Chinese Translations of the Sanghāta


The Chinese Buddhist canon contains two translations of the Sanghāta, one produced in 538 CE by an Indian named Upashūnya, who was said to be the son of the king of Ujjayini in south India. The second Chinese translation was completed around the turn of the tenth century, by another Indian named Danāpāla, who was a prolific translator into Chinese. 

They appear on the CBETA electronic edition of the Taisho collection as texts numbered 423 and 424, respectively. Of the two Chinese translations, the earlier translation (number 423) appears to correspond a bit more closely to the Sanskrit manuscripts of the Sanghāta that have survived. (This entire collection of the Chinese Buddhist canon can be obtained from the CBETA by clicking here.)

A Chinese manuscript of the Sanghāta that was copied approximately 1,400 years ago has been preserved.  This magnificent seventh-century manuscript is one of three copies of the Sanghāta in Chinese that were found hidden in a cave at Dunhuang. Dunhuang was an important center along the far eastern reaches of the ancient Silk Road, where a major complex of Buddhist caves discovered earlier this century. Because of its arid climate, manuscripts were preserved here that would long ago have been destroyed by the monsoon climate of India. The three Chinese manuscripts of the Sanghata found at Dunhuang were removed to London by the second expedition of Aurel Stein.