Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

Textual and visual odds and ends from India, Tibet, and around.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

A 1920 Tibetan account of the Jokhang

Since I am about to go to Lhasa in a month or so, I browsed excitedly André Alexander's wonderful "Temples of Lhasa" (Serindia 2006) which I managed to pick up in the most unlikely of places: Calcutta International Airport. I don't intend to write a complete review of this tome since that would require more than just a perusal aboard different airplanes struggling towards Europe. Suffice to say that it is very useful for it presents Lhasa temples in their present state recording most of the reconstruction efforts undertaken since the eighties. Hence one can discern what is 'new' and what is 'original' (whatever little is left of that) while wondering in Lhasa. For example I admit I was fooled by the gigantic Padmasambhava statue inside the Jokhang thinking it was a pre-1949 installment. However, there remain some inconsistencies in spelling (e.g. Seng ldeng sgo mang and Seng ldeng sgo mo, the latter being the correct one) and in my opinion more of the textual sources could have been used to determine the original form and content of shrines.

Which brings me to another book I came across in Shigatse last year. This is the [short title:] Kaḥ thog Si tu pa'i Dbus gtsang gnas yig, or [long title:] Si tu pa Chos kyi rgya mtsho'i Gnas ljongs dbus gtsang gnas bskor lam yig Nor bu zla shel gyi se mo do by the Third Si tu pa O rgyan chos kyi rgya mtsho (1880-1924) recording his twenty-month travel in the middle countries undertaken between 1918-1920 A.D. I've bought the book hoping that it will shed some light on the obscure Gnas chung murals, a gnas yig of which I am still eagerly looking for. The disappointing three lines that the Si tu pa was willing to dedicate to this extremely interesting little temple caused the exile of the venerable Baedekker to the bowels of some storage boxes in my sister's mansard. Yesterday however it was recovered and read with some sense of shame for it is a very knowledgeable albeit terse catalogue of things to see in Central Tibet.

Here is then the e-text of his visit to Ra sa 'phrul snang metonymically known as the Jo khang, the heart and soul of Classical Tibet. Since I don't have (among others) H. E. Richardson's description of the 'Lhasa Cathedral' available, many names remained obscure and not all the details have been worked out in these past two days. I can't help but having the slight feeling that the text is corrupt in some places but I haven't emended unless it was entirely obvious. Maybe I'll get back to this someday. I don't have personal photographs if the Jokhang itself either - it is forbidden to take pictures in the covered areas. The ticket that the local authorities provide is supposed to compensate you for that: it is a little CD in the shape and size of a credit card - thoroughly impractical if you have a slot-loading Mac. But the pictures are of an appalling quality and the descriptions are in Chinese.

Strangely, this little text has not been used by Alexander. Presumably the Fifth dalai's description is much more detailed, but this is a native eyewitness account from 1920 and may have been useful to determine the losses and changes since that time. I imagine however that it pretty much tallies with Waddell and Richardson so maybe it's not such a big shortcoming. One tends to get obsessive with primary sources after a while.

So, without further ado and some ad hoc notes:

[pp. 87-95. Ra sa 'Phrul snang Gtsug lag khang, vulgo: Jo khang]

[0.1. time of his arrival]

de nas zla ba 11 tshes 9 la Lha gdan du brtol nas gzims shag Kun bzang rtser ngal bsos so ||

[0.2. a poem]

bsil ldan ri bo'i dbus 'gyur Rdo rje'i gdan |
dag pa'i snang bar Thugs rje chen po'i zhing |
ma dag 'gror ngor rigs drug tshogs pa'i sa |
bod kyi lte ba Ra sa 'Phrul snang slebs ||

[0.3. reference to Dkar chag]

Gtsug lag khang 'Phrul snang gi dkar chag zhib par Kun mkhyen lnga pa chen po'i gsung du shes |

NOTE: this is the Lha ldan sprul pa'i gtsug lag khang gi dkar chag Shel dkar me long by the fifth dalai lama Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho (ed. Lhasa 1987).


