Self-Entitlement Radio!

Today I was reading through the wonderful new book by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse called What Makes You Not a Buddhist.

If you don’t recognize this Bhutanese lama’s name you might recognize the more commonly used Khyentse Norbu. That’s right, this is the same filmmaker behind The Cup and Travellers and Magicians.

On page 52, Khyentse mentions a word that is common to hear during RFA broadcasts, rang-wang.

Khyentse is discussing the Tibetan words for happiness and unhappiness and writes that happiness in Tibetan is rang-wang. Rang, he says, means self and wang is power, rights, or entitlement.

He makes his point about the nature of suffering by saying that when we (rang) are in control (wang) we are happy (rang-wang). But when something other (shen) holds our leash (wang), we are unhappy (shen-wang).

Insightful for a so-called farmer’s language, huh?! 😉

A while back, I thought I’d better look up radio in Tibetan, since it would probably be used often on Radio Free Asia. The word is loong-tin and it’s one of the first words you hear when the program starts – right after our word of the day, rang-wang.

And in fact the word asia is often combined with these other two for a very common phrase on RFA – asia rang-wang loong-tin.

So given the definitions above, what’s the translation?

Asian Self-Entitlement Radio?! Asian Happiness Radio?! 😕

Of course if rang-wang is literally self-power, it is also most likely the Tibetan word for free or independent.

Asia Rang-wang Loong-tin!
Radio Free Asia!

One thought on “Self-Entitlement Radio!”

  1. That thing about happiness being “self-power” is so true that it sort of left me in shock. I had always sort of thought about that, and I had read some study that had said that people are happiest not when they have the most money or whatever but when they have the most control in their life. So I just sort of vaguely linked the two and if someone asked me about what you can do to be happy I would probably have said “being able to do what you want”. The “self-empowerment” thing gives it a new dimension.

    English “happy” comes from “hap” meaning “chance”. Totally different look on happiness there. 😛

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