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Tibet in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
PIATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003. Managing Editor: Charles Ramble.




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ISSN 1568-6183 ISBN-13: 978 90 04 15351 6 ISBN-10: 90 04 15351 9 Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill Academic Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Brill provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910 Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. printed in the netherlands


Introduction Bryan J. CUEVAS and Kurtis R. SCHAEFFER ........................... 1


1. Benjamin BOGIN Royal Blood and Political Power: Contrasting Allegiances in the Memoirs of Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bu (1598-1644) ................. 7 2. Marina ILLICH Imperial Stooge or Emissary to the Dge lugs Throne? Rethinking the Biographies of Chankya Rolp Dorj ................................. 17 3. R. Trent POMPLUN Ippolito Desideri, S.J. on Padmasambhavas Prophecies and the Persecution of the Rnying ma, 1717-1720 ............................... 33 4. Nikolay TSYREMPILOV Dge lugs pa Divided: Some Aspects of the Political Role of Tibetan Buddhism in the Expansion of the Qing Dynasty ... 47 5. Gray TUTTLE A Tibetan Buddhist Mission to the East: The Fifth Dalai Lamas Journey to Beijing, 1652-1653 ................................................. 65

6. Jake DALTON Recreating the Rnying ma School: The Mdo dbang Tradition of Smin grol gling ..... 91



7. Georgios HALKIAS Pure-Lands and other Visions in Seventeenth-Century Tibet: A Gnam chos sdhana for the Pure-land Sukhvat Revealed in 1658 by Gnam chos Mi gyur rdo rje (1645-1667) ............ 103 8. Derek MAHER The Lives and Time of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa ............................ 129 9. Guilaine MALA A Mahynist Rewriting of the History of China by Mgon po skyabs in the Rgya nag chos byung ....................................... 145 10. Jann RONIS Bdud dul rdo rje (1615-1672) and Rnying ma Adaptations to the Era of the Fifth Dalai Lama .......................................... 171 11. Kurtis R. SCHAEFFER Ritual, Festival and Authority under the Fifth Dalai Lama ...... 187 12. Simon WIKHAM-SMITH Ban de skya min ser min: Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshos Complex, Confused, and Confusing Relationship with Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho as Portrayed in the Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshoi mgul glu ................................ 203 Contributors ....... 213

INTRODUCTION Bryan J. Cuevas and Kurtis R. Schaeffer The twelve essays included in the present volume underscore common interests that have been emerging within the study of Tibetan history over the last several years. Each essay focuses on a particular figure, institution, or literary corpus, and each makes a specialized contribution to our collective understanding of these respective topics. Yet all are concerned, more or less explicitly, with relationships between the past and the present evoked in Tibetan historiography, ritual literature, and Buddhist esoteric writings. For the most part, in matters of legitimation and power, whether political or religious, Tibetan historians, philosophers, and ritual specialists have always placed critical emphasis on the preservation of tradition and the succession of authentic lines of transmission. Any variation from the unbroken lineages of tradition meant in every case that legitimate authority could never be properly established. Still, there was much room for innovation, but only through creative strategy and the manipulation of the details of history and biography. With few exceptions, the Tibetans studied here in this volume lay claim to the venerable authority of established traditions in order to promote new or significantly re-fashioned practices, doctrines, and ideologies. Most of these Tibetan figures go to great lengths to validate their current practices and perspectives as part of an uninterrupted ancient tradition, very often reaching back to the life of kyamuni Buddha and the founding moments of Buddhism in India and Tibet. Yet in the very act of drawing out these connections between tradition and innovation they reveal how necessary it is to actively maintain such practices through deliberate and constant reference to the past. In this tension between visions of unchanging order and the reality of local contingency we see a good example of what historian Eric Hobsbawm has termed invented tradition, or a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behavior by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.1 While the contributors to this volume of essays may not have
1 Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983: 1.


been influenced explicitly by the insights of Hobsbawm, they all focus on a particularly rich era of Tibetan history, the mid-seventeenth through early eighteenth centuries. Hobsbawm acknowledges that there is probably no time and place with which historians are concerned which has not seen the invention of tradition. Nevertheless, Hobsbawm suggests, we should expect it to occur more frequently when rapid transformations of society weakens or destroys the social patterns for which old traditions had been designed.2 The period of the seventeenth-eighteenth century in Tibet stands as an exemplary case for testing the relevance of the notion of invented tradition. The period is marked by the end of civil war in central Tibet and the rise in 1642 of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) to unprecedented political prominence, resulting in the centralization of institutional authority in Lhasa and the increase of Tibetan involvement in the territorial power struggles between Mongols and Manchus throughout the early Qing empire. A brief summary of the chapters provides some sense of the overarching themes that characterize this pivotal period in Tibetan history. Benjamin Bogin (Chapter 1) introduces the Memoirs of the third Yol mo sprul sku Bstan dzin nor bu (1598-1644), paying particular attention to the issue of sectarian identity. Significantly, he shows that the common distinctions drawn by contemporary scholarship between Buddhist sectarian groups, such as the Dge lugs pa and the Bka brgyud pa, are less important for the Tibetans actually affiliated with these schools. More significant, Bogin argues, are the relationships defined by family ties, geographical proximity, ordination lineage, and other similar social-religious group associations. Marina Illich (Chapter 2) discusses the biographical literature dedicated to Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje (Chankya Rolp Dorj, 1717-1786). Of particular interest to Illich is the focus of Lcang skyas biographers on the details of Qing ritual protocol when describing the formal meetings between Tibetan Buddhist leader and Manchu imperial leader. Illich suggests that this deliberate appropriation of the logic of imperial ritual was an attempt by the Tibetan authors to deflect the hegemonizing strategies of the Qing by asserting a narrative of Dge lugs indispensability to the realization of Qing ambition. Trent Pomplun (Chapter 3) analyses the writings of the Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733) on the prophecies of Padmasambhava. Pomplun shows that this eighth-century visionary from O rgyan loomed large in Desideris interpretations of Tibetan Buddhism
2 Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983: 4.


and that for this Jesuit missionary the prophecies of Padmasambhava provided the most credible narrative framework for making sense of the Dzungar persecutions of the Rnying ma pa during the political chaos in central Tibet in the years 1717-1720. Nikolay Tsyrempilov (Chapter 4) explores the political role of Dge lugs pa figures in the expansion of the Qing dynasty. He argues that insufficient attention has been paid to the relations between the Qing emperors and the religious leaders of Tibet who, more often than previously described, were active in supporting and promoting Qing policies in Tibet and throughout Inner Asia. Gray Tuttle (Chapter 5) chronicles the Fifth Dalai Lamas trip to Beijing during the years 1652-1653. On close reading of the accounts of this journey, Tuttle is able to highlight the missionary impulse in Tibetan society of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, leading to the broad expansion of Tibetan Buddhism into Inner and East Asia. Jake Dalton (Chapter 6) looks at how, at the turn of the eighteenth century, the two brothers of Smin grol gling, Gter bdag gling pa (1646-1714) and Lo chen Dharmar (1654-1717), worked to recreate the Rnying ma school, and how the Stra Empowerment (Mdo dbang) literature and ritual practices played a key role in this recreation. Dalton points out that the identity of the Rnying ma school is still defined in large part by the regular observance of the full ritual program originally conceived and initiated by the Smin gling brothers. Georgios Halkias (Chapter 7) draws attention to the understudied Pure Land tradition in Tibet by focusing on the important Sukhvat sdhana of the young gter ston Gnam chos Mi gyur rdo rje (1645-1667). Halkias demonstrates that Mi gyur rdo rjes sdhana is a remarkable example of Tibetan syncretic liturgy, drawing from diverse sectarian ritual sources and integrating multiple elements into a single and effective Pure Land ritual program. Derek Maher (Chapter 8) examines the successive incarnation lineage of Jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rje (1648-1722) and the biographical strategies used by Dge lugs pa writers in early eighteenth-century Amdo. Maher argues that through the construction of such a lineage, the doctrinal legitimacy and personal charisma of some particular current figure can be created or fortified by appealing to the luster of previous personalities. Guilaine Mala (Chapter 9) takes up the important eighteenth-century History of Buddhism in China, the Rgya nag chos byung, completed in 1736 by the Mongol scholar Mgon po skyabs (Mong. Gombojab). Mala argues that this unique Tibetan historical work uses Indian Mahyna literature and tantric prophecies to recast the complex history of Buddhism in China


through the lense of Tibetan Buddhism from a decidedly Dge lugs pa perspective. Jann Ronis (Chapter 10) surveys the biography of Bdud dul rdo rje (1615-1672), an important Rnying ma pa figure active in Sde dge. Ronis emphasizes Bdud dul rdo rjes attempts to adapt to the changing political landscape of late seventeenth-century Tibet through the revelation of texts (gter ma) and the opening of hidden lands (sbas yul). His efforts, Ronis concludes, were somewhat less-than-successful. Kurtis R. Schaeffer (Chapter 11) discusses the extensive innovations in the annual ritual and festival cycle undertaken by Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho (Sangy Gyatso, 1653-1705) during the 1690s, and uses two of his works, Tales of the New Year (Lo gsar bel gtam) and the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey (Lha sa skor tshad) as entry points to the larger project of assessing his role in and contribution to the development of Tibetan and Buddhist culture after the founding of the Dga ldan Government in 1642. Finally, Simon Wikham-Smith (Chapter 12) analyses the songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706) in an effort to understand the relationship with his much older mentor and regent, Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. The essays in this volume offer diverse perspectives on a critical period in Tibets history when Tibetans found themselves caught up in the tides of political turmoil and forced into the center of a much larger Central Eurasian struggle for power and territorial control between the Manchu rulers of the Qing empire and the Mongols of the north. The Tibetans, speaking with multiple voices and with allegiances to varied local religious and social groups, were compelled to make sense of their changing world and their place within it while still maintaining their ties to the great traditions of Tibets past. This collection focuses on the various ways Tibetan historians, biographers, and scholars of all sorts during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries succeeded in this task of reinventing and reinforcing their respective traditions. References Hobsbawm, E. and T. Ranger. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



ROYAL BLOOD AND POLITICAL POWER: CONTRASTING ALLEGIENCES IN THE MEMOIRS OF YOL MO BSTAN DZIN NOR BU (1598-1644) Benjamin Bogin In the chronological schemes of Tibetan historiography (both classical and modern), the water-horse year 1642 occupies a place of paramount importance. The ceremony held in that year, through which dominion over Tibet was bestowed upon the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mthso by the victorious Gushri Khan, dramatically marks the dawn of the era dominated by the Dga ldan pho brang government. Considering the unanimous agreement upon the importance of this date in the history of Tibet, it is somewhat surprising that the events of that year, let alone the complex social and political upheavals which preceded it, have largely escaped rigorous historical investigation. The first work to designate 1642 as a year of momentous importance was the Great Fifth Dalai Lamas seminal history of Tibet, The Song of the Queen of Spring (Spyid kyi rgyal moi glu dbyangs), composed in 1643. The account of Gushri Khans conquest of the Bsam grub rtse palace found in the last chapter of that work firmly established a model that has been followed by historians to the present day. The Song of the Queen of Spring has commanded our view of Tibetan history in much the same way as the Potala commands the cityscape of Lhasa. Just as it is difficult to imagine Lhasa without the monumental palace atop Dmar po ri, it is equally challenging to imagine the history of the early seventeenth century without relying on the Fifth Dalai Lamas version of events. In this paper I would like to demonstrate the potential value of biographical and autobiographical works composed prior to 1642 as tools with which historians might begin to address this challenge. In particular, through a close reading of the Memoirs (Rang gi rtogs pa brjod pa) composed by Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bu in 1632, I will question the primacy afforded to sectarian affiliation in most accounts of the period and discuss the memoirists distinction between royal authority and political power.


The final chapter of The Song of the Queen of Spring describes the fall of Bsam grub rtse as the resolution of a battle between the forces of Buddhism led by Gushri Khan (who is described as an emanation of Vajrapi) and the demonic forces led by the King of Upper Gtsang (gtsang stod rgyal po), a descendant of the treacherous usurper, Zhing shag pa Tshe brtan rdo rje. These two adversaries are further associated with their geographical bases of support, in Dbus and Gtsang, and with their respective allegiances to the sectarian traditions (chos lugs) of Rgyal ba Tsong kha pa and those of the Karma Bka brgyud pa. Later historians, such as Sum pa mkhan po Ye shes dpal byor, further emphasized the sectarian nature of the rift dividing seventeenth century Tibet into two opposing camps. This basic structure is reflected in modern historiography, for example, in the heading given to Giuseppe Tuccis pioneering account of the period (1949: 39-46)Reds against Yellows, that is, the Karma Bka brgyud pa and their champions the Kings of Gtsang versus the Dge lugs pa and their Mongolian allies. The Memoirs of the third Yol mo sprul sku, Bstan dzin nor bu (1598-1644), entitled, The Sarangi with the Vajra Sound (Rdo rje sgra mai rgyud mangs), challenge this two-toned view of the period by describing a world in which affiliation to a Red or Yellow chos lugs is just one thread of a complex web of social, religious, and political identities and allegiances. The fact that the memoirs were written ten years before the events of 1642 provides the author with a perspective very different from the retrospective clarity of later historians and biographers, who saw the history of the early seventeenth century as a series of events inevitably leading to the establishment of the Dga ldan pho brang government. In this sense, Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bus memoirs offer a sort of last glimpse into the shadowy world of early seventeenth century Tibet. Furthermore, the events of Bstan dzin nor bus own life call into question the dichotomy of Reds versus Yellows: he was, on the one hand, a disciple of the Sixth Zhwa dmar pa Gar dbang chos kyi dbang phyug (15841630) and an active figure at the court of the King of Gtsang, and on the other hand, an advisor and ally of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Before examining in detail a few passages from the Third Yol mo bas memoirs, it will be necessary to briefly review the major events of


his life.1 Bstan dzin nor bu was born in Kong po in 1598, son of the Jo nang master Lo chen Spyan ras gzigs.2 In childhood he was recognized as the Third Yol mo sprul sku, a lineage of reincarnations associated with the Northern Treasures (byang gter) tradition3 and the Bya rung kha shor stupa4 and Yol mo gangs ra sbas yul of Nepal.5 He studied at a number of monasteries in Gtsang and received monastic vows from the Sixth Zhwa dmar pa and the great Klacakra master, Lo chen Gyur med bde chen (15401615). At the age of nineteen, the young monk encountered the head of the Northern Treasures tradition, Rig dzin Ngag gi dbang po (15801639), consequently turning his attention to the study and practice of the Northern Treasures. After the completion of his first major retreat, he gave up his dge slong vows and became a sngags pa, eventually marrying a princess of Gung thang. In the latter part of his life, Bstan dzin nor bu was engaged in the discovery of treasure-texts, the performance of rituals to avert Mongolian invasions, and the establishment of Rdo rje brag as the institutional seat for the Northern Treasures. This last task he completed shortly before his death by securing the patronage of the Fifth Dalai Lama and recognizing and enthroning Padma phrin las (16401718) as the second Rdo rje brag Rig dzin. One might expect that the memoirs of a relatively obscure gter ston with close ties to both the Bsam grub rtse court and the ascendant Dga ldan pho brang would shed much light on the potential conflicts arising from connections with powers holding opposing sectarian allegiances. In fact, the so-called Reds and the Yellows are lost amidst the sheer complexity of the relationships described by the author: those defined by ties of family lineage, monastic and tantric vows, geographical boundaries, incarnation lineages, and a host of other religious, social, and political categories. The notion of affiliation with a specific doctrinal system that has dominated most discussions of the period hardly appears in his autobiographical writings. The few mentions of sectarian identity

1 For an overview of the lives of the first five Yol mo ba incarnations, see Ehrhard (in press). I am grateful to Dr. Ehrhard for first drawing my attention to the writings of the Third Yol mo sprul sku and for his consistent encouragement throughout my research. 2 Lo chen Spyan ras gzigs Phrin las dbang phyug was the reincarnation of Sman sding lo ts ba Ratnabhadra (14891563). 3 See Boord 1993. 4 See Blondeau 1994, Dowman 1973, and Ehrhard 1990. 5 See Khenpo Nyima Dondrup 2003.



that one finds pale in significance when compared with the much stronger emphasis on a plethora of other types of allegiance. Now I would like to turn to a few examples from the memoirs which illustrate the complexity of these intertwined allegiances by briefly discussing Bstan dzin nor bus religious education and then focusing on his relationships with two important secular rulers. The early education of the young sprul sku seems to have been a matter of contention between the regent appointed by the Second Yol mo ba and the boys father. The father resisted early attempts by the regent, O rgyan don grub rdo rje, to take the boy off to his monastery and in his final testament ordered that the child be educated at Bzhad grwa tshang. This monastery, founded by Tsong kha pas direct disciple, Grags pa bzang po, included the boys father and the fathers previous incarnation, Lo chen Ratnabhadra, among its former abbots.6 Although both of these masters are generally considered as proponents of the Jo nang tradition,7 Bstan dzin nor bu describes Bzhad grwa tshang as a monastery where the traditions of Sa skya, Dge lugs, Kar ma and Brug pa Bka brgyud were equally venerated and practiced. Apart from praising the monasterys eclectic curriculum, Bstan dzin nor bu has nothing positive to say about Bzhad grwa tshang and laments the misery he endured at the hands of its cruel teachers and monastic officials. He was able to escape from the monastery on a number of occasions to study with another close associate of his fathers, the Klacakra master Lo chen Gyur med bde chen at Dpal ri bo che. As he grew older, although still under the authority of the regent appointed by his previous incarnation, the young sprul sku seems to have felt freer to determine the course of his own education. He remembers being inspired by a friend who had become a Sa skya rab byams pa and deciding to study the Sa skya tradition. However, he soon realized that the preliminary stages of the Path and Result (lam bras) practices required a lot of effort and turned elsewhere. During his teenage years, he finally found his place at the Zhwa dmars Nyin byed gling monastery, where he took dge slong vows in the Bka brgyud tradition. After a journey to Nepal, he returned to central Tibet and completed his formal education by participating in the annual debate festival held at Ngam ring chos sde, a monastery renowned as a stronghold of the Dge lugs tradition.
6 See Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho: 25556. 7 See, for example, Ngag dbang blo gros grags pa: 6263.



Were we to summarize this early education along sectarian lines, we could say that the Third Yol mo ba, a Rnying ma sprul sku born as the son of a Jo nang father, was educated in a Sa skya/Dge lugs monastery before pursuing higher studies as a Bka brgyud monk, completed through participation in a Dge lugs debate festival. This jumble shows that affiliation to a specific chos lugs was highly mutable and nonexclusive. It also suggests that other forces were at play in determining the course of the Third Yol mo bas education. Among these, the most influential factors in the early education were the connections inherited from his previous incarnation and from his father. Later, as he moved into adolescence, his own interests and abilities, the opinions of his friends, and chance encounters with various teachers played more of a role in determining his course of study. This movement between various teachers and monasteries strikes me as an important aspect of Tibetan religious life that is often distorted by the tendency to represent individuals and institutions as belonging exclusively to a single sectarian tradition. The evidence of Bstan dzin nor bus autobiography suggests that we need to reduce our dependence upon this category and examine the notion of chos lugs much more critically when employing it in our interpretations of Tibetan history. With this in mind, I should now like to leave aside the question of sectarian identity and discuss Bstan dzin nor bus connections with two important centers of secular power: the Gung thang kingdom and the Bsam grub rtse court of the Gtsang pa sde srid. His relations with each may again be traced along lines of reincarnation and family lineages as well as through his monastic vows. The Gung thang chos rgyal, Bsod nams dbang phyug, was a disciple of the Second Yol mo sprul sku, whereas the Gtsang pa sde srid was an associate of Bstan dzin nor bus father. In the latter case, it was through his status as a disciple of the Sixth Zhwa dmar pa that Bstan dzin nor bu was fully welcomed at the court of Sde srid Phun tshogs rnam rgyal and later his son, Bstan skyong dbang po. In his descriptions of these two courts, the Third Yol mo ba implicitly draws a distinction between their sources of authority: an authentic lineage of royal blood in the case of Gung thang and political power and military might in the case of Gtsang. First of all, there is a terminological distinction concerning designation. Khri Bsod nams dbang phyug, the king of Gung thang, is consistently referred to throughout the text as mnga bdag, mnga ris gong ma chen po, or btsad po byang chub sems dpa. Each of these titles



indicates Khri Bsod nams dbang phyugs status as a direct descendant of the early medieval kings. The Gtsang pa sde srid, on the other hand, despite being effusively praised, is never referred to in these terms but rather as mi dbang stobs kyi rgyal po or gtsang pa ma h r ja. Bstan dzin nor bus recollections of his youthful visits to each court further illuminate this division. His first encounter with Khri Bsod nams dbang phyug is described in these words:
The Sovereign Lord (mnga bdag) had a dream in which he felt that he saw my previous incarnation coming and offering him empowerments. Then, I was received as his lama. At our first meeting, there was a formal reception. I was not able to climb onto the throne so my friend needed to lift me up. The honor and veneration [presented to me] went beyond the limits of my imagination. I stayed for a while in the kings palace. Again and again, the Sovereign Lord came to see [me]. He showed respect in a pure and sincere way...8

The marriage alliance that would eventually bring the Yol mo ba even closer to the royal family of Gung thang is foreshadowed in the passage relating his second visit to the palace:
The princess had just reached the age of eight at the time. Bdag mo sras yum [=the princess] would come to me every day, each time carrying a gift such as would make a young boy happy: crystal bowls of red and green, a conch-shell, an excellent rosary, a amaru and so forth. The princess would not sit where the cushions had been arranged [for her], but [instead] was always coming to sit right next to me. She was very sweet.9

These passages convey a sense of refined elegance that contrasts with the Yol mo bas recollections of his first visit to the Bsam grub rtse palace. There, Sde srid Phun tshogs rnam rgyal (the powerful lord, the
8 Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bu: Rang gi rtogs pa brjod pa rdo rje sgra mai rgyud mangs, 16b617a2: mnga bdag gi mnal lam du sprul sku gong ma byon nas dbang phul bai thugs nyams byung tshod du dug/ de nas bla mar bzhes/ thog mai mjal phrad/ gzhi len sogs kyi skabs/ khri la dzeg mi thub par zla bos skyel dgos pa dang/ rnyed bkur bloi mtshams las sgal ba byung/ rgyal tsam rgyal poi khab de nyid du sdad/ mnga bdag nyid yang yang phrad par byon/ thugs [g]nang dag par byung/. 9 Ibid., 17a5b1: lcam di de skabs dgung lo brgyad tsam phebs pa gcig dug/ bdag mo sras yum nyin bzhin shel dam dmar po/ ljang khu/ dung chos/ phreng ba legs po/ ma ru/ sogs kho bo na gzhon nu la dga tshor yong bai mjal rten re bsnams nas phebs kyi yod/ lcam di bzhugs gdan bshams pa la mi gzhugs par/ ngai tsa rang na bcar nas bzhugs mkhan snying rje mo gcig yod/.



king of strength, whose judgment, bravery, and ability to conquer set him apart from all of his enemies), invited him to stay and study for three months, promising that the court attendants would take care of all of his needs. Bstan dzin nor bu reports that during that time:
My living conditions were equal to those of the head-lamas. I stayed in the room above the Sde sris private chambers, called Lotus-light and I felt a bit awkward [The Sde sri,] seeing that I had a high forehead and long earlobes, said, Do you have designs of wheels on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet? Although I looked very carefully, I didnt have any. I did not become arrogant.10

This passage suggests a touch of ostentation in place of the simple elegance attributed to the Gung thang court and the Sde srids praise comes across as flattery in comparison with the sincere praise of the Gung thang chos rgyal. In the later chapters of Bstan dzin nor bus memoirs, the contrast between these two courts becomes increasingly stark. Phun tshogs rnam rgyal conquered Gung thang in 1620 and imprisoned the Chos rgyal at Shel dkar.11 Both rulers died shortly after and the Gtsang pa sde srid was succeeded by his sixteen year-old son, Bstan skyong dbang po (r. 16211642). Although the memoirs describe several occasions in which Bstan dzin nor bu performed rituals at the behest of Bstan skyong dbang po, his treatment of this final Gtsang pa sde srid ranges from ambivalent disregard to outright scorn. In one passage, Bstan dzin nor bu discovers that Bstan skyong dbang po is camped nearby and ponders whether he should meet the young ruler:
These people have crossed into excessive arrogance regarding their family lineage. They are renowned for quarrelling with the Red-hat and Black-hat emanations about [the height of their] seats. [Sde srid Bstan skyong dbang po expects all] to perform prostrations to him and raise up piles of tea [as offerings]. He even [acts] like this to our lama! He rejoices in [the lamas] great qualities such as the power of his blessings and magical abilities; yet, he was unable to humble himself in the matter of the [height of the] seat and so forth U rgyan Rin po che did not bow to the king. Afraid to diminish the kings merit and in
10 Ibid., 26b36: bdag rkyen ni dbu bla rnams dang mnyams/ sde srid rang gi gzims chung thog padma od du sdad pas gu dog tsam byung/ ...bdag spyi bo mtho ba dang/ rna shal rgyas pa sogs la gzigs/ phyag mthil zhabs mthil rnams la khor loi ri mo E yod gsungs/ gzigs phyogs legs po dug kyang/ gtan nas med zhus/ khengs ma byas/. 11 See Ka thog rig dzin Tshe dbang nor bu: 14344.



order to increase the teachings of the secret mantra, he did not do it In general, Im not pleased with people who act in this way. In particular, while being venerated as the chief lama of the Gung thang chos rgyal, I never had any problems with [the hierarchical arrangement of] seats Then, I thought about what I should do. I said, Although I dont want to meet him, Ill just go and see him for a moment. Then, I went.12

This passage highlights the importance of protocol in interaction between political and religious authorities in Tibet. Bstan dzin nor bus principal criticism of Bstan skyong dbang po is that he behaves in a manner unwarranted by his familys status in Tibets elaborate social hierarchy. It seems likely to me that many of Bstan dzin nor bus contemporaries shared the feeling that the successive Gtsang pa sde srid rulers were unrightful usurpers of power begrudgingly accepted because of their economic and military might. Their eventual defeat by the Dga ldan pho brang/Gushri Khan alliance seems in part to have been determined by this lack of royal blood. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries clearly saw a gradual shift of power away from the courts of the old aristocratic families and into the hands of the monastic institutions. Nevertheless, our propensity to understand Tibetan history by defining figures and institutions primarily as affiliates of a sectarian tradition has blinded us to the salience of factors such as family lineage and political power. It is my hope that this brief reflection upon a few scattered passages from the memoirs of the Third Yol mo ba demonstrates the potential for further research based on related literature. Schaeffer (1998: 858) has raised the question of whether it is possible that the distinction between the historical (group/impersonal) and the biographical (individual/ personal) masks as much as it reveals in the case of Tibetan literature. The two are certainly inextricably linked. Most literature in the historical genres (deb ther, chos byung, rgyal rabs) consist of excerpted and/or
12 Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bu: 38a639a2: khong rnams rigs rus kyi khengs ha cang thal bas/ mtshan yongs grags kyi sprul pai sku zhwa dmar nag la yang bzhugs gdan la brtsod/ phyag la gyings/ ja sna la rtseg/ bdag cag gi bla ma di la yang/ byin rlabs kyi tshan kha dang/ mthu stobs sogs che bai yon tan la gu/ bzhugs gdan sogs kyi bkur bzos chen po zhu bar ma nus nas/... U rgyan rin po che rgyal po la phyag mi mdzad pa ni gsang sngags kyi bstan pai che ba dang rgyal po bsod nams bri bar dogs nas mi mdzad par dug/ ... spyir yang di dra mdzad mkhan la dga mo med/ lhag par yang gung thang chos kyi rgyal poi dbu blar bkur ba dis ni/ sa gang du yang go phangs la mtho khyad ma byung/ ... gzhan ci rang byed bsam pa byung/ o na mjal dod rang ni mi dug then tsam byed zhus la mjal/.



reformulated materials from the biographical genres (rnam thar, rang gi rnam thar, rtogs brjod). However, there are also significant distinctions between the two genres in terms of narrative structure, authorial intent, and audience. As with any historiographic enterprise, the authors of Tibets annals and chronicles attempted to transform the dizzying complexity of the past into a simplified and coherent tale. More often than not, the authors of such works were also explicitly concerned with glorifying the history of the institution to which they belonged. In the works of memoirists such as Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bu, far more limited in chronological scope, the central narrative concern is with an individual life; and the political and social events of the day merely provide the background. As such, these are much messier works for historians to deal with and yet, they provide a class of information that more orthodox histories lack. Yol mo Bstan dzin nor bus memoirs do not help to clarify a chronology of events leading to the fall of Bsam grub rtse, nor do they explicitly address the shifting political allegiances of the day; still, the anecdotal descriptions of his personal experiences illuminate details of the early seventeenth century world that otherwise would remain hidden behind the shadows of later histories. Tibetan References Bstan dzin nor bu, Yol mo ba III. (1632). Rang gi rtogs pa brjod pa rdo rje sgra mai rgyud mangs, Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project: Reel No. E2691/4. [Also in The Autobiography and Collected Writings (Gsu thor bu) of the Third Rig-dzin Yol-mo-ba Sprul-sku Bstan-dzin Nor-bu. Reproduced from a manuscript set preserved in the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Damchoe Sangpo, Dalhousie, 1977, 63267; and Collected Writings of Yol-mo Sprul-sku Bstan-dzin-nor-bu. Reproduced from a manuscript collection from the Library of Bla-ma Sege of Yol-mo, Dawa Lama, Delhi, 1982, 95248.] Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, Fifth Dalai Lama. (1643). 1988. Bod kyi deb ther dpyid kyi rgyal moi glu dbyangs. Beijing: Mi rigs Dpe skrun khang (reprint of 1957 edition). Ngag dbang blo gros grags pa. 1983. Jo nang pai chos byung gsal byed zla bai sgron me. Dzam thang: n.d. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Sde srid. (1698). 1989. Dga ldan chos byung Baidrya ser po, Xining: Mtsho sngon zhing chen zhin hva dpe tshong khang.



Tshe dbang nor bu, Ka thog Rig dzin. (1749). 1990. Bod rje lha btsad poi gdung rabs mnga ris smad gung thang du ji ltar byung bai tshul deb ther dvangs shel phrul gyi me long zhes bya ba, in Chab spel tshe brtan phun tshogs and Ldan lhun sangs rgyas chos phel (eds) Bod gyi lo rgyus deb ther khag lnga. Lhasa: Bod ljongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, 87150. Other References Blondeau, A.M. 1994. Bya-rung kha-shor: lgende fondatrice du bouddhisme tibtain. In P. Kvaerne (ed.) Tibetan Studies. Oslo: Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture. Boord, M. 1993. The Cult of the Deity Vajrakla, Tring: Institute of Buddhist Studies. Dowman, K. 1973. The Legend of the Great Stupa and the Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru. Berkeley: Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center. Ehrhard, F.K. 1990. The Stpa of Bodhnath: A Preliminary Analysis of the Written Sources. Ancient Nepal 120, 19. . (in press). A Forgotten Incarnation Lineage: The Yol-mo-ba sPrulskus (16th to eighteenth centuries). In R. Prats (ed.) The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in the Honour of E. Gene Smith. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Khenpo Nyima Dondrup. 2003. Sbas yul spyi dang bye brag yol mo gangs rai gnas yig. Kathmandu: Lusha Press. Schaeffer, K.R. 1998. Review of D. Martin, Tibetan Histories: A Bibliography of Tibetan Language Historical Works. Journal of Asian Studies 57(3), 85658. Tucci, G. 1949 [1980]. Tibetan Painted Scrolls. Reprint, Kyoto: Rinsen Book Co.


IMPERIAL STOOGE OR EMISSARY TO THE DGE LUGS THRONE? RETHINKING THE BIOGRAPHIES OF CHANKYA ROLP DORJ Marina Illich The life of Chankya Rolp Dorj (Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje, 17171786), the famed eighteenth-century Geluk lama from eastern Amdo (A mdo), has been a subject of interest in Tibetological and Buddhological circles for some time and is gaining increased attention in New Qing Studies/Manchu Studies circles. To date, however, scholars from these disparate disciplinary backgrounds have tended to portray Chankya Rinpoch1 as a mouthpiece of Manchu interests, an imperial stooge who facilitated Qing expansion in Mongolia and Tibet.2 This commonplace, I
1 Rinpoche (Tib. rin po che), literally meaning Precious One, is an honorific title used to address reincarnate lamas. 2 Western language sources on the life of the Second Lcang skya Rinpoche, Rol pai Rdo rje, include, prominently: Berger 2003, Chen 1991, Everding 1998, Grupper 1984, Hopkins and Wilson 1987, Kmpfe 1976, Smith 1969, Wang 2000, and Zhao 1990. Chen, Smith, Wang and Zhao present Rol pai rdo rje (or the Lcang skya incarnation lineage in general) as a figure who was decidedly pro-Qing and instrumental to the Qing subjugation of Mongolia and Tibet. Chen, for example, describes Lcang skya as a lama who had cast in his lot with the Qing dynasty and characterizes court-sponsored lamas of the Qing era as conduits through whom the [Qing] courts exerted influence on and ruled the regions of the Tibetan and Mongolian nationalities. Chen 1991: 83, 67. Smith states that Lcang skya and his biographer, Thuu bkwan Blo bzang Chos kyi Nyi ma, served as willing agents of Chinese imperial policy and goes on to write that [e]ighteenth century Tibetan history is the tale of the cunning imposition in the guise of religious patronage of a Chinese protectorate over Tibet. Lcang-skya Rol-pai rdo-rje played a noticeable role in the manipulations. Smith 1969: 2. By contrast, Hopkins 1987 and Kmpfe 1976 present Lcang skya as a mediator who leveraged his authority among Tibetans, Mongols and elites at the Manchu court to fulfill both Qing and Dge lugs imperatives. Bergers work further exemplifies the fact that Lcang skya maintained multiple lines of allegiance by touching upon several of the manifold roles he played as a mediator and diplomat, advisor to the throne, translator, scholar, tantric adept and guru. Ultimately, however, her work reinforces the image that Lcang skya was an imperial right-hand man who helped secure Qing control over Tibet. Berger 2003: 178. For his part, Grupper rejects the thesis that the Qing emperors sponsored lamas purely as a utilitarian measure to encompass Tibetan Buddhist constituencies. In his discussion of Kmpfes study of the Second Lcang skya Rinpoche, for ex-



argue, is reductive and methodologically problematic. Chankya Rinpochs biographers undoubtedly show him cooperating with the Manchu throne but they also devote considerable space to illustrate the complex and manifold ways that he co-opted Manchu sponsorship and openly resisted Manchu imperialism to further his own agenda: consolidating a pan-Geluk spiritual empire crowned by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. In short, Chankya Rinpochs two primary biographies, or rnam thar, depict him as an active agent of history, rather than a passive imperial mouthpiece.3 The glaring disparity in traditional Tibetan and academic representations of Chankya Rinpochs life derives, in part, from a modern scholarly tendency to conceive of political, military and bureaucratic power as real, and religious power as cross-cut with false consciousness. Employing a positivist and secularist reading of history, many Western-trained academics have been quick to write off the indigenous organization of Tibetan biographies, as well as the historical narratives they construct, as didactic and devotional fabrications of hagiographers inhabiting a fictitious cosmology beset with supernatural and magical imaginaries.4 While such readings of Tibetan historiographic texts may tell us agreat deal about ourselves, as Western-trained academics, and the cultural legacies to which we are
ample, he writes that the discriminatory allocation of power [by the Qing court] over socially subordinate groups and landed property to the Dge lugs pa, in those regions under Manchu domination did not begin as an instrument of social control to instill Mongol submission to the Manchu emperor, but instead developed in accordance with traditional Tibeto-Mongol cultural standards which the Manchus acknowledged as their own. Grupper 1984: 56-7. 3 The two main Tibetan biographies of Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje are: Demo 1969 reprinted as Thuu bkwan 1989, and Chu bzang 1976. 4 See, for example, Vostrikov 1970: 185-190, Tucci 1949: 42 and Petech 1950: 2. While recent scholarship has shown a greater willingness to treat works of Tibetan spiritual biography as valid sources of history, many of these works continue to discriminate between Tibets religious history and its geo-political history in a way that uncritically invokes an Enlightenment conception of the religious and secular as discrete, if not mutually exclusive, domains. (See, for example, Rawski 1998, Crossley 1999, Berger 2003 and Chia 1992.) To theorize Tibetan history in these terms is anachronistic and methodologically troubling. The Tibetan categories of chos, the domain of the supraworldly, and srid, the domain of worldly administration, are not cross-cultural equivalents to the categories of religion and politics/temporal affairs which developed out of the post-Enlightenment Western discourse on secularism. Unlike religion and politics which refer to discrete, if not mutually opposed, realms of social action, chos and srid refer to mutually-imbricated domains that constitute contiguous facets of a single cosmological order.



heir, they doom us to failure in the task of reconstructing the concerns cosmological, soteriological and epistemologicalwhich shaped the lives of Tibetan (or Tibetanized) historical protagonists. Contemporary PRC scholars have also contributed substantially to our understanding of Chankya Rinpochs life. However, because they work under the strict supervision of censor bureaus and must adhere to historiographic guidelines issued by the state, PRC scholars have little choice but to frame their discussion of eighteenth-century Tibetan history in the anachronistic terms of contemporary Peoples Republic of China (P.R.C.) state discourse. By definition, their work brackets Tibet under a minority nationality rubric whose main ideological purpose is to contrast a normative P.R.C. Han subject with a panoply of so-called non-Han others situated at the states periphery. Their work narrowly conceives of geographic Tibet as a modern-day Tibet Autonomous Region (T.A.R.) abutted by a congeries of Tibetan prefectures in the surrounding inland or nei di provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. In short, bound by Party directives, these scholars have little choice but to portray Tibet as a trans-historically inalienable part of China in a way that profoundly obscures questions of Tibetan agency. Few of these scholars, for example, have been able to meaningfully theorize the manifold ways that Qing-era Tibetans attempted to deflect and resist Manchu imperialism.5 In short, both PRC and Western-trained academics have consistently depicted Chankya Rinpochs life and Qing-era Tibet in anachronistic and discursively alien terms which obscure our ability to understand how Chankya Rolp Dorj and his contemporaries imagined themselves and the multi-faceted roles they played as agents of history.6
5 Chens 1991 article which is based on both Tibetan and Chinese historical accounts of the early Lcang skya lineage is perhaps the broadest appraisal of Lcang skyas life published in contemporary China. Among other things, it notes in some detail that the Lcang skya Rinpoche was apportioned a high level of state subsidy in the form of grain, money, precious metal gifts, etc. It comments on Lcang skyas various roles at the court as monk, scholar and diplomat. It further highlights several instances in which ritual guest protocol was breached in Lcang skyas favor. Finally, it notes several instances in which the emperor deferred to Lcang skyas judgment on a matter of geo-political and/or religious significance and took action that decidedly benefited Tibetan Buddhist constituencies, not the Empire. Despite all of this, Chens study tenaciously maintains that Lcang skya was a mouthpiece of Qing interests who was co-opted and deployed by the court to secure the submission of Tibetan Buddhist constituencies across the empire. 6 Unfortunately, I do not read Japanese and cannot give consideration here to Japanese Tibetological works. However, judging from works available in English, Japanese scholarship seems to avoid these pitfalls in conceptualizing Tibetan history.



In this paper, I will attempt a different reading of Chankya Rinpochs biographies. Briefly stated, I will approach them as counternarrative inscriptions that self-consciously attempted to deflect Manchu imperialism by inscribing Chankya Rolp Dorj as a paradigmatic agent of a pan-Geluk will to power.7 Specifically, I will argue that the lama disciples who composed Chankya Rinpochs spiritual biographies very self-consciously engaged the logic of Chinese imperial ritual in the way they write about Qing imperial encounters with Tibetan lamas and dignitaries. Their focus on the minutiae of ritual protocol, I argue, does not reflect an arcane fascination with ceremonialism or seemingly impertinent detail. Rather, it reflects a self-conscious attempt to deflect the hegemonizing strategies of the Qing by asserting a narrative of Geluk indispensability to the realization of Qing ambition. According to this narrative, Geluk acumen in fields as diverse as subduing physical or unseen enemies, stymieing drought and deluge, curing illness and, of course, guiding their disciples to enlightenment constituted a sina qua non of Qing imperial success. This reading of Chankyas biographies is methodologically indebted to the workof cultural historians James Hevia and Angela Zito.8 In their respective studies of Chinese imperial Guest Ritual (Ch. binli) and
7 By will to power I do not mean simply raw power as it is conventionally conceived: control over the production, distribution and allocation of material and ideological resources including discourse, capital, human labor and so forth. Rather, I retain the idea of power as it was defined normatively by proponents of Tibetan Vajrayna monasticism themselves, namely: the power to secure stable patronage and proliferate Dge lugs institutions and practices (particularly monasteries) as a means to institutionalize a systematic curriculum of pacifying the mind in order for individuals to transform themselves from ordinary or alienated beings (Tib: so so skye bo) into holy (Tib: phags pa) that is, selflessbeings. While Tibetan historical sources brim with examples of corruption, sectarianism, politicking and so forth, they also provide abundant testimony to the manifold ways that lamas acted out their stated Bodhisattva objectives, in particular, by negotiating nonviolent solutions to social conflicts even when doing so put them in harms way. By will to power, then, I hope to capture both definitions of power which historical evidence suggests motivated Dge lugs expansion: the power to leverage requisite material and spiritual resources to actualize an ethos of self-lessness and social harmony through the individual cultivation of wisdom and compassion; and the power to leverage the Dge lugs order into a position of control over social and ideological resources. To write off the former sense, as many historians do, by asserting that Tibetan lamas who deployed Buddhist rhetoric were ipso facto either cynical manipulators using their status to leverage raw power, or were sincere believers (and, therefore, cross-cut with false consciousness), is both reductive and neo-colonial in its privileging of an epistemology of the self and the cosmos that is very specifically a product of the modern West. 8 See Hevia 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995 and Zito 1995, 1997.



Imperial audiences (Ch. chaojian) during the Qing, Hevia and Zito have shown that imperial rituals were not symbolic expressions of other kinds of power or attempts to mime an idealized but unattainable social order through the charade of posing the Emperor as a semi-divine Son of Heaven. Rather, they argue, imperial ritual was the crucial venue through which emperors instantiated themselves as universal sovereigns by encompassing a host of others within their own rulership. As Hevia and Zito show, Qing sovereignty was organized around the notion that the Emperor, or huangdi, was a lord of lords who materialized his universal and unsurpassed jurisdiction through the active incorporation of fanwang, or lesser lords, within his imperial fold. In so doing, he legitimated his claim to the Mandate of Heaven by producing himself as an exemplar of imperial virtue and a paramount embodiment of yang power.9 Hevia writes:
In Qing China, the emperors task was to include others (often quite alien others) in imperial sovereignty. Put another way, ManchuChinese imperial sovereignty was possible only through the successful encompassment of other centers of power, a kind of summation of the constitutive powers of an emperor, who could and must include the similar powers of other kings within his own kingship.10

To actualize this idealized yang subject position, however, the emperor could not simply overcome others by force. He had to manifestly include them within his projects of rulership. As Zito points out, In social relations, the yang position of power and authority never
9 Briefly stated, according to classical Han social philosophy, socio-cosmic harmony was predicated on the correct instantiation of an idealized set of social relations between yang superiors and yin inferiors exemplified by the Five Bondsrelations between ruler/minister, father/son, husband/wife, elder/younger brothers and friend/friend. The yang side of these dyads maintained a position of superiority because yang subjects had the power to initiate actions which yin counterparts were expected to complete. In so doing, yang subjects could direct their counterparts into specific, inferior subject positions and, thereby, define and delimit yin agency. By the same token, since yang power derived from encompassing yin subjects within the field of its own subjectivity and not from exerting top-down, hegemonic power, it could be challenged by unwilling yin subjects who failed to acquiesce in completing yang objectives. The emperor was considered to be the supreme embodiment of yang power and, thus, the paramount arbiter of this social dialectic. While clearly a yin subject vis--vis his ancestors and Heaven, he also stood in the highest earthly position as the worlds universal sovereign and was thus poised to encompass, within his exemplary field of virtue, all his inferior but complementary yin subjects. 10 Hevia 1994: 186.



reigned absolute in its stability, but required its Other in a yin position to complete its initiatives11 Or as Hevia puts it,
relations were contingent and provisional, requiring continuous renegotiation and refashioning as conditions in the world changed. In a political situation in which lords vied with each other for supremacy, any claim that the emperor might make to supreme lordship was predicated on his dexterous management of relations with other lords; he must include their strength without diluting it so that he could, if necessary, command them to assist him in the ordering of the world.12

Imperial Guest Ritual, Hevia and Zito show, was the crucial medium for negotiating this process. In Guest Ritual, the emperor, as superior, initiated a sequence of rituals action, and the lesser lord, as inferior, brought (or at least was expected to bring) them to completion. In so doing, the lesser lord signaled that he had been encompassed within the emperors rulership. Thus, through Guest Ritual, the Emperor could actualize an idealized spatial and hierarchical orchestration of bodies that visibly manifested his yang power and imperial de, or power as cosmic exemplar, and by extension the legitimacy of his claim to universal rule.13 Chankya Rolp Dorjs biographers, I argue, were keenly aware that imperial power was constitutedand could be contestedthrough the performance of ritualized audience sequences and the narrative inscription of those encounters.14 Such a reading would explain why
11 Zito 1995: 15. 12 Hevia 1989: 81. 13 As Hevia points out, Sovereignty, as it was fashioned in Qing ceremonial prac-

tice, manifested the generative powers of a superior to initiate and the capacity of inferiors, through their actions, to bring to completion the sequence of events set in motion by the emperor. In Chinese studies this is classically referred to as the power of the exemplar: the extension of imperial virtue into the world. Together, superiors and inferiors constructed a historically specific and situation-contingent relationship between a supreme lord (huangdi, the emperor) and a lesser lord (fanwang, a lord of the periphery). The completing capacity of an inferior is crucial in the formation of such relationships, and it resonates throughout all audience rituals. Hevia 1994: 186. In short, as he underscores elsewhere, [t]he overwhelming emphasis in Chinese ritual texts on the position and disposition of bodies in ceremonial space meant that ritual actions constituted a cosmo-political order in highly consequential ways. Hevia 1989: 89. 14 Indeed, as Zito states in comparing Tibetan and Chinese accounts of the Fourth Panchen Lamas visit with Emperor Qianlong in 1780, everyone present in the Chinese and Tibetan texts knew what was going on herethey were apprised of the rules of these various games [of ritual protocol] in ways that the Europeans were not, as their accounts of the same events make ludicrously clear. Zito 1995: 31.



Chankyas biographers took pains to recount the manifold ways and many times that the emperor granted special dispensations to Chankya Rinpoch and other high-ranking lamas during imperial encounters. Let us consider the following examples: Passage one, from the shorter biography by Chubzang Rinpoch (Chu bzang Ngag dbang thub bstan dbang phyug):
Then, when he was eight, Chankya Rinpoch went to the Golden Capital [Beijing] by order of the Manjushri Emperor [Yongzheng]. First, on an astrologically pure and auspicious day, he had an audience with the Manjushri Emperor in the Sandalwood Temple.15 When they exchanged greetings, the Emperor expressed enormous delight, as if he had found a wish-fulfilling gem. Seating [Chankya]directly besides himself [on the throne], the Emperor offered him [to take] as his residence the great monastic seat of Zongzhusi, or Tashi Rabgye Ling Temple, a pleasure grove filled with all the translated scriptures of the Buddhas word and the Indian commentaries, whereupon he gave orders for it to be fully renovated immediately.16

In his longer biography, Thukwan [Thuu bkwan Chos kyi nyi ma] gives his readers an even more embellished account. As the emperor approached the courtyard leading into the temple, Thukwan writes, Chankya
knelt down on one knee and offered him a statue of Amitayus made of a gold and silver alloy together with an immaculate silk scarf. The emperor descended from his palanquin, grabbed the tulkus [sprul sku] hand and, pulling him up to standing, instructed the precious lama to proceed ahead of him. But [Chankya] knelt down again and insisted that the emperor proceed first, in the manner of someone wellacquainted with the customs of imperial protocol. The Emperor lifted [Chankya] up onto his lap and invited him inside [with him] where he requested the precious tulku to be seated at the center of the cushion on his [the emperors] imperial throne. Seating himself on the edge of the throne cushion, the Emperor grasped the precious lamas hand and reminisced about [Chankyas] former incarnation [the Emperors root

15 The Sandalwood Buddha Temple, or Zhantansi, located in the northern corner of the Imperial City, was constructed in 1665 during the reignof Emperor Kangxi and restored in 1760 under the auspices of the Qianlong Emperor. Home to hundreds of monks, the temple was an active center of Tibetan Buddhist practice in the Qing imperial capital and was named after the holy image it housed, a life-sized, antique sandalwood statue of Shakyamuni. See Naquin 2000: 342. 16 Kmpfe 1976: 15b-16a.



guru]. Thereupon, he broke down into tears and appeared unable [even] to speak for some time.17

Passage two:
As soon as Chankya Rinpoch had come out of retreat [in 1745], the Great Brahma of the Earth [the Qianlong Emperor] requested [his master] to bestow the Cakrasavara initiation upon him. For about ten days, [Chankya] had clear visions of the deities he was propitiating [who appeared] adorned in their implements as if they were directly in front of him and he received timely prophecies from them which clearly demonstrated the sacredness of the site. At the time of [performing] the requisite preparations to initiate the Manjushri Emperor, the One Ordained by Heaven, into the fivedeity Cakrasavara, the Emperor threw the so shing18 and it landed planted completely upright. When it came time to analyze the sign that the so shing [augured by landing this way], examining how it was upright, [Chankya] said [the Emperor] is a vidhydhara.19 Marvelous signs were said to have appeared such as that when it came time to examine [the emperors] nighttime dreams, [it came out that] the Emperor had been jolted awake in his imperial quarters by the clear sound of the master [Chankya] reciting the seven-syllable mantra of Cakrasavara [far off] in his sleeping quarters.20 On the following day, they completed all stages of the actual initiation. From then on, [the Emperor] held this master atop his fiveBuddha clan crown. Thereafter, he never transgressed his [lamas] commands and forevermore delighted in propitiating him with the three types of offering [of his body, speech and mind].21 In so doing, the
17 Thuu bkwan 1989: 88-89. 18 The so shing is an instrument used in the preliminary rites of offering (Tib. sta

gon) in the five-deity Cakrasavara initiation. In these rites, the initiate drops the so shing onto the maala and the deity in whose direction it lands pointing is thought to be the initiates karmically-ordained spiritual guide and protector. The implement is called a so shing, literally meaning tooth-stick, because it was traditionally made of the neem branch used for tooth brushing in India. 19 Vidhydhara is a Sanskrit synonym for siddha, meaning tantric adept or Buddha. This miraculous landing of the so shing was considered particularly auspicious not only because it landed upright, defying all laws of gravity, but because it landed in the center and thus indicated that the Emperor had a special affinity with the central Buddha, Akobhya. 20 Kmpfe 1976: 52a. 21 The Buddha-clan crown is a crown depicting the five Buddha clans which is worn by a tantric initiate during initiation ceremonies. By claiming that the Emperor held Chankya atop this crown, the author is asserting that Qianlong accepted his master as indivisible from the Buddha and regarded him as a superior to whom he was spiritually bound by oath.



