106 J. Duncan M. Derret
born blind. The story uses the tale of the Blind Man of Bethsaida also
(Mk 8,22-26), since the theme of healing by two stages occurs. To cure
the physical sight is not enough: one must induce in the former patient
the insight whereby one sees reality (Mk 8,25d). Few can doubt that this
part of ch.5 is based on our Johannaine story. It is, no doubt, absent from
the translation from Sanskrit to Chinese made by KumÄrajÄ«va in AD
406,9 superseding earlier translations going back to the third century, It
is not at all anomalous for portions of the Lotus SÅ«tra to reflect gospel
passages, a theory which should be handled with caution10. Nevertheless
the SÅ«tra contradicts our traditional understanding of Jn 9,3 and directly
asserts that a man born blind (Kernâ€™s trans., 129 28) must have committed
sins in a previous life (130 10-11). That does not prevent his being cured
in part (he sees â€œoutwardly and inwardlyâ€: 1315) by a skilled physician
who chews far-sought herbs (130 28). â€œSeersâ€ (rï€¬sï€¬is) challenge and ridicule
him (131 13). He has no â€œwisdomâ€. Bodhisattvas (in effect MahÄyÄna mis-
sionaries) awaken him to perfect enlightenment (132 15-133 3; 134 13).
As some highly intelligent readers of long ago understood the passage
we too must use the Greek syntax to make the remarkable rendering:
It is not so much the case that this man sinned, or his parents, but
rather that he is so in order that the works of God shall be made
manifest in his case. We must work the works of him who sent me
while it is still day...
The modern punctuation need not be tampered with, interesting as
the proposed repunctuation would be.
J. DUNCAN M. DERRETT
Half Way House, High Street,
Blockley, Moreton in Marsh,
Glos. GL 56 9EX (ENGLAND)
Now translated by L. Hurvitz, hardly necessary in our context.
It is not necessary to cite the works of T. Richard and W.E. Soothill, both mandarins
and both missionaries.