Printer Friendly

In the presence of the "Diamond Throne": Tibetans at rDo rje gdan (Last quarter of the 12th century to year 1300).

There are many episodes in the relationship between Tibet and India, lasting for at least a millennium and a half, that stand out to show how much the people of the plateau are indebted to the Noble Land for its role of source of knowledge and civilisation. Fewer are those episodes where the reverse was done and yet fewer are those episodes where an exchange for mutual benefit occurred.

Among these latter especially rare cases of Tibetan interaction with rGya gar I single out a complex chapter in the history of the plateau during which Tibetans contributed to the survival of the holiest place of Indian Buddhism, at a time when the Noble Religion suffered its major setback in the Gangetic region. In this steady stream of exchanges one perceives a concern reminiscent of the contribution of contemporary India to the survival of the traditional Tibetan way of life.

At the outset one should ascertain whether the stereotype of the uniqueness of Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal's (1197-1264) adventure that led him to rDo rje gdan during the peak of iconoclastic pressure upon Ma ga dha stands up in the light of historical cross-checking. This stereotype, popular among the scholarship of the past, should be rejected outright.

Leaving aside Chag lo tsa ba, at least seven masters journeyed to and sojourned at rDo rje gdan during the same period from the end of the 12th century to the end of the 13th, during which a fate of destruction was befalling these holy sites. They were:

* dPyal Chos [kyi] bzang [po] (1163-1230);

* Chag dgra bcom pa (1153-1216);

* dPyal A mo gha (?-?);

* dByil ston Khyung rgod rtsal (1235-?);

* Thar pa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan (?-?);

* Man lung pa bSod nams dpal (1235 or 1239-?), (1) and

* U rgyan pa Rin chen dpal (1230-1309).

Two of them--U rgyan pa and Man lung pa--went to rDo rje gdan on more than one occasion. Both are credited with restorations in its temple complex.

Two more masters should be mentioned. Their work bears signs of familiarity with Bodhgaya, which indicates that they may have been there:

* mChims Nam mkha' grags (1210-1267 or 1285 or 1289);2 and

* bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri (1228-1305).

The reasons why all these masters are less popular with Western scholarship (U rgyan pa excepted) may be traced to the imponderable fate that people--and documents focusing on them--face with the passage of time. Their place in posterity is often influenced by cultural and political dominance which is instrumental to the marginalisation of events or historical actors. Fortunately these masters are recorded in little known documents which are resurfacing in recent years, and thus their recognition in Tibetan history is secured.

Less prominent Tibetans of the same period, who stayed at rDo rje gdan, were:

* mGon po rgyal mtshan, a little-known monk who had a different kind of involvement with the centre of the Buddhist world from the others; and

* a number of disciples of Man lung pa, who figure marginally in the decriptions of their master's feats in India. They were:

* slob dpon Byang chub dpal (see below n.40, 52 and 53);

* dBus lCang bsar (spelled so) ba Byang chub mgon (n.40);

* dBus pa Byang chub 'bum (n.47);

* rTag (spelled so) tshal Bya grong pa (n.50);

* lo tsa ba Grags pa rgyal mtshan (n.50, 51, 53 and 57);

* other unidentified seven (n.51) and two more (n.52);

* Zhang bSod nams dar (n.51 and 52); and

* slob dpon Rin bsod (n.40 and 52).

Tibetans at Bodhgaya during the early decades of the phase under study

Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal

A conceptual rather than historical starting point to the exploration of the literary accounts dedicated to the Tibetans who dared to travel to rDo rje gdan during the 13th century is Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal, given his notoriety. I deal with him briefly, my focus being reserved to the above mentioned masters.

During his long journey, which lasted from wood bird 1225 until around water tiger 1242, Chag lo tsa ba spent eight years in the Kathmandu Valley (1225-1232) and about eleven years in Ma ga dha (1232-1242) (mainly at rDo rje gdan and Nalanda, but also at other holy places), without returning to Tibet in the meantime. (3)

He was not the initiator of the Tibetan custom of journeying to Ma ga dha and receiving teachings locally. Two prior phases go back to bstan pa snga dar--associated with Bai ro tsa na, in particular, during the reign of Khri srong lde btsan (Bai ro tsa na'i rnam thar 'dra 'bag chen mo p. 292 line 8-p. 300 line 17)--and bstan pa phyi dar--associated with lo chen Rin chen bzang po, the earliest of several masters of this period, who went to the Noble Land for their studies. (4)

Chag lo tsa ba was not even the originator of a third phase to which he should be assigned. This new phase was inaugurated around the time when alien pressure was applied upon the land between the Gangga and Yamuna, which endangered the survival of the Buddhist heartland.

dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang and Chag dgra bcom pa

It is well known that Chag lo tsa ba's uncle Chag dgra bcom pa preceded him to Ma ga dha. Chag dgra bcom pa travelled with dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang, a master little known but nonetheless of great importance (see my "The Manjusri mountain and the Buddha tree: a history of the dPyal clan (7th-14th century)", forthcoming).

dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang was younger than Chag dgra bcom pa by some ten years (for their respective dates see above), and one could be led to think that he was initiated by his older companion in the practice of proceeding to rGya gar. This was not so. The dPyal clan had a consistent tradition of journeying to Bal po and rGya gar, begun by one of their members, Se tsa dMar ru, who went to the Gangetic plain at the inception of bstan pa phyi dar in dBus gTsang. (5) His successors in the dPyal clan followed his example, so as to obtain teachings from the cradle of Buddhism (see Vitali, ibid., forthcoming).

Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba Sangs rgyas grags pa (?-?), (6) along with his disciples rGa/rGwa lo gZhon nu dpal (or rGa lo, the elder) (b. before 1105/1106-d. before 1193-1194) and sTengs lo tsa ba Tshul khrims 'byung gnas (1107-1190), (7) preceded the earliest Tibetans at rDo rje gdan, with whom I deal in this paper. The former masters sojourned in Ma ga dha for a long time and received pure teachings at the heart of the Noble Land one generation before the latter ones (see the Addendum below).

The experiences of Tsa/rTsa mi, rGa lo the elder and sTengs at Bodhgaya are among the most meaningful in the history of the Tibetan frequentation of this locality. Despite their significance, the nature of these adventures, nonetheless, cannot be assimilated to those of the dPyal family members. They were the expression of individual endeavours rather than the collective aim of a family tradition.

Chag dgra bcom pa was a disciple of sTengs lo tsa ba under whom he studied Dus 'khor, bDe mchog rtsa rgyud, Sanskrit and the art of translating (Deb ther sngon po p.1226 lines 12-15, Blue Annals p.1054-1055). The life example of his teacher influenced Chag dgra bcom pa but, given the dPyal family tradition, it is probable that the leading force in the implementation of the plan to travel to Ma ga dha was the younger dPyal Chos bzang. This is confirmed by a passage in the biography of Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal that deals with the activities of Chag dgra bcom pa. (8)

The journey brought dPyal Chos bzang and Chag dga bcom pa first to the Kathmandu Valley. The biography of dPyal Chos bzang says that, on the way to Bodhgaya, the two companions were robbed by brigands on the banks of the Gangga. (9) Deb ther sngon po assigns this episode to Chag dgra bcom pa's return to Tibet, which would imply that they traveled together back to the plateau. (10) Given that dPyal Chos bzang spent twelve years in rGya gar (see below), Chag dgra bcom pa, too, would have been in Gangetic India for the same period.

It is unlikely that the two companions, if indeed they traveled back to Tibet together, were robbed at the bank of the Gangga both on the way in and out of Ma ga dha. If this hypothesis is dismissed, it is then hardly possible to prefer one of the two versions given the meagre clues provided by dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun and Deb ther sngon po.

A sign of shared experiences is that the gdung rabs-s of the dPyal clan assign to dPyal Chos bzang the same great Indian master--Kha che pan chen Shakya shri bhadra--who is attributed to Chag dgra bcom pa by 'Gos gZhon nu dpal. (11)

The dPyal clan members' extended visits to Bal po and rGya gar continued uninterruptedly from bstan pa phyi dar until when dPyal lo tsa ba was in Ma ga dha in the eighties of the 12th century (Vitali, "The Manjusri mountain and the Buddha tree: a history of the dPyal clan (7th-14th century)", forthcoming). (12) Hence the third phase of Tibetans at Bodhgaya is not so much defined by the presence of his fellow dPyal clan members at rDo rje gdan, which was customary by then, but by the changed local conditions, on account of the Muslim takeover of the region.

dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang was in Ma ga dha for a longer time than Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal. He stayed in this land for twelve years from not later than fire horse 1186 to not later than fire snake 1197 (Vitali, ibid.). He thus witnessed the first iconoclastic and particularly destructive Muslim wave during his prolonged sojourn in Ma ga dha.

It is significant that dPyal lo tsa ba was made the abbot for an unspecified number of years of major hermitages and monasteries including Pu la ha ri (of Na ro pa's fame) and O dan ta pu ri, given to him by the local lord, Hari tsandra. (13) Going by the sequence of episodes in his biography, I am led to think that his appointment happened before the first iconoclastic takeover, and thus that this choice was made in recognition of his importance rather than in haste owing to an emergency.

dPyal lo tsa ba eventually left Ma ga dha for East India, pushed to this destination by the advance of Muslim invaders, and from there he returned to Tibet. (14) Subsequently his teacher Kha che pan chen followed the same route to flee to the plateau. (15)

dPyal lo tsa ba and Chag dgra bcom pa's personal experiences in Ma ga dha were at the cusp of a major turning point marking a second period in the same phase. The dPyal clan members and their associates revised the sense of their coming to Bodhgaya. It was no more the traditional search for teachings in a free and conducive environment. They still came for obtaining Buddhist teachings but they added a new dimension that would have been unimaginable before.

dPyal A mo gha

dPyal A mo gha, the cousin of the great dPyal lo tsa ba, represents this change of perspective. He did indeed venture to the Gangetic plain infested by armies hostile to Buddhism. He was granted an even more prestigious abbatial chair than his great relative. He was, to my knowledge, one of the earliest among the few Tibetans to become abbot of rDo rje gdan, a post he held for three years. (16)

dPyal A mo gha's appointment has the aura of an intervention to save the holy site from decay and oblivion, an attitude, forced upon him by the unsettled conditions of Ma ga dha, which was different from his family tradition.

It is well known that rTsa mi/Tsa mi lo tsa ba Sangs rgyas grags pa was abbot of Bodhgaya before him (see above n.7). However rTsa mi was not a Tibetan but a Tangut, although fully assimilated to Tibetan culture. Their appointments could not have been more different. rTsa mi lo tsa ba was made abbot of Bodhgaya in a time when Buddhism prospered whereas dPyal A mo gha was the mkhan po of Bodhgaya for three years during a dangerous time for the existence of the Noble Religion and inimical to his personal safety, when the holy site was depleted of monastic activity.

On a smaller scale though, the experience of Chag lo tsa ba belongs to the same existential situation. His heroics are proverbial (he stayed a long time in difficult conditions), but he apparently did not take on official responsibilities in defence of the local Buddhist establishment.

dByil ston Khyung rgod rtsal

Another episode belonging to the phase characterised by Tibetans journeying to Bodhgaya despite the troubled situation is the peculiar 'das log travelogue of the Bon po gter ston, dByil ston Khyung rgod rtsal.

His biography says that, having crossed Byang thang in earth horse 1258, he went to the lands of Zhang zhung described as paradises. After seemingly returning to earth, the rnam thar records his visit to territories from Gar zhwa to rDo rje gdan in the same terms, establishing a hazy boundary between dreams and reality. (17)

rDo rje gdan would be a destination somewhat incongrous for a Bon po, were it not that this master also had a career as a Buddhist gter ma rediscoverer (see Anne-Marie Blondeau, Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes, 1984-1985 p.107-114 and "Identification de la tradition appelee bsGrags-pa Bon-lugs").

Thar pa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan

Despite the unsettled conditions in Ma ga dha, Tibetan religious personalities continued to obtain teachings in Gangetic India. Exemplary is the case of Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan, another of the masters associated with the dPyal, who stayed in rGya gar for fourteen long years. He is celebrated for his heroics during that troubled period. He too was made abbot of Bodhgaya and, remarkably, for the same number of years as dPyal A mo gha. (18) An obvious question--unfortunately without answer for no clue is offered at least in the Tibetan literature--is whether this was a fixed tenure of the throne of Bodhgaya during the period.

Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan reconciled in his activities the newly acquired dPyal pa role of protectors of Buddhism, induced by the destruction of the Noble Religion in Ma ga dha, with that of a brilliant master of the doctrine. He is reputed for his erudition in Sanskrit which he taught to his disciples. Unlike dPyal A mo gha who remained a somewhat obscure master, he became a major teacher of his day once he was back to Tibet. He imparted upon Bu ston rin po che and other disciples instructions on Dus 'khor and sByor drug, linked with the dPyal clan and their teachers from Ma ga dha. (19)

Ripples in Tibet

The consistency of the prolonged visits to rGya gar by members of the dPyal family was a major impetus for other Tibetans. Most of the masters who then went to Ma ga dha during this period were directly or indirectly associated with members of the dPyal clan. Such evidence of their endeavours south of the plateau is crucial in order to widen the above mentioned, obsolete historical perspective that the journey of Chag lo tsa ba is unique. These masters, too, brought notions about Bodhgaya to Tibet.

Cultural imports from rDo rje gdan during this period are exemplified by the work of mChims Nam mkha' grags, bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri and also dPyal Padmo can's expansion of the dPyal's hermitage of Thar pa gling. Unlike the stereotype of temples ideally shaped after Bodhgaya, the new structure of Thar pa gling was actually styled after rDo rje gdan. (20)

mChims Nam mkha' grags

There is a tenuous sign that links rDo rje gdan to mChims Nam mkha' grags, author of the most important bKa' gdams pa biographies including A ti sha'i rnam thar rgyas pa. (21) This sign, although of entirely different nature from those left by the masters I deal with here in my article, is mentioned by dGe 'dun chos 'phel in both his Guidebook to India and gTam rgyud gser gyi thang ma. dGe 'dun chos 'phel records the tradition which holds that mChims Nam mkha' grags was the author of a model of Bodhgaya for the well known miniature tridimensional replicas of the monastic complex. (22)

His model was still in use during the Yung-lo period in metropolitan China. (23) No literary reference exists that mChims Nam mkha' grags went to Bodhgaya. A rather long record of his life (sMon lam tshul khrims's mChims Nam mkha' grags kyi rnam thar) which is, although branded a rnam thar, rather more a gsan yig (see above n.2), records a limited amount of details concerning his life.

In the absence of clues, one wonders how mChims Nam mkha' grags could have designed a model of Bodhgaya of such remarkable accuracy if he did not know the complex thoroughly. Is his model just an imitation, and the attribution recorded by dGe 'dun chos 'phel sheer flattery?

bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri

The case of mChims Nam mka' grags was not an isolated one, for it reflected a cultural trend popular in his monastic milieu. Influenced by the dPyal clan from nearby sMan lung and Thar pa gling, sNar thang and neighbouring Chu mig, which had close links, shared an interest in Ma ga dha.

Among the masters active at sNar thang, bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri, famous for his edition of bKa' 'gyur and bsTan 'gyur (see, inter alia, Lobsang Shastri, "The Transmission of Buddhist Canonical Literature in Tibet" p.27), was exposed to notions about rDo rje gdan through a multifarious channel:

* the dPyal family and their associates (in particular dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang and Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan);

* Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal; (24) and

* the sNar thang pa inasmuch as he was a disciple of mChims Nam mkha' grags.

At sNar thang, Rig pa'i ral gri wrote a guidebook to rDo rje gdan (the famous but not too commonly available rDo rje gdan rnam bshad rgyan gyi me tog) so detailed in its description of the location of temples, stupas and statues as to let one presume a thorough familiarity with the place.

