by Andreas Kretschmar | 246,740 words

The English translation of the Bodhisattvacharyavatara (“entering the conduct of the bodhisattvas”), a Sanskrit text with Tibetan commentary. This book explains the bodhisattva concept and gives guidance to the Buddhist practitioner following the Mahāyāna path towards the attainment of enlightenment. The text was written in Sanskrit by Shantideva ...

The translator always inserts an homage after the title and before the actual translation of the text. Here, in the case of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra, the homage goes: Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas! [sangs rgyas dang byang chub sems dpa’ thams cad la phyag ’tshal lo]. This refers to all the buddhas of the ten directions and the three times [phyogs bcu dus gsum gyi sangs rgyas thams cad] as well as to all bodhisattvas.

The forefather dharma kings [chos rgyal yab mes] are Songtsen Gampo [srong btsan sgam po] and Trisong Detsen [khri srong lde’u btsan]. During their reign no rules were made concerning the translator’s homage at the beginning of a translation. Later however, King Ralpachen [mnga’ bdag ral pa can] decreed that all translators had to start their translations with an invocation which identified the category of the text. He ordered that all vinaya translations start with the phrase:

Homage to the Omniscient One [thams cad mkhyen pa la phyag ’tshal lo], all sūtra translations with: Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas [sangs rgyas dang byang chub sems dpa’ thams cad la phyag ’tshal lo], and all abhidharma translations with: Homage to the noble Mañjuśrīkumārabhāta [’phags pa ’jam dpal gzhon nur gyur pa].

As the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra belongs to the sūtra teachings, it begins with the sūtra homage: Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas. Many Mahāyāna sūtras were requested by bodhisattvas from other world systems. By paying homage the translator ensures that no obstacles will arise for his translation of the text and that he will succeed in completing the entire translation.

Under King Ralpachen’s rule a new dharma language was also established. Earlier, each translator had coined his own personal translation terminology; no common agreement about terminology existed. King Ralpachen gathered all the major translators and had them establish a uniform terminology on which everyone could agree. The king also ordered a reformation of the old orthography [brda rnying]. Düjom Rinpoche writes:[1]

He invited Surendrabodhi, Śīlendrabodhi, Dānaśīla and many other paṇḍitas from India. He commanded them, along with the Tibetan preceptor Ratnarakṣita and Dharmatāśīla, and the translator Jñānasena, as follows:

“Formerly, when the doctrine was translated by paṇḍitas and translators in the time of my parental ancestors [yab mes kyi dus], many terms were used which were unknown to the Tibetan language.

Replace those terms among them which contradict the texts of the dharma and the system of grammar [lun du ston pa; skr. vyākaraṇa], as well as those which are hard to understand, by searching (for alternatives) among the best terms of the colloquial language [yul skad kyi ming gces so ’tshal].

Thus, you should improve the translations [bsgyur bcos gyis] according to the texts of the greater and lesser vehicles.”

In order to establish the country in the dharma, King Ralpachen studied all scriptures and saw that some teachings were based on Chinese texts, some on Indian texts and others on Nepalese or Oḍḍiyāna texts. Some texts even began with homage to ancestral deities and had an inconsistent dharma terminology [chos skad].

He decreed:

“Since the Buddha lived in India, and since the dharma was first taught in India, all teachings must be unified based on the Indian language.”

He ordered the correction of all incorrect translations that had been done previously and the completion of all unfinished translations.

Furthermore, he ordered the translation of boundless sūtras and tantras that had not been translated previously. All translations were corrected based on original texts from India. If a text did not begin with the phrase “In the Indian language” King Ralpachen did not accept the translation. He considered that since India was the place of origin of all teachings, translations based on Indian texts were of ’genuine origin’ [khungs btsun pa]. The translators under King Ralpachen had to be excellently trained in grammar, both Sanskrit and Tibetan.

