Erick Tsiknopoulos (b. 1981) is a translator of Tibetan texts, a scholar and researcher in Buddhist and Asian religious studies, an instructor in Tibetan language, a published author, writer and editor, an avid reader in various subjects, an experienced expat and world traveler, a dedicated multi-linguist and aspiring polyglot, and occasionally a Tibetan-English oral interpreter.
Many of his translations have been published in various formats in many countries around the world, in both printed and electronic forms. He has translated several hundred Tibetan texts into English. In addition to Tibetan, he has also studied and has knowledge of Japanese, Sanskrit, Pali and Chinese to some degree of facility, which he also refers to in his translations and research. Other than these languages, he has also studied Greek, Latin, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Nepali, Romanian, Bulgarian, Indonesian and even a bit of Thai.
He is the founder of Trikāya Translations, an officially registered translation agency, and the Trikāya Translation Group, a committee of scholars dedicated to translating the classic texts of Tibetan literature into English and other modern languages.
Erick Tsiknopoulos has been studying Buddhism since 1999, Tibetan Buddhism since 2003, and Tibetan language since 2004. He began translating Tibetan texts into English since 2007. He lived in India and Nepal from 2007 to 2019, where he studied Tibetan language and Buddhism intensively, and translated Tibetan Buddhist texts full-time, while researching them with native Tibetan scholars. He has been working professionally as a Tibetan-English translator and interpreter since 2009; primarily as a textual translator, but also sometimes as an oral interpreter.
For over 11 years in India and Nepal, Erick Tsiknopoulos engaged in immersive and in-depth field research of Tibetan language, culture and Buddhism. Of some special note is that he attended numerous teachings in McLeod Ganj with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama from 2009 to 2019, on a regular basis several times a year. During this time he also occasionally traveled throughout East and Southeast Asia, where he gained firsthand experience of the local Buddhist cultures and traditions in those regions.
He is currently working towards a Master’s of Arts (MA) degree in Buddhist Studies through the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He also completed one year of MA coursework in Buddhist Studies through the International Buddhist College, Thailand.
Among some of his longer translation projects were the Tibetan edition of the 29 and 31 Chapter Versions of the Sūtra of Golden Light (suvarṇaprabhā-sottama-sūtra), the longer and extensive forms of that sūtra, and the Tibetan edition of the Lotus Sūtra (saddharma-puṇḍarīka-sūtra), along with its sole Tibetan commentary from the Tengyur, which is currently his main translation project.
Another of his main projects was the translation of the large collection of texts comprising the Heart Sphere of Yuthok (g.yu thog snying thig), the main Tantric, or Vajrayāna, Buddhist practice cycle which is intimately connected to the practice of Traditional Tibetan Medicine. He began this work in 2012, and the hitherto completed texts from this cycle are scheduled to be published in late 2019. Following that the translation of the Heart Sphere of Yuthok cycle will be published in its entirety.
He has translated numerous works by modern Tibetan teachers, including but not limited to the following:
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)
- His Holiness Sakya Trichen Gongma Rinpoché, Ngawang Künga Tekchen Pelbar (the 41st Sakya Trizin)
- His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoché (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorjé)
- His Holiness Trulzhik (Trulshik) Rinpoché (Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö)
- Khenpo Jigmey Püntsok Rinpoché
- Chobgyé Trichen Rinpoché (Lobzang Tubten Rinchen Legshay Gyatsoi Dé)
- Dzongsar Khyentsé Chӧkyi Lodrӧ
- Khunu Lama Rinpoché I (Tendzin Gyeltsen)
- Khunu Lama Rinpoché II (Khunu Negi Rinpoché)
- The 10th Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché
- Lamchen Gyelpo Rinpoché
- Katok Rigdzin Chenpo Rinpoché (Payma Wangchen Dorjé)
- Yongdzin Loppön Tendzin Namdak Rinpoché
- Tsangpa Tulku Rigchok Rinpoché
- Bönpo Géshey Sheyrab Püntsok
- Māratika Dungdzin Rinpoché (Ngawang Jigdrel Chökyi Wangchuk)
- Chöying Rigpay Dorjé Rinpoché
- Géshey Namdra Tubten Yarpel
- Dr. Nida Chengatsang
He has translated the works of classic Tibetan authors such as:
- Ju Mipham Rinpoché (Jamyang Namgyel Gyamtso)
