Regional Italian

Regional Italian is any regional variety of the Italian language. Such vernacular varieties and standard Italian exist along a sociolect continuum, are not to be confused with the local indigenous languages of Italy that predate the national tongue or any regional variety thereof; the various forms of Regional Italian have phonological, syntactic and lexical features which originate from the underlying substrate of the original language. The various Tuscan and Central Italian dialects are, to some extent, the closest ones to Standard Italian in terms of linguistic features, since the latter is based on a somewhat polished form of Florentine; the difference between Regional Italian and the actual languages of Italy imprecisely referred to as dialects, is exemplified by the following: in Venetian, the language spoken in Veneto, "we are arriving" would be translated into sémo drio rivàr, quite distinct from the Standard Italian stiamo arrivando. In the regional Italian of Veneto, the same expression would be stémo rivando or siamo dietro ad arrivare.

The same relationship holds throughout the rest of Italy: the local dialect of standard Italian is influenced by the underlying regional language, which can be different from Italian with regard to phonology, morphology and vocabulary. Anyone who knows Standard Italian well can understand Regional Italian, while not managing to grasp the regional languages. Many contemporary Italian regions had different substrata before the conquest of Italy and the islands by the ancient Romans: Northern Italy had a Ligurian, a Venetic, a Celtic substratum in the areas once known as Gallia Cisalpina "Gallia on this side of the Alps"; these languages in their respective territories contributed in creolising Latin, the official language of the Roman Empire. Though the Sicilian School, using the Sicilian language, had been prominent earlier, by the 14th century the Tuscan dialect of Florence had gained prestige once Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio all wrote major works in it: the Divina Commedia, the Canzoniere and the Decameron.

Italian, defined as such, began to spread and be used as a literary and prestigious means of expression across the whole peninsula and Corsica in the late Middle Ages. It was up to Pietro Bembo, a Venetian, to identify Florentine as the language for the peninsula in the Prose nelle quali si ragiona della volgar lingua, in which he set up Petrarch as the perfect model. Italian, was a literary language and so was a written rather than spoken language, except in Tuscany and Corsica; the popular diffusion of a unified Italian language was the main goal of Alessandro Manzoni, who advocated for a single national language derived from Florence's vernacular, with Lombard and Venetian inputs. Having lived in Paris for many years, Manzoni had noticed that French was a lively language, spoken by ordinary people in the city's streets. On the other hand, the only Italian city where the commoners spoke something similar to literary Italian was Florence, so he thought that Italians should choose Florentine as the basis for the national language.

The Italian Peninsula's history of fragmentation and colonization by foreign powers between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and its unification in 1861 played a considerable role in further jeopardizing the linguistic situation. When the unification process took place, the newly founded country used Italian as a literary language. Many Romance and non-Romance regional languages were spoken throughout the Italian Peninsula and the islands, each with their own local dialects. Following Italian unification Massimo Taparelli, marquis d'Azeglio, one of Cavour's ministers, is said to have stated that while Italy had been created, Italians were still to be created. Italian as a spoken language was born in two "linguistic labs" consisting of the metropolitan areas in Milan and Rome, which functioned as magnets for internal migration. Immigrants were only left with the national language as a lingua franca to communicate with both the locals and other immigrants. After unification, Italian started to be taught at primary schools and its use by ordinary people increased along with mass literacy.

The regional varieties of Italian, as a product of standard Italian mixing with the regional languages, were born. The various regional languages would be retained by the population as their normal means of expression until the 1950s, when breakthroughs in literacy and the advent of TV broadcasting made Italian become more and more widespread in its regional varieties; the solution to the so-called language question, which concerned Manzoni, came to the nation as a whole in the second half of the 20th century by television, as its widespread adoption as a popular household appliance in Italy was the main factor in helping all Italians learn the common national language regardless of class or education level. At the same time, many southerners moved to the north to find jobs; the powerful trade unions campaigned against the use of dialects to maintain unity among the workers. The use of Standard Italian helped the southerners, whose "dialects" were not mutu

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is a prominent scholar yogi in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He teaches in the West through songs of realization, his own as well as those composed by Milarepa and other masters of the past. "Tsültrim Gyamtso" translates to English as "Ocean of Ethical Conduct". Rinpoche was born in 1934 to a nomad family from Kham, he left home at an early age to train with Lama Zopa Tarchin, to become his root guru. After completing this early training, he lived the ascetic life of a yogi, wandering throughout Tibet and undertaking intensive, solitary retreats in caves and living in charnel grounds practicing Chöd. At Tsurphu Monastery, the historic seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage, Rinpoche continued his training with the lineage head, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, other masters. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising Rinpoche fled Tibet, leading a group of Buddhist nuns over the Himalayas to safety in Bhutan, he subsequently went to northern India, where he spent the next nine years at the Buxa Duar Tibetan Refugee Camp.

