Saturday, September 13, 2008

sgom, bsgoms, bsgom, sgoms

Tim Walton said: I think "familiarizing" is a very viable option for "sgom". Paraphrasing Milarepa, "Meditation is just familiarization."

Marcus Perman said:
I have also thought about familiarizing also, an in some instances it seems just right. However, sometimes it doesn't feel "strong enough". Sometimes "familiarize" has an almost pejorative sense in English. When we talk about the importance of meditation we don't want to say "It is important to familiarize yourself with meditation," and imply that you don't really have to do it very often or that a simple "familiarity" with it is enough. We want to say that it is important to do more than that, which is why perhaps "cultivate" would be better. Then we can say "it is important to cultivate meditative stabilization," for instance. Or, in the title of the text I am currently working on, zhi lhag gi sgom rim bsam gtan sgron me, I could say: The Lamp of Meditative Stabilization: the process of familiarization with shamatha and vipashyana," but "the process of cultivating Shamatha and Vipashyana" seems to be better in this instance. It is interesting to note that sometimes people confuse bsam gtan (dhyaana) and sgom. That is they translate sgom as meditation and talk about the paramita of meditation, which would be bsam gtan gyi pha rol tu phyin pa, not sgom pa'i pha rol tu phin pa. On the other hand, sgom does clearly come to mean the practice of seated meditation in some instances. So perhaps cultivation or familiarization sometimes and meditation other times?

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