The Great Tibetan Translator
Life and Works of rNgog Blo ldan
shes rab (1059–1109)
INDUS VERLAG, Munich 2007
180 pages, cloth-binding
Second only to the famous Rin chen bzang po (958–1055) in receiving the title of a “Great Translator” (lo chen) during the period of the “Later Propagation” (phyi dar) of Buddhism in Tibet, rNgog lo tsā ba Blo ldan shes rab (or rNgog lo) was one of the most influential figures in the establishment of Tibetan Buddhist scholasticism. After having devoted seventeen years of his life to the study of Sanskrit under scholars in Kashmir, India and Nepal, he became renowned for his more than fifty painstaking translations and revisions of Buddhist scriptures. Apart from being the foremost Tibetan translator of works on Buddhist logic and epistemology (Pramāṇa), rNgog lo’s activities as a commentator and teacher are regarded as fundamental for the later development of this field of learning in Tibet, and his tradition came to be well-known in Tibetan literature as the “rNgog tradition” (rngog lugs).
This book presents a detailed examination of rNgog lo’s life based on the available Tibetan accounts, including his biography (rnam thar) written by Gro lung pa Blo gros ’byung gnas (fl. late 11th to 12th c.). Annotated translations of great parts from the latter work (one of the earliest surviving examples of the rnam thar genre, possibly unique regarding its complicated and elegant style) are included in the book. rNgog lo’s oeuvre as a translator and writer is dealt with in detail, making the book an important source on this hitherto little studied scholar and his tradition.
Ralf Kramer was curator for Tibetan & Himalayan Studies at the Bodleian Library
(University of Oxford) from 2000 to 2005 and currently works
as curator for Tibet & India at the Bavarian State Library