Hundred Thousand Songs

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:47 am

In 1962 Garma C.C. Chang translated these wondrous songs of Milarepa bodhisattva. In just a week or two more, a new translation of the same text by Christopher Stagg, with the same title will be coming out from Shambhala.

Here is the end of his "Song of Realization" by Chang:
Ye ghosts and demons, enemies of the Dharma,
I welcome you today!
It is my pleasure to receive you!
I pray you, stay; do not hasten to leave;
We will discourse and play together.
Although you would be gone, stay the night;
We will pit the Black against the White Dharma,
And see who plays the best.
Before you came, you vowed to afflict me.
Shame and disgrace would follow
If you returned with this vow unfulfilled.

Milarepa arose with confidence and rushed straight at the demons
in his cave. Frightened, they shrank back, rolling their eyes in despair
and trembling violently. Then, swirling together like'a whirlpool, they
all merged into one and vanished.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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jkarlins
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:15 am

I'm not a fan of the Garma Chang, very clunky and outdated. I've glanced at the new translation. Seems imperfect, but a real improvement. Ponlop Rinpoche was involved in checking it.

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Vasana
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by Vasana » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:45 am

Nicholas Weeks wrote:In 1962 Garma C.C. Chang translated these wondrous songs of Milarepa bodhisattva

Milarepa realized the full kayas of Buddhahood as he himself says in some of his songs so it's more accurate to refer to him as a Buddha and not a Bodhisattva.

Interested to see how the new translation compares to the Chang's.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

udawa
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by udawa » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:26 pm

jkarlins wrote:I'm not a fan of the Garma Chang, very clunky and outdated. I've glanced at the new translation. Seems imperfect, but a real improvement. Ponlop Rinpoche was involved in checking it.
Yes, fair enough JK. Chang's translation certainly has its drawbacks. But his pioneering translation was done...what, 55 years ago or more? You'd hope a more recent effort would be an improvement. Shoulders of giants and all that.
Edwards: You are a philosopher. Dr Johnson: I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.

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jkarlins
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:27 pm

udawa wrote:
jkarlins wrote:I'm not a fan of the Garma Chang, very clunky and outdated. I've glanced at the new translation. Seems imperfect, but a real improvement. Ponlop Rinpoche was involved in checking it.
Yes, fair enough JK. Chang's translation certainly has its drawbacks. But his pioneering translation was done...what, 55 years ago or more? You'd hope a more recent effort would be an improvement. Shoulders of giants and all that.
Totally. And I'm grateful for the Chang, it's something to work with. We're lucky to have that. I'm going to order the new one soon. It's on my list!

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justsit
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by justsit » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:26 pm

Short interview (9 minutes) with Chris Stagg about his new translation. Interesting that he addresses the subject of meter, as well as content - Chris is an accomplished musician, among his many talents.

phpBB [video]

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:02 pm

Never read all of Chang's version, but I will study this new one done by Stagg. About 700pp of Songs, plus glossary, index, bibliography, abridged life of Milarepa and Stagg's Introduction and other appendices.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Hundred Thousand Songs

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:58 pm

There are many recensions, so perhaps that is why Chang only had four verses here even though the song is about the Six Essentials-pp 97-8:
The manifestations of mind outnumber the
myriads of dust-motes
In the infinite rays of sunlight;
The lord-like Yogi knows
The self-nature of these manifestations.

The reality of the true nature of beings
Is neither produced by cause nor by conditions;
The lord-like Yogi knows
The sole truth precisely and positively.

Even when he is faced with the threat
of a hundred spears,
His thorough-knowing View will not be shaken;
Thus the lord-like Yogi naturally subdues
all attachments.

The ever-moving mind is hard to tame
Even when shut up in an iron box;
The lord-like Yogi knows
That all these emanations are illusions.

Stagg gives the final two verses:
The wisdom deities do not abandon the enjoyment of sense pleasures.
Is there a noble yogi who knows that the sixfold collection of consciousnesses are relaxed at ease?

These appearances of the objects of the sixfold collection cannot even be stopped by the Victorious One’s hand.
Is there a noble yogi who knows there is no object within those appearances?
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Nietzsche

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