Bhāviveka's Prajñāpradīpamūlamadhyamakavṛtti

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Project background

The Prajñāpradīpa (PPr) of the Indian monk Bhāviveka (ca. 490/500−570) is one of several works of commentaries on Nāgārjuna's (ca. 150−250) Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (MMK). The original Sanskrit text is no longer in existence but there is a Tibetan and a Chinese translation of the text: The Tibetan translation with the title Śes rab sgron ma was made at the beginning of the 9th century by Klu’i rgyal mtshan and Jñānagarbha, whereas the Chinese translation, Bān ruò dēng lùn shì 般若灯論釈, was made by the Indian monk Prabhākaramitra (565−633) between 630 and 632.

In the years 1929 to 1931, the Japanese Buddhologist Tsukinowa Kenryū discovered great differences between these two translations and gave preference to the Tibetan version. Thus, the PPr is mostly analyzed on the basis of the Tibetan translation. But in 2006 Prof Lonard W. J. van der Kuijp (Harvard) pointed out the necessity of evaluating the Chinese translation. Helmut Krasser (IKGA), in turn, focussed on questions concerning the origination of the Sanskrit version that arise when comparing the respective digressions of the two versions. Hence, a closer analysis of the Chinese version seemed in order.

Aims and outcomes of the project

Considering the aforementioned state of research and the available sources in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, a detailed comparison will indicate where the similarities and differencies can be found in the two translations. For example, the analysis will show whether the differences can be explained due to differing Sanskrit versions or due to incomplete manuscript copies. In the end, one should be able to draw conclusions to the origination process of the original.

In a first step, the eleven paragraphs Krasser has previously found digressions in will be extracted and analyzed in terms of their differences and the reasons for these. At the same time, a text edition will be made with which deviations and similarities of the two versions can be recognized more clearly. Finally, an English translation will be made in order to enable non-Sinologists to work with the Chinese version of the PPr. In view of the large size of the PPr, at first only those chapters containing digressions will be examined, though the ultimate goal is to compare the different versions of the whole text.

Languages: DE EN JP

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