Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Tangut Connection

You could be blissfully unaware there ever was any country, people, tongue or writing system called Tangut, and if you find yourself in that boat you might be in good company, well at least a lot of company. The Tangut land is long gone and forgotten, erased from the map by Chinggis Khan in 1226 CE. But there is one fairly sizeable group of people — well, in truth somewhat rarer than Tibetologists — called Tangutologists. Some of those Tangutologists, and even more of the Tibetologists, can tell you that many of Xixia’s* prominent citizens fled south into the eastern parts of the Tibetan plateau, where you still find people speaking a “Tangut” (Tibetan: Mi-nyag) tongue until this day.
(*Xixia is the Chinese name, meaning Western Xia, from the perspective of China of course, while the name Tangut is of mysterious and disputed origins, but evidently inspired by a Mongolian-language source [in earlier centuries in Europe, Tibetans were often inaccurately called Tanguts]. Tanguts called themselves something closely resembling their name in Tibetan.)

We’ve mentioned before how Padampa visited China, the area of Mountain of Five Peaks, Wutai Shan (Tibetan: Riwo Tse Nga; རི་བོ་རྩེ་ལྔ་) in particular. It’s a place holy to the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, and famous for light visions, like the one you can see above. John Blofeld saw them. A lot of people who went there have seen them. I’m not sure if Padampa passed through Tangut land on the way there, although it seems likely. There is no reason to doubt that Padampa went to Wutai Shan, yet it looks like the story about his stay there was taken from accounts of other Indian visitors (see Chou, pp. 136-7). Padampa was not the kind of person to waste his time sitting around and chatting about his past, bragging and reminiscing, and under such circumstances there is a tendency to fill in the blanks with available stories... in this case stories about Sanjīva and Buddhapāli.*
(*We can go into that whole big issue of how the account of Padampa’s stay in China was pieced together another time.) 

It’s more sure that Padampa and the early followers of the Zhijé school had Tangut connections, and that’s what I want to explore today. Until quite recently there weren’t known to be any Padampa-connected writings in Tangut / Xixia, until a graduate student now at Harvard published a recent paper showing a clear example of just such a text.

To follow the paper that Penghao Sun wrote, there is a Chinese-language text from the Kozlov collection (numbered TK329), one of the thousands of old books excavated in Kharakhoto in 1908 and now kept in St. Petersburg. Its title page is missing, but the title given at the end can be translated “Notes on Four-Syllable  Ḍākinī: Volume One.”

Too bad it is exactly the opening part of the text — the one telling about the past masters of the sādhana practice in question — that is only partly there.  But most remarkably for us right now, one passage still remaining there very closely corresponds in its details with an episode in the Tibetan-language biography of Padampa in the Zhijé History, one composed in the early 13th century. I won’t fill you in on all of those details, but instead send you to read Penghao’s essay for yourself, if you’re interested. The Tangutologists are making more Padampa discoveries as we speak, but I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder, least of all the thunder of such legendary, even ethereal luminaries.

Now for that Tangut connection! First, evidence of Padampa’s personal contacts with Tanguts:

1) The Zhijé Collection (vol. 2, p. 312) supplies the name of a Tangut follower of Padampa named Menyak Dragsé (Me-nyag Grags-se), in a passage echoed in the 1902 biography of Padampa (p. 48) where his name differs slightly: Minyak Dragseng (Mi-nyag Grags-seng, a shortened form of Mi-nyag Grags-pa-seng-ge). Both sources record the same conversation he and Padampa had in Tingri, about his earlier stay in Central Tibet. In effect, Padampa supplies his own account of the Middle Transmission to Skam, Rma and So, as well as to a woman teacher who may or may not be identified as Machik Labdrön.* 

(*The name of this woman is given as “Ma-jo Mchod-gnas-ma.”  All this deserves a close study, but isn’t really relevant to the Tangut connection we pursue at the moment.)

