An early Mahāyāna Buddhist Scripture
translated and annotated by
English translation by
in association with
THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY
|The full title of the Sūtra was Śūraṃgamasamādhi, transliterated in Chinese by Shou-lêng-yen san-mei 首楞嚴三昧, translated into Chinese as Yung fu-ting 勇优定 'Concentration of Heroic Victory', and rendered in Tibetan by dPaḥ-bar-ḥgro-baḥi tiṅ-ṅe-ḥdzin. It is in this full form that it appears or is quoted in the translation by Dharmarakṣa (entitled Yung-fu-ting), in that by Kumārajīva (having the title of Shou-lêng-yen san-mei), in three places in the Upadeśa (T 1509, pp. 92b3; 134b18; 349c19 [† for details of translation of this work, see below p. 54]), in the Nandimitrāvadanā (T 2030, p. 14a16) and in a section of the Śikṣāsamuccaya (ed. C. Bendall, p. 91, 8; T 1636, p. 93c23).|
|Conversely, it is abridged to the title of Śūraṃgama (transliterated in Chinese as Shou-lêng-yen) in all the Chinese versions except for those by Dharmarakṣa and Kumārajīva. It is equally in this abridged form that it is quoted in five places in the Upadeśa (T 1509, pp. 249c11; 273b5; 303b11; 312a27; 586b1), in one place in the Śikṣāsamuccaya (ed. Bendall, p. 8, 19; T 1636, p. 77a14) and once in the Bodhicaryāvatāra-pañjikā (ed. L. de La Vallée Poussin, p. 24, 12).|
|The titles of nearly all Mahāyāna sūtras display these discrepancies, but in the present case they had particularly serious consequences: a Chinese apocryphal work composed at the beginning of the eighth century, with the abridged title of Śūraṃgamasūtra (T 945), has often been confused in the past as well as the present with the authentic Śūraṃgamasamādhisūtra with which we are concerned here, and this confusion explains in part the considerable success that the forgery met with in China.|
|[ p. 1-2 ]|
|The Śūraṃgamasamādhisūtra, often referred to in the abridged form of Śūraṃgamasūtra, is a text of certain authenticity undoubtedly based upon an Indian prototype.|
|It should not be confused with another Śūraṃgamasūtra composed in Chinese with the title of Ta-fo-ting-ju-lai mi-yin hsiu-chêng liao-i chu p'u-sa wan hsing shou-lêng-yen ching, abbreviated to Shou-lêng-yen ching (T 945). This is a Chinese apocryphal work composed at the beginning of the eighth century, probably by Fang Jung 房融, a minister of the empress Wu of the T'ang. Although its Indian origin was quickly contested, it is at present still one of the most widespread of Buddhist works in China. P. Demiéville (Le Concile de Lhasa, Paris 1952, pp. 43-52, in the notes) devoted to this counterfeit a substantial study in which all the desired information can be found; the first four chüan were adapted and summarised in English by S. Beal (Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese, London 1871, repr. Taipei 1971, pp. 286-369), [† Chapter I was translated by Joseph Edkins in Chinese Buddhism (London 1893, repr. San Francisco 1976)], and the complete work has now been translated into English by Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yü) with the title of The Śūraṃgama Sūtra, London 1966, repr. New Delhi 1985.|
|Because of the similarity of titles, modern authors often confuse the authentic Śūraṃgamasamādhi with the apocryphal Śūraṃgama. Among others, see C. Bendall, ed. of the Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 8, n. 2: L. de La Vallée Poussin, Siddhi, p. 633.|
|[ p. 98 ]|
Sara Boin-Webb is the official translator of Lamotte's work.
Her success is attested by the publication of her English-language renderings of
Lamotte's Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, London 1976
Lamotte's History of Indian Buddhism, Louvain 1988
Lamotte's Śūraṃgamasamādhisūtra, Richmond 1998
as well as several other works from the French.
Her translation of the 5-volume commentary on the Prajñāpāramitāsūtra
Lamotte's Le Traité de la grande vertu de sagesse de Nāgārjuna
awaits publication. She is assistant editor of
Buddhist Studies Review.
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