84000 Event with John Canti
7pm 15th December 2019
Neckastrasse 12, 12053 Berlin
The Words of the Buddha:
What is the Tibetan Buddhist canon? Why is it so important?
How is 84000 translating it?
Most people who are interested in Tibetan Buddhism—whether Westerners or Tibetan—may have read or recited a few well known canonical texts like the Heart Sutra or the Diamond Sutra, but have little idea of the overall contents, scope, history, and importance of the Kangyur, the great collection of canonical scriptures in Tibetan. John Canti will guide us through what is in the Kangyur, what kinds of texts it contains, what they are about, and their importance as the foundation of all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhist practice and study. We will also outline how 84000 is undertaking the huge task of translating them and making them available to readers worldwide.
John Canti is a Buddhist practitioner, translator, physician and the current Editorial Director of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. John first had contact with Buddhist teachers while studying medicine at Cambridge University in England, and started to practice under their guidance. In 1972, he met Dudjom Rinpoche, who became one of his three principal teachers. The others were Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, both of whom he met soon afterwards.
In 1980 John undertook 2 consecutive three-year retreats retreats in the Dordogne, France, practicing under the guidance of Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, and Nyoshul Khenpo. Inspired by their teachers and with the aim of making some of the major works of Tibetan Buddhism available to Western readers, John and some of his fellow retreatants formed the Padmakara Translation Group, of which he is now president. He also had the honor of serving Dudjom Rinpoche as physician during his final years, and subsequently coordinated the medical care of other lamas and practitioners in India, Nepal, and Europe, as well as that of three-year retreatants in the Dordogne.
Still based in the Dordogne, he has continued his translation work with Padmakara, and for many years was also a Fellow of the Tsadra Foundation. In 2009, John was appointed Editorial Chair of the 84000 project by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is a global non-profit initiative to translate all of the Buddha’s words into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone.
* Entrance fee: none (donations for the 84000 project are very welcome)
* The presentation will be in English.
Historically, translation has played a crucial role in ensuring the survival and revival of Buddhism.
The living traditions of Buddhism that still exist in some parts of the world, such as Japan, China, Korea, Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Burma, have survived in large part because of the foresight of our ancestors who compiled and translated many of the original texts into their own languages.
SURVIVING BUDDHIST TEXTS
Pali and Sanskrit were the first languages in which collections of the Buddhist texts were compiled. The Pali texts had been taken to Sri Lanka and survived, but most of the Sanskrit texts were lost when the great Buddhist culture of northern India was destroyed by Muslim invaders between the 11th and 13th centuries. Fortunately, by then most of the texts had already been translated into classical Chinese and Tibetan.
The three major collections of sacred Buddhist texts that have survived till now are:
- The Pali Canon or Tipitaka
- The Chinese Buddhist Canon or Chinese Tripitaka
- The Tibetan Kangyur and Tengyur
The classical Chinese translations started in the 1st century as Chinese pioneers and Indian scholars began gradually to introduce Buddhism to China. The classical Tibetan translations followed later during the unparalleled state-sponsored cultural transfer of the Buddhist teachings into Tibet from the 8th century onwards.
The Tibetan collection contains a large number of texts not found in the Chinese canon, particularly tantras, and there are a smaller number of texts in Chinese that do not exist in Tibetan.
To ensure the continued survival of these timeless texts, and to make the profound meanings they contain accessible to all, they now need to be translated into the languages used in the world today.
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