Source of Indra's Net?

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:05 am

Coeëmgenu wrote:
Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:55 am
[...]

陀羅網 are Indra's Net
That works nicely, however, 因陀羅網 = Indra's Net.
[...]
Incidentally, 陀羅網 would be Tārā's Net.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:08 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:02 am
That works nicely, however, 因陀羅網 = Indra's Net. We can't split up Indra. Only Avalokiteśvara can take something like that and keep ticking.
Ah, OK. So,

Know that all in the Dharmadhatu is thus Indra's net...

It might be read to imply the correspondence of the thus nature and the world of causes and conditions.... do we have the Sanskrit for this? Or the Tibetan?
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:08 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:02 am
That works nicely, however, 因陀羅網 = Indra's Net. We can't split up Indra. Only Avalokiteśvara can take something like that and keep ticking.
Ah, OK. So,

Know that all in the Dharmadhatu is thus Indra's net...

It might be read to imply the thus nature of the world of causes and conditions.... do we have the Sanskrit for this? Or the Tibetan?
We have Tibetan, maybe bug Malcolm and see if he feels like reading it to us!

There is no Sanskrit as far as I can find. I just went on a big search. You are free to as well though.

I agree with your rendering, but would replace "thus" with "like", even though it messes with the Buddha-imagery that naturally accompanies 如 in hànzì/kanji, regardless of the meaning it is being read with.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:13 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:55 am
Are we sure 法界 should be split? that is Dharmadhatu
That's what I thought too and the way I originally translated it, the split is just going by what I was able to get from SAT DB's inline dictionary.
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:26 am

Here is Rulu's version:
All Buddhas know that the entire dharma realm is like the god-king Indra’s net, which comprises countless interwoven reflections, with no exception.
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:44 am

Maybe these translations are consulting manuscript recensions found outside the Taishō Tripiṭaka, but, if I may say, and I mean this with no offence, some of them are not as "strict" as I would like.

That being said, I have perhaps the eccentric tastes of an amateur who overestimates his skill. There is nothing wrong with Thomas Clearly's rendition involving "inter-related like", the inter-related being an editorial clarification. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with
Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:26 am
the god-king Indra’s net, which comprises countless interwoven reflections
but it does have a lot of editorial clarification/addition to the Chinese original(s), in as much as I can see based on my access to it/them (which may well be limited).

All of these translations and "dynamic" translations seem to presume a certain degree of Huáyán-specific philosophical terminology. To the point of adding it (probably based on precedence from commentarial material) to the sūtras, via either adding "inter-relating" or adding "which comprises countless interwoven reflections".

There is nothing wrong with this, per se, and it reflects dominant orthodox interpretation of the sūtra. But I will admit that there is a persnickety and perhaps altogether too fussy part of me that wants what I consider to be a more "systematic" translation. Perhaps I am exhibiting Dunning-Kruger Syndrome in saying that, though.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:46 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:44 am
...There is nothing wrong with this, per se, and it reflects dominant orthodox interpretation of the sūtra. But I will admit that there is a persnickety and perhaps altogether too fussy part of me that wants what I consider to be a more "systematic" translation. Perhaps I am exhibiting Dunning-Kruger Syndrome in saying that, though.
I think that you can relax and stop worrying about that, Coëmgenu, unless I should start worrying :tongue: because I'm the same. I like to get the most accurate/literal translation I can, even when I know it will inevitably be clumsy and graceless and might miss the spirit of the text.
But, for me, that literal translation is the best starting point for the 'looser', more meditative, understanding I want to develop. I will often compare it with other versions to build up a multi-layered mental image of it, somewhat as composite photographic portrais can be built up (e.g. here http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the ... 28008.html).

:namaste:
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:41 pm

If we're talking about Cleary's translation of the Avatamsaka, there have been known issues with that text for a while (big ones).

As far as Rulu's translations: afaik, Rulu's books are thematic - introducing a topic and supporting it with smaller sutras and chapters from larger sutras. These translations are rather free translations in nature and perhaps not meant to be seen as academic translations.

This is why we're waiting on Ven Dharmamitra's work with so much anticipation.

