1

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THE PRECIOUS KEY
AN INTRODUCTION TO
LITERARY TIBETAN
FOR DHARMA STUDENTS

PART ONE

BY MCCOMAS TAYLOR AND
LAMA CHOEDAK YUTHOK
2





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INVOCATION OF MANJUSHRI
¯¹"¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯'¯¯¯¯¯`"¯`'
¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯¯"¯`¯¯`¯"'
¯¯``¯`¯¯`¯¯`"¯¯`"'

tse-den khye kyi khyen-rab ö-zer gyi
dag lo’i ti-mug mün-pa rab-sal ne
ka dang ten-cö zhung-lug tog-pa-yi
lo-drö pob pa’i nang-wa tsal du sol

With the brilliance of your wisdom, O compassionate one,
illuminate the darkness of the ignorance of my mind.
Then grant me the light of intellect and wisdom so that I may
understand the teachings, the commentaries and the precepts.
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PREFACE

This book has been written for students of the Buddhadharma who
wish to read Tibetan texts in the original. It aims to provide
introductory proficiency and makes no claims to be comprehensive in
its scope. At the completion of Part One, a student should be able to
read aloud and understand simple texts.
We intend this course to be suitable for Tibetan language classes in
dharma centres and universities, but we have attempted to make it
simple enough for anyone who wishes to study independently.
No more than three or four grammatical points are introduced in each
lesson. A useful vocabulary of common words is introduced
gradually. We have tried to restrict the number of new words in a
lesson to about ten.
We believe that learning should be a pleasureable experience and we
have attempted to keep the explanatory text light and non-technical.
There is a glossary of grammatical terms used in the book for non-
grammarians in Appendix 3.
Acknowledgments: Merril Gardiner, Pauline Westwood, Richard
Stanley,.
Special thanks are due toViv Laynne who spent many hours proof-
reading and offered many insightful criticisms of the text.
Lama Rigzin gave freely of his time and expertise to check the
Tibetan text.
We would also like to acknowledge our debt to Dr Thomas Egenes
who demonstrated so ably with his Introduction to Sanskrit (Motilal
Barnarsidass, Delhi) that it is possible to write a truly modern
textbook for an ancient language.
The Tibetan language is the precious key to the treasure-house of the
teachings of the Buddhas and our gurus. May the riches therein benefit
the users of this book and all living beings!

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CONTENTS
1. Notes on pronunciation 7
The alphabet: Rows 1 and 2
Simple sentences
Word order
The subject marker ni
2. The alphabet: Rows 3 and 4 17
More about word order
The locative marker la
Adjectives
3. The alphabet: Rows 5 and 6 25
The verb yö, ‘to have’
The conjunction dang, ‘and’
The plural marker nam
4. The alphabet: Rows 7 and 8 33
Expressing non-existence with me
Marking possession using ‘i
5. The four vowel signs 39
Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le
The plural marker dag
6. Summary of the alphabet and vowel signs 47
Revision of all grammatical points
7. Final consonants 57
Making nouns from verbs using pa
The pronouns di ‘this’ and de ‘that’
8. Subjoined letters 69
9. Expressing qualities and attributes with cen, 79
dang ce-pa and dang den-pa
10. Surmounted letters, 85
Prefixed letters
The suffix sa
The special uses of a-chung
11. Review of all the rules of 97
spelling and grammar
6
12. The possession markers gi, kyi and gyi 107
Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir
Sentence markers
Punctuation: she
13. Agent markers 115
Passive constructions
14. More on verbal nouns 123
How to use a dictionary
15. Continuation markers 133
Supplications with the pattern
tsal du sol
16. Questions and alternatives with am, etc. 141
Negation with mi and ma
17. More about location markers 149
The vocative: addressing by name
18. Reading: Refuge Prayer 159
Expressing a wish with shog
19. Reading: The Four Immeasurable Thoughts 167
The auxiliary verb gyur, ‘become’
The command markers cig, etc.
20. Reading: Dedication Prayer 177
More about adverbs
The conjunctions kyang, etc.
Appendices
A1. Alphabet worksheets
A2. Key to exercises
A3. Grammatical tables
A4. Grammatical terms for non-grammarians
A5. Tibetan–English Glossary (Phonetic)
Tibetan–English Glossary (Tibetan alphabetic)
English–Tibetan Glossary
7
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LESSON ONE
Notes on pronunciation
Consonants
Vowels

The alphabet Rows 1 and 2
Grammar Word order
The subject marker ni
The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’
Note on definite and indefinite articles
Vocabulary
Exercises






8
NOTES ON
PRONUNCIATION
While we are gradually introducing the letters of the Tibetan alphabet,
we will use a system of phonetic transcription, that is, Tibetan words
will be written with the English alphabet approximately as they are
pronounced. Words in phonetic transcription are shown in a different
font like this: ka and kha.
The aim is to provide a rough guide to pronunciation, rather than
perfect accuracy. As your proficiency develops, listen carefully to
advanced students and to native Tibetan speakers to improve your
pronunciation.
Consonants
By and large, the sounds of Tibetan are not difficult for a speaker of
English. One point that warrants some attention is aspiration.
Aspiration means the addition of breath. To make the aspirated sound
kha, for example, say ka, and simultaneously add a puff of breath. It
is rather like saying ka and ha at the same time. To test if you are
aspirating correctly, hold your hand in front of your mouth and say
kha. You should be able to feel a puff of air. In the sounds kh, ch, th,
tsh and ph, remember that the h represents aspiration.
The following tables show all the sounds of the Tibetan language. The
first column in each box give the Tibetan sound; the second gives the
closest English equivalent.
k kite
kh kite, with
aspiration
g gap
ng sing,
ts cats
tsh cats, with aspiration,
not like ch in ‘chat’
dz adze

c chat, but not like cat
ch chat, with aspiration
j jar
ny canyon
w wet
zh leisure
z zoo

t tap
th tap, with aspiration,
not like English th in
‘that’
d dam
n nut
y yes
r rat
l let

p pat sh shut
9
ph pat, with aspiration,
not like English
ph in ‘phone’
b bat
m mat
s sat
h hat

Points to remember
• c is pronounced like the ch in chat.
• ch is pronounced like the ch in chat, but with aspiration.
• kh, th, ph and tsh are aspirated. Resist the temptation to
pronounce them as we do in English.
Retroflexed r
When r occurs in second place, as in tra, it is retroflexed, i.e., the tip of
the tongue is arched up and back, and it rests on the roof of your
mouth. You might already know the common Tibetan greeting tra-shi
de-leg. The first syllable contains such a retroflexed r.
Vowels
The vowels are pronounced according to the following table. The five
‘pure’ vowels on the left can be pronounced as they are in Italian or
German:

a father
i hit
u put
e get
o hot
ö like the ir in girdle or
the oe in Goethe
ü like the u in
French tu, similar to
the oo in food
Transcription and transliteration
Please note that phonetic transcription, i.e. the system described
above, is different from transliteration. Transliteration means writing
down every single Tibetan letter with a corresponding English letter.
Transliteration shows how a word is actually spelled in Tibetan.
Our phonetic transcription, on the other hand, shows how a word is
pronounced. The spelling and pronunciation of a given word in
Tibetan, as in English, are not necessarily the same. For example,
there are many silent letters that are not pronounced at all. The word
for Buddha is transliterated into English as sangs-rgyas because this
10
represents each of the Tibetan letters, but is transcribed as sang-gye,
because this gives the approximate pronunciation.
THE ALPHABET:
ROWS 1 AND 2
We think of the letters of the English alphabet as a single continuous
string of the 26 letters from A to Z. The Tibetan alphabet of 30 letters
is traditionally arranged in eight rows of three or four letters per row.
This is the approach adopted by the very first Tibetan grammarians
who studied in India.
For the first five rows at least, the letters of each row are articulated in
the same place in the mouth, for example, the back or roof of the
mouth, the teeth, the lips, etc.
There are two items below each letter. The first is the name of the
letter. Many of these letters are actual stand-alone words in their own
right. In these cases, the second item is the meaning of the word.
The rules for pronunciation are on page 7.
Row 1.
The letters of Row 1 are formed at the back of the mouth, and are
technically known as velar sounds. Say each of these sounds aloud.
Notice how the back of your tongue is pressed against the back of
your mouth.
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ka kha ga nga
— ‘mouth’ — —

Hint. How do you tell kha and ga apart? kha is the first of the pair, so
its long vertical stroke comes first (that is, on the left); ga is the last of
the pair, so its long stroke is last (that is, on right).
11
Row 2
These sounds are formed by pressing the tip of your tongue against
front of your palate, hence the name palatal consonants.
¯ ¯ ¯ ³
ca cha ja nya
— ‘part’ ‘tea’ ‘fish’

In Tibetan culture good handwriting is highly valued. Young students
spend many years perfecting the art of writing. In the old days, a
strong and elegant hand was one of the prerequisites for entry into a
government job. Learn to write beautifully. Regard it as part of your
practice. Form each letter with care, joy and love.
Turn to the Tibetan alphabet worksheets in Appendix One at the back
of this volume. Observe the stroke order for the first eight letters. The
basic order in which strokes are written is from top to bottom and
from left to right.
For example, in the first letter, ka, the horizontal line is always written
first from left to right, then the distinctive body of the letter is added
stroke by stroke. Each stroke is written from top to bottom.The stroke
the left is completed first, then the ones to the right.
When writing a horizontal stroke, your pen moves from left to right.
When writing a vertical one, from top to bottom. Generally, strokes at
the top and towards the left are written first.
GRAMMAR
1.1 Word order and the subject marker ni
In a typical simple English sentence, we might say
X is Y
In Tibetan, the word order is different. Tibetans would say
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X Y is
We say ‘This is a guru’; Tibetans say ‘This, guru is’.
The subject is the main word or the ‘doer’ of an action in a sentence.
In the sentence, ‘This is the guru’, ‘this’ is the subject. In ‘I read the
book’, the subject is ‘I’.
The word ni is often used to mark the most important words in a
sentence, usually the subject. The word ni always follows the word it
emphasises. In the sentence, di ni la-ma yin, ‘this is the guru’, the ni
indicates that di ‘this’ is the subject.
1.2 The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’
In the following examples, the word-for-word translation in English is
given underneath the Tibetan words.
di ni la-ma yin
This (subject guru is
marker)
‘This is the guru’.
The word min means ‘is not’ and is simply the opposite of yin. It is
used in just the same way as yin:
di ni la-ma min
This (subject guru is not
marker)
‘This is not the guru’.
The verb yin may be translated as ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’ or ‘were’. The verb
yin does not change in the past and present tenses (like ‘is’ or ‘was’),
nor does it change with singular and plural subjects (like ‘is’ or ‘are’),
or according to person (like ‘am’ and ‘are’). It is the original one-size-
fits-all Tibetan verb for every occasion!
Similarly, min means ‘is not’, ‘are not’, ‘was not’ etc.
1.3 Note on definite and indefinite articles
Tibetan has no definite or indefinite articles corresponding to the
words ‘a’ or ‘the’ in English. The sentence above could be translated
as ‘This is the guru’, or ‘This is a guru’ depending on the context. You
will have to use your own judgement as to which is more appropriate.
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VOCABULARY
Here is the vocabulary for the following exercises. We present
vocabulary items in phonetic transcription first, and in Tibetan second.
We are not expecting you to learn the Tibetan forms at this stage: they
are simply to be enjoyed!
Nouns
la-ma
¯'
guru
sang-gye
`¯`;`
Buddha
chö
¯`
dharma
gen-dün
¯¯¯¯¯
sangha
sem-cen
`'`¯¯
sentient beings
Pronouns
dag
¯¯¯
I
di
¯¯
this
de
¯
that
Particles
ni
¯
subject marker
Verbs
yin

to be
min

to be not

Feeling curious about those little black dots mixed in with the Tibetan
letters? Good. They are called tseg and mark the end of a word or
syllable. What about the things that look like seagulls or feathers in a
cap? They are the vowel signs.
EXERCISES
1.1. Learn to recognise and write the letters of Rows 1 and 2 of the
Tibetan alphabet. Complete the work sheets for these letters in
Appendix 1
1.2. Here are some simple sentences to begin with. Translate them into
English. Because there is no ‘a’ or ‘the’ in Tibetan, you will have
14
to add these to the English yourself using your own judgement.
The answers to all the exercises are given in Appendix 2. Don’t
be disappointed if your answer does not match the answer in the
back exactly, as long as the general sense is the same.
a di ni la-ma yin
b. de ni sang-gye min
c. de ni gen-dün yin
d. di ni sem-cen yin
e. di ni sang-gye yin
f. di ni dag yin
g. de ni chö min
h. di ni gen-dün min
i. sang-gye ni la-ma yin
j. dag ni la-ma min
1.3 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using phonetic
transcription. Don’t forget the marker ni which should follow
each subject.
a. That is the Buddha.
b. This is not a guru.
c. I am not a guru.
d. This is not the sangha.
e. That is the dharma.
f. This is the sentient being.
g. That is the guru.
h. The guru is a Buddha.
i. This is not the dharma.
j. I am not a Buddha.

1.4 Translate these sentences into English.
a. dag ni sem-cen yin
15
b. de ni sem-cen min
c. de ni gen-dün min
d. dag ni la-ma yin
e. de ni chö yin
f. de ni dag min
g. di ni chö yin
h. di ni sang-gye min
i. dag ni sang-gye yin
j. de ni gen-dün min
1.5 And just for practice:
a. I am the guru.
b. That is not the Buddha.
c. This is the sangha.
d. I am a sentient being.
e. The Buddha is a guru.
f. That is not the sangha.
g. I am not a sentient being.
h. This is not the Buddha.
i. I am the Buddha.
j. That is not the sentient being.
16
According to tradition, the first great king of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo
(b. 617AD) perceived a need for a written language for his new nation.
To this end, he dispatched a party of fifteen young noblemen to India to
be educated. The most capable proved to be a scion of the clan of Thön
from Central Tibet. His teachers gave him a Sanskrit nickname,
Sambhota, meaning ‘the perfect Tibetan’. Thönmi Sambhota studied
Sanskrit with great pundits in India. It was he who divised the Tibetan
alphabet with thirty consonants and four vowels that has been passed
down to us almost unchanged.
17
2
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LESSON TWO
The alphabet Rows 3 and 4
Grammar More about word order
The location marker la
Adjectives
Vocabulary
Exercises

18

THE ALPHABET:
ROWS 3 AND 4
Row 4
Because these letters are articulated with the tip of the tongue just
above the back of your teeth, they are called dentals. Don’t forget that
the second letter in each of the first five rows is aspirated.
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ta tha da na
— — ‘now’ ‘if’, ‘on’

Row 6
The sounds of these letters are all made by controlling the flow of air
through the lips, so they are called labials.
¯ º ¯ '
pa pha ba ma
— ‘father’ ‘cow’ ‘mother’


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GRAMMAR
2.1 More about word order
We saw in Lesson 1 that a simple sentence may consist of a subject
and a verb. The subject is the ‘doer’ of the action. The object is the
thing that has the action done to it. In the sentence ‘I read the book’,
‘I’ is the subject and ‘the book’ is the object.
In Tibetan, if the verb has an object, then the word order tends to be
subject object-verb. This pattern differs from English, in which the
word order is usually subject-verb object. Here are two examples:
dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo
I (subject guru to prostrate
marker)
‘I prostrate to the guru.’

dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o
I (subject Buddha to take refuge
marker)
‘I take refuge in the Buddha.’

In English we have to say ‘I take refuge in…’ but the Tibetan actually
says ‘I take refuge to…’.
As mentioned earlier, the lo and o that follow chag-tshal ‘prostrate’
and kyab-su chi ‘take refuge’ are called ‘sentence markers’. That is
just what they do—they mark the end of the sentence. Precisely how
they are formed will be dealt with in a later chapter.
What are those hyphens for?
In the phonetic transcription, why are some words hyphenated and
others not? Tibetan is a syllabic language, that is, each syllable has a
stand-alone, separate unit of meaning. In addition to individual
syllables, there are many words that are made up of multiple syllables,
just as ‘black’ and ‘bird’ combine to make the English word
‘blackbird’.Although it is difficult to define what constitutes a word in
Tibetan, we use hyphens to separate syllables in polysyllabic words.
These words would each have separate entries in a dictionary.
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2.2 The location marker la
The word la that follows la-ma and sang-gye in the two examples
above indicates the location, place or direction of the action of the
verb. In this case it functions much like the word ‘to’ or ‘in’ in
English, but note that it follows the word it relates to. Thus sang-gye
la, literally, ‘Buddha to’ means ‘to the Buddha’ or ‘in the Buddha’,
depending on the context.
2.3 Adjectives
Adjectives are words what describe or qualify nouns. In Tibetan,
simple adjectives usually follow the noun. In English one says ‘the
holy guru’, but Tibetans say ‘guru holy’. For example:
la-ma dam-pa sang-gye tham-ce
guru holy Buddhas all
‘holy guru’ ‘all Buddhas’
Notice that sang-gye in this context is plural: ‘Buddhas’. Most
Tibetan nouns can be interpreted either as singular or plural depending
on context. There is a plural marker that is used to make the plural
sense explicit—we shall encounter this before long.
Remember that tham begins with an aspirated t, not the sound ‘th’ in
‘thing’. Note also that the c in ce is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in chin,
not like the ‘c’ in cat.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
cen-re-zig ,¯¯`¯¯¯` Chenrezig,
Avalokiteshvara
gön-po
'¯¯¯
protector
kyab-ne
,¯`¯¯`
refuge
Adjectives
dam-pa
¯'¯
holy
tham-ce
¯'`¯¯
all
Particles
la
"
to, in
Verbs
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chag-tshal lo
¯¯¯¯""
prostrate
kyab-su chi o
,¯``'¯¯
take refuge
Notes on vocabulary
We are actually cheating a little with these last two. The lo of chag-
tshal lo and the o of kyab-su chi o are not strictly part of the verb.
They are sentence markers, that is, the mark the end of the sentence.
We will examine sentence markers in detail in a later chapter. In the
mean time, simply treat each of these as a single unit of meaning.
EXERCISES
2.1. Write out the letters for Rows 1 and 2 ten times each. Learn to
recognise and write the letters of Rows 3 and 4. Complete
worksheets in Appendix 1 for Rows 3 and 4.
2.2 Memorise the vocabulary.
2.3. Translate the following sentences into English.
a. di ni sang-gye dam-pa yin
b. de ni la-ma dam-pa min
c. sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin
d. cen-re-zig ni gön-po yin
e. di ni kyab-ne min
f. la-ma tham-ce ni gön-po yin
g. gön-po ni kyab-ne yin
h. sem-cen tham-ce sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
i. la-ma dam-pa ni kyab-ne yin
j. chö ni kyab-ne yin
2.4 Translate into Tibetan using the optional
subject marker ni in each case:
a. I take refuge in the guru.
b. I take refuge in the Buddha.
c. I take refuge in the dharma.
d. I take refuge in the sangha.
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e. Sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha.
f. I prostrate to the guru.
g. I prostrate to the Buddha.
h. I prostrate to the dharma.
i. I prostrate to the sangha.
j. Sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha.
2.5 Translate these into English.
a. dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o
b. sem-cen ni chö la chag-tshal lo
c. sem-cen ni gen-dün la chag-tshal lo
d. dag ni chö la kyab-su chi o
e. la-ma ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o
f. dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo
g. dag ni chö la chag-tshal lo
h. sem-cen ni cen-re-zig la chag-tshal lo
i. la-ma ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
2.6 Translate the following sentences into English
using the subject marker ni in each case.
a. I am a guru.
b. This is the Buddha.
c. The Buddha is a refuge.
d. The guru is a protector
e. Chenrezig is a refuge.
f. The dharma is a refuge.
g. This is holy Chenrezig.
h. I prostrate to all the Buddhas.
i. All the Buddhas are a refuge.
j. The Buddha is a guru.
23
2.7 Challenge section. These sentences combine adjectives with the
use of yin ‘to be’, chag-tshal lo ‘prostrate’ and kyab-su chi o ‘take
refuge’. Enjoy!
a. sang-gye tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin
b. la-ma dam-pa ni gön-po yin
c. dag ni la-ma tham-ce la chag-tshal lo
d. dag ni sang-gye tham-ce la chag-tshal lo
e. la-ma tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin
f. dag ni kyab-ne tham-ce la kyab-su chi o
g. sem-cen tham-ce ni la-ma dam-pa la
chag-tshal lo
h. sang-gye tham-ce ni gön-po yin
i. cen-re-zig ni la-ma dam-pa yin
j. la-ma dam-pa ni kyab-ne yin
24
25
3
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LESSON THREE
The alphabet Rows 5 and 6
Grammar The verb yö, ‘to have’
The conjunction dang, ‘and’
The plural marker nam
Vocabulary
Exercises

26


THE ALPHABET:
ROWS 5 AND 6
Row 5
The first three letters are similar to ca, cha and ja, but note the little
‘prayer-flag’ on the ‘roof’ of each. This makes them tsa, tsha and dza.
Remember that tsha is like the Russian tsar (with aspiration), not like
‘cha’.
¯ ¯ ¯ "
tsa tsha dza wa
— — — ‘fox’
The letter wa is very rare. It means ‘fox’ by itself, and is the Tibetan
translation for jackal, an animal that occasionally makes a sinister
appearance in Sanskrit literature. In an otherwise glowing eulogy to
the ‘excellently crafted’ Tibetan alphabet, one fourteenth century
writer made the telling admission that ‘the sole dispensable letter is
wa’!
Row 6
¯ ¯ ¯
zha za a-chung
‘hat’ ‘food’ —
27
How are you going to tell za
¯
and ja
¯
apart? The second letter
looks a bit lie a E in English. Just think to yourself, ‘EJ’, that is, the
letter that looks like E is pronounced like J. Australian readers will
doubtless recall the famous EJ Holden. If it’s the other one, then its is
like Z.
More will be said of a-chung, which has some unique properties, at a
later date.
GRAMMAR
3.1 The verb yö, ‘to have’
The verb yö is a very important word that accounts for all forms of ‘to
have’ in English: ‘have’, ‘has’ and ‘had’. How you translate it
depends on the context. Like yin, yö does not change with case or
number. Here is an example:
dag la la-ma yö
I to guru have
‘I have a guru.’
We still have the basic subject-object-verb pattern here. The dag or ‘I’
is the subject, la-ma or ‘guru’ is the object and yö is the verb. But
where is the subject marker ni? Gone. In sentences with yö, the
subject, i.e. the person who is doing the ‘having’, is marked with la,
meaning ‘in’ or ‘to’. This is a very important basic pattern that you
will see over and over again:
X la Y yö
This means ‘X has Y’. Here are two more examples:
sem-cen la kyab-ne yö
sentient beings (to) refuge have
‘Sentient beings have a refuge.’

cen-re-zig la pema yö
Chenrezig (to) lotus has
‘Chenrezig has a lotus.’
28
3.2 The conjunction dang, ‘and’
The word dang is used to join two words together in much the same
way as ‘and’ in English:
kyab-ne dang gön-po
refuge and protector
‘The refuge and protector’
la-ma dang sang-gye
guru and Buddha
‘The guru and the Buddha.’
3.3 The plural marker nam
We mentioned earlier that Tibetan nouns may be singular or plural,
thus sang-gye may mean ‘Buddha’ or ‘Buddhas’ depending on the
context. Now, when a Tibetan writer wishes to make it clear that a
plural is meant, a plural marker nam may be added.
Many of the dharma texts of interest to practitioners are written in
verse. Writers frequently included or omitted these optional words to
arrive at the desired number of syllables per line.
la-ma nam
guru (plural)
‘gurus’
dag ni sang-gye nam la chag-tshal lo
I (subj.) Buddha (plural) to prostrate
‘I prostrate to the Buddhas.’
Nam is generally an honorific word, that is, it is usually reserved for
use with beings worthy of veneration: gurus, Buddhas, deities, etc.
There are other non-honorific plural markers that we will encounter
later.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
dor-je
¯¯
vajra
dor-je-sem-pa
¯¯`'`¯¯¯
Vajrasattva
pe-ma
¯¯
lotus
29
seng-thri
`¯¯
lion-throne (remember:
aspirated th, not ‘th’ in ‘thing’)
threng-wa
¯º¯¯
mala (prayer-beads)
dril-bu
¯"¯
bell
Verbs


to have
zhug so
¯¯¯``
is seated
Particles
dang
¯¯
and
nam
''`
plural marker
Notes on vocabulary
As with the lo of chag-tshal lo and the o of kyab-su chi o in the
previous lesson, the so that follows zhug so is not strictly part of the
verb, but is also a sentence marker.




EXERCISES
3.1. Learn to recognise and write the letters of
Rows 5 and 6. Complete the works sheet for these letters. Review
all the letters of Rows 1–4.
3.2 Memorise the vocabulary.
3.3. Translate the following sentences into English.
a. dag la la-ma yö
b. sem-cen la kyab-ne yö
c. dor-je-sem-pa la dor-je yö
d. cen-re-zig la pe-ma yö

The seng in seng-thri is a contraction of the more usual word for lion, seng-ge.
This is actually a loan-word from the Sanskrit singha. You may familiar with
word in its modern form, Singh, the common Indian surname. The seng-ge is
actually the mythical snow-lion, an auspicious beast that inhabits the highest
Himalayan peaks. It is white in colour, with a brilliant turquoise mane.
30
e. sang-gye ni seng-thri la zhug so
f. la-ma la threng-wa yö
g. cen-re-zig ni pe-ma la zhug so
h. cen-re-zig la threng-wa yö
i. sem-cen tham-ce la gön-po yö
j. dor-je-sem-pa la dril-bu yö
3.4 Translate the following sentences into Tibetan using yö or zhug.
a. The guru has a lion-throne.
b. The guru has a mala.
c. Vajrasattva is seated on a lotus.
d. All the Buddhas are seated on a lion-throne.
e. Chenrezig has a lotus.
f. All sentient beings have a protector.
g. The guru has a vajra.
h. Vajrasattva is seated on a lotus.
i. I have a varja.
j. The guru is seated on a lion-throne.
3.5 Translate the following sentences into English.
a. dag ni la-ma nam la chag-tshal lo
b. dag ni sang-gye nam la kyab-su chi o
c. dag la la-ma dang gön-po yö
d. sang-gye nam ni gön-po yin
e. la-ma la dor-je dang dril-bu yö
f. la-ma dang sang-gye tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin
g. dor-je-sem-pa ni seng-thri dang pe-ma la zhug so
h. la-ma nam la kyab-ne yö
i. sang-gye nam ni kyab-ne yin
j. cen-re-zig la pe-ma dang threng-wa yö
31
3.6 Using nam and dang where appropriate, translate the following
into Tibetan.
a. I have a vajra and bell.
b. The gurus are seated on a lotus.
c. Chenrezig and the gurus are protectors.
d. The guru prostrates to the Buddhas.
e. The Buddhas and gurus are a refuge.
f. The protectors have a vajra.
g. Vajrasattva has a vajra and bell.
h. The gurus and Buddhas are seated on a lion-throne.
i. All sentient beings take refuge in the gurus.
j. Chenrezig is seated on a holy lotus.
3.7. Fun Section: if you feel like a challenge, try transcribing the first
three sentences of Exercise 3.3 into Tibetan script. Use the
vocabulary lists for Lessons 1, 2 and 3.

32

Vajrasattva, or Dor-je-sem-pa in Tibetan, holds a
varja in one hand and a bell in the other.
33
4
^` ^` ^` ^` ''
LESSON FOUR
The alphabet Rows 7 and 8
Grammar Expressing non-existence with me
Marking possession with ‘i
Vocabulary
Exercises

34


THE ALPHABET:
ROWS 7 AND 8
Row 7 are called the liquids as all three sounds are said to be fluid,
flowing sounds. The final row of the alphabet, Row 8, is in truth a
mixed bag of letters articulated in different parts of the mouth.
Row 7
" ¯ "
ya ra la
— ‘goat’
‘on’, ‘to’,
‘mountain
pass’

The letter la in the the common word for ‘to’ or ‘on’ that we have
been using in the exercises. It also means ‘mountain pass’. You will
recognise it in the mythical land of ‘Shangri-la’, ie., ‘the pass of
Shangri’. It is quite common for words in Tibetan to have two
completely unrelated meanings.
Row 8
° ` ¯ ¯
sha sa ha a
‘meat’
‘earth’
‘place’
— —

35
Notes on vocabulary: the word sa in the sense of ‘place’ occurs in the
word Lhasa, literally, ‘the place of gods’. In the days of the first
Tibetan kings, Lhasa was known as Ra-sa. What do you think that
means? Hint: see the illustration at the start of this lesson.
The word sa is also used in Dharma texts to translate the Sanskrit
word ‘bhumi’, meaning spiritual stage or level.
GRAMMAR
4.1 Expressing non-existence with me
Put simply, the opposite of yö ‘to have’ is a very useful word me,
which means ‘to lack’, ‘to not have’, or ‘to be without’. As in
constructions using yö, the primary subject of the sentence is marked
with la.
dag la gön-po me
To me protector is lacking
‘I do not have a protector’ or
‘I have no protector.’
sem-cen la kyab-ne me
To sentient beings refuge is lacking
‘Sentient beings do not have a refuge’ or
‘Sentient beings have no refuge.
You can see from the above examples that there are several different
ways of translating sentences with me. Other ways of translating me
include ‘to be without’, ‘there is no’, ‘to have no’, etc.
4.2 Marking possession with ’i
In English we can make the possessive form of a noun by adding an
apostrophe and s. For example: ‘the guru’s throne’. Guru is the noun
and guru’s is the possessive form.
We can do the same thing in Tibetan by adding possession markers to
nouns. In the case of nouns that end in vowels, the possession marker
is ’i. We will discuss possession markers for words ending in
consonants in a later chapter. Here are some examples:
la-ma’i seng-thri
guru’s lion-throne
la-ma’i chö
36
guru’s dharma
Note the pronunciation of these forms: ma’i rhymes with ‘say’ and
‘weigh’ in English.
VOCABULARY

Nouns
khor-wa
¯¯¯¯
samsara
ge-wa
¯¯¯
virtue
dig-pa
`¯¯
misdeed
de-wa
¯¯¯
happiness
kyön

blemish
dug-ngal
` ¯¯`"
suffering
Adjectives
tag-pa
¯¯¯
permanent
chen-po
¯¯¯
great
Verbs
me

to lack
Marker
‘i
¯
possession marker

EXERCISES
4.1. Learn to recognise and write the letters of
Rows 7 and 8. Complete the worksheets for these two rows of
letters.
4.2 Memorise the vocabulary. Be careful not to confuse ge-wa
‘virtue’ (think g for ‘goodness’) and de-wa ‘happiness’ (think d
for ‘delight’).
4.3 Translate the following into English. From now on, we will
slowly introduce Tibetan spelling into the exercises, starting with
37
the location marker la
"
. The little dot after the la is called a
tseg. It marks the end of a word or syllable.
a. khor-wa
"
de-wa me
b. khor-wa
"
dug-ngal yö
c. la-ma
"
dig-pa me
d. khor-wa
"
ge-wa me
e. sang-gye
"
kyön me
f. sem-cen
"
de-wa me
g. gen-dün
"
dug-ngal me
h. khor-wa
"
dig-pa yö
i. gön-po nam
"
dug-ngal me
j. cen-re-zig
"
kyön me
4.4 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using yö or me. Remember
that the plural marker is generally optional in Tibet, so it is quite
acceptable to translate ‘sentient beings’ as sem-cen.
a. The Buddha has no suffering.
b. There is suffering in samsara.
c. There is no happiness in samsara.
d. The refuge is without blemish.
e. There is no virtue in samsara.
f. I do not have a guru.
g. Sentient beings have no happiness.
h. Sentient beings have no refuge.
i. The protector has no misdeed.
j. The guru has no blemish.
4.5 Translate the following phrases into English.
a. ge-wa’i de-wa
b. la-ma’i threng-wa
c. khor-wa’i dug-ngal
d. khor-wa’i kyab-ne
38
e. gön-po’i seng-thri
f. la-ma’i de-wa
g. dor-je-sem-pa’i dor-je
h. dig-pa’i dug-ngal
i. la-ma’i ge-wa
j. la-ma’i pe-ma
4.6 Translate these sentences into English, remembering that the
simple adjectives follow the noun to which they refer.
a. In samsara there is great suffering.
b. In samsara there is no permanent happiness.
c. All sentient beings have great suffering.
d. The Buddhas have virtue.
e. I have no permanent happiness.
f. The gurus have great virtue.
g. The sangha has great happiness.
h. In samsara there is no permanent suffering.
i. All sentient beings have a permanent refuge.
j. All Buddhas have great virtue.
39
5
^` ^` ^` ^` ' '' ''
LESSON FIVE
The alphabet The four vowel signs
Grammar Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le
The plural marker dag
Vocabulary
Exercises

40

THE ALPHABET:
VOWEL SIGNS
The letters of the alphabet that we have introduced in the preceding
chapters all have an inherent vowel sound a. That is to say, in their
unadorned state, they are all pronounced as if they are followed a. The
letter
¯
as it stands is pronounced ka,
¯
is pronounced kha, and so
on.
In addition to a, there are four other vowel sounds in Tibetan: i, u, e
and o. The following table shows the four vowel signs and gives the
Tibetan name for each one.

¯
¯
¯ ¯
i
gi-gu
u
zhab-kyu
e
dreng-po
o
na-ro

It may help to think of them in this way: gi-gi is i, zhab-kyu is u,
dreng-po is e and na-ro is o.
Gi-gu, dreng-po and na-ro are added above the root letter; Only zhab-
kyu sits below it.
In theory, any of these four vowel signs may be added to any of the 30
main root letters. For example, to make the sound ki, take the root
letter ka and add a gi-gu to change the vowel sound to i. The result is
ki.
ka + gi-gu = ki or in Tibetan
¯

+

¯
=
¯
It is important to be able to spell aloud in Tibetan because many
words are pronounced the same but have different spellings. First say
the root letter, then the vowel and finally the resulting syllable:
¯
ka gi-gu ki
41
¯

ka zhab-kyu ku
¯
ka dreng-po ke
¯
ka na-ro ko
This is how the vowel sounds work on ka. What about some other
letters?
"
la na-ro lo
¯
tha zhab-kyu thu (remember: th = aspirated t)
'
ma gi-gu mi
¯
kha na-ro kho
GRAMMAR
5.1 Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le
Both ne and le are used almost interchangeably to express ‘from’.
Sometimes the context may demand that ne and le be translated as
‘among’, ‘through’, ‘on account of’, etc. Some grammars suggest
subtle differences in the use of these two words, but such nuances are
beyond us here.
As with the location marker la, ne and le also follow the noun to
which they refer. For example:
sang-gye ne la-ma ne dor-je le
Buddha from guru from vajra from
‘from the Buddha’ ‘from the guru’ ‘from the vajra’
A special use of ne in the sense of ‘from’ is in the set phrase de ne,
which means literally ‘from that’, but is used express the idea of
‘then’ or ‘thereupon’. This is a very common phrase.
de-ne dü-tsi bab
then nectar falls
‘Then the nectar falls.’
In addition to the sense of ‘from’ ne has other important functions that
we will introduce later.
42
5.2 The plural marker dag
You will remember that we introduced the plural marker nam in
Chapter 3. This is often used with words deserving respect, such as
Buddhas, gurus, etc. For other nouns, where the author wishes to
make a noun explicitly plural, the common marker is dag. For
example, di ‘this’, di-dag ‘these’.
Like nam, the plural marker dag is generally optional. A noun in
Tibetan, although written in the singular, may imply either a singular
or plural sense, depending on the context.
Don’t confuse this dag with the word for ‘I’. You should be able to
tell them apart by the context. They are pronounced the same, but as
you will soon see, they are spelled differently in Tibetan.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
ö-ser
¯¯¯¯
light-rays
hung
¯

the syllable Hung
dü-tsi
¯¯¯¹
nectar
Pronouns
di dag
¯¯¯
these
(usually non-honorific)
di nam
¯''`
these
(usually honorific)
Verbs
jung
¯¯¯
arise
bab
¯¯
fall
thro
¯º
shine
Particles
ne
¯`
from
le
"`
from
dag
¯¯
plural marker
Notes on vacabulary: Don’t forget the th is thro is an aspirated t, the r
is retroflexed and the o is like the o in hot. It is nothing like ‘thro’ in
American English.
43
Just for interest, what are those extra squiggles above and below the
syllable hung? This is how Tibetan write the sanskrit syllable hum.
The root letter is ha.There is an a-chung with a zhab-kyu underneath
it to represent the long u sound of the Sanskrit. The cipher above the
root letter is called the chandra-bindu or ‘moon and droplet’ in
Sanskrit. They represent the nasalisation of the vowel sound (this is
the m in hum). We have chosen to transliterate this as hung, but you
will also see hum.
EXERCISES
5.1 Memorise the vocabulary.
5.2 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables
(ie. for the first example, write ka gi-gu ki).
a.
¯
b.
'
c.
¯
d.
¯
e.
`
f.

¯
g.
"
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
'
k.
¯
l.
¯
m.
¯
n.
¯
o.
¯

p.

¯
q.
'
r.
º
s.
¯
t.
¯

5.3 Using the Tibetan alphabet, write out the final resulting syllables
for these spellings
a. ma dreng-po me b. kha na-ro kho
c. ka zhab-kyu ku d. ja gi-gu ji
e. tsha na-ro tsho f. ca gi-ku ci
g. ta zhab-kyu tu h. da breng-bu de
i. na gi-gu ni j. la na-ro lo
44
5.4 Translate these sentence with ne and le into English. Do you
recognise the subject marker ni in Tibetan? In sentence 5.4d, we
also introduce the Tibetan spelling for la-ma. You will recognise
the letters ba with la underneath it and ma. The ba is silent, so the
pronunciation is la-ma. We will begin to explain the joys of silent
letters in Lesson 9.
a. dü-tsi
¯
hung le bab
b. ö-zer
¯
hung le thro
c. chö
¯
sang-gye ne jung
d. de-wa
¯ ¯'
ne jung
e. dug-ngal
¯
dig-pa ne jung
f. ge-wa
¯
chö ne jung
g. dü-tsi
¯
de ne jung
h. kyön
¯
dig-pa ne jung
i. ö-zer
¯
sang-gye le thro
j. chö
¯

¯'
ne jung

5.5 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using
either le or ne.
a. Rays of light shine from Chenrezig.
b. Nectar falls from the guru.
c. Happiness arises from the dharma.
d. Virtue arises from the Buddha
e. Nectar arises from the hung.
f. Rays of light shine from the refuge.
g. Suffering arises from samsara.
h. Dharma arises from guru.
i. Nectar falls from Vajrasattva.
k. Virtue arises from the guru.
5.6 Translate these sentences that use the plural endings dag and nam.
Also, la is used in both its senses here: marking the ‘possessor’ or
‘lacker’ with yö and me, and as a location marker. Look out for
the little trap in 5.6g.
a. di nam
¯

¯'
yin
45
b. di dag
¯
dor-je yin
c. di dag
¯
ö-zer min
d. di dag
"
kyab-ne me
e. sem-cen nam
"
kyab-ne me
f.
¯'
nam
"
chag-tshal lo
g. dag
"
ge-wa dag yö
h.
¯'
nam
"
ge-wa chen-po yö
i. di nam
¯
gön-po chen-po yin
j. sang-gye nam
¯
seng-thri
"
zhug so


46


The vajra, or dor-je as it is known in Tibetan, is rich in symbolism. It was
originally the thunderbolt scepter of the Hindu god Indra. In Tibetan do
means ‘stone’ and je is ‘lord or master’. Together they mean ‘lord of
stones’, and hence ‘diamond’, the sovereign and most indestructable of
materials. The two together are pronounced ‘dor-je’. The varja and the
ritual bell or dril-bu symbolise the method and wisdom of the dharma
practitioner’s path. It was with his magical vajra, according to tradition,
that the great yogin Padmasambhava subdued the malign geomantic forces
that held sway over Tibet and rendered the country a safe haven for
Buddhism.
47
6
^` ^` ^` ^` ''
LESSON SIX
Alphabet Summary of the Tibetan alphabet
with the four vowel signs
Grammar Revision of all grammatical points
Vocabulary Consolidated list of all vocabulary
Exercises

48
THE ALPHABET
Here is the Tibetan alphabet in its entirety. Photocopy it, pin it up,
colour it in, add a border, send a copy to a friend…

^`
''
The Tibetan Alphabet
''

¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ka kha ga nga
¯ ¯ ¯ ³
ca cha ja nya
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ta tha da na
¯ º ¯ '
pa pha ba ma
¯ ¯ ¯ "
tsa tsha dza wa
¯ ¯ ¯
zha za a-
chung
" ¯ "
ya ra la
° ` ¯ ¯
sha sa ha a
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
i u e o

49
GRAMMAR
In this lesson we are going to pause for breath. We are not going to
introduce any new material, but we will review all the topics we have
covered so far. In a sense we have now laid the foundation on which
your knowledge of Tibetan is to be built. It is well worth while to take
the time to ensure that the foundation is in good shape.
Word order
The basic Tibetan word order is subject-verb or subject object-verb.
It is useful to remember that when you are looking at a Tibetan
sentence, you will often find the verb near the end.
di ni la-ma yin
This guru is
‘This is the guru.’
The subject marker ni
The subject of a sentence is often marked with ni. If you can find a ni
in a sentence, whatever precedes it is usually the subject. Look at the
position of the ni in the example above.
The location marker la
The word la marks the location, action or direction of the verb. It may
mean: to, in, at or on.
sang-gye la
Buddha to
‘to the Buddha’
The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’
The verb yin covers all the uses of the English verb to be: am, are, is
was, etc.
di ni dor-je yin di ni la-ma min
This varja is This guru is not
‘This is a vajra.’ ‘This is not the guru.’
50
Adjectives
Simple adjectives such as tham-ce ‘all’ and chen-po ‘great’, follow
the noun they refer to.
sang-gye tham-ce dig-pa chen-po
Buddhas all misdeed great
‘all the Buddhas’ ‘great misdeed’
The verbs yö and me
The verb yö means to have, but the ‘haver’ or possessor’ who does the
having is marked with a la. Thus the very common pattern
X la Y yö
means ‘X has Y’. The word me ‘to lack’ is the opposite of yö and is
constructed in the same way with la.
dag la dor-je yö sang-gye la kyön me
I vajra have Buddhas blemish lack
‘I have a vajra’ ‘The Buddhas have no blemish’

The plural markers nam and dag
A simple noun in Tibetan can be either singular or plural, depending
on the context. Where the author wishes to make the plural explicit,
nam may be added (generally honorific) or dag for non-honorific.
sang-gye nam di dag
‘Buddhas’ ‘these’
The possession marker ‘i
Just as in English we add ‘s to indicate possession, in Tibetan we add
a ‘i to nouns that end in vowels,
la-ma’i seng-thri
guru’s lion-throne
‘the guru’s lion-throne’.
51
Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le
The sense of ‘from’ is expressed by the words ne and le, which, like
the other markers we have studied also follow the word to which they
refer.
sang-gye ne dor-je le
Buddha from varja from
‘from the Buddha’ ‘from the vajra’
VOCABULARY
Here are all the words we have covered.
NOUNS
cen-re-zig
,¯¯`¯¯¯`
Avalokiteshvara, Tib. Chenrezig
chö
¯`
dharma
de-wa
¯¯¯
happiness
dig-pa
`¯¯
misdeed
dor-je
¯¯
vajra
dor-je-sem-pa
¯¯`'`¯¯¯
Vajrasattva
dril-bu
¯"¯
bell
dug-ngal
` ¯¯`"
suffering
dü-tsi
¯¯¯¹
nectar
gen-dün
¯¯¯¯¯
sangha
ge-wa
¯¯¯
virtue
gön-po
'¯¯¯
protector
hung
¯

the syllable Hung
khor-wa
¯¯¯¯
samsara
kyab-ne
,¯`¯¯`
refuge
kyön

blemish
la-ma
¯'
guru
ö-zer
¯¯¯¯
light-rays
52
pe-ma
¯¯
lotus
sang-gye
`¯`;`
Buddha
sem-cen
`'`¯¯
sentient beings
seng-thri
`¯¯
lion-throne
threng-wa
¯º¯¯
mala (prayer-beads)
VERBS
bab
¯¯
fall
chag-tshal
¯¯¯¯"
prostrate
jung
¯¯¯
arise
kyab-su chi
,¯``'¯
take refuge
me

to lack
min

to be not
thro
¯º
shine
yin

to be


to have
zhug so
¯¯¯``
is seated
ADJECTIVES
chen-po
¯¯¯
great
dam-pa
¯'¯
holy
tag-pa
¯¯¯
permanent
tham-ce
¯'`¯¯
all
PRONOUNS
dag
¯¯¯
I
de dag
¯¯¯
those*
de nam
¯''`

those **
de
¯
that
53
di dag
¯¯¯¯
these*
di nam
¯¯''`
these**
di
¯¯
this
MARKERS, ETC
dag
¯¯
plural marker*
dang
¯¯
and
la
"
to, in
le
"`
from
nam
''`
plural marker**
ne
¯`
from
ni
¯
subject marker
* Usually non-honorific ** Usually honorific
EXERCISES
6.1 Translate these sentences into English. They should present no
big problems.
a. di
¯ ¯'
yin
b. dag
"
gön-
¯

c. sem-cen
"
kyab-ne me
d. dag
¯
sang-gye nam
"
chag-tshal
"

e. sem-cen tham-ce
¯
kyab-ne
"
chag-tshal
"

f. cen-re-zig
¯
gön-
¯
chen-
¯
yin
g. di
¯
sang-gye yin
h.
¯
nam
¯
kyab-ne chen-
¯
yin
i. chö dam-
¯

¯
sang gye ne jung
j. ö-zer tham-ce
¯
kyab-ne le thro
54
6.2 Translate these into Tibetan
a. I do not have a guru.
b. This is the Buddha.
c. Vajrasattva is a great protector
d. All sentient beings take refuge in the holy refuges.
e. The Buddha is the holy guru.
f. The holy dharma is the permanent refuge.
g. Chenrezig is seated on a great lotus.
h. I have a holy mala and a vajra.
i. In samsara there is great suffering.
j. Happiness arises from virtue.
6.3 Here are some harder sentences to translate into English.
a.
¯'
tham-ce
¯
kyab-ne chen-
¯
yin
b. dü-tsi
¯
kyab-ne tham-ce le bab
c. cen-re-zig dang ¯' tham-ce
¯
gön-
¯
chen-
¯
yin
d. ö-zer chen-
¯

¯ ¯'
’i seng-thri ne thro
e. dor-je-sem-pa
"
dril-bu dang dor-je dam-
¯

f. dag ni
¯'
nam dang kyab-ne tham-ce
"
chag-tshal-
"

g.
¯'
nam dang gön-
¯
tham-ce
"
de-wa chen-po yö
h. cen-re-zig
¯
pe-ma dang seng-thri dam-
¯

"
zhug so
i. sem-cen tham-ce
¯
sang-gye tham-ce
"
kyab-su chi o
j. dag
"
dor-je dam-
¯
dang dril-bu dam-
¯

6.4 The Buddhist tradition is probably the only one that regards
playfulness as a virtue. Here is a big mixture of everything to be
approached in the spirit of playfulness!
a. di nam gen-dün dam-
¯
min
b.
¯'
dam-
¯
nam
¯
seng-thri dang pe-
'

"
zhug so
c. cen-re-zig dang kyab-ne chen-
¯ ¯
gön-
¯
dam-
¯
yin
55
d. dor-je-sem-pa dang cen-re-zig
¯
gön-
¯
chen-
¯
yin
e. dü-tsi dam-
¯

¯
hung chen-
¯
ne bab
f. ö-zer dam-
¯

¯
dor-je-sem-pa ne thro
g. khor-wa
"
dug-ngal dang dig-
¯
chen-
¯

h. sang-gye tham-ce
"
ge-wa chen-
¯

i. sem-cen tham-ce
"
ge-wa chen-
¯

j. dag
¯ ¯'
tham-ce dang sang-gye tham-ce
"

chag-tshal-
"

56
57
7
^` ^` ^` ^` ''
LESSON SEVEN
The alphabet Final consonants
Grammar Making nouns from verbs using pa
The pronouns di ‘this’ and de ‘that’
Vocabulary
Exercises

58
THE ALPHABET
Final consonants
All the Tibetan syllables we have studied so far have ended in a vowel
sound: a, e, i, o or u. It is also very common for Tibetan syllables to
end in a consonant. For example:
¯¯ ¯¯ "¯
dang bab yin
‘and’ ‘fall’ ‘to be’
In the first syllable case, da followed by nga gives dang.
A ba followed by ba makes bab.
A yi followed by na is yin
The important point here is that the final consonant is not pronounced
in full: da with nga is not *danga, but dang. The second letter just
provides its leading consonant sound (in this example ng) as the final
sound of the syllable and its own inherent vowel sound (a) is dropped.
Tibetan syllables can only end with the following consonants:
¯
–g
¯
–ng
¯
–d

