"You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

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Virgo
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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Virgo » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:55 am

Whilst I will concede that there are many things in the Tibetan still untranslated, people have a hard time separating all things Tibetan from Dharma itself. In my opinion, this is actually another example of that. The translator is sitting next to the lama, transforming what the lama says into your own language, and how learning that way as opposed to understanding the actual Tibetan impedes your progress to the degree that you cannot "achieve enlightenment in this life" is a bit silly in my opinion. Granted it is not as good as understanding exactly what the lama says, but who says your Tibetan will ever be good enough to really understand all the nuance the way a native Tibetan speaker would?

In both cases, if there were points that you did not understand you would have to ask for clarification anyways.

Kevin...

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:28 am

We never understand exactly what people say, it's impossible. Everything involving language is miscommunication, on some level. The degree is important, but I've heard some teachers say that someone doesn't even necessarily need to be literate to achieve enlightenment, much less understand another language. I'm sure such a person is a rare case of course.
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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by conebeckham » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 am

Well, as a traditionalist, until a highly realized being translates into English from Tibetan, I think there is blessing in the Tibetan language. (If you feel there are English translations that bear the same blessing, or translations into any other language, that’s fine.....keep on practicing them and we’ll see if they bear fruit!). The first Tibetans practiced in other languages before translating, I believe...
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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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by climb-up » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:12 am

Not being enlightened I can't answer this, of course, from personal experience, but that does seem to go against (at least the) dzogchen teachings.

Of course much hasn't been translated, and learning Tibetan certainly seems extremely good in that regard, but there are many stories of uneducated people receiving precise and simple teachings, putting them into practice and achieving enlightenment.
Also many very concise instructions explicitly say that there is nothing higher than their practice, and that that practice is all that is needed.

etc., there are more examples but it seems like, if we take the teachings seriously, then this couldn't be the case that it would be impossible.

On the other hand, how likelyis it?
I have no idea.
Maybe your more likely to get just the right teaching or clarification if you speak Tibetan. Or maybe those willing to learn Tibetan are more willing to do what is necessary to gain enlightenment in one lifetime. Or some other variable.

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:27 am

conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 am
Well, as a traditionalist, until a highly realized being translates into English from Tibetan, I think there is blessing in the Tibetan language. (If you feel there are English translations that bear the same blessing, or translations into any other language, that’s fine.....keep on practicing them and we’ll see if they bear fruit!). The first Tibetans practiced in other languages before translating, I believe...
Just my personal take, but I suspect that the blessing of singing in Tibetan is as much about the melody and sonic quality than the conceptual linguistic stuff, though maybe they are connected.
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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by practitioner » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:46 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:27 am
conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 am
Well, as a traditionalist, until a highly realized being translates into English from Tibetan, I think there is blessing in the Tibetan language. (If you feel there are English translations that bear the same blessing, or translations into any other language, that’s fine.....keep on practicing them and we’ll see if they bear fruit!). The first Tibetans practiced in other languages before translating, I believe...
Just my personal take, but I suspect that the blessing of singing in Tibetan is as much about the melody and sonic quality than the conceptual linguistic stuff, though maybe they are connected.
One reason I love chanting sadanas in Tibetan is because it is poetry. I often find English translations clunky and awkward in comparison.

When practing alone however, I will recite the English translation as well until I become very familiar with a practice as I don’t read Tibetan.
One should do nothing other than benefit sentient beings either directly or indirectly - Shantideva

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by climb-up » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:00 am

I have heard one teacher say it's important to recite Sadhanas in Tibetan, or Sanskrit, because that is how the realized masters of the past have recited it, therefore we receive their blessings.

Another teacher said that sadhanas could be recited in Tibetan, but it was important to also study them in our native language so we fully understood the meaning; and he had the sadhanas specially translated so they could effectively recited in English.

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Malcolm » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:18 am

practitioner wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:46 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:27 am
conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 am
Well, as a traditionalist, until a highly realized being translates into English from Tibetan, I think there is blessing in the Tibetan language. (If you feel there are English translations that bear the same blessing, or translations into any other language, that’s fine.....keep on practicing them and we’ll see if they bear fruit!). The first Tibetans practiced in other languages before translating, I believe...
Just my personal take, but I suspect that the blessing of singing in Tibetan is as much about the melody and sonic quality than the conceptual linguistic stuff, though maybe they are connected.
One reason I love chanting sadanas in Tibetan is because it is poetry. I often find English translations clunky and awkward in comparison.

When practing alone however, I will recite the English translation as well until I become very familiar with a practice as I don’t read Tibetan.
It is not poetry. It is metered lines which do not in any sense resemble what we think of as poetry.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:06 am

Interesting nobody has mentioned mantras yet.
Would knowing Tibetan or Sanskrit be helpful with regard to mantras?
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:53 am

conebeckham wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 am
I think there is blessing in the Tibetan language.
But why would this be the case? Until Padmasambhava hit Tibet, Tibetan was basically the language of warlike bandits and nomadic yak herders. If you were to say this about Sanskrit, the language the teachings were originally taught in...

