Friday, December 01, 2023

The All Making King’s Earliest Fragment


Scanned leaf from Matho, BDRC no. W1BL9, vol. 405 (click to enlarge)

ཀུན་བྱེད་རྒྱལ་པོ་, the All Making King, is difficult to talk about. Let’s start with the end of his name. As you may notice, if not right away later on, his gender identity and preferred pronoun can be an issue, although we’ll follow the grammatical clue of the final syllable and use him. The word king might seem to lend him a governing or ruling function, just that his kingdoms and governments tend to dissolve away. He may look like a creator god, a highly intriguing point for followers of monotheistic creationism,* although some may need reminding we’re not in the Middle East exactly, and All Making is an epithet of the Hindu (and yes, sometimes showing up among Buddhists) god Brahma. In Hindu religious contexts less a creator than a re-creator, he has a quite different image in Buddhist accounts of what does indeed look like creation. But creation of what by what from what? is the question we ought to be asking.
(*I can tell you, but only in a footnote, that this thoroughly Buddhist text puts forward the carrot of creationism only to pull the rug out from under the feet of foundationalism. For more on the issue of creationism in Bon, Buddhism and Tibetan myth, see Martin and even better, Reynolds.)
Have you ever found yourself in the deep of the night veering in and out of sleep when suddenly it occurs to you that you’ve been ignoring or denying some deeper need, and that life as you have been living it is not as it should be, maybe even naught but a superficial unfulfilling sham?  Did the message ever come to you in a direct way, as if a pipe were conveying the sound directly from your heart into your ear canal loud and clear as day? 

I’m trying to convey a taste of what it’s like to engage in a slow contemplative reading of the All Making King. You could say it’s a work of soaring poetic beauty. That it is, without the least doubt, but the syntax often doesn’t make its case immediately, it forces you to concentrate more deeply until its elements either do or do not fall in place and make clear sense. It can be at times as if your own mind were informing itself about itself, and really, that’s the whole point. Does that strike you as totally perplexing or impossible?

Needless to say this makes translation that can reproduce the experience difficult. Today I won’t even try, I’ll just refer you to English translations that have been done already (readers of Tibetan can get a taste of it in the text transcription, appended below). 

Anyway, let me tell you about an amazing find in the old Chortens of Matho in Ladakh. Some years back a Rinpoche of the Sakya school ordered a group of Chortens taken down. In the process a large number of old manuscript fragments were revealed. I’ll have more to say about it in upcoming blogs, just to point out that this represents a manuscript cache from early times quite comparable in significance to the Dunhuang manuscript cache of still earlier times. The Matho texts all seem to date prior to the time the Chortens would have been closed, around the year 1200 CE (a few decades later is a possibility that might be considered, but no later than that; Helmut Tauscher has written about the dating, and what he says is surely correct). 

Only two damaged leaves of the All Making King are there. There is no title or colophon present, and nothing better for identifying what it is than the name of the All Making King right there in the first surviving line, as you might see in our frontispiece. Using 21st-century digital search capacities, it was a simple matter to assign the first leaf to Chapter 17, and the second leaf we can see contains significant parts of Chapters 15-16 (and what looks like it ought to be the very beginning of Chapter 17).

So let me underline the significance of this manuscript treasure finding. I believe that with only one very small exception, this is the oldest textual testimony for the words of the All Making King.  The only thing that tends to spoil this conceit is the presence of the Cuckoo of Awareness among the Dunhuang documents (see Dalton's entry listed below).  Why?  Because the Cuckoo of Awareness, extremely brief as it is, is one of the five Earliest Translated Atiyoga Mind Class texts that were somehow absorbed into the increasingly voluminous All Making King (see Derbac).