¯
–n
¯
–b
'
–m

¯
–r
"
–l
`
–s



Final consonants and vowel changes
Front vowels and back vowels
Let us pause for a short lesson in phonetics. We will call the vowels e,
ö, ü and i front vowels because they are articulated towards the front
of the mouth. Say them out loud and experience this yourself.
59
Similarly, a, o and u are called back vowels because they are formed
at the back of the mouth. Say these out loud too.
1. Front vowels: e, ö, ü and i
2. Back vowels: a, o and u
Friendly reminder: ö is like sound in the middle of girl, ü is like the u
in the French tu or the oo in food.
Now, in certain combinations these final consonants change the way
the vowel in the middle of the syllable is pronounced. In other
combinations they do not effect the vowel. The rules that govern these
changes are described below.
Rule 1. Final ga, nga, ba, ma, ra and la do not change the vowel
When a syllable ends with ga, nga, ba, ma, ra and la there is no
change in the vowel of that syllable. For example
¯
+
¯
=
¯¯ ¯
+
¯
=
¯ ¯
da + g = dag ri + ng = ring
In these two examples, the vowels a and i are unchanged by the
addition of the final consonants ga and nga. This is what one might
reasonably expect.
Rule 2. Final la and na

change back vowels to front vowels.
The final consonants la and na may cause changes in the
pronunciation of the vowel: they cause back vowels to shift forward.
Exception: al is usually pronounced as it is spelled, i.e. al, in dharma
texts. Examples:
Final -ol is pronounced -öl,
Final -ul is pronounced -ül
Therefore, for example,
¯"
dol is pronounced döl
¯"
dul is pronounced dül
Final –n also changes back vowels to front vowels:
Final -an is pronounced -en
Final -on is pronounced -ön
Final -un is pronounced -ün
For example:
60
¯¯
dan is pronounced den
¯¯
don is pronounced dön
¯¯
dun is pronounced dün
Final la and final na have no effect on the pronunciation of front
vowels e and i.

yin is still pronounced yin

yen is still pronounced yen
Rule 3. Final da and sa

change back vowels to front vowels but are
not pronounced themselves.
Final da and sa are never pronounced, but they also cause the back
vowels to shift forward. That is, a syllable which ends in
Final -ad is pronounced -e,
Final -od is pronounced -ö,
Final -ud is pronounced -ü.
Therefore
¯¯
nad is pronounced ne
¯¯
nod is pronounced nö
¯¯
nud is pronounced nü
A syllable which ends in
-as is pronounced -e,
-os is pronounced -ö,
-us is pronounced -ü.
¯`
nas is pronounced ne
¯`
nos is pronounced nö
¯`
nus is pronounced nü
Final da and sa, just like la and na, have no effect on the
pronunciation of front vowels e and i.
Summary of rules
We can summarise all this in three simple rules:
Rule 1. Final ga, nga, ba, ma and ra do not change the vowel.
61
Rule 2. Final la and na

change back vowels to front vowels and are
pronounced themselves.
Rule 3. Final da and sa

change back vowels to front vowels but are
not pronounced themselves.
How are you feeling?
Take three deep, slow breaths.
Chant OM AH HUNG three times.
Here is the same information expressed in a table:


Final Consonant

"
-l
¯
-n
¯
-d
`
-s
a -el* -en -e -e
o -öl -ön -ö -ö
B
a
c
k

u -ül -ün -ü -ü
i -il -in -i -i
M
e
d
i
a
l

v
o
w
e
l

F
r
o
n
t

e -el -en -e -e

* Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud, al often retains its
original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el.
Caveat
We have actually glossed over at least two subtle points of
pronunciation here. First, a final na is properly pronounced as a
nasalisation of the preceding vowel, just as the n causes the
nasalisation of the o in the French bon.
Secondly, syllables ending in da are clipped and short, while those
ending in sa are longer. Such niceties should certainly be pursued by
intermediate and advanced students of Tibetan, but beginners may set
this to one side for the time being.
Thirdly, when a word ends with ga, it is pronounced half way between
k and g in English. That is to say, the Tibetan word for ‘I’ dag, is
pronounced more like the English word ‘duck’, than ‘dug’.
62
Examples
Rule 1. Final ga, nga, ba, ma or ra—no change to median vowel.
¯¯
dag
"'
lam
¯¯
bar
Rule 2. Final la and na — back vowels to front vowels
º¯
phen
¯¯
dön

yün

³¯
nyön
""
yül

len

¯"
tshül
¯"
röl
¯"
thül

Rule 3. Final da and sa change back vowels to front vowels but are
not pronounced themselves


me
¯¯
ze
¯`
ce

"`
le
¯`

"`


Spelling aloud with final consonants
When we were children we learned to spell aloud like this: ‘C–A–T
spells cat’. Tibetan children are taught a similar technique. It is
important to be learn to spell in Tibetan for two reasons:
1. Many Tibetan words are pronounced the same but spelled
differently (like knight and night in English). You must spell them
out loud to distinguish them.
2. These little spelling phrases will also help you remember the
pronunciation of some of the tricky consonant combinations.
For a word that consists of only a root letter and a final consonant, just
say the two letters, then say the resulting pronunciation of the syllable:
¯¯
da ga dag

la na len (remember Rule 2?)
¯`
pa sa pe (Rule 3)
For more complex syllables with vowel signs, follow the patterns
introduced in previous lessons. To those syllables we now add the
final consonant and the resulting pronunciation.
63

ya gi-gu yi na yin
º¯
pha na-ro pho nga phong
Note how in each case the after a new element is added, the resulting
sound is spoken. You may like to think of this spelling process in this
way:
ya gi-gu {makes} yi {to which} na {is added to give} yin
GRAMMAR
7.1 Making nouns from verbs using khen
By adding the syllable khen to some of the verbs we have
encountered, it is possible to form nouns that may be translated as ‘the
one who…’. It is like the ‘-er’ that that we add in English to change
‘do’ into ‘doer’. For example, to the verb zhug ‘to sit’, we may add
khen to yield ‘zhug-khen’ which may mean ‘the one who sits’. We
can add khen to the verb dzin ‘hold’ to make dzin-khen ‘the one who
holds’ or ‘the holder’
dor-je dzin-khen ni dor-je sem-pa yin no
vajra holder (subj.) Vajrasattva is
‘The holder of the varja is Vajrasattva’
or
‘The one who holds a vajra is Vajrasattva’
7.2 More about the pronouns
di ‘this’ and de ‘that’
In Lesson 1 we introduced di and de as stand-alone pronouns in the
typical sentence:
di ni sang-gye yin
this (subject Buddha is
marker)
‘This is a Buddha.’
de ni ge-wa min
that (subject virtue is not
marker)
‘That is not virtue.’
64
The words di and de can also function as demonstrative adjectives
‘this’ and ‘that’ respectively. In this case they follow the noun that
they describe:
la-ma di dig-pa de
guru this misdeed that
‘this guru’ ‘that misdeed’
Both di and de can take the plural markers nam for honorific subjects
and dag for non-honorific ones.
la-ma di nam dig-pa de nam
guru these misdeed those
‘these gurus’ ‘those misdeeds’
You will recall that simple adjectives also usually follow the noun
they describe:
la-ma dam-pa
guru holy
‘the holy guru’
The words di and de can also be used with these phrases that consist
of a noun and one or more adjectives.
la-ma dam-pa di dig-pa chen-po de
guru holy this misdeed great that
‘this holy guru’ ‘that great misdeed’
In the exercises at the end of this lesson, we will be using this
construction with nouns made from verbs using –khen.
dor-je dzin-khen di
vajra possessor this
‘this vajra-holder’ or ‘this one who holds a vajra’
Similarly:
dig-pa pang-khen de
misdeed renouncer that
‘that renouncer of misdeeds’
from pang, ‘to renounce’.
65
7.3 Punctuation: she
The vertical bar that follows the last word in the examples below is
called the she and is the Tibetan equivalent of a full stop. One she is
used at the end of sentence; two mark the end of a paragraph.
Normally the she replaced the tsheg (the dot between syllables) but,
interestingly, not when the last consonant is nga, when both are used.
When the last consonant is a ga, the she is omitted altogether.

VOCABULARY
Nouns
dze-khen
'¯¯'¯¯
maker, doer
(honorific)
pang-khen
¯¯¯'¯¯
one who renounces, renouncer
drub-khen
¯¯¯'¯¯
one who accomplishes
dzin-khen
¯¯¯'¯¯
one who has, possessor
lag-len
"¯"¯
practice
thug-je
¯¯`¯
compassion
thar-pa
¯¯¯
liberation
com-den-de
¯¯'"¯¯¯`
conqueror ( = Buddha)
gyel-se
;"``
victors’ heir ( = bodhisattva)

Are you curious about the little hooks hanging off the bottom of the
Tibetan word gyel-se? They are the consonants ya and la used in
consonant clusters. We will introduce these in Lesson 8.
EXERCISES
7.1 Memorise the vocabulary.
7.2 Write out the Tibetan spelling for the following syllables. For
example, a. is ka zhab-kyu ku na kün.

a.
¯¯
b.
¯¯
c.
¯¯
66
d.
¯¯
e.
¯¯
f.
¯¯
g.
¯¯
h.
¯`
i.
¯¯
j.
¯`
k.
¯¯
l.

m.
¯'
n.

o.

p.

q.

r.

7.3 Write the resultant syllable in Tibetan script for the following
spellings. Don’t forget to add the tseg. That is the little dot that
follows each Tibetan syllable (See Lesson 1).
a. la ma lam
b. ra nga rang
c. ya gi-gu yi da yid
d. da la del
e. da da de
f. da ga dag
g. ga gi-gu gi sa gi
h. ga la gel
i. zha gi-gi zhi ga zhig
j. da nga dang
k. shi gi-gu shi na shin
l. da na-ro do na dön
m. ya na-ro yo da yö
n. tha na-ro tho ba thob
o. ga zhab-kyu ra gur
p. pha na-ro pho nga phong
q. ga gi-ku gi sa gi
r. kha na-ro kho nga khong
67
7.4 Translate these sentences into English. You may recognise some
of the vocabulary from previous lessons in written in the Tibetan
alphabet.
a. ge-wa drub-khen
¯
sang-gye
"¯'

b.
¯' ¯
dig-pa pang-khen
"¯'

c.
¯¯¯
drub-khen
¯
com-den-de
"¯'

d. dig-pa pang-ken
¯
gyal-se
"¯"¯"¯'

e. sang-gye
¯
thug-je dze-khen
"¯'

f.
¯'

¯

¯¯¯
drub-khen
"¯'

g. sang-gye
¯ ¯`
drub-khen
"¯'

h. dor-je dzin-khen
¯
dor-je-sem-pa
"¯'

i. pe-ma dzin-khen

di
¯
cen-re-zig
"¯'

j. thug-je
¯¯¯
drub-khen
¯ ¯
com-den-de
"¯'

7.5 Translate these into English. Remember that simple adjectives
follow the nouns they describe.
a. dig-pa tham-ce pang-khen
¯

¯'
’i
"¯"¯ "¯'

b. pe-ma
¯¯¯ "
zhug-khen
¯ ¯
cen-re-zig
"¯'

c. thug-je
¯¯¯
drup-khen
¯ ¯
gyal-se
"¯'

d. sang-gye
¯

¯¯¯ ¯¯¯
drub-khen
"¯'

e. dor-je
¯¯
dril-bu dzin-khen
¯ ¯
dor-je-sem-pa
"¯'

f. hung
"`

¯¯¯
di
¯
dü-tsi
¯'¯ "¯'

g. seng-thri
¯¯¯ "
zhug-pa
¯

¯

¯' ¯'¯ "¯'

h. khor-wa
"` ¯¯¯
dze-khen
¯ ¯
com-den-de
"¯'

i. kyön

khen


¯ ¯
sang-gye
"¯'

j. ö-zer
¯'¯
yö-khen di
¯
dor-je-sem-pa
"¯'

68

8
^` ^` ^` ^` ''
LESSON EIGHT
The alphabet Subjoined letters
Exercises
69
THE ALPHABET

Subjoined letters
We will now lead you gently into the realm of consonant clusters,
starting with subjoined letters. We have such clusters in English—the
‘cl’ in ‘cluster’ is an example. These are very important in Tibetan.
Before commencing this section you must be clear on which
consonants belong in which rows. Please revise the table of the
Tibetan alphabet in Lesson Six, particularly Rows 1–4.
We first encountered the letters ya, ra and la in Lesson 4. In addition
to this form which is their usual form as root letters, ya, ra and la may
be attached to the bottom of (or ‘subjoined’ to) certain other root
letters to form consonant clusters.
' - `
ya-ta

ra-ta la-ta

A subjoined ya is called ya-ta (ta means ‘bound’), and subjoined ra
and la are called ra-ta and la-ta respectively.
These subjoined consonants may change the pronunciation of the
whole cluster, sometimes in unexpected ways. We will examine each
in turn.
Subjoined ya: ya-ta
¯
ya-ta
A ya-ta can occur with the first three consonants of Row 1:
70
Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
With
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
kya khya gya

In this case the sound of the ya just runs on from the root consonant: k
+ ya = kya. This effect of a ya-ta with a Row 1 consonant is what one
might expect.
A ya-ta may also be used with any of the four Row 4 consonants.
Row 4
¯ º ¯ '
Usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba ma
With
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ '
Now
pronounced
ca cha ja nya
Just like
Row 2
¯ ¯ ¯ ³

These are pronounced completely differently from what you would
expect: pa with ya-ta is pronounced ca, pha with ya-ta is pronounced
cha, ba with ya-ta is pronounced ja, and ma with ya-ta is pronounced
nya. In fact, all the consonants of Row 4 with ya-ta are pronounced
just like the consonants in Row 2
Rule for ya-ta
Any Row 1 consonant with a ya-ta is what you would expect, and any
Row 4 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced like its Row 2 equivalent
unadorned.
71
Subjoined ra: ra-ta
-
ra-ta

The following tables show the first three consonants from Rows 3, 1
and 4 plus two others, the usual pronunciation of these consonants,
how they appear with a ra-ta, and the resulting pronunciation of each
consonant cluster.
Row 3
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ta tha da
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Row 4
¯ º ¯
Usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba
With
ra-ta
¯ º ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

72
Others
' `
Usual
pronunciation
ma sa
With
ra-ta
- `
Now
pronounced
(i.e. no change)
ma
sa
In the top table which shows Row 3 consonants, you will notice that
the changes in pronunciation are what you would expect: t + ra = tra,
etc. The surprise comes with the second and third tables which show
Rows 1 and 4. The resultant consonant clusters are pronounced
exactly the same as the Row 3 consonants with ra-ta: k + ra = tra, etc.
and p + ra = tra, etc.
The letters ma and sa are shown in the fourth table. In these two cases
the ra-ta is ‘silent’ and does not change the pronunciation of the root
consonant at all. The letter ma with ra-ta is pronounced ma, and sa
with ra-ta is still sa.
Rule for ra-ta
Any consonant with ra-ta is pronounced like its Row 3 equivalent
with ra-ta, except ma and sa which are unchanged.
Subjoined la: la-ta
¯
la-ta

Five consonants can take a subjoined la. These are shown below.
73

Consonant
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ka ga ba sa za
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
Now
pronounced
la la la la da
Note that the first four consonant clusters are all pronounced la, and
the fifth consonant za with la-ta is pronounced da! Fortunately there
are not many exceptions like this in Tibetan.
Rule for la-ta
Any consonant with a la-ta is pronounced la, except za with la-ta
which is pronounced da.
Doggerel for remembering subjoined letters
Row 1 with ya is nothing new.
Row 4 with ya is like Row 2
Just like Row 3 are words with ra
Except for ma and sa.
All those with la, they just say la
Except for za la-ta da.
Spelling subjoined letters aloud
We introduced the notion of spelling single consonants with vowels
using the pattern ka gi-gu ki in Lesson 5. It is also necessary to learn
how to spell consonants with subjoined letter. It will also help you
remember the correct pronunciation.
The pattern for subjoined consonants is similar to that for single
consonants with vowels: first say the root consonant, then the
subjoined letter, and finally the resultant pronunciation. For example:
ka ya-ta kya pa ra-ta tra ba la-ta la
74
Consonant clusters with vowels signs
All these consonant clusters with subjoined letters may take any one
of the found vowel signs, gi-gu, zhab-kyu, dreng-po or na-ro. Here are
some examples:

Consonant
cluster
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
Pronunciation
kya ja la la
Added vowel
sign
gi-gu
dreng
-po
na-ro zhab
-kyu
Resulting
syllable
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
Pronunciation
kyi je lo lu

More spelling aloud
The syllables with subjoined vowels and added vowel signs are also
spelled aloud. This is done as follows: say the root consonant, then the
subjoined letter, the resulting cluster, the vowel and finally syllable
itself. The four syllables above are spelled as follows:
¯

ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi
¯

ba ya-ta ja dreng-po je
¯

ba la-ta la na-ro lo
¯

ka la-ta la zhab-kyu lu
75
You really have to know this…
Even if you can’t remember anything else from this lesson, please
memorise this:
pa ya-ta ca ka ra-ta tra pa ra-ta tra
These are the first letters of the three rows that exhibit the most
unexpected changes. If you can remember these first combinations, all
the others letters in these rows should follow suit.
EXERCISES
8.1 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables
(ie. for the first example, write ka ya-ta kya).
a.
¯
b.
¯
c.
¯
d.
-
e.
¯

f.

¯
g.
¯
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
¯

k.
¯
l.
¯
m.
¯
n.
¯
o.
º

p.

¯
q.
`
r.
¯
s.
¯
t.
'


8.2 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables
with vowels, e.g. a. ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi.
a.
¯
b.
¯
c.
¯
d.
¯
e.
¯
f.
¯
g.
¯
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
¯

k.
¯
l.
¯
m.
¯
n.
¯
o.
¯

76
p.

`
q.
`
r.
'
s.
¯
t.
¯
8.3 Using the Tibetan alphabet, write out the final resulting syllables
for these spellings
a. za la-ta da b. ka ya-ta kya c. sa la-ta sa
d. kha ya-ta khya e. ga ya-ta gya f. kha ra-ta thra
g. da ra-ta dra h. ba ya-ta ja i. ba la-ta la
j. pa ya-ta ca k. ta ra-ta tra l. ka la-ta la
m. sa ra-ta sa n. ma ya-ta nya o. pha ra-ta thra
p. khra ra-ta thra q. sa la-ta sa r. pha ra-ta thra
s. pha ya-ta cha t. ba ra-ta dra
8.4 Now write out the final resulting syllables for these spellings
which include vowels.
a. sa la-ta la na-ro lo
b. kha ya ta khya gi-gu khyi
c. sa ra-ta sa gi-gu si
d. za-la-ta da na-ro do
e. ma-ya-ta nya na-ro nyo
f. ba la-ta la zhab-kyu lu
g. ba ra-ta dra na-ro dro
h. ba ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru
i. ba ra-ta dra dreng-bu dre
j. ba ya-ta ja dreng-bu je
k. pha ra-ta thra zhab-kyu thru
l. pha ya-ta cha dreng-bu che
m. pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi
77
n. kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri
o. ba ya-ta ja gi-gu ji
p. da ra-ta dra gi-gu dri
q. da ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru
r. ga ra-ta dra gi-gu dri
s. ga ya-ta gya zhab-kyu gyu
t. sa ra-ta sa dreng-bu dre
78
9
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON NINE
Grammar Expressing possession with cen, dang ce-pa
and dang den-pa
Vocabulary
Exercises


79

GRAMMAR
9.1 Expressions with cen, dang ce-pa
and dang den-pa
These are three very useful expressions of possession or association.
Each is used slightly differently. As is typical with so many Tibetan
constructions, all three follow the word or phrase to which they refer.
In this sense they form adjectives, but the dividing line between
adjectives and nouns is much less clearcut than in English. Phrases
formed with any of these three may, depending on the context, also be
regarded as nouns.
cen is usually translated as ‘possessing, having or being provided
with’. Here is a very famous example with a nominal sense:
kha-wa cen
snow possessing
‘possessing snow’ = ‘the one that possesses snow’ = ‘Tibet’
In fact, our old friend sem-cen ‘sentient being’ is also in this class of
phrases.
sem cen
mind possessing
‘possessing a mind’ = ‘one who possesses a mind’ = ‘sentient being’
Sometimes cen must be translated more skillfully than just
‘possessing’. For example, we will see the phrase
dug-ngal cen
suffering possessing
‘possessing suffering’ = ‘those who experience suffering’
dang ce-pa means ‘together with’ or ‘connected with’ but depending
on the context sometimes simply means ‘having’ or ‘possessing’. It
may appear with or without the dang which as you may recall means
‘and’ or ‘with’.
For example, dang ce-pa commonly occurs in the expression khor
dang ce-pa, ‘together with a retinue’. Another typical usage is
80
gyal-wa nam se dang ce-pa
victors sons together with
‘the victors, together with their sons’
This of course refers to the Buddhas and their spiritual sons (and
daughters), the bodhisattvas.
The third expression of relationship that we will introduce here is
dang den-pa. This usually means ‘possessing’ in the sense of
‘endowed with’ or ‘imbued with’, and often refers to the possession of
qualities. You will frequently see it in expressions such as yön-ten
dang den-pa ‘endowed with qualities’ or tshe dang den-pa ‘endowed
with (great) age’. Like dang ce-pa, dang den-pa is used with and
without the dang.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
sö-nam
¯`¯¯'`
merit
tsön-pa
¯¹¯¯
diligence
jang-chub-sem
¯¯¯¯`'`
bodhicitta
de-zhin sheg-pa
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯
tathagata
khor
¯¯¯
retinue
Adjectives
dang ce-pa
¯¯¯¯`¯
together with
dang den-pa
¯¯"¯¯
endowed with
Particles
cen
¯¯
possessing
Verbs
chö-pa bül
'¯¯¯¯¯"
make offerings


praise, eulogise
EXERCISES
9.1 Memorise the vocabulary. From Lesson 8, recite:
pa ya-ta ca, ka ra-ta tra, pa ra-ta tra, ba la-ta la
9.2 Translate these simple sentences into English.
81
a. dag
¯ ¯
-zhin sheg-
¯

"

b. dag
¯
sang-gye
"
chö-
¯
bül
c.
¯'

"
sö-nam yö
d. jang-chub sem-pa nam
"
tsön-
¯

e. sem-cen
¯

¯'

"

f.
¯'
nam
"
jang-chub-sem yö
g. de nam
¯
sö-nam
¯¯
den-
¯



h.
¯'
nam
¯
tsön-pa
¯¯
den-
¯



i.
¯
-zhin sheg-
¯
nam
¯
kyab-ne


j. dag
¯ ¯
-zhin sheg-
¯
nam
"
chag-tshel lo
9.3 Translate these simple sentences into Tibetan. Write as much as
possible in Tibetan script.
a. I eulogise the gurus.
b. This the holder of the vajra.
c. I make offering to the holder of the lotus.
d. The guru is a renouncer of misdeeds.
e. The renouncer of misdeeds eulogies all the tathagatas.
f. The buddha, together with a retinue, is seated.
g. Sentient beings take refuge in the tathagatas.
h. The bodhisattvas are endowed with bodhicitta.
i. I make offerings to the refuge.
j. The buddhas together with their heirs are endowed with
qualities.
9.4 Translate the following sentences into English. Note that in c. and
d. etc. you may have to add words such as ‘I’ or ‘their’ before the
sentences make sense. This is very common in Tibetan.
a.
¯' ¯
sö-nam
¯¯
den-
¯



b. dag
¯
sang-gye khor
¯¯
ce-
¯

"
chag-tshal lo
c. de-zhin sheg-pa
`` ¯¯
ce-
¯

"
chö-pa bül
d. dag
¯
jang-chub sem-pa khor
¯¯
ce-
¯

"

82
e. sem-cen
¯
dug-ngal
¯¯ "¯

f. la-ma
¯
tsön-pa
¯¯
den-
¯



g. com-den-de
¯
gen-dün
¯¯
ce-
¯
zhug so
h. sang-gye nam
¯
thug-je dang den-
¯



i. com-den-de gyal-
``

¯¯
ce-
¯

"
chö-pa bül
j. cen-re-zig
¯
jang-chub-sem
¯¯
den-
¯



9.5
a. All the gurus are endowed with virtue.
b. I make offerings to the Buddha.
c. All sentient beings rejoice in the Three Jewels.
d. The Buddhas are endowed with bodhicitta.
e. All sentient beings make offerings to the holy guru.
f. The tathagata is endowed with all qualities.
g. Sentient beings are endowed with various sufferings.
h. I eulogise the guru and the Three Jewels.
i. Samsara is endowed with great suffering.
j. The bodhisattva is endowed with great bodhicitta.
83
84
10
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON TEN
The alphabet Surmounted letters
Prefixed letters
The suffix sa
The special uses of a-chung
Exercises



85

THE ALPHABET

Surmounted letters
You will recall with pleasure the subjoined letters ya-ta, ra-ta and la-ta
that we introduced in Lesson 6. These were written below the root
consonant.
Three letters, ra, la and sa, appear are surmounted letters. These are
written above the root consonant. Of course, certain root letters may
take both a surmounted and a subjoined consonant at the same time.

³ " `
ra la sa

Surmounted letters are important because they may change completely
the meaning of a word. But the good news is that, for our purposes,
they have no effect on the pronunciation.
(Please note that in this section many of the syllables are nonsense
words that we have invented to illustrate particular points about the
spelling.)
Surmounted ra
Generally, a surmounted ra is written in a truncated form above the
root letter like this:
¯


86
The one exception is when ra is written with nya. In this case retains
its normal form:

¯
Here are some simple examples of letters with a surmounted ra:
¯
ka
¯
ta
¯
da
Letters with a surmounted ra may of course also have any of the four
vowel signs as well:

'
mi
¯
nyu
¯
je
You can see that each of these syllables has a surmounted ra, but the
pronunciation is the same as if the ra wasn’t there at all. We can say
that all three of these surmounted letters are ‘silent’.
Surmounted la
The letter la can also be surmounted above a root consonant. It is
always written in its usual form:
"


Here are some examples of surmounted la with root consonants:
"
ku
"
nga
"
ja
A syllable consisting of surmounted la and root consonant may also be
combined by any of the vowel signs:
"
ce
"
ku
"
do
Again, like the surmounted ra, the surmounted la has no effect on the
pronunciation of the above syllables. There is a single exception to
this rule: a surmounted la with a ha is pronounced lha.
"
lha

This is a very common word, meaning ‘deity’. It is used in lha-khang ,
lit. ‘gods-house’ = ‘shrine’, and in the capital of Tibet, Lha-sa, lit.
‘place of gods’.
87
Surmounted sa
The third and final surmounted letter is sa.
`


Here are some examples
`
ta
`
nga
`
ke


`
nyi
,
ce*
`
to
* Remember pa ya-ta ca? This is an example of a root consonant with
both surmounted and subjoined letter.
In all cases surmounted sa is effectively silent and has no effect on the
pronunciation of the syllable.
Spelling aloud with surmounted letters
To spell aloud with surmounted letters, say these in order
1. the surmounted letter,
2. the root letter followed by –ta. This is the same as the –ta in ya-
ta and just means ‘bound’. It suggests that the root letter is
‘bound’ below the surmounted letter.
3. the resultant syllable,
4. subjoined letter if present and the result,
5. the vowel sign if present and the result,
6. and the final consonant if present and the result.
7. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. ☺
Here are some examples showing increasing complexity
"
la nga-ta nga
88
¯
ra ta-ta ta

`
sa ta-ta ta
¯
ra nga-ta nga na-ro ngo
'
ra ma-ta ma gi-gu mi

sa pa-ta pa ya-ta ca na cen


sa nya-ta nya gi-gu nyi nga nying

Prefixed letters
¯ ¯ ¯ ' ¯
Five letters ga, da, ba, ma and a-chung, appear as prefixes to the root
consonant. In certain combinations, these prefixes may have a subtle
effect on the pronunciation of the root consonant, but for our
purposes, these may be overlooked. Here are some examples
¯¯
cu
¯¯
ge


go
¯¯
di

¯¯¯
cang
¯'¯
mag

¯¯¯
cig
¯`¯
sung
Finding the root consonant
It is important to be able to identify the root letter of every syllable in
Tibetan for two reasons. First, the root letter determines the
pronunciation, and second, words are listed in the dictionary
according to their root letter.
It is often difficult for beginners to find the the root consonant in a
word like
¯'¯
. There is a temptation for take the da as the root
89
consonant and to read it as dam
¯'
, but them you are left with an
unexplained ga at the end. In fact, ma is the only possible root letter,
so the pronunciation must be mag, as if the syllable were spelled

.

Remember that the root letter is always the one with the ya-ta, ra-ta or
la-ta subjoined to it in a consonant cluster. For example, study the
following syllable.

The pa has a subjoined ya-ta and is therefore the root. Can you
identify the root letter in the following syllable?
¯¨ ¯`
Easy: it is the one to which the ra-ta is subjoined.
If a word ends in a-chung, then the letter which precedes the a-chung
is the root letter. For example:
¯¯¯
ga, meaning happiness
The a-chung indicates that the ga is the root letter. The da is a prefix,
which as we have seen is always ‘silent’, so the syllable is pronounced
ga.
'¯¯
da, meaning ‘arrow’.
Here, the a-chung shows that the da is the root letter. Again, ignoring
the silent prefix ma, the pronunciation is da.
Nasalisation caused by a-chung
Here is a small but important point. When a syllable ending in a vowel
is followed by a syllable that begins with a-chung as a prefix, then the
vowel in the first syllable is nasalised. That is, the first syllable is
pronounced as if it ends with n. For example
¯¯¯¯¯
ge-dün ‘sangha’ is pronounced gen-dün
'¯¯¯
mi-gyur ‘unchanging’ is min-gyur
The special case of da-o ba
¯¯

Here is surprising irregularity, like za la-ta da, and fortunately we
don’t see too many of these. Words that begin with da-o ba are
pronounced in the following way:
¯¯"
yül ‘poor’
90
¯¯¯
wang ‘power’
¯¯¯`
yang ‘melody’ in Jam-pel-yang
Spelling aloud with prefixed letters
When spelling words with prefixes aloud, say the prefex consonant,
then o, then continue the rest of the spelling as outlined in the
preceding chapters.
¯¯
ba o ca zhab-kyu cu
¯¯
da o ga dreng-po ge


ma o ga na-ro go
¯¯
a o ga ra-ta dra na-ro dro
¯`¯
ba o sa na-ro so da sö
¯``
ba o sa la-ta la zhab-kyu lu sa lü
'¯¯
ma o kha ya-ta khya dreng-po khye na khyen
The suffix –sa
An additional sa
`
is often seen after final consonants ga
¯
,
nga
¯
, ba
¯
and ma
'
. It is also silent and does not effect the
pronunciation. Here are some examples
¯¯`
rag
¯¯`
zang

¯¯`
thab
¯'`
kham

Do not confuse this suffix sa with the final consonant discussed in
Lesson 8. The final consonant sa follows the root consonant directly
and may effect the pronunciation. This suffix sa only follows one of
the final consonants and does not effect the pronunciation.
When spelling words with suffix
`
aloud, simply say sa before the
resultant pronunciation of the complete syllable:
¯¯`
ra ga sa rag
91
¯¯`
tha ba sa thab
¯¯`
za nga sa zang
¯'`
kha ma sa kham
Words that being with vowels
All the Tibetan syllable we have encountered so far have begun with a
consonant. What happens when the root letter is a vowel? There are
not many of these words, but you will meet them from time to time. In
these cases, a-chung
¯
is used as the root letter and vowel signs are
added to it if necessary. For example:
¯¯
ang ‘also’
¯¯
ö ‘light’

¯¯
og ‘under’
¯¯
ong ‘come’

EXERCISES
10.1 Write out the spelling for each of these syllables. If you can do
the last syllable, then you have nothing more to fear. This is as
complex as they get!


10.2 Here is the vocabulary from Lessons 1 and 2. Write down the
correct pronunciation for each of these words.
a.
¯¯
b.
¯¯
c.
¯¯ ¯`
d.
¯¯¯
e.
¯¹¯
f.
'¯¯
g.
¯¯
h.
`
i.
¯`'
j.
¯¯¯
k.
¯¯`
l.
''`
m.
¯¨"
n.
`
o.
¯°¯
p.
¯¯¯
q.
¯¯
r.
¯¨ ¯`
92
a.
¯'
b.
`¯`;`
c.
¯`
d.
¯¯¯¯¯
e.
`'`¯¯
f.
¯¯¯
g.
¯¯
h.
¯
i.
¯'`¯¯
j.
¯'¯
k.

l.

m.
°¯¯¯¯
n.
¯¯¯¯""
o.
,¯``'¯
p.
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯
q.
,¯¯`¯¯¯`
r.
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯`
s.
¯¯¯¯¯
t.
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'
u.
'¯¯¯
v.
,¯`¯¯`

10.3 Write out the phonetic transcription. There is lots of repetition
here to get those juices flowing!
a.
¯¯¯¯'"¯¯'
b.
¯¯¯`¯`;`' ¯¯'
c.
`¯`;`¯¯'" ¯¯'
d.
¯'¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'
e.
`¯`;`¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'
93
f.
¯¯¯,¯`¯¯`"¯¯'
g.
`¯`;`¯,¯`¯¯`"¯¯'
h.
¯'¯,¯`¯¯`"¯¯'
i.
'¯¯¯¯`¯`;`"¯¯'
j.
¯¯¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'
10.4 Translate the sentences in 10.3 into English.
10.5 Review the vocabulary from Lessons 1-3. Write out the phonetic
transcription of the following sentences. Nothing very new here.
a.
¯¯¯`¯`;`"¯'
b.
¯¯¯'"¯'

c.
¯¯¯¯`¯`;`"¯¯¯¯""'

d.
`'`¯¯¯¯'"¯¯¯¯""'

e.
,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯
"¯¯'
f.
¯'¯'¯¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'

94
g.
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'¯,¯`¯¯`"¯¯'

h.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯",¯`` '¯¯'

i.
`¯`;`¯¯'¯'¯"¯'

j.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯'¯"¯'

10.6 Optional exercise. Just for practice, translate the sentences in
10.4 into English.
95

96
11
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON ELEVEN
The alphabet Review of all spelling rules
Exercises











97

THE ALPHABET

We have now covered all the rules that govern the pronunciation of
Tibetan words. It is fitting to pause and review what we have learned.
Let us assume that you are comfortable with all the letters and vowel
signs that we covered in Lessons 1–5 (if you want to, please re-read
the review in Lesson 6).
In this session we will review the rules that we have introduced in
Lessons 7–10. We will try to keep the amount of new material in the
lesson to a minimum. This is a lesson devoted to consolidation and
revision.
You should be clear on each of these concepts:
1. root letter
2. vowel sign
3. final consonant
4. subjoined letter
5. surmounted letter
6. prefixed letter
7. suffixed sa

Here is the Tibetan word for ‘accomplished’, pronounced drub, that
incorporates all of these seven elements. This is as complex as a
Tibetan syllable can get. If you can handle this, you can handle
anything!








¯¨ ¯`
Prefix
Root letter
Surmounted
letter
Suffix -sa
Final consonant
Vowel sign
Subjoined letter
98
Root letters
Each of the 30 letters in the Tibetan alphabet may function as a root
letter. Each root letter is pronounced as if it ends in a, if no other
vowel is shown. For example:
¯
ka
¯
kha
¯
ga

Vowel signs
The vowel signs change the pronunciation of the root letter, so that
instead of ending in a, it ends in i, u, e or o. Vowels are added to
single root letters, or root letters in combination with suffixes,
surmounted letters, etc.
¯

ki
¯
ku

¯

ke

¯
ko


Final consonants
There are nine possible final consonants. We summarised their effects
on the vowel in three simple rules:
Rule 1. Final ga, nga, ba, ma and ra do not change the vowel.
Rule 2. Final la and na

change back vowels to front vowels and are
pronounced themselves.
Rule 3. Final da and sa

change back vowels to front vowels but are
not pronounced themselves.
Here is the same information expressed in a table:

Final Consonant
-l -n -d -s
a -el* -en -e -e
o -öl -ön -ö -ö
B
a
c
k

u -ül -ün -ü -ü
i -il -in -i -i
M
i
d
d
l
e

v
o
w
e
l

F
r
o
n
t

e -el -en -e -e

* Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud, al often retains its
original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el.
99
Subjoined letters
Subjoined ya: ya-ta
Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
with
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
now
pronounced
kya khya gya

Row 4
¯ º ¯ '
usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba ma
with
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ '
now
pronounced
ca cha ja nya
just like
Row 2
¯ ¯ ¯ ³
Rule for ya-ta
Any Row 1 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced as you would
expect, and any Row 4 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced like its
Row 2 equivalent unadorned.
Subjoined ra: ra-ta
Row 3
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ta tha da
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

100
Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Row 4
¯ º ¯
Usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba
With
ra-ta
¯ º ¯
now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Others
' `
usual
pronunciation
ma sa
With
ra-ta
- `
still
pronounced
(i.e. no change)
ma
sa

Rule for ra-ta
Any consonant with ra-ta is pronounced like its Row 3 equivalent
with ra-ta, except ma and sa which are unchanged.
Subjoined la: la-ta
Consonant
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
usual
pronunciation
ka ga ba sa za
101
with
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
is now
pronounced
la la la la da
Rule for la-ta
Any consonant with a la-ta is pronounced la, except za with la-ta
which is pronounced da.
Surmounted letters ra, la and sa

¯ " `



None of the surmounted letters affect the pronounciation of the
syllable, except for la ha-ta which is pronounced lha,


Prefixed letters

¯ ¯ ¯ ' ¯

The above five letters may be prefixed to the root letter. For our
purposes, we may regard these as being silent as they have little or no
effect on the pronunciation of the syllable.
The suffix –sa

`

An additional sa
`
is often seen after final consonants ga
¯
,
nga
¯
, ba
¯
and ma
'
. It is also silent and does not affect the
pronunciation.
102
Syllables that begin with vowels
When a syllable begins with a vowel, and a-chung is used to ‘carry’
the vowel sign. Only the sound of the vowel is pronounced. If there is
no vowel sign, then the a-chung is pronounced as a.
¯¯


ö, as in ö-zer, ‘rays of light’ (the final da changes o to ö)
¯¯
ang, ‘also’
Finding the root letter
1. With surmounted letters
The letter directly above a subjoined letter or directly under a
surmounted letter is the root letter.
¯
ra da-ta da na-ro do
The da is under a surmounted ra and is therefore the root letter
2. With subjoined letters
,¯`
sa ka-ta ka ya-ta kya ba sa kyab
The ka is subjoined by a ya-ta and must the the root letter.
3. With a-chung
If a word ends in an a-chung, then the letter before the a-chung is the
root letter.
'¯¯

ma-o nga a nga
In this word (meaning ‘power’), nga is the root letter
EXERCISES
11.1. Write out the Tibetan spelling and resulting pronunciation for
these simple words, applying the rules that govern final
consonants.
103


11.2. Write out the Tibetan spelling and resulting pronunciation for
these words with subjoined letters.


11.3. Identify the root letter in each of the syllables. Hint: the letter
with the vowel sign is often the root letter.


a.
¯`
b.
¯¯
c.

d.
¯`
e.
¯'
f.
¯¯
g.

h.

i.
¯¯
j.
¯¯
k.

l.
¯¯
a.
¯
b.
¯¯
c.
¯
d.
¯"
e.
¯¯
f.
¯`
g.
;`
h.
¯º
i.
¯¯¯
j.
,¯`
k.
¯º¯
l.
``
a.
`¯`
b.
¯¯
c.
¯¯¯
d.
¯¯¯`
e.
¯¯¯
f.
`'`
g.
¯¯`
h.
¯'`
i.
¯¯"
j.
¯¯
k.
''`
l.
¯¯¯
104
11.4 . Once you have checked that you have identified the root letter
correctly, write out the spelling and the resulting pronunciation
for each of the above syllables. For example, the first one should
be sa nga sa sang.
11.5 . Challenge section. Here is a big fruit salad of some of the more
complicated words that you have seen. Have fun!
b
.




a.
¯`"
b.
¯¯¯
c.

d.
¯º¯
e.
;`
f.

g.
¯º
h.
'¯¯
i.
¯¯¯
j.

k.
;"
l.

105

106
12
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON TWELVE
Grammar The possession markers gi, kyi and gyi
Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir
The pronunciation of ba
Sentence markers
Vocabulary
Exercises

107
GRAMMAR
12.1 The possession markers gi, kyi and gyi
You may recall that in Lesson 4, we introduced the possession marker
‘i in the example la-ma’i seng-thri, ‘the guru’s lion-throne’. The marker
‘i is used with words that end in vowels to express possession just like
an apostrophe with s, or the word ‘of’ in English.
What about words that end in consonants? The three forms gi, kyi and
gyi, are used, depending on the last letter of the preceding syllable to
form possessives, according to the following rules:
Last letter of
preceding syllable

Possession marker

¯

¯ ¯
gi

¯

¯

` ¯
kyi


¯

'

¯

" ¯
gyi


¯
and vowels
¯
or
"
‘i or yi

When we say the last letter, that includes letters that are silent
themselves. The choice of possession marker is determined by the
way the preceding syllable is written, not how it is pronounced. That
is, if the preceding syllable ends with a silent sa, e.g.
"`
, even
though it is pronounced le, the possession marker is
¯
kyi.
Here are some examples:
¯¯¯¯¯' ‘my guru’

`'`¯¯¯` ¯¯`" ‘suffering of sentient beings’
`¯`;`¯¯` ‘the Buddha’s dharma’

¯'¯`¯¯ ‘the guru’s lion-throne’
¯'"`¯¯ ‘the lama’s lion-throne’
108
Note the two slightly different versions of the last example: la-ma’i
counts as two syllables, but la-ma yi is three. The first form is the
usual one, but occasionally when a Tibetan poet needs an extra
syllable to fill a line of verse, then the second form will be used.
Some Tibetan grammars refer to these markers as genitive case
particles.
The basic pattern outlined above, ‘X gi Y’, can be translated as the
‘X’s Y’ or ‘the Y of X’. Both of these express possession. An
example:
¯'¯`¯¯

means ‘the guru’s lion-throne’ or ‘the lion-throne of the guru’.
There is another common use of these genitive markers, and that is
with adjectival or descriptive words or phrases that precede the noun.
Do you remember the expression chö dam-pa? The word chö is a
noun meaning ‘dharma’ and dam-pa is an adjective meaning ‘holy’.
Together chö dam-pa means ‘holy dharma’. In this case the adjective
follows the noun. This is the normal word order in Tibetan.
This same sense can also be expressed as dam-pa’i chö. In this case
the adjective dam-pa preceded the noun chö, and it is modified with a
possession marker ‘i. You could think of this as a nonsense
construction in English: * ‘the dharma of holy’ = ‘the holy dharma’.
Here are two examples:
¯'¯¯¯`
‘holy dharma’
¯`¯¯¯¯ ‘golden vajra’
You may like to think of the second example as meaing ‘a vajra of
gold’, which also make sense in English.
12.2 Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir
There are two very common ways of indicating the purpose of an
action: dön-du is usually translated as ‘for the sake of’ or ‘for the
benefit of’; chir is similar, and means ‘for the purpose of’ or ‘because
of’. There is some degree of overlap between the two.
`'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯'

sem-cen gyi dön-du chö drub
109
‘Accomplish dharma for the sake of sentient beings’

¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯³'``"¯'
thar-pa’i chir ge-wa nyam-su len
‘Practice virtue for the purpose of liberation’

Nyam-su len is handy little phrase meaning ‘practice’. There
are three points to note here:
1. Notice the Tibetan spelling of chir: pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi
ra chir. Don’t forget that pha with ya-ta is always
pronounced cha. (See Lesson 8)
2. Study the two possession markers and observe how the
forms gyi in the first example and ‘i in the second obey the
rules outlined above.
3. These are two excellent examples of Tibetan sentences
that can be read ‘backwards’ when you translate them into
English. The last word in Tibetan, drub and len
respectively are the first words in the English translation
‘accomplish’ and ‘practice’. The penultimate words in
Tibetan, chö and ge-wa, are the second word in English,
etc. Knowledge of this common phenomenon may help
you ‘decode’ Tibetan sentences in future.
12.3 The pronunciation of ba
We have already described how the Tibetan letter ba is usually
pronounced much like the letter b in English. This applies to situations
when ba is the root consonant or final consonant. For example
¯¯
bab ‘fall’
¯¯¯
drub ‘accomplish’
However, when the letter ba is a free-standing syllable in a sentence it
is pronounced wa.
There is one exception. When the syllable ba by itself means ‘cow’—
quite rare in dharma texts!—it is pronounced ba. About 99 times out
of a 100, you are safe to pronounce it wa.
A free-standing ba in a Tibetan text is usually part of a verbal
construction. If the verb ends in a vowel (we are talking about how it
is written in the Tibetan script, not how it is pronounced) then we use
ba, which (naturally) must be pronounced wa.
¯¯¯
dro-wa ‘being’, lit. go-er
110
¯¯¯
ge-wa ‘virtue’
12.4 Sentence markers
The end of a sentence is often marked with ‘o, that is, an a-chung with
a na-ro. In Tibetan grammars, this may be called a terminative particle
or a final particle. It works like this: when the last word in a sentence
ends with a vowel, ‘o is simply added to that final word.
dam-pa
¯'¯
becomes dam-pa‘o
¯'¯¯

chi

becomes chi’o
'¯¯

When the last words ends with a consonant, even if that consonant is
silent as in the last example below, the consonant is repeated and o is
added to that.
Final syllables With sentence marker
chag-tshal
¯¯¯¯"
chag-tshal lo
¯¯¯¯""'

yin

yin-no
"¯¯'
jung
¯¯
jung-ngo
¯¯¯'
ce
¯`
ce-so
¯``'
jig
¯¯¯
jig-go
¯¯¯¯


yö-do
"¯¯'

You can see from the above examples that the choice of sentence
marker is based on the spelling of the final word, rather that its
pronunciation.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
¯¯¯
thub-pa sage
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯
jang-chub-sem-pa bodhisattva

"¯¯¯
yön-ten qualities

¯¯¯¯¯`
jung-ne source
º¯¯
phen-pa benefit
111
°`¯¯
she-rab wisdom
¯¯¯
dro-wa being
¯`¯
ser gold
¯¯`¯
thug-je compassion
Adverbs
¯¯¯
dön-du for the benefit of
¯¯
chir because of
Adjectives
'¯¯
chog excellent
Verbs
³'``"¯
nyam-su len practice
Notes on vocabulary
Just for interest, you may recall that in the previous lesson we
introduced jang-chub-sem, meaning ‘bodhicitta’. The word for
bodhisattva, jang-chub-sem-pa, means something like ‘bodhicitta-
hero’.
EXERCISES
12.1 Memorise the vocabulary.
12.2 Write out the phonetic transcription and then translate each of
these sentences.
a.
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
b.
¯'¯° `¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
c.
¯`¯¯¯`¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
d.
¯¯¯¯¯''¯¯"¯¯'
112
e.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯""¯¯¯"¯¯'
f.
¯¯¯º¯¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯`"¯¯'
g.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯ '¯¯'¯¯
"¯¯'
h.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯³'`` " ¯¯'
i.
¯'¯° `¯¯¯¯"¯¯"¯¯'
j.
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯"¯¯'
12.3 Here are some more to exercise you! You may find some of these
quite challenging. They use vocabulary from earlier lessons.
a. The guru accomplishes virtue for the sake of sentient beings.
b. Misdeeds are the source of suffering.
c. Virtue is the source of happiness.
d. Chenrezig creates compassion for the sake of beings.
e. I abandon misdeeds for the sake of virtue.
f. The dharma is the source of benefit for all sentient beings.
g. The sangha is the source of liberation for samsara.
h. The bodhisattvas are endowed with bodhicitta.
i. The guru makes offereing for the sake of beings.
j. Wisdom and compassion are the qualities of all the gurus.

