A Rosary of Rubies
The Chronicle of the Gur-rigs mDo-chen Tradition from South-Western Tibet
INDUS VERLAG, Munich 2008
167 pages, cloth-binding
The mDo-chen bKa’-brgyud-pa school represents a little known Buddhist tradition from Mang-yul Gung-thang in south-western Tibet. It goes back to a Buddhist yogin known as Ma-bdun-pa or Ma-bdun ras-chen (12th/13th c.) and was later mainly spread by members of the Gur family. Although belonging to the “Upper ’Brug” (stod ’brug) branch of the ’Brug-pa bKa’-brgyud-pa school, the mDo-chen tradition has always been deeply infused with the “spoken teachings” (bka’ ma) and “treasure teachings” (gter ma) of the rNying-ma-pa school, and the cult of the “Seven Ma-mo Sisters” (ma mo mched bdun) was particularly practised and transmitted by its members.
This book presents a critical edition, an annotated translation and a photographic reproduction of a manuscript copy of a rare chronicle of the Gur-rigs mDo-chen tradition written by Brag-dkar rta-so sPrul-sku Chos-kyi dbang-phyug (1775–1837). The text provides us with an overview of the tradition’s development mainly through biographical accounts but also through prophecies, prayers and praises for individual masters. The study concludes with two appendices based on the mDo chen bka’ brgyud gser ’phreng, a lineage history composed in the 15th century, and the “records of teachings received” (thob yig) of three important members of the Gur family, thus allowing us to gain an insight into the transmissions of the mDo-chen bKa’-brgyud-pa school and the interactions of its representatives with other important Buddhist teachers up to the 18th century. The present work is a further outcome of the author’s investigations into the cultural and religious traditions of south-western Tibet and the neighbouring Himalayan valleys.
Franz-Karl Ehrhard is professor for Tibetan and Buddhist
Studies at the University of Munich.