The above-mentioned Catalogue by Mr. Bunyiu Nanjio affords some valuable information about the subject, from which I borrow the following particulars: 1
The oldest Chinese translation, known by the title of Chang-fa-hva-ching, is from Chu Fa-hu (Dharmaraksa), of the Western Tsin dynasty, A.D. 265 —316; in 28 chapters. 2
Equally old is an incomplete translation entitled Sa-than-fan-tho-li-ching, of an unknown author.
Next in time comes the Miao-fa-lien-hva-ching, by Kumarajïva, of the latter Tshin dynasty, A. D. 384—417.3 It agrees with the Tibetan version, and contains 28 chapters. Of one chapter (xxiv in the Nepalese MSS. and the English translation) Kumarajïva translated the prose only; the Gathas were rendered byjnanagupta, of the Northern Cheu dynasty, A.D. oo7—589.
The last translation in order of time, entitled Thien-phin-miao-fa-lienhva-ching, is from Jnanagupta and Dharmagupta, A. D. 601, of the Sui dynasty, A. D. 589—618; in 27 chapters.
We see that the older translations — and, consequently, their originals
counted one chapter more than our MSS. The difference, however,
does not affect the contents of the whole, because the matter divided over chapters 11 and 12 of the older translations is contained in chap. xi of our texts and the latest Chinese version. The order of the chapters is the same in all the texts, both original and translated, up to chap. xx(=21 older division); the discrepancies first begin at chap. xxi, on Dharanïs. The subjoined comparative table, to begin with the chapter on Dharanïs, exhibits the order of the last seven chapters in the various texts. The first column refers to the Nepalese MSS. and the Chinese translation byjnanagupta and Dharmagupta; the second to the oldest Chinese translation; the third to that of Kumarajïva.
1 .... 4 .... 5
2 .... 1 .... 2
3 .... 2 .... 3
4 .... 3 .... 4
5 .... 5 .... 6
6 .... 6 .... 7
7 .... 7 .... 1
A glance at this table will suffice to convince us that chapters xxi—xxvi
1 Sutra Pi^aka, col. 44 seqq.
2 In S. Beal, The Buddhist Tripitaka (1876), p. 14, the name of the author Chu-fa-hu is identified with Dharmagupta.
> Cf. Beal, Buddhist Tripitaka, p. 15.