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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yet another Mañjuśriyamūlakalpa?

I did not have the time to follow up this one, but perhaps there are some of you out there who are interested. Today I picked up by chance D. K. Kanjilal & K. Kanjilal, Sanskrit and Allied Manuscripts in Europe (Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, Calcutta), apparently a recent acquisition of the Bodleian. The book is a long list of pretty confused notes about various manuscript libraries the authors had the chance to visit in the U.K. and the continent (and there is no index... and there are many typos... but let's forget about all that, it seems like a very useful book).

The author reports a list of Nepalese mss. at the Chester Betty [sic!] Library in Dublin. It's mostly Pañcarakṣās and dhāraṇīs, but one item - he says - is a Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa. Although he says that the ms. is 'very old', he also gives the 17th century as an estimated date. Does anyone happen to know more about this? It sounds like a false lead to me, but you can never know for certain.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An inscription from Spu hreng

Sam of earlytibet fame posted a very interesting article recently. In the comments thereon I suggested that the text was defaced in order to 'recycle' the text. Today however this interesting little inscription came to my attention which should perhaps be added to the argument, although this defacement (if it is one) is of an entirely different nature.

It has been some years that Precious Deposits has been published and shame on me for not browsing through its five volumes earlier. Volume one (amongst many other fascinating things) has a picture of this Avalokiteśvara statue (p. 173, sorry about the quality; I could not take out the book from the library so a bad photocopy-scan will have to do). According to the caption the statue was found in Zhi bde village in Spu hreng county.

Then there is this dedicatory inscription (p. 172) with all kinds of good wishes from the donor. I will not transcribe it since it is quite legible in the book.

But here is the interesting part: who is the donor? The right side says Seng ge zhang chen po 'Bro(?) khri(?) brtsan sgra||(!) mgon po rgyal, (?) meaning that you can barely make out the letters. The other side has a slight variant for the name: zhang 'Bro(?) khri(?) brtsan sgra mgon po rgyal. Notice how the clan name 'Bro and the khri are almost illegible in both cases. Furthermore, is khri some kind of pretense of royalty (at any rate, is that what the vandal thought)? But then why is he calling himself zhang and zhang chen po?

Below you will find the names. I might just be paranoid, but it is highly unlikely that someone vandalizes two sides of an inscription in exactly the same places where the donor identifies his clan and possibly arrogates to himself the royal khri. Quite clearly, this guy had a problem with the 'Bros. And who would those be? Well, who did not have a problem with them?

Suggestions/comments are highly welcome.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

evam āryamiśrān vijñāpayāmi

The moment we have all been waiting for is here: the hilarious, the scandalous, the outrageous... Quartet of Causeries is here. Read some of the excerpts. Here is what our critics say:

"I knew these guys, but I thought they were just joking around at the pub. It's actually not bad poetry." [Kālidāsa, notoriously elusive poet]

"The Caturbhāṇī taught me everything I know. Never leave home without it." [Dāmodaragupta, award winning author of A Courtesan's Confession]

"When I'm down and need a good kick I read the Pādatāḍitaka." [Kṣemendra, acclaimed author of The Idiot's Guide to Making Fun of Bengalis]

"The Dhūrtaviṭasaṃvāda brings back into public awareness the topic of the pimping subaltern other. It is ruthless against Sanskritic society and the greatest thing about it is that it's done with the enemy's weapon: brilliant Sanskrit. Not as if I could read Sanskrit, only colonialists can and do." [very famous post-colonialist, name withheld]

"The Dhūrtaviṭasaṃvāda coaxes from out of the shadows the subject of the subaltern as the "Pimp". It is excoriating in its critique against Sanskritic society while at the same time formulating its diatribe with the favored weapon of the oppressive literary minority: erudite Sanskrit. As Foucault points out: "Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society." (What's with all the gibberish that is printed on the left side? Surely this is a colonialist expropriation of the Other's voice. Hold on... the Other here is the oppressive literary minority! I'm confused.) [very famous post-colonialist's student, name withheld]

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bsam yas rdo ring

The attractive new coating. I guess it makes it a little bit more legible but they should have used some pink and neon green I feel.

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