Monday, November 28, 2005

Simple Words - SEMS PA

To continue with our mind, remember that in Tibetan you could build new words using the syllables pa, po, ma, mo. If you add pa to sems, you get sems pa, something like a 'mind thingie'. What this 'mind thingie' really is, that's a hard word to translate. One way to translate is the movement of the mind. Another translation term is to think, reflect, motivation, intention, or even something like the directionality of the mind!

To really understand this, it's good to have a basic primer concerning the mind. In Abhidharma-kosha, the mind is described as a continious flow of pieces of thought, there are 65000 of these discrete movements of the mind in about a fingersnap. That's sems pa, or this translated back to Tibetan, de ni sems pa.


Marieke van Vugt said...

I found it helpful, and maybe other people will too, to insert the Wylie characters into some words processing program that converts Wylie into Tibetan characters. In this way you will be able to memorize the words in Tibetan script (which is obviously what you need when you translate). Since I do my word prcessing using LaTeX, I used the ctib package (, which works really well.

Kent Sandvik said...

Thanks, that's a good suggestion. I will write a blog entry about UDP later today, as well, a very handy Windows application.