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A Noble Noose oI Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis:

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Methodological Issues in the Study oI a Mahyoga Text
Irom Dunhuang
1
Cathy Cantwell
University oI OxIord
Robert Mayer
University oI OxIord
Abstract: The Dunhuang manuscript IOL Tib J 321 is a Rnying ma tantra
commentary in eighty-hve folios, the Thabs kyi zhags pa padma `phreng gi don
bsdus pa`i `grel pa`, with its root tantra embedded as lemmata. Marginal notes
and a concluding verse of praise associate the work with Padmasambhava.
Although cited by Rong :om pa and Klong chen pa, later Rnying ma pas lost touch
with the commentary, available to them only in truncated form within Bstan gyur
editions. The Dunhuang manuscript now enables reconstitution of the entire
commentary. More complex is the root texts transmission. Extant in all Ancient
Tantra Collection of the Rnying ma pa (Rnying mai rgyud bum) and Bka gyur
Ancient Tantra (Rnying rgyud) sections, the versions can differ substantially,
raising fundamental questions of textual boundedness. The differences derive from
a thousand years of imprecise differentiation between root and commentary in
many mafor editions, persisting unresolved fromDunhuang times until nowdespite
the survival of correctly bounded ancient versions at the cultural margins. Rnying
ma responses to uncertain scriptural boundaries entailed a distributive approach
to knowledge, at variance to some modern textual presuppositions.
1
We are grateIul to the British Arts and Humanities Research Council Ior providing us with the
Iunding that enabled the research on which this paper is based. We would also like to thank David
Germano and the other anonymous reviewer who made comments on an earlier version oI this paper.
Parts oI the paper were presented in 2009 and 2010 as lectures at Harvard, Chicago, Vienna and SOAS
(University oI London). We would like to acknowledge the comments which arose in the discussions
on those occasions. Furthermore, at the fnal revision stages, Helmut Eimer and Helmut Tauscher drew
our attention to the versions oI the Thabs :hags Iound in the Independent Bka` `gyurs oI `Ba` thang
and oI Hemis, and these additional witnesses have clarifed our picture oI the historical transmission
oI the text.
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009): 1-51.
http://www.thlib.org?tidT5696.
1550-6363/2009/5/T5696.
2009 by Cathy Cantwell, Robert Mayer, Tibetan and Himalayan Library, and International Association oI Tibetan
Studies.
Distributed under the THL Digital Text License.
Introduction
This paper is a brieI refection on the culture oI tolerable scriptural variation
that we fnd in Rnying ma Buddhism. It raises methodological issues Ior textual
scholars oI the Rnying ma tantras, which, although specifc to Rnying ma texts,
might also shed useIul comparative light on other genres. In comparing appropriate
methodological approaches Ior the Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma
pa and Ior the Bka` `gyur, the orthodox canonical collection which gained shape
in the Iourteenth century, we make two main points:
1. While current Bka` `gyur scholarship is, Ior entirely compelling reasons, in
many cases abandoning the hope oI recovering unitary original texts or archetypes
through philological analysis, study oI the Rnying ma canon suggests the opposite.
Our admittedly meager analysis so Iar tends towards the provisional conclusion
that Rnying ma tantras may oIten have original redactorial moments, and should,
in theory at least, present archetypes recoverable through philological methods.
We certainly do believe we can partly succeed in recovering an archetype oI the
Thabs :hags root text, and will present our evidence Ior this in a Iorthcoming book.
However, note well that neither the terms 'original nor 'archetype need always
imply in the context oI tantric texts independence Irom borrowings Irom earlier
texts or IreedomIromorthographical or grammatical error! Those are quite diIIerent
issues.
2. II Bka` `gyur scholarship is currently emphasising the non-unitary and varied
nature oI texts beIore their incorporation into Tibetan canons, our work on the
Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa is currently emphasising diversity
aIter incorporation into Tibetan canons. Hence our second point, a little ironically,
slightly devalues the frst. Even iI historians oI the Rnying ma pa might (as we do
here to some degree) enjoy the luxury oI recovering very early archetypes or even
originals through philological methods, this luxury is oI partially limited value
because the Rnying ma pas themselves do not operate in quite this way. On the
one hand, their tantras have come to vary over time through scribal error and
piecemeal attempts at correction, or, as in this instance, conIusions between root
text and commentary; and on the other hand, the Rnying ma pa have never sought
to establish a centralized authority that could standardize their scriptures. Nor do
they systematically identiIy or speciIy in their tantra catalogues the diIIerent
versions oI a text. OI course, there is little problem where one reading is clearly
better than another bad readings can be eliminated without controversy but the
cumulative eIIect oI centuries oI dissociated hypercorrections made without recourse
to other editions, leads to an occasional variety oI good readings, each equally
plausible, each the potential basis oI Iurther learned exegesis. For example, the
commentarial tradition on the tantric deity Rdo rje phur pa had to make sense oI
two rather diIIerent readings within the root verses on the creation oI the deity`s
mandala (dkyil khor), even though these root verses are so important that they
2 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
are shared by all the scriptural texts, and repeated in all major practice texts.
2
Hence,
despite in many cases apparently starting out with unitary texts or redactorial
moments, the Rnying ma pa are by now no better oII than the Bka` `gyur tradition.
They have had to accept that in diIIerent editions and in diIIerent regions, ostensibly
the same versions oI important tantras can vary somewhat, at some points
displaying what appear to be equally viable yet diIIerent readings. It is true that
some Rnying ma bla mas aware oI such discrepancies can sometimes bemoan this
lack oI uniIormity. Yet de facto, Ior the last many centuries, the Rnying ma bla
mas have had little option other than to live with it. Perhaps partly making a virtue
out oI necessity, but perhaps equally because oI their ontological belieIs about bla
mas and tantric texts, many oI them do not seem to see this as an unmitigated
problem. On the contrary, they seem in practice to have been compelled towards
a distributive understanding oI knowledge, very like the understanding oI Mahyna
and tantric scriptures that oIten prevailed in India, in which each sound and
meaningIul variant version can be appreciated Ior contributing its partial vision oI
the Buddhas` total authorial intention (bad readings are oI course rejected without
hesitation as the mistakes oI scribes). The point should not be over-stated: bla mas
will oIten insist on particular readings established in commentarial traditions in
which they have been taught. Yet they will hesitate to dismiss or criticize
alternatives presented by other bla mas oI diIIerent commentarial traditions, and
when pressed, may aIfrm that the alternative readings are valid Ior that other
lineage oI descent. To approach this within narrowly political terms: iI a bla ma
takes too strong a stand in rejecting one plausible good reading in Iavor oI another
plausible good reading, he incurs the risk oI unwittingly challenging some other
respected authority. II he could have near-total knowledge oI all previous and
present views, then he might be happier to take such a risk, but such complete
knowledge is seldomavailable. What then, iI Rin po che A were to take a radically
exclusivist position today, only to fnd out tomorrow he had in doing so
inadvertently labelled Gter chen B or Mkhan chen C as defnitely mistaken? The
embarrassment could be considerable. So dogmatism tends to be avoided, and the
range oI good readings cautiously tolerated. For most Rnying ma pa, the perIect
2
Generally, commentarial writings will consider only the readings witnessed in the specifc liturgical
tradition on which they are commenting, but occasionally, variation is acknowledged. Kong sprul`s
commentary on the Rdo rfe phur pa rtsa bai rgyud kyi dum bu (`Jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha`
yas, Dpal rdo rfe phur pa rtsa bai rgyud kyi dum bui grel pa snying po bsdud pa dpal chen dgyes
pai :hal lung, in Bdud foms bka ma |Bdud-Joms Jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rfe Rin ma Bka ma rgyas
pa|, vol. tha |Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1982-1987|, 78-80) explicitly recognizes one variant in the
frst root verse (thig le/thigs pa), and implicitly acknowledges another (sgor shar/gor shar), elucidating
the text with reIerence to the alternative connotations. Kong sprul (Kong sprul, Bdud foms bka ma,
vol. tha, 92-93) Iurthermore draws attention to a contrast between the reading oI the Rdo rfe phur pa
rtsa bai rgyud kyi dum bu and oI Ancient Tantra Collection texts Ior the second root verse, suggesting
they can be understood as variant translations, and reiterating that the signifcance oI these proIound
vafra words oI the root tantras is the same in both cases (bsgyur ba gnyis don ni gong du bshad pa
dang drao; Kong sprul, vol. tha, 92.6). See the discussion in C. Cantwell, 'To Meditate upon
Consciousness as Jafra: Ritual Killing and Liberation` in the rNying-ma-pa Tradition, In Tibetan
Studies. Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Gra:
1995, ed. H. Krasser, M. T. Much, E. Steinkellner, and H. Tauscher (Vienna: sterreichische Akademie
der WissenschaIten, 1997), 1:115.
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and complete text oI a tantra is not an historical archetype recoverable
philologically: it is something that exists only in the tantric heavens or in the
guardianship oI the Dkins, oI which extant terrestrial versions, including the
philologist`s, are in all likelihood little more than imperIect partial refections.
3
We are not yet certain to what degree and in what way this partly ideological and
partly pragmatic view is peculiar to the Rnying ma tantras, and to what degree it
pervades other genres as well. We are aware oI the variant versions oI texts like
the Heart Stra preserved in the Bka` `gyur,
4
and we are equally aware oI the
perspective oI modern scholars like Jonathan Silk and Paul Harrison, who
understand Indian Mahyna scriptures as works in constant motion that never
indigenously achieved a fxed entity. In addition, we are aware oI the works by
colleagues in parallel felds, notably the modern Talmudists, who have clarifed
the way in which anonymous collective scriptural authorship may work on the
ground. Nevertheless, we do not want to extrapolate Irom other felds, but will
ensure through careIul collations that the Rnying ma texts talk to us directly with
their own historical message.
Why Ancient Tantra Collection Texts Are so Valuable
The Rnying ma or 'Ancient school oI Tibetan Buddhism, like the Bon, has the
unusual distinction oI basing its major tantric systems upon scriptures largely
excluded Irom the Bka` `gyur. The Rnying ma response was to consolidate their
tantras within their own compilation known as the Rnying ma`i rgyud `bum, or
the Ancient Tantra Collection, a process that achieved increasing maturity in the
fIteenth century. In its Iullest editions, this collection nowadays includes around
one thousand works, in about thirty-fve thousand Iolios, or seventy thousand
pages. The provenance and authenticity oI the Rnying ma tantras has been
questioned in various ways Irom the turn oI the eleventh century until the present
day. Some considered them translated Irom Sanskrit, hence authentic; others
considered them Tibetan compositions, hence inauthentic. Yet others, including
the Iamous eleventh century Rnying ma sage Rong zomchos kyi bzang po, seemed
to accept the possibility that they were compiled in Tibet, yet nevertheless deemed
themauthentic.
5
Either way, the Rnying ma tantras have had, and continue to have,
a very powerIul infuence on Tibetan religion.
3
Since writing the above, we have noticed David Gray`s article in JIATS (David Gray, 'On the Very
Idea oI a Tantric Canon: Myth, Politics, and the Formation oI the Bka` `gyur, Journal of the
International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 |December 2009|:
http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#jiats/05/gray/), which discusses diIIerent versions oI this
mythic ideal throughout Tibetan Buddhism, including the specifcally Rnying ma version oI the revelation
oI the tantras oI Mahyoga to King Jah. In conclusion, Gray makes the point that the absence oI the
ideal texts was a Iactor in preventing absolute canon closure.
4
J. Silk, The Heart Stra in Tibetan. A Critical Edition of the Two Recensions Contained in the
Kanfur (Wein: Arbeitskreis Ir Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitt Wien, 1994), 31-41.
5
Many (although not all) oI these tantras are presented with Sanskrit equivalent titles and colophons
naming one or more oI the illustrious fgures Irom the traditional historical accounts oI the early
transmissions as translators. Some later Rnying ma voices argued that these texts were indeed verbatim
translations Irom Sanskrit originals Irom the reign oI Khri srong lde`u btsan. By contrast, much (not
4 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Ancient Tantra Collection scriptures oIten become more widely known through
reIerences reproducing citations given in important commentarial works,
6
rather
than through direct reading oI the source texts, although learned bla mas certainly
could, did, and still do, have direct recourse to scriptural texts.
The genre comes into view in the post-Imperial period. Modern academic
analysis, including our own, fnds that most Rnying ma scriptures studied so Iar
resemble what Davidson
7
has dubbed 'gray texts. Neither wholly Indian nor
wholly Tibetan, they are Tibetan compilations in the style oI Indian tantrism
comprising predominantly Indic materials with some Tibetan admixture and
localization.
Our most reliable sources Ior the early Rnying ma are oI course the Dunhuang
Tantric texts. Recent research on themreveals a sophisticated and complex tantrism
demonstrably continuous with the Rnying ma tantrism oI later centuries, although
with interesting diIIerences too. More specifcally, detailed comparative
examinations oI Dunhuang tantric materials with texts Irom the Ancient Tantra
Collection nowshows with certainty that the Ancient Tantra Collection does indeed
conceal within its vast bulk a great deal oI genuinely pre-Gsar ma pa Tantric
materials.
8
For those interested in studying the early history oI Tantric Buddhism
in Tibet, the Ancient Tantra Collection is thus potentially a treasure trove oI
inIormation.
all) modern scholarship locates them somewhat later, mainly aIter the collapse oI empire around 842.
Interestingly, the criterion oI Indian provenance used by the compilers oI the Bka` `gyur to judge the
authenticity oI a tantra was not always Iully accepted by Rnying ma pa scholars, such as the infuential
Rong zom pa. As Dorji Wangchuk puts it (Dorji Wangchuk, 'An Eleventh-Century DeIence oI the
Authenticity oI the Guhyagarbha Tantra, in The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, edited by D.
Germano and H. Eimer |Leiden: Brill, 2002|, 282), 'Rong zom pa`s response. does not categorically
rule out the possibility oI the tantra being a compilation or a composition by a Tibetan scholar. but
rather addresses his opponents Irom a stance oI spiritual ethics, trying to persuade them that in spite
oI such a possibility, one should approach the text with reason and respect on the basis oI its scriptural
coherency. Wangchuk presents some passages Irom Rong zom pa`s work; perhaps most pertinent is
the point that the Buddhas need not be restricted by time or place, or to superior Buddha-like bodies,
but arise in response to the needs oI sentient beings. Thus (in Wangchuk`s translation), 'even iI tantric
treatises are taught with overlaps and so on, and even iI it is possible that they were compiled and
composed by |Tibetan| Updhyyas, they should not be considered objects oI doubt, Ior the ways the
blessings oI the tathgathas appear are not restricted (rgyud kyi g:hung ldab bu la sogs par ston pa
dang / gal te mkhan po rnams kyis bsdus shing sbyar ba srid na yang / de b:hin bshegs pai byin gyis
rlabs byung ba la tshul nges pa med pa yin pas the tshom gyi yul du bya ba ma yin no/; Wangchuk,
'Eleventh-Century DeIence, 283-284).
6
C. Cantwell and R. Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra and the Jafra Wrath Tantra. Two Texts
from the Ancient Tantra Collection (Vienna: The Austrian Academy oI Sciences Press, 2007), Ch. 2.V.
7
R. Davidson, 'Gsar ma Apocrypha: The Creation oI Orthodoxy, Gray Texts, and the New
Revelation, in The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, edited by D. Germano and H. Eimer (Leiden:
Brill, 2002), 212.
8
Our work on the Dunhuang texts relating to the tantric phur pa practices demonstrates substantial
passages in common between the Dunhuang materials and Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying
ma pa texts. See especially C. Cantwell and R. Mayer, Early Tibetan Documents on Phur pa from
Dunhuang (Vienna: The Austrian Academy oI Sciences Press, 2008), chapters 5 and 6.
5 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Textual Obscurity and Scribal Corruption in the Extant Ancient
Tantra Collection
Tibetology has known the historical potential oI the Ancient Tantras since RolI
Stein`s time, yet use oI them has remained slight, because they are so diIfcult to
consult. One major problem is the lack oI commentarial literature: only a very
small proportion oI Ancient Tantra Collection texts have extant commentaries, so
that the root verses on their own Irequently remain obscure even to the most learned
bla mas.
Another problem is scribal corruption. We know Irom comparisons with
Dunhuang manuscripts that much oI the material in these texts is around one
thousand years old, ample time Ior scribal errors to appear. When editing two
Ancient Tantra Collection texts some years ago, we Iound around one word in
three diIIering between our six witnesses. II punctuation was included, there was
a statistical average oI one variant Ior every three or Iour syllables. In addition to
such small-scale variants, there are also larger ones, where longer passages, whole
Iolios and entire chapters can vary, be lost, misplaced, or otherwise jumbled.
Complete chapters can diIIer immensely across the diIIerent editions, to the extent
that the average reader might wonder iI they are the same text at all.
When Iaced with such textual diIfculties, Tibetan bla mas, like their Western
counterparts, seek out other editions. BeIore the Cultural Revolution, there were
undoubtedly more versions than there are today. As the major repository oI their
scriptural tradition, every major Rnying ma monastery once held a copy oI the
Ancient Tantra Collection, and several hundreds must have existed in the 1950s.
Yet aIter the Cultural Revolution, only a handIul are still available: Iour Irom
Bhutan which are almost identical, a xylograph edition IromSde dge in East Tibet,
and Iour manuscripts Irom northern Nepal and Southern Tibet which are related
to one another. In short, we can currently muster only nine witnesses, representing
three distinct traditions, and with the exception oI the Sde dge xylograph, mainly
drawn Irom the geographical peripheries oI the Tibetan cultural region. Many
Iamous manuscript editions oI the past seemto have been lost, such as the collection
made by Ratna gling pa in the fIteenth century, or `Jigs med gling pa`s eighteenth
century edition, and the library copies Irom major Rnying ma centers like Smin
grol gling and Kah thog have not yet reappeared, and might not have survived at
all.
Increasing the Usability of the Ancient Tantra Collection Texts
Being so early and so infuential, there is clearly an incentive to study Ancient
Tantra Collection texts. The question is, how? Can we simply start reading them,
with no particular regard to which edition, and without comparing the diIIerent
editions? Or should we try to critically edit them frst, careIully comparing
