By the Trikāya Translation Committee.

About

Erick Tsiknopoulos

Translator, language teacher, author, Buddhist scholar-practitioner.

Erick Tsiknopoulos has been practicing Buddhism since 1999 and studying Tibetan language since 2004.

He is passionate about building effective teams of translators and scholars, and leverages his numerous skills to create high-end translations and language learning tools.

Since 2020 he has served as the executive director of the Trikāya Translation Committee and Trikāya Tibetan Language Academy, and previously spent over 12 years as a freelance translator, editor and language teacher.

Originally from the United States, he studied Tibetan in northern India for 11 years, has spent significant lengths of time in Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, and has visited many other Asian countries.

He works internationally, and is currently based in Bucharest, Romania.

TEACHING

Private Tibetan classes

Public Tibetan classes

Private Dharma classes

Public Dharma classes

TRANSLATIONS

Tibetan to English textual translation

English to Tibetan textual translation

Tibetan to English oral interpretation

English to Tibetan oral interpretation

Get in Touch

Erick Tsiknopoulos is always available for side collaborations and public talks worldwide.

If you would like to discuss a potential project related to Buddhism, Tibetan & other Asian languages, Dharma books or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Email: e.tsikno@gmail.com

Introduction

Erick Tsiknopoulos (b. 1981) is a translator, language teacher, author and Buddhist scholar-practitioner. He is the founder and executive director of the Trikāya Translation Committee, Trikāya Translation Services (LLC), an officially registered translation agency, and the Trikāya Tibetan Language Academy, an international educational institute. He serves as an advisor for the SATTVA Project, a non-profit organization focused on promoting open dialogue in the various Buddhist traditions.

His works have been published around the world and translated into several languages. An avid reader and student of various subjects, his experience is by no means confined to books. He is also a longtime expat and world traveler who has resided for long periods in 8 different countries (and visited over 13), as well as a dedicated polyglot language enthusiast who has studied over 15 foreign languages.

Many of his translations have been published in various formats in numerous countries, in both printed and electronic forms. In total, he has translated several hundred individual Tibetan texts into English.

Utilizing his fluency in colloquial Tibetan together with his literacy in both modern and classical literary Tibetan, he ensures 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, by addressing any difficult points encountered in Tibetan texts directly with Tibetan scholars, through the medium of spoken and written Tibetan.

Erick has been practicing Buddhism since 1999, began his study of Tibetan language in 2004, and started to translate Tibetan texts into English in 2007. He lived in India and Nepal from 2008 to 2019, where for 11 years he studied Tibetan language and Buddhism intensively, while simultaneously translating Tibetan Buddhist texts full-time on a professional basis. Researching his translations with native Tibetan scholars, he pursued serious instruction in all aspects of Buddhism and Tibetan language, engaging in immersive and in-depth field research of several subjects, in particular a variety of topics related to Tibetan language and Buddhist doctrine.

Of some special note is that he attended numerous teachings with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama from 2009 to 2019 while living in India, several times a year on a regular basis, as well as teachings with many other Tibetan lamas.

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.

In his professional work as a Tibetan-English translator and interpreter since 2009, he has served primarily as a textual translator, but also sometimes as an oral interpreter. He has completed translation of a large number of Buddhist sūtras, including large sections of the Sūtra of Golden Light (suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra) and the Lotus Sūtra (saddharma- puṇḍarīka-sūtra), as well as numerous dhāraṇī scriptures and other assorted works from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (Kangyur and Tengyur).

Since 2009 he has provided his translation services on a professional basis, providing translations to numerous Buddhist temples, Dharma centers and religious organizations around the world, in both the West and East, as well as to a multitude of private individual clients.

Another of his larger projects is the translation of the large collection of texts comprising the Heart Sphere of Yuthok (g.yu thog snying thig), which is the main Vajrayāna Buddhist practice cycle 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 2022. Following that, the translation of the Heart Sphere of Yuthok (Yuthok Nyingthik) cycle will be published in its entirety.

He has produced the primary translations of important official letters and documents, such as those from the Office of the 17th Karmapa, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Princess Saraswatī, the daughter of the late Chatral Rinpoche.

He served as the main textual translator for Khenchen Lama Pelgyeypa Dorjé Rinpoche, a renowned master of the Nyingma school, from 2010 to 2018.

He has orally interpreted for several Buddhist teachers, including Khorchak Tulku Rinpoche (Kathmandu, Nepal), Geshe Tenzin Ludrup (Darjeeling, India), Sangngak Tenzin Rinpoche (Kathmandu, Nepal), the late Khensur Denma Lochö Rinpoche (McLeod Ganj, India), Geshe Lobsang Chögyel Rinpoche (McLeod Ganj, India) and Geshe Tséwang Nyima (Thosam Ling in Sidhpur, India).

In addition to Tibetan, he has also studied and has knowledge of several other languages, including Japanese (B2), Hindi (A2), Turkish (A2), Romanian (A2), Pali (A1), Sanskrit (A1) and Chinese (A1). He refers to these in his translations and research. Other than these languages, he has also studied Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Nepali, Thai and Bulgarian in the past, and also enjoys studying Indonesian, Persian, Greek and Latin.

Erick Tsiknopoulos is one of the most highly trained and experienced specialists in the fields of Tibetan-English translation and Tibetan language education.


He has the rare skills and experience necessary for top quality, publishable translations which meet the standards and expectations of both academia and the general audience.