2) The 1902 biography later on (p. 204) mentions a Minyak Konseng (Mi-nyag Dkon-seng, short for Dkon-mchog-seng-ge).  This is in a brief biography of the 23rd in a set of twenty-four women disciples of Padampa. Named Zhönnuma, she was traveling as an assistant to her mother's father, a merchant by the name of Minyak Konseng,* when she first encountered Padampa. True, it seems a little odd that a young woman native to Tingri area of western Tibet would have a Tangut grandfather, but there you go. Odd things happen.
(*We might think him to be none other than Gtsang-po-pa Dkon-mchog-seng-ge, the earliest known preceptor to the Tangut court who died in 1219, but... with Padampa's death in the first decades of the 12th century, something smells amiss here.)   

3) Elsewhere (ZC vol. 2, p. 424) one Menyak Kondrak (Me-nyag Dkon-grags, short for Dkon-mchog-grags[-pa]) appears.  Padampa gives him some words of advice: 
“If you have the heartfelt movitation to practice Dharma, hold the lama as the best of all refuges. As the chief of all virtuous practices, do what benefits others. As the chief of advice, arouse your confidence.  As the chief of learnings, tame your own mental continuum. As the chief of realizations, dissolve grasping to things as if they were truth. Purposefully grasping onto things is root cause of the vicious cycle of sangsara.”  
(me nyag dkon grags la dam pa'i zhal nas / snying nas chos bya bsam yod na skyabs gnas kyi dam par bla ma zung / dge sbyor gyi gtso' bor gzhan don gyis / gdams pa'i gtso' bor nges shes bskyed / thos bsam gyi gtso' bor rang rgyud thul / rtogs pa'i gtso' bor bden 'dzin shig / ched du bzung tshad 'khor ba'i rgyu yin no gsung.)

4) It is said that the dietary practice of “Extracting the Essence of Flowers” (མེ་ཏོག་བཅུད་ལེན་) was passed on by Padampa to one named Minyak Ringyal (Mi-nyag Rin-rgyal, or Mi-nyag Rin-chen-rgyal-mtshan).  See Mullin’s book.  In the lineages (like in the transmission document of A-khu-ching), he appears immediately after Padampa. I’m thinking he may be the Minyagpa who ordained the First Karmapa.

Secondly, an account of one significant Tangut connection in the early history of the Zhijé lineage, sometime in the mid or late 12th century —

A disciple of Pa-tshab (1077‑1158 CE) by the name Bu-shong Sgom-pa served as a chaplain (མཆོད་གནས་) at the king’s palace in Tangut Land where he eventually died. The Zhijé History (p. 397) spares a few lines about him that bear quoting, since later sources, although ultimately based on it, don't quite tell the story in a complete way:

de ma lags pa'i slob ma'i bu shong sgom pa bya ba / gzhon ba'i dus su ka ba li sdang bshibs pa'i chos rogs mthun po yin bas / khong la yang gdams pa byind pas / khong kyang me nyag 'ga' la bzhud nas / rgyal po'i pho brang du sku 'das te / byang 'khams na da lta yang / nag khrid zhu lan gyi skor gyis khyab nas yod pa lags skad

The Deb ther sngon po says this: bu shong sgom pa bya ba kab li gdang gshibs yin pas de la gdams pa byin pas khong yang mi nyag rgyal po'i mchod gnas la bzhud / [825] de la brten nas nag khrid zhus lan gyi skor gyis byang khams khyabThe Roerich-Gendun Choephel translation of the same passage in The Blue Annals (p. 928) reads like this (with the Tibetan transcriptions changed to Wylie by myself): 
“Bu-shong sgom-pa, who had a jointless skull (there exists [sic!] several signs indicating the jointless nature of the skull of a living person. Among them, an extra tooth between the two upper incisors, etc.), received precepts from him. He then became the chaplain (mchod-gnas) of the King of Mi-nyag. Thanks to him the Cycle of Nag-khrid zhus-len spread over the entire Northern region.”
The 1902 biography of Padampa (p. 208) has its even more severely truncated version:
bu shong sgom pa la gdams pa gnang nas mi nyag gi rgyal bo'i mchod gnas mdzad pas nag khrid skor gyi gdams pas byang khams khyab.


