gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

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gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 21, 2014 8:25 pm

I came across a discussion regarding gdangs and mdangs some time ago and it doesn't seem as if there was any solid consensus as to the meaning of these terms. I had always assumed these variants were orthographic in nature as suggested below, however that does not seem to be the case.

On one hand both terms appear to be denoting a glow, dynamism or radiance, yet on the other hand there seem to be subtle distinctions in the meaning and treatment of that radiance. The suggestion that gdangs means "tone, pitch, tune or melody" appears to fall in line with the idea of 'sound', in sound, light and rays. Per Longchenpa, gdangs is said to be an outwardly (or externalized) radiance (or display) [phyi gsal], as opposed to mdangs which is said to be an internalized glow [nang gsal]. How does this internal-external dichotomy coincide with rol pa and rtsal?

-----------------------

Here are the different views expressed in the blog:
(http://philologia-tibetica.blogspot.com/2012/08/blog-post_7033.html)

"གདངས། མདངས།
Sometimes it is not easy to keep the meanings of gdangs and mdangs apart. But perhaps we can live with this distinction: dgangs is vocal or audial impulse or dynamism and hence it could mean 'tune, melody, lyrics, etc.' whereas mdangs is optical or visual impulse and hence is connected with 'colour, shimmer, glow, etc.' But then what do we do with terms such as rig gdangs or rig pa’i gdangs? Perhaps gdangs in this context is to be understood in the sense of 'impulse, pulse, dynamism, impetus.'"


And the responses:

    (i) "I don't know, but I always thought that it was just a spelling preference, except of course when you're reading Longchenpa. For him the mdangs is inward radiance and the gdangs is outward radiation, right? Do you think other writers outside Longchenpa's tradition make this distinction? Is there a pre-Longchenpa background? Do you think dwangs/dwangs-ma is somehow meaningfully implicated in these other two forms? Sorry, today I'm more question than suggestion."

    (ii) "I have assumed that for most Tibetan writers, gdangs and mdangs would not be simply orthographic variants but that gdangs is always related with voice/sound whereas mdangs with brilliance (inner or outer) and thus connected with colour or glow. I did not know of the existence of an inner–outer distinction. So we find sgra/skad/ngag/dbyangs/gzhas/bred gdangs (cf. mgur len pa’i gdangs), all of which are recorded in the Tshig mdzod chen mo. That mdangs has to do with glow can be seen in the phrase: dkar la dmar ba’i mdangs chags pa 'a tinge of red formed on [the base of] white [colour].' See also dkar/dmar/’od/bkrag/gzi mdangs, etc."

    (iii) "Not to answer my own question, but I look in the Negi dictionary and see that mdangs was used to translate Sanskrit ojas and rajas — the fiery fury of the human spirit — and gdangs is not used for those words, but rather Sanskrit words that have to do with tune or melody. But what does this have to do with Longchenpa's meanings?"

    (iv) "So this supports our understanding that mdangs has to do with 'radiance,' 'brilliance,' 'flare,' or 'charisma' whereas gdangs with melody. In the rDzogs-chen context, I tend to think that gdangs is quasi-synonymous with rtsal inasmuch as rig pa’i rtsal and rig pa’i gdangs too seem to be quasi-synonymous although some rDzogs-chen exegetes would insist on making a distinction between the two. So I think it would be justified to be understand gdangs in the rDzogs-chen context as 'dynamism' or 'impetus.'"

    (v) "You can find some Longchenpa examples in an article by Daniel Scheidegger in RET —

    http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/colle ... _16_02.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

    He could have derived his interpretations from Guenther's Longchenpa, I suppose, but here gdangs much more than mdangs, has to do with light radiation outward. Gdangs is used with visual, not audial, contexts or metaphors. Let me look in Germano's dissertation... He discusses it on p. 866, in his entry headed 'dynamism.' He says, 'It should be kept in mind that Longchenpa strictly differentiates between "glow" (mDangs) and "radiation" (gDangs), with the former signifying a non-manifest internal glowing associated with "internal radiance" (Nang gSal), and the latter signifying externally manifest radiation into actualized forms associated with "external radiance" (Phyir gSal).'

    Does that take us anywhere interesting? I was kind of thinking that gdangs can have a technical musicological meaning when you are talking about music, but a different meaning in other contexts, like Dzogchen especially..."
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Re: gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 21, 2014 8:29 pm

A few other questions:

Which is the proper Wylie transliteration for 'dang', in the context of the three energies: dang, rol pa and rtsal [gdangs or mdangs]? Because I have seen both used in that context.

Which [gdangs or mdangs] is the vital essence (dang) spoken of in Tibetan medicine?

How about this third term 'dwangs'? Is dwangs simply an orthographic variant of one of the above terms?

When Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche makes a statement such as "The dang of emptiness is rigpa", which variant [gdangs or mdangs] is he using?
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Re: gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

Postby Malcolm » Wed May 21, 2014 8:33 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:A few other questions:

Which is the proper Wylie transliteration for 'dang', in the context of the three energies: dang, rol pa and rtsal [gdangs or mdangs]? Because I have seen both used in that context.

Which [gdangs or mdangs] is the vital essence (dang) spoken of in Tibetan medicine?

How about this third term 'dwangs'? Is dwangs simply an orthographic variant of one of the above terms?

When Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche makes a statement such as "The dang of emptiness is rigpa", which variant [gdangs or mdangs] is he using?


1) gdangs
2) mdangs, it is a translation of ojas.
3) dwangs ma is the nutriment, it means refined essence.
4) gdangs.
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Re: gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 21, 2014 8:46 pm

Malcolm wrote:
1) gdangs
2) mdangs, it is a translation of ojas.
3) dwangs ma is the nutriment, it means refined essence.
4) gdangs.


Thanks!

Is there anything to the internal-external dichotomy (in relation to these terms) as suggested by the Longchenpa references above? Or does gdangs account for the radiance in general, and mdangs (as the ojas) is therefore unrelated in that context?
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Re: gDangs And mDangs: Differences In Meaning?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed May 21, 2014 9:05 pm

Some entries from Tony Duff's glossary for "Gampopa's Mahamudra":

Offput, gdangs: A general Tibetan term meaning that which is given off by something else, for example, the sound that comes from a loudspeaker. In Mahamudra and Great Completion, it the general term used to refer to what is given off by the emptiness factor of the essence of mind. Emptiness is the empty condition of the essence of mind, like space. However, that emptiness has liveliness and liveliness comes off it as compassion, and all the other qualities of enlightened mind, and, equally, all the apparatus of dualistic mind. All of this is called its offput. Note that the Great Completion teachings have a special word that is a more refined version of this term. See “complexion” for that.

Complexion, mdangs: a special term of Great Completion. It is related to the more general term “offput” used in both Mahamudra and Great Completion q.v. However, it is a refined term of Great Completion alone. It conveys not just the sense of what is given off by the emptiness factor of mind but adds the sense of the complexion of the emptiness or, you could also say, its lustre.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
If we have to have a soul, it might as well be vidya, it is after all, permanent, unconditioned, a knower, stainless, and free from the three realms. But If we don't have to have one, vidya still has these characteristics. It is our essenceless essence. - a certain Gemini
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