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《中华传统文化的三个根:汉英对照》 深度阅读
[ 作者: 佚名 ]
PREFACE
During the education process, we must pay attention to foundation. Chinese traditional culture is mainly composed of the three schools of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, uncovering the mysteries of life in the universe. The three schools, with their own distinctive features, blend perfectly with one another. Confucianism is focused on interpersonal relationship; Taoism on the relationship between man and nature, and Buddhism on that of mind and disposition in synchrony with the universal truths. By implementing the ideas of these classics, the ancestors of the Chinese nation have developed their younger generations into many experts and scholars, creating one of the great civilizations in history.
The Confucian textbook, The Principles for Youngsters, The Buddha’s Discourse on Natural Principles for the Ten Good Ways of Acting, and the Taoist textbook, Mentally-induced Responses according to Tai Shang, considered together are the cornerstones of traditional Chinese culture. They can bring about true and ever-lasting harmony, stability, prosperity and happiness for humanity. But the traditional classics have been almost completely deserted for nearly one hundred years. That is the fundamental reason for my translation of the three books.
Since the early 1980s, China has been hit by a craze for learning English and the age of the students learning English has been gradually reduced, but the education of traditional Chinese culture has been ignored. As a college English teacher, I have been learning English from age thirteen, completely ignorant of the traditional culture of our country. I am really ashamed of that! Fortunately, I had a chance to hear a series of lectures by Professor Shi Jingkong, entitled "Harmony Saves the Crisis”. Like a beacon to me, these lectures me give me directions for learning. So I began to attend lectures on traditional Chinese culture, realizing the urgency of enhancing my cultural attainments as an English teacher. After all, it is a primary duty for English-major teachers and students to spread excellent Chinese culture to the world at the same time that we learn from foreign countries so as to serve the motherland. Hearteningly, more and more people in the world have begun to appreciate the excellent ideas in Chinese culture that urge “harmony”. In January 1988, seventy-five Nobel Prize winners gathered in Paris and made a shocking declaration: “If humanity is to survive in the 21st century, we must learn from the wisdom of Confucius 2500 years ago.” Another example – from this ancient Chinese sage – can be found on the wall in the hall of the United Nations, the motto, “Imposing nothing you don’t want done to yourself on others”. These recognitions are testimony to the strong vitality of the profundities of Chinese culture for the contemporary civilized world.
One of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, Bertrand Russell, said: "The Chinese discovered and have practiced a way of life for a number of centuries. If it can be accepted around the world, the world will be happy. Actually, holy scriptures that educate people about the ethical life contain everlastingly new, timeless truth”.
Anticipatively, we can share our happiness in learning these classics with people all over the world. In the present translation, different strategies have been adopted: domestication or foreignization, brief explanation, generalization or specification, and stylization, etc. However, this translation is not necessarily or only academic translation. It is intended to have universal relevance, focusing on readability and popularization. Also for the purposes of simplicity, personal pronouns representing both male and female are represented by “he.” In addition, versions on the internet were consulted for reference.
During the creation of the book, experts and scholars and friends helped me in many ways. My particular thanks go to Professor Shi Jingkong for his support, which allowed me to be more confident in understanding the original. Equally, I’d like to give my sincere thanks to Dr. Jonathan Kaplan who was generous enough to comment in detail on each version, and to my teacher Prof. Cui Yonglu, my friends Prof. Dai Xianmei and Prof. Bian Jianhua for their help and encouragement. Finally I need to thank leaders and colleagues in the Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology and Mr. Xue Qian and other professional staffers of World Affairs Press, who, in their own different ways, have made this book possible. There are many more without whose support this book would not have been published, in particular, my family members and my students. To all of them, named or not, I offer my thanks, and acknowledge their good ideas.
Despite their assistance, the book must have many mistakes or misunderstandings owing to the limited knowledge of the translator. Any criticisms or suggestions are welcome. I would be most appreciative if you would bring them to my attention. Please email me at heyaqin66@gmail.com.
Finally, best wishes for every reader of the book: I hope that you can lead a harmonious life with good health and happiness. Let’s unite our efforts to create a harmonious world.
 
POSTSCRIPT
As the extraordinary pace of change almost everywhere on the planet picks up we are sharing more and more of ourselves and our cultures. In today’s world, for all of us but particularly, perhaps, for the young of the new generation, both the opportunities and the need for cross-cultural understanding have never been higher. Accurate translations of written texts from one culture and language to another, particularly for those texts central to those cultures, offer the greatest possibilities for improved understanding as the world enters ever more critical times.
The translator of these texts, He Yaqin, a university professor and a Buddhist, says her goal is to make available to her students a “guide for life”; her wish, also, is that whoever reads this volume will gain greater self-understanding as they pass through life on what Buddhists call the wheel of existence.
Undertaking this and leaving that,
Enter into the teaching of the Buddha.
Like an elephant in a thatch house,
Destroy the forces of the Lord of Death.
