Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup

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Short description

  • Lama Kazi or Dawasamdup (1868-1922) was the head master at Sikkim State Bhutia Boarding School in Gangkok before becoming translator for both the British administration and the Tibetan government.
  • Sikkimese scholar Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868 – 1922), who had previously also. been the teacher and translator for Alexandra David-Neel.

Main teachers

Tsampa Norbu (Slob dpon Mtshams pa Nor bu). Not much more seems to be known about him besides the name, and the testimony in Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, p. 105 and following. He was Bhutanese by birth. Mtshams pa implies he was a retreatant, and when Dawa Samdup met him he was staying in a hermitage near Buxaduar. Snyan grags bzang po is his initiation name. He died in 1916, at the age of about 78 years.

Published Works

  • An English-Tibetan Dictionary. Containing a Vocabulary of Approximately Twenty Thousand Words with their Tibetan Equivalents. Calcutta, The Baptist Mission Press, 1919. He based this dictionary on previous works by de Köros, Jäschke and Das. In the 4-page Preface he tells the interesting story of how he came to write it and his contact with such luminaries of the then Anglo-Indian-Tibetan establishment as D. Macdonald, H.B. Hannah, E.Denison Ross, J.C. White, Sir Thutob Namgyal, Sir Ashutosh Mukerjee and Sir Harcourt Butler.
  • Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path

W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Editor), Kazi Dawa-Sandup (Translator)

Unpublished Works (completed)

  • History of Bhutan. A copy of his English draft translation of a history of Bhutan is kept in the British Library. It is a translation of 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. The translator's name is given in the form "Douasamdub Kazi." A very rare published version was seen in the Widener Library of Harvard University (Cambridge): A History of Bhutan from the 7th Century A.D. to the 18th Century A.D., Historical Reproductions ( 1969), a limited facsimile edition with added foreword and a few notes by Turrell V. Wylie, "From a copy formerly owned by the late Sir Charles Bell." The basis for this publication was a set of photocopies made by E. Gene Smith in 1962.
  • History of Sikkim. Their Highnesses the Maharaja Sir Thutob Namgyal and Maharani Yeshay Dolma. “History of Sikkim” and a supplement entitled “The Pedigree of the Kazis of Sikkim and the History of their Ancestors, as they came by degrees to be appointed ministers to the Maharajas of Sikkim.” Unpublished manuscript in the British Library, formerly in the India Office Library, MSS EUR J733. Translation attributed to Kazi Dawa Samdup. The authors were the Dharma King of Sikkim Mthu stobs rnam rgyal (1864-1914) and Her Royal Highness the Queen Ye shes sgrol ma, although it is believed it was mainly written by the Queen. It was composed in 1908. “History of Sikkim Compiled by Their Highnesses Sir Thutob Namgyal, I.C.I.E., and Maharani Yeshay Dolma of Sikkim in 1908,” typescript in 291 pages (with Addenda on various subjects in 45 pages) preserved in the British Library, London (MSS Eur E 78). Notice that two different shelf numbers are given, and it is not certain which is correct (perhaps neither or both).

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