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Amy Heller
Articles, Essays, and Reviews

1982 – 2009
Bibliographic List of Contents

1982 Introduction to The Sacred Heritage of Tibet. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery.
1983 Catalogue of The Newark Museum Tibetan Collection, Volume I: Introduction. Newark:
The Newark Museum, pp.10-42.
 Co-edited with Valrae Reynolds.
 Included here are the first three chapters of this volume, which were written
by Amy Heller.
 These essays were combined into one and republished below as 1999c.
1985 “An Early Tibetan Ritual: Rkyal ’bud.” In Soundings in Tibetan Civilization. Barbara
Nimri Aziz and Matthew Kapstein, eds. New Delhi: Manohar, pp.257-267.
1986 “A propos de Mme Ariane Macdonald, “Une lecture des P.T. 1286, 1287, 1038,
1047 et 1290. Essai sur la formation et l'emploi des mythes politiques dans la religion
royale de Sroṅ-bcan sgam-po” (Etudes tibétaines dédiées à la mémoire de Marcelle
Lalou, Paris, 1971, pp. 190-391).” In The Journal of the Tibet Society 6, pp.73-78.
1987 “Phur-pa—Tibetan Ritual Daggers.” In Arts of Asia 17(4), pp.69-77.
 Co-authored with Thomas Marcotty.
1988 “Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce.” In Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 4th
Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Schloss Hohenkammer —
Munich 1985. Helga Uebach and Jampa L. Panglung, eds. Munich: Kommission für
Zentralasiatische Studien Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, pp.185-195.
1989a “Mi dbang’s 1740 Decree to Batang.” In Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum
Hungaricae 43(2-3), pp.375-389.
1989b “Tibetan Sculpture and Painting in the Newark Museum.” In Arts of Asia 19(5),
1990a “Remarques Préliminaires sur les Divinités Protectrices Srung-ma dmar-nag du
Potala.” In Tibet, Civilisation et Société. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de
l’Homme, pp.19-27 and plates.
1990b “Tibetan Documents in the Newark Museum.” In Orientations 21(4), pp.62-69.

1991 Introduction to Word and Image: Sacred Languages of Tibet. New Haven: Yale
University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
1992a “Historic and Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag.” In
Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 5th Seminar of the International Association for
Tibetan Studies, Narita 1989, vol 2. Ihara Shōren and Yamaguchi Zuihō, eds. Tokyo:
Naritasan Shinshoji, pp. 479-492.
1992b “Etude sur le développement de l’iconographie et du culte de Beg-tse, divinité
protectrice tibétaine.” Diplôme de l'École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris.
 Unpublished doctoral dissertation.
 Includes plates, as well as an alternate conclusion and appendix II.
1993 “La Sauvegarde des Monuments Historiques au Tibet.” In Tibet, l’Envers du Décor.
Olivier Moulin, ed. Geneva: Editions Olizane, pp.177-181.
1994a “Ninth Century Buddhist Images Carved at lDan ma brag to Commemorate Tibeto-
Chinese Negotiations.” In Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 6th Seminar of the
International Association for Tibetan Studies, Fagernes 1992, vol 1. Per Kvaerne, ed.
Oslo: Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, pp.335-349.
 Includes Appendix and Bibliography, published separately in Tibetan Studies:
Proceedings of the 6th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan
Studies, Fagernes 1992: Appendix to Volume 1. (Per Kvaerne, ed. Oslo:
Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1994), pp.12-19.
 This article was republished with its Appendix and Bibliography as 2003h.
1994b “Early Ninth Century Images of Vairochana from Eastern Tibet.” In Orientations
25(6), pp.74-79.
1996 “Mongolian Mountain Deities and Local Gods: Examples of Rituals for their Worship in
Tibetan Language.” In Reflections of the Mountain: Essays on the History and Social
Meaning of the Mountain Cult in Tibet and the Himalaya. Anne-Marie Blondeau and
Ernst Steinkellner, eds. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der
Wissenschaften, pp.133-140.
1997a “Eighth- and Ninth-Century Temples & Rock Carvings of Eastern Tibet.” In Tibetan Art:
Towards a Definition of Style. Jane Casey Singer and Philip Denwood, eds. London:
Laurence King Publishing, pp.86-103, 296-297.
1997b “Les Grandes Divinités Protectrices des Dalaï-Lama.” In Lhasa, Lieu du Divin: La
capitale des Dalaï-Lama au 17e siècle. Françoise Pommaret, ed. Geneva: Editions
Olizane, pp.105-123.

1997c “Notes on the Symbol of the Scorpion in Tibet.” In Les Habitants du Toit du Monde,
Études Recueillies en Hommage à Alexander W. Macdonald. Samten Karmay and
Philippe Sagant, eds. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnologie, pp. 283-297.
1997d “Buddhist Images and Rock Inscriptions from Eastern Tibet, VIIIth to Xth Century, Part
IV.” In Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association
for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995, vol 1. Helmut Krasser, Michael Torsten Much, Ernst
Steinkellner, Helmut Tauscher, eds. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der
Wissenschaften, pp.385-403 and Errata.
1997e “A Set of Thirteenth Century Tsakali.” In Orientations 28(10), pp.48-52.
1997f “History of the Cult of Beg-tse, or Some Observations on the Political Relevance of
Tibetan Protective Deities 1450-1750 A.D.” American Academy of Religion Annual
Meeting, 22-25 November 1997. Unpublished conference paper, San Francisco, CA.
1998a “Two Inscribed Fabrics and their Historical Context: Some Observations on Esthetics and
Silk Trade in Tibet, 7th to 9th Century.” In Entlang der Seidenstraße:
Frühmittelalterliche Kunst zwischen Persien und China in der Abegg-Stiftung.
Riggisberger Berichte 6. Karel Otavsky, ed. Riggisberg: Abegg-Stiftung, pp.95-118.
 Includes supplemental images.
1998b “An Eighth Century Child’s Garment of Sogdian and Chinese Silks.” In Chinese and
Central Asian Textiles: Selected Articles from Orientations 1983-1997. Hong Kong:
Orientations Magazine, pp.220-222.
1998c “Some Preliminary Remarks on the Excavations at Dulan.” In Orientations 29(9),
1998d “The Caves of Gnas mjal che mo.” In The Inner Asian International Style 12th-14th
Centuries: Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan
Studies, Graz 1995, vol 7. Deborah E. Klimburg-Salter and Eva Allinger, eds. Vienna:
Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, pp.133-150.
1998e Review of Les Peintures du Bouddhisme Tibétain, by Gilles Béguin. In Asiatische
Studien Études Asiatiques 52(1), pp.287-288.
1998f Review of Alchi: Ladakh’s Hidden Buddhist Sanctuary, The Sumtsek, by Roger
Goepper and Jaroslav Poncar. In Asiatische Studien Études Asiatiques 52(1), pp.293-295.
1998g Review of A History of Tibetan Painting, by David Jackson. In Asiatische Studien
Études Asiatiques 52(1), pp.295-296.

1998h “Dulan: Some Preliminary Remarks on the Architecture and Artefacts of the Tibetan
Empire.” In Circle of Inner Asian Art Newsletter 8, pp.52-54.
1998i “Questions concerning Tibet and International Trade Routes, 8th to 11th Century.” Circle
of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, 23 April 1998, University of London School of
Oriental and African Studies. Unpublished conference paper, London, UK.
1999a Review of Worlds of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, by
Marylin M. Rhie and Robert A.F. Thurman; Review of Ruthless Compassion: Wrathful
Deities in Early Indo-Tibetan Esoteric Buddhist Art, by Rob Linrothe. In Orientations
30(8), pp.95-97.
 These two reviews are presented in tandem, with the second review
beginning on page 96.
1999b “Ritratto di Manjusri e Maitreya.” In Tibet: Arte e spiritualità, Un contributo alla storia
dell’uomo. Sonia Bazzeato Deotto, ed. Milan: Skira, pp.101, 186-187. Also available
online at:
1999c “Tibetan History and Religion.” In From the Sacred Realm: Treasures of Tibetan Art
from The Newark Museum. Valrae Reynolds, ed. Munich: Prestel, pp.23-45.
 See 1983 above.
1999d Abstract for “The Cult of Vairocana in Tibet (750-1200 A.D.) according to Tibetan
Rituals from Dunhuang Manuscripts and Artistic Representations.” Twelfth Congress of
the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 23-28 August 1999. Unpublished
conference paper, Lausanne, CH.
 The actual conference paper is unavailable; however, the abstract is included
for the succinct information it provides on the cult of Vairocana during and
immediately following the Tibetan Empire.
2000a “Works from the Nyingjei Lam Collection in the Light of Recent Sculptural Finds in
Tibet.” In Oriental Art 46(2), pp.14-23.
 The title was misprinted; the correct title is: “Chronological Study of Dated
Sculptures from Tibet and the Himalayas, 7th-17th Century.”
2000b Review of The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection,
by David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer. In Mărg 51(4), pp.89-90. Also available online
06b25805519066812c6b5c74978b61da330746ae090aae70659a1435c53&fmt=H Heller,
A.,reviewer The sculptural heritage of Tibet (Book Review). Marg v. 51 no. 4 (June 2000)
p. 89-90. (February 21, 2010)

2000c Review of Record of Tho.ling: A Literary and Visual Reconstruction of the “Mother”
Monastery in, by Roberto Vitali. In Tibet Forum (བོད་ཀྱི་བགྲོ་གླེང) 19(2), pp.33-34.

2001a “Robert Powell and his Himalayan Art.” In Orientations 32(9), pp.60-62.
2001b Review of Cave Temples of Mogao: Art and History on the Silk Road, by Roderick
Whitfield, Susan Whitfield, and Neville Agnew. In Circle of Inner Asian Art
Newsletter 13, pp.56-57.
2001c “On the Development of the Iconography of Acala and Vighnāntaka in Tibet.” In
Embodying Wisdom: Art, Text and Interpretation in the History of Esoteric Buddhism.
Rob Linrothe and Henrik H. Sørensen, eds. Copenhagen: Seminar for Buddhist Studies,
2001d “Indian Style, Kashmiri Style: Aesthetics of Choice in Eleventh Century Tibet.” In
Orientations 32(10), pp.18-23.
2001e “Terma of Dolpo: The Secret Library of Pijor.” In Orientations 32(10), pp.64-71.
2002a “The Silver Jug of the Lhasa Jokhang: Some Observations on Silver Objects and
Costumes from the Tibetan Empire (7th-9th Century).” In Retrieved
February 25, 2010, from
 See 2003g below.
2002b “Did Atiśa Visit Zha lu Monastery? Tracing Atiśa’s Influence on Tibetan Iconography.”
In Buddhist Art and Tibetan Patronage Ninth to Fourteenth Centuries: Proceedings of
the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000.
Deborah Klimburg-Salter and Eva Allinger, eds. Leiden: Brill, pp.45-58 and plates.
2002c “The Paintings of Gra thang: History and Iconography of an 11th century Tibetan
Temple.” In Tibet Journal 27(1/2), pp.39-72.
2002d “Les nagthang (peintures sur fond noir) et les divinités protectrices: Quelques
observations sur leur développement esthétique et leur signification historique.” In
Rituels Tibétains: Visions secrètes du V ͤ Dalaï Lama. Nathalie Bazin, ed. Paris: Réunion
des Musées Nationaux, pp.38-45.
 Heller further wrote the descriptions for the following catalogue entries:
6, 11, 18, 20-22, 24, 25, 27, 29, 33, 34, 41, 42, 44-46, 48-62, 64, 66-73, 82.
2002e Letter to the Editor. In Orientations 33(10), p.61.
 Discussion of John Huntington and Dina Bangdel, An Unfortunate
Choice of Words.

2002f “Symposium Report: Himalayas, an Aesthetic Adventure.” In Tibet Journal 27(3/4),
2002g “Quelle politique le gouvernement chinois pratique-t-il envers la culture traditionnelle du
Tibet?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie
Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin Michel, pp.257-261.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 See 2008f for an English translation.
 With the exception of an article written by Fernand Meyer, 2002g-2002m
comprise section G (“Culture et éducation”) of this book.
2002h “Certains journaux étrangers rapportent que la Chine n’accorde pas d’importance à la
culture et à l’histoire tibétaines. Quelle est la situation réelle?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?:
Réponses à Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds.
Paris: Albin Michel, pp.261-264.
 See 2008g for an English translation.
2002i “Quelle est l’attitude du gouvernement chinois vis-à-vis de la littérature et de l’art
traditionnels du Tibet?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à Cent Questions Chinoises.
Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin Michel, pp.264-271.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 See 2008h for an English translation.
2002j “Qu’a-t-on fait dans le domaine de la protection du patrimoine artistique et historique au
Tibet?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie
Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin Michel, pp.271-275.
 See 2008i for an English translation.
2002k “Où en sont les études tibétologiques en Chine?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à
Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin
Michel, pp.275-278.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 See 2008j for an English translation.
2002l “Que fait le Centre de recherches tibétologiques [de Pékin]? Qui en est le responsable?”
In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie Blondeau
and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin Michel, pp.278-279.
 See 2008k for an English translation.

2002m “Où en est l’utilisation du tibétain au Tibet?” In Le Tibet est-il Chinois?: Réponses à
Cent Questions Chinoises. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Paris: Albin
Michel, pp.289-293.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 See 2008l for an English translation.
 The bibliography for the entire section immediately follows this article on
2003a “The Great Protector Deities of the Dalai Lamas.” In Lhasa in the Seventeenth
Century: The Capital of the Dalai Lamas. Françoise Pommaret, ed. Leiden: Brill,
2003b “The Three Silver Brothers.” In Orientations 34(4), pp.28-34.
2003c “The Tibetan Inscriptions: Historical Data as Sources of New Discoveries and
Enigmas.” Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure symposium, 5 April 2003, Art Institute of
Chicago. Unpublished conference paper, Chicago, IL.
2003d “Archaeological Artefacts from the Tibetan Empire in Central Asia.” In Orientations
34(4), pp.55-64.
2003e Review of Antiquities of Upper Tibet, Pre-Buddhist Archeological Sites on the High
Plateau, Findings of the Upper Tibet Circumnavigation Expedition, by John Vincent
Belleza. In Tibet Journal 28(1/2), pp.201.
2003f “The Tibetan Inscriptions: Dedications, History, and Prayers.” In Himalayas: An
Aesthetic Adventure. Pratapaditya Pal, ed. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, pp.286-297.
2003g “The Silver Jug of the Lhasa Jokhang: Some Observations on Silver Objects and
Costumes from the Tibetan Empire (7th-9th Century).” In Silk Road Art and
Archaeology 9, pp.213-237.
 This is the same essay as 2002a, with minor variations.
2003h “Ninth Century Buddhist Images Carved at lDan ma brag to Commemorate Tibeto-
Chinese Negotiations.” In The History of Tibet, Volume 1: The Early Period: to c. AD
850 The Yarlung Dynasty. Alex McKay, ed. London: RoutledgeCurzon, pp.379-401.
 This is a republished edition of 1994a.
2004a “The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya: The Legacy of Buton (1290-1364).” In
Orientations 35(4), pp.69-73.

