Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Gift of Tibet’s History for Qubilai Khan


Orgyanpa, detail

What kind of royal history is this? Represented to posterity as a gift to the Khan, we get the feeling it was produced without much enthusiasm, and definitely without much literary style. I don’t believe it is stated clearly anywhere, but it could be that the Khan commanded him to write it. That would help explain why it is so dry, largely lists of names in kingly or other types of lineages. But in those rare spots where it does manage to supply a little narrative it tends to say something remarkable.

You can gain a general impression of the content of this work by glancing at the list of English subtitles that I inserted into my transcription of the text:

  • A. Royal Lineages of India.
  • B. Tibetan Royal Lineages.
  • C. Their Deeds Relative to Holy Dharma.
  • D. Emperor Songtsan the Wise.
  • E. Successors to Songtsan the Wise.
  • F. Seven Landfalls, Nos. 2-7.
  • G. Age of Divided Dominions.
  • H. The Revival of Buddha Dharma.
  • I. Chronological Discussion.
  • J. Other Highland and Lowland Vinaya Lineages.
  • K. Nyingma Tantras.
  • L. Highland Vinaya Again.
  • M. The Works of Panditas and Translators.
  • N. The Kadampa School.
  • O. On the Mongol Impact.
  • P. Colophon and Dedication Verse.

Let’s point out a few of the highlights and leave it at that. One thing is of considerable interest for the history of Old Tantra transmissions. We find this in section F, a treatment of the seven chronologically ordered entries of Indian Vajrayâna Buddhism into Tibet. This historical schema was put together by Rongzompa in the early- to mid-11th century, and I believe it was Rongzompa who first applied the term I translate as ‘landfalls.’ However, Rongzompa’s work on the subject only survives in so far as it was copied or followed by others (see Germano’s essay). So here we have important additional evidence. It answers the very important question of how Tibetan Buddhism turned out to be so tantric.

Moving on to a different context, one of the things that most horrified me was what it has to say about the suppression of Bon religion in western Tibet in the time of the Chidar, or Second Spread. This needs some close comparison with testimonies from a couple of other sources, so I will bookmark it for a future blog of its own.

There are a few references to earlier histories that ought to be mentioned.  The author, or the mchan-note writer if that is someone other than the author (and that’s a possibility), makes one clear reference (at fol. 7v) to what would have been a manuscript hot off the press, so to speak: the history book, dating to 1261, by Chomdan Reldri and its not well accepted idea that there was such a thing as an Intermediate Spreading of the Dharma (Bar-dar). This 1261 work, like our 1278 royal history, hasn’t yet appeared in press.*
(*To find out more about it, first download the 2020 revised version of Tibetan Histories, then scroll down to entry no. 87.)

He also demonstrates (at fol. 5r) that he knows of the historical text on the royal tombs that very likely dates to Tibet’s imperial era, the Extra Small Secret, Tomb Generations (Gsang-ba Yang-chung / Bang-so’i Rabs). This particular history represents the “half” in the 6½ histories we’ve discussed in a recent blog.

I stumbled on an odd statement about one of the early 10th-century monks of Amdo region that made things click in my mind. It serves to confirm something that came up during those long years spent translating the long Deyu history. Orgyanpa says, “Drum Sherab Monlam received the [esoteric Dzogchen] precepts of Aro.”* This is a further piece of evidence associating the transmission of this strain of Dzogchen, its lineage continuing straight through the era of Divided Dominions, with the earliest monks of the Second Spread. This connection is unexpected and, perhaps needless to say, not well known. Okay, but then neither is the associated Turkish connection expected or well known. Two Uighur Turks are listed one after the other in the Aro Dzogchen transmission as seen in an appendix to the Deyu translation (p. 784). The first of the two, Yazi Böntön (ཡ་ཟི་བོན་སྟོན་), is often listed as monastic ordinand of Gongpa Rabsel (དགོངས་པ་རབ་གསལ་), while the Yazi part of his name, meaningless in Tibetan, could indicate something in local Turkic dialect, likely a word meaning ‘scribe’ (I do think this merits careful consideration). His disciple Drugu Logjung (དྲུ་གུ་གློགས་འབྱུང་) has a name indicating that he was a Drugu, a Turk.

(*Grum She[s]-rab-smon-lam gyis / A-ro'i gdam ngag brnyes / Note that Grum in his name is often replaced with Grum-shing, which is in turn evidently just a shortened version of Grum Shing-slag-can. Grum is usually taken as a clan name, but it is possible the syllable Drum is hiding there, and that could be a borrowing from an Indic word meaning ‘tree,’ Shing-slag-can signifies that he wore a cloak of wood [barkcloth?].  He was not part of the very first group of central Tibetan men to visit the northeast in order to receive ordination vows, but he did belong to the second group that arrived soon after. See footnote 2481 in the long Deyu translation. For sure, Phying-slag-can also occurs, and this would mean ‘having a felt cloak.’ But misspellings of the name abound, and the easiest or more sensible reading, as we know, is not always the most valid, more likely the contrary)

But the part bound to most excite the world at large is the section “O” with its invented subtitle On the Mongol Impact. If you will permit it, I will hack out a quick translation without expending a lot of labor on quibbles, justifications, arguments, footnotes etc.

O. On the Mongol Impact.

ston pa'i dam chos rnam gnyis te lung dang rtogs pa'i bdag nyid do // de 'dzin byed pa smra byed dang / sgrub par byed pa kho na yin / ces 'byung pas /  deng sang bod kha ba can gyis yul du sangs rgyas kyis stan pa rin po che dar ro //

‘The holy Dharma of the Teacher is twofold, characterized by scriptural learning and practical realization. That means exclusively the memorizing or reciting of it, and the accomplishment of the practices.’* Even so nowadays in the country of snowy Tibet the precious Teachings of Buddha have spread.  

(*See Gold’s essay, p. 172, for an alternative translation of the verse along with much valuable commentary. Something like this verse occurs in many canonical texts, but our most sure Indic source is in the root verses included in Vasubandhu’s Abhidharma­kośa commentary­.)

de yang dbus rtsang mi drug gi smad nas [13r] dar la / rin chen bzang po dang / jo bo rje stod nas dar zhing / gzhan lo yan [~span?] phal cher gyis dkyil nas dar ro //

Indeed, the Six Men of Ü and Tsang have spread them from the lowlands, Rinchenzangpo and Atiśa from the highlands, and besides those the Tibetan translators and Indian paṇḍitas have for most part spread them from the center.

dus phyis bod kha ba can gyis yul du stan pa dar ba'i dus su / 'dzam bu gling gis byang phyogs ge gsar [~ge sar] gyis yul du / rgyal po dzi gir gan zhes bya ba bsku 'khrungs te / 'dzam bu gling gis yul phal cher bshig cing / rgyal po phal pran [~bran?] ltar byas pa'i dus / bod kha ba can gyis yul du yang dmag des / yul dang stan pa la gnod pa 'byung pa'i dus su [~la?] bab pa'i tshe / skye ba 1 gis thogs pa'i byang chub sems dpa' / shes bya rig pa'i gnas thams cad la mkhyen pa'i ye shes kyis snang ba rgyas pa / saskya'i lo tsha ba zhes yongs su drags pa de / thugs rje'i rba rlabs cher g.yos te / ji gir gan gyi gdung rgyud kyis rgyal rgyud thams cad chos la bkod cing / yul dir [~'dir?] sangs rgyas kyis stan pa rin po che bzhago //

In later times, as the Teachings were spreading to the country of snowy Tibet, in the country of Gesar in the northern part of Jambu Island a king named Dzi-gir Gan (i.e. Chinggis Khan) took birth and went on to destroy in large part the countries of Jambu Island, its kings largely reduced to slavery. The time came when the country of snowy Tibet itself suffered harm to both country and Teachings by that same army. It was then that the one who achieved Bodhisattvahood in one lifetime and had developed the light of Enlightened Wisdom that is knowledgeable in all the subjects of learning about knowables, the one widely renowned as the Translator of Sakya, exceedingly moved by the waves of compassion, placed all of Ji-gir Gan’s (i.e. Chinggis Khan’s) royal descendants in the way of Dharma and established the Teachings of Buddha in this country.

