Blue Annals Chapter 3

Tibetan Texts > Specific Tibetan Text Studies > Deb Ther Sngon Po (Blue Annals) > Chapter By Chapter Summary - The Blue Annals > Chapter 3

Summary of The Blue Annals Chapter 3: The Early Translations of the Secret Mantra

Composed by James Gentry (Spring 2004). Revised by Jay Valentine (last revised 2/10/07).

Note about revision: Gentry's summary is great, but almost every sentence has several words in Wylie Tibetan. I have converted the Wylie to phonetic renderings or translation systematically through I ran "find and replace" on the whole document for many of those terms, but the second half of the summary still contains many words in Wylie. I will make further adjustments and additions if and when possible.

Note about abbreviations: In parentheses next to the English translation of some terms an alternative translation will be listed as follows (alt. trans: Magical Illusion).


This chapter is concerned with the traditions claiming lineal descent from the period of the early translation of tantric textual materials into Tibetan and is therefore structured by Gö Lotsawa ('gos lo tsa ba, 1392-1481) according to the nine-vehicle schema the Ancients (rnying ma pa) use to hierarchically classify Buddhist doctrine. Owing to Gö Lotsawa's emphasis on the transmission of tantric materials, he includes only the top three tantric vehicles of the nine-fold hierarchy, which according to the Ancient sources are the Vehicle of the Great Yoga Tantras (rnal 'byor chen po'i rgyud, Skt. mahāyoga), roughly equivalent to the Magical Illusion (alt. trans: Magical Net, sgyu 'phrul 'drwa ba, Skt. Māyājāla); the Vehicle of the Subsequent Yoga Tantras (rjes su rnal 'byor rgyud, Skt. anuyoga tantra), which is centered on the tantra called the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention (dgongs pa 'dus pa'i mdo); and the Vehicle of the Transcendent Yoga Tantras (shin tu rnal 'byor rgyud, Skt. atiyoga-tantra), also called the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen), which the Ancients further subdivide into the Mind Series (sems sde), the Space Series (klong sde), and the Esoteric Precept Series (man ngag sde). The Seminal Heart (snying thig) is a subdivision of the Esoteric Precept Series.

Go to the external link: Encyclopedia of Philosophical & Religious Doxographies for basic information about the Nine Vehicles of the Ancients.

Gö Lotsawa only deviates from this basic structure when giving Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo (rong zom chos kyi bzang po, 1012-1088) his own titled section, a position he reserves for no other Ancient figure.

Each sub-section usually consists of a short introduction and defense, followed by the relevant lineage history containing a series of biographical accounts depicting the defining episodes in the religious careers of important lineage figures. These biographies are strung together with very little narrative continuity beyond what is strictly necessary to demonstrate unbroken lineal descent.

There are several overarching tendencies in this chapter that merit attention. First, Gö Lotsawa offers no section devoted to the revelation of treasure texts (gter ma) or treasure revealers (gter ston), only mentioning treasure a few times in passing, mostly in reference to the Seminal Heart (snying thig) cycle. This stands out as a curious omission, especially given the wide-spread popularity of treasure cults in the Ancient lineages thriving before and during Gö Lotsawa's time. A connected tendency is Gö Lotsawa's obsession with Indian pedigree, rather than internal Tibetan developments, in the Ancient lineage histories he recounts. Gö Lotsawa is willing to defend those Ancient scriptures with verifiable Indian origins, yet entirely ignores other Ancient literary movements of a more mixed Tibetan character.

Also of note, there is a tendency for transmission lineages such as the Mind Series and the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention to be assimilated within a larger class, such as the Magical Illusion cycle, at some point in their transmission history. Judging by the accounts themselves, this seems to represent a Tibetan tendency to consolidate and systematize disparate cycles into a whole over the course of time, even to the point where transmission lineages merge. Yet, this may also represent a tendency to reintegrate detached cycles that had previously formed a whole. There are various examples of cycles with shifting transmission links throughout each section.

3.1 Principally on the Magical Illusion (sgyu 'phrul gtso bor gyur pa'i skabs) (Chandra 92; Chengdu 135; Roerich 102).

3.1.1 General Introduction to Early Translation Period Tantric Texts and Lineages

Gö Lotsawa begins this chapter contrasting the instability of the Vinaya teachings (Cdu 135: 'dul ba'i stan pa) in Tibet with the enduring presence of the Great Vehicle Secret Mantra teachings (Cdu 135: theg pa chen po gsang sngag kyi bstan pa), which have not experienced decline since their initial introduction into Tibet. Here, Gö Lotsawa parts from his previous periodization scheme of early and later spread of the Vinaya. Now the focus is on early and later translation periods, the later period, by Gö Lotsawa's account, beginning with the translations of Pandita Smriti (paN+Di ta s+m+ri ti).

i. Defense of Early Translation Textual Authenticity

Here Gö Lotsawa attempts to defend the authentic Indian pedigree of the Nucleus Mystery of Tantra (gsang ba snying po, Skt. Guhyagarbha Tantra) and the Invocation of the Adamantine Dagger (alt. trans: Sādhana of Vajrakīla) both of which are from the Vehicle of the Great Yoga Tantras collection of texts known as the Magical Illusion. These two texts were of central importance to the Ancient lineages claiming literary and lineal descent from the dynastic period, yet because of doubts about their Indian origins, Butön (bu ston, 1290-1364) rejected them from inclusion in his famous Kangyur (bka' 'gyur) catalogue.

Gö Lotsawa's strategy for the Nucleus Mystery of Tantra is, first, to isolate two texts that were translated during the dynastic period and included in Butön's Kangyur catalogue, namely the Assemblage of Secrets Tantra (alt. trans: Secret Assembly, dpal gsang ba 'dus pa, Skt. Guhyasamāja) and the Equalizing Buddhahood Tantra (sangs rgyas mnyam sbyor). He then lists a number of Indian commentaries on those texts included in Butön's Tengyur (bstan 'gyur) catalogue that reference or quote the Nucleus Mystery of Tantra.

Gö Lotsawa also mentions a later-period translation (gsang snying rgyud phyi ma) done by Tarpa Lotsawa (thar pa lo tsA ba). The Sanskrit edition was first discovered by Shakyashribhadra (Skt. Śākyaśrībhadra, 1204-1213 A.D.) at Samyé Monastery (bsam yas) and eventually made it into the hands of Rigpa Reldri (rig pa ral gri) before the translation was commissioned. Gö Lotsawa claims to own a damaged copy of the Sanskrit original.

Allegations against the Indian pedigree of the Invocation of the Adamantine Dagger were quelled, according to Gö Lotsawa, by Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyeltsen's (sa skya paṇḍita kun dga' rgyal mtshan, 1182-1252 A.D.) discovery of a Sanskrit edition at Shangrek Shing (shangs sreg zhing) and his subsequent translation.

ii. Summary of three-stage transmission history from the dynastic period under King Trisong Detsen (khri srong lde btsan, b.730 or 742), to Nub Sangyé Yeshé (snubs sangs rgyas ye shes, c. 832-942), to the Zür (zur) clan

Here, Gö Lotsawa offers an abridged version of the famous three-phased scheme of early translation lineal descent in Tibet. However, rather than single-out Dznyana Kumara of the Nyak Clan (gnyags dz+nyA na ku mA ra) as the leading figure of the first phase, as would become standard, Gö Lotsawa begins with a general litany of accomplished Tibetans to emerge during the reign of King Trisong Detsen. He lists thirteen important male figures and one female, Droza Dipam ('bro gza' dI paM), while acknowledging the presence of several other accomplished females during this period.

Gö Lotsawa has Nub Sangyé Yeshé leading the second phase of lineal descent and cites his role in propagating the tantras after the disintegration of imperial law (Chu 137: rgyal khrims zhig). He also mentions Nub Sangyé Yeshé's role in the translation and transmission of the tantra called the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention with a Gilgit master Nub Sangyé Yeshé encountered in Central Asia during a sojourn from the escalation of civil strife (Chu 137: phyogs ris kyi 'khrug pa dar ba'i dus) in central Tibet.

The third phase begins with the activities of the Zür clan, beginning with Zür senior and junior. Gö Lotsawa then correlates their dates with Atisha's (Skt. Atīśa) arrival in Tibet.

3.1.2 Detailed transmission history from dynastic period

Then follows is a slightly more detailed discussion of the texts and practices transmitted from Indian masters during the dynastic period. The focus here is on the interaction between Tibetans and Indians, or other non-Tibetans, on Tibetan soil.

This section begins with the traditional accounts of the general origins of Buddhism in Tibet. Here Gö Lotsawa mentions the royal family of King Toto Ri Gyentsen's (tho tho ri gnyan btsan, the first historical king of Tibet) worship of the Gyenpo Sangpo (gnyan po gsang bo) text.

