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Tibetan Grammar: The Essence of Situ's Elegant Explanation

Tibetan Grammar: The Essence of Situ's Elegant Explanation

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Description Table of Contents
Title Tibetan Grammar: The Essence of Situ's Elegant Explanation
Sub-title A medium to advanced level Tibetan grammar summarizing Situ's Great Commentary
Author Tony Duff
Details 216 pages, 6" X 9", available in paper book and e-book (PDF) formats
ISBN paper book 978-9937-572-30-9, e-book 978-9937-572-29-3
Texts Tibetan texts in Tibetan script included (see listing below)

In the seventh century C.E., the Tibetan man Thumi Sambhota wrote eight treatises that defined Tibetan grammar and lettering. Six of them were lost about two centuries after they were composed. The remaining two treatises are The Root of Grammar, The Thirty Verses and The Application of Gender Signs. These two treatises have been used as the basis for explanations of Tibetan grammar since the other treatises were lost.

The eighth Situ Rinpoche, Chokyi Jungnay, of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, lived in the eighteenth century. He wrote an exceptionally large and insightful commentary to Tibetan grammar that explains Thumi’s remaining two treatises in detail. His commentary, which is usually called Situ’s Great Commentary, is very complicated and not at all easy to understand. Therefore, another famous grammarian of that time, Ngulchu Dharmabhadra, wrote an explanation of Tibetan grammar that followed Situ’s Great Commentary but left out all of the extensive and often difficult-to-understand argument contained in it. Ngulchu Dharmabhadra’s text, called Words of the Supreme Expert Situ, became the standard text in Tibet for those wanting a medium to advanced explanation of Tibetan grammar.

About one hundred years later, one of the khenpos at Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, Khenpo Ngedon Jamyang, decided to write a text on grammar for use in the monasteries of the Karma Kagyu tradition. His text did not become as popular as Words of the Supreme Expert Situ, but it has a little more detail in it, which is why we have translated it and published it in this book. Khenpo Ngedon Jamyang titled his text Essence of the Elegant Thorough Explanation. The words “Elegant Thorough Explanation” in the title refer to Situ Chokyi Jungnay’s great explanation of grammar and the word “essence” means that he has written an abridged version of Situ’s great grammar that expresses its essential meaning.

Like Words of the Supreme Expert Situ, this is an excellent text for those who want something more than a beginner’s text but who do not need all the complexities that come in large tomes on Tibetan grammar. We recommend purchasing Words of the Supreme Expert Situ first and then, if you want to know still more about Tibetan grammar from a Tibetan perspective, purchasing this after that.

This book is one of several books on Tibetan grammar that feature native Tibetan grammar texts that present an understanding of Tibetan grammar the way that Tibetans themselves understand it. Go here for a complete listing of all of our works on Tibetan grammar.

Khenpo Ngedon Jamyang’s text has good explanations but there are many points that need further clarification. For that, the author of this book, himself an accomplished Tibetan grammarian, has provided many footnotes and a complete glossary of grammar terms. In addition, the Tibetan texts in Tibetan script have been included in the book for those who would like to study the grammar in depth.

The author of this book, who is well-known as an exceptionally capable translator of Tibetan Buddhism, has been concerned for many years at the mistaken translations of Tibetan Buddhism that arise because of a lack of understanding of the details of Tibetan grammar that exists amongst western translators. Therefore, he has published this and the other books on native Tibetan grammar in this series with a strong desire to make the Tibetan understanding of Tibetan grammar readily available. The end aim of course is that the western students studying Tibetan Buddhism will be able to gain a complete and correct understanding of the system through better translations of Tibetan works.

The book contains a translation of the following text:
The Essence of the Elegant “Thorough Explanation”, The Literal Aspect of the Snowy Land’s Grammar Shastras, The Thirty and Application of Gender Signs by Khenpo Ngedon Jamyang

Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: not yet available.

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