Background reading:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5
Link 6
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Seeker12 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:59 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:41 pm
If we're talking about Cleary's translation of the Avatamsaka, there have been known issues with that text for a while (big ones).

As far as Rulu's translations: afaik, Rulu's books are thematic - introducing a topic and supporting it with smaller sutras and chapters from larger sutras. These translations are rather free translations in nature and perhaps not meant to be seen as academic translations.

This is why we're waiting on Ven Dharmamitra's work with so much anticipation.

Background reading:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5
Link 6
What are the big known issues? I'm not surprised to hear this, but I'm curious what exactly these big issues are.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:04 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:44 am
That being said, I have perhaps the eccentric tastes of an amateur who overestimates his skill. There is nothing wrong with Thomas Clearly's rendition involving "inter-related like", the inter-related being an editorial clarification. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with
Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:26 am
the god-king Indra’s net, which comprises countless interwoven reflections
but it does have a lot of editorial clarification/addition to the Chinese original(s), in as much as I can see based on my access to it/them (which may well be limited).
Misattribution. He was quoting Rulu.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:18 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:41 pm
As far as Rulu's translations: afaik, Rulu's books are thematic - introducing a topic and supporting it with smaller sutras and chapters from larger sutras.
Indeed, I just found out about him. What good work. His name means "Buddha-revealer" or "Buddha-revealed" I think. Very appropriate.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:18 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:13 am
Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:55 am
Are we sure 法界 should be split? that is Dharmadhatu
That's what I thought too and the way I originally translated it, the split is just going by what I was able to get from SAT DB's inline dictionary.
I think what we've arrived at more-or-less is, with @Admin_PC suggesting "wisdom" rather than "knowledge":

知一切法界中如因陀羅網
knowledge 知 of all dharmadhātu 一切法界, within [it] 中, likened to Indra’s Net 如因陀羅網

The 界 I suppose can be rendered as plural or not as plural. I understand dharmadhātu to be plural-by-default (inasmuch that 'dharmadhātu' IMO must necessarily refer to sarvadharmāḥ/totality-of-all-dharmas without any need to say 'dharmadhātavaḥ'/'dharmadhātus'), not requiring pluralization (i.e. phenomenological/dharma realms), but I am hardly an expert.

If one wants to put "thus-so-like" or something like that to preserve the Tathāgata overtones of 如, as Queequeg suggested, that is not any more wrong than clarifying that Indra is a God and that his net comprises interwoven reflections (as per Rulu) or that dharmāḥ in their realm(s) inter-relate (as per Cleary).

That being said tho, those readings don't seem in the textus receptus, as it were. :stirthepot: :spy: :namaste:
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:48 pm

Seeker12 wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:59 pm
What are the big known issues? I'm not surprised to hear this, but I'm curious what exactly these big issues are.
From one of the referenced links:
[1] Although Thomas Cleary claims to have translated the Avatamsaka Sutra, he did not in fact do so.(For immense parts of the text, Cleary cuts out the Avataṃsaka text, grafts in other texts, and and otherwise violates in a host of ways the sanctity of the Śikṣānanda translation from Sanskrit.)
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:59 pm

As far as I can tell, Indra's net is an interpolation into the Chinese edition. It does not exist in the Tibetan edition of this sūtra.
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:12 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:18 pm
I think what we've arrived at more-or-less is, with @Admin_PC suggesting "wisdom" rather than "knowledge":

知一切法界中如因陀羅網
knowledge 知 of all dharmadhātu 一切法界, within [it] 中, likened to Indra’s Net 如因陀羅網
Well 知 is an older form of 智, and both are used to translate jñāna, which is related to the English term gnosis. So "wisdom gained through higher knowledge" might also be appropriate.
The 界 I suppose can be rendered as plural or not as plural. I understand dharmadhātu to be plural-by-default (inasmuch that 'dharmadhātu' IMO must necessarily refer to sarvadharmāḥ/totality-of-all-dharmas without any need to say 'dharmadhātavaḥ'/'dharmadhātus'), not requiring pluralization (i.e. phenomenological/dharma realms), but I am hardly an expert.
The chinese term is literally "border" and denotes "realm". 法界 would literally be "Dharma Realm" (just as 世界 comes from lokadhātu and refers to the world).
If one wants to put "thus-so-like" or something like that to preserve the Tathāgata overtones of 如, as Queequeg suggested, that is not any more wrong than clarifying that Indra is a God and that his net comprises interwoven reflections (as per Rulu) or that dharmāḥ in their realm(s) inter-relate (as per Cleary).

