Kazi Dawa Samdup: a Pioneering Translator of Tibetan Buddhist Texts

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Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922)

Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922)

(By Tsem Rinpoche)

Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922) was one of the earliest translators of Tibetan Buddhist texts into the English language, and a pioneer who introduced Tibetan Buddhism to the west. During his lifetime, he had served as the interpreter to kings, lamas, politicians, and explorers such as His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso (1876 – 1933), Alexandra David-Neel (1868 – 1969), the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal (1860 – 1914), and Sir Charles Alfred Bell (1870-1945).

His encounters with these well-known personalities played an important role in giving him credibility, and attracting those who would offer their assistance to edit and publish his translations, such as Dr. Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz (1878 – 1965) and Sir John Woodroffe (1865 – 1936).

The Tibetan Buddhist texts that he helped to translate, such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa, Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, and Shrichakrasambhara Tantra: A Buddhist Tantra (Dem-chog Tantra) have been reprinted multiple times and translated into many languages since their first publication. This shows that his works have helped plant the seeds of interest in Tibetan Buddhism in the minds of many westerners. Although he passed away at a relatively young age of 54 years old, his legacy continues to live on in his work.

 

Early Life and Education

Kazi Dawa Samdup was born in Sikkim on June 17, 1868.

Kazi Dawa Samdup was born in Sikkim on June 17, 1868.

Sarat Chandra Das (1849 – 1917), the first director of Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling.

Sarat Chandra Das (1849 – 1917), the first director of Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling.

On June 17, 1868, Kazi Dawa Samdup was born to the family of Shalngo Nyima Paljor, who was a member of the Clan of Guru Tashi, an ancestor of the Sikkim royal family. Kazi Dawa Samdup was an intelligent boy. When he was four years old, his grandfather taught him the Tibetan alphabet. At six years old, Kazi Dawa Samdup was enrolled into the Bhutia Boarding School, where he impressed the director, Sarat Chandra Das, with his intelligence. While in this school, he also took lessons from the Professor of Tibetan languages, Ugyen Gyatso, who was a Tibeto-Sikkimese monk from the Pemayangtse Monastery. After graduating, Kazi Dawa Samdup was enrolled in the Darjeeling Government High School.

Since Shalngo Nyima Paljor was related to the Sikkim royal family, he was associated with the Ging Monastery in Darjeeling, a branch of the Pemayangtse Monastery in Sikkim. Through his education, Kazi Dawa Samdup became proficient in three languages: English, Tibetan, and Sanskrit. It is said that at one point during his academic career, Kazi Dawa Samdup received a silver medal for his English language proficiency.

Sarki Tshering, Kazi Dawa Samdup’s brother who became a celebrated Buddhist monk, author, and poet who composed Sri Lanka’s freedom songs.

Sarki Tshering, a celebrated Theravadan Buddhist monk, author, and poet who composed Sri Lanka’s freedom songs

Upon the death of Kazi Dawa Samdup’s mother, Shalngo Nyima Paljor remarried and had three sons and a daughter with his second wife. The sons from his second wife had colourful lives. The first son, Phurba Dhondup, went to Sri Lanka to study Theravada Buddhism. The second son, Sarki Tshering, also went to Sri Lanka and later in his life become a celebrated Theravadan Buddhist monk, author, and poet who composed Sri Lanka’s freedom songs. The youngest son, Bhyapo, joined the British Army and died in action during World War I.

After completing his education, Kazi Dawa Samdup became a Chief Interpreter in the Raj Shahi Division of the British-India government. He was transferred to Buxaduar, which was a territory of Bhutan from December 1887 – October 1893.

Ging Monastery in Darjeeling, a branch of Pemayangtse Monastery in Sikkim

Ging Monastery in Darjeeling, a branch of Pemayangtse Monastery in Sikkim

Pemayangtse Monastery, the second oldest monastery in Sikkim

Pemayangtse Monastery, the second oldest monastery in Sikkim

 

Meeting his Root Teacher

Kazi Dawa Samdup met his root teacher, Tshampa Norbu (1838 – 1916) in a hermitage near Buxaduar.

Kazi Dawa Samdup met his root teacher, Tshampa Norbu (1838 – 1916) in a hermitage near Buxaduar.

When Kazi Dawa Samdup was working in Bhutan, he met his root teacher, Lopen Tshampa Norbu (1838 – 1916), in a hermitage near Buxaduar. Tshampa Norbu, also known as Hermit Guru Norbu, was a Bhutanese lama of the Kagyu tradition. Kazi Dawa Samdup received teachings and initiations from this lama.

Tshampa Norbu came from a respected Buddhist family in Bhutan. His family had encouraged him to take on a monastic life and he subsequently entered the State Monastery in Bhutan, where his maternal uncle served as the abbot. Upon the passing of his uncle, Tshampa Norbu became the rightful heir to the abbotship of the monastery and his uncle’s worldly possessions. However, several influential people in Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, contested these rights. In order not to prolong the conflict that would impact the monastery, Tshampa Norbu chose to renounce his rights to the abbotship and his uncle’s worldly possessions. After that, he went to live in a hermitage near Buxaduar, where Kazi Dawa Samdup found him and became his disciple.

