Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $8.21 shipping
Translating Buddhism from Tibetan: An Introduction to the Tibetan Literary Language and the Translation of Buddhist Texts from Tibetan Hardcover – January 1, 1992
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
(1) There used to be an audio cassette tape, now unavailable, that was made for this book. Using the tape, the student could HEAR much of the text, in what is essentially Central Tibetan dialect. Shambhala publications, which now publishes this textbook, is offering without charge, mp3 files of the original audio tape for this textbook. You can obtain the two mp3 files and a descriptive index (with timestamps) of the files, by going to Shambhala publications, and searching inside their website for this title.
(2) If you get Translating Buddhism from Tibetan, also get the textbook/workbook "How to Read Classical Tibetan" by Craig Preston, who was a student of Joe Wilson and who uses Wilson's method and approach to learning Tibetan. Start with his (CP's) volume 1 -- as it spoon-feeds the student all the details needed to learn how to work through a translation of a Buddhist text (especially of that genre). It is INVALUABLE as a tool to help the student efficiently practice how to actually carry out a translation. After a student has developed some facility in undertaking a translation, based on having used these two books, there is another book to get, as well: A Tibetan Verb Lexicon by Paul Hackett (another student of Joe Wilson). This book provides translation and examples of a great number of verbs, and includes the category (I through VIII) of each verb, according to Wilson's classification scheme.
... and ENJOY YOUR STUDIES ! You have here an excellent and fairly complete set of materials to help you learn literary Tibetan.
The text is intended for those who seek to become skilled translators of literary Tibetan Buddhist texts and commentaries. It is not for those seeking conversational Tibetan skills.
Paul Hackett's "Tibetan Verb Lexicon" is intended (by Hackett) as a companion to Wilson. Hackett complements Wilson well.
Two weeks into my course, I am making good progress. Wilson's text is a large part of my success thus far.
However, if you decide to go with that approach then the book is consistent. And well-structured.
Another reviewer commented that the book is overly pedantic in its detailed explanations and grammatical quibbling - well, what does one expect from a 700-page tome on archaic (more or less) philosophical grammar and vocabulary? You didn't think Classical Tibetan was going to be a walk in the park did you? In any case you can simply skip over the details when Wilson gets a little too in depth.
The major problem with this book as I see it is that it is fairly unbalanced. Meaning, in the first 7 chapters or so there are essentially no sentence/vocabulary exercises, leaving you to somehow (by rote, was my method) memorize some 150-200 terms that are introduced (and not easy ones - 'non-associated compositional factors' comes up, e.g.). This improves though, with quite a few exercises in the later chapters. This added context and required practice/effort really helps you to memorize the vocab and understand the grammar better. Presumably these were left out of early chapters so as not to discourage the student or to make it easier, but instead it just means you have lots to memorize without much contextual help - a big mistake, in my opinion.
Which leaves me at the final point, which is that this is a necessary book, I think, for anyone interested in Classical Tibetan. The field is simply too small. The only other 'intro' level books really are Craig Preston's "How to Read Classical Tibetan" series (two volumes so far, hopefully more to come), but these really aren't introductions. They presuppose thorough knowledge of how to read Tibetan and an understanding of its grammar, as well a fair vocabulary. He was also a student of Wilson's, so all his terminology and explanations etc. follow Wilson's style and terms.
In short: yes there are problems, sometimes it is a bore and overly pedantic, there are not nearly enough exercises for a self-learned... but you need this book if you want to learn Classical Tibetan. So get it and wade through it - it is worth it.