King Ralpachen’s activity included the establishment of three types of great spiritual institutions [chos grva chen mo gsum]: universities, monasteries and retreat centers. He established twelve institutions for training in study and contemplation [thos bsam blo sbyong gi grva bcu gnyis]; six institutions for scholastic and monastic activities [mkhas btsun stangs ’bul gyi grva drug]; and six institutions for silent retreat [smra bcad sems phyogs kyi grva drug].

Crucial information about the translation history of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra can as well be gathered from the colophon of the text. The colophon identifies the main translators and their translation team, as well as the Indian scholars who assisted the translators in their work. The colophon removes all doubts about the text’s authenticity, proving it to be a genuine teaching that came from India. This tradition of opening with the Sanskrit title and concluding with a detailed colophon guards against any fabrication of teachings.

The great translator Kawa Paltsek (8th-9th century), assisted by the Indian scholar Sarvajñādeva, translated the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra from Sanskrit into Tibetan for the first time. Kawa Paltsek for the most part used Sanskrit editions and manuscripts from the region of Kashmir in western India.

About a hundred years later, the Indian scholar Dharmaśrībhadra and the two Tibetan translators, Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) and Śākya Lodro, corrected and re-translated the text by using Sanskrit editions and commentaries from the Central Land [yul dbus, skr. madhyadeśa]. The term ’Central Land’ refers to the heartland of India, all the ancient kingdoms in the area of the Ganges river.

Subsequently, about one hundred years later, the Indian scholar Sumatikīrti and the translator Ngok Lochen Loden Sherab (1059-1109) corrected, re-translated, and finalized the text. The Tibetans regard this last version as the definitive edition. It thus required three Indian scholars and many Tibetan translators to produce a definitive version over a period of more than two hundred years.

A translation of Khenpo Kunpal’s commentary[2] on this colophon, which is entitled ’the Explanation of the Translator’s Colophon’ [lo tsā ba’i ’gyur byang bshad pa], follows:

Fourth, what is meant by the ’Early Translation (Period)’ [snga ’gyur rnying ma ba] and the ’Later Translation (Period)’ [phyi ’gyur gsar ma pa] in regard to the teachings?

The ’Early Translation (Period)’ [snga ’gyur rnying ma] refers to all the sūtras and tantras including their commentaries [dgongs ’grel] which were translated during the time of the incarnations of the noble lords of the three families, the kings who sponsored the dharma: Songtsen Gampo, Trisong Detsen and Ruler Tri Ralpachen; (translated) from the time of the Indian paṇḍitas, the native-language-speaking Indian scholars [bsgyur yul paṇḍita], such as Devaviṭsiṃha[3] onward until the great paṇḍita Smṛtijñāna,[4] and from the time of the translator Thumi Sambhoṭa onward until the omniscient Dharmabhadra from Rongzom (1012-1088) [rong zom kun mkhyen dharma bha dra].[5]

The tantras, commentaries and few minor sūtras that were later translated by Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) and others are considered to belong to the ’Later Translation (Period)’ [phyi ’gyur gsar ma].

In fact, all these (teachings of the Early and Later Translation Periods) constitute the precious doctrine of our compassionate master, the Buddha, the Bhagavān, the victorious Śākyamuni. Moreover, the sublime beings who uphold this (doctrine) are themselves endowed with the view of the four seals of his teachings [bka’ rtags kyi phyag rgya bzhi]. Therefore, since all their activities of body, speech and mind are on the sky-like level of absolute truth [chos sku’i klong du], by nature utterly indivisible, one finds no sectarianism or bias whatsoever.

This text (of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra) was composed in Sanskrit. At the time of the Early Translation (Period), when (the explanation lineage of this text) still existed in the noble land of India, the great Indian scholar Sarvajñādeva, which means the ’Omniscient Deity’ [thams cad mkhyen pa’i lha], and the translator and chief editor *(annotation), the monk Kawa Paltsek, translated (the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra) into the Tibetan language based on editions from Kashmir. They edited (the text), meaning they corrected it, and then finalized [gtan la phab pa] it by having it explained (again by the paṇḍita) and studied (as a teaching for the translator). Having done so, they generated great benefit for all fortunate ones.

