English Translation Fellows
"... over the years I have found the writings of the Indian Buddhist scholar Sthiramati—such as his commentary on Vasubandhu’s Summary of the Five Heaps—to be among the most detailed sources on the topic of mind and mental factors. This is one of the main reasons that Vasubandhu’s root text and Sthiramati’s commentary, which appear in Part Two of this book, were chosen for translation.
A primary aim of this book is to examine the importance of Abhidharma literature, which seems to be largely unappreciated by contemporary Western Buddhist practitioners, particularly those who are drawn to any of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Often viewed as little more than a dry and uninspiring catalog of lists and definitions, this material is in fact a repository of the fundamental concepts and ideas that inform all of the major Buddhist philosophical schools and traditions. Great Mahayana figures like Nagarjuna and Asan.ga should properly be seen as presenting a critical analysis of the early realist tendencies in Buddhist thought, rather than positing views that reject the very framework on which all Buddhist philosophical theories are constructed. On a more practical level, Abhidharma literature contains the subject matter that allows one to investigate and learn with minute precision every aspect of the three Buddhist trainings of morality, one-pointed concentration, and wisdom.
While there are several English and French translations of Vasubandhu’s Summary of the Five Heaps, Sthiramati’s commentary on this root text has not been available in English before now. It is hoped that his explanations will be a useful contribution to the body of Buddhist writings available to Western readers." —Artemus B. Engle, from the Preface to The Inner Science of Buddhist Practice
Artemus B. Engle
Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from the University of Wisconsin; adjunct professor, interpreter, and translator; active in the development of a program for teaching Buddhist classics that integrates a study of the language and their application in practice. Tsadra Foundation Grantee in 2004; Fellow since 2005.
Deeply inspired by some thirty years of devoted study with his lama, Art Engle became a translator and, remaining inspired to this day, encourages others to learn original Dharma languages, as he did. Having realized, however, that few people are going to “buy into” his urgings in this regard, he forges ahead with translations. His wish is that practitioners will have access to written teachings that can augment direct oral teachings, the latter of which, avows Art, may be “evanescent” without written material to refer to.
His extensive projects include ten years of work on lamrim texts. Currently, he is immersed in two translation projects, one of them is translating Asanga’s Bodhisattva-bhumi, which outlines the entire bodhisattava path, and the other is a translation tentatively entitled “Quarrelsome Mister Egotism: A Buddhist Fable,” a lengthy scripture presenting the Prasangika view in poetic form, with wisdom and ignorance as characters having a conversation. So dedicated are Artemus’ labors, he confesses to seldom leaving his house. Indeed, he would like to see more translations of the extensive Maitreya-Asanga literature, and feels that it is better to focus on work that has yet to be translated into Western languages, rather than provide new translations of highly popular texts for which there are already multiple translations. Considering his valuable output, readers may well be grateful that Artemus did not pursue his youthful inclinations to become a chemical engineer or a Spanish teacher.
As a Tsadra Foundation Fellow, Artemus passionately emphasizes that his connection with the Foundation has been “rich beyond description,” and has enhanced his own spiritual practice to an extraordinary degree.
Previously Published Translations
• Liberation in Our Hands (3 vols.), Pabongka Rinpoche Jampa Tenzin Trinley Gyatso (translated with Sera Mey Geshe Lobsang Tharchin)
Completed Projects as a Tsadra Foundation Fellow
• The Inner Science of Buddhist Practice: Vasubandhu’s “Summary of the Five Heaps” with Commentary by Sthiramati
• The Bodhisattva Path to Unsurpassed Enlightenment: A Complete Translation of the Bodhisattvabhūmi , Asanga
Current Projects as a Tsadra Foundation Fellow
• Arya Nagarjuna’s System of Guhyasamaja Practice
English Translation Program