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Orna Almogi

Contributions to Tibetan Buddhist Literature

lITBS International Insti tute for Tibetan and Buddhi st Smdies GmbH

BEITRA.GE ZUR ZENTRALASIENFORSCHUNG begriindet von R. O. Meisezahl t und Dieter Schuh herausgegeben von Peter Schwieger Band 14

CONTRIBUTIONS TO TIBETAN BUDDHIST LITERATUREPlATS 2006: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, K6nigswinter 2006.

EDITED BY Orna Alrnogi

IITBS GmbH International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies

Image on the cover: The title page (verso) of a biography of Ye shes mtsho rgyal. Photo by Karma Phuntsho, Bhutan, 2006 (all rights . reserved).


ISBN 978-3-88280-082-1 Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Ohne ausdriickliche Genehmigung des Verlages ist es nicht ge~tattet, das Buch oder Teile daraus fotomechanisch oder auf andere Weise zu vervielHiltigen. (IITBS) International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies GmbH, Halle (Saale)

TABLE OF CONTENTS ORNA ALMOGI Editorial Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . .


CHIKO ISHIDA Newly Discovered Folios of the

Bodhisattvacaryiivafara in the Tabo Collection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

LAXMAN S. THAKUR The emergence of the Tabo


A vatmpsakasiitra: An Analysis of Ancient Tibetan

Manuscripts and Their Comprehensive Catalogue. . . . . . . . . . . . ORNA ALMOGI How Authentic Are Titles and Colophons of Tantric Works in the Tibetan Canon? The Case of Three Works and Their Authors and Translators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4? .


KAzuo KANO Rngog Blo 1dan shes rab's Topical Outline of the

Ratnagotravibhiiga Discovered at Khara Khoto ..... : . . . . . . . ..

DORJI W ANGCHUK Cross-Referential Clues for a Relative Chronology ofK1ong chen pa's Works ... , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




Phur pa Corpus: A Survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . ..

CATHY CANTWELL and ROBERT MAYER Why Did the Phur pa Tradition Become So Prominent in Tibet? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..



WEIRONG SHEN A Preliminary Investigation into the Tangut Background of the Mongol Adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism .............................. , YAEL BENTOR Do "The Tantras Embody What the Practitioners Actually Do"? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 351 315


HELMUT EIMER Sources for the Vita of 'Brom ston Rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ULRIKE ROESLER On the History of Histories: The Case of the Bka' gdams po-s ............ , . . . . . . . . . . .. MICHELA CLEMENTE A Case Study of a Nang gi mam thar. The Example ofKun spangs po Chos kyi rin chen's Autobiography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. MARCO P ASSA V ANTI The Bia ma brgyud pa 'j rim pa: A Thirteenth-Cenhrry Work on the Doha Lineage of Saraha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JOWlTA KRAMER' The Gsan yig of Ames zhabs: Observations regarding Its Stylistic and Formal Feahrres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..






PETER VERHAGEN Notes Apropos to the Oeuvre of Si hl pal}. chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas (1699?-1774) (1): Belles Lettres in His Opera Minora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. VICTORIA SUJATA Relationships between Ilmer Life and Solitary Places: The Mgur of Two Siddhas in Amdo . . . . . . .. 549 513

EDITORIAL PREFACE I Our knowledge of Tibetan literature has in recent decades .considerably increased and deepened. Indeed we now know more than ever before about the Tibetan literary tradition and its various facets-about specific literary genres and about individual works or collections of works of different authors from various traditions. Nonetheless, given the sheer mass of Tibetan literature (great portions of it are still inaccessible), the part of this literary tradition that has been studied is still relatively small and its full richness has yet to be tmfolded. The present volume aims at shedding a bit more light on diverse aspects of Tibetan literature, and thus modestly widening our knowledge of the Tibetan literary tradition in general and deepening our understanding of individual literary genres and works in particular. Of the sixteen articles dealing with Tibetan Buddhist literature contained herein, twelve were presented in the panel "Contributions to the Study of Tibetan Literature" and four in the panel on "Tantra," both in the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, held August 27 September 2, 2006, at K6n:igswinter, Germany. While all contributions deal with a particular work or cluster of works related to a specific author or tradition, all of them address in one way or another issues of. broader relevance to the study of Tibetan (Buddhist) literature. Some discuss the distinctive features and importance of a specific Tibetan literary genre (KANO, CLEMENTE and KRAMER), and others demonstrate the significance of protocanonical material for our understanding of the canonical versions (ISHIDA, THAKUR, and CANTWELL and MAYER) or the importance of para-texts (including editorial titles and colophons) and autochthonous catalogues and histories for our understanding of the transmission of canonical works (ALMOor). Further, while one contribution discusses possible methods for

I would like to thank Philip Pierce for proofreading this preface.


determining a relative chronology of works of a specific author, particularly on the basis of cross-references found in the author's own work, and from evidence adduced from bibliographical, biographical and historical sources (WANGCHUK), another examines traditional henneneutical methods and their importance for legitimising particular practices (BENTOR). Still others are concerned with the background to and reasons for the spread of specific doctrines in certain geographical areas (CANTWELL and MAYER, and SHEN). Some contributions, too, explore ways of analysing and evaluating biographical and historical material (EIMER, ROESLER, and PASSA VANTr). Others, finally, examine literary genres that can be assigned most conveniently to the category of belles lettres, and assess their literary and possible doctrinal value (VERHAGEN and SUJATA). Before commencing with brief descriptions of the individual contributions, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to all the contributors in this volume for their cooperation and patience, and particularly to my husband Dorji Wangchuk for his support and advice on a number of issues during the process of editing the volume. The present volume has five parts. The first part contains three articles concerned with canonical works. In the first article in this part, Chiko Ishida examines four folios of the Bodhisattvacaryavatr:Jra newly discovered in Tabo. After providing some background regarding the transmission of this work and briefly explaining the distribution of the Tabo Bodhisattvacaryavatiira fragments within the currently used categorisation of the Tabo material (i.e. within groups RN 123, 326 and 401), he goes on to describe the differences between the Tabo fragments traced so far and the Dunhuang and canonical versions. This is documented by a careful and detailed comparison of the verses contained in the four folios newly discovered in Tabo with the corresponding verses in the Dunhuang and canonical versions. Ishida observes that, of the Tabo material, the single folio found in the RN 401 group follows the Dunhuang version in all respects, group RN 123 is rather closer to the canonical version, and group RN 326, while following the Dunhuang version, contains some readings unique to itself-a state of affairs which suggests that


several different versions of the Bodhisattvacary6vatara were in use at Tabo. In conclusion, Ishida offers possible explanations of these differences and similarities, and argues that RN 123 and RN 326 may represent intermediary or transitional material. He proposes alternatively that the DUnhuang version may have undergone revision on the basis of a later version, which, he suggests, was possibly the lost translation by Rin chen bzang po. Indeed, he does not rule out the possibility that the Tabo material may be part of Rin chen bzang po's translation itself. The contribution of Laxman S. Thakur, too, deals with material from Tabo.



Thakur studies



of the


A vataJpsakasiltra and provides a comprehensive catalogue of the available

material. On the basis of the characteristics of the manuscripts, including their size and writing style, he argues that the existing fragments of this corpus belonged to several separate sets, or else that some portions of the
A vataJilsakasiltra may have circulated independently. In the following

sections, he first provides a physical description of the eleven manuscripts studied by him and discusses their palaeographic and orthographic features. He then evaluates the different sets (again following the currently used categorisation of the Tabo material) and examines to what extent they contain the same portions of text. And finally, he compares the fragments with the canonical version (Peking edition), providing the exact parallel locations there. In the last two sections of his discussion he focuses on the cultural contexts and physical milieu in which this corpus emerged in Tabo and the role the
A vatamsakasiltra may have played in the political reality of the western

Tibetan kingdom of Gu ge. Lastly, he provides a comprehensive catalogue of the Tabo fragments of the A vatanlsakasiltra, documenting the volume and folio numbers, the corresponding locations in the canonical Peking edition and, whenever applicable, similar contents within the Tabo fragments. The contribution by Orna Almogi assesses how authentic or reliable titles and colophons of Tantric works in the Tibetan canon are likely to be. It looks at the case of three canonical Tantric works-a tantra associated with either



or Vajrabhairava and known in the tradition under its short title

Rtog pa gSllm pa (Otani l07), a sadhana-cum-ritual manual also associated

with Vajrabhairava (Otani 2845), and a commentary on the NamasaJpgiti (Otani 3364)-and attempts to detennine their identity and the identity of their authors and translators, firstly by examining their titles and authorship and translation colophons, and then by additionally consulting traditional catalogues and religious histories. It is shown that the titles and colophons of virtually all three works in question, as transmitted to us in the canon, are often doubtful. In the case of the Rtog pa gSllm pa, the identity not only of its translator(s) is very uncertain, but also the identity of the work itself. Similarly, in the case of the Vajrabhairava sadhana-cum-rihlal manual the identity of both the author and the translator(s), and indeed again the very identity of the work, can be called into question. As to the NiimasaJpgiti conunentary, it is argued that far from being an Indian work in Tibetan translation, it is an autochthonous work composed by the eleventh-cenhlry scholar Rong-zom-pa. It is also demonstrated that it is not enough to rely on modern catalogues alone in such cases; autochthonous bibliographical and historical works are indispensable for verifying the identity of these particular works, and the same applies to many other works whose identity, and infonnation regarding whose transmission, are doubtful. The second part of the volume contains two contributions dealing with autochthonous Tibetan philosophical and exegetical literahrre. One, by Kazuo Kano, discusses the single-folio fragment of Rngog 10 tsCi ba BIo ldan shes rab's (1059-?1109) topical outline (bsdus don) of the RatnagotlUvibhaga discovered at Khara Khoto. After listing Rngog lo's compositions, mainly on the basis of the account by Rngog lo's disciple Gro lung pa Blo gros 'byung gnas (11th cent.), Kano provides a general description of the Khara Khoto manuscript. In the following sections, he discusses the two different types of

bsdus don commentaries found in the Tibetan commentarial tradition, namely,

the 'topical outline' and the 'essential meaning,' and then proceeds to discuss Rngog lo's usage of the term (a) as a technical exegetical term and (b) as a 10


non-technical term. In order to sketch the background of such usage in Tibetan literahrre, Kano pauses over the Indian pi1J9Ortha-type commentaries, ample examples of which are provided. In the following paragraphs, he discusses the contents of the Khara Khoto manuscript, compares it with Rngog io's Essential
Meaning and Phywa po. ehos kyi seng ge's (1109-1169) Topical Outline, and

attempts to reconstruct the contents of the missing fIrst folio on the basis of these two works. The last sections centre on texhwl problems relating to the Khara Khoto manuscript and on its date. A critical edition and a translation of the text are provided in an appendix. Dorji Wangchuk's contribution attempts a relative chronology of Klong chen rab 'byams pa Dri med 'od zer's (1308-1364) works on the basis of
cross~referential clues found in them. After a general discussion of Klong chen

pa's writings and writing career, Wangchuk formulates a number of suppositions on the basis of which a relative chronology of Klong chen pa's works can be posited. Possible sources of information are discussed, including-in addition to the cross-references provided by the author himself, which are Wangchuk's main source in the present study-epilogue verses and colophons found in Klong chenpa's works, the catalogue of his works authored by Klong chen pci himself and the record of the major events of Klong chen pa's life. In the following paragraphs, Wangchuk discusses Klong chen po.'s works and records the cross-references located by him, focusing on references to the main clusters of works, including the Mdzod bdun, Ngal gso
skor gSlllll, Mun sel skor gsum, Rang grol skor gSUlll, and Yang tig skor gSlllll.

With the help of additional available evidence, W angchuk assesses the possibility of (or the diffIculty in) dating individual works, and finally proposes a relative chronology, as far as this seems possible. In a first appendix, W angchuk recapitulates the various material available for reconstmcting the course of Klong chen pa's life, both in primary and secondary sources, and in a second appendix, provides an overview of some of the major primary and secondary sources that discuss one or the other aspect of Klong chen pa's works-including descriptions of his works, accounts of 11


their being printed, deliberations on the authorship of works ascribed to Klong chen pa, major and minor shldies of Klong chen pa's works and ideas, and translations of his works into Western languages. The third part of the volume contains four contributions dealing with Tibetan Tantric Buddhist litemhlre. In the fIrst article, Cathy Cantwell and Robert Mayer provide a survey of the Dunhuang phw' pa corpus. In order to facilitate their survey, they distinguish three broad types of phur pa practice in Buddhist literahlre: (1) straightforward magical uses of phur pas towards practical ends, (2) phur pa rihlQls resembling what are nowadays known among the Rnying rna pa-s as smad las or subsidiary rites, and (3) phur pa rihlals resembling what are nowadays known among the Rnying rna pa-s as

stod las or primary rites. The argument is put forward that while innumerable
uses of kflas within the fIrst category can still be observed in much of Asia, it is only in Tibet, and predominantly among the followers of the Rnying rna school, that the phur pa is equally employed for soteriological purposesparticularly through its smad las practices, such as 'liberative killing' (sgrol

ba), and its stod las practice of the yi dam Rdo rje Phur pa Hemka. Cantwell and Mayer attempt to ascertain to what extent such practices were already
represented in the Dunhuang material. Towards this end they examine fIve Dunhuang texts belonging to the second category: (l) IOL Tib J 331.III, which focuses on elaborate Mahayoga consecrations and smad las-type sgrol ba rites, (2) IOL Tib J 754's section 7, which also focuses on a similar sl11ad lastype rite, (3) PT 349, which is closely related to the tradition of the

Guhyasamajatantra, (4) IOL Tib J 321, containing a Rnying rna tantra of the
MahGyoga class, the Thabs kyi zhags pa padma 'phreng, and (5) PT 44, a text resembling what is now known as phur pa 10 rgyus. On the basis of their examination, Cantwell and Mayer come to several conclusions: Both simple magical and complex Mahayoga soteriological uses of phur pas (described in numerous Indian and Tibetan Buddhist works) were known in Dunhuang. While substantial passages of phur pa texts are shared between Dunhuang manuscripts and phw' pa scriphlres found in the Rnying ma rgyud 'bum, and 12


while known phur pa scriptures are mentioned by name in Dunhuang manuscripts, the relation of these texts to extant versions found in the Rnymg

ma rgyud 'bum has yet to be clarified. And further, physical phur pas manufactured in Dunhuangand certain phur pa rituals practised there display
similarities to preSent physical phur pas and phur pa rites. In the next contribution, the same authors attempt to answer the question as to why the Phur pa tradition became so prominent in Tibet. After providing an overview of phur pa-related literature and practices and contrasting them with the situation in South Asia in general, Cantwell and Mayer go on to discuss possible cultural and social factors that might account for early Tibet's enthusiasm for the phur pa traditions. They present altogether eight hypotheses: the first four subsumed under the category "cultural affinities," and the last four under the category "social conditions." The first hypothesis under the first category focuses on blood sacrifice, which they conceive as having been a major feature of pre-Buddhist religion in Tibet; this feature of the indigenous Tibetan religion' could have paved the way for an enthusiastic acceptance of Maha.yoga phur pa ritual; one of whose Significant segments is a graphic symbolic re-enactment of a sacrificial blood offering. The second hypothesis concerns the place of myth in ritual: the fact that the Mahiiyoga

phur pa 'liberative killing' rite integrates ritual and myth in a manner similar to the indigenous Tibetan pattern may have been another factor that'
contributed to its embracement. The third hypothesis is based on the affinity of the Indian kila rites with the indigenous Tibetan religion, in particular, the cosmological or other religious ideas underlying them regarding sacred mountains. The fourth'hypothesis in this category concerns the idealisation of the figure of the warrior prince, in which connection the authors point out parallels between the Buddhist Phur pa Hemka, whose name is Vajrakumara, the Vajra Prince (or Youth), and the Tibetan valuing of youth and strength over age, particularly in the context of the Tibetan sacral kings (btsan po). The first hypothesis under the second category (social conditions) suggests a connection between the civil strife and political chaos of the times and the


phUf po's diverse functions as a subjugator and protector of territory.

Secondly, the authors hypothesise the Phur pa deity's potential benefit in political diplomacy as a further reason for the attractiveness of the phw' pa. The third hypothesis put forward concerns the close connection behveen the deity Phur pa and Padmasambhava. The last hypothesis has to do with the Phur pa Tantric system's ability to incorporate local Tibetan deities and spirits. The next contribution is Weirong Shen's article, which investigates the Tangut background to the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. After surveying the hitherto known material about Tantric Buddhism during the Tangut Xia kingdom and the Mongol Yuan empire, Shen discusses the influence of Sa skya masters in the Tangut kingdom, and demonstrates that the contacts of the Sa skya masters with peoples of Central Asia arose long before Sa skya PQ];u;l.ita Kun dga' rgyal mtshan's (1182-1251) journey to Liangzhou during the Mongol prince Godan Khan's mle. He argues that while most influential Tibetan masters in the kingdom of Xia were representatives of the Blm' brgyud school, Sa skya masters'were also actively introducing Buddhism there-first and foremost, of course, their own Lam 'bras Tantric teachings. Shen points to texts of the Lam 'bras tradition contained in the Mongol Yuan compilation of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts (the . translations are collectively entitled Dacheng yaodao mijl), and convincingly proves their T angut origin. In addition, he adduces further evidence for the existence of contacts between the Sa skya pa-s and the kingdom of Xia on the basis of various historical and biographical sources. In the following section he goes on to discuss Tibetan Tantric Buddhism at the court of the Mongol Khans. Pointing out the significance of the discovery of the Dacheng yaodao

miji and other Chinese texts concerning Tibetan Tantric Buddhism among the
Khara Khoto documents for our understanding of the "secret teaching of supreme bliss" and "the practice in pair" cultivated at the Yuan court, Shen shows the connection between the practices prevalent in the Mongol court and the Hevajratantra and the Maha.ka.la cult, and concludes that the prinCipal


teaching of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism at the Yuan court was the Lam 'bras teaching of the Saskya pa-s. In the following section, concerned with the Tangut background to the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, he investigates to what extent the Lam 'bras teaching was prevalent during Xia times. One piece of evidence for its existence is a Buddhist tantra in Tangut translation, the base text for which is here identified by him as a Tibetan version of the SGlppu!atantra, an important tantra for the Lam 'bras teaching. In addition, Shen lists several Sa skya ritual texts that have been identified among the Khara Khoto documents. On the basis of this evidence, he concludes that the Mongols' adoption of Tibetan Buddhism had deep Tangut roots, which, despite the dominance of Bka' brgyud masters in the Tangut kingdom, were also nourished by Sa skya Lam 'bras teachings. The last contribution in the part on Tantric literature is by Yael Bentor, who examines whether "tantras embody what the practitioners actually do," an assertion made by Reginald Ray. Her particular focus is on the correlation between the Guhyasamiijatantra, considered by the tradition to be the ultimate scriptural authority for various practices related to the deity GuhyasamCija, and the actual practices, for there seems to be some divergence between the two. The procedure involves comparing the sadhana manual of the practice of GuhyasamCija according to the Dge lugs school and specific passages of the
Guhyasal11ajatantra itself. After rehearsing a number of explanations by Dge






such great




Guhyasal11ajatantra and the practice based on it exist, Bentor turns to two

specific attempts to explain these differences: Bu ston Rin chen gmb's (12901364) and Tsong kha pa BIo bzang grags pa's (1357-1419) sub-commentaries on Candrakirti's Pradipoddyotana, both of which employ hermeneutical methods in an effort to locate scriptural authority for various steps of the
sadhana in the Guhyasamiijatantra. She cites several passages from the tantra

and examines the various strategies employed by the commentators to explain the differences to the actual practice. She observes that while the Indo-Tibetan tradition acknowledges the absence of directions in the GuhyasGlniijatantra for 15


practising, it .explains this absence as intentional, in that it forces practitioners to rely on the explanatory tantras and on the gum. In this regard, she notes that conm1entators are thereby provided with much scope for interpretation. In answer to the question put forward at the beginning-whether the tantras embody what the practitioners actually do-she states that in the case of the

Guhyasamiijatantra, where the connection between the talitra and the practices

it is not all that obvious, it seems that the Guhyasamiijatantra does,

. in the eyes of tradition, embody what the practitioners do. The following part comprises five contributions dealing with biographical, historical and bibliographical literature. In the first article, Helmut Eimer examines the sources for the biography of Atisa's (982-1054) main Tibetan student, 'Brom ston Rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas (1005-1064). After providing an outline of the principal sources for the biographies of both Atisa and 'Brom ston, including general religious histories and historiographical Bka' gdams works, he discusses previous and current studies of the biographies of these two masters, including his own on the biographies of Atisa, which latter commonly include short descriptions of 'Brom ston's life, particularly the years he spent with his master. He dwells, in particular, on a hitherto unstudied biography of 'Brom ston, the Dge bshes stan paY mam thar, found in a collection of eleven biographies (primarily of Tibetan masters of the Bka' gdams tradition) composed by Mchims NaiTI mkha' grags (1210--1285). After describing the manuscript and some of its palaeographical and orthographical feahrres, he presents an outline of the contents of the biography. The last section is devoted to records of the formative stages of the biographical transmission. Having considered such records relating to the two extensive biographies of Atisa, which tell how the latter's disciples and followers compiled the materials that would form the biographies we know today, Eimer examines a number of stylistic features in the biography of 'Brom ston that may shed some light on the source of the passages missing in the two extensive biographies of Atisa. One significant feahrre is the word skad, which is found more than forty times in the Dge bshes stan paY mam thar, and which Eimer takes as marking the preceding account as coming from a secondary


source .. He examines more closely some common passages and comes to the conclusion that not only such overlapping passages in the Dge bshes stan pa'i

mam thar and the two extensive biographies of Atisa-the latter two going back
to the same source-but also most of the other episodes in the biographies of 'Brom .' ston can be regarded ds reliable, since they correspond in style and substance to ones in the extensive biographies of Atisa, and therefore seem to derive from the same or a siniilar pool of sources. The contribution by Ulrike Roesler, tOOl is. concerned with Bka' gdams biogrClphical material, this time relating to one of 'Brom ston's main disciples, Poto ba Rin chen gsal (1027/1031-1105). Her aim is part of an endeavour to explore "the history of histories," in this case the sources of Po to ba's.lifestory. After" providing an overview of Bka' gdams biographical material and a general discussion of the mam thar genre, Roesler introduces some of the Iaiown Bka' gdams biographies and examines their sources and the manner in which these are cited. Turning to the biography of Po to ba as a case in point, she begins with the biography found in Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan's (1432-1506) collection of biographies. This biography is the favoured source for modem scholars since not only is it cleaE and comprehensive but it also in most cases identifies its sources and refers to points of contention. Having first discussed the identity of one of the sources mentioned by Las chen, the

Mchims chen 1110, as a collection of biographies by Mchims Nam mkha' grags,

Roesler informs us that an. examination of the Po to ba biography reveals that this collection was undoubtedly Las chen's main source for it, although there are deviations from it, including the order of some events, along with a number of omissions and additions. She then proceeds to discuss what kind of early sources should be .considered when searching for early biographical material arid how later authors deal with this earlier material. The conclusion reached is that much

material was not necessarily contained in

biographies proper; a great deal is also fOlmd in eulogies or even doctrinal works, while a portion of it seems to have been transmitted only locally. The biographies found in the Bka' gdams glegs bam and Mchims Nam mkha'


grags's collection of biographies are considered by her to be jnitial attempts to collect and unify the diverse material, while she regards the standard biographies known to date as the result of compilational and redactional work done from the late fifteen century onwards by Dge lugs scholars. The next contribution, by Michela Clemente, concerns the biographical sub-genre nang gi l7lam thar, or "inner-biography," as exemplified by the autobiography of the seventeenth-cenhrry Bka' brgyud master Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen. Clemente starts with a general typology of this sub-genre, including its distinguishing feahlres and a discussion of its importance. In the second section, she describes the text, which is found in Kun spangs pa's collected works (available in the form of a manuscript from Western Tibet kept in the Tucci Tibetan Fund at the Library of IsIAO in Rome). Physical feahlres of the manuscript, idiosyncratic spellings and contents are noted, along with information about Kun spangs pa himself, particularly his school affiliation. The following section is concerned with nang gi l7la111 thGls as inspirational and instmctional works. Here Clemente demonstrates, citing from Kun spangs pa's autobiography, that inner biographies, parts of which are often read by practitioners prior to their practice, function as handbooks or manuals. Her investigation reinforces the importance of biographical materials-which often go beyond the mere recording of a life-story to provide ordinary persons a model to follow, while also legitimatising lineages and even entire schools. The Significance of the inner biography sub-genre, which has so far received little attention, is thus adumbrated. In two short appendixes, Clemente provides an outline of the contents of Kun spangs pa's autobiography and an outline of the short catalogue to Kun spangs pa's collected works. The next contribution in this part, by Marco Passavanti, studies another Western Tibetan manuscript from the Tucci Tibetan Fund, entitled

0 phyogs

gzigs par zhu'/ dpal sa


ha'j mdo ha'j [jgrel pa lags, which includes an

anonymous and untitled work on the dohii lineage of Saraha. Passavanti tentatively dates this work, called by him the Bla ma brgyud pa 'j ri111 pa, to


the fm~t half of the thlrteenth century. After a brief description of the manuscript in general and the one text in particular, he provides a detailed outline of the Bfa ma brgyud pa 'i rim pa, which he believes to be the earliest and most detailed. autochthonous hagiography of the masters of the transmission lineage of Saraha's dohiis. He divides the text into thirteen main sections, namely, ithe author's prologue, descriptions of the individual masters in the lineage (starting fromSokyamuni and continuing with Saraha, Nogfujuna and Savaripo, Ko1)h~poda, Maitripo, Vajrapol}.i, Bal po A su, Mnga' ris pa, Gm shul ba; and Spa phu ba), and finally the colophon and a section containing scriptunll quotations. A summary of the contents is provided for each section. In the third section of his article, Passavanti discusses the palaeographic and orthographic peculiarities of the manuscript before providing a diplomatic edition of the Bfa ma brgYlid pa'i rim pa. He often suggests emendations or alternativ~ readings and att<;:mpts to identify Sanskrit place-names whenever possible. Finally, an index provides a list of the texts contained in the

0 phyogs gzigs par-zhll'/ dpaf sa ra ha'i mdo ha'i [jgref pa

The last contributi()n in this part is on the Tibetan literary genre known as
gsan yig or {hob. yig. In her, article, Jowita Kramer makes a number of

observations regarding stylistic and formal features of this literary genre on the basis of the gSGi1 yig orA mes zhabs Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams (15971(59). Sheprdvid~sclbriefsurvey of previous studies of the gsan/thob yig genre, and th~n rliscUSSeS}everal kinds of lineages encountered and distinctive formal features~the whole meant to help readers of gsan/ thob yigs better orient'themselvesi She starts with a treatment of simple single transmission lineages along . ~ith a more complex variant, which includes parallel transmissions, and provides several examples. She then goes on to describe transmissions to more than two individuals-here, too, on the basis of several examples. In the follOWing section, she introduces the distinction between 'main' versus 'alternative' lineages, draws attention to possible difficulties in interpreting the records of such lineages and offers future readers of gsan/thob 19


yjgs some tools for overcoming these difficulties. The article concludes with a

brief discussion of how persons' names are listed in the transmission lineages in Ames zhabs's gsan yjg: such features as using various names for the same individual, abbreviated versus longer versions of names, and 'orna.menting' names by providing their Sanskrit equivalents or by adding information such as place and date of birth. The fifth and last part of the volume contains two contributions dealing with what one may call belles lettres. The contribution by Peter Verhagen, the first in a series of articles dealing with various aspects of Si tu par} chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas's (16997-1774) oeuvre, focuses on belles lettres in this author's opera minora. For his treatment of this literary genre, Verhagen selected four 'minor works' from Si hI pa[.l chen's gSlmg 'bum. The first one discussed by him is, strictly speaking, not an original work but rather a Tibetan translation of five stanzas from the Mahabharata made by Si tu. After providing overviews of Tibetan interest in Indian non-Buddhist literahlre in general and of Si tu's own interest in particular, he discusses possible reasons for the latter having translated only these five stanzas and also for his not having mentioned the lvJahabhiirata as the source. Finally, Verhagen provides a transliteration of the Sanskrit text supplied by Si hI, the Tibetan text of Si hI'S translation, a reconstmction of the Sanskrit based on Si hI'S transliteration (taking the critical edition of R.N. Dandekar into account), and an English translation. The second work treated by Verhagen is a liturgical work that formulates a bsangs offering for the divine powers residing in Rma chen sporn ro. Pointing out the importance of Si hI'S diary-cum-(auto)biography for our understanding of the background of Si hI'S literary works, he refers to two passages therein which may shed light on the circumstances (including the place and time) in which this lihrrgical text was composed. The third work treated by Verhagen is Si hI'S translation of the Svayarpbhl7pur&;za. Here, Verhagen first discusses Si hI'S particular interest in Nepal and his two visits there, and, again recurring to Si tu's diary-cum-(auto)biography, notes Si tu's special interest in the SvaYOlpbhDpurapa, clearly expressed in the entries


describing those two visits. Providing an outline of the work, Verhagen goes on t6 discuss th<;: translation coiophon, which states that the translation was made upon the request of Si tu's close friend Ka1;l thog rig 'dzin Tshe dbang nor bu (1698-1755). Therelationship between these two masters, particlllarly during the period they stayed t:ogetheriri Kathmandu, is sketched. Finally, Verhagen observes some differences between Si tn's initial translation of the text, partly attested in Si tU's diary notes, and the fmal translation found in his collected works. The fourth and last work treated by Verhagen is what one may call an 'alphabet-poem' (ka rtsom), thatis~ a poem in which the 'main letter' (ming
gzhl) of the fIrst word in eachline of verse presents one of the letters of the

Tibetan alphabet, the whole arranged alphabetically. Verhagen rightly notes that in the case of the poem in question si tu added to the already considerable diffIcn1ty po~ed by such poems, in that he attached to each of the main letters one the four non-inherent voWels in the order conventionally assigned in the Tibetan dlphabet. After sOIUeremarks regarding the content of this poem, Verhagen provides a trQnscription of the poem and an English translation. Finally, the appendix contains a transliteration of the text of the second work examined by him, the Rmachen sporn ra bsangs yig. Victoria Sujata'~ contribution 'delineates the relation between inner life and solita.ry places, as exemplifIed by the spiritual songs (mgur) of two siddhas froll1. Reb g6ng inAmdo,namely, Skal ldan rgya mtsho (1607-1677) and Tshogs dmg' [(lllggrol (1781--1851), the, latter commonly known as Zhabs dkar.Thehehditages of these two masters were situated each in one of two
f()rests16cat~d to the West and east of the Rong bo valley. Sujata fIrst

discusses the coilnection between these two masters, both of whom wrote songs in which they expressed their ideals, opinions and social observatioIis, and then points out not only that Zhabs dkar respected and praised Skalldan rgya mtsho, but also that his writings were in fact very much influenced by him. The article contrasts their inner and outer lives by considering the advantages they claim to have gained from abandoning the village's bustling life and moving to isolated sites. Towards this end she translates and discusses several


songs from the works of these two masters-songs that are written in rather informal language and whose content reflects everyday life. Nature often supplied the two authors with poetic figures-metaphors, similes, parallelisms and the like-that express their ideas and social attitudes, and that sliggest that a hermitage is the best place for practising the Dharma.





1. Introduction

(a) Background The Bodhj(sattva)caryavatara by Siintideva is best known in the ten-chapter, 913-verse version that is the current standard, canonical text. Until relatively recently this was the only known version, but in 1982 an earlier nine-chapter text with 701.5 verses was discovered among the Dunhuang materials, so that there are now two recognised versions of this central Buddhist text. The canonical (913-verse) version exists in Sanskrit, and its Tibetan translation is included in the Tibetan Tripitaka; the earlier Dunhuang (70 1.5-verse) text exists only in Tibetan translation. Hereafter, I will abbreviate the title

Bodhj(sattva)caryavatara as BCA. I will refer to the earlier Dunhuang version

as "D(unhuang)-BCA" (or the "Dunhuang version") and to the present standard version as "C(anonical)-BCA" (or the "canonical version"). Historical research on the BCA has revealed that both versions were used in India, with the earlier, shorter text later becoming lost. The text was translated into Tibetan three times. 1 The first was done by Dpal brtsegs in the early ninth century. In the eleventh century Rin chen bzang po (958-1055) translated a different Sanskrit version; this Tibetan translation is no longer extant, and its exact contents are unknown. The final Tibetan translation (found in the Tibetan Tripitaka) was done by RngogBlo Idan shes rab (10591109).

Saito 1999: 175-77.


Recently the Western Tibetan Manuscripts project of



discovered several folios of the BCA among the corpus of Tibetan manuscripts at the Tabo monastery in WestemTibet. Because the foundation of Tabo monastery is traditionally attributed to Rin chen bzang po,2 it could well be that the Tabo version of the BCA is Rin chen bzang po's long-lost second Tibetan translation. Akira Saito (1999) describes six of the Tabo folios, corresponding to chapters 1, 3, 4, and 5 in the canonical version, with emphasis on the three Tabo folios that correspond to canonical chapter 5. In his conclusion Saito states that "the Tabo BCA3 manuscript follows the later version which was, according to the colophon [of the Tanjur versions], fIrst translated by Rin chen bzang po. The rendition transmitted in the Tabo manuscript can be traced prior to Blo ldan shes rab's revision." However, he regarded the exact stahlS of the Tabo manuscript in the history of the BCA translations to be a matter for further research.4 Subsequent to the publication of Saito's article, further cataloguing of the Taba collection resulted in the identifIcation of four more BCA folios.

Although the four newly found folios represent only a small addition to the Tabo material, they prOVide, in conjunction with the six earlier folios, valuable source material for clarifying the development and transmission of the BCA in the Tabo monastery. In this paper I would like to discuss my fIndings

Tucci 1932: 72; Steinke liner 1994: l30-33. Saito refers to it as BSA. Saito 1999: 186-87. These were identified by Dr. Cristina A. SchelTer-Schaub. I would like to express my

sincere thanks for her kindness in allowing me to investigate these materials. My thanks also go to Dr. Helmut Tauscher who provided me with copies. Prof. Akira Saito notified me of Dr. Paul Harrison's identification of another folio in the Tabo corpus as POlt of the BeA. The folio (two pages) conesponds to chapter IX 46d-64c
(= 0 32b3-33a6). The number of lines on each page is eight, and the hand seems to be

similar to that of RN 123.



regarding the four newly discovered folios in the light of Saito's earlier research and discuss the implications for our understanding of the history of this important text.
(b) Categorisation of the Taba BCA Manuscripts

Let me begin with a brief explanation of the categorisation of the Tabo BCA materials. The manuscripts found in the Tabo collection are categorised in three groups: Running Numbers (RN)123, 326 and 401. The number of lines on each page is eight for the folios in RN 123, seven for those in RN 326, arid five for those in RN 401, indicating that the respective groups represent different sets. The six folios introduced by Saito comprised the first group, RN 123. Of the newly discovered four folios, three are in group RN 326 and one is in group Rt"'J 401. The three folios from RN 326 correspond to chapters 5, 6, and 9 of the canonical BCA; the single folio from RN 401 corresponds to chapter 5 of the same version (the numbering of the chapters and verses follows the C-BCA, and the Roman numerals indicate chapter numbers): Rl'J 123 (8 lines): BCA I 1Ob-34c (l fo1.), III 28b-IV 43a (2 fols.), V 17b-97a (3 fols.) RN 326 (7 lines): BCA V 29d-52d (1 fo1.), VI 87c-l05a (1 fo1.), IX 3b-24d (1 fo1.)6 Rl'J 401 (5 lines): BCA V 35c-54b (1 fo1.) Before beginning my discussion of the Tabo folios, I would like to mention a few of their common orthographical features. For a brief consideration of such features in RN 123, see Saito 1999.

RN 326 and RN 401 are

Photos of these folios are not atTanged in chapter order, and the folio numbers I use are as yet provisional. Numbers were assigned according to the order in which they were photographed; no. 1 is of chapter 9, no. 2 is of chapter 6 and no. 3 is of chapter 5. The chapter numbers follow C-BCA.

Saito 1999: 186. 27


orthographically similar to RN 123 in some respects and different in others. Subscribed ya (ya btags) to the root letter m, namely, myi for mi or myed for
med, is. used in RN 326 and RN 401, and suffix d (da drag), such as gyurd for gyur or bstand for bstan, is found in both materials. Saito 1999 notes with

regard to RN 123 that "unlike the frequent usage of the phrase 'las stsogs' [ ... J in the Dunhuang manuscript, the Tabo [Rl"l" 123J employs either 'las sogs' or
'la sogs'." In RN 326 and RN 401, however, las stsogs, as in the Dunhuang

manuscript, is usual. This fact may suggest that orthography at that time was in flux, or that RN 123 was written under different geographical and temporal circumstances than Rl"l" 326 and RN 401. In my discussion of the Tabo materials I would first like to focus on the material corresponding to canonical chapter 5, as this material is found in all three manuscript groups (C-BCA, D-BCA, Tabo BCA) enabling the most indepth analysis. Following that, I would like to briefly examine a verse in canonical chapter 9 that is unique to the Tabo materials. Finally, I would like to discuss what the Tabo materials might tell us about the transmission of the BCA text. 2. BCA Chapter 5 Verses in the RN 123,326, and 401 Folios
(0) Where Do the Differences Lie?

One factor that research on the Tabo manuscripts has tended to focus on is comparison with the Dunhuang and canonical versions of the BCA, in order to determine which aspects are closer to the former and which aspects are closer to the latter. The primary differences between the Dunhuang and canonical versions lie in the chapter arrangement and the number of verses. Regarding the chapter arrangement, Dunhuang chapter 2 is divided into two in the canonical BCA, constituting canonical chapters 2 and 3. All subsequent chapters of the canonical version are thus one number higher than the corresponding chapters of the Dunhuang version, so that chapter 3 of DBCA is chaptcr 4 of C-BCA, chapter 4 of D-BCA is chapter 5 of C-BCA, and so forth. The Tabo RN 123 material follows the chapter divisions of the



canonical version. This can be detennined by the fact that one of the RN 123 folios, the one whose contents corresponds to canonical chapter 3, identifies itself as chapter 3 at the end of the chapter. Unfortunately, no such chapter endings exist among the RN 326 and RN 401 materials, and hence their chapter arrangement remains unknown. In this paper, for convenience sake, I will use the chapter and verse numbers of the canonical version. Turning to a comparison of the verses in the Dunhuang and canonical versions of the BCA, we see that there are cases in which the two texts have corresponding verses and cases in which they do not. When corresponding verses do exist, some are identical in both wording and meaning, while others resemble each other only in meaning. In the latter case, there are instances where the original Sanskrit of both the Dunhuang and canonical versions appears to have been the same, as well as instances where it is impossible to reconstruct a common Sanskrit substrate. Differences between the Dunhuang and canonical versions, though minor up to canonical chapter 4, are quite evident from canonical chapter 5 onward. RN 123 chapter 5 contains a total of seventy-eight verses. Of these, thirteen have corresponding verses only in C-BCA. The remaining sixty-five correspond in meaning to verses occurring in both D-BCA and C-BCA, though in twelve of these cases the respective DUnhuang and canonical verses contain dissimilarities. Such dissimilarities include instances where the meaning and the Sanskrit original are believed to be the same but where the Tibetan translation differs. It is not regarded as a dissimilarity when variant prefixes are utilised with the same word. Variant terminations, such as na and nas or

'gro and 'gro ba, or variant morphological forms (tense or mood), such as zhog and bzhag, are also not regarded as dissimilarities.
As mentioned above, RN 123 follows C-BCA in chapter arrangement and in its use of the thirteen verses not present in D-BCA. However, in ten of the twelve instances where dissimilarities exist between the Dunhuang and canonical versions, verses in RN 123 are almost the same as in the Dunhuang



version. In only two cases are they the same as in the C-BCA verse. I shall consider several of these examples in further detail below. The RN 326 material contains a total of twenty-three verses and one line from canonical chapter 5, while the RN 401 material contains a total of eighteen verses and two half-verses from the same chapter. In both the RN 326 and RN 401 chapter 5 material, all verses have correspondents in both the Dunhuang and canonical versions, with the sole exception of verse 40, which is found in C-BCA and RN 326 but not in D-BCA or RN 40 l. Of the RN 326 chapter 5 verses, three correspond to verses that are dissimilar in the Dunhuang and canonical text versions (the verses correspond to C-BCA 41ab, 42ab and 60cd); in two of these cases (the verses corresponding to C-BCA 41ab and 6Ocd) the RN 326 verses follow the Dunhuang variant. I will discuss these examples further in the next section. Of the RN 401 chapter 5 verses, a total of five correspond to verses which differ in the Dunhuang and canonical versions (the verses corresponding to C-BCA
41a, 42ab, 46d, 48b and S4b); here, in all five cases the RN 401 verses follow

the D-BCA variant (the first three cases are discussed in the next section). 8 In other words, the three manuscript groups discovered in the Tabo materials show correlations with both the Dunhuang and canonical BCA, but in cases where dissimilarities exist between verses in the Dunhuang version and those in the canonical version, the Tabo manuscripts follow the Dunhuang

The last two verses are as follows:



kllro bar mthong ba de 'j tshell khro bar mthong ba de 'j tshell khro bar 'dod pa de yj tshell don myed rtsom Da'j yjd brtags nasll don myed 11s0111 Da'j(end of the folio) don med brtson pa'j yjd brtags nasi/.





version in nearly every case. Although we cannot be sure what chapter arrangement the RN 326 and RN 401 folios followed, since chapter labels are no longer extant, with regard to the texts themselves we can state that the verses generally follow the Dunhuang BCA.
(b) Verses in the Tabo Materials that Follow D-BCA

Let us now compare the Tabo chapter 5 materials with the corresponding Dunhuang and canonical BCA passages. Four verses are presented for comparison. The verses are in chronological order, namely, D-BCA, Tabo materials, and C-BCA. Among the Tabo materials, RN 326 is in part unique and is therefore situated in the third position, after RN 123 and RN 401. In cases where a half-verse has the same reading in all examples, it is given only once. Phrases in bold-faced are those in which differences exist between the various versions; underlines indicate places of correspondence between the DBCA and Tabo materials. In the following two examples the Dunhuang and canonical versions differ in wording and expression. Notice that in Example 1, all Tabo materials follow the Dunhuang version, whereas in Example 2, RN 123 and RN 401 follow the D-BCA, and RN 326 is intermediate between D-BCA and C-BCA. Example 1: verse corresponding to C-BCA V.41 D-BCA RN123 RJ'J401 RJ'J326 C-BCA ab ab ab ab ab

ci nas vang dag blangs pa'i gtso// skad cig gcig kyang myi 'char bar// ci nas yang dag bJangs paY gtso// skad cig gcig kyang myi 'chor bar// ji nas yang dag blangs pa'i gtso// skad cig gcig kyang myi 'char bar// ci nas yang dag bJangs pa'i rtso (sic)!/ skad cig gcig ](yang lllyi 'char bar// ci nas ling 'dzin brtson pa niI/ skad cig gcig kyang mi 'char bar//





bdag gi yid 'di gar spyod cesll de ltar,yid 1a so sor brtagll

tr. D-BCA:

loosening the main component of concentration in any

way, even for an instant, the mind should be examined thus: "Where does my mind wander?" tr. C-BCA: Without loosening [one's] exertion in concentration in any way, even for an instant, . Example 2: verse corresponding to C-BCA VA2

Rl~40 1

ab ab ab ab ab cd

Jigs las stsogs pa byung gyurd nasll gal te ci bder myi nus nail Jigs 1a sogspa byunggyurd nasll gal te ci bder myi nus nail Jigs 1a stsogs pa byung 'gyur nasll gal te ji bder mvi nus nail Jigs dang dga' ston stsogs byung nasll gal te myi nus ci bderbyall Jigs dang dga' stan sags 'breI pasll gal te l11i nus ci bder byall 'di 1tar sbyin pa'i dus dag tuil tshu1 khril11s btang snYOl11S gzhag* par gsungsll * NP bzhag



tr. D-BCA:

If one is not able to act at will because danger and the like have

arisen, [one may suspend it,] just as it is taught that at the time of giving, the code of moral conduct may be laid aside.
tr. C-BCA:

If one is not able to act on account of being involved in danger or festivity, one should act at will, .



In the next example, the Dunhuaug and canonical versions differ only in

the Tibetan tnlllslation of a single word: Example 3: verse corresponding to C-BCA V.46 all D-BCA
RN123 RN401 RN326

ab cd cd cd cd cd

don l11(y)ed sa rko rtswa gcod dang// sa ris 'dri s(ts)ogs byed gyur(d) * nail bde gshegs bsiab pa dran byas nasl/ skrag pas de'i mod Ia gtangl/ bde gshegs bsiab pa dran byas nasll skrag pas de'i mod Ia gtangl/ bde' gshegs bsiab pa dran byas nasl/ skrag pas de'i mod Ia gtangl/ bde' gshegs bsiab pa 'dron byas nasl/ skrag pas de'i mod Ia gtangll bde gshegs bsiab pa dran byas nas/I skrag pas de yi mod Ia dor//


* RN326:


If you happen to do useless [things], such as breaking of earth,

mowing grasses or drawing lines in the earth, you should, thinking of the discipline of the Tathagata, abandon [these actions] immediately out of fear. The original Sanskrit for gtang and dor is probably the same, utsrJet ('should abandon' or 'should cast away'); all Tabo materials follow the Dunhuang version. In the following example the Dunhuang and canonical versions differ only in a small point of wording; here, too, the Tabo RN 123 follows the Dunhuang version: Example 4: verse corresponding to C-BCA V.60 (all) ab

IllS ni* bdag gir bZllng** byas nas/I yid khyod cj phyir snmg bar byed/I



cd cd

kbyod dang 'di gnyis so so na// des kho khyod 1a ci zhiggnod// khyod dang 'di gnyis so so na// des ko khyod 1a ci zhig gnod// khyod dang 'di gnyis so so na// des ko khyod 1a ci zhig bya//





** C-BCA gZllng

Why, mind, do you protect the body, clinging to [your] own self? If the two, namely, you and this [body], are separate, then what harm can it do to you?
tr. C-BCA:

If the 1:\vo, namely, you and this [body], are separate, then of what use can [it] be to you? As we can see, in the majority of the examples above the Tabo materials follow D-BCA. 9

There are seven more verses (eight instances) from RL"J 123, presented below, in

which the cOlTesponding verses in O-BCA and C-BCA differ from each other. Verse 27cd is counted twice, as it includes instances that show the similarity between RN 123 and O-BCA (btags), and the similarity between RN 123 and C-BCA ('gro). Numbers followed by a, b, c or d in parentheses are those of the C-BCA. Pmis where the RN 123 text is identical with the O-BCA text are underlined, and parts where the RN123 text is identical with the C-BCA text are bold-faced. Square brackets [ ] indicate restored pmis, and # marks indicate lacunas: (20ab) O-BCA
lma yj Sdllg bsngaJ Chll ngu yjsll skrag pa'ang bdag mw'j bag byed nail


nna'j Sdllg b[sJnga[lJ ###sll [skJrag pa 'ang bdag Ima'j bag byed nail


nna yj Sdllg bsngal chung ngll yjsll



skrag pa"ang nna yi bag byed nal/

(23cd) D-BCA

srog la bab kyang bsnmgs shig ces// bda!J ni de skad 'dams par byed// srog la bab kyang smngs shig ces// bdag ni de skad 'dams par byed/I



*srog la bab kyang* snmgs sMg ces// bdag ni de Itar *''''dams par byed**//

(27cd) D-BCA

CD thams cad "bad pas;

**-** CD thal 1110 sbyor

bsad nams dag ni nyer bstsagskyang// rklln pas btags bzhin ngal1 'gror 'dang//


bsad nams dag ni nyer bsags kyangl/ rkun pas btags bzi1in ngan 'gror 'grail


bsad nillns dag ni nyer* bsags kyangll rklln pas phrogs bzhin ngan 'gror 'grail

* P nyes
(30d) D-BCA RN123 C-BCA

dran pa shin tu skye bar 'gyurl/ dranpa shin tll skye bar 'gYlir/1 dron pa bde blag *skye bar 'gYllr*/1

*-* CD nyid du skye

(32ab) D-BCA

de Itar bsams nas fJllS-j2Q dang/I Jigs beas dran pa dag tll gzhag/I


de Itar bsams nas fJllS-j2Q dangll Jigs beas dron pa rtag tu gzhagl/


de Itar bsams nas nga tsha dang/I *Jigs beas dran pa Itag tu bzhag*/I

*-* CD gus dang Jigs Idan de bzhin gnos

(48bc) D-BCA

khro bar mthang ba de'i tshel/



(c) Verses in a State of Flux Let us now look at those thirteen verses in the Tabo manuscripts that correspond only to verses found inC-BCA: nos. 40, 81, 85, and 88-97. All of these verses are present only in RN 123. The RN 123 verses corresponding to C-BCA verses 85 and 88-97 are found in the same location as in the canonical text. The situation with the two RN 123 verses corresponding to C-BCA 40 and 81 is somewhat different, however, in that both verses appear not to have been present in the original RN 123 transcription. Saito comments on verse 40 as follows: "Someone deleted the last pada of stanza 39 and replaced it with the fIrst pada of stanza 40. [ ... J Unusually wide blanks are left before the fIrst word and after the last word of stanza 400. "10 Furthermore, padas bed of verse 40 are not present; the text continues immediately with verse 41. It thus
las su myi bya smra myi bya'i/I


khro bar mthong oa de'i tshell las Sll myi bya smra myi bya 'jll


khro bar 'dod pa de yi tshell las Sll mi bya smra mi bya//



g.yog 'khord don dll gl1yer pa 'amI! g.yog 'khor don du gl1yer 'dod pa 'aml/ g.yog 'khor dOl1 du gl1yer 'dod pa 'aml/

It is also interesting that the variant readings of the Cone and Derge editions, stich as in the notes to verses 23cd, 30d and 32ab, above, show differences from the corresponding passages in the Narthang and Peking editions. Two examples are already discussed in Saito 1999: 182-84 and 187. In his note 39, Saito enumerates stanzas where the Narthang and Peking editions are older in form than the Cone and Derge editi9ns. Here I do not intend to examine the differences between these editions, but rather to show the similarities between D-BCA and RN 123. Thus the stanzas dealt with here are not the same as those mentioned by Saito in his note.

Saito 1999: 179.



appears likely that a later scribe, noticing the absence of verse 40, attempted to add it by erasing the final line of verse 39 to create space, writing in 40a, then continuing on with verse 41. That it was added by a later scribe is evident from the fact that the style of the handwriting is quite different from that of the rest of the folio. In the case of verse 81, the verse was added in the margin by a later scribe, with a cross mark indicating the location it should be restored to-between verses 80 and 82 in the main text. Again, the style of the handwriting is noticeably different from that of the rest of the text.
It is thus likely that both verses were absent in the manuscript as it was

originally copied. These omissions may, of course, have been simple scribal errors. Given the length of the omissions, however, it may be more natural to assmne that the lines were not present in the text the original scribe copied, and that a later copyist, referring to another (perhaps later) text, attempted to add them. The fact that C-BCA verses 85 and 88-97 are found in RN 123 in the same location as in the canonical version, together with the original absence in RN 123 of the verses corresponding to 40 and 81, suggests that the RN 123 manuscript represents an intermediate version, possibly the translation of Rin chen bzang po, that preceded the final version of BIo Idan shes rab. Examination of the newly discovered RN 326 and RN 401 BCA manuscripts has also revealed that there was considerable variation among the Tabo manuscripts themselves. For example, RN 326 includes a verse similar in meaning to verse 40 of C-BCA, though differing considerably in wording and expression: Example 5: C-BCA VAO and the corresponding verse in Tabo RN 326 RN326

chos 1a sems pa 'i ka* chen 1a11 gnyis 'thung myos pa 1ta bu'i semsll

ci nas being gi myi gro1 pall 'bad pa klm gyis brtag

par byali ll

* Ms. bka'

RN 326, fo!' 3a7-bl.




sems kyi glang chen myos pa nYI chos la sems pa'i ka chen lall jiltar btags pa mi 'chor barll de ltar 'bad pa kun gyis brtagll

tr. RJ'I 326: The mind, like a mad elephant, should be watched with all effort, by binding [it] to a great pillar, that is, the reflection on the Dhanna, so that it is not unleashed. tr. C-BCA: The mad elephant, the mind, must be watched with all effort, so that, being bound to a great pillar, which is reflection on the Dhanna, is not released. RN 401, however, contains no corresponding verse. Thus the Tabo manuscripts categorised to date contain different recensions of the same text. This variation among materials from roughly the same period and geographical location suggests that the BCA text was still in a state of flux at this time.

3. Chapter 9 Verses in RN 326

The chapter 9 verses found in RN 326 are of several different types: (1) verses based on D-BCA; (2) verses that seem to be a mixture of the D-BCA and CBCA versions; (3) verses that are unique to RN 326; and (4) verses that correspond to verses of C-BCA in meaning, but not in the exact wording or word order. The first three cases are examined below. Examples 6 and 7 introduce two half-verses that follow D-BCA: Example 6: verse corresponding to C-BCA IX. 1Ocd D-BCA

rgyun Nng tsam gyis ci !tar nail dngos]lQ bden par yod payin/1 12


Saito 2000: 50.




rgyun rin tsarn gyis ji ltar nail dngos po bden bar yod po. yin/I 13 rgyun ring tSaJl1 gyis ji ltar nail scms can bden par yod po. yin/I

tr. D (I C)-BCA:

How can [one say that] things (/living beings) really exist, just because of long continuance? Example 7: verse corresponding to C-BCA IX.14cd D-BCA

rkyen mams rgyu[n} ni ma chad nail 'bras bu Jdog par myi 'gyurgyi/1 14 rkyen maJl1S rgyun ni ma chad nail 'bras bu Jdog par myi 'gyurgyi/I IS rkyen mams rgyun ni ma chad nail sgyu ma'ang Jdog par mi 'gyur gyi/I

tr. D-BCA:

If the causes are not discontinued, effects will not cease.

tr. C-BCA:

. . . . .

. .. . ,even illusions will not disappear.

There are, on the other hand, instances in which almost all of the wordings follow D-BCA, whereas the important tenninology is the same as in C-BCA: . Example 8: verse corresponding to C-BCA IX.4ab D-BCA

gong ma gong ma'i khyad par gyisll mal 'byord po. yang sun 'byind toll gong ma gong ma'i blo khyad kyisll mal 'byord po. yang sun 'byind toll


RN 326, fo!' 1a6. Saito 2000: 50. RN 326, fo!' 1bl-2.




tr. D-BCA:

mal 'byor pa yang bIo khyad kyis// gong ma gong ma mams kyis gnodl/

Also [in the case of] yogis, [their cognitions] are invalidated by successively higher ones on account of their superiority.
tr. RN 3261 C-BCA:

on account of their cognitive superiority.

It is clear that the RN 326 verse has the same wording as the Dunhuang verse,

with the sole exception of the added word blo. The word also exists in the canonical verse, suggesting that the translator of the canonical version may have referred to texts similar to the Tabo materials. The RN 326 chapter 9 material also includes an interesting example of a half-verse not found in either the Dunhuang or canonical BCA: Example 9: verse corresponding to C-BCA IX.16 D-BCA ab cd RN326 ab cd C-BCA ab cd
tr. D-BCA:

gang tshe khyod la sgyu ma yang// l11yed na de tshe ci zhig dl11yigs// gang tshe khyod la sgyu ma yang// l11yed na de tshe ci zhig dmyig",y/ sems nyid de ni dngos yin nam// 'on te yang dag tu na gzhan// gang tshe khyod la sgyu ma nyidl/med na'ang de tshe ci zhig dl11igs// gal te de nyid du gzhan yodl/ mam pa de ni sems nyid yin//

If, according to you, even illusion does not exist, what is perceived?



tr. RN 326:

. . . . ? Is the mind a thing? Or else, is it something different altogether?

tr. C-BCA:

If, according to you, illusion itself does not exist, what is perceived? Even if something else really does exist, that form is nothing but the mind. This verse occurs in the section arguing for the Madhyamika position against that of the YogCicara, which posits self-cognition. In this part of the text, there are considerable differences between the Dunhuang and canonical versions in tenns of the number and arrangement of verses. The first half-verse is the same in all three versions. The second half-verse is absent in the Dunhuang version and is different in the RN 326 and the canonical version. Because the Tibetan translation of the second half is problematic, let us look at the original Sanskrit text of the verse:

yada mayaiva te nasti tada kiIp upalabhyate


dttasyaiva sa akiiro yady apy anyo 'sti tattvatalJ

The meaning of the second half is difficult to determine, since it is not clear whether yady apy modifies line c or line d. The Tibetan version of the C-BCA understands yady apy as modifying line d, so that the second line represents the position of the YogCicQra. There is, however, a commentary that supports a reading in which yady apy modifies line c: "Even if others [claim that] the form is nothing but the mind, there is the thing other [than the mind]. "16 This claim is that of the MCidhyamika. Since the position as presented in RN 326 is apparently that of the Madhyamika, if we can apply the RN 326 reading to the Sanskrit BCA, the reading of that text might be reconsidered. 17 This verse
BCAB: D 162a7-b2; P 190b8-191a3: gz/wn gyis gal te mam pa de sems llyid na


yang/ de llyid du gzhan yod ces smras tel ...


The same reading is found in Steinke liner 1981: 117 and in Sharma 1990: 381. 41


shows that RN 326 might offer a unique and valuable perspective for reading the original Sanskrit.
4. Conclusion

The RN 123 materials are identical with the C-BCA in overall chapter arrangement, and include verses found in the C-BCA. However, those verses that are found in both the D-BCA and C-BCA tend to use the Dunhuang verses. The verses in RN 326 mainly follow the D-BCA, although there are some examples of usages that are unique to the RN 326 manuscript. The manuscripts from the RN 123 and RN 326 groups may represent intermediary or transitional materials. One possibility is that the older BCA, namely, the Dunhuang version, was lmdergoing revision on the basis of a later version, which may have been the lost translation of Rin chen bzang po. Or the Tabo materials may represent Rin chen bzang po's translation itself. In any event, the small number of folios discovered in the Tabo RN 123 and RN 326 groups makes it impossible at this point to determine the exact nature of these manuscripts, but we know at least that they differ from both D-BCA and CBCA (the single folio found in the RN 401 group follows D-BCA in all respe,cts). A more precise understanding of these manuscripts awaits the further categorisation of the Tabo material and, it is hoped, the discovery of additional Tabo BCA folios. What can be stated at this time is that several different versions of the BCA were in simultaneous use at Tabo. Although the Tabo texts follow the Dunhuang BCA in those verses that appear in the latter text (with several exceptions in

326), they show evidence of transition to the canonical BCA.




1. Primary Sources (Abbreviations and Sigla)

BCAB Shes rab le'u 'i dka' 'greJ. D 3876 (Shu), P 5278 (Shu). C Cone edition. (The purt corresponding to chapter 5 of the C-BCA is La 10031405.) C-BCA Canonical BCA: Bodhicatyavatiira. L. de La Vallee Poussin (ed.), Calcutta 1901-14. Tibetan translation: Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa la 'jug pa D 3871 (La), N 3263 (La), P 5272 (La). D Derge edition. No. 3871 (The part corresponding to chapter 5 of the C-BCA is La lOa4-14b3.) D-BCA Dunhuang BCA: Byang cub sems dpa'i spyod pa fa 'jug pa. Stein Tibetan No. 628. (Chapters 1,2,6-8 (1, 2, 7-9 of C-BCA) are in: Saito 2000.) N Narthang edition. No. 3263 (The part cOlTesponding to chapter 5 of theCBCA is La 10b2-14bl.) Peking edition. No. 5272 (The part corresponding to chapter 5 of the C-BCA is La llal-15b8.)

2. Secondary Sources Saito, A. 1999. Remarks on the Tabo manuscript of the Bodhisattvacatyiivatara. In C. A. Scherrer-Schaub & E. Steinkellner (eds) Tabo Studies IL' lVfanuscripts,

Texts, Inscriptions and the Alts. Serie Orientale Roma 87. Rome: Istituto
Italiano per \' Africa e l'Oriente, pp. 175-89. - - 2000. A Study of the Dz7n-f1llang Recension of the BodhisattvacaLYiivatiJra. A Report of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C). Tsu. Sharma, P. 1990. Slintideva's BodhicatyavatiJra 2 vols. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Steinke liner, E. (trans.) 1981. Slintideva: Eintritt in das Leben zur Erleuchtung







Dusseldorf: Eugen Diederichs Verlag.



- - 1994. A Report on the 'Kanjur' ofTa pho. East and West44(l), 115-36. Tucci G. 1934. Indo-Tibetica II- RJil e'en bzang po e /a rinaseita del Buddhismo nel

Tibet intoI71o a/ JVli/le. Rome: Reale Accademia d'Italia.




1. Introductory Remarks

Studies on the manuscripts preserved at the Tabo monastery are gradually picking up for the past decade. I Its comprehensive inventory is yet to be published. The present author has personally shuffled the folios of many manuscripts in situ on many occasions during the last decade, but one bundle has always attracted his attention and curiosity, namely,that of the Avatarhsaka corpus, due to the fact that the epitomised inscriptional text of the

G01J9avyiihasTltra, the last section of the canonical version of the Avatarhsaka

corpus (Peking 761), has survived on the walls of the Gtsug lag khang. 2 This paper tries to investigate and catalogue the extant manuscripts of the Avatarhsaka corpus in this collection. Apart from analysing the doctrinal role of this important sTltra during the 'second diffusion' (phyi dar) of Buddhism in Tibet, many questions are raised regarding the possible emergence of this corpus in Tabo. I do not claim that I have provided satisfactory answers to\a11 the questions raised in the paper, but we can move towards a better understanding of this corpus from the analysis presented here. In this paper an

Steinkellner 1994; De Rossi Filibeck 1994; Tauscher 1994; HmTison 1999; Eimer 1999; Saito 1999; Tomabechi 1999; Otokawa 1999; Zimmermann 2002; Thakur 2006. Thakur 2003 and id 2006: 79-119.


effort has Ibeen made to arrange this corpus systematically



tools of investigation, including palaeographic and orthographic comparisons with the wall inscriptions, and also textual .comparison with other early Tibetan texts available in the collection of the Tabo monastery. Some manuscripts are compared with the later versions of this corpus assembled in the Bka' 'gyur. I have argued that some of the Avatarilsaka fragments can be firmly dated to the eleventh century. Comparing the manuscripts with the wall inscriptions, one can argue that dexterous artists, learned monks and munificent patrons possibly had an actual access to a copy of the Tibetan
Gap9avyiihasiltra while accomplishing murals of the same theme on the walls

of the Gtsug lag khang. Judging from the characteristics of the manuscripts, their size, writing style and several other features, it can be observed that the existing fragments of this corpus belonged to several separate sets, or, possibly, that some of them were circulated independently although together they formed the A vatmilsakasiltra.
2. The Manuscripts

All the eleven manuscripts of the Avatamsaka corpus are presently collected in bundle number 51. 3 The size of the bundle is 68 x 19 cm (this measurement indicates the length and breadth of the largest folio). Some manuscripts of other siltras are also assembled in this bundle, including thirty-three folios of the Mahaparinirv&;asiltra. As shown below in table 1, out of eleven manuscripts, seven (T 141, T 266, T 267, T 268, T 506, UMA, UMB) contain 9 lines on both sides of each folio, whereas three manuscripts have 10 lines (T 143, T 255 and T 259). The thirty-eight folios of T 91 contain 11 lines. Six manuscripts have both volume signature and pagination (T 91, T 141, T 255, T 259, T 268 and UMA); nine have only pagination. Two manuscripts are without pagination (they are arranged in the catalogue section according to
The entire' collection of manuscripts has recently been shifted from the Gtsug lag

khang to the adjoining 'Brom ston Iha khang chen po.



their contents). T 255 is the largest in the entire collection (its folios measuring 66 x 15cm), and UMB is the smailest (its folios measuring 62.4 x 14.2 cm). So far

nO illustrated folio has been found among this corpus. There are

fi:equent examples of division of the text, including the individual chapters

(le'u), into sections (bam po). Volume sign,ahrres are given in T 91, T 141, T
255, T 259, T 268 and UMA as ka, kha, ga, ka na, ka ma,

+ and + +. The

letters are written either in black or red ink, the latter a peculiarity of manuscripts discovered in western Tibet. Ka is generally used for numbering the folios from 1 to 100, ka na, or kha for 101-200, and ka ma for 201-300. The recto of each folio has a sign of auspiciousness (SVastl) in black ink at the beginning of the fIrst line. Many folios are bmnt at the edges on the left and right margins. The space for writing on either side is marked by vertical lines in red ink. The paper used for writing is of beige colom. Following the sequence of folios of the canonical version (Peking 761), the fIrst folio in this entire collection to have been traced so far is from T 143, and it corresponds to the Peking edition (henceforth P), vol. Ri, fols. 70a2-71a8. The last folio, which also belongs to the same manuscript, corresponds to P vol. Hi, fols. 106b3-1 07 a7. In all cases, the quality of writing is exceptionally good.



Table I: Eleven. Manuscripts of the A vataJnsakasillra in the Collection of the Tabo Monastery

Sr. no.

Ms. no.

Size (in em)


Number of folios

Writing part (in em) 59.8 x II


T 91

64.9 x 16



Volume signature (kha, gal and pagination


T 141



59.7 x lO.5

Volume signature (kha) and pagination

3. 4.

T 143 T 255

64 x 15.7 66 xiS

10 10

51 37

60 x 12 60 x 12

Only pagination Volume signature


+ + ) and pagination
T 259 64.7 x 16 10 30 60 x 10 Volume signature (ka, kha) and pagination 6. T 266 62.7 x 14.3


56.7 x 10

No volume signature, no pagination

7. 8.

T 267 T 268

63.2 x 14.1 63x 14.2

9 9

50 69 (0)

58 x 10 58 xii

Only pagination Volume signature (ka, ka

na, ka mal and pagination

9. 10.

T 506 UMA

63.5 x 14.2 63.5 x 14.2

9 9

58 x 10 58 x 10

Only pagination Volume signature (ka mal and pagination



62.4 x 14.2

57 x 10

No volume signature, no pagination



3. Palaeo graphic and Orthographic Features

An analysis of the palaeographic and orthographic feahlres of the eleven

manuscripts and their comparison with the wall inscriptions would enable us to arrange them in chronological sequence, even if tentatively. I am of the opinion that at least two manuscripts, T 143 and T 268, can be dated to the eleventh century. The date of the other manuscripts would vary from the twelfth to fifteenth cenhlries. The reversed gj gu has been used in all manuscripts: T 143 has maximum instances; its use has receded in T 259, T 141, T 91, T 506, UlYLA.. and UMB. The use of tsheg before shad is an essential feahrre of both the manuscripts and the wall inscriptions. The pleonastic use of 'a is visible in some manuscripts. The zhabs kyu sign is fully joined with the consonants, having a loop turned towards the left, including in the case of the letter cha, which has round lower ends. The palatalisation of ma, written with ya btags, is frequently used when the vowels

and e are employed, for example, in mYi

myig, mye tog and myed Three ligahlres having s as superscript (sa mgo can),
namely, sta, spa and stsa, and one ligature having r as superscript (ra 111g0

can), namely, rtsa, are written horizontally from left to right.

The da drag suffix is normally used after the final consonants ng, d, n r and 1 The genitive

and final '0, commonly employed after vowels, are


written as distinct syllables (e.g. T 143: mtshan. mo. 'i. lha. 1110.;

bi. ni.

'i.). The frequent use of the anusvara sign (Le. a hindu or candrabindu) in case
of orthographic abbreviations has been observed in the following cases: thams,

sems, khams and mams. Occasionally, the suffix s of the word sems appears
as a distinct syllable (i.e. scm. sa. can.). Orthographic abbreviations are also observed in many cases where the final consonant (or suffix) of a syllable is identical with the beginning of the syllable that follows it: e.g. yongsll instead of yongs suo Uncertain words-that is, words that were not translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan or were unintelligible in the Tibetan manuscript that served as the master copy and therefore could not be copied-are marked by way of dots ( ... ). Some words and sentences that had been left out



inadvertently by the writers have been added,perhaps by


readers, in

interlinear notes with the help of a reference mark (+). Interestingly, ji replaces ciin all manuscripts. The spelling tha111s chad is occasionally seen. Surprisingly, not many varieties of yig 111g0 and punctuation signs 'appear in the manuscripts. The svasti sign nonnally appears in the beginning of each folio on the top left side followed by a shad, either single or double. In some cases, where a particular chapter or section ends on the verso side, the double

svasti sign is found, marking the end and the beginning of respectively the
. previous and next chapter/section. No ornamental signs has been noticed between the lines, as has been the case in the fragmentary Tabo manuscript of the PaiicaviJilsatilai. 4 The round circlesarOlmd the holes found in T 141 (fo1. 66, recto) have been ornamented roughly. The pagination of some manuscripts and the interlinear notes have been written in dbu 111ed script. 4. Surviving Folios: What Do They Represent? The contents of the surviving folios (which are, as already stated, of varying sizes, and fonnats) can be traced in five out of the six volmnes of the Peking edition of the A vatamsakasiitra. The flISt section, that is, volume Yi of the Peking edition, is not to be found in the extant manuscripts. Manuscripts T 141 and T 255 and some of the folios of T 143, T 266 and UMB represent volume Ri. The remaining folios of the latter three manuscripts and T 91, T 259, T 267, T 268, T 506 and UMA are identified in sections and chapters of volumes Li, Shi, Si and Hi (see table 2). Yet no folio has been found that could possibly be related to the last section of the



'Samantabhadracaryapr<lI).idhooa' (P, Hi, fols. 237a2-253a6). Two folios of UMA (28 and 70) perhaps originally belonged to T 268, and this despite the fact that the size of the folios of these manuscripts differs (though marginally) (see table 1, serial numbers 8 and 10).

De Rossi Filibeck 1994: figs 11, 13 and 15.



Table 2: Distribution and Representation of Folios From the Eleven Manuscripts of the A vatamsakaslitra, Tabo Monastery Vol. no. (Peking) Yi T 91 T 141 T 143 T 255 T 259 T 266 T 267 T 268 T 506







x x


x x x x

x x






x x x x


x x



x x


x x x

x x x



x x x


x x









31 folios are yet to be identified. The total number of folios in T 268 counts 69. One folio assembled in T 143 is yet to be assigned to a particular volume in P.

Folios of T 143, T 268, T 506 and UMA correspond to the GWJ9avyimaslltra. The text of the wall inscriptions in the Gtsug lag khang has been traced in T 143 and T 268. The text of inscription number 2, which is, however, damaged to a considerable extent,. is available in T 268. Sections of inscriptions number 11, 15, 19, 23 are available in T 143. Two folios of each T 506 and UMA also correspond to the GalJ9avyilhasiitra, but unfortunately the inscriptional text on the wall is completely damaged. Folios 57 and 82 of T 506 refer to the
kaiyiilJamitras Samantasattvatral).ojasri: (35) and Prasantamtasagaravat1 (36).

Similarly, folios 28 and 70 of UMA provide details of Vasantl (32) and Samantasattvatral).ojasri: (35). We thus observe that the details of' Samantasattvatral).ojasri are available in both T 506 and UMA, and that the latter have the volume signature ka na whereas the former does not bear any



volume signature. That would perhaps hint cit the existence sets.

ot two different

One can argue that the Tabo A vatarhsaka corpus could be possibly assigned to one set, presuming that different monks residing at the rrionastic complex of Tabo translated and copied the text onpaper of varying sizes and in different fOirnats, as far as the number of lines is concemed, to produce a single set. That certainly seems to be an unusual method of copying. The sustainability of such arguments cannot be maintained considering the available textual evidence that the contents of the same chapters/sections are available in different versions and that too, with minor palaeographic and orthographic peculiarities. Two folios of each T 141 and UMB, corresponding to folios in volume Ri of the Peking edition, contain the same contents. Eight folios that have a common content, corresponding to volumes Si and Hi, are found in T 143 and T 268; and four folios, corresponding to volume Li, in T

91 and T 267. The situation becomes much clearer through the comparison of
these folios given below in tables 3 and 4, respectively. Table 3: Folios Containing Common Contents in T 143 and T 268 T 143 Sr. no.

T 268 Volume Ka Folio no. 69 Text in P Si 17So2-17Sb4 Si 178b4-179a7

Folio no.

Text in P

The left Si 178aS-179a4 morgin pf Si 179a4-179bS this folio is burnt. 57 Si 179bS-1S0b4 Si 1S0b4-1S1a7




Si 17907:-1S002 Si 1S002-1S0b5



Si220b1-22107 Si 22107-222a4



Si 22006-221 a1 Si221a1-221b2





Hi Sbl-9a6 Hi 9a6-10al



Hi Sa4--SbS Hi SbS-9a7



Hi lOlli-10b7 Hi 10b7-11b3



Hi 9a7-10al Hi lOal-l0b3



Hi 14b3-1Sa7 Hi ISa7-16a3



Hi 14a2-14b3 Hi 14b3-1SaS



Hi 17b3-1Sa6 Hi ISa6-19al



Hi 17bS-lSa6 Hi ISa6-1Sb7



Hi 2305-23bS Hi 23bS-24b4



Hi 23bS-24a7 Hi 24a7-24bS

Table 4: Folios From T 91 and T 267 Containing Common Contents T 91 Sr. no. Volume Kha Folio no. 66 Text in P
Li 24205-24303

T 267 Folio no. 26 Text in P Li 242b3-24305 Li 243aS-243bS 29 Li 246b3-247a6 Li 247a6-247bS The margin burnt. left of Li 250b2-25105 Li 25105-251b6


Li 24303-243bS 2. Kha 6S Li 24Sb6-246b5 Li246bS-247b6 3. Kha 70 Li 249b3-2S0b2 Li 250b2-251b2

this folio is




Li 257a4--257b8 Li 257bS-25Sb6


Li 25703-257b6 Li 257b6-25SaS



5. Cultural Contexts and Material Milieu Two issues that are intimately linked with the production of Buddhist scriphlres need to be elaborated further. Firstly, it seems important to discuss the intellechlGl and material milieu of this scholastic production. Secondly, the place of the A vatarhsakasiltra in the Tibetan literary and doctrinal tradition, especially during the eleventh and twelfth cenrnries, will be briefly discussed. Decisions for translating authentic Buddhist texts into Tibetan were taken at a cmcial time when numerous pernicious sacramental ceremonies involving the acrnal practice of sex in the career of the celibate monks were perfonned by monks in the monastic centres. The mlers of the Gu ge kingdom adopted a multi-pronged strategy to impart authentic knowledge of Buddhist scriphlres to both the laity and the monks. The mlers of western Tibet had taken gigantic financial liabilities in building a number of monasteries along the maj or routes of communication, and also in remote areas of their domains that were centres of either Bon or local cults. 5 Financial responsibility for sending and inviting Buddhist scholars to and from India, too, was taken. Rin chen bzang po (9581055) and Atisa (982-1054), two near contemporaries, had played a significant part in accomplishing several new translations. The fonner had spent seventeen years in India in the company of roughly seventy-five accomplished masters. From the readings of their names in the translation colophons of the Tibetan versions of Buddhist siltrm and tantrm, it is now possible to assess that some of them became later his collaborators and jointly translated or revised with him a number of scriphrres. Fragments of these translations have survived in the collections of the Tabo monastery.6 Promotion of Buddhism required the presence of learned monks in the monastic institutions. Transmission of Buddhist knowledge through literary Tibetan became the accepted nonn, and, as has been pointed out by Kapstein,

Thakur: 2001: 30-35. Thakur (forthcoming). 54


. the increasing usage of Buddhist literary Tibetan as the standard also in nonBuddhist fields "wouJd have contributed to the iconizing of Buddhism and its originally Indian context as the paradigms of learned [ ... ] and prestigious culture."7 The contents of available Tibetan epigraphs from the Gtsug lag khang, especially the renovation inscription, would suggest immense influence of literary Tibetan. The further question that arises is how such an enterprise of so massive scale was financed and sustained by the rulers of western Tibet? The volume of highly priced items trafficked through the trans-Himalayan trade routes, including both the natural and animal products of the region, is yet to be worked out conclusively, but preliminary study shows that trans-Himalayan trade sustained several communities of pastoral, agricultural and ecclesiastical nature in this precipitous region of the Indo-Tibetan interface. The mechanism and pattern of the Indo-Tibetan trade was very complex, and many Himalayan monarchical and republican states, tribal confederations,and perhaps local merchant-committees participated in it. Irrespective of the quantum of items to be imported and exported through trans-Himalayan trade routes, this trade also created economic and political interdependence among several participating political and commercial entities. Each principality not only traded with its neighbouring states, with which it shared ill-determined boundaries, but also engaged in long distance trade. 8 The quantum of profit earned in long distance trade depended primarily on the organisation of local merchant-committees, accessibility to trade routes, and the quality of the beast of burden used across the high altitudinal passes. Fart of the profit, irrespective of the economic status of the community or the individuals engaged in trade, was spent on sponsoring the production of specific siitrm and sastrm, and also on providing oil for lamps in the monasteries for gaining merit. The major exports of western Tibet included gold dust, musk, woollen clothes, borax and salt. It
7 8

Kapstein 2004: 768. Thakur 2001: 11-17. 55


must be necessarily emphasised that Tibet was the only source of borax for the entire South-Asian region in ancient and medieval times. Its trade was of such magnitude along the Indo-Tibetan rimlands that an entire community, engaged in borax trade from Uttrakhand, was known as Tmigal).a (i.e. 'Borax'). This community also established a settlement for carrying out trade in borax, called Tmigal).apura. 9 It seems very likely that loads of paper, required in huge quantity for the production of Buddhist scriptures, were also traded along the Himalayan trade routes since the eighth and ninth centuries from Leh to Lhasa and vice versa. The emergence of monastic institutions along the Himalayan trade routes generated pilgrimages (tiIthayatrti) almost parallel to the trade patterns. A pilgrimage to the KailCisa Mansarowar was desired at least once in one's lifetime by every Hindu, Buddhist and Bonpo. 6. The Role of the A vatmilsakasiltra in the Tibetan Literary and Doctrinal Traditions Prior to the Tibetan translation of the A vatamsakasiitra, various books and sections of this mega scripture were translated and retranslated several times into Chinese. The A vatamsakasiltra became popular among all Indian Buddhist sects and spread to many Asian cOlmtries. As we know, this work contests the restricted conclusions of entrenched intellect and convincingly teaches the "freeing the mind from the enclosure of inflexible, set ways of seeing and thinking about things. "10 It possibly influenced both the ordained monks and the laity to practise a Buddhist life in accordance with the precepts of the bodhisattva's ten bhiimis in order to attain the final goal, the
dhaJ1l1adhatu, as propagated in several chapters of this grand scripture. As








Samantabhadra, have played a pivotal role in the GalJ9avyilhaslltra and are

Thakur 2001: 15. Cleary 1984: 8.




depicted there as ideals representing wisdom (prajiiii), compassion (karuJ}ii) and good conduct .(caryii), respectively. The formation of this scheme substantially influenced the then rulers of the Gu ge kingdoms. These rulers assumed the ideal of a bodhisattva, and had worked tirelessly for the common good of their subjects. The emergence of the bodhisattva ideal from the Kw;;fu).a period onward helped the Buddhist kings to unify their kingdoms, which consisted of many heterogeneous social, cultural, economic and ethnic groups. Divinising themselves may have helped the

kings to control

vast, culturally and economically diverse political realms. The use of the epithet daivaputra (son of God) in their documents was perhaps very much in conformity with the Buddhist literary tradition, where a bodhisattva was conceived as an ideal cakravartjn king. This seems to have been the most evocative concept for practicing Buddhist rulers, but has never been used by any Indian rulers from the Mauryan to the Pala period. How and when this concept reached Tibet is uncertain, perhaps Srong btsan sgam po was posthumously designated as a 'bodhisattva-king.'ll Ye shes 'od was also conferred this title posthumously. 12 A kingdom based on the concept of the Buddhist Dharma is primarily a rule of interdependence and mutual trust between the king (raja) and his subjects (prajii). This ideal is competently illustrated in the A vatamsakasiitra The selection of this siitra for artistic illuminations on the walls of the Gtsug lag khang decidedly reflected the ideology of the Gu ge rulers whose chief aim was to protect and propagate Buddhism through the medium of a

king. Such an ideal at the initial stage worked very effectively to unify the divergent ecological and political units that were inhabited by the people of various ethnic stocks. Thus propagating Buddhism by way of the ideal of a
bodhisattva-a person who has resolved to become a buddha for the sake of
11 12

Dargyay 2003: 375. In the fIrst line of the renovation inscription at Tabo he is referred to as byang chub

sems dpa~ For text and translation, see Thakur 2001: 252-57.



other living beings and would therefore have to tread a long P?th stretching over a period of numerous kalpas-was a political necessity for the mlers of the Gu ge kingdom. The ancestors of Ye shes 'od, Lha Ide, 'Od Ide, Byang chub 'od and Rtse Ide were migrant to these regions. And it seems that in order to become politically more acceptable to the diverse ethnic communities of the Mnga' ris region, the mlers of the Gu ge kingdom have chosen to portray themselves in this particular way, which indeed led to the consolidation of their realm. The kings of Gu ge consolidated their political realm and offered-as substitutes for the old practices-new Buddhist beliefs and rituals that would bring possibilities of attaining Buddhahood by cultivating the will for enlightenment (bodhicitta), the essential fOlmdation for a beginner in Mahayana Buddhism.




T 91
Sr. no. 1. Volume Folio no. 32 Text in P Remarks This


Li 17806-17904 Li 17904-18003




available folio in T 91.




Li 18003-18104 Li 18104-18204




Li 18204-18308 Li 18308-18407




Li 1860S-18701 Li 18701-187b7




Li 187b7-188b6 Li 188b6-189b6




Li 191b6-192bS . Li 192bS-193bS




Li 193b5-194b5 Li 194bS-19SbS




Li 195bS-196b6 Li 196b6-197bS




Li 197b5-198b4 Li 198b4-199bS




Li 199bS-200b6 Li 200b6-201b6






Li 202b7-203b6 Li 203b6-204b5




Li 204b5-205b6 Li 205b4--206b2




Li 21Oal-210b7 Li 210b7-211b5




Li 220b5-221b5 Li 221b5-222b5




Li 222b5-223b7 Li 223b7-224b8




Li 240b2-241a8 Li 241a8-242a5




Li 242a5-243a3 Li 243a3-243b8




Li 245b6-246b5 Li 246b5-247b6




Li 247b6-248b5 Li 248b5-249b3




Li 249b3-250b2 Li 250b2-251 b2




Li 251 b2-252b2 Li 252b2-253b2




Li 257a4--257b8 Li 257b8-258b6






Li 260b1..:.260b3 Li 26107-26201 Li 26202-262b6




Li 262b6-263b3 Li 263b3-26407




Li 272b7-273b5 Li 273b5-274b3

The chapter numbering found in the verso of folio 83 (line 10) is mode in the some manner os in P (see vol. Li, fol. 274b1: Sllm
bell drug pa'o).




Shi.608-706 Shi 706-803




Shi803-8b8 Shi8b8-9b8




Shi 9b6-lOb3 Shi 10b3-11b1




Shi 1304-1402 Shi 1402-14b8



Shi30b3-31b4 Shi 31 b4-32b3



Shi4005-4104 Shi 4104-4204




Shi51b8-52b8 Shi52b8-53b8






Shi 53b8-54b7 Shi54b7-55b6




Shi59b3-60b3 Shi60b3-61b3




Shi 63b3-64b2 Shi64b2-65bi




Shi69a5-70a3 Shi 70a3-71al




Shi 72b7-73b5 Shi 73b5-74b3




Shi 106b8-107b6 Shi 107b6-1 08b4

T 141
Sr. no.

Volume Kha

Folio no.

Text in P Ri 155a8-156a Ri 156a2-156b4






Ri 159a3-159b5 Ri 159b5-160a7




Ri 160a7-161al Ri 161al-161b2


content (see

of this the

folio is partly found in respective table below, Sr. no. 3).




Ri 163b6-164a7



Ri 5.



Ri 165al-165b2 Ri 165b2-166a4




Ri 166a4--166b6 Ri 166b6-167a7




Ri 167a7-168a2 Ri 168a2-168b4




Ri 168b4--169a5 Ri 169a5-169b7


content of this (see the

folio is partly found in respective table below, Sr. no. 4).




Ri 171a2-171b4 Ri 171b4--172a5




Ri 176al-176b2 Ri 176b2-177a4




Ri 178a8-179a2 Ri J 79a2-179b4




Ri 179b4--180a7 Ri 180a7-180b8




Ri 180b8-181bl Ri 181bl-182a3




Ri 183a7-184a2 Ri 184a2-184b4




Ri 184b4--185a5



Ri lS5a5-1S3b7 16.


Ri lS5b7-1S6b1 Ri lS6b1-1S7a3




Ri lS7a3-1S7b6 Ri lS7b6-1SSbl




Ri lSSbl-1S9a3 Ri lS9a3-1S9b6




Ri lS9b6-190a7 Ri 190a7-191a1




Ri 192a6-193a2 Ri 193a2-193b3




Ri 193b3-194a5 Ri 194a5-194bS




Ri 194bS-195b3 Ri 195b3-196a6




Ri 196a6-196bS Ri 196bS-197b2

T 143
Sr. no.

Folio no. The left margin of this folio is burnt.

Text in P Ri 70a2-70b5 Ri 70b5-71as

Remarks Following the sequence of the folios in P, this is the first folio in this bundle.



Li 155b5-156b3



Li 156b3-157b2



Si217a2-217b8 Si217bS-21Sb6



Si 222a4-223a1 Si 223al-223bS



Si 119aS-120a4 Si 120a4-121a4



Si 160al-160b7 Si 160b7-161b5



Si 166b3-167a8 Si 167a8-168a4



Si 168a4-168b8 Si 16Sb8-169b4



Si 169b4-170a8 Si 170aS-171a4



Si 171a4-171 b7 Si 171b7-172b3



Si 172b3-173a7 Si 173a7-174b3


The left margin of this folio is burnt.

Si 178a8-179a4 Si 179a4-179bS

The content of this folio is partly found in T 268: ka 69.



Si 179bS-1S0b4 Si 180b4-1S1a7

- ditto - T 268: ka 70.



Si ISSb7-1S9b3



Si 189b3-190a7 15. 64 Si 19007-19103 Si 19103-191b7 16. 70 Si200ul-200b6 Si 200b6-201b3 17. 71 Si 201b3-202a8 Si 20208--:203a5 18.

Si 203a5-20402 Si 204a2-204b7



Si 204b7-205b4 Si205b4-206bl



Si 206b1-207a7 Si 207a7-208a5



Si 208a5-209a3 Si 20903-210a1



Si 2 lOa2-2lOb7 Si 21Ob8-211b6



Si 215a5-21603 Si 21603-21702



Si220b1-221a7 Si 221a7-222a4

The content of this folio is pmily found in T 268: ka 99.



Si224a3-225a1 Si 225a1-225b7






Si233bS-234b5 27. 90 Si234b5-235b3 Si 235b3-236b2 2S. 91 Si236b2-237aS Si237aS-23Sa6 29. 94 Si241b3-242a6 Si242a7-243a2 30. 9S Si 277a7-24Sa3 Si 24Sa3-24Sb6 3l. 4 Si256a2-256b4 Si256b5-257a7 32. 6 Si25Sb5-259aS Si 259aS-260a4 33. 17 Si27Sa2-27SbS Si27SbS-279b7 34. 26 Hi 3b5--4bl Hi 4bl-5a6 35. 2S Hi 6b8-7b4 Hi 7b5-Sbl 36. 29 Hi Sbl-9a6 Hi 9a6-10al 37. 30 Hi lOu2-lOb7 Hi 10b7-1lb3 38, 32 Hi 14b3-15u7 - ditto - T 268: ka na 64 The content of this folio is pmily found in T 26S: ku na 59. - ditto - T 26S: ku na 60



Hi 15a7-1603 39. 35 Hi 17b3-18a6 Hi 18a6-19a1 40. 37 Hi 20a8-21a3 Hi 21a3-21b6 41. 39 Hi 23a5-23b8 Hi 23b8-24b4 42. 53 Hi 45b5-46b2 Hi 46b2-47a8 43. 56 Hi 50b2-51a6 Hi 51a6-52a2 44. 57 Hi 52a2-52b7 Hi 52b7-53b4 45. 58 Hi 53b4-5408 Hi 54a8-5504 46. 60 Hi 56b4-57bl Hi 57b1-58a5 47. 82 Hi 92b3-93a8 Hi 93a8-9404 48. 86 Hi 99b7-100b3 Hi 100b3-101a6 49. 88 Hi 102b5-103b1 Hi 103bl-104a6 50. 90 Hi 105b7-106b3 - ditto - T 268: ka na 72 - ditto - T 268: ka na 67



Sr. no. 1. Volume x Folio no. 25 Text in P The equivalent in P is yet to be traced. Remarks

3. 4. 5. 6.

x x x x x x

26 34 40 42 53 The left margin of this folio is burnt.


