Sunday, August 10, 2008

HHDL's recent comment on studying Tibetan

If any of you all were in Madison you might remember this. During the Q/A one day, someone asked His Holiness about studying Tibetan. He advised him/her "not to waste one's time", that "there were plenty of good English translations." This seemed to contrast with so many other times I've heard him or other lamas emphasize the value of studying the Tibetan language, so the next day I got a question through: (not exact words) "Your Holiness, with due respect, the other day you advised someone that studying Tibetan might not be his/her best use of time. Is it not also true that studying Tibetan helps preserve the language and the culture, and enhance one's understanding of the teachings? His answer, again, not a perfect quote: "Certainly if the first questioner was Tibetan, then of course, you must learn to read and write Tibetan. If the questioner is a westerner, then it depends. For the serious and more scholarly dharma student, then yes, especially if the student is interested in learning from the Nalanda tradition. Though there are many good translations available, even in Chinese, it is my opinion that the Tibetan translations are far superior, and it would be of great benefit to the dharma student to study these in the Tibetan language."

I was glad I asked, glad he answered, too-I know that for myself, after over 3 decades of dharma study, since I've been studying Tibetan, I think and feel like the teachings are unveiling to me in a much more holographic, dimensional way, even though my brain is a brick at times.  A big special thanks to David  for being such a fun, knowledgeable, and systematic teacher. I'm really loving his teaching style. 

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