Long-awaited Hindi translations of five ancient Tibetan texts on Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy, which famed Indian writer Rahul Sankrityayan (1893-1963) brought to India from Tibet, are ready for publication, pending promised funding by the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, according to a report by the Hindustan time journal.
The initiative to translate these Tibetan manuscripts into Hindi was undertaken by the Government of Bihar in collaboration with the Central Institute for Advanced Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) in 2019, with the aim of making the fundamental principles and philosophy of Buddhism accessible to more people. The Bihar government has allocated 19,4 million rupees (US$234) to fund the printing of the Hindi translations. CIHTS has so far received the first installment of 000 million rupees ($1,55).
Among the texts in the process of publication are the Karma Vibhang Sutrale Pragyaparmitahridaya Sutraa collection of books written by Acharya Dipankar Srijnana (980-1053), the Madhyamkalangkar Karika Bhashya Evam Teekaand a collection of other rare manuscripts.
“These are Tibetan translations of original manuscripts written in Sanskrit on palm leaves on Buddhism and its philosophy which were in the possession of the ancient universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila,” said a researcher. “These manuscripts were taken to Tibet between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries for the translation and propagation of Buddhism. These manuscripts have been translated into the Tibetan language under the guidance of scholars on handmade papers and natural ink. (Hindustan time)
According to Professor Geshe Ngawang Samten, the benefits of translating Tibetan books into Hindi would extend beyond the people of Bihar to the whole country.
There are hundreds of books in this collection, covering a wide range of topics including astrology, tantra, meditation, medicine, philosophy, justice and law. Translated works can be used to help preserve and promote the ancient tradition of Nalanda knowledge.
“Our Vice Chancellor Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten has sent two letters to the Chief Minister in the last year and met him in person in April this year in Rajgir for the message and the second installment of funding” , said a CIHTS official. (Hindustan time)
The official noted that the institute originally proposed to release five books on May 5 to coincide with Buddha Purnima.
Bihar Museum Director General Anjani Kumar Singh, adviser to Chief Minister Kumar, said he would look into the reasons for the delay from the side of the Department of Arts and Culture, which has a Memorandum of Understanding with CIHTS .
Rahul Sankrityayan was a traveler and literary polymath who became known as the "father of Hindi travel literature". He focused on mastering languages wherever he traveled, paying particular attention to Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan. He became proficient in all these languages, just as he was very learned in literature, philosophy, rare books and paintings.
Sankrityana brought back some 10 Tibetan manuscripts from his four visits to Tibet. Between the 000th and XNUMXth centuries, students and monks from the historic universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila in India produced these manuscripts in Sanskrit. Archaeological evidence indicates that when the two universities were destroyed, copies and translations of the texts were taken to Tibet, while the originals were lost.