A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Post by mzaur » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:17 pm

I've been interesting in reading a good translation of Lankavatara Sutra... I heard that DT Suzuki's translation is very eternalistic and Advaita. (Is that true?) If so, is this translation any different? Are there any other good ones out there?

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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Post by Jinzang » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:52 am

D.T. Suzuki's translation of the Lankavatara Sutra has been criticized by Richard Hayes as being inaccurate. As he is the Sanskrit scholar and I am not, I suppose he is correct.

D.T.Suzuki interprets the sutra through the lens of Zen and the doctrine of buddha nature, which is going to upset some hard to please Buddhist scholars and cause them to call him names like crypto-Advaitin. But you should pay these critics no mind, it's all word games.

A new translation of an important text is always welcome, even if the translation is not scholarly.
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!" Dottie Primrose

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: A 1st look: Red Pine’s Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra as Jasmine Tea

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:12 pm

Never did finish Red Pine's version, so am now revisiting it. He says it was in classical Sanskrit, not the usual hybrid variety. Is that unique among sutras or just uncommon?

It is thought that there was no Zen in India, but perhaps the esoteric Zen approach (like dzogchen) was just better hidden by India’s yogis. Here is a little of his Preface:

“Classical Sanskrit was the language of Brahmans and of the court. And in the middle of the fourth century, the court was located in the Central Indian city of Patna, on the banks of the Ganges. This was the court of Samudragupta the Great (r. 335–375).
Samudragupta was a devout Hindu, but he also respected other religious traditions and once granted permission to King Meghavarna, the ruler of Lanka, to construct a Buddhist monastery at Bodh Gaya, the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Perhaps it was such an event that inspired our author to locate his text on the island. And perhaps he composed his work hoping that it might reach the ears or eyes of this cakravartin, or universal monarch, which was how Samudragupta often referred to himself—and to whom the author of the Lanka also refers in a number of places. In addition to his military prowess, Samudragupta was also a skilled musician, and the detailed description of melodic modes near the beginning of Chapter One must have been written with someone in mind.
Another possibility for the sutra’s place of origin would be Lanka itself or the nearby mainland. Although Theravada has been the dominant form of Buddhism on the island for the past thousand years, prior to that it was a stronghold of the Yogacara school. And this sutra was clearly addressed to an audience familiar with the formative concepts of this school of Buddhism. But what sets the Lanka apart is that it points readers beyond the teachings of the early Yogacara to their own minds. Pointing directly at the mind was and still is a hallmark of the Zen school of Buddhism.”
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!

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