113
Chenrezig

Did you notice in the examples above that the honorific word ‘to
look’ zig appears in the name of the bodhisattva Chenrezig? The
word cen is the honorific word for ‘eye’ and cen-re is said to mean
something like ‘merciful gaze’. Thus Chenrezig is ‘the one who looks
with merciful gaze’. The Sanskrit name of this compassionate deity is
Avalokiteshvara—‘the lord who looks down’, in the sense that
Avalokiteshvara ‘looks down on’ all suffering beings with
compassion.
114
13
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON THIRTEEN
Grammar Agent markers
Passive constructions
Vocabulary
Exercises










115

GRAMMAR
13.1 Agent markers
Agent markers show the person, means, instrument or manner by
which an action is performed. They may be translated as ‘by’,
‘through’, ‘because of’, ‘by means of’, ‘with’, etc. These are very
common in Tibetan texts. You can expect to find an agent marker in
nearly every sentence.
They follow the noun to which they refer. We say ‘by me’; the
Tibetans say dag gi, ‘me by’.
Agent markers follow the same rules as the possession markers that
we discussed in Lesson 13. The only difference is that all the agent
markers all end in sa.
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Agent marker

¯

¯ ¯`
gi


¯

¯

` ¯`
kyi


¯

'

¯

" ¯`
gi


¯
and vowels
`
or
"`
* or yi

We learned in Lesson 7 that a final sa is silent, so the pronunciation of
these agent markers is similar to the pronunciation of the possession
markers.
The only substantial difference is in the last row. Where a sa is added
to word that ends in a back vowel (–a, –o, or –u), the sa has the effect
of changing the back vowel to a front vowel (–e, –ö and –ü). (See
Lesson 7 for a refresher on final consonants). Here is an example:
¯¯¯ ¯¯¯`
thub-pa thub-pe
‘the sage’ ‘by the sage’
116
Let’s look at this in detail. The word thub-pa means ‘sage’. It ends in
pa, i.e. a back vowel. From the table above, the appropriate agent
marker is a sa. When a sa is added to a pa it is pronounced pe,
because a sa changes a back vowel (a) to a front vowel (e). ☺
The sa actually causes a slight lengthening of –i and –e, a subtlety
that we may overlook for the time being.
Agent markers are sometimes called instrumental particles or agentive
particles.
A difficult question
What is the difference between the agent markers gi etc. and the
subject marker ni? Agent markers are used when the verb indicates
some active or voluntary sense, particularly with transitive verbs that
also have an object. The subject marker ni is often used with verbs that
are not se action-oriented, for example, verbs of existence, etc. In
practice this distinction is very rubbery.
Here are some examples where the agent marker indicates the ‘doer’
of the action:
`¯`;` ¯` ¯` ¯`¯'

sang-gye kyi chö sung
the Buddha by dharma speaks
‘The Buddha speaks the dharma’
¯'` ¯¯¯" ¯¯¯`'
la-me dag-la zig
the guru by me to looks
‘The guru looks at me’
(Can you see the agent marker in the above example? It is the sa at the
end of la-ma. It causes la-ma to be pronounced la-me.)
,¯¯`¯¯¯` ¯` ` ¯¯`" ¯¯'`'
cen-re-zig gi dug-ngal jom
Chenrezig by suffering jom
‘Chenrezig overcomes suffering’

117
In the following three examples, the agent markers indicate the actual
thing with which the action is accomplished.
¯¯¯¯¯¯` ¯¯¯" ¯¯¯`'

thug-je chen-pö dag-la zig
great compassion-with me-to look
‘Look on me with great compassion’
'¯¯ ¯` ¯;¯'

me-tog gi gyen
flowers with ornamented
‘Ornamented with flowers’
¯¯¯¯ ¯` ¯`"'

ö-zer gyi sel
light rays by illuminated
‘illuminated by rays of light’
The three examples above are lovely instances of a typical Tibetan
phenomenon: the Tibetan word order is the reverse of the English
word order. This means that when you are translating them, you can
read them backwards.
In the next set of examples the agent markers show the manner in
which the action is done:
³¯'¯` ¯'¯` ¯¯'`'

nyön-mong rim-gyi jom
afflictions stages-by overcome
‘Overcome afflictions by stages’
13.2 Active and passive constructions
Here is a normal active sentence:
`¯`;` ¯` ¯` ¯`¯'
sang-gye gyi chö sung
the Buddha by dharma speaks
118
‘The Buddha speaks the dharma’
The Buddha, sang-gye, is the subject of the sentence and the doer of
the action. It is therefore marked with an agent marker kyi to indicate
that it is the agent of the transitive verb sung, ‘speak’. The dharma,
chö, is the object.
If it has been a long time since you last studied grammar—English,
Tibetan or otherwise—you have probably forgotten what a passive
construction is. In English, ‘the dog bites the man’ is an active
construction, and ‘the man is bitten by the dog’ is a passive one. ‘The
man’ is grammatically the subject of the second sentence but is the
logical object of the verb.
It is also very common to see passive constructions of this kind in
Tibetan:
¯` ¯ `¯`;`¯` ¯`¯'

chö ni sang-gye gyi sung
dharma (subj.) the Buddha-by speaks
‘The dharma is spoken by the Buddha.’
Now ‘the dharma’ is the grammatical subject of the sentence and is
marked as such by the ni, even though it is logically the object of the
verb. For the English to make sense we have to change ‘speaks’ to ‘is
spoken’. In fact the Tibetan verb sung is unchanged. Similarly we can
invert this example:
,¯¯`¯¯¯` ¯` ` ¯¯`" ¯¯'`'
cen-re-zig gi dug-ngal jom
Chenrezig by suffering overcome
‘Chenrezig overcomes suffering’
This gives us the passive construction:
` ¯¯`" ¯ ,¯¯`¯¯¯` ¯` ¯¯'`'
dug-ngal ni cen-re-zig gi jom
suffering (subj.) Chenrezig by overcome
‘Suffering is overcome by Chenrezig.’

119
Please don’t feel too confused by all this. You’ll get the hang of it
with practice.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
'¯¯


me-tog flowers, lit. ‘fire-tips’

³¯'¯`

nyön-mong afflictions

Adverb
¯'¯`

rim-gyi by stages, gradually

Verbs
¯`¯
sung speak

¯¯¯`
zig look

¯;¯
gyen ornament

¯`"
sal illuminate

¯¯'`
jom overcome

¯¯¯
dzin grasp, hold

EXERCISES
13.1 Memorise the new vocabulary.
13.2 These sentences all use agent markers in all their various senses,
and are based on the new vocabulary list above. Translate them
into English.
a.
,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯ ``'`¯¯

¯'`¯¯"¯¯¯`'
b.
`¯`;`''`¯ `¯'¯¯¯`
¯`¯'

120
c.
¯'`'¯¯¯¯¯¯'
d.
¯'¯¯¯`¯`` ¯¯`"¯¯'`'
e.
`¯¯¯' ¯¯¯`¯;¯¯'
f.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯"`¯`¯¯¯¯'
g.
`¯`;`¯`³¯'¯`¯'`¯¯¯¯'`'

h.
`¯`;`¯'`¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯
`'`¯¯"¯¯¯`'
i.
¯'¯'`¯¯¯`¯¯¯"¯¯`¯`
¯¯¯`'
j.
¯¯`¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯`"'

13.3 There sentences are a mixture of active and passive
constructions. The vocabulary comes from all over the place!
Don’t forget to use the correct agent markers.
a. Vajrasattva holds a vajra.
b. The one who holds a vajra is Vajrasattva.
c. The one who holds a lotus is Chenrezig.
d. Chenrezig is the one who holds a lotus.
121
e. The Buddhas speak the holy dharma for the sake of
beings.
f. The holy dharma is spoken by the Buddhas for the sake of
beings.
g. Vajrasattva reduces all misdeeds.
h. The holy guru holds me with his great compassion.
i. I hold the practices of the bodhisattva.
j. The practices of a bodhisattva are held by me.

This monumental tablet or do-ring
(meaning ‘long stone’) stands at the
entrance of the central shrine at the
monastery of Samye in Tibet. It was
erected by King Tri-song De-tsen (755 – c.
794 AD) as a token of the royal family’s
support for Buddhism in perpetuity. This
effectively marked the adoption of
Buddhadharma as the state religion of
Tibet. This is the second oldest example of
written Tibetan (the oldest is from a
momument in Lhasa from 765 AD).
Tibetan is a very conservative language
and has changed little since this tablet was inscribed. It is still possible
to recognise many words with little difficulty.
Here is a translation: ‘May the foundation of the Three jewels
established in the shrines of Lhasa and Dragmar and this practice of
the religion of the Buddha never be abandoned or destroyed. The
necessary materials that have been provided shall not be diminished or
reduced. From now on, each generation of king, fathers and sons, shall
make a vow to this effect. And in order that there be no detraction
from that oath and that it shall not be changed, the gods that have
departed this world, the gods of this world and the spirits are all called
to witness. The king, father and son, ruler and ministers have all so
sworn…’
H.E. Richardson, A corpus of early Tibetan inscriptions, Royal
Asiatic Society, 1985.

122
14
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON FOURTEEN
Grammar More on verbal nouns
How to use a dictionary
Vocabulary
Exercises










123

GRAMMAR
14.1 More on verbal nouns
We introduced the concept of making nouns from verbs by adding
khen in Lesson 7. For example:
'¯¯ '¯¯'¯¯
dze dze-khen
‘make, do’ ‘maker, doer’

¯`¯ ¯`¯'¯¯
sung sung-khen
‘speak’ ‘speaker’
Everything that applies to ‘regular’ nouns also applies to these forms.
For example, plural markers (nam and dag), possessive markers (gi,
etc) and agent markers all be added to them.
¯`¯ '¯¯ ''`
sung-khen nam
‘speakers’ (plural marker)

¯`¯ '¯¯ ¯
sung-khen gyi
‘of the speaker’ (possession marker)

¯`¯ '¯¯ ¯`
sung-khen gyi
‘by the speaker’ (agent marker)
14.2 How to use a Tibetan dictionary
For over a hundred years, students of Tibetan have used Sarat Chandra
Das’ Tibetan-English Dictionary. This is a very comprehensive work,
over 1300 pages long. It is best for historical and literary texts and is
sometimes rather weak on dharma terminology. Despite its
124
shortcomings, it remains the most useful reference for dharma
students.
Nitartha International’s Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dictionary is
also a very powerful reference tool. There is a free online version at
www.nitartha.org. It is also available commercially on CD through the
Nitartha website.
Perhaps one day online and CD versions will mean that no one will
need to know how to use a Tibetan dictionary—with the computer-
based dictionaries you simply type in the word you are searching for.
Until that day, however, a pratical knowledge of how to use a Tibetan
dictionary is essential.
Words are listed in Tibetan dictionaries on the basis of their root letter
in the first instance. Thus all words that have the letter ka as their root
letter appear before those with the root letter kha, and so on.
If it were not for surmounted, prefixed and subjoined letters, finding a
word in a Tibetan dictionary would be quite straightforward!
For the words that have particular root letter, six attributes determine
the alphabetic order in which they are listed. These six attributes in
order of precidence are:
1. Surmounted letter with or without prefixed ba
2. Prefixed letters
3. Subjoined letters
4. Vowels
5. Final letters
6. Suffix sa
Among words with a particular root letter, dictionary order is
determined in the first case by the presence or absence of a
surmounted letter. Those without a surmounted letter come first.
Think of these words as have having a surmounted letter which equals
zero. Those with zero surmounted letters preceed words with the other
surmounted letters. Then come words with surmounted letters in
order: surmounted ra, then those with surmounted la and surmounted
sa.
Within the group of words with a particular surmounted letter
(including zero surmounted letter), the prefix then determines the
order, beginning with words with zero prefix, then prefix ga, da, ba
etc.
Thirdly, words are ordered according to the subjoined letter, starting
with those with zero subjoined letter, followed by ya-ta, ra-ta and la-
ta.
125
Then words are ordered according to the vowel, starting with those
with zero added vowel, followed by those with gi-gu, zhab-kyu,
dreng-bu and na-ro.
Then words are sorted according to the final letter, starting with those
with zero final letter, followed by final ga, nga, da, etc.
Finally, words are sorted according to whether that have a final suffix
sa. Those zero final sa are first, and are followed by those with final
suffix sa.
Here is an example of some words in dictionary order with some notes
to explain how the order is determined:
¯

ka, with zero surmounted, prefixed or
subjoined letters, zero vowel, zero final letter
and zero suffix sa
¯¯

Root letter with final consonants in order
¯¯`

Words with suffix sa follow those without
¯

Words with gi-gu, etc, follow those with zero
vowel
¯

Words with ya-ta etc follow those without.
¯

Then all the vowels, etc.
¯¯¯

Words with a prefixed letter, in this case da-o,
follow those without
¯¯¯

Prefixed letter with subjoined letters
¯

All words above have zero surmounted letter,
now come those with surmounted ra, etc.
¯¯

Repeat the cycle with each of the final
consonants, vowels, etc.


Now surmounted letter with each of the non-
zero subjoined letters.
¯`¯

Finally, the special case of prefixed ba and
surmounted letters
126
¯,¯

The same with each of the subjoined letters.
¯,¯

The same with each of the finals and vowels,
etc.

Hint 1. Words with both a prefix ba and a surmounted sa are always
among the last entries for a given letter. Go straight to the back of the
relevant letter section.
Hint 2. Words with a prefixed ba are often the perfect stem of the
verbal root. That is, the form of the verb that is used to express an
action in the past. If you are unable to find a particular word with a
prefix ba, try omitting the prefix. This will often take you to the stem.
Not all perfect stems are listed independently in Chandra Das.
Hint 3. In Chandra Das’ dictionary, the abbreviation v. means ‘see’
(vide in Latin). This will often lead you to the stem form.
Hint 4. These abbreviations are also useful:
vb.= verb
pf. = perfect
fut. = future
sbst. = substantive, basically a noun
imp. = imperative, or the ‘orfer form’
n. = name
Hint 5. One of the biggest problems for less experienced students is
that one Tibetan word may have several completely different
meanings. Picking the right meaning can be very difficult. If you can’t
find a meaning that seems to fit the context. Read the entire entry.
Don’t just accept the first meaning that is listed. You may find a better
one in the fine print.
127
Insert table showing how dictionary order is determined
VOCABULARY
Nouns
¯`¯'¯¯
sung-khen speaker

¯¯¯`'¯¯
zig-khen seer, one who sees

"¯¯
yö-pa possessor, one who has

'¯¯
me-pa one who lacks
Adjectives
`¯¯`
na-tshog various
¯¯¯¯
rin-po-che precious
'¯¯
mang-po many

EXERCISES
14.1 Using the principles explained above write the following lists
of words in correct alphabetic order.
a.
¯¯ ¯¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯
¯¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯' ¯¯
b.
¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯
¯' ¯'` ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯'
c.
¯` ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯ ¯
¯`¯ ' ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯
128
d.
¯¯¯` ¯ ¯¯ '¯ ¯ ¯¯¯ ¯
¯¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯
e.
`" ¯¯¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ,¯
¯ ¨ " ¯¯' ¯¯ ¯¯` ¯¯¯
f.
¯; ¯¯¯` ¯`' ¯¨ ¯` `
³¯ ¯¯¯ ¨ ¯ ¯;¯ ;"
14.2 Turn to the Tibetan-English Glossary in Appendix 5 at the end
of this volume. Look up the following words:

¯`¯ ¯¯¯ "¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯
¯¯ ¯¯¯¯ °¯¯ ¯¯ '¯¯¯

14.3 Grammar and vocab work out.
a.
¯`¯`¯'¯¯""¯¯¯`¯¯`"¯¯'
b.
"¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯`¯`;`"¯¯'
c.
¯`¯`¯'¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯'¯¯"¯¯'
d.
¯¯¯¯`¯`;`¯`¯¯¯¯¯'
e.
¯¯¯¯```¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯ "¯¯'
129
f.
`¯`;`"¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯'¯¯"¯¯'
g.
,¯'¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯
'

h.
¯¯¯¯¯ ¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯"¯¯'

i.
¯¹¯¯'¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯'
j.
¯'¯¯¯`³'``"¯'¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯'

14.4 These are not easy. You may have to review the vocabulary
from earlier lessons. Have a look at the answers if you get stuck.
Good luck!
a.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"¯¯¯`'¯¯¯¯¯
,¯¯`¯¯¯`"¯¯'
b.
¯¯`¯¯¯¯'¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯
"¯¯'
c.
¯¯¯¯¯ "¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯ ¯
¯¯`'`¯¯¯" ¯¯'

d.
'¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯'
130
e.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¹¯¯'¯¯'¯¯''`
,`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'
f. ¯'¯'¯''`¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯
"º¯¯'¯¯¯'
g.
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯¯'`¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯"¯¯"¯¯'

h.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯"¯¯¯''`¯
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯"¯¯'
i.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯
¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯"¯¯'
j.
¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯''`
¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯"¯¯'
k.
¯¯¯¯,¯`¯¯`¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯"¯¯`¯¯""'

131
132
15
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON FIFTEEN
Grammar Continuation markers
Supplications with the pattern
tsal du sol
Vocabulary
Exercises








133
GRAMMAR
15.1 Continuation markers: cing, zhing and shing
These useful little words are used to link one verb or state to another,
giving the sense that second action or state coincides with, or is a
continuation of, the first. They are used in the pattern
X cing Y
which means ‘while X, Y’. Being Tibetan, the continuation marker
naturally follows the word to which it primarily refers. Remember that
the c in cing is pronounce like an unaspirated ch.
These three words are really just three different forms of the one stem.
Whether cing, zhing or shing is used is determined by the last
consonant of the preceding word, just as in the case of the possession
markers in Lesson 10. The rules are as follows:
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Continuation marker
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯¯
cing
¯ ¯

' ¯ ¯ "

and vowels

¯¯
zhing
` °¯
shing

For example:
¯¯¯ "¯ ¯¯ `¯¯ `¯
ge-wa len zhing dig-pa pang
virtue practice (cont.) misdeed abandon
‘while practicing virtue, abandon misdeeds’
Here is another similar example, but notice how the final letter of
drub affects the continuation marker.
¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯ `¯¯ `¯
ge-wa drub cing dig-pa pang
virtue accomplish (cont.) misdeed abandon
134
‘while accomplishing virtue, abandon misdeeds’
(This is one of those cases where ‘misdeed’ is singular in Tibetan, but
is best translated as the plural ‘misdeeds’in English.)
Continuation markers are also known as ‘continuative particles’ or
‘gerundial terminations’ in other Tibetan grammars.
15.2 Supplications with the pattern tsal du sol
Many dharma texts are concerned with supplicating, requesting and
entreating. The most commonly used word for all these is sol, which
means ‘to request’, ‘to ask for’, ‘to beg for’, etc. It follows the verb
that you are actually asking for (‘bestow’, ‘grant’, etc) and a
preposition with the sense ‘to’ is placed between them. Thus X-tu sol
means ‘request to X’
`" ¯ ¯`"
tsal du sol
bestow -to request
‘(I) request (you) to bestow…’
Here is another example
¯¯¯` ` ¯`"
gong su sol
think to request
‘(I) request (you) to think ( of me)’
The words in brackets are not in the Tibetan, and have to be added for
our translation to make sense in English.
The prepositions du and su ‘to’, like the continuation particle and the
possession particles also vary (wildly) according to the preceding
consonant. We will look at these more closely in Lesson 17. In the
mean time, just think of the items in the vocabulary as if they were set
phrases.
One simple way to translate these supplicative phrases is with the
English phrase ‘please…’. This is the model we will adopt in the
vocabulary and exercises.
135
VOCABULARY
Verbs
¯¯¯``¯`"
gong su sol please consider
¯¯¯``¯`"
zig su sol please look upon
¯¯¯`¯¯``¯`"
jin-gyi lab su sol please bless
`"¯¯`"
tsal du sol please bestow
¯¯``¯`"
zhe su sol please accept

Particles
¯¯
cing continuation marker

¯¯
zhing continuation marker

°¯
shing continuation marker

Nouns
'¯¯¯
chö-pa offering
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'
kön-chog-sum Three Jewels

EXERCISES
15.1. Translate these into English
a.
¯¯¯"¯¯¯``¯`"'
b.
¯¯¯"¯¯¯``¯`"'
c.
¯¯¯"¯¯¯`¯¯``¯`"'
d.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"¯¯¯
`"¯¯`"'
136
e.
¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯ ``¯`"'
f.
¯¯¯¯'`¯¯"¯¯¯`¯¯`
`¯`"'
g.
¯¯¯"¯¯¯`"¯¯`"'
h.
¯¯¯"¯¯`¯¯ ¯¯`
¯¯¯``¯`"'
*

i.
¯¯¯¯¯ `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"
¯¯`¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯``¯`"'
j.
¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯
'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ``¯`"'

* Hint: chen-pö is chen-po with the agent marker sa
15.2. Translate these into Tibetan.
a. While accomplishing virtue, I abandon misdeeds.
b. While grasping virtue, I accomplish dharma.
c. Vajrasattva, while holding a bell, sits on a lotus.
d. The victors’ heirs, while creating benefit, accomplish
virtue.
e. While nectar is flowing from the Hung, rays of light shine
forth.
f. While having wisdom, the sage speaks dharma.
137
g. The conqueror, while being endowed with qualities,
accomplishes liberation.
h. The bodhisattvas, while practicing bodhicitta, create
benefit.
i. While looking at me, please think of me.
j. While clearing away afflictions, all the gurus accomplish
various benefits.
15.3 Challenge section: mayhem level. These sentences bring
together many of the different points of grammar and
vocabulary that we have covered to date. Break each one into
manageable phrases, ‘reading backwards’ where necessary. We
hope you have as much pleasure translating them as we had
composing them!
a.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'"
¯¯¯¯"¯¯,¯``'¯¯'

b.
`'`¯¯¯`¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯'

c.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯`¯¯`¯¯`
`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯'

d. ¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯¯¯``¯¯¯¯`¯`
¯¯¯¯¯ ` ¯¯`"¯`"¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯ ¯'
e.
'¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯``'
138
f.
¯'¯¯,¯`¯¯`¯'`¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯ `'`¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¹¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯ ¯`¯`¯¯¯¯'
g. `¯`;`¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯``''`
¯¯¯¯¯¯ ` ¯¯`"¯`"¯¯º¯¯
¯¯¯'¯¯¯'

h. ,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯ ¯¯¯¯
¯`¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯` ¯¯`"
¯`"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯'
i. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯`'`¯¯¯ "¯"¯
¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"º¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'
*

j.
¯'¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯`''
¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`°¯
**

¯¯`¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯"¯¯¯``
¯`"'
*
¯¯
is the non-honorific ‘make, do’.
139
**
¯¯`°¯
‘while accepting’

140
16
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON SIXTEEN
Grammar Questions and alternatives with am, etc.
Negation with mi and ma
Vocabulary
Exercises








141
GRAMMAR
16.1 Questions and alternatives with am, etc.
You may remember the sentence markers that we introduced in
Lesson 9. These are often added to the last word in the sentence and
function like full stop in English. The have no intrinsic meaning
themselves, but simply serve to mark a break in the narrative.
The question marker ‘am and its cognates listed below are similar to
these sentence markers. When they occur at the end of a sentence,
they convert a statement into a question. The form they take depends
on the last letter of the word that precedes them. As a rule, if the
preceding letter ends with a consonant (even if that consonant is
silent), then the question marker consists of that consonant plus ‘am.
When the preceding word ends with a vowel, the question marker
takes the form ‘am
¯¯ ¯¯¯''
dro… dro ‘am…?
(He) goes Does (he) go?
"¯' "¯¯''
yö… yö dam…?
has… Has it…?
"¯' "¯¯''
yin… yin nam…?
is… Is it…?
¯`¯' ¯`¯¯''
sung… sung ngam…?
says… Does (he say) say…?
This particles are also in the middle of sentences where they mean
‘or’. For example:
142
"¯¯'' ¯' ¯¯¯'¯¯'
yö dam me dro ‘am ong
‘Has or has not?’ ‘Going or coming?’
16.2 Negation with mi and ma
Two small words mi and ma, meaning ‘not’, can be used to negate
verbs, nouns and adjectives.
• mi is used with present and future verbs and adjectives formed
from verbs
• ma is used with past and imperative verbs and nouns formed from
verbs
Both mi and ma are used to negate adjectives.
Inexperienced students of Tibetan often confuse mi and ma with two
identical words mi and ma which mean ‘man’ and ‘mother’
respectively. Only the context will indicate which is implied.
Here are some examples of the negation of verbs:
"¯ '"¯ ¯¯¯ '¯¯¯
yin ma yin rig-pa ma-rig-pa
‘be’ ‘be not’ ‘knowledge’ ‘ignorance’
¯¯¯ '¯¯¯ ¯¯¯' '¯¯¯
de-wa mi-de-wa ge-wa mi-ga-wa
‘happy’ ‘unhappy’ ‘virtue’ ‘non-virtue’

¯¯¯ '¯¯¯
tag-pa mi tag-pa
‘permanent’ ‘impermanent’
Here are some examples of negatives in sentences:
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯`'¯¯ ¯'
143
de-wa ni dig-pa ne ma jung
‘Happiness does not arise from misdeeds.’
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'"¯¯'
di ni de-wa chen-po ma yin no
‘This is not a great happiness.’
`¯`;`''`¯``¯¯''¯¯'
sang-gye name kyi dig-pa ma dze
‘The Buddhas do not perform misdeeds.’
The two negative verbs that we have already studied, min and me, are
said to be contractions of ma yin and ma yö, respectively.
VOCABULARY
Nouns
"`
le karma
'°`
mi-she ignorance
`'`
sem mind
¨¯¯
drib-pa obscuration
¯`¯¯
den-pa teachings
Pronouns
¯¯
rang self

Adjectives
'¯¯¯
mi-tag-pa impermanent
'¯¯¯
mi-ge-wa unvirtuous

Notes on vocabulary. Don’t confuse the noun le, meaning ‘karma’ or
‘action’ in this lessons with the identical preposition le, meaning
‘from’ as used in the sentence 16.1f below. As a general rule of
thumb, nine times out of ten le means ‘from’. On only one occasion in
ten, it means ‘karma’.
144
EXERCISES
16.1. This set of sentences consists of questions using dam, etc.
Translate them into English.
a.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"`"¯¯''
b.
¯¯`¯¯¯"`" ¯¯''
c.
`'`¯¯"¨ ¯¯"¯¯''
d.
¯¯¯`¯`;`¯¯`¯¯¯''

e.
¯¯¯`'`""¯¯¯"¯¯''
f.
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯''
g.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯`¯¯`¯
''¯¯¯''
h.
¯'¯`¯¯"¯¯ ¯``''
i.
¯¯¯¯``¯`;`¯¯`¯¯¯¯''
j.
¯`¯¯¯¯''`¯ º¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯''
16.2 Translate these simple sentences into Tibetan.
145
a. Mind is permanent.
b. Ignorance is impermanent.
c. Obscuration arises from unvirtuous action.
d. Is karma permanent?
e. The ignorant mind has obscurations.
f. One’s own action is the source of suffering.
g. All those are not virtue.
h. This is ignorance.
i. Ignorance is the cause of suffering.
j. The cause of suffering is not permanent.
16.3. This section is entitled ‘Negation can be fun’! It uses lots of old
vocabulary items, as well as the new ones.
a.
` ¯¯`"¯¯¯¯'"¯¯'
b.
` ¯¯`"¯' ¯¯¯"¯¯''
c.
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯`'¯¯¯¯'
d.
°`¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯`¯¯',¯¯'
e.
¯¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'
f.
°`¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯"`
'¯`¯¯

146
g.
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯` '`"¨ ¯¯
'¯`¯¯
h.
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯''`¯'¯¯¯
''¯¯¯'
i.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯ ¯
"¯"¯'`¯¯'
j.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯',¯¯"'¯¯¯¯'
* Helpful reminder: dang den-pa = ‘one endowed with’
147
148
17
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON SEVENTEEN
Grammar More about location markers
Addressing by name
Vocabulary
Exercises










149
GRAMMAR
17.1 More about location markers
We introduced the location marker la in Lesson 2 and showed you
how it indicated the place of an action:
¯'¯`¯¯"¯¯¯``'

la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug so
‘The guru sits on a lion-throne.’
There are six other location markers that function like la.
Traditionally, Tibetan grammarians grouped all of them together as
the la-dön or ‘the seven la-s’ and drew little distinction between the
ways in which they functioned.
Of these seven location markers, two, la and na, can be used
interchangeably in any situation. The use of the other five is
determined by the final consonant of the preceding word, and is
shown in the following table.
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Location marker
1 Any letter
"
la
2 Any letter
¯
na
3
¯ ¯ ¯
tu
4
¯ ¯ ¯ ' ¯ " ¯
du
5
` `
su
6
¯
and all vowels


¯
-r,
7
¯
and all vowels
¯
ru

150
The last two forms are also interchangeable. Usually –r is added to the
preceding vowel, but in some cases where the author needs an extra
syllable to complete a line of verse, the form ru is used. This is just
like the possession markers ‘i and yi discussed in Lesson 10.
What are all these location markers for? They have three important
functions:
• They indicate the time, place, purpose and direction of an action
and can be translated into English as: in, at, on, for, towards, etc
• They are used in the formation of adverbs
• They are used to join two verbs together to form compound verbs.
We will discuss these in the next lesson.
1. Time, place, purpose and direction
The sentences below indicate how na, –r and ru can be
subsitituted for la without changing the meaning. We have put
spaces between the words to make things a bit clearer. Notice that
when –r is used, it just blends into the existing syllable: be careful
not to overlook these, because they do affect the meaning of the
original syllable.
¯'¯ `¯¯" ¯¯¯``'
la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug
¯'¯ `¯¯¯ ¯¯¯``'

la-ma ni seng-thri na zhug
¯'¯ `¯¯¯ ¯¯¯``'

la-ma ni seng-thrir zhug
¯'¯ `¯¯¯ ¯¯¯``'

la-ma ni seng-thri ru zhug
‘The guru sits on a lion-throne.’
Here are some examples of these location markers indicating time,
place, purpose and direction of an action. Some of these are
already familiar; some are new.
151
¯¯¯ ¯¯¯

dön-tu dir
‘for the sake of’ ‘here’ (lit. ‘in this [place]’)
³¯¯¯'¯¯¯ "¯¯¯¯¯

nyin dang tshen du yid-du ong-wa
‘in day and night’ ‘Coming to the mind’
= ‘during day and night’ = ‘pleasing’
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯,¯¯

jang-chub bar-du dag gi ci-wor
‘Until enlightenment’ ‘On my forehead’
¯¯¯`¯¯
*
¯¯¯¯¯

da-wa’i teng-du de’i pang na
‘on the top of a moon (disk)’ ‘In his lap’
(lit. ‘on the lap of that’)

¯¯¯¯`¯¯

de’i thug-kar
‘at his heart’(lit. ‘at the heart of that’)
* Don’t forget the unusual pronunciation of the first syllable: za
la-ta da. This is the only common word in which this strange
spelling occurs.
2. Adverbs: adding meaning to verbs
An adverb is a word that qualifies or ‘adds meaning to’ a verb. For
example, in the sentence ‘I run quickly’, ‘quickly’ is the adverb
because it describes how I run.
Study the list of adverbs in the vocabulary section. There are all useful
adverbs formed using the prepositions we have described above.
Often, they are simply added to existing adjectives to form an adverb.
Just as we add –ly to the adjective ‘special’ to form the adverb
‘specially’, the Tibetans add –r to the adjective lhag-pa to form the
adverb
152
The following are examples of how these adverbs are used.
¯¯¯¯`¯`¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯'
dag ni chö tag-tu dzin no
‘I always hold the dharma.’
`¯¯¯'`¯¯``¯¯°¯`'

dig-pa tham-ce so-sor shag
‘Confess all misdeeds individually.’
¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯""'
dag ni di-tar chag-tshal lo
‘I prostrate in this way.’
17.2 Addressing by name
We frequently address gurus, deities, etc, in our practices by name or
by title. For example: ‘Buddha, think of me!’, ‘O gurus, protect me!’
etc. In Tibetan, we simply use the name or title in its unadorned state.
Most Tibetan grammars call this the vocative case. For example:
`¯`;`¯¯¯"¯¯¯``¯`"'
sang-gye dag la gong su sol
‘Buddha, please think of me.’
¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯°¯``¯`"'
la-ma rin-po-che dag la sheg su sol
‘Precious guru, please come to me.’
The being that is addressed is often marked in English with an ‘O’, as
in ‘O gurus, O Buddhas’, etc. Although the ‘O’ is not shown in the
Tibetan, it may be inserted in the English to make the sense more
obvious.
VOCABULARY
Adverbs
153
"¯¯¯
lhag-pa specially

¯¯"¯
di-tar like this, in this way

``¯
so-sor individually


tar like

¯¯¯¯
zhin-du according to, while

¯¯¯¯
cig-tu alone
°¯¯
shin-tu very

¯¯¯
tag-tu always
¯¯¯
par-du until
`¯¯
teng-tu above, on top of

Nouns
³¯
nyin day

'¯¯
tshen night

¯¯¯¯
jang-chub enlightenment


ci-wo forehead

¯¯
pang lap

¯¯`¯
thug-ka heart (honorific)

yab father (honorific)*

"'
yum mother (honorific)*

Verbs
¯°¯`
shag confess


Notes on vocabulary
In the first word lhag-par, don’t forget that both the l and h are
pronounced. Yab and yum together refer to a male deity and his
female consort.
Box text:
154
One of the vocabulary items in this lesson is jang-chub. The word jang
is said to mean ‘purified’ and chub ‘perfected’, thus enlightenment is
the state in which one is both purified and perfected. This is the same
word that occurs in the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit ‘bodhicitta’,
jang-chub sem. The word sem means ‘thought’, so the literal meaning
of jang-chub sem is ‘enlightenment thought’. A bodhisattva is a jang-
chub-sem-pa in Tibetan. The pa is the word for ‘hero’, thus jang-
chub-sem-pa means something like ‘hero of enlightenment thought’.
This is an example of how the early Tibetan translators used common,
simple words to create new, sophisiticated philosophical terms. This
enabled them to translate the subtleties of Buddhadharma from
Sanskrit into Tibetan
EXERCISES
17.1 Preposition paradise: many of these sentences have more than
one preposition. Translate them into English. Look out for the
vocative in the second sentence.
a.
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
b.
`¯`;`¯'`¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯``¯`"'

c.
¯¯¯¯³¯¯¯'¯¯¯,¯`` '¯¯'
d.
'¯¯¯"¯¯ ¯¯¯`¯¯`"¯¯'
e.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
,¯``'¯ ¯'

f.
¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯,¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯``¯`"'

155
g.
"¯¯¯"'¯¯¯¯`¯¯ ¯¯¯``'

h.
"'¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``'
i.
"¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯
¯"`¯¯¯¹¯¯'

j.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯`"
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'
17.2 Translate these sentences into Tibetan. It’s OK to look at the
answers to help you along. The important thing is to understand
how the Tibetan is constructed.
a. Day and night, I abandon all misdeeds individually.
b. Until enlightenment, I accomplish all virtues individually.
c. All beings reverentially prostrate to the Three Jewels.
d. For the sake of enlightenment, especially make an effort.
e. I grasp the practice of compassion like a bodhisattva.
f. Practice dharma in accordance with the Buddha’s
teachings.
g. Vajrasattva sits alone on top of a lotus.
h. All sentient beings are seated at my forehear like a guru.
i. I hold a pleasing flower.
j. The mother sits in the father’s lap.
17.3 Challenge section: More practice with some of the concepts
introduced in recent lessons.
a.
`¯`;`''`"¯¯¯¯"`"¯¯'
156
b.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"'¯¯¯¯
"`"¯¯'
c.
'¯¯¯¯"`¯` ¯¯`"¯;"¯¯'
d.
` ¯¯`"¯'`¯¯'¯¯¯"¯¯'
e.
¯¯¯`'`"¨¯¯`¯¯`"¯¯'

f.
¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ `¯¯¯³'`` " ¯¯'
*

g.
¯¯¯¯``¯¯¯'`¯¯``¯¯°¯`'

h.
"'¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``'
i.
¯'''`¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯,¯¯
³ ¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``¯`"'

j.
"¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
`¯¯¯ "`¯¯¯ ¯¯º'
* Nyam-su len – A very useful phrase: ‘to practice’
157

18
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON EIGHTEEN
Reading Refuge prayer
Grammar 18.1 Expressing a wish with shog
Vocabulary
Exercises







158

READING
Congratulations! Today is a very important day. Look back to the
beginning of this book—see how far you have progressed? Give your
self a pat on the back. After many hours of diligent study and
preparation you are now ready to read your first piece of
Buddhadharma in Tibetan. Most of the vocabulary in this beautiful
prayer is already known to you. The additional words that you will
need are listed in the vocabulary section below.
The Refuge Prayer
^` '' `¯`;`¯`¯¯¯¯`¯'¯¯''`"'
' ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯,¯``'¯'
' ¯¯¯¯`,¯`¯`¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
' ¯¯"º¯¯¯`¯`;`¯¯¯¯¯°¯ ''
Phonetic transcription
sang-gye chö dang tshog gi chog nam la
jang-chub bar-du dag ni kyab-su chi
dag gi jin sog gyi-pa di-dag gi
dro la phen chir sang-gye drub-par shog
Literal translation
We call this a literal translation because it adheres more closely to the
structure of the Tibetan than would a more elegant, literary translation.
‘In the Buddha, dharma and the best of assemblies,
until enlightenment, I take refuge. By these acts of giving and so on
performed by me for the benefit of beings, may I achieve
Buddhahood.’
159
Discussion
Line 1.
`¯`;` ¯` ¯¯ ¯¯`¯'¯¯''`"'
sang-gye chö dang tshog gi chog nam la

This is a list of the three objects of refuge. To aid your interpretation,
we have broken the line of Tibetan into ‘units’ by putting extra spaces
between the words. The first two refuge objects are sang-gye and chö.
You recognise the conjunction dang, ‘and’. It joins the second and
third items in the list.
In the phrase tshog gi chog, tshog is a new word meaning
‘assemblies’, and chog means ‘best’ or ‘excellent’. Joined with a
possession marker gi, they mean ‘the best of assemblies’.
The nam is the plural marker. This indicates that ‘the best of
assemblies’ is plural. The final la is the location marker meaning ‘to’
or ‘in’, indicating what we are going to take refuge ‘in’.
Hence, ‘In the Buddha, dharma and excellent assemblies’.
Line 2.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯ ,¯``'¯'
jang-chub bar-du dag ni kyab-su chi

This line is relatively straightforward: jang-chub bar-du means ‘until
enlightenment’. You should also recognise dag ni kyab-su chi: ‘I go
for refuge’. Note the subject marker ni. When you are translating
Tibetan in your head, it may help to think of the subject marker as
meaning ‘As to…’ or ‘As for…’ For example, in this case dag-ni may
be thought of as ‘As for me, I…’
Do you remember the pattern kyab-su chi o meaning ‘I got for
refuge’? In this line there is no sentence marker o after the verb chi.
Tibetan poets are often constrained by the number of syllables per
line, in this case nine. The sentence marker is often the first ‘optional’
item to be omitted.
This results in, ‘Until enlightenment, I go for refuge’.
160
Line 3.
¯¯¯¯` ,¯`¯` ¯¯`¯ ¯¯¯¯¯`'
dag gi jin sog gyi-pa di-dag gi

Here is a good example of of a text that can be ‘read backwards’. Let’s
start with di-dag gi: di-dag is di ‘this’ with the plural marker dag. To
these are added the agent marker gi, hence ‘by these’. By these what?
By these gyi-pa or ‘acts’. The acts are dag gi jin sog: jin means
‘giving’ and sog means ‘etc’ or ‘and so on’; dag gi is ‘I’ with an agent
marker, hence ‘by me’. In English we have to add a verb such a
‘performed’, ‘undertaken’ or ‘done’ for this to make sense. From all
this we get ‘by these acts of giving and so on done by me’.
Line 4.
¯¯" º¯¯¯ `¯`;` ¯¯¯¯¯°¯
dro la phen chir sang-gye drub-par shog
Let’s take dro la phen chir as a unit: dro is short for dro-wa, the
common word for beings (lit. ‘go-ers’) which is well known to you.
This phenomenon of shortening common words is very common in
dharma texts. Like the case of the missing sentence marker in Line 2,
it is also the result of trying to fit a given set of ideas into a limited
number syllables. It is the bane of all students of Tibetan. Sometimes
it helps to think of Tibetan as being written in telelgraphic code!
The word phen means ‘benefit’. Remember that ph is and aspirated p
and is nothing like the ph in phone. chir means ‘in order to’, hence ‘in
order to benefit’.
Let’s skip to the last phrase drub-par shog: shog is said to be the
imperative of the verb ong ‘to come’, and drup-pa means
‘accomplish’. Together they mean ‘may I accomplish’. For more
details see the Grammar section below.
We are very familiar with words sang-gye meaning ‘Buddha’ but we
cannot say ‘may I accomplish Buddha’ in English. We have to
translate sang-gye as either ‘Buddhahood’ or ‘enlightenment’.
Thus Line 4 reads ‘May I accomplish buddhahood in order to benefit
beings’.
Punctuation: note that the she, the vertical dash at the end of a line,
is omitted if the last letter in the line is a ga. Perhaps the downstroke
of the ga looks enough like a she anyway!
161
GRAMMAR
18.1 Expressing a wish with shog
The desire or wish for something is often expressed with the word
shog, which is said to be the imperative of the verb ong, ‘to come’.
The word shog is added after the thing or action that is desired. When
shog follows a verb, the verb takes the relevant pa or wa ending, and r
is added to it. Some Tibetan grammars call the this the ‘infinitive
form’.
Here are some examples
`¯`;`¯¯¯¯¯°¯

sang-gye drub-par shog
‘May I achieve buddhahood.’
'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯°¯

rin-chen me-tog bab-par shog
May precious flowers fall!
` ¯¯`"¯'`¯¯¯`"¯¯°¯

dug-ngal tham-ce sel-war shog
May all suffering be dispelled!

VOCABULARY
Vocabulary
¯¯`
tshog assembly

jin giving
`¯`
sog ‘and so on’

¯¯`¯
gyi-pa done, performed

¯¯
dro being
(short for dro-wa)
º¯
phen benefit
°¯
shog ‘come!’
162
EXERCISES
18.1 Recommendation: if you don’t already know it, it memorise
the Refuge Prayer. Write it down and carry it in your wallet or
stick it to your computer screen.
18.2. Translate these sentences into English
a. `¯`;`¯'`¯¯¯"°`¯¯¯¯¹
¯¯¯¯¯°¯

b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯º¯¯°¯
c.
³¯'¯`¯'`¯¯¯`"¯¯°¯
d. '¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯ ¯`¯¯¯¯"
¯¯¯¯¯°¯

e. `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯`¯`;`
¯¯ ¯¯¯°¯

f. ¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯`¯¯¯`¯
¯¯¯¯¯°¯

g. ¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯°¯'
163
h. ¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯`¯"
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯º¯¯°¯
i.
¯¯¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯
¯¯ ¯¯¯°¯
j.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯°¯

18.3 Translate these into Tibetan.
a. May I attain Buddhahood.
b. May I attain (the state of) Vajrasattva.
c. May all sentient beings obtain bodhicitta.
d. May all sentient beings attain Buddhahood.
e. May suffering be dispelled.
f. May all the suffering of samsara be dispelled
g. May all sentient beings obtain happiness.
h. May happiness arise for me.
i. May happiness and virtue always arise for me and all sentient
beings.
j. May the flowers of the precious dharma fall on all sentient
beings in samsara day and night.
164
165
19
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON NINETEEN
Reading The Four Immeasurable Thoughts
Grammar 19.1 The auxiliary verb gyur, ‘become’
19.2 The command markers cig, etc
Vocabulary
Exercises











READI
166
NG
The Four Immeasurable Thoughts
^`'' `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯;¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
' ` ¯¯`"¯¯` ¯¯`"¯;¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯ ¯¯¯
' ` ¯¯`"'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯ ¯

' ³¯¯¯¯``¯³ ¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯"¯¯`
¯¯¯¯¯¯ ''
Phonetic transcription
sem-cen tham-ce de-wa dang de-wa’i gyu dang
den-par gyur cig
dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu dang drel-war gyur cig
dug-ngal me-pa’i de-wa dang min-dral war gyur cig
ne-ring chag-dang nyi dang dral wa’i dang-nyom chen-po la ne-par
gyur cig
Literal translation
‘May all sentient beings become endowed with happiness and the
cause of happiness.
‘May (they) become free from suffering and the cause of suffering.
‘May (they) not become free from happiness that is without suffering.
‘May (they) dwell in great equanimity free from attachment and
aversion to (those) near and far.’
VOCABULARY
;
gyu cause

¯¯"¯¯
dang den-pa be

167
¯¯¯
gyur become
¯¯
gyur imperative: become!

¯¯
cig command marker

¯¯¯¯"¯
dang dral-wa be free from

³¯
nye-wa near

¯¯¯
ring-po far

¯¯`¯
chag-pa attachment

`¯¯
dang-wa aversion

³¯
nyi itself, state of

¯¯¯`'`
tang-nyom equanimity

¯¯`¯
ne-pa abide, dwell, remain

Notes on vocabulary: The last word on the list ne-pa ‘abide’ causes
much grief among less experienced readers of Tibetan. Beginners
often assume that the root letter is ga and that the word is pronounced
it gen, with a silent sa suffix. This would be a reasonable assumption.
In fact, the root letter is na. The ga is a silent prefix and the sa is a
final consonant that turns na into ne (Lesson 7).
Line 1.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯;
sem-cen tham-ce de-wa dang de-wa’i gyu

¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯
dang den-par gyur cig
The first line of this very well-known and well-loved prayer is a single
sentence. The opening words are by now old friends. They are the
subject of the sentence, and indeed are the subject of the following
lines as well. The subject is not repeated explicitly in Lines 2-4, but
we will add it in our English translation of these lines. The subject
marker ni has not been used: this is quite common.
168
Let’s skip to the last unit of this line to find the verb: dang den-par
gyur cig. In a Tibetan sentence, the verb is usually at the end. We
introduced dang den-pa ‘be endowed with’ in Lesson 9.
The word gyur is a common verb meaning ‘become’. When gyur is
used as an auxiliary verb with a main verb (in this case dang den-pa),
a r is attached to the main verb, hence dang den-par gyur ‘become
endowed with’. We will look at this in detail in the grammar section.
The last word cig is a command marker. Some Tibetan grammar
books call this an imperative particle. It turns a statement into a
command, a suggestion or a wish. This is also discussed in the
grammar section of this lesson.
The object consist of two things, de-wa and de-wa’i gyu, joined with
dang meaning ‘and’.You should certainly recognise de-wa,
‘happiness’. The word gyu means ‘cause’, so de-wa’i gyu with a
possession marker ‘i means ‘cause of happiness’.
Line 2.
` ¯¯`"¯¯` ¯¯`"¯; ¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯
dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu dang drel-war gyur cig
The subject of this line is still sem-cen tham-ce from Line 1. Again
the verb is the last part of the sentence. The construction of the verb is
similar to Line 1, but this time we have dang drel-wa, which means
‘free from’. It is also compounded with gyur cig, and means ‘may
(they) become free from’. You should now be able to work out what
dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu means.
Line 3.
` ¯¯`"'¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯

dug-ngal me-pa’i de-wa dang min-dral war gyur cig
The subject is still sem-cen tham-ce. Look closely at the second half
of the sentence. This is the verbal construction. It is similar to the
verbal construction in Line 2, with the important distinction that Line
3 includes the negative marker mi. Because it is followed by a word
that has the prefix a-chung, the mi is nasalised and is pronounced min
(Lesson 10). With this negation marker, the verb means something
like ‘may (they) not be free from’. We have to add the word ‘they’. In
fact ‘parted from’ is a better translation that ‘free from’.
The object is de-wa, which you know. What kind of de-wa? This de-
wa is dug-ngal me-pa ‘without suffering’. The word me-pa is a
169
derivation from the verb me ‘to lack’, with a pa ending to make a
verbal noun (Lesson 7). The possession marker ‘i turns dug-ngal me-
pa into an adjective (remember dam-pa’i chö? See Lesson 12)
Line 4.
³¯¯¯¯``¯³¯ ¯¯¯¯"¯¯
ne-ring chag-dang ni dang dral wa’i

¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯ " ¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯
dang-nyom chen-po la ne-par gyur cig
The subject is still sem-chen tham-ce. The verbal construction ne-par
gyur cig is similar to the construction in Lines 1 and 2, with the
auxiliary gyur and the command marker cig. The main verb is ne,
‘abide’, hence ‘may (they) become abiding’, although in English we
would say ‘may they abide’.
The la is the location marker which indicates where they will abide,
i.e. in dang-nyom chen-po or ‘great equanimity’. You know the
adjective chen-po. Observe how it follows the noun it qualifies
(Lesson 2).
The first two units ne-ring chag-dang nyi and dang dral wa’i also form
an adjectival construction that describe the dang-nyom chen-po. You
recognise dang-drel-wa from Line 2 meaing ‘free from’. Free from
what? Free from ne-ring chag-dang nyi.
This is one of those typical Tibetan phrases that appear to be written
in telegraphic code and that are so challenging for students: ne, ring,
chag and dang are abbreviations of ne-wa, ring-po, chag-pa and
dang-wa respectively. Literally they means ‘near-far attachment-
aversion’. We must flesh this out in English: ‘attachment and aversion
to those near and far’.
The word nyi usually means ‘itself’, but here is ‘state of’.
Note how the whole construction of the first two units becomes
adjectival with the addition of the possession marker ‘i to the dang-
drel-wa.
170
GRAMMAR
19.1 Auxiliary verbs: gyur, ‘become’
The word gyur meaning ‘become’ is one of a group of verbs known as
auxiliary verbs. Perhaps they are called auxiliary verbs because they
‘help’ the main verb form a new construction. There are three
different examples of the use of the auxiliary verb gyur in the reading
we have just studied:
¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯ ¯ ¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯
dang den-par gyur dang drel-war gyur
‘become endowed with’ ‘become free from’
¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯
ne-par gyur
‘become abiding in’
In each of these three cases, an r is added to the main verb dang den-
pa, dang dral wa and ne-pa before gyur. Some texts refer to this form
of the verb, i.e. the verb with pa or wa with an added r, as the
infinitive. This is a common construction. When auxiliary verbs are
used with a main verb, the main verb is in this infinitive form.
There is one thing to bear in mind with gyur: while its basic meaning
is ‘become’, it may also simply mean ‘be’. Sometimes it is not even
necessary to translate it into English. For example, it may be better to
translate ne-par gyur as ‘they abide’.
Don’t confuse this use of the final letter –r with the la-dön –r ending
that gives an adverbial sense or that acts as a locations marker, e.g.
lhag-par ‘especially’, or seng-thrir ‘on the lion-throne’ (See Lesson
17.1).
19.2 The command markers cig, zhig and shig
We learned how to make supplications with the pattern tsal du sol
‘please bestow on me…’ in Lesson 15. Another way to express a wish
or desire is to turn it into a command using one of the command
markers cig, zhig or shig.
These three are all variant forms of a single stem, just like the
possession markers kyi, gi and gyi. You are now familiar with the idea
that the form of a marker may depend on the final consonant of the
preceding syllable. The rules for cig etc. are as follows.
171
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Command
marker
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯¯
cig
¯ ¯ ' ¯ " ¯
or vowels
¯¯
zhig
` °¯
shig

Because cig makes a statement into a command, it has to take a
particular form of the verb known as the imperative stem. To date we
have skirted around the thorny question of verbal stems. In theory,
every Tibetan verb has four stems: present, perfect (past), future and
imperative. We will have more to say about these later. At this stage,
let us have a look at the imperative forms of the verbs stems which are
used with cig.
Present stem Imperative with cig
¯¯¯
drub
accomplish

¯¯¯¯¯
drub cig
accomplish!

