thinking in words
I am currently engaged in two translation projects, one being the translation of classical Japanese poetry, mostly of what is now understood to be haiku, into contemporary English. This is an interpretational translation work using a liberal understanding of the art of translation to embody the emotional and cultural meaning of a work without undue focus to its choice of specific, historically-situated language. The second is an ongoing collection of Buddhist texts, primarily those of Japanese Zen scholar and founder of the Soto school of Buddhism in the thirteenth century, Eihei Dōgen. This project so far includes the publication of new translations of his works “Living into Existence” (original title, 現成公按) and “Sitting Amid Thought” (original title, 普勧坐禅儀) and various formal sutras from Japanese and Indian Buddhist practices, primarily to be used by contemporary English-speaking fellowships. These translations are accompanied by academic critical work on their content and contemporary adaptation for translation.
I have also for a number of years been involved in the ongoing translation project of the Pali canon into contemporary English. This is a language that is highly stylized, repetitive and situated within a paradigm of memorization and formal elements (rhyme, syllabic segregation) that is often translated literally, leading to complexity of understanding for English readers and listeners. This project applies a more holistic focus to the translation rather than one of the word- or paragraph-level, as previous projects have generally adopted, leading to a more poetic and comprehensible (while somewhat less academic in some senses) translation that better reflects the original, while admittedly sacrificing much of its Pali-specific poetic and cultural norms. There is also an ongoing project of which I am a part to write a contemporary translation-adaptation of the standardized Shinto Norito (祝詞) for English audiences.
- Tasting the Lotus (contemporary translation of and commentary on Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma, 2019-, expected publication spring 2023)
- Kami in Life (contemporary translation of and commentary on a collection of Shinto prayer and ritual, 2019-, expected publication winter 2023)
- Living Wisdom (contemporary translation of and commentary on Dhammapada, 2018-, expected publication summer 2023)
- Ideas (editor, chant & scripture collection for Spring Waters Zen Sangha including work from Japanese, Pali and Sanskrit originals, 2016-, publication of 5th edition expected fall 2023)