- Jé Tsongkhapa (Lobzang Drakpa)
- Longchenpa (Longchen Rabjam)
- Sachen Künga Nyingpo
- Düdjom Lingpa
- Śākya Chokden (Serdok Paṇchen)
- Karma Chagmey (Rāga Asya),
- Chöjé Marpa Sheyrab Yéshey
- King Songtsen Gampo
- Nyakla Payma Düddul
- Tertön Sögyel
- Terchen Trulzhik Dongak Lingpa
- Takbu Yongdzin Yéshey Gyatso
- Gatön Ngawang Legpa
- Gendün Chöpel
- Dza Paltrul Rinpoché
Prior to the publication of all of his completed translations in 2019, the previously published works of Erick Tsiknopoulos, translations which were published using paper or electronic formats, include the following texts:
Melodious and Delightful Laughter: A Clearly-Expressed Chronicle of the Sacred Site of Drakda Lamtso, the Life-Force Lake of Yéshey Tsogyel, by Kelzang Lhündrub, published by the Jnanasukha Foundation, 2009
The Mahālakṣmīni Sūtra (Mahāśrī Sūtra), a Mahāyāna sūtra, 2009, published by World of Feng Shui, 2010 (uncredited)
The Lamp of Advice Which Illuminates That Which Is To Be Adopted And Abandoned, by Khunu Negi Rinpoché (Khunu Lama Rinpoche II), 2010
Mañjuśrī, Green Tārā, and Medicine Buddha sādhanā practice texts, published by Sakya Dokho Ling, a Sakya center in the USA, 2010
The Prayer to Padmasambhava and the Four Elemental Goddesses for Pacifying Disasters Arising from the Elements, published widely online for the occasion of the Japanese earthquake, 2010
The Noble One’s Downpour of Blessings: A Commentary on T’angtong Gyëlpo’s Chenrezig Sādhanā ‘For the Benefit of Beings Pervading Space’, by the 10th Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché, 2011, published as a book by Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché’s monastery in Nepal, 2012
The Lamp of Pristine Wisdom: A Commentary on Karma Chagmé’s Mañjuśrī Sādhanā ‘Clearing Away the Darkness of Delusion’, by the 10th Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché, 2011, published as a book by Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché’s monastery in Nepal, 2012
Sunlight Blessings that Cure the Longing of Remembrance: A Biography of the Khunu Mahāsattva, Tenzin Gyelts’en (Khunu Lama Rinpoché), by Lamchen Gyelpo Rinpoché, published in the USA, 2012
The Prayer for the Swift Rebirth of the 9th Khalkha Jetsün Dampa Rinpoché, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 2012 (used by Jonang Dharma centers internationally)
Prayer for the Swift Rebirth of Dungsay Thinley Norbu Rinpoché, by the 10th Sangyé Nyenpa Rinpoché, published widely for the use of the Buddhist community, 2012
The Prayer to the Three Great Stūpas of Nepal, by Düdjom Rinpoché (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorjé), published by Khenpo Tenzin Shedrup, India, 2012
Several Dzogchen texts for Bön Shen Ling, a center in New York City, USA (uncredited), 2012
The Negative Retributions of Guns as Seen in the Reviving Hell: An Extract from the Visions of Each Hell, by Nyala Pema Düddul, published in China, 2013
The Concise Medicine Buddha Sūtra, a text from the Kangyur (the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptural Canon), published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2013
The 108 Names of the Exalted Jambhala, a text from the Kangyur (the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptural Canon), published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2014
The Incantation for Protecting and Increasing Wealth and Riches (Imbued with Golden Light, the Dhāraṇī of All Yakṣas], a text from the Kangyur (the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptural Canon), published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2015
Great Treasury of Blessings: Aspiration Verses for the Long Life of Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 2015
A Brief Biography of Ngawang Yéshey Tubten [Rabjampa Ngawang Lobzang] (ngag dbang ye shes thub bstan, c. 1807-15 to c. 1889-97), for The Treasury of Lives website (www.treasuryoflives.org), 2015
Saraswatī’s Letter to Chatral Rinpoché’s Students (January 9th, 2016), for the student community of Chatral Rinpoché, Sanggyay Dorje, 2016
Letter from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Regarding the Passing of Chatral Rinpoché, Sanggyay Dorjé (January 12, 2016), 2016
Spontaneous Accomplishment of Awakened Activity: An Offering Invocation to the Great Lion, Gésar the Gem, by Ju Mipham Rinpoché (Jamyang Namgyel Gyamtso), published in Malaysia, 2016
Bringing Down the Compassionate Blessings of the Great Lion, King of the World (Gésar), by Ju Mipham Rinpoché (Jamyang Namgyel Gyamtso), published in Malaysia, 2016
