Why don’t We Translate Spells in the Scriptures?: Medieval Chinese Exegesis on the Meaning and Function of Dhāraṇī Language
By Ryan Richard Overbey22 pages
The spell overflows with concrete nouns and dynamic verbs, with-out ever committing fully to semantic or syntactic cohesion. What does such language do? How does it act in the world of the speaker or reader? The Saddharmapuṇḍarīka itself offers guarantees of efficacy, but does not explain the precise mechanism of the dhāraṇī.
Medieval, Chinese exegetes were unanimous in saying that dhāraṇī should not be translated, but offered a variety of explanations why.