《大藏經》簡史

約翰 ∙康提博士(84000編輯主席)和彼得 ∙史基伶教授(貝葉基金會創立人),與【八萬四千•佛典傳譯】談及佛教大藏經的簡史。

在第一部份,康諦博士解釋什麼是《大藏經》,它是如何形成的,以及大藏經如何在歷史中開枝散葉。

第二部份中,康諦博士和史基伶教授說明不同語系大藏經的內容,並解釋翻譯大藏經的價值。

點擊此處閱讀康諦博士和史基伶教授的簡歷。

彼得 ∙史基伶教授是尼泊爾藍毘尼國際研究學院(Lumbini International Research Institute)的成員,也是泰國曼谷朱拉隆功大學(Chulalongkorn University)特別講師。他是貝葉經基金會(Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation)的創始人,該基金會致力於保存、研究,及出版東南亞佛教文獻。他是國際佛學研究中心(International Center for Buddhist Studies)的創始成員。彼得 ∙史基伶住在泰國超過三十年,並密集往返於亞洲各地。

史基伶教授的興趣,包括了從碑文和考古遺跡中獲知的東南亞早期宗教歷史、印度佛教史和大乘佛經的發展,以及早期暹羅的巴利文和當地土語文學──包括本生經和佈道文類。他也寫了有關印度和暹羅的佛教比丘尼教團發展史,及藏傳佛教大藏經(甘珠爾)的發展史。他出版的書包括了《大經》(Mahasutras)──藏文《甘珠爾》內「說一切有部」的十部經典對照巴利文經典校勘版(第一、二冊由牛津:巴利聖典學會在1994及1997年發行,第三冊即將出版)。

據說史基伶教授非常喜歡榴槤。他住在曼谷郊區的南丹埔里,室友是一隻數年前水災中街頭撿回的烏龜。

資料來源:
http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/
people/visiting_scholars.html


約翰 ∙康提是一位佛法修行者、譯者,以及醫生。當他在英國劍橋大學攻讀醫科時,初次接觸到傳授他佛法的老師,並在他們的指導下開始修行。1972年時,他遇到敦珠仁波切──從此仁波切成為他三位主要上師之一。另外兩位則是不久後遇到的甘珠爾仁波切及頂果欽哲仁波切。與此同時,他也受訓成為一位合格的醫生,在倫敦及劍橋看診,開始外科的訓練。但在七十年代後期,他對學術環境裡行醫的理想幻滅,毅然搬到尼泊爾東部,在兩個沒有任何醫療設施的偏遠山區建立結核病防治醫療服務。

1980年始,他在敦珠仁波切、頂果欽哲仁波切、貝瑪旺嘉仁波切及紐修堪布仁波切等上師的指導下,在法國多爾多涅(Dordogne)連續做了兩次三年閉關。之後,他協助其他閉關同修一起成立「蓮師翻譯小組」(Padmakara Translation Group),目前他擔任該小組的主席。他也有幸成為敦珠仁波切在世最後幾年時的醫生,隨後,他也把其他喇嘛和修行者的醫療照顧統合起來。他目前在多爾多涅(Dordogne)過著半隱居式的生活,平時翻譯經典,並為其他三年閉關者提供醫療照顧和諮詢。他出版的譯作包括(都是合譯):《證悟者的心要寶藏》、《普賢上師言教》、《覺悟之旅》、《修行百頌 》、《你可以更慈悲:菩薩三十七種修行之道》。他目前正在翻譯米龐仁波切對彌勒─無著菩薩的寶性論所做的釋論。

資料來源:
http://www.mindandlife.org/
research-initiatives/sri/sri_faculty

與約翰 ∙康提及彼得 ∙史基伶對談:
《大藏經》簡史


84000 视频: Youtube | Vimeo

問:《大藏經》或英文的「buddhist canons」指的是什麼?