In the last lines of the work he gives brief statistics of the number of mchod rten-s with statues at rDo rje gdan according to dPyal lo [tsa ba Chos bzang], their reckoning manifestly being calculated at the time of the presence of this master in loco. These were 260 for the record. (25)

The short biography of bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri written by bSam gtan bzang po--and published by Khams sprul rin po che bSod nams lhun grub in his gSung 'bum--has no reference to a journey of his to Ma ga dha and a stay at rDo rje gdan. It indeed mentions the interaction between Rig pa'i ral gri and Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan, the dPyal clan associate. (26) The biography of Rig pa'i ral gri holds that the Thar pa gling pa master was instrumental in giving Rig pa'i ral gri access to the ancient Indian manuscripts kept at bSam yas. (27) Deb ther sngon po (p.409 lines 12-13) says that Rig pa'i ral gri originally belonged to the monastic division of mChod rten dkar po at bSam yas before moving to sNar thang, which could a sign of his familiarity with the documents kept in this chos skor's premises.

Did Rig pa'i ral gri rely for his guidebook on Thar pa lo tsa ba, who had been an abbot of rDo rje gdan and on dPyal Chos bzang for the statistics? Or was dPyal Chos bzang responsible for a report of unspecified nature on rDo rje gdan before the ravages caused by the iconoclast invaders, given the statistics of mchod rten-s he mentions? Alternatively, did Rig pa'i ral gri base himself on the description of Bodhgaya by Chag lo tsa ba, included in the latter's biography, given that he had studied with him?

Finally, should the anonymous rDo rje gdan gyi dkar chag dang lam yig, presently in the premises of the Bihar Research Institute (Patna), be attributed to a member of the dPyal clan (perhaps dPyal Chos bzang), to one of their associates (perhaps Thar pa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan) or to Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal? Only a close scrutiny of this text to detect traces could validate any claim. (28)

Two better documented frequentations of rDo rje gdan

Man lung pa bSod nams dpal

Returning now to a more mundane plane, where exertions to reach Gangetic India were accompanied by the reality of negotiating a hostile territory and travelling difficulties, the adventures of two Tibetans are better described in their biographies.

One of the two was Man lung pa bSod nams dpal (also known as Man lung gu ru), who had a significant presence in Ma ga dha during the same period. I give Man lung pa some prominence, because little more about him is found in a twelve folio dbu med biography (entitled simply Man lung pa'i rnam thar) which briefly records his adventures in India, among other episodes of his life. This rnam thar exceeds the length of the biographical notes of most masters studied in my article. Unfortunately another work about him--Man lung pa's travelogue to India that was celebrated in antiquity--is not available to me.

Contrary to Ar. MacDonald's understanding that he did not belong to it, (29) Man lung pa was born at sTag lung in the Bran ka family to Bran ka Shes rab seng ge and ma gcig Padma rin chen. His grandfather, Bran ston mTha' bral, was a master of some importance. (30)

The Bran ka family owes its fame to the great Bran ka dPal gyi yon tan, Ral pa can's slained chief minister-monk, to whose wandering spirit legends attribute the role of architect of the various kheng log that sealed the fate of the lha sras btsan po order. Myang chos 'byung records in a note the names of a few Bran kha family members (see ibid. the note on p.30 lines 10-18). Those mentioned are Bran ka Mu ru ti Sangs rgyas gsang ba, who lived in the time of Khri srong lde btsan; Ban chen po and dPal gyi yon tan, active during the reign of Khri Ral pa; then Bran chung pa and finally Bran ston mTha' bral.

Man lung pa received the rab tu byung vow in fire sheep 1247. (31) He studied various texts based on the system of Ye shes zhabs and gSin rje gshed according to the system of gNyos lHa nang pa (1164-1224) under the latter's nephew, the lHa pa master Rin chen rgyal po, founder of Gye re lha khang (lHo rong chos 'byung p.426 line 11), where Man lung pa received these teachings. (32) Further training in the 'Bri gung pa tradition included Na ro'i chos drug at the main monastery of this bKa' brgyud pa school, where he met gCung rin po che rDo rje grags (1210-1278, on the throne of 'Bri gung in 1255). (33)

His education also encompassed the system of the dPyal clan masters and their associates, the dBen dmar family of Rong. Indeed his biography says that, after his appointment to the abbatial chair of Man lung (Man lung pa'i rnam thar f.3b line 8), he went to Rong. Rong pa rGa lo the younger imparted upon him teachings on Dus 'khor and sByor drug; plus gShin rje gshed nag po according to the system of Rwa lo tsa ba and gShin rje gshed dmar po according to the system of dPyal lo tsa ba Chos bzang. (34) He also was a disciple of the Phag mo gru pa abbot bCu gnyis pa Rin chen rdo rje (1218-1280) (lHo rong chos 'byung p.372 line 21-p.373 line 1).

Myang chos 'byung says that the seat of Bran ston mTha' bral in Nying ro of Myang stod was sKyid khud. (35) The branch monastery of Man lung pa's Bran ka family at sTag tshal in Myang smad, formerly held by the lineage of Lo ston rDo rje dbang phyug, (36) was known as Man lung, (37) owing to the greatness of the grandson, bSod nams dpal. (38) But the rationale for the appellative Man lung pa given to bSod nams dpal is unaccounted for in these passages of Myang chos 'byung.

Becoming learned in the doctrinal system of the dPyal clan members may have been a stimulus to follow in their footsteps. However the influence exercised by Bran ston mTha' bral, an older contemporary of Mi tra dzo gi (in Tibet 1198-1199) and Khro phu lo tsa ba Byams pa dpal (1173-1225), on Man lung pa ripening the thought of going to India should not be underestimated. Bran ston mTha' bral received a Po ta la'i lam yig during his interaction with Khro phu lo tsa ba. (39) Under this light Man lung pa's pilgrimage to the Po ta la abode of sPyan ras gzigs assumes the features of a fulfilment of his family destiny (see below).

Man lung pa went thrice to the lands south of the plateau. He definitely had a protracted stay at rDo rje gdan during the first two journeys. His biography does not record his presence at Bodhgaya during the third, but it is reasonable to think that he again visited this holy place.

* First journey (1264-1268)

The first time, Man lung pa left Tibet in wood rat 1264, (40) and returned in earth dragon 1268. (41) Before leaving to cross the Himalayan range, he went to Chu mig ring mo to gather his travel companions, this being another sign of contacts between this monastery and rGya gar. He stopped at sKyid grong on the way and, at 'Phags pa Wa ti lha khang, the sKyid grong Jo bo statue spoke to him, sending him contradictory omens which pointed at the complex duality of phenomenal existence and aspiration to enlightment (Man lung pa'i rnam thar f.6a lines 4-6).

In Bal po he pleased the ruler of the 'Bong chong castle, for he performed rituals that led his wife to beget a son, so that this princely lineage was not interrupted. (42)

He had a prolonged stay in Bal po amidst miraculous events. (43) The biography of Man lung pa claims that, when he was at 'Phags pa shing kun, he was garlanded by the local monkeys, and that the earth shook and made the mchod rten vacillate. Other miraculous omens occurred when he visited 'Phags pa 'Ja ma li (White Machendranath) and U khang 'Phags pa (Red Machendranath), the two Kathmandu Valley brother statues of 'Phags pa Wa ti at sKyid grong and 'Phags pa Lokeshwara presently in the Po ta la. (44)

He was prevented from proceeding farther south because Ti ra hu ti was sieged by the Muslims. (45) The Muslims' attack against the territory north of rDo rje gdan, the site of Ti ra hu ti, in the days of Man lung pa should be assigned to soon after wood rat 1264 (see below n.78 for an assessment of the chronology of the activities of Man lung pa during those years).

An absence of details about his next move makes it seem apparently irrational. The biography abruptly says that he diverted to Ya rtse, where he met the local king A sog lde, also known as A seng lde, without any reference to the lands he crossed to reach this kingdom at a remarkable distance from Ti ra hu ti, to the north-west of it. (46)

It is probable that Man lung pa was in Ya rtse for a while because he acted as the officiating bla ma of A sog lde. The king tried to convince him to remain in Ya rtse for good, but he refused and went to rDo rje gdan, manifestly on account of improved traveling conditions. Was the MuslimTi ra hu ti war over?

At Bodhgaya he left an indelible imprint of his presence, having restored bDud 'joms lha khang, (47) a remarkable achievement vis-a-vis the widespread destruction. This was the first direct and personal involvement of a Tibetan bla ma in a building activity at rDo rje gdan within the framework of Tibetan efforts to resuscitate Bodhgaya from devastation.

Retracing his steps towards the plateau, in Bal po he went to meet his sbyin bdag of some time before; (48) here he was joined by disciples who had come from his monastery. The passage describing these events provides the first chronological reference after 1264. The gathering with his disciples in Bal po occurred in fire hare 1267. All his deeds after he had left Tibet were contained in the span of those four years. In Bal po he performed meditation based on the system of the dPyal, a sign of his dedication to the practice of this family's teachings and his--at least indirect--links with the clan. Back in Man lung in earth dragon 1268, he spent the following three years in meditation at Phug rdzogs (1268-1270). (49)

* Second journey (1270-1276)

During the second journey to the south of the plateau, which lasted from iron horse 1270 to fire rat 1276, Man lung pa had a sojourn of several years at Bodhgaya. He first returned to Ya rtse, where he met A sog lde and his elder brother pandi ta Rad na rakshi ta, (50) whose name helps to confirm that the ethnic stock of the royal dynasty of the time was not Tibetan. The brothers indeed belonged to the Calla genealogy, A sog lde being its last ruler (see Vitali, The Kingdoms of Pu.hrang p.467). Having again refused to become their officiating bla ma, Man lung pa left behind a disciple entrusted with the task and proceeded to rDo rje gdan.

The Ya rtse episodes in the biography of Man lung pa have significant implications for the history of this kingdom. The dates of Man lung pa's two travels to Ya rtse during the reign of A sog lde, separated as they are by a few years, help to assign his reign to the period from before 1264 to at least 1270 (but see below for epigraphic evidence that, while supporting this reckoning, expands the length of this king's rule).

In water monkey 1272 he was joined at Bodhgaya by two of his disciples from Tibet, namely lo tsa ba Grags pa rgyal mtshan and Zhang bSod nams dar. (51) They were among several of Man lung pa's followers who proceeded to Ma ga dha, either to accompany him in his wanderings or to plead with him to return to his monastery in Tibet (for their list see above). For the record, Zhang bSod nams dar was one of the two disciples of Man lung pa, who died in rGya gar (the other was dBus pa Byang chub 'bum; see above n.47). (52)

Man lung pa also traveled to South India around the same time. A speech of his, in which he declined to accept the petition of his fellow monastery members to return to Tibet (see above n.51), is useful to locate his visit to South India to a fraction of water monkey 1272 and a good amount of water bird 1273.

Concerning his feats during the period, a legend in his biography (picked up by Deb ther sngon po) holds that he visited the Po ta la abode of sPyan ras gzigs, who bestowed blessings upon him (Man lung pa'i rnam thar f.9a lines 3-8). Hence he would have made good use of the Po ta la'i lam yig in his family's possession (see above).

His path brought him back to rDo rje gdan. Despite the local pandi ta-s' supplications to stay on, he returned to the south accompanied by two Indian disciples in the autumn of 1273, (53) given that winds of destruction were again blowing in Ma ga dha. He is credited with outstanding realisations (Man lung pa'i rnam thar f.10a lines 1-8). He obtained the power of transforming his body into rainbow and the ability to fly (ibid. f.10a line 4). Extraordinary visions occurred to him including that of the land of sTag gzig (ibid. f.10a line 6). These deeds are described in a work by pandi ta Bi ma la shri, entited Chos 'byung rab gzigs (ibid. f.10a lines 7-8). He finally reached Tibet in 1276. (54)

* Third journey (?-1299)

The third journey, the departure year of which is not recorded in his rnam thar, took him to South India where he gave teachings to the local Buddhists. (55) These activities led him to exclaim with considerable understatement that he went thrice to South India seeking the blessings of sPyan ras gzigs in order to develop a Bodhisattvic attitude which he thought he never attained. (56)

Back in Tibet in earth pig 1299, he met Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan and other major masters of his day, who urged him to have his experiences written down.

His earlier acquaintances and the later ones help to assess Man lung pa's religious orbit. He first operated within a 'Bri gung pa milieu and, after his last sojourn in India, attracted the attention of the Sa skya pa. It seems that, more generally, Man lung pa received the recognition of his contemporaries and his endeavours were celebrated by masters who had similar experiences or showed an interest in the Noble Land. These included his disciples bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri and Rong pa Shes rab seng ge, the son of Rong pa rGa lo the younger and an expert of Dus 'khor associated with the dPyal masters. (57) Among those who urged him to authorise his story to be written down, (58) Tharpa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan personally drafted a preliminary version of his biography, later completed by the Man lung pa monk bSod nams bzang po, to whom the rnam thar is ascribed. (59)

Man lung pa did not stay long in Tibet and continued his wandering life despite approaching old age. The last part of his biography finds him at Ri bo rtse lnga, another destination he considered crucial for his religious practice, (60) where he was seen for several years. (61) The rnam thar loses his traces at this point, and one is left wondering whether he met his end in China.

The deeds of Man lung pa were not only transmitted to posterity in a biography. His wondrous life in Tibet, Ya rtse, Bal po, Ma ga dha and South India was depicted on the walls of the temple of sKyid khud according to an art style dominant in 13th-14th century gTsang. (62)

U rgyan pa Rin chen dpal

No other extensive stays in rDo rje gdan and activity in favour of the holiest Buddhist place by a Tibetan were more influenced by the political evolution on the plateau than U rgyan pa Rin chen dpal's experience, as I will show below. He had to disentangle his work from difficulties induced by the situation in Tibet and the continuing unsettled status of Gangetic India.

Already a legend for negotiating the journey to Udiyana (bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa p.66 line 16-p.105 line 11), he went to Bodhgaya twice. Away from Ma ga dha, the outcome of both occasions was that he contributed to the restoration of rDo rje gdan with funds from Tibet.

Soon after the death of his teacher rGod tshang pa mGon po rdo rje (1187-1258), the great 'Brug pa master appeared to U rgyan pa in a vision and told him to go to rDo rje gdan in a bird year. This happened in the next useful bird year (iron bird 1261) (Si tu pan chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas, Karma Kam tshang gi gser 'phreng p.168 lines 3-4).

On the way south, he went to the Kathmandu Valley, sojourned at Go da wa ri and proceeded to Ti ra hu ti where he behaved like a Tibetan-style madman with the local king and in Hindu temples. (63) On the former occasion he disrupted a ceremony to which the local ruler, Ram Shing, was invited by his senior minister. U rgyan pa avoided punishment owing to the local belief that his behaviour was somewhat auspicious. On the latter occasion he desecrated the murti-s of two temples, to the outrage and desperation of their keepers. Again he went scot-free because these pujari-s were too worried to patch up his misdeeds to report him to the authorities.

lHo rong chos 'byung says that U rgyan pa was urged to rush from Bal po to rDo rje gdan by mGon po on account of an impending risk of a new attack by iconoclastic raiders. (64)

Unusual events occurred when U rgyan pa was in front of the Bodhi tree, said to be to the west of the main gandho la. The thought of enlightment manifested overwhelmingly in him. On an important occasion, Ganesha appeared to him in front of the tree and vowed to support his endeavours. In the northern area of the sacred complex he made arrangements for the making of a statue of Sangs rgyas and had a vision of his teacher rGod tshang pa among deities in the sky, headed by Indra. In order to fulfil the supplications of four local masters--one of them being Dznya na garbha--in the same 1261 he averted Gar log troops advancing to Bodhgaya (on all these episodes see, e.g., Si tu pan chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas, Karma Kam tshang gi gser 'phreng p.169 lines 4-7).

