In This Issue:
Dr. Andy Rotman wins 2018 Prize for Outstanding Translation
Words From the Award Committee
"The second part of Rotman’s translation of the Divyāvadāna has been eagerly awaited since the first appeared in 2008, and it does not disappoint. Rotman clearly took great care over every translation choice, from words to phrases to the layout of the text on the page. The result is a translation that is readable in English yet also close to the original form and tone of the text. Indeed, more than readable, the stories are fun and colorful."
—Dr. Naomi Appleton, University of Edinburgh
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Prize for Outstanding Translation Awarded
By Unaminious Choice, Dr. Andy Rotman Wins 2018 Prize
KF announces the recipient of the 2018 Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation, Dr. Andy Rotman of Smith College, for Divine Stories: Divyāvadāna, Part 2. The text, an important collection of early Indian narrative writing, offers insight into a wide range of Buddhist ideas and practices. Throughout, it illustrates the intricacies of the law of karma and brings to life the Buddhist values of generosity and faith.
The US$8,000 prize is an award for excellence in translation from the main classical languages of Buddhism—Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese—into English, and from any tradition of Buddhism. The prize is for the translation as a coherent work and can be a sutra, commentary, treatise, biography, history, liturgy, or practice manual.
“This award is incredibly gratifying. I worked for decades, literally, on this material, and I’m thrilled to receive this kind of recognition,” said Rotman, who is currently traveling in India for research on his next work.
An Excerpt from Divine Stories: Divyāvadāna, Part 2
The Story of Dharmaruci: 500 Merchants and a Sea Monster
Below is an excerpt from Dr. Andy Rotman's Divine Stories: Divyavadana, Part 2. The text, an important representative of early Indian narrative writing, encourages reflection on a whole range of Buddhist thought, practice, and narrative.
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the city of Śrāvastī at the Jeta Grove in the park of Anāthapiṇḍada (Almsgiver to the Poor).
At that time five hundred merchants gathered up their goods, and after passing through marketplaces, villages, towns, trading centers, and capitals, one after another, arrived at the shore of the great ocean. There they carefully chose an ocean-going ship, but when the merchants saw the great ocean, they were of two minds. They couldn’t bring themselves to go down to the water.
“Friend,” the merchants said to the captain, “proclaim for us the true glory of the great ocean!”
“Listen, honorable men of Jambudvīpa (Black Plum Island)!” the captain proclaimed. “In the great ocean there are treasures such as these—jewels, pearls, beryl, and conch, quartz, coral, silver, and gold, emeralds, sapphires, red pearls, and right-spiraling conch shells. Whoever wants to make himself happy with such treasures, and to delight his mother, father, wife, and children, servants, maids, workers, and laborers, friends, counselors, kinsmen, and relatives, and whoever wants, from time to time, to present to those worthy of offerings—ascetics and brahmans—gifts that guide one upward, bring good fortune, result in pleasure, and lead to heaven in the future, he should set sail in this great ocean to find that wealth.”
Since all beings, without exception, desire wealth and spurn poverty, everyone who heard him decided to set sail in the great ocean. As a result, the ship was overcome by all those people and the heavy load. It began to sink on the spot.
“The ship can’t take it!” the captain said.
“So whom should we tell to disembark?” the merchants asked.
Then those merchants said to the captain, “Proclaim for us the true infamy of the great ocean!”
“Listen, honorable men of Jambudvīpa!” he proclaimed again. “In the great ocean there are also great, great dangers—the danger of sea monsters like the Timi and the Timiṅgila, the danger of waves, the danger of turtles, the danger of going aground, the danger of sinking, the danger of running into reefs, and the danger of hurricanes. Dark-clothed pirates may also come and steal your riches. Whoever is prepared to give up his very life and to give up his mother, father, wife, and children, servants, maids, workers, and laborers, friends, counselors, kinsmen, and relatives, as well as wonderful Jambudvīpa, he should set sail in the great ocean.”
Few men are brave. Many are cowards.
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