Those who with thorough conscientiousness
Practice this disciplinary doctrine
Will forsake the wheel of birth,
Bringing suffering to an end.[1]
Can there be any greater hope in life than the alleviation of suffering and the “destruction” of death?
 
Lost in Translation?[2]
To achieve success in her task the translator must be sensitive to broad themes but also to closer detail in the original as well as the target language. She must also be sympathetic at both ends of the translation process – to the intended meaning of the original, but also to making accessible that meaning for gainful understanding in the second language. If the texts to be translated are the traditional and essential statements from a cultural heritage and world-view, distilling reflections on eschatology and the nature and purpose of existence the translator must, finally, be a just inquisitor into the most profound existential matters, the purpose of life and the best way to live it.
Formal translations from one language to another have been undertaken for thousands of years. In the Information Age, translations of all sorts are so commonplace that machine renderings on the internet are relied on by millions of people in countries all over the world. These “robo-“ versions inevitably need a human to upgrade even the simplest content from literal or word-for-word rendering only.[3] It is extremely difficult to imagine satisfactory machine translation of the great texts of literature, philosophy and religion even as such efforts with or without the aid of computers will continue to be one of the most challenging tasks we can undertake.
Because of lexical and syntactical similarities, translation from and to English and some other Indoeuropean languages, such as the Romance languages, is relatively easy. More difficult is another IE language, Sanskrit, the language of the Buddha and his followers and interpreters in ancient India. Translation of Sanskrit to English is difficult in part because of Sanskrit’s ability to form very large noun and adjective compounds, the effect of which can be to present to the reader’s mind a simultaneity of complex detail both of thing and action which English cannot reproduce.
There are three general criteria, plus an intangible, that must be met for adequacy in any translation in order to ensure basic fidelity both to the form and spirit of the original. These are accuracy at 1) the lexicogrammatic (word and syntax) level, 2) the stylistic (authorial or “foregrounding”[4]) level, and 3) the conceptual level. The intangible refers not only to the ideas in the original text but also to what is signified at the discourse level – the meaning of the text, in whole but contained also in the part, including what is pre-reflexively assumed or given to the reader and the indirectly contextual that permits the native speaker more or less instantly to appreciate intended meanings not explicit in the text.
 
If, generally speaking, Indoeuropean languages like English are relatively easily translated among themselves, what about translating Chinese, a Sino-Tibetan language, into English – a task which must first negotiate purely linguistic differences not just between two languages but between two language families and two completely different worldviews? Oddly similar to Sanskrit, because of the deceptive brevity of Chinese words, deceptive because of the comparatively very complex grammar and meanings, translation of Chinese to English also is very difficult. Let’s consider the three criteria as they pertain to Chinese-English translation.
1) On thelexicogrammatic level differences are both structural and semantic. “Word” may be defined as the smallest semantic unit of a language that cannot be divided further without losing its (commonly assumed) meaning; the  “sentence,” with its requirement of subject and predicate, is “the smallest unit expressing a complete thought.”[5] Translation into English of Chinese texts must address the fact that the Chinese character is quite different in form from the English word; it can represent syllables and words as well as morphemes. Hànzì charactersare called logosyllabic and morphophonemic – terms essentially for scripts whose individual characters can represent sounds as well as morphemes and words.[6] Grammatical and syntactical differences between Chinese and English – for example, in the former, lack of verbal tense-marking and of number as a category in word classes or parts of speech must also be considered, as they can multiply meanings in more indirect ways. Given the great differences between the two writing systems, can English words and syntax capture the intended meaning of Chinese?
2)  “Style” refers to “the way” a writer writes; it distinguishes both the writer and the writing by displaying the author’s personality and “voice” or originality of expression as shown by its aesthetic or formal characteristics. In literary or religious texts, style performs at the level of the word but also on other levels of meaning. How far can a translation stray from word-for-word translation in order to mimic the sense or style of the original and remain true to the ideas? Linguists also refer to the “logical meaning” as opposed to the “grammatical meaning” of sentences; extending “grammatical” to style we can ask, if the “logical” meaning of the thought is accurate can the style be dismissed? Professor He confided that she faced the question, for example, of how best to convey the imperative mood of some sentences in sections of the texts in making her ultimate translation decisions. She also admitted to the greater, general challenge of capturing, as she put it, the “pattern” of the sentences, by which she means the style or the figural devices of sound and meaning – for example, double or multiple meanings, which are found in the texts translated here.
3) For the conceptual level, as mentioned, just as one can ask if content can be separated from form, can the “musical” qualities of the sentences, for example, be unimportant? It seems dubious to argue that, so long as the original conceptual meanings of a religious text are conveyed in the translation, the other two levels are unimportant. But can valid English equivalents be found for Chinese concepts, expressed at the level of the word, the phrase, the sentence, and the discourse within its social and historical context? Further, beyond consideration of this question, the intangible – the deep or instinctive cultural and historical[7] familiarity – many would argue is of equal importance.
