Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

pronunciation of Tibetan terms & names & mantras on websites

Expand Messages
  • ken
    One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and I d expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce Tibetan names
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 4, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
      I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
      Tibetan names and terms. I feel this inability most when learning a new
      mantra, but at other times too.

      Being a bit conversant with web technologies, I'm confident that it
      would not be too difficult to create an audio file (e.g., .wav or .ogg
      or .mpg) containing a recited mantra or meditational song or deity name
      or other Tibetan name or term typically difficult for non-Tibetans to
      pronounce. Such audio files posted to a website and so made publicly
      available would be of considerable benefit to a lot of people who are
      trying to improve and enhance their practice.

      For those webmasters (and I believe there are several on this Buddhism
      101 list) who are unfamiliar with digital audio technology, there's a
      free application called Audacity which is quite suitable. Our sangha
      uses it to record dharma talks. As said, Audacity is free to download
      from the web, it works on Linux, UNIX, Windows, and other systems, and
      it has documentation on how to use it. A web search should supply a lot
      of other documentation on Audacity and how to post a sound file to
      webpage. As for hardware, any PC which is not too old and which has a
      sound card should be fine. Add to this an inexpensive microphone (I got
      one for free with the sound card I purchased about ten years ago) and a
      set of earbuds, and you have everything needed.

      If you have a website for us needy buddhists and need help with audio
      website components but the above isn't enough help, contact me and I'll
      see what help I can provide you.


      Om mani padme hum.

      ken

      --
      War is a failure of the imagination.
      --William Blake
    • Jane Harper
      Ken: I m presuming from your question that you do not have a teacher with whom you re in regular contact, nor do you regularly attend a Dharma center. I m in
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 4, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Ken: I'm presuming from your question that you do not have a teacher with
        whom you're in regular contact, nor do you regularly attend a Dharma center.
        I'm in the same boat, and had the same concern -- and found that most
        traditions make recordings available via their web shops, and there are lots
        of recordings on YouTube that contain non-initiatory material.

        You could also fairly easily learn to read the Tibetan for yourself, just
        for the sound -- check out tibetanlanguage.org.

        Osel

        On 10/4/09 13:38, "ken" <gebser@...> wrote:

        >
        > One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
        > I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
        > Tibetan names and terms. I feel this inability most when learning a new
        > mantra, but at other times too.
        >


        --
        No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
        have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
        having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)
      • ken
        Hi, Osel, Thanks for your reply. I looked around tibetanlanguage.org and didn t find any audio files. I m not really looking to learn the Tibetan language
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 4, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi, Osel,

          Thanks for your reply. I looked around tibetanlanguage.org and didn't
          find any audio files. I'm not really looking to learn the Tibetan
          language anyway. I just want to hear how a few words are pronounced,
          preferably from someone who actually speaks the language. I've studied
          several languages and actually learned a couple and know that there's
          some things you just can't get from a book. There's a musicality to
          language, even when it's not sung. It's an aspect of language generally
          overlooked by American teachers of foreign languages who seem to view
          language as a mechanical assemblage of parts. It's probably a good part
          of the reason why so few native-born Americans actually speak foreign
          languages.

          Well, not to get into a criticism of the American educational system or
          into a theory of language, I just want to hear specific Tibetan words,
          names and phrases as spoken by native speakers. It's hard to believe
          that I'm the only non-Tibetan speaker who has an interest in this,
          (though I think I've been the only one in the world on other, but much
          more recondite issues).

          Youtube is nice for some things. A lot of the videos there, however,
          are quite distorted, sounding more like a machine gun from outer space
          or an echo chamber hell than anything remotely human... great stuff for
          sci-fi flicks though. The videos on the topics I was interested were,
          unfortunately, all this way. And, finally, as said, a .wav file of
          someone's voice is not difficult to produce... and I still believe that
          people would seek it on the web. The web does offer quite a few
          buddhist mantras for cell phone ring tones, I discovered. And I did
          find something which purports to be an mp3 of the mantra I was looking
          for, only to discover that the new Linux distribution I just installed
          last week has no facility for playing mp3s!? So maybe I found what I
          was looking for (just for myself, just for today), but I won't know
          until after I plough through some technical swamps.

