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浅谈当代汉文大藏经整理传译之方向
 
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浅谈当代汉文大藏经整理传译之方向 
 
内容摘要:“汉文大藏经”是一切汉文佛典的总称,是汉语文佛典丛书大全,既包括汉文译籍,也包括用汉语文写成的种种佛教注疏和著述。⑴ 将这些既有的佛典搜寻和保藏起来,加以整理传译,对于佛教弘法事业、僧才培养和探索生存发展以及与时代相适应都具有极其重要的历史现实意义。在“薪火相传、众缘和合、守正出新”的基本原则下,历代高僧大德和学界互动,对汉文大藏经整理传译进行了不懈的努力,取得了巨大的成就,为佛教与中华传统文化的融合和人类社会文明的进步提供了丰富的智慧资源。近些年各种版本的大藏经陆续被整理出版,在版本、文献方面的意义较大,但在实用方面尚有缺欠。因此,对汉文大藏经全面进行录入、句读、校对,以适合现代人阅读习惯的简体字重新排版印行并加以提要、导读尤为迫切,尤其是要酌情适度地对汉文大藏经进行白话传译。惟有如此,才能惠利众生。

关键词:汉文大藏经 整理 传译 方向

引言

佛教在其长期发展过程中,产生了大量的文献,这些文献统称之为一切经、大藏经和三藏等等。释迦牟尼所说的教义和所制定的戒律最初没有文字记载,只是口头相传和靠记忆背诵。在他逝世后,弟子们感到这样辗转的口授,容易产生误解和思想上的分歧,因而举行了结集(集体会诵经律),开始编集律藏和经藏,以后又编集论藏,并对三藏进行了注解。佛教向南北传播后,很多地方的佛教徒使用当地的语言文字翻译编写了种种佛教典籍,并汇辑成经典,因之目前大藏经中有巴利语、汉语、藏语、蒙语、满语、西夏语及日语等体系,另外,还有用梵语、吐火罗语、粟特语、于阗语、突厥语等译写的佛典。

一、汉文大藏经整理传译的基本情况及其特点

传承文明的方式多种多样,但主要依靠典籍。典籍的产生使得文明传承可以跨越时间与空间。所以,在中国,修史造藏、整理典籍、抄书印书藏书,成为代代相承的传统。⑵

佛教传入中国两千多年,经历了从一个外来宗教转变为中国传统文化重要组成部分的过程。整理、研究大藏经,同样也是发扬、传承我国的传统文化不可或缺的宝贵经验。在我国佛教史上,历朝历代虔心收集、翻译、整理、传抄、供养、编修大藏经的佛教僧俗信徒不胜枚举。正是因为有了他们的努力,各种形态的大藏经才得以形成和发展。根据现有资料,汉文大藏经大约有三种情况:唐代以前的写本藏经;宋代以后的木版雕刻印本;汉文大藏经的排印版本。⑶

1、汉文大藏经的基本情况

我们知道,如何对待文化遗产历来是有争论的,问题是首先需要把散乱各地的文献经书收集和保存下来。只有收集和保存下来,提供了解和研究的基础,才有全面评价和讨论如何运用的可能。⑷

佛教传入中国内地以后的千余年间,仅藏经目录即近50种之多,流传至今尚有20余种,收录的经籍数量不等。各个时代编纂的大藏经,形式和内容互有不同。除房山石经外,宋代以前的基本上都是卷轴装帧的书写本。北宋开宝(968~975)年间,第一部木版雕印的大藏经问世后,历元、明、清至民国,共出版过木雕版和排印本大藏经20种(一说21种)。

传统大藏经虽然利于保存,但不便阅读。就大藏经的整理而言,虽然有多种大藏版本被影印传世,但依然有《崇宁藏》、《毗卢藏》、《资福藏》、《普宁藏》、《永乐南藏》等重要版本没有影印公诸于世。我国历代大藏经的多数已成文物,尤其是宋元版大藏经,它们不是已基本亡佚,如《开宝藏》、《契丹藏》;就是成了稀世的孤本、残本;或是流落海外,如《赵城藏》就是世间仅存的孤本,《崇宁藏》、《毗卢藏》基本保存于日本;明清诸版大藏经国内虽有完整的印本存世,但数量很少,基本上是各大寺院的供品。上世纪初,日本佛教界首先发起并重编了《卍续藏》、《大正藏》,成为之后佛教界及学术界广泛使用的版本。民国时期,还出版过铅字排印的《频伽藏》和《普慧藏》。以后,中国再没有大规模的官方编纂汉文大藏经之举。上世纪30年代,在西安的开元、卧龙两寺发现了宋《碛砂藏》本,遂引发了我国佛教学术界整理和研究大藏经的热潮。在之后的年代,上海的僧俗学者整理影印了《影印宋碛砂版大藏经》;在这一过程中,又在山西发现了《赵城藏》,并从中整理影印了《宋藏遗珍》,著名佛学家欧阳渐的弟子蒋唯心还发表了《金藏雕印始末考》一文。上世纪50年代,重编《中华藏》的计划首先由台湾学者蔡运辰提出。1956年在台湾成立“修订中华大藏经会”,1982年完成了台湾版《中华藏》。上世纪60年代初,大陆的佛学界也提出重编《中华藏》的计划,吕澄先生为此编着了《新编汉文大藏经目录》一书。但因之后的政治运动,这一计划没有付诸实施。

综观国内外刊印的各种版本大藏经,都有收录不全、排印错漏等缺点,都不是理想的版本。

2、汉文大藏经的传译

汉文大藏经是在佛教传入我国后,经过长期的翻译、撰着和编纂起来的佛教经、律、论汇集。流行于中国汉、蒙地区和朝鲜、日本、越南等国。我国佛典的翻译最早是在东汉末年恒帝(147-167)、灵帝(168-189)时代,最早的译者是西域来我国的僧人安世高和支娄迦谶。在南北魏晋时期随着佛教的蓬勃发展,译经事业也在更大规模上进行,翻译的质量有所提高。在隋唐时期,佛经翻译获得了统治者的直接支持,由国家出面组织译场进行,并建立了一套极为严格的翻译制度,译经顺序分为宣读梵文、证义、证文、审听、笔授、缀文、参译、刊定、润文等九个阶段,从而保证了译文的质量。隋唐是我国译经事业臻于鼎盛时期,但五代以后就开始衰落,北宋时,佛典的翻译虽未中断,但只在少数人或个别人中进行。在佛经传译的2000年漫长历史过程中,我国翻译了大量的佛教经典,培育了一大批翻译家。据不完全的统计,现有佛经中可以确定为属于翻译印度次大陆各国的约1482部5702卷,除重译本外,还有4400卷,其中小乘佛典约1400卷,大乘经、律、论约3000卷,约合梵文250万颂。自后汉末至北宋末年(2-12世纪),约1000年间直接参加翻译的有150余人,其中有史书可寻,属次大陆来华的僧侣、学者计71人。鸠摩罗什、真谛、玄奘和不空等称为中国翻译史上的“四大翻译家”。

