Author Topic: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order  (Read 11563 times)

Mana

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Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« on: December 28, 2011, 08:31:41 PM »
Sounds like a good idea? I heard that Sanskrit is a language specifically created and developed for Dharma, so it is close to the original meaning of Buddha.

In ancient time, many Dharma translators are accomplished practitioners themselves, so their Dharma translations were held in high regards and can still be used as a source to practise until Enlightenment. But nowadays the level of translation as well as the spiritual practice of the translators themselves are questionable, so their works are of questionable credibility and accuracy as well, let alone being use as source for spiritual practice.


the source of the news is here: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,10637,0,0,1,0

New Delhi, India -- The 17th Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is spearheading the revival of Sanskrit - the language in which several early Buddhist texts had been composed in India before the religion spread to Tibet.

The Karmapa, who heads the Karma Kagyu school of Buddhism in India, has instituted a practice of opening his morning prayers with chanting of Sanskrit shlokas.

"In 2010, the 17th Karmapa began a search for the original Sanskrit texts of dohas (sacred couplets) composed by the great Indian `mahasiddhas` whose dharma teachings and meditation practices are transmitted today in the Karma Kagyu lineage," documents provided by the Karmapa`s office said.

"After locating two rare texts, his holiness commissioned south Indian music scholar R.S. Nanda Kumar, who is reviving India`s ancient musical heritage, to set the verses to music following traditional doha song forms as faithfully as possible."

The results of these efforts were "two dohas which were performed by Nanda Kumar".

While one was a song of realisation by Saraha, the `mahamudra` master whose lineage the Karmapa transmit, the other was by Tilopa - another great `mahasiddha` in the Karma Kagyu lineage.


"In the course of our research, we have found that a form of music, `charya geeti`, which originated from eastern India, had direct links with Buddhism. It had travelled all the way down south from the Magadha kingdom," composer and vocalist Nanda Kumar told IANS.

Most of these early traditional songs were composed in Sanskrit.

"In the eighth century, `dwipadi` and `dwipathaka` - two other forms of spiritual songs - were also sung. They were similar to doha," Nanda Kumar said.

However, `dohas` are different from `charya geeti`, he said.

According to history, the Buddhist songs of realisation were sung poetry in various forms like the performance songs (charya geeti), diamond songs (vajragiti) and doha songs (couplets). The doha songs are primarily spiritual aphorisms expressed in the form of rhyme or couplets, `charya geeti` were stand-alone songs while `vajragiti` are essentially tantric.

Midakpa

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 03:37:03 AM »
The use of Sanskrit in Tibetan Buddhism has its advantages and disadvantages.

From my observation, Sanskrit has never been completely replaced by Tibetan in the teachings and prayers. The texts may contain Sanskrit words, some of them pronounced according to the Tibetan phonological system. These are usually loanwords that have been integrated into the Tibetan language and do not pose a problem as to the understanding of the meaning.

The advantage is that, if the student knows Sanskrit, he can understand the meanings of the Sanskrit words in the sacred texts and does not have to resort to a translation. This will facilitate learning.

On the other hand, if the student does not know Sanskrit, the learning process can become quite a painful experience. This is also true in other religions where the holy text is in a language that is foreign to the student, such as Latin in some Christian denominations and Classical Arabic in Islam.

So, if the Buddhist texts were to be taught in Sanskrit, many ordinary students and lay people will have to struggle with the pronunciation of the unfamiliar words and end up learning everything by heart. The disadvantage of this practice is that there will certainly be a lack of understanding which might hinder spiritual practice. In the first place, the source language of the religion was replaced by the local vernacular in order to reach out to the masses who were mainly illiterate.

The solution is to find qualified translators who are not only proficient in both the source and the target languages but are also practitioners.


hope rainbow

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 01:30:07 PM »
Sanskrit was refined and organised to best represent the teaching of the Buddha.

And so was the Tibetan! The Tibetan language had no organized grammar neither written form and those were created and formalized so as to translate the Buddhist texts from Sanskrit.

So both these languages have excellent qualities to express the Buddhist teachings.

But my first thought in reading this post was this: Is the Karmapa thinking of ways for the Buddhist teachings to be more readily available to the Indians in their own language?
Excuse my ignorance, but is the sanskrit from the sutra still spoken today in india?
And if yes, how widely?

