Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by dzogchungpa » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:Can you think of any contemporary teacher who had 200 students commit suicide based on a misunderstanding?
Good point. :smile:
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weenid
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by weenid » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Hahaha, no, there will always be just as much confusion.
Not if the translator is realized.
Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.

A realized translator is a desiderata, but go ahead and show me one, and then tell me how it is that you know they are realized. And further, if the translator is realized, what is the point of his or her making translations when they can just teach directly from their experience?
Scriptural evidence and teacher's authority showing a realized translator :
" ... ... Exiled to Tsawarong, Vairotsana spread the Dharma and put all the citizens of Tsawarong on the path to enlightenment. He also went to China to meet various scholars. When he returned from exile, everybody was happy, worshipping and prostrating to him, his main disciple Yudra Nyingpo, and Vimalamitra, and honoring him with praise :

A great translator such as you, Vairotsana,
Has definitely never come before and definitely will not come again in the future.
Your knowledge goes from the Tripitaka up to the Great Perfection.
A supreme scholar such as you, Vairotsana,
Has definitely never come before and definitely will not come again in the future.
In the future, whoever just understands colloquial Indian language
Will think they are great translators, but they will not even come close
To a part of a little bit of the knowledge of Vairotsana.
Even though Vairotsana is called a translator, he is actually a sublime scholar.
You Tibetans must know how much you owe to him for Dharma.
In the future, if reverse shastras occur,
Judge them by Vairotsana's translations.
The light of his teachings, you Tibetans,
Can purify the darkness of ignorance.

... ... Without relying on Vairotsana and his original translations, the Buddha's speech and the shastras of sublime beings would not have been complete in Tibet. Even when we just translate banal things from one language to another, it is difficult to achieve the actual meaning. If we translate even a single page of the Buddhist canon, due to our stupidity we build enormous passions higher than Mount Meru, instead of following Vairotsana's dustless sky mind...

The great Ngok Lotsawa Loden Sherab, whose emanation was predicted in the Mula Tantra, which is the same as the Manjushri Root Tantra, praised Vairotsana and other sublime scholars and translators :
Vairotsana's knowledge is as pervasive as the sky.
Kawa Palsek and Chokro Lui Gyaltsen are like the sun and moon.
Rinchen Zangpo is like a dawn star.
Before them, I am like a butterfly.

Even the king of the vidyadharas, Padmasambhava praised Vairotsana saying, 'Vairotsana is the same as me.' "

- Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, pg xii to xiv, introduction : putting the story in historical context, book called The Great Image : The Life Story of Vairochana

Vairotsana made translations because he knew that in the future some translators in the west will translate his translations.

To contextualise and paraphrase the above praise vis-a-vis today's Tibetan-to-English translators, hopefully :
In the future, whoever just understands colloquial Tibetan language
Will think they are great translators, but they will not even come close
To a part of a little bit of the knowledge of Vairotsana.

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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:14 pm

weenid wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:
Not if the translator is realized.
Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.

A realized translator is a desiderata, but go ahead and show me one, and then tell me how it is that you know they are realized. And further, if the translator is realized, what is the point of his or her making translations when they can just teach directly from their experience?
Scriptural evidence and teacher's authority showing a realized translator :
My friend, I was referring to the present day, not the eighth century in Tibet. Of course we all accept that Bagor Vairocana was a realized person. But you do understand that in the end, all such authority depends on your acceptance of it as such, correct?

And of course, citations are not enough. You also need reasoning.
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
weenid wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.

A realized translator is a desiderata, but go ahead and show me one, and then tell me how it is that you know they are realized. And further, if the translator is realized, what is the point of his or her making translations when they can just teach directly from their experience?
Scriptural evidence and teacher's authority showing a realized translator :
My friend, I was referring to the present day, not the eighth century in Tibet. Of course we all accept that Bagor Vairocana was a realized person. But you do understand that in the end, all such authority depends on your acceptance of it as such, correct?

And of course, citations are not enough. You also need reasoning.
I think you'll agree that when the teaching is coming from a text revealed by the guru the blessings are intense. The same is true for a text the teacher has actually realize in practice.

Also I would think that you have at least some degree of realization of these texts just based on my experience of you.

