Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Mantrik
Former staff member
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Post by Mantrik » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:47 pm

In an article, Robert Mayer argues that some of the early Tantras in Tibet were not simply translated from Sanskrit but redacted and even merged elements into something meeting the expectations of Tibetan culture.

Tibet did not have the 'polytropic' approach to practice which existed (exists) in India, where someone may simultaneously engage with deities and spirits from several religions and local belief systems.

So, I wondered, are there any which have remained intact, simply translated without alteration?
I'm especially interested in any Phurba practices which may have been carried over intact, and for which there is an English translation.

Here is the article:
https://www.academia.edu/11719871/Indig ... n_overview
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

tingdzin
Posts: 1163
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Post by tingdzin » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 am

This is an interesting issue. More and more it appears that material in the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist canons was very often not a matter of someone sitting down with an authoritative text in an Indic language (not necessarily Sanskrit, for the early sutras Gandhari Prakrit was used most, and a lot of the later tantras probably first appeared in Middle Indic Prakrits of the area where they originated ) and producing an authoritative Chinese or Tibetan text. There are lots of texts that are combinations or expansions or reductions or adaptations of others, and this is particularly true in instances where there was no officially-sanctioned translation authority, which was much of the time. Further, some Indic "originals" seem to have been back-translated from Chinese. I doubt that there is much chance of finding a "pure" phurpa text in the sense that you mean it, though Mayer is working well to establish early versions, variants,etc.

User avatar
Mantrik
Former staff member
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Post by Mantrik » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 pm

tingdzin wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:05 am
This is an interesting issue. More and more it appears that material in the Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist canons was very often not a matter of someone sitting down with an authoritative text in an Indic language (not necessarily Sanskrit, for the early sutras Gandhari Prakrit was used most, and a lot of the later tantras probably first appeared in Middle Indic Prakrits of the area where they originated ) and producing an authoritative Chinese or Tibetan text. There are lots of texts that are combinations or expansions or reductions or adaptations of others, and this is particularly true in instances where there was no officially-sanctioned translation authority, which was much of the time. Further, some Indic "originals" seem to have been back-translated from Chinese. I doubt that there is much chance of finding a "pure" phurpa text in the sense that you mean it, though Mayer is working well to establish early versions, variants,etc.
Yes, I follow Robert Mayer and Cathy Cantwell and they produce some fascinating research.
It is probably an impossible task, for sure. :)
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
ratna
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:32 pm

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Post by ratna » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:49 pm

I'm sure you know that book already, but in A Bolt of Lightning From the Blue, Martin Boord has assembled a collection of quotes from Tantras in Sanskrit that have to do with phur pa. He also translates an extract from a Vajrakīlaya tantra that was translated directly from Sanskrit by Sakya Pandita, who was adamantly against any "adaptation" or modification when translating or transmitting Indian sources. I think these are probably the closest you can get to an "unaltered" sources.

Then there is the question, which some Western scholars have raised, of to what extent the Sanskrit "original" texts that Tibetans translated where already adapted to local audiences' needs and interests by the Indians who introduced those texts to Tibet. In such cases, Tibetan translators may have followed the Sanskrit faithfully, but the source text itself may have contained some adaptations or even be made up on the spot altogether.

R
Don't touch me while I'm tantric.

User avatar
Mantrik
Former staff member
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Unredacted 'Intact' Sanskrit Tantras

Post by Mantrik » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:19 am

ratna wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:49 pm
I'm sure you know that book already, but in A Bolt of Lightning From the Blue, Martin Boord has assembled a collection of quotes from Tantras in Sanskrit that have to do with phur pa. He also translates an extract from a Vajrakīlaya tantra that was translated directly from Sanskrit by Sakya Pandita, who was adamantly against any "adaptation" or modification when translating or transmitting Indian sources. I think these are probably the closest you can get to an "unaltered" sources.

Then there is the question, which some Western scholars have raised, of to what extent the Sanskrit "original" texts that Tibetans translated where already adapted to local audiences' needs and interests by the Indians who introduced those texts to Tibet. In such cases, Tibetan translators may have followed the Sanskrit faithfully, but the source text itself may have contained some adaptations or even be made up on the spot altogether.

R
Thank you. it's ages since I last read that book - obviously time to reacquaint myself!
Yes, there is the ongoing debate whether it is best to find the oldest and/or most proven texts, or whether fresh termas are better having experienced less change. Most important of all, I think, faith in the guru and lineage.
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], GrapeLover, heart, Markus and 116 guests