Blue Annals Chapter 14

Tibetan Texts > Specific Tibetan Text Studies > Deb Ther Sngon Po (Blue Annals) > Chapter By Chapter Summary - The Blue Annals > Chapter 14

Summary of The Blue Annals Chapter 14: The Great Compassion cycle, Adamantine Garland Tradition, and Other Minor Traditions

by Elena Pakhoutova, revised by Jed Verity

Much like the rest of the Blue Annals, Chapter 14 focuses on a prominent faction of Tibetan religious history and maintenance, this time focusing on those originating with or adopting Avalokiteśvara in one form or another. The sections are especially lineage-outline-heavy, though many provocative stories are woven throughout, revealing biases about the Avalokiteśvara lineages, whether on the part of Gö Lotsawa or of those who perpetuated the stories. More details about this will be discussed in the individual sections.

14.1 The Lineage of the Shri System of Great Compassion (thugs rje chen po dpal mo lugs kyi brgyud pa’i skabs)

i. Introduction {R1006}

This chapter starts with the notion of Avalokiteśvara being the patron deity of Tibet and the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo being the agent and manifestation of this deity acting on behalf of the people. This idea is comparable and perhaps a counterpart to China's being the land of Manjusri, which was accepted by Tibetan scholars at the time.

Gö Lotsawa ('gos lo tsa ba) connects this activity with the transmission of texts and the building of temples and images, all of which appear to be tantric in character. This may indicate a later date for such an interpretation and his own understanding of this “ideal” set up. Specifically, he connects the practice of Mahākaruṇika and the transmission of the Vajrāvali initiation manuals with the national identification of Tibet with Avalokiteśvara.

With respect to this, Gö Lotsawa mentions a material “relic” or a token of transmission – the text discovered by Ngödrup (dngos grub) of the hidden book on the Sādhana of Avalokiteśvara, and the sections of the ritual manuals that had been obtained by Rok Sherapö (rog shes rab 'od) at the monastery of Parnam (spa rnams). The section concludes with a sketch of the lineage formed around the passing down of these teachings.

{Rok Sherabö (b.1166, d.1244), according to the TBRC database. He was also a zhi byed pa by lineage [TBRC Resource Code: P4301]. Where and what is this spa rnams monastery? EP}

{Also, whether the first name refers to bzhod ston dngos grub grags 'bar (b. fl. 1088) who was a Bonpo, or la yag pa byang chub dngos grub, born in the 12th c., the student of bsod nams rin chen (b.1079, d.1153), a doctor of mar pa bka’brgyud and dwags po bka’ brgyud lineage, is unclear. EP}

ii. The Lineage of Tukjé Chenpo (thug rje chen po) {R1007}

In this short section, Gö Lotsawa traces the lineage of Avalokiteśvara, in the form of Tukjé Chenpo Gyelwa Gyatso (thugs rje chen po rgyal ba rgya mtsho), from Amitābha and Mahākaruṇika through Padmasambhava and various teachers of many traditions. Then he outlines the lineage of "the rite and initiation of the Kulalokanātha sādhana" {see TBRC Resource Code W25344 EP}, which originated with Yarlung Lotsawa Drakpa Gyeltsen (yar klungs lo tsa ba grags pa rgyal mtshan) {(b.1242, d.1346) according to TBRC database, quite a late date actually. The texts mentioned later by Gö Lotsawa are not listed among Drakpa Gyeltsen’s writings in the TBRC database, the Tantra is perhaps the sādhana itself? EP}.

iii. Transmission by the man of spiritual realization. {R1007}

The "man who had attained spiritual realization" (grub pa thob pa'i skyes bu) was an emanation of Avalokiteśvara who preached doctrine and thus created his own lineage, outlined here. It seems, at this point, that Gö Lotsawa is iterating the various lineages that can be traced back Avalokiteśvara, and is primarily concerned with identification, as compared to exposition.

{There seems to be two aspects of Avalokiteśvara transmission and practice discussed here: one associated with the monastic/institutional transmission that follows a general Sutra Mahayana system and personal/individual practice associated with fasting, possibly a more populist tradition, and more tantric? EP}

Candradhvaja {R1008}

Candradhvaja was the teacher of many famous people including Pel Phakmo Drupa (dpal phag mo gru pa), sachen (kun dga' sning po), and Nyingpukpa (nying phug pa chos kyi grags pa), who then transmitted it to Supa Dorjé Gyelpo (sru pa rdo rje rgyal po). {Candradhvaja is not listed in the TBRC database as the teacher of the first two. EP} He is said to have been Avalokiteśvara himself. {In general, it seems that the cult of Avalokiteśvara was quite well established by that time, as Gö Lotsawa mentions a temple of Wati, which has been identified as skyi grong temple. (See R1008) EP}

Nyingpukpa {R1008}

This section is a condensed life story of Nyingpukpa, disciple of Candradhvaja, and a legitimization of his spiritual and scholastic cachet via the construction or outlining of pedigrees.

