Imagine reading your mitra study material in a foreign language. Well, actually this is quite normal for a lot of Triratna Buddhists, in countries such as Sweden - where many people’s English is so good they can even read A Survey of Buddhism in English.
However, it makes a big difference to read the Dharma in your own language, as Viryabodhi explains, writing from Stockholm, about his latest publication in Swedish: a well-known book by Sangharakshita entitled Buddhas lära. (Read on to find out just what that might be.) Since Scandinavians can understand each other’s languages in written form, these Swedish translations also benefit Danes and Norwegians, not to mention the Swedish-speaking populations in Finland and Estonia.
“After 10 years in the UK, I returned to Sweden in 1997. One of the things I was very inspired to do was to publish Swedish translations of books by Sangharakshita and other Order members.
On the journey back I was already at work on the translation of Human Enlightenment, eventually launched during Bhante’s visit to Stockholm in 1999, and soon we established Triratna’s Swedish publishing house, Bodhi förlaget.I have worked on a number of translations, together with others including Lisbet Hvarfner, Anna Lindqvist, Vidyapriya and Kersti Deremo. I take care of the editing, production, design and marketing of the finished books.
Even though many Swedes have a good command of English, having the Dharma in our mother tongue makes a big difference. The meaning of words and similes in Swedish simply drops more deeply into us; causes richer reverberations; moves and motivates us. Translation work is quite simply necessary for the full transmission of the Dharma.
But how to translate certain English terms into Swedish? There are always some for which there do not seem to be any Swedish equivalents: one is ‘renunciation’; another is ‘going forth’. Such terms need a fuller explanation, with examples to illustrate what they really mean. This is what the Buddha himself did, and Sangharakshita has also done this for us so well. We need to do the same, to re-express the Dharma in our own words, our own language.
So, in 2014 we brought out three major books: Vem är Buddha? (Who is the Buddha?), and Buddhas lära (What is the Dharma?) as well asa new hardback Swedish puja book.
Not content with that, we’ve begun 2015 with the publication of the first two of these titles as ebooks, as well as ebooks of Paramananda’s Buddhistisk meditation – en praktisk vägledning, (Change Your Mind) and Chris Pauling/Vadanya’s Introduktion till buddhismen (Introducing Buddhism), which have been been through three and five paper editions, respectively.