3、汉文大藏经的特点

汉文大藏经的特点如下:

第一、量多。在大部分印度原典都已失的今日,要理解印度佛教历史,汉译是最重要的资料。第二、仅就量上来说,后述的西藏大藏经几乎也可媲美汉译,藏译始于八世纪后,但中国在五世纪已经翻译了现今仍被广为读诵的经典;六、七世纪时,主要经典的汉译皆已齐备。也就是说,汉译最能反映印度佛教的全盛时期。第三、同样的圣典有多种译本。在印度即使是相同的典籍,也会随着时代的变迁,而有改订或增,也会有古籍资料的流失。含义保存了其新旧形态,所以可以追寻变化发展的轨迹。第四、因汉译年代大体皆有正确的记载,所以可据此重构印度文献史。但是,反过来说,汉译数据也不是没有它的缺点。因为中国文学与印度文学都有古老的历史,有其各自的发展,所以将印度原典翻译成汉语时,未必能忠实于原文。这种顾虑在鸠摩罗什的汉译中非常周详,玄奘以后的译文较重视于原文,即使如此,为尊重汉文的成规与习惯,以使译文易懂易读,有时候也有重新编辑本文的痕迹。即使是现代要将他国语言翻译成英文等,为尊重英文本身的表现形式,甚至要牺牲对原文的忠实性;即使从语法构造相近的法文、德文等译成英文时,常常很难从英文去推定其原文。汉译佛教圣典同样也有此困难。将此视为缺点或许不太恰当,但从原典批判的立场来说,这确实是相当棘手的问题。因此,很难逐字来作梵汉对照。⑸

 

二、当代汉文大藏经整理传译方面做出的有益探索

1、新时代汉文大藏经的编撰

改革开放以后,国家委派时任世界宗教研究所所长任继愈主持,调集了一批专家学者编纂《中华大藏经》。从1982年8月整理出版工程正式启动,经过13年的苦干,160多人的努力,这部共收录典籍1939种,约一亿多字的大藏经,1994年底编纂完成,1997年由中华书局出齐全部106册。这是新中国建国以来,佛教大藏经整理与研究的一项重大成就。《中华藏》凭现代印刷科技之便利,积13年孜孜校勘之苦功,使得它在写本、刻本、近现代印刷本、数码本这一汉文大藏经的发展序列中,位于近现代印刷本的最高端,从而在汉文大藏经发展史上,产生出一个新的品类,树立起自己独特的地位。

新时期大藏经的整理已不单单只是整理重印,当前,校点工作已成为关注的重点。2007年,我国第一部标点本大藏经––《新编大藏经》编纂出版工作正式拉开帷幕。作为目前国家最大的出版工程之一,据大藏经编委会估计,完成后的《新编大藏经》字数约3亿,拟分300册出版,预计五年内完成。来自全国各地的学者、高僧一百余人组成了编委会,力求通过全面的收集、比勘、标点、整理,统一版式,科学分类排列,并加以标点句读,使之成为有史以来收编藏经种类最完备、版本权威、使用最便利的现代读本。

2、大藏经电子数码化

上世纪90年代之后,佛典电子化又成为世界性的潮流。1993年韩国海印寺主持了一项宏大的工程:《高丽藏》数字化全文本。这一项目于2000年5月完成,现已有光盘传世。之后,我国台湾的佛教学者组成了“中华电子佛典协会(CBETA)”,启动了电子版《大正藏》工程。目前,电子版《大正藏》光盘已在海内外广泛流传。我们正处在近现代印刷本时期与数码化时期交替的过程中。电子化不仅能大大缩小大藏经贮存的空间,还将改变佛教大藏经的流通方式,从而加快了大藏经的普及与应用;研究者也可在计算机上阅读经藏,并通过检索手段迅速地获取相关数据。当然,无论计算机技术如何发展,宗教信仰者实际证悟的修行生活体验依然需要通过平静地阅读经藏获得更多的提升,依靠指端敲击键盘显而易见不能完全替代,因为微妙的心灵感受必须靠一页一页读诵经典才有可能得到。

三、汉文大藏经整理传译的时节因缘

佛经原出于古代,是用文言文译写的,佛教术语名目独特,寓意深奥,这又给阅读者带来很大的困难。⑹ 因此,佛教在传播过程中,佛经翻译成为佛教传播的重要因素。从文化传播与交流的角度看,佛经翻译不仅是一种简单的符号转换过程,而是将一种语言承载的文化信息用另一种语言转换过来,从而推动文化的传播、促进文化间的交流与融合。综观佛教在中国的发展历史,可以清晰地看到佛教在中国汉地实施的文献传播方式是按照佛经汉译→汉文经录编撰→汉文大藏经刻印这一历史进程进行传播的,在这一历史进程中三者之间彼此关联,发挥着其特定的传播功能,从而促进了佛教在中国汉地的成功传播。在佛经汉译过程中,佛教文献的传播主体创制了一套有效的精神文本,这种有效文本在符号表达、思维方式、当下利益上与受传者保持亲近,从而保证了传教的成功。佛教在向中国汉地实施传播的过程中,面对中国本土文化和语言差异的阻碍,为扩大自身在时间空间上的影响,妥善处理传播中的各种社会关系,佛教选择了依靠神异道术、依附中国本土文化、依附封建王权、重视与士大夫交往结纳和以通俗简易之道教化民众的传播策略。这些传播策略是成功的,效果是显著的,达到了其传播佛教的目的。⑺这也直接影响着佛经翻译的组织形式、翻译的标准、策略、方法与技巧,从而使佛经翻译在不同时期彰显出不同的特点。

1、中国历史的发展为汉文大藏经的传译提供了拓展的空间。

翻译作为某个译者的个体活动,其动机和影响具有偶然性和不确定性。但当某类翻译活动成为具有一定的规模性和持续性的集体活动时,则必定有其深层的社会文化原因,同时也必定会对所在地区的社会、文化造成相当深度和广度的影响,佛经翻译亦是如此。佛经翻译的产生与当时的社会背景有着密切的关系。西汉末年与东汉初期政治腐败,各种自然灾害接踵而至,人们渴望有一种精神力量来慰藉和解脱自己,从而为佛教的传入与佛经翻译提供了社会条件。东汉时期思想及文化的变化为佛经翻译提供了客观条件。“先秦诸子学说纷纷再兴……中国的思想文化进入了一个多元、理论系统日渐续密的百家争鸣的全新时代。”(方立天,2004)这种思想文化状况既为佛经的翻译与佛教的传播留下了空间,也为佛教的发展创造了一种适宜的文化氛围。

