Introduction: Translating the Buddhist Canon
In his youth, the Venerable Master had already begun to study how to make the Buddhist teachings available to all parts of the world in order to save the world. The Venerable Master said:
- When I left the home life, I wanted to find out why such a perfect teaching as Buddhism was studied by so few people in the world. Why were Protestantism and Catholicism so widespread? After looking into it, I discovered that the reason Buddhism has not spread throughout the world is because we, the disciples of the Buddha, have not translated the Buddhist scriptures into the languages of each and every nation. Catholicism and Protestantism, on the other hand, have had the Bible translated into the languages of all countries. The people of every country can read it and immediately understand it. If we can do this with the Buddhist scriptures, translating them into as many languages as we are able, Buddhism will become a universal teaching even without our wishing it. So, I made a vow when I left the home-life that, even though I don't know any other language, as long as I'm alive, I will see to it that the Buddhist scriptures are translated into the languages of all countries. That's my vow. I'm willing to exhaust my abilities to promote this work.
Although the Master had the thought, but he did not have the means. The conditions did not ripen until 1968, following the Shurangama Session, where five young Americans left the home life. This paved the way for the translation of the Sutras. Since then the Venerable Master has provided guidance in this sacred work of translating the Sutras. He also used various methods to train his disciples bit by bit, step by step, over the days and months; the result -- many excellent and talented translators for Buddhism.