According to Kazi Dawa Samdup, his root teacher was a fully ordained monk who was kind, strong, fervent in his faith, and whose eyes had seen beyond the limits of ordinary human vision. Tshampa Norbu made such a great impact in Kazi Dawa Samdup’s life that, at one point, the latter wanted to become an ordained monk like his teacher. However, his father disagreed and encouraged him to lead a layman’s lifestyle instead. Following his father’s advice, Kazi Dawa Samdup married and subsequently had children.

Perhaps Kazi Dawa Samdup did not regret not becoming an ordained monk because many years later, he confessed to Alexandra David-Neel that although he admired the holy lamas, such a lifestyle was not for him. Kazi Dawa Samdup liked to drink fermented beverages and had difficulties in letting go of this habit, as the alcoholic content in his drink made him more temperamental. In her book Magic and Mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Neel mentioned that she tried to persuade Kazi Dawa Samdup to totally abstain from fermented beverages, like all Buddhists are entreated to. But such an act needed more energy than he possessed, and it was impossible for him to resist his surroundings. Sometime later, Kazi Dawa Samdup’s father passed away, and he had to look after his stepmother, sister, and younger brothers.

Kazi Dawa Samdup received the initiation and commentary of The Epitome of the Great Symbol from his root teacher. During his lifetime, Tshampa Norbu had three copies of The Epitome of the Great Symbol. In 1893, when Kazi Dawa Samdup was about to leave Bhutan, Tshampa Norbu gave one copy of the text to him. However, this copy was lost when Kazi Dawa Samdup was about to move to Gangtok to assume the post of a Headmaster at the Bhutia Boarding School.

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In February 1916, Kazi Dawa Samdup visited his teacher to request permission and assistance in translating the Demchog Tantra with Sir John Woodroffe. During this visit, Kazi Dawa Samdup also obtained permission to translate The Epitome of the Great Symbol and other similar yogic treatises. Upon this, Tshampa Norbu told Kazi Dawa Samdup that very few of their own people would care to strive earnestly for spiritual development, and there would be more appeal to truth-seekers in Europe and in America.

The fact that a hermit lama, Tshampa Norbu, who had little contact with the outside world, was interested in spreading the sacred teaching of The Epitome of the Great Symbol to the west was extraordinary, and served as an indication of his attainment and clairvoyance. Knowing that Kazi Dawa Samdup had lost his copy of The Epitome of the Great Symbol, Tshampa Norbu gave him another copy before their parting. Unfortunately, this copy was also lost. Therefore, Kazi Dawa Samdup borrowed the copy from Tshampa Norbu’s other student in Buxaduar to translate the text. The translation was later published as a book titled Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines.

Several months after their last meeting took place, Tshampa Norbu passed away in October 1916. He was 78 years old.

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup: The Headmaster

A recent picture of Gangtok, Sikkim – Kazi Dawa Samdup was the headmaster of Bhutia Boarding school in Gangtok, Sikkim

A recent picture of Gangtok, Sikkim – Kazi Dawa Samdup was the headmaster of Bhutia Boarding school in Gangtok, Sikkim

In 1906, the Chogyal (Maharaja) of Sikkim, Sir Thutob Namgyal was searching for a suitable candidate to be the headmaster of Bhutia Boarding School for boys. One of the prerequisites to be the headmaster was the ability to teach both English and Tibetan languages. The Maharaja, at the recommendation of the Crown Prince of Sikkim Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal (1879 – 1914), appointed Kazi Dawa Samdup to the position of headmaster. In addition to working as the headmaster of the Bhutia Boarding School, Kazi Dawa Samdup was responsible for compiling and translating the Sikkim Gazette for the Maharaja of Sikkim in 1911.

The Crown Prince of Sikkim Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal (1879 – 1914)

The Crown Prince of Sikkim Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal (1879 – 1914)

According to Alexandra David-Neel, who had visited the Bhutia Boarding School, Kazi Dawa Samdup had a unique way of running the boarding school. He was often absent for a whole month to attend his other affairs, and left the students in the care of another teacher. When he was absent, the boys often wandered around to play in the woods and neglected their study. However, discipline would be fully restored whenever Kazi Dawa Samdup returned.

Kazi Dawa Samdup would line the boys up and question them to test their learning. His students would tremble with fear because they knew what to expect should they give an incorrect response. Kazi Dawa Samdup would start by questioning the boy at the end of the line. If his response was incorrect, the next boy in the line would have to answer. If the next boy gave the correct answer, he would have to slap the previous boy who had given the wrong answer and take his place. The unlucky boy who had been slapped then was given another question. If he was still ignorant of the answer, the third boy in the line would have to answer the question, if the answer given by the third boy was correct, then the third boy would have to slap the ignorant in the face, and the process continued until all the boys had their turn to answer the questions. If an unlucky boy was not able to respond to any of the questions correctly, he would reach the end of the line after receiving a dozen blows to the face.

Kazi Dawa Samdup in front of Bhutia Boarding School in Gangtok (Source: Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel)

Kazi Dawa Samdup in front of Bhutia Boarding School in Gangtok (Source: Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel)

If several boys in the line were not able to answer the questions correctly, then the smartest student in the group would be responsible for slapping his unlucky comrades. If the boy who was responsible for slapping his comrades hesitated in giving his friends a real blow and only pretended to hit them, Kazi Dawa Samdup would show him how to slap the unlucky boy with his large hand. Then the boy who hesitated had to demonstrate that he was able to give a real slap to his friend’s face. If all of the children were not able to answer the questions, Kazi Dawa Samdup would have reprimanded all of them.

