Sunday, August 11, 2013

Eye Shades



Apologies, dear reader, for the shady snapshot. It was taken under dark conditions in the Choijin Lama Temple in downtown Ulaan Baatar a few days ago. Just seeing this image (not the photo of it) was so exciting for me I was glad to fork over the astronomical camera fee of 25,000 tugruks. I’m supposing you’re already wondering about the title of today’s blog (is it about eye makeup? eyemasks for napping on the plane?) and what it could have to do with this fuzzy photo. Although this small item you can barely make out here has been subject to small but I would say significant confusions, I’ll hold you in suspense no longer than the absolute minimum time necessary, meaning no time at all.

The Yisun dictionary, at the end of its 3 (or 2, or 1) volumes, has among its illustrations something it calls mig-ra, and it looks like this:

I think mig-ra must etymologize as eye wall;
that is, unless you have some better idea.

Rather than calling them shades, perhaps they are better described as snow goggles or sun-reflecting-off-the-snow glasses (sans glass, of course). Anyway, they are used specifically for protecting the eyes from going blind from the glare of the sun on the snow, a condition naturally known as snow blindness.

Three centuries ago, the Jesuit missionary Desideri had this to say about them (in Michael Sweet's fresh new translation, p. 172):
“To protect the eyes from being damaged by the reflection of the sun's rays off the snows through which one has to travel, they use protectors resembling concave nets woven from black horsehair or the black hair of mountain oxen. Lacking these my eyes pained me greatly for some days, and I was in danger of losing my sight when my companions suggested that I rub my eyes with snow over and over, which proved to be the remedy.”
I find personally that hot towels can be very soothing to sore eyes, but I could also concede — or even swear — that the cause of the complaint can at times supply the cure.

William W. Rockhill, one of the most preeminent of the early North American Tibetologists, not only said this,
“The following day we managed, after much hard work through the deep, soft snow, to reach the summit of the Zonyig la (Altitude, 16,300 feet)...  The sky was clear, so the radiation of the sun on the snow caused us much discomfort, though we wore the horsehair eye-shades used in the country, and by the time we made camp in the Ranyik Valley, three of us were nearly blind.”
he even illustrated a set of mig-ra together with a case specially designed to hold it:



Although they do look rather abnormally large, I believe the mig-ra is the thing there on the head of the Karma Kagyü master Go-shri Dpal-’byor-don-grub, as he is depicted in David Jackson’s book, pp. 200-201, and not a “distinctive black-lobed headdress” as it is there infelicitously described. Here is a version of one of these thangkas found through a Google image search:




See, too, Christian Luczanits’s article for a reproduction of a “hitherto unidentified Sakya teacher of c. 1400 with a black net attached to the front of his hat.” I take the liberty of photographing the face of this image:




So sorry, wrong image. Let me try that again:




For those who by chance or innocence or total weirdness didn’t recognize His Holiness in shades, I assure you that what you saw there was none other than He Himself, styling some mean sunblocking instruments in Amsterdam, famous in world history for the invention of optical devices, being home of, among others, Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), who proved that light doesn’t hit us all at once, but takes a bit of time. I could have told you that.

In Calgary
Here, too, we see Him wearing one of His very many hats. One of my favorites? The Calgary white cowboy hat. But anyway, these are hats, and a little bit off and over the subject.

There’s still a different type of eye shade that shouldn’t be confused with the mig-ra, since actually it’s more like a fringe.  You might see it worn by Tibetan Lamas during initiation rites (when they are wearing the དབང་རྫས་), as well as on Siberian shamans when they go into trance. You decide what that means, if you can.

I believe the word for this special kind of eye-covering fringe is dom-ra,* which would seem to mean bear wall, although the Yisun dictionary, in the previously mentioned section of illustrations, depicts what may be a special kind of dom-ra it knows as gzi-dom (གཟི་དོམ་).
(*Goldstein’s latest dictionary has an entry for དོམ་ར་: “a bear skin band worn with the fur hanging over the eyes to prevent snow blindness.”  For གཟི་དོམ་ there is nothing at all. I can point to one example of usage of the word dom-ra in Roerich’s Blue Annals, p. 888, that you can check if you’re curious.)