¯¯¯
gyur
become
¯¯¯¯
gyur cig
become!
`¯`
sang
dispel

`¯`°¯
song shig
dispel!

¯¯
je
make

¯`°¯
jö shig
make!

¯¯
dro
go

`¯¯¯
song zhig
go!

¯¯¯
dzin
hold

¯¯`°¯
zung shig
hold!

¯`¯
sung
`¯`°¯
sung shig
172
protect

protect!

¯`¯
sung
speak

¯`¯`°¯
sung shig
speak!


In some cases the imperative stem is the same as the regular present
stem in the left-hand column (e.g. drub). In others, such as sung ‘to
protect’ and the other sung ‘to say’, the imperative differs only in the
prefix or suffix. In the cases of gyur, dro and dzin there is a very
radical change in the root.
EXERCISES
19.1 Review the Refuge Prayer from the previous lesson. Try
reciting it.
19.2 Recommended: memorise the Four Immeasurable Thoughts.
19.3 Translate the following sentence into English. Some are
simple statements; some are commands.
a. `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'

b. `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯` ¯¯`"
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯ ¯¯'

c. `¯¯''`¯` ¯¯`"
¯¯¯¯;"¯¯'
d. ¯¯¯''`¯` ¯¯`"¯'`¯¯
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯

173
e. ¯¯¯¯ °`¯¯¯¯'¯¯"¯¯
¯¯¯¯
f. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'¯¯'¯¯"¯¯
¯¯¯¯
g. ¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯,¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯

h ¯¯¯¯'°`¯¯`"¯¯¯¯¯¯

i. ¯¯¯¯`'`¯ ¨ ¯¯¯'`¯¯
¯`"¯¯¯¯¯¯'

j. `¯`;`''`¯'¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯``'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'

19.4 Translate these sentences into Tibetan.
a. May I be free from suffering!
b. May I become endowed with wisdom!
c. May beings not become free from bodhicitta!
d. May all beings achieve liberation!
e. Bodhisattvas are free from attachment and aversion.
174
f. May I be free from attachment and aversion to those near
and far.
g. May all I and all sentient beings become endowed with the
the cause of happiness.
h. Until enlightenment, may I not be parted from (free from)
bodhicitta.
i. Until all beings achieve liberation, I will hold the practices
of the bodhisattvas.
j. For the sake of beings, may the precious gurus always
abide!
175
20
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
LESSON TWENTY
Reading The Dedication Prayer
Vocabulary
Grammar More about adverbs
The conjunctions kyang, etc
Exercises






176
READING
The Dedication Prayer
This volume opened with the Invocation of Manjushri, the deity of
learning. The most fitting way to conclude it is therefore to dedicate
the merit of our efforts to the swift enlightenment of all living beings.

¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯¯`¯"¯'¯¯¯¯¯'
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯'
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``¯¯¯`¯¯¯'
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
Phonetic transription
jam-pel pa-wö ji-tar khyen-pa dang
kün-tu-zang-pö de yang de-zhin-du
de dag kün gyi je-su dag lob cing
ge-wa di-dag tham-ce rab-tu ngo
Literal translation
‘Just as cognisance is performed by the hero Manjushri, so too
Samantabhadra does likewise. While I am learning from all those
examples, I fully dedicate all these virtues.’
177
VOCABULARY
¯¯'¯¯"
jam-pel Manjushri

¯¯¯¯
pa-po hero

¯"¯
ji-tar in which way

'¯¯¯
khyen-pa know

¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
kün-tu zang-po Samantabhadra

¯"¯
de-yang furthermore

¯¯¯¯¯
de-zhing-du in that way

¯¯
kün all

¯``
je-su after


lob learn

¯¯¯
rab-tu exceedingly

¯`
ngo dedicate


DISCUSSION
Line 1.
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯¯` ¯"¯ '¯¯¯ ¯¯'
jam-pel pa-wö ji-tar khyen-pa dang
The opening words jam-pel are one of the shorter versions of the
Tibetan name of Manjushi, Jam-pel-yang. See the box text in this
section for more information on the etymology of these.
You may recognise pa from jang-chub sem-pa ‘bodhisattva’: pa with
the noun suffix wo is the word for hero, pa-wo. Don’t forget the rule
for the pronunciation of the letter ba: it is nearly always wa, unless it
means ‘cow’. So too ba naro is pronounce wo, not *bo. The word pa-
178
wo also has an agent marker s (Lesson 13), indicating that Manjushri
is the active agent or ‘doer’ of the verb (in this case, khen-pa ‘know’).
The adverb ji-tar consists of ji ‘how’ or ‘what’ and tar ‘way’ or
‘manner’. It ends with r to give an adverbial sense ‘in whatever way’
or ‘just like’. (See the grammar section in this lesson)
The verbal noun khen-pa means ‘the knowing’, or ‘the cognisance’.
Hence we arrive at, ‘Just like the knowing (that is done) by Manjushi’,
or a little more elegantly, ‘Just like cognisance (that is performed) by
Manjushri’.
The dang at the end connects this line and the next.
Line 2.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯` ¯"¯ ¯¯¯¯¯'
kün-tu-zang-pö de yang de-zhin-du
kün-tu zang-po is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit name
Samantabhadra. It also ends in an agent marker s, indicating that kün-
tu zang-po is the main doer of the verb.
The trick is that the verb is not explicitly stated in this line. It is
represented by the first de, meaning ‘that’, hence ‘that knowing’ or
‘that cognisance’. We have to add the words ‘was done by’ in English
for this line to make sense.
The word yang is a handy one with a variety of meanings. Here it
means ‘also’. We will discuss this further in the grammar section.
The line ends with de-zhin-tu, which means ‘like’ that ‘in that same
way’. This is the partner of the ji-tar in the previous line. They often
occur together: ‘In whatever way…, in that same way…’.
Put it all together and we get, ‘That also (was done) by
Samantabhadra in the same way’, the sense being that the sublime
omniscience practiced by Manjushri was also practiced by
Samantabhadra.
Line 3.
¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯`` ¯¯¯ `¯¯¯'
de dag kün gyi je-su dag lob cing

179
The de dag ‘those’ refers to the ‘knowings’or ‘cognisances’ in the
first two lines. The word kün is interchangeable with tham-ced and
means ‘all’. The possession marker gyi commects de-dag kün and je-
su which means ‘after’ or ‘according to’. The Tibetan says ‘after of
those’, in English we simply say ‘after those’. You know dag,
meaning ‘I’. Finally, lob is ‘learn’ and cing is the continuation marker
(Lesson 15.1). The Tibetan expression is ‘while learning after’; we
would say ‘we learning from’.
This line may be translated as ‘While I am learning from all of those’.
Line 4.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'`¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯`'
ge-wa di-dag tham-ce rab-tu ngo

The first unit is relatively simple: ‘all these virtues’. The line ends
with rab-tu ‘very, ‘exceedingly’, etc, but here ‘fully’. The main verb is
ngo ‘dedicate’and refers back to the dag ‘I’ in Line 3: ‘I fully dedicate
all these virtues’.
GRAMMAR

20.1 More about adverbs
Adverbs are words that ‘add meaning to verbs’. The formal definition
of an adverb is that they qualify a verb. Any word that enlys in –ly in
English is an adverb: quickly, fully, finally, etc.
In the reading we encountered three common adverbial expressions: ji-
tar, de-zhin-du and rab-tu. The final r and the du and the tu and all
members of the la-dön class of location markers (Lesson 17.1).
As mentioned ji-tar and de-zhin-du (or the shorter form de-zhin) are
often encountered as a pair meaning, ‘in whatever way X, in that same
way Y’. Another very common pair is ji-tar and de-tar, which has the
same sense.
The adverb rab-tu
180
20.2 The conjunctions kyang, etc
Conjunctions are words like ‘and’ in English that are use to join two
or more ideas together. We have already encountered one conjunction,
dang, the Tibetan word for ‘and’, in an earlier lesson.
The reading contains a second conjunction yang, which is one of a
family of three kyang, yang and ‘ang.
Like other such sets which we have encountered, these three are really
just variations of a single stem form. The form that is used depends on
the final consonant of the preceding word according to the following
rules:
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Conjunction
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯¯
kyang
¯ ¯ ' ¯ " "¯
yang
¯
and vowels
¯¯
‘ang

Their meaning is somewhat variable depending on the context, but
generally when they follow a noun (or a pronoun de in this case), they
mean ‘and’, ‘even’ or ‘also’.
EXERCISES
20.1 Revise the Refuge Prayer and the Four Immeasurable
Thoughts.
20.2 Learn the vocabulary items from this lesson.
20.3 Translate the following sentences into English
a. ¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯`¯
¯```¯'
b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``"¯`¯'

181
c.
¯¯¯''`¯`¯`;`¯¯`` `¯'

d. ¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯ '¯¯¯
"¯¯'
e. ¯'''`¯`¯"¯¯`¯"¯
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯'
f. `¯`;`''`¯ `¯"¯¯`¯`¯"¯
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯`¯¯'
g. `¯`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯"¯'¯¯¯¯; ¯¯"¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯; ¯¯'
h. ,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯"¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯"¯"¯¯'
i. ¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
j. ¯¯¯¯¯ `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯`
¯¯¯¨ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
20.4 Finally, translate these sentences into Tibetan.
182
a. Manjushri is a hero.
b. Samantabhadra is also a hero.
c. I will emulate (use ‘learn after’) Manjushri.
d. I will also emulate Samantabhadra.
e. Just as Manjushri cognises, I will also cognise in that same
way.
f. I emulate the practices of the bodhisattvas.
g. The gurus dedicate merit.
h. I dedicate this merit.
i. I dedicate this merit for the sake of enlightenment.
k. Just as the gurus dedicate merit, I dedicate merit for the sake
of enlightenment in the same way.
183

A1
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
APPENDIX ONE
ALPHABET WORK SHEETS
184
185
186
187
188

189

A2
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
APPENDIX TWO
KEY TO EXERCISES

1.2
a. This is the guru.
b. That is not a Buddha.
c. That is the sangha.
d. This is a sentient being.
e. This is a Buddha.
f. This is me.
g. That is not the dharma.
h. This is not the sangha.
i. The Buddha is the guru.
j. I am not a guru.
1.3
a. de ni sang-gye yin
b. di ni la-ma min
c. dag ni la-ma min
d. di ni gen-dün min
e. de ni chö yin
f. di ni sem-cen yin
g. de ni la-ma yin
190
h. la-ma ni sang-gye yin
i. di ni chö min
j. dag ni sang-gye min
1.4
a. I am a sentient being.
b. That is not a sentient being.
c. That is not the sangha.
d. I am the guru.
e. That is the dharma.
f. That is not me.
g. This is the dharma.
h. This is not the Buddha.
i. I am the Buddha.
j. That is not the sangha.
1.5
a. dag ni la-ma yin
b. de ni sang-gye min
c. di ni gen-dün yin
d. dag ni sem-cen yin
e. sang-gye ni la-ma yin
f. de ni gen-dün min
g. dag ni sem-cen min
h. di ni sang-gye min
i. dag ni sang-gye yin
j. de ni sem-cen min
2.3
a. This is the holy Buddha.
b. That is not the holy guru.
191
c. The Buddha is a refuge.
d. Chenrezig is a protector.
e. This is not a refuge.
f. All the gurus are the protector.
g. The protector is a refuge.
h. All sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha.
i. The holy guru is the refuge.
j. The dharma is a refuge.
2.4
a. dag ni la-ma la kyab-su chi o
b. dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o
c. dag ni chö la kyab-su chi o
d. dag ni gen-dün la kyab-su chi o
e. sem-cen ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
f. dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo
g. dag ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
h. dag ni chö la chag-tshal lo
i. dag ni gen-dün la chag-tshal lo
j. sem-cen ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
2.5
a. I take refuge in the Buddha.
b. Sentient beings prostrate to the dharma.
c. Sentient beings prostrate to the sangha.
d. I take refuge in the dharma.
e. The guru takes refuge in the Buddha.
f. I prostrate to the lama.
g. I prostrate to the dharma.
h. Sentient beings prostrate to Chenrezig.
i. The lama prostrates to the Buddha.
192
2.6
a. dag ni la-ma yin
b. di ni sang-gye yin
c. sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin
d. la-ma ni gön-po yin
e. cen-re-zig ni kyab-ne yin
f. chö ni kyab-ne yin
g. di ni cen-re-zig dam-pa yin
h. dag ni sang-gye tham-ce la chag-tshal lo
i. sang-gye tham-ce kyab-ne yin
j. sang-gye ni la-ma yin
2.7
a. All the Buddhas are refuges.
b. The holy lama is a protector.
c. I prostrate to all the gurus.
d. I prostrate to all the Buddhas.
e. All the gurus are a refuge.
f. I take refuge in the refuges.
g. All sentient beings prostrate to the holy guru.
h. All the Buddhas are protectors.
i. Chenrezig is the holy guru.
j. The holy guru is the refuge.
3.3
a. I have a guru.
b. Sentient beings have a refuge.
c. Vajrasattva has a vajra.
d. Chenrezig has a lotus.
e. The Buddha sits on a lion-thone.
f. The guru has a scripture.
193
g. Chenrezig sits on a lotus.
h. Chenrezig has a mala.
i. All sentient beings have a protector.
j. Varjasattva has a bell.
3.4
a. la-ma la seng-thri yö
b. la-ma la threng-wa yö
c. dor-je-sem-pa ni pe-ma la zhug so
d. sang-gye tham-ce ni seng-thri la zhug so
e. cen-re-zig la pe-ma yö
f. sem-cen tham ce la gön-po yö
g. la-ma la dor-je yö
h. dor-je-sem-pa ni pe-ma la zhug
i. dag la dor-je yö
j. la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug so
3.5
a. I prostrate to the gurus.
b. I take refuge in the Buddhas.
c. I have a guru and a protector.
d. The Buddhas are the protectors.
e. The guru has a mala and a bell.
f. The lama and all the Buddhas are the refuge.
g. Vajrasattva sits on a lion-throne and lotus.
h. The gurus have a refuge.
i. The Buddhas are a refuge.
j. Chenrezig has a lotus and mala.
3.6
a. dag la dor-je dang dril-bu yö
194
b. la-ma nam ni pe-ma la zhug so
c. cen-re-zig dang la-ma nam ni gön-po yin
d. la-ma ni sang-gye nam la chag-tshal lo
e. sang-gye nam dang la-ma nam ni kyab-ne yin
f. gön-po nam la dor-je yö
g. dor-je-sem-pa la dor-je dang dril-bu yö
h. la-ma nam dang sang-gye nam ni seng-thri la zhug so
i. sem-cen tham-ce ni la-ma dam-pa nam la kyab-su chi o
j. cen-re-zig ne pe-ma dam-pa la zhug so
3.7 That vertical stroke at the end of each sentence is called she. It is
a scribal device to mark the end of a clause or a sentence. Will
talk about that some more later.
a.
¯¯¯"¯'"¯'
b.
`'`¯¯",¯`¯¯`"¯'
c.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯"¯¯"¯'

4.3
a. There is no happiness in samsara.
b. In samsara there is suffering.
c. The lama has no misdeeds.
d. There is no virtue in samsara
e. The Buddha has no blemish.
f. Sentient beings have no happiness.
g. The sangha has no suffering.
h. There are misdeeds in samsara.
i. The protectors have no suffering.
j. Chenrezig is without blemish.
195
4.4
a. sang-gye la dug-ngal me
b. khor-wa la dug-ngal yö
c. khor-wa la de-wa me
d. kyab-ne la kyön me
e. khor-wa la ge-wa me
f. dag la la-ma me
g. sem-cen la de-wa me
h. sem-cen la kyab-ne me
i. gön-po la dig-pa me
j. la-ma la kyön me
4.5
a. the cause of misdeed
b. the mala of the guru
c. the cause of happiness
d. the refuge of samsara
e. the cause of virture
f. the guru’s happiness
g. the varja of Vajrasattva
h. the suffering of misdeed
i. the virtue of the guru
j. the guru’s lotus
4.6
a. khor-wa la dug-ngal chen-po yö
b. khor-wa la de-wa tag-pa me
c. sem-cen tham-ce la dug-ngal chen-po yö
d. sang-gye nam la ge-wa yö
e. dag la de-wa tag-pa me
f. la-ma nam la ge-wa chen-po yö
196
g. gen-dün la de-wa chen-po yö
h. khor-wa la ge-wa’i gyu yö
i. sem-chen tham-ce la kyab-ne tak-pa yö
j. sang-gye tham-ce la ge-wa chen-po yö
5.2
a. ka gi-gu ki
b. ma gi-gu mi
c. na na-ro no
d. da dreng-po de
e. sa na-ro so
f. zha zhab-kyu zhu
g. la na-ro lo
h. cha zhab-kyu chu
i. ja gi-gu ji
j. ma na-ro mo
k. kha na-ro kho
l. na gi-gu ni
m. nga na-ro ngo
n. zha na-ro zho
o. da zhab-kyu du
p. ra gi-gu ri
q. ma dreng-po me
r. pha na-ro pho
s. ba zhab-kyu bu
t. tsa na-ro tso
5.3
a.
'
e.
¯
c.
¯
d.
¯
e.
¯

197
f.

¯
g.
¯
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
"
5.4
a. Nectar falls from the Hung.
b. Light shines from the Hung
c. Dharma arises from the Buddha.
d. Happiness arises from the guru.
e. Suffering arises from a misdeed.
f. Virtue arises from the dharma.
g. Nectar arises from that.
h. Blemishes arise from misdeeds.
i. Rays of light shine from the Buddha.
j. Dharma arises from the guru.
5.5
a. ö-zer ni cen-re-zig ne thro
b. dü-tsi ni la-ma ne bab
c. de-wa ni chö le jung
d. ge-wa ni sang-gye ne jung
e. dü-tsi ni hung le jung
f. ö-zer ni kyab-ne ne thro
g. dug-ngal ni khor-wa le jung
h. chö ni la-ma ne jung
i. dü-tsi ni dor-je-sem-pa le bab
j. ge-wa ni la-ma ne jung
5.6
a. These are gurus.
b. These are vajras.
c. These are not rays of light.
198
d. These lack a refuge.
e. Sentient beings lack a refuge.
f. Prostrate to the gurus.
g. I have virtures.
h. The gurus possess great virtue.
i. These are the great protectors.
j. The Buddhas sit on the lion-throne.
6.1
a. This is the lama
b. I have a protector.
c. Sentient beings have no refuge.
d. I prostrate to the Buddhas.
e. All sentient beings prostrate to the refuges.
f. Chenrezig is a great protector.
g. This is the Buddha.
h. They are a great refuge.
i. The holy dharma arises from the Buddha.
j. All rays of light shine from the refuge.
6.2
a. dag la la-ma me
b. di ni sang-gye yin
c. dor-je-sem-pa ni gön-po chen-po yin
d. sem-cen tham-ce ni kyab-ne dam-pa la kyab-su chi o
e. sang-gye ni la-ma dam-pa yin
f. chö dam-pa ni kyab-ne tak-pa yin
g. cen-re-zig ni pema chen-po la zhug so
h. dag la threng-wa dam-pa dang dor-je yö
i. khor-wa la dug-ngal chen-po yö
j. ge-wa ni de-wa’i gyu yin
199
6.3
a. All the gurus are the great refuge.
b. The nectar falls from all the refuges.
c. Chenrezig and all the gurus are the great protectors
d. Great rays of light shine from the guru’s lion-throne.
e. Vajrasattva has a bell and a holy vajra.
f. I prostrate to the gurus and all the refuges.
g. The gurus and all the protectors have great happiness.
h. Chenrezig sits on a lotus and holy lion-throne.
i. All sentient beings take refuge in all the Buddhas.
j. I have a holy vajra and a holy bell.
6.3
a. These are not the holy sangha.
b. The holy gurus are seated on a lion throne and lotus.
c. Chenrezig and the great refuges are the holy protectors.
d. Vajrasattva and Chenrezig are the great protectors.
e. Holy nectar fallf from the great Hung.
f. Holy rays of light shine from Vajrasattva.
g. In samsara, there are suffering and great misdeeds.
h. All the buddhas have great virtue.
i. All sentient beings have great virtue.
j. I prostrate to all the gurus and all the buddhas.
7.2
a. ka zhab-kyu ku na kün
b. ga ra gar
c. cha dreng-po che na chen
d. da nga dang
e. ba na-ro bo da bö
f. ca da ce
200
g. cha zhab-kyu chu ba chub
h. ga zhab-kyu gu sa gü
i. pa ra par
j. cha na-ro cho sa chö
k. ca gi-gu ci ga cig
l. ma dreng-po me da me
m. da ma dam
n. la dreng-po le na len
o. ya na-ro yo da yö
p. la zhab-kyu lu nga lung
q. la ga lag
r. ma gi-gu mi na min
7.3
a.
"'
b.
¯¯
c.

d.
¯"
e.
¯¯
f.
¯¯
g.
¯`
h.
¯"
i.
¯¯
j.
¯¯
k.
°¯
l.
¯¯
m.

n.
¯¯
o.
¯¯
p.
º¯
q.
¯`
r.
¯¯
7.4
a. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes virtue.
b. The guru is the one who abandons misdeeds.
c. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes liberation.
201
d. The abandoning of misdeeds is the practice of the victors’
sons.
e. The Buddha is one who creates compassion.
f. The guru is one who accomplishes liberation.
g. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes the dharma.
h. Vajrasattva is the one who possesses a vajra.
i. This one who possesses a lotus is Chenrezig.
j. That one who accomplishes great compassion is
Chenrezig.
7.5
a. The renunciation of all misdeeds is the practice of the
lama.
b. The one who sits on a great lotus is Chenrezig.
c. The one who accomplishes great compassion is the
victors’ son.
d. The Buddha is the one who accomplished great liberation.
e. The one who possessed a vajra and a bell is Vajrasattva.
f. This which falls from the Hung is sacred nectar.
g. The one who sits on the great lion-throne is the holy guru.
h. That one who created liberation from samsara is the
Buddha.
i. That one who lacks blemish is a Buddha.
j. This one who possesses white rays of light is Vajrasattva.
8.1
a. ga la-ta la b. ka ya-ta kya c. pa ra-ta tra
d. ma ra-ta ma e. ba la-ta la f. kha ya-ta khya
g. pha ya-ta cha h. ba ya-ta ja i. ka ya-ta kya
j. za la-ta da k. ta ra-ta tra l. da ra-ta dra
m. pa ya-ta ca n. ka la-ta la o. pha ra-ta thra
p. kha ra-ta thra q. sa la-ta sa r. ba ra-ta dra
s. ga ya-ta gya t. ma ya-ta nya
202
8.2
a. ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi
b. ga la-ta la zhab-kyu lu
c. pa ra to tra gi-gu tri
d. ga ya-ta gya dreng-pu dre
e. kha ya-ta khya na-ro khyo
f. pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi
g. ka ya-ta kya zhab-kyu kyu
h. da ra-ta dra gi-gu dri
i. pha ya-ta cha dreng-bu che
j. ba ya-ta ja zhab-kyu ju
k. da ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru
l. ba ra-ta dra dreng-bu dre
m. ba la-ta la na-ro lo
n. kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri
o. ba ya-ta ja gi-gu ji
p. sa ra-ta sa zhab-kyu su
q. sa la-ta la dreng-bu le
r. ma ya-ta nya zhab-kyu nyu
s. ta ra-ta tra dreng-bu tre
t. ba ra-ta dra na-ro dro
8.3
a.
¯
b.
¯
c.
`
d.
¯
e.
¯

f.

¯
g.
¯
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
¯

k.
¯
l.
¯
m.
`
n.
'
o.
º

p.

¯
q.
`
r.
º
s.
¯
t.
¯

203

8.4
a.
`
b.
¯
c.
`
d.
¯
e.
'
f.
¯
g.
¯
h.
¯
i.
¯
j.
¯

k.
º
l.
¯
m.
¯
n.
¯
o.
¯

p.

¯
q.
¯
r.
¯
s.
¯
t.
`


9.2
a. I eulogise the Tathagata.
b. I make offerings to the Buddha.
c. The guru possesses merit.
d. The bodhisattvas possess diligence.
e. Sentient beings eulogise the guru.
f. The gurus possess bodhicitta.
g. They are possessors of merit.
h. The gurus are endowed with diligence.
i. The Tathagatas are refuges.
j. I prostrate to the tathagatas.
9.3
a. dag
¯ ¯'
nam
"

b. di
¯
dor-je dzin-khen yin
c. dag
¯
pe-ma dzin khen
"
chö-
¯
bül
d. la-ma
¯
dig-
¯
pang-khen yin
e. dig-pa pang-khen
¯ ¯
-zhin sheg-
¯
nam
"

f. sang-gye khor
¯¯
ce-
¯
zhug so
204
g. sem-cen
¯ ¯
-zhin sheg-
¯
nam
"
kyab-su chi o
h. jang-chub sem-pa
¯
jang-chub sem
¯¯
den-
¯
yin
i. dag
¯
kyab-ne
"
chö-pa bül
j. com-den-de se
¯¯
ce-
¯
yön-ten
¯¯
den-
¯
yin

9.4
k. The guru is endowed with merit.
l. I prostrate to the Buddha together with his retinue.
m. I make offerings to the tathagatas together with their heirs.
n. I eulogise the bodhisattva together with his retinue.
o. Sentient beings are those who experience suffering.
p. The guru is endowed with diligence.
q. Shakyamuni is seated together with the sangha.
r. The Buddha is endowed with compassion.
s. I make offerings to the conquerors together with the heirs
of the victors.
t. Chenrezig is endowed with bodhicitta.
9.5
a. la-ma tham-ce ni ge-wa dang den-pa yin
b. dag ni sang-gye la chö-pa bül
c. sem-ce tham-ce ni kön-chog-sum la je-su yi-rang
d. sang-gye nam ni jang-chub-sem dang den-pa yin
e. sem-cen tham ce ni la-ma dam-pa la chö-pa bül
f. de-zhin sheg-pa ni yön-ten tham-ce dang den-pa yin
g. sem-cen ni dug-ngal na-tshog dang den-pa yin
h. dag ni la-ma dang kön-chog-sum la tö
i. khor-wa ni dug-ngal chen-po dang den-pa yin
j. jang-chub sem-pa ni jang-chub-sem chen-po dang den-pa
yin
10.1
205
a. a o ga ra-ta dra na-ro dro
b. a na-ro o nga ong
c. ga o za gi-gu zi ga sa zig
d. ga o ca gi-gu ci ga cig
e. ba o ra tsa-ta tsa na-ro tso na tsön
f. ma o dza da dze
g. ra ta-ta ta ga tag
h. sa ga-ta ga na-ro go
i. ga o sa zhyab-kyu su ma sum
j. a o ba ya-ta ja zhyab-kyu ju nga jung
k. ra dza-ta dza na-ro dzo ga sa dzog
l. ra na-ta na ma sa nam
m. ba o sa ga-ta ga ra-ta dra la drel
n. sa ta-ta ta dreng-po te
o. ba o sha da she
p. a o ba ya-ta ja na-ro jo ra jor
q. ra nya-ta nya dreng-po nye ra nyer
r. ba o sa ga-ta ga ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru ba sa drub
10.2
a. la-ma b. sang-gye c. chö
d. gen-dün e. sem-cen f. dag
g. di h. de i. tham-ce
j. dam-pa k. yin l. min
m. shakya-thub-pa n. chag-tshal lo
o. kyab-su chi p. jang-chub sem-pa
q. cen-re-zig r. jam-pel-yang
s. dor-je-chang t. kön-chog-sum
u. gön-po v. kyab-ne
10.3
206
a. di ni la-ma yin no
b. di ni sang-gye min no
c. sang-gye ni la-ma yin no
d. la-ma ni gön-po yin no
e. sang-gye ni gön-po yin no
f. di ni kyab-ne yin no
g. sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin no
h. la-ma ni kyab-ne yin no
i. gön-po ni sang-gye yin no
j. di ni gön-po yin no
10.4
a. This is the Buddha.
b. That is not the lama.
c. I prostrate to the Buddha.
d. Sentient beings prostrate to Shakymuni.
e. Chenrezig is a bodhisattva.
f. The holy lama is a protector.
g. The Three Jewels are the refuge.
h. I take refuge in the sangha.
i. Shakyamuni is the holy lama.
j. Vajradhara is the protector.
10.5
a. di ni sang-gye yin
b. de ni la-ma yin
c. dag ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo
d. sem-cen ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo
e. cen-re-zig ni jang-chub sem-pa yin no
f. la-ma dam-pa ni gön-po yin no
g. kön-chog-sum ni kyab-ne yin no
207
h. dag ni gen-dün la kyab-su chi o
i. sang-gye ni la-ma dam-pa yin
j. dor-je sem-pa ni gön-po dam-pa yin
10.6
a. This is the buddha.
b. That is the guru.
c. I prostrate to the Buddha.
d. Sentient beings prostrate to Shakyamuni.
e. Chenrezig is a bodhisattva.
f. The holy guru is the refuge.
g. The Three Jewels are the refuge.
h. I take refuge in the sangha.
i. Shakyamuni is the holy guru.
j. Vajrasattva is the holy protector.
11.1
a. cha na-ro cho sa chö
b. ca na cen
c. ya gi-gu yi na yin
d. ra sa re
e. da ma dam
f. ca da ce
g. yo na-ro yo da yö
h. sa dreng-bu se nga seng
i. da nga dang
j. cha dreng-bu che na chen
k. ma dreng-bu me da me
l. za dreng-bu ze ra zer
11.2
a. ba la-ta la
b. pha ya-ta cha ga chag
208
c. kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri
d. da ra-ta dra gi-gu dril la dril
e. ba ya-ta ja nga jang
f. ga ya-ta gya gi-gu gyi sa gyi
g. ra ga-ta ga ya-ta gya sa gye
h. a-o pha ra-ta thra na-ro thro
i. a-o ba ya-ta ja zhab-kyu ju nga jung
j. sa ka-ta ka ya-ta kya ba sa kyab
k. a-o pha ra-ta thra dreng-bu thre nga threng
l. sa ra-ta ra sa se
11.3
a. sa b. ga c. da
d. za e. da f. sa
g. na h. tha i. tsha
j. da k. na l. pa
11.4
a. sa nga sa sang
b. da-o ga dreng-bu ge
c. o-a da zhab-kyu du na dün
d. ga-o za gi-gu zi ga sa zig
e. ba-o da ga dag
f. sa dreng-bu se ma sa sem
g. ga-o na sa ne
h. tha ma sa tham
i. a-o tsha la tshal
j. ba-o da dreng-bu de
k. ra na-ta na ma sa nam
l. da-o pa a pa
12.2
a. The sage is the source of qualities.
b. The guru is the source of wisdom.
209
c. The dharma is the source of compassion.
d. The sage is the excellent guru.
e. The bodhisattva is endowed with qualities.
f. This is the source of benefit.
g. The sage is the creator of compassion for the sake of
beings.
h. I practice virtue because of liberation.
i. The guru is endowed with wisdom.
j. The sage is endowed with qualities.
12.3
a.
¯'¯` '`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'
b.
`¯¯¯` ¯¯`"¯¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
c.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
d.
,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯`¯'¯¯¯'
e.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯`¯¯`¯'
f.
¯`¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯º¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'
g.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯`"¯¯'

210
h.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯''`¯'
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯"¯¯"¯¯'
i.
¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯``'
j.
°`¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯'¯'`¯¯
¯"¯¯¯"¯¯'
13.2
a. Chenrezig sees all sentient beings.
b. The Buddhas spoke the holy dharma.
c. The guru holds a flower.
d. The holy dharma reduces suffering.
e. The lion throne is ornamented by flowers.
f. The bodhisattva holds the dharma.
g. The Buddha reduces all afflictions.
h. All the Buddhas see the sentient beings of samsara.
i. All the gurus look at me with their compassion.
j. Light-rays of compassion illuminate me.
13.3
a.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯" `¯¯¯¯¯¯'
b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯"¯¯'
c.
¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯,¯¯`¯¯¯`
"¯¯'
211
d.
,¯¯`¯¯¯`¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯"¯¯'

e.
`¯`;`¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯'¯¯¯`¯`¯``'

f.
¯'¯¯¯`¯`¯`;`¯`
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯` ¯``'

g.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯" ``¯¯¯'`¯¯
¯¯¯¯'

h. ¯'¯'¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯"
¯¯¯¯'
i. ¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯ ¯`'`¯¯¯
"¯"¯¯¯¯¯'
j.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯ "¯"¯¯
¯¯¯¯`¯'¯`¯¯¯'

14.1
a.
¯¯ ¯¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯' ¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯ ¯¯
212
b.
¯ ¯¯ ¯' ¯'` ¯ ¯ ¯ '
¯ ¯¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
c.
¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯ ` ¯` ¯¯ ¯ '
¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯
d.
¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯` ¯¯¯
¯¯ '¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯
e.
¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯
¯¯¯ ¯¯' ¯¯` `" ,¯ ¨ "
f.
¯¯¯` ¯¯ ¯ ³¯ ;" `
¨ ¯ ¯; ¯;¯ ¯`' ¯¨¯`
14.3
a. The speaker of the dharma has various qualities.
b. This possessor of qualities is the Buddha.
c. The qualities of the speaker of the dharma are many.
d. Liberation is accomplished by the buddha.
e. The bodhisattva is the precious guru.
f. The qualities possessed by the Buddha are many.
g. The one that lacks faults is the precious sangha.
h. Those who accomplish virtue are the bodhisattvas.
i. To one who makes an effort, there is a great happiness.
213
j. The happiness of one who practices the holy dharma is
great.
14.4
a. This one who observes all sentient beings is Chenrezig.
b. That one who creates great compassion is the precious
guru.
c. This one who holds a vajra and bell is Vajrasattva.
d. Those who possess a protector have great happiness.
e. Those who make a effort for the sake of beings
accomplish great virtue.
f. The holy gurus create benefit for all sentient beings.
g. All the tathagatas are endowed with bodhicitta.
h. Those endowed with bodhicitta are the tathagatas.
i. All the bodhisattvas are endowed with great compassion.
j. All those endowed with great compassion are
bodhisattvas.
k. I prostrate to the Three jewels accompanied by their
retinues!
15.1
a. Please think of me.
b. Please look at me.
c. Please bless me.
d. Please bestow happiness on all sentient beings.
e. Please accept my offering.
f. Please bless all beings.
g. Please bestow happiness on me.
h. Please think of me with great compassion.
i. Please look at all sentient beings in samsara with great
compassion.
j. Please accept these offerings of me and all sentient beings.
214
15.2 Don’t worry if your word order differs from these answers. The
sense is the important thing.
a.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯`¯¯`¯'
b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯'
c.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯"¯¯¯``'
d.
;"``¯º¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯'
e.
¯"`¯¯¯¹¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯ ¯¯º'
f. ¯¯¯"¯°`¯¯"¯¯¯¯`¯`¯`'
g.
¯¯'"¯¯¯`¯"¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯
*

¯¯¯¯¯¯'

h.
¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯''`¯
¯¯¯¯` '`"¯¯ ¯º¯¯'¯¯¯'
i.
¯¯¯"¯¯¯`° ¯¯¯¯``¯`"'
j.
¯'¯'`¯¯¯³¯'¯`¯`"¯¯
º¯¯`¯¯`¯¯ ¯'
215
* ‘Being endowed with…’
15.3
a. While prostrating to the Three Jewels, I take refuge.
b. Sentient beings, while abandoning misdeeds, accomplish
virtue.
c. All sentient beings, while abandoning various misdeeds,
accomplish great virtue.
d. The tathagatas and their heirs, while diminishing the
suffering of samsara, accomplish liberation.
e. Protector Vajrasattva, while holding a vajra and bell, sits
on a lotus.
f. The guru and all the refuges, for the sake of sentient
beings in samsara, while striving, hold (them) with
practice compassion.
g. All the Buddhas and their heirs, while dispelling the
sufferings of samsara, create great benefit.
h. Chenrezig, while banishing with light-rays of compassion
the suffering of all beings, creates lasting happiness.
i. While holding the practices of the bodhisattvas, I create
benefit and great happiness for all sentient beings.
j. Holy guru and Three Jewels: while accepting these
offerings of mine, look upon me with your great
compassion!
16.1
a. Is this virtuous karma?
b. Is that the karma of misdeeds?
c. Do sentient beings have obscurations?
d. Is this the teaching of the Buddha?
e. Does one’s own mind possess qualities?
f. Is there permanent happiness in samsara?
g. Does the bodhisattva not practice compassion?
216
h. Does the guru sit on a lion-throne?
i. Do I grasp the dharma?
j. Are these teachings the source of benefit and happiness?
16.2
a.
`'`¯¯¯¯"¯¯'
b.
'°`¯' ¯¯¯" ¯¯'
c.
¨¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯"`¯`¯¯ ¯'
d.
"`¯¯¯¯"¯¯''
e.
'°`¯¯` '`"¨¯¯"¯¯'
f. ¯¯¯"`¯` ¯¯`"¯¯¯ ¯¯¯`
"¯¯'
g.
¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯'"¯¯'
h. ¯¯¯'°`"¯¯'
i. '°`¯` ¯¯`"¯;"¯¯'
j. ` ¯¯`"¯;¯¯¯¯'"¯¯'
16.3
a. Suffering is not permanent.
b. Is suffering impermanent?
c. Happiness does not arise from misdeeds.
d. One endowed with wisdom does not perform misdeeds.
e. All samsara is impermanent.
217
f. One endowed with wisdom does not collect non-virtuous
karma.
g. Obscurations are not collected in one’s own mind.
h. The tathagata does not create non-virtue.
i. The bodhisattva does not abandon the practice of
compassion.
j. Happiness does not arise for one who does not practice
virtue.
17.1
a. I practice dharma for the sake of sentient beings.
b. All Buddhas! Please come here.
c. I take refuge day and night.
d. There are varied, pleasing offerings.
e. All sentient beings take refuge until enlightenment.
f. Precious guru! Please be seated on my forehead always.
g. Father and mother are seated on a moon (disk).
h. The mother is seated in the father’s lap.
i. Nectar falls from the Hung on the moon (disk) at the
father’s heart.
j. I will always grasp the dharma until enlightenment.
17.2
a.
¯¯¯¯³¯¯¯'¯¯¯`¯¯
¯'`¯¯``¯`¯'

b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯'`¯¯``¯¯¯¯'

218
c.
¯¯¯''`¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'"
¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯""'

d.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¹¯¯
"¯¯¯¯¯¯'

e.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯`'`¯¯¯"¯
¯¯`¯¯ "¯"¯¯¯¯¯'
f.
`¯`;`¯ ¯`¯¯"¯
¯`¯¯ ¯¯¯'

g.
¯¯`'`¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯`¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``'

h.
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯,¯¯¯¯ ¯``'

i.
¯¯¯¯`'¯¯" ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'

j.
"¯¯¯¯¯¯"'¯¯¯¯``'
17.3
a. The Buddhas posses virtuous karma..
219
b. All sentient beings have non-virtuous karma.
c. Non-virtuous karma is the cause of suffering.
d. All suffering is impermanent.
e. In one’s own mind are various obscurations.
f. In accordance with dharma, I practice virtue.
g. I confess all misdeeds.
h. The mother sits in the father’s lap.
i. I request the gurus to be seated always at my crown day
and night until enlightenment.
j. Rays of light shine from the Hung on the lotus and moon-
disk at the heart of the father.
18.2
a. May the nectar of the wisdom of all the Buddhas arise.
b. May precious rays of light shine on me.
c. May all afflictions be cleaned away.
d. May various precious flowers fall upon me.
e. May all sentient beings achieve Buddhahood.
f. May I obtain the fruit of the holy dharma.
g. May I and all sentient beings achieve bodhisattva-hood.
h. May the rays of light of the compassion of all the
bodhisattvas shine on me.
i. May I attain the state of Vajrasattva.
j. May the precious bodhicitta arise in me.
18.3
a.
¯¯¯¯`¯`;`¯¯ ¯¯¯°¯
b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯°¯
220
c. ¯¯¯¯` '`¯`'`
¯¯¯'`¯¯"¯¯ ¯¯¯°¯

d
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯`¯`;`
¯¯ ¯¯¯°¯

e.
` ¯¯`"¯'`¯¯¯`"¯¯°¯

f.
¯¯¯¯¯ ` ¯¯`"¯'`¯¯
¯`"¯¯°¯
g. `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯°¯
h.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯°¯

i.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯°¯

i. ¯'¯¯¯`¯ ¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯ `'`¯¯³¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
°¯
221
19.3
a. All sentient beings become endowed with happiness.
b. All sentient beings become free from suffering.
c. Misdeeds are the cause of great suffering.
d. May beings become free from all suffering.
e. May I never be parted (free) from wisdom.
f. Until enlightenment, may I never be parted (free) from the
guru and the Three Jewels.
g. O precious guru, may you always abide at my forehead.
h. May my ignorance be dispelled.
i. May all the obscurations of my mind be dispelled.
j. By these actions of the Buddhas, may all sentient beings
achieve liberation.
19.4
a. ¯¯¯¯` ¯¯`"¯¯¯¯"¯¯
¯¯¯¯
b.
¯¯¯¯°`¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
c. `'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯` '`
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯ ¯¯¯

d. ¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

222
e. ¯¯¯¯` '`¯¯¯''`¯
¯¯``¯³¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯'

f. ¯¯¯¯³¯¯¯¯``¯³¯
¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯

g. ¯¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯'`¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯;¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

h. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'`
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯ ¯¯¯

i. ¯¯¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯`'`¯¯¯
"¯"¯"¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'

j. ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯'¯¯¯¯''`¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯

20.3
a. I will emulate Manjushri.
b. I wirl also emulate Samantabhadra.
c. Beings emulate the Buddhas.
d. Manjushri is one who knows all.
e. Just as the gurus act, I will act in that same way.
223
f. Just as the Buddhas trained, I will train in that same way.
g. Just as all sentient beings will become non-existent, I will
become non-existent in that same way.
h. Just as Avalokiteshvara sees all, in that same way he also
knows all.
i. I dedicate all merit.
j. For the sake of the accomplishment of liberation of all
sentient beings in Samsara, I dedicate all these merits.
20.4
a.
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯'`¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯'
b.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯'
c.
¯¯¯¯`¯¯'¯¯"¯¯¯`¯¯``

`¯¯¯'
d.
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯``"¯`¯¯¯'
e.
¯¯'¯¯"¯¯'`¯`¯"¯'¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯¯"¯'¯¯¯¯'
f.
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯"¯"¯¯¯``
¯¯¯¯``¯¯¯'
g.
¯'''`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
h.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯`'
224
i.
`¯`;`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯`¯¯¯¯`'
j.
¯'''`¯¯¯¯¯"¯¯¯¯¯`
¯¯¯¯``¯`;`¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯`'
225
A3
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
APPENDIX THREE
GRAMMATICAL TABLES

POSSESSION MARKERS

Last letter of
preceding syllable

Possession marker

¯

¯ ¯
gi

¯

¯

` ¯
kyi

¯

'

¯

" ¯
gyi

¯
and vowels
¯
or
"
‘i or yi

AGENT MARKERS

Last letter of
preceding syllable
Agent marker

¯

¯ ¯`
gi

¯

¯

` ¯`
kyi

¯

'

¯

" ¯`
gi

¯
and vowels
`
or
"`
* or yi

SEVEN POSITION MARKERS

226
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Preposition
marker
1 Any letter
"
la
2 Any letter
¯
na
3
¯ ¯ ¯
tu
4
¯ ¯ ¯ ' ¯ " ¯
du
5
` `
su
6
¯
and all vowels


¯
-r,
7
¯
and all vowels
¯
ru

FINAL CONSONANTS


Final Consonant

"
-l
¯
-n
¯
-d
`
-s
a -el* -en -e -e
o -öl -ön -ö -ö
B
a
c
k

u -ül -ün -ü -ü
i -il -in -i -i
M
e
d
i
a
l

v
o
w
e
l

F
r
o
n
t

e -el -en -e -e

* Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud, al often retains its
original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el.