" " " "

Line 4 of this folio mentions bam paS.




Line 6 of this folio mentions bampa24.



x x x



11. 12.

" "

" "
" " "

+ + + +

14. 15.

24 25



16. 17. 18.

+ + +

67 82 87

" " Ri 13a4-13b6 Ri 13 b6-14a8



Ri 15b3-16a4 Ri 16a4-16b6

Line 4 of this folio mentions

bam po 22.


Ri 16b6-17bl Ri 17bl-18a4



Ri 32b4-33a6 Ri 33a6-34a1



Ri 36b4-37a7 Ri 37a7-3803



Ri 38a3-38b6 Ri 38b6-39b1



Ri 40b7-41b2 Ri 41b2-42a6




Ri43b5-44bl Ri 44b2-45a6




Ri 48a6-49al Ri49al-49b4




Ri 53b7-54b2 Ri 54b2-55a6







Ri57b1-58a4 29.



Ri 6103-61b6 Ri61b6-62b2




Ri 76a1-76b5 Ri 76b5-77b1




Ri 84b3-85a7 Ri 85a7-8603




Ri 87b3-88a7 Ri 88a7-8903




Ri 94b5-95a8 Ri 95a8-9603




Ri 98b6-99b1 Ri 99b 1-100a4




Ri 100a4-1 OOb 7 Ri 100b7-101b2




Ri 101b2-102a6 Ri 102a6-103a1




Ri 1l0a2-110b6 Ri 110b6-111b2

T 259
Sr. no. Volume Folio no. 80 Text in P
Li 90b4-91b1 Li 91b1-92a5

Remarks. All folios of T 259 belong to





volume Li. 2.


Li 9205-9301 Li 9301-93b6




Li 93b6-94a3 Li 9403-9508




Li 95bl-9605 Li 9605-9702




Li 97a2-97b7 Li 97b7-98b4




Li 98b4--99bl Li 99b 1-10006




Li 10006-10102 Li 101a2-101b8




Li 101b8-102b6 Li 102b6-103b3




Li 103b3-10408 Li 10408-10506




Li 10506-10602 Li 10602-106b7




Li 106b7-107b6 Li 107b6-108b3 .




Li 108b3-1 09b 1 Li 109b 1-11006




Li 11 006-111 04




Li 11105-112u1



Li 112ul-112b7 Li 112b7-113b4 .




Li l1Sb6-119b3 Li 119b3-120bl




Li 122u6-123u4 Li 123u4-12403

17. IS.

Khu " " " " " " " "

6 12 13 14 15 16 17 25 26 27 2S 64

Li 136a2-136bS Li 136bS-137b4 Li 146a2-146b7 Li 146b7-147b7 Li 147b5-14Sb2 Li 14Sb2-149u7 Li 149u7-150a2 Li 15003-150b7

20. 21. 22. .23.

Li 150b7-151b3
Li 151b3-152u7 Li 152u7-15305 Li 15305-15402 Li 154a2-154b7 Li 154b7-155b5 Li 16705-16Sa2 Li

24. 25. 26. 27. 2S.

Li 16Sb6-169b2 Li 169b2-170u7 Li 170u7-17103 Li 17103-171b7 Li 171b7-172b4 Li 172b4-173u7 Li 23Sb7-239b4 Li 239b4-240b2

" "



29. 30.



Li 253b2-254b1 Li 254b 1-255a6 Li 25Sb~259b3 Li 259b3-260bl



T 266
Sr. no.

Text in P Ri24Sb5-249aS Ri 249aS-250a3

Remarks Since there are no folio and page numbers in T 266, the present serial number has been arranged according to the contents of the folios


Ri 250a5-251a1 Ri 251al-251b3

following the sequence in P.


Ri 262b5-263a6 Ri 263a6-263b7


Ri 265al-265b3 Ri 265b3-266a4


Ri 26Sbl-269a2 Ri 269a2-269b3


Li 4a5---4b S Li 4bS-5b2


Li 27b6-2Sa7 Li 2Sa7-29a1


Li 29al-29b3 Li 29b3-30a4


Li 30a4-30b6 Li 30b6-31a7




Li 31b8-32b3


Li 32b3-33a3 Li 33a3-33b4


Li 37a6-37b8 Li 37b8-38bl


Li 39b4-40a6 Li 40a6-40b7


Li 43 b6-44a8


Li 62b6-63a8 Li 63a8-64a3


Li 64a3-64b5 Li 64b5-65a8


Li 69a5-69b7 Li 69b7-70bl

Sr. no.

Folio no. 26

Text in P
Li 242b3-243a5 Li 243a5-243b8




Li 246b3-247a6 Li 247a6-247b8


The left margin of Li 250b2-251a5



this folio is burnt. 4. 37

Li 251a5-251b6 Li 257a3-257b6 Li 257b6-258a8


Shi66a5-66b8 Shi66b8-67b2


The left margin of this folio is burnt.

Shi 83b3-84a5 Shi 84a5-84b7

7. 8. 9. 10.

9 10(?) 13 14 18 19 26 29 Shi 100a7-101a2 Shi 101a2-101b4

12. 13. 14.



Shi 103a2-103b4 Shi 103b4--104a7



Shi 118a8-119al Shi 119al-119b3



Shi 126b7-127bl Shi 127bl-128a2



Shi 128a2-128b5



Shi 12Sb5-129a7 19. 53 Shi 130b3-131a5 Shi 131aS-131b7 20. 57 Shi 135b4-136a6 Shi 136a6-137a1 21. 59 Shi 13Sa5-13SbS Shi 13SbS-139b2 22. 23. 61 63 Shi 143b3-144a5 Shi 144aS-144b7 24. 25. 64 66 Shi 147b3-14Sa5 Shi 14Sa5-14SbS 26. 67 Shi 14SbS-149b3 Shi 149b3-150a5 27. 6S Shi 150a5-150b7 Shi 150b7-151b2 2S. 69 Shi 151b2-152a6 Shi 152a6-153a1 29. 70 Shi 153al-153b5 Shi 153b5-154a8 30.


Shi 155bS-156b3 Shi 156b3-157a6


Shi 157a6-15Sa1


Shi 158al-158b3 32. 33. 34. 75 76


Shi 163b8-164b4 Shi 164b4-165a6



Shi 167b7-168b2 Shi 168b2-169a4



Shi 169a4-169b7 Shi 169b7-170b2



Shi 170b2-171a5 Shi 171aS-l71b8



Shi 171b8-172b3 Shi 172b3-173a7

39. 40. 4l. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

94 97 98 99 100 70 81 63 63 66



T 268

Sr. no.

Volume Ka

Folio no. 3

Text in P SiSSb3-S9a7 SiS9a7-90a2




Si90a2-90b4 Si 90b4-91aS



Si 92b6-93aS Si93aS-94a3



Si94a3-94bS Si94bS-9Sa7



Si96b4-97a7 Si97a7-9Sa2




Si 100bS-10lbl Si 101bl-102a4




Si 106a3-106bS Si 106bS-l07a7




Si 107a8-10Sa2 Si 10Sa2-10Sb4







Si 17Sa2-178b4



Si 178b4-17907




Si 17907-18002 Si 18002-180b5




Si 22006-22101 Si 22101-221b2





Si 26506-265b8 Si 265b8-266b1




Si 266bl-26703 Si 267a3-267b5




Si 273b5-27408 Si 27808-27502




Si 267b6-268b1 Si268bl-26908




Si 270b4-271b1 Si 271bl-27206




Si 278b6-279b1 Si 279bl-280b4




Si 28301-283b5 Si 283b5-28408




Si 28408-28503 Si 28503-285b6




Si28703-287b5 Si 287b5-28808




Si 289b6-29008



Si290aS-291a4 23.



Hi 2a4-2b6 Hi 2b6-3a7




Hi Sa4-Sb5
Hi Sb5-9a7




Hi 9a7-10a1 Hi 10a1-lOb3




Hi 11b5-12a6 Hi 12a6-12b7




Hi 12b7-13aS Hi 13aS-14a2




Hi 14a2-14b3 Hi 14b3-15a5




Hi 15a5-15b7 Hi 15b7-16bl




Hi 17b5-1Sa6 Hi lSa6-1Sb7




Hi lSb7-19b1 Hi 19b1-20a3




Hi 23b5-24a7 Hi 24a7-24b8




Hi 28b3-29a4 Hi 29a4--29b7




Hi 40al-40b4



Hi 40b4-41a7 35.


Hi 41a7-42al Hi 40b4-42b4




Hi 55a5-55b6 Hi 55b6-56a7



Hi 60a5-60b6 Hi 60b6c-61a8



Hi 64b5-65a8 Hi 65a8...,.6602

39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52.

" " " " " " " " "

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 27 30 32 34

" " " "




53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 6l. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69.

" " "

38 41 45 48 49 50 51 52 53 55 56 59 60 62 64 65 67

" " " "

" " " "

" " " " "

T 506
Sr. no. l. Folio no. 57 Text in P Hi 5b5-6a7 Hi 6a7-6b8 Remarks The text refers to Samantasattvatror:tojasri (35). Another folio of this chapter is located in UMA: ka



na 70. 2. 82 Hi 36a5-36b7 Hi 36b7-37bl The text refers to PraSi'intaruta_ si'igaravatl (36).

Sr. no.

Volume Ka na

Folio no. 28

Text in P .Si257a8-258b2 Si258b2-259a4

Remarks The text refers to Vi'isantl (32).




Hi 21a6-21b7 Hi 21b7-22bl

The text refers to Samantasattvatri'il)ojasrI (35).

Sr. no.

Folio no. Nil

Text in P Ri 127a6-127b7 Ri 127b7-128b2




Ri 149a4-149b5 Ri 149b5-150a6



Ri 161a6-161b7 Ri 161b7-162a8

The content of this folio is found in T 141: kha39. The content of this folio is found in T 141: kha 46.



Ri 168a6-168b8 Ri 168b8-169b2



Li 17b1-18a2 Li 18a2-18b3



A vatamsakasiltra = Buddlulvatamsakanamamailllvaipulyas(Jtra. Peking 761 (Pha! chen, vols. Yi-Hi).
Cleary, Th. (trans.) 1984. The Flower 0171ament Scripture: A Translation of the

A vatamsaka Sutra. Vol. 1. Boulder/London: Shambhala.

Dargyay, E.K. 2003. Srong btsan sgam po of Tibet: Bodhisattva and king. McKay 2003,364-78. De Rossi Filibeck, E. 1994. A study of a fragmentary manuscript of the Paficavimsatika in the Ta pho Library. East and West44(1), 137-60. Eimer, H. 1999. A fragment ofthe Tibetan Nlahaparinirva(lasatrafound in Tabo. [n C.A. SchelTer-Schaub & E. Steinkellner 1999, 163-74. HOITison, P. 1999. Philology in the field: Some comments on selected Mdo mang texts in the Tabo collection. Kapstein, M.T. 2000.
[n [n


C.A. SchelTer-Schaub & E. Steinkellner 1999, 37-54.


Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism:


Contestation, and A1emory. New York: Oxford University Press.

- - 2004. The Indian literary identity in Tibet. In Sh. Pollock (ed.) Literary Culture in

HistOlY Reconstmctions n-om South Asia. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
McKay, A. (ed.) 2003. The HistOlY of Tibet Vol. 1: The Early Period to cAD 850

(Tire Yarlung Dynasty). London/New York: Routledge Curzon.

Otokawa, B. 1999. New fragments of the rNal 'byor chen por bsgom pa'i don from Tabo.

C.A. SchetTer-Schaub & E. Steinkellner 1999,99-161.

Saito, A. 1999. Remarks on the Tabo manuscript of the BodhisattvacaryavatafQ. In C.A. Schen'er-Schaub & E. Steinkellner 1999, 175-89. Scherrer-Schaub, C.A. & E. Steinke liner (eds) 1999. Tabo Studies 2: Manuscripts,

Texts, Inscriptions, and the Al1s. Serie Orientale Roma 87. Rome: Istituto
Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente. Steinke liner, E. 1994. A report on the 'Kanjur' of Ta pho. East and West 44(1), 11536.



Tauscher, H. 1994. Tanjur fragments from the manuscript collection at Ta pho monastery:

with its commentaries VI1ti and TIkiI East and

West 44(l), 173-84.

Thakur, L.S. 2001. Buddhism in the Westem Himalaya: A Study of the Tabo

!v[onastely. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

- - 2003 .. Experiencing and visualizing void: Notes on Buddhist aJ1 and aesthetics from an early medieval monastic centre of the westem Himalaya. In K. Nishimura, K. Iwaki, T. Otabe, K. Sasaki & E. Tsugani (eds) Selected Papers of

the 15th Intemational Congress ofAesthetks. Tokyo: DepaJ1ment of Aesthetics,

University of Tokyo, 415-24. - - 2006. Visualizing a Buddhist Sutra: Text and Figure in Himalayan Art. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. (forthcoming). Revered word of the Buddha: Tibetan manuscripts in western Himalayan Buddhist monasteries. A Tattvabodha lechlre delivered at India International Centre, New Delhi. (Tattvabodha 2. New Delhi: National Mission for Manuscripts.) Tomabechi,T. 1999. Selected tantra fragments from Tabo monastery. In C.A. SchetTer-Schaub & E. Steinkellner 1999,55-98. ZimmeITnann, M. 2002. The Tabo fragments and the stemma of the Tibetan TathCigatagarbhasUtra. In H. Eimer & D. Germano (eds) The Niany Canons of

Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Ninth Semina1' of the Intemational Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2002. Leiden: Brill, 17796.



ALMOGI (Hamburg)

1. Introductory Remarks
Mi pham Rnam rgyal rgya mtsho (1846-1912), in his catalogue of the collected writings of the eleventh-century

rna scholar and translator

Rong zorn Chos kyi bzang po (henceforth Rong zorn pa), lists some of the works believed to have been translated by Rong zorn pa. 2 In an attempt to identify these works and to gather additional information about extant and lost translations of this scholar, I have consulted several autochthonous Bka' 'gyur and Bstan 'gyur catalogues, and the traditional histories of certain cycles in whose translation and transmission Rong zorn pa is known to have been involved. As I proceeded with my investigation, it became increasingly evident that the number of dubious opus titles and authorship and translation colophons transmitted to us in the canon is greater than I initially reckoned with. This seems to be particularly the case with Tantric materiaU It also
I I would like to thank Prof. Hanmaga Isaacson for making some useful comments and Philip Pierce for correcting my English.

Rang zaIll gSUl1g 'bUIll dkar chag (A,

p. 10.3-4; B, p. 7.2-4). A translation is found in

Almogi 1997: 86. As shown by Peter Skilling, in his article "Kanjur Titles and Colophons" from 1994, the sihlation with regard to non-Tantric material seems to be better. Skilling examined the titles (particularly the Sanskrit ones) and translation colophons of seventeen works-mostly siitras (thirteen siitras of the MUlasarvastivada tradition, three


became clear that the only way to clarify at least some of the cases is to resort to traditional catalogues and histories, which abound in helpful bibliographical information.

In the following, I shall present my [mdings concerning the identification

of three canonical Tantric works (along with their authors and translators) and demonstrate the importance of traditional catalogues-including those of the Bka' 'gyur and Bstau 'gyur (both often neglected in favour of modem catalogues, which are doubtless very practical but not as informative and, at times, not as precise as the autochthonous ones)-and of catalogues and histories of individual cycles, which are valuable supplements to the canonical catalogues.

Maha.ya.na siitres and one dharGlJ1)-of up to thitteen editions of the Bka' ,gyur in an attempt to determine their reliability. Of these seventeen works, eleven had authentic Sanskrit titles in all editions, one a spurious title in all editions, and five COlTect titles in some editions and wrong ones in others. Regarding the question whether the authentic titles derive from Sanskrit manuscripts or whether they are felicitous translations from Tibetan into Sanskrit, Skilling tends to believe that the former is usually the case. In regard to the Tibetan titles, he states that when differences are observed most of them involve alternative titles rather than right versus wrong ones. As to the translation colophons, Skilling concludes that they are for the most part reliable since the sources consulted generally agree with each other. He points out, however, the problem that arises when only one edition provides a translation colophon, in which case the attribution should be regarded as tentative. As a general conclusion, Skilling remarks that "titles (both Sanskrit and Tibetan) and colophons should be examined carefully: they must be checked in the Tshal pa, Them spans rna, and Phug brag editions, as well as in other available sources such as the Newark and Dunhuang manuscripts, and in various dkar chags and gsan yigs. This should protect the KaIijur scholars from the demon Idleness" (Skilling 1994: 777).



2. Otani 107

Among the six Tantric works mentioned by Mi pham as having been translated by Rong zorn pa is a work entitled Rtog pa gSWll pa,. that is, the "[Tantra Comprising] Three KaIpas." The only tantra in the Tibetan canon
who~e title contains the phrase rtog pa gswn pa, or flikaIpa, is the

*Srilq"o?1JayamaritantrarajatrikaIpa (DpaIgshin lje'i gshed nag po'i rgyud kyi rgyaJ po ltOg pa gswn pa, Otani 107 / T6hoku 469 / Takasaki N 426-428 / Takasaki H 436; henceforth Rtog pa gswn pa).4 As this work lacks a translation colophon, I .turned to other sources with the hope of finding . something more about it. As my research went on, I discovered several additional references to Rong zorn pa's translation of the Rtog pa gswn pa, btit at the same time also came to realise that this work has been a subject of dispute and that therefore its transmission is somewhat complex. Not only has the classification of it as a tantra been questioned but also the identification of the deity it is associated with (and thus its classification tmder the various Tantric cycles) has been a. matter of disagreement-an issue often thematised in the autochthonous literature. The work was considered by some to be a tantra, implying that it was taught by the Buddha himself, and by others to qe mere instructions (man ngag), implying that it was composed by a Buddhist scholar. Some have associated it with Black Yamfultaka, or YamCiri; as is the case with the canonical version, and some with Vajrab!J.airava. These disputes are described in detail by Tfuanatha (1575-1635) in his history ofYamfultaka, the Gshin lje chos 'byung (composed in 1631 5).

A translation of the Rtog pa gSUIn pa is found in Sikl6s 1996: 67-74 (a summary of

the work is found in ibid, 18); a critical edition based on two versions, namely, Peking and an extra-canonical xylograph (for details, see below, n. 22), in ibid, l39-51.

Martin 1997, no. 212.



(0) The Controversy Surrounding the Work's Identity

In order to provide some background for the following discussion and the
findings presented below, I shall first present some of the basic issues underlying the dispute surrounding the identity of the Rtog pa gSllIn po. For this purpose, I shall resort to TaranCitha's Gshjn Ije chos 'byung. In regard to the question whether the Rtog pa gswn pa is a tantra or a Tantric work Taranatha states: 6 This Rtog pa gsum pa 'i rgyud is listed in the Versified Catalogue to the Volume [Contahling Works by] Rwa [10 tsa ba (b. 1016)f within the cycle of Kr:mayamari (dgra nag). Some, given the occurrence of the [line] sngags kyi rgyal po bell pa yangl/,8 say that it is an explanatory tantra related to Vajrabhairava. However, this [phrase] alone is not decisive, and thus it [should rather be considered as] a cycle of teachings that is associated with Yamantaka in generaL And since there is no separate [work containing] a generation phase sadhana and the like, it is possible that it is a tantra [containing] esoteric instmctions on drawing the wheel of Yamantaka-something like a tantra Gshin rje dos 'bYZl11g (A, p. 35.1--4; B, p. 37.1-3): 110g pa gSlim pa'i rgyzzd 'di nil

rwa pod kyi dkar cJwg tshigs bead ma nal dgra nag gi ehos skor du bgrangs lal kha cigl sngags kyi rgyal po bell pa yanglIces 'bYZl11g basi rdo Ije Jigs byed nyid kyi bshad rgyzzd yin zezj 'on kyang de tsam la nges pa med pasl gshin rje gshed spyi la 'gro ba'i chos skor yin cingl bskyed rim sgmb thabs sags logs pa med pasl gsang sngags la nyer mkho ['kho A] rab gnas kyi rgyud sags dang 'dra barl gshin rje'i 'khor 10 bskor ba'i man ngag gi rgYZld daml 19yzzd 19yas pa cig las plJYZl11g [byung B] ba'j bkol ba dllm ba 'j [= bu'i?] rgYZld yin pa yang slid doll
7 [

have not been able to locate this catalogue.

This line is found in the first kalpa, as follows: in the Rtog pa gsum pa (P, fa!.

15603; 0, fol. 165b3; N, fol. 67a6; H, foL 418b7; M, fa!. 4b3); 'Khor lo'i cho ga (P, fo!' 236b7; N, fa!. 203b5-6; G, fa!. 302b3, the text, however, reading in all three versions sngags kyi yi ge bell pa yang); and 'Khor 10 bri ba'i cJlO ga(P, fa!. 11003; 0, fa!. 91a7; N, fo1. 96a6; G, fa!. 138b5). See also Sikl6s 1996: 143.30. An English translation is found in ibid, 69.



[containing] consecrations essential for Tantric [practice] and similar [tantrGS]-or even a fragmentary tantra extracted from an extensive tantra. In the following passages, TQranQtha continues to discuss the positions of the various traditions in Tibet regarding the authenticity and the classification of this work-a discussion I cannot take up in detail here. 9 Elsewhere in his history, TfuanQtha, who is clearly of the opinion that the Rtog pa gsum pa is an instmctional work, states that an auxiliary text (grogs) of that name linked with the scripture just mentioned by him (i.e. the 'Jigs mdzad beu gSllIn ma'i

dkyil ehog chen maIO) is the same Rtog pa gSllIll pa that was circulating during
his time, which fact mled out (bsal) the possibility of it being a tantra, as claimed by the author of the catalogue (i.e. the Dkar ehag tshigs bead ma). He then goes on to criticise the position of the Ngor pa-s who, according to him, assert that the followers of the Rwa tradition do not accept the Rtog pa gSllIll

pa. He accuses them, in short, of not having read the Rwa pod-which they,
too, attribute to Rwa 10 tSQ ba-(even once) in its entirety but only the cycle including texts relating to Vajrabhairava (rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi yig skor), and of not looking at the whole catalogue either. Even if they have seen it, he continues, they have failed to realise the Rtog pa gsum pa for what it is, since the 'Khrul 'khor gyi 110g pa, Dam rdzas bdud Itsi bza' ba'i 110g pa, and Las

dang rgyud kyi grogs shes 110g pa (which are the three kalpas of the Rtog pa gSUlll pa) are clearly enumerated in the prose commentary on the ,catalogue.
This failure to recognise these three kalpas as the Rtog pa gSllm pa, he states, is like not knowing how to enumerate the five sense objects without having heard about them or like begging for fire while holding a lamp in the hand. I I For a short discussion of the origin of the Vajrabhairava tantras and of their transmission to Tibet, including some references to the Rtog pa gSlim pa, see Sikl6s

1996: 5-12.

I have not been able to identify this work.

Gshin Ife chos 'bYling (A, pp. 141.6-142.3; B, p. l36.2-5): de'j grogs


rtog pa

gSlim ces pa da Ita 'j ItOg gSllm gyj gzhllng rang yin/ dkar chag mdzad pa po rgyud du



Toranotha alludes to the Rtog pa gsum pa in another passage; one that deals with the Drag po las bdun gyi cho ga (Le. Otani 2855 I Tohoku 2002 I Mibu
854 I Miyake 858) and the Zhi ba las bdun gyi cho ga (i.e. Otani 2854 /

Tohoku ,2001 I Mibu 853 I Miyake 857), which were composed by Amoghavajra. He states that although diagrams ( 'khrul 'khor) associated with them are not entirely consistent with the tradition of the Rtog pa gSZlm pa itself, they do exhibit a great similarity. [2 Despite the doubts and controversy surrounding the Rtog pa gSZIln pa, this work has played a key role in the teaching and practice of the Yamantakatradition. It and related literature (Le. commentaries, manuals and the like) have been repeatedly transmitted from master to disciple, as is evident, for example, from 'Jam dbyangs bzhad pa'i rdo rje's (l648~172112) history of Vajrabhairava, the 'Jigs byed chos 'byung (composed in 1714[3), which
bzhed pa yang des bsal [bsal can}., gsam A, gsal B]/ des na ngor ba [= pa] mams rwa pod 1wa lo'i gsung [gsungs B] 1tsom du 'dod bzhin du/ rwa pa mams 1tOg gsum khas mi len zer ba nil rdo lje 'jigs byed kyi yig skor de kho na ma gtogs/ rwa pod rdzogs par Ian gcig tsam yang ma bklags shing/ dkar chag tshang ba yang ma bltas pa'j skyon noll gal te mthong na ni/ 'di'i 'grel pa tslJig Ihug pa na yang/ 'khml 'ldwr gyi nog pal dam rdzas bdud 1tsi bza' ba'i 1tOg pal las dang rgyud kyi grogs shes rtog pa gsum po dngos su bgrangs 'dug kyang/ 1tOg gsum yin pa ma shes pa 'di ni/ ma thos [zos B] 'dod yon Inga bgrong ma shes pa'i dpe'am/ lag tu sgron me thogs nas me slong du 'gro ba dang 'dra'o/f Gshin rye chos 'bYllng (A, p. 135.~7; B, p. 130.~7): drag po las bdlln dang/ ihi ba las bdun gyi cho ga ste gnyis po de a mo gha badzra gyis mdzad pa yin/ 'di'i 'ldmzl 'khor mams nog gsum gyi lugs kho na rang min yang/ 1tOg gsum dang mthlln shas [shes B] chef


Martin 1'997, no. 262. Note that according to a remark found in the list of contents

made by the publisher Ngawang Gelek Demo, this work was composed in 1718 at Bkra shis 'khyil (with Bsam blo sgom po Rin chen bstan 'dzin as scribe) and later supplemented and revised by 'Jam dbyangs bzhad po II Dkon mchog 'jigs med dbang po (1728-1791).



describes in great detail the transmissions wi!hin the Dge lugs tradition. 14 Yet, given its' disputed status, it has been transmitted in various ways both within . and outside the established canonical collections. As the classification of this text has never been agreed upon, it seems to have existed in various forms under various titles, before finally being included in both the Bka' 'gyur and Bstan 'gyur. The Rtag pa gswn pa does not seem to have been included in the two early

tantra catalogues by the Sa skya masters Grags pa rgyal mtshan (1147-1216)

and 'Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-1280)Y Bu ston Rin chen grub
(1290-1364), in his religious history known as the Bll stan chas 'byr.mg

(composed in 1322 16), remarks that according to the Skyo tradition of Bhairava, there are three Bhairava tantras, namely, in addition to the seven-

kalpa tantra mentioned by him first, also three- and one-kaJpa tantrasY
Although Bu ston seems to distance himself from this position, which recognises fully the latter two tantras, he nonetheless includes them in his Tantra catalogue, the Rgyud 'bwn dkar chag. 18 The tantra does not seem to


The transmission of the Rtog pa gSlllll pa and related works is discussed in the 'Jigs

byed chos 'byung on several occasions (e.g. pp. 460.1, 682.4, 692.1&3, 693.1&2).

See Eimer 1997b. Martin 1997, no. 72.

Ell ston chos 'byuJ1g (Nishioka 1980-1983: 67): [1459] dpaJ rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi


rgYlid ltOg pa bdlln pa rdo lje grags kyi 'gyur/ [1460] 'jigs byed skyo Jugs pas 1tog pa gSlllll pa dang/ [1461] 110g pa gcig pa dang gsulll 'dod!

These are listed in Eimer 1989, no. 103: 'Jigs byed kyi rgYlld 110g pa gSlllll po., and

no. 104: Gtalll rgyud kyi 110g paC = Rtog pa gcig pa). For Eimer's identification of the eqUivalents of the Rtog pa gSlllll pa in other editions, see below, n. 20. Whether this work was actually included in the so-called Old Snar thang Bka' 'gyur edition has, however, yet to be established. One is certainly tempted to assume that it was not, given that the work does not appear to have been included in some of the later



have been included in the Mustang, Phug brag or Stog Bka' far as one can judge from their individual catalogues.


editions, as

Still, as has been

mentioned earlier, the Rtog pa gswnpa is found in several Bka' 'gyur editions, including the Peking (Otani 107), Sde dge (T6hoku 469), 'Jang sa tham (Imaeda 449), Snar thang (Takasaki N 426-428), Co ne (Takasaki C 109), and Lhasa (Takasaki H 436), tmder the title *Srikr~1JayamiiJitantranija

trikalpa. 20
editions. I have btiefly skimmed through Bcom Idan tig pa'i ral gri's Bstan pa rgyas

pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od (Le. his catalogue to the Snar thang collection of canonical works, probably in its initial stage), and, as far as I could see, it does not seem to mention the Rtog pa gSlim pa.

See Eimer 1999, lampa Samten 1992 and Skompski 1985, respectively. Eimer, in his edition of Bu ston's Rgyud 'bum dkar chag, erroneously identifies this


work with Tohoku 470 (Le. Dpa/ rdo 1je 'jigs byed kyi rtog pa'i rgyud kyi rgya/ po) and remarks that prior to this title, there is no title corresponding to T5hoku 469 (Le. our Rtog pa gSlIm pa). The reason for this conn1Sion is probably the fact that this same text is in some catalogues associated with Vajrabhairava and in others with Yamantaka. Further, Eimer falsely identifies the work with Lhasa 435 I Snar thang
762 (Le. in Takasaki's catalogue, 'Jigs byed kyi rgyud = Otani 106 I T5hoku 470)

and Co ne 107 (Le. in Takosaki's catalogue, Dpa/ rdo 1je 'jigs byed d1en po'i rgyud = Otani 105 I Tohoku 468). Note, however, that he correctly identifies the work in the Peking edition with Otani 107 and in the 'lang sa tham with Imaeda 449, although here, too, the title associates the work with Yamantaka. See Eimer 1989: 78, n. J. There appears to be some connlsion in Members of Staff 1998 os well. The compilers identify items 426: Rtog pa bzhi pa, 427: gSlim pa, and 428: gnyis po, with parts of Takasaki H 436, that is, os the first, third, and second ka/pal of the Rtog pa

gSlim pa, respectively, and further note the 'discrepancy' between the catalogue, which reads rtog pa bzhi pa for item 426, and the initial title of H 436, which reads Dpa/ gshin Jje'i gshed nag po'i rgyud kyi rgya/ po 110g pa gsum pa. The fact has been obviously overlooked that the Rtog pa bzhi pa is the Dpa/ rdo Jje 'jigs byed kyi rtog pa'i rgyud kyi rgya/ po corresponding to Takosuki's H 435 I N 762, which, since it
consists of four parts, is traditionally known as the Rtog pa bzhi pa, and indeed the



In addition, I was able to locate in the private library of the late Dge bshes

Ngag dbang thub bstan (1932-2003), who for many years led the Tibetan Centre (Tibetisches Zentrum) in Hamburg, one extra-canonical version of this

tantra, this time with the title DpaJ rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi bshad pa'i rgyud rtog pa gSlim pa, here clearly indicating the tantra's connection with Vajrabhairava and classifying it as an explanatory tantra. According to the publisher's
colophon, this manuscript, which seems to have been copied down only recently for purposes of multiple reproduction, was made in A ko'i dgon pa

Lha sa bka' 'gyur dkar cJwg bsdus pa (fol. 32a2), which has been employed by

Members of Staff 1998, says as much: grangs 407 na 7 nas 'jigs byed kyi IgYlld le'll
bzhi pa 110g pa bzhi par grags pal The same formulation is found in the extensive

catalogue to the Lhasa Bka' 'gyur (Lha sa bka' 'gYlir dkar chag, fol. 465b7), which was composed by the regent Stag brag khri spml III Ngag dbang gsung rab mthu thob (1874--1952). From both the folio numbers and the citation of the brief catalogue to the Lhasa Bka' 'gyur it is obvious that what is identified by the compilers with 426: Rtog
pa bzhi pa is in fact the first kalpa of the Rtog pa gSlim po. The false identification of

the Rtog pa bzlli pa is thus followed by a false interpretation of the following two entries; that is, 427: gSllm pa, and 428: gnyis pa, have been identified with the third and the second kalpas of the Rtog pa gS1ll11 pa. What also probably contributed to the confusion is the fact that pa when attached to a number may function not only as a particle signifying an ordinal number but as a nominal particle as well. Thus the phrase 110g pa gS1ll11 pa, for example, may be read as both "the third kalpd' and "a
" three-kalpa [tantra]." It is obvious that the phrases gSllm pa and gnyis pa here refer to three-kalpa and two-kalpa tantras, respectively. While the fOlmer cOlTesponds with

certainty to our Rtog pa gsum pa, I am not sure which two-kalpa tantra is being referred to here, for no such work is found in the Lhasa Bka' 'gyur. Also note that a
two-kalpa tantra is mentioned neither in the Lha sa bka' 'gYllr dkar chag (fol. 466al2: gshin Ije gshed nag po 'i rgYlld rtog pa gSllm pa 'gYllT byang med pal gtam IgYlld kyi 110g pa 'gyur byang med pa/) nor in the Lha sa bka' 'gyur dkar chag bsdllS pa (fol. 32a4: grG/1gs 417 ba 6nas gshin rje gshed 11ag po'i rgyud pa gSlim pal gra11gs 422 na J nas gtam IgYlid kyi rtog pa/), which latter was in fact employed by Members of Staff




Bde chen Ihun gmb gling on the initiative of Rgyud grwa'i bla lUa Dbu mdzad zur pa Sngags rams pa Thogs med, and was printed by a certain Thogs med, who describes himself as a "friend who is endowed with faith and diligence. "21 No infonnation is provided, however, about the original that served as the master copy for this recent manuscript. Nonetheless, as will be argued below, this manuscript is clearly related to the Mongolian xylograph used by Sikl6s for his edition of the text. 22 In short, there has been disagreement primarily over the deity with which this tantra should be associated: we have on the one hand the tradition that relates the tantra to Vajrabhairava (Bu ston, various historical works, and the circles in which the extra-canonical version has been propagated, apparently within the Dge lugs tradition"3), and on the other, the tradition transmitted in the various canonical editions, which associates the tantra with Black Yamari.
In this connection, it would perhaps be worthwhile to say a few words

See the Rtog pa gSlim pa (M, fo!' %1-3): ... 'di yang rgYlid grwa'j bla rna dbu

mdzad Zllr ba [= pa] sngags rams pa thogs med mtshan can nasi a ko'i dgon pa bde chen Ihlln gmb gling dll dpar du sgrub pa lal dpar rko sogs kyi do dam byed pa dad brtsonldan pa'i bshes gnyen thogs !ned kyis rdzogs par bgyis pa 'dis.... The place and
persons mentioned here could not be identified.

The association of this tantra with Vajrabhairava has obviously prevailed in Oge

lugs circles. Sik16s reports that there is only one version of this tantra that bears the title SrivajrabhairavatantranJjatrika!pa: a block print from what he refers to as the "Oge lugs pa stronghold of Yeke Ki.iriye (Urga) in Qalqa Mongolia"; it is printed together with the Vqjramahabhairavatantra (Otani 105 / T6hoku 468 / Takasaki N 425 / Takasaki H 434). See Sik16s 1996: 18, n. 24. Note that since I had no access to this Mongolian edition at the time of writing this article, my references to it are based on Sikl6s' edition.

Note that the J\1tshan tho to the Snm thang edition as cited in Members of Staff

1998 reads: [425] rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi rtog bdllnl [426] rtog pa bzhi pal [427] gSll!11

pal [428] gnyis paf, etc., and it may be assumed that here, too, the Rtog pa gSlim pa is
associated with Vajrabhairava.



regarding the main cycles cOlmected with these deities and their classifications. rfu"anatha, in his Gihin rje chos 'byzmg, states: 24 Here in Tibet the three-Dgra [nag], Gdong [dmg], and 'Jigs [byed]-were previously designated as the "three cycles [of the two] Black Ones and Vajrabhairava" (nag,Jigs skor gsum), and there have been many [cases where they] are commented upon together. Ba ri 10 tsa ba (lO40-1112), adding to them the Gshin Ije gshed mam par rgyal ba'i rgyud,25 employed the term "four cycles of the Black Ones." But since [the number of] followers and the propagation [of this tradition] have been limited, it seems that not many different texts [following his tradition] have been written down. Later, from the time the cycle of Red Yamari was translated, both Dgra nag and Gdong dmg were united under the term "Black One," and the expression "the three: Red and Black [Yarnari] and Vajrabhairava" (dmar nag Jigs gsum) was coined; and the idea of combining them [into one] doctl;nal cycle emerged. Addressing the overlap among the various cycles of Yamantaka, he states further: 26


Gshin de chos 'byung (A, p. 20.3-6; B, pp. 22.7-23.3): bod kyi phyogs 'dir sngon

dgra gdong Jigs gSlim la/ nag Jigs skor gSlim zhes ming 'dogs shing/ bshad bka' stabs gcig tu byed pa mang du byung/ ba Ji 10 tsii [rtsa A] ba ni de 'i steng du gshin de gshed mam par rgyal ba'i rgyud bsnannas/ nag po skor bzhi zhes tha snyad mdzad kyang/ Ijes Jug dar rgyas chung bas yig snar 'ldlOd pa cher med pa 'dra'o// phyis gshed dmar gyi skor 'gyur ba nas bzung [gzung A] ste/ dgra nag gdong drug gnyis la nag po zhes gcig tll sdoms te/ dmar nag Jigs gsum zhes tha snyad 'dogs shing/ chos skor chab gcig tll sgJig par sems pa dag byung ngo/!

This is apparently a reference to the *Krodhavijayakalpaguhyatantra! Khro bo

mam par rgyal ba'i 110g pa gsang ba'i rgyud (Otani 291 ! T5hoku 604). See also the Eu stan chos 'byung (Nishioka 1430-1432), where this text is broken down into three tantras: [1430] Gshi17 de gshed khro bo mam par rgyal bsra khog s17ang 11sa ba'j rgyud/ [1431] rgyud phyi 111a/ [1432] phyi ma'i phyi ma ste gSlllll.

Gshin lje chos 'bYZl11g (A, p. 29.6-7; B, p. 32.2): rgya bod gnyis kar du nag 'jigs

phan tshun kha skong ba shas che zhing/ bod yul 'dir sngon dgra gdong Jigs gS1l111



In both India and Tibet [the cycles of] Black [Yamiiril and [Vajralbhairava have greatly complemented each other, and here in Tibet the [cycles1previously called dgro gdong Jigs gsum (i.e. nag Jigs skor gsum) and later dmar nag Jigs

gSllIn have complemented each other to a considerable degree.

As has been already stated, the Rtog pa gSlim pa is also included in the Bstan 'gyur. There, however, it has been transmitted as three separate works, each consisting of one of the three kalpas. All traditional Bstan 'gyur catalogues consulted by me-namely, those of the Zhwa lu edition, composed in 1335 by Bu ston; the 'Phyongs rgyas (or, the Fifth Dalai Lama) edition, composed in
1668 and ascribed to the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho (1617-1682);27 the Golden Bstan 'gyur, very probably composed in 1741 by

Bde ba rdo rje (1682-1741); the Sde dge edition, composed in 1744 by Zhu chen Tshul khrims rin chen (1697-1774);28 and the Snar thang edition, composed in 1742 by Phur bu lcog I Ngag dbang byams pa (1682-1762)"9state that the three works-the 'Khor 10 brj ba 'j cho ga, Las kyj grogs kyj bya
ba, and Dam rdzas nnad dll bsgYlir te brten pa 'j cho go-are considered by

some to be the Rtog pa gSlim pa 'j rgyud, but by others to be merely esoteric instructions. All of them also name Zhang 10 tsa ba Shes rab bla rna (fl. 1 ph century) as the translator of these three works, and this despite the fact that no translation colophons exist for any of them.30 The three works are found in the
dang/ phyis dll1ar nag 'jigs gSll111 zhes grogs shing/ phal cher phan tshun du kha skong bar byed do/l

This catalogue has been possibly composed by the regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho

(1653-1705). The authorship of this catalogue is discussed in Almogi (under preparation).


Martin 1997, no. 281 The date of composition of this catalogue is discussed in Almogi (under



Zhwa III bstan 'gYllr dkar chag (p. 481.3--4): 'khor 10 bri ba'i cho ga/ las kyi grogs

kyi bya ba/ dam rdzas Dl1ad dll bsgyur te bsten pa'i cho ga dang gSIl111 po 'di/ kllG cig



Peking edition as follows: Otani 2856 (henceforth 'Khor lo'j cho ga), 2857 (henceforth Las grogs byed pa), and 2858 (henceforth Dam rdzas cho ga), corresponding to the first, third, and second kalpas, respectively. In the Sde dge Bstan 'gyur, the first work, which corresponds to the first kalpa, is completely missing, even though it is mentioned by Zhu chen in his catalogue. The remaining two texts, corresponding to the third and second kalpas, are found in accordance with Zhu chen's list (T6hoku 2004 and 2005).31 The first,

ttog pa gSllm pa'j TgYlld du 'dodlldw cig man ngag tu 'dod del zhang shes rab bla ma 'j 'gyw! Practically the same fOllTlulation is found in the 'Phyongs Igy05 bstan 'gYUT dkar chag (fol. 45a6-7); Snar thang bstan 'gYllT dkaT chag (fol. 47b4-5); Estan 'gyur gsa bris ma'j dkar chag (fol. 54b4-5); and Sde dge bstan 'gYllr dkar chag (fol. 379a3).

31 As expected, the first title is missing in the Tohoku catalogue. Nonetheless, before
the remaining two titles-the third and second kaJpas (Tohoku 2004 and 2005)-we find the title Drag po 'j 'khor lo'j las (Tohoku 2003), which is not mentioned by Zhu chen. The fact that the 'KilOI' 10 bri ba'j cho ga is missing in the Sde dge edition has apparently caused some confusion in the Tohoku catalogue. All traditional catalogues mention the Drag po'i bya ba bdlln pa as preceding the three works considered by some to constitute the Rtog pa gSllm pa. While in the Otani catalogue the Drag po 'j bya ba bdlll7 pa appears, as expected, just before the Khor 10 bri ba'j cho ga (Otani 2855), in the T5hoku catalogue it is placed two works before (T5hoku 2002) and, as just stated, is followed by the title Drag po'j 'kllOT 10 'j las (T5hoku 2003). An examination of the text of the Drag po 'j bya ba bdlln pa in the Sde dge edition-or, to be precise, the portion of the text indicated by the T5hoku catalogue as being this work-reveals that it includes only the first four rites (las) of the seven alluded to. in the title, while the mysterious text entitled Drag po 'j 'khoT /0 'j Jas turns out to be in fact the fifth rite. The editors of the T5hoku catalogue seem to have taken this latter as the next work mentioned by Zhu chen-namely, the 'KhoT 10 bri ba'j cho ga (which, as already stated, is not in the Sde dge edition, at least not where one would expect to find it)-probably owing to the fact that both deal with a ma(1fJa/a ritual. As a result, the sixth and seventh rites are falsely included in the next text, the Las kyi grogs kyi



third, and second kalpas are also found in this order in the Snar thang (Mibu 855,856, 857) and Golden (Miyake 859, 860, 861) Bstan 'gyur-s. Interestingly, the first kalpa is found in another location in the Peking, Sde dge, Snar thang, and Golden Bstan 'gyur editions, but under virtually the same title, namely, Dpa1 gshjn Jje gshed nag po'j 'khor 10 bn ba'j cho ga (Otani 2822 / T6hoku 1959 / Mibu 820 / Miyake 824; henceforth 'KhoI10 brj ba'j

cho ga). That these are one and the same work was apparently overlooked by
Bu ston, who included it twice in his catalogue to the Zhwa lu Bstan 'gyur, once together with the other two works that go to make up the Rtog pa gsum

pa and once separately. Where this title occurs alone, no mention is made of
the translator, and there is no reference to the fact that the work is included in the catalogue twice. Later authors of traditional Bstan 'gyur catalogues followed suit. 32 (b) The Identity of Its Translator Having briefly discussed the identity of the Rtog pa gSllm pa, we can move on to the identity of its translator. Rong zom pa is explicitly named as the translator of the Rtog pa gSllm pa only in the translation colophon of the extracanonical versions-that is, both the manuscript and the Mongolian xylograph-according to which the work was translated and finalised by Rong zom pa together with the Indian preceptor U ya rna dra, apparently a corrupt

bya ba (Le. the Las grogs byed ba), which actually starts from fol. 212b3 and not 212a6, as the T5hoku catalogue would have it.

Zhwa III bstan 'gyur dkar chag (p. 479.2): gshjn Ije gshed nag po 'j 'khor 10 bJi ba'i

eho gal Practically the same phrase is found in the 'Phyongs rgyas bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 44a5-6); Snar thang bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 46b4); Estan 'gYlir gser bris l11a'j dkar cJwg (fol. 53a2-3); and Sde dge bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 377b3). Note

that this work is also mentioned in the Ell stan chos 'byung(Nishioka 1980-1983: 88, no. 2130). 100


form of Upayasrimitra. 33 As for the canonical versions, none of those consulted has a tra~slation colophon. In his Sde dge bka' 'gYUl" dkar chag (composed in 1733 34), Si tu Chos kyi 'bj'lmg gnas (1699/1700-1774) remarks that although there exists no translation colophon, this work is kllown to be a translation by PaI).c.iita A c.ia ya shri (again, apparently referring to UpCiyasrimitra) and Rong zorn pa. 35 The modern Otani and Tohoku catalogues mark the translator as lmknown. Sle lung rje drung Bzhad pa'i rdo rje (b. 1697), the author of the catalogue of the Snar thang Bka' 'gyur edition (composed in 173036), ascribes the translation to Amoghavajra and Mar pa do . ba Chos kyi dbang phyug37 (both of whom, by the way, had personal 33 Rtog pa gsum pa (M, fo1. 9a4-5): rgya gar gyi mkhan po II ya ma dra dang/ bod gyi 10 tstsha pa [= ba] rong zom chos kyi bzang pos bsgyur te gtan la phab pa'o// /! Sikl6s elToneously takes Uyamadra to be the name of a Tibetan translator and Rong zorn pa to be a teacher of Naropa's disciple Mar pa (who is mentioned by Sikl6s in connection with the transmission of the Vajramaluibhairavatantra). See Sikl6s 1996: 10. The Mar pa who studied under Rong zorn pa is, however, Mar pa do ba Chos kyi dbang phyug (1042-1136), and not Mar pa 10 tsCi ba Chos kyi blo gros (1002/10121097). See Almogi 1997: 90. 34Martin 1997, no. 272.

Sdedge bka' 'gyur dkar chag (fo1. 143b4): gshin Ije gshed nag po 'i rgyud kyi rgyai

po rtog pa gsum pa 'gYlir byang ma 'khod kyang PG1Ji ta a a ya shrl dang rong zom gyis bsgyur bar grags pal According to the Chilli provided for this text ("Title Entries

and Comparative Charts," no. 469) in what is known as the "Rnying rna edition" of the Sde dge Bka' 'gyur and Bstan 'gyur printed by Tarthang Tulku (The Nyingma Edition, vol. 30: II-35-36), the same remark is found in the catalogue to the Urga Bka' 'gym. The Lha sa bka' 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 32a4) mentions no translator: grangs416
ba 6 nas gshin Ije gshed nag po 'i rgyud ItOg pa gSlim pal

36 Martin 1997, no. 267.


Snar thang bka' 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 108bI): 'jigs byed kyi rgyud Itog pa bzhi pa

dang/ Itog pa gsum pa a mo gha dang/ mar do'i 'gyur! According to the chart provided for this text in the "Rnying rna edition" (for the exact reference, see above, n.



connections with Rong zorn pa: the former as his collaborator in some translation projects and the latter as his disciple).38 As already mentioned, traditional Bstan 'gyur catalogues, including those of the Zhwa lu, 'Phyongs rgyas, Snar thang, Golden, and Sde dge editions, name Zhang 10 tsa ba Shes rab bla rna as the translator of the three works, each consisting of one of the three kalpas, and this despite the fact that there are no translation colophons to any of these works. 39 Following his discussion of the classification of the Rtog pa gSWll pa cited above, Taranatha states that this work was translated by Rong zorn pa, and adds that although there are cases in which translation colophons ascribing the translation to various other translators seem to have been inserted, not the slightest modification is found in the core part of the text in these manuscripts. 40 What Taranatha is clearly saying here is that the translations seen by him are nothing but Rong zorn pa's translation with forged translation colophons. In order to gain a general impression as to the differences between these various versions (i.e. particularly between those ascribed to different translators) I have collated the first portion of each of the three kalpas found both in (i) the Rtog pa gswn pa, using four canonical versions-Peking (Otani
107), Sde dge (T6hoku 469), Snar thang (Takasaki N 426-428), and Lhasa

(Takasaki H 436)-and two extra-canonical versions, namely, the manuscript version from the private library of bge bshes Ngag dbang thub bstan and the Mongolian xylograph version used by Sik16s (I have relied on his edition), and

35), Gter bdag gling pa's (1646-1714) Gsan yig also ascribes the translation to Amoghavajra and Mar pa do ba Chos kyi dbang phyug.

38 For references, see Almogi 1997: 86, n. 248, and 90. 39 For the text, see above, n. 30.

GsMn Ije chos 'bYZl11g CA, p. 35.4-5; B, p. 3;'.3-4): 'di ni 10 tsa ba rang



bzang gi 'gYZIr yin la/l0 tsa ba gzhan dang gzban gyi 'gyur yin zer ba'i/ 'gyur byang btab pa 'dra yod na 'ang/ gzhllng gi ngo bo 1a 'gyzl1' bcos pa cling zad kyang med do/;'



(ii) the individual works consisting of a single kalpa that are included in the

Bstan 'gyur as instruCtional works, using (a) the group of three texts consisting of one kalpa each, namely, Peking (Otani 2856), Snar thang (Mibu 855), and Golden (Miyake 859) for the fIrst kalpa (the equivalent of which is missing in Sde dge); Peking (Otani 2858), Sde dge (Tohoku 2005), Snar thCL."'lg (Mibu 857), and Golden (Miyake 861) for the second kalpa; and Peking (Otani 2857), Sde dge (T6hoku 2004), Snar thang (Mibu 856), and Golden (Miyake 860) for the third kalpa, and (b) the additional version of the fIrst kalpa, namely, Peking (Otani 2822), Sde dge (T6hoku 1959), Snar thang (Mibu 820), and Golden (Miyake 824). On the basis of the collation of a small portion of each kalpa (laying emphasis on differences in the text that hint at the existence of different translations rather than on differences that may go back to editorial intervention, such as orthographical variants), two things became evident: (i) All versions go back to one single translation; that is, except for the title, the colophon, and minor variations within the body of the text, the translation fOlmd in all versions is on the whole identical. Most variants are negligible as far as the content and formulation are concerned, being mere orthographical variants (e.g. ba glang versus ba lang), different forms of verb inflection (e.g.

skor versus bskor), the use of genitive versus instrumental (e.g. !dan pa


versus ldan pa Jd.,J.), and the like. All such variants could be interpreted as resulting from editorial work rather than necessarily from a revision of an existing translation, let alone a new translation. Even such variants such as ba

glangl lang la sogs dam rdzas lnga versus ba glangl lang sha sogs dam rdzas Jnga could be the result of editorial work and not necessarily a revision of an
existing translation. To be sure, the reading bdud rtsi la sogs dal11 rdzas lnga (Le. with bdud rtsi instead of ba gIang/lang) might go back to a revision of an existing translation, one eVidently based on a different Sanskrit manuscript, but it could also be the result of (admittedly excessive) editorial work. (The reading bdud rtsi shIJ sogs dal11 rdzas lnga seems to be a later editor's confiation of the above two readings). Although some of the variants do 103


consist in different wording, most of them have no substantial effect on the content (e.g. dben jKlfa sags j2Qf versus fa sags dben sa rll, and dbang j2Q bzhlD versus dbang dang mthlln), and at least some of them may not necessarily have been deliberate but could have occurred during the textual transmission under the influence of graphically similar orthography (e.g. bsnyen versus
bstan, and spyad versus sbYGlJ. Yet, as the different versions do occasionally

contain variants which cannot be definitively explained as merely the result of editorial work or errors that occurred during the textual transmission (e.g. sgra
bmvanfsnvan versus sgra snang, and ~ brag versus byed jKl), one cannot

mle out the possibility that the initial translation was indeed subject to some (minimal) revision (here, too, on the basis of a different Sanskrit manuscript). To address the issue of retranslations and revisions would go beyond the scope of this paper. Nonetheless, we are undeniably confronted here (as perhaps in numerous other cases) with the question as to what can justifiably be called a retranslation or a revised translation by a different translator. 41 Can the introduction of slight changes-mostly negligible as far as the content and clarity of the target language are concerned-into an existing translation be regarded as either a retranslation or a revised translation, or even, as is apparently the situation in our case, a completely independent translation by a different person? This question will have to remain unanswered here, but the case of the Rtog pa gSllm pa and its three kalpas surely makes it clear that such claims have to be dealt with cautiously. (ii) The variants provide evidence for possible connections between the various versions in terms of 'retranslation' or 'revision.' Firstly, it can be determined beyond doubt that the two extra-canonical versions-both of which, as we have already seen, link the tantra to Vajrabhairava and not to Yamari, as the remaining versions do, and contain a translation colophon that ascribes the translation to Rong zom pa-belong to the same strand from a textual point of

For another example of this problem, see the contribution of Shen Weirong (4) in

this volume, where the translation of the SOI!lplltatontra is discussed.



view, for they share some of the more substantial variants (whether involving mere wording or meaning) and a number of readings against all other versions (e.g. the above-mentioned 1a SQfjS. dben sa i l l versus dben W1a sogs j2f1[, bsten
j2fJI l2:iI versus bstenJ brten W ni, and mchog versus J11chod). Since the readings

found in these two versions are not completely identical, one may aSSlUue that the copy that served as the original of the modem manuscript version was either a copy of the Mongolian xylograph-in which case the variants in the readings would be the result of scribal error or deliberate changes by the editor-or a copy of another edition that is in one way or another akin to the Mongolian xylograph. Furthermore, the Snar thang version of the tantra, whose translation is ascribed in the catalogue of the Snar thang Bka' 'gyur to Amoghavajra and Mar pa do ba ehos kyi dbang phyug, has some distinct readings of its own, often against all other versions (e.g. rnnyes versus bsnven,
phxed versus 111chod, and drang ba dangnj versus drang dang bsre dang). One

further peculiarity of the Snar thang version is the order in which the kalpas are arranged: the first is followed by the third, and the second is placed last. The Peking and Sde dge versions have often similar readings, although, as expected, the former has a less standardised orthography, while the latter seems to have undergone more editorial scmtiny and to be the result of a collation of several versions. The Lhasa version appears to have integrated some of the Snar thang readings, though it has kept the usual order of the

kalpas, and to have also adopted some of the readings from the Sde dge
version (as is generally the case with this edition of the Bka' 'gyur). Of the works consisting of a single kalpa in the Bstan 'gym, the text found in a cluster of three works (in the Peking, Sde dge, Snar thang, and Golden editions) ascribed by cataloguers to Zhang 10 tSQ ba Shes rab bla ma seems to share some of the peculiar readings of the version found in the Snar thang Bka' 'gyur, but often reads together with other versions against it. Remarkably, the placement of the individual texts in the Bstan 'gyur follows the order of kalpas found in the Snar thang Bka' 'gyur. The additional text containing the first kalpa (in all four versions of the Bstan 'gyur consulted)


appears on the whole to be closer to the first kalpa found in the "versions of the Bka' , gyur rather than that in the various versions of the Bstan ' gyur. In sum, we can say with utmost certainty that we are dealing here only with one original translation, which, in view of TCiranCitha's remarks, was presumably made by Rong zom po. Moreover, since most variants are marginal, and can thus be put down to deliberate editorial change (this would, of course, mean that the different versions may have been collated by editors, and perhaps also by 'revisers'), it is practically impossible to determine whether a revision (obviously a very minor one) has actually taken place. Furthermore, as we have seen, a controversy arose (apparently after it was translated) over its classification, and the work was given various titles, or else dismantled into three separate works. The Rtog pa gSllll1 pa has, accordingly, been transmitted in different ways, and confLlsion has reigned regarding its identity ever since. The fact that the translation was ascribed to or claimed by different translators can only have added to the confusion. 3. Otani 2845 The .second example also deals with a Tantric work related to Vajrabhairava, namely, the '''Srivajrabhairavasiidhanakmmopacarasaftvasmpgraha (Dpal rda'

Ije 'jigs byed sgmb pa'i thabs dang las bya ba'i cho ga sel11S dpa' bsdus pa), a
work ascribed to Amoghavajra which contains a siidhana and a rihlQI (Otani 2845 ! T6hoku 1982 ! Mibu 844 ! Miyake 848; henceforth 'Jigs byed sgmb

thabs 1). According to the translation colophon, there were several persons
involved in the rendering of this work: the author himself (who, as already stated, is known to have collaborated with Rong zom pa in a number of translation projects); MaiijusrijfiCina together with Rong zom po; and Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal po. The translation colophon does not employ words such as 'retranslation' or 'revision,' but has simply 'translation' ('gyur or sgYlll) in all cases. It is thus unclear whether there were three different independent translations, the one included in the Bstan 'gyur being one of



them, or whether the text has lmdergone three phases of translation, retranslation, and revisionY This is apparently the reason why the colophon of the Sde dge version adds the phrase "properly fmalised" (gtan 1a yang dag par
phab pa) in connection with Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal pO:43

Again, in this case, a study of catalogues to earlier Bstan 'gyur editions can shed some light on the matter. Bu ston's catalogue names only the author himself, Amoghavajra, as the translator. 44 The catalogue of the 'Phyong rgyas edition repeats Bu ston's statement and adds in a gloss that there exists another translation of this work, by the later Pal).Qita Mafijusrijfiana and Rong zorn pa, and calls upon readers to come forward with it if found. 45 Bzhad pa'i


This ambiguous state of affairs had its effect on the naming of the h'anslators in

modern catalogues: the Otani catalogue states that the work was translqted by Don yod rdo Ije (Le. Amoghavajra), Mafijusrijfiana, and Chos kyi bzang po (Le. Rong zorn po), and revised by Phyug 'tshams and Dbang phyug rgyal po (the name of the reviser mistakenly taken to be referring to two different persons), while the Tohoku catalogue states that it was translated by Don yod rdo Ije and revised by Mafijusrijfiana, Rong zorn Chos kyi bzang po, and Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal po.

The colophon of the Peking version of the 'Jigs byed sgrub thabs 1 reads (fol.

20202-3): a tsarya don yod rdo Jjes mdzad pa rdzogs soil II nyid kyi rang 'gYllr roll rgya gm' gyi mkhan po manydzu shri dznya na dangl bod kyi fo tsa ba rong zom chos kyi bzang pos bsgyur cing sfar yang phyzzg 'tshams dbang phyzzg rgyaf pos bSgYZllj.
The colophon of the Sde dge version reads (fol. 16606-7): a tsiirya don yod rdo zjes

mdzad pa rdzogs soil II nyid kyi rang 'gyzzr roll rgya gar gyi mkhan po manydzll sflli dznya na dangl bod kyi fo tsa ba rong zom chos kyi bzang pos bsgyur cingl slar ymlg phYllg mtshams dbang phyzzg rgyaf pos bsgyur cing gtan fa yang dag par phab pa'oll


Zhwa fll bstan 'gyur dkar chag (p. 480.5-6): dpaf rdo Jje 'jigs byed kyi sgrub pa'j

thabs dangl las bya ba'i cho ga sems dpa' bsdus pa slob dpon don yod rdo zjes mdzad pal pa{uji ta don yod rdo zje 'i rang 'gyurj.

'Phyongs rgyas bstan 'gyzzr dkar chag (fol. 4501-2): dpaf rdo zje 'jigs byed kyi sgrub

. pa'i thabs dangl fas bya ba'i cho ga sems dpa' bsdllS pa slob dpon don yoel. rdo zjes



rdo rje and Bde ba rdo rje, in their respective catalogues to theSnar thang and Golden Bstan 'gyur-s, write much the same. 4n The gloss gives the impression that the translation by Mafijusrijfiana and Rong zom pa is a second, independent translation; and again, it does not refer to any translation or revision by Phyug rntshams Dbang phyug rgyal po. As the translation colophons found in the available Bstan 'gyur editions are ambiguous, Zhu chen was obviously aware of the need for a clearer formulation. This is probably why he has rang 'gyur 1a instead of rang 'gyur TO, suggesting that the second translation, by Mafijusrijfiana and Rong zorn pa, was based on the frrst translation, by Amoghavajra. 47 In this case, then, it should perhaps be understood as a retranslation. Zhu chen also has the phrase gtan 1a phab pa for what he regards as the third phase (frnalisation), undertaken by Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal po, and it is very likely that he himself was responsible for the insertion of this phrase in the colophon of the Sde dge version. 48 If, however, we consider the remarks made by Bn ston and the gloss in the catalogues of the 'Phyong rgyas, Snar thang, and Golden editions, it does not seem that any of the authors thought in terms of one translation that

mdzad pal pGlJcji ta don yad rdo lje'i rang 'gYll1! The pertinent gloss reads (ibid, line 2): 'di la slad kyi pa{Jcji ta manydzll sl117 dznya na dang/ 10 tsa ba rong zom chas bzang gi 'gYlir zhig kyang 'dug pa slarphyi mo rnyed na rdzong/

Snar thang bstan 'gyur dkar cJwg (fol. 47a7, including the gloss); Bstan 'gyur gser

bds ma'i dkar chag (fol. 5403-4, gloss fol. 54a5).


It is questionable whether Amoghavajra cGlTied out the translation completely by himself. The collaboration with a Tibetan translator is thus, in this case as in others where a solo translation by an Indian scholar has been assumed, very likely.

Sde dge bstan 'gYlir dkar chag (fol. 37Sa7-bl): dpal rdo lje 'jjgs byed kyi sgmb pa'i

thabs dang/ las bya ba'i cho ga sems dpa' bsdllS pa a tsarya don yod rda ljes mdzad pal pa{1cji ta don yod rdo Ije nyid kyi rang 'gyur la/ rgya gar gyi mkJwn po manydzll sl111 dznya na dang/ bad kyi 10 tsa ba rong zom chos kyi bzang pos bsgyur cing/ slar yang phyllg mtshams dbang phYlig rgyal pas bsgYlir cing gtan la bab [= phab] paj.



underwent three phases, as suggested by Zhu chen. Furthermore, a comparison of the work in question with another work found in the Peking edition bearing practically the same title, namely, Otani 2843 and its equivalents (i.e. Mibu 842 ! Miyake 846; henceforth '.Jjgs byed sgmb thabs 2), whose author is identified as being ManjusrijnCina and whose translator as Amoghavajra,49 shoWS that these two works are more or less identical. Apart from the resulting problem regarding the authorship of this work, we are faced with further problems in trying to establish the authenticity of the translation colophons. Zhu chen must have realised that these two works are identical, since, unlike in the case of the Snar thang and Golden editions, there is no equivalent in the Sde dge edition to Otani 2843. The placement of Otani 2845 and its equivalents (i.e. Tohoku 1982 ! Mibu 844 ! Miyake 848) and the references to Amoghavajra as the author and translator are in conformity with all catalogues, and clearly go back to Bu ston. The question regarding the origin of Otani 2843 and its equivalents (i.e. Mibu 842 ! Miyake 846) remains. The answer may be found in the earlier traditional catalogues: Bu ston, followed by the authors of the catalogues of the 'Phyongs rgyas, Snar thang, and Golden Bstan 'gyur-s, refers-after mentioning the titles identifiable as Otani 2840, 2841, and 2842-to a sadhana relating to Vajrabhairava by ManjusrijnCina. Zhu chen, who has a similar fonnulation, leaves out the reference to this latter work. 50 Bu ston, again followed by all three later The colophon of the ']jgs byed sgmb thabs 2 reads as follows(P, foL 192a6-8; N, fol. 170b6-7; 0, foL 240al-2): dpal rdo rje 'jigs byed kyi sgmb thabsl slob dpon 'phags pa 'jam dpal ye shes kyis mdzad pa rcizogs solI II rgya gar gyi mkJwn po don yod rdo lje zhabs kyis bsgYllr cing zl1lls te gtan la phab pa'o/j.
49 50

Zhwa III bstan 'gYllr dkar chag (p. 480.3-5): rdo rje .'iigs byed kyi sgmb pa'i tlwbsl

slob dpon Sllli bha dras mdzad pa (= Otani 2840 / T6hoku 1977 / Mibu 838 / Miyake 842) dangl rdo rje 'jigs byed kyi bsnyen pa'i cho ga dangl sgmb pa'i clIo ga (= Otani

2841/ T6hoku 1978+ 1979/ Mibu 839+840/ Miyake 843+844) dangl las sbyor I rdo rje 'jigs byad[ = byed] kyi rtog pa lasl 'khoT 10 bskor ba'i las drag po phyogs geig pal slob dpon zhi ba'j ye shes kyis mdzad pa (= Otani 2842 / T6hoku 1980 / Mibu


authors, seems to state that all four works are solo translations (.,:ang 'gyur) by Amoghavajra. 51 It remains unclear whether the Vajrabhairava siidhana by Maiijusrijiiana referred to by Bu ston is indeed the work fOlmd in the Peking, Snar thang, and Golden editions in the corresponding location (i.e. Otani 2843 / Mibu 842 / Miyake 846), which would mean that Bu ston was already mistakenly including one and the same work twice under somewhat different titles, different authors, and different translators. This would be rather strange, since the works are situated very close to each other, but it cannot to be mled out categorically. If, however, Bu ston was referring to a completely different work, there remains the question why in later Bstan 'gyur editions it was replaced by another work, which was in fact only a slightly different version of the one identified as Otani 2845 and its equivalents (i.e. Tohoku 1982 /

841 / Miyake 845) dang/ rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi sgmb pa 'i thabs 'phags pa 'jam dpal ye shes kyis mdzad pa (= Otani 2843 / Mibu 842 / Miyake 846) mams PGIJ ta don yod rdo Ije'i rang gyur/ rdo lje 'jigs byed kyi sgmb thabs slob dp011 ma11Ydzu shr! dznya nas mdzad pal zhang 'or stan pa shes rab bsod nams kyi 'gyur (= Otani 2844 / Tohoku 1981 / Mibu 843 / Miyake 847)/ Virtually the same fOlmulation is found in the 'Phyongs rgyas bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fols. 44b6-45a1), and in addition the following gloss in regard to Otani 2842 is inserted (ibid, fol. 44b8): 'di la pa{li ta manydzu sl11i dznya na dang/lo tsa ba mng zom chos bzang gi 'gyur zhig pa'ang slar

phyi mo myed 11a rdzong/ The same can be said of the Snar thang bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 47a4-6, gloss fol. 47a6-7) and Bstan 'gyur gser bris ma'i dkar chag (fols. 53b6-5403, gloss fol. 5403). As expected, identical wording (without the gloss, to be sure) is also found in the Sde dge bstan 'gyurdkarchag(fol. 37805-7).

Otani 2840, 2841 & 2842, Tohoku 1977, 1978 + 1979 & 1980, Mibu 838, 839+ 840

& 841, and Miyake 842, 843 + 844 & 845 have no translation colophons. The Tohoku

catalogue, probably following Zhu chen, gives Amoghavajra as the translator of 19781980. According to the translation colophon of Otani 2843 / Mibu 842 / Miyake 846, this work was translated, proofread, and finalised by Amoghavajra; for the Tibetan text, see above, n. 49.



Mibu 844 / Miyake 848), but seemingly retained the information regarding authorshIp and translation provided in Bu ston's catalogue. Coming back to Otani 2845 and its eqUivalents (Le. Tohoku 1982 / Mibu 844 / Miyake 848), it is clear that the version referred to in the catalogues of the Zhwa lu, 'Phyongs rgyas, Snar thang, and Golden Bstan 'gyur-s was, as far as their respective authors were concerned, an autotranslation made by the author Amoghavajra alone (rang 'gyur). The question is whether the version included in the Peking, Snm thang, Golden, and Sde dge editions is different from the one included in the Zhwa lu and 'Phyongs rgyas editions, or whether . later editors simply incorporated the names of the translator team MafijusrljiiCina and Rong zorn pa from the gloss fOlmd in the catalogue of the 'Phyongs rgyas edition into the colophon and then added Phyug riltshams Dbang phyug rgyal po's name on the basis of some historical sources or an oral tradition. As the Zhwa lu edition.has not survived, and the 'Phyongs rgyas Bstan 'gyur is unfortlmately inaccessible, a comparison of the Peking, Snar thang, Golden, and Sde dge versions with the ones found in these two earlier editions is not possible. Nonetheless, I tend toward the latter hypothesis, namely, that the names of the other translators known to have translated this work were added to the colophon by later editors S2-this particularly in view of the fact that what is found in the colophon seems to be a list of different translations rather than a translation, retranslation, and revision, as asserted by Zhu chen (and adopted by the editors of the Otani and Tohoku catalogues). Whether the translation by MafijusrljiiCina and Rong zorn pa was an independent translation or a revision of Amoghavajra's first translation, and the basis for Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal po's finalisation, as suggested by Zhu chen, must also remain open to question. As Otani 2845 (and

In this case, the reference to Mafijusrfjfiana and Rong zorn pa's translation can almost certainly be traced back to the catalogue of the 'Phyongs rgyas edition. I am not aware, however, of any possible source for the reference to a translation by Phyug mtshams Dbang phyug rgyal po.



its equivalent in the Snar thong and Golden Bstan 'gyur) is slightly different from Otani 2843 (and its equivalent in the Snar thang and Golden Bstan 'gyur), the latter may well be 4. Otani 3364 In his catalogue of the collected writings of Rang zorn pa, Mi pham states that the fact that Rong zorn pa's style of composition (rtsom gshis) resembles that of Indian scholars (in Tibetan translation) may well have resulted in some of Rong zorn pa's works that lack an authorship colophon being mistaken for translated Indian works,. and therefore in their being included in the Bstan 'gyur. 53 The case of the Smra sgo 'grel pa, which is included in both the Bstan 'gyur, where it is ascribed to Stru;1:ijfiCinakirti, and in the collected works of Rong zorn pa, where it is considered to be a composition of the latter (this ascription has been confirmed by several Tibetan scholars), is well known and has been discussed on several occasions. 54 In a search to locate additional works in the canon that may have been composed by Rong zorn pa, my attention was drawn to a commentary on the Namasmpgfti entitled Mtshan

'revision' of the former.

yang dag pm" bljod pa'i 'grel pa tshul gsum gsal bdJ byed pa'i sgron ma)
(Otani 3364 / Tohoku 2091 / Mibu 136255

Miyake 1368; henceforth Mtshan

bljod 'grel pa tshul gsum gsal byed'), which bears a certain similarity to the
title of Rong zorn pa's commentary on the Namasalpgfti, namely, MtshaiJ .

yang dag par bzjod pa'i 'grel pa roam gsum bshad pa (henceforth Mtshan bljod 'greJ pa roam gsum bshad pa). And indeed, a comparison of the. two


See his Rang zom gSlll1g 'bum dkar chag (A, p. 37.1-2; B, p. 21.21-24); a

translation is found in Almogi 1997: 116.


See Almogi 1997: 221-22, n. 463. Note that Mibu erroneously regards this work and the work prior to it (see the


following passage) as having no equivalent in the Sde dge edition. See Mibu 1967: 32, 115.



texts confinned my assumption that these may be one and the same work. Except for negligible. differences in the body of the text, they proved to be identical. The major differences are found in the title and in the colophon. While the title of the version found in Rong zorn pa's collected writings reads

mom gsum bshad pa, that of the canonical version has tshu! gsum gsa! ba. As
for the statement regarding authorship, the version found in the collected writings reads dhanna [= dharmaJ bha dras mdzad pa 'j 'phags pa 'jam dpa!

gyi mtshan yang dag par bJjod pa'i 'gre! pa'o/p6 These, however, are clearly
not the words of the author himself, but rather a remark added later by a scribe or editor. The canonical version lacks any statement regarding the author or translator, and reads simply tshu! gSWll gsa! bar byed pa'i sgron ma

zhes bya ba rdzogs so/r followed by two lines of dedicatory verse. Interesting, too, is the fact that in the body of the text (of both the extracanonical version ascribed to Rong zorn pa and the canonical one) the phrase used is mam gSUJ11 bshad pels-in confonnity with the title of the extracanonical version-and not tshu! gSllJ11 gsa! ba, as the title in the concluding phrase of the canonical version reads. The question that ensues is whether this work is a composition by Rong zorn pa that was falsely identified as an Indian work in Tibetan translation or vice versa. It is pretty certain that Rong zorn pa composed a commentary on the NamasaJpglti, since such a commentary is mentioned in Rong pa Me dpung's list of Rong zorn pa's writings, which was composed at the latest only
iV/tshan bIjod 'greI pa mam gsum bshad pa (A, p. 332.3; B, p. 290.18-19). Mtshan bIjod 'grel pa tshu! gsum gsa! byed(P, fo!' 217a7-8; D, fol. 21807; N, fo!'



21502; G, fo!' 28005).

58 This phrase is found, for example, in the last sentence (preceding the concluding_ sentence just cited): mam gSllm bshad pa tsam byas pa'o// (P, fo!' 21707; D, fo!' 21807; N, fol. 21502; G, fo!' 28005). Compare this with the sentence mtshan gnyis Sll med par bJjod pa zhes bya ba'i mam pa gSlim gyis [gyi D] mts!wn nyid can bstan pa yinno//(P, fol. 21705-6; D, fo1. 21806; N, fo!. 21501; G, fol. 28004).



a few decades after Rong zom pa's death. As in most cases, however, the work is not mentioned under a distinct title. 59 The content and style of writing do seem to support the hypothesis that this is indeed Rong zorn pa's commentary (a matter which cannot be discussed here in detail). The fact that the names of neither the author nor the translator are mentioned in the canonical version may further support the assumption that the work is autochthonous. And Bu ston for his part, in referring to it in his catalogue, and to another commentary on the NomGsaJpgiti, ascribed to Candragomin and said to be translated by 'Gos lhas btsas and Shes rab brtsun 'grus (Otani 3363 / Tohoku 2090 / Mibu 1361 / Miyake 1367), remarks that it may be doubted whether either work, both of which he regards as commentaries according to the Tantra system in general, is of Indian origin-a statement repeated in all later traditional catalogues 60 (unfortunately, this infonnation is not included in modem catalogues, any more than similar statements found in the traditional catalogues of the canon are). Considering all this, I am inclined to believe that Otani 3364 (and its equivalents Tohoku 2091 / Mibu 1362/ Miyake 1368) is

59 Tho yig (p. 236.3-4): mtshan bljod kyi 'gre/ ba. See also Almogi 1997: 243, no. 4.1.14.


Zhwa lu bstan 'gYllr dkar chag (p. 51l.3-5): mtslzan yang dag par bIjod pa'i 'gre/

pa gsa/ ba'i sgron ma zhes bya ba slob dpon tsandra go mis mdzad pal bla ma mngon shes can dang/ 'gos Ibas btsas dang/ shes rab brtson 'gms kyi 'gyur/ mtshan bIjod kyi 'gre/ pa tS/llll gSllm gsa/ bar byed pa'j sgron ma zhes bya ba 'di gnyis rgyud sde spyk bkra/ bar sna11g ziling the tshom gyi gzhi'o//; 'Plzyongs rgyas bstan 'gYllr dkar cbag

(fol. 60a4-6); Snar t11ang bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 6202-4); Bstan 'gYllr gser blis ma'i dkar chag (fol. 75bl-2); Sde dge bstan 'gyur dkar chag (fol. 38201-2). The statement in the catalogues to the Zhwa lu, 'Phyongs rgyas, Snm thang, and Golden Bstan 'gyUl'-S suggests that AbhUfili (Mngon shes can) was also involved in the translation. The catalogue of the Sde dge edition reads, however: Pa/J9i ta 111ngon shes can gyi phyag nas byung ba/, which cOlTesponds to the statement in the colophon (P, fol. 194b5; D, fol. 19906; N, fo!' 19202; G, fol. 25202). 114


not an authentic Indian work, but the Namaswpgiti commentary composed by Rang zorn pa. 5. Concluding Remarks In my inquiry regarding the authenticity of the titles and the authorship and translation colophons of several canonical Tantric works, exemplified by the three cases discussed above, I found that many of them provided no straightforward identification of the origin, authors, or translators of these works. As we know, many canonical editions allowed only one translation to be included, which inevitably led to the loss of numerous translations, especially translations of the same work made or claimed by different translators. 6I Luckily, some of these translations have survived, either within what is called 'local' editions of the canon (usually the Bka' 'gyur),61 in later

According to Skilling, this practice was apparently initiated by Bu ston (Skilling

1997: 100, n. 96). Note, however, that not all editors followed this practice. We know

that the Old Snm thong collection contained duplicates either in the form of multiple copies of the same translation or of different recensions or translations of the same text. We also know that the pmi that was to form the Bstan ' gyur was later on sorted out and rearranged by Bu ston in Zhwa lu, during which process most duplicates were removed from the collection. Furthermore, according to Harrison, it is possible that Bu ston was also responsible for the edition on which the Them spangs rna edition of the Ska' 'gyur was based (HalTison 1992: xlvii-xlviii). If this was the case, he was also responsible for the removal of duplicates in at least one strand of the Bka' 'gyur.

Previous Ska' 'gyur-related studies have shown that celiain editions contain

multiple translations of the same work by different translators, several copies of the same translation under different titles, and several copies of the same work, and also include works not found in other editions, and even non-canonical works (this is the case, for example, with the Phug brag Ska' 'gyur, as shown by Jampa Samten on several occasions). Note that, according to HalTison, the Phug brag Bka' 'gyur may be a direct descendant of the Old Snar thong Bka' 'gyur, realTanged and with a number of additions (HalTison 1992: xlviii). For some general remarks on local Bku' 'gyur-s, see Skilling 1997: 98-99.



more 'open' editions, such as the 'Phyongs rgyas Bstan ,'gyur and later editions based on it,63 or as extra-canonical versions. As we have seen in the case of the Rtog pa gSUlll pa, such versions can be very helpful in determining essential bibliographical details. Nonetheless, in most cases the only sources at our disposal are traditional catalogues and histories, which, as we have seen, are indispensable, for they often contain, particularly in doubtful cases, useful information concerning the works themselves, their authors, or translatorsinformation that is not found either in modem catalogues or in the colophons (assuming colophons exist in the fIrst place). Moreover, as we have seen, it appears that many translations did not originally have a translation colophon and that such colophons were often inserted by later editors. This was done in the best of cases by adopting translation colophons from other manuscripts that contained a similar translation and inserting them in the texts and catalogues. This is evident, for example, from Bu ston's Bstan 'gyur catalogue, where it is explicitly stated: "In the case of those [texts] which lacked translation colophons, the translation colophons of originals containing a similar translation which were obtained from elsewhere were inserted. "64 It cannot be ruled out that such colophons and other para-texts were also inserted on the basis of oral information or earlier extensive catalogues and histories, without actually comparing the translations carefully. It appears that such

The editors of the 'Phyongs rgyas Bstan 'gyur exercised a more flexible appi'oach and included all duplicates available to them at the time of compilation. In addition, as we have seen, the author of its catalogue encouraged readers to bring forward any translations found by them that had not yet been included in the collection. Later Bstan 'gyur-s that relied on the 'Phyongs rgyas edition followed suit, retaining these duplicates, and thus contributed to their preservation.

Zhwa III bstan 'gYlir dkar chag (p. 639.2): 'gyur byang mi bzhugs pa mams la'ang

'gyur mthlln pa'i phyi ma gzhan nas myed pa mams kyi 'gyur byang bzllllgS Sll bClig cingj. The entire passage is translated in SeyfOli Ruegg 1966: 33-35.



practices were engaged in, too, in the case of authorship colophons. 65 It should be perhaps added here that translation colophons were inserted by editors long before the big compilation projects of the early fourteenth century. Bcom ldan rig pa'i ral gri (b. 13th cent.), for example, in his catalogue to the Snar thang collection of canonical works (Le. probably the collection in its initial stage) entitled Bs{an pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'ad, states that it seems that tmtil the earlier part of Khri srong Ide btsan's life most translations did not have a translation colophon and that it is only from the later part of his life (Le. clearly hinting at the

of the "great revision") that such colophons were

inserted. In cases of phrases such as "translated by Ban de Ye shes sde, etc.," he states, the word "etc." indicates that the text in question was translated in collaboration with numerous scholars and that the person mentioned by name was the chief editor. When the word "etc." is absent, this means that the translation was curried out by the person mentioned, and by him alone. He adds that the phrase "[translated] by numerous chiefeditors" implies that the translation, given its extremely high quality for having been proofread by numerous excellent- scholars, is an object of reverence, or else that if the . Tibetan were to be reconstructed from the Sanskrit manuscript or vice versa, it would tum out to be that the two are syntactically similar. He states that to attain such convergence, though possible, is extremely difficult (and thus

Unlike brief catalogues, extensive catalogues often contain, in addition to titles, also the names of authors and translators, the length of the works, and the like. As noted by Skilling (relying on a statement found in Dpa' bo gtsug lag phreng ba's Mkbas pa'i dga'ston), the catalogue to the Old Snar thong collection compiled by Dbus pa blo gsal, for example, contained, among other things, the translation colophons of the individual texts (see Skilling 1997: 99, n. 91). Such catalogues could have served as a source for editprs who wished to inselt authorship ond translation colophons when these were missing. Two examples of brief catalogues are those of the Snar thong and Lhasa Bka' 'gyur-s edited in Members of Staff 1998.



rare).66 What Bcom ldan rig pa'i ral gri is describing here, however, is an ideal situation in which one can rely on colophons, and ignores the possibility that translation colophons may inadvertently contain false or incomplete information or even be forgeries. It has thus become clear that in doubtful cases only a comparison of a variety of catalogues and a reading of traditional histories can provide further details and assist in accurately determining the facts that can lead to such works, their authors, and translators being identified.


Estan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'ad (pp. 105.3-106.2): de fa btsan po khri srong fde

btsan gyi sku tshe'j stod fa bsgyur ba mams phaf che ba fa 'gyur byang ma btab par snang fa sku tshe smad nas ni 'gYllr byang btab nas snang ngo// de fa ban de ye shes sde la sags pas bsgyur zhes sags pa'i sgra smos pa mams ni de 10 tstsha ba mang pas mtJwd nas bsgYllr te fa tstsha ba zf711 chen gtso bo de 'j ming smos pa yin no// sags pa'i sgra med pa ni de nyid kyi yin no// zhu chen gyi fa tstsha ba mang pas zhes bya ba ni de'i tshe mkhas pa mtfzar phyin pa des zlll1 dag byas nas yid ches pa 'j gnas yin pa'am/ yang na rgya dpe fas bod skad du bton nam bod dpe Jas rgya skad du bton na sdeb sbyor sgra dang mthun par 'ol1g pa ste 'di ni srid pa 'ang slzjn tu dka '0/;'




1. Primary Sources
Bstan 'gyur gser bds ma'i dkar chag = 'Jam dbyangs bde ba'j rdo Ije. Estan 'gyur rinpo che srid zhi'i rgyan gcig gi dkar chag rin chen mdzes pa 'j phra tshoms. In Golden Bstan 'gyur, vol. tso. Bstan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od = Beam ldan rig pa'i ral gri. Estan pa rgyas pa rgyal1 gyi nyj 'od In Bcom /dan rig pa'i ral gri'i gsul1g 'bllm,[Lhasa: Khams
spml bsod nams don gmb, 2006], vol. ka, pp. 96-257.

Bu ston chos'byung. See Nishioka 1980-1983. Dam rdzas cho ga = *Saddravyadblllltavikurvitasambhajal1avidhi / Dam rdzas lmad dll bsgyur te bsten pa'i cho go. P: Otani 2858; D: T6hokll 2005; N: Mibll 857;
G: Miyake 861 [= 2 nd kalpa of the Rtog pa gSllm pa].

Gshinlje chos 'bYllng

= TCiranCitha. Rgyud rgyal gshin lje gshed skor gyi chos


rgyas pa yid ches ngo mtshar. A: In Rje btSlll1 til ra na tha'i gsung 'bum. The Collected Works of Jo-nang Rje-btsllI1 Taranatha. Reproduced from a set of
prints from the Rtag-brtan Phun-tshogs-gliit blocks preserved in the library of the Stag Palace in Ladak. Smanrtsis Shesrig Dpemzod. Leh: C. Namgyal & Tsewang Taru, 1984, vol. 10, pp. 1-147; B: In Rje btslln ti1 ra na tha'i gSling

'bum. [Sichuan: 'Dzam thang dgon, 2000?], vol. 6, pp. 5-141. 'Jigs byed chos 'byung = 'Jam dbyangs bzhad pa'i rdo Ije. Dpal rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi chos 'byung khams gSllm las mam par rgyal ba dl1gos gmb kyl gter mdzod In The Collected Works of 'Jam-dbyGlis-btad-pa 'i-rdo-Ije. Reproduced from prints
from the Bkra-sis-'khyil blocks. Gedan Sllngrab Minyam Gyunphel Series 4054. New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1973, vol. 5 (ca), pp. 3-835.

'Jigs byed sgmb thabs 1

Amoghavajra. *SIivajrabhairavasadhanakGlmopacara-

vldhisattvaSaf!lgralw / Dpal rdo Ije 'jigs byed sgmb pa 'j thabs dang las bya ba'i cho ga sems dpa' bsdllS po. P: Otani 2845; D: T6hoku 1982; N: Mibu 844; G:
Miyake 848.

'figs byed sgrub thabs 2 = MafijusrIjfiCina. *SJivajrabhakavasadhanakGlmopacaravidhisattvasGlpgraha / Dpal rdo Ije jigs byed sgmb pa'l thabs las bya ba'i cho



ga sems dpa' bsdllS pa. P: Otani 2843; not found in D; N: !'-/Iibu 842; G: Miyake

'Khor 10 bri ba'i cho ga = '""Srjlq~lJayamaricakralekhanavidhj / DpaJ gshin Ije gshed nag po 'i'khor /0 bri ba'i cJ70 ga. P: Otani 2822; D: T6hoku 1959; N: Mibu 820;
G: Miyake 824 [= 1st kalpa of the Rtog pa gSlim pa].

'Khor /0 'i cho ga = *Srjkr~lJaYGlnalicakravidhi/ Dpa/ gshin Ije gshed nag po'i 'kIlOr /o'j cho gao P: Otani 2856; not found in D; N: Mibu 855; G: Miyake 859 [= 1" kalpa of the Rtog pa gSlim pa]. Las grogs byed pa

*KannasahayakaralJa / Las kyi grogs kyis byed pa. P: Otani

2857; D: T6hoku 2004 (entitled Las kyi grogs kyj bya ba); N: Mibu 856; G: Miyake 860 [= 3rd ka/pa of the Rtog pa gSlim pa].

Lha sa bka' 'gyur dkar cJwg = Bdag cag gi ston pa mnyam med shakya'i rgya/ po'i bka' gangs can 'dir 'gYllr ro cog gi gSllng par 'dzam g/ing spyi nor gyi dkar chag legs bshad 'phnt/ gyi /de mig.
[separate foliation].

Lhasa Bka' 'gyur, vol. 100, 510 fols.