*Annotation [nang tshan]: as the great translator Ngok (Loden Sherab) [rngog lo chen po] said:

Vairocana was equal to the limits of space.
The three—Ka,[6] Chok,[7] and Zhang—[8] were like the sun, the moon and their unity.
Rinchen Zangpo was like the great morning star.
I am just a mere firefly.

Later, the Indian scholar Dharmaśrībhadra, which means ’Noble and Glorious Dharma’ [chos dpal bzang po], the monk Rinchen Zangpo (9581055), translator and chief editor, and Śākya Lodro [śākya blo gros] corrected, re-translated, and finalized (the text) in accordance with editions and commentaries from the Central Land.

Again, at a later time, the Indian scholar Sumatikīrti, which means the ’Scholar, the One renowned for his Excellent Intelligence’ [mkhas pa legs pa’i blo gros grags pa], and the monk Ngok Lochen Loden Sherab (10591109) [rngog lo chen blo ldan shes rab], translator and chief editor, corrected, re-translated and finalized it in an excellent manner.

In the commentary by Sazang[9] it says: ’Sumatikīrti, the Nepalese Paṇḍita’.[10] It also says that the three later translators ’have improved (the translation) by correcting and editing, which means they finalized it’. And furthermore it says, ’I corrected all the minor mistakes which (have appeared since) by examining Indian editions and commentaries’.[11]

bzhi pa ni / de la bstan pa la snga ’gyur dang phyi ’gyur zhes pa ji ltar yin na ’phags pa rigs gsum mgon po’i rnam ’phrul sbyin bdag chos rgyal srong btsan sgom po dang / khri srong lde’u btsan dang mnga’ bdag khri ral can ste bsgyur yul paṇḍita lha rig pa’i seng ge nas paṇ chen smṛti jñāna’i bar dang / ’gyur byed thu mi sam bho ṭa nas rong zom kun mkhyen dharma bha dra’i bar du bsgyur ba’i mdo rgyud dgongs ’grel dang bcas pa rnams la snga ’gyur rnying ma zhes grags la /

phyis su lo chen rin chen bzang po la sogs pas bsgyur ba’i rgyud ’grel pa dang mdo phran ’ga’ zhig bcas bsgyur ba la phyi ’gyur gsar ma zhes grags na’ang don du de thams cad bdag cag gi ston pa thugs rje can sangs rgyas bcom ldan ’das rgyal ba shākya thub pa’i bstan pa rin po che dang de ’dzin pa’i skyes bu dam pa lta ba bka’ rtags kyi phyag rgya bzhi dang ldan pas gsang gsum gyi mdzad spyod thams cad chos sku’i klong du mkha’ ltar dbyer mi phyed pa’i bdag nyid can kho na yin pas na phyogs dang ris su gcod par bya ba ci yang med do //

gzhung ’di’ang legs sbyar gyi skad du brtsams shing rgya gar ’phags pa’i yul na gnas pa la snga ’gyur gyi dus su rgya gar gyi mkhan po chen po sarva jñāna deva ste thams cad mkhyen pa’ lha dang / zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba ni rngog lo chen pos /

vai ro tsa na nam mkha’ mtha’ dang mnyam / /
ska cog zhang gsum nyi zla zung ‘brel dang //
rin chen bzang po tho rangs skar chen ’dra //
kho bo cag ni srin bu me khyer tsam //

zhes pa’i nang tshan bande ska ba dpal brtsegs kyis kha che’i dpe las bod kyi skad du bsgyur cing zhus te zhes zhu dag kyang mdzad de ’chad nyan gyis gtan la phab pa las skal ldan rnams la phan pa rgya chen po mdzad pa’o //
slad kyis rgya gar gyi mkhan po dharma śrī bha dra ste chos dpal bzang po dang / zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba bande rin chen bzang po dang / śākya blo gros kyis yul dbus kyi dpe dang ‘grel pa dang mthun par bcos shing bsgyur te gtan la phab pa’o //

