on 14 March 2012
The Diamond Sutra is a tricky one to grasp even on an intellectual level (which I know is not the underlying purpose, but even so...!) beautiful, repetitive, endlessly contradictory, and yet as the name suggests, it is the ultimate teaching that cuts through the other teachings to deliver the Buddha's final message. I have read several versions and I have to say that Bill Porter's translation is first rate. It has a sense of poetry about it and parts are so beautiful that i found them quite moving.
Having said that, it is really his interpretation of the meaning that makes this book stand out. Each chapter builds on the last, showing how the Buddha's most senior disciple (the likeable Subhuti) grasped some but not all of the teaching, and how the Buddha helped him to make the final leap in understanding. Bill Porter makes sense of the repetitions and contradictions and left at least one reader feeling a little more enlightened by the end.
If you share my fascination for the early works of Chinese Zen then I would recommend all of Bill Porter's (Red Pine's) work on the subject.
on 8 January 2011
Having read the previous translation of this book (sorry I don't remember the translator now) reading this version is like breathing fresh air. It is light, fluid and invigorating. I can't express enough my gratitude to Red Pine. Absolutely brilliant job, a masterpiece, he must have spent thousands of hours comparing different editions of Diamond Sutra and making sure he finds the right words to translate it into English. It's not just words, or, rather, not words at all that he managed to pass onto a reader, but the essence and the spirit of this timeless Sutra, it is being felt totally alive.
For obvious reasons I can not comment on Sutra itself, and quite possibly when I can comment, it will be the last thing on my mind (or what's left of it anyway) :)
Million thanks again (or as many as there are grains of sand in the great river of the Ganges) to Red Pine for his selfless efforts.