Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

About This Project

Dharma Pearls is a long-term project to translate Chinese Buddhist texts to modern English that began in the late 1990s when I first began to learn about Buddhism as a practitioner. In those years, I taught myself classical Chinese to access the source texts directly, and I translated several smaller texts. In the years since, I've continued to study Chinese Buddhist translations as a lay scholar with the ultimate goal of launching a translation project.

In late 2018, I began work on updating my earlier translations of several Chinese Āgama sutras and contributed the revisions to Sutta Central. Editing soon led to translating new material, and I created a Wordpress blog in 2019 as a publishing platform. Realizing that Wordpress was unsuitable for creating the tools I had in mind, I decided in September 2019 to move the project to Github Pages, using Jekyll and Yaml-formatted data files to develop a "Reading Room" experience for readers and scholars with an interest in studying early Buddhist texts.

Currently Dharma Pearls is in its initial stages of development, and the translation work is focused on the Āgama and Avadāna sections of the Taisho canon.

The intended audience for these translations is both English and bilingual readers, students, and scholars interested in the source texts. To this end, an English reading guide, a Chinese-English glossary, and topic indices are planned to help readers navigate the language and concepts of the source material.

All translations, essays, web design, and images are the work of Charles Patton unless otherwise noted. You can make suggestions, ask questions, offer sponserships, or submit corrections by email or by opening an Issue at the Dharma Pearls Github repository.

Copyright protection is waived for non-profit use of English translations found on this site. See the copyright policy for more details.