We’ve been having classes in the evening instead of the usually 8:30 am because our days have been filled with puja for our lama’s passing. Despite the very sad reason for it, I found I like class in the evening much more than in the morning. I’ve felt sharper.
In a month we’ve only gotten to page 22 of Paltrul Rinpoche’s General Commentary (spyi don) on Abhisamalankara. It is typical to go this slowly at the beginning of a text. The first quatrains of many shastras are not only homages to the Buddhas and so on, but contain pith summaries of the main points of the texts.
Our teacher asked us if we would like him to teach us Haribhadra‘s Abhisamayalankara commentary Short Commentary Clear in Meaning (‘grel chung don gsal) at the same time, or wait until after we finished the General Commentary. We voted on it and the result is we are covering each section in the General Commentary then following it with the same section in the Short Commentary.
The Short Commentary is interesting to read because it is a Tibetan translation of an Indian Commentary. This means its Tibetan is unusual; it has been bent and stretched to be an exact translation of the original Sanskrit. These days some Dharma students complain that the English translations of Tibetan texts and sadhanas are hard understand, filled with ‘translator speak’. Well, if that’s true, at least there is a precedent for it in history.
On the side, to try to shore up my understanding of the above texts, I am reading Khenpo Tsewang Sonam’s commentary The New Radiance (‘od snang gsar pa), as well as Botrul Tenpa’i Nyima’s Words of Maitreya (ma pham zhal lung), and occasionaly looking at Tsongkapa’s Golden Rosary (legs bshad gser phreng).