That being said tho, those readings don't seem in the textus receptus, as it were. :stirthepot: :spy: :namaste:
Well 如 is kind of a loaded term with multiple meanings as I linked above. Words in Sinitic languages often don't have 1 to 1 parallels for English words. The meaning of a term/character can often be shaped by the words/characters around it. One of the most difficult lessons I've had for working with Chinese & Japanese is to stop trying to turn everything into English and learning to accept the language on its own terms. This is probably the reason these languages are often thought to be inexact, when in reality context matters & a range of definitions for a term/character is narrowed down by what's around it. To reach an English cognate, sometimes that context has to be filled in.
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:36 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:46 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:44 am
...There is nothing wrong with this, per se, and it reflects dominant orthodox interpretation of the sūtra. But I will admit that there is a persnickety and perhaps altogether too fussy part of me that wants what I consider to be a more "systematic" translation. Perhaps I am exhibiting Dunning-Kruger Syndrome in saying that, though.
I think that you can relax and stop worrying about that, Coëmgenu, unless I should start worrying :tongue: because I'm the same. I like to get the most accurate/literal translation I can, even when I know it will inevitably be clumsy and graceless and might miss the spirit of the text.
But, for me, that literal translation is the best starting point for the 'looser', more meditative, understanding I want to develop. I will often compare it with other versions to build up a multi-layered mental image of it, somewhat as composite photographic portrais can be built up (e.g. here http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the ... 28008.html).

:namaste:
Kim

:focus:
I think the insistence on some sort of "literal" translation here is problematic. Chinese grammatical structure and written language are really different than English. Literal translations of characters is going to fail.

Above I mentioned 中 - that has a range of meanings that don't really have direct 1:1 translation into English. It has the meaning, "middle", "within", "center", "inside", "central", "throughout" etc. but its not like any of those meanings is definitive. That character in a particular context might have one of these particular translations as most appropriate, but all those other meanings are sort of evoked, too.

To try and illustrate further - in Japanese, 青 is literally translated as "blue", but it also includes what we would consider "green". 緑 is "green", but its a very specific shade of green. In Japanese you can say both "Blue Sky" and "Blue Mountain" but they're not the same color in our eyes at all.

I guess we could also talk about the multiple Inuit words for "snow". We have one word, basically, but for the Inuit, for whom the quality of snow matters, there are a range of words for snow of different qualities.

As far as I know, none of us actually knows Chinese. We're not taking into account the grammar that is embedded here - we're just taking a jumble of characters and stringing together their literal translations.

I'm just cautioning here about the desire for "literal" translation. There really is no such thing as a "literal" translation. There is always art and interpretation to the process. If literal translation were feasible, google translate would be close to perfection already.

Sorry, two cents.
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:48 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:36 pm
As far as I know, none of us actually knows Chinese. We're not taking into account the grammar that is embedded here - we're just taking a jumble of characters and stringing together their literal translations.
Luckily, though, this is Buddhist Chinese. This is no excuse not to educate one's self on the finer points of Chinese grammar. I will be the first to say that I do not have exhaustive grasp of this, my earlier mistake involving 中 testifying to that (that mistake would be a very pertinent example of stringing characters together with a fast-and-loose notion of how they rightly ought to relate). However, Buddhist Chinese generally imitates Sanskrit inasmuch as it is able to in word ordering, although sometimes Chinese authors had a rather fanciful notion of what Sanskrit word ordering implies.