約翰:
「Canon正典」這個字不是那麼…佛教傳統上其實並沒有一個真正等同的字眼。我想,在梵文裡意思相同的字,我們會說是「Buddhavacana」,意思是佛的言教、佛的話語。「Canon正典」這個字眼其實是來自西方,通常是指一套獨立不變的經典,是神賜予人類的啟示,並在該傳統中被認為是神聖並具有絕對的權威。在佛教裡,就某方面而言,我們也會特別重視一些特定的佛典。

那在佛教中指的是哪些經典?

我們通常會將之分為佛陀親口宣說的言教,或是佛弟子在佛陀的要求或啟發之下在佛陀面前所說之法。這些都被稱為「佛陀言教」。這在藏文佛典裡,被歸類為《甘珠爾》(即:佛說部 / 教敕譯典)。

我們也傾向於將一些大學者、大成就者所寫的「論」納入在「Canon正典」的概念裡。這些論是在解釋、釐清和詳述佛陀的教導。在此情況下,我們通常只把印度論師的著作視為經典。

當然,在不同的文化裡,也有其他大學者和成就者及佛法的追隨者,用他們熟悉的語言寫成論著,其中包含藏文、漢文、泰文、緬甸文、蒙古文,及其他的語文都有。當然,那些作品也被視為經典,但不能算在「正典」的類別裡。

但「正典」的確是一個西方的概念。在藏傳佛教裡,我們是用《甘珠爾》(佛經部 / 教敕譯典)和《丹珠爾》(論述部 / 論述譯典)來區分。在漢傳佛教,這些經典就收納在《大正藏》(Taisho)中,多數也稱作經、律、論三藏或《大藏經》。在藏文《大藏經》裡我們也有類似的概念。當然,在著名的巴利文《大藏經》裡,或多或少也是把經典分為這三藏。

問:佛教的《大藏經》和其他宗教正典比較起來如何?

約翰:
首先,《大藏經》在數量上遠遠大於西方的正典,如聖經、可蘭經,和摩西五書。第二個區別在於《大藏經》不一定是獨立不變的。換句話說,以藏文《大藏經》為例,有些以前沒有被納入《大藏經》,但後來被發現而且被認為是正統的佛典,直到15、16世紀仍被納入《大藏經》內。數量不是很多,但還是有零星加入一部分經典。所以佛教《大藏經》並非封閉不變的。

我相信漢文《大藏經》也是如此──有些經典甚至是在近代才被發現。像是在絲路上的考古發現,也被歸到《大正藏》(Taisho)中視為真正的佛陀言教。所以對於所謂的「Canon正典」或《大藏經》,就是抱持著這樣開放的態度,而不是從時間上劃分,選定經典後永遠不變。

問:《大藏經》是如何形成的?

約翰:
這是一個有趣的問題,在某方面來說,我們不知道答案是什麼。不過古典的說法是,在佛陀涅槃後的幾個世紀,這些教法一直是以口傳的方式傳續下來。但它並不僅是有人說:「好吧,我們記得佛陀在某個時間對這個、那個題目做了哪些開示。」事實上這是透過一個非常精確的系統,大家共同來記憶和覆誦這些字句,並確定沒有遺漏任何一個字。而且有些大阿羅漢擁有某種神通或特殊能力,可以非常確實、一字不漏地記得佛說過的言教,幾乎像是錄音一樣。
後來,事實上是好幾代以後,為了某種理由,弟子們決定把佛陀的言教寫下來。,我很想知道是什麼理由要這樣做,但我根本沒有頭緒,,也不知道是否有人真的知道原因。這是巴利文《大藏經》為一般所知的來由。而梵文的《大藏經》,可能是更晚之後才寫下,在背後必定也有類似的理由。
在佛陀的時代以後,也許是好幾代、好幾世紀後,因為不同的佛教團體、修行者和學者,對於佛典的不同主題或是教法的不同部分,強調和重視的程度不一,於是形成了各種版本的《大藏經》。他們對佛典抱持不同的觀點,於地理位置上也各自分開。有時是因為對教義的歧見而分開。有時對於何者是最重要的,產生爭論和不同意見,當然,對不同的修行方法更是如此。不同的佛教徒偏愛教法的不同部分,對於喜愛的地方給予更多的重視。因此地理位置的分隔再加上教義的不同,逐漸形成不同的經典集結,這種情況在印度更是顯著。

問:這些佛典如何傳揚到印度之外的地區?

