Reigle vs Sparham - Sanskrit
Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:06 am
Anyone competent enough in Sanskrit to understand who correctly translates these verses in the Abhisamayālaṃkāra? This is from this blog - http://prajnaquest.fr/blog/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
March 13, 2012 at 5:40 am
Regarding the quotations from Haribhadra’s Āloka, rather than my own translations I had intended to give these as translated by Gareth Sparham (Abhisamayālaṃkāra with Vṛtti and Ālokā, 4 vols., Jain Publishing Company, 2006-2012). It is thanks to his English translation that I found these quotations. However, he incorrectly translates these as saying that the dharma-dhātu is the svabhāva of the dharmas, rather than that the dharmas are the svabhāva of the dharma-dhātu. Since this idea is of considerable importance to our research, I will provide some detail.
Gareth was the first (and still the only) person to translate the two primary Indian commentaries on Maitreya’s Abhisamayālaṃkāra into English. This small and concise text outlines the path to Buddhahood buried in the large and diffuse Prajñāpāramitā sūtras. Because it gives the whole path to Buddhahood, the Abhisamayālaṃkāra (in Tibetan translation) became the most widely studied text in Tibet. Because of the complexity of this path, the Abhisamayālaṃkāra became the most commented on text in Tibet. Gareth has also translated Tsong kha pa’s extensive commentary on it, titled Golden Garland of Eloquence. Gareth’s long study of the Abhisamayālaṃkāra and the path it teaches, first with Tibetan lamas from Tibetan texts, and then later from the original Sanskrit texts, has allowed him to translate this complex material into English for us. One must know the technicalities of the system before the texts are comprehensible. One cannot just pick up a text and expect to comprehend it. So we are fortunate to have access to this material through his translations. But of course, in dealing with this vast material, small mistakes are easily made and are to be expected.
Haribhadra’s statements usually use the compound, dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatayā, or dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvāt. The suffixes -tā and -tva, basically meaning “-ness” or “-hood,” are very often used in Sanskrit as a quick substitute for the finite verb meaning “is” or “are.” When declined in the instrumental or ablative cases, -tayā or -tvāt, as they are here, they mean “because [something] is [such and such],” more literally, “by being . . . ,” or “due to being . . . .” These compounds are usually straightforward. Here we have simple tatpuruṣa or case relation compounds. In these, the genitive case ending, meaning “of,” must be supplied for dharma-dhātu. This gives us “the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu.” The declined suffixes -tayā or -tvāt then give us “because [they, i.e., dharmas] are the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu.” This is, by the way, fully supported by the Tibetan translations, which supply the elided case endings for these tatpuruṣa compounds. They give chos kyi dbyings kyi ngo bo nyid, supplying the genitive case ending “kyi.”
In order to reverse this meaning, and get that the dharma-dhātu is the inherent nature of the dharmas, one would have to take this compound as a bahuvrīhi, an adjective. This is apparently what Gareth did. However, this cannot be done. First, since the -tā or -tva suffixes already say that something “is” something, one would not expect these compounds to be bahuvrīhis or adjectives. Second, as a bahuvrīhi or adjective, it must agree in gender and number with the word it modifies. If it describes the dharmas, these words must agree; but they do not. What we have is dharmas in the masculine genitive plural, dharmāṇām (or rūpādīnām), while the compound ending in -tayā is feminine singular and the compound ending in -tvāt is neuter singular. If this compound was a bahuvrīhi or adjective (which it is not), it could be translated as “they whose svabhāva is the dharma-dhātu,” or “having the dharma-dhātu as svabhāva.” This is apparently how Gareth got his translations. The Tibetan translations also rule this out. To take this compound as a bahuvrīhi or adjective means to take the underlying compound as a karmadhāraya rather than as a tatpuruṣa, while the Tibetan translations show it as a tatpuruṣa.
