Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

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

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Location: Kolozsvár/Cluj, Budapest, Oxford, ibi ubi

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tibet Open Letter

Unfortunately this is not a Tibetan curiosity. If you are a scholar working in the field of Tibetan Studies please follow up the link in the title. Or click here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tibetan Trojans

This blog, like its maintainer, wants to stay out of politics. But if this is true I find it surprisingly easy to remember Tibetan swearwords in connection with the perpetrators. Whoever they are.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Turner online

How did I manage to miss this so far? If you are traveling frequently, here is another opportunity to save on the ridiculous 20kg limit. Of course, Turner has many other advantages as well...

A comparative dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages can be accessed here.

"Wherever I may roam ..."

... could very well have been the tune of the sngags pa responsible for this little work. Although the Yamāri/Yamāntaka references are quite clear, they function as a convenient framework for what in reality is a 'joker' text.

1. open text
2. insert the name of the genius loci where appropriate
3. shake well
4. collect dakṣiṇā (ok, this is not very nice of me)
4. you're done!

It never ceases to amaze me how flexible Vajrayāna is. I am sure that there have been many texts of this type, basic blueprints for the incorporation of local deities creating an ever expanding corpus of rituals. The praise verses are not entirely devoid of poetic merit either.

Apart from the evident case of locals seeking the appeasement or propitiation of their local tutelary god via the tantric religious specialist, there is another instance for the presumable usage of this work which springs to one's mind. This is the ritual for 'requesting the territory' (bhūmiyācanā and synonyms) in maṇḍala-initiation. As you may remember from the Vimalaprabhā and other more comprehensive works, the officiant needs to gain permission for using a particular piece of ground in the rite from both temporary rulers (the king, etc.) and supra-mundane rulers (genius loci, etc.). It is only then that he may proceed to build the maṇḍala.

This Mongolian ms. comes from my private collection. Please acknowledge the source if you are going to use it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bhūtasaṃkhyā in the Kālacakra

Another entry on this blog deals with a fairly comprehensive list of 'word-numerals'. Here is the list compiled by Biswanath Banerjee in his "Critical Edition of Śrī Kālacakratantra-rāja", AS Calcutta 1984. (Appendix I). Words not occurring within the previous list are followed by an asterisk.

śūnya, ākāśa, ambara, kha.

candra, indu, śaśī.

akṣi, nayana, netra, adhara*, kara, yuga*, ayana, gati*.

agni, śikhin, vahni, guṇa, kāla, loka.

veda, yuga, abdhi, jaladhi.

bhūta, iṣu, bāṇa.

ṛtu, rasa.

muni, vijana*, adri, giri, śaila.

vasu, ahi, phaṇi*, nāga, uraga*.

graha, randhra, mūla*.


rudra, īśa, hara.

āditya, ravi, sūrya, arka, rāśicakra*.


bhuvana*, manu.

dina, tithi, śaśikalā*.









Nechung again

Some marginal annotations to de Nebesky-Wojkowitz (RNW), Oracles and Demons, ch. XII. The State Oracle:

RNW writes on p. 445. that he tried in vain to obtain a "dkar phyag" (sic!) of Nechung Gompa. This is frustratingly valid for me as well. If you know of anything of the sort, please let me know. I'm interested especially in the courtyard murals. There seems to be next to nothing in the Lam yig's and Dkar chag's I have consulted so far.

Facing p. 446. is a very useful little diagram of the monastery. Item no. 17. is described thus (p. 447.): "To the right side of the door, through which one enters the chapel containing the throne, stands another altar bearing also three images [...]. Unfortunately, my informant was unable to remember whom these figures represent." My informer said that the statue to the extreme right in this cupboard (they are actually encased nowadays) is none other than Sangs rgyas Rgya mtsho, regent of the Great Fifth. The statues could have been moved since the fifties. Since statues of the Regent are quite rare (to my knowledge at any rate), I cannot confirm or infirm this claim. Could this really be the genius of Tibetan politics?

Friday, March 21, 2008

David Snellgrove interviewed

Most people (all three of them) who visit this blog must have read "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism", "Four Lamas of Dolpo" and the editio princeps of the "Hevajra Tantra". This is a fairly long interview with the author of those two (and many more) books. Snellgrove seems quite annoyed with many questions but I can fully endorse the insistence of the interviewers. So many small but interesting details are lost when these great men cease to write and speak. And Snellgrove's life was everything but boring. Perhaps not as adventurous as Conze's, whose biography "Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic" is now online (albeit illegally). This is truly one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. But that is another story and will be told at another time.

BÉFEO up to 2003 online

Thanks to the generosity of PERSÉE (Portail de revue scientifiques en sciences humaines et sociales), all issues of the BÉFEO (up to the year 2003 - not sure why they stopped here) are now online. When downloading an article (they tend to be quite large) it might happen that some of the copyrighted pictures do not come with it. They are however visible if viewed online. It is hoped that the Journal Asiatique will soon follow. Does anyone know more?