Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Padampa Studies in the Last Decade


The last ten years have seen some interesting and important new publications that enrich the coffer of Padampa and Zhijé studies. Included in the list are some fresh new translations of the Tingri Hundred and the Tingri Eighty. No matter which it is, Hundred or Eighty, this is the one composition Padampa is most famous for even if it is one he didn’t compose.* If anything is neglected it wasn’t by design, so let me know what’s missing and I’ll gladly add it. 

I never imagined any Padampa work could ever appear in Catalan, or that a newly found Tangut-language version of his life would be subject of a study in Chinese, but there you go. And what about that Russian article on a Padampa text in Oirat-Mongolian language found in the National Museum of Tuva? What, you never read Tuva or Bust? Sometimes you have to go quite far to demonstrate how much you’ve embraced inclusiveness.

But if you ask me what two publications during the last decade have done the most for Zhijé and Padampa studies, I don’t hesitate to answer, [1] the 13-volume publication of 2012-2013 and [2] the new translations by Sarah Harding. Looking at the entire list, it might appear that our present-day Padampa is shifting more toward a vision of him as a prophet of things to come and an expert in some kind of divination. That could be an illusion, like so many of our mental images turn out to be.

(*The Tingri Thirteen is the only one that is at all likely to be his, even if hardly anyone recognizes that this is so at this moment in time. Padampa created the form of these couplets and initiated the creation of all the future examples. Look here if you want to know about the monkey and rhino recensions. My own translation of the Tingri Hundred is so far published only here on the internet. I haven't tried to cover internet postings in my list, so with one or two exceptions these are all hard copies consulted in print format.)

§   §   §

Okay, here’s the list. I insert comments only when I think I can clarify the content in a general way. Since the 13-volume set doesn’t have an author exactly, I’ll list it first 

Zhi-byed Snga Phyi Bar Gsum-gyi Chos-skor Phyogs-bsgrigs / ཞི་བྱེད་སྔ་ཕྱི་བར་གསུམ་གྱི་ཆོས་སྐོར་ཕྱོགས་བསྒྲིགས, alternative title: Dam-chos Sdug-bsngal Zhi-byed Rtsa-ba'i Chos-sde dang / Yan-lag Bdud-gyi Gcod-yul / དམ་ཆོས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ཞི་བྱེད་རྩ་བའི་ཆོས་སྡེ་དང་། ཡན་ལག་བདུད་ཀྱི་གཅོད་ཡུལ་, Ding-ri Glang-skor Gtsug-lag-khang / དིང་རི་གླང་སྐོར་གཙུག་ལག་ཁང་ (Kathmandu 2012-2013), in 13 vols. 

For more on this, look here. And for a title list, you might need to look here. It does contain some unique titles never before published, such as the guidebook to Tingri Langkhor that Barbara N. Aziz studied years ago, you have to look for them. Most important for future researchers, the text is done using computerized Tibetan script, so it is entirely possible to do Online Character Recognition that will make it simple to search through the entire set with a single click. Some things should never be so easy.

Matthew Akester, “Ting-ri Langkor (Ding ri Gla/Glang ’khor/skor),” contained in: Idem., Jamyang Khyentsé Wangpo’s Guide to Central Tibet, Serindia (Chicago 2016), pp. 668-671.

Especially recommended if you wonder about the history and current state of Tingri Langkhor (དིང་རི་གླང་འཁོར་), the place where Padampa taught during his final sojourn in Tibet, with an emphasis on holy objects and relics that we expect to find in a pilgrimage guidebook.

Evgeniĭ Vladimirovich Bembeev, “Oĭratskaia rukopisʹ «Shastra pod nazvaniem “Zolotye chetki khrabrosti”, sochinennaia nastavnikom Padamboĭ» iz fonda Natsionalʹnogo muzeia Tuvy” [The Shastra titled ‘A Golden Rosary of Courage’ Composed by Teacher Padamba: An Oirat Manuscript from the National Museum of Tuva], The New Research of Tuva, no. 4 (2019), pp. 53-61. Try this link.

I wish I could tell you more about what this text is, but really, I could use your help here, I’m mystified. If as it seems it is a prophetic text, it could prove interesting, especially as it concerns religious corruption and deceit by rulers, things we know all too well. But wait one minute, I can’t believe myself for finding it considering all the odds, but the very “same” text found in Tuva has been translated into English from its Tibetan original in Sarah Harding’s new book listed below, on pp. 537 to 531. Sarah prefaces her translation commenting that this text seems to pop out of nowhere, “leaving no paper trail,” unmentioned in Kongtrul’s lists, perhaps explainable if it was added into the Treasury of Precious Instructions (གདམས་ངག་མཛོད་) by someone else. Oddly enough TBRC doesn’t seem to know of even one copy of this title outside of the Treasury of Precious Instructions.