約翰:
我不夠資格談論巴利文的教法,因為我對它不夠熟悉。但如果是指有時我們稱為「北傳」的教法,主要以梵文或相關語言寫成的佛典…… 當然要記得,當時印度不是一個統一的國家,並沒有像今天的印度那樣明確的國界。佛教由於各種原因,傳播到鄰近國家,包括傳到西北方──今天的巴基斯坦、阿富汗,甚至是伊朗等地;當然也沿著我們今日所知的絲路,及中亞的貿易路線而傳播。
當然,其中最值得注意的,也許是最初傳到中國的那一次──由於偉大的中國旅行家,為尋求教法而到印度。他們邀請了某些印度學者到中國,特別是去翻譯佛經。這裡我們所談的,是西元前一世紀、一直延續到西元五、六世紀的事。經過這麼長一段時間,佛典終於被翻譯為中文。有時同一部經典被不同的譯者翻譯了不只一次。
當然,在以上這些國家裡,經典的原文都被保存下來。但佛陀始終強調翻譯為當地語言的重要性,這樣才能使人們真正了解並修持這些教法。所以教法並不僅以文言古雅的語言保存於原典當中,而是被翻譯成能讓人們加以使用的版本。翻譯的工作也被視為非常地重要。
至於藏文…佛典剛傳播到西藏時,也許這在當時看起來並不太重要,但在我們現在看來是極其重要的一件事。一直到較晚的時期如西元七世紀,有些人說是六世紀,但肯定是在七、八、九世紀,有非常集中的翻譯活動,特別是在赤松德贊王統治的時期。他邀請了寂護、蓮花生大師和許多印度班智達到西藏來。他們很快地建立起非常活躍的翻譯學院、各式翻譯工具和方法。這些都是在國家的贊助之下進行的,有國王、大臣和指定官員的指導,非常有組織。雖然翻譯的工作進行了幾個世紀,但主體內容,尤其是佛經的部分,在西元九世紀時已經完成。在這之後雖有些修訂,但當時已完成了很大數量的翻譯。

佛教傳播到西藏的時期較晚。藏文《大藏經》大多是從梵文經典翻譯而來,而有些梵  文經典在(較早期的)漢譯時期並未流通或不常用,所以漢、藏文的《大藏經》,內容中有少許的不同。

當然,佛陀的教法和翻譯還傳到南亞、東南亞、東亞、蒙古或更北方的國家──這在考古學上有充足的證據,但經典翻譯成其他語言的證據則沒那麼多。
然而,在現今亞洲發現的一些重要語系當中,可以知道佛陀的教法以形形色色的語言廣泛流傳。有些語系是最近才開始被探討,如佉盧文、索格底文,還有許多其他語言、方言,及文字等。當然,僧侶的活動,講經說法,寺廟、佛塔的興建,不同地方的修行團體,也會依照當地不同文化而呈現出不同的型態。
佛法傳播到西藏最重大的意義,說實在的,在於它的時間點正是出現在印度當地佛陀教法、藏經閣和寺廟大規模的消失之前。因此絕大部分佛陀的教法和大部分的經典,至少還保存於西藏。所以我們今天還能擁有這些佛典。否則,我們連這些也沒有了。

第二部份待續…


84000 视频: Youtube | Vimeo

How big are the buddhist canons?

Peter:
They’re all big compared to the holy books of other religions like Christianity or Islam. But it’s difficult to compare them because they are measured differently, even within their own cultures and traditions.

The Thais like to measure the Pali Canon in 45 volumes. Of course those volumes are not identical in size.

“Chinese canon” is a very difficult term, because the Chinese Tripitaka was produced since the Tang period and they all have different sizes. The one used today was mainly produced in Japan in the Taisho era. The Taisho Tripitaka has well over a hundred volumes.

The Tibetan canon is usually made into traditional Tibetan volumes of 100 to 108.

So they’re all big, diverse; but it’s difficult to compare them without making the equation of imaginary Western pages or something like that.

