PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:59 am

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions.

In a similar sense, I wonder with Tibetan if oral skills are ultimately so important. What if you're from Mongolia, but read Tibetan fluently? Are you any less of a scholar than Lhasa-Tibetan speakers reading the same classical texts?


Linguistically yes, unless that Mongolian speaks Tibetan.

The necessity of oral Tibetan for Tibetan translation and scholarship, that's a huge subject, and I can direct to some links, but my feeling is that yes, it is ideal as a scholar, and pretty much necessary as a translator. A lot of translators who don't speak Tibetan are going to be offended by that, but it's really the truth. And most Tibetan scholars and lamas would agree. There are several reasons. The main one is that if you don't understand something in a text, then how are you going to ask questions about it? By just guessing? I think that's often what usually happens -- translators taking their best guesses. They aren't able to ask a Tibetan scholar about their questions or doubts. So that's the main reason. A lot of English translations are full of mistakes because the translators don't know how to speak Tibetan well enough -- this is a fact. In fact probably the majority of translators in the West need to take 1-3 years of Tibetan classes before they do anything else, in my opinion. Other reasons are that literary Tibetan is very similar to spoken Tibetan, a lot more similar than most people think. It's like the similarity between Middle English/Shakespeare and Modern English. It's mostly mutually comprehensible to someone who knows both well, and the grammar is very similar. So, if you don't know how to speak the language, then how are you going to know how to put the Tibetan into an English register that makes sense and sound good? Of course you can understand the literary grammar well enough, but without knowing how that relates to spoken Tibetan -- and how literary would be "translated" into spoken Tibetan -- you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle. There are other reasons but I'll leave you with those, which if you think about well should be convincing.

As for Classical Chinese, I don't know if what you say is accurate or not, but I would imagine that knowing modern Chinese would help bundles and that many people would say that it's fairly necessary. I'm talking about translation or serious scholarship, not just reading something for fun or for one's practice -- which is fine even in the case of Tibetan if you don't know the spoken language.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Huifeng » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:16 am

Knowing Mandarin and maybe even a southern dialect or two will help a lot in reading classical Chinese in general. Chinese scholarship was well below the Japanese during much of the 20th century simply because China was almost in a perpetual state of war, and was almost unable to do anything in this area. That's now history. Chinese scholars are now in general relying less and less on Japanese scholarship, and now starting to correct mistakes that they believe the Japanese made in understanding Chinese Buddhism. This includes reading Chinese texts. In another decade or two, this will become more and more obvious. How much is seen in the Anglophonic world of scholarship is a different matter, and will be another few decades behind that. More and more young scholars of Chinese Buddhism are going directly to China, Taiwan or the like, rather than Japan, and rightly so. Knowing Mandarin will definitely be a big help in reading classical Buddhist Chinese, that is for sure. I've seen this many, many times for myself.

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Clarence » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:43 am

Sherab Zangpo,

I remember you from your Yahoo days. Glad to see you landed on your feet.

I disagree with you on needing colloquial skills to be a scholar or translator. Look at Malcolm. You also need to know excellent English.

As for academia, there is a whole lot more required to be a good academic than just your knowledge of Tibetan. The knowledge of Tibetan of PhD students is not that great. They will learn as they go along. Critical thinking, writing, doing research are all much more important. I say that as someone whose wife was in the best PhD program in the US and has many friends who did their PhDs there (all in Tibetan studies).
Also, if you say you are the best translator under 32 in all Asia, you will get laughed out of the room. Not because it might not be true but because it is not that important and because it looks so arrogant that most professors won't want to work with you. Of course, that attitude brought back some memories from your old Yahoo days so maybe I am not too objective.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:09 am

Clarence wrote:Sherab Zangpo,

I remember you from your Yahoo days. Glad to see you landed on your feet.

I disagree with you on needing colloquial skills to be a scholar or translator. Look at Malcolm. You also need to know excellent English.