How is it useful for Dzogchen studies to have this early example of the text? Well, for one thing it can help us understand how the Mind Class scriptures may have been welded and melded together over time. This has been made an issue in a number of recent academic studies. Here we present a further example from our Matho fragment: In the 2nd leaf (verso, line 3) you can see a dividing mark in the form of a double staff with two dots in the middle. It is at this point that the Gting-skyes edition of the Old Tantra Collection ends its Chapter Fifteen. The Matho text has no indication of chapter division, no mention of a fifteenth chapter. It does continue on with the content of the 16th chapter, but minus the three introductory lines reminding us that it is a dialogue with Sems-dpa’-rdo-rje (Sattvavajra?). Future students of Dzogchen manuscriptology will need to continue this work of comparison, as there are other surprising textual differences (an important hint they may find useful:  Just reverse the order of the two scans, placing the 2nd folio before the 1st, then go to work. Don’t do it backwards as I did).

To sum up this one text-critical point in order to finally put this up on the web. Like the other Matho manuscripts it surely dates before 1200 CE. The earlier limit may not be all that clear, but I’d guesstimate as old or even older than 1000 CE (it is, after all a fragment of a booklet that may have required time to fall into pieces and eventually get placed in the Chorten at its consecration). It appears that the All Making King scripture found in Matho didn’t yet have chapter divisions, and that chapter endings with their chapter ending titles and introductions may have been composed later on. Really and truly, I see no problem in making text-critical observations so long as they don’t pretend to erase the poetry along with the experiential realizations the poetry was created to convey, regardless of any chapter divisions.

Afterthought after afterthought

Did anyone notice there in our Matho fragment the triad of dpedon and rtags? Instance (similitudes / similes / examples), meaning (intended purposes, aims) and sign (marks that provoke recognition)?  There is a note on this in Drenpa's Proclamation, a book that came out quite recently. This triad is found in some early Bon texts (mostly also pre-1200). What may seem like a scholastic schema is quite the contrary, a way of speaking about esoteric precepts, or what is in Dzogchen spoken of as a direct introduction, something that may not involve any words at all. It does seem to me that the phrase dpe don rtags gsum is more often encountered in Bon writings,* while in non-Bon writings it is nearly always invoked in relation to the All Making King, where the first one, the instance, is bound to be space itself.

(*I believe I could, if pressed to do so, come up with at least twelve Bon texts that make use of this expression, but bear in mind that the Bon texts are not so well represented among the 15 million searchable pages scanned in BDRC.)

But then again in context of strictly rule-governed logic, rtags can mean the third term of the syllogism, the reason, so some whiff of scholasticism may be intended there after all. Asia never quite shared the Euro-split between Platonism (dialogue and mystical speculation) and Aristotelianism (logic and natural science), although a somehow comparable split might be, in Tibet, the one between Candrakîrtianism and Dharmakîrtianism. Now I’m sorry I brought that up, because the differences are also glaring at me. (Read the book by Dreyfuss to see how Dharmakîrtianism had no real adherents in Tibet, but its ideas were much debated.)

Hmmm. Doesn’t Peircean semiosis work with an interacting triad of the Sign, the Object and the Interpretant? Indeed it does, but don’t press me to tell you how that is the least bit relevant, that is unless Peirce was inspired by the All Making King! It’s true that the pre-modern Tibetan scripture and the [post-]modern semiotician both share a preference for triplets and triads over those dueling dyads and binaries that rule in our computers and our politics today, and I do wonder what the deeper background for this similitude could possibly be. I leave it for sharper and more penetrating minds than my own, but I do think even if their individual parts are only partially and not perfectly matching, the Dzogchen and Peircean triads, as wholes, extend over the same territory.

§  §  §

Some English-language literature on logic, and on the All Making King & its translations

Note: There is no complete translation so far as I know, but see Namkhai Norbu’s and Dargyay’s partial translations marked with the ★.

Thomas Cattoi, “Ground and Manifestation: A Christian Reading of the Kun-byed Rgyal-po in Conversation with Origen's De Principiis,’ contained in: Acts of the October 2014 Minzu University Conference on Interreligious Dialogue, Minzu University (Beijing 2015), pp. 15-27. Not yet seen, I saw the reference at the author’s faculty page.