In his abridged biography, dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba says that U rgyan pa spent three years at rDor je gdan (1261-1263), and is credited with the same activity useful to ward off the threat of Muslim attacks. (65) He was thus able to give some respite to the local practitioners.

Si tu pan chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas says that, on the way back to Tibet, U rgyan pa gave a display of his siddhi of not sinking into water (ibid. p.170 line 1). Was levitating upon water a skill that great masters developed in Ma ga dha (perhaps at rDo rje gan), given that rGa lo the elder, too, gave abundant demontrations of this miraculous ability (see below)?

Upon his return to Tibet, he sent much wealth to Bodhgaya from sKyid grong for a first restoration sponsored by him. (66)

U rgyan pa returned to rDo rje gdan soon after iron horse 1270. He travelled from sKyid grong to Bal po rdzong, via the mountain Ma ha par ba ta at the border between Bal po and rGya gar, which I think refers to the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley.

U rgyan pa made lavish offerings to the image of the Buddha at rDo rje gdan and interacted with the saints who were bold enough to sit under the Bodhi tree in those risky circumstances. (67) He was invited to head a tshogs 'khor (ganacakra) in which 500 yogi took part (ibid. p.172 lines 6-7).

On the way back, at the bank of the Gangga, Ganesha transformed into a white horse and came to welcome him (lHo rong chos 'byung p.736 lines 5-6 and lines 22-23) and, like dPyal Chos bzang and Chag dgra bcom pa before him (see above), he had to handle brigands attacking travelers on the bank of the river (ibid. p.736 line 5).

The second time U rgyan pa provided funds for rDo rje gdan was when he contributed to the renovation of its boundary wall, destroyed in the havoc caused by the Muslim marauders. He and the kings of Sri Lanka and Ya rtse restored one side of the wall each. (68) This is why--the biographies of U rgyan pa say--the northern gate of rDo rje gdan is known as the gate of Tibet.

One may speculate whether this ruler of Ya rtse was the same A sog lde who hosted Man lung pa soon after wood rat 1264 and again around iron horse 1270 (see above n.46 and 50). U rgyan pa's restoration of the rDo rje gdan boundary wall, shared with the kings of Ya rtse and Zangs gling, occurred sometime after 1270 and thus quite close to Man lung pa's second visit the former kingdom. Indeed A sog lde signed two inscriptions at Bodhgaya which date to 1255 and 1278 (Vitali, The Kingdoms of Pu.hrang p.449). While the first of these epigraphs is too early to be linked to the activity of U rgyan pa at rDo rje gdan (1255 predates his first journey to Ma ga dha), the second inscription may refer to the restoration undertaken in collaboration with the Tibetan master.

A sog lde is credited by mNga'ris rgyal rabs with major successes in extending his dominions. This apparently is contradictory because the same text records an advance by the Gu ge king Grags pa lde into the territories to its south, where Ya rtse was located. He was a contemporary of A sog lde, the dates of the latter's inscriptions encompassing Gu ge Grags pa lde's reign (Vitali, ibid. p.449-450). A sog lde's expansion of his dominions and the inscriptions he left at Bodhgaya may indicate that he turned his attention towards the lowlands as a consequence of a contraction of his dominions on the highlands.

On the way back from his second visit, U rgyan pa relieved a large number of Tibetans from the harassments of the local authorities in Bal po. This is something two other prominent Tibetan bla ma-s in the Kathmandu Valley did not do. (69) According to the literature dedicated to U rgyan pa, these Tibetans had left the plateau owing to a drought. Eventually he could not convince the Newar authorities to give up tormenting his countrymen. So he led those Tibetans back to the plateau.

U rgyan pa's legend grew considerably in the eyes of the Mongol emperors of China who gave him lavish gifts, (70) despite his overt antipathy towards them. His sentiments led him to reject their patronage. He refused their gifts, but once he did accept, having in mind the survival of Bodhgaya. He sent to rDo rje gdan the gold and silver given to him by Ol ja du for another reconstruction campaign. (71) In the absence of a specific date, this must have happened between wood horse 1294 and fire sheep 1307, the Tibetan reckoning of Ol ja du's regnal years.

The biographies of U rgyan pa mention an unsung Tibetan hero, mGon po rgyal mtshan, who was the head of the latter restoration project. He must have had a protracted stay in Bodhgaya because he is known in the biographies of U rgyan pa under the appellative of rDo rje gdan pa. (72) He should be classified side by side with the religious masters, protagonists of the phase of Tibetan activity at rDo rje gdan, conducted under iconoclast pressure.

The context

The motivations that led the masters I deal with to proceed to the centre of the Buddhist world changed during the course of those 100 years or more with the modification of the political conditions affecting north-central India and Tibet.

At the beginning of this phase, the protagonists of this adventure--members of the dPyal clan--followed a consolidated family tradition to receive teachings from masters of Ma ga dha and led others--members of the Chag clan--to share these experiences.

Owing to the different political conditions, Tibetan masters ventured to Ma ga dha for other reasons. On the one hand, the unsettled situation of Gangetic India under Muslim pressure remained substantially unchanged for the rest of the period under study. The situation in Ma ga dha was consistently bad. On the other hand, the evolving political status of the plateau, in particular its central regions, (73) influenced the adoption of new perspectives concerning the importance of the journey to rDo rje gdan.

Bitter internecine rivalries dominated the scenario of dBus gTsang in expectation of the takeover of Tibet by the Mongols. The matter at stake was the race to become the interlocutors of the upcoming overlords. (74) Man lung pa'i rnam thar shows that the fate of the country was not only decided at the Mongol court, as the famous letter of Sa skya pandi ta to the Tibetans would lead one to believe, but also reflected local realities.

Contendants--Man lung pa'i rnam thar says--vied for supremacy in Central Tibet. The Sa skya pa, who clashed against the Chags sdang, were the most prominent authority in gTsang. The lHa pa, who fought against the 'Bri gung pa, were among the principal contenders in dBus. (75) Monastic life was shattered. It should be noted that Chags sdang is not a proper name referring to an otherwise unknown Tibetan party or family, but a term (literally meaning "love and hate") applied to the controversy between rival factions among the Phag mo gru pa (see Deb ther dmar po p.122 line 23-p.123 lines 3). (76)

Although historically inaccurate, for it mixes events attributed to the fifties of the 13th century with those a few decades later (i.e. the Chags sdang controversy), the passage under study is nonetheless precious. It echoes the political dynamics of Central Tibet, marked by a transition from a dimension that did not transcend regional boundaries to one in which dBus and gTsang were antagonist. It also shows that, despite the assertion in the letter written some time before by Sa skya pandi ta to the Tibetans that the Tibetans were a single lot, the political situation on the plateau continued to be widely fragmented.

A retrospective calculation of events in the life of Man lung pa helps to assign these local struggles for supremacy to obtain a position of preeminence in Tibet vis-a-vis the surging Mongol power to somewhere within the fifties of the 13th century (see below n.78).

Religious fervour, combined with difficult local conditions, led some masters to leave the plateau. This was the case of Man lung pa, whose activity was hindered by the lHa pa family, and U rgyan pa, who did not enjoy the favour of the new Sa skya pa overlords.

The unsettled times led Man lung pa to move south. Initially the lHa pa were able to prevent him from proceeding to India. (77) Despite an attempt by the lHa clan member Rin chen rgyal po (1201-1263) to send him back to Man lung by assigning him (again) to his gdan sa, Man lung pa continued his progress towards the lowlands in the south, where he was stopped by lHa pa troops sent to take him back. He would leave Tibet only several years later, following a protracted disappearance from the scene of central Tibet. (78)

Man lung pa's departure for India in 1264 coincides too closely with the death of lHa Rin chen rgyal po in water pig 1263 not to have been influenced by the fact that, with the latter's passing, political and religious pressure upon him was lifted. (79) Foreseeing gloomy days ahead in Central Tibet, Man lung pa sent out warnings, which were ignored, and decided to go to India. (80)

Indeed in the same 1264 when he set out to cross the Himalayan range, Mongol troops advanced to Central Tibet in order to prepare the way for 'gro mgon 'Phags pa's return to Sa skya. Their chieftain Du mur was convinced to desist from further action in dBus by the sTag lung abbot Sang rgyas yar byon (1203-1272) and the latter's emissary Zhang btsun. (81)

For his part U rgyan pa had to bear the brunt of Sa skya pa hostility. In water monkey 1272, dpon chen Kun dga' bzang po burned down U rgyan pa's monastery of sBud skra/sBu tra, (82) an event the master had foretold with his clairvoyance according to his biographies; (83) or, I would say, with a grain of political acumen, given his tense relations with the Sa skya pa, dpon chen Kun dga' zang po in particular. The fire of sBu tra has the garb of a rehearsal for the destruction of 'Bri gung in the gling log of iron tiger 1290.

As mentioned above, upon returning from his second sojourn at rDo rje gdan at an unspecified time after iron horse 1270, and thus when the Mongol law had already been enforced in Tibet, U rgyan pa became the head of the Tibetans exiled in Bal po, who numbered in the thousands. They officially took shelter in the Kathmandu Valley, owing to a drought in Tibet, but they actually fled due to the heavy taxation imposed by Sa skya, as said by a dge bshes of this school who was in Kathmandu at the time (see above n.69). (84)

Man lung pa took a different direction from U rgyan pa's temporary exile. When the situation became unbearable in Ma ga dha on account of renewed lethal attacks by the Muslims on the Buddhist centres of learning, Man lung pa preferred to proceed to South India than to return to Tibet, as U rgyan pa had. Man lun pa's reluctance to go back to the plateau, despite the uneasy situation in Ma ga dha, is palpable in the rnam thar.

One wonders whether their paths crossed. This did not happen but they did come close to meeting. U rgyan pa saw Man lung pa's nye gnas at Bodhgaya, while the latter's master was away from rDo rje gdan for one of his Indian pilgrimages. (85)

Can one then think that, from earlier being a proverbial destination of Tibetan pilgrimage, rDo rje gdan became, in some instances, the symbol of Tibetans taking the road to exile? All one can say is that, owing to persistent religious zeal and changed political conditions in Tibet, the way to rDo rje gdan was frequented by Tibetan masters during a time of destruction of Gangetic Buddhism as much as when Ma ga dha was peaceful.

Driven to rDo rje gdan by various reasons, ranging from a family tradition and personal motivation to political dissent and the need to go into exile, (86) these masters were linked, in most cases, by common training (especially Dus 'khor and sByor rgyud), shared values, personal interactions and similar activities. (87) Although in the extant literature they have been examined separately, the evidence arising from linking their individual stories seems to indicate that these masters formed a kind of collateral (or unofficial) cultural movement.


The immediate precursors (first, second and third quarter of the 12th century)

Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba and his disciples

The influx of other Tibetans at rDo rje gdan was not marginal during the days of Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba Sangs rgyas grags pa, rGa lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal and sTengs Tshul khrims 'byung gnas. mKhas pa'i dga' ston (p.1495 lines 18-20) preserves the names of other visitors to Bodhgaya, most of them obscure pilgrims active in the period immediately preceding the phase dealt with in this paper:

* sPong zho gSal ba grags,

* Kher gang 'Khor lo grags,

* Rong gling lo tsa [ba],

* lDi ri Chos grags and

* Tre bo Shes rab dpal, along with two better known Buddhist proponents:

* She'u lo tsa [ba] and

* gNyan lo [tsa ba] (the younger?). (88)

In his biographical notes on the South Indian master A bhaya ka ra [gupta] who was mainly active in Ma ga dha, dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba says that he was a teacher of Tsa mi/rTsa mi and all of them. (89) rGa lo, too, is included among A bhaya ka ra's disciples but not sTengs, this perhaps being a sign that the latter was in Bodhgaya after the Indian master's demise.

These practitioners were another wave of Tibetans in search of teachings at the cradle of Buddhist world. In my view, they did not form a fully fledged phase, comparable to the one under study in this article, since the presence of Tibetans at rDo rje gdan at the time was circumscribed to disciples of A bhaya ka ra and their disciples.

The frequentation of rDo rje gdan by Tsa/rTsa mi, rGa lo the elder and sTengs lo tsa ba cannot be placed into a precise span of years. The dates of Tsa/rTsa mi are not known; those of rGa lo are approximate (see above and n.6). The bstan rtsis of Sum pa mkhan po's dPag bsam ljon bzang says that A bhaya ka ra died in wood snake 1125 at the remarkable age of 121 (ibid. p.839; also Tshe tan zhab drung, bsTan rtsis kun las btus pa p.171). (90) Consequently the activity of Tsa/rTsa mi and rGa lo the elder at Bodhgaya may be provisionally assigned to before the end of the first quarter of the 12th century and an unspecifiable number of years thereafter.

rGa lo gZhon nu dpal's life activities: a synopsis

I dedicate a few more lines to rGa lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal owing to the existence of a rnam thar recording his deeds, penned by his disciple bla ma Zhang g.Yu brag pa (1123-1193 or 1194). This biography is marginally more articulated on the issue of the years spent by rGa lo the elder in Ma ga dha than the longer periods he was in Tibet. I summarise here the main facts in his life.

His early years

* He was born to rGa' (spelled so) Shes rab rtse and Nyang bza' Tshe sprul at a place south of dByar mo thang in A mdo, namely The'u chung of rTsong ka (a beautiful, archaic spelling) (dPal gyi rnam thar p.360 lines 5-7). Despite being a native of A mdo, he is called 'Khams (spelled so) pa rGa lo a few times in his biography. My understanding is that his family originally was from Mi nyag Gha (also spelled in several other manners), the clan name rGa probably being indicative of this provenance.

rGya gar

* After rather undescribed studies in his youth, he left Tibet for rGya gar aged thirty (ibid. p.361 line 4). Having collected gold in sTod lung phu, he stayed in Bal po on the way, and then reached rDo rje gdan, where he searched for a true teacher (ibid. p.362 lines 1-4). He met the great A bhaya ka ra who recommended Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba, but he was reluctant to follow this advice. His mental argumentation, for which he is famous, was that there was no point in coming to rGya gar to end up studying under a Tibetan (ibid. p.362 line 4-p.363 line 3). He eventually chose Tsa/rTsa mi owing to this master's greatness (ibid. p.364 line 3-7).

* He spent at least thirteen years and nine months in rGya gar. (91) Being a disciple of Tsa/rTsa mi and Abhaya ka ra, he became an expert of Dus 'khor and sByor drug--like most of the masters I deal with in this study. He had spiritual powers--especially the siddhi-s he attained at bSil ba'i tshal, practising the system of Tsa/rTsa mi (ibid. p.365 lines 4-7, p.366 line 2-p.369 line 2); he was ayogin and great performer of miracles.

* In Ma ga dha he engaged in strict religious practice--mostly penance and meditation (ibid. p.363 line 4; p.365 lines 1-2; p.365 line 4; p.366 line 1; p.372 line 7)--but was also invited by the local ruler, Shing rta can, to become his mchod gnas despite Hindu resistance (ibid. p.373 lines 5-p.374 line 3). He is credited by his biography to have defeated unspecified Du ru kha troops (ibid. p.375 line 2), but this is anachronistic, for the troops of Islam had not yet advanced to the Gangetic plain in his days.

