Suvannavira writes from Moscow, where a small Triratna Buddhist group is steadily taking shape under his guidance - and where their Russian Buddhist web presence far outweighs their physical numbers, thanks to his web skills and their Russian Dharma Translation Project. He’s sent us an update on their latest initiatives, written by Saddhaloka -
“The Russian Translation Project got underway in the late 1990s when, during a visit to St Petersburg, a Russian translation of Sangharakshita’s “Guide to the Buddhist Path” came by chance into our hands and we raised funds to get it published.
Once we had started we wanted to continue and in 2003 we brought out Kamalashila’s “Meditation” translated by Elena Kharkova and edited by Tanya Naumenko, in partnership with Uddiyana, a small Buddhist publishing house run by disciples of Namkai Norbu. This was followed in 2004 by “Who is The Buddha?”.
Working with Tanya Naumenko was very straightforward and fruitful, but sadly she fell seriously ill and died whilst our next book “The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path” was still being translated. It did come out eventually, with Uddiyana’s help, but this was to be the last of the series. Production and print costs were now rising sharply in Russia, whilst book sales remained slow.
We were introduced at this point to a new translator with whom we have been working ever since. Eugenia Zharkova began by translating the text for Buddhayana, our Russian language web-site, along with readings, extracts from Buddhist scriptures and a number of Sangharakshita’s poems. This was followed by the Foundation Year of Triratna’s Dharma Training Course for Mitras, which gives a good grounding in basic Buddhist teaching. More recently she has translated “What is the Dharma?” and “What is the Sangha?” by Sangharakshita, and this summer she completed Saddhaloka‘s collection of stories of the Buddha, “Encounters with Enlightenment.” Russian speakers we know have been very appreciative of the quality of her translations. All of these translations are now posted on the Buddhayana web-site.
So far Saddhaloka has been overseeing the translation project, but since I now live almost year-round in Moscow he is now handing it on to me. I’m keen to keep up the momentum of the translation work, but our funds are limited.
So we’ve launched an appeal for the Russian Dharma Translation Project. If you’d like to help make more translations possible our next project is a history of the Triratna Buddhist Community - knowledge of which is (in my view) essential for those wishing to deepen their involvement with us. That is why I’m keen to make Vajragupta’s respected ‘The Triratna Story” available to Russian speakers. Donations can be made using a dedicated ‘Triratna Story’ fundraising page.
Should you feel inspired to make your favourite Dharma book available in Russian, you can sponsor it’s translation (small sized ones cost around £500, and medium around £800). Please suvannavira [at] gmail.com (contact me) for details.