Jake Dalton, “IOL Tib J 647,” contained in: Jacob Dalton and Sam van Schaik, Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library, Brill (Leiden 2006), pp. 292-293.  This on the Dunhuang text of the Cuckoo of Awareness, in only 6 lines of verse, that was incorporated into the All Making King. Some rare references to Atiyoga may be found in Dunhuang, and this catalogue is the place to look for them.

Eva K. Dargyay, “A Rnying ma Text: The Kun byed rgyal po'i mdo,” contained in: Barbara Aziz and Matthew Kapstein, eds., Soundings in Tibetan Civilization, Manohar Publications (Delhi 1985), pp. 283-293.

Eva K. Dargyay, “The Concept of a ‘Creator God’ in Tantric Buddhism,” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 8 (1985), pp. 31-47.

★E.K. Neumaier Dargyay, The Sovereign All Creating Mind: The Motherly Buddha, SUNY (Albany 1992). If you do not find a way to hold the book, an odd digitized version can be found here. This is in a certain sense a complete translation, because it ends at Chapter 57 of the 84-chapter text, but at what it seems might be the final chapter. For the translation of Chapter 17 (the only English translation of it there is as far as I know), look on pp. 98-99 of the print edition, and notice the illusion of gender bending going on in it. On the triad of "simile, quintessence and characteristics" (translation choices I would not have used), see especially p. 127 (part of her translation of Chapter 34).  But then look at her p. 97 (part of Chapter 15) where we see “simile, meaning and investigation.” Reviewed by J.W. de Jong in Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 38 (1995), pp. 200-203; by Kerry Martin Skora in Philosophy East and West, vol. 46, no. 1 (January 1996), pp. 107-116.

Mihai Derbac, The “Five Early” (sNga lnga) Texts of the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition rDzogs chen Sems sde: A Historical, Literary and Textual Study with Critical Edition and Translation of the Tibetan Texts, PhD dissertation, University of Calgary (2019), downloadable from the PRISM Repository of the University of Calgary. I list this here not just because it is something I've been reading recently, but because it contains a very useful bibliography of relevant books and essays (and discussions about the same) saving me the duty of listing all those things here.

Georges B.J. Dreyfus, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, University of California Press (Berkeley 2003), pp. 206-208. This is the perfect proof text for my belief that, in the language of logical argumentation, dpe and rtags can name two specific parts of the five-fold Indic syllogism (five in contrast to the three-fold Aristotelian). Both would seem to be direct translations for Sanskrit terms, as Dreyfus indicates.

Shoryu Katsura & Ernst Steinkellner, eds., The Role of the Example (Dṛṣṭānta) in Classical Indian Logic, Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde series vol. 58, Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien (Vienna 2004). This other article published in Pacific World may be better for providing background on Buddhist logic.

Per Kværne and Dan Martin, trs. and eds., Drenpa’s Proclamation: The Rise and Decline of the Bön Religion in Tibet, Vajra Books (Kathmandu 2023). The relevant footnote is no. 947, located at pp. 275-276.

Kennard Lipman and Merrill Peterson, You Are the Eyes of the World, Lotsawa (Novato 1987).  Translation of Klong-chen-pa’s commentary on the Kun-byed Rgyal-po. Reviewed by Georgios Halkias in Tibet Journal, vol. 29, no. 2 (Summer 2004), pp. 117-119. Kennard Lipman is the best when it comes to making Dzogchen shine brilliantly through English.

Dan Martin, “Creator God or Creator Figure?” Lungta [an annual publication of the Amnye Machen Institute, McLeod Ganj, India], vol. 16 (Spring 2003), pp. 15-20. See Reynolds for his fantastic job of countering the naively creationist reading of the All Making King.