2004b “Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.” In Asia Society: The Collection in Context. Retrieved
February 25, 2010, from
2004c “The Lhasa gtsug lag khang: Observations on the Ancient Wood Carvings.” In Tibet
Journal 29(3), pp.3-24. Also available online at:
2004d Review of The Cultural Monuments of Tibet’s Outer Provinces, Amdo, 2 volumes, by
Andreas Gruschke. In Tibet Journal 29(3), pp.101-102.
2004e Review of The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, by John C. Huntington and
Dina Bangdel. In Mărg 56(1), pp.98-101. Also available online at:
25805519454b51abbfed34653c4b7abf2f01fca9fe11c64c5e8d16e3&fmt=H Heller, A.
[The Circle of Bliss]. Marg v. 56 no. 1 (September 2004) p. 98-101. (February 21, 2010)
2005a “The Second Dalai Lama Gendün Gyatso.” In The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History.
Martin Brauen, ed. Chicago: Serindia, pp.42-51.
2005b “The Protective Deities of the Dalai Lamas.” In The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History.
Martin Brauen, ed. Chicago: Serindia, pp.212-229.
2005c “A Thang ka Portrait of ’Bri gung rin chen dpal, ’Jig rten gsum mgon (1143-1217).” In
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 1 (October), pp.1-10. (accessed February 11, 2010).
2006a “Recent Findings on Textiles from the Tibetan Empire.” In Central Asian Textiles and
Their Contexts in the Early Middle Ages. Riggisberger Berichte 9. Regula Schorta, ed.
Riggisberg: Abegg-Stiftung, pp.175-188.
2006b “Armor and Weapons in the Iconography of Tibetan Buddhist Deities.” In Warriors of
the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet. Donald J. LaRocca, ed. New
Haven: Yale University Press, pp.34-41.
2006c “Archaeology of Funeral Rituals as Revealed by Tibetan Tombs of the 8th to 9th Century.”
In Ērān ud Anērān: Studies Presented to Boris Il’ič Maršak on the Occasion of His 70th
Birthday. Matteo Compareti, Paola Raffetta, and Gianroberto Scarcia, eds. Venice: Ca’
Foscari University, pp.261-274. Also available online at:

2006d “Rezeption und Adaption fremder ästhetischer Elemente in der tibetischen Skulptur –
Eine Spurensuche” in Tibet: Klöster öffnen ihre Schatzkammern. Essen: Kulturstiftung
Ruhr, Villa Hügel, pp.80-89.
 The English version of this article is available below as 2006e.
2006e “Tracing the Reception and Adaptation of Foreign Esthetic Elements in Tibetan
Sculpture.” In Retrieved February 25, 2010, from http://www.asianart.
2006f “Tibetan Painting.” In Indian Art Treasures: Suresh Neotia Collection. R.C. Sharma,
Kamal Giri, and Anjan Chakraverty, eds. Varanasi: Jñāna-Pravāha, pp.91-99.
2006g “Preliminary Remarks on the Archeological Investigations of Dulan: 8th—9th
Century Tibetan Tombs?” In Studies in Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Art: Proceedings of the
Second International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology and Art, Beijing, September 3-
6, 2004 (汉藏佛教艺术研究: 第二届西藏考古与艺术国际学术研讨会论文集). Xie
Jisheng, Shen Weirong, Liao Yang, eds (谢继胜, 沈卫荣, 廖旸, 主编). Beijing: China
Tibetology Publishing House (中国藏学出版社). pp.57-76.
2007a “Preliminary Remarks on the Manuscripts of Gnas Gsar dgon pa in Northern Dolpo
(Nepal).” In Discoveries in Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas: Essays on History,
Literature, Archeology and Art. PIATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth
Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003. Amy Heller
and Giacomella Orofino, eds. Brill, Leiden, pp.129-149.
2007b “P.T. 7A, P.T. 108, P.T. 240 and Beijing bsTan ’gyur 3489: Ancient Tibetan Rituals
Dedicated to Vairocana.” In The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in Honour of E.
Gene Smith. Ramon N. Prats, ed. Dharamshala: Amnye Machen Institute, pp.85-91.
2007c “Lions and Elephants in Tibet, Eighth to Ninth Centuries.” In Journal of Inner Asian Art
and Archaeology, vol 2. Lilla Russell-Smith and Judith A. Lerner, eds. Turnhout: Brepols
Publishers, pp.59-67.
2007d “Mural Conservation in Tibet 1995-2007: Grathang, Shalu and Lukhang Conservation
Projects.” In Restoration and Protection of Cultural Heritage in Historical Cities of Asia:
Between Modernity and Tradition. Francesca De Filippi, ed. Turin: Politecnico di Torino,
pp. 133-140.
2008a Review of Bon—The Magic Word: The Indigenous Religion of Tibet, edited by
Samten G. Karmay and Jeff Watt. In Orientations 39(4), pp.73-74.

2008b “Observations on an 11th Century Tibetan Inscription on a Statue of Avalokiteśvara.” In
Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 14: Tibetan Studies in Honor of Samten Karmay, Part 1,
pp.107-116. Available:
2008c “The Ramoche Restoration Project, Lhasa.” In Orientations 39(6), pp.85-87.
2008d “Homage by an Emperor: A Yung-lo Embroidery Thangka.” In Apollo Magazine
(November), pp.62-68.
2008e “Introduction: Tracing the Development of Early Himalayan Sculpture.” In Early
Himalayan Art. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, pp.10-39.
 Heller further wrote the entirety of the catalogue for the Ashmolean Museum
Himalayan collection.
2008f. “What is the policy adopted by China regarding traditional Tibetan culture?” In
Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and
Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp.209-212.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 This is an English translation of 2002g.
 With the exception of an article written by Fernand Meyer, 2008f-2008l
comprise Part Seven (“Culture and Education”) of this book.
2008g. “Some foreign newspapers have claimed that China has paid no attention to Tibet’s
history and culture. What are the facts?” In Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100
Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley: University of
California Press, pp.212-214.
 This is an English translation of 2002h.
2008h. “What is the Chinese government’s attitude toward traditional Tibetan literature and art?”
In Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and
Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp.214-219.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 This is an English translation of 2002i.
2008i. “What work has been done to protect cultural relics and historical sites in Tibet?” In
Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and
Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp.220-223.
 This is an English translation of 2002j.

2008j. “What is the situation of Tibetan studies in China?” In Authenticating Tibet: Answers to
China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley:
University of California Press, pp.223-224.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 This is an English translation of 2002k.
2008k. “What does the China Tibetan Studies Center do? Who runs it?” In Authenticating
Tibet: Answers to China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille,
eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, p.225.
 This is an English translation of 2002l.
2008l. “How about the use of the Tibetan language?” In Authenticating Tibet: Answers to
China’s 100 Questions. Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds. Berkeley:
University of California Press, pp.234-236.
 Co-authored with Anne-Marie Blondeau.
 This is an English translation of 2002m.
2009a “Tibetan Buddhist Sculptures in the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery.” In
Orientations 40(4), pp.58-63.
2009b “Himalayan Masks, Functions and Forms.” In Facing the Music: Masks from the
Himalayas. Fabio Rossi and Anna Maria Rossi, eds. London: Rossi & Rossi,
 Heller further wrote the descriptions of the masks in this volume.
In Press “Preliminary Remarks on the Donor Inscriptions and Iconography of an 11th-Century
Mchod rten at Tholing.” In Tibetan Art and Architecture in Context. Piats 2006: Tibetan
Studies: Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan
Studies, Königswinter 2006. Erberto Lo Bue and Christian Luczanits, eds. Halle (Saale):
International Institute for Tibetan Studies, pp.43-74.

Yale University Art Gallery
Summer - Fall, 1982

The Newark Museum
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library &
The Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University
Acknowledgements In this vast and sparsely inhabited country --
where people live in almost total isolation in
a land of forbiddingly high mountains, untamed
The author would like to acknowledge the kindness rivers, deep, precipitous gorges, and immense,
waterless deserts -- the harsh winters with their
and generosity of the lenders to the exhibition, icy, howling winds, and violently variable
and the help of Wesley E. Needham who is respon- weather, must have determined the subjective
quality of the Tibetan mind. The nature and
sible for the collection of Tibetan art at The intensity of physical preoccupations and fears
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. seem not only to have conditioned the character
of the Tibetan's life, but also to have shaped
the form of his religion.
Pratapaditya Pal
The Art of Tibet

Situated in the heart of Asia at a mean

altitude of 14,000 feet, Tibet, the Land of
Snows, is isolated by climate and terrain and
yet irrevocably linked with its neighbors by
ethnic, cultural, and religious ties. Tibeto-
Burman, Indo-European, Turco-Mongol, and Dard
strains are all represented in the Tibetan
population which today numbers approximately six
million. Despite the existence of numerous
dialects in the Tibetan language, the dialect of ritual sacrifice to appease these spirits and

Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is understood from influence their acts. The members of this

the borders of Nepal to the province of Szechuan, religion also believed that the dead were reborn

covering an area roughly one third the size of in a terrestial paradise. These were the

China. Here, religion is the pervasive force religious concepts prevalent in the area now

which unifies society and dictates the life of known as Tibet until Buddhism was introduced in

the people. the seventh century A.D.

Throughout history, Tibet was at times an Contrary to indigenous Tibetan beliefs,

independent kingdom, at times under Chinese Indian Buddhism asserts that the nature of human

domination. In 1965, it became one of two existence is suffering. Man is imprisoned in a

autonomous regions administered by the People's cycle of rebirths (samsara) from which he can be

Republic of China. Traditionally Tibet was a freed by following the system of discipline and

theocracy and the Dalai Lama, a religious and moral rectitude which was established by

political leader, still maintains a Tibetan Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, who lived in

government in exile, at Dharamsala, India. the sixth century B.C.

The distinctive form of Buddhism practiced
Prior to the advent of Buddhism, the
in Tibet is known as Vajrayana, or Thunderbolt
inhabitants of this area believed in a divinely
Vehicle. The term Vajrayana is derived from the
ordered universe over which a deified king
vajra, the thunderbolt, a ritual object with five
presided. Priests who performed funerary rites
or nine curved bars which symbolizes the masculine
were called Bon-po, hence in later centuries this
principle and the indestructible nature of
religion came to be known as Bon. However,
Ultimate Truth. In Tibet, it represents the
according to recent scholarship, the organized
synthesis of Indian Buddhism and the indigenous
religion, indigenous to Tibet, is more correctly
religion. The reverence formerly accorded to a
referred to as gTsug, meaning the divine order of
the universe. Its members worshipped local deified king was transferred to Sakyamuni Buddha,

deities associated with the mountains and the indigenous deities were incorporated into the

earth; priests performed divination rites and Buddhist pantheon, and live sacrifices previously
offered in the worship of these deities were or sculpture is to focus the devotee's mind on a
replaced by dough effigies of animals and men. specific deity or principle during the initial
Sakyamuni is considered to be one manifestation stages of meditation. Gradually, the devotee
of Buddha-nature, and with time, the number of progresses toward a higher level of awareness in
manifestations multiplied until there were "one which he is no longer dependent on the sculptural
thousand Buddhas of this age." Lamas, the or pictorial image. Within each stage of
religious teachers and leaders of the various meditation, there are four steps. First, the
sects of Vajrayana Buddhism, are also endowed devotee reads the ritual text while seated in
with Buddha-nature. Because of the importance front of a painting of the particular deity. The
of lamas, Tibetan Buddhism is often referred to pictorial image corresponds in every detail to
as Lamaism. Since the thirteenth century, lamas the textual description. Second, he chants the
have often exercised both religious and secular appropriate prayer (mantra), making ritual hand
power. For example, the Dalai Lama, the leader gestures (mudra). Next, he silently recites the
of the dGe-lugs-pa sect, has been the head of mantra while concentrating on the painting.
the Tibetan government since 1642. Finally, with the image fixed in his mind, the
Tantrism, the study of highly esoteric devotee identifies totally with the deity and
texts, is also a prominent feature of Vajrayana his forces.
Buddhism. In contrast to most forms of Buddhism The Vajrayana pantheon is made up of a
which describe the slow progression toward complex hierarchy of deities. The lama
enlightenment through a series of rebirths, determines which deity corresponds to the
Tantric teaching offers a means of achieving spiritual level of each devotee. The novice
this end in one lifetime. In Tantric texts, concentrates on anthropomorphic figures, while
sexual symbolism, the union of active compassion deities with multiple arms and heads (see nos. 2,
("masculine principle") and wisdom (" feminine 3) are reserved for the more advanced initiate.
principle"), provides an analogy for the The yab-yum ("father-mother") images in which
attainment of enlightenment. two figures are clasped in an embrace symbolize
The primary function of a Tibetan painting the highest form of existence or Supreme Realiza-
tion in which all dualities become one. Thus a
yab-yum image is frequently placed in the center
of the spiritual realm represented by the mandala
(see no. 1).
A geometric diagram of the psychological
progression toward enlightenment, the mandala
represents a concentric or microcosmic universe
enclosed by a square sanctuary. The portals of
the sanctuary are oriented toward the four
directions and function as entrance ways to the
inner sanctum. During certain rites, a mandala
is traced on the ground with colored powdersj the
monk being initiated is then walked through the
progressive circles and squares toward the center.
The precise structure of the mandala, whether
depicted in architectural, sculptural, or
pictorial form, disciplines and purifies the
mind, facilitating ritual identification with
the deity and his powers. Thus the mandala
embodies the essence of Vajrayana teaching in
visual terms.
The beginnings of Tibetan art are associated I
with the transmission of Buddhism from India and
Nepal into Tibet and Central Asia. As Buddhist
scriptures were translated from Sanskrit into Fig. 1. Paradise of Arnitabha Buddha (detail)
Tibet, early seventeenth century
Tibetan, cameo illustrations were painted on the
Gouache and gilt on cotton
cover pages, following the iconographical Anonymous loan
prescriptions of the manuscript (see no. 18). aesthetic tradition.
Both written texts and visual images faithfully Just as the art of Western Tibet reflects
reproduced Indian prototypes. From the eleventh cross-cultural influence with Nepal and Kashmir,
century onward, Nepali and Kashmiri artists, as so Eastern and Central Tibetan styles are closely
well as craftsmen from other parts of India, allied with Chinese Vajrayana Buddhist art. In
often accompanied the Buddhist pandits or I
the early fifteenth century and again in the mid-
teachers in order to decorate the large 1 eighteenth century, Vajrayana flourished in China
monasteries being built in Western Tibet. and numerous Tibetan pandits and Nepali-trained
Therefore, the Western Tibetan style which Tibetan artists were invited to the Chinese court.
evolved in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries The first printed edition of the Buddhist
is closely related to the art of the neighboring scriptures in the Tibetan language was made in
cultures. Peking in 1410. Moreover, the Chinese emperors
The Ngor Monastery, a center of the Yung-lo (r. 1403-1424) and Ch'ien-lung (r. 1736-
Sa-skya-pa sect, is an excellent example. Founded 1795) commissioned statues of Vajrayana deities
in 1429 and located midway between Katmandu, and patriarchs (see fig. 2), some of which were
Nepal, and Lhasa, it was the main artistic center presented to Tibetan monks who carried them back
of Western Tibet and housed an extensive to Central Tibet. Thus, Tibetan sculpture
collection of Himalayan art. The style of gradually assimilated certain Chinese stylistic
painting practiced at Ngor (see fig. 1, no. 11; elements. For example, the facial features
and no. 13) is characterized by the predominant become more Chinese and less Indian, the drapery
use of primary colors, especially red; a border
of miniature figures framing the central image;
1 folds more voluminous and linear, and the jewelry
more elaborate and refined.
and a compositional organization based on The style of painting which developed in
horizontal registers. These stylistic features Central Tibet in the sixteenth and seventeenth
represent adaptations of Indo-Nepali painting. centuries also reveals Chinese influence in the
The consistently high quality of Ngor painting may use of Chinese inspired gilt brocades and sharply
account for the strength and persistance of the faceted rocks, gold outlining of architectural
details, halos, and clouds and the shading of
Chinese motifs, such as pagoda roofs and flowers.

However, these Central Tibetan paintings are

distinguished from Chinese painting by their
richly detailed compositions, made up of a series
of discrete units painted on a dark blue or green
background (see nos. 4, 17).
By comparison, the painting of Khams, the
easternmost region of Tibet which borders the
province of Szechuan, reflects more direct
Chinese inspiration in the use of pale background
colors and spacious landscape settings (see nos.
6, 8, 9). After 1642, when the fifth Dalai Lama,
the leader of the dGe-lugs-pa sect, established
Lhasa as the capital of the Tibetan theocracy,
the Central Tibetan style of painting associated
with the dGe-lugs-pa became predominant and
In the eighteenth century, woodblocks were
used extensively not only for reproducing
scriptures but also for printing iconographical
models. This facilitated the dissemination of
the Central Tibetan style and resulted in the

Fig. 2. Avalokitesvara standardization of compositions. Artists copied

China, eighteenth century woodblock prints, at times creating stencils by
Gilt bronze, traces of pigment
making a series of small perforations along the
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript
Library lines of the printed image, then tracing over the
holes with powdered charcoal. The use of the the hollow image. Prior to the ritual use of a
model enabled the artist to adhere to sacred painting, the lama sprinkles sacred water on a
iconographical canons while freely rendering mirror reflecting the painted scroll. Then, on
details such as textile patterns or landscape the back of the painting, he inscribes a
backgrounds. Woodblock printing also allowed for dedication such as the one written on the reverse
the evolution of a new composition, a large i
of "Portrait of a Sa-skya Lama", no. 13:
figure surrounded by miniature replications (see .. The Buddha has said that patience and
nos. 22, 23, 24). The smaller images were often endurance lead to the transcendence of
samsara. It is not meritorious to
made by applying a woodblock directly to the
harm others. Do not commit any
surface of the painting. In the nineteenth misdeeds; practice the perfection of
virtue. Discipline of body, speech,
century, the central figure became larger in
and mind are essential; these are the
scale, the smaller images fewer in number (see highest spiritual vows. Those monks
who observe (them) are liberated from
no. 24a). all suffering.
Many of the paintings in this exhibition were
executed in the twentieth century when earlier These works of art, then which are
stylistic traditions persisted. However, the use syncretistic in style and comprise the sacred
of chemical pigments differentiates more recent heritage of Tibet, are based on a detailed
paintings from their prototypes. Although there understanding of and belief in Vajrayana
are no atelier in present-day Tibet, refugee Buddhism. This has frequently precluded
workshops located in Nepal continue to produce serious consideration by Western art historians.
high quality painting and sculpture. It is interesting in this light to compare
Stylistic considerations aside, all Tibetan Tibetan art with that of Europe in the late
works of art are religious in character, a fact Middle Ages and early Renaissance, a time when
attested to by traces of consecration. In the artistic masterpieces evoked Christian themes,
case of a sculptural image, the lama inscribes a biblical incident, and were commissioned to
dedicatory prayer on the base and places written decorate tombs, chapels, and cathedrals. These
prayers, small amulets, and prayer beads inside works are objects of intense appreciation; they
are, however, no different from the works SUGGESTED READINGS
exhibited here in terms of the accomplishments
of the artist or their fundamental meaning. History and Religion
Tibet still appears fantastically remote and
Blondeau, Anne-Marie. "Les Religions du Tibet",
yet we can sense in these paintings and
Histoire des Religions, Encyclopedie de la
sculpture the power of feeling, the complexity Pleiade. Paris, 1976, pp. 233-329.
of faith, and the understanding of beauty that Snellgrove, David S., and Richardson, Hugh E.
A Cultural History of Tibet. New York: Praeger,
are characteristic of all religious art.
Tucci, Giuseppe. Tibet, Land of Snows. London:
Amy Heller Elek Books, 1967.
Guest Curator


Beguin, Gilles. Dieux et Demons de l'Himalaya.