2、佛教的圆融思想为汉文大藏经的传译提供了必要的保证。

佛经翻译之所以形成中国第一次翻译高潮,不仅由于当时的客观历史条件影响,佛教的“圆融”思想也起着关键作用。“圆融”思想赋予了佛教特有的开放和包容的性质,因此佛教传入中土之初,在保持自己特性的前提下,即能与中国传统的各家学说互相交流,对儒、道之学采取顺应、融会的态度,效仿其淑世化民的正面社会作用。佛教五戒融会儒家之五常,借道家之用语翻译佛典,“增加及融合了同期中国思想的主流。”(许里和,1998)从而使佛教与中国本土文化浑然一体,为自己不失时机地进入中国文化圈提供了一个必不可少的前提,也为自己的译文找到了接受者。

由于中国传统文化“和合”的精神本身与佛教的思想极具相似性和相通性。因此在佛教传入中国的过程中与本土文化相融互摄、相得益彰,促进和完善了中华文明。由于佛经翻译采取了让中国人容易理解、便于接受的形式,在一定程度上促进了佛教与中国文化相互融合的历史进程,从而使佛教最终成为中国文化不可分割的一部分,奠定了中国传统文化“儒、释、道”三家和谐并立的局面。因而,在佛经翻译和佛教发展的过程中,佛教与中国传统文化始终处于相互借鉴、相互补益的良性循环关系中。

3、本土信仰需求为汉文大藏经的传译提出了明确的取向。

佛教在中国初传时有一个依附中国传统文化的阶段,这一策略必然深刻影响到以传播佛教为目的的佛经翻译。为了有利于佛教传播,佛经翻译必须考虑到中国读者和广大信众的实际需求层面的理解水平和接受能力,于是调适便成为佛经翻译的主要策略。与佛经翻译初期的归化策略相适应,在佛经翻译的发生期,译音多采用格义、比附等翻译方法,借用儒家、道家的术语来表达译文,从而使更多的中国人理解、接受佛教思想。

成功的翻译就是一次成功的文化传播,佛经翻译一开始并非是一种单纯的文本转换活动,而是着眼于传播。它是“一种目的性行为,但是这种‘目的’并不完全取决于译者个人,因为译者并不享有完全的自由,他们也要受到主体文化目的的制约。”(张春柏,2005)它的组织形式、方法、技巧、原则和标准等,都在随着中国本土文化和各种文本外因素的发展变化而变化。

从唐朝开始,著名的翻译大师玄奘所运用的翻译技巧有补充法、省略法、分合法等,几乎囊括了现当代常用的各种翻译技巧,从而使译文达到了内容与形式的高度统一。与中国传统文化水乳交融的高水平佛经翻译,使越来越多的中国人在不知不觉中便接纳了佛教及其教化思想。从译者队伍来看,佛经翻译始终向着更加成熟、完善合理的体系发展。在佛经翻译的初期,其组织形式为私译,译者多为外来僧人,翻译活动也以他们为主。从佛经翻译发展期到隋唐的成熟期,越来越多的佛教徒西行求法,精通梵汉双语的人也越来越多,佛经翻译的组织形式转为官译,译场内部分工很细,这种翻译组织形式至今仍影响着当代的翻译活动。

 

4、佛教自身成长为汉文大藏经的传译提出了紧迫的时代命题。

佛教的自我繁衍、自我整合、自我更新、自我再生的机体功能,注定了佛教在内外因缘变异的逼迫下,必然会自我调节、适应社会。佛教在中国的存在形式,就是本土化或中国化。因缘和合,如何弘扬佛教的优良传统,更好地为构建和谐世界发挥积极作用,实现“弘扬正法,化育众生”,这是值得我们深入探讨的重要课题。

我们以为,当代的首要任务就是佛教经典现代化,即运用现代语言对佛教哲学范畴做出当代人易于听懂看懂的表述;对佛教哲学范畴进行新的诠释,包括推导出合乎逻辑的引申义;结合社会实际问题,有针对性地阐发范畴涵义;阐扬范畴中所包含的真理因素、智慧成分、合乎社会发展的内容,即阐发范畴中所包含的积极的理论思维成果;提出符合客观实际、适应时代需要的新范畴。

四、当代汉文大藏经整理传译有待进一步重视的几个问题

1、在有关汉文大藏经的研究方面,我们应该加强对汉文大藏经在新时期的编撰和大藏经数码化等方面的探讨。

近些年各种版本的大藏经陆续被整理出版,是前所未有的好现象。但是,绝大部分是古本佛经的翻印。古本佛经对于学界和教界而言,在版本、文献上的意义非常大,但是,在实用价值上,就差了很多。要编出一部既能满足佛教信奉者供奉咏诵的需要,又要供全国各界人士用来阅读、研究的可信的文献资料,就要超越古人以某学派、宗派为尊的宗派成见,要尽力避免已出版的十几种大藏经的印刷造成的差错,还要吸取过去已有佛教大藏经的特点,不抱成见,亦不盲目崇古,使其成为一部符合时代要求、反映时代面貌的佛教全书。⑻ 因此,大藏经的整理工作应该从如下几个层面增强其实用性:

(1)、对于重要的大藏经要进行录入、句读、校对,以适合现代人阅读的简体字重新排版印行。目前,李家振先生、李富华先生组织对《赵城金藏》进行校对,工作进展非常有效果。据悉,中国书店不久即将推出《乾隆大藏经》排录本,河北佛协不久前推出《净土藏》排录本,即将推出《禅宗全书》排录本。这些都是值得褒扬的。

(2)、对于所有的大藏经典要进行提要和导读。为了便于当代人使用,对所有佛经进行提要和导读,显得非常必要。目前,上海古籍推出的陈士强《大藏经总目提要》,只完成了三藏之中经的部分,而且是依据《大正藏》的基础目录进行的,没有涵盖所有的经。因此,还有很长的道路要走。

(3)、要尽快地对所有的汉文经典进行有序性地白话传译。汉译佛典尽管非常重要,但是其历来没有受到人们应有的重视。过去的学者中很少有人读佛典,而研究佛教的学者则认为:汉译佛典不仅难懂,而且同梵语、巴利语佛典相比只不过是二手数据而已。但是,思想必须通过语言表现,通过语言流传,语言是思想的载体,思想并不能脱离表现它的语言,而是存在于表现它的语言之中。不正确地捕捉语言,便不可能正确地理解思想。所以,对所有的汉文大藏经适时进行有序性地白话传译将有助于正确的阐述和理解佛教思想。

2、我们对于当代汉文大藏经整理传译的一些实操性建议

正确地读懂汉译佛典是佛教信仰者和研究佛教的学者不可缺少的基本功。但是,汉译佛典中出现的特殊的,或是口语的词汇、语法在汉语辞典、语法书中及少能查找到,这就加大了正确读解汉译佛典的难度。从中国传统文化比较学角度研究汉译佛典语言的另一个难题就是其解释往往停留在佛典以外的文献中相类似的用法的比较,没有充分表明汉译佛典的特征。而且古译佛经一般信众很难读懂,如果不参考梵本或者是巴利语、藏语的经典的话,不仅不能理解,而且可能会误解原意。

鉴于上述原因,我们对于当今时代汉文大藏经的整理和传译有如下实操性建议:

