Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bát-nhã Tâm kinh: Xuất xứ từ đâu?

Giáo sư Phật học Jan Nattier -- khoa Tôn giáo học, Đại học Indiana (Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington), Hoa Kỳ -- có một bài biên khảo rất công phu về nguồn gốc Bát-nhã Tâm kinh:

  • Jan Nattier. 1992. The Heart Sūtra: a Chinese apocryphal text? Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Vol. 15 (2), p.153-223.
Theo bà Nattier, Tâm kinh có lẽ được viết ra bằng Hán văn tại Trung Quốc, vào thế kỷ 7 TL, dựa theo các kinh liệu Phạn ngữ và các kinh liệu mới khác. Sau đó, bản Tâm kinh (Hán văn) nầy được dịch ngược trở lại sang tiếng Phạn.

Bà kết luận:

In this paper I have sought to demonstrate, primarily on the basis of philological evidence, that a flow chart of the relationships among the Sanskrit and Chinese versions of the Large Sutra and the Heart Sutra can reasonably be drawn in only one sequence: from the Sanskrit Large Sutra to the Chinese Large Sutra of Kumarajlva (Cưu-ma-la-thập) to the Chinese Heart Sutra (Tâm kinh) popularized by Hsiian-tsang (Huyền Trang) to the Sanskrit Heart Sutra. To assume any other direction of transmission would present insuperable difficulties - or would, at the very least, require postulating a quite convoluted series of processes, which (by virtue of this very convolution) seems considerably less likely to have taken place.

A second level of argument - and one that need not be accepted in order to validate the hypothesis of a Chinese-to-Sanskrit transmission of the Heart Sutra - has been offered in support of the role of Hsiian-tsang in the transmission of the Chinese Heart Sutra to India, and perhaps even in the translation of the text into Sanskrit. While the circumstantial evidence of his involvement with the text (and, in particular, of his recitation of the text en route to India) is sufficient to convince this writer that he is the most likely carrier of this sutra to the West, one need not accept this portion of the argument in order to conclude that the Sanskrit Heart Sutra is indeed a translation from the Chinese.

Tải về để đọc toàn văn bài biên khảo (Anh ngữ): Nattier_Heart_Sutra.pdf (4.8 Mb)

Xem thêm: Bảy bản Bát-nhã Tâm kinh trong Hán tạng

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Trích Wikipedia (

The Heart Sūtra (Tâm kinh), it is generally thought, is likely to have been composed in the 1st century CE in Kushan (Quý Sương) Empire territory, by a Sarvastivadin (Hữu bộ) or ex-Sarvastivadin monk. The earliest record of a copy of the sūtra is a 200-250CE Chinese version attributed to the Yuezhi (Nguyệt Thị) monk Zhi Qian (Chi Khiêm). It was supposedly translated again by Kumarajiva (Cưu-ma-la-thập) around 400CE, although John McRae and Jan Nattier have argued that this translation was created by someone else, much later, based on Kumarajiva's Large Sūtra. Zhi Qian's version, if it ever existed, was lost before the time of Xuanzang (Huyền Trang), who produced his own version in 649CE, which closely matches the one attributed to Kumarajiva. Xuanzang's version is the first record of the title "Heart Sūtra" (心經 xīnjīng, Tâm kinh) being used for the text, and Fukui Fumimasa (Phúc Tỉnh Văn Nhã) has argued that Xinjing actually means Dharani (đà-ra-ni) scripture. According to Huili's (Tuệ Lập) biography, Xuanzang learned the sutra from an inhabitant of Sichuan (Tứ Xuyên), and subsequently chanted it during times of danger in his journey to the West.

However, based on textual patterns in the Sanskrit and Chinese versions of the Heart Sūtra and the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra (Đại Bát-nhã kinh), scholar Jan Nattier has suggested that the earliest (shortest) version of the Heart Sūtra was probably first composed in China in the Chinese language from a mixture of Indian-derived material and new composition, and that this assemblage was later translated into Sanskrit (or back-translated, in the case of most of the sūtra). She argues that the majority of the text was redacted from the Larger Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom, which had originated with a Sanskrit Indian original, but that the "framing" passages (the introduction and concluding passages) were new compositions in Chinese by a Chinese author, and that the text was intended as a dharani rather than a sūtra. The Chinese version of the core (i.e. the short version) of the Heart Sūtra matches a passage from the Large Sutra almost exactly, character by character; but the corresponding Sanskrit texts, while agreeing in meaning, differ in virtually every word.

Furthermore, Nattier argues that there is no evidence (such as a commentary would be) of a Sanskrit version before the 8th century CE, and she dates the first evidence (in the form of commentaries by Xuanzang's disciples Kuiji – Khuy Cơ – and Wonch'uk – Viên Trắc, and Dunhuang – Đôn Hoàng – manuscripts) of Chinese versions to the 7th century CE. She considers attributions to earlier dates "extremely problematic". In any case, the corroborating evidence supports a Chinese version at least a century before a Sanskrit version. This theory has gained support amongst some other prominent scholars of Buddhism, but is by no means universally accepted.


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