Another way of considering the three criteria is that of linguist Tian Chuanmao. In a paper sourced online[8] Tian points out that in common everyday speech and writing the differences between Chinese and English include those of word and sentence order, ellipsis, lexical gap and word association. “Lexical gap,” which refers to the fact that some words and concepts are unique in one language or culture and absent in some/all other languages or cultures, perhaps is one of the more important problems to resolve in translation to English of ancient Chinese texts. With regard to sound and form, “Chinese and English have a totally different system in spelling and pronunciation.”
If any meaning is contained or an important feature is presented in the source language sound or form, it is almost impossible to preserve it in the target language. Sound and form assume a special significance in such things as poetry, advertising language and figures of speech.
One infers that this is much more a problem going the other way in translation, that is, English to Chinese, because what Tian calls the “formal flexibility” of Chinese is not found in English. Chinese is said to be paratactic, English hypotactic – rhyme, meter and alliteration in English cannot practically be rendered in Chinese; this is a problem in varying degree in almost any translation. With regard to how, as many scholars have observed, Chinese is implicit whereas English is explicit (number, subject, tense, etc.) Tian asserts a perceptual and epistemological divide between the Chinese and English minds:
Chinese people observe things separately. Therefore, in their utterances ideas are arranged together according to the order of physical or mental time. They seem equally important; the relation among them is not clear because no connective is used between them. When English-speaking people observe things, they can always find out the most important thing and place that thing in the main clause of a sentence as the information focus in their speech or writing. Other things will be stated in dependent clauses or various kinds of phrases.
In addition,
…[i]n narrating, Chinese speakers mention things from the past to the present while English speakers follow the opposite line. In logical reasoning, Chinese speakers put reasons or evidence before the result or conclusion, but English speakers do it the other way round.
Added to the three criteria mentioned above and to Tian’s considerations, the hermeneutical[9] challenges of translation are great. The burden of the task is unbiased understanding of the cultural production. This requires painstakingly lifting off from the palimpsest the different interpretations over time laid onto great texts. It also requires taking into account the proportionate weighting of the effects of composition at different times and places of parts of what has come to be considered a whole. Having said this, it may well be that by comparison with Christianity in the west the stability or the continuum of Chinese tradition has improved the understanding of the ancient texts by monks, scholars, students and interested commentators – a refinement of the interpretations and yet, by continual re-check, a cycling back to the first expressions.
 
Chinese Sacred Writings
We don’t know precisely how long China’s sacred texts existed in oral form before they were written down. Confucius’ Analects (compiled from his teachings) and his Five Classics (usually attributed to him) date to the late 6th and early 5th centuries BCE and are the earliest in written form of the three masters of ancient Chinese thought. Lao Zi is thought to have been roughly contemporary with Confucius. Written on bamboo tablets, the oldest known text of what is known as the Tao Te Ching dates to the late 4th century BCE. Buddha lived roughly contemporaneously with Confucius and Lao Zi. Buddhism reached China from India on the Silk Road, a great conduit not only of commerce but of ideas, sometime during a four- hundred year span, from c. 200 BCE to 200 CE, during the Late Han Dynasty.
In China, the teachings of these three masters have passed down, generation to generation, dynasty to dynasty, for roughly two millennia or more. They and the traditions surrounding them form the great core of China’s traditional thought. Even since the 1949 revolution – and, in various ways, encouraged officially since the Cultural Revolution – Confucius’ emphasis on social harmony remains a fundamental value among the Chinese people. Mahāyāna Buddhism has reestablished itself in China where most of its adherents now live. As for Lao Zi, a Chinese colleague informed me that, “underneath, every Chinese person is a Taoist,” and belief in gong qi continues to be a distinct focus of practice in the cities and the countryside.
If translations of the ancient texts of China have been made for two millennia or more, the obvious risks have always remained that the translations do not faithfully convey the original, intended meanings. One consideration is the great time distance between the first written versions of the texts and the present (2500 years for Confucius, 2400 years for Laozi, and c. 2000 years for the Buddhist texts in China). For translations into English the east-west cultural divide is perhaps at its most extreme because of the contextual and holistic differences between eastern and western civilization.
 
This Book
In the present case Professor He has selected the most appropriate passages from the three essential collections of ancient Chinese thought – Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism – and translated them into lucid, supple English. She emphasizes that “[these] three books are the root of the roots of Chinese traditional cultures,” and she urges, “let us learn from what really works in self-cultivation.”
The three books I have translated are very practical in that they teach people how to behave and how to cultivate themselves psychologically in order to be guided to a happier life in harmony with the life around them. The teachings are the virtues of our pure and good self-nature. Many scholars of both the east and the west, such as Toynbee, also realized that traditional Chinese culture as it is based in loving kindness is, indeed, the root of universal harmony, and a treasure full of wisdom to be shared among all civilizations. When we put them into practice, any problem relating to an individual and any problem relating to our world and universe can be resolved effectively and completely.
For those who know English but not Chinese, enormous thanks are due her for making available a new rendering of these priceless and essential parts of Chinese heritage. For those who are bilingual the benefits also are great because of the lesson it reiterates that bridges can be built between people of quite different languages, cultures and histories so that, in this instance, different paths in life may be offered the wayfarer in life.
