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Sign Language in Buddhism (ASL)

Every once in a while I get questions that I know absolutely nothing about. This is one of them, and it involves sign language. This probably won’t affect many of you, but it might still be worth following some of the links to see what’s out there.

Question:

I am new to buddhism and also curently in a sign language program at my school. Recently we studied religious signs, which were mostly Christian and Jewish signs. I was wondering if you knew of any sources, perferably websites but others are welcome, where I might find buddhist signs? Thank you for your help!

Answer:

As I said above, I know nothing about signing, but as someone who is very interested in languages I did a little research on the question. Anything that can be added by readers would be appreciated.

Signs for Buddhism: http://www.theinterpretersfriend.com/rlgn/sins4buddhism.html

Teaching Buddhism by Sign Language: http://www.blogecology.com/japan_teaching_buddhism_by_sign_language

Resources for religious interpreting: Buddhism http://www.theinterpretersfriend.com/rlgn/buddhism.html

Not related to Buddhism, but The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conversational Sign Language (Illustraated) might be a good start for those interested in the topic: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1592572553/?tag=askdrarca-20

And here’s a Youtube video of the Metta Sutta in sign language:

(Click here if it doesn’t load in your browser)

3 comments to Sign Language in Buddhism (ASL)

  • What a great question for a blog post! And it’s great that you found so many resources in response.

    I know there are different sign languages, of which ASL is just one. I’d imagine the Japanese and Dutch signs might not make any sense to an American (just guessing here, though).

    But, yeah, I hope that ways are found to communicate Buddhism in ASL and other sign languages. Awesome!

  • Stephen Doyle

    I am a hard of hearing person with about 15 years of Buddhist practice behind me and I can tell you that Most Buddhistic traditions are not very accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Not that Meditation itself cannot be of benefit to everyone, but the teachings are tricky to get across in sign language and there hasn’t been a huge effort *that I am aware of) to translate them into ASL. I would love to be a part of such an effort if there is an interest out there. The Metta Sutra in Dutch Sign Language is on Youtube and there are a few other ones floating around. Is there an archive of buddhist teachings in ASL anywhere?

  • sdterp

    The video is not ASL…perhaps it’s BSL??? Does anyone know for sure?