de'i gdan sar lo tsha ba chen po de nyid kyis bcung gis rigs pas / rgyal ba’i bka’ dang stan chos thams cad kyis tshig don la smra ba’i spobs pa tshigsal [~tshig gsal] zhing / rigs par smra ba / bsod nams kyis dpal du mas rgyan pa / nges par sa thob pa’i byang chub sems dpa’ chen po a rgya’i [i.e., 'phags pa’i] mtshan can des kyang gong ma’i rjes su rgyal rgyud rnams chos la bkod pas / bstan pa rin po che dar cing rgyas par gyur to //

That same great Translator in his headquarters had a younger man in his family by the name of Argya (Ārya, i.e. Phagspa), a great Bodhisattva who had definitively attained the [three pure] Levels, adorned with the glory of his merit, his rational speech and clear words, his ability to expound eloquently upon all the words and contents of the Victor’s teachings (the Kanjur) and the [Indian Buddhist] Treatises (the Tanjur). The royal lineages in the following of the emperor he also established in the Dharma, making the precious Teachings grow and flourish.

gzhan bstan pa la nyan cing / gzhan stan pa la nyan cing bsgom pa’i blo can 'gas kyang / rgyal rgyud rnams chos la bkod pas stan pa la phan par gyur to //

There were still others who had studied and meditated upon the Teachings who established the royal lineages in the Dharma and benefitted the Teachings.

gzhan stod kyi mgon 3 gyis rgyud las / rgyal po rtsan phyug [13v] lde chibs kha lhor bsgyur bas / gangs ti se nas chu gang gha'i 'gram gyis ri brags kyis rgyal mkhams btul te sangs rgyas kyis bstan pa daro //

Then there was one among the successors of the Three Lords of the highlands (i.e., Ngari or western Tibet), a king named Rtsan-phyug-lde, who steered his noble horse toward the south and subdued the kingdom[s] in the mountainous area all the way from the Glacier Mountain Tise to the banks of the Ganges, spreading the Teachings of Buddha.

I hope that captures the gist of it well enough, and that some sharp young Tibetanist will find how to make it perfect. A few comments: Last things first, the king of a part of western Tibet who conquered the realms between Mt. Kailash and the Ganges was not immediately known to me, so I needed to look him up. I find he has to be the same as Btsan-phyug-lde, a king of Gugé-Purang. We have no specific dates for him, just that he moved down from Gugé to Yatsé in what is now Nepal in around the middle of the 12th century, and he is known in some local Nepal Sanskrit sources by the name Câpilla (see Tucci’s book as well as Vitali’s, and look here if you want to see where Yatsé was located on the map.). 

It cannot be an accident that Orgyanpa mentions those Gugé kings in a book sent to a Khan even while fully knowing that that same Khan was considering a military move into Nepal (and probably the whole of South Asia beyond Nepal). Still, one wonders how useful or relevant this information would be for that purpose. It dangles alone between unrelated subjects, as if it were placed there for some odd reason. I suppose it was.

There is not very much to be found in Tibetan writings that expresses the terror and anguish the Mongol invasions inflicted on local populations.  We could say that people in a life-or-death situation lack the leisure to sit down and portray their feelings. But a disciple and biographer of the famous Yanggönpa by the name of Channgawa spares a paragraph on the subject, ending with the words, 
“Just hearing the name Mongol (Hor) or Tartars (Sogs-po [!]; i.e. Sog-po) made them unable to stand on their feet. All the people felt afraid and terrified as if they had been delivered into the hands of the karma-enforcing Lord of Death.”* 
(*See the longer passage translated in Higgins’ new book, p. 37. The translation ‘Tartars’ is very surely not exactly on the mark. In earlier sources, Hor would have definitely meant Uighur Turks, while Sog-po would have meant Sogdians, although after the Mongol advent its meaning is a bit of a problem, it depends on who is talking.)

The Mongols had achieved such awesome power and reputation for violence in the world, there is even today a common acknowledgement that Sakya Paṇḍita, the very same person we just heard called “Translator of Sakya,” was displaying the great wisdom he was indeed known for when he advised Tibetans not to resist them. On the Tibetan side, the idea developed that something good could be derived from this deadly situation if Mongols, who were settling down to rule over various civilian populations in Eurasia, could be coached or coaxed (without coercion!) into taking refuge in the philosophico-religio-ethical civilizational project Buddhism offers. They had some degree of immediate success with Hülegü and subsequent Ilkhanids in Iran and with Qubilai Khan in China, although we can in retrospect perceive that their efforts only bore great fruit much later on when most of Mongolia became Tibetan-style Buddhist. 

So, surprising as it is for us to hear, when Orgyanpa says that Chinggis Khan destroyed* the better part of the world, he was conscious of addressing the Mongols, to whom this accomplishment was a matter of pride, and would not be heard as a criticism. And if that last sentence made no sense to you, I invite you to read Sun Penghao’s dissertation. By the year 1278, when Orgyanpa’s book was written, Tibetan Buddhist leaders like Orgyanpa had fairly perfected the art of talking to Mongols in their own language, so to speak. By seeming to give them what they wanted, they were given the opportunity to offer them what they actually needed.
(*The tone of the verb here used, bshig (or 'jig in present tense), may be difficult to capture with an English word, but it does mean to destroy in the sense of reducing to ruins or dissolving solid objects. Words like decimated or annihilated come to mind, but I don’t believe their tone fits the larger context.)


Orgyanpa as central figure and Kâlacakra
teacher in a Derge Parkhang Xylograph

Literature Listing

For a 

complete transcription of the text, 

look here. I do not supply any photo of the manuscript itself, hoping that a facsimile (one better than my poor scan of an old xerox received from LK) will appear in a more appropriate place. I like to imagine the original gift to Qubilai would have been magnificently scribed in gold ink on dark purple paper. However, what we have right now is anything but magnificent, badly spelled and penned with a clumsy hand.

We’ve spoken about Orgyanpa in 

an earlier blog.

If you are looking for a brief biography, try 

this one by Alexander Gardner 

at Treasury of Lives website.

Deyu — Anonymous, A History of Buddhism in India and Tibet: An Expanded Version of the Dharma’s Origins Made by the Learned Scholar Deyu, tr. by Dan Martin, The Library of Tibetan Classics series no. 32, Wisdom Publications (Somerville 2022).

David Germano, “The Seven Descents and the Early History of Rnying-ma Transmissions,” contained in: Helmut Eimer & David Germano, eds., The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, Brill (Leiden 2002), pp. 225-263.

Jonathan C. Gold, “Sa-skya Paṇḍita’s Buddhist Argument for Linguistic Study,” Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 33 (2005), pp. 151-184.

David Higgins, Heartfelt Advice: Yang dgon pa’s Song of the Seven Direct Introductions with Commentary by ’Ba’ ra ba Rgyal mtshan dpal bzang, International Institute for Buddhist Studies (Tokyo 2022). This book is made available online as a free download.

Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, “Some Remarks on the Textual Transmission and Text of Bu-ston Rin-chen-grub’s Chos-’byung, a Chronicle of Buddhism in India and Tibet,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, vol. 26 (April 2013), pp. 115-193, at p. 182. Available online.

———, “Tibetan Historiography,” contained in: Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre, ed. José Cabezón and Roger Jackson, eds., Snow Lion (Ithaca 1996), pp. 39-56, but you can also read it online. At p. 43 is what is most likely the first modern mentioning of the existence of Orgyanpa’s history book. It includes discussion of its 1278 CE date and the reason it was written, “as part of his attempt... to dissuade the Mongol emperor from invading Nepal.” Also pointed out: Orgyanpa’s history was known to the chronologist Mang-thos Klu-sgrub-rgya-mtsho (1523-1596), in the work we have listed below. He also told of the recent discovery of the 13-folio manuscript, and announced, in a footnote, a forthcoming edition and translation, something that never came about.