What the selections she has chosen have in common is their explicit attention to people struggling to find how best to live their lives and to how they can gain the richest nonmaterial rewards in life. The three texts are Confucius’ “Principles for Youngsters,” Lao Zi’s “Mentally-Induced Responses,” and Buddha’s “Discourse on Natural Principles for the Ten Good Ways of Acting.” When I asked how she made her selection, she replied that they were chosen on the basis of lectures given by Venerable Master Chin Kung, whose teachings inspired her to undertake the translation. She describes these three texts as constituting the heart of Chinese traditional culture. She calls them the roots of the “flowers” of the Three-Character Canon, the Tao Te Ching, and the Analects of Confucius, in which, as she puts it, “some scholars are usually only interested academically,” but not as the deeply spiritual guides to life she sees them being.
Of course, there have been other English translations attempted of China's ancient texts; she read them and remedied the "sentence pattern" failures she found in these other efforts. Her versions are the product of long and careful reflection on both the meanings of the texts and on the best English wording to convey those meanings. No small feat, her translation renders the subtlety of the texts, yet retains the distilled simplicity of the original wording of the ideas and admonitions.
Professor He also explained to me, “The principle behind what I am doing is that of equality: that all living entities are equal. No matter where we are from, east or west, no matter what species we are, human or non-human, we are obliged to share with others something really good, to share our labor in overcoming difficulties, and to appreciate and cherish our common motherland, the earth.”
She described her own awakening:
My belief began right after my father’s death, which made me feel terrible. It was one lecture given by a Master of a temple that shed light on me and made me enlightened. I began to go to more lectures on Buddhism and found myself becoming happier and happier, also healthier and healthier. I am of the belief that after many such cycles, if a person releases his attachment to desire and the self, he can attain Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering. So I decided to develop my mind as the Master said, in the expectation that wisdom will emerge if my mind is pure and calm. In the morning and at night before sleep, I go through the ritual, in which I chant the name of Buddha or pray to Buddha, aiming to get his help in developing my mind and cultivating myself. This is also the opportunity for me to remind myself of what I should do today and reflect at night on what I did in the day.
One concludes that a central motivation behind this book is her hope as a Buddhist to earn from good works a maturing of her own spirit and thus to move further toward freeing herself from the wheel of existence.
 
The Timeliness of This Book
The social, political, ethical and spiritual challenges to us and our planet have never been greater than they are today. Today, with ever-greater urgency, young people are asking themselves how best to live their lives. What is the meaning and purpose of life? How can we humans live in a compassionate way with the earth’s other living beings and as part of a healthy, diverse whole?
 In addition to what these texts tell us about how to live with each other in human society, we can learn, also, how to conduct ourselves to preserve the environment that we humans prefer or need in order to survive, so crucial now when the environment and other life forms are threatened by human-caused global environmental change.
Most if not all of the activities to feed our own rapacious consumption of the earth’s resources come into conflict with one another because of the fundamental struggle at their core – an uncontrolled attack on nature which ignores the fact that we humans are a part of nature. Whatever role in history anthropocentric creeds may have played, they are increasingly being found to fall far short of what is needed for us, and other life, to survive. Genesis 1:26 declares: “…God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Compare these words with Laozi’s (p.51): “Treat all living creatures out of disinterested benevolence…cherish all living creatures, among which even small insects or grasses and trees are not to be hurt”.[10]Thoughtless interpretations of  Christian and other western texts that justify humankind as exceptional to the rest of nature are wreaking such destruction that all life is threatened, or now perishing. The ill effects seen since the industrial revolution in the west have greatly accelerated even in the last decades such that we are seeing now a great wastage as entire subcontinents are homogenized of diversity and from which resources are extracted non-renewably for use only in the downward spiral of mass profit and consumption.
If the times were not what they are, other challenges, of course, are the eternal ones: death, personal suffering, indifference to cruelty, and other moral and ethical failures. How can we constructively identify and associate ourselves with the life-force within an unending flowering of diverse forms?
I urge everyone who picks up this deceptively unpretentious book to reflect on what it has to say. These age-old thoughts from ancient China have perhaps never been more timely – for, in our day and age of lightning change, global anxiety and doubt, and seemingly greater and greater scales of suffering, the need for answers to the questions, Why are we alive? How should we live? has never been more urgent.
For the help she gives her students, and gives to all of us, this rendering of central statements from China’s deep past, just as surely as it must be considered one of He Yaqin’s “good works” which will yield her positive karma and hasten the reward of her own enlightenment, may hasten the same for the readers of this book.
Jonathan Kaplan,Ph.D.
