February Update (More Dīrgha Āgama Sutras)

Last month, I added three new Dīrgha Āgama translations, a couple sutras from the Saṃyukta Āgama, and I also began work on the Chinese Dharmapāda, posting a couple commentary stories found in T211 for the first chapter. A quick list of the additions can be found on the What’s New page at Dharma Pearls.

DĀ 11 Increasing One by One

This mātṛkā sutra is essentially the Daśottara abbreviated to half it’s size. A direct parallel doesn’t exist in Pali, but the format, questions, and sets of dharmas all conform to both DĀ 10 and DN 34. It’s interesting that the five questions that are asked for each set of lists are the first four and the last question asked in the Daśottara, which is a pattern I see fairly often with lists that appear to have grown at some point.

Beyond that, there’s nothing especially remarkable other than the occasional differences between DĀ 10/11 and DN 34, which aren’t many. One thing I do note is that DN 34 tends to add more descriptions and explanations for the lists than DĀ 10/11, suggesting it may be a bit later in composition. Buddhist texts tended to get larger in that way over time.

DĀ 12 Three Categories

This is another DĀ sutra without a direct parallel in DN. It’s a brief mātṛkā sutra that presents lists of 1-10 items in three categories: Things leading to bad destinies, things leading to good destinies, and things leading to Nirvāṇa.

DĀ 22 Śroṇatāṇḍya

This sutra is a direct parallel to DN 4. The two sutras match each other closely in overall meaning and story events. As is usual, the details differ a bit when compared closely. For example, the 11 qualities of Śroṇatāṇḍya match DN 4 in both content and order for about 7 items, and there’s two/three that are different towards the end. The Pali version also tends to “put down” or cast the priest in a more negative light than DĀ does, which is also a pattern I’ve seen comparing other parallels like the Lohitya and Fruits of the Ascetic Sutras.

SĀ 25.57 Crossing the Flood

SĀ2 180 Crossing the Flood

These are two direct parallels to SN 1.1. What’s perhaps most surprising about the parallels to this sutra is that it’s the Buddha’s answer that varies across all of them. The Pali has him expressing the middle way, but the other parallels say other things like “I didn’t try too hard” or “I wasn’t too lax.” The Pali seems like a compromise between them.

Also, for those who are curious, SĀ2 is thought to be a partial translation of the Kāśyapīya Saṃyukta Āgama. It’s saṃyuktas are arranged very closely with SĀ, but like SN it has the Sagatha division first. Because it’s saṃyuktas otherwise match SĀ closely, it was another way Yinshun confirmed how SĀ should be reordered.

Dvs 1.1 Śakra Attains Stream Entry

Dvs 1.2 King Prasenajit’s Queen

Finally, I translated the first two stories found in T211 Dharma Verse Stories. As I began to work on the first chapter of the Chinese Dharmapāda (T210), I decided to translate the stories in T211 as I edit and check myself, so they’ll be released before the actual Dharmapāda chapters.

What’s Coming in March?

More of the same in planned. I’ve begun working on a translation of the Parinirvāṇa Sutra (DĀ 2), but it will take until April to complete and release. In the meantime, I’ll be translating other short DĀ sutras as well and continuing to work on the Dharmapāda as time allows.

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