As for academia, there is a whole lot more required to be a good academic than just your knowledge of Tibetan. The knowledge of Tibetan of PhD students is not that great. They will learn as they go along. Critical thinking, writing, doing research are all much more important. I say that as someone whose wife was in the best PhD program in the US and has many friends who did their PhDs there (all in Tibetan studies).
Also, if you say you are the best translator under 32 in all Asia, you will get laughed out of the room. Not because it might not be true but because it is not that important and because it looks so arrogant that most professors won't want to work with you. Of course, that attitude brought back some memories from your old Yahoo days so maybe I am not too objective.


My Yahoo days were well over 6 years ago.

You are free to disagree, but you probably don't know what you are talking about, frankly. Also, I'd rather not get into discussing particular people publicly. I will only say that most of the translators that you probably think are great have many serious flaws, which are often rooted in their lack of colloquial Tibetan skills. That is not to say they are bad translators or not good scholars. Actually though, I'd rather not turn this into a discussion of this issue, since it's a side-track. I merely stated my opinion.

I was not implying that "just a knowledge of good Tibetan" was necessary. I agree that there are a lot of other important factors other than language skills, that's obvious, but my comment there was just that, a comment.

I think I'd rather not have opened this can of worms.

I would not tell anyone that I am the best translator under the age of 32 in public or even anywhere else aside from this forum, where I perhaps wrongly assumed that people would be discerning enough to see my intention. Of course that is not something I would tell people other than in a very casual and informal way -- also hey, we all have our own perceptions of what seems arrogant or not. In my world, talking yourself up a bit in order to clarify something in casual format is not all that bad, but it's not something I would do in anything academic or formal. The fact that you would make such an issue out of this in the way you did seems quite strange to me, but again everyone's different.

Again I don't really want to get into any other issues aside from the one at hand. I have my opinions which slipped out during the discussion but I'd prefer to just stay focused. I don't have the time to engage in heated debates about subtle issues with people who want to fry me for just stating my opinions and trying to clarify something. I'm not here to play ego games or engage in some passive-aggressive American-Western intellectual banter with people who often don't really know what they are talking about or have a chip on their shoulder.

So I would respectfully ask people to not digress from the main subject here, I really don't have the time. Thank you.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:43 am

Huifeng wrote:Knowing Mandarin and maybe even a southern dialect or two will help a lot in reading classical Chinese in general.


It will help, but it isn't necessary.

Japanese has an added advantage of having preserved archaic pronunciations. There are often multiple on-yomi readings to a single character:

    Go 吳 – Readings from before the 7th / 8th centuries. Possibly from the Korean peninsula or southern China. Often used in Buddhist texts.
    Kan 漢 – Readings from the mid Tang Dynasty (618-907). Generally reflect the pronunciation of Chang'an 長安.
    唐 – Readings from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Often used in the Zen school. Here 唐 refers to China rather than the Tang Dynasty.


It is useful because you can detect rhymes in ancient texts a bit easier when you know the approximate ancient readings.


Chinese scholars are now in general relying less and less on Japanese scholarship, and now starting to correct mistakes that they believe the Japanese made in understanding Chinese Buddhism. This includes reading Chinese texts. In another decade or two, this will become more and more obvious.


Maybe, maybe not. Japanese scholarship is constantly evolving, too, but it'd take awhile for the Chinese to produce the same level and quantity of scholarship that the Japanese have done over the course of a century or more (academic studies of Buddhism in Japan starts in the late 19th century).

More and more young scholars of Chinese Buddhism are going directly to China, Taiwan or the like, rather than Japan, and rightly so.


Naw, the true heirs to Tang Dynasty Buddhism are found in Japan and maybe Korea, not China or Taiwan. The Buddhism you find in Taiwan especially is so heavily reformed and influenced by Catholicism and notions of "modernity" that you'd be hard pressed to really call it a decent reflection of even Qing era Buddhism (Humanistic Buddhism is an entirely modern creation for example).

