The reward for good work is… yes, more work

Hello friends,
My first teacher, Swami Rudrananda known as Rudi, once said: “The reward for good work is more work.” Ha Ha! So it’s been a week of MUCH more work, preparing, editing and refining my book proposals for a publisher. Here’s a draft of the first chapter, the overview. Feel free to take a look. All is well here in Kathmandu.

1. Srijana’s Six Product Proposal, May 17, 2019

2. Overview of Six Products

Although the Buddha lived two thousand five hundred years ago, his words still touch people as if he had spoken them yesterday.

As an avid collector of Buddhist books, I’ve always been curious about the life of this extraordinary man who changed the face of the world. In a recent trip to Lumbini, Nepal, the Buddha’s birthplace, I explored the palace where he was born, and sat in the shade of his mother’s enormous Bodhi tree. The park was buzzing with international visitors from every country and Buddhist sect imaginable. The assembly was a rainbow of colors and smiles, each wearing their appropriate prayer robes.

Everybody was speaking English, the unifying world language, and the entire area was infused with a lovely uplifting quality of refinement and joy. Suddenly I noticed that my aches and pains were gone, there was no stress in my body, and I was actually completely happy. Not tired or hungry or having any nagging feeling whatsoever in my mind. What a surprise!

I was also amazed at the lavish Lumbini park, with its 32 ornate monasteries and temples, each representing a different country or Buddhist sect. Billions of dollars have recently been invested there by international banks, creating a veritable “Disney World” for all Buddhists. I was especially excited to visit the gift shops to add to my burgeoning collection of Buddhist books, expecting this to be THE BEST PLACE in the world to find them! However the shops were filled with cheap plastic trinkets, a few academic books in Nepali that I couldn’t read, but nothing remotely related to the original words of the great man called the Buddha. And nothing in English. I was sorely disappointed.

After returning home, the sublime, buoyant energy of Lumbini park stayed with me. I came back more determined than ever to discover for myself the magic of the Buddha’s true words. Reading the original passages of the Pali Canon, I feel I am listening to the wisdom of a wise and trusted friend. I am deeply touched, filled with tranquility and hope. I simply fell in love with the root meaning of each verse. This has grown into a great passion to share the Buddha’s true meaning with modern readers, in simple English, in a way that is relevant, easy to understand, and uplifts their lives.

My intention is to communicate the Buddha’s true meaning by going back to the original Pali source. I wish to speak directly to people’s hearts and minds by rendering the Buddha quotes in a new way, using words the Master might have spoken to close friends, if he was living in modern times.

I am one of the best people in the world to communicate this wisdom. I live in Bhutan, married to a Buddhist Lama, and have been steeped in Buddhism for nearly 50 years. My word choices are infused with years of inner contemplation, multiple language skills, and an ability to transform complexity into simplicity.

To prepare the “Buddha Speaks” quotes, first I assemble the best 15 or so direct translations of each passage from Pali, Tibetan or Chinese, with the help of my Buddhist Lama husband, who speaks Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, and Dzongkha. I meditate on the Buddha’s intention in order to choose the best words in simple English. The result is a re-translation that is succinct, to the point, easy to understand, with modern metaphors and idioms. Small twitter-size nuggets are a wonderful way to uplift people every day. Even better, the sayings are completely apolitical, representing no ideology, compatible to all faiths and cultures.

The Buddha’s exact words are believed to be preserved in the Pali Canon, known as the Tripitaka, a collection of over 10,000 passages codified by the Buddha’s followers shortly after his passing. The Pali Canon is enormous, filling about 40 hardbound volumes of approximately 20,000 pages. Vastly larger than the Bible, it was amazingly preserved by Buddhist monks who memorized the Buddha’s lectures and passed them down orally for hundreds of years.

Roughly 1,000 years after the Buddha’s passing, the entire Pali Canon was transcribed by Sri Lankan monks onto palm leaves in the Pali language, a relative of Sanskrit. Countless other versions of these verses have been unearthed in various languages in monasteries of Tibet, China, India, and the Gandhara Kingdom of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Thanks to those dedicated monks and a few highly skilled scholars of the Pali language, we are able to go (almost) directly to the source to re-create the Buddha’s true meaning in plain English. This is a wonderful concept. And a simple one. I’d like to help this wisdom to come out now.

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