"Sherab Dongbu", the tree of wisdom is the commentary of manners or moral maxim having 260 verses composed by Saint Nagarjuna (Goenpo Ludrub) in 100 BC. The original text was in Sanskrit known as "Prajna Danda" which was translated into Chhoekay (classical language) in the 11 the century AD and included in the Tenjur (commentarial canon) in section "DO", volume "GO" beginning at 165 leaf. It is incredible that the Chhoekay version has been incorporated in the Tenjur because the original text in Sanskrit is no longer available and it is not known how the text was lost.
In fact, the tree of wisdom text is the ocean of reference extensively used by Tibetan and Bhutanese authors in Chhoekay compositions either borrowing sentiments or entire lines and inserted in their own compositions. The later texts on moral lessons are directly based on Sherab Oongbu e.g. the text on elegant sayings, "Sakya Legshey" (Subhashita Ratna Niti Nama Shastra) by 13th century Buddhist scholar Kunga Gyaltshen of Tibet.
The Chhoekay text was edited for the first time by Rai Bahadur Sarat Chandra Das and printed to be used as textbook for the Higher Proficiency Examination in Tibetan language early 20th century. It was confined to the literate and educated classes and remained practically unknown to the laymen. Since no English translation was prepared at that time, W.L. Campbell made an attempt to bring out a direct and literary translation into English with the assistance of Khyenchhung Lobzang Lotsawa and Kazi Dawa Samdup and published in 1918. It is being used by the post-graduate students in Buddhist Studies in most of the Indian Universities.
The present publication duly compiled with transliteration is a humble attempt to show the relevance of the 1st century B.C. philosophy of Saint Nagarjuna to the urgent need of moral lessons in the turning point of the 21 at century and inculcate moral lessons in the minds of young Bhutanese students for appreciation of cultural value. Things embedded in the minds of young children will have a greater impact on their lives and remain permanent impression through their lives.
It is hoped that this publication will be useful and helpful to the general reader and Bhutanese students in particular for the study of moral science, moral lessons, elegant sayings and value education which has been timely• incorporated in the curriculum of Bhutanese education system recognizing its great importance in shaping the future of Bhutanese. This will make the education complete and wholesome which produces a good citizen dedicated to the cause of the Tsa-Wa-Sum.
I must express my sincere thanks to my wife, Sangye Xam and Mr. Surendra Mohan, Proprietor, Prominent Publishers for undertaking the responsibility to publish this book.
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