Does that name mean glare bear? I’d welcome clarification on this point. I’d love clarification on any point, actually. My idea is that the dom-ra may be placed above the eyes to protect them, but unlike the mig-ra it isn’t placed over the eyes, is it? I guess you can see what I’m getting at.

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Publications and/or web sources cited:

Alexander Gardner, “The First Gyeltsab, Peljor Dondrub.”  Look here, and take note of the shades.

David JacksonPatron and Painter: Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style, Rubin Museum of Art (New York City 2009), at pp. 200-201, with reproductions of two paintings of Go-shri Dpal-’byor-don-grub (གོ་ཤྲཱི་དཔལ་འབྱོར་དོན་གྲུབ་), regarded as the first Gyaltsab Rinpoche (རྒྱལ་ཚབ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་) of the Karma Kagyü (ཀརྨ་བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་) order.  You can find a bit on him at this TBRC page, but much more in the Gardner entry from Treasury of Tibetan Lives just now noticed above.

Christian Luczanits, “Art-Historical Aspects of Dating Tibetan Art,” contained in: Ingrid Kreide-Damani, ed., Dating Tibetan Art, Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag (Wiesbaden 2003), pp. 25-57, at p. 46.

Rgod-tshang-pa Mgon-po-rdo-rje (1189-1258 CE).  In a listing of several publications of his collected and selected works, one typed by yours truly (for which, look here) there are several short titles devoted to the mig-ra that I ought to have a look at. I’ll report back to you when I have done this. These works would have a bearing on a question not yet asked about the age of the object in Tibetan cultural history.  (There are some possible but problematic mentions in Old Tibetan documents that ought to be considered.)  [August 21, 2013:  Oh my, this is interesting.  I'll have to put up a new blog on it, but in these 13th-century texts it is quite clear the mig-ra is used to shield the eyes of sentient beings from the intense light emanating from the eyes of the yogi wearing them (or it?)... It doesn't protect the eyes of the wearer from the glare of the light; just the contrary, it protects other people from the glare of the wearer's eyes...  Very interesting... especially in light of what came up in the comments section, below...  And yes, there is another motive for shading the eyes I haven't talked about, one much in evidence with Hollywood celebrities.]

William Woodville Rockhill (1854-1914), The Land of the Lamas: Notes of a Journey through China, Mongolia and Tibet, Longmans, Green and Co. (London 1891), quote at pp. 201-202, with illustration on p. 175.  Even better is another work by Rockhill entitled Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet, fortunately (since I have no print copy) archived on the internet here. Once there, go to the text on p. 722, and plate 30 that comes just after it.

Jeff Watt, “Eye Coverings.”  A much-recommended page at "Himalayan Art Resources."

Zhang Yisun (1893-1983), et al., Bod Rgya Tshig-mdzod Chen-mo, Mi-rigs Dpe-skrun-khang (Beijing 1985). I realize Yisun is not the family name, but I use it anyway because it is more distinctive.


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Nobody should be too surprised that there are some sites on the internet devoted to the hats of His Holiness. Try a google-box search for "Dalai Lama's Hats" and you'll see what pops up. One in particular I hesitate to link you to, even though the photo collection is a fine one, since some of the pictures have been doctored, and the text that goes with them is largely inspired by gangsta rap, which isn't everybody's idea of respect, or even good taste.  Oh well, here it is since you insist, although older people who aren't used to this language ought to stay home and avoid going there. Now go blame its blogger. On a lighter note, some fashion writers have had the temerity to question or cautiously laud His progressive sense of style in His choice of head accessories, in particular the visors, like this one.  One blog questions His tendency to always wear the hat of the home team in the place he happens to be, and there is really something to this when you think about it (besides, have a look at this photographic evidence overwhelmingly in favor of what could otherwise appear to be a feeble thesis).


•  •  •

“Modern dark spectacles have nothing on primitive eye-shades. In the Arctic split bones or pieces of wood protect the eyes from snow-blindness; woven eye-shades of all shapes are common in Melanesia and Polynesia and in South America, with thin black-felt veils as their Tibetan counterparts.”

