Jataka tales add to Buddhist books in Poland

IANS, Oct 10, 2011

Warsaw, Poland -- Poland is essentially a Catholic country, but of late the interest in Buddhist literature has been growing for two reasons. One, there is the immense popularity of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and, two, the translation of Buddhist literature into Polish language - the latest being the Jataka tales.

Among the foremost translators is Janusz Krzyzowski who has in the last five years produced five monumental and seminal works on Buddhist literature. His latest book, "Girlanda Dzatak" (Jatakas) was released Saturday at the Indian House by Indian Ambassador Monika Kapila Mohta in the presence of renowned Polish and Indian literary figures.

Ambassador Mohta congratulated the author, saying, "It is a great service to Buddhism and Indian civilisation that Janusz with his great efforts has brought out this unique work for Polish people.

"In this age of inter-cultural co-existence, an understanding of each other's philosophical literature is very essential for humankind. This book will make more bridges of universal understanding. It is high time we published each other's literature, history and philosophy in different languages."

"It is really a great privilege to read the translation of great literature of the East. Janusz's translation has opened more doors for us to understand the nuances of ancient texts," added Boguslaw Zakrzewski, a leading translator and a former Polish ambassador to Thailand where he had studied Buddhist literature in the mid-1970s.

Krzyzowski has been very active in translating oriental literature into his native Polish language for the past 15 years. Apart from Persian poets, such as Maulana Rumi, Omar Khayyam and Hafiz, he has translated Mir Taqi Mir, Mirza Ghalib, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and many others with the help of Surender Bhutani, an Urdu poet and historian based in Warsaw. Together they produced eight volumes of Urdu and Sufi poetry in the last six years.

Polish interest in Buddhist literature has also been growing due to the popularity of the Dalai Lama, who has been to Poland four times in the last five years. He has developed an excellent equation with Polish people and leaders, such as Lech Walesa.