Translators

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Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:31 am

Tashi delek,

We all know translations done by persons who have:
- A Geshe or higher degree
- a university title like Ph D and Prof.
- Not at all a certain degree only a diploma like translator English

What do you think about those translations / books, from above mentioned persons ?

- Are they reliable
- Not at all
- Some yes and some not
- Everybody can make a mistake in case of difficult to understand terms?
- Nobody is allowed to make a mistake in case of Dharma matters

Or maybe another vision?


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Re: Translators

Postby heart » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:59 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek,

We all know translations done by persons who have:
- A Geshe or higher degree
- a university title like Ph D and Prof.
- Not at all a certain degree only a diploma like translator English

What do you think about those translations / books, from above mentioned persons ?

- Are they reliable
- Not at all
- Some yes and some not
- Everybody can make a mistake in case of difficult to understand terms?
- Nobody is allowed to make a mistake in case of Dharma matters

Or maybe another vision?


Mutsog Marro
KY


Depends on the subject I would say and if it is for information or actual practice. When it comes to Dzogchen I don't trust anyone that isn't a practitioner and have a qualified Guru that is blessing his/her translations. Then of course there are scholars that do have these qualifications, like Jean-Luc, Andreas and Thomas Doctor and many others.

/magnus
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Re: Translators

Postby Sönam » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:16 pm

heart wrote:Depends on the subject I would say and if it is for information or actual practice. When it comes to Dzogchen I don't trust anyone that isn't a practitioner and have a qualified Guru that is blessing his/her translations. Then of course there are scholars that do have these qualifications, like Jean-Luc, Andreas and Thomas Doctor and many others.

/magnus


Even by these scholars there could be personnal point of view ... and certainly JLA is one of those. It does not mean he is wrong ... but it does not mean he is right.
What weight the most, being a scholar or being a Dzogchen practitioner?

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Translators

Postby heart » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:25 pm

Sönam wrote:
heart wrote:Depends on the subject I would say and if it is for information or actual practice. When it comes to Dzogchen I don't trust anyone that isn't a practitioner and have a qualified Guru that is blessing his/her translations. Then of course there are scholars that do have these qualifications, like Jean-Luc, Andreas and Thomas Doctor and many others.

/magnus


Even by these scholars there could be personnal point of view ... and certainly JLA is one of those. It does not mean he is wrong ... but it does not mean he is right.
What weight the most, being a scholar or being a Dzogchen practitioner?

Sönam


I don't think it is important at all to be scholar when translating Dzogchen texts, but it is very important to receive the Gurus permission and blessing as well as help to resolve difficult issues in the texts. If not it will lack the blessing of the lineage.

The same might be true for Tantric texts.

/magnus
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Re: Translators

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:59 pm

heart wrote:
I don't think it is important at all to be scholar when translating Dzogchen texts, but it is very important to receive the Gurus permission and blessing as well as help to resolve difficult issues in the texts. If not it will lack the blessing of the lineage.

The same might be true for Tantric texts.

/magnus


No, it is very important to be a scholar AND have personal experience (real blessings) in Dzogchen teachings.

Dzogchen tantras are not easy to translate. They require detailed and fairly comprehensive knowledge of all nine yānas.
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Re: Translators

Postby heart » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:06 pm

Namdrol wrote:
heart wrote:
I don't think it is important at all to be scholar when translating Dzogchen texts, but it is very important to receive the Gurus permission and blessing as well as help to resolve difficult issues in the texts. If not it will lack the blessing of the lineage.

The same might be true for Tantric texts.

/magnus


No, it is very important to be a scholar AND have personal experience (real blessings) in Dzogchen teachings.

Dzogchen tantras are not easy to translate. They require detailed and fairly comprehensive knowledge of all nine yānas.


If by scholar you mean someone with a PhD I don't agree in general. I agree that you have to have "fairly comprehensive knowledge of all nine yānas".