There were also times when punishments were given for transgression of rules that had never been established or communicated previously. In these cases, Kazi Dawa Samdup would use a long and heavy stick and order the unlucky boy to stretch his arm out with his palm facing up. Then, the boy had to endure strokes from his master. According to Alexandra David-Neel who witnessed one of these events, Dawa Samdup would do a kind of war dance, leaping and shouting ‘ban!’ with each stroke, which would then be accompanied by his victim, whose pain would also cause him to stamp and yell.

As he maneuvered his weapon, Dawasandup executed a kind of savage war dance, marking each stroke with a leap and a wild exclamation of “ban!” So, with the active though unwilling co-operation of the victim, whose pain caused him to stamp, writhe and yell, the punishment looked like a devilish ballet.

David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Dover Publications, 1971. Print.

After several days of running the boarding school and disciplining students, Kazi Dawa Samdup would abandon his students again.

The boys at Bhutia Boarding school in Gangtok (Source: Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel)

The boys at Bhutia Boarding school in Gangtok (Source: Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel)

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup: The Interpreter

A picture depicting Imperial Durbar in New Delhi to mark the succession of King George V as the Emperor of India in 1911.

A picture depicting the Imperial Durbar in New Delhi to mark the succession of King George V as the Emperor of India in 1911.

Imperial Durbar in New Delhi in 1911

The Imperial Durbar in New Delhi in 1911

Kazi Dawa Samdup’s proficiency in language had led him to meet important personalities and he became involved in momentous and historic events:

Year

Description

1905

Kazi Dawa Samdup was part of the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal’s entourage when he visited Calcutta to meet the British heir apparent, the Prince and Princess of Wales.

1910

When His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama visited India, Kazi Dawa Samdup acted as an interpreter during the meeting between His Holiness and Sir Charles Bell. At the time, Sir Charles Bell was the British Political Officer for Bhutan, Sikkim, and Tibet.

1911

Kazi Dawa Samdup accompanied the Maharaja of Sikkim when he visited the Imperial Durbar in New Delhi to mark the succession of King George V as the Emperor of India.

1912

The Crown Prince of Sikkim, Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal, requested Kazi Dawa Samdup to accompany his spiritual sister and confidante, Alexandra David-Neel, to meet the 13th Dalai Lama in Kalimpong. In this case, Kazi Dawa Samdup acted in the capacity of an interpreter, a guide, and Alexandra David-Neel’s teacher of the Tibetan language.

On April 15, 1912, while they were waiting for the 13th Dalai Lama, both Alexandra David-Neel and Kazi Dawa Samdup met with Japanese explorer Ekai Kawaguchi.

1914

During the historic Simla Convention to discuss the Indo-Tibetan border, Kazi Dawa Samdup acted as the interpreter to Sir Charles Bell. The resulting treaty was signed by representatives from India, Tibet, and China.

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup was part of the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal’s entourage when he visited Calcutta to meet the British heirs apparent, the Prince and Princess of Wales. The persons inside the white circle are the Maharaja and Maharani of Sikkim.

Kazi Dawa Samdup was part of the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal’s entourage when he visited Calcutta to meet the British heirs apparent, the Prince and Princess of Wales. The persons inside the white circle are the Maharaja and Maharani of Sikkim.

In addition to the above, several notable westerners studied and corresponded with Kazi Dawa Samdup such as:

  • Sir John Woodroffe – A British orientalist who introduced westerners to yogic practice and Hindu philosophy
  • Evans-Wentz – An American anthropologist and writer
  • Alexandra David-Neel – The French-Belgian woman explorer and writer
  • Sir Charles Bell – A Tibetologist and British Political Officer for Bhutan, Sikkim, and Tibet, who was so impressed with Kazi Dawa Samdup’s knowledge that he referred to him as ‘that tower of learning’
Tibetan Delegation at Hastings House, Calcutta, 16 March 1910. The third person standing from the left on the back is presumable Kazi Dawa Samdup. Sir Charles Bell (third from the left) is seated next to the Dalai Lama (fourth from the left)

Tibetan Delegation at Hastings House, Calcutta, 16 March 1910. The third person standing from the left on the back is presumably Kazi Dawa Samdup. Sir Charles Bell (third from the left) is seated next to the Dalai Lama (fourth from the left).

Left: Sir Charles Bell and the 13th Dalai Lama with Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal in Calcutta - When His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama visited India, Kazi Dawa Samdup acted as an interpreter during the meeting between His Holiness and Sir Charles Bell.  Right: Alexandra David-Neel and her adopted son, Lama Aphur Yongden, with Ekai Kawaguchi - On April 15, 1912, when they were waiting for the 13th Dalai Lama, both Alexandra David-Neel and Kazi Dawa Samdup met with the Japanese explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi.

Left: Sir Charles Bell and the 13th Dalai Lama with Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal in Calcutta – When His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama visited India, Kazi Dawa Samdup acted as an interpreter during the meeting between His Holiness and Sir Charles Bell.
Right: Alexandra David-Neel and her adopted son, Lama Aphur Yongden, with Ekai Kawaguchi – On April 15, 1912, when they were waiting for the 13th Dalai Lama, both Alexandra David-Neel and Kazi Dawa Samdup met with the Japanese explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi.