* This synopsis of the biography does not do justice to the many details mentioned by Zhang g.Yu brag pa about rGa lo's prolonged sojourn in Ma ga dha, which deserve an extensive study, especially those religious. The biography mentions:

~holy sites--rDo rje gdan (ibid. p.362 lines 3-4; p.374 line 7), Na len tra (spelled so, ibid. p.362 lines 4-5; p.364 line 1), gSil ba'i tshal (ibid. p.365 lines 4-7, p.366 line 2-p.369 line 2; p.372 line 7), Kho kha rag pa, Nya tro ta (ibid. p.370 line 2 and line 6; p.371 line 2; p.371 line 7) and Bya rgod phung po'i ri (ibid. p.375 line 3);

~monasteries--Bho/Gho sa kra ma at the outskirts of Na len tra (ibid. p.365 lines 1-2; p.376 line 7)),

~temples--Sangs rgyas gdam bzhi'i lha khang (ibid. p.370 line 3); ~buildings--the three floor high residence of Tsa/rTsa mi (ibid. p.376 line 6) at Na len tra (ibid. p.376 line 4);

~ statues--Shiva at Nya tro ta (ibid. p.371 line 2), sPyan ras gzigs on the left side of Nya tro ta (ibid. p.371 line 7-p.372 line 1) and Nag po chen po (ibid. p.372 lines 2-3);

~miracles he performed--the recurring one was that he sat in the lotus posture levitating over water, a sign of yoga practice; his taking the aspect of a snake to scare away Hindu-s; or his bringing down, dead on the ground, a big bird by means of a single glance (this happened upon leaving Bya rgod phung po'i ri; an allusion to this holy place where he stayed for three months?) (ibid. p.375 lines 4-5);

~Indian religious masters--A bhaya ka ra (ibid. p.363 lines 2-3; p.363 lines 6-7; p.365 lines 2-3; p.365 lines 6-7), Ba gi shwa ra from U rgyan (ibid. p.363 lines 6-7; p.364 line 1) and gDug spu re ba (ibid. p.363 line 7-p.364 line 3);

~Indian rulers--Shing [rta] can and Ra ma phala (ibid. p.362 lines 34; p.371 lines 3-4; p.373 line 5); and also

~visions--sGrol ma, sPyan ras gzigs, 'Od zer can (ibid. p.372 lines 12), mGon po phyag gnyis pa and phyag bzhi pa, and the zhing skyong of the cemetery bSil ba'i tshal, who transformed into a snake slithering from the roots of a tree.

dBus gTsang and eastern Byang thang

* Back to Tibet (ibid. p.377 line 6), he was in La stod (lHo or Byang?), where he defeated a chos log pa who practised a system called Ma cig ma rje cig ma lha cig ma (ibid. p.377 line 6-p.378 line 2) and then went to

dBus (ibid. p.378 lines 2-4).

* North of dBus, he stayed at gNam mtsho for five years, including its island Se mo do, where he had the vision of Don yod grub pa (ibid. p.378 line 4p.379 line 2); then in g.Yo ru (ibid. p.379 line 2); again in La stod (lHo or Byang?) and at 'Gor rdzong brag (in La stod?) (ibid. p.379 line 7). He spent one year in Byang (ibid. p.379 line 7-p.380 line 1).

In all these localities he performed miracles and had extraordinary visions.

A mdo, Khams and Nag shod

* Having proceeded to Eastern Tibet, he spent seven years at Kam po sNas (spelled so) snang (ibid. p.380 lines 1-4). He went back to his native place in A mdo, where he found that his parents had died in the meantime (ibid. p.380 line 4). At that time he received an invitation by the Chinese emperor but run away from it (ibid. p.380 line 5).

* Back to Khams, he witnessed the destruction of monasteries in Khams sgang; he rebuilt them (ibid. p.380 line 5-p.381 line 2). He reopened paths in the flooded gorges of the Nag chu by performing the miracle of splitting the water asunder (ibid. p.381 lines 2-4).

* He then proceeded to Sog (in Nag chu kha), where, at Nam (spelled so) shod Grab 'khar (ibid. p.381 lines 5-6), lHa bzangs, his sponsor from the ru ba of Sog, donated much gold to him (ibid. p.381 line 7-p.382 line 1). He gave teachings at Gyang dmar of Nag shod Dral (spelled so) 'khar (ibid. p.382 line 6-p.383 line 2) and then returned to dBus.

Again he displayed his wondrous capacities and had extraordinary visions at several of the above mentioned localities.

dBus (again)

* In Kyu ru g.Yu 'brang of dBu ru he performed his trademark miracle of levitating over water for the sake of bKa' gdams pa practitioners who did not have faith in him (ibid. p.383 lines 2-4). He interacted with his disciples in dBus (ibid. p.383 line 6-p.384 line 5) and then went to Yer pa, in whose vicinities he received a grant from a Bon po of Rab rgang. This prompted him to recollect an earlier encounter with bandits in the latter area (in La stod?) (ibid. p.385 line 1-p.386 line 1). Once again some of these events were accompanied by an extraordinary performance.

* After announcing his demise during the following--unspecified--year (ibid. p.386 line 7), the biography comes to an end with a long description of the circumstances leading to his death and the ensuing funerary rites (ibid. p.386 line 7-p.391 line 2).

sTengs lo tsa ba

sTengs lo tsa ba Tshul khrims 'byung gnas went thrice to rGya gar (for a brief biography of this master see Deb ther sngon po p.1223 line 14-p.1226 line 9). He spent ten years in Ma ga dha with Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba (ibid. p.1224 lines 15-17). The number of years of his interaction with Tsa/rTsa mi may define the length of his first sojourn in India.

When sTengs reached Ma ga dha the second time, he found out that Tsa/ rTsa mi had died in the meantime--among the masters I deal with in this study, he is the only one who passed away in India without returning to Tibet--but this information does not help to establish an approximate date for his demise. sTengs stayed in Ma ga dha for five years and studied under quite a few teachers (ibid. p.1225 lines 8-18). He put his training to good profit, for he engaged, back to Tibet, in the translation of several religious texts.

He returned to rDo rje gdan a third time, and stayed there for three years (ibid. p.1225 lines 18-19), but none of his three visits can be dated. (92)


Tibetan sources

Si tu Chos kyi 'byung gnas, Karma Kam tshang gser 'phreng (completed by 'Be lo Tshe dbang kun khyab): Si tu Chos kyi 'byung gnas, bsGrub rgyud Karma Kam tshang brgyud pa rin po che'i rnam par thar pa rab 'byams nor bu zla ba chus shel gyi 'phreng ba, A History of the Karma bKa' brgyud pa Sect (vol.1), D.Gyaltsan and Kesang Legshay eds., New Delhi 1972.

Zhang g.Yu brag pa brTson 'grus grags pa, dKar rgyud kyi rnam thar in Zhang rin-po-che'i bka'-'bum, Writings (bKa' thor bu) of Zhang g.Yu-brag-pa brTson-'grus grags-pa, Khams-sprul Don-brgyud nyima (ed.), Sungrab Nyamso Gyunpel Parkhang, Palampur 1972.

bSod nams dpal bzang po, Kha che pan chen gyi rnam thar, in D. Jackson (ed.), Two Biographies of Shakyashribhadra: Then Eulogy by Khrophu lo-tsa-ba and its "Commentary" by bSod-nams-dpal-bzang-po, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1990.

Kha rag gNyos kyi gdung rabs: Anonymous, Kha rag gNyos kyi rgyudpa byon tshul mdor bsdus, handcopy by bKra shis tshe ring after an original in the library of 'Ba' nyag A teng gDan sa pa.

Khyung rgod rtsal gyi rnam thar: Dol po Shud kye drang srong rGyal mtshan tshul khrims, dPon sras kyi rnam thar, in Sources for the History of Bon: a Collection of Rare Manuscripts from the bSamgling Monastery in Dol-po, Lopon Tenzin Namdak (ed.), Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre, Dolanji 1972.

mKhas pa'i dga' ston: dPa' bo gTsug lag phreng ba, Dam pa chos kyi 'khor lo bsgyur ba rnams kyi byung ba gsal bar byed pa mkhas pa'i dga' ston, rDo rje rgyal po (ed.), Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Pe cin 1986.

dGe 'dun chos 'phel, rGya gar gnas yig, in T. Huber (ed.), The Guide to India, A Tibetan Account by Amdo Gendun Chophel, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala 2000.

Chag lo tsa ba'i rnam thar: Chos dpal dar dbyangs, Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal gyi rnam thar bla ma'i gsung dri ma med pa bsgrigs pa, pan chen 'Os sprul (ed.), Varanasi 1963.

mChims Nam mkha' grags kyi rnam thar: sMon lam tshul khrims, mChims nam mkha' grags kyi rnam thar bzhugs, 50 folio dbu can manuscript.

mChims Nam mkha' grags: Jo bo dpal ldan A ti sha'i rnam thar rgyas pa, dbu can manuscript in 50 folios.

Rin chen bzang po'i rnam thar: 'Jig rten mig gyur Rin chen bzang po'i rnam thar bsdus pa in Gur mGon po chos 'byung, in Collected Bibliographical Material about Rin chen bzang po and his Subsequent Re-embodiments, Dorje Tsetan (ed.), Delhi 1977.

dGe 'dun chos 'phel. gTam rgyud gser gyi thang ma (abridged version): mKhas dbang dGe 'dun chos 'phel gyis mdzad pa'i gTam rgyud gser gyi thang ma zhes bya ba bzhugs so, Blo bzang nor bu Shastri (ed.), Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Varanasi 1986.

sTag lung chos 'byung: Ngag dbang rnam rgyal, sTag lung chos 'byung, Chab spel Tshe brtan phun tshogs ed., Gangs can rig mdzod vol .22, Bod ljongs Bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, lHa sa 1992.

Deb ther sngon po: 'Gos lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal, Deb ther sngon po, Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Chengdu 1984.

Deb ther dmar po: Tshal pa Kun dga' rdo rje, Deb ther dmar po rnams kyi dang po Hu lan deb ther, Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Pe cin, reprint 1993.

bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri, rDo je gdan rnam bshad rgyan gyi me tog, in Ri dkar po'i brjid sgra, Students' Education Committee, Sakya College, Rajpur 2006 n.1.

Phug pa lHun grub rgya mtsho and mkhas grub Nor bzang rgya mtsho, Pad dkar zhal lung: Legs par bshad pa Padma dkar po'i zhal gyi lung zhes bya ba bzgugs so, Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Pe cin 2002.

dPyal gyi gDung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun: bya btang pa Padma rdo rje, Bla chen dPyal gyi gdung rabs rin po che'i za ra tshags zhes bya ba dang/ gDung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun gnyis gleg bam gcig tu bris pa las/ kun gsal me long che ba bcud ldan bzhugs so, computer version in thiry-three pages.

dPyal pa'i lo rgyus kyi yi ge: third 'Brug chen 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi grags pa, dPyal pa'i lo rgyus kyi yi ge bzhugs so, Kargyud Sungrab Nyamso Khang, Darjeeling 1985.

Bu ston chos 'byung: Bu ston Rin chen grub, Bu ston chos 'byung gsung rab rin po che'i mdzod, Krung go Bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, Zi ling 1988.

Bai ro tsa na'i rnam thar 'dra 'bag chen mo: g.Yu sgra snying po and others, Bai ro'i rnam thar 'dra 'bag chen mo, Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Chengdu 1995.

Man lung pa'i rnam thar: bSod nams bzang po, Man lung pa'i rnam thar bzhugs, dbu med manuscript in twelve folios.

chos 'byung: Anonymous, Myang yul stod smad bar gsum gyi ngo mtshar gtam gyi legs bshad mkhas pa'i 'jug ngogs zhes bya ba bzhugs so, lHag pa tshe ring (ed.), Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, lHa sa 1983.

Dung dkar rin po che, Tshig mdzod chen mo, Krung go'i Bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, Pe cin 2002.

Rig pa'i ral gri'i rnam thar: bSam gtan bzang po, bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri dad pa'i ljon shing, in Legs par bshad gtam gyi tshogs Utpala sngon po'i do shal shes ldan dgyes pa'i mgul rgyan, Khams sprul bSod nams don grub's gSung 'bum, no place and year of publication.

Ta'i si tu Byang chub rgyal mtshan, Si tu bKa' chems in Rlangs kyi po ti bse ru, Chab spel Tshe brtan phun tshogs (ed.), Gangs can rig mdzod n.1, Bod ljongs mi dmans dpe skrun khang, lHa sa 1986.

lHo rong chos 'byung: rTa tshag Tshe dbang rgyal, Dam pa'i chos kyi byung ba'i legs bshad lHo rong chos 'byung ngam rTa tshag chos 'byung zhes rtsom pa'i yul ming du chags pa'i ngo mtshar zhing dkon pa'i dbe khyad par can bzhugs so, Gangs can rig mdzod vol.26, Bod ljongs Bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, lHa sa 1995.

bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa: bSod nams 'od zer, Grub chen U rgyan pa'i rnam thar, Gangs can rig mdzod vol.32, rTa mgrin tshe dbang (ed.), Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, lHa sa 1997.

Secondary sources

Blondeau A.M., Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes, Ve Section, tome XCIII, 1984-1985.

Blondeau A.M., "Identification de la tradition appelee bsGrags-pa Bon-lugs", in T.Skorupski (ed.), Indo-Tibetan Studies, Buddhica Britannica II, Tring: 1990.

Jackson D., The 'Miscellaneous Series' of Tibetan Texts in the Bihar Research Society, A Handlist, Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1989.

Macdonald Ar., "Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru", Bulletin d'Ecole Franchise d'Etreme Orient vol. 57 1970.

Roerich G. (transl.), The Biography of Dharmaswamin (Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal), K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna 1959.

von Schroeder U., Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, vol. One: India and Nepal, Visual Dharma, Hong Kong 2001.

Lobsang Shastri, "The Transmission of Buddhist Canonical Literature in Tibet", Tibet Journal vol. XXXIII n.3 Autumn 2007.

Sperling E., "Rtsa-mi lo-tsa-ba Sangs-rgyas grags-pa and the Tangut Background of Early Mongol-Tibetan Relations", in P.Kwaerne, Tibetan Studies, Proceedings of the 6th International Association for Tibetan Studies vol.II, The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, Oslo 1994.

Vitali R., The Kingdoms of Pu.hrang, Tho.ling gtsug.lag.khang lo.gcig.stong ''i rjes dran.mdzad sgo'i go.sgrig tshogs.chung publishers, Dharamsala 1996.

Vitali R., "Grub chen U rgyan pa and the Mongols of China", a paper read at the International Conference "Exploring Tibet's History and Culture", jointly hosted by University of Delhi and Central University of Tibetan Studies Sarnath, Delhi November 2009.

Vitali, "The Manjusri mountain and the Buddha tree: a history of the dPyal clan (7th to 14th century)", forthcoming.

Roberto Vitali


* This article is dedicated to the memory of A rgya rGya mtsho tshe ring.

(1) The year of Man lung pa's birth was either earth pig 1239, as the opening lines of his biography state (Man lungpa'i rnam thar f.3a line 1) (see below n.30), or wood sheep 1235 according to a passage elsewhere in his rnam thar (ibid. 11b lines 3-4: "In earth male pig 1299 he returned to Tibet, having reached the age of sixty-five at that time on account of one [of the calculations based on his birth date]").

The formulation of the latter sentence indicates that Man lung pa's biographer was aware of the controversy concerning the master's year of birth.

(2) Sources have erratic assessments of the death date of mChims Nam mkha' grags. His life span is thus remarkably shortened or prolonged on the basis of these contradictory reckonings. A text that supports the date 1289 is his dbu can biography in fifty folios, entitled simply mChims Nam mkha' grags kyi rnam thar bzhugs--and also known as rNam thar yon tan bsngags pa'i phreng ba to the colophon of the same work (f.50a line 1). It was written by sMon lam tshul khrims at sNar thang. In order to compute the death date 1289, the rnam thar first mentions some religious activities undertaken by mChims Nam mkha' grags for the bird year 1285 when--the text says--he was already aged over seventy (ibid. f.44b line 3). Then it says that mChims lived for five more years (ibid. f.45a line 3).

