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‘Turning the Wheel of the Teaching’: A translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita Canto 15 from a recently rediscovered Sanskrit manuscript

Author:

Dhivan Thomas Jones

University of Chester, GB
About Dhivan
Dr Dhivan Jones lectures at the University of Chester, UK. He is also a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
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Abstract

This article offers a first translation into English of the re-discovered Sanskrit text of Canto 15 of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita. While Cantos 1–14 of Aśvaghoṣa’s kāvya, or long poem on the life of the Buddha, have survived in Sanskrit, it had been thought that Cantos 15–24 only survived in Tibetan and Chinese translations. But the Japanese scholar Kazunobu Matsuda, working with Jens-Üwe Hartmann, has recently identified the whole of Canto 15 embedded in a Sanskrit manuscript of the Tridaṇḍamālā, attributed to Aśvaghoṣa. While Matsuda has made a translation into Japanese, I offer a translation of the Sanskrit text of Buddhacarita Canto 15 into English. A distinctive feature of this translation is that I present a prose translation, conveying the Sanskrit syntax and vocabulary in an accurate form, alongside a verse translation, suggesting some of the poetic qualities of Ásvaghoṣa’s Sanskrit in the form of English blank verse and unrhymed ballad metre.

How to Cite: Jones, D.T., 2021. ‘Turning the Wheel of the Teaching’: A translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita Canto 15 from a recently rediscovered Sanskrit manuscript. Asian Literature and Translation, 8(1), pp.47–62. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/alt.50
Published on 15 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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