Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mangalam Center for Buddhist Languages

This is one of those "Darn! I missed it!" posts. The Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, at 2018 Allston Way, Berkeley, California, has concluded a summer program consisting of a thorough-going re-examination of the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra, as expressed in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese. The aim was to examine standardized terminology for translating Buddhist texts into Western languages. 

As we reported here back in 2006, in 1999 a Japanese research team, working in the basement of the Potala, accidentally discovered a 9th century manuscript of the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra, in Sanskrit. This was later published by Taisho University, in three volumes, and made quite a stir. Prior to this, the work was known in the Chinese and Tibetan, but lost in the original Sanskrit. Although not explicitly stated on the Mangalam website, sounds like this is what they spent the summer examining.

This was a USD $2,250. program, which of course took it right out of the hands of anyone save grad students on grants. UC Berkeley and the Ho Center at Stanford are co-sponsors of Mangalam.  Love the scholars, but hope they get around to realistic, affordable programs for practicing Buddhists one of these fine days.

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2 reader comments:

GK Sandoval said...

The Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra is one of my favorites, right up there with the Surangamasamadhi Sutra. It would have been incredible to attend this series. I'm sure I would have made some effort to go had I known about it.

I'm certainly going to keep an eye on the publishing of the books. I have a certain affinity for Sanskrit sutras and this is one I highly treasure and recommend to everyone that has an interest in Mahayana sutras.

Learner said...

This is the only non cultural preservation thing that the Nyingma Mandala is invovled in. I am interested. Too bad I am still getting the cold shoulder from the Mandala.