(3) Chag lo tsa ba'i rnam thar (Roerich, The Biography of Dharmaswamin p.105) records that fourteen and a half years had elapsed in the dragon year 1256 after Chag lo tsa ba returned from rGya gar, which helps to fix the end of his Indian sojourn to around 1242. Earlier, upon the death of his uncle Chag dgra bcom pa in fire rat 1216, he formally proclaimed his intention to proceed to rGya gar, but it still took him ten years before he could actually do so (ibid. p.52). He left for Bal po in 1225, where he spent eight years (1225-1232) (ibid p.56). Hence, in 1232, he proceeded to Ma ga dha--said to be across the Gangga coming from the north (ibid. p.63)--where he resided until around 1242.

His biography outlines the political situation of 1232-1242, the years of Chag lo tsa ba's stay in Ma ga dha. At the time Yangs pa can and rDo rje gdan were attacked by iconoclastic marauders. Chag lo tsa ba's visit to the holy places of Ma ga dha fell at the peak of one of the marauders' pillages. Chag lo tsa ba' i rnam thar tells that, upon Chag lo tsa ba's arrival there, the inhabitants of Yangs pa can had just fled for fear of the Du ru ka approaching (ibid. p.62). At rDo rje gdan the monks had run for their lives after plastering closed the door of the temple's sanctum; only four remained behind (ibid. p.64). Vikramasila still existed during the time of Chag dgra bcom pa and dPyal lo tsa ba (about them see below); it was in ruins when Chag lo tsa ba reached the locality (ibid. p.64).

(4) The Rin chen bzang po'i rnam thar entitled 'Jig rten mi gyur Lo chen Rin chen bzang po'i rnam thar bsdus pa, excerpted from A mes zhabs's Nag po chen po'i chos 'byung, describes--with some variants from the original--the well known account of the mission assigned to Rin chen bzang po by Ye shes 'od (ibid. p.194 line 3-p.199 line 4). He was entrusted with the task of bringing a suitable chos skyong for the mNga' ri skor gsum kingdom. Lo chen, upon the advice of his teacher Kha che Shraddha ka ra warma, went to the rDo rje gdan cemetery in the south-west and to the local mgon khang. He was able to summon Gur mGon po to Upper West Tibet by means of the practice of this deity, which he had learned from his master.

(5) On Se tsa dMa ru, one of the early masters from dBus gTsang who, after studying sngags rnying ma, went to India in order to receive sngags gsar ma, an event that contributed to the establishment of bstan pa phyi dar in Central Tibet, see Vitali, "The Manjusri mountain and the Buddha tree: a history of the dPyal clan (7th-14th century)", forthcoming.

(6) For a brief account of the activity of rTsa mi lo tsa ba and for a much longer one concerning his disciple rGa/rGwa lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal (entitled dPal gyi rnam thar) in which the former narrative is embedded see Zhang g.Yu brag pa brTson 'grus grags pa, dKar rgyud kyi rnam thar (p. 360 line 3p. 391 line 2); also see mKhaspa'i dga'ston (p. 530 lines 3-22). This material is assessed in Sperling, "Rtsa mi Lo-tsa-ba Sangs-rgyas grags-pa and the Tangut Background of Early Mongol-Tibetan Relations". dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba's statement that Tsa/rTsa mi was a native of Khams Mi nyag has been dismissed by Sperling. This master was from Byang Mi nyag, and thus a Tangut. Indeed elsewhere in his work dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba says that Tsa mi was born at Mi nyag Gha (ibid. p. 1498 line 8).

(7) 'Gos lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal (Deb ther sngon po p. 932 line 9) says that rGa lo the elder lived for eithty-nine years. Ar. Macdonald attempts an approximation of his dates, basing them on those of his rebirth rGa lo the younger (born in water pig 1203). She comes to 1110/1114-1198/1202 ("Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru" p. 177 and Sperling "Rtsa-mi lo-tsa-ba Sangs-rgyas grags-pa and the Tangut Background of Early Mongol-Tibetan Relations" p. 801, who mentions her reckoning). However, given that rGa lo gZhon nu dpal's disciple Zhang g.Yu brag pa records at some length the circumstances surrounding his teacher's death, an apt terminus ante quem for the passing of rGa lo the elder is the date of the former's demise (1193 or 1194). A succinct biography of sTengs lo tsa ba is found in Deb ther sngon po (see the Addendum below).

(8) Chag lo tsa ba'i rnam thar (p.9 lines 4-5): "dPyal lo tsa ba Chos kyi bzang po dang rGya gar du dus mtshungs pa'i grogs po dam pa//"; "[Chag dgra bcom pa was] the noble companion of dPyal lo tsa ba Chos kyi bzang po. They went to rGya gar at the same time". Conspicuously, the text does not say that Chag dgra bcom pa went to India accompanied by dPyal Chos bzang despite being a document of the Chag family.

(9) dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.12 line 35-p.13 line 3): "They (i.e. dPyal Chos bzang and Chag dgra bcom pa) left and crossed the town of Tira hu ti. They had not even reached the bank of the Gang ga (p.13) that three troubling occasions occurred in the same area. Bandits appeared then at the bank of the Gang ga. They said they would hurt, strip, beat and kill them. A few people (i.e. thus showing they were travelling in a group) fainted. Some cried; some lamented. His noble companion sNyel (spelled so) gyi Chag lo tsa ba and he, altogether two, were stripped naked. He told [the bandits]: "I happen to consider this terrifying experience as not painful. Instead, one should be brave at heart. Even if some companions are breathless, do it (i.e. go ahead with your harassment)!".

(10) 'Gos lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal, Deb ther sngon po (p.1227 lines 13-15, dGe 'dun chos 'phel and Roerich (transls.), Blue Annals p.1055): "On the way back to Tibet in the company of dPyal lo [tsa ba], having been attacked at the bank of the Gangga by the Shi skyid brigands, [Chag dgra bcom pa] stared at them, and the brigands became stiff".

(11) For instance, both the main sources on his clan say that dPyal Chos bzang took vows from Kha che pan chen, although their versions do not correspond. 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi grags pa, dPyal pa'i lo rgyus kyi yi ge (p. 411 lines 3-4) reads: "[dPyal Chos bzang] took the rab tu byung vow from Kha che pan che Shakya shri at rDo rje gdan".

dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p. 13 line 20) says: "He received the dge tshul vow from the Kha che pan chen who bore the name of Shakya".

'Gos lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal, Deb ther sngon po (p.1228 lines 3-5) mentions an episode of the interaction of Chag dgra bcom pa with Kha chen pan chen: "While Kha che pan chen was bestowing the bsnyen rdzogs vow to others, Chag [dgra bcom pa] recited las chog (i.e. the ritual for confering the so so thar pa vow) in Sanskrit. The pan chen was pleased". Also see dGe 'dun chos 'phel and Roerich (transls.), Blue Annals (p.1056).

As for other activities of Kha che pan chen at Bodhgaya, a curious tale recounts the miraculous circumstances surrounding his famous calculation of the Buddha nirvana. He would have extracted those dates from the Bodhi tree at rDo rje gdan. These circumstances are defined as spurious by the famous astrologer Phug pa lHun grub rgya mtsho (see Pad dkar zhal lung p.10 lines 4-6).

(12) Among the Tibetans not belonging to the dPyal clan, who were at Bodhgaya before dPyal Chos bzang, there was the little known Sum pa dPal mchog dbang po'i rdo rje, the dPal mchog rdo rje of Bu ston Rin chen grub's chos 'byung (p.209 lines 21-22).

mKhas pa'i dga' ston (p.531 lines 4-6): "Sum bha (spelled so) dPal mchog dbang po'i rdo rje studied sGrol ma and Phag mo at rDo rje gdan. Having received their oral transmission, realisations were born [in him]. The main work he brought back [to Tibet] was bDe mchog mkha' 'gro rgya mtsho".

Dung dkar rin po che Blo bzang 'phrin las (Tshig mdzod chen mo p.427b lines 13-20) says that bDe mchog mkha' 'gro rgya mtsho was translated by rGya gar pandi ta rGyal ba'i sde and Bod kyi lo tsa ba Darma yon tan at U rud kyi gtsug lag khang in Bal yul during the 11th century (see sDe dge bKa' 'gyur in the rGyud (kha) section).

(13) 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi grags pa, dPyal pa'i lo rgyus kyi yi ge (p.411 lines 5-6): "The king of the land of Ma ga dha invited [dPyal Chos bzang] to the Dze ba na ga ra palace and placed him upon his crown. He offered to the bla ma five holy places including Go sa la, O dan tu (spelled so) and Pu la ha ri, situated inside the boundaries (lcags ri) [of his kingdom]. [dPyal Chos bzang] was the gdan sa of Pu la ha ri for three years".

dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.13 lines 30-31): "[dPyal Chos bzang] was invited to Ma ga dha by the king who bowed to his feet with his crown. Inside its boundaries (lcags ri), there are five holy places, such as Go sa la, A tan pu ri (spelled so for O dan ta pu ri) and Phu la ha ri. He offered them to the bla ma and appointed him to be the great protector of the northern door of rDo rje gdan. He worked there for a few years".

Chag lo tsa ba' i rnam thar (Roerich, The Biography of Dharmaswamin p.85) gives the location of Phu la ha ri, Na ro pa's hermitage in Ma ga dha, as being north of Nalanda and bSil ba'i tshal, the latter situated in the northwest of Nalanda in a treeless spot, surrounded by a thick forest. The rnam thar (ibid. p.93-94) records that Odantapuri was under Muslim pressure at the time of the visit of Chag lo tsa ba.

(14) dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.13 line 29-p.14 line 1): "[dPyal Chos bzang] then went to east rGya gar, to rGya mtsho khrab can, the holy place of Ka sa pa ni (spelled so for Ka sar pa ni). He had the vision that rgyal po Hari tsandra and his court had gone to the sky[, killed by the Muslims]. Having attained mastery of miracles, he made offerings to rNam par snang mdzad gang chen mtsho at the external ocean. He received his blessing and offered his prayers. Moreover he gave offerings (p.14) at whatever locality many extraordinary meditation traditions were, such as at the extraordinary meditation places of slob dpon Klu sgrub and grub chen Nag po spyod pa".

If Deb ther sgnon po is correct in its assessment of the journeys to and from Tibet (see above and n.10), Chag dgra bcom pa, having travelled together with dPyal Chos bzang, would have followed the same itinerary in order to return to the plateau.

(15) bSod nams dpal bzang po, Kha che pan chen gyi rnam thar (p.29 (= f.9b) lines 25-27) says that he fled to the east guided by the compassion of sGrol ma.

(16) The reference in dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.20 lines 1316, see below n.18) to Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan's three year activity as mkhan po of rDo rje gdan helps to fix the length of his predecessor A mo gha's tenure of the same monastic throne. Given that Myang chos 'byung (p.142 lines 4-5) attributes six years of abbotship to A mo gha and Thar pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan cumulatively, the former held the gdan sa of Bodhgaya for a similar term of three years.

(17) Khyung rgod rtsal gyi rnam thar (p.266 lines 2-3): "Having crossed [unspecified territories defined as "barren lands of India"], [Khyung rgod rtsal] arrived at rDo rje gdan, whose temple is built with bricks, and has a gan 'dzira and golden streamers. At its foot, in front of a tree (the Bodhi tree?) is a statue of sGrol ma. While he was offering prostrations and circumambulations, the white man of before (i.e. the white man who had participated in the judgement of Khyung rgod rtsal's soul during his 'das log ordeal) appeared from nowhere. He said: "What are you doing here? Let's go".".

(18) dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.20 lines 13-16): "[Thar pa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan] went to rGya gar, the source of knowledge. Having attended upon many pandi ta, [teachers] of the masters of West and East rGya gar, he became the great master of the masters. He was the gdan sa of bcom ldan 'das Thub pa chen po at Mang (sic) ga dha rDo rje'i gdan for three years. He averted the attacks of the heretics. He obtained the fame of a unique Tibetan monk. After spending fourteen years in rGya gar he returned to Tibet and set many sentient beings on the path of liberation".

(19) dPyal gyi gdung rabs Gangga'i chu rgyun (p.20 lines 17-21): "In particular the outstanding Bu ston thams cad mkhyen pa went [to see Thar pa lo tsa ba] all the time to get inner wisdom by means of the knowledge (sic) of sGra (i.e. linguistics) and the essence of sByor drug. Moreover [Thar pa lo tsa ba] gathered [around him] savants and siddha-s, such as dPyal lo tsa ba Rin chen dpal bzang and dPyal ston A rya shri; Sa skya pa bla ma mnyam med chen po bDe rgyas pa Don yod dpal ba; La stod Shes rab bzang po; dBus pa Blo gsal; 'Dul 'dzin Tshul khrims gzhon nu; bla chen Kun rdor ba; kun mkhyen Shes rab ral gri and mkhan chen Shes rab 'od zer".

(20) 'Jam dbyangs chos kyi grags pa, dPyal pa'i lo rgyus kyi yi ge (p.415 lines 4-7): "At Rong, [dPyal Padmo can] made sku tshab Byang chub chen po (i.e. a second Byang chub chen po statue like that of rDo rje gdan). In Bal po he accomplished a great achievement by completing its rgyab yol (torana) at the same time [as the statue was made at Rong]. Having brought the statue and the rgyab yol here (at Thar pa gling), the gtsug lag khang was similar in look to rDo rje gdan and the big golden statue was similar in style to [that of] Ma ha bo dhi. Many relics [belonging to the chos sku category] were installed inside it and many relics appeared (bstams spelled so for ltams) from both the Thub pa chen po statue and the remains of the bla ma. He made the mask portrait of his bla ma for the 'Bum khang chen mo. When he performed an extensive consecration, the bla ma in mKha' spyod and the dkyil 'khor of the deities manifested and gave blessings. Since then, peculiar spiritual experiences were born in him".

(21) See, for instance, the colophon of Jo bo dpal ldan A ti sha'i rnam thar rgyas pa (f.170a lines 4-6) of the dbu can manuscript edition of the biography contained in the 170 folio collection of bKa' gdams pa bla ma-s's rnam thar-s from lHa sa, which establishes the paternity of this major biography of Jo bo rje.

(22) dGe 'dun chos 'phel, rGya gar gyi lam yig (p.42 lines 7-10): "At sNar thang dgon pa there is a black stone model of rDo rje gdan, brought from rGya gar, and a model of rDo rje gdan in sandalwood according to the design by mChims Nam mkha' grags, brought from China".

dGe 'dun chos 'phel, gTam rgyud gser gyi thang ma (Varanasi ed. (containing a fraction of the whole text) p.30 line 18-p.31 line 2): "Here [at sNar thang] there are two different models of the temple complex [of Bodhgaya] including the rDo rje gdan gandho la. One is made of black stone and the other of white sandalwood, which are extraordinary. It is said that the one in stone was brought from rGya gar. [On the account of] the type of stone, it became popularly known as the black stone [brought from] gSil ba tshal (Sitavana). (p.31) It is said that the one in sandalwood was made in China, based on the model designed by mChims Nam mkha' grags".

(23) Von Schroeder (Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, vol. One: India and Nepal p.323 and n.228) says that the sNar thang model (probably destroyed) bore an inscription linking it with the Yung-lo emperor. This shows not only that Tibetans were masters of the conception of these models but also that the rDo rje gdan complex, as known to them during the 13th century and to mChims Nam mkha' grags in particular, remained the standard for models in the following centuries.

The picture of this sNar thang model, taken by Rahula Sankrityayana who shared political ideas and travel with dGe 'dun chos 'phel in Tibet and India, is well known. It has appeared in a plethora of publications.