Great Protector of the Earth [the emperor] opened many doors of profound and auspicious [karmic] connection indicating that he would spontaneously fulfill his masters wishes. Thereafter, [the Emperor] took many profound and extensive teachings [from Chankya including] the experiential instructions on the two stages of the profound path of Cakrasavara, together with the branch teachings. Later, while Chankya was initiating [the Emperor] into the Vajrayogin tantra, an amazing sign appeared as [the master] had predicted. Just at the time of the descent of the wisdom being,22 the Emperor did such things as pull out the cushion beneath him and kneel directly on the floor for the duration of the initiation ceremony, thereby visibly manifesting that he had generated unshakable faith in his lama and had genuinely accepted him as the Vajradhara Buddha himself.23

Passage three: In recounting the Panchen Lamas visit to the Manchu court in 1780, Chubzang underscores a number of similar special ritual dispensations which were granted on this occasion. Among other things, he tells us that the Panchen Lama arrived at the emperors quarters on a yellow palanquin borne by eight men.24 Later, the Emperor showed the [Panchen Lama] inconceivable respect by offering him (as well as Chankya Rinpoch) extraordinary lama head dresses emblazoned with the Cakrasavara mantra as well as agolden palanquin borne by four eunuchs.25 Similarly, when the Panchen Lama was due to arrive at the Summer Imperial capital in Jehol (present day Chengde), the Emperor met directly with the Panchen Lama and, just as they met, the Emperor excused him from having to kneel down and instead greeted the lama in

22 The ye shes sems pa or wisdom being (Skt: jnasattva) is the second of the three kinds of sems pa or beings. The first of these, the dam tshig sems dpa' (Skt: samayasattva) or devotee being is the deity visualized either externally, at the crown, or as the practitioner him/herself. The jnasattva or wisdom being is a wisdom duplicate of the deity that is ritually invited to merge indivisibly with the practitioner (alternatively, with the deity icon visualized at the practitioners crown), or with the material icon being consecrated. As such, the devotee being is like a ritual vessel into which the deity is invoked transforming his or her unenlightened mind-body into the actual deity itself. (The third being, the ting 'dzin sems dpa' (samdhisattva) or concentration being, is usually a seed syllable visualized at the heart representing the practitioners inner mind essence or innate Buddha nature.) 23 Kmpfe 1976: 52a-52b. Compare with Thuu bkwan 1989: 295-96 which makes no mention of the Emperor kneeling directly on the bare floor. 24 Kmpfe 1976: 110b. 25 Kmpfe 1976: 112a.



the kha btags-to-kha btags fashion.26 The Emperor then offered the Panchen Lama a banquet to celebrate his arrival and, extending unsurpassable respect to him and his retinue, the emperor finally installed him in the Tashi Lhunpo Temple[a grandiloquent temple project, we should note, which the emperor commissioned exclusively for the Panchens visit to the court.]27 At their final meeting in Beijing, Chubzang informs us, the Emperor ordered the Panchen Lama to be carried in his palanquin as far as the third level from the bottom proceeding up to Audience hall and Chankya Rinpoch as far as the second level. Chubzang then adds that people say that it is very hard for other high-standing dignitaries under Heaven to merely enter this courtyard without Imperial permission, what to speak of being escorted this far up [towards the imperial chambers.]28 Passage four: The following year, soon after the Panchen Lama had passed away and his death rituals had been completed, Chankya Rinpoch went to Wutai Shan with the Emperor. Once there, Chubzang tells us, the Emperor turned to Chankya Rinpoch and said, Come sit on the throne [with me]. We should sit together. Taking Chankya Rinpochs hand, he added, When I have you by my side, Im happy.29 These passages all highlight major ritual dispensations which the Emperor allegedly granted Chankya Rinpoch and other senior
26 Traditionally, bka tags, or silk scarves, were only exchanged this way between individuals of equal status. 27 Kmpfe 1976: 112a-112b. Thukwans biography informs us that when the Panchen Lama met the Emperor at Jehol (on the eve of the Emperors 70th birthday celebration), he was granted the unsurpassed privilege [Tib. bdag rkyen bla na med pa, lit., unsurpassed gift] of being carried on his palanquin, by imperial order, directly into the Emperors imperial private chambers [Tib. gzim khang] just as had been done on every occasion that he met with the emperor on this visit. (Thukwan adds that Lcang skya Rinpoche was carried as far as the threshold (ie: just outside) the Emperors imperial private chambers.) Thuu bkwan 1989: 583. A bit further on, Thukwan explains how at one point during the Panchens visit, Lcang skya Rinpoche took him on a tour of the yo mi yan garden and explained to the Panchen Lama that other ministers were not allowed in the garden but that the Emperor had granted the Panchen Lama a special dispensation not only because he was a long-time proponent of the teachings in general but also because he had unshakable faith in the Panchen Lama and hoped for the holy lama to confer his blessings on the site. If we consider this [the special dispensation the Emperor has given you], Lcang skya Rinpoche pointed out, it is a marvelous fruition in the present of [the joint commitment to] the profound compassionate mind of enlightenment [bodhicitta] which you two, the lama and patron [the Emperor], initiated long ago. Thuu bkwan 1989: 584. 28 Kmpfe 1976: 113b. See also Thuu bkwan 1989: 586. 29 Kmpfe 1976: 115b-116a. See also Thuu bkwan 1989: 598.



dignitaries in serious contravention of orthodox binli or Guest Ritual. As Hevia points out, according to Imperial Guest protocol: ambassadors were not supposed to come inside the Imperial Hall, but to conduct their audiences from the courtyard where they were posted on the Western perimeter. They were not supposed to koutou, or prostrate, directly before the emperor but outside in the courtyard. Ambassadors were not supposed to approach the throne but to kneel at the threshold of the audience hall. Finally, the actual presence of an embassy in the audience hall was considered a special situation.30 According to the accounts of Chubzang and Thukwan, however, the Emperor eschewed many of these norms of ritual protocol in his meetings with Chankya and his contemporaries. Their accounts tell us that upon first meeting the young Chankya Rinpoch, the Yongzheng Emperor not only greeted the boy in person but directly lifted him onto his lap and then seated him in the center of the throne (while the Emperor himself sat to the side.) In 1745, they tell us, the Qianlong Emperor not only knelt before his guru during his initiation into the Cakrasavara Tantra, but went so far as to remove the floor cushion beneath him to kneel directly on the floor. In his 1780 audience with the Panchen Lama, they tell us, the Qianlong Emperor relieved the lama of his duty to kneel (itself a dispensation from the regular koutou) and then went so far as to greet the Lama in a traditional Tibetan kha btags-to-kha btags manner that traditionally signaled equal status. The Emperor further arranged to have the lama escorted not just in a golden palanquin borne by eunuchs but very nearly to the top level of the audience hall. (And he arranged for Chankya Rinpoch to be carried almost as far.) Finally, towards the end of Chankya Rinpochs life, they tell us, the Qianlong Emperor invited Chankya Rinpoch to sit besides him on the throne (bringing the narrative full circle?) and then openly professed his heartfelt attachment to the lama with a display of uncontrolled emotion. These passages, we should remember, constitute but a few examples of the special dispensations which Chankya Rinpochs biographers claim the Emperor granted him and his colleagues. Moreover, the inscription of all of these passages is explicitly couched in the language of the mchod yon or the lama-patron idiom. The lama-patron institution was developed from an Indian Buddhist model of kingship which conceived of rulership as a joint project between worldly kings responsible for administering the seen world, and supra-worldly
30 Hevia 1993: 257-8.



kingsnamely, realized Buddhist mastersresponsible for mediating between the seen and unseen worlds and for guiding all beings on the path to supreme liberation. In this scheme, the patron or yon bdag (one who gives offerings to a religious person or object)whether king, khan, or Son of Heavenwas considered to possess mere worldly jurisdiction whereas the lama or mchod gnas (a person or thing to which religious offerings are made) was viewed as a Buddha wielding cosmic jurisdiction.31 By framing their narration of events in the terms of the lama-patron discourse, Chankya Rinpochs narrators were actively inscribing Chankya Rinpoch in what we might call a yang subject position vis--vis the Emperor and his subjects. To be sure, in depicting the Emperor as a yon bdag or patron, Chubzang and Thukwan were claiming that he was nothing less than a wheel-turning cakravartin king commanding universal worldly jurisdiction. But in depicting Chankya Rinpoch as a mchod gnas, an enlightened master worthy of imperial worship, they were simultaneously asserting that Chankya Rinpochand not the Emperorcommanded universal sovereignty as master of the supraworldly realm and realized Buddha guide showing the path to enlightenment. In short, they were claiming for Chankya Rinpoch, and not the emperor, the status of ultimate king of kings. Visually, this was represented in thankas depicting Chankya Rinpoch seated upon (or, more accurately, floating several inches above) the Emperorscrown. This is not to say that Chubzang and Thukwan do not also mention the many times that Chankya Rinpoch does kotou, that he is seated to the west of the Emperor, as per imperial protocol, that he has to get imperial permission to leave to go home to Amdo, go on retreat and so forth. But they couch their narration of these events in triumphalist language that clearly restores Chankya Rinpochs agency as an historical actor and casts him, and not the emperor, as paramount arbiter and overseer of cosmic events. Simply put, in lama-patron terms, Chankya Rinpochs koutou to the Emperor constitutes but an act of worldly submission. The Emperors prostration to his lama, by comparison, signals the ultimate act of submission by emperor to his lama. Presented in these terms, it is the lama and not the Emperor who succeeds in the final act of encompassment, incorporating the Emperors worldly realm and apportioning it a proper place within his own infinite, supra-worldly jurisdiction.
31 Wylie 1977: 119.



In short, the narrative emphasis on ritual sequences that we find in these biographies, I contend, is not arbitrary, nor does it signal some sort of pre-modern or sacerdotal obsession with the minutia of ceremonial protocol. Rather, these inscriptions constitute deliberate attempts on the part of Chankya Rinpochs historiographers to portray him as a paradigmatic tantric lama and king of kings, a master of ceremonies whose supra-worldly jurisdiction is no match for that of an earthly sovereign. Tibetan References Chu bzang Ngag dbang Thub bstan Dbang phyug. 1976. i mai od zer/Naran-U-Gerel. In H. R. Kmpfe (ed.) Biographie des 2. Pekinger Lcang skya-Qutuqtu Rol pai rdo rje (1717-1786), Monumenta Tibetica Historica, sec. II, vol.1. St. Augustin: VGH Wisssenschaftsverlag. Demo, N.G. 1969. Collected Works of Thu bkwan Blo bzang Chos kyi Nyi ma, Vol. 2 (Kha). E.G. Smith (ed.) and reproduced by N.G. Demo. New Delhi: Gedan Sungrab Minyam Gyunphel Series. Thuu bkwan Chos kyi Nyi ma. 1989. Lcang skya Rol pai Rdo rje Rnam thar [=The Biography of Lcang skya Rol pai Rdo je]. Lanzhou: Kan suu mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Other References Bawden, C.R. 1968. The Modern History of Mongolia. New York: Frederick A. Praeger. Berger, P. 2003. Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Cammann, S. 1949-50. The Panchen Lamas visit to China in 1780: an episode in Anglo-Tibetan relations. Far Eastern Quarterly 9, 3-19. Chen, Q. 1991. Lcang-Skya Rolpavi-Rdorje and Emperor Qian Long. In H. Tan (ed.) Theses on Tibetology in China. Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 67-90. Chia, N. 1992. The Li-Fan Yuan in the Early Ching Dynasty. Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University. Crossley, P.K. 1999. A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology. Berkeley: University of California Press. Das, S.C. 1882. Contributions on Tibet. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 51, 1-75.



Everding, K.H. 1998. Die Prexistenzen der lCan skya-Qutuqtus: Untersuchungen zur Konstruktion und historischen Entwicklung einer lamaistischen Existenzenlinie. Asiatische Forschungen, vol 104. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. Grupper, S.M. 1984. Manchu patronage and Tibetan Buddhism during the first half of the Ching dynasty: a review article. The Journal of the Tibet Society 4, 47-75. Hedin, S. 1932. Jehol: City of Emperors. E.G. Nash (trans.) London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Company. Hevia, J.L. 1995 Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793. Durham: Duke University Press. 1993. Lamas, Emperors and Rituals: Political Implications in Qing Imperial Ceremonies. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 16(2), 243-78. 1989. A multitude of lords: Qing court ritual and the Macartney embassy of 1793. Late Imperial China 10(2), 72-105. 1994 (ed.) Sovereignty and subject: constituting relations of power in Qing guest ritual. In A. Zito and T.E. Barlow (eds) Body, Subject and Power in China, 181-200. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hopkins, J. and J. Wilson. 1987. Emptiness Yoga: The Tibetan Middle Way. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications. Jachid, S. 1974. Mongolian lamaist quasi-feudalism during the period of Manchu domination. Mongolian Studies 1, 27-54. Kmpfe, H.R. 1976. i maiod zer/Naran-U-Gerel: Biographie des 2. Pekinger Lcang skya-Qutuqtu Rol pai rdo rje (1717-1786), Monumenta Tibetica Historica, sec. II, vol.1. St. Augustin: VGH Wisssenschaftsverlag. Martin, D. 1990. Bonpo canons and Jesuit cannons. The Tibet Journal 15(2), 3-28. Naquin, S. 2000. Peking: Temples and City Life, 1400-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press. Petech, L. 1950. China and Tibet in the Early eighteenth Century: History of the Establishment of Chinese Protectorate in Tibet. Leiden: Brill. Rahul, R. 1969. The role of lamas in Central Asian politics. Central Asiatic Journal 12(3), 209-27. Rawski, E.S. 1998. The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions. Berkeley: University of California Press.



Rockhill, W.W. 1910. The Dalai Lamas of Lhasa and Their Relations with the Manchu Emperors of China, 1644-1908. Toung Pao 11: 1104. Smith, E. G. 1969. Introduction. In N.G. Demo (ed.) Collected Works of Thuu bkwan Blo bzang Chos kyi Nyi ma, 1-12. Delhi: Gedan Sungrab Minyam Gyunphel Series. Vostrikov, A. I. 1970. Tibetan Historical Literature. Trans. from the Russian by H. C. Gupta. Calcutta: Indian Studies: Past & Present. Wang, X. 2000. The Qing courts Tibet connection: Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje and the Qianlong Emperor. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 60(1), 125-63. 1995. Tibetan Buddhism at the Court of Qing: The Life and Work of Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje (1717-1786). Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University. Wylie, T.V. 1977. The first Mongol conquest of Tibet reinterpreted. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37(1), 103-33. Zhao, Y. 1990. Chankya and the Qing courts policy towards Tibetan Buddhism. Tibet Studies 2(2), 27-46. Zito, A. 1995. The Imperial Birthday: Ritual Encounters between the Panchen Lama and the Qianlong Emperor in 1780. Paper presented at The State and Ritual in Asia, College of France, Paris.


Among the many ancient books that are in general circulation in Tibet, two especially talk of Padmasambhava. The first is entitled Lungh-tn, or the prophecies of Urghienthis was the first book that was translated to me word by word after I arrived in Lhas and began to study the books of this people. The other book, which I also studied word by word, tells of the life of Urghien, his arrival in Tibet, and his stay there. In the first book and some of the chapters of the second, there is an extensive series of prophecies in the form of a dialogue between the King of Tibet and Urghien, in which the latter predicts those things that shall happen in the kingdom after many centuries have passed.1

The Italian Jesuit Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733) is well known for his fascinating but flawed account of the Dzungar invasion and Manchu takeover of Tibet in the early eighteenth century. According to his own testimony, he also seems to have been the first Westerner to study the prophetic literature of the Rnying ma school of Tibetan Buddhism. While Luciano Petech was content to note the influence of this literature on the Jesuits views of Tibetan religion and culture, his student Giuseppe Toscano, in the introduction and notes to his translation of Desideris
1 Convien dunque sapere che tra molti libri che da antico tempo corrono nel Thibet per le mani di tutti due specialmente son molto notabili al presente proposito. Uno intitolato Lung-tn, cio Profezie dUrghien, e fu questo appunto il primo libro che mi capit alle mani e che parola per parola mi feci con molta diligenza spiegare nel primo mettermi a studiare i libri di quella gentilit poco dopo il mio arrivo a Lhas. Laltro contiene la vita dUrghien, la sua andata al Thibet e sua dimora in esso; e fu questo il secondo libro che in quella lingua studiai, e che parimenti parola per parola mi fece molto accuratamente interpretare. Or in tutto quel primo libro e in alcuni capitoli del secondo, in forma di dialogo tra il re del Thibet e tra Urghien, si riferisce una lunga serie di profezie da questi fatte circa le cose che in quel regno per lunga serie di secoli erano per succedere. Petech 1944-1946, VI: 265-66. As the reader can see, I often paraphrase the missionarys longer sentences or omit his redundant phrases, but I include the full Italian text to give one a sense of his style.



Tho rangs mun sel nyi ma shar ba, demonstrated the influence of the Padma thang yig and the prophecies (lung bstan) of Padmasambhava on the Jesuits punctuation, vocabulary, and style.2 Indeed, when the missionary presented his first Tibetan work to Lha bzang Khan in solemn audience on the sixth of January 1717, he compared Christian revelation to a gter ma3 and even compared himself to a gter ston like Moses.4 If this work exposes the errors of Tibetan religion by means of the genealogical criticism common to Christian missionaries like Matteo Ricci and Bartholomus Ziegenbalg,5 the missionarys later texts exemplified by the Questions Concerning Reincarnation and the View of Emptiness Offered to the Scholars of Tibet by the Christian Lama Ippolito (Mgo skar bla ma i po li do shes bya ba yis phul bai bod kyi mkhas pa rnams la skyes pa snga ma dang stong pa nyid kyi lta bai sgo nes zhu ba)follow the expository scholasticism of yig cha texts.6 This dramatic change in style might give the impression that the missionary abandoned Rnying ma literature in favor of Dge lugs scholasticism after he began his studies at Se ra monastery in the summer of 1717. It would be wrong, however, to think that Desideris turn to scholasticism represents a purification of the cultic or supernatural elements of either Christianity or Buddhismas Toscano often implies.7 There is no
2 See Luciano Petechs editorial remarks in Petech 1944-46, VI: 346-49, nn. 14163. Toscano 1981: 77-82. On Desideris use of the gter rtags, see 157, n. 2. On his vocabulary, see 161, n. 15 and 209, n. 8. On his style, see 187, n. 7 and 200, n. 2. Toscano often ascribes a specifically Rnying ma interpretation to Desideris use of terms such as rang byung and rang grub. I find this ascription a bit forced, but Desideris familiarity with the vocabulary of the Padma thang yig is readily apparent. 3 Desideri 1981: 117.7. 4 Desideri 1981: 89.6. 53.7-65.5 contain Desideris rendering of the Exodus of Israel. In addition to describing himself as a gter ston to rival Padmasambhava, Desideri describes God with titles reminiscent of Avalokitevara, such as thugs rje chen po. Cf. Desideri 1981: 6.1, 31.1, and 66.2. 5 The standard introduction to Matteo Ricci is Spence 1984. On Bartholomus Ziegenbalg, see Singh 2000. 6 The title appears to contain a misspelling. Mgo skar [=mgo dkar]. Mgo skar is actually a self-conscious neologism intended to echo its homonym. Toscanos translation, cristiano, is borne out by the original Italian manuscript of the Tho rangs. Cf. Toscano 1981: 156-57. 7 Note the following passage in Toscano 1981: 20: Per comprendere latteggiamento polemico del p. Desideri nella sua prima opera. . ., si deve tener presente che il suo primo contatto con la religione tibetana non stato con la seconda forma pi elevata, ma esclusivamente con la prima risultante dalla mescolanza del bon con il buddhismo tantrico. Or again, Toscano 1981: 78 (quoting Tucci 1976: 239): Il Desideri non combatte il buddhismo in questopera ma la sua degenerazione, quella degenerazione della quale il Tucci scrisse: La graduale disgregazione delle basi dottrinarie del bud-



historical, philosophical, or theological reason to suppose that Desideri abandoned either his genealogical criticism of Tibetan religion or his interest in Tibetan prophetic literature. In fact, Padmasambhavas prophecies continued to influence the Jesuit missionarys interpretation of the political events that wracked Tibet during the early eighteenth century, for he saw in them the persecution of his Rnying ma friends and his own rivalry with Padmasambhava. Why the prophecies so fascinated Desideriand how he came to read themremain something of a mystery. As I hope to show, the identity of one of Desideris friends, the mysterious Lungar lama from Dwags po, might offer scholars new insights into these issues. With the possible exception of Lha bzang Khan, no figure is so readily analyzed in Desideris Notizie istoriche as Padmasambhava.8 The ancient sorcerer frames the missionarys journey: he is waiting when the missionary enters Tibet through the Western deserts in 1715 and rises again when the missionary descends the Tibetan plateau in 1721. This is Desideris account of their first meeting:
On the ninth of November 1715, we arrived at the highest point of our journey, indeed, the highest point that we reached in all of our wandering. This placea bleak desert indeedis greatly respected and venerated on account of a certain Urghin, who established the religion or sect that one finds in Tibet. Away from the road is a mountain of excessive height, quite large in circumference, its summit enveloped in cloud and perpetually encased in snow and ice, which remains quite horrible and austere, for it is most bitterly cold. Urghin lived for some time in complete solitude and continuous contemplation in a cave carved from the living rock of this very mountain.9

dhismo, riconoscibile gi nella sua espressione tantrica, nel Tibet tanato avanzata da permettere la soprevvivenza della concezioni autoctone. 8 Desideri devotes considerable space to retelling his story. Cf. Petech 1944-46, VI: 236-272. 9 A 9 di Novembre arrivammo al pi alto de luoghi, che abbiamo passato in tutto questo nostro pellegrinaggio. Tal luogo (che pur deserto) appresso i paesani di molto rispetto e venerazione, per riguardo a un certo Urghin, che stabil nel Thibet la religione o setta che in esso corre. V quivi fuori di strada un monte streminatamente alto, molto largo di circuito, nella sommit ricoperta dale nuvole e da perpetue nevi e ghiacci, e nel resto molto orrido e rigido per lacerbissimo freddo, che in esso f. In una spelonca, ch formata di viva pietra di questo monte, dicono che dimor qualche tempo in un total ritiro e asprezza e in continuo contemplazioni il sopradetto Urghin. Petech 1944-46, V: 174175. As one can see from the two passages quoted, Desideri is rarely consistent in his phonetic transliteration of Tibetan words.



This passage may seem dry enough to us today, but to Desideris readers it would have fairly bristled with tension. Wind-swept deserts and lonesome mountains were common settings in Christian literature, portending epic temptations and terrible battles. Just as Matteo Riccis readers would have caught the scriptural allusions when he spoke of China as un deserto si lontano or its people as questa remotissima gente,10 Desideris readers would have shivered with fear when he referred to the Himalayas as the very picture of desolation, horror, and death itself.11 A missionary of the early eighteenth century could have found such ideas confirmed by scientists of his day, for whom it was no exaggeration to say that the very existence of mountain ranges, including the very range upon which Desideri confronted Padmasambhava, spoke of the most ancient sins of the human race, for it was common scientific opinion in the seventeenth century that such peaks formed only after the waters of Noahs flood subsided.12 Such confrontations were also fast becoming a dominant staple of missionary lore. Harkening to the tale of Elijah and the priests of Baal, the Catholic Church deployed its own thaumaturges in the war for souls and took evident delight in the miracles they performed.13 The Jesuit missionary is no exception in this regard: he unabashedly describes the miracles of the saints who preceded him in the Asian missions, and he treats his eighteenth-century reader to several anecdotes calculated to instill in them the belief that the Holy Spirit still performed such miracles in the Church.14 It is with such sentiments that Ippolito Desideri entered the phantasmagoria of Tibetan politics. As the Jesuit compared himself to a gter ston in the court of Lha bzang Khan, he was hardly aware that the
10 Spence, p. 56. 11 . . . se fait entre des montagnes qui sont une vraye image de la tristesse, de

lhorreur, & de la mort mesmes. Letter to Ildebrando Grassi (10 April 1716) Petech 1944-46, V: 34. 12 Rossi 1984. 13 Discussing men such as the Augustinian Juan Bautista de Moya, Serge Gruzinski says From 1550 to 1650, from Quertaro to the bishopric of Oaxaca, from the valley of Puebla to Michoacn, these holy men filled the Mexican countryside with the renown of their exploits, mastered the natural elements, kept away storms, attracted rain, ordered the clouds and plants, lit or put out fires at will, and devoted themselves to prophecy and divination. Above all they multiplied miraculous healings before and after their death, since their relics and their bodies . . . were themselves endowed with miraculous powers. Gruzinski 1993: 189. Compare the encounter between the Jesuit fathers and the magician Guiraber in de Montoya 1993: 99-100. 14 Desideri 1944-46: 148, 150-51, 157. Compare Desideris Letter to Francesco Piccolomini (21 August 1714). Desideri 1944-46: 16.



Qoshot chieftain would soon lose his kingdom, his family, and his very life.15 Although it is impossible to describe the tangled politics of Lha bzang Khans reign in such a short essay without over-simplifying matters, suffice to say that the Dge lugs order was divided into several competing factions from A mdo, Gtsang, and Dbus, each of which with complex and ever-shifting alliances with Tibetan aristocrats, Mongol chieftains, and Manchu nobles.16 Between Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho and the Qoshot Khan in central Tibetand the Manchu Empire and the Dzungars beyond its bordersthese various factions existed in delicate tension at the turn of the eighteenth century.17 When Lha bzang Khans wife had the regent decapitated in the Stod lung Valley and the Sixth Dalai Lama defected to the brothels of Lhasa in 1705, each of the various Dge lugs factions turned to its foreign benefactors, and the seeds of war were sown.18 Such seeds bore fruit on the thirtieth of November 1717, when the Dzungarsaided by a coalition of Dge lugs from Bras spungs, Se ra, and Dga ldan monasteriessacked Lhasa and murdered Lha bzang Khan. This ramshackle coalition briefly controlled Lhasa and a few surrounding districts but was still caught between the Dge lugs factions from A mdo and Gtsang, both pro-Manchu and both quite hostile. In an attempt to find firm footing on shaky ground, Stag rtse pa and the Dzungar government began a wholesale persecution of Rnying ma and Bka brgyud monks and laymen under the direction of Blo bzang phun tshogs, a Dzungar lama of Sgo mangs college. From November 1717 to October 1720, these Dge lugs and their Dzungar allies sacked and pillaged monasteries along the Gtsang po River, reaching as far as Dwags lha sgam po to the East. Although we have not yet untangled the complex reasons for these persecutionsI believe that they are best understood in terms of family conflicts and land polityone thing is
15 Pi felice sarebbe stata la di lui prudenza, se allaltre qualit che laccompagnavano avesse saputo accompagnare laltra qualit tanto necessaria ne regnanti, di sapere alle volte sospettare; per mancanza di che perd il suo regno, la sua famiglia e la propria sua vita. Desideri 1944-46: 41 n. 16 Petech [1950] 1972 is still the standard work. Petech 1988 contains valuable insights as well, especially into Desideris limitations as an historian. 17 Ahmad 1970 remains the primary European-language work on the relationship of the Sde srid to the Dzungars. It must be used with extreme caution, however, until much of the current research being done on the regent is published. 18 Standard accounts for these events can be found in Kun mkhyen Jigs med dbang po 1987: 108 ff; Blo bzang ye shes dpal bzang po 1981-85: 447 ff; Mdo mkhar Tshe ring dbang rgyal 1981: 119 ff; Sum pa mkhan po Ye shes dpal byor (Yang 1970), and Tsepon Shakabpa 1976: 482 ff.



clear. The monasteries sacked were predominantly Rnying ma and Bka brgyud institutions in Dbus, Gtsang, and Dwags po, and most notable among these were the Rnying ma monasteriesRnam rgyal gling, Bsam lding, Smin grol gling and Rdo rje bragthat had intimate ties to the Fifth Dalai. While Petech sees these persecutions in racial termsas a policy imposed upon Tibetans by the DzungarsDesideri believed them to result from internal Tibetan conflicts. Petech, too, seems at pains to ensure that the Tibetans had little to do with the persecutions and implies that the Dge lugs merely allowed the pillaging of Rnying ma monasteries as they waited for the rightful Dalai Lama to appear. The Jesuit missionary is a more severe critic andat least in this regarda more interesting historical source. He observes, for example, that the Dge lugs differed in their opinions about the Rnying ma. Some Dge lugs were content to edit or suppress the biographies of Padmasambhava but did not support such wholesale persecution.19 Others engaged in gratuitous iconoclasm and violently oppressed the Rnying ma, and several of the most esteemed Rnying ma lamas were deposed, banished, or murdered. Many, Desideri relates, fled with nothing and sought refuge in hidden caverns.20 Fearing that his friendship with the deposed Qoshot chieftain would cost him his life, Ippolito Desideri fled to Dwags po.21 While there, he befriended a rosy and rotund man he calls the Lungar lama. We enjoyed a great friendship and close familiarity, Desideri writes, and he often invited me to pass two or three days in his company, and was very generous, offering me presents time and time again, especially great quantities of gold.22 Sadly, the joint Tibetan-Dzungar government expanded its pillaging into Gtsang and Dwags po in 1718. Awakened one night by shouts outside his door, the Lungar lama snatched his son and hurriedly disappeared into a secret passage. Under cover of the night, they descended a steep path to the river and made a daring escape by boat. It chanced that, in their flight, they passed the Jesuits house and borrowed some money. Not without compassion and tears, Desideri
19 Petech 1944-46, VI: 161-62, 273n. Here Desideri echoes debates about the biographies of Padmasambhava discussed by Blondeau 1980. Compare also Blondeau 1987. 20 Petech 1944-46, VI: 159. 21 Petech 1944-46, V: 201. 22 aveva egli stretto con me una grandissima amicizia e unintima familiarit. Frequentemente minvitava ad andar da lui a passer ora due e ora tre giorni in sua compagnia; e come era di genio molto liberale, maveva pi e pi volte fatto copiose offerta, specialmente doro in quantit. Petech 1944-46, VI: 159-160.



tells his reader, I assisted the flight of the Lungar lama, who was miserably destitute and in great pain, so that he might escape the hands of his barbaric persecutors.23 Such escapes were all-too-common during the Dzungar persecutions. Mi gyur dpal sgron ma, the daughter of the Smin grol gling abbot Gter bdag gling pa, fled the Dzungars and found refuge in the hidden valley Bras mo ljongs, in present day Sikkim.24 When faced with such trials, Rnying ma followers like Mi gyur dpal sgron ma or the Lungar lama turned for solace to the very prophecies that Desideri read in the court of Lha bzang Khan. Although scholars in recent years have doubted the veracity of such treasures (gter ma), they provided the narrative and ideological framework of much of Tibetan politics, especially in times of political crisis.25 While the biographies of Padmasambhava were well-known by all the participants in this drama, special mention should be made of the mystical cartographies of hidden sanctuaries (sbas yul) that are most often associated with the teachings of the northern treasure (byang gter) school that flourished at Rdo rje brag under Padma phrin las (1640-1718), one of the Rnying ma lamas singled out by the Dzungars for extreme persecution.26 Although such sbas yul texts differ in specific details, as a whole they describe a period of stable Mongol rule, after which foreign invaders conquer Tibet and social and spiritual disintegration ensues. Desideri, working within this general framework, saw the Mongol ascent to power, the Dzungar invasion, and the establishment of the Manchu protectorate foretold in the prophecies. While I cannot yet say exactly which of the treasure texts the Jesuit father may have readbeyond the dialogues contained in the Padma thang yigit is sufficient for our purposes that he tells us that he read them, since little ingenuity is needed to read the events of the
23 Non senza compassione e non senza lacrime soccorsi io nella sua fuga il Lama di Lungar, miseramente fuggitivo e con gran pena scappato dalle mani de barbarii persecutori. This passage precedes Desideris description of the lama: Come sopra ho detto, questi uno de Lama che con maritati. Era egli di complessione molto grasso, di genio molto affabile e cortese, dottima indole, signore dun gran feudo, abbondante di ricchezze, potente per la parentela di grosse e molto cospicue famiglie e universalamente molto amato e rispetto. Petech 1944-46, VI: 161. 24 Khyung po ras pa 1984: 96.4 ff. 25 For an overview of gter ma literature, see Gyatso 1996, Karmay 1988, and Aris 1989. Important studies include Gyatso 1986 and Gyatso 1993, Germano 1994, and Kapstein 2000. 26 For my discussion of sbas yul, I depend heavily on the work of Childs 1999 and Ehrhard 1999a, 1999b.



seventeenth and early-eighteenth century into them.27 All of those who suffered saw themselves in the texts. Those in Gtsang and Dwags po who had supported Lha bzang Khan could thus see in his death the end of the stable Mongol rule that the texts prophesied. The Dzungar conquest, the religious persecutions, and the Manchu takeover followed with equal necessity. Although it is difficult to say what the Jesuit thought of the prevalence of such gter ma, there is little reason to think that they would have offended his own religious sensibilities. Similar religious phenomena were by no means scarce in Christianity.28 What I find rather fascinating is that Ippolito Desideri did not doubt the prophecies veracity. When he first arrived in Tibet, he tells his reader, he thought them ridiculous and fit for a few good laughs. Later, when he saw the prophecies fulfilled in the wars that engulfed Tibet, the Jesuit could only marvel at Padmasambhavas uncanny accuracy. Witnessing the prophecies fulfilled as monasteries in Dwags po were destroyed, Desideri felt compelled to prostrate myself upon the earth and adore the supreme, most just, most holy and inscrutable Providence of God, and repeat the words of the Holy Prophet David time and time again: Justus es, Domine, et rectum iudicium tuum.29 This is not to say that Desideri believed his rival to be privy to any special graces. The Jesuit father, like his fellow Tuscan Dante Alighieri, knew that demons could predict the future, and this is precisely how he explains Padmasambhavas prophetic success.30 Tibetan religionand his ownremained thoroughly supernatural to the end.

27 Petech 1944-46, VI: 265-66. 28 Augustine, in an account that would surely have been known to Desideri, tells

how Ambrose miraculously discovered the relics of Gervasius and Protasius. Giovanni Nanni of Viterbo, too, discovered twelve ancient texts that proved his rather ingenious theories about the origins of the Italians. Christians commonly interpreted the political upheavals of the seventeenth century by recourse to the Apocalypse of John. See, for example, the standard studies by Wilson 1969 and Toon 1970. 29 In sol genere di s fatte cose mi giova qui il riferire, che al puro intenderle e ritrovarle parte scritte e parte stampate ne libri, ne primi principj della mia dimora in quel regno, mi diedero occasione di far beffe e di ben grasse risate, ma dipoi nel progresso del tempo mobbligarono e mi costrinsero a inchinar millioni de volte e batter per terra riverente la testa profondamente adorando la suprema, giustissima, santissima, imperscrutabile Provvidenza di Dio, e col S. Profeta David mille e mille volte ripetendo quelle parole: Iustus es Domine, et rectum judicium tuum. Desideri 1944-46: 265. Desideri quotes Psalm 119.137: Righteous art thou, O Lord, and right are thy judgements. 30 Petech 1944-46, VI: 267.



However much Desideri increasingly came to see the influence of demons in Tibetan affairs, I prefer to look for a more down-to-earth explanation of his estimation of Padmasambhavas prophecies. I like to think that a friendly and garrulous gter ston convinced Desideri of their truth, perhaps a gter ston who fled the Dzungars or opened a hidden sanctuary, perhaps even the lama from Lungar who made the daring escape through the secret passage. Perhaps Desideris friend is none other than Chos rje gling pa (1682-1726), the gter ston from Klu mkhar (Lungar) in Dwags po. Until more information about Desideris travels comes to light, I think this feasible. Initiated into both Rnying ma and Bka brgyud lineages, Chos rje gling pa opened hidden sanctuaries in Kong po and Spo bo in order to escape the Dzungars31 and had ties to Lha bzang Khan.32 He fits the age and, apart from details about his girth and complexion, the description of Desideris Lungar lama. I offer this identification only tentatively but, if correct, it has important ramifications for how we understand Desideris knowledge of earlyeighteenth century Tibet. If Desideri knew Chos rje gling pa, we can reasonably place the young Jesuit within the ambit of some of the most fascinating political characters of the time, most notably Mi gyur dpal sgron ma,33 her Dge lugs Rasputin Sle lung bzhad pai rdo rje,34 and Pho lha nas Bsod nams stobs rgyas.35 More to the point, if Chos rje gling pa is Desideris Lungar lama, he would be the most obvious source for Desideris continued fascination with the prophecies of Padmasambhava as well as his sympathies for those who suffered so at the hands of the Dzungars. He might even be the source of other prophecies the missionary may have read.36 Desideris belief that demonic voices guided Padmasambhavas prophecies does not seem to have affected his friendship with Rnying ma priests like Chos rje gling pa. While he repeatedly condemned the cruelty of the Dge lugs from central Tibet and their complicity in the Dzungar invasion, the Jesuit consistently expressed his admiration for the piety and virtue of the Rnying ma who remained steadfast during the

31 Gu ru Bkra shis 1990: 415.4ff. 32 Kun bzang nges don klong yangs 1976: 324.4. 33 Chos rje gling pa and Mi gyur dpal sgron ma seem to have been in Kong po at

the same time. Cf. Khyung po ras pa 1984: 104.5. 34 Sle lung Rje drung Bzhad pai rdo rje 1983: 12.1ff, 368ff, and 454ff. 35 Sle lung Rje drung Bzhad pai rdo rje. 1984: 279-359. 36 Chos rje rling pa 1985.



persecutions.37 He even suggested that the Dge lugs persecuted the Rnying ma because ordinary Tibetans found them more inclined to virtue.38 Desideris confrontation, after all, was with Padmasambhava, not the Tibetans who venerated him. In fact, the Rnying ma men and women who resisted Stag rtse pa and the Dzungar government came to play an important role in Desideris own religious and theological understanding of Tibetan culture. With the death of Lha bzang Khan, the Rnying ma became his great hope for the conversion of the Tibetan people. This hope, too, would be dashed. When the Jesuit returned to Lhasa in 1721, the Capuchin fathers showed him the legal decision from Rome granting them exclusive rights to the mission and orders from the Jesuit general Michelangelo Tamburini commanding him to leave. Had he not lost the Tibetan mission to the Capuchins, Desideri would have seen even worse wars during the next decade. After dilapidating the Tibetan granaries and destroying the economy, the Manchu military garrison left the Tibetans to fight among themselves, and fight they did. The civil war of 1727-1728 would see the murder of Khang chen nas, the victory of Pho lha nas and the Gtsang pa Dge lugs over their A mdo rivals, and the exile of the seventh Dalai Lama, whose office would remain greatly weakened, if not powerless, until Manchu Dynasty fell in the early twentieth century. Before descending the Tibetan plateau, however, Ippolito Desideri paid his old friend one last visit. Recounting their reunion years later, the loquacious Jesuit found himself at a loss for words:
I cannot describe the tears and expressions of friendship with which the good lama described his disgrace and deprivation, our old friendship not having suffering in the slightest, but being made stronger and more robust. He wished not only to return the money he had borrowed but also to give me copious presents, but I refused to take either, which cut him to the quick with the loss that comes with the departure of a most sincere friend.39

37 Petech 1944-46, VI: 272. 38 Petech 1944-46, VI: 158. 39 Sono inesplicabili le lacrime e le amorevoli espressioni, con cui il buon Lama

mi fece conoscere che la disgrazie e lassenza non solamente non avevano punto in lui diminuito lantica amicizia, ma che pi tosto lavevano resa pi forte e pi solida. Voleva egli non solamente restituirmi il denaro che gli avevo inviato, ma voleva aggiugnergli copiosi donativi; ma ricusando io di ricevere n questi n quello, prese quindi motivi di



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sentir pi al vivo la perdita che veniva a far con la mia partenza dun suo pi sincero amico.... Petech 1944-46, VI: 161.



Ahmad, Z. 1970. Sino-Tibetan Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Aris, M. 1989. Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives. London: Kegan Paul International. Blondeau, A.M. 1980. Analysis of the Biographies of Padmasambhava According to Tibetan Tradition: Classification of Sources. In M. Aris and A.S.S. Kyi (eds) Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. Warminster: Aris and Phillips Ltd., 45-52. . 1987. Une polmique sur lauthenticit des Bka-thang au 17e sicle. In C. Beckwith (ed.) Silver on Lapis: Tibetan Literary Culture and History. Bloomington: The Tibet Society, 125-60. Childs, G. 1999. Refuge and Revitalization: Hidden Himalayan Sanctuaries (Sbas-yul) and the Preservation of Tibets Imperial Lineage. Acta Orientalia 60, 126-58. Ehrhard, F.K. 1999a. The Role of Treasure Discoverers and Their Writings in the Search for Himalayan Sacred Lands. In T. Huber (ed.) Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 227-39. . 1999b. Political and Ritual Aspects of the Search for Himalayan Sacred Lands. In T. Huber (ed.), 240-57. Germano, D. 1994. Architecture and Absence in the Secret Tantric History of rDzogs Chen. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 17, 203-335. Gruzinski, S. 1993. The Conquest of Mexico. [La Colonisation de limaginaire. Paris: Gallimard, 1988.] E. Corrigan (trans.). Cambridge, MA: Polity Press. Gyatso, J. 1986. Signs, Memory, and History: A Tantric Buddhist Theory of Scriptural Transmission. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 9, 73-135. . 1993. The Logic of Legitimation in the Tibetan Treasure Tradition. History of Religions 33, 97-134. . 1996. Drawn from the Tibetan Treasury: The gTer ma Literature. In J. Cabezon and R. Jackson (eds) Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 147-69. Kapstein, M. 2000. The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism. New York: Oxford University Press. Karmay, S. 1988. The Great Perfection. Leiden: Brill.



de Montoya, S.J., A.R. 1993. The Spiritual Conquest. C.J. McNaspy, S.J., J.P. Leonard, S.J., and M.E. Palmer, S.J. (trans.) St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1993. Petech, L. (ed.) 1944-46. I Missionari Italiani nel Tibet e nel Nepal. Rome: Libreria dello Stato. . [1950] 1972. China and Tibet in the Eighteenth Century. 2nd rev. ed. Leiden: Brill. . 1988. Notes on Tibetan History of the eighteenth Century. In L. Petech, Selected Papers on Asian History. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1988, 201-30. Rossi, P. 1984. The Dark Abyss of Time: The History of the Earth and the History of Nations from Hooke to Vico. [I segni del tempo: Storia della terra e storia delle nazioni da Hooke a Vico. Milan: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, 1979.] L. G. Cochrane (trans.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Singh, B. 2000. The First Protestant Missionary in India. Oxford: University of Oxford Press. Spence, J. 1984. The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. New York: Viking Penguin. Toon, P. (ed.) 1970. Puritans, the Millennium and the Future of Israel: Puritan Eschatology 1600 to 1660. Cambridge, MA: James Clarke. Toscano, G., S.J. 1981. Il To Ras (LAurora). Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Tucci, G. 1976. Le Religioni del Tibet. Rome: Edizioni Meditterrane. Wilson, J.F. 1969. Pulpit in Parliament: Puritanism during the English Civil Wars 1640-1648. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Yang, H.C. (trans.) 1970. The Annals of Kke nor. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


DGE LUGS PA DIVIDED: SOME ASPECTS OF THE POLITICAL ROLE OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM IN THE EXPANSION OF THE QING DYNASTY Nikolay Tsyrempilov In the seventeenth century, Central Asia was witness to an uncompromising struggle of armies and ideologies that finally resulted in the establishment of an empire, which had no equal in this part of the world from the time of the great Mongol Conquest. Still, historians are far from answering all the questions raised by those events, even if so complicated a phenomenon could ever be completely understood by modern people. Nevertheless, thanks to the efforts of generations of scholars, modern historians have managed to rid themselves of a number of myths, stereotypes and artificial simplifications that reigned in this scientific area until recently. Undoubtedly, one of the gravest errors related to the history of the Qing Empire is to refer to this political regime as a dynasty exclusively.1 Elimination of this methodological error, as well as understanding the obvious fact that the Qing Empire was established through the efforts of many forces and with the participation of various national and state formations, has opened a number of new perspectives and directions for research. With such an approach, investigations of the evolution of relations between the rulers of the empire on the one hand and various authorities controlling important regions in Central Asia on the other are of great importance. In addition, the problem of contradictions inside each party is still far from being resolved; the latter is directly connected with the question of the balance between pro- and anti-Imperial forces. Possible results of the analysis of this important problem could contribute to a deeper understanding of the process of establishing this Asian empire. Touching upon the question of the inclusion of Tibet into the sphere of direct imperial control, it is necessary to specify one more defective
1 Crossley 1997: 8.



position, which is peculiar to some historians. The relations which existed between the Qing emperors and the religious leaders of Tibet, mainly the Dalai and the Panchen Lamas, as well as other forces and opinions from among the Buddhist clergy, in some cases promoting the Qing policy not only in Tibet but also in other regions of Inner Asia, are ignored as if they never existed. The source base for investigations of this kind expands each year, allowing us to make some cautious conclusions about existence of such forces. The present work is not aimed to prove these, as it is hardly possible at the stage Tibetan studies has reached at this moment. My purpose is to attract experts attention to this problem, as its resolution, in my opinion, will facilitate the proper understanding of the history of the establishment of the Qing Empire. It seems that the first time the problem of the heterogeneity of the religio-political authorities in Tibet of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries and the conflicts between the largest Dge lugs pa monasteries and the government of the Dalai Lama was considered, is in one of the works of Melvin Goldstein. In this connection, he writes: Religion (and the religious segment), however, was not the homogeneous entity it is typically implied to be, even within the Dge lugs pa Sect, and the great Dge lugs pa monasteries were often at odds with the Dalai Lamas government.2 Having examined some characteristic cases of collision between the government of Tibet and some groups of Dge lugs pa monks, the author comes to the following conclusion:
This discord, however, was typified not by conflict over the ideology that religion must dominate in Tibet, but rather over the monks belief that this meant that the interests of the monasteries should reign supreme. The Three Seats [Dge lugs pa monasteries Sera, Dga ldan and Bras spungsN.T] thus had no qualms about challenging the government when they felt their interests were at stake, for in their view they were more important than Ganden Photrang [Dga ldan pho brangN.T.], the government headed by the Dalai Lamas.3

It seems to be pertinent to look at the problem of variously oriented ecclesiastic groups of the Dge lugs pa order through a prism of their perception of the expansion of the Qing Empire and the correlation of their corresponding interests with this expansion.

2 Goldstein 1990: 231. 3 Goldstein 1990: 244-45.



Many things have been said about the high objective value of the Manchu-Mongol alliance. Indeed, it is hardly possible to deny the opinion of those historians who say: The Mongols participation was crucial to the success of an empire-building [the QingN.T.] process in which they were at first essential allies, gradually thereafter reduced to the status of mere subjects, albeit privileged ones.4 It would not be an exaggeration to say that their hands had built the Qing Empire. The Mongols loyalty was primarily facilitated by the unique ability of the Qing emperors to play various roles depending on certain circumstances. Their political flexibility, which contributed to the relative ease of their conquests, is often explained by the fact that they lacked the strong tribal consciousness or strong historical tradition of the Mongols.5 They had managed to include in their empire the peoples of so many different cultures and religions due to the quality that was defined by American historian Kent Guy as simultaneities: One of the Manchus unique capacities was their ability simultaneously to embody crucial elements of the political traditions of the several people over whom they ruled.6 The Qing emperors can be easily recognized in different roles: a Son of Heaven and an embodiment of virtue, a recreator of the Yuan Empire and a legal successor of Chinggis Khan, cakravartin-king and a protector of Buddha Doctrine and, at last, an emanation of bodhisattva Manjusri.7 Each of these roles was effectively played in different situations for the corresponding audience. Seemingly, that very quality had made it possible to integrate into the empire two such antagonistic peoples as the Hans and the Mongols. Having made the establishment of an empire their aim, the Manchus had to face two serious obstacles in Inner Asia, namely two ideologies which for a long time competed with the traditional Confucian world outlook: the Central Asian idea of the Great Khan of the Mongols and the patron-patronized conception in the form of a special kind of relationship between a secular governor who assumes an honorable title of cakravartin-king, and a Lama as the latters religious instructor. Both concepts used to exert a huge influence upon Mongols; both world outlook systems were capable of challenging Confucian political theory. In addition the two ideas were, though rather artificially, bound.
4 Mote 1999: 869. 5 Lattimore 1932: 44. 6 Kent 2002: 57. 7 On those two last roles of the Qing Emperors see: Farquhar 1978: 5-34.



Manchus had started resolving the first problem at the dawn of the Qing Empire. Actually, the very rise of the Qing had been possible because of Qongtaijis successful usurpation of the Great Khan position. It seems that without the legitimization of the Manchu supremacy over Mongols through elimination of Legden Khan and the seizure of the Yuan states seal, the rise of the new empire would hardly have been possible. The key to the second problem was Tibet, namely the figure of the Dalai Lama. Manchus could not but know that control over that institution would provide them with big political advantages. From the moment the patron-patronized relationship between Altan Khan of Tumed and Bsod nams rgya mtsho was established, it was for the most part the Dalai Lama (and only secondly the Dge lugs tradition as a whole) who became a key figure in Mongol-Tibetan religious and political relations. I would say that the second wave of the spread of Buddhism among Mongols had been caused by the political needs of Mongolian society and from the very beginning had taken the form of the patron-patronized relationship, elaborated in the Yuan era. In other words, in those historical circumstances the pattern of the relation preceded the actual relationship. For all of Qing history, the relationships between Mongolian khans and the Dalai Lamas were formed by the above-stated principle. It is important to remember, that these ties were exclusively of individual character: the Dalai Lama and one of Mongolian khans. This and other factors, which will be discussed later, explain the rise in status of the Dalai Lamas over other Dge lugs pa institutions. The second problem appeared to be more difficult and took much more time than the first. On the other hand, the controversial tendencies that had split the Dge lugs pa hierarchy at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the regent Sde srid Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, resulted in the political crisis which jeopardized the integrity of the Qing Empire. As is widely known, Dge lugs pa borrowed a reincarnation phenomenon from its main political rivalKarma pa school. It suffices to say that this method of institutionalization of authority had a number of advantages over others. Turrell Wylie first pointed them out, having distinguished three fundamental features of the reincarnation idea that made it more effective than other types of authority in Tibet. The third and, as it seems, basic advantage, from those distinguished by Wylie, is that:



the reoccurrence of reincarnation generation after generation would inevitably depersonalize the anthropomorphic god it creates. This would facilitate the transition from charisma of person to a charisma of office: a change essential to the establishment of a hierocratic form of government that could survive as an institution regardless of the charisma of any individual hierarch.8

A line of Dalai Lamas essentially differs from that of Karma pas, as the Dalai Lama has never been formally recognized as the head of the tradition he originates from. The fact that many scholars of the past were sure of the opposite is an illustration of the extreme importance of this institution, which, in combination with the personal charisma of some representatives of this line, provided the Dalai Lamas with the highest position in the Tibetan Buddhist world. Keeping in mind all the aforesaid, it is not so difficult to notice an asymmetry in the Tibetan authority structure formed at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. The orderliness of the Dge lugs pa internal hierarchy was broken by the displacement of its center. As I have noted, the Dalai Lamas have never been heads of the Dge lugs pa (this office was elective, at least ideally),9 the dominating Buddhist tradition in Tibet. Nevertheless, they were the recognized rulers of Tibet. That was possible due to the advantages of the reincarnation institution I have mentioned above. This contradiction, which was brought into the tradition by Mongols, manifested itself in various forms of opposition only in times of strong Dalai Lamas claiming authoritarian rule in the country. Probably, for the first time the relations between the Dalai Lama and a part of the high Dge lugs pa hierarchy became strained in the middle of the seventeenth century after the Oirad military leader Gushri Khan granted Tibet to the Fifth Dalai Lama. From that moment, the new governor of the country took consecutive actions directed towards the sacralization and universalization of the institution he represented, and absolutization of his authority. All this could not but put him in opposition to Dge lugs pa sectarians. It is generally accepted that the fifth representative of the Dalai Lamas line was one of the greatest politicians the Tibetan state ever knew. His swift rise was preconditioned by the alliance of different
8 Wylie 1978: 584. 9 In some cases an abbot of the Dga ldan monastery, a successor of Rje Tsong kha

pa as a head of the tradition, was appointed by the decree of the Dalai Lama rather than elected by the community of the Dga ldan monastery.



forces, of which a strong confederation of Qoshouts and some Dge lugs pa hierarchs whose interests were represented by the Dalai Lamas regent Bsod nams chos phel, were most important. After military control over Tibet was established, Gushri Khan had granted the conquered territories to the regent and the Dalai Lama as an offering. In that act one can see a differentiation between the Dge lugs pa school, represented then by Bsod nams chos phel, and the Dalai Lama, as a figure directly connected with the tradition, but having a special status. Z. Ahmad believes10 that in the Dge lugs pa hierarchy formed by the middle of the seventeenth century, the position of a regent was lower than that occupied by the Dalai Lama and Gushri Khan. The individual relationship of patron-patronized, mchod-yon, which four hundred years before had been established between the Phags pa bla ma and Qubilai, were set in 1642 between these two figures. Thus, the Great Fifth and Gushri Khan assumed the positions of Phags pa bla ma and Qubilai respectively, which symbolized a full restoration of the ancient tradition. Presumably, Mongols associated the reconstruction of the lost relations with Tibet firstly with the Dalai Lama and only secondarily with Dge lugs pa tradition. Thus, the Dalai Lama occupied a key position in the power structure of the country, only formally sharing it with the regent and the Qoshout ruler. Having occupied the highest seat in the state, the Dalai Lama became an exponent of the interests not only of his religious tradition. There was one step left for securing his position: to work out a state ideology in which the Dalai Lama would be thought of as a central figure. In one of her works,11 Ishihama Yumiko convincingly demonstrated the process of the rise in status of the Fifth Dalai Lama over all other institutions mainly through the dissemination of the belief that the bodhisattva Avalokitevara manifests himself in each representative of the Dalai Lama line. There was an obvious purpose: the ancient Tibetan belief in that Buddhist deity as a destined divine protector of the country legitimized the absolute authority of the Dalai Lamas in Tibet and provided the reason for the sacralization of the whole institution. In this connection, it does not seem irrelevant to cite the following:
In Tibetan historical works (chos byung) and discovered texts (gter ma) dating from even before the establishment of the Dge lugs pa
10 Ahmad, 1970: 191. 11 Ishihama 1993: 38-56



school there are, regardless of sectarian affiliations, statements identifying Tibet with the land to be converted by Avalokitevara, and both Gnya khri btsan po, said to have been Tibets first king, and Srong btsan sgam po, believed to have been the first king to have united Tibet are described as manifestations of Avalokitevara. Hence, for people who identified the Dalai Lama with Avalokitevara it would have been quite natural to regard him as the head of state.12

One more quotation:

Perhaps, at this stage, one might permit oneself two comparisons. Perhaps, one might say that what was established in Tibet in 1642/45 was what was established in Tudor England, and what was attempted in India under Akbar the Great: a national state and a national state religion.13

As a natural result at this stage, a tension had arisen in the relations between the Dalai Lama as a protector of interests of the state, and the defenders of the interests of Dge lugs pa as a Buddhist sect predominating in Tibet and in other parts of Central Asia. What was the reason for this tension? At what moment had the standpoints of the two parties diverged? It is obvious that the disagreement between certain circles of the Dge lugs pa hierarchy over whether to oppose or support the Fifth Dalai Lama appeared because of the attitude of the latter to other Buddhist traditions of Tibet. It is widely known that the Dalai Lama both in his private life and in state affairs also considered the opinions of some representatives of Rnying ma pa and was even an adherent of their secret doctrines. The facts proving the tension in the relationships between some Dge lugs pa hierarchs and the Dalai Lama on this ground can be found in the works of Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho himself. There are some intriguing details in the so-called Golden manuscript, the Great Fifths composition containing the vivid descriptions of his secret visions, for instance, this one:
Legs ldan rdo rje begins to perform the ceremony, but the Dalai Lama is unable to recognize its deity. Dbang po sde then performs the empowerment ceremony of the divinity Karmaguru and gives him a ritual dagger (phur pa). At that moment, he feels that the Treasurer
12 Ishihama 1993: 44. 13 Ahmad 1970: 143.



Bsod nams rab brtan14 and other (Dge lugs pa) monks are looking at him through the window at the eastern side of the Chapel of Mahakala, giving the impression that they do not approve of his participating in the ceremony, which is performed by the Rnying ma lamas. He thinks that if they, the Dge lugs pa monks, criticize him, he will hit them with the ritual dagger and rushes out, but the monks look very subdued. He then awakes feeling totally recovered from his illnesses.15

Probably, this conflict was expressed most sharply in the tragedy of Grags pa rgyal mtshan, which had far-reaching and adverse consequences for the whole Tsong kha pa tradition. The known circumstances of the tragic death of this main antagonist of Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho may seem to indicate a repressive aspect to the Fifth Dalai Lamas attitude towards his ideological opponents inside the tradition, although there are no wide documentary confirmations of this fact. If, however, there were repressions on the part of the Fifth Dalai Lama directed to some representatives of the Dge lugs pa hierarchies, such a tough policy could be explained by the following reasons. The problem has its roots not only and not so much in Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshos adherence to the secret doctrines of Rnying ma pa. Surely, this might excite irritation among Dge lugs pa purists who were, as it seems, always in abundance. The fundamental root of this disagreement was once formulated by G. Dreyfus in one of his works devoted to the origin of the Rdo rje shug ldan cult as follows:
The resentment against the power of the Fifth Dalai Lama was primarily connected to a broad and far-reaching issue, the desire of some of the more sectarian Ge-luk hierarchs to set up a purely Ge-luk rule. Some even seem to have argued for the suppression of the schools against which they had fought for more than a century, particularly the Kar-ma Ka-gyu tradition. The Fifth seems to have realized that such a rule would have had little support and would have exacerbated the inter-sectarian violence that had marred the last two centuries of Tibetan history. To avoid this, he attempted to build a state with a broader power base, state that he presented as the re-establishment of the early Tibetan empire. His rule was to be supported by the Ge-luk tradition, but would also include groups affiliated with other religious traditions.16
14 The same person as Bsod nams chos phel mentioned above. 15 Karmay 1988: 30. 16 Dreyfus 1998: 232.