  • Fluency in Colloquial Tibetan
  • Literacy in both Classical and Modern Literary Tibetan
  • Extensive first-hand experience with Tibetan culture and society
  • In-depth knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and doctrines
  • Academic experience in Buddhist Studies
  • Large catalogue of previous translations in several different genres

Biography



  • Erick Tsiknopoulos was born on October 15th, 1981 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His early life until the age of 18 was spent mostly in Southwestern Pennsylvania in the greater Pittsburgh area. 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 Ioannis P. Tsiknopoulos, a Greek scholar of Orthodox Christian theology and Byzantine history, and the author of several books that are still referenced in many publications and academic papers 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 Scandinavians from Norway and Sweden.
  • He has been a practitioner 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 during his early spiritual explorations, he explored Buddhism in many traditions. These include Sri Lankan Theravāda (at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery, West Virginia), Japanese Sōtō Zen (at the Arcata Zen Center, California) and Chinese Buddhism (at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, California).
  • In late 2000 after graduating high school he moved to California, where he lived until 2005. There he performed two one-year domestic service terms as an environmental educator and English literacy tutor.
  • 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. He spent 4 ½ years total in California from 2000 to 2005.
  • Between 2002 and 2007 he worked in four different American national parks and resorts, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Olympic National Parks, as well as a hot springs resort in the forests of Alaska.
  • In 2003 he began to practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition under the guidance of teachers from the Kathok Nyingma school. Since then, he has studied and/or practiced within all five major schools of Tibetan Vajrayāna Buddhism, in particular Nyingma and Geluk, but also to a lesser extent Sakya and Kagyu.
  • From 2003 to 2007 he attended two colleges in California and Oregon where he mainly studied Japanese Language and Massage Therapy, 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.
  • From 2003 to 2007 he studied and practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition under Lama Orgyen Zangpo and other lamas from the Chagdud Gompa tradition, and later studied frequently in teaching retreats with Khentrul Lodrö Thayé Rinpoché, an eminent scholar from the Golok region of Northeastern Tibet. From him 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, from 2003 to 2007.
  • In 2005 he traveled in Japan for six months, where he studied Japanese language, culture and religion in the Saitama, Mie and Kyōtō prefectures. There he also worked as an English language tutor. During this time he gained a significant degree of proficiency in the Japanese language, and was able to converse fluently in Japanese.
  • In 2004 he started studying Tibetan language and undertook a more serious study beginning in 2005, through both self-study and the help of experienced Tibetan translators.
  • In 2007 he first embarked on the journey of translating Tibetan texts, and in 2008 he began to publish translations on his website.
  • 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 study of Tibetan language, culture, literature and philosophy. This was done alongside his ongoing Tibetan-English translation work and Buddhist practice. 
  • In India and Nepal he studied at various centers of Tibetan learning in Bir, Darjeeling, Sidhpur (Norbulingka), Chauntra, Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. These include the Manjushree Center of Tibetan Culture, Thösam Ling Institute, Dzongsar Shedra (Dzongsar Institute of Buddhist Philosophy and Dialectics), Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Namgyal Monastery (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s main monastery) and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. In addition, he also attended frequent private classes with khenpos, geshes and other learned Tibetan scholars.
  • 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.
  • In addition to his Tibetan and Vajrayāna Buddhist studies and practice, his other Buddhist interests include the doctrines and practices of East Asian Buddhism, especially Zen/Chan, but also the Nichiren, Tientai/Tendai and Huayen/Kegon schools; all of which have much of their scriptural foundation in the Lotus Sūtra, Avataṃsaka Sūtra and other sūtras of the ‘Third Turning of the Dharma Wheel’ and Ekayāna (One Vehicle) approach. A related interest of his is in Buddhist texts dealing with the subject of Buddha-Nature (sugatagarbha). Over time he has also come to develop a deep appreciation for the teachings and scriptures of other schools as well, such as Theravada and Pure Land.
  • From 2008 to 2019 during his long stay in India and Nepal, he studied mainly in the Nyingma, Géluk and Sakya traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, under various learned and accomplished teachers.

Erick Tsiknopoulos has translated works by numerous modern and historical authors, some of which are as follows.

Note: Erick Tsiknopoulos does not necessarily endorse or support all these authors.

  • His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)
  • His Holiness Sakya Trichen Gongma Rinpoche, Ngawang Künga Tekchen Pelbar (the 41st Sakya Trizin)
  • His Holiness Düdjom Rinpoche (Jigdrel Yéshey Dorjé)
  • His Holiness Trulzhik (Trulshik) Rinpoche (Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö)
  • Khenpo Jigmey Püntsok Rinpoche
  • Chobgyé Trichen Rinpoche (Lobzang Tubten Rinchen Legshay Gyatsoi Dé)
  • Dzongsar Khyentsé Chӧkyi Lodrӧ
  • Khunu Lama Rinpoche I (Tendzin Gyeltsen)
  • Khunu Lama Rinpoche II (Khunu Negi Rinpoche)
  • Lamchen Gyelpo Rinpoche
  • Katok Rigdzin Chenpo Rinpoche (Payma Wangchen Dorjé)
  • Yongdzin Loppön Tendzin Namdak Rinpoche
  • Tsangpa Tulku Rigchok Rinpoche
  • Bönpo Geshe Sheyrab Püntsok
  • Māratika Dungdzin Rinpoche (Ngawang Jigdrel Chökyi Wangchuk)
  • Chöying Rigpay Dorjé Rinpoche
  • Geshe Namdra Tubten Yarpel
  • Ju Mipham Rinpoche (Jamyang Namgyel Gyamtso)
  • Jé Tsongkhapa (Lobzang Drakpa)
  • Longchenpa (Longchen Rabjam)
  • Sachen Künga Nyingpo
  • Düdjom Lingpa
  • Śākya Chokden (Serdok Paṇchen)
  • Milarepa
  • 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 Rinpoche
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