For the archived source of the quote, look here.



•  •  •
Screen shot from the Dolan movie


Next time you're in Ulan Bator, check out the amazing Choijin (in Tibetan ཆོས་སྐྱོང་) Temple if 
you can possibly spare the time. It’s just south of the blue sky.


In the face of so much brilliance, you may need your eye protection. And if you do go there, be so kind as to check the lost and found for my prescription reading glasses. I might have left them there. They had green rims and I do miss them.

37 comments:

  1. Marvellous! Apart from the usual eye-opening explanations found here, actual some element of good humour on tibeto-logic. If only His Holiness saw it himself. Thanks for bringing up the issue of mig ra goggles. I have heard that amongst several things not accepted in the mchan 'grel box (those were the days when you had 30+ comments to one single post) advertising figures quite prominently. I must therefore assure you that I am in no way connected to the company linked to below. The holy land of Tibet and its secret wisdom (discriminative understanding?) is good for all of us, you knew this already. But you didn't know that the mig ra goggles can help you to cure a headache.

    Yours, Nora

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  2. Well, dear Nora, I decided that since you have shown you can use the right codewords, I'll grant an exception, but that doesn't mean I'm opening up the floodgates of spam for all and sundry, only for you, dear Nora. You know, His Holiness was never one to stand on ceremony. And anyway, why not loosen the silken knot of the rules once in awhile?
    Your
    D

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  3. Domra is not used in a same way as migra, actually domra is a ritual implement for practices such as cho (gcod) and sang. This kind of eye shade is used in order to protect weak beings such as pretas from the powerful gaze of a practitioner. Without shielding his or her gaze with domra powerful practitioner would not be able to invite these weak beings to partake the offerings because they would be scared.

    best of luck with your blog
    Kunzang

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  4. Dear Kunzang,

    Interesting what you say, and very close to what it says on this webpage. The usual wisdom seems to be, at least in the case of the Siberian Shamans, that it helps the person to reduce distractions from external things (but then those fringes could possibly bother in particular ways, I would think, like getting in the eyes or tickling the poor practitioner). Thanks for writing with this input/and-or insight.

    Yours,
    D

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  5. Dear Kunzang,

    I've been trying to understand what this proverb means, but somehow I don't seem to quite get it, so I thought maybe you could help me. I found it in Sørensen & Cüppers' collection of proverbs, no. 3855:

    གཏམ་ཁ་ཡ་མེད་པ་དགོན་པའི་འཁར་རྔ།
    ཞྭ་ཁ་ཡ་མེད་པ་གཅོད་པའི་དོམ་ར།

    Yours, D

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  6. Well, let me give it a try.

    If incomparable speech is what you want,
    then try the monastery's gong.
    If incomparable hats are what you want,
    then try the Cutting practitioner's bear wall.

    This English does make a kind of sense to me, but I'm unsure if the translation is accurate.

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  7. Hi Dan,
    I would generally agree with your translation. The kha seems almost redundant, at least for the reading of "incomparable" (ya med). I'd go for kha ya + med pa and render it as:

    Pronouncements without rival, the [sounds of] the monastic gong.
    Head-coverings without rival, the Cutting practitioner's shades.


    Not so sure about your etymology this time: while dom is undoubtedly understood to be a mammal and you are not the first to interpret dom ra as "bear-skin forehead shade", I wonder whether the dom here really refers to the Ursus arctos pruinosus. Compare the Sino-Tibetan etymology for Tib. dom and Preclassic Old Chinese: 黮 thǝ̄mʔ (also read *dhǝ̄mʔ meaning "black"): both forms stem from Proto-Sino-Tibetan: *dhǝ̄mH, meaning "dark" or "shade".
    dom ra might therefore simply denote a "dark enclosure", and that's what it basically is, isn't it? Is there really a dom ra somewhere out there made of a bear's fur (in a museum perhaps, next to a Yeti skin)? I have seen that the Tshig mdzod chen mo mentions bear's hair, too. It also says that the dom ra was in use by old people so its usage doesn't seem to be restricted to mere rituals. It is a strange coincidence, though, that dom means "bear" and "dark", or does it mean dom because it is "dark" (brown)? Concerning dom ra one might also check the article by Hans Nugteren and Marti Roos on "Common Vocabulary of the Western and Eastern Yugur Languages: the Tibetan Loanwords." Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia, vol. 3, 1998, pp. 45-92. The relevant entry is no. [85] on p. 80.