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup According to Alexandra David-Neel

Alexandra David-Neel (1868 – 1969)

Alexandra David-Neel (1868 – 1969)

While most of the personalities who were acquainted with Kazi Dawa Samdup praised his language skills or his knowledge of Buddhism, Alexandra David-Neel, who had the opportunity to spend time with Kazi Dawa Samdup when he was serving as her guide in 1912, provided the most intimate portrait of his character in her book Magic and Mystery in Tibet.

According to Alexandra David-Neel, Kazi Dawa Samdup was strongly devoted to his teacher, Tshampa Norbu, and was attracted to mysticism and supernatural power. However, this passion was often interrupted by the need to earn his living.

Dawasandup was an occultist and even, in a certain way, a mystic. He sought for secret intercourse with the Dâkinîs and the dreadful gods hoping to gain supernormal powers. Everything that concerned the mysterious world of beings generally invisible strongly attracted him, but the necessity of earning his living made it impossible for him to devote much time to his favourite study.

David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Dover Publications, 1971. Print.

He was also an avid reader who carried books wherever he went. When he was reading his books, he would forget where he was, lost in his own thought. His passion for mysticism, reading, translation, and long conversations with Tibetan Buddhist lamas often distracted him from his secular job as the headmaster of Bhutia Boarding School in Gangtok.

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup: The Translator and the Writer

Throughout his life, Kazi Dawa Samdup was passionate about propagating Buddhist teachings outside of Tibet. He used his language skills to translate important Buddhist texts, but his work was not without challenges. While Kazi Dawa Samdup had the ability to translate complicated Buddhist texts, the translated version required editing, and the expenses related to the publication of these texts were high. However, he was able to overcome these challenges by working together with western writers who also had a deep interest in Buddhism, such as Evans-Wentz and Sir John Woodroffe.

 

Collaboration with Evans-Wentz

Another picture of Kazi Dawa Samdup with Evans-Wentz

A picture of Kazi Dawa Samdup with Evans-Wentz taken in 1919

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Kazi Dawa Samdup’s wish to bring Buddhism out of Tibet was fulfilled when he met with Evans-Wentz. Evans-Wentz was a graduate of Stanford University and Oxford University, where he studied religion, history, philosophy, and Celtic mythology. Evans-Wentz’s interest in Tibetan Buddhism brought him to Darjeeling, India in 1919, where upon his arrival he met with British Officer Major W.L. Campbell, who gave him a copy of Bardo Thodol (Liberation through Hearing during the Intermediate State), a sacred text discovered by Karma Lingpa, a 14th century Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner. According to the legend, Karma Lingpa discovered several sacred texts, including Bardo Thodol, on the peak of Mount Gampodar.

At the time Evans-Wentz had heard of Kazi Dawa Samdup, who worked in his capacity as interpreter to several well-known personalities such as His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama and Alexandra David-Neel, and decided to meet him at Gangtok. The two of them struck up a friendship driven by their mutual interest in Tibetan Buddhism and Karma Lingpa’s sacred text.

Kazi23

Kazi Dawa Samdup had developed an interest in the subject of death since at least 1912, as revealed in Alexandra David-Neel’s Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Evans-Wentz offered to edit and bear the cost of publication and translation while they were collaborating.

For the next two months after meeting, Kazi Dawa Samdup and Evans-Wentz spent every morning working on the translation of what would be known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Unfortunately, after the two months passed, both Evans-Wentz and Kazi Dawa Samdup were occupied by their own affairs, and Evans-Wentz went to Swami Satyananda’s ashram to practice yoga. Evans-Wentz visited Kazi Dawa Samdup one more time in 1920 before the latter took the position of lecturer at the University of Calcutta.

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In 1927, five years after Kazi Dawa Samdup’s passing, Oxford University Press published The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and it was a success. The book was considered the first reliable translation of Tibetan Buddhist scripture, and by 1950, the book had been translated into many other European languages, and gained further acceptance in the scientific community. Famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who wrote a foreword to the second edition, acknowledged that The Tibetan Book of the Dead gave him inspiration in his work.

Evans-Wentz would continue to publish another three books translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup: Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa in 1928, the Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines in 1935, and The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation in 1954. In the preface of the book Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, Evans-Wentz referred to Kazi Dawa Samdup as his teacher, stating that their aims had been to record a series of carefully-made translations of texts and orally transmitted traditions and teachings, which at the time had been almost unknown in occidental countries.

 

Collaboration with Sir John Woodroffe

Sir John Woodroffe (1865 – 1936)

Sir John Woodroffe (1865 – 1936)

Sir John Woodroffe (1865 – 1936) was a British orientalist who first met with Kazi Dawa Samdup when he was working as the interpreter for His Excellency Lochen Satra, the Tibetan dignitary to the Government of India.

Upon obtaining permission from his teacher, Tshampa Norbu, to translate the Demchog Tantra in 1916, Kazi Dawa Samdup collaborated with Sir John Woodroffe on this book. In 1919, the resulting book, titled Shrichakrasambhara Tantra: A Buddhist Tantra (Dem-chog Tantra), was published by Luzac & Co., London & Thacker, and Spink & Co., Calcutta. The book does not contain the Cakrasamvara Tantra, but is the translation of Chakrasamvara sadhana.

