As I said, the point of translations is to make the meaning and intent comprehensible to readers in the target language. Most translators did that job well enough to permit Buddhism to take root in China and for their own acclimatized species of Buddhadharma to flourish as a result. The function of translation was served. It did not parallel developments of India, but that was never the point, and in any case it would have proved impossible.mutsuk wrote:
Sanskrit or whatever, it does not change the fact that the chinese "method" was not that of translations but adaptations to the chinese mind. It's no wonder one cannot re-construct an original from the chinese, in particular because of their so-called editorial committees. Please read Jungnok's book, this will enlighten your week-end.
Sinicization of Buddhism was not inappropriate or wrong. To translate Indic texts so that they could be readily understood by native Chinese readers was the whole purpose of translation projects, not to rigidly reproduce Indic Buddhist developments in a foreign land.This is not the problem. The problem is the method used in order to sinicize materials. THis is also the reason why, when one reads an original indian text (no matter its language) and its chinese translation one has the feeling of reading two different texts. This is not the case with tibetan translations though.
Which ones? The Chinese Buddhist canon just to around 1000CE is vast in size. The Taisho has 32 volumes the size of phone books with small print which deal with translations of Indic texts. Are you saying all such items included therein are simply "renderings" because the Chinese language, as you have stated, are incapable and not up to the task?This is not the case as you would know if you had attended the past ten years courses at CdeF. And this does not change anything: if you look at probable original candidates for chinese translations, these are simply "renderings" not translations faithful to the letter and the spirit. The chinese language is responsible of that, not to mention the methods of translations which are pretty weird to say the least. The best you can say is that these are "adaptations".
Again, this kind of thinking is reflective of old orientalist notions rooted in archaic racist perceptions of Asians and darwinistic hierarchies of races, cultures and languages. These same ideas suggest Chinese was incapable of producing science or that the Chinese were very incompetent with rhetoric by virtue of their language (all being viewed from the perspective of European philosophy of course). Even today you have European scholars saying "Chinese philosophy is not really philosophy."
It was to express my sheer shock.I sincerly doubt it. You had to bring bullocks into the discourse, that's typically a male-threatened reaction...Mods or not...No, it isn't because I am male,
We must be living in different worlds because in the Chinese, Japanese and English speaking Buddhist academic worlds I don't hear about this kind of thing.My issues are more with your patriotic defense of a language which most buddhologists recognized as deficient and inadequate for carrying the subtleties of buddhist thought.My issues are more with your gross generalizations of the Chinese language, which strike me as oldschool orientalist.
A lot of the subtleties of Indian Buddhist thought in any case were relevant at the time to Indians, but not necessarily to Chinese on the other far side of the Himalayas.
The select favouritism you show for Sanskritic Buddhism and the later evolution of it through Tibetan neglects the fact that Buddhism is largely an oral tradition based on real life experience and human interactions, not the fine semantics and syllables in texts (this of course occupies a few Buddhist scholars' time, but does not reflect how Buddhists historically in any culture or time period have conducted themselves). The Buddha himself encouraged teachings to be given in local languages. The Buddhist translations into Chinese did this well enough. Hence superior and inferiority of canons is to be gauged by how well Buddhadharma, not Sanskrit semantics, were conveyed.
While I'm no Sanskrit scholar, I've compared the Sanskrit versions of various texts like the Abhidharma-kośa against Classical Chinese versions and never came to the conclusions you are pushing here.Your belief in the reliability of chinese translation is not a gross generalization, it's a ridicule one.
..."deficient and inadequate"
All of them?it's not a question of literal translations, it's a question of respecting the message and the words in which it was conveyed. Both these requirements are deficient in chinese translations of buddhist texts.
Nope, that's your bias. THis is not the opinion of sanskritists and tibetologists working in the field of buddhology (especially those, probably younger than you, who know all the concerned lanugages and are in a better position than you to formulate educated opinions. Read Jungnok's book, you are probably going to have some surprises...
For non-native readers it takes many many years to become fully literate in Classical Chinese and able to instinctively understand and feel the text. You can "know" Classical Chinese, but there is "knowing it" and actually grasping it. The former takes a few courses and a lot of heavy dictionary usage, the latter is not so readily attained.
I reckon very few western scholars are actually really capable readers of Classical Chinese (again there is "knowing" and then there is "really grasping fluently the language"), so few are in a position to size up the language. If a Chinese scholar with decades of experience reading Sanskrit and Classical Chinese comes out and says Chinese is "deficient and inadequate" for conveying Buddhadharma, I'll listen attentively.