    Nevermind, just some thoughts of an amateur, and besides, what difference does a difference make (unless it barks in Tibetan?

    Yours, as ever, Nora

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  8. Interesting, Nora.

    I'm thinking there is also an unusual term spelled 'o-dom or wa-dom that means a 'fox tassel' attached to a person as a badge of dishonor, in the one case of usage I know of because that person had failed to save another person who was falling under the feet of a yak and got trampled.*
    (*See W. South Coblin, An Old Tibetan Variant for the Word Fox, Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, vol. 17, no. 2 (Fall 1994), pp. 117-119.)

    Does the dom here perhaps just mean 'tassel'? (Or could wa-dom be a shortened version of wa-yi dom-ra?) Neglecting the T-B or S-T evidence you mention (and, no, I'm not saying we should) I don't know of any Tibetan language evidence for dom being a color term, do you? I also don't know of it ever occurring as a stand-alone term for 'tassel.'

    Sorry, but I'm still thinking, and will leave it at that for now.

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  9. Once again to Nora...

    Since you raised the question of whether one of these things might be in a museum...

    For a museum acquisition (thanks to Waddell's war booty), try this link.

    Unfortunately there's no picture, but it does describe it as a piece of bear-skin used as an eye shade. (The registration no. is 1894,0310.35 in case my link doesn't work.)

    Yours, D


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    Replies
    1. Yes, thanks, this British Museum object certainly supports the bear hypothesis. I wouldn't exactly call it "war booty" because it was acquired by Waddell before 1894, when it came to the BM, that is before he had entered Tibet. Perhaps he obtained it in Sikkim.
      Nevertheless, I am not convinced. Why on earth should the Tibetans have used bear skin, which must have been very rare, for such a common object, when they could have used (and did?) Yak hair. In later centuries (certainly in the 20th c.) black silk or cotton was used. South Coblin also mentions dom dom, glossed as: "ornamental fringes hanging down from the neck of a horse" (cf. Tshig mdzod chen mo, p. 1309). Now compare this with 紞 *tāmʔ "silk pendants on ceremonial cap"; also 髧 *d_ǝ̄mʔ hanging (hair) < Proto-Sino-Tibetan: *Tɨam "fringe". In modern usage 紞 (Pinyin dǎn) = "silk fringe of a coronet". Many striking similarities here, and "fringe" ia exactly the word you have used above. Where does this leave the bear?

      Concerning the mig ra goggles, this collection of Antique Non-Optical Sunshades contains some nice samples, mostly from the collection of the Field Museum in Chicago (including eyeshade leather cases), and two formely in the possession of the Dalai Lama.

      Nora

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  10. Yes, good point about the war booty. Could it have been the Tibet- Sikkim war (Macaulay mission) of 1885? When was LA Waddell in Sikkim again? And very good point about the fringe words in S-T. And what a wonderful online eyeshade resource you found! I'll have to try and think (and look) some more.

    I think if a bear would bite you on the nose you would, at long last, be convinced of the bear hypothesis, so perhaps this could be arranged? I don't think bears were all that rare in Tibet in olden times, even if the only ones I ever saw there were in the Norbu Lingka zoo. No doubt the wild bears of the Himalayas are endangered and shouldn't be targeted for purposes of human adornment in the 21st century.

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  11. Perhaps you are thinking of the Anglo-Tibetan War of 1888, which saw British troops led by Graham and Mitchell enter Sikkim to expell the Tibetan forces. Waddell lived in Darjeeling since 1888, having just returned from looting in Burma the previous year. Colman Macaulay went to Sikkim on a mission in 1884 (his account was published by the Bengal Secretariat Press in Calcutta in 1885), but he didn't engage in any fighting there.
    The white-chested bears in the Norbu Lingka (Ursus thibetanus), kept in the truest species-appropriate fashion of a Chinese zoo, made a certain and well-known mountaineer solve the Yeti mystery! As you can imagine, I don't believe a word of what he wrote. I am convinced all Yetis are made of black silk or cotton.

