【摘要】：正This paper builds on a recent presentation at the Vienna conference on early Chinese Buddhist translations held in April 2007,in which I reported on an in-depth study of selected passages in different Chinese translations of two key Indian Buddhist texts.That study showed up the inherent complexity and fluidity of the Indian scriptural tradition on the one hand(thrown into even higher relief by recent Sanskrit manuscript discoveries),and the strong tendency in the Chinese translation tradition,on the other hand,for newer translations to draw inspiration from, echo,or simply repeat older ones.On the Chinese side this finding reinforced the need for careful study of any given series of translations,to work out the precise degree of indebtedness or independence of them all,while at the same time it underlined the importance of the first translation in the series,as a potentially less compromised witness of its Indic exemplar.In the case of the so-called Diamond Sutra(Vajracchedika),the first Chinese translation is the version produced by Kumarajiva and his assistants in 402 C.E.The subsequent influence of Kumarajiva's translations was unusually strong,and this paper attempts to account for this,taking his rendition of the Diamond Sutra as a representative example.Not only has this version remained the standard point of reference for Chinese Buddhists to this day,despite the subsequent production of 5 more versions,some of them undeniably superior in point of accuracy and fidelity to their Indic originals, but it has also served this function in East Asia more widely.Indeed,Kumarajiva's Chinese version has been translated into English more often than the Sanskrit text has,and thus is still providing many modern readers with their primary point of access to the mysteries of this important scripture. Why is this? What choices faced Kumarajiva as he approached this text,and what light do the new Sanskrit manuscript discoveries throw on his work? How do we account for his apparent success in meeting the various challenges—linguistic,philosophical,and religious—of bridging the gap between Indian and Chinese cultures and enabling communication between them? Finally,what general lessons can we learn from his extraordinary achievements in this domain?