/magnus
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Re: Translators

Postby pemachophel » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:58 pm

I was a professional technical (medical) translator (Chinese to English) for 30 years. Most people don't realize the various skill sets that professional translators need to have. Just being a native speaker of the arrival language (i.e., English) with a good grasp of the departure language (in this case Tibetan) doesn't begin to cut it. One's English language proficiency and sensitivity needs to be quite high. Since English is based on three main linguistic streams (German, French, and Latin), one should be basically familiar with these three languages as well. Otherwise it's difficult to really understand the subtle differences in meaning and usage of the huge number of seeming synonyms in English. Then of course, when dealing with a technical literature (in this case Dzogchen), one also needs to be expert in the practice and be well educated in the departure language technical vocabulary. Further, while native speakers of the departure language typically do not have the linguistic skills for really accurate, high quality translation, the translator should have access to native-speakers of the departure language to help clarify vocabulary and grammar as well as technical points about the application of the technique. This/these native speaker(s) should be very well educated in the departure language and in the technical vocabulary. He/she/they should also be well educated and experienced in the application of the technique under discussion. This may mean a single native-speaking collaborator/mentor or several native speakers, each of whom are expert in one or another of the requisite skill sets.

In addition, when doing any particular translation, one needs to determine who the end-user is going to be (i.e., the audience) and, then, based on that decide whether to do a denotative translation (tsig-gyur, word-for-word) or a connotative translation (don-gyur, gloss of the meaning). In general, for technical literature with its own technical vocabulary describing how to actually do something in order to get a certain result, my experience is that a more denotative translation is better/more accurate and, therefore, more useful in the long run. However, this means that the end-user may have to be educated in this new technical vocabulary and some of the words and constructions may not seem felicitous on first sight. If a particular technique requires very specific instructions, connotative translations (which are easier and more pleasurable to read), often lose so much specificity that they no longer accurately convey the technique in question. As an extension of this, denotative translations often require copious footnotes/endnotes and should include a glossary of the arrival language terms used providing definitions or explanations of the technical terms and identifying the original departure language words both in their original script as well as in romanization.

Just some thoughts on translation based on 30 years of wrestling with these issues.

:namaste:
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Re: Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:20 pm

pemachophel wrote:I was a professional technical (medical) translator (Chinese to English) for 30 years. Most people don't realize the various skill sets that professional translators need to have. Just being a native speaker of the arrival language (i.e., English) with a good grasp of the departure language (in this case Tibetan) doesn't begin to cut it. One's English language proficiency and sensitivity needs to be quite high. Since English is based on three main linguistic streams (German, French, and Latin), one should be basically familiar with these three languages as well. Otherwise it's difficult to really understand the subtle differences in meaning and usage of the huge number of seeming synonyms in English. Then of course, when dealing with a technical literature (in this case Dzogchen), one also needs to be expert in the practice and be well educated in the departure language technical vocabulary. Further, while native speakers of the departure language typically do not have the linguistic skills for really accurate, high quality translation, the translator should have access to native-speakers of the departure language to help clarify vocabulary and grammar as well as technical points about the application of the technique. This/these native speaker(s) should be very well educated in the departure language and in the technical vocabulary. He/she/they should also be well educated and experienced in the application of the technique under discussion. This may mean a single native-speaking collaborator/mentor or several native speakers, each of whom are expert in one or another of the requisite skill sets.

In addition, when doing any particular translation, one needs to determine who the end-user is going to be (i.e., the audience) and, then, based on that decide whether to do a denotative translation (tsig-gyur, word-for-word) or a connotative translation (don-gyur, gloss of the meaning). In general, for technical literature with its own technical vocabulary describing how to actually do something in order to get a certain result, my experience is that a more denotative translation is better/more accurate and, therefore, more useful in the long run. However, this means that the end-user may have to be educated in this new technical vocabulary and some of the words and constructions may not seem felicitous on first sight. If a particular technique requires very specific instructions, connotative translations (which are easier and more pleasurable to read), often lose so much specificity that they no longer accurately convey the technique in question. As an extension of this, denotative translations often require copious footnotes/endnotes and should include a glossary of the arrival language terms used providing definitions or explanations of the technical terms and identifying the original departure language words both in their original script as well as in romanization.