It seems obvious that the Great Fifth associated Rnying ma pa with the imperial period of Tibetan history, as this Buddhist tradition traces back to that time. Touching upon this question, it is hardly possible to speak about the opposition to the institution of the Dalai Lamas on the part of Dge lugs pa sectarians. One can see in the logic of the events of the sixteenth century the opposition not to the institution of the Dalai Lamas in general but to the form of the state, which the Fifth Dalai Lama was creating: a proto-national state. What exactly was unacceptable for some of Dge lugs pa monks in such type of the state? To answer this question one has to consider some peculiarities of the general political situation in Central Asia of the middle of the seventeenth century. The well-known facts of the Dge lugs pa history prove that its political predominance in Tibet was achieved through the long-term struggle with the other Buddhist sects, in particular with Karma pa. Both sides used military-political support both within the borders of the country and far beyond. The decline of the Phag mo gru clan, from which Dge lugs pa received a powerful backing in the sixteenthseventeenth centuries, had forced the latters hierarchs to seek the patronage of the leaders of various Mongolian tribes. This step had farreaching consequences for all of Central Asia. After almost two centuries of fighting for survival and domination, Dge lugs pa managed to obtain a wide international recognition. In addition to its political domination in Central Tibet the Tsong kha pa followers had strong positions in Amdo as well, where a second center of the Yellow church was being established, based in the large and influential monasteries such as Sku bum, Dgon lung, Gser khog and, later, Bla brang. Furthermore, Dge lugs pa predominated over almost all the regions inhabited by Mongols. Moreover, Manchu emperors not only recognized Dge lugs pas domination in Tibet, but also protected and officially patronized the Yellow Church in all mentioned regions. In this way favorable conditions in the Empire for the existence and strengthening of the Yellow Hat tradition were created, which would have had an effect on the attitude of many of its followers towards the person of the Emperor. It was during that period of time when the conception of the Qing Emperor as an emanation of Manjusri became very popular among Mongols and Tibetans. Though this conception seems to have never been officially admitted by the Qing Emperors, they were primarily interested in the integration of the Imperial authority into the cult structure of



Tibetan Buddhism. However, most important, apparently, was their role as the protectors and patrons of the tradition, the monopoly of which they, as a matter of fact, deprived the Mongols. It is known that they based their right to interfere with Tibetan internal affairs on that very status. I suppose that I am not very wide of the truth in assuming that Dge lugs pa was considered by most of its followers to be a true and accurate transmission of Buddhas doctrine, and thus considered its dominance as a triumph of the religion. Many followers of the Dge lugs pa tradition thought their sects interests more important than Tibetan state interests, which is why they could consider the course pursued by the Fifth Dalai Lama, of rapprochement to the other Tibetan Buddhist sects, if not as a betrayal of the Yellow church, then at least as an adverse situation for the sect. They had to watch the establishment of a kind of state, in which Dge lugs pa occupied a key position but would share it with the aristocratic clans and representatives of other Buddhist sects, that is, a country ruled by a coalition of the yesterdays rivals. This explains the strained relations between the Fifth Dalai Lama and some other authoritative Dge lugs pa lamas who resented being obliged to share their dominating position in Tibet, which had been so difficult to obtain. The expansion of the Empire brought this opposition to a head. We have already mentioned that after the unsuccessful attempts to affect Mongols by means of the Dalai Lama, Qing Emperors had to undertake a whole complex of measures to weaken the Dalai Lamas spiritual hegemony in Mongolian lands and tried to establish their direct control over this influential religious-political institution. They managed to do this to a certain degree only after the regents official notice on the Fifth Dalai Lamas death, fourteen years after it really happened. The institution of the Dalai Lama was practically invulnerable while Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho was alive or at least was considered to be. The news about his death became a signal for Manchus to move to realize actively their plans. During the rule of the regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, the relations between the government and some representatives of the Dge lugs pa hierarchy were becoming even worse. The regent consistently adhered to the Fifth Dalai Lamas policy, being notoriously pro-Jungar and an ally of Galdan, the Jungar leader from 1676 to 169617. It had put him in opposition to a coalition of various forces: firstly, the Qing Emperor who could not remain indifferent to the
17 Petech [1950] 1972: 14.



forming anti-Imperial alliance of the Dalai Lama (in person of the regent) and the Qings main rival in Central Asiathe Jungar Khanate; secondly, Lha bzang Khan who had as an object the restoration of the former prestige of the Qoshout governor of Tibet, which was established as a result of the Gushri Khans conquest, but later lost its original political weight; thirdly, certain circles of the high Dge lugs pa hierarchy whose position has been discussed above. The situation was aggravated by the Sixth Dalai Lamas behavior whose way of life did not correspond to the position he occupied. The two first opponents of the regent used it as a pretext for their offensive against the regime established by the previous Dalai Lama and supported by the regent. The regime did not meet the interests of those parties. Anyway, both sides sought the support of the heads of dominating Buddhist traditions. The political position of an authoritative Dge lugs pa lama of the seventeenth-eighteenth-century Jam dbyangs bzhad pa Ngag dbang brtson grus can serve as a strong argument in favor of the idea, that the Qing Emperors yearning for the weakening of the Dalai Lamas authority in Tibet met with support from some Dge lugs pa opponents to the regime established by Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho. In the period of 1700 on 1707 this Amdo native, one of the brilliant representatives of the Yellow-Hats exoteric and esoteric traditions, held the position of abbot of the Sgo mang faculty, an influential subdivision of the Bras spungs monastery. This position gave him the right to be a member of the Council of the heads of the subdivisions of the three greatest monasteries of Dbus, which was called in case of emergency. In 1707, as it is known from some Tibetan historical sources, that Council was called to solve the problem of the Sixth Dalai Lamas visit to Peking. From one of the biographies of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa we learn the following:
When a Chinese envoy has brought an invitation for sku shabs Tsangs dbyangs rgya mtsho to visit China, [Lha bzang] Khan gathered the Council of Lamas and officials of Se ra, Bras spungs and Dga ldan [monasteries] and the Upper and Lower Faculties of Tantra. It was suggested [at the Council], that it would be better for [the Dalai Lama] to stay home. But the Venerable [Jam dbyangs bzhad pa]s words were as follows: If the sku shabs wouldnt be sent to China therell be nothing good to expect from the Emperor. If he would be sent, [it] will benefit sku shabs himself, as well as the Doctrine. Then many [lamas]



started accusing [him], saying that [he], the Sgo mangs abbot, dislikes [the Dalai Lama].18

This episode, should be considered in the context of Jam dbyangs bzhad pas other actions during those years: an expression of his loyalty to Lha bzang whom he considered an embodiment of Tsong kha pas benediction,19 his recognition of and relations with the Puppet Fifth Dalai LamaI Ye shes rgya mtsho, his criticism of Tsangs dbyangs rgya mtsho and his opposition to the regime of the regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. It is possible that this was the personal opinion of an authoritative hierarch, but more likely, this standpoint was shared by a number of monks within the Dge lugs pa community, which became more active after the fact of the Great Fifths death was proclaimed.20 What is the heart of this position? We have already discussed Dge lugs pas relationships with the Qing emperors. Needing to clarify his position, Jam dbyangs bzhad pa who at that moment represented the viewpoint of a part of the Dge lugs pa followers, preferred to support the position of the pro-Qing forces rather than the sovereignty of the Dalai Lama, having thus made it clear that for him, the sects interests were much more important than the interests of the state. Jam dbyangs bzhad pa probably believed that if the Emperors demands were not satisfied the situation could pass out of Dge lugs pas control, which would result in a final loss of all its achievements. In other words, in a choice between the Dalai Lama as a national symbol, and the predominance of his own tradition, Jam dbyangs bzhad pa chose the latter. This step immediately caused protests and disorders at the Sgo mang faculty headed by Jam dbyangs bzhad pa and at the Bras spungs monastery as a whole, which were finally suppressed by Qoshouts. The Fifth Dalai Lamas policy did not find support among many members of the Yellow Hats community, since they may have believed that their tradition had already stepped
18 JZN: 61v. This episode is also mentioned in Aris 1989: 242. 19 JZN: 58v. 20 This viewpoint was supported by Georges Dreyfus, who writes about Jam dby-

angs bzhad pa as one of the leading Ge-luk lamas opposing the Fifth and his third prime minister (sde srid) Sang-gye Gya-tso. See Dreyfus 1998: 233. We should also note that some of his disciples were much more radical in their sectarianism. One of them, Blo bzang phun tshogs of Jungar origin, is known for his initiative to launch repression toward Rnying ma monks during the Jungar invasion 1717-1720. Kapstein 2000: 130. Seemingly, it is very likely that Blo bzang phun tshogs is responsible for the inclusion of his masters yig cha (manuals) in the program of Sgo mang faculty in 1716 during Lha bzangs rule. JZN: 100.



over the borders of the state, having become a phenomenon of international significance. The further spread of the tradition of Tsong kha pas followers, that is, as they believed, of the true doctrine of Buddha, was directly connected to the further expansion of the Qing Empire. From this viewpoint, Dge lugs pa sectarians loyalty to and support of the Emperor, the main guarantor of the Yellow sects predominance, seems more understandable. The following episode recorded in the biographies of the Peking Qutuqtus Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje and Tu bkwan Chos kyi nyi ma can serve as an evidence of how greatly Dge lugs pa sectarians feared the prospect of loss of leadership:
The seventeenth prince was named Kengse qinwang and he had great expertise in religious scriptures as well as a great affection for the Old school (Rnying ma). Through various intrigues he hoped [to destroy] the Dge lugs school, so that it would ultimately vanish. Having asked the Emperors [permission], he invited to Beijing from Central Tibet two lamas: [one of] the Red Hat, [the other of] the Black Hat lineages who were more experienced in the teachings of the Rnying ma pa than of their own Karma-pa school. The master [Thuu bkwan] was famed for performing rituals for the propitiation of Dam-can chos-kyi rgyal po, and for performing different kinds of exorcism. Anyway, soon one of the two lamas arrived at Siling, the otherat Sinanfu. At that time in the dreams of that master [Thuu-bkwan], [the deity] Dam-can chos-kyi rgyal po clearly appeared as the sign of the ritual having been accomplished. When both the lamas reached Beijing, together with the very powerful prince they could invoke great harm on the Doctrine of the Mount dGe-ldan-pa [= dGe-lugs-pa]. At that time only this lama [Thuu bkwan] was holding in his hands the life of the dGe-lugs-pa teaching. By this action, he made glad the undaunted adherents of the Mount dGe-ldan-pa.21

This episode shows the jealousy, with which Yellow Hat sectarians treated any, even illusive threat to the dominant position of their tradition. Probably, the memory of the gradual loss of prestige and influence by Sa skya monks in the late-Yuan period when Karma pa hierarchs had practically supplanted them at the court of the Mongolian Emperors of China was still fresh. As V.L.Uspensky says: It may be noticed that Dge lugs pa historiographers of the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries describing the rivalry between Sa skya pa and Karma pa at the Yuan court are definitely anti-Karma pa.22 It seems Manchus
21 Uspensky 1997: 9-10. 22 Uspensky 1997: 11.



deliberately counted on this category of Dge lugs pa followers. As was already mentioned, the political interests of the Qing Empire agreed with Dge lugs pa sectarians political logic to a great degree. It is no coincidence that many representatives of this tradition, including Peking Court Lamas, came from Amdo. Being located on a cultural and ethnic crossroad, this historical area was a source of marginal persons with a low degree of national identity. It was mentioned earlier that, both Kangxi and Qianlong favored those men who were able to bring together diverse cultures; they valued such a resource and were confident it would serve them well.23 I have already noted that by this time the region of Amdo had become a stronghold of Dge lugs pa tradition, and two monasteries of this order, Sku bum and Bla brang, were included in the list of the greatest monasteries of the Yellow Church. However, it is worth noting that this region also witnessed outbreaks of nationalist rebels, which involved the local clergy. The anti-Qing revolt of Blo bzang bstan dzin of 1723, in which many Buddhist monks of Sku bum, Dgon lung and other Dge lugs pa monasteries of the Amdo-Kokonor area were involved, can serve as a good example. In the Lcang skya Qutuqtus24 phenomenon one can see the alliance of the Empire with Dge lugs pa sectarians. Both sides of this alliance pursued their corresponding goals, and the fact that these goals agreed made this institution effective. The large-scaled construction of Buddhist temples and monasteries in Jehol, Dolonnor and Peking, scaled translation and publishing activity in Peking, as well as thousands of lamas permanently residing in the Imperial capitalall were parts of the whole plan to weaken Lhasas spiritual monopoly in Central Asia and draw the religious interests of Mongols to the Qing Imperial court. But, obviously, Dge lugs pa clergy also sought to benefit from this alliance. I think that there is every reason to consider the Qing Emperors a tool in hands of the Yellow sect for protecting its own interests. These conclusions seem to be confirmed by the following statement of Klaus Sagaster regarding the activity of the First Lcang skya:
Not only Manchus considered Lcang skya Qutuqtu a tool for expansion of their authority but also Qutuqtu himself used the emperor for spread of his sect. Surely, it is hardly possible to see a certain religiouspolitical task of Lha sa in it. It was rather an initiative and wisdom of
23 Wang 2000: 162. 24 Jam dbyangs bzhad pa I had a special relations with Lcang skya Qutuqtu I Nga

dbang blo bzang chos ldan, whom he considered one of his major spiritual instructors.



the Qutuqtu who was able to co-ordinate the interests of the church and the state in a very skilful way for the creation of the Inner MongolianChinese area of the faith.25

Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Peking Lcang skya Qutuqtu institution cannot but notice the fact, that the emperors, in particular Qianlong, used this institute for reducing anti-Qing tendencies in Inner Mongolia. The imperial consciousness, which was, probably, inherent to all representatives of this line as well as to many other Dge lugs pa clergymen, by necessity excluded the tendency to separatism. Lcang skya Qutuqtus effectively carried out this function in Inner Mongolia down to first third of the 20th century. In the 1930s, the Forth Lcang skyas opposition to the movement for the autonomy of Inner Mongolia had even caused antireligious demonstrations by Mongolian students in Peking.26 Suppression of nationalist tendencies was an essential task of the empire, and in this, it met with the support of Dge lugs pa sectarians who could consider the Empire a guarantee of their traditions dominant position in the Central Asian Buddhist world. The purpose of this article, as was determined in its introductory section, is to draw experts attention to the problem of Dge lugs pas political heterogeneity. Just as in Mongolia, the political concept of the Yellow church in Tibet did not represent an integral phenomenon but consisted of variously oriented and even inconsistent tendencies and ideals. On the basis of some, in my opinion, characteristic and revealing episodes recorded in the biographies of influential representatives of the Dge lugs pa hierarchy I have distinguished two basic orientations, conditionally defining them as the proto-nationalist (anti-Imperial) and the sectarian. Probably, it may be concluded that the Dge lugs pa sectarians interests agreed in general with those of the expanding Qing Empire. Both sides of this informal alliance put themselves in latent and, sometimes, open opposition to the regime established by the Fifth Dalai Lama and had united their efforts for its elimination after the actual death of Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho had been revealed. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the institution of the Dalai Lamas had become a significant phenomenon in Central Asia mainly through its special connection with the historical-religious sentiments of Mongols.
25 Sagaster 1960: 170. 26 Jagchid 1980: 103.



Therefore, open attempts to establish Imperial control over the Dalailamate undertaken by Kanxi caused immediate reaction from the Mongols. Finally, control was established but only after several years of armed opposition by the Jungar Khanate and the restoration of the institution through recognition of Bskal bzang rgya mtsho as the seventh Dalai Lama. It is was symptomatic that the attempt at neutralization of the Sixth Dalai Lama, undertaken by Emperor Kanxi with the assistance of the Qoshout governor of Tibet Lha bzang Khan, had met with the support of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa I, an apparent leader of the proEmpire representatives of the higher Yellow-sect echelon in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The cooperation of the Qing emperors with Dge lugs pa sectarianists could be of various kinds. Probably, this alliance proved most effective in the institute of Peking Lcang skya Qutuqtu. Down to the end of the first third of the 20th century Lcang skya Qutuqtus acted as conductors of the Empires interests among Mongols of Inner Mongolia, Kokonor and Amdo. The interpretation presented in this article demands a greater number of factual confirmations. The problem is presented here only as a hypothesis and no more. The author, however, would consider his modest task complete if the attention of experts is attracted to it. In any case, whether the conclusions the author has made are correct or not, it is obvious that resolution of this problem would have considerable practical value for the study of the complicated processes involved in the establishment of the Qing Empire. Tibetan References JZN: Dkon mchog jig med dbang po (1728-1791). Mkhas shing grub pai dbang phyug kun mkhyen jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rjei rnam par thar pa ngo mtshar skal bzang jug ngog zhes bya ba. Labrang edition. Other References Ahmad, Z. 1970. Sino-Tibetan Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Aris, M. 1989. Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives. London: Kegan Paul. Crossley, P.K. 1997. The Manchus. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell. Dreyfus, G. 1998. The Shuk-Den Affair: Origins of Controversy. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 21(2), 227-70.



Farquhar, D.M. 1978. Emperor as bodhisattva in the governance of the Ching Empire. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 38(1), 5-34. Goldstein, M.C. 1990. Religious conflict in the traditional state. In L. Epstein and R.F. Sherburne (eds) Reflections on Tibetan culture. Essays in Memory of Turrell V. Wylie. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press, 231-47. Guy, R.K. 2002. Who were the Manchus? A Review Essay. Jouranal of Asian Studies 61(1), 154-57. Ishihama, Y. 1993. The Dissemination of the Belief in the Dalai Lama as a manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitevara. Acta Asiatica 64, 38-56. Jagchid, S. 1980. The rise and fall of Buddhism in Inner Mongolia. In A.K. Narain (ed.) Studies in History of Buddhism: papers presented at the International Conference on the History of Buddhism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison 1976. Delhi: B.R. Pub. Corp., 97104. Kapstein, M. 2000. The Tibetan assimilation of Buddhism. New York: Oxford University Press. Karmay, S.G. 1988. Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama. The Gold Manuscript in the Fournier Collection. London: Serindia Publications. Lattimore, O. 1932. Manchuria: Cradle of Conflict. New York: The Macmillan Company. Mote, F.W. 1999. Imperial China 900-1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Petech, L. [1950] 1972. China and Tibet in the Early Eighteenth Century. History of the establishment of Chinese protectorate in Tibet. 2nd rev. ed. Leiden: Brill. Sagaster, K. 1960. Nag dba blo bza cos ldan (1642-1714), Leben und Historische bedeutung des 1. (Pekinger) lCan skya khutukhtu: dargestellt an hand seiner Mongolischen Biographie Subud Erike und Anderer Quellen. Bonn: Rheinische Friedrich-WilhelmsUniversitt. Uspensky, V.L. 1997. Prince Yunli (1697-1738). Manchu statesman and Tibetan Buddhist. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Wang, X. 2000. The Qing courts Tibet connection: Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje and the Qianlong Emperor. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 60(1), 125-63.



Wylie, T.V. 1978. Reincarnation: A political innovation in Tibetan Buddhism. In L.Ligeti (ed.) Proceedings of the Csoma De Krs Memorial Symposium, Budapest: Akadmiai Kiad, 579-86.


A TIBETAN BUDDHIST MISSION TO THE EAST: THE FIFTH DALAI LAMAS JOURNEY TO BEIJING, 1652-1653 Gray Tuttle While John Elliot was trying to convert New Englands natives and Harvard was founded in 1635, in part as a college to instruct these native converts, Jesuits were making inroads in Asia. But more successful than these Christian missionaries in the new and old worlds, at the same time Dge lugs pa Tibetan Buddhists spread across Inner Asia and into the capitals (Mukden and Beijing) of East Asia with surprising success and a significant display of imperial support. In this essay, I focus on the Fifth Dalai Lamas journey to Beijing in the mid-seventeenth century as a window into the missionary impulse in Tibetan society of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. To emphasize the missionary nature of the expansion of Tibetan Buddhism into Inner and East Asia, I periodically compare the nearly simultaneous European Catholic expansion into Asia with that of the Dge lugs pa Tibetans. The initial Tibetan Buddhist missions to the east were in response to the expansion of Mongol and Manchu power into areas where Tibetan Buddhists resided. On the basis of this contact with militarily powerful neighbors, the Central Tibetan Dge lugs pa missions to the east grew out of a need to seek support for their tradition outside Central Tibet, where their monasteries and sponsors were beleaguered by the ruling elite who supported the rival Bka rgyud pa tradition. In the mid-seventeenth century, Tibetan Buddhist lamas and the Qing imperial family both sought to bolster their positions of power by seeking the support of the other. The Dge lugs pa school of Tibetan Buddhism, under siege by the ruling family of Tibet until 1642, gained critical support from Mongols across Inner Asia, from the Tmed of the Ordos to the Oirad of Kkenor. But the support from these shifting Mongol alliances had not always proved steady, so when a new power arose to the east, the Dge lugs pa also sought to reach out to the Jurchen khan, who became the Qing



emperor in this period.1 Despite the obvious political importance of these relations, I argue that the visit of the Fifth Dalai Lama to Beijing must also be seen in the context of missionary activity, rather than strictly as a matter of political expediency. In this effort to extend their religious influence to far-flung courts, the Dge lugs pa tradition was engaged in mission efforts that developed, chronologically speaking, in a remarkably parallel fashion with the Catholic missions that were underway in Asia in the same period. Initially the Jesuits, by their own accounts, enjoyed great success in southern China in the first half of the seventeenth century, converting several tens of thousands in this period. However, Catholic success was seriously curtailed by the prohibitions placed on their missionaries in the early eighteenth century. I should also note that there were also remarkable differences between the Catholic and Tibetan Buddhist missions. As Joanna Waley-Cohen has so aptly summarized the leading Catholic mission in China, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order) founded in 1540, it was a highly militant order with the specific goal of converting infidels overseas.2 In contrast, the Dge lugs pa Tibetan Buddhists saw their eastern neighbors as communities that could take a more active and equal role in contributing to the development of their religious tradition. After consolidating his power in Central Tibet in the 1640s, the Fifth Dalai Lama (Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, 1617-1682) recounted the experiences of his two predecessors in biographical works while personally seeing to the renewal and significant expansion of the extent of Dge lugs pa influence to the east. In this effort, he was helped by many little known lamas, and a few well known ones, who had spread Tibetan Buddhism throughout Inner Asia and into northern Chinese imperial strongholds such as Wutaishan and Beijing. Through his journey to Beijing, the Dalai Lama was able to consolidate this foothold and reap the substantial material benefits that accompanied such successful missionary work. For perspective on the success of this mission, a brief review of Tibetan Buddhist missionaries in East Asia and Catholic missionaries in
1 Although I will limit myself the to Dge lugs pa missions in Inner Asia and northeastern China, the Sa skya were also very involved in this mission field at least until the 1634 defeat of Ligdan Khan by the Manchus brought an end to their powerful sponsor. For details on these early missions see Heissig 1953; Grupper 1980; Kam 1994. 2 Waley-Cohen 1999: 62-64.



Asia will illustrate the striking contemporary development of these two traditions efforts to spread their religion to the east. In contrast to the Jesuit motives, the Tibetans did not have a centrally organized plan to make converts, but were rather drawn into the world of the Mongol, Manchu and Chinese mission fields by these peoples struggles for territory and power in Inner Asia.3 Nevertheless, once drawn into these struggles, the Dge lugs pa consistently sought their advantage by spreading their religion. To some degree, the Catholics too were merely riding the coattails of the extension of a struggle for territory and power in Asia as European states built colonial trade empires. Nevertheless, converting the heathen was an important aspect of European colonial discourse at this time. For instance, in 1556 the Domincan monk Gaspar da Cruz was in Canton writing of conversion opportunities in China. The next year the Jesuits set up a mission at the Moghul court in India. Within a decade of these developments, but far to the north in Inner Asia, half a dozen Tibetan Buddhist leaders were on their way to the camp of Khutughtai Sechen Khung taiji (grand-nephew of the ruling Mongol hhan) to acquiesce to the promise that if they would submit to him, the Mongol leader would accept their religion. Other lamas voluntarily followed this lead over the years and managed to awaken Altan Khan to Tibetan Buddhism by 1571.4 At the same time, while the Catholics had yet to tap the Chinese mission field, a Tibetan lama named Bsod nams rnam rgyal became an instructor at the imperial Foreign Scripture Printery at the Ming court in Beijing.5 Aside from these isolated examples, neither the Tibetan Buddhists nor the Catholics had yet made much headway towards the East Asian mission field, but this would soon change. In 1578, the most powerful ruler in Inner Asia, Altan Khan (1555-1581), came to meet Tibetan Buddhist lamas in the Kke nor (Tib. Mtsho kha/Mtsho sngon, Ch. Qinghai) region. His meeting with the leading Dge lugs pa hierarch Bsod nams rgya mtsho (1543-1588) resulted in the exchange of titles which launched the Dalai Lama incarnation series that was to play such a key role in the rest of Tibetan history. The next year, when Bsod nams rgya mtsho (hereafter referred to as the Third Dalai Lama) returned to Tibet, he sent a lama with Altan Khan named Stong khor chos rje Yon tan rgya

3 For an overview of the conversion of the Mongols, see Ahmad 1970: 85-99. 4 Ahmad 1970: 87. 5 Huang Hao 1993: 30.



mtsho, the first Chahan lama, as his representative in the Mongols country.6 The presence of wealthy and prestigious Mongol patrons in the northeastern was sufficient to draw the Third Dalai Lama to undertake a second mission from Central Tibet starting in 1583. That same year, Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) opened the first Jesuit mission in China, on the island of Macao, where the Portuguese already had a stronghold.7 Similarly, the Third Dalai Lama also started by consolidating his traditions hold first in territory already under Tibetan sway. Of course, unlike the European missionary, he was returning to the origins of his tradition when he went to the birthplace of Tsong kha pa (1357-1419) in A mdo in 1583. There he founded a school for the explanation of sacred texts at Sku bum, an innovation that laid the foundations for Dge lugs pa training that would generate Dge lugs pa missionaries to northeast Asia for the next two centuries. In addition, by visiting Bya kyung brag, Ri bo dang tig, mDso mo mkhar, where [Tsong kha pas disciple, Shakya Ye shes] Byams cen cos rje had dwelt he helped assure that these venerable Tibetan Buddhist monasteries would hereafter be bastions of Dge lugs pa teaching.8 Having built these firm foundations in Macao and A mdo respectively, these yet unknowing rival traditions proceeded to extend their influence toward the central seat of power in East Asia, Beijing. In 1585, Altan Khans son requested that the Third Dalai Lama bring his missionary work into the Tmed Mongol territory. Eager to respond, the Dalai Lama arrived at Altan Khans capital of Kke khota (Tib. Mkhar sngon, Ch. Guihaucheng) where he founded a translation school near the Chinese border. The next year, the Dalai Lama extended his visit into the domain of the Kharchin Mongols, where another school for translation was established. In 1588, he went even farther northeast to the Khorchin Mongols, north of the Liao River and east of the Khingan range, to consecrate a temple at the invitation of their khan.9 This activity seems to have gotten the attention of the Ming court, because in 1588 the Wanli emperor invited the Third Dalai Lama to court and conferred the title of the Great Imperial Preceptor who Confers Initiations (Guanding tai
6 Tucci: 48-49; Rockhill 1910: 5. This lama was recognized as an incarnation of Majushr and was known as the first Chahan Nomenhan or the Dongkor Majushr hutuketu among the Mongols. 7 Ricci 1953. 8 Tucci 1949: 49 (citing the Third Dalai Lamas biography). 9 Heissig 1953: 29-32; cf. Tucci 1949: 49; Rockhill 1910: 5-6.



guoshi) on him.10 The lama was planning to accept the invitation to the capital when illness struck him down, and he died in Mongol territory. Had the Third Dalai Lama made it to the capital in Beijing, it would have been the first time since Shakya Ye shes 1434 visit to Beijing that such a prominent lama would have been welcomed in China.11 While the Dalai Lama was building Tibetan Buddhist institutions in northeast Inner Asia, Matteo Ricci managed to start the first Jesuit mission in China proper in Nanjing. At the start of the seventeenth century, both Tibetan Buddhist and Catholic missions continued to extend their influence closer to the Chinese capital in Beijing. The death of Altan Khan (d. 1581) and his son (d. 1587) and the minority of the Fourth Dalai Lama (reborn in 1589 as Altan Khans nephew) temporarily halted the high level exchanges between Tibetans and southern Mongols. Meanwhile, Matteo Ricci made some progress in China. In 1601, he was given permission to live in Beijing, which he did until his death in 1610. In 1603, the young Mongol and Fourth Dalai Lama, Bsod nams rgya mtsho (1543-1588) came to Central Tibet. For the next decade, he and the Dge lugs pa supporters in Central Tibet tried to build connections between Tibetans and the Mongols. For instance, shortly after he arrived, the Third Dalai Lama sent the re-incarnation of Chamba-gyatso, who became known among the Mongols as Maitri Hutuketu to be his representative in Kke khota.12 At the same time, the lay patrons of the Dge lugs pa invited Mongol warriors into Tibet to aid in their struggle against the Karma family rulers of the western part of Central Tibet.13 Yet these eastern Mongols, whether too far away, too weak or simply not committed to the Dge lugs pa cause, failed to elevate or even very effectively protect the Dge lugs pa establishment from their rivals. In fact, with the demise of the Altan Khan and the internal family feuds that followed, political power shifted away from his family and its concerns became limited to the Ordos.14
10 This was the first time in almost a century that the Ming court had conferred such a title on a Tibetan lama. For details on the 1492 conferral of a similar title on Sangs rgyas rdo rje, see Huang Hao 1993: 13-14, 115. 11 Sperling 1983: 146-8; H. Karmay 1975: 73, 79. 12 Rockhill 1910: 6. 13 Ahmad 1970: 100-20, for a Sa skya source on this conflict see Tucci 1949: 5457. 14 Elverskog 2003: 36-37. This pattern would be repeated in the Tibetan relations with the Oirat Mongols of Kke nor, whose internal rivalries after the death of Gsi



This period marked the nadir for the Dge lugs pa, as both at home and among the southern Mongols their position was weakened. The year 1616 was particularly challenging for the Dge lugs pa, as the Fourth Dalai Lama died, and their rivals extended their influence from Gtsang into Dbus.15 In 1625, the Gtsang pa khan did nothing to prevent Catholic missionaries from moving into far western Tibet.16 Meanwhile, among the Mongols, the rightful heir of the Genghisid lineage through Dayan Khan, Ligdan the Chakhar Khan, had asserted his dominion over the southern Mongols.17 Like Altan Khan before him, Ligdan Khan also sought the support and legitimacy of Tibetan Buddhists, but he turned to Sa skya monks to support him and to translate the Tibetan Buddhist canon into Mongolian.18 Ligdan Khans dislike of the Dge lugs pa ultimately turned into an outright attack on these Tibetan Buddhists.19 But this persecution may ultimately have been a boon to the beleaguered tradition, as it seems that Mongol Tibetan Buddhists converted by the Third Dalai Lama to the Dge lugs pa tradition were driven farther afield, into the domain of the rising power of the Jurchen in northeast Asia. So while Catholics had reached Tibet and the Jesuit Johann Adam Schall von Bell would soon reach Beijing, Tibetan lamas showed up at the Jurchen court of the Jin dynasty (1616 to 1635, when the dynastic title was changed to Qing). In the spring of 1621 Uluk Darqhan Nangsu lama established the first direct contact between Manchus and Tibetans.20 Tak-sim Kam has desribed Nurghacis reception of this lama as fulfilling the conventional patron-priest (Tb. mchod-yon) relationship, [because] Nurghaci, as a devotee to the religion, not only showed deference to him but also offered him a generous largess including an estate with workers. Further, Kam argued that, contrary to the usual claims, Nurghacis patronage of the Lama was not politically
khan prevented them from taking an immediate or continuous interest in Tibet (Richardson 1998: 450). 15 Tucci 1949: 55-56. 16 On this early Jesuit mission to Tibet, see Wessels 1924. 17 Elverskog 2003: 16. 18 Grupper 1980: 109-110. His source is the anonymous seventeenth century Sira tuquji. For another source, see also 81-83: the Altan krdn mingkhan gegest bichig written by Sireget Guoshi Dharma in 1739. It must be remembered in this context that the author of the text is a Dge lugs pa writing in the time of his traditions triumph in Mongolia. Nevertheless, this initial contact is mentioned without emphasis and is followed by a clear reference to a Sa skya monk who was prominent at Ligdans court. 19 Yang 1970: 32-33. 20 Kam 2000: 161-62.



motivated since most of the Mongol groups such as the Uriyangqai, Ongnighud, Drbed and Jalayid that came to submit to him were followers of shamanism, not Tibetan Buddhism.21 Although the lama died within a few months of his arrival, his stupa (built in 1630 when his disciple urged Hongtaiji to fulfill his fathers promise) revealed that the missionary impulse of the Dge lugs pa had been fulfilled by the tantric initiation of the first of the Jurchen khans. The stupas inscription recorded that the lama gave the abisheka or empowerment (mo-ting shou-chi) to the Manchu khan [Nurhaci].22 Sometime in the 1630s, the second Chahan lama, Lha mo Blo gros rgya mtsho (1610-1659) was also in contact with the Jurchenswho changed their ethnonym to the Manchus in 1636as he served as their envoy to Tibet before the end of the decade.23 Thus, in 1639, after the Qing dynasty had been declared from Mukden but before the Manchus moved south into Beijing, Hongtaiji sent lama envoys to invite the Fifth Dalai Lama to come teach Buddhism in his realm. His chief envoy was none other than the second Chahan Lama Majushr of Kke-Khota. Hongtaijis letter invited the Dalai Lama to come in order to propagate the growth of Buddhist Faith and benefit all living beings. Hongtaiji sent further unrecorded oral instructions with the lamas, but his concern that the Dharma (fa) not be suppressed, but rather be transmitted to posterity, must have been a welcome sentiment to the Dalai Lama.24 After a long period of threats from various Mongol and Tibetan rulers, the tide was turning for the Dge lugs pa. From 1635, the Oirad under the leadership of Gsi Khan started a campaign to defeat the Dge lugs pas rivals, first in A mdo and Khams, which was not to end until 1642 when the Karma family in Gtsang was defeated.25 Thus, the support of another rising power in Inner Asia must have been encouraging. The details of the embassies exchanged between Tibet and the Manchu courts (in Mukden and later in Beijing) have been exhaustively detailed by Z. Ahmad and more recently summarized by E.
21 Kam 2000: 167-68. For a scholar who made the claim that Kam refutes, as well as fairly compelling evidence for the claim, see Farquhar 1978: 20-21. 22 Kam 2000: 167. It is interesting to note the inscription was only in Manchu and Chinese, not Tibetan or Mongol, as one would suspect if this stupa had been erected to attract the support of Tibetan Buddhists. 23 Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 322, n. 21. Like the Fourth Dalai Lama, the reincarnation of the Third Dalai Lamas envoy to the southern Mongols was reborn among his hosts, in this case as the son of the Tmed leader, Huoluoji. 24 Ahmad 1970: 157. 25 For details, see Ahmad 1970: 110-22.



Sperling.26 What I wish to emphasize is the motivation articulated in the letters exchanged. While Catholic missionaries were welcomed at the early Qing court for their talents in making canons to pierce the walled Chinese cities, by this time the Tibetan Buddhists were no doubt of interest more for their influence over the Manchus critical allies, the Mongols. Thus, in 1642 the Manchu emperor heartily welcomed the Dalai and Panchen Lamas envoy, the Ilaghughsan Khutughtu, sent in response to the Qing invitation of 1639. The letter this envoy bore spoke of glorifying the protector of religion and making donations for the maintenance of the religious community. The two most powerful Dge lugs pa leaders autobiographical works articulate the centrality of the missionary impulse for this sending this envoy, though their focus is slightly different. According to the 1661 autobiography of the first Panchen Lama, Chos kyi rgyal mtshan (1569-1662), the main focus was on converting the Qing emperor, who, unlike his father, had not entered through the door of the Buddhas teaching. According to the 1681 biography of Fifth Dalai Lama, the purpose of the mission was to ask the king to be a donor (sbyin dag) to Tibetan Buddhists in his territory.27 In response, at least according to Tibetan sources, the Qing emperor made the Dge lugs pa envoy his supreme lama and showered him with gifts.28 In the Panchen Lamas assessment, the mission was accomplished, as the king and his retinue were established in the Teaching, with great faith.29 On the departure of the envoy in the summer of 1643, Hongtaijis brothers, Ajige and Dorgon (who would soon be the Manchu leader in Beijing, as the regent of the young Shunzhi emperor) escorted the Ilaghughsan Khutughtu out of the capital and part of his way back to Lhasa. Furthermore, Hongtaiji exceeded the Dalai Lamas expectations of becoming a sponsor of Tibetan Buddhism in his own realm by sending substantial gifts to all the religious leaders of Tibet, with special presents of silver to the two leading Dge lugs pa lamas and offerings of tea and silver to the monastic communities. By the time the envoy returned to

26 Ahmad 1970: 157-62. Sperling 2003: 127-28. 27 Ahmad 1970: 160-61. Hongtaiji was referred to simply as the Jurchen (Tib.

Jur-chi/ Sbyor jid) King and not by reference to the new ethnonym Manchu, the bodhisattva Majushr or even the title emperor in these accounts. 28 Schmidt et al. [1829] 1961: 289. This is Schmidts German translation of the 1662 Erdeni-yin tobci by Saghang Secen. 29 Ahmad 1970: 161, citing the Panchen Lamas autobiography.



Tibet, Dorgon had taken Beijing and Hongtaijis young son had been proclaimed the Shunzhi emperor there.30 Hongtaijis last letter reached Tibet after his death, but its positive message was repeated several times over the coming decade: We wish to show Our great respect for the eminent Sages (gaoxian) among the Tiebtans, so We are sending envoys with the Ilakuksan Hutuketu to all alike, regardless of the colour of their robes, whether they be red or yellow, seeking everywhere for the religion of the Buddha for the protection of the Empire. The Chahan lama also came along to explain orally to you all that We have to say.31 Many embassies were exchanged over the coming years, with the emperor continuing to offer invitations to the Dalai Lama and urging other lamas to encourage him to come to Beijing. In these intervening years, the Fifth Dalai Lama was writing the biography of the Third Dalai Lama, which he completed in 1646. Revisiting the events of his predecessor may have further inspired him to retrace his steps and recreate old bonds that may have weakened, especially with the Ordos and Tmed Mongols. The Dalai Lama finally accepted the Qing imperial invitation in 1649 and set out in 1652. What were the Dalai Lamas goals on this excursion through Inner Asia to the capital of China? The political importance of having the backing of Asias rising, though still not hegemonic, power must have played a major role in motivating the Dalai Lama to undertake this mission at a time when his own rule of Tibet had only recently been established. Yet, the missionary aspects of this voyage have often been overlooked, and it is to these that I now turn. For the Fifth Dalai Lama was not single-mindedly focused on the end goal of the journey, but instead took time along the way to preach and minister to nobility and commoner, lay and monastic A mdo Tibetans, Mongours, Mongols, and Chinese, as well as the occasional Manchu envoy from the court. Furthermore, he chose to record all of these exchanges in minute detail for posterity in his autobiography. On the shores of Kke nor, the Dalai Lama met with local Tibetan leaders, Manchu and Chinese representatives of the Qing court as well as the western Ordos Mongol leader, the Jinong, and his relatives who now resided in the vicinity of the lake. In a microcosm, this meeting contained elements of the groups that the Dalai Lama would encounter for the rest of his journey. Wherever he went, the local Tibetan leadershipwhether
30 Ahmad 1970: 159-61. 31 Rockhill 1910: 12-13. Emphasis added.



lay headmen or monastic lamasturned out to welcome him. The Mongols too were present in large numbers wherever he went. Also of interest, several eminent Chinese monks working for the Qing emperor (Gong gi las kas mngon par mtho bai Rgya ban) were among the welcoming party on the shores of Kke nor. From Xining, Qing officials sent rice and fruit as gifts. At least one of leaders who came from Xining bearing gifts was not a Tibetan Buddhist; the Dalai Lama asked him, What is your god? (Lha gang yin) and was answered, Heaven (gnam).32 The Manchus, typically not present in great numbers at these meetings, were represented by the Court for Managing the Frontiers (Lifanyuan) official Shajidhara.33 This official also seems to have been or become an adherent of Tibetan Buddhism, as he received the Longlife Buddha initiation within a week of meeting the Dalai Lama.34 The Mongol faithful represented, by far, the most numerous and most economically significant of the groups that the Dalai Lama would meet on his mission to Beijing. In this first instance, some three thousand Mongols, along with the Jinongs mother, were initiated in a tantric ritual led by the Dalai Lama. These rituals required the exchange of gifts for the teachings and led to a tremendous transfer of wealth from the Mongols to the Dalai Lama. Along with the political and religious motivations, the ability to attract massive donations were a significant economic benefit of this journey. In the Kke nor region, a total of 5396 horses, 140 yak, 520 ounces (srang) of gold, 500 ounces of silver, 60 rolls of silk, and other minor gifts were showered on the Dalai Lama, mostly from the Mongols.35 Mostly from Tibetans within the Great Wall that separated Kke nor from Xining, the lama received 890 horses, 1500 ounces of gold, and 103 rolls of silk, as well as porcelain, tin and silver

32 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 367; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 303. 33 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 366; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 302,

321 n. 18. I rely on Chens translation here to identify this official as being associated with the Lifanyuan, as I do not recognize a term in the Tibetan that would clearly reflect this Qing office. Chens annotation translates the Veritable Records of the Qing (Qingshilu) entry that described this Lifanyuan official being sent on this mission. 34 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 369; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 304. 35 Yang Ho-chin 1994 contains lists of the gifts the Dalai Lama received en route to Beijing, although he does not divide the gifts according to regions. I have treated the Dalai Lamas first meeting with the Lifanyuan official to his crossing the Great Wall as the Kke nor region, see Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 366-74; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 302-307.



ware.36 The Dalai Lama was then able to locally redistribute this wealth to support the building or renovation of Dge lugs pa institutions. After selling off some of the livestock, he also sent some of the more portable wealth back to Tibet, probably the gold and silver or light fabrics or even wealth on the hoof.37 What of the donations in other regions? How did they compare to these first donations? Although the donation of horses was most substantial in the Kke nor region, as the Dalai Lama moved across Mongol inhabited regions, he continued to be given precious metals, horses, and other livestock in sometimes staggering numbers. As a point of contrast, after crossing into Ningxia he was only given a total of forty horses and forty camels.38 Then, when he reached the Ordos region the Mongols there gave him 1,750 horses, 100 camels, and 10,000 sheep. These Ordos Mongols were also more wealthy, or at least more generous, in terms of precious metals, giving the Dalai Lama a total of 3,000 ounces of silver.39 The Tmed Mongols gifts were more sparing in terms of livestock or precious metals, but included an abundance of other gifts: 200 horses, 200 ounces of silver, 10 rolls of silk, and 10,100 unspecified, but possibly manufactured, gifts.40 Although it is difficult to compare horses and sheep to precious metals without pricing information we currently do not have, the single greatest transfer of wealth seems to have taken place within the context of the Qing courts reception of the Dalai Lama. From his arrival at the imperially constructed temple at Lake Taika through his visit to the capital in Beijing and eventual return
36 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 74-76.This region includes Sku bum and Pa ras monasteries and encompasses some donations from Mongours and Chinese as well. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 366-78; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 307-310. 37 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 366-74; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 307. For instance, the fourth Stong khor sprul sku Mdo rgyud rgya mtsho (1621-1683) was directed by the Fifth Dalai Lama to renovate Stong khor monastery (now in Huangyuan county). Two new monasteries, Dga ldan chos khor gling and Dam chos gling, built by the Bla ma btsan po (1613-1665) are mentioned, although this lama was making, and not receiving donations, see Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 321-22, n. 19-20. 38 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 76. I am calling Ningxia the region that the Dalai Lama described as Manchu territory (Man chui sai cha gtogs pa) from just past Pa ras to the Yellow River (Tib. Rma chu) crossing into the Ordos. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 378-81; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 310-12. 39 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 76-79. The Ordos encompasses the area between the two crossings of the Yellow River. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 381-85; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 312-15. 40 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 79-80. This region is marked again by crossing the Yellow River and by the imperially constructed temple at Taika, north of Datong. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 385-88; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 315-17.



to Taika, the Dalai Lama was given 1,200 ounces of gold, 13,200 ounces of silver, 1,455 rolls of silk, 410 horses and manufactured goods too numerous to detail.41 Yet this last bestowal of gifts was largely redistributed among the adherents of Buddhism, both Tibetan and otherwise, in and around the capital and in Kke khota as will be described shortly. What of the donors who gave to the Dalai Lama? How did their numbers break down along these regional and ethnic lines? The Mongols are the easiest to parse, as their presence within more or less ethnically homogenous communities helps distinguish them from instances of ethnic mixing, such as occurred in certain monasteries or in Beijing. In Kke nor, at least four thousand Mongols came to greet the Dalai Lama, of which three-fourths were initiated and therefore made donations.42 In the Ordos some twenty thousand Mongols made offerings (four thousand, five hundred monks and nuns and the rest laity), with about one-third taking initiations from the Dalai Lama.43 Among the Tmed, some forty-one hundred Mongols came to see the Dalai Lama and again some three-quarters were blessed. Only some six hundred officials made offerings and received initiations.44 The vast majority of the people he met in and around the capital, some twelve thousand in all, also seemed to have been Mongols, though it is clear that Tibetans, Manchus and Chinese were also counted among these.45 If we are to trust the Dalai Lamas figures, some forty thousand Mongols attended the Dalai Lamas tour of Inner Asia and the Qing capital. No doubt some rounding off of numbers occurred; nevertheless, the level of detail included in the diaries that were used to compose the Dalai Lamas autobiography suggests that these numbers were fairly accurate.46 These are impressive figures and indicate the extent of the popularity of Tibetan Buddhism among the Mongols. In short, the Mongol interest in Tibetan Buddhism may have been the single most important factor in both the Dalai Lamas decision
41 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 80-85. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 388-415; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 317-43. 42 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 367-69; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 303-304. 43 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 381-85; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 312-15. 44 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 385-88; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 315-17. 45 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 388-415; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 317-43. 46 Ahmad 1970: 31.



to undertake this voyage and the Qing emperors interest in making the invitation. In addition to their potential military power, the Mongols were the economic and political lynch-pin of the whole story. Yet they are decidedly not the whole story. The Dalai Lama was also attentive to the populations of other communities along his route, most surprisingly the Chinese. For instance, when the Dalai Lama reached Xining (Tib. Ziling), his autobiography recorded that he freed a Chinese man incarcerated for theft from the government treasury. His stated justification for this act was, as Yang Ho-chin summarized it, that he felt that the Chinese people cherished silver over their concern for others.47 His ransom of this man apparently surprised the local people, but the Dalai Lama may have been remembering the traditions associated with Phags pa bla ma liberating Chinese prisoners from Mongol punishment. Although the dynamic is not entirely the same, I cannot help but remark on the continuing role of the release of prisoners as part of international diplomacy, as Tibetan political prisoners are often released at the urging of United States presidents, usually upon the visit of top Chinese leaders to the United States. Yet, aside from this initial interaction, the Dalai Lama did not become involved in the empires domestic matters, as had Phags pa bla ma before him. Instead, the Dalai Lama mostly administered to Chinese Buddhists needs just as he did to the Mongols and Tibetans in the communities through which he passed. The picture that emerges from the Dalai Lamas autobiography is one of an unprecedented level of integration of Chinese, Mongols and Tibetans at certain Tibetan Buddhist monastic locales. For instance, when the Dalai Lama visited (or re-visited, from his perspective as the reincarnation of the Third Dalai Lama) Sku bum monastery, he taught five thousand Chinese, Tibetans, Mongours, and Mongols (Tib. Rgya, Bod, Hor, Sog) from the classic Dge lugs pa text, Tsong kha pas Great treatise on the stages of the path to enlightenment (Byang chub lam rim chen mo). Although he did not specifically designate those who attended this event as a monastic audience, it seems likely that the choice of this text was influenced by the large number of educated monks of all these various ethnicities, who were assembled at this institution of higher learning. Though the Fifth Dalai Lama does not specifically mention the school started here by the Third Dalai Lama, he does record that he was invited to again occupy the throne built for his
47 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 108. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 375; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 308.



predecessor by Altan Khan, and he received offerings on this throne before preceding with his teaching. 48 In this way, the Fifth Dalai Lama both linked himself to this earlier mission and articulated an extension of the mission to the Chinese and Mongour populations as well. This may well be one of the earliest clear references to Chinese who were not part of the imperial court attending Tibetan Buddhist events and studying Tibetan texts with famous lamas.49 As the Dalai Lama proceeded past Xining, into areas of more mixed Chinese, Tibetan and Mongour presence he continued to interact with the local population, which seemed to recognize his prominence and stature. The Fifth Dalai Lama first visited the reliquary of Bla chen Dgongs pa rab gsel, the figure associated with the revival of monastic Tibetan Buddhism after the fall of the empire in the ninth century. This A mdo monk ordained a group of Tibetans who returned to Central Tibet to maintain the monastic lineage there, unbroken by the chaos of the fall of the empire, thanks to the presence of this monk on the Tibetan borderlands.50 In the next town, the Chinese people (Rgya mi) turned out with banners, parasols, royal ensigns, and musical instruments, and officials welcomed him with fruit, meat, wine, and so forth. The leader here, probably a Mongour, had his own monks (dge dun rnam, grwa rigs) who made offerings at the same time as monks from Dgon lung templeso important in the next century as the home to the Lcang skya incarnationmade a modest donation. As a reward for the faith displayed by this multi-ethnic reception, the Dalai Lama blessed this community and transmitted permission for these people to recite the six syllable mantra associated, of course, with himself as the embodiment of Avalokitevara.51
48 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 374; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 308. 49 This would distinguish this event from any associated with the Sa skya pa or

Karma pa lamas who visited the Mongol Yuan or Chinese Ming dynastic courts. I should also mention a possibly earlier instance that I have not researched in detail, also involving a Dge lugs pa lama invited to Beijing: in 1415, at Wutaishan, Shakya Yeshe granted audiences to large numbers of people, monks and laymen alike and gave teachings, initiations, and ordinations to many of them . . . . It is also worth mentioning that Mongols sought him out as well as Chinese. See Sperling 1983: 152. 50 This temple was located in Tsong kha mkar, also know as Pingan xian, very near the home of the present Dalai Lama. See Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 323, n. 34-35; Dorje 1996: 582. 51 This was Sgro tshang, now Ledu, which was presided over by the Sgro tshang nang so, apparently a Mongour leader: Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 308-09, 324, n. 36; Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 376. For a description of the rank of nang so, see Schram 1957: 18.



