Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS) is dedicated to making the principles of the Buddhadharma (the Buddha’s teachings) available to Western readers in forms that can be directly applied in practice. Established in 1970 by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, BTTS has continued to publish English translations of sutras, instructional handbooks on meditation and moral conduct, biographies, and children’s books since 1972. Most of our sutra translations are accompanied by contemporary commentary based on lectures spoken by the Venerable Master.
The faithful and accurate translation of the Buddhist canon into English and other Western languages is a primary objective of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA), our parent organization. Members of BTTS, including translators, bilingual reviewers, English editors, and bilingual certifiers adhere to the Eight Guidelines for translators and volunteers.
When Buddhism first came from India to China, a fundamental task required for its establishment was the translation of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese. This work involved many, such as renowned monk of the fifth century National Master Kumarajiva, who led an assembly exceeding 800 people to work on the translation of the Tripitaka (the Buddhist canon) for over a decade. Because of the work of individuals such as these, nearly the entire Tripitaka, over a thousand texts, exists in the present day in Chinese.
Now the banner of the Buddha’s teachings is being firmly planted in Western soil, and the same translation work is being done from Chinese into English. Since 1970, BTTS has been making a paramount contribution toward this goal. Aware that the Tripitaka is a work of such magnitude that its translation could never be entrusted to a single person, BTTS emulates the translation assemblies of ancient times instead, not publishing a work until it has passed through the Four Committees: primary translation, revision, editing, and certification. The leaders of these committees are bhikshus (monks) and bhikshunis (nuns) who have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the Buddhadharma. For that reason, all of the works from BTTS emphasize the application of the Buddha’s teachings in terms of actual practice.