Tibetan translation challenge

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Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:31 am

It is one thing to be able to translated written Tibetan, but does anyone here have competence to tackle the following phonetic renderings of Tibetan?

Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna)


Michael Lewis was able to come up with something - any other volunteers?
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:48 pm

Just to prime the pump, here is what Lewis did with the first phrase:

Tho-ag in zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo

The Potential of Spatiality as the Fundamental Cause [or Causal Ground] slept for seven cycles

Tho-ok = the ‘boundless all’ equivalent to Parmenides apeiron = boundless Tho = above and ok = below (see example of this usage in the Throma sadhana). Tibetan often makes use of two extremes to create a definition, in this case ‘above/below’ giving the meaning of ‘spatiality’.
Zhi gyu = uncaused cause or fundamental cause ( Zhi-ma would negate this)
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:02 pm

Where the heck did that come from?

First off, some of that "Phonetic rendering" doesn't sound at all Tibetan to me...

Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna)

"zhiba" should, I think, be "Zhi Wa." "Tenbrel Chugnyi" should be Tendrel Chu Nyi. And "Yong-grub" phonetically is YongDrub.

Zhi Wa is "peace." Tendrel Chunyi is "12 links of dependent origination."
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:49 pm

Maybe I am wrong about the "phonetic" - these terms were used in the late 19th century when transliteration of Tibetan was not standardized.

The source is very heterodox and I hope to avoid translators refusing to touch it.

Here is the next bit:

Zodmanas zhiba.

Patiently the One Mind peacefully abided

Zhipa = patient Manas = mind in Sanskrit Yeh Zhi = primordial ground or original foundation = Dharmakaya. This would be ‘aja-sakti, the unborn, a Dzogchen term.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby David Reigle » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:49 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Zodmanas zhiba.


"zhiba" should, I think, be "Zhi Wa." "Tenbrel Chugnyi" should be Tendrel Chu Nyi. And "Yong-grub" phonetically is YongDrub.

Zhi Wa is "peace." Tendrel Chunyi is "12 links of dependent origination."


I agree that zhiba should be zhi wa phonetically, meaning "peace," or "quiescence." The preceding zodmanas would be the Tibetan word spelled gzod ma nas. The last two syllables are not the Sanskrit word manas, "mind." Michael Lewis probably made his translation without a chance for prior preparation, as oral translators are often asked to do. This phrase, gzod ma nas zhi ba, is found in several Buddhist sūtras, including the Samādhirāja and the Saṃdhinirmocana. It translates the Sanskrit ādi-śānta, "quiescent from the beginning." I do not know what Michael refers to when he says: "This would be ‘aja-sakti, the unborn, a Dzogchen term."
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:17 pm

David,

If you can give us your rendering of all or part of the words in these slokas, that would be helpful.

So Quiescent from the beginning is how you would translate the 2nd phrase?
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:59 pm

Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna)


"The Fundamental cause slept in the Space (of potentiality?) seven cycles. It was quiescent from the beginning."
Could the next phrase be All Ngo Wo sum??
Kon Chog not= No three jewels
Thyan-kam (no idea!)
La-chohan not- No deity something-or-other ("han" may refer to a stupor or state of stupor)
Tendrel Chu Nyi not= No dependent origination
Dharmakaya Ceased
Tgenchang - (no idea!)
Barnang= inner blazing?
ssa- No idea
Ngovonnyidj= possible Ngo Wo Nyid, or Essence Itself?


I dunno.....it's a mishmash, I think...
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:25 am

Thanks for trying conebeckham!

Lewis' version continues:

All Nyug bosom.

All was in [the bosom of] the Ultimate Natural State.

Nyug is the same as Nyuk. The nyuk that David Reigle is referring to is spelled snug and means quite correctly duration. However gnyug(ma) which is usually short for gnyug ma’i sems means the genuine innate, interrupted ongoing, perpetual, original natural state or nature or the authentic original untouched nature which is virtually synonymous with Dzogchen. It is said to be ‘ma sam gur pay nur lay day’ = inconceivable and ineffable and cannot be an object of intellective consciousness. As Joseph Campbell says "no tongue can soil it with a name." The secondary meaning is of continuously residing or indigenous = Sanskrit nija. ‘Nyuk me sems’ is a synonym for rigpa, the uncontrived untouched natural complete awareness spontaneously present. The original indigenous ‘resident’ of the universe, the mandala of Samantabhadra. The ‘ma’ in gnyugma’ = the motherly underlying empty essence and refers directly to the prajna paramita – the motherly wisdom of the Buddhas. Blavatsky conveys this by her use of the word ‘bosom’ as a poetic metaphor to convey the correct feeling tone for this meaning.


Blavatsky's final gloss of 'all Nyug bosom' was - TIME WAS NOT, FOR IT LAY ASLEEP IN THE INFINITE BOSOM OF DURATION.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby David Reigle » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:48 am

Will wrote:
So Quiescent from the beginning is how you would translate the 2nd phrase?


Yes. An example of how gzod ma nas zhi ba is used can be seen in the 1995 translation of the Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra by John Powers titled Wisdom of Buddha, pp. 102-103, where the Buddha says (three times) that he taught:

"All phenomena are unproduced, unceasing, quiescent from the start, and naturally in a state of nirvāṇa."
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby David Reigle » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:16 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not; Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna)


"The Fundamental cause slept in the Space (of potentiality?) seven cycles. It was quiescent from the beginning."
Could the next phrase be All Ngo Wo sum??
Kon Chog not= No three jewels
Thyan-kam (no idea!)
La-chohan not- No deity something-or-other ("han" may refer to a stupor or state of stupor)
Tendrel Chu Nyi not= No dependent origination
Dharmakaya Ceased
Tgenchang - (no idea!)
Barnang= inner blazing?
ssa- No idea
Ngovonnyidj= possible Ngo Wo Nyid, or Essence Itself?