(1)收集所有汉文大藏经版本,包括已经出版和未经出版的。进行电子化保护和编目。未出版的珍贵佛经有很多,如山西崇善寺珍藏的崇宁藏、应县木塔收藏的辽藏等等,需要逐一做工作,分别保护。

(2)将所有经典按照大藏经目录体系和刊刻时代进行统一性编目,重新做出一部涵盖所有大藏经的《新编一切经》(电子版)。

(3)对于重复收入的经典进行版本的校勘和比较,选出最优的本子,组织国内能够从事佛经白话传译工作的人才,进行白话传译。其余版本存目。

总之,中国佛教的典籍文献极为丰富浩瀚,其历史发展极为错综复杂。近代国内外学者从各方面对佛教进行考察和研究,著书立说,成果累累,难以数计。⑼ 对这些遗产,或是化腐朽为神奇,或变瑰宝为腐朽,全在今人的运用。我们的态度应该是脚踏现实,承接历史,建设现在,开辟未来。⑽ 所以,当代汉文大藏经整理传译的历史使命已经摆在了我们面前,惟有追慕前贤,承惠开来。我们坚信:即使佛教史与文献研究事实上很有成就,这样也不表示能够虔诚信仰和实践。所以,我们必须得从庞大的经典中睁大眼睛找到佛教的真髓才对。⑾ 路虽长,靠我们自己走;问题复杂,靠我们自己群体解决,我们的路子会越来越广,前途光明无限⑿。

附注:

(1)、李富华、何梅着 《汉文佛教大藏经研究》 宗教文化出版社 2003年12月 序 杜继文

(2)、方广锠 主编 《藏外佛教文献 第二辑》中国人民大学出版社 2008年7月 首卷语

(3)、李森 《中华大藏经总目》 《中华大藏经》编辑局编 中华书局出版发行 2004年1月

(4)、李富华 何梅着 《汉文佛教大藏经研究》 宗教文化出版社 2003年12月 序 杜继文

(5)、渡辺照宏 着 钟文秀、释慈一译 《佛教经典常谈》 东大图书公司2002年8月

(6)、陈士强 着 《大藏经总目提要 文史藏(一)》上海古籍出版社 2008年4月

(7)、陈文英 着 《中国古代汉传佛教传播史论》天津古籍出版社 2007年1月

(8)、李森 《中华大藏经总目》 《中华大藏经》编辑局编 中华书局出版发行 2004年1月

(9)、苏古编选 《江苏古籍序跋与书评》 江苏古籍出版社 2000年9月《佛教常识问答》后记 赵朴初

(10)李富华、何梅着 《汉文佛教大藏经研究》 宗教文化出版社 2003年12月 序 杜继文

(11)、李森 《中华大藏经总目》 《中华大藏经》编辑局编 中华书局出版发行 2004年1月

(12)、苏古编选 《江苏古籍序跋与书评》 江苏古籍出版社 2000年9月

《中国国家图书馆藏敦煌遗书》序任继愈

 

参考书目

1、《汉唐佛教思想论集》 任继愈 着 人民出版社 1998-05-01

2、《二十二种大藏经通检》 童玮 编 中华书局 1997-7-1

3、《藏外佛教文献 第八辑》 方广锠 主编 宗教文化出版社 2003年06月

4、《佛经版本(插图珍藏本)》 李际宁 着 凤凰出版社(原江苏古籍出版社) 2002年12月

5、《江苏古籍序跋与书评》 苏古 编选 凤凰出版社(原江苏古籍出版社)2000年09月

6、《中华大藏经总目(精)》 中华书局 2004年01月

7、《芸窗笔记》 卫水山 着 中华书局 2004年06月

8.《巴蜀佛教碑文集成》 龙显昭 主编 巴蜀书社 2004年05月

9.《古典文献及其利用》 杨琳 着 北京大学出版社 2004年08月

10.《20世纪中国学术大典:宗教学》 任继愈主编,卓新平 执行主编 福建教育出版社 2002年09月

11.《古籍印本鉴定概说》 作者:陈正宏,梁颖 编 上海辞书出版社 2005年06月

12.《禅学研究(第四辑)》 赖永海 主编 凤凰出版社(原江苏古籍出版社) 2000年08月

13.《敦煌佛教经录辑校(上下册)》 方广锠 辑校 凤凰出版社(原江苏古籍出版社)1997年08月

14.《中国古籍版刻图志》熊小明 编着 湖北人民出版社 2007年01月

15.《汉文大藏经与朝鲜古代叙事文学》 李官福 着 民族出版社 2006年12月

16、《龙袍与袈裟(上下册)》 罗文华 着 紫禁城出版社 2005年09月

17、《故宫博物院八十华诞暨国际清史学术研讨会论文集》

故宫博物馆、国家清史编纂委员会编 紫禁城出版社2006年11月

18、《中国宫廷御览图书》 向斯 着 紫禁城出版社 2005年10月

19、《佛教大藏经研究论稿》 李际宁着 宗教文化出版社 2007年08月

20、《儒藏》 《儒藏》编纂中心编 北京大学出版社 2008年04月

21、《汉传佛教概论》 李尚全 着 东方出版中心 2008年01月

22、《圣入无分别总持经:对勘与研究2》 谈锡永、沈卫荣、邵颂雄着译 中国藏学出版社 2007年11月

23、《藏文〈大藏经〉概论》 扎呷编着 青海人民出版社 2008年03月

24、《三联生活周刊》(2008.4.28)总期号:477

25、《中国古代汉传佛教传播史论》 陈文英 着 2007年08月

26、《藏外佛教文献》 方广锠主编 中国人民大学出版社 2008年07月

27、《佛经音义研究(首届佛经音义研究国际学术研讨会论文集)》徐时仪,陈五云,梁晓虹 编 上海古籍出版社 2006年07月

28、《汉藏佛经翻译比较研究》 侃本着 中国藏学出版社 2008年04月

29、《民族研究文汇》 郝时远主编 社会科学文献出版社 2009年01月

30、《守正出新》 中华书局编辑部 编 中华书局 2008年12月

 

Pass the Flame, Adhere to the Truth and Innovate Upon the Ways of Exegeting Buddhist Scriptures Under a Synergy of Conditions:

On the Direction of the Compilation, Propagation and Translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in Modern TimesRev. Yanzang

Abstract: The Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) is the whole collection of all Chinese Buddhist scriptures and the comprehensive series of Buddhist sutras written in Chinese. It covers a number of Chinese translation texts and a variety of commentaries and works about Buddhism in Chinese.[1]Searching these existing Buddhist scriptures and properly preserving them, in addition, editing and translating these Buddhist sutras will be historically and practically significant for propagating Buddhist teachings, cultivating Buddhist intellectuals and exploring the development as well as the adaptation of Buddhism with our society and times. Adhering to the principle of “pass the flame, adhere to the truth and innovate upon the ways of exegeting Buddhist scriptures under a synergy of conditions”, the past and present generations of eminent Buddhist monks interacted with scholars from the academic communities, they made untiring efforts to edit and translate the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text). They have achieved a great success and provided a vast resource of wisdom for the reconciliation and unification of Buddhism and Chinese traditional culture(s) as well as the development of human civilization. In recent years, a number of different editions of the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-text) have been published and these works have made a considerable contribution to the studies of Buddhist scriptures’ editions and classics, but may be deficient in practical level. Thus, it is extremely urgent for us to process, punctuate and proofread the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) in order to facilitate the reading of these documents by modern people who are used to reading simplified Chinese characters. It is particularly important for us to make a summarization, guided reading and a proper vernacular translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) so that the people will benefit from our efforts.