    By the way, did Padampa really introduce the dom ra to Tibet in your view, like some people seem to think? How could this be brought in line with a possible Central Asian origin (< Siberian shamans)?

    I don't want to bore you (I know I do!), but I think the bear-dom and the fringe-dom are homonyms. Jäschke's source for the dom ra entry is the dictionary by Isaak Jakob Schmidt (St. Petersburg, 1841), which I take it must be the earliest lexicographical account of this term. Schmidt, already!, cleary separated the dom ra compound from the dom entry, placing the lexeme under dom dom. Such a useful work...!

    Nora

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  12. Well, dear Nora, I'm afraid what I have to say next will be found rather dumb by some, but I actually think you may be searching too far for this dom, going all the way to China, when it seems to go back to pie.

    Especially considering that you can find dom[b] / dum[b] in Persian with the meaning of tail. Put some of that in your pipe and fire it up.

    I found this here: Dom, variant domb, "tail;" Mid.Pers. dumb "tail;" Av. duma- "tail"; dombâlé, from domb + -âlé, -âl resemblance suffix, → -al.

    I think Padampa got a lot of credit for a lot of things, and I'd like to someday look further into the reasons that happens. Anyway, if you ask me, he did deserve credit for a lot of things, just not always the things he did get credit for. Still I think in order to approach the historical person it's necessary to trace emerging images of that person throughout history, so all that credit he gets for magical medical texts, divinations, Cutting and so on is part of that. Anyway, the earliest abundantly clear ref. I know of to eye shades is in the story of the opening of the holy land of Tsari, and that postdates Padampa by decades.

    I took a picture of a drawing of a Yeti in Mongolia, so there would seem to be photographic evidence of their existence after all. But don't worry that what you say would ever bore me, although it is of course a little uncomfortable to have my dumb-ness pointed out to me. I guess I've learned to live with that quite a few times before, so no reason to stop now!

    Your
    D


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  13. No back links to rowing machines!

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  14. This word mig-ra reminds me spyan-ra in the name spyan-ras-gzigs (Avalokiteshvara). Is it one seeing with half-closed eyes or rather one seeing as far as sight can reach? If this spyan-ra is connected with mig-ra maybe it would rather mean one seeing with half-closed eyes. He is called also Graceful (thugs rje chen po) so half-closed eyes seems quite right for Him.
    Thank you for article. Good luck!

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  15. Dear Miłość,
    Nice to hear from you, friend. You know, that idea had occurred to me, but then I let it pass. The reason was I've heard several interpretations of the name of Avalokiteshvara that involve the etymology of the original Sanskrit name (I believe it was Avalokeshvara), and that take into account the Chinese and Tibetan forms of the name. The trouble is I've forgotten the details, and it would seem to be necessary to go into all that all over again. I know, too, of some etymologies that are somehow meaningful, but that don't stand up well to philological scrutiny... Like the one that takes the 'eye rag' as a cloth for wiping away the tears of compassion... I know there is a very old article by H. Zimmerman, as well as a more recent and thorough discussion by Adelheid Mette that I read several years back. Perhaps somebody out there could help revive my memory. Is it possible Avalokiteshvara looks out over our world with eye shades on to protect us from being too enlightened by the blazing lights emanating from his eyes? I'm just asking, but anyway, I do think this is an idea worth contemplating.
    Yours,
    D.

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  16. Hi all,

    I wouldn't want to do away with Miłość's intuition that fast. Non of the explanations of Avalokita's Tibetan name has ever totally satisfied me (and we all know how important satisfaction can be to a philologist).

    I like the idea of the eyes half open, half closed, or not open nor closed. When I close my eyes only half, something like a dom ra or mig ra seems to appear in front of them and it actually does: my eyelashes. When I see the world through my eyelashes, it is not completely visible, but not unvisible either.

    Perhaps apart from the obvious sunglass function, it could also be sort of a ritual/dramatic means to point out that the person carrying out the ritual is doing so whilst seeing a world between being and non being, between the visible and the invisible.

