January 11, 2011

Dalai Lama: All sutras must be translated into Tibetan

via The Times of India,

VARANASI: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama  said teachings of Buddha and  Buddhist texts, which were not available in Tibetan language, should be translated into Tibetan.

"We must translate those sutras that are written in Pali and are not available in Tibetan," said the Dalai Lama while addressing the valedictory function of the four-day 'Tenggyur Translation Conference: In the tradition of the 17 Pandits of Nalanda', organised by the Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS) Sarnath and the American Institute of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, on Tuesday. He said a number of sutras had already been translated into Tibetan by the Tibetan and Indian scholars. The texts were edited and enriched further by the next generation of scholars, but there were many other sutras that must also be translated

Stories like this make me feel very lucky to live in the information age; to have the Pali Canon a click away at Access to Insight, extensive Tibetan texts, commentary, and information at sites like the Tibetan & Himalayan library and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, extensive online Zen resources at the Zen Virtual Library, and comprehensive cross-traditional databases like the Mugen Project or, if I can say so myself, the Tricycle Archives, just to name a few.  It really is quite astounding how much information is at our fingertips these days.  I'm sure it could be argued that just by being here at this blog post with these links, that we have access to more Buddhist teachings than 99% of Buddhists throughout history.  How lucky we are! 

MarpaOn the other hand, over-sensationalized news sites, ridiculous gossip blogs, and millions of pointless mind-numbing (although sometimes utterly hilarious) YouTube videos are right around the corner, ready to distract us. With this in mind, I think it is very important to be deliberate and conscious about how we spend our time on the web.  So, the next time I find myself watching some silly video on a loop over and over again, I am going to think of Marpa the Translator spending decades walking back and forth between Tibet and India to bring teachings to the Tibetan plateau, and with him in mind, perhaps I'll hit the stop button and spend that time studying a sutra instead.



Image 1: Dalai Lama (via Sify.com)

Image 2: Marpa (HAR 90142)


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Dominic Gomez's picture

It's been said that America is the face of the world. By extension, the language spoken by the majority of her constituents (English) may be said to be the language of the world. It is in English that it appears all the "84,000 teachings" (sutras) have been translated.

Wisdom Moon's picture

Thanks Monty, what a great encouragement to practise! The internet does have so much distracting material, but as you say, there's a lot of great Dharma out there too if you've got the willpower to ignore the trivial!