The Dhammapada in Pavlo Ritter's Translation
The World of the Orient
Павло Ріттер та його переклад "Дгаммапади"
The Dhammapada (c. 3 rd century BCE) is one of the most famous texts of Pāli Buddhist canon and Buddhism in general. Its translation into the Western languages started from the middle of the 19 th century: D. J. Gogerly (1840), V. Fausbøll (1855), F. Max Müller (1870). During almost two hundred years of history of the translation more than fifty English translations of this book have appeared (there are also translations into more than thirty world languages), which in their turn have already
... come object of special scholarship in the modern Buddhology. This paper adds to the studies of the world history of the Dhammapada translation a page dedicated to its first Ukrainian translation made by the famous Ukrainian scholar and one of the founders of Ukrainian Indology Pavlo Ritter (1872-1939) who has translated 44 of its 423 verses. In this study, the first publication by Ritter of three verses from the Dhammapada (No. 14, No. 60 and No. 173) in his entry the "Dhammapada" in The Granat Encyclopedic Dictionary (1913) in Russian language are compared with their Ukrainian versions in the book Voices of the Ancient India: Anthology of ancient Indian literature (1982). Special attention is paid to the verse No. 173, Ukrainian and Russian semantic translations of which are different. Also the comparative analysis of a group of five verses (188)(189)(190)(191)(192)) in Ritter's translation and translations by F. Max Müller and V. Toporov is done, along with their comparison with the Pāli original text. This excerpt deals with the term dukkha ("suffering") and demonstrates the importance of understanding of the philosophical problematics of Buddhism for an adequate translation of a Buddhist text, not necessarily being a systematical doctrinal treatise. The Dhammapada verses are the largest excerpt of a Buddhist text among those translated by Ritter (he has translated excerpts from the six Pāli texts -mostly from the Sutta-piṭaka, one text from Vinaya-piṭaka, only the Abhidhamma-piṭaka treatises are not represented in the anthology). It should be also noted that by the date of creation the Ritter's translation (the first verses were published already in 1913) was considerably ahead of the first Russian translation of the Dhammapada by V. Toporov (1960) and could have been published a long before it, if Ritter had not become victim of the Soviet terror.