From this point until the Dalai Lama and his entourage crossed into Ningxia, they were feted by a similar mix of locals and officials. The exact ethnicity of local officials is difficult to ascertain, as some had Chinese sounding names (Luu tshan tsang, Yuu skyi yi) or titles (Bing ye, Thung ye), which might even have been Mongol or Manchu. In any case, these officials welcomed him in what he called Chinese fashion (Rgya lugs), and Chinese people played musical instruments on his approach. In one locale, the Dalai Lama ordained just over one hundred monastics of various ranks from area monasteries. Again it is unclear whether these were Chinese or Tibetans, Mongols or Mongours, but the officials there offered the Dalai Lama Chinese Buddhist-style fake meats made from wheat gluten and spared the lives of the chickens and pigs that would otherwise have been used at the feast.52 This suggests that a vegetarian Chinese Buddhist sensibility informed this community, yet the monks sought ordination at the hands of this Tibetan lama.53 Moreover, the Dalai Lama conferred initiatory permission for the Hayagrva (Tib. Rta mgrin, Ch. Matou mingwang) practice upon these officials.54 Shortly thereafter, he again taught the six syllable mantra to a mixed crowd of Tibetans and Chinese and was given substantial donations by the last Tibetan community he would pass through on his way to Beijing. This region, known as Pa ras (Ch. Tianzhu) also marked the last mass ordination, again of almost one hundred monastics, until the Dalai Lama reached Beijing.55 Beyond this region, the Dalai Lama encountered respectful treatment from Chinese monks and Buddhists in Ningxia, but he was not given substantial donations, nor did he give initiations until he reached the Ordos region, discussed above. Few of the Mongour and Tibetan
52 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 110. 53 Ethnic distinctions were clearly not as rigid as one might think from earlier

Ming prohibitions on Chinese becoming Tibetan Buddhist monks (Da Ming lu, Rites, 2 cited in Naquin 2000: 209). For instance, one lama, the fourth generation Stong khor sprul sku Mdo rgyud rgya mtsho (1621-1683) seems to have reincarnated by entering the body of a recently deceased nineteen year old Chinese boy, probably through a process known as transference of consciousness. He was ordained by the first Chu bzang incarnation Rnam rgyal dpal byor (Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 321-22 n. 19). Like the recognition of Mongol children in the previous generation, or the recognition of western children in the present generation, this occurrence would seem to indicate that, at least in this community, Chinese adherence to Tibetan Buddhism was strong. 54 This was Chuanglang city (Tib. Grong lang mkhar). Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 376; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 309; Yang Ho-chin 1994: 110. 55 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 378; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 310; Yang Ho-chin 1994: 111.



lamas from this region that became so important at the Qing court in the coming generations, such as the Lcang skya or Tuu bkwan incarnation series, can trace their lineage back to this visit from the Fifth Dalai Lama; nevertheless, his presence signaled the beginning of the real rise of the Dge lugs pa to wealth and power in the region. Sponsorship of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries from the local ruling Mongols and the imperial court in Beijing no doubt contributed to this growth, but the Dalai Lamas journey seems to have been the catalyst for this sponsorship. While the Dalai Lama spared no effort to make an impression on even the politically marginal regions of A mdo, the ultimate goal of his mission was the Qing imperial court. Yet, remarkably, the multi-ethnic community in A mdo was mirrored at the court, and the Dalai Lamas mission reached out to all these ethnic communities. Well after the Fifth Dalai Lamas death, his regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho (1653-1705) summarized his time in Beijing as an unmitigated success marked by a declaration of faith in the Dge lugs pa tradition: from the Chinese, Mongolian, and Tibetan priests, both those within the Palace and those without, and from all those within the encampment, both lay and spiritual, by all of whom he [the Dalai Lama] caused the dMigs-brTsema (the Creed of the dGe-lugs-pa) to be recited, from each according to his means, he received about 10,000 ounces of silver (in all). To the many Chinese, both Buddhist priests and non-Buddhists, he distributed over 5,000 ounces of silver.56 This creed of the Dge lugs pa, the Dmigs brtse ma, concludes with a verse in which the recitor submissively makes a request at the feet of Blo bzang grags pa, better known as Tsong kha pa. The regent drew this passage almost verbatim from the Dalai Lamas own autobiography, where it is qualified by being the result of previous aspirational prayers, indicating the centrality of this event in the motivation and perception of the Dge lugs pa mission to the Qing court. The verbal and economic adherence of and exchange with the courts Chinese, Tibetan and Mongol monks (bande) and the lay and religious courtiers as well, marked the success of this Tibetan Buddhist mission to the court.57 Written evidence for this missions motivation was not limited to the Central Tibetan sources, as an imperial temple stele erected the year the Dalai Lama left for court (1652) recorded much the same motivation
56 This is from the 1698 text the Vaidurya serpo, cited in Ahmad 1970: 182. 57 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 400; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 333.



from the Qing perspective. A Tibetan Buddhist temple built in the Yuan dynasty and maintained through the Ming dynasty was repaired in conjunction with the Dalai Lamas visit. The temple, known in Chinese as the Protect the Dynasty Temple (Huguosi) was called in Tibetan the Great Eastern School, Heaps of Good Fortune, the Monastery Conquering Completely in All Directions (Shar bai chos grwa chen po bkra shis lhun po phyogs thams cad las rnam par rgyal bai gling). This Tibetan name could hardly be more blatant in announcing the missionary venture, but the stele also directly links this mission with the Dge lugs pa tradition. The temple was repaired for the dynasty and for the people, to expand and make flourish Buddhist affairs, [and] to spread Tsong kha pas Buddhist teachings.58 Thus, the imperial and Tibetan sources share the rhetoric that the impulse to spread Dge lugs pa teachings motivated the events of 1652-1653, which culminated in the Dalai Lamas visit to Beijing. The success of the mission at court could also be described in terms of the number of adherents to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition with whom the Dalai Lama made contact once he reached imperial territory at Lake Taika and on into Beijing. He met with and taught some 12,000 people, mostly Mongols, and initiated some 1,150 monks of various ethnicities.59 For instance, about three hundred Chinese monk-retreatants (Rgya ban ri khrod pa) from Wutai shan (Tib. Ri bo rtse lnga) came to see him and were given a Majushr blessing.60 Two Nepalese monks (Bal po bande), Mongol nobility, (presumably Manchu) ambans, palace literati (Pho brang gi yig mkhan), fifty bannermen of the Plain Blue Banner under the leadership of a dge bshes, and monks from the Yellow Temple (Lha khang ser po drwa pa, built by imperial order as the Dalai Lamas residence in Beijing) were all given Avalokitevara initiations by the Dalai Lama.61 Aside from this diverse group of students, the imperial family was also actively engaged with making offerings and receiving teachings from the Dalai Lama. Many high ranking Manchu imperial family
58 Huang Hao: 12. 59 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 407-15; Awang luosang jiacou 1992:

60 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 403; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 334. 61 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 394-98; Awang luosang jiacou 1992:

329-31. According to the Dalai Lama 90,000 ounces of silver was spent building the temple, and gold leaf was used for the walls, Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 394; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 329.



members attended to the Dalai Lamas needs, made offerings, and in some cases took initiations. The fifth son of Hongtaiji and the emperors elder brother Shisai was the most active of the Manchu imperial family member who interacted with the Dalai Lama.62 For instance, he was sent in his brothers stead to greet the Dalai Lama outside the Great Wall, with some 2,000 horsemen and elaborate fanfare.63 Later, Shisai requested and received from the Dalai Lama hand-written texts needed in China (Rgya yul), as well as the Hayagriva, Black Majughosa and long life initiations, and the eight lay vows, which caused the Dalai Lama to comment on his faithfulness.64 Probably the most powerful figure in the Qing court at the time of the Dalai Lamas visit to Beijing was the emperors uncle and former regent, Jirgalang (1599-1655), though his power waned as the Shunzhi emperor declared his rule in the spring of 1652 and exercised more power throughout 1653.65 With three thousand horsemen, he rode out after Shisai to welcome the Dalai Lama to the imperial domains, and at the end of the Dalai Lamas stay he escorted him back to the border.66 Of course, the Dalai Lama also met with the young emperor three times and was given rich gifts at these audiences.67 The empress dowager and one of the Qinwangs older sisters also made offerings to the Dalai Lama.68 Finally, the Dalai Lama performed the funeral rituals for a member of the
62 Shisai was also know as the Heshou Chengze Qinwang (Kind prince of the first class) in Qing sources and Khe shing ge chin dbang (after the Manchu, gosingga and the Chinese qinwang) in the Dalai Lamas biography, see Ahmad 1970: 172-73. 63 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 387; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 317. 64 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 387, 403, 407; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 334-35, 338. 65 Jirgalang was also known as both the Shu [uncle] Zheng Qingwang (Ahmad 174) and the Fuzheng Qingwang (Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 344, n. 6) in Qing sources, and the Ui jing chin dbang in the Dalai Lamas biography. He was the nephew and adopted son of Nurhaci and one of the Shunzhi emperors regents. For details on these men, see Liu 1989: 41, 46. In early 1651, the thirteen year old Shunzhi emperor abolished the regency after Dorgons death, which launched a period of transition of government as Jiralang tried to return to high position by supporting the emperor. Eventually the emperor felt threatened by Jiralangs growing strength and tried to assert his own rule (Hummel 1970: 216). Sometime in 1653 Jirgalangs power was drastically curtailed, as he was virtually excluded from the final policy-making decisions, which became the exclusive domain of the emperor (Liu 1989: 47). 66 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 392, 405; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 328, 336. 67 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 393-94, 397, 404; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 318-19, 330, 335. 68 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 404, 396; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 335, 330.



imperial family, which was accompanied by miraculous occurrences in the sky (reminiscent of the earlier Karma pas visit to Nanjing).69 As before, the Dalai Lama redistributed many of these gifts among the local population, for the benefit of the Dge lugs pa tradition. As noted above, he gave away five thousand ounces of silver, as well as other gifts, to Chinese monks (hwa shang) and many Chinese people of various sects (chos lugs na tshogs).70 Shortly thereafter, he gave an A mdo Tibetan from Sung chu (Ch. Songpan) named Rab byams pa Thrin las material assistance and a text to overcome hindrances to establishing a temple on Wutaishan (Tib. Ri bo rste lnga).71 Finally, on his way back home, in the Mongol city of Kke khota (Tib. Mkhar sngon) the Dalai Lama gave 500 ounces of gold and 200 horses to repair monasteries built in the time of the Third Dalai Lama and Altan Khan, which were damaged during the reign of Ligdan Khan.72 At around the same time, the Dalai Lama also discussed setting up a fund for hiring workers for the renovations of the Lhasa monasteries Se ra and Bras spungs, so at least part of these funds were used to benefit Central Tibet, though the workers may have been hired closer to Beijing.73 Likewise, the monks and monasteries in Central Tibet were richly rewarded for performing religious services to bless the people in China and to strengthen their belief in Buddhism.74 On a final note, in the mid-seventeenth century both Tibetan Buddhists and European Catholics had secured a presence in the Manchu Qing court and at last actually learned of one anothers missionaries at the capital. Jesuit Father Johann Adam Schall von Bell (Ch. Tang Rouwang, 1591-1666) was the most important of the Jesuits to have remained in Beijing as the Ming court fled south and the Qing dynasty moved into northern China. As noted by Jonathan Spence, Because he had a high level of scientific skill, Dorgon appointed him to direct the Imperial Bureaucracy of Astronomy.75 According to the Dalai Lamas account, the Manchus were also impressed with what they can only have understood as his prognosticatory powers over the weather (what we
69 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 131. See Berger 2001: 145-69. 70 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 405; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 335. 71 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 405; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 335-

72 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 150-51. 73 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 144. 74 Yang Ho-chin 1994: 152. 75 Spence 1990: 43.



would now call meteorology). The Dalai Lama mentioned an instance of this in connection with a banquet held in his honor by the emperors brother Shisai, on a winter day for which the Jesuit had made the prediction (Tib. lung bstan pa) that it would snow heavily, which it did. The Dalai Lamas text described the prognosticator as the heterodox astrologer of India, Thang zhi dbang (Tib. Rgya dkar gyi mu stegs pai rtsis pa Thang zhi dbang).76 Whether the Dalai Lama and the Jesuit priest actually met is not clear, but this account from the outskirts of Beijing marks a fitting point to end my comparison of the Dge lugs pa Tibetan Buddhist and Jesuit Catholic missions to reach the capital and court of the greatest empire in Asia. The Dge lugs pa mission would see great success among the A mdo and Khams Tibetans, Mongols, Manchus, and possibly among the Chinese as well (though this is less well documented) over the coming century and a half, especially under the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors. Qing imperial support for (and attempts to control) Dge lugs pa Tibetan Buddhism, in Central Tibet, A mdo, Khams, Mongolia, and localities such as Wutaishan (Tib. Ri bo rtse lnga) and Jehol led to an unprecedented expansion of Tibetan Buddhism outside the confines of the Tibetan cultural region. As the Qing dynasty declined in the nineteenth century and abdicated in the twentieth, Manchu support for the Dge lugs pa mission waned and vanished, but this legacy was eventually picked up by some modern Chinese.77 Meanwhile, by the early eighteenth century, the Catholic mission, already weakened in China by the Jesuits association with the conquering Manchus, lost even the imperial support on which they counted in the seventeenth century.78 In the end, the comparison of the Tibetan and Jesuit missions in Asia is best made by noting their shared failure to make much impact on the
76 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 393; Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 328. Yang Ho-chin 1994; 127, 172, n. 38. Awang luosang jiacou 1992: 344 n. 7 noted that the Dalai Lama described him as of India because did not understand about Europe, but it should be noted that most of the Jesuits who came to China did come through the Portuguese colony in Goa, India, which may account for the description of his origin. Possibly the Dalai Lama even recognized something about this man and his teachings as being similar to the other Catholics who were moving into Tibet from India in the decades before this encounter. For more on Schall von Bell, see Spence 1969. 77 See Tuttle 2005. 78 In fact, Schall von Bell was thrown into prison upon the death of his patron, the Shunzhi emperor, in 1661, and the Jesuits did not regain imperial support until the Kangxi emperor abolished the regency that dominated the court after his fathers death. See Spence, 44, 71. For the later period, see Waley-Cohen, 67-69.



largest population in East Asia, the Chinese. Yet for the intervening centuries of Manchu rule of China, the Dge lugs pa Tibetan Buddhist mission enjoyed singular success at home and abroad, due in no small part to the enormous prestige as well as military and financial support derived from association with the Manchu Qing empire. Much credit for this support must go to the Fifth Dalai Lamas visit to Beijing, as he helped establish these relations as a central feature of seventeenth and eighteenth century Tibetan society. Tibetan References Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho. 1989. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi rnam thar Lhasa: Bod ljong mi dmangs dpe skrun khang. Chinese References Awang luosang jiacou. 1992. Wushi Dalai lama zhuan, trans. Chen Qingying and Ma Lianlong, Zhongguo bianjiang shi di ziliao conggan-Xizang juan. Beijing: Zhongguo Zangxue chubanshe. Huang Hao. 1993. Zai Beijing de Zangzu wenwu. Beijing: Minzu chubanshe. Other References Ahmad, Z. 1970. Sino-Tibetan Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Berger, P. 2001. Miracles in Nanjing: An imperial record of the Fifth Karmapas visit to the Chinese capital. In Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Dorje, G. 1996. Tibet Handbook: with Bhutan. Chicago: Passport Books. Elverskog, J. 2003. The Jewel Translucent Sutra: Altan Khan and the Mongols in the sixteenth century. Leiden: Brill. Farquhar, D.M. 1978. Emperor as bodhisattva in the governance of the Ching Empire. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 38(1), 5-34 Grupper, S. 1980. The Manchu Imperial Cult of the Early Ching Dynasty: Texts and Studies on the Tantric Sanctuary of Mahkla at Mukden. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University. Heissig, W. 1953. A Mongolian source to the Lamaist suppression of Shamanism in the seventeenth century. Anthropos 48, 1-28, 493-536. Hummel, A.W. (ed.) 1970. Eminent Chinese of the Ching period (16441912). Taipei: Cheng Wen Publishing; New York: Paragon Book Gallery.



Kam, T. 1994. Manchu-Tibetan Relations in the Early Seventeenth Century: A Reapprisal. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University. . 2000. The dGe-lugs-pa breakthrough: The Uluk Darxan Nangsu Lamas mission to the Manchus. Central Asiatic Journal 44(2). Karmay, H. 1975. Early Sino-Tibetan Art. Warminster: Aris and Phillips Ltd. Liu, A. 1989. Two rulers in one reign: Dorgon and Shun-chih 16441660, Faculty of Asian Studies Monographs. Canberra: Australian National University. Naquin, S. 2000. Peking: Temples and City Life, 1400-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ricci, M. 1953. China in the Sixteenth Century: The Journals of Matthew Ricci: 1583-1610. L.J. Gallagher (trans.) New York: Random House. Richardson, H. 1998. High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected writings on Tibetan history and culture. London: Serindia. Rockhill, W.W. 1910. The Dalai lamas of Lhasa and their relations with the Manchu emperors of China, 1644-1908. Toung Pao 11. Schmidt, I.J., Ssanang Ssetsen, and Chungtaidschi. [1829] 1961. Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen und ihres Furstenhauses. The Hague: Europe Printing. Schram, L. 1957. The Monguors of the Kansu-Tibetan border, II, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, new ser., v. 47, pt. 1. Spence, J. 1969. To Change China: Western Advisors in China, 16201960. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. . 1990.The Search for Modern China. New York: Norton. Sperling, E. 1983. Early Ming Policy Toward Tibet: an examination of the proposition that the early Ming emperors adopted a Divide and Rule policy toward Tibet. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University. . 2003. Tibets foreign relations during the epoch of the Fifth Dalai Lama. In F. Pommaret (ed.) Lhasa in the seventeenth century: the capital of the Dalai Lamas, Brills Tibetan Studies Library 3. Leiden: Brill. Tucci, G. 1949. Tibetan Painted Scrolls. 2 vols. Roma: Librera dello Stato. Tuttle, G. 2005. Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China. Columbia: Columbia University Press. Waley-Cohen, J. 1999. The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History. New York: Norton.



Wessels, C. 1924. Early Jesuit travellers in Central Asia 1603-1721. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Yang, H.C. (tran.) 1970. The Annals of Kke nor. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Yang Ho-chin. 1994. Chinas routes to Tibet during the early Qing dynasty: a study of travel accounts. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington.



RECREATING THE RNYING MA SCHOOL: THE MDO DBANG TRADITION OF SMIN GROL GLING Jake Dalton In September 1691 over three hundred of the most renowned masters of the Rnying ma school gathered at the newly founded monastery of Smin grol gling in central Tibet. Sacramental feasts, religious dances, and elaborate ceremonies were performed over eleven days. All those present received the initiations and instructions for a comprehensive new ritual system, one that drew together the various traditions relating to the Compendium of Intentions Stra (Dgongs pa dus pai mdo). This event marked a turning point in the history of the Rnying ma school. It was the culmination of the efforts of two charismatic brothers to reshape their tradition by unifying the scattered local lineages under the roof of large monastic institutions. Twenty-five years later, these teachers would be dead, their monastery destroyed in a violent religious persecution. Yet today the identity of the Rnying ma school is still defined in large part by the regular observance of the same community rituals first performed three hundred years ago. This paper looks at how, at the turn of the eighteenth century, Gter bdag gling pa (1646-1714) and his brother Lo chen Dharmar (1654-1717) worked to recreate the Rnying ma school, and how the Mdo dbang (or Stra empowerment) tradition played a particularly key role in their project. I. Public ritual as political strategy: The influence of the Dalai Lama The seventeenth century witnessed a flurry of activity in the Mdo dbang tradition. In particular, two major efforts were undertaken to rework the entire tradition. The first was by Padma phrin las (1641-1717), the second throne-holder of Rdo rje brag monastery, while the second took place just across the Gtsang po river from Rdo rje brag, where in 1676 Smin grol gling monastery was founded. Like Rdo rje brag, Smin grol gling received strong support from the new government of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Not surprisingly, the two simultaneously burgeoning



Rnying ma centers shared much in common, yet there were significant differences in the approaches of their respective leaders. Padma phrin las, who sought to establish his Rdo rje brag monastery over and against competing Rnying ma pa groups, took a more exclusionary course, made necessary by the decades of difficulties his lineal forbears had undergone. But the approach taken by the brothers at Smin grol gling was a wider one, seeking to unite and redefine the entire Rnying ma school. Ultimately both monasteries, Rdo rje brag and Smin grol gling, enjoyed considerable success, and the results of their distinct strategies can be seen to this day in the contours of the Rnying ma school. Thus today the Byang gter of Rdo rje brag is an exceptionally strong gter ma lineage that has remained intact since its fourteenth century inception, while the Smin grol gling tradition is less associated with any one lineage, but rather pervades the ritual fabric of almost every major Rnying ma monastery. 1 The Smin grol gling brothers implemented their project through two interlocking strategies: in-depth historical research and the formulation of new large-scale public rituals, with the former supporting the latter. Elaborately choreographed festivals were created, to be performed over a period of days before large public audiences. Smin grol gling became known for its elaborate dances performed by large numbers of monks, and for its grand festivals which required the resources that only a large and wealthy monastery could supply. The popularity and the scale of these new rituals helped to establish the Smin grol gling tradition at the center of the Rnying ma school. Gter bdag gling pas use of public ritual mirrored the contemporary activities of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) and his powerful regent, Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho (1653-1705). As Gter bdag gling pa labored at Smin grol gling, the Dalai Lama was building his new Tibetan state in Lhasa. Recent scholarship has observed that one of the principal strategies employed by the Dalai Lama was his institution of annual
1 Rdo rje brags unique position within the Rnying ma school is further indicated by the fact that most monasteries today, even when relatively small, are called by their own names, while the Rdo rje brag branch monasteries are almost invariably referred to as simply Rdo rje brag. The same distinction can also be seen in the extant traditions of Mdo dbang; while the Ka thog and the Smin gling traditions are relatively well known to each other, the Rdo rje brag empowerment manual, the Rgya mtsho jug ngogs by Padma phrin las, dwells in a world apart. Moreover, to my knowledge, Rdo rje brag does not observe the annual Gathered Great Assembly (tshogs chen dus pa) festival that is common to the other major Rnying ma monasteries.



festivals and public rituals. Hugh Richardson, in describing the official festivals performed annually in Lhasa, observed:
The origin of most of the ceremonies lies in the remote past, but they have been rearranged and elaborated at different times, especially in the seventeenth century during the rule of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and his equally great regent Sangye Gyatso when they were put into what was very much their latest form with the clear intention of enhancing the grandeur of the new regime and the prestige and stability of the position of the Dalai Lama and the Gelukpa, Yellow Hat, church.2

The Dalai Lamas use of elaborate state ritual was typical of his later life, and it was extended significantly by his regent, Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. Just as the Tibetan nation was united by the Dalai Lamas institution of new public festivals, so too the Rnying ma school was united by the new Smin grol gling rituals.3 The scale of Gter bdag gling pa and Lo chen Dharmars work was enormous, and although the present paper focuses on the Mdo dbangs role in their project, many other elements were also crucial in their own ways and should not be overlooked. That said, it is clear that the two brothers (and especially Lo chen Dharmar) gave particular attention to the teachings of the Bka ma, and to the Mdo dbang especially. Of Dharmars eighteen volume Collected Works (bka bum), five volumes are devoted to the Stra. Moreover, Dharmar was not just interested in the Stra generally, but in its rituals in particular. This was typical of his wider project to rework the Rnying ma school through its rituals. And while Dharmar did address a variety of the Stras ritualsincluding its sdhana, its fire pja, and so forthmost of his attention went to the Stras famous empowerment ceremony. For this reason, Dharmars writings on the Mdo dbang may provide an illuminating window onto the larger Smin grol gling project.

2 Richardson 1993: 7. 3 It is important to recognize that the Dalai Lamas influence on Smin grol gling

was reciprocal. The ritual dances, for example, that figured prominently in many of Gter bdag gling pas new Rnying ma festivals caught the Dalai Lamas own interest, inspiring him to introduce similar dances to the Dge lugs school which had always shunned them. See Kohn 2001: 49-50.



II. Excavating the foundations: Smin grol glings historical research The Stra was thus a key piece of the Smin grol gling project to rebuild the Rnying ma school through its rituals. Before composing his new ritual manual, Dharmar embarked on an extended study of the Stras history, excavating the long-buried foundations of this influential tradition to use as the basis for his new system. In doing so, he stripped away the layers of Rnying ma pa infighting that had accumulated over the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, to reach a shared historical basis upon which all Rnying ma pa could agree. Dharmars interest in history exemplifies a turn in the rhetoric of the Rnying ma school, a shift which continued to unfold over the two centuries following his lifetime. Smin grol gling accomplished its reform of the Rnying ma school through a return to the ancient past. This was one of several important ways in which the Smin grol gling project set a precedent for the remarkable Rnying ma renaissance that was to unfold over the following centuries. Gene Smith has pointed to the antiquarian and archaeological interest of late eighteenth century Rnying ma pa scholars such as Jigs med gling pa and Tshe dbang nor bu.4 The latter, Smith writes, not content simply to repeat what he found in secondary sources considered authoritative by the Tibetan tradition, sought to go back to the original.5 Such a high valuation of historical research characterised a number of nineteenth-century Rnying ma pa thinkers, and this trend can be traced back to what took place at Smin grol gling in the late seventeenth century. Dharmar set forth his vision of the Mdo dbangs history in an indepth study entitled the Mdo dbang gi spyi don.6 The basic ritual
4 Smith 2001: 22. 5 Smith 2001: 20. 6 After the Mun pai go cha by Gnubs chen sangs rgyas ye shes, this is by far the

most useful source for the modern historian of the Stra tradition. That it is more of a history than a commentary may be confirmed by Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtsei dbang po, who seems to refer to it under the title of the History of the Stra Empowerment (Mdo dbang gi chos byungfor this reference, see Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse 1989: 45). Dan Martin (1997: 119) has suggested that this title might refer to another Dharmar history of the Stra empowerment that is distinct from his Mdo dbang gi spyi don. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any such text, nor have I seen any other reference to it. It does not appear in either the standard or new version of Dharmars Gsung bum, nor in any of the Bka ma collections. Thus we should probably conclude that either it is lost or Mkhyen brtse was referring to Dharmars Mdo dbang gi spyi don, which does include a substantial section on the lineage lamas (34-127) and does have an historical tone. I suspect the latter may be the case.



structure of the Mdo dbang is traditionally credited to the ninth century Indian master, Bde ba gsal mdzad, some of whose writings have recently resurfaced.7 Unlike other tantric empowerment rituals which normally grant initiation into a single ritual system associated with a single vehicle, the Mdo dbang grants initiation into all of the nine vehicles of the Rnying ma school. Thus it is an extremely elaborate ceremony, requiring many days to perform. At the center of the ceremony stands the root maala for the Stras tantric system. The so-called Tshog chen dus pa (or Gathered Great Assembly) maala is unusual for its having nine stories, each representing one of the nine vehicles. Thus disciples can be led upwards through the nine levels of the maala as far as their abilities warrant, or even all the way to the top, to the level of Atiyoga. In fact there have always been two such root maalas, each complete with nine levels, known respectively as the common (thun mong) and the uncommon (thun min) root maalas. Over the centuries leading up to Dharmars reformulation of the tradition, the empowerment ceremony had become increasingly complex through the addition of numerous so-called branch maalas.8 Here the disciple would be initiated into separate branch maalas for each of the nine vehicles. Thus for the rvaka empowerments a maala with kyamuni at the center would be used, for the Yoga tantra empowerments the famous Vajradhtu maala would be used, and so on. Then for the Mahyoga section of the ceremony, the common Tshog chen dus pa maala would be used, and for Anuyoga the uncommon maala. Such was the complex situation inherited by Dharmar, and his reaction was to return to the origin. In his writings he goes to great lengths to recover and carefully define the earliest ritual forms from the
7 A series of short works by the master are found appended to the Dus pa chen po mdoi sgrub khrigs bzhin dbang byang lag len (otherwise known as the Glan chog) by the early fourteenth century master Glan ston bsod nams mgon po. The Glan chog appears in volumes 61 and 62 of the 110-volume edition of the Bka ma rgyas pa shin tu rgyas pa held by TBRC and the British Library. Glan ston can be roughly dated on the basis of his meeting with Sgrol ma ba bro ston bsam grub rdo rje (1294-1375), a meeting that is supposed to have taken place around 1318, as can be deduced by combining two passages on Dus pa mdo dbang gi bla ma brgyud pai rnam thar. See Padma phrin-las 1972: 263.1 and 266.2. 8 The most significant additions were made in the late fourteenth century manual, the Rin chen phreng ba by Dmyal ba bde legs, and in the late fifteenth century Sbrang rtsii chu rgyun by Rmog ston rdo rje dpal bzang po.



writings of Bde ba gsal mdzad. By the end of his study he had exposed and reinforced the historical foundations of the entire ritual system. He could now be sure that the new tradition he built would stand for centuries to come, made strong with the authority it received from his rigorous excavations. III. Reformatting the ritual for the general public In terms of the actual ritual format, Dharmars overriding concern was to simplify the ceremony as a whole. Towards this end, he repeatedly distinguished between two types of potential recipients: the specialist and the general public. In composing his new manual, Dharmar clearly had in mind a public performance before an unrestricted audience. Unlike the earlier manuals, Dharmars was consciously crafted for a much larger, public venue, and for this reason many parts of the ceremony had to be simplified, the overall level lowered to the lowest common denominator. As his manual proceeds through the ritual towards the higher initiations, this tendency to simplify becomes increasingly pronounced. For example, for the initiations into the first six vehicles, Dharmar discards all the branch maalas in favor of the root maala alone. Next, the initiations for Mahyoga are granted using the common root maala, as usual. But then for the Anuyoga initiations, Dharmar explains that the same common root maala can be used again. Previously, these Anuyoga initiations required the separate uncommon root maala. Now however,
When [the empowerment is] being performed for the masses, the vast majority of them will be neither ripened [through meditation] nor educated. Therefore, thinking little harm will come of it, the construction of the uncommon root maala of the Tshog chen dus pa... does not really matter. Instead... [for the Anuyoga initiations]... one can use the same maala as for the inner [Mahyoga] initiations, namely the common root maala.9

Thus Dharmar simplifies the ritual by using only the common maala for both sets of initiations, for Mahyoga and Anuyoga. He does
9 Padma phrin-las 1972: 243.6-244.1. tshogs sgrub dus dbang gis smin slob mi mdzad pa shas che bas cung zad gnad chung bar dgongs nas/ tshogs chen dus pa thun mong ma yin pai rtsa dkyil bzhengs ba btang snyoms su mdzad de/ rtsa dkyil thun mong ba nang dbang gi dkyil khor de nyid du bskur ba.



this, he tells us, because he expected that the vast majority of those receiving the empowerment will not have attained the high level of realization needed to benefit from the Anuyoga initiations. Most will be attending just for the blessings, merely for aspiration or study, he writes elsewhere, and for this reason one may as well abbreviate the ritual, even if it means less benefit for the rare expert in the crowd. The latter possibility prompts Dharmar, in his section on the final Atiyoga initiations, to direct the presiding lama to separate out the select few experts in the crowd and grant them the highest initiations in private, after the main ceremony is over. All of these changes to the Mdo dbangs ritual format point to the same conclusion, that the wider Smin grol gling project sought to reformulate the Rnying ma school through large-scale public performances to be staged at major monastic institutions. The new Smin grol gling Mdo dbang ceremony was no longer intended simply for initiating a disciple into the Stras teachings, but as a communitybuilding event. The ceremony was now a performance foremost, and in this sense its emphasis had shifted from the participants to the observers. How it was perceived as a public spectacle was crucial to its function. The new Smin gling Mdo dbang system reflected this trend in another way: Dharmar further facilitated the grandeur of the performance by dividing the ritual manual into numerous shorter distinct texts. Thus a separate text directed the monks on how to construct the maala, another described the ritual cards (tsakli), another the musical arrangements (rol mo), and so on. By delegating the ritual responsibilities in this way, Dharmar made possible a larger performance that was easier to assemble. The different groups of monks only had to master their own particular responsibilities, but when combined, they could create a spectacle of unprecedented grandeur. Having increased the scale and the splendor of the ceremony, Dharmar also had to be careful not to overwhelm his audience. So at the same time he shortened the ceremonys duration dramatically, so that only three days were required instead of the usual ten or more. Unlike the Ka thog empowerment ceremony, for example, which packs in every detail it can, Dharmars is efficient in its grandeur.



IV. Propogating the new tradition Gter bdag gling pa transmitted the new ritual system on three occasions. All three were major events, with many important lamas from all over Tibet in attendance. The first was at the grand festival of 1691 mentioned at the beginning of this paper. Dharmar describes the event in the following words:
Once there gathered together we who normally live at Smin-sgrolglinga congregation headed by [Gter bdag gling pas] supreme son..., Padma gyur med rgya mtshotogether with other realized ones assembled there only temporarily such as Sprul sku treo, Rab byam pa chags pa chos phel, the lamas of Dpal ri gdan sa ba and Spo bo, three hundred in all. To all of us, in accordance with a [new] system in which the earlier and later classifications of the root and branch maalas, those [systems] of Lha rje Gar, of Glang and so forth, were all brought into a single tradition of ritual practice... [according to that system,] for eleven days, from the seventh to the eighteenth of September, 1691, were bestowed the ripened and developed fulfillment of the complete four rivers of the Compendium [of Intentions] Stra, based on a maala of colored powders, together with the seal of entrustment, the flanking explanatory instructions, and the related ritual sequence of the great accomplishment. Thus signs were displayed, and the welfare of beings was immensely and continuously enacted.10

Gter bdag gling pa granted the Mdo dbang two other times. Neither time is described in any detail, but Dharmar does list some of the more imporant lamas who received it. The second time, the ritual was bestowed to Gter bdag gling pas relatives and to Od mchog sprul sku [Lce ston ngag dbang kun bzang rang grol], Thang brog sprul sku [Kun bzang legs grub], Bon lung sprul sku and so on, and the last time to [Pad gling] Gsung sprul ngag dbang kun bzang rdo rje, Yon po sprul sku, Khams pa sprul sku, Rna bo gdung brgyud, Rong pa rdzogs chen sprul
10 Padma phrin-las 1972: 124.4-125.2. sras mchog padma gyur med rgya mtshos thog drangs smin grol gling dus tshogs sogs bdag cag gnyug mar gnas pa rnams dang/ teo sprul pai sku/ rab byams pa chags pa chos phel/ dpal ri gdan sa ba/ spo bo bla ma sogs glo bur lhags pai don gnyer can te khyon dus pa sum brgya bskor la/ rtsa ba dang yan lag gi dkyil khor kyi dbye bsdu lha rje gar dang glan snga phyi sogs sgrol chen yan chad phyag len gyi srol gcig tu bab pai lugs ltar/ rdul tshon gyi dkyil khor la brten pai dus pa mdoi chu bo bzhi rdzogs gtad rgya gdams ngag bshad pa mtha brten dang bcas pa sgrub chen gyi las rim dang brel bar lcags lug khums zlai tshes bdun nas bco brgyad kyi bar zhag bcu gcig gi khongs su rdzogs pa smin rgyas su stsal bas mtshon bstan groi don rlabs po che rgyun chags su mdzad.



sku and so forth.11 The colophon to Dharmars manual adds still more names to these, including Mdo khams go jo bla ma Rnam grol bzang po, Dpal bla ma ye shes, and Rdo rje mgon. It is clear from both the length of these lists and the geographical spread of the toponyms that Smin grol gling functioned as a font from which the new Mdo dbang system spread to all corners of Tibet. The inclusive nature of the Smin-gling Mdo dbang combined with the charisma of its creators to draw lamas from all the Rnying ma monasteries, old and new. These events were not simply empowerments; they were workshops, to which the major Rnying ma pa lamas of the day came to receive and to learn the latest rituals. By the time of Gter bdag gling pas death in 1714, his version of the Mdo dbang tradition had become the standard throughout the Rnying ma school. V. Conclusion Smin grol gling affected a major change in the Rnying ma school. One might even argue that the Rnying ma school as we know it today was created in the late seventeenth century through the efforts of Gter bdag gling pa and Lo chen Dharmar. United as never before, the Rnying ma school enjoyed lavish support from the new Dalai Lama government. During the lifetimes of the two brothers, numerous major Rnying ma monasteries in central and eastern Tibet were founded.12 Smin grol gling changed the face of the Rnying ma school forever, and the trends started there continued to unfold over the next two centuries. After Smin grol gling, the Rnying ma pa focused increasingly on their monastic institutions. Three years after Gter bdag gling pas death, tensions between the Dzungar Mongols and the Chinese erupted into war. Late in the year of 1717, the Dzungar Mongols invaded central Tibet, bringing with them a terrible backlash of sectarian violence. Many within the ruling Dge lugs school had long expressed displeasure at the rising fortunes of the Rnying ma school, and the Dzungars gave vent to these rumblings with the zeal of the recently converted. The Dzungar soldiers executed Lo chen Dharmar, as well as the new Smin grol gling throne-holder, Padma gyur med rgya mtsho, and Padma phrin las. Almost overnight,
11 Padma phrin-las 1972: 127.1-3. Bracketed additions are culled from colophon of the Rdo rjei them skas: 566.6-567.1. 12 See Smith 2001: 18-20.



decades of work at the new Rnying ma monasteries in central Tibet was undone, as libraries were burned and temples looted. Yet none of this could stem the flood of these masters wider project. Long before the Dzungar invasion, Gter bdag gling pa had guaranteed his new rituals expansion by convening large assemblies of Rnying ma lamas like the one in September of 1691. The ceremonies he transmitted at these gatherings formed the ritual backbone of the new Rnying ma monasteries to the east. The arrival of Smin grol glings rituals in eastern Tibet was crucial to the future identity of the Rnying ma school, for it was there that they really took root, at the large new monasteries throughout Khams and A mdo. Tibetan References Bka ma rgyas pa shin tu rgyas pa. 110-volume edition held by TBRC and the British Library, no publication information but became available in 2000. Dmyal ba bde legs. 2000. Rin chen phreng ba. Dus pa chen po mdoi dbang chog rin chen phreng ba. In Bka ma rgyas pa shin tu rgyas pa, vol. 63. Glan ston bsod nams mgon po. 2000. Dus pa chen po mdoi sgrub khrigs bzhin dbang byang lag len. In Bka ma rgyas pa shin tu rgyas pa, vols. 61-62. Gnubs chen sangs rgyas ye shes. 1982. Mun pai go cha. Sangs rgyas thams cad kyi dgongs pa dus pa mdoi dka grel mun pai go cha lde mig gsal byed rnal byor nyi ma. In Bdud joms jigs bral ye shes rdo rje (ed.) Rnying ma bka ma rgyas pa. 56 vols. Kalimpong, W.B.: Dubjang Lama, vols. 50-51. Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse. 1989. Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtsei dbang poi gsung rtsom gces sgrib. Chengtu: Si khron Mi rigs Dpe skrun khang. Lo chen Dharmar. 1975a. Rdo rjei them skas. Dus pa chen po mdoi dbang gi cho ga rdo rjei them skas. In Lo chen gsung bum, vol. 11, 1-569. 1975b. Mdo dbang gi spyi don. Dus pai mdo dbang spyi don rgyud lung man ngag gi gnad gsal byed sgron me. In Lo chen gsung bum, vol. 12, 1-260. Lo chen Dharmar. 1975. Lo chen gsung bum. 18 vols. Dehra Dun: D. G. Khocchen Trulku.



Padma phrin-las, Rdo rje brag rigs dzin II. 1972. Dus pa mdo dbang gi bla ma brgyud pai rnam thar. In Bka ma mdo dbang gi bla ma brgyud pai rnam thar and Rig dzin ngag gi dbang poi rnam thar. Leh: S. W. Tashigangpa, 1-425. 1982. Dus pa mdoi dbang gi cho ga khrigs su byas pa dkyil khor rgya mtshoi jug mngogs. In Bdud joms jigs bral ye shes rdo rje (ed.) Rnying ma bka ma rgyas pa. 56 vols. Kalimpong, W.B.: Dubjang Lama, vols. 41-43. Rmog ston rdo rje dpal bzang po. 2000. Sbrang rtsii chu rgyun. Mdo dbang khams lugs su grags pa sbrang rtsii chu rgyun. In Bka ma rgyas pa shin tu rgyas pa, vols. 64-66. Other References Kohn, R.J. 2001. Lord of the Dance: The Mani Rimdu Festival in Tibet and Nepal. Albany: State University of New York Press. Martin, D. 1997. Tibetan Histories: A Bibiography of Tibetan-Language Historical Works. London: Serindia Publications. Richardson, H.E. 1993. Ceremonies of the Lhasa Year. London: Serindia Publications. Smith, E.G. 2001. Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications.


There is no difference at all between this world and nirvana; between nirvana and this world there is no difference at all. The limit of Nirvana is the limit of this world.

Mlamadhyamakakriks During the Fifth Dalai Lamas reign, Tibet witnessed a creative renaissance in the fields of both traditional and visionary Buddhist scholarship, art, astrology, architecture, medicine, and civil governance.1 The seventeenth century is further characterized by a daring interlocking between the religious and secular spheres. Their intricate conjoining forged a new national identity for the Tibetan polity which sought in the Dalai Lama institution an end to fighting and a political stability that the bickering nobility had failed to provide The intertwining of Buddhist doctrine (chos) with a dual state and ecclesiastical sharing of secular power (srid) has been referred to as chos srid gnyis brel. This term corresponds historically to a versatile system of dual governance (lugs gnyis) whose roots trace back to Tibets Imperial Period (7th-9th centuries). This system which persisted until Tibets invasion by the Peoples Republic of China sought to strike an institutional balance between aristocratic factions and monastic institutions and between centralized and decentralized authority. The 1642 pan-Tibetan victory of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) was not without its share of craftsmanship and bloody opposition. Tibets

1 Michael 1982; Rhie and Thurman 2000; Pommaret 2003.



history after the tantric coronation of Gushri Khan as Dharmarja2 (chos rgyal) in 1637 by the Fifth Dalai Lama was one of protracted and deadly confrontations between opposing religious schools and their patrons. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Tibets governor from 1679 to 1703, skillfully weaved historical events with Mahyna lineages, royal lines, and Terton genealogies in a hagiography he composed for his visionary teacher.3 In so doing, he sanctioned the Dalai Lamas rule-by-incarnation regime on a metaphysical level by plotting a narrative that both conflated his spiritual lineage with the cult of the returning Bodhisattva Avalokitevara while also sacralizing secular authority by tracing it back, as in the legends of the ancient kings, to a divine source. If Buddhist narratives were deployed to grant political legitimacy to the newly established Dge lugs sovereignty, political astuteness was also operative in reconfiguring the spiritual domain. The Fifth Dalai Lama recognized Pa chen Blo bzang chos rgyan (1567-1662), his foremost Dge lugs teacher and seat holder of the Bkra shis lhun po monastery in Gtsang, as an emanation of Buddha Amitbha. The Pa chens politically active incarnation-line as the manifestation of Buddha Amitbha, chief Buddha of the Lotus maala, rapidly became one of the most important in the Dge lugs order, second only to the Dalai Lamas own incarnationline as Avalokitevara, the Regent in Amitbhas pure-land.4 In this way,
2 In his study of Indian esoteric Buddhist traditions, Davidson (2002: 114)

observes: The evidence supports a position that is curiously both astonishing and reassuring: the Mantrayna is simultaneously the most politically involved of Buddhist forms and the variety of Buddhism most acculturated to the medieval Indian landscape. Briefly the mature synthesis of esoteric that which embodies the metaphor of the practitioner becoming the overlord (rjdhirja). In this endeavour, the candidate is coronated and provided with ritual and metaphorical access to all the various systems that an overlord controls: surrounded by professors of mantra, he performs activities to ensure the success of his spiritual state. Ruegg (1997: 866) distinguishes three models to explain the constitutional relationships between spiritual authority and temporal power in Tibet: (a) the dyarchic model of Dharmarja/Cakravartin and Officiant/Spiritual Preceptor; (b) the model of the Vajraynist Guru and his neophyte disciple; and (c) the hierocratic and nirmnic model of the Bodhisattva-King combining in himself both spiritual and temporal power. 3 cf. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho 1999. The Great Fifth appears prominently in religious histories both as a visionary mystic and instigator of Tibet as a post-imperial nation. His secret visions, classified by the Rnying ma as pure-vision termas, also claim one visual encounter with a female Nga who is said to have inspired the creation of the Klu khang and its extraordinary Rdzogs chen murals (Baker 2000: 13). The Fifth Dalai Lama also had visions during the joint performance of magical rites with his teacher Zur Chos dbyings rang grol (1610-1657) against the Tsang royal forces (Karmay 1998: 9). 4 The Fifth Dalai Lama might have been aware that king Srong btsan sgampo was honoured by the Tang emperor Gao zong (649-683 C.E.) with the title Bao-wang meaning



the Dalai Lama may have seen fit to fill the political vacuum in Gtsang by establishing a powerful Dge lugs satellite whose influence and support could be called upon to support Dge lugs initiatives. Structural correspondences between secular management and Buddhist soteriology are not foreign to Buddhism. Religious readings of kingship date to the earliest texts of both Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.5 In the post-dynastic mythohistorical Rgyal rabs gsal bai me long (Srensen 1994: 97-102) we read a popular national saga that begins with Bodhisattva Avalokitevara voicing a compassionate aspiration prayer (smon lam) to transform the demon-infested country of Tibet into his field of conversion (zhing khams). Avalokitevaras plea is heard by Buddha Amitbha, his spiritual father, who blesses him to incarnate in Tibet as a celibate monkey. Soon after, he is seduced by an aggressive demoness. From their intercourse, the mating of spiritual and grossphysical forms, emerges the race of the legendary Tibetan Buddhist kings and people. This narrative co-opted the Indian cult of Avalokitevara to provide a Buddhist account for the ancestral origins of the Tibetan people. In the process, Avalokitevara became the most revered symbol in the Tibetan national mythos, one which profoundly impacted the Fifth Dalai Lamas perception of himself. As Karmay points out in his study of the Mahkaru the Lord of the World (Thugs rje chen po jig rten dbang phyug), a ritual cycle that records the Fifth Dalai Lamas secret visions:
Unbelievably complex as it is, in his visions the apparition of the Bodhisattva in the form of Mahkarun dominates DLs [Fifth Dalai

precious king, an epithet of the king of the West employed in Chinese culture for Buddha Amitbha; cf. Beckwith 1987: 25-26. Miller (1961: 199) further speculates: The first Dalai Lama who achieved secular control (The Great Fifth) recognized or discovered that his tutorand rivalwas an incarnated Buddha, rather than a Bodhisattva. This recognition was a typical Lamaist act, at least inferentially negating the Panchen Lamas potential claim to secular influence by very respectfully, very properly elevating him into a strictly spiritual eminence. 5 An informative narrative of early Buddhism and kingship can be found in Tambiah 1987. A Pli text, the Aggaasutta, foretells the gradual degradation of human society. At the lowest point in the process, humans are obliged to elect a Great Chosen One (Mahsamata) who will protect the people and their property and administer an equitable justice in return for foodA variety of Buddhist kings, particularly in Burma and Sri Lanka, trace their descent from Mahsammata (cf. Harris 1999: 3). The proemium of Rgyal rabs gsal bai me long pays homage to royal lineage of Mang pos bkur ba (Mahsamata), the first Indian king and mythical progenitor of kyamuni (cf. Srensen 1994: 43, 49, 50, 52) ).



Lama] psycheIn each instance of appearance of Avalokitevara in the form of one of his aspects, the Bodhisattva does not miss making a gesture or giving guidance to DL in one way or another. These are always concerned with the welfare of the Tibet and its people. The phrases such as bod bde thabs, the means for bringing happiness to the Tibetansor bod kyi bstan srid, the religio-politics of Tibet occur constantly showing preoccupation in DLs mindIt was therefore because of this motivation to restore in a certain sense the former imperial power and to re-establish Buddhism as a state religion, that there was a recurrence of personages of the Tibetan Empire in DLs visions, such as the king Srong btsan sgam po and Padmasamhava. These personages cannot be dissociated from the personality of the Bodhisattva in DLs visions. They had the psychic power to confer on him prophetical instruction on how to deal with the political and religious affairs at hand as well as with those in the years following the construction of the Potala Palace. 6

The conjoining of religious motifsincluding Vajrayna ritual practices, Mahyna soteriology and pure-land idealismand political motifs of national memory and political consciousness in seventeenth-century Tibet cannot be reduced to a thinly veiled attempt to assert secular and political agendas in the guise of religion. On the contrary, Buddhist scholarship flourished along with the politicisation of Buddhist ideology. This non-reductive conjoining of sacred and secular involved a continuous interplay of signs and their significance: in the religious sphere through the monastic deification of incarnations, and in the political sphere, through the implementation of a culturally embodied Buddhist soteriology that had a profound and lasting psychological effect on its Tibetan leaders and people. II. The Author: A Symbiosis of Monastics and Siddhas The child prodigy Gnam chos Mi gyur rdo rje, a Rnying ma siddhacum-tertn from the area of Ngom in Khams, was born in 1645, the Wood Bird year of the eleventh sexagenarian cycle (rab byung). He is attributed with the compilation of an impressive collection of Tibetan Buddhist and folk-religion scriptures revealed through a series of mystical visions. His writings constitute a cycle apocryphal termas

6 Karmay 1998: 27-28.



known as Gnam chos (sky-dharma).7 Mi gyur rdo rjes instructions are often included within the terma cycle that by and large covers literary and ethnographic subjects containing: (i) ritual offerings (bsang, chab gtor, bum gter); (ii) funereal rites (byang chog); (iii) popular empowerments, such as, long-life (tshe dbang), health (sman lha dbang), wealth (nor dbang); (iv) thread rituals and protective amulets (mdos, srung ba); (v) rites for propitiating protector deities (chos skyong, zhing skyong, gter srung); demons (btsan, gnod sbyin, bdud); high heaven spirits (lha); mountain gods (spom ri, thang lha); ngas (klu) and earth spirits (sa bdag); (vi) divination and astrology (rdeu dkar mo, spar kha, rtsis); (vii) preliminary tantric practices (sngon gro); (viii) tantric practices (rmi lam, pho ba, gtum mo, phur ba, gcod) and commentaries (rgyud grel); (ix) pure-land sdhanas (zhing khams sgrub), and hundreds of meditation practices on peaceful (zhi ba) and wrathful (khro bo) deities grouped under well-known Vajrayna cycles (chos skor), such as the Bde mchog; Gu ru drag po; Ma ning; Sgrol ma; Phag mo; and last, but not least, (x) philosophical commentaries (khrid) belonging to the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen) teachings of the Rnying ma school. Sensitive to their heterodox inception, monastic factions who wished to assimilate the Gnam chos texts and put them to ritual use were eager to classify them according to conventional divisions and situate them in a historical context.8 In addition to the bka ma (oral) and gter

7 In the inner biography (nang gi rnam thar) of Mi gyur rdo rje we read that the Gnam chos is a distinct class of teachings that have arisen from the aspirations and pure minds of beings (fol. 10). They are further classified according to their main principle (ngo bo), definition (nges tshig), cause (rgyu), conditions (rkyen), and divisions (dbye ba) (fol. 13). Notable are descriptions of events (fols. 15-19) of scriptures that have fallen from the sky gnam mka nas glegs bam bab, speaking apparitions of lamas, yidams, and dakinis bla ma yi dam mkha groi tshogs zhal gzigs nas des gsung, disembodied sounds zhal ma mthong chos kyi sgra, emanated letters sprul pai yi ge, and sky-letters gnam yig. For an index of the Gnam chos collection (10 volumes) as preserved by Migot in the Collge de France cf. Meisezahl 1981 and 1982. I am grateful to Gene Smith for his guidance and for making an updated compilation of the Gnam chos cycle that includes pages missing (Band XXXV) and three additional volumes (11, 12, 13) not included in the Migot collection indexed by Meisezahl widely available. Volume 11 contains the inner and secret liberation-stories (rnam thar) of Mi gyur rdo rje; volume 12 contains Rdzogs chen texts; and volume 13, written in dbu med script probably from Sde dge, contains 18 texts, mostly sdhanas. 8 Anticipating a reaction from the more conservative schools, the inner biography classifies the Bka gdams glegs bam as Gnam chos (fol. 18). Furthermore, examples are cited for each class of tantra (kriy, cary, yoga, mahyoga, anuyoga, atiyoga) having



ma (treasure) traditions of the Rnying ma school, there exists a visionary lineage of Buddhist teachings (dag snang gter) which cannot be demonstrated historically to have Indic origins. According to Gyatso (1997: 96) its source is indigenously Tibetan and in order to accommodate such an origin, the schools active in this movement developed a three-fold system to classify Buddhist scripture that would allow for revelation and visionary inspiration.9 Mi gyur rdo rjes numinous experiences were written down with the support of his teacher and distant relative Karma chags med (16131678), the founder of the Nedo (gnas mdo) monastic lineage and prolific Bka brgyud scholar well regarded for his mastery of the old and new Tantras.10 A number of celebrated literary cycles are attributed to him: the Rnam dag bde chen zhing gi smon lam (an aspiration prayer to Sukhvat) and its rich philosophical commentaries that revitalized the bde ba can gi smon lam genre; the Rdzogs chen gyi khrid sangs rgyas lag
fallen from the sky. It concludes that all tantras are sky-dharma; cf. (fol. 16): des na rgyud thams cad gnam chos lags so. 9 A Pure Vision is an experience in which the visionary meets directly with a celestial Buddha or teacher of another era who preaches a special sermon. This may occur in a wordly setting or in one of the Buddhist Pure Lands. Pure Visions are variously said to occur while the visionary is in the state of meditative absorption (nyams), in the dream state (rmi-lam), or in the reality (dngos) of the waking state. Unlike a treasure teaching, a Pure Vision is not said to have been hidden previously. Rather, there is a presupposition which draws on the tantric idea that any advanced practitioner with developed pure vision would for that reason experience and participate in a pure world. Here pure is reminiscent of Pure Land, where Buddhas live and advanced teachings are given. It should be noted that this distinction between the Pure Vision and the Discovered Treasure modes of transmission can collapse in usage...In some cases it seems that the rubric of the Discovered Treasure denotes the revealed material itself, whereas Pure Vision refers to the nature of the experience in which that material was received. (fol. 98). 10 Karma chags med, also known as Rgsya, is considered one of the greatest scholars and tertns of the Bka brgyud school. More than 45 volumes of works attributed to him provide useful ethnographic material on Khams and on the Buddhist teachings and practices of the Rnying ma and Bka brgyud schools. Dudjom Rinpoche (1991: 28) mentions an earlier attempt at a synthesis of Bka brgyud and Rnying ma writings by the third Karmapa Rang byung rdo rje (1284-1339) who, having received the inner-most essence (snying gi thig le) from Rig dzin Kumrja (1266-1343), was the first to bring together these hitherto separate streams of Mahmudr and Rdzogs chen. Karma chags med is similarly known for unifying once again these distinct philosophical lineages and for being a faithful proponent of the Sukhvat cult. His philosophical works on the union of Mahmudr and Rdzogs chen along with a contemporary commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche have been translated into English by B. Alan Wallace, cf. Chagm 1998 and 2000. For a brief history of the Gnas mdo lineage, see the Shes bya kun khyab mdzod, fols.16, 186, 193; also, Cuevas 2003: 153-57.



chang (a synthesis of Mi gyur rdo rjes and Ratna gling pas terma lineages); and the Thugs rje chen poi dmar khrid phyag rdzogs zung jung thos ba don ldan , the authors magnum opus on the union of Mahmudr and Rdzogs chen. According to Tibetan and Western sources,11 Mi gyur rdo rjes spiritual ancestry, like that of many Rnying ma Tertons, is traced back to the hegemonic Buddhist conversion of the Tibetan Empire (Gyatso 1997: 145-53). The Tertons Ratna gling pa (1403-1479) and Bdud dul rdo rje (1615-1672)the latter of whom Mi gyur rdo rje met in Pornetrak (Khams) at the request of Karma chags med (Gyurme 1991: 816)had prophesied that a Terton holding the name Rdo rje and marked by a mole in his right hand, would come from Khams and be of great benefit to the propagation of Buddhist teachings in Eastern Tibet. The recognition of Mi gyur rdo rje as the joint emanation of the great translator Pa gor Vairocana and Shud bu dpal (both disciples of Padmasambhava) established him early on as a potential holder of Rnying ma reincarnation lineages (sku rgyud). His immediate Rnying ma predecessor was said to have been Khrul zhig dbang drag rgya mtsho of the Rmog rtsa sprul sku lineage (circa seventeenth century). Twenty-five subsequent emanations were predicted to follow his premature death at the age of twenty-three in 1667, none of whom has yet been identified.12 According to the liberation-narratives written by his disciples, it did not take long for Mi gyur rdo rjes tutor, Karma chags med, to realize that the five-year old child entrusted to him was unusually bright and inclined towards reading, writing, poetry, calligraphy, as well as esotericism, which appears to have been one of his favourite subjects. Karma chags med recounts that when Mi gyur rdo rje reached the appropriate age and yogic mastery to take a consort, he stopped a lunar
11 Information about Gnam chos Mi gyur rdo rje (not be confused with Yong dge gter ston Mi gyur rdo rje, 1628 to 1641?, a student of Karma chags med and important tertn of the Kam tshang Bka brgyud lineage), can be found in the following sources: Gu ru bkra shis 1990: 624-47; Kong sprul blo gros mtha yas 1997, vol. 32; Jam dbyang rgyal mtshan 1996: 97; outer rnam thar (*Tiuhavajrastra, Gnam chos, vol. 10), inner rnam thar (Gnam chos, vol. 11), secret rnam thar (Gnam chos, vol. 12); in Karma chags meds rnam thar (Gsung bum, vol. ka and ga). For Western publications, see Stein 1959; Meisezahl 1981; Schwieger 1978; Tsering 1988. 12 Guru bkra shis (1990: 629) writes that even though Stag sham nus ldan rdo rje (b. 1655) has been claimed as one of these twenty-five emanations, this is a slight error: rje di la sprul pai sku nyi shu rtsa lnga byung bar gsung bai ya gyal gcig ni // ngor klu lding mkhan chen rin chen mi gyur rgyal mtshan yin te // mkhan chen de nyid kyi skye brgyud dang rnam thar la dpyad pas shes so // yang mkhan chen de stag sham pai skye ba yin zer ba ni cung zad nor ro //



eclipse while practicing the yoga of sexual reversal, that is, holding back his semen (khams dkar po) and forcing the vital energy to enter into (jug) the central channel (dbu ma).13 After completing a three-year retreat in the hermitage of Rmugs sangs, the young siddha began to give teachings and empowerments attracting a multitude of disciples. His fame soon spread across Eastern Tibet and he became renowned for the power of his blessings and for ripening the minds of thousands of sentient beings with whom he was karmically connected.14 Mi gyur rdo rjes popularity brought him repeated invitations from religious leaders and the governors of the Khams principalities of Chab mdo and Sde dge. His transmission of the Gnam chos termas was particularly venerated by one of his (and Karma chags meds) principal students, Rig dzin Kun bzang shes rab (16361698), who consolidated most of the Gnam chos texts into one compilation and composed commentaries on them that later became an integral part of the monastic curriculum, religious training, and metaphysical endorsement for the Dpal yul lineage that he institutionalized in 1665.15 The successful assimilation of siddha scriptures in the monastic fold revitalized the monastic curriculum with novel and fresh teachings, allowed for the creation of new monastic lineages, and offered institutional endorsment to wandering ascetics whose local popularity with the Tibetan population would warrant a symbiotic relationship between monks and lay tantric teachers rather than an antagonistic coexistence. III. Sukhvat in Tibet: A Fusion of Stra, Tantra and Terma During the monastic expansion of Buddhism in Tibet, landscapes and their native guardians were culturally and socially co-opted into mythohistorical narratives and representations drawn from Buddhist
13 Guru bkra shis 1990: 626. Tsering (1988: 49) recounts the same event without going into any details. I am grateful to Geshe Gelek Jinpa, who while conducting his own research at the Oriental Institute in Oxford, has been generous with his knowledge during the writing of this article related to my D.Phil. thesis on Buddhist Paradises and Tantric Territories: the Gnam chos Propagation of Amitbhas Pure-Land in Seventeenthcentury Tibet. 14 Guru bkra shis 1990: 625, 628. 15 Gnam chos transmissions are also preserved by the Ka thog monastery founded anew in 1665 by Bdud dul rdo rje (1615-72) and by the Karma and Bri gung Bka brgyud lineages institutionalized during the early part of the twelfth century.