Just some thoughts on translation based on 30 years of wrestling with these issues.

:namaste:



Tashi delek,

Very impressive story. Thanks for sharing your experience here aboard. :)

Yes it is very important to have as a good translato in case of Indian and Tibetan Dzogchen:

- experience in the practice as well instructions . Very good insight into the practice and scripts
- Skills of the Tibetan / Sanskrit and in case of Bon knowledge of Zhang Zhung
- A very skilled Lineage Master / Rigdzin, who did realise his given teachings who can help with some translations like Rigpa.........
- Other practitioners who can speak/read as well Tibetan / Sanskrit and do the same practice.

Indeed further is there a great difference between academics who do the practice and those who don't. It are the latter who can go wrong regarding to the point translations. But one must bear in mind that in Europe, academics who do practice are discriminated inside the university. That does result in secrecy

It is because of the Christian culture as base, some other philosophies are strange or do sound strange. So some translations do sound strange to some prof. etc. Sure if we are dealing with mind.

So some non Buddhists academics do make the worst translations that is a fact.


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THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: Translators

Postby deepbluehum » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:38 pm

Most translators are okay, you can sort out any discrepancies by practicing and see if there are problems in the descriptions. Then you can adjust. The dumbest translations I've seen are the ones that try to use Herbert Guenther's style. I've heard Ph.D.'s say he's great, but to me that psychobabble does more hurt than help. When academic or competitive (Duff) arrogance get into the mix, it makes for bad interdependence. In other words, avoid like the plague. These devils will lead you astray.

My gurus emphasize the importance of humility in the translator, deference and reverence for the material and a one on one connection so the body language of the teacher can come through and he or she can cross-question you to sort out your issues. Big halls filled with thousands and some high lama spouting off their preferred jargon... to me, that's mostly a way to spend some years lost at sea. I swear, at times, one can get more out of a basic description after praying to the dakinis. You can also go to a great lama, with great experience, and their lingo and examples won't make any sense to you (ChNN). I've come to the conclusion that translations and transmissions and explanations are of very limited value. What you need is a basic notion of the practices and then to practice them and talk to dharma friends and teachers to check your experience. You can easily understand everything without a lot of talk or a lot of reading if you can meet the right circumstances. And you can meet with those circumstances by praying to the dakinis and making the right moves. When you have a personal relationship with a teacher, doesn't have to be the best teacher on the planet, but someone who has real world experience, then he or she can bring you up to speed with short little conversant upadeshas and you go to your room to practice.

In other words, down with the translators and famous lamas. We need 'em. Obviously. But, not that much. Even someone with broken english can put in the mix.
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Re: Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:10 pm

deepbluehum wrote:Most translators are okay, you can sort out any discrepancies by practicing and see if there are problems in the descriptions. Then you can adjust. The dumbest translations I've seen are the ones that try to use Herbert Guenther's style. I've heard Ph.D.'s say he's great, but to me that psychobabble does more hurt than help. When academic or competitive (Duff) arrogance get into the mix, it makes for bad interdependence. In other words, avoid like the plague. These devils will lead you astray.