          Addressing your first questions last, actually I go to my local sangha
          quite often... not as often as I would prefer, but life is full of
          necessary trivialities. This is, after all, samsara. But no, there are
          no Tibetan speakers there in any event (what the relevant point to this
          thread touches), and so no help on that count.

          To that very point, however, it seems near to unjust that there are so
          many wise, learned, talented, and compassionate Tibetans who would love
          to come here, but thirty people across an entire city can't afford to
          sponsor them. Samsara is really messed up, don't you think?


          We'll be okay though.


          On 10/04/2009 03:06 PM Jane Harper wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > Ken: I'm presuming from your question that you do not have a teacher with
          > whom you're in regular contact, nor do you regularly attend a Dharma center.
          > I'm in the same boat, and had the same concern -- and found that most
          > traditions make recordings available via their web shops, and there are lots
          > of recordings on YouTube that contain non-initiatory material.
          >
          > You could also fairly easily learn to read the Tibetan for yourself, just
          > for the sound -- check out tibetanlanguage.org.
          >
          > Osel
          >
          > On 10/4/09 13:38, "ken" <gebser@...
          > <mailto:gebser%40mousecar.com>> wrote:
          >
          >>
          >> One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
          >> I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
          >> Tibetan names and terms. I feel this inability most when learning a new
          >> mantra, but at other times too.
          >>
          >
          > --
          > No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
          > have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
          > having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)
          >
          >
        • Jane Harper
          The audio files at tibetanlanguage.org are for learning the alphabet. I wasn t talking about learning to translate, just to read and pronounce. A native
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            The audio files at tibetanlanguage.org are for learning the alphabet. I
            wasn't talking about learning to translate, just to read and pronounce.

            A "native Tibetan speaker" is sort of a myth, because there's no single
            Tibetan pronounciation. There are hundreds of dialects; one of the things
            that validated the current Dalai Lama as the incarnation of the last was
            that he could speak the central Tibetan dialect even though he was born in
            far northeastern Tibet.

            I've studied 14 languages and I'm well aware of the music of which you
            speak, but I don't think it's relevant unless you're learning the spoken
            language (and modern spoken Tibetan bears the same relationship to classical
            written Tibetan as modern Hebrew does to ancient Aramaic, according to my
            Tibetan teacher).

            Of course, all this sidesteps the fact that the mantras are in Sanskrit to
            begin with, not in Tibetan, and what one hears at a dharma center is
            Sanskrit as pronounced by a Tibetan, rather like hearing a Texan trying to
            read French phonetically ...

            Osel


            On 10/4/09 19:13, "ken" <gebser@...> wrote:

            > Hi, Osel,
            >
            > Thanks for your reply. I looked around tibetanlanguage.org and didn't
            > find any audio files. I'm not really looking to learn the Tibetan
            > language anyway. I just want to hear how a few words are pronounced,
            > preferably from someone who actually speaks the language. I've studied
            > several languages and actually learned a couple and know that there's
            > some things you just can't get from a book. There's a musicality to
            > language, even when it's not sung. It's an aspect of language generally
            > overlooked by American teachers of foreign languages who seem to view
            > language as a mechanical assemblage of parts. It's probably a good part
            > of the reason why so few native-born Americans actually speak foreign
            > languages.
            >
            > Well, not to get into a criticism of the American educational system or
            > into a theory of language, I just want to hear specific Tibetan words,
            > names and phrases as spoken by native speakers. It's hard to believe
            > that I'm the only non-Tibetan speaker who has an interest in this,
            > (though I think I've been the only one in the world on other, but much
            > more recondite issues).
            >
            > Youtube is nice for some things. A lot of the videos there, however,
            > are quite distorted, sounding more like a machine gun from outer space
            > or an echo chamber hell than anything remotely human... great stuff for
            > sci-fi flicks though. The videos on the topics I was interested were,
            > unfortunately, all this way. And, finally, as said, a .wav file of
            > someone's voice is not difficult to produce... and I still believe that
            > people would seek it on the web. The web does offer quite a few
            > buddhist mantras for cell phone ring tones, I discovered. And I did
            > find something which purports to be an mp3 of the mantra I was looking
            > for, only to discover that the new Linux distribution I just installed
            > last week has no facility for playing mp3s!? So maybe I found what I
            > was looking for (just for myself, just for today), but I won't know
            > until after I plough through some technical swamps.
            >
            > Addressing your first questions last, actually I go to my local sangha
            > quite often... not as often as I would prefer, but life is full of
            > necessary trivialities. This is, after all, samsara. But no, there are
            > no Tibetan speakers there in any event (what the relevant point to this
            > thread touches), and so no help on that count.
            >
            > To that very point, however, it seems near to unjust that there are so
            > many wise, learned, talented, and compassionate Tibetans who would love
            > to come here, but thirty people across an entire city can't afford to
            > sponsor them. Samsara is really messed up, don't you think?
            >
            >
            > We'll be okay though.
            >
            >
            > On 10/04/2009 03:06 PM Jane Harper wrote:
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >> Ken: I'm presuming from your question that you do not have a teacher with
            >> whom you're in regular contact, nor do you regularly attend a Dharma center.
            >> I'm in the same boat, and had the same concern -- and found that most
            >> traditions make recordings available via their web shops, and there are lots
            >> of recordings on YouTube that contain non-initiatory material.
            >>
            >> You could also fairly easily learn to read the Tibetan for yourself, just
            >> for the sound -- check out tibetanlanguage.org.
            >>
            >> Osel
            >>
            >> On 10/4/09 13:38, "ken" <gebser@...
            >> <mailto:gebser%40mousecar.com>> wrote:
            >>
            >>>
            >>> One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
            >>> I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
            >>> Tibetan names and terms. I feel this inability most when learning a new
            >>> mantra, but at other times too.
            >>>
            >>
            >> --
            >> No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
            >> have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
            >> having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)
            >>
            >>

            --
            No matter how much people seem to be careening off the road, they always
            have a good heart. The negative things that they do are due to their NOT
            having pure perception. (Chokyi Nyima Rimpoche)
          • John Pellecchia
            Good morning, Ken My apologies for not replying sooner but I ve been away and am just now catching up on a lot of e-mail. As I understand mantras are generally
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 11, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Good morning, Ken

              My apologies for not replying sooner but I've been away and am just now catching up on a lot of e-mail.

              As I understand mantras are generally Sanskrit and not Tibetan per se. Bardor Tuluk (see http://www.snowlionpub.com/pages/N65_1.html ) in an interview said: "Most Buddhist mantras are in the Sanskrit language. Pronunciation of mantras seems therefore to be an issue for those unfamiliar with Sanskrit. Tibetans tend to mispronounce Sanskrit consonants; Westerners do better with the consonants but have trouble with the vowels and stresses or rhythm." He gives more excellent advice regarding mantras on the url provided above.

              Buddhists, as I understand, place more emphasis on the intent and devotion of the practitioner than on the pronunciation. Perhaps this applies primarily to Tibetan traditions? I have several CDs of chanting and always find it interesting how the same prayer or chant can sound so differently from one CD to another -- and these are all recordings made by Tibetan monks.

              There are several stories that illustrate the point of the importance of intent when making recitations but here is one that I especially like.

              "An old story speaks about a similar problem. A devoted meditator, after years concentrating on a particular mantra, had attained enough insight to begin teaching. The student's humility was far from perfect, but the teachers at the monastery were not worried.

              "A few years of successful teaching left the meditator with no thoughts about learning from anyone; but upon hearing about a famous hermit living nearby, the opportunity was too exciting to be passed up.

              "The hermit lived alone on an island at the middle of a lake, so the meditator hired a man with a boat to row across to the island. The meditator was very respectful of the old hermit. As they shared some tea made with herbs the meditator asked him about his spiritual practice. The old man said he had no spiritual practice, except for a mantra which he repeated all the time to himself. The meditator was pleased: the hermit was using the same mantra he used himself -- but when the hermit spoke the mantra aloud, the meditator was horrified!