Yes, there were connections with Tangut land according to Tibetan sources of the Zhijé tradition. Padampa likely passed through the Tangut realm, he was personally acquainted with people of evident Tangut ethnicity in Tingri, and a Zhijé follower who came soon after him even became Imperial Preceptor to the Tangut court. So these Padampa discoveries made in recent days in Chinese-language (and now also Tangut-language and Tibetan-language) sources from Kharakhoto are both surprising and at least a little bit expectable.


In a comment in a recent blog, Short Person shared her idea that a depiction in a Chinese painted scroll might be Padampa. I had to order via the internet a used copy of The Buddha Scroll, and at long last after I could bring it home from the postoffice, sure enough, it opened right to the part that you see here, which shows a Indian sādhu-looking figure in the role of votary, jumping out of the page directly beneath the pig that Mārīcī’s lotus is riding upon.


I’ll admit I was skeptical. I mean, does Padampa ever wear a red dhoti? The round earrings are more than acceptable, but the other jewelry, the anklets, bracelets and armlets, not to mention the diadem?  And what is he holding there in his hands? They look like oranges, but I suppose they could be offerings of huge jewels. Even the sitting position seems not especially typical of Padampa. So I was ready to dismiss the identification Short Person suggested until I looked into Padampa’s connections with  Mārīcī (Tibetan: Özerchanma, འོད་ཟེར་ཅན་མ་). I found that She is among a discrete set of twelve “tutelaries” (divine yidam forms forming focal points of high aspirations) that Padampa employed during various meditation retreats in India. As a group, these twelve sometimes appear in Gelugpa collections. This painted scroll, although it was supposed to replace an 1180 CE painting by Dali Kingdom artist Zhang Shenwen, was finished in 1767 under the direction of Changkya Rolpai Dorjé (ལྕང་སྐྱ་རོལ་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་), indeed a very important hierarch of the Gelugpa School.

So despite initial doubts, I’m now convinced that Short Person’s intuitions were correct, as they so often are. As unusual as some of its features may be, it’s still very likely meant to be a representation of Padampa.

An afterthought or two:  I’m very certain that the translators of the Blue Annals made a grievous mistake when they interpreted ka-ba-li as if it were ka-pā-la. Only the latter spelling means skull (kapāla is the Sanskrit). True, ka-ba-li may be an obsolete term — as such you find it in several glossaries of old words where it is explained to be a container for pecha-style books. From the context we may judge that the meaning is that Pa-tshab and he had studied together, hanging up their bookbags in rows on a peg or a line (reading rdang in place of sdang although gdang is also possible). It was because this connection from their early school days that later in life Pa-tshab favored him with precepts. So we can entirely neglect, in this context at least, the totally irrelevant added comments of Roerich/Choempel about seamless (“jointless”) skulls.  Ka-ba-li is obviously Indic in origin, but I’ve failed to find out what word it would be in Sanskrit. I am hoping someone will speak up and enlighten me. I’ve collected many references to ka-ba-li, but I guess I will burden you with them another time. Well, I’d like to mention that there is an entry for it in the German-Tibetan dictionary I introduced a few blogs back, where you find: “aufklappbarer, mit Stoff bespannter und Holzstäben verstärkter Buchbehalter.”

Another small matter: What was that Nag khrid, or Black Guidance that thanks to Bu-shong spread in the north country?  At least this much is clear: It means the teachings that Pa-tshab set down on the basis of his dialogues with his teacher Kunga. There are other names for these, but Black Guidance Dialogues is one of them.

Bibliographical items:

1902 version of the Padampa biography is contained in Pha-dam-pa dang Ma-cig Lab-sgron-gyi Rnam-thar, Mtsho-sngon Mi-rigs Dpe-skrun-khang (Xining 1992), pp. 1-242. The front title page says it is by Chos-kyi-seng-ge, but that means Khams-smyon Dharma-seng-ge. It has been translated into English by David Molk & Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche in, Lion of Siddhas:  The Life & Teachings of Padampa Sangye, Snow Lion (Ithaca 2008), pp. 27‑174 where, on pp. 62-63 (compare p. 260!), and pp. 152, 154, you will find their English versions of passages mentioned here.