He also discusses the tantric deity practices of King Songtsen Gampo (srong btsan sgam po, 569-650 or 617-650), specifically his devotion to Bhairava, and the general popularity of deity propitiation practices during his reign. As evidence, Gö Lotsawa offers a curious mix of textual and prophetic support – he mentions a text for the conjuration of Bhairava attributed to Songtsen Gampo and a prophecy that Shri-Guhyapati delivered to Lekyi Dorjé (las kyi rdo rje) concerning his previous life as a nāga in Yarlung (yar klung) who used witchcraft against a Bhairavī yogin. Gö Lotsawa also points out that deity practices were secret prior to the reign of King Mé Ak Tsom (mes ag tshom), but that the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteśvara had already pervaded popular religious practice by this time, “beginning with small children.” {R 105}

Next, Gö Lotsawa briefly mentions King Trisong Deutsen's (khri srong de'u btsan) invitation of Shantarakshita to Tibet and the origin of monastic ordination under his reign, before describing his reception of the Adamantine Dagger and the Horse-necked (rta mgrin, Skt. Hayagriva) initiations from Padmasambhava. Gö Lotsawa singles out the Horse-necked practice as especially significant to the king and describes his signs of success in this practice – mysterious neighing heard by several witnesses.

i. Transmission of the Eight Precept Deities (bka' brgyad)

Gö Lotsawa next very briefly describes the transmission of the Eight Precept Deities, dividing them into five transcendent groups and three mundane groups {R106-107}. Notably, Gö Lotsawa explicitly links the cycles of Jampel ('jam dpal, Manjushri), Yang Dak (yang dag, Skt. Vishuddha), Dütsi Yönten (bdud rtsi yon tan) and Pürpa (phur pa) with Indian masters active in Tibet during the reign of King Trisong Deutsen. Padmasambhava is not mentioned separately, unless its links with Padmasmbhava are implied. Gö Lotsawa concurs with Ancient sources that claim the three groups of mundane deities derive from Padmasambhava's subjugation of Tibetan spirits, and addresses a critique voiced by Peldzin (dpal 'dzin) essentially stating that if the deities of the “praise of the world” ('jig rten mchod bstod) mandala are indeed Tibetan, then given the purportedly non-Tibetan provenance of the schema, other deities would have to have been killed off elsewhere to make way for the new Tibetan pantheon. Gö Lotsawa rejects Peldzin's criticism by citing his ignorance of the Panycharaksha (Skt. Pañcarakṣā), an Indian text concerned with mapping the various locations of the multiple yakshas (Skt. yakṣas).

ii. Transmission of the Great Perfection Precepts

Here Gö Lotsawa briefly mentions the three divisions of the Ancient Great Perfection texts and practices, the Mind (sems), Space (klongs), and Esoteric Precept (man ngag) Series and mentions the principal lineage figures affiliated with each, Vairocana and Vimalamitra for the Mind Series, Vairocana for the Space Series, and Vimalamitra and his disciple Yangting Gedzin (myang ting nge 'dzin) for the Esoteric Precept Series. He treats each in greater detail later under their respective headings.

3.1.3 Transmission of Magical Illusion from the dynastic period to the Zür Clan

Next, Gö Lotsawa turns to consider the lineal descent of the exegesis of the Ancient tantras (Chu, 140: rgyud kyi bshed pa), specifically the cycle of the Magical Illusion, from the initial interaction between the Indian adept Vimalamitra and the Tibetan translator Ma Rinchen Chok (rma rin chen mchog) that resulted in the first Tibetan editions from this cycle, to their later spread in Tibet via members of the Zür clan/lineage.

Notable in this section is Gö Lotsawa's mention of the early formation of distinct exegetical lineages or schools (lugs) from a single teacher. The lineage beginning from Shang (zhang), the direct disciple of Ma Rinchen Chok, becomes known as the Kachim Pupé (bka' chims phu pas), or the Men-ngak Gyüd (man ngag brgyud), and Dorjé Pelgyi Drakpa (dor rje dpal gyi grags pa), the grand-disciple of Ma Rinchen Chok, is credited for the initial emergence of the Ü schools (dbu lugs) and the Kam schools (khams lugs), from his successful missionary activities in those regions. It remains unclear however exactly what the term lugs refers to here.

Gö Lotsawa also takes Vairocana's translation of Nyi-öd Seng-ge's (nyi 'od seng ge) Nucleus Mystery of Tantra commentary in a temple (gtsug lag khang) in Kam ('og rdu thugs rje byams chen) as clear evidence for his transmission of an exegetical lineage transmitted into khams.

Finally, Gö Lotsawa mentions the figure Sangyé Yeshé Shab (sangs rgyas ye shes zhabs) as pivotal in yet a third exegetical lineage stemming from Vimalamitra and proliferating in Tibet. It is this third lineage to which Gö Lotsawa devotes the bulk of this short section. After dating his period of activity between the reigns of kings Relpachen (ral pa can) and Tri Trashi Tsek (khri bkra shis btsegs), Gö Lotsawa gives a detailed account of the lineal descent until Zürpoché (zur po che shA kya 'byung gnas).

Several items are noteworthy in these accounts. For one, the principal mode of lineal descent appears to be hereditary, but perhaps should be more accurately construed in terms of clan, rather than a strict patrilineal system, which is certainly dominant but not in every case. Gö Lotsawa here makes the clan-religious lineage link explicit: the Rong School (rong lugs) that emerges from the disciples of Sangyé Yeshé Shab, such as Yeshé Gyatso (ye shes rgya mtso) and his son Yangshé Rabchok (myang shes rab mchog), is also known as the Yang School (myang lugs), a name designated based on their clan (Chu: 142, gdung rus las btags te myang lugs zhes).

Also of note, Yangshé Rabchok, the son and disciple (yab sras kyi slob ma) of Yeshé Gyatso, himself the principal disciple of Sangyé Yeshé Shab, built a temple (Chu, 142.2: gtsug lag khang bzhengs). Its name is not given.

Next, Gö Lotsawa takes issue with Yungtön's (g.yung ston) lineage account, which puts several generations between Sangyé Yeshé Shab and Zürpoché. He corrects this to make Zürpoché the direct disciple of Yang Yeshé Chungné (myang ye shes 'byung gnas), whose teacher was Yangshé Rabchok, the son of Yeshé Gyatso and along with his father, the direct disciple of Sangyé Yeshé.

3.1.4 The Zür Geneology

This section is an elaborate genealogical history of the Zür clan/religious lineage through Gö Lotsawa's time. It consists of disparate biographies of several of the more prominent figures from the Zür clan/lineage strung together with few narrative links beyond the overlaps necessary to illustrate unbroken lineal succession. Notwithstanding, these stories trace the lineal descent of a clan dynasty from murky beginnings to Chinese Imperial patronage, and in so doing, offer an incredible wealth of information touching on almost every facet of Tibetan lay and religious life from the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries. This section also offers a prolonged look into the formation of an important Tibetan clan and religious lineage. Especially relevant are the numerous references to the foundation of institutions, descriptions of the dynamics of lineal succession, and striking accounts of the encounters between diverse types of religious specialists.

i. Zürpoché

This section begins with a litany of the first several generations of Zür hierarchs before focusing specifically on the religious career of Zürpoché, credited with beginning the Zür clan's prestigious religious lineage. As is clear form the list, with the exception of Zür, the Eldest and zur shes rab 'byung gnas, the lineage is entirely of patrilineal descent.

Zürpoché's biography traces his life chronologically, beginning with his family genealogy and spiritual lineage, including a list of the teachings he received, before moving on to his exegetical activity and a delineation of disciples, most notably, the “four summits of the people,” the eight “crowns of the summit,” and the single “crown of the summit” (atsags bla ma). {R 111}

It closes with details of Zürpoché's institution-building activity, including his construction (Chu: 144, bzhengs) and consecration of the famous temple of Ükpa Valley ('ug pa lung) – the place Zürpoché would spend the majority of his life and eventually be named after ('ug pa lung pa) – as well the Dropuk (sgro phug) temple, and numerous statues.

Gö Lotsawa's list of the teachings Zürpoché received include the deity-focused ritual practices of the Eight Precept Deities (bka' brgyad), the Magical Illusion collection of tantras, the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention, as well as the various Great Perfection classes.

Gö Lotsawa also notes that Zürpoché was the first to separately classify root tantras and explanatory tantras, and organize root tantras with their commentaries, invocations (sgrub thabs, Skt. sādhana) with their corresponding tantras, and ritual manuals with their corresponding invocations.

Zürpoché was a celibate (brahmacāryin), yet there is no mention of his affiliation with a monastic order of any kind. Moreover, in the story of Zürpoché's invitation to the religious council (chos 'khor) in Nyari (nya ri) and his subsequent collaboration in the construction of the Dropuk temple Zürpoché is the tantric practitioner invited to complement the presence of a monk and a Bönpo (bon po) priest. This contrast between a celibate non-monastic tantric and a monk shows that celibacy and monastic ordination were clearly not mutually inclusive practices, but rather belonged at times to distinct groups of religious specialists. This story is also interesting for its peculiar depiction of the interaction between monks, tantrics, and Bönpo's in vying and collaborating for local religious authority and patronage. Interestingly, Zürpoché and the Bönpo priest team up to the exclusion of the Buddhist monk, suggesting that Ancients of Zürpoché's time were more closely ideologically aligned with Bönpo's than with the Buddhist monastic mainstream.

Also of note is Zürpoché's devotion to Drokmi ('brog mi), miraculously supplying him with enough gold upon request to pay the large fee for Indian Gayadhara's oral instructions.

ii. Zürchung Sherab Drakpa (zur chung shes rab grags pa) (bde gshegs rgya bo pa)

Next follows the biography of Zürpoché's chief spiritual heir, Zürchung, “the highest among the Four Summits of the People” {R 113}. Zürchung's biography follows him from his adoption by Zürpoché from distant Zür clan relatives, to his eventual rise to material and religious success, his inheritance of the Zür clan religious lineage, as well as his influential preaching and institution-building activities.

This section is notable for several reasons. It offers revealing depictions of tensions between Zürchung's lineage of old-translation tantrics and new-translation tantrics and monastics; it records Zürchung's efforts to maintain the distinct identity of his Magical Illusion exegetical tradition against the rising tides of Modernist (gsar ma) authority and charisma; it offers a glimpse into the economic realities of being an aspiring tantric teacher in the eleventh century; and it hints at the nature of lineal succession when the boundaries of clan and religious lineage have merged.

