Tibetan-English Buddhist Sentences

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Examples of written Tibetan with English translation

In Tibetan, like in many other Asian languages is a big difference between spoken and written language. In addition, many people wants to learn to read Tibetan Buddhist texts, which brings with it other problems. In this section you can see the basic terms and phrases, which are often used in Tibetan Buddhist texts. To obtain a deeper knowledge of classical written Tibetan, I recommend the book Translating Buddhism from Tibetan, Joe Bransford Wilson, Snow Lion Publication, Ithaca, New York, 1992. From this book are also taken the following Tibetan phrases.

Tibetan text Word by word translation English translation
sgra – sound; mi-rtag-pa – impermanent; yin – is Sound is impermanent.
sangs-rgyas – Buddha; kyis – instrumental particle (by); chos – doctrine, teaching; bstan – to teach Buddha taught the doctrine.
སེམས། ཡིད། རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་དོན་གཅིག་ཡིན་ནོ།
sems – mind; yid – mind, intellect, mentality; rnam-par-shes-pa – consciousness; don-gcig – synonymous, equivalent; yin – to be; no – particle indicating the end of a statement Mind, mentality, and consciousness are equivalent.
sangs-rgyas – Buddha; kyi – genitive particle; chos – doctrine, dharma; ni – non-case particle sets off subject or topic; lung – scripture, canonical text; dang – and; thogs-pa – realization + ‘i – genitive particle; chos – doctrine; yin – to be Buddha’s doctrines are the scriptural and realized doctrines.
bod – Tibet; la – in; byang-chub-sems-dpa – Bodhisattva; yod – exist, existence, exists, have There are Bodhisattvas in Tibet.
rgya-gar – India; la – in; dgon-pa – monastery; mang-po – many; med – does not exist, not exist, not be There are not many monasteries in India.
dgra-bcom-pa – arhat; la – dative-locative particle (at, in, *, for, of, to, as to, into, up to, by, from, unto, among, under); nyon-mongs – affliction, afflictive emotions; med – does not exist, not exist, not be Arhats do not have afflictions.
‘abras-bu – effect, result, fruit; rgya – cause; la – dative locative (at, in, *, for, of, to, as to, into, up to, by, from, unto, among, under); brten – depend; no – terminative after na, particle indicating the end of a statement Effects depend on causes.
jo-bo-rje – Atisa; bod – Tibet; la – dative-locative particle (in); byon – past tense from the verb ‘abyon – come, arrive The Foremost Lord (Atisa) arrived in Tibet.
tshor-ba – feeling, feel, experience + ‘ai – genitive particle; myang-bya – object of experience, experienced object; la – dative locative (at, in, *, for, of, to, as to, into, up to, by, from, unto, among, under); rnam-par-smin-pa – ripen, mature, fruition, maturation; zer – agentive verb (is called, refers to, is taken to mean) The experienced object of feeling is called a fruition. (/The term/ fruition refers to objects experienced by feeling.)
dge-‘adun – spiritual community, sangha; la – dative locative particle; skyabs – refuge, protection; su – accusative, adverbial accusative, dative, and locative particle (to, in, as, at); mchi + ‘ai – go, come + termination particle (We) go for refuge to the spiritual community.
mi-dge-b’ai-las – unwholesome action, non-virtuous action, unrighteous work; bsags-pa – accumulate, composite; brten – depend, rely, resort to; nas – syntactic particle indicating a continuation of the sentence, ablative particle (from, than); ngan-‘agro + r – in an evil migration, bad transmigration, evil existences + dative-locative particle (in); skye – is born, be born, be produced, grow In dependence on having accumulated unwholesome actions,one is born in a bad rebirth.
chu – water; las – ablative particle (from); chu-bur – bubble; byung – to arise Bubbles come out of the water.
sems-can – sentient being; thams-cad – all, whole; sngug-bsngal – suffering, pain; bral – separation, free from; na – to, in, as, at (accusative, dative, locative particle), if, when; ci-ma-rung – how nice, how I wish that Wouldn’t it be great if all sentient beings were free from suffering?