Lha sa bka' 'gYllr dkar chag bsdllS pa = Stag brag khri sprul III Ngag dbang gsung
rab mthu thob bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan. Rgya/ ba 'i bka' 'gYllr rin po che'i chos

tshan so so'i mtshan byang dkar clwg bsdus pa. [n Lhasa Bka' 'gyur, vol. 100,
49 fols. [separate foliation].

l\1ts/wn bIjod 'gre/ pa mam gSU!l1 bshad pa = Rong zorn Chos kyi bzang po. JVftshan yang dag par bljod pa 'j 'gre/ pa mam gSlim bshad pa. A: In Selected Writings (gslili thor bu) of ROli-zom Chos-kyi-bzGli-po. Reproduced from a manuscript
made presumably from the Dpal-spm1s prints. Leh: 'Khor gdong gter sprul 'Chi med rig 'dzin, 1974, pp. 247-332; B: In Rong zom chos bzang gj gsung 'bUill, vol. 1, pp. 255-90.

Ivftshan bljod 'gre/ pa tshu/ gSllm gsal byed = Mtshan yang dag par bljod pa'i 'gre/ pa tshu! gsum gsa/ bar byed pa'i sgron ma. P: Otani 3364; D: T6hoku 2091; N:
Mibu 1362; G: Miyake 1368.

'Phyongs rgyas bstan 'gYllr dkar chag = Dalai Lama V Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya
mtsho (ascribed). Bstan beos 'gYllr ro cog gi dkar ehag 'jig lten gSllm gyi bde




skyid pad tshal bzhad pa'i nyin byed In The Tibetan Tripitaka. Peking Edition.
Kyoto: Otani University, 1955-1961, vol. 151: pp. 61-4--119-1.

Rong zom chos bzang gi gsung 'bum = Rong zorn Chos kyi bzang po. Rong zom chos bzang gi gsung 'bum. 2 vols. Chendu: Si khron mi ligs dpe skrun khang, 1999. Rong zom gsung 'bum dkar chag = Mi pham Rnam rgyal rgya mtsho. Rongzom gsung 'bum dkar chag me tog phreng ba A: In Rong zom bka' 'bum. A collection of writings by the RfiiIi-ma-pa master RoIi-zom CllOs-kyi-bzaIi-po.
Thimphu: Kunsang Topgay, 1976, pp. 1-39; B: In Rong zom cJlOS bzang gi

gsung 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 1-22. Rtog pa gsum pa = *Sr[kr~{1Gyamtiritantrartijatrikalpa / DpaI gshin Ije'i gshed nag po:i rgyud kyi rgyaI po rtog pa gSlim pa. P: Otani 107; D: Tohoku 469; N: Takasaki N 426-428; H: Takasaki H 436; M: Manuscript entitled Dpal rdo Ije 'jigs byed kyi bshad pa'i rgyud rtog pa gSlim pa [9 fols.]. Sde dge bka' 'gyur dkar chag = Si tu Choskyi 'byung gnas. Bde bar gshegs pa'i bka' gangs can gyi brdas drangs pa'i phyi mo'i tshogs ji snyed pa par du bsgrubs pa 'i tshuI las nye bar brtsams pa'i gtam bzang po blo Idan mos pa 'i kunda yongs su kha bye ba'i zIa 'od gzhon nu'j '1<1111 shjng. In Sde dge Bka'
'gyur, vol. 103; fols. 1-71.

Sde dge bstan 'gyur dkw' chag = Zhu chen Tshul khrims rin chen. Kun mkhyen nyi ma'i gnyen gyi bka' fung gj dgongs don roam par 'greI ba'i bstan bcos gangs c' can pa 'j skad du 'gyur 1"0 'tshal gyi chos sbyin rgyun mi 'chad pa'j ngo mtshar 'phrul gyi phyi mo rdzogs Idan bskaI pa 'j bsod nams kyi sprin phung rgyas par dkrigs pa'i tsI1llllas brtswns pa'j gtam ngo mtshar cJ1ll gter 'phd ba'j zIa ba gsar pa In Sde dge Bstan 'gyur, vol. 215. Snar thang bka' 'gyur dkar chag = [Sle lung rje drung Bzhad pa'i rdo lje.] Bka' 'gyur lin po che 'j gSling par slid gsum rgyan gcig rdzu 'phruI shjng Ita 'j dkar chag ngo mtshar bkod pa rgya mtsho'j Ide mjg. In Snar thang Bka' 'gyur, vol. 102,
fols. 1-124 [separate foliation].



Snar thang bstan 'gyur dkar chag = Phur pu !cog I Ngag dbang byams pa. In Snar
thang Bstan 'gyur, vol. tso.

Tho yig = Rong pa Me dpung. Rje dhGlma bha dras mdzad pa'i chos kyi mam grangs gyi tho yig. In Rong zom chos bzang gi gsung 'bum, vol. 2, pp. 233-39. Zhwa lu bstan 'gyur dkGl' chag = Bu ston Rin chen gmb. Bstan 'gyur gyi dkar chag yid bzhin nor bu dbang gi rgyal po 'j phreng ba. In The Collected Wods ofBllston. Lokesh Chandra (ed.). From the collection of Prof. Dr. Raghu Vim. SataPitaka Series 41-68. New Delhi: Intemational Academy of Indian Culture, 1965-1971, vol. 26 (Ia), pp. 401-643.

2. Secondary Sources Almogi, O. 1997. The Life and Works of Rong-zom Pal}<;iita. Master's thesis, University of Hamburg. - - (under preparation). A BIief Survey of the Transmission of the bsTan 'gyzzr

Based on Historical Material

Eimer, H. 1989. Der Tantra-Katalog des Bu stan im Vergleich mit der Abteilling .

Tantra des tibetischen KanjuT. Stlldie, Textausgabe, Konkordanzen lind Indices.

Indica et Tibetica 17. Bonn: Indica et Tibetica Verlag. - - (ed.) 1997a. Transmission of the Tibetan Cano17. Papers Presented at a Panel of

the 7th Seminar ofthe !ntemational Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995.
PLATS, vol. 3. BeitrCige zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens 22. OstelTeichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse, Denkschriften 257. Wissensch aften. - - 1997b. A source for the first Nm1hang Kanjur: Two early Sa skya pa catalogues of the tantros. In Eimer 1997a: 11-78. - - 1999. The Early Nlustang Kanjllr Catalogue. A Stmctured Edition of the mDo sngags bka' 'gyur dkar chag and of IVor chen Kun dga' bzan po's bKa' 'gyur ro cog gi dkar chag bstan pa gsal ba'i sgron me. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 45. Vienna: Arbeitskreis fLir Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitat Wien. Vienna: Verlag der OstelTeichischen Akademie der



. Harrison, P. (ed.) 1992. Drllma-kinnara-rqja-paripfccha-sz1tra: A Oitical Edition ofthe

tibetan Text (Recension A) based on Eight Editions of the Kanjur and the Dunhuang Manuscript Fragment. Studio Philologica Buddhica Monograph
Series 7. Tokyo: The lnternational Institute for Buddhist Studies. Imaeda, Y. 1984. Catalogue du KanjzIr Tibetain de I'Edition de 'lang Sa-tham. 2 vols. Bibliographia PhiIologica Buddhica, Series Maior 2. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies. Jompa Samten 1992. A Catalogue ofthe Phug-brag 111anllscript Kanjllr. Dharamsala: library of Tibetan Works & Archives. Martin, D. 1997. Tibetan Histories. A Bibliography of Tibetan-Language Historical

Won{-s. In co\Iaboration with Yael Bentor. London: Serindia Publications.

Members of Staff 1998. The BriefCataloglles to the Narthang and the Lhasa Kanjurs:

A Synoptic Edition of the bKa' 'gyur rin po che'i mtshan tho and the Rgyal
ba'i bka' 'gyur rin po che'i chos tshan so so'i mtshan byang dkar chag bsdus po. Compiled by the members of staff, Indo-Tibetan Section of the Indologisches Seminar, UniversitCit Bonn. Issued on the occasion of Professor Dr. Claus Vogel's sixty-fifth birthday, July 6, 1998. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 40. Vienna: Arbeitskreis fiir Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitiit Wien. Mibu, T. 1967. A Comparative List of the Tibetan Tripitaka of Narthang Edition

(bsTan-1;gyur Division) wid] the sDe-dge Edition. Kyoto: Taisho University .

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University Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Research Institute 17, Kyoto: Otani

University, 1-65. Nishioka, S. 1980-1983. "Putun bukkyoshi" Mokurokubusakuin [Index to the Catalogue Section of Bu ston's "History of Buddhism"]. Parts 1-3. Tokyo

daigaku bungakubll Bunka-koryz7-kenkyii-shisetsu Kenkyii Kiyo 4, 61-92; 5,

43-93; 6, 47-201. Seyfort Ruegg, D. 1966. The Life ofBll ston Rin po che. With the Tibetan Text ofthe

Bll ston nVam dwr. Serie Orientale Roma 34. Rome: Is.M.E.O.



Sikl6s, B. 1996. The Vqjrabhairava Tantras. Tibetan and Mongo/ian Versions,

Eng/ish Trans/ation and Annotations. Buddhica Britannica Series Continua 7.

Tring: The Instihlte of Buddhist Shldies. Skilling, P. 1997. From bKa' bstan bcos to bKa' 'gyUl' and bsTan 'gyur. In Eimer

1997a: 87-111.
Skorupski, T. 1985. A Catalogue of the sTag Palace Kanjur. Bibliographia Philologica Buddhica, Series Maior 4. Tokyo: The International Instihlte for Buddhist Shldies. Takasaki, 1. 1965. A Catalogue of the Lhasa Edition of the Tibetan TJipi!aka in

Comparison With Other Editions. Tokyo: University of Tokyo. The Nyingma Edition

The Nyingma Edmon ofthe sDe-dge bKa '- 'gyur and bsTan-

'gYll1: Oakland: Dharma Publications, 1981.



KAZUO KANo (Kyoto)

1. Introduction
The works of early Bka' gdams pa masters had a Significant impact on the later scholastic tradition in Tibetan Buddhism throughout the cenhlries, and are extremely important sources for the Shldy of the formation of the scholastic tradition in the early phyjdar period. One of the earliest and most eminent masters is Rngog 10 tsu ba Blo ldan shes rab (1059-71109), henceforth Rngog 10, who systematically transmitted various scholastic traditions-including those associated with Maitreya's works, Madhyamaka, and Pramul}.a-from India to Tibet, and established the foundation of what is called "Gsang phu tradition," the core of the Tibetan Buddhist scholastic tradition. To the best of my knowledge, about fifty works of Rngog 10 are cited in later traditions, but only nine works are presently available. In the following table, I list Rngog 10's compositions mainly according to an account by Gro

I am indebted to Prof. Tsuguhito Takeuchi (Kobe City University of Foreign Stcldies) and my colleague Maho Iuchi (Otani University) for infotIDation about the present manuscript and pelIDission to Shldy it, and to Burkhard Quessel (the British Library) for digitised images of the Khara Khoto manuscripts. I also wish to thank Dr. Pascale Hugon (Austrian Academy of Sciences) for her suggestions on Rngog lo's works, and Prof. Hanmaga Isaacson (Hamburg University) for his suggestions on Sanskrit sources. The present study has been financially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


lung pa BIo gros 'byung gnas (11 th cent.),z one of the four main disciples of Rngog 10. Those works that are available are given in bold. Titles 1-43 are listed by Gro lung pa (the sub-headings are my addition), and titles 44-47 are found in other sources. A List of Rngog 10's Writings

1. Commentaries on the Five Works of Maitreya and PrajiiuparamitB. works)

1-2 3

Shes rab kyi pha ral tu phyin pa mngon par rtogs pa'i rgyan 'grel pa dang beGS pa'i don bsdus4 / mam bshad Yum brgyad stong pa 'j 'grel pa 'j don bsdus 5

For Gro lung pa's list, see the Blo Idan shes rab kyi mam thm; pp. 47-49. Note that Bu

ston Rin chen grub (1290-1364) and Shakya mchog Idan (1428-1507) also listed Rngog lo's compositions; each title contained in their lists has been enumerated in Kramer 2007: 126-27. Cf. also the Rngog 10 mam thG/; pp. 446.7-447.5 and Nishioka 1983: 118-19 (nos. 3065-3107). Recently, Bcom Idan ral gri's (1227-1305) Bstan pa rgyas pa

rgyan gyi nyi 'ad, which contains a list of Rngog lo's works (pp. 152-53
51 b4---52a6), was published.


There is a single-folio manuscript entitled Byams ehos kyi 'grel pa attributed to Rngog

10. See the 'Bras spungs dkm- chag, p. 1656, no. 018819. It is not clear, however, whether this title refers to one of the commentaries included in the thilieen works listed below or to another commentary.

A facsimile edition reproduced from a blockprint version was published in

Dharamsala in 1993, and a facsimile edition reproduced from an old manuscript preserved in 'Bras spungs Gnas bcu Iha khang (labelled Phyi Tsha 41) was published in Chengdu in 2006. The colophon gives the title Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa man

n!J,ag gi bstan beos don bsdus pa rin po ehe'i sgron me.

; This work is not available at present. However, its contents are traceable in the Bcom

Idan 'das yum brgyad stong pa'i don bsdus pa composed by Rngog lo's direct
disciple, 'Bre Shes rab 'bar

cent.), for, according to its colophon, Shes rab 'bar

composed the work in accordance with Rngog lo's work (Le. the Essential Nfeaning of

the A-?,tas6hasrik6 Commentary). See the Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 2, p. 76: beam 128


4--5 6-7 8-9

Shes rab snying po 'grel pa dang beGS pa'j don bsdus / mam bshad6 Mdo sde 'j rgyan [gyJ] don bsdus 7 / mam bshad Rgyud bia ma[ '1] don bsdus 8 / mam bshad

10-11 Dbus dang mtha' mam 'byed[kyz] don bsdus 9 / mam bshad
Idan 'das yum brgyad stong pa'i don bsdus pa I slob dpon seng ge bzang po'i Ijes su 'brangs te I 10 tsha ba chen po dge slang blo Idan shes rab kyis gzhan la phan par bya ba'i phyir sbyar ba las I dus phyis jo bo 'bum pa dang 10 tsa ba de nyid kyj ljes

'brang zhillg mallg du thos pa 'j dge slang shes rab 'bar gyis mdo'i don legs par gtan

la phab nas yang zlllls te sbyar ba II.


A facsimile copy reproduced from the manuscript in Mkhan po Tshul khrims rgyal

mtshan's possession is contained in the Bka' gdams gSllllg 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 111-19 (4 fols.). A manuscript of the same work is listed in the 'Bras spungs dkar chag (p. 1711, no. 019536). At the beginning of the manuscript, Rngog 10 mentions the title Beam

Idan 'das ma shes rab kyi pha ral tu phyin pa'j snying po rgya cher bslwd pa.
} A facsimile copy was reproduced from the manuscript preserved in 'Bras spungs Gnas beu Iha khang (labelled Phyi Tsha 60). A summary of Rngog lo's Mdo sde rgyan gyi

don bsdus by an anonymous author (= lvIdo sde rgycin gyi dOll bsdus Jas btus pa) is
contained in the Legs par bshad pa bka' gdams rin po che'j gSlmg gi gees btllS lIar bu 'j

bang mdzod See Jackson 1987: 148, n. 8.


A facsimile edition reproduced from a blockprint version was published in

Dharamsala in 1993; the one reproduced from an old manuscript in Bkra shis dbang rgyal's possession was published in Chengdu in 2006. The colophon gives the title Theg

pa chen po rgYlld bla ma'j don bsdus po. For a critical edition and annotated English
. translation, see Kano 2006. There are three more blockprints made from a single modified block: Collection of Tohoku University no. 6798, NGMPP L 519/4, and Bka'

gdams gsung 'bum dkar chag, p. 47. See Jackson 1993 and Kano 2006. The textual
quality of the blockprint versions is quite poor, containing a number of mistakes and omissions.

A facsimile copy was reproduced from the manuscript preserved in 'Bras spungs Gnas

beu Iha khang (labelled Phyi Tsha 116). The colophon of the work gives the title Dbzzs

dang mtlw' mam par 'byed pa'i dOll bsdus po.



12-13 14

Chos dang chos nyM mam 'byed[kY1J don bsdus I mCfm bshad

II. Commentaries on Madhyamaka works

Dbu ma'j rtsa ba shes rabkyj don bsdus Shes rab sgron ma'j don bsdus[O

16-17 Bden gnyjs kyj don bsdus Imam bshad[ [

18 19

Dbu ma'j rgyan gyj don bsdllS l2 Dbu ma snang ba'j don bsdus

20-21 Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa 1a 'jug pa'i don bsdus[3 Imam bshad 22 Bs1ab pa kun las btliS pa'j don bsdllS

23-24 De kho na 1a 'jug pa 'j gzhlmg bsdus pa I don bsdus pa 25


Bden chlmg [g1J bsdus don [4

This is an "essential meaning" on Bhavya's Prajiiapradipa. They are works on JfiCinagarbha's Satyadvayavibhanga. Shakya mchog Idan calls no.


16 Ye shes snying po 'i bden gnyis kyi bsdus don.


Regarding the Dbu ma'j rgyan and Dbu ma'i snang ba, Oro lung po (nos. 18-19) and

Bu ston (nos. 3980-81) list only "essential meanings" (don bsdl1s) , whereas ShCikya mchog Idan (nos. 18-21) also lists extensive commentaries (mam bshad). Bcom ldan ral gri lists only "essential meanings" of the Dbu ma'i snang ba.

In September 2007 I had the opportunity to examine an incomplete old manuscript of

Rngog lo's Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa la 'jug pa'i don bsdlls sold in a shop in Lhasa (according to the shop owner, the manuscript was taken from Mnga' ris). Only two folios of the text (the first and the last folios) are available, and the last folio does not have folio number. The manuscript begins with the words byang chub sems dpa' 'i

spyod pa la 'jug pa'i don bsdus pa ni Inga ste I, and the colophon nms: byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa la 'jug pa'i don bsdus pa II 10 tsa ba blo Idan shes rab kyis sbyar ba '0 II 'di'i dpe' 10 tsa ba rang gis tha mas beos pa la bris II II eag res dal nas 'da' lags II rdzogs s.hyo II II i thyi II II. This work is a "topical outline" of the BodhicGlyavatara.

This is a commentary on Atisa's (982-1054) Satyadvayavatara. Shakya mchog Idan

calls it Jo bo'i bden gnyis kyi bsdus don.



26 27

Man ngag [g1] bsdus don 15 Dbll ma spyj'j don bsdllS

III. Commentaries on Pramor:lG works

28-29 Tshad ma mam par nges pa .il ka dang beGS pa'j bsdus don / mom bshad ehen po 16
30-31 Rigs thigs 'greJ pa dang beGS pa 'j bsdus don 17 / mom bshad 32

Rnam 'grel rgyan dang beas pa 'j bsdllS don


This is a commentary on Atisa's Madhyamakopadesa. Las chen Kun dga' rgyal

mtshan (1432-1506) states that Rngog 10 seems to have composed an extensive commentary on Atisa's Madhyamakopadesa, which is not included in Gro lung po's list. See the Bka' gdarns chos 'bYllng, p. 152: dbllma'i man ngag la 'dis mdzad zer ba'j !f

ka rgyas pa cig snang ba nj gro lung pa 'j dkar chag na 111j snang ngo II.

A facsimile copy was reproduced from the manuscript preserved in the library of Sera

monastery (labelled Phyi Zha 83, 132 fols.) and is contained in the Bka' gdams

gsung 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 419-707 (entitled Tshad 111 a mam nges kyj 'g1'el pa). This is the
manuscript that was once preserved in the China Nationalities Library in Beijing (the number of folios and the contents are precisely identical). Cf. van del' Kuijp 1994: 6, ePN no, 5139(1). This work was already published in Beijing in 1994 (Tshad ma mam

nges kyi dka' gnas mam bshad, Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe sknm khang) based on
another old manuscript preserved in the China Nationalities Library in Beijing, which lacks the first folio. See van der Kuijp 1994: 6-7, CPN no. 005153(1). Kano (2007: 43-45), using another manuscript, presented a transcription of the missing folio. For a study of Rngog lo's doctrinal position regarding sahopalambhaniyama in this work, see Krasser 1997.

A facsimile copy was reproduced from the manuscript preserved in Rgyal 11se

Opal 'khor chos sde and is contained in the Bka' gdams gSllllg 'bum (vol. 1, pp. 369-411,21 fols.) under the title Tslwd ma mam nges kyj don bsdus. This title is not attested in the manuscript itself and was given in en'or by the editor of the Bka' gdams

gsung 'bum. Dr. Pascale Hugon corrected this misidentification and identified the work
as a commentary on Dharmottara's Nyiiyabindll!fkii. This manuscript is listed in the 'Brasspungsdka1'chag(p. 1452, no. 016371).



33 34 35 36 39

Le'u dang po'j stod cung zad kyj mam bshad l8 Chos mchog chenpo'j[man] ngag dang po'j tshjgs su bcadpa bdun gyj bshadpa [Chos mchog chen po] 'j gzhan sel ba'j ~kabs cung zad bshaip a l9 Slob dpon chos mchog gj tshad ma brtag pa chung ba'j bsdus don 20 Skad Gig 'jjg pa grub pa'j bsdus don bshaa-'

37-38 &1 ba grub pa'j bsdus don / stodkyj bshad pa

40-41 Bram ze chen po'j sel ba grub pa'j bsdus don / stod kyj mam


'BreI ba grub pa 'j bsdus don / stod kyj mam par bshad pa 22
IV. Works not listed by Gro lung po

Spring yig bdud rtsi'i thig It: 23


This is probably a commentary on the fIrst portion in the anumtina chapter of the


This is a commentary on Dharmottara's ApohaprakaralJa. This is a commentary on Dharmottara's Lagllllpnlm{jJ.7yaparjk~tJ. These are commentaries on Sailkaranandana's Apohasiddhi. These are commentaries on Sankaranandana's Pratibandhasiddhi. For a critical edition of this work, see Kano 2007. A facsimile copy was reproduced




from a manuscript preserved in' Bras spungs Gnas bcu Iha khang (labelled Phyi La 251) and is contained in the Bka'gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 707-710 (2 fols.). The same manuscript is listed in the 'Bras spungs dkar chag, p. 1635, no. 018550. Shakya mchog Idan's commentaries on this work and Bcom Idan ral gri's topical outline are extant (see the Complete Works of Shakya mchog Idan, vol. 13, pp. 178.6-181.6 and vol. 24, pp. 320.6-348.6; the Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 56, pp. 249-53 = fol. la-3a). Kobayashi (1993: 474-75), using a quotation in Tsong kha pa's Lam rim chen mo, summarises Rngog lo's position on the division of Madhyamaka school (that is, one cannot divide the doctrinal positions of the Sgyu rna Ita bll and the Rab tll mi gnas pa in telms of their acceptance of the ultimate truth).



45 46 47

Dag yig nyer mkho bsdus pa 24 Khli bkra shis dbang phYllg nam mkha' bstan la spring pa kha che gser slong 25 Skyes bll gsum gyi lam gyi rim pa tshigs su bead pa 26

Moreover, three further works might be identified as Rngog lo's compositions, namely, the Chos mngon pa mdzod kyi 'greJ bshad,17 the Gze ma fa mgo,28 and the 'Jam dpal yon tan ye shes bzang po'i bstod bsgnzb. 29 Gro lung pa's list often identifies two commentarial sub-genres with a single root text: don bsdus ('essential meaning') and mam bshad (,[extensive] commentary'). Among the available works that mention titles in their colophons, works 1,6,8, 10; and 20 bear the genre designation bsdllS don or don bsdllS pa

A facsimile copy was reproduced ~rom a manuscript preserved at the Bod ljongs dpe

mdzod khang in Lhasa, and is contained in the Bka' gdams gsung 'bWl1, vol. 1, pp. 93-111 (9 fols.) and in the Dpyad gzhi'i yig eha phyogs sgligs, no. 3, vol. 6 as well.

This title is found in Bu ston's list. See Nishioka 1983, no. 3107. This work

corresponds to the ,Mnga' lis kyi btsad po ge sar slong ba'i spring yig listed by Bcom Idan ral gri. See the Bstal1 pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi l1yi 'od, p. 153 (= fo!' 52a4).

This title is fOlmd in Shukya mchog Idan's list. See Kramer 2007, no. 38. Dram Oul, using a very early biography of 'Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan


(1235-1280) (unpublished), states that Nyi rna dpal (13 th cent.) taught Rngog lo's teaching to 'Phags pa, including the Chos mngol1 pa mdzod kyi 'grel bshad and Spling

yig bdlld ltsi'i phreng ba. See the Blo ldan shes rab kyi 177Gl11 dWI; introduction, p. xiii.

This title is found in Dpal mang Okon mchog rgyal mtshan's (1764-1853) Bden gtam

snying rje (pp. 651-52): 177g0g gi bstan beos gze ma ra mgo zhes pa las I lam 'bras rdo rje tshig rkang la dgag payod par grags pa la I. See Karma Phuntsho 2005: 242, n. 53.

This title is found in the 'Bras Splll1gS dkar chag, p. 586, no. 006384: 'Jam dpal yon

tan ye shes bzang po'i bstod bsgnzb bzhllgS pa'i dbll phyogs, 177g0g blo Idan shes rab, 'bnz tsha, 3 fols., 44 X 8 cm.



in their titles. I therefore identified them to be the respective


bsdus-s from

Gro lung pa's list. However, as we shall see below, Rngog lo's usage of the term bsdus don is slightly ambiguoUs, and thus Rngog lo's and Gro lung pa's usages of the term might be different. For this reason, t.1.ose identifications are only provisional. My identification of works 29 and 30 is tentative, since the term bsdus don does not appear in the title fOlmd in the available manuscript containing the work identified by me as no. 29, and since the manuscript containing the work identified by me as no. 30 has no title at all. My identification of these two works as the mam bshad.and bsdus don listed by Gro lung pa (Le. nos. 29 and 30, respectively) was made on the basis of their contents. 30 Among those works of Rngog 10 which are still extant, two works were reproduced in the form of blockprints in the 20 th century, and others were reproduced mostly from old manuscripts recently rediscovered at the Gnas bcu lha khang of 'Bras splmgs monastery. In addition to those works transmitted in central Tibet, there is, surprisingly, one work discovered at Khara Khoto in present-day southern Mongolia. 2. The Khara Khoto Manuscript-British Library, IOL, K.K.v.b.35b In May 1914, Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) explored the mins of Khara Khoto and found a munber of old Tibetan manuscripts together with Tangut manuscripts in a stilpa just outside the north-western corner of the mins:

Dr. Pascale Hugon is more cautious about following Gro lung pa's designations. [n a

personal communication, she points out the general inconsistency of Gro lung pa's descriptions on the basis of his inaccurate description of Rngog lo's Nyayabindutlkii commentmy: though Gro lung pa's expression rigs thigs 'gre/ pa dang beas pa'i bsdlls

don / mam bshad indicates a sub-commentmy on both the Nyayabindll and its commentary, the actual contents of the work m'e not a commentmy on the Nyayabindu but on Dharmottara's Nyayabindlltlkti. 134


Our survey of the mins examined outside the town walls may well stmi with the group of StUpas Which [ ... J stood close to the north-western comer. They had all been badly damaged by butTowing, apparently long ago. [ ... J A more interesting discovery was made on clearing away the debris at the foot of the three small badly decayed Smpas (mmked K.K.v.b) which form a separate little group to the south of the larger StUpa. Here a careful search brought to light packet after packet of well-preserved leaves from different Hsi-hsiu texts, mostly written but some also blockprinted, and from lurge Tibetan P6thls. (Stein 1928: 445--46)

The folios were taken from Khara Khoto and are today preserved in the India Office Library of the British Library, marked "KKv.b." Among them is a single-folio manuscript (61 x 8 cm) marked K.Kv.b.35b (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 7, fol. 66). It is written in a beautiful dbu med script and contains old orthographies (e.g. myed for med). Apart from some illegible words on the

verso side, the manuscript is well preserved. Interlinear notes were added in
between each line in red ink in a minute hand, and the left end on the recto side bears the folio number gnyis, which means that the first folio of this work is missing. 31 This very short work has a colophon (folio 2b6) that runs: "a bsdus

don (topical outline) of the Uttaratantra composed by the monk Blo ldan shes
rob, the translator" (rgYlld bia ma'j bsdllS don 10 tsa ba dge slang bio Idan shes

rab kyjs sbyar pa). F. W. Thomas already made a brief remark on this folio in


Perhaps the missing folio may be found in other collections of Tibetan manuscripts

discovered at Khura Khoto, such as P.K. Kozlov's (1863-1935) collection preserved at St. Petersburg. For fllliher detail on such collections, see Maho ruchl's paper "Sku' gdams pa Manuscripts Discovered at Khara-khoto in the Stein Collection," forthcoming in B. Dotson, C.A. SchetTer-Schaub & T. Takeuchi (eds), Old and Classical nbetan

Studies: ProceedIilgs of the 11th SemIiwr of the Intemationai Assodation for nbetan StUdies, Konigswinter, 2006, Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist





cards: 31






yanottaratantra-sf!stra and - vytikhya translated by Blo ldan shes rob .... " He
was aware of the connection with the Uttaratantra (Le. Ratnagotravibhaga, hereafter RGV), but did not go into further detail. Our folio (201) starts in the middle of a running text, which presents the last topic of the RGV's ftrst chapter: dpe' don gyi ehos 'thun pa, "the similarity between the meaning and simile" (referring to RGV 1.146-147). Immediately after that, the text presents the topics of the second chapter of the RGV. Then, the outlines of the third, fourth, and ftfth chapters follow. Many topics listed in these outlines have interlinear notes in red, which cite verses in the RGV or sentences in the Ratnagotravibliagav;'tikhya (hereafter RGVV) corresponding to each topic. Thus, we may conclude that this work is a "topical outline" or "synopsis" (Le. sa bead) of the RGV.

3. Two Different Types of bsdus don Commentaries-'Topical Outline' and 'Essential Meaning' Before focusing on the contents of our manuscript, I shall point out some problems with regard to the title. The term bsdus don is often used in the sense of "topical outline'; in titles of works composed by Rngog lo's Tibetan contemporaries and the inheritors of his tradition,33 such as Po tshab 10 tSQ ba


These cards are now preserved in the India Office Library of the British Library and

are accessible via the IDP (International Dunhuang Project) website (http://idp.bl.uk).

The genre of "topical outline" seems to have been spread in Tibet already in the early

phyi dar period. Jackson (1993: 4), referring to Glo bo mkhan chen's account, pointed

out that "the

Atisa (ca. 982-1054), for example, is said to have noted with

approval its existence among the Tibetans." Regarding the origin of the sa bead technique, Steinkellner (1989: 235) states that the technique is "neither a Tibetan invention nor of Indian but of Chinese origin."



Nyi rna grogs (b. 1055),34 'Bre Shes rab 'bar (11 th cent.),35 Sa chen Kun dga' snying po (1092-1158),36 and Phywa pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109-1169).37 It is to
be noted that Phywa pa and 'Phags pa BIo gros rgya1 mtshan (1235-1280)

composed their own topical outlines of the RGV, both of which have words equivalent to bsdus don in their titles: Theg po chen po rgyud bla ma'i bsdlls

pa'i don (hereafter "Phywa pa's TopicaIOutIine")38 and Theg po ehenpo rgyud . bla ma'i bstan beos kyi don bsdus,39 respectively. Furthermore, 'Bum la 'bar (ca.
11 th cent.) uses the word bsdllS don so bead (which appears to be a compound of hvo nearly equivalent expressions) in the title of his topical outline of Maitripa's hventy amanasikCira works (Yid 10 mi byed pa'i ehos nyi shu 'i bsdus

don so bead).40 Rl1gog 10 himself, too, uses the tenn don bsdlls po in the sense of
"topical outline" in his Byang ehub sems dpa 'i spyod po 10 'jug pa'i don bsdus


Bz/Jj blgya pa 'i 19ya cher bshad pa 'i bsdus pa'i don, Bka' gdams gSllng 'bum, vol. 11,

pp. 205-14 (5 fols.).


Beam Jdan 'das yum blgyad stong pa'i don bsdus pa, ibid, vol. 2, pp. 13-55 (22


For the works of Sa chen that have the word bsdllS don in their titles, see Jackson

1993: 3.

Dbu ma bden pa gnyis kyi don bsdus pa, Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 6, pp. 251-57

(4 fols.); Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa 1a 'jug pa'i don bsdus pa, ibid, vol. 7, pp. 131--43 (7 fols.); Bs1ab pa lam las btus pa'j don bsdus pa, ibM, vol. 7, pp. 143--44 (incomplete, 1 fol.); Ts1wd ma mam par nges pa'i bsdllS don, ibid, vol. 8, pp. 3-28 (13 fols.).

Bka' gdams gSllng 'bum, vol. 7, pp. 145-56 (6 fols.).

So skya bka' 'bum, vol. 7, pp. 225-28 (fols. 51b4-58a2).
See the 'Bri gung chos mdzod, vol. Kha, p. 157.5: yid 1a mi byed pa 'i chos nyi shu 'i



bsdus don sa bead 'bum la 'bar gyis zin lis [= blis] bzizugs s.izo II (Dr. Klaus-Dieter
Mathes drew my attention to this source). 137


pa. 41 Hence we can observe a tendency in the early and middle phyi d~period42
to use the term bsdus don to indicate "topical outlines". Later traditions, however, preferred to use the term sa bead instead of the term bsdus don to indicate this type of work. 43 Besides our topical outline of -the RGV from Khara Khoto (hereafter

Topical Outline), Rngog 10 composed a lengthy commentary on the RGV-the Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa (hereafter Essential Meaning).44
Although the title of this work is almost identical to the title found in the Khara Khoto manuscript (Rgyud bla ma'i bsdus don), their contents are different. Namely, in his Essential Meaning, Rngog 10 not only outlines the RGV but also concisely and systematically explains verses of the RGV and passages from the RGVV, and, moreover, presents his own philosophical viewpoints. The

Essential lvJeaning consists of 40 folios in a handwritten manuscript (66

blockprinted folios), whereas the Topical Outline covers only 2 folios in total. Among Rngog 10' s extant compositions, the usage of the word bsdus don or

d,on bsdus in the sense of "topical outline" is rather rare-the Khara Khoto
manuscript and the Byang chub sems dpa 'i spyod pa la 'i~g pa 'i don bsdus pa

One may indeed consider the possibility that the title in the colophon was not ,written by the author himself, but by a later scribe or editor (see Almogi 2007: 46-47). However, due to lack of evidences as to the origin of this colophon, I shall cautiously regard it to be by Rngog 10 himself. Bu ston Rin chen grub, for example, composed some "topical outlines," such as the DllS 'khor bsdllS don dri med 'ad kyi rgyan, Collected Works of Bll stan, vol. 4 (Nga), pp. 93-230; Bde mchog rtsa rgyud kyi bsdus don gsang ba 'byed pa, ibid, vol. 6 (Cha), pp. 119-140; and Yang dag par sbyor ba'i rgyud kyi rgyal po'i bsdllS don rdo Ije'i Ide mig, ibid, vol. 8 (Nya) , pp. 175-215. See Jackson 1993: 5. See above my list of Rngog lo's writings, title no. 8. For details of this work, see Kano







are the only testimonies for this usage found so far. In his other extant, compositions, SUGh as the Mdo sde rgyan gyi don bsdllS, DbliS dang mtha'
mam 'byed kyi don bsdllS, and Mngon rtogs rgyan gyi don bsdus,45 Rngog 10

obviously uses the term don bsdllS not in the sense of "topical outline," ,but of "essential meaning." Rngog 10 's Essential Meaning (on verse RGV I.l3) offers a typical example of his commentarial style: 46 As for the Jewel, of the Sat1gha, [there are verses in the ROV regarding] presentation (= ROV L13), explanation (= RGV LI4), and detailed explanation
(= ROV US-I8). With regard to the first [topic] (i.e. the presentation), eight

aspects are taught: knowing [phenomena] as [they actually] are (yathtivajjiitina), knowing [phenomena] to the full extent (ytivqjjfjilna), [00'] and release. In [verse I.13, the phrase] up to "after correctly realising" refers to knowing [phenomena] as [they actually] are (i.e. the first topic of the eight aspe,cts). As seen in this passage, Rngog 10 extracts essential topics from root texts and connects them to passages in the respective root texts. In this regard, Jackson (1993: 5) rightly states: "On a larger scale a bsdus don or don bsdus pa was for Rngog 10 the name of a commentarial sub-genre, namely a commentary in which the author had restricted himself to more concise explanations and discussions of the main points." To clarify the meaning of the term, bsdus don and its equivalents bsdus pa'i don and don bsdus pa more precisely, I shall focus on Rngog lo's usage of this term in his works.


For these three works, see above my list of Rngog lo's writings, nos. 6, 10, and 1, respective ly.

Rngog lo's Essential Meaning, A: fo1. 22a7-bI; B: p. 3is (fo1. I4a4-S): dge 'dun dkon mchog la'ang I bstan pa dang I bshad pa dang I rgyas par bshad pa las I dang por ni don brgyad bIjod do II ji Ita ba rig pa dang I ji snyed pa rig pa dang I [... ] mam par grol ba'oll de layang dag rtogs nas(= L13b) zhes bya ba yan chad kyis ni I ji Ita ba rig pa bIjod do II.



4. Rngog 10's Usages of the Tenn bsdus don and its Equivalents (a) bsdus pa'i don as a technical tennof exegesis At the beginning of his "essential meaning" (bsdus don) type conllnentaries on the Abhisamay6IaqllaJra, Sutr6Iaqlkara, and lVIadhy6ntavibh6ga, Rngog 10 uses the word bsdus pa'i don (Pl1;(;kirtha) as a technical tenn of exegesis-one of five exegetical topics found in Vasubandhu's Vy6khy6yukti (i.e. prayojana,

Pl1;9artha, pad6rtha, anusaflldhi, and codyaparihara),47 which are topics to be known by commentators-and tries to apply the first three topics (prayojana, pi1J9artha, . and padartha) to the initial verses or sentences

of the

lVfadhy6ntavibh6ga;8 Sutr6Iwpk6ra,49 and Abhisamay6Iwp.k:ara.


explaining the pi1J96rtha in his Sutr6I0fllk6ra and Abhisamay6Iaqlk6ra commentaries, Rngog 10 refers to a further set of sub-topics of exegesis-brjod par bya ba (abhidheya, "subject matter"), dgos pa (prayojana, "purpose"), dgos pa'i dgos pa (prayojanaprayojana, "final purpose"), and 'breI pa (sambandha, "connection"). A similar concept is found in Alakakalasa's sub-conunentary (/ikCi) on the Yoginisaiic6ra: "the 'essential meaning' (pi1J96rtha) is that which explains five topics-abhidhiina 'explicit statement' and so forth (i.e.


That is, "intention/purpose," "summarised meaning [of the satra]," "meaning of the

words [of the sl7tra]," "[inter-]connection [of the various pmis of the szItra]," and "objections and [their] rebuttals." Cf. Verhagen (2005: 575).

See the DbllS mtha' mam 'byed kyi don bsdllS, p. 258 (fo1. 1b2-3): de ehad pa la dang

po'i tshigsSli bead pa slob dpon kyis gSll17gS pa ni bstan beos 'di ni rab mdzad pa zhes bya ba'o II 'diryang bsdllS pa'i don dang dgos pa'i don dang tshig gi don gSllm kyis shes par bya ba'o II.

See the Mdo sde rgyan gyi don bsdus, pp. 207-208 (fo1s. 1a2-3 and 1b4--5). See the /v[ngon ItOgS rgyan gyi don bsdllS, A: fo1s. 1b4 and 2b6-3a4; B: pp. 126-27


(fo1s. 1b4 and 2a5).



abhjcfheya, sambandha, prayojana, and prayojanaprayojana). ,,51 The technical

tenn pilJcj&tha is defined by Vasubandhu in his VyiikhyaYllkti as follows: 52 [The tetm] piI;ljaI1iw means the body (sarira) of a satra. Namely, Jar example, there is a satra [passage] in the SGlpYliktagama "0 monks, in tetms of existence of visible matter," etc. If one extracts [the main points] from it, [it is evident that] it teaches: (1) what [is to be comprehended], (2) how that is to be comprehended, (3) the comprehension, (4) the result of that comprehension, and (5) the explicit statement of that [result]. This is pi{lljartha. In sum, the technical tenn bsdlls pa'i don or pil}c;j(Jrtha means "essentiall smmnarised meaning," and Rngog 10 applies this exegetical topic together with other topics at the beginning of his commentarial works. Note, however, that this exegetical technique is not used exclusively in the bsdus don type commentaries, but is used widely in Indian commentarial literature. Rngog 10 uses this technique in precisely the same manner at the beginning of his commentaries that do not have the tenn bsdllS don in their titles, such as his


See the Yoginisaficara, p. 4: piJ;ljoz1ho namobhidhanodipaficakapratipadanam (the

edition reads pipljarthonoma). For the contents of the five topics (paficaka), see ibid, p. 2. In his Mdo sde 19yan gyi don bsdllS and Mngon rtogs rgyan gyi don bsdllS, Rngog 10 does not explicitly mention abhidhana. For these technical terms of exegesis in the works of Indian masters (such as Sa.ntarak~ita, KamalaIla, and Haribhadra), see Ichigo 1985 and Schoening 1992.

VyakhyaYllkti, 0 3302-3; P 36b5-7; Lee (2001: 13): bsdllS pa'! don ni mdo sde'j fus

yin te I'di fta ste I yang dag par fdan pa 'i fung las I dge sfong dag gZllgS yod pa 'di fa zhes bya ba fa sags pa'j mdo sde fta bl! ste I de fas n! bsdu na gang zfljg jf Itar yongs Sll shes par bya ba dang I yongs sa shes pa gang yiJ1 pa dang I yongs Sl! shes pa 'j 'bras bu gang yin pa dang I de Ijod par byedpa gang yin pa de la bstan pa ni bsdus pa'i don to II,

For the details of this passage, see Yamaguchi 1959: 52-53 and Verhagen 2005: 580-8l.



Shes rab snying po 'i rgya cher 'greJ gi bshad pcP and Tshad ma rI?am par nges pa'i dka' ba 'i gnas mam par bshad pa. 54
(b) don bsdu baas a non-technical term On several occasions, on the other hand, Rngog 10 uses the term don bsdu ba in a non-technical sense (i.e. not as a formal exegetical topic aiming to outline the core of root texts at the beginning of commentaries). 55 In his bsdlls don of the

Abhisamayalarpkiira, when commenting on verses U9-20 (which explain

twenty-two kinds of cittotpada) and verses 1.21-22 (which explain ten kinds of instruction), for instance, Rngog 10 uses the term don bsdu ba to identify several passages in the root text-Haribhadra's


"summarising passages. "56 In his Essential Meaning, too, Rngog 10 uses the

See the Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vo!' 1, pp. 111-12 (fo!. 1a2-b5). See ibid, vo!' 1, p. 420 (fo!. 1b8). In this work, Rngog 10 refers to 'bras bu, spyi'i don,


and tshig gi don, of which the first two are equivalents to dgos pa and bsdus pa'i don, respectively.

Of course, it- still more or less relates to the pi{lcjartJw defined in the Vyakhyayukti

insofar as it is used as a commentarial technique.


Regarding the Abhisamayalmpkaraviv[ti on verses 1.19-20, jillgog 10 divides

Haribhadra's glossing passage into four parts (Le. presentation of the meanings, similes, similarity between the meanings and similes, and essential meanings) and designates the last portion, in which Haribhadra allocates tj1e twenty-two kinds of cittotpada to the various bodhisattva and buddha stages, as an essential meaning (don bsdu ba). Seethe
Mngon ItOgS rgyan gyi don bsdus, A: fo!' 1302-3; B: p. 135 (fo!. 6a8): dpe'i mam par dbye ba ni I de, yang sa gser zla ba me (= verse I.l9a) II zhes bya ba la sags pa '0 II de yang don dgod pa dang I dpe' dang I de gnyis kyi chos mtlllln pa dang I don bsdu ba bzhis stan te I de ymlg slob dpon seng ge bZmlg po 'i gzhung nyid las gsal bar zad do II;

and the Abhisamayalmpktiraviv.Jti, p. 12: tatrtidytiJ.l trayo mrdumadhytidhimtitratayti

adikmmikabht'lmisarpgrhlttif.l [ ... ] tato buddhabhz7misarpgrhittif.7 trayacittotptidtif.7 [read trayas cittotptidtif.7] prayogamaulapr${advtire{1ety tidikannikabl1l7mim arabhya ytivad



tenD don bsdus pa or bsdus pa 'j don to identify verses in the root text-RGV I.99-130---{ls "summClrising verses" 57 contmsting it with "an extensive

explanCltion" (rgyas par bshad pa).58 In view of those examples, Rngog 10 uses the term don bsdu ba (as a non-technical term) in the sense of "essential meaning" following the ordinary usage of the term piJ;19artha found in Indian commentarial works.59 With regard to Rngog lo's usages, in sum, the term bsdllS pa'i don (or its equivalents) corresponds to the Sanskrit term piIJ9artha, and means the "essentiaVsummarised meaning" of an entire treatise (where it is used as Cl technicClI term of exegesis) or of pClssages in a root text (where it is used as a non-technical term).

buddhabhL7misaJpg!ilJta iti cittotpadaprabhedafl.

Regarding the AbMsamayalaJpkaraviv!1i on verses 1.21-22, Rngog la, using the term don bsdu ba, identifies a passage of Haribhadra (ibid, p. 14: tad eVaJp kf1Va bodhjclttatadak.~lptadhaJmasvabhavd) as the summary. See the Mngon 110gs rgyan gyl
don bsdus, A: fol. 20b4; B: p. 141 (fol. 9(7): gSlim pa don bsdll ba bIjod pa ni I de Itar na byang chub kyi sems dang des phangs pa'l ehos kyi ngo bo nyld ces bya ba la sogs pa'o II.

57 Rngog la's Essential i\![eaning, A: fol. 38a6; B: p. 335 (fol. 24(6): 'di fa don bsdllS pa
nl I 'di yin no II dpe beo brgyad kyi grangs nges pa dang I dpe don gnyis ka'j ehos mtilll17 pa nges pa dang I don mams kyi nges pa'o II. See also ibid, A: fol. 41al; B: p.

338 (fol. 25b6): bsdllS pa'i don to II. 58 See ibid, A: fol. 41al-2; B: p. 338 (fol. 25b6): rgyas par bshad pa la I dang po sgrib
pa dang rang bzMn Idan pa'i dpe rgyas par 'chad pa ni I so SOl' bshad pa dgll dang I . bsdu ba dang bellS bstan to II.

In the RGVV, for example, the term pi{7(iaz1ha is used in the sense of "essential

meaning" repeatedly. E.g. RGVV, p. 119: "essential meaning of these ten slokas (= RGV V.I6-25) should be known by [the fo.!lowing] three slokas (= RGV V.26-28)"
(efam api dasanalp slokanal!7 pi{1(iarthas tribhi!] slokair veditavyaf:J).



5. Indian pll;](jiirtha Type Commentaries Rngog 10's "essential meaning" (bsdus don) type commentaries were most likely composed on the model of p.iI;cjaltha type commentaries written by Indian Buddhists, ;'vhich-to the best of my knowledge-can be classified into three types: (1) a versified 'essential meaning' of G root text, (2) an 'essential meaning' in the fonn of a list of essential topics taken from root texts, and (3) an 'essential meaning' in the form of a systematic and concise (or sometimes extensive) exposition. Examples of the first type are the Sl7traiaipkarapil}cjiiItha of Sajjana-one ofRngog lo's main Kashmirian teachers,6o Dignaga's Prajnaparamitap.iI;cjartha, D harmapGla' s

Boc/hjsattvacaryavatara0a.ttriIpsatp.iI;cjiiItha 61



cmyavatarapll;cjartha,62 Kambala's Prajnriparamitapjl}cjiJrtha (= NavczSJokl),

Jinamitra's Nyayabindupil}cjaltha,63 Atisa' s Prajnaparamitapjl}cjarthapradlpa,64 and so forth.6s These compact versified works (many of which consist of just
Sajjana's Sz7traiml1karapil:u;kJrtha is available only in a SanskIit manuscript found in


Zhwa lu monastery; its colophon reads: szItraia!J1karapi{lcjaltha(J

k!1is srimat-


I. This manuscript is probably the one listed in Sen Wang's catalogue

of the 259 Sanskrit manuscripts formerly kept in the Palace of Culture of the Nationalities in Peking, No. 16, (6 fols.). Sen Wang's catalogue is reproduced as an appendix to von Hiniiber 2006. Sajjana composed a versified brief work of essential instruction of the RGV entitled A1ahayanottm'atantrasastropadesa, which is preserved only in Sanskrit. Sajjana seems to use the term upadesa almost as equivalent to

pi{1dtiJ1ha. For a critical edition and an English h'anslation, see Kano 2006.

61 0 3878, P 5280.

03879, P 5281. For these two pi{1cjalthas, seeSaito 2003. 0 5732, P 4233. 03804, P 520l. We can also add Tantric commentarial works, such as Dharmabodhi's Gsang ba'j






one folio in the Bstan 'gyur) make it possible for one to easily memorise themain doctrinal points of larger root texts. Regarding the second type, we have, for example, Jiiooasrl's Silfralmpkarapi{1.arthd6 and an anonymous pi{1.iirtha commentary on VCigisvarakirti's

M.rtyuvaiicana. 67 In the fIrst one, besides a detailed explanation on the initial

two verses of the Silfralmpkara (which explain the entire body of the text), Jfiooasrl mainly focuses on listing the main topics of the Silfralmpkara. The second one is a list of the main topics of the root text-VCigisvarakirti's

Mrtyuvaiicana. This work has a structural style similar to that of our Khara
Khoto manuscript. These works are much closer to Tibetan "topical outline" type works than to Rngog lo's lengthy "essential meaning" type commentaries. Examples of the third type, which tends to be longer than the other two types, are PrajiiCikaramati's Abhisamayalmpkarav.rttipi1Jiirthd8 and KumCiramdo don bsdus pa (P 4751) and Vimalamitra's pilJtirtha on the *Guhyagarbhatantra

(P 4755). These two works are missing in the Derge Bstan 'gyur. The title of Vimalamitra's work is slightly ambiguous, for its colophon (fo1. 2605-6) states: gsang
ba'i snying po de kho na nyid nges pa las I thams cad ma Ius par 'phros te 'khaT 10 brkos pa de dag gis 'bras bu'i mchog gi rgyud kyi don bsdus 'greJ pa pilJtirthar zhes bya bal.

D 4031, P 5533. The author JfifuIasri can be identified as the Kashmirian

JfifuIaSribhadra, for the colophon of the work indicates the Kashmirian PClQQita Ratnavajra as his teacher. See also Sukenobu 1974: 67-68.

P 4086 (missing in the Derge Bstan 'gyur). The colophon of this work (fo1. 147b6-7)

states: slob dpon ngag gi dbang phyug grags pas mdzad pa'i 'chi ba bIll ba. The Indicm authorship of this work is somewhat doubtful, for the author's name is missing, and its structure is very close to autochthonous Tibetan works. One may add KumarakalaSa's
VajradhiitzImG1JaItirthabiJtivantipilJlirtha (D 2530, P 3353), whose first half consists of

a list of topics.

D 3795, P 5193. It is to be noted that this work was translated into Tibetan by Rngog

10 himself in collaboration with Sumatikirti.



srljiiCina's PrajnapCiramitapilJc;f{irtha,69 which explain the essential meaning of the Abhisamayaiaf!1kciraviv!ti and the

respectively. This

type of pilJr;i&tha aims to promote quick and systematic understanding of the entire body of a root text, rather than to assist in memorising its main topics, as in the case of the first type. Longer examples of this type are fOlmd in Tantric commentarial works such as Buddhaguhya's VairocanabhisambodhipiiJr;iarth.do and AJyasllbhiillllparip[cch6.n&natantrapilJr;ialtha,11 and SCintigupta's Hevajra-

pilJr;iCirthaprakasa.72 In addition, Vajragarbha's HevajrapilJr;iCirthatika calls itself

"a commentary on the essential meaDing" (pilJr;iaJ1hatik6) of the first five chapters of the Hevajratantra73 and hence, strictly speaking, we may classifY it in the tika genre rather than the pir;r;i&tha genre. Rngog lo's bsdllS don ("essential meaning") commentaries are clearly closer to the third type. Although we can classifY pilJr;iartha type works into different sub-types, they are all forms of a "beginner's manual" to assist in obtaining a systematic and concise comprehension of root texts such as the

03797, P 5195. 0 2662, P 3486. 02671, P 3496. P 4697 (missing in the Oerge Bstan 'gym"). The term phJcjiiltha in the title conesponds




to the Tibetan rendering Ius kyi doll. We have further Tantric commentaries with the term in their title, such as, Munlndrabhadra.'s
Vajrad/ultzllnahiima(lcjaJopiiyikiisarvavajrodayaniimapi{lcjartha (D 2529, P 3352), and GlIhyiipannapaiijikiipi(lcjiilti1apradlpa (0 2593, P 3420).

In his conclusion Vajragarbha states: "Therefore, through this commentary yogins

can understand the essential meaning [of the root tantra that has been summarised in the short tantra] in the hundred and twenty stanzas of the [first] five chapters" (evGlp
vhpsatyadhikasatas!okaiJ; pi{lcjiiltilaJ; /ikayti).

yogibhu- avagantavyo


The English translation and Sanskrit text provided here are taken from Sferra




Abhisamayiilarpkiira, Bodhicaryiivatiira, and Nyiiyabindu. It is thus reasonable

to suppose that Rngog.lo composed several such works in order to introduce Indian scholastic traditions to Tibet. One difference between the Indian
piJ;r;liiltha type commentaries and Rngog lo's lengthy bsdus don commentaries

is the use of a numbering system for topical outlines, which is one of the typical features of Tibetan commentarialliterature. In short, we can say that Rngog 10 seems to have used the term don bsdus (or its equivalents) in two senses: as a "topical outline (sa bead)" and an "essential meaning." The frrst usage is found in the Khara Thoto manuscript and the Byang ehub sems dpa'i spyodpa 1a 'jug pa'i don bsdusmanuscript, and the second is found in all other available works that have the word bsdus don or its equivalents in their titles. One might identify the bsdus don and mam bshad of the RGV found in Gro lung pa's list as the Topical Outline of the Khara Khoto manuscript and the
Essential Meaning, respectively. If so, one may similarly identify Rngog lo's

other available

"essential meanings" as the respective mam bshad

commentaries found in Gro lung pa's list. However, inasmuch as we have no access to Rngog lo's other "topical outlines" and cannot rule out the existence of more extensive commentaries (which correspond to mam bshad), we cannot safely say whether they are actually bsdus don or whether they are in f~ct rnam
bshad,and thus I prefer to leave the question open.

6. Contents of the Khora Khoto Manuscript Rngog 10 was himself a translator of the RGV74 and one of the earliest and most
74 According to Gzhon nu dpal's (1392-1481) Deb ther sngon po (425.4-7), six translations of the RGV are said to have exIsted: by (1) Atisa and Nag tsho Tshul khrirns rgyal ba (l011-1064), (2) Rngog Blo Idan shes rab and Sajjana, (3) Pa tshab Nyi rna grags, (4) Mar pa Do pa Chos kyi dbang phyug (1042-1136), (5) Jo nang 10 tsa ba Blo gros dpal (1299-1353 or 1300-1355), and (6) Yar klungs 10 tSQ ba Grags pa



influential commentators on this work in Tibet. is The Ratnagotravjbhaga, or

Mahayanottaratantra (Theg pa chen po rgyud bia ma), is the sole treatise

preserved in a Sanskrit original which presents the doctrinal system of Buddha Nahlre (de bzhm gshegs pa'j snymg po: tathagatagarbha) on the basis of several relevant Mahayana sutras, such as the


SrimaJadevisiltra, and Anunatvapll17jatvankdesa. This work was composed

probably around the 5th cenrury by Saramati (according to the Chinese tradition) or Maitreya (according to the later Indian tradition). The work consists of three parts: (l) basic verses/ 6 (2) commentarial verses, and (3) prose commentary (vyakhy5). The Tibetan tradition attributes the authorship of the prose commentary to Asanga. The commentarial verses explain the basic verses, and the prose commentary glosses all the verses. The RGV has five chapters: on Buddha Nahrre, on a buddhds awakening, on a bllddhds qualities, on a bllddhds activities, and on the benefits of the treatise. At the beginning of the work (RGV U-3), the author of the RGV presents the seven main subjects (vajrapada) of the treatise: the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dhanna, and Smi.gha), Buddha Nahlre, a buddha's awakening, a

buddhds qualities, and a bllddhds activities. The first four points are taught in
the first chapter, and the latter three points are taught in the second, third, and fourth chapters, respectively. This is the basic stmchlre of the RGV.
rgyal mtshan (1242-1346).'To date, only the second one is available. Ozhon nu dpal, in his ROV commentary, sometimes quotes both Atisa and Nag tsho's (1) and Pa tshab's (3) translations. Kano (2005) presented a register of sources in which those extra-canonical translations are cited, and also (2006) studied the textual qualities of those translations.

For Rngog lo's impact on later ROV commentators, see Kano 2006. I call those verses of the 'verse text' (the part of the text that consists only of verses,


which are preserved only in the Chinese-see Taisho, no. 1611, 813a-20c) 'basic verses. '



With this in mind, Rngog 10, in his TopkaJ Outline, divides the contents of the RGV as follows: L Systematic presentation of the body of the treatise (RGV U-3) 2. The Resultant Three Jewels (RGV I.4-22) 3. The source that generates the Three Jewels (RGV 1.23-V.lS) 3.1. General presentation (RGV I.23-26) 3.2. Details of each of the last four vajrapadas (RGV I.27-TV.98) 3.2.1. Explanation of Buddha Nahrre (RGV I.27-167) 3.2.2. Explanation of a buddha's awakening (RGV II) 3.2.3. Explanation of a buddha's qualities (RGV III) 3.2.4. Explanation of a buddha's activities (RGV TV) 3.3. The benefits of devotion to [the teaching of] Buddha Nahrre (RGV V.I-lS) 4. The [concluding] acts regarding the successful completion of the treatise's composition (RGV Y.16-28) Points 1 through 3.2.1, which were presumably contained in the missing folio, are tentatively restored on the basis of paranels extracted from Rngog lo's
EssentjaJ JVlean.ing and Phywa pa's TopkaJ Outline (for details regarding the

restoration, see below). The first point presents general remarks on the seven
vajrapadas; the second and third points explain the first three and the last four vajrapadas, respectively; and the last point is a dedication. The divisions made

by Rngog 10 are appropriate in view of the original contents of the RGV, and are a convenient way to systematically view its structure. Later Tibetan commentators on the RGV basically follow this division. In order to clarity the contents of our manuscript more precisely, I shall compare it with the two relevant sources just mentioned.



7. Comparison with Rngog 10's Essential Meaning As mentioned above, Rngog 10 composed two RGV commentaries-the Topkal

OutJjne and the Essential lvleaning. From his Essential Meaning, we can extract
an outline of the RGV, which is helpful for clarifying the ambiguities of the

Topkal Outline. In the following table, I shall compare the outline of the Topical Outline of the Khara Khoto manuscript (left column) and that extracted
from the Essential lvleaning (right coIUllli1). Subscribed numbers in the table refer to the corresponding verses of the RGV, and square brackets enclose supplied topics.
Rngog la's Topical Outline and Essential Meaning Topical outline presented in the Khara Khoto MS Topical outline extracted from the Essenilai Meaning

RGV Chapter I
(the first folio is missing) dpe' don gyi chos 'thun pa

(. .. )

nges par byed pa'i thabs la stsogs pa gsum


de dang 'dra ba'i rang bzhin dpe dgu dang 'dra bar yod du rung ba de nges par byed pa'i thabs stan pa 1.153 stong pa'i don phyin ci rna log pa'i mtshan nyid stan pa
1.15-1-55 1.156-67

khams bstan pa'i dgos pa stan pa

RGV Chapter II
byang chub mam par dbye ba 1 mam pa brgyad kyi don bsdu' ba 1.1 bstan pa Il.l 1.2 bshad pa 112 byang chub Imam dag mam pa brgyad bstan pa



2 mam par dbye ba [U-73 2.1 bstan pa 2.2 bshad pa


2 mam dag mam pa brgyad bshad pa [LJ-73

8-9; [8-20; 19; 38-41; 62; 69

1104-7; [0-17; 21-28; 30-37; 42-6[; 63-68; 70-73

RGV Chapter III yon tan gyi mam par dbye ba 1 rten gyi sgo nas bstan pa 1.1 bstan pa bsdu' ba 111.1 1.2 mam par dbye ba 111.2-3 2 dpe'i sgo nas bshad pa 2.1 bshad pa bsdu' ba 2.2 mam par dbye ba

yon tan 1 lien gyi sgo nas bstan pa 111.1-3

2 dpe'i sgo nas bshad pa 2.1 bsdu ba dngos


2.2 dpe dang mthun pa'i ehos rob tu bstan pas mam par dbye ba

2.2.1 stobs dngos po 111.5-6

2.2.1 stobs 2.2. Ll stobs kyi dngos po nyid rub tu bstan pa 111.5-6 dpe' dang mthun pa'i ehos bstan pa

1I1.7 stobs kyi dpe dang mthun pa'i ehos brjod pa 1I1.1 2.2.2 mi 'jigs pa bzhi dngos po

2.2.2 myi 'jigs pa 2.2.2 1 dngos po 111.8-9 dpe' dang mthun pa'i ehos bstan pa
IIJ.[O dpe dang 'dro ba'i ehos brjod pa


2.2.3 rna 'dres pa'i chos

2.2.3 sangs rgyas kyi ehos rna 'dres pa beo brgyad dngos po 111.11-13 dpe' dang mthun pa'i ehos bstan pa
111.14-[6 dngos po

111.1 [-IS dpe dang chos 'dro ba brjod pa


2.2.4 mtshan bzang po'i mam par dbye ba dngos po III. [7-25

2.2.4 mtshan sum ell lisa gnyis 2.2.4.l dngos po



KAZUO KANO dpe' dang mthun pa'i chos bstan pa

Irl.26 dpe dang chos 'dra ba bljod pa


3 lung gis bsgrub pa 1II.27 4 dpe' bstan pa'i don bsdu' ba


3 lung gis bsgrub pa


4 dpes bstan pa'i don bsdu ba


ROV Chapter IV 'phrin las mam par dbye bo 1 lImn gyis grub pa dang rgyun myi 'chad pa'i don gnyis bstan pa 2 [bshad pa]

'phrin las lhun gyi gmb pa dang rgyun mi 'chad pa'i don bstan pa IY.[-2 2 [hun gyi grub pa dang rgyun mi 'chad pa'i don bshad pa

2.1 lhun gyis grub pa [Y.J-4 2.2 rgyun myi 'chad pa 2.2.1 don drug dgod po bstan pa [Y.S bshod po
lV.6-7 [V.s

2.1 [hun gyi grub pa lV.J-4 2.2 rgyun mi 'chad pa 2.2.1 don dmg bstan po [v.s 'chad pa lY.6-7 2.2.2 dpe drug

2.2.2 dpe' drug dgod pa

2.2.3 dpe' don gyi chos mthun pa bstan pa


2.2.3 dpe don gyi chos 'dra ba bstan pa


2.2.4 don drug gi spyi don gsum nye bar bsdu' bo lV.[2 3 dpe' bsgrub pa

2.2.4 don drug po de nyid bstan pa'i spyi don gsum bston pa

3 lhun gyis grub po dang rgyun mi 'chad pa'i don de nyid dpe'i sgos bsgmb po

3.1 mdor bston po

IV. [3

3.1 dpe mdor bston pa 3.2 rgyos par dbye bo 3.2.1 brgyo byin


3.2 rgyas par dbye ba 3.2.1 brgya byin gzugs dang 'dra ba mom rtog myed po mom par mi rtog pa nyid brgya byin gyi dpes bstan po dpe' bstan pa dpe




IV.14-IS snang ba des phon po la 'jug po

IV.16-17 phan pa phyin ci log las 'byung bo

IV.18 snong ba 10 mom pOl' rtog pa myed pa

rV.19 don sbyar ba sems dog pos rgyal bo'i sku snong ba
rV.lO-11 don bljod pa

rV.l0-16 snang bo des phon po 10 'jug pa

IV.13 snang ba 10 mom par 1iog po myed pa

IV.14 phon ba nyid 'khrul pa los gyur po

rV.15-16 skye 'gog myed pa skye 'gag med pa nyid brgya byin gyi dpes ston po dpe' gzhi'i dbang gis skye 'gag tu snang ba

IV.17 dpe

rV.17-l8ob! snang myed de phan po'i rgyu yin ba

rV.18ob don bston pa sems kyi dbang gyis don bljod pa


skye ' gag tu snang ba rV.28cd snang ba de phan pa'i rgyu



yin pa


3,2,U,2.2 bshad pa sems dbang gis skyed pdr snang ba

IV30a IV30bc 'gag por snong bo don bsdu' bo


3.2.2 dpe' gnyis po mom par dbye bo bag yod po 10 sbyor bo IV.JI.J4 dang nye bor mtshe ba 10 skyob pa

3.2.2 Iho'i mga phon 'dogs po'i mom po


gnyis kyis phan 'dogs po'i khyod por khyad por du 'phogs po'i chos
IV36-l0 khyod par du 'phags pa'i chos

IV36-40 myi dmyigs po'i rgyu 3.2.3 sprin gyi dpe'

rV.41 mi dmigs po'i rgyu 3.2.3 sprin


IVAI yongs su smyin po'i dpe' yongs su smin po'i rgyu ting 'dzin

IVA2-1-5 snod kyi ljes su byed po

IVAG snod kyi dbye bo los ro tha dod par 'jug po

rVAG phon gnod 10 mom par myi 110g pa

IVA7-49 phan gnod 10 mom par mi 110g par 'jug po

IVA7-49 mye rob hi zhi bar byed po

IV.50-52 me rob hI zhi bar byed po nyid kyis spritl dong' dro bo

3.2.4 tshongs po'i dpe' bston pa bshodpo

rV.5J-54 rV.55

(Simile of tshangs pa is omitted.) snongba dong myi snong ba'i rgyu


3.2.5 nyi ma'i dpe' phan gnod 10 mam par myi 110g pa

3.2.4 nyi ma phon gnod 10 mam par mi 110g po





1V.58-60 mun pa sel ba'i .'od 'gyed pa mun pa sel ba'i 'od 'byed pa nyid

IV.61 snod kyi rjes su byed pa rim gyis 'bab pa


IV.62 snod kyi Ijes su byed pa nyid rim gyis 'bab pa nyid

IV.62 'od kyi dkyil 'khor khyad par 'od kyi dkyil 'khor khyad par

du 'phags pa


du 'phags pa nyid
3.2.5 nor bu


3.2.6 nor bu'i dpe' myi rtog par don thams cad grub mam par mi 110g par don thams

pa IV.67-69 rnyed dka' ba
IV.70 IV.71-72

cad sgmb pa IV.67-69 myed dka' ba IV.70

3.2.7 [sgra brnyan gyi dpe] 3.2.8 [nam mkha'i dpe] 3.2.9 [sa'j dpe]

(The seventh through ninth similes are omitted.)


3.3 dpe' bstan pa'i dgos pa


3.3 dpe nye bar bstan pa'i dgos pa ston pa


3.4 dpe' mtshon par bya ba'i don gi rang

3.4 dpes mtshon par bya ba'i don gyi rang

3.4.1 dngos su btjod pa'i don bstan pa

3.4.1 dngos su bljod pa'i don bstan pa

3.4.2 shugs kyis gnas pa'i don bstan pa


3.4.2 shugs kyis gnas pa'i don


3.4.3 dngos su bljod pa'i don bshad pa


3.4.3 dngos su btjod pa'j don bshad pa


3.4.4 dngos su brjod pa'i dpe'


3.4.4 dngos su brjod pa dpe don gyi 'dra

gyis 'dra ba nyid bstan pa

3.5 dpe'i go rims


bsgmb pa

IV.89-9l IV.92-98

3.5 dpe'i go rim stan pa



RGV Chapter V khams Ia mos pa'i phan yon

1 bstan pa 1.1 phan yon spyir bshad pa

khams Ia Ihag par mos pa'i phan yon

1 bstan pa
1.1 spyir bljod pa
V.I-2 V.3-5

1.2 bye brag tu bshad pa 1.3 de'i 'thad pa 2 bshad pa



1.2 bye brag tu bstan pa 1.3 rigs pa 2 bshad pa 2.1 spyir bsngags pa V.7-S

2.1 spyir bstan pa bshad pa V.7-S 2.2 bsam ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i 1'gyu nyid kyis bsngags pa

2.2 bsam pa phun sum tshogs pa mi nyams pa'i rgyu nyid kyis bsngags pa

2.3 sbyo1' ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i 1'gy11 nyid kyis bsngags pa 2.3.1 sbyor ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i 1'gyur bstan pa

2.3 sbyo1' ba phun sum tshogs pa gnyis grub pa'i rgyu nyid kyis bsngags pa 2.3.1 sbyor ba phun sum tshogs pa'i rgy11 nyid du bstan pa

2.3.2 de phun sum 'tshogs pa'i rang bzhin


2.3.2 sbyor ba phun sum tshogs pa'i rang

V.12a bsod nams kyi dpe' brjod pa phun sum 'tshogs pa'i ehos



V.12b ngo bo nyid dang gzhung gzugs pa


2.3.3 sbyo1' ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i rgyur bsgr11b pa


2.3.3 thos pa sbyor ba ph un sum tshogs pa'i rgyur sgrub pa V.14-IS

bstan beos 1'dzogs pa'i bya ba 1 bstan pa

1.1 ehos bshad pa'i tshul

bstan beos mthar phyin pa'i bya ba 1 ehos bshad pa'i tshul
1.1 1'gyu gang las bshad pa V.loa

1.2 dgos pa gang gi phyir bshad pa 1.3 bshad pa'i rang bzhinji 'dra ba

V.16bed V.17 V.IS'?

1.4 bshad par bya ba gang bshad pa



1.5 de dang mthun pa'i don gang yin pa


1.2 spong ba la bag bya ba

2 chos spong ba'i sgrib pa la bag bya ba nyid

1.2.1 myi spong pa'i rgyu 1.2.2 spong ba'i rgyu



2.1 mi spong ba'i rgyu bstan pa 2.2 spong ba'i rgyu dar ba VB


1.2.3 spangs pa'i 'bras bu


2.3 spangs pa'i 'bras bu bstan pa 3 bshad pa'i bsod nams bsngo ba


1.3 bshad pa'i bsod nams bsngo' ba 1.3.1 'phags pa'i bshad pa V.25 1.3.2 slob dpon gyi bshad pa 2 bshad pa extra verse

3.l 'phags pa'i bsod nams bsngo ba V.25e 3.2 slob dpon gyi bsod nams bsngo ba

As seen in the table above, the basic division and wording are very similar in the two works. Some discrepancies found between the two are:
(l) The Topkal OlltHne mentions in greater detail the simile ofIndra (RGV

IV. 14-30), which is sketched only roughly in the Essenfjal Meaning. (2) The Topical Olltline refers to the simile of Brahma (RGV IV.53-57), which is completely missing in the Essential Meaning (3) The Topkal Olltline divides the last topic-bstan bcos rdzogs pa'i bya

ba-into two, namely, bstan pa (RGV IY.16-25) and bshad pa (RGV

IY.26-28), a division not found in the Essential Meaning. However, those differences are not substantial in light of the overall similarity, and for this reason Rngog lo's authorship of the Topical OutHne can be confirmed.



One might argue that somebody extracted the topical outline lrom Rngog lo's Essential Meaning and called it a Topical Outline by Rngog 10. However, this is unlikely as the Topical Outline contains topics that do not appear in the

Essential meaning. 77
8. Comparison with Phywa pa's Topical Outline of the RGV Phywa pa's topical outline ofthe RGV is another highly relevant source. Phywa pa, who flourished two generations later than Rngog 10, is famous for his significant contribution to the tshad ma tradition of the Gsang phu tradition. 78 He composed two works on the RGV, namely, a topical outline entitled Thegpa

chen po rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pd 9 and an extensive commentary entitled Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma 'i bstan bcos rgya cher bsnyad pa phra ba'i don gsal ba. 80 In his Topical Outline (which is about twice as large as Rngog lo's Topical Outline), on the one hand; Phywa pa follows Rngog lo's basic struchlre
almost verbatim; Qn the other, Phywa pa sub-divides Rngog lo's structure into further topics. In the following, I shall list the basic struchlres extracted from Phywa pa's and Rngog lo's Topical Outlines (branch topics are omitted in the latter):


Namely, Topical Outline topics 3.2.4 and 3.2.7-3.2.9 in chapter IV. On a list ofPhywa pa's compositions, see Kano 2006: 47-48, n. 3l.
Eka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 7, pp. 145-56 (6 fo1s.). Eka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 7, pp. 164-345 (92 fo1s.). Phywa pa's doctrinal position




with regard to RGV 1.26, cited in 810 gros mtshungs med's RGV commentary, has been studied in Kana 2003, and the citation in Phywa pa's RGV commentary is identified in Kano 2006': 54, n. 75.


Basic structures ofPhywa pa's and Rngog lo's topical outlines Phywa pa's outline
1 spyi'i don Ius mam par bzhag pa

Rngog lo's outline (Khara Khoto MS)

1.1 Ius kyi dngos po dgod pa

1.2 grangs nges pa

1.3 go rims nges pa

2 'bras bu dkon mchog gi don

2.1 sangs rgyas kyi don

(the first folio is missing)

2.2 chos kyi don

2.3 dge 'dlm gyi don

2.4 skyabs kyi don 2.5 sgra'i don

3 de sgmb par byed pa'i rigs kyi don
3.1 rigs spy'i mam par gzhag pa 3.2 so so'i mthar gyis dbye ba . 3.2.1 khams don gyi dngos po gsum gyi mdor bstan

pa mam gzhag mam pa bcus rgyas par

bshadpa dpe' dgus bsgmb pa khams nges par byed pa'i rigs pa stong pa'i don la phyin ci rna log pa'i

dpe' don gyi chos 'thun pa nges par byed pa'i thabs (omitted)

. mtshan nyid khams bstan pa'i dgos pa 3.2.2 byang chub mam bzhag brgyad bsdus pa mam par dbye ba 3.2.3 yon tan

(omitted) byang chub mam par dbye ba 1 mam pa brgyad kyi don bsdu' ba
2 mam par dbye ba

yon tan mam par dbye ba


KAZUO KANO lien gyi sgo nas mdor bston po dpe'i sgo nos rgyos par bshod po lung gi sgo nos bsgrub po dpes mtshon po'i don gyi k.!-Jyod par 3.2.4 'phrin las bstanpo bshod pa dpe' dgus bsgmb po 3.3 rigs 10 Ihag par mos po'i phan yon 3.3.1 bston pa 3.3.2 bshod pa 4 bston beos yongs su rdzogs po'i byo bo 4.1 ehos bshad pa'i tshul 4.2 ehos spong ba'i sgrib pa 10 bag bya ba 4.3 lisa bo'i bsod noms bsngo' ba 4.4 mtha' dag gi don bsdu' ba 4.5 'grel po'i bsod nams bsngo' ba

1 lien gyi sgo nas bstan pa 2 dpe'i sgo nas bshad pa 3 lung gis bsgrub pa 4 dpe' bstan pa'i don bsdu' ba 'phrin las mam par dbye ba 1 bstan po 2 [bshad pa] 3 dpe' bsgrub pa khams 10 mos pa'i phon yon 1 phan yon spyir bstan po 2 bye brag hi bshad pa bston beos rdzogs pa'i bya ba 1 bstan pa
l.l ehos bshad pa'i tshul

1.2 spong bo 10 bag bya ba l.3 bshod pa'i bsod nams bsngo' ba 1.3.1 'phogs po'i bshad po 1.3.2 slob dpon gyi bshad pa 2 bshad pa

As seen in the table above, the basic structures in the available folio (fo1. 2) of Rngog lo's Topkal Outline and its parallel part in Phywa pa's Topical Outline correspond closely. On the basis of this striking correspondence, we can deduce the basic structure of the first portion of the RGV contained in the missing folio.
It is, however, to be noted that Phywa pa's Topical Outline has a different

structure in some places. For example, Phywa pa divides the last topic "the [concluding] acts regarding the successful completion of the treatise's composition" (i.e. 4. bstan beos yongs su rdzogs pa'i bya ba) into five sub-topics, whereas Rngog 10 divides it into two and the first sub-topic into


three further points. We should, therefore, be mindful of such differences in restoring Rngog lo's TopkalOutJjne. 9. Textual Problems of the Khara Khoto Manuscript Unfortunately, our manuscript from Khara Khoto contains some serious texhml problems, such as cormptions, ambiguous syntax, or missing words. However, by making use of the above-mentioned correspondence found in the two works (i.e. Rngog lo's Essential Meaning and Phywa pa's Topical OutJjne), we can minimise these problems. (a) Supplying Missing Words In the following example, we have a sentence in which words seem to be missing:
Topical Outline, 203: 'phrin las mam par dbye ba la gsum ste I Ihun gyis grub pa dang I rgyun myi 'chad pa'i don gnyis bstan pa dang I dpe' bsgrub pa'o II

This sentence refers to the basic stmchlre of chapter IV of the RGV, concerned with phrin las, and can be translated as "Regarding the explanation of [a
buddha's] activities, there are three [topics], namely, the presentation of the

meanings of both effortlessness and unintemlptedness, and the establishment of similes." We expect three topics from the words gsum ste, but only two topics are presented here, namely, bstan pa (RGV ry.1-2) and dpe' bsgrub pa (RGV IV. 13-98). However, when we compare this sentence with the corresponding sentence in the Essential Nfeaning (55b7-56al: 'phrin las ni 111alll pa gSUlll gyis
ston ste I lhun gyi grub pa dang rgyun l11i 'chad pa'j don bstan pa dang I bshad pa dang I bsgrub pa'o II), we can supply bshad pa dang ('explanation') between bstan pa dang and dpe' bsgrub pa'o, so that the topics are restored to the full

three-presentation, explanation, and establishment of similes. This is supported by the reading of Phywa pa's topical outline, which also has three



topiCS. 81 The lacuna of the words bshadpa dang in the Khara Khoto manuscript might be due to an eye-skip of the scribe. (b) Restoration of Illegible Words Although some words in the verso side of our manuscript are illegible due to physical damage, we can reconstruct them on the basis of the corresponding sentences in the EssentialN/eaning. For instance, the last sentence of folio 2b 1 runs: nyi ma'i dpe' la Inga ste / phan

+ + +

mam? pm'? myi nag padang /

mun pa sel After the word phan, about three glyphs are effaced, and four

glyphs are nearly illegible. However, the parallel sentence phan gnod la mam
parmi 1tOg pa in Rngog lo's Essential Meanin" (which is also found in Phywa

pa's Topical Outline),s3 allows us to sunnise that the erased words are gnod la, and we may confinn the reading of the nearly-illegible glyphs as mam par.

(c) Clarifying an Ambiguous Syntax

The following example shows a case in which a semantic problem is present:
Topical Outline, 2b5: bstan pa 1a gsum ste I chos bshad pa'i tshul dang I myi spong pa'i rgyu dang I spong ba'i rgyu dang I spangs pa'i 'bras bu dang I spong ba la bag bya ba dang I bshad pa'i bsod nams bsngo' ba'o II


Phywa pa's Topkal OutJjne, Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 7, p. 154 (fol.

5b2-3): 'phrin las 1a gsum ste I 1hun gyis sgrub pa dang rgyun myi 'chad pa gnyis kyis bstan pa dang I bshad pa dang I dpe' dgliS bsgnzb pa '0 II.

Rngog 10's Essential A1eaning, A: fol. 61b2; B: p. 362 (fol. 37b5): bzhi pa ni I nyi

ma'i dpe larnam pa 1nga ste / phan gnod 1a mam par mi 1tOg pa nyid dang I mun pa se1 ba'i 'od 'byed pa nyid dang I ....

Phywa pa's Topical Outline, Bka' gdams gsungs 'bum, vol. 7, p. 155 (fol. 6a3): nyi

ma'i dpe' 1a Inga ste I bstan pa dang I bs/wd pa gnyis kyis phan gnod la mam par myi 110g pa dang I ml117 bse1 ba'i 'od 'gyed pa dang I ....



In accordance with the expression gsum ste, we expect three topics in this

sentence, but we actUolly seem to have six. In order to clarify this ambiguity, a comparison with the Essential Meaning is again very helpful. Among those six, we can identify the three-chos bshadpa'i tshu/, spong ba la bag bya ba, and

bshad pa'i bsod nams bsngo' ba-as the main topics in accordance with a
parallel sentence in the Essential Meaning,84 and we can take the remaining

three-myi spong pa'i rgyu, spong ba'i rgyu, and spangs pa'i 'bras b[J--Qs
sub-topics of the second main topic on the basis of another sentence in the

Essential Meaning. 85 Accordingly, we can understand the sentence in question

os providing the following structure: 86

bstanpa 1. chos bshad pa 'i tshu! 2. spong ba la bag bya ba 2.1. myi spong pa'irgyu 2.2. spong ba'i rgyu 2.3. spangs pa'i 'bras bu 3. bshad pa'i bsod nams bsngo' ba


Rngog 10's Essential meaning, A: fol. 6404-5; B: p. 365 (fo1. 39a5--{i): 'di la gSUlll ste

I chos bshad[B btjod] pa'i tshU] dang I ch'os spong ba'i sgrib pa la bag bya ba nyid dang I bshadpa'i bsodnams bsngo ba'oll.

Rngog 10's Essential Meaning, A: fol. 6502; B: p. 366 (fo1. 39b3-4): c/ws spong ba'i

rgyula bag bya ba nyid kyang mam pa gsum gyis stan te I mi spong ba'i rgyu bstan pa dang I spong ba'i rgyu dor ba dang I spangs pa'i 'bras bu bstan pa'o II.

Phywa po's Topical Outline (topics 4.1-4.5) has a different structure with regard to

the present topic.



(d) Restoration of the Topics in the Missing Folio Although the entire fIrst folio is lost, we can restore a text of the basic outline which approximates that presumably contained in the missing folio, on the basis of sentences in the Essential JVfeaning and Phywa pa's Topical Outline. As we have seen above, Rngog 10 in his Essential Meaning presents the basic structure of the RGV as follows: 87
1. lus mam gzhag (RGV I.l-3)

2. 'bras bu dkon mchog gsum (RGV I.4-22) 3. de sgmb byed rigs kyi don (RGV I.23-Y.lS) 4. bstan bcos mthar phyin pa 'i bya ba (RGV V.lS-28)
The fourth topic is listed in our manuscript by way of the equivalent expression

bstan chos [= bcos] rdzogs pa'i bya ba. If we match this four-fold division to
our manuscript, folio 2al-2bS should be the fInal portion of a running text describing the structure of the third topic, and folio 2bS-6 corresponds to the fourth topic. The third topic, de sgrub byed rigs kyi don, is further divided into three sub-topics according to the Essentiall\ifeaning (28a4):

3.1. spyi'i mam gzhag (RGV 1.23-26)

3.2. so so 'i mam par dbye ba (RGV I.27-IV.98)

3.3. mos pa'iphan yon (RGV V.1-14)

In our manuscript, topic 3.3 appears under the cOITesponding expression khams

la lhag par mos pa 'i phan yon. Topic 3.2 is further divided into four: 3.2.1. de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po 'i mam par dbye ba (RGV 1.27-167) 3.2.2. byang chub kyi mam par dbye ba (RGV II) 3.2.3. yon tan gyi mam par dbye ba (RGV III) 3.2.4. 'phIin las kyi mam par dbye ba (RGV IV)


Rngog 10's Essential Meaning, A: fol. 6403-4; B: p. 365 (fol. 39a5): lllS mam gzhag

dang / 'bras bu dkan mehag gSllm dang / de sgmb byed rigs kyi don gSllm bshad nas I bzhi pa bstan beas 111tharpbyin pa'j bya ba bstan to 1/.



Our manuscript (fol. 2al) contains the last part of 3.2.1 and all succeeding topics. The last part of topic 3.2.1 found as fragments in our manuscript is ambiguous due to (1) the loss of a part of the text and due to (2) the deliberate omission on the part of the author indicated by the expression 1a stsogs pa (" and so forth"):88 (1) ( ... missing ... ) the Similarity between the meaning and simile (RGV LI46-47). (2) The three [topics]-the means to confirm [one's devotion] (RGV LI53) and so forth (1a stsogs pa)-are easy to understand. The numbers of the pertinent verses of the RGV-enc1osed by parentheses-are provided on the basis of the references in the interlinear notes of our manuscript. According to those interlinear notes, the first part (l) refers to the similarity between the dhGlmakiiya and three similes (i.e. a buddha in a faded lotus, honey surrounded by bees, and a grain-core covered by a husk). The missing part of the sentence probably refers to the meaning and the Similarity between the meaning and nine similes with regard to each of the three aspects of Buddha

Nature-dhGlmakiiya, tathata, and gotra-taught in RGV Ll45-52.89 The

second part (2) states only the first of the three topics and omits the remaining two topics. The first topic refers to RGV 1.153, which teaches that one can perceive reality only through devotion. On the basis of the interlinear notes, we can deduce that the second and third topics respectively correspond to RGV
Topical Out/ine, 2a1: [ ... ] dpe' dOll gyi chos 'tl7llll pa '0 (Jig 11en 'das) II nges par


byed pa 'i tbabs la stsogs pa gsum (cbos kyj sku

de la stong pa nyid du; smras pa

gal te) ni sla bar zad do II. Words enclosed by parentheses are interlinear notes in the


The meanings of the three aspects of Buddha Nature (Le. dbannakaya, tatbata, and

gotra) are taught in RGV 1.145, 148ab, 149-50, respectively. Regarding the three

aspects again, the similarities between the meanings and similes are taught in RGV I.l46--47, 148cd, 151-52, respectively. 165


I.l54-55 (the meaning of emptiness) and I.l56-67 (the purpose, of teaching Buddha Nature). fuJ.gog 10 explains those topics in his Essential Meaning, toO.90 Topics 3.2.2-3.2.4, which correspond to the second, third, and fourth chapters of the RGV, respectively, are preserved in ollr manuscript in nliI. Accordingly, the basic structure of the missing folio (folio 1) can be tentatively restored as follows based on the corresponding topics
1. Ius J71am gzhag (RGV I.l-3)

ill Rngog lo's Essential

Meaning and Phywa pa's Topical Outline (topics 1-3.2.1): 2. 'bras bu dkon mchog gsum (RGV 1.4-22) 3. de sgrub byed rigs kyi don (RGV 1.23-V.15) 3.1. spyi'i J71am gzhag (RGV 1.23-26) 3.2. so so 'iJ71am par dbye ba (RGV 1.27-IV.98) 3.2.1. de bzhin gshegs pa'i snying po'i J71ampar dbye ba (RGV 1.27-167) 10. The Historical Background ofKhara Khoto Buddhism and the Dating of the

Manuscript We have no evidence to date this folio precisely and can only deduce an approximate date from the history of Tibetan Buddhism in Khara Khoto. Recently, Weirong Shen studied newly discovered Khara Khoto manuscripts of Chinese texts translated from Tibetan and tried to clarify the spread of the teachings of the Bka' brgyud pa and Sa skya pa traditions there. In the following, I shall briefly sketch the history of Buddhism in Khara Khoto during the Tangut and Yuan period on the basis of Shen's studies. During the Tangut / Xi xia era (1032-1227), according to Shen, the teachings of the Bka' brgyud pa tradition, especially the No TO chos drug, were widely spread. For instance, a manuscript of a Chinese translation of Sgom po pa Bsod noms rin chen's Sgyu Ius kyi man ngag(which is a part of the No ro
R'1gag la's Essential Meaning, A: fals. 4102-46a4; B: pp. 338-44 (fals. 25b6-28b5).




chos drug instmctions) was discovered there. 9 1 In the Taugut era, the teachings
of the Sa' skya pa tradition were also present there,92 but their spread seems to have been rather minor compared to that of the Bka' brgyud pa teachings. 93 During the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), however, the teachings of the Sa skya pa became predominant in Khura Khoto due to the Sa skya pa's political relations with the Mongol Yuan dynasty. Nevertheless, we can still see traces of the Bka' brgyud pa tradition in this period, for instance, in the form of a portrait identified as Karmapa II Karma Pakshi (120416-1283t 4 and in the Dacheng

yaodao miji **~Jl!!$~ (The Secret Collection of Works' on the Essential Path oflvlahoytina), which was compiled in the Yuan period and includes the' No ro chos drug teachings of the Bka' brgyud pa' tradition (in addition to
several works of the Sa skya pa tradition).9; The Buddhist traditions of Khara Khoto ended with its destmction in 1374. 96 Besides the teachings of the Bka' brgyud pa and Sa skya pa traditions

See Shen 2005b. Note that there is a versified work contained in a Tibetan manuscript

found in Khara Khoto, which is preserved in the British Library and labelled K.K.v.b.021d (= lOL, Tib M, vol. 01, fol. 53), and which discusses sgyu ma'j Ius.