———, “U rgyan pa Rin chen dpal (1230-1309), Part Two: For Emperor Qubilai? His Garland of Tales about Rivers,” contained in: Christoph Cüppers, ed., The Relationship between Religion and State (chos srid zung ’brel) in Traditional Tibet, LIRI (Lumbini 2004), pp. 299-339, at pp. 319-320. The riverine geographical text is, together with the royal history, part of a set of gifts delivered to Qubilai Khan. I’ve heard that Part Three of L. van der Kuijp’s study of the riverine geography is forthcoming, even if Part One is not.

Mang-thos Klu-sgrub-rgya-mtsho (1523-1596), Bstan-rtsis Gsal-ba’i Nyin-byed and Tha-snyad Rig-gnas Lnga’i Byung-tshul Blo-gsal Mgrin-rgyan, Bod-yig Dpe Rnying Dpe-skrun-khang (Lhasa 1987).

Page 65 reads as follows: “de yang chu mo glang la Dpal-'khor-btsan 'khrungs // khong gi slob dpon Cang A-po yin zhes Grub-thob U-rgyan-pa’i Rgyal-po Rabs Phreng las bshad.” Our manuscript reads differently (7v): “sras khri Dpal-’khor-rtsan gyis rgyal sa bzung / ’phrul gyis blon po spyang A-pho zhes bya bas blon po byaso.” Notice the very significant difference between the clever (?) teacher A-po and the clever prodigious minister A-pho.

Orgyanpa’s work is cited, if not quoted, again on p. 68: “Rgyal-po Rabs Phreng las / Bla-chen gyis / Khams kyi Sog-po mi drug la sdom pa phog / de'i nang tshan btsun chen Sher-'byung gis Grum la / des Klu-mes sogs la phog zer.” But here there is a problem, since this can at best be a paraphrase of information found here and there in our ms. of Orgyanpa’s work, certainly not a direct quote. This problem could use some closer scrutiny. I suppose it might be a sign our available ms. is not a complete one.

Jampa Samten & Dan Martin, “Letters for the Khans: Six Tibetan Epistles of Togdugpa Addressed to the Mongol Rulers Hulegu and Khubilai, as well as to the Tibetan Lama Pagpa,” contained in: Roberto Vitali et al., eds., Trails of the Tibetan Tradition: Papers for Elliot Sperling, Amnye Machen Institute (Dharamshala 2014), pp. 297-332.

Sun Penghao, The Birth of an Etiquette Story: Tibetan Narrative of O rgyan pa, Qubilai, and the Yuan Government, doctoral dissertation, Harvard University (2023), posted online. The circumstances of Orgyanpa's composition are discussed at pp. 25, 42 et passim. On p. 26 (last lines of note 64), he points to previous mentions of it in Leonard van der Kuijp's work published in 1996 (listed above).

Giuseppe TucciPreliminary Report on Two Scientific Expeditions in Nepal, Serie Orientale Roma series no. 10, Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (Rome 1956). For identifying the Gugé king named  Btsan-phyug-lde, see pp. 28, 53, 66, 69, 70, 107 (these page numbers were not found through Google, and neither were they found through the book’s own index!) Download a free PDF or some such format by going here.

Roberto Vitali, The Kingdoms of Gu.ge Pu.hrang, Tho.ling gtsug.lag.khang (Dharamsala 1996). For identifying the Gugé king named  Btsan-phyug-lde (Vitali, too, places him in mid-12th century) see pp. 121, 139, 361-363, 417, 462, 465-467, 452, 480, 529, 693, 778 (page numbers located through the book’s own index).

Friday, May 12, 2023

Horse Eggs and Unicorns

རྟ་ཡི་སྒོ་ང་། Egg of Horse

I’ll admit my ability to think stopped cold when my eyes fell on this object in a Bhutanese museum back in 2015. It threw me for a loop. I’m still curious about it, as I think anyone ought to be. I don’t think we should dismiss miraculous or anomalous objects until we’ve heard the whole story. I’m as skeptical as the next guy, and unwilling to play the sucker or the fool gladly, but the predisposition to dismiss miracles with alacrity can sometimes look more like fear than rationality, fear our accustomed categories might come into question. It’s the pangolin problem all over again, and those lizards don’t lay eggs.

I wish I could tell you what it is even now. It surely seems like it is made of stone. It might be a fossilized egg of some kind, one that has over the millennia lost much of its outer shell. That's what I saw then, and that’s what I see now. Certainly the words written in clear Dharma Language (ཆོས་སྐད་) on its surface predisposes me to think it is what it says it is, and since I can find no other interesting way to think about it, I prefer to leave my thinking in a state of suspension. Suspense is better than foregone conclusions, at least it is a lot more exciting.

If you would like to look into this a little more, assuming you aren’t ready to pay the high price of entry to Bhutan in order to physically enter the museum, you can go right now to the website of The National Museum of Bhutan for free, and even take a virtual tour of the building online. 

Here is what it says about the egg: 

“It is alleged that a horse gave birth to this oval-shaped object at Lhadrag village in Trasgiyangtse in 1928. The horse belonged to a merchant named Tsongpen Wangdue,* later on he is said to have become very rich owing to his possession of this object.”

(*ཚོང་དཔོན་དབང་འདུས་ — “merchant” is what the first two syllables mean.)

The definitive dating given here doesn’t exactly jive with the 19th-century dating in the published catalog I brought home in my suitcase. Its full bibliographical details are these:

Khenpo Phuntsok Tashi and Ariana Maki, eds., Artful Contemplation: Collections from the National Museum of Bhutan, The National Museum of Bhutan (Paro 2014). The authors are Singye Samdrup, Kinley Gyeltshen, Tashi Namgay and Ariana Maki. 

The color illustrations are quite good, printed on stiff photographic paper. Its photo of the Horse Egg, much better than what you see above, may be seen on p. 110. Here the egg is assigned to the 19th century, a gift of the Royal Grandmother. It also suggest that eggs and hoof-prints made in stone sometimes if quite rarely found in Bhutan, come from a special horned horse. It even explicitly refers to this horned horse as a ‘unicorn.’ I understand some young girls these days are particularly fond of unicorns, and even believe in them, so I won’t get all judgmental about the possibility they might be real. I try to respect other people’s beliefs.

And in my defense, imagining all the constitutionally unbelieving out there hot to string me up and flay me with their kind of science, I have to say: In recent years there have been press accounts assuring us that unicorns once roamed the earth, even if they didn’t look exactly as we imagine them. But they were done in by climate change, as we all will be quicker than you think.

Elasmotherium sibiricum

Read me

Gobran Mohamed, “2nd-Century Statue of Buddha Found in Ancient Egyptian Seaport,” Arab News, posted online (April 27, 2023). https://arab.news/bt2pd.

Pavel Kosintsev, Kieren J. Mitchell, Thibaut Devièse, Johannes van der Plicht, Margot Kuitems, Ekaterina Petrova, Alexei Tikhonov, Thomas Higham, Daniel Comeskey, Chris Turney, Alan Cooper, Thijs van Kolfschoten, Anthony J. Stuart and Adrian M. Lister, “Evolution and Extinction of the Giant Rhinoceros Elasmotherium sibiricum Sheds Light on Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions,” Nature, Ecology & Evolution (November 26, 2018). These scientists seem unaware if this extinct creature had any egg laying capabilities. I did my best to find out, and this seems to be the one and only literary source that inspired all those newspaper people. However, their newspaper stories started coming out in 2016, so ‘Houston, we have a problem’!