{R1010} In general, Nyingpukpa did not study texts of the rnying ma school, and used to say that there did not exist texts belonging to the New (Tantras), which he had not studied. {An interesting comment that might suggest that the rnying ma pa didn’t interest Nyingpukpa, or that there was a particular division that he seems to have maintained, or that Gö Lotsawa was reflecting his own or nying phug pa’s lineage’s sectarian predispositions. One might suggest that this division was rather his personal, as it seems that his main personal practice was fasting and propitiation of Avalokiteśvara. Then, does this imply that the propitiation of Avalokiteśvara and fasting were practiced exclusively by the New Tantra practitioners? EP}

Supa Dorjé Gyelpo {R1011}

Supa Dorjé Gyelpo was the disciple of nying phug pa. He studied Vinaya and requested to fast until his death. {In general, it seems that he was strictly monastic in his practices and conduct. His disciple was also attracted to fasting and asked to fast to death. This reminds me of the documentary about a mummy found in Spiti near Tabo. The mummy is dated to 1047 and appears to have been of someone who practically starved himself to death. This passage could provide evidence of such practices being widely spread in the area ? EP}

Gö Lotsawa traces a number of the salient details of Supa Dorjé Gyelpo's life, not by means of the catalog-like detail of Nyingpukpa's account, but by a few legitimizing stories of spiritual prowess or auspiciousness. It is clear from these accounts that Gö Lotsawa is now going into greater detail about members of this particular lineage, possibly to solidify its existence and prestige.

His disciple Zhangtön (zhang ston) {R1011}

Zhangtön became known as "Enemy’s Terror (dgra ‘jigs)" because of the thunder, lightning, and tremors at his birth. He was also a strict monk. He studied the Seven treatises on Logic at Sakya, learned the Five Treatises of Maitreya (byams chos lna), the Five Stages (sa sde lnga), the Abhidharmakośa, and the Abhidharmasamuccaya (mnyon pa gong ‘og).

He also was told to practice fasting propitiating Avalokiteśvara because this was beneficial for this “Dark Age.” He also saw visions. He occupied the chair of the abbot for three years and was also given the crystal image of Avalokiteśvara. {This almost seems to be a relic/attribute of abbotship that is passed down from one lineage holder to another EP}.

Then he went into intensive retreats and practiced the rite of gcod. He is said to have performed numerous miracles, flying to different locations, stopping a river with his walking stuff, etc. He predicted that his heart will not burn and asked to send it to Garong (ga’ rong), and his tongue to Dönmori (don mo ri). When he died at 61 a full measure (bre) of relics was recovered (from the ashes).

Tsidülwa Tukjé Changchup (rtsi ‘dul ba thugs rje byangs chub) {R1013}

Gö Lotsawa continues his unpacking of the lineage of the "man who attained spiritual realization" with Tsidülwa Tukjé Changchup. He was a strict monastic, a disciple of Zhangtön, and practiced the rite of the Eleven-faced Avalokiteśvara along with the rite of the Mental Creative Effort towards Enlightenment.

Doklongpa Shakya Changchup (ldog long pa shakya byang chub) {R1014}

Doklongpa Shakya Changchup followed much the same path as his predecessors as he was mostly monastic, practiced fasting, and had visions. In one of his earlier visions he was told by Tārā that he would build the monastery of Doktö (ldog ltod).

Changchupbar (byan chub ‘bar) of Chuzang (chu bzangs) {R1015}

He was also a strict monastic, fasted, and saw visions. In one vision he saw Avalokiteśvara and the masters of the Kadampa (bka’ gdams pa) Lineage, after which he was told by his teacher to go wherever he desired and do activity for the benefit others. {does this mean to become a mendicant? EP}

Nakpupa Sönam Wangchuk (snag phu pa bsod nams dbang phyug) {R1016}

Was also a monk, learned, associated with the abbotship at Dromoché (gro mo che) for five years. His followers built him the monastery of Nyakpu (snyag phu). He is also known to have received from the ācārya Draktsül (grags tshul) many sādhanas of the mandalas belonging to the Outer and Inner Tantras. He practiced the fasting and propitiation of Avalokiteśvara to prolong his life.