Paris: Editions des Musees Nationaux, 1977.
Olson, Eleanor. Catalogue of the Tibetan
Collections and Other Lamaist Articles in the
Newark Museum, 5 volumes, Newark, 1950-1970.
Pal, Pratapaditya. The Art of Tibet. New York:
The Asia Society, 1969.
Reynolds, Valrae. Tibet: ~ Lost World. New York:
The American Federation of Arts, 1978.
Tucci, Giuseppe. Tibetan Painted Scrolls. Rome:
La Libreria dello Stato, 1949.
Situated in the heart of Asia at a mean altitude of 14,000 feet, Tibet, the
"Land of Snows," is isolated by climate and terrain and yet irrevocably
linked with its neighbors by ethnic, cultural and religious ties. Despite
the existence of numerous dialects in the Tibetan spoken language, the
written language which dates from the seventh century is used as a
religious lingua franca from Ladakh and Nepal to western Sichuan, and
from northern India to Inner Mongolia, as these areas are culturally
influenced by Tibet and its particular form of Buddhism.
FIGURE 1 (Left)
The political borders of Tibet have varied through the centuries. From the
Trail along the Mekong River (Oza- sixth to ninth centuries A.D., the Tibetan empire extended as far north as
chu), Kham. Photo: 5helton, ca. 1910
the ancient silk routes, as far west as the Oxus River, as far south as Nepal
and northern India, and as far east as Chang-an, the capital of Tang
FIGURE 2 China, which was long under seige by Tibetan warriors. In modern
times, political Tibet (now known as the Tibetan Autonomous Region)
Boundary marker with prayer stones
and flags; Chinese writing: "West has been formed of the regions of 0 (with Lhasa the capital as its center),
border of Lihua Ting" (1.), "East Tsang, Toh, Changthang and western Kham. Portions of northern and
border of 5anpa Ting" (r.), Kham. eastern Tibet were incorporated into the Sinkiang, Kansu, Tsinghai and
Lihua (Litang) and 5anpa (Itun) were Sichuan provinces of China. Topographically, the borders may roughly
two areas east and south of Batang
designated as Chinese administrative be defined by the Himalayas to the south, by the Karakorum range to the
districts by Chao Er Feng in 1911. west, and by the Kunlun range to the north, while to the east, the Gansu
Photo: 5helton, ca. 1913 (034-5) corridor and a Sino-Tibetan borderland may be defined by the area of the

10 11
traversed north, south, east and west by several smaller mountain FIGURE 4
ranges, each region has its own fields, hillside pastures or woodlands,
Prayer stones and flags marking the
and mountains, often with great variation due to exposure of sun or Kharo-la pass between the Tsangpo
winds from one side of the mountain to the other. Valley and the Yamdrok Tso Valley,
The yak (80S grlllllliens), a member of the cattle family which flourishes at central Tibet (D).
Photo: V. Reynolds, 1981
high altitudes, is the indigenous animal of Tibet. The yak and a hybrid of
yak and cattle (T dzo) both provide hair, hides and dairy products and are
also beasts of burden capable of carrying up to l60-pound loads. Sheep
and goats which thrive well in high altitudes are also significant animals
in Tibet's pastoral economy. Tibetan horses and musk, the product of the
Tibetan musk deer, were once important trade commodities.
By virtue of the variations due to altitude and climate, there are two major
axes of Tibetan livelihood, the nomad and the sedentary farmer, reflect-
ing the dichotomy of mountain pastures and sown fields. Precipitation is
scanty in the west, where the Himalayas block the monsoon, but in-
creases steadily as one travels further east along the Tsangpo River.
Irrigation has been known in the Tsangpo basin since prehistoric times.
The eternal snows at the summits of the 25,OOO-foot mountains are
legendary, but even if the mountains are omnipresent, it must be empha-
sized that the image of Tibet as a cold, wild, inhospitable country is false.
Three principal cities grew up along the caravan routes in the area of the

FIGURE 3 Yangtse watershed (T. Dri-chu and Nya-chu) and Huang Ho (T. Ma-chu)
Mt. Chomo Lhari (23,930 feet) with Rivers.
cultivated fields in foreground, Tsang. For purposes of clarity, we may consider this vast space, approximately
Photo: Cutting, 1935 (Q36-C)
seven times the size of France, in three horizontal bands: the fertile valley
of the Tsangpo River running parallel to the Himalayas; a band of high"
lands used for grazing and nomad herds, and in the far north a desert
area, the Changthang region. Tibet's latitude is on the same parallel as
Algeria. Despite great extremes of temperature in the l5,OOO-foot moun-
tain passes used by the caravan routes which have crisscrossed Tibet
since time immemorial, wheat, peas, rye, fruits and vegetables grow
easily in the warm valley of the Tsangpo. Barley, the principal staple, may
be grown almost everywhere but the Changthang, even at extreme
altitudes. In the east, densely wooded forests cover the hillsides while
rice is sown in some of the valleys. Vertiginous gorges of sheer rock
characterize certain areas of the Sino-Tibetan borderland. As the land is

12 13
Tsangpo River valley. South of the Tsangpo is Shigatse, the commercial 11. HISTORY
city closest to the western caravan route arriving from Kashmir and the
Indus valley. Gyantse is also south of the Tsangpo, but due north of In the seventh century A.D when historic records of Tibet began,l the
Sikkim and on a trade route which led to the Ganges valley, conveying valley of the Tsangpo River was the home of independent tribes and
salt and musk to India. Lhasa, the capital, lies north of the Tsangpo on a minor tribal confederations. According to legends which seem to have
tributary. Population estimates of ethnic Tibetans were 6 million prior to their basis in fact, these tribes, speaking varied dialects of the Tibetan
1959. The current estimate of the population of the Tibetan autonomous language, were politically unified from the end of the sixth century
region is 1.8 million, although conflicting figures exist of Tibet's popula- through the late seventh century. The rulers of central Tibet, based in the
tion over the centuries. The International Commission of Jurists' 1960 Yarlung Valley situated southeast of the Tsangpo, had conquered one by
report gives figures ranging from 10 to 15 million for the total ethnic one the Tibetan tribes and principalities of the entire Tsangpo and gradu-
FIGURES Tibetan population. 1 ally extended their territory to include non-Tibetan confederations in the
northern, western and northeastern parts of the plateau. For two cen-
Lake Yamdrok Tso with snow-eovered
turies this new nation was a formidable military power known and
Himalaya range visible in the far
distance (looking to the south), central respected throughout Asia. The Tibetans of central Tibet were clustered
Tibet (0). Photo: Y. Reynolds, 1981 1. International Commission of Jurists, Tibet alld tI,e Clrillese People's Republic, p. 290. in semi-nomadic and farming communities, living in tents protected by
fortified stone walls and watchtowers. Although divided into prin-
::::.:. Cipalities, the entire population took an oath to the most powerful lord,
the tsenpo (btsan po) of Yadung. 2 He unified his territory by matrimonial
alliances with rival tribes and foreign powers as he further expanded the
domain by military conquests.
Tibet was commercially active, crisscrossed by trade routes. 3 Early sev-
enth-century records document export of armor and weapons, horses
and other animals, textiles, salt and the prized Tibetan musk. The Chi-
nese Tang Annals record a spectacular gift received from Tibet in 641 A.D.,
a goose-shaped golden ewer seven feet high and capable of holding sixty
litres of wine. In 648, a miniature golden city decorated with animals and
men on horseback was presented as a gift 4 As one author has written:
To judge from the records of tribute and gifts from
Tibet to rang which over and over again list large
objects of gold, remarkable for their beauty and rarity
and excellent workmanship, the Tibetan goldsmiths
were the wonder of the medieval world. s
Control of the lucrative trade routes and the sacred role of the tsenpo to
conquer provided the major impetus for military expansion. The first
historic tsenpo, Songtsen Gampo (Srollg btS;l1l sgam po, reign 620-50 A.D.),

I. The historical sources for this period are meager but revealing. A cache of seventh- to
tenth-century Tibetan manuscripts was discovered at Dunhuang in the early twentieth
century; among these manuscripts are year by year Tibetan annals covering the reign of
Songtsen Gampo. The Tibetan custom of inscriptions on stone pillars erected at the
consecration of temples and signing of treaties and pacts dates from the eighth century.
Buddhist theologians wrote detailed religious and political histories as of the twelfth
century, compiled from much earlier material. The lerma texts also provide historical
information. For prehistoric Tibet, one must rely on legends and traditions written down
at a later date, but which show the "invariability of the main sequence of the myths,
legends and traditions" (Erik Haarh, Tire Yarlllllg Dy"asly, p. IX).
2. Elliot Sperling, "A Captivity in Ninth Century Tibet," pp. 23, 29-30, explains that the
Chinese term Isall-p'lI ( it ) used to translate Isellpo is the equivalent of "emperor"
rather than "king," which ce'rtainly better connotes the quality of a confederation of tribes
under one leader in seventh- to ninth-century Tibet.
3. On Tibetan trade in general see Christopher Beckwith, "Tibet and the Early Medieval
Florissance in Eurasia."
4. Paul Pelliot, Histoire Allcie""e dll Tibet, pp. 5,6,84, cites the Chinese documents Kieou
rallg Clrou 196A and Sill rallg Clrou 216A for the ewer.
Edward H. Schafer, Till' Golden Peaclres of Samarkalld, p.254, cites Paul Demieville, "Le
Concile de Lhasa," jOllmal Asiatigue, 1975, for the golden city.
5. Schafer, Golden Peaclres, p. 254.

conquered portions of the ancient silk route, bringing the Tibetans in 8~2. This bilingual text between the two sovereign powers settled border
contact with Central Asian and Chinese cultures. Songtsen made vassal dtsputes and established a pact of non-aggression. The tsenpo
states of Nepal, portions of northern India and Zhangzhung, a separate Ralpachen (Ral pa can, reign 815-38) followed his predecessor's policy of
area formed of western Tibet and part of northern India. His successor taxatIon of the noble families to support the monasteries, and added two
occupied the oases of Khotan, Kucha, Karashahr and Kashgar from Buddhist clerics to the group of royal ministers. The noble families'
665-92, and gained control of the Nan-chao kingdom (now the Yunnan exclusive priVileges were thus being eroded in favor of the clergy.
region of China) as of 680. Songtsen established Lhasa as his capital, In 838 tsenpo Langdarma (gLang dar ma, reign 838-842) was enthroned
moving from the Yarlung Valley with his five wives: a Chinese princess, a and is said to have severely persecuted Buddhism.1D His assassination
Nepalese princess and three Tibetan noblewomen. four years later is attributed to a Buddhist monk. Langdarma's heirs
Tradition credits the two foreign wives with the introduction of Bud- fought for the throne and the empire fell into chaos. The Tibetans lost
dhism and for the construction of the first Buddhist temples in Lhasa. 6 It control of the oases along the silk route as of 866. Trade with the Arab
seems certain that Songtsen did not become exclusively a Buddhist, Caliphate continued throughout these troubled times. l l According to
however, as numerous documents survive indicating his royal patronage Arab and PerSIan sources, Tibet maintained control of the southern
of the indigenous organized religion, probably called Tsug (gTsug), Pamirs and even the southeastern parts of Farghana well into the tenth
which deified the tsenpo and guaranteed his "divine right" to rule. 7 cent:rry, but the Tibetan empire was lost. Branches of the royal lineage
Nonetheless, the introduction of Buddhism was part of a multi-faceted survIved In Amdo and western Tibet, while central Tibet broke into small
interaction, economic, cultural and political, between the Tibetan royal principalities under the rule of noble families.
government and the cultures of India, Nepal, Central Asia and China. !h~s rela~ively short dynastic period of Tibetan history provides essential
Tsenpo Songtsen's minister, Thonmi, was sent as an envoy to India to InsIghts Into the formation of the Tibetan state and the nature of Tibetan
adapt a script for the Tibetan language. 8 Songtsen's reign is also credited society. and religio~. Parallel situations recur throughout Tibetan history,
with the establishment of the first legal code. when Instead of nval clans, the claimants for power will be various
During the reign of Songtsen Gampo's great-great-grandson, Trisong ord.ers of B~ddhism supported first by the noble families and later by
Detsen (Khri srong Ide btsan, reign 755-ca. 797/98 A.D.), Tibet again ex- vanous foreIgn rulers aligned with certain of these families. The original
tended its control along the silk route, occupying Dun Huang, the SOCIal structure of Tibetan society was perpetuated in the clans and
western gateway to China, from 787 to 866. In central Tibet, an inscribed n?bl~s, ~ll of whom vied for the tsenpo's favors, expressed through
stone pillar attests to the fact that this tsenpo founded the first monas- dIstnbutlOn of land grants and annuities. The nobility was hereditary
tery, Samye (bSam yas), midway between the Yarlung Valley and Lhasa, and each clan was associated with a particular geographic locale. If a
ca. 775. Traditionally it is recounted that Padmasambhava, a Buddhist noble or lord had no heir, the estate returned to the tsenpo. The members
master from Oddiyana (now believed to be the Swat Valley, Pakistan), of the nobility were responsible for counseling the tsenpo and furnishing
came at Trisong Detsen's invitation to subdue the indigenous deities ~en, arms and horses for his military campaigns, in addition to provid-
opposing this monastic center. 9 Chinese Buddhists of the Ch'an order Ing daughters for the politically-based matrimonial alliances. Aside from
and Indian sages of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism came to Samye, the clergy, those who were not nobles were divided into subjects or serfs
influencing the tsenpo to issue an edict ordering his subjects to adopt from ~onquered tribes. The subjects could be socially mobile, capable of
Buddhism in ca. 790. The noble families formed ardent pro- or anti- entenng the clergy or rising to the status of the nobility. The celibate
Buddhist factions. clergy first relied on heredity to ensure succession, which initially passed
In the first half of the ninth century, three tsenpo in succession officially from uncle to nephew. Later, reincarnation replaced heredity to establish
supported Buddhism, while still practicing the indigenous religion succession. Already at the time of Songtsen Gampo, a non-Buddhist
which ensured their theocracy. A major Sino-Tibetan treaty was signed in priestly class with several internal divisions existed. Later, as the Bud-
dhist clergy became numerous, a tax-exempt status was accorded to both
6. Giuseppe Tucci, "The Wives of Srong btsan sgam po,'" pp. 123-8, doubts that the t~e monks living in the monasteries and to the adepts living in medita-
Nepalese wife ever existed as she is not mentioned in historical sources prior to the tive retreat. The nobility was taxed to provide for the needs of the clergy
fourteenth century. Tradition, however, affirms this marriage, see Rolf A. Stein, La Civil- and the upkeep of their establishments, a situation which continued
isation Tibetaine (1981), p. 36.
7. See Religion chapter, pp. 31-32. The principal source for Tsug is Ariane Macdonald,
through modern times. The major cohesive factor of the dynasty had
"Une lecture des P.T. [Pelliot Tibetain] 1286, 1287, 1038, 1047, et 1290. Essai sur la been the tsenpo and the religion he embodied. As royal concessions to
formation et l"emploi des mythes politiques dans la religion royale de Sron bcan sgam po.'" Buddhism were made, the politico-religious institution which guaran-
A very good summary is also to be found in Anne-Marie Blondeau, "Les Religions du
Tibet.'" teed the tsenpo's theocracy and the stability of the empire disintegrated,
8. Stein, (1981), p. 37, explains that it is highly unlikely that in the twenty years of only to be replaced by the establishment of the Buddhist ecclesiastical
Songtsen's reign, Thonmi codified the alphabet enabling Tibetan texts by ca. 644 to state which governed Tibet until 1959.
already be in Dunhuang far from Lhasa. Furthermore Thonmi does not appear in the lists
of ministers in the Tibetan annals for the period. See Hugh E. Richardson, "Ministers of Because of the upheaval following the fall of the Yarlung dynasty, there
the Tibet Kingdom,"' Tibet Journal, vol. 2, no.1 (1977). Nils Simonsson, [Ildo- Tibetische was a hiatus of historical records of almost one century. When records
Studiell, Uppsala, 1957, thought Thonmi was perhaps late eighth to ninth centuries.
Nonetheless, he is traditionally attributed as the creator of the Tibetan alphabet. 10. This is the traditional account, however Blondeau, '"Les Religions du Tibet," p. 254,
9. For a discussion of Padmasambhava's role in the first diffusion of Buddhism to Tibet see cItes a BuddhIst pehtlOn In favour of Langdarma among the Dunhuang manuscripts.
Tucci, Rellgiolls of Tibet, pp. 5-7. 11. Beckwith, "Empire in the West,"' p. 35.