I don't think the early sutras are good example of what we're talking about in texts and blessings related to Vajrayana. Those texts do not talk about unbroken lineage.
Last edited by Crazywisdom on Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:32 pm

Crazywisdom wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
weenid wrote:
Scriptural evidence and teacher's authority showing a realized translator :
My friend, I was referring to the present day, not the eighth century in Tibet. Of course we all accept that Bagor Vairocana was a realized person. But you do understand that in the end, all such authority depends on your acceptance of it as such, correct?

And of course, citations are not enough. You also need reasoning.
I think you'll agree that when the teaching is coming from a text revealed by the girl the blessings are intense.

Also I would think that you have at least some degree of realization of these texts just based on my experience of you.
All I can say for myself is that I have been incredibly fortunate to receive the blessings of many fantastic masters. To them I owe any qualities I may have developed.
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:42 pm

Malcolm wrote:Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.
Buddha taught an internalized version of Srauta.

So you would have to know about Srauta, whether back then or today, to understand what Buddha was teaching.
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:47 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.
Buddha taught an internalized version of Srauta.

So you would have to know about Srauta, whether back then or today, to understand what Buddha was teaching.
Uhuh, so your present theory is that only brahmins can understand Buddhadharma?
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by BuddhaFollower » Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
BuddhaFollower wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.
Buddha taught an internalized version of Srauta.

So you would have to know about Srauta, whether back then or today, to understand what Buddha was teaching.
Uhuh, so your present theory is that only brahmins can understand Buddhadharma?

People can read this, particularly from page 121, and make up their on minds:

http://jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/article/view/76/96
Just recognize the conceptualizing mind.

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by whitestone » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:05 pm

Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

just to give a slightly different view on translation,
how about ‘that the translator be in a state of understanding of the subject as was the writer of the original text ‘. Which gives scope for both poetic and academic according to the style of the translator.

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:36 am

I'm a firm believer in standardized translations.
This is one thing where westerners should look to the Chinese for guidance.
Following Tang Xuan Zang's five rules would be an excellent start.
:soapbox:

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by DGA » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:30 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:36 am
I'm a firm believer in standardized translations.
This is one thing where westerners should look to the Chinese for guidance.
Following Tang Xuan Zang's five rules would be an excellent start.
:soapbox:
Would you mind elaborating on this a bit? I'm not familiar with those five rules.

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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:33 pm

weenid wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:02 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Crazywisdom wrote:
Not if the translator is realized.
Hahahahahaahahahhaha, the Buddha was a buddha, and people were still confused as shit by his teachings, and he taught them directly in their own language.

A realized translator is a desiderata, but go ahead and show me one, and then tell me how it is that you know they are realized. And further, if the translator is realized, what is the point of his or her making translations when they can just teach directly from their experience?
Scriptural evidence and teacher's authority showing a realized translator :...

Vairotsana made translations because he knew that in the future some translators in the west will translate his translations.
I was talking about modern western translators.
To a part of a little bit of the knowledge of Vairotsana.
Vairocana was trained from the time he was a young kid to be a translator.
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:02 pm

DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:30 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:36 am
Following Tang Xuan Zang's five rules would be an excellent start.
Would you mind elaborating on this a bit? I'm not familiar with those five rules.

He said that there are five instances where a word should be left untranslated (literally 五種不翻)

-If the word has multiple meanings (like arhart and bhagavat)

-Esoteric terms like mantras, incantations, etc

-Terms of reverence, if saying the word has some resonance (prajna-paramita, manjushri, amitabha, vairocana)

-Terms with no local equivalent/words for things that don't exist outside of india (no precise english word that really means the exact same thing)
This is why words like yaksha were not translated.

-Words that have been left untranslated by previous translators (in other words there is a precedent) (Following the spirit of this we could also arrive at the conclusions that words like refuge and empowerment have precedent.

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by DGA » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:13 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:02 pm
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:30 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:36 am
Following Tang Xuan Zang's five rules would be an excellent start.
Would you mind elaborating on this a bit? I'm not familiar with those five rules.

He said that there are five instances where a word should be left untranslated (literally 五種不翻)

-If the word has multiple meanings (like arhart and bhagavat)

-Esoteric terms like mantras, incantations, etc

-Terms of reverence, if saying the word has some resonance (prajna-paramita, manjushri, amitabha, vairocana)

-Terms with no local equivalent/words for things that don't exist outside of india (no precise english word that really means the exact same thing)
This is why words like yaksha were not translated.