Christopher Parker, “Archaeologists Unearth Buddha Statue in Ancient Egyptian Port City — The new find sheds light on the rich trade relationship between Rome and India,” Smithsonian Magazine (May 1, 2023). Next thing we know those über-skeptics will be telling us that a 2nd century made-in-Egypt Buddha image isn’t possible either. Maybe they never heard of those Brahmi inscriptions in the Ḥoq Cave in Socotra. And have they never heard of the Helgö BuddhaIt, too, was excavated extremely far from Siddhârtha's home, in fact, on an island inside Sweden, on July 17th, 1956. This Swedish Buddha is in a style characteristic of the Swat Valley in northern Afghanistan in around the 8th century or so. None of those newspaper stories coming out in recent weeks about the Berenike Buddha have noticed, but the style of the rays in the halo are just like those often found in Mithra images (you don't seem to see it in early South Asian Buddhas, not like this). I'd like to know more about the Sanskrit inscription found with the Buddha.

Marga Reimer, “Could There Have Been Unicorns?” International Journal of Philosophical Studies, vol. 5, no. 1 (1997), pp. 35-51. If you follow the careful reasoning here, the prospects are not good.

Richard Salomon, “Epigraphic Remains of Indian Traders in Egypt,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 111, no. 4 (1991), pp. 731-736.

Ingo Strauch, “Buddhism in the West? Buddhist Indian Sailors on Socotra (Yemen) and the Role of Trade Contacts in the Spread of Buddhism,” contained in: Birgit Kellner, ed., Buddhism and the Dynamics of Transculturality, De Gruyter (Berlin 2019), pp. 15-51.

Francesca Tagliatesta, “Iconography of the Unicorn from India to the Italian Middle Ages,” East & West, vol. 57, nos. 1-4 (December 2007), pp. 175-191.  

Helgö Buddha on a Swedish Postage Stamp

Note: There is a Tibetan word rwa-gcig-pa (or, with feminine ending, rwa-gcig-ma) corresponding to the Sanskrit ekaśṛṅga, could mean unicorn, I suppose, but in my experience it has always meant rhinoceros. The far more often encountered word bse-ru means rhinoceros and corresponds to Sanskrit khaḍga, or khaḍgaviṣāṇa.


§  §  §

PS (May 12, 2023)

Bear with me as I change track, but it may be that the Bhutanese stone egg is a “horse bezoar.”  Bonhams sold one, five-&-a-half inches in diameter, for US 1,410. Go look what they have to say about it. 

Yet another horse bezoar in a Taiwan collection looks even more like the one from Bhutan.

A Traditional Chinese Medicine site also depicts one, but with a cross section so you can see its interior structure.

The usual Tibetan word for bezoars in general is gi-wang, with other spellings including 'gi-wam. A Tibetan-Tibetan medical dictionary explains it as a borrowing from Chinese ghi’u. Does Chinese in fact have a word like that? The English bezoar most likely had its ultimate origins in a Persian word that means “poison antidote.” A primary usage in early European medicine is just that.

The 17th-century Tibetan medical training charts depict three types of bezoars, those from elephant, cattle and pig. See Yuri Parfionovitch, Fernand Meyer, and Gyurme Dorje, Tibetan Medical Paintings, Harry N. Abrams (New York 1992), vol. 1, p. 64, row D, items 3-5 (vol. 2, p. 220, items 38-40).

Before you entirely make up your mind, I advise a Google image search for “enteroliths in horses” just to see what pops up before your eyes.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Want to OCR Your Tibetan-script PDFs?

Mayday! Mayday! No idea what I’m doing here.

Not a techie, this is meant to help people like myself who are not techies themselves, but humans in humanities who want to make the most out of their computer’s innate or potential ability to search through Tibetan-script texts.

If you have a Google account already, it ought to be easy. Go to your account and then choose "Google Drive."  Just upload (click on the "+ New" button) your PDF. Once it is up there, you need to "right click" (search in Google if you have a Mac to find out "How to right click on a Mac"). Right clicking opens up a small menu from which you have to "Open with Google Doc." That does it!  Let us know how it works for you.

If you are in the mood to experiment some more, pay special attention to the message from Zach, and the links he supplies, at this Google discussion page called “Tesseract for Tibetan.”

If you don’t know what Tesseract is, well, you can Google it! That’s what I did.

OpenPecha also has this very useful page:


Notice, too, that Tibetan translation has appeared in some of those translation applications. The one I've noticed and tested is the BING:


Just go there and see what happens. You may be surprised for better or for worse. Still, it’s worth a try.

If you have suggestions you think other humans can use, just drop it in the comment box. We’ll appreciate it. Artificial intelligences need not apply.  You could say I am not a robot, or I am not a rabbit, although I am both and neither, or rather neither both nor neither...

In case you encounter a CAPTCHA* on your way to posting your comment you’ll know what to tell it.

(*CAPTCHA, or a “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.” I Googled it.)

One more word of advice: If you want to test out the OCRing abilities of Google Drive or whatever, make sure you start with a PDF made with a machine-readable Tibetan font. Do not try to use a scan of a woodblock print,* and by all means avoid cursive texts of all kinds.**

I’m just saying this because I’d like your experiment to be a pleasant and productive one. Otherwise you run the danger that even the Word of the Buddha could be reduced to what is, in our human colloquial, called “garbage.”

(*Save that particular experiment for later. **Unless, of course, they themselves were made with computer script, which is an unlikely possibility.)


Soon all my blogposts will be A.I. generated. Since their “process” often results in cogent yet stupid statements, they require peer reviewers, so there will still be work for us humans, no worries! Why can’t they peer review themselves, you may ask? Because each one is the total peer of the other, which makes it impossible for them to judge one of their kind against another, or that’s how I understand it. Wow, I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but maybe that is an advantage they hold over us. For them equality is not just lip service.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Eye Spoon to Open up Historical Vision

The 2nd from top is called the ‘easy-to-use eye spoon’
as one item from a set of Tibetan surgical implements


The aim of this brief blog is just to make available an until recently lost (or rather unknown) Tibetan history book for the benefit of the Tibetan-reading public. Even though the translator was unaware of this text when his translation of the long Deyu history* was published, you may want to read the introduction to that publication for background. And for an introduction to the Eye Spoon text itself, see this blog posted a few months ago: “Mystery Histories - 6½ Including the 5 Chan.” There we found it especially useful for thinking about the meanings of the names of those fascinating texts preserved for us from the early 9th-century reign of Relpachan.**

(*This means the anonymously authored commentary on the Deyu verses completed in 1261 or shortly after — A History of Buddhism in India and Tibet: An Expanded Version of the Dharma’s Origins Made by the Learned Scholar Deyu, The Library of Tibetan Classics series no. 32, Wisdom Publications (Somerville, 2022). **If you are curious to know what’s out there, history-wise, in Tibetan literature, have a look at Tibetan Histories in its latest 2020 edition, containing references to over 1260 books of historical genres, and no, to answer your next question, the Eye Spoon isn’t listed among them, not yet.)

- - -

Here are the bibliographic details to what is to the best of my knowledge the only published version of the Eye Spoon to appear so far:

Chos-'byung Gsal-byed Mig-thur-gyi 'Grel-pa. Contained in: Rje-btsun Grags-pa[-rgyal-mtshan] et al., Rgyal-rabs Gsal Me sogs, Sa-lugs-kyi Mkhas-pas Mdzad-pa’i Bod-kyi Lo-rgyus Rnam-thar Phyogs-bsgrigs series no. 1, Bod-ljongs Bod-yig Dpe-rnying-khang (Lhasa 2019), pp. 356-368.*
(*Perceptive readers will note that it is published in a collection of historical works composed by scholars of the Sakya School, even though there isn’t the least indication that its anonymous author was in any way affiliated. Most likely, like the other Deyu authors, he would have belonged to esoteric currents of the Zhijé and Nyingma traditions.)

What we have here in this Eye Spoon is a previously unknown third commentary, likely written in around 1200 CE, on the verses by the Zhijé (ཞི་བྱེད་) Master Deyu (མཁས་པ་ལྡེའུ་), written in around 1180 CE. We know for certain that it is earlier than the small Deyu (ca. 1220) because it is mentioned by title within that work (for more on this, see that just-mentioned earlier blog of ours).