Key words: the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) compilation and edition propagation and translation direction

Foreword

In its long history of development, Buddhism has witnessed a massive compilation of classics and literatures, these works are called the Tripitaka (Triple-Text). At first, there was no written record of Sakyamuni’s teachings and disciplines which he made and taught, but only oral dictation and memorization. When Sakyamuni achieved nirvana, his disciples noticed that if they only preserved oral tradition it would be easy to misunderstand their Master’s teachings and thoughts so that they held a Samgiti (Buddhist Council) and began to compile Vinaya-pitaka (The Basket of Disciplines) and Sutta-pitaka (The Basket of Buddha’s discourses), later they compiled Abhidamma-pitaka (The Basket of commentary) and wrote commentaries on the Tripitaka (Three baskets). After the spread of Buddhism in the north and south, a number of Buddhists from different locations utilized their own local languages to translate and edit a variety of Buddhist sutras and compiled them together. Currently, the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) is edited in Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu, Tangut (also Xixia or Hsi-Hsia), and Japanese, etc. in addition, there are some Buddhist scriptures translated and written in Sanskrit, Tocharian or Tokharian, the Sogdian language, Khotan, and Turki.

Ⅰ. Some basic information and characteristics about the compilation, propagation, and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text)

Though there are various ways of passing on civilization, this process relies mainly on preserving the classics. The birth of the classics enables the inheritance of civilization to transcend space and time. Hence, it is a tradition for Chinese people to record the history and compile the (Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, etc.) classics, edit them, compile, copy and print them in books. This tradition was handed down from generation to generation.[2]More than two thousand years have been passed since Buddhism first entered into China, it has undergone a process by which a foreign religion was transformed and became an important part of Chinese traditional culture(s). Editing and researching the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) is also an indispensable and valuable experience to promote and inherit Chinese traditional culture. In the history of Chinese Buddhism, there were numerous Buddhist monks and lay practitioners of each dynasty and generation who piously collected, translated, edited, copied 供养 and compiled the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text). Because of their efforts, different editions of the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) were formed and developed. According to the existing statistics, the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) can be divided into three categories: the hand-written sutras before the Tang Dynasty, the xylographic (wood-block printing) Tripitaka after the Song Dynasty, and the typographic edition of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text).[3]

1. Some background information about the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text)As we know, it is an arguable question about how to treat our cultural heritage and legacies, the problem is that we should first collect the classics and writings scattered in different places and then preserve them. Only by doing this can we have a solid basis for the study and research of those classics and writings, and can we judge those classics and writings in a comprehensive way and discuss the possibilities of how to use them.[4]During the past years when Buddhism first entered in mainland China, there were more than fifty indexes of the Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text), around twenty still exist and each of them contains different volumes of scriptures. The format and content of the Tripitaka edited in each dynasty are varied. Except those stone-carved scriptures in Fangshan, (Beijing), the sutras contained in the Tripitaka which were edited before the Song Dynasty were written by hand and ornamented with scrolls. During the reign of Kaibao开宝(968~975)in the Northern Song Dynasty, the first xylographic (wood-block printing) Tripitaka appeared, after the span of the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties and the republic of China, more than twenty (others say twenty-one) editions of xylographic (wood-block printing) and typographic Buddhist Tripitaka (Triple-Text) have been published.

 

Though the traditional Tripitaka is favorable to preserve, it may not be convenient for people of modern times to read. And in terms of the compilation of the Tripitaka, while many photocopied editions are still in circulation, there are other important editions like: 《崇宁藏》the Chongningzang、《毗卢藏》the Piluzang、《资福藏》 the Zifuzang、《普宁藏》 the Puningzang、《永乐南藏》the Yongle Nanzang, etc have not been photocopied and opened to the public. Most editions of the Tripitaka of the past generations are now cultural relics, especially those of the Song and Yuan dynasties. Some are extinct, (for example: 《开宝藏》 the Kaibaozang、《契丹藏》 the Qidanzang), some are rare unique and fragmentary editions (《赵城藏》the Zhaochengzang is the only unique edition in the world.), and the rest are lost and kept overseas, (《崇宁藏》the Chongningzang、《毗卢藏》the Piluzang are kept in Japan.) While the unabridged printed editions of Tripitaka of Ming and Qing dynasties are preserved well in mainland China, the circulation is quite limited and these editions of Tripitaka are monastic offerings/treasures of the Buddhist communities. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Japanese Buddhist monks initiated a campaign to re-edit the 《万字续藏》the Wangzi Xuzang and the《大正藏》the Taisho Tripitaka, these two editions were frequently used among the Buddhist and academic communities. During the republic of China, 《频伽藏》the Pinjiazang and《普慧藏》the Puhuizang ( printed in a movable type and arranged in a lead tablets) have been published. From that time on, China has not witnessed the large-scale official activities of compiling the Tripitaka. In the 1930s, the 《碛砂藏》the Qishazang of the Song dynasty was discovered at the 开元Kaiyuan and 卧龙 Wolong temple in Xian city, this discovery aroused Chinese Buddhist scholars’ enthusiasm in compiling and researching the Tripitaka. In the following years, 《影印宋碛砂版大藏经》(Photocopied edition of the Qishazang of the Song dynasty) was published by Shanghai Buddhist monks and lay practitioners. Meanwhile, 《赵城藏》the Zhaochengzang was discovered in Shanxi province and 《宋藏遗珍》 the Songzang Yizhen was edited and photocopied from 《赵城藏》the Zhaochengzang. 蒋唯心 Jiang Weixin, a disciple of the renowned Buddhist scholar 欧阳渐 Ou Yangjian, issued an article entitled 《金藏雕印始末考》(on the process of the printing of the Jinzang.) In the 1950s, a project of re-editing 《中华藏》 the Chinese Tripitaka was first put forward by a scholar named 蔡运辰Cai Yunchen from Taiwan island. In 1956, the committee of compiling and editing the Chinese Tripitaka was established in Taiwan and 26 years later (1982) the Taiwanese edition of the Chinese Tripitaka was published. In the beginning of the 1960s, Buddhist monks from mainland China also proposed a project of re-editing the Chinese Tripitaka and Mr. Lu Cheng 吕澄wrote a book entitled 《新编汉文大藏经目录》(The index of the new edition of the Chinese Tripitaka), but the Cultural Revolution occurred and this project was not carried out.