soteriology and cosmology. Wild landscapes and demons were tamed (dul ba) and transformed into peaceful pure-lands inhabited by a proliferation of incarnate Bodhisattvas and guardians of faith (chos skyong). Buddhist pure-lands imported from India to Tibet readily became euphemisms for the timeless metaphysical destination of deceased lamas and accomplished Buddhist practitioners. They were also deployed to describe physical sites of pilgrimage, sacred mountains, hidden valleys, and the residence or hermitage of any Tibetan saint. Of the many pure-lands imported from India into Tibet, Sukhvat has been the subject of some scholarly attention.16 In Tibet, as in India and Nepal, there is no evidence of Pure-land sectarian movements having ever existed, as for example in Japan led by Hnen (1133-1212), Shinran (1173-1262), and Ippen (1239-1289).17 Kapstein (2004: 20) rightly observes: It seems sure, however, that to the extent that rebirth in Sukhvat was emerging as a soteriological goal for Tibetan Buddhists, it was by no means an exclusive goal or one that was decisively preeminent in relation to other important Buddhist ends. The Sukhvat cult in Tibet claims an interesting corpus of Mahyna and Vajrayna practices. Tibetan pure-land compositions owe their original inspiration to the Small and Large Sukhvatvyha Stras,18 as well as to other Indian Mahyna stras; such as, the Pratyutpanna16 See Karma Kelchog Palmo, et al. 1973; Nakamura 1963; Kajihama 1994, 1996, 2002, 2003; Kapstein 2004; Schwieger 1978; and Skorupski 1994, 2001. Nakamuras article is the first study of its kind to employ a philological/cultural analysis of the way in which the Large and Small Sukhvatvyha-stras have been translated into Tibetan. He concludes that several Indic descriptions of Sukhvat did not have Tibetan lexical equivalents to reflect Indian cultural and landscape-inspired motifs. As a result, the Tibetans translated several literal statements in the stras metaphorically, allowing for a reading of Sukhvat that moved away from the supposed concreteness that its Sanskrit originals had. This might explain, as Kapstein (2004: 40-42) noted, the ease with which Sukhvat was assimilated into tantric lore and maintained harmony with the teachings of the Great Perfection. 17 For Sukhvat related practices in Nepal, see Lewis 2004 and for a history of Pure-Land in India, Fujita 1996. Numerous studies exist on the development of PureLand Buddhism in East Asia, but this is not the place for them to be examined. 18 These stras were translated into Tibetan during the reign (755-c.794 CE) of emperor Khri Song lde btsan (cf. Ldan kar edited by Lalou 1953). The third most important stra to the development and formulation of pure-land doctrine In China and Japan is the Amityurdhyna (Kuan-liang-shou ching), extant also in Ugrian from a Chinese retranslation. However, since no Sanskrit or Tibetan version of this stra has been found, it is suspected to have been a Chinese or Central Asian composition; for a detailed discussion on its authenticity, see Fujitas Textual Origins of the Kuan-liangshou ching in Buswell 1990: 149-73.



buddha-samukhvasthita-samdhi-stra, which contains the earliest datable reference to Amityus and his buddha-field (buddha-ketra). Tibets imperial period saw the rise of a Tibetan genre of pureland literature devoted exclusively to extolling Buddha Amitbha and his Western paradise called the De mn (bde ba can gi smon lam).19 Over fifty samples of this praise-type literature dating from the twelfth to the twentieth century can be found in the first volume of the Bde smon phyogs bsgrigs.20 They include many terma texts by Rnying ma authors, as well as compositions by Bka brgyud pa, Sa skya pa, Jo nang pa, Dge lugs pa, and Ris med pa authors. A preliminary survey of Mahyna literature on Sukhvat includes aspirational (smon lam) and commentarial (grel ba) works such as: (1) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du skye ba dzin pai smon lam zhing mchog sgo by Tsong kha pa (13571419); (2) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du thogs pa med par bgrod pai myur lam by the First Pan chen bla ma (1567-1662); (3) over twenty Sukhvat related texts in Karma chags meds and Mi gyur rdo rjes collections; (4) the Bde ba can gyi zhing du bgrod pai myur lam gsal bar byed pai sgron me by the First Lcang skya (1642-1714); 5) the Bde ba can gyi zhing sbyong bai dad pa gsal bar byed pa drang sgron me by Mi pham rin po che (1864-1912), and 6) the Bde ba can gyi zhing las brtsams pai gtam dge bai lo tog spel byed dbyar skyes sprin chen gla boi sgra dbyangs by the third Rdo grub chen (1865-1922).21 It is not possible to say exactly when pure-land premises were integrated into Buddhist esotericism, but Amitbha dhra scriptures
19 During the Tibetan occupation of Dunhuang (781-848) the Tibetan caves continued the High Tang tradition of depictions of Amitbha and his celestial paradise (cf. Whitefield et al 2003: 82). In his translation and study of a Tibetan Dunhuang poem to Amitbha, Silk (1993: 12) asserts that there exist several other Dunhuag Tibetan documents which seem to belong the same genre of text. 20 This two-volume anthology of prayers and commentaries pays tribute to the Mahyna origins of the Sukhvat cult by including a De mn prayer by Ngrjuna (c. 150-250 CE), and sections from the Sukhvatvyhas, the Ratnakua, and the Bhadracary-praidhnarja. Bon De-mn texts and commentaries, although available, are not included in this compilation. 21 With the exception of Chags meds and Mi gyur rdo rjes works, the authors and texts mentioned above have been studied by Kajihama 2003. Volume II of the Bde smon phyogs bsgrigs lists two additional De-mn commentaries: Rdza dpal sprul o rgyan jigs meds (1808-1877) philosophical commentaries on Chags meds and Tsong kha pas works, and Bsod nams chos grubs (1826-1944) lengthy commentary on Karma chags meds aspiration prayer, the Bde chen zhing gi smon lam that remains popular at the present time. For a brief outline on Bsod nams chos grubs commentary and its background, see Kapstein 2004: 37-39.



appear as early as the third century with the popularity of the Anantamukha-nirhra-dhra-stra and its extensive commentary by Jnagarbha preserved only in Tibetan (Inagaki 1999). It appears that two semi-independent strands of the Amitbha cult developed in India. When their respective practices reached Tibet, one tradition linked Amitbha with Sukhvat funereal rituals (Skorupski 2001: 156-72), prayers and commentaries, while the strictly tantric lineages of Amityus were mainly utilized in alchemical rites aimed at extending longevity.22 The Tibetan tantric appreciation of Sukhvat may be the product of terminological conflation between Amitbhas land of bliss (Skt. Sukhavt, Tib. Bde ba can) with a Vajrayna emphasis on interior visualizations that may result in intense physical bliss (mahsukkha, bde ba chen). Notable, for example, is the mind-transference technique (pho ba) to the pure-land Sukhvat which employs a visualization of Amitbha above the fontanel cakra identified in Tantric literature as the mahsukhacakra (bde chen gi khor lo).23 Other Vajrayna practices
22 In the Sukhvatvyha and other Mahyna stras, Amityus and Amitbha are

often used interchangably. The appelation Amitbha appeared earlier than the appelation Amityus, see Nakamura 1987: 202. Bu ston in his History of Buddhism makes no reference to the Sukhvatvyhas, or any pure-land practices, but in his section on the biography of Ngrjuna (Obermiller 1931: 123) he mentions that the latter engaged in Amityus long-life practices. Walter (1980: 319) refers to two systems of alchemical practice found in the eighth-century Rnying ma literature: Let us first look at the system in Padmaist literature. Our examination reveals that it is almost completely oriented around the extraction of essences (rasas) from the physical elements of the universe... Padmasambava delivers these teachings as a mediator for, or is to be evoked as a form of, Amityus. There are also several texts which mention the conjuring of eight immortal magicians which emanate from Amityus. Skorupski (1995: 210) compares the appearance of eight bodhisattvas in Karma chags meds Bde chen zhing gi smon lam with a passage from the Bhaiajyaguru-stra, where likewise the dying are accompanied by eight bodhisattvas. Blezer (1997: 87-88) considers the possibility that Klui rgyal mtshan (translator of the Large Sukhvatvyha into Tibetan), with his party of Ska ba dpal brtsegs and Vimalimitra, might have brought Amitbha and bar do thos grol practices while searching for Rdzogs chen manuscripts. He concludes: Amitbha definitely occupies a special position, see for instance the mention in the inceptive verse of the Chos id bar doi gsal debs, but on the whole, the Bar do thos grol-texts I am familiar with do not strike me as so strongly centered on Amitbha or Sukhvat, texts on pho ba emphatically excepted, of course. 23 There exist a number of pho ba techniques in the Tibetan Vajrayna corpus that are not directly related to Amitbha; i.e., pho ba of the three kyas; the Avalokitevara transference instructions; the pho ba of the Vajrayogin tantra; and others. See Mullin 1997: 175-76. The fact that we find in a Bka brgyud compilation of texts attributed to Padmasambhava (cf. Evans-Wentz [1958] 2000: 261-65) a pho ba sdhana that utilizes Amityus long-life rituals but not Sukhvat, suggests that the conflation of Sukhvat objectives and Amityus long-life rituals in seventeenth-century Bka brgyud-Rnying



related to Sukhvat include: Amityus long-life alchemical rites (tshe sgrub); dream-yoga instructions (rmi lam rnal byor) for beholding Sukhvat in ones dreams and receiving religious training; cremation ceremonies (ro sreg) and funereal applications employing an effigy-card (byang chog); gaapj offerings to the Sukhvat deities (tshogs mchod); astrological charts of auspicious days to perform Amitbha sdhanas (dpeu ris dus), and rituals for propitiating the Sukhvat ketrapalas (zhing skyong).24 Corresponding to the philosophy of the three-body division of enlightenment (sku gsum) Karma chags med introduces three readings of Sukhvat analogous to the three ways of attaining the pure-land: Dharmakya, Sambhogakya, and Nirmakya pho ba (Skorupski 2001: 145-46). Dharmakya pho ba, the ultimate transference, is effectuated at the very subtle union of mother and child luminosities. Here Sukhvat serves as an analogy for enlightenment attained after death. Sambhogakya pho ba corresponds to the subtle perception of the five certainties (nges pa lnga) by advanced Bodhisattvas, that is, certain place (Sukhvat), certain teacher (Amitbha), certain retinue (Avalokitevara and Vajrapi), certain time (now) and certain teachings as needed. Nirmakya pho ba refers to emanations of pure-lands materialized in order to benefit beings.25 Philosophical reasoning, faith, and mysticism are integral aspects to the interpretation and representation of Sukhvat in Tibet. Devotional prayers, philosophical commentaries, internal tantric visualizations and mystic visions all blend to graft a unique picture of Amitbhas pure-land and elucidate the varied ways of its understanding and adulation by Tibetan Buddhists. Just as we notice a scholastic zeal in elucidating Mahyna doctrine in the form of pure-land commentaries (grel ba), we also discern the importance of faith both in the recitation of pure-land aspirational prayers (bde smon) and in the power of tantric rituals to
ma pho ba texts is a later development. In lieu of a noticeable absence of related practices in India or East Asia we may consider the Sukhvat pho ba practice as a Tibetan tantric innovation. 24 The corresponding texts can be found in Karma chags meds Gsung bum (vol. ga and ji); Mi gyur rdo rjes Gnam chos (vol. 1) and in the Rtsib ri spar ma (Padma chos rgyal khrul zhig 1978-85, vol. 21). 25 Notable are the developments from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century of thang ka, some of which are monumental in scale, portraying pure-lands of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and popular saints of Tibet, such as, Sukhvat, Tuita, Abhirati, ambhala, Poalaka, Glorious-Copper Mountain, Uddiyana kin Paradise, etc. (Rhie and Thurman 2000).



effectuate a Sukhvat transfer (pho ba). When Karma chags med was asked about the efficacy of Sukhvat teachings, he allegedly replied: a ma bde ba can du ma khyol na / ban rgan chags med skyag pa zos pa yin.26 IV. The Text: A Gnam Chos Sdhana for the Pure-Land Sukhvat Realizing the Pure Land of Sukhvat: Empowerment with Oral Instructions27is a sdhana-cum-empowerment (sgrub dang dbang las chog) revealed to Gnam chos Mi gyur rdo rje in a vision he had of Buddha Amitbha and his retinue. It compresses a number of tantric technologies for realizing Amitbhas pure-land. It begins (folios 5b-6a) with an in-front visualization of Amitbha and his retinue arranged as in a Sukhvat thang ka: the Buddha of Infinite Light (Od dpag med), ruby red in colour, is framed in the middle by two standing Bodhisattvas. These two young-looking Kouroi have come traditionally to represent the Buddhas strength (Vajrapi) and compassion (Avalokitevara). For the purpose of this practice, they are visualized in transparent form along with the root deity facing one in empty space. Following the selfgeneration practice (bskyed rim) into a white Lokevara born out of a lotus, the practitioner invites the wisdom beings and recites the mantra of the deity (folio 6b). The chosen yidam is supplicated (folios 7a-7b) to grant its blessings (sbyin rlabs) for the realization of the supreme siddhi, that is, the practitioners identification at a psycho-physiological level of experience with the qualities of the enlightened-mind. The sdhana includes a unique assortment of tantric meditations that could be practiced independently. These are: dream-yoga (folio 6b), long-life extension (folio 6b), and mind-transference (folio 7a). These techniques are introduced succinctly as part of the sdhanas progression and therefore, presuppose prior familiarity from the side of the practitioner. At the end of our text we find instructions for consecrating the ritual instruments utilized in the Sukhvat empowerment (folio 8b-9a). The pith oral instructions are found in the colophon and recommend: meditate on all places as Sukhvat.

26 Guru bkra shis 1990: 630: May this old monk Chags med eat shit if his mother doesnt end up in Sukhvat. 27 The Bde chen zhing sgrub dbang las chogs zhal gdams dang bcas pa is found in the Gnam chos (vol.1, dza, tshe sgrub).



INDEX TITLE Realizing the Pure Land of Sukhvat: Initiation with Oral Instructions MANUSCRIPT TITLE The Sdhana of the Pure-Land of Sukhvat: from the Mind Treasury of the Sky-Dharma, the Cycle of the Profound Whispered Lineage 1. SELF-GENERATION AS A WHITE LOKEVARA AND IN-FRONT GENERATION OF AMITBHA WITH RETINUE [1] (Recitation of tantric refuge): Guru deva kin h [2] (Preparations): This is the sdhana of Amitbha. There is no requirement for a maala or a torma. [3] (Visualization): Self-manifest as a white bodhisattva on a water-flower lotus.28 In front of you sits Lord Amitbha in meditative equipoise on a lotus and a moon seat. His body is red with one face and two arms, holding a begging bowl and wearing the robes of a monk seated cross-legged. On his right stands the Lord of the World, white, with one face and four arms (Avalokitevara). He is standing on a lotus and a moon seat. His two palms are joined. In his (other) right hand he holds a rosary and in his (other) left a lotus. On his left stands the Mahsthmaprpta Vajrapi holding a bell and standing on a lotus and moon seat. Surrounding them are Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, rvakas, and countless Arhats.

28 A commentary to this practice by Ayang Rinpoche suggests the visualization of a four-armed Avalokitevara.



2. ACTIVATION OF THE CAKRAS AND INVITATION OF THE WISDOMBEINGS Light-rays emanate from the three syllables (o h h) in the three places (head, throat and heart)29 of the three principle figures (Amitbha, Avalokitevara, Vajrapi)through them contemplate that they are extending an invitation to Sukhvat.30 3. THE RECITATION OF AMITBHAS MANTRAS Then recite these mantras as much as possible: [1] First, the extensive root mantra: o h h amidheva yu siddhi h. [2] Then, the medium length root mantra: o amidheva hrh. [3] Then, the condensed root mantra: o h hr svh. [4] Then, an even more condensed mantra: o hr svh. [5] Alternatively, the condensed root mantra: hr svh. [6] Then, enumerate the even more condensed mantra: hr until it is sufficient.31 [7] Then, recite a sufficient number of the mantra: o bhr svh. This is the practice of Amitbha.
29 These three places refer to the three upper rtsa khor (cakras) sensitized

simultaneously by word, colour and sound frequency (h-blue, h-red, o-white). According to tantric physiology these cakras correspond to internal body-locations located roughly at the heart (chos kyi khor lo), the throat (longs spyod kyi khor lo), and the fontanel (bde chen gi khor lo). The last one allows exit in the practice of pho ba (transference) and also serves a point of entry for the wisdom-beings (ye shes pa). The cakra of great bliss (mahsukha) serves as the main tantric metaphor for the realization of the pure-land of Sukhvat. 30 This section refers to the visualized Amitbha, Avalokitevara and Vajrapi, known as the pledge-beings (samayasattva, dam tshig pa), inviting the wisdom-beings (jnasattva, ye shes pa), that is, their enlightened-counterparts who are residing in Sukhvat, to come and merge with them. The symmetrical correspondence between the structured-imaginary (the pledge-beings in the visualization) and the expansive-real (the wisdom-beings localized in Sukhvat) is established through word, color and sound visualized as the inseparability of the three emanating outwards as white, red and blue light-rays. The response of the wisdom-beings is one of empowering the tantric practitioner whose pledge to attain enlightenment merges and becomes indivisible with the state of enlightenment represented by the ye shes pa. 31 The term bsgrangs refers to counting or enumerating, and chog pa means sufficiency, or enough of a pre-specified number of mantra recitation is reached (i.e., 100,000 times).



(Seal): Samaya gya gya gya. 32 4. THE PRACTICE OF DREAM-YOGA For the practice of dream-yoga, experience day-time as a dream. At the throat-centre visualize a red-lotus with four petals on which are arranged (the syllables) o h hr svh. At the centre of the syllable hr appears the syllable o. Then visualize in your heart-centre a red lotusflower on top of which is the pure-land Sukhvat.33 Imagine it existing very clearly as if (you are) there. Direct your concentration like this while falling asleep and in your dreams you will see the pure-land of Sukhvat. You will also directly behold Avalokitevara, Amitbha and Vajrapi. (Seal): Samaya gya gya gya. 5. THE VISUALIZATION OF LIFE-EXTENDING AMITYUS After that, follow the activities of the long-life sdhanaotherwise, you do not need to change the visualization. The begging bowl (of Amityus) is filled with (long-life) nectar.34 Think of it dissolving into yourself. Recite: o brh svh brh twice, or as much as you wish. (Seal): Samaya gya gya gya. 6. TRANSFERENCE TO SUKHVAT After that, are the stages of powa (pho ba). Visualize in your heartcentre a red hr, with a long visarga. Visualize it with intensity. From the syllable hr six light-rays emanate which block the doors of rebirth for the six kinds of beings, after which visualize the aperture of Brhma
32 These mantras are now sealed by the tantric vows of concealment. The term rgya may be as much an abbreviation of phyag rgya (mdra) where a particular hand mdra is expected, as it may be derived from the verb rgya ba and used to indicate extent but also meaning area or region. More generically, if it is affixed after other words to indicate something which seals something else to keep the contents hidden, as in a seal on an envelope. 33 The original text renders bde chen (Mahsukha) instead of bde can for Sukhvat. A possible reason for this conflation has been discussed before. 34 Long-life practices usually involve Amitbha visualized in the form of Sabhogakya Amityus.



on the crown of your head open. Next, visualize on the crown of your head Amitbha, as explained before, with his retinue of two. Meditate that ones own consciousness, a white drop in the shape of the (syllable) hr, is ejected into the heart-centre of Amitbha. Then, without the slightest doubt, deliver the aspiration to be reborn in Sukhvat. (Seal): Samaya gya gya gya. 7. SUPPLICATION PRAYERS Next follows, the stages of the supplication prayer. [1] First, is the supplication prayer of accomplishment: E ma ho. With one-pointed devotion make supplication prayers to the extraordinary Amitbha, Avalokitevara, and Vajrapi and the rest of uncountable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. (Recite): Bestow upon me the supreme siddhi, bestow upon me the blessings to accomplish Amitbhas sdhana. [2] Next, is the supplication prayer for the dream-yoga practice: E ma ho. One-pointedly supplicate the extraordinary Dharmakya Amitbha, Avalokitevara, and Vajrapi. (Recite): After travelling to Sukhvat in my dreams, bless me to meet Amitbha. [3] Next follows the empowerment supplication prayer: Lama and protector Amitbha, Lord Avalokitevara and Vajrapi, and immeasurable Buddhas and Bodhisattvas I make this supplication: confer upon me the tantric empowerment. [4] (Next is the long-life supplication prayer:) E ma ho to the Perfect Buddha Amitbha, Avalokitevara, and Vajrapi and the limitless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. With a mind of devotion, I prostrate, praise and make supplication prayers. Bestow upon me the siddhi of (long) life. [5] Next is the transference supplication prayer: E ma ho, to the very extraordinary protector Amitbha, Mahkruika, and Vajrapi. Single-minded I supplicate you, bless me so that I transfer my mind-stream to the Land of Bliss.



(Seal): Samaya. Gya gya gya. 8. THE ASPIRATION PRAYER TO SUKHVAT Next follows the aspiration prayer. Recite the following: E ma ho, splendid Buddha Amitbha of infinite light. To your right is the Lord of Great Compassion and to your left the Bodhisattva, Lord of Powerful Means, surrounded by countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In the pure-land, known as Sukhvat, there is immeasurable joy and happiness. May I, after passing away, immediately take rebirth there in this and in all my future lives. Having been born there may I meet Amitbha face to face and having recited this aspiration prayer may the Buddhas of the ten directions bless me to achieve this without obstacles. (Recite the mantra for accomplishing the aspiration): tadyath pacendriya avabhodhanya svh. (Seal): Samaya. Gya gya gya. 9. CONSECRATION RITUAL AND EMPOWERMENT After that take the initiation. Recite the taking of refuge in the three jewels and then hold the vase with your hand. The vase is one with the syllable h, it is the pure-land Sukhvat of Buddha Amitbha. By placing it above the head may you have a vision of the Buddha of Infinite Light. At this time recite the root mantra as much as you wish. Then hold the vase (now transformed into the body of Amitbha) and recite like this. This h is the Conqueror Amitbha. By placing it on the crown may you take rebirth in Sukhvat and behold face to face the Buddha of Infinite Light. 35 Recite the root mantra as many times as you want. Then
35 These visualizations for the consecration of ritual objects and for accomplishing union of body, speech and mind, are probably meant as instructions for the propitiating lama. Bentor (1996: 291-92) explains: Not only is the consecration performed within the frame of the sdhana, it is, in fact, a special application of the sdhana. Having completed the generation process (utpatti, bskyed pa), one can apply ones powers to the generation of a receptacle as a deity (rten bskyed) through a similar method. The main components at the core of the consecration ritual, common to almost all consecration manuals I have been able to examine, are as follows: (1) Visualizing the receptacle away (mi dmigs pa),



pick up the torma. This h is the Buddha of Infinite Light, surrounded by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. By placing it on the crown may you take rebirth in Sukhvat and behold Amitbha. Recite again the root mantra as much as you want. Then take the vajra in your hand. This h is the protector Amitbha, surrounded by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Place it on the crown, having attained the empowerment of Amitbha, may you take birth in Sukhvat. Then recite the root mantra as many times as you wish. This h is the Protector Amitbha. Placing it above the crown may you take rebirth in Sukhvat and meet Amitbha. Recite like this the root mantra as many times as you like. (Seal): Samaya. Gya gya gya. Katham guhya. COLOPHON On the seventh day of Sa ga zla ba in the Gser phyang year, when Sprul sku Mi gyur rdo rje was thirteen years of age, in an unfathomable vision of light the size of a mountain he was graced with Amitbha and his retinue who instructed him thus: the oral instruction thereafter is to meditate on all places as being Sukhvat. If this (teaching) spreads to all sentient migrators, it will be suitable. If it doesnt that is all right as well. But if it spreads there will be great benefit. One does not need to meditate on Avalokitevara. If one does, that is fine. If one were to perform the long-life rituals, the gathering of the essence of the elements, etc, in a different way, it is all right. If one doesnt, it is fine as well. Samaya. Gya gya gya. Furthermore it is said that, in the evening once again he experienced Buddha Amitbha and his retinue and proclaimed the oral instructions and the dream yoga supplication prayger.

TIBETAN TEXT [fol. 5b] Gnam chos thugs kyi gter ka snyan brgyud zab moi skor las bde chen zhing gi sgrub thabs bzhugs so // Guru deva kin h // od dpag med pa sgrub pa ni // dkil khor med cing gtor ma med // me tog
always performed in conjunction with meditation on emptiness (stong pa nyid). (2) Generation of the receptacle as the dam tshig sems dpa (samayasattva) of ones yi dam (rten bskyed). (3) Invitation of the ye shes sems dpa (jnasattva) into the receptacle (spyan dren) and its absorption (bstim) into the dam tshig sems dpa (dam ye gnyis su med pa). (4) Transformation of the receptacle back into its conventional appearance of an image, stpa, book, etc. (rten bsgyur). (5) Requesting the ye shes sems dpa to remain in the receptacle as long as sasra lasts (brtan bzhugs).



chu skyes padmai steng // de nang rang nyid sems dpa dkar // mdun du padma zla gdan la // [fol. 6a] Om // od dpag med mgon sku mdog dmar // zhal gcig phyag gnyis mnyam gzhag steng // ltung bzed dzin cing chos gos gsol // skyil mo krung gis bzhugs pa la // g.yas su jig rten dbang phyug dkar // zhal gcig phyag bzhi thal sbyar dang // g.yas g.yon phreng ba padma dzin // bzhengs bai stabs kyi padma zlar bzhugs // g.yon du phyag rdor mthu chen thob // zhal gcig phyag gnyis sku mdog sngo // g.yas g.yon rdo rje dril bu dzin // bzhengs bai stabs kyi padma zlar bzhugs // sangs rgyas byang chub sems dpa dang // nyan thos dgra bcom dpag med bskor // gtso bo gsum gyi gnas gsum gyi // bru gsum las ni od phros pas// bde ba can nas spyan drangs bsam// de nas sngags di ci mang brjod // dang po rtsa sngags rgyas pa ni // o h h amidheva yu? siddhi h // de nas rtsa sngags bring bo ni // om amidheva hri // de nas rtsa sngags bsdus pa ni // om h hr svh // de nas rtsa sngags [fol. 6b] yang bsdus ni // o hr svh yang ni rtsa sngags bsdus pa ni // hr svh // yangs bsdus hr // bsgrangs chog pa yin // o brhm svh // bzlas pas chog // de yi od dpag med pa grub // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas rmi lam bzung ba ni // nyin la rmi lam yin snyam byed // de nas rang gi mgrin pa ru // padma dmar po dba bzhi la // o h hr svh // yang bkod // hr ni lte ba o shar byas // de nas rang gi snying kha ru // me tog padma dmar po yi // steng du bde chen zhing khams ni // shin tu gsal bar yod par bsam // gnyid bar de la dmigs pa gtad // rmi lam bde chen zhing mthong ngo // spyan od phyag gi zhal yang mthong // samaya rgya rgya rgya // de nas tshe sgrub bya ba ni // gzhan ni dmigs pa brje mi dgos // ltung bzed tshe yi bdud rtsis bkang // de nas rang la thim par bsam // o brh svh brh gnyis ni // gang dod gcig ni bzla pas chog // samaya rgya rgya rgya // de nas pho bai rim pa ni // rang gi thugs kar hri dmar ni // ring cha tseg [fol. 7a] o // drag bcas par bsam // de las hr // drug phros pa yis // gro drug skye bai sgo bcad nas // spyi boi tshangs bug tar rer bsam // de nas spyi bor od dpag med // gong ltar gtso khor gsum po bsgom // de nas rang gi rnam shes ni // thig le dkar po hr // yis mtshan // snang mthai thugs kar phos par bsam // the tshom cung zad med pa ru // bde chen skye bai smon lam btab // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas gsol debs rim pa ni // dang po sgrub pai gsol debs ni // e ma ho // ngo mtshar glad byung snang ba mtha yas dang // thugs rje chen po mthu chen thob la sogs // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med thams cad la // rtse gcig gus pai sems kyis gsol ba debs // bdag la mchog gi dngos grub thams cad stsol // snang ba mtha yas grub par byin gyis rlobs // rmi lam bzung pai gsol debs ni // e ma ho // chos sku



snang ba mtha yas ngo mtshar can // [fol. 7b] spyan ras gzigs dbang mthu chen thob rnams la // bdag gi rtsi gcig yid kyis gsol ba debs // rmi lam yul du bde chen zhing bsprod nas // snang ba mtha yas mjal bar byin gyis rlobs // de nas dbang gi gsol debs ni // kye bla ma od dpag med mgon dang // spyan ras gzigs dbang mthu chen thob // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med la // gsol ba debs so dbang bskur stsol // de nas tsho yi gsol debs ni // e ma ho // rdzogs pai sangs rgyas snang ba mtha yas dang // thugs rje chen po mthu chen thob dang ni // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag tu med rnams la // bdag gi gus pai sems kyis phyag tshal bstod // gsol ba debs so tshe yi dngos grub stsol // de nas pho bai gsol debs ni // e ma ho // shin tu ngo mtshar od dpag med mgon dang // thugs rje chen po phyag rdor mthu chen thob bdag gi rtsi gcig yid kyis gsol ba debs rnam shes bde chen pho par [fol. 8a] O? // byin gyis rlobs // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas smon lam bya ba ni // di skad du ni brjod par bya // e ma ho // ngo mtshar sangs rgyas snang ba mtha yas dang // g.yas su jo bo thugs rje chen po dang g.yon du sems dpa mthu chen thob rnams pa // sangs rgyas byang sems dpag med khor gyis bskor // bde skyid ngo mtshar dpag tu med pa yi // bde ba can zhes bya bai zhing khams der // bdag ni di nas tshe phos gyur ma thag // skye ba gzhan gyi bar mchod pa ru // de ru skyes nas snang mthai zhal mthong shog // de skad bdag gis smon lam btab pa di // phyogs bcui sangs rgyas byad sems thams cad kyis // gegs med grub par byin gyis brlab tu gsol // tadyath pacendriya avabhodhanya svh // samaya // rgya rgya rgya // de nas de yi dbang bskur ni // dkon mchog gsum la bdag skyabs brjod // de nas bum pa lag tu thogs // h di [fol. 8b] ni bcom ldan snang mtha yas // bde ba can gyi zhing khams yin // khyod kyi mgo la bzhag pa yi // snang ba mtha yas zhal mthong shog // di ru rtsa sngags gang dod brjod // de nas sku gzugs lag tu thogs // di skad du ni brjod pao // h di ni bcom ldan snang mtha yas // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // bde chen skyes nas zhal mthong shog // di ru rtsa sngangs gang dod brjod // de nas gtor ma lag tu thogs // h di ni bcom ldan snang mtha yas // sangs rgyas byang sems khor gyis bskor // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhags pa yi // bde chen zhing du skyes nas kyang // od dpag med kyi zhal mthong shog // dir rtsa sngags gang dod brjod // de nas rdo rje lag tu thogs // h di ni od dpag med mgon la // sangs rgyas byang sems khor gyis bskor // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // od dpag med mgon dbang thob nas // bde ba can du skye par shog // di ru rtsa sngags gang dod brjod // [fol. 9a] h di ni od dpag med mgon te // khyod kyi spyi bor bzhag pa yi // bde chen zhing du skyes nas kyang // od dpag med kyi



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Tambiah, J. S. 1987. The Buddhist Conception of Universal King and Its Manifestations in South and Southeast Asia. Lecture Delivered at the University of Malaya Kuala Lumbur: University of Malaya. Tsering J.Z. 1988. A Garland of Immortal Wish-fulfilling Trees: The Palyul Tradition of Nyingmapa. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications. Walter, M. 1980. Preliminary Results from a Study of Two Rasyana Systems in Indo-Tibetan Esoterism. In M. Aris (ed.) Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. London: Aris and Phillips, 319-21. Whitefield, R., S. Whitefield and A. Neville. 2000. Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road. London: The British Library.


THE LIVES AND TIME OF JAM DBYANGS BZHAD PA Derek Maher Commonly, when religious movements are either new or in the ascendant, their adherents seek to provide a foundation for the authority they claim, and they strive to legitimize the status of their founder or other significant figures. Particular strategies will vary from one religious context to another and from one historical period to another. The legitimizing strategies used in religions run the gamut. Religious figures are validated by way of their miraculous ability to heal the sick, through their yogic prowess enabling them to fly through the air, walk through walls, or control their physical bodies, through their shamanic visitations to realms beyond, through their revelation of sacred scriptures or blessed objects, through claims to a potent allegiance-generating identity, and so forth. In each case, strategies for establishing legitimacy are developed that make sense in terms of, and therefore reflect, the values, ontology, and agenda of that religious context. A certain menu of possibilities, for example, is made available to particular monotheistic religions by virtue of their adherence to the notion of a creator god who interacts with his creation. Shamanic traditions have certain solutions to the legitimizing problem because their ideology makes possible transit to other levels of existence. The religions of India have still other possibilities available to them because of their acceptance of the notion of reincarnation. One of the most distinctive features of Tibetan culture is the institution of reincarnating lamas (sprul sku), religious figures who are regarded as taking rebirth as a lineage of identified personages. The authority and legitimacy of a particularly potent spiritual teacher is perpetuated even after death as his, or very rarely her,1 identity passes from one lifetime to another. Although the concept of incarnation, the idea that living beings cycle through many lifetimes as they progress toward spiritual release, is suggested as early as the eighth or seventh
1 Female incarnations are not entirely unknown, but they are rare indeed. Tsepon Shakabpa (1967: 228) mentions the reincarnated Abbess Rdo rje phag mo.



century B.C.E. in the Bhadrayaka Upaniad,2 the notion of identifiable reincarnations did not emerge in Tibet until Buddhism was already a mature tradition there. The fourteenth century was a time of great political turmoil, a fact that displeased the Mongolians, who were then the dominant political power in Asia. After a period of unremitting squabbles within the Tibetan family in which the regency was invested, Tibets Mongolian patrons grew tired of the instability and intrigues. Divisions sprang up among the hierarchs of the Sa skya religious order that held political power, and the traditional practice of succession through bloodlines became untenable. Instead, the Mongols invested power in the incarnating lineage of the Karma pas. Although new and complex problems eventually emerged in the power centers that formed around reincarnated lamas, advantages to the practice were quickly realized in the form of greater social and political stability and continuity. Instead of having rival siblings contending for power at the death of each patriarch, authority was transmitted from one charismatic personality to another, a person whose spiritual credentials alone commanded respect and obedience.3 Through successive generations, the spiritual pedigree of the Karma pas, the Dalai Lamas (ta lai bla ma), the Pachen Lamas (pa chen bla ma), and other such reincarnated lamas legitimized them as the seat of religious and political authority. In addition to being an agreeable arrangement for the Mongolian overlords, the institution of reincarnation brought into existence indigenous Tibetan constituencies that likewise had an interest in maintaining the stability afforded by it. Often, a reincarnation would possess substantial material holdings, including monasteries, religious estates (bla brang), annual remittances from land taxes, control over land, properties, endowments, and the like. The infrastructure required to oversee such wealth was itself quite extensive, and customarily, the attendants of one incarnated person would be responsible for locating, rearing, educating, and protecting the new reincarnation (yang srid). Often, the attendants of an important incarnation would wield considerable power and influence over a period of decades between the death of one lama and the adulthood of the successor and even thereafter. In the case of the Dalai Lamas, there was a long period of time (18062 Bhadrayaka Upaniad, IV.3.37-4.13. See, for example, Radhakrishnan 1953:

3 Wylie 1984.



1875) during which four successive Dalai Lamas (ninth through twelfth) failed to reach the age of maturity.4 The Regents (rgyal tshab), who ruled in their place, managed vast fortunes and conducted political affairs as they wished during the intervening period. For all of these reasons, the institution of reincarnating lamas was fostered and promoted by various factions whose interests it served. Throughout most of Tibetan history since the invention of the institution of reincarnations, these figures or their representatives have dominated the power structures through all levels of Tibetan societynationally, regionally, and locally. On a regional level, the power structure of a large part of A mdo for most of the last three centuries was commanded by the reincarnating lineage of Jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rje ngag dbang brtson grus (1648-1722).5 Jam dbyangs bzhad pa was a gifted scholar who composed erudite and exhaustive texts on many branches of Buddhism, found fame in Central Tibet as the Abbot of Sgo mang monastery, and returned to his home region in 1709 to found the most influential monastic institution in A mdo, Bla brang bkra shis khyil monastery. That institution served as a launching pad for the expansion of Dge lugs throughout eastern Tibet and the vast areas of Central Asia inhabited by Mongolians. He portrayed himself as the promoter of Dge lugs pa orthodoxy in the face of syncretic trends from within the tradition. Additionally, he was a capable defender of the Dge lugs school that had been initiated by the Tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa (1357-1419) almost three centuries before Jam dbyangs bzhad pa reached his prime. The Dge lugs political ascent engineered by the Fifth Dalai Lama in the middle of the seventeenth century (i.e., during Jam dbyangs bzhad pas youth) resulted in a variety of efforts to privilege Dge lugs religious institutions, to redirect customary streams of patronage, to subjugate a range of cultural and religious forms under Dge lugs control or influence, to marginalize non-Dge lugs religious institutions, and to enact a degree of orthodoxy in intellectual and spiritual life in regions under the control of the Dalai Lama.6 During his middle age, Jam dbyangs bzhad pa
4 The Ninth Dalai Lama Lung rtogs rgya mtsho (1806-1815) died of pneumonia. The Tenth Dalai Lama Tshul khrims rgya mtsho (1816-1837) suffered ill health throughout his short life. The Eleventh Dalai Lama Mkhas grub rgya mtsho (1838-1855) died of an unspecified illness. The Twelfth Dalai Lama Phrin las rgya mtsho (1856-1875) died as a teenager, only four days after a solar eclipse. 5 For an extended biographical study of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, see Maher 2003. 6 As early as 1642, the Fifth Dalai Lamas first Regent (Sde srid), Bsod nams chos phel personally surveyed the population (presumably in Dbu and Gtsang) and appointed



became one of the most articulate defenders of the Dge lugs view. Like other Dge lugs pa and non-Dge lugs pa exegetes, he sought to construct a coherent and internally-consistent presentation of his schools philosophical position. Yet straightforward philosophical argumentation, at which Jam dbyangs bzhad pa was particularly skilled,7 constituted only one dimension of his and his followers efforts to legitimize his vision of Dge lugs orthodoxy. In this paper, I will examine the biographical strategies that were also employed. These strategies involved claims relating to reincarnation. I. Tsong kha pa formulated a new vision of Buddhism at the beginning of the fifteenth century, largely in reaction to what he perceived as a decline in the pure morals of an earlier age. The pious self-perception of his followers is that Tsong kha pa took birth in Tibet in order to reform Buddhism by bringing an end to the illicit practices that are said to have been widespread then. According to some Dge lugs pas, many people were then engaged in either (1) advanced tantric practices for which they were philosophically unprepared or (2) entirely non-religious practices that were wrongly dressed up as religious. According to this narrative, Tsong kha pa spent his life working to rectify these perceived problems in Tibetan Buddhism. Not only did he work to fortify ethical behavior among his followers, but he also made efforts to purify, as he saw it, the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism then current. These two efforts were not unrelated for him.8 The Buddhist scriptures say that when Buddha attained enlightenment after his long spiritual quest, the key to his new insight into the workings of the world consisted of an epistemological corrective to the perception of the world as it is given to our senses. He understood the dissonance between how things appear to the senses and to the mind and how they actually exist. The history of Buddhist philosophy is
tax officials. Representatives of the Fifth Dalai Lama undertook a more detailed reevaluation of taxes in A mdo and Khams in 1648. See Shakabpa 1976, volume I: 428 and 432-33, respectively. Translation in Maher (forthcoming). For information on different aspects of the privileging of Dge lugs institutions, see Dreyfus 2003: 28 and 146; Maher 2003, passim; and Stearns 1999: 62 and 70-71. 7 See for example, Cozort 1998; Hopkins 1981 and 2003; Maher 2003, esp. chapter 5; and Newland 1992. 8 Napper 2001.



marked by a series of competing interpretations of how to understand this critique of reality. In some Buddhist interpretations, the basic constituents that make up phenomena are reified and privileged as the most real. At the other extreme, some traditions posit a dramatically insubstantial ontology in which it is supposed that objects external to the mind do not exist and that all phenomena are merely posited by mind. Tsong kha pa felt that his contemporaries were failing to uphold Buddhist ethics because their critique of reality was too comprehensive. Once it becomes possible to call into question even the most effervescent status of existence, he felt, there was no foundation upon which to ground the standards of conduct he considered essential to Buddhism. Tantric practice, with its sophisticated use of visualization and the imagination of phenomena as dissolving into emptiness, only exaggerated the very trend Tsong kha pa saw as most dangerous. He wanted to produce a grand synthesis of Buddhism that would rectify these inter-related problems. His system can be seen as drawing from three different Indian inspirations: Candrakrti, Dignga, and Atsha. First, he echoed the seventh century Candrakrti in positing a thoroughgoing ontological negation in which all phenomena are said to lack their own intrinsic nature or their own inherent existence. Second, despite this seeming rejection of conventional reality, Tsong kha pa employed the epistemological doctrines of Dignga and Dharmakrti in order to affirm what does exist. Those scholars delineations of the types of consciousness and their respective objects enabled Tsong kha pa to discriminate between what Buddha asserted to be incorrect about our cognitive experience on the one hand and what is reliable even in our pre-enlightened state of awareness on the other. Finally, Tsong kha pa patterned his systematic philosophy after the eleventh century scholar Atsha in several ways. He reemphasized the importance of monasticism. He paid close attention to the precise prohibitions involved in the several traditional sets of vows, insisting that his followers did the same. And he developed a careful schematic structure of the range of religious practices so that by the time practitioners began the tantric meditations he regarded as philosophically risky, they had developed a strong foundation in ethics, and they had a rigorous understanding of what really does exist in the world. Tsong kha pa felt that this combination of preparations would immunize meditators from the nihilistic tendencies he considered to be the source of the moral decline he had perceived in contemporary Tibet.



Not only did Jam dbyangs bzhad pa base his commentaries on the philosophical priorities and values that flow from Tsong kha pas interpretive system, but he and his biographers gave narrative form to those values in constructing Jam dbyangs bzhad pas pre-incarnation lineage (khrungs rabs). In general, through the construction of such a lineage, the doctrinal legitimacy and personal charisma of some particular current figure can be created or fortified by appealing to the luster of previous personalities. In Jam dbyangs bzhad pas case, the fame and prestige of these mythologized historical people from the past then reflected upon him, enhancing his reputation among the monasterys patrons and beyond. His already impressive stature was enhanced to the point that he outshone Tsong kha pa, Tsong kha pas direct disciples, and even the exalted Dalai Lamas. This increased status then fortified the legitimacy of the monastery and Jam dbyangs bzhad pas successors, including the very author of the text we will now examine. The Birth Stories text, written by the second incarnation of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po, describes ten previous incarnations in Jam dbyangs bzhad pas lineage, reaching as far back as Buddhas time.9 The collective qualities and achievements of these various figures constitute a catalogue of the spiritual and intellectual values of the Dge lugs school. We have some highly accomplished tantric meditators, a tremendously important visionary in the historical lineage of the Dge lugs pa school, two of the most respected dialecticians in Indo-Tibetan intellectual history, and other luminaries vital to the lineage of the tradition. The first figure mentioned is Vimalakrti, a famous lay patron of the Buddha himself. In an eponymous stra, he is said to be possessed of seeringly clever wit with which he shows up the Buddhas closest disciples, even Majugoa, who in later scriptures is construed as embodying transcendent wisdom. Buddhaplita, the reputed disciple of Ngrjuna and initiator of the Prsagika interpretation of the Mdhyamika school, was identified as the next of Jam dbyangs bzhad pas previous incarnations, thereby fortifying the latters philosophical credentials. The prestige of Atsha, one of Tsong kha pas primary inspirations, was assimilated to Jam dbyangs bzhad pa by including one of his primary teachers and one of his foremost early followers in his pre-incarnation lineage. The teacher was Jetri, a lesser known light in the Indian Mdhyamika school of the tenth century, who was mainly renowned for his attempt to harmonize
9 Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po 1971.



the seeming contradictions between the Ngrjuna-BuddhaplitaCandrakrti Mdhyamika view on the one hand and the DigngaDharmakrti epistemology tradition on the other hand, a philosophical quest that was later to occupy Tsong kha pa so thoroughly. The first Tibetan identified in Jam dbyangs bzhad pas incarnation lineage is Po to ba rin chen gsal (1027-1105). He was renowned as one of the Three Cousins who were instrumental in spreading the influence of the Bka gdams school in the years after Atshas death.10 He was a direct disciple of Brom ston (1005-1064), Atshas foremost Tibetan student and the founder of Rwa sgreng monastery, to which Jam dbyangs bzhad pa made a special pilgrimage when he first went to Central Tibet as a young man.11 Each figure in the lineage contributes to the Second Jam dbyangs bzhad pas agenda of building up his predecessor. Below, I will focus briefly on three of his other preincarnations in an effort to highlight how the construction of this lineage served as a legitimizing strategy. II. We have already met the first two people I will be discussing. They are two of the renowned Indian gurus from whom Tsong kha pa drew inspiration, Dignga and Candrakrti. The Second Jam dbyangs bzhad pa reports that Dignga was a peerless scholar among his contemporaries.12 He was born into a royal lineage in South India, and he excelled at the worldly sciences in his younger years at the court. Eventually he became learned in both Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, earning a reputation as one of the finest scholars of epistemology throughout Indian history. Like Buddhaplita before him, he is noted for having had a direct vision of the face of Majugoa. The latter then promised to be Digngas guide until he attained the higher stages of spiritual realization. We are told that he subsequently attained a onepointed meditative concentration while he was residing in a cave, an

10 Roerich 1949: 73. The other two were Spyan snga ba Tshul khrims bar and Phu chung ba Gzhon nu rgyal mtshan. Roerich (1949: 263-69) gives a different year for Po to bas birth, 1031. The dates, 1027-1105, are from Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po 1971. 11 Jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rje 1994: 10.1 12 Except where noted, the following comes from Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po 1971: 27.2-36.2.



achievement that enabled him to compose his incisive treatises on epistemology. The ideas of Dignga and his most significant commentator, Dharmakrti, were critically important to the Dge lugs systematic philosophy developed by Tsong kha pa because of their careful elaboration of valid cognition (prama, tshad ma) and epistemology in general. Buddhists had already been in dialogue with Nyyas, Vaieikas, and other non-Buddhist schools on questions of ontology and epistemology for more than 600 years by Digngas time. The prevailing non-Buddhist assertion of a real, substantial, and enduring essence in beings meant that they generally upheld a physicalistic theory of perception and a strong realism; they asserted that universals are ultimately real. Dignga and Dharmakrti developed a systematic Buddhist reply to the Nyyas, formally articulating a representational epistemology they take to be paradigmatic of all knowledge acquisition. For them, both conceptual and perceptual consciousnesses apprehended their objects by way of a representation, a mentally-constructed generality (arthasmnya, on spyi) and a sensory aspect (kra, rnam pa), respectively. Later Tibetan interpreters of their work elaborated terminological distinctions to express these insights with clarity. Tsong kha pa found it helpful to frame his ontological view by using the terms, appearing object (snang yul) and object of engagement (jug yul) of a cognition. In the case of a direct perception (pratyaka, mngon sum) of, for example, a pot, these two refer to the same thing, the actual object being perceived, that is, the pot itself. With respect to a conceptual consciousness (kalpan, rtog pa) conceiving of a pot, the object of engagement is the actual object, the thing being understood, that is, the pot. However, the appearing object is just the meaning generality of the object, that is, the generic image of pot.13 These discriminations helped the Dge lugs pas to tease apart different facets of cognitive experience so they could articulate what is mistaken and what is non-mistaken about it. For Tsong kha pa, it was essential to be able to say that a particular consciousness is correct with respect to the mere existence of an object, even though it is simultaneously in error with respect to the final nature of that object. Only this approach, he felt, would allow him to uphold the Mdhyamika schools critique of reality without falling into the extreme of nihilistic denial of conventional reality.
13 Dreyfus 1997: 299-304.




Candrakrti (circa 600-650) is the next person listed as a pre-incarnation of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, and his status in the Dge lugs interpretive system cannot be over-emphasized. Candrakrti was born in a place in south India called Samanta, where he studied all of the sciences during his youth.14 After becoming a monk, he studied the pivotal texts of Ngrjuna. The latter wrote a number of treatises critiquing what he saw as the ontologically reifying maneuvers of his Hindu and Buddhist interlocutors. Candrakrti wrote commentaries on several of Ngrjunas major works, including two massive commentaries on the latters masterpiece, the Fundamental Treatise on the Middle Way.15 Despite the fact that he must be regarded as a minor figure in Indian intellectual historyfew Indian commentaries were written on his major works Candrakrtis interpretation is taken by Tsong kha pa and many other Tibetans to have been the most authoritative elaboration of Ngrjunas work. Interestingly, in one of these commentaries, Clear Words, Candrakrti criticizes Digngas epistemology, objecting to his characterization of both valid cognition and perception.16 In his Compendium Commentary on (Candrakrtis) Clear Words, Jam dbyangs bzhad pa provides detailed commentary on that very section of the text. (In an ever more intricate nexus of connection between Jam dbyangs bzhad pas pre-incarnations, Candrakrti defended Buddhaplitas Prsagika interpretation from Bhvavivekas critique elsewhere in that same chapter.) Another of Candrakrtis primary presentations on the Prsagika view is his Supplement to (Ngrjunas) Fundamental Treatise,17 which continues to be the most well-known and most important exposition on what is regarded by many in Tibet as the highest philosophical system. This source is so critical in the Dge lugs curriculum that many monks commit the whole of Candrakrtis Supplement to memoryalong with commentarial textbooks of their own monasteryas preparation for their study of Ngrjunas
14 Except where noted, the following comes from Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po 1971: 36.2-40.5 and Khetsun Sangpo 1973: 223-33. Obermiller (1932: 134) identifies his birthplace as Samana. 15 Ngrjuna, Prajnmamlamadhyamakakrik, P5224, Vol. 95. 16 Candrakrti, Mlamadhyamakavttiprasannapad, P.5260, Vol. 98. For a detailed review of this section, see Siderits 1981. 17 Candrakrti, Madhyamakvatara, P5261 and P5262, vol. 98



Mdhyamika school.18 Both Tsong kha pa and Jam dbyangs bzhad pa wrote extensive commentaries on this text,19 clearly demonstrating their belief in Candrakrtis surpassing authority in their interpretive lineage. As the foremost scholar of his time, Candrakrti became the Abbot of Nlanda monastery in eastern India. We are told that although there were many great scholars at Nlanda, none of them could beat the nonBuddhist paitas in debate. Candrakrti, however, was able to triumph over them through the great force of his intellect. He was not beyond using yogic powers as well. During one debate, he is credited with proving to his opponent that appearances are deceptive through the compelling demonstration of milking a cow depicted in a wall painting. It is evident that the formulators of Jam dbyangs bzhad pas preincarnation lineage hoped to portray him as a highly authoritative voice in the interpretation of the Mdhyamika school. There is some question among Dge lugs pa scholars as to whether Candrakrti or Buddhaplita should be regarded as the real founder of the Prsagika school. In a gesture of completeness, then, the formulators of Jam dbyangs bzhad pas pre-incarnation lineage included both of them. Be that as it may, there is no question in Tibet that Candrakrti was the preferred interpreter of that viewpoint. Represented by Dignga and Candrakrti, then, we have the two principal doctrines that would animate Tsong kha pas presentation of Buddhism, Candrakrtis ontological critique of phenomena and Digngas articulation of the valid means of knowledge. IV. The final figure we will discuss among Jam dbyangs bzhad pas preincarnations is Dbu ma pa brtson grus seng ge (b. fourteenth century), a figure of tremendous importance in the life story of Tsong kha pa himself.20 Lama Dbu ma pa, as he is commonly known, was a famous meditator and adept from eastern Tibet who, like the founder of the Dge lugs school, wandered far and wide across Tibet seeking religious teachings from a variety of teachers. It was in this context that he met Tsong kha pa when the two men were still quite young. Lama Dbu ma pa
18 Klein 1994: 10. 19 Tsong kha pas text, Dbu ma la jug pai rgya cher bshad pa dgongs pa rab gsal

(P6143, vol. 154), provides the general meaning (spyi don) of the root text. Jam dbyangs bzhad pa 1973 is a decisive analysis commentary (mtha dpyod). 20 Except where noted, the following comes from Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po 1971: 52.2-57.1.



was more of a visionary than a scholar-monk, and he turned out to be the conduit through which Tsong kha pa received a variety of teachings from Majugoa.21 Lama Dbu ma pa had maintained a strong faith in Majugoa ever since he was very young, and the murmuring sound of his mantra, O a rab a tsa na dhih, could be heard even within Dbu ma pas childhood home. We are told that when Lama Dbu ma pa heard teachings on the practice of Majugoa, he strove assiduously, experiencing many appearances of his body and speech, and he was able to manifest a vision of Majugoa at will. For many years, Lama Dbu ma pa lived at Gsang phu monastery where he worked diligently at his spiritual practice and his studies. We are told that many marvelous things, such as the appearance of deities, arose by virtue of his close relationship with his tutelary deity. Eventually, he traveled to Dbu for advanced training. Tsong kha pa was then living in that region, and the two men initially met through their mutual students. They served as one anothers teacher on different occasions. Soon after meeting, they studied Candrakrtis commentaries together. Tsong kha pa would pose questions on the text, and Lama Dbu ma pa would then transmit the queries to Majugoa in his visions. The responses would be conveyed back to Tsong kha pa through Lama Dbu ma pa. The two monks studied many different topics across the breadth of Buddhist philosophy in this fashion. Over time, Tsong kha pa bestowed various teachings on Lama Dbu ma pa, and the latter initiated Tsong kha pa into the tantric practice of Majugoa. When they entered into retreat at Dga ba gdong near Lhasa, Tsong kha pa had his own direct visions of Majugoa, and soon thereafter, Tsong kha pa was finally able to gain direct realization of emptiness, the final nature of reality.22 The inclusion of Lama Dbu ma pa in Jam dbyangs bzhad pas lineage is of great significance. First of all, it establishes a powerful link between Jam dbyangs bzhad pa and Tsong kha pa. It helps his biographers impute profound insight to Jam dbyangs bzhad pa since only such a wise person could serve as a teacher to the founder of the Dge lugs school, the man known as the Second Buddha. Additionally, it enhances Jam dbyangs bzhad pas standing as an interpreter of Tsong kha pas systematic philosophy since it simultaneously portrays him as a direct disciple of the Master. Moreover, the personal achievements of
21 Roerich 1949: 1048-49. 22 Thurman 1982: 14-17.



