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Chinese Buddhist literature in Sanskrit


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#1 Freddy1

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 04:09 PM

Sanskrit is called "Fan Wen 梵文" in chinese. It was the ancient Indian language used in ancient chinese classics and buddhist literature.

This is the first time I have heard of this. I have never even seen a Chinese classic with sanskrit text in them. This is really interesting.

Edited by General_Zhaoyun, 30 September 2008 - 09:56 PM.


#2 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 09:55 PM

This is the first time I have heard of this. I have never even seen a Chinese classic with sanskrit text in them. This is really interesting.


Chinese buddhist classics/literature (known as "Sutra") appeared largely in Sanskrit language (but with chinese translation). Sanskrit is the sacred language of buddhism, since it's the language spoken by the Buddha. Below shows Heart Sutra in Sanskrit

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Heart Sutra in Sanskrit

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Hand-written Sanskrit Heart Sutra in China

Most buddhist scholars in China can read sanskrit.
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#3 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 10:07 PM

Below shows the Compassion mantra in Sanskrit with Latin and Chinese Transliteration.

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Compassion Mantra (Dabei Zhou 大悲咒)
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"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#4 madalibi

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 02:17 AM

Hello everyone,

Although the Chinese first experienced Buddhist texts in their Sanskrit (or Pali, or Tibetan) version, as far as I know no sutra was ever written in Sanskrit in China. However, a number of sutras in Chinese that claimed to have been translated from the Sanskrit were actually composed directly in Chinese. This includes books with spells ("dharani") written in pseudo-Sanskrit that would have sounded like mumbo-jumbo to readers who knew Sanskrit.

Cheers,
Madalibi

#5 李正龍

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:53 AM

Chinese buddhist classics/literature (known as "Sutra") appeared largely in Sanskrit language (but with chinese translation). Sanskrit is the sacred language of buddhism, since it's the language spoken by the Buddha. Below shows Heart Sutra in Sanskrit

Posted Image
Heart Sutra in Sanskrit


let me add something..
what shown above is siddham character..

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Hand-written Sanskrit Heart Sutra in China


and this is devanagari character..
writing syllable that has been widely known as the popular writing of sanskrit than siddham..
Posted Image

#6 tong14

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:16 AM

During Buddha's time Pali was used.

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#7 madalibi

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 03:29 AM

Let me just clarify a few terms for some readers. Devanagari and Siddham are scripts, and they can both be used to write down either Pali or Sanskrit, which are distinct (though related) languages. Devenagari has been used conventionally to transcribe Sanskrit since the 19th century, whereas Siddham completely disappeared in India long time ago and is now used mostly in esoteric Japanese traditions.

We don't know exactly what language the historical Buddha spoke. Historians think it was close to, but not quite the same as, what we now identify as Pali.

#8 ophelia

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 12:13 PM

Not exactly, but somehow regarding this topic, I found this very interesting article about the notion of "translation" in Six Dynasties Daoist scriptures:

ARTICLE

Unfortunately this is just an abstract, but I'm trying to recover the full article. It seems really interesting, I always find the interconnections between languages and religions very intriguing.
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#9 Borjigin Ayurbarwada

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:18 PM

Chinese buddhist classics/literature (known as "Sutra") appeared largely in Sanskrit language (but with chinese translation). Sanskrit is the sacred language of buddhism, since it's the language spoken by the Buddha. Below shows Heart Sutra in Sanskrit


As I posted a while ago, scholars actually found that the heart sutra is a Chinese text that was translated into Sanskrit, not the other way around. A good half of the Chinese Buddhist sutra, "Da Zang Jing" was written by Chinese to suit the needs of the Chinese audience. They were attributed to ancient Indian philosophers and because of this confusion some of these texts also made their way into Sanskrit, western region languages and Tibetan and became canonical sutras in these places. The only Buddhist school which had enough confidence to express their own opinion and teachings instead of attributing their thinking to older Indian philosophers and monks was the Zen school.

People commonly associate Buddhism with other faith based religions and consider it as just an Indian religion. But Buddhism is neither a faith based religion nor is it a mono-national export. Buddhism cannot be separated from its systematic set of philosophical inquiries and cultivation practices. It is as much of a philosophy and mental exercise as it is a religion. Its a transnational school of thought where other countries such as China, and later Tibet and Japan, all contributed to its formation by adding their own variations of Buddhist philosophy and cultivation practices.
There are some fundamental Buddhist concepts which are strictly Chinese with little Indian origin. One of these is the doctrine of Buddha nature. On the other hand, Zen's renouncement of words and scripts is completely contradictory to many of the Indian schools.

