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Bhante’s 90th birthday fundraising last year raised well over £100,000 for the publication of his Complete Works, a job which is well under way and to which Bhante himself added more money specifically for translations. (You can too!) Suvannavira writes from Moscow about the work of the newly formed Triratna Translations Board.
“In a world where so many seem to speak English, why bother translating books by Bhante and his disciples into other languages? Imagine coming to a new country to teach the Dharma, as I have, leading meditation classes in a bare rented room while still not fluent in your new language, and with your nearest fellow Order member hundreds of miles away. How valuable would a few translated books be then?
Or think back to your first visit to a Buddhist Centre. There you are, taking a book off the Centre bookshop shelf. “Oh, that’s interesting”, you think, seeing Un guide sur la voie bouddhique, and then, oh dear, Что такое Дхарма? “Umm… to ta – ko dx – ap – ma?” What if you hadn’t found a single book in your native tongue?
Ninety five per cent of the world’s people are not native English speakers. Even those who are fluent in English as a foreign language almost always say that it makes a far deeper impression to read the Dharma in their native tongue.
Maybe this was why the Buddha himself encouraged people to teach the Dharma in local languages. Can you think of a better, more concrete expression of the Bodhisattva Vow?
However, it’s not enough simply to translate a book; people do need to be able to read what has been translated! This implies publishing and distribution, as paper books in centres and bookshops, and online as e-books and free pdf downloads - and even putting the whole text of a book on Triratna websites. (See an example of this.)
Sadhu to Triratna’s many valiant translators around the world who have been plugging away at this work for a long time, with little or no money. You can see some of the existing translations below. Now, Bhante’s birthday fundraising means better funded, planned and co-ordinated translations.
The Triratna Translations Board will
• Form and implement an overall vision and strategy
• Gather and distribute resources
• Facilitate the sharing of skills, knowledge and experience
• Promote excellence in the quality of translations
As Triratna grows bigger and ever more international, having good quality translation will help promote the unity and harmony of Triratna by ensuring we are all studying and practising the same teachings.
For now, we are starting with European languages. The members of the Board are: Nityabandhu (Kraków, Poland), Manibhadri (Chambéry, France), Suvannavira (Moscow, Russia), Viryabodhi (Stockholm, Sweden) and Amalamati (Valencia, Spain), with support coming from Mokshini and Nandavajra of the European Chairs’ Assembly’s Development Team.
Meeting on Skype, we’re a far-flung bunch of people enjoying energetic, enjoyable and harmonious discussions. We’ve started formulating a vision we hope will be both global and sensitive to the specifics of diverse cultural situations.
We notice we are a particularly motivated group of Order members. Perhaps that’s not surprising considering that most of us are working in pioneering situations and therefore especially in need of the translated written Dharma.”
Support the Translation Board’s work with a donation.
suvannavira [at] gmail.com (Contact Suvannavira.)
One Triratna book in French
Triratna books in German
One Triratna book in Polish
Triratna books in Russian
Free Russian downloads
Triratna books in Spanish
Triratna’s Swedish publisher, Bodhiförlaget
Trriatna e-books in Swedish
The Board does not yet have an online presence, but +Follow The Buddhist Centre Online’s existing translations page for a selection of Triratna texts in languages from around the world.