16 17
resume in the mid-tenth century, Buddhism was well established in Tibet The consequences of the decline of Sakya power were pronounced in
and had become the underlying grid over which economic, political and central Tibet where several religious orders and their noble patrons
social institutions would develop. Descendents of the tsenpo played a rivalled for economic and political control. The Sakya order's use of force
vital role in reviving Buddhism in Guge, a principality of western Tibet. against the Pagmogrupa, a Kagyu order and powerful principality in
Royal patronage allowed numerous religious pilgrims to travel to Bud- Ne'u dong, Yarlung, led to the complete defeat of the Sakya order in
dhist Kashmir. Prominent among these .was Rinchen Zangpo (Rm chen central Tibet by the mid-fourteenth century. The leader of the Pag-
bzang po, 958-1055) who returned to Guge bringing Buddhist texts for mogrupa became known as the King of Tibet until the early seventeenth
study and translation, as well as artists to decorate newly-founded tem- century. The influence of the Karmapa lama and his order was strong at
ples. Indian panditas or teachers such as Dipamkara Atisha (in Tibet the Ming court in China and in Kham, while the Gelugpa order, based in
1042-1054) came to Tibet to proselytize and clarify Buddhist philosophy Lhasa, proselytized among Mongol tribes hostile to China.
and ritual practices. In the eleventh century, many Tibetans travelled to The Gelugpa order, founded in the early fifteenth century by Tsong
India, Nepal and Kashmir as pilgrims, then returned to Tibet to spread Khapa (Tsong kha pa, 1357-1419), received foreign royal patronage in 1578
their newly-acquired knowledge. In addition to making translations of when the Mongol prince, Altan Khan, gave the preeminent Gelugpa
Sanskrit and Chinese Buddhist texts, the Tibetan teachers began to write lama the title Dalai Lama ("Ocean of Wisdom" in Mongolian). Utilizing a
their own commentaries and texts on all aspects of Buddhist thought. A new principle of succession which had slowly gained popularity since
core of disciples surrounded each master, leading to the establishment of the Karmapa adopted it in the late thirteenth century, the Dalai Lama was
many diverse Buddhist religious orders and monasteries in Tibet. The considered a manifestation of divine forces, the embodiment of Tibet's
Tibetan nobility and wealthy principalities patronized the various new spiritual protector, Avalokiteshvara. Sacred tradition in fact asserts that
religious movements. Songtsen Gampo, the first historic tsenpo, was also a reincarnation of
It was not long before the monastic establishments vied with their very Avalokiteshvara. Buddhists believe that an enlightened being can man-
patrons for land ownership and commercial profits. Increasingly the ifest in numerous reincarnations; with the transfer of this spiritual en-
monasteries played the role of financiers or creditors. Shifting alliances ergy to a human body, the scheme of reincarnation took on new political
between the powerful lay patrons and the sectarian orders led some ramifications.
monks to adopt a political role in addition to their traditional one of At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Tibet was geographically
religious guidance and spiritual instruction. When the Mongols divided along sectarian lines. Toh, Tsang and parts of D were controlled
ened Tibet's northern borders in 1240, Sakya Pandita (Sa skya pandzta, by the King of Tsang, who was aligned with the Karmapa order. The
1182-1251), a learned lama of the Sakya order, was invited to the Mongol Gelugpa had their principal strongholds in and around Lhasa, but also
camp of Godan Khan. Godan wanted a written form of the Mongolian had important centers at Kumbum in Amdo and Litang in Kham, both
language developed which the scholar started to prepare, while inter- protected by Gushri Khan, leader of the Koshot Mongols who had
ceding as political negotiator to sway the M0!1gol invasion of Tibet. In established themselves in the Kokonor region. Sporadic fighting oc-
1249, Godan assigned political control over U and Tsang to the Sakya curred between the factions from 1637 to 1642. With support from Gushri
order. After the death of Godan and Sakya Pandita, another Mongol Khan, the Gelugpa leader, the 5th Dalai Lama (bLo bzang rgya mtsho,
invasion of Tibet occurred, led by Kublai Khan. This Khan in turn became 1617-1682), succeeded in regaining control of Lhasa and routed his Tsang
the patron of Sakya and again conferred rule of Dand Tsang as well as the and Karmapa adversaries. In 1642, The Great Fifth (as he is called) unified
title Tishri ("Imperial Preceptor") on Pagpa Lama, Sakya Pandita's Tibet, from Tatsienlu in the east to the Ladakh border in the west. 13 Lhasa
nephew and heir. Pagpa finalized the Mongol alphabet which was used was re-established as the capital of Tibet: in 1645 the Dalai Lama ordered
for a century. the construction there of the Potala Palace, built on the ruins of a palace
When this Mongol dynasty collapsed in 1368, Sakya power was on the attributed to Songtsen Gampo. The 5th Dalai Lama showed astute diplo-
wane in central Tibet. Members of rival monastic orders such as the macy in renewing cultural ties with India, and in maintaining harmo-
Karmapa had also been present at Kublai's court. In central Tibet, still nious relations with the various Mongol factions and with the Manchu
another religious order, the Drigung pa, had revolted against Sakya rulers of China. Within Tibet, even though he was the supreme Gelugpa
control. The Sakya order retained political control of their own monas- authority, the Dalai Lama actively supported the foundation of several
teries south and west of Shigatse, and their religious influence at Derge in major Nyingmapa monasteries in Kham. The Sayka at Derge prospered
east Tibet endured to the twentieth century. Kublai had granted the as well during his reign. The Karmapa centers in Kham, notably at
family of one of Pagpa's attendants administrative power over Derge, Likiang, were defeated and their canonical literature transferred to the
whose territory would eventually,encompass 78,000 square kilometers.
12 Gelugpa monastery at Litang. 14
This was the beginning of what was to become an increasingly autono- The Great Fifth conferred the title of Panchen Lama on his principal
mous cultural center at Derge, replete with monastery, cathedral, print- Gelugpa teacher, and declared him to be the reincarnation of the Buddha
ing facilities and autonomous administrative pow~r as well ..Derge ",:,as Amitabha. The relation of the Panchen Lama to the Dalai Lama was
linked to Lhasa by matrimonial alliances while relIgIOusly alIgned With 13. Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa, Tibet, A Political History, p. 111, states these boundaries, but
Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls, vo!. 11, p. 681 (note 52) cites the "Chronicle of the 5th Dalai
Sakya. Lama" that the Great Fifth's investiture was only over thirteen divisions of 0- Tsang.
12. Joseph Kolmas, Geneology of the Kings of Derge, p. 22. The S~kya order's influence in
Gyantse into the fifteenth century is evident in the great monastIC complex bUIlt by them 14. Yoshiro Imaeda, "L'edition du Kanjur Tibetain de 'Jang Sa-tham," Journal Asiatique,
in 1425. See Tucci, "Gyantse ed i suoi Monasteri," Indo-Tlbetlca IV, part 1, pp. 39-40, 73-93. 1982, p. 181.

always, in theory, that of master to disciple, as Amitabha is. considered ready established his supremacy. Pholhanas received Manchu support
senior to Avalokiteshvara in the divine hierarchy. In fact, as time passed, in the form of two amban (imperial representatives) accompanied by an
whichever of the two lamas was older became the tutor of the other. To a armed garrison. Pholhanas governed so ably that the garrison was re-
great extent, the role of the Panchen La~a was sup'p.osed to be p~r.ely duced to only five hundred men by 1733 and the role of the amban
spiritual, while the Dalai Lama embodIed both spmtual an? pohtIc~1 became purely nominal. I8 The Dalai Lama had been exiled to Litang
authority. Although the 5th Dalai Lama ha~ greatly co.nsohdated hIS from 1729 to 1735, officially to be safe from the Dzungar menace. I9 He
position, de facto Tibetan independence remamed pre~anous due. to the returned to Lhasa, exercising a purely religious authority while Pho-
threat of the Manchu rulers of China and the Mongol tnbes. Gushn Khan lhanas ruled until 1747. After Pholhanas's death, the Dalai Lama reas-
had stationed a permanent camp north of Lhasa. His support of the serted his authority over all secular and religious affairs, assisted by a
Gelugpa had earned the Koshot Mongol leader the hereditary title of cabinet of three lay ministers and one monk. The presence of the amban
"King of Tibet," although the 5th Dalai Lama was the actual ruler. was maintained in Lhasa to the end of the Manchu dynasty.
The death of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1682 was concealed by his close The Manchu protectorate of Tibet was tempered in the eighteenth cen-
assistant, Sangye Gyatso (Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, 1652-1705) for fifteen tury by the Ch'ien Lung Emperor's official adoption of Tibetan Bud-
years in order to maintain the period of peace and stability: In 1695, the dhism. Invitations and munificent gifts were proffered upon Tibetan
Potala Palace was completed, and in 1697, the 6th Dalm was at last clerics and patronage extended to the publication of a new edition of the
officially enthroned. In 1702 the 6th Dalai Lama renounced his monas.tic canonical literature, printed in the Tibetan language in Beijing. North of
vows, much to the dismay of the Panchen Lama and the other major Beijing, Ch'ien Lung constructed a summer capital at Jehol with replicas
Gelugpa lamas as well as Gushri Khan's heir, Lhazang Khan. A ~anch~ of the Potala Palace and other important Tibetan monuments.
ally, Lhazang resented being kept from the secret of the 5th DalaI L~n:a s In 1774-75, the Panchen Lama had the first official contact with a British
death. He advanced on Lhasa, assumed full political control by kIllmg representative by acting as intermediary between the Bhutanese and the
Sangye Gyatso and deposing the 6th Dalai Lama. Lhazang installed a British. 20 Thirteen years later, Tibet became embroiled in a trade dispute
new Dalai Lama who was not accepted by the Tibetan people. The with Nepal, and in 1791, when the Nepalese sacked the Panchen Lama's
Kokonor Mongols and the lamas of the Lhasa Gelugpa monasteries Tashilhunpo monastery and occupied nearby Shigatse, it was the signal
called on the Dzungar Mongols to divest them of Lhazang. I5 In 1717 the for Manchu intervention. In 1792, a combined Manchu-Tibetan army
Dzungar lay siege to Lhasa, deposed the "false" Dalai Lama and kill.ed defeated the Nepalese and crushed the dissident Karmapa forces in
Lhazang Khan. Their destruction of several Nyingmapa monastenes Tsang who had supported this breach of Lhasa authority. The amban's
aroused the enmity of the Tibetans, but, above all, the Dzungar we:e power increased in consequence, for at least a few years. 2I
unsuccessful in their attempts to restore the rightful Dalai Lama, born m During the major part of the nineteenth century, the status quo of Lhasa
Litang in 1708. Sheltered first in Derge, then in Kumbum, the 7th Dalai authority and nominal Manchu protectorate was maintained. In China
Lama was enthroned following a Manchu military expedition in 1720 to weak emperors followed Ch'ien Lung. The tottering Manchu regime was
squash the Dzungars. threatened by internal rebellions and intervention by European powers.
The Manchu withdrew their troops from Lhasa in 1723, retreating to the In the mid-nineteenth century, border and trade disputes with Ladakh
east where they annexed the Kokonor region in 1724. 16 The political and Nepal led Lhasa into contact with British India. 22 The Lhasa govern-
administration and boundaries of Kham were redefined in 1725 as the ment was headed by regents during the reign of several Dalai Lamas: the
next move in Manchu designs on Tibet.l7 Using a branch of the Yangtse 8th, who was predominantly interested in religion, and the 9th through
River as a rough divide, Lhasa controlled all territory west of the river 12th, who died prematurely.
while, to the east, under Chinese protection but autonomous local ad-
In Kham, at this time, the local chief of Nyarong had been encroaching
ministration, twenty-five semi-independent native states or prin- upon the lands of other native chiefs, even as far as Litang, and suc-
cipalities were recognized. Derge was the wealth~estan? most important ceeded in conquering the neighboring states of Derge and Hor. In
of these. A pillar on the Bum La pass, about SIxty mIles southwest of 1863-64, when the Sichuan provincial authorities failed to block these
Batang, served to demarcate the boundary which extended due nort~ to invasions, Lhasa sent troops to do so, defeating the Nyarong chief in
Kokonor. Internal governmental rivalries between the Lhasa cabmet
ministers and the 7th Dalai Lama's father (for the Dalai Lama was but an 18. Garrison figures from Kolmas, Tibet and Imperial China, p. 41; Richardson, A Short
adolescent at the time) led to a civil war in central Tibet in 1727-28. The History of Tibet, p. 53, points out that the Pholanas was now resented by the Tibetans
rival parties appealed to the Manchu who sent an army to restore order. because he did not openly oppose Chinese overlordship of Tibet.
By the time the Manchu troops arrived in Lhasa, a former ally of Lhazang 19. Petech, China and Tibet, p. 174.
20. Prior to this, due to the simple fact of distance, very few Europeans had ever reached
Khan, the cabinet minister Pholhanas (Pho lha nas, 1689-1747) had al- Tibet. Jesuit missions were briefly established at Tsaparang and Shigatse in the early
seventeenth century. Italian missionaries - Jesuit and Capuchin - had even built a
15. Kolmas, Tib~t and Imp~rial China, p. 32; Shakabpa, p. 135. church in Lhasa during their residence from 1707 to 1745. But concomitant with the
Mauchu protectorate, Tibet closed its borders to all foreigners other than the Chinese.
16. Kolmas, Tibet and Imperial China, p. 42, noting that the loss of Kokonor and Kham
meant a reduction in Tibetan territory by almost half. 21. Kolmas, Tibet and Imperial China, pp. 47-48.
17. Eric Teichman, Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet, pp. 2-3; Kolmas, Tibet and 22. Shakabpa, pp. 176-181, for details of the Ladakhi war; Kolmas, Tibet and Imperial China,
China, p. 41; Luciano Petech, China and Tibet in the Early EIghteenth Century, p. 90 gIves the p. 52, for date of annexation by Britain; Shakabpa, pp. 181-2, for details of the war with
Nepal in 1855 to 1856.
comprehensive discussion of the period.

