“Every lama his own doctrine”

I found the following interesting Tibetan proverb:

“Every district its own dialect;
Every lama his own doctrine.”
-a Tibetan proverb

Turrell Wylie quoted this proverb in his 1959 article in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies where he humorously added this next line:

“Every scholar his own transcription”
-Wylie, 1959

Interestingly, it is Wylie’s Tibetan transcription method which is one of the most popular in scholarly journals. I got a kick out of the Tibetan proverb–it speaks volumes as does Wylie’s addition.


  1. Ed

    Yes… each his own doctrine… hmmmm… not always a strength, I believe. Sometimes we must depend on an authority. For example, if I do not know where a person lives, I must consult with an authority such as the internet or that person. Or if I don’t know how to build something I would ask a contractor. Similarly, if one does not know how to wake up to Reality… Emptiness… This… then he would ask someone who has awakened. Yet I am uneasy about so many “teachers” having different answers. If there is the Truth… than the answers would be the same? I am asking here….

  2. Hey Ed,
    Yes, I think the saying is poking fun at so many conflicting notions and the humor of religious specialists. Caution and skepticism should always be one’s friends.

  3. Steve Schuler

    “Every dog has his (own) day.”

    Ancient American proverb.

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