When documentary film-maker Brent Huffman first visited the Buddhist archaeological site of Mes Aynak in eastern Afghanistan in June 2011, he was awed by the 2,600-year-old city, how it stretches for 100 acres, encompassing artefacts, monasteries and more than 200 statues of Buddha. Now he’s on his way back to bear witness to its last days. watch The Last Days of Mes Aynak short video 2.42
Richard Gombrich explores the difficult issue of whether we can know what the Buddha taught, using the Pali texts as his basis.
Professor Gombrich was the Boden Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford.
He is a leading translator and interpreter of Buddhist Sanskrit and Pali texts.
This talk was given at the 2002 BPG Leicester Buddhist Summer School.
Listen to more Buddhist talks here.
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Kumarajiva (AD 344-413), spent much of his life in the Buddhist kingdom of Kucha on the Northern Silk Road (Xiyu ‘West Region’ today’s Xinjiang). An expert in languages and Buddhist texts, he was invited to China in AD 385. As a result of internal Chinese politics Kumarajiva was held prisoner at an outpost for about sixteen years. Later around (AD 401) when he arrived at his destination, Chang-an, he was put in charge of a large project to translate Buddhist Scriptures into Chinese.
His time in captivity associating with ordinary Chinese people held him in good stead, as he learnt the everyday language which helped him translate the substance of the Buddhist texts. In eleven years of translation work he and his students translated 384 volumes of Buddhist texts including: Prajnaparamita Texts, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, Surangama Sutra, and The Lotus Sutra plus many commentaries and other Buddhist texts, particularly Madhyamika teachings. (more…)