This phrase, dharmāṇāṃ dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatayā (or -svabhāvatvāt), means literally, “of the dharmas, because of the being the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu.” This, in English, is a very convoluted way of saying, “because the dharmas are the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu.” This Sanskrit phrasing is very common, especially in prose commentaries on verse works. It was not until years into my Sanskrit studies (mostly reading verses) that I figured out how to translate this prose phrase. No Sanskrit textbook known to me explains it. To get idiomatic English, one must take the word declined in the genitive case as the subject, take the -tā or -tva suffix as the verb “is/are,” place the “because” at the very beginning (given at the very end of the Sanskrit by the instrumental or ablative case ending), and then bring in what the -tā or -tva suffix is attached to. Thus, “because (instrumental “ayā” of “ā”) the dharmas (dharmāṇām) are (-tā) the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu (dharma-dhātu-svabhāva).” This also works when the word having the -tā or -tva suffix is declined in the nominative rather than the instrumental or ablative cases. One merely leaves out the “because.” Thus, rūpādīnāṃ mahattā: literally, “of form, etc., [there is] greatness”; idiomatically, “form, etc., are (-tā) great.” When the “subject” in the genitive case is not stated, one may supply a pronoun, “it” or “they.” Thus, dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvāt: “because it is (or they are) the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu.”
Besides the instrumental -tayā and the ablative -tvāt, we also have the suffix -tva declined in the instrumental case, -tvena. In theory -tvena should have the same meaning as the instrumental -tayā (and the ablative -tvāt), “because (it/they) is/are,” but in practice -tvena more often means “as being” (or simply, “as”). Sometimes a phrase using -tvena is found along with a phrase using -tvāt. Then the -tvena phrase may be subordinated to the -tvāt phrase. Thus, sarva-dharmāṇāṃ dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvena rāgārāga-viviktatvāt: literally, “of all dharmas, as being the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu, because they are distinct from desire and non-desire.” For idiomatic English, we may place the “because” of the -tvāt phrase first, make the genitive the subject, then insert the subordinate -tvena phrase, and then complete the -tvāt phrase. Thus, “because all dharmas, as being the inherent nature of the dharma-dhātu, are distinct from desire and non-desire.” This explanation of the Sanskrit construction of these phrases is an aside, hopefully useful for Sanskrit students. The translation problem being referred to in this note specifically pertains to the construal of just the compound, not to the construal of the whole phrase.
With the help of Gareth’s translation, I have taken note of nine places in Haribhadra’s text where this statement is made. Here is a listing of these places, along with his translations. My additions are given in double brackets. The single brackets and parentheses are his. His translations are followed by the Sanskrit text, with references to both Unrai Wogihara’s 1932 edition, Abhisamayālaṃkārālokā, and to P. L. Vaidya’s 1960 edition, Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. Then given are translations that are as literal as I could make them in keeping with English idiom, so that the Sanskrit text can be more easily followed and compared.
1. Sparham, vol. 1, p. 304: “And why? Subhūti says, Because a Bodhisattva is as boundless as form, etc., is boundless. Based on the maxim, ‘There is no dharma over and above the dharma element [[dharma-dhātu]],’ just as the dharma element is boundless, so too is the form [skandha], etc., that has that for its essential nature [[svabhāva]] boundless.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 110, lines 3-4, Vaidya p. 323, line 1: . . . dharma-dhātuvat tat-svabhāvī-bhūtānāṃ yasmād rūpādīnāṃ aparyantatayā bodhisattvāparyantatā . . . . Reigle: “. . . like the dharma-dhātu, because form, etc., which are its inherent nature (svabhāva), are boundless, bodhisattvas are boundless . . .” (I have not translated yasmād here, because it correlates with tasmād later in the sentence).
2. Sparham, vol. 2, p. 124: “Here [Maitreya] is saying that form and so on [[the dharmas]] are great because the Dharma Element [[dharma-dhātu]] is their final nature (svabhāva).” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 176, line 3, Vaidya p. 349, line 15: etad uktam | rūpādīnāṃ dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatayā mahattā. Reigle: “This is what was said: Form, etc. [the dharmas], are great, because they are the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu.”
3. Sparham, vol. 2, p. 130: “[Maitreya] is saying [the gods say a Bodhisattva] standing in that [Perfection of Wisdom] is certain that the form [skandha] and so on with the Dharma Element [[dharma-dhātu]] as its essential nature [[svabhāva]] is the Tathāgata.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 182, lines 11-12, Vaidya p. 351 lines 15-16: etad uktam | prajñā-pāramitāyāṃ sthitasya vastuno dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatayā rūpādīnāṃ tathāgatatvāvadhāraṇam iti. Reigle: “This is what was said: For something established in the Perfection of Wisdom, tathāgatahood (buddhahood) is ascertained, because form, etc., are the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu.”