manuscripts and assessing variant readings? Purists might argue that work on
unedited Ancient Tantra Collection texts is unsaIe, yielding little more than random
impressions. Pragmatically speaking, that goes too Iar: especially at this very early
6 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
stage in their study, useIul insights can certainly be gained by browsing the texts
just as one fnds them. But undoubtedly we get a much fner and more nuanced
understanding by editing the texts.
Tibetans themselves certainly made serious eIIorts to edit these texts, but
circumstances conspired against them. The great bulk oI the volumes, their rarity
and expense, and the long distances separating the Tibetan cultural regions meant
that Rnying ma editors could only rarely assemble a Iully representative collection
oI their tantras Ior comparative purposes. Bringing one huge collection Irom Iar
away was diIfcult enough; assembling all editions Irom everywhere almost
impossible. OI necessity, Rnying ma editorial techniques Ior such huge collections
more oIten relied on comparison with geographically proximate editions,
accompanied by conjecture. We see evidence oI this in the way that the nine
available editions oI the Ancient Tantra Collection Iollow distinctive regional
aIfliations. For example, the Iour editions Irom Bhutan oIten remain textually
almost identical, slavishly reproducing exactly the same errors, lacunas, Iolio
misplacements and good readings alike. Much the same can be said Ior the Iour
editions Irom South Central Tibet and Northern Nepal, although across this more
dispersed region, the homogeneity is less pronounced, so that, Ior example, some
individual South Central texts can Iollow the Bhutanese recension. Likewise the
Sde dge edition Irom Iar oII East Tibet is entirely diIIerent Irom any oI the South
Central or Bhutanese editions, even though it is said to have some readings Irom
Central Tibet. What we have read so Iar seems mainly to suggest the dominant
infuence oI its several known Eastern Tibetan exemplars. Such empirical evidence
suggests that, perhaps somewhat more than with the Bka` `gyur, regional traditions
grew up, as new copies were made Irom editions nearby, with only occasional
admixture IromIar-away editions. However, two words oI caution need to be added
here: the regional distinctions might in Iact also have a sectarian element, and
moreover are more typical oI the times aIter canonical Iormation, rather than beIore.
All the South Central texts might be Byang gter we do not yet know and all
the Bhutanese ones are, oI course, Padma gling pa tradition. By contrast, the Sde
dge xylograph edition drew on seven diIIerent ma dpe making no sectarian
distinctions. Only time, and the fnding oI Iurther manuscripts, will give a broader
picture oI how regional and sectarian considerations interacted. Given that lineage
diIIerences within the Rnying ma pa school are so fuid and permeable, at this
stage we tend to emphasize regional Iactors. It must also be emphasised that regional
diIIerentiation grew with time, and that individual text versions could and did
travel vast distances Iar more easily in the pre-canonical period, beIore they were
thrown together into huge unwieldy collections. Hence we should see, as theory
predicts, that the genuinely early text versions are not yet so aIIected by such
regional Iactors.
In addition, we fnd evidence oI conjecture in the redaction oI Ancient Tantra
Collection texts: one volume oI the Rig `dzin tshe dbang nor bu manuscript Irom
South Central Tibet still preserves many emendations made in red ink, which on
close analysis appear to be conjectural, made without systematic reIerence to other
7 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
editions.
9
This resembles the editorial styles still used by Tibetan bla mas in
preparing new editions, in which intensive conjectural eIIort is typically invested
into correction oI orthographic and grammatical errors. However, where there are
serious cruxes and no other editions to consult, the hazard oI hypercorrection, as
mentioned above, becomes serious. Aware oI such a danger, even fne editions
backed by powerIul scholarly monastic institutions have sometimes preIerred to
reproduce obvious error, rather than attempt audaciously to insert corrections with
no textual support. In Iact, it is probable that deliberate conjectural correction was
much less Irequent in the transmission oI these revered scriptural texts than in
compilations oI monastic liturgies and so on in everyday use. The corrections
throughout halI oI one volume oI the Rig `dzin edition were clearly distinguished
Irom the original text by their red coloring (unIortunately, not so clearly
distinguished Ior modern users oI the microflmcopy), and we cannot knowwhether
these emendations were sanctioned. Certainly, they stop rather abruptly in the
second halI oI the volume. In the careIully edited Sde dge edition, the only edition
we know to have been prepared Irom a comparatively wide range oI ma dpe
including some Irom other regions, occasionally where uncertainty occurs,
alternative readings are noted in marginal annotations.
10
Our belieI is that this great manuscript tradition oI the Ancient Tantra Collection
richly deserves the best attentions oI modern editorial technique, not only Ior the
sake oI modern academic scholars who fnd within it Iascinating views into the
ritual and religious world oI post-Imperial Tibet, but also Ior the beneft oI some
millions oI Tibetan Buddhists who revere these texts as the ultimate scriptural
source oI their religion.
How Do We Edit Ancient Tantra Collection Texts? Can We
Stemmatize Them?
The question then arises, with no precedents to emulate, how does modern
scholarship approach the editing oI Ancient Tantra Collection texts? To start with,
we turned to a near example Ior inspiration. The Ancient Tantra Collection shares
9
We discuss this Ieature elsewhere (Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra, 74-78). These
emendations, which appear not to have been made by the original scribe, cannot be considered a
comment on the standards adopted by the edition`s editors, yet had a Iuture copyist adopted them, they
would have impacted on the textual tradition.
10
In many oI the Sde dge Ancient Tantra Collection edition`s texts, there are occasional marginal
notes which supply alternative readings. There were eight such notes in the Rdo rfe phur bu chos thams
cad mya ngan las das pai rgyud chen po (Myang das), and two in The Jafra Wrath, Root Jafrakilaya
Tantra (Rdo rfe khros pa phur pa rtsa bai rgyud; see Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra;
the alternative readings are most easily examined by browsing the diplomatic editions oI the Sde dge
texts given on the accompanying CD). In some cases, the notes could be seen as suggesting better
readings or amending a reading, but oIten the variant merely suggests an alternative or underlines a
textual crux. Generally, the variants are Iollowed by wording which could be translated as,
'also/alternatively, we fnd. such as kyang/yang, yin nam, or simply, byung. In one case in the Myang
das (Sde dge, vol. :ha, I.76v; Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra, 214, nb 572), Sde
dge`s two readings, mgyogs and khyog, essentially corresponded to diIIering alternative readings oI
the Bhutanese and the South Central editions.
8 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
the same methods oI reproduction as the Bka` `gyur and, even iI not quite so vast
as the Bka` `gyur, is nevertheless oI massive size and oI comparable diIfculty to
transport long distances; like the Bka` `gyur, its texts are also mostly considered
Buddhavacana, the actual speech oI the enlightened ones. Hence it seemed rational
to start by Iollowing the lead oI such Bka` `gyur scholars as Helmut Eimer and
Paul Harrison, who have attempted to use classic stemmatic analysis.
Stemmatic analysis is a method developed over recent centuries largely by
Classicists and Biblical scholars. Its methods involve the systematic analysis oI
indicative errors, to inIer lines oI textual descent. From this, one can reconstruct,
or partially reconstruct, an earliest ancestor, or archetype, Irom which all texts
descend. But there are clear limits to what stemmatics can do, as scholars such as
Bedier and Timpanaro have shown.
11
The Bka` `gyur scholars quickly ran into exactly such limitations. Stemmatics
is based on the premise that the tradition is closed: in other words, that there is a
single ancestor or archetype Irom which all existing versions oI a text descend.
Helmut Eimer had frst set out, very reasonably, in the hope that a single translation
oI a text into Tibetan might Iunction as such an archetype. But later research by
Paul Harrison Iound that Bka` `gyur traditions can be open:
12
in other words, he
Iound that in some cases, the branches oI the Bka` `gyur transmission may represent
diIIerent recensions oI a text, diIIering, Ior instance, in the Tibetan equivalents oI
Sanskrit terms.
13
Soon aIter, Peter Skilling Iound that in a signifcant number oI
specifc cases, texts Irom the Tshal pa and Them spangs ma lines cannot descend
Irom a common source.
14
Many Bka` `gyur texts underwent re-translations or
revisions oI earlier translations, and the versions in extant collections need not
always stemIroma single translation. Recent scholarly work on Iurther witnesses,
such as texts or text Iragments in the proto-Bka` `gyur collections in Western Tibet,
11
See Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra, 14, Ior a discussion oI J. Bedier, 'La tradition
manuscrite du Lai de lOmbre: refexions sur l`art d`editer les anciens textes, Romania 54 (1928):
161-196, 321-356; Ior Timpanaro, see especially his essay, 'Textual Criticism and Linguistics, and
their Crises at the End oI the Nineteenth and in the Twentieth Century, in S. Timpanaro, The Genesis
of Lachmanns Method, edited and translated by G. W. Most (Chicago, London: University oI Chicago
Press, 2005), 119-138.
12
See P. Harrison, Druma-kinnara-rfa-pariprcch-stra. A Critical Edition of the Tibetan Text
(Recension A) (Tokyo: IIBS, 1992), xlvi-xlviii. Apart Irom his important pioneering studies, which
began the work oI clariIying the textual relationships between the Bka` `gyur editions, Helmut Eimer
has continued to play a central role in the continuing development oI Bka` `gyur and Bstan `gyur studies.
13
Helmut Eimer, 'Editorial, in Transmission of the Tibetan Canon. Papers Presented at a Panel
of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Gra: 1995, edited by H. Eimer
(Wien: Verlag der sterreichischen Akademie der WissenschaIten, 1997b), viii. It goes without saying
that in an open tradition, the variant versions can interact with one another at any stage, thereby Iurther
conIusing the issue.
14
Texts oI proto-Bka` `gyur collections Iound in Western Tibet seem to represent a Iurther line oI
descent (H. Tauscher and B. Laine, 'Western Tibetan Kanjur Tradition, in The Cultural History of
Western Tibet. Recent Research from the China Tibetology Research Center and the University of
Jienna, edited by D. Klimburg-Salter, Liang J., H. Tauscher, and Zhou Y. |Beijing, Vienna: China
Tibetology Publishing House, 2008|, 350, 358). Also see P. Skilling, 'From bKa` bstan bcos to Bka`
`gyur and Bstan `gyur, in Transmission of the Tibetan Canon, edited by H. Eimer (Vienna: The Austrian
Academy oI Sciences Press, 1997), 101.
9 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
underlines this caution. For instance, Tomabechi discovered
15
that the Tabo
Iragments oI the Guhyasamfa are in parts close to the Dunhuang manuscript
readings, perhaps preserving Rin chen bzang po`s (958-1055) early translation
beIore the recensional amendments oI `Gos lhas btsas (ca. 1050). Under such
circumstances, the central premises oI classic Lachmannian stemmatics do not
pertain, even iI other useIul results can still be derived Irom less ambitious
stemmatic analysis.
Further complications arise due to the well-known historical fuidity oI the
Indian Buddhist scriptures themselves, beIore translation into Tibetan.
16
Jonathan
Silk, Ior example, argues that they never had a unique compositional kernel, nor
were ever subjected to a unique redactorial moment, but on the contrary, continued
to change and groworganically throughout their history. Under such circumstances,
where the very notion oI an original work is negated, what could stemmatics hope
to recover? Silk suggests we loosen our fxation on quests Ior original works, and
instead adopt the editorial methods developed by Peter SchIer Ior medieval
rabbinic literature, which, quite unlike the Masoretic Bible, is highly diIIuse.
17
Naturally, we have to ask how such limitations on stemmatics might apply to
the Ancient Tantra Collection texts. Are their traditions open or closed? Do they
derive Irommultiple translations oI possibly varying originals? Did they ever have
a unique compositional kernel, or a unique redactorial moment? Our previous
editions oI Ancient Tantra Collection texts were intended, amongst other things,
to test the experimental hypothesis that since many oI them were Tibetan-made
compilations oI largely Indic Iragments, some might have had an identifable
moment oI redaction or compilation, and thereIore need not be irrevocably diIIuse
in their origins, even iI they might have become so in their subsequent transmission.
Prior to our newedition oI the Thabs :hags) root tantra, we had edited three Ancient
Tantra Collection texts,
18
and despite their considerable corruption, and the
sometimes very considerable diIIerences between their diIIerent witnesses, we did
not fnd in these cases much evidence that cannot be most easily explained as the
outcome oI transmissional error and attempts to correct it, as well as some cases
15
T. Tomabechi, 'Selected Tantra Fragments IromTabo Monastery, in Tabo Studies II. Manuscripts,
Texts, Inscriptions, and the Arts, edited by E. Steinkellner and C. A. Scherrer-Schaub, Serie Orientale
Roma, no. 87 (Rome: IsIAO, 1999), 56, 7678.
16
Harrison, Druma-kinnara-rfa-pariprcch-stra, xlvi, remarks, 'we are already Iamiliar with the
same. with regard to Sanskrit texts: this century has seen the demise oI the notion oI the text`. we
are. accustomed to. a textual tradition.
17
Unlike the Masoretic Bible with its single fxed Iorm and the eIIective eIIacing oI all variants, in
medieval Jewish Rabbinic literature, pericopes, long divorced Irom any original context, are shared
between diIIerent texts, while texts and pericopes alike vary endlessly over time and space. Since such
characteristics are shared by Indian Mahyna scriptures, Silk suggests that SchIer`s analysis is relevant
to Buddhist Studies (Jonathan Silk, Numata Lecture, OxIord May 19th, 2008, 'What Can Students oI
Indian Buddhist Literature Learn Irom Biblical Text Criticism?).
18
R. Mayer, A Scripture of the Ancient Tantra Collection. The Phur-pa bcu-gnyis (OxIord: Kiscadale
Publications, 1996); C. Cantwell and R. Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra and the Jafra Wrath Tantra.
Two Texts from the Ancient Tantra Collection (Vienna: The Austrian Academy oI Sciences Press,
2007).
10 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
oI editorial intervention to standardize spellings oI mantras and so Iorth. One text
even seemed partially amenable to stemmatic reconstruction,
19
although bifdity
stymied stemmatic analysis Ior the other two. With all three oI these important
Rnying ma tantras, aIter attempting to account careIully Ior the causes oI every
individual textual error or variation Iound within their diIIerent versions, we
thereIore Ielt we were most likely dealing with texts Iormed in an identifable
initial redactorial moment. But these texts were also in many places demonstrably
compiled Irom pre-existent parts, to the extent that all oI them actually shared
some similar text passages at various points. It is entirely possible some such
pre-existent parts were already replete with orthographic and other errors beIore
incorporation into their new locations. One oI the tantras perhaps gave a greater
sense oI coherent redactorial vision than the other two. A Iurther still unexplored
Ieature in early Rnying ma tantrism is evidence suggesting that the same or very
similar text titles might have served as the basis Ior quite separate compositions
at diIIerent occasions, so that several quite diIIerent texts bearing the same or
almost the same title seem to have been in circulation. However, bearing the same
title is oI course not the same thing as being a variant version oI the same
composition. While the issue about titles still needs more research, what we can
already say with reasonable certainty is that all the three texts we studied diverged
over time, and we reiterated our earlier proposal that the divergences such texts
have acquired over the last thousand years are in many cases no longer resolvable
into a single 'correct text at least not within a traditional Iramework. A Iurther
complication is that an 'original text recovered philologically might well
incorporate 'incorrect Ieatures or incoherencies, since, as we have Iound, these
texts were compiled Irompre-existing parts that were quite likely not in themselves
error-Iree. In short, the most 'correct text is not necessarily the historically earliest
or even the archetype. Unsurprisingly, our philological analysis shows that the
learned redactors oI the Sde dge xylograph on several occasions 'corrected
problematic readings quite likely inherited Irom original redactorial moments,
most notably mantras. Textual mutability has de facto become accepted and
accommodated as an inherent Ieature oI Rnying ma tantric culture, even iI reIerence
is still made towards the ideal oI a more unitary and more perIect tradition.
20
The situation has now developed with a Iurther Ancient Tantra Collection
scripture we are currently editing, called in its Iullest title, A Noble Noose of
Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis (Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padma phreng
gi don bsdus pa, Irom this point given the short title, Thabs :hags), which is rare
in having a surviving word-by-word commentary. The diIIerent extant versions
oI this tantra can vary quite dramatically, underlining how prominently textual
variation fgures within the literary culture oI the Ancient Tantra Collection. We
19
Cantwell and Mayer, Kilaya Nirvna Tantra, 79.
20
OI course, apart Irom a handIul oI key texts like the Secret Essence Tantra (Rgyud gsang ba snying
po), most oI these texts are not the object oI regular classroom study in monastic curricula. Yet they
are read by the very learned, Ior edifcation and inspiration. Understood as the backbone oI the Rnying
ma tradition on which the all-pervading 'Treasure Revelations (Gter ma) are textually dependent,
they are held in great esteem.
11 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
cannot absolutely conclude iI its tradition was open or closed, iI it descended Irom
multiple translations that later intermingled or iI it descended Irom a single
redactorial moment, although the latter would seem much more likely. What we
have Iound however is that in most oI its more prestigious surviving editions (even
though not in some more obscure peripheral versions), this scripture descended in
a strikingly fuid relationship with its own commentary, which has been a major
cause oI the very high degree oI variation between its surviving versions today.
Here, we describe the transmission oI this text, and explore some oI the causes
and circumstances oI its variability.
New Evidence from the 1habs zhags
The Thabs :hags is considered a key scripture by the Rnying ma pa, located within
a special and particularly esteemed doxographical section oI the Ancient Tantra
Collections known as the Eighteen Tantras oI Mahyoga (Ma h yo ga`i rgyud sde
bco brgyad). Its commentary displays some signs oI possible authorship in Tibet:
in chapter six, it glosses the Tibetan equivalent word Ior mandala, dkyil khor, in
terms oI the two parts oI the Tibetan word, giving frst an explanation oI center
(dkyil), Iollowed by an elaboration oI the term, circle (khor).
21
But the core verses
oI the root text do not appear Tibetan in any such obvious way, and the title was
accepted as an authentic Ancient Tradition scripture in the text lists oI two early
Sa skya masters. Grags pa rgyal mtshan (1147-1216) included it as one oI only six
Rnying ma scriptures in his tantra catalogue, and his great-nephew Chos rgyal
`phags pa`s (1235-1280) catalogue oI 1273 Iollowed likewise.
22
From there, it
Iound its way into those Bka` `gyur editions oI the Tshal pa branch that have a