All the cement temples, plastic buddhas, western style wedding ceremonies, emphasis on modern masters and widespread disregard for past artistic and ritual traditions demonstrates clearly that modern Chinese Buddhism in general chucked out so much of their heritage so as to render it a totally new development. You see a kind of Neo-Buddhism in some cases, which reinterprets the past to justify and legitimize newly constructed paradigms.

They might have 16th or 17th century ritual manuals from Mt. Baohua, but in Japan they got manuals from Tang China. Japan still preserves in fine detail Tang era architecture, oldschool Chinese sculpting, archaic ceremonies from the continent and has a strong reverence for past masters. They'll put their portraits on the wall without anyone from the last 700 years. It is very different from what you see in China and Taiwan, where a lot of times it is just 20th century figures celebrated and maybe a glimpse of Bodhidharma or Linji.

In terms of textual studies, Japan preserved a lot more than China ever could. The Chinese had to re-import from Japan a lot of texts they had lost. There's plenty more hidden in archives in Japan, too. The library at Todai-ji has countless handwritten manuscripts, many going back to the Heian and even Nara period.

That's why if you wanted to study anything up to the Song period, you'd do best to study in Japan. If you wanted to study ancient East Asian Buddhist art especially, hands down you could only go to Japan for that realistically. You don't find much of this in Greater China anymore:

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Clarence » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:46 am

sherabzangpo wrote:My Yahoo days were well over 6 years ago.

Yes, mine too. That's why I am happy to see you landed on your feet and are doing well.

You are free to disagree, but you probably don't know what you are talking about, frankly. Also, I'd rather not get into discussing particular people publicly. I will only say that most of the translators that you probably think are great have many serious flaws, which are often rooted in their lack of colloquial Tibetan skills. That is not to say they are bad translators or not good scholars. Actually though, I'd rather not turn this into a discussion of this issue, since it's a side-track. I merely stated my opinion.

See, if you want to become an academic, don't make so many assumptions without knowing a single thing about me. I studies both colloquial and classical Tibetan. I can tell you honestly that I am probably the worst translator under 32. Also, you have no idea who I consider good translators or whether I even read much translations.

I was not implying that "just a knowledge of good Tibetan" was necessary. I agree that there are a lot of other important factors other than language skills, that's obvious, but my comment there was just that, a comment.

Okay.

I think I'd rather not have opened this can of worms.

Once the cat is out of the bag...

I would not tell anyone that I am the best translator under the age of 32 in public or even anywhere else aside from this forum, where I perhaps wrongly assumed that people would be discerning enough to see my intention.

Discerning someone's intention through a forum is very difficult.

Of course that is not something I would tell people other than in a very casual and informal way

The fact remains thus that you yourself believe it to be true.

--
also hey, we all have our own perceptions of what seems arrogant or not. In my world, talking yourself up a bit in order to clarify something in casual format is not all that bad, but it's not something I would do in anything academic or formal.

Saying out loud that you are the best at something (without providing proof) is considered arrogant by any and all counts. I guess I just can't fathom any time or place where someone says to someone else that they are the best at something. Unless they want to silence their questioning opponent. Or Wallstreet. There that attitude might bring some benefit to oneself. However, one would still need to prove oneself.

The fact that you would make such an issue out of this in the way you did seems quite strange to me, but again everyone's different.

Someone called it an absurd statement so it seems I am not the only taking issue with it.

Again I don't really want to get into any other issues aside from the one at hand. I have my opinions which slipped out during the discussion but I'd prefer to just stay focused. I don't have the time to engage in heated debates about subtle issues with people who want to fry me for just stating my opinions and trying to clarify something. I'm not here to play ego games or engage in some passive-aggressive American-Western intellectual banter with people who often don't really know what they are talking about or have a chip on their shoulder.

See, there you go again. How do you know I don't know what I am talking about? Seems to me you don't want to have your opinion of yourself challenged. You want your carefully constructed image of the best translator in town to remain in tact. So far, I don't think you have anything on Yegyal who is a translator himself as well. I frankly prefer his stuff to yours but that could be content-related.