The Magnetizing Practice of King Gésar, by Ju Mipham Rinpoché (Jamyang Namgyel Gyamtso), published in Malaysia, 2016
Letter from the Office of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa (August 5th, 2016), published widely by the Karma Kagyu community, 2016
The Water Offering of All-Pervading Ambrosial Nectar: From the ‘Treasury of the Expansive Sky of Dharmatā’, a Treasure Teaching (gter ma) of Düdjom Lingpa, published by the Vairostana Foundation (organization of Bhakha Tulku Rinpoché), 2017
The Water Offering of a Treasure Trove of Ambrosial Nectar: From the ‘Treasury of the Expansive Sky of Dharmatā’, a Treasure Teaching (gter ma) of Düdjom Lingpa, published by the Vairostana Foundation (organization of Bhakha Tulku Rinpoché) 2017
Sanctifying Smoke Offering to the Great God Gaṇapati, by Karma Chagmey (Rāga Asya), published by the Vairostana Foundation (organization of Bhakha Tulku Rinpoché), 2017
Dredging the Depths of Deepest Hell: The Concise King of Confessions of Purifying Remorse, by Trulzhik Rinpoché (Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
Extremely Concise Practices of Sanctifying Incense (Sang) and Golden Beverage Offerings (Serkyem), a compilation of texts by Terchen Trulzhik Dongak Lingpa, Trulzhik Rinpoché (Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö), and Düdjom Rinpoché (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorjé), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Supplication to Terchen Trulzhik Dongak Lingpa, by Terchen Trulzhik Dongak Lingpa (Himself), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Supplication to Lord Trulzhik Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö (Trulzhik Rinpoché), by Trulzhik Rinpoché, Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö (Himself), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
On the Long Life Arrows of Māratika Cave (The Silken Arrows of Longevity), by Māratika Dungdzin Rinpoché (Ngawang Jigdrel Chökyi Wangchuk), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Concise Red Scented Smoke Offering (Marsur), by Düdjom Rinpoché (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorjé), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Concise Smoke Offering Ritual, by Trulzhik Rinpoché (Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Concise Dhāraṇī Ritual for Purifying Offerings, a text from the Kangyur (the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptural Canon), published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Extremely Concise ‘Dispelling the Faults of Interdependence’, a Treasure Teaching (gter ma) of Tertön Sögyel, published by Māratika Monastery (Nepal), 2017
The Prosperity Practice of Red Tārā, from the ‘Compendium of Vital Extract from the Treasury of Sublime Awakened Mind’, a Treasure Teaching (gter-ma) of Apang Tertön, published by Chagdud Gompa Brazil, 2017
The Awakened Activity of the Mighty Master Mahādeva, the Command Guardian of the Great Compassionate One, a Treasure Teaching (gter ma) of Chokgyur Déchen Lingpa, published by Chagdud Gompa Brazil, 2017
The Glory of the Golden Mountain: A Long Life Prayer for the Unsurpassed Master of the Great Perfection, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché, by Yongdzin Loppön Tendzin Namdak Rinpoché, published for widespread use by the student community of Chögyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoché, 2018
Supplication for the Long Life of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, by Sakya Trichen Gongma Rinpoché, Ngawang Künga Tekchen Pelbar (the 41st Sakya Trizin), scheduled for publication by the Melody of Dharma magazine, 2019
His current translation works planned for publication include:
The Heart Sphere of Yuthok (g.yu thog snying thig)
The Sūtra of Golden Light in 29 Chapters (gser ‘od dam pa mdo sde’i dbang po’i rgyal po’i mdo)
The Sūtra of Golden Light in 31 Chapters (gser ‘od dam pa mdo sde’i dbang po’i rgyal po’i mdo)
The Lotus Sūtra (entitled ‘The Tibetan Lotus Sūtra’) (dam pa’i chos padma dkar po’i mdo)
Commentary to the Puṇḍarīka of the Wondrous Dharma [Lotus Sūtra] (dam pa’i chos padma dkar po’i ‘grel ba, dam pa’i chos punda rii ka’i ‘grel ba)
He has also produced the primary translations for important official letters and documents, such as those from the Office of the 17th Karmapa, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and Saymo Saraswatī (the daughter of the late Chatral Rinpoché, Sanggyay Dorjé).
In particular, he has translated a large and ever increasing number of Mahāyāna sūtras, dhāraṇī scriptures, and other assorted works from the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptural Canon (Kangyur).
