Saturday, 25 September 2010

A new semester begins...

The summer is over and I return to work towards the completion of my thesis. Over the summer I've done a number of things:

  1. re-read the Chinese text and my translation.
  2. made corrections/amendments based upon information obtained from Karashima's glossary.
  3. resolved ambiguities in the reading of the text.
  4. resolved a number of topics which were unclear including 12 ascetic practices. the rishi, the division of the bodhisattva path.
  5. completed a chapter-by-chapter summary of the text.
  6. examined the text for key questions which underpin the specific development of the narrative of the text
  7. explored the topic of threshold experiences between altered states of consciousness.
  8. read-up how research in such altered states contribute to our understanding of prehistoric culture
  9. broadened the examination for evidence that might indicate how the Mara mytheme has origins in proto-indo-european culture. The evidence for this relies heavily upon comparative phonology, mythology and reconstructed phonology. This cannot rely upon Jungian ideas of the Archetype as, in general, the mythologies he considered are closely related.
  10. reviewed Maleksara's view of the nature of Mara, metaphor vs psychological reality.
  11. found an interesting reference to a parallel to Mara, but not developed in Jaina commentaries.
  12. began to structure the list questions into a chapter
  13. reflecting on how the prototype descriptions of the bodhisattva path can be contribute to the discussion of the text.
  14. exploring the notion that the traditional etymology of the word Mara be reconsidered in the light of comparative linguistics and mythologies which describe of evil spirits approaching during sleep. The significant issue here is that the English word 'mare' denotes such a dream-spirit and in the earliest texts that contribute to the current Mara mythplex typically denotes and approach at the sleep threshold. (ie during night, raining and victim in a possible semi-samadhi/sleep condition.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Chapter 30 Finished!

Today is a good day. It means that after all these years a full review of my working translation has been completed! This means that I can put the text aside for now and work solidly on my thesis. I can tell that some of the terms used need reviewing in the light of Karashima's glossary but this does not alter the narrative rendering. Unlike Karashima whose work is largely philological in that it he largely seeks to match Chinese words with Indic counterparts and lists word usage which might be considered representative of the period in which the Daoxing was produced. He is not concerned with the narrative content. I've sought to produce a working English rendering of a Chinese text, not a deconstruction and in the hope of reconstructing a lost Indic original. The future revisions that I would look at modifying are those relating to binomes, ie. two ideas placed together to create a new, third notion, eg 看见 would ordinarily be translated as 'have seen', whereas I would have reduced this to 'look and saw'.

I've also had a dabble at the formatting of the TOC and, at long last, can see how the formatting options are set for the content styles.

Other issues today, include recieving an Email from Chuck Muller, the maintainer of the DDBT, for clarification of some propsed entries. Also, the PDF of my translation crashed PDFStudio and makes Acrobat think twice returning an error on what I now believe to be some of the highlighting or comments that I've created. I'll remove the highlights and lets see what happens!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Chapter 30, penultimate page!!

Just at the bottom of the penultimate page and my mental juices are drying up. I'll call it quits for the day and start again early tomorrow. I can tell when the day's peak has been crossed, the meaning of even the simple phrases seems just out of arms length!