Lama Dbu ma pa add to Jam dbyangs bzhad pas credentials, for the Lama was far more of an adept than a scholar. As a mystically-oriented meditating adept prone to visions and direct access to transcendent states, he offers a balance to the more scholastic orientation of many of the other people in Jam dbyangs bzhad pas lineage. V. The list of characteristics attributable to the ten Indian and Tibetan scholars and yogis collectively capture just about every quality that is admirable in Tibetan culture. Two of them are to be admired for their exceedingly fine mastery of tantra. Lama Dbu ma pa is an intuitive, yogic figure who transcends the emphasis on reason that predominates within Dge lugs pa. There is the highly accomplished institutional hierarch in Legs pa rgyel mtsen (1375-1450), who was the Fourth Throne Holder of Ganden. There is Po to ba who seems to combine Legs pas organizational efficiency with Lama Dbu ma pas quasi-magical potency. Then we have a string of philosopher-monks from India, including Buddhaplita, Dignga, Candrakrti,23 and Jetri. Finally, there is Vimalakrti, the clever lay benefactor who exemplifies Mahyna ideals by combining wisdom with compassionate activism. In addition to embodying Tibetan values, these people symbolize the intellectual and historical sources of the Dge lugs pa tradition. The lineage bridges the divide between the scholar and the ecstatic visionary and brings together the creative theoreticians of the Mdhyamika school and valid cognition theories so vital to Tsong kha pa and the unique Dge lugs viewpoint. This lineage illuminates the biography of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa by collecting together the transcendent attributes of his predecessors, reflecting their charisma onto him. Jam dbyangs bzhad pas pre-incarnation lineagefirst formulated by Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po, the subsequent incarnation of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, but likely inspired in part by the oral tradition stemming from Jam dbyangs bzhad pa himselfwas intended to employ these connections as a tribute to his own fine character, to certify the authenticity of what he taught, and to legitimize his own future
23 For Dge lugs pa, Candrakrti, in addition to being a vital source on exoteric topics, is also credited with providing inspiration and guidance in tantric matters as well. Contemporary scholars hold that there were two Candrakrtis, the scholar we have been discussing and a later tantric figure. On the latter, see Davidson 2002: 253-57.



incarnations and the institutions that depended upon them. These maneuvers helped to foster stability on the frontiera not inconsequential matter in turbulent eighteenth century eastern Tibet and instilled confidence in Bla brang monasterys patrons. To this extent, the endeavor can only be regarded as a success. Along with the four great Dge lugs pa monasteries of Dbu gtsang,24 Bla brang monastery was one of the largest in the world, housing as many as five thousand monks. Its large size and notable stability over the centuries were maintained partly through the reverence local supporters felt toward the various incarnations of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa; the charisma of the original figure, conveyed across generations, continued to inspire patronage among the laity and scholastic excellence among the monks. VI. Even into the twenty-first century, Bla brang monastery continues to play an important cultural role in the region.25 Despite great turmoil in 1958 when Tibetans resisted Chinese reforms and again during the Cultural Revolution (especially between 1966-1968), official Chinese policy now permits Bla brang to maintain a population of monks who are actively engaged in traditional studies. More than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed throughout Tibet during the Chinese suppression; in the aftermath, Bla brang has bounced back more than most other large Tibetan monasteries, and it is still one of the most dynamic monasteries in the region under Chinese rule.26 Meanwhile, the current Sixth Jam dbyangs bzhad pa (b. 1948), continues to inspire Tibetans even though he is not a monk and does not display the great learning of his predecessors. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that Sgo mang

24 The four great Dge lugs pa monasteries of Central Tibet are Dga ldan, Bras spungs, and Se ra Monasteries in the Lhasa area, and Bkra shis hlun po monastery in Shigatse. 25 For a detailed account of religious life at Bla brang monastery during recent years, see the anthropological study by Makley 1999. 26 Makley 1999: 140-41. I have been told there were six or seven hundred monks at Bla brang in the 1990s. This is far below the level of 3000 monks living there in the 1940s (20-25% of traditional numbers). Bras spungs monastery, near Lhasa, has a similar number of official monks and even more who are unofficial. However, this number is proportionally much lower than is the case at Bla brang when compared to Bras spungss traditional population of 7700 or the actual 1959 population of 10,000 (7-10%). Goldstein 1998: 45.



monastery, which has been re-established in exile in southern India, prominently features his photograph on fund-raising literature. In their efforts to legitimize Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, his followers have not only constructed his lineage of pre-incarnations, but they have also cast him in a prominent role in at least one future-looking eschatological prophecy. According to this tradition, in the year 2425, a great war will erupt from the land of ambhala during which barbarous forces will be defeated forever. Thereafter, no other significant religious traditions will remain. Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, we are told, will be the chief general of those Buddhist armies.27 Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po, and others involved in these efforts, managed to build up the image of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa to the extent that he outshone even Tsong kha pa and his direct disciples. Even though there is an explicit deference to figures of the past in Tibetan culture, the legitimizing maneuvers we have explored in this paper demonstrate how that deference could also be employed to glorify a later figure. Out of their intense loyalty to Jam dbyangs bzhad pa and their fervent desire to legitimize him, his followers elaborated his prestige until he outshone all others. By appropriating to him the identities of so many of the pivotal authorities from the past, they, in essence, construed him as the author of the entire Dge lugs school. Tibetan References Dkon mchog jigs med dbang po. 1971. Chos kyi rje kun mkhyen jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rjei rnam par thar pa dod pa dang ldan pa dag la gtam du bya ba ngo mtshar ganggai chu rgyun. In Collected Works of Dkon-mchog-jigs-med-dbang-po, the Second Jam-dbasbad-pa of La-bra bKra-is-khyil, vol. 2, 1-73. New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo. Jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rje. 1973. Dbu ma la jug pai mtha dpyod lung rigs gter mdzod zab don kun gsal skal bzang jug ngogs. In Collected Works of Jam-dbas-bad-pa, vol. 9. Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo. . 1994. Rje btsun jam dbyangs bzhad pai rdo rjei rnam par bka rtsom tshigs bcad ma. In Collected Works of Jam dbyangs bzhad pa, vol. 1. Mundgod: Gomang edition
27 The date of the war is given in Tenzin Gyatso and Hopkins 1989: 65. The prophecy concerning Jam dbyangs bzhad pas generalship is mentioned in Hopkins 2002: 7.



Khetsun Sangpo (Mkhas btsun bzang po). 1973. Biographical Dictionary of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Shakabpa (Zhwa sgab pa Dbang phyug lde ldan). 1976. Bod kyi srid don rgyal rabs. Kalimpong: Shakabpa House. Tsong kha pa. Dbu ma la jug pai rgya cher bshad pa dgongs pa rab gsal. P6143, vol. 154. Other References Cozort, D. 1998. Unique Tenets of the Middle Way Consequence School. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. Davidson, R. 2002. Indian Esoteric Buddhism: a Social History of the Tantric Movement. New York: Columbia University Press. Dreyfus, G. 1997. Recognizing Reality: Dharmakrtis Philosophy and Its Tibetan Interpretations. Albany: State University of New York. . 2003. The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk. Berkeley: University of California Press. Goldstein, M.C. 1998. The Revival of Monastic Life in Drepung Monastery. In M. Goldstein and M. Kapstein (eds) Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 15-52. Hopkins, J. 1981. Meditation on Emptiness. London: Wisdom Publications. . 2002. Reflections on Reality: Dynamic Responses to Dzong-ka-pas The Essence of Eloquence, Part II. Berkeley: University of California Press. . 2003. Maps of the Profound. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. Klein, A. 1994. Path to the Middle: Oral Mdhyamika Philosophy in Tibet. Albany: State University of New York Press. Maher, D. 2003. Knowledge and Authority in Tibetan Middle Way Schools of Buddhism: A Study of the Gelukba (dge lugs pa) Epistemology of Jamyang Shayba (jam dbyangs bzhad pa) in its Historical Context. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia. (forthcoming). One Hundred Thousand Moons: An Advanced Political History of Tibet. Makley, C. 1999. Embodying the Sacred: Gender and Monastic Revitalization in Chinas Tibet. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan. Napper, E. 2001. Ethics as the Basis of a Tantric Tradition: Tsong kha pa and the Founding of the dGe lugs Order in Tibet. In G. Newland



(ed.) Changing Minds: Contributions to the Study of Buddhism and Tibet in Honor of Jeffrey Hopkins. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. Newland, G. 1992. The Two Truths in the Mdhyamika Philosophy of the Ge-luk-ba Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications. Obermiller, E. (trans.) 1931. History of Buddhism (Chos byung) by Bu ston. Heidelberg: Harrassowitz. Radhakrishnan, S. 1953. The Principal Upaniads. London: George Allen and Unwin. Roerich, G. 1949 [1976]. The Blue Annals. Reprint, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Siderits, M. 1981. The Madhyamaka Critique of Epistemology: Part II. Journal of Indian Philosophy 9: 121-60. Shakabpa, T. 1967. Tibet: A Political History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Stearns. C. 1999. The Buddha from Dolpo: A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen. Albany: State University of New York Press. Tenzin Gyatso and J. Hopkins. 1989. The Klacakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation for the Stage of Generation. 2nd rev. edition. London: Wisdom Publications. Thurman, R.A.F. 1982. Life and Teachings of Tsong Khapa. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Wylie, T. 1984. Reincarnation: A Political Innovation in Tibetan Buddhism. In L. Ligeti (ed.) Proceedings of the Csoma de Kros Memorial Symposium Held at Matrafred, Hungary, 24-30 September 1976. Budapest: Akadmiai Kiad, 579-86.


A MAHAYANIST REWRITING OF THE HISTORY OF CHINA BY MGON PO SKYABS IN THE RGYA NAG CHOS BYUNG Guilaine Mala For specific reasons linked to the political circumstances of his time, the Eighteenth-century Mongol scholar Mgon po skyabs (Mong. Gombojab; Ch. Gongbu zhabu), who was one of the best polyglots of his time, was asked to write, in Tibetan, a history of Buddhism in China.1 He completed it in 1736 under the abridged title Rgya nag chos byung. This chronicle is unique in historical literature written in Tibetan, because it is the only work that is entirely devoted to the history, both religious and political, of China. However, it could as well have been entitled or subtitled The Cryptic History of Tibetan Buddhism in China because that really is what Mgon po skyabs intended to write and what he was asked to do. The instigator of such a special writing, to whom he refers in his Preface (p. 3) as the holy supreme guide (dren mchog dam pa) was not the Manchu Emperor Qianlong (1711-99, r.1736-96), as we are first inclined to believe, but, as indicated in the colophon (263-64), the incarnation of Pai ta Zhi re thu k shiu chos rje, or in Mongolian
1 Note: Transliterations of Chinese and Japanese names are listed in the Appendix with their corresponding characters. Mgon po skyabs (c. 1690-1750?) was native of jmin (easternmost part of Inner Mongolia, near the Shilin ghol region). The jmin Banner, having large grazing areas and many herds, was the richest of all the Banners of Inner Mongolia according to the standards of a nomadic society, and therefore its prince was a most influential man (as described in Hyer and Jagchid: 133). Mgon po skyabs, who was related to the Manchu Court by marital alliance, was appointed head of the Tibetan school (Xifan xue) in Beijing, and was responsible for Tibetan studies and translations of Tibetan and Mongol texts. He was reputed to have mastered four languages (see Mgon po skyabs 1983: 265: skad bzhi smra bai dge bsnyen rlung khams ba Mgon po skyabs). L.C. Pukovskij in the introduction to his edition of the Mongolian history of the Golden Horde, Ganga yin uruskhal, written in 1725 by Mgon po skyabs, did not include Sanskrit among them (see Pukovski 1960: 8), while E. Gene Smith did mention it in his introduction to The Autobiography and Diaries of Si tu Pa chen (Smith 1968: 8, n. 12). However, considering the nature of his work and translations, it is more probable that in addition to Mongolian, his native language, he came to master as well Tibetan, Sanskrit, Chinese and Manchu. On his work, see De Jong 1968.



Siret (variant: Sireget) Gsi orji, a famous sixteenth-century translator from Kke qota (Tib. Mkhar sngon, Inner Mongolia).2 Sireget Gsi orji accompanied the Third Dalai Lama during his mission to Mongolia. He remained in Kke qota for many years, where he translated many important Buddhist texts into Mongolian. His exact dates are not known, but his activities as a translator took place between 1587 and 1618. According to the Mongol author, Altan-Orgil, the Third Dalai Lama invited the Pait to sit on his throne (Mong. sirege) after him and to become his representative (hence his title Sireget). After the Paits death, an incarnation lineage of Sireget Khutugtu was established in Kke qota. It is his fifth reincarnation who lived during c. 1713-51 and consequently it is the fifth reincarnation to whom Mgon po skyabs refers in his chronicle. His discovery was reported to the Chief Administrative Lama of Kke qota in 1713 and in 1727, the young Sireget Khutugtu was introduced to the Emperor Yongzheng, who ordered him to come and reside outside the city walls of Beijing in order to study under the guidance of a good lama. In 1734, he was appointed by imperial order the Chief Administrative Lama of Kke qota (Mong. jasag un terign blam a or jasag da blam a).3 Therefore, as Mgon po skyabs wrote his Rgya nag chos byung in 1736, it appears that Sireget Khutugtu made his request soon after coming into office, and his motivation can be explained as the result of his education in Beijing. However, their combined initiative was not an isolated act for Mgon po skyabs sent to Tibet a copy of his chronicle for revision, corrections and criticism by the great Karma pa scholar Si tu Chos kyi byung gnas (1700-1774).4 Moreover, Ka thog Tshe dbang nor bu (1698-1755), who was the Si tus close friend and who converted him to the proscribed gzhan stong doctrine of the Jo nang pa order, sent in 1747 a letter from
2 The Mongolian word Sireget, which is the classical form of Siret, is the equivalent of the Tibetan word khri pa, throne (see Mgon po skyabs 1983: 263, l.8). As for the Mongolian title Gsi, which renders the Chinese Guoshi (State Preceptor), it does not mean in this case that this Pait was a State Preceptor, but as the Ulanbator academician Y. Rinchen (1974: 95) explained, the honorific title Gsi, borrowed from the Chinese Guoshi, appeared in Mongolian during the Yuan dynasty and was applied to well-educated scholars, who had mastered the two classical languages of Sanskrit and Tibetan. Later, an epithet Tal-a aalu-tu Two-sounds-possessor, meaning Possessor of sounds of Sanskrit and Tibetan tongues was added to Gsi. 3 See Altan-Orgil 1981: 98, 100-101. I am indebted to Dr. Vladimir L. Uspensky who kindly communicated these references and information to me. May he find here the expression of my gratitude for his corrections and suggestions. For further details, see Uspensky 1985, which I unfortunately could not consult. 4 See Mgon po skyabs 1983, colophon: 266.



Lhasa to Mgon po skyabs in Beijing to question some points made in his chronicle, which obviously excited a great interest among Tibetan scholars.5 The Rgya nag chos byung illustrates the Mongolian supreme achievement in mastering Tibetan Mahyna Buddhism in its latest phase, so much so that its author intended to be the spokesman for all upholders of the dGe lugs pa tradition. Although appearing to be less renowned than the chapter on China written in 1748 by Sum pa mkhan po ye shes dpal byor (1704-1788) in his Dpag bsam ljon bzang (The Wish-fulfilling Tree), in reality, Mgon po skyabs chronicle was the original source and its influence has been very strong on later Mongol and Tibetan historians.6 In particular, the famous eastern Tibetan doxographer, Thuu bkwan Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma (1737-1802), made numerous borrowings from it in the chapter on Chinese religions, which is contained in his Grub mtha shel gyi me long (The Crystal Mirror of Doxographies) written in 1801-02.7 But at the same time, he seems to distance himself from some of Mgon po skyabs interpretations, whilst referring several times to his mentor, Lcang skya Rol pai rdo rje (1717-1786), who was the State Preceptor (Guoshi) at the Imperial Court, and a close friend and advisor of the Emperor Qianlong. I. The Contents of the Rgya nag chos byung The full title of Mgon po skyabs chronicle is Rgya nag gi yul du dam pai chos dar tshul gtso bor bshad pa blo gsal kun tu dga bai rna rgyan (The Delightful Earring of Clear Understanding, which explains principally how the Holy Dharma spread in the Country of China). On the back of the last page of the modern Sichuan edition (or Sde dge edition, Chengtu 1983), the title is rendered as Hanqu Fojiao yuanliu ji. This title is not to be found in Chinese Buddhist dictionaries and no modern Chinese translation seems to exist or to be available.8
5 This letter is preserved under the title Rgya nag tu gung mgon po skyabs la dri ba mdzad pa (Questions asked to the Duke Mgon po skyabs [working] in China) in Tshe dbang nor bu 1973, vol. 1: 723-32 (see Martin 1997: 125; also Smith 1968: 8). 6 See Sum pa Mkhan po 1959: 61-133. 7 See the chapter on Chinese religions in Thuu bkwan (1989, chap. 3: 391-446), entitled Ma h tsi nai yul du rig byed dang grub mtha byung tshul, History of [Confucian] Learning and [other] Doctrinal Tenets in the Country of Great China. This section corresponds to chapters ten and eleven of the Lhasa Zhol edition. 8 Martin (1997: 125)a work that is already a classic in Tibetologynoted that it was also published under the cover title Sngon gyi gtam me tog gi phreng ba, a title



The Rgya nag chos byung comprises a preface (go brjod), three main chapters (sa bcad) and a colophon (mjug byang). To summarize the content of the three main parts: [1] The first chapter is entitled Spyir rgya nag poi yul gyi rten dang brten pai bkod pa dang lo rgyus rags rim tsam brjod pa (3-61). It is devoted to the cosmological and physical geography of China (qualified as supports of the country, rten), and the history of its royal genealogies (designated as brten pa, the supported or entrusted by the country) from the time of the kings of the highest antiquity, who are presented as historical figures, until the end of the Ming dynasty (13681644). It is significant that Mgon po skyabs opens his first chapter by evoking the creation of the universe, not according to the cosmogony of the Abhidarmakoa but of the Klacakra-tantra, the Glorious Tantra of the Wheel of Time, which is qualified as the King of All Tantras (Rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal po dpal dus kyi khor loi rgyud). This Buddhist Tantra of the Highest Yoga Tantra class (Tibetan Tripiaka Peking edition, vol. 1, no. 4), represents a syncretic knowledge characterized by the incorporation of many elements from aivism and Vaiavism.9 It appears to be one of the two authoritative tantras for his workthe other being the Majur-mla-tantraand discreetly encompasses the whole of his demonstration. [2] The second chapter is entitled dus gang dag la bstan dzin gyi skyes bu su dag byung ba che long smos pa (62-175). It is described as dealing with the history of Buddhism in China through the succint biographies of the successive upholders of the Teaching. However, it is not a straight classical presentation of the history of Chinese Buddhism from the Zhou dynasty to the Ming dynasty, but rather a synthetic essay of syncretic inspiration on various Chinese systems of thought, which although apparently treating in an egalitarian way non-Buddhist and Buddhist religions, integrates non-Buddhist tenets into the allencompassing Mahynist view. [3] The third chapter is entitled de dag gis rim pa ltar spel bai dngos gzhi chos kyi ming gi rnam grangs bstan pa (176-258). It is a

referring firstly to Neu Paitas chronicle of 1283 (see Martin 1997: 46, no. 61 and 130) and evoking a garland of concealed flowers of the past. There also exists a 110-fol. woodblock print of the Lhasa Zhol edition of 1946 in the R.A. Stein Collection of the Muse Guimet in Paris. 9 See Banerjee 1999.



descriptive catalogue of the dharma texts which were written or diffused in succession by these doctrine-holders. Significantly, this last chapter is mainly the abridged Tibetan translation of the Zhiyuan Fabao kantong zonglu, a catalogue which was compiled during the Yuan dynasty in 1285-87 by Qing Jixiang, a Chinese monk who worked in Peking with Phags pa (Basiba, 1239-80). This catalogue, which is the result of SinoTibetan collaboration, is a comparative catalogue of the Chinese and Tibetan Tripiakas, in which differences between the two are pointed out. This catalogue is preserved in Taish (=T.) vol. 99, no. 25 (in Taibei edition, 1973, Fabao zongmulu, vol. 2, 179-238). It is indeed this catalogue, which Thuu bkwan and Sum pa mkhan po both describe in their respective section on Buddhism, and it is clear that interest and fame for it were revived under the Qing dynasty.10 The preface to this catalogue was written by Qubilai himself, who states that as the Emperor Shizu Huangdi, he is also the emanation body of all the buddhas of the past, manifested to help all sentient beings to reach emancipation.11 This sentence is an important part of the underlying thread of Mgon po skyabs demonstration, as developed below. II. The main differences between the Rgya nag chos byung and the earlier chapters on China written in Tibetan (A) The history of China does not begin with the Zhou dynasty but with Fuxi. Now if we examine, on the one hand, the best known earlier Buddhist chronicles including a chapter on China, such as the Rgyal rabs gsal bai me long (1328), Deb ther dmar po (1346), Rgya Bod yig tshang (1434), Deb ther sngon po (1476-78), Deb ther dmar po gsar ma (1538), Chos byung mkhas pai dga ston (1545-65), we can see that they all begin the history of the royal genealogies of China with the first emperor of China named Ciu (rendering Zhou). This is because their authors follow a well-known Chinese tradition based on forged texts which assign the Buddhas birth to the wood-tiger (jia-yin) year (Tib. shing pho stag lo, wood-male-tiger year), that is the 24th year of the reign of Zhaowang of the Western Zhou dynasty, i.e. 1029 B.C.E. according to the traditional
10 See Sum pa Mkhan po 1959, III: 132; Thuu bkwan 1989: 425. 11 See in Taibei edition 1973, Fabao zongmulu vol. 2, no. 25, Preface (Xu) p. 179:

20: Wo Shizu Huangdi. Ji gu Fo shixian zhi yingshen ye.



chronology.12 And that is why the history of China really begins with this dynasty, which is particularly meaningful for these Buddhist historians. On the other hand, when we examine later chronicles such as the Rgya nag chos byung, the Dpag bsam ljon bzang, the Grub mtha shel gyi me long and other texts derived from these three sources, we find that their history of China goes back much further in time, to the highest antiquity, the epoch of the mythical heroes, the founders of civilisation. These later sources identically begin their history of China with hPhu i (Fuxi: access to the throne: 2952 B.C.E. according to the traditional chronology), who is said to be the first king of China and the inventor of writing and astrology born from the eight trigrams (bagua, Tib. spar kha).13 Therefore, it turns out that, among the various chapters on China which are written in Tibetan, we must distinguish two types of account of the history of China, the first beginning from the time of the Zhou dynasty, and the second, from the time of Fuxi. The sources which belong to the second type of account, like the Rgya nag chos byung, not only have in common the fact that they identically begin the history with Fuxi, they also deal with other Chinese religions and share the same syncretic view of the main doctrines prevailing in China, that is Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, which are named collectively the Three Teachings (Sanjiao, Tib. bstan pa gsum). (B) A distorted use of a sixth-century egalitarian metaphor: Buddhism is similar to the sun, Taoism to the moon, and Confucianism to the stars
12 This is the case in chronicles such as: (1) the Rgyal rabs gsal bai me long (1328), by Sa skya pa Bla ma dam pa bSod nams rgyal mtshan (1312-75), translated in Srensen 1994: 77-84; (2) the Red Annals, Deb ther dmar po, also known as Hu lan deb gter/ther (1346), by Tshal pa Kun dga rdo rje, Beijing edition 1981, chapter four: 1112; (3) Rgya bod yig tshang (1434), by Dpal byor bzang po, Chengtu edition 1985: 99, 101; (4) the Blue Annals, Deb ther sngon po (1476-78) by Gos lo gzhon nu dpal (13921481), who quoted the Deb dmar, Chengtu edition 1987, I: 73-81, translated in Roerich [1949] 1976: 47-57; (5) the New Red Annals, Deb ther dmar po gsar ma (1538), by the Pachen Bsod nams grags pa, translated in Tucci 1971: 175; (6) the Scholars Feast, Chos byung mkhas pai dga ston (1545-65) by Dpa bo gtsug lag phreng ba, Beijing edition 1986, vol. 2: 1389, etc. 13 It is interesting to point out that according to the Yijing, Fuxi not only invented writing, he also invented the knotted strings (somewhat evoking the Bon po ju thig). Moreover, according to the Shanhaijing (ch. 18), Fuxi was one of the celestial kings who could climb up the standing tree, which links heaven to earth (this tree, mu, is not without evoking the dmu cord (dmu thag), up which the first kings of Tibet ascended to heaven.



Mgon po skyabs, Sum pa Mkhan po and Thuu bkwan all compare the Three Teachings to the Three Luminaries (Sanguang), i.e. respectively Confucianism to the stars, Taoism to the moon and Buddhism to the sun. Our Mongol and Tibetan authors did not invent this metaphor, they borrowed it from Li Shiqian (523-88), a Chinese Buddhist layman from the Sui dynasty, whose argumentation in favour of the egalitarian view of the three doctrines passes for one of the most ancient in China. Since the second type of account seems to have originated from the Rgya nag chos byung, which is the earliest of these three texts, the study of this chronicle is important and reveals the reasons why the later type of account came into existence. It also reveals that the two common denominators, the apparent syncretic view of the Three Teachings and the statement that the first king of China was Fuxi, are linked. It is the identification of the nature of the sources used by Mgon po skyabs Chinese Buddhist sources of apparent syncretic inspirationwhich gives the key for several reasons. Firstly, it is in this kind of literature that we can find the transmission of Li Shiqians metaphor in favour of the unity of the Three Teachings in a number of sources from the seventh century to the sixteenth.14 For example, in the Fozu tongji which was compiled in 1269 by the monk Zhipan, it is written:
Li Shiqian was a man who had a deep interest in Buddhist learning and had also mastered the abstruse conversations (xuantan).15 [During one
14 His argumentation is to be found at least in the following sources: (1) Suishu by Wei Zheng (580-643) and others, Zhonghua shuju edition, Beijing 1973, 77. 1754:3-4; (2) Beishi by Li Yanshou (before 601 to after 675 A.D.), Zhonghua shuju edition, Beijing 1974, 33. 1234:12; (3) Sanjiao pingxin lun, Treatise [viewing] the Three Teachings with a Balanced Mind, written by Liu Mi (thirteenth century),T. 2117, A. 781 c16-17; (4) Fayun zhile, A Concise Record on the Fate of the Law, part of Fozu tongji or A General Record on the Patriarchs of Buddhism (1269), by Zhipan (actif. 1258-1269), T. 2035, 39.360 a 13; 44. 405 b24-25; 54.472 a16-17; (5) [Lidai biannian] Shishi tongjian, Complete Guide (Universal Mirror) Chronicling the kya clan through the Ages (1270), by Benjue, in Dai Nihon zokuzky, vol. 131, 6. 436ro b10-11; (6) Fozu lidai tongzai, A General Record of the Patriarchs of Buddhism through the Ages (1333), by Nianchang (d.1341), T. 2036, 10.559 b28; (7) [Lichao]Shishi zijian, Well-documented Guide (Mirror) by Periods of the kya clan (1336), by Xizhong, in Dai Nihon zokuzky, vol. 132, 7.73ro 15; (8) Shishi jigu le, Outline of the Ancient Records of the kya clan (1354), by Juean, T. 2037, 2. 808 b13; (9) Sanjiao huibian yaole or Compendium on the Three Teachings by Lin Zhaoen (1517-1598), a great syncretist of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), in Linzi quanji, XI: 1.1a. 15 The term xuantan or Mysterious Conversations, a special form of philosophical converse combining Neo-Taoist ideas with Confucian and Buddhist principles, was



of these conversations], there was a guest who asked about the merits of the Three Teachings. Li Shiqian said: Buddhism is [similar to] the sun, Taoism is [similar to] the moon, and Confucianism is [similar to] the five planets.16 The people of that period regarded this as the best of arguments (Li Shiqian yahao Foxue jian shan xuantan. You ke wen sanjiao youlie. Li Shiqian yue. Fo ri ye. Dao yue ye. Ru wuxing ye. Shi yiwei zhi lun; in T. 2035, 39. 360 a12-14, and 54. 472 a16-17).

After having examined these various sources, it appears that the author of the Rgya nag chos byung did not borrow this comparison directly from Li Shiqians biography, which can be found in the official annals, Suishu (chap. 77) and Beishi (chap. 33), but from later Chinese Buddhist compilations from the Song and Yuan dynasties. These Buddhist compilers were forced to adopt a syncretic varnish in defence of the dharma in order to challenge anti-Buddhist polemics. Having to compete with Taoism or alternatively with Confucianism, whose influence could not possibly be denied, some of them used Li Shiqians imagery but in a distorted way: they did not put the accent upon the indispensability of each of the three luminaries, but upon the relative radiance of the three celestial sources. By doing so, they developed the argument of the hierarchy of values (youlie, lit. superiority and inferiority) in the light emitted by the three luminaries, in order to demonstrate the superiority of Buddhism. This point of view is already to be found in a great treatise of conciliation of the Three Teachings, which is preserved in T. 2117, the Sanjiao pingxin lun (Treatise [viewing] the Three Teachings with a Balanced Mind), which was written by Liu Mi, a Chinese scholar and a Buddhist layman, who lived on from the Southern Song dynasty into the Yuan dynasty (around the years 1278-80). It is also clearly expressed by the Buddhist monk Nianchang (d.1341) in the Fozu lidai tongzai, where he added a personal comment on Li Shiqians argumentation in favour of the harmonization of the Three Teachings (see T. 2036, 10.559 c1-7). The same process is adopted by Mgon po skyabs when he states in the Rgya nag chos byung (p. 66.13-67.1):
Therefore, the Teaching which truly illuminates the basic nature of sasra, and the subtlety of the causal conditions and karmic fruit, and

originally used for the Neo-Taoist conversations, but later was also applied to the abstruse (xuan) conversations of the Buddhists. 16 The five planets are Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury.



the exposition of the three vehicles of the path,17 and the instructions concerning the great means (thabs, Skt. upya), and the profound oral instructions (man ngag, Skt. upadea), and the resultant three kya-s (dharmakya, sabhogakya, nirmakya) and the five wisdoms,18 and so forth. [This teaching] is only the precious doctrine (gsung rab, Skt. pravacana) of the Jina. Consequently, as a metaphoric lamp clarifying the meaning of the real nature of things (gnas lugs), it is the teaching of the Jina which has the characteristics of the victorious sun, [and this statement] is based on a verifiable description made by [Chinese] scholars [according to which] The Confucian tradition (Bzhu lugs) is similar to the stars, the Bon tradition (Bon lugs, i.e. Taoism) is similar to the moon, [and] the Buddhist tradition (Chos lugs) is similar to the sun.19

Although in the Shishi tongjian and in the Shishi zijian, as well as in all Buddhist chronicles and treatises mentioned above, the metaphor of the Sanjiao/Sanguang is always attributed to Li Shiqian, Mgon po skyabs, in this passage, uses the plural mkhas rnams, scholars, suggesting that other Chinese Buddhists appropriated Li Shiqians metaphor and used it as their own. Such is probably the case for we can find the proof of this appropriation at least in one very important Yuan source for Mgon po skyabs, the [Zhiyuan] Bianwei lu, a treatise that was compiled in 1291 by Xiangmai, a monk of the Chan school who took part in the disputations with the Taoists which ended in 1281 with the Imperial order to burn all forged Taoist texts. Although Xiangmai, in his treatise recording the debate on the doubtful authenticity of the Taoist

17 The three vehicles (Skt. triyna) are the Hearer vehicle (Tib. nyan thos kyi theg pa, Skt. ravakayna), the Solitary Realizer vehicle (rang rgyal gyi theg pa, pratyekabuddhayna) and the Greater vehicle (theg chen gyi theg pa, mahyna) or Bodhisattvayna. 18 The five types of wisdom (Tib. ye shes lnga, Skt. pacajna) are: [1] mirrorlike wisdom (me long lta bui ye shes, darajna), [2] wisdom of equality (mnyam nyid ye shes, samatajna), [3] wisdom of discrimination (sor rtogs ye shes, pratyavekanjna), [4] wisdom of accomplishment (bya sgrub ye shes, ktynuhnajna), and [5] wisdom of reality (chos dbyings ye shes, dharmadhtujna) (see Tsepak Rigzin, Tibetan-English Dictionary of Buddhist Terminology, 384). 19 Transcription of this passage: de lta na yang gzhi khor bai ngo bo dang / rgyu rkyen las bras kyi phra zhib dang / lam theg pa gsum gyi rnam bzhag dang / thabs rgya che bai gdams pa dang / zab moi man ngag dang / bras bu sku gsum dang ye shes lnga la sogs pa ches gsal por bstan pa ni rgyal bai gsung rab rin po che kho na yin pas gnas lugs kyi don gsal bar byed pai sgron dper / bzhu lugs skar ma lta bu / bon lugs zla ba lta bu / chos lugs nyi ma lta buo / zhes tshad thub kyi mkhas rnams gleng bar brten rgyal bstan la rgyal ba nyi mai mtshan yang chags so /



scriptures, aimed to harmonize the Three Teachings, his reconciling approach with the Taoists is not convincing:
[The Three Teachings] are complementary like the surface and lining of a garment, reflecting one another like the rays of the sun, the moon, and the stars, and supporting one another like the three legs of a tripod. But there is a difference in some degree. The Taoists believe in texts which are forged. Their aim is to establish a superstructure embracing past and present and superseding both Confucianism and Buddhism (T. 2116, 2. 763a:17-20).20

But is Mgon po skyabs attitude more convincing when he states (p. 68.2-5):
Nowadays, that which has become supreme of the ocean of all knowledge Including the Excellent Teachings of interpretive and definitive meanings (drang nges don, Skt. neyartha/ntrtha) and their branches (yan lag) [Which was taught] in this country by the Lord [Majur] through his skill in means and compassion, Is [contained within] the Three [Teachings], Buddhism (Ban), Taoism (Bon) and Confucianism (Bzhu), which are known to be [respectively] similar to the sun, the moon and the stars.21

In the same way, Thuu bkwan opens his chapter on Chinese religions, by stating that Taoism and Confucianism were also planned and spread in China out of compassion by the Jinas, as part of their activities (phrin las).22 In the Rgya nag chos byung, which is devoted to the history of China as the special sphere of conversion of Majur, prime importance is indeed given to Majur, a bodhisattva of the highest enlightenment attained by combining compassion (karu), means of approach (upya), and wisdom (praj). Majur (Wenshushili, lit. Sweet [Spiritual] Glory), also named Majughoa (Miaoyin, lit. Sweet Voice), is the ultimate idealization of the quality of wisdom, and as such has become the patron of the Dge lugs pas who revere him as a Buddha.
20 See Liu Tsun-yan Berling 1982: 502. 21 Transcription of this passage: yul dir rje btsun thabs mkhas thugs rje yis / / legs

gsungs drang nges don dang yan lag bcas / / da lta rig gnas rgya mtshoi mchog gyur gang / / ban bon bzhu gsum nyi zla skar drar grags / zhes so / 22 See Thuu bkwan 1989: 391.



III. The Mahynist concepts of Nirmakya and upya had been already exploited and applied to the kings of antiquity and to the sages of the past in Chinese Buddhist syncretic literature Moreover, it is also in this kind of Buddhist literature of apparent syncretic inspiration that the concept of nirmakya, transformation body (huashen, Tib. sprul pai sku), doubled with and explained by that of upyakaualya, skill-in-salvific means (shan[neng] fangbian, Tib. thabs la mkhas pa), was exploited and applied to the kings of the highest antiquity and to all the sages of the past. As a result of the various Mahyna speculations about the Buddhas nature, Chinese Buddhists had made good use of the concept of transformation body of a buddha who has the power to assume any form required by the milieu to be converted in order to propagate teachings adapted to the ability of his listeners. The buddhas deliberately hold back some of the highest tenets of the doctrine and only disclose a relative truth to reach the understanding of those who cannot yet approach the formless True Body (dharmakya) of buddhahood. Subsequently, from the third century, Chinese Buddhists came quite logically to regard the Sages of Chinese history and prehistory as manifestations of the Buddha or as avatra-s of bodhisattvas.23 This idea was developed in various later Buddhist apocrypha when the intense rivalry between Buddhism and Taoism gave rise to a form of mutual religious borrowing, which can been defined as defensive syncretism. In particular, the Buddhists had to take over the Taoist theory of Conversion of Barbarians (huahu), according to which Laozi, after disappearing in the west, went to India, where he converted the Barbarians into Buddhists. This legendary journey of Laozi is elaborated in the [Laozi]huahujing (The Scripture of Laozi converting the Barbarians), an apocryphal text dating from the end of the fourth century or beginning of the fifth century and which may have circulated
23 This idea was already expressed in the Taizi ruiying benqi jing, one of the earliest extant Chinese biographies of the Buddha which was translated in 222-229 C.E. by the Indo-scythian upsaka Zhi Qian: When he came to transform himself, he manifested himself in accordance with [the exigencies of] the times, sometimes as a saintly emperor, sometimes as the ancestor of the Forest of Literati (Rulin zhi zong), or as the Taoist National Teacher (guoshi daoshi); everywhere he manifested his innumerable transformations. (Ji qi bianhua. Sui shi er xian. Huo wei shengdi. Huo zuo rulin zhi zong.Guoshi daoshi. Zaisuo xianhua. Buke chengji; see T. 185, A. 473 b 9-11; Zrcher 1959: 309, 313; 435, n. 104).



in several versions.24 This famous forged text remained at the centre of numerous debates between Taoists and Buddhiststhe Taoists using it to prove their superiority over the followers of Buddhismuntil the time of the Yuan dynasty, when the Sa skya Abbot and Imperial Preceptor Phags pa (1235-80) put an end to this controversy in China (Phags pa recalled this event in the postface written by himself, which is appended to the [Lichao]Shishi zijian, a chronicle in twelve chapters covering the history of Chinese Buddhism since the time of Fuxi to the reign of the Emperor Shundi (r. 1333-1367) of the Yuan dynasty).25 To refute their Taoist opponents charge that the Buddha was only a manifestation of Laozi, Buddhist apologists reversed the arguments and began, in their turn, to forge stras to demonstrate that in fact it was Laozi who was a manifestation of the Buddha or a disciple of a western saint expressly identified with the Buddha, namely Mahkyapa. From the end of the fourth century onward, they developed the theory of Three Buddhist Saints (Sansheng) going to the east in several Buddhist apocrypha such as the Qingjing faxing jing (Stra of the Practice of Pure Dharma), which have not survived but which are quoted in sixth- and seventh-century Buddhist literature.26 Authors of other Buddhist apocrypha applied the same method to mythical sovereigns of the most distant past. Thus another forged work entitled Xumi tujing (Stra on Sumeru Mount with Illustrations), as well as the Xumi siyu jing (Stra of the four Regions of Sumeru Mount), assert that the Bodhisattva Baoyingsheng (Baoyingsheng Pusa) transformed himself into Fuxi.27 Moreover, in a Niepanjing (Skt. Nirva-stra), it was stated that what all Chinese classical texts whatsoever really teach is the Buddhadharma (Fofa), and more than that, that the Three Sovereigns, the Five Emperors, the Three Kings [i.e. the most ancient Chinese kings], as well as Confucius, Laozi and Zhou Zhuang were all transformation bodies of
24 On the Laozi huahu jing (T. 2139), see Zrcher 1959: 37, 280; chapter six: The Conversion of the Barbarians: the early history of a Buddho-Taoist conflict, 28893, 320; Chen 1972: 50-51, 184, 422-25. 25 See Dai Nihon zokuzky, vol. 132, p. 121 ro.:1-2. On Phags pa in China, see Petech 1983: 183-88. On the Buddho-Taoist debate, see Imaeda 1974. 26 See Zrcher 1959: 304, 311-17. 27 Zrcher (1959: 318-19) explained that this cryptic name was a free rendering of Avalokitevara (in which the Sanskrit name is read as Avalokitavara, survey-sound). These Buddhist apocrypha link the appearance of Fuxi, as well as that of Ngua, both bodhisattvas sent by Amitbha, to an Indian Buddhist theory concerning the evolution of the world at the beginning of a new cosmic period. They subsequently manage to forge a new syncretic Sino-Indian theory of Buddhist cosmogony.



bodhisattvas (pusa huashen). The author of this Chinese translation of the Nirva-stra had finally managed not only to reduce Confucianism and Taoism to disguised Buddhist teachings, but also to appropriate the whole of ancient Chinese culture.28 This is exactly what Mgon po skyabs is going to do. However, in the context of the Rgya nag chos byung, all sages of the Chinese past are presented as emanations (nirmakya) of Majur, a bodhisattva of the tenth bhmi and the body of wisdom (jnakya) of all the buddhas, as clearly expressed in the Majurnmasagti, where he is raised as a kind of dibuddha, a figure well developed in the all-unifying Lord Klacakra.29 How does Mgon po skyabs build up his setting? Benefiting greatly from the Chinese Buddhists experience, he, in his turn, makes a skilfull usage of the methods elaborated by them, but at the same time, he goes much further by referring to a genuine Buddhist text, which allows him to Lamaicise Chinese Buddhism from its origin. IV. Dbyig gi snying, (Skt. Hirayagarbha, Ch. Jintai), the first king of China according to the Majur-mla-tantra To demonstrate the Buddhist predestination of China under the special protection of Majur, Mgon po skyabs breaks totally with the Chinese traditional accounts by grafting on a Buddhist prophecy from the ryaMajur-mla-tantra (rya Majur Root Tantra).30 (Rgya nag chos byung, 8.14-9.16):
28 The same argumentation is to be found in an apologetic treatise which was written at the beginning of the Tang dynasty by a Buddhist monk named Minggai (exact dates unknown), the Jue dui Fu Yi fei Fofa sengshi, refuting once and for all the Taoist Fu Yis attempt to do away with Buddhism and the community of Buddhist monks (see Guang Hongming ji by Daoxuan (596-667), T. 2103, 12. 174a-175a; Kubota 1931: 34041). Under the reign of the first Tang Emperor, Gaozu, and during the Tang dynasty, many discussions about the Three Teachings (Sanjiao tanlun) were conducted (See Luo Xianglin 1963: 159-73, 173-76.). In 621, the Taoist Fu Yi (554-639) presented an antiBuddhist memorial in eleven points, the Jiansheng sita sengni yi guoli minshi shiyi tiao, asking to reduce the number of monasteries and pagodas, monks and nuns in order to further the interests of the State. 29 See Lamotte 1960. Davidson 1983: 1-6; Ruegg 1964: 89. 30 Although standing midway between the Mahyna stras and the tantras, the Sanskrit text, Majur-mla-kalpa, dated to the middle of the eighth century, is presented in its colophon as a Vaipulyastra, but having gone through continuous transformation and growth, by the eleventh century, it had acquired the characteristics of a tantra and was classified by the Tibetan translators as a kriytantra (see Matsunaga 1985).



In the Majur-mla-tantra, it is written: In the whole of China, relied upon [by all], [There will be] a king named Dbyig gi snying (Hirayagarbha) [He will have] a great territorial division (sde chen)31 and great strength, And many ministers (lit. instructors), And a vast number of supporters. The Barbarians (Kla lo) will bow to him and he will be all-victorious. He will give prime importance to the Buddhist Doctrine. [In his country, the power of] the mantra of the bodhisattva (lit. mahtma) [having the nature of] Kumra [Gzhon nu] Will be fully accomplished. The eight-syllable king of spell (rig pa, Skt. vidy)32 Which is charged with a great magical power, Will be renowned as a Great Warrior (dpa bo che, Skt. mahvra). [China] will be a pilgrimage place of perfection. There, the minds of immature beings Will make prayers for the sake of the State. By the mere thought of this [mantra], anyone will be certain To become a buddha. For the sake of the monarchy (mi bdag rgyal thabs) itself, Its time [of efficacy] will not be short. The mere thought [of it] will bring The supreme gift, [the] unsurpassable [siddhi]. If all the sacred precepts are bestowed [Through this mantra] to Brahm and to all gods, Needless to say that [they will also be bestowed] to evil and common deities And to the human world. [This King] will live one hundred and fifty years. He will depart into the region of the gods of great fame This King of Dharma will gradually Attain holy enlightenment. He will swiftly accomplish In his country, this vidy [mantra] Which was entirely expounded by Kumra No other mantra will ever [bring such accomplishment]. The bodhisattva, the Great Hero Majughoa, [radiating] a great light And directly perceived, in this pure country
31 Skt. mahsena, meaning lit.who has a great army (N. Stchoupak, L. Nitti, L. Renou, Dictionnaire Sanskrit-Franais, Paris 1980: 559 b). 32 This refers to the mantra of Majur, o a ra pa ca na dhi. On Arapacana, which represents the esoteric alphabet of the early Mahyna, see Davidson 1983: 22, n. 63.



Is to abide in the form of a young boy. In this holy buddha-field of accomplishment, Men will become fully accomplished.33

This Buddhist prophecy concerning the appearance in China of a universal monarch named Hirayagarbha (lit.Golden Embryo or Golden Egg),34 is to be found in the chapter on the prophecies concerning the kings (Rjavykaraa-parivarta), which is contained in the chapter 36 of the Tibetan translation of the Majur-mla-tantra made in the first half of the eleventh century by kya blo gros and Kumrakalaa (Tibetan Tripiaka Peking edition, vol. 6, no. 162, 2604.1-7). But this chapter is diplomatically missing in the Chinese translation, which was made under the Song dynasty by the Kashmiri monk Tian Xizai (Skt. Devanti?: ob. 1000).35 This prophecy on the Chinese King Hirayagarbha was well known in Tibetan literature, having been mentioned by Bu ston in his Chos byung, Dpa bo gtsug lag phreng ba in his Chos byung Mkhas pai dga ston, and used by the Sde srid Sangs rgyas Rgya mtsho in his
33 Transcription of this passage: jam dpal rtsa rgyud las / / rgya yul kun la brten pa yi / / rgyal po dbyig gi snying zhes bya / / sde chen stobs kyang che ba dang / / slob dpon rgya che nyid dang ni / / skye bo rtsa lag rab tu mang / / kla klos btud dang rnam par rgyal / / ston pai bstan pa de gtso byed / / gzhon nu bdag nyid chen po nyid / / de yi sngags ni rab bsgrubs pa / / mthu ni chen po dang ldan pai / / rig pai rgyal po yi ge brgyad / / dpa bo che zhes rnam par grags / / phun sum tshogs pai gnas chen yin / / de yi byis pai blo yis ni / / rgyal srid phyir ni rab smon byas / / gang gis dran pa tsam gyis ni / / sangs rgyas nyid du nges gyur ba / / mi bdag rgyal thabs nyid kyi phyir / / de ni bskal pa mi nyung gyur / / mchog gi sbyin pa bla na med / / bsam pa tsam gyis thob pa nyid / / tshangs sogs lha rnams thams cad la / / ma lus lung ni stsol byed na / / lha ngan phal pa dag dang ni / / mi yi jig rten smos ci dgos / / lo ni brgya dang lnga bcur tsho / / grags chen lha yi gnas su gro / / chos kyi bdag nyid de mthar gyis / / byang chub dam pa thob par gyur / / gzhon nus yongs su bshad pa yi / / rig pa di ni de yul du / / de ni myur du grub gyur gyis / / rig pa gzhan ni nam yang min / / byang chub sems dpa dpa bo che / / jam pai dbyangs ni od chen po / / mngon sum de yi yul dag na / / byis pai gzugs kyis bzhugs pa yin / / grub pai zhing mchog dam pa la / / mi ni yongs su sgrub par gyur / zhes... 34 The name Hirayagarbha is linked to various speculations about the creation of the universe (see Gonda 1974: 39-54). Later, it became a title of Lha tshangs pa, that is Brahm (see Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo, 1956a) or any deity associated with the creation of the world. However, all Indian gods who were assimilated in the Buddhist pantheon became only mundane gods, secondary devas, or equal to bodhisattvas (see Ruegg 1964: 83-88, and Regamey 1971). Thus the combined name BrahmHirayagarbha (Tshangs pa Dbyig gi snying pa) is to be found in the list of the mundane gods (lukika-devas) of the Mahvyutpatti (edition Sakaki, no. 3115, 221). 35 See the Dafangguang pusazang Wenshushili genben yigui jing, which is preserved in T. 1191.



Vairya dkar po, the three authors having not put into question the identification of the country named C-na in the Sanskrit text with China.36 Therefore, Mgon po skyabs did not innovate, he merely used it as it was interpreted in the earlier Tibetan translations but he extends the consequent meaning of it to the maximum by identifying Hirayagarbha with the mythical sovereign Fuxi, whom he presents as a historical figure. V. Royal genealogies: a Buddhicised conception of Chinese rulers At the beginning of his history of the royal genealogies of China, Mgon po skyabs (p. 11) explains that the identification of Hirayagarbha with Fuxi is quite logical because the latter is said to be the first of the Three Sovereigns (huang gsum, sanhuang), the Five Emperors (dh lnga, wudi), and the Three Kings (dbang gsum, sanwang), and therefore the most ancient king of China, and also because Fuxi is said to have had approximately the same life-span. Mgon po skyabs indicates that as there are various lists of the sanhuang and wudi, he follows the statement of Khung An-kwa (Khung an kwai bzhed pa), because it is the most widespread tradition (p. 12). This expression designates the preface to the commentary on the Shujing, that is the Shangshu guwen (The Book of Historical Documents in Ancient Script), which is traditionally attributed to Kong Anguo (c.156-c.74 B.C.E.), a descendant of Confucius, but which is a forgery dating from the middle of the third century or the beginning of the fourth century.37 In Chinese history, the introduction of the Three Sovereigns before the Five Emperors is linked to the evolution of the theory of Yin-Yang and Five Elements correspondences (Yin-Yang wuxing shuo), a theory of spatio-temporal correspondences providing a complete explanation of the universe, which was perfected at the end of the first century B.C.E. and according to which the Five Elements or

36 On the exploitation by the Chinese authors of the Avatasaka-stra literature of the elaborate confusion between C-na (originally designating a region located in the northwest of India) and Zhina or China, see Lamotte 1960: 3, 54-86. Mgon po skyabs (1983: 10), in his turn, will exploit the deliberate transfer into China of Majurs residence on a Five-Peaked Mount by translating into Tibetan the Chinese version of other prophecies from the Avatasaka-stra. 37 This was demonstrated by Paul Pelliot (1916).



phases succeed one another by producing one another.38 Although Mgon po skyabs follows this tradition, he gives (p. 12) a distorted interpretation of it to incorporate the Chinese theory within the frame of the Klacakratantra by creating a new correspondence matching the Indian Elements. He had previously managed to transform all Chinese kings into Dharmarjas from the very beginning of Chinese history firstly by giving a Buddhicised definition (6-7) of the supreme rulers of the earliest ages of China, referring for that to ancients texts such as the Kuan tsii yig cha (The Writings of Kuan tsi), designating the Guanzi, an early politico-philosophical work attributed to Master Guan or Guan Zhong (d. 645 B.C.E.), a famous minister of Duke Huan of Qi (685-643 B.C.E.), one chief Ba or Hegemon of the Spring and Autumn period.39 However, the Buddhist slant of the explanations provided by Mgon po skyabs shows that he does not refer directly to the Guanzi or the Shangshu guwen, but rather to the commentaries written on them in Buddhist treatises refuting anti-Buddhist polemics40 and later Chinese Buddhist compilations, modelled on historical annals, which begin with Fuxi. These Buddhist compilations of syncretic inspiration, or more precisely bearing a religious syncretic veneer for a proselytizing purpose, abound in all sorts of arguments quoted from earlier treatises. In particular, discussions in accordance with the Guanzi on the potentialities and the functions of the four different kinds of ancient rulers (Sovereigns, Emperors, Kings, and Lord Protectors) are to be found in the Shishi ji gule (see T. 2037, 1.742 b-c). Moreover, after having related the historical tradition concerning successively the Three Sovereigns (sanhuang), the Five Emperors (wudi), the Three Kings (sanwang), and the Five Hegemons or Lord
38 The principle of this quinary cycle is the element wood, which produces fire, fire produces earth, which produces metal, metal produces water, which again produces wood. In this system of correspondences, it was held that each dynasty had reigned by virtue of one of the Five Elements. The conception of the origin of history issued from this theory which begins with the element wood, is associated with Fuxi. This theory was expounded for the first time by Liu Xiang (79-8 B.C.E.) and his son Liu Xin (c. 46 B.C.E.C.E. 23) according to Ban Gu (32-92), the author of the Qianhanshu (Zhonghua shuju edition, Beijing 1975, j. 25 B, 1270-1271). 39 In fact, the Guanzi is a composite treatise of politics and economics which consists of disparate essays dating approximatively from the fourth to the second century B.C.E. See Rickett 1993. 40 See for example the name of Kong Anguo linked to speculations on the spiritual legacy of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors in the Bianzhenglun (On the Discussion of the Correct, T. 2110, 2. 502 b) written by the monk Falin (572-640) of the Tang dynasty, and in Xiangmais [Zhiyuan] Bianwei lu (T. 2116, 2. 757c 9-10).