Gö Lotsawa begins by relating the story of Zürchung's initial encounter with his guru, Zürpoché. By Gö Lotsawa's account, it would seem that Zürpoché adopts the young monk (Chu, 147, btsun chung) from his father, also a monk, based solely on his being a distant member of the Zür clan {R 114}. This perhaps indicates the development of a strategy for clan-based religious lineages to maintain clan inheritance practices even while lineage heads such as Zürpoché practiced celibacy and thus had no natural heirs.

Next, Gö Lotsawa relates Zürchung's financial hardships, specifically how his lack of funds interfered with his ability to obtain tantric initiations and copy texts. Zürpoché's solution to Zürchung's problem was for Zürchung to compromise his wish to maintain celibacy and take up with one of Zürpoché's wealthy women patrons, and her daughter. Against his wishes, Zürchung complied. After Zürchung procured his initiations and texts, Zürpoché demanded that he take his books and leave them. Zürchung subsequently never experienced financial hardship again. As a result of his economic success, Zürchung also gained the initiations that authorized him as a teacher, and thus began his successful teaching career explaining the tantra called the Embodiment of the Intentions of the Sūtras to a congregation of “three hundred students possessing text books around him” {R 115}.

During an annual practice of Yangdak that Zürpoché led at the hermitage (sgrub khang) of Shang-kyi Sampa (shangs kyi bsam pa), Zürchung experienced a defining moment in his religious career. After emerging victorious from a contest of miracles among the “Four Summits of the People” initiated by Zürpoché, Zürpoché tells the losers, “you should not walk over Zürchung's shadow,” thereby implicitly designating Zürchung as the rightful heir to the Zür clan lineage.

There is no mention of Ükpa Valley ('ug pa lung) as an important center for study and practice for Zürchung. Rather, Zürchung's principal center for studies was the temple of Yeru Kangtri (g.yas rus khang khri) (Chu. 150: g.yas ru khang khri lha khang na 'chad nyan skyong), which he left in the care of “the three useless ones” when he departed to found the hermitage (dgon pa) of Gyabo (rgya bo) in Tak (thag). Zürchung meditated in Gyabo for thirteen years and hence acquired the name Gyabopa (rgya bo pa).

Zürchung was eventually forced to leave his hermitage at Gyapo and return to the temple. The reasons given for Zürchungs return, primarily attributed to the ineptitude of the “three useful ones,” are especially interesting for the details they offer concerning the sectarian self-identity of the early Zür lineage.

Simply stated, “the three ('Useless Ones') where unable to protect the doctrine” {118}, or rather, they were each intent on supplementing the conservative Sang Nying (gsang snying) exegetical lineage belonging to the Zür clan with Modernist period tantric or scholastic materials.

In particular, Gocha Tsa ('go bya tsha), in an attempt to supplement the Tablam (thabs lam) section of the Sang Nying with corresponding material from the mother tantras (ma brgyud), went to study the Hevajra-tantra at Gökukpa Latsé's ('gos khug pa lhas btsas) school (grwa sa). Gö Lotsawa also reports Gocha Tsa's encounter with two monks on the way, to whom he viciously insults the vehicle of hearer-listeners and solitary realizers, subordinating these to the king of vehicles, presumably meaning the vehicle of secret mantra. {R 117-118} Gö Lotsawa also mentions that there was friction between Gocha Tsa and Gökukpa over the former's disrespectful behavior towards the senior teacher at Gökukpa Latsé's school.

Furthermore, Mak-chung Wang-seng (meg chung dbang seng), intending to supplement the Magical Illusion with additional yogic practices when removing a mandala (??) in this system, left to study under Sumpa Yebar (sum pa ye 'bar) for a spell.

Then, in order to supplement the basis and path structure of the Magical Illusion system, Gochung Wang ('go chung dbang), the third “useless one,” left to study logic and epistemology (tshad ma) at Pangka Darchung's (spang ka dar chung) school.

Zürchung was thus forced to return to the study center primarily to maintain the integrity of the Zür exegetical lineage of the Magical Illusion tantras. However, Gö Lotsawa also mentions that Zürchung had made a commitment to Zürpoché to complete the temple that Zürpoché began before his passing.

Quite appropriately, Gö Lotsawa next lists Zürchung's principal disciples largely in terms of building metaphors, i.e., the “four columns,” the “eight beams,” the “thirty-two planks,” and the like {R 118-119}.

Also of note in this section is Gö Lotsawa's description of two debates between Zürchung and scholastic monk figures in which the tenets of the Great Perfection and the “Magical Illusion” are explicit objects of criticism for Zürchung's opponents, or are mentioned directly by Zürpoché himself. These suggest that Zürchung was a popular target for Modernist monastic figures critical of these controversial texts, doctrines, and practices.

The more detailed of the two accounts concerns the story of the “four pillars,” four of Zürchung's closest disciples whom he first encountered when their teacher, the learned dialectal philosopher and monk (grwa pa mtshan nyid pa chen po shin tu mkhas pa) Geshé Kungpo Drakse (dge bshes khyung po grags se), dispatched them to defeat Zürchung in debate during a religious gathering they were all mutually attending. The short transcript of this debate along with other details of this story, even if only a later contrivance, is interesting as a possible indication of some of the controversially flash points between scholastic monks and tantrics of the old-translation lineages active during this period {Chu 153-155; R 119-120}.

Gö Lotsawa next relates an account in which Gökukpa Latsé's severe disapproval for Zürchung turns to veneration. Interestingly, Gökukpa expresses his disrespect for Zürchung by instituting a rule (Chu. 156: khrims) that all Modernist tantrics (Chu.156: gsar ma ba rnams) never sit below or prostrate to Zürchung, further indicating the general tension between Modernist adherents and the Zür clan/lineage, and perhaps old-translation clan-based lineages more generally.

Despite Zürchung's avowed preference for celibacy, he produced three sons and daughters from two separate unions. The son from his second union was Zür Shakya Sengé (zur shAkya seng ge), the next hierarch of the Zür lineage.

iii. Zür Shakya Sengé (lha rje chen po sgro phug pa chen po)

This section is a description of the circumstances surrounding Zür Shakya Sengé's birth from the union of Zürchung and Joré Monga Tsuktor (jo sras mo mnga' mo gtsug tor), a woman studying religion at a monastic school (grwa sa) when Zürchung met her and took her as his consort. By Gö Lotsawa's account, the monks (grwa pa) were displeased when she took-up with Zürchung and were considering her expulsion when Kyotön Shakya (skyo ston shAkya) dreamt of the great benefit her child would bring them. They therefore allowed her to stay in the monastery with the child under the care of a renunciant (his uncle in a later account) who failed to properly provide for the child. The section ends with an anecdote about an auspicious donation of food a visiting nun made to the child and his family, which they take as an omen indicating the sacred nature of the child.

iv. Zür Genealogy from Zür Shakya Sengé

This section lists eight generations of progeny beginning from Zür Shakya Sengé.

v. Concerning Zürchung's Dates (1014-1074)

Here, Gö Lotsawa is concerned with aligning Zürchung's dates with the accepted dates of other major figures active during the eleventh century. Gö Lotsawa's basic date is the birth of Lochen Rinchen Sangpo (lo chen rin chen bzang po). He dates Zürchung's birth in the year wood-male-tiger (1014), when the great translator was fifty-eight.

Gö Lotsawa then correlates Zürchung's dates as contemporary with Marpa (mar pa), Gökukpa Latsé, Kön Könchok Gyalpo (khon gkon mchog rgyal bo), and Lotsawa Loden Sherab (lo tsa ba blo ldan shes rab). According to Gö Lotsawa's calculations, Zürchung passed away in the year wood-male-tiger (1074), at the age of sixty-one.

vi. Zür Shakya Sengé (lha rje chen po sgro phug pa chen po) continued…

After the detour into Zürchung's dates, Gö Lotsawa continues with the biography of Zür Shakya Sengé. Most notable in Gö Lotsawa's account is that Zür Shakya Sengé appears to have benefited greatly from the hard work of his father Zürchung. Clearly Dropukpa (sgro phug pa) inherited from Zürchung an established, wealthy, and prestigious religious institution that he was only needed to maintain, rather than develop further. More, Zür Shakya Sengé's inheritance occurred in a formal installation into office ceremony (Chu. 160: che 'don). This marks the first appearance of this term in the Zür lineage records.

Oddly, Dropukpa is born in 1074, the year of his father Zürchung's death. After his installation ceremony at nineteen, his institutional responsibilities prohibited him from traveling to pursue religious training elsewhere. However, his clout ensured that he was able to continue his studies by inviting and financially supporting several famous teachers, thus he received a complete education in the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention, Magical Illusion, and Great Perfection systems under the private tutelage of several of Zürchung's direct disciples, such as the “four pillars” and other notables. Any reference to institution building is conspicuously missing from this account, as is any mention of extensive meditation retreat. Yet, Dropukpa is the first Zür hierarch to be attributed divine status – “Dropukpa was said to be a manifestation of guhyapati Vajrapani” {R 125}. The account closes with a description of the miracles occasioned by his passing, as well as a listing of his closest disciples. Gö Lotsawa dates his Dropukpa's death to the year wood-male-tiger (1134)

vii. Lajé Tön Gyanak (lha rje lce ston rgya nag)

Gö Lotsawa is explicit about his reliance on different documents (Chu., 162: yi ge gzhan dag na) for the biography of Gyanak, but fails to mention what these are. Gö Lotsawa begins by recounting an alternate lineage history in which Dropukpa is the direct disciple of Laktön Darma Sönam (lang ston dar ma bsod nams), rather than Zürchung, in a what appears to be non-clan based lineage stemming from Vimalamitra through his direct student, the Nundremo (nun sgre mo) of Rongchutsan (rong chu tshan). Lajé Tön Gyanak is the closest of Drobukpa's (sgro sbugs pa) four “Black Spiritual Disciples” (thugs kyi sras nag po bzhi).