              "'What's wrong?' asked the hermit.

              "'I don't know what to say. I'm afraid you've wasted your whole life! You are pronouncing the mantra incorrectly!'

              "'Oh, Dear! That is terrible. How should I say it?'

              "The meditator gave the correct pronunciation, and the old hermit was very grateful, asking to be left alone so he could get started right away. On the way back across the lake the meditator, now confirmed as an accomplished teacher, was pondering the sad fate of the hermit.

              "'It's so fortunate that I came along. At least he will have a little time to practice correctly before he dies.' Just then, the meditator noticed that the boatman was looking quite shocked, and turned to see the hermit standing respectfully on the water, next to the boat.

              "'Excuse me, please. I hate to bother you, but I've forgotten the correct pronunciation again. Would you please repeat it for me?'

              "'You obviously don't need it,' stammered the meditator; but the old man persisted in his polite request until the meditator relented and told him again the way he thought the mantra should be pronounced.

              "The old hermit was saying the mantra very carefully, slowly, over and over, as he walked across the surface of the water back to the island." (from http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/meaning-of-om-mani-padme-hung.htm )

              Hope this clears any muddy water.

              May all be at peace.

              John
               
              "As I am, so are others;
              as others are, so am I."
              Having thus identified self and others,
              harm no one nor have them harmed.

              (Sutta Nipata 3.710)



              From: ken <gebser@...>
              To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sun, October 4, 2009 2:38:36 PM
              Subject: [Buddhism_101] pronunciation of Tibetan terms & names & mantras on websites


              One minor but significant difficulty I often have in my practice-- and
              I'd expect many others do too-- is an inability to know how to pronounce
              Tibetan names and terms.  I feel this inability most when learning a new
              mantra, but at other times too.

              Being a bit conversant with web technologies, I'm confident that it
              would not be too difficult to create an audio file (e.g., .wav or .ogg
              or .mpg) containing a recited mantra or meditational song or deity name
              or other Tibetan name or term typically difficult for non-Tibetans to
              pronounce.  Such audio files posted to a website and so made publicly
              available would be of considerable benefit to a lot of people who are
              trying to improve and enhance their practice.

              For those webmasters (and I believe there are several on this Buddhism
              101 list) who are unfamiliar with digital audio technology, there's a
              free application called Audacity which is quite suitable.  Our sangha
              uses it to record dharma talks.  As said, Audacity is free to download
              from the web, it works on Linux, UNIX, Windows, and other systems, and
              it has documentation on how to use it.  A web search should supply a lot
              of other documentation on Audacity and how to post a sound file to
              webpage.  As for hardware, any PC which is not too old and which has a
              sound card should be fine.  Add to this an inexpensive microphone (I got
              one for free with the sound card I purchased about ten years ago) and a
              set of earbuds, and you have everything needed.

              If you have a website for us needy buddhists and need help with audio
              website components but the above isn't enough help, contact me and I'll
              see what help I can provide you.


              Om mani padme hum.

              ken

              --
              War is a failure of the imagination.
                      --William Blake


            • ken
              Much thanks to Osel, Wai Meng, and John! You all tried to help me and comfort me, but work s been keeping me busy and I haven t gotten back to you all soon
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 14, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Much thanks to Osel, Wai Meng, and John! You all tried to help me and
                comfort me, but work's been keeping me busy and I haven't gotten back to
                you all soon enough. Here's the news though. I did a search for the
                mantra I was interested in (several times) and when I added "mp3" to the
                end and after checking several of the results there, I found the audio I
                was looking for.

                And all of you are correct about pronunciation. Recently I was reading
                the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" and found a recitation which is meant to
                be spoken to deities in the bardo with words to the effect, "I apologize
                for mispronunciations in mantras I recited." So I guess this was a
                problem too back in Padmasambhava's time... or, with his renown
                prescience, perhaps he was speaking for us too in his very distant future.


                May all beings find happiness
                (even if it's just a much sought after audio file on the internet),

                ken
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.