Page 1 of 1

Tibetan or English?

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:17 pm
by Tenma
Must Chöd be performed in Tibetan, especially when the lung was given in Tibetan? Or can it be done in English, especially when one is able to comprehend and visualize more thoroughly instead of multitasking between chanting one language and reading another and trying to get the visualization?

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:02 pm
by Fortyeightvows
The trouble is, very very few chod liturgy can be recited nicely in english. And I only know of one that can be recited along with the tibetan tune.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:35 pm
by Dharmaswede
The standard answer is of course to ask your teacher.

My personal take is that it is good to sometimes practice in English. As you have noticed yourself, that will help you to get to know the practice. in such case, you could practice by reciting instead of singing. If you have doubts about practicing in English, just recite and study the Sadhana instead of doing actual practice.

I sometimes, with the encouragement of my teacher, alternate by doing some sections in English, and some in Tibetan. Certain practices, according to some teachers, can even be carried out 'mentally', i.e. enacted in your mind without any recitation or singing.

Knowing the 'turns' of the practice by heart, allows the practice to unfold by itself – as it were - when you do it in Tibetan.

That being said, there is, of course, very special blessing and power in the Tibetan and the melodies. No doubt.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:38 pm
by Fortyeightvows
Dharmaswede wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:35 pm Knowing the 'turns' of the practice by heart, allows the practice to unfold by itself – as it were - when you do it in Tibetan.
Very nicely put.
That being said, there is, of course, very special blessing and power in the Tibetan and the melodies. No doubt.
I don't believe this at all.
And even if this is true, it would only be true if the person reciting was actually reciting in tibetan, not just a bunch of sounds that no one (including tibetan speakers) would understand.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:09 pm
by Dharmaswede
Ah. So you're asking if you have to practice in Tibetan simply because the traditional protocol dictates it? Certainly, tradition has another view on the power of melodies etc.

https://www.namsebangdzo.com/Offering-G ... /15141.htm

It is not necessarily easy to get empowerment for a practice that is available in Engilsh and that you get explicit permission to practice in English.

While not certain, I think the easiest is receiving online empowerment for this practice and course: https://www.taramandala.org/product/cho ... -rinpoche/

I think many teachers - and practitioners - assume that the power of mantras go above and beyond what an intellectual understanding can yield. Some would argue that intellectual understanding is not necessary at all.

Mileage varies, of course.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:31 pm
by conebeckham
Fortyeightvows wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:38 pm
Dharmaswede wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:35 pm Knowing the 'turns' of the practice by heart, allows the practice to unfold by itself – as it were - when you do it in Tibetan.
Very nicely put.
That being said, there is, of course, very special blessing and power in the Tibetan and the melodies. No doubt.
I don't believe this at all.
And even if this is true, it would only be true if the person reciting was actually reciting in tibetan, not just a bunch of sounds that no one (including tibetan speakers) would understand.

If you've done it in Tibetan, or heard it done in Tibetan in the proper setting, I think you'd agree there's no doubt the sounds of the ritual--the melodies, as well as the language, instruments, etc., are integral to the practice. Of course there is the meditation, and the state of mind, etc., but all the elements of the LuJin ritual combine together to produce an "effect," so to speak. Maybe someone has created an English version that carries the same "feeling tone," but I have not heard one. Best to learn it in Tibetan, and to study the meaning in your own language. I actually find this to be true for most rituals, but especially so for the LuJin.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:55 pm
by Fortyeightvows
But a person who doesn't actually speak tibetan, but only does their prayers in "tibetan" is a different story. And if a tibetan person walks in and listens they won't understand a word of it!

How can the gods understand some strange sounds that aren't words, even if the person says those sounds are "tibetan"!