du-ba – smoke; mthong-ba – to perceive, to see, seeing, notice, recognize; las – action, function, deed, act, by reason of; me – fire; yod-par – which is, as existent, as being; shes – to know, cognition, can, be able to, be possible knowledge (One) understands, due to seeing smoke, that fire exists.
byang-chub-kyi-sems – bodhicitta, the altruistic aspiration to enlightenment, mind of enlightenment; snying-rje-chen-po – great compassion; la – and, (accusative, adverbial accusative, dative, locative particle), as being, with regard to, as, to, on, in, at; rag-las – to depend upon The mind of enlightenment depends on great compassion.
mig-shes – eye consciousness, eye cognition; mig-dbang – eye sense power; dang – and, with, or; gzugs – form, body, matter, the atomic, visible form, (Skt. rupa); la – on; rten – support, depend, basis, base An eye consciousness depends on an eye sense power and a form.
‘akhor-lo – wheel; ‘akhor – repeated rebirths, wander about in birth-and-death; ro – particle indicating the end of a statement The wheel turns.
lugs – system, mode, way; thams-cad – all, all places; kyi – (genitive particle) of, by, in; nang-nas – out of, among, from within, from inside; de – that, it, that one, he, she, the; mchog-tu-gyur – supreme, highest Out of all the systems, that is the best.
jo-mo-glang-ma – Mt. Everest; ri-bo – mountain; kun-las – from all, in all ways; mtho – high, elevated Cho-mo-lang-ma (is) higher than all mountains.
bla-ma – lama; dang – and, with, or; mgon-po – protector, benefactor; ‘zam-dpal-dbyangs – Manjughosha (Manjushri); la – to, as, in, at, and; phyag-‘achal-lo – homage to, praise, salute, bow before, homage, prostrate, I pay homage to (I) bow down to the guru and protector Manjughosha (name of Manjushri).
sngon-byon – ancient, (before+come), appeared / occurred in the past, great servants of the past; ‘aphgs-bod – India and Tibet (the land of the superiors and Tibet); mkhas-grub – scholars and adepts, scholarly practicioners; rnams – plural maker, all, everyone, everything; la – to, as, in, at, and; ‘adud – homage, I bow to, bow down Homage to the scholars and adepts of India and Tibet who have gone before.
བླ་མ་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།སངས་རྒྱས་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།ཆོས་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།དགེ་འདུན་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ། bla-ma – lama, guru; la – to, as, in, at, and; skyabs-su-mchi’ao – go for refuge; sangs-rgyas – buddha; chos – dharma; dge-‘adun – sangha, spiritual community I go for refuge to the guru(s).I go for refuge to the buddha(s).I go for refuge to the dharma.I go for refuge to the sangha.
chu-bu – river; thams-cad – all; rgya-mtshor – ocean; ‘adu – collect, assemble, gathering, gather All the rivers gather in the ocean.
sangs-rgyas – Buddha; kyi – (genitive particle) of, by, in, which belongs to; mdo – sutra(s); bod-skad – Tibetan language; du – (accusative, adverbial accusative, dative, and locative particle) to, in, as, at; bsgyur – translate, transform, change Buddha’s sutras were translated into Tibetan.
stong-nyid – emptiness; ma-rtogs – not realizing, not cognizing, not understanding; na – (accusative, dative, locative particle) to, in, as, at, if, when; ‘akhor-ba – cyclic existence, cycle (of powerless birth, aging, sickness, and death), transmigration, birth-and-death; las – karma, activity, action, deed; ‘agrol-ba+ra – release, liberate, free, loosen + (accusative, dative and locative particle) to, as, -ly, in; mi-‘agyur – immutable, without modification, unchangeable, steady If (one) does not realize emptiness, one will not become liberated from cyclic existence.
chos-thams-cad – all phenomena, all things, (Skt. sarvadharma); rang-bzhin-gyis-yod-pas – inherently existent, (Skt. svabhavasat); stong – empty, emptiness; ngo – particle indicating the end of a statement All phenomena are empty of inherent existence.

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