Buddhist Scriptures by Edward Conze. This anthology seeks to provide insights into Buddhism from a number of unusual angles. Free PDF. EDWARD CONZE was born in London in and educated in Germany. He gained .. The authors of the Buddhist Scriptures were in fact unwilling, or unable. Other books by Edward Conze: BUDDHISM BUDDHIST TEXTS through the Ages. In coll. with .. their own set of Scriptures, and that each of them can equally.
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Page 1 of Various. Buddhist Scriptures. Selected and Translated Edward Conze. London: Penguin Books, Siddhartha Gautama (arguably 5th century. A volume of key writings on the Buddha, collected from a variety of languages and traditions. While Buddhism has no central text comparable to the Bible or. Book Author: Conze, Edward Subject: Buddhism; Religious fundamentalism; Buddhism, Source URL: billpercompzulbe.ml
He had one daughter, with Dorothea. In Conze self-published two volumes of memoirs entitled Memoires of a Modern Gnostic. Conze had planned and probably written a third volume which contained material his lawyer considered too inflammatory or libelous to publish while the subjects were alive.
No copy of the third volume is known to exist. The Memoires are the principle biographical source for the life of Conze and reveal much about his personal life and attitudes.
Conze was very much an early 20th Century German bourgeoisie. He claimed that by twenty-four, he knew fourteen languages. This continues to receive attention, with his book The Principle of Contradiction being reprinted in All of these show the explicit influence of Suzuki's Theosophy infused Zen Buddhism. Sometimes Conze's elitist views are evident in his commentaries. Other means will assure their salvation.
Everything that is at all worth knowing is contained in the [Heart Sutra]. But it can be found there only if spiritual insight is married to intellectual ability, and coupled with a delighting in the use of the intellect.
Critical Views[ edit ] During his life time Conze was celebrated as a pioneering scholar of Buddhism and his books were widely read. However, over the years a more critical view has emerged.
Conze's translations have been identified as egregious examples of Buddhist Hybrid English by Paul Griffiths. Conze ever thought about his audience. Conze's translation bears only the most tenuous relationship to the English language in terms of syntax, and is full of unexplained technical terminology;"  In addition, Conze's editions of Sanskrit texts contain many mistakes.
Even when reading proofs I miss most of the misprints, because I automatically read, not what is there, but what ought to be there. Der Satz vom Widerspruch.
A great deal has been written about the effects this kind of punitive ascetic lifestyle can have on religious experiences. On top of this Conze was already firmly convinced of a matter-spirit dualism that would have dominated how he interpreted any interesting experiences that he might have had. Such strong convictions can only be confirmed in the mind of the believer. Conze does not say how long this period was, though it only takes about four weeks for the first symptoms of scurvy to appear.
No doubt the physical suffering caused by this lifestyle would have been difficult to bear; malnutrition causes extremely unpleasant symptoms. This view was popularised in Britain by Aldus Huxley and the Theosophists. Conze seems to have been a fervent believer in this view. At about the same time as the deterioration of his health due to malnutrition was making his retreat untenable, his first wife, Dorothea, asked him to move back in with her for the sake of their daughter.
So he moved to Oxford and was assigned a job in the Ministry of Agriculture. This led him back into the world of academia. Scholarship Living in Oxford, with an undemanding job, gave Conze time to study and access to research materials in the Bodleian and India Institute libraries.
He took Sanskrit lessons from Prof Burrow and met F. Thomas, with whom he collaborated on a translation of a Sanskrit Jain text. Academic connections led to further literary ventures and, after , to invitations to teach abroad, including in Germany. He has already admitted that he eschewed meditation after the disaster of his retreat in the New Forest. Conze was no monk. Lacking a permanent academic post, he made his living teaching evening classes in psychology and philosophy.
He might have had a position in the USA, but his past as a Communist prevented him from ever being more than a temporary visitor in that country. And even then immigration officials and his attitude towards them made travel these difficult for him. Conze produced some general books on Buddhism as well as editing and contributing to an anthology of Buddhist texts. This was at a time when books about Buddhism in English were still uncommon, and most of the books that did exist betrayed the misconceptions of the early European scholars.
As such the books were well received and two, Buddhist Scriptures and are Buddhism: Its Essence and Development, are still in print if only in cheap Indian editions. This was partially corrected by the appearance of more genuine books about Buddhism, but Conze was so influential that his views altered the narratives of Buddhism in the West.
Horner, and Lew Lancaster. For D. However, D. Suzuki is also a problematic figure.
As far as Conze was concerned the literature pointed to a perennial Truth beyond the comprehension of most people. It is the scripture of a spiritual elite of which, again, he believes himself to be a member. I also think Conze realised that this was a field in which he would never be inferior to anyone because there was no competition at the time.
How does one argue with a man who insists that logic and rationality play no part in the Truth? The crowds of scholars and Buddhists who knew no better simply went along with it and largely still do. In a number of cases, as with the Heart Sutra, this also involved editing the Sanskrit texts.
These now circulate as pdf files and despite their many flaws have not yet been superseded. Surprisingly little subsequent work has been done in this field since Conze. At least some of this reluctance must be because Conze made the subject seem unattractive to rationally minded students of Buddhism. Rather than creating a critical edition, Conze takes an unsystematically eclectic approach to the text. He does not list the differences between his witnesses exhaustively His work is unsystematic and directed toward confirming his idiosyncratic, Theosophy-inspired, anti-intellectual personal religion.