Sir John Woodroffe acknowledged the qualifications of Kazi Dawa Samdup in the foreword for The Tibetan Book of the Dead, referring to his various appointments, Evans-Wentz’s references, and Kazi Dawa Samdup’s high proficiency in both English and Tibetan.

 

Other Works

Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee (1864 – 1924)

Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee (1864 – 1924)

In addition to translating sacred Buddhist texts, Kazi Dawa Samdup wrote short articles for the Asiatic Society of Bengal. In 1919, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee (1864 – 1924), the then Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, appointed Kazi Dawa Samdup as the Professor of Tibetan Language at the university. During his tenure there, Kazi Dawa Samdup compiled and published An English-Tibetan Dictionary: Containing a Vocabulary of Approximately Twenty Thousand Words with their Tibetan Equivalents. This dictionary also contains some words in the Sikkimese and Dzongkha languages. In 1919, The Baptist Mission Press published the dictionary.

It is said that among his many accomplishments, Kazi Dawa Samdup was also a talented painter of portrait and religious paintings.

 

Unpublished Works (completed)

Kazi Dawa Samdup also left behind unpublished works:

Maharani of Sikkim Yeshay Dolma who wrote the History of Sikkim together with her husband, Sir Thutob Namgyal - click to enlarge

Maharani of Sikkim Yeshay Dolma who wrote the History of Sikkim together with her husband, Sir Thutob Namgyal – click to enlarge

History of Bhutan – This book is the translation of a Bhutanese text titled Rje Mkhan chen X Bstan ’dzin chos rgyal (18th century), Lho’i Chos ’byung Bstan pa Rin po che’i ’Phro mthud ’Jam mgon Smon mtha’i ’Phreng ba. A copy of History of Bhutan is currently kept in the British Library. Another version of this work, titled A History of Bhutan from the 7th Century A.D. to the 18th Century A.D., has been seen in the Widener Library of Harvard University. This book is created from a copy formerly owned by Sir Charles Bell, with photocopy documents made by the Tibetologist E. Gene Smith in 1962.

History of Sikkim – This book was originally written by the Maharaja of Sikkim Sir Thutob Namgyal and his consort, Maharani Yeshay Dolma, in 1908 and later translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup. The current copy is preserved in the British Library in London.

 

Later Life and Death

Calcutta c.a., 1920s – The hot and humid weather of Calcutta caused Kazi Dawa Samdup’s health to deteriorate, and he passed away on March 22, 1922 at Calcutta General Hospital.

Calcutta c.a., 1920s – The hot and humid weather of Calcutta caused Kazi Dawa Samdup’s health to deteriorate. On March 22, 1922, Kazi Dawa Samdup passed away at the Calcutta General Hospital.

The hot and humid weather of Calcutta caused Kazi Dawa Samdup’s health to deteriorate. On March 22, 1922, Kazi Dawa Samdup passed away at the Calcutta General Hospital. He was 54 years old. One of Kazi Dawa Samdup’s friends, Profulla Shankar Sen mentioned in his obituary that he was an early riser, a hard worker who worked himself to an early death, simple in his bearing, and enjoyed long discourses with learned people. Kazi Dawa Samdup was survived by his wife, son, T.T. Samdup, and daughter, Dorji Budar.

 

List of Books & Writings by Kazi Dawa Samdup

 

Selected Books translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup and edited by Evans-Wentz for Download

 

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (click on the image to download in PDF form)

Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa (click on the image to download in PDF form)

The texts above were sourced from legitimate book-hosting services offering these texts for free download. They are made available here for purely educational, non-commercial purposes.

 

List of Books Translated or Written by Kazi Dawa Samdup

Book cover

Book title

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Shrîchakrasambhâra Tantra: A Buddhist Tantra (Dem-chog Tantra), (Luzac & CO., London and Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, 1918-1919)

Kazi27

An English-Tibetan Dictionary: Containing a Vocabulary of Approximately Twenty Thousand Words with their Tibetan Equivalents, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1919)

Kazi22

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, (Oxford University Press, 1927)

Kazi23

Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa, (Oxford University Press, 1928)

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Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, (Oxford University Press, 1935)

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The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, (Oxford University Press, 1954)

 

Kazi Dawa Samdup as Contributor to Other Periodicals

No. Article Title Periodicals Period
1. Prayer of Choje Tsang-pa Gyare, called the Religions Wishes (Gejor-dumpa) Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 8. P. 149 – 160 1912
2. Alexander Scott collection. G.B. Gordon, The Alexander Scott Collection of Art Objects from Tibet and Nepal
Note: The article includes information from Tibetan informant of Darjeeling “Dousand Up” (i.e., Kazi Dawa Samdup)
The Museum Journal [Philadelphia], vol. 5, no. 2. P. 55-57 June 1914
3. A Tibetan Funeral Prayer Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, n.s. vol. 12. P. 147 – 159 1916

 


 

Addendum 1: An Account of Kazi Dawa Samdup’s Relationship with His Teacher

Extracted from: Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines as translated by Kazi Dawa Samdup and edited by Evans-Wentz

Page 105

Page 105 – click to enlarge

Page 106

Page 106 – click to enlarge

Page 107 - click to enlarge

Page 107 – click to enlarge

The text above is easily available on the internet for free download. They are not being used for any commercial purposes. They are being used for educational purposes only.