special Ancient Tantra section, and also into at least two independent Bka` `gyur
collections. However, the Iamous Iourteenth-century compiler oI the Bka` `gyur,
Bu ston (1290-1364), did not endorse it as a valid translation Irom Sanskrit, and
it does not occur in the Bka` `gyurs oI the Themspangs ma branch oI descent,which
21
We understand Irom Sanskritist colleagues that it is extremely unlikely that the Sanskrit word,
mandala, could have been similarly separated into two parts with exactly these implications. It seems
then, that this part oI the Commentary cannot be an unmediated translation Irom a Sanskrit original. It
is worth noting that Tibetan commentarial traditions sometimes break the Sanskrit word, mandala, into
two Ior the purpose oI glossing its meaning, but the connotations would not correspond neatly to the
Tibetan equivalent term. For instance, Mi pham glosses mandal as essence or vital juice, and la as
taking or holding, so that mandala would mean, to grasp the essence enlightened qualities. He adds
that iI the word is taken as a whole, it can also mean, completely circular or entirely surrounded, and
hence is translated as dkyil khor: mandal ni snying poam/ bcud dang la ni len cing d:in pa ste snying
poi yon tan d:in pai g:hir gyur paam/ rnam pa gcig tu sgra brel mar thad kar bsgyur na kun nas
:lum :hing yongs su bskor bai don du fug pas dkyil khor :hes bya ste/ (Mi pham rgya mtsho, Gsang
grel phyogs bcui mun sel gyi spyi don od gsal snying po, in Jam mgon fu mi pham rgya mtshoi
gsung bum rgyas pa sde dge dgon chen par ma, vol. 19 |Paro: Lama Ngodrup and Sherab Drimey,
1984-1993|, 136. Thanks to Karma Phuntsho Ior drawing our attention to this source).
22
Helmut Eimer, 'A Source Ior the First Narthang Kanjur: Two Early Sa skya pa Catalogues oI the
Tantras, in Transmission of the Tibetan Canon. Papers Presented at a Panel of the 7th Seminar of
the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Gra: 1995, edited by H. Eimer (Wien: Verlag der
sterreichischen Akademie der WissenschaIten, 1997a), 52.
12 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
do not have Ancient Tantra sections. The Bka` `gyur traditions, then, were not in
agreement, and we remain uncertain about its original provenance.
This text is extremely interesting Ior several reasons. It is one oI only two
Iull-length, complete Ancient Tantra Collection scriptures Iound at Dunhuang, the
other being the Guhyasamfa, which is a text Iar more used by the Gsar ma pa
than the Rnying ma pa, who, de Iacto, rarely practice Guhyasamfa traditions,
even while having it in the Ancient Tantra Collection. The Thabs :hags is
Iurthermore one oI the very Iew Ancient Tantra Collection scriptures anywhere to
have its own word-by-word commentary. This commentary survived at Dunhuang,
and in Iact the Dunhuang version oI the root tantra comes embedded within the
commentary, in the Iorm oI lemmata. Yet the commentary was seemingly ignored
or even Iorgotten by the later Rnying ma tradition. Despite the Iact that a somewhat
corrupt partial version oI it survives in three Bstan `gyur editions, it does not seem
to have had any signifcant presence in Rnying ma collections such as the
Transmitted Teachings oI the Nyingma Tradition (Rnying ma bka` ma),
23
and none
oI the highly learned Rnying ma bla mas we showed it to seems to have had any
prior knowledge oI its existence. We have Iound traditional citations Irom the
Thabs :hags commentary in the works oI Rong zom chos kyi bzang po and oI
Klong chen pa.
24
They cite diIIerent passages, both Irom chapter two, which deals
with the samayas.
25
Rong zom pa`s citation is almost verbatim Irom the
commentary, with some words omitted, while Klong chen pa seems to paraphrase
a number oI points made in the commentary. In both cases, they simply note that
the citation is Irom the Thabs :hags, without speciIying that it comes Irom the
commentary rather than the root text. Such historically early non-diIIerentiation
between root text (mla) and commentary might be oI interest, in the light oI our
discussion below.
23
No version oI the Thabs :hags commentary was included in DudjomRinpoche`s Bka` ma collection.
We do not know iI it was included in earlier Bka` ma collections. A copy oI the Peking Bstan `gyur
version has been included in the new Bka ma shin tu rgyas pa compiled by KaH thog mkhan po `jams
dbangs (Chengdu, 1999), vol. wu (80), 125-236. It has been copied anew Ior this collection, but it does
clearly correspond to the Bstan `gyur versions oI the text, and an additional colophon identifes its
provenance: pe cin bstan gyur las bthus/ (presumably, btus or thus intended), 'extracted Irom the
Peking Bstan `gyur (vol. wu |80|, 236.5).
24
See Rong zom chos kyi bzang po, Rong :om bka bum |Thimphu: Kunsang Topgay, 1976|,
397-398; Klong chen pa, Bdud `joms bka` ma, la:63; and G. Dorje, 'The Guhyagarbhatantra and Its
XIVth Century Commentary, phyogs-bcu mun-sel, unpublished Ph.D thesis |School oI Oriental and
AIrican Studies, University oI London, 1988|, 393).
25
Klong chen pa also cites the root text elsewhere in the Phyogs bcui mun sel, passages Iromchapters
one, fve, ten, and Irom the fnal teaching in the Thabs :hags root text, chapter Iorty-two (Klong chen
pa, Bdud `joms bka` ma, la:255, 279-280, 445-446, 488-489, 618-619). Rong zom pa reIers to the
importance oI the Thabs :hags (Rong zom pa, Rong :om bka bum, 490), and he cites Irom two parts
oI the root text oI chapter one (Rong zom pa, Rong :om bka bum, 375, 408), also including a Iurther
apparent citation (Rong zom pa, Rong :om bka bum, 392-393) we have not identifed.
13 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Contents of the 1habs zhags and Their Historical Interest
The contents oI this text amply demonstrate how interesting and worthy oI editing
such texts can be. We have recently completed a preliminary translation oI both
root tantra and commentary, but since we are dealing with the doctrines and
historical implications in greater detail elsewhere, we only briefy review them
here.
The root text and commentary together present a complex Mahyoga doctrine
that arguably equals the contemporary Rnying ma tradition in sophistication and
complexity. They teach a classic Rnying ma pa Mahyoga doctrine oI evenness,
or sameness (mnyam pa nyid), reminiscent oI the Iamous Secret Essence Tantra
(Rgyud gsang ba snying po). Vairocana, the other fve Iamily Buddhas, with their
consorts and retinues oI bodhisattvas, make up the peaceIul deities. The central
male deity oI the wrathIul mandala is a Iorm oI Sr Heruka with nine heads and
eighteen arms,
26
surrounded by the Ten WrathIul Deities, or Khro bo bcu. The
central Iemale is the great Iearsome Iemale deity (`Jigs byed chen mo), specifed
in the commentary as Ral gcig ma (Ekajat), still the main ma mo, or wrathIul
Iemale deity, oI the Rnying ma pantheon. These main deities are surrounded by a
large entourage oI emanations whose names, ordering, and attributes remain very
similar in some transmitted Rnying ma texts, including some modern liturgical
texts. In addition, the tantra teaches a wide range oI ostensibly more pragmatic
rituals, yet it packages them in a Iramework which comprehensively internalizes
them, conspicuously turning them towards an exclusively soteriological purpose
and orientation. It achieves this by an interpretation oI Mahyoga ritual that might
be seen as anticipating Klong chen pa`s Rdzogs chen-oriented interpretations oI
the Iundamental Mahyoga tantra, the Secret Essence Tantra, in his Iamous Phyogs
bcui mun sel commentary. The Thabs :hags commentary also includes numerous
citations Iromother named tantric texts, some oI whose titles correspond to Iamous
scriptures oI the Eighteen Tantras oI Mahyoga. However, we have not located
the quoted passages in the extant scriptures oI the same names, and it appears that
they may not be intended as exact citations in any case.
27
The marginal annotations to the Dunhuang manuscript version oI the
commentary are extremely valuable, existing nowhere else, since the Bstan `gyur
versions did not reproduce them. They mention Sntigarbha and several times
speak oI Sambhava or Padmasambhava, but in enigmatic terms. Other scholars,
Iollowing Eastman`s short discussion oI this text in the 1980s,
28
have assumed
26
Described in A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis (Phags pa thabs kyi :hags
pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pai grel p), chapter 12: 47r-49v, IOL Tib J 321
(http://idp.bl.uk/database/ooloader.a4d?pmIOL20Tib20J20321).
27
See C. Cantwell and R. Mayer, 'The Dunhuang Thabs kyi :hags pa padma phreng gi don bsdus
pai grel pa Manuscript: A Source Ior Understanding the Transmission oI Mahyoga in Tibet. A
Progress Report, to appear in OTDO Monograph Series 3, edited by M. Kapstein and Y. Imaeda, in
press.
28
K. W. Eastman, 'Mahyoga Texts at Tun-huang, Bulletin of Institute of Buddhist Cultural Studies
22 (1983): 49-52.
14 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
they represent Padmasambhava as author oI the commentary.
29
In Iact, the
manuscript has no clear cut colophon at all, beyond giving a scribe`s name. What
it does fnish with is an enigmatic annotated homage that is not unambiguously
identifable as a colophon, together with a marginal note, which seems, iI anything,
perhaps just as likely to point to Padmasambhava as the source oI the root tantra,
possibly with Sntigarbha as author oI the commentary. However, we have
identifed a closely parallel verse to the main text`s homage in Nyang ral nyi ma
`od zer`s (1124-1192) Padmasambhava hagiography, the Zangs gling ma, and it
now seems clear that the commentary`s main text does indeed conclude with a
devotional praise to Padmasambhava.
30
This may help to shed light on the
pre-history oI the Rnying ma tradition, with a Tantric scripture associated with
Padmasambhava Irom the tenth century or perhaps even earlier; the dating oI
Dunhuang texts remains too primitive to permit real certainty. The commentary
does employ some oI the doctrinal technical terms associated with another genuinely
very early text associated with Padmasambhava, the Instructions on the Garland
of Jiews (Man ngag lta phreng), but in several other respects shows a diIIerent
doctrinal orientation.
31
Sntigarbha, a contemporary oI Padmasambhava, was an
Indian master well known Irom early sources, and particularly associated with
Yogatantra texts. In Bu ston`s writings, he is given as a translator oI the Total
Purihcation of All Evil Existences, the King of Splendour (Ngan song thams cad
yongs su sbyong ba g:i brfid kyi rgyal poi brtag pa, Sarva-durgati-parisodhana-
teforfasya-kalpa).
32
The Phang thang ma claims he perIormed the consecration
rituals Ior Bsam yas.
33
Sntigarbha continues to play an important role alongside
Padmasambhava in later Rnying ma literature as one oI the so-called Eight
Vidydharas oI India, whom the Rnying ma pa revere as important Iounders oI
29
A recent article Irom Sam van Schaik, Ior example, writes that 'the Dunhuang Ms IOL Tib J 321
contains a colophon which states that Padmasambhava was the author oI the commentary (Sam van
Schaik, 'ADefnition oI Mahyoga, in Tantric Studies 1 |Hamburg: Center Ior Tantric Studies, 2008|,
47).
30
Our Iorthcoming book presents the evidence in detail.
31
In general terms, the Thabs :hags tends to more narrowly Iocus on its own specifc approach to
liberation, while the Garland of Jiews has a wider expository range. Also, unlike the Thabs :hags root
tantra, the Garland of Jiews is written as commentary, in a human voice, rather than the divine voices
oI scripture. Those technical terms shared by both texts are still widely current in modern Rnying ma
literature, which likes to cite the Instructions on the Garland of Jiews as their ultimate source and
which still explains them in very similar terms to the Thabs :hags comnmentary and the Instructions
on the Garland of Jiews. See C. Cantwell and R. Mayer, 'Continuity and Change in Tibetan Mahyoga
Ritual: Some Evidence Irom the Tabzhag (Thabs :hags) Manuscript and Other Dunhuang Texts, in
Tibetan Ritual, ed. Jose Cabezon (New York: OxIor University Press, 2010), 79, 87 n. 29.
32
See A. Herrmann-PIandt, Die lHan kar ma. Ein frher Katalog der ins Tibetische berset:ten
buddhistischen Texte (Wien: Verlag der sterreichischen Akademie der WissenschaIten, 2008), 177,
i t em 323. Mar t i n ( Ti bskri t Phi l ol ogy, Jer usal em, Apr i l 2006,
http://tibetan-studies-resources.blogspot.com/2006/04/tibskrit-bibliography-oI-tibetan.html; entry on
Sntigarbha) notes that Bu ston`s Yogatantra history (135.1, 140.1) lists his works and mentions his
Yogatantra explanations, Bru grel rgan po.
33
rgya gar gyi slob dpon bsam yas kyi rab gnas mkhan sham ting gar bha/ (Phang thang ma/ dkar
chag phang thang ma/ sgra sbyor bam po gnyis pa |Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003|, 2 and
Iront matter plate 2, Iolio 1v.6-7).
15 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
their Mahyoga tradition, and several oI whomfgure quite visibly in the Dunhuang
literature.
34
In short, this old manuscript adds considerable weight to the evidence Ior
substantial representatives oI what we nowcall Rnying ma Mahyoga being already
present beIore the Dunhuang caves were closed. But such continuity is hardly
surprising, since the Thabs :hags root text itselI still exists within the Ancient
Tantra Collection, and was cited as a source by various Rnying ma authorities over
the centuries; most oI the commentary still survives in the Bstan `gyur, even iI
somewhat ignored.
The 1habs zhags Transmission
The Thabs :hags transmission in Tibet comprises two parts: the transmission oI
the root scripture, and the transmission oI the commentary. To understand the
transmission oI the Thabs :hags in Tibet, we must consider that while the root
tantra probably did originally exist as a stand alone text, this stand alone version
seems to have been displaced very early on by another work in which the root text
came embedded in its commentary. We now know Irom stemmatic analysis that
the ancient stand-alone version did in Iact leave traces within various marginal
editions in the extreme west, east and south oI the Tibetan cultural regions.
However, by the time the Tshal pa Bka` `gyur and the some oI the Rnying ma pa
canonical editions were being compiled, this stand-alone version seems to have
been lost to view. At least, we can certainly see that on separate occasions, canonical
compilers both Rnying ma and Gsar ma Ielt Iorced to attempt their own independent
eIIorts at re-extracting the root text Irom the commentary, and in doing so, came
to rather diIIerent conclusions about what was commentary and what was root. In
this paper, we will briefy describe the transmission oI the commentary, and then
Iocus on these prestigious and infuential canonical editions oI the root text, the
ones that were and still are used by most Tibetan readers, and refect on the diIIerent
decisions their editors made about the boundaries oI the root text.
The commentary survives in only two sources: the Dunhuang manuscript and
a truncated version in the three Bstan `gyur editions oI Peking, Snar thang, and
Dga` ldan.
35
The Bstan `gyur versions derive Irom a single ancestor, as evidenced
in numerous shared indicative errors, including the omission oI all text Irom the
middle oI chapter six until the end oI chapter ten; and Irom the middle oI chapter
thirteen until the end oI chapter seventeen: altogether over 30 percent oI the total
text. Without the Dunhuang text, these missing parts would not be recoverable.
34
As Iar as we are currently aware, without having yet made an exhaustive search, at least fve out
oI this list oI eight masters have turned up so Iar in various Dunhuang tantric texts: Majusrmitra in
IOL Tib J 331.1, and in IOL Tib J 1774; Prabhahasti seems perhaps to be reIerred to (as 'Pra be se)
in PT 44 (Cantwell and Mayer, Early Tibetan Documents, 60), Padmasambhava in several (PT 44, PT
307, IOL Tib J 321), Sntigarbha in IOL Tib J 321; Vimalamitra (Bye ma la mu tra, I.1) in IOL Tib J
644 and IOL Tib J 688 (on rosaries); Majusrmitra, Hmkara (and Buddhagupta), in IOL Tib J 1774
(slob pon ni bu ta kub ta dang / shi ri man fu dang / hung ka ra).
35
It does not, however, survive in the Sde dge or Co ne Bstan `gyurs.
16 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Conversely, some much smaller but still signifcant omissions in the Dunhuang
text can be recovered Irom the Bstan `gyur.
The transmission oI the root scripture is more complex. It descends in fve extant
branches, each clearly distinguished by their sharing oI unique indicative errors
and other Ieatures, and in two Iurther Independent Bka` `gyur manuscripts, both
oI which share important Ieatures with the fIth branch, but not its indicative errors.
1. Firstly, there are the lemmata within the Dunhuang manuscript.
2. Secondly, there are the lemmata Irom the Bstan `gyur commentary.
3. Thirdly, several Bka` `gyurs Irom the Tshal pa line carry the root text in
their Ancient Tantra sections.
36
The version in the Sde dge xylograph
Ancient Tantra Collection must also be considered part oI this Bka` `gyur
branch, since it must have been prepared using publisher`s prooIs (par
yig) made Irom the same blocks as the slightly earlier Sde dge xylograph
Bka` `gyur,
37
with little more than the pagination varying.
4. Fourthly, there is a version witnessed by all Iour available Bhutanese
Ancient Tantra Collection manuscripts, namely Mtshams brag, Sgang
steng-a, Sgang steng-b, and Sgra med rtse.
5. FiIthly, there is a version witnessed by the South Central Tibetan Ancient
Tantra Collection manuscript editions oI Gting skyes, Rig `dzin, and
Kathmandu (we have not been able to check the Nubri manuscript oI this
grouping, since the relevant Iolios are missing).
38
6. Finally, thanks to our colleagues Helmut Eimer, Helmut Tauscher, and
Bruno Laine, who have generously shared unpublished photographs with
us, we now know that Iurther witnesses oI the text are also Iound in the
two Independent Bka` `gyurs oI `Ba` thang and Hemis, and these witnesses
share the textual tradition oI the South Central version, but they each have
their own unique indicative errors.
These fve versions oI the root text diIIer Irom each other, sometimes radically.
At frst glance, one might imagine the variation to result Irom an open tradition,
36
The Rgyal rtse Them spangs ma manuscript, the progenitor oI the other main line oI Bka` `gyur
descent, did not have an Ancient Tantra section (Paul Harrison commented, 'I would say there is
virtually no chance that the text was included in the rGyal rtse Them spangs ma MS Kanjur. Personal
communication, August 6th, 2007; see also Helmut Eimer, 'Structure oI the Tibetan Kanjur, in The
Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, edited by H. Eimer and D. Germano |Leiden: Brill, 2002|, 66).
Hence the Iour mixed Bka` `gyurs oI Snar thang, Sde dge, Lha sa, and Urga, could be predicted also
in this case to have relied on exemplars Irom the Tshal pa Bka` `gyur branch, and our collations,
demonstrating a close relation between all the Bka` `gyur versions, would support that prediction. The
case oI the Ulan Bator manuscript Bka` `gyur is less clear, since this is said to be a Them spangs ma
Bka` `gyur, yet it also contains an Ancient Tantra section. However, since these texts seem to be
identical to the eighteen or nineteen contained in the Tshal pa editions, they might simply be a copy
oI those, which technically would render the Ulan Bator manuscript a mixed Bka` `gyur, rather than a
pure Them spangs ma transmission.
37
Samten G. Karmay, Feast of the Morning Light, Senri Ethnological Reports, no. 57 (Osaka:
National Museum oI Ethnology, 2005), 78, describes the process oI making the publisher`s prooIs (par
yig).
38
Missing Irom volume ma.
17 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
like those Bka` `gyur texts where diIIerent Tibetan translations, sometimes also
deriving Irom diIIering Sanskrit sources, had descended separately and then
interacted within Tibet. II the Dunhuang fnds had never been recovered, this is
quite possibly the kind oI conclusion philologists might have come to Ior the Thabs
:hags.
But on closer inspection, the evidence actually indicates otherwise. DiIIerences
between the two versions oI the commentary can all be explained by transmissional
error causing loss or corruption oI text in one or the other version. Striking
variations in the root text appear to have been generated IromconIusion as to which
words oI the commentary were lemmata, and which words were commentary. We
believe the South Central Tibetan Ancient Tantra Collection grouping, with the