227
SUBJOINED LETTERS
Subjoined ya: ya-ta
Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
with
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
now
pronounced
kya khya gya

Row 4
¯ º ¯ '
usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba ma
with
ya-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ '
now
pronounced
ca cha ja nya
just like
Row 2
¯ ¯ ¯ ³
Subjoined ra: ra-ta
Row 3
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ta tha da
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Row 1
¯ ¯ ¯
Usual
pronunciation
ka kha ga
228
With
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯
Now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Row 4
¯ º ¯
Usual
pronunciation
pa pha ba
With
ra-ta
¯ º ¯
now
pronounced
tra thra dra

Others
' `
usual
pronunciation
ma sa
With
ra-ta
- `
still
pronounced
(i.e. no change)
ma
sa

Subjoined la: la-ta
Consonant
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
usual
pronunciation
ka ga ba sa za
with
ra-ta
¯ ¯ ¯ ` ¯
is now
pronounced
la la la la da

229
COMMAND MARKERS
Last letter of
preceding syllable
Command
marker
¯ ¯ ¯ ¯¯
cig
¯ ¯ ' ¯ " ¯
or vowels
¯¯
zhig
` °¯
shig
230
A4
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
APPENDIX FOUR
GRAMMATICAL TERMS FOR
NON-GRAMMARIANS

singular
plural
noun
verb
pronoun
adjective
adverb
locative
agentive
instrumental
231
A5
^` '' ^` '' ^` '' ^` ''
APPENDIX FIVE
A. TIBETAN-ENGLISH GLOSSARY
(PHONETIC)

‘i
¯
possession marker
bab
¯¯
fall
bar-du
¯¯¯
until
cen
¯¯
possessing
cen-re-zig
,¯¯`¯¯¯`
Avalokiteshvara
chag-pa
¯¯`¯
attachment

chag-tshal lo
¯¯¯¯""
prostrate
chen-po
¯¯¯
great
chir
¯¯
because of
chö
¯`
dharma
chog
'¯¯
excellent
chö-pa
'¯¯¯
offering
chö-pa bül
'¯¯¯¯¯`
make offerings
cig
¯¯
command marker

cig-tu
¯¯¯¯
alone
cing
¯¯
continuation marker

ci-wo

forehead

com-den-de
¯¯'"¯¯¯`
conqueror
232
dag
¯¯
plural marker
dag
¯¯¯
I
dam-pa
¯'¯
holy
dang ce-pa
¯¯¯¯`¯
together with
dang den-pa
¯¯"¯¯
endowed with
dang drel-wa
¯¯¯¯"¯
be free from

dang
¯¯
and
dang-wa
`¯¯
aversion

de
¯
that
den-pa
¯`¯¯
teachings
de-zhin sheg-pa
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯
tathagata
de-wa
¯¯¯
happiness
de-yang
¯"¯
furthermore

de-zhing-du
¯¯¯¯¯
in that way

di dag
¯¯¯
these (non-hon.)
di nam
¯''`
these (usually hon.)
di

¯¯
this
dig-pa
`¯¯
misdeed
dön-du
¯¯¯
for the benefit of
dor-je
¯¯
vajra
dor-je-sem-pa
¯¯`'`¯¯¯
Vajrasattva
drib-pa
¨¯¯
obscuration
dril-bu
¯"¯
bell
dro
¯¯
being (=dro-wa)
dro-wa
¯¯¯
being
drub-khen
¯¯¯'¯¯
one who accomplishes
dug-ngal
` ¯¯`"
suffering
233
dü-tsi
¯¯¯¹
nectar
dze-khen
'¯¯'¯¯
maker, doer
dzin
¯¯¯
grasp, hold

gen-dün
¯¯¯¯¯
sangha
ge-wa
¯¯¯
virtue
gong su sol
¯¯¯``¯`"
please consider
gön-po
'¯¯¯
protector
gü-par
¯`¯¯
reverentially

gyel-se
;"``
victors’ heir
gyen
¯;¯
ornament

gyi-pa
¯¯`¯
act

gyu
;
cause

gyur
¯¯¯
become
gyur
¯¯
imperative: become!

hung
¯

Hung
jam-pel
¯¯'¯¯"
Manjushri

jang-chub
¯¯¯¯
enlightenment

jang-chub-sem
¯¯¯¯`'`
bodhicitta
jang-chub-sem-pa
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯
bodhisattva

je-su yi-rang
¯``"¯¯
rejoice
je-su
¯``
after

jin

giving
jin-gyi lob tu sol
¯¯¯`¯¯`¯¯`"
please bless
ji-tar
¯"¯
in which way

jom
¯¯'`
overcome
jung
¯¯¯
arise
jung-ne
¯¯¯¯¯`
source
234
khor
¯¯¯
retinue
khor-wa
¯¯¯¯
samsara
khyen-pa
'¯¯¯
know
kön-chog-sum
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'
Three Jewels
kün
¯¯
all

kün-tu zang-po
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Samantabhadra
kyab-ne
,¯`¯¯`
refuge
kyab-su chi o
,¯``'¯¯
take refuge
kyön

blemish
la
"
to, in
lag-len
"¯"¯
practice
la-ma
¯'
guru
le
"`
from
le
"`
karma
len

practice
lhag-pa
"¯¯¯
specially
lob

learn

mang-po
'¯¯
many

me

to lack
me-pa
'¯¯
one who lacks
me-tog
'¯¯
flower

mi-ge-wa
'¯¯¯
unvirtuous
min

to be not
mi-she
'°`
ignorance
mi-tag-pa
'¯¯¯
impermanent
nam
''`
plural marker
na-tshog
`¯¯`
various
235
ne
¯`
from
ne-pa
¯¯`¯
abide, dwell, remain
ngo
¯`
dedicate

ni
¯
subject marker
nye-wa
³¯
near

nyi
³¯
itself, state of

nyin
³¯
day

nyön-mong
³¯'¯`
afflictions

ö-ser
¯¯¯¯
light-rays
pang
¯¯
lap

pang-khen
¯¯¯'¯¯
renouncer
pa-po
¯¯¯¯
hero

pe-ma
¯¯
lotus
phen
º¯
benefit
phen-pa
º¯¯
benefit
rab-tu
¯¯¯
exceedingly

rang
¯¯
self

rim-gyi
¯'¯`
by stages, gradually

ring-po
¯¯¯
far

rin-po-che
¯¯¯¯
precious
sang-gye
`¯`;`
Buddha
sel
¯`"
illuminate
sem
`'`
mind
sem-cen
`'`¯¯
sentient beings
seng-thri
`¯¯
lion-throne
ser
¯`¯
gold
she-rab
°`¯¯
wisdom
236
shing
°¯
continuation marker

shin-tu
°¯¯
very

shog
°¯
‘come!’
sö-nam
¯`¯¯'`
merit
so-sor
``¯
individually

sung
¯`¯
speak

sung-wa
¯`¯¯
speaker

tag-pa
¯¯¯
permanent
tag-tu
¯¯¯
always
tang-nyom
¯¯¯`'`
equanimity

tar

like

teng-tu
`¯¯
above, on top of
tham-ce
¯'`¯¯
all
thar-pa
¯¯¯
liberation
threng-wa
¯º¯¯
mala (prayer-beads)
thro
¯º
shine
thub-pa
¯¯¯
sage
thug-je
¯¯`¯
compassion
thug-ka
¯¯`¯
heart (honorific)


praise
tsal du sol
`"¯¯`"
please bestow
tshen
'¯¯
night

tshog
¯¯`
assembly
tsön-pa
¯¹¯¯
diligence
yab

father (honorific)*

yin

to be


to have
237
yön-ten
"¯¯¯
qualities

yö-pa
"¯¯
one who has, possessor
yum
"'
mother (honorific)*

zhe su sol
¯¯``¯`"
please accept

zhin-du
¯¯¯¯
according to, while

zhing
¯¯
continuation marker

zhug
¯¯¯`
to sit, stand, remain
zig su sol
¯¯¯``¯`"
please look upon
zig
¯¯¯`
look

zig-pa
¯¯¯`¯
seer, one who sees


238
B. TIBETAN-ENGLISH GLOSSARY (ALPHABETIC)

¯¯
kün all

¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
kün-tu zang-po Samantabhadra
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'
kön-chog-sum Three Jewels
,¯`¯¯`
kyab-ne refuge
,¯``'¯¯
kyab-su chi o take refuge

kyön blemish
'¯¯¯
khyen-pa know
¯¯¯
khor retinue
¯¯¯¯
khor-wa samsara
¯`¯¯
gü-par reverentially

¯¯¯¯¯
gen-dün sangha
¯¯¯
ge-wa virtue
¯¯¯``¯`"
gong su sol please consider
'¯¯¯
gön-po protector
¯¯
gyur imperative: become!

¯¯`¯
gyi-pa act

¯¯¯
gyur become
¯¯¯'¯¯
drub-khen one who accomplishes
¯¯
dro being (=dro-wa)
¯¯¯
dro-wa being
;

gyu cause

¨¯¯
drib-pa obscuration
;"``
gyel-se victors’ heir
¯;¯
gyen ornament

239
¯`
ngo dedicate

¯¯
cen possessing
¯¯
cig command marker

¯¯
cing continuation marker

¯¯'"¯¯¯`
com-den-de conqueror
¯¯¯¯
cig-tu alone
¯¯`¯
chag-pa attachment

¯`
chö dharma
¯¯¯
chen-po great
'¯¯
chog excellent
'¯¯¯
chö-pa offering
'¯¯¯¯¯`
chö-pa bül make offerings
¯"¯
ji-tar in which way

¯¯'¯¯"
jam-pel Manjushri

¯¯'`
jom overcome
¯``
je-su after

¯``"¯¯
je-su yi-rang rejoice
³¯
nyi itself, state of

³¯
nyin day

³¯
nye-wa near

³¯'¯`
nyön-mong afflictions

¯¯¯`'`
tang-nyom equanimity

¯¯¯
tag-tu always
¯¯¯
tag-pa permanent

tar like

`¯¯
teng-tu above, on top of

tö praise
240
¯`¯¯
den-pa teachings
¯'`¯¯
tham-ce all
¯¯¯
thar-pa liberation
¯¯`¯
thug-ka heart (honorific)
¯¯`¯
thug-je compassion
¯¯¯
thub-pa sage
¯¯
dag plural marker
¯¯
dang and
¯¯¯¯`¯
dang ce-pa together with
¯¯"¯¯
dang den-pa endowed with
¯¯¯¯"¯
dang drel-wa be free from

¯'¯
dam-pa holy
¯¯¯
di dag these (non-hon.)
¯''`
di nam these (usually hon.)
¯
de that
¯"¯
de-yang furthermore

¯¯¯¯¯
de-zhing-du in that way

¯¯¯ ¯¯°¯`¯
de-zhin sheg-pa tathagata
¯¯¯
dön-du for the benefit of
¯"¯
dril-bu bell
¯¯¯
dag I
¯¯¯
de-wa happiness
¯¯¯¹
dü-tsi nectar
¯¯
di

this
¯¯
dor-je vajra
¯¯`'`¯¯¯
dor-je-sem-pa Vajrasattva
`¯¯
dang-wa aversion

241
`¯¯
dig-pa misdeed
` ¯¯`"
dug-ngal suffering
¯`
ne from
¯
ni subject marker
¯¯`¯
ne-pa abide, dwell, remain
''`
nam plural marker
`¯¯`
na-tshog various
¯¯
pang lap

¯¯
pe-ma lotus
¯¯¯'¯¯
pang-khen renouncer
,¯¯`¯¯¯`
cen-re-zig Avalokiteshvara

ci-wo forehead


jin giving
º¯
phen benefit
º¯¯
phen-pa benefit
¯¯¯¯""
chag-tshal lo prostrate
¯¯
chir because of
¯º
thro shine
¯º¯¯
threng-wa mala (prayer-beads)
¯¯
bab fall
¯¯¯
bar-du until
¯¯¯¯
jang-chub enlightenment

¯¯¯¯`'`
jang-chub-sem bodhicitta
¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯
jang-chub-sem-pa bodhisattva

¯¯¯`¯¯`¯¯`"
jin-gyi lob tu sol please bless
¯'
la-ma guru
242
¯¯¯¯
pa-po hero

¯¯¯
jung arise
¯¯¯¯¯`
jung-ne source
'¯¯
mang-po many

'¯¯¯
mi-ge-wa unvirtuous
'¯¯¯
mi-tag-pa impermanent
'°`
mi-she ignorance

min to be not
'¯¯
me-tog flower


me to lack
'¯¯
me-pa one who lacks
`"¯¯`"
tsal du sol please bestow
¯¹¯¯
tsön-pa diligence
¯¯`
tshog assembly
'¯¯
tshen night

'¯¯'¯¯
dze-khen maker, doer
¯¯¯
dzin grasp, hold

¯¯
zhing continuation marker

¯¯¯¯
zhin-du according to, while

¯¯¯`
zhug to sit, stand, remain
¯¯``¯`"
zhe su sol please accept

¯
‘i possession marker
¯¯¯¯
ö-ser light-rays
¯¯¯`
zig look

¯¯¯`¯
zig-pa seer, one who sees

¯¯¯``¯`"
zig su sol please look upon

yab father (honorific)*

243
"'
yum mother (honorific)*


yin to be

yö to have
"¯¯
yö-pa one who has, possessor
"¯¯¯
yön-ten qualities

¯¯
rang self

¯¯¯
rab-tu exceedingly

¯¯¯
ring-po far

¯¯¯¯
rin-po-che precious
¯'¯`
rim-gyi by stages, gradually

"
la to, in
"¯"¯
lag-len practice

len practice
"`
le karma
"`
le from

lob learn

°¯
shing continuation marker

°¯¯
shin-tu very

°`¯¯
she-rab wisdom
°¯
shog ‘come!’
`¯`;`
sang-gye Buddha
`'`
sem mind
`'`¯¯
sem-cen sentient beings
`¯¯
seng-thri lion-throne
``¯
so-sor individually

¯`"
sel illuminate
¯`¯
sung speak

244
¯`¯¯
sung-wa speaker

¯`¯
ser gold
¯`¯¯'`
sö-nam merit
¯

hung Hung
"¯¯¯
lhag-pa specially

245
C. ENGLISH-TIBETAN GLOSSARY

abide, dwell, remain
¯¯`¯
ne-pa
above, on top of
`¯¯
teng-tu
according to, while

¯¯¯¯
zhin-du
act
¯¯`¯
gyi-pa
afflictions

³¯'¯`
nyön-mong
after
¯``
je-su
all
¯¯
kün
all
¯'`¯¯
tham-ce
alone
¯¯¯¯
cig-tu
always
¯¯¯
tag-tu
and
¯¯
dang
arise
¯¯¯
jung
assembly
¯¯`
tshog
attachment
¯¯`¯
chag-pa
Avalokiteshvara
,¯¯`¯¯¯`
cen-re-zig
aversion
`¯¯
dang-wa
be free from
¯¯¯¯"¯
dang drel-wa
be not

min
be

yin
because of
¯¯
chir
become
¯¯¯
gyur
being (=dro-wa)
¯¯
dro
being
¯¯¯
dro-wa
bell
¯"¯
dril-bu
benefit
º¯
phen
246
benefit
º¯¯
phen-pa
blemish

kyön
bodhicitta
¯¯¯¯`'`
jang-chub-sem
bodhisattva

¯¯¯¯`'`¯¯¯
jang-chub-sem-pa
Buddha
`¯`;`
sang-gye
by stages, gradually

¯'¯`
rim-gyi
cause
;
gyu
come!
°¯
shog
command marker
¯¯
cig
compassion
¯¯`¯
thug-je
conqueror
¯¯'"¯¯¯`
com-den-de
continuation marker

¯¯
zhing
continuation marker

°¯
shing
continuation marker

¯¯
cing
day

³¯
nyin
dedicate
¯`
ngo
dharma
¯`
chö
diligence
¯¹¯¯
tsön-pa
endowed with
¯¯"¯¯
dang den-pa
enlightenment

¯¯¯¯
jang-chub
equanimity
¯¯¯`'`
tang-nyom
exceedingly
¯¯¯
rab-tu
excellent
'¯¯
chog
fall
¯¯
bab
far
¯¯¯
ring-po
father (honorific)*


yab
flower

'¯¯
me-tog
247
for the benefit of
¯¯¯
dön-du
forehead


ci-wo
from
¯`
ne
from
"`
le
furthermore
¯"¯
de-yang
giving

jin
gold
¯`¯
ser
grasp, hold

¯¯¯
dzin
great
¯¯¯
chen-po
guru
¯'
la-ma
happiness
¯¯¯
de-wa
have


heart (honorific)
¯¯`¯
thug-ka
hero
¯¯¯¯
pa-po
holy
¯'¯
dam-pa
Hung
¯

hung
I
¯¯¯
dag
ignorance
'°`
mi-she
illuminate
¯`"
sel
imperative: become!
¯¯
gyur
impermanent
'¯¯¯
mi-tag-pa
in that way
¯¯¯¯¯
de-zhing-du
in which way
¯"¯
ji-tar
individually

``¯
so-sor
itself, state of
³¯
nyi
karma
"`
le
know
'¯¯¯
khyen-pa
248
lack

me
lap

¯¯
pang
learn

lob
liberation
¯¯¯
thar-pa
light-rays
¯¯¯¯
ö-ser
like


tar
lion-throne
`¯¯
seng-thri
look

¯¯¯`
zig
lotus
¯¯
pe-ma
make offerings
'¯¯¯¯¯`
chö-pa bül
maker, doer
'¯¯'¯¯
dze-khen
mala (prayer-beads)
¯º¯¯
threng-wa
Manjushri
 ¯¯'¯¯"
jam-pel
many

'¯¯
mang-po
merit
¯`¯¯'`
sö-nam
mind
`'`
sem
misdeed
`¯¯
dig-pa
mother (honorific)*

"'
yum
near
³¯
nye-wa
nectar
¯¯¯¹
dü-tsi
night

'¯¯
tshen
obscuration
¨¯¯
drib-pa
offering
'¯¯¯
chö-pa
one who accomplishes
¯¯¯'¯¯
drub-khen
one who has, possessor
"¯¯
yö-pa
one who lacks
'¯¯
me-pa
ornament

¯;¯
gyen
249
overcome
¯¯'`
jom
permanent
¯¯¯
tag-pa
please accept

¯¯``¯`"
zhe su sol
please bestow
`"¯¯`"
tsal du sol
please bless
¯¯¯`¯¯`¯¯`"
jin-gyi lob tu sol
please consider
¯¯¯``¯`"
gong su sol
please look upon
¯¯¯``¯`"
zig su sol
plural marker
''`
nam
plural marker
¯¯
dag
possessing
¯¯
cen
possession marker
¯
‘i
possessor
"¯¯
yö-pa
practice
"¯"¯
lag-len
practice

len
praise


precious
¯¯¯¯
rin-po-che
prostrate
¯¯¯¯""
chag-tshal lo
protector
'¯¯¯
gön-po
qualities

"¯¯¯
yön-ten
refuge
,¯`¯¯`
kyab-ne
rejoice
¯``"¯¯
je-su yi-rang
remain
¯¯¯`
zhug
renouncer
¯¯¯'¯¯
pang-khen
retinue
¯¯¯
khor
reverentially

¯`¯¯
gü-par
sage
¯¯¯
thub-pa
250
Samantabhadra
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
kün-tu zang-po
samsara
¯¯¯¯
khor-wa
sangha
¯¯¯¯¯
gen-dün
seer, one who sees

¯¯¯`¯
zig-pa
self

¯¯
rang
sentient beings
`'`¯¯
sem-cen
shine
¯º
thro
sit
¯¯¯`
zhug
source
¯¯¯¯¯`
jung-ne
speak

¯`¯
sung
speaker

¯`¯¯
sung-wa
specially
"¯¯¯
lhag-pa
stand
¯¯¯`
zhug
subject marker
¯
ni
suffering
` ¯¯`"
dug-ngal
take refuge
,¯``'¯¯
kyab-su chi o
tathagata
¯¯¯¯¯°¯`¯
de-zhin sheg-pa
teachings
¯`¯¯
den-pa
that
¯
de
these (usually hon.)
¯''`
di nam
these (usually non-hon.)
¯¯¯
di dag )
this
¯¯
di

Three Jewels
¯¯¯'¯¯¯`'
kön-chog-sum
to, in
"
la
together with
¯¯¯¯`¯
dang ce-pa
until
¯¯¯
bar-du
unvirtuous
'¯¯¯
mi-ge-wa
251
vajra
¯¯
dor-je
Vajrasattva
¯¯`'`¯¯¯
dor-je-sem-pa
various
`¯¯`
na-tshog
very

°¯¯
shin-tu
victors’ heir
;"``
gyel-se
virtue
¯¯¯
ge-wa
wisdom
°`¯¯
she-rab

2

INVOCATION OF MANJUSHRI º Ú Ú º Ú ºÚ ºº º Ú º ºÊ º º Ú
tse-den khye kyi khyen-rab ö-zer gyi dag lo’i ti-mug mün-pa rab-sal ne ka dang ten-cö zhung-lug tog-pa-yi lo-drö pob pa’i nang-wa tsal du sol

With the brilliance of your wisdom, O compassionate one, illuminate the darkness of the ignorance of my mind. Then grant me the light of intellect and wisdom so that I may understand the teachings, the commentaries and the precepts.

3

PREFACE
This book has been written for students of the Buddhadharma who wish to read Tibetan texts in the original. It aims to provide introductory proficiency and makes no claims to be comprehensive in its scope. At the completion of Part One, a student should be able to read aloud and understand simple texts. We intend this course to be suitable for Tibetan language classes in dharma centres and universities, but we have attempted to make it simple enough for anyone who wishes to study independently. No more than three or four grammatical points are introduced in each lesson. A useful vocabulary of common words is introduced gradually. We have tried to restrict the number of new words in a lesson to about ten. We believe that learning should be a pleasureable experience and we have attempted to keep the explanatory text light and non-technical. There is a glossary of grammatical terms used in the book for nongrammarians in Appendix 3. Acknowledgments: Merril Gardiner, Pauline Westwood, Richard Stanley,. Special thanks are due toViv Laynne who spent many hours proofreading and offered many insightful criticisms of the text. Lama Rigzin gave freely of his time and expertise to check the Tibetan text. We would also like to acknowledge our debt to Dr Thomas Egenes who demonstrated so ably with his Introduction to Sanskrit (Motilal Barnarsidass, Delhi) that it is possible to write a truly modern textbook for an ancient language. The Tibetan language is the precious key to the treasure-house of the teachings of the Buddhas and our gurus. May the riches therein benefit the users of this book and all living beings!

4


1.

CONTENTS
Notes on pronunciation The alphabet: Rows 1 and 2 Simple sentences Word order The subject marker ni The alphabet: Rows 3 and 4 More about word order The locative marker la Adjectives The alphabet: Rows 5 and 6 The verb yö, ‘to have’ The conjunction dang, ‘and’ The plural marker nam The alphabet: Rows 7 and 8 Expressing non-existence with me Marking possession using ‘i The four vowel signs Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le The plural marker dag Summary of the alphabet and vowel signs Revision of all grammatical points Final consonants Making nouns from verbs using pa The pronouns di ‘this’ and de ‘that’ Subjoined letters Expressing qualities and attributes with cen, dang ce-pa and dang den-pa Surmounted letters, Prefixed letters The suffix sa The special uses of a-chung Review of all the rules of spelling and grammar 7

2.

17

3.

25

4.

33

5.

39

6.

47

7.

57

8. 9.

69 79

10.

85

11.

97

5

etc. The possession markers gi.12. Negation with mi and ma More about location markers The vocative: addressing by name Reading: Refuge Prayer Expressing a wish with shog Reading: The Four Immeasurable Thoughts The auxiliary verb gyur. 177 Appendices A1. Reading: Dedication Prayer More about adverbs The conjunctions kyang. 141 17. A5. A3. 167 20. kyi and gyi Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir Sentence markers Punctuation: she Agent markers Passive constructions More on verbal nouns How to use a dictionary Continuation markers Supplications with the pattern tsal du sol 107 13. 149 18. 115 14. A4. ‘become’ The command markers cig. A2. Questions and alternatives with am. 159 19. 123 15. Alphabet worksheets Key to exercises Grammatical tables Grammatical terms for non-grammarians Tibetan–English Glossary (Phonetic) Tibetan–English Glossary (Tibetan alphabetic) English–Tibetan Glossary 6 . 133 16. etc. etc.

1 d– LESSON ONE Notes on pronunciation Consonants Vowels The alphabet Rows 1 and 2 Grammar Word order The subject marker ni The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’ Note on definite and indefinite articles Vocabulary Exercises 7 .

and simultaneously add a puff of breath. th. the second gives the closest English equivalent. Aspiration means the addition of breath. that is. The aim is to provide a rough guide to pronunciation. Tibetan words will be written with the English alphabet approximately as they are pronounced. we will use a system of phonetic transcription. One point that warrants some attention is aspiration. chat.NOTES ON PRONUNCIATION While we are gradually introducing the letters of the Tibetan alphabet. with aspiration jar canyon tap tap. the sounds of Tibetan are not difficult for a speaker of English. hold your hand in front of your mouth and say kha. say ka. rather than perfect accuracy. You should be able to feel a puff of air. for example. To test if you are aspirating correctly. tsh and ph. Words in phonetic transcription are shown in a different font like this: ka and kha. with aspiration. with aspiration. As your proficiency develops. with aspiration gap sing. To make the aspirated sound kha. The first column in each box give the Tibetan sound. k kh g ng c ch j ny t th kite kite. listen carefully to advanced students and to native Tibetan speakers to improve your pronunciation. not like English th in ‘that’ dam nut pat ts tsh dz w zh z y r l cats cats. but not like cat chat. remember that the h represents aspiration. ch. It is rather like saying ka and ha at the same time. The following tables show all the sounds of the Tibetan language. not like ch in ‘chat’ adze wet leisure zoo yes rat let d n p sh shut 8 . In the sounds kh. Consonants By and large.

Vowels The vowels are pronounced according to the following table. Our phonetic transcription. ch is pronounced like the ch in chat. Transliteration means writing down every single Tibetan letter with a corresponding English letter. The word for Buddha is transliterated into English as sangs-rgyas because this 9 . Resist the temptation to pronounce them as we do in English. th. You might already know the common Tibetan greeting tra-shi de-leg. as in tra. are not necessarily the same. on the other hand. Transliteration shows how a word is actually spelled in Tibetan. The first syllable contains such a retroflexed r.e. with aspiration. the tip of the tongue is arched up and back. The spelling and pronunciation of a given word in Tibetan. as in English. ph and tsh are aspirated. shows how a word is pronounced. there are many silent letters that are not pronounced at all. is different from transliteration. Retroflexed r When r occurs in second place. the system described above.. i. not like English ph in ‘phone’ bat mat s h sat hat Points to remember • • • c is pronounced like the ch in chat. kh. but with aspiration. and it rests on the roof of your mouth.ph b m pat.e. it is retroflexed. For example. similar to the oo in food Transcription and transliteration Please note that phonetic transcription. i. The five ‘pure’ vowels on the left can be pronounced as they are in Italian or German: a i u e o father hit put get hot ö ü like the ir in girdle or the oe in Goethe like the u in French tu.

Notice how the back of your tongue is pressed against the back of your mouth. the lips. so its long stroke is last (that is. In these cases. Say each of these sounds aloud.represents each of the Tibetan letters. Row 1. on the left). The letters of Row 1 are formed at the back of the mouth. How do you tell kha and ga apart? kha is the first of the pair. There are two items below each letter. ka — kha ‘mouth’ ga — nga — Hint. the back or roof of the mouth. ga is the last of the pair. but is transcribed as sang-gye. The rules for pronunciation are on page 7. 10 . on right). This is the approach adopted by the very first Tibetan grammarians who studied in India. For the first five rows at least. the letters of each row are articulated in the same place in the mouth. Many of these letters are actual stand-alone words in their own right. for example. because this gives the approximate pronunciation. the teeth. The first is the name of the letter. THE ALPHABET: ROWS 1 AND 2 We think of the letters of the English alphabet as a single continuous string of the 26 letters from A to Z. the second item is the meaning of the word. so its long vertical stroke comes first (that is. etc. and are technically known as velar sounds. The Tibetan alphabet of 30 letters is traditionally arranged in eight rows of three or four letters per row.

1 Word order and the subject marker ni In a typical simple English sentence.Row 2 These sounds are formed by pressing the tip of your tongue against front of your palate. a strong and elegant hand was one of the prerequisites for entry into a government job. then the distinctive body of the letter is added stroke by stroke. strokes at the top and towards the left are written first. from top to bottom. In the old days. the horizontal line is always written first from left to right. Form each letter with care. When writing a horizontal stroke. Turn to the Tibetan alphabet worksheets in Appendix One at the back of this volume. For example. in the first letter. Each stroke is written from top to bottom. Learn to write beautifully. we might say X is Y In Tibetan. Tibetans would say 11 . Young students spend many years perfecting the art of writing. Regard it as part of your practice. GRAMMAR 1. hence the name palatal consonants. When writing a vertical one. ka. Generally. then the ones to the right. joy and love. Observe the stroke order for the first eight letters. Ê ca — cha ‘part’ ja ‘tea’ nya ‘fish’ In Tibetan culture good handwriting is highly valued. The basic order in which strokes are written is from top to bottom and from left to right. the word order is different. your pen moves from left to right.The stroke the left is completed first.

the ni indicates that di ‘this’ is the subject. or according to person (like ‘am’ and ‘are’). The subject is the main word or the ‘doer’ of an action in a sentence. guru is’. It is the original one-sizefits-all Tibetan verb for every occasion! Similarly.2 The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’ In the following examples. ‘This is the guru’. usually the subject. The word ni always follows the word it emphasises. di ni la-ma yin This (subject marker) guru is ‘This is the guru’. In the sentence. min means ‘is not’. ‘this is the guru’. Tibetans say ‘This. The word min means ‘is not’ and is simply the opposite of yin. ‘was’ or ‘were’. The sentence above could be translated as ‘This is the guru’. nor does it change with singular and plural subjects (like ‘is’ or ‘are’). 1.X Y is We say ‘This is a guru’. The verb yin may be translated as ‘is’. ‘was not’ etc. ‘are not’. or ‘This is a guru’ depending on the context. the subject is ‘I’. di ni la-ma yin. In the sentence. In ‘I read the book’. The verb yin does not change in the past and present tenses (like ‘is’ or ‘was’). ‘are’. The word ni is often used to mark the most important words in a sentence. the word-for-word translation in English is given underneath the Tibetan words. 1. It is used in just the same way as yin: di ni la-ma min This (subject marker) guru is not ‘This is not the guru’. ‘this’ is the subject. 12 .3 Note on definite and indefinite articles Tibetan has no definite or indefinite articles corresponding to the words ‘a’ or ‘the’ in English. You will have to use your own judgement as to which is more appropriate.

We present vocabulary items in phonetic transcription first. Because there is no ‘a’ or ‘the’ in Tibetan. Complete the work sheets for these letters in Appendix 1 1. Learn to recognise and write the letters of Rows 1 and 2 of the Tibetan alphabet.1. Here are some simple sentences to begin with. you will have 13 . What about the things that look like seagulls or feathers in a cap? They are the vowel signs.2.VOCABULARY Here is the vocabulary for the following exercises. and in Tibetan second. Translate them into English. EXERCISES 1. They are called tseg and mark the end of a word or syllable. We are not expecting you to learn the Tibetan forms at this stage: they are simply to be enjoyed! Nouns la-ma sang-gye chö gen-dün sem-cen guru Buddha dharma Ú Ú Ê ºÚ Ú Ú sangha sentient beings Pronouns dag di de I this that Particles ni subject marker Verbs yin min to be to be not Feeling curious about those little black dots mixed in with the Tibetan letters? Good.

f. I am not a guru. i. di ni sem-cen yin e. That is the guru. h. c. de ni sang-gye min c. de ni chö min h. a.to add these to the English yourself using your own judgement. Don’t forget the marker ni which should follow each subject. That is the Buddha. j. dag ni la-ma min 1. di ni sang-gye yin f. di ni dag yin g. sang-gye ni la-ma yin j. dag ni sem-cen yin 14 . b.4 Translate these sentences into English. The guru is a Buddha.3 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using phonetic transcription. This is not the sangha. This is not a guru. d. as long as the general sense is the same. a di ni la-ma yin b. de ni gen-dün yin d. That is the dharma. g. e. Don’t be disappointed if your answer does not match the answer in the back exactly. di ni gen-dün min i. 1. a. This is the sentient being. The answers to all the exercises are given in Appendix 2. I am not a Buddha. This is not the dharma.

de ni sem-cen min c. That is not the sentient being. I am the Buddha. That is not the sangha. This is the sangha.b.5 And just for practice: a. de ni chö yin f. h. I am not a sentient being. d. i. The Buddha is a guru. This is not the Buddha. de ni gen-dün min d. di ni chö yin h. 15 . I am the guru. b. That is not the Buddha. di ni sang-gye min i. de ni dag min g. j. de ni gen-dün min 1. c. dag ni la-ma yin e. f. I am a sentient being. g. e. dag ni sang-gye yin j.

16 . His teachers gave him a Sanskrit nickname. The most capable proved to be a scion of the clan of Thön from Central Tibet.According to tradition. the first great king of Tibet. Songtsen Gampo (b. Thönmi Sambhota studied Sanskrit with great pundits in India. meaning ‘the perfect Tibetan’. he dispatched a party of fifteen young noblemen to India to be educated. To this end. 617AD) perceived a need for a written language for his new nation. It was he who divised the Tibetan alphabet with thirty consonants and four vowels that has been passed down to us almost unchanged. Sambhota.

2 d– LESSON TWO The alphabet Rows 3 and 4 Grammar More about word order The location marker la Adjectives Vocabulary Exercises 17 .

so they are called labials. ‘on’ Row 6 The sounds of these letters are all made by controlling the flow of air through the lips. they are called dentals. Don’t forget that the second letter in each of the first five rows is aspirated. ta — tha — Ú da ‘now’ na ‘if’.THE ALPHABET: ROWS 3 AND 4 Row 4 Because these letters are articulated with the tip of the tongue just above the back of your teeth. pa — pha ‘father’ º ba ‘cow’ ma ‘mother’ 18 .

That is just what they do—they mark the end of the sentence.’ dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o I (subject marker) Buddha to take refuge ‘I take refuge in the Buddha. each syllable has a stand-alone. the lo and o that follow chag-tshal ‘prostrate’ and kyab-su chi ‘take refuge’ are called ‘sentence markers’. ‘I’ is the subject and ‘the book’ is the object. then the word order tends to be subject object-verb.GRAMMAR 2. in which the word order is usually subject-verb object. The subject is the ‘doer’ of the action. Precisely how they are formed will be dealt with in a later chapter. In addition to individual syllables. As mentioned earlier. This pattern differs from English.Although it is difficult to define what constitutes a word in Tibetan. 19 . just as ‘black’ and ‘bird’ combine to make the English word ‘blackbird’. In Tibetan. What are those hyphens for? In the phonetic transcription. separate unit of meaning. The object is the thing that has the action done to it.1 More about word order We saw in Lesson 1 that a simple sentence may consist of a subject and a verb. that is. if the verb has an object.’ In English we have to say ‘I take refuge in…’ but the Tibetan actually says ‘I take refuge to…’. we use hyphens to separate syllables in polysyllabic words. These words would each have separate entries in a dictionary. Here are two examples: dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo I (subject guru marker) to prostrate ‘I prostrate to the guru. why are some words hyphenated and others not? Tibetan is a syllabic language. In the sentence ‘I read the book’. there are many words that are made up of multiple syllables.

not the sound ‘th’ in ‘thing’. In English one says ‘the holy guru’. but Tibetans say ‘guru holy’.2 The location marker la The word la that follows la-ma and sang-gye in the two examples above indicates the location.2. Most Tibetan nouns can be interpreted either as singular or plural depending on context. depending on the context.3 Adjectives Adjectives are words what describe or qualify nouns. 2. place or direction of the action of the verb. ‘Buddha to’ means ‘to the Buddha’ or ‘in the Buddha’. literally. in Verbs 20 . Note also that the c in ce is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in chin. In Tibetan. Thus sang-gye la. Remember that tham begins with an aspirated t. For example: la-ma dam-pa sang-gye tham-ce guru holy Buddhas all ‘holy guru’ ‘all Buddhas’ Notice that sang-gye in this context is plural: ‘Buddhas’. VOCABULARY Nouns cen-re-zig Chenrezig. but note that it follows the word it relates to. There is a plural marker that is used to make the plural sense explicit—we shall encounter this before long. In this case it functions much like the word ‘to’ or ‘in’ in English. Avalokiteshvara gön-po kyab-ne protector º Ú ÊÚ refuge Adjectives dam-pa tham-ce holy all Particles la to. not like the ‘c’ in cat. simple adjectives usually follow the noun.

1. b. la-ma tham-ce ni gön-po yin g.chag-tshal lo kyab-su chi o prostrate º take refuge Notes on vocabulary We are actually cheating a little with these last two. The lo of chagtshal lo and the o of kyab-su chi o are not strictly part of the verb. sem-cen tham-ce sang-gye la chag-tshal lo i. chö ni kyab-ne yin 2. di ni kyab-ne min f. de ni la-ma dam-pa min c. 2. Write out the letters for Rows 1 and 2 ten times each. that is. the mark the end of the sentence. sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin d. I take refuge in the sangha. EXERCISES 2. Learn to recognise and write the letters of Rows 3 and 4. Translate the following sentences into English. gön-po ni kyab-ne yin h. I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the guru. We will examine sentence markers in detail in a later chapter. Complete worksheets in Appendix 1 for Rows 3 and 4. di ni sang-gye dam-pa yin b. a. la-ma dam-pa ni kyab-ne yin j.2 Memorise the vocabulary.4 Translate into Tibetan using the optional subject marker ni in each case: a. c. They are sentence markers. 21 . In the mean time.3. d. simply treat each of these as a single unit of meaning. cen-re-zig ni gön-po yin e. 2. I take refuge in the dharma.

a. la-ma ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo 2. f. sem-cen ni cen-re-zig la chag-tshal lo i. a. sem-cen ni gen-dün la chag-tshal lo d. All the Buddhas are a refuge. I prostrate to the Buddha. I prostrate to the dharma. This is holy Chenrezig. h. h. dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o b.6 Translate the following sentences into English using the subject marker ni in each case. la-ma ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o f. dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo g. 2. I prostrate to all the Buddhas. i. I prostrate to the guru. c. 22 . Sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha. g. j. i. I prostrate to the sangha. dag ni chö la kyab-su chi o e. I am a guru. b. This is the Buddha. Chenrezig is a refuge. The Buddha is a guru. Sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha.e. f. sem-cen ni chö la chag-tshal lo c. dag ni chö la chag-tshal lo h. j. d.5 Translate these into English. g. The guru is a protector e. The dharma is a refuge. The Buddha is a refuge.

la-ma dam-pa ni kyab-ne yin 23 . sang-gye tham-ce ni gön-po yin i. dag ni kyab-ne tham-ce la kyab-su chi o g. la-ma dam-pa ni gön-po yin c.2. These sentences combine adjectives with the use of yin ‘to be’. dag ni la-ma tham-ce la chag-tshal lo d. chag-tshal lo ‘prostrate’ and kyab-su chi o ‘take refuge’. sem-cen tham-ce ni la-ma dam-pa la chag-tshal lo h. sang-gye tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin b. Enjoy! a. cen-re-zig ni la-ma dam-pa yin j. la-ma tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin f.7 Challenge section. dag ni sang-gye tham-ce la chag-tshal lo e.

24 .

‘and’ The plural marker nam Vocabulary Exercises 25 . ‘to have’ The conjunction dang.3 d– LESSON THREE The alphabet Rows 5 and 6 Grammar The verb yö.

It means ‘fox’ by itself.THE ALPHABET: ROWS 5 AND 6 Row 5 The first three letters are similar to ca. an animal that occasionally makes a sinister appearance in Sanskrit literature. Remember that tsha is like the Russian tsar (with aspiration). and is the Tibetan translation for jackal. In an otherwise glowing eulogy to the ‘excellently crafted’ Tibetan alphabet. This makes them tsa. tsa — tsha — dza — wa ‘fox’ The letter wa is very rare. not like ‘cha’. but note the little ‘prayer-flag’ on the ‘roof’ of each. tsha and dza. cha and ja. one fourteenth century writer made the telling admission that ‘the sole dispensable letter is wa’! Row 6 zha ‘hat’ 26 za ‘food’ a-chung — .

How you translate it depends on the context.’ cen-re-zig la pema yö Chenrezig (to) lotus has ‘Chenrezig has a lotus. But where is the subject marker ni? Gone. at a later date. The dag or ‘I’ is the subject.’ 27 . More will be said of a-chung. the subject. Here are two more examples: sem-cen la kyab-ne yö sentient beings (to) refuge have ‘Sentient beings have a refuge. la-ma or ‘guru’ is the object and yö is the verb.How are you going to tell za and ja apart? The second letter looks a bit lie a E in English. Australian readers will doubtless recall the famous EJ Holden.1 The verb yö. i. In sentences with yö. Here is an example: dag la la-ma yö I to guru have ‘I have a guru. the letter that looks like E is pronounced like J. meaning ‘in’ or ‘to’. This is a very important basic pattern that you will see over and over again: X la Y yö This means ‘X has Y’.’ We still have the basic subject-object-verb pattern here. ‘EJ’. the person who is doing the ‘having’. GRAMMAR 3. Like yin. that is. ‘has’ and ‘had’. If it’s the other one. then its is like Z. yö does not change with case or number. ‘to have’ The verb yö is a very important word that accounts for all forms of ‘to have’ in English: ‘have’. Just think to yourself.e. is marked with la. which has some unique properties.

’ 3. Writers frequently included or omitted these optional words to arrive at the desired number of syllables per line. deities. that is. etc. VOCABULARY Nouns dor-je dor-je-sem-pa pe-ma Ú Ú vajra Ú Vajrasattva lotus 28 . thus sang-gye may mean ‘Buddha’ or ‘Buddhas’ depending on the context. Many of the dharma texts of interest to practitioners are written in verse. Now.2 The conjunction dang.’ Nam is generally an honorific word. it is usually reserved for use with beings worthy of veneration: gurus. la-ma nam guru ‘gurus’ dag ni (plural) sang-gye nam la chag-tshal lo I (subj.) Buddha (plural) to prostrate ‘I prostrate to the Buddhas. when a Tibetan writer wishes to make it clear that a plural is meant. Buddhas.3 The plural marker nam We mentioned earlier that Tibetan nouns may be singular or plural. There are other non-honorific plural markers that we will encounter later.3. a plural marker nam may be added. ‘and’ The word dang is used to join two words together in much the same way as ‘and’ in English: kyab-ne dang gön-po refuge and protector ‘The refuge and protector’ la-ma dang sang-gye guru and Buddha ‘The guru and the Buddha.

d. 3.2 Memorise the vocabulary. You may familiar with word in its modern form. a. This is actually a loan-word from the Sanskrit singha. It is white in colour. with a brilliant turquoise mane.1. Complete the works sheet for these letters. EXERCISES 3. The seng in seng-thri is a contraction of the more usual word for lion. seng-ge. c.3. the so that follows zhug so is not strictly part of the verb. Review all the letters of Rows 1–4. dag la la-ma yö sem-cen la kyab-ne yö dor-je-sem-pa la dor-je yö cen-re-zig la pe-ma yö 29 . but is also a sentence marker. Singh. 3.seng-thri lion-throne (remember: aspirated th. the common Indian surname. an auspicious beast that inhabits the highest Himalayan peaks. not ‘th’ in ‘thing’) threng-wa dril-bu º º Ú Ú º mala (prayer-beads) bell Verbs yö zhug so to have is seated Particles dang nam and plural marker Notes on vocabulary As with the lo of chag-tshal lo and the o of kyab-su chi o in the previous lesson. Learn to recognise and write the letters of Rows 5 and 6. b. The seng-ge is actually the mythical snow-lion. Translate the following sentences into English.

f. The guru is seated on a lion-throne. h. b. Vajrasattva is seated on a lotus. j. i. d. c. j. I have a varja. f. h. The guru has a mala. f. d. The guru has a vajra.e. j. i. e. b. g. g. g. i. 3. Vajrasattva is seated on a lotus. e. h. All sentient beings have a protector. dag ni la-ma nam la chag-tshal lo dag ni sang-gye nam la kyab-su chi o dag la la-ma dang gön-po yö sang-gye nam ni gön-po yin la-ma la dor-je dang dril-bu yö la-ma dang sang-gye tham-ce ni kyab-ne yin dor-je-sem-pa ni seng-thri dang pe-ma la zhug so la-ma nam la kyab-ne yö sang-gye nam ni kyab-ne yin cen-re-zig la pe-ma dang threng-wa yö 30 . sang-gye ni seng-thri la zhug so la-ma la threng-wa yö cen-re-zig ni pe-ma la zhug so cen-re-zig la threng-wa yö sem-cen tham-ce la gön-po yö dor-je-sem-pa la dril-bu yö 3. All the Buddhas are seated on a lion-throne. a. The guru has a lion-throne.5 Translate the following sentences into English.4 Translate the following sentences into Tibetan using yö or zhug. Chenrezig has a lotus. c. a.

c. 3. b. translate the following into Tibetan. i. Use the vocabulary lists for Lessons 1. a. All sentient beings take refuge in the gurus. Fun Section: if you feel like a challenge. try transcribing the first three sentences of Exercise 3. Chenrezig is seated on a holy lotus.3 into Tibetan script. The Buddhas and gurus are a refuge. d.3. Vajrasattva has a vajra and bell. j. g.6 Using nam and dang where appropriate.7. I have a vajra and bell. The gurus are seated on a lotus. h. e. 31 . The gurus and Buddhas are seated on a lion-throne. Chenrezig and the gurus are protectors. f. 2 and 3. The protectors have a vajra. The guru prostrates to the Buddhas.

or Dor-je-sem-pa in Tibetan.Vajrasattva. 32 . holds a varja in one hand and a bell in the other.

4 d– LESSON FOUR The alphabet Rows 7 and 8 Grammar Expressing non-existence with me Marking possession with ‘i Vocabulary Exercises 33 .

Row 7 ya — ra ‘goat’ la ‘on’.. Row 8. It also means ‘mountain pass’. ie. ‘the pass of Shangri’. flowing sounds. is in truth a mixed bag of letters articulated in different parts of the mouth.THE ALPHABET: ROWS 7 AND 8 Row 7 are called the liquids as all three sounds are said to be fluid. ‘mountain pass’ The letter la in the the common word for ‘to’ or ‘on’ that we have been using in the exercises. Row 8 sha ‘meat’ sa ‘earth’ ‘place’ ha — A a — 34 . ‘to’. You will recognise it in the mythical land of ‘Shangri-la’. The final row of the alphabet. It is quite common for words in Tibetan to have two completely unrelated meanings.

the possession marker is ’i. ‘to have no’. literally. We will discuss possession markers for words ending in consonants in a later chapter. The word sa is also used in Dharma texts to translate the Sanskrit word ‘bhumi’. For example: ‘the guru’s throne’. In the case of nouns that end in vowels. which means ‘to lack’. GRAMMAR 4. Other ways of translating me include ‘to be without’. the opposite of yö ‘to have’ is a very useful word me. You can see from the above examples that there are several different ways of translating sentences with me. Guru is the noun and guru’s is the possessive form. Here are some examples: la-ma’i seng-thri guru’s la-ma’i lion-throne chö 35 . 4. ‘the place of gods’. or ‘to be without’.1 Expressing non-existence with me Put simply. As in constructions using yö. ‘to not have’. ‘there is no’. In the days of the first Tibetan kings. Lhasa was known as Ra-sa. What do you think that means? Hint: see the illustration at the start of this lesson. dag la gön-po me To me protector is lacking ‘I do not have a protector’ or ‘I have no protector. We can do the same thing in Tibetan by adding possession markers to nouns.2 Marking possession with ’i In English we can make the possessive form of a noun by adding an apostrophe and s.Notes on vocabulary: the word sa in the sense of ‘place’ occurs in the word Lhasa.’ sem-cen la kyab-ne me To sentient beings refuge is lacking ‘Sentient beings do not have a refuge’ or ‘Sentient beings have no refuge. the primary subject of the sentence is marked with la. etc. meaning spiritual stage or level.

Be careful not to confuse ge-wa ‘virtue’ (think g for ‘goodness’) and de-wa ‘happiness’ (think d for ‘delight’). 4.2 Memorise the vocabulary. VOCABULARY Nouns khor-wa ge-wa dig-pa de-wa kyön dug-ngal Ú º Ú ºÚ º Ú º º samsara virtue misdeed happiness blemish suffering Adjectives tag-pa chen-po permanent great Verbs me Ú to lack Marker ‘i possession marker EXERCISES 4.guru’s dharma Note the pronunciation of these forms: ma’i rhymes with ‘say’ and ‘weigh’ in English.3 Translate the following into English.1. Learn to recognise and write the letters of Rows 7 and 8. 4. starting with 36 . we will slowly introduce Tibetan spelling into the exercises. Complete the worksheets for these two rows of letters. From now on.

4. khor-wa’i dug-ngal d. g. The little dot after the la is called a tseg. ge-wa’i de-wa b. i. e.4 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using yö or me. a. b. The refuge is without blemish. khor-wa khor-wa la-ma khor-wa sang-gye sem-cen gen-dün khor-wa de-wa me dug-ngal yö dig-pa me ge-wa me kyön me de-wa me dug-ngal me dig-pa yö dug-ngal me kyön me c. There is no virtue in samsara. Sentient beings have no happiness. Remember that the plural marker is generally optional in Tibet. I do not have a guru. j. It marks the end of a word or syllable. so it is quite acceptable to translate ‘sentient beings’ as sem-cen. c. b. g. e. d. The Buddha has no suffering. i. There is no happiness in samsara. f. Sentient beings have no refuge. gön-po nam cen-re-zig 4. d. The protector has no misdeed. h. The guru has no blemish. j.5 Translate the following phrases into English. There is suffering in samsara. a. h.the location marker la . f. la-ma’i threng-wa c. khor-wa’i kyab-ne 37 . a.

la-ma’i ge-wa j. In samsara there is no permanent happiness. All sentient beings have great suffering. The gurus have great virtue. a. g. c. All sentient beings have a permanent refuge. In samsara there is great suffering. I have no permanent happiness. gön-po’i seng-thri f.6 Translate these sentences into English. h. j. 38 . la-ma’i pe-ma 4. All Buddhas have great virtue. e. i. dig-pa’i dug-ngal i. In samsara there is no permanent suffering. d. dor-je-sem-pa’i dor-je h. b. The Buddhas have virtue. f. remembering that the simple adjectives follow the noun to which they refer. la-ma’i de-wa g.e. The sangha has great happiness.

5

LESSON FIVE
The alphabet The four vowel signs Grammar Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le The plural marker dag
Vocabulary Exercises

39

THE ALPHABET: VOWEL SIGNS
The letters of the alphabet that we have introduced in the preceding chapters all have an inherent vowel sound a. That is to say, in their unadorned state, they are all pronounced as if they are followed a. The letter as it stands is pronounced ka, is pronounced kha, and so on. In addition to a, there are four other vowel sounds in Tibetan: i, u, e and o. The following table shows the four vowel signs and gives the Tibetan name for each one.

AAA
i u e
gi-gu zhab-kyu
ka + gi-gu = ki

o
na-ro

dreng-po

It may help to think of them in this way: gi-gi is i, zhab-kyu is u, dreng-po is e and na-ro is o.
Gi-gu, dreng-po and na-ro are added above the root letter; Only zhabkyu sits below it.

