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Der tibetische Text, vol. 3, Udanavarga.

The Udanavarga, in Tibetan Ched du brjod pa'i tshoms, which Dharmatrata (Chos skyob) compiled not later than the fourth century A.C., consists of some thirty-two chapters with an uneven number of stanzas. Its subject matter is largely moralistic and prescriptive in tone but has several concrete theoretical underpinnings. The text was widely studied in Tibet, especially among members of the Bka' gdams pa school and by those who studied with them. In fact, possibly with Atisa's(1) recommendation, but undoubtedly with Spo to ba Rin chen gsal (1027/31-1105) and especially his disciple Sha ra ba Yon tan grags (1070-1141), it became one of the six basic texts (gzhung drug) to be studied, the other five being the Bodhisattvabhumi, Mahayanasutralamkara, the Jataka collections, Siksasamuccaya and the Bodhicaryavatara. While we have references to early Bka' gdams pa commentaries on these five works, no evidence of an exegesis of the Udanavarga has come down to us as yet. Its canonical status in Tibet is somewhat ambivalent. The early Bka' gdams pa evidently considered it to belong to the type of texts that were later included in that part of the canon known as the Tanjur. This, of course, means that they held it to be a sastra, which would account for its inclusion among this grouping of six texts, which are all sastras. For some still to be explained reason, the Undanavarga also wandered into the Kanjur, in which are included works that reflect the [Buddha-]word (bka'), whatever manifestation the Buddha might have taken on. In this connection, we find Bu ston Rin chen grub (1290-1364) observing in the catalogue appended to his chronicle of Buddhism (1322-26) that, whereas the earlier catalogues of collections of translated literature counted it as a sastra, "it is nowadays known as bka,."(2) It is for this reason that the Udanavarga is included in most, if not all, Kanjur and Tanjur canons. The precise background of this change in relative "canonicity" is a question that has yet to be clarified.

In 1911, H. Beckh was the first to publish an edition of the Tibetan text of the Udanavarga. This was followed by the publication of a critical edition of the Sanskrit text in F. Bernhard's fundamental study (F. Bernhard, Udanavarga, vol. 1 [Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1965!). Subsequently, in a long review of the latter, the uncannily perceptive eye of L. Schmithausen discerned that the late eighth- or early ninth-century Tibetan translation of the text was in fact based on the Sanskrit text of what he calls recension two of the Udanavargah, which belonged to a Mulasarvastivadin environment, although it may, of course, have also been used among the Sarvastivadins in India; see his "Zu den Rezensionen des Udanavargah," WZKS 14 (1970): 47-115, especially pp. 110-14. Recently, he briefly addressed this question again, particularly in connection with a passage from the Vinayavastu and the Vighasa, in his long and complex study, entitled "Beitrage zur Schulzugehorigkeit und Textgeschichte kanonischer und postkanonischer buddhisticher Materialien," in Zur Schulzugehorigkeit von Werken der Hinayana-Literatur, pt. 2, ed. H. Bechert (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987), 305-17. The late eleventh-century Tibetan rendition of the large (and only) canonical Udanavarga commentary by Prajanavarman was published by M. Balk in his Prajnavarman's Udanavargavivarana: Transliteration of its Tibetan Version, 2 vols., Indica et Tibetica, Arbeitsmaterialien A (Bonn: Indica et Tibetica Verlag, 1984), whose doctoral dissertation on the text, Untersuchungen zu Udanavarga, unter Berucksichtigung mittelindischer Parallelen und eines tibetischen Kommentars (Bonn University, 1988), is being published in the same series.

The present edition of the Tibetan text of the Udanavarga's canonical recension by Champa Thupten Zongtse (Byams pa thub bstan, Rdzong rtse) [hereafter CHAMPA], in collaboration with S. Dietz, is a follow-up of Bernhard's. The Tibetan text is by and large based on the Lhasa print of the Kanjur of 1934. In the rich introduction by S. Dietz (pp. 9-25) we learn that the reason why Byams pa thub bstan chose (and reproduced in his own hand) this version of the Ched du brjod pa'i tshoms as the basis for this edition-the variorum gives the variant readings of no less than thirteen other Tanjur and Kanjur prints and handwritten manuscripts-is that contemporary Tibetan scholars consider it to be an authoritative text. The principal redactors of the Lhasa Kanjur, under the sponsorship of Go lcog Bstan 'dzin chos kyi dbang po of 'Bri gung monastery and the thirteenth Dalai Lama, were Yer pa mtshan zhabs and the learned, ascerbic and controversial Rdo sbis Shes rab rgya mtsho (1884-1968). On pp. 12-13 [3.4], Dietz provides the reader with a useful table of passages of the Lhasa Kanjur, that were not included in the basic text of the edition, as these disagreed with the Sanskrit text. Included are also two valuable concordances; one on p. 14 [3.4], of this edition with the earlier one by H. Beckh (this should be consulted in conjunction with its raison d'etre on pp. 24-25 [4.3]) and one on pp. 15-24 [4.2], an extremely useful concordance of the Tibetan text with the Sanskrit edition of Bernhard.

