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Buddhadharma : Winter 2005
winter 2005| 72 |buddhadharma express the subtleties of these teachings; this can sometimes produce the effect of making the text seem more difficult than it really is. His style of translation, while clear and precise in the prose sections, is less successful in conveying the simplicity and poetic quality of the verses, which are intended to be easily memorized and repeated. I wish he did not feel the need to clarify the text quite so often with additional bracketed words and phrases, which interrupt the flow of the reading. In the majority of cases they simply state the obvious and seem unnecessary, while in others an extra word could be treated as part of the translation without any need for the distracting brackets; indeed, he frequently uses two or more English words to translate a single Tibetan term. The names of deities are given throughout in their Sanskrit form, and I congratulate the publishers for printing the correct transliteration with diacritics and for the very accurate proofreading. Otherwise, very few Sanskrit or Tibetan words have been used in the book, even those that have become part of the English language, such as “dharma” and “karma.” While some Buddhist readers may regret this, it is perhaps understand- able since the book has been accepted by a mainstream publisher and is intended for a very wide circulation. There are a few puzzling exceptions to this policy, however, and I wonder why, for instance, samsara is translated (“cyclic existence”), but nirvana is not, even when it appears in the same sentence. Such criticisms are very minor com- pared to the magnificent achievement of this volume, which is enriched by a splendid set of illustrations. The work has been blessed by the encouragement and teachings of many of the greatest Nyingma masters and the advice and contributions from contemporary line- age holders of Karma Lingpa’s tradi- tion. The Dalai Lama has provided an introductory commentary in which he explains the profound concepts and out- lines the meditational practices relating to this literature. I highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in Tibetan Buddhism. Practitioners will find in it a vast source of inspiration and, since it constantly reminds us of the inevitability of death, a powerful incitement to perse- vere on the path.