two independent Bka` `gyurs oI `Ba` thang and Hemis, preserve the original
boundaries oI the stand-alone root text. However, the historically much more
infuential Tshal pa Bka` `gyur and Bhutanese editions oI the root text do not
descend Iromthe original stand-alone root text: they descend Iromthe commentary,
and on diIIerent occasions, took quite diIIerent and mutually varying decisions
about what were lemmata oI the root text and what was commentary. So even
though our textual analysis may not be able irrevocably to exclude all other
possibilities, including an open tradition,
39
nevertheless it is undeniable that a major
Iactor in the social transmission oI this tantra over the last ten centuries has been
its Iuzzy boundaries with its own commentary within its most widely used editions.
There are parts oI the commentary where all the lemmata are made perIectly
clear by the structure or wording oI the text. For example, most chapters commence
with a clearly Iramed Iour line verse oI root text. OIten, words oI the root text may
be signaled by wording, such as :hes gsungs te (it is said). However, there are large
sections where the root text is not explicitly marked oII in this way.
The Dunhuang scribes clearly understood the importance oI distinguishing root
text Iromcommentary. In the Dunhuang manuscript, lemmata are oIten highlighted
with a semi-transparent wash sometimes Iound in Indian and Tibetan manuscripts
that is similar to the idea oI modern highlighting ink. UnIortunately, it seems not
to have been applied completely or consistently,
40
leaving major ambiguities.
41
We
39
There are several possible scenarios, although only a Iew likely ones: perhaps a unitary root text
frst appeared in Tibet embedded in its commentary, and variation was generated as scribes tried to
separate the lemmata Irom the commentary; or perhaps a unitary root text might have begun liIe
independently, and over time become expanded and contracted through editorial reIerence to the
commentary; or perhaps there was an open tradition in which several diIIering original root texts
interacted over time with each other and with the commentary. We believe only the second oI these
possibilities is at all likely.
40
The exact original extent oI the highlighting is uncertain. In some cases, the wash may originally
have been applied, but later vanished. There are also other cases where it has seeped through the page,
so that some text on the reverse side mistakenly appears to have been highlighted (although this is
mostly a problem only Ior modern readers oI the digital images, since this Ieature is clearer when
reading the actual document).
41
Sometimes, text that would clearly appear to be part oI the root text, and is so indicated by the
phrasing oI the text, is not highlighted, and the dissolution oI the wash cannot explain all such examples.
More rarely, text which is not Iound in any oI our extant root texts is highlighted.
18 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
cannot know how Iar other ancient manuscripts might have applied such marking,
and there is no evidence Ior it in the modern Bstan `gyur versions. However, it
does enable us to see how the scribe oI the Dunhuang manuscript understood the
boundaries oI the root and commentary, at least Ior large sections oI the text. And
it is striking that a good deal oI text that occurs in some or all oI our various root
texts, is neither indicated as root text in the Dunhuang manuscript by wording or
by highlighting.
To consider one example (see the Transcription Section), parallel diplomatic
transcriptions oI part oI chapter eleven Irom: |1| the Dunhuang manuscript; |2|
the South-Central Tibetan manuscripts; |3| the Bhutanese manuscript tradition;
|4| the Bka` `gyur Tradition (as represented here simply by D/Dk). See also the
British Library`s digital images oI the relevant Iolios (Iolios 42r-43r, 44v-45r, at
http://idp.bl.uk/database/ooloader.a4d?pmIOL20Tib20J20321), on which
the highlighting is clear.
IOL Tib J 321, folios 42v-43r.
-
Reproduced by kind permission of The British
Library.
IOL Tib J 321, folios 41v-42r.
-
Reproduced by kind permission of The British
Library.
IOL Tib J 321, folios 44v-45r.
-
Reproduced by kind permission of The British
Library.
IOL Tib J 321, folios 43v-44r.
-
Reproduced by kind permission of The British
Library.
Firstly, iI one looks at this passage in the Dunhuang manuscript, it can be seen
that the mantras alone have been selected Ior highlighting, most probably indicating
19 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
that they alone constitute root text.
42
Then, iI you look at Transcription B, you will
see that more than fve hundred years later, the South Central Tibetan and the `Ba`
thang independent Bka` `gyur editions still agree with this assessment (the passage
is unIortunately lost through Iolio loss in the Hemis independent Bka` `gyur),
reproducing as root text only what the Dunhuang manuscript has highlighted. The
Bhutanese editions on Transcription C have mainly agreed with this assessment,
but have also added the list oI eight zoomorphic goddesses Iound lower down in
the commentary (Ior convenience, we have underlined them in the Dunhuang
manuscript transcription). By contrast, the Bka` `gyur versions in Transcription D
disagree entirely: in this section they take every single word given in the
commentary as root text.
What has happened here? We know Irom stemmatic analysis that the South
Central and Independent Bka` `gyur traditions alone remain IaithIul to an ancient
and correct tradition as represented in this case in the Dunhuang manuscript through
its highlighting, while the Bka` `gyur tradition has mistakenly allowed a lot oI
commentarial passages to intrude into the root text. But in Iact, there are powerIul
apparent justifcations Ior the Bka` `gyur reading. The text at this point appears
seemlessly to continue the reported conversation begun at the beginning oI the
chapter, between Vajrasattva, as teacher oI the tantra and Vajrapani, as interlocutor.
In other words, unlike much oI the commentary, it takes the literary Iorm oI root
text, the actual speech acts oI the Buddhas, rather than the commentarial utterances
oI a human voice. But this raises Iurther questions, because elsewhere in the text,
Vajrasattva is the interlocutor, and Vairocana the expounder: might this section
then be an interpolation Irom another tantra? Yet that need not be the case, since
Vajrapani and the Eight Bodhisattvas are undoubtedly part oI the mandala, so that
Vajrasattva could quite convincingly be explained as addressing his explanation
to Vajrapani in the implied capacity oI intermediary to Vairocana. Thus the question
remained Ior the Bka` `gyur editors, does the passage count as commentary, or is
it intended as an integral part oI the root text? The text here describes and comments
on the eIIectiveness oI the Iemale deities who are listed in the frst part oI the
chapter, and whose mantras are now given. The phrasing oI the additional text
correctly omitted in the South Central, `Ba` thang, and Bhutanese versions could
Iromappearances alone perIectly well be either root text or commentarial meditative
instruction. It is almost impossible to adjudicate between the diIIerent readings
without stemmatic analysis.
Perhaps Tibetan editors Iound it additionally hard to know the answers to these
questions, because the literary conventions separating Buddhist root tantras Irom
42
An element oI uncertainty remains, since very occasionally, the manuscript highlights words or
phrases that it clearly does not recognise as root text Ior instance, a Iew citations oI other texts are
highlighted. Furthermore, we are considering the possibility that Ior areas where the commentary merely
reproduces root text, the manuscript may be satisfed with highlighting the opening words or otherwise
leaving long passages oI root text unhighlighted. In this case, however, the coincidence oI the South
Central Tibetan and `Ba` thang versions agreeing with the manuscript`s highlighted words suggests
that the manuscript correctly identifed the root text. Moreover, there is no other part oI the manuscript
where mantras are singled out Ior highlighting.
20 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
their commentaries are not always rigorously observed. A root tantra text passage
can sometimes look like commentary, and vice versa. Moreover, within a tantra,
interlocutors and expounders can change (we fnd this Ior example within the Phur
pa bcu gnyis), and there is no inherent reason why a divine fgure who is an
interlocutor at one juncture cannot become an expounder at another.
II the Dunhuang manuscript is anything to go by, it is quite likely that the Tshal
pa Bka` `gyur and Bhutanese Ancient Tantra Collection editors were not much
helped by the layout oI the commentary witnesses they were working Irom. Albeit
rarely, we can sometimes Ieel confdent that the Dunhuang manuscript`s
highlighting technique does identiIy commentary intruding into the root text. The
opening root text citation in both chapters seven and eight contains a single line
explaining that Vajrasattva is being addressed. This line in each opening verse is
un-highlighted in the Dunhuang manuscript, but it occurs (mistakenly) in the Bka`
`gyur version oI the root text. UnIortunately, most occasions where we have
apparent disagreement, oIten over extensive passages, are not so easily resolved.
The Dunhuang manuscript does not highlight any oI the text within the penultimate
chapter Iorty-one, which some versions count as the frst part oI the fnal chapter.
43
The Bhutanese Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa version appears
largely to accept this assessment, jumping Irom the chapter`s opening words to
the content oI chapter Iorty-two, which in some versions is not a separate chapter.
44
Yet the Bka` `gyur version includes every word oI chapter Iorty-one oI the
commentarial text, while only only the South Central Ancient Tantra Collection
and two Independent Bka` `gyurs correctly show only a Iew lines Irom it. In this
instance, the text actually looks much more like commentary, suggesting a good
case Ior the Bhutanese decision, although the specifc lines given in the South
Central Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa and the Independent Bka`
`gyurs make good sense as root text and are actually correct. Again, there is no
easy or obvious way oI adjudicating such a case without stemmatics. In this paper,
we have examined only one specimen boundary diIIerence: in Iact, the extant
versions oI the root text all display diIIerent and unique boundary choices in various
places, showing that the defnition oI the root texts` boundaries has been quite
undecided over the last one thousand years. At least fve diIIerent decisions about
it survive in the extant literature, and we have no idea howmany others might have
existed in the past.
45
43
Equivalent to the frst part oI the fnal unlabelled chapter in the Dunhuang manuscript version.
44
Note that in contrast, in chapter seven, the Bhutanese version accepts strings oI mantra syllables
given in the commentary (unhighlighted in the Dunhuang manuscript) in its version oI the root text,
where the Tshal pa Bka` `gyur, the `Ba` thang Bka` `gyur, and South Central Ancient Tantra Collection
versions do not include them (the Hemis Bka` `gyur is missing this section through Iolio loss).
45
In addition to the decisions represented by the three groupings oI root text versions, we can add
the commentary`s implicit marking oI lemmata by its wording in some parts oI the text, together with
its apparent Iailure to mark oII the lemmata in other parts oI the text (making its assessment oI the
boundaries uncertain in these areas oI the text). Finally, we have the added layer oI the Dunhuang
manuscript`s version oI the commentary with its highlighting, apparently clariIying the commentary`s
assessment, but in Iact, still leaving some uncertainty, and apparently underestimating the extent oI the
root text, in comparison with the three surviving root text versions.
21 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Perhaps we have little option but to allow, as do Tibetan bla mas with some
reluctance in actual social practice, that the root text oI the Thabs :hags has taken
several widely diIIering Iorms, most oI themequally deIensible on purely semantic
grounds. Despite the probable unitary origins oI the text in a single archetype,
undoubtedly, the boundaries between the root text and the commentary have proven
Iuzzy Ior a thousand years or more. II we accept the possible interpretation that
the root text was originally seen as the teachings oI Padmasambhava, a Iully
enlightened being in human Iorm who resembles the later Rnying ma treasure
revealers by being able to produce both scripture and commentary alike, then it
looks harder still to fx the Iuzzy boundaries without the beneft oI stemmatics.
The text oI the Thabs :hags root tantra remains singularly diIfcult to separate
Irom its commentary to this day and probably would have always remained so,
without the beneft oI modern stemmatic analysis.
Concluding Reections
In previous studies, we have looked at how what may seem signifcant variation
to modern Western eyes, is tolerated in diIIerent editions oI Rnying ma tantric
texts. For example, we looked at the development oI the Bdud foms gter gsar
sngon gro text, Irom Bdud `joms gling pa`s (1835-1904) earlier version to that oI
the second Bdud foms sprul sku, `Jigs bral ye shes rdo rje (1904-1987).
46
Some
years ago, we looked at two variants within the Vajraklaya root verses, perhaps
transmissionally generated, both oI which have attracted an immense degree oI
commentarial exegesis over the centuries Irom many great masters.
47
Thus the
Thabs :hags reminds us once again that beyond technical questions oI open or
closed transmissions, a major desideratumIor Rnying ma textual scholars is Iurther
investigation into its culture oI seemingly tolerated textual variation a topic not
so Iar suIfciently explored.
Institutionally speaking, Rnying ma tantric culture was a world oI shiIting
decentralized religious authority, where no single body could establish a text
defnitive Ior all. Moreover, textual reproduction through manuscript copies
dominated over print culture. Sde dge`s late eighteenth century xylographic edition
was the only Ancient Tantra Collection ever printed, and as has oIten proven to
be the case with Tibetan literature, the impact oI its printing in any case did little
to reduce the variation between editions.
48
In common with much traditional
46
C. Cantwell, 'Variations in Tibetan Buddhist Meditations on Deities: Refections on the Process
oI Generating Practices, Unpublished paper presented to the UK Association Ior Buddhist Studies
ConIerence: Buddhism and Popular Culture, Lancaster, July 2006. Rather more radical variation has
since been generated within English language sources presenting the Bdud foms gter gsar sngon gro
practices, since interpretations oI the terse instructions have greatly varied.
47
See note 2, and on the specifc variant oI the homophones, sgo/go in the frst root verse, see Mayer,
A Scripture, 213-216.
48
The popular perception that a manuscript tradition must necessarily generate more variation than
a printed tradition is Irequently overstated. The Masoretic Bible was exclusively a manuscript tradition
Ior many centuries beIore the age oI print, yet Iamously succeeded in eliminating variation through
the application oI ingeniously simple traditional methods oI alphabetic and verbal calculations, so that
22 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Buddhist scholasticism, it was also a world characterized by prodigious Ieats oI
memory, resulting in complex ongoing interactions between written and memorized
versions oI texts, the dynamics oI which so Iar remain little analyzed by
international scholarship. More importantly, as with the rest oI Tibetan Buddhism
and so typically oI many pre-modern cultures, the literary ideal was usually not to
author brilliant entirely original ideas in the modern post-renaissance sense that
would be decried as mere individualistic contrivance (rang b:o). Rather, the idea
was IaithIully to pass on existing understandings, oIten by preserving received text
verbatim. In short, a common ideal was not the 'author as we modernists know
it, but something more akin to the fgure oI the 'tradent that has been so brilliant
analyzed in recent Talmudic scholarship. In such a world oI de Iacto ongoing
collective authorship, existing Iragments or building blocks oI holy dharma, blessed
through their usage by many previous generations oI masters, are typically
re-infected, re-anthologized, and rearranged by learned bla mas to suit the needs
oI their contemporary audiences. This has two implications: frstly, the notion oI
an individual creative author as we have it does not always apply very well the
notion oI tradent as part oI a collective enterprise descending through the
generations oIten fts better. Secondly, the notion oI a fxed text was not strictly
envisaged in all cases: as Jonathan Silk and Paul Harrison have pointed out Ior
India, some genres oI Tibetan literature in a very real sense included an aspect oI
collective works in endless progress.
49
the scribe knew exactly how many instances oI each word and letter should occur in each paragraph.
Conversely, as modern textual critics like Jerome McGann have shown, literary works that are Iar more
recent than the Masoretic text and which only emerged in the age oI print, can vary considerably, Ior
a wide variety oI reasons. Hence we must conclude that the unyielding ideological determination oI
generations oI Jews to keep their Torah absolutely Iree oI variation or error proved more signifcant
than any limitations oI the manuscript medium; while the lack oI such determination has allowed some
modern printed literary works, such as Byron`s The Giaour, to vary greatly Irom the outset (J. J.
McGann, A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism |Chicago: University oI Chicago Press, 1983|, 31-2,
59II, 105-106). The same has been true oI Rnying ma block prints and other printings oI religious
liturgies in recent history: signifcant textual variations between diIIerent printed versions oI the same
popular practice texts are riIe in Bhutanese and Tibetan monasteries in India. The mere Iact oI printing
has Iailed to eradicate variation or make such Rnying ma texts uniIorm. Thus we can see that in pursuit
oI uniIormity, ideological commitment clearly trumps technology. One oI our major theoretical points
is that a Masoretic Jewish-type absolute commitment to accuracy at any cost has not been evidenced
in the Ancient Tantra Collection tradition, nor generally in Mahyna and Vajrayna Buddhism
otherwise, as we know Irom the Jewish example, complete uniIormity could technically have been
achieved, even beIore the advent oI print. Nor were techniques Ior textual uniIormity similar to the
Masoretic ones unknown in India and Tibet Iar Irom it the stability oI the Paninian and Tibetan
syllabaries encouraged the development oI methods oI alphabetic calculation, so that we fnd comparable
methods routinely applied with complete success in coded mantra tables (mantroddhra, sngags btu
ba; see note 52 below). These served to protect the exact spelling oI mantras over many centuries
against any possible transmissionally generated variation. There was probably nothing other than the
lack oI overwhelming ideological commitment to prevent suchlike or other even more compact and
simple techniques oI alphabetic and verbal calculation being applied to the entirety oI Buddhist texts,
beyond the mantras. Perhaps the very words oI the traditional Buddhist nidna 'Thus have I heard:
at one time... leaves open some possibility that someone else heard something slightly diIIerent
regarding another occasion when the Buddha taught.
49
Gter ma fts this description very well. To give one extremely simple example, the version oI Bdud
`joms gling pa`s (1835-1904) Iulfllment liturgy (bskang ba) Ior Vajraklaya which his reincarnation
Bdud `joms rin po che (1904-1987) edited makes one very small yet potent textual change, which has
23 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Such pervasive Ieatures oI Tibetan literary culture remain desperately
under-studied, and we are scheduled to make Iurther investigations into them in
the near Iuture. From what little is understood so Iar, it seems that the parameters
oI process and change might diIIer between genres. In Gter ma, textual variation
oIten accumulates over time through the complex yet oIten visible interactions oI