    A sobbing Avalokita doesn't do much for me. Although the film of tears in front of his eyes could yet be another mig ra, allowing him to see without being and non-being. But eyes half closed half open seems to go well with the meaning of Great or universal compassion.

    Joy

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  17. I have not read many Tibetologist books but such translation of Chenrezik simply came to my mind while reading your article. It seems quite reasonable, I think, to undarstand His name as Watching With Blink. Sometimes parents shut their eyes to give freedom to kids, give them love, and not to judge them. So in this context Chenrezik is exalted ('phags pa) but not overbearing. Very Gracious (thugs rje chen po).

    This is the way I translate it to myself but I am not sure if it was the idea of early translators. Who knows them?

    Kuba

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  18. Dear Kuba,

    I was just looking at the Wiki entry for Avalokitesvara
    and found this explanation attributed to Bokar Rinpoche:

    "An etymology of the Tibetan name Jänräsig (Jainraisig) is jän (eye), rä (continuity) and sig (to look). This gives the meaning of one who always looks upon all beings (with the eye of compassion)."

    Any idea how the concept of continuity could be derived from the Tibetan syllable ras?

    Yours,
    D

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  19. Since it translates Avalokitesvara (avalokita and īśvara), and since "avalok" means to observe, to watch, I guess the Tibetan "ras" would correspond to the Sanskrit "ava". And "ava" seems to mean something like "downwards" or "from the side". Which suggests that instead of looking upwards, the sky being the limit, (= wanting to get out of samsara, like an arhat), he looks downward, hence the compassion.

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  20. "Downwards" would be rather "mar". "Ra" is not known in such context, and I do not know either how can it signify continuity. I am out of ideas now.

    With love.
    Kuba

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  21. Dear Dan,

    A delicious article indeed and many interesting talkback! Pardon me if it does not make sense but I am a bit tempted to try and translate the following verse:

    གཏམ་ཁ་ཡ་མེད་པ་དགོན་པའི་འཁར་རྔ།
    ཞྭ་ཁ་ཡ་མེད་པ་གཅོད་པའི་དོམ་ར།

    The monastic going [that provokes] no contesting discourse/response.
    The dom ra of a gCod practitioner [that provokes] no contesting hat [as its opponent].

    I guess mine is not all too different from the translation suggested by Dan.

    Yours,

    D.

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  22. Dear Dorji,

    Thanks for writing. Proverbs are such fun! I recently enjoyed a fascinating article on the subject: Per K. Sørensen & Franz Xaver Erhard, "An Inquiry into the Nature of Tibetan Proverbs," Proverbium, vol. 30 (2013), pp. 282-309. The 'clipped' or 'pared down' syntax that is typical of them (not just in Tibetan), especially dropping the 'connectors,' makes them especially difficult to translate meaningfully. It isn't just the obscure cultural associations that come into them (as here, the dom-ra). One example in the article: ra bsad na lug 'dar, "When the goat is butchered the sheep shivers." This has been recorded in the pared-down version ra bsad lug 'dar, "Goat killed, sheep shakes." The authors announce a future "Dictionary of Tibetan Popular Figurative Language" that will be made available at TLib website. Much needed, I think!

    Yours,
    D

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  23. Dear Dan, I recall a slightly different version of that proverb (used by none other than HH the DL): ra bsad na lug skrag. His tutor would beat up his brother (i.e. mNga’-ris Rin-po-che?) to scare him (or teach him a lesson). A very unkind method, to say the least! Dorji

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  24. Hi D & D, You probably know that there is a dictionary of Tibetan proverbs in French. "Maxi proverbes tibétains", éd. Marabout 2006. Translated into French by Nicolas Tournadre and Françoise Robin. Here's a link. http://livre.fnac.com/a1890068/Nicolas-Tournadre-Le-grand-livre-des-proverbes-tibetains I noticed that the title and the cover have changed from my version...