Now, before going on to represent the manuscript, I know that some of my readers are going to be curious about what “eye spoon” means. First of all, it doesn’t have to look like a spoon. Tibetan surgical implements are mostly called spoons (thur-ma) where in other parts of the world they are more likely to be called knives and needles. It’s a rather generic term. But how did Tibetan medicine use eye spoons? There were certainly advances in eye surgery in Tibet during the Fifth Dalai Lama’s time, but in common with western Eurasia until well into the 19th century one of the main ways of dealing with cataracts was to skillfully handle an implement to push the cataract away from the visual field in a process called ‘couching.’ For more on the Tibetan traditional practice, most accessible and recommended is the section in Pasang Yontan Arya, “External Therapies in Tibetan Medicine,” contained in: Theresia Hofer, ed., Bodies in Balance, University of Washington Press (Seattle 2014), pp. 64-89, at pp. 86-88.


The manuscriptum unicum, the 9-folio cursive text (so far as I know still not published in facsimile) has a few insertions and corrections placed below the relevant lines and written in a headed script. These have simply been incorporated into the text without any notation or comment.* However, I have tried to indicate [1] erasures with dotted underlinings and [2] cancellations (indicated in the text by one dotted line above) by strike-throughs.  I have left the letter ’a as it is, even where it is now regarded as unnecessary.  I have adhered to the spellings of the unicum rather than standardizing them (but sometimes insert square-bracketed ‘equivalents’ or my own ‘corrections’ headed with the mathematical symbol for congruence, ~, which may be here translated ‘read as’ or ‘fix to’).

(*That means I accept them as corrections done by a proofreader, and not as interpretive glosses or ‘footnote’ annotations added by a later reader. The fact that both can be done in the same way leads to misunderstandings and what are often mistaken for interpolations with the motive to deceive.)

The text that follows is supposed to adhere 100% to the only available 9-folio manuscript (made available to me by S.P.), but the page nos. of the just-mentioned publication are inserted here in the form of square brackets, while folio nos. of the unicum are inserted in square brackets, too, only with the addition of the ‘r’ standing for recto, and the ‘v’ for verso.

Note that this text only once quotes directly from the root verses, introducing them with the words “gzhung du” in the manner of the (later) long and small Deyu histories (in subsequent lines it quotes lines from the same passage again, each time ending with “skad pa”).

Even though the shelving numbers on the title page, “phyi / ra / 188” make us think so, it isn’t sure if this was taken from the Arhat Temple of Drepung Monastery.  This number couldn't be located in the published catalogue.

In the published version, there is an added modern comment after the title that basically warns us that, because of later loss, the colophon information is unavailable. It isn’t possible to know if the author left the work incomplete, or if it suffered from loss later on in its historical transmission. Still, I suspect the latter, so hopes of a complete version appearing in the future may not be misplaced.

[Ka 1r]




Chos 'byung gsal byed dmig thur gyi // 'grel pa zhes bya ba bzhugs.ho //


[Published version only:] Chos 'byung gsal byed mig thur gyi 'grel pa zhes bya ba bzhugs so // rjes brlags pas mdzad byang ma gsal /

[1v] na mo 'ghu ru /

dam pa chos kyi byung tshul bstan pa 'di la spyi don rnam pa lngas ston te //

  1. yang dag par rdzogs pa'i sangs rgyas shag kya thub pa 'di sangs ji ltar rgyas pa'i rgyas lugs bstan pa dang gcig //
  2. des chos ji ltar gsungs pa'i gsungs lugs bstan pa dang gnyis //
  3. sdud pa pos ji ltar bsdus lugs bstan pa dang gsum /
  4. des mi yul du snang lugs bstan pa dang bzhi /
  5. zhar la thang khob [~mtha' 'khob] bod yul du byon lugs bstan pa dang lnga las /

da ni thang khob [~mtha' 'khob] bod kyi rgyal 'khams su chos byon lugs ston pa ni mnga' bdag btsan po'i drin gyis byon pa'i phyir // gdung rabs dag la brten te brjod par bya //

zhes pa bshad par dam bca' ba gnyis thal na / gdung rabs sngos [~dngos?] bshad pa ni /

spyir na rgyal po la yang gnyis su sdud /

sum brgya' drug bcur phye nas gsum du gleng //

gdung rgyud rgyal po spyi don bdun du bshad //

bkos [~bskos] pa'i rgyal po bkos lugs rnam pa bzhi //

de bsogs [~sogs] gnad ni sum bcu sum bcus ston //

glo bur rgyal po gleng tshig phyed dang bdun //

zhes pa la[ ]sogs pas ston te / de yang spyi don bdun  bstan te / 

  1. rgyal po rnams kyi gdung rabs brtsi' ba dang /
  2. dam pa'i chos rnams dar lugs bstan pa dang / 
  3. sde pa'i me ro bla [~slang] lugs dang /
  4. rnying ma'i 'gyur bzhug [357] chad [~zad?] lugs dang [2r] /
  5. gsar ma'i 'gyur 'go [~mgo] btsugs lugs dang / 
  6. bstan pa'i 'phel 'grib ji ltar byung ba bstan pa dang bdun no //

rgyal po'i gdung rabs brtsis pa la dgos pa ci yod na / bod du chos byon pa 'di mnga' bdag byang chub sems dpa' rnams kyis ring la byon pa yin pas / drin dran par bya ba'i phyir gdung rabs la brten dgos pa'o //

bkos [~bskos] glo 'ur [~glo bur] gdung rgyud gsum la / da ni glo 'ur rgyal po bshad pa la / gleng pa'i don phyed dang bdun gyis ston / can lnga lo rgyus chen po dang / gab pa yang chu[ng] [?] phyed du btsa' ba yin //

de la stod lha rabs / bar ma mnga' dar /

smad ni gyes mdo bsil chad ston pa /

can lnga ni 

  1. yo ga lha gyes can /
  2. stab ma dgung rtsegs can /
  3. zis po 'go sngon can dang / 
  4. gsang ba phyag rgya can dang /
  5. zags ma bzhugs rabs can dang /

de ltar can lnga lo rgyus chen po dang drug ste / gsang ba yang chung bang so'i rabs yin pas de la phyed du 'jog pa lags so skad /

pha ba bon pos brtsams pa yo ga lha gyes can [/]

yab 'bangs kyis brtsams pa zang ma bzhugs rabs can /

kyi nam gyis brtsams pa bzings pa 'go sngon can / 

zhang blon gyis brtsams pa stab ma dgu rtsegs can / 

rje nyid kyis mdzad pa gsang ba phyag rgya can dang lnga / 

de dge' bshes khu ston brtson 'grus kyis brtsams pa log non chen po 'am / lo rgyus chen po zer / [2v]

gsang ba yang chu[ng] phyed du bzhag pa ni / rje drongs [~grongs] nas gshin bang so btab pa'i rabs yin pas phyed du 'jog pa yin no //

de la spyir mnga' ris bod kyi rgyal khams 'dir /

mi rigs mi gcig pa drug stong bzhi brgya / 

skad rigs mi gcig pa sum brgya drug bcu'i ya [?] gcig yin pas / bod gla glo'i [~kla klo'i] skad du smra ba bya ba yin la / thang la dgu bcu rtsa gcig gi ya gcig yin pas / thang khob bod kyi rgyal 'khams 'dir ces pa'o //  [358]་chos med pa'i dus la dgongs pa'o // 

dam pa chos kyi byung tshul bstan pa ni / 

zhes pa ston pa'i zhabs kyis dam [~ma] bcags kyang gsung gis khyab pas de skad do //

mnga' bdag btsan po ni rigs gsum gyi sprul pa / me[s] dbon rnams dang / mnga' ris btsan po rnams kyi sku drin yin pas de skad do //