The biography follows Gyanak's life from his birth into a religious family (his grandfather founded a temple <lha khang bzhengs> during his return from a trip to khams) and extensive early religious education in the Prajñāpāramitā, Abhidharma, Nyāya and Mādhyamika literature at a philosophical college (Chu., 162: mtshan nyid kyid grwa sa) in upper Nyang (myang), to his eleven-year period of tantric study and practice under Dropukpa, and eventual rise to preeminence in the Zür lineage.

Gyanak's biography is distinctive in several ways. To start, Gyanak's account is the first that emphasizes a Zür lineage-holder engaged in intensive studies of mainstream Mahāyana scholastic materials. Recall the explicit and implicit critiques of monastic-style scholastic studies that so often occur in the previous accounts. Also of note, Gyanak's teacher of the khams lugs Great Perfection system stemming from a ro was a women, jo mo myang mo, which also marks an unusual relationship in the Zür lineage records. Lastly, Gyanak became a monk (gshegs btsun mdzad) at the age of forty, just a year prior to sgro phug's passing, which constitutes the unusual instance of an ordained monk assuming the head of the Zür lineage.

The account also includes a listing of teachings received and encounters with his principal students ston shAk and zhig po or dbu, before concluding with a list of Gyanak's brothers' offspring. Gyanak appears to have had no progeny. 'go lo tsa ba gives Gyanak's dates as year wood-male-dog—year earth serpent (1094-1143).

viii. yon tan gzungs

This brief section describes yon tan gzung as Gyanak's nephew and tantric student, and mentions that at twenty-four he assumed the leadership position of Gyanak's “seat” (gdan sa mdzad), and that his studies were subsequently completed by Gyanak's senior students ston shAk and zhig po.

ix. dam pa se brag pa (ston shAk)

This section briefly tells dam pa se brag pa's biography through only touching upon his education at the school of lha rje nta ri, his subsequent studies under Gyanak, his search for a hermitage (Chu., 166: dgon pa tshol du byon) at yol pa rock in the northern mountains (byang ri), and his success in meditation for the benefit of beings.

x. zhig po of dbus

In this section zhig po of dbu, first exposed to religion during his work as secretary of the school of sgro phug pa, subsequently studied tantra under Gyanak and later developed strong renunciation during a trip to Nepāl to seek the ritual implements necessary for his installment ceremony. Important in this section is the vague reference to zhig po's uncle (khu bo) as his principal religious teacher, and the reference to zhig po's installment ceremony (che 'don). Evidently, by this stage uncle to nephew inheritance had become an important mode of lineal succession for the Zür clan, and this transfer of property and stewardship was formally signaled through an installment into office ceremony (che 'don). Thereafter, zhig po maintained a school (grwa sa skyangs), presumably his uncle's, but the name is not given. Gö Lotsawa gives his death date as year Wood-Female-Hare (shing mo yos—1195 A.D.) and lists his principal students.

xi. zhig po bdud rtsi

This story begins with the first fully explicit mention of the popular uncle-nephew model of lineage succession (khu dbon 'di gnyis), here referring to zhig po bdud rtsi's inheritance of the Zür religious estates from his mother's brother dam pa se brag pa. dam pa se brag pa here is credited with bringing the scholastic tradition (mkhyen pa'i srol) to the lineage, while zhig po bdud rtsi is credited with conducting extensive teaching activities which helped disciples (gdul bya la phan pa'i bstan pa'i bya ba).

Next, Gö Lotsawa gives zhig po bdud rtsi's genealogical background, and briefly describes the religious works of zhig po bdud rtsi's ancestors down to his father, sangs rgyas dag chung. Gö Lotsawa credits sangs rgyas dag chung with making offerings to a number of hermitages in lho brag (Chu, 169: gnas dgon mang du phul), such as lha gdong hermitage and 'ug lung hermitage, through his connections with patrons in gzad pa. His student-base expanded much through this activity and zhig po bdud rtsi was eventually born at the lha gdong hermitage to wang mo rgya gar gsal, also of the gzad clan.

Then, the story follows zhig po's life from his auspicious birth and the death of his father soon thereafter, to his precocious childhood years with his single mother. As an indication of other types of religious authorities active during this period, Gö Lotsawa gives two interesting episodes in which zhig po's mother consults a sharp local soothsayer (ma mo rnon po zhig) for advice concerning her young son, and later a yoginī for a blessing.

Then an episode involving an annual communal fertility ritual is described, and zhig po's disregard and ultimate mastery of these is certainly intended to feature the young zhig po's power. However, this story may also hint at the Buddhist assimilation and subordination of such local agricultural rituals -- zhig po, as a powerful Buddhist tantric, demonstrates his ultimate control over the local deities of the harvest, even without relying on the communal ritual procedures.

Next is a detailed discussion of zhig po's educational career beginning with Great Perfection studies under his uncle and principal guru, dam pa se brag, followed after his passing by studies under yon tan gzung, as well as several years under skyil mkhar Iha khang pa, where he focused specifically on Mental class (sems phyogs) materials. This section is of considerable interest for its details concerning the various exegetical lineages of the sems phyogs, such as the skor, rong, and khams lugs, as well as their principal texts and the transmission links between them.

Next are the details of zhig po's teaching career, which began at sixteen years of age when he successfully taught the skor lugs stong thun at a religious assemply in upper myang and achieved renown as a scholar. zhig po also received considerable wealth as a result.

zhig po then formally inherited the Zür clan lineage holdings in an installment ceremony (che 'don) that occurred this time in gzad, zhig po's maternal clan district from whom zhig po's father also received great patronage. Thereafter, zhig po assumed control of much (Chu. 177: mang du gzung), including se sbrag (his uncle's residence) and chos ldings in gtsang, as well as 'ug skad hermitage (Chu. 177: 'ug skad dgon pa la sogs pa gzung). It appears at this juncture as though the gzad clan had become affiliated with the Zür clan in maintaining and promoting the interests of the lineage.

The next section recount the founding of the chos ldings hermitage (dgon pa), and bla ma zhang's important role in naming and promoting the hermitage during its initial phases of development.

The next section vividly illustrates zhig po's wide range of influence through depicting his many great activities, including his miracles, his extensive patronage of statues, temples, and translation activities, his support of Indian masters visiting Tibet and Tibetan meditaters, his great generosity to the poor, his offerings to Bodhgaya and the lha sa jo bo temples, and his public works, most notably, his four efforts at rebuilding the lha sa dam.

The account ends with the miraculous events surrounding his death, the transport of his body to gzad thang skya, after the king, officials and his disciples recognized this to be the residence (Chu. 180: gdan sa) of this mahāpuruṣa, and the constructing of numerous temples and stupas in the many areas he used to preach (gdan sa che chung kun tu). Gö Lotsawa gives his dates as year Earth-Female-Serpent (sa mo sbrul—1149 A.D.)—Earth-Female-Sheep (sa mo lug—1199 A.D.), before closing with a list of his primary disciples.

xii. jo bsod of dbus

This section begins with a description of the religious education and affiliations of jo bsod's grandfather and father. Of note is the sectarian fluidity among the leaders of what by Gö Lotsawa's account is an extremely wealthy and powerful aristocratic family. rta bon dbang brags rta, for example, the leader of upper g.yu ru (Chu, 180-181: g.yu ru stod kyi bdag po bye ba), had faith in both the bon and Buddhist teachings. His son, ston jo 'bum, received teachings on most of the major Modernist and Ancient doctrines circulating during his time {R 142}, even though his major teachers were gnyos chu bo ri pa and phag mo gru pa. He spent much of his life meditating in chu bo ri, where he accumulated a rather large following.

Of his two sons, jo bsod and jo yes, jo bsod was five years junior. ston jo 'bum died when his children were still quite young, thus jo bsod came under the care and spiritual guidance of zhig po and lha khang pa, and thus became learned in much of the Ancient literature. However, jo bshod died young at thirty-one.

xiii. rta ston jo yes

This section begins with a detailed list of the teachings and texts jo yes received during the early part of his education prior to encountering zhig po. According to this account, rta ston jo yes followed his father's example and pursued training in most of the Modernist and Ancient tantric materials available from a number of tantric adepts.

Next, Gö Lotsawa relates jo yes' initial encounter with zhig po at the hermitage of 'ug skad, before listing the texts and oral precepts he subsequently received during their eleven-year stay together.

Notably, prior to jo yes' encounter with zhig po, is the description of a joint installment/coming of age ceremony (che 'don) held for both brothers, without mention of the properties conferred.

The next episode credits jo yes with incredible renunciation, recounting the abandonment of all his estate holdings, through selling them (Chu, 186: yul gzhis thams cad btsong nas) and using the assets to institute four separate religious assemblies on zhig po's behalf. He also offered seventy-four “good horses” {146-147} to zhig po, in total.

So heavy were jo yes' institutional responsibilities in maintaining zhig po's religious establishment (gdan sa) after his passing that he was utterly unable to engage in extensive meditation retreat. Instead, he lived his remaining years with a wife and child working to further the religious establishment (gdan sa). In a clear reversal of early Zür lineage vales, the account defends such the institutional life, stating, “His sins were removed, for having laboured for his teacher” {R 147}. ja yes himself even maintains that his life of service was superior to a life in hermitages (ri khrod).

Then, after listing jo yes' principal teachers, as if to support the previous defense of a life of institutional labor, the narrative relates a sequence of episodes that signaled transformational moments in jo yes's meditative life.

The narrative closes with yet more discussion of jo yes's work for the religious establishment, noting that “he visited many kingdoms” to further zhig po's legacy.

