Buddhabhadra

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English Phonetics Buddhabhadra
Sort Name Buddhabhadra
Chinese Transliteration Fotuobatuoluo
Japanese Transliteration Butsudabatsudara
Korean Transliteration Pult'abaltara
Dates
Birth:   359
Death:   429
Place of birth:   North India


Tibetan calendar dates

About

Biographical information

Buddhabhadra (佛馱跋陀羅, 359–429) means enlightenment worthy. Born in northern India, he was a descendent of King Amṛtodana, who was the youngest of the three uncles of Śākyamuni Buddha (circa 563–483 BCE). He renounced family life at age seventeen and became a monk. Studying hard, he mastered meditation and the Vinaya.

In 408, the tenth year of the Hongshi (弘始) years of the Later Qin Dynasty (後秦 or 姚秦, 384–417), one of the Sixteen Kingdoms (304–439), he went to its capital, Chang-an. The illustrious translator Kumārajīva (鳩摩羅什, 344–413) had arrived there in 401. However, Buddhabhadra did not like Kumārajīva’s students. Together with his own forty-some students, he went to the Lu Mountain (廬山, in present-day Jiangxi Province) and stayed with Master Huiyuan (慧遠, 334–416), the first patriarch of the Pure Land School of China.

In 415, the eleventh year of the Yixi (義熙) years of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (東晉, 317–420), Buddhabhadra went south to its capital, Jiankong (建康), present-day Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. He stayed at the Daochang Temple (道場寺) and began his translation work. Altogether, he translated from Sanskrit into Chinese thirteen texts in 125 fascicles. For example, texts 376 and 1425 were translated jointly by him and Faxian (法顯, circa 337–422). Text 376 (T12n0376) in 6 fascicles is the earliest of the three Chinese versions of the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra; text 1425 (T22n1425) in 40 fascicles is the Chinese version of the Mahāsaṅghika Vinaya. Texts 278 and 666 were translated by him alone probably between years 418 and 421. Text 278 (T09n0278) is the 60-fascicle Chinese version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Buddhāvataṁsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra); text 666 (T16n0666) in one fascicle is the first of the two extant Chinese versions of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of the Tathāgata Store.

In 429, the sixth year of the Yuanjia (元嘉) years of the Liu Song Dynasty (劉宋, 420–79), Buddhabhadra died, at age seventy-one. People called him the Indian Meditation Master. He is one of the eighteen exalted ones of the Lu Mountain. (Source Accessed Aug 19, 2021)

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Buddha Nature Project
Person description or short bio
Important early translator of Indian Buddhist texts into Chinese, also known by the Chinese translation of his name, Juexian, or "Enlightened Sage" . . . According to the "Biographies of Eminent Monks" (Gaoseng Zhuan), Buddhabhadra was born in north India and joined the saṃgha after losing both his parents at an early age. Buddhabhadra studied various scriptures and was adept in both meditation and observing the precepts; he was also renowned for his thaumaturgic talents. At the behest of a Chinese monk named Zhiyan, Buddhabhadra traveled to China along the southern maritime route. Upon learning of the eminent Kuchean monk Kumārajīva's arrival in Chang'an, Buddhabhadra went to the capital in 406 to meet him. Due to a difference of opinion with Kumārajīva, however, Buddhabhadra left for Lushan, where he was welcomed by Lushan Huiyuan and installed as the meditation instructor in Huiyuan's community; Buddhabhadra came to be known as one of the eighteen worthies of Lushan. He devoted the rest of his career to translating such scriptures as the Damoduoluo Chan Jing, Guanfo sanmei hai jing, and Avataṃsakasūtra, to name just a few. Buddhabhadra also translated the Mahāsāṃghika vinaya with the assistance of Faxian and contributed significantly to the growth of Buddhist monasticism in China. (Source: "Buddhabhadra." In The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, 150. Princeton University Press, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n41q.27.)

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