[1.1. Seng ldeng sgo mo - main entrance from the west]

Seng ldeng sgo mo'i g.yas g.yon Jo mdzod yod | klu khang Dzambha la | 'Dzin pa lag mang | Dga' (p. 88.) ldan lha khang gi sgo thad du Rgyal ba rigs lnga dbu la gser byugs pa chos rgyal phyag nas ma |

[1.2. entering the ground floor]

phyis bzhengs pa'i lha khang nang du rje yab sras gsum dang | dge ldan bla sku brgyad tsam mi tshad 'jim sku | phyir 'ong Sa paṇ gyis bzhengs brtag pa mchod rten chos rgyal tshwa nang du bzhugs pa sa 'bum sku dkar byugs pa | lo chen Rin bzang | 'Bar ra ba | Phag gru | Sman bla khang du bde gshegs mched brgyad phyis bzhengs 'jim sku | phyis ngos chos rgyal phyag bris yig drug gser byugs pa | phyir Mnga' ris pa Seng ge rgyal mtshan | Sangs rgyas dpal bzang | rje btsun Mi la | bla ma zhang G.yu brug pa | Zhig po bdud rtsi | Thub pa'i sku | Mdol chung skor dpon byang chub sems dpa' bcas |

[1.3. inside the chain lattice]

lcags khra'i nang du rgyal ba Skal bzang | paṇ chen Bsod grags | Thugs rje chen po'i lha khang sgo thog gi sku 'di rgyal ba Klong chen po'i sku | Bsod nams rgya mtsho | Rigs gsum mgon po ||

[1.4. Gtsang khang byang ma - northern main shrine]

Gtsang khang byang ma Thugs rje chen po'i lha khang du | g.yas nub phyogs zla ba tshal gyi lha srin bgegs 'dul gyi Bdud rtsi 'khyil ba | Dbyangs can ma | Khro gnyer can | 'jig rten dbang phyug rnams dang | dbus su rang byon lnga ldan ni nang bzhugs 'phags pa'i sku dang | rtsa ba'i sku rang byung dang | chos rgyal yab yum gsum sku rang byon du phebs pa | Po ṭa la dmar po nas 'di bar gtso 'khor dgu zhabs thang du phebs pas zhabs gdan mi bzhugs shing | rtsa zhal dang A mi dhe wa ma gtogs khro zhal nyams can | de'i g.yon du Kha sarpa ṇi | Sgrol ma | 'Od zer can | 'dre 'dul Rta mgrin zhal gsum dbu rta mgo can zhabs g.yas yo ba'i 'og nas Ma ṇi bka' 'bum bton pa dang | (p. 89.) gang du Tshal pa khri dpon gyi 'Jam dbyangs dang | Phyag rdor bcas | phyir 'ongs pa na Thang stong rgyal po | Dam pa rgya gar | grub thob Birwa pa | Kha che paṇ chen Shākya shri | sgo khang steng du Dus gsum sangs rgyas bcas ||

[1.5. Byams pa khrus mdzad lha khang]

chos rgyal yab yum gyi khrus rdo pad spungs ma | chos rgyal yab yum gyi khrus sa las Zangs dkar lo tsās bzhengs pa'i Byams pa khrus mdzad lha khang | nang na chos rgyal phyag bris yig drug | sku pang na tsandan gyi 'Jam dbyangs | Gser gling ba'i thugs dam li dkar Tshe dpag med | 'Jam dbyangs | Phyag rdor | Spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi | rje Tsong kha pa | dkon gnyer legs pa'i shes rab gdung bas g.yogs pas | Sgrol ma'i sku | rme ru rtse'i sdigs bshags 'bum | Mnga' ris pa Brtson 'grus snying po'i gdung | rgyal ba Tsong kha pa'i dus kyi rdo kong bkra shis 'od 'bar | phyi nas Padma gling pas bzhengs pa'i mkhan po Bho dhi sa twa | U rgyan rin po che | Ka ma la shī la | Ne chung ri pa'i sman bla bcas ||

[1.6. Tshong kha lha khang]

Tsong kha lha khang na | lcags drwa nang sngar slob dpon sku li ma Glang dar skabs Lcags po ri rgyab chu la 'phang ba | phyis sku stod don pa De mo tshang gis 'don par brtsams pa na chur nub shor te ma don pa'i shul phyis rje Tsong kha pa'i sku rje rang gi phyag nas ma | Sa skya theg chen chos rje bcas | lo chen Byang rtses bzhengs pa'i kun mkhyen Bu ston | rgyal sras Dngul chu Thogs med | Sa skya dpal ldan bla ma Bsod nams rgyal mtshan | mus sras Rdo rje rgyal mtshan | rje Karma pa Rang byung rdo rje | Phyag rdor drag po'i sku 'di Glang dar skabs gtsul lag 'jig mkhan kha nas khrag skyugs pa'i gnyen po yin ||

