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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
31 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly David Lunsford Bodhi Foundation Michele Martin tBrC / shambhala Publications John McRae stanford University Larry Mermelstein nalanda translation Committee / shambhala Publications Chok Tenzin Monlam Library of tibetan Works and Archives Elizabeth Napper tibetan nuns Project Joan Nicell Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana tradition Paldor tibetan Buddhist resource Center Ani Jinba Palmo (Eugenie De Jong) shechen Monastery / Khampagar Monastery Ani Lodro Palmo Yeshe nyingpo east Adam Pearcey rigpa / Lotsawa House Alexander Berzin Berzin Archives John Canti Padmakara translation Group Ane Kunga Chodron George Washington University / tsechen Kunchab Ling Joshua W.C. Cutler tibetan Buddhist Learning Center Cortland J. Dahl rimé Foundation / tergar Institute Catherine Dalton rangjung Yeshe Institute / Dharmachakra translation Jake Dalton University of California, Berkeley / Yale University Tyler Dewar nalandabodhi / nitartha Ding Nai-Chu Doboom Tulku Rinpoche tibet House (India) Andreas Doctor rangjung Yeshe Institute Gyurme Dorje John Dunne emory University Wulstan Fletcher Padmakara translation Group Jessie Friedman Light of Berotsana Steven Goodman California Institute of Integral studies Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen tsechen Kunchab Ling Dzongsar Jamgyang Khyentse Rinpoche Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche Gavin Kilty Institute of tibetan Classics David Kittelstrom Wisdom Publications Anne Carolyn Klein rice University / Dawn Mountain Derek Kolleeny tBrC / nalanda translation Committee Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche Jakob Leschly siddhartha’s Intent / Khyentse Foundation Gwenola Le Serrec Padmakara translation Group Jules Levinson Light of Berotsana Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche Raji Ramanan Matthieu Ricard shechen Monastery / Padmakara Marcia Binder Schmidt rangjung Yeshe Publications E. Gene Smith tibetan Buddhist resource Center Phillip Stanley naropa University / nitartha Institute / the tibetan Buddhist Canonical Collections Cataloging Project Robert Thurman tibet House U.s . / Columbia University Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche Martijn van Beek University of Aarhus Pema Wangyal Rinpoche Jeff Watt shelley and Donald rubin Foundation Christian K. Wedemeyer University of Chicago Divinity school Scott Wellenbach nalanda translation Committee / nitartha Institute Thomas Yarnall Columbia University changed over the years, and some were even reconstructed based on the Tibetan translations. Still, there are some Sanskrit texts available. Will those be translated directly from the original? I put the question to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “Ideally, we should go from the original texts, in this case either Pali or Sanskrit,” he said. “But how many Sanskrit-speaking Buddhists are there who are really well- versed not only in the Sanskrit or Pali languages, but also in practicing?” He added, “There’s a sense of urgency, because the infrastructure is waning—the lamas, geshes, and khenpos who can understand some of these texts are disap- pearing just like Sanskrit. So practically speaking, it will have to be from Tibetan, I think.” In asking how many Sanskrit translators are practitioners, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche touched on a controversial subject: Do translators of Buddhism really need to be practi- tioners? Do they even need to be Buddhists? Isn’t it enough to simply know the language? He raised the question in his open- ing remarks: “Who does the best job, the scholar–translator or the practitioner–translator?” “There’s been a lot of dis- cussion at this conference about whether a translator needs to be a practitioner,” said Thomas Yarnall from Columbia University, and the American Institute of Bud- dhist Studies, “and I think that question is not well- founded. We can’t devise a test to know whether someone’s a good dharma practitioner; there’s no bodhichitta litmus test.” He sees critical-thinking ability and a familiarity with the philosophy, psychology, and culture of India and Tibet as the key criteria. Most people I spoke with, though, said they felt that, at the very least, the translator’s motivation—in particular, the wish There’s a sense of urgency, because the infrastructure is waning—the lamas, geshes, and khenpos who can understand some of these texts are disappearing. — Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche TRanslaTIng the WoRds of the Buddha ConferenCe PartiCiPants (Top)johnsoloMon;(lEfT)pETERaRonson