 2014.01.16
 
后 记
 
今日世界日新月异,不同文化与不同地区之间的交流日益频繁。我们大家,尤其是年轻一代,对异文化的好奇心和文化交流的兴趣空前高涨。随着全球局势变得日益严峻,翻译,尤其是精准地翻译极具文化核心价值的经典为促进不同文化间的交流与理解提供了绝好的机遇。
何亚琴,该书的译者,是一位大学教师和佛教徒,她说她的目标是让学生获得一种“人生指南”;她还有一个愿望,那就是凡阅读此书之人都能在经历佛家所谓六道轮回的过程中有所觉悟。
汝当求出离,得此佛说教,以恒坚实志,奉行此法规,如象推草竂,摧破死主力,当舍生死轮,灭苦尽无余。[11]
难道世界上还有比离苦得乐和了脱生死更大的人生愿望吗?
翻译中的缺失?[12]
要做好翻译工作,译者必须对源语言的广泛主题和细枝末节有敏感体察,对目标语言也同样体会到位。她还需留意翻译过程的两个要素——源语言的欲达之意和目标语言的表述之意。如果待译的原文是蕴含文化传承和世界观的重要经典,是经深思熟虑后对来世、对存在的目的与本质的精炼表达,那么,译者最终就不得不成为一个不折不扣的探寻者,探寻最为深奥的有关人生是什么、为什么、怎么样的问题。
语言间规范的翻译实践已有上千年的历史。信息化时代,各种各样的翻译司空见惯,世界各地数以百万计的人们都在依赖互联网的机器翻译。这些“机器人译本”,哪怕只是最简单的直译或字对字的翻译都必须经由人工优化。[13]很难想象机器能令人满意地翻译出伟大的文学、哲学和宗教作品,因此不论是否有计算机的辅助,经典作品的翻译工作都将会是我们要承担的最具挑战性的一项任务。
英语和其他印欧语言(例如,罗曼语族的语言)在词汇和句法方面有许多相似性,因此这些语言之间的互译相对较为容易。但是如果将另一种印欧语言,梵语,也就是佛陀及其徒众和阐释者在古印度使用的语言翻译成英语就会难得多,这在一定程度上是因为梵语有数量庞大的名词-形容词构成的复合词,这会导致在读者的头脑中可能呈现出一种事物与行为复杂细节的共时性,这种共时性英语是无法再现的。
为确保译文基本忠实于源语言的形与神,任何翻译都必须符合三个标准,外加一个隐性元素,以确保翻译的准确性。这就是:1.词汇语法(词和句)层面上的准确;2.文风(作者的或“前景化”[14])层面上的准确,3.概念层面上的准确。隐形元素不仅是指原文中的思想,也指在语篇层面上的语义——文本的含意,整个语篇或是细微之处的含意,包括本能地预设给读者的东西以及能让讲母语者或多或少领会欲达之意的间接语境意义,而这些欲达之意在文本中是不太明显的。 
正如前文所述,印欧语系(比如英语)之间的翻译相对比较容易,那么将汉语——一种汉藏语系的语言,翻译成英语(首先必须协调纯语言方面的差异,其次是处理语言群落间以及完全不同的世界观之间的差异),又当如何呢?恰恰类似于梵语,汉语的语法和含义相对复杂,其文字表面看似简洁,实则深奥莫测,因此汉英翻译也很困难。以下是适用于汉英翻译的三条标准:
1.在词汇-语法层面上,结构和语意不同。“词”可以被定义为一种语言最小的语义单位,在不失去其(通常设定的)含义前提下无法进一步细分;“句子”须有主语和谓语,是“最小的表达完整思想的单位”[15]。把汉语文本翻译成英文,译者必须面对汉字与英语单词在词形方面完全不同的事实;它可以代表音节、单词以及词素。汉字被称为意音和音韵文字——如形声字。[16]汉语和英语在语法和句法方面都不同,比如,汉语作为一类语言,在词类或者词性上都缺少动词的时态标志,也没有数字。既然这两种书写系统如此不同,那么英语的词汇和句法是否能够捕捉到汉语的欲达之意?