yang dus phyis rgya gar gyi mkhan po su ma ti kīrti ste mkhas pa legs pa’i blo gros grags pa dang / zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba dge slong rngog lo chen po blo ldan shes rab kyis kyang dag par bcos shing bsgyur te legs par gtan la phab pa’o //

zhes pa ’dir sa bzang ‘grel par bal po’i paṇḍita su ma ti kīrti zhes dang / lo tsā ba phyi ma gsum gyis bcos shing zhus te dag par byas te gtan la phab pa’o zhes dang / bar skabs su cung zad ma dag par song ba rnams bdag gis kyang rgya dpe dang ‘grel pa la gtugs te dag par bgyis pa’o zhes gsungs so //

Khenpo Chöga comments that the great Tibetan scholar Rongzompa Dharmabhadra said that the Early Translation Period [snga ’gyur rnying ma] was superior to the Later Translation Period in six ways [khyad par du ’phags pa’i che ba drug]. Düjom Rinpoche quotes Rongzompa Dharmabhadra:[12]

(1) The greatness of the benefactors [yon bdag gi che ba]: Since the benefactors of the Early Translation Period were the three ancestral dharma kings who were the emanations of the lords of the three families [rigs gsum mgon po], they are unlike the benefactors of the Later Translation Period.

The three ancestral dharma kings [chos rgyal mes dbon rnam gsum] were

  1. Songtsen Gampo [srong btsan sgam po],
  2. Trisong Detsen [khri srong lde btsan],
  3. and King Tri Ralpachen [mnga’ bdag khri ral pa can].

King Songtsen Gampo was considered to be an emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara; King Trisong Detsen was considered to be an emanation of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī; and King Tri Ralpachen was regarded as an emanation of the bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi. These three bodhisattvas are called ’the lords of the three families’ [rigs gsum dgon po].

Mañjuśrī is the embodiment of the wisdom [mkhyen pa’i rigs] of all the buddhas, Avalokiteśvara the embodiment of the compassion [brtse ba’i rigs] of all the buddhas, and Vajrapāṇi the embodiment of the activities [nus pa’i rigs] of all the buddhas. The body manifestation [sku’i rigs] of all the buddhas is Mañjuśrī; the speech manifestation [gsung gi rigs] of all the buddhas is Avalokiteśvara; and the mind manifestation [thugs kyi rigs] of all the buddhas is Vajrapāṇi.

Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[13]

(2) The greatness of the location where the teachings were translated and finalized [gang du bsgyur zhing gtan la phab pa’i gnas kyi che ba]: Since the locations in which the teachings were translated and finalized were the emanated temples [sprul pa’i gtsug lag khang] such as Samye and others, the high and low centers of the doctrine [chos ’khor stod smad], they are unlike those translated in the monastic enclaves [dgon pa’i phag phug] of today.

At the time of King Songtsen Gampo, the texts were translated in his palace. At the time of King Trisong Detsen, the translations were done in the temple of Samye. At the time of King Tri Ralpachen, the translators and paṇḍitas worked in the temple of Ushang Doyi Lhakhang [’u shang rdo’i lha khang] and in the temple of Phang-Thang Kame [’phang thang ka med gyi gtsug lag khang].

Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[14]

(3) The distinction of the greatness of the translators [sgyur byed lo tsā ba’i khyad par ni / sgyur byed lo tsā ba’i che ba]:

These teachings were translated by emanated translators, by the translators of the past such as

Vairocana [bai ro tsa na],
Kawa Paltsek [ska ba dpal brtegs],
Cokro Lui Gyaltsen [cog ro klu’i rgyal mtshan],
Zhang Yeshe De [zhang ye shes sde],
Ma Rinchen Chok [rma rin chen mchog],

Nyak Jñānakumāra [gnyags jñāna ku mā ra] and others. Thus, they are unlike the translations made by the translators of today, who pass the summer in Mangyul and travel to India and Nepal for a short time during the winter.

