Monday, December 24, 2012

Panchen Lama IV, Kālacakra Prayer

In the spirit of the season of Holy Days, and to continue an old habit of mine, I'm making available to the world at large a somehow unusual, rare or splendidly crafted Tibetan text that happens to be in my possession. I'm sorry to say I don't know very much about the provenance of this woodblock print. The former owner in Lithuania told me it was bought by him near Lhorong seven years ago. Now with the help of Dropbox and your internet connection, it's also yours. I'm not sure what you will do with it, but my feeling is that it will serve as a source of merit for sentient beings whether or not anyone is paying attention. I thought to translate it for you, but the technical terminology of the Kālacakra Tantra, much of it connected to completion process practices, causes too many problems to even imagine translating it accurately. I guess I know some people who probably could do a fair job of it, so I'll leave it up to them. The paper is rather yellowed, but appears to be thin, smooth and modern, not the daphne paper Tibet was once famous for. The author is the Panchen Lama, the Fourth Panchen Lama to be precise, or Bstan-pa'i-nyi-ma (1781‑1853) the same one that was seen as a child by Samuel Turner in 1783. Here is how Turner described the young man:

"Teshoo Lama was at this time eighteen months old. Though he was unable to speak a word, he made the most expressive signs, and conducted himself with astonishing dignity and decorum. His complexion was of that hue, which in England we should term rather brown, but not without colour. His features were good; he had small black eyes, and an animated expression of countenance; altogether, I thought him one of the handsomest children I had ever seen."
  • pp. 335-6 in An Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama, in Tibet (London 1800). Of course I use the 1971 reprint edition with the cat footprints on the cover, probably unique to my copy.

His collected works are available in nine volumes, although I haven't looked to see if this prayer is findable there or not. If you would like to check it yourself, go to Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center, work RID no. W6205. I typed the text in ordinary Wylie transliteration below. I promise to perfect my unicode Tibetan typing skills before too long. It needs some practice.

To download a scan of the Tibetan woodblock print of the prayer in the form of a PDF, go to 

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|| || dus kyi 'khor lo'i lam yongs rdzogs kyi smon lam bzhugs so ||

o bde legs su gyur cig  ||

lhag bsam dag pa'i yid kyi zla shel ngos ||
dpal ldan dang po'i sangs rgyas dkyil 'khor pa  ||
rab bkod mchod bstod bzlas pas mnyes byas pa'i  ||
rnam dkar dge tshogs ma lus bsdoms pa'i mthus  ||

skye dang skye bar theg mchog dge ba'i bshes  ||
dam pa'i mgon gyis bral med rjes bzungs te ||
thun mong lam gyi rim pa'i bdud rtsi yis  ||
yid kyi shel bum ma lus gang bar mdzod ||

byis pa ltar 'jug dbang bdun 'jig rten dang  ||
'jig rten 'das pa'i dbang chog rnam ba bzhis  ||
sku bzhi'i sa bon 'jog cing rim gnyis kyis  ||
bsnyen sgrub nyan dang 'chad la dbang bar shog  ||

dngos grub rtsa ba dam tshig sdom pa la  ||
gnas nas rdo rje bzhi dag go bgos te  ||
rdo rje'i shugs dang srung ma drug cu'i tshogs  ||
bsgom pas bdud dang bgegs rnams tshar gcod shog  ||

rnam thar sgo bzhi'i gnas lugs lhan skyes dang  ||
dbyer med goms pas skye 'chi'i srid sbyong zhing  ||
mkha' dbyings 'byung bzhi ri rab padma sogs  ||
bsgom pas rdo rje'i lus kyi gnas rtogs shog  ||

ye shes lnga yi rang bzhin pho brang du  ||
sngo ljang las 'khrungs rnam bcas dpa' bo dang  ||
rnam med phyag rgyas 'khyud pa'i ting 'dzin gyis  ||
tha mal snod bcud ma lus sbyong bar shog  ||

snyoms 'jug dga' ba'i sgra yis bskul gyur ba'i  ||
dkyil 'khor padmar bzhugs 'ong lha tshogs rnams  ||
spros pas bsnyen pa'i dkyil 'khor rgyal po mchog  ||
bsgom pas phung sogs dri kun spyod par shog  ||

yab yum chags pas bzhu bskul las bzhengs pa'i  ||
'khor lo'i tshogs spros ro mnyam dbang bskur sogs  ||
rnam dag nyi shus mngon par byang chub pa'i  ||
nye bar sgrub pa'i rgyal mchog myur thob shog  ||

gtum mo'i me lce sbar ba'i dga' ba bzhi  ||
sgrub pa'i yan lag thig le'i rnal 'byor dang  ||
mas brtan dga' ba bzhi yis sgrub pa che  ||
phra mo'i rnal 'byor myur du 'grub par shog  ||

gzugs sgrub sor rtogs bsam gtan rnal 'byor dang  ||
srog sgrub srog rtsol 'dzin pa'i rnal 'byor gyis  ||
bsgrub pa'i sprul pas 'khor lo'i dga' tshal du  ||
stong gzugs lha skur dngos su ldang bar shog  ||

las kyi phyag rgyar rol pa'i rjes dran gyis  ||
dhû tîr zla nyi'i rdul brtsegs brtan pa las  ||
mi 'gyur bde ba nyi khri tshig stong gis  ||
ting 'dzin yan lag yongs su rdzogs par shog  ||

ces pa chen bstan pa'i nyi ma phyogs las rnam rgyal gyis mdzad pa'o  ||

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If you have a sense where this woodblock print may have come from, do drop me a line and let me know what you think. I couldn’t locate it in the listings of woodblock prints from various printeries that you can find here. This search-file has been up over at Tibetological website for quite awhile now, and I had thought to introduce it here even if I didn’t get around to it. Of course it is fully findable through an ordinary Google search, so you may have stumbled over it already if you are the sort of person who is very often out there googling for Tibetan book titles.
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