-Words that have been left untranslated by previous translators (in other words there is a precedent) (Following the spirit of this we could also arrive at the conclusions that words like refuge and empowerment have precedent.
All five seem reasonable and workable to me. I find English translations of Buddhist texts that translate key terms such as Dharma to be problematic because they seem to introduce Problems. Example:

viewtopic.php?t=20370

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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:15 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:02 pm
DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:30 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:36 am
Following Tang Xuan Zang's five rules would be an excellent start.
Would you mind elaborating on this a bit? I'm not familiar with those five rules.

He said that there are five instances where a word should be left untranslated (literally 五種不翻)

-If the word has multiple meanings (like arhart and bhagavat)

-Esoteric terms like mantras, incantations, etc

-Terms of reverence, if saying the word has some resonance (prajna-paramita, manjushri, amitabha, vairocana)

-Terms with no local equivalent/words for things that don't exist outside of india (no precise english word that really means the exact same thing)
This is why words like yaksha were not translated.

-Words that have been left untranslated by previous translators (in other words there is a precedent) (Following the spirit of this we could also arrive at the conclusions that words like refuge and empowerment have precedent.

Tibetans did not follow these rules, they translated everything. Thus, while these may be good guidelines, and I am in agreement with them, there is precedent in Tibetan translation standards for total translation, even names.
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Simon E. » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:55 pm

Which can result in some pretty bizarre renderings, a la Snellgrove.. :smile:
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:59 pm

DGA wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:13 pm
All five seem reasonable and workable to me. I find English translations of Buddhist texts that translate key terms such as Dharma to be problematic because they seem to introduce Problems.
Sure it can easily lead to confusion when there are two texts or two teachers using different words for the same thing. (berzin uses 'safe direction' for refuge)
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:15 pm
Tibetans did not follow these rules, they translated everything. Thus, while these may be good guidelines, and I am in agreement with them, there is precedent in Tibetan translation standards for total translation, even names.
Yes I know that tibetans translated everything and I know that what this thread is talking about tibetan texts, so maybe following tibetan translation rules is the right way to go, but then it raises the challenge of how to translate certain words and because many of these tects are being translated at the same time by different people you'll have several different translations given for the same term.


:soapbox: I mainly advocate for the standardized translations of liturgy. It seems crazy to me that if I memorized in english very common prayers or sutras (heart sutra, 21 taras, amitabha sutra, even the tibetan refuge and dedications) there is almost no chance that I would be able to go and chant with another english speaker who memorized the same prayer because we would have memorized a different translation.
This (and a few other reasons) are the reason english "chanting" :quoteunquote: sounds so terrible (or at best strange).
But again that's me on the soap box :soapbox:

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Malcolm
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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:28 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:59 pm

Yes I know that tibetans translated everything and I know that what this thread is talking about tibetan texts, so maybe following tibetan translation rules is the right way to go, but then it raises the challenge of how to translate certain words and because many of these tects are being translated at the same time by different people you'll have several different translations given for the same term.
Yes, and eventually this will be ironed out. In the meantime, "let a thousand flowers bloom."

:soapbox: I mainly advocate for the standardized translations of liturgy. It seems crazy to me that if I memorized in english very common prayers or sutras (heart sutra, 21 taras, amitabha sutra, even the tibetan refuge and dedications) there is almost no chance that I would be able to go and chant with another english speaker who memorized the same prayer because we would have memorized a different translation.

This is mainly an institutional problem.
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: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:41 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:59 pm

:soapbox: I mainly advocate for the standardized translations of liturgy. It seems crazy to me that if I memorized in english very common prayers or sutras (heart sutra, 21 taras, amitabha sutra, even the tibetan refuge and dedications) there is almost no chance that I would be able to go and chant with another english speaker who memorized the same prayer because we would have memorized a different translation.
I really like it the way it is. It kind of creeps me out when religious organizations get standardized. I like the wild grassroots feel. I guess maybe this is my Catholic upbringing haunting me.

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Re: Keith Dowman's argument for his "interpretive free" translation style

Post by Penor » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:05 pm

Personall I find the translation of Dudjom Rinpoche's hiistory of the nyingma school unreadable. Terms like promulgation make it a chore to read.I hope an alternate translation comes one day. In terms of dzogchen, certain terms a more accurate then others and can give a reader a taste of what is being communicated eg: dang/ reflection.

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