All the translators [’gyur byed / sgyur byed] from Thumi Sambhoṭa onward until the great scholar Rongzom Mahāpaṇḍita Dharmabhadra are called the translators of the Early Translation Period. These translators always worked on their translations with a great scholar from India, in that way ensuring proper translation of the texts. A translation made by a Tibetan translator who did not consult an Indian scholar was not regarded as a proper translation.

Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[15]

(4) The distinction of the greatness of the paṇḍitas [paṇḍita’i khyad par ni / paṇḍita’i che ba]: Those teachings were brought (to Tibet) by buddhas and sublime bodhisattvas abiding on the great (bodhisattva) levels, (namely) the paṇḍitas of the past, such as the preceptor Śāntarakṣita, Buddhaguhya, the great master Padmasambhava, the great paṇḍita Vimalamitra, and others. Thus, they were unlike the paṇḍitas of today, who wander about in search of gold.

During the time of the three ancestral dharma kings, more than one hundred paṇḍitas were invited from India. Among them were great masters and scholars such as the master Padmasambhava [slob dpon pad ma ’byung gnas], the preceptor Śāntarakṣita [mkhan po zhi ba ’tsho], Buddhaguhya [sangs rgyas gsang ba], the great paṇḍita Vimalamitra [paṇ chen bi ma la mi tra], Devaviṭsiṃha [lha rig pa’i seng ge], Sarvajñādeva [sarva jñāna deva], and so forth up to the time of the great Indian scholar Smṛtijñānakīrti.

The masters and scholars whom the Tibetan kings and translators invited to Tibet all possessed higher perceptions and magical powers and had a true realization of the buddha dharma. These masters were all great bodhisattvas. Therefore, the Early Translation Period had the greatness of the paṇḍitas.

Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[16]

5) The distinction of the greatness of the offerings for requesting (the teachings) [zhu rten me tog gi khyad par ni / zhu rten mandal gyi che ba]: In the past the teachings were requested with offerings of gold weighed in deerskin pouches [sha ba’i blud gang] or by volume measures [bre la gzhal nas]. Thus, they were unlike the requests (by the students) of the present day made with one or two old pieces drawn from under their arms.

The three ancestral kings would offer as much gold as fits in a deerskin pouch to each Indian paṇḍita when they requested them to help the Tibetan translators in their endeavors to translate texts from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[17]

6) The distinction of the greatness of the teachings [chos kyi khyad par ni / chos kyi che ba]: The translations of the past were completed at a time when the doctrine of the Buddha had reached its zenith in India. Furthermore, certain tantras did not even exist in the Central Land but were retained by bodhisattvas, accomplished masters [grub pa], knowledge-holders [rig pa ’dzin pa] and ḍākinīs who had obtained their empowerments.

These were taken from pure lands and from regions of Jambudvīpa such as Siṇghala and Oḍḍiyāna in the West, through the miraculous deeds [rdzu ’phrul gyi bkod pa] of the great masters Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra and others, and then they were translated (in Tibet). Thus, many teachings which were completely unknown to the scholars and accomplished masters of India arrived to become the meritorious fortune of Tibet (at a later time).”

Furthermore, concerning the translations themselves: Since the translators of the past were emanations, they established the meaning correctly. Therefore, their works are easy to understand and, on plumbing their depths [byings mjal ba la], the blessings are great. Translators of the later period, however, failed to render the meaning [don bsgyur] but made literal translations [sgra bsgyur] (merely) by following the arrangement of the Sanskrit texts [rgya dpe’i go rim]. Consequently, their stilted terminology [tshig grims] is hard to understand, and on plumbing the depths, the blessing is slight. Therefore, they are dissimilar.

Düjom Rinpoche’s quotation of Rongzompa Dharmabhadra continues:[18]

When the doctrine of the Buddha was at its zenith [gra ma nymas pa’i dus su], the emanated translators finalized (the texts of) the teachings without error. They determined the actual condition of knowledge [shes bya dgnos po’i ’dug tshul] and adorned the teachings in many ways which served to complete them. But the charlatan translators of the present day made various reforms in the ancient translations, saying,

“I am a better translator. My sources are more venerable!”