[1.7. 'Od dpag med lha khang]

'Od dpag lha khang na | 'od zer 'phros pa'i lha dbus sangs rgyas Snang mtha' | 'khor (p. 90.) Spyan ras gzigs | Sa snying | Sgrib sel | Nam snying | Kun bzang | 'Jam dbyangs | Phyag rdor | Byams pa rnams dang |

[1.8. outside the 'Od dpag med shrine]

de nas phyir 'ong ba'i khyams na 'od zer 'phros pa'i lha khro bo Sme ba brtsegs pa Rgya dmag bzlogs pa'i byin can | Tshal pa khri dpon gyis bzhengs pa'i rgya lugs kyi chos rgyal yab yum gsum | sangs rgyas Mthong ba don yod ||

[1.9. Jo khang - eastern main shrine]

de nas Gtsang khang shar Jo khang dngos kyi sgo la sleb bo | Bsam yas sa phud rgyal chen bzhi | shing phud ka ba gnyis | sgo steng rje Mi la'i rdzu 'phrul snod g.yag ru | de nas jo bo Shākya mu ne sangs rgyas dgung lo bcu gnyis pa'i sku tshad | bzhugs khang 'di Dwags po sgom tshul gyis bzhengs | g.yas g.yon li las grub pa'i Byams pa 'Jam dbyangs | sku rgyab tu sangs rgyas Mar me mdzad | sbug Zangs dkar lo tsās bzhengs pa thub pa Gangs chen mtsho | g.yas g.yon sems dpa' sems ma bcu gnyis | khro bo Kang king | Phyis gling phyag drug dpon pos bzhengs pa Byams pa dang | 'Jam dbyangs | rgyal ba Tsong kha pa'i sku | bskor dpon byang chub sems dpa'i gdung | gser kong bcu | dngul kong chen po nyi shu | kong chen brgyad sogs | mchod khri rdo chen a mo li ka rje Tsong kha bas rag nas bton pa ||

[1.10. outside the Jo khang]

gtsang khang nas phyir 'ongs nas | Thub dbang | A ti sha | 'Brom ston | Nag tsho lo tsā ba | rje btsun Sgrol ma dar len ma | bskor dpon byang chub sems dpa'i sku ||

[1.11. Byams pa chos 'khor lha khang]

de nas gtsang khang du Byams pa chos 'khor khang du li dmar rgyal ba Byams pa'i sku rgyal po Kṛ kris bzhengs pa Bal po rten Khri btsun Bod la phebs skabs lam nas chu brag 'thab par zhabs thar byon pa 'od zer 'phros pa'i rten | chos rgyal gyis bzhengs (p. 91.) pa Sgrol ma 'jigs pa brgyad skyobs dang | Spyan ras gzigs sems nyid ngal bso | sgo 'gram du Khri ral gyis 'U shang phud Tshangs pa Brgya byin gnyis ||

NOTE: Note the expression 'phud' also in 1.9. Allegedly, it was Srong brtsan sgam po's wish that before any of his descendants wish to found a temple, they should present some kind of valuable offering to the Ra sa 'phrul snang first. In this case we have 'U shang rdor founded by Ral pa can. Normally the phud is a food offering, for example when one drinks tea the ring finger is dipped in the cup and sprinkled on the floor as an offering to the gods.

[1.12. outside the Byams pa chos 'khor lha khang]

phyi 'khyams rgyal ba Tshe dpag med | Jo nang kun mkhyen Dol po | Spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi pa ||

[1.13. Seng ge sgra'i lha khang]

Seng ge sgra'i lha khang du Thub dbang | g.yas su Sengge sgra | Spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi la bcas bar 'di bar khang gsang sgo yod ||

[1.14. U rgyan lha khang]

U rgyan lha khang du Gtsang dmag dus gzhung pas bzhengs pa'i O rgyan rin po che'i sku gnyis dang | chos rgyal Khri srong | ngos bris Sman rgyal 'od zer 'phros pa'i lha | 'jim sku Dus gsum sangs rgyas | Bo dong Phyogs las rnam rgyal | Stag lung Ngag dbang grags pa ||

[1.15. Dar mo lha khang]

Dar mo lha khang sgo lan gnam yol na stag mo lus byin pags pa | Dar mo lha khang du | Tshe dpag med la rigs lnga yab yum gyis bskor ba | Tshal pa khri dpon pas bzhengs pa'i chos rgyal yab yum gsum | Mon bza' Khri lcam | sras Gung ri gung btsan | Thu mi sambho ṭa | Mgar dam pa | zhang blon Sna chen po bcas ||

NOTE: There are at least two tiger hides in the Jo khang with the same name referring to the well-known jātaka when the bodhisattva offered his own flesh to the feeble tigress who couldn't feed her cubs.

