The Chinese Agamas

The Chinese Agama translation project is currently focused on translating Gautama Sanghadeva’s Middle-Length Agamas. The longer term focus will be in translating the alternate versions of each sutra as they exist in Chinese for comparison.

The Agama texts that were translated to Chinese between the 2nd century and 10th century CE fill two volumes of the Taisho Daizokyo.

There are four Agama collections that were translated to Chinese during the 4th century:

  • The Long Agamas (Taisho 1: 長阿含經; Dīrgha Āgama)
  • The Middle-Length Agamas (Taisho 26: 中阿含經; Madhyama Āgama)
  • The Connected Agamas (Taisho 99: 雜阿含經; Saṃyukta Āgama)
  • The Numbered Agamas (Taisho 125: 增一阿含經; Ekôttarika Āgama)

In addition to these large collections, there is a second partial translation of the Connected Sutras and hundreds of other independent sutra translations to Chinese, some early in dating and some quite late. In all, there are 151 different texts in the Taisho’s Agama division in addition to a few other related texts like Xuanzang’s translation of the Itivrttaka collection.