My gurus emphasize the importance of humility in the translator, deference and reverence for the material and a one on one connection so the body language of the teacher can come through and he or she can cross-question you to sort out your issues. Big halls filled with thousands and some high lama spouting off their preferred jargon... to me, that's mostly a way to spend some years lost at sea. I swear, at times, one can get more out of a basic description after praying to the dakinis. You can also go to a great lama, with great experience, and their lingo and examples won't make any sense to you (ChNN). I've come to the conclusion that translations and transmissions and explanations are of very limited value. What you need is a basic notion of the practices and then to practice them and talk to dharma friends and teachers to check your experience. You can easily understand everything without a lot of talk or a lot of reading if you can meet the right circumstances. And you can meet with those circumstances by praying to the dakinis and making the right moves. When you have a personal relationship with a teacher, doesn't have to be the best teacher on the planet, but someone who has real world experience, then he or she can bring you up to speed with short little conversant upadeshas and you go to your room to practice.

In other words, down with the translators and famous lamas. We need 'em. Obviously. But, not that much. Even someone with broken english can put in the mix.


Tashi delek,

Thanks for sharing us your opinion. :applause:

But when i may ask, no i have yes i can get, in which Dzogchen cycles did you have had Teachings ?


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IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:16 pm

Sönam wrote:
heart wrote:Depends on the subject I would say and if it is for information or actual practice. When it comes to Dzogchen I don't trust anyone that isn't a practitioner and have a qualified Guru that is blessing his/her translations. Then of course there are scholars that do have these qualifications, like Jean-Luc, Andreas and Thomas Doctor and many others.

/magnus


Even by these scholars there could be personnal point of view ... and certainly JLA is one of those. It does not mean he is wrong ... but it does not mean he is right.
What weight the most, being a scholar or being a Dzogchen practitioner?

Sönam



Tashi delek,

When i may ask, what is here wrong and what right?

Mutsog Marro
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THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: Translators

Postby Sönam » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:20 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:
Sönam wrote:
heart wrote:Depends on the subject I would say and if it is for information or actual practice. When it comes to Dzogchen I don't trust anyone that isn't a practitioner and have a qualified Guru that is blessing his/her translations. Then of course there are scholars that do have these qualifications, like Jean-Luc, Andreas and Thomas Doctor and many others.

/magnus


Even by these scholars there could be personnal point of view ... and certainly JLA is one of those. It does not mean he is wrong ... but it does not mean he is right.
What weight the most, being a scholar or being a Dzogchen practitioner?

Sönam



Tashi delek,

When i may ask, what is here wrong and what right?

Mutsog Marro
KY


JLA is very well known for is view regarding Dzogchen. Contrary to ChNN that think that preliminary is not à necessity in Dzogchen ("if Garab Dorje would have thought it was necessary, he would have spoken of 4 statements, not 3 ..."), that it is a secondary practice that one practice depending on circumstances, JLA says that a lot of practices are necessary ... as an exemple, in the introduction of "Principes de la pureté primordiale" (on Khenpo Gangshar) he says about Dzogchen (my translation) : "The practitioner which engages in that Path must follows the following cursus of instruction", then follows a list of 9 retreats, some of them quite long, and six must be realized before to be introduced. In those retreats some concerne vajrayana practices (bskyed rim and rdzogs rim). This point of view is not shared at all by all Dzogchen masters, and certainly not by ChNN. I had the occasion to discuss briefly that point with JLA and he told me that in private ChNN says differently and think like him that a lot is needed ... then he cuts the discussion.
I respect JLA for he has translated many texts in french ... I have difficulties with his not so easy-going nature and his approach.

Sönam
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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.
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Re: Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:34 pm

Sonam wrote:
JLA is very well known for is view regarding Dzogchen. Contrary to ChNN that think that preliminary is not à necessity in Dzogchen ("if Garab Dorje would have thought it was necessary, he would have spoken of 4 statements, not 3 ..."), that it is a secondary practice that one practice depending on circumstances, JLA says that a lot of practices are necessary ... as an exemple, in the introduction of "Principes de la pureté primordiale" (on Khenpo Gangshar) he says about Dzogchen (my translation) : "The practitioner which engages in that Path must follows the following cursus of instruction", then follows a list of 9 retreats, some of them quite long, and six must be realized before to be introduced. In those retreats some concerne vajrayana practices (bskyed rim and rdzogs rim). This point of view is not shared at all by all Dzogchen masters, and certainly not by ChNN. I had the occasion to discuss briefly that point with JLA and he told me that in private ChNN says differently and think like him that a lot is needed ... then he cuts the discussion.
I respect JLA for he has translated many texts in french ... I have difficulties with his not so easy-going nature and his approach.