4. Sparham, vol. 2, p. 134: “[Maitreya] is saying [the gods are saying] that all dharmas have the Dharma Element [[dharma-dhātu]] as their essential nature [[svabhāva]], . . .” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 185, lines 21-23, Vaidya p. 353, lines 10-11: etad uktam | dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatayā prajñā-pāramitāyāṃ sthitasya bodhisattvasya sarva-dharmāṇāṃ nodgraha-tyāga-bhāvanādikam iti. Reigle: “This is what was said: For a bodhisattva established in the Perfection of Wisdom there is no cultivation, etc., of the taking up or abandoning of all dharmas, because they are the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu.”
5. Sparham, vol. 2, p. 241: “. . . a wholesome root . . . and has the same own-being [[svabhāva]] because its own-being is the Dharma Element [[dharma-dhātu]].” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 350, lines 23-25, Vaidya p. 391, lines 18-19: . . . dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvāt tat-svabhāvam. Reigle: “. . . [has] the inherent nature (svabhāva) of that, because it is the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu.”
6. Sparham, vol. 3, p. 138: “He means that in true reality form, etc., its sign, and its own-being [[svabhāva]] are the Dharma Element, and the practice that therefore does not conceive, etc., of them enables [Bodhisattvas] to gain non-conceptual practice and not construct [or conceive of] powers that are ‘unthinkable,’ i.e., beyond thought.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 479, lines 1-2, Vaidya p. 425, line 8: tattvato dharma-dhātu-rūpatvād rūpādi-tan-nimitta-tat-svabhāvāvikalpanādi-pratipatti-sāmarthyena . . . . Reigle: “In reality, because it is the form of the dharma-dhātu, through the capability of the practice of non-conception, etc., of form, etc., which are the sign of that and the inherent nature (svabhāva) of that, . . .”
7. Sparham, vol. 4, p. 196: “All dharmas have the Dharma Element for their own-being [[svabhāva]], [i.e., essential nature], so you cannot get at any other different suchness dharma. Since this is the case, ultimately, no one stands in suchness.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 859, lines 14-16, Vaidya p. 517, lines 14-15: dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvāt sarva-dharmāṇāṃ tathatā-vyatiriktānya-dharmānupalambhe sati naiva kaścit paramārthatas tathatāyāṃ sthāsyati. Reigle: “Because all dharmas are the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu, there being no perception of other dharmas distinct from suchness, no one ultimately will stand in suchness.”
8. Sparham, vol. 4, p. 228: “To remove the conceptualization of a nominal (prajñapti) being, [they should meditate] on the fact that, because all dharmas have, in their original nature, the Dharma Element as own-being [[svabhāva]], they are isolated from a shared or specific place.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 898, lines 4-5, Vaidya p. 527, lines 27-28: sattva-prajñapti-vikalpa-nirāsārtham sarva-dharmāṇāṃ prakṛtyā dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvena sāmānya-viśiṣṭa-deśa-viviktatvāt. Reigle: “This is for the sake of removing the conceptualization of the designation of a being, because all dharmas, as naturally being the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu, are distinct from a common or specific place.”
9. Sparham, vol. 4, p. 229: “To remove the conceptualization of attachment, [they should meditate] on the fact that all dharmas are isolated from attachment and non-attachment because they have as their own-being [[svabhāva]] the Dharma Element.” Sanskrit, Wogihara p. 898, lines 20-21, Vaidya p. 528, lines 2-3: sakti-vikalpa-nirāsārtham sarva-dharmāṇāṃ dharma-dhātu-svabhāvatvena rāgārāga-viviktatvāt. Reigle: “This is for the sake of removing the conceptualization of attachment, because all dharmas, as being the inherent nature (svabhāva) of the dharma-dhātu, are distinct from desire and non-desire.”
Note: I sent this to Gareth before posting it, and he very graciously encouraged me to go ahead and post it.