See Shen 2005a. See Shen 2005b: 226: "Since the Men ghuan shen yaamen [~%l:!W~r~] and other


Chinese ritual texts of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism found in Khora Khoto manuscripts are evidently related to the esoteric instmction of the Nti TO ehas drug of the Bka' brgyud tradition, it provides further evidence to the fact that Tibetan lamas who spread Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut Kingdom were mostly from the Bka' brgyud pa tradition."

Tanaka (2002: 603) con"ects the misidentification of the portrait depicted at the lower

part of the Thangka of Khan in 1255.

9; 96

preserved in the Hennitage Museum. Tanaka

deduces that Kmma Pakshi might have viSited Khara Khoto when he visited M6ngke

See Shen 2005b. See Shen 2005b and linbo Shi 1996.



(which are represented mainly by Tantric works), some materiaIs relating to non-Tantric teachings of the Bka' gdams pa tradition were discovered in Khara Khoto. The most noteworthy is a manuscript of the Shengli yian chu zhi nen lue

shi JEf.!;ga1if!lJf,z;tWi"l-fR 97 in Tangut translation, which could possibiy be

identified as a translation of a Topical Outline ( *bsdllS don) of Phywa pa ehos kyi seng ge's (1109-1169) Tshad ma yid kyi mun SeJ 98 We can date this translation to some time between the 1130s (the possible period in which the work was composed) and 1374 (the destmction of Khara Khoto). If my identification of the text is correct, the fact that this scholastic work of the Gsang phu tradition was studied in Kham Khoto reflects a hitherto unknown scholastic aspect of Tangut Buddhism-for Tangut and Yuan Buddhism are primarily known to have favoured Tantric practices. The existence of this scholastic tradition is supported by other Tibetan manuscripts found there, such as fragments of the Mahiiyanasl7tnilarpkara, in which a number of interlinear glosses are found,

and other manuscripts relating to the Abhisama-

yiilarpkara. 'oo Furthermore, the spread of Bka' gdams pa teachings in Khara


This Chinese translation from Tangut has been suggested by Nishida (1977: 45). See Nishida 1977: 45 no. 221 "lE:E!i':~-lfIl*;Z;tfflfrT}:' (Translated from Tibetan?)


Leningrad Cat. 229." Cf. also ibid, no. 220.


See the fragmental manuscript of the ivJahiiyiinaslitriilGl17kiira preserved in the British

Library labelled K.K.v.b.09c!d (= rOL, Tib M, voL 12, foL 14c/d), which couesponds to verses rX.SO-X.9.

See the fragmental manuscripts of Haribhadra's AbMsamayii!af!1kiiravjv!1j, labelled

K.K.v.b.02Le (= rOL, Tib M, voL 01, foL 54) and K.K.v.b.OS.f(= rOL, Tib M, va!. 12, fol. 11), which correspond to 03793, fa!. SlaS-b4 and fols. 130b3-13 104, respectively. There are also other folios that discuss the teachings of the AbMsamayii!Glpkiira, such as the fragments labelled K.K.v.b.02l.f (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 07, fo!' 64)-which refers to Buddhasrljfiana-, K.K.v.b.O 13.0 (= rOL, Tib M, vol. 09, fo!' 13), and K.K.v.b.09.0 (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 12, fol. 19.0).



Khoto is demonstrated by Tibetan manuscripts found there that contain references to instructions of early Bka' gdams pa teachers, such as Dge shes ston pa (= 'Brom ston Rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas, 1004/5-1064), Sne'u zur pa Ye shes 'bar (1042-1118), and Pu to bci Rin chen gsal (1027-1105).Iol The connection between these manuscripts and our manuscript is confirmed not only by the similarity of their scripts but also by the fact that these manuscripts were discovered in the same


When was our manuscript of Rngog lo's topical outline written? The existence of a Tangut translation of the *Tshad ma yid kyi mun sel gyi bsdus

we follow my tentative identification-suggests that the teachings of

the Bka' gdams pa or Gsang phu tradition were already present in Khara Khoto during the Tangut period. With regard to our manuscript, the year of the . beginning of the Tangut kingdom (1032) cannot be the terminus post quem for its production, for Rngog 10 composed this work slightly later, namely, during the years he actively propagated the Indian scholastic tradition in central Tibet (Lha sa, Snye thang, Gsang phu, and Bsam yas), ca. 1092-1109.102 At the same time, we cannot specify the terminus ante quem of our manuscript to be earlier
101 In her forthcoming paper (see note 31 above), Maho Iuchi studies these manuscripts, which are preserved at the India Office Library of the British Library and labelled K.K.v.b.02I.c (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 01, fol. 52), K.K.v.b.Ol I.c (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 01, fol. 51), K.K.v.b.034.b (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 08, foI.37), K.K.v.b.09.f(= IOL, Tib M, vol. 12, fol. 16), and K.K.v.b.09.i (= IOL, Tib M,vol. 12, fol. 17). According to Iuchi, these five fragments belong to one text, and its contents are related to the so-called Bka' gdams gSlIng thor bll genre. The manuscripts refer to the above-mentioned Bka' gdams pa teachers by name. Note that there is a single folio manuscript-labelled K.K.v.b.033.a (= IOL, Tib M, vol. 02, fol. 82)-which contains some expressions probably relating to the ROY, such as sangs rgyas fa ltos te dag pa dang ma dag pa, shin tll mam par dag pa (cf. ROY 1.47), lung gi tshig dgod pa, dpe mthwl pa, dpe yang. dgur nges pa '0 (cf. ROY 1.96ff.).

See Kramer 2007 and Kano 2006. 169


than 1374 (the destmction of Khara Khoto), for we have no evidence to testify that the scholastic tradition of the Bka' gdams pa had died out there during the Yuan dynasty (even if the Mongol court was more interested in Tantric practices than scholastic traditions). We may therefore date our manuscript to some time between ca. 1092 and 1374. I hope that future studies of other unidentified Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts discovered in Khara Khoto will enable us to clarify more precisely the details of Tibetan Buddhism in Khara Khoto, including a more accurate dating of these manuscripts. 103

11. Conclusion
We may conclude by making the following points: 1) Among the fifty or so compositions of Rngog 10, most are still unavailable and only nine works hQve so far been published. To these works we CQn add our topical outline of the RGV (rgyud bIa ma'j bsdus don) preserved in Q folio discovered Qt Khara Khoto, which originally consisted of two folios. Its authorship could be confinned from its colophon as well as by comparing its contents to another lengthy RGV commentary (the EssentjaI kfeaning) ascribed to Rngog 10. Our manuscript is thus the earliest Tibetan text that systematically outlines the RGV, and it has made a fundamental contribution to the development of the Tibetan exegetical tradition of the RGV. 2) Rngog 10 seems to have used the tenn bsdus don (or its equivalents) to refer to two kinds of works, namely "topical outline" and "essential meaning," for he composed two works on the RGV-a brief topical outline and a lengthy essential meaning-which bear titles containing the tenn bsdus don and its equivalent don bsdus pa, respectively. Among Rngog lo's available writings, our Khara Khoto manuscript and the Byang chub sems dpa 'j spyod pa Ia 'jug

Prof. Tsuguhito Takeuchi and Maho Iuchi are currently preparing a catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts found in Khara Khoto.



pa'j don bsdus pa offer the only testimony that bsdllS don (and its equivalent don bsdllS po) refers.to a "topical outline, "104 as he often uses the term bsdus don to indicate a lengthy "essential meaning" in his other commentarial

works. The first usage was common among Tibetan masters during the early and middle phyj dar period, whereas the latter was generally rare. This rare usage is most likely influenced by the piJ;Cirtho sub-genre of Indian commentaries. 3) Our manuscript has some serious textual problems, such as missing words, illegible words, synto.ctic ambiguity, and a missing folio. However, we can solve many of those problems by referring to corresponding sentences in the other two works on the RGV, namely, Rngog lo's EssentjaJ Nleamng and Phywa pa's TopkaJ OutJjne. 4) The colophon of our manuscript does not tell us when the work was composed or copied. We can only deduce an approximate date of the manuscript to be some time between ca. 1092 (a possible tennlllllS post quem of the composition of the work) c;md 1374 (the year of the destruction of Khara Khoto). The contents of our manuscript and other relevant works discovered at Khara Khoto show that the Tibetan scholastic tradition of the Bka' gdams po. had spread there.


See note 13 above.




In the following, I shall present the text and translation of the Khara Khoto manuscript (K.K.v.b.35b

The British Library, lOL, Tib M, vol. 7, fo1. 66). In

the text, I use the following symbols: square brackets [ ] enclose damaged words; braces { } denote restorations; and subscribed texts enclosed by parentheses () indicate interlinear glosses of the manuscript. "Where interlinear glosses refer to two or three different sentences, each sentence is separated by a semi-colon. Page references to the RGVV refer to Nakamura's edition of the Tibetan translation. In my translation of the Topical Outline, the numbering of the individual topics is mine, and the references to corresponding verse numbers in the RGV are based on the interlinear notes in the manuscript.
The Text

< la-b: missing>

< 2al > dpe' don gyi chos 'thun pa'o
('jig rten 'dos/OS

II nges par byed pa'i thabs la ni sla bar zod do II

stsogs pa gsuln ba

(chos kyi sku ltor; de 10 stong po nyid du; Slnros po gal te) 106

byong chub mam par dbye pa ni gnyis ste II mam pa brgyad kyi don bsdu'
(do ni sngo mo mycd po'i de bzhin) 107

dang I mom par dbye ba' 0 II 'di la bston pa dang I

bshad pa gnyis gnyis I ngo bo dang rgyu'i don mom par dbye ba dang Ilhag ma bdun yang de bzhin du dbye ba'o II yon tan gyi mam par dbye ba la < 2a2 > bzhi te I rten gyi sgo nas bstan pa dang I dpe'i sgo nas bshad pa dang I lung gis bsgmb pa dang I dpe' bstan pa'i don bsdu' ba'o II dang po la gnyis te I bstan pa bsdu' ba

(doni gang dag)108

dang I

RGV I.l46. RGVV pp, 143.8; 147.12; 151.14. RGVV p. 155.5. RGVV p. 173.17.






roam par dbye ba' 0 ('dis ci bstan ec no) 109 II gnyis pa la gnyis ste I bshad pa bsdu' ba Cdi phanehad)IIOdang I mam par dbye ba'o II 'di la bzhi ste I dngos po dang I dpe' dang mthun pa'i chos bstan pa gnyis gnyis kyis stobs (stabs dang; rdo rjc bzhin not I dang I royi < 2a3 > 'jigs pa (myi 'jigs po; seng ge) 112 dang rna ' dres pa' i chos dang (songs rgyas; 'khml 11 ' dang) 113 1 roth s an bzang po ,. 1 mam par db ye b' a 0 (skyes bu; ehu zlabzhin) 114 1 ung gYIS sgnlb pa (yon tan drug beu/ 15 dang I dpe' bstan pa'i don (gnas 'di dog 10) 116 ni sla'o II II

'phrin las mam par dbye ba la gsum ste Ilhun gyis grub pa (do ni de'i las) 117 dang I rgyun royi 'chad pa'i don (yontan)118 gnyis bstan pa dang I {bshad pa dang 1}119 dpe' bsgrub pa'o II bshad pa Cdi gnyis kYi)120 1a lhun gyis grub pa dang I rgyun royi 'chad pa'o II rgyun myi 'chad pa'i don la bzhi <2a4> ste I bstan pa dang bshad pa gnyis (nges 'byin) 121 kyis don drug dgod pa dang I dpe' drug dgod pa (gnas dmg 109 RGVV p. 175.2. 110 RGVV p. 175.7 ('dj man chad). III RGVV pp. 175. 11 (stabs moms dang); 175.16 (rda Ije bzNn). 112 RGVV pp.177.1; 177,8.

RGVVp. 177,11; RGV III. 14. RGVV pp. 179.10; 181.9. RGV IIL27.


116 RGVV p. 181.17. 117 RGVV p, 185.5. 118 RGV IV.2. 119 This is supplied on the basis of the context and the parallel phrase in Rngog lo's
EssenfjaJ A'feaning, A: fols. 55b6-56al; B: p, 355 (fol. 34a7): 'phlin las ni mam pa gSlll11 gyis stan ste I Ihun gyi gmb pa dang rgyun lJ1i 'chad pa'i don bstan pa dang I bshad pa dang I bsgnzb pa '0 II.

120 RGVV p. 185.15. 121 RGV IV.5.



PO)122 dong I dpe' don gyi ehos mthun po bston po (yon tan)123 dong I don dmg gi spyi don gsum nye bar bsdu' bo'o (gzhan)124 II dpe' rgus bsgmb po 10 mom po lngo ste mdor bston po (skyebadangmdor'gagpas) 125 dmig po'i dgos po IdpernamskYi)126 dong dong

I rgyas par dbye ba dang I dpe' bstan

I dpe'

mtshon par bye bo'i don gyi rang bzhin

I dpe'i (dpe"di mams)127 go rims so /I rgyos par dbye bo 10 < 205> rgu los I dong po brgyo byin gzugs dong , dra bo 10 gnyis ste I mom rtog myed po dong I

I don sbyor bo' 0 II dong po 10 bzhi ste I gzhidog pos gzugs snang bo (mdo'i gnas) 128 dong I snong bo des phon po 10 'jug po (de nas sky" pal 129 dong I phon po phyin ci log las 'byung bo
skye 'gog myed po'o dong po 10 gnyis ste bston po dong (dedagdgeba/ 30 dang I snang bo 10 mom por rtog po mye[d po]'o (snang bade nishindu yang) 131


I dpe'


don 10 sbyar ba 10 yang bzhi ste < 206 > sems dog pos rgya1 bo'i


snang ba (de bzhin) 132 dong I snong ba des phon po 10 'jug pa (de mthong nas kyang) 133 dong

snong bo 10 [mo]m por rtog po myed po (snang ba de [ni yang])134 dang I phon p0l35




ROV IV.9. ROV IV.12.


125 ROVV p. IS7.21 (skyebadang 'gagpamedpas).


ROVV p. 205.25.

127 ROV IV.92.


ROVV p. IS9.4.

129 ROV IV.16.


ROV IV.lS. ROV IV.19, ROV IV.20. ROV IV.23. ROV IV.24. 174





nyid 'khrul pa las gyur pa'o CdinirangScms)136

I dpe' dang don no

II skye 'gag myed pa la yang gnyis ste II dang po la yang gnyis te I gzhi'i dbang gis skye 'gag hI i37 I bstan pa dang I bshad

. ba '0 (de dngos thob 1 rgyu ym snang ba (ji Itar sa kun) 138 d ang I snang mye d l39 de phan pa ,. phyir)140 II don la gnyis ste gnyis te


< 2a7 > dang po la

I sems

kyi dbang gyis skye 'gag hII41 snang ba (dag pa:i bai du)141 dang

sIlang ba de phan pa'i rgyu yin [paro (ji Itar) I43 dbang gis skyed parl44 snaIlg ba dang

II bshad pa la gsum ste I sems Cgro bar) 145 dang I ' gag par snang ba (rnyog pa'i) 146

dpe' gnyis pa mam [par] dbye ba la g[s]um ste I bag yod pa la sbyor ba (Iha'i rngat 8 dang I nye [ba]r 'tshe l49 ba la skyob pa gIlyis kyis phan 'do[gs] pa'i khyad par (ji Itar/ 50 dang I khyad par du 'phags

I don bsdu'

ba' 0 (de bzhin) 147


MS read ba. RGV IV,25. MS reads duo RGV IV.27.





A1yed is written with the logogram (1a.

RGV IY.28a, MS reads du.



142 RGV IY.28c ..


RGV ry.29.

144 MS reads bar.


RGV IV.30a.

146 RGV IY.30b,


RGV IV.30d,

148 RGVV p. 191.15.


MS reads mtshe.

150 RGV IV.34.



< 2b 1> pa'i chos (ei 'i phYir)151 dang I myi dmyigs pa'i rgyu'o (de Itar thogs,pa myed po) 152 11
sprin gyi dpe' Ia bzhi ste myed par) 156dang

I yongs

su smyin pa'i [d]pe' ([sprin bzhinJ) 153 dang

I snod

kyi rjes su byed pa (snod rnams) 154 dang

I phan gnod l55 la mam par myi rtog pa (Itospar

I mye ra b hlS7 ' 0 (sdug sngal gyi) 15811th III Zh'b-b 1. a1 ye d pa S angs pa " 1 d pe' la gsum ste II bstan pa (tshangs po chen po) 159 dang I bshad pa Ui Itar) 160 dang I snang ba dang myi snang ba'i rgyu'o (sngon gyi rang/ 61 II nyi ma'i dpe' la Inga ste I phan
{gnod Ia} [mam pa]r myi rtog pa ([nYimalbzhinzhes)162 dang I mU11 pa sel <2b2> , d' gye d pa (ehos dang gzugs) 163 d d k yl . lJes . su 1Dye d pa (gang phyir) 164 d ang 1 b a ,. 1 0 angi S110 rim gyis 'bab pa (de Itar)165 dang 151 RGVV p. 193.9. 152 RGVV p. 195.12. 153 RGVV p. 197.1. 154 RGVV p. 197.10. 155 The manuscript reading phan 'dods has been emended to phan gnod on the basis of a parallel sentence in Rngog lo's Essentjal iVfeaning, A: fo!' 61a4; B: p. 362 (fo!. 37b2):
phan gnod la mam par mi rtog par 'Jug pa.

I 'od kyi dkyil 'k..hor khyad par du 'phags pa'o Cod

156 RGVV p. 197.15 (ltos pa med pa). 157 MS reads du.


RGVV p. 199.5 (sdug bsngaJ gYI).

159RGVVp.199.16. 160 RGV IV.55. 161 RGV IV.56. 162 RGVV p. 201.12. 163 RGV IV.61. 164 RGV IV.62. 165 RGVV p. 203.3.



kyidkYil'khor/ 66 bzhin gyi) 167


II nor bu'i dpe' la gnyis ste I myi rtog par don thams cad gmb pa d d a 'ka ' b a ' 0 II dpe ' gzh an ang irnye nl II dpes mtshon pa'i don gyi rang bzhin la bzhi ste I dngos su bljod pa'i
(de bzhin gshcgs po) 168 (sgra; nom kha; so) 169 .


don bstan pa (de don ce) 170 dang I shugs kyis [g]nas pa'i don bstan pa (loIl9 Spyad)171 dang

I dngos su b<2b3>ljod 172 pa'i don bshad pa (doll'di llyid)173 dang I dngos su bljod
pa'i dpe' dag gyis 'dra ba nyid bstan pa' 0 khams la mos pa'i phan yon la gnyis ste
pa'i/ 75 (yang ji Itar na) 17411

(tshigs su bead

I phan yon spyir bshad pa

'di la gsum ste

dang I bye brag tu l76 bshad pa

(gang phYir/ 78

(gang zhig byallg chub) 177

dang I de'i 'thad pa gsum

gyis bstan pa


I bshad pa' a II

I spyir bstan pa
kyis bsngags pa

bshad pa dang

I bsam ba phlID sum

'tshogs pa'i rgyu nyid


RGVV p. 203.11. RGVV p. 203.20 (yid bz/7in). RGVV p. 205.5. RGVV pp. 205.10; 205.15 (nam mklw); 205.20. Cf. RGVV p. 205.25: dpe mams kyi (N kyis) bsdus pa'i don ni. Cf. RGV ry.83a: 'bad rtsol (iJbhoga). Note that the prefix (sngon 'jug) ba is unexpectedly separated from l;"od on the next








RGVV p. 207.13. RGVV p. 209.1. Cf. Rngog 10's Essential Meaning (A: fo!' 62a5; B: p. 363 [fol.


38a4]), which reads dngos (mgos B) su bz;"od pa dpe don gyi 'dra ba bsg11lb pa.

Cf. RGVV p. 211.5: ts/7igs su bead pa dmg go. MS reads du. RGV V.3. RGV V.6.
!VIS reads gnyis. The Essential Meaning (A: fol. 63b3; B: p. 365 [fol. 39al]) reads







(bsam rn)'i}ISO


<2b4> sbyor ba phun sum 'tshog[s] pa'i


nyid kyis dang

bsngags pa'o

II sbyor ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i rgyur bstan pa

{'khor gSLlnl maIn par/ 82 l83

(de niltag tll)181

de phun sum 'tshogs pa'i rang bzhin dang I sbyor ba phun sum 'tshogs pa'i rgyur bsgnlb pa'o

II sbyor ba phlm sum 'tshogs pa'i rang bzhin la gsum ste I bsod nams kyi dpe' brjod pa dang I phun sum 'tshogs dang I ngo b 0 nyl'd dang gzhung gzugs pa ' 0 II pa ,.1 eh os < 2b5 > bstan ehos rdzogs pa'i bya ba la gnyis ste I bstan pa dang bshad pa' 0 II bstan pa la gsum ste I ehos bshad pa' i tshul
(bsod nams)184 (de 10 mom) IR5 (byin byung) 186 (tshigs Sll bead po bell po) 187 (de Itar yid ehes/ 88

9' ,. d I b ,. I (gang gi phyir) 1 8 my 1 spong pa 1 rgyu ang spong a 1 rgyu (nyon mongs; biD sman phyir dang) 190 dang I spangs pa'i 'bras bu (ji Itar zab mol 191 dang I spong ba la bag bya ba

d ang


I bshad pa'i bsod nams

bsngo' ba'o

(dkonrnehog/ 92


'di la gnyis ste

I 'phags

rgyu nyjd kyis bsngags pa.


ROV V.9. ROV V.1l. ROV V.14.




MS reads gyi.
ROV V.l2a. ROV V.12b. ROV V.l3. ROVV p. 219.1. ROV V.16. ROV V.20 (gang phyiIJ. ROV V.21; ROV Y.23. ROV V.2S.












pa'i dang l93 slob dpon gyi po


11 194

bshad po ni don de moms nyid rgyas par bshad

0 (theg mchog dam chos; dkon lTIchog)


< 2b6 > rgyud bla ma'i bsdus don 10 tsa ba dge slong b10 Idan shes rab kyis
sbyar pa

II II rdzogs s.ho II II

( ... the first folio is missing ... ) Similarity between the meaning and simile 1.146-47 The means to confmn [one's devotion] U53 [The meaning of emptiness U54-55] [The Purpose of teaching Buddha Nature U56-67]

Detailed explanation of [a buddha's] awakening 1. Summary of the eight subjects 1.1. Presentation ILl 1.2. Explanation II.2 2. Detailed explanation of the eight subjects 2.1. Presentation II.3, 8-9, 18-20,29,38-41,62,69 2.2. Explanation II.4-7, 10-17,21-28,30-37,42-61,63-68,70-73


The phrase 'phags pa'i dang is inserted below the line with red ink. MS reads, bslob dpon kyi and do'es not have nyis shad (II).


ROVV p. 219.9 (This verse is not found in the Sanskrit text). It is not clear which phrase in the root text is referred to by the word dkon mchog.



RGVIII Detailed explanation of [a buddha's] qualities l. Presentation from the viewpoint of a support 1.1. Sunmlary of the presentation III.l. l.2. Detailed explanation [ofthe presentation] III.2-3 2. Presentation from the viewpoint of similes 2.l. Summary of the explanation [of the similes] 2.2. Detailed explanation 2.2.l. Detailed explanation of the [ten] powers Main subject III.5-6 Common features shared by [the subject and] simile III.7 2.2.2. Detailed explanation of the [four] fearlessness Main subject III. 8-9 Comm9n features shared by [the subject and] simile III. 10 2.2.3. Detailed explanation of the [eighteen] extraordinary qualities 2.2.3.l. Main subject III. 11-13 COl1ill10n features shared by [the subject and] simile III. 14-16


2.2A. Detailed explanation of the [the thirty-two] marks [of a Great Man] 2.2A.l. Main subject III. 17-25 2.2A.2. Common feahlres shared by [the subject and] simile III.26
3. Proof by means of a scriphlral source IlI.27 4. Summary of the presentation of similes III. 28-3 9 RGVIV Detailed explanation of [a buddha's] activities l. Presentation of the meaning of [a buddha's] effortless and unintemlpted [activities] IV. 1-2 2. Explanation 2.1. Effortless [nahlre of the activities] IY.3-4 2.2. Unintemlpted [nahlre of the activities]


2.2.1. Presentation (dgod pa) of six subjects [on a buddha's unintemlpted nature of the activities] Presentation IV.S Explanation IV.6-7 2.2.2. Presentation of six similes


2.2.3. Presentation (bstan pa) of similarity shared by subjects and similes

2.2.4. Sununary of three general meanings regarding the six subjects IV.12 3. Establishing [a buddha's effortless and unintemlpted activities] by means of [nine] similes 3.1. Summary [of the nine similes] IY.13 3.2. Details [of the nine similes] 3.2.1. Similarity with Indra' s manifestation [Indra reveals his manifestation to the world] without

conceptualisation 196 Presentation of the simile 3.2.l.l.1.1. [Indra] manifests because [the surface of] the earth is clear

IY.14--lS [Sentient beings] engage in beneficial [activities] stimulated by

The word mam par 110g pa med pa (avlkaJpa) can also mean "without

discriminating" in the context of RGV IV.l3-98, which explains that a bllddhds activities are without discrimination with regard to all sentient beings. See RGVV p. 99:
iJ JokiJd avlkaJparp bliddhakiJrymp pravartata iti ("a bllddhds activities arise all over

the world without discrimination"). The JffiJniJJokiJJarpkiJrasiltra (on which the nine similes in the RGV IV are based) seems to Use the word avikaJpa (and its equivalents) "without discrimination." See J AA, p. 39: fatm ca tathiJgato mafijllsrf{7 samaIl "In this regard, 0 MaiijusrI, a tathiJgata is equal [in his attitude] and is indifferent toward everything, without discrimination, and without distinction" (but see also JAA, p. 28 etc., in which the word aVlkaJpa [and its
sarvatropek~ako njrvise~ab

equivalents] means "without concephlGlisation ").



[Indra' s] manifestation IV. 16-17 Beneficial [activities] arise from [sentient beings'] mistaken [views] IV.I8 [lndra' s] manifestation is without conceptualisation IV.19 Connection shared by [the simile and the illustrated] meaning A buddha's body manifests because [sentient beings'] minds are clear IV.20-22 [Sentient beings] engage in wholesome activities stimulated by [a
buddha's] manifestation lV.23 [A buddha's] manifestation is without concephlGlisation IV.24 Beneficial [activities] arise from deceptive [appearances] IV.2S-26 [lndraJ is apart from arising and ceasing Simile [lndra] appears as appearing and disappearing in accordance with [the qualities of] the earth IV.27 [Ilidra's] non-appearing is a cause of beneficial [activities] IV.28ab Meaning Presentation [A buddha] appears as arising and ceasing in accordance with [the qualities of sentient beings'] minds IV.28cd [A buddha's] appearing is a cause of beneficial [activities] IV.29 Explanation [A buddha] appears as arising in accordance with [the qualities of sentient beings'] minds lV.30a [A buddha] appears as ceasing IV.30bc Summary IV.30d 3.2.2. Details of the second simile (i.e. celestial dmm) The extraordinary characteristic of [a celestial dmm's] benefit in view of [its] alerting [sentient beings] to be vigilant and [its] protecting [them] 182


from danger IV.31-34; IY.35 The extraordinary qualities IV.36-40 The reason why [sentient beings] do not hear [the sound] IV.4I 3.2.3. The simile of clouds The simile of [crops'] maturation [brought out by rainy clouds] IV.42-45 [Rain water] takes shapes of pots (gnod kyi Jjes Sli byedpa) IV.46 The benefit and harm of [rain] is apart from conceptualisation IV.47-49 [Rain] extinguishes fire IV.50-52 3.2.4. The simile of Brahma Presentation IV.53-54 Explanation IV.55 The reason for [Brahma's] appearance and non-appearance ry.56-57 3.2.5. Simile of the sun The benefit and harm [of the sun] is apart from conceptualisation IV.58-60 [The sun] spreads light that clears away darkness IV.61 [The sun's reflection] follows [the surface of water in] pots IY.62 [Sunlight] descends [from the higher to the lower parts of a mountain] gradually IV.63-64 The extraordinary quality of the sun-disc IV.65-66 3.2.6. The simile of the wish-fulfilling jewel (cintamwp) [The wish-fulfilling jewel] fulfills all wishes without conceptualisation IV.67-69 [The wish-fulfilling jewel] is difficult to obtain IY.70 3.2.7. [The simile of an echo] ry.71-72 3.2.8. [The simile of space] IV.73-74 3.2.9. [The simile of the earth] IY.75-76 183


3.3. The purpose of teaching the [nine] similes IV.77-79 3.4. The nahrre of the illustrated topics 3.4.1. Presentation of the meaning that was achlGlly stated IV.80-82 3.4.2. Presentation of the implicated meaning IY83-84 3.4.3. Explanation of the meaning that was actually stated rY85-88 3.4.4. Presentation of the similarity [illustrated] by the simile that was actually stated rV.89-91 3.5. The order of the similes rY92-98 RGVV The benefits of devotion for [worshipping the teaching of] Buddha N ahrre I. Presentation 1.1. General explanation of the benefits V.I-2 1.2. Its specific presentation V.3-5 1.3. Logical reasoning V.6 2. Explanation 2.1. Explanation of the general presentation V.7-8 2.2. Praising [the merit of shldying the RGV] because [it is] the cause of excellent resolve V.9-l0 2.3. Praising [the merit of shldying the RGV] because [it is] the cause of excellent effort 2.3.1. Presenting [the merit of shldying the RGV] as the cause of excellent efforts V.II 2.3.2. The nahrre of the excellent [efforts] Examples of merits V.12a Qualities of the excellent [efforts] Yl2bcd Establishing the characteristics [of the excellent efforts] and the doctrinal position V.13 2.3.3. Establishing [the merit of shldying the RGV] as the cause of excellent effort V.I4-15 184


The [concluding] acts .regarding the successful completion of the treatise's composition 1. Presentation
1. L The way to explain the teaching V.16-19

1.2. Refraining from abandoning [the teaching] 1.2.1. Reason why one, [should] not abandon [the teaching] V.20-2l 1.2.2. Reason why one abandons [the teaching] Y.22 1.2.3. The consequences of abandoning [the teaching] V.23-24 1.3. The dedication of the merits of explaining [the teaching] 1.3.1. The dedication by kya [Maitreya] V.25 1.3.2. The dedication by ACQrya [ASQl1ga] V.26-28 2. Explanation [of the acts] (extra verse in RGVV p. 219.8-9)197

197 The Sanskrit text does not have a pQlt cOITesponding to this topiC (RGVV p. 219.8-9),
in which an 'extra verse' is found (theg mchog dam chos rin chen bshad 'di las II bsam

yas bsod nams bdag gis gang thob pa II des ni 'g1'O!am theg mchog dam pa'j chos II lin chen dzi ma med pa'j slJod gYUT cig II).




(fo1. 2a)

The Bdtish Library



(foL 2b)

The Blitish Library



1. Primary Sources

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Bka' gdams chos 'byung = Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan. Bka' gdams chos 'byUllg gsal ba'i sgron me. Lhasa: Bod Uongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 2003. Bka' gdamsgsung 'bum

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Bka' gdams gsung 'bum dkar chag

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(ed.). Bka' gdams gsung 'bum phyogs sgrig thengs dang po'i dkar chag. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe sgrung khang, 2006.

Blo Idan shes rab kyi mam thar = Gro lung pa Blo gros 'byung gans. 'Jig rtenmig gcig blo Idan shes rab kyi mam thar: Biography ofBlo Idan shes rab. The Unique Eye of the World by Oro 11111 pa Blo gros 'bY1ll1 gnas. The Xylograph Compared with a Bhutanese Manuscript. Dram Oul (ed.). Vienna: Vienna Shldies in Tibetology
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'Bras spllngs dkar chag = Opal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib 'jug khang (ed.). 'Bras SpUl1gs dgon du bzhugs su gsol ba'i dpe mying dkar chag. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe
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'Bri gung chos mdzod = 'Bri gung bka' brgyud kyi chos mdzod ciJenmo. n.p., n.d. Bstan pa rgyaspa rgyan gyi nyi 'od = Bcom Idan ral gri. Bstan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od In Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 51, pp. 53-156.



Co/lected Works of Bu stan = Bu ston Rin chen grub. Collected Works of Ell stOll. Lokesh Chandra (ed.). Sata-pitaka Series 41-68. 28 vols. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1965-71. Complete Works of SluJkya mchog Idan = Gser mdog pm! chen ShCikya mchog ldan. The Complete Works (gsung 'bum) of Gser mdog Pa{7 chen Shakya mc/JOg Idan. 24 vo1s. Thimphu: Kunzang Tobgey, 1975. Dbus mtha' mam 'byed kyi don bsdus = Rngog Blo 1dan shes rab. Dbus dang mtha' mam par 'byed pa'i don bsdus pa. In Bka' gdams gSllng'bum, vol. 1, pp. 257-83. Deb ther sngon po = 'Gos 10 tsCi ba Gzhon nu dpal. The Blue Annals. Lokesh Chandra (ed.). Sata-pitaka Series 212, New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1974. Dpyad gzhj'j yig cha phyogs sgJigs = Dpyad gzhi'i yig cha phyogs sgrigs, iii::\cse.*~*
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Sarvabuddhavi~aYlJvatarojjjanalokalalJIkara nama mahayanastltro, SansJait

Text T. Kimura et al (eds). In The publishing committee of the felicitation volume for Utt. D. Kich6 Onozuka (ed.) Kobi5daishi Kakai's Thought and Culture, In Honour of Litt. D. Kichij Onozuka on His Seventieth BiIthday. Tokyo: Nomburusha, vol. 2, pp. 1-89. il.fdo sde rgyan gyi don bsdus = Rngog Blo 1dan shes rab. Mdo sde rgyan gyi don bsdus. In Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 207-53. Mngon ItOgS rgyan gyi don bsdus

= Rngog BIo Idan shes rab.

Shes rob kyi pha ral du

phyin pa man ngag gj bstan bcos don bsdus pa rin po che 'j sgran me. A: Lotsaba chen po 'j bsdus don. Commentmyon the AbMsamayalalJIkara by Rilog Lotsaba Blo Idan shes rob. Dharamsala: Librmy of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1993; B: In Bka' gdams gsung 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 125-203.



Prajilaparamitapiw!artha =

Dignaga. PrajHaparamitapi{lr;iartha. Tucci, G. (ed.).

Joumal of the Royal Asiatic Sodety of Great Britain and Ireland, 1947, pp.

Rgyud bla ma'i bsdus don (Topical OutlIile) = Rngog Blo Idan shes rab. Rgyud bla ma'i bsdus don. British Library, K.K.v.b.35b (IOL, Tib M, vol. 7, fol. 66) Rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus (Essential j~leaning) = Rngog Blo Idan shes rab. Theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma'i bstan bcos kyi don bsdus po. A: Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa. Commentary on the Ratnagotravjbhaga by Rngog Lotsaba Blo Idan ses rab. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1993; B:
In Bka' gdams gSllng 'bum, vol. 1, pp. 289-369.

Rgyud bla ma 'j bsdus pa 'i don (Topical Outline) = Phywa pa Chos kyi seng ge. Theg pa chen po rgYlld bla ma'j bsdus pc 'i don. In Bka' gdams gSllng 'bum, vol. 7, pp.
145-56. RGV/v =

Ratnagotravibhagal-vyakhya (= Mahayanottaratal1trai'Jstra). Skt.: The

Ratnagotravib17aga lvlahayanottaratantraSastra. Seen through the press and

n.lrnished with indexes by T. Chowdhury. Johnston, E.H. (ed.). Patna: The Bihar Research Society, 1950; Tib.: Zowa taiyaku Kukyoichij6 h6s176ro11 kenkya [Tibetan and Japanese translations of the Ratnagotraviblu]ga]. Z. Nakamura (ed.). Tokyo: Suzuki Research Foundation, 1967.

Rngog 10 mam thar = Gser mdog pm; chen Shakya mchog Idan. Rl1gog 10 tsts17a ba chen pas bstan pa ji Itar bskyangs pa'i tshul mdo tsam du bya ba ngo mts17ar gtam gyi ralmo. In Complete Works ofSI1Iikya mc170g Idan, vol. 16, pp. 443-56. Sa skya bka' 'bum = The Complete Works of the Great iVlasters ofthe Sa skya Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism. 15 vols. Tokyo: Toyo Bunko, 1968. Vyakhyayukti = The Tibetan text of the Vyakhyayukti of Vasubandhll. Critically

edited /Tom the Cone, Derge, Narthang and Peking editions. J. Lee (ed.).
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YoginIsaiJcara =

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UpadesanusariJJlvyakhya of Alakakalasa). 1.S. Pandey (ed.). Sal11ath: Central

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von Hiniiber, H. 2006. Some remarks on the Sanskrit manuscript of the MUlasarvastivQda-Pratimob;;Qslitra found in Tibet. In U. Hi.isken, K. Petra & A. Peters (eds)

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Indica et Tibetica Verlag, 283-338. Ichigo, M. 1985. Cl1l7gan si5gonrDn no kenky17: Santarak~ita no shisou. Kyoto: Buneido Shoten. Jackson, D.P. 1987. The Entrance Gate for the Wise (Section III} Sa-skya PGlJcjita on

Indian and Tibetan Traditions of Prama(1a and Philosophical Debate. 2 vols.

Vienna: Vienna Studies in Tibetology and Buddhism. - - 1993. rNgog 10 tsii ba's commentary on the Ratnagotravibhiiga. Fotward to Theg

chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa, Commentary oli the Ratnagotravibl1aga by Rnog Lotsaba Blo Idan Ses rab (1059-1109). Dharamsara: Library of Tibetan
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to be or neither. London/New York: Routledge Curzon.

Kobayashi, M. 1993. Chibetto ni okeru nyogenchUgan, mujyilchugan wo meguru rons6
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... 1. Introductory Remarks

The life and works of Klongchen rab 'byams pa Dri med 'od zer (1308-

1364), henceforth Klong chen pa, have drawn the interest of several modern .. scholars. Short biographical accounts of this prolific writer can be found in
. several modern publications, but it would be perhaps still worthwhile to carry out an analytical study of his life by assessing various Tibetan sources. 1 One also notices an increasing number of studies concerning his writings. The ;theme of these previous shldies include (a) discussions and


Klong chen pa's works (or cluster of works) in general, (b) historical accOlmts of how his (individual or cycles of) works were brought to print, (c) . deliberations on the authorship of certain works

to him, (d) srudy of

specific works and certain philosophical or religiOUS aspects connected with

him, and (e) translations (in part or in full) of some of his most difficult works. 2 In particular, Herbert Guenther and David Germano have already seen . the usefulness of detennining a chronology of Klong chen pa's writings, which is for several reasons a difficult, if not an entirely impossible task. Guenther refers to "youthfi.ll," "subsequent," and "mature" writings of Klong chen pa,3 thereby proposing only a rough chronological sequence. Germano, in his study of the Tshig don l11dzod, discusses a relative chronology of the major writings


For secondary and primary sources on KIong chen pa's life, see Appendix A. For a survey of previous studies on Klang chen pa's works, see Appendix B. Guenther 1975a: 245, n. 4.


of Klong chen pa,4 but makes only a fleeting allusion to a few cross-references provided by Klong chen pa himself Stephane Arguillere's obviously impressive study (in French) of Klong chen pa's life, works, and doctrine, which also discusses the chronology of Klong chen pa's works inCluding internal references or "auto-citations"S came into my hands too late to make full use of it. Nonetheless, a last-minute attempt has been made to take his findings into consideration. 6 The present article primarily seeks to take the cross-references provided by Klong chen pa into account and once more look into the relative chronology of Klong chen pa's works. 2. Klong chen pa's Writings and Writing Career Any attempt to establish the relative chronology of Klong chen pa's writings involves a number of issues including the author's writing career, the total number of his works, identification of extant and lost works, classification of his works, and the authenticity of authorship of some of the works attributed to him. Presumably almost all of Klong chen pa's major works that we know today were written during the second half of his relatively short life of only fifty-six years, that is, between 1337 and 1364. Sources do not agree on the total number of writings penned by Klong chen pa. Chos grags bzang po (ca. 1300110-1375/85), his biographer, lists-clearly on the basis of Klong chen pa's catalogue of his own works composed in Bhutan-270 titles while the few additional prayers (gsol'debs), spiritual songs (1l1gur), and "adamantine songs" (rdo Ije'j gIll) are considered by him to be "ancillaries" (cha lag). The modem editors of this biography have assigned the number 271 to these

Gennano 1992: 1Iff.

Arguillere 2007: 140-76. See particularly, pp. 156-57, which provide a hypothesis of the dates of composition of Klong chen pa's principal works.

I thankOma Almogi, the editor of the present volume, for letting me incorporate these last-minute changes one day before sending the manuscript to the press.



ancillaries.7 Glag bla Esod nams chos gmb (1862-1944), however, speaks of 253 titles that are included in the catalogue (dkar chag tu theb dgs), and adds that in most biographies and other catalogues, additional works such as the commentaries on the Abhisamaya!mpkara, J./!u!amadhyamakakariIdi, and

Madhyamakava-tara are mentioned. 8 Smyo shul mkhan po's recent Rdzogs

cben chos 'byzmg refers to about 307 works.9 The fact that Klong chen pawas
also a treasure-revealer (gter btonlston) further complicates the task of assessing the number of his works. Moreover, for whatever reasons, several
major and minor works of Klong chen pa seem to be lost. 10

Nlthong bd don !dan (pp. 208.5-227.3). The number of Klong chen pa's writings

listed by Chos grags bzang po has been noted in Guenther 1975a:xvi; Ehrhard 2000b: ix, n. 1. Cf. Roerich 1949: 200, where it is stated that Klong chen po composed 263 books including a chos 'byung.

Dad gsum 'jug ngogs (p. 109.15-18): ... dkar cJwg tu theb rigs chos tshan nyis brgya

dang Inga bCli rtsa gSlim dang I gzhan yang 111am thar dkar chags pha! cher Jas rgyan 'gre! dang I rtsa sher 'gre! dang I 'jug'gre! sogs mang dll snang bar bshad. ...

BGlTOn 2005: 145. See also Arguillere 2007: 176-94, where 307 titles have been

listed. The list also provides, wherever applicable, the author's names and places of composition found in the colophons.

An oral tradition has it that many of the original drafts of Klong chen pa's works

were lost when a pack animal stumbled while crossing a deep ravine in central' Bhutan, sending the manuscripts into the abyss below (BGlTOn 2005: 634, n. 63). Glag bla speaks about the failed attempt of some Tibetans to procure over 100 volumes of Klang chen pa's works from Asura Cave in Nepal. See his Dad gsum 'jug ngogs (pp. 109.19-1lO.2): bal yu! a Sll ra'i brag phug tlllje 'dj'j gSllngs chos po ti brgya !hag

tsam yod par grags nas bod pa 'ga' zhig gis btsa! zhing len grabs byas tshe gza' grib kyis gnod nas blang ma phod ces bshad sra! kyang 'dug go


As pointed out in

Ehrhard 2000b: ix, the writings of Klong chen pa-unlike the writings of Bu stan Rin chen gmb (1290--1364), his contemporary, for instance-were apparently never collected and compiled by his followers; and the tense relationship he had with the ruler T"ai Si tu Byang chub rgyal mtshan (1302-1364), which forced him to take up



Most traditional sources classify Klong chen pa's works into "external themes" (phyj'j gnas), "internal themes" (nang gj gnas), and "esoteric themes"
(gsang ba'jgnas) by following the scheme devised in his catalogue.11

However, perhaps for pragmatic reasons, Klong chen pa's extant works are often known to both traditional and modem scholars under the clusters of "Heptalogy of Treasuries" (Mdzod bdlln), "Trilogy on Relaxation" (Ngal gso
skor gsum), "Trilogy on Dispelling Darkness" (lv[lln sel skor gSlll11), "Trilogy

on Natural Release" (Rang grol skor gS1l111), "Trilogy on QUintessence" (Yang

tjgl2 skor gSlIln), and "Miscellaneous Works" (Gslmg thor bll). The last one

also includes the Rang grol skor gSlll11. 13 Indeed most of Klong chen pa's works that are extant today can be subsumed under these clusters, or are at least connected with them.

exile in Bum thang (in central Bhutan), may account for this. (By the way, the statement in Penjore 2005: 61 that Klong chen pa came to Bhutan on 'self-exile' is misleading). According to 'Jigs med gling pa (Rgyud 'bum rtogs b/jod, p. 314.3), several works of Klong chen pa seem to have gone missing "because of the shortage of diligence (Le. on the pmi of his followers) in compilation, or for not [being able] to distinguish between the treatises of the erudite and confused ones" (bsdu bal brtson

'gms nyllng ba'am mkhas Imongs kyi bstan beos 1a bye brag mi phyed pa'i SllllgS kyis).

For a discussion of the classification of Klong chen pa's writings based on his own

catalogue, see Ehrhard 1990: 4-5, 86; id. 2000b: ix-x; Germano 1994: 242. See also Guenther 1996: 6-11 and Arguillere 2007: 157-76.

On the term tig/ti1ig, see Ehrhard 1990: 98, n. 55. Although tig and thig are usually

accepted as 0!1hographical variants, I somehow get the impression that snying tbig is pre felTed to snying tig but yang tig to yang ti1ig.

The references of the Rang grol skor gSliIn provided in this m1icle are to the version

found in the Gsung thor bu. There are, of course, other editions of the trilogy as well, for instance, the one found in the RGKS &- RG(pp. 2.1-142.5).



, 3. Some Suppositions and Sources of Information Establishing a relative chronology based purely on internal criteria (i.e. on the .:doctrines and philosophical' ideas contained in his works) appears to be

s~difficult at. tIils point. Through skilled detective work, however, one may be
\ able to propose a possible relative chronology of some of his major works by ; piecing together bits of scanty information. One of the first sources of 'information in this regard, I would assmne, is the cross-references provided by ': the author himself. We can, of course, rely on such information only if we . presuppose that any treatise referred to by the author was composed prior to ;, the treatise that refers to it. This is, as pointed out by David Jackson,14 a reasonable supposition, but it leaves aside the very real possibility that an (author worked on two or more works at the same time. Jackson showed in the
'!T ease

of So skya pOl;c;lita Kun dga' rgyal mtshan's (1182-1251) works that two or later revisions (and editions) by the author himself. Such an

J<'treatises refer to each other, and this might in turn imply simultaneous


i';Hnsta:nce of two works referring to each other has not been, however, traced in

chen pa's works. We shall also have to reasonably presume that a given text (rtsa ba) had been composed prior to its commentary ('greIpa) and


7f~other supplementary works such as instructional manuals (don khrid / khrid

:yig) if any, although one cannot rule out a long temporal gap between the

',composition of the basic text and its commentaries (and other ancillaries). For

;;'pragmatic reasons, however, it is perhaps sensible to treat the basic text and its ';:(commentaries together. The second squrce of information can be the author's ; verses of epilogue (l11jug rtsol11)and colophons (l11dzad byang), which in ideal

cases would record the date, place, circumstance, and duration of composition, and the names of the scribe

the person/s upon whose request the work has

composed. IS In Klong chen pa's case, however, verses of epilogue and

This is, for example, the case with many major and minor writings of Mi pham rgyal rgya mtsho (1846-1912), which ought to be taken into account when



colophons rarely provide dates of composition,16 but are nonetheless quite informativeY The third source of infonuation is the catalogue of his own

studying his life and works. My impression is that Klong chen po was not very much concerned about recording dates and duration of composition, but rather about securing the authorship of his works, and preventing any future forgery or COD"Uption, by being, for instance, as far as possible consistent about the titles of his works and mentioning them at every possible instance such as in the beginning of the work, at the end of each chapter, in the concluding verses, and most importantly in the author's colophon. Perhaps even the assignment of Sanskrit titles-though imperfect and of no linguistic or bibliographic value-can be seen as additional measure to guarantee the originality of the titles of his works. Not all Sanskrit titles of Klong chen po's works, PQliicularly those written in the style of what is called SlIm bM (or SlIm Ikallg), 'seem to stem from the author himself. For a discussion of Sanskrit titles of Tibetan works including Dge 'dun chos 'pheI's (1903-1951) comments on the Tibetan custom of composing in Sanskrit (including titles), see Almogi 2005: 51-54. In spite of these efforts made by Klong chen pa there are discrepancies between titles that actually occur in the works themselves and those that are given in his catalogue. This makes one wonder if Klong chen pa had physical access to all his works when he wrote the catalogue in Bhutan. 16 There are, however, few exceptions such as in the case of the Phyogs bClI mUll sel and Gmb mtha' mdzod Note that the year of composition in the latter, as we shall see below, does not occur in the colophon but in the main text. The letter that he wrote to Bla rna dam pa Bsod nams rgyal mtshan (1312-1375), namely, the Gser gyi mcJlOd
SdOllg (p. 281.3-5) is dated to the 6th day of the gzlllmg ri rin chen bI1segs pa'i gnas nas phul tshes dmg gi nyin

month of a certain ox year:

I gZ11ll11g Ii rin

II [... J gJang 10 zla ba bCli gnyis pa'i chen glang [= glingJ gi ngogs nas pl1ll1 ba dge '01/

However, the dates found in his biographies and writings often pose difficulties and require proper verification.

Colophons, as already pointed out (e.g., in the context of Klong chen pa's works,

Germano 1992: 13), may not always be reliable for they may be added much later. (For a discussion on the authenticity of colophons in the context of canonical works,
s,~e the contribution of Orna Almogi in this volume.) Nonetheless, colophons found in



works entitled Dkar chag rin po che 'j mdzod khang (henceforth Rin chen

JIldzod kIiangY8 written during his exile at Thar pa gling in Bum thang,
)J3hutan. 19 This catalogue is useful insofar as the author himself records all the 'works that he had composed up until then. He is said to have been in Bhutan sometime in the 1350s.20 We may also have to reckon With the possibility that the catalogue had been 'updated' by the author himself or by his followers . . 'The fourth source of information is the record of the major events of Klong chen pa's life. In this regard, identification of all persons and places mentioned
by him (particularly in the colophons) and names of his disciples and other

: contemporaries would prove to be very usefuF I Of course, one ought to . remain open to any other clues.
::J<long chen pa's works contain useful information like the names of his disciples and
~benefactors. It is hoped that any future study of Klong chen pa's life and works would


~:include a careful analysis of the concluding verses and colophons found in. all his

it:~xtant writings.

This catalogue seems to have served as the main source' for the list of Klong chen

;'/pa;s writings found invariably in extensive biographies such as Chos grags bzang po's {Mthong ba don Idan (pp. 208.5-227.3) and 'Jigs med gling pa's Rgyud 'bum nogs

~brjod (pp. 310.2-314.4). The catalogue is included in Smyo shul mkhan po's Rdzogs
lichen chos 'byung (vol. 1, pp. 310.2-327.4) aild has been translated into English by : Richard Barron. See Barron 2005: 132-44. A critical and systematic study of this ?tbatalogue that includes

~:~f all

a~ identification of extant and lost works and a cross-checking


titles found in the extant works themselves, other catalogues, and elsewhere 2007: 157-75 .

;.,would be very much desirable. Cf.

.l9For an attempt to constmct Klong chen pa's life in exile based on oral tradition, see ; Penjore 2005. As interesting as they may be, the historicity of most of these namitive

: accounts will have to remain doubtful.

~2Guenther 1975a: xv; Gelmano 1992: 23; Penjore 2005: 62.

hlBecause most of his colophons mention the place of composition, one may try to tarrange. all his works according to the place of composition and to determine the flsPecific years he spent in specific places. The chronology of his life and that of his



4. Cross-References
In the fonowing few paragraphs, we shall take a look at some of the cross-

referential clues,:!:! and see what can be said regarding a relative chronology of Klong chen pa's major works, namely, the Aldzod bdun, Ngal gso skor gSllllJ., Mun sel skor gsum, Rang grol skor gsum, and Yang fig skor gsum. (a) Mdzod bdun
It seems very likely that Klong chen pa did not conceive of a fixed number of

Treasuries (mdzod) and that the designation lV1dzod bdun was probably given later on by others.:!3 Chos grags bzang po does not use any collective tenn for the Treasuries. For the sake of discussion, the jVfdzod bdun may be listed as follows:
1. 2. 3.

Gmb mtha' mdzod

Doxography (in prose)

Theg mchog mdzod I Rdzogs chen treatise (in prose) Yid bzhin mdzod ! 3.1. Yid bzhin mdzod(basic text in verse)


Tshig don mdzod

I 3.2. I Padma dkar po (commentary) I 3.3. I Rdo Ije snying po (instructional manual) I Rdzogs chen treatise (in prose)

works are thus intricately linked, and hence mapping the places of composition would be helpful in determining the relative chronology of his writings.

An attempt has been made to trace all cross-reference, but it is very much possible

that some of them have been overlooked.


Franz-Karl Ehrhard, by referring to Gene Smith, has once pointed out that the basic

concept was that of Five Treasuries and that the Gnas lugs mdzod and Man ngag

mdzodhave not been included in Klong chen pa's catalogue (Ehrhard 1990: 86, n. 14).
In fact the Man ngag mdzod does occur in the catalogue (Rin chen mdzod khong, p. 10.6) and was overlooked. This has been corrected in Smith 2001: 289, n. 92, where only the Gnos lugs mdzod is indicated as missing.




Man ngag mdzod

Treatise containing sets of six oral instmctions (in verse)


Chos dbyings mdzod 6.1. 6.2.


Chos dbyings mdzod (basic text in verse) Lung gigter mdzod (commentary?4 Khyab brdal klong yangs (instmctional manual?5 Gnas lugs mdzod (basic text in verse) Gnas lugs mdzod 'gre1 (commentary)


Gnas lugs mdzod

7.1. 7.2.

Exceptionally, the Grub mtha' mdzod, while "presenting the duration of the ,Doctrine [of the Buddha]" (bstan paji tsam gnas pa'i mam par gzhag pa), , gives interesting clues that should actually help us to exactly determine the . year of composition, but regrettably the years mentioned there seem to be problematic. The current year is given as the fIre-mole-horse (me pho rta),26 . which should correspond to 1306 or 1366, but unfortunately neither of the two
~~ls acceptable, because in 1306 Klang chen pa was not yet born and in 1366 he

/:had already passed away. Klong chen pa also states that 3,516 years have elapsed since the Buddha's parinirviiI;1a, which he identifIes, apparently

}24 The Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.4), however, does not refer to the commentary on '\the Chos dbyings mdzod as the Lung gi gter mdzodbut rather as the Chos dbyings gsal ba One wonders if the two were one and the some commentary or two different ones. ;'dn the latter case, the Chos dbyings gsal ba would belong to the group of lost works.

~_25 The Khyab brdal k/ong y~gs mentioned in the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.4)
'does not seem to be extant.
i. 26 Grub mtha' mdzod (fol. 2604-5): sngar 10 ji tsam song zhe na

I sangs rgyas mya

'/agan las 'das nas I me pho rta'i bar la 10 sum stong Inga brgya dang beu dnzg song I

5:phyin chad 10 dgu brgya dang brgyad eu rtsa bzhi yod do

'i'bzhi song ste j.


ibid (fols. 26b6-27al):

~de nas brtsis pas ding [= deng] sang me pho rta'i bar la 10 slim brgya nyi shu rtsa



following the Sa skya tradition, as the year of fire-female-pig (me



which, according to David Seyfort Ruegg's reckoning, corresponds to 2134 Bc. 28 This would mean that he was writing the Grub mtha' 111dzod in 1382 , which is in the fIrst place not a' fIre-male-horse but a water-male-dog (chu pho
khYJ) year, and which, too, falls outside Klong chen pa's dates. Hence,

provided the hitherto dates of Klong chen pa and the conversion of Tibetan dates into the Gregorian calendar are correct, this calendrical reference, too, is problematic. 29 The colophon of the Grub mtha' mdzod does not indicate the usual Gangs ri thod dkar as the place of composition, but instead mentions a certain "Abode of the Self-Arisen Padma" (rang byung padma'i gnas),30 which can be forhmately, with the help of the author's colophon found in other works, identifIed as Bsam yas (or perhaps more precisely as Mchims phu)Y


See the Gnrb mtha' mdzod(fols. 2604-27al) and Mang thos Klu sgrub rgya mtsho's

(1523-1596) Bstan 11sis gsa/ ba'i nyin byed(pp. 6.21-8.11).


See Seyfoli Ruegg 1992: 272.

One wonders if a different kind of calendrical system had been used here, a matter that requires fllliher investigation.

Grub mtha' mdzod (fol. 206al-4): theg pa mtha' dag gi don gsal bar byed pa gmb

117tha' rin po che'i mdzod ces bya ba bde bar gshegs pa'i gsung rab kyi gnas mdo dang

I rgyud dang I lung dang I 1ig [=

rigs] pa dang man ngag gi don la 117ang dll thos

sMng theg pa sna tSJlOgS kyi rang bzhin rang dang gzhan gyi grub pa'i 111tha' rgya mtsho'i tshu! khong dll chud pa 'i theg pa 111chog gi mal 'byor pa dri 111ed 'ad zer gyis rang bYllng padma'i gnas su sbyar ba rdzogs so If.

Klong chen pa seems to employ the expression rang byung pad111a'j gnas both for

8sam yas proper, especially when used together with the expression dpal bsal11 yas Ihlln gyis grub pa as in his SpIin gyi snyjng po (p. 275.4-5: ngang pa'i dris Ian spIin gyi snying po zhes bya ba I gangs Ii'i khrod kyi snyan dngags mkJwn dpal Jdan bsam yas pa ngag gi dbang pos I snyan ngag dang sdeb sbyor gtso bor ma byas shing go bde bar bya ba'i p/iyir I rang bYllng padma'i gnas dpal bsam yas Ihlln gyis gmb par sbyar ba rdzogs so I/J, and also for Mchims phu as in his Bdud i1sj'j chu rgyun (p. 45.1-3:



Because the Grub mtha' mdzod is mentioned by Klong chen pa in his commentary on the Yid bzhin rndzod,32 we can presume that the former was composed prior to the latter. 33 The Lung gi gter mdzod,34 an auto-commentary on the Chos dbyings 111dzod, also refers to the Grub mtha' 11ldzod, Theg11lchog

mdzod and 'Od gsa1 rin po che'i 11ldzod (or simply 'Od gsa111ldzod), that is, the Tshig don mdzod 35

gsol 'debs bdud ltsi'i ehu rgyzm zhes bya ba dpal kll (ma rd [= rna ra] dza'i zhabs kyi padmo dri ma med pa la grogs shing I thugs kyis bzung ba'i mal 'byorpa byar med klong yangs kyis I mehims phu dpal gyi nags khrod I rang byzmg padma'i bzl1l1gs gnas " Sli sbyar ba rdzogs so I/J. It is also clear that rang bYllng padma here refers to Padmasambhava.
. 32

Padma dkar po (vol. WGlp, fol. 403); 'di dag la dbye bas gyes pa beo brgyad du mam par gzhag pa gzhan yang yod de I kIlO bas byas pa'i bstan beos grubpg2 mtha'

,.JinJlQ ehe 'i 11KizIHj du shes par bya'o



See also Arguillere 2007: 157, where 1347 has been proposed as the date of

I . composition

of the Grub mtha' mdzod and 1348-1349 for. the composition o"f the Yid .. bzhin mdzod and its commentary, the Padma dkar po.

Lung gi gter mdzod (fols. 47b6-48al):" 'di'i khyad par ni kho bas byas pa'i bstan

beos I grub fJ.{Li 1l11iKL rin JlQ ehe'i mdzod dang I theg p.g..1 mehog rin /2fl ehe'i mdzod dang I 'ad [JSQi lin /2fl ehe'i mdzod dll shes par bya'oll; ibid (fol. 132b3): rgyas par ni 'ad f}SQi rin /2fl ehe'i mdzod dll shes par bya'o II; ibid (fol. 133bl): 'di dag gi lim pa rgyas par ni theg pg2 mehog lin /2fl ~r bstan pa bzhin rtogs par bya'o If. The latter two references are also provided in Germano 1992: 22 from the Mdzod bdun edition published by Sherab Gyaltsen and Khyentse Labrang, Gangtok, 1983.

It has been pointed out as a matterof-fact in Germano 1992: 22 that the 'Od gsa1

mdzod is an alternative title of the Tshig dOll mdzod Indeed the Tshig dOll mdzod and , Od gsa1 mdzod must be one and the same work. Although the catalogue, the Rin chen mcjzod khang (pp. 11.7-12.1: lam khyer gnad kyi don 'gre1 tshig don rill po ehe'i mdzod) andmost parts of the Tshig don mdzod (fols. Ibl, 20bl, 49b5-6, and elsewhere) do not allude to the work with the title 'Od gsa1mdzod, this alternative title is in fact embedded in the longer version of the title appearing on the title page, Gsang205


Klong chen pa's biography mentions that the Theg l11cho[! l11dzod,36 was composed.to commemorate the death of his teacher Kumfuadza37 (1266-1343) and was meant to be, according to his biographer, his master's outer and inner monument (bIa l11a'i phyi rten dang nang rten), like a stiipa that contains and retains the relics of saints, and that it also was intended to guarantee the longevity of the Rdzogs chen doctrine described as the Doctrine of Quintessential Luminosity ('od gsaI snying po'i bsfan pa).38 This is confmned by the author's verses of epilogue in which it is explicitly stated that the work was meant to be a monument for his master's mind (thugs kyi lten), which is thus referred to as the Great Caitya (l11chod rten chen pO).39 It is also stated
ba bla na med pa 'od gm1 rdo Ije snying po 'i gnas gsum gsal bar byed pa 'i tshig don Ii1l j2Q che'i mdzod See also the verses of epilogue in the Tshig don mdzod (fol. 240a6-bl): zab cing rgya che'i rnam 'gros rab brtan gling bzhi'i mun pa sel ba gang II bstan pa'i pad tshal rab tu rgyas byed 'od [JHli. mdzod kyi snang ba spros II; ibid (fol. 240b3-4): nyi zia bzhin te 'od gsal mdangs bkra skye dgu'i lam bzang snang byed pa
241b4-5): blo gros mkha' la thos pa'i splin chen glog phreng can

II nor buji bzhil1 yon tan rab rdzogs gsang chen dam pa'i Ii1l chen mdzod II; ibid (fol. II don zab 'brug sgra'i nga ros gsal bar khyab pa ste II zab mo'i chos tsillli 'od gs.gj mdzod kyi char bzang po II skalldan <rna bas [= l11ams] la phan pa mdzad pa 'i don du ;pros 1/
The place of composition is given as Gangs ri thod dkar. See Ehrhard 2000b: xv-


xvi, n. 6.

One would expect the name to read KumCiraradza (= raja, for Gzhon nu rgyal po)

instead of Kumaradza, which h{!s become a standard, a phenomenon that is sometimes' described as 'Tibskrit' (i.e. a kind of Hybrid Tibetan Sanskrit) name. The change from Kumararadza to Kumaradza may have been due to haplology.

Chos gragsbzang po, Md10ng ba don ldan (p. 186.18-19): bla ma'i phyi ztennang .

lten la 'odgsal snying po 'i bstan pa mi nub par bya ba'i phyir dll I theg mc110g lin po che 'i mdzod brtsams pa dang I; Glag bla, Dad gSlim 'jug ngogs (p. 90.7-8).

Theg mchqg mdzod (vol. wmp, fo!' 29703-5): stobs chen dam pa'i glang po gzims

las de yi gzhllng lugs mig Zllm ia II gnas gzhan grub pa'i goms tShllgS 'khyor zhing zab mo'i gnad rnams 'thor dogs nas II ring por ma thogs bka' yi bsdu ba lim khang



'that it was composed shortly after the passing away of his teacher, that is, during or following 1343. 40 We do not know how long he took to compose this . work. It should also be noted that the Theg mchog mdzod does not allude to

any of Klong chen pa's own writings, but it itself is referred to twice in his
. commentary on the Chos dbyings mdzod, the Lung gi gter mdzod 41 Although these indications are by no means absolute proofs, the Theg mchog mdzod could have been one of his first major compositions on the Rdzogs chen doctrine. Germano, however, sees in the Theg m"'hog mdzod the climax of Klong chen pa's scholastic composition and thus believes that it could not have been produced in an early stage of his writing career. He therefore finds it hard to believe that it was

immediately after KumiirCidza's death

. . . (referring to Thondup 1989 (= 1996): 156) and adds that if this were the case "it would be extremely interesting to determine what type of texts he composed during the last twenty years of his life following this scholastic masterpiece." He also claims that if it was composed after KumiirCidza's death, it would >contradict the story that Klong chen pa composed his Heptalogy of Treasuries in Bhutan and rewrote them in Central Tibet after losing them on the way.42 Apart from the fact that this oral tradition can hardly be taken as a historical

nyi shu rtsa lnga par II snying po 'i don mams phyogs gcig bsdllS nos thugs kyi rtell du glIS pas bsgnzbs II; ibid (vol. waf!1, fol. 297b1-2): theg mchog mdzod kyi mchod den chen po yang If.
.40 See Arguillere 2007: 157, where 1343 has been proposed as the year of composition .. ofthe Theg mchog mdzod

41 . 42

See above, n. 34.

Germano 1992: 20, 25-26. Cf. Penjore 2005: 61, 73, n. 3, where the belief that almost half of Klong chen pa's Mdzod bdlln was composed on the summit of a mountain overlooking Thar pa gling and Bsam gling (in Bum thang) and the rest in Mount Kailash is recorded.


fact, the supposition that the Heptalogy of Treasuries were, composed in Bhutan is, for several reasons, very questionable. 43 The Tshig don mdzod does not seem to refer to any of his works but it is mentioned twice under its alternative title 'Od gsal mdzod in the Lunggi gter
mdzod, the commentary on the Chos dbyings mdzod,44 and of course in his

catalogue. Possibly the Tshig don mdzod, like the Theg mehog mdzod, was written following the demise of his teacher KumCirCidza, for the verses of epilogue state that it was written "in order to codify the teachings of [his] guru. ,,45 The colophon of the Yid bzhin mdzod does not indicate any place of composition. 46 Its auto-commentary, the Padma dkar po, however, indicates the place of composition as Dpal ldan lhun gyis grub pa'i gling,47 which we know from elsewhere to be Bsam yas. Determining the years he spent in Bsam

Germano understands the Theg mchog mdzod and Tshjg don mdzod to be 'mature' works of Klong chen pa on the basis of their contents-for example, Klong chen pa;s handling of the theories of hm gzhi (tilaya) and chds sku (dharmaktiya)-and thus regards them to temporally follow several important works including the Yid bzhin mdzod and Ngal gso skor gsum. See Germano 1992: 13-14.
43 44

See above, n. 34.


Tshjg don mdzod(fol. 241b5-6): dpal mgon bla ma'i bka' mams bsdu bya'i phyir II snying tig ngespa'i bka' rnams 'dir geig byas If. See Arguillere 2007: 157, where the year 1346 has been proposed as the year of composition of the Tshig don mdzod Yid bzhin mdzod (fol. 44a3-4): theg pa chen po'i man ngag gi bstan beos yid bzhin rin po che'i mdzod ces bya ba I rang gzhan gyi gmb pa'i mtha' rgya mtsho'i pha rol fl.l son pa'i dge slong rdo Ije 'dzin pa tshul ki71ims blo gros kyis legs par sbyar ba rdzogs so If.


Padma dkarpo (vol. wal]1, fol. 196al-3): theg pa chen mo'i man ngag gi bstan beos yid bzhin rin po che'i mdzod ees bya ba'i grel pa padma dkar po zhes bya ba I rang dang gzhan gyi gmb pa'i mtha' rgya mtsl1O'i pha ral dll [= tu] son pa'i dge slong rdo Ije 'dzin pa tshul khrims blo gros kyis I grwa ri lin po ehe padma brtsegs pa'i 'dab I dpalldan Ihlln gyis gmb pa'i gling dlilegs par bkod pa 'di yongs su rdzogs so If.



yas, if possible, may be helpful in dating these works.48 The Padma dkar po also mentions the lost Rin chen them skas. 49 The Man ngag mdzod does not . refer to any other work of Klang chen pa nor is it, as far as I can see, referred to by any other work except the Rin chen mdzod khang, where it is regarded as a treatise that is meant to teach preliminaries or. mere means of access to the Rdzogs chen path. 50 The verses of epilogue and colophon, too, do not provide any useful clues. As has already been pointed out by Gene Smith and . Franz-Karl Erhard,sl the Gnas lugs mdzod is not recorded in the catalogue of . his works. This would suggest that it was composed as the last of the Heptalogy of Treasuries. 52 Leaving the Man ngag mdzod aside

to lack of cross-referential

evidences, one may propose a relative chronology of the remaining six . Treasuries on the basis of the available cross-references as follows.: the Theg
fllchog mdzod and Tshig don mdzod were probably the first to be composed.

No cross-references that could suggest the sequence of the composition of the

. 48

The date of composition of the Yid bzhin mdzod and its commentary, the Padma dkar po, proposed in Arguillere 2007: 157,is 1348-1349.

Padma dkar po (vo!. warp, fo!' 19b4-5): 'di dag gi roam bzhag rgyas par kho bo'i bstan beos rin chen them skJJs su bJta bar bya'o 1/ The Rin chen them skas is also . -listed in the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 6.2-3). See also Wangchuk 2004: 187-88.

Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 10.5-6): theg pa mtha' dag gi don rdzogs pa chen po'i lam du 'jug pa'i sngon 'gro'am thabs tsam du shes par bya ba'i phyir I Jam dang mthun Ja gong du 'dren pa'i Jam rim 'bras bu dang beas pa ston pa'i bstan beos kyi gnas gsaJ ba man ngag rin po che'i mdzod /

Smith 2001: 280, n. 94; Ehrhard 1990: 86, n. 14. This supposition is .in conformity with Arguillere 2007: 157, where 1356--1364 have


been proposed as the years of composition of the Gnas Jugs mdzod and its . commentary.



two could, however, be 10cdtedY They must have been followed by the Grub

mtlw'mdzac/, which in tum was followed by the Yjd bzhjn mdzad The next
seems to have been the Chos dbyings mdzad and the last the Gnas lugs

l11dzad 54

(b) NgaJ gsa skar gsum

Unlike perhaps Klong chen pa's conception of the Treasuries, which seems to have been rather open-ended, the conception and composition of his Ngal gsa

skar gsum seems to be well-rounded. Each sector in the Trilogy has four parts,
namely, a basic text (rtsa ba) in verse, a detailed conunentary ('grel pa), a summary (bsdus dan), which is actually an outline (sa bcaci),55 and an instmctional manual (dan khrja) for meditation. Klong chen pa not only explicitly uses the tenn Ngal gsa skar gSlll11 on several occasions, referring to the three basic texts each of which bears the word "Relaxation" (ngal gsa) in the title; he also mentions the three commentaries, each of which bears the


Compare Germano 1992: 18-19, where, by judging the refinement of positions

presented in these works, Germano states that he suspects that the Theg mchag mdzod was written after the TslJjg don mdzod See also Arguillere 2007: 157, which speaks against Gelmano's assumption.

See also Germano 1992: 21-22, where it is argued that the Chos dbyings mdzodand

Gnas Jugs mdzod mark the culmination of Klong chen pa's creativity and poetic skills
to which he returned after having systematised the Rdzogs chen doctrine in his Tsilig

don 111dzod and Theg mcl70g mdzod, and thus are the last of the Heptalogy of Treasuries. He adds that they may have been written at the same time. See also ibid, p. 14, where it is stated that the Chos dbyings mdzod and Gnas Jugs 111dzod along with
the Zab mo yang tig have been composed after the Tshig don mdzod and Theg 111chog

mdzod My proposition of the relative chronology of the Heptalogy seems to be in confonnity with the findings in Arguillere 2007: 157.

For a discussion of the bsdllS don (or don bsdllS) genre in Tibetan literature, see

Kano Kazuo's contribution in this volume.



word "Chariot" (shing da) in the title, the three summaries, each bearing the word "Rosary" (phreng ba) in the title, and the three instructional manuals

(don kbrid). Thus we have here in total one primary Trilogy, that is, the NgaJ gso skor gSWll, and three secondary Trilogies, that is, a Trilogy of Chariots (Shing da skor gsum), a Trilogy of Rosaries (Phreng ba skar gsum),56 and a
Trilogy of Instructional Manuals (Kluid yig skor gSllm). Klong chen pa himself calls the primary trilogy "body" (lus) and the secondary trilogies "limbs" (yan

Jag). In addition he wrote a general commentary (spyi don) to the NgaJ gsa skor gsum, and an inventory (dkar chag) to these Trilogies. The inventory
speaks of a total of fifteen works in this cycle although only fourteen are actually mentioned there, which in fact corresponds to the number of works available to date:
In general, the manner in which Klong chen pa designed the stmcture of individual


(and cycles of) works and the kind of titles he chose for them show his striking love for aesthetics, symmetry, and detail. But coming up with hundreds of titles that befit the content and yet are elegant, symmetrical, and unique seems to have been somewhat challenging for hini.. He seems to have occasionally reworked some of the titles. The summaries (bsdus don) of the NgaJ gso skoT gSUIn, for instance, originally seem to have borne titles that contain the elements snying po. Such titles are recorded in Klong chen pa's catalogue for the two of the summaries, while the title of the third summary is missing altogether (see the respective notes in the table below). The original titles were probably changed later to Pad dkaT pJm:ng ba, PU1J9a ri ka'i phreng

ba and lvJap9a


ba 'i phreng ba, respectively. A conceivable reason may be that he

did not like the title he had for the third summary (e.g. something like Skar rna'i

snying po, which, given the collective association of sun, moon, and stars (nyi zla skaT gSllrn) seems to be the only natural choice, but actually sounds, due to the dimness of a
star's light, rather odd and unflattering). It may also be that he for some reason prefelTed to make use of the element snying po in the titles of the instmctional manuals (don khrid) of the Rang grol skor gSllll1, which he thus changed from the original Chos sku rang shm; Chos sku rang babs, and Chos sku J/llln grub (see the respective notes below) to Lml1 rim snyhlg po, Yid bzhin snying po, and Rin chen

snying po, respectively.




Semsnyid ngalgso

1.1. 1.2. 1.3. 104.

Sems nyid ngal gso (basic text) Shing rta chen po (commentary)


I Pad dkar phreng ba (summaryi7

Byang chub lam bzang (instmctional manualY s Bsam gtan ngal gso (basic text) Shing rtc! roam dag (corrimentary) PUlJrja ri ka'i phreng ba (summary)59 Snying po bClJd bsdlJS (instnJctional manual)6O SgYll ma ngal gso (basic text) Shing 1ta bzang po (commentury)61 MGlJrja ra ba 'i phreng ba (summary)62 Yid bzhin nor blJ (instructional manual)63 Legs bshad rgya mtsho (general commentary) Pad ma stong ldan (inventory)



Bsamgtan ngalgso

2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 204.




Sgyuma ngal gso

3.1. 3.2. 3.3. 3.4.

8. 9.

12. 13. 14.



57 Compare the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 10.7), where the summary (bsdlJS don) is referred to as the Nyi ma'i snying po. 58 Compare the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 10.7), where an instnJctional manual (khrid

yig) entitled "'Kfror ba dong sprugs is mentioned.

59 Compare the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 10.7), where a summary (bsdllS don) entitled Zla ba'i snying po is mentioned instead. 60 Compare the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 10.7), where an instnJctional manual (kJJrid

yig) entitled Thar gling gsal byed is mentioned instead.

61 Note that the Rin chen mdzod khang(p. 11.1) refers to the commentary on the Sgyu

ma ngal gso as Shing rta dri med


This title is missing in the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 11.1).

63 Compare the Rin chen mdzod kJJang (p. 11.1), where the instnJctional manual is referred to as the Nges don snying po.



The sequence of the trilogies indicated in the table is the sequence followed by Klong chen pa himself, in his general corrunentary on the Ngal gsa skor gSllm Gnd inventory. However, this does not seem to reflect the sequence of his composition. At any rate, the Sems nyM ngal gso including its ancillaries was probably written prior to the Bsam gtan iJgal gsa and Sgyu ma ngal gsa and their ancillaries because the commentary on the Sems nyid ngal gsa (Le. the

Shing da chen po, no. 1.2) is referred to by the auto-commentary on the Bsam gtan ngal gsa (i.e. the Shing rta mam dag, no. 2.2)64 and by the autoconunentary on the Sgyu ma ngal gsa (i.e. the Shing da bzang po, no. 3.2) as wel1. 65 Of the latter two, the Sgyu ma ngal gsa and its ancillaries were probably composed prior to the Bsam gtan ngal gsa and its ancillaries because the Shing Ita bzang po (no. 3.2) is mentioned by the Shing Ita mam dag (no.
2.2).66 The general commentary on the trilogy must have been composed

towards the end,67 and theinventory definitely at the very end of this proj ect. It

Shing l1a mam dag (p. 61.3): byang sems kyi mchod 'os bslu ba la sogs pa nag po 'j

chos bzhi bshad de I sizing l1a chen j2Qr bslwd pa bzhin no



Sizing 11a bzang po (p. 57.4--6): gal te thams cad rang sems yin na I [... ] rang sems

kyiSylll rig eing 'jal ba ltar yul gyis sems 'jal par [= bar] thaI ba la sags pa sbing Ita chen j2Qr bstan pa bzl71ilnO


ibid (p. 112.3-4): 'di dag gi tshllllyyas par ni shing 11a

chen j2Qr bstan pa bzh}n shes par bya'o

II- Guenther notes that Klong chen pa may be

refelTing to his Sems nyid ngal gso in the colophon to his Nags tshal lam tu dga' ba'}
gtam (see Guenther 1989: 73, n. 11; cf. Germano 1992: 13). See the Nags tshal kun tu dga' ba'} gtam (p. 127.4--5): nags tshal lam tll dga' ba'i gtam 'di ni II nges 'byzmg thar pa 'i yid can bsam yas pas II sems nyid ngal bso 'i ri bo yang l1se 'i 11ser II snying nas nags Sll 'gro slad smras pa yin II (for an English translation, see Guenther 1989: 16).

Shing 11a mam dag (p. 98.6): 'di dag gi tshul rgyzIs [= rgyas] par S[l)1lma nga!

gsa 'j 'ore! j2Q shing l1a bzang j2Qr b!ta '0 II67

This is evident from the general commentary itself. See, for example, the Legs bshad

rgya mtsho (p. 86.2): theg pa chen po 'j man ngag gi bstan beos ngal fjSQ skoT gsum zhes bya ba yin no
j2Q nye

II- See also ibid (p. 92.6):


ngal fjSQ skoT gSU171 'ore! j2Q dang beas

bar bkod pas ;. ...


may be added that Klong chen pa's Sems ye drjs Jan was composed after he had composed his Shjng.da chen po. 68 At least two of the works included in the A1dzod bdun seem to have been composed parallel to the composition of the Ngal gso skoT gsum and their ancillaries. The Grub mtha' l1ldzodwas probably composed after the Shjng Fta

chen po, the commentary on the Sems nyjd ngal gso, for the Grub mtha' mdzod refers to the SMng.da chen po at least on three occasions. 69 Since the Padl11a dkar po, 70 the auto-commentary on the yjd bzhin l1ldzod, refers to the Shing .da chen po, it is to be assumed that also the Yjd bzhin mdzod including
its ancillaries was composed after the Shjng.da chen po. The fact that the general commentary on the Ngal gso skor gsum, the Legs bshad rgya mtsho,11 which was likely the last work (except the catalogue of course) in the cycle to be composed, refers to the Yjd bzhin mdzod may indicate that the latter was


Sems ye dris Ian (p. 303.3--4): 'di dag gi mam par bzhag ba [= pa] rgyas par ni I

kho bos byas pa'i bstan beos nges don shin{l rta ehenj2Qr blta bar bya'o If. The Sems ye dris Ian was obviously composed for Slob dpon Chos grags bzang po (ibid, p.

. 304.2), probably his student and biographer.


Grub mtha' mdzod (fo 1. 37 a3): 'di dag gi mam gzhag rgyas pa ni kilO bos byas pa'i

bstan beos I nges don shin{l rta chen j2Qr gtan la phab zin pas der blta'o


ibid (fol.

47a6): 'di dag rgyas par ni lung dang beas pa shin{l I1a chen j2Qr shes par bya'o II; ibid (fol. lOIbS): 'di dag gi don rgyas bar [= par] ni nges don shin{l rta chen j2Q las
rig par bya'o

See Arguillere 2007: 157, where 1347 has been proposed as the year of composition of the Gmb mtha' mdzod


Padma dkar po (vol. wa!J7, fo1. 4202-3): 'di dag gi tshul rgyas pa ni I kho ba [=

bo'i] bstan beos nges don shin{l rta chen j2Qr rtogs par bya'o If.

Legs bshadrgya mtsho (pp. 42.6--43.1): 'di dag gi Ita ba dang gmb pa'i mtha' dbye

ba zhib tu ItOgS par 'dod pa na kho bos byas pa'i bstan beDs yKi bzhin lin j2Q che'i mdzod du rtogs par bya '0



composed prior to the completion of the Nga1 gso skor gsum.72 Since we have already seen that the Orub mtha' mdzod was most likely composed prior to the

Yid bzhin mdzod, we may say that the Grub mtha' mdzod and Yid bzhin mdzod were composed in this order after the completion of the Sems nyid nga1 gso and its ancillaries (in any case after the completion of the Shing rta chen po) and prior to the completion of the Hsam gtan nga1 gso, which is the last cluster in this trilogy to be composed.73

(c) Mun sel skor gsum

The Mun se1 skor gsum are commentaries on the *Guhyagarbhatantra: 74

Phyogs bCll mlln sel Yid kyi mlln sel Ma rig mlln sel

IPrincipal commentary (gzhllng don)

! General commentary (spyi don)


I Summary (bsdllS don)

This trilogy along with the Lam rim ye shes sgron ma (which latter is not listed in the Rin chen mdzod khan!p) was meant to elucidate words and meanings of the MuyujaIa cycle to which the *Guhyagarbhatantra is said to


See Germano 1992: 14, where, on the basis of the poetic style and exoteric content, it is stated that the Ngal gso skor gSllm was written at the same time as the Yid bzhin mdzod See Arguillere 2007: 157, where 1344-1345 has been proposed as the date of composition of the Ngal gso skor gSllm (except the Legs bshad rgya mtsho, instructional manuals, and inventories).

Compare Germano 1992: 13, where it is assumed that the NgaI gso skor gSllm has been composed early in his career (in his thirties or earlier) and prior to the Mdzod


For the Mun sel skor gSllm, see the KShG, vols. nyu (68) & tu (69)._

75 Note, however, the title Rim lnga ye shes snang ba in the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 7.2).



belong.76 None of the three seems to refer to his other works, cmd vice versa. The Phyogs bell mun sel exceptionally mentions the year of composition, namely, a certain dragon year ( 'bmg gj 10). Of the possible years-1316 (me

pho 'bmg) , 1328 (sapho 'bmg), 1340 (leagspho 'bmg) , 1352 (ehllpho'bmg),
and 1364 (shjng pho 'bmg)-we can definitely eliminate 1316 since Klong chen pa was only eight years old at that time. We can also mle out 1364, the wood-male-dragon, because he died in the preceding water-female-rabbit (ehu

mo yos) year, that is, in the beginning of 1364, and the colophon (see the
following note) states that the composition of the Phyogs bell mlm sel was completed on the 15 th day of the

Tibetan month (ston zla ra ba / klmlms

smad' bhadrapada) , which roughly corresponds to the period from about the
middle of August to the middle of September of 1964, when Klong chen pa could not have been alive anymore. We can also perhaps mle out 1328 because at this time Klong chen pa was still in Gsang phu seminary, and the trilogy mentions Gangs ri thod dkar as the place of composition. 77 Thus by way of exclusion, Klong chen pa must have completed his Phyogs bell mun sel either in 1340 or 1352.78 In any case, we can perhaps presume that the Phyogs

bell mun sel was composed first, followed by the Yjd kyj l1111n sel and iVIa 1ig mlln sel, for the latter two are clearly summaries of the former. Germano, on

Ma rig mlln sel(p. 208.1-3): 'di don mam bzhj'j legs par bstan pa ni II spyi don Jd.d bCll'i mlln

mk17a'i nwn

mc170g sgyu

II bsdllS don ma rig mlln j2Q sel ba dang II gzJllmg don II Jam rim $ shes sgron ma 'bar ba ste II t17eg 'p17rul tshig don gsal ba yin lIj2Q

sel ba dang

se! ba dang

n Phyogs bCli mlln sel (p. 677.3-4): gangs Ii thod dkar Iin een snying po 'i mgul 110 rgyan rdzong zhes bya ba'j gnas Sll bkod II; ibid (p. 683.3-4): 'brug gi 10 ston zla ra ba'i tshe beo Inga bkra shis kyi nyi ma shar ba 10 gangs Ii thod dkar gyi mgllJ du legs par sbyar ba 'di yongs Sll rdzogs so II78

Of the two .possibilities, Gyurme Dorje believes 1352 to be more likely. See Dorje

1987: 1460 and Gennano 1992: 11-12. See also Arguillere 2007: 157, where 13521355 has been proposed as the date of composition of the

sel skor gSlim as a

whole and of the Sngags kyi spyi don tsilal1gs dbyangs 'brug sgm as well.



the basis of his understanding of Klong chen pa's intellectual development, Suggests that the Phyogs bcu mun sel was composed after consolidating his understanding of the Rdzogs chen doctrine, that is, after the composition of the Mkha' 'gro yang fig and Bia ma yang tig. 79

(d) Rang grol skor gsum

The term Rang gral skor gsum has been employed by Klong chen pa himself, and this Trilogy is meant to be a "meaning commentary" (don 'grel) to the cycle of Rdzogs chen teachings belonging to the Class of Quintessential Instructions (man ngag gi sde):80
1. Bems nyid rang grol 1.1. 1.2.

Bems nyid rang gral(basic text) 'Od kyi 'khor 10 (commentary)81 Lam rim snying po (instructional manual)82 Chos nyid rang grol (basic text) 'Od kyi snye ma (commentary) Yid bzhin snying po (instructional manual)83

2. Chos nyid rang gral 2.1. 2.2. 2.3.


Germano 1992: 11-12. Cf. Arguillere 2007: 157. See also the discussion of the Yang

tig skor gsum below.


Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.2).

81 In the edition of the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.2-3) employed by me" both commentaries on the Sems nyid rang grol and Mnyam nyid rang gral have identical titles, namely, 'Od kyi drwa ba. This seems to be a scribal rather than an authorial error, since in Chos grags bzang po's Mthong ba don Idan (p. 224.3-4), which is based on the former, the title of the commentary on the Bems nyid rang grol is said to be 'Od

kyi 'khor 10.

82 Compare the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.2) where an instructional manual entitled

Chos sku rang shar is mentioned instead.

83 Compare the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 11.2) where an instructional manual entitled

Chos sku rang babs is mentioned instead.



3. Mnyam nyid rang grol i 3.1. Ilvlnyam nyid rang grol (basic text) 13.2. I 'Od kyi d1'wa ba (commentary) 13.3. I Rinchen snying po (instmctional manual)84 The symmetry of the trilogy is very conspicuous. As in the case of the Ngai

gso skor gsum, also here the three basic texts can be considered the primary
trilogy, namely, the Trilogy on Natural Release (Rang grol skor gSUill) , and the remaining trilogies, namely, the three lost commentaries comprising the Trilogy of Light ('od), and the three instructional manuals comprising the Trilogy of Essence (snying po), or, according to the alternative titles, Trilogy of the Dharamaka.ya (chos sku), as secondary trilogies. Klong chen pa, however, did not designate these secondary trilogies as trilogies. Unfortunately, we cannot say anything about the relative chronology of these works except that they must have been written prior to the catalogue he wrote in Bhutan and perhaps all at Gangs ri thod dkar or 0 rgyan rdzong. 85

(e) Yang fig skor gsum .