Why would Tibetan be any more blessed than Sri Lankan, Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai, Burmese, Gandharan, etc...?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:56 am

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:06 am
Interesting nobody has mentioned mantras yet.
Would knowing Tibetan or Sanskrit be helpful with regard to mantras?
This opens up a whole can of worms too about Tibetan pronunciation of Sanskrit mantra.
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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Mantrik » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:06 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:56 am
Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:06 am
Interesting nobody has mentioned mantras yet.
Would knowing Tibetan or Sanskrit be helpful with regard to mantras?
This opens up a whole can of worms too about Tibetan pronunciation of Sanskrit mantra.
Not to mention my mispronunciation of a Tibetan mispronunciation!

I was thinking of the sound and its sacredness, of which that is part, for sure.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:10 am

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:06 am
Not to mention my mispronunciation of a Tibetan mispronunciation!
You took the words from my mouth!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by haha » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:56 am

Here is a story:
(As it is vol. 1 and 2 Tulku Urgen Rinpoche)
Sakya Pandita said: “Oh, no! That’s the wrong mantra; it’s supposed to begin with OM BENZA .......... That’s where the real meaning lies, in the words: ‘Vajra Kilaya with consort, the Ten Sons and all the Eaters and Slayers.’ They are contained within the sounds of the mantra.” The meditator replied: “No, no, the words are not as important as the state of mind. Pure mind is more important than pure sound. I said CHILI CHILAYA in the past and that’s what I will continue to say in the future. No doubt about that! You, on the other hand, will need my phurba.”

In this world hatred never ceases with hatred
With non hatred it ceases, this is the ancient lore.

Upakilesasuttaṃ

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by dharmafootsteps » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:01 pm

pemachophel wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:45 pm
IMO, while achieving Enlightenment in this life is a noble and worthy goal, an even nobler and worthier goal is working for the benefit (samsaric) and ease (nirvanic) of all sentient beings covered by the sky.
I find this very interesting. It's tangental to the original topic, but it's something else that I've been grappling with.

Wouldn't the traditional view be that nothing is more noble than the wish to help establish all beings of the six realms in perfect buddhahood? We should of course work for their benefit (samsaric) too, but in what greater way could we benefit beings than attaining enlightenment? So shouldn't that be the primary goal?

Additionally, Tai Situ has said that for Buddha Dharma to be truly established in the West, it will take at least one fully enlightened Westerner. https://tricycle.org/magazine/it-takes-saint/

In this degenerate age shouldn't we be 100% focused on achieving enlightenment for the benefit of beings? Particularly given the dilution, and even corruption, of the teachings as they spread more widely, and are mixed with all sorts of other cultural conceptions.

Edit: actually the above article is pretty relevant to the discussion in general
Last edited by dharmafootsteps on Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by dharmafootsteps » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:02 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:11 pm
I have no delusions about reaching enlightenment in this life. Actually, I think that right now, for me, there are much more important things for me to do to reach enlightenment, learning Tibetan doesn't rank highly on the list (though it would be kind of useful).
Same question to you Greg as the above post.

I'm very interested in what you both have to say, as I have a lot of respect for you both having read previous posts.

I'm pretty much of the same opinion as you both (at least I act as if I'm of the same opinion), but I find it hard to justify when I think of the teachings themselves. I hear a lot of people talk about "enlightenment in this life", but I've yet to meet anyone who seems to be acting/practicing in such a way as to make it a real possibility (not that I'm in a position to be judging anyones practice).

With enough diligence any of us have the potential for it, so given the vast benefit it would have, shouldn't we all (ideally) be spending every minute striving towards enlightenment for the benefit of all?

Apologies if this is considered derailing the original topic, but it's sort of part of it, as the topic presupposes that "enlightenment in this life" should be our aim.

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:53 pm

Are you sure you have all the prerequisite conditions necessary to reach enlightenment in this life? I'm not so sure that I do.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by dharmafootsteps » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:05 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:53 pm
Are you sure you have all the prerequisite conditions necessary to reach enlightenment in this life? I'm not so sure that I do.
I certainly don't feel like I do, but are we not in better starting positions than Mila was?

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:10 pm

dharmafootsteps wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:05 pm
I certainly don't feel like I do, but are we not in better starting positions than Mila was?
I think that Milarepa had a greater sense of desperation and urgency than we do, since he committed serious crimes in his current life, so the fact that he would have to do something or else face the consequences was more obvious to him. I also think that being born in a Buddhist country is a beneficial condition that should not be underestimated.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "You need to know Tibetan to achieve enlightenment in this life"

Post by Sennin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:01 pm

I heard 42 HHST mention it's good to do the practice in the language one can understand.
Namo Guru Bhyaḥ

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