Wen-Shing Lucia Chou, The Visionary Landscape of Wutai Shan in Tibetan Buddhism from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century, doctoral dissertation, University of California (Berkeley 2011). Go here, locate the large white chorten (it’s the largest white object you see there), and follow the tip of the chorten up into the ravines above, where you will see, holding a rattan staff (that’s part of the story) an unmistakable figure of Padampa. Observe the color and style of his clothing, and compare that to what you see pictured up above in this very weblog page. Notice, too, that painted representations of Padampa at Wutai Shan are mentioned in the 1902 biography (p. 51).

Ding Guanpeng, The Buddha Scroll, Shambhala (Boston 2000). To see what may be the ‘mother’ painting by the Dali Kingdom painter Zhang Shengwen or an early copy of the same (I’m not sure which), go here and download it so you can view it offline. I couldn’t immediately locate Padampa there, but perhaps you will have better luck. In any case, it is an amazing work of art.

Ruth Dunnell, “Esoteric Buddhism Under the Xixia (1038-1227),” contained in:  Charles D. Orzech, et al., eds., Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, Brill (Leiden 2011), pp. 465-477. This is only offered as a recently written gateway essay into the larger bodies of writings on Tangut studies. I’ll thank you not to take me to task for not making a big bibliography. And if you doubt, as you well might, the continuing existence of  a “Minyak” language within the Tibeto-sphere, I suggest you have a look at Ikeda Takumi, “200 Example Sentences in the Mu-nya Language (Tanggu Dialect),” Zinbun, vol. 40 (2007), pp. 71-140, and decide for yourself (look here) if the name is all that remains, or if there isn’t more to it than that.

Glenn H. Mullin, Selected Works of the Dalai Lama III: The Tantric Yogas of Sister Niguma, Snow Lion (Ithaca 1985), pp. 183-191: “Living on the Essence of Flowers.”

Per Sørensen & Guntram Hazod in cooperation with Tsering Gyalbo, Rulers on the Celestial Plain, Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna 2007), vol. 2, p. 374. As part of a sketch of Tangut connections among the various then-existing schools of Tibetan Buddhism, there is a brief discussion of Bu-shong Sgom-pa. I’m wondering if Bu-shong might represent something in Chinese, like Buxiong perhaps? Maybe he’s the Imperial Preceptor Boluoxiansheng mentioned in Dunnell’s article, p. 475? (Just thinking aloud, in case somebody has a better idea to offer.)

Sun Penghao, “Pha-dam-pa Sangs-rgyas in Tangut Xia: Notes on Khara-khoto Chinese Manuscript TK329,” contained in: Tsuguhito Takeuchi, et al., Current Issues and Progress in Tibetan Studies, Research Institute of Foreign Studies (Kobe 2013), pp. 505-521. You might care to download it here, or if not there here.

