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Buddhist Canon Shastra Sutra Tibetan language

The Importance of Tibetan Language to Understand Buddhism

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The Tibetan version of Buddhist canon whether sutra or shastra, is treated as the most authentic or significant version for the study and practice of Buddhism in modern days. 
It is undoubtedly as it was given with extraordinary care, consideration and every possible skillful means during the transmission, translation and interpretation from the original sources. 
The Tibetan version of Buddhist canon therefore has the quality to serve for us to comprehend the core message, the message what the Buddhist original canon has to convey and elucidate.  

Therefore, it seems that the study of Tibetan language is crucial to study to understand Buddhism in a far better way.


Evidently, a numbers of Buddhist sutras and shastras have been translated and interpreted into modern languages whereby one can study Buddhism and advance knowledge in it, although a number of significant issues with the translation and interpretation of key terminologies are yet to be solved. 
They have remained vaguely and are in the need of finer retranslation and reinterpretation if possible. 

Therefore, even for a non-native Tibetan speaker, there is essentiality of studying Tibetan to understand Buddhism in a far intensified way.


For the excellent study of Tibetan language what one needs is a good environment and a great possibility. 
Rangjung Yeshe Institute is indeed where one meets these needs. Tibetan language is studied from the two modes of classical and colloquial. 

One can study from native speakers and build every necessary skill from them. Moreover, one has ripe opportunity to communicate with foreign folks in Tibetan whose skills of speaking and writing Tibetan are immensely awesome. 

Additionally, one has opportunity to share their feelings and experiences regarding learning Tibetan. One could know how conducive the study of Tibetan has been for their study and penetrating or intensifying understanding in Buddhism. 

In RYI one has great possibility to make considerable improvement in a short time. The possibility is great as the atmosphere is conducive to the Tibetan study. 

Due to the kindness of generous sponsors and dedication of faculty members RYI has been successfully serving courses on Tibetan language as one of the main curriculum features to serve for us to understand Buddhism vastly and yet profoundly.
~ Karma Namgyal from Nepal
BA Student

1 reply on “The Importance of Tibetan Language to Understand Buddhism”

In the west, some of the secular and non-secular advanced degree programs have recently dropped the language requirements, usually creating curricula for Buddhist studies degree with a lanuage-intensive focus for those becoming translators as careers. (Rice University, Maitripa College, others)

Still, I do not see how they can expect those studying translating to have integrated comprehension of language without the secular, social, anthropological, historical, etc. and other implications the language carries with it.

The same goes for the scholar interested in -for example- aspects of Tibetan Buddhist life of secular lay practices and specifics of the relationships with lamas without being able to understand the written docuents of the times. Much can be understood from transactional records about interpersonal and secular relationships in a region. With more and more women's writings of the times, a big chunk of empty spaceuntil now, is being understood of regional, familial, and secular aspcts of life; much of the glue that the also-predominately male gaze supposition of esp. monasticism may be challenged. A lot of reshaping history is about to occur with sexual, racial, and cultural biases becoming exposed in pealing off the overlay of western, lamaism as the window dressings for the rise of modernities interpretation.

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