Here, it begins to be clear that Gö Lotsawa is not just tracing the details of lineage members' lives, but characterizing the nature of the Avalokiteśvara cults, their m.o., inspiration, and so on.

Sönam Zangpo (bsod nams bzang po) {R1017}

Sönam Zangpo was quite learned and famous especially for his observance of the vow of staying on one mat {Roerich comments that this refers to taking food without rising from one's seat, which seems not quite plausible, and perhaps refers to always meditating and not sleeping by laying down EP}. He was also famed for abstaining from meat.

He was especially learned in the Śrī Kālacakra Tantra. He was the chief disciple of the Dharmasvamin Choklé Nampar Gyelwa (phyogs las rnam par rgyal ba, the bo don paṇ chen).

It is said that he prolonged his life by practicing pranayama (rlung sbyor) for a month and died not at 80 when the signs of death were manifesting, but at 93 in the year Water Female Ox (chu moglan 1433 A.D.). Praised as the best yogin in Tibet by Druppé Wangchuk (grub pa’i dbang phyug), Wangdrakpa Gyeltsen (dbang grags pa rgyal mtshan), and other great men, he also seems to have been quite wealthy, although was known to be satisfied with little.

Gö Lotsawa states that the monks that followed after Sönam Zangpo are nowadays divided into two groups, known as the Üpak (dbus ‘phags) and Tsangpak (gtsang ‘phags).

With this ends the tracing of this particular lineage and the biographical details of a few of its most significant members.

14.2 Amoghapaśa and the Instruction of Dawa Gyeltsen (don zhags dang dmar khrid zla rgyal lugs kyi skabs). {Chandra 904; Chengdu 1186; Roerich 1018}

The following sections all deal with this particular transmission of Amoghapaśa, a manifestion of Avalokiteśvara who was generally more popular in Nepal than Tibet.

14.2.1 E ra pa ti and Indian disciples {R1018}

The Lineage of the Sādhana (propitiation) of Ārya Amoghapaśa (‘phags pa don yod zhags pa) is said to have originated from a paṇḍita named E ra pa ti. He was from South India and was known for unintentionally causing the death of his mother. Repenting, he propitiated Amoghapaśa and had a vision of the deity, then decided to go to another county and teach. Among his followers were said to be siddhas, such as Virūpa.

The actual transmission of the sādhana is as follows: Erapati -> his servant -> a yogin of low caste -> Dönyö Dorjé (don yod rdo rje, aka: rdo rje gdan pa, Amoghavajra). The latter received it from Sönyompa (bsod snyoms pa) the siddha of Saṃvara who received it from Dharmakapāla, who received it from Mahākaruṇika directly.

In the vihara of Kasarpana one called Śīlākara preached it to the paṇḍita Vairocana. The latter passed it on to Bari (ba ri). So, Bari received it from both Vairocana and Dönyö Dorjé, who also seems to have combined two transmissions.

14.2.2 Bari {R1021}

Bari was a contemporary of Mila (mid la), and met Atiśa, who told him to go to the residence of Dorjé Denpa (rdo rje gdan pa). {Roerich seems to translate this as “go to see rdo rje gdan pa”, but it appears to mean “go to Bodhgaya and see the statue there”? The passage also says that the accidents will not befall you, meaning that the trip will be safe. EP}

On the way, he had a vision of Avalokiteśvara in his dream in the night preceding the crossing of the Ganges. At Kośalakrama he met Tsami (tsa mi, aka: sangs rgyas grags pa). He twice offered him a golden zho, Tsami showed him an image, which had been consecrated by the Buddha and fashioned by Viśvakarman. The image proved similar to the one he had seen in his dream. On seeing the image, an excellent transit meditation was produced in him. {This is an excellent example of the visionary character of this practice and its relation to the material representations of such visions EP}.

Gö Lotsawa relates many stories of Bari being filled with compassion and acting accordingly and being known because of this as a Bodhisattva. In Tibet after his return he went to worship (the images) of Avalokiteśvara (Mahākaruṇika), Manjuśrī and Tārā, which were formerly brought by the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo (lo tsa ba rin chen bzang po). That night in a dream he was told that he should repair the big toe on the foot of the Tārā. He brought a (piece of) gor shi sha with gold, and repaired the damage. {This is another example of the connection between the visionary and material aspects of the symbolism attached to statues and deities EP}.

