“I would like to see the words of the Buddha available in every major language in the world.”

—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Translation Projects

“It’s entirely possible that the survival of the Buddhadharma will depend on it being translated into other languages.” —Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche at the Translating the Words of the Buddha Conference, March 2009, Bir, India

Astasahasrika_Prajnaparamita_Victory_Over_MaraWithout the great translators of the past, we would not have access to the Dharma today. The texts that we read and that our teachers rely on, the commentaries on those texts, and our daily practices are available to us thanks to the diligence and wisdom of great translators, going all the way back to the early masters such as Kumarajiva, Vairotsana, Yeshe De, and Marpa Lotsawa. To continue that tradition, it is KF’s mission to translate the Buddha’s teachings into the world’s major modern languages, thereby making them available free of charge to everyone who wishes to use them for study and practice. KF initiates, develops, and supports a number of ongoing and constantly evolving programs to carry out that mission by collaborating with other organizations and individual translators who share our aspiration. KF now funds the translation and dissemination of Buddhist texts in Polish, Ukrainian, and Mongolian, among many other languages.

KF Award for Outstanding Translation

Every year, Khyentse Foundation awards a prize to one translation to honor excellence in translations that make the Buddhist heritage universally accessible.

2016 Anne MacDonald, for her translation In Clear Words. The Prasannapadā, Chapter One. Vol. 1. Introduction, Manuscript Description, Sanskrit Text. Vol 2. Annotated Translation, Tibetan Text.
Mark Blum of the University of California at Berkeley for The Nirvana Sutra (Mahaparinirvana-sutra), Volume I. Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai America, Inc. 2013 (BDK English Tripitaka Series).
2014 This award was shared between Professor Shōryū Katsura and Professor Mark Siderits for their work on the translation of Nāgārjuna’s Middle Way: Mūlamadhyamakakārikā.
2013 Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi for his work The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Complete Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya.
2012 Todd Lewis, of Holycross University, and Subarna Man Tuladhar for their translation of Chittadhar Hridaya’s Sugata Saurabha: An Epic Poem from Nepal on the Life of the Buddha.


84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha

The Fruit that Grew Bigger than the Tree

Only 5% of the Buddha’s teachings have been translated into modern languages. For several years, Khyentse Foundation searched for an organization that was addressing this pressing need but found no comprehensive initiative. KF coordinated a landmark conference of translators that culminated in the collective undertaking to translate all of the vast and extraordinary riches of Buddhist literature, particularly the Tibetan Kangyur and Tengyur, into English and other modern languages and to make them universally accessible within a hundred years. This initiative evolved into 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. After four years of funding and administrative support from KF, the initiative became a powerhouse, attracting the support of leaders from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. 84000 became an independent, global, nonprofit organization in mid-2013.
John Wu and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
With the support of KF, John Ning Qiang Wu has made steady progress in translating 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. KF is committed to supporting Wu through this immense project.
Closing the Gap: Chinese-Tibetan Canons

In May 2012, KF in partnership with Dharma Drum Institute, initiated another historic effort to cross-translate the Chinese Tripitaka and the Tibetan Kangyur, the two most important Buddhist canons. Scholars agree that important pieces are missing from both the Tibetan and Chinese canons. Neither is a complete record of the vast literature that once existed in Sanskrit, but each contains some of the major works missing in the other. Alak Zenkar Rinpoche is leading the project. “We should have done this 40 or 50 years ago. But I feel sure now that in partnership with such an established institute as Dharma Drum, we will be able to complete this vast project.” — Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche   LEARN MORE >>

Mani Foundation: Polish Translation Initiative
Khyentse Foundation grant has been providing ongoing support to the Mani Foundation, a nonprofit Dharma organization in Poznan for the translation of several essential Buddhist texts into Polish, including Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty, Luminous Essence: A Guide to the Guhyagarbha Tantra by Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche. Great Chariot by Longchenpa and Nagarjuna’s Root Stanzas of the Middle Way, Mulamadhyamakakarika.
Training the Next Generation of Translators

The most immediate obstacle to translating the words of the Buddha into many languages is the lack of qualified and knowledgeable translators. Khyentse Foundation is committed to supporting programs to train the next generation of Dharma translators through collaborations with various academic and Buddhist institutions. KF Translator Scholarship [live] also provide direct financial support for aspiring translators and Buddhist scholars. KF now partners with Dharma Drum University in Taiwan, the University of Vienna, and Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu to develop and design programs for Buddhist translation studies to meet the urgent need for Buddhist translators in general and 84000 in particular. LEARN MORE >>

The Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation

With the aim of encouraging and honoring excellence in translation works that make the Buddhist heritage accessible to a broader public, the Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation was initiated in 2011. The prize is for translations from the main classical languages of Buddhism—Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese—into English. The original text may be a sutra, commentary, treatise, biography, history, liturgy, or practice manual, from any tradition of Buddhism, published within the preceding 2 years. LEARN MORE >>