Protectors (wuba) of the Chunqiu period (722-481 B.C.E.), Mgon po skyabs puts an end to all Chinese speculations of the past on ancient rulers by substituting for them another theory aiming to expound the Buddhist ideal of statecraft. At the same time, he manages to remain faithful to Confucius criterion of excellence by explaining that the good tradition of Yao and Shun (You Zhun gyi ring lugs bzang po), the Confucian models of good rulers, was a guarantee of the longevity of the State because it bestows love and compassion, apparent blessings and kindness upon all beings (see 23, 30). VI. The politico-religious idea of the ideal king, the Cakravartin King, according to the Stra of Veracious Prophecies (Bden smra lung bstan pai mdo) (Rgya nag chos byung, 31.12-18)
Thus, in the Stra of Veracious Prophecies (Bden smra lung bstan pai mdo), it is written: There are four kinds of kings, [1] the universal king (cakravartin-rja), [2] the great king (mah-rja), [3] the king of a fortified territory (koa-rja) and [4] the petty king (malika-rja). For the universal kings, treatises are not necessary because all wishes (bzhed don) come into existence through the power of their own merits. [But] great kings and others must rely on treatises on the art of ruling which were written by great is.41

As Mgon po skyabs indicates in the following chapter of his chronicle (p. 62), the Den smra lung bstan pai mdo is another name for the Byang chub sems dpai spyod yul rnam par phrul pa bstan pai mdo, which is the Tibetan translation of the Bodhisattva-gocaropyaviayavikurva-nirdea (Peking edition 813). As he mentions in his third chapter (199: 18-200.2), there exist two Chinese translations of it. The first, in three chapters, which was made by Guabhadra (394-468), is preserved in T. 271 and has a strong link with the Mahbherhrakaparivarta (Dafagu jing, T. 270), in which advice is given to kings to become good Dharmarjas. The second, in ten chapters,
41 Transcription of this passage: de yang bden smra lung bstan pai mdo las / rgyal po rnam pa bzhi ste / khor los sgyur bai rgyal po dang / rgyal po chen po dang / khams kyi rgyal po dang / rgyal phran no / de la khor los sgyur bai rgyal po la ni bstan bcos mi dgos la bzhed don thams cad rang gi bsod nams kyi mthu las byung bas so / rgyal po chen po la sogs pa rnams ni nges par drang srong chen po dag gis byas pai srid srung pai bstan bcos la brten dgos / zhes gsungs pa dang ...



was made under the Northern Wei dynasty (Bei Wei: 386-534) by Bodhiruci (T. 272). The passage mentioned above is to be found in the third chapter, entitled Wanglun pin, of the translation by Bodhiruci (see T. 272, 3.330 a 23). Mgon po skyabs could have also chosen another Mahynist stra, such as the Daacakrakitigarbha-stra (T. 410, 411; Peking 905) to expound the Buddhist theory of ideal statecraft and organization of society, but this stra in particular suits his demonstration better because it also illustrates Majurs extraordinary powers of adapting teaching to the capacity of his hearers (upyakaualya).42 Mgon po skyabs presents this classification of kings as a gradual regression of Buddhist achievement, the highest kind of king being the model of the Indian cakravartin-rja, who rules successfully according to the Law of the Buddha.43 Mgon po skyabs indeed applies this theory not only to the rulers of the past, but to all Emperors of the history of China, from the Shining One, Taihao/Fuxi, to Qianlong, the Manchu Emperor of his own lifetime. It goes without saying that the Emperors of the Yuan dynasty as well as those of the Qing dynasty are stressed as Cakravartin kings (see 56, 59), the latter being also perceived as bodhisattva Emperors, emanations of Majur. Being so, they act to spread wisdom and knowledge of which they are the repository, through education and welfare. In his section on the brief history of the Yuan dynasty, a crucial epoch for Mongol historians, Mgon po skyabs recalled that Qubilai was nicknamed Yao-Shun Junior (You Zhun chung ngu) by Chinese
42 It relates the story of the conversion by the Bodhisattva of an influential opponent of kyamuni in the city of Vail. For that, Majur created 500 trthika-s as his disciples to infiltrate the circle of followers of a reputed Jainist Master, Mahsatyanirgrantha-putra (Dasazhe niqian zi). Pretending to be listening to the latters heterodox teaching (waidao) and constantly praising it, Majur gradually introduced comparisons with the Buddhas doctrine so that he was finally able to preach openly. As a result, the Jainist Master himself and all his trthika followers were converted to Buddhism. 43 In a way, Mgon po skyabs politico-religious view is closer to that of the NeoConfucian Shao Yong (1011-1077), strongly influenced by Buddhism, who presented a classification of government according to four categories of descending quality: [1] that of the Sovereign (huang), [2] of the Emperor (di), [3] of the King (wang), and [4] of the Lord-Protector or Tyrant (bo or ba), the period of the Three Sovereigns being seen as the worlds golden age: He who (in his government) employs the principle of non-activity (wuwei) is a sovereign; who employs kindliness and good faith is an emperor; who employs justice and correctness is a king; (government) below that of the tyrant is one of barbarians, and that below the barbarians is one of beasts (see Fung Yu-lan 1952, vol. 2: 474-75, ch. 11, sect. 2, vi; and 710).



people (see Rgya nag chos byung, 52). This nickname, being the composite name of the two Confucian models of virtuous reign, suggests a continuity with the wisdom of the Chinese rulers of the past and therefore establishes a bridge between the two Laws (Tib. khrims gnyis, lugs gnyis), the mundane Law (shijian fa) or temporal law, and the supramundane Law (chushijian fa) or atemporal and spiritual Law, which translates the nature of the buddhas. Yet, the combination of the good laws of the temporal realm and the dharma is precisely what the Stra of Veracious Prophecies (T. 272) really expounds, and that is also the religio-political ideal of statecraft adopted by Qubilai which the Qing Emperors in their turn very carefully and genuinely fostered. In conclusion, we have in this paper an example of the use of a Tantric prophecy and non-Tantric arguments made by an eighteenthcentury Mongol historian to transform and reinterprete the history of China in the light of his own Buddhist beliefs. Although clearly inspired by Chinese Buddhists of the past, Mgon po skyabs successfully manages to integrate the whole of his demonstration within Indo-Buddhist doctrinal patterns. His chronicle, filled with numerous prophecies, is a reflection of his own conception of history, which is the verification and realization of the Buddhas prophecies. Mgon po skyabs Rgya nag chos byung became and remains the reference par excellence for Mongol historians. Tibetan References Mgon po skyabs. 1983. Rgya nag chos byung. Cheng-tu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Sum pa Mkhan po. 1959. Dpag bsam ljon bzang. In Lokesh Chandra (ed.), Dpag bsam-ljon-bza of Sum-pa-mkhan-po Ye-es-dpal-byor, Part III: containing a history of Buddhism in China and Mongolia, preceded by the Reu-mig or chronological tables, with a Foreword by G. Tucci and a preface by L. Petech. ata-piaka vol. 8, Bhoapiaka vol. 3, New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture. Thuu bkwan Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma. 1989. Thuu-bkwan grub mtha. Lanzhou: Kan suu mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Tshe dbang nor bu, Ka-thog Rig-dzin. 1973. Selected Writings of Kathog Rig-dzin Tshe-dbang-nor-bu. Darjeeling: Kargyud Sungrab Nyamso Khang.



Mongolian References Altan-Orgil 1981. Kke qota-yin sm-e keyid (Temples of Kke qota). Kke qota, br Mongol-n arad-un keblel-n kriy-e. Inner Mongolian Peoples Publishing House. Other References Banerjee, B. 1999. The Klacakra School: The Latest Phase of Buddhism. In N.N. Bhattacharyya and A. Ghosh (eds) Tantric Buddhism: Centennial Tribute to Dr. Benoytosh Bhattacharyya. New Delhi: Manohar, 263-267. Chen, K. 1972. Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Davidson, R. 1983. The Litany of Names of Majur: Text and Translation of the Majurn masagti. In M. Strickman (ed.) Tantric and Taoist Studies in Honour of R.A. Stein, vol. 1. Paris: Institut Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 1-69. De Jong, J.W. 1968. CR de S. Bira, O Zolotoj knige S. Damdina, Studia historica Instituti historiae Academiae scientiarum reipublicae populi Mongoli, Tomus VI, part I. Toung Pao 54: 17389. Fung Yu-lan. 1952. A History of Chinese Philosophy. D. Bodde (trans.) Princeton: Princeton University Press. Gonda, J. 1974. Background and Variants of the Hirayagarbha Conception. In Studies in Indo-Asian Art and Culture, vol. 3. atapiaka Series, vol. 209. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 39-54. Hyer P. and S. Jagchid. 1983. A Mongolian Living Buddha: Biography of the Kanjurwa Khutughtu. Albany: State University of New York. Imaeda, Y. 1974. Pa-ku-pa Phags-pa z Dshi ch-fukuketsu ni tsuite. Ty gakuh 56: 41-48. Kubota, R. 1931. Shina Judbutsu sanky shiron. Tokyo. Lamotte, . 1960. Majur. Toung Pao 48: 1-96. Liu Tsun-yan and J. Berling. 1982. The Three Teachings in the Mongol-Yan Period. In Hok-lam Chan and W.T. de Bary (eds.) Yan Thought: Chinese Thought and Religion Under the Mongols. New York: Columbia University Press. Luo Xianglin. 1963. Tangdai wenhua shi. Taibei. Martin, D. 1997. Tibetan Histories: A Bibiography of Tibetan-Language Historical Works. London: Serindia Publications.



Matsunaga, Y. 1985. On the Date of the Majurmlakalpa. In M. Strickman (ed.) Tantric and Taoist Studies in Honour of R.A. Stein, vol. 3. Paris: Institut Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 882-94. Pelliot, P. 1916. Le Chou king en caractres ancients et le Chang chou che wen (planches XX-XXVI). In Mmoires concernant LAsie Orientale. Inde, Asie Centrale, Extr me-Orient, vol. II. Paris, 123177. Petech, L. 1983. Tibetan Relations with Sung China and with the Mongols. In M. Rossabi (ed.) China among Equals: The Middle Kingdom and its Neighbors, 10th-14th Centuries. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pukovski, L.C. (ed.) 1960. Ganga yin uruskhal. Moscow. Regamey, C. 1971. Motifs vichnouites et ivates dans le Kraavyha. In Etudes tibtaines ddies la mmoire de Marcelle Lalou. Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 411-417. Rickett, W.A. 1993. Kuan tzu. In M. Loewe (ed.) Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: University of California Press, 244-51. Rinchen, Y. 1974. Sanskrit in Mongolia. In P. Ratnam (ed.) Studies in Indo-Asian Art and Culture, vol. 3, ata-piaka Series: Indo-Asian Literatures, vol. 209: New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture. Roerich, G. [1949] 1976. The Blue Annals. Reprint, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Ruegg, D.S. 1964. Sur les rapports entre le Bouddhisme et le substrat religieux indien et tibtain. Journal Asiatique 252: 77-96. Smith, E.G. 1968. Introduction. In Lokesh Chandra (ed.) The Autobiography and Diaries of Si tu Pa chen. ata-piaka Series, vol. 77. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture. Srensen, P. K. 1994. Tibetan Buddhist Historiography: The Mirror Illuminating the Royal Genealogies. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Tucci, G. 1971. Deb ther dmar po gsar ma: Tibetan Chronicles by bSod nams grags pa, vol. 1. Serie Orientale Roma 24. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. Uspensky, V.L. 1985. Gombojabs works. monument of eighteenthcentury Mongolian historiography. Cotchinienia Guna Gombojaba kak pamiatnik Mongolskoi istoriographii XVIII v. Leningrad. Zrcher, E. 1959. The Buddhist conquest of China. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill.



Appendix List of Chinese and Japanese names, expressions and quotations arranged in alphabetical order Ba bagua Baoyingsheng Pusa Basiba var. Beishi Bei Wei Benjue Bianzhenglun chushijian fa Dafagu jing Dafangguang pusazang Wenshushili genben yigui jing Dai Nihon zokuzky (Supplement to the Canon of Kyto), Kyto, 1905-1912. Dasazhe niqian zi Fabao zongmulu Falin Fayun zhile Fofa Fozu lidai tongzai Fozu tongji Fuxi Fu Yi Gongbu zhabu Guan Zhong Guanzi Guang Hongming ji Guoshi Hanqu Fojiao yuanliu ji huahu huashen Imaeda Yoshiro Pa-ku-pa Phags-pa z Doshi chfukuketsu ni tsuite Phags-pa



Ji qi bianhia. Sui shi er xian. Huo wei shengdi. Huo zuo rulin zhi zong. Guoshii daoshi. Zaisuo xianhua. Buke chengji jia-yin Jiansheng sita sengni yi guoli minshi shiyi tiao Jintai Juean Jue dui Fu Yi fei Fofa sengshi Kong Anguo Kubota Ryon Shina Judbutsu sanky shiron [Laozi]huahujing Li Shiqian Li Shiqian yahoa Foxue jian shan xuantan. You ke wen sanjiao youlie. Li Shiqian yue. Fo ri ye. Dao yue ye. Ru wuxing ye. Shi yiwei zhi lun. [Lichao] Shishi zijian [Lidai biannian] Shishi tongjian Li Yanshou Lin Zhaoen Linzi quanji Liu Mi Luo Xianglin , Tangdai wenhua shi Miaoyin Minggai mu Nianchang Niepanjing Pusa huashen Qi Qianhanshu Qianlong Qing Jixiang Qingjing faxing jing Sanguang sanhuang



Sanjiao Sanjiao huibian yaole Sanjiao pingxin lun Sanjiao tanlun Sansheng sanwang Shanhaijing shan[neng] fangbian Shangshu guwen Shao Yong shijian fa Shishi jigu le Suishu Taish = Taish Shinsh Daizky (Buddhist Canon of the Taish Era), Tky, 1924-32. Taizi ruiying benqi jing Tian Xizai waidao Wanglun pin Wei Zheng Wenshushili Wo Shizu Huangdi. Ji gu Fo Shixian zhi yingshen ye wudi Xiangmai Xifan xue Xizhong xuantan Xumi siyu jing Xumi tujing Yijing Yin-Yang wuxing shuo youlie Zhina Zhipan Zhi Qian [Zhiyuan] Bianwei lu Zhiyuan Fabao kantong zonglu



BDUD DUL RDO RJE (1615-1672) AND RNYING MA ADAPTATIONS TO THE ERA OF THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA Jann Ronis The Rnying ma school was the locus for one of the most striking and profound cultural transformations that occurred during the era of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Between the middle of the seventeenth century and the Dzungar invasions of 1718, the Rnying ma school was marked by the rise of several large monasteries, the staging of large-scale rituals that attracted a trans-regional audience of Rnying ma lamas, and the reawakening of a long dormant tradition of seminary (bshad grwa) education based on the exegesis of canonical tantras.1 This constellation of three innovations in Rnying ma institutional life2 was developed at Smin grol gling monastery of southern Tibet, founded in 1670 but not thriving until the turn of the eighteenth century. Smin grol glings institutional model of monastic discipline, the ritual arts, and the study of tantric commentarial literature was emulated in Eastern Tibet and has

1 Dalton (2002, esp. chapters four and five) discusses the founding of Smin grol gling monastery and the creative and laborious work behind the redaction of the liturgies for these rituals. Dalton (2002: 204) writes that these developments constituted a reshaping and redefinition of the Rnying ma school. I completely agree, and suggest one more item to the inventory. Alongside the Rnying ma community-building rituals should be included seminary studies of Rnying ma canonical tantras and exoteric subjects. The major early figures in the academic element of the recreation of Rnying ma during the era of the Fifth Dalai Lama are Lo chen Dharmar (1654-1717) and O rgyan chos kyi grags pa (b. 1676). Both the ritual and tantric exegetical facets of this reshaping of the school are based largely in the Rnying ma Bka ma (canonical tantras and their liturgical and exegetical corollaries), not the Treasures (gter ma). 2 Ka thog monastery, founded in Khams in 1159 but largely defunct by the rise of Smin grol gling, also implemented the traditional rules of monastic discipline, and put into practice a vigorous ritual and study program based on the Bka ma. It was therefore a likely model for Smin grol gling. One significant difference between the two institutions is that the religious ethos at Ka thog was characterized by an ambivalence towards Treasures, whereas Smin grol gling monastery was founded by a Treasure revealer and promoted a liturgy that embraced both the Bka ma and the Treasures. Smin grol glings great synthesis of the two is encapsulated in their Dod jo bum bzang (cf. Gter bdag gling pa 1972).



characterized much of the Rnying ma tradition until the present.3 However, during the early decades of the Fifth Dalai Lamas reign, adapting to and exploiting the new social order was by no means an intuitive or painless process for Rnying ma lamas. The biographical and historical materials from and about the 1640s and 50s, in fact, narrate many episodes in which dynamic Rnying ma lamas misread the new circumstances and missed opportunities for adaptation to the changed political and religious situations. This essay is a case study of one individual in such turbulent episodes, focusing on a controversial Rnying ma figure, gter ston Bdud dul rdo rje (1615-1672; his dates correspond closely with the Fifth Dalai Lamas, 1617-1682). In this work of microhistory I will highlight the incidents from Bdud duls life story that illuminate broader dynamics of Rnying ma institutional life during this pivotal age, with an emphasis on his reactions to the rapidly evolving circumstances and the missteps and oversights that occurred along the way.4 I intend for this study to compliment the essays in this volume that focus on the great intellectual and institutional developments of the mature period of the era of the Fifth Dalai Lama. My main source materials are Bdud duls official Biography, written by one of his direct disciples; the Fifth Dalai Lamas Autobiography, edited and published soon after his passing; and the Gu bkra chos byung, an early nineteenth-century Rnying ma history. This line of research entails extracting Bdud dul from the saintly hidden valleys of hagiographical representations and focusing on the more worldly aspects of his life as lived in dramatically new religious and political arenas. I doing so I may represent him as less than a saint, but certainly much more sympathetically than some of his Tibetan detractors have. As Carl Bielefeldt (1985: 47) says about his critical portrayal of Zen master Dgen, whether or not, once [his life is analyzed according to secular social history], we shall see him as less of a man for it, we shall at least begin to see him as a man.

3 Smin grol glings influence on the Rnying ma monasteries in Khams did not become fully expressed until the nineteenth century, but that in the meantime they were indebted to Smin grol gling in many ways. 4 However, I will strive to avoid overdetermining Bdud dul as an emblematic type, and acknowledge his idiosyncracies as such.



I. Bdud dul Rdo rjes early years Bdud dul Rdo rje was born in 1615 (shing yos)5 in Dngul phu, very near the capital of Sde dge. In his youth he was ordained as a novice monk and given the ordination name Kun dga bsod nams chos phags.6 His preceptor was the great perfected one (grub chen) of Sde dge, and member of the thirty-seventh generation of the Sde dge royal family, Kun dga rgya mtsho.7 His recognition as a perfected one is evidenced by the fact that he officiated over all stages of the renovation and consecration of the Sde dge state monastery Lhun grub steng in the middle of the seventeenth century.8 His charismatic and visionary qualities were likely attractive to Bdud dul, who seems to have emulated them later in life. Kun dga rgya mtshos brother was Byams pa phun tshogs (d. 1667), the founder of Lhun grub steng monastery.9 At some point during his early days at Lhun grub steng, Bdud dul rdo rje met with a Rnying ma lama from Ka thog monastery. Bdud dul then left Lhun grub steng to follow him to the vibrant and nearby Rmug sangs religious center (dgon pa) for Rnying ma training.10 This lamas name is
5 Dudjom Rinpoche (1991: 813) and the Bod rgya tshig mdzod chen mo (1993: 3263) say that he was born in shing yos (1615), whereas Kun bzangs padma blo ldan (1997: 12.3); Gu ru bkra shis (1990: 566), and Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan (1996: 86) are in agreement that he was born in me yos (1627). There is a consensus among the texts, though, about how old he was when he died and the year he died, e.g., age 58 in chu byi (1672). This affords us with a basis from which to select between the two different dates offered for his birth. The date of shing yos (1615), found in the former two sources, is clearly the most reasonable option. 6 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 12.5-13.1. 7 Kun dga rgya mtsho was an ecumenical lama and studied under several eminent Sa skya and Rnying ma lamas. The Sde dge rgyal rabs (in Kolma 1968: 90-91) gives the following list of tutors (yongs dzin): Sa skya masters Jam dbyangs bsod nams dbang po (1559-1621), Rtse gdong gi bdag chen Kun dga bsod nams lhun grub, Sgar chen Mthu stobs dbang phyug, E wam pa shar chen Byams pa kun dga bkra shis (15581603), and Spyan snga kun dga don grub; and Rnying ma masters Rig dzin Ja tshon snying po (1585-1656), Byang pa Bkra shis stobs rgyal (ca. 1550-1603), Khrul zhig Dbang drag rgya mtsho (Mi gyur rdo rje was said to be his reincarnation), and others. 8 Sde dge dgon chen: 22-23. Lhun grub steng was initially founded in the fifteenth century by Thang stong rgyal po (ca. 1361-1485). For its first two centuries of existence the institution is best described as a temple rather than monastery. 9 One of the foundational principles of this state monastery was that the abbacy was to be held by the senior son of the king (Kolma 1968: 34). 10 Rmug sangs (variously labeled a dgon pa, ri khrod, and sgrub gnas) is located near Dpal yul monastery in cultural Sde dge. It was a hub of Rnying ma and Bka brgyud visionary movements in the seventeenth centuries. The most renowned lamas associated with the center during this time were Karma chags med (1613-1678), Gnam chos Mi



variously written as Gu ru seng ha, Bya btang Tra ya sing ha, Dren pa dkon mchog rgyal mtshan, A rdo dkon mchog seng ge, and Dren pa Dkon mchog seng ge.11 In his early twenties Bdud dul traveled to Dbus and Gtsang, taking the southerly route through Kong po. In Kong po he studied rdzogs chen with Grub thob Gter ston Bkra shis tshe brten of Lcags sde.12 After an unstated amount of time Bdud dul continued his travels, going as far west as Sa skya before turning back.13 He returned to Kong po, and in Bang ri met the Bka brgyud-friendly Treasure (gter ma) revealer Ja tshon snying po (1585-1656).14 This famous treasure revealer ordered him to go to Spo bo15a heavily forested area of southeast Tibet, and long a stronghold of treasure activityto await a prophecy regarding his destined Treasure revelations. Bdud duls Treasure discovery career commenced a few years later when he was twenty-eight years-old, and continued in one form or another until his death at age fifty-eight. His corpus of textual Treasures is comprised of four major cycles.16 While meditating at G.yu mtsho rin chen brag in Spo bo at age 28 (app. 1642), Bdud dul obtained the registry (kha byang) for his first treasure cycle, the Dam chos dgongs pa yongs dus. The actual excavation of the Dam chos dgongs pa yongs dus cycle took place one or two years later, also in Spo bo, and involved the participation of his first consort Lha gcig Padma skyid and attendant O rgyan rgya mtsho. Soon after, Bdud dul revealed his second Treasure cycle, the Dam chos sprul sku snying thig. As will be illustrated later in the paper, it proved to be very controversial later in his life.17 The Dam chos sprul sku snying thig was
gyur rdo rje (1645-1667), and Kun bzang shes rab (1636-1698). The latter went on to found Dpal yul monastery in 1665. 11 Sources for these names are, respectively: Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 13.2, 13.4; Gu ru bkra shis 1990: 567; Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan 1996: 83, 86. 12 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 13.4. Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan (1996: 87) calls him Nyang po Bkra shis tshe brten. 13 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 13.6-14.1. 14 Gu ru bkra shis (1990: 518) notes that Bkra shis Tshe brten and Ja tshon snying po were treasure masters (chos bdag) of each others Treasures. Ja tshon snying po, of course, was also a teacher of Bdud duls first teacher, Kun dga rgya mtsho. 15 The standard spelling of this toponym is Spo bo, yet a widely used variant of the name is Spu bo. Spu bo is the name of a local zhi bdag (O rgyan 1986: 1-2). Bdud duls Biography consistently uses this variant spelling. 16 My source for the next two paragraphs is Bdud duls Biography, esp. the chapter on his Treasure revelation (Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 21.6-47.4). 17 It was also highly regarded in some later Rnying ma circles and several titles from it were included in the Rin chen gter mdzod.



found in Tsha ba sgro brag, in the highlands south of Drag g.yab between the Mekong and Salween Rivers (Rdza chu and Ngom chu, respectively). On this expedition Bdud dul was accompanied by seven or eight disciples. Among them was his new consort, Dpon mo Bsod nams skyid las. She too was the daughter of a local chief, and they had three children together (two sons and a daughter). Only a portion of the Dam chos dgongs pa yongs dus was transcribed immediately after its discovery. The rest of it was committed to writing only later, and at the behest of a monk visiting them from Dbus.18 The third of Bdud duls four major cycles of textual Treasures is the Zab don gsang ba snying thig. He discovered it in Spu ri dwags rdzong phug, which would appear to be somewhat to the west of Spo bo. The fourth and final major cycle of Treasures that Bdud dul rdo rje discovered during his very productive thirties was excavated in Spu ri shel gyi yang sgrom. It is called the Tshe yang phur gsum and is focused on the triad on Amityus, Heruka, and Vajrakla. The author of the Biography writes that the Fifth Dalai Lama was notified that he was the Treasure master (chos bdag) of this cycle.19 The Fifth Dalai Lama was apparently interested in this prospect and implored Bdud dul to transcribe the Treasure. The Tshe yang phur gsum was transcribed seven years later. It is unclear when during these intervening seven years the Fifth Dalai Lama was contacted about his appointment as the Treasure Revealer, nor the context of how such contact took place. We will return later in the paper to the Dalai Lamas own account of his reception of the Treasures and his evaluation of Bdud dul rdo rje. By the time of his fourth series of Treasures, Bdud duls fame had spread to his home region of Sde dge. Sometime in his late thirties he was honored with an invitation to Sde dge from his old teacher, Kun dga rgya mtsho, and the monastic hierarch Byams pa phun tshogs.20 In 1656, at the age of forty-two, Bdud dul made a triumphant return to Khams, traveling far and wide around Sde dge. In terms of his participation in the broader pan-Tibetan religious world, the move to Sde dge was certainly the greatest professional advancement so far for Bdud dul. His presence in Sde dge was interpreted by the court as fulfilling a prophecy to benefit the religious and secular spheres of that society.21 The government even
18 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 27.1-27.2. 19 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 30.4-30.5. 20 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 15.6-16.2. 21 Gu ru bkra shis 1990: 567.



sponsored the construction of a temple bearing his nameBdud dul lha khangin which rituals were to be performed by Bdud dul for the benefit and protection of the state.22 The Sde dge courts embrace of Bdud dul harkens back to the activities surrounding Thang stong rgyal po (ca. 1361-1485) during his eventful tenure at the Sde dge court in the middle of the fifteenth century. Thang stong played a crucial role in the migration of the capital to its present location and the founding of a state temple in Sde dge (Kolma 1968: 31-32, 88-89). This period of a close partnership between king and Treasure revealer was the last period of intense growth and regional power for Sde dge prior to the mid-seventeenth century. It is my conjecture that the royal powers in Sde dge initially saw Bdud dul as a new Thang stong-like figure with whom they wanted to join forces in realizing a political and cultural renaissance within the kingdom. This must be the time period Cuevas (2003: 187) was referring to when he described Bdud dul a lama of impressive stature in eastern Tibet.23 However, shortly after this high point Bdud dul would become persona non grata in Sde dge. II. Hostile Welcome in Sde dge The political situations in Sde dge encountered by these two powerful Treasure revealers share a similar trajectory of regional strength and expansionistic agendas. Unfortunately for Bdud dul, though, the local religious culture had changed significantly by his time. Whereas Thang stong founded Lhun grub steng temple, Bdud dul had to negotiate power and prestige with Lhun grub stengs newly established monastic administration and population. During Thang stongs time Sde dge
22 Gu ru bkra shis 1990: 567. 23 Even after the breakdown in Sde dge, Bdud dul did remain an imposing fig-

ure among Rnying ma lamas in eastern Tibet. Evidence for this is found in the fourteenth chapter of Mi gyur rdo rjes Outer Biography, composed by Karma chags med (1984: 325.2-355.2). This chapter is a polemical piece that attempts to verify that Mi gyur rdo rje is an authentic Treasure revealer. After leaving Sde dge Bdud dul came to the Nang chen and spent time as a teacher of Mi gyur rdo rje, living in close proximity to him. Although Bdud duls tutelage was important to Mi gyur rdo rje while he was trying to establish himself as a great Treasure revealer, there was an unintended consequence to their relationship. Because Bdud dul was already considered a great Treasure revealer, his presence near Mi gyur rdo rje acted to preclude Mi gyur rdo rjes status as such. Mi gyur rdo rje also encountered other objections to his status as a sprul sku and Treasure revealer, which the chapter also proceeds to counter.



operated out of a Buddhist model of government in which power and legitimacy derived from the kings relationship to a (frequently nonmonastic) charismatic saint such as a Treasure revealer. In contrast, during Bdud duls time the royal family shifted its model of government to one in which legitimacy and virtue accrued to the ruler largely through being a major donor to the monastic community. Granted, Treasure revealers and monks do not embody essentially opposed modalities of ethics and rituals. To be sure, these two types of religious specialists were brought together in complimentary ways after Bdud duls stay in Sde dge. Some degree of competition seems to be inevitable between them, however. Treasure revealers desiring to collaborate with the civil and religious administration would have to find diplomatic and creative ways to fit in to the power structures. The changes in Buddhist models of governance employed in Sde dge reflect, and are outgrowths of, changes in the political organization of the kingdom during the same time period. While Bdud dul was occupied with his vocation as a Treasure discoverer in Southeastern Tibet and other parts of Khams in the 1640-50s, Sde dge had been the beneficiary of the same international forces that brought the Fifth Dalai Lama to power in Lhasa. In the prelude to the Dalai Lamas own irrevocable ascendancy in 1642, the Gushri Khans (b. 1582) army actively pursued military targets in Khams. Sde dge seems to have been singled out from among its neighbors by Gushri Khan to be one of the main regional powers in eastern Tibet. Stein summarizes these developments as follows (1972: 82-83), in 1637 Gushri Khan first crushed the principality of Beri, in Kham [actually, Dkar mdzas], and then came to the aid of Derge, which was by now enlarging itself at the expense of Ling [in the north]. The increased complexity of Sde dges geo-politics and international relations necessitated a restructuring of the government. Prior to Kun dga rgya mtsho and Byams pa phun tshogs generation (the thirty-sixth in the Sde dge royal line), the king was master of both the civil administration and the state temple (Kolma 1968: 34). The dramatic growth of Sde dge resulting from Gushri Khans military support on the eve of the era of the Fifth Dalai Lama led to a planned bifurcation of the government into secular and religious spheres, with the former controlled by the king and the latter centered at Lhun grub steng and controlled by a male of the royal family (Kolma 1968: 34). Although even the head monastic authorities of Sde dge wanted Bdud



dul to come to the kingdom and found a temple, clearly something more than just a temple was needed. To adapt a Chinese proverb24 to the situation at hand, a small kingdom can be expanded through the spiritual support generated by a temple run by a magnetic lama, but once enlarged the kingdom cannot be governed by such. Without innovating the traditional forms he was familiar with in Spo bo, Bdud dul was destined to run into strong competition and resistance. As has already been alluded to, Bdud dul did encounter serious problems at the court from the monks and their supporters. Soon after arriving in Sde dge, Bdud dul had a major falling out with the authorities and he left the region, never to return. This occurred within two or three years of his 1656 arrival.25 Gu ru bkra shis (1990: 752) gives the fullest picture of the breakdown. In a section on Ka thog monastery he writes: The connections between the Sde dge sa dbang chen po [U rgyan bkra shis?] and Rig dzin Bdud dul Rdo rje were derailed by the perverted rituals and (libelous) reports to authorities by many ill-intentioned people such as lama Sangs rgyas dpal bzang.26 The text goes on to mention that this regretful turn of events occurred during the abbacy of Kun dga phun tshogs, the first abbot of Lhun grub steng (752). Elsewhere the same text states, There was a prophesy that said if the connections between the great king of Sde dge and the Treasure revealer (Bdud dul rdo rje) go well, the majority of Khams will
24 The proverb says, Empires can be won on horseback but cannot be governed from there. 25 None of the sources say how long Bdud dul stayed in Sde dge. An approximate length of time can be determined, though, by correlating the date of arrival as attested to in his Biography with mention of his meetings with Mi gyur Rdo rje in the latters Outer Biography (Karma chags med 1983). As mentioned above, Bdud dul arrived in Sde dge in 1656. This was approximately 15 years after the Sde dge royal family had been given the military support of Gushri Khan (at the request of the Great Fifth) to expand its dominion in the area. I propose that the problems between him and his Sakya enemies were acute within 2 years of his arrival in 1656 and that he must have left the area by 1659 at the latest, but probably in 1658. Bdud dul and Mi gyur rdo rje became very close in Nangchen and it is clear that they spent more than a few months together. Mi gyur rdo rje went into a three-year retreat with Karma Chags-med in 1660, and it is thus safe to assume that Bdud dul left Sde dge at least a year before then. 26 Gu ru bkra shis 1990, 752: de yang sde dge sa dbang chen po/ rig dzin bdud dul rdo rje gnyis/ bla ma sangs rgyas dpal bzang sogs mi bsrun pai blo can mang po zhig gis log sgrub dang snyan phra la brten rten brel gzhan dbang du gyur pa. There is a lama Sangs rgyas dpal bzang among the 39th generation of the Sde dge royal family, but he had probably not even been born while Bdud dul was in Sde dge. Nonetheless, the lama Sangs rgyas dpal bzang mentioned in this passage was obviously of some stature in the state church.



come under the control of Sde dge. Yet because the connections were derailed, the great kings religious policies suffered slightly.27 So thoroughly was Bdud dul vilified, in fact, that he was written out of the Sde dge rgyal rabs, the early nineteenth-century state-sponsored royal genealogy.28 This text passes over Bdud duls generation, going directly from Ja tshon snying po to Klong gsal snying po (1625-1692); in other words, from Bdud duls teacher to his disciple (Kolma 1968: 91). What was the basis for this conflict between the two parties, Bdud dul and the Sde dge state church? I contend that this happened in large measure because he failed to make himself institutionally relevant, which left him open to attack from the monks. Given that he had been living in much smaller communities (based in Spo bo) for the preceding decades, perhaps a lack of political refinement and diplomatic skill on Bdud duls part contributed to his rapid downfall. Nevertheless personal idiosyncrasies were not the sole cause for the friction between him and the monks and their supporters in Sde dge. Rather, Bdud dul, the consummate lay tantrist with numerous wives and children, had the unenviable job of trying to work as a team with a new monastery that was busy solidifying its role in government and society. As was suggested above, Sde dge had outgrown the old model of governance in which a lama similar to Bdud dul was the chief ritualist for the court. The onus was thus on Bdud dul to adapt to the changed circumstances by innovating a new type of institution that could better address the needs of the government. In other words, his lha khang was no longer a sufficient basis for assisting the great kings religious policies (sa dbang chen poi bstan jus). If Bdud dul was to fully realize this prophesy then something more was demanded of him. It would seem then, that Bdud dul did not adapt quickly enough and therefore, being more numerous and closely connected to the court, as well as more consonant with the broader religio-political paradigm ushered in by the Fifth Dalai Lama and favored by the Mongolians, the monks gained the upper hand and drove Bdud dul out of Sde dge.

27 Gu ru bkra shis 1990, 568: sde dge sa dbang chen po dang gter chen di gnyis rten brel legs lam du gyur na mdo smad phal cher sde dgei mnga og tu du bai lung bstan yod kyang/ rten brel gzhan dbang du gyur pas sa dbang chen poi bstan jus la cung zad gnod. 28 This text was composed by Byams pa kun dga sangs rgyas bstan pa (b. 1786) of the forty-third generation of the Sde dge royal family. This text is edited and introduced in Kolma 1968.



Support for my claim that Bdud dul faced significant sectariandriven resistance in Sde dge can be found in the historical accounts about the relationship between Bdud duls main student and subsequent abbots of Lhun grub steng. Klong gsal snying po was Bdud duls most famous disciple and a Treasure revealer in his own right. Gu ru bkra shis (1990: 752-53) reports that the Lhun grub steng abbot Sangs rgyas bstan pa (brother of Kun dga phun tshogs) sent high-level envoys (bang mi sku tshab sogs) to Klong gsal snying po to apologize for Bdud duls mistreatment in Sde dge and to invite Klong gsal to come and continue the work of his (presumably now deceased) master. An indignant Klong gsal initially refused. After some time Klong gsal was instructed by kins to go and thereby accepted an appointment as the kings chaplain (dbui mchod gnas), which he carried out without incident. Monastic vs. Treasure revealer, or Rnying ma vs. Sa skya, conflicts at the Sde dge court did continue to occasionally flare up in subsequent times. The debacle with Bdud dul was not, therefore, an isolated event and a pattern of monastic vs. Treasure revealer hostility can be perceived for much of subsequent Sde dge cultural history. The most notorious of later conflicts was the murderous open civil rebellion of the late eighteenth century that erupted in response to the regents lavish patronage of Jigs-med gling-pa (1730-98; Smith 2001: 25). Klong gsal also went to Ka thog monastery, but unlike Bdud dul he spent a sustained period of time rebuilding it with state funds.29 At its founding in the middle of the twelfth century Ka thog was a disciplined monastery and maintained a thriving study program for approximately three centuries, yet had fallen into serious disrepair by the seventeenth century. Klong gsal perceived an opportunity at Ka thog and was able to help the monastery be reborn into a lay community centered on his Treasures. De dge was pleased with the revival of this cultural and economic institution, Klong gsal benefited from having a prestigious home for his tradition, and sentient beings were served. If Bdud dul had done something similar then he would not have run into serious trouble in Sde dge, even if he did have some personality issues. The sponsorship of large, new Rnying ma dgon pa by the court actually continued unabated through the end of the seventeenth century. About the same time as Klong gsals tenure at Ka thog, Dpal yul was built (1665) in the next valley over, then Rdzogs chen dgon pa in 1685. These three monasteries became vital to the broader monasticisation of Rnying ma
29 Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan 1996: 89.



traditions over the next two centuries in central and Eastern Tibet. One wonders if Bdud dul simply failed to see that his paltry renovation efforts at Ka thog could have been, with more effort, on the vanguard of an emerging trend in Sde dge religious culture. III. Prophesies and Miscalculations Regarding the Fifth Dalai Lama The previous problem was bound up with institutional issues, especially innovation and sectarian competition. The problem to be covered in this section is also about a problem faced by lamas that were active on the cusp of the Dalai Lamas ascension to power and the social changes that ensued from it. It is about the initial reactions to his ascension and how to reconcile with him if you had previously opposed his regime, as Bdud dul had. Coincidentally, or not, Bdud duls Treasure discovery career began within months of the Fifth Dalai Lamas ascendancy (i.e., his twenty-eighth year in approximately 1642). The tension and liminal quality of the time may even have contributed to Bdud duls visionary experiences. What is certain, though, is that in his early Treasures Bdud dul made critical comments about the Fifth Dalai Lamas regime and mourned the Karma pas defeat.30 Prophesies purportedly spoken by Padmasambhava in the eighth century were the medium through which Bdud dul voiced his denunciation of current events.31 Bdud dul may have felt emboldened to criticize the Dalai Lama because he did not think that his new regime would endure. After six or seven years, though, Bdud dul had a change of heart about the new governmentperhaps because he realized that they were going to maintain their grasp on powerand desired to work together with the new regime. Rather than merely desisting from criticizing the Dalai Lama in all of his later Treasures, Bdud dul instead made a blatant about face on the matter and began to praise the Dalai Lama and denigrate the Karma pa. The Dalai Lama became aware of this
30 Bdud dul usually had good relations with Bka brgyud lamas. His teacher Ja tshon snying po was a tantric preceptor of the tenth Karma pa. After leaving Sde dge Bdud dul became close with Karma chags med, who was closely connected with the Karma Bka brgyud school. 31 Treasure cycles usually include a title, narrated by Padmasambhava, that describes in graphic detail natural and military catastrophies that will beset Tibet in the future, and which the Treasures will respond to. Janet Gyatso (1998: 151) writes, The Treasure prophesies often describe the wars and political upheavals of such moments [of revelation], their traumas somehow to be alleviated by the new religious practices introduced by the Treasure scripture.



duplicity and his public condemnations of Bdud dul all but closed the doors of the central Tibetan centers of power to Bdud dul. In an entry dated to the year 165832 (sa khyi) the Great Fifth notes in his Autobiography that, at an earlier date, the De mo hu thog thu sent Bdud duls second Treasure cycle, Dam chos sprul sku snying thig, to De mos nephew Dbon po.33 It would seem that this transaction was an act of intelligence gathering about the resistance. De mo asked the Dalai Lama whether its origins were legitimate or not (khungs btsun mi btsun) and he responded that these treasures are nothing to get very excited about (ha cang gi ya mtshan rgyu mi dug). The Dalai Lama was curious about passages in the prophecies (lung bstan) section of this Treasure cycle that seemed to sympathize with several of the Dalai Lamas archrivals and criticize the Dge lugs pas. In his autobiography he cites directly from the Sprul sku snying thigs Lung bstan od kyi drwa ba:
A Treasure master (chos bdag) of the ultra secret root will appear as follows: ...(at a time when) the commitments have degenerated to their lowest point, the nine classes (of demons) will create conditions such that the one with the famous name Karma wanders the nation. May this protector of the Land of Snows be appointed (with the throne)!34

Neither was it lost on the Fifth Dalai Lama that the prophecies also eulogize two other adversaries of his, Sa skya Bdag chen Mthu stobs Dbang phyug (b. 1588) and Brug pa gdung brgyud Ngag dbang rnam rgyal (1594-1651). The Great Fifth also cites from a prophecy of Bdud duls that condemns Tsong kha pa.35 Subsequent to seeing these early Treasure texts of Bdud duls, Bdud dul himself sent the Dalai Lama a copy of his Tshe yang phur gsum, notifying the Dalai Lama that he was its Treasure master. The prophesies section of this cycle reflect Bdud duls reversal of opinion
32 This is likely the year that Bdud dul left Sde dge. 33 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 514. 34 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 514: lung bstan gyi od grar/ yang

gsang rtsa bai chos bdag di ltar byung: mchog dbyangs rnam sprul gangs can mtsho: dzam gling lha mi kun gyi rgyan gyur pa: dam nyams mthil phyin sde dgus rkyen byas nas: ming snyan karmai mtshan can rgyal khams myul: gangs can mgon po de la gtad rgya gyis. The version of this passage found in Bdud dul rdo rjes Lung bstan od gyi drwa ba (Bdud dul rdo rje, vol. 3: 350.5-351.2) is nearly identical. 35 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 520.6-521.1. Again, the text is almost verbatim with the original passage in Bdud duls Lung bstan od gyi drwa ba (Bdud dul rdo rje, vol. 3: 330.4-330.6).



about the Fifth Dalai Lama. In now lauding the Dalai Lama and turning his back on the Karma pas, Bdud dul was apparently trying to ingratiate himself to the new ruler of Tibet and his court. The Dalai Lama was a discerning judge of character and an astute textual scholar, and these inconsistencies were not lost on him. The Dalai Lama thus dismissively mentions that Bdud dul claims him to be the treasure master of this cycle,36 without even an explicit rejection of the notion.37 He closes the section on Bdud dul by saying, Because of the contradictions I became convinced from the depths of my heart he is a hypocritical fabricator of treasures.38 This episode contains an element of tragic irony. The Dalai Lama did reconcile with the Karma pa camp sometime between 1653 and 1658.39 Bdud duls Biography says that the Tshe yang phur gsum was transcribed when Bdud dul was approximately 38 years old, in about 1653. At this time Bdud dul was apparently still unaware that the Dalai Lama was interested in a settlement with the Karma pa. One wonders if waiting a few years would have tempered the hypocritical tone of the prophesies Bdud dul composed for the Dalai Lamas consumption. In periods of rapid political and social change it is extremely difficult to anticipate what is coming next and to accurately perceive the implications of emerging trends.

36 Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 30.4-30.5. 37 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 515. 38 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1989: 515: zog po gter rdzus mkhan du nges

shes gting nas drongs te. This humiliating portrayal of Bdud dul was now part of the public record (published in the 1690s), and some Rnying ma historians actually acknowledged the controversy. Gu ru bkra shis (1990: 569) says rten brel ga zhig gi bab las phebs par ma shar bas kun mkhyen lnga pa rin po che thugs cung zad ma rangs pai gsung sgros rnam thar du yod. He then goes on to downplay the problem by saying that some dignitaries in Central Tibet still wished to be in contact with Bdud dul. In his Nor bui do shal, Kun bzang nges don klong yangs (1976: 300.2-300.4) also acknowledges the problem, but is more apologetic. The author at first downplays the issue by merely saying that there were various inconclusive anecdotes (ngag rgyun ma nges sna tshogs) about Bdud dul, but then goes on to give the volume letter of the Dalai Lamas Autobiography in which this episode is covered. Understandably, Jam mgon Kong spruls Gter ston brgya rtsa paints Bdud dul in a very inspiring light and completely ignores the problem. 39 The reconciliation was brokered by Tshur phus Rgyal tshab rin po che. Because the Karma pa was deep in the frontier territories of Yunnan at the time, the actual meeting between the Karma pa and the Fifth Dalai Lama did not occur until 1674 (Richardson 1998: ch. 50).



IV. Bdud duls Latter Years and Conclusion What became of the lamas who did not adapt to the new social and cultural matrices that emerged out of the mid-century political changes in Kham and Central Tibet? In Bdud duls case, after being shut out of Sde dge and Lhasa he returned to his old haunts, to the maala in which he learned his trade and was best suited; namely, small-scale political entities in rural and wilderness areas. He thus lived out the rest of his life in southeastern Tibet, primarily Spo bo and Padma bkod (in Kong po). In this stage of his vocation he dramatically reduced his discovery of textual treasures, but redoubled efforts at opening hidden valleys.40 The most well known of the hidden valleys Bdud dul worked in was Padma bkod. Franz-Karl Erhard writes, The seventeenth century was ... the particular period in which the sacred site of Gnas Padma-bkod was systematically visited by treasure discoverers of the Rnying-ma-pa school. But why was this a time of such intensive activity? Based on what we have seen of the vicissitudes of Bdud duls life, it can be concluded that at least some of the lamas that were exploring and inhabiting hidden valleys in Southern and Southeastern Tibet in the seventeenth century were there as exiles. They were not spiritual refugees fleeing the incursion of politics into their communities, but religious leaders who had tried to get ahead in regional centers of power and were unsuccessful. In many ways Bdud dul rdo rje is quite a sympathetic character. The lost opportunities in Sde dge and Lhasathe result of both historical accident and political navetelimited his horizons and did not allow him to fully express his ambitions and creativity. He died early, at age fifty-eight, in contravention of a well known prophesy that he was to go to Smar khams and live until age eighty-three. There likely were many other lamas that also had a difficult time adjusting to the new social and religious circumstances in Kham and Central Tibet that ensued from the
40 In this stage of his life Bdud dul did continue to discover Treasure texts. After his return to Spo bo, though, the Biography reports that his son acted as his surrogate revealer (spyan tshab). This task involved taking the yellow scrolls (shog ser) discovered by his father and developing them into texts ready for liturgical use by Bdud duls spiritual community. The Biography (Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 34.5, 36.6) indicates that Rgyal sras acted in this manner on more than one occasion. Some yellow scrolls, though, never were transcribed, and still others were assigned to Rgyal sras but their transcription was still outstanding even after Bdud duls death (Kun bzangs padma blo ldan 1997: 37.4, 50.5).