gdung rabs dag la brten te brjod par bya zhes pa'o //

spyir na mnga' ris zhes pa tshig drug gis snya khri btsan po [~gnya' khri btsan po] ma byon pa'i gong du / rgyal bran [~rgyal phran] rnams kyis dbang mdzad lugs ston te / dang po gnod sbyin nag pos dbang byas te / yul gyi ming bzang yul rgyan med bya bar btags / lag char mda' gzhu' thogs pa de nas byung /

gnyis pa ri ste 'gong yag bdud kyis dbang byas te / yul gyi mi[ng] bdud yul gling dgu zer / lag char sta ri dang dgra sta byung /

gsum pa snyan rings phrag med srin gyis dang byas te / yul gyi ming yang [3r] srin yul nag po rgu sum zer / lag char mdung lcags srin mo rkang dang sgyogs gnyis byung /

bzhi pa lha dmar 'dzam zhes pas dbang byas te / yul gyi ming yang lha yul gung thang zer /

lnga pa dmu yis dbang byas te / yul gyi ming yang rmu yul nga 'brang cang 'brang cang zer /

drug pa 'dre srog trog (?) gyis dbang byas te / yul ni lang ta ling ta zer /

bdun pa ma sangs rgyu dgus dbang mdzad / yul gyi ming bod 'khams g.yas drug zer / 

brgyad pa klu yis dbang byas klu yul gling dgu zer / 

dgu pa mi ma yin gyis dbang byas / ngam yul nag po zer /

bcu pa za hrid bu pos dbang mdzad / yul gyi ming stong sde bc[o] brgyad du btags /

bcu gcig pa rgyal phran bcu gnyis kyis dbang mdzad / yul gyi ming rong kha brgyad du btags / 

kun gyi tha mar rgyal sil ma bzhi bcu rtsa [g]nyis kyis dbang mdzad / yul gyi mi[ng] rong kha [359] brgyad du btags /

de ltar dbang mdzad rim par byung yang / phyogs bzhi'i dgra ma thul skad pa // 

phyogs bzhi'i dgra ni / rgya gar rgyal po sbrul 'dra rtag tu 'khri / rgya nag rgyal po lug la spyang khu 'jab pa 'dra // stag gzigs rgyal po bya khyur khra zhugs 'dra / ge sar rgyal po shing rte 'tshab 'dra / bod yul dbus na rma bzhi phyogs bzhi'i rgyal po kha drag pas / bsdos pas ma thub dogs nas brag ri btsan po 'dzin /

de nas rje gnya' khri btsan po spyan drangs pa la / 

gzhung las de nas snya khri btsan po byon pa la / [3v]  

gleng lugs mi [m]thun gsang bgrags yang gsang zer //

gang ltar 'then kyang snya khri mthun pa ste //

de yang sgrags pa'i lugs kyis lha las chad par 'dod /  

lha rabs mched bzhi mched bdun tshigs gcig rmu yul bshugs te khri ni rgyal ba zer /

de'i bu ni snya khrir btsan por grags / snya khri de yang gung las dog la gshegs / zhes pas ston te /

de yang gong gi rgyal phran rnams kyis rjes ma byung / bod mngar ma 'dus nas yab 'bangs rus drug gam / shes pa mkhan gyi mi bcu gnyis kyis rje btsal nas spyan drangs pa la //

de la yang byon lugs ma mthun / gsang pa rgyal po las chad pa chos lugs su gleng pa / bgrags pa lha las chad pa bon lugs su gleng pa / 

yang gsang the brang las chad pa 'tshang lugs su gleng pa / gsum lags skad //

gang ltar 'then kyang snya khri btsan por mthun skad pa /

gang ltar chad kyang snya khri btsan po yin paso //

de la gsang po rgyal po las chad pa chos lugs su thal na / bskos glo 'ur gdung rgyud gsum / mang pos bskur pa'i rgyud la tshang skad pas / gdung brgyud rigs gsum / che ba shag kya chen po / 'bring po li tsha byi / chung pa shag kya ri brag pa las chad pa ste / rgyal po rmag brgya pa'i [~dmag brgya pa'i] bu chung dag rgyal pu ru la skyes las chad par [360] 'dod pa'o // [4r] 

yang gsang ni the brang las chad par 'dod pa ste / yul spu yul na spu'i bu mo / mo btsun gung rgyal bya ba gcig gi rum nas the brang spun dgu byung ba'i bu chung dag / the brang ma rje (?) u pa ra las chad par 'dod paso // 

de ltar yin kyang rje'i mtshang ngam sngan du 'gro bas 'bangs kyis gleng bar mi rigs pa lags skad / 

des na sgrag pa'i lugs kyis lha la[s] chad pa la ji ltar chad na / dang po phyi snod kyi 'jig rten 'di skal pa ma skal / srid pa ma srid tsam na / phya mi mkhyen dgu mkhyen ba gcig srid pa phya yis bskos te byung // 

de nas gnam sa rims kyis srid de / srid pa rims gyis [b]skos nas / srid pa'i lha gnam then chen po bya ba srid // 

de'i sras gung then che / de'i sras sprin chen / de'i sras zin then che / char then chen / bal then che / de'i sras 'da' then che la sogs pa then dgu srid /

de'i sras mong then che / de dang [d]byal bya ma ting du spyos pa'i sras / yab stag tsha yal yol / de dang yum mdze gza' khyad khyud bshos pa'i sras / srid pa'i lha rabs mched bzhi 'khrungs / yab lha bdal drug / phywa lha bram chen / rgya lha 'bro nam / 'od de gung rgyal lo //

yab lha bdal drug dang rmu btsun chu dri sman du bshos pa'i sras / lha rabs mched bdun 'khrungs / yar gyi cen gsum la/ lha ro rong rtsol po / khri la stag gzig / [4v] than tsho zo 'brang / mar gyi chud gsum la / lhe rje yang dkar / lhe rje mang dkar / lhe rje gung btsan no //

'bring po khri rgyal ba / sring mo thang nga lha mo thong / then dgu mched bzhi mched bdun zhes pa'i don no //

bdun tshig[s] zhes pa khri rgyal ba'o // bdun tshig tu gyur pas / yar gyi can la rngod / mar gi cung la rngod pas / gnam sa bcu gsum gyi steng nas / gnam rim pa lnga'i steng du zhang po rmu yul bshugs pas / khong 'gror ma btub nas yab yum gyi skor cha mang du [361] byin nas bshugs / 

de'i bu ni snya khri btsan por grags zhes pa / khri rgyal ba dang / dre rmu dre btsan mo bshos pa'i sras / zla ba nya'i nub mo ma'i 'gul [~mgul] gyi snya ba[~gnya' ba] nas skyes pas snya khri btsan po zhes kyang bya /

zla ba nya'i nub mo btsas pa nya khri zhes kyang bya / de ltar bu de gnam gung nas sa dog la byon pas / snya khri de la yang gung nas dog la gshegs skad do //

de nas gdung rabs nyi shu rtsa gcig tu bod la chos med mun pa'i smag rum 'dra / chab srid sgrung lde bon dang gsum gyis btsas skad / dus de tsa nas bod la rgyal phran bcu gnyis kyis dbang byed kyang / phyogs bzhi'i rgyal po chen po bzhi ma thul / kho rang tsho che ma 'chams nas yod pa'i dus su / zhang gsum [b]lon dang bzhi / yab 'bangs rus drug / shes pa mkhan mi bcu gnyis kyis rje btsal bas / [5r] rje dkar ma yo bde'i zhal nas / gnam rim pa lnga'i steng nas / rje snya khri btsan po bya ba lha'i sras po rmu'i dbon po gcig yod pas de spyan drangs ma byas na / 

rtsibs kyi lha dkar ma yo ldes smras pa / rje snya khri btsan po yul sa ka dog drug ma ki na yul na rje med de kha dod kun kyang rje / gnam la g.yag med de / ru thogs kun kyang ru / rta la rkyen ma mchis ngam drog phyar phyug tsam / dog sa yab kyi rjer gshegs 'tshal / zhes zhus pas /

snya khri btsan po'i zhal nas ma ki la rku yod / sdang yod / dgra yod / g.yag yod / dug yod / byad stems yod zer nas / 

kar ma yo ldes smras pa / rku la lan yod / sdang la byams yod / dgra la snyen [~gnyen] yod / g.yag la mtshon yod / dug la sman yod / byad stems la dgrol thabs yod do //