So I would respectfully ask people to not digress from the main subject here, I really don't have the time. Thank you.

Fortunately this is still a free forum where we can respond as we see fit. Don't think I made any ad-homs. If so, feel free to report and the mods will do their job.

Best of luck nonetheless. I hope you will become a better practitioner than translator (which means you will be a Buddha :anjali: ).

P.S. all this said, I do have a lot of respect that you actually did it and just moved to India and made it work.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:58 am

sherabzangpo wrote: The main one is that if you don't understand something in a text, then how are you going to ask questions about it? By just guessing?


Well, with classical Chinese if I really can't understand what the text is saying I refer to commentaries, which usually exist. Sometimes very obscure vocabulary requires cross reference across the whole canon where I then identify the contexts in which the term is used. One time I had to start looking through Ayurveda information to identify what was being referred to exactly.

It is stuff like that that even native Chinese readers will not know off the top of their heads, even well-read scholars.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:12 am

In terms of Sherab Zangpo's claims, for all I know they could very well be true- since I have not listened to his work I have no idea. His texts are of high quality from what I have seen (my strength is interpretation rather than written-and I still consider myself very much to be in training, but from what I do know his written work seems to be excellent).

However, there are many AMAZING translators working in India/Nepal and elsewhere in Asia. Off the top of my head I can think of Michelle Martin (translates for HH Karmapa and Gyaltsab Rinpoche among others), Ven.David Karma Chophel (HH Karmapa, Thrangu Rinpoche),Ven. Tenzin Namdak (in his 15th year of Geshe studies at Sera Je, translates for many Gelug lamas in S. Asia and Singapore), Claire Barde (Khandro-la among others), Ven. Lhundup Damcho (HH Karmapa, Tai Situ Rinpoche), Ven. Damchoe Wangmo (graduate of the nun Shedra attached to Namdroling, translates at the Palyul Centre in Nepal), Ven. Bob Miller/Losang Zopa (Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dzogchen Master) and several others. T

The above are all fantastic and I have at least some idea of the quality because I have listened to them. If Sherab la is in the same league, I can only rejoice.

As to any perceived defects in Sherab Zangpo's character, two things. Firstly, in North America (USA and to a lesser extent, Canada, where I am from) people of my generation were taught that to secure opportunities one needs to be insanely confident. So what you perceive as rude might actually just Sherab-la thinking he is being confident and explaining his situation. From living in Asia and Europe the last 9 years, I have learned the low key approach (plus I had self-confidence issues growing up).

Secondly, Sherab is under the care of some excellent teachers in Dharamsala including Geshe Lobsag Dragpa at Namgyal whom I know personally. Do not worry, they are taking excellent care of him and will guide him in character development if at all necessary, we don't need to worry. At the same time, I can see how his words could be quite off-putting.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:20 pm

sherabzangpo wrote:My Yahoo days were well over 6 years ago.


Yes, mine too. That's why I am happy to see you landed on your feet and are doing well.


Thank you.
You are free to disagree, but you probably don't know what you are talking about, frankly. Also, I'd rather not get into discussing particular people publicly. I will only say that most of the translators that you probably think are great have many serious flaws, which are often rooted in their lack of colloquial Tibetan skills. That is not to say they are bad translators or not good scholars. Actually though, I'd rather not turn this into a discussion of this issue, since it's a side-track. I merely stated my opinion.


See, if you want to become an academic, don't make so many assumptions without knowing a single thing about me. I studies both colloquial and classical Tibetan. I can tell you honestly that I am probably the worst translator under 32. Also, you have no idea who I consider good translators or whether I even read much translations.


Fair enough. Sorry for making assumptions about you, it wasn't mean to be personal. I actually wanted to erase that part.

I was not implying that "just a knowledge of good Tibetan" was necessary. I agree that there are a lot of other important factors other than language skills, that's obvious, but my comment there was just that, a comment.


Okay.


Right, so anyway this discussion is not really about any of that stuff.

I think I'd rather not have opened this can of worms.


Once the cat is out of the bag...