Great Fifths rise to power. As I have shown above, the problems they faced were increased sectarian conflict in which old-fashioned Rnying ma Treasure revealers are caught off guard and slow to adapt, as well as suffering long-term banishment from the Dalai Lamas court for offenses committed very early on in his rise to power. More research remains to be pursued on the early years of this epochal age of Tibetan politics, society, and religion. One of the most pressing gaps in our knowledge about this time period concerns the political and ideological dynamics involved in the explosive growth in Khams of large Rnying ma dgon pasome of which were monastic, others lay dominatedin the last third of the seventeenth century. Tibetan References Bdud dul rdo rje, Spo bo gter ston (1615-1672). 1997. Collected revelations and writings of Spo bo Gter ston Bdud dul rdo rje of Ka thog. 12 vol. Kun bzangs padma blo ldan, Stags ras pa (seventeenth century). Rig dzin grub pai dbang phyug bdud dul rdo rjei rnam thar gter byung mdor bsdus pa dad pai mchod stong. In Bdud dul rdo rje 1997, vol 10, 1-54. Gter bdag gling pa (1646-1714) et al. 1972. Sgrub thabs dod jo bum bzan : a collection of Nyingmapa sadhanas. New Delhi: B. Jamyang Norbu. Gu ru bkra shis (eighteenth century.). 1990. Bstan pai snying po gsang chen snga gyur nges don zab mo chos kyi byung ba gsal bar byed pai legs bshad mkhas pa dga byed ngo mtshar gtam gyi rol mtsho. Beijing: krung goi bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang. Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan (1929-2001). 1996. Rgyal ba Ka thog pai lo rgyus mdor bsdus. Chengtu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. Karma chags med (1613-1678). 1983. Mi gyur rdo rjei rnam thar (Full title: Sprul sku mi gyur rdo rjei phyii rnam thar kun khyab snyan pai brug sgra) In Collection des tresors / revls par Gnam-chos Mi-gyur-rdo-rje. 13 vol. Bylakuppe, Mysore, India: Pema Norbu Rinpoche. Kun bzang nges don klong yangs. 1976. Bod du byung bai gsang sngags snga gyur gyi bstan dzin skyes mchog rim byon gyi rnam thar nor bui do shal: a concise history of the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Dalhousie: Damchos Sangpo



Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, Fifth Dalai Lama. (1617-1682). 1989. Za hor gyi ban de Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi di snan khrul bai rol rtsed rtogs brjod kyi tshul du bkod pa du ku lai gos bza. 3 vol. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang. O rgyan et al. 1986. Spo boi lo rgyus [=Spo bo rdzong lo rgyus cha legs sgrig tsho chung gis bsgrigs.] Lhasa: Bod-ljongs mi-dmangs dpeskrun-khang. Sde dge rgyal rabs [=Dpal sa skyong sde dge chos kyi rgyal po riim byon gyi rnam thar dge legs nor bui phreng ba dod dgu rab phel]. In Kolma 1968. Other References Bielefeldt, C. 1985. Recarving the Dragon: History and Dogma in the Study of Dgen. In W. La Fleur (ed.) Dgen Studies. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 21-53. Cuevas, B.J. 2003. The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford University Press. Dalton, J.P. 2002. The Uses of the Dgongs pa dus pai mdo in the Development of the Rnying-ma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan. Dudjom Rinpoche and J. Y. Dorje (eds) 1991. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Volume One. G. Dorje with M. Kapstein (trans.) Boston: Wisdom Publications. Gyatso, J. 1998. Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kolma, J. 1968. A Genealogy of the Kings of Derge: Sde-dgei Rgyalrabs. Tibetan text edited with historical introduction. Prague: Publishing House of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Richardson, H. 1998. High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected Writings on Tibetan History and Culture. M. Aris (ed.) London: Serindia Publications. Smith, E.G. 2001. Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Stein, R.A. 1972. Tibetan Civilization. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


RITUAL, FESTIVAL AND AUTHORITY UNDER THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA Kurtis R. Schaeffer On April 14th of 1695 the desiccated body of the Fifth Dalai Lama was removed from the wooden box in which it had been placed twelve years earlier on April 8th 1682, the day after his death.1 Wrapped in silk and cotton, packed with cinnamon, saffron, camphor, and salts, his body had mummified since during these years. It was now time to install it in the sixty-foot tall golden reliquary housed within the recently completed Red Palace of the Potala.2 Known as the Single Ornament of the World, the stpa was to form an essential part of both ritual and political life within the Potala, around Lhasa, and throughout Tibet. At least this is what Sangy Gyatso worked toward when he began a major series of writings dedicated to ensuring the Fifth Dalai Lama and his remains just such a place. Sangy Gyatso (1653-1705), the fifth and most important regent of the Tibetan government founded in 1642 under the Fifth Dalai Lama, was a prolific writer during his twenty-four years as ruler. He was perhaps the most influential writer on secular arts and sciences that Tibet produced up to the seventeenth century, and most likely since. From his early 1681 work on governance to his 1703 history of medicine, he touched on subjects as varied as language arts, building techniques, the politics of ritual, funeral rites, astrological and calendrical theories, methods of healing, and rules for court servants. It has been suggested that in all of these areas Sangy Gyatso sought to assert control in various areas of public religious and intellectual life. Two of Sangy Gyatsos writings from the mid-1690s serve well as entry points to the larger project of assessing his role in and contribution to the
1 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod, p. 247.9. Sangs rgya rgya mtsho, Drinbzhi pa, ff. 160b-161a; Ahmad 1998: 275; Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Pur, fol. 16a.2. For a recent sketch of the Fifth Dalai Lamas life and works, see Schaeffer 2005. For a more detailed study of the Fifth Dalai Lamas remains, see Schaeffer forthcoming. 2 See Meyer 1987 and Chayet 2003 for general surveys of the Potalas construction.



development of Tibetan and Buddhist culture after the founding of the Ganden Government in 1642. In Tales for the New Year Sangy Gyatso argues that the New Year is an appropriate time to commemorate the Dalai Lama. In the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey, he prescribes fixed routes for circumambulating the Fifth Dalai Lamas stpa, the Potala, and even Lhasa itself. I would like to propose that, while the stated purpose of the the Lhasa Survey may have been to establish new pilgrimage routes, the primary effect of this and other related writings was to establish the legitimate authority of the Ganden Governments rule over Tibet. The principle means employed in these writings to do this were the memorialization of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the reformation of classical Buddhist traditions of practice and myth in a new Tibetan context. The principle object symbolizing this authority was no less than the Fifth Dalai Lamas reliquary. Sangy Gyatsos literary activities between 1693 and 1701 were almost entirely concerned with the Fifth Dalai Lamas life, his death, and his legacy. It is truly impressive just how much writing the regent devoted to to extolling the greatness of his master, the Ganden Government, and the Gandenpa School. In all he devoted more than seven thousand pages to extolling the Fifth Dalai Lama from a variety of perspectives.3 Sangy Gyatsos writing efforts during these few years were not random, but almost certainly connected with the 1695 installation of the Fifth Dalai Lamas remains in the great stpa, the completion of the Potalas Red Palace in which the stpa was housed, and the enthronement of the Sixth Dalai Lama in 1697. I. Sangy Gyatsos Tales for the New Year Sangy Gyatso wrote Tales for the New Year, a minor part of this large body of work, at the request of two close contemporaries in the Potala court who wanted teachings glorifying the Fifth Dalai Lama.4 He
3 See the Appendix for a discussion of Sangs rgyas rgya mtshos writings about the Fifth Dalai Lama. 4 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 46a. See also Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, fol. 204a.6. The colophon states that this work was composed in 1694. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 46b: phan pai ched nag po gro shes su bkod pai tshig nyung la bel gtam smra bai don gyi lde mig di ni / gzhung lugs mgrin lam degs par ngag skyon du mas gnang bar gyur naang / sor rtser len pai spobs pa gzengs su mtho ba sa (int. omitted) ra (int. omitted)i ming can gyis rab nyii dngos poi lo (1694) dbyu gu zla bai dmar chai bzang po gsum pa nyi ma me bzhii grub sbyor nas nyin phyed gsum du grub par sam shog ci rigs par sug bris su bgyis pa sho las du bebs mi



organizes his presentation of his master within the common rubric of the five perfections: 1. place, 2. teacher, 3. retinue, 4. time, and 5. teaching.5 These teachings on the five perfections are all characterized as tales conducive to liberation to be contemplated at the New Year. Such tales were performed by Sangy Gyatsos associates at New Years festivals in the Potala throughout the 1690s, and it is possible that Sangy Gyatsos work was a sort of handbook for such performances.6 In an entertaining bit of commentarial flourish, Sangy Gyatso begins with perhaps the most recognizable phrase in Buddhist literature, Thus at one time did I hear this speech. He breaks this phrase, which (ideally at least) begins all sutras and tantras, into five components, each corresponding to one of the five excellences. This speech (di skad) is the excellent teaching, I or by me (bdag gis) is the excellent retinue, heard (thos pa) refers to the excellent teacher, and one time (dus gcig) is of course the excellent time. Finally, the locative particle at (na) connotes the excellent place.7 In the case of the Fifth Dalai Lama the five perfections, and by extension the first words of every sutra, refer to the following: The perfect place is the Potala palace, and in particular the Dalai Lamas stpa within the Potala. This place Sangy Gyatso likens to the site of the Buddhas enlightenment, Vajrsana, which it has in fact surpassed as the greatest Buddhist land since the Turks brought an end to the tradition in India. The perfect teacher is the Fifth Dalai Lama himself, who has been prophesied in countless treasure texts as the embodiment of Avalokitevara. Because of his close connection with the Fifth Dalai Lama, Sangy Gyatso also includes himself in the category of perfect teacher. He assures the reader that, like the Fifth Dalai Lama, the young regent was also prophesied to be the ruler of Tibet in treasure texts, a notion, incidentally, which goes back at least to 1679, when the Fifth Dalai Lama referred to just such a prophecy in his public decree
phal cher cha dkar ba pad ma bsod nams kyis bgyis pa sar ba jag a ta // //. There are, however, reasons to suspect that it was completed after this. 5 Phun sum tshogs pa lnga. There is no topical outline in the text, as is the case with many of Sangs rgyas rgya mtshos writings. The structure of the work is as follows: Opening verses 1b-2b.2; Introduction 2b.2-8a.5; 1. Perfect Place (gnas) 8a.5-21b.1; 2. Teacher (ston pa) 21b.1-34a.2; 3. Assembly (zhu ba poam khor) 34a.2-35b.6; 4. Time (dus) 35b.6-40a.4; 5. Teaching (chos) 40a.4-45a.6; Concluding verses 45a.6-b.5; Colophon 45b.5-46a (incomplete: missing 46b). 6 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drinlnga pa, fol. 313b.6; Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, ff. 1b.4, 41a.3; 76a.3; 204b.4, etc. 7 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 8a.



appointing Sangy Gyatso as regent.8 The perfect retinue is Gushri Khan (1582-1655), the dharma king under whom all ranks of government were said to be happy. Finally, the perfect teachings are of course the collected written works of the Fifth Dalai Lama and Sangy Gyatso, as well as the public teachings and ceremonies held by the Dalai Lama, including his twenty-two yearly performances as master of the Great Prayer Festival. The perfect time is the era of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and in particular the Wood-hog year (1695) in which his remains were placed in the Single Ornament Stpa. Here Sangy Gyatso discusses the various traditions of establishing the start of the New Year.9 According to a series of elaborate calculations only mentioned in the present work but developed in other works, the advent of the new year at the beginning of the lunar calendar coincides with certain principal events in the life of the Buddha as well as both Tsongkhapa and the Fifth Dalai Lama. It is therefore an auspicious occasion on which to celebrate the reign of the Ganden Government through festivals around the Potala.10 In more practical terms, Sangy Gyatso notes that since people are already assembled around Lhasa for New Year it is a convenient occasion to gather people together at the Potala.11 He concludes the work with a series of quotes illustrating the unbroken tradition of New Year celebrations among the Gandenpa hierarchs. II. The Lhasa Circumambulation Survey Like Tales for the New Year, the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey of 1697the second work under consideration herewas also composed at the request of a specific audience, in this case three people who were either guests or members of the Potala court, including the caretaker of the Fifth Dalai Lamas stpa.12 The central purpose of the work was to
8 See Richardson 1998: 445. 9 Anonymous, Bod, entry 240 (61), lists seven different dates upon which the New

Year is said to begin. 10 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 43b. 11 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 40a. 12 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor, fol. 110a-b: mchod sdong chen poi dkon gnyer sgo mangs rab byams pa ngag dbang dar rgyas / smad rams blo bzang sbyin pa gnyis dang / stod lung rgya legs pa rta mgrin dbang phyug [110b] gis bad pa chen pos skor tshad dgos tshul gyi bskul ma byung bas /. Sgo mang Rab byams pa Ngag dbang dar rgyas and Smad rams Blo bzang sbyin pa are both mentioned at Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Kha skong, v. 3, fol. 229b3. See Sangs rgyas



fix select circumambulation routes in Lhasa. This Sangy Gyatso accomplishes in about five pages toward the end of the work. For fully one hundred pages before this, however, he mounts a case for the supreme importance of the Fifth Dalai Lamas stpa. Just as the Buddhas seat of enlightenment lay at the center of the cardinal directions in India, so does the Single Ornament Stpa lie at the center of Tibet. As in Tales of the New Year, Sangy Gyatso employs a set of themes under which to extol the greatness of the stpa. In the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey, however, he creates his own set of thirteen excellent qualities, including location, time, craftsmen, construction materials, reliquary contents, consecration ceremonies, and patronage.13 In contrast to the five perfections, Sangy Gyatso explicitely states that this larger scheme, while based upon scriptural authorities, was his own creationan unusual claim in an otherwise conservative literary tradition.14 These thirteen excellent qualities in fact form the basis of his catalog of the Single Ornament Stpa, where each topic is extensively detailed. In the later part of the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey the benefits of circumambulating both temples and cities are spelled out in the full range of authoritative sources, from sutras to tantras to recent treasure texts. Sangy Gyatso cites the travel guide of Atia, to note but one example, in which Atia claims that he obtained spiritual boons by circumambulating the great cities of India, and that from circumambulating the temple of Khasarpani he was cured of elephantiasis.15 The actual work of surveying circumambulation routes was conducted by five people,16 who must have provided Sangy Gyatso with the data to compile the survey. The survey presents exact
rgya mtsho, Kha skong, v. 3, fol. 273v.4, for a Rgya yag pa Rta mgrin dbang phyug. See also Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, fol. 327b.5. 13 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal: 1. gnas, 37a.3-40b.4; 2. bsam pa, 40b.4-41a.3; 3. dus, 41a.3-41b.6; 4. bzo bo, 41b.6-42b.1; 5. bkod, [297] 42b.1-43a.5; 6. rten gyi ngo bo, 43a.5-47b.2; 7. rgyu, 47b.2-48a.6; 8. gces pai yan lag cho ga, 48a.6-49a.2; 9. rab gnas, 49a.2-49b.4; 10. mchod pa, 49b.4-59a.2; 11. yon bdag, 59a.3-61b.4; 12. phrin las, 61b.4-62b.2; 13. phan yon, 62b.2. 14 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtsug, p. 1063. 15 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor, f. 101a.1. 16 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal f. 100a: Cha dkar ba Padma bsod nams; Lha sa ba Dpal byor rgya mtsho; Rgya gsar sgang Dkon mchog; Lcags grod pa Bsod nams rab brtan; Zhol gzhi ka ba Padma tshe brtan.



measurements for walking routes around a number of places in Lhasa, beginning with the Potala, which had only recently achieved the shape known today with the addition of the Red Palace.17 According to Sangy Gyatso there was no special tradition of walking around the Red Hill upon which the Potala now stood. The new route, he advocated, was to run from the western Zhol gate through the stpa at the entrance of Lhasa, and continue clockwise around Red Hill and the Potala to eastern Zhol gate. A single circuit around the hill was surveyed at 1032 arm spans, or approximately one mile, though this may be a bit longer during the rainy season when muddy.18 Next Sangy Gyatso prescribes circuits in the chapel housing the Dalai Lamas stpa as well as in adjacent chapels in the Red Palace. The principle circumambulation route is, of course, around the Fifth Dalai Lamas stpa itself. Four chapels on the ground floor of the Red Palace are provided with circuit measurements: the Trungrab Lhakhang with its statue of Shakyamuni, the Lamrim Lhakhang and its central image of Tsongkhapa, the Rigdzin Lhakhang housing a statue of Padmasambhava, and the Dalai Lamas chapel as a whole.19 From the Potala he moves to the central part of Lhasa and prescribes circuit measurements for several temples, including Ramochand the Jokhang. Lastly, Sangy Gyatso addresses the total length of the Lingkhor circuit around Lhasa, including Ramoch, Meru, Zhid Tratsang, Marpori, and Chakpori, which he claims comes to a total

17 The full skor tshad occurs at Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, ff. 100a.1-103a.1. A number of skor tshad works were composed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in Amdo, Khams, and Mongolia. Dharmabhadra, Dkar, pp. 524.6-526.4, contains a general discussion of skor tshad. His three-fold presentation follows a general pattern found in many skor tshad texts: There are three specific points regarding the the circumambulation of holy receptacles: the measurement of what is to be circumambulated, instruction on how to circumambulate, and the benefits of having circumambulated [Dharmabhadra, Dkar, pp. 524.6-525.2: da ni de lta bui rten khyad par can rnams la bskor bar bya la la gsum / bskor ba bya bai tshad / skor ba byed tshul gyi man ngag (/) bskor (525) ba byas pai phan yon ni /]. Very often the skor tshad is combined with a lo rgyus (sometimes dkar chag) or brief history of the place under discussion. See also Dkon mchog bstan pai sgron me, Gsung; Blo bzang bskal bzang rgya mtsho, Bde; Bstan pa rab rgyas, Se, pp. 222229, and Lhun grub chos phel, Rwa, pp. 179-184, esp. 179.15-183.10 which follows Bstan pa rab rgyas, Se; Rol pai rdo rje, Tsan (Note that the translation of skor tshad in this title as authentic in Berger 2003: 227, n. 80 should be ammended to circumambulation survey). 18 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 100a. 19 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 100b.



length of 4523 arm spans, or roughly four-to-five miles. In all, he provides measurements for almost twenty different circuits.20 III. Sangy Gyatso and the Invention of Tradition What can we make of these two instances of writingone concerned with time, the other concerned with place, yet both overwhelmingly concerned with the Fifth Dalai Lama? At the beginning of this essay I suggested that the majority of Sangy Gyatsos writings in the mid-1690s represent various efforts to argue for the supreme and just rule of the Ganden Government.21 The actual processes by which this may have been achieved have yet to be theorized or studied in a historical fashion to any great degree. Nevertheless, the two works considered here offer minor but revealing evidence of this effort, presenting two different arguments for the central place of the Fifth Dalai Lamas stpa in late seventeenth century Tibetan religious and political life. According to Sangy Gyatso, the festivities of the New Year celebrate not only the Dalai Lama but also the beneficent rule of the Ganden Government, under which Tibet will experience plentiful harvests, protection from disease, and good relations with demons and deities.22 The stpa was no less than the single ornament of the world, the principle point around
20 The precise relational meaning of the principle terms in Sangs rgyas rgya mtshos measurements, ri skor and mtha skor, has eluded my understanding. The term mtha skor, circumfrence, seems straightforward and is used in most, if not all of the skor tshad texts composed after Sangs rgyas rgya mtshos time. However, he employs the term ri skorwhich one might expect to mean circumambulating a mountainin a technical sense when he provides measurements. His measurements of the Dzam gling rgyan gcig itself provides a typical example: gser gdung rin po che dzam gling rgyan gcig thog zo lnga pai sa dzin mtha skor la gzhal bya gong bzhin gyi mtho brgya dang bzhi bcu sor bzhir bum ther gro bar ri skor chig stong bdun brgya / [Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor, fol. 100b.1]. I have not found this use of ri skor in any of the other skor tshad texts I have perused. This and many other issues of interpretation are compounded by the fact that the single witness of the Lha sa skor tshad to which I have access is plagued with numerous orthographic errors. I hope to return to this issue at a later date. Another instance of the two terms occurs at Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Thams, pp. 60-61: de nas rong dogs nyams dang lam skya shar yod pa zhig la sku zhabs rin po che sku gan sbyar gos ther gser ma de zlum khyer gyis mnabs chibs la chibs te phebs par ri mtha skor sogs ljon shing gi rigs kyang yod snyam pa khang pa bgogs nyams can rdo skas shar du gtad pa zhig gi nang mi tshang des spyan [61] dren zhus khul gyi rdo skas la phyag then ban gzugs bongs che ba gos dmar gyi lding slog gyon pa smug dzi ri ba zhig gis byas /. 21 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 44b. 22 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Rgyal, fol. 44b.



which the major rites of the Potala would be arranged, a second Vajrsana. As the center of a developing set of ceremonial rites, the Dalai Lamas stpa also symbolized a hierarchic relationship developing between the Gandenpa School and other schools. For while the Ganden Government converted monasteries throughout central and western Tibet Sangy Gyatso had the relics of past masters brought to the Potala to be placed in the Single Ornament Stpa. Just as philosophical positions are arranged hierarchically in a treatise on tenets, the relics of other schools masters, including those taken from such places as Rinpung, were subsumed within the greater structure of the Dalai Lama stpa, both physically and symbolically.23 One rhetorical method routinely used by Sangy Gyatso to argue for the preeminence of the Gandenpa has to do the relationship between the past and the present, or between tradition and innovation. In both of these works Sangy Gyatso considered himself to be initiating new customs, as he tells us on several occasions. Yet he also took great pains to link these new examples of religious activity with classically dictated ritual forms. Indeed, quotations from sutras and other canonical works form up to half of any given work by Sangy Gyatso. The Dalai Lama died just like the Buddha, Sangy Gyatso tells us, and yet everything from the way in which the Dalai Lamas remains were preserved to the rituals of commemoration were clearly and self-consciously contemporary innovations that needed to be persuasively argued for. In this tension between visions of a timeless order and the realia of local contingency we see a good example of what historian Eric Hobsbawm has termed invented tradition, or a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behavior by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.24 In these two works we see Sangy Gyatso explicitly combining established traditions claiming venerable authority with new rites and ceremonies. Both here and elsewhere Sangy Gyatso is eager to show that the New Years festivities are part of an unbroken ancient tradition.25 In the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey he presents a brief
23 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtsug, p. 581. 24 Hobsbawm 1992: 1. 25 See the recurring mention at Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, ff. 1b.5,

79b.3, 138a.1.



history of festivals in Tibet, providing scriptural citations attesting to the proper Buddhist character of festivals as well as a justification of monastic participation in such activities.26 Associating such solemn ceremonial rites as the mourning of the Dalai Lama and the more boisterous seasonal festivities of the New Year also entailed reconciling apparent contradictions between such phenomena as popular music and dance with monastic decorum.27 Elsewhere he goes to great lengths to show that the Fifth Dalai Lamas remains were cared for in just the same manner as those of the Buddhadespite the obvious point that in the standard hagiographies the Buddha was cremated, while the Dalai Lama was mummified. Yet in the very act of drawing these connections between tradition and innovation he reveals how necessary it was to actively maintain such calendrical and memorial rites and through persuasive writings and the establishment of new ceremonies. The effect of such historiesbe they of festivals, the New Year, or the death of the Buddhawas precisely to authorize his own innovations centering on the Potala. The invention of tradition in Sangy Gyatsos writings most likely continues a project begun by the Fifth Dalai Lama.28 The two works briefly considered here share much in common with the Fifth Dalai Lamas own Guidelines for the Great Prayer Festival of Lhasa, the first section of which is a history of the festivals development.29 Indeed, the same rhetoric can be seen in writings from the earliest years of the Dalai Lamas rule in the 1640s, for even then his life was cast in terms of its continuity with major events of both the Buddhas life story and the Tibetan imperial past. Writing in 1646, an early biographer of the Fifth Dalai Lama states that the foundation for the Potala was first laid on the Buddhas birth and death day in 1645. During this auspicious event the Dalai Lamas patron, Gushri Khan, beheld a great temple in the sky over

26 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor, fol. 50a. 27 Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor, fol. 51a. 28 This process certainly goes back to the imperial period, as Kapstein 2000:

chapters 1-4 has shown. Kapsteins suggestion that when it is conversion of a nation that is at issue, the gradual transformation of cosmological frameworks, of ritual, intellectual, and bureaucratic practices, and of the historical and mythic narratives through which the national identity is constituted are among the key themes to which we must attend [Kapstein 2000: 65], is certainly applicable to the present example, even if we are not speaking strictly of conversion in the case of the Fifth Dalai Lama. 29 Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, Lha.



the area, a vision that was in turn verified by the prophetic words of that most famous king of dharma, Songtsen Gampo.30 Little did this biographer know that fifty years later the Dalai Lamas remains would inhabit the center of a massive fortress of dharma, or that the identification of the Dalai Lama with both the bodhisattva of compassion and the Buddha himself would find its greatest elaboration in the writings of the Dalai Lamas successor to power. In his 1698 history of the Gandenpa school we thus find Sangy Gyatso describing the central government of Tibet as the integration of religious and secular ways and the magnificent root of all benefit and joy for every being,. He goes on to make an explicit connection between government and bodhisattva by applying a passage from antidevas Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life to the Ganden Government itself: The only cure for the suffering of beings, the source of all pleasure. Just as Sangy Gyatso sought to systematize administrative roles within the Ganden Government in his early work of 1681, so did he seek to create systems of ritual in Lhasa in the service of government, systems moreover sanctioned by the greatest authorities of Indian Buddhist literature. By the end of the 1690s the Ganden Government as heralded in Sangy Gyatsos writings had become no less than the enlightened caretaker of Tibet, benefactor of the arts and sciences, powered, empowered, and authorized by the golden stpa containing the mummified body of the Fifth Dalai Lama at its center. Appendix: Writings of Sangy Gyatso The collected writings of Sangy Gyatso were printed at the printing house below the Potala, and the blocks were kept at Drepung monastery until they were destroyed in 1949. Most of these works were printed at the Ganden Puntsokling (Dga ldan phun tshogs gling) Printery in Zhol under the Potala (See Anonymous, Gangs, 181-84). We now have approximately ninety percent of his writings. Nevertheless, a number of Sangy Gyatsos works relevant to the present project are currently unavailable in published form or in the collection of E. Gene Smith at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC). Missing works include: homage prayers to his previous lives (Khrungs rabs rnam thar gsol debs kyi grel pa mu tig chun po, ff. 79); the guide to the Great Offering Ceremony (Tshogs mchod bca sgrigs, ff.
30 Jam dbyangs dbang rgyal rdo rje, Rgyal, fol. 125b.



99 [Most likely composed in 1693; see Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, f. 136a.3]); a Prajpramit commentary (Sher mdoi gres rkang jam mgon tsong kha pai dgongs rgyan, ff. 71), and (perhaps most importantly for this study) a book of guidelines for the education of the Sixth Dalai Lama. The account of the Fifth Dalai Lamas transference of consciousness to the Sixth Dalai Lama (Lnga pa drug par phos pai gtam rna bai bcud len, ff. 110), is available in several public collections, including the University of Washington. Several comments can be made about the chronology of Sangy Gyatsos works. In 1693 he wrote a commentary on verses detailing the previous lives of the Fifth Dalai Lama (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, f. 132a; Anonymous, Gangs.). It was most likely in 1693 that he composed the Regulations for the Great Offering Ceremony, a guidebook for the annual commemoration of the Fifth Dalai Lama instituted by Sangy Gyatso himself 1694 and performed into the twentieth century during the later part of the second Tibetan month. See the 99 folio work listed in Bka, p. 626: tshogs mchod chen moi bca sgrig mchod sbyin mi zad la dgu bcu go dgu /. See also Lange (1976). See Tsepak Rigzin 1993, 21-22. In the early part of 1695 he completed his brief biography of the Dalai Lama (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, f. 208b.3). In 1695 he also wrote his Tales for the New Year, as well as an account of the Fifth Dalai Lamas transference of consciousness to the sixth (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Drindrug pa, f. 339a; but compare Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Thams, 323-24). In 1696 he completed the massive account of building the Dalai Lamas stpa as well as the three-volume continuation of the Dalai Lamas autobiography. In 1697 he composed a short work on the Fifth Dalai Lamas remains, in which he argued that preserving the body of the Dalai Lama whole within a stpa was warranted by classical Buddhist tradition despite the fact that the Buddhas body was cremated (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Pur). In this year he also composed the Lhasa Circumambulation Survey. He also began the Sngon gro lhai rnga chen in 1697, a work that E. Gene Smith describes as guidelines for how the Dalai Lama should be educated (personal communication 10/21/02) (See Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Thams, 364.). In 1698 he completed the Yellow Beryl, his history of the Gandenpa School, on which he had worked for six years.



Finally in 1701 we find him finishing one of his last works, the biography of the Sixth Dalai Lama, a work that is better seen as a continuation of the biographical writings on the Fifth Dalai Lama. The dating of all these works requires further detailing; the following is a rough chronology of writings (totaling some 3640 printed folios) composed by Sangy Gyatso from 1693 to 1701 pertaining to the Fifth Dalai Lama: 1693: Verse and commentary on the previous lives of the Fifth Dalai Lama. 79 folios. Khrungs rabs rnam thar gsol debs kyi grel pa mu tig chun po. Unavailable. 1693: Regulations for the annual Great Offering Ceremony to the Fifth Dalai Lama. 99 folios. Mchod sbyin nam mkha mdzod kyi rgyun btsugs pai tshogs mchod bca bsgrigs byung khungs mdo rgyud shar ri nas drangs pai byang chen nyi mai dkyil khor. Unavailable. 1694: Tales for the New Year. 46 folios. Rgyal khab chen poi dga ston gyi dus dam pai chos las brtsams pai bel gtam gyi lde mig skal bzang mgrin rgyan rna bar kun dga ster bai bdud rtsi. 1695: Verse-biography of the Dalai Lama. 194 folios. Drin can rtsa bai bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii mdzad pa rnam thar don bsdus gyur pa dbyangs can phang groi rgyud las drangs pa rab snyan gzhan gsos kyi glu. Blockprint available at TBRC. 1695: Account of the Fifth Dalai Lamas transference of consciousness to the Sixth. 110 folios. Pad dkar dzin pa ngur smrig gar rol lnga pa sdom brtson rgyal poi tshul chang ba drug par phos pai gtam rna bai bcud len yid kyi kun dga. Available at University of Washington. 1696: Account of building and installation the Dalai Lamas stpa. 767 folios. Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig rten gtsug lag khang dang bcas pai dkar chag thar gling rgya mtshor bgrod pai rdu rdzings byin rlabs kyi bang mdzod. 1696: Lhasa Circumambulation Survey. 111 folios. Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor gyur pai lha sa ra mo che rigs gsum bla ri dang bcas pa spyi bye brag gi skor tshad byang chen bgrod pai myur lam. 1696: Three-volume continuation of the Dalai Lamas autobiography. 1081 folios. Drin can rtsa bai bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam thar du k,u lai gos bzang glegs bam



gsum pai phros bzhi ba; glegs bam bzhi pai phros lnga pa; glegs bam lnga pai phros drug pa. 1697: Account of the Fifth Dalai Lamas remains. 19 folios. Pur tshwa me dzin mai dkar chag dad pai sa bon gyis bskyed pai byin rlabs ro bda. Blockprint available at TBRC. 1697: Guidelines for the education of the Sixth Dalai Lama. 201 folios. Gro kun dad pai zhing sar bden don chos char bebs pai sngon groi gtam lhai rnga chen. Unavailable. 1698: Yellow Beryl history of the Gandenpa school. 419 folios. Dpal mnyam med ri bo dga ldan pai bstan pa zhwa ser cod pan chang bai ring lugs chos thams cad kyi rtsa ba gsal bar byed pa bairya ser poi me long. 1701: Biography of the Sixth Dalai Lama. 514 folios. Thams cad mkhyen pa drug pa blo bzang rin chen tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam par thar pa du kuu lai phro thud rab gsal gser gyi snye ma glegs bam dang po. Tibetan References Dkon mchog bstan pai sgron me (1762-1823). Gsung thor bu las rten gsum dkar chag dang skor tshad kyi rim pa phyogs bkod pa. pp. 162191, v. 10, in: The Collected works of Gun-than Dkon-mchog-bstanpai sgron-me. New Delhi : Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1972-1979. Ngag dbang blo bzang, Klong rdol Bla ma (1719-1794). Bka gdams pa dang dge lugs pai bla ma rags rim gyi gsum bum dkar chag. Klong rdol ngag dbang blo bzang gi gsum bum. Bod ljongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, Lhasa. 1991. vol. 2, 495-638. Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, Dalai Lama V (1617-1682). Lha ldan smon lam chen moi gral dzin bca yig. Bod kyi snga rabs khrims srol yig cha bdams bsgrigs. Bod ljongs spyi tshogs tshan rig khang gi bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, Lhasa. 1989. Gangs can rig mdzod 7. 324-345. Jam dbyangs dbang rgyal rdo rje, Smon gro ba (seventeenth c.). Rgyal dbang thams cad mkhyen pa ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi mtshan thos pai yid la bdud rtsir byed pai rnam thar mthong ba don ldan mchog tu dga bai sgra dbyangs sarga gsum pa. Cultural Palace of Nationalities, Beijing, no. 00255. 126 folios. Bstan pa rab rgyas, Khri chen (1759-1815). Se ra theg chen gling gi rgyab rii che brjod gnas yig dang / rwa sgreng sbyang chos yer pa



sogs kyi skor tshad. Bod kyi gnas yig bdams bsgrigs. Bod ljongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, Lhasa. 1995. 219-236. Dharmabhadra, Dngul chu (1772-1851). Dkar chag dang skor tshad kyi rim pa phyogs gcig tu bsgrigs pa. Collected works (gsu bum) of Dul-chu Dharmabhadra. Tibet House, New Delhi 1973-1981. v. 4, 517-577. Blo bzang bskal bzang rgya mtsho, Taa lai bla ma 7 (1708-1757). Bde bar gshegs pai sku gsung thugs rten sogs kyi skor tshad kyi rim pa phyogs bsdebs byang chen rgya mtshor bgrod pai shing rta. In The Collected Works (Gsu bum) of the Seventh Dalai Lama Blo-bzabksal-bza-rgya-mtsho. Dodrup Sangye, Gangtok. 1976. vol. 3, 163249. Rol pai rdo rje, Lcang skya (1717-1786). Tsan dan jo boi lo rgyus skor tshad phan yon mdor bsdus rin po chei phreng ba. Gsung bum, vol. 7, ff. 10. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Sde srid (1653-1705). Rgyal khab chen poi dga ston gyi dus dam pai chos las brtsams pai bel gtam gyi lde mig skal bzang mgrin rgyan rna bar kun dga ster bai bdud rtsi. ff. 46. comp. 1694. Incomplete manuscript copy kept at TBRC, New York [W8821]. Nepal National Archives (NNA), L30/32L31/1, ff. 46. _____. Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig rten gtsug lag khang dang bcas pai dkar chag thar gling rgya mtshor bgrod bai gru rdzings byin rlabs kyi bang mdzod. Bod ljongs mi rigs dpe skrung khang, Beijing. 1990. _____. Mchod sdong dzam gling rgyan gcig gtso bor gyur pai lha sa ra mo che rigs gsum bla ri dang bcas pa spyi bye brag gi skor tshad byang chen bgrod pai myur lam. ff. 111. Copy at TBRC. _____. Thams cad mkhyen pa drug ba blo bzang rin chen tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam par thar pa du ku lai phro thud rab gsal gser gyi snye ma. Tshe ring phun tshogs, Ed. Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, Lha sa. 1989. _____. Drin can rtsa bai bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam thar du k,u lai gos bzang glegs bam gsum pai phros bzhi ba. ff. 360. Zhol blockprint at TBRC. _____. Drin can rtsa bai bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam thar du k,u lai gos bzang glegs bam bzhi pai phros lnga pa. ff. 338. Zhol blockprint at TBRC.



_____. Drin can rtsa bai bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtshoi thun mong phyii rnam thar du k,u lai gos bzang glegs bam lnga pai phros drug pa. ff. 383. Zhol blockprint at TBRC. _____. Dpal mnyam med ri bo dga ldan pai bstan pa zhwa ser cod pan chang bai ring lugs chos thams cad kyi rtsa ba gsal bar byed pai bai rya ser poi me long. Krung go bod kyi shes rigs dpe skrun khang, Beijing. 1989. _____. Pur tshwa me dzin mai dkar chag dad pai sa bon gyis bskyed pai byin rlabs ro bda. ff. 19. Copy at TBRC. Lhun grub chos phel. Rwa sgreng dgon pai dkar chag. Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Chengdu. 1994. Anyonymous. Gangs can gyi ljongs su bka dang bstan bcos sogs kyi glegs bam spar gzhi ji ltar yod pa rnams nas dkar chag spar thog phyogs tsam du bkod pa phan bdei pad tshal byed pai nyin byed. Three Dkar Chags. Ngawang Gelek Demo, New Delhi. 1970. 169243. Anonymous. Bod rgya skar rtsis rig pai tshig mdzod. Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Chengdu. 1987. Anonymous. Zhwa ser bstan pai sgron me rje tsong kha pa chen pos gtsos skyes chen dam pa rim byon gi gsum bum dkar chag phyogs gcig tu bsgrigs pai dri med zla shel gtsang mai me long. Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, Lha sa. 1990. pp. 261-264. Other References Ahmad, Z. 1998. Sans-rGyas rGya-mTSHo: Life of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Volume IV, Part I. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture. Berger, P. 2003. Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Chayet, A. 2003. The Potala, Symbol of the Power of the Dalai Lamas. In Franoise Pommaret, (ed.), Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century: The Capitol of the Dalai Lamas. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 39-52. Hobsbawm, E. 1992. Introduction: Inventing Traditions. In Eric Hobsbawm and Terrence Ranger (eds.) The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-14. Ishihama, Y. 1993. On the Dissemination of the Belief in the Dalai Lama as a Manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitevara. Acta Asiatica 64: 38-56.



Kapstein, M. T. 2000. The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation, and Memory. New York: Oxford University Press. Lange, K. 1976. Die Werke des Regenten Sas rgyas rgya mco (16531705): Eine philologisch-historische Studie zum tibetischsprachigen Schriftum. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. Meyer, F. 1987. The Potala Palace of the Dalai Lamas in Lhasa. Orientations 18(7): 14-33. Richardson, H. 1998. The Fifth Dalai Lamas Decree Appointing Sangsrgyas-rgya-mtsho as Regent. In M. Aris (ed.) High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected Writings on Tibetan History and Culture. London: Serindia Publications, London, 440-461. Schaeffer, K. R. 2005. The Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lopsang Gyatso. In Martin Brauen (ed.) The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History. Chicago: Serindia Publications, 65-91, 280-281. Schaeffer, K. R. forthcoming. Salt and the Sovereignty of the Dalai Lama, circa 1697. In Jinhua Chen (ed.) festschrift in honor of Koichi Shinohara. Tsepak R. 1993. Festivals of Tibet. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.


BAN DE SKYA MIN SER MIN: TSHANGS DBYANGS RGYA MTSHOS COMPLEX, CONFUSED AND CONFUSING RELATIONSHIP WITH SDE SRID SANGS RGYAS RGYA MTSHO AS PORTRAYED IN THE TSHANGS DBYANGS RGYA MTSHOI MGUL GLU Simon Wickham-Smith It is hard to know quite where to start. Whilst we know that the Sixth Dalai Lama existedat least between 1683 and 1706and whilst we have a temple guide which is almost certainly his work, the text for which he is most famous, the Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshoi mgul glu, may not be by him at all, or it maymore likelybe a hotchpotch of poems from his pen and from the pens of those who would be his imitators. But we have to start somewhere. And since we cannot be certain about the provenance of any of these poems, let us forget for a moment about historical truth. In its stead, we can look upon Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho as the myth which he has, subsequent to either or both of his bodily deaths, become, and in which his power lies. After all, he left no teachings, he left no prayers, he left no commentaries: his legacy is the interpenetration of the linear and the lateralof history and mythoposis: this is the moment at which the signified and the signifierthe physical form and the narrativebecome one in the consciousness of the society through which he passed; again and again, he returns in a different (in this case, poetic) form, a manifestation through which perception is turned towards (or maybe into) the metaphysical and, thus, we experience not only the emotionsof love, of rejection, of dejection, of treachery, of being overwhelmed by responsibility, by the touch of life itselfwhich he himself felt but also we feel their resonance within ourselves. So these are his teachings, perhaps, for us. And, although I dont here want to concentrate upon his religious and spiritual position, the towering and hopelessly, frustratingly complex figure of the regent is nonetheless centerstage, so it behoves us to acknowledge the



multidimensional position which both the Dalai Lama and his regent held in the religio-political world of Central Asia at the turn of the seventeenth century. It could be said, of course, that it is precisely the multidimensional nature of this relationship which lies at the heart of the mgul glu. At least one commentator, the Chinese scholar Xiao Diyan, has seen the entire text as an exposition of the political triangle played out between Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho, Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho and the Lhazang Qan and, although his interpretation seems occasionally to be somewhat contrived, its nonetheless clear that the text does indeed illustrate not only Tsang dbyang rgya mtshos emotional response to, but also his profound and profoundly cynical understanding of, his political position. Throughout the mgul glu, both people and animals are portrayed as being untrustworthy, fickle, likely to spill the beans and tell that which should not be told. Throughout his life, Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho was treated as a political pawn, a person to be manoevered through and around situations rather than one who might take these situations and affect them himself. His relationship with Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho hovered always on the knife-edge of apposite action: how much did he feel himself able to confide in the regent, the person who had raised him, who had taught him so much, but who seemed so reluctant to withdraw and allow him his rightful position as head of state? And it is clearly political, rather than spiritual, power with which the regent is concerned: after all, it was he who had found Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho in Mon, it was he who had identified the child as the rebirth of the Great Fifth, his own beloved patron, lama and spiritual friendthere is no way in which the regent could doubt, either within his heart or within the hierarchy, the validity of the Dalai Lamas religious status or spiritual power. Before looking at the poems, we should first consider precisely what it is we are doing. For, just as there is no clear indication in the mgul glu of a single author, there are no clear pointers to aid identification of any other characters. As with any literary detective work, all we can do is guess at the authors meaning through contextualised analysis. And of course, contextualised analysis for one person might be vague conjecture for another. In this context, though, we do know quite a bit about the Regents personality and writings, from which we can elicit certain interpretations. We can broadly divide the Regents sphere of influence into its public and private aspects, although the two would undoubtedly have



interlaced at certain points. To read the poems in this way might also help us to focus on the fact that they were probably written for Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshos personal pleasure as much as for public consumption, with all its concomitant sociopolitical implications. The way in which Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho conducted his life left him open to mockery. The title of this paperbande skya min ser min refers directly to his inability to decide whether he was layman or monk; in the mgul glu, the couplet of which this is the first line refers to such a person as an enemy of the Buddhas teaching. This may be a serious accusation or it may be simply an affectionate prod in the ribs, but nonetheless it points out the Regents arrogance, indecisiveness and infidelity. This particular verse also points to the strength of the regents power. The first couplet tells of the cloud, yellow outside and black within, as being a source for frost and hail. The three or four poems in this grouping tell about natural phenomena with dramatic effects: the rock and wind (the Qan and the Regent perhaps) attack the vultures plumage, while the stallion is carelessly let loose upon slippery ground all three poems suggest Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshos frustration at the manipulative hands of the Regent. Indeed, the melting surface (kha zhu) clearly indicates the uncertainty of water, the way in which it distorts and transforms the appearance of things. Just as the natural world is used as an analog for the Regents negative qualities, its also used to illustrate his positive qualities. One of the most poignant poems in the mgul glu is one which can be interpreted both with public and private import. If, with Xiao Diyan, we understand the Regent as represented by the thousand-petalled hollyhock, then its possible to read this poem as a request for protection, that the young Dalai Lama, the turquiose bee, be taken into the temple amidst the hollyhocks bloom. This is particularly interesting because it illustrates perhaps how Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho perceives himself in relation to his regent. He either feels himself to be truly inferior, or else simply so in the eyes of society: nonetheless, the fact that the beautiful turquoise bee feels the need to hide within the long blossoming hollyhock suggests maybe that the intellectual and social brilliance of the regent is both overwhelming and, occasionally, very useful to the young lama. There is similar evidence of the poets shyness elsewhere in the text (for instance when he catches sight of a girls brilliant smile at a party) and I tend to feel that



he is presenting us with a slightly devious self-portraitas someone who wants protection from himself or from the power which he wields. After all, again and again he comments on the power struggle between himself and the Regent and between the Qan and the Regent, but he never really acknowledges the fact that he is the Dalai Lama: from what we know of his wilful nature, this strikes me as rather a false humilityparticularly when we read the poem in which he confidently describes himself as both rig dzin and chal po, Knowledge Holder and Letcher. Already we are beginning to see another aspect, far deeper and more complex, to this relationship. In political terms, Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho had effectively run Tibet since the Great Fifth died in 1682. One would imagine that, throughout his childhood and early adolescence, Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho would have looked to the older man, not only for spiritual teaching and emotional succour but also to show the way in which he should conduct himself as Dalai Lama. It appears, from the Regents own account of the childs upbringing, that an attempt was made to replicate the intellectual hothouse in which he himself had been schooled by his teacher, the Great Fifth, and one would assume that the idea of an unbroken lineage would have spurred the older man to put a considerable amount of pressurenot always benignupon the younger. We can only wonder at how, as he grew to manhood, the Dalai Lama might have come to perceive his mentor: it seems most likely to me that he would have seen his Regent as that most irritating of people, someone he could neither live with nor without. And I would guess that the Regent would have recognised these confusing and powerful emotions and used them to his own advantage. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho encouraged the relationship between his daughter and the Dalai Lamaa relationship which presumably either developed or became known following Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshos disrobing in early 1702. Through his daughter, he perhaps hoped to control the young mans wilfulness and thereby bring some peace to the state as much as to himself . This brings us to a term which is significant throughout the mgul glu. Chung dris refers to a person whom one has known since childhood and it seems unlikely that a girl other than the Regents daughter would fit such a rle: in the secretive, monastic setting in which Tsangsdbyangs rgya mtsho had been raised, it would surely have been odd for another, random girl to have spent much time with this closeted monk.



So what are we to make of the poem in which prayer-flags are tied to a willow for the poets sweetheart, his chung dris byams pa? Maybe the willow is the poet, the guardian of the willow the Regent. So the poets request that the guardian shouldnt throw stones at the tree is very telling. Was the Regent in fact so determined to prejudice the relationship that he would damage it with such force, or is Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho misreading the situation? It could be, of course, that the Regent perceived that the situation warranted a circumspection which the lama was too unsubtle to grant, that it was still considered inappropriate for the Dalai Lama to behave like the layman he in fact was: this would suggest that, by throwing stones, by creating problems in the relationship, things might be hushed up. If this is so, were again seeing a pragmatic side to the Regent which a cursory reading of the poems might not reveal. This is the man, after all, who managed to conceal the Great Fifths death for fifteen years, bribing and cajoling a hapless monk from the Rnam rgyal grwa tshang into impersonating the dead ruler and convincing all those who needed convincing that the Dalai Lama was in fact in an enclosed retreat. It is not then beyond possibility that, far from doing deliberate damage to Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshos relationship, the Regent was in fact trying to cover all his bases, to protect the relationship, to protect the authority of the Dalai Lama and to protect, maybe most of all, himself from criticism. To read all the poems in which Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho is accused of being fickle and untrustworthy as a misunderstanding of a fallible man doing his best in a difficult situation, though, brings to my mind the parental line, Im only doing it for your own good. At worst, its emotionally abusive, at best its disrespectful and condescending; but, of course, the problem is that the parent frequently believes that he or she is in fact doing the best for the child and I get the impression, both that this is the case with the Regent and that Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho recognises this to be the case. Many of the poems in the mgul glu can be read along these lines. I agree with Per Srensens suggestion that the Regent can be read both as the Dharmapala Rdo rje grags ldan and the enemy of the Dharma against whom the Dharmapala is invoked. When the poet says to the Dharmapala, if you possess magical power (mthu dang nus pa yod na), his lack of conviction is palpable and the Regents ultimate vulnerability is laid open to criticism. Maybe it is this very vulnerability which makes



Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho an (unwitting) enemy of the Buddhas teaching, its potentially a very powerful indictment of the Dalai Lamas entire political and personal situation and a scathing attack on the person of the Regent. But, if we do choose to read the poem as being more than a prayer to Rdo rje grags ldan, an identification of the Dharmapala with the Regent means that the Dalai Lama is usingmaybe out of genuine respect as much as conventionhonorific language to address him. And this honorific languagebzhugs, skyong, sgrolconveys not only respect but also the implication of transcendence, as though the Regents position, and therefore his actions, were somehow taking place outside quotidien reality. So maybe this poem reveals a deeper understanding of the Regents behavior than might at first seem possible. Elsewhere, after all, we might care to read him as a peacock, as a lover, as the sun (to the Qans moon) and as an eternal friend. Moreover, given the deep affection which Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho and he evidently had for one another, it is unsurprising that, in certain specific circumstances, his tone of address rises into the spiritually charged honorific. As we focus down upon the one-to-one emotional rawness of the relationship between these two men, we need to remember that the position in which they found themselves was not easily escapable. The image of the knotted snake presents us with a knot and with its selfeffected unknotting, suggesting that a relationship (and here the marketgirl, the tshong dus bu mo, is linked with the Regent) can only properly be resolved from within. The three words spoken by the poet and the girl here indicate a firm declaration of love and of course this love might well be other than romantic: the implication is that nothing can come between the two people, that they are destined to work out their relationship in their own way. And for people who cant live with, or without, the other, this resolution is a painful and traumatic process. The image of lovers as a parallel for the relationship between the Regent and the poet-lama is clearly highly potent. Lovers have an intimacy which covers the gamut of emotion, from anger and hatred to the closest and most private love. And, of course, the topos of romantic love conceals a certain amount of power play and infantilism: so many classic love-songs use the word baby (and I for one have translated the word byams pa in this way from time to time), we most of us refer to our partners (at least when unmarried) as girl- or boyfriend and we often hear how someone has stolen someone elses lover.



It is possible throughout the mgul glu to equate the loverthe byams pa and the chung- driswith Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho although it should again be pointed out that this could refer to the Regents daughter and, through her, to the Regent himself. That the lover is frequently described as fickle and inconsistent should come as no surprise, since the principal character trait of Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho appears to have been an inability as much to decide a path for himself as it to decide upon a mistress. In one poem, the lover is described as gtan grogs, an eternal friend: this is a frequent term of affection for a spouse, a particularly poignant image perhaps for this infuriating man to whom Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho owed so much and from whose grasp he could never be truly free. If we read the turquoise placed in the poets hair as the poet himself, we can see that whereas Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho is simply a figurehead, kept silent and impotent out of the way, the Regent is free to act with impunitybrazen and unfaithful in the words of the text, khrel dang ngo tsha medand to do just as he wants. We see a similar idea played out in another poem. The lover is lying on the poets bed, her alluring body tender and soft: he asks her whether shes come to weave a web of lies and thus steal the young mans most valuable treasure. This is significant considering the position of the Dalai Lamais this treasure the political power which Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho desires to such an extent that he is willing to spin deceit throughout the higher echelons of Lhasa society? Or maybe this is a reference to the attempted assassination of the Dalai Lamas closest friend and confidant, Thar rgyas nas, which cost the lama the ability fully to trust the Regent ever again. Finally in this section, we should make mention of the literary theme which appears in a number of the poems, namely the references to Tshe ring dbang dus contemporary verse drama Chos rgyal nor bzang, based on the jataka story Sudhana. Although we can never be completely certain, it seems clear to me that Tsang-sdbyangs rgya mtsho reads himself as the hunter Spang legs dzin pa, while Nor bzang himself represents the Regent. That the goddess caught by the hunter but subsequently acquired by the prince should be called Yid phrog lha mo, the Mind-Stealing Goddess, is a stroke of ironic genius in the hands of the poet. After all, as Per Srensen, points out, we can see this character as representing the dual power embodied in the sprul sku of the Dalai Lama but wrested (or, rather, withheld) from him by the Regent. But this is a mind-stealing



goddess, it deprives one of ones mind: the obsession which can accompany romantic (and, lets face it, erotic) love has a parallel in the obsession for temporal powera binary which found its natural expression in the person of Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. But we could equally read the stolen mind as that of Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho. It wouldnt be unreasonable to see the portrayal of the Regent (and the Qan) in the mgul glu as evidence of his obsession with fulfilling his perceived destiny at the head of the Tibetan people; the fact that the Regent did refuse to give up the reins of power means simply that the Dalai Lama never practically took over government nonetheless, he clearly had the support of his people and had considerable religious status in his society, so it could equally be claimed that he was the one who lost his mind to the goddess of power. This is an unusual reading, but one which I think restores balance to the situation he was clearly quite bitter towards the Regent for many things but it seems adversely to have affected the mental and emotional balance of both men. In conclusion, then, we can see that there is nothing in the text of the Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtshoi mgul glu that makes definitive reference to Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. Indeed, the fact that we cant be sure whether this is the work of the Sixth Dalai Lama means that all analysis has to be highly speculative and open to complete dismissal. For this reason, however, the text is a blank slate. Xiao Diyans rather tortured attempt to squeeze pretty much every poem into the triangular box of Regent, Qan and Lama proves how it is possible to read the poems as a commentary on any aspect of the political, religious, intellectual or societal situation at the turn of the seventeenth century. I, no more than anyone else, can be certain neither of this texts provenance nor of its import. My choice is to suspend judgment and play with the possibilities. If we accept, for the moment, that this is the work of Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho, it would be unlikely that he would choose not to comment, in one way or another, on the situation which informed his life and his emotions. Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho was as close to him, if not closer, than his own family and gave him probably as much grief, if not more, than any member of our own families do. In Tibetan poetry, the nature of the gzhas form is to comment on the world without and within; the etymology of the word gzhas is almost certainly connected with bzhad pa, the main verb concerned with smiling, laughing or amusement in generalso we can see, not only how such



texts could point the finger of fun at temporal power but equally how they can turn the finger back on the poet himself. The suggestions I have made regarding the Regents place in the mgul glu indicate to me the extent of ambiguity which characterised his relationship with the Dalai Lama. A meddlesomethough highly sexed and highly sexylover; the wind and rain which grinds down rocks and deprives birds of their plumage; the eponymous noble hero of a popular verse drama who uses his power to steal an alluring goddess from her lover: all these and more give us a confusing, and thus tantalising, glimpse of the politics and emotions at work in the newly-built Potala between the Dalai Lamas enthronement in 1697 and the death of the Regent in 1703. It seems fair to allow Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho the final word. When reading the mgul glu its possible to misrepresent this flawed but brilliant character, to think of him simply as a wannabe monastic with a roving eye, as a political manipulator to rival Niccol Macchiavelli. But he clearly had genuine love for Tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho and Ill close with his description of his meeting with the Dalai Lama at Mnye thang just before the enthronement of 1697: Those who were holding onto his mount said later that when Rinpoch caught sight of me, he smiled through tear-soaked eyes. He looked shining and elegant, sitting there upon his horse and, having not seen him for some time, I became overcome with emotion and the tears coursed uncontrollably down my face. References Aris, M. 1989. Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives. London: Kegan Paul International. Srensen, P. K. 1990. Divinity Secularized: An Inquiry into the Nature and Form of the Songs Ascribed to the Sixth Dalai Lama. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, vol. 25. Vienna: Arbeitkreis fr Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitt Wien


Benjamin Bogin, Ph.D. (2005), University of Michigan, is currently a Mellon Postoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. His Ph.D. dissertation is entitled The Life of Yol mo Bstan 'dzin nor bu: A critical edition, translation, and study of the memoirs of a seventeenthcentury Tibetan Buddhist lama. He is presently engaged in research on the artistic, literary, and ritual traditions surrounding the Tibetan Buddhist pure land known as the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain. Bryan J. Cuevas, Ph.D. (2000) in History of Religions and Tibetan Studies, University of Virginia, is Associate Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at Florida State University. He is the author of The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Oxford UP, 2003) and co-editor of The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations (Kuroda Institute/University of Hawai'i Press, 2007) Jacob P. Dalton, Ph.D. (2002), University of Michigan, teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. He is currently working on several book length projects, including Liberating Demons: Violence in the Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism, a book exploring the theme of tantric violence and sacrifice in early Tibetan myth, ritual and history, and A Ritual History of Tantric Buddhism, on the early development of tantric ritual in India as seen through the lens of the Dunhuang manuscripts. Georgios T. Halkias, D.Phil. (2006) in Himalayan Buddhism and Tibetan Studies, University of Oxford, is a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Current research interests include: East and Central Asian Religions, comparative philosophy of religion, and Vajrayana Buddhism. Marina A. Illich, Ph.D. (2006) in History of Religion and Indo-Tibetan Studies, Columbia University, is a scholar-in-residence at the Helen Graham Park Foundation in Miami Shores, Florida, where she is archiving a collection of Indo-Tibetan materials. Derek F. Maher, Ph.D. (2003) in History of Religions and Tibetan Studies, University of Virginia, is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies and Co-Director of Religious Studies at East Carolina University. He is cur-



rently completing his annotated translation of Tsepn Shakabpas One Hundred Thousand Moons: An Advanced Political History of Tibet. Guilaine Mala is now completing a D.Phil thesis entitled "Perception of Chinese Religions in Eighteenth-century Tibet: A Study of Thu'ubkwan's 'Grub-mtha' shel-gyi me-long' and Related Tibetan Works", University of Oxford, Faculty of Oriental Studies. Trent Pomplun, Ph.D. (2002) in Theology and Culture, University of Virginia, is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Theology at Loyola College in Maryland. He is currently at work on a manuscript on Ippolito Desideri, the Jesuit missionary and adventurer who lived in Tibet during the early eighteenth century. Jann Ronis is a graduate student in History of Religion and Tibetan Studies at the University of Virginia. His dissertation research is on the seventeenth and eighteenth-century history of Sde dge. He also works with the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library and at present is the comanager of its Monasteries Project. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Ph.D. (2000), Harvard University, is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun (Oxford UP, 2004) and Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha (Oxford UP, 2005). Nikolay Tsyrempilov, PhD. (2001) in History and Tibetan studies, Saint Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences, is Research Fellow of the Institute of Tibetan, Mongolian and Buddhist Studies (IMBTS) of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (Ulan-Ude city, Republic of Buryatia, Russian Federation) and Curator of Tibetan and Mongolian Collections of the IMBTS. He is the compiler of Annotated catalogue of the collection of Mongolian manuscripts and xylographs of the Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (Tohoku University Press, Sendai, 2004). Gray Tuttle, Ph.D. (2002) in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, Harvard University, is Leila Hadley Luce Assistant Professor of Modern TibetanStudies in the East Asian Languages Cultures Department, Columbia



University. He is author of Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China (Columbia UP, 2005). Simon Wickham-Smith researches the life and poetry of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso.


ISSN 1568-6183 1. Martin, D. Unearthing Bon Treasures. Life and Contested Legacy of a Tibetan Scripture Revealer, with a General Bibliography of Bon. 2001. ISBN 90 04 12123 4 Blezer, H. (ed.). Tibet, Past and Present. Tibetan Studies I. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12775 5 Blezer, H. (ed.). Religion and Secular Culture in Tibet. Tibetan Studies II. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12776 3 Ardussi, J., & H. Blezer (eds.). Impressions of Bhutan and Tibetan Art. Tibetan Studies III. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12545 0 Epstein, L. (ed.). Khams pa Histories. Visions of People, Place and Authority. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12423 3 Huber, T. (ed.). Amdo Tibetans in Transition. Society and Culture in the Post-Mao Era. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12596 5 Beckwith, C.I. (ed.). Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12424 1 Klimburg-Salter, D. & E. Allinger (eds.). Buddhist Art and Tibetan Patronage Ninth to Fourteenth Centuries. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12600 7 Klieger, P.C. (ed.). Tibet, Self, and the Tibetan Diaspora. Voices of Difference. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12555 8 Buffetrille, K. & H. Diemberger (eds.). Territory and Identity in Tibet and the Himalayas. 2002. ISBN 90 04 125973 Eimer, H. & D. Germano. (eds.). The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism. 2002. ISBN 90 04 12595 7 Pommaret, F. (ed.). Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century. The Capital of the Dalai Lamas. 2003. ISBN 90 04 12866 2 Andreyev, A. Soviet Russia and Tibet. The Debacle of Secret Diplomacy, 1918-1930s. 2003. ISBN 90 04 12952 9 Opgenort, J.R. A Grammar of Wambule. Grammar, Lexicon, Texts and Cultural Survey of a Kiranti Tribe of Eastern Nepal. 2004. ISBN 90 04 13831 5 Opgenort, J.R. A Grammar of Jero. With a Historical Comparative Study of the Kiranti Languages. 2005. ISBN 90 04 14505 2 Tolsma, G.J. A Grammar of Kulung. 2006. ISBN-10: 90 04 15330 6, ISBN-13: 978 90 04 15330 1 Achard, J.-L. Bon Po Hidden Treasures. A Catalogue of gTer ston bDe chen gling pas Collected Revelations. 2004. ISBN 90 04 13835 8

2/1 2/2 2/3 2/4 2/5 2/6 2/7 2/8 2/9 2/10 3. 4. 5/2

5/3 5/4 6.

Sujata, V. Tibetan Songs of Realization. Echoes from a Seventeenth-Century Scholar and Siddha in Amdo. 2005. ISBN 90 04 14095 6 8. Bellezza, J.V. Spirit-mediums, Sacred Mountains and Related Bon Textual Traditions in Upper Tibet. Calling Down the Gods. 2005. ISBN 90 04 14388 2 9. Bray, J. (ed.). Ladakhi Histories. Local and Regional Perspectives. 2005. ISBN 90 04 14551 6 10/1 Beckwith, C.I. (ed.). Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages II. 2006. ISBN 90 04 15014 5 10/3 Cuevas, B.J. & K.R. Schaeffer (eds.). Power, Politics, and the Reinvention of Tradition. Tibet in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. 2006. ISBN-10: 90 04 15351 9, ISBN-13: 978 90 04 15351 6