After that he again journeyed to India and obtained from Dorjé Denpa (rdo rje gdan pa, aka: tsa mi) numerous doctrines, such as the Cycle of Avalokiteśvara and others. {R1023} His lineage exists to the present day.

This section on Bari is by far the richest of the individuals detailed thus far in the chapter. The stories are more numerous and generally richer in detail, and Gö Lotsawa imbues his lifetime exploits with a hint of romantic idealism that is not as present in the other accounts (though no more than the average namtar). Bari is a revered figure in Tibetan history, a prominent member of the Sakya tradition, and an important translator and teacher across traditions {TBRC ID: P3731}, and Gö Lotsawa's treatment can only reflect this.

14.2.3 Separate lineage transmissions.

This details different trajectories of the transmission originating with Amoghapaśa but stemming more recently from Da Bodhisattva (byang sems zla rgyal), who was a nephew of Atiśa.

14.2.4 Initiation ceremony of Amoghapaśa (rigs gtad). {R1024}

Here Gö Lotsawa traces the rigs gtad lineage through many famous figures all the way up to him by means of Künkyen Shangpa (kun mkhyen shangs pa).

14.2.5 Detailed exposition (dmar khrid) of the Cycle of the Great Merciful One (Mahākaruṇika) according to the system of Chensem Dagyel (byan sems zla rgyal) {R1024}.

This traces the lineage of Chensem Dagyel, who was perceived to be Avalokiteśvara, up through Kyechok Namka Zangpo (skyes mchog nam mkha' bzang po), and thus ends the chapter on the cycle of Amoghapaśa.

14.3 Latö Marpo (la stod dmar po’i skabs). {Chandra 911; Chengdu 1195; Roerich 1025}

This lineage is said to have originated from the Buddha Amitabha and the ḍākinī Guhyajñānā (gsang ba ye shes), and is the basis for the cycle of Mahakaruṇika, mentioned above. The sections that follow outline important people in Latö Marpo's lineage.

This lineage may have something to do with curing leprosy, as Latö Marpo himself was known to suffer from it. He went to India and met with Dorjé Denpa, received teachings, attained siddhis, contested with heretics, etc. He was not a monk.

Because he was wearing a red mantle and a royal turban on {R1029} his head, he became known as Dampa Marpo (dam pa dmar po). He settled at Gyama Nyekha (rgya ma nye kha).

When (the country) was threatened by the troops of the gar log he shot an arrow into a large boulder and pierced it. The troops having seen it, retired.

His doctrine consisted of the following: the teachings he received from rdo rje gdan pa, those taught to him by dākiṇis while he was staying at Sītavana, such as the Precepts ransoming death ('chi la bslu ba'i gdams ngag) in order to remove misfortunes to his physical body, the lam sbyor ba lnga, with the help of which one was able to cross the five Paths simultaneously, the dbang bzhi khug pa, which removed defilements from sins and helped to acquire power, and the Precepts of merging the 18 kinds of relativity (stong pa bcho brgyad) into the essence of the Merciful One with the view of practicing all the doctrines simultaneously.

{In general, this is a tantric set of practices, as evidenced by the comparison of this list with the previous lineage’s monastic Mahayana practices. I couldn’t find the title of the latter text anywhere, but it seems interesting in its mentioning of the simultaneous practice of all doctrines. EP}

14.3.1 Marpo’s disciples {R1029-1030}

Sönam Rinchen (bsod nams rin chen)

Sönam Rinchen was the elder son of Latö Marpo, and a scholar who first studied with Jangpa Tönkyap and later at the monastic college of Zhangepa (zhang e pa). He mastered the Tantras and Sūtras and perfected his meditation before his death, which was followed by an image of Saṃvara in union (yab yum) form and many other relics in his ashes. {This probably refers to his main practice of Saṃvara and thus signifies him attaining the high realization? EP}.

Baru (bha ru)

Baru, youngest son of Latö Marpo, is noteworthy for having imitated insanity.

Nyönpa Domchung (smyon pa ldom chung)

Nyönpa Domchung, originally an attendant of Latö Marpo, is noteworthy for being the only non-blood relative of the latter mentioned as a prominent lineage holder.

