Gaffney, Sean (2018) sKyes pa rabs kyi gleṅ gźi (Jātakanidāna): a critical edition based on six editions of the Tibetan bKa’ ‘gyur. Indica et Buddhica Jātakanidāna, vol. I. Oxford: Indica et Buddhica.
The Tibetan critical edition provides an example of the style and methods of translation used during a late period in transmission of Indian texts into Tibetan. It is an extremely rare specimin within the Tibetan bKa’ ’gyur collection, in that it is a commentarial work contained amongst their collection of canonical or buddhavacana texts. The text was translated at the beginning of the fourteenth century by the lo tsā ba ‘translator’ Ñi ma rgyal mtshan. It is unique in being the longest Pāli work translated into Tibetan. The edition is divided into three sections corresponding to the Pāli original. The edition makes an important contribution to the philological study of Tibetan texts that have been translated from Indian languages. While the overwhelming majority of Tibetan translations of Buddhist texts are translations of Sanskrit originals, this text has definitely been translated from a Pāli source. There had previously been some disagreement over precisely what language the text had been translated from. It was for this reason that the critical edition was initially undertaken, as a means of ascertaining the language from which it had been originally translated. The critical edition of the Tibetan text leaves no doubt that the source of the text was the Middle-Indo Aryan language of Pāli, and not Sanskrit, as some scholars had previously claimed.
The Pāli Jātakanidāna, the source text for the Tibetan translation, has long been known to the scholarly world through the monumental edition of the Jātaka collection made by Fausbøll. There has also been a more recent edition of the Jātakanidāna text in devanāgari script produced by Tiwari. Both these editions have been consulted for the comparison of the Pāli with the Tibetan. There are two English translations of the Pāli work, one of these partial and one a complete translation. The first of these was by Rhys-Davids, who omitted to translate the extensive commentarial interpolations in the text. The second was by Jayawickrama, that included a translation of these commentarial additions. The Tibetan translation has been partially translated into French by Feer, who used only a single Tibetan edition for his work.
Sean Gaffney was awarded a BA in history and philosophy by Middlesex University in 1983, an MA in Buddhist philosophy, Ancient Indian philosophy and Buddhist Art and Architecture by SOAS, University of London, in 1985, and a PhD in Buddhist Studies by SOAS in 2003. He studied Sanskrit, Pāli, Tibetan and Prākrit at SOAS between 1985—2019. He also studied Tibetan philosophy and textual studies under Prof. D. Seyfort-Ruegg, 1989—98. From 1997—2007 he was an assistant editor to Dr. T. Skorupski on the Tibetan-English Dictionary Project at SOAS. He has been a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS from 1996 to the present on courses relating to various historical and doctrinal aspects of Buddhism, Pāli, pre-Classical and Classical Tibetan. Currently he is a Research Associate at SOAS, with interests including Tibetan translations of Indian texts, Buddhist narrative literature, and the comparative study of Pāli, Prākrit and Tibetan textual traditions.
› Universität Heidelberg
› Universität Hamburg
› Philipps-Universität Marburg
› Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
› Universiteit Leiden
› British Library
› Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire – Lausanne, site Unithèque
› Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, ELTE
› University of Tokyo