 

Addendum 2: Alexandra David-Neel’s Account of Kazi Dawa Samdup

Extracted from: Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel

Page 13 - click to enlarge

Page 13 – click to enlarge

Page 14 - click to enlarge

Page 14 – click to enlarge

Page 15 - click to enlarge

Page 15 – click to enlarge

The text above was sourced from legitimate book-hosting services offering the text for free download. It is made available here for purely educational, non-commercial purposes.

 
Sources:

  • David-Neel, Alexandra. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Dover Publications, 1971. Print.
  • Samdup, Kazi Dawa and Evans-Wentz, W.Y. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. Oxford University Press, 1967. Print.
  • Dorjee, Pema Wangchuk. S. (2008) S. Mahinda Thero: The Sikkimese Who Gave Lankans Their Freedom Song. Bulletin of Tibetology. Pp. 139 – 154
  • Taylor, Kathleen. Sir John Woodroffe, Tantra and Bengal: ‘An Indian Soul in a European Body?’ RoutledgeCurzon, 2001. Print.
  • Samdup, Dasho P.W. A Brief Biography of Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922). Bulleting of Tibetology. Pp. 155 – 158
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazi_Dawa_Samdup
  • http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/Lama_Kazi_Dawa_Samdup
  • https://www.tibetsun.com/features/2016/11/14/kazi-dawa-samdup-and-tibet-in-the-twilight-zone
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma_Lingpa
  • http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Karma_Lingpa
  • http://theosophy.wiki/w-en/index.php?title=Walter_Evans-Wentz
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Tashi

 
For more interesting information:

 

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3 Responses to Kazi Dawa Samdup: a Pioneering Translator of Tibetan Buddhist Texts

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  1. Samfoonheei on Nov 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Inspiring Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup best known as one of the first translators of important works of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in Sikkim , an ancestor of the Sikkim royal family and was a student of the great learned lama, Lopen Tshampa Norbu. He did received many mystic initiations from Lopen Tsampa Norbu. Through his education, he was well versed in three different languages such as English, Tibetan, and Sanskrit. Due to his proficiency in languages, he was a pioneer inducing of Buddhism to the West and did involved in momentous and historic events. He did played a significant role in relations between British India and Tibet. He did helped to translate a number of Tibetan Buddhist texts which were reprinted multiple times and translated into many languages since their first publication. Interesting read of a great translator , writer, interpreter and headmaster to name afew.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this interesting sharing.

  2. Wai Meng Wan on Dec 25, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Reading about all such stories of translators, it seems the Dharma has a life of its own as it worked its way to the West and the rest of the modern and developed world. I salute all these translators who made the teachings available to the rest of humanity of having translated it to the dominant language of today, and from that to other languages as well.

  3. Dorji Penjore on Sep 24, 2017 at 8:32 am

    This is an informative and interesting article.