14.4 Lineage of Tropuwa (khro phu ba las brgyud pa’i skabs). {Chandra 915; Chengdu 1200; Roerich 1030}.

Mitrayogin (mitra dzo ki) and his twenty miracles {R1030}

These are twenty "wonderful" stories, most of which are miracles that Mitra performed either while battling North Indian troops hostile to monasteries, humiliating kings, teaching through miraculous means, etc. Gö Lotsawa relays these here, and not much else about Mitra, in order to bolster the perception of Mitra as the primary figure and spiritual hero of the Tropuwa lineage. More historical details will come out later, but here it is important that Mitra is introduced chiefly as a miracle-maker.

Meeting Champépel (byams pa'i dpal) and coming to Tibet {R1033}

When the Lotsawa Champépel (khro phug lo tsa ba), who was studying the Doctrine with the paṇḍita Buddhaśrī in Nepal, heard that this great siddha, endowed with such miraculous powers, had come to Pakpa Shingkün ('phags pa shing kun, Swayambunath) he asked him to visit Tibet. The siddha didn’t promise but then after a period of testing the Lotsawa’s faith and purification of his obscurations he came to Upper gtsang for 18 moths, taught many and blessed the foundation of the monastery and the great image of Maitreya at Tropu (khro phu).

14.4.1 Branches of the Doctrine taught by Mitrayogin {R1034-1035}

Mitra's prowess having been firmly established, Gö Lotsawa turns to the more mundane detailing and outlining. The rest of this super-section is an intensive enumeration and schematization of Mitra's teachings. Very briefly:

The branches of the Doctrine taught {R1034} by Mitra were:

  1. the Cycles of the Ordinary Doctrines preached as branches of science,
  2. the Cycle of different practices taught as method of inner meditation,
  3. the Cycles of the Special Doctrine preached as an introduction to hidden initiation. the Cycle of different practices taught as method of inner meditation {R1035} the Sādhana of his tutelary deity the Great Merciful One (Mahākaruṇika) twenty mula sādhanas (rtsa ba'i sgrul thabs) twenty sādhanas of realization (dngos grub sgrub pa)

14.4.2 Special Cycle and Hidden Blessing (R1039)}

The initiation of bde chen ral gchig (Mahāsukha Ekajati) and the precepts of Avalokiteśvara in 25 Ślokas formed part of the Special Cycle, expounding the Introduction to the Hidden Blessing.

14.5 Severing the Samsara Stream [Great Seal system] (‘khor ba rgyun gcod kyi skabs). {Chandra 922; Chengdu 1208; Roerich 1039}.

The origins {R1039}

This is another transmission involving Mitra, and likely originating with him. A group of five ḍakiṇīs came forth from the miraculous great Künngak (kun sngag, Samantabhasa) caitya of the country of Dharmaganja (chos kyi mdzod) in Oddiyana, and preached this doctrine to Śrī Saraha, who taught it to Mitra.

The Tibetan transmission {R1039}

This is a somewhat standard outline of lineage dynamics, but it is of particular note that one of the lineage holders is female. Gö Lotsawa writes that Zema (mdzes ma) met many {R1040} siddhas. In her youth she came to Gangkar Chukha (gangs dkar chu kha) in Ön (‘on). Being an expert in the prānayāma (rtsa rlung), she could not be tempted. Whenever someone attempted to tempt her, she would draw all his well-being into herself, and her complexion would assume a shining appearance, while the other would look like a dying man. She composed many books on her mystic experience, and passed away at the age of about seventy. (After the cremation of her remains), her heart and both the eyes were left sunburn. One of the eyes was (preserved) at Gangkar (gangs dkar), the other at Gyakar (rgya gar) of Dopogen (do po sgan), and the heart was preserved inside the Pepün (pad spuns) caitya at Pelri (dpal ri).

{This is an interesting account of the female siddha in Tibet testifying to the popularity of the cutting (gchod) practice. Also, the connection between the relics and the stupas built after the Indian model of the eight types associated with the eight sites and events of the Buddha’s life and his relics seems to continue. Pepün is the one that refers to the Birth of the Buddha at Lumbini, but in this case it may indicate the establishment of local pilgrimage centers in Tibet? EP}.

14.6 Celestial Practice (mkha’ spyod bsnyen sgrub kyi skabs). {Chandra 924; Chengdu 1211; Roerich 1041}.

This tradition is unique among the ones recently mentioned because it is traced back earlier than Mitra, to Tsokyé Dorjé. Given that the next section traces back to Mitra again, it's interesting that this section marks a dip in the surrounding timelines, and that it is explicitly Karmapa in orientation.

