THE SUGATAGARBHA TRANSLATION GROUP
The Sugatagarbha Translation Group is a coalition of translators, formed and headed by Erick Tsiknopoulos, which is dedicated to translating the important texts of Buddhist, Tibetan and Sanskrit literature into English, and facilitating their translation from English into other languages. Sugatagarbha is a Sanskrit word which refers to the Buddha Nature, the potential for enlightenment and awakening within all sentient beings. It literally means “womb of the Sugata” or “matrix of the Sugata”. Sugata is another word for a Buddha, and means “one gone to bliss”. Garbha means “womb” or “matrix”. Thus we hope that our translations help all living beings go (-gata) to the essence (-garbha) of bliss (su-).
Erick Tsiknopoulos is an American translator of Tibetan language, Buddhist scholar, postgraduate student in Buddhist Studies, teacher of Tibetan language, writer and editor. He is the founder and main Tibetan translator of the Sugatagarbha Translation Group.
His most notable works include the translations featured on the website of the Sugatagarbha Translation Group, Buddha-Nature.com, which currently features English translations of nearly 270 Tibetan texts, along with his current projects of translating the Tibetan edition of the 29 and 31 Chapter Versions of the Sūtra of Golden Light (suvarṇaprabhā sottama sūtra), the Tibetan edition of the Lotus Sūtra (saddharma puṇḍarīka sūtra) and its sole Tibetan commentary, and the complete Heart Essence of Yuthok (g.yu-thog snying-thig, the main Tantric spiritual practice cycle for Tibetan medical practitioners), which has been his main commissioned translation work since 2012; all of which will be published. Many of his translations have been published, some of which are available for viewing on Buddha-Nature.com. His published works include:
- 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 Rinpoche (Khunu Lama Rinpoche II), 2010
- Mañjuśrī, Green Tārā, and Medicine Buddha sādhanā practice texts for Sakya Dokho Ling, a Sakya center in the USA, 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 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 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 Gyalpo Rinpoché, 2011
- 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)
- several 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, 2012, published in China, 2013
- The Concise Medicine Buddha Sūtra, published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2013
- The 108 Names of the Exalted Jambhala, published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2014
- The Incantation for Protecting and Increasing Wealth and Riches (Imbued with Golden Light, the Dhāraṇī of All Yakṣas], published by Thekchen Chöling Singapore, 2014
His current translation works planned for publication include:
- The Heart Essence 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 [The Lotus Sūtra] (dam-pa’i chos padma dkar-po’i ‘grel-ba, dam-pa’i chos punda-rii-ka’i ‘grel-ba)
Since December 2007, he has lived mostly in India and Nepal studying Tibetan language and Buddhism, and occasionally travels throughout Asia. 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.
He was born on October 15th, 1981 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. He grew up mostly in Pennsylvania (with 1 1/2 years in northern Florida), and spent most of his early life on both the east and west coasts of America, mainly in Pennsylvania and California.
He has been a student of Buddhism since 1998. He took the Buddhist refuge and lay pratimokṣa vows in 2000, thus formally becoming a Buddhist, and graduated high school in the same year. From 1999 to 2003, he studied and practiced Buddhism the Sri Lankan Theravāda, Japanese and Chinese Pure Land, Japanese Sōtō Zen, Chinese Ch’an, and other Buddhist traditions. In 2003, he began a more intensive study and practice of Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition. Since then he has studied and/or practiced in all four major schools of Tibetan Vajrayāna Buddhism, and is currently a student and practitioner of Zen and Pure Land Buddhism, in addition to Tibetan Buddhism.
In 2000, he moved to Humboldt County, California, where he worked two one-year terms as an environmental, recycling, and English literacy educator. From 2000 to 2007, he traveled extensively within the United States, and lived in six different American states: California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and his home state of Pennsylvania, but mostly in California. During this same time-period (2002-2007), he also worked briefly in four different national parks and resorts, including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Olympic National Parks, and attended two community colleges intermittently, mainly studying Japanese language and massage therapy. He traveled in Japan for six months in 2005, where he studied Japanese language and Buddhism in the Saitama, Mie and Kyōtō prefectures, and volunteered as an English teacher.
In 2003, he began study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition under Lama Orgyen Zangpo and other lamas from the Katok Nyingma lineage (Chagdud Gompa), and in particular Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoché, an eminent master from Tibet, from whom he received many teachings on various Buddhist topics. In India, he has studied mainly in the Nyingma and Géluk traditions under various teachers since 2008. In addition to his Tibetan, Zen and Pure Land Buddhist studies and practice, his other Buddhist interests include the Tientai/Tendai, Nichiren and Huayen/Kegon schools, and their scriptural foundations of the Lotus Sūtra, Avataṃsaka Sūtra, and other sūtras of the ‘Third Turning’ class and Ekayāna (One Vehicle) approach.
He has been studying Tibetan language since 2004, started a more serious study in 2005, and in 2007 began translating Tibetan texts. Since December 2007, he has been living for the vast majority of the time in India (and sometimes Nepal), engaged in immersive study of Tibetan language, literature, philosophy, and translation. In India and Nepal, he has studied at various centers of Tibetan learning in Bir, Darjeeling, Norbulingka (Sidhpur), Chauntra, Boudhanath (Kathmandu), Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. In addition to frequent private classes with khenpos, geshes and other Tibetan scholars, he has studied at the Manjushree Center of Tibetan Culture, the Thösam Ling Institute, Dzongsar Shedra (Dzongsar Institute of Buddhist Philosophy and Dialectics), the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Namgyal Drats’ang (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s monastery), and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. From 2012 to 2015, he studied Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan literature through the Esukhia Institute (Nangten S’izhu Khang) with Dr. Lobzang Gyatso, a learned Tibetan scholar of Buddhist philosophy, medicine, astrology and literature from Amdo in northeastern Tibet, with whom he consulted for his translations.
He has translated hundreds of Tibetan texts into English, many of which are available for viewing on his main website, buddha-nature.com. Several of his translations have been published, or are scheduled for publication, including works by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoché (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorje), Jé Tsongkhapa, the 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoché, Lamchen Gyalpo Rinpoché, Khunu Lama Rinpoché II (Khunu Negi Rinpoché), Dr. Nida Chengatsang, and Nyala Péma Düddul, several Mahāyāna sūtras, and his current project of the complete Heart Essence of Yuthok (g.yu-thog snying-thig, the main Tantric spiritual practice cycle for Tibetan medical practitioners). He has also translated various texts for Tibetan Buddhist Dharma centers in the West and East.
Fluent in both spoken/colloquial Tibetan and literary/classical Tibetan, he has translated orally for several Buddhist teachers, including Khorchak Tulku Rinpoché, Géshey Tenzin Ludrup, Sangngag Tenzin Rinpoché, the late Khensur Denma Lochö Rinpoché, and Géshey Lobsang Chögyël Rinpoché.
He is available for contact and translation inquiries at EmptyElephant@yahoo.com