Thor bu - Curiosia Indo-Tibetica

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

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Kindred spirits

"... at the time of his [Dharmakīrti's] composition of the Seven Treatises, he was so deeply engrossed in the subject-matter of these that even when *tikta ([a] bitter [herb?]) was put into the curry, he could not detect it."
  • Tāranātha's History of Buddhism in India (1608) Ch. 26 : The period of Śrī Dharmakīrti, p.237
"I got a letter from him [Wittgenstein] written from Monte Cassino, saying that a few days after the Armistace, he had been taken prisoner by the Italians, but fortunately with his manuscript. It appears he had written a book in the trenches, and wished me to read it. He was the kind of man who would never have noticed such small matters as bursting shells when he was thinking about logic. ... It was the book which was subsequently published under the title Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus."
  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (1968) Ch. 9 : Russia, p. 330

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Āryamahāpratisarāyā vidyāvidhiḥ of Ratnākaraśānti

[post formerly had *Mahāpratisarācakralikhanavidhi]

Looking through prakīrṇapatras is always rewarding and well worth the frustration of trying to make sense of numeration, scripts, etc. NAK 4-130 = NGMPP B 24/20, although catalogued under the generic title `Varṣapaṇavidhamaḥ' (that is varṣāpaṇavidhayaḥ, `rituals of rain-making'), is one of these bundles with all sorts of works, most of which are indeed linked to nāgas and/or rainmaking.

To my knowledge the *Mahāpratisarācakralikhanavidhi (Tōh. 3118) attributed to the famous pundit has not been traced in Sanskrit. It is highly doubtful that this is indeed the work of Ratnākaraśānti, as so many works seek fame and authority by linking themselves to his prestige. The ms. mentioned above begins with two folios (only three pages are written) of this work, and I do not think that the short vidhi extended beyond a fourth. I have not checked the other folios thoroughly, so it's not impossible that the evasive third is hiding somewhere in the same bundle.*

The work begins with a scribal obeisance:

namo bhagavat[y]ai āryamahāpratisarāyai{ḥ} ||

Then the maṅgala/pratijñā:

natvā pratisarāṃ bhaktyā sarvabuddhābhinanditām |
vibhūtyai sarvasattvānāṃ taccakraṃ likhyate mayā ||

Which in the Tibetan runs as follows:

| sangs rgyas kun gyis mngon bstod pa'i |
| so sor 'brang ma la btud de |
| sems can kun la bsrung ba'i phyir |
| de yi 'khor lo bdag gis bri |

Notice the omission of `bhaktyā' and taking `vibhūtyai' as `bsrung ba'. There are several other inconsistencies in the translation as you read along. The rest of the work concerns itself with drawing an amulet on birch-bark or a cloth with the proper distribution of mantras and dhāraṇīs. And here for some reason I recall a quote from Valéry, something along the lines of: `My work is a work of patience executed by an impatient man'.

*Update: behold, it is there. The title preserved in this ms. is: Āryamahāpratisarāyā vidyāvidhiḥ. No author is given.

**Update 2: The text has been passed on for editing. We'll keep you posted.

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