As most of you will have observed I am not quite up to date with secondary literature (nor with primary literature for that matter), so whatever I say here may have been discovered already. Jinajik tells me that there is an annotated Japanese translation of the first part of Chag lo the younger's priceless rnam thar. This is unavailable to me and I do not read Japanese (unfortunately).
The passage we are concerned here is from the second chapter of Dharmasvāmin's life (let's keep the re-Sanskritized name, although it is thoroughly unjustified in my view). When he - through his disciple - speaks of Thaṃ vihāra, he states:
"Further, in Nepāla there is a Vihāra called Thaṃ, also called the "First Vihāra" [note 10: ka pa'i gtsug lag khang], or the "Upper Vihāra" [note 11: Gong gi lha khang]." (p. 55 in Roerich's translation)
You will find the Tibetan on p. 6.:
yang Bal yul na Thaṃ bi ha ra Ka pa'i gtsug lag khang ngam Gong gi lha khang zer|
As far as I can tell Roerich read the ms. correctly here, but the translation is problematic. I know of no tradition that would call the Thaṃ bahi (or Vikramaśīla mahāvihāra if you prefer the Sanskrit) the 'first' or the 'upper' monastery.
It is not difficult to see the Newari Kwāpā dyaḥ behind ka pa'i gtsug lag khang. It should then follow that the expression gong gi gtsug lag khang is a corruption of *ā gaṃ [/gi] gtsug lag khang, rendering Newari āgaṃ dyaḥ. I am not quite sure how this might have happenned if it is indeed a corruption. Chances are that 'gong' or 'gi' originally read *gaṃ and the *dang a (instead of 'dang ā') was somehow misread '-ng ngam'. All this can happen quite easily in dbu med and one can play further with adding or deducting a few strokes. But the syntax is still unsatisfactory. zer does indeed seem to suggest that we are dealing with alternative names here. Perhaps Chos dar did not quite understand what his master was trying to explain?
Labels: Dharmasvāmin, gnas yig, Kathmandu, Thaṃ bahi