He has provided his translation services to numerous Tibetan Buddhist Dharma centers, in both the West and East.
In addition, he served as the main textual translator for Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoché, a renowned master of the Nyingma school, since 2010.
Being fluent in spoken/colloquial Tibetan in addition to literary/classical Tibetan, he has also orally interpreted for several Buddhist teachers, including Khorchak Tulku Rinpoché, Géshe Tendzin Ludrup, Sangngak Tenzin Rinpoché, the late Khensur Denma Lochö Rinpoché, Lobsang Chögyël Rinpoché, and Géshe Tséwang Nyima.
Erick Tsiknopoulos utilizes his fluency in colloquial Tibetan, together with his literacy in both modern and classical literary Tibetan, to ensure quality and accuracy in his translations. He does this by way of a thorough linguistic and doctrinal analysis, focused specifically on the relevant textual context. He addressed any difficult points encountered in Tibetan texts directly with Tibetan scholars; via the medium of spoken and written Tibetan.
Erick Tsiknopoulos was born on October 15th, 1981 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (USA). His early life, until the age of 18, was spent mostly in Southwestern Pennsylvania in the greater Pittsburgh area; but in young adulthood he lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, in particular Northern California.
Erick Tsiknopoulos is the great-grandson of Ioannes P. Tsiknopoulos, a Greek scholar of Greek Orthodox Christian theology and Byzantine history, and the author of several books that are still referenced in many publications today. Ioannes Tsiknopoulos was originally from Smyrna (now Izmir) in Turkey, and later lived with his family in Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus. Erick’s paternal grandmother grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. On his mother’s side he is the descendant of Scandinavian laborers, loggers, farmers, whalers, fishermen and school teachers, who were originally from Norway and Sweden.
He has been a keen student of Buddhism since 1999. He took the Refuge vows and Pratimokṣa lay precepts several times in 2000, the same year he graduated high school; thus formally becoming a Buddhist at the age of 18.
From 1999 to 2003, he explored Buddhism in many traditions: Sri Lankan Theravāda (at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery, West Virginia), Japanese and Chinese Pure Land (on-line), Japanese Sōtō Zen (at the Arcata Zen Center, California), Chinese Ch’an (at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, California), and others.
In 2003, he began a more intensive study and practice of Buddhism within the Tibetan tradition, under the guidance of qualified teachers in California and Oregon; primarily from the Kathok Nyingma tradition of Chagdud Gompa. Since then, he has studied and/or practiced within all five major schools of Tibetan Vajrayāna Buddhism, but in particular Nyingma, Géluk and Sakya.
In late 2000 he moved to Humboldt County, California, where he lived until 2005. There he performed two one-year domestic service terms as an environmental educator and English literacy tutor, respectively.
From 2000 to 2007, he traveled extensively within the United States, and lived, sometimes briefly, in six different American states: California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and his home state of Pennsylvania; but mostly in California, where he spent about 4 ½ years total from 2000 to 2005.
Between 2002 and 2007 he worked in four different American national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Olympic National Parks; as well as an Alaskan hot springs resort.
He attended two community colleges in Eureka, California and Eugene, Oregon, where he mainly studied Japanese Language and Massage Therapy, including in intensive courses; but also other subjects such as Greek Mythology and Environmental Ethics. These early collegiate studies were to leave a lasting impression upon his way of viewing the world.
He traveled in Japan for six months in 2005, where he studied Japanese language, culture and religion in the Saitama, Mie and Kyōtō prefectures; and there he also volunteered and worked as an English language teacher. During this time he gained a significant level of proficiency in the Japanese language, and was able to converse with utility in Japanese.
In 2003, he began to study and practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition under Lama Orgyen Zangpo and other lamas from the Chagdud Gompa tradition. He also studied frequently with Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoché, an eminent scholar from the Golok region of Northeastern Tibet, from whom he received many teachings on various topics of Dharma, including extensive study in Mahāyāna Mind Training (theg pa chen po’i blo sbyong), Madhyamaka, philosophical tenet systems, and many aspects of Vajrayāna practice, at different locations in the US from 2003 to 2007.
During his long stay in India and Nepal, which spanned roughly 11 ½ years, he studied mainly in the Nyingma, Géluk and Sakya traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, under various learned and accomplished teachers.