nagaseeker

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 01:23:42 PM »
It is a gd idea that reviving use of sanskrit in spiritual ;D There were sixteen vowels in sanskrit but Thonmi Sambhota had taken only four vowels as for tibetan,from the thirty four consonants of sanskrit ,he adapted twenty three and add in another seven afterwards .thus in total Thonmi Sambhota made thirty consonants & regarding the vowels ,he omitted some and never added any . By relying to the sanskrit treaties of grammar,he composed the thirty stanzas,the application of gender signs and six other text ( i wonder what text are those ) .however,since the demolition of the buddha dharma by king Langdarma in year 901 A.D . it was said that the six others hv vanished as the dharma was unable to be restored for sixty years. Thonmi Sambhota was also known as the first translator who translated some sutrs n tantras into tibet,morover he was the first person to master over the ten types of literature.By taken out 12 vowels of sanskrit and 4 consonants , is that accurate to translate all the text,sutras,tantras ....??? i once heard from a friend said that if you can master sanskrit (which is hard now a day)then you can easily master tibetan,hindi,nepali,or even thai , check out all their consonants and you will find out that they all look a like because it is all transform from Sanskrit ~ and also if you can master sanskrit , you can understand more of the essence of dharma text ~

Klein

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 05:46:29 PM »
(In ancient time, many Dharma translators are accomplished practitioners themselves, so their Dharma translations were held in high regards and can still be used as a source to practise until Enlightenment. But nowadays the level of translation as well as the spiritual practice of the translators themselves are questionable, so their works are of questionable credibility and accuracy as well, let alone being use as source for spiritual practice.)


I agree with the above. The person translating is very important. If the translator is not an accomplished practitioner, then the translation may not be very accurate. It may defeat the purpose of using Sanskrit and backfire instead.

I presume The Karmapa will be very careful and stringent with choosing the translator.

kris

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 09:37:39 PM »
I would agree that this is a good idea because I believe the sound of the words is very important, such as "Om", "Ah" "Hum", etc. As such, reciting mantras in Sanskrit is a good idea.

However, I felt that we still can read Dharma text using the language we are most familiar with, for example: English, etc. Yes, I agree that there are quite a lot of misinterpreted Dharma text, but if we need to learn Sanskrit before we can read Dharma text, then I would say it is not necessary.

Ensapa

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 12:39:55 AM »
(In ancient time, many Dharma translators are accomplished practitioners themselves, so their Dharma translations were held in high regards and can still be used as a source to practise until Enlightenment. But nowadays the level of translation as well as the spiritual practice of the translators themselves are questionable, so their works are of questionable credibility and accuracy as well, let alone being use as source for spiritual practice.)


I agree with the above. The person translating is very important. If the translator is not an accomplished practitioner, then the translation may not be very accurate. It may defeat the purpose of using Sanskrit and backfire instead.

I presume The Karmapa will be very careful and stringent with choosing the translator.

On the note on translators:
No offense, but the whole issue with Shugden started with a translator who translated the Yellow Book in a way to make it sound negative. Words have a very strong effect on people and holy texts can be easily skewered or distorted via translations to achieve a certain purpose.

Nowadays, translators are just people who like the tibetan culture and buddhism and who learnt up on some tibetan with little or no training. It's no longer the sincere practitioner who wishes to benefit others through the teachings, and thus practice and master the texts before translating them. It would diminish some effect i would presume, but what is more dangerous is that people will always have agendas and the text may be translated to fit those agendas.

nagaseeker

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 08:59:16 AM »
I would agree that this is a good idea because I believe the sound of the words is very important, such as "Om", "Ah" "Hum", etc. As such, reciting mantras in Sanskrit is a good idea.

However, I felt that we still can read Dharma text using the language we are most familiar with, for example: English, etc. Yes, I agree that there are quite a lot of misinterpreted Dharma text, but if we need to learn Sanskrit before we can read Dharma text, then I would say it is not necessary.

Dear Kris,i do agree that we can read dharma text by using the language we familiar with,misinterpreted Dharma text is one things , but do you know theres some visualization that require one to dissolve certain tibetan 'words' which some words itself been stacking up by 2-3 tibetan consonants ? you need to dissolve the bottom consonant continue with the middle then the top one by one and it got meanings in it . my friend ask me once about this , you can do your daily sadhana by english , but how do you dissolve the  ????? in english which is HUM ? dissolve the H then U then M ???

nagaseeker

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 09:01:53 AM »
sorry all , the tibetan word     ?????     doesn show up.....

kris

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 09:07:27 PM »
Nagaseeker, I have not reached the level of dissolving words yet :P So far, I only reached the level of dissolving Lama Tsongkapa :P

But I think know the words to dissolve is much easier than learning the language itself :) But if we are serious about our spiritual path, may be we should learn up Tibetan?

nagaseeker

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Re: Karmapa reviving use of Sanskrit in spiritual order
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 09:37:12 PM »
Nagaseeker, I have not reached the level of dissolving words yet :P So far, I only reached the level of dissolving Lama Tsongkapa :P

But I think know the words to dissolve is much easier than learning the language itself :) But if we are serious about our spiritual path, may be we should learn up Tibetan?

yea,dissolve the the words is much much more easier than learning tibetan.  ::) you don't have to learn tibetan even though we are serious about our spiritual path , FYI ... u need years to learn n understand tibetan......r3