After making a comprehensive observation on different editions of the Tripitaka from both home and abroad, one can notice that all these editions have some flaws such as: fragmentary collection, disarranging typesetting, etc and are not ideal editions.

2. The propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

The Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka is a whole collection of Sutta-pitaka (The Basket of Buddha’s discourses), Vinaya-pitaka (The Basket of Disciplines) and Abhidamma-pitaka (The Basket of commentary) which experienced a long-term process of translation, compilation and composition after Buddhism was first entered into China. It is largely circulated among the Chinese Han ethnic group, Mongolia, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, etc. The earliest Buddhist scriptures translation activity was taken during the reign of恒帝Emperor Heng (147-167) and 灵帝(168-189) Emperor Ling of the late Han dynasty and the pioneering translators were安息国的安世高An Shigao of Parthia and 月支国的支娄迦谶Lokasema of Kusana who left their home countries to China. The following dynasties (Wei, Jin and Northern and Southern Dynasties) witnessed a golden age of the development of Chinese Buddhism and the translation project took place on a large-scale and the quality of the translation works improved. In the dynasties of Sui and Tang, the translation project was supported by the ruling class and the imperial state organized an official译场 Yichang (a place where Buddhist scriptures were translated) and a strict set of rules and regulations of translation was established. The sequences of a translation work were arranged in nine steps: reading the Sanskrit text, meaning research, textual research, examining the sound, oral instruction, composing the Chinese, consulting other translations, 刊定、polishing the final work, in this way, the quality of a translation work was guaranteed. The Sui and Tang dynasties witnessed a golden age in the translation of Buddhist scriptures, but this situation declined in the following dynasties. In the Northern Song dynasty, though the Buddhist scriptures translation project was not interrupted, only a few groups or individuals engaged in this work. In its two thousand years, a massive volume of Buddhist scriptures were translated and a large number of translators were trained. According to statistics, the living Buddhist scriptures which were certainly translated from countries of the Indian subcontinent are around 1482 scriptures, (5702 volumes) Besides those re-translated texts, there are 4400 volumes, among these 1400 volumes belonged to Theravada, 3000 volumes to Vinaya-pitaka, Sutta-pitaka and Abhidamma-pitaka which are Mahayana’s, these scriptures are equal to 2.5 million Sanskrit odes. From the late Han dynasty to the end of the Northern Song dynasty (2—12 century), around 150 people directly participated in this translation project during the past 1000 years.

Among these translators, there were 71 Buddhist monks and scholars who came from the Indian subcontinent, 鸠摩罗什Kumarajiva, 真谛Paramattha, 玄奘Xuanzang and 不空Amoghavajra were regarded as “the four giants” in the history of Chinese translation.

3. The Characteristics of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

 

First: its massiveness. Since most of the original Indian Buddhist scriptures are lost and in order to understand the history of the Indian Buddhism, the Chinese translation works are the most important references. Second: in terms of its quantity, the Tibetan Buddhist Tripitaka is no less than the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka. Though the Chinese Buddhist scriptures were translated into Tibetan language in the eighth century, today’s most read and recited scriptures were translated in the fifth century. In the sixth and seventh century, the project of translating the main Buddhist scriptures into Chinese was done. That is to say, the Chinese translation works can best reflect the golden age of Indian Buddhism. Third: there are different translated versions of the same sutra. Though the same Buddhist scripture in India might change with the passing of time and be re-edited or added to, it is likely that some of the ancient classics were lost. The content of these remaining classics witnessed the old and new forms, so the traces of change can be searched out. Fourth: because there is a fairly accurate record f Chinese translation projects, the history of Indian classics can be re-constructed. However, that does not mean that there are no flaws in the Chinese translated scriptures, for the simple reason that both the history of Chinese and Indian classics are very long and its development is varied. Thus, the Chinese translation works might be faithful to their original Indian texts. This concern was fully considered in鸠摩罗什Kumarajiva’s Chinese translated scriptures, other works which were done after玄奘Xuanzang paid more attention to the fidelity of their original texts. Even though, in order to conform to the Chinese writing and reading practice and make the translated scriptures easier for people to read and understand, sometimes traces of re-editing the original texts can be found. Like in modern times, when people try to translate other languages into English, he / she might sacrifice the fidelity to the original texts for the proper expression of the English. Even when people translate from foreign languages that are similar to English, (like French and German), it is difficult to trace the original texts from the English translation works. This situation is also applicable to the Chinese Buddhist translated scriptures. It might not proper to regard this as a flaw, but from the perspective of textual criticism, it is really a thorny issue. For it is difficult to translate Sanskrit into Chinese literally.[5]

Ⅱ. Some significant explorations in the compilation, propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times

1. The compilation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times

After 1978, Mr. 任继愈Ren Jiyu, the director of the institute of world religions, was appointed to organize a group of scholars to edit 《中华大藏经》 the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka. This compiling and editing project officially began on August 1982, after 13 years’ and more than 160 scholars’ assiduous endeavors, this colossal project which contains 1939 different Buddhist scriptures and around 100 million Chinese characters was finished in the end of 1994 and all 106 volumes were published by 中华书局 Zhonghua Book Company in 1997. This was a great achievement in compiling and researching the Buddhist Tripitaka after the founding of the people’s republic of China in 1949. 《中华大藏经》 the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka is the best among all writing, block-print, contemporary and digital editions because it used modern printing technology and resulted from 13 years’ of assiduous textual cleanup efforts. The history of the development of Chinese Buddhist scriptures witnessed a new edition and this edition has established its own unique status.

The compilation of Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times is not simply a task of re-printing. Currently, key attention has been placed on textual cleanup. In the year of 2007, the project of compilation and publishing the first edition of the Buddhist Tripitaka with punctuation was officially began. As one of the largest publishing projects in China, it is estimated by the members of the compiling committee of the Buddhist Tripitaka that the new edition of the Buddhist Tripitaka will contain around 300 million Chinese characters and its 300 volumes will be published in 5 years. More than 100 renowned Buddhist scholars and monks around China constitute the compiling committee and they hope this new edition will become the most comprehensive in collections, most authoritative in editions and most convenient in reading by adopting a method of comprehensive collection, comparison, punctuation, compilation, unification of format and a scientific arrangement.

2. The digitalization of the Buddhist Tripitaka

After the 1990s, the digitalization of Buddhist scriptures became a world wide trend. In 1993, a huge project---the digitalization of 《高丽藏》the Korean Tripitaka---was organized by海印寺Haeinsa Temple in South Korea. This project was finished on May 2000 and the CD was also made available. Later, Buddhist scholars from the Island of Taiwan organized中华电子佛典协会the CBETA (Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association) and began to create electronic version of 《大正藏》the Taisho Tripitaka which is widely circulated today. We are in the transition process between contemporary printing and the digital period. The digitalization of the Buddhist Tripitaka not only saves space but also will change the mode of circulation. Thus it will facilitate the popularization and application of the Buddhist Tripitaka. Modern scholars can use the computer to read the Buddhist scriptures and quickly obtain related information by applying the searching method. However, no matter how developed the computer technology is, the religious practitioners’ true self-cultivation experience must still be advanced by reading the Buddhist scriptures in a tranquil way. The traditional method of reading can not be replaced by typing on the keyboard because the delicate feelings of mind and soul need to be attained by reading and reciting the Buddhist sutras one page after another.