In theory, any of these four vowel signs may be added to any of the 30 main root letters. For example, to make the sound ki, take the root letter ka and add a gi-gu to change the vowel sound to i. The result is ki. or in Tibetan +

A

=

It is important to be able to spell aloud in Tibetan because many words are pronounced the same but have different spellings. First say the root letter, then the vowel and finally the resulting syllable:
ka gi-gu ki

40

ka zhab-kyu ku ka dreng-po ke ka na-ro ko

This is how the vowel sounds work on ka. What about some other letters?
la na-ro lo tha zhab-kyu thu (remember: th = aspirated t) ma gi-gu mi kha na-ro kho

GRAMMAR 5.1 Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le
Both ne and le are used almost interchangeably to express ‘from’. Sometimes the context may demand that ne and le be translated as ‘among’, ‘through’, ‘on account of’, etc. Some grammars suggest subtle differences in the use of these two words, but such nuances are beyond us here. As with the location marker la, ne and le also follow the noun to which they refer. For example:
sang-gye ne la-ma ne dor-je le

Buddha

from

guru

from

vajra

from

‘from the Buddha’

‘from the guru’

‘from the vajra’

A special use of ne in the sense of ‘from’ is in the set phrase de ne, which means literally ‘from that’, but is used express the idea of ‘then’ or ‘thereupon’. This is a very common phrase.
de-ne dü-tsi bab

then

nectar falls

‘Then the nectar falls.’ In addition to the sense of ‘from’ ne has other important functions that we will introduce later.

41

5.2 The plural marker dag
You will remember that we introduced the plural marker nam in Chapter 3. This is often used with words deserving respect, such as Buddhas, gurus, etc. For other nouns, where the author wishes to make a noun explicitly plural, the common marker is dag. For example, di ‘this’, di-dag ‘these’. Like nam, the plural marker dag is generally optional. A noun in Tibetan, although written in the singular, may imply either a singular or plural sense, depending on the context. Don’t confuse this dag with the word for ‘I’. You should be able to tell them apart by the context. They are pronounced the same, but as you will soon see, they are spelled differently in Tibetan.

VOCABULARY
Nouns
ö-ser hung dü-tsi

Ú C ºÚÚ ÚÚ Ú

light-rays the syllable Hung nectar

Pronouns
di dag

these (usually non-honorific) these (usually honorific)

di nam

Verbs
jung bab thro

arise

ºº

fall shine

Particles
ne le dag

from from

Ú

plural marker

Notes on vacabulary: Don’t forget the th is thro is an aspirated t, the r is retroflexed and the o is like the o in hot. It is nothing like ‘thro’ in American English. 42

Just for interest, what are those extra squiggles above and below the syllable hung? This is how Tibetan write the sanskrit syllable hum. The root letter is ha.There is an a-chung with a zhab-kyu underneath it to represent the long u sound of the Sanskrit. The cipher above the root letter is called the chandra-bindu or ‘moon and droplet’ in Sanskrit. They represent the nasalisation of the vowel sound (this is the m in hum). We have chosen to transliterate this as hung, but you will also see hum.

EXERCISES
5.1 Memorise the vocabulary. 5.2 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables (ie. for the first example, write ka gi-gu ki).

a.

b.

c.

d.

Ú

e.

f.

g.

h.

i.

j.

k.

l.

m.

n.

o.

Ú

p.

q.

r.

s.

º

t.

5.3 Using the Tibetan alphabet, write out the final resulting syllables for these spellings a. ma dreng-po me c. ka zhab-kyu ku e. tsha na-ro tsho g. ta zhab-kyu tu i.
na gi-gu ni

b. kha na-ro kho d. ja gi-gu ji f. ca gi-ku ci h. da breng-bu de j. la na-ro lo

43

de-wa e. f. 5. Dharma arises from guru. chö 5. Nectar falls from the guru. Rays of light shine from Chenrezig. Suffering arises from samsara. ö-zer c. d. chö d. kyön i. we also introduce the Tibetan spelling for la-ma. and as a location marker. di nam 44 yin . dug-ngal f.4d. Nectar arises from the hung. a. b. a. Happiness arises from the dharma.6 Translate these sentences that use the plural endings dag and nam.5 Translate these sentences into Tibetan using either le or ne. so the pronunciation is la-ma. Nectar falls from Vajrasattva. The ba is silent. h. dü-tsi h.5. Virtue arises from the Buddha g. Do you recognise the subject marker ni in Tibetan? In sentence 5. e. a.4 Translate these sentence with ne and le into English. k. ge-wa g. c. We will begin to explain the joys of silent letters in Lesson 9. Also. Virtue arises from the guru. Rays of light shine from the refuge. ö-zer j. dü-tsi hung le bab hung le thro sang-gye ne jung ne jung dig-pa ne jung chö ne jung de ne jung dig-pa ne jung sang-gye le thro ne jung b. You will recognise the letters ba with la underneath it and ma.6g. i. Look out for the little trap in 5. la is used in both its senses here: marking the ‘possessor’ or ‘lacker’ with yö and me.

i. di dag c.b. f. di dag e. di dag d. g. j. di nam dor-je yin ö-zer min kyab-ne me kyab-ne me sem-cen nam nam chag-tshal lo ge-wa dag yö nam ge-wa chen-po yö gön-po chen-po yin seng-thri zhug so sang-gye nam 45 . dag h.

The vajra. that the great yogin Padmasambhava subdued the malign geomantic forces that held sway over Tibet and rendered the country a safe haven for Buddhism. according to tradition. and hence ‘diamond’. The varja and the ritual bell or dril-bu symbolise the method and wisdom of the dharma practitioner’s path. the sovereign and most indestructable of materials. is rich in symbolism. Together they mean ‘lord of stones’. or dor-je as it is known in Tibetan. In Tibetan do means ‘stone’ and je is ‘lord or master’. 46 . The two together are pronounced ‘dor-je’. It was originally the thunderbolt scepter of the Hindu god Indra. It was with his magical vajra.

6 d– LESSON SIX Alphabet Summary of the Tibetan alphabet with the four vowel signs Revision of all grammatical points Consolidated list of all vocabulary Grammar Vocabulary Exercises 47 .

Photocopy it. add a border.THE ALPHABET Here is the Tibetan alphabet in its entirety. pin it up. colour it in. send a copy to a friend… d– The Tibetan Alphabet ka kha ga nga ca Ê ta cha ja nya tha da Ú º na pa pha ba ma tsa tsha dza wa zha za achung ya ra la sha sa ha A a o A A A A i 48 u e .

sang-gye la Buddha to ‘to the Buddha’ The verbs yin ‘to be’ and min ‘to be not’ The verb yin covers all the uses of the English verb to be: am. We are not going to introduce any new material. but we will review all the topics we have covered so far. you will often find the verb near the end. If you can find a ni in a sentence. It is well worth while to take the time to ensure that the foundation is in good shape. It may mean: to.GRAMMAR In this lesson we are going to pause for breath. are. di ni dor-je yin di ni la-ma min This varja is This guru is not ‘This is a vajra. The location marker la The word la marks the location. In a sense we have now laid the foundation on which your knowledge of Tibetan is to be built. is was. whatever precedes it is usually the subject. Look at the position of the ni in the example above.’ 49 . di ni la-ma yin This guru is ‘This is the guru.’ The subject marker ni The subject of a sentence is often marked with ni. at or on.’ ‘This is not the guru. Word order The basic Tibetan word order is subject-verb or subject object-verb. etc. in. It is useful to remember that when you are looking at a Tibetan sentence. action or direction of the verb.

Thus the very common pattern X la Y yö means ‘X has Y’. in Tibetan we add a ‘i to nouns that end in vowels. nam may be added (generally honorific) or dag for non-honorific. sang-gye nam di dag ‘Buddhas’ ‘these’ The possession marker ‘i Just as in English we add ‘s to indicate possession.Adjectives Simple adjectives such as tham-ce ‘all’ and chen-po ‘great’. 50 . but the ‘haver’ or possessor’ who does the having is marked with a la. follow the noun they refer to. depending on the context. la-ma’i seng-thri guru’s lion-throne ‘the guru’s lion-throne’. sang-gye tham-ce dig-pa chen-po Buddhas all misdeed great ‘all the Buddhas’ ‘great misdeed’ The verbs yö and me The verb yö means to have. dag la dor-je yö sang-gye la kyön me I vajra have Buddhas blemish lack ‘I have a vajra’ ‘The Buddhas have no blemish’ The plural markers nam and dag A simple noun in Tibetan can be either singular or plural. The word me ‘to lack’ is the opposite of yö and is constructed in the same way with la. Where the author wishes to make the plural explicit.

NOUNS cen-re-zig chö Avalokiteshvara. which. Chenrezig dharma happiness misdeed vajra Vajrasattva bell suffering nectar sangha virtue protector ºÚ º dig-pa Ú dor-je Ú dor-je-sem-pa Ú Ú dril-bu º dug-ngal Ú º dü-tsi ºÚÚ gen-dün Ú Ú ge-wa Ú º de-wa gön-po hung khor-wa kyab-ne kyön la-ma ö-zer C º Ú º the syllable Hung samsara refuge blemish guru light-rays 51 .Expressing ‘from’ with ne and le The sense of ‘from’ is expressed by the words ne and le. Tib. like the other markers we have studied also follow the word to which they refer. sang-gye ne dor-je le Buddha from varja from ‘from the Buddha’ ‘from the vajra’ VOCABULARY Here are all the words we have covered.

pe-ma sang-gye sem-cen seng-thri threng-wa lotus Buddha Ê º ºº º Ú sentient beings lion-throne mala (prayer-beads) VERBS bab chag-tshal jung kyab-su chi me min thro yin yö zhug so fall prostrate arise take refuge to lack to be not shine to be º Ú to have is seated ADJECTIVES chen-po dam-pa tag-pa tham-ce great Ú ÊÚ ºÚ ÚÚ Ú Ú holy permanent all PRONOUNS dag de dag de nam de I those* those ** that 52 .

i. f. e. ETC dag dang la le nam ne ni plural marker* and to. j. b. di dag yin gönyö kyab-ne me chag-tshal chag-tshal yin sem-cen dag sang-gye nam sem-cen tham-ce cen-re-zig di gön- kyab-ne chen- sang-gye yin kyab-ne chenyin Ú nam chö dam- sang gye ne jung kyab-ne le thro ö-zer tham-ce 53 . d. h. g. in from plural marker** from subject marker * Usually non-honorific ** Usually honorific EXERCISES 6. a.di dag di nam di ÚÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú these* these** this MARKERS.1 Translate these sentences into English. They should present no big problems. c.

h. di nam gen-dün damb. Happiness arises from virtue. dü-tsi kyab-ne tham-ce le bab tham-ce gönchenyin c. tham-ce kyab-ne chenyin b. In samsara there is great suffering.4 The Buddhist tradition is probably the only one that regards playfulness as a virtue. cen-re-zig dang d. 6. pe-ma dang seng-thri damsang-gye tham-ce dang dril-bu dam- sem-cen tham-ce dor-je dam- j. g. Vajrasattva is a great protector All sentient beings take refuge in the holy refuges.6. dag ni g.2 Translate these into Tibetan a. c. ö-zer chene. cen-re-zig dang kyab-ne chen54 . e. damnam min zhug so damyin seng-thri dang pegön- c. cen-re-zig i. ’i seng-thri ne thro dril-bu dang dor-je damyö chag-tshal- nam dang kyab-ne tham-ce tham-ce nam dang gön- de-wa chen-po yö zhug so kyab-su chi o yö h. a. b. dor-je-sem-pa f. I have a holy mala and a vajra. d.3 Here are some harder sentences to translate into English. Chenrezig is seated on a great lotus. j. This is the Buddha. dag 6. The Buddha is the holy guru. I do not have a guru. f. Here is a big mixture of everything to be approached in the spirit of playfulness! a. The holy dharma is the permanent refuge. i.

sem-cen tham-ce j.d. khor-wa dor-je-sem-pa ne thro dug-ngal dang digchenyö yö yö h. dü-tsi damhung chen- gönne bab chen- yin f. dag chag-tshal- ge-wa chenge-wa chen- tham-ce dang sang-gye tham-ce 55 . ö-zer damg. dor-je-sem-pa dang cen-re-zig e. sang-gye tham-ce i.

56 .

7 d– Grammar LESSON SEVEN Making nouns from verbs using pa The pronouns di ‘this’ and de ‘that’ The alphabet Final consonants Vocabulary Exercises 57 .

e.THE ALPHABET Final consonants All the Tibetan syllables we have studied so far have ended in a vowel sound: a. 58 . ö. Say them out loud and experience this yourself. A ba followed by ba makes bab. For example: dang Ú bab ºº yin ‘and’ ‘fall’ ‘to be’ In the first syllable case. da followed by nga gives dang. Tibetan syllables can only end with the following consonants: –g –ng Ú –d –m –n º –b –r –l –s Final consonants and vowel changes Front vowels and back vowels Let us pause for a short lesson in phonetics. i. o or u. The second letter just provides its leading consonant sound (in this example ng) as the final sound of the syllable and its own inherent vowel sound (a) is dropped. A yi followed by na is yin The important point here is that the final consonant is not pronounced in full: da with nga is not *danga. We will call the vowels e. but dang. It is also very common for Tibetan syllables to end in a consonant. ü and i front vowels because they are articulated towards the front of the mouth.

Front vowels: e. This is what one might reasonably expect. Final la and na change back vowels to front vowels. ba. Rule 1. Ú Ú dol is pronounced döl dul is pronounced dül Final –n also changes back vowels to front vowels: Final -an is pronounced -en Final -on is pronounced -ön Final -un is pronounced -ün For example: 59 . the vowels a and i are unchanged by the addition of the final consonants ga and nga. Say these out loud too. in dharma texts. ma. Now. Rule 2. a. ö. nga. ma. ü is like the u in the French tu or the oo in food. ba. nga. For example Ú+g da + = = dag Ú + = ri + ng = ring In these two examples. o and u Friendly reminder: ö is like sound in the middle of girl. ra and la do not change the vowel When a syllable ends with ga. The final consonants la and na may cause changes in the pronunciation of the vowel: they cause back vowels to shift forward. in certain combinations these final consonants change the way the vowel in the middle of the syllable is pronounced. Final ga. The rules that govern these changes are described below. Examples: Final -ol is pronounced -öl. ra and la there is no change in the vowel of that syllable. 1. for example. Exception: al is usually pronounced as it is spelled. al.Similarly. o and u are called back vowels because they are formed at the back of the mouth. In other combinations they do not effect the vowel. Back vowels: a. Final -ul is pronounced -ül Therefore. i. ü and i 2.e.

just like la and na. Final da and sa are never pronounced. Final da and sa change back vowels to front vowels but are not pronounced themselves. Summary of rules We can summarise all this in three simple rules: Rule 1. nga. ba. Therefore Ú Ú Ú nad is pronounced ne nod is pronounced nö nud is pronounced nü A syllable which ends in -as is pronounced -e. nas is pronounced ne nos is pronounced nö nus is pronounced nü Final da and sa. a syllable which ends in Final -ad is pronounced -e. Final -od is pronounced -ö. yin is still pronounced yin yen is still pronounced yen Rule 3. ma and ra do not change the vowel. -os is pronounced -ö. -us is pronounced -ü. That is. Final ga. Final -ud is pronounced -ü. but they also cause the back vowels to shift forward. 60 .Ú Ú Ú dan is pronounced den don is pronounced dön dun is pronounced dün Final la and final na have no effect on the pronunciation of front vowels e and i. have no effect on the pronunciation of front vowels e and i.

syllables ending in da are clipped and short. when a word ends with ga. while those ending in sa are longer. First. slow breaths.Rule 2. That is to say. Secondly. Final da and sa change back vowels to front vowels but are not pronounced themselves. Caveat We have actually glossed over at least two subtle points of pronunciation here. Such niceties should certainly be pursued by intermediate and advanced students of Tibetan. 61 . but beginners may set this to one side for the time being. How are you feeling? Take three deep. just as the n causes the nasalisation of the o in the French bon. Rule 3. Final la and na change back vowels to front vowels and are pronounced themselves. al often retains its original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el. is pronounced more like the English word ‘duck’. it is pronounced half way between k and g in English. Here is the same information expressed in a table: Final Consonant Ú a -l -el* -öl -ül -il -el -n -en -ön -ün -in -en -d -e -ö -ü -i -e -s -e -ö -ü -i -e Medial vowel Back Front o u i e * Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud. the Tibetan word for ‘I’ dag. Chant OM AH HUNG three times. a final na is properly pronounced as a nasalisation of the preceding vowel. Thirdly. than ‘dug’.

Many Tibetan words are pronounced the same but spelled differently (like knight and night in English). Ú dag lam º bar Rule 2. For a word that consists of only a root letter and a final consonant. 2. You must spell them out loud to distinguish them. just say the two letters. Final la and na — back vowels to front vowels phen nyön tshül Ú dön yül röl yün len thül Rule 3. 62 . ba. Final da and sa change back vowels to front vowels but are not pronounced themselves Ú me le Ú ze gü Ê ce lü Spelling aloud with final consonants When we were children we learned to spell aloud like this: ‘C–A–T spells cat’.Examples Rule 1. These little spelling phrases will also help you remember the pronunciation of some of the tricky consonant combinations. It is important to be learn to spell in Tibetan for two reasons: 1. Final ga. follow the patterns introduced in previous lessons. Tibetan children are taught a similar technique. then say the resulting pronunciation of the syllable: Ú da ga dag la na len (remember Rule 2?) pa sa pe (Rule 3) For more complex syllables with vowel signs. nga. To those syllables we now add the final consonant and the resulting pronunciation. ma or ra—no change to median vowel.

For example.1 Making nouns from verbs using khen By adding the syllable khen to some of the verbs we have encountered. the resulting sound is spoken.’ de that ni (subject marker) ge-wa virtue min is not ‘That is not virtue. We can add khen to the verb dzin ‘hold’ to make dzin-khen ‘the one who holds’ or ‘the holder’ dor-je dzin-khen ni dor-je sem-pa yin no vajra holder (subj.) Vajrasattva is ‘The holder of the varja is Vajrasattva’ or ‘The one who holds a vajra is Vajrasattva’ 7. to the verb zhug ‘to sit’. You may like to think of this spelling process in this way: ya gi-gu {makes} yi {to which} na {is added to give} yin GRAMMAR 7.2 More about the pronouns di ‘this’ and de ‘that’ In Lesson 1 we introduced di and de as stand-alone pronouns in the typical sentence: di this ni (subject marker) sang-gye Buddha yin is ‘This is a Buddha. It is like the ‘-er’ that that we add in English to change ‘do’ into ‘doer’.’ 63 . it is possible to form nouns that may be translated as ‘the one who…’.ya gi-gu yi na yin pha na-ro pho nga phong Note how in each case the after a new element is added. we may add khen to yield ‘zhug-khen’ which may mean ‘the one who sits’.

In this case they follow the noun that they describe: la-ma di dig-pa de guru this misdeed that ‘that misdeed’ ‘this guru’ Both di and de can take the plural markers nam for honorific subjects and dag for non-honorific ones. ‘to renounce’. 64 . la-ma di nam dig-pa de nam guru these misdeed those ‘those misdeeds’ ‘these gurus’ You will recall that simple adjectives also usually follow the noun they describe: la-ma guru dam-pa holy ‘the holy guru’ The words di and de can also be used with these phrases that consist of a noun and one or more adjectives. dor-je vajra dzin-khen possessor di this ‘this vajra-holder’ or ‘this one who holds a vajra’ Similarly: dig-pa misdeed pang-khen renouncer de that ‘that renouncer of misdeeds’ from pang.The words di and de can also function as demonstrative adjectives ‘this’ and ‘that’ respectively. we will be using this construction with nouns made from verbs using –khen. la-ma dam-pa di dig-pa chen-po de guru holy this misdeed great ‘that great misdeed’ that ‘this holy guru’ In the exercises at the end of this lesson.

c. EXERCISES 7. a. is ka zhab-kyu ku na kün. doer (honorific) one who renounces.2 Write out the Tibetan spelling for the following syllables. interestingly.3 Punctuation: she The vertical bar that follows the last word in the examples below is called the she and is the Tibetan equivalent of a full stop.7. VOCABULARY Nouns dze-khen Ú Ú º maker. 7. not when the last consonant is nga. a.1 Memorise the vocabulary. b. Normally the she replaced the tsheg (the dot between syllables) but. 65 . possessor practice compassion liberation pang-khen drub-khen dzin-khen lag-len thug-je thar-pa com-den-de gyel-se ºÊ Ú conqueror ( = Buddha) victors’ heir ( = bodhisattva) Are you curious about the little hooks hanging off the bottom of the Tibetan word gyel-se? They are the consonants ya and la used in consonant clusters. when both are used. renouncer one who accomplishes one who has. We will introduce these in Lesson 8. One she is used at the end of sentence. two mark the end of a paragraph. the she is omitted altogether. For example. When the last consonant is a ga.

q. j. p. h.d. i. j. f. ÊÚ g. e. h. g. b. Ê l. i. 66 tha na-ro tho ba thob ga zhab-kyu ra gur pha na-ro pho nga phong ga gi-ku gi sa gi kha na-ro kho nga khong . p. o. 7. la ma lam ra nga rang ya gi-gu yi da yid da la del da da de da ga dag ga gi-gu gi sa gi ga la gel zha gi-gi zhi ga zhig da nga dang shi gi-gu shi na shin da na-ro do na dön m. k. r. k. q. ºÚ f. c.3 Write the resultant syllable in Tibetan script for the following spellings. Ú º e. ya na-ro yo da yö n. l. Ú Ú m. d. That is the little dot that follows each Tibetan syllable (See Lesson 1). o. Don’t forget to add the tseg. Ú n. r. a.

hung g. dor-je f. sang-gye f. dor-je dzin-khen thug-je dze-khen drub-khen drub-khen dor-je-sem-pa cen-re-zig i. sang-gye e. sang-gye dig-pa pang-khen drub-khen com-den-de gyal-se d.5 Translate these into English. c.4 Translate these sentences into English. You may recognise some of the vocabulary from previous lessons in written in the Tibetan alphabet. dig-pa tham-ce pang-khen b. thug-je drub-khen Ú com-den-de 7. pe-ma c. ö-zer zhug-khen drup-khen ’i Ú cen-re-zig Ú gyal-se drub-khen Ú dril-bu dzin-khen Ú Ú Ú Ú dor-je-sem-pa ºº di dü-tsi zhug-pa Ú com-den-de dze-khen khen Ú Ú Ú sang-gye dor-je-sem-pa yö-khen di 67 . seng-thri h. khor-wa i. kyön j. sang-gye h. pe-ma dzin-khen di j. Remember that simple adjectives follow the nouns they describe. g. a. a. ge-wa drub-khen b. thug-je d.7. dig-pa pang-ken e.

8 d– LESSON EIGHT The alphabet Subjoined letters Exercises 68 .

ya. We first encountered the letters ya. ya-ta ra-ta la-ta A subjoined ya is called ya-ta (ta means ‘bound’). Please revise the table of the Tibetan alphabet in Lesson Six. particularly Rows 1–4. Subjoined ya: ya-ta ya-ta A ya-ta can occur with the first three consonants of Row 1: 69 . These subjoined consonants may change the pronunciation of the whole cluster.THE ALPHABET Subjoined letters We will now lead you gently into the realm of consonant clusters. We have such clusters in English—the ‘cl’ in ‘cluster’ is an example. sometimes in unexpected ways. ra and la in Lesson 4. ra and la may be attached to the bottom of (or ‘subjoined’ to) certain other root letters to form consonant clusters. Before commencing this section you must be clear on which consonants belong in which rows. These are very important in Tibetan. and subjoined ra and la are called ra-ta and la-ta respectively. We will examine each in turn. In addition to this form which is their usual form as root letters. starting with subjoined letters.

A ya-ta may also be used with any of the four Row 4 consonants. all the consonants of Row 4 with ya-ta are pronounced just like the consonants in Row 2 Rule for ya-ta Any Row 1 consonant with a ya-ta is what you would expect. pha with ya-ta is pronounced cha. This effect of a ya-ta with a Row 1 consonant is what one might expect. and ma with ya-ta is pronounced nya. ba with ya-ta is pronounced ja. In fact. and any Row 4 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced like its Row 2 equivalent unadorned. Row 4 Usual pronunciation With ya-ta º pa pha ba ma ca cha ja nya Now pronounced Just like Row 2 Ê These are pronounced completely differently from what you would expect: pa with ya-ta is pronounced ca.Row 1 Usual pronunciation With ya-ta ka kha ga Now pronounced kya khya gya In this case the sound of the ya just runs on from the root consonant: k + ya = kya. 70 .

Subjoined ra: ra-ta ra-ta The following tables show the first three consonants from Rows 3. how they appear with a ra-ta. 1 and 4 plus two others. and the resulting pronunciation of each consonant cluster. Row 3 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta Ú ta tha da tra thra dra Now pronounced Row 1 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta ka kha ga Now pronounced tra thra dra Row 4 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta º pa pha ba tra thra dra Now pronounced 71 . the usual pronunciation of these consonants.

Rule for ra-ta Any consonant with ra-ta is pronounced like its Row 3 equivalent with ra-ta. The surprise comes with the second and third tables which show Rows 1 and 4. and sa with ra-ta is still sa. and p + ra = tra. except ma and sa which are unchanged. The letter ma with ra-ta is pronounced ma.e. Subjoined la: la-ta la-ta Five consonants can take a subjoined la. These are shown below. etc. In these two cases the ra-ta is ‘silent’ and does not change the pronunciation of the root consonant at all. etc.Others Usual pronunciation With ra-ta ma sa Now pronounced (i. no change) ma sa In the top table which shows Row 3 consonants. 72 . etc. you will notice that the changes in pronunciation are what you would expect: t + ra = tra. The letters ma and sa are shown in the fourth table. The resultant consonant clusters are pronounced exactly the same as the Row 3 consonants with ra-ta: k + ra = tra.

Doggerel for remembering subjoined letters Row 1 with ya is nothing new. It is also necessary to learn how to spell consonants with subjoined letter. except za with la-ta which is pronounced da. All those with la. Rule for la-ta Any consonant with a la-ta is pronounced la. For example: ka ya-ta kya pa ra-ta tra ba la-ta la 73 . they just say la Except for za la-ta da. The pattern for subjoined consonants is similar to that for single consonants with vowels: first say the root consonant.Consonant Usual pronunciation With ra-ta º ka ga ba sa za la la la la da Now pronounced Note that the first four consonant clusters are all pronounced la. It will also help you remember the correct pronunciation. then the subjoined letter. and finally the resultant pronunciation. Row 4 with ya is like Row 2 Just like Row 3 are words with ra Except for ma and sa. Spelling subjoined letters aloud We introduced the notion of spelling single consonants with vowels using the pattern ka gi-gu ki in Lesson 5. and the fifth consonant za with la-ta is pronounced da! Fortunately there are not many exceptions like this in Tibetan.

The four syllables above are spelled as follows: ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi ba ya-ta ja dreng-po je ba la-ta la na-ro lo ka la-ta la zhab-kyu lu 74 . dreng-po or na-ro. the vowel and finally syllable itself. then the subjoined letter. the resulting cluster. This is done as follows: say the root consonant. Here are some examples: Consonant cluster Pronunciation Added vowel sign Resulting syllable kya ja la la gi-gu dreng na-ro zhab -po -kyu Pronunciation kyi je lo lu More spelling aloud The syllables with subjoined vowels and added vowel signs are also spelled aloud. gi-gu.Consonant clusters with vowels signs All these consonant clusters with subjoined letters may take any one of the found vowel signs. zhab-kyu.

2 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables with vowels. b. r. o. write ka ya-ta kya). c.g. h. i. h. f. n. e. c. EXERCISES 8. q. j. f. g. d. n. l. ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi. d. g. please memorise this: pa ya-ta ca ka ra-ta tra pa ra-ta tra These are the first letters of the three rows that exhibit the most unexpected changes. b. k. 8. t. m. l. p. a. for the first example. o. i. m. all the others letters in these rows should follow suit. j. a. If you can remember these first combinations. 75 . e. k. e.You really have to know this… Even if you can’t remember anything else from this lesson. s. a.1 Write out the correct Tibetan spelling for the following syllables (ie.

r. khra ra-ta thra s. ba ra-ta dra na-ro dro h. ma-ya-ta nya na-ro nyo f. sa ra-ta sa p.4 Now write out the final resulting syllables for these spellings which include vowels. ba la-ta la l. a. za-la-ta da na-ro do e. pa ya-ta ca m. kha ra-ta thra i. ba ra-ta dra r. ma ya-ta nya o. ba la-ta la zhab-kyu lu g. write out the final resulting syllables for these spellings a. kha ya ta khya gi-gu khyi c. q. pha ya-ta cha b. pha ra-ta thra 8. ta ra-ta tra c.3 Using the Tibetan alphabet. sa la-ta sa f. ba ya-ta ja k. kha ya-ta khya g. sa ra-ta sa gi-gu si d. ka ya-ta kya e. ba ra-ta dra dreng-bu dre j. pha ra-ta thra zhab-kyu thru l. ba ya-ta ja dreng-bu je k. za la-ta da d. pha ya-ta cha dreng-bu che m. ka la-ta la n. pha ra-ta thra q. ba ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru i. da ra-ta dra j. s. pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi 76 . ga ya-ta gya h. 8.p. t. sa la-ta la na-ro lo b. sa la-ta sa t.

kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri o. da ra-ta dra gi-gu dri q. ba ya-ta ja gi-gu ji p. ga ya-ta gya zhab-kyu gyu t. da ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru r.n. ga ra-ta dra gi-gu dri s. sa ra-ta sa dreng-bu dre 77 .

9 d– LESSON NINE Expressing possession with cen. dang ce-pa and dang den-pa Grammar Vocabulary Exercises 78 .

also be regarded as nouns. but the dividing line between adjectives and nouns is much less clearcut than in English. dang ce-pa and dang den-pa These are three very useful expressions of possession or association. all three follow the word or phrase to which they refer. As is typical with so many Tibetan constructions. dang ce-pa commonly occurs in the expression khor dang ce-pa. In this sense they form adjectives. cen is usually translated as ‘possessing. ‘together with a retinue’. For example. Phrases formed with any of these three may. For example. Each is used slightly differently. It may appear with or without the dang which as you may recall means ‘and’ or ‘with’. depending on the context.GRAMMAR 9. we will see the phrase dug-ngal cen suffering possessing ‘possessing suffering’ = ‘those who experience suffering’ dang ce-pa means ‘together with’ or ‘connected with’ but depending on the context sometimes simply means ‘having’ or ‘possessing’. having or being provided with’.1 Expressions with cen. Here is a very famous example with a nominal sense: kha-wa cen snow possessing ‘possessing snow’ = ‘the one that possesses snow’ = ‘Tibet’ In fact. our old friend sem-cen ‘sentient being’ is also in this class of phrases. Another typical usage is 79 . sem cen mind possessing ‘possessing a mind’ = ‘one who possesses a mind’ = ‘sentient being’ Sometimes cen must be translated more skillfully than just ‘possessing’.

1 Memorise the vocabulary. together with their sons’ This of course refers to the Buddhas and their spiritual sons (and daughters). eulogise EXERCISES 9. This usually means ‘possessing’ in the sense of ‘endowed with’ or ‘imbued with’. dang den-pa is used with and without the dang. ba la-ta la 9. the bodhisattvas. recite: pa ya-ta ca. Like dang ce-pa. and often refers to the possession of qualities. pa ra-ta tra.2 Translate these simple sentences into English. VOCABULARY Nouns sö-nam tsön-pa jang-chub-sem de-zhin sheg-pa khor º Ú º Úº merit diligence º bodhicitta tathagata retinue Adjectives dang ce-pa dang den-pa Ú ºÊ Ú Ú Ê Ú Ú º together with endowed with Particles cen possessing Verbs chö-pa bül tö make offerings praise. From Lesson 8. The third expression of relationship that we will introduce here is dang den-pa. You will frequently see it in expressions such as yön-ten dang den-pa ‘endowed with qualities’ or tshe dang den-pa ‘endowed with (great) age’. ka ra-ta tra. 80 .gyal-wa nam se dang ce-pa victors sons together with ‘the victors.

The bodhisattvas are endowed with bodhicitta. dag b. dag sö-nam Ú den- sang-gye khor de-zhin sheg-pa dag Ú Ú cece- chag-tshal lo chö-pa bül jang-chub sem-pa khor Ú ce- tö 81 . sem-cen f. e. c. f. I make offering to the holder of the lotus. This is very common in Tibetan. j. The buddhas together with their heirs are endowed with qualities. dag c. a. d. b. and d. 9. etc. you may have to add words such as ‘I’ or ‘their’ before the sentences make sense. i.3 Translate these simple sentences into Tibetan. The guru is a renouncer of misdeeds. nam tö tsön- yö jang-chub-sem yö sö-nam g. Sentient beings take refuge in the tathagatas. I make offerings to the refuge. h. d. jang-chub sem-pa nam e. The renouncer of misdeeds eulogies all the tathagatas. together with a retinue. b. nam Ú den- tsön-pa Ú -zhin sheg. The buddha. Note that in c. Write as much as possible in Tibetan script. c. de nam h.a. I eulogise the gurus.4 Translate the following sentences into English. a. This the holder of the vajra. g. i. Ú -zhin shegsang-gye sö-nam yö chö- tö bül d. is seated. j.nam dag Ú -zhin sheg- Ú nam den- kyab-ne chag-tshel lo 9.

b. Sentient beings are endowed with various sufferings. f.e. j. The tathagata is endowed with all qualities. All sentient beings rejoice in the Three Jewels. All sentient beings make offerings to the holy guru. 82 . c. j. I make offerings to the Buddha. i. Samsara is endowed with great suffering. 9. f. h. The bodhisattva is endowed with great bodhicitta. g. I eulogise the guru and the Three Jewels.5 sem-cen la-ma dug-ngal tsön-pa Ú Ê den- com-den-de sang-gye nam gen-dün Ú ce- ce- zhug so thug-je dang den- com-den-de gyalcen-re-zig Ú chö-pa bül jang-chub-sem Ú den- a. The Buddhas are endowed with bodhicitta. g. e. d. h. All the gurus are endowed with virtue. i.

83 .

10 d– LESSON TEN The alphabet Surmounted letters Prefixed letters The suffix sa The special uses of a-chung Exercises 84 .

Three letters. la and sa. ra. certain root letters may take both a surmounted and a subjoined consonant at the same time.) Surmounted ra Generally. appear are surmounted letters. But the good news is that. a surmounted ra is written in a truncated form above the root letter like this: Ú 85 . Of course. ººº ra la sa Surmounted letters are important because they may change completely the meaning of a word. they have no effect on the pronunciation. These are written above the root consonant. (Please note that in this section many of the syllables are nonsense words that we have invented to illustrate particular points about the spelling. for our purposes.THE ALPHABET Surmounted letters You will recall with pleasure the subjoined letters ya-ta. These were written below the root consonant. ra-ta and la-ta that we introduced in Lesson 6.

but the pronunciation is the same as if the ra wasn’t there at all. In this case retains its normal form: Here are some simple examples of letters with a surmounted ra: ka ta Ú da Letters with a surmounted ra may of course also have any of the four vowel signs as well: mi nyu je You can see that each of these syllables has a surmounted ra. lit. ‘place of gods’.The one exception is when ra is written with nya. lha This is a very common word. ‘gods-house’ = ‘shrine’. the surmounted la has no effect on the pronunciation of the above syllables. We can say that all three of these surmounted letters are ‘silent’. 86 . lit. There is a single exception to this rule: a surmounted la with a ha is pronounced lha. It is used in lha-khang . It is always written in its usual form: Ú Here are some examples of surmounted la with root consonants: ku nga ja A syllable consisting of surmounted la and root consonant may also be combined by any of the vowel signs: Ê ce ku Ú do Again. Surmounted la The letter la can also be surmounted above a root consonant. like the surmounted ra. Lha-sa. meaning ‘deity’. and in the capital of Tibet.

6. the root letter followed by –ta.Surmounted sa The third and final surmounted letter is sa. In all cases surmounted sa is effectively silent and has no effect on the pronunciation of the syllable. subjoined letter if present and the result. Here are some examples showing increasing complexity la nga-ta nga 87 . ☺ 3. the surmounted letter. Here are some examples ta nga ke nyi ce* to * Remember pa ya-ta ca? This is an example of a root consonant with both surmounted and subjoined letter. 5. and the final consonant if present and the result. 2. say these in order 1. It suggests that the root letter is ‘bound’ below the surmounted letter. the vowel sign if present and the result. the resultant syllable. 4. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. This is the same as the –ta in yata and just means ‘bound’. 7. Spelling aloud with surmounted letters To spell aloud with surmounted letters.

words are listed in the dictionary according to their root letter.ra ta-ta ta sa ta-ta ta Ú ra nga-ta nga na-ro ngo ra ma-ta ma gi-gu mi sa pa-ta pa ya-ta ca na cen sa nya-ta nya gi-gu nyi nga nying Prefixed letters Ú ºÊ cu go cang º Ú Ú Ú ge di mag sung Five letters ga. ma and a-chung. da. and second. these prefixes may have a subtle effect on the pronunciation of the root consonant. but for our purposes. First. appear as prefixes to the root consonant. Here are some examples Ê cig Finding the root consonant It is important to be able to identify the root letter of every syllable in Tibetan for two reasons. the root letter determines the pronunciation. It is often difficult for beginners to find the the root consonant in a . There is a temptation for take the da as the root word like Ú 88 . In certain combinations. ba. these may be overlooked.

ra-ta or la-ta subjoined to it in a consonant cluster. so the syllable is pronounced ga. Ú da. so the pronunciation must be mag. study the following syllable. When a syllable ending in a vowel is followed by a syllable that begins with a-chung as a prefix. For example Ú Ú ge-dün ‘sangha’ is pronounced gen-dün mi-gyur ‘unchanging’ is min-gyur The special case of da-o ba Úº– Here is surprising irregularity. ignoring the silent prefix ma. If a word ends in a-chung. then the letter which precedes the a-chung is the root letter. and fortunately we don’t see too many of these. Remember that the root letter is always the one with the ya-ta. which as we have seen is always ‘silent’. For example: Ú ga. Ú The pa has a subjoined ya-ta and is therefore the root. Again. Here. ma is the only possible root letter. like za la-ta da. For example. then the vowel in the first syllable is nasalised.consonant and to read it as dam . In fact. the pronunciation is da. That is. as if the syllable were spelled . Can you identify the root letter in the following syllable? º º Easy: it is the one to which the ra-ta is subjoined. Words that begin with da-o ba are pronounced in the following way: Úº yül ‘poor’ 89 . the first syllable is pronounced as if it ends with n. meaning happiness The a-chung indicates that the ga is the root letter. but them you are left with an unexplained ga at the end. The da is a prefix. the a-chung shows that the da is the root letter. meaning ‘arrow’. Nasalisation caused by a-chung Here is a small but important point.

It is also silent and does not effect the pronunciation. The final consonant sa follows the root consonant directly and may effect the pronunciation. Here are some examples º rag zang kham º thab Do not confuse this suffix sa with the final consonant discussed in Lesson 8. then o. simply say sa before the resultant pronunciation of the complete syllable: ra ga sa rag 90 . ºÊ Ú ba o ca zhab-kyu cu da o ga dreng-po ge ma o ga na-ro go a o ga ra-ta dra na-ro dro º Ú º ba o sa na-ro so da sö ba o sa la-ta la zhab-kyu lu sa lü ma o kha ya-ta khya dreng-po khye na khyen The suffix –sa An additional sa is often seen after final consonants ga . then continue the rest of the spelling as outlined in the preceding chapters. When spelling words with suffix aloud.Úº Ú wang ‘power’ yang ‘melody’ in Jam-pel-yang Spelling aloud with prefixed letters When spelling words with prefixes aloud. ba and ma . say the prefex consonant. This suffix sa only follows one of the final consonants and does not effect the pronunciation. nga .

10. Write down the correct pronunciation for each of these words. Ú g. h. i. º f. This is as complex as they get! a. k. m. r. b. j. º n. Ê e.2 Here is the vocabulary from Lessons 1 and 2. For example: ang og ‘also’ ‘under’ Ú ö ‘light’ ong ‘come’ EXERCISES 10. In these cases. c. then you have nothing more to fear. If you can do the last syllable. 91 . º Ú º º p. but you will meet them from time to time. l. a-chung is used as the root letter and vowel signs are added to it if necessary. What happens when the root letter is a vowel? There are not many of these words. d. o. q.1 Write out the spelling for each of these syllables.º tha ba sa thab za nga sa zang kha ma sa kham Words that being with vowels All the Tibetan syllable we have encountered so far have begun with a consonant.

a. h. 92 . k. m. Ú Ú Ú Ú º º e. ºÚ ÊÚ g. o. c. v. d. There is lots of repetition here to get those juices flowing! a. 10. c. l. r. Ê Ú f. n. Ú Ú b. d. s. e. i. º Ú Ú Ú º Ú q.3 Write out the phonetic transcription. u. b. j. Ú t. p.

j. a. c. . Ú f. 10. Write out the phonetic transcription of the following sentences.5 Review the vocabulary from Lessons 1-3.f.3 into English. Ú Ú ºÚ Ê º Ú 93 b. i. Nothing very new here. Ú 10. e. h. Ú º º º g. d.4 Translate the sentences in 10.

94 .6 Optional exercise. i. Just for practice. Ú ºÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú º º h. Ú 10.4 into English.g. j. translate the sentences in 10.

95

11

LESSON ELEVEN
The alphabet Review of all spelling rules
Exercises

96

THE ALPHABET
We have now covered all the rules that govern the pronunciation of Tibetan words. It is fitting to pause and review what we have learned. Let us assume that you are comfortable with all the letters and vowel signs that we covered in Lessons 1–5 (if you want to, please re-read the review in Lesson 6). In this session we will review the rules that we have introduced in Lessons 7–10. We will try to keep the amount of new material in the lesson to a minimum. This is a lesson devoted to consolidation and revision. You should be clear on each of these concepts: 1. root letter 2. vowel sign 3. final consonant 4. subjoined letter 5. surmounted letter 6. prefixed letter 7. suffixed sa Here is the Tibetan word for ‘accomplished’, pronounced drub, that incorporates all of these seven elements. This is as complex as a Tibetan syllable can get. If you can handle this, you can handle anything! Surmounted letter Prefix

Root letter Subjoined letter

º º
Vowel sign

Suffix -sa

Final consonant

97

Root letters
Each of the 30 letters in the Tibetan alphabet may function as a root letter. Each root letter is pronounced as if it ends in a, if no other vowel is shown. For example:
ka kha ga

Vowel signs
The vowel signs change the pronunciation of the root letter, so that instead of ending in a, it ends in i, u, e or o. Vowels are added to single root letters, or root letters in combination with suffixes, surmounted letters, etc.
ki ku ke ko

Final consonants
There are nine possible final consonants. We summarised their effects on the vowel in three simple rules: Rule 1. Final ga, nga, ba, ma and ra do not change the vowel. Rule 2. Final la and na change back vowels to front vowels and are pronounced themselves. Rule 3. Final da and sa change back vowels to front vowels but are not pronounced themselves. Here is the same information expressed in a table: Final Consonant -l
a -el* -öl -ül -il -el

-n
-en -ön -ün -in -en

-d
-e -ö -ü -i -e

-s
-e -ö -ü -i -e

Middle vowel

Back Front

o u i e

* Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud, al often retains its original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el.

98

Subjoined letters
Subjoined ya: ya-ta

Row 1 usual pronunciation with
ya-ta

ka

kha

ga

now pronounced

kya

khya

gya

Row 4 usual pronunciation with
ya-ta

º
pa pha ba ma ca cha ja nya

now pronounced just like Row 2

Ê

Rule for ya-ta

Any Row 1 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced as you would expect, and any Row 4 consonant with a ya-ta is pronounced like its Row 2 equivalent unadorned.
Subjoined ra: ra-ta

Row 3 Usual pronunciation With
ra-ta

Ú
ta tha da tra thra dra

Now pronounced

99

no change) ma sa Rule for ra-ta Any consonant with ra-ta is pronounced like its Row 3 equivalent with ra-ta. Subjoined la: la-ta Consonant usual pronunciation 100 º ka ga ba sa za . except ma and sa which are unchanged.Row 1 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta ka kha ga Now pronounced tra thra dra Row 4 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta º pa pha ba tra thra dra now pronounced Others usual pronunciation With ra-ta ma sa still pronounced (i.e.

with ra-ta is now pronounced Rule for la-ta la la la la da Any consonant with a la-ta is pronounced la. Prefixed letters Ú º The above five letters may be prefixed to the root letter. For our purposes. we may regard these as being silent as they have little or no effect on the pronunciation of the syllable. It is also silent and does not affect the pronunciation. º 101 . ba and ma . The suffix –sa An additional sa is often seen after final consonants ga . Surmounted letters ra. nga . except for la ha-ta which is pronounced lha. la and sa Ú Ú None of the surmounted letters affect the pronounciation of the syllable. except za with la-ta which is pronounced da.

Ú ö. and a-chung is used to ‘carry’ the vowel sign. ‘also’ Finding the root letter 1. With subjoined letters º sa ka-ta ka ya-ta kya ba sa kyab The ka is subjoined by a ya-ta and must the the root letter. ma-o nga a nga In this word (meaning ‘power’). applying the rules that govern final consonants. With a-chung If a word ends in an a-chung.1. ‘rays of light’ (the final da changes o to ö) ang. If there is no vowel sign. Write out the Tibetan spelling and resulting pronunciation for these simple words.Syllables that begin with vowels When a syllable begins with a vowel. then the letter before the a-chung is the root letter. With surmounted letters The letter directly above a subjoined letter or directly under a surmounted letter is the root letter. as in ö-zer. Ú The ra da-ta da na-ro do da is under a surmounted ra and is therefore the root letter 2. then the a-chung is pronounced as a. 102 . nga is the root letter EXERCISES 11. 3. Only the sound of the vowel is pronounced.

a. ÊÚ Ú g.3. l. a. 11. e. Hint: the letter with the vowel sign is often the root letter. Ú d. g. l. c. i. Ê Ú c. d. b. i. a. g. Write out the Tibetan spelling and resulting pronunciation for these words with subjoined letters. k. º k. Ú ºÚ c. e. Ú h. Ú l. Ú 103 . ºÚ k. b. b. f.2. h. f. j. i. 11. j. Identify the root letter in each of the syllables. d. j. h. f. e.

the first one should be sa nga sa sang. write out the spelling and the resulting pronunciation for each of the above syllables. 104 . .5. l. Ú i. 11. Here is a big fruit salad of some of the more complicated words that you have seen. f. For example.4. Once you have checked that you have identified the root letter correctly. Ú k. d. Challenge section. g. h. e. c. º b.11. Have fun! b a. º j.

105 .

12 d– LESSON TWELVE Grammar The possession markers gi. kyi and gyi Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir The pronunciation of ba Sentence markers Vocabulary Exercises 106 .

depending on the last letter of the preceding syllable to form possessives. not how it is pronounced. that includes letters that are silent themselves. or the word ‘of’ in English. according to the following rules: Last letter of preceding syllable – – – – – Possession marker gi Ú –º – – – – or kyi gyi ‘i or yi and vowels When we say the last letter. if the preceding syllable ends with a silent sa. . kyi and gyi You may recall that in Lesson 4. even though it is pronounced le. Here are some examples: ºÚ Ê Ú º ‘my guru’ ‘suffering of sentient beings’ ‘the Buddha’s dharma’ ‘the guru’s lion-throne’ ‘the lama’s lion-throne’ 107 .g. e.GRAMMAR 12. we introduced the possession marker ‘i in the example la-ma’i seng-thri.1 The possession markers gi. kyi and gyi. That is. The choice of possession marker is determined by the way the preceding syllable is written. The marker ‘i is used with words that end in vowels to express possession just like an apostrophe with s. the possession marker is kyi. are used. ‘the guru’s lion-throne’. What about words that end in consonants? The three forms gi.

12. chir is similar.2 Expressing purpose with dön-tu and chir There are two very common ways of indicating the purpose of an action: dön-du is usually translated as ‘for the sake of’ or ‘for the benefit of’. Here are two examples: Ú Ú ‘holy dharma’ ‘golden vajra’ You may like to think of the second example as meaing ‘a vajra of gold’. Some Tibetan grammars refer to these markers as genitive case particles. and means ‘for the purpose of’ or ‘because of’. This same sense can also be expressed as dam-pa’i chö. Do you remember the expression chö dam-pa? The word chö is a noun meaning ‘dharma’ and dam-pa is an adjective meaning ‘holy’. can be translated as the ‘X’s Y’ or ‘the Y of X’. The basic pattern outlined above. This is the normal word order in Tibetan. and it is modified with a possession marker ‘i. There is another common use of these genitive markers. There is some degree of overlap between the two. which also make sense in English. but la-ma yi is three. In this case the adjective dam-pa preceded the noun chö. Together chö dam-pa means ‘holy dharma’. The first form is the usual one. but occasionally when a Tibetan poet needs an extra syllable to fill a line of verse.Note the two slightly different versions of the last example: la-ma’i counts as two syllables. then the second form will be used. Ê Ú Ú 108 º sem-cen gyi dön-du chö drub . Both of these express possession. In this case the adjective follows the noun. You could think of this as a nonsense construction in English: * ‘the dharma of holy’ = ‘the holy dharma’. and that is with adjectival or descriptive words or phrases that precede the noun. An example: means ‘the guru’s lion-throne’ or ‘the lion-throne of the guru’. ‘X gi Y’.

