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on 31 January 2010
The Diamond Sutra, along with The Heart Sutra (also available translated by Red Pine), are arguably the two most popular works of the Prajnaparamita group of Sutras. Indeed they are among the most popular Sutras within the Mahayana cannon as a whole.

I own a number of copies of the Diamond Sutra but this is my favourite. It is certainly the one I come back to the most. Red Pine, an award winning translator, always seems to take great care and give a good deal of thought to all his translations. I certainly value all the works of his that I own. I don't think that any translation of a text can be considered definitive but I think this one may come as close as any translation can.

Unlike most English translations of the Diamond Sutra, which are typically based on a single text, Red Pine has consulted a wide range of source texts. The texts consulted were the Sanskrit texts of Muller and Conze; two incomplete editions (the Stein and Gilgit editions); six Chinese translations and Tibetan and Khotanese translations. The result is an excellent rendering of the text. Included within the commentary is a comprehensive list of variant readings from the various sources used, for those who are interested. For those who are specifically after a translation of Kumarajiva's text, which is probably the most widely used single source for translations of the Diamond Sutra, I recommend Describing the Indescribable: A Commentary of the Diamond Sutra. Red Pine does, however, include Kumarajiva's variations, as this is one of the six Chinese translations consulted for this edition.

Not only do I like the translation of the core text but I find the introduction, extensive commentaries and glossary extremely helpful and interesting too. The commentary draws on the work of a number of Buddhist commentators on the Sutra, including Hui-neng (638-713), the sixth patriarch of Zen, who produced one of the most influential commentaries on the Diamond Sutra. In The Platform Sutra: The ZEN Teaching of Hui-Neng (Hui-neng's most well known work, which is also available in a fine translation by Red Pine), Hui-neng relates how it was upon first hearing this Sutra that he first left home and it was upon hearing this Sutra that he later became enlightened.

An excellent work. Thank you Red Pine.
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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.
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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.
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on 25 January 2015
Like all of Red Pines translations a great read, essential it this and his Heart Sutra essential reading
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on 24 October 2015
Probably the best English translation of The Diamond Sutra, I would recommend this version.
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on 27 February 2015
Great service and a good deal on a book I have wanted for some time
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on 4 July 2016
A great read, I gained a much better understanding of buddism.
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on 5 April 2015
Insightful read.
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