Sönam
[/quote]
[color=#0080FF]
Tashi delek,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes Jean-Luc is a man of practice as well of academic niveau. He is both and so a good translator.
We all have so our strange things or mentality but that does not mean the person would be incapable regarding Dzogchen matters. And that is here the main point.

Also you are lucky because you can read in French JLA's journals, not everybody can understand French, like me.
https://www.google.nl/webhp?sourceid=na ... 24&bih=427
Never did met JLA and don't know if this will happen, but i have so the hope.


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Re: Translators

Postby deepbluehum » Tue May 01, 2012 12:57 am

kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek,

But when i may ask, no i have yes i can get, in which Dzogchen cycles did you have had Teachings ?


I can't understand your question, but I'm guessing you mean to ask me what Dzogchen teachings I've received and when. I've had all levels of teachings since I was a child. Now I have gray hairs on my chest, so that's a pretty long time.
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Re: Translators

Postby Sönam » Tue May 01, 2012 7:19 am

kalden yungdrung wrote:Yes Jean-Luc is a man of practice as well of academic niveau. He is both and so a good translator.
We all have so our strange things or mentality but that does not mean the person would be incapable regarding Dzogchen matters. And that is here the main point.
...
Never did met JLA.


There is always practice and practice, that's not the point. Having not met him, but having had just a short discussion on the net, I can't pronounce about his practitioner's quality ... maybe he is realized, but certainly not open.
I thank him for his translations and cannot juge of the high level of them ... but he certainly has "strange things". And I am not sure that it helps and brings a lot to translate such terms as dakini, but certainly not as "ballerine céleste" (celestial ballerina). This is certainly a mark of a particular personnality.
But I know he is revered in the Bön world ... a bit like a star from Marseilles who would have been transfered to Handoven.
I hope you can met him once.

Sönam
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Re: Translators

Postby heart » Tue May 01, 2012 7:34 am

Sönam wrote:JLA is very well known for is view regarding Dzogchen. Contrary to ChNN that think that preliminary is not à necessity in Dzogchen ("if Garab Dorje would have thought it was necessary, he would have spoken of 4 statements, not 3 ..."), that it is a secondary practice that one practice depending on circumstances, JLA says that a lot of practices are necessary ... as an exemple, in the introduction of "Principes de la pureté primordiale" (on Khenpo Gangshar) he says about Dzogchen (my translation) : "The practitioner which engages in that Path must follows the following cursus of instruction", then follows a list of 9 retreats, some of them quite long, and six must be realized before to be introduced. In those retreats some concerne vajrayana practices (bskyed rim and rdzogs rim). This point of view is not shared at all by all Dzogchen masters, and certainly not by ChNN. I had the occasion to discuss briefly that point with JLA and he told me that in private ChNN says differently and think like him that a lot is needed ... then he cuts the discussion.
I respect JLA for he has translated many texts in french ... I have difficulties with his not so easy-going nature and his approach.

Sönam


As you well know JLA's master is Loppon Tenzin Namdak, he is just repeating what he told him. As you probably also know there are many of Loppon Tenzin Namdak students that never have nor ever will do those preliminary practices JLA describe. It don't stop them from practicing Tögal or dark retreat.I find it a little strange that you don't appreciate the fact that JLA is very thorough and traditional.

In my own Sangha for example many received Rushan instructions but not very many practiced them, many where asked to do Ngondro but still not everyone did it or finished it. So people do as they please, I am sure that happens in the DC to?