20 21
1865. The Chinese emperor granted the Dalai Lama control of Nyarong
and Derge, although the Derge prince retained his title. Nyarong re- invitation from Beijing. In the hopes of reversing the Chinese policies in
volted again in 1894. This time Chinese troops penetrated into Nyarong, Kham, the Dalal Lama went to Beijing. To counterbalance their loss of
occupying most of the country. From Nyarong the Chinese forces face from the Younghusband expedition, the Chinese had established
reached Derge, in the midst of a succession dispute, and the royal family the new post of Imperial Resident in Chamdo in eastern Tibet. En route
was imprisoned. A settlement was reached in late 1897, reinstating Lhasa to Chamdo, the Resident stopped first in Tatsienlu, capital of the autono-
rule of Nyarong, and resolving, temporarily, the Derge succession. 23 mous state of Chala, where he deposed the King. He then proceeded to
In Lhasa, the government of the 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933) was in- Batan~, where he took up temporary residence and attempted to inter-
creasingly preoccupied with international relations despite Manchu en- fere WIth Gelugpa control of the area. The monks led a revolt and the
couragement to maintain an isolationist foreign policy. Certain factions ReSIdent was killed, A general uprising of all the monasteries in Kham
of the Lhasa government believed that the British would destroy their ensued. A Chinese punitive mission from Sichuan razed the Batang
religion. 24 Tibet had a direct border with the kingdom of Sikkim, subject monastery and executed the Tibetan headmen in retaliation. Chao Er
to British protectorate since 1850. In 1885 the Manchu granted authoriza- Feng was appointed to regain Chinese control of eastern Tibet and he
tion for a British expedition to China via Tibet but the Tibetans refused soo~ earned t~e nickname "Chao the Butcher" for his aggressive actions
the British access to their territory. In 1888 the Tibetans and the British agalns.t local Tibetan authorities. In autumn, 1908, Chao took his turn at
clashed briefly at the border of Sikkim, leading to a Sino-British agree- resolVing the long-s~andingsuccession dispute at Derge. By the summer
ment in 1890 to redefine the border and recognize British interests in of 1909, Chao, haVing secured Chinese control of Derge, started for
Sikkim. Trade access was thus established but remained problematic. Chamdo, the eastern gateway to central Tibet. With troops from Batang
Curiously, while British overtures were being refused, a pro-Russian and Derge, Chao occupied first Chamdo, then Draya and Markham.
Only Nyarong remained an obstacle27 The 13th Dalai Lama, portrait photo
Buriat Mongol monk named Dorjiev had considerable personal influence
taken In studiO of Th, Paar, Darjeeling,
as one of the Dalai Lama's councilors. In 1898 he visited Russia whence he dunng the Dalai Lama's stay there,
returned with presents for the Dalai Lama and the message that, as 27, Kolma,;, Tibet alld Imperial Cllilla, pp, 54-65; Teichman, pp, 19-27, ca. 1910-12 (f22-C)
China was weak, Tibet should turn to Russia for alliance. The Dalai Lama
was invited to visit Russia, but the Tibetan Assembly opposed the jour-
ney. Instead, Dorjiev, received by the Czar as "Envoy Extraordinary of
the Dalai Lama," journeyed again to Russia and back. 2s Tibet's strategic
position at the heart of Asia became crucial to British, Russian and
Chinese schemes for the continent.
In 1903 a British military expedition led by Colonel Younghusband en-
tered southern Tibet in order to force Lhasa into opening trade discus-
sions and to counter Russian influence. Bhutan and Sikkim urged Lhasa
to negotiate but to no avail. The expedition crossed the Sikkimese border, 1
lay siege to Gyantse for three months while awaiting a Tibetan party for 1i
negotiations, and finally descended on Lhasa in August, 1904. Having
authorized the regent to negotiate, the Dalai Lama fled to Mongolia, t
already under Russian influence. This seemed to confirm the worst of
British fears, but within a month an agreement was signed by the Ti-
betans, authorizing a British trade agent to remain in Tibet and guaran-
teeing Tibetan compliance with previous Sino-British trade conventions.
The British had sought direct negotiation because, as their representative
explained, "We regard Chinese suzerainty over Tibet as a constitutional
fiction - a political affectation which has only been maintained because I
of its convenience to both parties."26
The DaJai Lama remained in Mongolia more than a year, then travelled to
Kumbum, the important Gelugpa monastery near Lake Kokonor. Here
he received a message from Lhasa urging his return, and an imperial
23. Petech, Aristocracy lllld COl'emll1i'11t ill Tibet, 1', 178 for the invasions of Litang and
Derge, The best source for the Nyarong rebellion is Tashi Tsering, "A Preliminary Study in
Nyagrong Gompo Namgyei," Proceedillgs of the Illtt'rllali(//lal Associatioll for Tilletall Studies,
Columbia University Seminar 1982, B.N. Aziz and M. Kapstein, eds. (publication
24, Shakabpa, 1', 206
25. Richardson, SIIort History, 1', 82.
26, Letter from Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, quoted in Shakabpa, p, 219,

Using the northern route via Kumbum, the Dalai Lama returned to
Lhasa in December, 1909. Lhasa sent public appeals to Europe and
Beijing to stop the advance of the Chinese forces but to no avail. In
February, 1910, Chinese troops invaded Lhasa. This time the Dalai Lama
sought asylum in India, and in Beijing the British officially protested
violation of the conventions in Tibet. 28 One contingent of Chao's troops
advanced west of the Salween into the Brahmaputra basin, while another
took Kanze, just outside of Nyarong. Chao forcibly annexed Nyarong in
the spring of 1911, completing his control of Kham. He would have
organized this area into a new Chinese province called Hsi Kang but in
December, 1911, Chao was executed as the Chinese revolution broke out.
Taking advantage of China's chaotic political situation, Lhasa forces over-
came the Chinese troops stationed in central and southern Tibet, and
uprisings occurred in Kham. The republican successor to Chao Er Feng
looted Tatsienlu where he burned the Chala Palace, then destroyed the
Chamdo monastery and reinstated Chinese control of Batang, Chamdo,
Derge and Kanze 29
The Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa in January, 1913, and issued a declara-
tion of independence. A tripartite British, Chinese and Tibetan con-
ference was held in 1914 at Simla to attempt to resolve the boundary
issues. Despite the initial approval of all parties, only the British and
Tibetan governments ratified the agreement. 30 A tentative settlement
was reached diViding the disputed territories roughly along the 1725
Bum La boundary, but leaving the monasteries of Batang and Litang
(inside "Chinese" territory) in Tibetan control. Hostilities along the
border led to a new mediation in 1918, upholding Tibetan claims to
Chamdo, Draya, Markham and Derge, while ceding Batang, Litang,
Nyarong and Kanze to China. Further negotiations occurred in 1932,
reinstating the 1918 "armistice line." The Dalai Lama remained suspicious
of Chinese movements in Kham and warned, just before his death, of the
died suddenly in 1937 in Jyekundo. In 1939 the ]4th Dalai Lama was FIGURE 7
coming danger of Communism to the Tibetan religious order. The death
of the 13th Dalai Lama in December, 1933, offered the Nationalist govern-
foun~ m the Kokonor region, administered by the Chinese since 1724 but
ethlllcally and culturally Tibetan. Lhasa paid a substantial ransom to the Si-Ion Yab-shi Lang-dun, Prime
ment of Chiang Kai-shek, whose earlier overtures to Lhasa had been Minister of Tibet, Lhasa, Photo:
local authorities in order to obtain his passage from China. Cutting, ]937 (l20-C)
rebuffed, the opportunity to make the first official Chinese visit to Lhasa
since the invasion of 1910. After offering condolences and gifts to the During World War If, Tibet remained strictly neutral, refusing both
Lhasa government, the Nationalists proposed that Tibet become a part of Chmese and BntIsh requests to transport materials through Tibetan
China. This was rejected and the Chinese mission departed leaving in territory. A threatened coup d'etat was aborted in Lhasa in ]947.33 The
Lhasa a small Chinese garrison and a radio transmitter. In 1934, a local capital was still reeling from the rivalries among the monasteries when
uprising against Lhasa authority occurred in Kham, drawing Tibet into Mao, m 1949, announced by radio that Tibet would soon be "liberated."
negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek's government. At the same time Mao In October, 1950, Chinese Communist forces attacked several areas of
Tse-tung's Communist troops, fleeing central China, attempted to enter Kham and simultaneously invaded northeastern Tibet and Changthang.
Kham but were turned back by Tibetan government soldiers. 31 The Lhasa sent m.essages to the United Nations to protest the invasion, but
Panchen Lama, in China since 1923, had become a protege of China. 32 no offICIal action was taken. The Dalai Lama sought asylum to the south
When the Panchen proposed to return accompanied by five hundred near the Sikklmese ~order in order to avoid being taken prisoner. A
Chinese troops, Lhasa was obliged to refuse him access unless the troops settlement was negOtiated by the former Tibetan governor of Chamdo
remained in Chinese territory. The Panchen traveled toward Tibet, but who now became a Chinese puppet. The settlement guaranteed th~
status of the Tibetan government and the safety of the DaJai Lama (now
28. Richardson, Short His/or!l, p. 98. persuaded to return to Lhasa) as well as the protection of established
29. Teichman, pp. 29-42.
rehglOus customs, but admitted Chinese military occupation of Tibetan
30. Kolmas, "The McMahon Line: Further Development of the Disputed Frontier," Til'etan
Studies ill Honour of H. E. Riclwrdson. points out in note 8, p. 183, that in fact the Tibetan and terntory. The Dalal Lama returned to find that by 1951 there were twenty
Chinese plenipotentiaries both sigilI'd the map and the convention; it was however, never thousand troops stationed in and around Lhasa alone.34
ratified by the Chinese government.
33. Richardson,. "The Rva sgreng Conspiracy of 1947," Tibl'tllll Stlld,es in HOllour of H. E.
31. Shakabpa, p. 278.
Rtclrard~oll, prOVides an excellent account of the circumstances surrounding these events.
32. Richardson, Short Histor~. p. 144. 34. International Commission of Jurists, pp. 288-311.

In 1954 the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama 35 visited Beijing in an
attempt at conciliation with the Chinese government. Despite the 1951
agreement the Chinese had begun to implement "reforms:" confiscation
of large estates, deportation of children to China, assaults on the clerics
and desecration of the monasteries, along with taxation to an extent
hitherto unknown. Demonstrations against the Chinese accompanied
active guerilla warfare which spread throughout Tibet, instigated in
Kham where "reforms" had inflicted the most economic hardships and
personal humiliation on the population. The Dalai Lama and the Pan-
chen Lama visited India in 1956 and there met with the Chinese on
neutral ground to request removal of Chinese troops, restoration of the
status existing at the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, and abandonment of
the Chinese program of reforms. 36 The only Chinese concession was a
moratorium of five years in the implementation of the reforms planned
for Tibet. Tibet remained occupied and in a constant state of guerilla
warfare. By early 1959, Tibetan guerillas controlled most of southern
Tibet. The Chinese pressured the Dalai Lama to use Tibetan troops to
crush the resistance movement, composed largely of men from Amdo
and Kham.
The Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in disguise on the night of March 17, 1959,
receiving protection from the guerillas as soon as he crossed the Tsangpo
River. He continued to India where he was granted political asylum. The
Chinese troops in Lhasa shelled the Norbu Linga, the Potala and other
strategic sites and installed a military government. Approximately one
hundred thousand Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama to India 37 In Sep-
tember, 1959, the question of Tibet was at last discussed in the United
Nations but no official sanctions were taken. The guerilla movement
continued unabated throughout the sixties, while further land and civil
reforms were enacted. FIGURE 8
The Dalai Lama established a government in exile at Dharamsala, India. The 14th Dalai Lama, ca. age 10.
The flood of refugees continued to swell, bringing news with them of Photograph sent to Cutting in 1945
atrocities in Tibet. The International Commission of Jurists stated in their with the greeting: "In accordance with
the authorization of the Buddha, this
report that acts of genocide had been perpetrated in Tibet by the Chi- is the 14th Dalai Lama, immutable
nese. 3S Tibet was particularly hard hit by the Chinese Cultural Revolu- holder of Vajra and master of the
tion and its after-effects of ca. 1965-75. Out of some three thousand

completely perfect teachings."
monastic establishments in existence prior to 1959, only a handful remain (Cutting gift 1982, 82.90)
today, essentially as museums. Since 1980 some international journalists
and tourists have been allowed into Lhasa. The Lhasa Cathedral is
reopened for public worship and portions of the Potala Palace are opened
to visitors. The guerilla movement seems to have been suppressed, yet
Tibetans inside and outside their country yearn for their independence
and freedom to practice the religion which has been the matrix of their

35. This disputed incarnation oi the ranchen Lama was born in 1938 in Qinghai and his
recognition supported by the Chinese government which circumvented traditional Ti-
betan coniirmation procedures. See Shakabpa, p. 300.
36. Richardson, Sh",t History, p. 203.
37. In regard to Tibet's other major religious leader, the ranchen Lama, already aligned
with the Chinese (Shakabpa, pp. 306-7, 31O-1l), remained at Tashilunpo, his historic seat,
iollowing the events of 1959; later he became vice-president of the Committee for the
Autonomy of Tibet, the highest Communist rarty organ in Tibet. In "1904, the ranchen
Lama "disappeared" only to resurface again in 1979-80 when he was elected, in Beijing, as
vice-chairman of the Minority People's Congress.
38. International Commission oi jurists, pp. 288-311.

1. Buddhism
Prior to 1959, Tibet was governed as an ecclesiastical state according to
the principles of Buddhism. This religion was founded in northern India
during the sixth century B.C. by Shakyamuni, known by epithet as
Buddha, "The Enlightened One." His teachings concentrated on the
alleviation of the suffering inherent to the impermanence of life and
man's unfulfilled desires. The ethical system proposed by Shakyamuni
focused on the accumulation of good moral deeds and the development
of a wise and disciplined mind. The goal of the accumulation of good
deeds is to purify the mind and ensure a positive rebirth in which it will
be possible to attain salvation. The world of samsara including divine,
human, animal and infernal realms, is conceived of as involving suffer-
ing in all of its aspects. To be born as a human is considered best because
only man can aspire to Buddhahood. The doctrine of rebirth was com-
mon in India at the time. Shakyamuni opened the road to salvation for all,
regardless of caste, who followed his precepts.
His first teaching was encapsuled in the "Four Noble Truths:" 1) Dukkha
(suffering), the fundamental nature of all conditioned existence is suffer-
ing, and 2) Samudaya (the cause and arising of suffering), the origin of
suffering is unfulfilled desire coupled with karma accumulated in this and
past lifetimes. Suffering and the origin of suffering are basic philosophi-
cal concepts of Buddhism. Suffering can be understood as the obvious
suffering of daily life such as illness, loss and death, and, on a more
profound level, as the suffering arising from the inevitable imperma-
nence and interdependence of existence. It is this impermanence and
interdependence on all other phenomena that is meant in the phrase
"conditioned existence." After years of searching Shakyamuni finally
discovered the state of unconditioned existence, which is 3) Nirvana (the
cessation of suffering), to be attained by eliminating desire and karma.
4) Marga (the path), the way leading to nirvana, is the "Noble Eightfold
Path." This consists of: 1) Right Understanding, 2) Right Thought,
3) Right Speech, 4) Right Action, 5) Right Livelihood, 6) Right Mindful-
ness, 7) Right Concentration, and 8) Right Views. To practice the
Eightfold Path, Buddhists take refuge in the "Three Jewels:" the Buddha,
the Dharma (the Buddhist sacred philosophical and moral code), and the
Sangha (the community which upholds these values).
If one followed these principles, moral imperfections acquired in pre-
vious lifetimes could gradually be cleared and no further defilements
would accumulate as the individual continued his course toward nir-
vana. According to the Buddha's explanations, everything is imperma-
nent, composed of transient aggregates in a state of constant flux and
mutual conditioning. Due to the intrinsic composite nature of every-
thing, it is said that everything is void of inherent existence. This is the
Buddhist doctrine of emptiness or sunyata. Thus physical elements and
mental attitudes, and the very ego itself are all impermanent, but in the
normal everyday world (termed samsara) these aggregates (including the
perception of the self) are perceived by un-enlightened beings as real and
constant. When nirvana is realized the transient nature of the aggregates
is fully perceived, ignorance, craving and hatred are eliminated, and FIGURE 9
enlightened awareness is achieved.
Chortens, Kham. Photo: Shelton,
In the first centuries after Shakyamuni's death, divergent interpretations ca. 1905--20 (032-5)