'o cag gnyis kyi mi mes po nya shing se ba bshan / gos g.yang bal dro / sha rus thogs zhim / zhes brjod nas zhang pos sngan [?rngan] la byin pa / rmu phub gong khra / rmu gri tsag kra / rmu khrab shol mo / rmu [362] mdung drang chags / sder ma rang 'dren / rang thag rang skor / me rang 'bud / chu rang len / rmu skas rim dgu / rmu 'breng zangs yag rnams byin nas / dog sa steng du ma 'gu na rmu 'breng zang yag la phyag 'jus / [5v] rmu skas rim dgu la zhabs bstan nas / zhang po'i yul du yar la 'ongs pas chog byas pas [/] rje snya khri btsan po de dang po bzhugs pa'i yul bzang ste / gung sngon gyi steng na bzhugs / sku'i lha bzang te / ya bar bdun tshigs / gshegs pa'i phul bzang ste / gung sngon gyi stengs / gnam gyi sgo phye / sprin gyi mthongs spral nam mkha 'phrul tsam du gshegs / sku'i rgyan bzang ste 'phrul cha[s] sna dgu mnga' / gshegs pa'i gnas bzang ste / sa rin po che rgya mdud gyi steng / gling bzhi snying po gangs ri rgyud kyi ra ba / chu bo chen po bzhi'i 'dus sgo / rtsang po gzhung gsum gyi ldad / gangs ti se shel gyi mchod rten dang / mtsho ma 'phang g.yu'i ma 'dal gyis mtshon pa / ri mtho' la sa gtsang pa'i gnas 'dir / ri rab lhun po'i 'dzam bu gling / shing 'dzam bu prin shas don mtshon pa / skal pa bzang po'i byang chub sems dpa' stong yang sangs rgya ba'i sa / mi las sangs rgyas sgrub pa dam pa'i chos dang / mi chos rgyal khrims kyang gling 'dir 'byung ba'i gling gi snying po / yul gyi mchog / nam mkha' lha'i khangs bzangs gis brgyan pa / sum cu rtsa gsum lha'i lus dang dbyibs mthun pa / dus gsum gyi sangs rgyas thams cad bzhugs pa'i gnas / rdo rje gdan drung ni gling 'di'i rgyan du che // shar phyogs rgya nag ri bo rtse lnga ni 'od 'bar / lho phyogs ri bo de shan kun tu bzang mo'i [6r] pho brang ni lhun stug / nub phyogs ri bo po ta la spyan ras gzigs kyi pho brang ni dbyibs legs / byang phyogs ri bo kye shan dgra bcom pa mang po'i bzhugs gnas 'di'i rgyan du che/ yul ba ra .na se 'phrog grong khyer ser skya / [363] ri bya rgod spungs pa / gnas kyi lha mtho' ba yang / bsod nams kyi ma che ba / dud 'gro spu mdzes / 'dab chags skad snyan / gos kha dog ldan / zas ro mchog dang ldan pa'i gling 'di na / gling chen po bu gnyis / yul gru chen po bcu drug / thang khob dgu bu rtsa gcig / yang 'khob nyi[s] brgya lnga bcu / 'bab chol gyi mi sde bco' brgyad / 'big sum cu rtsa drug / mi rigs mi gcig pa sum brgya' drug cu / skad rigs mi gcig pa drug stong bzhi brgya / lus mi mthun pa bcu bdun / thabs mi 'dra ba bzhi bcu tham pa / yi ge mi 'dra ba drug cu rtsa bzhi / chos med pa'i gang zag khri chig stong / yul phran du ma dang bcas pa'i gling / de las kyang bod gangs ri rgyud kyis skor ba    _ 'di rgyal 'khams gzhan las khyad par du 'phags te / rgyal 'khams gzhan na mi rje mis mdzad pas ya mtshan che rgyu med la / bod yul 'di ni mi rjes lhas [~mi rje lhas] mdzad pas gzhan las khyad par du 'phags skad /

de lta bu'i yul 'di'i rjer snya khri btsan po gshegs te / dang po 'bangs [6v] slob bu rin chen mched bdun dang chas nas / nam mkha' 'phrul tsam nas [b]ltas pas / ri gzigs kyi nang nas lha ri gyang mtho las mtho ba ma mchis / chab gzigs kyi ni [~nang] nas rtsang chab sngon mo las rtsang zhing che ba ma mchis / dbye gzigs kyi kyi nang nas sko shul se mo gru bzhi las rgya che ba zhing bsham legs pa ma mchis nas mgu bar byung nas / dung 'phar po 'phar byung chung gyis sngon du sgra bsgrags klu glang ru dkar gyis ru'i sbal bdar / sku srung glo'u rin mched bdun gyis gos gon mtshon thogs / mtshi mi gshen gyi rmu rgyal tshas / dbu' la mtshe btsugs / gco'u gshen gyis phyag 'khar tshas phyag tu 'khar ba btad / rmu 'breng zang yag la ni phyag mjus / rmu skas rim dgu la zhabs brten nas / lha ri gyang mtho'i kha nas mar byon pas / ri [364] mtho'i gangs dkar gyis phyag btsal te dgu dang dud dud / shing snyan sdong pos phyag btsal te 'ba['?] dang ding ding / chab snyan lu mas phyag btsal te snyir (stir?) dang sib sib / gor snyan pha bong gis phyag btsal te 'dar dang gong gong ngo // 

de nas gshegs rabs nyi shu rtsa bdun gyis byon nas / yar lung sogs ka zhabs kyis bcags te / 'go nag mi'i rjer gshegs / gdugs su gdugs bdal / de nas yam bu bla sgang du gshegs te / ye nas mtho ba la [7r] phyag tshang yab 'bangs rus drug gis bteg nas 'phyis/ stag rtser gshegs pas / dar dkar gyi yol ba dgu rim bgyis nas bla'i rkyen ya rabs rnams kyis bskor te bzhugs so //

khri bdun legs drug stod gi steng gsum dang skad pa / rje snya khri btsan po dang gnam mug tu bshos pa'i sras khri btsan po / de dang sang ding ding gi sras ding khri btsan po // 

de nas so so tham tham gyi sras po khri btsan po / de dang dog mer mer gyis sras med khri btsan po de dang sdags [~gdags] kyi lha mo'i sras gdags khri btsan po / de dang sribs kyi lha mo'i sras sribs khri btsan po //

de rnams la gnam gyi khri bdun zer te / sras chibs la thub nas yab gung du gshegs te / rmu skas la zhabs brten rmu 'breng la phag mjus nas thams cad kyis mngon par gung du gshegs pas nam khri bdun zero [~zer ro] //

de sa la leg drug [~sa la legs drug] byung ste / de gnyis kyis bar na stod kyi stengs te / yab steng dang sras ltengs [~sdings?] so / de ya [~yang?] sribs khri btsan po'i sras rgyal gri gum btsan po / btsas pa'i dus ma ma gro zhal gyi skyi mthing ma la 'drir phyin pas / 'brog yang mes tshig gam ma tshig / mtsho bla mtsho mer ba skams sam ma skams / brag gnyan brag brag dmar po ral lam ma ral zer bas /

spang skyang [~kyang] mes ma tshig / mtsho yang ma skams brag kyang ma nyil byas pas / mo rna ba 'on pas log par thos nas [7v] spang ya[ng] tshig / mtsho' yang skams / brag kyang nyil bya bar thos nas /

