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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:23 pm 
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What is the best language to learn first, Tibetan or Sanskrit? Which language have the bulk of most Buddhist texts been written in? Especially the Mahayana tradition?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:26 pm 
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wisdom wrote:
What is the best language to learn first, Tibetan or Sanskrit? Which language have the bulk of most Buddhist texts been written in? Especially the Mahayana tradition?



Tibetan.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:30 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:13 am 
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Can someone help lead to a good resource (book or web) for learning at least some of the key Tibetan words that come up in the different liturgies and teachings frequently? The one on Berzin's site is quite good, but I have not learned Wylie yet. maybe it is time, but if there was a more simple approach... (is there ever?lol)

To go a little deeper, I would also like to learn the meanings of the individual syllables that make up a word (eg. "ye-she") The explanations for the few words that I have learned have been quite helpful, as I think just a straight translation into one English word does not always do it justice.


Always more to learn...

Terma


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:30 am 
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Terma wrote:
Can someone help lead to a good resource (book or web) for learning at least some of the key Tibetan words that come up in the different liturgies and teachings frequently? The one on Berzin's site is quite good, but I have not learned Wylie yet. maybe it is time, but if there was a more simple approach... (is there ever?lol)

To go a little deeper, I would also like to learn the meanings of the individual syllables that make up a word (eg. "ye-she") The explanations for the few words that I have learned have been quite helpful, as I think just a straight translation into one English word does not always do it justice.


Always more to learn...

Terma


There's an excellent Tibetan-English, English-Tibetan dictionary for the iphone. It's FREE. You can look up full words and individual syllables too. Honestly, it would be worth investing in an Ipod touch just to be able to use this dictionary - it's actually a compilation of several Tibetan-English dictionaries that would probably cost hundreds of dollars to buy in book form. Maybe available for other smart phones too, I don't know. The only thing is, you need to know how to read Tibetan to use it. But that's not too hard to learn.

As far as a word list - what I do is take sadhanas that I practice or would like to practice, and I read through them to find the important words. I try to figure out which Tibetan word goes with which English word, using the dictionary as necessary. I'm finding that now when I see new practices, I'm familiar with more words.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:37 am 
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http://www.tibetanlanguage.org/Study_Aids/freestudyaids.html

If you know the popular Chenrezig practice based on Thangtong Gyalpo's Droden KaKhyabma, this should be right up your alley:

http://www.snowlionpub.com/html/product_9254.html

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:45 am 
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wisdom wrote:
What is the best language to learn first, Tibetan or Sanskrit? Which language have the bulk of most Buddhist texts been written in? Especially the Mahayana tradition?


Sanskrit. Because the Chinese and Tibetan translations are from Sanskrit (or something very similar).
With Sanskrit, it will be easier to go to the others.

Depends on what you mean by "Buddhist texts": Sutra, sastra, vinaya ... commentary ... ??

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:07 am 
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wisdom wrote:
What is the best language to learn first, Tibetan or Sanskrit? Which language have the bulk of most Buddhist texts been written in? Especially the Mahayana tradition?


If you are interested in Buddhist texts, I would recommend that you try to get as close to the source as possible. That would make Pali the logical first choice. And Pali is very close to Sanskrit, so once you know one of those, you can easily expand into the other one, and get access to a wide range of both Mahayana and Non-Mahayana literature.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:10 am 
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Chinese has the largest number of Buddhist texts (including tantras and modern translations). Sanskrit only has fragments and incomplete canons. So I think the question is whether you want to be a scholar-linguist or just want to read and study texts.

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“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:17 pm 
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wisdom wrote:
What is the best language to learn first, Tibetan or Sanskrit? Which language have the bulk of most Buddhist texts been written in? Especially the Mahayana tradition?

If you're primarily practicing in the Indo-Tibetan tradition it's better to learn Tibetan. This gives you access to the entire Tibetan Canon as well as the vast commentarial & liturgical literature written by Tibetans in Tibetan over the past 1000+ years.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Also, I think the Dzogchen literature is exclusively in Tibetan. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe there are no surviving Sanskrit Dzogchen texts (someone please confirm this, or correct me if I'm wrong!). So if your interest is Dzogchen, Tibetan would be best.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:12 pm 
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It's probably also easier to learn Chinese since those slitty eye homeboys are everywhere!!! You certainly wouldn't have trouble finding teachers and sources.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:30 pm 
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Food_Eatah wrote:
It's probably also easier to learn Chinese since those slitty eye homeboys are everywhere!!! You certainly wouldn't have trouble finding teachers and sources.


Modern Mandarin/Cantonese/etc. are not the same as literary Chinese (the language of the majority of Buddhist texts) and there is also the matter of Buddhist terminology. Similarly, spoken Tibetan is not the same as the language of the sutras and tantras.

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:23 pm 
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dakini_boi wrote:
Terma wrote:
Can someone help lead to a good resource (book or web) for learning at least some of the key Tibetan words that come up in the different liturgies and teachings frequently? The one on Berzin's site is quite good, but I have not learned Wylie yet. maybe it is time, but if there was a more simple approach... (is there ever?lol)

To go a little deeper, I would also like to learn the meanings of the individual syllables that make up a word (eg. "ye-she") The explanations for the few words that I have learned have been quite helpful, as I think just a straight translation into one English word does not always do it justice.


Always more to learn...

Terma


There's an excellent Tibetan-English, English-Tibetan dictionary for the iphone. It's FREE. You can look up full words and individual syllables too. Honestly, it would be worth investing in an Ipod touch just to be able to use this dictionary - it's actually a compilation of several Tibetan-English dictionaries that would probably cost hundreds of dollars to buy in book form. Maybe available for other smart phones too, I don't know. The only thing is, you need to know how to read Tibetan to use it. But that's not too hard to learn.

As far as a word list - what I do is take sadhanas that I practice or would like to practice, and I read through them to find the important words. I try to figure out which Tibetan word goes with which English word, using the dictionary as necessary. I'm finding that now when I see new practices, I'm familiar with more words.


Wow! That's a great app - thanks for letting us know about it!


As for websites, the Rangjung Yeshe wiki is indespensible: http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/Main_Page

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