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

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tsong kha pa's definition of man ngag (upadeśa)

Ever wondered what those mysterious "oral teachings" are? Are they things that are never ever revealed anywhere in writing? Apparently not, at least that is what Tsong kha pa seems to think.

de'i phyir man ngag ni | rtsa rgyud rnams kyi don bshad rgyud kyi rjes su 'brangs nas phyin ci ma log par bshad de slob ma'i rgyud la go ba bde blag tu skyed pa'i thabs la zer bas zhal las shes lugs kyang de ltar du go bar bya yi | rgyud rnams su bri bar phangs nas de dag tu ma bkod par rna khung du rim pa bzhin brgyud pa la mi gzung ngo ||

Sngags rim chen mo (Mtsho sngon ed., p. 436)

Ganden (Dga' ldan) in 2006

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Blogger Dan said...

Good morningPSz!

I think you will enjoy this discussion that Atisha had with his disciple according to the Bka'-gdams-pa history by Las-chen Kun-dga'-rgyal-mtshan, vol. 1, pp. 32-33 (original in cursive; I type it as I see it):

spyir gdams ngag kyang man ngag yin te / jo bo'i zhal nas / u pa de sha cir sgyur gsung pas / ston pas man ngag tu sgyur zhes zhus pas / man ngag gi don ci la 'dod gsung / gsang ba ston pa la 'dod zhus pas / de yang yin te / man ngag gi don [33] gnod pa spong zhing gces pa sgrub pa cig la zer ba yin zhes gsung zhing / u pa de sha sgra sor bzhag tu bsgyur na / nye bar bstan pa zhes bya bar 'gyur la / de yang myur du rtogs par byed pa'i don yin pa'i phyir ro // de ltar yin mod kyi jo bo mya ngan las 'da' khar dge bshes ston pa la zhal chems byon pa na / gtso bo sprul pa'i sku ched gsum po la / gzhung dang man ngag gsum byin la / zhes phu chung pa la man ngag gtong par gsung pa'i man ngag ni / jo bo yab sras kyi gsang chos bka' gdams glegs bam du grags pa de yin no...

Well, yes, although the author, writing in 1494, is a follower of Tsongkhapa, here he is conveying earlier Kadampa (or really pre-Kadampa) understanding, it appears.


11:00 am  
Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:15 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

Thanks Dan! I'm wondering if Atīśa (really, why should we spell it with a short -i-?) was alluding to some kind of nirukti-analysis here (i.e. gnod pa spong + gces pa sgrub), but I haven't had my morning coffee yet, so I can't find the appropriate Sanskrit words. Has anyone ever seen a nirukti of upadeśa in Sanskrit Vajrayāna sources?

PS: I removed a duplicate here, you posted the comment twice.

1:42 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

Hi PSz,

Yes, I posted twice because of trying to fix a typo: should read sku mched in place of sku ched, which has quite a different meaning! Anyway, it would make better sense to use one the dbu-can woodblock printed text if you want to translate it.

We don't put the long "i" on Atisha because we believe Helmut Eimer nicely showed that the meaning in Tibetan is Phul-byung (=Phul-du byung-ba) — not what would seem to be the obvious reading of it as Ati + īśa , but rather something like Ati + śī / śaya. I must have a note on this somewhere.... Perhaps it would make more sense to take it up with H.E. himself. If you have a better argument than he has I will surely become your faithful follower and use that long "î" from now into eternity. Amen.


7:44 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

I remember having read that argumentation in an article (or intro to the book?), and failed to understand it thoroughly. Strange that the -ya should just drop off, and a Bengali speaker just across the table suggests that even in the Eastern pronunciation it would sound smth like -oh-tee-shaw-y-. Further still, ati+īśa would render jo bo rje adequately. Oh, what the heck, let's just call him Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna, shall we?

4:40 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

I agree, PSz, however you spin it, it seems that Atisha with or without the long "i" is just a tribute to his excellence and was not intended to be a "proper" name even if it then went on to seem to be one. So let's do as you say and call him Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna (or Dpal mar me mdzad ye shes). Any chance that the Atisha name actually occurred in a Sanskrit manuscript?

4:53 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

I've never seen him mentioned in Sanskrit manuscripts, it's a kind of a dream of mine finding such a reference. I wonder if they scribbled anything in Sanskrit on his stūpa, which used to be at Nyethang, but was given to the Bangladeshi government by the friendly authorities of that great brotherly nation. At least that's what the monks at Nyethang told me. They still have his "speaking Tārā statue" behind bars, because - as again the locals put it - she recently went on a "world tour". Several majestic khyi doms are now trying their best to prevent that ever happening again.

10:19 pm  

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