One of Klong chen pa's greatest contributions is the compilation and composition of what I am wont to call the Tetralogy on Heart Essence (Snying

thig ya bzhl), namely, the Bi ma snying fhig and Jlvlkha' 'gro snying thig,
collectively known as "Two Mothers" (ma gnyis), and the Bia ma yang fig (also called the Yang fig yid bzhin nor bu or Yang zab yid bzhin nor bu) and

Mkha' 'gro yang fig, collectively regarded as "Two Offspring" (bu gnyis). The
84 Compare the Rin chen mdzod klwng (p. 11.3) where the instmctional manual is entitled Chos sku Ihun gmb. See Gennano 1992: 15, where a common period of composition is suggested for the Rang groJ sko1' gsum and Ngal gsa sko1' gSllm (and thus also the Yid bzhin mdzod), considered by him to be closely linked. This suggestion is, however, not in confonnity with the dates of composition of the Rang g1'oi sko1' gSllm (Le. 1356-1364), Ngal gsa sko1' gSllm (Le. 1344-1345), and Yid bzhin mdzod (Le. 1348-1349) proposed in Arguillere 2007: 157.



former two are said to be compiled or codified by him, and the latter nvo composed as commentaries on the former two, respectively.86 The Bia ma yang
fig and Mkha' 'gro yang fig along with the Zab mo yang fig, which comprises

commentaries on both the Bi ma snying thig and Mkha' 'gro snying thig, are collectively called the Trilogy on Quintessence ( Yang fig skor gsum):87
1. I Bfa ma yangtig 88

. 3589/5190/5491 units of teachings (chos sde)


For discussions of the tetralogy, see Ehrhard 1990: 17-31,57-58,99-111; Germano

1992: 26-37; Thondup 1996: 157-58 (though very brief).


I have not seen Klong chen pa employ the collective term Yang tig skor gsum. The

expression Yang tig skor gsum seems to have come into vogue much later; it is found, for example, in the Gu bkra'i chos 'bYllng (p. 219.4), Gter bton elws 'bYlIng (p. 236.12), and Bod sog chos 'byung (p. 502.10). Kong spml uses the expressions Yang fig

gSlim (Gter brgya'i mam thar, p. 426.6) and Yang [ig mam gsum (ibid, p. 427.6). I am also not sure if Klang chen po himself employed the title Bfa ma yang fig. In his Kha byang 'ad gsaf snying po (pp. 466.3--4, 477.3--478.1) and Rin chen mdzod khang
(p. 12.1-2), he employs the title Yang tig yjd bzhinnor bll and in his Kha byang nyi

ma'i snying po (pp. 76.3, 83.6) the title Yang zab yid bzhin nor bu. The titles Zab mo yang tig and /vlkha' 'g1"O yang tig, however, occur explicitly in the Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 12.2--4). In any case, the title. Bfa ma yang fig is employed by Chos grags
bzang po, his direct disciple (Mthong ba don Idan, p. 226.3). See Thondup 1996: 35, where the expression Bi ma yang tig is used in place of BIa ma yang fig. The expression, though factually appropriate, does not seem to be attested.

The starting point for the identification and assessment of works belonging to the

Bfa ma yang tig cycle ought to be the two versions of title list (kha byang) composed
by Klong chen pa, namely, the longer (and thus later?) Kha byang 'od gsaf snying po and shorter (and thus earlier?) Kha byang nyi ma'i snying po. The fact that two title lists exist on the Bla ma yang [ig cycle is, according to Ehrhard 1990: 24, an indication that the arrangement of individual cycles underwent certain changes.

This is according to the short title list, the Kha byang nyi ma'i snying po (p. 83.3--4),

which must have been the source for Thondup 1996: 158. The title list announces in the beginning one narrative work (10 rgyus), a tetralogy on empowerments, and



Mkha' 'gro yang tjg Zab mo yang fig

15592 / 5793 sets of teachings 135 94 sets of teachings

This trilogy does not consist of three closely related works but rather three groups of numerous minor works. Detennining the relative chronology of these works would require a study of each and every text belonging to the Yang fig

thirteen trilogies, which should make 44 individual titles altogether but the total number is given as 35. But when it comes to the actual enumeration, only 38 titles are mentioned and the fifth and sixth trilogies (Le. Nam mJdw' skor gsum and Bdlld Itsi skor gsum) are missing.

Kha byang 'od gsal snying po (p. 477.3-4): yang tjg yid bzhin nor bll 'j rgyal po la II

chos sde Inga bell Jtsa gcig dag tll byas II; ibid (p. 478.2): kha byang 'dir bkod chos sde Inga bClI gcig


Gfllb mtha' mdzod (fo1. 20403-4): de /ta bll'i zab pa dang rgya

che'i man ngdg gis [= gi] yi ge mams kyi don tshig nyllng la gnad 'dllS par bstan pa ni kJlO bos bsdebs pa'i )!Q!1j} ilg;dri bzMn nor bll'j chos sde Inga bcu Jtsa gcig par shin tv gsal bar byas te.... The latter is cited in Ehrhard 1990: 24-25 and referred to in Germano 1992: 22 (different edition).

Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 12.1-2): man ngag gi illS rdzogs par ston pa yang ilg:dQ

bzhin nor blI chos sde Inga bCll Itsa bzhi pa I; iVIthong ba don Idan (p. 226.5).

Rin chen mdzod kJwng (p. 12.3-4): gnas gSlIm chos sde Inga bCll Jtsa Ingar gtan ia

phab pa ni mkha' '[Ira)!Q!1j} ilg gi chos kyi mam grangs so 226.10-11); Thondup 1996: 158.

II; MtllOng ba don Idan (p.

The Them byang lin chen /jon shing (pp. 9.6-10.3) counts the texts in the Mkha'

'gro yang tig cycle by classif'ying parts (cha shas dbye bas) in detail (rgya cher) and by classif'ying sets (sde tsan dbye bas) in brief (mdor bsdu na). According to the former, the total number is 57 and according to the latter 43. This would, however, require further investigation.

Rin chen mdzod khang (p. 12.2): de (i.e. Yang tig yid bzhin nor bll = Bla ma yang

tig) ias sMn tu zab pa'i gnad bsdllS pa zab mO)!Q!1j} ilg chos sde SlIm Cll Jtsa Inga pa mams ni bla ma'i snying fig byin rlabs lag khlid kyi skor dang! See also Mt/lOng ba don Idan (p. 226.5); Germano 1992: 35.



skor gSllm and its relationship with other cycles, which is beyond the scope of this article. Nonetheless, it may be merely pointed out that the Zab mo yang
fig, which is said to be gist of both transmissions, was likely to have been composed after both the Bia 111a yang tig and lvIkha' 'gro yang tig. 95 In addition, the Grllb mtha' mdzod provides some clues that suggest that several works belonging to the Snying thig cycle, including the Yang tig yid bzhin nor

bu (i.e. Bia ma yang tig) and minor and miscellaneous works such as the Gser gyi sgrom bu, Sangsrgyas nmyam sbyor, Khyung chen gshog rdzogs, Yid bzhin nor bu, and Bdud rtsj'i bum pa, had already been compiled (bsdebs) or written down (bkod) prior to the Gfllb mtha' mdzod,96 that is, in a relatively
early stage of his writing career. According to Germano, at least four of the Heptalogy of Treasuries (i.e. Theg mchog mdzod, Tshig don mdzod, Chos

dbyings mdzod, and Gnas lugs mdzod) if not all, were composed after the Bia 111a yang tig and Mkha' 'gro yang tig,97 which former he understands to be a
prototype of the Tshig don l11dzod 98 As have already noted above he also suggests that the Phyogs bCll 1111m sel was composed after the lvIkha' 'gro yang

tig and Bia ma yang tig.


See Arguillere 2007: 157, where the proposed date of composition of the Zab mo

yang tig is given as 1350-1351. According to Arguillere, 1350-1351 may also be the

date of composition of the Mkfw' 'gro yang tig. The date of composition of the Bfa ma
yang tig proposed there is 1341-1342.

Gnzb mtha' mdzod (fo1. 204a3-b4). The Gser gyi sgrom bu, Sangs rgyas mnyam

sbyO/; Klzyung chen gslzog rdzogs, and Yid bzhin nor bu are also recorded in the Rill chen mdzod kfwng (p. 12.1-2). Cf. Arguillere 2007: 157.

Gelmano 1992: 15-16; see also ibid, p. 25. See also Arguillere 2007: 157. Germano 1992: 19. 221



5. Concluding Remarks While the primary aim of this article has been to draw scholars' attention to the cross-references found in Klong chen pa's writings, an effort has also been made to recap previous studies-even though it has not been possible to make any critical assessment of their quality-and to further instigate studies of his life and works (see appendices A & B). Although determining a definite chronology of Klong chen pa's works seems unrealistic, proposing at least a plausible relative chronology based on clues such as cross-references seems to actually be possible. Finally, it may also be pointed out that the phenomenon and role of cross-references in Tibetan literature require further investigation.




1. Secondary Sources Short accounts ofKlong chen pa's life (mostly in English) are found in:
(a) Roerich 1949/53: 200-202.

(b) Smith 1969: 2-4 (reproduced with slight changes in Smith 2001: 33-35). (c) Guenther 1975a: xiii-xv; Karmay 1988: 211-13. (d) Dorje & Kapstein 1991: 575-96. (e) Kapstein 1991.
(f) Bradburn 1995: 166-67.

(g) Thondup 1996: 145-88; id. 1999: 109-117. (h) Pettit 1999: 92-97 (though not purely biographical). (i) Dalton 2004.
U) Gennano & Hillis 2005.

(k) Barron 2005: 98-16l.

(1) Arguillere 2007: 19-194 (life and works ofKlong chen pa in French).
2. Primary Sources

With the hope that it would be of some use for future research,an attempt is made here to list several accessible biographies of Klong chen pa in Tibetan language: Independent Biographies

(a) The Mthong ba don ldan by Chos grogs bzang po (ca. 1300/10-1375/85),
o direct student of Klang chen pa, is perhaps the oldest biography and must have served as a basis for later biographies. It is also found in the

YZh (vol. 6, pp. 499.1-589.4).

(b) The Dad gsum 'jug ngogsby G10g bla Bsod noms chos 'grub (1862-1944) is an extensive biography. It is also found in The Collected wlitings of


Bsod-nams-chos- 'gmb:





Introduced by Matthew Kapstein. Delhi: Konchhog Lhodrepa, 1997, vol. 223


4, pp. 213.1'-546.5. (c) The Ska1 bzang dga' ston by Kun bzang 'gyur med mchog grub dpal 'bar (ca. 17th/18 th cent.) is the third biography conceived of as independent. Biographies Found in Historical Works and Lexica (a) The Gter 'byzmg 10 rgyus (pp. 110.3-114.2) contains a short biographical account of Klong chen pa. Since the work is attributed to Klong chen po himself (Martin 1997: no. 91), the biography contained therein may be regarded an autobiography. Nonetheless, the authorship of the pertinent section (if not the entire work) is doubtfuL For instance, one would not expect Klong chen pa to use honorifics such as sras su 'khrungs (Gter

'byung 10 rgyus, p. 11 0.4), gsan zhing mkhyen par mdzad (ibid, p. 112.1),
and nyams su bzhes (ibid, p. 112.2) when referring to himself; such a practice js rather unusual and considered inappropriate. I am, however, not aware of any discussion on the authorship of this work. (b) A biography of Klong chen pa written in first person can be found in the

Lo rgyus rin chen phreng ba (pp. 126.6-133.5). For the doubt of its authorship, see below (Appendix B, 3.d).
(c) Deb ther sngon po (pp. 179.2-180.5) by 'Gos Gzhon nu dpal (13921481). (d) Mkhas pa'i dga' ston (pp. 296.18-297.25) by Dpa' bo Gtsug lag phreng ba (1504-1564/66). (e) Sangs rgyas bstan pa'i chos 'byung (pp. 400.6-404.5) by G.yag sde 'dul 'dzin (or sngags 'chang) Mkhyen rab rgya mtsho (b. 16 th cent.).
(f) Lorgyus kha skong(pp. 45.6-53.1) by Gter bdag gling pa (1646-1714).

(g) Chos 'byung bstanpa'i nyi ma (vo1. 2, fols. 241a2-250b2) by Smin gling mkhan po 0 rgyan chos grags (b. 1676). (h) Gterbton chos 'byzmg (pp. 225.2-239.6) by Karma mi 'gyur dbang rgyal (b. 17th cent.).

Rgyud 'bum 110gs brjod (pp. 274.2-315.4) by 'Jigs med gling pa (1729/30..:..1798).



Lha'i mga bo che lta bu'i gtam (pp. 298.4-329.1) by Ka1.1 thog 'Gyur med tshe dbang mchog gmb (1761-1829).
m bkra shis (b. 18 th cent.).

(k) Gu bkra'i chos 'byung (pp. 214.2-224.5) by Stag sgang mkhas mchog Gu (1)

Gter brgya'i mam th(1.r (pp. 423.3--428.4) by 'Jam mgon Kong spm1 Blo
gros mtha' yas (1813-1899).

(m) Rgyal tshab chos 'byung (pp. 160.12-173.8) by Zhe chen rgyal tshab Padma mam rgyal (1871-1926). (n) Bdud 'joms chos 'byr.mg (pp. 193.6-223.19) by Bdud 'joms 'Jigs brai ye shes rdo rje (1904-1988).
(0) Rnam thar ming l11dzod (pp. 463--498) by Mkhas btsun bzang po (b.

1920). (p) Bod sag chos 'byung (pp. 500.17-502.17) by Shing bza' Skai bzang chos kyi rgyai mtshan (1925-1998).
(q) Mkhas grub l11ing llldzod (pp. 77-79) by Ko shui Grags pa 'byung gnas

(b. 1955) and Rgyai ba bio bzang mkhas gmb (b. 20 th cent.).

Mkhas grub mam thar (vol. 2, pp. 104-112) by Ye shes rdo rje (b. 20 th

(s) Rdzogs chen chos 'byung (vol. 1, pp. 252.1-349.2) by Smyo sImI mkhan po 'Jam dbyangs rdo rje (1931-1999). (t) Rdzogs chen gdan rabs (pp. 251.3-267.22) by Bstan 'dzin Ilmg rtogs nyi . rna (b. 1974).
(u) Snga 'gyur chos 'byr.mg (pp. 170.5-208.8) by Mkhan spmI Dkon mchog

bstan 'dzin (b. 1963). (v)

Tshig l11dzod chen 1110 (s.v. klong chen rab 'bya111s).

(w) Dung dkar tshig l11dzod (s.v. kun mkhyen klong chen pa).



APPENDIX B: SO}"'1E STUDIES OF KLONG CHEN PA'S WORKS Mi pham Rnam rgyal rgya mtsho (1846-1912) in the epilogue to his Dka'

gnad gsa1 byed (fols. 340.3-370.1), for instance, points out several texhIal
problems in the YM bzhin mdzod (obviously meaning mainly its commentary

Fadma dkar po). It is unlikely that the state of affairs in other works of Klong
chen po. is any different. Shldies or (particularly mass) translations of Klong chen pa's or anybody's work for that matter that disregard the texhIal problems ought to be treated with extra caution. Nonetheless, initial attempts are no doubt very difficult and Shldy or translation of any kind are surely to be welcome. An Qttempt is thus made here to mention all identified publications pertaining to Klong chen po., although no claim of completeness is made. Publications to which I have had no direct access at the time of writing this article will be referred to Poulsen 2007. L Descriptions of Klong chen pa's Works
(a) Guenther 19750.: xvi-xxi (general description).

(b) Gennano 1992: 10-38 (general description). (c) Thondup 1996: 155-58 (general description). (d) A presentation of the major works of Klong chen po. in found in Ehrhard 1990: 5. (e) A description of the lVldzod bdun in the biography of Rdzogs chen po. Bsod nams rin chen (1491-1559), who occupies an important place in two of the three main lineages of Klong chen pa's tradition, is found in Ehrhard 2000b: x-xi.
(f) An outline of the Rang gr01 skor gSllm is provided in Smith 2001: 34-35,

tabular fonn is

279, n. 87. (g) Arguillere 2007: 19-194 (life and works ofKlong chen po. in French).



2. Accounts ofKlong chen pa's Works Being Printed Not much is known about the history of how Klong chen pa's works were transmitted and brought to print following his death. A thorough investigation into the various xylographic and manuscript editions of Klong chen pa's works is still a desideratum. Any future research in this direction will, however, have to be based on publications such as those of Gene Smith, Franz-Karl Ehrhard, and Josef Kolmas. For instance, according to Ehrhard 2000b: xi-xii, before the sixteenth century, main treatises of Klong chen pa, such as the Mdzod bdun, existed only in manuscript form. From the sixteenth century onward, parallel __ to the circulating manuscripts there existed also xylographic editions of some of his' wo::ks, such as the Tshig don mdzod and Theg mehog mdzod A copy of the xylographic edition of the later have survived and is perhaps the oldest print of one of Klong chen pa's major writings. For the printing history of the Theg mehog mdzod, see Ehrhard 2000a: 37-40, 104-117. Some printeries that produced xylographic editions of Klong chen pa's works may be also mentioned here: (a) The Sde dge ehos 'byung (pp. 44.4-6, 120.13-121.1) narrates how blocks for printing the Mdzod bdun, Nga1 gso skor gsum, and Phyogs bell mun sel were made for the Sde dge Printery during the time of the Sde dge king BIo gros rgya mtsho (1722-1774) and the Second'Rdzogs chen spml sku 'Gyur med theg mchog bstan 'dzin (1699-1758). The Sde dge ehos 'byung (pp. 51.17-18, 121.9) also mentions the commissioning of a manuscript edition of the Snying thig ya bzhi written in gold on blue. paper (mthing shog 1a gser gyis bris pa) by the Sde dge queen Tshe dbang lha mo, a contemporary of Kal,! thog 'Gyur med tshe dbang mchog gmb (1761-1829). According to the same source (p. 128.10-13), the Mdzod bdun, Nga1 gso skor gsum, Rang gro1 skor gsum, and Snying thig ya bzhi total up to 11 volumes consisting of 5,527 folios (ldeb). For a detailed list of the titles of these cycles, which are (currently) extant in the Sde dge Printery, see the Sde dge par khang (pp. 20.1-48;14). See also Ko1mas



1996: 6, 11, 13, 16,23,25, 77. (b) For an account of how the Rdzogs chen redaction of Klong chen pa's works were produced, one ought to look at the Second Zhe chen rab 'byams 'Gyur med kun bzang rnam rgyal's (1713-1769) Rgyal ba gnyis

pa kun mkhyen ngag gi dbang po'i gsung rob las Jlldzod bdun ngal gso gsang tik [= tIk] nnad byung 'phnzl gyi phyi chos ji ltar bsgnzb pa'i tshul las bltsams pa'i ngo mtshaf gtam gyi gling bu skal bzang 111a ba'i dga' ston. Gangtok: Dodmp Sangyay Lama, 1976 [referred to in Kolmas 1996:
77, n. 26]. (c) The Zur khang Printery in Lhasa is said to have produced xylographs of the J'vldzod bdun, Ngal gso SkOf gSllln, Gsung thor bu, Sngags kyi spyi don

tshangs dbyangs 'bnzg sgra, and Phyogs bcu mun sel (together with the "<Guhyagarbhatantro). This edition is said to be largely based on the Sde
dge edition (Smith 1969: 1, 6). (d) Among Klong chen pa's works, only the Phyogs bcu mun sel is mentioned (Pad tshal nyin byed, p. 183.3) as being printed at the Zhol (or Shar dga' ldan Phun tshogs gling) Printery in Lhasa. (e) The Pad tshal nyin byed (p. 212.4) mentions the xylographs of the Mdzod

bdun (7 vols.), Snying thig ya bzhi (3 vols.), and NgaJ gsa SkOf gSUJll (1
vol.) produced in the Brag/Sbrags/Sgrags Tsha seb (or Tsher gseb) Printery, See also Smith 1969: 6.
(f) The Bstan rgyas gling Printery is said to house

of some

miscellaneous writings of Klong chen pa (Pad tshal nyin byed, p. 236.5:

klong chen pa 'i gsung thor bu 'ga' zhig).

(g) The Gzim shag Sne'u shm Printery is said to contain blocks of some of Klong chen pa's works (Pad tshal nyin byed, p. 240.3: gzhan yang klong

chen pa dang dpal spnzl sogs kyi gsung 'blllll skoryod skad).
(h) In addition to the Sde dge Printery and the printeries in central Tibet just mentioned, xylographic editions of Klong chen pa's writings were made in other printeries in eastern and central Tibet (e.g. A 'dzom chos sgm) and in western Tibet as well, and possibly also in other parts of the 228


Himalayan region. This matter, however, requires further studies. For instance, we know that the treasure-discover Shes rab 'od zer (15181584) made a xylograph edition of the Ngal gso skor gswn in the Yar klungs valley; a xylograph print of this cycle in three volumes ,vas filmed by the NGMPP (reel-no. AT 157/2-158/1). See Ehrhard 2000a: 16-17, n.

13; Bdud 'joms chos 'byung (pp. 222.18-223.2). Perhaps records of

teachings received (thob/gsan yig) such as 'Jigs med gling pa's Nyi zla'i

ma cha (pp. 193.1-125.2) may shed some light on the history of

transmission and reception of Klong chen pa's major writings. 3. Deliberations on the Authorship of Works Ascribed to Klang chen pa
(0) The Rin chen sgron me: A Commentary on the Ratnagotravibhdga

Mkhan po Dpa11dan shes rab (b. 1941), a Rnying ma teacher who previously taught in Samath and currently lives in the United States, is absolutely convinced that the commentary on the Ratnagotravibhaga called the Rin chen

sgron me was composed by Klong chen pa. See Mkhan po Dpal 1dan shes
rab's epilogue to the Rin chen sgron me (KShG, vol. 90, fols. 265a6-266b6). See particularly ibid (fo1. 266a7-8): mdor na 'grel 'di 'khrungs Ylll chos grwa

II gsung gi sgms dang brjod bya'i bzhed don dang II slob dpon 111tshan sogs gtan tshigs yang dag las II klln lllkhyen chen pos mdzad bsgmbs bslu ba
dang med 1/ Nonetheless, see Wangchuk 2004: 187-88, n. 60, where it has been
argued that the commentary could not have possibly been penned by Klong chen pa. For the identification of Blo gros mtshungs med, the author of the Rin

chen sgron me, and his position on the tathagatagarbha theory, see Kana 2006:

(b) The Tshad ma de kho na nyid bsdus pa. A Work on Buddhist Logic and
Epistemology Also a work on Buddhist logic and epistemology entitled Tshad ma de kho na

nyid bsdus pa has been attributed to Klong chen pa. Leonard van der KUijp, .



however, came to the conclusion that this work could not have been written by Klong chen pa, but rather by an unidentified scholar who most probably flourished before Sa skya pm:J.(;iita Kun dga' rgyal mtshan (1182-1251). See van der Kuijp 2003: 419. (c) The Klong chen chos 'byung Similarly, a work on the history of Buddhism in Tibet popularly known as the

Klong chen chos 'byung has been ascribed to Klong chen pa, for example, by
'Jigs med gling pa when listing the works of the foriner (Rgyud 'bum 110gs

bIjod, p. 314.1-3: gzhan du chos 'byung rin po che'i gter mdzod ces bya ba [ ... ] la sogs pa dngos [= nged] kyi lag tu'ang dong bar gyur la /). The
authorship of this work has been thematised by several modem scholars. See particularly the discussion and references in Martin 1997: no. 90; Ehrhard 1990: 103, n. 70; Karrnay 1998: 83-84, n. 29. For an excerpt and overview, see Houston 1987. See also the Dlmg dkar tshig mdzod (s.v. klong chen chos

(d) The La rgyus tin chen phreng ba In addition, according to Gene Smith (reported in Martin 1997: no. 93), Klong chen pa's authorship of the Lo rgyus rin chen phreng ba is doubtful and it may be a work by one Bya bral ba Bzod pa. If this is indeed the case, it seems to have been a deliberate act of forgery, for the author had made obvious attempts to pose himself as Klong chen pa by writing in the first person. See, for instance, the Lo rgyus rin chen phreng ba (p. 127.1-2): de yang kho bo'i

yul ni / g.yo


gra'i phu stod grong zhes bya ba na j. In addition, care had

been taken to avoid any honorifics when referring to Klong chen pa. (e) A Commentary on the Madhyamakavatara Mkhan po Dpalldan shes rab also reports of Spo lullo mkhan po Rin chen rdo rje's (18977-1970) personal account of how he had seen Klong chen pa's



commentary on the lvladhyamakavatara in custody of a family in Kong po, but could do nothing (to procure it?). See the epilogue to the Rin chen sgron me (KShG, vol. 90, fo1. 266a8-9): gzhan yang kun mkhyen chen pos dbu 'jug 'greJ

II kong por khyim tshang zhig nang mchis pa nyid II phyis su 111thong yang ci bya braJ song zhes II spo Ju mkhan po rdo lies bdag Ja gSlWgS If.
(f) A Commentary on the Millamadhyamakalairika

According to Glag bIa, Klong chen po is also said to have composed a commentary on the MilJaIlladhyamakakalika. See his Dad gswn 'jug ngogs (p.

4. Major and Minor Studies of Klong chen po's Works and Ideas
At least five doctoral dissertations have already been written on Klong chen pa's works: 99 (a) Dorje 1987 (on the Phyogs bcu mun sel) (b) Germano 1992 (on the Tshig don l11dzod) (c) Hillis 2002 (on the Gnas Jugs l11dzod) (d) Butters 2006 (on the G17lb l11tha' l11dzod) (e) Arguillere 2007 (on eight chapters from the Chos dbyings mdzod and four from its commentary, the Lung gi gter l11dzod)
It is not possible here to allude to all secondary sources that incidentally deal

with Klong chen pa's ideas. Nonetheless, for an extensive discussion of the different aspects of Klong chen pa's doctrine (in French), see Arguillere 2007: 195-491. For an attempt to clarify Klong chen pa's stance on the tathagatagarbha theory, see Wangchuk 2004. Several of his positions on issues related. to the bodhicitta concept have been discussed in id. 2007 (see the

At the time of writing this article, I have not been able to have access to all these dissertations. In the case of those dissertations that had been inaccessible to me, I relied on the bibliographical details and infOimation provided in Poulsen 2007.



index, p. 441, s.v. Klong-chen-pa). For a discussion of Klong possession of the r;/akjnfs, see Gennano & Gyatso 2000.


pa and the

5. Translations of Klong chen pa's Works into Western Languages In recent 'years, translations of several works of Klong chen pa have been published:

(a) As for the .Mdzod bdun, a partial translation of the Tshjg don mdzod (i.e.
of the first five chapters out of eleven) is included in Gennano 1992. Excerpts from the first four chapters of the Tshjg don Jlldzod can be found in Thondup 1996: 205-214 and an abridged translation of its thirteenth chapter in jbjd, pp. 201-220. For a translation of the Chos

dbyiJJgs Jlldzod, see Barron 2001 a, and for a translation of its

commentary, the Lung gj gter Jlldzod, see id. 200lb. The Gnas lugs

mdzod and Gnas lugs Jlldzod 'greJhave been translated twice. See Barron
1998: 1-63 (basic text), 65-268 (commentary); Dowman 2006: 1-28 (basic text), 29-249 (commentary). For a translation of the Man ngag

mdzod, see Barron 2006. It has been announced (Gennano 1992: 16) that
a translation of the NJan ngag mdzod will be published. For a translation of the Grub Jlltha' mdzod, see Butters 2006, which is also said to contain a section from the Yid bzhm mdzod For an abridged translation of the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of the PadJlla dkar po, the autocommentary on the Yjd bzhm mdzod, see Thondup 1996: 390-96 and 407-412, respectively. For a French translation of (the first) eight chapters of the thirteen-chapter Chos dbyjngs mdzod and (the first) four chapters of its auto-commentary, see Arguillere 2007: 499-540 and 541652 (the corresponding Tibetan texts are provided in the footnotes). (b) Of the Ngal gso skor gsum, a translation of the Sems nyjd ngal gsa is found in Guenther 1975a: 113-46, of the Bsam gtan ngal gsa in id. 1976a, and of the Sgyu ma ngal gso in id. 1976b. For a review of the fonner two, see Thunnan 1977. An abridged translation of the first 232


section of the fourth chapter of the Shing 11a chen po, the autocommentary on the Sems nyid ngal gsa, is given in Thondup 1996: 21434, of the tenth chapter in ibid, pp. 261-77, and of the first and last sections of the eleventh chapter in ibid, pp. 281-302 & 375-85, respectively. For an abridged translation of the Byang chub lam bzang, the instructional malmal (don khrid) connected with the Sems nyid ngal

gsa, see ibid, pp. 303-315.

(c) As for the Rang grol skor gSWll, a complete translation of the Sems nyid

rang grol can be found in Guenther 19750 and Thondup 1996: 316-49. Its
instructional manual (don khrid), the Lam rim snying po, is also translated in ibid, pp. 355-74. (d) Of the lvIun sel skor gsum, only the mammoth Phyogs bCll mun sel has been translated in Dorje 1987 (though never published). (e) Among multiple works from the Yang tig skor gsum, only a sectiondealing with the universal ground (gzhl)-of a work from the Mkha' 'gro

yang fig called the Zab don rgya mtsho 'i sprin (pp. 68.6-143.5) has been
translated into German. See Scheidegger 1998 (includes the corresponding Tibetan text).
(0 Among other minor works found in the Gsung thor bu, a trmls1ation of the

Rin chen gru bo (pp. 246.4-274.2)100 the instructional manual (don khrid)
related to the Kun byed rgyal po, is found in Lipman & Peterson 1987: 19-55. The Chos bzhi rin chen phreng ba (pp. 195.1-208.2) has been translated in Berzin et 01. 1979; the Sprin gyi snying po (pp. 258.4-275.5) in Guenther 1983; the Nags tshal kun tu dga' ba'i gtam (pp. 118.4-127.6) in id. 1989: 1-16; the Po fa la kun tu dga' ba'i gtam (pp. 87.3-118.4) in id. 1989: 17-58; and the Khyung chen gshog rdzogs (YZh, vol. 12, pp. 267.4-276.4) in id. 1996 (which includes a transcription of the Tibetan text). The latter is reviewed in Ehrhard 1997.

100 For another edition of the Rill chell gm bo, see the RGKS & RG(pp. 142.5-77.2). 233



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2. Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen. PhilologischHistorische Klasse. Dritte Fo[ge, Band 194. Symposien zur Buddhismusforschung: The Dating of the Historical Buddha / Die Datiemng des historischen Buddha. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 263-90. Smith, E.G. 1969. Introduction. In RGKS & RG, 1-9. - - 2001. Among Tibetan Texts. Edited by K.R. Schaeffer with a foreword by J. Hopkins. Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Wisdom Pub lications. Thondup, T. 1996. The Practice of Dzogchen by Longc/zen Rabjam: Introduced,

translated and annotated by Tulkzz Thondup. Edited by Harold Talbott. Ithaca:

Snow Lion Publications. [First published in 1989 under the title: Buddha iv/ind'

An Anthology ofLongc/zen Rabjam 's


on Dzogpa Chenpo].

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of India and Tibet Boston/London: Shambhala.

Thurman, R.A.F. 1977. [Review of Guenther 1975a & 1976a.] Harvard Joumal of

Asiatic Studies 37(1),222-28.

Wangchuk, D. 2004. The rNil'l-ma interpretations of the tathagatagarblw theory.

Wiener Zeitschrifl flir dje Kunde Siidaskns 48 [appeared in 2005], 171-213.

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[ndo- Tibetan Buddhism. Studia Philoiogica Buddhica Monograph Series 23.

Tokyo: The Intemational Institute for Buddhist Studies.




CATHY CANTWELL and ROBERT MAYER (OxfordY 1. Introductory Remarks A reasonable corpus of phUI pa texts exist among the Dunhuang discoveries, several of which are fragmentary." Most of the subject matter is rihlGj in focus,
Funding from the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council made possible the

research on which this article was based, and its presentation at the IATS Seminar in Bonn.

In the received tradition, the words, pllllr pa, pllllr bu, kila and kIJaya may be used to

describe the rihlGI implement and/or the deity. The names and terms may currently be used with slightly different connotations from those in Dunhuang texts and are not always used consistently today. The telm phllr bll (sometimes interpreted as equivalent to kI/aka) in more modem usage is sometimes restricted to the implement, while phllr
pa (sometimes interpreted as equivalent to kIla) can equally refer to the deity or the

implement. The restriction of the word pllllr bll to the implement is by no means universal, and in practice,. either pJllIr bll or phllr pa may be applied to the implement or .the deity. Indeed, in some cases in the past and the present, the use of the term may be deliberately ambiguous and evocative, as in so much ritual language. In some of the Dunhuang materials, such as in PT 349, p/1lll" pa takes the form phllr ba. This does not generally occur nowadays at all except as an en'or, but in the A mdo area, the grammatical pm1icle pa is sometimes written as ba, so in this context, it may be considered acceptable by regional conventions. The telm kIJaya or vajrakIJaya is ubiquitously used in Tibetan tradition to refer to the yi dam form of the deity or to its Tantric texts (the deified implements in the main deity's retinue, often associated with the Buddha families, are sometimes called the kI/ayas and sometimes the kIJas; hence, Buddha KrlayaiKrIa, Ratna Kilaya/Kila etc.). In some Dunhuang and old texts-where it may not be clear that the yi dam deity fOlm as it came to be recognised by the


although there is also a well-known historical account with doctrinal explanations in PT 44. Obviously, we have no certain way of deducing how representative the surviving Dunhuang phur pa corpus is of the complete breadth of the phur pa tradition of pre-II th-cenhlry Tibet. Nevertheless; it is extensive enough to yield some valuable data about the phur pa rites of that period. To facilitate our survey of the Dunhuang phur pa corpus, we can, if a little arbitrarily, distinguish between three broad types of phur pa practice in Buddhist literahrre. Although these categories often overlap and therefore cannot hold up to exhaustive analysis, they do give us a useful way of approaching the materials: Firstly, there are straightforward practical magic usages of phur pas with little or no direct reference to achieving enlightemnent, often deriving from such early texts as the Kriya tantras and dharol)is . Secondly, there are phur pa riroals resembling what are nowadays known by the Rnying rna pa-s as smad las, or subsidiary rites. 3 Smad

las has three characteristics: it adopts ostensibly worldly magical

rihlals; it renders them conSiderably more sophisticated and elaborate;

tradition is at issue at all'--the telms ki la ya, ki la ya, badzra kl la ya etc. may be used simply to .refer to the implement or the deified implement. In this miicle, we conform to the usage presented in the Dunhuang text in question; or in more general discussion, we simplify usage by using pbllr pa for the implement, which mayor may not also can)' the connotation of a pbllr pa deity, and Phur pa or VajrakIlaya where the reference is more specifically or primarily to the Tantric yi dam.

In this context, the paired terms stod las (primary rites) and smad las (subsidim), rites) have no necessary connotation of 'higher' and 'lower' in terms of supramundane and mundane: rather, they mean rites that logically must precede and those that logically must follow. In fact, the object of smad las is not mundane at all, but the liberation of sentient beings. 248


and in the process very comprehensively turns them towards Buddhist soteriologicalgoals embodying the highest MahCiyoga view.4 Thirdly, there are phur pa rihlOls resembling what are nowadays known by the Rnying rna pa-s as the stod las, or primary rites, constituting more direct, less mediated approaches to ultimate reality; typically through deity meditation. These practices are considered the basis for the subsidiary rihlOls, since it is only if one can identify with the Tantric deity that the processes of Tantric destruction and transformation of the most negative forces is possible. While much of Asia (both Buddhist and non-Buddhist) still retains innumerable uses of kilas within the fIrst category of straightforward practical magic, it is only in Tibet, and predominantly among the Rnying rna pa-s, that
phur pa also became equally famous as a means to enlightenment, especially

through its smad las practices such us elaborate versions of sgroI ba, or liberative killing, and its stod las practice of the Rdo rje Phur pa (Vajrakilaya) Heruka meditational deity or yi dam. Since this situation currently exists nowhere else, we are interested in ascertaining to what extent it was already represented in the archaeologically recovered Dunhuang materials. From transmitted literature, we know that by the latter half of the twelfth-century, the Rnying rna pa Nyang ral nyi rna 'od zer (1136-1204) and the Sa skya pa

For example, one popular smad las rite gathers up all the community's mundane

obstacles like illness and poverty around a single weapon gtor ma, which embodies the Tantric deity expressing the destmctive force of wisdom. This is then hurled at the yogins' own deeper causes of suffering, namely, ignorance, and the three poisons. Thus, the wider community's mundane obstacles are transformed into the means of eradicating the religious specialists' deeper spiritual ills, in a single if complex ritual process. Smad las rites form an integral and extremely important part of modern MahCiyoga soteriology. The foremost example is the famous Mahuyoga rite of sgroI

ba, or liberative killing, nowadays usually performed ritually with a phzIr pa, using a
dough effigy to symbolise the victim.



Grags pa rgyal mtshan (1147-1216) had already composed seminal Phur pa texts containing the key features of s6dhana practice still current to this day.5 There are also Bon phw" pa texts,6 but we have not yet read these, so we cannot comment on their contents. Firstly, let us review the Dunhuang phUI pa materials that simply pertain to straightforward practical magic usages, most typically in rites of defining boundaries and defeating evil spirits. In general terms, these reflect exactly what we would expect of Indian usage of the kjla at that time. 7 There is a type of rite ubiquitous throughout South Asia, which remains routine within Tibetan Tantrism and which employs kilas for securing the outer boundaries of a

Note that much of Grags pa rgyal mtshan's work on the Phur pa cycle was apparently representing the composition of his father, Sa chen Kun dga' snying po (1092-1158), as mentioned, for instance, in the colophon to his Rdo Ije phllt pa'i
mngon par ltogS pa (182: 13vl). The transmitted texts of the RnyJilg ma'j rgyud 'bum

also include lengthy Phur pa tantras which develop aspects of the ethos of the Phur pa tradition, especially the imagery and mythology sUlTolmding VajrakIlaya, the Tantric vows or samayas and the sgroJ ba rite. The dating of the seminal Phur pa commentary, the 'Bum nag (Phur 'greJ 'bum nag), remains uncertain. It has been translated by Boord, who does not question the traditional attribution of the text to the teachings of Ye shes mtsho rgyal,suggesting that her student, A tsa ra Sa Ie, was the recipient who composed the text (Boord 2002: XXVii-xxix).

ImpOliant Bon po phllr pa ritual texts make up pmi of a gter ma cycle attributed to

the eleventh-century gter ston Khu tsha zla 'od (perhaps b. 1024) (Canzio & Samuel, forthcoming: 2). Buddhist authors count him as a gter ston who revealed both Buddhist and Bon treasures. For instance, 'Jam mgon Kong spml equates Khu tsha zla 'od with Ku sa smanpa Padma skyabs (A kester, unpublished: 5). Jean-Luc Achard has commented that some of Kong spruI's identifications are questionable, but this one is likely to be con"ect (personal communication 15/02107).

Throughout this article, we transcribe Dunhuang manuscripts according to the widely

accepted standards for Old Tibetan documents established by Tsuguhito Takeuchi (1995: 137-38 and 1997-98, vol. 2: xxii).



sacred space. 8 Unsurprisingly, we have found some examples of this type of

phur pa ritual in Dunhuang texts. The first section of IOL Tib J 384, which
gives instmctions for setting up a maJJ9a1a, includes mention of acacia wood

phur brn, which are to be established at the four comers. A mantra for this
purpose, which contains the ld 1a kj 1a ya element that is standard for Phur pa, is also given. 9 Another ubiquitous application for ki1as throughout South Asia is their use in overpowering or repelling evil spirits and the magical influences of enemies. Hence within traditional Indian magic texts one finds a specific category called Ja1ana ('piercing'), which is closely related to ucca.tana (,eradicating') (Goudriaan 1978: 374-75, 351-64). Again, lll1surprisingly, we find examples of this among the Tibetan Dunhuang texts. There are two text fragments (PT 8, verso sides, and a single sheet of rOL Tib J 491) from a ritual or an aspiration conjuring the imagery of striking with a phur bu, for the purpose of severing the harmful mantras of a long list of human and non-human opponents. The two fragments constitute extracts from the same text, the dhiiIwJi text for the female Buddha Gdugs dkar or

(White Parasol).10 They have

This can be required, for example, as a preliminary to occasions in which a concrete

symbolic mal}ljala must be constructed, such as a major ritual practice session (sgl1Ib
chen) or an elaborate empciwennent. Here, pllllr pas must be established at strategic

points around the periphery of the mal}ljala ground before the actual symbolic
mal}ljala is constmcted. (Cantwell 1989: 235-36; Lessing & Wayman 1978: 283). In

the case of major Tantric rihwl sessions, the wrathful deity whose circle is visualised will depend on the 111GlJljalato be constmcted (Cantwell 2005: 14-17).

[OL Tib J 384, Rf.l v-Rf.2r: OfJ1 badzra ki la ki /a ya ki fa ya/ Isa rba du sta na hUfJ1


The text is entitled 'Phags pa de bzhin gshegs pa'j gtSlIg tor nas byung ba'i gdllgS

. dkar po can gziwn gyis 111i tl1llb pa zhes bya ba'j gZllngs (colophon given in the Sde dge bka' 'gYlir edition (vol. 90, Rgyud 'bum, vol. Ph a: 229v7). We have identified

parallel text in this edition (vol. 90, Rgyud 'bU111, vol. Pha: the single sheet of IOL Tib

J 491 's section 1 = 226v5-6, and PT8 = 226v7-227v4). After the phur hulines, the



exactly the same repeated wording for the striking phur, bu and the announcement of the severing of the mantras concerned. They differ only in the specific objects listed, although in both cases, we find both human ascetics or religious specialists of various kinds, Hindu deities and miscellaneous spirits. I I There are a munber of phur pa rituals discussed in text fragments or . mentioned as minor elements within longer texts which quite probably fit into this category, but which also contain possible hints of our second category in which such rituals are used as part of Tantric deity practices focused on enlightenment For instance, IOL Tib J 406 describes a subjugation rite, here involving a brief mention of striking and subduing obstacles or bgegs using a five inch long rdo rje phur bu, following a self-visualisation as VajrapCiJ:.liY This might possibly relate to a simple practice for ritually destroying harmful forces, yet there are aspects which might suggest more. 13 Similarly, IOL Tib J

PT8 extract continues (18 verso) with prostrations to Gdugs dkar, a request for her protection and a dhara{1ibeginning by addressing her- Although the content of the IOL Tib J 491 sheet and PT8 does not correspond to text found in other Dtmh{lang versions of this dharG(1itext, such as IOL Tib J 323's section 1, and IOL Tib J 360's section 1, the IDP catalogue for IOL Tib J 323 notes that these Dunhuang versions omit material concerning ritual phur bus which is found in the later canonical versions. It is precisely this material which our extracts are from. Conceptually related to such rites, we find in the Dunhuang divination text Tib J 739 (Old Tibetan Documents Online, 2004, IOLTib_0739: 14r1O-vl, text critically edited

by Ai Nishida and Iwao Ishikawa) that it is considered a good omen if one perceives the hearts of one's enemies to be stmck with a p/711r. In this divinatory text, however, the portent arises as a natural indication rather than as the result of a deliberate ritual attack.

IDP website: <http://idp.bLukidatabase/ooJoader.a4d?pm=IOL Tib J 406> image

13 It is integrated into a Tanttic deity self-generation practice, with the phur pa implement being referred to by way of what would become the Phur pa deity's name



447's section 3 has a description of the use of three phUI bus of different materials and sizes for destroying and silbjugating harmful beings and forces, yet the entire ritual is integrated into a set of instructions for meditating on Vajrasattva. IOL Tib J 401' s section 4 is an exorcism to heal severe mental illness by dealing with the spirits responsible. 14 It involves the fixing of five phur bus, apparently at the four limbs and the head of the patient. 15 Accompanying this is a meditation on oneself as the Vajra Wrathful One (rda Ije khra ba), a title often used for the more central deities in the Phur pa literahlre. The rihwi contains the 'ki Jj ki II element in its mantra, and includes a meditation on

(rda rje phur bu), and the text also elaborates on the object to be destroyed, adding the

word, 'byJ na ya ko' (vjnayaka, the Sanskrit equivalent of bgegs). The bgegs, interpreted as the principal obstmctions to enlightened awareness, along with the hostile forces (dgra), are precisely the main object to be stmck in the pllllT pa rites within the Vajrakiiaya practice traditions.

Other sections of this booklet also contain reference to rites which might have some

bearing on the Phur pa tradition, although in a slightly less obvious manner. Section 6 contains a meditation on blue Vajra Hilrl1kara, focusing on the expelling of nagas and evil spirits. Hurpkara may be a quite separate deity, but in the Phur pa tradition, he is at the head of the group of Vajrakllaya's immediate retinue of ten Wrathful Ones (khro bo beu). In the ritual described here, one generates great compassion, and then strikes the negative forces with a vajra club, the head of which becomes a wrathful one with frowning eyes. The centrality of the motive of compassion, so important in the Phur pa practices, is in this case highlighted.

We find similar ritual procedures in later Phur pa rites, although it is the different of the body of the effigy representing the evil forces which are stabbed, rather


than phur bus marking the places of the body of the mentally ill person, as appears to be the case here. See, for instance, the glJam Jcags spu gd rihwl of the Bdud 'joms Phur pa cycle (Bdud 'joms rin po che, GlJam Jcags spu gri, vol. Tha: 132, Da: 13435), or the more elaborate description given in the 'Bum lJag for striking twenty-one places of the effigy (Boord 2002: 231-34).



thousands of tiny wrathful deities arising from one's body hairs, reminiscent of an important aspect of the Phur pa tradition's visuaIisations of VajrakIlaya in both Sa skya and Rnying rna sources)6 In a subsequent section (i.e. section 8), this text recommends the kj 1a ya mantra for coercing niigas to produce rain where more peaceful methods have failed.

IOL Tib J 557 is a single sheet with various Tantric instmctions and the
relationship between them is somewhat unclear. It contains phur pa material slotted into or following a section on the 'heart vows' (thugs dam) of the Buddha families. An eight inch acacia wooden phllI bll with a rounded head is to be made; then, after offerings and praises, the phur bu is held and rolled, expelling obstacles through striking with it, accompanied by phur pa mantras similar to those in use today.17 However, it is unclear if this text refers to the famous Mahayoga smad las rite of sgroI ba, or merely to a routine exorcism. We have five texts more clearly in our second category, those applying Phur pa more directly to the ultimate Buddhist goal of enlightenment. 18 Most


The Sa skya phur chen (l5v4) speaks of the twenty-one thousand (body) hairs of

oneself as the deity, filled with miniature Vajrakumaras (another designation for Vajrakllaya). The 'Bum nag (Bdud jams bka' maedition, vol. Tha: 333; Boord 2002:
183; note that Boord uses the word 'established' for gtams ['filled']) refers to

Vimalamitra's gloss on the line of the Phur pa root verse which says that the aggregates are filled with vaJi-a, suggesting that the aggregate of consciousness is generated as Vajrakumara, and then the pores of his body hairs are filled with tiny wrathful ones.

For example, the first mantra is: alp kifayil silr dbyig nan/ ka tha ya/ fIllIP phat. The

first pm1 and ending are similar to the standard root Vajrakllaya mantra: 00 vajrakfli
kflaya sarva vigJmiln barp hillp phat. The usual Sa skya version of the mantra is: alp vajrakili kfJaya sarva vigJmGn bandha fIllIP pilat. The ka tha element is also similar to

the syllables, kha thwp, OCCUlTing in many destructive mantras of the Phur pa cycles.

We have not included the MaiJilbalas17tra in this m1icle, although it is well

represented at Dunhuang. It is tempting to tease out parallels and hints from Tantric texts on similar wrathful deities, and Mahabala did come to have an impol1ant place 254


striking is a close resemblance some of them have to the important present day MahCiyoga category of smad las ritual.
l. The main focuses of 10L Tib J 331.III are elaborate MahO.yoga

consecrations and slllad las-type rites of sgr01 ba, that have extensive parallel passages with extant NGB (Rnyjng ma'j rgyud 'bum) scriptures.

2. IOL Tib J 754's section 7 likewise focuses on a smad las-type rite of

sgroI ba, but is less extensive.

3. PT 349 is closely related to the Guhyasamaja tradition and has parallels with extant NGB scriptures as well as Bstan 'gyur texts; it describes a

rdo rye phur



identified as

henzka, destroying obstacles to

as one of the ten wrathful ones in the VajrakIlaya mG(lIjaJas. Bischoff (1956: 8-9) discusses the central role of 'KIlikIla' in the A1a/ulbaJaslltra, although he is cautious not to suggest that a phllr pa deity is clearly implied. The text really does little more than to state the importance of the mantric syllables kflikfJa, and these might well be those of AmrtakUlf9alin and/or VajrapiiQi, or Mahiibala himself, rather than an independent Kila deity. See Boord 1993: 47. The text's closing sections use the phrase,
'srid pa'j phllr pa,' which is a technical term in the Phur pa literature, occurring for

instance, on four occasions in the A1yang 'das(Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 187, 190-91, 216). However, it does not appear to carry the same connotations at all. In thePhur pa h'adition, it refers to the realisation or transformation of existence as the Phur pa deity. In the lvfahabaJasiltra, it is used in the context of the closing sections which are extolling the reading and transmission of the text (IOL Tib J 390, 31r4; Bischoff 1956: 37, 65) and rather than indicating a positive state, it seems to represent the downfalls of sGlPsara which need to be overcome through the Buddha's teaching.

In Tibetan sources, rda lje p/lllr bu, like rda lje p!Jllr pa, is taken as the Sanskrit

equivalent for the Phur pa deity, VajrakIlaya (for instance, in the title of the Myang
'das (Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 124), all editions agree on VajrakIlaya in the Sanskrit

title and Rdo lje phur bu in the Tibetan title). In the case of PT 349, we have an identification of the ritual implement with a hemka deity; it is not clear whether the



4. IOL Tib J 321 contains the only full-length specifically Rnying rna Maha.yoga tantra preserved at Dunhuang, the Thabs kyi zhags pa

padma 'pin-eng, which in this Dunhuang manuscript comes embedded

within its lengthy accompanying commentary associated with Padmasambhava's teaching. It presents phur pa as a way of achieving the four enlightened activities (las bzhl), and also cites famous NGB Phur pa titles. 5. PT 44 closely resembles laterphur pa Jo rgyus texts, presenting history, lineage, doctrine and the fmits of successful practice.

2. IOL Tib J 331.III

IOL Tib J 33 1. III comprises the third text within a three-part manuscript. The first two texts describe the means of accomplishing the highest reality of Vajrasattva through Maha.yoga s6dhana. 20 The third and final section includes a Phur pa practice of sgroJ ba in away that would nowadays be understood as

smad Jas. It comprises 11 folios with interlinear notes. Although presented as

an explanation rather than as Buddha speech, it is notable for its very substantial and close parallel passages with extant NGB Phur pa scriphlres. Virhmlly the entire text is paralleled in slightly different order in the 'Phiin Jas

title generally Signified the deity's name in the early period when the Dunhuang manuscripts were written. The stabbing ritual in IOL Tib J 406 also uses the name rda

Ije phur bu for the ritual implement, but not enough detail is given for us to know
whether the implication was that the implement itself is to be visualised as the hen/ka deity.

The first text is attributed to Mafijusrlmitra. There are indications (the style of

writing, with interlinear notes, and the paper used) that our text may have originally followed, or at least been in the same 'volume' of texts, as this first text (which has the identification 'kha' on its first folio). What is now the second text in the series is slightly differently presented and appears to have been in a later 'volume' (it is labelled 'cha'):



phCIn sum tshags pa'i rgyud The next longest parallels are with the Mya ngan las 'das pa'i rgYlid chen po (Myang 'das), with which it shares 88 lines, and
with the Phur pa bCli gnyis, with which it shares almost as much, including its long sequence of mantras, and it also has shorter parallels with theDur khrad

khll byug ro1 pa. It is still unclear how the textual sharing arose: did this text
and these canonical scriptures share a common source, or did this text copy from early versions of these canonical scriptures? In the case of the corresponding text within the 'Pmin las phlIn

tshags pa'i rgyud, it is

impossible to form any judgement even in terms of probabilities, although with the other texts, variations in the ways the parallels are framed suggest it more likely a matter of shared sources rather than direct copying. 21 The text describes a highly complex version of phur pa consecrations, along with the practice of sgroI ba, and unequivocally locates this within the mainstream soteriological concerns of MahCiyoga. The field of liberation is identified as Rudra, with the explanation that the tath6gatas manifest their wrathful forms precisely to tame evildoers such as the one who cannot be tamed by peaceful means. The interlineal comments refer to classic MahCiyoga categories such as the Three SamCidhis, and the tme nature of Phur pa Hemka is identified with the totally pure primordial wisdom of the dhannadh6tzJ. 22 The practice described is complex and detailed, and contains many elements still current, such as lengthy consecration practices for the material phur pa,

llllldnis, and the use of an effigy or linga to be stabbed in Phur pa subsidiary

rituals (smad las). The rite is firmly focused on use of the material phllr pa

In these cases, unlike the 'PJllin Jas plllln Sllm tshags pa 'j 19yUd, the parallels do not correspond to discrete units in the scriptural sources, but consist of text which may overlap distinct sections given in the scriptures. See Cantwell & Mayer (in press).
21 22

IOL Tib J 331.III, Ir-v: he


ka thugs ky[ phur pa '[ rang bzhfn [ ... J chas kyl

dbylngs mam par dag pa '[ ye shes.





implement to achieve enlightenment through eradicating structured around a list of seven perfections. 23 familiar today.


The text is

[1] Form describes the physical construction of the phur pa, in tenns still [2] The long consecration section is very closely parallel to the consecrations section in the seminal canonical scripture, the lvIya ngan las 'das

pa'j rgyud chen po (lv/yang 'das). It is a method of generating the material kl1a
as the actual Rdo rje Phur pa Hemka, and making it the abode of the three

kayos, the buddha:; of the five families, the ten wrathful deities, and the actual
great Phur pa Henlka's retinue.

[3] Recitation involves' a mantra which would nowadays seem more

characteristic of smad las, although the meditation description is too terse to be sure,24 and recitation of a great number of it, as a fonn of Approach practice (bsnyen pa: sevO), is advised.

[4] The perfection of activities is a detailed ritual series whose central

feature is the drawing ofnegativities into an effigy or representation, then activating the messenger or activity deities to act on it, while stabbing with the

phurpa. Rdo rje sder mo or Vajra Claw's (perhaps *Vajranakhl?) mantra is to


That is, perfections (P11llll slim tshags pa) of form, consecrations, recitation,


activities, time, place, and self. While this very same list occurs in. the canonical Phur bCll gnyis, it is not elaborated upon there. The 'Pbrin las ph lin SlIm tshags pa'i rgyud contains all the text given in IOL Tib J 33l.III on the seven, but gives them in a slightly different order. This source is drawn upon by the eighteenth-century commentary by Mag gsar, who uses the seven-fold list to structure his work.

24 It contains the element' che ge ma zhfg rna ra ya phat,' which would suggest a ritual attack on specific objects. However, the main Phur pa root mantra, which is used for the self-generation deity practice rather than for destructive ritual purposes also preserves words suggesting the destruction of obstacles, so one needs to be cautious in assumptions about the usage of mantras. 258


be used. 25 This mantra is a variant of that occurring in the Phur pa section of the Guhyasamaja's chapter 14.26 It has had a long and varied career in V~jraya.na literature and appears in a variety of traditions beyond that of the

Guhyasamaja, for example, in the Yogini traditions of VajravCirahl. It is found

in several Dunhuang Phur pa texts for the culmination of the sgroI ba rite. The interlinear notes of the Dunhuang Guhyasamaja (IOL Tib J 438: 54r5) clearly identify it as the mantra of Rdo rje sder mo, but as far as we can gather, this name. is not now quite so, well known in contemporary Guhyasmniija scholarship as it is in the context of e111 independent deity frequently practised by Dge lugs pa and Rnying rna pa alike-for example, there are popular gter

ma texts for her by Mchog gyur gling pa (1829-1870) and others, often
intended as a daily practice for protectionY Rdo rje sder mo thus seems to be a very old Buddhist protective kmmarIakini goddess with an independent existence, whose mantra became incorporated into various other Tantric cycles over time. In the Phur pa tradition, Rdo rje

mo is one of the principal

female wrathful ones in the immediate retinue of the central deity.28


Given in this Dunhuang text (8r4-5) as: 6qz gha gha gha ta ya sa rba du shtan che

ge mo zhIg phat pha.tI kI 1a ya kI 1a ya sa rba pa pam pha.tI Ihiilll hall1 1711111 badzra kI ~
1a ya badzra dha rod ad nya pa ya tI ka ya bag tsId ta badzra kI 1a ya h17qz pha.t

GuhyasaJpajatantra, chapter 14, verse 58: 0111 gila gila gilataya gililtaya sarvadu9.tan

phat ki1aya ki1aya saJ1/apilpan phat haqz haqz vajrakl1a vajradhaJ'a i1jfiapayati sarvavighnanall1 kilyavilkciltavajrall1 ki1aya 1llllll pha.t

Modem daily protective rites that focus on this mantra include the Zab bdun cha lag

las kyj mkha' 'gro rdo lje sder mo 'j rgylln khyer rdo Ije 'i go cha 1deb, found in Mchog

. gyur gling pa 1982, vol. Ba: 381-84.


See, for instance, the Myang 'das(Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 196,209,211), the Rdo

rje phur pa l1sa ba'j rgYlid kjj dum bu, and the 'Bum nag (Boord 2002: 81, 188).



[5,6,7] The final lines of the text deal briefly with the remaining three perfections of time, place, and practitioner. 29 3. IOL Tib J 75430 IOL Tib J 754's section 7 deals with similar general topics to the above text, but very much more briefly. It begins by advIsing meditation on oneself as the deity (111aha111udr6),31 then that one should constmct a ritual kilaycf" as prescribed in the Kilaya tantras, namely, eight inches long, with a three-sided blade, knots, a square base. It should be populated with the various Tantric deities via invocation, and it is to be consecrated, using versions of the same mantras as found (with some small variants) in canonical sources and in other Dunhuang texts. 33 Then it proceeds with identifying one's two hands as means Appropriate times of the calendar are mentioned; planetary conjunctions are said to


be suitable, but the point is also made that the timing is perfected when the Approach, practice has been completed, with the signs of success manifested. (See, for instance, the Myang 'dass chapter 11 and the bsnyen yig section of Bdud 'joms rin po che's
Gnam !cags spu gri, vol. Da: 163.) The place should accord with the imagery of the

wrathful maIJ9a1a, specifying the standard feature of the solitary tree. The practitioner should have the basic Buddhist virtues intact, be skilled in the ritual meditation and have pure samaya.

Note that there is a photocopy of section 7 in Mayer & Cantwell 1994: 66-67.


Needless to say, the term malJllmudnl here does not refer to the later formless contemplation made famous in the Gsar rna pa systems, but rather pertains to a

variant of the well-known earlier usage as one of the varying sets of -mlldra terms used in such texts as the Yogatantras.

In this text, the word kilaya is used both for the implement and for the KHaya


For the Budclha body consecration, the mantra OIP chindha c/zindha daha daha hana

hana dipta cakra 11l7lJ1 phat is used; for the Buddha speech consecration, dhl7 olJ1 bhllr bhuva, and for the Buddha mind consecration, OIP badzra raja hUlp.



and wisdom and holding the kilaya between them; followed by summoning the obstacles into the effigy and binding them there; then, rolling the kilaya between one's two hands symbolising means and wisdom, one should, it says, "through the force of great compassion, think that primordial wisdom light rays arise and radiate out varied miniature emanations. "34 With this one recites the mantra, and strikes the effigy. It continues, "By the wrathful one's emanations, the bodies of the obstacles are pulverised as though [reduced] to dust. [Their] minds are established35 in the essence of complete liberation. Think that [they] are transferred into the state where there is nothing whatsoever of self-nature [ or] substance. "36 Afterwards, one can also perform a protective meditation on the vajra enclosure, suppressing great obstacles. 37 Although only given in the briefest of outlines, this text describes a procedure and ethos very close to that of IOL Tib J 33 1. III, again with the ritual activities section suggestive of a smad las rite.
4. PT 349

PT 349 is also a short text, but damaged and missing some parts. Like IOL Tib
J 754's section 7, it is very poorly written and presented, resembling someone's

IOL Tib J 754, section 7: thugs rje chen po 'f dbang lasl lye shes kyf 'od zer bYling

stells[p}nzl pa'f 'phro[,(IIJ}u (most likely 'phro 'u is intended) sna tshogs Sll bsaml.

The verb bgod could signify that their minds are allotted to liberation, but it seems more likely that bgod here is for dgod (i.e. the future form of 'god pa, "to establish," "to place" etc.), especially since it also occurs below, where dgod would be the expected verb.
IOL Tib J 754, section 7: khro bo 'j spml pas Ius bgeg kyj IllS drul (= rdul?) phran


bzhjn bsf1jgsllsems mam Pal: thor pa'J mchog gf snyjng po 10 bgod/ /rang bzhin mgos
(= dngos?) po las cII~?] (the final nga seems to have been deleted) yang ma yh1 ba'f

ngang dll gyur par bsamlI.


That is, with a mantra rendering that, after our cOlTection (or hyper-con'ection!) might intend: srl heruka l11ahavajra sarva du~taJ1 prabhaffjaka hana halla 11l11P phat.


personal notes from a teaching session. It begins with prose, and ends with what it calls "verses of the Phllr bll proclamation." These verses, but not the preceding prose, are prominent in the Guhyasamaja connnentarial literature. 3R Interestingly, versions of these verses also occur in at least two NGB scriphtres: the Gzj Idan 'bar ba mtshams kyj rgyud 39 and the Phllr pa gsang

chen rdo lje 'phreng ba 'j rgYLld 40 Likewise, they occur in an early Sa skya pa sadhana by Grags pa rgyal mtshan. 41
The preceding prose part of PT 349 mightbe more intermediate between practical magic and soteriology than the two previous texts we have looked at: we cannot be sure, since some of the text is missing. The two previous texts resemble the modem smad las practices of Mahayoga, where everyday obstacles and hindrances may be rihtally gathered up and used as weapons to be hurled at the root causes of suffering, namely, ignorance, the three poisons and their derivatives, and the ethos is in terms of soteriological liberation. Yet the prose part of this text that survives merely advocates the clearing away of


For instance, the Bstan 'gyur translations of the Sgmb pa'j thabs mdor byas pa

(PiI;cjjk!1asiidhana) (Sde dge, Rgyud 'grel, vol. Ngi: 3-4; Peking 2661) and the PiIyjjJq1asadhanopayjkav!1tkatnavall (Mdor bsdus pa'j sgmb thabs kyj 'grel pa lin chen phreng ba) attributed to RatnCikarasCinti (Peking 2690: 297v7-298v2). This text contains a slightly different version of the verses. Here, the verses are broken up with

word by word commentary interspersed. (Thanks to Gudrun Melzer for discovering this passage.) Sanskrit versions survive as well (PjIJrjjh-amasadhana (PKS) of NCigCiljuna: Facsimile Edition in Mimaki & Tomabechi 1994: PKS 2a4-b3; Manuscript of de La Vallee Poussin's edition PKS 2a3-b 1; PiI;rjjh"Glnasadhana, de La Vallee Poussin 1896: 1-2).

This text of about twenty folios has no chapter divisions or titles. See folios 274r-v

of vol. Zha of the Mtshams brag edition (vol. 21, pp. 551-52 in the modern pagination). [t is very close to the text from the

Chapter 16; see Rig 'dzin edition of the NGB, vol. Sha, fols. 43v to 60r. Grags pa rgyal mtshan, Plll/r pa'j las byang: 182 (l4v 15r).




obstacles to facilitate spiritual practice in a much more straightforward way. It explains the virtues of wielding the phur bu thus: 42
[In this way ... ], one's obstacles in this life will be pacified, [thereby] the accumulation of merit can be attained [ ... ] [so that] one passes on to an abode in the transcendent heavens [where] the accumulation of wisdom will [also] be attained; and thus the two accumulations of merit and wisdom can both be attained: [hence these are its] virtuous qualities.

Likewise, it explains tb.e use of the phur bu for accomplishment thus: 43

... the obstacles are pacified, the patron's wishes will be accomplished, heavenly abodes will be attained, and even the two great accumulations will be completed. Since [the pllllr bu] does not depart from the very nature of efficient means and Wisdom, [it is] the material basis for qualities and accomplishment.

This seems to imply a less direct form of soteriology than the two previous texts.
In other respects, however, PT 349 is a brief description of the MahCiyoga.

rite of sgroI ba that is almost identical to the two texts above. It describes making, populating with deities, and consecrating the material kila in very similar way, and then striking while reciting the same mantra of Rdo rje sder mo.44 It also describes the importance of generating bodhicitta and resting in the ultimate state when striking with the phur bu, and asserts that all the


PT 349 lines 12-14: de lear [ ... ] tslu: 'di la bgegs zhI stel Ibsod nams kyi tshogs thob

[... ]/ /pha rolkyi mtho ris kyi gnas su phyin pas/ ife shes kyi tshogs thob pas/ Ibsod nams dang ye shes kyi tshogs mam pa gnyis thob pas/ / yon tan/ /.

PT 349 lines 14-17: bgegs zhi ste/ yon bdag gi bsam ba grub/ /mtl7o [ris] kyI g11as

tl7ob/ /tshogs chen po gnyis kyang rdzogs/ /tlwbs dang shes rab kyi rang bzhin kyi las rna g.yos pas/yon tan dang gmb pa'! rgyu 'o/.

See the section on [0 L Tib J 33 1. III above.



obstacles will be transferred to the Great Peace (zhi ba chen po) through being liberated. 45 In short, PT 349's prose text might represent an earlier and slightly less sophisticated version of the rite of sgrol ba, before the complex smod las system had emerged. Alternatively, it might represent the same rite as interpreted by an individual with a less complete understanding; or it might only be that the text has lost its end part. 5. IOL Tib J 321 IOL Tib J 321 is the Dunhuang version of the Thabs kyi zhags pa with a lengthy commentary claiming to represent Padmasambhava's teaching.46 It includes several very short chapters on phllr bll rituals, here devoted to the four rites (las bzhl)Y These rites begin with the destructive activity, followed by


Nonetheless, it lacks the elaboration of culminating activities cGlTied out within the

protective cordon that is often a characteristic of the nllly developed smad las rites. It is pOSSible that this might simply have been lost from the end of the text, which is now damaged abruptly after the mantra.

Note that a somewhat garbled and heavily truncated version of the commentary is

also found in the Peking, Nmihang and the Golden Manuscript editions of the Bstan 'gyur (but missing most of the text between the beginning of chapter 5 and the end of chapter 10, and so on), although there not attributed to Padmasambhava. The root text is, we believe, an almost certainly Indian Buddhist Tantric scripture, which, although excluded from the main pmi of the Bka' 'gyur, was included in the Rnyjng rgyud sections of several Bka' 'gyur editions, as well as the Rnyjng ma'j rgyud 'bum's Eighteen Tantra section.

The commentary on these chapters has references to and citations fi:om a


Kannamiila tantra, a PI711r pa

gnyjs and its lIttaratantra, a GuiJyatantra, and a

Rtse gdg 'dus pa. The relation of these titles to their extant (OB namesakes, however,

is not in all cases straightfOlward.



subjugating, increasing, and pacifying, thus reversing the more usual order. 48 The descriptions of phur bus follow classic Tantric shape and colour symbolism for the las bzhi An iron or black thorny wooden phur bu with a three-sided blade for destmctive rites; a copper or red wooden phw- bu with a semi-circular blade for subjugating rites; and a silver or white wooden phur bu with a circular blade forpacifying.49 The destructive phur bu corresponds rather closely to that of many modem Phur pa rituals: its triangular iron or black thorny wood implement has a heruka deity with Ral pa gcig rna above the knot, and the male and female wrathful ones are to be represented around the sides. In striking the effigy, all ten directions are thus struck. The Thabs

zhags chapter 18 describes destructive enlightened activity in terms of the

fierce actions of the vajra animal-headed ( 'phra men) emanations, seizing and offering the evil spirits as food. This fits well with the Phur pa tradition's integration of animal-headed deities into the main deity's retinue. The text is also infused with inner Tantric interpretations: the samaya of emptiness is stressed, and in both chapters 18 and 20 reference is made to the 'primordial . wisdom emptiness consecration. '50 Similarly, in chapter 34, the white phur bu is stated to cause everything naturally to become pacified. 51


See, for instance, the 'Bum nag, Bdlld 'jams bka' ma edition, vol. Tha: 521.4-522.1 (Boord 2002: 318). However, the order given in lOr.; Tib J 321 is the same as that given for the rites in the root *Guhyagarbhatantrd s chapter 20 (Gsang ba'i snying po de kho na nyid nges pa, NGB, M vol. Wa: 213-14).

Although 'increasing' is not mentioned in our manuscript, there is clearly a scribal omission at this point. Presumably, there must once have been at least one manuscript that had the full version of the text, which (from our Rnying ma'i rgyud 'bum witnesses of the root text) predictably specifies a golden or y~l1ow wooden phur bu with a four-sided blade (M vol. 20, p. 148.7).

Ch. 18: 62v: stong pa nyid kyJ ye shes kyi byin dabs. Ch. 34: 76r: thams cad rang bzhin gyis zhi bar 'gyur.




6. PT 44 PT 44 is a famous text already studied by Bishoff and Hartmann (1971), and its first historical section translated GIld discussed by Matthew Kapstein (2000: 158-59). It closely resembles later Phur pa 10 rgyus texts. It narrates Padmasambhava and his disciples' fetching the Phur pa tantras, here called the Phur bu'j 'bum sde, from NGlanda to the Asura Cave in Pharping, and Padmasambhava's taming of the four bse goddesses into protectors of the Phur bu cycle, a role they still have in modem rihlG1. Notable is the apparent identification of the Phur bu deity as Vajrakumara, and the miraculous displays of control over the elements that Phur bu practice bestows on Padmasambhava and his followers; similar stories still circulate in Phur pa histories and commentarial texts. Persons in an early Tibetan Phur bu lineage are named (including where they practised and the signs they achieved): Ba bor Be ro tsa, Kha rtse Nya na si ga, Dre Tathagatha, 'Bu na Ana, Mchims Shag kya, Sna nam Zhang Rdo rje gnyan, Byin Ye shes brtsegs, Gnyan myi ba Btsan ba dpal, Lde sman Rgyal mtshan. The doctrinal material is fascinating, but too terse to analyse reliably. Regarding yanas, it mentions Mahayoga as well as Atiyoga, and also Kriyayoga. It includes description of appropriate meditative visualisation of deities inhabiting the material phw bu, and its practices

to hint at smad

las-type practices of sgrol ba as described in the other Dunhuang phur pa

texts, practised with the' kj la yo.' However, the rihlGl description is preceded by discussion that might resemble what we would now call primary or stod las practices, entailing a direct approach to the ultimate nahrre via meditation on oneself as the Phur pa deity. These might have been intended as an approach practice to prepare for the rite. To give a citation: 52


PT 44: 23-3.0: bsgmb pal I'di snom stangs kyis gnasllskabslkyis IUl1g yul semsl

Isbyor zhingl Ibsgmb pa 'j lungl Ibstan pa dangl ife shes kyisillha dbang du bya ba bsgom bllstan pa dangllgsang ba 'i byangl/cub kyjs sems a tj yo gal /r gtogs pa dangl IpIJllr bull'j bsgrub thabs l17a 110 yo ga I'i gzhung bzhin bstan pal Iphur bu'i



The pattern of the way in which the practice is grasped is that the object [of] transmission is unified [with] the mind. This includes demonstrating the practice transmission, teaching the primordial wisdom deity meditation for subjugating, and the secret bodhicitta atiyoga, as well as the Phur bu s6dhana, taught in accordance with the MahCiyoga scriptural tradition. [For this] Phur bu meditation, [one] meditates that having clearly manifested within the

dhGlmadh6tu, until the bodhicitta generation is effected, the mind and its object
are non-dual. When the primordial wisdom mind clearly arises, [one] meditates on all objects as wisdom's natural expression. Mind is meditated on as primordial wisdom's natural state. The mind empowerment having thus been bestowed within the body, as soon as empowerment is attained, -all bodies are transformed into the primordial wisdom mGlJrjala, and [one] contemplates that the mind does not move from great bliss. When ki1aya is rolled, [one] contemplates that the mina and its object are non-dual.

7. Concluding Remarks In conclusion, let us review what the Dunhuang phUF po corpus tells us: .. 'vVe can be certain from several examples that the various simple magical uses of phUF pas as found in numerous Buddhist texts, both Indian and Tibetan, were certainly present. .. We have direct evidence from several other sources that the more complex, typically Mahayoga soteriological uses of phur pas were also present.

sgom ba chos kyislldbyings su gsalnasl /byangl /cub kyis sems bskyed pari Ima byas kyis bar du/ IY1l1/ Isems mams gnyis Sll myedl /par bsgof!! mol (ye shes semi Is gsa1 tsam 11a1Iyu// It/Jams cad ni shes rab kyis/lrang bzhil1 du bSgOlp/ /sel11s1 l11i ye shes mal mar bSgOlp// Ide Itar sems kyis Ius sui Idbang bskur nasi Idbal1g tl1Gblltsa 11a1 Ilus thams cad ye/ Ishes gyis dkyil 'khordll/I'gyur tollsems ni bde bal Ichel1 po /as ma g.yosl/par bsam/lkzi la ya/ Idzil tsam 11a/ Iyu/ sel11sllg11yis su myed par bsamlI.



.. We know from the Thabs zhags commentary and from PT 44 that specific Phur pa Tantric scriphrres already existed, but we are not yet clear about their relation to extant NGB versions of the same name. For example, the PhUf pa beu gnyis is cited in the Thabszhags commentary, yet it does not seem to be the famous Phllf pa bell gnyis included among the NGB's central Eighteen Tantra section (see n. 47); we have yet to ascertain if it is one of the other two Phur pa bell gnyis texts in the NGB's Phur pa section . .. We know from IOL Tib J 331.III that substantial passages of Phur pa text are shared between Dunhuang manuscripts and canonical NGB Phur pa scriphlres; and from PT 349 that such parallels extend also to

Guhyasamaja commentaries found in the Bstan 'gyur and to early Rdo

rje Phur pa sadhanas . .. We know that the material phur pa was both intellechlally conceived and physically manufachrred in fashions largely unchanged to this day . .. We know that complex Mahuyoga phUF pa rites of sgroI ba were practised in ways seemingly little changed to this day; and that these rites seem to correspond to what modem Ruying rna pa-s would classify under smad las rites . .. There is nothing of substance within the Dunhuang phur pa corpus that does not survive somewhere within the contemporary tradition . .. What is notably lacking in the Dunhuang record is any really substantial and absolutely unequivocal direct evidence for the stod las rites of approaching absolute reality by meditating on oneself as the Phur pa deity in the form of one of the bka' brgyad herukas. Nowadays, this forms the main part of Phur pa practice, and it was already certainly

in place in the early Sa skya rites by Grogs pa rgyal mtshan (11471216), which quite possibly derive from Kun dga' snying po (1092268


1158), as well as in the Phur pa texts from the early gter stons Nyang
ral (1136-1204) and GIml Chos dbang (1212-1270). Yet we do have indirect hints that such practices already existed at Dunhuang. Firstly,

...uits of MahCiyoga deity yoga, there is PT 44's description of the .

which are essentially the same as those taught today, and where the Phur pa deity is given the proper name VajrakumCira, exactly the same name he has in the transmitted canonical Phur pa literature. 53 Secondly, IOL Tib J 33 1. III (4r5) refers to oneself (i.e. the practitioner) as "the great lord" (bdag nyid chen po), which the commentarial notes gloss as "the Great Glorious One" (dpaJ chen po). In this text, the Phur

pa deity also has the epithets Dpal chen Hemka, still used today, and
Vajra Hemka, also still current. However, his consort is at one point described as Krodhisvari, which is not, as far as we currently know, widely evidenced in the later literature, where his consorts are usually 'Khor 10 rgyas 'debs rna and Ral gcig ma. 54 We do not in fact have any visualisation descriptions from Dunhuang of Rdo rje Phur pa as a meditational deity per se, but in this connection, it is worth noting that the Dunhuang text IOL Tib J 306 describes in very great detail a threeheaded, six-armed, four-legged Dpal chen Hemka with Krodhisvari as consort which is undoubtedly a deity of the bka' brgyad type. 55 Hence, we can conclude that the bka' brgyad type of heruka of which Phur pa

For instance, Grags pa rgyal mtshan, Rdo lje pllllF pa'i mngon par 110gs pa 176 (Iv); 178 (6r); 180 (lOr); Nyang ral nyi rna 'od zer, 'P11rin las 'dlls pa 247v; and in the root tantras, such as the jyfyang 'das (Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 151, 216) and the Rdo Ije k11ros pa (Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 236,243,246,252 and elsewhere).

Ral gcig ma/Ekajatii, who does still remain as one of his two consorts, is mentioned in the Thabs zhags commentary's chapter 20 in the context of the female deity visualised with Heruka on the rihlGl pill/r po.

The same type of hemka deities are also described in the *GlI11yagarbhatantra's chapter 17 (NGB, M vol. Wa: 208-209).



is a prime example is already witnessed in the Dunhuang material, even though we are lacking any clear deSCriptions of the Phur po Hemka deity. What we can. say is that two features seem typical of deity meditations described or alluded to in the surviving DuilllUang record of Phur po practices:
(1) Descriptions of the Phur pa deities which are given seem to

correspond with the forms which became known as the sras 1l1chog (Supreme Son) emanations in the Phur po literature, that is, a deified ritual phllr pa, .in which the upper part has a wrathful deity form and the lower part consists of a triangular phliT pa blade. (2) While the sources do suggest that the destmctive rituals described are integrated into a stmchlre in which self-generation of a Tantric deity may be required as a basis, we do not have certain evidence from the Dunhuang sources alone that this already involved the Phuf po Hemka as we know it now and as it was in the writings of a hundred years later. Although PT 44 mentions VajrakumCira (Rdo rje gzho[n] nu) as the deity who is accomplished, and IOL Tib J 33 1. III hints at a self-visualisation as Dpal chen Hemka (an epithet of the Phur po deity in later sources), neither text gives enough description to ascertain exactly what kind of deity was intended. It might even be that other deities may still have taken this role, such as Vaj rap Cil!i , who is mentioned in the case ofIOL Tib J 406. 56

We can speculate that there may be some implication of a build-up of meditative practice in 10 L Tib J 331, from the first Vajrasattva text (33U) focused on selfgeneration to the following Phur po rihwl (33 1. III). It is celiainly not made explicit that the Vajrasattva meditation should form the basis for the pJlllr pa rihwl, yet the two texts would seem to belong together (the paper type and handrriting style appear to be velY similar, slightly different from that of 33l.II). We need caution, however; we have no definite evidence that the two texts are anything other than separate texts whiGh might have been included in a single collection. It is also possible that a similar



It is perfectly possible that elaborate meditations on the form of the Phur pa yi

dam deity with which we are familiar from the tradition were already in
circulation, but unfortunately not represented in the Dunhuang finds. But whether or not this was the case, at least it is clear that important threads from that tradition-notably, the imagery and associations of the ritual phuJ" pa and its use in sgroJ ba rites-were in place, and some passages of text which entered the sCriptural corpus were integratea into notes and teachings on these topics.

stmcture is intended in the case of IOL Tib J 754's Tantric texts, which begin with a meditation on Avalokitesvara and his 111O(19a1a, continue with the notes on the phllr pa rihlQl, and conclude with comments on other rihlQ]s, notably, the practice and significance of the Tantric feast (tshogs). However, in the case of IOL Tib J 754, the
phllr pa ritual section appears to constitute hastily written notes, possibly from oral

teachings rather than from a copied text, while the other sections are in comparison much more neatly written. Although it is tempting to attribute a deliberate stmcturing to the component paris of the scroll, as with suggesting a relationship between IOL Tib
J 33l.I and III, this is only a matter of speculation and not hard evidence.



1. Works in Tibetan

a. Texts from Dunhuang Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts held at the Bibliotheque nationale, Paris: Pelliot Tibetain, PT 8; 44; 349. Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts held at the British Library, London: IOL Tib J 306; 321;331;384;390;401;406;438;491;557; 739; 754. IDP: The International Dunhuang Project (http://idp.bl.ukl). [Contains digital images of many items, and a catalogue: Dalton & van Schaik 2005, Catalogue of tbe

Tibetan Tantlic JVfanusaipts fi"om Dun/wang in tbe Stein Co//ectjon.]

Old Tibetan Documents Online website

e.html or http://star.aa.tufs.ac.jp/otdo/.

b. Collections

Rnying ma'i rgyud 'bum [NGB]

- Mtsharns brag [M]: Tbe iv!tsbams brag A1anuscript of tbe Riiilima rgYlld'blim

(Rgyud 'bum/ mtsbams brag dgon pa). 46 vols. Thimphu: National Library,
Royal Government of Bhutan, 1982. [Microfiche: The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions, LMpj 014,862 - 014, 907. Scans: The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Centre (TBRC) at http://www.tbrc.org, Rnying ma rgYlid









http://www .thdl.org/xml/ngb/showN gb. php?doc = Tb. ed.xml.] - Rig 'dzin Tshe dbang nor bu [R]: The Rig 'dzin Tshe dbang nor bu edition of the

nVying ma'j rgyud 'bum. 29 vols. [Held at the British Library, under the
classification "RNYING MA'I RGYUD 'BUM MSS," with the pressmark ORI521.7. Vol. Ka is held at the Bodleian Library Oxford at the shelfmark MS. Tib.a.24(R). Microfilm: The British Library and the Bodlei6n Library for vol. Ka. Title folios to vols. Ga and A are held at the Victoria and AlbeIt Museum, Accession nos. 1M 318-1920 and 1M 317-1920.]



_ Sde dge [D]: The Sde dge edition of the Rnying ma'i rgyud 'bum. 26 vols. (Ka-Ra) plus dkar chag (vol. A). [Sde dge par khang.] The Sde-dge mtshal-par bka'-'gYlll: A facsimile edition of the 18th cenhlry redaction of Si-hl chos-kyi-'byun-gnas prepared under the direction of H.H. the 16th Rgyal-dbang kanna-pa. 103 vols. Delhi: Kannapae Chodhey, Gyalwae Sungrab Partun Khang, 1976--1979. [Scans: TBRC, W22084.]

c. Other Tibetan Sources

'Bum nag: (1) Pllllr po 'bum nag and Phur pa'i 'grel chen bdud nsi dri med Gangtok: Gonpo Tseten, 1976: 1-229. [Microfiche: The Instihlte for Advanced Studies of World Religions, Two Rare Vajrakila Teachings, LMpj 012,710.] (2) Rfjin ma Bka' ma rgyas pa,ed. Bdud-'joms ' Jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rje. 58 vols. Kalimpong:
Dupjung Lama, 1982-1987: The 'Bum nag is found in vol. Tha, pp. 215-557. [Scans: TBRC, The Expanded Version of. the Nyingma Kama Collection

Teachings Passed in an Unbroken Lineage, W19229, 0448-0505, 3 CDs.] 'Phrin las phun sum tshogs pa'i rgyud In NGB, D vol. Wa, M vol. Chi, R vol. Sha.
Bdud 'joms rin po che 'Jigs bral ye shes rdo rje. Gnam !cags spu gri In The Collected

Writings and Revelations ofH. H. bDud 'joms Rin po che 'Jigs bral ye shes rdo rje, 25 vols., Kali~pong: Dupjung Lama, 1979-1985, vols. 10 (Tha) and 11 (Da). [Scans: TBRC, Bdud 'joms 'jigs bral ye shes rdo lje'i gsung 'bum, W20869 0334-0358.] Dur khrodkllll byzzg 1'01 pa'i rgyzzd In NGB, D vol. Nya, M vol. Ba, R vol. Da.
Grags pa rgyal mtshan. Rdo rje phur pa'i ml1gon par nags pa. In The Complete Works

of Grags pa rgyalmtshan, compiled by Bsod nams rgya mtsho, vol. Nya: 3551'367v (separate pagination lr-l3v, pp. 175-82 of the Western style bound book) and Phurpa'i las byang, vol. Nya: 367v-384r (separate pagination l3v-30r, pp. 182-90), in The Complete Works ofd7e Great Masters of the Sa skya Sect of

the Tibetan Buddhism (Sa skya bka' 'bum), Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1968, vol.

Mag gsar Kun bzang stobs ldan dbang pa. Phur pa 'i mam bshad he ru ka dpal bzhad

pa'i zhal llIl1g (= Beam /dan 'das dpal chen rdo rje gzhon nl! 'i 'phIin las kyi



mam par bshad pa he ru ka dpal bzhad pa'j zhallung). Sngags mang zhib 'jug
khang (Ngak Mang Institute). Peking: Mi pigs dpe skrun khang, 2003. Mchog gyur gling pa et al. The TreaslilY of Revelations and Teachings of Gter chen

Alc!lOg gyur bde chen gljng po. 39 vols. Paro, Bhutan: Lama Perna Tashi, 1982. A/yang 'das = Rdo lje plmr bu c/lOS thams cad mya ngan las 'das pa 'j rgyud chen po. In NOB, 0 vol. Zha, M vol. Chi, R vol. Sa.
Nyang ral nyi rna 'od zer. 'PI1J1n las 'dllS pa (= Bde bar gshegs pa thams cad kyi

'phIin las 'dus pa pllllr pa J1sa ba'i rgyud). In NOB, 0 vol. Ba, M vol. Ya, R
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India: Opal sa skya'i chos tshogs. [Tibetan date given: 992.] 2. Works in Other Languages Akester, M. (unpublished). The Life of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. The 'Fabulous

Grove ofUdumbara Flowers' biography of Jamgon Kongtriil.

Bischoff, F.A. 1956. Arya l'vfahabala-nama-mahayana-s17tro. Tibetain (mss. de Touen-

hOllang) et Chinois. Paris: Librairie Orienta[iste Paul Geuthner.

Bischoff, F.A. & C. Hm1man 1971. Padmasambhava's invention of the Phur-bu: Ms. Pelliot Tibetain 44. In A. Macdonald (ed.) Etudes tibetaines dedMes

a la

memoire de iVfarcelle Laloll. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve: 11-27.

Boord, M.1. 1993. The Cuft of the Deity Vajrakjlo. Tring: The Institute of Buddhist Studies. - - 2002. A Bolt of Lightning From The Blue: The Vast Commentmy of Vqjrakl1a

that Clearly Defines the Essential Points. Annotated translations, including Pllllr prel 'bum nag as transmitted to Ye-shes mtsho-rgyal. Berlin: edition khordong.


cantwell, C. 1989. An Ethnographic Account of the Religious Practice in a Tibetan Buddhist Refugee Monastery in NOlihem India. Ph.D thesis, University of Kent at Canterbury. 2005. The Tibetan earth ritual: Subjugation and transfOlmation of the environment. Revue d'Etudes nbttaines 7, 4-2l. Cantwell, C. & R. Mayer 2007. The Kflaya Nirva{w Tantra and the Vajra Wrath

Tantra: Two Texts fi"om the Ancient Tantra Collection. Vienna: The Austrian Academy of Sciences Press.
(in press). A Dunhuang Phurpa consecration rite: IOL Tib J 331.III's Consecrations section. In M. Kapstein & S. van Schaik (eds) Chinese and

Tibetan Tantra at Dunhuang. Special edition of Studies in Central and East Asian Religions. Brill: Leiden.
Canzio, R. & G. Samuel (fOlihcoming). The Phur-pa Tantric c)1c1e in Bon liturgy: Tradition and perfOlmance. [Draft IATS paper, 2006.] Goudriaan, T. 1978. Maya, Divine and Human. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Kapstein, M. 2000. The nbetan Assimilation of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. de La Vallee Poussin, L. 1896. Etudes et Texts Tantriques: Pailcakrama. Gand: Enge1cke & Louvain: J.B. Istas, Museon. Lessing, F.D. & A. Wayman 1978. Introduction to the Buddhist Tantric Systems. 2nd edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Mayer, R. 2004. Pelliot tibetain 349: A Dunhuang Tibetan text on rDo rje Phur pa.

Jouma/ of the IntematJ'onal Association of Buddhist Studies 27(1), 129-64.