Why do these canons contain different texts?

Peter:
They were produced at different times, with different imperatives of the monastic cultures that were reflected on what they needed at the time, and produced what we can call a “canon” if you like.

So the Pali Canon is an early collection, done even perhaps in an oral period. At that time the tantras and other such texts were not available—maybe not pronounced, maybe not compiled. The others, as collections, are much, much later. More diverse bodies of literature had evolved at that time.

And then within Tibet itself, and in China, too, I believe, there would be debates as to what to include as the authentic word of the Buddha. Because all of them define themselves as containing authentic words of the Buddha or disciples—there are different definitions of authenticity, but that is still the basic rule.

For the Tibetans, for example, they would only include texts that they believed had an Indian original it was translated from, therefore it was authentic.

Chinese also have a similar principle. We have old Chinese catalogs which discussed these questions. Sometimes a later cataloger would reject works that were accepted earlier on and say, “This is not an Indian compilation.” So the main idea was that it should be an authentic work of the Buddha, and it should go back to India if it was in translation.

But the decisions were made at different times, different places, so none of them were fixed really. Even the Pali Canon has some flexibility in it. Particularly the Tibetan and the Chinese evolved over centuries with debates, rejections of texts, taking in new texts and so on. So they are all evolving, changing.

Again, that’s one of the reasons the word “canon” is a little difficult, because the canon itself is an evolving idea.

Are all the texts in the Tibetan and Chinese canons translated from Sanskrit?

John:
Almost all. They must mostly have had Sanskrit originals. But some of them were translated from other languages. In fact, some of the Tibetan translations were made from Chinese, because the scholars knew that there had been an original text in Sanskrit which then no longer existed, and so they had to translate it from Chinese.

Other texts were translated from other languages of the area, from Kotanese, Sogdian, and some other languages. In fact at one point, one of the reasons that are given for the revisions that happened later on in the translation period that divides the early from the later translation period is the problem that there were such a plethora of texts—some of them translated from different source languages—that it was really quite difficult for people to know what was really authentic and valid and what wasn’t. And they were translated. Because they were from different sources, they varied quite a lot. The Tibetan that resulted varied quite a lot, and they needed to be made more uniform. But by and large, yes, they were to a very large extent translated from Sanskrit originals.

What happened that led to the loss of the Sanskrit texts?

Well, the wider picture we don’t really know. Some people say, you know, there were a lot of social changes going on in India at that time. But the most obvious answer to that question is the arrival of the invaders – Muslim invaders from the Northwest, who began to spread through Northwest and later Northeast India. The reason they hadn’t been able to invade before was due to the strength of the various kingdoms and republics that existed in Northern India at that time. So you could say that they wouldn’t have been there if there hadn’t been a considerable weakening of the defenses that had enabled the buddhist cultures to flourish in those areas.

But the immediate cause of the disappearance of buddhist culture was probably the arrival of the invading armies. They were extremely destructive. It had actually been happening for several decades, but there was one particularly bad year, which was 1193, I believe, when a particularly strong and violent army swept through the area and destroyed, not for the first time, but destroyed pretty much definitively the universities at Nalanda and Vikramshila and probably others, too. There were some accounts of the destruction of the great libraries and the burning of the books. So this was a very big change.

But I doubt if even an invading army would’ve been able to wipe out Buddhism as a culture, if they hadn’t been many other causes at work. And I think we have to assume, as well, that there must have been movements within India that by which the various different Hindu indigenous Indian beliefs began to encroach in people’s minds, in the way people practiced and in their cultures… the quite extraordinary spread of the practice of Buddhism—its study by monks in monasteries and the influence that it had on the ordinary life of people and over large areas of India. So it’s quite a complex story.

To what extent have the Chinese and Tibetan translations preserved what was lost in the Sanskrit collection?