identifable authors, governed by strict cultural norms. For example, our recent
work on the Immortal Lifes Creative Seed (Chi med srog thig) and other texts
within the Bdud `joms corpus shows how named bla mas edit, revise, remix and
republish the revelations oI previous gter stons, or else adapt previous revelations
into a newer revelation.
50
Yet in the Ancient Tantra Collection, variation more
oIten takes the Iorm oI a mute inscrutable anonymous inheritance Irom the distant
past.
51
Our present question is, how might we begin to approach Rnying ma
understandings oI variation specifcally in the Thabs :hags and in the wider Ancient
Tantra Collection?
First, we must review what data we have which oI course is still small, since
most oI the Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa remains unread.
However, we do know that the Sde dge Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying
ma pa, the only surviving Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa redaction
that was able to consult several geographically diverse editions, careIully reproduces
good alternative readings in its marginal notes (see note 10). Taking this Iurther,
the eIIect oI bringing the group oI deities in the retinue into line with Bdud `joms rin po che`s own
version oI Bdud `joms gling pa`s revelation. A line which in Bdud `joms gling pa`s text reIerred to the
four Iamilies oI the Sras mchog kilas (sras mchog ki la rigs b:hii thugs dam bskang., Bdud `joms
gling pa, Padmai rnam rol bdud foms gling pai skor nye brgyud :ab gter chos md:od rin po che, ed.
H. H. Bdud-`joms `jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rje |Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama|, ca:126), has been amended
to hve Iamilies (sras mchog ki la rigs lngai thugs dam bskang., Bdud `joms rin po che, `Jigs bral ye
shes rdo rje, The Collected Writings and Revelations of H. H. bDud-foms Rin-po-che Jigs bral ye
shes rdo rfe, vol. tha |Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1979-1985|, 160).
50
Dudjom Rinpoche`s works in volume pha oI his Collected Works on a tantric longevity practice
revealed by one oI his root gurus, Zil gnon nam mkha`i rdo rje (Bdud `joms rin po che, The Collected
Writings; including his Commentary, bsnyen yig, 431-509; Notes on Ritual Procedures, khrigs :in,
193-208; and Ritual Practice Framework Manual, sgrub khog, 233-296), reproduce
historical/mythological and ritual practice material Irom the FiIteenth Karmapa`s empowerment texts.
They also introduce a number oI modifcations (many related to the Smin grol gling practice traditions
which he Iollowed) and his own elaborations (we discuss this at length in our Iorthcoming book written
jointly with GeoIIrey Samuel, The Seed of Immortal Life. Contexts and Meanings of a Tibetan Longevity
Practice |Kathmandu: Vajra Books|). His texts on the Gnamlcags spu gri cycle oI Vajraklaya (volumes
tha and da oI his Collected Works) are said to represent Bdud `joms gling pa`s original Gter ma
revelation, although they are clearly extensively re-written and expanded.
51
We need to distinguish here variation within single texts across diIIerent editions and diIIerent
versions oI the same blocks oI material across diIIerent named scriptures. The Iocus oI this article has
been on variation within one text, but the re-presentation oI diIIerent versions oI the same text in
diIIerent root tantras is even more striking. See Cantwell and Mayer, Early Tibetan Documents, chapters
5-6 (especially p. 76-87 and Appendix to chapter 6) Ior an example oI a text preserved at Dunhuang
(IOL Tib J 331.III), the contents oI which are largely reproduced in varying sequences in diIIerent
Ancient Tantra Collection texts. Since publication, we have Iurther identifed the same text within
Nyang ral nyi ma `od zer`s The Eight Scriptural Deities Embodying the Sugatas (Bka` brgyad bde
gshegs `dus pa) collection. A very diIIerent Iorm oI variation is evidenced in the apparently jumbled
parallel text within the two Ancient Tantra Collection texts oI the Myang das`s chapter eighteen and
the Rdo rfe khros pa phur pa rtsa bai rgyud`s chapter six (Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna
Tantra, chapter 2.IV).
24 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
the Sde dge edition oI the Phur pa bcu gnyis even preserves quite variant readings
Ior the entire extended set oI Vajraklaya mantras within this single text one set
given in a mantra list, the other a corrupt and inconsistent phonetical rendition
encoded in a mantra table - with a marginal note explicitly drawing attention to
the editorial decision to leave the mantra table unedited, even though it had been
scrutinized.
52
Thirdly, the two main variant renderings oI the Vajraklaya root
verses, quite probably originally the result oI accidental transmissional variation,
have over the centuries each generated prodigious quantities oI prestigious
commentarial text so that to reduce this variation to a single 'correct version in
modern times has become unthinkable (see notes 2 and 46). Above all, we fnd
the constant and ubiquitous repetition, within Ancient Tantra Collection scriptures,
oI passages oI text across the spectrum oI being exactly the same (barring
transmissional variants), oI remaining close but showing recensional variation, or
diIIering through more creative rearrangement. This is abundant evidence that both
verbatim reproduction and variations on an existing theme were de riguer Ior the
anonymous compilers oI these texts (see note 49). What does this imply?
Our impression gained Irom textual studies is that the bla mas` response to
apparently equally good but variant readings in their Ancient Tantra Collection
scriptures implicitly resembles the ideas oI many modern anthropologists who see
knowledge or culture as distributive. In other words, Rnying ma pa bla mas,
although they would preIer a less varied tradition, de facto operate on the basis
that no single extant IormoI words Iromthe Ancient Tantra Collection is necessarily
uniquely complete and valid. In this view, a defnitive version, vast in length and
perIect in every detail, persists eternally in the Tantric pure realms, but
unIortunately, no longer earth. Instead, pragmatically, they accept that the remaining
available terrestrial sources are varied and distributed, each nevertheless potentially
having a valid partial contribution to make to the total picture.
This is very close to many modern anthropological Iormulations. In the words
oI Roger Keesing,
53
a distributive model oI culture
takes as Iundamental the distribution oI partial versions oI a cultural tradition
among members oI a society.|it| must take into account both diversity and
commonality. 'A Culture is thereIore seen as a pool oI knowledge to which
individuals contribute in diIIerent ways and degrees.
52
Such coded mantra tables make possible the preservation oI mantras, by using numbers to
correspond to each Sanskrit letter. The decoded mantras in the Phur pa bcu gnyis`s mantra table appear
to refect a corrupt and inconsistent early phonetic rendering in Tibetan, while the mantra list earlier
in the text`s Sde dge edition instead gives a more correct representation oI Tibetan transliteration oI
Sanskrit mantras. See the extensive discussion in Mayer, A Scripture, 135-146.
53
Roger Keesing, Cultural Anthropology. A Contemporary Perspective (Florida: Harcourt Brace,
1981), 71-72.
25 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
A more recent presentation oI the distributive nature oI knowledge comes Irom
Fredrik Barth,
54
based on examples taken Irom New Guinea, Bali, and England,
but it seems written while he was staying in Bhutan. Barth analytically distinguishes
three Iaces or aspects oI knowledge. First, any tradition oI knowledge must contain
a corpus oI substantive assertions and ideas about aspects oI the world. Secondly,
it must be instantiated and communicated in one or several media as a series oI
partial representations in the IormoI words, symbols, gestures, or actions. Thirdly,
it will be distributed, communicated, employed, and transmitted within a series oI
instituted social relations.
55
Barth`s exposition oI a distributive model is underlined in his insistence that
the three Iaces oI knowledge appear only in their particular applications, and not
as a generalized abstract entity. We believe that such a distributive model
corresponds quite closely to one important aspect oI how Rnying ma pa bla mas
work in practice with the transmission oI their Ancient Tantra Collection. By
understanding their distributive mode oI operation, we also understand how they
tolerate such wide discrepancy oI good readings in their canonical sources without
excessive dismay or alarm (bad readings are oI course rejected by all as scribal
error).
To adapt Barth`s model to our purposes, we can say that knowledge oI the
Ancient Tantra Collection in Tibet had three aspects:
The rst aspect is the actual substantive teachings and doctrines of the
Ancient Tantra Collection: By acknowledging the importance oI these, one avoids
the absurdity oI an extreme relativism, which would say that the Rnying ma tantric
tradition is really just whatever anyone claims it to be. In the parlance oI the bla
mas, this aspect is symbolically represented by the widespread idea oI the complete
and perIect versions oI the tantras eternally preserved in transcendent locations
such as pure lands, which uniquely represent the complete and Iull authorial
intention oI the Buddhas.
The second aspect is each of the numerous and varying manuscript and
xylograph witnesses within which the Ancient Tantra Collection has been
represented in history, such as the South Central Tibetan text Irom Gting skyes,
54
Fredrik Barth, 'An Anthropology oI Knowledge, in Current Anthropology 43, no. 1 (February
2002): 1-18.
55
Barth sees these three Iaces oI knowledge as interconnected, and above all, mutually determining.
However, Barth says that to understand his ideas, we need to invert the way we habitually construct
analyses. He emphasises that he is not positing a highly generalized and abstract unity called knowledge,
which then subdivides into the three parts oI substantive corpus, communicative medium, and social
organization, which in turn progressively break down Iurther until we fnally arrive at the level oI
particular human actions and events. On the contrary, Barth proposes that these three Iaces oI knowledge
appear together precisely in the particulars oI action in every actual event oI the application oI
knowledge, in every actual transaction in knowledge, in every actual perIormance oI knowledge. Their
mutual determination, says Barth, takes place at those specifc moments when a particular item oI
substantive knowledge is cast in a particular communicative medium and applied in an action by an
actor positioned in a particular social organization. Their systematic interdependence, he says, arises
by virtue oI the constraints in realization that these three aspects impose on each other in the context
oI every particular application.
26 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
or the Sde dge xylograph. By acknowledging their occasional diversity oI good
readings, and accepting their particular diIIerences, one avoids the extreme oI
positing a monolithic textual uniIormity which, as the bla mas are well aware, does
not exist.
The third aspect is the instituted social relations through which the Ancient
Tantra Collection is transmitted, taught and reproduced. By acknowledging
this, one accepts that the tradition is inseparable Irom its human perIormance, and
thus we counteract the latent tendency oI textual scholarship to abstract its materials
away Iromactual historical realities. In the parlance oI the bla mas, this corresponds
to their notions oI transmission through exalted lineages oI enlightened gurus to
worthy disciples, sponsored by virtuous donors. |For many students, direct
involvement in the texts might be limited to the receipt oI their ritual transmissions,
or occasional public readings Ior the purpose oI making merit and conIerring
blessings. Their direct study was an elite activity, while general Iamiliarization
with Ancient Tantra Collection materials would be eIIected through the
incorporation oI some sections into liturgical practice, and through the medium oI
commentarial presentation.|
As Barth suggests, these three aspects mutually determine each other, but should
not be envisaged as an abstract unity with three parts. Rather, they appear in the
particulars oI action in every event oI the application, perIormance and transmission
oI knowledge oI the Ancient Tantra Collection. They mutually interact and
determine each other as particulars, in numerous moments distributed through time
and space, and it is these particular events that constitute the actual transmissions
oI the Ancient Tantra Collection.
Hence the editorial decisions made in any specifc redaction oI the Thabs :hags
has depended on the mutually determining Iactors oI what doctrines the Thabs
:hags is teaching, the readings oI the available exemplars or ma dpe, and on how
the presiding editors on that occasion, ideally supported by their supernatural
cognitions, attempted to ensure the newtext`s accordance with the eternal doctrines.
In short, there is no single monolithic or abstract entity that we can call The
Transmission oI the Thabs :hags, or oI the Ancient Tantra Collection. Rather, their
transmission is distributed, instantiated in numerous separate events through time
and space that have their own dynamic and individuality. In this way, the range oI
good readings oI the diIIerent editions oI the Ancient Tantra Collection do not as
Iar as we can see cause agony to the bla mas simply because they might vary
somewhat. AcomIortable degree oI latitude, within which variation can be tolerated
while still upholding the overall purity oI the scriptural tradition, is gained in the
endless mutually determining interplay oI the three Iactors we have outlined above.
The Rnying ma pa`s de Iacto distributive mode oI operation over the last many
centuries implies that even iI the recovery oI a strictly historical single earliest text
is the Holy Grail Ior philology, it perhaps has somewhat less absolute signifcance
Ior them, unless they are to now embrace modern text critical criteria. Combining
pragmatic acceptance oI the status quo with mystical idealism, they tacitly
acknowledge that over time, ongoing repairs to scribal errors can cause texts
27 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
topresent varying good readings, but their response is almost as much transcendental
as historical. To put that another way, it considerably depends on the religious
authority oI their great bla ma-editors, who, iI realized and learned beings, must
have some degree oI direct access to the perIect original meanings oI the tantras,
and who, iI gter stons, can even act like Padmasambhava as Iountainheads or
mediums Ior newBuddhavacana, over and above mere learned editing. But religious
authority in the Rnying ma pa has never been centralized, and on diIIerent
occasions, the editorial decisions oI diIIerent realized and omniscient bla mas have
taken mysteriously diIIerent turns, even when Iaced with exactly the same textual
crux. This means that in diIIerent places at diIIerent times, a variety oI divergent
but semantically equally proIound meanings could potentially be generated around
a single textual crux; and because oI the great expense oI transporting huge Ancient
Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa collections across large distances, such
variant readings oIten became regional, and only rarely cross reIerenced with one
another. The upshot is that we international scholars cannot and should not ignore
the many transmissionally and recensionally transIormed semantically good readings
within the Ancient Tantra Collection that have appeared through Tibetan history
and across its regions. We know, Ior example, that the great `Jam mgon kong sprul
kept a copy oI the Ancient Tantra Collection in his residence at Dpal spungs,
56
and
it also looks quite likely Iromtheir shared readings that it was the Sde dge xylograph
edition he consulted.
57
We also know that this Sde dge edition seems to refect a
distinctive East Tibetan tradition, but, unusually Ior Ancient Tantra Collection oI
the Rnying ma pa editions, also has some exposure to editions Iromdistant regions,
and is in addition Iull oI recensional changes mainly attributed to Iamous late
eighteenth century bla mas.
58
From the point oI view oI stemmatics, this heavily
redacted and confated edition is Iar removed Irom any original archetype. From
the point oI viewoI living Tibetan Buddhism, and hence oI Iunctional Tibetological
scholarship, its widely infuential readings are crucial.
This partially transcendental and distributive mode oI working, shaped by a
shiIting and decentralized religious authority, which we see as an important element
in the transmission oI the Ancient Tantra Collection, is thus considerably at variance
to the strictly historical presuppositions oI stemmatic analysis. Stemmatics
developed in the West with reIerence to such cultural models as the monolithically
uniIorm Masoretic Bible, and the notionally fxed and timeless utterances oI
individual Classical authors. With growing scholarly awareness oI the fuidity oI
so many Buddhist texts through history, the relevance oI stemmatics is sometimes
56
R. Barron, trans., ed., The Autobiography of Jamgn Kongtrul. A Gem of Many Colours (Ithaca,
Boulder: Snow Lion, 2003), 282, 286.
57
At least in the specifc case oI a seminal commentary on Rdo rje phur pa, a number oI his citations
Irom the Myang das would suggest this (Cantwell and Mayer, The Kilaya Nirvna Tantra, 50-52).
Kong sprul also reIers (Barron, The Autobiography, 255) to his receipt oI the transmission oI the
twenty-fve volumes oI the Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa, which again would seem
to indicate Sde dge`s edition.
58
At the authoritative hands oI the great Rig `dzin tshe dbang mchog sgrub, who was not a gter ston,
but a vastly infuential author oI commentaries on Gter ma and much else.
28 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
called into question by contemporary Buddhist scholars, including some important
voices within the major European centers oI philology, who understand Iull well
that its historicist premises do not ft Buddhist literature. We Ieel such a rejection
can be overdone. We do recognize the grave limitations inherent in trying to Iorce
onto Buddhist literature a Lachmannian style oI stemmatic method, with all its
underlying presuppositions oI textual uniIormity. Nevertheless we believe we can
use stemmatics as a probing device, an analytic tool, to isolate not merely archetypes
such as that oI the Thabs :hags, but also particular versions oI an otherwise fuid
scriptural tradition at interesting junctures in its development and history: Ior
example, we believe we might have enough evidence to reconstruct Ior many texts
the Tibetan Lha lung hypearchetype Irom which all the current Bhutanese
manuscripts oI the Ancient Tantra Collection are descended, and we fnd this a
potentially useIul tool. So our approach preserves and combines two perspectives
on textual editing otherwise seen as contradictory. On the one hand, there is the
pioneer`s optimism oI Helmut Eimer, whose initial vision was that the classic
stemmatic methods oI Paul Maas could yield dividends in Bka` `gyur analysis. On
the other hand, there is the more pessimistic approach oI some recent scholars,
who suggest that in a universe oI irreducible textual fuidity, the best we can hope
Ior is the elimination oI orthographic errors and other egregious transmissional
accumulations. Our methodology, by contrast, accepts and even celebrates the
ongoing permutations oI these texts, but still fnds value in stemmatic techniques
as a way oI recovering both their original archetypes and also signifcant moments
in their history. In conclusion, we should add how delightIul it would be iI Iurther
Ancient Tantra Collection texts turn out to be genuinely amenable to stemmatic
analysis, so that we can reconstruct more early readings Irom them, to aid our
understanding oI the doctrines and practices oI the texts, and also historical
investigations into the seemingly impossibly obscure period oI Rnying ma origins.
At the same time, it would be unIortunate iI we were to lose ourselves in historically
oriented researches and Iail to recognize and explore the de facto distributive
realities which constitutes the actual historical existence oI the Ancient Tantra
Collection in Tibet and beyond.