2.“风格”是指作者的写作“方式”;它通过展现作者的个性和“语声”或其美学或形式特征所体现出来的创意表达,使得作者及其作品脱颖而出。在文学和宗教作品中,文风既会在文字层面上,也会在意义的其他层面上体现出来。若译文一味地模仿原文的感觉和文风,又怎能忠实于原文呢?语言学家们也认为句子的“逻辑含义”有别于其“语法含义”。译者怎么会只顾思想的“逻辑”含义准确,而忽略风格呢?何老师告诉我们,她最终决定翻译时遇到过诸如此类的问题:比如,在文本的段落中如何更好地传达某些句子的祈使语气。她也认同在翻译过程中最大的挑战是如何选择适当的“句型”以体现原作的文风或声音与意义的修辞手法——例如,有些句子具有双重或多重含义。
3.在概念层面上,如上所述,有人会问:如果内容可以脱离形式,那么句子的“音”质是否可以无足轻重?只要一个宗教文本的原初概念意义在译本中得以传达,其他两个层面就无关宏旨了,这种观点似乎令人质疑。但是,能够找到与中国概念相对应的有效英文单词吗?这些概念又能用符合其社会和历史语境的词汇、短语、句子和语篇的层面上表达出来吗?除此之外,许多人会说,那个隐性元素——那种深刻的或天然的文化或历史的[17]熟悉感——也应是同样重要的。
语言学家田传茂以别样的视角考虑这三重标准。在一篇源于网络的文章中[18],田先生指出,在日常用语和书写中,中文和英文之间的差异包括单词和句子的顺序、省略、(词汇的)缺项以及单词联想上的差异。“(词汇的)缺项”指的是有些词汇和概念在某种语言或文化中是独一无二的,在一些/所有其他语言或文化中并不存在。在将古汉语文本译成英文的工作中,这一问题或许是需要解决的更为重要的一个问题。就声音和形式而言,汉语和英语在拼写和发音上有着完全不同的体系。
如果源语言的声音或形式中包含有任何意义或重要特征,那么目标语言要保留它几乎是不可能的,而在诗歌、广告语和修辞之中,声音和形式都承载着特定的意义。
有人推测,英译汉时这种问题可能更严重,因为田氏所谓汉语“形式上的灵活性”在英语中是无法找到的。据说汉语是意合的,而英语是形合的——事实上英语中的押韵、格律和头韵在汉语中都是无法表达的;这几乎在任何的翻译中都会是一个程度不同的问题。说到译法的问题,正如许多学者观察到的那样,汉语是含蓄的,而英语是明确的(数、主题、时态,等等)。田氏断言,中文思维和英语思维有认知和感知的不同:
中国人单独观察事物。因而,在他们的表达中,意思是根据物理或心理时间的顺序而安排的。它们似乎同等重要;它们之间的关系不甚清晰,因为它们之间不使用连词。讲英语的人在观察事物时,总会找出最重要的东西,并把这种东西置于句子的主句之中,作为他们说话或写作的核心,而其他东西会在从句或各种短语中表达出来。
此外,
        叙事时,讲汉语的人会从过去讲到现在,讲英语的人却反其道而行。在逻辑推理上,讲汉语的人会把原因和证据置于结果和结论之前,而讲英语的人则反其道而行。
除了上述的三个标准和田氏的观点之外,翻译在解释学[19]方面的挑战也非常巨大。翻译的压力在于对文化产品的不持偏见的理解。这要求尽力从经卷上剔除历代置于其上的各种不同的诠释,而且还要考虑到需适当地衡量不同时代和地区的译文是否偏离了原文的含义。尽管如此,实际情况很可能是,与西方的基督教文化相比,中国传统的稳定性和连续性已经促进了对由僧侣、学者、学生和感兴趣的评论家写成的古典文本的理解——这是由于这些经典的译文经过反复地提炼后,再持续不断地核实,最终切实地表达出了原文的含义。
中国的经籍
我们并不确切地知道,在中国的经籍成文之前,它们到底以口头的形式存在了多久。孔子的《论语》(编辑自孔子的教谕)和《五经》(一般说归功于孔子)可以上溯至公元前6世纪晚期和公元前5世纪早期,是中国古代三位思想大家的著作中最早成文的论述。老子大约被认为是孔子的同时代人。《道德经》最早书写于竹简之上,可上溯至公元前4世纪。佛陀大约与孔子和老子是同时代人。佛教在东汉时期自公元前200年至公元200年沿丝绸之路(它不仅是商道也是思想之路)从印度传至中国,历经四百年。
在中国,这三位大师的圣训世代相传已历经约两千余年了。这些教谕以及由此而形成的传统成为中国思想传承的核心。孔子强调社会和谐,这个理念在1949年以后,自文化大革命以来以不同的方式受到官方的鼓励,至今一直是中国民众心中的核心价值观。大乘佛教已在中国重新得以兴立,并拥有大量的信众。而对于老子,一位中国同事曾告诉我:“骨子里,每一位中国人都相信道教。”而气功在城市与乡村一直都是人们修习的核心内容。
如果中国古代典籍的翻译实践已历经两千余年,那么翻译就会面临显而易见的风险,即译本不会很忠实地传达原初的欲达之意。这是因为文本写成的时间和当下的时间间隔巨大(孔子距今有2500年,老子距今有2400年,佛学文本传入中国距今大约2000年)。对汉译英而言,东西方之间的文化差异或许正处于极致,这是由于东西方文明之间存在巨大差异。
