Three Special Grants Awarded

KF awarded three Special Grants in January, 2008, to Jonang Foundation, Tsechen Kunchab Ling, and the Berzin Archive. Jonang Foundation received a grant to continue its work with living exemplars of the Jonang tradition inside Tibet and in the international community in order to preserve and promote understanding of this distinctive lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In response to the requests of Jonang masters that seminal works of their tradition now be made available to a larger audience, the Foundation is concentrating its efforts on reproducing, translating, and publishing select classical and contemporary works from the body of Jonang literature.

Tsechen Kunchab Ling, the Temple of All Encompassing Great Compassion, which is the seat of His Holiness Sakya Trizin in the United States, received a grant to support the translation of biographies of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen Palzangpo (1182-1251). Sakya Pandita was a great scholar and one of the five founders of the Sakya order. This will be the first book in English to offer complete translations of authoritative Tibetan biographies of this important master. Sakya Pandita was a prolific writer and a great thinker who was primarily responsible for the transplantation from India to Tibet of the ten Buddhist sciences. Toward the end of his life, he was invited to China and became the teacher of the Mongolian Khan, converting the warlike emperor to Buddhism. His influence there planted the seeds that caused Tibetan Buddhism to later flourish in Mongolia.

The Berzin Archive received a grant to expand their Tibetan-English online glossary of terms. The Berzin Archive is a major multilingual educational tool for information about the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the history of Buddhism, Tibetan and Central Asian history, Tibetan medicine and astrology, and Buddhist-Muslim relations. The archive is addressing a major source of confusion and misunderstanding about Buddhism: the imprecise and misleading translation of specific terms. Many of the Buddhist technical terms in Western languages were chosen by Christian missionaries and have inaccurate connotations. Moreover, many of the terms coined by modern scholars interpolate Western philosophical ideas that do not correspond to the Buddhist concepts.

The confusion has become compounded when misleading English terms have been translated into other Western and colloquial Asian languages. To counter this confusion, the Berzin website contains an extensive English-Tibetan-Sanskrit-German glossary of the Buddhist technical terms with comprehensive definitions in English. The current online version of the glossary contains 1200 terms. The grant will pay for collecting more terms from the website, continuing work on defining them in English, and preparing the infrastructure for an expansion of the glossary to include translations of terms and definitions in the other languages of the website.