Gö Lotsawa gives the date of his death as the 19th day of the month Bhādrapada (ston zla ra ba, 15th Aug—15th Sept.) of the year Iron-Male-Tiger (lcags pho stag—1230 A.D.), at sixty-eight years of age.

Notably, Gö Lotsawa mentions that his principal source for the Zür clan lineage accounts is a history of the gsang snying lineage composed by sta ston gzi brjid, a student of sangs rgyas dbon ston, as part of sta ston gzi brjid's gsang snying commentary. Moreover, Gö Lotsawa relates that all “the teachers of the Lineage were said to have been learned in the Magical Illusion (sgyu 'phrul) and the “Mental” Class (sems phyogs)…they belonged to the Lineages of these two systems” {R 148-49}.

xiv. Alternate source for lineage history from sgro sbug pa to g.yung ston pa

Here, Gö Lotsawa draws from g.yung ston's khog dbub to give an alternate lineage history from sgro spug pa to g.yung ston pa.

Notable in this short account is Gö Lotsawa's mention of pa shi shAk 'od, a Zür lineage hierarch who received the status of imperial preceptor from the Chinese emperor se chen for offering him “the water of life” he discovered at the rock rdo rje tshe drtan, a treasure which had originally been concealed there by Padmasambhava. This is one of the few references 'go lo makes throughout the text to treasure revelation or the treasure revealers that were extremely popular by the 13th and 14th century. The absence of any extended discussion of treasures constitutes a deliberate omission on the part of Gö Lotsawa. pa shi's successor was zur byams pa seng ge, g.yung ston's teacher.

xv. g.yung ston pa

This section describes important events in the life of g.yung ston pa of the glan clan. It includes details of g.yung ston's extensive study of both Modernist and Ancient tantric materials, his invitation to China by Imperial command to perform a religious dance ('chams), his success there in producing a rainstorm upon Imperial request, and his great generosity with the Imperial reward to his teachers and the monastic community. g.yung ston's principal teachers were rang byung rdo rje and Butön and he spent most of his years at phung bo ri bo che and ra dum brag. Given his miracles he was clearly known as a fantastically powerful yogi. Also of note, the narrative credits him with holding a view that differentiates between sutric and tantric Buddhahood. This doctrinal perspective was convincing enough to attract disciples, notably g.yag ston pan chen and his fifteen attendants. Gö Lotsawa also mentions that he took ordination later in life. Gö Lotsawa gives his dates as follows: the year Wood-Male-Ape (shing pho spre—1284 A.D.) to the year Wood-Female-Serpent (shing mo sbrul—1365 A.D.).

xvi. 'jam dbyangs bsam grub rdo rje

This short section is concerned with the basic details of bsam gurp rdo rje. Unlike g.yung ston pa, bsam grub rdo rje was born (Wood-Female-Sheep /shing mo lug—1295 A.D.) into a family at rta nag gnas gsar with exclusive Ancient affiliations. This is also reflected in his education, which was conducted under zur shakya byung gnas of yang dben pa and bla ma seng ge ba of 'ug pa lung, two renowned Zür masters. Along with g.yung ston, bsam grup rdo rje was also a student of zur byam pa seng ge. His principal hermitage was located at bye seng ma, and he became learned and accomplished in the Magical Illusion before his death, which Gö Lotsawa gives as year Fire-Male-Dragon (me pho 'brug 1376 A.D.), at the age of eighty-two. He had one son, sangs rgyas rin chen rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po.

xvii. sangs rgyas rin chen rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po

This section focuses on the life of sangs rgyas rin chen, the son and chief student of bsam grub, and one of Gö Lotsawa's own Ancient teachers. Thus, this sectioned is concerned with demonstrating sangs rgyas rin chen's eminent qualifications through highlighting his incredible learning in this system and through presenting the long list of the teachings and empowerments he received. The apologetical tone of Gö Lotsawa's account is most evident when he states: “I obtained an exceptional faith in the class of religious texts known as the 'Old' Tantras and was not affected by the defilement of abandoning religious vows” {R 153}, indicating that moral lapses were widely considered a natural outcome of studying the Ancient tantras.

Like other Zür lineage holders, sangs rgyas rin chen was pressured by his father to produce offspring rather than take up ordination vows, so as to ensure the survival of the clan-based Zür lineage. sangs rgyas rin chen followed his fathers advice, but later took novitiate and full ordination at the age of fifty-six. Once again we witness a Zür clan religious leader struggling to honor the religious value of celibacy against the social exigencies of ensuring the survival of his lineage.

sangs rgyas rin chen was also a prolific author of tantric commentaries, textbooks and practice texts, and extremely active as a tantric teacher and ritual master of many disciples, including Gö Lotsawa himself. Gö Lotsawa gives his dates as follows: year Iron-Male-Tiger (lcags pho stag—1350 A.D.) to year Iron-Female-Hog (lcags mo phag—1431 A.D.).

xviii. sangs rgyas grags

This section is an extremely brief sketch of the life of sangs rgyas grag from the gnyal clan. The salient features of his story revolve around his miraculous acquisition of wealth, and the success this brings him in the religious sphere. His principal teachers are khyung po khro bo and two disciples of sgro sbug pa, and he is credited with founding rngo thog thel in his home region of rgyas smad stag rtse.

xix. chos kyi seng ge of skyi

This section includes only one episode from the life of sangs rgyas grags's principal disciple chos kyi seng ge of skyi, namely, his peculiar treatment at the hands of the Mongol Emperor se chen. The episode depicts the Emperor having chos seng sealed inside a stupa for a year. chos seng's emergence unscathed and in the image of Vajrakila inspires faith in the Emperor, who responds with great gifts and extensive land grants.

xx. shAkya 'od of sman lung

This account of chos kyi seng ge's chief successor touches upon shAkya 'od's family origins, his early tantric education under chos seng and dsog rgyal of glan, his composition of an important summary and commentary of the gsang snying, his multiple disciples and his propagation of the doctrine in khams through his position as teacher of the Lord of gong gyo.

xxi. Zür lineage from shAk 'bum pa to Gö Lotsawa

This section lists the important gsang snying lineage figures from shAkya 'od of sman lung through shAk 'bum pa to Gö Lotsawa. Of note here is the reference to dpal Idan rdo rje rgyal mtshan, a figure who studied logic and epistemology at gsang phu before becoming learned in the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention and Magical Illusion tantric literature under rgya ye shes mgon po. He later composed a commentary on the gsang snying based on the Indian master Vilāsavajra's spar khab commentary, an initiation ritual manual (Chu, 196: dbang gi cho ga) and other related textual materials. rdo rje gyal mtshan's texts formed the core of Gö Lotsawa's study and practice of the gsang snying under the master bkra shis rgya mtsho. Gö Lotsawa also mentions having received from him the phur pa lha nag ma. The section closes with a list of bkra shis rgya mtsho's lineage.

xxii. Summary of Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention and Magical Illusion commentarial lineage from rog shes rab 'od

This section concerns the rog exegetical lineage from rog shes rab 'od, in which the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention and Magical Illusion are transmitted together. Reference here is made to the commentarial systems of so, skyo, and Zür, indicating that this lineage included them all. This section also refers to several compositions authored by leading figures of the lineage. Most importantly, the principal study center of the rog lineage became dan bag, where klong chen rab 'byams (rdo rje gzi brjid) studied the gsang snying. Gö Lotsawa relates that klong chen pa regarded Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's commentary on the gsang snying preferable to the spar khab's treatment {Chu 198-199; R 157}, and composed both the spyi'i khog dbub and the rgyud kyi rnam bshed according to the rnying thig precepts.

xxiii. Continuation of the Zür lineage south, north, and east into khams

In this section 'go lo tsa ba attempts to document the spread of the Zür clan lineage to southern, northern and especially eastern Tibet (khams), and offers evidence for the existence of other Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention and Magical illusion lineages in khams. In this regard he specifically mentions the enduring existence of the gtsang lineage of initiation and meditation in ka thog hermitage in khams, and the emergence of a Magical Illusion lineage in khams stemming from Vairocana's translation of the Indian figure nyi ma'i 'od kyi seng ge's commentary on the gsang snying.

3.2 Lineage of the tantra called the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention ('dus pa mdo'i brgyud lugs kyi skabs) (Chandra 142; Chengdu 200; Roerich 158).

Note: I am not positive regarding the details of the tantra called the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention. It is sometimes translated as the Assembly Sūtra, and there also appears to be more than one Tibetan formulation of the name (dgongs pa 'dus pa'i mdo; mdo dgongs pa 'dus pa, kun 'dus rig pa'i mdo, mdo dgongs pa 'dus pa'i mdo). I think that one may be the name of the cycle of texts and the others may be specific texts within that cycle. If I figure it out, I will edit this page (jhv). For further information about this cycle of texts see Jake Dalton's Ph.D. thesis at the University of Michigan.

Gö Lotsawa's brief discussion of the tantra called the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention, the root text of the Vehicle of the Subsequent Yoga Tantras within the Ancient nine-fold vehicle schema, presents only the most basic details of the tantra's lineal transmission.

3.2.1 In Defense of the Authenticity of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention

Gö Lotsawa opens this section by explaining that the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention cycle is inclusive of two separate texts – a root text, the Kündü Rigpé Do (kun 'dus rig pa'i mdo), which appears to be a different name for the Do Gongpa Düpa (mdo dgongs pa 'dus pa) and an explanatory tantra, the Shégyü Do Gongpa Dü (bshad rgyud mdo dgongs pa 'dus pa) – before offering a broad defense of the sūtra's authenticty. Once again, Butön's rejection of this text from inclusion in his Kangyur catalogue forms the backdrop, as Gö Lotsawa compares a pasage from the mdo sde gdams ngag 'bogs pa'i rgyal po, which was included in Butön's famously authoritative index, with a similar passage from the Do Gongpa Düpa Do (mdo dgongs pa 'dus pa'i mdo).

