Monday, May 28, 2007

Uttaratantra - Part 2

Here's the long title of Uttaratantra, theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos.

We know the middle part, rgyud bla ma, from before. So let's fill in the beginning and end parts.

theg pa is vehicle, in Sanskrit yana, and chen po means big, in Sanskrit maha. So theg pa chen po is big vehicle, or Mahayana. There are now all kinds of modern Western translation of this path, such as Universal Responsibility vehicle. This to avoid any misunderstandings between a great vehicle and a lesser vehicle.

bstan is teaching, or past tense taught verb. Another good word to learn inside out, you will encounter it a lot in Buddhist teachings, of course!

bcos is make, prepare. Anyway, the combinational word bstan bcos is treatise, in Sanskrit shastra. And here's my pet issue about pronouncing Sanskrit, if this is pronounced (with a long a) it is the right word, if short a, shastra, it means weapon. Huh! This is the reason sometimes Sanskrit is written as shāstra to emphasize this difference. This is true of many other words, so if you want to accurately recite mantras, check out the original spelling, as sometimes the mantras are just written out in plain English letters -- not displaying long vowel sounds...

Anyway, back to the title, so the full translation is something like A Treatise on the Higher Mind Continuum of the Universal Responsibility Vehicle. Note that the easiest is to start from the end and go backwards when translating such titles.

Anyway, as mentioned before, this treatise is really about how Buddhas operate, what is means to be enlightened, and now it is possible to get there.

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