[1.16. Gtsang khang lho ma - southern main shrine]

yang dngul gyi Byams pa chos 'chang lha khang gtsang khang lho ma na | paṇḍi ta Tshul khrims nor gyis dngul gar blugs Byams pa | rgyal po 'Od zer go cha'i thugs dam 'Jam dbyangs li ma che | Klu mes kyis bzhengs pa Kha sarpa ṇi (em.; parpa ed.) | sangs rgyas 'Od srung chen rab 'byams | Sor 'brang | Gshin rje mthar byed | Padma mthar byed | Bgegs mthar byed | Dzam ser | Dzam nag bcas | Ra ma rgya mo dkon gnyer pas dngul len pa | Gnubs kyi lha rje dge ba 'bum ||

[1.17. outside the Gtsang khang lho ma]

lha khang phyi khyams su | 'gro mgon 'Phags pa'i phyag tsha bzhugs pa'i mchod (p. 92.) rten padma spungs pa | Birwa pa | Sa chen Kun dga' snying po | Bsod nams rtse mo | rje brtsun Grags pa rgyal mtshan | lho sgo me long can lha khang du bsgyur ba phyis bzhengs Tshe dpag lha dgu 'jim mi tshad | logs bris la 'Jam dbyangs nga gzur gsung 'byon ma | rje btsun Sa paṇ | 'gro mgon 'Phags pa | 'Jam dbyangs don yod rgyal mtshan | Sa skya'i bla ma Bsod nams rgyal mtshan ||

[1.18. Sbug lha khang]

yang Sbug lha khang su sangs rgyas rabs (em.; rab ed. although attested) bdun dngul sku | ngos bris na Po ta la chags tshul sogs yod | khug der 'od zer 'phros pa lha sems nyid ngal bso | 'khor Tshe dpag lha dgu ||

[1.19. Thug smon lha khang]

Thug smon lha khang du chos rgyal mes dbon gsum | Rgya bza' | Bal bza' | sras gnyis | blon po Mgar | Thu mi bcas ||

[1.20. Klu khang sogs - back to the main entrance]

rgyun du mi btang ba'i klu khang lho byang na Sangs rgyas bcom ldan 'das | Kun dga' bo | Nyer dga' | gnod sbyin Ku ber | dri za Zur phud lnga pa | Ma hā kā la | srin po Langka Mgrin bcu rnams dang | Seng ldeng sgo phyi ma'i nang lho byang du Ge re lha pas bzhengs pa'i byang na Trag shad dang Phyag rdor | lho na Drel bzhon dang Rta mgrin bzhugs ||

[1.21. note on the directions that the main idols are facing]

Jo bo rin po che nyid da lta'i nub Bal por gzigs | rang byon lnga ldan zhal lhor gzigs ||

[1.22. Dkyil 'khor lding - roofed courtyard within the ground floor]

dkyil 'khor lding du ba bzhi Byams pa dang | mi dbang Byams pa gser zangs chen po thog so gsum pa gnyis | gser zangs kyi Sangs rgyas stong mtho gang ma | maṇḍal 'dom gang ma sogs |

NOTE: here is yet another spelling for Vitali's and Alexander's dkyil 'khor sdings and dkyil 'khor mthil (TL:35).

[1.23. chapels surrounding the ground floor with entrances from the Barkor]

Bar bskor lam 'gags na byang nas Sgrol ma dar len lha khang | ldeb bris Dbyangs can nga la gzigs | Ārya lha khang du phyag stong spyan stong li ma | Rigs gsum lha khang gdung rten lha (p. 93.) khang kha shas || shar ngos Gnas bcu lha khang | gter ston Bsod rgyal gyis bskul gzhung gis 'jim pa'i slob dpon Stong sku lha khang | Li ma lha khang || lho na Sman bla'i lha khang | Nag po skor gsum | Se ra sngags pa tshogs sa'i khang stong kha shas || nub khyams ri'i bzhugs khri g.yas | chos rgyal gsol thab khro sogs ||