3.2.2 The Lineage of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention

This section offers the Zür hierarch sgro sbug pa's detailed listing of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention's transmission among Indian, Central Asian, and finally Tibetan masters, culminating with himself.

The Indian transmission history has Vajrapani teaching it initially only to enlightened beings on Mount Malaya, and only later communicating it to the human realm via Vajrapani's initiation and empowerment of king dza in a series of seven dreams. The king's dissemination of the teachings to his sons features the prince Indrabodhi and his transmission of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention to Kukkurarāja as important.

After a list of the prominent Indian figures important in the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention's transmission, sgro sbug pa explains the transmission of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention to 'bru sha, or Gilgit, and its translation into that language. The Tibetan edition of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention is explicit about its translation from the language of Gilgit, rather than Sanskrit, a fact that attracted much criticism among Modernist neo-conservatives. This controversy surrounding the allegedly non-Sanskritic origins of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention appears to form the backdrop for sgro sbug pa's efforts in this section to link the 'bru sha mdo transmitted to Tibet with important Indian and Nepali figures. Note the Indian Dhanarakṣita's role in translating the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention into the language of 'bru sha, his transmission of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention in Nepal to Dharmabodhi and Vasudhara in the meantime, and snubs sangs rgyas ye she's reception of that text from those two masters, as well as from the upādhyāya of bru zha, ru che btsan skyes credited with having initially invited the Indian Dhanarakṣita to the land of 'bru sha. sgro sbug pa's account cleverly addresses critiques of the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention's non-Sanskritic origins by emphasizing snubs' interaction with the Indian or Nepali direct disciples of the Indian Dhanarakṣita, rather than his teacher in Central Asia from whom he received and translated the text.

sgro sbug pa finally lists the important figures in the Tibetan transmission of the text, from snubs to sgro sbug pa himself.

Gö Lotsawa closes with the important note that since sgro sbug pa the Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention was only transmitted through the Magical Illusion cycle, which was the manner of its transmission to Gö Lotsawa from his teacher sgrol ma pa.

Also noteworthy is Gö Lotsawa's reception of the reading transmission (lung) for the famous Sūtra of the Embodiment of Intention commentary composed by Nub Sangyé Yeshé, mun pa'i go cha, a text which was subsequently lost only to reappear centuries later.

3.3 Account of Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo (rong zom chos kyi bzang po'i lo rgyus kyi skabs. Chandra 143; Chengdu 202; Roerich 160).

In this section, which constitutes the only biography of an Ancient figure given its own chapter heading, Gö Lotsawa sequentially recounts two separate biographies of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo composed by yol dge bsnyen rdo rje dbang phyug and g.yag rdo rje 'dzin pa. Both accounts emphasize Rongzom's prodigious Sanskitic learning, his excellent work as a translator for visiting Indian masters, and how this authorized him to compose original treatises in Tibetan. Moreover, several episodes from each account clealy indicate that composition of religious texts by Tibetans in Tibetan was a hotly contested activity during the eleventh century, strongly critiqued by Modernist neo-conservatives.

3.3.1 Account given by yol dge bsnyen rdo rje dbang phyug

yol dge dsnyen rdo rje dbang phyug's account begins with Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's birth at “khungs rong on the border of Lower gtsang, a sub-division (ru lag) of one of the four Tibetan districts (ru)” {R 160}. The narrative then mentions four divergent traditions that alternately depict Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's previous life as one of three distinct Indian figures; ācārya Smṛtijñānakīrti, ācārya phra la ring mo, or ācārya Kṛṣṇapāda, the Great, or a manfestation of the bodhisattva Ārya-Mañjuśrī.

The next section, which treats Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's education, focuses on his early mastery of Sanskrit and the ease with which he learned languages of all sorts, his mastery of Indian Buddhist śāstras, Sūtras and Tantras, as well as the broader Indian Vedic disciples of logic, poetics, and others. Significantly absent from this rendering is any mention of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's Tibetan teachers. Only Indian figures are credited with having a role in Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's education.

Sections emphasizing his Sanskritic learning are interspersed with episodes highlighting his compositional mastery, as though the former are present to support the latter.

Notable is the episodes involving go rub lo tsA ba sge slong chos kyi shes rab, who's criticisms of textual composition among Tibetans are quelled when he encounters Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's defence of the Great Perfection, "Introduction to the system of the Mahayāna" (theg mchog tshul 'jug). Then, after go rub discovers that Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's interpretation of the gsang snying accords with the Indian scholar Lord Kṛṣna's, go rub is counted among Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's closest disciples {R 162-63}. From this episode and subsequent reference to the translator mar pa chos kyi dbang phyug, Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's principal opponents appear to have been the Modernist translators and new-conservatives that were championing Indian Sanskritic provenance as the authoritative benchmark for textual and doctrinal authenticity.

The section closes with an episode relating the encouragement and authorization Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo received from his many Indian teachers to compose treatises in Tibetan.

3.3.2 Account given by g.yag rdo rje 'dzin pa

This account, authored by a direct disciple of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo, centers on the same set of issues as rdo rje dbang phug's biography, namely Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's excellent Sanskrit learning, and his consequent authority to compose original texts in Tibetan despite the controvesy surrounding Tibetan composition in the eleventh century. However, this rendering follows a more traditional sequence in naming some of the Tibetan teachers important in Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's education. On this note, the account mentions the school belonging to 'gar ston tshul khrims bzang po in Lower myang as the site of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's early education until the age of thirteen, and the teacher mdo ston seng ge rgyal mtshan, under whom Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo appears to have studied the tantras. Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's tantric education was deemed completed under mdo ston, after Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo related an auspicious dream in which the gsang snying and the Equalizing Buddhahood Tantra appeared as food that Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo prepared and consumed.

By rdo rje 'dzin pa's account, this dream began Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's career as a teacher, exegete, and most importantly, as an author. The next sections lists the most important of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's many commentaries and treatises, including commentaries on the gsang snying, Equalizing Buddhahood Tantra, a treatise on vows and committments, and treatises on the Great Perfection, grammar and other topics. The section closes with an interesting episode at a religious assemply in which a group of scholars and translators including 'gos lhas btsas, “intended to debate with him Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo, holding the opinion that it was improper for persons born in Tibet to compose treatises” {R 165}. In the end the brilliance of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's compositions wins out and they request teachings and all become Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's disciples.

3.3.3 Lineages belonging to Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo

This section, detailing Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's lineal legacy and summarizing his life, is from an unnamed source. After Gö Lotsawa notes Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's important lineal successors, which appears to be largely heritary, he then offers a sketch of the lineages belonging to Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo. He includes the secret precepts of the ācārya padma]; a “Mind" Series (sems sde) lineage stemming from Vairocana and g.yu sgra snying po; the "(Lineage) of the 'Great Perfection” (rdzogs chen) according to the khams method (khams lugs) that combines “the seventh link in the chain of the Indian Lineage, as well as those of the seventh link of the Chinese Lineage of hwa shang (ho shang)” {R 167}, and which first appeared in Tibet from a ro ye shes 'byung gnas; and the lineage flowing into Tibet through Vimalamitra and his chief disciples myang ting 'dzin bzang po, Ma Rinchen Chok and gnyags dz+nyA na ku mA ra. Gö Lotsawa concludes with a discussion of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's dates, which he roughly estimates in light of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo's reported encounters with other major eleventh century figures {R 167}.

3.4 Mind Class (sems phyogs kyi skabs. Chandra 151; Chengdu 212; Roerich 167).

This section concerns the Mind Series (sems sde), the first of the three classes of the Great Perfection, or the Vehicle of the Transcendent Yoga Tantras class that constitutes the ultimate vehicle of the Ancient nine-fold vehicle schema. The section begins with a general introduction and defence of the authentic Indian origins of the Mind Series and the Great Perfection, before giving a detailed account of the Indian and Tibetan transmision of this class of literature and praxis.

3.4.1 General Introduction and Defense of the Mind Series

This section begins with a brief reference to the Indian origins of the Mind Series and its transmission in Tibet. Major figures include the Indian Śrī Siṃha who received the doctrine from 'jam dpal bshes gnyen and the Tibetan bai ro tsa na, who received it from him and propagated it in khams.

Next, after noting the great terminological similarity between “Mukhāgama (zhal lung) system of sangs rgyas ye shes zhabs, the "Mental" Class (sems phyogs) and the Cycle of Secret Precepts (man ngag gi sde)” {R 168}, Gö Lotsawa defends the Great Perfection Mind Class against dpal 'dzin's criticism that the term “Great Perfection” (rdzogs chen) never appears in the gsar tantric material. Gö Lotsawa's offers numerous quotes from Modernist tantric material with instances of the term.

Gö Lotsawa also illustrates the striking similarity between a passage from the Mukhāgama (zhal lung) and a passage from the first chapter of the eighteen divisions of the "Mental" Class (sems sde), and takes the opportunity to refute “some of the followers of the 'Great Perfection' (rdzogs chen) who refuted the upāya cārya” {R 169}, through pointing out an explict reference to the bodhisattva Pāramitās practices of generosity, morality and the likein the sems sde selection.

This section concludes with a terse synopsis of the distinction between sems, klong, and man ngag classes (sde) of the Great Perfection {R 169-170}.