29 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)


Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis 30

Transcription
A Commentary on the Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus
Garland Synopsis (Phags pa thabs kyi zhags pa padma phreng
gi don bsdus pai grel pa)
An extract from chapter eleven in the Dunhuang Manuscript IOL Tib J 321 42r-45r. Most
scholars currently date this manuscript as not later than the mid-eleventh century. The text is
available online at the International Dunhuang Project site: http://idp.bl.uk/database/
oo_loader.a4d?pm=IOL%20Tib%20J%20321.
Conventions:
1. Highlighted text () represents text highlighted in the original with a translucent
yellow wash.
2. Bracketed location descriptions [below line 6] represent interlinear annotations in
small writing.
3. Asterisks (***) represent spaces for string holes in the manuscript.
4. Light blue text with underline () represents additions.
5. Red text between vertical lines (||) represents deletions.
6. Underlining () is added for the readers convenience, to indicate the
zoomorphic goddesses.
7. [Gt]: The Golden Bstan gyur (Gser gyi lag bris ma), produced between 1731-1741,
currently held at Ganden Monastery; published in Tianjing 1988, digitally scanned
for TBRC, New Delhi 2002. A CD version is available from the Tibetan Buddhist
Resource Center, New York (W23702). The Phags pa thabs kyi zhags pa
padmo phreng gi don bsdus pai grel pa commentary is in volume Rgyud grel vol.
bu (78), 243-321.
[panel 42r]
[line 1]
[line 2]
[line 3]
[line 4] ||
59

