One of the five classical subjects of study, Grammar includes translation theory and etymology. The Classical Tibetan language remains a rich source of carefully compiled vocabulary expressing the meaning of the Buddhadharma. Traditionally one begins the study of  Tibetan language using ancient grammatical treatises such as the ‘Thirty verses’ (sum cu pa) and ‘Use of Gender Signs’ (rtags ‘jug pa) by “the scholar from Tibet”, Thonmi Sambhota.

Dhāraṇī and Mantra: A Brief Introduction

May 20, 2020

by Hilary Herdman In Buddhist texts, we encounter two related but slightly different terms that refer to incantations or invocations associated with powerful properties. Dhāraṇī and Mantra both may involve the holding or...

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Foe Destroyer, Arhat—What Is in a Name?

Nov 28, 2019

“Foe Destroyer,” the English translation of the Tibetan dgra bcom pa (pronounced dra chom pa) may sound like an old-fashioned or unusual term. Why did Tibetan translators choose this translation for the...

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Bhagavān: Buddha Epithets

Oct 24, 2019

Bhagavān in Indian Context Bhagavān or Bhagavān Buddha appears throughout Buddhist scriptures as one of the many epithets, or titles for the Buddha.  When early Tibetan translators worked with their Indian counterparts...

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Tathāgata: “Thus-Gone, Thus Come”

Aug 13, 2019

Tathāgata: What’s in a Name? Tathāgata, is both a Pali and Sanskrit term that is the first of ten epithets for the Buddha. The ancient Sanskrit thesarus, the Nāmaliṅgānuśāsanam or Amarakośa  Tib....

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Tibetan for Practitioners

Feb 12, 2019

Tibetan for Practitioners: A Success on the Ground Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Cooperstown in New York  hosted an exciting new offering in July of 2018.  Translator Oriane Lavole led an enthusiastic group of...

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Buddha: The Awakened

Feb 11, 2019

Buddha (Tibetan sang rgyas) “The Awakened” Buddha is an example in the classical language of Tibet, of a word conveying deep meaning. The study of grammar allows us to investigate the construction...

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