Monday, December 07, 2015

An Archaic Book of the Dead

Have a closer look at this manuscript page before reading the following sentence. Click on the picture and see if you can enlarge it. What are you seeing there? What does it mean? The manuscript had been in the possession of a collector in New York City for decades before being released to the public just a few years ago. The miniatures are in an unfamiliar yet undeniably Tibetan artistic style, and the language inscribed beneath each miniature, while indubitably Tibetan, is quite odd from anybody’s perspective. With a lot of contemplation and some false starts you can begin to get an idea what's going on. You more or less have to attempt reading the illustrations and their text simultaneously to make both yield sense. The above example mentions three animals that [emerge] out of the precious jewel-like deer zone: first the stag with its antlers [the one on your right] with thorn-like horns (?), then the doe [on your left] with its eyelashes sticking up (?? perhaps a statement about its ability to escape like the wind?), and thirdly  the young of the species (the fawn depicted in the middle) with its vivid markings. It says if you load [the stag] it is quite strong, and if you milk [the doe] it is .... (?).  And it ends by saying, “I offer them as the best of wealthy possessions.”*
(*The construction with the word dam-pa occurring after a substantive that is in the genitive case is actually rather common and quite frequent, even, in canonical translations of scriptures. To give other examples, yon-gyi dam-pa means ‘the best of gifts’; sman-gyi dam-pa, ‘the best of medicines’. At Bibliotheca Polyglotta, I located three examples in which this construction X-gyi dam-pa occurs, and in all three cases it is used to translate a phrase that includes parama, one of several Sanskrit words that were translated into Tibetan with the word dam-pa. So, perhaps this means something, I just can’t tell you what right now.)
In very general terms, it is possible to surmise that the deceased beings must pass through at least two major zones (slungs) in the spirit world, and that these zones are very likely to impede their progress. But, by employing the ritual methods, they can be made to come to the assistance of the dead person who in this case is a woman (sman), perhaps even serve as guides. The two realms are the deer zone*  and the bird zone. And where does the afterlife adventure lead to?
(*mostly deer and antelopes, this zone includes goats, even badgers and marmots)  
If I’ve peaked your interest in this remarkable 1,000-year-old document, I can call it a day and spend my evening savouring the sweet sense of success. As your next step, I say locate John Bellezza’s book in a local academic library. Do it tomorrow morning. I would hate to think that anyone would need to go without supper more than once just because they couldn’t afford the high sticker price.* 
(*figuring in the international mailing cost, since your local bookstore will hardly be offering it, unless you  happen to live in Vienna. It looks like upward spiraling postage costs are going to kill book ordering, which is a big pity. Par for the course of the giant internet moghuls who rule over this kingdom of tiny blogs, I guess, if we're forced to do all our reading from screens.) 

John Vincent Bellezza, Death and Beyond in Ancient Tibet:  Archaic Concepts and Practices in a Thousand-Year-Old Illuminated Funerary Manuscript and Old Tibetan Funerary Documents of Gathang Bumpa and Dunhuang, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna 2013), in 293 pages. I was sort of joking about the high price (seriously, these days it could be considered reasonably priced for a large-format paperback with a number of color illustrations). If you aren’t yet familiar with John B.’s blog, and his many publications, it’s about time you got acquainted by taking a look here. There is a fresh new story about him here that also offers an introduction to the subjects of his research.

Here is a rather useful table of contents of J.B.’s book.

Per Kvaerne’s review can be read here. There is another brief review by Alex McKay in Tibet Journal issue of 2013, that I haven’t managed to see yet.

It doesn’t make very much sense to get ourselves caught up in nugatory arguments about the correctness of my readings over anyone else’s when it is a text of this level of difficulty. Still, some others may derive entertainment from comparing J.B.’s translation on p. 58 of his book (hint: there are no earthshaking differences). He makes what I believe is a very likely valid identification of the specific type of deer depicted here when he says it appears to be the white-lipped deer, found particularly in eastern Tibet and neighboring parts of China. Also known as Thorold Deer, the male of the species looks like the drawing below, and its fawns are mottled or ‘spotted.’ I know the Tibetan artist didn’t bother to put any white around the lips, but this is one of those times I think it may be wise not to insist too much.

In case anyone needs it, here is a transcription of the text you see above (this will make it findable by both machines and living beings endowed with machines):

རིན་ཅེན་ཤ་སླུངས་ནེས་། ཤ་ཡུར་པོ་རུ་ཟེད་དང་། ཡུ་མོ་རྫི་བཤོར་མ། ཤེའུ་ཅུང་རིས་བཀྲ་བྱུང་། བཀལ་ན་ཚན་སྟོབས་ཆེ། བཞོའ་ན་བཅབས་པར་གཡེས་སོ་། དཀོར་ཡི་དམ་པར་འབུལ་ལོ་།།  །།

I’ve been working up some speculative ideas about the ideas of intermediating zones in the afterlife, but I guess I’ll go into that another time, specially since I’m not sure where they are taking me. In the meantime, have a pleasantly warm and safe, at the very least, or even better a happy time this holiday season!