Ⅲ. The right time and good karma for the compilation, propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

 

Buddhist sutras were written in classical languages in ancient times. The terminologies and meaning of these scriptures are very particular and deep. This creates a big challenge for readers of modern times.[6] Therefore, the work of translating is an important element for the dissemination of Buddhism. From the perspective of cultural communication and propagation, the translation of Buddhist scriptures is not simply a process of symbol conversion; it transforms one particular linguistic symbol into another linguistic symbol which bears specific cultural information. Thus, the communication and dissemination of different cultures can be promoted. Observing the history of Buddhism in China, one can clearly notice that the dissemination of Buddhist classics follows this particular historical pattern: Chinese translation of Buddhist sutras---compilation of Chinese Buddhist scriptures and indexes----printing of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka. During this process, these three parts were interrelated together and each one played a particular role and successfully promoted the dissemination of Buddhism in China. In the course of the translation of Buddhist scriptures, the early Buddhist monks and translators created a series of incredibly efficacious spiritual texts, these texts established points of contact with the recipient Chinese culture(s) in symbolic expression and thought patterns, and also appealed to many different ideologies and religious groups in different time periods, thus, guaranteeing the success of Buddhism in China.

During this process of the dissemination of Buddhism in China, Buddhism faced the obstacles of differences in culture(s) and language(s). In order to promote and enhance its influence, the early Buddhist monks and translators adopted a strategy which allows Buddhism to depend on miraculous Taoist arts, Chinese indigenous culture(s) and the imperial ruling class. They also took great care to associate Buddhism with the Chinese scholar-bureaucrat and simplified its teachings so that the common people could easily understand it. This strategy was successful and Buddhism became prominent and the goal of propagating Buddhism was achieved.[7] This strategy had a direct influence on the organizing principles, norms and standards, methods and skills used in the translation of Buddhist scriptures, and caused those translated works to exhibit distinct characteristics in different times.

1. The development of Chinese history has provided an expansive space for the course of the propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

If translation is merely a certain translator’s individual activity, his / her motivation and influence may cause his / her translation to exhibit chanciness and uncertainty. But when this individual activity has become a large-scale and continuous collective activity, deep social and cultural factors control the process of translation. Meanwhile, this collective translation activity must produce a deep and wide influence upon the host culture and society; this is the exact situation for Buddhism in China. The beginnings of Buddhist-scripture-translation had a close connection with the social context of one specific period. During the late Western Han and the early Eastern Han dynasties, the government was unstable and corrupted, a variety of natural disasters happened one after another, people at that time were eager to seek a spiritual power to comfort and liberate themselves from all kinds of suffering. This created and provided a favorable social condition for the import of Buddhism and the Buddhist scripture translation project. The transformation of different thoughts and culture(s) also provided an objective condition. “Different schools of thoughts in pre-Qin dynasty were revived……Chinese thoughts and culture(s) ushered a brand new era in which a hundred schools of thoughts were striving together and characterized as a multi-cultural and an increasingly sophisticated theory system. (方立天 Fang Litian,2004)This situation not only left a space for the dissemination and translation of Buddhist scriptures, but also created a favorable cultural atmosphere for the development of Buddhism.

2. The Buddhist concept of “perfect syncretism” has provided necessary grounds for the course of the propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

In addition to the objective historical conditions at that time, another reason for the massive wave of translation was the Buddhist philosophy of “perfect syncretism”. The concept of “perfect syncretism” makes Buddhism very open and tolerant to other ideas. When Buddhism first entered into China, under the precondition of preserving its uniqueness, it communicated with different Chinese traditional schools of thoughts. It adopted an adaptive and incorporative attitude towards Confucianism and Taoism and harnessed their abilities to positively influence society and teach the people. For example, Buddhism adapted the Confucian concept of “五常Wuchang” (The five constant virtues:仁benevolence, 义loyalty, 礼etiquette or ritual, 智wisdom, 信trust) into its concept of “五戒Wujie” (不杀生abstinence from taking life, 不偷盗from stealing, 不邪淫from illicit sexual conduct,不妄语from false speech and 不饮酒from intoxicants) and also borrowed a number of Taoist terminologies to translate its own concepts. “(Buddhism) added and incorporated the mainstream of Chinese thoughts at that time.” (许里和,1998)Thus, Buddhism and Chinese indigenous culture(s) became one. It provided an indispensable precondition for itself to enter the Chinese cultural communities and found a host to accept its translation works.

 

Since the harmonious spirit of the Chinese traditional culture(s) is highly similar with Buddhist philosophy, Buddhism as it developed in China incorporated itself with the indigenous culture(s) and as a result Buddhism and Chinese culture(s) brought out the best in each other, thus Chinese civilization was advanced and perfected. Because the early Buddhist monks and translators adopted a way which allows Chinese people to easily understand and accept its thoughts and teachings, they promoted the historical course of mutual incorporation between Buddhism and Chinese culture(s) to some extent and finally cause Buddhism to become an indispensable part of Chinese culture(s). Harmonious co-existence of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism was established. Therefore, during the process of the Buddhist scripture translation, Buddhism and Chinese traditional culture(s) were always in a benign circulation of mutual learning and complementing.

3. The demands of indigenous belief have set the specific working direction for the project of propagating and translating the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

In the pioneering stage, Buddhism experienced a time when it attached itself with Chinese traditional culture(s), this strategy has deeply influenced the translation project of Buddhist scriptures which aimed at the propagation of Buddhism in China. In order to facilitate the dissemination of Buddhism, the early Buddhist monks and translators had to consider what Chinese readers’ and believers’ could understand and accept especially on a practical level. Thus, adaptation became the main strategy for the translation project of Buddhist scriptures. In accordance with the initial strategy of accepting the Chinese indigenous culture(s) and changing with them, in the following years, the Buddhist monks and translators adopted a phonetic translation which includes 格义Geyi and 比附 Bifu, they borrowed Confucian and Taoist terminologies in their Buddhist translation works so that more Chinese people could understand and accept the Buddhist teachings.

A successful translation means a successful cultural propagation, from the beginning, the project of translating the Buddhist scriptures was not simply one of text conversion, but was aimed at the dissemination of Buddhism in China. It was “an activity with a purpose, but this ‘purpose’ was not fully determined by the translators, because the translators did not enjoy absolute freedom, they were subject to the host culture.” (张春柏,2005)The whole project its organizing formats, ways, skills, principles and standards, had to be adjusted to Chinese indigenous culture(s) and other contextual elements.