If the verb ends in a vowel (we are talking about how it is written in the Tibetan script. chö and ge-wa. There is one exception. Study the two possession markers and observe how the forms gyi in the first example and ‘i in the second obey the rules outlined above.‘Accomplish dharma for the sake of sentient beings’ Ú º thar-pa’i chir ge-wa nyam-su len ‘Practice virtue for the purpose of liberation’ Nyam-su len is handy little phrase meaning ‘practice’. lit. you are safe to pronounce it wa. which (naturally) must be pronounced wa. When the syllable ba by itself means ‘cow’— quite rare in dharma texts!—it is pronounced ba. There are three points to note here: 1. These are two excellent examples of Tibetan sentences that can be read ‘backwards’ when you translate them into English.3 The pronunciation of ba We have already described how the Tibetan letter ba is usually pronounced much like the letter b in English. 3. when the letter ba is a free-standing syllable in a sentence it is pronounced wa. The penultimate words in Tibetan. About 99 times out of a 100. Don’t forget that pha with ya-ta is always pronounced cha. A free-standing ba in a Tibetan text is usually part of a verbal construction. For example ºº º bab drub ‘fall’ ‘accomplish’ However. etc. Knowledge of this common phenomenon may help you ‘decode’ Tibetan sentences in future. go-er 109 . Notice the Tibetan spelling of chir: pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi ra chir. The last word in Tibetan. This applies to situations when ba is the root consonant or final consonant. (See Lesson 8) 2. are the second word in English. º dro-wa ‘being’. not how it is pronounced) then we use ba. 12. drub and len respectively are the first words in the English translation ‘accomplish’ and ‘practice’.

Ú º ge-wa ‘virtue’ 12. even if that consonant is silent as in the last example below. VOCABULARY Nouns º thub-pa sage º Ú jang-chub-sem-pa bodhisattva yön-ten jung-ne phen-pa qualities source benefit 110 . the consonant is repeated and o is added to that. It works like this: when the last word in a sentence ends with a vowel. In Tibetan grammars. Final syllables chag-tshal yin jung ce jig yö With sentence marker chag-tshal lo yin-no jung-ngo ce-so jig-go Ú yö-do ÚÚ You can see from the above examples that the choice of sentence marker is based on the spelling of the final word. ‘o is simply added to that final word. an a-chung with a na-ro. rather that its pronunciation. that is. dam-pa chi Ú becomes becomes dam-pa‘o chi’o Ú When the last words ends with a consonant.4 Sentence markers The end of a sentence is often marked with ‘o. this may be called a terminative particle or a final particle.

d.º º she-rab dro-wa ser thug-je wisdom being gold compassion Adverbs Ú Ú Adjectives dön-du chir for the benefit of because of chog excellent Verbs nyam-su len Notes on vocabulary practice Just for interest. EXERCISES 12. º º b. º 111 .2 Write out the phonetic transcription and then translate each of these sentences. meaning ‘bodhicitta’. you may recall that in the previous lesson we introduced jang-chub-sem.1 Memorise the vocabulary. The word for bodhisattva. means something like ‘bodhicittahero’. 12. c. a. jang-chub-sem-pa.

e. They use vocabulary from earlier lessons. 112 . j. Virtue is the source of happiness. a. The guru accomplishes virtue for the sake of sentient beings. Wisdom and compassion are the qualities of all the gurus. i. i. f. º Ú º ºÚ Ú ÚÚ f.3 Here are some more to exercise you! You may find some of these quite challenging. º Ú Ú Ú º ºÚ Ú Ú h. d. I abandon misdeeds for the sake of virtue. e. The guru makes offereing for the sake of beings. c. b. The dharma is the source of benefit for all sentient beings. g. The bodhisattvas are endowed with bodhicitta. h. Misdeeds are the source of suffering. j. The sangha is the source of liberation for samsara. g. Chenrezig creates compassion for the sake of beings. º Ú Ú 12.

Chenrezig Did you notice in the examples above that the honorific word ‘to look’ zig appears in the name of the bodhisattva Chenrezig? The word cen is the honorific word for ‘eye’ and cen-re is said to mean something like ‘merciful gaze’. Thus Chenrezig is ‘the one who looks with merciful gaze’. The Sanskrit name of this compassionate deity is Avalokiteshvara—‘the lord who looks down’, in the sense that Avalokiteshvara ‘looks down on’ all suffering beings with compassion.

113

13

Grammar Vocabulary
Exercises

LESSON THIRTEEN
Agent markers Passive constructions

114

GRAMMAR 13.1 Agent markers
Agent markers show the person, means, instrument or manner by which an action is performed. They may be translated as ‘by’, ‘through’, ‘because of’, ‘by means of’, ‘with’, etc. These are very common in Tibetan texts. You can expect to find an agent marker in nearly every sentence. They follow the noun to which they refer. We say ‘by me’; the Tibetans say dag gi, ‘me by’. Agent markers follow the same rules as the possession markers that we discussed in Lesson 13. The only difference is that all the agent markers all end in sa. Last letter of preceding syllable – – – – – Agent marker

gi

Ú –º

– – – or

kyi gi

and vowels

* or yi

We learned in Lesson 7 that a final sa is silent, so the pronunciation of these agent markers is similar to the pronunciation of the possession markers. The only substantial difference is in the last row. Where a sa is added to word that ends in a back vowel (–a, –o, or –u), the sa has the effect of changing the back vowel to a front vowel (–e, –ö and –ü). (See Lesson 7 for a refresher on final consonants). Here is an example:

º
thub-pa

º
thub-pe

‘the sage’

‘by the sage’

115

Let’s look at this in detail. The word thub-pa means ‘sage’. It ends in pa, i.e. a back vowel. From the table above, the appropriate agent marker is a sa. When a sa is added to a pa it is pronounced pe, because a sa changes a back vowel (a) to a front vowel (e). ☺ The sa actually causes a slight lengthening of –i and –e, a subtlety that we may overlook for the time being. Agent markers are sometimes called instrumental particles or agentive particles.
A difficult question

What is the difference between the agent markers gi etc. and the subject marker ni? Agent markers are used when the verb indicates some active or voluntary sense, particularly with transitive verbs that also have an object. The subject marker ni is often used with verbs that are not se action-oriented, for example, verbs of existence, etc. In practice this distinction is very rubbery. Here are some examples where the agent marker indicates the ‘doer’ of the action:

sang-gye

kyi

chö

sung

the Buddha

by

dharma

speaks

‘The Buddha speaks the dharma’

la-me

dag-la

ºÚ

zig

the guru by

me to

looks

‘The guru looks at me’ (Can you see the agent marker in the above example? It is the sa at the end of la-ma. It causes la-ma to be pronounced la-me.)

Ú º
cen-re-zig gi dug-ngal jom

Chenrezig

by

suffering

jom

‘Chenrezig overcomes suffering’ 116

In the following three examples, the agent markers indicate the actual thing with which the action is accomplished.

thug-je chen-pö

ºÚ

dag-la

zig

great compassion-with

me-to

look

‘Look on me with great compassion’

me-tog

gi

º

gyen

flowers

with

ornamented

‘Ornamented with flowers’

ö-zer

Ú

gyi

sel

light rays

by

illuminated

‘illuminated by rays of light’ The three examples above are lovely instances of a typical Tibetan phenomenon: the Tibetan word order is the reverse of the English word order. This means that when you are translating them, you can read them backwards. In the next set of examples the agent markers show the manner in which the action is done:

nyön-mong rim-gyi

jom

afflictions

stages-by

overcome

‘Overcome afflictions by stages’

13.2 Active and passive constructions
Here is a normal active sentence:

sang-gye

gyi

chö

sung

the Buddha

by

dharma

speaks 117

If it has been a long time since you last studied grammar—English. Similarly we can invert this example: Ú º cen-re-zig gi dug-ngal jom Chenrezig by suffering overcome ‘Chenrezig overcomes suffering’ This gives us the passive construction: Ú º dug-ngal ni cen-re-zig gi jom suffering (subj. and ‘the man is bitten by the dog’ is a passive one. ‘the dog bites the man’ is an active construction. It is also very common to see passive constructions of this kind in Tibetan: chö ni sang-gye gyi sung dharma (subj. even though it is logically the object of the verb. In fact the Tibetan verb sung is unchanged.‘The Buddha speaks the dharma’ The Buddha.’ Now ‘the dharma’ is the grammatical subject of the sentence and is marked as such by the ni.’ 118 .) the Buddha-by speaks ‘The dharma is spoken by the Buddha. ‘The man’ is grammatically the subject of the second sentence but is the logical object of the verb. Tibetan or otherwise—you have probably forgotten what a passive construction is. ‘speak’. chö.) Chenrezig by overcome ‘Suffering is overcome by Chenrezig. is the subject of the sentence and the doer of the action. is the object. For the English to make sense we have to change ‘speaks’ to ‘is spoken’. It is therefore marked with an agent marker kyi to indicate that it is the agent of the transitive verb sung. sang-gye. In English. The dharma.

Translate them into English. gradually Verbs sung zig speak look ornament illuminate overcome grasp.Please don’t feel too confused by all this. ‘fire-tips’ afflictions Adverb rim-gyi by stages. VOCABULARY Nouns me-tog nyön-mong flowers. a. 13. lit. hold º gyen sal jom dzin EXERCISES 13. and are based on the new vocabulary list above. 119 . Ê ÊÚ Ú b. You’ll get the hang of it with practice.1 Memorise the new vocabulary.2 These sentences all use agent markers in all their various senses.

c. i. The one who holds a lotus is Chenrezig. c. The one who holds a vajra is Vajrasattva. g. f. 13. Chenrezig is the one who holds a lotus. Ú Ú º º º Ú ÊÚ ÊÚ Ê ÊÚ Ú ºÚ ºÚ º e. a.3 There sentences are a mixture of active and passive constructions. d. j. h. b. Vajrasattva holds a vajra. 120 . d. The vocabulary comes from all over the place! Don’t forget to use the correct agent markers.

The holy guru holds me with his great compassion. Vajrasattva reduces all misdeeds. h. f. g. the gods that have departed this world. It is still possible to recognise many words with little difficulty. From now on. The necessary materials that have been provided shall not be diminished or reduced. 1985. And in order that there be no detraction from that oath and that it shall not be changed. father and son. Richardson. The holy dharma is spoken by the Buddhas for the sake of beings. shall make a vow to this effect. I hold the practices of the bodhisattva. This is the second oldest example of written Tibetan (the oldest is from a momument in Lhasa from 765 AD). fathers and sons. 121 . The king. 794 AD) as a token of the royal family’s support for Buddhism in perpetuity. Here is a translation: ‘May the foundation of the Three jewels established in the shrines of Lhasa and Dragmar and this practice of the religion of the Buddha never be abandoned or destroyed. It was erected by King Tri-song De-tsen (755 – c. ruler and ministers have all so sworn…’ H. j. i.e.E. Tibetan is a very conservative language and has changed little since this tablet was inscribed. the gods of this world and the spirits are all called to witness. The practices of a bodhisattva are held by me. This monumental tablet or do-ring (meaning ‘long stone’) stands at the entrance of the central shrine at the monastery of Samye in Tibet. each generation of king. Royal Asiatic Society. The Buddhas speak the holy dharma for the sake of beings. This effectively marked the adoption of Buddhadharma as the state religion of Tibet. A corpus of early Tibetan inscriptions.

14 d– LESSON FOURTEEN Grammar More on verbal nouns How to use a dictionary Vocabulary Exercises 122 .

GRAMMAR 14. For example. sung-khen nam ‘speakers’ (plural marker) sung-khen gyi ‘of the speaker’ (possession marker) sung-khen gyi ‘by the speaker’ (agent marker) 14. etc) and agent markers all be added to them. possessive markers (gi. For example: Ú dze Ú dze-khen ‘make. plural markers (nam and dag). doer’ sung sung-khen ‘speak’ ‘speaker’ Everything that applies to ‘regular’ nouns also applies to these forms. Despite its 123 . This is a very comprehensive work. students of Tibetan have used Sarat Chandra Das’ Tibetan-English Dictionary. It is best for historical and literary texts and is sometimes rather weak on dharma terminology.2 How to use a Tibetan dictionary For over a hundred years. over 1300 pages long.1 More on verbal nouns We introduced the concept of making nouns from verbs by adding khen in Lesson 7. do’ ‘maker.

It is also available commercially on CD through the Nitartha website. then those with surmounted la and surmounted sa. Within the group of words with a particular surmounted letter (including zero surmounted letter). 3. Nitartha International’s Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dictionary is also a very powerful reference tool. 4. da. then prefix ga. dictionary order is determined in the first case by the presence or absence of a surmounted letter. Think of these words as have having a surmounted letter which equals zero. Thirdly. Then come words with surmounted letters in order: surmounted ra. however. These six attributes in order of precidence are: 1. finding a word in a Tibetan dictionary would be quite straightforward! For the words that have particular root letter. If it were not for surmounted. prefixed and subjoined letters. Thus all words that have the letter ka as their root letter appear before those with the root letter kha. starting with those with zero subjoined letter.shortcomings. six attributes determine the alphabetic order in which they are listed. Those without a surmounted letter come first. ra-ta and lata. Words are listed in Tibetan dictionaries on the basis of their root letter in the first instance.org. words are ordered according to the subjoined letter. ba etc. 5. Those with zero surmounted letters preceed words with the other surmounted letters. a pratical knowledge of how to use a Tibetan dictionary is essential. Perhaps one day online and CD versions will mean that no one will need to know how to use a Tibetan dictionary—with the computerbased dictionaries you simply type in the word you are searching for. Surmounted letter with or without prefixed ba Prefixed letters Subjoined letters Vowels Final letters Suffix sa Among words with a particular root letter. 124 . 6. Until that day. it remains the most useful reference for dharma students. and so on. followed by ya-ta. beginning with words with zero prefix. the prefix then determines the order.nitartha. 2. There is a free online version at www.

Repeat the cycle with each of the final consonants. Here is an example of some words in dictionary order with some notes to explain how the order is determined: ka.Then words are ordered according to the vowel. now come those with surmounted ra. and are followed by those with final suffix sa. da. prefixed or subjoined letters. Then all the vowels. followed by those with gi-gu. º Finally. etc. Finally. Those zero final sa are first. zhab-kyu. vowels. in this case da-o. etc. with zero surmounted. etc. etc. etc. follow those with zero vowel Words with ya-ta etc follow those without. followed by final ga. follow those without Prefixed letter with subjoined letters All words above have zero surmounted letter. starting with those with zero final letter. zero vowel. nga. dreng-bu and na-ro. Ú Ú Words with a prefixed letter. starting with those with zero added vowel. the special case of prefixed ba and surmounted letters 125 . Then words are sorted according to the final letter. Now surmounted letter with each of the nonzero subjoined letters. zero final letter and zero suffix sa Root letter with final consonants in order Words with suffix sa follow those without Words with gi-gu. words are sorted according to whether that have a final suffix sa.

basically a noun imp. Words with both a prefix ba and a surmounted sa are always among the last entries for a given letter. In Chandra Das’ dictionary.= verb pf. This will often lead you to the stem form. One of the biggest problems for less experienced students is that one Tibetan word may have several completely different meanings. You may find a better one in the fine print. These abbreviations are also useful: vb. This will often take you to the stem. That is. Hint 2. Don’t just accept the first meaning that is listed. = perfect fut. Hint 3. = substantive. If you are unable to find a particular word with a prefix ba. The same with each of the finals and vowels. Not all perfect stems are listed independently in Chandra Das. Go straight to the back of the relevant letter section. If you can’t find a meaning that seems to fit the context. etc. Words with a prefixed ba are often the perfect stem of the verbal root. Hint 1. = imperative. Hint 4. Read the entire entry. means ‘see’ (vide in Latin). 126 . Picking the right meaning can be very difficult. = name Hint 5. the abbreviation v. = future sbst. the form of the verb that is used to express an action in the past.º º Ú The same with each of the subjoined letters. or the ‘orfer form’ n. try omitting the prefix.

one who sees possessor.Insert table showing how dictionary order is determined VOCABULARY Nouns sung-khen zig-khen speaker seer.1 Using the principles explained above write the following lists of words in correct alphabetic order. Ú Ú Ú Ú º Ú c. Ú b. one who has one who lacks Ú Ú Adjectives yö-pa me-pa na-tshog rin-po-che mang-po various precious many EXERCISES 14. 127 . a.

º º Ú e. Ú Ú Ú ºÚ º Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú ºÚ Úº Úº Ú º º º º º ‘Ú Ú º Ú º Ú e. f.d. º 14. d. ÚÚ Ú Ú b. Look up the following words: Ú 14. 128 .2 Turn to the Tibetan-English Glossary in Appendix 5 at the end of this volume. Grammar and vocab work out.3 a. c.

j.f. ÚÚ 129 . Ê ÊÚ Ú Ú Ú ºÚ º Ú b. Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú º º º Ú ºÚ º Ú º ºÚ º Ú ÚÚ g. c. Good luck! a. You may have to review the vocabulary from earlier lessons. h.4 These are not easy. Have a look at the answers if you get stuck. 14. i. Ú Ú º Ú Ú Ú Ú d.

h. g. ºÚ º Ú ºÊ 130 . º Ú Úº Ú Ú º ºº Ú ÚÚ Úº º Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú º ÊÚ Ú Ú º Úº º Ê ÊÚ ÊÚ f. j. i. ÊÚ k.e.

131 .

15 d– LESSON FIFTEEN Grammar Continuation markers Supplications with the pattern tsal du sol Vocabulary Exercises 132 .

zhing and shing These useful little words are used to link one verb or state to another. They are used in the pattern X cing Y which means ‘while X. or is a continuation of. Being Tibetan. Remember that the c in cing is pronounce like an unaspirated ch. the continuation marker naturally follows the word to which it primarily refers. Ú º ge-wa º drub Ê cing Ú dig-pa pang virtue accomplish (cont. just as in the case of the possession markers in Lesson 10. These three words are really just three different forms of the one stem.GRAMMAR 15. Whether cing. but notice how the final letter of drub affects the continuation marker.) misdeed abandon ‘while practicing virtue. Y’. The rules are as follows: Last letter of preceding syllable Continuation marker Ú º and vowels Ê cing zhing shing For example: Ú º ge-wa len zhing Ú dig-pa pang virtue practice (cont. giving the sense that second action or state coincides with.1 Continuation markers: cing. abandon misdeeds’ Here is another similar example. the first. zhing or shing is used is determined by the last consonant of the preceding word.) misdeed abandon 133 .

We will look at these more closely in Lesson 17. It follows the verb that you are actually asking for (‘bestow’.) Continuation markers are also known as ‘continuative particles’ or ‘gerundial terminations’ in other Tibetan grammars.‘while accomplishing virtue. This is the model we will adopt in the vocabulary and exercises. Thus X-tu sol means ‘request to X’ Ú tsal du sol bestow -to request ‘(I) request (you) to bestow…’ Here is another example Ú gong su sol think to request ‘(I) request (you) to think ( of me)’ The words in brackets are not in the Tibetan. and have to be added for our translation to make sense in English. The prepositions du and su ‘to’. like the continuation particle and the possession particles also vary (wildly) according to the preceding consonant. 134 . ‘to ask for’. abandon misdeeds’ (This is one of those cases where ‘misdeed’ is singular in Tibetan. 15. One simple way to translate these supplicative phrases is with the English phrase ‘please…’. etc. etc) and a preposition with the sense ‘to’ is placed between them. The most commonly used word for all these is sol. but is best translated as the plural ‘misdeeds’in English. which means ‘to request’. requesting and entreating. In the mean time. ‘to beg for’. ‘grant’. just think of the items in the vocabulary as if they were set phrases.2 Supplications with the pattern tsal du sol Many dharma texts are concerned with supplicating.

VOCABULARY Verbs Ú º º Ê Ú gong su sol zig su sol jin-gyi lab su sol tsal du sol zhe su sol please consider please look upon please bless please bestow please accept Particles cing zhing shing continuation marker continuation marker continuation marker Nouns Ú EXERCISES Ú chö-pa kön-chog-sum offering Three Jewels 15. Translate these into English a. c. º ÊÚ ºÚ º 135 d. .1. ºÚ ºÚ ºÚ Ê Ú Ú b.

while creating benefit. º Ú g. a. d. sits on a lotus. f. Ê ÊÚ ÊÚ j. 136 . Vajrasattva. ºÚ Ú Ê Ú ÚÚ º * Hint: chen-pö is chen-po with the agent marker sa 15. While grasping virtue.2. The victors’ heirs. While accomplishing virtue. While nectar is flowing from the Hung. ºÚ º ºÚ ºÚ Ú º Ú º ÊÚ ºÚ º * f. I abandon misdeeds. c. e. the sage speaks dharma. rays of light shine forth.e. b. Translate these into Tibetan. h. accomplish virtue. i. I accomplish dharma. while holding a bell. While having wisdom.

Úº Ú ºÊ e. while practicing bodhicitta. while being endowed with qualities. create benefit. While looking at me. Break each one into manageable phrases. h. We hope you have as much pleasure translating them as we had composing them! a. Ú º º c.3 Challenge section: mayhem level. all the gurus accomplish various benefits. While clearing away afflictions. ºÚ Ú º Ê Ú Ê Ú º ÊÚ Ú º Ú º Ú º º º Ú º Ú º 137 b. Ú Ú . The conqueror. accomplishes liberation. d. These sentences bring together many of the different points of grammar and vocabulary that we have covered to date. please think of me.g. 15. ‘reading backwards’ where necessary. j. The bodhisattvas. i.

Ú º º Ê º ÚÊ ÊÚ Ú Ú g.f. ** * Ú 138 . ºÚ Ú ÊÚ j. i. ÊÚ Ú Ú º Ú º º ÚÚ Ú º º ÊÚ Ú º ºÚ º ÚÚ º Ê Ú ºÚ º ÚÚ * h. do’. Ú Ú Ú ºÚ Ú ÚÚ º ºÚ is the non-honorific ‘make.

** º ‘while accepting’ 139 .

16 d– Grammar Vocabulary Exercises LESSON SIXTEEN Questions and alternatives with am. Negation with mi and ma 140 . etc.

etc. When the preceding word ends with a vowel. These are often added to the last word in the sentence and function like full stop in English. As a rule. The question marker ‘am and its cognates listed below are similar to these sentence markers.GRAMMAR 16. they convert a statement into a question. the question marker takes the form ‘am dro… dro ‘am…? (He) goes Does (he) go? Ú yö… ÚÚ yö dam…? has… Has it…? yin… yin nam…? is… Is it…? sung… sung ngam…? says… Does (he say) say…? This particles are also in the middle of sentences where they mean ‘or’.1 Questions and alternatives with am. The form they take depends on the last letter of the word that precedes them. For example: 141 . if the preceding letter ends with a consonant (even if that consonant is silent). When they occur at the end of a sentence. The have no intrinsic meaning themselves. then the question marker consists of that consonant plus ‘am. but simply serve to mark a break in the narrative. You may remember the sentence markers that we introduced in Lesson 9.

nouns and adjectives.ÚÚ Ú yö dam me dro ‘am ong ‘Has or has not?’ ‘Going or coming?’ 16. Here are some examples of the negation of verbs: yin ma yin rig-pa ma-rig-pa ‘be’ ‘be not’ ‘knowledge’ ‘ignorance’ ºÚ º de-wa mi-de-wa ºÚ º ge-wa Ú º mi-ga-wa Ú º ‘happy’ ‘unhappy’ ‘virtue’ ‘non-virtue’ tag-pa mi tag-pa ‘permanent’ ‘impermanent’ Here are some examples of negatives in sentences: ºÚ º Ú 142 .2 Negation with mi and ma Two small words mi and ma. • • mi is used with present and future verbs and adjectives formed from verbs ma is used with past and imperative verbs and nouns formed from verbs Both mi and ma are used to negate adjectives. Inexperienced students of Tibetan often confuse mi and ma with two identical words mi and ma which mean ‘man’ and ‘mother’ respectively. Only the context will indicate which is implied. meaning ‘not’. can be used to negate verbs.

it means ‘karma’.’ Ú Ú sang-gye name kyi dig-pa ma dze ‘The Buddhas do not perform misdeeds. 143 .’ Ú ºÚ º di ni de-wa chen-po ma yin no ‘This is not a great happiness.1f below. On only one occasion in ten. meaning ‘from’ as used in the sentence 16. As a general rule of thumb. respectively.de-wa ni dig-pa ne ma jung ‘Happiness does not arise from misdeeds. are said to be contractions of ma yin and ma yö.’ The two negative verbs that we have already studied. Don’t confuse the noun le. VOCABULARY Nouns le mi-she sem karma ignorance mind obscuration teachings º º drib-pa den-pa Pronouns rang self Adjectives mi-tag-pa impermanent unvirtuous Ú º mi-ge-wa Notes on vocabulary. min and me. nine times out of ten le means ‘from’. meaning ‘karma’ or ‘action’ in this lessons with the identical preposition le.

d. c. This set of sentences consists of questions using dam. i. e. g.1. Ú Ú º Ú Ú Ê Ú º ÚÚ º ÚÚ º ºÚ º º Ú ÚÚ º ºÚ º Ú Ú ºÚ º ÚÚ b. 144 . Translate them into English.2 Translate these simple sentences into Tibetan. h. j. 16. etc.EXERCISES 16. a. f.

e. Obscuration arises from unvirtuous action. Ú º Ú º ºÚ º Ú ºÚ Ú º ºÚ Ú ÊÚ Ú º Ú ÚÚ b.3. Is karma permanent? The ignorant mind has obscurations. c. 145 . e. b. All those are not virtue. Ignorance is impermanent. h. c. j. Ignorance is the cause of suffering. i.a. This section is entitled ‘Negation can be fun’! It uses lots of old vocabulary items. The cause of suffering is not permanent. f. g. d. 16. Mind is permanent. f. This is ignorance. One’s own action is the source of suffering. d. as well as the new ones. a.

ºÚ º Ú º * Helpful reminder: dang den-pa = ‘one endowed with’ 146 .g. i. ºÚ Úº ÚÚ º Ú Ú º Ú º h. j.

147 .

17 d– LESSON SEVENTEEN Grammar More about location markers Addressing by name Vocabulary Exercises 148 .

1 More about location markers We introduced the location marker la in Lesson 2 and showed you how it indicated the place of an action: º la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug so ‘The guru sits on a lion-throne. Of these seven location markers. Last letter of preceding syllable 1 Any letter Location marker la 2 Any letter na 3 º Ú Ú – tu 4 du 5 su 6 and all vowels -r. 7 and all vowels ru 149 . Traditionally. two.GRAMMAR 17. la and na. Tibetan grammarians grouped all of them together as the la-dön or ‘the seven la-s’ and drew little distinction between the ways in which they functioned.’ There are six other location markers that function like la. can be used interchangeably in any situation. and is shown in the following table. The use of the other five is determined by the final consonant of the preceding word.

purpose and direction of an action. Time. towards. We will discuss these in the next lesson. some are new. Notice that when –r is used. 150 . –r and ru can be subsitituted for la without changing the meaning.The last two forms are also interchangeable. This is just like the possession markers ‘i and yi discussed in Lesson 10. purpose and direction of an action and can be translated into English as: in. We have put spaces between the words to make things a bit clearer.’ Here are some examples of these location markers indicating time. What are all these location markers for? They have three important functions: • • • They indicate the time. but in some cases where the author needs an extra syllable to complete a line of verse. place. purpose and direction The sentences below indicate how na. at. 1. Some of these are already familiar. for. it just blends into the existing syllable: be careful not to overlook these. the form ru is used. º la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug º la-ma ni seng-thri na zhug º la-ma ni seng-thrir zhug º la-ma ni seng-thri ru zhug ‘The guru sits on a lion-throne. Usually –r is added to the preceding vowel. place. because they do affect the meaning of the original syllable. place. etc They are used in the formation of adverbs They are used to join two verbs together to form compound verbs. on.

Study the list of adverbs in the vocabulary section. in the sentence ‘I run quickly’. the Tibetans add –r to the adjective lhag-pa to form the adverb 151 . ‘in this [place]’) Ú Ú ÚÚ º nyin dang tshen du yid-du ong-wa ‘in day and night’ = ‘during day and night’ ‘Coming to the mind’ = ‘pleasing’ ºº Ú jang-chub bar-du ºÚ º dag gi ci-wor ‘Until enlightenment’ ‘On my forehead’ º Ú* Ú de’i pang na da-wa’i teng-du ‘on the top of a moon (disk)’ ‘In his lap’ (lit. There are all useful adverbs formed using the prepositions we have described above. ‘at the heart of that’) * Don’t forget the unusual pronunciation of the first syllable: za la-ta da. 2. Just as we add –ly to the adjective ‘special’ to form the adverb ‘specially’. This is the only common word in which this strange spelling occurs. Often. Adverbs: adding meaning to verbs An adverb is a word that qualifies or ‘adds meaning to’ a verb.Ú Ú dön-tu Ú dir ‘for the sake of’ ‘here’ (lit. For example. ‘on the lap of that’) Ú de’i thug-kar ‘at his heart’(lit. ‘quickly’ is the adverb because it describes how I run. they are simply added to existing adjectives to form an adverb.

Although the ‘O’ is not shown in the Tibetan.’ 17. O Buddhas’. ºÚ dag ni chö tag-tu dzin no ‘I always hold the dharma.The following are examples of how these adverbs are used.’ The being that is addressed is often marked in English with an ‘O’. For example: ‘Buddha. in our practices by name or by title. ‘O gurus. it may be inserted in the English to make the sense more obvious. deities. In Tibetan. protect me!’ etc. Most Tibetan grammars call this the vocative case. please come to me. VOCABULARY Adverbs 152 . For example: ºÚ Ú sang-gye dag la gong su sol ‘Buddha. please think of me.’ Ú ÊÚ º dig-pa tham-ce so-sor shag ‘Confess all misdeeds individually. think of me!’. etc. as in ‘O gurus.2 Addressing by name We frequently address gurus. we simply use the name or title in its unadorned state.’ ºÚ Ú dag ni di-tar chag-tshal lo ‘I prostrate in this way. etc.’ ºÚ la-ma rin-po-che dag la sheg su sol ‘Precious guru.

on top of Ú º Ú Ê º Ú Ú Nouns di-tar so-sor tar zhin-du cig-tu shin-tu tag-tu par-du teng-tu nyin tshen day night enlightenment forehead lap heart (honorific) father (honorific)* mother (honorific)* º º Verbs º jang-chub ci-wo pang thug-ka yab yum º shag confess Notes on vocabulary In the first word lhag-par. Yab and yum together refer to a male deity and his female consort. in this way individually like according to. Box text: 153 . while alone very always until above. don’t forget that both the l and h are pronounced.lhag-pa specially like this.

Translate them into English. jang-chub sem. The word jang is said to mean ‘purified’ and chub ‘perfected’. thus enlightenment is the state in which one is both purified and perfected. The pa is the word for ‘hero’. A bodhisattva is a jangchub-sem-pa in Tibetan. ºÚ º Ê Ú Ú ÊÚ Ú b. ºÚ Ú Ê º Ú ÚÚ º ÊÚ ºÚ º Ú º ÚÚ ºº Ú º d. e.1 Preposition paradise: many of these sentences have more than one preposition. c. f.One of the vocabulary items in this lesson is jang-chub. 154 . simple words to create new. This is the same word that occurs in the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit ‘bodhicitta’. thus jangchub-sem-pa means something like ‘hero of enlightenment thought’. This enabled them to translate the subtleties of Buddhadharma from Sanskrit into Tibetan EXERCISES 17. so the literal meaning of jang-chub sem is ‘enlightenment thought’. The word sem means ‘thought’. sophisiticated philosophical terms. Look out for the vocative in the second sentence. This is an example of how the early Tibetan translators used common. a.

Vajrasattva sits alone on top of a lotus. ºÚ º º C º º º ºÚÚ ºº ºº Ú Úº h. f. j. For the sake of enlightenment. Ú º ÚÚ 155 .3 Challenge section: More practice with some of the concepts introduced in recent lessons. Until enlightenment. I accomplish all virtues individually. The important thing is to understand how the Tibetan is constructed. Day and night. All sentient beings are seated at my forehear like a guru.g. I hold a pleasing flower. a. All beings reverentially prostrate to the Three Jewels.2 Translate these sentences into Tibetan. c. I abandon all misdeeds individually. a. Practice dharma in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings. Ú j. h. d. especially make an effort. i. e. ºÚ 17. b. It’s OK to look at the answers to help you along. The mother sits in the father’s lap. 17. I grasp the practice of compassion like a bodhisattva. i. g.

h. º Ú ºÚ ºÚ º Ú Ú g. º Ú C * Nyam-su len – A very useful phrase: ‘to practice’ 156 . i.b. º º Ú ºÚ Ú º Ú º Ú º j. e. Ê ÚÚ Ú º Ú º ÊÚ Ú º ÊÚ º Ú º ‘ c. ÚÚ Ú º ÊÚ º º * f. d.

18 d– LESSON EIGHTEEN Reading Grammar Vocabulary Exercises Refuge prayer 18.1 Expressing a wish with shog 157 .

READING Congratulations! Today is a very important day. until enlightenment. Most of the vocabulary in this beautiful prayer is already known to you. dharma and the best of assemblies. I take refuge. ‘In the Buddha. By these acts of giving and so on performed by me for the benefit of beings. literary translation. The additional words that you will need are listed in the vocabulary section below. After many hours of diligent study and preparation you are now ready to read your first piece of Buddhadharma in Tibetan. The Refuge Prayer d– ºÚ Phonetic transcription Ú º º Ú ºÚ º º ÚÚ º sang-gye chö dang tshog gi chog nam la jang-chub bar-du dag ni kyab-su chi dag gi jin sog gyi-pa di-dag gi dro la phen chir sang-gye drub-par shog Literal translation We call this a literal translation because it adheres more closely to the structure of the Tibetan than would a more elegant. Look back to the beginning of this book—see how far you have progressed? Give your self a pat on the back. may I achieve Buddhahood.’ 158 .

we have broken the line of Tibetan into ‘units’ by putting extra spaces between the words. The sentence marker is often the first ‘optional’ item to be omitted. º º Ú ºÚ jang-chub bar-du dag ni º kyab-su chi This line is relatively straightforward: jang-chub bar-du means ‘until enlightenment’. You should also recognise dag ni kyab-su chi: ‘I go for refuge’. When you are translating Tibetan in your head. indicating what we are going to take refuge ‘in’. Ú sang-gye chö dang tshog gi chog nam la This is a list of the three objects of refuge. 159 . Hence. The nam is the plural marker. I…’ Do you remember the pattern kyab-su chi o meaning ‘I got for refuge’? In this line there is no sentence marker o after the verb chi. and chog means ‘best’ or ‘excellent’. This results in. Tibetan poets are often constrained by the number of syllables per line. In the phrase tshog gi chog. tshog is a new word meaning ‘assemblies’. Note the subject marker ni.Discussion Line 1. This indicates that ‘the best of assemblies’ is plural. It joins the second and third items in the list. it may help to think of the subject marker as meaning ‘As to…’ or ‘As for…’ For example. To aid your interpretation. ‘and’. dharma and excellent assemblies’. I go for refuge’. in this case nine. ‘In the Buddha. ‘Until enlightenment. in this case dag-ni may be thought of as ‘As for me. The final la is the location marker meaning ‘to’ or ‘in’. Joined with a possession marker gi. The first two refuge objects are sang-gye and chö. Line 2. You recognise the conjunction dang. they mean ‘the best of assemblies’.

and drup-pa means ‘accomplish’. The acts are dag gi jin sog: jin means ‘giving’ and sog means ‘etc’ or ‘and so on’. hence ‘by these’. Thus Line 4 reads ‘May I accomplish buddhahood in order to benefit beings’. We have to translate sang-gye as either ‘Buddhahood’ or ‘enlightenment’. Let’s skip to the last phrase drub-par shog: shog is said to be the imperative of the verb ong ‘to come’. hence ‘by me’. dag gi is ‘I’ with an agent marker. It is the bane of all students of Tibetan. To these are added the agent marker gi. Line 4. hence ‘in order to benefit’. Punctuation: note that the she. Perhaps the downstroke of the ga looks enough like a she anyway! 160 . º dro la phen chir sang-gye drub-par shog Let’s take dro la phen chir as a unit: dro is short for dro-wa. Remember that ph is and aspirated p and is nothing like the ph in phone. Sometimes it helps to think of Tibetan as being written in telelgraphic code! The word phen means ‘benefit’. For more details see the Grammar section below.Line 3. chir means ‘in order to’. the vertical dash at the end of a line. it is also the result of trying to fit a given set of ideas into a limited number syllables. ‘go-ers’) which is well known to you. Together they mean ‘may I accomplish’. the common word for beings (lit. ‘undertaken’ or ‘done’ for this to make sense. In English we have to add a verb such a ‘performed’. is omitted if the last letter in the line is a ga. From all this we get ‘by these acts of giving and so on done by me’. Like the case of the missing sentence marker in Line 2. Let’s start with di-dag gi: di-dag is di ‘this’ with the plural marker dag. By these what? By these gyi-pa or ‘acts’. We are very familiar with words sang-gye meaning ‘Buddha’ but we cannot say ‘may I accomplish Buddha’ in English. ºÚ dag gi jin sog º gyi-pa ÚÚ di-dag gi Here is a good example of of a text that can be ‘read backwards’. This phenomenon of shortening common words is very common in dharma texts.

’ rin-chen me-tog bab-par shog ºº May precious flowers fall! Ú º ÊÚ º º dug-ngal tham-ce sel-war shog May all suffering be dispelled! VOCABULARY Vocabulary tshog jin sog assembly giving ‘and so on’ done. When shog follows a verb.GRAMMAR 18. the verb takes the relevant pa or wa ending. performed being (short for dro-wa) benefit ‘come!’ 161 º gyi-pa dro phen shog .1 Expressing a wish with shog The desire or wish for something is often expressed with the word shog. Some Tibetan grammars call the this the ‘infinitive form’. which is said to be the imperative of the verb ong. ‘to come’. The word shog is added after the thing or action that is desired. Here are some examples º sang-gye drub-par shog ‘May I achieve buddhahood. and r is added to it.

Translate these sentences into English 18. c. e. it memorise the Refuge Prayer. f. d.EXERCISES 18.1 Recommendation: if you don’t already know it. a. ÊÚ º Ú ºÚ ÊÚ º º ºÚ ºº Ê º ºÚ º ºÚ Ú º Ú Ê Ú ÊÚ º ÊÚ º º ºÚÚ b. g. Write it down and carry it in your wallet or stick it to your computer screen. 162 .2.

May all sentient beings attain Buddhahood. May I attain (the state of) Vajrasattva. j.h. d. e. j.3 Translate these into Tibetan. c. i. May happiness arise for me. May all the suffering of samsara be dispelled May all sentient beings obtain happiness. º 18. a. May suffering be dispelled. 163 . º Ú ºÚ Ú º º ºÚ ºÚ Ú º Ú ÊÚ i. May happiness and virtue always arise for me and all sentient beings. May all sentient beings obtain bodhicitta. May I attain Buddhahood. f. b. g. h. May the flowers of the precious dharma fall on all sentient beings in samsara day and night.

164 .

19 d– LESSON NINETEEN Reading Grammar The Four Immeasurable Thoughts 19.1 19. etc Vocabulary Exercises READI 165 . ‘become’ The command markers cig.2 The auxiliary verb gyur.

‘May (they) not become free from happiness that is without suffering.NG The Four Immeasurable Thoughts d– Ê ÊÚ ºÚ º Ú ºÚ º ‘ Ú Ú ‘Ú º º º º Ê Ê Ê Ú º Ú Ú º Ú º Ê Phonetic transcription Ú ºÚ º Ú Ú ÚÚ sem-cen tham-ce de-wa dang de-wa’i gyu dang den-par gyur cig dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu dang drel-war gyur cig dug-ngal me-pa’i de-wa dang min-dral war gyur cig ne-ring chag-dang nyi dang dral wa’i dang-nyom chen-po la ne-par gyur cig Literal translation ‘May all sentient beings become endowed with happiness and the cause of happiness. ‘May (they) become free from suffering and the cause of suffering.’ VOCABULARY ‘ Ú Ú 166 gyu dang den-pa cause be . ‘May (they) dwell in great equanimity free from attachment and aversion to (those) near and far.

gyur gyur become imperative: become! command marker be free from near far attachment aversion itself. 167 . The opening words are by now old friends. the root letter is na. with a silent sa suffix. This would be a reasonable assumption. Beginners often assume that the root letter is ga and that the word is pronounced it gen. dwell. In fact. but we will add it in our English translation of these lines. The subject marker ni has not been used: this is quite common. and indeed are the subject of the following lines as well. The subject is not repeated explicitly in Lines 2-4. The ga is a silent prefix and the sa is a final consonant that turns na into ne (Lesson 7). They are the subject of the sentence. state of equanimity abide. Ê Ú Ú ÊÚ ºÚ º Ú ºÚ º ‘ de-wa dang de-wa’i gyu sem-cen tham-ce Ê dang den-par gyur cig The first line of this very well-known and well-loved prayer is a single sentence. remain Ê Ú º cig º dang dral-wa nye-wa ring-po chag-pa Ú º Ú º dang-wa nyi tang-nyom ne-pa Notes on vocabulary: The last word on the list ne-pa ‘abide’ causes much grief among less experienced readers of Tibetan. Line 1.

You should now be able to work out what dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu means.You should certainly recognise de-wa. Some Tibetan grammar books call this an imperative particle. the mi is nasalised and is pronounced min (Lesson 10). with the important distinction that Line 3 includes the negative marker mi. Line 2. which you know. Ú º Ú Ú º ‘ Ú º Ê dug-ngal dang dug-ngal gi gyu dang drel-war gyur cig The subject of this line is still sem-cen tham-ce from Line 1. which means ‘free from’. the verb means something like ‘may (they) not be free from’. Line 3. This is the verbal construction. In fact ‘parted from’ is a better translation that ‘free from’. The object consist of two things. The word gyur is a common verb meaning ‘become’. We introduced dang den-pa ‘be endowed with’ in Lesson 9. It is also compounded with gyur cig.Let’s skip to the last unit of this line to find the verb: dang den-par gyur cig. The word gyu means ‘cause’. In a Tibetan sentence. but this time we have dang drel-wa. joined with dang meaning ‘and’. Again the verb is the last part of the sentence. The construction of the verb is similar to Line 1. It is similar to the verbal construction in Line 2. Because it is followed by a word that has the prefix a-chung. The object is de-wa. What kind of de-wa? This dewa is dug-ngal me-pa ‘without suffering’. When gyur is used as an auxiliary verb with a main verb (in this case dang den-pa). a suggestion or a wish. de-wa and de-wa’i gyu. It turns a statement into a command. so de-wa’i gyu with a possession marker ‘i means ‘cause of happiness’. This is also discussed in the grammar section of this lesson. The word me-pa is a 168 . The last word cig is a command marker. Look closely at the second half of the sentence. ‘happiness’. a r is attached to the main verb. Ú º Ú ºÚ º Ú º Ê dug-ngal me-pa’i de-wa dang min-dral war gyur cig The subject is still sem-cen tham-ce. hence dang den-par gyur ‘become endowed with’. With this negation marker. We will look at this in detail in the grammar section. the verb is usually at the end. We have to add the word ‘they’. and means ‘may (they) become free from’.

but here is ‘state of’. The main verb is ne. hence ‘may (they) become abiding’. ring-po. This is one of those typical Tibetan phrases that appear to be written in telegraphic code and that are so challenging for students: ne. ring. The first two units ne-ring chag-dang nyi and dang dral wa’i also form an adjectival construction that describe the dang-nyom chen-po. You recognise dang-drel-wa from Line 2 meaing ‘free from’. although in English we would say ‘may they abide’. Literally they means ‘near-far attachmentaversion’. The word nyi usually means ‘itself’. The la is the location marker which indicates where they will abide. i. ‘abide’. with a pa ending to make a verbal noun (Lesson 7).derivation from the verb me ‘to lack’. chag and dang are abbreviations of ne-wa. Free from what? Free from ne-ring chag-dang nyi. You know the adjective chen-po. We must flesh this out in English: ‘attachment and aversion to those near and far’. with the auxiliary gyur and the command marker cig. 169 . chag-pa and dang-wa respectively. Observe how it follows the noun it qualifies (Lesson 2). Ú Ú Ú º dang-nyom chen-po la º Ê ne-par gyur cig ne-ring chag-dang ni dang dral wa’i The subject is still sem-chen tham-ce. The verbal construction ne-par gyur cig is similar to the construction in Lines 1 and 2. in dang-nyom chen-po or ‘great equanimity’. Note how the whole construction of the first two units becomes adjectival with the addition of the possession marker ‘i to the dangdrel-wa.e. The possession marker ‘i turns dug-ngal mepa into an adjective (remember dam-pa’i chö? See Lesson 12) Line 4.

For example. When auxiliary verbs are used with a main verb.2 The command markers cig. e.g.e. zhig and shig We learned how to make supplications with the pattern tsal du sol ‘please bestow on me…’ in Lesson 15. lhag-par ‘especially’. These three are all variant forms of a single stem. are as follows. This is a common construction. as the infinitive. or seng-thrir ‘on the lion-throne’ (See Lesson 17. just like the possession markers kyi. 170 . i. The rules for cig etc. Sometimes it is not even necessary to translate it into English. zhig or shig. Some texts refer to this form of the verb. There are three different examples of the use of the auxiliary verb gyur in the reading we have just studied: Ú Ú dang den-par gyur Ú º dang drel-war gyur ‘become endowed with’ ‘become free from’ ne-par gyur ‘become abiding in’ In each of these three cases. it may also simply mean ‘be’. ‘become’ The word gyur meaning ‘become’ is one of a group of verbs known as auxiliary verbs. Don’t confuse this use of the final letter –r with the la-dön –r ending that gives an adverbial sense or that acts as a locations marker.GRAMMAR 19. Another way to express a wish or desire is to turn it into a command using one of the command markers cig. an r is added to the main verb dang denpa. gi and gyi. There is one thing to bear in mind with gyur: while its basic meaning is ‘become’. Perhaps they are called auxiliary verbs because they ‘help’ the main verb form a new construction. You are now familiar with the idea that the form of a marker may depend on the final consonant of the preceding syllable. it may be better to translate ne-par gyur as ‘they abide’. the main verb is in this infinitive form.1 Auxiliary verbs: gyur. dang dral wa and ne-pa before gyur.1). 19. the verb with pa or wa with an added r.

We will have more to say about these later.Last letter of preceding syllable Command marker Ú º or vowels Ê cig zhig shig Because cig makes a statement into a command. Present stem Imperative with cig º drub ºÊ Ê become! drub cig accomplish gyur accomplish! gyur cig become sang song shig dispel dispel! jö shig Ú make je make! dro song zhig go dzin go! zung shig hold hold! sung sung shig º 171 . let us have a look at the imperative forms of the verbs stems which are used with cig. At this stage. future and imperative. every Tibetan verb has four stems: present. perfect (past). it has to take a particular form of the verb known as the imperative stem. In theory. To date we have skirted around the thorny question of verbal stems.

Some are simple statements. such as sung ‘to protect’ and the other sung ‘to say’. EXERCISES 19. Recommended: memorise the Four Immeasurable Thoughts. Ê Ú Ú Ê Ú º Ú ‘ º Ú ÊÚ ºÚ º ÊÚ Ú º Ú º Ú º º Ê ÊÚ b. c. d.g. some are commands. Try reciting it.protect sung protect! sung shig speak speak! In some cases the imperative stem is the same as the regular present stem in the left-hand column (e. drub). In others.3 a.1 Review the Refuge Prayer from the previous lesson. Translate the following sentence into English. the imperative differs only in the prefix or suffix. In the cases of gyur. 19.2 19. dro and dzin there is a very radical change in the root. 172 .

d. Ê ÊÚ 19. May I be free from suffering! May I become endowed with wisdom! May beings not become free from bodhicitta! May all beings achieve liberation! Bodhisattvas are free from attachment and aversion. a. ºÚ Ê ºÚ Ú Ê ºÚ ºº Ú Ú ºÚ Ê Ú º f. e.4 Translate these sentences into Tibetan. h ºÚ ºÚ º º ÚÚ º º º º i. b. 173 . j. c.e. º º Ê ÊÚ Ú Ú g.

