Keith Dowman's translations

In the bone yard
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:06 am

Re: Keith Dowman's translations

Post by In the bone yard »

Because there are no direct equivalents to many tibetan words, good translators will offer the tibetan and sometimes sanskrit word with the text.
The book, 'The Practice of Dzogchen' is a precious and sacred translation from the Tibetan. My favorite book.
Talbott is the editor, but it is so clear and precise I don't think he touched it much if at all. Thank you Tulku Thondup for the obvious hard work put forth on this book.

Some books are ruined by the editor. Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa's books for example. Many of his books are transcripts from his english teaching.
Some are watered down - I guess for flow, clarity or whatever, but the transmission is lost. The book, 'Transcending Madness' is the best example of ruining transcript dialog.

Another reason I only read books authored or translated by Rinpoches.
If you don't possess the direct understanding of the translation how can you translate it?
You're trying to translate something you don't have direct knowledge of!

If you are not on the path, then stick to translating sutra!!!
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:34 am

Re: Keith Dowman's translations

Post by SkyDragon »

I have found Keith Dowman's translations very helpful and inspiring, not because of their academic correctness, but their ability to capture the poetic flight of fancy, if you will. Sometimes I found myself in a meditative state as I paused in my reading of Sky Dancer, for example.

My understanding of Dzogchen teachings, is that they are experienced "beyond words", so any translator who conveys a teaching "beyond words" should be congratulated. I received many teachings from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, along with many other teachers over the last 30+ years.

I clearly remember when I first began to read early translations of buddhist teachings which were so repetitive and the english used was so clumsy, I became dismayed that I would never appreciate the truths which I suspected they contained.

Later I discovered Tarthang Tulku's early books and the joy and freedom they embraced captured my interest and spoke directly to the heart of my experience. It seems to me Keith Dowman shares this tradition of communicating the heart of experience, which is rare, in translation.
In the bone yard
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:06 am

Re: Keith Dowman's translations

Post by In the bone yard »

Good points.

Generally speaking there's a concern were translations may unintentionally convey (a) the wrong point.
This could be on a very small scale...just one passage. A student (or scholar) picks up the wrong point and it causes harm to others however large or small. And it keeps getting past on and might even be argued about for generations.
This is the reason why many texts are (were) re-translated by rinpoches, those who hold the direct transmission (or source).

I'm grateful that the Dharma is out there too, regardless of translation (with correctly applied intentions as opposed to fulfilling one's ego via accomplishment).
I don't know where you live but we are blessed in America where we can practice religion freely.
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