I was just listening to one of the links Admin_PC left substantiating this curious detail of the dharma-in-Chinese.

http://www.hf.uio.no/ikos/forskning/net ... 10301.html

This effect is even more striking and even more starker the older you go into the history of Chinese translations of the Buddhadharma, to the point where one can line up EBTs with their Sanskrit/Pāli parallels and draw clause-for-clause, and very frequently word-for-word correspondences between Sinitic and Indic recensions (at the price of making the texts very difficult to understand to a native Chinese speaker). Obviously this is not nearly as striking in the works of, say, translators like Ven Kumarajiva, who translate for the Chinese rather than translating into Chinese.

Either way, we are working with very small fragments, clauses rather than full complex phrases. I think we can be trusted with a few character-relations.
並畢竟空。並如來藏。並實相。非三 而三三而不三。非合非散而合而散。非非合非非散。不可一異而一異。
All three truths are ultimately empty, all are tathāgatagarbha, all are true aspect. Not three, they are three; three, they are not three. Neither combined nor separated, neither uncombined nor unseparated. Neither same nor different, yet in a sense same, and in a sense different.

夫三諦者。 天然之性徳也。 中諦者。 統一切法。 眞諦者。 泯一切法。 俗諦者。 立一切法。
The three truths. Heaven-sent natural characteristics. The middle truth unifies all dharmas. The ultimate truth demolishes all dharmas. The conventional truth establishes all dharmas.

摩訶止観始終心要Móhēzhǐguān, Shǐzhōngxīnyào.

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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:51 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:48 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:36 pm
As far as I know, none of us actually knows Chinese. We're not taking into account the grammar that is embedded here - we're just taking a jumble of characters and stringing together their literal translations.
Luckily, though, this is Buddhist Chinese. This is no excuse not to educate one's self on the finer points of Chinese grammar. I will be the first to say that I do not have exhaustive grasp of this, my earlier mistake involving 中 testifying to that (that mistake would be a very pertinent example of stringing characters together with a fast-and-loose notion of how they rightly ought to relate). However, Buddhist Chinese generally imitates Sanskrit inasmuch as it is able to in word ordering, although sometimes Chinese authors had a rather fanciful notion of what Sanskrit word ordering implies.

I was just listening to one of the links Admin_PC left substantiating this curious detail of the dharma-in-Chinese.

http://www.hf.uio.no/ikos/forskning/net ... 10301.html

This effect is even more striking and even more starker the older you go into the history of Chinese translations of the Buddhadharma, to the point where one can line up EBTs with their Sanskrit/Pāli parallels and draw clause-for-clause, and very frequently word-for-word correspondences between Sinitic and Indic recensions (at the price of making the texts very difficult to understand to a native Chinese speaker). Obviously this is not nearly as striking in the works of, say, translators like Ven Kumarajiva, who translate for the Chinese rather than translating into Chinese.

Either way, we are working with very small fragments, clauses rather than full complex phrases. I think we can be trusted with a few character-relations.
Well, did not know that. That is very interesting. Makes for translating into English a terribly labored exercise... Where does the Avatamsaka fall in this spectrum?
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Queequeg
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:59 pm
As far as I can tell, Indra's net is an interpolation into the Chinese edition. It does not exist in the Tibetan edition of this sūtra.
Another twist to deal with. There would need to be a lot of work to find the trail of texts and determine how the Chinese and Tibetan versions relate to each other.

I don't know the story of the translation of the Avatamsaka, but IIRC, Kumarajiva himself was not fluent in Chinese, and my impression was that what actually happened was that Kumarajiva lectured on the various texts and in collaboration with hundreds of translators, turned out his famous translations. In a sense, he was translating, but really working with the actual translators to get the tone and meaning right in Chinese.

Perhaps the source of this reference was an explanation that the translator gave which ended up getting worked into the translation. This would not be unheard of for commentary to be added... Speculative.
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Malcolm
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Re: Source of Indra's Net?

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:10 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:59 pm
Perhaps the source of this reference was an explanation that the translator gave which ended up getting worked into the translation. This would not be unheard of for commentary to be added... Speculative.
Another thing that happens, at least in Tibetan texts, is that marginalia is sometimes mistakenly incorporated into the text. Your scenario is also possible.
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