David Molk studied Tibetan language at Venerable Geshe Rabten’s Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Mont-Pèlerin, Switzerland. Since 1987 he has interpreted and translated for many Tibetan lamas. He lives in Big Sur, California.
Books & Audio
The Gangama Instructions with Commentary
All lineages of Mahamudra meditation have their source in a verse teaching—a “song of realization”—sung by the Mahasiddha Tilopa to his disciple Naropa on the banks of the Ganges River more than a thousand years ago. Since that time,… Read More
Born in California in 1953 and raised in Ohio, David gravitated toward music as a primary interest and attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music, with a scholarship in classical flute. From there he branched into folk and world music specializing in Celtic and Appalachian ballads and dance music, and North Indian bansuri. He owned a music store in Bloomington, Indiana and performed locally for dances, at festivals, and for school assemblies.
David’s interest in Tibetan language sprang out of his own spiritual quest. Having learned about religion in the liberal atmosphere of the Unitarian-Universalist church, he had developed some of his own questions about reasons for the world’s suffering. In 1981 he went to India, first studying and playing in Indian films for a year, then moving to Dharamsala, where he taught at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Hearing Buddhist teachings translated from Tibetan at the Library of Works and Archives, he was deeply impressed and moved by the teachings, and the compassion, patience and good humor embodied in its resident Lama, Venerable Geshe Ngawang Dhargye. David decided to become a Buddhist and took refuge with the Venerable Geshe. Out of an aspiration to understand and communicate with the lamas directly, David began to study Tibetan language. Seeking an insider's view of the practice, from 1985-89, he studied and interpreted for classes on the scriptures and monastic textbooks at Venerable Geshe Rabten's Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Mont Pelèrin, Switzerland. Subjects included beginning through advanced collected topics, mind and mental factors, tenet systems, paths and stages, signs and reasoning, and Abhisamayalankara. He did a musical translation of the Prayer of the Words of Truth, a prayer for world peace and the wellbeing of Tibet composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which he offered to His Holiness with a large chorus in Zurich during His Holiness’s visit and teachings there. Since then, David has had the continued opportunity to translate for many lamas of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He has toured nationwide with Drepung Loseling Monastery introducing performances and interpreting. It has also been his good fortune to interpret for Venerable Dr. Yeshi Dhonden, previous personal physician of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.