28 29
of the nature of reality and of nirvana led to the establishment of different deities and their realms. But the very philosophical doctrines of Bud-
sub-schools of Buddhism. Theravada, an early school still practiced in dhism made the existence of deities possible only if the deities represent
Ceylon and Southeast Asia, maintains that nirvana is distinct from the manifestations of consciousness. Buddhism is atheistic in philosophy
world as we know it. The Mahayana tradition (the "Great Way," founded but may be polytheistic in practical worship, depending upon individual
ca. second century A.D.) postulates that nirvana is attainable in this world preference. In addition to a deified Shakyamuni and other Buddhas, the
and is not, in the final analysis, different from samsara. Nirvana and religion gradually incorporated many early Indian Hindu deities into the
samsara are related like the two sides of a coin, all a matter of how we pantheon.
perceive the phenomenal world. If we are able to fully apprehend the Buddhism as practiced in Tibet is the integration of Theravada, Ma-
doctrine of emptiness, which expounds the composite nature of the hayana and Vajrayana philosophies in conjunction with indigenous Ti-
interdependent, impermanent elements consituting the phenomenal betan beliefs and ritual practices, assimilated into a Buddhist conceptual
world, then we could live in a state of nirvana even while we are in this framework. The different orders which evolved within Tibetan Bud-
physical body. But herein lies a fundamental distinction between Ma- dhism (to be discussed below) reflect emphasis either on mystic medita-
hayana practice and Theravadin practice. The Theravada school stresses tion or on intellectual insight as the foundation of meditation, but all
the personal enlightenment of the individual, as epitomized by the adhere to the basic Buddhist tenets.
Arhat, a Buddhist monk who achieves the highest state of perfection. By
practicing monastic discipline in accordance with the sermons of the 2. The Indigenous Religion
Buddha (Sutras) and appropriate meditation on the impermanent nature
Before the introduction of Buddhism in the seventh to eighth centuries
of reality, the Arhat realizes nirvana and will no longer be reborn. In
A.D., Tibetans believed in a divinely ordered universe over which a
Mahayana teachings, the practitioner emulates the Bodhisattva striving
deified ruler, the tsenpo, presided. It has been proposed that this religion
for the collective salvation of all sentient beings. A Bodhisattva ("En-
was called Tsug (gTsug), the term used for the divine order of the
lightenment Being") delays his own nirvana in order to assist others in
universe. 2 The sacred character of the early tsenpo is attested by numer-
their attainment of enlightenment. 1
ous early documents and contemporary inscribed stele. The persona of
As Mahayana developed, the concept of the nature of Buddha, The the ruler had a personal guardian deity, the Kula (sKu bla)3 identified
Enlightened One, became increasingly abstract. Shakyamuni, the his- with a sacred mountain and worshipped by the populace to ensure their
toric Buddha of our age, came to be considered as one of over a thousand prosperity, through the practice of herbal burnt offerings. As a human
Buddhas which will appear in the course of this aeon (Kalpa). The idea of manifestation of divine presence, the tsenpo first appeared on earth as he
a series of appearances in this world by successive Buddhas was ex- descended from a sacred mountain. The Kula is thus identified as a
tended further in India in the first to second centuries by the idea of a divinity/mountain, and as an ancestor and support of the vital principle
plurality of Buddhas in one time span. Buddhahood thus came to be seen of the tsenpo, who reunited with his Kula upon burial in a tomb called
as a universal principle. Five main Buddhas representing Buddha fami- "mou~tain." There. the tsenpo's remains awaited rebirth in a joyous
lies developed: Vairocana ("Resplendent") at the center, with Amitabha paradIse when a fmal resurrection would occur. Funeral ceremonies
("Boundless Light"), Akshobhya ("Imperturbable"), Amoghasiddhi ("In- were elaborate, including ritual sacrifice of animals performed by priests
fallible Success") and Ratnasambhava newel-born") radiating out as the called Bonpo.4 Deification of the tsenpo and the mountains was accom-
four cardinal points. panied by precise divination rituals, celebrated by priests called shen. The
Concomitant with Mahayana, Vajrayana Buddhism developed, centered social ideal of human justice and equality through equal distribution of
on the Buddha's doctrine as expounded in the group of texts called resources were part ~nd parcel of the divine order which the tsenpo
Tantras. These texts teach the transformation of all actions and emotions preserved. The orgamzed Tsug religion appears to have been practiced
in the path toward Buddhahood which, according to Vajrayana, may be
reached in one lifetime by a particularly direct path. The path involves
2. Both Rolf A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization, and Giuseppe Tucci, The Religions of Tibet, discuss
disciplined concentration through yoga practices which enable an indi- the Ideas and pracllces of the mdlgenous Tibetan religion, but the first study to establish
vidual to gain control over his body and his mind. The practices include the term Tsug and :he most comprehenSive discussion is Ariane Macdonald, "Une lecture
contemplating external objects such as images' of deities which help to des P. T. (Pelhot Tlbetam) 1286, 1287, 1038, 1047 et 1290. Essai Sur la formation et l'emploi des
mythes pohllques dans la rehglOn royale de Srori bcan sgam po."
purify the body, speech and mind. An icon reflecting tantric Buddhist 3. The terr'2 Kula (sKu:bla) is of prime importance, as the core term bla is pronounced "La",
concepts which occurs frequently in painting and sculpture is the yab- slgmfymg hfe force. Recent scholarship has shown the relation of this term with the
yum image. In such an image, the ecstasy of nirvana is described in word lama (bla-ma) signifying ':spiritual master." The lama is of such importance in
Tibetan Bu.ddhlsm that the rehglOn Itself is often referred to as "Lamaism." See Ariane
analogy to human sexuality: the male figure (termed yab, "father") repre- Macdonald and Yoshno Imaeda, Choix de Documents Tibetains Conserves a la Bibliotheque
sents active compassion, and the female figure (termed yum, "mother") NatlOnale, vo!. n, pp. 12-15.
represents transcendental wisdom. The union of these complementary 4. The term for funerary priests specialized in ritual sacrifice (Bonpo) has often been
erroneously confused WIth two later concepts: the organized religion called Bon, whose
forces is the essence of the enlightened mind. adherents are called Bon poand individual exorcist priests (dBon-po) who practice outside
The Tantras provide rich iconographic sources by their description of of any orgamzed TIbetan rehgion. Because these terms are almost homonyms, many early
European VISitors to Tibet thought that the pre-Buddhist religion was the shamanism
1. David Snellgrove, Buddhist Himalaya, gives an excellent overview of the development prachced by the dBon-po. The religion described in the Dunhuang manuscripts is not
and the doctrines of Buddhism. See also, Walpola Rahula, What The Buddha Taught, and shamamsllc. Also, the later Tibetan hIstorical tradition linked the early organized royal
Edward Conze, Buddhism: Its Essence and Development. rehgIOn WIth Bon, further confusing the matter.

30 31
in central Tibet and over a large extent of the Tibetan empire in the hayana are int~grated with the more ritualistic and mystical Vajrayana.
seventh to ninth centuries. s The tsenpo Tnsong Detsan recognized this by his edict establishing
The first historic tsenpo, Songtsen Gampo (reign 620-650 A.D.), is tradi- separate status for monks i~ monasteries and for tantric hermit adepts.
tionally credited with the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet by virtue of Teachers of the Chmese Ch an Buddhist sect proselytized at Samye as
his matrimonial alliances with a Chinese princess and a Nepalese prin- well, to such a~ extent. that, according to tradition, a debate was held (ca.
cess. The two wives are held responsible'for the tsenpo's conversion to 797) to ?eterml~e whIch Buddhist school Tibet would officially adopt.
Buddhism, and for the construction of the first Buddhist temples in The C~mese p~lest was defeated, and thus Tibet opted for the Indian
Lhasa. Yet contemporary documents state that Songtsen Gampo swore BuddhIst teachmgs of Mahayana and Vajrayana.7 Tradition aside, it is
to sacrifice (hardly orthodox Buddhist practice!) a hundred horses on the clea.r that several schools of Buddhist thought were known in Tibet
tomb of his faithful minister, evidence of his continued adherance to dunng.the seventh to ninth centuries, and that opposition to any form of
Tsug. In fact, recent scholarship indicates that it was Songtsen Gampo BuddhIsm was also present in those who still favored the indigenous
who codified the Tsug religion to ensure the stability of the empire and organized religion.
the royal government as well as to enhance the prestige of the royalty and In the first ha.1f of the ninth century, three tsenpo in succession sup-
their descendents. 6 By offering a total vision of the world and time, the por~ed BuddhIsm a~d esta.blished by edict the basis for monastic power
tsenpo governed his subjects both in life and in the afterlife. m TIbet: two BuddhIst clerICS were added to the tsenpo's councilors and
The concepts and practices of Tsug were fundamentally irreconcilable property was allocated for monasteries, which were accorded a tax-
with the basic principles of Buddhism: the Tsug belief in an afterlife and exempt st~tus a~d given financial support through taxation of the popu-
resurrection versus the Buddhist belief in the impermanence of all exis- lace. In thIS penod many Indian teachers were invited to Tibet both to
tence; the Tsug ideal of human happiness versus the Buddhist concept of pr~ach and to undertake the arduous task of translating the Buddhist
suffering related to existence; and immediate human justice versus the scnptu~es from Sanskrit into Tibetan, a project which was finally com-
cycle of rebirths and karma. The Tibetan tsenpo were at first inclined to pleted m the early fourteenth century. Among the first texts translated
support both religions despite the apparent contradictions and the fact were the rules ~f moral ~ode and monastic discipline (vinaya), certain
that the adoption of the doctrines of Buddhism imperiled their divine Mahayana teachmgs d~ahng with the doctrines of emptiness (in particu-
right to rule. The process of conversion was gradual, incorporating ideas lar, the ~erfectlOn of Wisdom Sutra), and some Vajrayana tantric rituals
from the many currents of Buddhism with which the Tibetans were in along WIth a large number of mystic prayers (dharani).
contact through their conquests in Central Asia, China and India, where The indigenous religion was however not totally vanquished. In 822
Buddhism was firmly entrenched. The reverence formerly accorded to dU~ing ~he r~ign of Tsenpo Ralpacan who was overtly pro-Buddhist, ~
the deified tsenpo was transferred to a deified Shakyamuni Buddha, major Smo-Tlbetan peace treaty was concluded. Two ceremonies were
indigenous deities were incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon, and held to seal the pact: one sanctified by Buddhist clerics and the other a
the live sacrifices previously offered were replaced by dough effigies. ~it~al ani~~1 sacrifice. s The successor to Ralpacan was Lang Darma who
IS IgnommlOusly remembered in history for his severe persecution of
3. The Early Development of Buddhism and Ban Buddhism. 9 His assassination in 842 by pro-Buddhist adherents was the
in Tibet c.ulmination of the competition for political and economic power. This
fmal end to the tsenpo tradition caused a century-long period of political
During the reign of Songtsen Gampo's great-grandson, Trisong Detsan, and religious realignment.
755-797/98, Buddhism made great strides in the conversion of the Ti-
Buddhism had established strongholds in Amdo and in western Tibet
betans. In 779, with the help of foreign religious masters, Trisong Detsan
when recor~s resume in the mid-tenth century. Although the
founded the first Buddhist monastery at Samye, about fifty miles south-
!sug ~~hglOn had lost It.S ra~son d'etre since there was no tsenpo, many of
east of Lhasa. Two great teachers came to Tibet at this time: the Indian
ItS d~lties and some ~f .ltS ntuals were diffused into Buddhist teachings,
master, Santaraksita, who preached a form of Mahayana Buddhism, and Into another rehglOn, Bon, codified in the tenth to eleventh cen-
emphasizing meditation and meritorious acts leading to a nirvana turies. As a modern Bon po historian has said, "Bon had been in an
achieved gradually over many lifetimes; and Padmasambhava, a native of
embryonic state when the tsenpo were in power, blending three main
Oddiyana (now thought to be the Swat Valley, Pakistan), who practiced elements: the worship of the divine nature of the tsenpo and the associ-
Vajrayana Buddhism, accentuating tantric ritual meditation to attain nir-
ate~ gods, Ir~nian ideas of the formation of the world, and sophisticated
vana in just one human lifetime. Padmasambhava is traditionally revered
IndIan th~ones such as karma and rebirth. "10 By its early assimilation of
for miraculously subduing the indigenous Tibetan deities, and incorpo- Indo-Iraman elements, Bon may have prepared the terrain for the adop-
rating them into the Buddhist pantheon. The invitation of these two
religious masters indicates the persistence of Tsug and the early Tibetan ;,. According to Chinese sources, the Chinese priest in fact won, Anne-Marie Blondeau
appreciation of the complementarity of Mahayana and Vajrayana teach- Les RelIgIOns du Tibet," pp. 252-253. '
ings and methods: in the collaboration of Santaraksita and Pad- 8. Stein, Tibetan Civilization, p. 200.

masambhava the philosophical, moralistic and rational trends of Ma- 9. Blondeau, "Les Religions du Tibet," p. 254, mentions a Buddhist prayer for Langdarma
among the Dunhuang manuscripts, despite the persecutions attributed to him,
5. Macdonald, "U ne lecture des P. T.", p, 304, 10. Samten G. Karmay, "A General Introduction to the History and Doctrines of Bon,"
6. Macdonald, "Une lecture des P.T.", p. 377. pp. 7-9.

32 33

FIGURE 11 (Top)
View of Tashilunpo, founded in 1447 .. ,
.. ..

and used since the seventeenth

century as the seat of the Panchen
Lama, Shigatse. Photo: Cutting, 1935

FIGURE 12 (Right)
Monks in courtyard, Tashilunpo,
Shigatse. Photo: Cutting, 1935 (S2-C)


FIGURE 10 (Left)
The Great Chorten of Palkhor Choide,
built ca. fifteenth century, Gyantse.
Photo: Cutting, 1930 (M17-C)

34 35
ti b Buddhism of Tibetan deities and certain rites H Bon texts of the
teO~h ~o eleventh centuries still include animal sacrifice, perhap~ to be
related to the functions of the Bonpo funerary priests who speClahzed In
the ritual sacrifice known earlier in Tibet. But the~e. sam~ tex~s Include
many elements common to Buddhism. Bon as a rehglO~ shll eXists today,
but it is practiced very much like other sUbcschool~o.f Tibetan Budd~lsm,
despite maintaining its own terminology and a dlshnct and voluminous
body of canonical literature. In southern Kham, theBon converted .the
Mosso aboriginal tribes (also called Nga-khi) to theIr rehglon. In Tibet
prior to 1959, most of the Bon monasteries were found In the western
. . Kham although one important monastery was near Lhasa.
regions or In , . 'b
The Bon religion may be envisioned as an actIve counterpart to TI etan
Buddhism, organized and codified simultaneously and m parallel.

4. The Establishment of the Main Buddhist Sects

in Tibet
In the late tenth to early eleventh centuries, there was a second ~iffusion
of Indian doctrines into Tibet. Many new sects and mo~astenes were
founded at this time. The Indian sage Atisha, who arnved In central Tibet
in 1042 after a sojourn in western Tibet, found Samye largely neglected
and many of the tantric teachings being prachced Incorrectly. In response the followers of Atisha were known as "the adherents who absorb every
to this, Atisha advocated celibacy, abstinence, and stressed the relahon of word of the Buddha as having spiritual significance," the Kadampas. Potala, north (back) view, Lhasa.
strict dependence on the individual teacher, the lama (bla ma or S. guru). Shortly after the foundation of the Kadampa order, two other major Photo: Cutting, 1935 or 37 (M65-C)
FIGURE 13 Tantric rituals were included in Atisha's teachings but were r~served for a orders were established. The Sakyapa order was founded in the eleventh
The Potala, Lhasa, during procession few initiates. Those who still followed the original teachings of Pad- century; named after their principal monastery in western Tibet, the
for the commemoration of the 5th masambhava became known as "the ancients," the Nymgmapas, whIle Sakyapas dominated Tibet politically and spiritually in the thirteenth
Dalai Lama's death. Photo: Alexandra
11. Stein, Tibetal! Ci"ilizatiol!. p. 263. century under the patronage of Kublai Khan. The head lama's succession
David-Neel, March, 1924 (M48)
was passed from uncle to nephew. One of the three sub-schools was
based at Ngor monastery, of particular importance for its distinctive art
style. The Sakyapa teachings combined monastic discipline with tantric
doctrines in a comprehensive curriculum.
The other major sect, Kagyupa, traces its origins to the Tibetan yogi
Marpa who studied in India and returned to Tibet to practice as a married
farmer. His disciple, Milarepa (1040-1123) is well known for his poetic
accounts of mystic visions and encounters. Milarepa's disciple Gampopa
founded the Kagyupa sect, which later divided into twelve suborders. Of
these the Karmapa group came to have the most political power, perhaps
for their innovative form of ensuring the succession by reincarnation.
Great emphasis was placed on mystic meditation in all the Kagyupa
In the tenth to thirteenth centuries, Buddhism was eradicated in India in
part owing to the Moslem invaders, who systematically desecrated Bud-
dhist shrines and destroyed the great monastic universities of northern
India. Some Indian religious masters sought refuge in Nepal and Tibet.
When the Tibetans could no longer travel to India to seek teachings, a
system of revealing "hidden" texts (terma) flourished among the
Nyingmapa. These texts, attributed to Padmasambhava, are revealed to
chosen disciples through visions and recovery of the texts from their
place of concealment. Longchenpa (1308-1363) organized a systematic
approach to Buddhist philosophy and gave new impetus to the
Nyingmapa lineages by combining terma teachings, tantric ritual and
meditative techniques.

tion. The monastic establishments varied in size from a few members to
veritable towns of two to three thousand monks. Each monastery con-
sisted of an assembly hall and a main temple as well as dwellings for the
monks. The Gelugpa established the largest monasteries which were
divided into residential colleges for purposes of specific study, i.e.
schools of metaphysics, logic, astrology, medicine and advanced depart-
ments for specific ritual cycles and tantra. The monastic establishment
had a role for everyone who kept the vows of the community. In addition
to those novices showing intellectual promise who would embark on
long academic or meditative training, there were monks who served as
teachers, artists, clerks, commercial agents, cooks, bodyguards, almost
every occupation necessary to a small society.
The monastic city was a sacred object in and of itself because it housed the
clergy, venerated since earliest Buddhism as part of the Three Jewels. The
sacred prestige of the monastery was increased by the presence of incar-
nate lamas, considered at birth to be the re-embodiment of a deceased
eminent lama. Buddhists believe that an enlightened person can, upon
his death, transfer his spiritual energy to a new human body. Thus the
incarnate lama is sacred for his Own spiritual qualities as well as those of
the predecessor whom he embodies. A monastery could also be the seat
of an official medium or oracle, consulted by the monks and the populace FIGURE 16
during religious festivals or in times of trouble.
Tsogchen Dukhang (chapel), Sera
As a complement to the celibate monks of the monasteries, non- Monastery, founded 1419, Lhasa.
Photo early 20th century (M73-C)