In water snake 1293 when grub chen U rgyan pa met a young Rang byung rdo rje and formally recognised him as the third Karma Zhwa na gpa, U rgyan pa also gave him a model of Bodhgaya. mKhaspa'i dga' ston (Rang byung rdo rje'i rnam thar ibid. p.926 lines 16-20) reads: "[Rang byung rdo rje] went to see jo btsun O rgyan pa of La stod [lHo]. He said [U rgyan pa] gave him a speech on east and west rGya gar; offered him a model of rDo rje gdan, and gave him teachings [by means of] a speech on the Noble Religion [based on] his knowledge".

This suggests that the model given by U rgyan pa to the third Karma pa may have been styled after the one designed by mChims Nam mkha' grags. This would imply that mChims' model was already popular in his days and soon after, following his passing in 1289. Or else, having frequented rDo rje gdan personally, the model of Bodhgaya given by U rgyan pa to the child Rang byung rdo rje may also have been an Indian work, collected by the grub chen during his sojourn in Ma ga dha.

(24) Rig pa'i ral gri and Chag lo tsa ba had an interaction recorded in Chag lo tsa ba'i rnam thar (Roerich (transl.). The Biography of Dharmaswamin (p.109) interprets it as follows: "In winter the Darmaswamin proceeded to Thang-po-che, and preached the Pradipodyotana and the Ratndvali in the house of Shud-ke. The kalyana-mitra Rig-ral made a request for these books, and the Dharmaswamin gave them to him").

(25) The colophon of the work reads as follows (bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri, rDo rje gdan rnam bshad rgyan gyi me tog p.11b lines 23-27): "rDo rje gdan rnam par bshad pa rgyan gyi me tog was composed by the learned monk bcom ldan Ral gri. [This work], written at dpal sNar thang, is [here] completed. In the days of dPyal lo [tsa ba] the mchod rten-s with images were 260".

(26) The Thar pa gling abbot bestowed the bsnyen rdzogs vow upon Rig pa'i ral gri (bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri'i rnam thar (p.254 lines 4-7): "Likewise, Rig pa'i ral gri received many mDo sNgags doctrines from Chag lo tsa ba, such as the dbang and rgyud 'grel of gSang 'dus. With dByar (sic for dPyal) Nyi ma [rgyal mtshan] acting as mkhan po, mkhan chen mChims as las chog, sKyos ston (1219-1299) as gsang ston, [Rig pa'i ral gri] was bestowed the bsnyen rdzogs vow at dGa' ba gdong").

The relationship between mChims Nam mkha' grags, Rig pa'i ral gri and Thar pa lo tsa ba Nyi ma rgyal mtshan in the name of rDo rje gdan remains to be ascertained. The first of these three was the teacher of the second, who based his assessments of Bodhgaya on the third.

(27) bSam gtan bzang po, Rig pa'i ral gri'i rnam thar (p.255 line 28-p.256 line 1): "Thar [pa] lo [tsa ba] Nyi ma rgyal mtshan sent from bSam yas the Indian manuscripts on gsang rnying for [Rig pa'i ral gri] to investigate. (p.256) [Rig pa'i ral gri's study] resulted in the excellent composition written by him, entitled gSang rnying sgrub pa rgyan gyi nyi 'od".

(28) The interdependence of the material on rDo rje gdan produced in the period under study is hinted at in a brief statement by dGe 'dun chos 'phel (gTam rgyud gser gyi thang ma Varanasi ed. (containing a fraction of the whole work) p.31 lines 2-4) who says: "It is as if these [models of Bodhgaya (see above n.22)], the actual rDo rje gdan, bcom ldan pa [Rig pa'i ral gri]'s rGyan gyi me tog and Chag lo tsa ba's Lam yig, once these four are compared, were made by the same person".

The biography of Chag lo tsa ba contains the above mentioned long section which indeed is a gnas bshad of rDo rje gdan (Roerich (transl.), The Biography of Dharmaswamin p.65 line 22-p.73 line 22). This may have led D. Jackson (The 'Miscellaneous Series' of Tibetan Texts in the Bihar Research Society, A Handlist catalogue entry n.1510, B. no. 590 p.223) to think that the anonymous rDo rje gdan gyi dkar chag dang lam yig, kept at Patna, is another work by the same author. It is unclear whether dGe 'dun chos 'phel's allusion to Chag lo tsa ba's Lam yig refers to his biography, given the section dedicated to the description of rDo rje gdan.

(29) Ar. MacDonald ("Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru" p.183) says that Man lung pa was the rebirth of Bran ka mTha' bral but did not have any blood relation with him. Man lung pa is indeed considered the rebirth of this member of the Bran ka family. However he also was his grandson (see immediately below n.30).

(30) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.2a lines 6-8) records two generations in the family before Man lung pa: "The king of the realised sages, the lord of yogi-s, became well known under the name of Tran/Bran (spelled both ways in the text) ston mTha' bral. Foremost, he had great devotion, compassion and knowledge. He learned many religious systems and was a master of teaching, debate and composition. He was born in the lineage bearing great qualities of wisdom".

Ibid. (f.2a line 8): "The one with clairvoyance that enabled him to see the future was rin po che Tran (spelled so for Bran) rton (spelled so) Shes rab seng ge".

Ibid. (f.2b line 8): "[Man lung pa] was the son born to ma gcig Pad ma rin chen [and Bran rton Shes rab seng ge], altogether two".

Ibid. (f.3a line 1): "He was born at rTag (spelled so) lung dgon pa on an auspicious day and month of earth female pig 1239".

A note in Myang chos 'byung (p.31 lines 4-8) reads: "mTha' bral's son Bran Shes rab seng ge received from his father the following order: "sTag rtse is the dwelling place of an extraordinary mkha' 'gro ma and also of monks and nuns, hence [you] should see that my rebirth will come to take care of it". In fulfilment of his words, [Shes rab seng ge] took care of that and, having inseminated [a woman] by secret means, Man lung gu ru was born at sTag lung dgon pa in the upper part of g.Yung. The g.Yung ba saw this as an auspicious circumstance".

(31) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.3a lines 4-5): "He performed the funerary rites for the death of his father. When bla ma lHa rin po che Rin chen rgyal mtsho (sic for rgyal po) and many dge ba'i bshes gnyen of the monks (dge 'dun-s) were invited".... (ibid. lines 5-7): "in the presence of those who led the ceremony with dge ba'i bshes gnyen Nyag pa bKra shis seng ge acting as mkhan po, Rin chen rgyal mtshan (sic for Rin chen rgyal po) acting as slob dpon, and with precious monks provided with faith leading the ceremony, [Man lung pa] received the rab tu byung vow in the evening session (dgongs thun) during the last month of spring of fire female sheep 1247. He was given the name bSod nams dpal".

(32) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.3a line 8-f.3b line 2): "Then, together with the rin po che, (f.3b) [Man lung pa] went to Gye re dgon pa of dBus and received all systems of the so sor thar pa [vow]; the cho ga of sems bskyed of the excellent enlightment according to the system of Ye shes zhabs; the dbang of the nine deities of gShin rje gshed according to the system of sMyos (i.e. gNyos [lHa nang pa?]); instructions on Tantric commentaries and additional teachings on rdzogs rim according to the system of Ye shes zhabs".

(33) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.3b lines 2-4): "[Man lung pa] received secret instructions of the 'Gri (spelled so for 'Bri) gung pa without omissions, such as the 'khrid of Na ro'i chos drug. Moreover he met 'Jig rten gsum gyi mgon po bChung (spelled so) rin po che at 'Gri (spelled so) gung and received many 'khrid and gdams ngag".

(34) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.4a line 6-f.4b line 2): "As for the preaching of the first part of rdzogs rim, having learned some of it, in order to ask about how to grasp its meaning, given that he had heard about the masterly fame of rGa lo [the younger], the bla ma of Rong dBen dmar, he went there to learn the rgyud 'grel of Dus 'khor belonging to the Tantric class. He received bshad bka' -s, such as teachings (stan sic for bstan) on the dbang and grub thabs of bcom ldan 'das Dus kyi 'khor lo, its 'grel chen and abridged dbang; and sgrub bka'-s consisting of secret instructions on sByor drug; 'Chi med kyi rtsa ba and their practice. Moreover he received rjes gnang-s of many Tantra and Tantric grub thabs, such as gShin rje gshed nag po skor gsum according to the system of Ra (spelled so for Rwa lo) and gShin rje gshed dmar po of the dPyal pa; and many further teachings such as Byams pa'i chos lnga, sPyod 'jug and Tshad ma".

'Khon ston dPal 'byor lhun grub, gShin rje gshed bla rgyud chos 'byung (p.70 lines 4-5) confirms that Man lung pa was a disciple of Rong pa rGa lo: "Principally [Rong pa rGa lo] preached the cycle of [gShin rje] gshed and Dus kyi 'khor lo. His sons--disciples who became masters--rje Man lung gu ru and lHo pa Grub seng were among the many followers who became savants and accomplished masters".

(35) Another note in Myang chos 'byung (p.29 line 21-p.30 line 1) says: "The monastery of bla ma Bran [ston mTha' bral], called sKyid khud, (p.30) is situated near a hot water spring below which, having stayed there, his meditation blossomed".

(36) Myang chos 'byung (p.115 lines 17-21): "As for Man lung dgon pa, at the very beginning, Man lung was held by Mon btsun g.Yu ston and Phug ston Ye shes yon tan, two in all, who belonged to the junior group of disciples of a tsarya Ye shes dbang po, a disciple of Lo ston rDo rje dbang phyug".

(37) The Man lung monastery should not to be confused with sMan lung, the seat of the dPyal clan, despite being both in Myang.

(38) Myang chos 'byung (p.31 lines 1-4): "Nowadays the descendance of Bran ston mTha' bral is at [a place in] sTag rtse (i.e. sTag tshal), namely Man lung. On account of the fact that Bran ston mTha' bral's rebirth, Man lung gu ru, was its abbot, it is called Man lung".

A number of important masters graced sTag tshal with their activity. The site is ancient, for it goes back to the time of the chos rgyal mes dbon rnams gsum. Some of these masters were Ting nge 'dzin bzang po; Zangs dkar lo tsa ba's disciple sMon gro lo tsa ba Mar pa rDo ye; gTsang rong Mes ston chen po; sTod lung rGya dmar ba and Rong mNgon pa; gTsang pa rGya ras; Byams sems Zla ba rgyal mtshan's disciple Nyi phug pa Chos kyi grags pa; Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal, who met pandi ta Da na sri there; and Man lung pa bSod nams dpal. sTag tshal was the birth place of rGya brTson seng and the three Yol brothers.

(39) Myang chos 'byung (p.115 line 21-p.116 line 10): "The earlier birth of Man lung gu ru, Myang stod sTag tshal's Man lung pa bshes (p.116) gnyen chen po Bran ston mTha' bral attained great knowledge and the highest spiritual experiences. Possessing unhindered clairvoyance, he had the vision of Na ro pa coming [to see him] in his dreams. The next morning a messenger was sent to him. Both the father and son went to see rje Mi tra chen po upon his arrival at Tsong 'dus mgur mo. They received blessings and secret instructions. Brag (sic for Bran) ston also went to meet Khro phu lo tsa ba Byams pa dpal. On that occasion, he obtained a Po ta la'i lam yig and extensively established the practice of the accumulation [of merit]. His successive rebirth (i.e. Man lung pa) held the dgon pa of Man lung and proceeded to Po ta la. The monastery called Man lung, belonging to a great being such as Bran ston, and its estates are owned by Bran ston's descendants".

(40) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.6a lines 3-4): "[Man lung pa] decided to go to a few noble lands of rGya gar".

Ibid. (f.6a lines 4-6): "In wood male rat 1264, aged twenty-six, when he was performing meditation at sDing chen, [Man lung pa] entrusted the community (lit. "those rising smokes") to slob dpon Rin bsod, and [went] to Chu mig ring mo to gather [his companions]. After calling upon (gdongs) slob dpon Byang chub dpal and dBus lCang bsar (spelled so) ba Byang chub mgon, altogether two, the master and disciples, altogether four (sic, one missing), left for rGya gar".

(41) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.8a lines 4-6): "Then during the hot months (sos, i.e. April to June) of earth male dragon ('grug sic for 'brug) 1268, in accordance with his acceptance [of the request to return to Tibet], the master and disciples went [there]".

(42) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.6b line 8-f.7a line 2): "[Man lung pa] left for the Kathmandu Valley. On the way, when the ruler of the Bong 'chog castle, in order to [fulfill] his wish that a successor should be born [to him], confiscated whatever wealth was available [to give it to the Tibetan master], [Man lung pa] said: "I do not need many (sic!) wordly possessions; (f.7a) I came on pilgrimage to the holy receptacles of the Kathmandu Valley"; "If so, stay here". [The ruler] ordered to give him boiled rice porridge. During the period of his circumambulations, the ruler developed faith in him and asked for teachings. [Man lung pa] rendered service to him and performed meditation".

(43) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.7a lines 2-7): "[Man lung pa] then left and reached the town of Patan. He stayed at the place of the local man A ma ra tsan ti. He went to perform worship on the stone stairs of 'Phags pa shing kun. The monkeys welcomed him and offered him flower garlands. Upon worshipping [the mchod rten], special signs occurred, such as that the earth shook and 'Phags pa [shing kun] vacillated. While having sight of 'Phags pa 'Ja ma li (White Machendranath), the dkon gnyer gave him butter lamps which were not ignited (?) (bteng), and it was wondrous that they set ablaze spontaneously. Upon worshipping U khang 'Phags pa (Red Machendranath), it was wondrous that a rainbow-like tent covered it. He went to Bhu khang and, on the way back to 'Phags pa Gom pa gang rtse, [something] wondrous happened. Upon worhipping inside Hum ka ra'i lha khang, a loud Hum sound uttered in the sky which continued for a long time. It is well known that, while he was around, all the locals experienced non-conceptual samadhi for a long time".

(44) Similar marvelous events also occurred when Chag lo tsa ba left Bhu khang (the temple of Red Machendranath) on the way back to Gom pa gang rtse, and during his worhip inside Hum ka ra'i lha khang (see Roerich transl., The Biography of Dharmaswamin p.54-55). Is this a case of legendary appropriation by the biography of one of the two?

(45) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.7b line 1): "At the time the Ti ra hu ti pa-s and the Muslims (Sog po) were at war and [the situation] was not peaceful".

Ti ra hu ti (south of Bal po, north of Ma ga dha and west of Yangs pa can; see Chag lo tsa ba'i rnam thar Roerich transl., The Biography of Dharmaswamin p.57-58), was a kingdom encompassing a wide region centred around present-day Muzzarfarpur in Bihar. The same biography (ibid. p.100) adds that the capital of Ti ra hu ti was Pata (i.e. Patala) and that, in the days of Chag lo tsa ba, its raja was Ramasinha.

(46) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.7b lines 1-2): "On the way back [from there, Man lung pa] went to Ya rtse. Chos rgyal A sog lde became positively impressed [by him]. It is well known that he was honoured as the most outstanding of the officiating religious masters. There, too, he did not stay and 'Jad pa Nam ye remained behind as substitute. He proceeded to rDo rje gdan".

(47) Here Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.7b lines 2-3) has two skeletal sentences before the relevant statement: "[Man lung pa] gave lavish offerings and performed meditation. dBus pa Byang chub 'bum died here. [Man lung pa] restored bDud 'joms lha khang".

(48) A first attempt to summon Man lung pa back to Tibet was undertaken by fellow Tibetans when he returned to Bal po at the same 'Bong chong castle of his sbyin bdag of some time before (see n.42). Another delegation composed by some elders reached sKyid grong, and Man lung pa felt obliged to join them. The episode is interesting because it mentions the acquaintances of his fellow Man lung pa. They were the lHa pa, dBen dmar pa and sKar lung pa. These elders asked him to go back to Tibet, but Man lung pa refused, promising he would return to his monastery one year later. He indeed was back in Man lung the next year, earth dragon 1268, and spent the above mentioned three years in meditation at Phug rdzogs (1268-1270) (see immediately below n.49).