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Rigbai Kujyug, the Six Vajra Verses: An Oral Commentary by Namkhai Norbu, December 1985, Merigar, Italy, ed. by Cheh-Ngee Goh, Rinchen Editions (Singapore 1990. Translation and teachings based on the Cuckoo of Awareness. Newer editions may be available.

★Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and Adriano Clemente, The Supreme Source: The Fundamental Tantra of the Dzogchen Semde Kunjed Gyalpo, Snow Lion (Ithaca 1999), translated from Italian by Andrew Lukianowicz. A set of chapter summaries and excerpts, this is again not a complete translation of the All Making King, but I do believe it is the best.

John Myrdhin Reynolds, “Kun byed Rgyal po: The Principal Dzogchen Tantra,” contained in: John Reynolds, The Golden Letters: The Three Statements of Garab Dorje, the First Teacher of Dzogchen, together with a Commentary by Dza Patrul Rinpoche Entitled, “The Special Teaching of the Wise and Glorious King,” Snow Lion (Ithaca 1996), pp. 236-248.

Jim Valby, “Five Principles of rDzogs chen Transmission in the Kun byed rgyal po,” Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, vol. 24 (October 2012), pp. 157-164.

Jim Valby, tr., Ornament of the State of Samantabhadra: Commentary on the All-Creating King of the Pure Perfect Presence of the Great Perfection, in 6 volumes. A translation of Gzhan-phan-’od-zer, Chos Thams-cad Rdzogs-pa-chen-po Byang-chub-kyi Sems Kun-byed Rgyal-po'i 'Grel-pa Kun-bzang Dgongs-rgyan (Lhasa 2006), in 2 vols.  I have not seen either publication, although I would like to.

•  •  •

The fragments in Matho W1BL9 vol. 405 transcribed

What we have are two leaf fragments, inscribed on both sides. There are no page numbers given. The two leaves are given here in the order of the scan. Both leaves once formed part of a booklet, bound into a signature on the left-hand side (just like so many other Matho fragments were). The text of the first leaf doesn’t seem to continue on the second, and on closer study we find that it does not.  Only the first leaf recto is illustrated above, for the rest you should go to BDRC Work RID W1BL9, then locate vol. 405.

  • One rare feature of the manuscript is that it allows single Tibetan syllables to be split between two lines. Hardly ever seen outside the Matho fragments, it feels like a violation. Also, rules governing the use of the syllable dividing dot (tsheg) before the staff (shad) punctuation were not known to the scribe, if they even existed then. The use of tsheg and shad has been somewhat regularized in our transcription, although this hardly makes any difference.

This text edition was made by Michael Walter, and double checked for accuracy.

X = illegible graph  _ space within word  × apparent strike through

[1 recto]

... ston pa’i kun byed rgyal po lags |

sku gdung ring srel rtag tu zung shig pa | sku ni rgyal ba gang dang gang gi sku | sku ni rgyal ba gang dang gang gi sku | gsung ni dus gsum sangs rgyas gang dang  gang gi gdung |

ring srel zhes ni ci lta bu la bgyi | sku ni nga sdang rgyal ba sagsum gi sku | gdung ni dus gsum rgyal ba’i gdung | dus med rtag tu sems la ’di ’chang na | dus gsum sangs rgyas kun kyi mchod pa’i rten | sku gdung ring srel zhes ni de la bya |

sku gdung ring srel de ltar lags na yang  | de la dus gsum sangs rgyas ci ltar mchod | |

chod pa la ni yon tan ci zhig mchis | nga’i sku gdung ring srel de ni | dus gsum sangs rgyas rtag tu sems ltas mchod | de’i yon tan myi ’bral de thob nas | chos rnams kun gyi rgyal por nus par gyur |:|

snang srid snod bcud thams cad kun | snang ni nga’i ngo bor snang | dag ni chos kyi dbyings su dag | ’dul ba rnam pa sna tshogs la | …[6-7 syllables?] 'i | theg pa gsum gyi ngo yang …

[1 verso]