[line 5]

[below line 5, continuing onto note below line 6]
[line 6]
[below line 6]
[panel 42v]
[line 1] [Gt 272]
[below line 1, on left] [below line 1, on right]

59
It appears that written in error has been deleted; in part, it has been amended into the following .
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009) 31

[line 2]
60

[line 3]
[line 4]
[line 5]
[line 6]
[panel 43r]
[line 1]
[line 2]
[line 3]
[line 4]
[line 5]
[line 6] [Gt 273]
[panel 43v]
[line 1]
61

[line 2] ||=!?
[line 3]
[line 4] ||
[line 5]
[line 6]
62

[panel 44r]
[line 1]
63

[line 2]
[line 3] [Gt 274]
64

[line 4]
[line 5]
[line 6]
[panel 44v]
[line 1]
[line 2]
[line 3]
[line 4]
[line 5]

60
is added in small writing as a correction, below the line.
61
: dittography at the turn of the folio.
62
Here we find two punctuation marks, each of a small circle positioned in the middle of the line, and evenly
placed between separating shads.
63
The final is subscribed.
64
The letter is not a clearly written but is consistent with the given in on 54v.4.
Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis 32

[line 6] [Gt 275]
[panel 45r]
[line 1]
[line 2]
[line 3]
A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis (Phags
pa thabs kyi zhags pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pa)
An extract from chapter eleven in the South Central editions of the Ancient Tantra Collection,
and in the Bathang Independent Bka' 'gyur.
Abbreviations:
1. R = Rig dzin volume dza, 187r.2-3 (second half of the eighteenth century?)
2. T = Gting skyes volume dza, 205r.5-6 (first half of the nineteenth century, perhaps
around 1830?)
3. K = Kathmandu ms. volume ma, *329v.1-2 (perhaps nineteenth century?)
4. The relevant volume of the Nubri manuscript is missing.
5. Bth = Bathang Bka' 'gyur volume rgyud a, 209v.5-6.

65

66

67

68

69



70

71

72

73

74

75


65
The two double shads found in RT indicate a break in the text. In K, the tshig rkang is damaged and largely
illegible.
66
o badzra ke ru dza dza h/; Bth, o badzra klu re dza dza h/.
67
o ru lu ru lu h bhyo h/: Bth o ra lu ra lu h bhyo h/
68
: K .
69
o badzra tse'u ri h dza/: Bth o badzra tsu ri h dza/
70
o badzra pra mo ha h dza/ o badzra pe ta li h dza/: Bth omits
71
o badzra pu ka si h dza: Bth o badzra pu ka si h dza
72
: T ; K .
73
o badzra kasmri ra h dza: Bth o badzra pa smra ra ha dza
74
: T (Note that this reading, shared with the BatangBa thang KangyurBka gyur, is correct, while
the reading, karma, appears to be an error shared by the Dunhuang manuscript, the TselpaTshal pa
KangyurBka gyur and Bhutan).
75
o badzra sma sha ni h dza: Bth o badzra [ba?] sha ni h dza
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009) 33

76

77

78

A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis (Phags


pa thabs kyi zhags pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pa)
An extract from chapter eleven in the Bhutanese editions of the Ancient Tantra Collection. All
these Bhutanese editions stem from a mid-seventeenth century original from Lha lung.
Abbreviations:
1. Ga = Sgang steng-a volume wa, 58r.3-6
2. Gb = Sgang steng-b volume wa, 58v.3-5
3. Gr = Sgra med rtse volume wa, 53r.3-5
4. M = Mtshams brag volume wa, 70r.2-3

79

80

81

82



83

84


76
o badzra tsan da li h dza: in K, this tshig rkang is damaged and partly illegible; Bth, o badzra tsan da le
h dza.
77
TRK insert: . We are not clear how to account for these words, which are not given in Bth. It is
conceivable they derive from the words used above to introduce this section: .
78
h he he pha h/; Bth, h he he pha h/.
79
: Gr .
80
: Gr .
81
M (and similarly in some of the following mantras, or giving in place of ). The several modern re-editions
of Mtshams brag available today all stem from a single photo-offset litho reproduction made in the 1980s. Here,
and on six further occasions within in this short passage, these modern reproductions lose anusvara, thus rendering
in place of , or in place of . It is not yet clear if this results from the modern reproduction processes or if it
was a feature of the original manuscript.
82
: Gr .
83
: Gr
84
: Gr
Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis 34

85

86

A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis (Phags


pa thabs kyi zhags pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pa)
An extract from chapter eleven in the Sde dge xylograph editions of the Bka gyur and
Ancient Tantra Collection. The two Sde dge xylograph versions are printed from blocks that
are virtually identical in all respects other than the page and volume indicators at the ends of
the folios (a few spelling errors appear to have been corrected in D); hence we surmise the par
yig for the Ancient Tantra edition was taken from a print of the slightly earlier Bka gyur
edition. The text itself descends from the Tshal pa Bka gyur transmission.
Abbreviations and Conventions:
1. Dk = Sde dge Bka gyur, Ancient Tantra (Rnying rgyud), kha (102):607.3-609.7
2. D = Sde dge Ancient Tantra Collection of the Rnying ma pa (Rnying mai rgyud
bum), pa:291r.3-92r.7
3. Ms = Dunhuang manuscript, IOL Tib J 321
4. Bold ( ) has been added to indicate text which is highlighted in the Dunhuang
manuscript.
[panel Dk607/D291r]
[line 3]
[line 4]

[line 5]

[line 6] [Ms 42v]

[line 7]

[panel Dk608/D291v]
[line 1]


85
: Gr .
86
: Gr .
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009) 35

[line 2] [Ms 43r]

[line 3]

[line 4]

[line 5] [Ms 43v]

[line 6]

[line 7]

[panel Dk609/D292r]
[line 1] [Ms 44r]

[line 2]

[line 3]
[Ms 44v]
[line 4]

[line 5]

[line 6]
[Ms 45r]
[line 7]

