Suggestions On Translations


'[It] would be difficult to find anything as remote<br /> from the interests of the present day as the contents of this site. This in itself may recommend it to..those for whom it is intended.'

[It] would be difficult to find anything as remote from the interests of the present day as the contents of [the Sūtra].

This in itself may recommend it to…those for whom it is intended.


A life dedicated to translating the Prajñā Pāramitha. Descendent in the high tradition of Kumārajīva [334-413 CE] and Xuanzang [602-664 CE].

Some suggestions on Authors and Translations:

The Rig Veda is solemn invocation meant for performance at ritual sacrifice. Upaniṣad mystical poetry in which teachings can be gleamed. Sūtra is fiercely focused, if cryptic, teaching. They each yield very differently to interpretation and translation.

All the principal Upaniṣads, including some very bad interpretations and shoddy translations, are available on the Net. I prefer Dr. Radhakrishnan and Swami Nikhilananda.

The latter, as a teacher of the Vedanthic School, repeatedly uses the interpreted English ‘Supreme Self’ for where the original word in the Upaniṣad is simply Tát or Brahman. Unless you are alert to the interpreted nature of the translated terms you may take off at a wild tangent to their intended meaning.

For the Diamond Sūtra. I have excerpted from the A.F.Price and Wong Mou-Lam translation from the Chinese [1947]:

Dr. Edward Conze’s labor draws heavily on Haribhadra’s Abhisamayalankaraloka, Nagarjuna’s Commentaries and others. His translation is from the Sanskrit [1988]:

There are numerous other, but these verses are difficult to accurately translate. I suggest staying with the above two. 

For the Heart Sūtra, go with the: Nalanda Translation Committee. from the Tibetan [1975]:

For the Brahma Sūtras, again Dr. Radhakrishnan. As for the Bhagavad Gita, Winthrop Sargeant’s rendering on the Net is precise; for the poetic, Barbara Stoler Miller or Prabhavananda-Isherwood.

I have just bought myself Dr. R.L. Kashyap’s new 12-Volume translation of the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is a ritualistic text. What that means is that many of the words as Mantric terms are set for proper rendition, not for meaning and comprehension. Since this itself is likely to be incomprehensible to a modern reader, I don’t advise toiling through the verses.