And so, misrepresenting the transmitted precepts of the Buddha and the teachings of their gurus, they all compose their own doctrines. They heap abuse upon one another for their own faults. Their doctrines are such that those of the father do not suit the son. (In all of this) they are unlike (the Early Translation Period).

The majority of the sūtras contained in the Kangyur were already translated at the time of the Early Translation Period. The tantras, commentaries, and a few minor sūtras that were translated later on by Rinchen Zangpo and others are known as translations of the Later Translation Period [phyi ’gyur gsar ma].

Any teaching that does not accord with the four seals of the teachings [bka’ rtags kyi phyag rgya bzhi] does not accord with the teachings of the Buddha. These four seals are:

Everything compounded is impermanent.
Everything defiling is suffering.
Nirvāṇa is peace.
All phenomena are empty and without a self.

‘du byed thams cad ni mi rtag pa’o
zag pa dang bcas pa ni sdug bsngal ba’o
mya ngan las ’das pa ni zhi ba’o
chos thams cad stong zhing bdag med pa’o

The term translator and chief editor [zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba] refers to the main translator and editor among a team of translators. Within the team, he was the most skilled translator, working closely on the texts with the Indian paṇḍita. He was also in charge of final editing as he had the decision-making power. Longchenpa said:

The translator and chief editor [zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba] was in those days an accomplished scholar [mkhas pa mthar phyin pa] who was in charge of editing, someone who could be trusted. But (a translation) had to accord with (Sanskrit) poetry and grammar when changed from the Indian text into the Tibetan language or (back again) from the Tibetan text into the Indian language. This was an extremely difficult task.[19]

Thus, each translation had to be retranslated into Sanskrit and had to read perfectly. Each text was translated cooperatively by the Tibetan translator and the Indian scholar. Then the translation was revised and edited until it was flawless [ma nor bar zhu dag byas]. After all the work had been completed, the text was finalized as an authoritative translation by expounding and studying it [’chad nyan gyis gtan la phab pa]. For these reasons the translations of the earlier translation period are truly trustworthy.

At that point in the colophon, Khenpo Kunpal inserts a quote from Ngok Loden Sherab, as a footnote or annotation [nang tshan], explaining to whom the term ’translator and chief editor’ refers. Ngok Loden Sherab here evaluates the great Tibetan translators: Vairocana as the best; Kawa Paltsek, Cokro Lui Gyaltshan and Zhang Yeshe De as second best; Rinchen Zangpo as third best; and himself as the very least. Ngok Loden Sherab composed this praise to the former translators when he was reworking the translation of the Sūtrālaṃkāra [mdo sde rgyan], originally done by Kawa Paltsek.

In the writings of Zhechen Gyaltshab[20] we find the following reference, which differs slightly from Khenpo Kunpal’s quotation of Ngok’s praise:

When the great translator Ngok, supreme among the later translators, was confronted in the Sūtrālaṃkāra[21] with the words “ra ga ra ga” (khrag med khrag med) alone, he did not know how to translate them. Looking up the old translations he was amazed by the translation ’neither attached nor clinging’ [ma chags mi chags] and so forth. He then composed this great praise to the translators of the Old School:

Vairocana was equal to the limits of space;
The two, Ka and Cok, were like the unity of sun and moon;
Rinchen Zangpo was like the great morning star;
I am just a mere firefly.

phyis kyi lo tsa’i nang nas mchog tu gyur pa’i rngog lo tsā ba chen pos kyang / mdo rgyan nang ra ga ra ga’i sgra kho na snang bas ’gyur ma shes / snga ’gyur gzigs pas / ma chags mi chags sogs su bsgyur ba la ya mtshan skyes ste

vai ro tsā na nam mkha’ dag dang mnyam
ska cog rnam gnyis nyi zla zung gcig la
rin chen bzang po tho rang skar chen tsam
ko bo de drung srin bu me khyer bzhin
zhes snga ‘gyur gyi lo tsā ba la bsngags pa cher mdzad cing /

The profound points of the sūtra and tantra sections cannot be translated into the Tibetan language without a perfect understanding of the etymology of the words [nges pa’i tshig]. Since there was previously no terminology [brda chad] in Tibetan for translating the scriptures, a new system had to be established.