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I was given this beautiful gift today from Karen Chong. It is an enormous gift. I really treasure this. I love anything to do with invoking Manjushri or connecting with Him. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
I was given this beautiful gift today from Karen Chong. It is an enormous gift. I really treasure this. I love anything to do with invoking Manjushri or connecting with Him. Thank you so much. Tsem Rinpoche
I requesed His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to write out the mantra of Vajra Yogini. He immediately compassionately obliged me. This is the mantra as written by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I\'ve had this in a safe plastic wrap and wore it around my neck in a small yellow cloth \'bag\' for many years. Tsem Rinpoche
7 days ago
I requesed His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to write out the mantra of Vajra Yogini. He immediately compassionately obliged me. This is the mantra as written by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I've had this in a safe plastic wrap and wore it around my neck in a small yellow cloth 'bag' for many years. Tsem Rinpoche
If there were just 10 persons you should know about in your lifetime, one of them is this incredible Dr. Ambedkar. Enrich your life and don\'t miss this: https://bit.ly/2Dub7xu
1 week ago
If there were just 10 persons you should know about in your lifetime, one of them is this incredible Dr. Ambedkar. Enrich your life and don't miss this: https://bit.ly/2Dub7xu
Dear friends, watch this short 11mins video. It is so nice. My dream idea of living. I love the fresh things they grow for their own food. I wish our culture here was more geared toward this type of living. Watch plse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do1O5Avw_SQ&feature=share
2 weeks ago
Dear friends, watch this short 11mins video. It is so nice. My dream idea of living. I love the fresh things they grow for their own food. I wish our culture here was more geared toward this type of living. Watch plse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do1O5Avw_SQ&feature=share
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2 weeks ago
No one stays around, do not depend on anyone. Let go of them before they let go of you...it is inevitable. Tsem Rinpoche
Outdoor stunning Tara at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
2 weeks ago
Outdoor stunning Tara at Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
The Promise - https://bit.ly/2NfHJjQ
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Hunting is a horrible \'sport\' because it is not necessary and unfair. Killing animals is vicious and inhuman. Hurting animals does not help us, our karma, our mind and it does not help the animals. Killing animals serves no benefit and it stunts our spiritual growth. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Hunting is a horrible 'sport' because it is not necessary and unfair. Killing animals is vicious and inhuman. Hurting animals does not help us, our karma, our mind and it does not help the animals. Killing animals serves no benefit and it stunts our spiritual growth. Tsem Rinpoche
This is a beautiful Yamantaka
3 weeks ago
This is a beautiful Yamantaka
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This is so powerful. This is so true. This is something we must remember about our self worth. We must value ourselves without arrogance.
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Beautiful Dorje Yudroma protector. A gentle Goddess I\'ve had the pleasure to meet via her oracle.
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Beautiful Dorje Yudroma protector. A gentle Goddess I've had the pleasure to meet via her oracle.
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Beautiful Kalachakra painting
I like this picture of my teacher behind me.
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I like this picture of my teacher behind me.
This magnificent Dorje Shugden statue is enshrined at Choijin Lama Museum in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. The museum was the home of the Choijin Lama, the State Oracle of Mongolia. Choijin Lama was an oracle of the Nechung deity and the brother of the 8th Bogd Khaan Jebzundamba (1869-1924), the de facto leader of Outer Mongolia. - https://palyulmedia.smugmug.com/Worldwide-Palyul/MongoliaConnections/Mongolia-Choijin-Lama-Museum/i-TQ8CmHM
3 weeks ago
This magnificent Dorje Shugden statue is enshrined at Choijin Lama Museum in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. The museum was the home of the Choijin Lama, the State Oracle of Mongolia. Choijin Lama was an oracle of the Nechung deity and the brother of the 8th Bogd Khaan Jebzundamba (1869-1924), the de facto leader of Outer Mongolia. - https://palyulmedia.smugmug.com/Worldwide-Palyul/MongoliaConnections/Mongolia-Choijin-Lama-Museum/i-TQ8CmHM
Please download this and share this meme with others. Thanks.
3 weeks ago
Please download this and share this meme with others. Thanks.
Beautiful Tibetan art for FREE download: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
4 weeks ago
Beautiful Tibetan art for FREE download: https://bit.ly/2oxb4qU
Sacred Protector Dorje Shugden can help you, if you invoke Him sincerely..
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Sacred Protector Dorje Shugden can help you, if you invoke Him sincerely..
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Now there is a Tsem Rinpoche blog site in Nepalese language! Check it out: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/l/np/
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Very interesting blog post that goes along with this depiction of the Yeti. - https://bit.ly/2E43COF
His Holiness Sharpa Choje Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Nyima of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was a supreme master of both Sutra and Tantra. He served as abbot of both Gaden Shartse Monastery as well as Gyuto Tantric college. After serving as abbot of Gyuto Tantric college he entered into a few long term (3 year, 3 month and 3 day) Vajra Yogini retreats in the forest. He completed that long retreat twice and was going to enter it again till he was asked to be abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He was a great practitioner of Vajra Yogini\'s tantra as well as Dorje Shugden. He was a scholar of the highest renown and he was highly sought after for teachings. He was very devoted to Dorje Shugden throughout his whole life as a pure monk. I was fortunate enough to have him as one of my teachers. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche

To read more- https://bit.ly/2zW2Grz
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His Holiness Sharpa Choje Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Nyima of Gaden Shartse Monastery. He was a supreme master of both Sutra and Tantra. He served as abbot of both Gaden Shartse Monastery as well as Gyuto Tantric college. After serving as abbot of Gyuto Tantric college he entered into a few long term (3 year, 3 month and 3 day) Vajra Yogini retreats in the forest. He completed that long retreat twice and was going to enter it again till he was asked to be abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He was a great practitioner of Vajra Yogini's tantra as well as Dorje Shugden. He was a scholar of the highest renown and he was highly sought after for teachings. He was very devoted to Dorje Shugden throughout his whole life as a pure monk. I was fortunate enough to have him as one of my teachers. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche To read more- https://bit.ly/2zW2Grz
Beautiful thangka painting of Lord Yamantaka the slayer of ignorance and who bestows supreme wisdom that eradicates all projections.
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Beautiful thangka painting of Lord Yamantaka the slayer of ignorance and who bestows supreme wisdom that eradicates all projections.
Kadroma Metsik Nakmo or Dakini Ucchusma who purifies and heals the body.
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I am reciting a daily prayer to Dorje Shugden. Here is the youtube link to the audio- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-OSudd323A
It\'s hard to not fall in love with little cute Pema baby girl. She is so light, happy and wags her tail super fast when she sees us or anyone. Super friendly. She is a heart breaker for sure. Teehee...She is our Kechara Forest Retreat doggie and runs free throughout our sacred land. Her name Pema means lotus. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
It's hard to not fall in love with little cute Pema baby girl. She is so light, happy and wags her tail super fast when she sees us or anyone. Super friendly. She is a heart breaker for sure. Teehee...She is our Kechara Forest Retreat doggie and runs free throughout our sacred land. Her name Pema means lotus. Tsem Rinpoche
My Nepalese boys work hard and I appreciate them. Today we have purchased special foods for them to snack on and also to cook with so they won\'t be so homesick. These foods are all imported from their country. There\'s a street in downtown K.L. that sell all this. So happy to get this for them. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
My Nepalese boys work hard and I appreciate them. Today we have purchased special foods for them to snack on and also to cook with so they won't be so homesick. These foods are all imported from their country. There's a street in downtown K.L. that sell all this. So happy to get this for them. Tsem Rinpoche
I come out of the bathroom to be greeted by the mess the two monsters made...Some more they want snacks! Monster Oser girl and Monster Dharma boy.
2 months ago
I come out of the bathroom to be greeted by the mess the two monsters made...Some more they want snacks! Monster Oser girl and Monster Dharma boy.
This blog post has had amazing response. Since published on July 27, 2018, there has been 114,788 views and still increasing. I am happy to see how this post has made things clearer. Do visit this post here-  https://bit.ly/2MATbGe
2 months ago
This blog post has had amazing response. Since published on July 27, 2018, there has been 114,788 views and still increasing. I am happy to see how this post has made things clearer. Do visit this post here- https://bit.ly/2MATbGe
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his disciple Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Beautiful picture.
2 months ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche with his disciple Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Beautiful picture.
This monk takes trance of Dorje Shugden and he was happy to receive THE PROMISE book in Tibet
2 months ago
This monk takes trance of Dorje Shugden and he was happy to receive THE PROMISE book in Tibet
Find out about the blessed healing water for health and healing at Kechara Forest Retreat- https://bit.ly/2CtVQNk
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Find out about the blessed healing water for health and healing at Kechara Forest Retreat- https://bit.ly/2CtVQNk
This is my ultimate home!!! Blue waters, trees, skies, mountains, house that is open, retreat, meditation, Buddha images and purple flowers. Wow. Such a perfect place for me. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
This is my ultimate home!!! Blue waters, trees, skies, mountains, house that is open, retreat, meditation, Buddha images and purple flowers. Wow. Such a perfect place for me. Tsem Rinpoche
To see other beautiful portrayals of Dorje Shugden, click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
2 months ago
To see other beautiful portrayals of Dorje Shugden, click here: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Severed head Vajra Yogini has a brilliant orange body, orange darting eyes, wearing a necklace of freshly cut human heads firmly standing within a wisdom fire emanating from her sacred body reminding us to cut off our self damaging ego. Without the ego, our sufferings cannot survive and our happiness will arise. Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
Severed head Vajra Yogini has a brilliant orange body, orange darting eyes, wearing a necklace of freshly cut human heads firmly standing within a wisdom fire emanating from her sacred body reminding us to cut off our self damaging ego. Without the ego, our sufferings cannot survive and our happiness will arise. Tsem Rinpoche
A thought on how to repay the kindness of the guru
2 months ago
A thought on how to repay the kindness of the guru
Very nice old artwork on the Bodha Stupa in Nepal.
2 months ago
Very nice old artwork on the Bodha Stupa in Nepal.
This is quite interesting....
2 months ago
This is quite interesting....
Wonderful statement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Although Dorje Shugden is not negative, lets hope His Holiness can apply this to the Shugden issue. Then there will be peace.
2 months ago
Wonderful statement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Although Dorje Shugden is not negative, lets hope His Holiness can apply this to the Shugden issue. Then there will be peace.
Left to right: Tritul Rinpoche, Gaden Tripa Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastic prayer hall during puja.
2 months ago
Left to right: Tritul Rinpoche, Gaden Tripa Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in Gaden Shartse Monastic prayer hall during puja.
The oracle of Dorje Shugden Choyang Dulzin Kuten of Gaden making offerings to Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche during a teaching in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
2 months ago
The oracle of Dorje Shugden Choyang Dulzin Kuten of Gaden making offerings to Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche during a teaching in Gaden Shartse Monastery.
Their Holinesses Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
2 months ago
Their Holinesses Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
Please click on this picture and see how tragic this is.
2 months ago
Please click on this picture and see how tragic this is.
Advice by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche- https://bit.ly/2NiryBg
2 months ago
Advice by His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche- https://bit.ly/2NiryBg
Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in 1987 Los Angeles.
3 months ago
Zong Rinpoche and Tsem Rinpoche in 1987 Los Angeles.
Beautiful Yamantaka print
3 months ago
Beautiful Yamantaka print
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini painting for you to download free in high file to print out, frame and place on your shrine or share with friends. May you be blessed. Download here: 
 https://bit.ly/2N5zI02
3 months ago
Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini painting for you to download free in high file to print out, frame and place on your shrine or share with friends. May you be blessed. Download here: https://bit.ly/2N5zI02
The Fifth Dalai Lama & Dorje Shugden | ༧གོང་ས་ལྔ་པ་ཆེན་པོ་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། | 第五世达赖尊者与多杰雄登---read more--- https://bit.ly/2C65Iwr
3 months ago
The Fifth Dalai Lama & Dorje Shugden | ༧གོང་ས་ལྔ་པ་ཆེན་པོ་དང་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཤུགས་ལྡན། | 第五世达赖尊者与多杰雄登---read more--- https://bit.ly/2C65Iwr
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Pastor Gim Lee representing Pastor Yek Yee to give speech during the KSDS Graduation Day 2018. Lin Mun KSDS
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Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
Are you Ready??? Stay tuned on "KSDS Graduation Day" 18/11/18 9am At Kechara House. KSDS Together We Care. By Asyley Chia KSDS
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