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The Dharma Essentials for Cultivating Stopping(1) and Contemplation(2)
and Sitting in Dhyana
(Syou-syi Jr-gwan Dzwo-chan Fa-yao)

By the Swei Dynasty Shrama.na(3) Chih-i(4) of T'ien-t'ai Mountain's Dhyana Cultivation Monastery.

Translation by Dharmamitra (5) Transliterations: Yale; modified ASCII. (6)

End Notes

1. "Stopping" is a literal rendering of the author's "chih (3)" which in turn corresponds to the Sanskrit "shamatha." For followers of the J. Hopkins school of translation he renders it as "calm abiding." (back)

2. "Contemplation" renders the Chinese "gwan (1)" which corresponds to the Sanskrit "vipashyanaa" and the Pali "vipassanaa." The modern facsimile of this is the "Insight" meditation now so popular in the West. Master Chih-i's more exhaustive 20-fascicle exposition of the subject is preserved in the Taisho Tripitaka (T46.1911) The text translated here is the much more intellectually-accessible version preserved as T46.1916. (back)

3. A "Shrama.na" is a fully-ordained Buddhist monk. (back)

4. The great Tripitaka Master Chih-i (538-597ce) was the principal founder of the T'ien-t'ai School and a highly-realized meditation master. For his life, see Hurvitz, Leon. "Chih-i (538-597): An Introduction to the Life and Ideas of a Chinese Monk." Melanges Chinoises et Bouddhiques 12 (1962): 1-372. For a translation and discussion of a significant section from Chih-i's 20-fascicle exposition of the practice of Buddhist meditation, see Neal Donner and Daniel B. Stevenson's The Great Calming and Contemplation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993. (back)

5. Since I'm always finding ways to improve even my supposedly "final" translations, I've decided to indicate that fact by designating most of them as "beta". The intention is to indicate that, although the translation itself is relatively finalized, it is still subject to further annotation, editing and revision based on feedback or analysis of other editions of the source-language text. (Readers are invited to report "bugs" via the Kalavinka feedback form.) (back)

6. The Yale system is my default transliteration because it is the only system which, when read by the non-specialist, yields an approximately-accurate pronunciation. (For those who had not already become aware of it, you should know that both the Wade-Giles & Pinyin systems were obviously invented for the express purpose of making fools of non-specialists.) With the Yale transliteration, just pronounce it like it looks and you're as close as you'll ever get without taking a class. Wade-Giles is used here, but only for those personal and place names where it has become universally recognized, e.g. "Chih-i," "T'ien-t'ai Mountain." For Sanskrit and Pali, the standard ASCII system is used with the exception of "sh" being used for palatal "s" and an apostrophe being used to designate the velar "n.". In short: 1) Long vowels are doubled; 2) Diacritics precede: .r .t .th .d .dh 'n .n ~n .m .s .h; 3) Palatal "s" is "sh." (back)

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