Ches dkon pa’i sa skya’i mkhas grub chen po khag gsum gyi rnam thar
There are times when the apparent paucity of names available to Tibetans can prove confusing. If it seems as if Dharamsala has more than its fair share of Tenzins, for example, this is because so many of its residents have taken refuge with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso—who, following tradition, bestows his own first name on others. Still, when a second name is added the resulting permutations usually suffice to bring at least a degree of clarity. Yet there are some names that seem to have been deliberately contrived purely to confound the historian or the compiler of databases. Such a name is Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (dwags po bkra shis rnam rgyal), for as common as “Tashi Namgyal” might be in general—and TBRC lists at least sixteen notable examples from Tibetan history—it seems to defy the odds that there should have been two eminent teachers by that name who also acquired the prefix “Dakpo”.
Of these two, the later Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1512/13–1587) is perhaps the better known today. He is chiefly remembered for being the author of a major work on Mahāmudrā, The Rays of Moonlight (phyag chen zla ba’i ’od zer), which has been translated into English by Lobsang Lhalungpa. (Another of his works on Mahāmudrā is included in the recent Mahāmudrā and Related Instructions, translated by Peter Alan Roberts.)
As you may be aware, today is the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. In order to mark the occasion, let us share some more of the Bard’s most famous lines translated into Tibetan. This time, the translation comes directly from the forthcoming Tibetan version of Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Continue reading
On the day the world remembers Nelson Mandela, it seems appropriate to publish this translation into Tibetan of some lines from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (act II, scene II) – the very lines that Mandela highlighted in the so-called ‘Robben Island Shakespeare’ on the 16th December 1979 during his long period of captivity.
A Note on the Translation of the First of Langri Tangpa’s Eight Verses
The Eight Verses of Training the Mind (blo sbyong tshigs rkang brgyad ma) by Geshe Langri Tangpa (1054-1123) is a seminal work of Tibetan literature, and surely deserves to be ranked among the world’s spiritual classics. There have been many translations, especially in recent years, largely on account of its popularity with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has taught it on numerous occasions all over the world. Historically however, it appears to have received less scholarly attention and inspired fewer commentaries than related works such as the Seven Points of Mind Training (blo sbyong don bdun ma) attributed to Geshe Chekawa (1101-75)—who, incidentally, also composed a commentary on the Eight Verses. Perhaps this shortage of commentarial literature explains the apparent difficulty of interpreting the very first of Langri Tangpa’s eight verses.
The following points, derived from Gene Smith’s Among Tibetan Texts by Kurtis Schaeffer, were shared at Columbia University’s panel discussion on the future of Tibetan studies after Gene Smith.
Know the breadth and depth of Tibetan history
Read single works for depth
Read collected works for breadth Continue reading