Paramārtha (translator)

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Paramārtha (C. Zhendi; J. Shindai; K. Chinje 真諦) (499-569 CE) was an Indian monk from Ujjain in central India, who is best known for his prolific Chinese translations of Buddhist texts during the Six Dynasties era.[1][2]

He is known as one of the four great translators in Chinese Buddhist history (along with Kumārajīva and Xuanzang).[3] He is also known for the various oral commentaries he gave on his translations which were written down by his disciples (and now only survive in fragmentary form).[1]

Some of Paramārtha's influential translations include Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośa, Asaṅga’s Mahāyānasaṃgraha, and Dignāga's Ālambanaparīkṣā & Hastavālaprakaraṇa.[1][4]

Paramārtha is also associated with various works on Buddha-nature that became extremely influential in Chinese Buddhism. These include the Treatise on Buddha Nature (Foxing lun 佛性論) and the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Dasheng qi xin lun 大乘起信論), a key work for Huayan and Chan Buddhism.[1][2] However, modern scholars have expressed doubts about the attribution of the Awakening of Faith to Paramārtha (as well as numerous other texts).[2]

Further reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Toru Funayama. The work of Paramārtha: An example of Sino-Indian cross-cultural exchange. JIABS 31/1-2 (2008[2010]).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Keng Ching and Michael Radich. "Paramārtha." Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Volume II: Lives, edited by Jonathan A. Silk (editor-in chief), Richard Bowring, Vincent Eltschinger, and Michael Radich, 752-758. Leiden, Brill, 2019.
  3. King (1991), p. 21.
  4. King (1991), pp. 22-23.