Saturday, May 20, 2017

Not Found! Those Are Not After All the Works of the Deposed Song Emperor.

Break of Dawn

Today's is a guest blog by Rory Lindsay. Although I gave it a title and a frontispiece, everything else is in his words and not mine:

Many thanks to Dan for drawing our attention to the collected works of Grub chen Chos kyi rin chen (BDRC: W3CN2940) and for allowing me to be a guest blogger. This is a fascinating collection that I had not seen until now. It seems, however, that it was not authored by the banished Song emperor (as exciting as that would have been!), but rather by a later Sa skya pa scholar.

The first clue appeared while I was reading through volume three. This volume begins with a text titled Gzhan phan 'od zer gyi ngag 'don lag len gzhan phan gsal ba, which concerns Rje btsun Grags pa rgyal mtshan's (1147–1216) Kun rig gi cho ga gzhan phan 'od zer, an influential work detailing the funerary rites to be performed based on the Sarvadurgatipariśodhana Tantra. Given that my doctoral dissertation examines the Gzhan phan 'od zer and related texts, I started here. I soon discovered that it quotes Ngor chen Kun dga' bzang po's (1382–1456) Dpal kun rig gzhan phan mtha' yas on folio 12a: “gzhan phan mtha' yas las/ de nas phyag rgya bzhi'i rgyas gdab pa ni….” This passage appears (with some variants) on pg. 65 of the Sde dge edition of the Gzhan phan mtha' yas (see volume 4 of Ngor chen's collected works: BDRC: W11577). Since Ngor chen was born after the Gongdi Emperor’s passing, it would seem that we have another author on our hands.

After discussing this with Dan, I found references to a Grub chen Chos kyi rin chen in Jan-Ulrich Sobisch's “The 'Records of Teachings Received' in the Collected Works of A mes zhabs: An Untapped Source for the Study of Sa skya pa Biographies,” which is included in Tibet, Past and Present: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies. Sobisch notes on pg. 176 that Chos kyi rin chen (aka Byams pa Chos kyi rin chen) was from Rdza zhul and was the founder of Lo phu dgon. He is included in a line that traces back to the Sa skya pa Rdzong pa Kun dga' rgyal mtshan (1382–1446), though his precise dates are not given.

After speaking further with Dan, he noted that some of the colophons in the collection reference the place name Lo phu, which would appear to confirm that this collection belongs not to the exiled emperor, but to the later Sa skya pa scholar Grub chen Chos kyi rin chen.


Rory Lindsay
PhD Candidate, Department of South Asian Studies
Harvard University


  1. Thank you for this clarification, Rory!
    Mang thos Klu sgrub rgya mtsho (1523–1596) makes mention of Grub chen Chos kyi rin chen (1421–1494?) and his foundation of Lo phu dgon (rdzong lugs kyi sngags dgon) in 1472. Lo phu was located in the mDog valley to the north-east of Ngam ring Monastery. The area was apparently a late stronghold of the rDzong sub-school of the Sa skya tradition (which was later on also mentioned by A mes zhabs). Mang thos himself was very active in that area and included brief remarks about several monasteries located there. For his entry on Lo phu, see the bsTan rtsis gsal ba’i nyin byed (pp. 248.21–249.2).

  2. J.H., I still don't know where you found those dates! Okay, now I found your reference in the Mang-thos chronology: "de nas go gsum / sgrub chen chos rin gyis lnga bcu rtsa gnyis lon tshe btab," telling us only that he founded Mdog Lo-phu in his 52nd year, if I'm reading it correctly. A global Google search of "Byams-pa-chos-kyi-rin-chen" only comes up with a single 'hit', Jan-Ulrich Sobisch's essay in that PIATS volume edited by H. Blezer. And a search of TBRC also comes up with nothing that shows any sign of being the same Chos-kyi-rin-chen (except of course the work in question, where it is just a bare name with no identification at all). There are several figures by that name, but as I only knew of one with Sakya connections, the banished emperor, I decided he must be the one. I found out from Rory this was a wrong move within an hour or 2 of putting a link on Facebook. I was completely convinced of my error when I saw that the Sobisch article mentions Lo-phu Monastery, a monastery mentioned in a few of the TBRC colophons (but spelled Lu-phu). While confessing my faults, I should add that I gave an outline of contents of only the first of the three volumes. If I had scrutinized the lineage prayers alone I could have determined that the emperor lived too early to be the author of these works. So I hope I've made amends for my rash posting. Forgive me.

  3. Love those gSan yig-s ...

  4. I must give thanks especially to Rory and also Jan-Ulrich and Jörg for casting away the darkness of my ignorance (well, some portion of it).


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