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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:22 am
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A project to translate Buddhapalita’s Commentary to Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

Project website:

Link to download a draft translation of chapters 1 and 2:

About the text:

Buddhapalita Mulamadhyamakavritti
The translation of the Commentary to Fundamental Wisdom called Buddhapalita (Buddhapalita-mulamadhyamakavrtti; dbu ma rtsa ba'i 'grel pa Buddhapalita) by Buddhapalita (sangs rgyas bskyangs) will be based on the version translated by Jñanagarbha and Cog ro klu'i rgyal mtshan (Derge 3842, mdo 'grel, tsa 158b1-281a4) with reference to the critical edition prepared by Max Welleser (editor) Buddhapalita. Mulamadhyamakavrtti. Motilal Banarsidas. India, 1992.

The structure of the text:

Buddhapalita’s work is a word commentary to the Fundamental Wisdom (MMK) of Nagarjuna also translated by Jñanagarbha and Cog Ro Klu'i Rgyal Mtshan (Derge 3824, mdo 'grel, tsa 1a1-19a6). The Fundamental Wisdom has twenty-seven chapters dealing with a variety of subjects. Buddhapalita has maintained the structure of Nagarjuna’s text without adding further categories or subdivisions, implying that Buddhapalita was satisfied with the structure as it stood, and he did not elaborate a more detailed exegetical framework. The only structural divisions found in the text are the ten sections (bam po) which divide the text into ten parts of equal length.

The twenty-seven chapters of the Fundamental Wisdom cover a variety of metaphysical and ordinary categories:

1. Investigation of conditions (rkyen)
2. Investigation of coming and going (’gro ‘ong)
3. Investigation of sense powers (dbang po)
4. Investigation of aggregates (phung po)
5. Investigation of realms (khams)
6. Investigation of attachment and the attached person (’dod chags dang chags pa)
7. Investigation of generation, abidance, and destruction (skye ba dang gnas pa dang ‘jig pa)
8. Investigation of agents and actions (byed pa po dang las)
9. Investigation of prior existence (snga rol nas gnas pa)
10. Investigation of fire and firewood (me dang bud shing)
11. Investigation of former and latter limits (sngon dang phyi ma’i mtha’)
12. Investigation of made by self and made by other (bdag gis byas pa dang gzhan gyis byas pa)
13. Investigation of compositional factors (’du byas)
14. Investigation of meeting (’phrad pa)
15. Investigation of essence (rang bzhin)
16. Investigation of bondage and liberation (bcings pa dang thar pa)
17. Investigation of actions (las)
18. Investigation of self and dharma (bdag dang chos)
19. Investigation of time (dus)
20. Investigation of collections (tshogs pa)
21. Investigation of arisal and destruction (’byung ba dang ‘jig pa)
22. Investigation of the tathagata (de bzhin gshegs pa)
23. Investigation of distortion (phyin ci log)
24. Investigation of arya truths (’phags pa’i bden pa)
25. Investigation of nirvana (mya nga las ‘das pa)
26. Investigation of the twelve links of existence (srid pa’i yan lag bcu gnyis)
27. Investigation of views (lta ba)

History of the project:

During his visit to Sydney in December 2009, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama spoke of the importance of understanding Nagarjuna’s presentation of emptiness through relying on the commentaries of Buddhapalita and Candrakirti. In particular he mentioned that Buddhapalita’s Mulamadhyamakavrtti was an excellent commentary to Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom. But when I inquired about this work it became increasingly clear that to date no complete English translation has been undertaken.

We contacted Thubten Jinpa who is the Principal Translator for His Holiness The Dalai Lama and he said "taking on this project is a very worthy project. Traditionally too, according to the legend, it is at a crucial point of reading of chapter 18 of this text, that Tsongkhapa gained sudden insight into the ultimate nature of reality." So with his encouragement we set about to address this omission and to produce and publish a complete and accurate translation of this highly regarded commentary. Through this website, we hope to raise awareness about the project and provide the opportunity to actively sponsor this meritorious undertaking.

Following the success of this project we plan to sponsor additional key works within the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition. This website provides a simple means for those interested in supporting this project to make donations and receive current information on the progress of the project. The estimated total cost for translation, preparing a critical edition, foreword and introduction is AU$27,800. For information on the cost breakdown please click here or if you require any additional information about this or other potential future projects please contact me.

Alan Carter
Project Coordinator

About the translator:

Dr Ian Coghlan (Jampa Ignyen) is currently engaged in research on a range of Buddhist topics. His qualifications include completion of the traditional fifteen year Geshé Degree course in Tibetan Buddhism, covering the five core topics: middle way view, perfection of wisdom, logic, ethics, and metaphysics, at Sera Monastic University, India (1980-1995) and a PhD in Asian Studies at La Trobe University focusing on Tibetan Buddhist metaphysics.

He is a translator for the Institute of Tibetan Classics (ITC), Montreal, Canada. This body is one of the peak institutions for the translation of Tibetan Buddhist works, and its director Professor Geshé Thubten Jinpa is the principal translator to the Dalai Lama. The ITC is primarily engaged in producing a series called "The Library of Tibetan Classics" (LTC) which involves the preparation of critical Tibetan editions, their English translations, and introductions.

His contribution to this series will be volumes 22 and 23, which are currently being finalized for publication by Wisdom, Boston. He is also a translator for the Segyu Foundation, California and an adjunct research fellow at Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Melbourne.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:33 am
Posts: 537
Location: California
I wonder if the published version will also contain the Tibetan verses mixed in with the English - I hope not. As a separate volume or a fat appendix - OK.

Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!


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