In the passage that follows and which brings this post to an end, a passage from the illimitable pen of Roberto Bolano, for 'work of art' read 'this precious human life', for 'translation' read 'the Tibetan tradition', let 'the attic' be the 21st century and 'the kid' be Shenyen (or you, if you want to come with me), and let one of those battered pages be 'three year retreat', and you will sense what I mean, I'm sure. And for now let the Nightingale just be the Nightingale..
"How to recognise a work of art? How to separate it, even if just for a moment, from its critical apparatus, its exegetes, its tireless plagiarisers, its belittlers, its final lonely fate? Easy. Let it be translated. Let its translator be far from brilliant. Rip pages from it at random. Leave it lying in an attic. If after all this a kid comes along and reads it, and after reading makes it his own, and is faithful to it (or unfaithful, whichever) and reinterprets it and accompanies it on its voyage to the edge, and both are enriched and the kid adds an ounce of value, then we have something before us, a machine or a book, capable of speaking to all human beings, not a ploughed field but a mountain, not the image of a dark forest but the dark forest itself, not a flock of birds but the Nightingale."