Report on 84000 Conference: “Advice from the Tradition”


Today marks the culmination of a three-day meeting (October 22-24) of some of the senior-most scholars of the four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, who gathered at the library of Shechen Monastery to discuss the complex issues associated with the translation of Tibetan Buddhist texts into English. Sponsored by 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha — a nonprofit global initiative to translate the Tibetan Kangyur and Tengyur into modern languages — this intimate invitation-only event provided a platform for free discussion among senior scholars and translators about some of the more vexing problems that arise in the course of translation. Participants included the Venerable Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, former Prime Minister of Tibet-in-exile; His Eminence Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, the elder son of His Holiness Sakya Trizin; Professor Sempa Dorji; Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche; and the event hosts, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyingma Rinpoche.

Covering a huge array of topics, the meeting flowed from a discussion of the benefits and potential dangers that accompany such a massive undertaking to an excited exchange about how best to define the Sanskrit term dharmadhatu. Accurately predicted by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to be “the most important event” for 84000 since its inception, the meeting closed with a commitment by each of the lineage representatives to take responsibility for the project by offering resources and ongoing counsel. All agreed that, though the translation of the Tibetan Canon is “risky business,” it is a risk well worth taking for “the benefit of all beings.” This welcome and  unprecedented collaboration between the Tibetan Buddhist schools regarding translation underscores the import of 84000′s mission and paves the way for substantial involvement from all corners of the Tibetan tradition.

For more on 84000, please visit the organization’s website.

(Provided by Sarah Wilkinson in Bodhgaya, Bihar, for Buddhadharma)