Astus wrote:Russian seems like a good choice to have access to materials less known among Western scholars. On the other hand, the traditionally Buddhist people in the Russian Federation speak different languages, although they also know Russian. But if your goal is to have access to a large amount of Buddhist academic works, Chinese or Japanese sounds like a better choice, but perhaps less exotic in the area of Buddhist studies.
Check out this Russian language Buddhist forum: Буддийский форум (you can even find Buddhist books in Russian there).
Gwiwer wrote:As far as the primary texts of Tibetan Buddhism go, it's obvious that one would be best served by learning Tibetan if your desire is to read, study, and understand those texts. This doesn't really impact my decision much though as those texts aren't my main concern. Those texts are so well known in the west that they've been translated and re-translated probably hundreds of times into English in the past two centuries. While I wish I could read them in the original Tibetan, I'm more than happy to make do with the English translations for now and have no reason to mistrust them or think they are fundamentally lacking somehow.
Gwiwer wrote:One thing I love about Buddhism is that it has a long history of skepticism and cautious inquiry dating all of the way back to the Buddha himself. As such, I'm not getting myself in too deep because I really don't know what the future will hold. A year from now I might be practicing Tibetan Buddhism, or Zen, or Theravada, or Pure Land Buddhism, or maybe an entirely different religion altogether. Until I get a better idea of where I'm heading with this, I'm trying to keep my options open and not get myself in too deep. That's one of the advantages of learning a language like Russian or Japanese over Tibetan. If I eventually decide Tibetan Buddhism isn't right for me, I could use my knowledge of that language for other purposes, but I can't really think of any practical purposes Tibetan would serve me other than having knowledge of a fairly interesting and rare language.
I'm endlessly fascinated by languages
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