Edited by Borjigin Ayurbarwada, 09 December 2008 - 01:31 PM.

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#10 fingon05

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

Zhaoyun, Do you know how to translate all kinds of mantra in Sanskrit with Latin and Chinese Transliteration?

Do you have the full version of the Compassion Mantra (Dabei Zhou 大悲咒)?

#11 MengTzu

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 04:52 PM

For people who might be confused: when Zhao Yun said Sanskrit is the "ancient Indian language used in ancient chinese classics," by "ancient chinese classics" he was clearly referring to ancient buddhist texts that were circulating in China. The ancient Chinese classics (like the Confucian and Daoist texts) were of course originally composed in Chinese.

Edited by MengTzu, 20 December 2012 - 04:53 PM.


#12 somechineseperson

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

As I posted a while ago, scholars actually found that the heart sutra is a Chinese text that was translated into Sanskrit, not the other way around. A good half of the Chinese Buddhist sutra, "Da Zang Jing" was written by Chinese to suit the needs of the Chinese audience. They were attributed to ancient Indian philosophers and because of this confusion some of these texts also made their way into Sanskrit, western region languages and Tibetan and became canonical sutras in these places. The only Buddhist school which had enough confidence to express their own opinion and teachings instead of attributing their thinking to older Indian philosophers and monks was the Zen school.

People commonly associate Buddhism with other faith based religions and consider it as just an Indian religion. But Buddhism is neither a faith based religion nor is it a mono-national export. Buddhism cannot be separated from its systematic set of philosophical inquiries and cultivation practices. It is as much of a philosophy and mental exercise as it is a religion. Its a transnational school of thought where other countries such as China, and later Tibet and Japan, all contributed to its formation by adding their own variations of Buddhist philosophy and cultivation practices.
There are some fundamental Buddhist concepts which are strictly Chinese with little Indian origin. One of these is the doctrine of Buddha nature. On the other hand, Zen's renouncement of words and scripts is completely contradictory to many of the Indian schools.

 

Borjigin is right. Buddhism is an "Indian religion" in the same way Christianity is a "Middle Eastern" religion. Buddhism had a very long history of development in China and East Asia just like Christianity had a very long history of development in Europe. It's therefore somewhat biased for some Westerners to consider Christianity to be "European" but Buddhism to be "Indian", given that the majority of the world's Buddhists today live in East and Southeast Asia rather than India, and has been like this for many centuries.


Edited by somechineseperson, 07 January 2013 - 12:29 PM.


#13 xng

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:53 AM

Borjigin is right. Buddhism is an "Indian religion" in the same way Christianity is a "Middle Eastern" religion. Buddhism had a very long history of development in China and East Asia just like Christianity had a very long history of development in Europe. It's therefore somewhat biased for some Westerners to consider Christianity to be "European" but Buddhism to be "Indian", given that the majority of the world's Buddhists today live in East and Southeast Asia rather than India, and has been like this for many centuries.

 

 

Buddhism originated from NEPAL and NOT India. It originally spread to India because that's the closest country to Nepal. But the buddhism in China is mixed with Taoism.

 

Contrary to a lot of what amateurs say, buddhism is a religion and NOT a philosophy.

However, Confucianism is a philosophy.

 

The 'Journey to the west' classic is based on this religion. I think I will create a new topic on this.

 

A lot of people also don't realise that Christianity is not an European religion but in actual fact it is a Middle East religion which is related to Islam.

 

The original European religion is paganism which has similar concepts to Buddhism ie. multiple gods


Edited by xng, 08 January 2013 - 06:24 AM.


#14 somechineseperson

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

Buddhism is BOTH a religion and a philosophy. People interpret it in different ways. One way isn't intrinsically more valid than another way. Especially among scholars in ancient China many had an interest in Daoism and Buddhism in the philosophical but not conventional religious sense.



#15 somechineseperson

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

Christianity did not originate in Europe. But why should one define something solely on the basis of where it originated? Sounds very fundamentalist to me. Christianity had a very long history of development in Europe. European philosophy and culture signficantly influenced and altered Christian theology, just like Chinese philosophy and culture significantly influenced Chinese Buddhism.






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