NEUMANN, Karl Eugen. Vienna 18.10.1865 — Vienna 18.10.1915. Austrian Indologist (Buddhist Scholar) and Bauddha. Living in Vienna. Son of Angelo N., conductor of an orchestra, originally from Prague, Roman catholic. Went to school in Leipzig where his family was then living. After commercial school travelled in England and Italy in 1882. In 1884 reading of Schopenhauer made him interested in Buddhism. As a minor bank clerc he started studies, matriculating from a gymnasium in 1887 in Prague. Now he started studies at Berlin, of philosophy (under Deussen), Sinology (Grube), Indology (Weber and Oldenburg) and archeology, even medicine and astronomy, but never thrived well in the university. In 1890 he moved to Halle (Pischel) and then to Leipzig (Windisch). Ph.D. 1891 Leipzig. Now moved immediately to Vienna. In 1893 vainly applied in Britain for an office in India, in 1894 travelled ten months in India and Ceylon (thrived well) and then lived one year in London, where he became acquainted with Rhys Davids. Back in Vienna in 1896 he assisted Bühler in his epigraphical studies. After Bühler’s death some time in Germany, but returned to Vienna. In 1906 a bank failure deprived him of his means. He had to sell his library of 4000 volumes and to depend on financial support of friends, such as G. Grimm. The death of his father brought a small inheritance which again made him independent in 1910 or 1911. Died in pneumonia. Married in 1889 Camilla Nordmann.
KEN was more an author and translator than a scholar. He did great work translating Buddhist classics in German, and his translations have been characterized as literary valuable, but also free and not always correct. His friend and disciple was G. De Lorenzo, who also translated his works into Italian.
Publications: diss. Das Sārasaṅgaho, eines Kompendiums buddhistischer Anschauungen erstes Kapitel. Text, Übers., Anm. 32 p. Lp. 1890.
– Die innere Verwandtschaft buddhistischer und christlicher Lehren. Zwei buddh. Suttas und ein Traktat Meister Eckharts. Translated with notes. 1109 p. Lp. 891.
– translated: Buddhistische Anthologie. 28+237 p. Leiden 1892; Der Wahrheitspfad. 190 p. Lp. 1893; Die Lieder der Mönche und Nonnen. 392 p. B. 1899; Die Reden Gotamo Buddho’s aus der Mittleren Sammlung Majjhimanikāyo. 1-3. München 1896-1902; Die Reden Gotamo Buddho’s aus der Sammlung der Bruchstücke Suttanipāto. München 1905; Die Reden Gotamo Buddho’s aus der längeren Sammlung Dīghanikāyo. 1-3. München 1907-13; Die letzten Tage Gotamo Buddhos, aus dem Grossen Verhör über die Erlöschung. Mahāparinibbāṇasuttam des Pāli-kanons übersetzt. 2nd ed. 28+282 p. München 1923.
– articles on Buddhism and epigraphy in ZDMG and WZKM.
Sources: *H. Hecker: Karl Eugen Neumann: Erstübersetzer der Reden des Buddha, Anreger zu abendländischer Spiritualität. 495 p. Hamburg 1986; Peiris, Buddhism 108-111; briefly D.B.E. 7, 1998, 385; Wikipedia with photo and further references; photo in Rau 84.
Last Updated on