Saturday, July 26, 2008

Heart Sutra - 8

To continue who is gathering at the Vulture's Peak: བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་་་་་

བྱང་ཆུབ། (byang chub) is one of the first words anyone studying Tibetan Buddhist texts should learn, it means enlightenment. Here is is really part of the bigger word བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམ་དཔའ། (byang chub sems dpa'), bodhisattva

To understand this word better, སེམས། (sems) means mind. དཔའ། (dpa') means to be brave, heroic, fearless

Thus, the Tibetan translation of bodhisattva, bodhi warrior, is someone who is brave and heroic in trying to get one's mind enlightened. 

There's an འི་་་ genitive particle after this so it means that this construct it not yet complete...


Craig said...

Hello Kent

I'm keenly following these entries relating to the Heart Sutra - thank you very much.

There is still something preventing the proper display of stacked letters. I think I may have tracked it down, although I'm not 100% sure. Your pages are encoded as UTF-8. I think the stacking would work better if they were encoded as UTF-16.

Would it be possible to try changing the coding for your next entry? I'll let you know if it displays better!!

I have gone through the detailed procedure for displaying stacked Unicode recommended at THDL and installed the latest version of the TibetanMachineUni. I'm using the latest Firefox under Windows XP.

These pages display properly:

These pages don't (letters visible but not stacked)
most other entries in the rywiki dharmadictionary
and your pages.

In peace


Kent Sandvik said...

Interesting. It has to be blogger that converts to UTF-8 as I'm using either FireFox or Safari with MacOSX, and MacOSX Unicode (same as windows) is always 16 bit. I might need to contact Google and ask for more details. Anyway, what platform do you have, as it seems to work fine with MacOSX 10.5.x

Kent Sandvik said...

Also, with either Vista or MacOSX 10.5, no need to install specific Tibetan Unicode fonts, the defaults should be fine.

Craig said...

Hi Kent

I'm using Windows XP.

You're right that it is Blogger setting this encoding. I read that Blogger blogs are set to UTF-8 by default. You can change the encoding in the formatting settings of your blog, but they don't offer UTF-16 - you need to write to them and suggest they offer this as an option.

But maybe this isn't the problem - I'm not 100% sure.


Kent Sandvik said...

I think it has to do with the browser and OS handling of UTF-8 to UTF-16 which is the default encoding with XP/Vista and MacOSX. Might be worth checking with the Firefox people to see if they know of this issue, I suspect it is related to XP as Vista works fine based on reports I've had.

I would prefer to use UTF-8 as I suspect any Linux users would have problems with UTF-16 encoded strings. It is kind of a de facto standard to use UTF-8 on web content, suspect it is for disk usage, even if non-Western Languge encoded content should soon be a majority of web pages out there.

Sherab Chen 智音 said...


What Tibetan fonts u're using now? My computers used to be able to view your Tibetan but now they all become little squars! I have Tibetan Uni and Tibetan Machine Web on my computers... are you using some sort of unicode fonts?

Kent Sandvik said...

Yes, see:

Ken said...

When I first started translating, enlightenment was the accepted translation for the word byang.chub (pron. jang choob), the Tibetan equivalent for the Sanskrit word bodhi.

Byang.chub is an excellent example of how Buddhist vocabulary in Tibetan was constructed from folk etymologies of the original Sanskrit words.

Over the course of the centuries of Buddhism in India, the meaning of the Sanskrit bodhi was enriched by breaking it into two syllables bo and dhi and ascribing a symbolic meaning to each syllable. When the Tibetan written language was developed in the 8th and 9th centuries, the Tibetan word byang.chub was constructed from the symbolic meanings of those two syllables. The first syllable byang conveys the removal of the distortions and projections that obscure clear knowing. The second syllable chub conveys the growth of positive qualities and understandings. These two processes take place simultaneously. This sort of word construction is one method used in Tibetan, essentially a mono-syllabic language, to convey complex and subtle ideas. Obviously, no English word can convey meaning in the same way. Possibly because of his Austrian background, Guenther, in Kindly Bent to Ease Us, sought to capture this richness with the phrase limpid clearness and consummate perspicacity. Such phrases make for clumsy English translations even in prose, and are rarely workable in poetry or any piece that is going to be chanted.

Enlightenment is another attempt to capture the idea in English, but there are a few problems with it. The comparable term in Christian contemplative traditions is illumination, but that was attributed to God expressing himself in the experience of the devotee. The word enlightenment is free of that association carries with it The Age of Enlightenment, the 18th century movement in Europe which marked the advent of modernism, particularly the view that reason or conceptual understanding, not faith or emotion, was the appropriate basis for knowledge. Bodhi, of course, refers to a non-conceptual knowing. Second, it conveys a sense of an unchanging state, which is quite different from the unfolding process implicit in the word bodhi.

The word awaken, which puts more emphasis on the process of waking up, is a possible candidate, so let’s see what happens with it.