John:
Well we don’t know the answer to that question. So much of the Sanskrit is simply no longer found. It’s said that probably somewhere between 10%, 15%, maybe as much as 20% of the texts of the Kangyur have Sanskrit texts surviving. But the rest don’t. So that’s a large proportion of 80-85%. Those texts, very interesting to know what might have happened to them, but for the moment they simply haven’t turned up. A lot of texts were found in among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, which had been relatively stable politically for a very long time. It was never invaded and didn’t change very much. More recently, Sanskrit texts have been found along the Silk Road and in areas much further north; the archeological finds where the conditions for preservation were much better than they were in low-lying India, with its humidity, insects and so on.

We can only guess. But between the two, spanning quite a large period… first of all the Chinese translations which, you know, the translators took great pains to find most of the texts that were really being used at that time and which existed and take them back to China and translate them; and then later on, the same happened for the Tibetans. So covering a very large span of time, almost a thousand years, it’s unlikely that there were many texts that completely disappeared, but that’s sheer conjecture.

We have what we have, and some texts I believe have turned up in Sanskrit, not very many but a few in some fragments of scriptures which don’t seem to exist either in Chinese or Tibetan. So there may be a few. Of course, the other consideration is the different versions of texts which tended to evolve over time and geographically in different areas. So we don’t necessarily have records in the Chinese and Tibetan of all the versions of all the texts as they evolved.

What is the value of being able to read different buddhist canons?

Peter:
There are many ways to interpret the value. So for some people it might be a matter of inspiration, reading the life of the Buddha in different versions. Could it be a matter of inspiration for people, a matter of revealing the life of the Buddha, say in relation to places like Bodhgaya here. Another sense is it can deepen a person’s understanding of practices, as for example, meditation, meditation on the breath, Anapana. We can compare various versions in Pali, in Tibetan, in Sanskrit, in Chinese translation. Here in fact, we see that they’re very close to each other and we could perhaps come to the conclusion that this is one of the core practices of mediation, of Buddhism. So we can see both the kind of synchronic and diachronic relation of text which gives a deepening idea of the teachings or practices.

So I think there are multiple benefits to that. I don’t think there are – I can’t really think of any drawbacks. I think it’s beneficial to expand one’s knowledge. It might increase tolerance, too, amongst buddhist groups if they see that, “Oh, we all have these core, we have some core traditions.” Because sometimes people, because they don’t know the language and don’t read the shared texts, sometimes they have an idea that… people who are from the Pali tradition might think, “Oh this Tibetan is something completely different – there’s only tantras which we don’t have.” Or the Tibetans might think similarly that the Pali tradition is different. And so and and so forth. It has many benefits in many ways I would think.

Who were the first people to translate buddhist texts into English?

Peter:
Sporadic translations of buddhist texts from any of these collections began in the 19th century. I don’t think in the 18th, but I might be wrong. That was when the study of Indian texts, the Sanskrit and others, began in Europe, but I’m not sure if there are any real translations.

The first description of the Tibetan canon was by a great Hungarian scholar – Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, published in the 1820s and 30s. He did translate a few things.

As for the Pali, I think the first translations from Pali, excluding French (which might have come earlier or in the mid 19th century on),… the idea of translating the entire Pali collection began in the late 19th century with the Foundation of the Pali Text Society in England. They have more or less translated the whole collection. But that’s done by separate translators, sort of at different times over a long period. But they did have the idea of a single project.

For the Chinese it was much later. Maybe BDK Tripitaka, which was in progress.

For the Tibetan, the idea of a systematic translation has recently begun with the 84000 project.

How will this English translation benefit buddhists and non-buddhists?

Peter:
Well I think the benefit for buddhists should be fairly obvious. They can read texts for inspiration, they can learn actually about Buddhism. By the very fact that so many of these texts have not been translated, even when Sanskrit exists, or even when Chinese translations exist but they’ve not been translated into English… so people who know only English, or European languages, if they are buddhists then they don’t have access to their full canon or traditional texts. So it will help a great deal in being aware of the practice, philosophy, history, narratives. There are so many wonderful things in these canons or in the Tibetan canon. So people will be able to be aware of their own tradition.

For non-buddhists, more or less the same thing. That if we talk about buddhist… how can we talk about buddhist philosophy in comparison with Western philosophy when most of the texts are not translated? So it will increase knowledge for the benefit of both buddhists and non-buddhists and others.

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