Even when reading proofs I miss most of the misprints, because I automatically read, not what is there, but what ought to be there. In the case of the Heart Sutra, his mistakes garbled two passages.
Curiously enough, so little scrutiny did his work receive that these mistakes went unnoticed for almost seventy years. Such was his mystique and the expectation of nonsense that he created. Note that reading what ought to be there, is exactly the method that I ascribed to Conze above.
I believe this unconscious bias operated on many levels. Conze pursued confirmation of his beliefs and found it. He does not rely on a single edition, but chops and changes, drawing first from this and then that source without any clear boundaries.
On the other hand, almost none of the research agenda he sets out in his introduction has been followed up. Again he did a lot of work himself, but only a handful of scholars continue his work.
As we will see this results in a whole other layer of confusion regards the Heart Sutra. Such issues will seldom surface for the average reader since they mainly read translations by popular religious figures. However, if there are problems with the source text, the translation is unlikely to be better.
Conze was a great mangler of the English language. With Conze, we must constantly be on the alert not just for awkward translations but also for erroneous translations. Being concerned as he is most of the time with absolute being, he tends to torture his translations so that they appear to share his obsession.
However, industry and enthusiasm in the absence of proper discipline or guiding principles simply run amok. Mysticism is not as sexy as it once was and the mainstream is focussed on the more rational aspects of Buddhism. This was subsequently revised in The edition makes reference to Chinese texts and includes some quoted Chinese characters. Since 11 Conze makes it clear in the Memoires that he did not speak or read Chinese, he ought to have credited the person who helped him with the Chinese.
Between and Conze published a series of articles in The Middle Way. A second edition appeared in The Sanskrit edition of the Heart Sutra that Conze published contained a number of simple grammatical errors Attwood , b. And where were his critics for 70 years?
I feel obliged to ask why not, but hesitant to supply answers because I fear there is no excuse. However, the passage begins with the last few lines of the paragraph that supposedly outlines the second truth samudaya and ends halfway through the section on the third truth nirodha. So at best the reference is partial. The text is shoehorned into the traditional categories, obscuring what it is actually talking about.
And Conze does much the same thing. Interestingly, this is the most prominent feature of all the commentaries on the Heart Sutra since they first were recorded in the late 7th Century. Take this observation with the one about the unnoticed errors and we find a systematic picture of commentators telling us what the text means with almost no reference whatever to the text.
To top it all, the Heart Sutra also appears to say that there are no four noble truths. In fact, there is no reference in the Heart Sutra to words that positively connote the Abhidharma. It is simply a coincidence that they both employ common categories that predate the Abhidharma. Other means will assure their salvation. Everything that is at all worth knowing is contained in the [Heart Sutra]. But it can be found there only if spiritual insight is married to intellectual ability, and coupled with a delighting in the use of the intellect.
We already know that Conze sees himself as amongst the elect and has a touch of messianic delusion. This is not the work of a great scholar. However, he has been dead long enough that we can see his life and his contributions in perspective. He was certainly prolific, but his work, like the man himself, was deeply flawed and full of contradictions.
No one looks to him as a model scholar any longer. In perspective, Conze cuts a lonely figure. He believed himself to have been sent to soften the Hearts of barbarians, but this messiah could not love the people he was ostensibly sent to save. And with disgust rather than compassion. Indeed, he could never wholly get along with another person. A more tragic epitaph for a Buddhist Messiah can hardly be imagined.
The man that supposedly sees the world too clearly and cannot make their peace with what they see. On the other hand, Conze also seems to have worked well with certain colleagues who shared his privileged social background.
He adored Suzuki and names many other men his friends. The Memoires is addressed directly to Jan de Jong as a friend. Above all, Edward Conze was a bourgeois Romantic. He had the bourgeois sense of heroic and even messianic destiny and entitlement which, in fact, he shared with the Nazis.
He hated modernity and fantasised about an idealised pre-industrial past when the elite were truly elite and the peasants were illiterate and happy. He had the Romantic distrust of his senses and of intellect, logic, and rationality; preferring intuition, astrology, and mysticism. He was obsessed with perfection and transcendence and, at the same time, loudly contemptuous of imperfection and inferiority. Put another way, while preaching non-duality, Conze had all the characteristic prejudices of someone who accepts a profound matter-spirit duality as described in my essay Metaphors and Materialism.
And yet, his reputation for greatness persists in Buddhist circles. Just as no one ever seems to really read the Heart Sutra, no one ever seems to really read what Conze wrote about himself.
We might want to think about why the establishment have been so willing to overlook his faults, both confessed and apparent. Having read his Memoires in detail again, and having cleaned up the mess he made of the Heart Sutra, I find myself unwilling to participate in the beatification of Edward Conze.
Second edition Further Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays.
Oxford, Bruno Cassirer —— Memoires of a Modern Gnostic. Parts I and II. Privately Published. Forsyth, Mark. The Etymologicon. Icon Books. Harrison, Paul. Hermes Publishing, Oslo, p.