’das pa yul la myi ltos pas | rgyu la mi bsgrub ’bras myi ’dod | ’dod pa med pa’i dgos pa des | rang bzhin ˘˘lhun˘˘ gyis grub par gyur || ye nas yin la bya mi dgos | 

nga las byung ba’i ston pa sku gsum gyis | bstan pa’i theg pa rnam × gsum bstan pa ni || ston pa gsum gyis ma brtsal grub pa’i lung ma bstan ||

kun byed nga yis theg cig bstan pa ni | brtsal bas grub pa’i lung du ngas ma bstan | kun byed byang chub nga’i rang bzhin las | ma brtsal rang bzhin lhun gyis grub pa ni | rgyal ba kun gyi snying po sku gsum ste | nga’i rang bzhin ma bcos chos skur grub | nga’i ngo bo ma bcos long spyod rdzogs ||

nga’i thugs rje mngon ’phyung sprul sku sum brtsal nas grub ba ’bras bu bstan pa myed || sku gsum kun byed nga ru bstan pa ste | ji ltar snang ba’i chos rnams thams cad kun || rang bzhin ngo bo thugs rje ma bcos gsum | X sku gsum nga’i de bzhin nyid du bstan | nga dang nga’i de bzhin nyid las ni || sangs rgyas zhes bya’i yon tan sgos [~sgros?] kyang med | sems can … [few legible letters on following line, mostly torn off]

[2 recto]

brtsal bsgrub myed pas ye nas che[?] bar bshad | 

bdag nyid chen po sangs rgyas che bar [bshad] | ma skyes spros bral mngon du ’phyung ba ’di | ye nas gzung ’dzin ____ chos kyi dbyings | bya myi dgos pas ye nas sangs rgyas yin | rtsal bsgrub myi dgos ye nas che bar bshad | chos nyi[d] sangs rgyas che bar bshad pa yin ||

nga’i nges par mngon du phyung ba ’di | dpe’ don rtags ni rnam pa gsum bstan te | chos nyid don la nam mkha’ dpe’ bstan te | byang chub sems kyis rtags kyi nges par du | the rtsom za ba rnams la nges pa du | dpe’ don rtags kya[ng] de yin sangs rgyas bstan ||

nga’i rang bzhin de bzhin nyid ’di ni | su la mngon du phyung ba ni mi snang bas | de ni ma nor ba’i rang bzhin la | bzhin ni ma bcos pa’i rang bzhin te | nyid ni ngo bo nyid la brtags pa yin | de bzhin nyid kyi rang bzhin de nyid la | du[s?] gsum sangs rgyas

[2 verso]

yod pa’i bsgos myi ’dogs | khams gsum sems can med pa’i skur myi ’debs | rtog dpyod bsam ba ci yang dgongs myed pas | sangs rgyas myed pa’i che bar nga’is bshad |:|

nga ni ye nas kun byed rgyal po yin | bston pa bstan pa ’khor dus ngas byas nas | ston pa’i bstan pa yang ni nga yis byed || bstan pa’i rang bzhin de bston la || ’khor yang nga’i ngo bo de phyung nas | dus gnas pa’i rang bzhin ni | kun byed nga’i rang bzhin bstan pa las || nga myin chos ni cig kyang bstan pa myed || 

sems dpa’ chen po rdo rje khyod nyid kyang || kun byed nga’i rang bzhin bstan pa’i phyir || khyod kyang nga la nga yis phyung ba yin | kun byed nga ni chos kyi snying por zhog || 

dus gnas phun sum tshogs pa thams cad kun | kun byed rgyal po nga yin byang chub sems |:|

sku gdung ring srel rtag chang na | rgyal ba’i yang mes kun mes nga dang mnyam | ston XX  ... ... ...

