Translator’s homage

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Translator’s homage (Tib. འགྱུར་ཕྱག, gyur chak, Wyl. gyur phyag) ― the homage that is inserted by the translator of a Sanskrit text into the Tibetan language is called the ‘salutation imposed by royal command’ or the ‘salutation indicating the section of the Tripitaka to which the text belongs’.

In the period of the ancestral dharma kings, the translators had the habit of paying homage to the yidam deity to whom they were personally devoted. There was no general practice established by law. But it happened that king Tri Ralpachen, having invited many panditas and translators, decreed that every revised translation, the text of which was established as final, was to contain a translator’s homage that reflected the section of the Tripitaka to which it belonged, so that there would be no confusion as to its scriptural affiliation.

Accordingly, in the case of the vinaya-pitaka, since the subtle and precise teachings about the karmic law of cause and effect contained therein are the province of the Buddha alone, the homage is made to the ‘Omniscient One’. Since the teachings of the sutra-pitaka are present in the form of questions and answers between the Buddha and the bodhisattvas, homage is made to ‘all buddhas and bodhisattvas’. Finally, since the teachings contained in the abhidharma-pitaka concerning such things as the aggregates, elements and sense fields are to be realized by means of profound wisdom, the homage is made to the ‘noble and ever-youthful Manjushri’.[1]


  1. Khenpo Kunpal, The Nectar of Manjushri’s Speech, a detailed commentary on Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, page 33. Translated by Padmakara Translation Group. Published by Shambhala. ISBN 978-1-59030-439-6, ISBN 978-1-59030-699-4