3.4.2 Lineage of the Mind Class

This section concerns the lineage of this important class of literature and therefore lists the principal Indian and Tibetan figures instrumental in its transmission. Gö Lotsawa opens by mentioning that Ancient masters name Buddhagupta (sangs rgyas gsang ba) and his disciple Vimalamitra as the key figures in the its transmission from Indian to Tibet.

i. Buddhagupta

'gos begins with this figure and names his teacher as Jñānapāda (ye shes zhabs).

ii. bai ro tsa na

This section describes Vairocana's transmission of the doctrine to Tibet on five separate occasions. Initially, Vairocana taught it to the king, then he taught it three times in khams, to rgyal mo g.yu sgra snying po, gsang ston ye shes bla ma and to sangs rgyas mgon po, respectively, at three separate hermitages (Chu. 215: dgon pa). Finally, he taught it in dbu the nun la zi shes rab sgron ma.

iii. gnyags dz+nyA na

This section describes gnyangs's important role in the consolidation of distinct sems sde lineages and their wider circulation in Tibet. This took place, by Gö Lotsawa's account, as a result of gnyags studies under bai ro (tsa na) and g.yu sgra, and his studies of the “later” translation under Vimalamitra. Consequently, the “four great streams of the doctrine came together” {R 170} in him, enabling gnyags to disseminate the doctrine widely.

This account then lists a number of his important disciples.

iv. Alternate lineage from spangs sangs rgyas ye shes

This section describes another lineage described by rtsad tsha shAk rdor which documents the continued transmission of the sems sde in Tibet from spang sangs rgyas ye shes, who also figures prominently in the rdo rje zam pa lineage, to important members of the Zür clan, such as sgro sbug pa and shAkya rdo rje.

v. Alternate lineage history

Here Gö Lotsawa mentions an alternate lineage history from Vimalamitra to jo mo sgre mo in which the sems sde is transmitted through the bshad rgyud of the Magical Illusion.

vi. Gö Lotsawa's lineage

Here Gö Lotsawa mentions his reception of sems sde materials and lists the transmission lineage belonging to his own teacher.

3.5 Account of the Adamantine Bridge (rdo rje zam pa'i lo rgyus kyi skabs. Chandra 154; Chengdu 217; Roerich 172).

This section concerns the Space class (klong sde), the second of the three classes of the Great Perfection, or the Vehicle of the Transcendent Yoga Tantras class that constitutes the ultimate vehicle of the Ancient nine-fold vehicle schema. The section begins with a general introduction to the principal Space class literary sources, before giving a detailed account of the Indian and Tibetan transmission of this class of literature through a series of loosely connected biographical accounts of the principal lineage figures involved. Success in the rdo rje zam pa is said to bring longevity, and death without bodily remains. Note the rip old age of each figures passing.

3.5.1 Introduction

Gö Lotsawa heads this section with a brief discussion of the principal source texts for the klong sde of the "Great Perfection" (rdzogs chen), the greater and lesser nam mkha'i dang mnyam pa'i rgyud. He gives an outline of “nine spheres” that constitute the major thematic division of the klong sde section from this pair of tantras, adding that the nine klong are treated sequentially in chapters 13-19 of the “lesser” tantra. Gö Lotsawa also gives an interesting excuse for the fact that the textual material of the “greater” tantra falls short of its alleged 20,000 paragraphs – this high number reflects the volumes found in the hands of the ascetics (grub pa'i skye bu rnams), not the available translated material, he claims.

3.5.2 Lineage of the rdo rje zam pa

The remaining portion of the chapter contains the lineage history of the rdo rje zam pa, the adamantine bridge, a set of oral precepts (man ngag) that are said to have flowed in lineal succession from the figure ye shes gsang ba through Vairocana to a number of figures active in Gö Lotsawa's time.

i. spangs mi pham mgon po

This section recounts spangs mi pham mgon po's reception of the rdo rje zam pa precepts of the Lineage of ye shes gsang ba among others, at the age of eighty-five from Vairocana. He is said to have lived over one hundred years as a result. Little more is offered.

ii. ngan lam byang chub rgyal mtshan

This section relates ngan lam of dbu ru ngan lam ral gsum's departed for rgyal mo stag rtse to obtain from spangs the precepts of rdo rje zam pa at the age of seventy-seven. Following spangs's injunction, ngan lam then enters prolonged meditation retreat at wa seng ge rock, and there meets three other elderly disciples, one of whom was a monk (Chu 218 dge slong) who begin practicing the instructions. All four obtain abnormally long life spans and eventual pass away without leaving remains.

iii. myang byang chub grags

This episode relates the transmission of the rdo rje zam pa precepts from the monk myang byang chup grag, a disciple of ngan lam, to the elderly monk myang shes rab 'byung gnas from dbu ri zhwa while both where residing at Chimphuk ('chims phug) near Samyé Monastery. myang byang chub is credited with dying without leaving remains

iv. myang shes rab 'byung gnas

This epsode relates that this figure used to reside at 'chims phu, sgrags kyi yang rdzong and phug po che, before renouncing his monastic affiliations in favor of the remote hermitage of zur ra ri at phug po che, where he passed without leaving remains.

v. ācārya sba sgom ye shes byang chub

This sections presents important episodes from the life of sba sgom of the sba clan, whose parents sent him as a child to be raised by myang at 'chims phu, sgrags kyi yang rdzong and phug po che in order to ensure his safety during a period of general unrest {Chu 219: yul na 'khrug pa yod bas) in his native lo mo.

The episodes include several miraculous displays by both myang masters, sba sgom's reception of the rdo rje zam pa precepts, and his eventual retreat at the small cave of zu ra ri, where he encountered his chief disciple 'dzeng Dharmabodhi. sba sgom was an ordinaed layman upāsaka (dge bsnyen) all his life and died at ninety-eight.

vi. 'dzeng (Dharmabodhi)

This lengthy account describes the colorful religious career of 'dzeng Dharmbodhi, something of a mad-yogin in character, from his birth in a religious family and his study and practice under the teacher dam pa rgya gar and other notable teachers, to his decisive encounter with sba sgom, his reception and practice of the rdo rje zam pa precepts, his outrageous austerities and unusual behavior, and his rise to religious fame.

This section includes several amusing anecdotes. One notable episode depicts 'dzeng's incredible difficulties in procuring enough provisions to request the rdo rje zam pa from sba sgom. His wages from giving initiations and performing ritual services in lo mo and 'phrung only secured 'dzeng enough to sustain him. But religious devotion requires desparate measures, thus after rounding up money through borrowing from friends and selling religious garments 'dzeng was able to offer the teacher “wine, offerings, five measures of barley, one carcass of meat” {R 179} and finally received the instructions and initiation he sought.

'dzeng's account also includes an elaborate list of teachings recieved, an episodic list of his many austerities and miracles, and mentions his many disciples, some of whom were women.

Perhaps most notable about this account is the picture it paints of the lifestyle of a Tibetan siddha, always on the move, continuously performing miracles and experiencing visions, undergoing great austerities through guru-devotion, practicing black magic during the day for money and secret night rites (gsang spyod) at night {R 184}, and taking up with different women when the time is right. The section closes with a lengthy discussion of his dates, a list of his principal disciples and mentions the existence of 'dzeng's rnam thar, composed by go ri pa. Gö Lotsawa gives 'dzeng's dates as follows: year Water-Male-Dragon (chu pho 'brug—1052 A.D.)—year Earth-Female-Ox year (sa mo glang—1169 A.D.). He died at the age of 117. 'dzeng's principal residence was in dags po.

vii. 'dzeng jo sras

This section depicts important events in the life of 'dzengs spiritual successor 'dzeng jo sras. 'dzeng jo sras, born into a family of tantrics, was sent for his early education to the Ancient master lha rig pa, from whom he received teachings on many important Ancient tantras. When dying, hla rig pa instructed him to practice secret precepts under 'dzeng in dags po. The narrative relates 'dzeng jo sras's difficulties in procuring the rdo rje zam pa precepts from 'dzeng, whom he asks a number of times only to be refused. Finally, 'dzeng bestowed the precepts, 'dzeng jo sras earnestly practiced them, and gained his own following, which included male and female disciples. 'dzeng jo sras stayed with 'dzeng for 18 years and was eventually chosen to head the lineage.

viii. ācārya kun bzangs

This sections describes the transmission of the rdo rje zam pa from 'dzeng and 'dzeng jo sras to their mutual disiple, kun bzangs. kun bzangs, born to a family of tantrics, met both 'dzengs at the dgon pa (hermitage or monastery?) of gser lung, the residence of the master ngu, and subsequently received the rdo rje zam pa from them on numerous occasions.

Interestingly, this account refers to 'dzeng and 'dzeng jo sras as ancestor and nephew (Chu 235: mes dpon), a relationship reminiscent of the uncle-nephew lineal succession model present in the Zür clan histories. Clearly by this time the transmisson of the rdo rje zam pa precepts was in part occurring along hereditary lines. kun bzang's son 'od 'bar seng ge became holder of the spiritual lineage, which he bestowed upon others.

ix. myang Dharmasiṃha

This section describes the transmission of the rdo rje zam pa from 'dzeng to myang Dharmasiṃha of btsan thang in yar klungs. Of note here, myang is credited with residing at a cemetery hermitage (dur khrod dgon pa), yet another indication that dgon pa designates a hermitage throughout these early accounts, rather than a monastery, as Roerich so often assumes.

x. 'dzeng's proliferation of the Lineage

Here Gö Lotsawa lists the many sub-lineages that sprung from 'dzeng Dharmabodhi's prolific teaching career, and notes some of the commentarial treatises that were authored.

xi. shA kya rgyal po pa

This section details the education and activities of shakya rgyal po pa, the figure who bestowed the rdo rje zam pa precepts on Gö Lotsawa. This figure's early monastic ordination and the details of his education, inclusive of Abhidharma, Vinaya, and Buddhist logic, epistemology and debate at a major monastic study center, represent a striking contrast to the primarily lay and tantric character of 'dzeng Dharmabodhi and his immediate successors.