In addition to his Tibetan and Vajrayāna Buddhist studies and practice, his other Buddhist interests include the doctrines and practices of East Asian Buddhism, including the various Nichiren, Tientai/Tendai, Huayen/Kegon schools, along with their scriptural foundations of the Lotus Sūtra, Avataṃsaka Sūtra, and other sūtras of the ‘Third Turning of the Dharma Wheel’ class and the Ekayāna (One Vehicle) approach. One his major interests is in Buddhist texts which are oriented toward the subject of Buddha-Nature (sugatagarbha) more generally. Over time he has also gained a deep appreciation for the teachings and scriptures of other schools as well.
He first began studying Tibetan language in 2004. He started a more serious study of the language in 2005, through both self-study and the help of experienced Tibetan translators. It was in 2007 that he first embarked on the undertaking of translating Tibetan texts.
From December 2007 to May 2019, he spent the vast majority of his time in India, and sometimes Nepal, where he was continuously engaged in a multifaceted and holistic study of Tibetan language, culture, literature and philosophy. This was done alongside his ongoing Tibetan-English translation work and Buddhist practice. He was based in South Asia from 2009 to 2019.
In India and Nepal, he studied at various centers of Tibetan learning in Bir, Darjeeling, Sidhpur-Norbulingka, Chauntra, Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj (in that order). In addition to frequent private classes with khenpos, geshes and other Tibetan scholars, he studied at the Manjushree Center of Tibetan Culture, the Thösam Ling Institute, Dzongsar Shedra (the Dzongsar Institute of Buddhist Philosophy and Dialectics), the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Namgyal Dratsang (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s monastery), and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (which is connected to Namgyel Dratsang). From 2012 to 2015, he studied through the Esukhia Institute (Nangten Sizhu Khang) with Gen Lobzang Gyatso, a learned Tibetan scholar of Buddhist philosophy, medicine, astrology and literature from Amdo in northeastern Tibet. Gen Gyatso guided him skillfully in the art of linguistic, philosophical and hermeneutic analysis of Tibetan Buddhist texts. He continues to seek the knowledge and guidance of Gen Gyatso from a distance.
The following is from the letter of recommendation by Gen Lobzang Gyatso:
“Now, to elaborate on the subject at hand, my student, the young American scholar known as Erick (Tsiknopoulos): He is of good and kind character; and is an intellectual of broad understanding and discernment. He has studied the Sanskrit, Pāli, Japanese, Hindi, Russian and Spanish languages in addition to Tibetan and his native language of English. He has a good knowledge of Sanskrit Buddhist terminology; and in Japan he attained a high level of ability in Japanese language. For over ten years (c. 2013), he has studied a great deal of the Mahāyāna and Secret Mantra (Vajrayāna) Dharma teachings of the Nyingma tradition in America and India, with many great Buddhist teachers; as well as the teachings of the other three main Tibetan Buddhist traditions. He has attended and studied many teachings on Mind Training, Emptiness, Madhyamaka, Tantra, and various other important Buddhist topics.
He has attended and studied at many schools in both America and India. In America, he studied Japanese language, Massage Therapy and many other subjects at two colleges in America. In India, he has studied literary and colloquial Tibetan at the Manjushree Center for Tibetan Culture in Darjeeling, Tibetan language and Buddhist subjects such as Philosophical Tenets (grub mtha’, siddhānta) and Madhyamaka (dbu ma) at the Thösam Ling Institute in Sidhpur-Norbulingka, the Sūtra on Recollecting the Three Jewels (dkon mchog gsum rjes su dran pa’i mdo), Types of Mental Cognition (blo rigs), Types of Reasons (rtags rigs), Tibetan Buddhist philosophical debate, Collected Debate Topics (bsdus grwa), and Tibetan grammar (sum rtags) at Dzongsar Shedra (Dzongsar Chökyi Lodrö Institute of Buddhist Dialectics) in Chauntra, Philosophical Tenets, Collected Debate Topics, the Seventy Topics of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra (don bdun bcu), and Śāntideva’s Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra (jang chub sems dpa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa) at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of Path (lam rim chen mo), Tibetan grammar, and Prajñā-pāramitā (Abhisamayālaṅkāra) at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in McLeod Ganj; and Prajñā-pāramitā (Abhisamayālaṅkāra with its commentary by Panchen Sönam Drakpa), Stages of the Path (lam rim) literature, at Namgyal Monastery, the main temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In addition, he has also frequently attended private classes with various Buddhist scholars such as khenpos and géshes; in which he has studied subjects such as the Gyeltsab Darma Rinchen’s commentary on the Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, Ju Mipam Rinpoché’s Gateway to Knowledge (mkhas ‘jug), Torch of Certainty (nges shes sgron me), and commentary to Chanting the Names of Mañjuśrī (mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti, ‘jam dpal mtshan brjod), Tsongkhapa’s Praise to Mañjuśrī, Types of Mental Cognitions, Types of Reasons, the Ākāśagarbha Sūtra (nam mkha’i snying po’i mdo), and so forth.
