extensive explanations, and translating the term may lead to more confusion than clarity.

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