José Cabezón, The Buddha's Doctrine and the Nine Vehicles: Rog Bande Sherab's Lamp of the Teachings, Oxford University Press (Oxford 2013). 

Translation of an important Nyingma text by one of the three Rog brothers, important for the Zhijé school in the early 13th century, when earlier lineages were consolidated.

Francesc Navarro i Fàbrega, tr., Un Mahâsiddha Indi al Tibet: Vida i ensenyaments de Padampa Sanguie, Editorial Dipankara (Sabadell 2011).

Catalan translation of the Tingri Eighty. Tibetan text is provided in Tibetan script.

_____, tr., Un Mahâsiddha Indio en el Tíbet: Vida y enseñanzas de Padampa Sanguie, Editorial Dipankara (Sabadell 2011). 

Spanish translation of the Tingri EightyTibetan text is provided in Tibetan script.

Carla Gianotti, “Female Buddhist Adepts in the Tibetan Tradition: The Twenty-four Jo Mo, Disciples of Pha Dam Pa Sangs Rgyas,” Journal of Dharma Studies, vol. 2 (2019), pp. 15-29. Look here.

_____, Jo mo. Donne e realizzazione spirituale in Tibet, Ubaldini Editore (Rome 2020).

This contains an Italian translation of Kunga's collective biography of twenty-four women disciples of Padampa. The title that appears in the Zhijé Collection version reads: Jo-mo Nyi-shu-rtsa-bzhi’i Zhu-lan Lo-rgyus dang bcas-pa

_____, “The Lives of the Twenty-Four Jo-mos of the Buddhist Tradition: Identity and Religious Status,” contained in: Karma Lekshe Tsomo, ed., Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange, and Social Action, University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong 2017), pp. 238-244.

_____, “La verità del fuoco. Le ventiquattro jo mo della tradizione tibetana e l'insegnamento di Pha Dam pa sangs rgyas,” a paper given at the first meeting of the Associazione Italiana di Studi Tibetani e Himalayani (Procida 2017).

Sarah Harding, “Pha Dampa Sangye and the Alphabet Goddess: A Preliminary Study of the Sources of the Zhije Tradition.” This was an internet publication at tsadra.org, and I'm not sure if it is still there, need to check. 

_____, Zhije, the Pacification of Suffering (=The Treasury of Precious Instructions: Essential Teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibet Volume 13), Snow Lion (Boulder 2019), a hardback book in 668 pages.

This includes so much, so much there is no hope of encapsulating it in a brief statement. For now, notice at least that it does include new translations of the Tingri Eighty and the Thirty Aspirations. Most remarkable are the texts for empowerment rituals never before noticed in any English publication that I know of.

Lozang Jamspal and David Kittay, eds. & trs., Pha Dam-pa Sangs-rgyas-kyi Zhal-gdams Ding-ri Brgya-rtsa-ma (Pha Dampa Sangs rgyas’s One Hundred Spiritual Instructions to the Dingri People), Ladakhi Ratnashridipika / La-dwags Rin-chen Dpal-gyi Sgron-ma (Leh 2011). 

Translation of the Tingri Hundred. Each couplet is given in Tibetan script immediately followed by its English translation. Appended to it is a reproduction of a verse praise in honor of the late E. Gene Smith composed by Prof. 'Bum-skyabs with the title Bod-brgyud Nang-bstan Gsung-rab Dar-spel-gyi Phyogs-la Mdzad-rjes Bla-na-mtho-ba'i Sku-zhabs 'Jam-dbyangs-rnam-rgyal Mchog-la Rjes-dran-du Phul-ba Bcos-min Sems-kyi 'Bod-sgra / བོད་བརྒྱུད་ནང་བསྟན་གསུང་རབ་དར་སྤེལ་གྱི་ཕྱོགས་ལ་མཛད་རྗེས་བླ་ན་མཐོ་བའི་སྐུ་ཞབས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་མཆོག་ལ་རྗེས་དྲན་དུ་ཕུལ་བ་བཅོས་མིན་སེམས་ཀྱི་འབོད་སྒྲ་ You may have to travel to Ladakh to find a copy of this small book, but I chose the easier path and wrote to the authors. 

Matthew Kapstein, tr., “The Advice of an Indian Yogin,” contained in K. Schaeffer, M. Kapstein & G. Tuttle, eds., Sources of Tibetan Tradition, Columbia University Press (New York 2013), pp. 234-242.