PS:  Why the word archaic in the title? Well, in the first place no Buddha-like Teacher, whether of Chos or Bon, is even alluded to in this text. Certain elements can also be found in a few quite early Dunhuang texts as well as in funerary ('dur) literature of Bon, which helps to validate the age. The physical manuscript itself has been dated by carbon analysis to about one millennium ago, but may record traditional ideas about death and funerary rituals that are much, much older. It is difficult to be sure exactly how much older, it’s true, but we don’t have a lot  else to go by, apart from excavated burial goods like the gold masks that have been found recently, to find out what the earliest Tibetan funerary rituals were like. So let’s have a look at one of those gold masks.
A gilded golden mask from western Tibet (Sutlej River valley): notice the animal (with backward curling horns) and the birds seated on somewhat chorten-like structures.  Called the Chuthak (Chu-thags) mask, excavated in 2011, it has been estimated to be 2,000 years old
I first saw this mask in a conference in London a few years ago.* To point out what now to me seems quite obvious — just as in the illustrated funerary text we’ve been talking about, the band above the face of the mask depicts a deer zone with a bird zone above it... and very possibly a funerary structure of some kind. For more on this and other gold masks from Tibet and surrounding cultures, see especially the November 2013 issue of John Bellezza's Flight of the Khyung, with more photos, and the long footnote in his Death and Beyond, p. 157.  It might be the very thing mentioned in some Tibetan ritual texts** as gser-zhal (literally gold visage). None of the connections just made are my own; see J.B.'s relatively new book Dawn of Tibet, p. 158, for a very succinct statement (and here he seems to date this along with other known Eurasian examples of such masks to 500 BCE through 500 CE... This is more than archaic enough to satisfy the likes of me).
There is quite a lot, not just the goldenness but including, too, the high-placed closed ‘almond’ (coffee-bean?) eyes*** and resultant stretched out bridge of the nose, that resembles the well-known so-called Mask of Agememnon that dates to around 1500 BCE remarkably well.
(*In the slideshow that accompanied this paper by Mark Aldenderfer.) (**In the Mu-cho Khrom-'dur texts of Bon that could date from around a millennium ago, or even be as recent as the 19th century, there is a great deal of uncertainty here. In the context, the golden visage is said to be a 'support' (rten) for one of the consciousness principles of the deceased person, something called the thugs. On the meaning of thugs in early funerary contexts there has been a lot of discussion...  In modern Tibetan, it’s the respectful word for mind.)  (***In the case of the Greek mask, at least, it would appear to reflect an extremely ancient burial practice of replacing the eyes with seashells, particularly cowrie shells. This is known from truly ancient Natufian graves excavated in Jericho, ‘the world's oldest city,’ and otherwise the practice was surprisingly widespread. Something like this may explain the unusual shape of the eyes in the Tibetan face cover.)

Gold burial mask found by Heinrich Schliemann in Mycenae in 1876

How old is the Mu-cho Khrom-’dur ritual cycle?  Khrom-’dur is now usually translated something like Public Funerary Rites, and Mu-cho (Mu-cho-ldem-drug in full) is the name of the ancient sage associated with it.  He was a direct disciple of Lord Shenrab, which places him in hoary antiquity. But as Samten Karmay says in his most recent book,* this is a cycle rediscovered by Se-gnyan Zhig-po in far eastern part of Tibet known as Gyalrong. In this book Karmay doesn't seem to suggest any date for the tertön Se-gnyan. And I am able to do no better. Still, it is curious why his name doesn’t appear in any of the Bon histories before the 20th century to the best of my knowledge. His name doesn’t even appear in what might otherwise seem to be a very extensive listing of Bon texts done in the late 19th century (see YTKC), although we do find a listing of titles in a cycle there called Mu-cho Khrom-'dur Chen-po, found in a treasure site called Thog-thog Lhung-lhung Lha (ཐོག་ཐོག་ལྷུང་ལྷུང་ལྷ་) by someone called Sumpa Shen (སུམ་པ་གཤེན་).** There are clearly unsolved mysteries in all of this. Outside of the book by J.B., perhaps the most valuable discussion of the Public Funerary Rites so far is the one by Namgyal Nyima found in section 82 of A Catalogue of the Bon Kanjur, which I warmly recommend to Tibeto-logicians everywhere. The colophon that was reproduced there is worth studying closely.***