14.7 Dharma Cycles originating from the great adept Mitra (grub chen mi tra las byung ba’i chos skor gyi skabs). {Chandra 924; Chengdu 1212; Roerich 1042}

Gö Lotsawa accounts only one lineage, and says that there were many others, but reminds us that while Mitra was the earthly originator, Vajradhara and Avalokiteśvara were the true originators. In describing the transmission, Gö Lotsawa recounts a telling story about one of the lineage holders:

Champa Senggé (byams pa seng ge), a kalyāṇa mitra of Gyel (rgyal), came to Sangpu (gsang phu) to hear the Doctrine of Maitreya (byams chos). They met him and inquired about Gokhom José (mgo khom jo sras). Champa Senggé replied: He was my countryman! But I doubt that he possesses the Hundred Initiations. He used to be an old Tantric, good natured and pious. With you, I shall also ask for them. Then it is said that he obtained them. Those who did not believe the statement of Champa Senggé (about his obtaining precepts), instead met Gokhom José and obtained the initiations from him.

This is of note for its illustration of multiple teachers transmitting a lineage based on popularity and possibly on the ethics of believability, and for the valorization of the quondam state of being an "old Tantric," who was "good natured and pious," presumably contrasted against the current standard of practitioner qualities (though this could also just be a translation subtlety or an idiosyncrasy of the personality being discussed).

14.8 The Tsembu Instruction (dmar khrid tshem bu lugs kyi skabs). {Chandra 925; Chengdu 1213; Roerich 1043}.

Tsembupa (tshem bu pa, aka: grub thob tshem bu pa dmar khrid) also belongs to the Cycle of the Great Merciful One (Mahākaruṇika).

Gö Lotsawa states that some of the methods of exposition of this doctrine appear to agree with those of Mahamudra and with the restraining the organs (sor sdus) of the Saḍaṇga yoga. {This evidently refers to tantric practices EP}.

The connection between Mitra and Mahākaruṇika, not explicit here but begged by their prominence in the chapter on the whole, is an issue that beckons further exploration.

14.9 Darpaṇa (darban gyi skabs). {Chandra 927; Chengdu 1215; Roerich 1045}.

{R1045} Among the Chakriwas (lcags ri bas) and the Nyenchepas (snyan chad pas) there was a precept called Namkha Korsum (nam mkha’ skor gsum). {I’m not sure what these names refer to, perhaps to the names of monasteries: lcags zam chu bo ri (chu shur rdzong) [TBRC Resource Code: G3320], a kagyu monastery built by thang stong rgyal po (b.1361, d.1485) in 1430-s; or lcags ri thang zhang in padma rdzong [TBRC Resource Code: G1721]. snyan chad monastery is not listed. The title of the text may be related to the [TBRC Resource Code: W21063] of Kriya tantra collection of rituals still held by Kagyüpas. EP}.

Also of note are the following lines: The Lineage of the great rite of the maṇḍala called Kryāsamuccaya, composed by the siddha named Darpen (dar pan) had been initially transmitted through many Nepalese masters. Jamyang Dönyöd Gyeltsen ('jam dbyangs don yod rgyal mtshan) of Pelden Sakya (dpal ldan sa skya) obtained the Sanskrit text of the Samuccaya from a Nepalese merchant. It was translated at the request of Künpang Chödrak Pelzangpo (kun spang chos grags dpal bzang po) with assistance of Mañjuśri, a great pandita of Vikramasila, and the Tibetan translator (lo tsa ba) Sazangpa Bokrö Gyeltsen (sa bzang pa bog ros rgyal mtshan). They heard that {R 1046} Ngaripa Dorjé Pel (mnga’ ris pa rdo rje dpal) had obtained the initiation of the Samuccya at {(18a)} Yeren (ye ran, Kathamandu).

{This is an interesting example of how the “lower” categories of tantras are still being received by the Tibetans from the Nepalese and practiced. It also shows that all tantras were not practiced exclusively of one another, but in combination, it seems, especially by the Nepalese (?). Also, perhaps, whatever was famous and known of in Nepal was desired for transmission in Tibet, especially during this time when Nepal became a refuge place for Indian teachers. EP}

Contributing to the integrative nature of the Blue Annals is this very specific detailing of a Sakyapa obtaining a Sanskrit text of the Samuccaya from a Nepalese merchant, which is then translated at the request of a Jonangpa by the Indian pandita Vikramasila, a Tibetan Lotsawa, and Mañjuśri.

Gö Lotsawa concludes the section by declaring that Butön Rinpoché (bu ston rin po che) and others received the same teachings from another lineage.