Translation of the Tingri Hundred. Based on the Lhasa xylograph with the exact title Pha Rje-btsun Dam-pa Sangs-rgyas-kyi Zhal-gdams Ding-ri Brgya-rtsa-ma / ཕ་རྗེ་བཙུན་དམ་པ་སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱི་ཞལ་གདམས་དིང་རི་བརྒྱ་རྩ་མ་

Mkhas-grub Khyung-po Rnal-’byor, et al., Zhi-byed dang Shangs-pa’i Chos-skor, Dpal-brtsegs Bod-yig Dpe-rnying Zhib-’jug-khang, Bod-ljongs Mi-dmangs Dpe-skrun-khang (Lhasa 2010) / 

Several texts of Zhijé in a conveniently small volume, although the texts it contains were already widely available.

Dan Martin, “Crazy Wisdom in Moderation: Padampa Sangyé’s Use of Counterintuitive Methods in Dealing with Negative Mental States,” contained in: Yael Bentor and Meir Shahar, eds., Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism, Brill (Leiden 2017), pp. 193-214.

_____, “Divinations Padampa Did or Did Not Do, or Did or Did Not Write,” contained in: Petra Maurer, Donatella Rossi and Rolf Scheuermann, eds., Glimpses of Tibetan Divination, Past and Present, Brill (Leiden 2020), pp. 73-88.

_____, “Ritual Indigenization as a Debated Issue in Tibetan Buddhism (11th to Early 13th Centuries),” contained in: Henk Blezer and Mark Teeuwen, Challenging Paradigms: Buddhism and Nativism, Framing Identity Discourse in Buddhist Environments, Brill (Leiden 2013), pp. 159-194. 

This includes a peculiar episode from the Zhijé Collection in which the South Indian Padampa performs a local Tibetan divination ritual for the benefit of a woman who was one of his Tingrian meditation students.

_____, “Yak Snot: Padampa’s Animal Metaphors and the Question of Indian-ness (Theirs and His),” contained in: Hanna Havnevik & Charles Ramble, eds., From Bhakti to Bon: Festschrift for Per Kvaerne, The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, Novus Forlag (Oslo 2015), pp. 337-349.

David Molk with Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche, trs., Lion of Siddhas: The Life and Teachings of Padampa Sangye, Snow Lion (Ithaca 2008). A brief review by Michelle Sorensen appeared in Religious Studies Review, vol. 35, no. 1 (March 2009), p. 78.

This doesn’t quite belong to the last decade like the others listed here, but I include it here anyway because it is such an important translation of a large number of texts not previously Englished. The translators made use of a manuscript that sometimes has significantly different readings, but it seems, based on statements found in Weber’s thesis (see below), that it no longer exists. The autobiography of Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche has been translated by Joshua Waldman and Lama Jinpa and published in 2008 under the title Hundred Thousand Rays of the Sun (I recommend an internet search for the title).

Monika Lorås RønningThe Path of Machig Labdron: gCod, its History, Philosophy, and Contemporary Practice in Central Tibet, Master’s thesis, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Oslo University (Oslo 2005). For an abstract only, look here.

Saerje (Gsar-brje), “Buddhapāla → Dam pa sangs rgyas ← Bodhidharma” [in Chinese], contained in: Wang Bangwei, Chen Jinhua and Chen Ming, eds., Studies on Buddhist Myths: Texts, Pictures, Traditions and History, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Cross-cultural Researches on Buddhist Mythology, Zhongxi Book Company (Shanghai 2013), pp. 165–176.

_____, “The Studies on the Narrative Inscriptions of Master Dharma Cave in Yunnan Province” [in Chinese with some Tibetan], contained in Wang Song, ed., Engaged Buddhism: The History and Reality of Asia, Proceedings of the 2015 Chong Sheng International Forum, Religious Culture Publishing House (Beijing 2016), pp. 97–127. See if this finds it for you.

Neldjorma Seunam Ouangmo [Rnal-’byor-ma Bsod-nams-dbang-mo], Testament Spirituel. Les cent péceptes de Ding-Ri Dernières recommandations de Pa Dampa Sangyé, en appendice Les Trente Souhaits, Editions Yogi Ling (Evaux-les-Bains 1997). 

I add this, even if it lies outside the time parameters, just because it should be noticed more. With the Tibetan and French on facing pages it includes not only the Tingri Hundred, but also the Thirty Aspirations.

Alexander K. SmithlDe’u ’phrul, the Manifestation of Knowledge: Ethnophilological Studies in Tibetan Divination with Particular Emphasis upon a Common Form of Bon Lithomancy, doctoral thesis, École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris 2017). 

This and the next listing share interesting information on the pebble divination teachings given to Padampa by the Bon teacher Khro-tshang ’Brug-lha. The possibility to download a PDF of it is here.