For the complete Tibetan text in 84 chapters, I suppose I ought to recommend this one:  Chos Thams-cad Rdzogs-chen Byang-chub-kyi Sems Kun-byed Rgyal-po containing 84 chapters, found in  the Gting-skyes edition, vol. 1, pp. 1-220.  Following is chapter 17 only of the Gting-skyes manuscript set of the Old Collection of Tantras (blank verse format added, double-checked for [my] errors):

Chapter Seventeen: Handing Down Relics



de nas byang chub kyi sems kun byed rgyal po des | 

nyid kyi sku gdung 'di zung cig par gsungs so ||




རྒྱལ་བའི་ཡང་མེས་ཀུན་བྱེད་ང་དང་མཉམ་ཞེས་གསུངས་སོ།། [fol. 33v - p. 66]

kye sems dpa' chen po 'di zung shig ||

sku gdung ring bsrel rtag 'chang na ||

rgyal ba'i yang mes kun byed nga dang mnyam zhes gsungs so || [p. 66]







རིང་བསྲེལ་ཞེས་ནི་ཇི་ལྟ་བུ་ལ་བགྱི།། ཞེས་ཞུས་སོ།།

de nas sems dpa' rdo rjes zhus pa | 

kye dus gsum sangs rgyas kun gyi yang mes po || 

ston pa'i ston pa kun byed rgyal po lags | 

sku gdung ring bsrel rtag tu zung cig pa || 

sku ni rgyal ba gang dang gang gi sku ||

gdung ni sangs rgyas gang dang gang gi gdung || 

ring bsrel zhes ni ji lta bu la bgyi || zhes zhus so ||








kye sems dpa' chen po nyon cig || 

sku ni nga sras rgyal ba gsum gyi sku ||

gdung ni dus gsum rgyal ba nga yi sems || 

dus med rtag tu sems dpa' 'di 'chang na | 

dus gsum sangs rgyas kun gyi mchod pa'i brten || 

sku gdung ring bsrel zhes ni de la bya || 




མཆོད་པ་ལ་ནི་ཡོན་ཏན་ཅི་ཞིག་མཆིས།། ཅེས་ཞུས་སོ།།

kye ston pa'i ston pa kun byed rgyal po lags | 

sku gdung ring bsrel de ltar lags na yang | 

de la dus gsum sangs rgyas ji ltar mchod | 

mchod pa la ni yon tan ci zhig mchis | ces zhus so ||





ཆོས་རྣམས་ཀུན་བྱེད་རྒྱལ་པོར་ནུས་པར་འགྱུར། ཞེས་གསུངས་སོ།།

kye sems dpa' chen po khyod nyon cig | 

nga yi sku gdung ring bsrel de la ni | 

dus gsum sangs rgyas rtag tu sems ltas mchod | 

de yi yon tan mi 'bral de thob nas | 

chos rnams kun byed rgyal por nus par 'gyur | zhes gsungs so ||



byang chub kyi sems kun byed rgyal po las | 

sku gdung gtad pa'i le'u ste bcu bdun pa'o ||


PS: I sent a pre-post draft of this blog to F, and in response to his response, I wrote an email I never sent to him criticizing myself in a rather defensive manner.  Here it is:

Dear F,

Yes, I guess it’s true what you say, the blog is after all full of lazily abductive reasoning based on a weak coverage of material not sufficiently represented in its full glory.

But I guess my aim is served, that others will notice the similarities and put things together in a way that can be better pinned down.

One kind of Peircean (but even more Emersonian) idea is that words/concepts have pressure release valves. It’s as if they are always vulnerable to invasion or loss in at least one compass direction. Poets celebrate this malleable quality of words and bend them around into magnificent sculptures, which is great.  But without stone-stable concepts/definitions to work with syllogisms aren’t going to march on to find victory in well established truth the way they’re supposed to do.

I’m not going to go into piddling details, no time or energy for it.

That’s my "pragmatic" approach at work.  You do know the Americans.  If they think at all, they tend to be pragmatic, thinking it makes them more scientific, so will most likely turn to the pragmatist school for help and inspiration.  Myself I’ve always been more inspired by Emerson, who although called a transcendentalist is also often tied into the group of Peirce and James, and I suppose they even had direct contact with each other, didn’t they?

