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Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Buddhist Translation Awarded

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Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Buddhist Translation Awarded

Dr. Andy Rotman Wins US$8,000 Prize for Divine Stories: Divyāvadāna, Part 2


(SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, 2018): Khyentse Foundation announces the recipient of the 2018 Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation, Dr. Andy Rotman of Smith College for Divine Stories: Divyāvadāna, Part 2. The text, an important collection of early Indian narrative writing, offers insight into a wide range of Buddhist ideas and practices. Throughout it illustrates the intricacies of the law of karma and brings to life the Buddhist values of generosity and faith.

“The second part of Rotman’s translation of the Divyāvadāna has been eagerly awaited since the first appeared in 2008, and it does not disappoint,” said Dr. Naomi Appleton, Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions, University of Edinburgh. “Rotman clearly took great care over every translation choice, from words to phrases to the layout of the text on the page. The result is a translation that is readable in English yet also close to the original form and tone of the text. Indeed, more than readable, the stories are fun and colorful.”

You can read an excerpt of Rotman’s translation, courtesy of Wisdom Publications, here, khyentsefoundation.org/excerpt-divine-stories.

The US$8,000 prize is an award for excellence in translation from the main classical languages of Buddhism—Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese—into English, and from any tradition of Buddhism. The prize is for the translation as a coherent work and can be a sutra, commentary, treatise, biography, history, liturgy, or practice manual. Translations were nominated and reviewed by this year’s selection committee, consisting of five Buddhist scholars: Professors Naomi Appleton of the University of Edinburgh, Sara McClintock of Emory University, Tom Tillemans of the University of Lausanne, Paul Harrison of Stanford University, and Stefano Zacchetti of the University of Oxford. Rotman’s translation was chosen by unanimous decision from a strong field of candidates. “This award is incredibly gratifying. I worked for decades, literally, on this material, and I’m thrilled to receive this kind of recognition,” said Rotman, who is currently traveling in India for research on his next work.


With the aim of encouraging and honoring excellence in translation works that make the Buddhist heritage accessible to a broader public, Khyentse Foundation founder and chairman Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, along with University of Sydney professor Peter Skilling, initiated the Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation in 2010. Rotman’s translation is the sixth work to win this award. Previous winners of the prize are listed at khyentsefoundation.org/awards.

About Dr. Andy Rotman

For the last 25 years, Andy Rotman has engaged in textual and ethnographic work on the role of narratives, images, and markets in South Asia and the religious, social, and political functions that they serve. This focus is apparent in his research on early Indian Buddhism, South Asian media, and the modern economies of the North Indian bazaar. He currently serves as professor of Religion, Buddhist Studies, and South Asia Studies at Smith College.

Beyond Divine Stories: Translations from the Divyāvadāna, part 2, Rotman’s recent publications include Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation (Harvard University Press, 2015), co-written with William Elison and Christian Novetzke, which offers a multiperspectival exegesis of one of India’s most popular films; Thus Have I Seen: Visualizing Faith in Early Indian Buddhism (Oxford University Press, 2009), which considers the construction of faith as a visual practice in Buddhism, and how seeing and believing function as part of intersecting visual and moral systems; and Divine Stories: Translations from the Divyāvadāna, part 1 (Wisdom Publications, 2008).

About Khyentse Foundation

Khyentse Foundation is an international 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. The foundation supports all traditions of Buddhist study and practice, with beneficiaries in 30 countries over the past 17 years. Projects funded include a chair of Buddhist studies at the University of California at Berkeley, a lectureship at the University of Sydney, the digitization of the entire Tibetan Buddhist scriptural canon, endowments for traditional monastic colleges in Asia, a worldwide scholarship program, and numerous other innovative initiatives. Learn more about Khyentse Foundation at khyentsefoundation.org.



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