_____, “Prognostic Structure & the Use of Trumps in Tibetan Pebble Divination,” Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft, vol. 12 (Summer 2015), pp. 1-21. 

Michelle SorensenMaking the Old New Again and Again: Legitimation and Innovation in the Tibetan Buddhist Chöd Tradition, PhD dissertation, Columbia University (New York 2013). I think it is available here, not sure.

_____, “Padampa Sanggye,” Treasury of Livesaccessed March 10, 2021.

Sun Bojun, “A Textual Research on Chos-kyi-seng-ge, the Xixia State Preceptor,” Journal of Chinese Writing Systems, vol. 1, no. 9 (2018), pp. 1-9. 

At p. 5 there is a paragraph on Padampa's Tangut connections. Here Padampa is referred to by a name that corresponds to Tibetan Nag-chung. Sun Bojun has written, too, about the newly discovered Tangut text with biographical information on Padampa (a part of a Chinese version had been known before). It may be available on the internet if you belong to a subscribing institution.

Sun Penghao, “Four Texts Related to Pha dam pa sangs rgyas in the Chinese Translation of the Tangut Kingdom of Xia,” contained in: Shen Weirong, ed., History through Textual Criticism: Tibetan Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China Proper (Beijing 2012), pp. 85-97.

_____, “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. Try this link.

Khenchen Thrangu, Advice from a Yogi: An Explanation of a Tibetan Classic on What Is Most Important, tr. by the Thrangu Dharmakara Collaborative, Shambhala (Boston 2015). 

A new translation of the Tingri Hundred with teachings in the form of commentary by Thrangu Rinpoche. His longer Tibetan name is Khra-’gu Rin-po-che IX Karma-blo-gros-lung-rigs-smra-ba’i-seng-ge (b. 1933).

Kenchen Thrangu, “On What Is Most Important: Kenchen Thrangu on the Liberatory Verses of the Tibetan Yogi Padampa Sangye,” Tricycle Magazine (Fall 2015). This is an extract from the book.

Trulzhik Rinpoche (’Khrul-zhig Rin-po-che, Kyabje Zhadeu Trulzhik Rinpoche), and Lama Sangye, The Seed of Faith: The History of the Sacred Inner Relics of Dingri Langkor in the Upper Mountain-Pass Region of Tibet, Dingri Langkor Tsuglag Khang (Kathmandu 2014), in 63 pages with color plates. 

I have only seen this listed in an online book catalog. I've never actually seen it. I suppose it’s in English. I imagine it’s just a translation of the pilgrim guide sponsored and studied by Barbara N. Aziz years ago: “The Work of Pha dam pa Sangs rgyas as Revealed in Ding ri Folklore,” contained in: Michael Aris & Aung San Suu Kyi, eds., Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson, Aris & Phillips, Ltd. (Warminster 1980), pp. 21-29 and Idem., “Indian Philosopher as Tibetan Folk Hero: Legend of Langkor: A New Source Material on Phadampa Sangye,” Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 23, nos. 12 (1979), pp. 19-37. The original Tibetan of this same pilgrim guide was to my knowledge first made public in a modern print publication in the 13-volume collection listed at the beginning of our list, at vol. 2 (KHA), pp. 803-821, where it has the title Bod-yul La-stod Ding-ri Glang-skor-gyi Nang-rten Byin-can Khag-gi Lo-rgyus Dad-pa'i Sa-bon (བོད་ཡུལ་ལ་སྟོད་དིང་རི་གླང་སྐོར་གྱི་ནང་རྟེན་བྱིན་ཅན་ཁག་གི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་དད་པའི་ས་བོན་). I was of the impression its true author was a nun, one named Ani Ngawang, something that may have gotten lost in the shuffle, as does happen sometimes.

Julika Maria Weber, Translation and Contextualization of Pha dam pa Sangs rgyas’s Three Cycles of Mahâmudrâ Signs, Master of Arts thesis, supervisor Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Universität Wien (Vienna 2020).

This thesis features in English translation three texts that represent the core of the questions-and-answers section (Padampa’s answers to Kunga’s questions) of the Zhijé Collection. The three together are often called Phyag-rgya-chen-po Brda’i Skor Gsum or Brda’i Zhus-lan Skor Gsum. They are: 1. Pointing Out the Purity of the Body as Signs, 2. Pointing Out Enlightened Verbal Expressions as Signs, and 3. Pointing Out the Realization of the Mind as Signs. You might find an abstract here. David Molk published a translation in his 2008 book, pp. 177-192 (only two titles are given, but all three texts are represented there, and what is more, evidently made use of a manuscript that ordered the paragraphs differently), and I also made a translation that I haven’t yet given to anyone.

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