August Update: Four More Dīrgha Āgama Sutras released

It’s been a little more than a month since the last update, and I’ve released four more initial translations from the Dīrgha Āgama, which tally up to about 23,500 words in English. I recently decided to total up how many words in English that Dharma Pearls has published so far, and I was a bit astonished.

As of today, I’ve released at Dharma Pearls:

  • 19 Dīrgha Āgama sutras totaling 85,700 words
  • 40 Madhyama Āgama sutras totaling 91,100 words
  • 22 Ekôttarika Āgama sutras totaling 29,600 words
  • 102 Saṃyukta Āgama sutras totaling 32,900 words

For a grand total of about 240,000 words, most of which have been translated over the past 18 months thanks to supporters at SuttaCentral and Patreon. The translations are beginning to pile up like snow on the Minnesota plains.

(It gets deep some winters. This is more like after the first big snowfall. “Time to get the shovels out and break a sweat!” It’s that type of feeling when I look at how much needs another polish-edit.)

The new Dīrgha Āgama sutras that have been released since the last update are:

DĀ 18 Personal Gladness (DN 28)

Śāriputra realizes that the Buddha’s teaching is the best that there is and other teachers aren’t able to match, and he goes and declares this to the Buddha. The Buddha, however, questions Śāriputra closely about how he came to such a conclusion. What follows is a lengthy summary of what Śāriputra considered the strong points of the Buddhist path.

DĀ 20 Ambāṣṭha (DN 3)

Speaking of word counts, this turned out to be the longest Āgama sutra that I’ve translated so far, at over 11,000 words in English. This is largely due to containing the largest presentation of the gradual path, comparable to that found in DN 2 (and which is abbreviated out of DN 3). There’s an interesting plot structure to the sutra as a whole, which I discussed in a post at SuttaCentral. In this sutra, a priest sends an arrogant student to visit the Buddha, who is subsequently humbled with a story of his background. The Buddha then proceeds to convert his teacher, who becomes a non-returner.

DĀ 26 Knowledge of the Three Vedas (DN 13)

In this sutra, the Buddha explains to a pair of priests why the priesthood that studies the three Vedas didn’t make any spiritual progress and makes false claims about the attainments of their teachings. He then teaches them to the proper way to being reborn in the Brahma Heaven.

DĀ 28 [Poṭṭhapāda] (DN 9)

The Buddha decides to pay a visit to a wanderer, who tells him about the various theories that were debated at a recent meeting of priests and wanderers. The Buddha explains the problems with their positions using meditative attainments as an example. Later, the same wanderer visits the Buddha, and he converts him with a critique of theories of self.

At this point, nearly two-thirds of the Dīrgha Āgama sutras have been released, which account for about one-third of its total length.

We have another 8 short sutras to translate in the next couple months before I tackle the three sutras that make up about half of the entire collection’s length (the DĀ 1 Mahâvadāna, DĀ 2 Parinirvāṇa, and DĀ 30 Record of the World Sutras). Those sutras will take three or four months to complete.

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