While, as was noted, the Udanavarga is not known to have elicited any indigenous Tibetan exegeses, we do find it quoted many times in the indigenous literature. It is, for instance, quoted frequently in the early thirteenth-century auto-exegesis of the Theg chen snying po, Quintessential Mahayana teachings of Zhe sdang rdo rje (?-?) [hereafter ZHE], alias Ngo rje Ras pa, a disciple of 'Bri gung 'Jig rten mgon po (1143-1217). The text used by him generally comes rather close to the canonical version. Thus ZHE (p. 241) cites Mitravarga 13-14, where it reads line 13b as gal te bla ma mkhas bsten kyang, as opposed to CHAMPA (p. 250), gal te mkhas pa bsten byas kyang; Bernhard's Sanskrit text (p. 313) has panditam paryupasate. While ZHE (p. 263) cites the exact text of Anityavarga 25 [= CHAMPA, P. 36], the next quotation on the same page also has a variant reading anent Anityavarga 6a-b, namely, gang gi nub mo kho na nas // dang po mngal du zhugs pa'i mi, instead of CHAMPA (p. 30), mngal du dang por 'jug pa'i mi, for which Bernhard (p. 97) has: yam eva prathamam ratrim garbhe vasati manavah. On the other hand, the Udanavarga quotations in the late thirteenth or very early fourteenth century Abhidharmokosa commentary by Mchims 'Jam pa'i dbyangs(3) [hereafter MCHIMS, MCHIMS1] show a number of significant departures from the canonical text as a whole that we must reckon with either as mnemonic lapses on 'Jam pa'i dbyangs' part, or as extra-canonical transmission[s] of the text. Two illustrations should suffice. Firstly, MCHIMS (p. 8) [MCHIMS1 fol. 5b! quotes Margavarga 9:

sred pa'i zug rngu gcod mdzad pa'i // lam ni khyod la ngas bstan bya // khyed nyid kyis ni bsgrub bya ste // de bzhin gshegs pa ston madzad yin [//]

The text in CHAMPA (p. 131) has here:

sred pa'i zug rngu gcod byed lam // ngas ni khyed cag rnams la bstan /./ de bzhin gshegs pa ston pa ste // khyed cag rnams kyis bya dgos so //

And these should be compared with the text of Bernhard (p. 195):

akhyato vo maya margas tv ajnayai salyakrntanah/ yusmabhir eva karaniyam akhyataras tathagatah //

Secondly, MCHIMS (p. 53) [MCHIMS1 fol. 29a] quotes Brahmanavarga 67 as it was interpreted by a Dga' bo and Klu'i sde:

gang zhig lus med phug na gnas // ring du 'gro zhing gcig pu rgyu // gdul bar dka' ba'i sems 'dul byed // de ni bram zer ngas bshad do //(4)

The text in CHAMPA (p. 434) reads, however:

gang zhig lus med phug na gnas // gcig pu rgyu zhing ring du 'gro // gdul bar dka' ba'i sems 'dul de // bram ze yin par ngas gsungs so //(5)

To be sure, elsewhere, for instance, in MCHIMS (p. 20) [MCHIMS 1 fols. 11b-12a!, the quotation of Nirvanavarga 16 is identical to the text in CHAMPA, p. 260.

Now that we have this splendid edition-cum-variorum of the canonical version of the Tibetan text, the only outstanding desideratum is a line-index, unless we decide en masse to commit the text to memory.


CHAMPA The text under review. MCHIMS Mchims 'Jam pa'i dbyangs, Mdzod 'grel mngon pa'i rgyan (Pe cin: Krung go'i bod kyi shes fig dpe skrun khang, 1989). MCHIMS1 Ibid., Lhasa blockprint of 1893 in fols. 430. ZHE Zhe sdang rdo rje, Theg pa chen po'i bstan pa'i snying po legs bshad lung gi rgya mtsho, Bstan sning yig cha (Bir: The Bir Tibetan Society, 1974), 227-659.

(1) On this spelling, see H. Eimer, Berichte uber das Leben des Atiga (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1977), 18-22. (2) See his Bde bar gshegs pa'i bstan pa'i gsal byed chos kyi 'byung gnas gsung rab rin po che'i mdzod, Collected Works, vol. 24 (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1971), 921. (3) Although there are also some problems with this in the Tibetan tradition itself, we cannot agree with Nobuchiyo Odani, "The Study of the Abhidharmakosa in Tibet as Seen through the mChims mdzod," Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 5th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Narita 1989, vol. 1, eds. Shoren Ihara and Zuiho Yamaguchi (Narita: Naritasan Shinshoji, 1992), 193, who equates Mchims Nam mkha'grags (1210-85) with Mchims 'Jam pa'i dbyangs, for these are two different men. The colophon Of MCHIMS [MCHIMS1] quite plainly states that the latter was a disciple of both 'Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-80) and Mchims Nam mkha' grags, alias Mchims Thams cad mkhyen pa, and that he began this work in Sa skya only to complete it in Cong tu (= Zhongdu) located due north-northwest of present-day Beijing. (4) Compare here also, for instance, Tsong icha pa's quotation of 67b-d, where 67b reads ring du gro ba gcig pu rgyu; see his Yid dang kun gzhi'i dka' ba'i gnas rgya cher 'grel pa, Collected Works [Bkra shis lhun po print], vol. 27 (New Delhi, 1977), 469. (5) See the two Sanskrit versions in Bernhard (p. 489), where the Tibetan text most closely approximates the second of these.
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Author:Kuijp, Leonard W. van der
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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