Buddhist translation procedures in third-century China: A study of Dharmaraksa and his translation idiom

Daniel J Boucher, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation continues the scholarship on the transmission of Buddhism from India to China by examining the translation idiom of one of the most prolific figures of this process. By concentrating upon a small body of translations within the huge corpus of texts translated by the third century Yuezhi monk Dharmaraksa, I hope to expose his terminological and stylistic adaptations for "translating Buddhism" to Chinese literati of the early medieval period. In this regard I have discovered that the infelicities and misunderstandings evinced by these translations will allow us to discern in greater detail the roles of the Chinese assistants in the production of these texts. In addition, because Dharmaraksa's translations predate our extant Sanskrit manuscripts of Buddhist texts by many centuries, they can in some cases provide data concerning the role of Middle Indic languages in the early transmission process, particularly so as to qualify some rash scholarly judgements about the role of the Northwest Prakrit in early China. There is also an appendix listing Dharmaraksa's entire corpus (159 texts) with a large bibliography of the most important work on them to date. It is my hope that this dissertation will both qualify and extend the range of questions that can be brought to these hybrid works frozen in time between two great ancient cultures.

Subject Area

Ancient languages|Religious history

Recommended Citation

Boucher, Daniel J, "Buddhist translation procedures in third-century China: A study of Dharmaraksa and his translation idiom" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9636133.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9636133

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