Mayer, R. &

c. Cantwell

1994. A Dunhuang manuscript on Vajrakilaya [IOL MSS

TIE J 754,81-82]. The nbet Jouma/19(l), 54-67. Mimaki, K. & T. Tomabechi 1994. Pailcakrama: Sans/ait and nbetan Texts Cn'ticafly

Edited with Vel:5e Index and FacsIinile Edition of the SansJait Manuscripts.
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1997-1998. Old Tibetan lvfanllscIipts Ii'om East Tll1kestan in The Stein Collection of the BritIsh LibrGly. 3 vols. Tokyo: The Centre for East Asian
Cultural Studies for Unesco, The Tciyo Bunko & London: The British Library Board. Wayman, A. 1981. Notes on the Phur-bu. The iOlll7lal of the Tibet Society 1,79-86. Indiana University, Bloomington. [http://www.digitalhimalaya.com/collections/ journals/jtslindex. php.]




and ROBERT MAYER (Oxford)

1. Introductory Remarks

The unique prominence of the Phur pa" tradition in Tibet and the Himalayas raises an interesting question. Phur pa never become even remotely so popular anywhere else in Asia, so why did it in Tibet? In this paper, we wish to suggest some possible hypotheses that might be fmitfully tested in an attempt to answer this question. Tibetan phur pa literature is vast. The Buddhist canonical Phur pa tantras, the innermost core of their tradition, comprises roughly seventy texts in the Bhutanese Rnying ma'i rgyud 'bWll (NGB) editions, totalling nearly 4,000 pages. The Bdud 'joms Bka' ma has forty-eight Phur pa texts, totalling 2,692 pages. A recent collection of Buddhist Phur pa texts published by Zenkur Rinpoche (Gzan dkur rin po che Thub bstan nyi rna, b. 1943) that includes both bka' ma and gter ma has over 1,200 texts in 41 volumes, 32,200 pages in alV yet this includes only a representative selection of the vast Tibetan Buddhist gter ma and cOlmnentarial Phur pa literature. The Bon Bka' 'gyur The research on which this article is based was funded by a grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council held at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, 2004-2007.

See note 2 of our other article in this volume ("The Dunhuang Corpus on Vajrakllaya: A survey") for clarification of our usage of the words pllllr pa, pl1l/r bu, kilo, kIlaya etc. In this miicle, the tenn kIla is used when the reference might include Indian and intemational contexts.

Dpal chen kI la ya 'j chos skor plJyogs bsgdgs, 2002.


has about eighty-eight Phur po texts in four volumes, comprising around 1,500 pages-yet such canonical material is far from comprising the entirerj of Bon Phur pa literahrre. Phur pa's popularity in Tibet began in early times, and as we can see, is moderately well represented at Dunhuang. By the dawn of the Gsar ma period, Phur po was already very prominent within the old Tantric lineages, as we know, for example, from such polemicists as Pho brang Zhi ba 'ad (b. eleventh-cenhlry), who produced a long list of Phur pa tantrm of which he did not approve (Karmay 1998: 33). Soon the Rnying ma po went on to begin to produce the vast quantities of Phur po treasure texts that remain famous to this day-for example, those of Nyang ral nyi ma'i 'od zer (1136-1204). Because they believed it had an authentic Indic origin, from the start Phur pa also retained popularity among important followers of the new translations: for example, the 'Khan hierarchs of Sa skya kept up their hereditary Rnying ma pa practice of Phur po, and a good proportion of our most valuable early Phur po literahrre comes from such So skya pa sources as those attributed to So chen Kun dga' snying po (1092-1158) and Grags po rgyal mtshan (11471216).4
It was also from around the begilming of the Gsar ma period that the Bon

po-s began producing their own comprehensive Phur pa literahrre. The earliest Bon Phur po seems to have been revealed by Khu tsha Zla ' ad (perhaps b. 1024) in the eleventh-cenhlry, although there is possibly some from Gshen chen Klu dga' (perhaps 996-1035) a few years earlier. There are also less reliable accounts of Bon Phur pa revelations in the tenth-cenhrry, allegedly among the texts found by three Nepalese yogins and handed to Mtha' bzhin 'Phrul gsas. It therefore seems that Bon Phur po was in general quite well established by the early Gsar ma period. In addition, various forms of Phur pa practices are also found amQng ethnic groups across the Southern Himalayan margins of Tibet, but these are beyond the scope of our present Sh~. For example, the Rdo Ije phur pa 'j lflngon par rtogs pa.


Despite this broad popularity across so much of the Tibetan religious spectrum, Phur po clearly remains a specifically Rnying ma (and Bon) tradition: without exception, the root scriptures of the Buddhist Phur po tradition are Rnying mo. A tiny sample are included within the Rnying rgYlld sections of the Bka' 'gyur-s, but the vast bulk exists only within the NGB, or within the gter mo literature. Thus the So skya po version of Phur po is little different from the Rnying ma po, and the So skya pa Phur po commentaries depend on exactly the same source tantras as the Rnying rna po-namely, the major NGB Phur po tantras-even though there is possible evidence that these might have included some of the very texts criticised by Pho brang Zhi ba ' od. 5 The Bka' brgyud po schools have tended to borrow Rnying ma po Phur po lineages, rather than preserve their own as the 'Khon lineage have done. The huge prominence of Phur po in Tibet is in stark contrast to its very modest profile in other Buddhist cultures. RihlGls using phllr pas were wellestablished in Indian Buddhist Tantra, but we do not find a developed Phur pa Henlka cycle with any kind of prominence, and we believe the greater part of Rnying ma Phur po tontras \vere compiled in Tibet. As a result, a broad consensus emerged in 1970's Western Tibetology that Phur po was something largely indigenous to Tibet, with no significant Indian antecedents. In fact, some early Gsar ma po authors, while convinced that the kila tradition itself was Indian, had doubted that many of its particular Tantric scriptures were of unadulteratedly Indic origins, so that initially none were admitted to the main bpdy of the Bka' 'gyur except a small fragment edited by Sa skya Par.l<;iita Kun dga' rgyal mtshon (1182-1251). Perhaps influenced by this precedent, R.A. Stein leapt to the false conclusion that the phur bll implement 'was an indigenous device upon which Tibetans hap projected Indian conceptual

5 For

example, the title Phllr bll mya ngan las 'das pa occurs both in Pho brang Zhi ba

'od's bka' shog(Kannay 1980: 18), and in Sa skya Phur pa commentaries, such as the extensive and influential commentary of ('Jam mgon) A myes zhabs Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams (1597-1659) (21.7, 24.4).



interpretations; others, such as John Huntington and Keith Dowman, broadly agreed with him at fIrst (Stein 1971-72: 499; Huntington 1975: vii; Dowman 1984: 302). With time, these ideas have had to be adjusted. In his graduate studies in the late 1980's, Mayer pOinted out the great wealth of evidence for klias throughout South Asian civilisation. This included a signifIcant quantity of evidence from TheravGda sources (Mayer 1991), since the hugely popular Theravilda protective rites known as paritta give such great prominence to the kiia, for which they usually use the PilIi term indakhl1a (indrakiia), meaning the god Indra's kiia." In her well-known monograph study of the paritta ceremony, Lily de Silva (1981: 57-79) dedicates an entire section to the indrakiia, which succinctly sums up TheravCida scholarship's view of the indraklia in the following points: (i) the indrakiia is derived from and identifIed with the ancient Vedic sacrifIcial stake or yiJpa (pp. 68-73), (ii) the indrakl1a is identifIed with the cosmic MOlmt Mem or Mount Mandara (pp. 64-68), (iii) the indraklia represents the cosmic axis and the pathway between heaven and earth (p. 72), (iv) the indraio1a represents immovable stability and order (pp. 61-65), (v) indraklias are used to create an inviolable magical boundary around important spaces (pp. 63-66), (vi) indraklias represent royal authority (p. 64), (vii) indraklias can be inhabited by deities and worshipped (p. 66), and (viii) sacrifIce, including human sacrifice, can be associated with them (p. 66). But in addition to those sources that de Silva found relevant to the Theravilda heritage, a huge wealth of further references also exists in South Asian Tantric, PurGr,tic, and other sources. While the sources cited by de Silva certainly have some iconographic similarity to Tibetan phur bU3 (such as the

As de Silva points out (1981: 57, 68), while Indakhlia is by far the most usual designation, there are also other telms less frequently used, including~ the Sinhala kapagaha (apparently equivalent to the Pa.Ii ekattham bha), and rC!fagaha, which she believes most probably has the meaning of 'Royal Tree,' although 'Royal House' is also possible.



eight facetted shaft, a round top part, audclearly divided top and bottom halves of equal length), some of the other sources are not infrequently iconographically even closer to Tibetan phur bus. To give just one among numerous examples, the Manasara Siipasastra, one of the most famous of the

SiIpasiistras (classic Indian texts on architecture and related disciplines),

describes the stfipikfla, a ceremonial kIla often used as a finial on religious buildings, as follows: "The length (Le. body) of the kila is stated to be triangular, the base square, the middle part octagonal and the top circular. The width of the kila should be one angula, and it tapers gradually from base to top.,,7 Not only do the classic iconographical definitions of Munasara specify a triangular kila, but so do famous Saiva Tantric texts such as the




Tantrasarasmpgraha of Naruya1).a

(Goudriaan 1978: 263, 374ff.).8 Since then, Huntington and other art historians have actually catalogued surviving Buddhist Heruka VajrakHas, perhaps based on the Guhyasallliijatantra, found as far afield as Hugli, in West Bengal, and. Yogyakarta, in Java. 9

7 See

Manasara, viii, 147-49; P.K. Achruya, Architecture ofA1anasara, Oxford, 1933,

205ff., cited in Mayer 1991: 169.


Yet it is of interest that these two texts have both apparently incorporated significant

Buddhist elements. See Gudnm Biihneman 1999: 303-304.


See Huntington Archive at http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu, and search for Vajrakila.

One image shows a stone sculpture that confonns with the Guhyasamaja iconography for the Hemka Vajrakila. The ently is as follows: Name: Hugli: lVfonument: sculpture
of Vajrakila; Iconography Vqjrakila; Date: ca. eighth century CE, 701 CE-800 CE; Material' grey stone; Dimensions: H - ca. 25.00 in; Om'ent Location: AslJlltosh Museum, Calcutta, West Bengal, India; Photo Copydght Holder: Huntington, John C and Susan L.; Photo Year.' 1969; Scan Number.' 0005993.

Elsewhere in the same catalogue (as accessed 26 April, 2005), Huntington has written as an introduction to the Tibetan Phur pa deity: "Vajrakumara, 'Younger Vajra' is the embodiment of a ritual implement of great antiquity. During the period of the Bra.hma1).as (a body of ritual literature dating between 1200 and 800 B.C.E.) the 281


These days, while few doubt its Indic origins, we do



ritual profile was different in India than in Tibet. The present consensus is that in Indian Buddhism (as in East Asian Buddhism), Kila was more often a subsidiary ritual element within other Tantric cycles, and comparatively less prominent as an independent deity cycle. In Tibet, by contrast, Phur pa became equally prominent as a component of other cycles and as a very major, largely Maha.yoga, deity in its own right. Clearly, there was something about Phur pa that fotmd a special resonance among Tibetan and Himalayan societies. In this article, we reflect somewhat tentatively on possible cultural and social factors that might account for early Tibet's historic enthusiasm for the phur pa traditions. 2. Cultural Affinities [1] Our. first hypothesis concerns the theme of blood sacrifice. As we shall discuss below, we believe blood sacrifice, and perhaps even in some instances hmuan sacrifice, was a major aspect of pre-Buddhist religion in Tibet; in this context, it might well be significant that by far the most striking feature of the Maha.yoga Phur pa ritual is its graphic symbolic re-enactment of a sacrificial blood offering. While many Buddhist tantras contain some sacrificial imagery, Phur pa actually takes a full-scale simulated sacrificial offering of a victim to the Three Jewels as its central ritual (Cantwell 1997; Mayer 1998). The

priests 'cast' kilas literally 'pegs' in order to control weather and evil forces. Just when these tools came into the Buddhist techniques of benefaction is unclear, but by the seventh or eighth century an array of techniques including the personification, Vajrakumara, had been incorporated into Tantric techniques." lain Sinclair has also sent us a photograph of a velY finely detailed Vajrnkila Hemka found near Yogyakarta that also closely conforms with the.-..Guhyasamaja iconography, and the sculpture from Hugli. Sinclair estimates this Javanese kIla dates from somewhere between the eighth and twelfth centuries (personal communications, 17/2/2004 and 9/8/2007). 282


imagery in the deity visualisations draws repeatedly upon the sacrificial theme, and this is brought out further in the phur pa rite of sgroi ba. The basic procedure is usually to make an anthropomorphic effigy or linga of a sacrificial victim out of dough, and symbolically to 'kill' and make a sacrificial offering of it to the Three Jewels by' use of the phur pa, thereby transferring or 'liberating' its consciousness to a higher spiritual level. Symbolically, the anthropomorphic effigy is personified as the demon Rudra, who represents self-clinging as the source of all other spiritual obstacles, so that transferring the effigy's mind to a higher realm represents liberating one's own-and others'-ignorant fixations into primordial wisdom. The large weight of evidence for it from Dunhuang might suggest that in the tenthcentury, this sacrificial rite was at least as prominent as it is now. IO Called 'liberative killing,' sgroiba in Tibetan, the Indic versions are often referred to in words related to the central term


for example, as we shall see

shortly below, the Netratantra ( ... l11ocayanti ca... and ... l11ok~m;a . .. ) and ( ... mukti...) use such terms (Ralbfass 1991: 101, 123); similarly

the VilJ6Sikhatantra talks of mok?a being achieved by the anthropomorphic effigy or iiiIga being slain through stabbing with a kiia (Goudriaan (1985: 277-78); and the Tibetan translators of Bhaviveka translated the term for the Indian ,ritual school specialising in such practices, the notorious

Smpsaramocakas, with the term 'khor ba sgroi byed pa (Ralbfass 1991:

100).11 In Rnying rna pa practice, sgroi ba comprises one half of the famous
10 As we show in our paper, "The Dunhuang Corpus on Vajrakilaya: A Survey," also in this volume.

Language as used in real life, especially arcane technical terminology, must always be differentiated from language as given in standard dictionaries. Some might object that the various Indian cognates and variants related to mok~a should properly only translate into the Tibetan thar pa; and that sgroI ba must needs be a translation of ttirG/;a or suchlike. Be that as it may, the probably once quite varied Indian terms related to mok~a that were used in the specific sense of rituals of sacrificial liberation, for whatever reason, simply had become associated with the Tibetan word sgroI ba by ,

283 -


pair of Mahdyoga rites, when combined together with the sexual rite of 'union,' sbyor ba. The notion of such ritual liberation is undoubtedly Indian in origin and draws on Indian sacrificial rihlGl categories in considerable detail. For example, in the Saiva Netratantra, and Abhinavagupta's commentary on it in his Tantraloka, rihwl killing is seen as helping the victims (anllgraha, where

glosses anllgraha as 11l11ktl), by releasing the victim from their sins,

worldly fetters, and stains (papa, pasa, and mala). Thus these Saiva commentators believe that such killing is in accord with non-violence or
ahjrpsa, and that it constitutes a

and benevolent act of 'liberation'

which is not at all the same thing as ordinary killing or harming

(miirQ(Ja).12 From Vedic times onwards, it has been a constant theme in Indian

the tenth century, however inCOlTect that might appear to some contemporary strictly lexicographical analysis. Yet the meanings of the terms

and sgroi ba are not

after all unrelated, so we do not really find this altogether surprising. We should add, the intellectually naIve rush to 'cOlTect' the Sanskrit found in Tantric and other Buddhist texts is often somewhat questionable, since it is well known that the originals were very often not in classical Sanskrit in the first place. For that reason, we have elsewhere preferred to use the very well-known central semantic term Western audience. The term reify it into a 'correct' telm.


as the

easiest lndic word to convey the broader gist of the rite of sgroI ba to a general

is perhaps more classically Sanskrftically exact

however, so we can perhaps use that term here, so long as our readers remember not to

Halbfass 1991: 10 Iff. This apologetic is closely minored in Tibetan Phur pa texts on

sgroi ba. One of the most famous and ubiquitous verse within Phur pa sgroi ba
literature states that "the samaya for killing [and] liberating through compassion is not really to kill or suppress; [it is] to meditate on the essential vajra nature [of the]

skandhas, and on consciousness as vajra" (snying Ijes bsgral ba'i dam tsJzj!l. nil bsad cing mnan pa nyid min tel phung po rdo lje'i bdag l1yid del mam par shes pa rdo ljer bsgoml). In other words, sgroI ba liberates the victim from all sat)1soric delusion, so
that they realise the' vajra nature.' See Cantwell 1997: 115.



blood sacrifice that the victim's consciousness is sent to a higher realm; hence to sacrifice a victim to the gods was (and remains) equivalent to bestowing on the victim a kind of forcible or involuntary liberation or

While the vast

bulk of sacrificial victims are and usually have been animals, Halbfass makes the further interesting point that there was from the 6 th century onwards an extensive Indian, often Jaina polemic against literalistic interpretations of liberative killing as practised upon unsuspecting specifically human victims. A major target of these polemics was the heterodox school of Sarpsaramocakas, whose name would suggest that such liberative killing was their main focus. Criticism of the Sarpsfuamocakas occur in Buddhist, JainG and Hindu sources, and even in Tibetan scholasticism via translations of Bhaviveka's works. Halbfass raises the possibility that the Sarpsaramocakas might never have really existed, but might instead have been a notional school, originally confabulated from an Iranian example, which was sometimes used for philosophical writing and debate as an illustrative negative example (Halbfass 1991: lOOff.). It is not clear to us if anyone has yet explored what bearing, if any, the Sarp.sfuamocaka debate might have had on the social reception of the Buddhist rites of 'liberative killing'; or on the polemical references to sgroJ ba in Tibet in the early Gsar rna period. What is clear, however, is that the principle of sacrificial ritual killing or 'liberation' of both animal and human victims, in which their consciousness was sent to a higher realm, was deeply entrenched in India. 'Liberative killing' also had a major role to play in the all-important task of controlling evil non-human spirits. Especially after the rise of devotional religion with its stress on universal salvation, a fimdamentally exorcistic model came to be built into this sacrificial theme, which might have been very important for the popularisation of Tibetan phur pa rites, as we discuss below. Hiltebeitel and Biardeau (Hiltebeitel 1989: 1) have neatly described the recurring theme in Indian religions where the gods convert harmful demons into their devotees, as servants with a specifically protective role, through the process of first killing them, and then resuscitating them. As we shall see in


section 2 below, this is exactly what the Rnying rna Mahayoga versions of
sgroi ba aim to do in their detailed and almost universal employment of the

taming of Rudra narrative. In many liturgies cmd in numerous reiterations of the myth, demonic. hell-bound Rudra is first killed, and then resuscitated, upon which he devotedly offers himself as the seat of the victorious Buddhist deities, becoming MahakCila (or some other benign Protector), now himself safely on the path to Buddhahood. The Buddhist Muhayoga rite of 'liberative killing' is, like many of the Saiva versions, symbolic rather than actually sanguinary, and forms a major. part of advanced Mahayoga soteriology. Here, a symbolic ritual enactment of the sacrifice of a dough effigy is hltended to achieve the forcible liberation of ignorance into wisdom. The Phur pa tantra3 are without doubt sgroi ba's most famous locus in contemporary Rnying rna Buddhism; while sgroI ba is integrated into the extended rituals of many other Rnying rna deities, these still very often employ a phlff pa to effect the actuaL symbolic killing. At sgroi ba's culmination, the sacrificed effigy is often dismembered, and in the tshogs or Tantric feost, the effigy may be divided into portions, and offered for consumption so that buddha3, human yogins, and the lowly excluded spirits each receive their appropriate portion (Cantwell 1997: 112-16; 1989: 197205). Mok$m;.a could equally be performed in Hindu India, as in Buddhist Tibet,

by using a kiIa: to take just one example, mok$a1}a by stabbing an anthropomorphic effigy with a human-bone kJ1a occurs in the Saiva
Vi1}iiSikhatantra. 13 Hence it need be no surprise that sacrificial meanings are

inscribed in the very form of the k11a or phlff pa and that this implement carefully replicates the immemorial iconography of the Indian sacrificial


See Goudriaan (1985: 277-78): miinu$iisthimayarp kJ1aJ!1 Jqtvii fu caturangulam


k$iravrk$aJ!1 bhage likhya liIigaf!7 va kiiayet tatab


$a!J9ilas tu bhavet sadhya

ardrayogo no sGlPsaya!; I uddh[tena bhaven mok$G1p natra kiirya vicaral}a II.



stake. 14 In fact, over many hundreds of years, the kila has consistently been identified with the yiipa, or Vedic sacrificial stake. Weare not sure when this first happened, but it was certainly very early: Poli scholars have reported that at least by the time of the appearance of the Piili canon, the yilpa and

indrakila had become conflated as a single item (de Silva 1978: 244-46). As
elaborated in the ancient Vedic texts called BrahmCl1JClS, the Yllpa, as a central implement of Vedic religion, was itself deified, and thus continued to have a manifold ritual life down the centuries. It is one among several ancient Vedic ritual devices that evolved to become part of the common ritual heritage of much of Asia. Nowadays, the yiipa-kila motif still continues in diverse religious contexts, including temple architecture, Theraviida


ceremonies, and innumerable Puriil).ic and Tantric rites. Thus it is originally from the yiipa or Vedic sacrificial stake, and from its complex and elaborate exegeses in the Brah1l1aJ}a literatures, that the Tibetan phur pa very distantly yet quite recognisably inherits many of its standard canonically required features: the upper and low(,:r part of equal length, the eight-facetted column, the knots at the ends of the column, the makara head with nagas, the function of conveying sacrificed victims up to higher realms, the dwelling of the highest deities at its top, its conception as a cosmic axis, the ability to act as a gatekeeper, the ability to kill enemies at a distance, and its threefold lower shaft when used for killing. All of these distinctive features of the Tibetan phur

pa were first specified in the Brah111aJ}as and similar literature for the
sacrificial stake or yiipa. 15 We therefore believe that any analysis of the

For a detailed discussion of this, see Mayer 1991: 170-82.

Mayer 1991 passim. Some authors do not distinguish between this symbolically very complex Vedic-descended sacrificial tradition, and another group of much Simpler kIla themes found peripherally in numerous Indian texts of all religions: the simple nonsacrificial magical acts of overpowering enemies with a k11aka or peg. Typically classified within Indian magical categories as kIlana 'piercing' or ucctitana 'eradicating,' such practices are especially effective against demonic forces or opponents in a dispute, but lack the complex distinctively Vedic sacrificial motifs. In



introduction of the kilo to Tibet must take cognizance of tb.e inherently sacrificial connotations of this implement within its original South Asian context. Without elaborating at length on pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion, in short we can say that it is very well known from Dunhuang sources, from contemporaneous Chinese accounts in the Tang Annals (Bushell 1880: 441, 475, 488), and from archaeological sources that blood sacrifice was a crucial feature of pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion. Animals, and possibly also humans, were offered on numerous occasions, such as oath-taking, funerary rites (Tucci 1955: 223; Li & Coblin 1987: 10), and mountain deity rites. 16 Some of the strongest evidence is for large-scale blood sacrifice as a central part of the funerary rites. For example, the Dunhuang text PT 1289 describes mdzo mo sacrifice during funeral rihlQls; PT 1194 describes the sacrifice of sheep during funerary rituals; PT 1136 describes the sacrifice of horses during funerary rites; PT 1068 describes general animal sacrifice during funerary rites. While we cmmot be sure of the exact date of these Dunhuang texts, it seems reasonable to infer that they describe non-Buddhist Tibetan traditions. Sacrifice and dismemberment of numerous sacrificial animals is amply confiTI11ed by recent archaeological excavations of 8 th to 9th century Tibetan tombs (Heller 2003).

accord with Madeleine Biardeau's landmark study of the Indian sacrificial post, we agree that over the millennia a simpler peg might both diverge and re-merge, telminologicaIIy and conceptually, with the more complex sacrificial post. Nevertheless, as Madeleine Biardeau has pointed out in her study of the Indian sacrificial stake Histoires de poteallX, it is very often rash to distinguish between socalled 'great' and 'little' traditions in India. What goes on in the village is often just another fOlm of what goes on in great temples. Biardeau 1989 passim. "-16 See Wangdu & Diemberger 2000: 101, for a Buddhist criticism of animal slaughter involved in rites for the deity Thang lha.



The latter feature-dismemberment-is as typically significant for Tibetan sacrifice .as for sacrifice elsewhere. It is not only something found by archaeologists working on old Tibetan burial mounds, but is also reported in Dunhuang texts-for example, with the yak sacrifice described in chapter 8 of the Old Tibetan Chronicle and analysed by Sandy Macdonald (Macdonald 1980: 203); here we find that ancient Tibetan sacrifice, just like India's prototypical

(IJgveda 10.90), involved dismemberment and

sharing to reflect social status. Michael Oppitz (Oppitz 1997: 533-34) adds to 'such analysis in his discussion of Pelliot 1068, and also Pelliot 1038, in which latter dismemberment of the sacrificial animal is seen as a political metaphor. Remnants of these traditions. continue in non-Buddhist regional deity rites to this day, where blood sacrifice is a commonplace (Diemberger & Hazod 1997: 273-76), and as we have pointed out above, such dismemberment and sharing of the symbolic effigy-victim also occurs in the Mahayoga Tantric feast (gapacakra: tshags' kyi 'khar 10). It therefor:e seems a useful hypothesis to propose that phlll" pa rihmls originally appeared so attractive to Tibetans because of their exceptionally strong emphasis on deeply familiar motifs of sacrifice, dismemberment, and hierarchical sharing. In fact, the above hypothetical proposal now has a tiny bit of direct evidence to support it. Tantric Buddhist 1iJigas or effigies for suppression of sri demons (sri llwan) drawn on animal skulls, absolutely exactly as prescribed in . early phur pa suppression rites,17 have been found among the vast sacrificial . animal remains at two excavated 8 th to 9th-cenhrry Tibetan tombs in Amdo, as Amy Heller (2003) reports. What makes these examples especially interesting is the way in which demons of an important indigenous category-the sri, who are unknown in India-become (and are to remain until modem times) prime adversaries of an entirely Indian exorcistic method, as taught in the Vajrakilaya talltras. Thus these tombs reveal a traditional pre-Buddhist

17 See Boord 2002: 234ff. for Phur pa smad las mnan pa rites using linga drawn on animal skulls.









of Buddhist syncretism.

Unsurprisingly in the light of this evidence, there are also Dunhuang texts, such as PT 239, whose basic gist is to advocate the substitution of non-violent Buddhist funerary rites for the sangilinary indigenous funerals. [2] Our second hypothesis' involves the usage of myth in ritual: as Samten Karmay has pointed out so eloquently, there is ample evidence to suggest that the close linkage of ritual to myth was important to pre-Buddhist religion in Tibet. The MahCiyoga phur pa 'liberative killing' rite closely integrates ritual and myth in a manner similar to the indigenous Tibetan pattern, and this might have contributed to the rapidly achieved popularity of the phur pa rituals in early Buddhist Tibet. One of Samten Karmay's discussions of indigenous Tibetan religion (Karmay 1998: 245; see also 288-89, and elsewhere) explains that myth and ritual together constitute a "model" (dpe sra!); the ritual depends upon the mythical account (rabs), and involves a reenactment of the past. We have strong evidence that by the time of our Dunhuang texts, the central phur pa sacrificial rite of sgroi ba or 'liberative killing' was already following just such a pattern of integrating myth with ritual, even if it remains tmclear as yet to what proportion this developed in India and to what proportion in Tibet. For example, the opening words of IOL Tib J 331.III allude to the taming of Rudra as a charter myth of the rabs or s111rang type, 18 using the very same words on the taming of Rudra that also occur in several NGB texts, such as the Phur pa bcu gnyis's chapter 7 (Mayer 1996: 169) and the Phur bu 111yang 'das's chapter 3, the theme of which is developed at length in its chapter 4 (Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 129-39). Central to the rite of sgroi ba is the identification of the anthropomorphic effigy victim with Rudra. Rudra is a key figure in Rnying rna religion, and See Kannay 1998: 288-89, fOl: analysis of how the tenn smrang was used for this kind of origin and archetype myth as used in ritual. The word rabs is mentioned immediately above.





understanding of him and his symbolic significance is taught in a very great tUOny Rnying rna tantras, very notably in the NGB Phur po tantras. Thus Rudra's long career will be well known to virtually every member of any Rnying rna pa ritual assembly: Rudra's initial spiritual disobedience and misunderstanding, leading to aeons of perdition in the hells, followed by rebirth as a mighty demon, and his eventual rehabilitation by becoming the great original sacrificial victim, slain in the great primal act of 'liberative killing' performed by Heruka, at his first manifestation from the combined intentions of all buddhas. It is only after being slain that Rudra can be resuscitated as a 'good guy': the exorcistic theme that lies at the heart of the Phur pa Tantric system. Rudra's preeminent importance thus lies partly in the fact that he himself embodies primal ignorance, from whose subjugation enlightemnent emerges; and partly in the fact that Heruka was only manifested in the first instance so that Rudra could be defeated. Hence Rudra is at the very core of the major origin and soteriological myths of the entire Rnying rna pa version of Vajrayana itself (Mayer 1998: 271-310). So in every subsequent rihwl performance of sgroi ba by ordinary Buddhist followers, the yogin must identify himself with Heruka and thus as being the lineal successor of the original primal Heruka who first tamed Rudra in the days of old. In each performance of sgroi ba, he reenacts that first ancient taming of Rudra. In this way, each performance of sgroi ba envisages a mythical spatio-temporal context, just as Karmay describes, and becomes a reenactment of the mythical past, even down to quite technical details, such as the leftovers or excess offerings in tshogs rihwls. '9 It is fair to say that the myth of Rudra is so deeply embedded within the rite of sgroi ba that the rite itself would make little sense without an understanding of Rudra and the myths of his taming. Thus, in the account given in the Phur pa root tantra, the iV/yang 'das, the females originally of Rudra's entourage are integrated into the maw;ialds periphery and become the recipients of the leftover offerings (Myang 'das, chapter 4, NOB, D vol. Zha 51r; Cantwell & Mayer 2007: 138). The rite of offering to the peripheral deities is repeated following the principal deities' offerings in each regular tshags ritual.



Of course, it is not at all unusual for any religious ritual to be expressive of an underlying myth-the Christian sacraments are an obvious example, and other Vajrayana myths do likewise-but the typically MahCiyoga Phur po sacrificial rite of sgroi ba seems to do this much more obviously and with for more dramatic impact than most Vajrayana rihlGls. hi other words, charter myth stmchlres have a place in many Indian religious contexts, but what is significant in this case is that they were accenhlated in a typically Tibetan way as part of the Rnying ma indigenising strategy. Hence it is possible that Mahayoga's sgroi ba rite offered ninth and tenth-cenhlry Tibetans a deeply familiar sense of the proper functioning of myth within ritual, which was less obviously found in other Tantric Buddhist rituals. Thus, we propose as a hypothesis to be tested that the early Tibetan expectation of smrang, rabs and

dpe sroi in their rihlGls helps account for the remarkably enthusiastic take up
of the Rudra-taming myth in Rnying rna Tantrism in general; and that this myth probably found its most perfect and dramatic rihlGl expressions in the

phur pa rite of sgroi ba, which might have contributed to its particular
popularity.20 [3] Our third hypothesis is that a number of similar cosmological and religious ideas about sacred mountains are shared between the Indian kiia rites and the indigenous Tibetan religion, and that this might also have contributed to making the Indian kl1a cult attractive to Tibetans. In India, the kl1a has long been associated with cosmic mountains, because the popular Vedic, Epic and

Ronald Davidson (2003: 221 ff.) has tried to account for the remarkable popularity of the Rudra taming myth in Tibet solely in tenus of it offering a vehicle for affirming an authentic lndic lineage: yet one might object that there are numerous much more direct ways to asseli an authentic lndic lineage. Davidson's work per~s came too early to show any awareness of Karmay's work on the central importance of chmier myth systems (dpe sra!, rabs, smrGng etc.) in indigenous Tibetan religious ritual. But above all, it is the spiritual meanings and rihlG] enactments that keep the myth alive and robust to this day.



purm;nc cosmogonic mythologies of the god Indra at some stage came to describe his famous demiurgic exploits in tenns' of the cosmic axial mountain Mandara being identified as IndrOkila, or Indra's Peg. To start with, this cosmic mountain was floating about quite freely and had no fixed' place. By fixing it finnly like a peg (lila) to the ocean bed, Indra imposed cosmic order on the preceding chaos, and for the first time brought a life-enabling stability to the world. This was

associated with Indra's taking control of and


releasing for the first time the primal life-giving waters, which he achieved through subjugation of the primal serpent demon who had previously controlled these waters (note that the kila is still the prime instrument for
nagabandha rites). Being the cosmic pivot, this huge mOtmtain organised the

lmiverse at its origins along a three-levelled vertical" axis of heaven above, earth in the middle, and watery tmderworld below-the Three Worlds so well known from Indian sources. From this myth of Indra and his pegging the earth came the Indian usage of ku-kila (from ku, earth, plus kila, peg)-meaning a pin or bolt of the earth, namely a mountain (Monier-Williams 1899: 286). F.B.J Kuijper, who made a major study of it, has summarised the myth as follows: Indra made the mountain firmly rooted in the bottom of the waters. Since this . . mountain was the cosmic centre, the central point of the earth, the whole earth thereby became firm and steady. Thus the cosmic mountain not only was the origin of the earth, but also came to function as a peg which secured the earth a firm support. This idea still survives in the later literature, where Mt Mandara (= the unmoving) as the cosmic pivot is called Indra's Peg (IndrakI!a), and the concept of a mountain functioning as a peg is expressed by the telm ki!timi (Kuiper 1970: lID). The Vedic scholar Jan Gonda, moreover, described the sacrificial post or yilpa as being envisaged as the cosmic axis of the Three Worlds, with the heavens at its top, our earth along its visible length, and the watery subterranean world of
nagas below (Gonda 1965: 230, 147). Perhaps this is why, as we have seen

above, the yilpa and lila (or indrakila) were often conflated items, for 293


example in architectural literature (Coomaraswamy 1938: 18-19), and in much earlyBuddhist literature (de Silva 1978: 244-46; Mayer 1991: 170). The cult of Indra on the one hond, and of sacrifice (yajiJa) on the other hand, together comprised the two major strands of religious belief in the Vedas (e.g. Klostermaier 1984, section 1). It is therefore no surprise that a cultural artifact that combined the central implement of ancient Indian sacrificial ritual (the yfJpa) together with a major symbol of the myth of Indra (the kl1a as cosmic mountain) would be influential enough to become culturally reproduced and re-articulated in numerous different ways throughout subsequent South Asian ritual history. The combined kila and yfJpa wos just such on artifact, and the legocy it has left across Asia is extensive. As one example of this legacy, Tibetan phur pa literature (Dunhuang texts included) invaiiably identifies kilas as Mt Mem, here conceived as the axial cosmic mountain which, just like Indra's cosmogonic Indrakila, organises existence along a three-fold vertical division of the buddhas above, our world in the middle, and nagas below. This association is made explicitly in such Dunhuang texts as the Thabs kyj zhags pa pad ma 'phreng (IOL 321), and IOL Tib J 33 1. III. The three-fold vertical cosmic axis identification is also made in the material iconography of the phur pa: here the lower world of the

nagas is represented by the mouldings of a makara's head and descending nagas that ornament the lower triangular blade of the implement; our
intermediate world is represented by the eight-facetted shaft above it; and the heavenly realms above ours are intimated by the Buddha or Hemka heads that crowns the implement. Extremely similar or even identicol iconographic features are shared by the yfJpa, the Vedic-derived sacrificial post (see Mayer 1991: l68ff.).
It is clear that the manner in which the phur pa is associated with a cosmic "vertical axis resonates very closely indeed with pre-BuddIiist Tibetan

cosmological ideas. It minutely resembles, even in its tenninology, the fundamental indigenous Tibetan vertical threefold cosmos of the lha of the



sky, btsan of the earth, and kJu of the underworld: the structure known as gnam sa'og or gnani bar 'og.21 The Indian identification of the kiJa with the cosmic mountain also resonates well with the complex associations of mountains with religious beliefs in indigenous Tibetan religion-but here we have to be cautious in specifying exactly how, because there does not seem to be any very clear consensus among scholars about pre-Buddhist Tibetan beliefs regarding mountains. Some generally agreed themes do emerge however: for example, that a mountain was the conduit from the heavens down which the ftrst king descended to earth; that a (typically variable) list of particularly sacred mountains was counted in old Tibet, some of which-notably Gnyan chen Thang lha and Yar lha Sham po-still retain considerable religious

An impOitant Dunhuang text (lOL Tib J 711) seemingly equates the three worlds of the Indians and the Tibetan gnam bar 'og (Dalton & van Schaik 2005: 293; 2006: 308-309). Dalton's entry says, "many Hindu deities are mentioned, and there is a brief discussion of the the'u rang spirits (see 4rl-v1). The latter appear in a section in which the three worlds of Indian mythology (khecara, bhilcara, nagaloka) seem to be likened to the'three worlds of pre-Buddhist Tibetan mythology (gnam bar 'og)." The passage concerned does not make the association explicit, but Dalton, who expects to publish an analysis in a fOithcoming book, argues that it is implicit (personal communication, March 2007). For Haarh's reflexions on gnam sa 'og, see Haarh

1969: 161. Haarh feels gnam, or heaven, might be a further addendum to an originally two-fold stmcture. See also the English translation of Haarh's 'Danish summary,' as extracted in McKay 2003, vol. 1: 143, and Stein 1972: 203-204-yet we feel some of Stein's descliption of Tibetan mountains, for example, as sa'i phur bu and as Indra's Pegs (ibid, 208), is probably post-Buddhist, and not part of the ancient 'nameless religion.' Likewise, Katia Buffetrille's article (1996) possibly represents a reiteration of old Indian mythic ideas derivative of the ancient story of the cosmic mountain or kila floating about, before Indra stabilised it.



significance;21 that mountain deities had considerable political signif1cance, so that obtaining a privileged teiations0ip with or even being considered the descendent of the mountain deity <;:ontrolling a region was synonymous with political control of that territory; that sacrifice was (and still is) offered to mountain deities to obtain or celebrate such a privileged relationship; and that it is the mountain deities who confer upon the leading political male of their region courage, mental strength and protection. At least some of this can be related to the Phur pa cult: just as the indigenous Tibetan idea was that the roadway to heaven was directly above a sacred mountain, so also in Phur pa rites, the Buddha realms are envisaged as directly above the Mt Mem phur po. In this way, the phur po fimctions as a two-way conduit to the divine upper realms, on the one hand bringing down the power of the buddhas from above, on the other hand, allowing access to the heavens to those below. This is very much like the. sacred mountains that the first kings traversed in indigenous Tibetan mythology (Kafffiay 1998: 294ff.). Similarly, and perhaps more significantly, like the sacred mountains of pre-Buddhist Tibetan cults, the Buddhist Mt Mem phllT po also has as its primary function the transmission of good order and stability from the top down, since Vajraknaya is specifically the deity of enlightened activity ( 'phdn
las) whose main function and purpose is thus to tame unmly and disordered

beings (like Rudra) and establish the mle of Buddhist law. Moreover, like the figure of the fierce, authoritative, and invariably male Tibetan mountain deity, the Phur po Hemka also is fierce, authoritative, and invariably masculine. Like the mountain deity and the human chieftain who serves him, the Phur pa deity is also pre-eminently involved in sacrificial ritual (the one actual, the


See Karmay 1998: 435, where he cites Dunhuang sources for these politically

Significant mountain deities, and also Wangdu & Diemberger 2000: 97-103 for an early Buddhist presentation of a Bon-Buddhist dispute over the role of these deities.



other symbolic). The resemblances are not in all cases overwhelmingly exact, but still of definite interest. 23 Tibetan tumulus burials and tombs are seen by some as a further development of the btsan po and mountain cult. Here the tumulus is said to represent the world, while a pillar is placed above it, which some interpret as representing the cosmic axis and link between worlds, and as receptacle for the soul. This might also have offered some possible resonances with the imported Buddhist kila. 24 The themes of sacrificial ritual, the three-fold vertical axial cosmology, and the various ramifications of the mountain cults are probably the most


There are also interesting contrasts. For instance, the gender symbolism involves

slightly different connotations. Buddhist Phur pc certainly expresses the same masculine aggressive imagery, which may on occasion include violent sexual domination (Cantwell 2005: 19), but the main meditative si'Jdhana practice involves the integration of male and female aspects in the Phur pa deity's union with his consort (and in the similar male-female pairs in the retinue). Moreover, while mountain deity cults tend to be associated with male authority and may reserve some impol1ant ritual roles for men (Diemberger 1994: 146--48; 1998: 46--47; Diemberger & Hazod 1997: 272), the most advanced Buddhist Phur pa rites are open to female practitioners, and one theme in the mythological histories is the prominent role of key female exemplars in the early Phur pa transmissions. This pOint especially applies to Ye shes mtsho rgyal, who has a pre-eminent role amongst the first Tibetan Phur pa masters who were disciples of Gum Padma, but one might also mention the Indian female yogin who is considered the fount of the Bka' brgyad lineages, Las kyi dbang mo, as well as Ye shes mtsho rgyal's student, Jo mo Cog ro bza', who is remembered for failing to relate to Gum Padma with the appropriate kind of faith one should have in a vajra master, but who later redeemed herself by following Ye shes mtsho rgyal, giving rise to the !cam lugs line of transmission (see, for instance, 'Jigs med gling pa's
P/lllr pa rgyud lugs cycle's chos 'bYU17g, Bdud Jams Bka' ma, vol. Ja, p.13).

Tucci 1955: 219, 223-24; Haarh 1969: 356; Heller 2003; and for Chinese records,

see Bushell 1880: 443.



important hypotheses to test in seeking cultural affinities between Phur pa and the earlier Tibetan religion. Perhaps these resemblances might even be strong enough to suggest shared cultural origins in some cases. However, there are also more tentative cultural affinities that we can mention. [4] A further hypothesis concerns the idealisation of the figure of the warrior prince. The proper name of the Buddhist Phur pa




Vajra Prince or Youth. This name already occurs in the Dunhuang text PT 44 (see fols. 13, 33). Vajrakumfua is presented as Buddhism's premier demondefeater, hence his niche in Buddhism generally resembles that of the Hindu's Skandha KumCiTQ, the warrior youth and general of the gods, who wields a short stabbing spear, and who was enonnously popular among pre-Muslim north Indian martial elites, including the Gupta emperors, two of whom took his name. It is interesting in this respect that Tucci and Haarh believed the Tibetan btsah pas acceded to power at a youthful age (usually symbolically represented as thirteen) with the elimination or ritualised returning of their predecessor back to his heavenly origins. Although most anthropologists would justifiably find this rather unlikely as an actually occurring practice,"5 it surely does indicate an ideal for a youthful virile ruler, symbolically linked to the health and fertility of the land and people. The Tang Annals likewise disdained a Tibetan culture that radically privileged youth and strength over age (Tucci 1955: 217; Bushell 1880: 442). If Tucci and the Tang annalists were correct, the image of a powerful youthful warrior deity, similar to one so popular among North Indian power elites, might have had resonance in Tibet Several scholars have suggested that the succession of Tibetan sacral kings was conceived as the serial reappearances on earth of the same divine ancestor; if so, successive holders of the early hereditary Phur pa lineages could Similarly present themselves as serial reappearances of th~same deityalthough this is of course a distinction not unique to Phur pa (Tucci 1955: 21819; Haarh 1969: 333).

Dotson (f0/1hcoming) discusses this issue in considerable detail.



3. Social Conditions As well as culhlral affinities, we must also consider social conditions. The period when Phur pa literahrre seems to have begun really to flourish in Tibet was the aftermath of the imperial collapse, a time of civil disintegration, constant warfare, and a struggle between clans for territory and stahlS. We can infer it was also a time of remarkable culhlral productivity, even if we now lack many of the documents that might have illuminated exactly how this transpired (Davidson 2005: 63). It was also the time when Tantric lineages in both Central and East Tibet were often continued within hereditary aristocratic clans, as aristocrats established themselves as lamas (Iwasaki 1993). A distinctive ideology of these times was thus a nostalgic reverence for the greatness of the now lost empire (Kapstein 2000: 14lff.). Rnying rna histories to this day emphasise the royal and aristocratic 'origins of the Phur pa lineages, which are typically traced to Guru Padma's transmissions to the Emperor, his queens, and his ministers; although this is, of course, also part of a much wider Rnying rna discourse. The relevance of Phur pa to such conditions of social disorder, accompanied by a productive religious cui hIre and a nostalgia for order's restoration, is obvious: the most fundamental socia-political symbolism of the kila in Asian civilisation, as Lily de Silva points out, includes not only royal authority, but also civilisation itself (de Silva 1981: 64): "This symbolism of the jndrakila is further substantiated by dassllkila which is its direct opposite. Dassllkila simply means a lawless disorderly state of affairs. When the two PCili words jndakhila and dassllkhila are taken side by side one sees how the former is employed symbolically to mean well established authority and civilized lawfulness while the latter is employed to mean wild lawlessness. " [5] Given the civil strife and political chaos of the times, another hypothesis can be proposed in connection with Phur pa's multifarious special functions as a subjugator and protector of territory. One of the main feahlres of the kl1a in



India was its role as boundary protector, especially of sacred or important sites. Examples of this are found in innumerable and diverse sources, from the PCili canon, to the puriiJ;Jas, and the tantras (Mayer 1991: 176-81). In the Tantric cycles that came to Tibet, this clearly had both symbolic and magical connotations: on the one hand a ring of phur pas delineates a perimeter symbolically, but more than that, the fierce phur pa deities also defend one's territory with their magic force. For example, closely integrated into the Phur pa liturgy in several Dunhuang texts, including the Guhyasal11ajatantra and several of the other texts analysed here, is the kmmac;laJdni goddess Rdo lje sder mo, or Vajra Claw. Her role is to protect the yogin's domestic space, his family, friends and allies. Connected with such protective fimctions are the

kild s roles in the initial establishing of control over spaces for the first time,
as in the so-called nagabandha rites found in such fudian ritual-architectural texts as the Silpaprakasa. 26 Both these types of spacial functions constihlte an absolutely standard usage of the phur pa in Tibet, and are found in many Dunhuang texts, such as IOL Tib J 384, where phur pas defend the perimeter of a l11aIJc;lala. One can speculate that these various territorial ritual fimctions might have made Phur pa useful to local mIers, who repeatedly had to establish, defend and re-establish their own territory and renew or rebuild castles and temples, in the chaotic post-imperial situation. [6] A fiIIiher hypothesis is connected with the Phur pa deity's potential use in political deal-mUking. Practitioners of the Phur pa deity were promised the reward ,of very particular Phur pa siddhis most useful as an adjunct to diplomacy in violent times. As the famous root verses of its tantras tell us, in words incorporated into every Phur pa sadhana almost without exception, Phur pa was the most effective deity of all for specifically eradicating aggression

These rites are often known as nagabandba. See Mayer 1991: 167-71. On the role of ritual p/7ur pas in Tibetan versions of these rites, see Cantwell 2005: 14-19.



and enmity from the very root. 27 In similar vein, it claimed pre-eminence in curing bad faith, and reconciling enemies: all indispensable assets for those attempting to build and maintain alliances in a chaotic political situation. The strong linkage of Rnying ma Mahayoga with issues of good faith or samaya, is interesting. Dam sri demons-which are evil influences that create and are created by breaches of religious good faith-are extraordinarily important in Phur po literahlre, sometimes even described as the single major cause of suffering throughout the universe. The Phur pa literature's mythic scenario of Rudra's development as the archetypal embodiment of evil is presented as a story of a catastrophic breach of good faith, followed by evenrual redemption through the Phur pa sacrificial rite of sgroi ba-see, for instance, the account in the seminal and probably early Phur pa commentary, Phur pa 'bum nag (Boord 2002: 129-30). Thus Khenpo Namdrol (1999: 43) emphasises the importance of Phur pa for overcoming the dam sri and nzdras caused by breaches of samoyo, and the vital need to do this for Tantric practitioners who will otherwise be obstmcted.
It is interesting that oath-taking and treaty-making were among the

occasions that required blood .sacrifice in pre-Buddhist Tibet. The main idea here seemed to have been that the parties to the oaths will suffer the same terrible fate as the cmelly sacrificed victims, if they break the oaths. A second idea, which might refer more to Chinese thinking than Tibetan, is that the spirits of the sacrificial victims become guardian spirits to enforce the oaths (Bushell 1880: 441, 475, 488). In the emerging increasingly Buddhist context, sharing the Phur pa sacrificial tshags might have seemed a viable alternative method for building or repairing bonds between differing parties, offering culhlral continuity through its mock-sacrificial substihlte of an effigy or lingo for the traditional blood sacrifice at such occasions. In the political chaos of


The pertinent line reads: Ida Jje khros pas zhe sdang gcod These words or variants on them are at the very heart of almost every Phur pa sadhana and tantra. 301


tenth-century Tibet, such bonding functions might have appeared particularly valuable. We believe that this point addresses an over-emphasis on political domination in assumptions about the social significance of phur pa practices. No careful sociological study of these issues has yet been attempted. Understandably, scholars may form an impression from accounts of phw' pa rituals in the context of wars and political strife which would suggest an expression purely of conflict. 28 Such an impression would be slightly misleading in neglecting this important contrasting yet actually complementary dimension of phil)" pa ritual as directed towards overcoming social discord and promoting integration. [7] Our seventh hypothesis concerns Padmasambhava. Extremely significant for Phur pa's popularity must have been its prestige as one of the main chosen deities of Padmasambhava. We can infer from PT 44 that Padmasambhava's close and particular personal association with Phur po was a well-established narrative by tenth-century Tibet. We also know from the Sba bzhed, the Dba'

bzhed (Wangdu & Diemberger 2000), PT 44 and PT 307 (Dalton 2005:

764ff.), that Padmasambhciva was by the tenth centu.ry already considered preeminent among Buddhist conquerors of local deities. Although in very early


For instance, an account of the exploits of Gnubs chen Sangs rgyas ye shes, a

famous ninth-century figure of the early Rnying rna pa lineages, discusses his use of

p/7ur pa rites to quell the political disturbances of marauding brigands, and to

intimidate King Langdarma, so that his students were left in peace (Dudjom 1991:

611-12). The impression of the rites being used as part of political conflict may be
reinforced by consideration of destructive ritual more generally: the Fifth Dalai Lama's record of his spiritual experiences includes mention of destructive rites perfonned against the Gtsang forces (Kannay 1988: 9, 29, 178-79). Such colourful accounts of the apparent impact of the rites on the everyday world may rather detract attention from other types of social significance which the perfOlmances may also have.



sources many of these were female deities, or deities connected with water, other early sources also apparently mention his conquest even of the major politically significant male mountain deities: see, for example, a passage in the.

Dba' bzhed (Wangdu & Diemberger 2000: 53), where Padmasambhava

apparently subdues Thang Iha, one of the politically most prominent of the nine major mountain deities.:!9 In so far as tIils was the case, it must have had extremely important implications in Tibetan politico-religious thinking, since ritual control of such fierce male mountain deities was understood by preBuddhist Tibetan religion as constihlting in itself a powerful and necessary spirihmJ correlate for assumption of actual political control over their associated territories, strongholds and clans. Karmay, for example, explores this ritual political significance of the mountain deities in his discussion of the usage in the Old Tibetan Chronicles of the sentence dvags po Iha de dgug pa, "to summon the deity of Dvags po," which Karmay interprets in its context to indicate the summoning of the mountain god of Dvags po as a prelude to the re-conquest of Dvegs po by the Yarlung kingdom (Kanney 1998: 440). The tenn is also in other parts of the Chronicle: in e long narrative, it is explained how the major kings established their power over the smaller kings, mastering them one by one, in a process that combined ministerial cmming with military might, and, in the final analysis, magic power. 30 A similar theme emerges in the Lde'u chos byung account of the origin myth of the first king, where the specific requirement for the new monarch is that he must have magic powers (Karmay 1998: 299). Mastery of Phur pa seems to have offered an appropriate type of magical power for a monarch: it conferred the siddhi of enlightened activity with all its


Mention of Thang Iha within the Dunhuang sources as a cmciaipolitical mountain

is analysed in Kannay 1998: 297.


See Bacot, Thomas & Toussaint 1940-1946: 81, 85: thun ni rje thun gyis bthun te bgug go: "regarding magic power-bewitched by the royal magic, [they] were

summoned" (our re-translation, in the light of Kmlliay 1998: 440).



attendant magic power over life and death, it was connected with defence of boundaries, and with taming beings to create good order and good faith between them. Being increasingly perceived in addition as Padmasambhava's main method of controlling the gods and spirits of Tibet, it might well have offered considerable psychological and spiritual advantages to those among the post-imperial Tibetan clan leaders hoping to achieve political power. [8] Our eighth hypothesis concerns the capacity of the Phur pa Tantric system for assimilation of local Tibetan deities and spirits, which we see as a direct outcome of the phur po's quintessentially exorcistic mode of practice. This capacity for assimilation through exorcism is of course a fundamentol aspect of many Tantric systems, both Saiva and Buddhist, and is riot to be confused with hybridity in any simple sense (Hiltebeitel 1989: Iff.). Phur pa's fundamentally exorcistic ritual core will have made it more suited than most for such assimilation. Firstly, this meant that Phur pa's Indian-based exorcistic methods could easily be re-deployed against indigenous categories of spirits without in any way compromising the Buddhist system at the heart of the Phur pa system. We have already mentioned one such example above, where the indigenous Tibetan sri demons become a target of phw' pa rites. By promising Tibetans a highly effective method for controlling

Phur pa could make itself popular

and relevant. To this day, sri demons remain a significant target of Phur pa Tantric cycles, especially the special sri nman branch of the practice. Another category of indigenous deity for which the Phur pa tradition made an early accommodation are the 'go yi lha. These five benign protective deities are naturally indwelling within every human being. There are some variant forms of these, but a typical enumeration might be that the srog lha dwells upon the head; the pho lha upon the right shoulder; the ma I(~r mo) lha upon the left shoulder; the sgra (or dgra) lha in front of the head; and the zhang lha at the back of the head. According to Karmay, they originated as an important part of the pre-Buddhist pantheon (Karmay 1998: 129, 149) and their names and symbolic dispositions-for example, the maternal uncle or zhang lha 304


offering background support-certainly invoke qUintessentially Tibetan kinship categories. In a famous NGB Phur pa tantra that is unmistakably Indic in the main body of its text, the Phur pa bcu gnyis, nevertheless a definite accommodation is made to these deities. While the Phur pa tantras are not the only Buddhist tradition to have accommodated these deities, the way that the PhUT pa

gnyis does it, and the text's probable great antiquity and its

mainly Indic contents, make the accommodation interesting. Chapter 9 of this text is devoted to the subsidiary rite (smad las) of symbolically killing adversaries with the phliT pa. Here we. find that the adversaries' benign 'go yi

Jha are separated from their evil aspects, before the killing is effectuated.
Otherwise, one would incur the sin of killing benign deities. While this outlook is entirely consonant with the Buddhist doctrine-one is symbolically destroying the sins, not the virtues or Buddha Nature of the victim, and there seems little reason why Indic ritual need disapprove in principle the separation of the good from the bad elements before effecting the killing-the Phur pa

bell gnyis nevertheless is happy on this occasion to present its message in the
specifically indigenous symbolic language of 'go yi 1ha. 31 Such a separation of


Thanks to Alak Zenkar Rinpoche for his advice on this passage, which occurs in the Sde dge edition at folio 215r-v:
It is impOliant [fIrst] to separate out the protective deities within the body [of

the victim]. Then suppress and beset [those evil elements] that are unable to flee, Appropriate their occult force and magical power, And render their limbs incapable of fIghting back; Strike [them] with the phur po of the Vajra Wrathful One! 'go ba'j Iha dang dbral ba gees// 'bros kyis mj thor gnan gzir bya// mthu dang rdzll 'phntl phrogs po dang// yan lag 'khu mj nllS par bya// rdo Ije drag po'j plll/r pas gdab/1.



the benign 'go yi 1ha before effectuating the phur pa strike remains a regular feature within many modem Phui: pa texts too. Since the standard Indian Tantric method of exorcism envisaged the 'taming' of hostile or indigenous deities and their conversion into helpful servant deities, Phur po could also afford the more radical strategy of directly integrating indigenous deities into its maIJc;ia1a at the periphery, without being in any way compromised by this. Such strategies were very widely practised in Indian Tantrism, allowing the socially expansive integration of originally outside deities into Saiva or Buddhist systems; hence their application to indigenous Tibetan deities could have been neither unexpected nor controversial. A good example of the Rnying ma tradition accepting this process is found in the famous Phur po protector deities, who, according to PT 44 and all subsequent Phur pa 10 rgyus texts, first become integrated into the Vajrakilaya maIJc;ia1aby Padmasambhava at Yang la shod in Nepal (identified by tradition as a site close to Pharping). Yet by the time the above-mentioned

Phur pa bell gnyis was codified, this predominantly Indic text had included
some phrases into three of its chapters to represent these apparently newly added deities as protectors of the Phur pa tantras-very much as described in PT 44. 32 Being goddesses directly tamed by Padmasambhava, they are nowadays very popular indeed among Buddhist Phur po practitioners as protective deities, and much liturgy and commentary has been written for them. [9] Our ninth hypothesis concerns the way in which the ritually and cosmologically important idealised figure of the Tibetan Emperor was adapted to post-imperial conditions. "While no clan or party ever succeeded in reunifying the empire, local leaders adopted the imperial tit~,of Btsan po and Whether the goddesses were added to the text, or whether they had been present earlier, but were later interpreted as subjugated at the moment of Tibet's integration to the Phur po mGl}rjala, the principle remains that their presence-as goddesses connected with Padmasambhava-was acceptable in this scriptural source. 306



often emphasised their lineal descent from imperial circles: to some extent, they aspired to fulfil locally, in an appropriate form, the ritual and political role once held by the Emperor on a much greater stage. That greater imperial role is excellently summed up by Brandon Dotson in his description of the Old

Tibetan Chronicle, which is our main source for the ideology of the Emperor:
The Old Tibetan Chronicle is not ovelily didactic in the manner of early Chinese histories. At the same time, it has a clear interpretive framework: its unswerving agenda is to present the Tibetan emperor as the axjs-mllnd~the link between heaven and emih and the ordering principle by which the ways of the gods are imposed upon men. The chapters of the Chronicle, beginning with one of the first mythical Tibetan kings and endiug in the late eighth century, set out the proper relationship between ruler and subject. In so doing, the document bears witness to the contractual rule on which the Tibetan kingship was based, and constitutes a charter for early Tibetan political theory. As such, it is the single most important document relating to early Tibetan identity and political thought, and contains concepts that can be chmied throughout Tibetan history and the development of Tibetan politics to the period of the Dalai Lamas and beyond. l3

4. Concluding Remarks In the light of much of what we have discussed above in the preceding pages, we can see a considerable overlap between the idealised btsan po and the Phur pa master. Both are connected with the symbolism of the axis ll1undJ: Both are the divine in human form. Both combine worldly and spiritual powers. Both are bringers of spiritual and mundane order to the disordered world (cf. de Silva's comparison of indakhila and dassukhila we refer to above). Similar to his imperial predecessor who brought to humanity the ways of the preBuddhist gods, the post-imperial mler who practised Phur pa cleared all obstacles to the bringing of Dharma, the ways of the Buddhist gods. If


Dotson (fOlihcoming).



traditional Tibetari kingship was based on a contractual relationship between ruler and ruled,34 the Phur pa tradition was exceptionally d~eply concerned with samaya, the Tantric Buddhist understanding of proper contractual relations between master and follower. Like the ancient emperors, the Phur pa practising aristocrat preserved the sacred order by defeating enemies both spirihlGl and worldly, using his unique powers over life and death, and his powers in establishing protected territory. For the clan leader or local king in the newly Tantric Buddhist post-imperial world, Phur pa was an ideal hltelary deity. Many Tantric deities might enable him to achieve a sacred status, but few were so closely linked with so many and varied traditional ritual symbols of the ancient Emperor valuable to his kingship.


For an analysis of the principles of Tibetan kingship, see Ramble 2006. 308


1. Works in Tibetan

a. Major Tibetan Collections

Bdud 'joms Bka' ma. A. Collection of Teachings and Initiations of the RjjiJi-ma-pa Tradition Passed through Continuous and Unbroken Oral Lineages n-om the Ancient kfasters. Completely edited and restmchlred by H. H. Bdud-'joms Rinpo-che on the basis of the successive Smin-grol-glin and Rdzogs-chen Rgyalsras redactions. 58 vols. KaIimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1982-1987. [Scans: The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), The Erpanded Version of the

Nyingma Kama Collectjon Teachings Passed in an Unbroken Lineage, Wl9229,

0448-0505,3 CDs.]

Dpal chen kf la ya'i chos skor phyogs bsgJigs 2002. 41 vols. Khreng hl'U: Si khron
zhing chen mi rigs zhib 'jug su'o, Bod kyi shes rig zhib 'jug khang. [Scans: TBRC, W24051, vols. 4575-4615.]

Rnying ma 'i rgyud 'bum [NGB]

- Sde dge Edition [0] 26 vols. (Ka-Ra), plus dkar chag (vol. A). [Sde dge par khang.]

- The Mtshams brag kfanuscript of the RfjiiJ ma rgyud 'bum (rgYlid 'bum/ mtshams brag dgon pa) [M]. 46 vols. Thimphu: National Libl;ary, Royal Govemment of
Bhutan, 1982. [Scans: ed.xml.] b. Tibetan Texts from Dunhuang Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts held at the Bibliotheque nationale, Paris: Pelliot TiMtain, PT 44; 239; 307. Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts held at the British Library, London: IOL Tib J 321; 331; 384; 711. [Oigital images: http://idp.bl.ukl.] c. Other Tibetan Sources A myes zhabs Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod noms. Beam Idan 'das rdo Ije gzhon nl! 'i http://www.thdl.org/xmllngb/show Ngb.php?doc =Tb.

gdams pa nyams len gyi ellll bo chen po sgmb pa'j thabs kyi mam par bshad pa 'p11Jin las kyj pad mo rab tll rgyas pa 'i nyin byed Reproduced from manuscript



copies of the ancient Sa-skya xylographic prints. New Delhi: Ngawang Sopa, 1973. [Microfiche: The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions,

'Khon lugs Plmr pa 'i mam Mad, 'Chams yig bljed byaiJ, LMpj 012,223.]
Grags pa rgyal mtshan. Rdo l]'e pf711r pa 'i mngon par !togs po. In The Complete WOl*s

of Grags pa rgyaJ mtshan, compiled by Bsod nams rgya mtsho, vol. Nya: 355r367v (= lr-l3v separate pagination, pp. 175-82 in the Western style bound book), in The Complete WOl*S of the Great lv/asters of the Sa skya Sect of the

Tibetan Buddhism (Sa skya bka' 'bum), Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1968, vol. 4.
Nyang ral Nyi rna 'od zer. Bde bar gshegs pa thams cad kyi 'phrin las 'dus pa pllllr pa

!tsa ba'j rgyud In NGB, 0 vol. Ba, M vol. Ya. Phur pa bCll gnyis. In NGB, 0 vol. Pa, M vol. Dza.
2. Works in other languages Bacot, 1., F.W. Thomas & Ch. Toussaint 1940-1946. Documents de Touen-houang


al'histoire du Tibet. Paris: Paul Geuthner.

Biardeau, M. 1989. Histoires de poteaux. Vadations vrfdique de fa Drfesse hindolle. Paris: Ecole franr;aise d'Extreme Orient. Boord, M.1. 2002. A Bolt of Lightning From The Blue: The vast commentmy of

Vajrakila that clearly defines the essential points. Annotated translations,

including Phl/r 'grel 'bum nag as transmitted to Ye-shes mtsho-rgyal. Berlin: edition khordong. Buffetrille, K. 1996. One day the mountains will go away-Preliminary remarks on the flying mountains of Tibet. In A.M. Blondeau & E. Steinkellner (eds)

Reflections of the lV/ountain. Essays on the HistOlY and Social Meaning of the lvlountain Cult in Tibet and the Himalayas. Vienna: bsterreichische Akademie
der Wissenschafien, 77-89. Bi.ihneman, G. 1999. Buddhist deities and mantras in the Him:hl tantras 1: The

TantrasarasaIJ1graha and the !sanasivagunzdevapaddlwti. Indo-Iranian J01l171al

42, 303-304. Bushell, S.W. 1880. The early history of Tibet. From Chinese sources. J01l171alofthe

Royal Asiatic SOCiety 12, 435-541.



cantwell, C. 1989. An Ethnographic Account of the Religious Practice in a Tibetan Buddhist Renlgee Monastery in Northern India. Ph.D thesis, University of Kent at Canterbury.
_ 1997. To meditate upon consciousness as Vajra: Ritual "killing and liberation"

in the rNying-ma-pa tradition. In H. Krasser, M. Torsten Much, E.


& H. Tauscher (eds) Tibetan Studies. Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the

Inte17lational Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995. PlATS 7. Vienna:

Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol. 1, 107-118.
2005. The Tibetan earth Ritual: Subjugation and transformation of. the

environment. Revue d'Etudes Tibiftaines 7, 4-21. Cantwell, C. & R. Mayer 2007. The KIlaya NirvtiJ;a Tantra and the Vajra Wrath

Tantra: Two Texts fivm the Ancient Tantra Collection. Vienna: The Austrian Academy of Sciences Press.
Coomaraswamy, AX. 1938. Symbolism of the dome. Indian Historical Quarterly 14(1), 1-56. Dalton, 1. 2004. The early development of the Padrnasambhava legend in Tibet: A study of IOL Tib J 644 and Pelliot tibetain 307. Jou17lal of the AmeIican

Oriental Society 124(4), 759-772.

Dalton, J. & S. van Schaik 2005. Catalogue of the Tibetan Tantric Lvfanuscripts fi-om

Dunl1llang in the Stein Collection. International Dunhuang Project at

- - 2006. Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from DUJ1huang. A Descriptive Catalogue of

the Stein Collection at the British Library. Brill's Tibetan Studies Library 12.
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New York: Columbia University Press. Diemberger, H. & O. Hazod 1997. Animal sacrifices in Southern Tibet. In S.O. Kannay & P. Sagant (eds) Les habitants du Toit du monde. Nanterre: Societe d'ethnologie, 261-81.



Dotson, B. (forthcoming). To reign and to rein: The metaphor of horse and rider in Tibetan sacred kingship. In B. Dotson, C.A. Scherrer-Schaub & T. Takeuchi (eds) Old Tibetan Studks 2. Proceedings of the 1lth Seminar of the

Intemational Association for Tibetan Studies, Bonn, 27 August to 2 September

2006(Ha\1e: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies). Dowman, K. 1984. Skydancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe TsogyeL London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Dudjom Rinpoche Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje 1991. The Nyingma School of Tibetan

Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and HistOIY. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Gonda, J. 1965. TIle Savayajiias. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Ltd. Goudriaan, T. 1978. Maya, Divine and Human. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. - - (ed.) 1985. TIle VIl)asikhatantra Tantra. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Haarh, E. 1969. The Yar-lun Dynasty: A Study with PGlticular Regard to the

Contribution by Jl;Iyths and Legends to the History of Ancient Tibet and the Origin and Nature ofIts Kings. Copenhagen: G.E.C. Gad's ForIag.
- - 2003. Extract from The Yar LuiJ Dynasty. [n A. McKay 2003, vol. 1: 142-55. HalbfGSs W. 1991. Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian TIlought. Albany: SUNY Press. Heller, A. 2003. Archeology of funeral rituals as revealed by Tibetan tombs of the 8th to 9 th century. In M. Compareti, P. Raffetta & G. Scarcia (eds) Studies

Presented to Boris [Jich Jl;Iarshak on the Occasion of His 70th Bilthday.

Transoxiana Webfestschrift Series. www.transoxiana.org/Eran/ Artic1eslheller.html. Hiltebeitel, A. 1989. Oiminal Gods and Demon Devotees: Essays on the Guardians of

Popular Hinduism. Albany: SUNY Press.

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Archive of Buddhist and Related Alt: A Photographic Research and Teaching Archive at http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/.



Iwasaki, T. 1993. The Tibetan tribes of Ho-hsiand Buddhism during the Northem Sung period. Acta Asiatica 64, 17-37. Kapstein, M. 2000. Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and

iV{emOlY. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kannay, S.G. 1988. Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama. London: Serindia. _ - 1998. The Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, lvlyths, Rituals and BeliefS

in Tibet. Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point.

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Kuiper, F.BJ. 1970. Cosmogony and conception: A query. History of ReJjgions 10(2), 91-138. Li, F.K. & W.S. Coblin 1987. A Study of Old Tibetan Inscriptions. Taipei: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. Macdonald, A.W. 1980. Creative dismembetment among the Sherpas and Tamangs of Nepal. In M. Aris & Aung San Suu Kyi (eds) Tibetan Studies in Honour of

Hugh Richardson Westminster: Aris and Phillips, 199-208.

Mayer, R. 1991. Observations on the Tibetan Phur-pa and the Indian KIIa. In T. Skorupski (ed.) Buddhist FOnll11. Volume 2. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 163-92.

1996. A Scripture of the Ancient Tantra Collection. The Phur-pa bcu-gnyis.

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Development ofBuddhist Paramountcy. London: RoutledgeCurzon.

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Oppitz, M. 1997. The bull, the ox, the cow and the yak. Meat division in the Himalaya. [n S. Karmay & Ph. Sagant (eds) Les Habitants du Toit du Ivfonde. NantelTe: Societe d'ethnologie, 515-42. Ramble, C. 2006. Sacral kings and divine sovereigns: Principles of Tibetan monarchy in theory and practice. [n D. Sneath (ed.) States of II/find Powel; Place and the

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Prematilleke, K. Indrapala & J.E. van Lohuizen de Leeuw (eds) Studies in

South Asian Culture. Leiden: Brill, vol. 7, 229-52. 1981. Paritta: The Buddhist Ceremony for Peace and Prospedty hl Sri Lanka.
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1. Introduction
In the Heida shjlue ~~$ffi& (Brjef Records ofBlack Tartars) written during the early years of the Great Mongol Empire, the following story is recorded: I Once I followed Genghis Khan in his campaign against the Tangut Kingdom of Xia. In this kingdom, the state preceptor was customarily served with great respect by all under the king. Every girl had to be recommended to [serve] the state preceptor first, before she is allowed to get manied to anyone. After Genghis Khan destroyed the kingdom, he first killed the state preceptor. The state preceptor was a Buddhist monk.
ft[ti]~~6 iG,rjz]3::!ii}f , ]3::!ii ~~(iel- El A.:tJ T l~f~5zi'i~ffi

l!~ffiffiJi&f5!j@Ao ~6,~~'tiJtlZA~

, 5t;~~ffio

' Jl~~-f- ' &;\jf[;tJ ~ffi~ , ttli~{~ttL

Ironically, this Tangut custom, disliked by Genghis Khan, did not disappear in the Great Mongol Empire established by Genghis Khan himself and his descendants. Most Mongol mlers of the Mongol Yuan dynasty were in great favour of Tantric teachings taught by Tibetan masters. Arguably, it was Tibetan Tantric Buddhism which hlmed 'Barbarians' into 'beasts' and caused

Wang Guowei ~M~ 1936: 108.


the rapid destmction of theMongol Yuan dynasty." It is a well-known fact that both Tangut and Mongol mlets assigned Tibetan masters to the post of imperial preceptor (di shi WSifi).3 However, the possible historical connection between the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and the above mentioned 'Tangut custom' is yet hardly noticed. The origin of these Tibetan masters who introduced Tibetan Tantric Buddhism into both the Tangut kingdom of Xi a and the Mongol Yuan dynasty has not been critically investigated. 4 No comparison has been made between the teachings and practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism that spread in the Tangut kingdom and those of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, let alone the reconstruction of the historical links between the predominance of Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom and the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. The journey of Sa skya pal}.c.1ita Kun dga' rgyal mtshan (1182-1251), together with his two nephews, 'Phags pa BIo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-1280) and Phyag na rdo rje (1239-1267), to the Mongol Prince GodanKhan (1206-1251), and the visit of Karma pakshi Chos kyi bla ma (1204-12837), the second patriarch of the Karma Bka' brgyud school, to Mongke Khan (1209-1259), is often considered as the inception of the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Buddhism. The great influence that the overall popularity of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom might have exerted on the Mongols vis-a-vis religious faith has been entirely overlooked.

Shen Weirong 2003. Recently, Nie Hongyin pOinted out that "it was the Tangut kingdo~hich created the

title of Imperial Preceptor for the very first time in Chinese history, but it did not officially establish a complete institution of Imperial Preceptor as the Mongol Yuan dynasty did." See Nie Hongyin 2005: 205.

The matter in question is only touched upon by Sperling 1987 and Chen Qingying

2003. 316


In recent years, a large number of texts concerning Tibetan Buddhism both in Tangut and in ChiTlese that originated in the Tangut kingdom of Xia have been successively discovered. A series of Chinese translations of Tibetan Tantric Buddhist texts has been identified among the Khara Khoto documents preserved in St. Petersburg, Russia. s Studies on these invaluable texts not only enable us to have a much clearer picture of the predominance of Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom of Xia, they also raise our awareness of the possible influence of this predominance on the adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Mongol Yuan dynasty. They stimulate our enthusiasm to look further into the Tangut background of the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Up to now I have systematically investigated Chinese sources concerning Tibetan Buddhism, especially those among the St. Petersburg collection of Khora Khoto manuscripts and the Dacheng yaodao m.iji **~


a Mongol Yuan compilation of Chinese texts of Tibetan Tantric

Buddhism. I have succeeded in uncovering the principal contents of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices disseminated in both Tangut Xia' and Mongol Yuan periods and in bringing to light the continuity of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices during these two periods. 6 The present article is intended to further reveal and contextualise the Tangut background of the . Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism through tracing the origins of Tibetan masters who were active in the Tangut Xia and Mongol Yuan periods and comparing the details of the teachings and practices that were in vogue during the Yuan dynasty with that during the Tangut kingdom.

Shen Weirong 2007a. Shen Weirong 2007b.



2. Sa skya pa Masters in theTangut Ki'lgdom ofXia

Although it is indisputable that Tibetan Buddhism was widely spread within Yuan China, Yuan Chinese literature does not provide a great deal of reliable infoID1ation in this regard. Therefore, we have to rely on Tibetan sources to reconstmct the history of the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism among the Mongols. Undoubtedly not only such great schools as Sa skya, Bka' brgyud, Bka' gdams and Rnying rna, but also less influential schools such as Zhwa lu and Jo nang, had an impact on the formation of the Mongols' faith in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. 7 In the early period ofthe Yuan dynasty, Sa skya pa masters were the most influential Tibetan monks active in the court of the Mongol mIers, while Karma Bka' brgyud pa masters became dominant dUling the late period of the Yuan dynasty. In both Tibetan and Chinese historiography, Sa skya pm.l<;iita is considered to be the pioneer who opened up Tibet's door to the Mongols. From the perspectives of politics and diplomacy, Sa skya par.l<;iita saved his c01mtry from sustaining further disasters brought on by Mongolian military attacks. From a religious perspective, he guided Godan Khan to become a devoted Tibetan Buddhist through his miraculous healing power and
Both Bu stan Rin chen gmb (1290-1364), the faunae; of the Zhwa lu tradition, and

Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan (1292-1361), the founder of the Jo nang school, were invited by the Yuan court, though they both declined the invitation due to the unfavorable time at the end period of the Yuan dynasty. See Seyfort Ruegg 1966: 121-22 and Ngag dbang blo gros grags pa 1992: 28, respectively. Nevertheless, the influence of these masters on the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism in Yuan China was not totally unnoticed. Their works were translated into Chinese during the Yuan time and preserved to the present days. The Chinese translation of both Bu stan's treatise on sn7pa building, the Byang chub chen po 'j mchod rten gyj tshad, and Dol po pa's praise of the teaching, the Bstan pa spyj 'gre! zhes bya ba 'j gso! 'debs, are included in the Dacheng yaodao miji. Shen Weirong 2006: 279-80.



laid a great foundation for the Mongols' adoption of Tibetan Buddhism. 8 After the establishment of tl).e Yuan dynasty, the first Yuan imperial preceptor 'Phags pa played the foremost role in introducing Tibetan Buddhism. among the Mongols. 'Phags pa was appointed as the commissioner of the Zongzhi yuan

*JffiiffufliG, the highest position a cleric could ever attain, and was put in charge of
the Buddhist affairs within the whole country. He was the principal Buddhist master during the debate between Buddhists and Daoists organised by the Yuan court in 1258. He gave the Hevajra empowerments to Kublai Khan and his queen, among others, three times. In addition, Dam pa Kun dga' grags pa (12307-1303), a contemporary of 'Phags pa, played a key role in introducing the MahCikCila cult among the Mongols during the early and middle periods of the Yuan dynasty. The popularity of the Mahii.1(Cila cult was highly instrumental in fostering the Mongols' faith in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. 9 However, the Sa skya pa's contacts with peoples of Central Asia did not start with Sa skya pa1).<;lita's journey to Liangzhou Z~~1'['r under the Mongol prince Godan Khan's rule. Although many stories about the contact between Genghis Khan (1162-1227) and the first Sa skya patriarch Sa chen Kun dga' snying po (1092-1158) and the contact between Ogedei Khan (1186-1241) and the third Sa skya patriarch Grags pa rgyal mtshan (1147-1216) told by later Mongolian historians with great delight were merely groundless fabrications,lO early Sa skya pa masters did exert their religious influences on areas beyond the Land of Snow. Since we know almost nothing about the activities of Sa skya pa masters in the Tangut kingdom of Xia before Sa skye pa1).<;lita's trip to Godan Khan's territory, no attempt has yet been made to analyse whether the

Zhou Qingshu

JWJm!j 1963 (2001): 339-56.

Shen Weirong 2003. Okada 1962; Zhou Qingshu 1963. 319



presence of Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom of Xia affected the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. Based on the sources available to us, imperial preceptors of the Tangut kingdom, such as Gtsang po pa Dkon mchog seng ge, 'Ba' rom pa Ras po Sangs rgyas ras chen, II the imperial preceptor Xianjue boluo xionsheng


O;'U~W#J, 11 and the imperial preceptor Xuanmi of MahCiyana Huicheng [Shes rab

grags pat] *31t3rW'i'Pgffj~ffl, 13 seem very likely to be Bka' brgyud po masters. However, there were also Sa skya pa masters who introduced their specific teachings into the Tangut kingdom ofXia. In the Dacheng yaodao miji, we see two lengthy commentarial works of the Path and Fruit (Lam 'bras: *Mfugaphala) teaching of the Sa skya pa School: (1) Jieshi daogllo yulu

jingang juji

(Explication of Vajra Verses ofthe Path


with the Fruit) and (2) Jieshi daogllo zunan ji

(Records on

E'qJelling Diffjcuities for Explaining the Path and Fruit Teachings). The
compiler *~ of both texts is Da chan pa *ffr~B, who was a disciple of the Dharma Master Kang


It is further said in the secohd text that "Kang

Saxijiewa is the 'changed' name of the Dharma Master lis han zhelL'{in" [1*i\@


nfEJK~~{J,gffjz~iSm.14 "Kang Saxi jie wa" is certainly a

phonetic rendering of 'Khon Sa skya ba. 'Khon was transcribed as "Kang" 11m here, while it was usually transcribed as "Kuan"


during the Mongol Yuan

period. Thus "Kang Saxi jiewa" [I~ili~*a][ actually corresponds to the expression "Sasijia banshi"


that is, "Sa skya 'khon family,"

which appears in the Yuan official history Yuan Shi The designation "Dharma


Sperling 1987; Sperling 2004; Liu Guowei 2004. Sperling 1987; Dunnell 1992. Chen Qingying 2000.



I~ Dacheng yaodoo miji,

vol. 2, juan 3, 1.



Master Jishan zhenxin" fEli~\~':{J\gffi refers to Kun dga' snying po, the first patriarch of the Sa sl.cya po school. Kun dga' snyingpo is literally translated into Chinese as "Jishan zhenxin" t~~~{J\ ("the true heart of the best goodness"). Thus the compiler of these two Sa skya pa texts could be a direct disciple of KlID dga' snying po. Although we are unable to ascertain whether Da chan pa personally went to the Tangut kingdom or not, the existence of these two Chinese texts of the Sa skya pa tradition shows clearly that the Path and Fruit teaching, the fundamentals of Sa skya pa teachings and practices, was already introduced into the Tangut kingdom of Xia. There are other pieces of evidence that reveal that Sa skya pa masters were active in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. In the biographical account of the first Sa skya patriarch Kun dga' snying po found in the Sa skya gdung rabs, a master from Mi nyag (i.e. the Tangut kingdom of Xia) named PrajfiCilCila is mentioned as a direct disciple (gzhung bshad mdzad pa 'j dngos slob) of this Sa skya master. 15 This shows that the contact of Tangut Buddhists with the Sa skya pa-s . started from early on. Gcung po ba Jo 'bum, a disciple of the third Sa skya patriarch Grags pa rgyal mtshan and a teacher of Sa skya pm;H;lita,I6 was the bia
mehod (chaplain, resident Bla rna) of the Tangut kings (mj nyag rgyal rgod kyj bia mehod). In Tibetan sources Gcung po ba is often referred to as the state

preceptor (gllgShi, i.e. glloshl) Jo 'bum ma. I7 Even Sa skya paI).<;lita himself probably already had direct contact with the Buddhist communities (Smpgb.a) in


Sa skya gdung robs: fo!. 47a.

Sa pm;! wrote. a Guruyoga manual dedicated to Jo 'bum. See the Bla ma'i mal 'byor


gug shijo 'bum ma, Sa skya pa'i bka' 'bum, vo!' 5, Paruji ta lam dga' rgyal mtshan gyi bka' 'bum, no. 42: 343-4-1-345-1-4; the colophon reads "For the sake of the state preceptor Jo 'bum, Sa skya paI).<;iitawrote this Guru Yoga" (bla ma'i mal 'byor sa skya PGlJ9i tas gug shijo 'bum gyi don du sbyar ba'o//).

Sa skya gdung robs: fo!' 41b.



the Tangut kingdom of Xia. In his collected works, there is a letter addressed to the temple Dpal Bde chen lhUl1 gyis gmb pa gtsug lag khang of the Taugut kingdom of Xia. 18 After he was invited by Godan Khan, Sa skya pm;.c;iita stayed, for most of the time, in Liang Zhou

(today's Wu Wei in Gansu province),

which was the central part of the fonner Tangut kingdom. This probably points to the fact that Sa skya pa masters already had established close relations with the Tangut kingdom of Xia before Sa skya pm;.c;iita came to China. Besides, a branch of the royal family of the Tangut kingdom arguably migrated to La stod byang of Gtsang, close to Sa skya. This new emigrant family is said to have soon become a strong local power due to its close ties with the imperial preceptor of the Sa skya pa school and was chosen as a myriarch (khi dpon) of one of the thirteen myriarchies (khi skor bell gSllm) of Dbus gtsang by the Yuan court. 19 In sum, the influence of Sa skya pa masters must have already penetrated into the depths of the Tangut kingdom of Xia before Sa skya par;.c;lita went to Liang Zhou at the invitation of Godan Khan. In the his uncle Grags pa rgyal mtshan: 20
The invitation of the prince Godart from the N011h (byang ngos pa) came. It seems just like what an earlier prophecy of Rje btsun pa [Grags pa rgyal mtshan1 says: In later times, people from the N011h who speak a different language, are of

D~b ther dmar po

we read a prophecy foretelling Sa skya par;.c;lita's journey to Mongolia made by


kfj nyag gi rgya! klwms su gnang ba'i yi ge; see Sa skya gsung 'bum, vol. 5, Paw!i ta

Jam dga' rgyaJ mtshan gyi bka' 'bum, no. 37: 337-2-1-338-1-2.

For the thi11een myriorchies (kl71t skor beu gsum) of Dbus gtsong, see Petech 1990:


'Tshal po Kun dga' fda Ije 1981: 47: rgyal bu go dan bya17g 17gos pas gdan 'dren

byung zhing/ sngar Ije btSLll1 pa'i lung bstan lal dus phyis byallg phyogs nas mi skad rigs mi gcig pal zhwa khra 'phur ba 'dra ba gyon pal Iham phag pa'i sna 'dra ba gyon pas gdan 'dren bYUllg ba la byon na bstan pa la phan zhes po bzlllil.



a different race, wear hats like a flying eagle and wear shoes like a pig's nose

will come to invite you. If you go, it will benefit the teaching.

This prophecy might reflect, in an indirect way, the fact that Grags pa rgyal rotshan had already heard about the rise of the Mongols who were neighbours to the Tanguts and thus anticipated the penetration of the Mongols into Tibet. That Sa skya pa teachings were spread within the Tangut kingdom of Xi a is testified by the fact that works of Sa skya pa masters were translated not only into Chinese, but also into Tangut during the Tangut Xia time. There is a Tangut Buddhist text entitled Jiyou equjing ling bengduan gang


or Jiyou equ lingjing benxu zhi gan E1f~'@z%~:Z[S:*iz. -=f in the St.

Petersburg collection of Khara Khoto manuscripts. According to the editorial note below the title ~~c., this text was compiled by the great master Yogin Mingcheng zhuang, literally "Victorious Banner of Fame"
~mgjjj*, ftC:P~*fjt1f:tf~1

and translated into Tangut by the sramGlJa Fa Hui, the state

preceptor Hui Jing of the Mountain Rui Yun ffM~Ll!.~~gjjj19>r51*.~.21 "Master Mingcheng Zhuang" refers in fact to the third Sa skya patriarch Grags pa rgyal mtshan. The Tibetan original of the Tungut text Jiyou equ Jingjing

benxu zhi gan E1f~'@z%~:Z[S:*iz. -=f is Dpalldan ngan song sbyong rgyud kyi spyi don (A General Meaning of the Glorious Tantra of Purifying Bad Rebirths), which is found in the collected works of Grags pa rgyal mtshan. 22
In addition to the two above mentioned Sa skya pa texts, that is, the Jieshi

daoguo yulu jingang juji and Jieshi daoguo Zlwan ji, there is another substantial
text on the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition entitled }']

jixiang shanglelun fangbian zhihld shupngyzw dao xllanyijuan {:t<Effr~L~,j\jj

:1J19&.~~~~~fg (The Secret Meanings of the Path of the Union of

21 Kychanov 1999: 598; Shi Jinbo 2002: 48---49. 22 Grags pa rgyal mtshan, Rjc: bltsun grogs pa rgyaJ mtshan gyi bka' 'bum, no. 94, Sa
skya pa'j bka' 'bum, vol. 3.



Wisdom and Efficient Strategies Relying on SJicakrasmllvara) in the Dacheng yaodao miji The Tangut Xia origin of all these three ritual texts of the Sa skya
pa tradition can be ascertained. The Yi iixiang shanglelun fangbian zhihui

shuangyim dao xllanyi iuan "was recorded by the sramQ.l7a Hui Xin, the state
preceptor Hong Jue of [the monastery] Youguo baota ("the precious stilpa which protects the country")" ffr:t=i~Wf::g:.Lt:~gffl1.1>rJ~f~j-*. The heshj

daogllo yulll iingangiliji "was translated by the sramalJa Hui Zhong of the great
monastery Qing Liang of the Northern Mountain" ~tw*m~*=i~.Fi.1>rJ~tj:l~l, "transmitted by the imperial preceptor XUQluui of Mahayana from the Middle Kingdom" tj:l~**1(*wgffl{~, and "compiled by the Dharma Master Chan Ba of the Middle Kingdom of Tibet" C11=tj:l~It:gfflffr~E*. The Jjeshi daoguo

Zllnan ii "was transmitted and translated by the sramalJa Bao Chang of the
Monastery Ganquan dajue yuanji"

if **t:[;]*;Z~1.1>rJW '(~~~.