Tson kha a, a great Buddhist scholar and reformer, was born near FIGURE 15
Koko~or fn 1357. In reaction to the overly secular aCtiVIties. of s~me The High Lama of Batang, Ja Lama at
sc 00 s an to what he deemed a loosening of monastic
h I d A . hdlsCiplme,
' I" left, Batang, Kham. Photo: Shelton,
Tson kha a created the Gelugpa order, modeled on . tis as ear ler ca. 1920 (159-5)
Ka d ampa Pgroup. Tsongkhapa reaffirmed monastic dlsclplme, f h andt'
laced reat emphasis on metaphysical debates as part 0 t e monas IC
p . fum which integrated Sutra and Tantra, includmg colleges of as-
~~~cu and medicine in some monasteries as welL Initia~ly
the Gelugpa
wer/rble to stay outside the political factions wlthm TIbet, but w~:~
threatened, they turned for assistance to Mongol pnnces who~ th? h .
converted to Buddhism. The Dalai Lama came to be the tit eo. t elr
. . I leader and the Panchen Lama was the other major spmtual
ie~~:;:ithin the sect. By 1642, under the leadersh.ip of the 5th IDalaI

th~PGelugpa ce~tral
ama the Gelu a exercised both temporal and spmtual contro over
L 'bet Once
T had established their hegemony In
I . the other monastic orders tended to fl ouns . h ou tSI de the direct
I f Lhasa In the next three centuries the rehglOus fortunes of TIbet
rea m 0 inextricably
became .
bound to political events as d'Iscusse d'In the pre-
vious chapter.

5. Monastic Life .
There were approximately three thousand monasteries in Tibet pnor/o
1959, occupied by as many as twenty percent l2 of the adult male popu a-
12. There are conflicting estimates on the percentage of the Tibetan population actually in

cloistered, self-styled religious adepts and a married clergy also existed
in some religious orders. The cloistered monks took basic vows of celi-
bacy and monastic discipline in addition to a Bodhisattva vow to strive for
the salvation of all sentient beings or the Tantric vow to strive to attain this
collective salvation in one lifetime. The married clergy were exempt from
the monastic vows, but were equally venerated by virtue of either their
Bodhisattva or Tantric vow, in addition to their individual spiritual devo-
tion and scholarship.
The lay population called on the local monastic establishment, often in a
coordinated effort with non-monastic priests, to officiate at occasions of
birth, death and illness. Certain priests were held capable of influencing
the weather and were thus requested to intercede to bring or stop rain,
hailstorms or the like. If a village or family seemed in the throes of
general misfortune, a lama would be called to determine the cause of the
problem and eliminate it by ritual or appeasing the offended spirit with
offerings of grain and libations. On the occasions of religious holidays
which punctuated the calendar year, individuals would travel long dis-
tances to meet and trade, while the monks celebrated ritual services, and
then all attended ceremonial masked dances performed by troops of

6. Folk Religion
The lay populace demonstrated overwhelming faith in Buddhism while
generally leaving questions of metaphysical or philosophical nature to
the clergy. To this day, devotion is shown to all Buddhas and Bodhisatt-
vas, most especially to Avalokiteshvara who is considered to be Tibet's
Appliqued banner displayed once a patron. His six-syllable prayer, OM MANI PADME HUM, is counted on
year on Monlam Chemo ("Great Prayer
the rosary beads that the Tibetan never abandons, on the prayer wheel FIGURE 18
Festival") in February, Labrang, Amdo.
Photo: Griebenow, ca. 1922-40 (E2-G) that he is wont to spin, and engraved on rocks or piles of stones along the
Women turning large prayer wheels,
Labrang monastery, founded 1709,
Amdo. Photo: Griebenow, ca. 1922-40

Pile of stones with tnfll/i prayer carved
and pamted, Khampa nomad posing
nearby, Kham, ca. 1908-20.

roadsides. Another expression of faith is the custom of making pil-
grimages to sacred sites near and far. When approaching a stupa, the
pilgrim will walk around it in a clockwise direction as a ritual devotion.
Buddhist worship is typically practiced within the family, clan or village.
Most believers attend to their family shrines on a daily basis, for instance
putting fresh water in the appropriate bowls every morning and lighting
the butter lamps every evening. Certain days of the Tibetan month are
especially auspicious; on the 8th, 15th and 30th days, one-day vows
(sunrise to sunrise) of conscious virtue are taken. The 10th and 25th days
of the month have special meaning for Nyingmapa and Kargyupa fol-
lowers. In the fourth Tibetan month (May-June), fasting (forsaking meat)
is done every other day by the pious. Important seasonal events of the
year include the New Year and Harvest Festivals where morning chant-
ing and evening religious readings frame days of secular celebrations.
Each village in Tibet would also have scheduled summer camping parties
in the mountains with prayer chanting to give a solemn start to the daily
races, dancing and picnicking. In agricultural and pastoral settings,
winter is a time of relative inactivity and those able would go in retreat to
a mountain center. The religious activities at the center would be con-
ducted by trained lay teachers or monks.
As an integral complement to these orthodox Buddhist practices, Ti-
betans also demonstrate beliefs and practices which stem from the Ti-
betan pre-Buddhist heritage. The many categories of demons and
ghosts, mountain gods and earth spirits, deities who reside in the differ-
ent parts of the human body, spirits of the house and of the herds must be
propitiated on a day-to-day or yearly basis. Many of these spirits are
worshipped by offerings of fumigation, in which sweet-smelling juniper
branches are burned. Divination or consultation of the oracle are com-
mon means to determine if a spirit has been offended and how it should
be appeased. These assorted deities and spirits are considered powerful
in the terrestrial world and beyond and must thus be dealt with to ensure
success in mundane matters, but they are subordinate to the supramun-
dane Buddhist divinities.
These many aspects of Tibetan religion, as seen on the multiple levels of
mundane family, tribe and village practices, and supramundane monas-
tic rituals, will be discussed as they relate to specific objects in the
Museum's collection. These will be found in volumes II (ritual objects,
prayer, music), III (painting and sculpture), IV (religious textiles and
costumes) and V (religious documents, manuscripts, books).


Amy HeIler
I; Lausanne, Switzerland
ri, As Buddhism prohibits animal and human sacrifice, which the
~.' ancient Tibetans had practiced, the use of modeled dough or paper
~,' effigies (linga) was substituted at an undetermined date. I would like
i< to present here another object used in rituals of exorcism (elimination
of evil) and sacrifice which, I think, has not been previously
described: the rkyal. In this presentation I would also like to attempt
to clarify how such rituals, which might seem contrary to basic
Buddhist ideals, could be incorporated into its practice. Finally, I will
'try to propose possible origins of the rkyal, and to discuss the
incorporation into Buddhism of folk practice and of concepts derived
from the organized Tibetan religion of the dynastic period.
Rkyal is found in the dictionaries under the entry rkyal ba as a
noun meaning "leather bag." Its diminutive form is rkyal bu, "a small
bag, or pouch," and subheadings explain the ra rkyal to be a bag of
goatskin and the phye rkyal a bag for flour. 1 The ma mo deities carry

I would like to express my gratitude to Yonten Gyatso, Ariane

Macdonald, and Anne-Marie Blondeau, of the :E:cole Pratique des
Hautes :E:tudes, and to Khenpo Tsewang of Orgyen Cho Dzong,
New York, who have all kindly discussed various aspects of the
.', 1
present topic with me.
Jas.chke, p. 17; Das, p. 79. [For full bibliographical data on works
f: here cited, see pp. 266-7.] Both list rkyal pa as the leather bag, or
sack, and lil:it rkyal bu as its diminutive; rkyal ba is the listing
t: used for the verb "to swim." The Dag yig gsar bsgrigs, p. 32, has
; yinl entries:
two RKYAL. 1) chu la rkyal ba stel 'bri chu la rkyal rgyu
rma chu la rkyal mkhanl rma chu la rkyal nas phar 'gram du
phyin pa Ita bull 2) "rkyal ba" yi tshig bsdud pall
RKYAL BA. phyugs kyi pags pas bzos pa'i khug ma'i min stel ra
lpags kyi rkyal ba zes pa Ita bul tshig bsdud na "rkyal" zes, 'bri
chogstel ra rkyall sman rkyall nor rkyal zes pa Ita bull
In addition, Khenpo Tsewang and Yonten Gyatso both cited the

258 Amy Heller An Early Tibetan Ritual 259

a small bag, textually termed the nad rkyal,2 the sack of diseases, From these titles it appears that one blows ('bud-pa) into the
while the btsan deity Tsi'u dmar-po carries the dbugs rkya~ 3 the rkyal according to detailed instructions, and that this rkyal is specific
sack of breath (stolen from enemies). The dictionaries do not mention to the btsan. The texts state that the rkyal is used as a support
a ritual use for the rkyal, but' it is encountered textually in the Beg tse (gsob) empowered to retain the bla and srog of an enemy for purposes
be'u bum, compiled from much earlier gter ma and bka' ma sources by • . of its subjugation by illness or death (dgra bo 'di dnos su bsad dol
Tshar-chen Blo-gsal rgya:mtsho during the first half of the 16th dgra bo de'i mod nid du 'chi'o).5 Its function is thus analogous to that
century. Here, in a series of gter ma teachings attributed to
Padmasambhava and recovered by Myan-ral Ni-ma 'od-zer
(1136-1204) in the 12th century, we have four texts: ral Ni-ma 'od-zero These will be discussed in the present paper
(1) Instructions for blowing the rkyal of the fierce btsan; along with the ancillary text Dza (pp. 86-88), the Lha dbye sbyor
(2) Further instructions for blowing the rkyal of the fierce btsan; ba, attributed in the colophon.
to the gter ston Zas-ston Lhun-bzan,
(3) Annotations on the further instructions for blowing the rkyal of the whom I have been unable to identify. The titles of Myan-ral's
fierce btsan; and texts are: Ba. Drag po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi man nag;
(4), Further annotations on' the profound in,structions for blowing the Ma. Drag po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyizal Bes;
rkyal of the fierce btsan. 4 , Tsa. Drag po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi zal Bes kyi yig chun; and
Tsha. Drag po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi zal Bes kyi yig chun gi yan
yig. Earlier in the Beg tse be'u bum, in text Na, which along with
signification of "bellows" in personal communication. In connection Ca is attributed in the colophon to Snubs Sans-rgyas Rin-po-che,
with the term rkyal mkhan, as used in the Rma chu region of one finds three alternative titles for that text, assembled from the
Amdo, a raft composed of inflated skins and photographed in srog las kyi rkyal bu, without any detailed explanation of a rkyal
Amdo (photo: Migot, Institutes des f.:tudes Tibetaines, Paris, no. bu ritual (p. 45). Several Tibetan scholars (Prof. Thubten Norbu,
C.BIII.244) was identified as a rkyal gru by Yonten Gyatso. The Yonten Gyatso, and Khenpo Tsewang) have assured me that rkyal
inflated skins of which it was made he termed rkyal ba. (Personal ~r'
!: rituals were quite common, despite the fact that none have been
communication, March 1979.) Is the relation of the verb "to swim" ;\:. hitherto described by Tibetologists. In addition to the Beg tse be'u
with the noun "inflated bag" perhaps in reference to the act of "i,: ,bum, I have thus far found only three other references to these
filling one's lungs with air in order to stay afloat? It would seem I rituals in Tibetan literature: 1) in the Rnin ma rgyud 'bum,
that the verbal usage is derived from the nominal usage. The term vo!. 33, pp. 70-98. The tantra concerned is initially entitled Dpal
rkyal ill also encountered in the expression gan rkyal du, signifying ~ Iha mo nag mo'i thugs kyi srog sgrub gsan ba'i rgyud, but the term
"in a supine position" (Jaschke, p. 67). , rkyal ba appears in the title given internally before each chapter
2 Examples abound. See, e.g., Beg tse be'u bum, p. 154: "ma mo lag' title, viz. Dpallha mo tsi tta gsan ba'i srog rkyal ba'i rgyud. There
na nad rkyal thogs pas..." See, too, Nebesky-Wojkowitz, p. 18: is no rkyal 'bud ritual included. In the colophon (vo!. 36, p. 535)
"Illness bringing deities, especially the ma mo, carry the nad this tantra is attributed to Vairocana. 2) The second is found in
rkyal, a sack filled with the seeds of diseases, e.g. a sack full of the Sta~-sam Nus-Idan rdo-rje's (fl. 17th century) Rtsa gsum yi dam
germs of leprosy (mdze nad kyi rkyal pa). Other goddesses hold a dgans 'dus, vo!. 10, pp. 509-516: Yi dam dgons 'dus rta mchog rol
sack full of blood, a water sack (chu'i rkyal pal, or a sack full of pa,las: ~kha' 'gro'isnan rgyud gsan ba sum sgril gyi: Drag po'i Ias
lightning and hail." . kYl pho nu mu stegs rkyal 'bud, dmar nag las kyi spu gri. This is
3 Personal communication from Lcog-rten Da Bla-ma to Mme another rkyal 'bud ritual, quite similar to Myan-ral's first text in
Ariane Macdonald, cited by the latter in class, November 1975. th«: Beg tse be'u bum. 3) Gter-ston Gnam-Icags me-'bar (i.e. 'Bri-
Textual sources according to the Bla-ma would be found in vo!. Ti gun Rin-chen phun-tshogs, 1509-1557), Dam chos dgons pa yan
of the Rin chen gter mdzod. zab kyi chos skor, vol. 4, pp. 399-428. These rkyal-'bud texts
4 Beg tse be'u bum, compiled and reworked by Tshar-chen Blo-gsal ':; came to my attention too late to be snalyzed in the present study.
rgya-mtsho (1502-1566). Texts Ba through Tsha (pp. 78-86) form .' <
\ 5 gsob: literally, the remains of an animal which is to be stuffed as
the rkyal 'bud cycle attributed in the colophon to Mna'-bdag Myan· J is
the spyan gzigs of a Mgon khan, or filled, as in the case of'the

:, !
An Early Tibetan Ritual 261
260 Amy Heller

pure water. 7 The skin of a small red goat is taken as a support

of the linga, a term which literally means "sign," but which (gsob), tied at the extremities of its members and at the neck, thus
designates in general a figurine in human or animal form, either forming a small sack, therkyal. The receptacle, a copper cauldron, is
modeled in dough or drawn on poisonous paper, and used to eliminate then firmly sealed, although it will be opened periodically to throw in
evil by serving as a support (bsgral rten) into which the "soul" (mam' mustard seeds. At this" point the text of the ritual has a lacuna,
ses) of an enemy is forced to enter. 6 The linga, however, is fashioned' omitting the instructions for the next ingredient mentioned,the
from inert matter, while the rkyal has as its basis the remains of a shoulderblade of a red goat. The rkyal (here termed linga) is now
living being, which itself had possessed bla and srog. There are other coated with red blood obtained from a red dog. More mustard grains
similarities and distinctions to which I will return once the description and copper filings must be placed on the outside of the 'brub khun.
of the rkyal rituals has been presented. The ritual acts continue for nine days while the officiant wears a red
The basic instructions are given in the first text, which begins turban, perhaps similar to those worn by the Tibetan kings as
with salutations to the deity Sgrol-gin dmar-po. The ritual may be depicted in the murals of cave 158 at Tun-huang. 8 The appropriate
performed anytime, anywhere it is needed, using any form of ritual mantra must be recited while facing in a northeasterly direction. If
preamble, so long as its peculiar mantra is used. Having consecrated the title of the ritual is taken literally, the rkyal is blown like a
a small area on the ground, the officiant draws a nine-sided mandala trumpet for the recitation of the mantra, which is followed in the text
inside of which he traces a circle colored red with the blood of by the imperative of the verb 'bud pa (i.e. 'bus "blow!") rather than
goat. On top of this a large receptacle ('brub khun) is placed, its top that of the verb zla ba (i.e. bzlas), the most common command to
ends coated with red liquid, while. the exterior is washed down with recite" a mantra, and which refers to its silent pronunciation. 9 If the
rkyai then moves independently, it is the portentous sign that the
btsan is acting, having been summoned and given instructions as to
rkyal, which must be filled with breath (dbugs) , symbolic of life. how he must act, once he has appeared as a red man brandishing a
Here, the gsab functions as the support (rten) to which the evil will sword in the midst of a red light coming from the 'brub khun.
be transferred. It is beyond the scope of the present paper to Terrifying signs will appear, and once the rkyai has moved the
define bia and mam ses, which are both often and, in my opinion, practitioner is warned not even to look at it again.
incompletely translated as "soul." The two terms are not
synonymous. The Mahavyutpatti (ca. 814) gives mam par ses pa,
of which mam ses is the bsdus yig, as the standard translation for
vijnana (cf. Stein 1957). But the definition of bla is more 7 'Brub khun is defined by Dagyab as being a particular type of horn