/magnus
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Re: Translators

Postby kalden yungdrung » Tue May 01, 2012 7:37 am

deepbluehum wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek,

But when i may ask, no i have yes i can get, in which Dzogchen cycles did you have had Teachings ?


I can't understand your question, but I'm guessing you mean to ask me what Dzogchen teachings I've received and when. I've had all levels of teachings since I was a child. Now I have gray hairs on my chest, so that's a pretty long time.



Tashi delek,

Thanks for your replies.

Yes my question was about your received Dzogchen Teachings.
I can only guess what is meant by all levels of teachings, but maybe could that a little more precise / detailled?

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IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
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Re: Translators

Postby Sönam » Tue May 01, 2012 8:39 am

heart wrote:As you well know JLA's master is Loppon Tenzin Namdak, he is just repeating what he told him. As you probably also know there are many of Loppon Tenzin Namdak students that never have nor ever will do those preliminary practices JLA describe. It don't stop them from practicing Tögal or dark retreat.I find it a little strange that you don't appreciate the fact that JLA is very thorough and traditional.

In my own Sangha for example many received Rushan instructions but not very many practiced them, many where asked to do Ngondro but still not everyone did it or finished it. So people do as they please, I am sure that happens in the DC to?

/magnus


magnus,
We are not gonna have iteratively that discussion about ngondrö and JLA. I do not criticize JLA and I respect him as a translator ... what could annoy me is his "absolute certitude without any possible exchange" about the total necessity of an heavy, long and difficult practice. We disagree about that ... and in my limited understanding, Tenzin Namdak is much more open and free than JLA. Maybe a question of generation ?

Sönam
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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.
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Re: Translators

Postby alpha » Tue May 01, 2012 8:57 am

Sönam wrote:But I know he is revered in the Bön world ... a bit like a star from Marseilles who would have been transfered to Handoven.
I hope you can met him once.

Sönam


It seems that quite a few people here had conections at some point with JLA.
My exchange with him was short one i cant say much about how is he as a person.
I know though a little bit about his stance regarding how one should approach the practice of dzoghen.

But i do not think that everybody revere him in the Bon world.
I know first hand of a big row between him and shenten.And since 2008 or 2009 he is not any more involved with shenten affairs.This doesn't mean though he broke his connection with LTN.No ,not at all.There is some bad air between him and some of the residents there and this row is mainly related to the translation work he has done for them.
Instead he has his own little center near where he lives where one of his teachers is invited to teach once a year.Is not a center per se ,it is i think someone's house.
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Re: Translators

Postby heart » Tue May 01, 2012 9:08 am

Sönam wrote:
heart wrote:As you well know JLA's master is Loppon Tenzin Namdak, he is just repeating what he told him. As you probably also know there are many of Loppon Tenzin Namdak students that never have nor ever will do those preliminary practices JLA describe. It don't stop them from practicing Tögal or dark retreat.I find it a little strange that you don't appreciate the fact that JLA is very thorough and traditional.

In my own Sangha for example many received Rushan instructions but not very many practiced them, many where asked to do Ngondro but still not everyone did it or finished it. So people do as they please, I am sure that happens in the DC to?

/magnus


magnus,
We are not gonna have iteratively that discussion about ngondrö and JLA. I do not criticize JLA and I respect him as a translator ... what could annoy me is his "absolute certitude without any possible exchange" about the total necessity of an heavy, long and difficult practice. We disagree about that ... and in my limited understanding, Tenzin Namdak is much more open and free than JLA. Maybe a question of generation ?

Sönam


It seems more like your personalities crash to me. JLA always seem quite open to me. In the DC I am sure you would think it was strange if someone tried to do SMS level 2 without doing level 1, right? Of course you don't have to follow the SMS, right? It is the same in Bon I guess, either you follow the general path set out by your Guru or your personal instructions from your Guru or maybe you follow your own ideas, it might be difficult to say what is right for each person at a certain time in their life.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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