Buddha Dharma - from arcane to accessible

By Kencho Wangdi, Kuensel Online, March 14, 2009

Timphu, Bhutan -- In what could be instrumental to the future of Buddhism in the world, a group of top Buddhist translators, led by Bhutan’s Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, is meeting in Bir, India, to initiate the translation of Buddha’s teachings from the classical Buddhist language Choekye into English.

What they decide could make the heart of Buddha’s teachings available to millions of people worldwide. The conference will discuss “initiating the full translation of the entire Buddhist canon, including the 108-volume Kangyur - the Buddha’s direct teachings that include many sutras never before translated into English,” according to the meeting’s press release from Bir. The Kangyur was translated from Sanskrit to Choekye in Tibet more than 1,000 years ago and took nearly 100 years.

Themed ‘Translating the Words of the Buddha,’ the conference, March 16-20, is organised by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and funded by the Khyentse Foundation at Deer Park Institute and blessed and supported by revered Buddhist masters, including the Dalai Lama.

“My main reason for convening this conference is that I believe it’s entirely possible that the survival of the Buddhadharma could depend on it being translated into other languages,” stated Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in the press release.

“I also believe that, by translating and making available the Tibetan Buddhist texts to modern people, a vast swathe of Buddhist civilisation and culture may be saved from global annihilation. It’s clear we need to act quickly, and I believe the only way we can accomplish this monumental endeavour is by working together - pooling our skills, resources, experience and energy and coming up with a plan for translating the Buddhadharma.”