How to Improve Translations

How to Improve Translations

Date Posted:
May 2011

A translator at a center wrote to Rinpoche asking how he could improve his translations. Rinpoche gave the following advice.

My very dear Michael,
Sorry it took time to write. I am happy you are at Hayagriva Centre and helping to translate for Geshe-la. Thank you for reading the eight thousand stanzas. You might be one of the rare ones who read it. It is unbelievable. I have been collecting the benefits of the eight thousand stanzas, but have not finished. I have been writing the stanzas in gold, but I haven’t had time to write for a long time. The text will be put in the Maitreya statue, where everybody will see it and receive inspiration.

You should recite the praise of the names of Manjushri. It came out good to recite it every day if you can. So many people recite this every day in the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu. This might help your translation and for you to learn Dharma. Memorization becomes easy. For example, the Sera Je ex-abbot, Geshe Donyo, who passed away recently, and Gen Drubthob, the ex-abbot of Gyudmed Tantric College, have unbelievable wisdom. Geshe Drubthob can memorize a long Tibetan page just by reciting it four times. It seems Tsen-la, the translator, the first nun at Kopan, who built the Kopan nunnery, asked them how they could do that, and Geshe Donyo said it was because of reciting the Manjushri prayer that he has a very good memory and is able to understand. They are learned. You will have the same result, and be able to learn Dharma well. For help with translating, it came out very good for the center.

One most beneficial thing for the center is Medicine Buddha puja. This came out very good for the center. If possible, do this every day, if not, do it once a week, if the center needs help. It helps anybody who recites it to have all success, including with Dharma practice and realizations. Anyone who recites Medicine Buddha’s name and mantra seven times receives all the prayers Medicine Buddha made in the past. Your wishes and prayers will be fulfilled. Medicine Buddha came out best according to my observation. People can write the Sanghata Sutra for individual benefit and for the center—writing it has unbelievable benefit. It’s also extremely good to do prostrations by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names. That is something most important that you can do every day. Many people do one hundred prostrations every morning.

I remember many years ago, Thubten Chodron, who has a center in Seattle, would do this every day, wherever she was. It is unbelievably good and so many eons of negative karma are purified. For example, reciting the name “Tathagata, the Glorious Flower” purifies one thousand eons of negative karma; it is really unbelievably powerful purification. If you do this well once, with the four remedial powers, and meditate, not just reading the name and prayers, it has the power to purify karma that ripens without interruption or a break, called Tsam Me Nga, from having killed your father, mother, an arhat, caused disunity in the Sangha, or caused blood to flow from a Buddha. If any of these karmas are committed, you are born in the lowest hot hell, with the heaviest suffering in samsara, for the longest time of one intermediate eon.

When reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names, if you have the realization of bodhicitta and emptiness as a support, or if you have the clear light realization of tantra and are able to bring the winds into the central channel, of course the benefits increase. One mantra is then like one hundred million, and the benefits of purification increase. If you cannot do one hundred, do whatever you can. To get used to doing it every day is so important, because purifying negative karma makes life easy. Many obstacles are pacified, even for success in this life. However, if you are doing them for that purpose, the action doesn’t become Dharma, even though it has the effect. The suffering result can be purified and it helps you to achieve liberation from samsara and enlightenment, especially if it is done with a bodhicitta motivation. It helps you to achieve enlightenment quickly, the ultimate goal of life, which is to liberate numberless sentient beings from each realm from the ocean of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment. You are able to do this quickly. By the way, it also becomes exercise, to be healthy. In the lam-rim lineage, prostrations are very important and many lineage lamas do many hundreds of prostrations. That’s how they have great success in attaining the path and benefiting sentient beings.

Thank you from my whole heart for helping the center, helping sentient beings and helping me. 

With much love and prayers...