Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

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Ray Rudha
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Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by Ray Rudha » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:02 pm

A lot of Tibetan versions of mantras have several alterations to them.

Sometimes they are very obvious, such as Hum into Hung, Phat into Phet or Pey, and sometimes less obvious, such as transforming Ja into Dza.

I am trying to figure out some others, and eventually make a list of this.

First question on my mind is Cha into Tsa. Tsa is actually quite common in a few Tibetan mantras.

Is Tsa a transliteration of Cha? Such as Chale into Tsale...

pensum
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by pensum » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:34 pm

You might find this chart useful http://www.threeriversdharma.org/Tibeta ... nskrit.pdf

Phonetic schemes in English (or European languages) to help those who cannot read Tibetan vary widely, hence Hung or Hum or Huṃ, use of accents etc. in order to approximate proper pronunciation.

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conebeckham
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by conebeckham » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:18 pm

The reason many of these "alterations" happen, FWIW, is that Tibetans follow their own pronunciation rules when pronouncing Sanskrit, quite often. A good example is "Pema" in Tibetan, for "padma" in Sanskrit. The "d" character in Tibetan is silent, in this case, and it lengthens the short "A" into a long "A."
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:29 pm

Ray Rudha wrote:Is Tsa a transliteration of Cha? Such as Chale into Tsale...
Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit = ca (IAST) with = tsa (Wylie) and Sanskrit = cha (IAST) with = tsha (Wylie), I'm not sure why. They then pronounce those characters the way they are pronounced in Tibetan. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_al ... f_Sanskrit
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

pensum
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by pensum » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:42 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Ray Rudha wrote:Is Tsa a transliteration of Cha? Such as Chale into Tsale...
Tibetans transliterate Sanskrit = ca (IAST) with = tsa (Wylie) and Sanskrit = cha (IAST) with = tsha (Wylie), I'm not sure why. They then pronounce those characters the way they are pronounced in Tibetan. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_al ... f_Sanskrit
great link, thanks!

dakini_boi
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by dakini_boi » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:02 am

This thread addresses your question. . .


http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 140#p67047

Terma
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by Terma » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:41 am

conebeckham wrote:The reason many of these "alterations" happen, FWIW, is that Tibetans follow their own pronunciation rules when pronouncing Sanskrit, quite often. A good example is "Pema" in Tibetan, for "padma" in Sanskrit. The "d" character in Tibetan is silent, in this case, and it lengthens the short "A" into a long "A."
Good points, Cone :smile:

In regards to the original question I'll add this also:

Also in terms of the way they are spoken (or recited), sometimes the difference can also lay in where the particular Lama is from as Different parts of Tibet have different dialects or even different ways of pronouncing syllables. Pei/Phat is a good example of this. There are several ways that this is pronouncded. For recitation of mantra's forexample, I think the best way is to recite the way that it has been transmitted to you.

Ray Rudha
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by Ray Rudha » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:01 am

Great replies, thank you.

Terma, I think that's the common Tibetan view, just go with your teacher's rendition of the mantra. But at the same time, you can find a few high level Tibetan teachers (I won't name names) who said it directly that Tibetan is not a sacred language, Sanskrit is. And that is correct.

Therefore, the practice of altering Sanskrit for local pronunciation is wrong and has led, in the case of some more widely used mantras, to huge alterations over time, which leads me to question to effect of the mantra's sound-form in the greatly modified version.

One of the funniest examples of this is the Sanskrit alphabet mantra, which has also been altered for Tibetan script. That sort of had me laughing, but at the same time, it's very very sad.

Also, there are actually stories of founding Tibetan teachers receiving mantras wrongly pronounced and then managing to get correct Sanskrit transmission. So in that sense, there's a precedent at the very root of their tradition for keeping Sanskrit pure.

Going back to practical issues - I'll look up the documents you linked me to, thank you again

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Adamantine
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by Adamantine » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:58 am

Ray Rudha wrote:Therefore, the practice of altering Sanskrit for local pronunciation is wrong
In response to your post I wanted to provide a quote from a user on another forum which I thought was quite relevant:
There is considerable question as to how the original
Sanskrit was pronounced as it is anachronistic to attribute classical
pronunciation to the Sanskrit spoken in Uddiyana where the Vajrayana
teachings most probably first flourished. Many adepts from northern
India probably pronounced "vajra" similarly to the Tibetan pronunciation
witness modern Bengali's "bozro" (phonetic spelling) for the same word.
Also Sanskrit "phat" is often pronounced in Tibetan "phe" as well as
close to its "proper" Sanskritic pronunciation. The notion of a sole
proper pronunciation of early Sanskrit free from regional dialect is
historically suspect.
>I think the best way to pronounce it is the way your lama wants you to.
>When my lama gives out mantras, he will pronounce 'vajra' as 'vajra'. When
>he does his practice, it is 'benza'. If you're getting your mantras from
>books, please find a lama to instruct you.
You can't get mantras from books so there is little point in such
an endeavour. Without the vivifying force of a guru's realization,
mantras are mere letters. All mantrayana depends upon initiation
of a qualified student (ideally, but how often does this happen
these days:P) by a qualified vajramaster. He *WILL* instruct you
how to pronounce it and I totally agree that that is how one
*SHOULD* pronounce it. Worrying about "proper" grammar and
pronunciation is really a kind of petty mindedness. Mantra is not
denotative or connotative language. It is the actual speech of the
deity, and so one should keep pure view of it and not look for faults
in it lest one break the committment of the deity and render the
entire question moot and irrelevant. Do we really think that the
deity is so stupid that they don't understand our intention?
From a strictly ritualistic (dare I say mimamsika?) point of view,
any errors in pronunciation of the mantra are corrected by the
performance of the fire puja at the end of a recitation retreat.
I am far more afraid of reciting a mantra with no genuine feeling
than softening a dental, or strengthing a labial.

Though mantrayana is an exacting science, one can not underestimate
the role that love and devotion have in awakening mantra. A
compassionate mind is far more of a prerequisite than a rather
mechanical but flawlessly pronounced string of syllables. Being
moulded by a mechanistic world-view is
quite dangerous to a proper understanding of the spiritual import
of mantra. Without devotion practice can turn into a rather
elaborate and mechanical form of egoism. Mantra is intentionality.
If the intention is there, I dont think that poor elocution will
be much of an obstacle.

Yours in Dharma,

Thubten Namgyal ( Baladharavijaya?:P)
From here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... qAR3Q-CZ40
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

Ray Rudha
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Re: Tibetan and Saksrit syllables

Post by Ray Rudha » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:58 pm

This takes the anthropological view of Sanskrit and its pronounciation, and then goes on to take a pure view of mantra as perfect sound.

Is mantra the perfect fundamental sound of the Buddha or is it localized in time and space?

Second, it takes a sangha view of mantra practice, but there is also the dharma and Buddha view.

As explained in Maitreya's Uttaratantra Shastra, sangha and dharma originate from Buddha, and are never separate from its nature, so taking a sangha relational view of mantra as separate from its ultimate and original nature can, and does result in altering its sound and making it anthropocentric.

Also, the tantric practice view expressed there is, let's say, not complete? It's the view that mantra works externally through deity.

Even accepting that view, which is not highest yoga, what about mantras and dharanis that can be found in sutra, and are numerous. Those would fall under the category of "getting your mantras from books, which is useless".

Finally, if you take the view of Buddha nature unfolding through an array of enlightened beings which are its interplay, a merit field that you interact with through tantra, the sound of which is mantra, primordial sanskrit unfolding throughout countless universes, then why then make the view of Sanskrit pronounciation being localized in the time and space of a certain Indian region.

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