14.10 Origin of the Adamantine Garland (Skt. Vajrāvali) and other (cycles) (rdo rje phreng ba sogs ji ltar byung ba’i skabs). {Chandra 928; Chengdu 1217; Roerich 1046}.

This section gives a story of the ācārya Abhaya, the author of the Adamantine Garland. He was a strict monk and had been tempted by Vajrayogini in the form of an ordinary woman. He resisted this temptation, but was criticized by his teachers for abandoning the opportunity to use the method and realize the sahaja jñana. Then he had dreams in which Vajrayogini told him to compose ritual manuals so he will become “a fortunate one.” That is how the text came to be.

Then there follows an interesting account narrated by Gö Lotsawa of Śakyaśrībhadra and Vanaratna giving the initiations of Vajrāvali, and how they had to explain why they don’t initiate according to different classes of tantras. There were different opinions among the Tibetans about whether the Vajrāvali should be given as the Annutara yoga, or according to different classes of tantras. Some seem to adhere to the way Abhaya had given them, as the Annutara yoga initiations, others divide them into more. Gö Lotsawa also mentions many different lineages but says that most people favored the translation by Chak Lotsawa.

{This seems to point to the “uneasiness” that the Tibetans had in regard to various classes of tantra, which may have to do with their attempts to systematize and make sense of the great number of transmissions. The Nepalese and Indians, on the other hand, seem to have a more relativist approach, based on the desires of their pupils rather than on the strict hierarchical correspondence of a particular type of teaching/tantra to its category. EP}

14.11 Miscellaneous (thor bu ba’i skabs). {Chandra 930; Chengdu 1220; Roerich 1048}.

Gö Lotsawa starts this section by acknowledging the kinds of sources he used (personal observation, hearing from teachers, reading in biographies and histories) for the above expositions, and then admits that he was not able to recount everything because of his "feeble mind." Nonetheless, he goes on to discuss other teachings and lineages that don't fit into the categories above, and implores readers not to make light of mystical practices.

Riwoché (ri bo che) possessed the exposition of many sādhanas and the Hevajra Tantra preached by one called the siddha Jñana Taklung Sanggyé Wön (stag lung sangs rgyas dbon).

A practice of mystic trance, Chikshé Kündröl (gcig shes kun grol, Knowledge which reveals all), was imparted by a tutelary deity to Menlungpa (man lungs pa), who then handed it down, leading up to Günten Rabchampa Sherap Gyeltsen (gun than rab 'byams pa shes rab rgyal mtshan) of the present day.

The Cycle of the Tārā transmitted by Ravigupta (nyi ma sbas pa): In Kashmir, in the Temple of Rangchung Lhanga (rang byung lha lnga), there was an image of the Ta'u Tārā endowed with miraculous powers that cured lepers after worshipping the image. Ravigupta was also sick and came to this temple, and became cured by Tārā. He composed the rites and taught it to Candragarbha. The latter passed it down, through Melyo Lotsawa (mal gyo lo tsa ba).

Gö Lotsawa ends the chapter by declaring that the cycle of the Tārā was ubiquitous in Tibet, though via different lineages.

This is another account of the practices for healing leprosy, and they seem to not associate directly with Mahākaruṇika. I wonder if the need for such rituals was great, as it seems that they, including the one associated with Mahākaruṇika, were quite popular during this period, though the latter seems related more to purification and repentance, rather than to direct healing.

14.12 Teürapa (rte’u ra pa’i skabs). {Chandra 933; Chengdu 1223; Roerich 1052}

Tenpa Lotsawa Tsültrim Chungné (stens pa lo tsa ba tshul khrims ‘byung gnas) {Chengdu 1223; R1052}

This section narrates a life story of Tenpa Lotsawa, which is closely linked with the practice of Avalokiteśvara as well. Tenpa Lotsawa was known for the Lineage of the Recitation of the Sūtras in Tibet. He went to India and Nepal and studied with Tsami Sanggyé Drakpa (tsa mi sangs rgyas grags pa). Gö Lotsawa mentions a few times that he copied Prajñāparamitā for money and used the money for his trips to India. He made {R1054} numerous translations and revised existing translations, including the Kālacakramūlatantra and the Cycle of Nāgārjuna.

There are, in this section, important references to sutra copying practices in Tibet, as well as sutra recitation practices.