The real abduction will happen when some semioticians grab ahold of our dear Kunjé and paint him into their corner, making him their kind of pragmatist thinker, perhaps a precursor. It would be horrible to see him taken captive that way.  But better them than those monotheistic creationists.

I actually kind of like it when pre-modern and post-modern ideas are brought close enough to touch each other despite their mutual abhorrence. The fireworks can be amazing.  Or not.

I piddled around and tried to fix the blog a bit, and will try to work it through some more.  So much of it was created in the course of writing, it’s more a journey than a destination, that’s for sure.

Yours, D

This only makes me feel more fondly for the early days of our millennium. I miss the inspiration and instigation that emerges out of dialogue. In years gone by Tibeto-logic used to have all that before it, along with all the other blogs, was abandoned for FB and Twitch, and now X. Please, please comment and have your say if you can hack your way through the Captchas.

ངས་ཁྱོད་ལ་འགྲེལ་བཤད་རྒྱག་མི་ཐུབ་པའི་བྱ་བ་ཞིག་བཤད་པར་ཡིད་ཆེས་བྱོས་དང་། ངས་ཁྱོད་ལ་ནམ་ཡང་ནོར་བ་ཞིག་མི་བྱེད།

Can you guess which Beatles song these words come from? 
  • Translated by Monlam AI, something I’m trying to test myself with.  (Thank you K.K. for sharing the link.)


  1. Jim Valby's translation of the commentary on the All Making King was in published in six volumes. They used to be available for order on the translator's website, now defunct (archived at

    1. So many thanks for sharing that link, Ratna. I had no idea Jim had done all that. I see that his complete translation of the Kun-byed "root text" still hasn't appeared. But I take it the first six volumes listed there are of that very lengthy commentary on it.

  2. Is the song Oh Darling?

  3. By George, you've nailed it, Ratna! Your intelligence is everything *but* artificial. Please believe me, you ought to get a prize, something nonfungible and nonrefundable. That translates into a loud congratulations riding on a thought wave. -D

  4. J.S., not me, wrote an email. I think he deserves internet points for it, so I'll copy paste the entire message into this comment box. He assures me it is a true story:

    I failed to interpret the beatle's lyrics,
    but i might have gotten closer then chatgpt which offered the following

    "I have the aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings and to engage in the practices leading to enlightenment, including the accumulation of merit and wisdom."

    I said, try again, that's a very bad translation, and it replied

    I apologize for any inaccuracies. Here's a revised translation:

    "In my mind, I cultivate the noble intention to attain enlightenment for the welfare of all sentient beings. I engage in the profound practices of accumulating merit and wisdom."

  5. Hi Dan, I notice that you did not comment on the passage as it relates to relics. Perhaps the reason this chapter was included in the stupas in question is due to the fact that it concerns relics. Also dpe/don/rtags are frequently used in Buddhist Dzogchen texts. Happy new years.

  6. Hello Malcolm, Nice to hear a word from you. That idea that this particular chapter on relics was purposely inserted in the chorten is an intriguing one. An even earlier stûpa cache in Gilgit included more than one copy of the Adbhuta-dharma-paryāya, a sutra text that recommends the practice of making small stupas of clay (subject of Yael Bentor's masters thesis, where she suggested there might be a reason for enclosing this particular text inside a stupa). I may want to get into a more involved discussion of this another time since I think there are problems that ought to be worked out (for instance, what are the other 999 fragments doing there in Matho? Why do most of them have nothing to do with chortens?). And for your other point: Yes, a search in the Paltsek collection of Nyingma tantras (doable at THLib website) turns up 33 instances of "dpe don rtags" in 29 different tantras. A broadly based BUDA etext search yields 236. Try it and see what pops up, it may be surprising. Be well, and make the most of whatever the coming year will bring. We're all in it together. Yours, D


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