For the sake of beings. may I not be parted from (free from) bodhicitta. May all I and all sentient beings become endowed with the the cause of happiness. May I be free from attachment and aversion to those near and far. j.f. I will hold the practices of the bodhisattvas. i. h. 174 . Until enlightenment. Until all beings achieve liberation. may the precious gurus always abide! g.

20 d– Reading Vocabulary Grammar More about adverbs The conjunctions kyang. etc LESSON TWENTY The Dedication Prayer Exercises 175 .

so too Samantabhadra does likewise.’ 176 . While I am learning from all those examples.READING The Dedication Prayer This volume opened with the Invocation of Manjushri. I fully dedicate all these virtues. Ú Ú º º Ú Úº Ú ÚÚ ºÚ º Ê Ú º ÚÚ ÊÚ º º Phonetic transription jam-pel pa-wö ji-tar khyen-pa dang kün-tu-zang-pö de yang de-zhin-du de dag kün gyi je-su dag lob cing ge-wa di-dag tham-ce rab-tu ngo Ú Literal translation ‘Just as cognisance is performed by the hero Manjushri. the deity of learning. The most fitting way to conclude it is therefore to dedicate the merit of our efforts to the swift enlightenment of all living beings.

VOCABULARY Ú Ú º jam-pel pa-po ji-tar khyen-pa Manjushri hero in which way know Samantabhadra furthermore in that way all after learn exceedingly dedicate º Ú Úº Ú kün-tu zang-po de-yang de-zhing-du kün je-su º º º DISCUSSION Line 1. Jam-pel-yang. unless it means ‘cow’. So too ba naro is pronounce wo. You may recognise pa from jang-chub sem-pa ‘bodhisattva’: pa with the noun suffix wo is the word for hero. See the box text in this section for more information on the etymology of these. pa-wo. not *bo. The word pa- 177 . lob rab-tu ngo Ú Ú º jam-pel pa-wö ji-tar khyen-pa Ú dang The opening words jam-pel are one of the shorter versions of the Tibetan name of Manjushi. Don’t forget the rule for the pronunciation of the letter ba: it is nearly always wa.

The adverb ji-tar consists of ji ‘how’ or ‘what’ and tar ‘way’ or ‘manner’. indicating that küntu zang-po is the main doer of the verb. khen-pa ‘know’). º kün-tu-zang-pö Ú Úº Ú de yang de-zhin-du kün-tu zang-po is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit name Samantabhadra. in that same way…’. or ‘the cognisance’. Hence we arrive at. ÚÚ 178 de dag kün gyi je-su ºÚ dag lob cing ºÊ . It also ends in an agent marker s. Line 3. (See the grammar section in this lesson) The verbal noun khen-pa means ‘the knowing’. We will discuss this further in the grammar section. Put it all together and we get. ‘That also (was done) by Samantabhadra in the same way’. It ends with r to give an adverbial sense ‘in whatever way’ or ‘just like’. which means ‘like’ that ‘in that same way’.wo also has an agent marker s (Lesson 13). ‘Just like cognisance (that is performed) by Manjushri’. They often occur together: ‘In whatever way…. Here it means ‘also’. The line ends with de-zhin-tu. We have to add the words ‘was done by’ in English for this line to make sense. hence ‘that knowing’ or ‘that cognisance’. ‘Just like the knowing (that is done) by Manjushi’. The dang at the end connects this line and the next. indicating that Manjushri is the active agent or ‘doer’ of the verb (in this case. It is represented by the first de. Line 2. The trick is that the verb is not explicitly stated in this line. This is the partner of the ji-tar in the previous line. meaning ‘that’. the sense being that the sublime omniscience practiced by Manjushri was also practiced by Samantabhadra. or a little more elegantly. The word yang is a handy one with a variety of meanings.

fully. Finally. The main verb is ngo ‘dedicate’and refers back to the dag ‘I’ in Line 3: ‘I fully dedicate all these virtues’. etc. lob is ‘learn’ and cing is the continuation marker (Lesson 15. etc. Line 4. Another very common pair is ji-tar and de-tar. in that same way Y’. meaning ‘I’. The final r and the du and the tu and all members of the la-dön class of location markers (Lesson 17. we would say ‘we learning from’.1).The de dag ‘those’ refers to the ‘knowings’or ‘cognisances’ in the first two lines.1). The Tibetan expression is ‘while learning after’. ‘exceedingly’. Ú º ÚÚ ge-wa di-dag tham-ce ÊÚ º º rab-tu ngo The first unit is relatively simple: ‘all these virtues’. which has the same sense. ‘in whatever way X. but here ‘fully’. GRAMMAR 20. As mentioned ji-tar and de-zhin-du (or the shorter form de-zhin) are often encountered as a pair meaning. In the reading we encountered three common adverbial expressions: jitar. Any word that enlys in –ly in English is an adverb: quickly. The word kün is interchangeable with tham-ced and means ‘all’. de-zhin-du and rab-tu. You know dag. finally. The Tibetan says ‘after of those’.1 More about adverbs Adverbs are words that ‘add meaning to verbs’. The adverb rab-tu 179 . in English we simply say ‘after those’. The line ends with rab-tu ‘very. This line may be translated as ‘While I am learning from all of those’. The possession marker gyi commects de-dag kün and jesu which means ‘after’ or ‘according to’. The formal definition of an adverb is that they qualify a verb.

‘even’ or ‘also’. dang. etc Conjunctions are words like ‘and’ in English that are use to join two or more ideas together. yang and ‘ang. The form that is used depends on the final consonant of the preceding word according to the following rules: Last letter of preceding syllable Conjunction kyang Ú º yang and vowels ‘ang Their meaning is somewhat variable depending on the context. the Tibetan word for ‘and’. Like other such sets which we have encountered. which is one of a family of three kyang. but generally when they follow a noun (or a pronoun de in this case).20. The reading contains a second conjunction yang.2 20. these three are really just variations of a single stem form. they mean ‘and’. 180 .2 The conjunctions kyang. in an earlier lesson. ºÚ º ºÚ Ú Ú º º b. Translate the following sentences into English 20. EXERCISES 20.3 a. Learn the vocabulary items from this lesson. We have already encountered one conjunction.1 Revise the Refuge Prayer and the Four Immeasurable Thoughts.

translate these sentences into Tibetan. e. º Ú Ú º d. ºÚ f.c. º Ê ÊÚ ºÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú h. ºÚ Ú º ÊÚ º º j. 181 20. i. º Ê ÊÚ º ºÚ Ú º Ú º º Finally.4 . Ú Ú Ú º º Ú Ú ºº Ú ‘ ‘ º ºÚ g.

Just as Manjushri cognises. b. Just as the gurus dedicate merit. g. I will also emulate Samantabhadra. f. I emulate the practices of the bodhisattvas. Manjushri is a hero. d. Samantabhadra is also a hero. i. 182 . I dedicate this merit for the sake of enlightenment. I dedicate merit for the sake of enlightenment in the same way. e. I will also cognise in that same way. h. I dedicate this merit. k. I will emulate (use ‘learn after’) Manjushri. The gurus dedicate merit.a. c.

A1 d– APPENDIX ONE ALPHABET WORK SHEETS 183 .

184 .

185 .

186 .

187 .

188 .

The Buddha is the guru. h. That is not a Buddha. d. I am not a guru.A2 d– APPENDIX TWO KEY TO EXERCISES 1. c. This is a sentient being. de ni sang-gye yin di ni la-ma min dag ni la-ma min di ni gen-dün min de ni chö yin di ni sem-cen yin de ni la-ma yin This is the guru. g. d. g. b. c. This is a Buddha. That is not the dharma. b. That is the sangha.3 a.2 a. f. e. This is not the sangha. 1. This is me. f. i. j. e. 189 .

That is not a sentient being. di ni sang-gye min i. b. b. i. 190 This is the holy Buddha. de ni sang-gye min c. i. a. dag ni sem-cen min h. d. di ni gen-dün yin d. dag ni la-ma yin b. I am the guru. e. 1. c. h.5 la-ma ni sang-gye yin di ni chö min dag ni sang-gye min I am a sentient being. dag ni sang-gye yin j.h. dag ni sem-cen yin e. That is not the sangha. That is not the sangha. j. de ni sem-cen min 2.4 a. g. j. . de ni gen-dün min g. This is the dharma. That is not the holy guru. f. That is not me. sang-gye ni la-ma yin f. That is the dharma. This is not the Buddha.3 a. I am the Buddha. 1.

g. e. e. 2. The protector is a refuge. f. g.5 a. This is not a refuge. i. e. The Buddha is a refuge. 191 . b. The holy guru is the refuge. Sentient beings prostrate to the sangha. h. The guru takes refuge in the Buddha. b. All sentient beings prostrate to the Buddha. The lama prostrates to the Buddha. I take refuge in the dharma. h. I prostrate to the dharma. The dharma is a refuge.4 a. I prostrate to the lama. j. f. g. Chenrezig is a protector. 2. All the gurus are the protector. d.c. d. dag ni la-ma la kyab-su chi o dag ni sang-gye la kyab-su chi o dag ni chö la kyab-su chi o dag ni gen-dün la kyab-su chi o sem-cen ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo dag ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo dag ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo dag ni chö la chag-tshal lo dag ni gen-dün la chag-tshal lo sem-cen ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo I take refuge in the Buddha. i. d. Sentient beings prostrate to Chenrezig. h. Sentient beings prostrate to the dharma. c. j. i. c. f.

b.7 a. 3. Chenrezig has a lotus. c. i. b. e. e.2. f. All the Buddhas are protectors. The holy lama is a protector. Vajrasattva has a vajra. i. c. The Buddha sits on a lion-thone. g.6 a.3 a. Sentient beings have a refuge. h. I take refuge in the refuges. e. d. f. j. f. d. b. 2. The guru has a scripture. g. 192 I have a guru. All sentient beings prostrate to the holy guru. h. All the Buddhas are refuges. dag ni la-ma yin di ni sang-gye yin sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin la-ma ni gön-po yin cen-re-zig ni kyab-ne yin chö ni kyab-ne yin di ni cen-re-zig dam-pa yin dag ni sang-gye tham-ce la chag-tshal lo sang-gye tham-ce kyab-ne yin sang-gye ni la-ma yin . Chenrezig is the holy guru. j. I prostrate to all the gurus. All the gurus are a refuge. c. I prostrate to all the Buddhas. The holy guru is the refuge. d.

c. Chenrezig sits on a lotus. 3. Varjasattva has a bell. b. h.6 a. 3. The Buddhas are a refuge. The guru has a mala and a bell. 3. i. g. d. b. j. The gurus have a refuge. e. e. h. h. j. Chenrezig has a mala. Vajrasattva sits on a lion-throne and lotus. I have a guru and a protector. f. d. i. The Buddhas are the protectors. j. c. la-ma la seng-thri yö la-ma la threng-wa yö dor-je-sem-pa ni pe-ma la zhug so sang-gye tham-ce ni seng-thri la zhug so cen-re-zig la pe-ma yö sem-cen tham ce la gön-po yö la-ma la dor-je yö dor-je-sem-pa ni pe-ma la zhug dag la dor-je yö la-ma ni seng-thri la zhug so I prostrate to the gurus. i.g.4 a. g. The lama and all the Buddhas are the refuge. I take refuge in the Buddhas. Chenrezig has a lotus and mala.5 a. f. All sentient beings have a protector. dag la dor-je dang dril-bu yö 193 .

Chenrezig is without blemish. i. 194 . g. j. g. Will talk about that some more later. The sangha has no suffering. Sentient beings have no happiness. There is no virtue in samsara The Buddha has no blemish. It is a scribal device to mark the end of a clause or a sentence. i. j. a. Ú º Ú Ú Ú Ú b. h. f. e. In samsara there is suffering. b. f. h. The protectors have no suffering.b.7 That vertical stroke at the end of each sentence is called she. c. d. c. There are misdeeds in samsara. la-ma nam ni pe-ma la zhug so cen-re-zig dang la-ma nam ni gön-po yin la-ma ni sang-gye nam la chag-tshal lo sang-gye nam dang la-ma nam ni kyab-ne yin gön-po nam la dor-je yö dor-je-sem-pa la dor-je dang dril-bu yö la-ma nam dang sang-gye nam ni seng-thri la zhug so sem-cen tham-ce ni la-ma dam-pa nam la kyab-su chi o cen-re-zig ne pe-ma dam-pa la zhug so 3. e. d. c. The lama has no misdeeds. ºÚ Ê Ú a.3 There is no happiness in samsara. 4.

i. d. 4. h. khor-wa la dug-ngal chen-po yö khor-wa la de-wa tag-pa me sem-cen tham-ce la dug-ngal chen-po yö sang-gye nam la ge-wa yö dag la de-wa tag-pa me la-ma nam la ge-wa chen-po yö sang-gye la dug-ngal me khor-wa la dug-ngal yö khor-wa la de-wa me kyab-ne la kyön me khor-wa la ge-wa me dag la la-ma me sem-cen la de-wa me sem-cen la kyab-ne me gön-po la dig-pa me la-ma la kyön me the cause of misdeed the mala of the guru the cause of happiness the refuge of samsara the cause of virture the guru’s happiness the varja of Vajrasattva the suffering of misdeed the virtue of the guru the guru’s lotus 195 . j. f. h. f. e. e. d. c.4.4 a. e. g. j.6 a. d. b. g. c. i. c.5 a. 4. b. f. b.

k. d. e. m. o. p. b. i. f. c. g.g. q. 5. l. c.2 a. d. s. i. r. 5. t. h. j. e. n. 196 .3 gen-dün la de-wa chen-po yö khor-wa la ge-wa’i gyu yö sem-chen tham-ce la kyab-ne tak-pa yö sang-gye tham-ce la ge-wa chen-po yö ka gi-gu ki ma gi-gu mi na na-ro no da dreng-po de sa na-ro so zha zhab-kyu zhu la na-ro lo cha zhab-kyu chu ja gi-gu ji ma na-ro mo kha na-ro kho na gi-gu ni nga na-ro ngo zha na-ro zho da zhab-kyu du ra gi-gu ri ma dreng-po me pha na-ro pho ba zhab-kyu bu tsa na-ro tso a. j. e. h.

f.

Ê

g.

h.

Ú

i.

j.

5.4 a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 5.5 a. b. c. d. e. f. g.
h. ö-zer ni cen-re-zig ne thro dü-tsi ni la-ma ne bab de-wa ni chö le jung ge-wa ni sang-gye ne jung dü-tsi ni hung le jung ö-zer ni kyab-ne ne thro dug-ngal ni khor-wa le jung chö ni la-ma ne jung dü-tsi ni dor-je-sem-pa le bab ge-wa ni la-ma ne jung

Nectar falls from the Hung. Light shines from the Hung Dharma arises from the Buddha. Happiness arises from the guru. Suffering arises from a misdeed. Virtue arises from the dharma. Nectar arises from that. Blemishes arise from misdeeds. Rays of light shine from the Buddha. Dharma arises from the guru.

i. j. 5.6 a. b. c.

These are gurus. These are vajras. These are not rays of light. 197

d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 6.1 a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 6.2 a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 198

These lack a refuge. Sentient beings lack a refuge. Prostrate to the gurus. I have virtures. The gurus possess great virtue. These are the great protectors. The Buddhas sit on the lion-throne.

This is the lama I have a protector. Sentient beings have no refuge. I prostrate to the Buddhas. All sentient beings prostrate to the refuges. Chenrezig is a great protector. This is the Buddha. They are a great refuge. The holy dharma arises from the Buddha. All rays of light shine from the refuge.

dag la la-ma me di ni sang-gye yin dor-je-sem-pa ni gön-po chen-po yin sem-cen tham-ce ni kyab-ne dam-pa la kyab-su chi o sang-gye ni la-ma dam-pa yin chö dam-pa ni kyab-ne tak-pa yin cen-re-zig ni pema chen-po la zhug so dag la threng-wa dam-pa dang dor-je yö khor-wa la dug-ngal chen-po yö ge-wa ni de-wa’i gyu yin

6.3 a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 6.3 a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. 7.2 a. b. c. d. e. f.
ka zhab-kyu ku na kün ga ra gar cha dreng-po che na chen da nga dang ba na-ro bo da bö ca da ce

All the gurus are the great refuge. The nectar falls from all the refuges. Chenrezig and all the gurus are the great protectors Great rays of light shine from the guru’s lion-throne. Vajrasattva has a bell and a holy vajra. I prostrate to the gurus and all the refuges. The gurus and all the protectors have great happiness. Chenrezig sits on a lotus and holy lion-throne. All sentient beings take refuge in all the Buddhas. I have a holy vajra and a holy bell.

These are not the holy sangha. The holy gurus are seated on a lion throne and lotus. Chenrezig and the great refuges are the holy protectors. Vajrasattva and Chenrezig are the great protectors. Holy nectar fallf from the great Hung. Holy rays of light shine from Vajrasattva. In samsara, there are suffering and great misdeeds. All the buddhas have great virtue. All sentient beings have great virtue. I prostrate to all the gurus and all the buddhas.

199

g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p. q. r. 7.3 a.

cha zhab-kyu chu ba chub ga zhab-kyu gu sa gü pa ra par cha na-ro cho sa chö ca gi-gu ci ga cig ma dreng-po me da me da ma dam la dreng-po le na len ya na-ro yo da yö la zhab-kyu lu nga lung la ga lag ma gi-gu mi na min

b.

c.

Ú Ú

d.

Ú

e.

ÚÚ

f.

g.

h.

i.

j.

Ú Ú

k.

l.

Ú

m.

n.

º

o.

p.

q.

r.

7.4 a. b. c. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes virtue. The guru is the one who abandons misdeeds. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes liberation.

200

d.

The abandoning of misdeeds is the practice of the victors’ sons. The Buddha is one who creates compassion. The guru is one who accomplishes liberation. The Buddha is the one who accomplishes the dharma. Vajrasattva is the one who possesses a vajra. This one who possesses a lotus is Chenrezig. That one who accomplishes great compassion is Chenrezig.

e. f. g. h. i. j.

7.5 a. The renunciation of all misdeeds is the practice of the lama. The one who sits on a great lotus is Chenrezig. The one who accomplishes great compassion is the victors’ son. The Buddha is the one who accomplished great liberation. The one who possessed a vajra and a bell is Vajrasattva. This which falls from the Hung is sacred nectar. The one who sits on the great lion-throne is the holy guru. That one who created liberation from samsara is the Buddha. That one who lacks blemish is a Buddha. This one who possesses white rays of light is Vajrasattva.

b. c.

d. e. f. g. h.

i. j. 8.1

a. ga la-ta la d. ma ra-ta ma g. pha ya-ta cha j. za la-ta da m. pa ya-ta ca p. kha ra-ta thra s. ga ya-ta gya

b. ka ya-ta kya e. ba la-ta la h. ba ya-ta ja k. ta ra-ta tra n. ka la-ta la q. sa la-ta sa t. ma ya-ta nya

c. pa ra-ta tra f. kha ya-ta khya i. ka ya-ta kya l. da ra-ta dra o. pha ra-ta thra r. ba ra-ta dra

201

g. r. s. j. s. p.3 kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri ba ya-ta ja gi-gu ji sa ra-ta sa zhab-kyu su sa la-ta la dreng-bu le ma ya-ta nya zhab-kyu nyu ta ra-ta tra dreng-bu tre ba ra-ta dra na-ro dro a. c. f. i. l. d. t.8. g. b. e. d. t. p. e. k. 202 . 8. ba la-ta la na-ro lo n. r. h. i. o. h. ka ya-ta kya gi-gu kyi ga la-ta la zhab-kyu lu pa ra to tra gi-gu tri ga ya-ta gya dreng-pu dre kha ya-ta khya na-ro khyo pha ya-ta cha gi-gu chi ka ya-ta kya zhab-kyu kyu da ra-ta dra gi-gu dri pha ya-ta cha dreng-bu che ba ya-ta ja zhab-kyu ju da ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru ba ra-ta dra dreng-bu dre m. f. l. m.2 a. q. b. c. j. n. q. k. o.

k.2 a. 9. h. o. The gurus are endowed with diligence. i. The guru possesses merit. c. b. c. dor-je dzin-khen yin pe-ma dzin khen digchöbül pang-khen yin dig-pa pang-khen sang-gye khor Ú Ú -zhin shegcezhug so nam tö 203 . 9. I prostrate to the tathagatas. b. m. i. h. g. The gurus possess bodhicitta. The bodhisattvas possess diligence. t. f. f. q. b. j. c. p. r. I make offerings to the Buddha. s. f. dag di dag la-ma nam tö I eulogise the Tathagata. They are possessors of merit. d. n.8. e. g.3 a. d. d. Sentient beings eulogise the guru. e. The Tathagatas are refuges. j.4 a. l. e.

The guru is endowed with diligence.4 sem-cen Ú -zhin shegkyab-ne nam kyab-su chi o jang-chub sem-pa dag jang-chub sem chö-pa bül ceyön-ten Ú den- yin com-den-de se Ú Ú den- yin k. la-ma tham-ce ni ge-wa dang den-pa yin dag ni sang-gye la chö-pa bül sem-ce tham-ce ni kön-chog-sum la je-su yi-rang sang-gye nam ni jang-chub-sem dang den-pa yin sem-cen tham ce ni la-ma dam-pa la chö-pa bül de-zhin sheg-pa ni yön-ten tham-ce dang den-pa yin sem-cen ni dug-ngal na-tshog dang den-pa yin dag ni la-ma dang kön-chog-sum la tö khor-wa ni dug-ngal chen-po dang den-pa yin jang-chub sem-pa ni jang-chub-sem chen-po dang den-pa yin 10. b. f. Shakyamuni is seated together with the sangha. I prostrate to the Buddha together with his retinue. j. q. 9. I make offerings to the tathagatas together with their heirs. 9. i. o. Chenrezig is endowed with bodhicitta. s.g. I make offerings to the conquerors together with the heirs of the victors. p. I eulogise the bodhisattva together with his retinue. m. Sentient beings are those who experience suffering. h. The Buddha is endowed with compassion.1 204 . t. g. The guru is endowed with merit.5 a. e. d. n. j. r. c. i. h. l.

g. c. chag-tshal lo p. sang-gye e. f. dag i. m. kyab-ne 205 . 10. dor-je-chang u. n. cen-re-zig s.a. q. di j. min m. j. yin c. jang-chub sem-pa r. i. o. de k. b. sem-cen h. l. p. e. k. tham-ce l.3 n. h. gön-po 10. dam-pa b. d. shakya-thub-pa o. chö f. kön-chog-sum v.2 a o ga ra-ta dra na-ro dro a na-ro o nga ong ga o za gi-gu zi ga sa zig ga o ca gi-gu ci ga cig ba o ra tsa-ta tsa na-ro tso na tsön ma o dza da dze ra ta-ta ta ga tag sa ga-ta ga na-ro go ga o sa zhyab-kyu su ma sum a o ba ya-ta ja zhyab-kyu ju nga jung ra dza-ta dza na-ro dzo ga sa dzog ra na-ta na ma sa nam ba o sa ga-ta ga ra-ta dra la drel sa ta-ta ta dreng-po te ba o sha da she a o ba ya-ta ja na-ro jo ra jor ra nya-ta nya dreng-po nye ra nyer ba o sa ga-ta ga ra-ta dra zhab-kyu dru ba sa drub a. la-ma d. jam-pel-yang t. kyab-su chi q. gen-dün g. r.

b. f. Vajradhara is the protector. h. i. The holy lama is a protector. e. c. b. b. f. g. j. g. That is not the lama. e. 206 di ni la-ma yin no di ni sang-gye min no sang-gye ni la-ma yin no la-ma ni gön-po yin no sang-gye ni gön-po yin no di ni kyab-ne yin no sang-gye ni kyab-ne yin no la-ma ni kyab-ne yin no gön-po ni sang-gye yin no di ni gön-po yin no This is the Buddha. i. j. f. g. Sentient beings prostrate to Shakymuni. d. d.a. h. d. The Three Jewels are the refuge. Shakyamuni is the holy lama. c. c.5 a. Chenrezig is a bodhisattva. di ni sang-gye yin de ni la-ma yin dag ni sang-gye la chag-tshal lo sem-cen ni la-ma la chag-tshal lo cen-re-zig ni jang-chub sem-pa yin no la-ma dam-pa ni gön-po yin no kön-chog-sum ni kyab-ne yin no . I take refuge in the sangha. e. I prostrate to the Buddha. 10.4 a. 10.

b. Chenrezig is a bodhisattva. j. h. c. l. e. i. c. f. The holy guru is the refuge. g. dag ni gen-dün la kyab-su chi o sang-gye ni la-ma dam-pa yin dor-je sem-pa ni gön-po dam-pa yin 10. Vajrasattva is the holy protector. j. i. d. ba la-ta la pha ya-ta cha ga chag cha na-ro cho sa chö ca na cen ya gi-gu yi na yin ra sa re da ma dam ca da ce yo na-ro yo da yö sa dreng-bu se nga seng da nga dang cha dreng-bu che na chen ma dreng-bu me da me za dreng-bu ze ra zer This is the buddha. d. That is the guru.h. 11. g. h. 207 . Shakyamuni is the holy guru. k. I take refuge in the sangha. e.1 a. i.6 a. I prostrate to the Buddha. b. Sentient beings prostrate to Shakyamuni. j. The Three Jewels are the refuge. b.2 a. 11. f.

b. sa i. 208 k.c. tsha l. The guru is the source of wisdom. sa d. f. i. na h. da 11. k. g. ga e. . tha j. d. 11. da f. h.3 a. da c. l. na sa nga sa sang da-o ga dreng-bu ge o-a da zhab-kyu du na dün ga-o za gi-gu zi ga sa zig ba-o da ga dag sa dreng-bu se ma sa sem ga-o na sa ne tha ma sa tham a-o tsha la tshal ba-o da dreng-bu de ra na-ta na ma sa nam da-o pa a pa The sage is the source of qualities. pa g.4 a. h. e. k. i. za kha ra-ta thra gi-gu thri da ra-ta dra gi-gu dril la dril ba ya-ta ja nga jang ga ya-ta gya gi-gu gyi sa gyi ra ga-ta ga ya-ta gya sa gye a-o pha ra-ta thra na-ro thro a-o ba ya-ta ja zhab-kyu ju nga jung sa ka-ta ka ya-ta kya ba sa kyab a-o pha ra-ta thra dreng-bu thre nga threng sa ra-ta ra sa se b. j. l. j. 12. c. e. d. g.2 a. f. b.

i. The guru is endowed with wisdom. The bodhisattva is endowed with qualities. ÊÚ g. Ê Ú Ú º Ú ÚÚ º º b. The sage is endowed with qualities. The sage is the excellent guru. Ú º ºÚ º º Ú Ú ÚÚ ºÚ Ú º Ú ÚÚ Ê Ú Ú º 209 d. The dharma is the source of compassion. . c. e. The sage is the creator of compassion for the sake of beings. e. h. This is the source of benefit. g. f. 12. j. f.c. I practice virtue because of liberation.3 a. d.

d. The Buddhas spoke the holy dharma. Chenrezig sees all sentient beings. The bodhisattva holds the dharma. º º Ú Ú Ú º Ú Ú Ú i. b. j. ºÚ ÊÚ 13. 13. g. e. All the gurus look at me with their compassion. Light-rays of compassion illuminate me.h. h. The holy dharma reduces suffering. All the Buddhas see the sentient beings of samsara. f. c. i. Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú b.3 a. j. The guru holds a flower.2 a. c. The lion throne is ornamented by flowers. The Buddha reduces all afflictions. 210 .

i. j. 14. g.1 a. h. Ú 211 . Ú º Ú Ú Ú Ú º Ú Ú Ú ºº Ú ºÚ º ºÚ Ú º Ú Ú Ú ºÚ ÊÚ e. f.d.

14. This possessor of qualities is the Buddha. The bodhisattva is the precious guru. e. there is a great happiness. Ú d. d. g. f. Úº Úº Ú º º º º ‘Ú º º º f. c. Ú c. To one who makes an effort. Liberation is accomplished by the buddha. Those who accomplish virtue are the bodhisattvas.3 a.b. 212 . i. The qualities possessed by the Buddha are many. The qualities of the speaker of the dharma are many. The speaker of the dharma has various qualities. The one that lacks faults is the precious sangha. b. h. º Ú Ú Ú Ú ºÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú ºÚ Ú Ú Ú e.

h. d. i. Please accept these offerings of me and all sentient beings. Please bless me. All those endowed with great compassion are bodhisattvas.j. This one who holds a vajra and bell is Vajrasattva. Please bestow happiness on me. c. Those who possess a protector have great happiness.1 a. Please look at all sentient beings in samsara with great compassion. g. Those who make a effort for the sake of beings accomplish great virtue. The happiness of one who practices the holy dharma is great. Please look at me. I prostrate to the Three jewels accompanied by their retinues! c. Please think of me. Those endowed with bodhicitta are the tathagatas. This one who observes all sentient beings is Chenrezig. The holy gurus create benefit for all sentient beings. e. i. f. Please accept my offering.4 a. . That one who creates great compassion is the precious guru. 14. b. g. e. d. b. All the tathagatas are endowed with bodhicitta. All the bodhisattvas are endowed with great compassion. f. j. Please bless all beings. 15. h. 213 j. k. Please bestow happiness on all sentient beings. Please think of me with great compassion.

ºÊ Ú Ú º º º ºÚ h. c. The sense is the important thing. C º ºÚÚ ºº Ê Ú º ÚÊ Ú Ú Ú ÚÚ Ú ÊÚ º * f. a.2 Don’t worry if your word order differs from these answers. j.15. ºÚ ºÚ Ú Ú º ºÊ Ú Ú º Ú º º ÚÊ Ú º º º b. e. i. d. 214 . g.

e. I take refuge. f. d. Is this virtuous karma? Is that the karma of misdeeds? Do sentient beings have obscurations? Is this the teaching of the Buddha? Does one’s own mind possess qualities? Is there permanent happiness in samsara? Does the bodhisattva not practice compassion? 215 c. The tathagatas and their heirs. while holding a vajra and bell. While prostrating to the Three Jewels. f. . while striving. sits on a lotus. hold (them) with practice compassion. g.* ‘Being endowed with…’ 15. create great benefit. for the sake of sentient beings in samsara. Chenrezig. c. The guru and all the refuges. accomplish virtue. g. Holy guru and Three Jewels: while accepting these offerings of mine. b. i. While holding the practices of the bodhisattvas. Sentient beings. All the Buddhas and their heirs. look upon me with your great compassion! 16. e. accomplish liberation. while diminishing the suffering of samsara. creates lasting happiness. All sentient beings. while dispelling the sufferings of samsara. I create benefit and great happiness for all sentient beings. d. b.1 a. h. accomplish great virtue. while abandoning misdeeds. while abandoning various misdeeds. j. Protector Vajrasattva.3 a. while banishing with light-rays of compassion the suffering of all beings.

h. 216 . b. j. 16. h. c.2 a. 16. e. All samsara is impermanent. i. b. One endowed with wisdom does not perform misdeeds. ÚÚ Ú Ú º ÊÚ Ú º Ú º ‘ ‘ Suffering is not permanent. º º Ú º º Ú º ÚÚ f. d. j. e.3 a. Is suffering impermanent? Happiness does not arise from misdeeds. d. g. Does the guru sit on a lion-throne? Do I grasp the dharma? Are these teachings the source of benefit and happiness? c. i.

i. Father and mother are seated on a moon (disk).f. 17. c. There are varied. i. . All Buddhas! Please come here. The tathagata does not create non-virtue. All sentient beings take refuge until enlightenment. b.2 a. f. One endowed with wisdom does not collect non-virtuous karma. Precious guru! Please be seated on my forehead always. g. h. pleasing offerings. j. I will always grasp the dharma until enlightenment. I take refuge day and night. Happiness does not arise for one who does not practice virtue. The mother is seated in the father’s lap. Obscurations are not collected in one’s own mind.1 a. h. Nectar falls from the Hung on the moon (disk) at the father’s heart. j. d. 17. I practice dharma for the sake of sentient beings. The bodhisattva does not abandon the practice of compassion. e. g. ºÚ ÊÚ ºÚ ÊÚ Ú º ÚÚ ÚÚ º º 217 b.

218 The Buddhas posses virtuous karma. Ú Ê º Ê ºÚ ºÚ º Ú Ú ÊÚ º º Ú Ú º Ú º h.c. e. . i. 17. º ºÚ ºÚ Ú º ÚÚ º º º º Ú d. ÚÚ º j.. f.3 a. g.

In accordance with dharma. May the nectar of the wisdom of all the Buddhas arise. j. Non-virtuous karma is the cause of suffering. c. In one’s own mind are various obscurations. All sentient beings have non-virtuous karma. May the precious bodhicitta arise in me. e. j. h. May the rays of light of the compassion of all the bodhisattvas shine on me. I request the gurus to be seated always at my crown day and night until enlightenment.3 a. c. Rays of light shine from the Hung on the lotus and moondisk at the heart of the father. g. The mother sits in the father’s lap. i. May I obtain the fruit of the holy dharma. May I attain the state of Vajrasattva. May I and all sentient beings achieve bodhisattva-hood. May various precious flowers fall upon me. All suffering is impermanent. i. b. f. May all sentient beings achieve Buddhahood. May all afflictions be cleaned away. f. May precious rays of light shine on me. g. ºÚ ºÚ º Ú Ú º 219 . b. e. d. h. I confess all misdeeds. 18.b. I practice virtue. d.2 a. 18.

f.c. º Ê ÊÚ Ê º Ú º ÊÚ ÊÚ º º ÊÚ º d e. i. h. ºÚ º Ú Ú º ºÚ Ú Ê Ê º Ú º Ê ÊÚ Ú Ú ºº i. 220 . º Ú º º º Ê º ºÚ º ºÚ Ê ºÚ º º g.

d. i. O precious guru. May I never be parted (free) from wisdom.4 a. h. 19. may all sentient beings achieve liberation. may I never be parted (free) from the guru and the Three Jewels. may you always abide at my forehead.3 a. 221 . c. All sentient beings become endowed with happiness. j. f. d. Misdeeds are the cause of great suffering.19. c. ºÚ Ê ºÚ Ê Ú Ú º Ú ºÚ Ú ÊÚ º º º ÊÚ Ê Ê º º Ê b. Until enlightenment. May my ignorance be dispelled. By these actions of the Buddhas. All sentient beings become free from suffering. May all the obscurations of my mind be dispelled. b. e. g. May beings become free from all suffering.

I wirl also emulate Samantabhadra. d. e. I will act in that same way. º Ú Ú Ê 20. b. Beings emulate the Buddhas. Just as the gurus act. ºÚ Ú Ê ºÚ º ‘ Ú Ú º Ú º ºÚ Ú ºÚ º Ê ÊÚ º h. .e.3 a. 222 I will emulate Manjushri. Manjushri is one who knows all. º Ú Ú ÚÚ ºÚ Ú º º Ú Ú Ê ÊÚ Ê º Ú Ú f. i. c. j. g.

20. Ú Ú ºÚ Úº Ú º ºÚ º Ú º º º Ú º Ú ºÚ º º 223 f. i. Ú Ú Úº ºÚ º ºÚ Ú º Ú º Ú Ú Úº º c. Just as the Buddhas trained. I dedicate all merit. g. h. Just as all sentient beings will become non-existent. Ú g. For the sake of the accomplishment of liberation of all sentient beings in Samsara. j. I will train in that same way. I will become non-existent in that same way.4 a. e. Just as Avalokiteshvara sees all. in that same way he also knows all. b. d.f. . h. I dedicate all these merits.

ºÚ j. Ú ÚÚ º Ú º º Ú º º º Ú ÚÚ º Ú ºÚ Úº Ú º º 224 .i.

A3 d– APPENDIX THREE GRAMMATICAL TABLES POSSESSION MARKERS Last letter of preceding syllable – – – – – Possession marker gi Ú –º – – – – or kyi gyi ‘i or yi and vowels AGENT MARKERS Last letter of preceding syllable – – – – – Agent marker gi – – – or kyi gi * or yi Ú –º – and vowels SEVEN POSITION MARKERS 225 .

Last letter of preceding syllable 1 Any letter Preposition marker la 2 Any letter na 3 º Ú Ú – tu 4 du 5 su 6 and all vowels -r. 7 and all vowels ru FINAL CONSONANTS Final Consonant Ú a -l -el* -öl -ül -il -el -n -en -ön -ün -in -en -d -e -ö -ü -i -e -s -e -ö -ü -i -e Medial vowel Back Front o u i e * Exception: when reading dharma texts aloud. 226 . al often retains its original pronunciation and is not shifted forward to become el.

SUBJOINED LETTERS Subjoined ya: ya-ta Row 1 usual pronunciation with ya-ta now pronounced ka kha ga kya khya gya Row 4 usual pronunciation with ya-ta now pronounced just like Row 2 º pa pha ba ma ca cha ja nya Ê Ú ta tha da tra thra dra Subjoined ra: ra-ta Row 3 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta Now pronounced Row 1 Usual pronunciation ka kha ga 227 .

With ra-ta Now pronounced tra thra dra Row 4 Usual pronunciation With ra-ta now pronounced º pa pha ba tra thra dra Others usual pronunciation With ra-ta still pronounced (i. no change) ma sa ma sa Subjoined la: la-ta Consonant usual pronunciation with ra-ta is now pronounced º ka ga ba sa za la la la la da 228 .e.

COMMAND MARKERS Last letter of preceding syllable Command marker Ú º or vowels Ê cig zhig shig 229 .

A4 d– APPENDIX FOUR GRAMMATICAL TERMS FOR NON-GRAMMARIANS singular plural noun verb pronoun adjective adverb locative agentive instrumental 230 .

A5 d– APPENDIX FIVE A. TIBETAN-ENGLISH GLOSSARY (PHONETIC) ‘i bab bar-du cen cen-re-zig chag-pa chag-tshal lo chen-po chir chö chog chö-pa chö-pa bül cig cig-tu cing ci-wo com-den-de possession marker ºº º Ú Ê fall until possessing Avalokiteshvara attachment prostrate great because of dharma excellent Ú Ú Ê offering make offerings command marker Ê Ê Ú alone continuation marker forehead conqueror º ºÊ 231 .

) these (usually hon.) this misdeed for the benefit of vajra Vajrasattva obscuration bell being (=dro-wa) being one who accomplishes suffering 232 .dag dag dam-pa dang ce-pa dang den-pa dang drel-wa dang dang-wa de den-pa de-zhin sheg-pa de-wa de-yang de-zhing-du di dag di nam di dig-pa dön-du dor-je dor-je-sem-pa drib-pa dril-bu dro dro-wa drub-khen dug-ngal Ú ºÚ Ú Ú ºÊ Ú Ú Ú º Ú Ú º Ú º Úº ºÚ º Ú Úº Ú ÚÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú º º º º Ú º plural marker I holy together with endowed with be free from and aversion that teachings tathagata happiness furthermore in that way these (non-hon.

doer grasp.dü-tsi dze-khen dzin gen-dün ge-wa gong su sol gön-po gü-par gyel-se gyen gyi-pa gyu gyur gyur hung jam-pel jang-chub jang-chub-sem jang-chub-sem-pa je-su yi-rang je-su jin jin-gyi lob tu sol ji-tar jom jung jung-ne ºÚÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú º Ú nectar maker. hold sangha virtue please consider protector reverentially victors’ heir º º ‘ ornament act cause become imperative: become! C Ú º º º Hung Manjushri enlightenment bodhicitta Ú bodhisattva rejoice after giving º please bless in which way overcome arise source 233 .

in practice guru from karma practice specially º learn many Ú Ú Ú º to lack one who lacks flower unvirtuous to be not ignorance impermanent plural marker various 234 .khor khor-wa khyen-pa kön-chog-sum kün kün-tu zang-po kyab-ne kyab-su chi o kyön la lag-len la-ma le le len lhag-pa lob mang-po me me-pa me-tog mi-ge-wa min mi-she mi-tag-pa nam na-tshog retinue º Ú º º º samsara know Three Jewels all Samantabhadra refuge take refuge blemish to.

dwell. remain º º Ú dedicate subject marker near itself.ne ne-pa ngo ni nye-wa nyi nyin nyön-mong ö-ser pang pang-khen pa-po pe-ma phen phen-pa rab-tu rang rim-gyi ring-po rin-po-che sang-gye sel sem sem-cen seng-thri ser she-rab from abide. gradually far precious Buddha illuminate mind Ê º sentient beings lion-throne gold wisdom 235 . state of day afflictions Ú Ú Ú º light-rays lap renouncer hero lotus benefit benefit º exceedingly self by stages.

shing shin-tu shog sö-nam so-sor sung sung-wa tag-pa tag-tu tang-nyom tar teng-tu tham-ce thar-pa threng-wa thro thub-pa thug-je thug-ka tö tsal du sol tshen tshog tsön-pa yab yin yö continuation marker very ‘come!’ º Ú º º merit individually speak speaker permanent always equanimity like above. on top of ÊÚ º º Ú all liberation mala (prayer-beads) shine sage compassion heart (honorific) praise Ú please bestow night assembly º diligence º Ú father (honorific)* to be to have 236 .

one who sees 237 . while continuation marker to sit. possessor mother (honorific)* please accept according to. remain please look upon look seer. stand.yön-ten yö-pa yum zhe su sol zhin-du zhing zhug zig su sol zig zig-pa qualities Ú º º Ú º one who has.

B. TIBETAN-ENGLISH GLOSSARY (ALPHABETIC) kün all Samantabhadra Three Jewels refuge take refuge blemish know Ú º kün-tu zang-po kön-chog-sum º º kyab-ne kyab-su chi o kyön khyen-pa khor retinue samsara reverentially sangha virtue please consider protector imperative: become! act become one who accomplishes being (=dro-wa) being cause obscuration victors’ heir ornament º Ú Ú Ú º Ú º º ‘ khor-wa gü-par gen-dün ge-wa gong su sol gön-po gyur gyi-pa gyur drub-khen dro º º dro-wa gyu drib-pa gyel-se º 238 gyen .

on top of praise 239 Ú tö .º Ê Ê Ê ºÊ Ê ngo cen cig cing dedicate possessing command marker continuation marker conqueror alone attachment dharma great excellent offering make offerings in which way Manjushri overcome after rejoice itself. state of day near Ú com-den-de cig-tu chag-pa chö chen-po chog Ú Ú Ú chö-pa chö-pa bül ji-tar jam-pel jom je-su je-su yi-rang Ú º º nyi nyin nye-wa nyön-mong tang-nyom tag-tu tag-pa tar teng-tu afflictions equanimity always permanent like above.

º den-pa teachings all liberation heart (honorific) compassion sage plural marker and together with endowed with be free from holy these (non-hon.) these (usually hon.) that furthermore in that way tathagata for the benefit of bell I happiness nectar this vajra Vajrasattva aversion ÊÚ tham-ce thar-pa thug-ka thug-je º Ú Ú Ú ºÊ Ú Ú Ú º Ú ÚÚ Ú Ú Ú Úº Ú Úº Ú Ú º ºÚ ºÚ º ºÚÚ Ú Ú Ú Ú Ú º 240 thub-pa dag dang dang ce-pa dang den-pa dang drel-wa dam-pa di dag di nam de de-yang de-zhing-du de-zhin sheg-pa dön-du dril-bu dag de-wa dü-tsi di dor-je dor-je-sem-pa dang-wa .

remain plural marker various lap lotus renouncer Avalokiteshvara forehead giving benefit benefit prostrate because of shine mala (prayer-beads) fall until enlightenment bodhicitta bodhisattva please bless guru Ú º pang-khen cen-re-zig ci-wo jin phen phen-pa chag-tshal lo chir thro ºº º Ú º º º º threng-wa bab bar-du jang-chub jang-chub-sem º Ú jang-chub-sem-pa jin-gyi lob tu sol la-ma 241 . dwell.Ú Ú º dig-pa dug-ngal ne ni ne-pa nam na-tshog pang pe-ma misdeed suffering from subject marker abide.

doer grasp. stand. while to sit. one who sees please look upon father (honorific)* Ú º mi-ge-wa mi-tag-pa mi-she min me-tog Ú Ú º me me-pa Ú tsal du sol tsön-pa tshog tshen Ú º Ú º º Ú dze-khen dzin zhing zhin-du zhug zhe su sol ‘i ö-ser zig zig-pa zig su sol º 242 yab . hold continuation marker according to.Ú º pa-po jung jung-ne mang-po hero arise source many unvirtuous impermanent ignorance to be not flower to lack one who lacks please bestow diligence assembly night maker. remain please accept possession marker light-rays look seer.

in practice practice karma from learn continuation marker very wisdom ‘come!’ Buddha mind sentient beings lion-throne individually illuminate speak 243 º lob shing shin-tu º she-rab shog sang-gye sem Ê sem-cen seng-thri so-sor sel sung .yum yin mother (honorific)* to be to have one who has. possessor qualities self exceedingly far Ú Ú º yö yö-pa yön-ten rang rab-tu ring-po rin-po-che rim-gyi la lag-len len le le precious by stages. gradually to.

º º Ú C sung-wa ser sö-nam hung lhag-pa speaker gold merit Hung specially 244 .

while act afflictions after all all alone always and arise assembly attachment Avalokiteshvara aversion be free from be not be because of become being (=dro-wa) being bell benefit ne-pa teng-tu º Ú º zhin-du gyi-pa nyön-mong je-su kün Ê Ú ÊÚ tham-ce cig-tu tag-tu dang jung tshog chag-pa cen-re-zig Ú º Ú º dang-wa dang drel-wa min yin chir gyur dro º º dro-wa dril-bu phen 245 .C. remain above. dwell. on top of according to. ENGLISH-TIBETAN GLOSSARY abide.

gradually cause come! command marker compassion conqueror continuation marker continuation marker continuation marker day dedicate dharma diligence endowed with enlightenment equanimity exceedingly excellent fall far phen-pa kyön º º ‘ Ê jang-chub-sem Ú jang-chub-sem-pa sang-gye rim-gyi gyu shog cig thug-je ºÊ Ê º Ú com-den-de zhing shing cing nyin ngo chö º Ú Ú º º º ºº º tsön-pa dang den-pa jang-chub tang-nyom rab-tu chog bab ring-po yab me-tog father (honorific)* flower 246 .benefit blemish bodhicitta bodhisattva Buddha by stages.

for the benefit of forehead from from furthermore giving gold grasp. hold great guru happiness have heart (honorific) hero holy Hung I ignorance illuminate imperative: become! impermanent in that way in which way individually itself. state of karma know Ú Ú º Ú dön-du ci-wo ne le de-yang jin ser dzin chen-po la-ma ºÚ º Ú Ú º Ú C ºÚ de-wa yö thug-ka pa-po dam-pa hung dag mi-she sel gyur mi-tag-pa Úº Ú de-zhing-du ji-tar so-sor Ú nyi le khyen-pa 247 .

possessor one who lacks ornament 248 º º Ú º Ú Ú drib-pa chö-pa drub-khen yö-pa me-pa gyen .lack lap learn liberation light-rays like lion-throne look lotus make offerings maker. doer mala (prayer-beads) Manjushri many merit mind misdeed mother (honorific)* near Ú º me pang lob thar-pa Ú ö-ser tar seng-thri zig pe-ma Ú Ú chö-pa bül dze-khen º Ú threng-wa jam-pel mang-po º Ú Ú º ºÚÚ sö-nam sem dig-pa yum nye-wa dü-tsi tshen nectar night obscuration offering one who accomplishes one who has.

overcome permanent please accept please bestow please bless please consider please look upon plural marker plural marker possessing possession marker possessor practice practice praise precious prostrate protector qualities refuge rejoice remain renouncer retinue reverentially sage jom tag-pa º Ú Ú Ê Ú Ú zhe su sol Ú tsal du sol º jin-gyi lob tu sol gong su sol zig su sol nam dag cen ‘i yö-pa lag-len len tö rin-po-che chag-tshal lo gön-po yön-ten º º Ú º kyab-ne je-su yi-rang zhug pang-khen khor gü-par thub-pa 249 .

in together with until unvirtuous 250 ) Ú ºÊ º Ú Ú º dang ce-pa bar-du mi-ge-wa .) Ú these (usually non-hon.Samantabhadra samsara sangha seer. one who sees self sentient beings shine sit source speak speaker specially stand subject marker º º Ú Ú kün-tu zang-po khor-wa gen-dün zig-pa rang Ê º º º sem-cen thro zhug jung-ne sung sung-wa lhag-pa zhug ni dug-ngal kyab-su chi o de-zhin sheg-pa den-pa de di nam di dag di kön-chog-sum la Ú º take refuge º tathagata Úº teachings º that Ú these (usually hon.) Ú Ú this Ú Three Jewels Ú suffering to.

vajra Vajrasattva various very victors’ heir virtue wisdom Ú Ú dor-je Ú dor-je-sem-pa na-tshog shin-tu gyel-se Ú º ge-wa º she-rab 251 .