Jo khang Bar khang shar Byams pa chos 'khor dbu thog khel bar U rgyan rin po che Gu ru mtshan brgyad | sgo khang 'od zer 'phros pa'i Dpal lha mo | Dus 'khor lha khang gi sku | Dpal lha lcogs gsang sgo 'dir yod | Spyan ras gzigs seng ge sgra la sku sna tshogs can lha khang | Thub dbang nye sras brgyad lha khang | Sman bla bde gshegs brgyad lha khang du | Rta mgrin yang gsang sku 'dom shin tu legs pa | sgo 'gram 'od zer 'phros pa'i lha Sgrol dkar | Karma pa'i thub chen chos sde nas drangs pa'i li sku thub pa thos so gcig | ka bar bya khri spyan gcig rgyal po |

de nas rdo rje brag pa mgon blar sdod pa'i Sku lnga'i rgyal khang | Thang rgyal slob ma bla ma Dung dkar 'brug grags kyis bzhengs pa'i chos rgyal yab yum | sras Gung ri gung btsan sogs rgyal srid sna bdun | Chos rgyal lha khang du | sangs rgyas rab bdun chos rgyal phyag nas ma | chos rgyal li sku | chos rgyal 'khrung bem ste chang dam ri dwags can dngul snod Yer pa bar sgo nas gter bzhes pa | sgo 'gram 'od zer 'phros pa'i lha Rta mgrin | gtso bor Spyan ras gzigs phyag bzhi ma 'khor thub drug gis bskor ba Nyang gi 'gro 'dul lha khang | dpal Lha cog tu 'gro ba dang | khang 'og 'gro ba'i gsang sgo 'dir yod ||

rgyun du mi 'gro ba'i Bla sku lha khang na | sgo 'gram chos rgyal phyag btab mchod rten dkar (p. 94.) po rgya rtsa | ma ṇi 'khor lo nang chos rgyal phyag 'khor yod zer |byang ngos rgyun du mi 'byed pa'i li ma lha khang dang | yang lha khang gnyis | shar na rje yab sras gsum sku | Rdo rje 'jigs byed sku sogs yod pa chos rgyal gzims sbug | phyi khyams na them spangs yi ge chos pod mang po yod | Jo bo'i dbu thog thog so gsum par stong pa'o ||


thog khang byang la lha khang gsum yod de Rmi ru ba'i bca' sga bcug pas mi thar | shar na Dkyil 'khor blos blangs lha khang na Rgya bza'i zhabs phyags | stag mo lus sbyin pags pa | 'Od srung tshems sogs nang rten | dngul sbyin dgos |

dbus su jo bo'i rgya phibs dbu rtse | Rmi ru ba'i 'cham khang lha khang | dpal lha mchog tu chos rgyal phyag bzos dpal Lha zhi ba dang | nang du Drag mo | lho na lha khang gsum rgyun du zhal mi 'byed | nub na lha khang gser sku sna tshogs pa gcig dang | gnas bcu brag ri | blos bslang khang | Thugs rje chen po'i gser tog 'og tshal pa'i gnyer bkra shis kyi Shāka thub | Sman bla mched brgyad | jo bo'i dbu thog nye bar dbon dbang btsan gyi rgyal ba rigs lnga | mi 'gro gsung 'byon | 'khor sems dpa' brgyad bcas | dkon gnyer 'Bras spungs sngags pa | Rmi ru ba | bzhi sde ba bcas khyon sum cu tsam | thog khar lho nub Karma pa bco lngas gsar btsugs Mtshur phu ba'i Tshe ring mgon khang | gser g.yab lnga | gser zangs mda' yab bcas so ||

'og na Skyabs mgon rin po che'i gzims chung sogs yod | Seng ldeng sgo rgyab rdo chen a mo li ka | Jo bo'i dbu skra ljon shing | rje Tsong kha pa'i lcags drwa can 'og gsang sgo khang pa zhig nas mtsho rdzas 'phen sa yod skad | (p. 95.) lho sgo ni g.yas 'phan po sgo lar zhal gzigs byams khang 'di sa dpyad la gnod ces gter ston 'gas gter lung du gsal | de nas ka ni sgo bzhi thugs chen yang snying 'dus pa'i 'dzum grol Dharma seng ges bzhengs | Ma ṇi dung 'khor lha khang gnyis na Tshe dpag dang | slob dpon sku bcas ||


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