Chakdrachom (chag dgra bchom) {Chengdu 1226; R1054}

Chakdrachom was also a monk who went to India, and a disciple of Tenpa Lotsawa. He studied the Guhyasamāja Tantra according to the method of Nāgārjuna, R1055 the Kālacakra and other systems. After traveling and arriving again in Tibet, he was offered many monasteries. He spent some time in them, but he {R1056} resided primarily at Teura (rte’u ra).

The following lines are of note: Chakdrachom had a shaven head, walked barefoot and abstained from meat. During the cremation of his remains all the gods of Saṃvara retinue appeared on his skull, and the A li Ka Ī (signs) on his jaw. They are now preserved in the caitya containing relics which are shown to worshippers (phyi rten). After Chak's cremation an image of Khasarpaṇa was recovered from the ashes, and, is now preserved (inside) a golden image of Sakyamuni. {Perhaps at rte’u ra? EP}.

The physical description of Chakdrachom can only be perfectly unexceptional for a monk, and so we must wonder why Gö Lotsawa felt compelled to include it. Is it the case that he is reiterating the human, unremarkable features of this man in order to contrast his mortal humility with his great feats and education? Of note also are the descriptions of relics, which vary from saint to saint, presumably not just to keep the narrative lively and dynamic, nor because they're necessarily true, but because Gö Lotsawa is drawing out the breadth and formidability of the tradition by means of diversity of experience and frequency of supernatural interaction.

Overall, this is a remarkable account of the connection between the tutelary deity and the material representations of it manifesting at the time of death. He was noted as having a special connection with Khasarpaṇa and Saṃvara, and also being especially concerned with images of deities and places of pilgrimage. His own chaitya became a place of pilgrimage in Tibet it. Again, there is a strong Nepalese connection, which extends to India and Nalanda especially. It is also remarkable that he had disciples in India. His personal connection with Khasarpaṇa seems to have nothing to do with fasting, but rather with protection and guidance.

Chak Chöjépel (chag chos rje dpal) {Chengdu 1228; R1057}

Chak Chöjépel was a nephew of Chakdrachom. After his uncle’s death, he went to India via Nepal, became a learned translator, and met Ratnarakśita. In India he witnessed the deterioration of the temple at Bodhgaya and the invasion of the Garlok (gar log) troops. He met and studied with Rahula Śrībhadra at Nālandā and experienced the invasion while helping his teacher.

In Tibet he became one famous and was praised even by Sakya Panchen (sa skya pan chen) as one of the greatest translators. He was invited to be an abbot at Naktso Lotsawa's (nag tsho lo tsa ba) monastery and many others.

Here it seems that the journey to India was also a pilgrimage, as one passage tells about him waiting to see the image at Bodhgaya. He seems to be the typical star translator, whose popularity transcended sectarian/lineage boundaries, as he was invited to many monasteries as an abbot. He remained at Teura in the end, and this may have more to do with familial connections than lineage connections, as this was the monastery of his uncle.

Mongolia is mentioned in this section for the first time in the chapter. It is of note that Chak Chöjépel was permitted to stay because of his poor health, a decision made by the Mongolians and Tibetans who were working out how to install the Mongolian regime. This suggests that Chak Chöjépel would have been a threat if he were a younger man, or merely that the travel would have been too hard on his ailing body. In either event, the fact that Tibetans of his stature were ordinarily being asked to leave is telling of the dynamics existing at the time.

Subsequent abbots {Chengdu 1231; R1059}

This is a list of abbots following Chak Chöjépel at the Teura monastery.

What one can see from this list is that the monastery had been passed from familial lineage to abbatial, it seems, as some of the abbots were nominated by their predecessors. This may be due to the fact that their eligible relatives were still quite young and were not able to become the abbots at the time. There were also some actual sectarian conflicts, or perhaps they were still clan/power driven.

Rongling Lotsawa Dorjé Gyeltsen (rong ling lo tsa ba rdorje rgyal mtshan) {Chengdu 1233; R1060}

Gö Lotsawa states that there was another disciple of Abhaya who lived at Nyelrongling (gnyal rong lings) and was a student of the Kālacakra system. His monastery, Sakkha (sags kha) was still standing, but Gö Lotsawa didn’t know his biography and provides no further information.

This final short section seems to be here more as insurance against those that would criticize Gö Lotsawa for not being inclusive enough, or being ignorant of certain personalities. Or perhaps he just forgot to include him earlier and tagged him on here. Since Gö Lotsawa nor we (no record at TBRC) know anything about him other than what is stated in this section, we have to assume Gö Lotsawa is just covering his bases.

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