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August 2016

 

JAMYANG KHYENTSE WANGPO | RELEVANT THEN AND NOW

Long-awaited New Translation and Commentary on Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s Guide to Central Tibet

Khyentse Foundation supports the publication of a treasury of the great master’s advice about making pilgrimage in Tibet.
 
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo—one of the greatest 19th-century masters of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Khyentse Lineage to which Khyentse Foundation is so deeply connected—composed The Guide to Central Tibet in the 1850s. The first English translation was published in 1958 but since that time, considerable new information has become available. Encouraged by many masters and scholars, including the late E. Gene Smith, Matthew Akester devoted a decade to compiling an extensive new commentary to the guidebook. It was no small task. Akester walked the entire length and breadth of Central Tibet, following Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s footsteps while fact-checking, researching and collecting rare books and manuscripts, interviewing scholars, monks, and villagers, and, in his words, “bearing witness to the destruction and transformation of an ancient land.” Khyentse Foundation supported the eventual publication of this work to ensure a high-quality finish. “We wanted this work to come out as a printed volume, rather than an e-book,” said Akester, “and we could not find a publisher to take it on without financial backing. KF very kindly helped out.” 
 
Rinpoche has long awaited the publication of this book. He wrote, “One of the many indications that Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo was a renaissance man was that his concern for the Buddhadharma and all the lineages wasn’t limited to books and study. Not only did he visit all the significant spiritual places that existed in Tibet, he practiced there and documented the exact locations and details for future generations. It’s such a pity that he never went to India. This book is an illumination of his path.”
 
During the 1990s, Akester visited all of the more than 200 places described in the guidebook, meeting the people who rebuilt monasteries and temples after the political turmoil of the 1960s and those who could remember what they once were. He searched out Tibetan literary sources that shed even the faintest light on their history, and mapped them on a landscape greatly transformed by the rapid modernization of ancient Tibet.
 
The book includes 500 recent images, 250 historic photos, and a beautiful series of 15 maps in neo-traditional style, designed and drawn for the book, using data researched by the author.
 
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s Guide to Central Tibet is a monumental contribution to Tibetan studies, a treasury of insight into Central Tibet’s history and monuments, the world of traditional pilgrimage, and the life and times of the great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. It is available for sale on the Serindawebsite
 
A new edition of Akestar’s translation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s
autobiography of is also due to be published by Serindia this year, with support from Khyentse Foundation.

KF Grant Recipient John Wu, Dedicated to Translating the Work of Khyentse Wangpo

John Wu (right) with his mentor Khenpo Phuntshok Namgyal

Since receiving his second Khyentse Foundation grant in 2011, John Ning Qiang Wu has made steady progress in translating some of the major works of the Khyentse lineage into Chinese. These works, each over a dozen volumes in Tibetan, include The Transmissions of Khyentse and The Collection of Sadhanas by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and The Treasury of Spiritual Instruction by Jamgön Kongtrul.
 
Wu, who has a master’s degree in clinical medicine, has been a student of Buddhism for almost 20 years and began studying Tibetan in 1997. Since 2001 he has been translating under the supervision and guidance of Khenpo Phuntshok Namgyal, from whom he receives the necessary wangs and oral transmissions.

 

Since being awarded his second KF grant in March 2011, Wu has had a busy and productive year, using his skills not only to translate the writings of the two great masters but also the dharma teachings of Khenpo Phuntshok Namgyal for Chinese-speaking students.

Wu reports, “During the past 12 months, I spent almost a month in Qingdao, helping Khenpo to give teachings on Nyingtig Ngöndro and Kaxuema, and I also revised some articles that I translated several years ago. I also spent nearly a month in Zhuhai, Guangdong, teaching some followers how to practice the Lengyanjing (surangama-samadhi-sutra) based on my writing, and the  Ngöndro of Longchen Nyingthig according to the writing of Khenpo. I spent another half month in Beijing helping with Khenpo’s teaching.” In the remaining 10 months, he translated 2,880 pages of The Transmissions of Khyentse by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

In addition to translating, Wu gives instruction on Buddhism via the web several nights a week. All of these important activities are made possible by the support of KF grants. With KF’s continued support, Wu hopes to complete the Chinese translation of The Transmissions of Khyentse, The Collection of Sadhanas, and The Treasury of Spiritual Instruction within seven years.

A recent mural painting of Dzongsar at the monastery in Derge. Photo by Matthew Akester.

Lineage Prayer

The Melodious Speech that Gathers Auspiciousness
 
Knowing all there is to be known, how it is and how it appears,
Through non-referential compassion, thinking of beings as if your own children,
You are the dharma king who churns the depths of samsara.
Noble Khyentse Wangpo, I supplicate you.
 
Great charioteer of the complete teachings of Shakyamuni,
You are the friend who impartially tames All those to be tamed of all traditions.
One who is the crown jewel, I supplicate you.
 
Performing all activities solely for the benefit of others,
You possess the manifold wondrous signs of benefiting all those with whom you are connected
And create inconceivable great accumulation of merit.
Noble sovereign of the tenth blumi, I supplicate you.
Rinpoche’s fourth film, Hema Hema, will have its world premiere at the 69th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland August 3-13. Locarno is known for recognizing the true independent spirit of filmmaking. It was also selected for its North American premiere at a major festival (to be announced soon) and its Asian premiere at the Busan Film festival in Korea. 

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