All ffhese

"transmitters," "translators" and "compilers" were arguably of Tangut Xia origin. The imperial preceptor Xuanmi was one of a few imperial preceptors of the Tangut kingdom of Xia known to us so furY Moreover, there is a Tangut


Nie Hongyin doubts whether the imperial preceptor Xuanmi of Mahayana was tmly a that is, PrajiJa.kItti in Sanskrit, or Shes rab grags pa in Tibetan, he might be a

person of the Tangut Xia time. According to Nie, since his personal name is Huicheng

famous 10 tsa ba of the later period of Buddhist propagation in Tibet, and certainly not an imperial preceptor of the Tangut kingdom ofXia. See Nie Hongyin 2005: 209-210. I, however, do not agree with this argument. It is too farfetched to identify the imperial preceptor Xuanmi of Mahayana with a well-known 10 tsa ba of the later period, simply because they share the same personal name. In a Mahamudra text entitled Dasl10uyin
jianru dlllml yaomen 7:=Ft[]j$fJ\., iliJ[J\.wF5 (EssentiallnstmcUon ofthe Gradual and Sjmultaneous Entrance of A1ahamudrtf) in the Dacheng yaodao miji, there is a list of

the transmission lineage which reads: As for the transmission lineage of this quintessential instruction from masters to disciples, it was transmitted from the Fully Awakened One to the great
bodhisattva Da baoyi jiehlO. This master transmitted it to Master Sarah a, this



master transmitted it to Master SatUpa, this master transmitted it to Master MaitrYpa, this master transmitted it to BIa rna Mar pa, this master transmitted it to Mi Ia rcis pa, this master transmitted it to Bla rna La zheng, this master transmitted it to the imperial preceptor Xuanmi, this master transmitted it to Grand Masier Taibao, this master transmitted it to the state preceptor Xuan zhao.
~J1:t~F5giff*::xm:tf ' ffi!:~~jtSA~{-toWifm~~*Jt~m~g}tiff ' J1:tiff{.t:oW .I~giff ' J1:tiff{-toWl\iU;rlI3SijJ , J1:tSijJ{-toWl!ill1~lliW ' J1:tSijJ{-toW*JJi,li!~13 ' J1:t SijJf.foW~~ffUI~13 'J1:tSijJf.foW*$JJiffjlE ' J1:tSijJ{.t:oW:YJfWSijJ , J1:tSijJ{.t:oW:t:

W_Uiff '


Lu Cheng identified this lineage as: Buddha Vajradhara (Jingang chi ~Jjij]Uff) gros rin chen (Baoyi W~)



Sampa (So luo ba


jtlllmll3) -+ Maitripa (Yo wo


nuo di

ll~lli'i11, i.e. Min de li wo ~1~U1l!~)

Mar po -+ Mi la ras po -+ BIa rna blo chen Xuan Zhao. Fl1lthermore,

..... Imperial Preceptor Xuanmi


Grand Master Do Boo

Lu Cheng suggested that BIa rna BIo chen once studied with 'Phags po and further transmitted this teaching, Bu ston being the third generation in this transmission lineage. He m'gues that since Xuan Zhao was a descendant of BIo chen of the third generation (Le. in the transmission lineage), his. date of living must be similar to that of Bu ston, . and that he must have therefore lived during the time of the last Yuan emperor Shundi. See Lu Cheng 1942: XII. Since Lu Cheng could not possibly imagine in his time that there are texts of Tangut Xia origin within the Dacheng yaodao mijl; he obviously made a mistake in identifying Lama La zheng as Bla rna Blo chen, a disciple of 'Phags po. A transmitter of Mi 10 ras po's (1052-1l32) teachings could not possibly be a disciple of 'Phags pa (1235-l380) at the same time, and thus Lu Cheng'S conclusion that Xuan Zhao, said to be a state preceptor of the Tangut kingdom of Xia, is a contemporary of Bu ston does not hold. Fmthermore Bla rna BIo chen is not found among Mi 10 ras pa's numerous disciples. Mi la ras pa's most prominent disciples m'e Sgam po pa Bsod noms rin chen (1079-1153) and Ras chung Rdo rje grogs po (1085-1161). Sgam po pa Bsod noms rin chen was often called Dwags po Iha Ije, and it is very likely that "La zheng" was a phonetic transcription of "Lha Ije." Therefore, the imperial preceptor Xuanmi of

Mahayana was more possibly a disciple of Dwags po


Ije alias Sgam po po Bsod

noms rin chen. As mentioned before, "the compiler" of the Jieshi daogllo YUIll jingang
jllji, that is, the Dhmma Master from Tibet Chan Ba lZiir:p~:!SijJffrfill3, is said to be a

disciple of the first So skya patriarch Kun dga' snying po (1092-1158), while "the



text entitled Daoguo yuilyingangju zhi jjeju jj i~jl~:~g~1f::ili:IiUlU 1:1] L~~~~c

(Records ofErpimniag the Vajra Verses ofthe Path and Fruit Teaching) among
the Khara Khoto Tangut manuscripts. It is certainly the Tangut edition of the Chinese text Jieshi daoguo yuiu jingang jlyj24 It is thus clear that the Iieshj

daoguo yulu jingang juji is a text of Tangut Xia origin. The existence of texts of
the Path and Fruit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition in both Tangut and Chinese leads to the conclusion that Sa skya pa masters did playa significant role in introducing Tibetan Buddhism into the Tangut kingdom of Xia.

3. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism at the Court of the Mongol Khans Prior to the discovery of a series of Chinese texts concerning Tibetan Tantnc Buddhism among the St. Petersburg collection of Kham Khoto documents alct the subsequent study of the Dacheng yaodao miji, we knew little about the teachings and practices of Tibetan Buddhism in the Mongol Yuan dynasty. Yuan Chinese literature only mentions Yan die er fa ~~tJlgt.1.t, Yunqi shu


(the "art of moving one's vital energy currents") and Jvlimi daxile

chanding fM,&'*;g~ffr~J:E. ("the meditative practice of the esoteric teaching

of supreme bliss"), all of which were practised by the Mongol Khans together with members of the imperial family and ministers under the guidance of Indian and Tibetan monks. In addition, we are told that the protective deity MahCikCila was enthusiastically worshipped in the whole country. These scattered records about Tibetan masters and their teachings in Chinese literature often brim with

transmitter" of the same text was the imperial preceptor Xuanmi. Thus the imperial preceptor Xuanmi as the "transmitter" must have been a contemporary of the "compiler" Chan Ba. Therefore, the imperial preceptor Xuanmi could only be an imperial preceptor of the Tangut kingdom ofXia.

Nishida 1977, No. 076; Ti"betan TIipi!aka, No. 2284: Lam 'bras bu dang beas pa'i

I1sa ba rda lje'i tsizig rkang.



cultural prejudices. They provide flavourful ingredients for Chinese literati to dell10nise Tibetan bia mas and Tibetan religion, on the one hand, while constmcting a literary hindering screen impassable to scholars of later generations, on the other. It is almost impossible to decipher terms and terminologies of foreign origins in Chinese phonetic transcription and to correctly interpret a 'barbarian religion' based on distorted descriptions of . authors who were obviously disgusted with these exotic and strange practices. Even those among the greatest scholars of the time landed in a predicament when they tried to interpret the terms and terminologies. 25 It was only with the discovery of the Dacheng yaodao, mjji and Chinese texts concerning Tibetan Tantric Buddhism among the Khara Khoto documents that we are offered an opportunity to uncover the actual meaning of the notorious secret teaching of supreme bliss for the very first time. Recently, Hoongteik Toh gave an inspiring explanation of the origin of the practice of Yan die er fa. This art is said to be able to "make the vital energy currents of one's body either decline or grow, either expand or contract" ~g1~A%Z~:ElJ<}~~~5.tL ~{$~M~. Toh pointed out that "the art of moving one's vital energy currents" practised at the court of the Mongol Khans was actually the practice of "inner heat" (gtum mo 'j me), which comprises one of the Six Doctrines of Naropa (No ro chos drug) of the Bka' brgyud pa tradition. Yan die eris the Chinese phonetic transcription of the Uigur tenn yantl!; which in tum corresponds to yantra in Sanskrit, meaning "mechanisI1l " or "gear. ,,26 As for "the secret teaching of supreme bliss" and "the practice in pair" (Shuangxiu fa ~~ffi1t, i.e. "Tantric sexual union"), it is likely that they are related to the yogic practices of the Hevajratantra. In the chapter on Buddhism and Daoism of the Yuan Shi, the following is stated: '''Xie bai za la' means 'supreme bliss' in Chinese" ~X8IJg15I!U
Stein 1952: 532-36; Franke 1955: 380-88. Toh Hoongteik 2007.







-tQ.27 "Xie bai za la" is obviously the Chinese phonetic transcription of he

badzra, the Tibetanised fonu of the Sanskrit name Hevajra. Besides, Hevajra is
often referred to in Chinese as Xijingang ~ 3i[j;jJU or Xile jingang ~5'R3i[j;jJU, both meaning "joyous vajiv." In all ritual texts of the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition included in the Dacheng yaodao mijj, the Hevajratantra is called either Xj1e jjngang bemu ~5'RiEi:[j;jJU**" (The Root Tantra of the

Joyous Vajra) or DW(Jle bemu *~5'R**" (The Root Tantra of Supreme


It is thus clear that these two tenus, namely Xi jingang ("joyous vajra")

and Da xile ("supreme bliss") were in fact interchangeable during the Tangut Xia and Mongol Yuan times. The secret teaching of supreme bliss must be therefore related to the yogic practice of the Hevajratantrc. Of course, Buddhist practice related to Tantlic sexual union such as "practice in pair" is not only limited to the yogic practice of the Hevajratantra. NumerOliS other tantras also present similar practices. For instance, in the

jjxjang shang1elzm fangbjan zhjhuj shllangyun dao xllanyj juan, which is a siidhana related to Cakrasarp.vara (Dpa1 bde mchog 'khor 10 'j sgmb thabs) , the
practice is explained as "the path of union of wisdom and efficient strategies"
jj1Ji:51~~~ill, or "practice of sexual union" or "practice in pair of male and

female" ~:9:: ~~:. It is a marvelous ritual text, which teaches the male practitioner of the CakrasG1!lvaratantra how to practise together with a female consort (xjng yjn


i.e. karmamudrii, or "action mudrCl').

According to Yuan Chinese literature, the worship of MahCikiila, the most popular protective deity of the Sa skya pa-s, was already prevalent at the time of Kublai Khan: 29


Yuan Sill, juan, 202; Shiiao elwan, 4522. Daclleng yaodao mijl, vol. 1, juan 1, 16; The Khara Khoto l\;fal1UScripts Preserved in


Russia 5: 246; Shen Weirong 2004:


Liu Guan 1986, Huguosi bei Bj~~liJIf [Inscription of the Huguo Monasery],



As the Emperor Shizu (Kublai Khan) pacified the Chinese; gathered together barbarians and completed his great achievements of military expeditions, he often extended grand service to the deity Mahakiila and took him as the protective deity of the country. Therefore, Mahakiila was also called the great protective deity and was placed in six shrines. Maha.kiila responded to a1\ prayers instantaneously.
:1i~i:f:I:ffU3.1j1~*J.j:tl<; x.~*~lffr$

, '-~{::tJ:jJ ,


, t).;tt~~:~!U~ , t&

, JU~7\jjij , ffi!.~JT!o

It is worth noting that the MahakCila cult itself is in fact an integral part of the

yogic practice of the Hevajratantra. 30 'Phags pa might also have transmitted the instruction for yogic practice of MahCikCila and his sister, the Great Black Mother, to Kublai Khan and his queen when they received the empowerment of the Hevajratantra from him. Without doubt, the practice of "supreme bliss," or, in other words, the yogic practice of the Hevajratantra, as well as the MahCikCila cult prevalent at the court of the Mongol Khans followed the Sa skya pa tradition. Although the art of "moving one's vital energy currents," or Yan die er fa, probably corresponds to the yogic practice of inner heat of the No ro chos drug, the practice does not

Liudaizbi wenji, juan 9(1).


A sadbana text of the Hevajratantra entitled Jixiang xijingang jiiun ganiuquan.


~~JiljU~tnlr1:t~~ (Spring of Nectar of SribevajragGl;acakra) is preserved in the

National Palace Museum, Taipei. This text was transmitted by 'Phags pa, translated into Chinese by his disciple Bsod nams 1"gyal mtshan (active in early 14th century) and block-printed in the early Ming period. From this text we have learned that the sacrifice to and worship of both Mahakala and his sister (Effr:f*~.5t.t9K Jixiang dahe xiongmei) is an integral part of the practice of the SrihevajragaJ;acakra EiiI=f~:3Ti:IliiJU~'ifIi{~$. In this sadhana text there are detailed iconographic descriptions of Mahakala and his sister and various kinds of mantras and praises dedicated to them.



necessarily have to follow the Bka' brgyud pa tradition. In the Yi Ji>dang

shanglelun fangbian zhihlli shllangYlm dao xllanyi juan, a s6dhana of the SrJcakrasaJpvaratantra, evidently ofthe Sa skya pa tradition, there are practical
instructions on the yogic practices of inner heat, luminosity, dream, illusory body and so on. All these practices are clearly parts of the N6 ro chos drug, focusing on the vital energy currents and seminal fluids. Among them, the practical instruction on the yogic practice of inner heat is the most extensive one. In fact, Naropa's instruction on the yogic practice of inner heat was virtually based on the Hevajratantra. There is a close tie between the practice of inner heat, or Yan die er fa, and the esoteric teaching of supreme bliss related to the practice of the Hevajratantra in this context. In the Yi jixiang shanglelzm

fangbian zhihui shllangYlln dao xuanyi juan, we find a clear definition of the
yogic practice of inner heat which reads as follows: 3 !
The practitioner who wants to transform aversion into the path [to enlightenment] should practise the yoga of inner heat. It is said in the holy teaching: "There are two ways for those who want to be completely enlightened: one relies on the Path of the Pl'ajfiB.paramitB., the other relies on the Secret Path. The one who now practises the meditation of inner heat relies on the Secret Path. However, there are four kinds of tantra in the Secret Path, they are KriyB. (bya ba'i rgyud), CaryB.

(spyod pa'i rgyud), Yoga (mal 'byor pa'i rgyud) and Yoganimttara (mal 'byor bla no med pa'i rgYlld). [The inner heat] belongs to Yoganiruttara, that is, the
fourth kind of tantra. Within Yoganiruttara there are again two kinds of root

tantra, namely, the tantra of efficient strategies and the tantra of wisdom. The
inner heat relies on the Hevajratantra, the root tantra of wisdom. The above (Le. the Hevajratantra) is exactly what the practical instructions of the Dharma Master NB.ropa rely on.


Dacheng yaodao miji, vol. 1, juan 1, Yi jjxiang shanglell/n fangbian zhihlli

shllangYlin dao xl/anyi juan, 9-10.



5'dli~APJD~~jg~m~, ~J!ffiml7)Emo ~f.zi:f:!IDt: fj)(~j)iJtIE:i:~1=~

-{t<~;fi~ '={;lXfM@;~o 4tfflj()E~,f.t<M@;~fuo ~fM@;i:f:!1Pfi1'F,


(Ii~, *{li~[9~**" 4~m[9*{li~**'o :a~i:f:!11:1J~, ~9J~=~*

*1 ,~tfflj()E~~9J~**Ii:f:! <*~~iiJiiJU**jD pJT~mo Jl:tL~wD,iDli$gm


This statement shows clearly that the yogic practice of irmer heat is based on the

Just as MahamudrCi and Rdzogs chen constitute the fundamentals of the Bka' brgyud pa-s and Rnying rna pa-s, respectively, so does the Path and Fruit teaching for the Sa skya pa-s. On the origin of the Path and Fruit teaching, Lu Cheng once pointed out the following: 32 The Path and Fruit teaching is generated from Sahajanaya. It gathers together all essences of tantrus to determine the stages of practice for realizing its ideal state. The practice is perfected by the attainment of innate bliss through the union of wisdom and emptiness. In real practice the practitioner practises together with a female mudriJ and attains the realisation simultaneously [with her]. This teaching was created by Virtipa. Virupa relied on the root tantrus including the second section of the Hevajratantra and the SGlppu,tatantra, was guided by Nairatmya (Bdag med rna) and established this teaching of Path and Fmit. It was transmitted into Tibet through Gayadhara and Lo tsa ba 'Brog mi ShCikya ye shes. The first Sa skya patriarch Sa chen Kun dga' snying po received this teaching through many different means. At the beginning it was only transmitted from mouth to ear. No text was written. Later [Kun dga' snying po] wrote 11 commentaries respectively answering various requests of his disciples.


Lu Cheng 1942: VII; for the Path and Fruit teaching, see Steams 2006; Davidson

2002: 45-83.



The principal text of the Path and Fmit teaching is the Vajra Ve1;ges ofthe Root

Text of the Path and Fruit (Lam 'bras bu dang beas pa 'i Jtsa ba rdo lje'i tshig rkang). The Path and Fmit teaching is a collection of disparate approaches to
the esoteric Buddhist path and thus constitutes a complex system of philosophical discourse and meditative practices. 33 Since all substantive texts included in the Daeheng yaodao miji, which comes presumably directly from the court of the Mongol Khans, consisted of sadhanas of the Path and Fruit teaching and commentaries on the root text of the *Mfugaphala, it can be deduced that the most popular teaching and practice prevalent at the court of the Mongol Khans was the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition. 4. The Tangut Background of the Mongol Adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism Having ascertained above that the principal teaching of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism practised by the Mongols was the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition, it is yet to be investigated to what extent the Path and Fruit teaching was prevalent during the Tangut Xia time in order to delve deeper into the Tangut backgrOlmd of the Mongol adoption of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. As discussed above, three substantive ritual texts found in the Daeheng yaodao

miji, namely, the Jieshi daoguo yuiu jingang juji, Jieshi daoguo zunanji, and Yi jixiang shanglelun fangbian zhihui shuangyun dao xuanyi juan, which deal
extensively and exclusively with the Path and Fmit teaching, are clearly of Tangut Xia origin. It testifies that the Path and Fmit teaching was already introduced in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. In recent years, a large number of Tangut and Chinese Buddhist texts of the Tangut

of Xia have been

recovered. Many of them strongly support our assumption that the Path and


Dacheng yaodao miji, vol. 1, jlIan 1, 3-4, Daoguo yanhuiji ~*~BI!!~ (Collection

ofLights ofthe Path and Fruit); Davidson 2005: 477-88.



FnIit teaching was likewise popular in Mongols.


Asia before the rise of the

One convincing piece of evidence is provided by a Buddhist tantra in Tangut translation, namely, the Jjxiang bianzhi kouhe benr:u

ff', "The Tantra of Total Union (lit. 'JvJerging of Mouth')," which was
unearthed in the early nineties of the last century in a quadrilateral stl/pa of Tangut Xia origin in the Baisigou valley close to Yinchuan. 34 The discovery of this voluminous Tangut Buddhist text of Tibetan origin, together with several commentaries on it, attracted great attention among scholars of Tangut studies worldwide. Nevertheless, the identification of the Tibetan original of the text puzzled them. With the help of Sun Changsheng of the Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, I have succeeded in identifying the Tibetan original of this Tangut Buddhist text. The .Jixiang

bianzhi kouhe benxll is in fact a Tangut translation of the Sarppu/atantra.

According to the Tangut version, its Tibetan original should be Rgyr.zd thams

cad kyi gleng gzhi dang gsang chen dpal kun tz.z IdJa sbyor zhes bya ba'i rgyud kyi rgyal po, "King of Tantra Entitled the Primary Setting [for the coming into existence] of All Tantras and the Great JvJystic, the Glorious One [in] Total Union." Following the editorial note found below the title of the Tangut text, the fL'(iang bianzhi kouhe benYlz "was translated [into Tibetan] by the great
precious and victorious 10 tsa ba of the Middle Kingdom 'Gos Khug pa lhas btsas (b. 1 ph cent.) in collaboration with the PaJ.19ita of the western heaven Gayadhara" (["~FJf~j!{:lJaIfGj!*IIWffiLjijlW

' cp *H9Jg~W~ftJ]l[BHW~

No tantra with this title (at least not on the title page) translated by this

team of translators is found in existing editions of the Tibetan Bka' 'gyur. Thus several Tangut scholars went so far as to claim that the Tibetan original of the

Xiyja baisigoll fangta2005: 18-143.

Sun Changsheng 2004: 66-72.




text might have been lost and this Tangut text is the only eX,tant copy. This claim, however, does not tally' with the facts at all. It has been ascertained that the parallel Tibetan version of the Jixiang bianzhi kouhe bennl is in fact available in the Tibetan Bka' 'gyur tmder the (editorial) title Yang dag par

sbyor ba zhes bya ba'i rgyud chen pO,36 SaIpputinamamahatantra in Sanskrit

(note, however, the titles found at the end of some chapters which are quite similar to the title provided by the Tangut text, for example, at the end of chapter one (D, fo1. 82b6-7): rgyud thams cad kyi gleng gzhi gsang ba dpal

yang dag par sbyor ba). This translation is said to be by GayCidhara and 'Brog
mi 10 tsa. ba SMkya ye shes (992/993-1043?/I072?)Y Nonetheless, there appear to have been two different Tibetan translations of the

SaIpputiniimamahatantra from the same period, and the Indian pawjita

Gayadhara is said tO,have been involved in both translation projects. 'Gos 10 tsa ba Khug pa Ihas btsas was the next Tibetan after 'Brog mi 10 tsa ba to work with Gayadhara on the translation of esoteric works. Gayadhara, however, was accused of having used his previous work with 'Brog mi 10 tsa ba to promote his later patron (Le. Khug pa lhas btsas). In the (what seems to be an editor's) colophon of the Stog version, it is clearly complained of plagiarism (as translated by Davidson):38 Afterward (after his and GayCidhara's initial translation), some Tibetan "translators" have taken the names of other translators off these scholars' own translations and attached their own na;nes in place of original translators' names while changing the text in a few insignificant places.


For example, Peking No. 26, Derge No. 381, Stog No. 344, Phu brag No. 641. Davidson 2005: 182. Davidson 2005: 204. 334




As Davidson points out the accused plagiarists were later identified in marginalia (attributed to Sa pat).) to this translation as 'Gos 10 tSQ ba Khug pa .lhas btsas and unnamed others. It might be the reason why his claimed translation was eventually excluded from the Tibetan canon. Since the Yang
dag par sbyor ba zhes bya ba'i rgyud chen po found in the Peking and Derge

versions of the Bka' 'gyur was revised by Bu ston Rin chen gmb, it must be somewhat different from the Tibetan version that served as the original of the Taugut translation Jixiang bianzhi kouhe benxll. Whether the versions found in the Stog and Phu brag editions-which apparently did not undergo a revision-are closer to the original of the Tangut translation is yet to be determined. If, as claimed by Davidson,39 the Phu brag version is indeed 'Brog lUi's initial translation, and if the translation ascribed to Khug pa lhas btsas merely contains negligible changes (if any), it should be indeed almost identical with the original of the Tangut version. Moreover, the canonical versions provide tremendous help in any attempts to decipher the Tangut text, which would be almost lmintelligible otherwise. It is likewise helpful that many manuscripts of the Sanskrit original of tlle Sarvatantranidanarahasyat
SrisaJPPll.todbhavaniimamahatantrarCija are still available today.40 In addition,

several commentaries on this tantra made by Indian masters are available in the Tibetan Bstan 'gyur. Early Sa skya pa masters also left behind numerous commentaries on the Smpplltatantra. The unearthing and identification of the Jixiang bianzhi kOllhe benxll, the Tangut version of the Smpplltatantra, provide us with much-needed information for the understanding of the history of Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. Firstly, the appearance of the Tangut version of the Smpplltatantra tells us that the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom started
Davidson 2005: 413, n. 162. Tsukamoto et a1 1989: 259-61.





quite early and advanced rather quickly. The Tangut version of the

Smpputatantra was most likely already made some time around the middle of
or in the second half of the

century, that is, during the reign of Ren Zong,

when the translation project of Tibetan Tantric texts into Tangut was booming. Secondly, the discovery of the Tangut translation of the Smpputatantra further testifies to the fact that the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa tradition undoubtedly spread among followers of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. As mentioned earlier, the Swpputatantra along with the second part of the Hevajratantra makes up the fundamentals of the Path and Fmit teaching. As a famed tantra for both Hevajra and CakrasaIpvara, the

Smppu.tatantra is characterised by its synthesis of many Tantric texts and

practices. 41 In several texts included in the Dacheng yaodao miji, quotations are frequently made from a Tantric text entitled Sanplltj t~1.. ~m:

or Samnoda -

Both Sonplltj and Samnoda are undoubtedly the Chinese phonetic

transcription of SaIppu/a or Smppll/i, the abridged form of the title

Sorpplltatantra usually quoted in Tibetan literature. 42

Together with the Tangut edition of the SOIpputatantra, two fragmentary Chinese texts of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism were uncovered inside the stl7pa of the Baisigou valley. One of them is inventoried as F041. The scholars \<vho collected and collated the fragments of the text failed to give it its proper title. They claimed that the text is a part of the Sarpvaratantra. Judging from its content, however, it must be a sawana of SricakrasaIpvara (hxjang shengie

Noguchi 1984: 168-69; Elder 1978.

A fragmentary Tangut text of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, inventory No. K2: 145, is among the Tangut documents unemihed recently in the stone cave of the Shanzuigou valley in the Helan Mountains ~lwHlJWU~~EJi'. In this text, the SGll1pu!atantra is mentioned. Since the text is too fragmentary, it is impossible to identify its Tibetan original. Nevertheless, it is obviously related to the practice of the Path and Fruit teaching of the Sa skya pa-s. See Sun Changsheng 2007: 571-603, especially 582-83.



jillW 61fr'fg%,~*fijjj) It includes practical instmctions on the visualisation of

Srihemka, VajravCirCihi and other Tantric deities. The other text, inventoried as F042, is given the title Jirjang shanglehw lllewen dengxllkong benxu

fmilll6-3t~~~**I, that is, Srfcalo-asarpvarakhasamatantra. In fact, this text is

rather a commentary of the SrfcakrasGIpvarakhasamatantra. According to the editorial statement, this commentary was "transmitted by the state preceptor Zhi jingang" ~ifj~:ili:IliITH~ and "translated by the sramGlJa tidian Hai Zhao"

Thus the text is certainly of Tangut Xia o(gin, since the state

preceptor Zhi jingang was a famous figure in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. This text likewise contains practical instmctions on the visualisation of such Tantric deities as SrThemka and VajravfuCihI. It also talks, among other things, about the yogic practices of the winds, channels, seminal fluids and six cakras, and sexual union as well, for ultimately attaining the "body of supreme bliss" (bde
ba chen po'i sku: mahasllkhakaya).43 Hevajra and Srlcakrasarpvara are two

principal Tantric deities who are worshipped with great enthusiasm by the followers of the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya po-so These two Chinese texts relating to the sadhana of SricakrasQl~vara uncovered in the stiipa of the Baisigou valley are intimately related to the Yi jixiang shanglellw fangbian
zhihui shllangYlin dao xllanyijlla of the Dacheng yaodao miji. They testify that

the yogic practices of the Srfcakrasarpvaratantra were already popular during the Tangut Xia time. In other words, the yogic practices of the Hevajratantra and the SrfcakrasGI]1varatantra, notoriously represented by Tantric sexual practice at the court of the Mongol Khans, were also prevalent among both Chinese and Tangut followers of the Path and Fmit teaching in the Tangut kingdom ofXia. Thus the political and religious alliance between Mongol mlers and Sa skya pa masters must have had a deep Tangut background.


Xixia Quaddlateral Pagoda in the Baisigou Valley. 234-58.



s. Texts of Tangut Origin Dealing with Yogic Practices of the Sa skya po School
Without doubt, the Khara Khoto documents preserved in St. Petersburg contain most of the Chinese texts relating to Tibetan Tantric Buddhism originating from the Tangut kingdom of Xia known to us so far. Hitherto I have mostly focused on a series of "oral instructions" (man ngag: upadesa) on the Six Doctrines of Naropa of the Bka' brgyud pa tradition. The discovery of this series of texts enables us to have a clear pichlre of to what extent the yogic practices of the Bka' brgyud pa were disseminated in the Tangut kingdom of Xia. 44 In the meanwhile, a series of Sa skya pa rihlGl texts worthy of investigation has been also identified among the Khara Khoto documents. Exploring and shldying these texts will help us to understand to what extent the teachings and practices of the Sa skya pa tradition were introduced into the Tangut kingdom. It has been mentioned above that the Tangut version of the Jjeshi daoguo YllJujingang

jllji is found among the Khara Khoto Tangut documents preserved in St.
Petersburg. 45 There exist, in fact, two other ritual texts that are unmistakably related to the Path and Fmit teaching of the Sa skya pa-s: (1) Futi yongshi

xueSllO daojigllo yll yishlln xianshi baojll ~m:~~~pfTili&*:W-II~~JVf~Jl

rEi ('''Byang chub sems dpa'i spyod pa Jam dang 'bras pa bcas pa'i bshadpa
gsaJ ba'i sgron ma rin po che) and (2) Fllti yongshi xllesuodao ji guo yu yishun shangfa bm:~~~pfT~t&*:W-Jl~L1!. The first one has close to 30
different fragmentary copies. They are inventoried as Khara Khoto Tangut text nos. 458 to 486. 46 The abundance of copies of the texts related to the Path and
Shen Weirong 2004. Kychanov 1999: 513. Kychanov 1999: 513-20.






Fruit teaching is a further evidence that this teaching was extensively spread among Tangut followers. We have also fOlmd other texts that are likewise clearly related to the Sa skya pa tradition. First, there is a series of ritual texts concerning the yogic practice of Hevajra and Sarp.vara:
Nos. 354, 344 No. 384 No. 537
Hujingongwang benxu zhiji D~ffijJU.:E*.;L.~2 Julun gongyang zuocidi

Jixiang shanglelun sui zhongyoushen dingm shunyaolul1 zhi yaofangjieshishul1 E"iii..t~!MHllJicplf $.tJEAn~~fRff

No. 555

Jixial1g shanglelwl sui siziwo yidil1gzhel1gxiu shul1yaolul1


Nos. 556, 557

Jixial1g shal1glelun sui yexijiuxizi zhou yiqion zul1xi weishi guoding mshuyaolul1


Nos. 593,594 Nos. 672-674

Yule Yllanhun lil1shlll1yaollll1 tlX~IIJ~.Ft.<f.lJl~~g~ Jixiang shanglelul1 sui zhongyoushel1 dingru shllnci
..t~f~llJicplf $.t:xEAJI~;;X

No. 682

Huwang jiufo zhol1gmo suizhu ShUl1Ci U.:EfL{~cp*~IlJi''


Among the Khara Khoto Chinese documents there is a lengthy siidhano text that has been given the title Do jibian *~*fmj by the compiler of the volume. Venerable Zong Shun

*gJif of the Jie Zhuang Institute of Buddhist Studies in

Su Zhou ~1HlllZ~.l{~~iiff~pJT pOinted out that this text is a siidhano of the Tantric deity Sarp.vara. 49 I fhlly agree with him in this regard, though the given


According to Nishida, this text is the Tangut translation of the Tibetan text TSJlOgS

kyi 'khor lo'i mchodpo'i rim pa, Peking No. 2387. Nishida 1977: 27.

48 Kychanov 1999: 35-44.


The Kham KilOtO Manuscripts Preserved il1 Rus~ia 2: TK74, 108-147; ibid, vol. 6,



title of the text should be corrected to Da ji1lm 7d~tlr, which corresponds to

Tshogs kyi 'khor 10 chell po in Tibetan. The colophon of the text states: "The

ritual [manual] of the stages of offering of the mG1J.c;1a1a of Srfcakrasmp.vara is written" Effr$L~q:r~=1!1f

' j{'F1;!l;~*:ffim:. Accordingly, the original title of

the text must have been *Jixiang shang1e zhong wei gongyang cidi yi Effr$L~

q:r ~{;!l;~*:ffi1~

or *Dpa1 bde mchog gyi dkyi1 'khor gyi mchod pa 'i rim pa 'j

cho ga in Tibetan. "Shang Ie"

is interchangeable with "Shengle"


in Chinese literature. Both correspond to Bde mchog in Tibetan, Sarp.vara in Sanskrit. "Zhongwei" q:r~ corresponds to dkyil 'khor in Tibetan, that is,
m(]lJ.c;1a1a. It is translated as "Tancheng"

in late Chinese literature.

Similar to the Yijixiang shang1e1w fangbian zhihui shuangyzmdao xuanyijllan in the Dacheng yaodao miji dnd the two other fragmentary texts of the
Sricakrasmp.vara Effr$9~*tlr found in the stz7pa of the Baisigou valley, the Daji1w, or JJxiang shang1e zhongwei gongyang cidi yi Effr$L~q:r~{#~;J(

should be a text of the Sa skya pa tradition. In addition, there are at least

two other Chinese texts concerning the ritual of "great wheel of feast" (tshogs
kyi 'khor 10 chen po, *'All{~$fL) among the Khara Khoto collection: (1) Jingang haimu ji1w gongyang cidi1u :i:IlillU~ m:*tlr{;!l;~*:ffitt (*Rdo rje phag mo 'i tshogs kyi 'khor 10 'i mchod pa 'i rim pa) and (2) Ji1w fashi


- (*Tshogs kyi 'khor 10 'i cho ga). Both are sadhanas of yogic practice related
to the Tantric deity Cakrasarp.vara. Furthem10re, there is a series of texts of Tangut Xia origin dealing with the yogic practice of the female deity Vajravarahl among the Khara Khoto documents. At least 16 of them are sadhana texts in Tangut scripts: 50

Appendix: 9.

Nishida 1977: 15-17.



No. 523 No. 528

Jingangwang haimu zhi ranshi fashi


fil~aiyoucJllI jingangwang hai111ll zhi libai :EJ1fi\:'&:IiilJU.:E~lz

No. 541

Jingangwang Iwi111u suijingping yi qinsong zlloshun


:'&:IiilJU.:E~ l

Nos. 575,576 Jingangwang hai111u sui dye YZlanfajiaoqiZl slll.inyaolun :'&:IiilJU.:E~

a/lj B :&JJiff~*II~~fnH
No. 577

Jingangwang haimll slli jiliaoding shllnyaollln


:'&:IiilJU.:E~ l~~ T

No. 578

Jingang hai111ll slli shiyin sllOucheng shunyaolun


:'&:IiilJU.:E~ l/lj~

No. 579

Jingangwang hai111u sui shui111ian ZZlO sllllnyaolun


:'&:IiilJU.:E~ ll\il

No. 580

Jingangwang hai111u sui luehu1110





Nos. 581, 582 JinganghaIinu sui shishifeng shunyaolun :'&:IiilJU.:E~lI\il~1i'ifJ~J1~

No. 583

Jinganghai111u sui 111ianshou deng xizao shunyaolun



No. 584

Jingangwanghai111u yu jiexizui cJwnlu17 :'&:IiilJU.:E~ ln~~~~'fil


No. 631 No. 652 No. 679

Sanshen hai111u zhi lueji Haimu ercJllIanjiwen


Wufo hai111u sui luegongyang zuoci li{~~ lI\ilWg.(*1t{1=:::1z Haimu gongyanggen yibu ~a{*1t1N-~~

Nos. 692, 693 Wufo hai111u slli luegongyanggen li{~~aI\ilWg.{*1tfN No. 710

Among the Khara Khoto Chinese documents preserved in St. Petersburg, there are seven siidhana texts apropos of the yogic practice of Vajravarahi:




Jingang haimujilun gongyang cidi lu 31[IIlJ~3ta*~ililf;!:!;~:;jzm~ (A14) JIilgang haimll cJwnding Jingang Iwimu XillXi yi Jjngang haimu shishi yi
31[IIlJ~:~:affr~JE) (A19)

2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)


(Q327,329) (No. 274) (No. 274)


Jingang haimu zisheshouyaomen Jingang xillximlljilljing yi



(No. 274)

Jlilgang XillXi mu shesholl bingyi 31[IIlJUv~~aJ1l![f~ttlif~ (No. 274).51

In addition, there is one other s6dhana of VajravCirCihi: of Tangut origin in its complete form entitled Sizi kongxing mu jiwen 12:9;::~1Ta~C:Y:: (Record of

the four-syllable i)6kil1l). Weare informed by the text itself that it is achlGlly an
"oral instruction" (man ngag) on the visualisation of V ajravCirCihi: [:ili:!lilJUJ~ a:Ej: f~*~~~UF~. It is called SrivajmyoginisCidhana in SanslG.'it
f;J\C:9~, and





qilLYiu fiffr$~~~m*~~ in Chinese, which

literally means Instnzction on the Visualization of the Auspicious lvIother of

Practice. Accordingly, the corresponding Tibetan title should be 'frDpal rdo Ije mal 'byor ma'i sgmb thabs. The discovery of numerous s6dhana texts of
VajravCirCihi: among the Khara Khoto documents demonstrates the popularity of the yogic practice of Cakrasarpvara during the Tangut Xia time. s2
It is worth noticing that several texts related to the MahCikCila cult are also

seen among the Khara Khoto Chinese documents. This indicates that the MahCikCila cult, which was in vogue during the Mongol Yuan time, in fact had its inception in the Tangut kingdom ofXia. There are three Chinese manuscripts of Tangut origin concerning the MahCikCila cult: (1) Dahei genben mingzholl


(The Root Mantra ofLife of the Great Black One), (2) Dahei zan

51 For a complete list of Chinese texts concerning Tibetan Tantric Buddhism among the Khara Khoto documents preserved in St. Petersburg, see Shen Weirong 2007a: 172-79.

The Kham Khoto AfaI1lISClipts Preserved in Russia 5: TK329, 116-20. On the cult of

Vajrayogini, see English 2002.




(Praise ta the Great Black One),53 and (3) Heise tianmll qiLLYiu cidiyi

JW,@;:R:/:*~~**{~ (Ritual afthe Stages afMeditative Practice afthe Great

Black Mather), 54 which is a complete sadhana of the Great Black Mother


5'(:/:. Its i'angut version,


Sehei shllanmll qiushlW cidishua 5Jln:/:*n~*m

is also extant among the Khara Khoto Tangut docmnents. 55 Elliot Sperling

once pointed out that the Mi nyag scholar Rtsa mi 10 tsCi ba Sangs rgyas grags pa translated a series of ritual texts concelT'ing the MahCikCila cult. 56 This fact, . together with the existence of both Chinese and Tangut texts concerning the MahCikCila cult among the Khara Khoto documents, gives eloquent proof to the assumption that the MahCikCila cult had been prevalent since the Tangut Xia time in Central Asia. The Mongol enthusiasm for the MahCikCila worship might be a result of the strong and far-reaching Tangut influence.

6. Conclusion
To sum up, the Mongols' quick adoption of 1Jbetan Buddhism evidently had a deep Tangut background. That Mongol mIers' great favour of the Sa skya pa tradition must have had something to do with the fact that Sa skya pa masters had actively disseminated the teachings of their school-fIrst of all, the Path and Fmit teaching-in the Tangut kingdom ofXia. A preliminary survey of the Khara Khoto documents in both Tangut and Chinese as well as the other documents of Tangut Xia origin newly lmearthed in various valleys of the Helan Mountains reveal that most of the teachings and practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism-especially the yogic practice of Hevajra, CakrasOIl1vara,


The Khara Khoto Manuscripts Preserved in Russia 4: TK262, 330-:-35. The Khara Khoto Manuscripts Preserved in Russia 6: Q315, 127.

54 55 56

Kychanov 1999: 575. Sperling 1994: 801-824. 343


Mahakiila and Vajravarahl relating to the Path and Fruit teaching of the Sa skya tradition which were in" vogue during the Mongol Yuan period-were already widely spread in the Tangut kingdom of Xia.



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~}fjI~J.ls"J~{~{~jffz [Dacheng yaodao miji and Tibetan Buddhism in the


Tangut kingdom of Xia]. Zhongguo zangxue


3: 94-106 ..

Dacheng yaodao m!ji = Xiao Tianshi


(ed.) 1962. Dacheng yaodao miji [The

Secret Collection of Works on the Essential Path ofAlahiIyana]. 2 vols. Taipei:

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BENTOR (Jerusalem)

. 1. Introduction
The Guhyasamajatantra is considered to be the ultimate scriptural authority for practices such as the creation and completing stages of the Guhyasamiija

Still, it is not clear to what extent these practices are portrayed in

the tantra itself. In this paper I will examine certain aspects of the relationship between the text of the tantra and its actual practices. The two sources to be compared will be the sadhana manual of the practice of the Guhyasamiija according to the Dge lugs school and specific passages of the

The practice of Guhyasamiija is one of the important practices belonging to the Highest Tantra class that is widespread among members of the Dge lugs school. In recent years the 14th Dalai Lama has given the initiation of the Guhyasamiija practice every year. This practice was important also for Bu stan Rin chen grub (1290-1364) and the early Sa skya pa-s through whom it was transmitted to Tsong kha pa BIo bzang grags pa (1357-1419). While in the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries the practices of both Guhyasamiija and Hevajra were prevalent among both the Sa skya -and the Dge lugs schools, later on the Sa skya pa-s put their emphasis more on the practice of Hevajra, while the Dge lugs pa-s stressed that of Guhyasamiija, our concern here. The GuhyasamCijatantra seems to be one of the earlier tantros of the Highest Tantra class. I A Tibetan version of this tantra was found also in

* This

research was supported by The Israel Science FOllndatio11 (grant no. 730/99).


Dunhuang,2 and the Tibetan Bstan 'gym includes some hundred and thirty-four commentaries about the Guhyasamajatantra and its practices. Among the reasons for the importance of the GuhyasamCija tradition are the henneneutical methods for its interpretation it offered,3 hermeneutical methods that are applied in the cases of other tantrCl3 as well. These Tantric hernleneutical methods, called at times the 'seven ornaments' (saptaJmpkara: rgyan bdlln) are found in the VajrajnanaSal1111Ccayatantra,4 one of the explanatory tantrCl3 of the Gllhyasol11ajatantra. 5 They are also described, with small variations, at the

On the GuhyasamCijotantra, see for example, Tucci 1961, Wayman 1977, Matsunaga

1978, Gang 1988.


India Office Library, Mss. IOL Tib J 481 and IOL Tib. J 438. See Matsunaga 1963 & 1964, Wayman 1970 & 1977, Steinkellner 1978, Broido 1983

& 1988, Thurman 1988, Arenes 1998 & 2002.

~ Ye shes rdo lje lam las btus pa,

Toh. 447, D fo!' 285b. Matsunaga (1964) maintains

that some of the explanatory tantra; of the GlihyasamCijatantra were composed by members of the Arya School. And with a special reference to Tantric hermeneutics, Matsunaga maintains that the second POlt of the VajrajiJiJnasamliccayatantra, which lists these seven methods of interpretation with all their subdivisions, was written after CandrakIlti's Pradfpoddyotana. Steinkellner (1978: 449) accepts Matsunaga's position and states that it seems to him that the helmeneutical system of the 'seven ornaments' "as a whole might indeed have been conceived by CandrakIlti."

In the VajrajffiJnasamuccayatantra, these seven helmeneutical methods are (fo!.

285b2-3): (1) The five characteristics of the introduction (gleng bslang bo mam pa
Inga). (2) Explanation by six limits (mtllO' dmg gis bshad pa). (3) The four kinds of

reasoning (Jigs pa mam pa bzl1l). (4) The four interpretations (bshad po mom pa bzIu). (5) The two kinds [of auditors] (dbye bo mam pa gnyis [tshogs slob gnyis]). (6) The five types of disciples (lit. the division of disCiples into five types of persons, gang zag
mam pa lnga'i slob ma brtag pa). (7) The two truths (bden pa gnyis).



opening of Candrakmi's Pradipoddyotana,6 and are employed by Candraklrti throughout this work The relation between the GuhyasalllCijatantra and its practices is indeed far . from being obvious. As Matsunaga (1964: 25) points out, the fact that six _ explanatory tantras of the Gllhyasamiijatantra appeared not long after the appearance of its. Root Tantra may indicate that, already at that time, there were gaps between the practice and the text of the tantra. One of the tasks of the commentators is to explain why such great differences between the GuhyasamCijatantra and its practice exist, and what . are the relations between the GlihyasamCijatantra, its explanatory tantras and its practice. In his commentary on the Vajrajiiiinasmnliccaypfantra, Tsong kha pa explains: 7 You may ask: while the Root Tantra [of the Gllhyasamtija] could have explicitly taught [the practice], it does not do so. So why do the explanatory tantras teach it? Reply: the Root Tantra conceals [the practice] and does not teach it explicitly, and makes it so that you will need to rely on its explanatory tantras, and also in [relying on the explanatory tantras] you will depend on a gum who knows to explain by cOlTelating [the explanatory tantras] with the Root Tantra unmistakenly. This is for, preventing you from engaging in the tmltra independently without properly venerating your gum, because pleasing your

Sanskrit: Chakravarti 1984; Tibetan: Sgron gsa! = Sgron rna gsal bar byed pa zhes

bya ba'i rgya cher bshad pa, Toh. 1785, D fols. IbI-20Ib2.

Ye rdOJ; p. 542.2-4:


na 11sa rgyud du gsal bar bstan pas cho ga bzhin dll de Itm'

rni ston par bshad rgyud dll ston pa ci yin zhe na I ltsa ba'i rgYlid du rgyas btab nas rni gsal bar stan pa dang I de bshad rgyud la rag las pa dang I de yang 11sa bshad phyin ci rna log par sbyar nas stan shes pa'i bla ma la rag las par mdzad pa ni I slob dpon legs par bsnyen bkur ba med par rgyud la rang dgar 'jug pa dgag pa'i phyir yin te I bla ma yun ling par sgo thams cad nas mnyes par byed pa ni theg pa 'di la dngos grub kyi ltsa ba yin pa 'i phyir 1'0 II.



gum in every way for a long time is the root for accomplishments in this vehicle. Mkhas grub rje Dge legs dpal bzang (1385-1438) provides a similar explanation: 8 So that you will rely on a master, Vajradhara9 concealed various pOliions of the creation stage in the Root Tantra, and did not teach them explicitly. And he also did not teach various parts [of the practice] in one section of the tantra, but scattered them randomly throughout the tantrafrom its beginning to its end. You need to follow the explanatory tantras such as the Uttaratantra,IO the
Vajrarna/(j! and so on; and to know the meaning of the creation stage [... ]

through the transmitted instruction of the gum. Thus, the traditional explanation is that it is with a purpose that the tantra does not teach the practice explicitly. This is so that the disciples will have to rely on a guru, who will explain to them how to practice by means of transmitted instruction. And the role of the explanatory tantras is to bridge between the
Root Tantraand the practice. Some of the Tibetan sub-commentaries engage

Bskyed rim dngos grub rgya rntsho, p. 28.4-6: rdo Ije 'chang gis rtsa ba'i rgyud dll

bskyed rim gyi cha d11 rna zbig slob dpon la rag las par bya ba 'i phyir sbas nas gsa! bar ma gSlIngs pa dang I C/W d11 ma zhig rgyud kyi phyogs gcig tu ma bstan par I dbll zhabs /am tu ci rigs par 'thor nos gnas pa mams I bshad pa'i rgY11d rgyzzd phyi rna dang rdo Ije 'phreng ba la sogs pa'i ljes Sl1 'brangs nas bIa ma'i man ngag gis bskyed rim bsnyen sg17.zb yan lag bzhi'i don mtha' dag yan lag dang bcas pa shes dgos pa la


Vajradhara (Rdo rje 'chang) is considered to be the teacher (ston pa) of the


This is chapter 18, the last chapter of the Guhyasamajatantra, regarded as one of its explanatory tantras.

This is Vajrm17aIabhidhanamahayogatantrasarvatantrahrdayarahasyavibhOJiga

Rna! 'byor chen po'i rgyzzd dpa! rdo Ije phreng ba mngon pm' bJjod pa rgyud thams cad kyi snying po gsang ba marn par phye ba, Toh. 445, Otani 82.



precisely in this task of drawing out the relations between the practice and the text of the tantra. As. we shall see, they do not completely agree one with the other on how this is to be done. The important point here is that in explaining the disparity between the Guhyasamajatantra and its practices in this way, the authors of the commentaries are given much freedom in their interpretations of the sadhana and in identifying the scriphlral authorities for its various stages in the Guhyasamajatantra. Furthermore, the Tantric hermeneutics provide them with the methods for interpretations. It is not surprising then that vve find a diversity of explanations. 2. Interpreting the Guhyasami'ijatantra Various sub-commentaries were written in Tibet on Candraklrti's

Fradipoddyotana. These include works by Bu ston Rin chen gmb, Tsong kha pa, Red mda' ba Gzhon nu blo gros (1349-1412), Rong ston Shes bya kun rig
(1367-14507) and others. It is on the first two of these sub-commentaries that I

would like to concentrate in this paper. In these sub-commentaries, hem1eneutical methods are applied for locating the scriphlfal authority for various steps of the sadhana in the Gllhyasamajatantra, and in particular in its first chapter. The terminology used in these sub-commentaries draws upon the relation between the past events (sngon byung) and the practices that follow them (ljes 'jug).12 The past events are the deeds of bllddhas and bodhjsattvm . performed in the tantras, such as emanating or gathering, being absorbed in samadhj and so on.

These tenns appear also in the SrIvajrajifanasamuccaya (Dpa/ ye shes rda rje kun las bsdllS pa, not to be confused with the Ye shes Fda lje lam las btus pa), Toh. 450, D, fo!. 23bl.



We will look at a few examples from the first chapter of the

Guhyasamiijatantra,13 which describe the 'past events,' and examine how the Pradipoddyotana and its Tibetan sub-commentaries relate them to the practice.

Our first passage describes the third episode in the first chapter of the tantrcr. 14
Then, TathCigata

empowered the immaculate square mGly;!afa of


MahCisamaya in the bfwgas

of the Vajra Queen, the Essence of the Body,

Speech and Mind of all tathogatas.

Candraklrti explains here that this passage (up until "took his seat" below)16 teaches that Abiobhya emanated the mal)rjala. This is because "empowering

The passages from the Gllhyasamojatantra cited here and below can be found in

Zhol, fols. 2b6--3b3, Stog, fol. 4al-7 (the rest is missing), D, fols. 90b7-91a7, P, fols. 96b5-97a7, the Dunhuang ms. IOL Tib J 481 fol. Ib2-6, continues in Dunhuong ms. [OL Tib J 438 fol. 3al-bl, Rnying, fols. 301-404. The Sanskrit may be found in Matsunaga 1978: 5-6 and Bagchi 1965: 2. For other translations of this passage see, Filippani-Ronconi 1958: 181-82, Tucci 1961: 99-100, Gnoli 1983: 622-23, Gang 1988: 114--15. Since the Tibetan sub-commentaries refer to the Tibetan translation of the tantra, the priority is given here to the Tibetan versions, though some of the different readings are given in the notes. From among the Tibetan editions, I usually follow the readings that are closer to the text of the Sgron gsa!, since my concern here is with its Tibetan sub-commentaries.

Zhol, fols. 2b6--3bl, Stag, fol. 4al-2: de nas de bZ/l1il gshegs pa mi bskyod pas I de

bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi sku dang gszmg dang thugs kyi snying po rdo lje btslln mo'i bha ga /a dam tshig chen po 'i dkyil 'khor rdll/ med pa gm bzhir byin gyis brlabs pa nill.

The Sanskrit editions have here bhageJll in plural, as in the famous first line of this


16 While Chakravmii (1984: 19) has "up until adhiJ.topayom osa," which points out to
the passage of the tantra cited above, the Tibetan versions and their citations by Bu ston and Tsang kha pa have bzhag par gyur to, which indicates that the reading here should be prati7.topayom osa, and therefore this passage ends with the phrase "took his seat" that appears in the tantra below.



the malJrjala" here means emanating it. He also notes that this mOlJrjala is within the abode of wisdom, and MahCisamaya is MahCivajradhafQ.17 In his sub-commentary, Bu ston adds: 18 This teaches that in the past event

emanated the support (lten), the

celestial mansion [of the mGl)9aJaJ, at the centre of the source of phenomena
(ehos 'byung). And with regard to the practice that follows, this teaches to

create the ground of total wisdom (ye shes kyj sa) and the vajra-ground, and on top of it to create the celestial mansion with its seats. Through this kind of reasoning, the empowering of the malJrjala of MahCisamaya in the first chapter of the Guhyasamtijatantra is interpreted as the creation of the celestial mansion of the mOlJrjala with the seats of the deities, upon the ground of total wisdom and the vajra-ground, during the practice. Next in the tantra appears a verse that describes this malJrjala: Its essence is clarity, endowed with various fOlms all around,


Pradipoddyotana (Sgron gsa!), D, fo!' 13b4-6, P, fo!' 16b2-5, G, fo!' 18b2-4; for the

Sanskrit, see Chakravmii 1984: 19. For an Italian translation of this passage and of the passages from the Pradipoddyotana that appear below, see Filippani-Ronconi 1958: 195-99. 18 Sgron gsal bshad sbyar, p. 271.3-4: 'dis sngon byung la mj bskyod pas ehos 'byung
gi dbus su lten gzhal yas khang spmJ ba bstan la I ljes 'jug la ye shes kyi sa dang I rdo lje 'j sa'i steng du gzhal yas kJ10ng gdan dang beas pa bskyed pa bstan 110 II.

19 The version translated here is that of the Pradfpoddyotana (Sgro11 gsa!), D, fols. 13b6-14a2, P, fols. 16b5-17a2, G, fols. 18bl.4-19a2: gsal ba de yi 11g0 bo nyid I sna
tshags gzugs kyis kU11 tll rgyas I sangs rgyas splin gyis kr.zn tu khyab I 'od zer phro ba mang po 'khrug I gsal ba la sogs dkyil 'k11Or Idan I de bziJil1 gshegs pa klll1 gyi gnas.

This version is very similar to that of the Gsang ba 'dliS pa found in Zhol, fo!' 3al-2 and Stog, fo!. 4a2-3, but it is somewhat different from those of D, fo1s. 90b7-91al and P, fo!' 96b6-7.



all pervaded with clouds of buddhas, with emanating manifold. flickering light rays, endowed with disks-a clear one and so on, the abode of all tathagatas.

Candraklrti explains that "all pervaded with clouds of buddhas" refers to the deities of the ma1J9aia, while "endowed with emanating manifold flickering light rays" refers to the wrathful deities (krodha) in the ten directioris. As for, "endowed with disks-a clear one and so on," a clear disk is the moon disk upon which a deity is seated, and "so on" means the other disks. that serve as seats for the deities. And "the abode of all tathagatas" is the supporting
mG1J9aia (rten gyj dkyjJ 'khor) , according to the Tibetan translations, or simply

the ma1J9aia according to the Sanskrit edition of Chakravarti. 20 As we saw above, Bu ston" l understands this to describe the support (lten), the celestial mansion (gzhai yas khang), the lllG1J9aia palace, with the seats of the deities, but without the deities who reside there. In his own subcommentary on the Pradipoddyotana, Tsong kha pa,n on the other hand, maintains that the line "pervaded with clouds of buddhas" means the deities of the 111a1J9aia. Hence, Tsong kha pa concludes that not only the celestial mansion, but the deities as well are referred to here. Next, the Guhyasalllajatantra has: 23


Pradlpaddyatana (Sgron gsal), 0, fo1. 14a1-2, P, fols. 16b7-17a2, G, fol. 18b6-

19a2; for the Sanskrit, see Chakravarti 1984: 19.


Sgran gsa! bslwd sbyGl; p. 27l.3. Sgron gsa! mchan, Zhol, fo1. 36b1-7; New Delhi 1978, fol. 5803-b4.
Zh01, fo1. 3a2-3, Stag, fo1. 403-4: de nas beom Idan 'das de bzhjn gshegs pa thams



cad kyj sku dang gsung dang thugs rda Ije'j bdag po de I de bzhjn gshegs pa thams cad kyj 'dkyiJ 'khar chen po 'j' [0, P, Sgron gsa! and Sgron gsa! mchan: dam tshjg chen po 'j dkyjl 'khar (the mGl:ujala of Mahosamaya); Sanskrit editions: ma1J9ala or mahamawlala] dbus Sll bzhag par gyur to II.


Then the Blessed One, the Lord of the vajra-body, vajra-speech and vajTa-mind orall tathagatcs, took his seat at the centre of the ma(lcjaJa of Mahasamaya of all the tathagatcs.

Candraklrti exp!ains that the Lord of the vajra-body, vajra-speech and vajramind is MahCivajradhara (Rdo Ije 'chang chen pO).24 In the sadhana, at this point in the practice, it is Vajradhara who is the principa! deity of the
mG1Jfjala. And as we saw already, according to Candrakirti, the maIJfjala of

MahCisamaya is the JlwIJfjala of MahCiyajradhara. Bu ston25 maintains here that in the past event, after creating the celestia! mansion with its seats, MahCivajradhara dwelt at the centre of the maIJfjala. And implicitly, says Bu ston, this teaches that all the deities as well dwelt each in his or her own seat. And with regard to the practice that follows, says Bu ston, this indicates the instantaneous creation of the thirty-two deities. 26 But then, according to Tsong kha pa, all the deities were a!ready dwelling in the ce!estia! mansion of the maIJfjala during the phase described in the previous verse. Next, the Guhyasamajatantra hos:27
Then, the tathagatffi Ak$obhya, Ratnoketu, Amitayus, Amoghosiddhi and Vairocana dwelt in the heart of the tathagata Bodhicittavajra.


PradIpoddyotana = Sgron gsa/, D, fo1. 1402-3, P, fo!' 1702-3, G, fo!' 1902-3; for

the Sanskrit,see Chakravarti 1984: 19.


Sgron gsa! bslwd sbyar, p. 271.4-5.


Bu ston (Sgron gsa! bshad sbyG/; p. 271.5-6) maintains that the practice here

includes the creation of the deities as well as their deeds. He discusses the practice of their deeds later in his work.

Zho[, fo!' 303-5, Stog, fo!' 4a4-6: de 17as de bzhin gshegs pa mi bskyod pa dang I de

bzhin gshegs pa lin chen dpa! dang I de bzhin gshegs pa tshe dpag gu med pa dang I de bzhin gshegs pa gnod mi za bG/' gmb pa dang I de bzhin gshegs pa mam par snang mdzad mams I de bzhin gshegs pa byang chub kyi sems rdo Ije'i thugs fa zJ711gs so II.



Candraklrti explains that here the deities, belonging to the five Tatha.gata families, took their abode 28 in the body of Bodhicittavajra. 29 And Bu ston30 adds that in the practice that follows, the thirty-one deities surrounding the principal deity, Maha.vajradhara, enter into the latter's body and dwell there in the nature of the body malJr;faia. 31 Bu ston uses here the wording of the
PilJr;fikramasadhana by NCigaIjuna. 32 According to this sadhana, after creating

the celestial mansion of the malJr;faia and the deities who reside in it, the deities are set on different points of the practitioners' bodies, beginning with the crowns of their head and downward until the soles of their feet. And finally they dissolve into suchness or clear light. Next, the Guhyasamajatantra has: 33


ChakravQlii 1984: 19 has sthitiI71 cakara, while all versions of the Bstan ' gyur have zhugs pa here.


Pradipoddyotana (Sgron gsa1), D, fa!. 1403-4, P, fo1. 1703-4, G, fo1. 19a3-4; for the

Sanskrit, see ChakravQlii 1984: 19.


Sgron gsal bshad sbyar, pp. 27l.7-272.l.

BlI stan (Sgron gsal bshad sbym; p. 272.3) adds that this indicates the gathering of


the deities into one's body.


The phrase Bu stan uses here is kha sbyor gyi sbyor bas. The PiI;r;fikramasadhana

(i'v/dor byas sgmb tbabs) has kJw sbyor gyi sbyor ba yis (D, fol. 3a7 and P, fo1. 3b7).
For the Sanskrit, see de La Vallee Poussin 1896, v. 36, Tripathi 2001, v. 35.

Zhol, fols. 3a5-3b1, Stag, fol. 4a6-7: de nos bcom Idan 'das de bzhin gshegs pa

byang chub kyi sems rdo Ije I de bzhin gshegs po thorns cad zil gyis gnon po [do lje zhes bya ba'i [ing nge 'dzin 10 snyoms par zhugs so II bcom Idan 'das de bzhin gshegs pa thorns cad kyi bdag po snyoms par zhugs ma thag

I de nos nom mkha'i [Stag

ends here, instead Rnying, fols. 3b7-4a2 is provided] dbyings 'di [Rnying: omits]

thams cad de bzhin gshegs po thams cad kyi rdo Ije'i ngo bor gnas par gyur to II de nos nam mkJw'i dbyings thorns cad no gnas pa'i sems can;i snyed pa de dag thorns cad rdo lje sems dpa'i byin gyi [read: gyis] brlabs [Rnying: rlabs] kyis I de bzhin



Then the Blessed One, the Tathugata Bodhicittavajra, dwelt in absorption in the concentration called 'vajra-overpowering of all tathagatas. 'J~ As soon as the Blessed One, the Lord of all tathagatas, dwelt in absorption, the entire space realm abided as having the vajra-nature of all tathagatas. Then; as many as there were sentient beings residing in the entire space realm, through the empowerment of Vajrasattva, all attained the b !iss and mental rapture of all


The hermeneutical methods that Candraklrti employed for explaining the previous passages were the provisional meaning (neyartha: drang don) and the definitive meaning (nftaJtha: nges don). The provisional meaning was applied to the creation stage and the definitive meaning to the completing stage. In explaining the present passage, Candrakirti employs the hermeneutical method called the 'four ways' (tshul bzhl), using three of the four: 35 the common

(samast6iJga: spyi'i don), the hidden (garbhin: sbas pa) and the ultimate (kolika: mthar thug pa) levels of interpretations. The COlTh'110n level of
interpretation is applied here to the creation stage, the hidden to the great bliss experienced during the union with the consort,36 and the ultimate to the completing stage.
gshegs pa thams cad kyi bde ba dang yid bde ba [Skt.: sukhasaumana] thob par gyllr to II.

Bu ston (Sgron gsa1 bshad sbym; p. 278.2) and Tsong kha pa (Sgron gsa1 mchan,

Zhol, fol. 38bl; New Delhi 1978, fol. 61b3) explain that the tetm 'overpowering' indicates that the creation of the deities here is instantaneous.

The way of interpretation not employed here is the literal meaning (ak9ariJItha:tsMg

gi don or yi ge 'j don). This level of interpretation is employed elsewhere in the PradfpoddyotanG. In his Sgron gsa1 I11chan (Zhol,. fol. 39a3; New Delhi 1978, fol.
62b4), Tsong kha pa supplies the literal level of interpretation as well (see also Mkhas gmb tje, Bskyed rim dngos gmb rgya mtsho, pp. 225.6-226.1).

Tsong kha pa (Rnam gzhag rim pa'j mam bshad, p. 350.4-6) and Mkhas grub rje

(Bskyed Jim dngos gmb rgya mtsho, p. 225.5-6) differentiate here between the hidden
level of interpretation that is applied to the ground and the hidden level of



In explaining this passage of the Gllhyasamajatantra in its common level of interpretation, Candrakirti says that the meaning of the phrase "the entire space realm abided as having the vajra-nature of all tathagatas" is that all sentient beings came to be residents in the map9aia of Vajradhcira, and thereby attained Vajrasattvahood (vajrasattvar,/a: rda Jje sems dpa' nykl). In other words, they were led to enlightenment. l7 Even though the Pi!J9i1q-tasadhana by Ndg6.rjuna does not describe this step of the practice, in his commentary on this text entitled Mdar byas prei

chen, Eu stan (p. 735.4-7) explains the practice here on the basis of the Gllhyasamajatantra and its commentary. He says that the practitioners, as
Vajradhara at the centre of the ma!J9aia of thirty-two deities, visualise that light rays emanate from the heart of each of the deities, draw all the sentient beings residing in the entire space realm (nam mkha' dbyings), and make them enter the ma!J9aia. By seeing the bodies of the deities, all sentient beings are purified of their obscurations, and they are conferred initiation by a light ray emitting from

badhicitta. Thereby, their continua are purified by the

empowerment of Vajrasattva, they attain the bliss and mental rapture

(sllkhasawl1ana) of all tathagatas, and become Vajrasattva. lR

Bu stonl9 maintains that this step of the practice serves for ripening sentient beings. N1k:has gmb rje 40 similarly explains that here the practitioners
interpretation that is applied to the path. In the first case, they say, this passage teaches that the ground of purification (sbyang gzhl) of the transfotmation of the First Lord (Ad1n6tha) into Emanation Body is the drop of the mixed semen and blood of the parents in which the intelmediate being takes birth (skye ba len pa). 'When applied to the path, this passage teaches that by absorbing in union the practitioner and the consort generate total wisdom of bliss and emptiness (bde stong g1 ye shes).

Pradlpoddyotana (Sgron gsa/), D, fol. 14b7, P, fo1. 17b1, G, fo1. 120a3; for the

Sanskrit, see Chakravmii 1984: 20.


The sadhana compiled by Tsong kha pa (p. 90.3-6) has a quite similar description.


lvfdor byas 'grel chell, p. 783.1-2.



apply, during their path, their own future enlightened activities. As enlightened beings they would engage in enlightened activities, such as acting for the sake of sentient beings, according to the teachings of the MahayQna. 41 The next and final passage from the Gubyasamajatantra we will be . looking at is :42 Then, the Blessed One, Tathagata Bodhicittavajra, abided in absorption in the concentration called 'vajra-origination from samaya of the vqjra-body, vajraspeech and vajra-mind of all tatJuJgatas,' and empowered with the empowerment of the mantra of all tathagatas this personification of the great vidya. 43 As soon as the Blessed One, Tathagata Bodhicittavajra, empowered, all tathagatas saw him as having three faces. Candrakirti explains that here the practitioners are empowered as the personification of all mantras, Mahavajradhara, through the stages of four


Bskyed Jim dngos gmb rgya mtsho, pp. 179.2 & 182.1. PQ!; chen Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan (1570-1662), in his Bskyed rhn gyi mam


bshad dngos grub kyi rgya mtsho'i snying (p. 385.3-4), further emphasises that since the practitioners would be motivated by great compassion, this practice would benefit all sentient beings.

Zhol, fol. 3bl-3, Rnying, fols. 4a2-4: de nas bcom Idan 'das de bzhin gslJegs pa

byang chub kyj sems rdo rje 'j [Rnying: rdo Ije dang] de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyj sku dang gsungdang thugs rdo rje [Rnying: rje'i] dam tsMg [Ounhuang: mnyam pa nyidJ 'byung ba [Rnying: byung ba'i] rdo 1je zhes bya ba'i ting nge 'dzin la snyoms par zhugs nas I Jig pa chell po'j skyes bu'j gzugs 'dj I de bzhin gsJJegspa thams cad kyi 'sngags kyi byin gyi [read: gyis] brJabs kyis byin gyls brlabs sd [Rnying: sngags kyi byin gyis rlabs so] I [Rnying: de nas] byin gyis brlabs [Rnying: rlabs] ma thag tu I beom ldan 'das byang chub kyi sems rdo 1je de bzhin gshegs pa de nyid zhaJ gSlim pa Ita bur I de bzhiJ] gshegs pa thams cad kyis gzigs par gyur to II.

CandrakItii explains that 'the great vidya' are the syllables of the mantra

(Pradlpoddyotana. = Sgron gsa!, D, fa!. 15b2, P, fol. 18b5, G, fol. 21a2; for the Sanskrit, see ChakravQ!ii 1984: 20).



yogas 44 taught in the sadhana+5 up until the step of the 'triple[-stacked] beings'
(sems dpa' gsum).46 And thereupon they appear to their disciples as having

three faces. 47 The deities having three faces are of course the Guhyasamoja deities. The practice of the four yogas up until the step of the triple [-stacked] beings includes the entire main part of the creation stage. The meaning of the statement that the practitioner, as Vajradhara, appears to his or her disciples is that they have already visualised themselves to appear as an Emanation Body. This is because the Dharma and Enjoyment Bodies are not considered to be visible to ordinary disciples. 48 Thus, Candraklrti implies here that it is by means of all four yogas that the practitioner assumes an Emanation Body. Bu ston does not completely agree with Candraklrti's interpretation here. 49 He says that it is convenient for Candraklrti to explain here as if, after the meditation on the triple [-stacked] beings, the practitioner transfonns into an Emanation Body, but, in the meditation manuals it is not put forward in this way. According to Bu ston, the meditation manuals Candraklrti refers to here are the pjlJr;filqtasadhana by Nogfujuna and the Vajrasattvasadhana by

The four yogas are yoga, a1711yoga, at/yoga and maIulyoga. The central pmi of both the PiIJ91!qtasadha17a by NCigCirjuna and the Vajrasattvasadhana by Candrakilii consist of these four yogas.
44 45

See below. This is the last step of the practice of mahayoga, the fOlllih yoga.
Pradlpoddyotana (Sgro17 gsal), D, fa!. 15b4-6, P, fols. 18b8-19a2, G, fo1. 21a4-5;



for the Sanskrit, see ChakravQlii 1984: 20.


This is accepted by both Bu stan and Tsang kha pa also on the basis of another commentary on the practice of the Guhyasaruoja by Nogabuddhi, The
Samtijasadhanavyavasthall ( 'DliS pa 'j sgmb pa'j tIwbs mam par gzhag pa 'j nin pa)
D, fo1. 123b2-3.


In his Sgron gsaI bshad sbyar, p. 281.6-7.



Candraklrti, which are the two most important sadhanas on the creation stage of the GuhyasamCijq., according to the .Arya School. Bu ston states that according to these manuals, the transformation into an Emanation Body takes place already during the atiyoga, which is the third/yoga. 50 In fact it is the Vajrasattvasadhana that supports Bu ston's position, because while the Pi.(1rjiJqtasridhana does not speak in terms of the three Buddha Bodies,5l the VajrasattvasadhancP explicitly explains that by means of yoga and anuyoga, the practitioners create themselves as Enjoyment Bodies. And then, for the sake of ordinary sentient beings, they create themselves as Emanation Bodies. And this latter step of the practice, which the first chapter of the







Bodhicittavajra as having three faces," is atiyoga. Thus, according to the

Vajrasattvasadhana, it is already during atiyoga that the practitioners assume

Emanation Bodies, and Bu ston follows this tradition. On the other hand, in his own commentary on the Pradipoddyotana, Tsong kha pa 53 accepts Candrakirti's position that through the stages of four yogas up until the triple[ -stacked] beings, the practitioners appear to their disciples as having three faces. Tsong kha po understands this to mean that the practitioners need to practice all four yogasbefore they assume Emanation Bodies at the end of mahayoga. And in explaining in which s(zdhana this is taught, Tsong kha po names the Pli;.rjfiqtasadhana alone.


In his Sgron gsa! bshad sbyar, p. 281.4.

5l Bu stan (ivfdor byas 'greJ chen, p. 758.3-6) takes the lines in the PiJ;ljliq1asadhana = Mdor byas sgrub t!wbs (0, fo1. 4al-2; La Vallee Poussin 1896: 4, vv. 52-53; Tripathi 2001, vv. 51-52) describing how through the entry of/into Ak~obhya, the First Lord (A.diniitha) arises as Vajrasattva, to be the transformation of the Enjoyment Body into the Emanation Body. 52 D, fols. 199b2-3 & 100a4, P, fols. 172bl-2 & 173a5-6. 53 In his Sgron gsa! mchan, Zhol, fo!. 40bl-3; New Delhi 1978, fo!' 65al-3. 365


As is often the case, the difference of opinion here is over what would seem to many a very minor point. Still, much ink was spilled about this matter by Bn ston, Tsong kha pa, Mkhas gmb lje and others, because this point has consequences for explanations regarding the meaning and purpose of the different steps of the creation stage. 3. Conclusions Although the Gllhyasamajatantra is considered to be the ultimate scriptural authority for the practices of the Guhyasamoja cycle, this scripture does not explicitly instmct how to engage in its practice. The Indo-Tibetan Tantric tradition acknowledges this absence of directions on the practice in the Glihyasamajatantm, and explains it by saying that the practice is intentionally concealed and scattered throughout the Guhyasamajatantra, so that the practitioners would need to rely on the explanatory tantras of the Guhyasamajacycle, and especially on their gum. Being provided with such an interpretation, the commentators are given great liberty in explaining the practices and their relation to the Guhyasamqjatantm. Our focus was a series of mystical events in the Glihyasamajatantra, whereby Tathogata

empowered the malJljala of Mahosamaya,

pervaded with clouds of bllddhas and emanating manifold flickering light rays; then, the Lord took: his seat at its centre, and the five tathagatas dwelt in the heart of TathOgata Bodhicittavajra; then, Bodhicittavajra dwelt in absorption, and immediately the entire space realm abided as having the vajra-nature of all tathagatas, and all sentient beings attained the bliss and mental rapture of all tathagatas; and finally Bodhicittuvajra once more abided in absorption and empowered the personification of the great vidya with the empowerment of the mantra of all tathagatas, and immediately all tathagatas saw him as having three faces. We examined how the commentaries interpreted these 'past events'. and linked them to the sadhana of the GlihyasamClja, according to which the practitioners, visualised as the malJljala with its thirty-two deities, envision


how they realise the clear light and assume the three Buddha Bodies for the sake of themselves and all sentient beings. We observed the reasoning the commentators offer in relating specific passages in the first chapter of the


certain not

steps seem

of the to

practice, this

although practice in

the a

Guhyasamiijatantra does


straightforward way. By this detailed investigation, we could see how Candrakirti in particular and in fact the Arya School of the Guhyasamaja in general use the Tantric hermeneutical methods to justify their practice. Furthermore, we saw that the process of employing Tantric hermeneutics to support one's practice did not stop at the Tibetan border. In Tibet as well, Candraldrti's Pradfpoddyotana would continue to be interpreted in light of the practices of different schools. We looked at how two Tibetan

commentaries written by Bu ston and Tsong kha pa further developed Candrakirti's explanations in his Pradfpoddyotana. We saw that even though the practices that Bu ston and Tsong kha pa adhere to are very similar, and .even though their commentaries are based on the same text, in many cases their explanations are at variance. They differ not only with regard to the specific passages of the Guhyasamiijatantra they identify as the scriptural source for various steps of the siidhana, but also in their explanations of the meaning and purpose of these steps. According to Tsong kha pa, in meditating on the first m(JJ;ujaia of Guhyasamaja including its deities here, the practitioners enact the enlightened deeds of a tathiigata in the first chapter of the Guhyasam(ijatantra. By enacting these past events, they follow the example of the life of the Teacher of this tantra, and apply the fruit of their practice during their path by performing the deeds of enlightened beings. Bu ston, on the other hand, does not draw very strict lines in his explanations. 'While constantly applying various stages of the practice to the 'past events,' in following 'Gos Khug pa Ihas btsas (1 ph cent.), Bu ston54 also
Mdor byas 'grel chen, p. 736.1-4.




maintains that the purpose of meditating on the deities of the first mw).r;1aJa here is to purify the people of the first eon, who were overcome by their imprints, and thereby redeveloped afflicting emotions. Similarly, while Bu stan explains that this practice is meant for human beings (ibid 731.3) (who are not far from reaching enlightenment, and therefore if they will reborn at all, it would be from wombs, as human beings alone), he nevertheless describes four different practices for purifying the four modes of birth (ibid 730.3-731.1). Elsewhere I have already dealt with the difference of opinion of Bu stan on the one side and Tsong kha pa and Mkhas gmbrje on the other with regard to the way the creation stage works (Bentor 2006). Tsong kha pa and his disciple Mkhas gmb rje are looking for a coherent system that can explain this practice. According to Tsong kha pa,ss the practitioners cannot purify the 'Buddhist original sin' that took place long time ago. The practitioners cannot even undo their own pasts, let alone the pasts of other beings. The purpose of the practice here is to purify their own fuhrre, and this is why they engage in the enlightened deeds of a buddha that they are aspiring to be. Furthennore, Tsong kha pa S6 maintains that since the practices here are Tantric meditations, the practitioners who engage in them are human beings who seek enlightenment in their present life, and therefore the purification of all four modes of birth is irrelevant here. The interpretations so far concern only the meditation on the first deities in the practice. The last passage of the Guhyasamojatantra we looked at, in which all tathiigatas saw Bodhicittavajra as having three faces, is identified by Candrakirti to be the sCriphlral authority for the four yogas that constihlte the main part of the creation stage as a whole. According to Tsong kha pa, while the meditations on the first deities are enactments of the 'past events' and do
Rnam gzhag Jim pa'j mam bshad, p. 369.5-6; see also Mkhas 9mb rje, Bskyed Jim


dngos grub rgya mtsho, p. 163.2-3.


Rnam gzhag Jim pa'i mam bshad, pp. 306.1-322.3; see also Mkhas 9mb tje, Bskyed

rhn dngos grub rgya mtsho, pp. 151.4-161.5.



not serve as purifiers, in other words are not capable of acting towards a true transformation of the, practitioners into enlightened beings, the four yogas of the main part of the practice do lead to the purifications of the practitioner's birth, death and intermediate state, In the later part of this statement Tsong , kha pa does not disagree with Bu ston.

In concluding, I would like to return to the question with which we began.

The title of my paper Do "The Tantras embody what the practitioners actually

do"? turns into a question the statement made by' Reginald Ray in his review
of Wayman's book The Buddhist Tantras. 57 Members of the tradition of GuhyasamCija seem to have always been of the opinion that the

Guhyasamajatantra indeed embodies what the practitioners actually do-even

when the practice developed and changed remarkably. The methods provided by Tantric hermeneutics enabled them to regard the Guhyasamajatantra as the ultimate scriptural authority for their practice, and at the same time to engage in variant interpretations that were widely accepted among their followers. This process, which has begun in India, continued in Tibet as well.

In his book The Buddhist Tal1tras, Alex Wayman (1973: 62) asked: "The final point is whether anyone, just by reading a tantra (say the Guhyasamtijatantra) knows what the work is talking about, and how its procedures, say of initiation, are actually conducted." In reviewing this book, Reginald Ray (1974: 123) was of the opinion that: "The Tantras embody what the practitioners actually do. Here, the sacred symbols to be visualised are described in detail, the yogic practices are set out, the actions of yogin and yogini are portrayed and the ritual utterances are given. And, most important, elements such as these are not presented in abstraction, but are rather described in the unified context of those specific rituals, as actually perfOlmed by the Tantrics, that are the real basis of this Buddhist cult [... ] [O]ur understanding of the Vajrayana cult itself must always be based on a study and interpretation of the tantras themselves. "



1. Primary Sources Bu ston Rin chen grub. Sgron gsal bshad sbyar = Dpal gsang ba 'dllS pa'/tfkka sgran
ma rab tu gsal ba. In The Collected Works of Ell-StOn. New Delhi: International

Academy of Indian Culture, 1967, vol. 9, 141-682.

Mdor byas 'grel chen = Dpal gseng ba 'dus pa'i sgmb thabs mdor byes kyi rgya cher bshad pa bskyed lim gsal byed In The Collected WOlks of Ell-stan.

New Deihi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1967, vol. 9, 683-878. Candrakirti, Vajrasattvasiidhana (Rdo Ije sems dpa'i sgmb thabs). Toh. 1814, D, fols. 195b6-204b6, Otani 2678, P, fols. 168b2-178a2.
- - . Pradfpoddyotana-niimG-!Ikii.

- Sanskrit edition: Guhya-samqja-tantra-Pradfpoddyotana-,tIkii-$a,t-ko/l- vyiikhya. Ch.Chakravarti (ed.). Patna: Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute, 1984. - Tibetan editions: Sgron gsal

Sgron ma gsal bar byed pa zhes bya ba'j rgya

cher bslwd pa, Toh. 1785, D, fols. Ibl-201b2; Otani 2650, P, fols. lal-233a7;

The Golden Bstan 'gyur [= G], vol. sa, fols. 1-298b4.

Guhyasamqjatantra = kaJparqja. Sarvatathiigatakiiyaviikcittarahasyagllhyasamqjaniimamahil-

- Sanskrit editions [selected]: (1) Guhyasamqja Tantra or Tathiigatagllhyaka. S. 8agchi, (ed.) Buddhist Sanskrit Texts Series 9. Darbhanga: The Mithila Instihlte, 1965. (2) The Guhyasamiija Tantra: A New Critical Edition. Yukei Matsunaga (ed.). Osaka: Toho Shuppan, 1978. - Tibetan editions: Gsang ba 'dliS

De bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi sku gSling

thugs kyi gsang chen gsang ba 'dliS pa zhes bya ba brtag pa'i rgyaJ po chen po,

Toh. 442, D, fols. 90al-148a6; Otani 81, P, fols. 95b5-167bl; Stag, vol. 96, fo1. Ibl-95b5; in Dpal gsang ba 'dliS pa'j 11sa rgYlid 'grel pa bzhi sbrags dang beDS po. Lhasa: Zhol Printing House [made from block-prints carved in 1890];
Rnying = Rnying ma'i rgYlid 'bum [Gting skyes Edition]. Thimphu, 1973-

1975, vol. 17 (tsa), fols. Ibl-314a4.

GUhyasamiijasiidhana (long) = Dpal gSDng ba 'dliS pa'j bla brgYlld gsol 'debs dang bdag bskyed ngag 'don bkra shis Ihun po rgyud pa gnva tshang gi 'don rgyud



lje thams cad mkhyen pas zl7lls dag mdzad pa. DharrnsaIa: Cultural Printing
Press, 1980. For partial translation into English see Thurman 1995. 'Gos Khug pa Ihas btsas. Gsang 'dus stong tlllm. New Delhi: Trayang, 1973. Mkhos gmb tje Dge legs dpal bzang po. Bskyed dm dngos gmb rgya mtsho

Rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal po dpal gsang ba 'dus pa'i bskyed lim dngos grub rgya

mtsho. In The Collected Works (Gsung 'bum} of the Lord J\i[klws-grub Rje Dgelegs-dpal-bzang-po. New Delhi: Gurudevo, 1982, vol. 7, 3-381.
Nagobuddhi. Samt!jasadlzanavyavasthaJj 2674, P, fols. 137b6-149a4. Nagatjuno. PiIJ9Jkramasadhana (= PiJ)9J iq1asadhana). - Sanskrit editions: (1) In de La Vallee Poussin, L. 1896. Etudes et textes

'Dus pa'j sgmb pa'i tlwbs mam par gzhag pa'i lim pa. Toh. 1809; D, foIs. 121a-1310; Otani

= Rnam gzhag rim pa

tantliqlles: Paiicakrama. Gand: H. Engelcke, 1-14. (2) PiIJ9ikrama and Paiicakrama of Acalya NagaIjuna. Tripathi, Ram Shankar Sarnath: Centrol
Institute of Higher Tibetan Stctdies, 2001, 1-32. - Tibetan editions: l'vfdor byas sgmb tlwbs

= Sgmb pa'i thabs mdor byas pa, Toh.

1796, D, fols. Ib-Ila; Otani 2661, P, fols. 101-1206.

POt; chen Bla rna I Blo bzang chos kyi rgyol mtshan. Bskyed dm gyj mam bshad dngos gmb kyi rgya mtsho 'i snying po = RgYlld thams cad kyi rgyal po dpaJ gsang ba 'dus pa'j bskyed dm gyi mam bshad dngos gmb kyi rgyd mtsho'j snying po. In Collected Works (Gsung 'bum) of Blo-bzang-chos-kyi-rgyalmtshan, The First PaIJ-chen Bfa-ma of Bkra-shis-111l1n-po. New Delhi:
Gurudeva, 1973, vol. 2, 299-452.


= DpaJ ye shes rdo lje h.m las bsdus pa,

Toh. 450, D, fols.

Tsong kha po Blo bzang grogs po. Gsung 'bum

= The Collected WOJi-s (Gsung 'bum)

of Rje Tsong-kha-pa Blo-bzang-grags-pa. 27 vols. Gedan Sungrab lVIinyom

Gyunphel Series 79-105. New Delhi: Ngowang Gelek Demo, 1975-1979.

- - . Don gsal

= Rnam gzhag dm pa'i mam bshad dpal gsang ba 'dus pa'i gnad kyi

don gsal ba. In Gsung 'bum, vol. 9,280-459.



- - . Sgron gsaJ Inchan = Rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal po dpaJ gsang ba 'dus pa'i rgya cher bshad pa sgron me gsaJ ba'i tshig don ji bzhhl'byed pa 'i Inchan gyi yang 'grel (1) In GSllng 'bum, vols. 6-7. (2) In DpaJ gsang ba 'dus pa'j 11sa rgyud 'greJ pa bzhi sbragsdang bcas po. Lhasa: Zhol Printing House [made
from block-prints carved in 1890].

Ye rdor

= DpaJ gsang ba 'dus pa 'i bslwd pa 'i rgyud ye shes rdo Ije kun las btus

pa'i rgya cher bshad pa rgyud bshad thabs kyi man ngag gsaJ bar bstan pa. In Gsung 'bum, vol. 8, 450-586. VajrajiiiinasaInuccayatantra = Ye shes rdo 1je lam Jas btus po. Toh. 447, D, fols.
282al-286a6; Otani 84, P, fols. 290b2-294b5.

2. Secondary Sources
An~nes, P. 1998. Hermeneutique des tantra: Etude de quelques usages du "sens cache."

Journal oftbe International Association ofBuddhist Studks 21 (2), 173-226.

- - 2002. Hermeneutique des Tantra: Le Ye shes rdo lje kun las btus pa'i rgyud Jas

'byung ba'i rgyan bdlln rnam par 'grol ba de SraddhCikaravarman. In H. Blezer

(ed.) ReJigion and Secular Culture in Tibet. Tibetan Studies 2. PlATS 2000: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000. Brill's Tibetan Studies Library 2/2. Leiden/Boston/Cologne: Brill, 163-83. Bentor, Y. 2006. Identifying the unnamed opponents of Tsong kha pa and lVIkhas gmb rje concerning the transformation of ordinary birth, death and the intetmediate state into the three bodies. In R.lVI. Davidson & Ch.K. Wedemeyer (eds.)

Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis: Studies in Its FOlmative Period 9001400. PlATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the
International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford 2003. Brill's Tibetan Studies Library 1014. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 185-200. Broido, lVI. 1983. Bshad thabs: Some Tibetan methods of explaining the Tantras. In E. Steinkellner (ed.)

Contributions on Tibetan and Buddhist Religion and

Philosophy. Vienna: Arbeitskreis fiir Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien

Universitiit Wien, vol. 2, 15--45. 1988. Killing, lying, stealing and adultery. In D. Lopez (ed.) Buddhist

HeImenelltics. Honolulu: Kuroda Institute, 71-118.



Filippani-Ronconi, P. 1958. Note sulla costruzione del mandala con riferimento al I capito Ie del Guhyasamqjatantra. Annali (Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli), n.p. 8, 173-211. Gong, P. 1988. Das Tantra der verborgenen Vereinigung: Guhyasamqja-Tantra. Miinchen: Eugen Diederichs Vedag. Gnoli, R. 1983. Testi Buddhisti in Sanscrito. Torin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese. Matsunaga, Y. 1963. On the SaptalailkCira. Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies

[IBI\l11, 470-76 [in Japanese]. __ 1964. A doubt to authority of the Guhyasamqja Akhyana Tantras. Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies [IBK] 13(2), 16-25.
Ray, R. 1974. Understanding Tantric Buddhism: Some questions of method. The

Journal ofAsian Studies 34(1): 169-75 [review of Alex Wayman, The Buddhist Tantras].
Steinkellner, E. 1978. Remarks on tantristic hermeneutics. In L. Ligeti (ed.)

Proceedings of the. Csoma de Koras lVIemorial Symposium. Budapest: Akademiai Kiad6, 445-58.
Thurman, R.A.F. 1988. Vajra hermeneutics. In D. Lopez (ed.) Buddhist Hermeneutics. Honolulu: Kuroda Institute, 119-48. - - 1995. Practicing the creation stage. Essential Tibetan Buddhism. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco,
213~ 7.

. Tucci, G. 1969. The Theory and Practice of the lVIa1J(lala. With special reference to the

modern psychology of the subconscious. Translated from the Italian by Alan

Houghton Brodrick. London: Rider & Company. Wayman, A. 1970. Guhyasanlqjatantra. Reflections on the word and its meaning.

Transaction ofthe Intemational Conference of Orientalists in Japan 15, 33-44. 1973. The Buddhist Tantras: Light on Indo-Tibetan Esotericism. New York:
Samuel Weiser. - - 1977. Yoga ofthe Guhyasamqjatantra: The Arcane Lore of Forry Verses. Delhi: Motilal Banaridass.



