It is difficult in many cases for nonspecialists to pronounce Tibetan words when they are rendered in transliteration according to their proper spellings. For example, the Tibetan term for “meditation place” is written sgrub gnas but pronounced something like drupné, and the place name To Ngari is actually transliterated as sTod mNga' ris. In the absence of any standard or widely accepted system for representing Tibetan pronunciation, I have used my own simple phonetic equivalents for Tibetan words throughout the main body of the text and the notes. The pronunciation generally follows that of central Tibetan dialects, although it is not entirely consistent with any one area. Correct written forms of Tibetan proper names, rendered according to the widely accepted Wylie (1959) system, are given for each phonetic equivalent following its listing in the index at the end of the book. Wherever it has been germane to cite Tibetan text, book titles, or technical terms in Wylie, they mostly follow my phonetic equivalents or translations in parentheses.
Transliteration of Sanskrit follows standard lexicographical usage, except for common words such as “nirvana” or “mandala” that occur in standard English dictionaries without diacritical marks.