'o na 'di mtha' bzhugs gri ru 'gum pas gri gum btsan p[o] bya bar thogs shig / zer bas /

de nas gri gum btsan po'i zhal nas / nga la ming 'di tsug 'dogs pa tsug yin zer bas / 

ma mas mtha' ma dri rum du 'gum [~dri 'gum?] zer nas btags pa yin byas pas / 

'o na dri ru 'gum na nga lo ngam dang 'thab zer nas / mtshan thugs su gsol nas / gdon mkha' 'gro legs snying du zhugs nas / long ngam dang 'thab pa la / nyan rna gsang nyan du btang pas / long ngam gyis tshor nas nas log par smras te / g.yas su spre'u khrid na nga re 'jigs / g.yon du byi la khrid na nga re 'jigs / ral gri slad [~klad] la skor gyin byung na nga re 'jigs / ba mar glang dmar brgya la thal sgro bskal nas nga re 'jigs //

rgyal po'i spral du me long btags nas byung nga re 'jigs / byas pas /

nyan srna gsang gis de skad zer zhing 'dug byas pas / 'o na de tsug byed dgos zer nas /

g.yas su spre'u khrid pas pho lha yar // g.yon du byi la khrid pas mo l[h]a yar / ral gri slad la skor bas rmu skas rmu 'breng chad // ba dmar glang dmar 'drogs pas thal tshub khengs nas ma mthong pas / rgyal po'i dpral gyi me [8r] me long la gtad nas brgyab pas mda' spral du brgyab nas bskrongs nas / spur zangs su bcug nas rtsang spu [~chu?] la bskur bas / skong po'i yul klu lcam bye ma lags rings kyis bzung / sras gsum gyis lhe glang ru kar la bcibs nas / bros nas / sha khri nya por gshegs // nya khri skong por gshegs / bya khri spu'o [~spu bo] yul du gshegs / sras mo la chung ma byas / mi sring bzhi'i ma mo phyugs 'tshor bcug pas / mtsho kha [~la?] cig tu gnyid du song pa'i rmi lam du / glang dmar po gcig gis skal ba dmigs pas / zla dgu ngo bcu na khrag glang lag sgo tsam pa byung nas / gso ru yan lag dang kha dmigs med / bor du rang la skyes pas ma phod nas / g.yag ru cig tu bcug nas g.yas rnam gyi nang du drod la btsas pas / khrag glang rdol nas khye'u gcig byung pas / ngar las skyes kyis yul la brten bya bar btags /

der cher skyes sras kyi go bcad yab kyi sku 'tshal gnyer te / klu lcam bye ma lag rings la spur 'dur bcug byas pas / klud mar gzhan mi 'dod / mi'i bu mo la bya mig ltar mas gyis 'khebs pa gcig byung nas sbyin zer nas / btsal ba gang bar yur 'og na pha mtshar la rba then bya ba dang / ma kha za phug mo bya ba gnyis la / bu mo de 'dra gcig 'dug [8v] nas nyon pas ma ster / gri gum btsan po'i spur la mtshal gyi lcag rgya tham pa rgyag tu chug zer nas / de khas blangs nas klu lcam bye ma lag ring la spur blus nas / mtshe mi dang lco mis gri btul bas ma thul nas / 

de nas yar la spyan drangs nas / drang mo drang chung gyi zom gser gnam thig la dur btab / sras kyis go bgyis nas yab kyi sku mtshal de ltar snyer / yab kyi god bgyis nas lha sras rgyal sar btsud de / sras bya khri spu'o yi yul nas spyan drangs nas mtshan pu te gung rgyal du btags nas rgyal sar bcug go //

gcen sha khri skong po'i yul bzhugs te / zhal ngo brgya tsam bdog skad / cung nya khri nyang po'i rgyal po mdzad de zhal ngo bcu tsam bdog skad /

de nas rgyal po lo ngam rta rdzi la pha'i mi sha brlan te / nyang ro sham po'i khar gyi pha ga na bya rgod tshang yod pas / shing rta bya rgod kyi gsob tu bcug nas bya rgod du brdzus nas / sham po 'khar rtse nas phab te / lo ngam pho brgya glang nga brang la spub nas bsad / lo ngam mo brgya' zang ru 'go la spub ste bsad / che smon chung smon chung pas khu smon gzungs bya bar btags so //

de ltar yab drongs [~grongs] nas sras rgyal sar ma tshud par stengs pas stod kyis stengs gnyis so //

de nas sa la leg[s] drug ni spu the gung rgyal gyi sras the sho legs / de'i sras e sho legs / [9r] de'i sras de sho legs /de'i sras gor bur legs / de'i sras de 'brum bzhi len / de'i sras a sho legs so //

de rnams drongs pa'i dus su yur [~spur] rtse mthon por bskyal bas sa la legs drug zer ro //

logs la lte bdun zhes pas / a sho legs kyi sras kying rgya za nam zin te / de'i sras lde 'phrul po gnam gzhung btsan / de'i sras sde snol nam / de'i sras bse snol nam / gse' sde snol rnam / sde rgyal po  / bse' lde rgyal po / de yan chod yum klu sman dang bshos pas / lha klu gnyan pas yum gyi mtshan ma smos pa'o //

gdung rabs nyi shu gcig bod la chos med mun pa'i mun pa'i rmag rum 'dra / chab srid sgrung de lde bon dang gsum gyis btsas skad pa /

sde snod gsum 'byung ba'i lnga [~snga] ltas su bon dang sgrung dang lde'u byung pa'o //

de nas tshigs la btsan bdun ni bsil sde rgyal po'i sras rgyal po srin btsan / de'i sras lto re long btsan / de 'bangs dang sku snyen pa la snga bas dogs sa la rten rten pa'i rgyal po zhes bya'o //

de dang rma gza' klu rgyal gyis sras khri btsan nam / de dang khri rgyal ngan chung gyi sras khri sgra sgrungs btsan / de dang rma gza' klu stengs kyis sras khri thog rje thog btsan / de dang ru yo gza' stong rgyal mtsho'i sras lha tho tho re snyan btsan / de'i ri[ng] la dam pa chos kyi dbu brnyes te / lha tho tho re snyan btsan de sangs rgyas 'od srungs kyi sprul pa ste / sku 'khar yun bu bla sgang na bzhugs pa'i dus [9v] su gser skya gyi spang kong phyag brgyangs pa dang / g.yu'i mchod rten ba' [~bang] rim bzhi pa gnyis bdun gyis namkha' nas phyag tu babs te / gnyan zhing dod par mkhyen cing yidu [~yid du] 'ong par gzigs kyang / chos su ngom [~ngo ma] shes gser skyems dang sha khrag gis mchod pas / lo dus su bka' rtags kyi phyag rgya bzhi yang byung pas / de la rmu'i bon po skyong nge mtshar bya man* / rgyal po'i mchod gnas su yod pas / sku srung pa'i ya gnyen po yin pas / khong na re 'di bon dar 'ong pa'i ltas yin pas / yar bzhugs gshang dang sha khrag gis mchod cig zer nas / sems can bsad nas srog sbugs kyis mchod pas / mu ge dang lo nyes dang than pa byung pas / bkra ma shis / 

(*Rather than bya man, the text reads bya ba cig, with thanks for J.B. for the correction.)

der rgyal po'i rmi lam na 'di chos 'byung pa'i snga ltas yin pas / spos dang me tog dang mar me'i mchod pa phul / rgyal po nyid kyi 'og tu sprul pa'i rgyal po yang 'byung ngo // zhes lung [b]stan pas / rgyal pos chos lugs su mchod pas / sku tsho [~tshe] ring zhing lo brgya lon nas slar so'u skyes / rna ba lha'i rna ba bzhin shal la byung pas / lha tho tho ri snyan shal du grags skad //   //    

[Here we arrive at the end of the incomplete text. It appears to be a secondary copy of an exemplar that was already missing its ending. One clue: What should have been the seventh line of the page is here left blank.]

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