Autumn 2003 / Leading Edge
Lost in Translation

Study brings together Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism


Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism have traditionally been treated as separate entities by Western scholars. But according to Henry Shiu, a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Study of Religion, they grew out of the same original teachings.

Shiu has studied two Chinese and two Tibetan translations of a sutra – scripture believed to be a historical record of the Buddha’s teachings – written in the 8th or 9th century in the Sino-Tibetan border region. Called the Dhyanna of Entering into Non-Conceptuality, the sutra expresses the importance of seeing things not as they seem but as they really are.

“This study is important to scholars because it tries to bring together Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism,” says Shiu. “Traditionally in Western studies these two disciplines have been treated as completely separate areas of research, but I think it’s important to see their common ground. I hope to show their many similarities and how these two schools have been interpreted differently throughout the ages.”


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