Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tibetan Catholicisms?

Glen Mullin, in an interview published elsewhere:

"...I could also note because you said 'His Holiness' the Dalai Lama, that I grew up as an Irish Protestant, and dislike these ostentatious honorifics that Tibetans have adopted from the Catholics. I find titles like 'His Holiness' and "His Eminence" extremely distasteful and inappropriate. These days Dharma centers seems to add "His Holiness" as a prefix to the name of every visiting lama with a few dozen admirers.

The original Tibetan names for the Dalai Lama are so much better : Yishin Norbu, or "Wishfulfilling Gem"; Gyalwa Rinpoche, or "Precious Master"; and Kundun, or "Sublime Presence." Even the Mongolian translation of his ordination name "Gyatso," or "Oceanic," which in Mongolian became "Dalai," has a nice ring to it.

It is unfortunate that somehow the Tibetans looked to the Catholics for their translations of these charming and delightful epithets, and came up with such insipid and uninspiring proxies."

Well, I grew up as an Irish Buddhist, and I have to say that I agree.

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