I should learn to be less open with my opinions obviously.
I would not tell anyone that I am the best translator under the age of 32 in public or even anywhere else aside from this forum, where I perhaps wrongly assumed that people would be discerning enough to see my intention.


Discerning someone's intention through a forum is very difficult.


True. But since this was me asking for advice about PhD programs and not an advertisement, it should have been fairly obvious that I am not saying this to brag and boast but rather to clarify for those who wanted to advise me.
Of course that is not something I would tell people other than in a very casual and informal way


The fact remains thus that you yourself believe it to be true.


Not really. It's just something I said to give people an idea of where I'm at.

also hey, we all have our own perceptions of what seems arrogant or not. In my world, talking yourself up a bit in order to clarify something in casual format is not all that bad, but it's not something I would do in anything academic or formal.


Saying out loud that you are the best at something (without providing proof) is considered arrogant by any and all counts. I guess I just can't fathom any time or place where someone says to someone else that they are the best at something. Unless they want to silence their questioning opponent. Or Wallstreet. There that attitude might bring some benefit to oneself. However, one would still need to prove oneself.


I guess that's generally true, but to jump all over me for saying something like that seems rather defensive and aggressive. Point taken though, and lesson learned.
The fact that you would make such an issue out of this in the way you did seems quite strange to me, but again everyone's different.


Someone called it an absurd statement so it seems I am not the only taking issue with it.


Yeah, but like I said everyone's different, a lot of people would just take it as face value and put it in context, not have some kind of negative reaction to it.

Again I don't really want to get into any other issues aside from the one at hand. I have my opinions which slipped out during the discussion but I'd prefer to just stay focused. I don't have the time to engage in heated debates about subtle issues with people who want to fry me for just stating my opinions and trying to clarify something. I'm not here to play ego games or engage in some passive-aggressive American-Western intellectual banter with people who often don't really know what they are talking about or have a chip on their shoulder.

See, there you go again. How do you know I don't know what I am talking about? Seems to me you don't want to have your opinion of yourself challenged. You want your carefully constructed image of the best translator in town to remain in tact. So far, I don't think you have anything on Yegyal who is a translator himself as well. I frankly prefer his stuff to yours but that could be content-related.


I don't know that you don't know what you are talking about. Sorry. But it's not about you. I don't care about anyone challenging me, since I wasn't trying to prop myself up but make a general kind of statement to help those who wanted to advise me on a question I had. I don't have any carefully constructed image of myself being the best translator in town. I also don't care if you think anyone is better than me, which I never denied. Again it's off the subject and seems kind of like a waste of time and non-virtuous.

So I would respectfully ask people to not digress from the main subject here, I really don't have the time. Thank you.


Fortunately this is still a free forum where we can respond as we see fit. Don't think I made any ad-homs. If so, feel free to report and the mods will do their job.


True, but I also have the right to tell people when I think they are being frivolous and antagonistic.

Best of luck nonetheless. I hope you will become a better practitioner than translator (which means you will be a Buddha :anjali: ).

P.S. all this said, I do have a lot of respect that you actually did it and just moved to India and made it work.


Thanks. I have the same wishes for everyone.
And thanks. Again my point in mentioning my experiences (including what I've done in India) was only to tell those interested in advising me about my background.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:56 pm

In terms of Sherab Zangpo's claims, for all I know they could very well be true- since I have not listened to his work I have no idea. His texts are of high quality from what I have seen (my strength is interpretation rather than written-and I still consider myself very much to be in training, but from what I do know his written work seems to be excellent).


Thank you. But I'm not really making claims, again the point was to give people who cared to advise me a better idea of my (perceived) level. It's not like I came here to brag. Thanks for the kudos. I still have a long way to go though.

