On the Dirgha Agama…

A little while ago there was some discussion about the Sarvāstivādin Dīrgha Āgama manuscript, which has come into the hands of scholars in the past ten years or so, and which is slowly being edited for publication. In 2004 Jens-Uwe Hartmann published a paper that discussed and detailed the structure of the Sarv DA.

I contacted Prof. Hartmann to see what had happened since then. He said that there has been no major developments in the past couple of years. One sutra, the Bodhasutra, has been edited but not yet published. And one problem raised in the 2004 paper has been apparently nearly solved: both the Prasadika- and Prasadaniya-sutras are contained in the ms., contrary to the 2004 paper.

Prof. Hartmann has given permission for me to upload a copy of the 2004 paper “Contents and Structure of the Dirghagama of the (Mula) Sarvastivadins“, Annual Report of The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 7, 2004, 119-137.

You will notice that this paper refers to the Catusparisat Sutra, which we have discussed in previous threads. The text that Kloppenborg’s translation was made from was that reconstructed by Waldschmidt from texts unearthed in the early 20th century. With the more recent discovery of the larger part of the entire DA, that version, like the versions of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, etc., will need revision. Since all these texts are in ancient fragments, it’s a huge task to produce a readable text. Now that such a large body of text is available, the task is to re-edit and translate the entire thing. Hopefully in our lifetimes…

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6 thoughts on “On the Dirgha Agama…

  1. Fascinating comparison of existing texts. The variations in content found in the different editions highlights another problem with fundamentalism.

  2. Hi Bhante,

    This question is related to a discussion from another post. Do the three knowledges appear in the agamas? I read somewhere that in one other account of the Buddha’s enlightenment, he only relates the knowledge of the destruction of the taints.

    Also, could someone tell me what the numbers in brackets are in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (e.g., [4]). Thanks!

  3. Do the three knowledges appear in the Agamas

    – yes, just as commonly as in the Nikayas.

    Also, could someone tell me what the numbers in brackets are in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (e.g., [4]). Thanks!

    They’re the page numbers for the PTS Pali edition. This is still used as the standard academic reference system, although it’s seriously in need of improvement. We should use a universal ‘Chapter and verse’ system like the Bible, but no standard has been adopted.

  4. Bhante

    I understand that the PTS edition does not contain variant readings from the various Se, Be, etc.

    2 related questions -

    1. if correct, were the PTS editors aware of the variant readings, and did they indicate how they selected which text goes in?

    2. how did the 6th Council end up producing that version of the Sutta Pitaka and did the invited monks just acquiese in ignoring the variants?

    I wonder what will happen when the Lao and Khmer Tipitaka become available for study.

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