(*Samten G. Karmay, A Bonpo Painting of Protector Deities, Vajra Books (Kathmandu 2015).  (**What it literally says that Sumpa received it in the form of an object of paranormal power, a siddhi, if we may use the Indic term. Right now I know of no way of identifying this Sumpa Shen.) (***rgod bon thang yag sprul ba du mar 'gyed pa / dri 'dul gyi dbal bon ra ljags skye rgyal du sprul la / dri 'dur thams cad de la thug / ra ljags sprul ba grangs med kyi nang nas bon gyi bon po khyung pho dri byi'u'i skur sprul nas kong po rong stod du / gri gum gyi khroms 'dur 'tshogs dus byon nas / mu cho'i 'dur sgo ra ljags kyi 'dur sgo rnams ni / khyung pho dri byi'u 'am rgod sras phyad bu'i lung phog / thog thog lhung lha'i gter sgo phyes / dngos grub sum pa'i gshen gyis rnyed. Yet another very important source to consider is in a record of teachings received, with its 1929 account of the lineage of a Bon Dzogchen teaching: rdzogs chen mu med bdal pa'i rgyud chen mo'i le'u rtsis ni / mu med bdal pa'i gsal sgron le'u nyer gsum pa / mu [358] med bdal pa'i gzhung / sa bcad mu med bdal pa'i don gyi 'grel pa / man ngag gi rtsa ba / de'i 'grel pa / bar do 'pho ba'i gsol 'debs / sngon 'gro'i tshig / gsol 'debs / byung khungs de rnams kyi brgyud rim ni / ye nyid kun tu bzang pos rdzogs sku gshen lha 'od dkar la / des 'phrul gshen snang ldan / bzang za ring btsun / des 'chi med gtsug phud / des gsang ba 'dus pa / des stag la me 'bar / des yongs su dag pa / des rmang po dar phyang / des mi lus bsam legs / des ye shes snying po / des snang ba mdog can / des rgyal po mu khri btsad po / des ha ra ci par / des stag wer li wer / des a nu phrag thag / des sad ne ga'u / des tha mi thad ke / des zing pa mthu chen / des shad bu ra khug / [359] des sum pa dbu dkar / des glang chen mu wer / des spe bon thog 'phrul / des spe bon tog rtse / des stong rgyung mthu chen dang bla chen dran pa gnyis la bstan / de gnyis kyi / sha ri dbu chen lce tsha mkhar bu gyim tsha chung dang gsum la bstan / mkhas pa de gsum gyis bstan pa 'phel 'grib dus su rgya rong dbyug lha gyen la gter du sbas te / 'gro ba'i don du dar zhing rgyas pa'i smon lam btab pas / phyis dus la bab tshe se gnyan zhig pos spyan drangs nas g.yung drung rgyal mtshan la brgyud / bar du brgyud pa zab mo sbas pa'i tshul du song na'ang / slar yang mkhas pa legs tang gi rnam rol pa bstan gnyis gsang sngags gling pas spel nas g.yung drung tshul khrims dbang rgyal la brgyud /)
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And while we're on the subject of grave goods, have a look at this recent archaeological dig report from western Tibet:  New Discoveries at Gurugyam Cemetery and Chu vthag Cemetery in Ngari, Tibet.   
And on the excavations of tombs in Dulan in the northeast, see for example this article by Amy Heller. Or, if those were not enough to keep you busy on a winter evening, look up these two recent articles, also by Amy:
Preliminary Remarks on Painted Coffin Panels from Tibetan Tombs. Contained in: Dotson, Iwao & Van Schaik, eds., Scribes, Texts & Rituals in Early Tibet & Dunhuang, Reichert (Wiesbaden 2013), pp. 11-24. 

Preliminary Remarks on the Archaeological Investigations of Dulan: 8th-9th Century Tibetan Tombs? Contained in: Xie Jisheng, Shen Weirong & Liao Yang, eds., Studies in Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Art: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology and Art, Beijing, September 3-6, 2004, China Tibetology Publishing House (Beijing 2007?), pp. 57-76.