1. The Main Sources for the Biograpbies of AtiSa and 'Brom ston
Two years after the demise of the Indian monk-scholar DIpaqli<arasrijfiana (9821054), better known tmder his honorific title Atisa, his main Tibetan pupil and attendant, 'Brom ston Rgya1 ba'i 'byung gnas (lO05-lO64), fotmded the monastery of Rva sgreng (Reting). This was the beginning of the Bka' gdamspa order of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is for this reason that 'Brom ston is a fairly well known figure in the religious history of Tibet. Almost all works on Tibetan history dealing with the 'later propagation' of the Doctrine in Tibet, mainly of the genre

chos 'byung, name 'Brom ston. Sometimes they make only a passing reference,
as, for example, the Rgyal rabs gsal baY me long (1368 1) by Sa skya pa Bsod noms rgya1 mtshan (1312-13 75), which refers to the common list of Atisa's main pupils (khu mgog 'brom gsum).2 Another example is Bu ston's (1290-1364) Chos

'byring, written in 1322, where the author refers to the fact that it was 'Brom ston
to whom the master Atisa delivered the teachings that were to become the foundation for the future Bka' gdams pa order. 3 I would like to thank Susanne Kammiiller, Bonn, very much for her help in correcting my English. I om grateful to Dr. Siglinde Dietz, G6ttingen, to Dr. Ulrike Roesler, Marburg / Oxford, and to Prof. Franz-Karl Ehrhard, Munich, for references to and assistance in obtaining otherwise unavailable books.

For this date, see S0rensen 1994: 32. Kuznetsov 1966: 199, 3-4, reads khu rdog 'brol1g gsum; the syllable 'brol1g is the

archaic fonTI.

Szerb 1990: 87. The full title of the work is Bde bar gshegs paY bstal1 paY gsa! byed


In more detail the life of 'Brom ston is depicted in some of the more extensive

histories. The Deb thersngonpo4 of'Gos Lo tsCi ba Gzhon nn dpal (1392-1481) and the lWkhas paJ dga'ston

of Dpa' bo Gtsug lag phreng ba (1503-1565),

which are generally accepted as reliable sources, present his vjta within their chapters on the Bka' gdams pa order. We should also mention some historiographical works of the Bka' gdams pa-s, for example, the Bka' gdams

chos 'byung mam thor 6 written by Bsod noms lha'i dbang po (1423-1496) and
the Bka' gdams chos 'byung sgron me

prepared by Las chen Kun dga' rgyal

mtshan (7 1432-1506). A more recent text of this kind is the well-known and very extensive collection of biographical accOlmts of a large number of lam 17.m teachers commonly known under its marginal title

mam, which was written

in 1787 by Yongs 'dzin Tshe mchog gling po Ye shes rgyal mtshan (1719-1792).

chos kyi 'byung gn05 gsu17g rob Tin po del mdzod


Prepared between 1478 and 1484, cf. van der Kuijp 2006; its complete title is Dpyod

/dan skal bzang yongs kyi mgTin pal rgyan deb ther s17gon po. The Bka' gdams pa order

is dealt with in chapter ca (5), the life of 'Brom ston is described on fols. 5b2-10b3 (Roerich 1949-1953: vol. 1,251-63); Khetsun Sangpo 1973: 17-36, relies exclusively on the latter source for his entry on 'Bram ston.

The extensive title is Chos 'byung mkiIGs paY dga'ston, it was composed between 1545

and 1565. The history of the Bka' gdams pa order is given in Dpa' bo Gtsug lag phreng ba 1986: vol. 1, 655-735, that is, in pmi 11 (da); for 'Brom ston, see especially op. cit: vol. 1, 679-707.

This work, written in 1484, bears the complete title Bka' gdams Tin po cJlel cJ70S

'byung mam thar 17yin mol' byed pal 'ad stong, the paragraph on 'Brom ston stmis fol.

46b5, that is, Gonpo 1977: 298.


Dated 1494 (or 1496), that is, almost contemporary with the Deb ther sngo17 po. In

the edition Bka' gdams kyi mam par thar pa bka' gdams chos 'bYllng gsa1 bal sgro17 me printed in 'Bras spungs, fols. 84a4-105a6 (out of a total of 419 fols.) deal with the life of 'Brom ston. The length of this paragraph is mainly the result of copious quotations from a to date unidentified hymn on 'Bram ston. 378



This B;yang chub lam gyi rim pa'i bla ma brgyud pa'i mam par thar pa rgyaJ bstan mdzes pa'i rgyan. mchog phul byung nor bu'i phreng ba is accessible in the
volumes nga and ca of his collected works. 8 In all these works, the history of the Bka' gdams pa order starts with the biography of Atisa, and in the descriptions of his time in Tibet we inevitably receive some information on his pupil and attendant 'Brom ston as well. For a comprehensive description of 'Brom ston's life, the biographies of Atisa are therefore indispensable sources. 2. Previous and Current Studies of the Biographies of AtiSa and 'Brom ston The widely known work Atisa and Tibet by Alaka Chattopadhyaya gives neither the Bka' gdams chos 'byungmam thar of Bsod noms lha'i dbang po nor the Bka'

gdams chos 'byung sgron me of Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan nor the Rnam thar yongs grags

as a source. Some passages from the latter, which is easily.

accessible, are quoted by A. Chattopadhyaya, but only as secondary citations from the paper "Pandits in Tibet" by Sarat Chandra Dos. In this work, paragraphs translated from three different Atisa biographies are mixed without
an indication of the source for each of the quoted passageslO; and the time when

Atisa stayed in Central Tibet is left out completely. I I Facing these apparent

deficits, I published a survey of more than 40 sources on Atisa's life together with

Yamaguchi 1970: nos. 371-2664 and 371-2665, describes the blockprint edition in detail. The paragraph on 'Brom ston is found in volume nga, fols. 192al-218a6, and its size results from its extensive verse citations.

9 Under the title Jo bo lin po che Ije dpalldan a ti sha'i mam thar rgyas pa yongs grags, this biography has come down to our times as the 3rd text of the Bka' gdams glegs bam, Pha dlOS (part 1).

Cf. Eimer 1977: 26-27 and Eimer 1998.

Chattopadhyaya 1967: 29, elToneously states: "the life of AtIsa translated by s.c. Das is in fact mainly the story of the Master's invitation to Tibet and not a full-fledged biography .... "



an analytical study of the biographical transmission in 1977. This study came to the conclusion that we have two early extensive biographies of Atisa at hand, namely, the Rnam thor yongs grogs ClJld the Rnom thor rgyas po, 12 and that these texts comprise so much identical source material that they must rely on a common source. On the basis of these fmdings, it was possible to present the text of both biographies in the form of one 'synoptic texf in 1979 in spite of the fact that the organisation of the two texts does not fully agree, but differs to some extent in the arrangement of individual passages. The Rnam thor rgyas po consists of two extensive parts, which reflect two different sources: One of them describes Atisa's qualities (yon tan) and the second follows the course of his life (10 rgyus). In contrast, the RnOl11 thor yongs grogs combines its sources into one continuous biography, starting with Atisa's birth and ending with events that occurred after his death. Judging -from its lesser degree of editing and reworking of source material, the former work seems to be more archaic than the latter. The author of the Rnan1 thor rgyos po is not indicated in the colophon of the only copy of that text, accessible as the third text in a one-volume blockprint collection with the marginal title Lam yig. 13 The

Rnom thor yongs grogs, according to its colophon,14 was prepared by the seventh
abbot of Narthang Monastery, Mchims Nam mkha' grags (1210-1285); it is contained in the Bko' gdams glegs b0111, which has survived in five known b10ckprint editions. Is Both collections, that is, 1;he Lan1 yig and the Bko' gdoms


The full title of this important biographical source is Jo bo Ije dpaJ Idan mar me

mdzad ye shes kyi mam thor rgyas pa, it has been reprinted in Nagtso 1970.

An early manuscript is reportedly kept in the Tibet Museum, Lhasa, but it has not

been accessible for this study.

14 In all acceSsible blockprint editions of the Bka' gdams g1egs bam it re~ds as follows:
mld10n po mchims thams cad mld7yen pas mdzad do, "the abbot Mchims, the AlIknowing, prepared [it]"; cf., for example, Bka' gdams pha chos 1993: 228.

An incomplete dbll med manuscript (without colophon) of the Rnam thar yongs

grags is listed by Yamaguchi 1970: nos. 360-2636 (under the title Jo bo Ije'i mam thar



gJegs bam, begin with the same two epic poems dealing with early stages in the
life of Atisa, and in poth collections the respective version of the extensive biographic report is given as the third text. 16 In so far as these two extensive biographies of Atisa deal with his stay in Tibet, they comprise also a lot of information on 'Bram ston in paragraphs of some length as well as in brief episodes embedded in the master's vita. This text material concerning 'Bram ston is not limited in content to the time when he was Atisa's main disciple, that is, to the years between 1042 and 1054, but covers his whole life well lillto his death. Relying on this source material,17 Marie Stella Boussemart published a comprehensive and vivid biography in French lillder the title D0111teunpa, l'hu111ble yogi 18 3. The Manuscript of the Dge bshes ston paY mam their Only recently an,d through the kindness of Prof Leonard W. van der Kuijp, I came into possession of a copy of a hitherto unstudied biography of 'Bram ston. The text is comprised in a handwritten collection of eleven biographies composed by the very Mchlms Nam mkha' grogs who was mentioned before as the compiler of the Rnam thar yongs grags. This collection begins with the lives of three Indian 111ahasiddha3: Tilopa, Naropa and :Qombhipa. In the fourth position appears the already mentioned Rnal11 thar yongs grags, whose 139 leaves occupy about one half of the whole vohune. This is followed by seven biographies of early Bka' gdams pa masters,19 starting with the vitaof'Bram stan.

chen mo).

16 The first of these poems has the following initial title: (Sanskrit) Gu m gll lJa dha rrnii [= rma] a [= 0] ka ra, (Tibetan) Bla maY yon tan chos kyi 'bYling gnas; the title of the second poem reads: fo bas gser gIing du byon paY mam thar. 17 But without the Rnam thar rgyas pa.

Boussemart 1999; the subtitle reminds us of that of Tucci 1933. The last in the series of brief biographies describes the life of Sangs rgyas sgom pa 381



On the front page of our copy, written in dbu med by a different hand, the manuscript bears the title Dge bshes ston pa'j mam thar, but neither this title nor the date of composition is mentioned in .the colophon, which reads as follows: 20 dge baY bshes gnyen'bram stan pa rgyal bal 'bYllng gnus kyi yon tan ri rgyal Ihlln po Itar rgya che zhing 'phang mtho las dge legs kyi nen dll 'gYllr baY (3) phyir rdlll phran tsam gcig dpal snar thang gi gtsllg lag khang dll dge slong nam mldw' grags kyis bsdebs pab. As a mere mote of dust out of the exceedingly high qualities of the ka/Yti!;amitra 'Brom ston Rgyal bdi byung gnas, which are gigantic like MOlmt Meru, the monk Nom mkhd grogs has written [this work] in Narthang monastery as a basis of prosperity. The text, written in dbll can script, was obviously copied from a manuscript in dbll med We fmd some peculiar orthographic forms which cannot be explained otherwise: There are some cases in which the basic letter sa-when subscribed by la-was read by the copyist as ba. 21 The superscripts sa and ra are interchanged at two instances. 22 A contracted spelling common in the cursive handwriting caused spya nga instead of spyan snga. 23 The most conspicuous error appears in

(1179-1250), the sixth abbot of Narthang monastery.


Dge bshes stan pa'j mam thar(sigium K), fol. 202a2-3. The colophon to the Rl1am

thar yongs grags (fol. 166a5-6) preceding the Dge bshes stan pa'j mam thar ends with: dge (6) [s~ong nam mkha' grags kyis bsdebs pa'o; but cf. the divergent version contained in the Bka' gdams glegs bam given in note 14 above.

So we find: blob dpon (K fols. 176al, 19902) and bio dpon (K fol. 172b4) instead of

slob dpon; blob gnyer (K fol. 173a2) instead of slob gnyer, blob ma (K fol. 173b6) instead of slob mer, the COlTect slob ma appears in K fol. 174al.

We find skus instead of rkus (fol. K 169al) and melJinstead of sne'u (K fol. 201b2) in the name Sne'u zur pa [Ye shes bar]. Occurring in the name Spyan snga ba [Tshul khrims bar]: K fols. 169a3, 18103,


189b5, 190b5, 195b3, b6, 201a6.



the name R va sgreng, the monastery founded by 'Brom ston. We COlmt 29 instances of the form fa sgyeng; the correct spelling sgrengoccurs only twice. 24 The text is written on 37 leaves of medium size. The marginal entries on the

recto are written in dbu 111ed, they all bear the fascicle number ca (5) together
with folio numbers from 167 to 202.25 Judging from the folio numbers, the Dge

bshes ston paY roam thar seems to be more extensive than all other hitherto
accessible biographies of 'Brom ston. This observation leads us to the assumption that it probably contains additional information on the life of 'Brom ston which does not appear in the sources already known.

4. The Structure of the Dge bshes ston pdi roam thar

The Dge bshes ston paY roam thar is divided into three main parts. This structure is indicated as follows: (1) "[His] excellence on accOlmt of the family into which he had been bom,,,26 (2) "[His] excellence on account of the virtue of the purified man,,,27 (3) "[His] excellence on accolmt of the deeds performed. "28


The erroneous reading sgyengis found in K fols. 174b2, 175bl, 179a2, 18103, b4,

b5, 182a3, 05 (two times), a6, 183b4, 186b4, b5, 188a3, 18902, 191b6, 192b5, 19302, a4, 19603, b3, b6, 19705, a6, bl, b2, 201b2, b6, 202al; the correct reading sgreng in K fols. 184b4 (prophecy), 18502.

In the case of the numbers 167-169 we read ra instead of the common re as an abbreviated form of drug cu; the number 178 is used twice (Le. 178, 178bis); a

secondary numbering in ciphers nms from 171 to 207.


K fo1. 167b4: 'khrungs pa gdung rgyud k;ds che ba, here and in the following two

subtitles, "on account of' stands for the instrumental particle.


K fo1. 168a4: sbyangs pa yon tan gyis che ba, cf. BHSD 286a, s.v. di1l1taglll}a. K fo1. 179b5: I17dzad pa 'phrin las kyis che ba. 383



The fJist main part, which covers only one page, describes the descent, the childhood and the youth of 'Brom ston. Here we find a survey of the clans and families in early Tibet and some details of 'Brom ston's stay in Snye mo in Gzhu,29 where he earned his living as a groom and learned to read and write with G.yung Chos mgon. The second main part is devoted to the time of 'Brom ston's spiritual stUdies with Jo bo Se btslm in Khamsand to the invitation of Atisa to Dbus. 30 It comprises also a report on some offerings given to Atisa, where the services rendered by 'Bram storr are judged as the best among them. The third main part is by far the most extensive, it covers nearly 25 leaves. The text centres upon the founding of Rva sgreng monastery by 'Brom ston. It is subdivided as follows:
(3.1) "The reason for building the temple [in Rva sgreng],"31 (3.2) "How [it] was built,"32 and (3.3) "How [it] was supported."33

The title of the fITst section refers to Atisa's last order that a temple should be built. It starts with a record of how some sacred objects were prepared, followed by a description of the landscape surrolmding Rva sgreng, which seems to rely on local sources. 34 The detailed list of the separate buildings of the monastery at the In K fol. 16803 and a4 we read snyi mo; Rnam thar rgyas pa (fol. 6403), Rnam thar yongs grogs, Bka' gdams chos 'bYllng sglVn me, and Bka' gdams chos 'bYllng mam thar have only gzhll(Eimer 1979: 270); for the location, see Ferrari 1958: 161, n. 621.
29 30

The Dge bshes ston pa'i mam thar gives here the complete text of the poetic letter concerning the invitation of Atisa to Dbus, which was directed by 'Brom ston to important Buddhists in Central Tibet with the request to join the welcome reception for the master.
K fol. 179b5: gtSllg Jag khang bzhengs pa'i rgyu mtshan.



K fo1. 18505: ji Jtar bzhengs pa.


K fol. 187b2: ji Jtar bskyangs pa. Lhun grub chos 'phel 1994: 72ff., gives a comparable description.




beginning of the second section obviously goes back to a local tradition as well. The fmal section, dealing with the teaching activities of 'Brom ston and his successors, covers 16 leaves in all and is organised into three paragraphs:
(3.3.1) "How [the temple] was supported by ['Brom ston] himself,"35 (3.3.2) "How [it] was supported by others,"36 and (3.3.3) "How [it] became the abode ofthe teaching. "37

These three paragraphs focus on 'Brom ston's pupils, called sku 111ched gSWll or 'three [spiritual] brethren,' namely, Po to ba, Spyan snga ba and Phu chung ba. 3s Later on several further pupils are mentioned,39 including the second and third abbots ofRva sgreng, namely, Rnal 'byor pa chen po and Dgon pa pa. 40 TI1e passages or brief phrases in the Dgebshes ston pa'i mom thar with close parallels in the RnOJ11 thar rgyas po and the RnOJ11 thar yongs grags in the main are limited to the records concerning 'Brom ston's studies with Jo bo Se btslm, the invitation of Atisa to Dbus, and the fOlmdation of Rva sgreng. Mchims Nam mkha' grags most probably prepared the 'Brom ston vita after he had written the

RnOJ11 thar yongs grags, for the events of the tin1e when 'Bram ston accompanied
Atisa are not described in the Dge bshes stan pa'i mOJ11 thor, which contains at


K fo!' 187b2: nyid kyisji Itor bskyangs po. K fo!' 196a6: gzhon gyisji ftar bskyongs pa. K fo!' 201a6: bstan pa'i gzhi [v.!. bzhi] mar ji Itar gyurpa. The complete names of 'Brom ston's main pupils are: Po to ba Rin chen gsal




(102711031-1105), Spyan snga ba Tshul khrims 'bar (1038-1103), and Phu chung ba chen po Gzhon nu rgyal mtshan (1031-'-1109); according to Roerich 1949-1953: vol. 1, 268, the latter died in 1106.

The complete names are: Sne'u zur pa Ye shes 'bar (1042-1118), Zhang Ka rna pa

Shes rab blo gros (1057-1131), and Sha ra ba Yon tan grags (1070-1141).

The complete names are: Rnal 'byor pa chen po Ames byang chub (1015-1078) and

Dgon pa pa 'Dzeng Dbang phyug rgyal mtshan (1016-1082).



one place only a direct reference to the biography of Atisa. 41 The biography of 'Brom ston corresponds, in general, more closely to the Rnam thar yongs grogs, but here and there it has readings specific to the Rnam thar rgyas po.
5. The Record of the Formation of the Biographical Transmission

As for the source of the two extensive biographies of Atisa, there exists a record on the origin of the transmission. This account is not only found in the Rnam thar rgyas pa and the Rnam thar yongs grogs but appears in other reports of the life of Atisa as well, for example, the Bka' gdams chos 'byung mam thor, the Bka' gdOlns chos 'byung sgron me and the Deb ther sI)gon pO.42 The contents of this record can be summarised as follows: The Dge bshes Lag sor pa43 was the first to search for knowledge on the genuine life of Atisa. So he asked seven immediate pupils of the master, namely, 'Brom ston, Rnal 'byor po chen po, Dgon pa po, the elder :tvLldla' ru ba, Zhang btsun Yer po ba, Sgom pa dad pa from Yer pa rtsibs sgang and Jo bo legs. Then he addressed two indirect pupils as well, namely, the yotmger Mkha' ru ba and Yung ba pa. When Lag sor po realised that the accounts given by the indirect pupils were inconsistent with each other, he decided to ask Nag tsho Tshul khrims rgya1 ba (lOll-ca. 1068)44 who lived at Glmg thang in Southern Mang yul. Lag sor pa became the only pupil of Nag tsho and studied with him all teaching concerning


Cf. K 17905: spyir mjol phyin chad chos gsungs pal mom grangs phal cherjo bo

nyid kyi mom thor gsal te, "In general, most of the teachings preached after the [frrst]
meeting are mentioned in the master's (Le. Atiola's) biography."

Even the Deb ther dmar po, which we cannot regard as a source directly connected

with the Bka' gdams pa order, contains the frame sentence of this report (Hu Ian deb

ther, fa!. 27b5-6).


Also called Rong po Phyag sor po; not dated so for. These dates are given here in accordance with van der Kuijp 2005: 279, n. 16.




the mantras and also the account (10 rgYllS) ofthe master's life. After three years he requested to be taught the qualities of the master's excellent physical existence
(sku che bal yon tan) and the account of his invitation to Tibet as well.

Later on four monks, namely, Bya TIul ba 'dzin pa,45 Rog Mcl1i.ng phu ba, Gnam par ba and Dge bshes Zhu len pa, came to Lag sor pa and became his spiritual sons; the fifth in the group of pupils was the dge bsnyen Rgya ra Stong bIjid. After some time, the records made by them during their studies, including their extensive notes concerning Atisa's teachings and his vita,46 came into the hands of Bya TIul ba 'dzin pa, who, relying on these records, evenhlGlly prepared the description of Atisa's life.
It is obvious that the report on the origin of the transmission referred to above

originally formed the colophon of the source on which the Rnam thor rgyas pa and the Rnam thor yongs grogs ultimately rely, that is, the biography written by Bya 'Dul ba 'dzin po. Wilen we consider the accessible biographical data, we can date the main stages in the development of the transmission approximately as follows: The five shldents of Lag sor pa prepared their notes on the life and the teachings of Atisa not before the 2nd decade of the 12th cenhrry. The first biography must have been written before 1174, that is, before the latest of the possible dates for the death of Bya 'Dul ba 'dzin pa. Thus the temporal gap between the eye-witnesses' lifetime and the fmal fom1ulation of the archetype of this transmission comprises only about a cenhrry or a couple of years more. A particular stylistic feature in the biography of 'Brom ston might well be able to help us in our search for the source of those passages that are without any parallels in the two extensive biographies of Atisa: In the Dge bshes ston pal
ma111 thar we fmd more than 40 instances of passages that end in a final verb

45 Bya 'Dul ba 'dzin pa is also named B1ison 'grus bar or Zul phu ba; the Bka' gdams chos 'bYUl1g sgron me (fol. 337b5) gives his dates as 1100-1174, and the Deb ther
sngon po (Roerich 1949-1953: vol. 1,80) as 1091-1166; van der Kuijp 2006: 13-14, considers 'Gas 10 tso. ba's dates for Zul phu ba to be the more plausible.

Here the term sku che baY yon tan means his vita. 387


followed by the word skad, meaning 'it is said [by someone]. >47 In the corresponding passages of the Rnam thar rgyas pa and the Rnam thar yongs

grags the word skad does not appear, but elsewhere in these two works it occurs
about 90 times. 48 The verb skad marks the preceding account as taken from a secondary source. It might well be that even Bya 'Dul ba 'dzin pa already used

skad to denote an episode as being recorded by a specific witness. One identical

passage in the three biographies discussed here is about the song of some supernatural beings, heard near the stilpa of Svayambhiinath, which identifies the

sku mched gSllm, the 'three [spiritual] brethren,' with tr.ree statues of
Avalokitesvara. 49 Our three early biographical texts have a further remarkable episode in cotnmon: so In the last years of his life, 'Brom ston entrusted 'Dzi ston Yon tan 'bar with the responsibility for the temple in which the relics of Atisa were kept and retired from all his duties. From then on he was not bothered anymore by worldly considerations, but spent his days circumambulating the temple and reciting the famous stanza from Nagfujuna's Suhrllekha (Bshes paJ phrin yig) on the 'eight worldly conditions (Jig lien chos brgyad pO).'Sl TIus attitude could also explain the omission in the early biographies of certain details one might expect to be


The word skad after a verb at the end of sentences is found in the Dge bshes stan

pal mam thar in fols. 167b4, 16804, 06, 168b2, 16903, b5, 170al, 171b2, 17304, b2,

b4 (2 times), 175bl, 178(bis)b5, 18203, 06, 182b4, 18303, 05, bl, b5, b6, 18403, b2, 186a2, as, 18703, 188b2, 189bl, 191al, Inbl, b5, 19303, 194bl, b3, 195bl, b6, 19602, 03, b4, 197a6, b4, 198a2, b3.

Eimer 1977: 295-97 (7.3.2. and 7.3.3.). This use of skad is also attested in the Bka' gdams chos 'bYl.lng sgron me, but only in nine instances, see op. cit.: 296, n. 15.


Ehrhard 2004: 72-73; for the text, see Eimer 1979: 434, and K fo!' 190b4. This episode in all sources ends with gsungs skad

For the text, see Eimer 1979: 431, and K fo!' 187a4--bl. The citation gives only the first line of stanza 29; cf. Skilling 1999: 142-43.




mentioned We are, for example, not told the name by which the later 'Brom stan, 'the teacher from the'Brom clan,' was called as a child. Likewise, none of the three early biographies, namely, the Rnam thor rgyas pa, Rnam thor yangs grags and Dge bshes stan paY mam thor specifies the point of time when'Brom ston took the vows of a dge bsnyen (upasaka) and received the name Rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas. The name of the teacher who imparted the precepts of a dge bsnyen on him is, however, fairly well attested. 52 To sum up: At least the matching passages in the Dge bshes stan paY main thar and the two extensive biographies of Atisa have to be regarded as reliable, because they stem from the first text written by Bya Unl ba 'dzin pa. Most of the other episodes in the vita of 'Brom ston correspond in style and fonn to the Rnalll thor rgyas pa and the RnC1l11 thor yangs grags, thus they appear to stem from the same or a similar pool of sources, too. We face a biographical transmission based on texts which originally were designated as 10 rgyus, 'report.' The accessible texts bear the more modern title mam thor, but they have not yet changed in character into hagiography. They remain devout narrations telling the events in the life of a highly revered teacher.

For example, K fol. 179b5 reads: dge bsnyen gyi sdom pa blangs pa'i slob dpon rgyal gyi zhang ellen po, "The teacher [under] whom the vows of an llpasaka were taken [was] Zhang chen po of Rgyal." The Bka' gdams chos 'bYllng mam thar (fol. 46b6-7), tells us that this happened "in the time of his studies" (slob gnyer mdzad kyj yodpa'i dllS /[ ... ] dge bsnyen gyi sdol71pa blangs).





Edgerton, F. 1953. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dktionary Vol. 2: Dictionary.

William Dwight Whitney Linguistic Series. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Bka' gdams pha


1993 = Jo bo Ije dpa/ /dan a ti shaY mam thar bka' gdal17s pha

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Dam paJ chos kyj 'kIlOr /0 bsgyur ba mams kyi

byang ba gsa/ bar byed pa mkhas paJ dga'ston 2 vols. Peking: Mi rigs dpe sknm

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chos 'bY1l11 yid kyi mdzes rgyan (1529). Bsod-nams-lha'i-dbati-po: Bka' gdams rin po che'i chosbyuti mam thar nin mor byed pa'i 'od ston (1484). Gangtok.



Hu lan deb ther 1961

Deb ther dmm- po. The Red Annals. By 'Tshal pa kun dga' rdo

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Si khron mi ligs

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1. Introductory Remarks The lives of early Tibetan Buddhist teachers are mainly known to us from sources that were composed in later centuries. In the case of the Bka' gdams pa-s, their life stories have been systematically collected and published by scholars of the Dge lugs pa tradition from the late 15 th century onwards, and it is normally in these quasi-canonised versions that we encounter the 11 th_13 th _ century personages of the phyi dar period. In the great Bka' gdams chos 'byungs the biographies have been arranged by teacher-disciple lineages, and the individual lives are thus transformed into part of a larger 'family tree' that defines the place of the individual within the pattern of the tradition and is meant to represent the identity of the school as a coherent whole. The creation of the school's identity begins in the earlier sources, but here the picture is still fluid and less standardised, and the details they present or omit are an interesting counterpart to the well-known accounts of later times. This article will focus on certain mam thGlS of the early Bka' gdams pa tradition. By comparing some well-known [-has 'byungs, some less known early sources, and a hitherto unknown mam thar collection, I would like to discuss the relationships between these works. Before looking at the sources themselves it may be useful to start by briefly reconsidering the geme of biography, not as it is defmed in Western geme theory, but as it has been described from the perspective of Tibetan literary theory. For this purpose, I would like to refer to a Tibetan book on


literary genres written in 1996 by Go shul Grags pa 'bYllng gnas.! According to his classification, we can make a broad twofold division into literary works that are "straightforward" or nonfiction accounts (drang po bJjod pa) and literary works that are written in an "indirect style," that is, belles lettres

( 'khyog po bIjod pa). Among the genres that are written in a "straightforward"
manner he lists history (10 rgylJs) and its subtypes (like gdung rabs, rgya1 rabs and the like), and he presents mam thar ("biography") as one of these subtypes of 10 rgyus (pp. 100-104). A mam tharis described as a work dealing with the life of a single person. It should outline the circumstances of the person's birth and his or her abilities and actions, it should speak about the family and other external facts, and finally it should describe how the person obtained liberation: this is why the biography is called mam thor ("liberation")." As a subtype of 10 rgyus, which is described as being written in a clear and concise style and in a consistent chronological order, a biography should obviously exhibit certain features of a historical account. The author states that Mi 10 ras pa's mam thor by Gtsang smyon Heruka is not a pure

mam thar because it has certain features of a tale or story (sgnmg). At the
same time he mentions that a mam thar can be in prose or verse or both, and that it should speak about the inner development of the person, which makes it look less like a pure matter-of-fact account and allows a certain degree of stylistic and narrative liberty. The second occurrence of the mam thar genre in this book (pp. 183-86) is found within the category of works that are written in an "indirect style"

( 'khyog po bIjod pa), that is, fiction or belles lettres. However, here we are
dealing with the skyes rabs mam thor, the "stories of former lives" of

Go shul Grags pa 'byung gnas was born in 1955 and is, among other things, one of

the authors of the Gangs can mkhas grub dm byon mjng mdzod(Xining 1992).

On the early usages of the designation mom thar, see the remarks in Roberts 2007:

4--6 (note that Gandhavyuha(!) should be GG{1f1'avy17hathroughout).



important persons, like Buddha SCikyamuni himself or Tibetan spnd skus. 3 The fact that mam thais can belong to both categories of literature, the more historical and informative ones and the more poetical and interpretable ones, may hint at a point that troubles us when we read Tibetan biographies: what is fact and what is fiction? What is the intention of the author-does he intend to give us a factual account, or does he have other aims in mind? 2. Biographies of the Bka' gdams pa master Po to ba run chen gsa! The following pages will introduce some famous biographies of the Bka' gdams pa tradition and try to explore the sources they draw their information from and the way they present it. The focus will be on an individual case, the biography of the early Bka' gdams pa master Po to ba Rin chen gsa1
(1027/1031-1105), because in his case we are in the lucky position of being

able to follow the literary development of his biography quite accurately. Po to ba is one of the main disciples of 'Brom ston Rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas
(1005-1064), the fotmder ofthe Bka' gdams pa school. He is a key figure in

the transmission lines of the Bka' gdams pa-s and Dge lugs pa-s. His tradition became known as the gzhung pa, the transmitters of the scriptural tradition,4

It should be kept in mind that skyes robs can be understood as a kind of prelude to

the present life of a certain person. We see this in the biographies of Tibetan Buddhist teachers, where accounts of both their previous lives (skyes rabs) and their present life
(mam thar with its subtypes) are collected and published together. The precursor of

this understanding of skyes rabs and mam thar are the life stories of Buddha Sakyamuni from the South Asian tradition, where we have both his biography and the birth stories assembled in collections like the Pali Jtitakas with the Nidtinakathti or in texts like the Mahtivastu or the. Mi.7Iasarvtistivtidavinaya.

In particular they are the transmitters of the gzhung dmg, the "six authoritative Santideva's

scriptures" of the Bka' gdams pa tradition, namely, the Mahtiytinas17trtilmpktira and





Udtinavarga and AryaSura's Jtitakamtilti.



while his contemporaries Spyan snga ba Tshul khrims 'bar (1038-1103) and Phu chung ba Gzhon nu rgyal mtshan (1031-1106) are 'known as the transmitters of the oral precepts (man ngag pa or gdams ngag pa) and of the biographical tradition of the Bka' gdams gJegs bam, respectively. Together, these three main disciples of 'Brom ston have become known as the sku mched

gsum, the "three [spiritual] brothers." 5

In order to gain further knowledge regarding the Bka' gdams pa masters,

one would initially turn to the famous collections of biographies by Dge lugs pa authors. The most important ones are those by
1. Bsod nams lha'i dbang po (1423-1496), entitled Bka' gdams rin po

che'i chos 'byung mam thor nyin mar byed pa'i 'ad stong, composed
in 1484, 2. Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan (1432-1506), entitled Bka' gdams kyi

mam par thar pa bka' gdams chos 'byung gsal ba'i sgron me, composed in 1494, 3. Pal). chen Bsod nams grags pa (1478-1554), entitled Bka' gdams gsar mying gi chos 'byung yid kyi mdzes rgyan, composed in 1529, and 4. Tshe mchog gling yongs 'dzin Ye shes rgyal mtshan (1713-1793), entitled Byang chub lam gyi rim pa'i bla 111a brgyud pa'imOln par thar pa [ ... ], composed in 1787. Three of them were composed in the late 15 th and early 16th centuries, approximately a hundred years after the foundation of the Dge lugs pa order
by Tsong kha pa, and during a time of religious and political rivalry between the Dge lugs pa-s of Dbus on the one side and the governors of Gtsang and the

The classification into these three transmission lines is already found in Myang ral Nyi rna 'od zer's chos 'byung (12'h cent.); see Ehrhard 2002: 38. In addition to the lines that go back to the sku lllched gsulll, mention should also be made of the traditions going back to Dgon po pa Dbang phyug rgyal mtshan (1016-1082), the second abbot Rwa sgreng, and to Atisa's disciple Nag tsho 10 tsG. ba Tshul khrims rgyal ba (1011-1064).




Kanna Bka' brgyud pa-s on the other. They may arguably be seen in the . context of a self-affmnation of the Dge lugs po school as the dominant tradition in Central Tibet. Only Ye shes rgyal mtshan's collection of biographies is of much later date; it is more or less a late elaboration of Los chen's work, arranged according to a new principle, namely the prayer to the

lamas of the lam rim tradition (Lam rim gsol 'debs) composed by Tsong kha po. Among the three earlier works, Los chen's is perhaps the favourite sourcefor academic scholars of Tibetan Shldies, because it is clear and comprehensive, and Los chen has the useful habit of indicating his sources and mentioning points that are disputed by the authorities. This gives his work a sense of reliability and historicity, and moreover enables us to get an ideo of earlier sources, many of which are not accessible nowadays. When we look at Los chen's account of Po to ba's life, we find that he refers to several earlier authors, like Lha 'Bri sgang pa, Se Spyil bu po, and a certain Mchims chen mo. 6 It was, until recently, unclear what this latter nome referred to, but' . fortlmately this interesting source has now been discovered. Mchims chen mo seems to refer to a collection of biographies composed by Mchims Nam mkha' grags (1210-1285), the 7th abbot of Snar thang. 7 The only version that is

See fol. 221a of Las chen's Bka' gdams chos 'byung. The phrase mchims chen mo sounds like the title of a work ("The Great [work composed by] Mchims"); nevertheless, later sources like Ye shes rgyal mtshon's 171am thar collection clearly regard it as a proper name (Le. as refelTing to Mchims Nom mkha' grags himself); as, for example, on fol. 270b: ... mchims chen mo nam mkha' grags sags rim gyis byon


It is worth noting that Snar thong was on important place for the biographical traditions of the Bka' gdams pa-s. In addition to the collection of biographies introduced here, Mchims Nom mkha' grogs composed the Atisa biography Rnam thar rgyas pa yongs grags, which has been incorporated into the Bka' gdams gJegs bam. Moreover, it was the 9th abbot of Snar thong, Mkhan chen Nyi rna rgyal mtshan



currently known to have survived is an dbll can manuscript that has been described by Helmut Eimer (see his contribution in this volume). 8 In this manuscript of Mchims Nam mkha' grags's work, the biography of Po to ba is marked as section cha (no. 6) and comprises 13 folios (303a-315a).9 It bears the simple title Pu to ba'j mam thar, which is written in dbll med characters. The text itself is written in a clear and accurate dbu can. It contains some misspellings that point to misreadings from an dbu med manuscript My first reading of Po to ba's biography from Mchim Nom mkha' grags's work was a surprise: somehow it sounded all too familiar. A quick check proved this to be true. The account is practically identical with that of Las chen's well-known work. It is not particularly surprising to find Tibetan scholars quoting other sources without indicating them, but it is somewhat surprising in the case of Las chen who in other cases mentions the authorities he is quoting so accurately. But not so here, and if Mchims Nom mkha' grags's work had not become available, we would never have found out where Las chen's account comes from. This makes us aware of the fact that Las chen may mention many sources, but there are equally many sources that remain unnamed. A more detailed comparison nevertheless revealed some deviances. One concerns the order of events. It seems that Las chen has restructured his narrative in order to obtain a more plausible chronology. Moreover, there are certain

and additions. Las chen omits two out of eight dreams that

(1225-1305), who committed certain parts of the Bka' gdal17s glegs bam to writing; see Ehrhard 2002.

I am very grateful to Leonard van der Kuijp (Harvard) for making the biography of

Po to ba from Mchims Nam mkha' grags's work available to me.


The collection contains sections on (1) Ti 10 pa, (2) No ro pa, (3) Qombhi pa, (4)

Atisa, (5) 'Brom ston pa, (6) Po to ba, (7) Shm ba pa (i.e. Sha ra ba Yon tan grags), (8) Chu mig pa, (9) Dpalidan pa, (10) Gnas Inga mkhyen pa, (11) Sangs rgyas sgom pa.



are mentioned and interpreted in Nam mkha' grogs's account; we may speculate that the strong emphasis on omina was not in line with Las chen's general tendency to present historical facts and events, and therefore he reduced the less factual details. But where do his additions come from? Again we are in the fortunate position to have access to the source. They come from the presumably earliest account of Po to ba's life that has been preserved. It is the accOlmt given by Lha 'Bri sgang pa in the introductory section of his commentary on the Be'u bwn sngon po and dates from the 12th century.1O Again we find that Las chen quotes accurately from this source, but he does not indicate it. The identification of Las chen's sources thus makes us aware that his account is not at all original, but that it consists mainly of verbatim quotations from two earlier sources. He does not even rephrase the wording of his sources very much. Thus he did not attempt to create a composition of his own, but.


Lha 'Bri sgang pa lived ca. 1110-1190; see Eimer 1991: 164f. and van der Kuijp

1996: 52, n. 25. According to the chos 'byung of Yar lung jo bo Shakya rin chen sde (Yar lungjo bo'i chos 'byung. 108), Lha 'Gro ba'i mgon po (1186-1239) was G son of a sister of Lha 'Bri sgang pa. Moreover, we know that he was a direct disciple of Dol pa Rog Dmar zhur ba Shes rab rgya mtsho (l 059-1131), the author of the Be 'u bum
sngon po. Tibetan commentators explain the title of the compendium as referring to a

little book (be'u bum) wrapped in blue cloth (thus A khya yongs 'dzin Dbyangs can dga' ba'i blo gros (1740-1827) in his word commentary on the Be'u bum sngon po); the title would literally mean "The Blue Udder," perhaps a designation for a compendium that 'nourishes' the mind? Be 'u bum seems to be an old designation for such edifying collections; see Dllng dkw tshig mdzod chen mo, s.v. be'll bllm brgya
11sa, and Stein 1993: 279, 322ff. There were also a Be'll bum dmar po by Sha ra ba Yon tangrags and a Be'll bllm khra bo by GIang ri thang pa's (1054-1123) disciple,

Sha bo sgang pa Padma byang chub (1067-1131). This designation by colours reminds one of other similar titles like the Pod nag, Pod dkar and the like in the Lam 'bras tradition (see Stearns 2001: 32f., 36, 38) or historical works such as the Deb therdmar
po, Deb ther S11g011 po and the like.



rather a reliable compilation from earlier sources. This being ,said, we must appreciate Las chen's wise selection of sources: he draws from the earliest accounts that were available to him; and thus employs a technique similar to what any serious historian would use.
In spite of Las chen's merit as a historian it should be noted that the 'cut

and paste' technique used by him and other biographers may lead to a new chronology within a biography, and that we cannot always be sure that the respective author has reconstmcted the order of events correctly. For example, it seems very uncertain to me whether the account of Po to ba's travels has been arranged in a chronologically correct order, because at some points the accolmt jumps from one place to another rather abmptly. Chronology can easily become distorted in a text that has been stitched together in a patchwork manner. The discovery of Los chen's SOlll"CeS now enables us to compare earlier and later biographies and at the same time makes it necessary to view them in a broader context. Firstly, we may try to find out what kind of early sources we have to consider in search of early

Secondly, we may ask how

later authors deal with the material from these earlier works. (I) With regard to the sources used by later authors, we have to consider not only mdm thalS and chos 'byungs, but also completely different kinds of texts, like commentaries on Buddhist works, eulogies, and collections of 'sayings' (gsung bgros). An example of the first category is the commentary on the Be'u bum sngon po that was mentioned above. As for bstodpas (eulogies), we know about a bstod pa composed by Po to ba'sdisciple Sha ra ba, but unfortunately no copy of this text has been found, and all we have are the two lines that are quoted by Lha 'Bri sgang po and in later works. At least it is worth noting that bstod pas seems to be among the very early types of quasibiographical writing. II Many Of the eulogies are at the some time poetical


For the Bka' gdams pa tradition, the earliest bstod pas are those describing the

qualities and the life of Atisa, namely, the Bstod pa Sllm

pa by Nag tsho 10 tSQ ba



biographies or hagiographies and contain important information on the person who is praised. This again shows the fluidity of the borderline between history and poetry. With regard to the collections of sayings, we should keep in mind that a large and important part of the early transmission was oral, and that in the course of this oral transmission the sayings of individual teachers were remembered, transmitted and collected. One example is an early collection of Bka' gdams pa sayings by Po to ba's commentator Lce sgom Shes rab rdo rje (1124/25-1204/05); in this case, unfortunately, the author does not say very much about the persons whose sayings he has recorded. 12 Later anthologies of such sayings as well as quotations in chos 'byungs and in doctrinal works like Tsong kha pa's Lam lim chen mo show how popular and well known the tradition of sayings remained throughout the centuries, across the borderlines of literary genres. Another source of sayings are the dialogues contained in the

Zhus Ian nor bu 'j phreng ba Iha chos bdun Idan gyj bia ma brgyud pa mams kyi mam thar in the Fha chos of the Bka' gdams glegs bam, but these are of a
completely different nature: they are not recorded from memory, but are compositions that form part of a longer narrative of the early Bka' gdams pa (l011-1064) and the Bstod pa bIgyad ell pa traditionally ascribed to 'Brom ston; see Eimer 2003 and earlier articles by the same author.

Lce sgom's collection bears the title Bka' gdams kyi skyes bu dam pa mams kyi

gSling bgros thor bu pa mams. On Lce sgom, see Sorensen 1999. The earliest blockprint of the Bka' gdams gSling bgros thor bll was produced in 1535 in Kun gsal
sgang po che in Skyid grong (see Ehrhard 2000, vol. 1: 36, n. 24); this version was reprinted in a modem edition together with a much later but very informative anthology, the Legs par bshad pa bka' gdams lin po ehe 'j gSling gi gees btlls 110r bu 'j

bang mdzod Dan Martin (Jemsalem) and Vladimir Uspensky (St Petersburg) have
identified the compiler of this anthology as Tho yon Ye shes don grub bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan (1792-1855) alias 'Jam dpal rdo rje (the latter is his childhood name), whom we know as the author of an illustrated materia medica handbook (Dan Martin, personal communication).



tradition. These dialogues have the agenda of creating a Bka' gdams pa identity that is based on the figure of the founding father 'Brom ston, who is presented as a manifestation of A valokiteSvara. This intention of creating an authoritative Tibetan lineage explains why the Bka' gdams pa tradition gives a very special status to the Bka' gdams glegs bam by presenting it as a secret teaching (1kog chos) and even as a gter ma.13 This brings us back to the problem of distinguishing between authentic reports and fiction; the borderline is often impossible to discern, and is not always relevant to the authors themselves. (2) More interesting than the mere search for sources is perhaps the question what kind of information we can expect in the early biographies or hagiographies, and how later authors deal with it. When we look at the sources from the

century, some facts that seem absolutely essential to us are

completely missing. The earliest author, Lha 'Bri sgang pa, says nothing about the date of Po to ba's birth or death. Moreover, he does not mention his birth name, the name of his family, or the names of his parents. Instead, he speaks about Po to ba's compassionate disposition during his childhood, and he stresses his nahIra! inclination towards Buddhism although he was born to a Bon po family. The next steps recorded are his first approaches to Buddhism, his ordination in the monastery of Brag rgyab, and the reasons why he decided to go to Rwa sgreng and meet 'Brom ston. The relationship between 'Brom ston and Po to ba plays a major role. Furthermore, the text speaks about Po to ba's qualities as a teacher, and finally identifies him as an incarnation of an
arhat.14 Then the biographical account breaks off and makes way for a genera!

discussion of the importance of a good teacher, which shows in which context the account has to be understood: it is part of the introductory topics that are meant to explicate the importance of studying the work by explaining the See Ehrhard 2002; Miller 2004. According to Lha 'Bri sgang pa, Po to ba was an incGl11ation of the dgra beam pa



dar ma da shis (!); later authors usually identifY him with the sthavira A11gaja.


greatness of its author, the greatness of the work itself, and the way it should be studied. This account of Lha 'Bri sgang pa from his commentary on the Be 'u bum sngon po was very influential. It is repeated in a slightly abbreviated form in the 14th-century commentary on Po to ba's Dpe chos by 'Gro mgon Dpalldan ye shesY But 'Gro mgon adds some facts that are a standard part of most mam thms: he mentions Po to ba's birthplace, his clan name, and the name of his father. This does not necessarily point to a more historical interest in facts, dates and names, but is again to be seen in the context of religious biography. The main purpose of such a biography is to show the teacher as a highly qualified religious figure, and' part of the excellence of a religious teacher' consists in the family lineage he comes from. Therefore we are informed about his clan (Gnyos) and the name of his father (Srid la dbang phyug).16


Dpe chos rin chen spungs pa'i gsal byed rin po che'i sgron me 'am gtam rgyud rin

chen phreng mdzes. The commentary contains the stories and legends that the Dpe chos itself only alludes to. The dates of Dpalldan ye shes are not known, but we know that he was a disciple of Rin chen ye shes and the famous Rgyal sras Thogs med bzang po dpal (1295-1369),_and according to the colophon he wrote the commentary' on the latter's request. In the 15 th century the commentary was revised by Bsod nams lha'i dbang po. The editions that are known to me contain 73 legends, but according to E. Khamaganova there is a version with 112 or 114 stories in the St Petersburg collection; see Khamaganova 1989 and 1998.

The biographies of Tibetan. Buddhist masters of later centuries often contain a of religious significance which shows that a certain individual stems from a


family of accomplished Buddhist scholars or yogis. This is not to be expected in the setting of the early phyi dar, and nOlmally we fmd just a simple reference to the name of the clan and the father or both par~nts. In other cases, the interest in the family lineage may lead back not only to the origins of the family or clan, but even to the origin of the cosmos. This is an interesting parallel between Indian religiomythological Wliting and Tibetan clan histories. As an example from Indian Buddhist literature, we might mention the Rqjavmpsa from the MaIulvastu, which traces the



Po to ba's biography by Mchims Nam mkha' grags, who lived approximately a century before 'Gro mgon Dpal ldan ye shes, is the first surviving source known to me that mentions the year of Po to ba's birth. The year of birth has been a point of discussion in later sources; while the Blue

Annals and authors that rely on them state that Po to ba was born in 1031, the
historians of the Dge lugs pa tradition side with Mchims Nam mkha' grags and report that he was born in lO27Y This and similar details are sometimes a welcome point of polemics between historians of different traditions, and Dge lugs pa authors like Sum pa mkhan po Ye shes dpal 'byor (1704-1788) use such opportunities for remarks about what they regard as errors in 'Gos 10 tSQ ba's account. School affiliations obviously playa role even with regard to historical dates: a year of birth can simply be a question of whom an author prefers to rely on. Other details of Po to ba's life are found throughout the Tibetan historical tradition, and it is sometimes surprising what details are reported by nearly every author. One example may illustrate that even trifling matters can be an object of repetition. Lha 'Bri sgang pa talks about Po to ba's career as a novice in the monastery of Brag rgyab. We read that Po to ba acted very skilfully as a steward or caretaker (gnyer pa), but nonetheless did not receive more curd than the ordinary monks. The sentence in itself does not sound very significant. Lha 'Bri sgang pa adds a comment ascribed to Po to ba himself,

lineage of the Sa.kya clan back to the first king of mankind, who again is appointed in the course of a longer cosmogony. Thus Bsod noms lha'i dbang po, Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan, Pal) chen Bsod noms grags po and Ye shes rgyal mtshan. Las chen mentions that there are differing opinions and says that an unnamed mam thGl~ Mchims chen mo and Se Spyil bu po give 1027 as his birth year, while the Blue Annals give 1031. Klong rdol bla rna Ngag dbang blo bzar;g (1719-1794) has obviously mixed up the two traditions and gives 1027 as the bitih year, but says that Po to ba died in his seventy-fifth year (which would be 1101 instead of 1105).



stating that the necessities of life were lacking; it is a bit unclear if this is meant to explain why Po to ba left Brag rgyab for Rwa sgreng. The same sentence about the curd, but without the comment, is quoted by nearly all later biographers, no matter what school they are affiliated with: we read it in all the major Dge lugs pa works, in the Blue Annals (Roerich 1949/53: p. 263), and in Dpa' bo gtsug lag phreng ba's Mkhas pa'i dga' stan (p. 710), just to mention the most well-known among them. It is difficult to establish the rationale behind quoting this sentence over and over again; maybe it was just its laconic character that made it appealing to later authors. Another sentence' that is frequently quoted from Lha 'Bri sgoog pa is a statement by Po to ba that "the old lay person from Rwa sgreng (Le. 'Brom ston) was his true teacher. ,,18 This again mirrors the tendency to emphasise Po to ba's close relationship with the fOlmding father (mes po) of the Bka' gdams pa-s and present him as a true heir to the tradition. The individual teachers are placed in a larger real and imaginary network of 'fathers and sons,' that is, teachers and disciples, and transmis_sion lines of texts and practices. Finally, an observation with regard to the style of the early reports might be useful. Both Lha 'Bri sgang pa and Mchims Nam mkha' grags use the verb
skad "it is said / it is reported" after each section of their report. The verb skad indicates that the information comes from an unnamed source which is

presented as an oral one. It could refer to a person from whom the author has heard the respective information, but it could also point to a longer line of transmission, where the oral source is located several generations earlier. When Lha 'Bri sgang pa uses skad, it is not completely out of place to imagine his teacher Dol pa Rin po che as the source of information. He was a direct disciple of Po to ba and must have reported sayings of his teacher. In the case of Mchims Nam mkha' grags, who lived nearly two hundred years later than Po to ba, the skad may be a relic taken over from earlier sources. It is


Thus the major Bka' gdams chos 'bYllngs as well as, for example, the BIlle Annals

(Roerich 1949/53: 269) and Dpa' bo gtsug lag's Mkhas pa'i dga' stan, p. 711.



interesting to observe what happens to this skad in later biographies. Las chen quotes it in several instances without altering anything. In other cases he omits the skad And in one instance he replaces it with a reference to a written source: while Mchims Nam mkha' grags says that "it is said (skacl) that Po to ba studied for five years with his first teacher Sba sgom," Las chen says that "his mam thar states (mam thor Jas 'byung) that he studied for five years with Sba sgom." Is the unnamed mam thor the biography by Mchims Nam mkha' grags? This is pOSSible, but I rather doubt it. In other instances Las chen refers to him with the expression Mchims chen mo and not just mam thar, moreover, there is one passage where Las chen refers to both Mchims chen mo and the unnamed mam thor, which suggests that he is talking about two different sources. Therefore, the mIDamed mam thor is probably another early source that is not available to us, but which could have been the model for both Mchims N am mkha' grags and Las chen. Tibetan historiographers and authors of Buddhist works quote now and then from older Bka' gdams pa biographies, and we know several of them by name, although no copies of these works are known to have survived:
l. the above mentioned bstod pa (eulogy) written by Po to ba's disciple

Sha ra ba Yon tan grags (1070:--1141), 2. a biography by Po to ba's disciple Giang Bya ra ba Yon tan blo gros with the title Po to ba 'j mom thar mdzes pa 'j padmo, and 3. a biography of Po to ba and his disciples by Ratna gu ru (1288-1339), who became the abbot of Stag lung in 1309, with the title Po to ba yab

sras kyj mam thor.

Moreover, Mchims Nam mkha' grags not only quotes several details from Sha ra ba, but also from Po to ba's disciple Grab pa Pho brang sdings pa,19 which


Pho brang sdings is located in the upper part of the valley of Grab (,Phan yul). Grab

pa's personal name is Gzhon nu 'od. Like Po to ba, he belonged to the Gnyos clan. He wrote a first brief version of Po to ba's Jam nin teachings, the Dpe cllos, which was



makes us wonder whether this is again a case of oral sayings or another early written source. 3. Conclusion What becomes clear from the sources introduced here is that in the early centuries of the Bka' gdams pa tradition individual biographies were contained in different kinds of texts, like bstod pas, doctrinal works and biographies proper, and were probably transmitted locally together with the respective religious traditions and teachings. First attempts to collect and homogenise these traditions can be observed in the Bka' gda111s glegs bam (redacted in 1302) and the collection of biographies by Mchims Nam mkha' grags (l3 th cent.), both related to the monastery. of Snar thang and therefore arguably reflecting a shift from the local traditions to an important monastic centre. From the late 15 th century onwards the biographical sources are collected and redacted by Dge lugs pa scholars and brought into the form of the standard biographies on which more or less all subsequent accounts up to the present day are based. In order to understand these processes better we can only hope that further early biographies and related material will come to light. In fact we do know that a number of them have survived, and hopefully it will just be a matter of time before at least some of them become accessible. 20 Only this would enable

later revised and expanded by Brag dkar pa and then brought into the fOlm that we know today by Lce sgom Shes rab rdo Ije. The panel on "Old Treasures, New Discoveries" at the 11th rATS conference in Konigswinter has given good reasons to hope for such re-discoveries in the not too distant future. That a rich variety of so far unstudied sources have survived can be seen, for example, in the 'Bras 5,vungs dgan dll bzJllIgs Sll gsa! ba'i dpe mying dkar chag, a catalogue of the holdings of 'Bras spungs that has recently been published by the Dpal blisegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib 'jug khang. It contains several copies of wellknown sources like the Bka' gdams glegs bam and related material, but it also lists



us to gain a comprehensive picture of how biographies


and how they

were preserved or changed during their transmission, and put us in a better position to understand more about the history of histories.

works that seem to be unknown so far, like anonymous biographies of AtiSa (see nos. 017049 and 017336; it also lists biographies by Mchims Nom mkha' grags, see no. 017283), an anonymous 'Brom sags bka' gdams gong ma 'ga' yj mam thar (no. 017326) and an anonymous Bka' gdam gyj (!) 10 rgyus (no. 017052). Furthermore, several interesting Bka' gdams pa biographies are listed in Bod kyj dkar cJIGg dg pa, vol. k1za of the Collected Works of Dung dkar Blo bzang 'plzrjn las (MklIGS dbm7g dung dkar 'phdn las kyj gsung 'bum), Beijing: Mi rigs dpe sknm khang 2004, pp. 18993.



Survey of biographical sources in chronological order. Sources that are not accessible are marked with see Martin 1997.


For editions of and secondary literature on the historical sources

Collections of Biographies of the Early Bka' gdams pa MaSters that Contain a Biography of Po to ba Rio chen gsa! Mchims Nam ~kha' grags (1210-1285): collection of 11 biographies of the Bka' gdams pa lineage Bsod nams Iha'i dbang po (1423-1496): Bka' gdams rin po che'i chos 'byung mam thar nyjn mar byed pa'i 'ad stong (1484) Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan: Bka' gdams kyi mam par tharpa bka' gdams c/lOS 'byung gsa1 ba'i sgron me (1494)
*Pal). chen Ye shes rtse mo (*1433): Bka' gdams chos 'bYllng Pal). chen Bsod nams grags pa (1478-1554): Bka' gdams gsar mying gi chos 'bYllng

yid kyi mdzes rgyan (1529)

'Jam mgon A myes zhabs Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams grags pa rgyal mtshan (1597-1659): Dge ba'i bshes gnyen bka' gdams pa mams kyj dam pa'i chos

Pal). chen Bla rna Blo bzang ye shes (1663-1737): Byang chub lam gyj rim pa'j b1a ma

brgYZld pa 'j mam par thar pa padma dkar po 'j phreng ba

Tshe mchog gling yongs 'dzin Ye shes rgyal mtshan (1713-1793): Byang chub lam gyj

rim pa'i b1a ma brgYZld pa 'j mam par t1wr pa rgya1 bstan mdzes pa 'j rgyan m"flOg phu1 byung nor bll 'j phreng ba (1787)
Separate Biographies of Po to ba Rio chen gsa! *Glang Bya ra ba Yon tan blo gros (12 th cent.): Po to ba'j mam thar mdzes pa'j

*Ratna gu TIl (1288-1339): Po to ba yab sras kyj mam thar



Stag lung pa Ngag dbang mam rgyal (1571-1626): Dge ba'i bshes gnyen po to ba lin chen gsal gyl l7lam thar sems dpa' chen po 'I spyod pa nges bstan Other Sources on Po to ba's Biography *Sha ra ba Yon tan grags (1070-1141): Po to ba'i bstod pa Lha 'Bri sgang pa (ca. III 0-1190): Be 'u bum sngon po 'I 'grel pa Lce sgom Shes rab rdo rje (1124/25-1204/05): Dpe chos lin chen spllngs pa'i 'bum 'grel Bka' gdams g/egs bam (redacted in Snar thang in 1302), especially Zhus Ian nor bll'l phreng ba Iha chos bdlln Idan gyl bla ma brgyud pa l7lams kyl l7lam thar and Ma 'ongs pa'i lung bstan 'Gro mgon Dpalldan ye shes (14 th cent.): Dpe

1'117 chen SpllllgS pa'i gsal byed rin

po che 'I sgron me'am gtam rgYl1d rin chen phreng mdzes A kya yongs 'dzin Dbyangs can dga' ba'i blo gros (1740-1827): Dpe chos 1'117 chen spungs pa'i brda bkrol don gnyeryid kyl dga' ston Shakya'i dge slong Don grub rgyal mtshan (alias Tho yon bla rna Ye shes don grub bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan): Legs pm" bshad pa bka' gdams Jin po che'l gSllng gl gees bros nor bu 'I bang mdzod Unclear References in Las chen's Work An unnamed work by Se Spyil bu pa (1121-1189) An unnamed l7lam thar of Po to ba



L Primary Sources

'Bras spungs dgon du bzilllgs Sll gsoi ba'i dpe mying dkar ehag. 2 vols. Dpal brtsegs
bod yig dpe mying zhib 'jug khang nus bsgrigs. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2004. Bsod nams Iha'i dbang po. Bka' gdams rin po ehe'i ehos 'byung mam thar nyin mar

byed pa'i 'ad stong. In Two Histolies of the bKa'-gdams-pa Tradition Hom the Library ofBllnniok Athing. Gangtok: Gonpo Tseten, 1977, pp. 208-393.
Don grub rgyal mtshan [alias Tho yon bla rna Ye shes don gmb bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan]. Legs par bshad pa bka' gdams rin po ehe'i gsung gi gees btus nor bll'i

bang mdzod Xining: Mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1996.
Dpa' bo gtsug lag phreng ba. Dam pa'i chos kyi 'khor 10 bsgyur ba mams kyi byzmg

ba gsal bar byed pa mkhas pa'i dga' stOlJ. 2 vols. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun
khang, 1986. Dung dkur Blo bzang phrin Ius. Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo. Mkhas dbang dzmg

dkar blo bzang 'phrin las mchog gis mdzad pa'i bod rig pa 'i tshig mdzod chen mo shes bya rab gsai zhes bya ba bzllllgs so. Beijing: Kmng go'i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2002.
Go shul Grags pa 'byung gnus. Bod kyi 11som Ius mam bshad General Forms of

TibetaI1 Literature. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1996.
'Gro mgon Dpal Idan ye shes. Dpe ehos liI1 cheI1 spungs pa 'i gsal byed liI1 po ehe'i

sgron me 'am gtam rgyud riI1 chen phreI1g mdzes. Ed. Gum Deva. Samath, 1975.
Las chen Kun dga' rgyal mtshan. Bka' gdwl1s kyi mWl1 par thar pa bka' gdams chos

. 'byzmg gsai ba'i sgroI1 me. [Blockprintkept in the Zentralasiatisches Seminar

Bonn, 417 fols.] PaD chen Bsod noms grogs pa. Bka' gdams gsar mying gi c110S 'byzmg yid kyi mdzes

rgYGI1. In Two Histories of the bKa'-gdams-pa TraditioI1 Hom the Library of Burmiok AthiI1g. Gangtok: Gonpo Tseten, 1977, pp. 1-205.



Yar lung jo bo SCilC'ja rin chen sde. Yar lung jo bo'i chos 'bYllng. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1987. Ye shes rgyal rhtshan, Tshe mchog glingyongs 'dzin. Byang chub lam gyi rim pa'i bla

ma brgyud pa'i mam par thar pa rgyal bstan mdzes pa'i rgyan mchog tll phul byung nor bu 'i phreng ba. Contained in the gsung 'bum of the author, vols. nga
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Martin, D. 1997. Tibetan HistoJies. A Bibliography of Tibetan-Language HistoJical

Works. In collaboration with Yael Bentor. London: Serindia Publications.

Miller, A. Sims 2004. Jeweled Dialogues: The Role of 'The Book' in the Fotmation of the Kadam Tradition within Tibet. PhD thesis, University of Virginia. [Digital Dissertations Publication Number AAT 3131384.] Roberts, P.A. 2007. The Biographies of RecJ1l1ngpa. The Evolution of a Tibetan

Hagiography. Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism. London/New York: Routledge.

Roerich, G.N. (trans.) 1949/53. The Blue Annals. Second edition: Delhi: MotHal Banarsidass, 1976 [two parts in one volume]. S0rensen, P.K. 1999. TIW prolific ascetic ICe-sgom Shes-rab rdo-rje alias ICe-sgom zhig-po: Allusive, but elusive. Joumal of the Nepal Research Centre 11, 175-200. Stearns, C. 2001. Luminous Lives. The StOlY of the Early iVlasters of the Lam 'bras

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Publications. Stein, R.A. 1993. Die Kultur Tibets. Translated from French by Helga Uebach. Illustrated by Lobsang Tendsin. Berlin: Ed. Weber.


MICHELA CLEMENTE (Rome) 1. A Brief Introduction to the Nang gi mam thaI's Typology The autobiography of Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen is a nang gi mam thar, one of the three levels existing in the literary genre of life stories. This typology recounts the specific meditative cycles, initiations, etc. imparted to the master and taught by him to his disciples. 2 The division in phyi, nang and

gsang levels had been followed by the sde sridSangs rgyas rgya mtsho (16531705) in the classification of the gsung'bwn of the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho (1617-1682) and, after him, other Tibetan authors continued to use it as a form of respect for the Dalai Lama's life story.3 We. know that most of the roaJll thtllS contain all the three levels, even though one of them is emphasised to a greater extent. Some roam thms, however, deal specifically with only one level. Actually, the boundary line between phyi,

nang and gsang is quite tenuous, and thus it is often difficult to distinguish

I I wish to express my thanks to Professor Elena De Rossi Filibeck for assigning me this intriguing work for my MA thesis, for her precious remarks, help and kind SUppOlt. I also want to thank warmly my colleagues and friends Federica Venturi, MOlta Sernesi, Sabrina Rossi, Stefanie Calestini and Marco Passavanti for their suggestions and comments.

See Petech 1958: XIX; Seyfort Rllegg 1966: 44; Willis 1985: 312; Willis 1995: 5. See Vostrikov 1970: 187.


between the various typologies. 4 Most studies thus far have focused on external and secret levels. The nang gj mom thars type is thus the less studied and least known, and I am not aware of any nang gj mom thor translated into a Western language. According to Vostrikov, thob yjgs (or gsan Y19s) are similar to the 'inner (or 'internal') biographies,' because both contain systematised lists of disciplines, precepts, teachings and consecrations of all types, but thob yjgs endeavour to establish a more or less complete succession of the persons who received these instmctions, beginning with the founder himself and ending with the author of that work. s This specific genre of Tibetan literature originated from the effort to establish the lineages of transmission of Indic texts or textclusters. Thob yjgs and inner and secret autobiographies both focus on transmission, but we can utilise thob Y19s to supplement the information found in mom th(J1S.6

thob yjgs are as neglected as nang gj mom

th(J1S, even though the fonner "constitute potentially primary historiographic source material."7 As Dan Martin pointed out, "in the fl.lhrre, historians of Tibet will be relying more and more on lineage records, on evidence contained in the records of teachIngs recdved," because these "are not just passive historical sources, but texts with interesting histories of their own to tell" (Martin 2002: 344). However, it is important to bear in mind that a work may be called nang
gj mom thar without being necessarily an 'inner biography. '8 Concerning this,

See Gyatso 1998: 103; Willis 1985: 312, n. 17. See Vostrikov 1970: 187,199. See Gyatso 1998: 104; van der Kuijp 1995: 919; Sobisch 2002: 162. Van der Kuijp 1995: 920.

I am indebted to Janet Gyatso for raising this issue after the presentation of my paper. On this subject, she wrote that "one suspects that the proliferation of labels



Jeffery Schoening, taking up a debate Gene Smith initiated many years ago,9 wrote that "genre clq.ssification according to Tibetan terms is a mystery we western scholars have yet to solve. "10 It is necessary to think about the reasons why a mechanical classification of genres based on titles cannot be applied at all. ll Orna Almogi, agreeing that a classification of "Tibetan texts by . mechanically relying on the Tibetan terms is no real solution," argues though that titles "may be more helpful than we have tended to to this, she suggests that ... for a development of a comprehensive general scheme and for a classification of a particular text, three factors have to be taken into consideration: 1) the descriptive components of the titles, including the genre terms appearing in them, 2) the ornamental components of the titles, and 3) any additional titles of one and the same text, especially. if these contain different. genre terms (Almogi 2005: 29).13

With regard

2. The Text and Some Notes about Kun spangs po Chos kyi rin chen Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen's gsimg 'bwn that includes the master's autobiography, is a dbu can manuscript (cm. 42,5xl2 [34,5x7,5]). It is one of naming increasingly esoteric levels of discourse is often more a matter of rhetoric than genuinely descriptive of content" (Gyatso 1998: 103).

See Smith 1970: 1. Almogi 2005: 28; Schoening 1988: 424~


In his article, Schoening enumerated four reasonS: a genre may change over time; a work may be called one genre but consists mostly of another; the title may say the work is one genre while the margin says it is another; the author may not have included a genre indicator in the title (Almogi 2005: 28; Schoening 1988: 425).

Almogi 2005: 28, 29. I am indebted to Orna Almogi for her precious remarks on this subject and for

kindly providing me a copy of her article before the publication.



the numerous works selected and brought by Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984) from his scientific missions in Tibet with the aim of preserving a representative part of the different Tibetan lHerary genres, and kept in the Tucci Tibetan Fund at the Library of IsIAO in Rome. 14 It seems to be the only known copy of this work, which probably dates back to the 17th Century. The pattern of the folios is similar to that of the so-called 'prefaces,' 15 thus the manuscript could have well originated from Western Tibet. 16 The gsung 'bum includes the dkar chag and five worksY The present article is based on the first work and the dkar chag. 18 The first work contains Chos kyi rin chen's autobiography (ff. 1-22b), which is a mam mgur entitled "A Biography of the Venerable Chos kyi tin chen [containing] 'The BIa mds Biography: A Wish-fulfilling Gem' and So Forth.,,19 The dkar chag (ff. 1-5), entitled "A Catalogue: An Illuminating Lamp that, Upon Being Perceived, Clarifies the Meaning,"20 contains some data about Chos kyi rin chen's 14 I wish to express my thanks to the President of lslAO, Professor Gherardo Gnoli, for
kindly allowing me to study this manuscript.

15 The 'prefaces' are dedicative folios that precede a manuscript. They contain
information about the sponsorship or the preparation of some copies of the work in question. Tucci collected some prefaces of this kind in Western Tibet due to their historical and philological value and described them well before others. See Tucci 1935: 8-10, 177-78.

16 On this subject, see De Rossi Filibeck 1999: 194; De Rossi Filibeck 2001: 237-40,
especially 239 ('foglio C').

For the cataloguing of this gsung 'bum, see De Rossi FiIibeck 2003: 35. See also Clemente (forthcoming).



Bla ma mam thar yid biz/lin 110r bu la sogs pa btsun pa


kyi rin chen gyi mam

thar(see f. 1).



lineage. The sponsor (sbyin bdag) of the gSling 'bum was the physician Ngag dbang Kun dga' rgyal mtshan. His family and he are profusely thanked in verses with a stanza for each of them at the end of the dkar chag. 21 Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen was a less-known Bka' brgyud po master, who lived in the 17th century.22 According to the TBRC database, he is the author of two works. 23 One of these 24 seems to be written together with another bIa ma, Rdo dmar zhabs drung Mi 'gyur rdo Ije (1675-?)."5 It seems that for an unspecified period of time, the two masters lived in the Gnya' nang monastery, near the Nepalese border, where they wrote this work. 26 The illuminated folio (lb) of ehos kyi rin chen's mam thar shown below provides an evidence of the master's belonging to the Bka' brgyud school: on the right there is Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen's icon,n and on the left we find the representation ofRje btsun Mi la ras pa (1040-1123).28

Dkar dwgs gsal ba'i sgroI [= sgron1 me mtilong pa (sic) don gsa! (see f. 1). I

emended sgrofme into sgronme according to the context. Indeed, gsal ba'j sgronme is a common metaphor in this kind of works. On this subject, see Almogi 2005: 41.

See the Dkar cilag, ff. 3b-4b. Personal communication from Ellis Gene Smith to Elena De Rossi Filibeck (28 th


November 2000).

See TBRC (P 6086). See TBRC (W 30157). Unfortunately, I was not able to consult this work, but it will


be the topic of a future research.


Rdo dmal" zhabs drung Mi 'gyur rdo rje was a layman Rnying rna yogin. According

to Ehrhard, he was a gter stan. For infOlmation about him and his works, see DZMD; Ehrhard 2007: 123; Schmidt 2003; TBRC (P 1014).

According to Ehrhard, a certain Rdo dmar ba was active in the region of Gnya'

nang at the end of the 17 th Century. See Ehrhard 1997: 338.


The caption reads btslln pa cilos dn chen fa na 1170. The caption reads Ije btslln mi la ras pa la na 1170.




Furthermore, in the dkar chag written by Bya bral Skal bzang rgyal mtshan, probably a disciple of Kun spangs pa, we find mention of two important masters of the 'Bmg pa Bka' brgyud sub-school: Rgod tshang pa Mgon po rdo rje (1189-1258),"9 the founder of the Stod 'bmg pa Bka' brgyud, and Chos rje Spyil dkar ba (1228-1300),30 one of his main studentsY Rgod tshang pa is probably also the fotmder of the Gnya' nang monastery.31 The title kzm spangs pa, lit. 'the one who abandoned everything,' is apparently an honorific title given to accomplished masters and practitioners. I am aware of eighteen masters with that title who lived between the 13 th and

Century, most of

them belonged to the Sa skya, Jo nang and Zhwa lu schools, and in particular to the Kalacakra transmission lineage. Among them we must underline Kun spangs Thugs rje brtson 'gms (1243-1313), the founder of the Jo mo nang monastery.33 As a proper nang gi mam thor, the autobiography of Kun spangs pa Chos kyi rin chen does not provide any infonnation about the master's life. Like


About Rgod tshang pa, see Roerich 1949/53: 680-88; Smith 2001: 45,46,48, 75, 78;

TBRC (P 2090); KGSPCM: 452-543.


About Spyil dkar ba, see Aris 1979: 173; Roerich 1949/53: 686-87; TBRC (P 5916). See the Dkar chag, f. 3a-b. See Oargye 2001: 37; TBRC (P 2090). For further details about Thugs lje brtson 'grus, see Roerich 1949/53: 771-72.






numerous mam thazs of other Bka' brgyudpa masters,34 this one alternately contains sections in prose and verse: the master gives the teachings in prose, while in the songs he speaks of his spiritual experiences. The mam l11gur is written in colloquial language, especially in the verse parts. In the songs of the

dkor chag, too, we find apparently unknown colloquial expressionsY At the

beginning of his autobiography, the author pays numerous homages to the masters of his lineage. 36 Unfortunately, their identification is extremely complex due to the Tibetan habit of giving to diSCiples the same names of previous masters.
It is possible that at least a part of the autobiography has been dictated by

Chos kyi rin chen to a student who added some elements of his own, maybe after his master's death. Indeed, there are many orthographic and grammatical mistakes, and in some passages of the mam thor the tone becomes quite different, more ceremoniousY Maybe the volume of the IsIAO Library is a copy of a mined original. Unfortunately, we do not know where, when and how the manuscript arrived in the hands of Giuseppe Tucci, thus we cam10t say whether the text was copied down on his request. In this case, the copy was surely done in haste. Moreover, concerning the orthographic and grammatical mistakes, we should remember that, as pOinted out by Jose Cabez6n, in some traditions

For example, see the biography of Rgod tshang pa written by Sangs rgyas dar po, a disciple of both Gtsang smyon Hemka and Lha btsun Rin chen mam rgyal (cited in Tucci 1949: 158).

For example, the expression ngo mtshar che yo ang (which I translate as 'what a great wonder') figures many times (Dkar chag, ff. 3b-4a).

Ratna A dkar Vajradhara, Jfiaranda, Ratnavajra MafijusrI, Bodhisirnha (Byang chub seng ge), Gzhon nu seng ge, Nam mkha' bzang po, Rgyal mtshan dar, Ye shes rgyal mtshan, Lha dbang blo gros. See the Rnam t17m; ff. Ib-6b.


For a discussion about the merging of authors and readers, see Gyatso 1992: 469. 421


... monks' inability to write proper Tibetan was never seen as detracting from their status as scholars. Scholarship was measured not by one's ability as a writer, but by devotion to what. was considered, both intellectually and soteriologically, most impOliant, namely the reading, memorization, and oral explanation of the classical texts of the tradition (Cabezon 2001: 236).

3. Nang gi mam thazs as Inspirational and Instructional Works

From the excerpts I am going to present it will become quite clear that 'inner biographies' are inspirational and instructional works. This had been already noted by Janice Willis some years ago. 38 In addition, due to their characteristic structure, these works are often associated with practices. For example, before practicing the mahiimudrii teachings, the practitioner reads the part in relevant

nang gi mom thalS that concerns their prayers and instructions, thus such mom
thGlS become a sort of handbook. Furthermore, Willis notes:
... bla mas often use mam tham in their teaching activities. No bla ma would,

for example, introduce a new teaching or begin a series of initiations without first narrating one or more mam tham of the teachers in the lineage who practiced that teaching or meditation successfully. This makes for velY practical instruction. The recitation of mam tham sets the stage for practice by giving authority and credence to the lineage of teachings, by prefiguring the conditions conducive to practice, and by subtly sowing the seeds for similar liberation (Willis 1995: 16). Thus, one interesting feature of this kind of works is the explanation of particular religious practices. In his autobiography, Chos kyi rin chen describes the creation of the Circle of Protection (rak$iicakra: srung ba'j 'khor 10) within the preliminaries of a


See Willis 1995: 5, 16. She also wrote that a llang gj mom thar "lends itself to

consideration under the heading of 'liturgy' and, in fact, often functions that way within the tradition" (Willis 1995: 5).



sadhana (sgmb thabs) in detaip9 It is connected with the cycle of

Cakrasaf!1vara. The meditation begins with the visualization of the syllable

hiirp, in this case the seed-syllable of a vajra. The yogin sees the hiilP
transforming into a vjvavajra (sna tc;hogs rdo ife). The circle of protection is built from rays of light that blaze out from the double vajra. The yogin visualises a protective shield of vajras that encompasses the entire universe. 4o Chos kyi rin chen describes a structure called 'the immeasurable Mansion of Great Liberation' (thar pa chen po'j gzhal yas khang), similar to a temple palace, where the deity is generated. He states: 4 !
I pay homage to the glorious CakrasaI]1vara!

While [one] is training for the [pronouncing of] the sumbha nj [mantra]!2 [one should recite] OM SONYATA. JNA.NA VAJRA SVABHA.VA ATMAKO


See the Rnam thar, ff. 8-10a.

-10 For a description of the creation of the Circle of Protection, see English 2002: 13136.

Rnam thm; ff. 8a-b: shri tsakra saIJ7 bha ra na ma / [ ... ] sum bha ni sbyangs Ja /

0111 shu nya ta dznya na badzra swa bha wa a ma ko hGl17 / stong pa dang ye shes

dbyer med pa'i ngang Jas /17 rab kyi steng yangs zhing [= shing] rgya che ba'j dbus
Sll /

Jll/l17 Jas sna tshogs rdo Ije shar dkar 1170 sa nub dmar byang liang / Ite ba ( 'thing

kd [= mthing ga] la hilIJ7 gi [= gyis] mtshan pa / hilIJ7 Jas 'od zer 'og tu 'phros pas / 'og rdo < Ij> e'i sa bzhi steng du 'phros pa Jas / steng rdo lje'i bia bres phyags mtshams Jam du 'phros pas / rda Ije 'i Itsig pa ra ba bra (ba gw' [= sbra gur ] du gyur / phyi raj nas ye shes kyi me phung rab tu 'bar bas bskor ba'j dbus Sl/ / Jll/Ill Jas thar pa chen po'j gzhaJ yas khang ;. On this subject, Elizabeth English wrote: "The yogin
sees the axial mountain Sumeru rising up into the heavens. Above this, he installs the circle of protection [ ... J Finally, upon the mountain's peak, he visualises an elaborate and decorative temple palace as the future abode of the deity" (English 2002: 144). -12 Concerning this mantra, see English 2002: l33, 444, n. 299.



HAM43 [and visualise the following]: From the state of the indivisibility of emptiness and gnosis, [arises] Mount Sumeru [with] a large' and spacious summit. In its centre [appears] the syllable HUIy! which [transfOlms itself into] a double vqjra, whose eastern [ray] is white, southern [ray] yellow, .western [ray] red, northern [ray] green, and the centre, marked with [the syllable] HUIy!, blue,44 Rays of light emanate from HUryr downwards and strike the surface of the adamantine earth beneath, and then strike the canopy above in all cardinal and intelmediate directions, thereby becoming [like] a felt tent [with] barriers of adamantine walls, [It] is surrounded from the outside by a mass of the blazing fire of gnosis. In the centre [there arises the syllable] HUIy[ from which the Immeasurable Mansion of Great Liberation [emerges]. Then, the author describes the emission and retraction of rays of light from the seed-syllable hu[p, Once they have accomplished their purposes, the rays retract back into the hU[!L The text continues with a description of a ma1Jcja1a of the Cakrasatpvara's cycle, in which the twenty-four sacred sites (Pi/has) are associated with twenty-four viras and their saktis. The lllaJ)cja1a is divided into three dimensions: the sphere of Body (sku'i 'khor 10) or sphere of the Underground
(sa 'og) , the sphere of Speech (gsung gi 'khor 10) or sphere of the Earth (sa),

and the sphere of Mind (thugs kyi 'khor 10) or sphere of the Sky (nalll

43 According to Elizabeth English, this emptiness mantra is a standard feature of mainstream siidhal1C!S. For fmiher details, see English 2002: 126-27,439, n. 271. 44 See the description in Gyatso 1991: 115.



mkhaj.45 According to Elizabeth English, the sacred sites within the mm;u;iala

confirm the maI)rjala ,'as' the universe. 46 Then, Chos kyi rin chen puts into verse some mahamudrateachings. 47 Here is a short stanza: 48 Look whether phenomena and perception have merged or not! If they have merged, You, beggar who exelts himself on the Path, Is certain to be successful! 49 The mind, which is primordially unborn, Is imperceptible in the three times and is free from manifoldness. Since it is not subjected to arising,
It has no abiding [either].

[Ifthere is] no abiding, how can cessation be,possible? For instance,it is similar to a hare's horn. Reading the mam thar, it seems that all doctrines contained in the text addressed high practitioners, perhaps Kun spangs pa's disciples. At the end of his mam thar, the master gives some bar do instructions so according to the teachings of Rgyal ba Yang dgon pa Rgyal mtshan dpal

Such a mGlxfa1a of CakrasaqJvara is found in the Bde mchog temple of Tsa pa rang,

in Western Tibet. This could be an evidence that SUppOltS the Western origin of Chos kyi rin chen's gsung 'bum. For a discussion of the malJr;Ja1a of the Bde mchog temple, see Tucci 1936: 38-42,44-45, 65-66.

See English 2002: 196. See the Rnamthm; ff. lIb-13b.


Rnam thm; ff. 12b-13a: snang sems gcig tu 'dres sam bltos [= !tos] / 'dres na lam

du 'gro bar nges / lam la 'badpa'i sprang pokhyod / gdod(13a) nas skye ba medpa'i sems / dus gsum ma dmigs spros dang bral / skye rgyu med pas gnas pa med / gnas med 'gag pa ga la srid / dper na Ii bong rwa dang mtshungs / j.

For the translation of lam du 'gro ba as 'to be successful,' see Schmidt 2003. See the Rnam thar, ff. 15-22b. 425



(1213-1258), another important disciple of Rgod tshang pa Mgon po rdo rje. Rgyal ba Yang dgon pa is the founder of the Yang dgon pa sub-school, which arose from the Stod 'brug pa. 51 The Yang dgon pa ultimately produced the 'Ba' ra Bka' brgyud of 'Ba' ra ba Rgyal mtshan dpal bzang (1310-1391).52 Thus, we can assume that Chos kyi rin chen was a 'Brug pa Bka' brgyud pa master, even though we cannot know which one of the several sub-schools he belonged to. As stated by Bryan J. Cuevas, it seems that "one of the earliest explicit references to the variety of bar do lineages prevalent in Tibet can be found in a thirteenth-century work by Yang dgon pa. ,,53 There, the master mentions at least fifteen separate traditions of instructional advice on bar do, and provides a list of eight distinct teaching-lineages. This list seems to be one of the earliest Tibetan classifications of bar do traditions in Tibet. Fmihermore, in another work, Yang dgon pa sets out six individual bar do states which differs from the six presented in Mi la ras pa's Song of the Golden Rosary. It appears that Yang dgon pa is closer to the Rnying rna tradition rather than the Bka' brgyud one. According to Cuevas, Yang dgon pa's different view of bar do states could be imputed to his studying with many teachers of several religious schools, and thus his version could be a synthesis of diverse traditions. 54 The chos nyjd bar do is missing in the part of Chos kyi rin chen's mam

thar containing the bar do teachings. Indeed, during the 13 th Cenhlry the

About Yang dgon pa and his sub-school, see Aris 1979: 181; Cuevas 2003: 56; Roerich 1949/53: 686, 688-91; Smith 2001: 45, 47, 48, 49; TBRC (P 5262); KGSPCM: 544-679.

See Smith 2001: 45. Cuevas 2003: 46. On this subject, see Cuevas 2003: 46-47, 56-57.





Intermediate State of Reality was more familiar in the Rdzogs chen literahlre. Here is an excerpt ofthat part: 55 Then, when external breathing has ceased, the following should be said: "You with such and such a name, at this point when [your] external breathing has ceased, the appearances of this life has come to an end, [but] the inner breath has not yet ceased and the appearances of the intermediate state (bar do) have not yet arisen, an awareness-called "Innate Gnosis, Luminous Mahamudra," characterised by clarity and emptiness and similar to the orb of clear skywould emerge nakedly and vividly once the energy winds and mind (rlung sems) have entered the AvadhUti (Le. the Central Channel). Please recognise this! Furthermore, for those who have practised the path, the mother[ -like] and child[-like] luminosity would meet. Also for those who have not practised the path, the Natural Luminosity would emerge. Thus, abide in [the state of] meditative absorption single-pointedly and without distraction! Moreover, abide clearly and vividly in the non-conceptual state of the indeterminate true nature (gshjs), which is [found] empty [when] observed from without; empty [when] observed from within; free from manifoldness [when]


Rnal11 thar, 17a-b: de nas phyi dbugs chad pa'i tshe 'di skad bIjod par bya ste

l11ing 'di zhes bya ba khyed phyi dbugs chad I tshe 'dj'j snang ba 'gags I nang dbugs ma chad I bar do 'I snang pa (sic) ma shar ba'j dus 'dir I rlung sems dbu mar tshlld pas I Ihan clg skyes pa'i ye shes 'od gsal phyag rgya chen po zhes bya ba I shes pa gsal stong nam (17b) I11kha' dangs pa 'i dkyii ita bll dg ljen !hang 'byung pas I de ngo shes par mdzod I de 'ang lam nyams Sll blangs pa 171ams la 'od gsal ma bll 'phrod clng I lam nyams Sll ma blangs pa mams la 'ang rang bzhln gyi 'od gsai 'char bas I ma yengs pa Itse clg [= gcig] til mnyam par zhog I11dzod I de 'ang phyl ltas stongs

I nang !tas stong I phyi bitas [= Itas] spros pa dang bral I nang ltas spros pa dang brai I k/w dog dbylbs su ma gnzb I dngos po dang mtslwn mar ma zhen I skye 'gag [= 'gags] gnas gsum gyis stong zhlng I bshis cl yang ma yin pa la I bIos cir yang
[= stong]

mi 'dzin par I nog med kyi ngang la gsal sing nge zhog mdzod I zhes bIjod do 1/ I am
indebted to Professor Per Kvaerne for kindly discussing with me this difficult part of the text.



observed from without; free from manifoldness [when] observed from within; devoid of colour and shape; detached from entities and [their] characteristics; and devoid of the three [processes of] arising, ceasing, and abiding-without grasping to anything [in any wayl"

4. Conclusion
Through centuries Tibetan culture received a very sizable contribution from neighbour cOlmtries. In particular, Tibet welcomed Buddhist teachings, especially from India and, to a lesser degree, China. In all these countries, the literary genre of life-stories plays a very important role. In Tibet it has been

used not only to give ordinary people a model to follow but also to give legitimacy to schools, lineages, masters, and so on. Some years ago, James Robinson proposed three ways to read a siddhds life story: as history, as hagiography, as

Thus considering the significance of mom thaIS, they

should certainly be more studied in each and every aspect. This paper does not claim to be an exhaustive study on nang gi mom thOI.
It is instead an attempt to put emphasis on a very little known subject. My will

was to present the examples of the creation of the Circle of Protection, MahamudrCi and bar do practices and teachings contained in Kun


Chos kyi rin chen's mam thar, with the fmal aim of underlining the particularity of the inner biographies. It is my hope that a systematic study of
nang gi mam thaIS could contribute to expand further our knowledge of

Tibetan literature.


See Robinson 1996: 61.



APPENDIX A: AN OUTLINE OF THE CONTENT OF KUN SPANGS CROS KYI RIN CHEN'S RNAM THAR - title (f. la) - homages to the masters of his lineage (ff. lb-6b) - benediction (ff. 6b-8b) - creation of the circle of protection (ff. 8b-lOa)

- mG1Jrjala (ff. lOa-lib)

- mahamudrasongs (ff. lib-l3b)
- prayer on bar do (ff. l3b-14b) .

- bar do teachings based on Yang dgon pa's instructions (ff. 15a-22b)


- title (f. la)

- mmigaJacarG1Ja Cf. Ib)

- homages Cff. Ib-2b) - cosmogony of the world Cf. 2b) - origin of mankind in Tibet Cf. 2b) , - life of Buddha SCikyamuni (ff. 2b-3a) - history of the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet Cf. 3a) - spread of Buddhism in Tibet and mention of Rgod tshang pa and Spyil dkar ba (f. 3a-b) - homage to the gsung 'bum's sponsor, Ngag dbang KlID dga' rgyal mtshan, and his family (ff. 3b-4b) - index of the

'bum of Kun spangs Chos kyi rin chen (f. 4b)

- reference to the dkar chag's author (f. Sa) - homages to the sponsors, and to Chos kyi rin chen (f. Sa)

- mmigaJacarG1Ja (f. Sa)

- place and date of writing (f. Sa) 42