Sunday, March 19, 2006


Sorry I've been busy with work, so I have not had time to do all the postings, switched jobs. Anyway, as for time, that's dus, and there's an expression dus gsum, the three times. It means the past, current time and the future.

Buddhas are beyond those restrictions, they operate outside the forced perceptions of past, current, and future time. So worrying about time and what is happening is grasping to something that can't be found, something like a fixed time.

As an experiment, chop a moment of time into a beginning part and end part, and chop the beginning part into its own beginning and end, and so on and so on. Ultimately, using logic, you can't find a fixed, discrete time unit. So the notion of a flowing time is another projection or grasping to something fixed that has no self-existence.

Anyway, hopefully that helped me solve my dilemma of not having time to do postings! If nothing else, we continue with this in the next lifetime (which is also a projection forced on grasping to self-existent things).


Next in the commentary is thams cad la, we have talked thams cad before, it's a very common construct, means all, in Sanskrit sarva. It points to the left, so we are talking about all lhag ma, or all the remainders.

la is the dative-locative particle, we talked about this earlier. Let's use for or to as a quick way to resolve this pointer, and it points from a verb later in the sentence to the left. So the verb is next.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


We are slowly going through the sentence. Expect a lot of parsing and reparsing of the word parts to find the whole. But first we need to go through the words in the second sentence in the commentary. This is common when translating, you go through the words, and then look at the particles, grammar and verb bindings, and then you start to see the big picture. Sometimes you get a temporary translation that you then redo over again so it's more natural in English.

lhag ma means remainders, the rest, remnants and so on. As phyin just before meant what is after, concerning the first perfection, then this means really the rest of the chain of perfections.

The word lhag means also more, above, more than, so when you see lhag or lhag ma, think of something extra!

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Next in the commentary sentence is phyin, this means later, afterwards, hereafter. As the earlier sentence was about the perfection of giving and so on, phyin indicates that we are indeed talking about the other perfections after the perfection of wisdom.

phyin pa also means to arrive, proceed, go through and so on. It should look familiar after the discussion we had about pha rol to phyin pa, reaching the other shore, paramita, transcendent perfection.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Next in the sentence is sogs par, this is actually sogs pa, a very common word. Note that this comes after sbyin, giving. sogs pa means and so on, or the rest. This is a very common expression, in order to minimize the wood carving required, the expressions are condensed, to the form that if someone knows what giving is, especially perfection of giving, then sogs pa means the rest, or the other five perfections of the six perfections.

Note the ending r in sogs par, this is a particule in disguise. If you have a consonant after pa or ma, such as pas, or mar, it's most likely a particle. Some particles take this form if the previous syllable ends with a vowel. In this case the r is the general subordination particle - a very esoteric or flexible one! It binds something to the right into the left side, especially a hierarchy of meaning, a goal that is established, or just plain our subordination. So we need to look at the next word next to put together this mini-phrase.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


OK, next sentence in the commentary. The first word is sbyin. This is translated as giving, or generosity, or it's also a verb, to give. As we are dealing with the Bodhisattva Way of Life that deals with the six perfections - paramitas -- in Tibetan pha rol tu phyin pa drug the we could make the conclusion that the commentary starts to talk about the first perfection, the perfection of giving. This is sbyin pa'i pha rol tu phyin pa, in Sanskrit dana paramita. You could actually sometimes hear about dana in the dharma circuits when talking about donations.

There's also another form of this word, sbyin pa, this is again where the pa syllable is added to a verb to make it a noun. This could then be translated as generosity in general, or a donation.

Now, you could also see sbyin in the form of conferring or bestowing an empowerment.

There are usually three ways to do this practice: giving material things, giving dharma, or giving protection. Giving dharma is considered the highest form of this practice -- the reasoning is similar to the expression of teaching someone to fish rather than giving fish.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

First Sentence of the commentary about ninth chapter

Here's the first sentence of the Khedrup Je commentary about the opening lines of Master Shantideva's Bodhisattva Way of Life, Wisdom (ninth) chapter. We have gone through the words in previous blog entries, so now here's an attempt to make a cohesive sentence from this.

First a rough block-by-block sentence breakdown that usually does not make sense.

yan lag 'di di dag was these branches. ces pa means like that. le'u brgyad pa is chapter eight. nas is from, binding all this on the left with something to the right. bshad pa'i zhi gnas is single-pointed meditation teachings. tsam is merely. la is a particle, like a pointer, connecting things on the right with the left side. 'chad pa is explanation.

The end is dang, so it means there's more, but for this case we could just ignore the follow-up and use a whole sentence in English.

So, to really understand this is to make boxes around the two particles, nas and la, and connect things together, nothing that the verb is at the end.

Another rough translation pass is: These branches taught only to the practice of single-pointed meditation from the eight chapter like that.

To do a better pass on this. "These branches" are sometimes explained referring to the single-pointed meditation practice taught in the eight chapter.

This sentence could be reworked even more, but let's stop here and continue with the next sentence. I think this gave us a flavor of how there's a need to redo and rework on sentences while we translate them.

Losar - new year

Today is Tibetan new year, lo sar, or spelled out lo gsar. This year is the year of the Fire Dog.

lo means age or year, and gsar means new, so this is an easy way to learn three words at the same time.

If you are interested in Tibetan Astrology, here's a good book, Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu.

Oh, by the way, happy lo gsar!