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84000 Announces that 25 Per Cent of the Tibetan Kangyur Is Now Freely Available in English

One of a pair of manuscript covers from the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra).
From The Art Institute of Chicago

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a global nonprofit initiative founded by the renowned Bhutanese lama, author, and filmmaker Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche to translate and share the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, has announced that it has translated into English and published online a full quarter of the 70,000-page Tibetan Kangyur. Comprised of some 900 works in more than 100 volumes, the Kangyur represents the collected teachings of the Buddha, all translated into Tibetan from the original Indian texts. 

“On the auspicious day of Saga Dawa Duchen—commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and Parinirvana—84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha announces that 25 per cent of the 70,000 page Tibetan Kangyur has now been published in English translation and made freely available to the world,” 84000 shared with BDG. “This significant milestone in 84000’s 100-year project has been reached along with the publication of a translation of one the longest sutras in the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines.”

Saga Dawa, the fourth month in the Tibetan lunar calendar, is the most significant period of the year for Tibetan Buddhists. The name of the month is derived from the Shakya clan to which Shakyamuni Buddha belonged. The first 15 days of Saga Dawa are believed to be particularly auspicious for Dharma practice and cultivating body, speech, and mind. The 15th day of Saga Dawa, the full moon day known as Saga Dawa Duchen, commemorates the birth, awakening, and mahaparinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha. This year, Saga Dawa begins on 31 May and ends on 29 June.

“At 84000, we are constantly excited and humbled to be working on a project of such magnitude, and particularly one that has drawn expressions of support from all the major schools of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,” executive director Huang Jing Rui shared with BDG. “Our generation of translators, teachers, editors, administrators, patrons, readers, and supporters will go down in history as having secured priceless access for future generations to the source texts of the Buddhadharma, and ensured that the legacy of the Buddha can continue touching and transforming beings around the world.” 

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is a long-term undertaking to translate and publish all surviving canonical texts preserved in the Classical Tibetan language—70,000 pages of the Kangyur (the translated words of the Buddha) in 25 years and 161,800 pages of the Tengyur (the translated commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings by the great Indian Buddhist masters and scholars) in 100 years. According to 84000, less than 5 per cent of the canon had hitherto been translated into a modern language, and due to a rapid decline in the knowledge of Classical Tibetan and in the number of qualified scholars, the world is in danger of losing an irreplaceable cultural and spiritual wisdom legacy.

“Today, 84000 goes above and beyond simply making canonical texts freely available in English. We work to innovate the ways in which we present this collection, providing interactive tools and intertextual linkages to deepen understanding of its wisdom for everyone,” Huang explained. “84000’s work is really to ensure that as Buddhism spreads, as intermediaries and interpretations multiply, future generations are empowered with direct access to the Buddha’s wisdom for their own consultative study and practice.”

The March 2009 conference “Translating the Words of the Buddha.” Image courtesy of 84000

Since its founding 12 years ago,* 84000—named for the number of teachings the Buddha is said to have given—has awarded more than US$6 million in grants to teams of translators around the world, including Tibetan scholars and Western academics, and from UCSB, Oxford, and the University of Vienna, to Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal. In just 12 years, with the endorsement of all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, 84000 continues to strive forward, supported by some of the most learned living teachers of the Vajrayana tradition.

“In 2009, more than 50 of the world’s leading Tibetan Buddhist teachers, translators, academics, and patrons gathered to discuss the Tibetan Buddhist canon—the Kangyur and Tengyur—and realized that 95 per cent of the canon still only existed in Classical Tibetan, impeding direct access for millions of people to over 230,000 pages of source texts, and inhibiting the study and exploration of the words of the Buddha,” 84000 explained. “Recognizing that future engagement with this collection—the root from which all Himalayan Buddhist traditions originate—was in danger, 84000 was born with the mandate to make one of the world’s largest archives of wisdom freely and easily accessible to this generation and the next.”

Born in Bhutan in 1961, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is the son of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and was a close student of the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–91). He is recognized as the third incarnation of the 19th century Tibetan terton Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892), founder of the Khyentse lineage, and the immediate incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1893–1959). 

In addition to 84000, Rinpoche’s projects include Khyentse Foundation, established in 2001 to promote the Buddha’s teaching and support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice; Siddhartha’s Intent, an international collective of Buddhist groups supporting Rinpoche’s Buddhadharma activities by organizing teachings and retreats, distributing and archiving recorded teachings, and transcribing, editing, and translating manuscripts and practice texts; Lotus Outreach, which directs a range of projects to ensure the education, health, and safety of vulnerable women and children in the developing world; and Lhomon Society, which promotes sustainable development in Bhutan through education.

* 84000 Launches Video Campaign to Mark 10 Years of Preserving the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (BDG)

See more

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
Welcome to the Reading Room (84000)
The Kangyur (84000)
The Tengyur (84000)
The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines
Get the words of the Buddha, for iOS and Android (84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha)

Related news reports from BDG

84000 Announces World’s First Complete English-Language Catalog of the Tengyur
UPDATE: 84000 Launches New App, with Insights from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
84000 to Share the Words of the Buddha with a New App for iOS and Android
84000 Founds Assistant Professorship in Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto
84000 Partners with UC Santa Barbara to Translate the Tibetan Buddhist Canon
84000 Launches Special Edition of The Hundred Deeds Sutra Illustrated by Children in Lockdown
84000 Announces the Historic Publication of a Major Buddhist Sutra Never Before Available in English
84000 Offers “Sūtras for Well-Being” for a World Grappling with Pandemic
84000 Launches Video Campaign to Mark 10 Years of Preserving the Tibetan Buddhist Canon

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