I dunno.....it's a mishmash, I think...


I again agree with conebeckham, now on his comment about Thyan-kam and Tgenchang: "no idea!" There may be some typographical error with these two words.

Some of the other identifications can, I think, be regarded as certain: Kon Chog, the three jewels; Tendrel Chu Nyi, dependent origination.

For "All Nyug bosom," it seems that "bosom" is the English word.

On "Ssa", I have seen the double "ss" used for initial "s" in some books on Tibetan and Mongolian subjects written in German by Isaac Jacob Schmidt and published in Russia in the early 1800s (e.g., Ssanang Ssetsen, Chungtai dschi, Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen und ihres Fürstenhauses, St. Petersburg, 1829). This German letter "ss", which cannot begin a German word, was apparently used back then to show an initial "s" sound that differed from the normal German "s" sound at the beginning of a word. So the word "ssa" is nothing more than "sa", meaning "earth". The phrase, "Barnang and Ssa," then, is just "sky and earth," where barnang is the word spelled bar snang, "sky, atmosphere, space."

For the whole phrase, "Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj," we apparently have ngo bo nyid, one of the two standard Tibetan translations (along with rang bzhin) of the Sanskrit svabhāva, "inherent nature." Perhaps it would indeed be used in the sense of "essence" here. Otherwise it would be hard to make sense of this phrase.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:44 pm

Here is what Lewis wrote on Barnang:

Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj

The blazing forth of experience and its ground in sheer essentiality was what was.

Barnang = blazing appearance. Nang = the same meaning as Pleroma in Greek = ‘lighting up’ and implying objects of cognition.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Wesley1982 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:51 pm

I have some "handwriting skills" as a scribe, suppose you were a scribe of Gotama Buddha - Im sure you would be expected to know the native language/tongue.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:10 pm

conebeckham wrote:Barnang= inner blazing?



བར་སྣང i.e. the sky. Means the space in front of one, the "middle appearance".

ས་i.e.earth, hence sky and earth.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:51 am

Lewis' effort continues:

Konch-hog not;

There was no separate existence of Deity;

Konchok – when the Moravian missionaries translated the Christian Bible into Tibetan they used the word ‘Konchog’ when translating ‘God’. It could be translated as ‘supreme superiors’
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:08 am

Out of naïve curiosity I went poking around in the murk and found this:
Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo.
The Eternal Parent, wrapped in her ever invisible robes, had slumbered once again for seven eternities.

Zodmanas zhiba. All Nyug bosom.
Time was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of duration.

Konch-hog not;
Universal mind was not,

Thyan-Kam not;
for there were no Ah-Hi to contain it;

Lha-Chohan not;
The seven ways to bliss were not.

Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
The great causes of misery were not,

Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang and Ssa in Ngovonyidj;
for there was no one to produce and get ensnared by them

alone Tho-og Yinsin in night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
Darkness alone filled the Boundless All, for Father, Mother, and Son were once more One, and the Son had not awakened yet for the new wheel and his pilgrimage thereon;

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/a ... M9pQVg6-EJ

No matter how it is translated, it still sounds suspiciously like subconscious babble packaged as profound wisdom (if there is such a thing).

I feel a peculiar urge to go and scrub myself clean...
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby Will » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:21 am

For a goat it would be a 'peculiar' and rare event - please stay downwind.
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:25 am

Will wrote:For a goat it would be a 'peculiar' and rare event - please stay downwind.

:applause:
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Re: Tibetan translation challenge

Postby David Reigle » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:23 pm

Will wrote:Just to prime the pump, here is what Lewis did with the first phrase:

Tho-ag in zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo

The Potential of Spatiality as the Fundamental Cause [or Causal Ground] slept for seven cycles

Tho-ok = the ‘boundless all’ equivalent to Parmenides apeiron = boundless Tho = above and ok = below (see example of this usage in the Throma sadhana). Tibetan often makes use of two extremes to create a definition, in this case ‘above/below’ giving the meaning of ‘spatiality’.
Zhi gyu = uncaused cause or fundamental cause ( Zhi-ma would negate this)


The suggestion of tho-ok as the words spelled mtho, "above" or "high," and 'og, "below" or "low," is probably the best hypothesis that can be made for this word. However, I do not find it convincing, despite the reference to an actual usage of this term in the Throma sadhana (which I have not seen). This would appear to be a specific Tibetan usage, while with gzod ma nas zhi ba we have a phrase that is specifically a canonical translation term for Sanskrit. So I would expect tho-ag to be a translation of a Sanskrit term. But I have not found any such term in the large Tibetan-Sanskrit dictionaries now available (by Lokesh Chandra, 12 volumes, plus 7 supplementary volumes; and by J. S. Negi, 16 volumes).

As suggested for zhi gyu, this probably would be the two words spelled gzhi, "basis, foundation, fundamental," and rgyu, "cause." We would have to find this compound term in use somewhere. The closest I have seen is these two words connected by "or" (Tibetan 'am), gzhi 'am rgyu, in Jamgon Kongtrul's commentary on Maitreya's Uttaratantra.
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