Discussion Topics

[A] Other Catechisms

Introduction: Edward Amundsen (1873-1928) and Theo Sorensen (1873-1959) were born in the same year in Norway.  In the late 1890’s they relocated from Sikkim to Tatsienlu (Kangding) in Western China. Sorensen and Amundsen both studied Buddhism and may be considered as early European Tibetologists. In their vocation as Christian missionaries they interacted positively with Tibetan Buddhists and studied Buddhism. Both men compiled catechisms in the Tibetan language and sought to present a summary of foundational Christian teachings in their publications. Thus an enquirer from a Buddhist background would be able to easily understand the essential differences that exist between the two religions.

COMMENT [1] I have not seen copies of their original catechisms. These would have been printed in China approximately 100 years ago. But subsequent edition(s) of both catechisms were typeset from scratch in India during the 1950-60’s. A scanned copy of these catechisms can be found under Archives. Sadly the printing is not always clear in the reprint of Sorensen’s catechism and some significant spelling errors occur in both manuscripts. These may not have been present in the copies printed in China and may have been introduced later by Indian linotype setters. The (21st century) English translation of both Catechisms is an adapted translation. Broadly speaking the original content remains the same, however, brackets denote a significant change or an addition. A colloquial translation (in Central Tibetan) of the adapted English translation of both catechisms is also available on this website. Note: Publishing of these adapted catechisms is prohibited but a single printed copy for your own personal use is permitted. [EMR 3/16]