As one single Sanskrit term has various synonyms and meanings, it proved impossible to cover all implications of a term with a superficial translation. In particular, the words of the tantras are in most cases sealed with the six modes [mtha’ drug gis rgyas btab pa]; unless one has higher perceptions they cannot be translated.

The translators of the Old School translated all the teachings of the sūtras and tantras according to their meaning [don ’gyur mdzad pa] without the slightest error. Thus, these teachings and translations are not an object for intellectuals to meddle with [rtog ge’i yul ma yin pa]. The words of these old translations are magnificent [bying che ba], easy to understand [go bde ba], poetic [snyan pa] and correct [legs pa].

When the scholar-translators of the Later Translation Period [phyis kyi lo tsā ba] compared all the Sanskrit and Tibetan texts, they gained genuine trust in these translations as they could find nothing to correct. All the later translators followed the rules and terminology laid down in the Mahāvyutpatti [bye brag rtogs byed] and the sgra sbyor bam po gnyis pa, two texts which became the standard dictionary for all Tibetan translators.

Based on editions from Kashmir [kha che’i dpe las] means texts from Kashmir, the northwestern part of India [rgya gar nub phyogs]. First, the translators, under the supervision of Kawa Paltsek, translated [bsgyur cing] the text with the help of the Indian scholar, Sarvajñādeva. Then they edited [zhus te] the translation.

This means they corrected it [zhu dag kyang mdzad de] by having the Indian scholar once again explain the text to them [’chad nyan gyis]. In this way they could finalize [gtan la phab pa] the text. The term ’finalize’ [gtan la phab pa] means that the translators came up with a translation they considered definitive.

Footnotes and references:


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 522; and bdud ’joms chos ’byung, page 136.


kun dpal ’grel pa (si khron mi rigs edition), pages 808-810


Devavitsiṃha [lha rig pa’i seng ge] was the Sanskrit teacher of Thumi Sambhoṭa. See Blue Annals, page 218.


The Indian scholar Smṛtijñānakīrti lived in the late tenth or early eleventh century. He came to Tibet and corrected the translations of some of the tantras and translated some commentaries on the secret mantra and composed some treatises on grammar. He passed away in East Tibet. Note that both Khenpo Kunpal and Khenpo Chöga include Smṛtijñānakīrti in the Early Translation Period, although his lifetime falls clearly in the Later Translation Period. See Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 703.


Note that both Khenpo Kunpal and Khenpo Chöga include Rongzompa in the Early Translation Period, although his lifetime clearly falls in the Later Translation Period.


The translator Kawa Paltsek [ska ba dpal brtsegs].


The translator Chokro Lui Gyaltsen [cog ro klu’i rgyal mtshan].


The translator Zhang Yeshe De [zhang ye shes sde].


sa bzang ’grel chen.


See also the root text of the Bodhisattva-caryāvatāra in Peking Tan-gyur Vol. 100, page 1, folio 45a: bal po’i paṇḍita Sumatikīrti dang /


sa bzang ’grel ba, page 443, folio 222a.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, pages 889; and bdud ’joms chos ’byung, pages 570-572.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 889.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 889.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 889.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, pages 889-890.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, page 890.


Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, pages 890-891.


See klong chen chos ’byung, page 375-376: de yang zhu chen gyi lo tsā ba zhes bya ba ni / de’i tshe mkhas pa mthar phyin pa des zhus dag byas nas yid ches ba’i gnas yin pa’am / yang na rgya dpe las bod skad du ston nam / bod dpe las rgya skad du ston na sdeb sbyor sgra dang mthun par ’ong ba ste / ’di ni srid pa’ang shin tu dka’ ste /


zhe chen rgyal tshab chos ’byung, page 96.


See Sūtrālaṃkāra, page 73: ma chags mi chags chags pa med

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: