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Do You Practice in English (or Other Primary Language)?
or 9%  9%  [ 6 ]
b) Tibetan 28%  28%  [ 18 ]
c) both my primary language and Tibetan 62%  62%  [ 40 ]
d) a language I made up 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 65
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:30 pm 
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And your thoughts on the topic?...

Full disclosure: I do nearly all of my practice in English, thanks to excellent translations from the Nalanda Translation Committee and Elizabeth Callahan. The sole exception that comes to mind is the "21 Praises to Tara", which I chant in Tibetan because of its beauty and its great antiquity.

Chris

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"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"


Last edited by Silent Bob on Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:56 pm 
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I've been practicing for more than 40 years, and, in that time, I've had Teachers who said you must practice in Tibetan, others who said it was OK to practice in English, others who routinely follow all or most Tibetan with English during group practices, others who sometimes practice in Tibetan and sometimes in English during group practices, others who have said do what works for you, and others who took the "don't ask; don't tell" approach. Personally, I found the "only in Tibetan" approach did not work very well for me. I became a parrot, reading very, very fast but not really understanding or paying attention to the meaning of what I was reading. I can still say many, many Tibetan prayers and sadhanas in Tibetan and this often earns kudos from Tibetans, but, when practicing at home, I use the following methodology: If something is terma, I always say it first in Tibetan and then in English. If something is not terma, I only say it in English. This approach seems to work well for me.

Currently, I attend a local center on the 10th and 25th each month to do tshog. It's virtually all in Tibetan, often said quite fast. Since I have long history with saying Rigdzin Dupa and Yumka Dechen Gyalmo in Tibetan, I'm quite fine with this since I pretty much know all the words and their meaning in any case. However, I'm not at all sure about some of the other students, and my impression is that this is a limiting factor for the growth of this center.

I think it's important for all of us Inji practitioners to recognize that we are a transitional generation and things are not perfect. (Are they ever?) Eventually, I hope Americans at least practice entirely in English (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese), but this is going to take time to sort this all out. But hey, we have lifetimes; so no problem.

Just my two cents.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:18 pm 
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I practice almost entirely in Tibetan. This means, I think, that I must study to understand what it is I'm saying..so, I do so. I read the sadhanas and any translations provided, and I understand and can read enough Tibetan to get by--and I like to think my Tibetan is getting better over time as a result......gosh, I hope so.

Did you know that, for example, the Bhutanese and the Mongolians practice in Tibetan, even though it is not their primary tongue?

My dharma center does some practice in English, and of course I've participated, and I have no problem with using English. But I enjoy the Tibetan, the melodies, etc., which thus far I have not heard replicated in English.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:47 pm 
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"... when practicing at home, I use the following methodology: If something is terma, I always say it first in Tibetan and then in English. If something is not terma, I only say it in English." This strikes me as a very sensible approach to a complex issue. There are certainly those here like Cone and Namdrol who've mastered Tibetan to the level of fluency, but most of us muddle along with phonetic renderings and hope for the best.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche said of Western dharma students in general, "They think they're chanting in Tibetan, but they're not, and in fact it isn't really anything".

Chris

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"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Fortunately, most of my practices don't have much Tibetan in them, but when they do I usually use Tibetan. I'm not really sure if I'm pronouncing it right, probably not because I find Tibetan a difficult language, but in any case I just try to focus on the meaning which is the most important thing. So I think it's fine to use one's own language, the only "problem" is when there are specific melodies, Tibetan fits them very well but English might not. Of course it's not absolutely necessary to sing, one could just recite the words in English, but for me sometimes it feels really nice, especially if I can't really get myself "into it".

Also, the meaning I have in my mind is in English for me even though it is my second language. I almost never think in my primary language during practices.

Pema Chopel wrote:
"... when practicing at home, I use the following methodology: If something is terma, I always say it first in Tibetan and then in English. If something is not terma, I only say it in English."


What is the reason for this if I may ask?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:32 pm 
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I don't know Tibetan so I think that I practice in Tibetan BUT I make it a point to know what I am saying. ie I refuse to do a practice if there is only a transliteration available, and the first few times I do a sadhana I just follow along with the translation until I "know" what each bit is saying. Especially if there are lots of visualisations involved or some type of didactic character to the sadhana. I do Tibetan coz that's what I've been taught to do and coz I like the melodies.
:namaste:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:51 pm 
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I'd just like to go on record as saying that I have nowhere NEAR the knowledge of the Tibetan language that Namdrol has, so any comparisons are far from the mark. This is not brown-nosing, or sucking up, it is a mere fact.

It helps, in my case, that I married into family...but I could be doing much better, if not for my inveterate laziness.

(also..as a post-script..I find it very amusing that, when using Spellcheck on this msg., "Namdrol " was not recognized but the substitute suggestion was "Namedrop"-- :lol: )

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:41 pm 
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I tend to do them in the language that i know. Except for mantras and certain things like the 7-line prayer.

Its easy for me to memorize them this way, and that means less texts to cart around when traveling to retreat for example.

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Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Both.
English and Tibetan.

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Please remain until samsara ends.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:14 pm 
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Location: Currently in Sussex, England. Formerly in Wollongong, Australia.
I read most material/texts in English translation - but I do my prayers & chanting in Tibetan/Sanskrit. I learn the meaning first, but prefer to retain the language of origin during repititions as a matter of respect to the tradition. (& it sounds good - well, when other people chant it does, but....um....)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:44 pm 
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On my own I practice mostly in English and some Sanskrit. There is one practice that I will sometimes do in German. With others we usually practice in Tibetan and English.

Kirt

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Oddiyāna language.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:21 am 
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Namdrol wrote:
Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Oddiyāna language.



what he said..

transmission.

sound and letters, words.... -=A=- is the best!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:42 am 
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How about a 3rd option? I practice in my native language, in English and in Tibetan! :juggling:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:21 am 
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Silent Bob wrote:
And your thoughts on the topic?...



Whatever, as long as it is freeing TOOL. Tool free itself..

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:42 am 
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Tibetan, English, French ... and I also try to understand what it means when Tibetan (and english :rolling: )

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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:29 pm 
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We can fool ourselves as much as we like but no powerful sounding exotic explanations in this or that language will ever fool or impress Yama nor will we take any thing with us.

So tool or fool.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:58 pm 
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When we practice a text it is much more than reciting words and phrases. So not only should we practice in a language that we understand (and if that is Tibetan, then that is fine), but we should do more than just parrot the words; we should contemplate their meaning as much as we can.

For example, in a text I have, when it comes time to contemplate the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Dharma, I don't just recite the few sentences, get some small feeling of renunciation and move on. I recite the lines. Then I think about it in various ways. For example, how many ways can death occur in my life? If I am flying on an airplane how and can death occur, etc.? You have to go in, deep, penetrate the meaning. To penetrate the meaning, you need, at least, to understand the written lines that you recite clearly.

There are two parts, reciting the words, and applying their meaning as best we can.

The power does not come from the language (save for Sanskrit as it is a different kind of language with a different root and purpose), it comes from coordinating with the concepts expressed by the words.

For example, in these sentences that I write here, the grammar may not be perfect. I might go back and change it or I might not. It really doesn't matter as it is completely superficial. As long as you understand the meaning behind the words, that is what is important.

Kevin

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:39 pm 
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For me it is a mixture between English and Tibetan. At this point I am still a little new to the Tibetan language, and though I do know the general meanings of some of the words I have a ways to go before the essence of what I recite in Tibetan sticks as if it were in my native language. I would recite the prayers more-so in English, but the sadhana's I do recite in Tibetan. I think if this is the way it was transmitted, then this is the way to go. But each teacher may differ in opinion.

I really do see the importance of understanding some of the terms and words from the Tibetan (especially understanding the meanings of the multiple syllables which make up a word), as I think they can be a little more precise in meaning and sometimes there is a watering down when translated. We are fortunate to have translations into English, but I will carry on trying to learn more of the Tibetan terms to at least understand the liturgies better when reciting them, not to mention many of the terms that we may come across in our study.

I would love a few suggestions of either a few handy books or even a web resource to help point me in the right direction with this endeavor. Namdrol, perhaps you could suggest something?

Terma


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Hi everyone!
Look at that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N2xwVvF ... ults_video
I agree 100% with Rinpoche


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