(49) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.8a lines lines 4-6): "Then during the hot months (sos, i.e. April to June) of earth male dragon ('grug sic for 'brug) 1268, in accordance with his acceptance [of the request to return to Tibet], the master and disciples went [there]. [Man lung pa] met all his disciples. On one occasion, he went to see the Jo bo in dBus and offered his worship. Moreover, he met the bla ma-s of dBus gTsang. He spent three years in meditation at Phug rdzogs".

(50) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.8b lines 1-5): "In iron horse (lcags lta sic for lcags rta) 1270, following the recommendation of [mGon po] Zhal bzhi [pa], he went to stay at Ya tse (spelled so). The chos rgyal of his earlier [sojourn] and his eldest brother pandi ta Rad na rakshi ta held him as the jewel of their crown. He gave them guidance. In response to their request, he left sNar [thang] pa Byang ye as officiating bla ma. The master and disciples, such as rTag (spelled so) tshal Bya grong pa and lo tsa ba Grags pa, altogether six, went to rDo rje gdan. He offered worship, performed circumambulations and meditation in an extremely strict manner. Then, on one occasion, he told [the disciples]: "You cannot be struck by illness. You should go to Byang chub gling and take residence there. You should meditate there for twelve years".".

(51) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.8b line 7-f.9a line 2): "Then [his disciples] went back, as instructed [by him], and the bla ma remained behind to perform meditation. The next year, the monkey year 1272, nine men, such as lo tsa ba Grags pa rgyal mtshan and Zhang bSod nams dar, came to rDo rje gdan from Tibet. They met Man (f.9a) lung pa and begged him to go back [to Tibet]. He requested: "I have to go to shri rDa na ka ta ka, so I cannot accept. I will be staying there until the winter of the bird year 1273".

(52) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.9a lines 2-3): "Zhang [bSod nams dar] died in rGya gar. [Man lung pa] related the cause [of his death] to slob dpon Byang chub dpal and sent [him] to Man lung with slob dpon Rin bsod. The Man lung pa granted him twenty-seven srang of gold which they sent with three men, such as bla ma Byang chub dpal. They left for rGya gar". Perhaps the gold was given to finance Man lung pa's journey to South India (see the next note).

(53) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.9a line 8-f.9b line 5): "At that time, despite the request [to remain at rDo rje gdan] by rgyal po Bhu dha se na, Tsandra pandi ta and Mu ka ti mai tri, [Man lung pa] did not consider it convenient to postpone [his departure]. Having received [this plea], he said: "I will do in accordance with the request of the Tibetans, accompanied by a gift of gold", (f.9b) a statement he left in a bka' shog. Accompanied as guides by pandi ta Go tam shra bha dra from Ma ga rda (spelled so) and Tsandra ghi rti from East India who was btsun pa Dze ta ri bha dra from Zla ba gling, two in all, he left to the south on the eighth of the month (sic) of water female bird 1273. On the twenty-sixth of that month the Tibetans joined [him]. He exclaimed: "This should be said: an offering in gold must be made!", which was arranged [by the Tibetans] in an extensive way. After leaving, [these Tibetans] founded Thar pa dgon pa at the border of Bal Bod in accordance with the words of their bla ma. By staying here, [disciples], such as bla ma Byang chub dpal and lo tsa ba Grags pa, had spiritual realisations. So it became known as Byang chub dgon pa".

Ibid. (f.9b line 6-f.10a line 1): "Then, on account of a concentration of a great [number of] weapons during a strife, the great being, grub thob chen po Man lung pa, [proceeded] towards the southern direction. To that region he went. The master and disciples, altogether three, visited most of the four great holy places of 'Dzam bu gling, or else eight, or else twelve, such as ri bo Bya rkang can and mchod rten rNam dag. Given that he then stayed at the mchod rten of dpal 'Bras spungs (Dha na ko ta in Andhra Pradesh; see Ar. Macdonald, "Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru"), (f.10a) he strenuously performed prostrations and circumambulations, and gave offerings".

(54) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.10a line 8-f.10b line 2): "At that time he told pandi ta Gau tam shri bha dra to go to Tibet, introduce Pha rol du phyin pa'i stong phrag brgya pa (i.e. Paramita in "100,000 stanzas") and devote time to [give] instructions related [to these teachings] by making use of Indian examples. [He told] Dza ya su (f.10b) ri to introduce a community of monks belonging to Theg pa chen po. He returned to Tibet in fire male rat 1276. Owing to the fact that the Man lung pa and Sa skya pa again sent him gifts for his sustenance, he established a [religious] community. Some 300 monks were gathered there".

(55) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.10b lines 3-7): "Then taking along Dze ta ri bha dra, one of his two [Indian] disciples, he went to Bam pa ka ya in the south, [the place] known as the unbrella-bearer of non-sectarian knowledge. Then, equally in the south, he went to Dznya na ka, or Ye shes [in Tibetan], known as the [locality] with a murti (sku can), for it has a statue placed in the water. He then went up to dpal ldan 'Bras spungs. Having gone there, he gave teachings on Dus 'khor, gSang 'dus, bDe mchog and dGyes rdor to many fortunate beings, such as mkhan po Surdi bha dra. It is well known that most people of this area were exposed to a mix of Theg pa chen po".

(56) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.11a lines 4-6): "[Man lung pa said]: "I myself, [in order to get] the wisdom coming from the water of sPyan ras gzigs's feet, went [to develop] the behaviour of a Byang chub sems dpa'. Although I went there thrice taking you along, this was not given [to me]. You visited [the localities] known as the four or eight holy places of 'Dzam bu gling".

(57) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.11b lines 6-8): "Having then heard his history, his follower slob dpon bSod nams mgon po, with lo tsa ba Grags pa, 'Jam dbyangs rin rgyal from Sa skya, sNar thang pa bcom ldan Rig ral, Rong pa Dus 'khor ba Shes rab seng ge providing sustenance, worked [in favour of] his teachings in gTsang and dBus, and [masters], such as lo tsa ba bShad sgrub, diffused them in an extensive manner".

(58) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.11b lines 4-5): "He went to the place of Thar pa lo tsa ba mkhan po Nyi ma rgyal mtshan. On account of the bka' shog that the history of the teacher and disciples should be translated and put into written form, he gave [the history of his life] as parting gift to Man lung".

(59) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.12a line 7-f.12b line 3): "Those who heard [the account of his feats] on that occasion were the pandi ta from rGya gar, Gau tam shra and (f.12b) and the Tibetan lo tsa ba, Grags pa rgyal mtshan, who were its translators after having earlier received his words. Later the yogin from rGya gar, Dze ta ri bzang po (sic), and the bshes gnyen from Tibet, Thar pa gling pa Nyi ma rgyal mtshan, made a translation, having heard the account [of his deeds]. They translated it after they put it together into a single work. At Man lung gtsug lag khang, btsun pa bSod nams bzang po completed its composition with devotion".

(60) He construed that his life-time mission was not complete without a visit to Ri bo rtse lnga, the mountain of 'Jam dpal dbyangs, a pilgrimage he recommended to one of his Indian disciples. Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.11a line 6): "You should go to Ri bo rtse lnga in the future. Owing to former karma, you must become a follower of rje btsun 'Jam dpal dbyangs".

(61) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.11b lines 5-6): "After staying [at Man lung] for two months, he went to [Ri bo] rtse lnga. It is well known that everyone saw him staying there for many years".

(62) The murals at sKyid khud depicting the life of Man lung pa did not portray the mountains of Bal po, as Ar. MacDonald understands ("Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru"p.183-184 n.1, where she is misled by the reading "Bal ri" rather than the correct "Bal ris", i.e. "Bal [po] ris"). The passage means to say that the depiction of Man lung pa's rnam thar in the temple's murals was in the Newar style of the Kathmandu Valley. Myang chos 'byung (p.29 line 21) says: "Inside the lha hang (p.30 lines 19-24). the main statues, about one floor high, are those of the Dus gsum Sangs rgyas, consecrated by Bran ston mTha' bral, nowadays known as the Jo bo-s of sKyid khud. They bestow great blessings and are yearly recipients of great circumambulatory [activity]. Next to them are the life size statues of Bran ston mTha' bral and his rebirth Man lung gu ru. The murals are detailed depictions of the life of Man lung gu ru who went as far as the Po ta la. They are in an extremely pure, original Bal [po] painting style".

(63) lHo rong chos 'byung (p.732 line 21-p.733 line 5): "When he was thirty-two in the bird year 1261, [U rgyan pa] went to rDo rje gdan. (p.733) On the way he sent back nye gnas Sher rin. He went on alone.... He visited Go ta wa ri, one of the twenty-four places [of the bDe mchog mandala]. He took the route to Ye rang and then reached Ti ra hu ti".

bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.135 line 3-p.137 line 2): "[Ram shing], the king [of Ti ra hu ti], was invited to a festival by his senior minister. His palanquin could not move because many people surrounded it. While the ministers carrying various kinds of weapons in their hands were telling people to move away, the rje grub chen rin po che, grabbing the moment, snatched a stick from the hand of a minister and said: "Go away". [U rgyan pa first] jumped ('phyongs sic for mchongs) on the king, and upon the king exclaiming: "A madman has come", jumped on his palanquin. The rje grub chen rin po che having dropped the stick, [the procession] moved. The people said: "This is the behaviour of a dzo gi who is bestowing protection". The king sat on the throne, while the rje grub chen rin po che was asked [to sit] at the corner of the throne. He said: "I took part in the festival to which the king was invited. I have [achieved] the feats of someone successful in his activities" and sang a song that said: "I led Ram shing rgyal po with a stick".

He then went to a Hindu temple housing a stone image of god Shiva. The dkon gnyer ma ("woman keeper"?) said (p.136): "Prostrate to the god", but he retorted: "I will not prostrate". As soon as she warned him: "If you do not prostrate, a disease will come to you", he covered the image with a woollen robe and rode on it saying: "Khyu khyu" and added: "If a disease will come [to me], take this one". She said: "He is doing this to my image!", and cried. [U rgyan pa] sang a song which said that he rode on the neck of Ma ha de va sha ra (spelled so).

He then went to another Hindu temple and halted [there]. He relinquished [there] his big smell and smelly water. This being a behaviour supremely unruly, the next morning one dkon gnyer came and said: "You did such things in the lha khang. The king comes here for his worship, so you must clean it yourself. If you do not do it, the king will come to kill you". [U rgyan pa] replied: "I am not afraid to be killed. If you are afraid to be killed, clean it yourself. [The dkon gnyer] said: "There is no one who is not afraid of getting killed". At that time, [U rgyan pa] urinated in a leather (ko) bowl he had and poured it on the head of a statue. The dkon gnyer said: "You are someone who is not afraid to be killed, but they will come to kill me. Go away". [U rgyan pa] said that the [dkon gnyer] was the one who cleaned. He said he sang a song which told that (p.137) he poured urine on the head of god Shiva".

Although having all the features typical of the practice, this isolated case in the life of U rgyan pa does not allow one, in my view, to qualify him as a full-fledged smyon ba like several illustrious countrymen. His behaviour in Ti ra hu ti was supremely controversial, but it was so freakish that it may have been influenced by local (non-described) factors, for nowhere else and under no other circumstances did he resort to trespassing the boundaries of his highly individual personality. On several occasions in his life U rgyan pa was not intimidated by situations which could have dire consequences, but always behaved within the limits of a sensible demeanour.

U rgyan pa's sitting on the royal throne at Ti ra hu ti and taking the liberty to sit on a couch without Se chen rgyal po's permission at the Mongol court of China (ibid. p.235 lines 8-9) do not have the style of smyon ba performances but of a refusal of authority.

(64) bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.133 lines 13-19): "Then at the palace of Bal po called Tha bga' me, there was a black man with four arms and red eyeballs. He said: "The Du ru ka troops will be coming to rDo rje gdan. Go there quickly to repulse them with your prayers. Four rnal 'byor pa like you will cooperate as if they are one". This appeared to be an auspicious omen because he scattered [seeds] from his hand. [U rgyan pa] said: "This was chos skyong Ye shes mGon po".

lHo rong chos 'byung (p.733 lines 1-4): "[U rgyan pa] said he had a notion that, at Bal mo thal dkar, a black man smeared with white ashes and four hands pulled him with two hands, saying: "Visit it quickly. The Du ru kha are creating an obstacle in rDo rje gdan".".

(65) mKhas pa'i dga' ston (p.915 lines 7-10): "[U rgyan pa] went to rGya gar rDo rje gdan. Four [practitoners], including Dznya na garbe (spelled so), pleaded him with a prayer and, being likewise urged by mGon po, he repulsed troops of the Gar log. Tshogs bdag (Ganesha) offered him the essence of his life. [U rgyan pa] stayed three years at rDo rje gdan".

(66) lHo rong chos 'byung p.734 line 18-p.735 line 2): "From Mang yul he went to sKyid grong. He was offered Bang dkar dgon pa. There bCom ldan 'das ma gave him many prophecies: "You are the incarnation of Ras chung pa who resides in lCang lo can. After that, [you will] be called rgyal po Rin byang. After that, [you will be] a 'khor lo gyur ba'i rgyal po (gakravdrtin). After that, having become rGya sbyin, you will serve the master (i.e Shakya Thub pa)". (p.735) The amount of wealth which came into his hands was sent for the renovation of rDo rje gdan".

(67) lHo rong chos 'byung (p.736 lines 19-21): "Having crossed the Gang ga, he went to Ma ga ta (spelled so). He gave uncountable offerings to Byang chub chen po at rDo rje gdan and payed his respects to those dwelling by the tree at the bank of the Na ra dza ra (i.e. the river of Bodhgaya)".

(68) bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.166 line 17-p.167 line 6): "At that time, given that the boundary wall [of rDo rje gdan] had been destroyed by Sog po troops, the king of Zangs ling, the king of Ya rtse and the rje grub chen (p.167) rin po che having provided (skur sic for bkur) much wealth [to repair it], they restored one side each. rDo rje gdan's northern gate is known as the gate of Tibet. From then on until the end of the world, whatever wealth exists, such as gold and silver, this is used to restore the decay of rDo rje gdan gtsug lag khang and its images".

(69) bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.176 line 14-p.178 line 3): "[U rgyan pa] comfortably reached Bal po 'thil. At Bal po 'thil the sufferance of the Tibetans was relieved. Afflictions of other [Tibetans] came to an end at Zab mo'i sgang. He visited ri bo chen po A yang ka, a holy place frequented by all the [spiritual] princes who have been liberated. At that time, there was a crop failure in Tibet, hence, that winter, in the land of Bal po there were many thousands of Tibetans. Remembering all the kinds of misdeeds [they had to bear], the Tibetans requested the rje grub chen rin po che, Bho ta pandi ta and a Sa skya pa dge bshes, (p.177) altogether three, to intercede with the Bal po'i bha ro-s. It said that Bho ta pandi ta exclaimed: "This crazy U rgyan pa will not be useful to us". The rje grub chen rin po che retorted: "It is excellent (go bcad) that you are not crazy, so you should prevent them from catching fever along the way". It is said that the Sa skya pa dge bshes exclaimed: "These bad Tibetans came here to evade the taxation by the Sa skya pa. Now, when they will go back to Tibet, each of them will stand (bzhug) [responsible] for this crime". The Tibetans went to see the rje btsun rin po che, and pleaded with him: "Those two will not help us with [our] appeal to [the Bal po bha ro-s]. We beg [you], the bla ma, to help us plead with [the bha ro-s]". He pleaded with the bha ro-s, but [the problem] was not sorted out because the various [bha ro] denigrated one another (phar skur tshur skur). Hence the grub chen rin po che said: "All of you, Tibetans, must gather at Bod thang (i.e. Thundikel in Kathmandu), and carry a [walking] stick (rgyug pa) one 'dom long [for the journey to Tibet]. If you stay here the next season, you will catch a fever and die. Whoever will be holding up [skyil ba] here will be killed". The Tibetans did follow suit. The Bal po [authorities] requested the rje grub chen rin po che: "Bla ma, do not be the head of these Tibetans". He replied: "I am not the head of these Tibetans. All these Tibetans will leave during the hot season. [Otherwise,] catching fever, they will die, which is not commendable. The locals say that, if they hold them up, they will beat them". Provisions for the journey were given to the Tibetans amounting to fourteen pham of rice for each of them. (p.178) Rice was sent along with the 200 attendants of the rje grub chen rin po che as much as they could carry".