在目前这个译本中,何老师从中国古代思想的精华(儒家、道家与佛家)之中挑选了最为适当的篇章,并把它们翻译成清晰流畅的英文。她强调,“这三本书是中国传统文化的至根至本”,而且,“我们在自修过程中应从真正可以在生活中践行的教谕学起。”她说:
我所翻译的这三本书是非常实用的,因为它们可以教会人们适当的行为举止,修心培德,引导人们与众生和谐共处,走向更快乐的人生。这些教义都是我们纯净纯善的性德体现。东西方的许多学者(比如汤恩比)也意识到中国传统文化是基于人性之善的,所以它才是宇宙和谐的根本,这种智慧是一笔财富,要让全世界所有文明分享。我们将它们付诸实践时,一切与个人、与我们的世界和宇宙相关的问题都将会迎刃而解。
对于那些懂英语不懂汉语的人来说,他们应该非常感谢她,因为她能够将这些中国文化传承的精华用他们的语言呈现给他们。对于那些两种语言都懂的人来说,也将受益匪浅,因为这些教谕,为不同语言、文化和历史的人群之间搭建起桥梁,也是为不同的人生旅者提供了不同的人生路径。
她所挑选的经典都属于行经,能教会正在苦寻人生最佳途径的人们获得人生最丰厚的非物质性回报方法。这三个经典就是儒家的《弟子规》,道家的《太上感应篇》和释家的《佛​说​十​善​业​道​经》。我问她是如何选择这些文本时,她回答说,这些是依据德高望重的净空法师的讲座而挑选的,正是受他老人家的启发她开始了这次翻译工作。她将这三个经典描述为建构中国传统文化的核心篇章。她称其为“根”,而《三字经》、《道德经》和孔子的《论语》是“花朵”。如她所言,“有些学者通常只是在学术层面对它们感兴趣”,而非像她那样把它们看作是生活中心灵世界的指路明灯。
当然,还有其他一些英语译文试图解读中国古代典籍。她在学习、参考的同时弥补了所发现的句型缺陷。她的版本是长期深思熟虑的结果,这些思考不但关注了文本的含义,在选词方面也再三考虑,以精妙地传达这些含义。她的翻译并非雕虫小技,它既体现了文本的微妙灵动,又保持了原文中的微言大义。
何老师也曾对我解释说:“我有一个做事的原则,那就是:众生平等的原则。无论我们来自何方,东方还是西方,无论我们是何物种,人类还是非人类,我们都应该与其他生命共享美好的事物,共度难关,珍视我们共有的祖国与地球。”
她这样描述她本人的觉悟:
我的信仰始于我父亲去世之后,这件事让我感到很痛苦。一位寺庙住持的一次说法照亮了我的心灵,使我有所感悟。我开始去聆听更多的佛学讲座,并发现自己变得越来越快乐,也越来越健康。我坚守这样的信念:如果一个人不执着于欲望和自我,他就可以最终获得涅槃。这是一种脱离苦海的境界,因此我决定按照那位法师的教诲来修行,希求得定而生慧。在清晨和入睡之前,我都要尽力做早晚课,诵经念佛,祈求修行的过程中获得佛的加持。同时这也是我自省的时候,早课时提醒自己当天该做什么,晚课时能为自己一天的行为反省反省。
可以说她翻译这些经典的根本动机可以归结为:作为一名佛教徒,她希望多行善事,以求精神圆满,脱离轮回之苦。
本书的时代性
如今,我们以及我们这个星球在社会、政治、伦理和精神方面都面临着前所未有的挑战。年轻人已经感受到空前的紧迫性,他们想知道:究竟如何才能活得更精彩?生命的意义和目的何在?作为健康而多元的整体的一部分,我们人类如何能够以一种仁慈的方式与地球上其他物种共处?
通过阅读这些经典,我们不仅可以懂得在社会上如何与他人相处,还可以学会如何自处自持,保持操守,以保护我们人类为了生存的需要愿意保护的环境。在当前环境和其他生命形态正遭受由人类引发的全球性环境变化威胁的时刻,这个问题已经变得至关重要。
多数(即使不是所有)为满足我们自己贪婪地消耗地球自然资源的行为是自相矛盾的,这是由于其内在根本性的挣扎——一种对自然失控的侵袭,忽略了我们人类也是自然的一部分这样一个事实。无论人本主义的信条在历史上起的作用是什么,我们越来越发现,它们根本无法满足我们以及其他生命的生存需要。正如《创世纪》1:26所述:“神说:我们要照着我们的形象、按着我们的样子造人,让他们管理海里的鱼、空中的鸟、地上的牲畜、和整个世界、以及地上所有的爬行物。”与此相比,道家却认为:“慈心于物......昆虫草木,犹不可伤”。[20]在许多形形色色的基督教文本及其他西方作品中,有些阐释是很不负责任的,竟将人类说成是优于其他自然物种的存在,这种思想正带来毁灭,使所有的生命受到威胁,或者正在慢慢灭绝。在西方,工业革命以来的病态后果在过去的几十年之中又已愈演愈烈,以至于随着多个次大陆生物多样性的均质化,人们将资源以不可更新的方式采掘出来,用于规模化利润和消费的恶性循环中。大量的耗费随处可见。
即使目前的情形不是这个样子,其他挑战已是永远存在的问题了:死亡、个人的苦难、对于残暴的冷漠、以及其他伦理道德方面的沦丧。我们如何能建设性地做到与天地共生、与万物合一?
我希望每一个拿起这本看似朴实无华、实则深奥莫测之书的人去思忖一番它想要诉说的道理。这些源于古老中国的悠久思想也许恰逢其时——因为,在我们今天这个飞速变化的时代,世界性的焦虑与怀疑,那些程度似乎在不断升级的痛苦,这些问题的答案迫在眉睫:我们为什么活着?我们应该怎样活着?