However, there are many AMAZING translators working in India/Nepal and elsewhere in Asia. Off the top of my head I can think of Michelle Martin (translates for HH Karmapa and Gyaltsab Rinpoche among others), Ven.David Karma Chophel (HH Karmapa, Thrangu Rinpoche),Ven. Tenzin Namdak (in his 15th year of Geshe studies at Sera Je, translates for many Gelug lamas in S. Asia and Singapore), Claire Barde (Khandro-la among others), Ven. Lhundup Damcho (HH Karmapa, Tai Situ Rinpoche), Ven. Damchoe Wangmo (graduate of the nun Shedra attached to Namdroling, translates at the Palyul Centre in Nepal), Ven. Bob Miller/Losang Zopa (Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dzogchen Master) and several others.

The above are all fantastic and I have at least some idea of the quality because I have listened to them. If Sherab la is in the same league, I can only rejoice.


Thanks for mentioning those good translators, it's nice to show appreciation for them. However, this isn't really relevant to what I said. I didn't say that I was the best translator in Asia, I said I might be the best translator under the age of 32 (again, just as a way of giving a better idea of where I'm at), meaning that there are plenty of people older than me who are better, including many of the people you mentioned. My friend Ven. Bob Miller/Lozang Zopa is certainly one of them, he's 37 and has been studying for about 14-15 years, whereas I'm 31 and have only been studying for about 8. I believe all of those people you mentioned are significantly older than me, most of them in their late 30s at least. I really am not that familiar with any of their work, but given their studies I am sure they are quite good. I have my doubts about Claire Bard, but I may be wrong. The reason I say this is that I don't know any translators younger than me who are better. Actually there aren't many genuinely competent translators younger than me in general. In Tibetan-French or another language, maybe, but Tibetan-English, not that I know of. There is one guy from Rangjung Yeshe, Zach Beer, who is 1-2 weeks older than me and I think he is probably pretty good, but likely not as good in colloquial or literary, overall. So he is the closest contender. This whole thing seems rather silly and I do recognize the humor of making such statements, but again it was not meant to boast but to explain. As for being in the same league, I'd say at the least that I'm close, although most of the people you mentioned certainly have a better knowledge of Buddhist philosophy than me and are more experienced/older.

Another point is that, the skills necessary for being a truly excellent translator are actually quite hard to fulfill. And the standards for Tibetan translators are rather low, mainly due to the lack of opportunities for good study, and lack of wide-spread knowledge of what is really necessary. A lot of people think that if you can just read or speak Tibetan and know a little bit about Dharma that's enough. Not talking about the people you mentioned, but in general. I don't even think that I really fulfill some of the necessary qualities really, especially in terms of Buddhist philosophy. They include many aspects, such as fluency in colloquial, literary, and Dharma/classical Tibetan, a broad Dharma knowledge covering a lot of subjects and philosophy, the skills of translation itself, excellent English, public speaking skills for oral translators, writing skills for textual translators, a whole lot of experience in translating, an ability to read Tibetan in a casual and fluid way with good comprehension, and so on. In reality there may not be even one translator working today who is ideal in all of these regards, although a few do come close. I would argue that Lozang Zopa does fulfill most of these requirements and is probably the best translator under the age of 38 :cheers:, but I don't know about everyone, such as some of the ones you mentioned. Obviously there are a lot of pretty good ones over the age of 40-50.

By the way, these aren't just my opinions but those of most of my colleagues in India. If anyone disagrees, I think we should form a separate thread to discuss those issues.

As to any perceived defects in Sherab Zangpo's character, two things. Firstly, in North America (USA and to a lesser extent, Canada, where I am from) people of my generation were taught that to secure opportunities one needs to be insanely confident. So what you perceive as rude might actually just Sherab-la thinking he is being confident and explaining his situation. From living in Asia and Europe the last 9 years, I have learned the low key approach (plus I had self-confidence issues growing up).


True, there might be some American habitual tendencies there. But again I am sorry if I came off as arrogant, it wasn't my intention and it's not like I really think I am "all that" or "so great". I just was trying to help people get a better idea of where I am at, obviously somewhat unskillfully. So don't read too much into it. Indeed I was just trying to explain my situation.