There are a few implications in this episode I wish to explore. Going by U rgyan pa's reply to Bho ta pandi ta, it would seem that the latter questioned the sanity of taking the Tibetans back to the plateau. U rgyan pa pointed out that it was even worse to oblige them to stay in the Kathmandu Valley, a proSa skya stronghold, exposed to tropical diseases and the harassment of the local authorities. This was an obvious solution after U rgyan pa's attempt to have a parley with the local dignitaries failed on account of the impossibility of finding any local authority who would have been reliable enough to deal with the matter.

The other issue, raised by the Sa skya pa dge bshes, pertains to the sphere of the resistance put up by Tibetans who resented the authority of the Mongol/ Sa skya alliance. Being an active and uncompromising opponent of foreign rule in Tibet and of the alliance, U rgyan pa organised dissent against the Mongols' representatives and brought this dissent to the plateau in order to engage them.

As for the remarkable quantity of rice carried on the way by U rgyan pa's attendants, it seems it was meant to cope temporarily with the necessities of the people the expedition met on the way.

Bho ta pandi ta is a mysterious and intriguing character. The way he spoke to U rgyan pa gives the impression that he was a Tibetan settled premanently in the Kathmandu Valley, also because he was known by the name used by the non-Tibetan people of the Himalaya to identify the inhabitants of the plateau. The rnam thar provides evidence that the term Bhota was already in use at least during the early 14th century when this biography of U rgyan pa was written.

(70) A case of a wondrous gift, owing to U rgyan pa's great fame, by an Indian ruler rather than financial support by a Mongol emperor is recorded in mKhas pa'i dga' ston (p.915 lines 20-21): "The king of Dza ye pur (i.e. Jaipur) offered him the relic [consisting] of the top (?) thumb knuckle of sTon pa's (i.e. Shakyamuni's) right hand".

(71) bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.253 line 18-p.254 line 10): "The august lord of the land, completely ornamented with the nobility of excellence, (p.254) firm in his faith for the precious teachings of the bDe bar gshegs pa-s, and truly striving to make offerings to the precious teachings, is the emperor Ol bya (spelled so for Ol ja du). Having heard the fame of the rje grub chen rin po che, he granted two bre chen of gold, twelve bre chen of silver and an extensive offering to the rje grub chen rin po che in order to restore all the decaying lha khang-s and statues of Ma ga ta rDo rje gdan. Moreover, the princesses, princes and many mi chen ("dignitaries"), in turn, sent presents and a letter, entusted to gser yig pa dPag (sic for pag) shi Grags pa rgyal mtshan. These [offerings] were handed over to him [and reached] without obstacles on the way".

(72) bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.254 lines 10-13): "Many meditators who were renunciate, headed by rDo rje gdan pa mGon po rgyal mtshan, brought these [funds] to rDo rje gdan. A great service was rendered [by restoring its temples]". Also see lHo rong chos 'byung (p.746 lines 12-14). The passage implies that the status of mGon po rgyal mtshan was that of a monk.

(73) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.5a lines 1-2): "In particular, being ruled by the Hor, the people of Tibet were oppressed (mnar ba)".

(74) An episode in bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri'i rnam thar shows that the Tibetan political arena was fragmented during the feud between Se chen rgyal po and A ri bho ga who, after the death of Mong gor rgyal po, vied for the throne. This was a state of affairs also indicated by the rows between Tibetans at the Mongol court. bCom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri'i rnam thar (p.254 lines 17-19) records a significant episode in gTsang: "[Rig pa'i ral gri] argued against the opposers of Bo dong rin po che's numerous entourage. [The dispute] concerned the religious functions [to be held] as a commemorative liturgy for Sa skya lo tsa ba (i.e. Sa skya pandi ta Kun dga' rgyal mtshan) and various religious rites [to be held] at Chu mig ring mo, including [the performance of] religious ceremonies for the enthronement of Go pe la".

The event should be attributed to earth horse 1258--hence before Go pe la became Se chen rgyal po--because, soon below in the text (ibid. p.254 line 21), there is a reference to this year.

(75) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.5a lines 3-4) reads: "In particular there was an internal strife between the lHa pa and the 'Gri (spelled so) gung pa. The Sa skya pa quarreled with the Chags sdang. These [strifes] were like fire burning. The reason to fall into the lower realms increased exponentially".

(76) Ta'i si tu Byang chub rgyal mtshan, the most eminent Phag mo gru pa of the successive period, explains in his own words the etymology of the name Chags sdang (Si tu bka' chems in Rlangs kyi po ti bse ru p.117 lines 4-5): "Sometimes, in our own house (lit. "nest") the chags sdang ("love and hate") [controversy] prevailed among the monks, subdivided into sPu [and] lTol (spelled so), and there was internal discord").

The slightly later Deb ther dmar po, which explains the historical orgin of these factions among the Phag mo gru pa monks, spells sPu for sPu rtogs and lDol for lDol bu (ibid p.123 lines 2-3).

(77) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.5a line 7-f.5b line 2): "Having thought to go to holy places, such as Tsa ri, to perform meditation that bestows spiritual attainments in a single lifetime and with a single body, [Man lung pa] went to see lHa Rin chen rgyal po at Phag ri Rin chen sgang, who bestowed Man lung upon him. He asked [lHa Rin chen rgyal po permission] to meditate for one [year], known as bdag lo. Zhang bSod nams dar, slob dpon Byang chug dpal and Shag rin (f.5b), the master and disciples, altogether four, held a consultation, the outcome of which was that Zhang made a verbal request ('phrin bzhag spelled so for gzhag) on behalf of all of them, but the men of the lHa pa sent after them caught them at Gro mo. The bla ma rin po che (i.e. Man lung pa) dissuaded them [from taking them away]. He stayed on to perform meditation for a few years at Brag ra and sDings chen".

(78) Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.5b lines 4-5): "For four years and seven and a half months [Man lung pa] performed meditation leading to liberation".

Man lung pa'i rnam thar (f.6a lines 3-4): "He decided to go to a few noble lands of rGya gar".

After being stopped by the lHa pa troops sent in pursuit and eventually managing to get on a spiritual retreat that lasted for almost five years, he made the decision in wood rat 1264 that the time was ripe to proceed to rGya gar (Man lung pa'i rnam thar f.6a lines 4-6; see above n.40). This helps to gauge approximately the above mentioned outbreak of hostilities in dBus gTsang to sometime in the fifties of the 13th centuries (1264 minus some five years plus some intervening time).

(79) A brief biography of lHa rin chen rgyal po is found in gNyos Kha rag gi gdung rabs khyadpar 'phags pa (f.9b line 2-f.10a line 9) which I summarise here. lHa Rin chen rgyal po (1201-1263) was a religious master of some importance on the scene of Central Tibet during the first sixty years of the 13th century. A member of the lHa, he belonged to the gNyos family of Kha rag. The son of sngags 'chang Grags pa 'bum and rGyu 'phrul ma, he was considered the last of the twelve rebirths of Mu tig btsan po. He was ordained to the monastic vow at sKyor mo lung, reputed for bestowing the purest ordinations to monastic observance. In fire pig 1227 at the age of twenty-one he was chosen to be the abbot of lHa Rin chen thel. He gave teachings at this monastery for four years until iron hare 1231, when he founded Gye re dgon pa. He was active at this monastery for a number of years, disseminating teachings (Bang mdzod, gSang 'dus, 'Jigs byed and bDe mchog plus Grol thig, 'Bri khung pa'i chos drug gsar rnying, bCu chos, Sum chos, bDun chos, Tshig bsdus, Tshe gsum, sKog chos and Tshin rta ma ni).

One duodenary cycle after the foundation of Gye re dgon pa he established Gye re lha khang and Phag ri Rin chen sgang in water hare 1243, together with his nye gnas 'Dam pa ri pa. The latter was completed in wood dragon 1244.

He is remembered in the literature for his contribution to save the peace of the lands in dBus because, in iron pig 1251, he was able to dissuade the Mongol officer Du se ta ba dur, who had invaded dBus on the eve of Mong gor rgyal po's ascension to the throne of the Mongols, from causing a further blood bath. He exercised secular duties, too, and was the phyi dpon of dBus gTsang for nineteen years from the snake year 1245 to the pig year 1263.

On him also see Deb ther dmar po (p.126 lines 2-11) and lHo rong chos 'byung (p.426 lines 9-14).

(80) A note in Myang chos 'byung (p.31 lines 8-12) reads: "When he was twentyfive years old (1263/1264), [Man lung pa] said, while he was on a tour to visit holy places and lands, that harm would be inflicted upon many sentient beings, such as the Rwa lung pa. Those monks did not listen to him. Knowing that [this would happen] for sure, he left for rGya gar. Later, having given advice to monks who were devoted to him, disciples and sponsors, he returned to rGya gar and proceeded to Po ta la [on his second visit]".

(81) sTag lung chos 'byung (Sangs rgyas yar byon gyi rnam thar p.276 lines 813): "After a while, a large army of Hor troops, [led by] Du mur, came to Tibet. Sangs rgyas yar byon gave gifts to Zhang btsun and sent him to the encampment of the Hor. He rolled up [a bunch of] prayers [as gifts for them], and so their evil minds were pacified. They became subdued. On the occasion of travelling to the encampment of the Hor, due to the fact that there was a one night halt on the way, the men who carried [Zhang btsun']s residential tent (gzims gur) on their head had the vision that Thug rje chen po was sitting [on their heads]. They made prostrations".

(82) lHo rong chos 'byung (p.737 lines 18-21): "Then, having listened to the calumny of others, dpon chen Kun dga' bzang po destroyed sBu tra' (spelled as) mchod khang. [U rgyan pa] went then to sBu tra and restored the gzim khang with rgyal bu A rog che acting as sponsor".

This helps to fix the destruction of the sBu tra "palace"/mchod khang to 1272 and the restoration of sBu tra to 1276 (see my "Grub chen U rgyan pa and the Mongols of China", a paper read at the International Conference "Exploring Tibet's History and Culture", held at Delhi University in November 2009).

(83) See, for instance, bSod nams 'od zer, U rgyan pa'i rnam thar rgyas pa (p.170 line 11-12): "When the palace at dpal ldan sBud skra was under construction, he gave a prophecy that it will be destroyed".

(84) Rather than earthquakes which, more often than not in the Tibetan tradition are wondrous but improbable signs that accompany extraordinary events in the life of great religious personalities and at the time of their death, famines are indicative of troubled political and social conditions. Their occurrence on the plateau should be the topic of historical and anthropological research. Famines, by [my] definition, should theoretically be considered so in the case they affect the rich and poor indiscriminately. However, in most cases, they affect only the poor. Droughts assume proportions that lead to famines often owing to causes engendered by partisan human contributions that turn natural conditions to the worse. The case mentioned here is proverbial. Drought was accompanied by excessive taxation imposed by the Mongol/Sa skya pa authorities.

(85) lHo rong chos 'byung (p.737 lines 6-7): "[U rgyan pa's visit to rDo rje gdan] coincided with [the presence of] Byang chub dpal, the nye gnas of grub chen Man lung pa who had gone to lHo dPal gyi ri to offer his prayers".

(86) These masters went to Bodhgaya because of:

~ their own's clan consolidated tradition of getting teachings from the Noble Land (dPyal members);

~ the significance of the enterprise (the Chag uncle and nephew);

~ internal dissent in Tibet (Man lung pa);

~ pressure by the Sa skya/Mongol alliance (U rgyan pa).

(87) I have briefly documented in the present article the existence of common grounds between some of these masters, especially in the case of their Dus 'khor training. I add here that U rgyan pa received Dus 'khor based on the systems of Tsa/rTsa mi Sangs rgyas grags pa and Chag lo tsa ba Chos rje dpal from Bo dong Rin chen rtse mo (?-?), and also studied it under rGod tshang pa.

As for his relationship with at least one master belonging to the phase under study, U rgyan pa received Tshad ma'i lung from bcom ldan Rig pa'i ral gri, called sNar thang Rig ral by Si tu pan chen Chos kyi 'byung gnas in the passage that deals with this interaction (Karma Kam tshang gi gser 'phreng p.174 line 2).

(88) This gNyan lo tsa ba cannot have been the famous gNyan lo tsa ba Darma grags who attented the 1076 Tho ling chos 'khor and was allegedly assassinated by Rwa lo tsa ba (1016-?), or else he would have been assigned in this passage of dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba's work to one generation too late.

(89) dPa' bo gtsug lag 'phreng ba confirms the evidence of the colophons of the religious works, in which A bhaya ka ra is mentioned, that this Indian master was the teacher of Tsa/rTsa mi lo tsa ba (mKhas pa'i dga' ston p.1496 line 1-p.1497 line 13). This goes against the statement in the biography of rGa lo tsa ba gZhon nu dpal penned by Zhang g.Yu brag pa that Tsa/rTsa mi was the teacher and A bhaya ka ra his disciple.

(90) 'Gos lo tsa ba says that A bhaya ka ra was a disciple of Na ro pa (Deb ther sngon po p.931 lines 18-19, also see Ar. Macdonald, "Le Dhanyakataka de Man-lungs guru" p.177). Is 'Gos lo tsa ba's statement that A bhaya ka ra had a long life an attempt to accommodate his claim that he was a disciple of Na ro pa with the fact that he met and gave teachings to Tsa/rTsa mi and rGa lo the elder? The year of Na ro pa's death is controversial. An earlier one is fire hare 1027, another and perhaps more reliable is iron dragon 1040. Indeed the alleged birth date of A bhaya ka ra in 1005 (d. 1125 at the age of 121) would have allowed him to meet Na ro pa in both the cases of the latter's death in 1027 or 1040.

(91) In order to calculate the number of years spent by rGa lo in Ma ga dha one needs to collate the indications in various passages of dPal gyi rnam thar (p.363 line 4; p.365 lines 1-2; p.365 line 4; p.366 line 1; and p.372 line 7).

(92) sTag lung chos 'byung (p.243 lines 14-18) says that Ma yo gom nag (i.e. "Ma [ha] yo [gi], the black meditator"?)--included among the "eighteen close disciples" of sTag lung thang pa bKra shis dpal (1142-1210) and said to have been a mkhan po of rDo rje gdan--made a statue of his teacher at Bodhgaya and donated it to his monastery in Tibet. A legend holds that the statue miraculously crossed the Gangga by itself. It was chosen as the main image of Li ma lha khang at sTag lung. The presence at rDo rje gdan of Ma yo sgom nag, whose ethnicity is unclear, may be assigned to the period around the last quarter of the 12th century.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2021 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Vitali, Roberto
Publication:The Tibet Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Previous Article:Greatly perfected, in space and time: historicities of the Bon Aural Transmission from Zhang zhung.
Next Article:The life and lives of 'Khon ston dpal 'byor lhun grub.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |