Top critical review
NOT a translation! A mix of Hinduism and Byrom's imagination.
on 4 February 2016
Possibly the worst 'translation' of any text I have ever come across. Stay well away from this book if you want to know what the Buddha said. Here is a typical example:
"Hard it is to be born, Hard it is to live, Harder still to hear of the way, And hard to rise, follow, and awake. Yet the teaching is simple. Do what is right. Be pure. At the end of the way is freedom. Till then, patience."
This is absolutely not a translation. As you will see from reading two translations below, and the original P'li, Byrom has omitted mention of:
- the saddhamma (which can be translated as 'the true teachings', 'Sublime Truth' etc) he puts as 'teaching' and totally misses what it is saying about this.
- Buddhas (translated as 'awakened ones' below)
- The classic 3-fold sumary of the Buddha's teachings - avoid all evil; cultivate good(/that which is skillful); and purifying/cleanse ones mind. He puts these three into "Do what is right. Be pure." And he leaves out entirely the conclusion of that 3-fold statement which is "this is the teaching of the Buddhas".
- The whole of 184 he leaves out except to say "Till then, patience" - leaving out all mention of monks etc.
Please compare with some proper translations:
Here is Buddharakkhita's translation:
"182. Hard is it to be born a man; hard is the life of mortals. Hard is it to gain the opportunity of hearing the Sublime Truth, and hard to encounter is the arising of the Buddhas.
183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
184. Enduring patience is the highest austerity. "Nibbana is supreme," say the Buddhas. He is not a true monk who harms another, nor a true renunciate who oppresses others."
And here is Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation:
"182 Hard the winning of a human birth.
Hard the life of mortals.
Hard the chance to hear the true Dhamma.
Hard the arising of Awakened Ones.
183-184 The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching
of the Awakened.
the foremost austerity.
so say the Awakened.
He who injures another
is no contemplative.
He who mistreats another,
Here is the original P'li:
kiccho manussapa'il'bho, kiccha' macc'na j'vita'.
kiccha' saddhammassavana', kiccho buddh'namupp'do.
sabbap'passa akara'a', kusalassa upasampad' VAR.
sacittapariyodapana' VAR, eta' buddh'na s'sana'.
khant' parama' tapo titikkh', nibb'na' VAR parama' vadanti buddh'.
na hi pabbajito par'pagh't', na VAR sama'o hoti para' vihe'hayanto. "
Stick with Acharya Buddharakkhita's translation. There are certainly various ways of translating this text but Byrom's is not one of them.