Secondly, Sherab is under the care of some excellent teachers in Dharamsala including Geshe Lobsag Dragpa at Namgyal whom I know personally. Do not worry, they are taking excellent care of him and will guide him in character development if at all necessary, we don't need to worry. At the same time, I can see how his words could be quite off-putting.


Thanks. Yes I have some good teachers here. And I do hope that I can overcome any flaws in my character through studying with them and my experiences here.

Anyway I'd prefer to just get back to the subject at hand. :offtopic:
So, back to PhD programs in Asia.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:06 pm

I want to add another dimension to the discussion on translation. The competency of the translator is extremely important.

But another thing I think is really important is the rapport between the lama teaching and the translator. If there is a connection of trust and mutual appreciation (in other words, both seek to benefit each other and the audience), I believe that the quality of the translation can be elevated. The lama will also feel whether the translator is receptive to correction or clarification (or not). If the translator seems unreceptive, they will in good faith continue even if they talk for 2 minutes and the translator talks for 5 (with lamas who have no English) or allow slight mistakes (with lamas who understand a bit of what is being translated).

Also, if you see yourself as the student of the lama you are translating for, you will be open to public correction/scolding. The teacher is sure you will not walk off or get angry (I have seen that happen), and sometimes provides guidance during the translation not just to improve the quality of the teaching but also to facilitate the spiritual benefit of the translator.

I have translated for lamas who are not my teachers before- if I feel a connection with them, I can be inspired even though it is more difficult than translating for Geshe la whom I interact with for at least an hour or two every day. If I feel no connection, however, I can sense that the audience are smart enough to pick this up and I will try to arrange for someone else to translate wherever possible.

But of course this is just my opinion, and some might argue that a truly fab translator can translate for any lama, anytime. But if there is a clean connection (and in the case of tantric teachings a good samaya) between the lama and translator, it makes a huge difference.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:50 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I want to add another dimension to the discussion on translation. The competency of the translator is extremely important.

But another thing I think is really important is the rapport between the lama teaching and the translator. If there is a connection of trust and mutual appreciation (in other words, both seek to benefit each other and the audience), I believe that the quality of the translation can be elevated. The lama will also feel whether the translator is receptive to correction or clarification (or not). If the translator seems unreceptive, they will in good faith continue even if they talk for 2 minutes and the translator talks for 5 (with lamas who have no English) or allow slight mistakes (with lamas who understand a bit of what is being translated).

Also, if you see yourself as the student of the lama you are translating for, you will be open to public correction/scolding. The teacher is sure you will not walk off or get angry (I have seen that happen), and sometimes provides guidance during the translation not just to improve the quality of the teaching but also to facilitate the spiritual benefit of the translator.

I have translated for lamas who are not my teachers before- if I feel a connection with them, I can be inspired even though it is more difficult than translating for Geshe la whom I interact with for at least an hour or two every day. If I feel no connection, however, I can sense that the audience are smart enough to pick this up and I will try to arrange for someone else to translate wherever possible.

But of course this is just my opinion, and some might argue that a truly fab translator can translate for any lama, anytime. But if there is a clean connection (and in the case of tantric teachings a good samaya) between the lama and translator, it makes a huge difference.


A very good point! That's been my experience. Of course this is talking about oral translation.

Sometimes I feel like you just have a connection or you don't, for whatever karmic or circumstantial reasons. Luckily I feel a nice connection with the lama I am orally translating for now 5 days a week, Geshe Lobsang Chögyel Rinpoche.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:26 pm

Moderators, could you please remove this thread? Thank you.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:07 pm

this is the second time i have requested, please remove this thread...
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:49 pm

What happened?
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby rory » Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:29 am

why should the thread be removed it has very useful information that will benefit others with the same questions.
gassho
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:50 am

sherabzangpo wrote:... any university that takes serious issue with the fact that I have a Masters and not a BA, in spite of the fact that I am an accomplished and respected Tibetan translator and scholar, is a stuck-up conformist racket with their head up their ass, as far as I'm concerned.

And if you tell them so, they won't want you, either.

:thinking:
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