From the Tang dynasty, the renowned translator 玄奘Xuanzang utilized some skills such as, supplementing, omitting, splitting and combining, etc which covered all different translation skilled employed in modern times. His translation works achieved a tight unity between content and form. These high quality Buddhist translations which were in complete harmony with Chinese traditional culture(s) caused a growing number of Chinese people to accept Buddhism and its teachings in an unconscious way. Observing the array of translators, the course of Buddhist scripture translation was always developing towards a more mature and sound track. In the initial stage, the organizing form was private and translators from foreign countries dominated the translation project. From the developing stage to the golden age of Buddhist scripture translation in the Sui and Tang dynasties, more and more Chinese Buddhist monks studied Buddhist doctrine in the Indian subcontinent and there were a growing number of people who mastered both Chinese and Sanskrit. The organizing form was changed from private to official and the division of work was very detailed and specific. This kind of translation form still has a great influence upon today’s translation activities.

4. The self-development of Buddhism has brought forward the pressing time theme for the propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka

Buddhism’s organic properties of self-propagation, self-adjustment, self-renovation, and self-regeneration destined it to change and adapt to society when faced with challenges from both inside and outside. The existing form of Buddhism in China resulted from conceptualization or localization. Though the time and karma are in complete harmony, we must still discern how to promote the good traditions of Buddhism so that they may play a positive role in constructing a harmonious world and so that Buddhism may achieve the goal of “promoting the orthodox Dhamma, teaching and transforming the people.” It is an important task worthy of deep discussion for us.

We believe our chief mission in the present age is to modernize the Buddhist scriptures. That is to say we should use the modern language to explain Buddhist philosophical concepts to facilitate modern people’s understanding. The new exegesis of Buddhist philosophical concepts includes: to reason some explications which conformed to logic, to illuminate the implications of Buddhist philosophical concepts in response to some practical problems of society, to advance the elements of truth and wisdom which are contained in Buddhist philosophical concepts, to promote the positive theoretical thinking system in accord with the content of social development, to bring forward new concepts which correspond to objective practice and adaptation to modern demands.

Ⅳ. Some questions must be paid attention to the compilation, propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times

1. Regarding the research of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka, we should strengthen the discussion about the compilation and digitalization of the Tripitaka in modern times.

A number of different versions of the Tripitaka have been compiled and published in recent years. It is a good phenomenon. However, most of them are re-printings of the ancient Buddhist scriptures. Though these ancient scriptures have a great significance in edition and literature for academic and Buddhist communities, they have less value on the practical level. In order to compile one ideal edition which can meet the Buddhist believers’ reading and reciting needs and can be used as a reliable research and reading resource for people from all circles, we should transcend the sectarian bias by which our predecessors have only upheld one certain school or sect and we also should avoid those printing mistakes contained in the existing published editions of the Tripitaka and learn the unique characteristics of the Tripitaka in the past dynasties, this requires us to not hold prejudice and blindly trust our forefathers. Only by taking these measures, can we achieve the compilation of a Buddhist encyclopedia which meet the requirements of the present age and reflects the spirit of modern times.[8] Thus, the compilation project of the Tripitaka should strengthen its practicability from the following aspects:

(1). We should process, punctuate and proofread the important editions of the Tripitaka and re-do the typesetting to fit modern people’s reading habits. Currently, Mr. 李家振Li Jiazhen and 李富华Li Fuhua are leading some experts to proofread 《赵城金藏》the Zhaochen Jinzang and their work has achieved great progress. It is reported that the new typesetting of《乾隆大藏经》the Qianlong Dazangjin will be published by 中国书店China Bookstore (Publishing Company) , the new typesetting of《净土藏》the Jingtu zang was published by 河北佛协Hebei Buddhist Association not long ago and 《禅宗全书》the complete scriptures of Chan Buddhism will be published soon. All these efforts should be praised.

(2). It is extremely necessary to construct summaries and reading guides of all the Buddhist scriptures in order to facilitate modern people’s use. Currently, Mr. 陈士强Chen Shiqiang edited《大藏经总目提要》the catalogue and index of the Tripitaka and published by 上海古籍Shanghai Guji (Publishing House), but he only finished the section of the Sutta-pitaka (The Basket of Buddha’s discourses) and it was based on the basic catalog of the Tripitaka which did not cover the whole scriptures. Therefore, there is still a long way to go.

 

(3). It is extremely urgent to make a proper and systematic vernacular translation of the Buddhist scriptures written in classical Chinese. Though these translated Chinese Buddhist scriptures are important, they have not received much attention. In the past, few people read Buddhist scriptures. And Buddhist scholars claimed that not only were these scriptures difficult to understand but they were also merely secondary literatures compared with those written in Pali and Sanskrit. However, concepts must be expressed and handed down through a particular language, language is the vehicle of concepts and concepts can not divorce themselves from a particular language. They must indwell the language. Without a proper perception of language, it is impossible to understand the concepts correctly. Therefore, a proper and systematic vernacular translation of the Buddhist scriptures written in classical Chinese is very helpful to expatiate and understand the Buddhist concepts accurately.

2. Some of our practical and operational suggestions for the compilation, propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times

A correct understanding of the Chinese Buddhist scriptures is an indispensable and basic skill for Buddhist believers and researchers. But, there are a number of peculiar and special Buddhist grammatical constructions and terminologies which are not found in other Chinese works and are not adequately explained in current reference books. This makes reading and understanding the Chinese Buddhist scriptures more challenging. Another point of difficulty is the necessity of doing comparative studies of other Chinese literature because some of the translators’ explanations rest on similar uses contained in Chinese literature outside the Buddhist scriptures. These translators’ explanations can not be read as a pure one-to-one translation of the original Buddhist texts. Those ancient scriptures are difficult for general Buddhist believers to read, , since people might misunderstand and sometimes even distort the original meaning if they do not consult sutras written in Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan languages.

Herein we brought forward some practical and operational suggestions for the compilation, propagation and translation of the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka in modern times.

(1). Collect all editions of Tripitaka in Chinese, including those published and unpublished. And make an electronic version and catalogue of them. There are many precious Buddhist scriptures which have not been published, such as 崇宁藏the Chongning zang preserved in 崇善寺Chongshan temple in 山西Shanxi province, 辽藏the Liaozang collected in 应县木塔Yinxian wooden pogoda, etc. These precious scriptures need to be protected and compiled one by one.

(2). Make a uniform catalogue of all Buddhist scriptures according to the index system and carving and printing age of the Tripitaka, re-compile 《新编一切经》a new edition of all Buddhist scriptures which can cover all different versions of the Tripitaka (electronic edition)

(3) Collate and compare the editions of those scriptures which appeared repeatedly, select the best one and organize some experts who are capable of translating it into vernacular language. Other editions of those scriptures are cataloged.

In Conclusion, the classics and literature of Chinese Buddhism are truly rich and the development of its history is quite complex. In recent years, both scholars from home and abroad have paid much attention in order to research Buddhism in all its different
 
 


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