    J

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  25. Hi J! Yes, I'm disgustingly proud of myself for procuring the small paperback version of the book (I'm told it's more complete than the large-format one with all the pictures) last time I was in Paris. It's very nice that it's divided up subject-wise, and reading it is very good for both my Tibetan and my French (two birds with one stone...). One of my favorites is on p. 254: In the pig's point of view the pig sty is a heavenly mansion. ཕག་པས་བལྟས་ན་ཕག་ཚང་གཞལ་ཡས་ཁང་། Kind of makes me think of my office. Oh, the French reads "Pour un cochon, l'auge est un palais." It's in the section on relativity, as it must be.

    -D

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  26. In the high Himalayas I once spied a yogi
    with eye walls over his eye balls
    and a black glare bear under his fair hair.

    Sorry for giving free reins to those evil rhyming impulses.

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  27. I've got one eye on my next career as a rap artist. This will be just a second job to cover those unexpected retirement expenses.

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  28. Dear Dan,

    I can't let you make a fool of yourself all on your own. Let me join you, hoping others will join us...

    གང་རི་ར་བས་ལྗོངས་ཤིག་ཏུ།
    ཡ་མཚན་ཛོ་ཀི་ཅིག་མཐོང་སྟེ།
    མིག་རས་གབ་པའི་མིག་རིལ་ཕྱེད།
    སྐྲ་སེར་དོམ་རའི་བར་དུ་བལྟས།

    J

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  29. J, Rhymes fail me. I'm oddly honored by your verse and doubly impressed at your poetic flare (I mean flair). Not only, but just because, it's a translation. Dumbfounded, really. Anyway, fools have more fun than all those other people (whoever *they* are). -D

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  30. PS. I should add that the Tibetan is so much more meaningful than the English. As we know, this is very often the case.

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  31. I now notce that I forgot a bit in the first line (གང་རི་ར་བས་བསྐོར་བའི), which would have made the poem a bit easier, because I would have had more space. Oh well.

    I agree the Tibetan is often more meaningful. It has the great advantage that a Tibetan word can be translated in many different ways in English, but will always be the same in Tibetan. So one knows what one is dealing with in Tibetan. I guess the advantage of a monarchy, absolute or not, is that a king can order a Mahavyutpatti to be written...

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  32. གངས་ཀྱི་ར་བས་བསྐོར་བ་ཡི།།
    ཡ་མཚན་ཛོ་ཀི་ཅིག་མཐོང་སྟེ།།
    མིག་རས་གབ་པའི་མིག་རིལ་ཕྱེད།།
    སྐྲ་སེར་དོམ་རའི་བར་དུ་བལྟས།།

    Is the remarkable yogi I see there in the place walled in by glaciers supposed to be looking between the bear wall of yellow hair with half his eyeballs covered by the eye walls? Just searching for insight really. As usual.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I wonder what the remarkable yogi saw this way?

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  33. During the last several weeks, I've put up a kind of archive of old writings at Tibetological, in addition to the stuff that was already there:

    https://sites.google.com/site/tibetological/

    Since Tibetological ran out of space, I opened a new one called Tiblical:

    https://sites.google.com/site/tiblical/

    I used a simple template for Tiblical, and I think it looks a lot nicer than Tibetological, which became a mess through my neglect over the years. The main reason both websites are there is so they can be put into the service of Tibeto-logic.

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  34. I was just looking at this article: Seiji Kumagai, Thupten Gawa (Thub-bstan-dga'-ba), & Yasuda Akinori, Introduction to the Collected Works of the Founder of the Drukpa Kagyu ('Brug pa bKa' brgyud) School: Tsangpa Gyare (gTsang pa rgya ras, 1161-1211). It's Google-able. There I noticed a title "Sbubs-ra'i Bshad-pa," which the authors translate "Explanation of Eye Protector." Upon having a look at the text itself, I see that Tsangpa Gyaré while in meditation retreat finds that the light coming out of his eyes was bothering the wild animals, so he took the tail hairs of a black mdzo and made a covering for his eyes. Problem solved. Not only that, but a passing Bonpo noticed the odd head ornamentation and commented on it, so Gtsang-pa Rgya-ras-pa sang a song and the Bonpo was converted to the Holy Dharma. Another problem solved. I'd translate it, but the authors of the article say they are going to make an edition and translation of the complete works of Tsangpa Gyaré. All power to them!

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