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:08 pm
by Fortyeightvows
English speakers need to start writing their liturgies so that they can follow a tune. Ideally the traditional tune- but if not at least some tune.
As far as chod goes, I know of one such liturgy in english.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:10 pm
by Fortyeightvows
there are ways of translating english so that it can be chanted to the same tune that tibetan uses"

'The gods and demi-gods bow
To your lotus feet, O Tara,
You who rescue all who are destitute
To you, Mother Tara, I pay homage."

compared to

"Gods and asuras with their crowns,
bow down to your lotus feet,
liberator from all problems,
Mother Tara homage to you"

Try chanting them both. especially with tune, the first one just won't sound good.
same for this one

"In this pure realm, surrounded by snow mountains,
Is the source of complete happiness and benefit,.
Avalokiteshvara, Tendzin Gyamtso.
May you stand firm until the end of existence."

compared to

"in the snowy mountain paradise
your the source of all good and happiness
powerful, tenzin gyatso, chenrezig
please remain until samsara ends"

with the second one you could easily use the common tibetan tune and have it match beautifully.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:40 pm
by Dharmaswede
Certainly, there are - at least- two important aspects of this kind of translation: accuracy and poetic quality. You have share some greater examples that seem to carry both qualities.

Regarding your other comments on the power, or lack there of, of sounds etc. all I can say is that Vajrayana to me is rife with notions that are beyond the strictly rational, from a Western point of view. It does make sense to me, but I don't consider all of them to fit neatly and squarely within the domain of rational causality.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:11 am
by Fortyeightvows
Dharmaswede wrote: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:40 pm Certainly, there are - at least- two important aspects of this kind of translation: accuracy and poetic quality. You have share some greater examples that seem to carry both qualities.

Regarding your other comments on the power, or lack there of, of sounds etc. all I can say is that Vajrayana to me is rife with notions that are beyond the strictly rational, from a Western point of view. It does make sense to me, but I don't consider all of them to fit neatly and squarely within the domain of rational causality.
"he who sings well, prays twice!"

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:51 am
by Happy Thunderbolt
Fortyeightvows wrote: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:08 pm English speakers need to start writing their liturgies so that they can follow a tune. Ideally the traditional tune- but if not at least some tune.
As far as chod goes, I know of one such liturgy in english.
Can you send me a link to that please.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:18 am
by Fortyeightvows
Happy Thunderbolt wrote: Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:51 am Can you send me a link to that please.
Alta Brown-
http://everydaychod.com/

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:01 pm
by Tenma
Seeing how varied this conversation is going, let me clarify a bit.

Since Namkhai Norbu no longer is of this earth and Lama Tsultrim is pretty busy right now, all I'm trying to find out is if Rinpoche's Chod is fine in English despite the liturgy having a certain melody that was sung in Tibetan during the lung transmission.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:33 pm
by Könchok Thrinley
Tenma wrote: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:01 pm Seeing how varied this conversation is going, let me clarify a bit.

Since Namkhai Norbu no longer is of this earth and Lama Tsultrim is pretty busy right now, all I'm trying to find out is if Rinpoche's Chod is fine in English despite the liturgy having a certain melody that was sung in Tibetan during the lung transmission.
Tibetan without exception. ChNN was very clear on that. There was a student who translated it in a singable way, however ChNN was against it.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:04 pm
by Dharmaswede
Miroku wrote: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:33 pm

Tibetan without exception. ChNN was very clear on that. There was a student who translated it in a singable way, however ChNN was against it.
Thank you for clarifying this.

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:07 pm
by Tenma
Miroku wrote: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:33 pm
Tenma wrote: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:01 pm Seeing how varied this conversation is going, let me clarify a bit.

Since Namkhai Norbu no longer is of this earth and Lama Tsultrim is pretty busy right now, all I'm trying to find out is if Rinpoche's Chod is fine in English despite the liturgy having a certain melody that was sung in Tibetan during the lung transmission.
Tibetan without exception. ChNN was very clear on that. There was a student who translated it in a singable way, however ChNN was against it.
Thank you! I believe that ends this forum!

Re: Tibetan or English?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:01 pm
by source_learning
I attended a retreat offered by Sangye Khandro (a Western Dudjom-lineage lama known to many). She stated that the Troma Cho melodies themselves are terma and thus the most important part of the practice to maintain--that she hadn't heard of an English version which maintained the melodies as revealed but supposed it could be possible if a translator with the requisite poetic ability came along.