这本书用英语道出了中国自古以来的具核心价值的箴言,定会对她的学生以及我们所有人有所帮助,因此它定将作为何亚琴女士的“善业”之一,令她善业增长,正觉可待,也定会使读此书的读者早日获得同样的正觉。
Jonathan Kaplan,Ph.D.
2014年01月16日


[1] The Buddha’s stanzas placed on the painting of the Wheel of Existence.
[2] This section may be skipped by those less curious about the technical issues of translation.
[3] There are at least three formal steps before reaching the final, e.g., published, translation: 1) word-for-word “metaphrase”, 2) gloss, or grammatical rendering with “paraphrase” as needed, and 3) a final phase, sometimes called “dynamic,” that takes into account the “foregrounding” (see below) of the original in attempts to preserve the particular flow, rhythm, lyricism and literary devices of the original. More formal are the “Leipzig Glossing Rules”: “An interlinear text will commonly consist of some or all of the following, usually in this order, from top to bottom: The original orthography…a conventional transliteration into the Latin alphabet, a phonetic transcription, a morphophonemic transliteration, a word-by-word or morpheme-by-morpheme gloss, where morphemes within a word are separated by hyphens or other punctuation, and finally a free translation…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlinear_gloss).
[4] “Foregrounding” or “artistically motivated deviation” (Linguistics: A Course Book. 4th edition. Hu Zhuanglin. Peking University Press, Beijing 201l, p. 196) refers to the literary devices the author employs – rhythm, meter, figures of speech – to make pleasing, compelling or forceful, the written utterance.
[5] Op cit., p. 89.
[6] Distinctions for the sake of unambiguous comprehension are both structural and semantic. “Radicals” are the semantic elements in the character. The four tones of spoken Chinese by which semantic differences between the same spoken character are distinguished are not graphically represented and the syntactical and discourse context determines these. In classical Chinese writing, characters also contain “strokes” based on the traditional single calligraphic movement of the brush or pen on the paper or other medium and the order in which the strokes are made is significant; one wonders about the effect, or lack thereof, on the cognitive-semantic and connotative understanding of the writer.
[7] “Historical” in the sense of the zeitgeist or the “episteme”.
[9] Before French and German critical philosophy redefined “hermeneutic” to refer to “interpretation” in an abstract sense, it meant “exegesis” – the peeling away of meanings imposed on Biblical and other religious texts by historical contingency and particular authors in order to arrive at an interpretation closest to the original intended meaning. In Chinese thought the endless recursion philosophically implied in interpretation does not seem necessarily to obtain, which may be due to a foundational conception of society over self.
[10] Again and again elsewhere Laozi makes similar emphasis, viz. pp.53, 54 and 56.
[11] 《六道生死轮回图》上注有佛说的偈言。
[12]对翻译技巧没兴趣的人,可能会疏忽下一节内容。
[13]译本在完成或是出版前至少要例行三个步骤:1)逐字翻译,2)润色,或根据需要在语法上的处理和“调整”(润色,或者说是用必要的 “解释”进行语法翻译)3)最后一步,有时也叫“点睛”,要考虑原文的“前景化”(如下),意在保留原文的韵律、节奏、抒情风格和文学手法。更为规范的是“行间逐字预翻译的简写索引表(莱比锡版)”:不同文字隔行对照的文本通常按照顺序通篇由下面的部分或者全部组成:原文的拼写… 一种传统的音译拉丁字母,一种语音翻译,一种词素音位直译文字,一种字对字的或词素对词素的注释词,在这里一个词汇之内的词素是由连字符或其他标点符号分隔的,最终完成意译…。” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlinear_gloss)
[14] “前景化”或“艺术上的动机偏离”(《语言学教程》,第四版,胡壮麟,北京大学出版社,北京2011,第196页)是指用作者所使用的文学手法——节奏、押韵、修辞——使写出来的句子令人愉快,流光溢彩,强劲有力。
[15]前面所引用的书,第89页。
[16]为获得无歧义的理解而进行的区分既是结构上的也是语义上的。“偏旁部首”是汉字中的语义元素。此外,汉语口语中有四种声调,由此能够区分同一汉字的语义差别,但这些差别并没有通过文字书写表达出来,而是要由句法和语篇的语境来判断。汉字是由笔划组成的,在书写过程中,人们可以用毛笔或钢笔在纸张或其他媒介上按照传统一笔一划地书写,而且笔顺也至关重要;这种书写方式是否会对书写者的逻辑思维产生影响,人们会对此感到很好奇。
[17] “历史的”指的是时代精神或者是某种“知识”。
[19] 法、德批判哲学对“阐释学”重新界定为抽象意义上的“阐释”之前,它的意思是“解析”——即为真正了解原文的意图,就要剔除历史偶然事件和一些作者强加于《圣经》或者其他宗教典籍的意义。阐释学中的哲学概念“无限递推”在中国的思想体系中并不适用,这可能是基于集体利益高于个人利益的基本理念。
[20]该书的多处都强调了类似这种理念,参看中文第41-43页。
 
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