Written By Paul Baffier
Blog | Dzogchen Text Translations | Dzogchen translations | Reflections on translation
The essential English translations and translators for the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition according to Paul, translator from Tibetan into English and French.
When it comes to translate Dzogchen, the saying is true : traduttore, traditore ! But it’s not only a petty question of word-for-word, it’s all about conveying the true meaning, so as to get people to have experience on the nature of the mind. When you got the understanding of what-is-what, then you have to find a true living master to ask for know-how. That’s why texts are important : to fathom knowledge on swimming, until you can dive in the sea of Great Perfection. No « swim or sink ! » there : just get accustomed to ripples in the hot tub of texts, and when you’re ready, go surf the waves of the ocean !
“(…) the Seventeen Dzogchen Tantras, the root authoritative scriptures for the Great Perfection : clear treatises on the essence of reality and psychotropic displays of the nature of the mind as well, those texts are an epiphany of intelligence.”
Karen Liljenberg for example has a very nicely done website Zangthal where to download great translations such as the Cuckoo of Awareness, the earliest Dzogchen scripture (a good start), and Accomplishing the Aim of Meditation, a text that teaches Dzogchen meditation.
In the same way, without loosing yourself in the labyrinth of 6 400 000 tantras of Dzogchen, find on Lotsawa House key-texts on Dzogchen worldview and core practices. If you want the shortest Dzogchen text ever, it’s there also, from Garab Dorje : Three Statements that strike the vital point. It explains the basics, the alpha and the omega. More than an appetizer, a pithy takeaway ! If you, still, want more, here you go : Self-Liberating Meditation with its fondamental advices on contemplation.
Then, if you got to this point, you must learn about the masterpieces. There is one name here to retain in your brain and heart : Longchenpa. This master has written down the Dzogchen bible, the unfathomable Seven Treasuries, which were notably translated in english by Richard Barron. If you want to go directly to the marrow of it, Tulku Thondup made an anthology, The Practice of Dzogchen, accompanied with a biography of Longchenpa. A must-read ! Keith Dowman translated also books of Longchenpa and did especially a Radical Dzogchen Series on Dzogchen tools, tricks and tenets. Quite useful.
When you’re there, you’ve already deep dived in the middle of the great ocean, but there is still this great spiral whirl : Christopher Wilkinson, but also Janet Gyatso, Jim Valby, Adriano Clemente, Elio Guarisco and others, translated the Seventeen Dzogchen Tantras, the root authoritative scriptures for the Great Perfection : clear treatises on the essence of reality and psychotropic displays of the nature of the mind as well, those texts are an epiphany of intelligence. Reading them make your life meaningful. Why not put them in your bucket list ?
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