Saturday, June 14, 2014

'Auspicious Celestial Ornaments' by Tsewang Lhamo

གཞས། བཀྲ་ཤིས་གོ་ལའི་རྣ་རྒྱན།། 

Song: Auspicious Celestial Ornaments

ལེན་མཁན། ཚེ་དབང་ལྷ་མོ།། 

Singer: Tsewang Lhamo

Ta shi dzam ling dzin may jong dir
Tra way sin bu yen gyi ta shi
Ta shi phen tsün jam shing tsey wey
Yün ring ga kyi tsho way ta shi

Here in this auspicious land of Earth,
May there be the auspiciousness that disease disperses.
With mutually auspicious love and affection
May there be the auspiciousness that joyful ways of life endure.

Ta shi kang chen kha way jong dir
Dong song chi pa yen gyi ta shi
Ta shi rig pay ney la tsön ney
Dön drey ngö su min pay ta shi

In this auspicious land of snow,
May there be the auspiciousness that blind childish beings disperse.
Striving in the auspicious fields of knowledge,
May there be the auspiciousness that the goal is directly achieved.

Ta shi kham chok tong wang chen mo
Men pa go kyi yen gyi ta shi
Ta shi dam tsang ley mön sang pö
Rang shen dön nyi drub pay ta shi

In this mighty and auspicious land of a thousand-directions,
May there be the auspiciousness that vulgar dogs disperse.
May aspirations from pure auspicious vows
Accomplish the excellent benefit of both self and other.

Ta shi tön chog sang gye ta shi
Ta shi den sum dam chö ta shi
Ta shi tshog chog gen dün ta shi
Ta shi kün drey la may ta shi

May there be the auspiciousness of the supreme teacher, the Buddha.
May there be the auspiciousness of the sublime dharma of the three truths.
May there be the auspiciousness of the supreme assembly, the sangha.
May there be the auspiciousness of the guru who embodies them all.

Note: Beautiful and enchanting as this song is (especially since it is performed by the lovely Tsewang Lhamo!) there were a few issues I had in translating it. First, I had never encountered a ཡན་གྱི (yen gyi) such as this before. The 'yen' syllable apparently has a few different uses; it can either mean that something is 'above' or that something is 'free' or 'ownerless.' According to an alternate definition though, it can also have the sense of something being gone out of sight, which is why I took this sense and translated it as being 'to disperse'--which makes sense considering that in each case it is being used, there is something negative to be 'dispersed' with. This term ཕྲ་བའི་སྲིན་བུ་ (tra way sin bu) also gave me difficulty; the term 'sin bu' usually refers to some manner of small insect, usually a worm or a parasite, but it can be applied to any small life-forms, even for viruses thesedays. Since it is used with this term 'tra wa', which means small, minute, or fine, I took it to refer to microbial life-forms, and hence I translated it rather loosely as 'disease.' This term དམན་པ་སྒོ་ཁྱི་ (men pa go khyi) was also interesting; 'men pa' means that something is lowly or inferior and 'go khyi' literally means "door dog" but is best translated as "watchdog," so here I translated it as 'vulgar dogs'...I can only imagine to what or to whom it is referring to (sarcasm). In the final verse, there was this confusing term བདེན་གསུམ (den pa sum) which means 'three truths.' It seems to be a dharma term but I have never heard of the three truths, and could not find a reference to it anywhere. There are the Two Truths of Madhyamaka philosophy and the Four Noble Truths, but there are not 'Three Truths' as far as I know. If anyone has any idea what this is referring to, please let me know. Finally, if you read the Tibetan, you may notice a prolific use of the term 'བཀྲ་ཤིས' (ta shi) which means 'auspicious(ness)' or 'fortune'. I have refrained from translating it as many times as it appears in the Tibetan (though it still shows up quite a bit in the English as well!), due to how redundant it would sound; though it is interesting to note that Tibetans are fond of using copious amounts of adjectives, even if they are repeated in tandem. It sounds great in the Tibetan, but not so elegant in English.


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