Here he studied and mastered Buddhist scholarship and was awarded a Khenpo degree by the 16th Karmapa and the equivalent Geshe Lharampa degree by the 14th Dalai Lama. At the direction of the Karmapa, he subsequently settled in Bhutan, where he built a nunnery, retreat center, school. Along with Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Rinpoche served as the principal teacher at the shedra at Rumtek Monastery, the seat of the Karmapa in exile; as such, he trained all of the major lineage holders of the Karma Kagyu lineage. He taught extensively around the world. Rinpoche is the principal teacher of the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, is close to his Nalandabodhi organization, he teaches extensively in the Shambhala Buddhist community. Rinpoche is a primary teacher of Lama Shenpen Hookham, Rigdzin Shikpo Rinpoche and Lama Tashi Lhamo. Shentong views the two truths doctrine as distinguishing between relative and absolute reality, agreeing that relative reality is empty of self-nature, but stating that absolute reality is "empty" only of "other" relative phenomena, but is itself not empty.

This absolute reality is the "ground or substratum", "uncreated and indestructible and beyond the chain of dependent origination." Dolpopa identified this absolute reality with the Buddha-nature. The shentong-view is related to the Ratnagotravibhāga sutra and the Yogacara-Madhyamaka synthesis of Śāntarakṣita; the truth of sunyata is acknowledged, but not considered to be the highest truth, the empty nature of mind. Insight into sunyata is preparatory for the recognition of the nature of mind. Hookham explains the Shentong position, referring to Khenpo Tsultrim's Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness. Khenpo Tsultrim presents five stages of meditation, which he relates to five different schools or approaches: "Sravaka meditation on non-self" - meditation on the emptiness of the skandhas and the non-existence of a personal self. In this approach, all concepts are to be abandoned; this approach helps "to overcome certain residual subtle concepts," and "the habit - fosterd on the earlier stages of the path - of negating whatever experience arises in his/her mind."

It destroys false concepts, as does prasangika, but it alerts the practitioner "to the presence of a dynamic, positive Reality, to be experienced once the conceptual mind is defeated." Buddha Nature:The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra with Commentary by Jamgon Kongtrul and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Snow Lion Publications, ISBN 1-55939-128-6 Maitreya's Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being, Commentary by Mipham and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, translated by Jim Scott, Snow Lion Publications ISBN 1-55939-215-0 Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness, by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and arranged by Shenpen Hookham, Zhyisil Chokyi Ghatsal Publications ISBN 1-877294-01-2 Stars of Wisdom: Analytical Meditation, Songs of Yogic Joy, Prayers of Aspiration by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso, translated by Ari Goldfield and Rose Taylor, Forewords by the Seventeenth Karmapa and the Dalai Lama, Shambhala Publications, ISBN 1-59030-775-5 The Sun of Wisdom: Teachings on the Noble Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Shambhala Publications, ISBN 1-57062-999-4 The Moon of Wisdom: Chapter Six of Chandrakirti's Entering the Middle Way with commentary from the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje's Chariot of the Dagpo Kagyu Siddhas translated under the guidance of Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche by Ari Goldfield, Jules Levinson, Jim Scott & Birgit Scott, Snow Lion Publications, ISBN 978-1-55939-231-0 Khenpo Rinpoche's homepage Profile of KTGR on Nitartha site

Gordon Upton

Gordon Noel Upton was an Australian public servant and diplomat. He served as Australian High Commissioner to Ceylon and India. While Upton was posted to India, a confidential report that he had authored in October 1980 was leaked to a journalist for The Age, that included criticism of the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; the report was confirmed genuine and some members of the Indian parliament called for Upton's expulsion, but the Australian Government's apology satisfied the Indian Government and Upton was allowed to stay. Upton was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982 in recognition of his services as a diplomat. Upton was born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1920, he was educated at Canterbury Boys' High School, before matriculating to the University of Sydney where he gained a Bachelor of Arts in 1940. Upton served in the Royal Australian Air Force as a flight lieutenant. In 1946, Upton joined the Commonwealth Public Service in the Department of External Affairs. While he was Australian embassy counsellor in Jakarta, Upton's dog Susa suffered from rabies and died.

Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced Upton's appointment as High Commissioner to Ceylon in December 1965. After a time at the Joint Intelligence Organisation in the early 1970s, Upton returned to the foreign affairs department and was posted to London as Minister in 1973. In 1975, when Sir Patrick Shaw died in office as Australian Ambassador to the United States, Upton was appointed Chargé d'Affaires ad interim. In May 1976, Upton was appointed Australian High Commissioner to Fiji. In December 1979, Andrew Peacock foreign affairs minister, announced Upton's appointment as High Commissioner to India. Whilst he was living in New Delhi, details of a confidential report that Upton sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs in October 1980 was published in The Age; the published report included critical remarks about the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in office for less than a year at the time. After the leak, five members of the Indian Parliament demanded that Upton be recalled, but the statement was not made on behalf of the Indian Government and Upton retained his position.

Upton, in his position as High Commissioner to India in 1983, presented Mother Teresa with an Order of Australia, for her work with the poor. She was the seventh non-Australian to be honoured with the award. Upton was buried in Woden Cemetery. In 1982, Upton was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his public service as a diplomatic representative