After detailing the teachings 'gos recived from rgyal po pa, he recounts his death at age of 91 in the spring of the year Wood-Male-Horse (shing pho rta—1474 A.D.), and the relics retreived there.

3.6 Instruction Section (man ngag gi sde'i lo rgyus kyi skabs. Chandra 171; Chengdu 238; Roerich 191).

This section concerns the Precept class (man ngag sde), the third and final of the three classes of the Great Perfection, or the Vehicle of the Transcendent Yoga Tantras class that constitutes the ultimate vehicle of the Ancient nine-fold vehicle schema. As such, Ancients consider the man ngag sde, alternately termed the Seminal Heart of the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen snying thig), the pinnacle of all doctrines. The section begins with a general introduction to the major lineage figures of this class of literature, before considering each in term through sequence of biographical sketches narrating the salient features of each figure's life in the reception, practice and transmission of the Seminal Heart cycle of literature.

The transmission of the Seminal Heart in Tibet was not continuous. Rather, the Seminal Heart was concealed by myang ting 'dzin bzang po and Vimalamitra to be discovered centuries later by reincarnations of their direct disciples who were prophecied to disseminate the Seminal Heart at appropriate junctures in history. Thus, this section is notable for its descriptions of the concealment and revelation of this important class of literature, and constitutes Gö Lotsawa's most extended discussion of treasure cults in his entire text. Given the extreme popularity of the treasure cults in Gö Lotsawa's time, his spare attention to this phenomena borders on complete omission.

3.6.1 Introduction

This brief introduction mentions the major Indian figures important in transmitting the Seminal Heart to Tibet. Vimalamitra, whose teacher ye shes mdo received this cycle of precepts from Śrī Siṃha, is credited with first teaching the Seminal Heart in Tibet. Here, Gö Lotsawa reminds us that Vimalamitra is also credited with having transmitted the Magical Illusion cycle from his teacher Buddhaguhya to the Tibetan Ma Rinchen Chok. Gö Lotsawa also notes that the Seminal Heart coincided with the Mind class (sems phyogs) prior to Śrī Siṃha.

3.6.2 Lineage of the Instruction Section

This section includes a series of brief biographical sketches of the major Seminal Heart lineage figures. Since the Seminal Heart precepts are a treasure teaching (gter ma), Gö Lotsawa is less concerned to demonstrate unbroken lineal descent. Clearly, other authenticating criteria are involved. zhang bkra shis rdo rje's narrative represents Gö Lotsawa's only attempt at offering anything resembling a full-fledged treasure authentication account.

i. Vimalamitra

This section notes that two Vimalamitras were active in Tibet; the earlier was a lay man responsible for transmitting the nying thig to King Trisong Deutsen and myang ting 'dzin bzang po before proceeding to China, and the later was a monk who wrote Vinaya commentaries. No more is offered on Vimalamitra.

ii. myang ting 'dzin bzang po

This section relates myang ting 'dzin's role as khri srong de'u ntsan's guardian, a land grant he later received for his services, his success practicing the Seminal Heart and most importantly, his role in hiding the Seminal Heart precepts as a treasure for later generations (Chu 239: gter du sbas) in the temple of dbu ru hzwa that he himself constructed.

iii. ldang ma lhun rgyal

This short section credits gnas brtan ldang ma lhun rgyal for revealing the treasures of the Seminal Heart (Chu 240: gter rnams phyung), practicing the precepts and transmitting them to others, most notably, lce btsun seng ge dbang phyug from upper myang, and kha rag sgom chung.

iv. lce btsun seng ge dbang phyug

This account relates seng ge dbang phug's conferral of the Seminal Heart precepts to myang bka' gdams pa, who attained accomplishment and died, seng ge's fifty-year meditation retreat at a mountain range between shangs and u yug, and his subsequent accomplishment and death.

Also of note, lce btsun seng ge once again hides the Seminal Heart precepts, this time dividing them between three separate locations (Chu 240: gter kha gsum du sbas) in u yug, lang gro'i 'chad pa ltag and jal gyi phu.

v. lce sgom nag po

This section credits lce sgom nag po of Lower rong snar with once again revealing, practicing, and propagating some of the Seminal Heart treasures (Chu 240: gter 'ga' zhig bton).

vi. shangs pa ras pa

shangs pa ras pa is credited with revealing the Seminal Heart treasures hidden at lang grong 'chad pa and teaching them to others.

vii. zhang bkra shis rdo rje

This section is the closest Gö Lotsawa comes to giving a fully-formed treasure revelation account. It includes visionary deity guidance to the site of the concealed treasure, a fierce encounter with a treasure protector which is negotiated by zhang bkra's deity-guide, mention of a prophecy authorizing zhang as the rightful revealer, and a reference to zhang's need to be suffiently purified in order to access the treasure.

Gö Lotsawa mentions that zhang also discovered treasures hidden by lce btsun at jal gyi phu, and some treasures concealed by Vimalamitra in a rock at 'chims phu. After revealing these, he disseminated them widely. Gö Lotsawa gives his dates as follows: Fire-Female-Ox year (me mo glang—1097 A.D.)—year Fire-Female-Hog (me mo phag—1167 A.D.).

viii. nyi 'bum

This section primarily describes the education of zhang's son nyi 'bum. After listing such notables as grags pa rgyal mtshan, and rngog rdo rje seng ge of gzhung among nyi 'bum's teachers, Gö Lotsawa mentions his eleven-year education in the Seminal Heart treasures newly revealed by his father and his subsequent composition of the Seminal Heart treatise tshig don chen mo. Gö Lotsawa also notes that the treasure revealer lce sgom nag po had bestowed precepts on nyi 'bum's father, thus making lce sgom nyi 'bum's teacher. nyi 'bum's son was jo 'bar.

ix. jo 'bar

This section describes the education of nyi 'bum's son jo 'bar in all manner of gsar and Ancient topics from such notables as sa skya pan chen, with only a single reference to the Seminal Heart. It closes mentioning some of his extraordinary visions.

x. 'khrul zhig seng ge rgyal pa

This account depicts 'khrul zhig's first twenty years in terms of his many transformative realizations and visionary experiences, before describing his education in Modernist and Ancient tantric materials – most notably, his reception of the Seminal Heart from jo 'bar – his ordination, as well as his meditation and teaching activities.

xi. me long rdo rje

This section is a biographical sketch of me long rdo rje from his early monastic ordination and education in Modernist and Ancient tantric materials under several important teachers, including his reception of the Seminal Heart from seng ge dbon po at seng ge rgyab, to his susequent meditative success and rise to public esteem. Gö Lotsawa names me long rdo rje's principal hermitages as mkhan pa ljongs, mkhan pa gling, seng ge rdzong, kun bzangs gling and mkhar chu.

xii. rig 'dzin ku mA ra rA dza

This section, the lengthiest in the chapter, traces the life of rig 'dzin kumararadza from his early ordination and education in Modernist and Ancient sutric and tantric materials, to his later extensive teaching career involving some of the most prestigious figures in the fourteenth century. Some of his more notable accomplishments are as follows: He founded the hermitage of 'tsha ra stengs in yar klungs, taught the precepts of Seminal Heart to the karmapa rang byung rdo rje, assisted in the revision of the gsang skor, the Teachings of rgod tshang pa, the Great Guide of a ro (a ro'i khrid mo che), and others, and founded founded new tsa ri. As an indication of the far range of his secular influence, he was able to prohibit the laying of road traps, fishing nets and traps in the mountains from kong po to g.yal.

In the doctrinal realm he “taught skilfully the theory of the Seminal Heart with the help of terminology peculiar to that system, without mixing the precepts of Seminal Heart with those of the Sampannakrama degree” {R 200}. klong chen pa was one of his chief disciples.

xiii. klong chen pa

This section details the educational, meditative and teaching career of the most influential figure in Ancient history. After having received ordination at age twelve, klong chen pa engaged in intensive sutric and tantric studies at the famous monastery of gsang phu, and studied the rnying ma pa mdo sgyu sems gsum literature primarily at dan bag. Following a dark retreat in lcog la he visted rig 'dzin kumararadza in skyam phu and received from him the Seminal Heart precepts. After his practice of severe austerities he attained accomplishment and began his prolific writing career. He had several children of different mothers and his religious lineage proliferated.

xiv. byang sems bsod nams blo gros

This section counts byang sems as a disciple of me long rdo rje, from whom he obtained the Seminal Heart, and credits him with having resided at ldan yul in Upper myang and becoming a successful teacher there.

xv. 'jam pa'i dbyangs bsam grub rdo rje

Here, Gö Lotsawa names jam pa'i dbyangs bsam grub rdo rje, a student of byang sems bsod names blo gros, as his Seminal Heart teacher.

3.6.3 Synopsis

This final section gives a brief summary of the state of religious practice during the dark period following the collapse of the Tibetan empire. Here, Gö Lotsawa mentions that the holders of the Ancient mantras and their householder patrons were only ever capable of obtaining the vase empowerment (Chu 251: bum dbang tsam re blangs) throughout the dark period, a misfortune Gö Lotsawa links explicitly with the absence of monks (Chu 251: rab tu byung ba ni gcig kyang med). According to Gö Lotsawa, it was only after the mind-streams of Tibetans had gradually ripened, and monasticism had been reintroduced in Tibet on a massive scale, that the texts translated during the dynastic period were capable of being properly put to use. Thus, despite his partial show of ecumenicism throughout, Gö Lotsawa closes the chapter by subordinating the early translation lineages to the later.

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