Glossary
Aote: these glossary entries are organi:ed in Tibetan alphabetical order. All entries
list the following information in this order. THL Extended Wylie transliteration
of the term, THL Phonetic rendering of the term, the English translation, the
Sanskrit equivalent, the Chinese equivalent, other equivalents such as Mongolian
or Latin, associated dates, and the type of term.
Ka
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Katok kah thog
Person Kongtrl kong sprul
Term also kyang kyang
Person Longchenpa klong chen pa
Text Contents List Karchak dkar chag
Term center kyil dkyil
Term San. mandala kyilkhor dkyil khor
Textual
Collection
The Eight
Scriptural Deities
Embodying the
Sugatas (a
revelation of Nyang
ral
nyi ma od :er)
Kagye Deshek Dpa bka brgyad bde
gshegs dus pa
Textual
Collection
Canonical
collection of the
Buddhas
Teachings, shared
by all Tibetan
Buddhist schools
Kangyur bka gyur
Term Iulfllment liturgy kangwa bskang ba
Kha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Person Tri Songdeutsen khri srong ldeu btsan
Term notes on (ritual)
procedures
trikzin khrigs :in
Buddhist deity Ten WrathIul
Deities
Trowochu khro bo bcu
Term circle khor khor
Term bent khyok khyog
Ga
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Term place go go
Term arising at the place gorshar gor shar
Person 1147-1216 Drakpa Gyentsen grags pa rgyal mtshan
Place Ganden dga ldan
Term swiIt gyok mgyogs
Person ca. 1050 G Lhatse gos lhas btsas
36 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Place Gyantse rgyal rtse
Doxographical
Category
San. Tantra Gy rgyud
Doxographical
Category
Tantra Collection Gybum rgyud bum
Text Secret Essence
Tantra
Gy Sangwa Nyingpo rgyud gsang ba snying
po
Place Gangteng sgang steng
Term door go sgo
Term arising at the door gorshar sgor shar
Place Drametse sgra med rtse
Term ritual practice
Iramework manual
drupkhok sgrub khog
Term they are two
(diIIerent)
translations, but the
meaning (oI the
second) is the
same as (the frst),
explained above
gyurwa nyidnni
gongdu shepa dang
drao
bsgyur ba gnyis don
ni
gong du bshad pa
dang drao
Nga
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Text San. Sarva-durgati-
parisodhana-
teforfasya-kalpa
Total Purihcation
of All Evil
Existences, the
King of Splendour
Ngensong Tamche
Yongsu Jongwa
Zifikyi Gyelp Takpa
ngan song
thams cad yongs su
sbyong ba g:i brfid
kyi rgyal poi brtag pa
Term San. mantroddhra coded mantra table ngak tuwa sngags btu ba
Cha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Text Immortal Lifes
Creative Seed
Chime Soktik chi med srog thig
Person 1235-1280 Chgyel Pakpa chos rgyal phags pa
1a
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Jangsa Tam fang sa tham
Person 1813-1899 Jamgn Kongtrl
Lodr Taye
fam mgon kong sprul
blo gros mtha
yas
Person 1846-1912 Jamgn Mipam fam mgon mi pham
Person 1904-1987 Dudjom Rinpoche Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje figs bral ye shes rdo
rfe
Person 1729-1798 Jikme Lingpa figs med gling pa
Nya
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Person 1124-1192 Nyangrel Nyima zer nyang ral nyi ma od
:er
Term evenness/sameness nyampanyi mnyam pa nyid
Doxographical
Category
Ancient Tantra
(section)
Nyinggy rnying rgyud
37 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Organization Ancient (Tradition) Nyingma rnying ma
Textual
Collection
Transmitted
Teachings of the
Nyingma Tradition
Nyingma Kama rnying ma bka ma
Text The Mtshams brag
Manuscript of the
Rin ma rgyud
bum (rgyud bum/
mtshams
brag dgon pa)
Nyingma Gybum
(Tsamdrak Gnpe
Drima)
rnying ma rgyud bum
(mtshams brag dgon
pai bris ma)
Organization Followers oI the
Ancient Tradition
Nyingmapa rnying ma pa
Textual
Collection
Ancient Tantra
Collection of the
Rnying ma pa
Nyingme Gybum rnying mai rgyud
bum
Term nyenyik bsnyen yig
Ta
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Tingkye gting skyes
Term visionary revealer tertn gter ston
Doxographical
Category
'Treasure
Revelation
Terma gter ma
Textual
Collection
Canonical
collection of
commentarial
writings on the
Buddhas
Teachings,
shared by all
Tibetan Buddhist
schools
Tengyur bstan gyur
Tha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Text The Commentary
on 'A Noble Noose
of Methods, the
Lotus Garland
Synopsis`
Tapkyi Zhakpa Pema
Trengwagi Dn Dpe
Drelpa
thabs kyi :hags
pa pad ma phreng ba
gi don bsdus pai
grel pa
Text Noose of Methods Tap:hak thabs :hags
Term creative seed or
drop
tikle thig le
Term Ialling seed or drop tikpa thigs pa
Place Tempangma them spangs ma
Da
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Name Dudjom Djom bdud foms
Textual
Collection
Collection of
Transmitted
Teachings
published by Dfom
Rinpoche
(Bdud-Joms
Jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rfe)
Djom Kama bdud foms bka ma
38 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Person 1835-1904 Djom Lingpa bdud foms gling pa
Textual
Collection
Collected Works of
Dfom Jikdrel
Yeshe Dorfe
Djom Jikdrel Yeshe
Dorje Sungbum
bdud foms figs bral
ye
shes rdo rfei gsung
bum
Text The Dfom New
Treasure
Foundation
Practice
Dfom Tersar
Ngndro
bdud foms gter gsar
sngon gro
Person 1904-1987 Djom Rinpoche
Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje
bdud foms rin po che
figs
bral ye shes rdo rfe
Text The Jafra Wrath,
Root Jafrakilaya
Tantra
Dorfe Trpa Purpa
Tsawe Gy
rdo rfe khros pa phur
pa rtsa bai
rgyud
Buddhist deity San. Jafrakilaya Dorje Purpa rdo rfe phur pa
Text The Fragment of
the Jafrakilaya
Root Tantra
Dorfe Purpa Tsawe
Gykyi Dumbu
rdo rfe phur pa rtsa
bai rgyud
kyi dum bu
Text The Great
Jafrakilaya Tantra
for the Nirvna of
All Dharmas
Dorfe Purbu Ch
Tamche Nyangenle
Depe Gy Chenpo
rdo rfe phur
bu chos thams cad
mya ngan las das
pai rgyud chen po
Text See lhan kar ma Denkarma ldan dkar ma
Place Dege sde dge
Publisher Dege Parkhang sde dge par khang
Na
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Text Meteoric Iron
Ra:or cycle of
Jafrakilaya texts of
the Dfomtradition
Namchak Pudri gnam lcags spu gri
Place Nartang snar thang
Pa
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Person Pema Lingpa padma gling pa
Text The Collected
Terma
Rediscoveries of
Terchen Dfom
Lingpa
Peme Namrl Dfom
Lingpe Kornye
Gy:ap Terch D:
Rinpoche
padmai rnam rol
bdud foms gling pai
skor nye brgyud :ab
gter chos md:od rin
po
che
Term publisher`s prooIs paryik par yig
Person San. Prabhahasti(?) Trabese pra be se
Text Commentary on
'The Fragment of
the Jafrakilaya
Root Tantra`
Pel Dorfe Purpa
Tsawe Gykyi Dumb
Drelpa Nyingpo Dpa
Pelchen Gyepe
Zhellung
dpal rdo rfe phur pa
rtsa bai rgyud kyi
dum bui grel pa
snying po bsdud pa
dpal chen dgyes pai
:hal lung
Place Pelpung dpal spungs
39 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Text Commentary on
'The Secret
Essence Tantra`
Pelsangwe Nyingpo
Dekhonanyi Ngepe
Gykyi Drelpa
Chokch Mnpa
Tamche Nampar
Selwa
dpal gsang bai
snying po de kho na
nyid nges pai rgyud
kyi grel pa phyogs
bcui mun pa thams
cad rnam par sel ba
Term reincarnate lama Trlku sprul sku
Pha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Term San. kilaya purpa phur pa
Text The Twelve-fold
Kilaya Tantra
Purpa Chunyi phur pa bcu gnyis
Text See Dpal gsang
bai snying po de
kho na nyid nges
pai rgyud kyi grel
pa
phyogs bcui mun
pa thams cad rnam
par sel ba
Chokch Mnsel phyogs bcu mun sel
Text A Noble Noose of
Methods, the Lotus
Garland Synopsis
Pakpa Tapkyi Zhakpa
Pema Trenggi Dn
Dpa
phags pa thabs kyi
:hags pa padma
phreng gi don bsdus
pa
Text A Noble Noose of
Methods, the Lotus
Garland Synopsis
Pakpa Tapkyi Zhakpa
Pema Trenggi Dn
Dpa
phags pa thabs kyi
:hags pa padma
phreng gi don bsdus
pa
Text A Noble Noose of
Methods, the Lotus
Garland Synopsis
Pakpa Tapkyi Zhakpa
Pemo Trenggi Dn
Dpa
phags pa thabs kyi
:hags pa padmo
phreng gi don bsdus
pa
Text The Commentary
on 'A Noble Noose
of Methods, the
Lotus Garland
Synopsis`
Pakpa Tapkyi Zhakpa
Pemo Trenggi Dpe
Drelpa
phags pa thabs
kyi :hags pa padmo
phreng gi don bsdus
pai grel pa
Text See Phags pa
thabs kyi :hags pa
padmo phreng gi
don bsdus pa
Pakpa Tapkyi Zhakpa
Pem Treng
phags pa thabs kyi
:hags pa
padmoi phreng
Text a list of tantras
translated in the
earliest period of
Buddhism in
Tibet
Pangtangma phang thang ma
Text a list of tantras
translated in the
earliest period of
Buddhism in
Tibet
Pangtangma.
Karchak Pangtangma,
Drafor Bampo Nyipa
phang
thang ma/ dkar chag
phang thang ma/
sgra sbyor bam po
gnyis pa
Ba
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Person 1290-1364 Butn bu ston
Organization Bn bon
40 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Textual
Collection
Northern Treasures
Tradition
Jangter byang gter
Term occurred jung byung
Person San. Jimalamitra Jemalamutra bye ma la mu tra
Term San. guru lama bla ma
Text Drudrel Genpo bru grel rgan po
Ma
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Term exemplar Mape ma dpe
Term wrathIul Iemale
deity
mamo ma mo
Textual
Collection
Eighteen Tantras of
Mahyoga
Mahayoge Gyde
Chobgye
ma h yo gai rgyud
sde bco
brgyad
Text Instructions on the
Garland of Jiews
Menngak Tatreng man ngag lta phreng
Text See Rdo rfe phur bu
chos thams cad mya
ngan las das pai
rgyud chen
po
Nyangde myang das
Place Mindrlling smin grol gling
Tsha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Tselpa tshal pa
Place Tsamdrak mtshams brag
Dza
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Doxographical
Category
Great PerIection Dzokchen rd:ogs chen
Zha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Zhechen :he chen
Term it is said zhe sungte :hes gsungs te
Za
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Text Zanglingma :angs gling ma
Person Zilnn Namkhe Dorje :il gnon nam mkhai
rdo rfe
Ya
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Term also yang yang
Term there is...or
alternatively
yinnam yin nam
41 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Ra
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Term individualistic
contrivance
rangzo rang b:o
Person 1403-1479 Ratna Lingpa ratna gling pa
Buddhist deity San. Ekafat Single Lock oI Hair Relchikma ral gcig ma
Person Rikdzin rig d:in
Person 1698-1755 Rikdzin Tsewang
Norbu
rig d:in tshe dbang
nor bu
Person 958-1055 Rinchen Zangpo rin chen b:ang po
Textual
Collection
Rong:oms
Collected Works
Rongzom Kabum rong :om bka bum
Person Rongzom Chkyi
Zangpo
rong :om chos kyi
b:ang po
Person See Rong zomchos
kyi bzang po
Rongzompa rong :om pa
La
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Litang li thang
Sa
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Organization Sakya sa skya
Term supreme son(s) sechok sras mchog
Organization Followers oI the
New Translation
traditions
Sarmapa gsar ma pa
Textual
Collection
Golden Tengyur Sergyi Lak Drima gser gyi lag bris ma
Place Samye bsam yas
Ha
Type Dates Other English Phonetics Wylie
Place Lhalung lha lung
Place Lhasa lha sa
Text list of tantras
translated in the
earliest period of
Buddhism in Tibet
Lhenkarma lhan kar ma
Sanskrit
Type Dates Sanskrit English Phonetics Wylie
Term bodhisattva
Person Buddhagupta
Term Buddhavacana the actual speech oI
the enlightened
ones
Buddhist deity Dkini
Term dharma
Text Guhyasamfa
42 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Term guru
Person Hmkara
Person Jah
Term kila
Doxographical
Category
Mahyna
Doxographical
Category
Mahyoga
Person Mafusrimitra
Term mantra
Term mla root text
Term nidna
Person Padmasambhava
Term samaya
Person Sambhava
Person Sntigarbha
Buddhist deity Sri heruka
Term tantra
Buddhist deity Jairocana
Buddhist deity Jafrakilaya
Buddhist deity Jafrapani
Buddhist deity Jafrasattva
Doxographical
Category
Jafrayna
Name Jidydhara
Doxographical
Category
Yogatantra
Chinese
Type Dates Chinese English Phonetics Wylie
Place Dunhuang
43 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
Bibliography
Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts held at the British Library, London:
IOL Tib J 321 (Thabs kyi :hags pa pad ma phreng ba gi don bsdus pai grel
pa); IOL Tib J 438.
IDP: The International Dunhuang Project (http://idp.bl.uk/). Contains digital
images oI many items, and a catalogue (Dalton and van Schaik 2005).
Editions of the Ancient Tantra Collection of the Rnying ma pa NGB]
Sde dge |D|: The Sde dge edition oI the Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying
ma pa. Twenty-six volumes, ka-ra, plus Dkar chag volume a. Sde dge par
khang. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmoi phreng is in volume pa,
286r-298r.
Mtshams brag |M|: The Mtshams brag Manuscript of the Rin ma rgyud bum
(rgyud bum/ mtshams brag dgon pa). Thimphu: National Library, Royal
Government oI Bhutan, 1982. Forty-six volumes. (Microfche available Irom
The Institute Ior Advanced Studies oI World Religions, LMpj 014,862 - 014,
907. An electronic version is nowavailable Iromthe Tibetan Buddhist Resource
Center (http://www.tbrc.org), under the title, The Mtshams brag Manuscript
of the Rin ma rgyud bum (rgyud bum/ mtshams brag dgon pa) (Rnying ma
rgyud bum [mtshams brag dgon pai bris ma]), W21521. It is also available
online, at http://www.thlib.org/encyclopedias/literary/canons/ngb/
ngbcat.php#cattb/0416). The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo phreng
gi don bsdus pa is in vol. wa, 123-52.
Sgang steng |G|: The Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa manuscripts
preserved by Sgang steng Monastery, Bhutan. Forty-six volumes. (Digital
images were made under an AHRC Iunded project at OxIord University. The
collection consulted is the Sgang steng-b manuscript; more recently, the other
manuscript collection held at the monastery - Sgang steng-a - has also been
photographed as part oI a British Library Endangered Archives Research
Project http://www.bl.uk/about/policies/endangeredarch/phuntsho.html). The
Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo phreng gi don bsdus pa is in wa:51r-65r.
Gting skyes |T|: Rin ma rgyud bum Reproduced Irom the MS preserved at
Gtin-skyes Dgon-pa-byan Monastery in Tibet, under the direction oI Dingo
Khyentse Rimpoche, Thimbu, 1973. (Microfche oI some volumes available
Irom The Institute Ior Advanced Studies oI World Religions, LMpj 011,825
- 012,584.) The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pa
is in d:a:395-422.
Rig `dzin tshe dbang nor bu |R|: The Rig `dzin tshe dbang nor bu edition oI the
Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying ma pa. Twenty-nine volumes are held
at the British Library, under the classifcation, 'RNYING MA`I RGYUD
`BUMMSS, with the pressmark, OR15217. Volume ka is held at the Bodleian
44 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
Library OxIord at the shelImark, MS. Tib.a.24(R). (Microflm is available
IromThe British Library, and the Bodleian Library Ior volume ka). Title Iolios
to volume ga and volume a are held at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
Accession nos.: IM318-1920 and IM317-1920. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags
pa padma phreng gi don bsdus pa is in d:a:180r-93r.
Kathmandu |K|: Manuscript edition oI the Ancient Tantra Collection oI the Rnying
ma pa Irom the Nubri area, held by The National Archives, Kathmandu.
(Microflm is available.) The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo phreng gi
don bsdus pa is in ma:20r-36r.
Bka` `gyur and Bstan `gyur Collections
(Note that copies oI the Independent Bka` `gyurs oI Hemis, Irom Hemis Tshoms
lha khang, and oI `Ba` thang, which is held in the Newark Museum, New York,
have not yet been made available in published Iorm. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags
pa pad mo phreng gis don bsdus pa occurs in Volume Rgyud a oI the `Ba` thang
Bka` `gyur, II.204r-214r, and the Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo phreng gyi
don bsdus pa occurs in Volume Rgyud ka oI the Hemis Bka` `gyur, II.31r-45v.)
The Sde dge Bka` `gyur, the Sde-dge mtshal-par bka`-`gyur |Dk|: a Iacsimile
edition oI the eighteenth century redaction oI Si-tu chos-kyi-`byun-gnas
prepared under the direction oI H.H. the Sixteenth Rgyal-dban karma-pa,
1976-1979. 103 volumes. Delhi, Karmapae Chodhey, Gyalwae Sungrab Partun
Khang. ACDversion is available Iromthe Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center,
New York (W22084). The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmoi phreng is in
volume Rnying rgyud kha, 597-621.
The Lha sa Bka` `gyur |Hk|, 1978. 101 volumes. Microfche set made Irom a
xylograph completed in the early twentieth century, kept in Rashi Gempil Ling
(First Kalmuck Buddhist Temple) in Howell, New Jersey. Stony Brook, N.
Y.: The Institute Ior Advanced Studies oI World Religions. The Phags pa
thabs kyi :hags pa padmoi phreng is in volume Rgyud wa, 472v-492r.
The `Jang sa tham or Li thang Bka` `gyur |J|, Irom the private collection oI
Namkha Drime Rinpoche, Jeerang, Orissa. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa
padmoi phreng is in volume Rgyud `bum (Rnying rgyud), wa, 294v-307r. It
is available in prints or copies made Irom the microflm held at the
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.
The Snar thang Bka` `gyur |Nk| and Bstan `gyur |Nt|, Narthang Bka` `gyur, 102
volumes, set at the International Academy oI Indian Culture, New Delhi,
scanned by the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, New York (W22703). The
Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmoi phreng is in the Snar thang Bka` `gyur
volume Rgyud wa, 816-855. The new Snar thang Bstan `gyur edition (Irom
the blocks made in 1741-1742), in 225 volumes. Note that the Tibetan Buddhist
Resource Center, New York, have scanned a copy in 225 volumes, preserved
at Tibet House, Delhi, supplemented with pages and volumes IromDharamsala
45 Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 5 (December 2009)
and libraries in the U.S.A. (W22704). The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo
phreng gi don bsdus pai grel pa is in the Snar thang Bstan `gyur volume
Rgyud bu (77): 176-228.
The Peking Bka` `gyur |Qk| and Bstan `gyur |Qt|, reprinted and catalogued in
The Tibetan Tripitaka, Peking Edition, kept in the library oI the Otani
University, Kyoto, edited by D. T. Suzuki, 1955-1961. Vol. 1-45 Bkah-hgyur.
Vol. 46-150 Bstan-hgyur. Vol. 151 Dkar-chag. Vol. 152-164 Extra (Btson Kha
Pa/Lcan Skya). Vol. 165-168 Catalogue. Tokyo, Kyoto: Suzuki Research
Foundation. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmoi phreng is in the
Bkah-hgyur Rgyud wa:299v-313r and the Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa padmo
phreng gi don bsdus pai grel pa is in the Bstan-hgyur Rgyud `grel
bu:101r-129v.
The Urga Bka` `gyur |U|, edited by Lokesh Chandra, 1990-1994, Irom the
collection oI ProI. Raghuvira. 105 volumes. Delhi: International Academy oI
Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan. The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa
padmoi phreng is in volume Rnying rgyud kha, 597-621.
The Golden Bstan `gyur (Gser gyi lag bris ma) |Gt|, produced between 1731-1741,
currently held at Ganden Monastery; published in Tianjing 1988, digitally
scanned Ior TBRC, New Delhi 2002. A CD version is available Irom the
Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, NewYork (W23702). The Phags pa thabs
kyi :hags pa padmo phreng gi don bsdus pai grel pa commentary is in
volume Rgyud `grel bu (78): 243-321.
Other Tibetan Sources
Bdud `joms gling pa. Padmai rnam rol bdud foms gling pai skor nye brgyud
:ab gter chos md:od rin po che. Edited by H. H. Bdud-`joms
`jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rje. Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1978. An electronic
version is now available Irom the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
(http://www.tbrc.org), under the title, The Collected Gter-ma Rediscoveries
oI Gter-chen Bdud-`joms-gling-pa, W21728.
Bdud `joms rin po che, `Jigs bral ye shes rdo rje. The Collected Writings and
Revelations of H. H. bDud-foms Rin-po-che Jigs bral ye shes rdo rfe.
Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1979-1985. An electronic version is nowavailable
Irom the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (http://www.tbrc.org), under the
title, Bdud `joms `jigs bral ye shes rdo rje`i gsung `bum, W20869, 0334-0358.
25 vols.
Bka ma shin tu rgyas pa (Snga gyur bka ma) 120 volumes, published by KaH
thog mkhan po `jamdbyangs, Chengdu 1999, scanned by the Tibetan Buddhist
Resource Center, New York (W25983). The Phags pa thabs kyi :hags pa
padmo phreng gi don bsdus pai grel pa is in volume wu (80), 125-236,
copied Irom the Peking Bstan `gyur.
46 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis
`Jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha` yas. Dpal rdo rfe phur pa rtsa bai rgyud
kyi dum bui grel pa snying po bsdud pa dpal chen dgyes pai :hal lung. In
Bdud `joms bka` ma |Bdud-`Joms `Jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rje Rin ma Bka` ma
rgyas pa|. Vol. tha, 15-213. Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1982-1987.
Klong chen pa. Dpal gsang bai snying po de kho na nyid nges pai rgyud kyi
grel pa phyogs bcui mun pa thams cad rnam par sel ba. In Bdud `joms bka`
ma |Bdud-`Joms `Jigs-bral-ye-ses-rdo-rje Rin ma Bka` ma rgyas pa|. Vol.
la, 5-629. Kalimpong: Dupjung Lama, 1982-1987.
Mi pham rgya mtsho. Gsang grel phyogs bcui mun sel gyi spyi don od gsal
snying po. In Jam mgon fu mi pham rgya mtshoi gsung bum rgyas pa sde
dge dgon chen par ma. Vol. 19, 1-272. Paro: Lama Ngodrup and Sherab
Drimey, 1984-1993. An electronic version is available Irom the Tibetan
Buddhist Resource Centre (http://www.tbrc.org), under the title, bDud foms
figs bral ye shes rdo rfei gsung bum, W23468. 27 vols.
Phang thang ma/ dkar chag phang thang ma/ sgra sbyor bam po gnyis pa.
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Rong zom, chos kyi bzang po. Rong :om bka bum. Thimphu: Kunsang Topgay,
1976. Reproduced Irom a manuscript copy oI an incomplete print Irom the
Zhe chen wood blocks, with the detailed Dkar chag oI `Jam mgon mi pham.
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50 Cantwell & Mayer: A Noble Noose of Methods, the Lotus Garland Synopsis