Since 2012, he has studied through the Institute for Service to the Buddhist Teachings (Esukhia Nangten Sizhu Khang) with me; and together we have reviewed the Sūtra of Golden Light (ārya-suvarṇaprabhā-sottama-sūtrendra-rāja), a collection of sūtra-s (mdo tshan phyogs sgrigs), a text on the negative karmic retributions of guns (me mda’i nyes dmigs); and in particular, his extensive translations of the large compilation of practices related to the Heart Sphere of Yuthok (g.yu thog snying thig). I have gone over his translations of these texts with him, and have provided him with additional commentary and explanation. Based on this, I believe that his translation skills are exceptional and outstanding.
His level of aptitude in literary and classical Tibetan language is immense; and his spoken Tibetan language and powers of expression are excellent. In particular, he has trained and continues to train in a profound and deep research of the Buddhist teachings. He is a resourceful young man of strong intelligence; who holds an aspiration to spread and promulgate Buddhism in a far-reaching way. And he is someone who has vast future ambitions to accomplish great service for the Buddhist teachings in their entirety; due to the fact that he has the aim of helping to establish peace and happiness in the world.”
Regarding the Translation Experience and Interpretive Methodology of Erick Tsiknopoulos
Erick Tsiknopoulos is especially skilled and experienced in the translation of Tibetan Vajrayāna and Mahāyāna Buddhist scriptures and practice texts; in particular, sūtras, tantras, dhāraṇīs, mantras, sādhanās, Tantric practices and rituals, prayers, philosophical works, poetry and verse, biographies and historical writings. These genres have become his main areas of specialization and translation expertise; and they have constituted most of his translation work, both commissioned and personal projects, since 2007.
Over the course of the last several years, there has been more emphasis placed upon the translation of sūtras, dhāraṇīs, mantras, sādhanās, Tantric practices and rituals, and prayers; partly because these are usually the kinds of texts that are requested by clients, especially practice-related texts. However, he is able to accurately translate most Tibetan texts, due to familiarity with the terminology and concepts of most genres of Tibetan and Buddhist literature. This familiarity has come from relevant readings and translations, extensive field research, philosophical and linguistic study among the Tibetan communities of South Asia over a period of many years, as well as the formal academic study of Buddhism.
Since 2007, he has translated, under the guidance of native Tibetan scholars, several hundred texts from Tibetan into English; the vast majority of these are Buddhist in nature and content. This includes the many thousands of pages of translated material from the The Heart Sphere of Yuthok (g.yu thog snying thig), an immense collection of Vajrayāna Buddhist texts related to Traditional Tibetan Medicine, consisting of 513 over-sized pages of esoteric Tantric practices, instructions and rituals.
Most of his translations have already been published, are currently in the process of being published, or are under review and will be published in the near future.
Having spent over a decade in India and Nepal studying Tibetan Buddhism and language since 2007, under the long term guidance of numerous Tibetan teachers and intellectuals, Erick Tsiknopoulos, in consultation with native Tibetan scholars, utilizes his fluency in spoken Tibetan language, his literacy in written Tibetan language, his over 20 years of in-depth Buddhist study and practice (since 1999), and his prolific experience in the field of Tibetan-English translation (since 2007) to produce professional and top quality Tibetan-English textual translations.
In these translations, he strives for authenticity and accuracy, according to the standards of the native Tibetan tradition; including not only its religious messages and spiritual meanings, but also its cultural, linguistic, philosophical, artistic, symbolic, mythological, and historical interpretations.
All of these aspects of his translation methodology, and the numerous stages throughout the translation process, are based on a firm experiential foundation in analyzing how a given Tibetan text would generally be read, understood and interpreted by native Tibetan audiences themselves, within the wider context of Tibetan culture, society, linguistics and religious thought; as well as Buddhist theory and praxis more broadly. Here, English translation choices are based upon the intellectual and cultural patterns, and contextual linguistic correlates, of both the learned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and the average Tibetan layperson.
That is to say, his translations are done from an “insider’s perspective” as much as possible, while also relating this more culturally sensitive approach to the concerns of the “cultural translation” into Western and English conceptual norms and literary themes.