problematic: Ariane Macdonald (1971), pp. 298-300, has discussed khun: "'brub khun nil horn khun stel sten du gu dog cin 'og tu rgya
the honorific term sku bIa, the deified vital principle of the Btsan- che ball" This was confirmed by Khenpo Tsewang, who further
po in the pre-Buddhist Gtsug religion, as attested in Pelliot explained that it is bigger than a ham khun and is placed on the
Tibetain 1047. Bia is also found in compounds, su-::h as bia gYu, a ground.
"life-supporting turquoise," or bla sin, a "life-supporting tree," as 8 The description of the ritual acts is taken from the Beg tse be'u
well as in bla ma. In bIa srog it appears to reinforce the meaning bum, pp. 78-80. On the characteristic turban of the Btsan po, cf.
of srog. [Cf. Stein (1957), p. 221, where a Tshogs bsad by 'Jigs- Karmay, p. 74.
bral chos-kyi-sen-ge is cited; and also the citation in Das, p. 901, 9 I am indebted to Mireille Helffer for the information that 'bud pa
from the 'Bram-stan Rgyal-ba'i 'byun-gnas-kyi mam thar.] is the verb commonly used for the sounding of a wind instrument.
However, as Khenpo Tsewang explained, "If you don't h~v3 srog, At this time I cannot state whether the rkyal is merely inflated, or
as eVi~enced by the possession of dbugs, breath, then you die, but whether it is also blown like a trumpet, as Myan-ral's text implies.
even If you lose bla, then you still live." The rkyal 'bud rituals In Stag-sam's rkyal 'bud ritual, the instruction is to blow into the
discuss the successive stealing, first of bla, then of srog, with this hole of the bellows while reciting the mantra (p. 512: ... ces smras
result: dgra bo 'di dnos su bsad pa, "this enemy is actually killed."' bead la bzIas sin skabs skabs su sbud bu'i thun du nan bsbud do).
6 (Beg tse be'u bum, p. 86.) In this case sbud bu refers to the rkyal.
R.A. Stein (1957), p. 201.
262 Amy HelIer An Early Tibetan Ritual 263

The next three texts of the rkyal 'bud cycle further develop the , ,The extent to which the rkyal ritual resembles the linga rituals is
use of the rkyal to summon the btsan deities to subjugate the three ;;Yperhaps\to be expected, given that both seek to eliminate evil. Yet
kinds of enemies: the enemy of religion in general; some specific ::, certain elements in the vocabulary of the rkyal ritual are non-
person .who seeks to harm the chos 'khor, i.e. the religious O}: 'Buddhist. An analysis of the text reveals evidence of this.
commumty; or the psychological obstacles which hinder the devotee's ij;; Strikingly absent from the rkyal ritual is the term rnam ses, the
religious practice. It is clearly stated that if these teachings are used .{ Tibetan term for vijiiana, the conscious element in the composition of
to avenge personal animosity, then the btsan will spread the very ~'. the personality according to Buddhist metaphysics. In linga ri~uals
heart blood of the practitioner on the ground. The methods of 't the enemy's rnam ses is separated from a demonic elemen.t ('byunpo)
subjuga~ion mentioned are affliction with diverse diseases leading to " when the rnam ses is divested of the 'go ba'i lha lna, its five
death (Internal .h~morrhag~, painful swelling, or insanity), or the protective deities. 1 3 It is the rnam ses that is sublimated, fre'e~,
murder of the VIctim by kmfe, or by the swelling of his body until it :,,', delivered into a better, i.e. non-malevolent, realm. By means of thIS
bursts. Each method is explained in a slightly different way, varying h process, the practitioner is thus perf~~ming.a meritorious .action an.d
the mantras, al~?ough each begins with the syllable tri, probabiy simultaneously accruing "good karma for hImself. In one mstance, It
related to the lmga spells, which also have this phoneme near the is stated that what is separated from the rnam ses is the bla srog,
beginning. 1 0 ,
which is absorbed by the officiant in ,order to augment his own life. 1 4
At this point in the rkyal 'bud cycle it is stated that whichever Thus it is quite significant that the rkyal ritual omits a)l reference to
malefic .me.tho? is chosen, the enemy will be "freed" (sgrol), i.e. killed. the rnam ses. It is unclear what happens to the evil once annihilated,
Next, mdlcations are given as to the duration of the ritual and what, if anything, remains. Although at one po!nt in the rkyal
established on the basis of the officiant's role and extending from nin~ cycle the term sgral is used, as is customary in the linga ritu~s, this
to twenty-one days. The fourth rkyal 'bud text gives the means for may be an instance of the common use of sgrol as a euphemIsm for
stealing (rku-ba) th~ bla and srag of the enemy, as well as the signs gsod, "to kill," rather than an example of its ordinary meaning, i.e.
that ~hese forces have been duly summoned from his body, which had "to free." Many variant verbs are used in the rkyal 'bud cycle to
contamed them. Although the text which follows this one entitled express the ideas of killing and death. 1 5 Is it possible that here the
the Practice of separating the lha (i.e. the deities), seems at fi;st not to enemy is really just killed, without being transferred to a paradise,
fall into the rkyal 'bud cycle, it is, in fact, an essential part of the perhaps because the concept of such deliverance was not ~et fully
:kyal 'bud pract~ce; for it explains how to divest the enemy of his own assimilated, or useful to the people for whom the teaching was
mherent protective deities, the 'go ba'i lha lna, in order to coerce the destined? ,
enemy in~ the rkyaL 1 1 These deities are already well documented, Other curious lexical items are the names of the three chapter
but as theIr roles vary, we include this version of the list: Z divisions given in the initial instructions, termed: rgod, gYun, and
(1) yullha; (4) mo lha; and 1 , gyer bskul can. Gyer bskul can indicates, in a Bon-po context,. the
(2) pho lha; (5) zan lha. 1 2 '\ / exhortation of a deity to act. 1 6 But the terms rgod and gYun as
(3) dgra lha; sociological divisions are attested in the Old Tibetan Chronicle and

Cf. R.A. Stein (1957), p. 202, on the expression nr tri that is Stein (1957), pp. 205-206.
found in the mantra pronounced when the linga is "cut. N r in Stein (1957), pp. 220-222.
Sanskrit means "man"; and perhaps tri represents the root tr E.g.: dgra gsod 'di las (p. 81, l. 2); dgra bo de'i mod hid du 'chi'o
11 derivatives of which signify, e.g., "freedom, release." .. ' (81.6); dgra bo myur ba hid du sgral (83.4); srog la bla srag rku
The four basic texts discuss the ritual and describe the phases of ba'i man nag (85.3); srag chags...bzun ba (86.1); srag chags gsad
12 bla rku ba, srog rku ba, and bla khugs pa. pa (86.2); srag 'phrogs (86.2); srog chod pa (86.3).
Cf. Tucci (1980), p. 187;, Stein (1981), p. 187; and Macdonald I am indebted to Samten Karmay for this oral information on
(1971), p. 301.
gyer bskul can.
264 Amy Helier An Early Tibetan Ritual 265

have been discussed in detail by R.A. Stein and G. Dray.' 7 In the .~ which inflicts evil on a family or village. The householder so affiicted
present context of a division established between rgod and gYun (rgod; may then request a tantrist (snags-pa) or a monk to com~ to exorcise
gYun gnis) the original meanings, "wild" and "meek" respectively, . the demon. First, the demon must be trapped. ThiS must be
must be understood, as in the later classification of subjugation rites accomplished in the following way: one ~kes an animal. s~in (usually.
and pacification rites, which are literally termed "fierce and tranquil .~ that of a goat, but sometimes a sheepskm) and makes .1~ mto a rkyal
acts" (drag po las, zi ba las). In content the Beg tae be'u bum only:, by removing the feet, leaving the neck and the extremities, and then
includes the rgod chapter, although it is mentioned that in the gYunl' blowing it up and attaching strings to the ends of the members. The
chapter two times as many recitations of the mantra are required. 1 a t strings tying the members are then used to drag. the rkyal throu~h
A further consideration is the deity to whom the rituals are J~ the street at which time the inhabitants of the vl1lage must refram
directed: Sgrol-gin dmar-po; In other rituals found in the Beg tse be'u .. from looking at it. Then the officiant performs a ritual in order to
bum and elsewhere, this is one of many alternative names used to subdue the demon by trapping it inside the rkyaL 2 2 . .
addres~ the deity Beg-tse, considered here to be a gin deity. The gin, While the lay ritual as described by Mr. Gyatso IS ~or exorcism
or gyin, are native deities with no precise counterpart in' Indian in the basic sense of elimination of evil, the textual rituals are a
Buddhist thought. Their characteristic emblem is the sword which combination of destructive magic, ritual sacrifice, and exorcism in the
they hold.' 9 In the so-called "scapegoat" ceremony of the Tibetan' sense in which the latter is a transfer of evil forces, or of an enem!
State festival, where most of the evil accumulated during the year is , previously div~sted of his protective. deities,. into a sup~ort, be It
transferred into the "support" of two live men, eight masked priests'J -. linga, glud 'gon rgyal po, or rkyal. Live sacrific~ offered m honor of
representing the gin deities goad the two scapegoats forward and '. , the protective deities is attested in a Bon-p~ ntu~l. fro~ the } lth
prevent their return to Lhasa, whence they are expelled. 2 0 If the ;. century: specifically, among the five protective delties (go. ba I lha
function of the gin is to expel evil, then clearly the sgrol gin expels ;.' lna) the srog lha (the god of vital forces) receives the sacnfice of a
evil while liberating or exterminating it, whether it be transferred to .. goa~, and the dgra lha (the ,warrior deity). is offered a shee~.2 3 In
the support of the scapegoats (i.e. the glud 'gon rgyal po) or to the neither the textual ritual nor the popular ritual for the rkyal1s there
rkyal. a question of live sacrifice per se, although it is never precisely stated
A local custom of the Snan-ra region of central Amdo is a ritual how one must go about obtaining the skin of the goat or sheep, or the
involving use of a rkyal. One of two Tibetan authorities I consulted in blood. In the light of the fact that these animal substances are
connection with this research is a native of this region. 2 ' He required for the manufacture of the ~kyal, the ~itual appeasement of
described this ritual as lugs srol, common practice. In the event of ':. ,'. ' the aforementioned deities by ammal sacrifice appears. to .be
untimely death, the deceased may become a gdon 'dre, a demon significant, given the intrinsic connection of the 'go ba'l lha lna With

17 22 Hans Stiibel (1958), p. 38, has described another account of an

Bacot et al. (1940), pp. 13 and 31; Stein (1962), p. 85; Dray
18 (1971), pp. 553-556. Amdo rkyal ritual, although he has not named s~~h: "As a~
19 Beg tse be'u bum, p. 8 1 . ' : exorcist the sorcerer's duty is to drive out evl1 spmts and, If
See Heller, "Preliminary Remarks to a study of Beg tse"; and,-~ possible: to destroy them. He has the catch .evil spirits
Nebesky-Wojkowitz, pp. 278-280. According to M. Kapstein, by reading the sacred writings aloud and usmg a whip made of
perhaps they are related to· the Indian kinkara, although yak leather. A man stands in front of the sorcerer and ~olds. ~
Nebesky-Wojkowitz states that they are Tibetan. Francoise .. yak leather bag into which the sorcerer· charms the eull spmt
Pommaret-Imaeda has recently informed me that Bhutanes~ gin [italics mine]. A great many people stand behind the bag,
do not necessarily hold swords, but are always associated with threatening the evil spirit with all kinds of weapons... and
the expulsion of evil in the tshes-bcu 'chams, and in folk rituals driving the spirit into the bag. When the spirit is captured, the
20 performed by individuals. bag is carried outside, opened up over a fire of yak dung and
21 Nebesky-Wojkowitz, p. 509. ':i symbolically emptied."
Personal communication from Yonten Gyatso. ;. 23 Stein (1981), pp. 209.
An Early Tibetan Ritual 267
266 Amy HelIer

the separation of the bla by the deity in exterminating the enemy. Chinese translation of a ritual by Thu'u-bkwan Blo-bzan chos-
Perhaps the ultimate analogy to be suggested derives from the highly kyi-ni-ma entitled BIa 'gugs tshe 'gugs kyi cho ga rin chen srog
anthropomorphic shape of the rkyal in its final form. As such it is gis (sic) chan mthun. This text does !l~t appear in the Indian
possibly a forerunner of the linga in humanoid shape. It would be reprint of Thu'u-bkwan's Tibetan gsun- bum, and perhaps only
premature to conclude that the rkyal 'bud ritual as such is pre- exists in the Chinese edition.]
Buddhist, but clearly these rituals have aspects related to non- Macdonald, A. "Une lecture des Pelliot tibetain 1286, 1287, 1038,
Buddhist concepts prevalent in Tibet during the dynastic period. 1047 et 1290. Essai sur la formation et l'emploi des mythes
politiques dans la religion royale de Sron-bcan sgam-po." In
!:tudes Tibetaines. Paris, 1971.
Bibliography Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Rene de. Oracles and Demons of Tibet. Reprint:
Graz, 1971, pp. 190-391. , ¥ • •

Dictionaries Stein, R.A. "Le Linga des Danses Masqees lamalques et la theorle
Dagyab, L. Tibetan Dictionary. Punjab, 1966. des ames." In Liebenthal Festschrift. Santiniketan,· 1957,
Dag yig gsar bsgrigs. Ch'ing-hai, 1979. pp. 200-234.
Das, S.C. Tibetan-English Dictionary. Reprint: Delhi, 1974. ___. La Civilisation Tibetaine. Second edition: Paris, 1981.
Jasc~ke, H.A. A Tibetan-English Dictionary. Reprint: London, 1972. Stiibel, Hans. The Mewu Fantzu, a Tibetan Tribe of Kansu. New
Mahavyutpatti. Calcutta, 1910. ·1" Haven, 1958.

-~' f' Uray, G. "A Propos du Tibetain rgodlg.yung." In !:tudes Tibetaines.

Paris, 1971, pp. 553-557.
Tibetan Sources
Stag-sam Nus-Idan rdo-rje. Rtsa gsum yi dam dgons 'dus, .vol. 10.
New Delhi, 1972.
Gnam-Icags me-'bar. Dam chos dgons pa yan zab kyi chos sko~, vol.
4. Bir, H.P., 1980.
Tshar-chen Blo-gsal rgya-mtsho. Beg tse be'u 'bum, reprinted from a
manuscript preserved. at the Kyi Monastery in Spiti. Lahul-
Spiti: Rdo-rje tshe-brtan, 1978.
Riiin ma'i rgyud 'bum. Thimphu, 1973.

Western Sources
Bacot, J., Thomas, F.W. and Toussaint, Ch. Documents de Touen-
Houang Relatifs CL l'Histoire du Tibet. Paris, 1940.
HelIer, A. "Preliminary Remarks to a Study of Beg Tse." In S.D.
Goodman and R. Davidson (eds.). Wind Horse 2. Berkeley, in
Karmay, H. "Tibetan Costume, Seventh to Eleventh Centuries." In
A. Macdonald and Y. Imaeda (eds.). Essais sur l'Art du Tibet.
Paris, 1977, pp. 65-81.
Lessing, F. "Calling the Soul." In Semitic Philology, no. 11.
University of California Publication, Berkeley, 1951,
pp. 263-284. [Note: Lessing based his article primarily on a
Brief COInlllunications

A propos de Mme Ariane Macdonald, IIUne lecture des P. T.

1286, 1287, 1038, 1047 et 1290. Essai sur la formation et l'emploi
des mythes politiques dans la religion royale de Sron-bcan sgam-
po" (Etudes tibetaines dediees it la memoire de Marcelle Lalou,
Paris, 1971, pp. 190-391).

Amy Heller

Etant devenue eleve de Mme Ariane Macdonald en 1977, il m'a

ete indispensable de lire ses travaux anterieurs, notamment son
article sur l'histoire et les pratiques religieuses de l'epoque
royale. Cet article est extremement dense, d'une grande
envergure, et ne comporte pas d'index. Je m'y suis perdue plus
d'une fois. A la troisieme lecture, en 1982, au retour du colloque
du IATS aNew York, j'ai etabli une sorte de dkar chag, afin de
pouvoir m'y reperer plus facilement a l'avenir. Cet index reflete,
evidemment, mes preoccupations tibetologiques d'alors et ne
saurait en aucun casetre exhaustif. J'ai simplement note les
sujets qui m'interessaient et la page ou ils ont fait l'objet de
discussion, ainsi que les pages OU commence la discussion de
chaque manuscrit de Tun Huang. Au cours des annes suivantes,
pluisieurs collegues m'ont demande de leur preter cette liste. et
l'ont trouve utile. Avec la parution recente de la serie "Tibetica
Antiqua" de Monsieur Stein, et surtout de son article "Tibetica
Antiqua III Apropos du mot gtsug-Iag et de la religion indigene"
(BEFEO, LXXIV, 1985, pp. 83-133), le debat s'ouvre pleinement.
La relecture de l'article de Mme Macdonald s'imposera pour
certains, afin de confronter les analyses divergeantes de
Monsieur Stein et Mme Macdonald. Dans l'espoir que cela
puisse faciliter la lecture du plus grand nombre de nos collegues,
voici done, un dkar chag ad-hoc.
Quelques-unes des references particulierement utHes (cf. aussi,
bibliographie de l'article):

A.M. Blondeau, "Les religions du Tibet", Encyclopedie de la

Pleiade, Histoire des Religions, v. Ill, Paris,· 1976, pp. 233-329.

M. Lalou, "Catalogue des principautes du Tibet ancien", J. A.,

1965, pp. 190-215.

L. Petech, "Glosse agli Annali de Tun-huang, R. S. 0., pp. 241-


R. A. Stein, Les Tribus anciennes de marches sino-tibetaines,

legendes, classifications et histoire, Paris, 1959.

R. A. Stein, " 'Saint et divin', un titre tibetain et chinois des rois

tibetains," J. A., 1981, pp. 231-275.

R. A. Stein, "Tibetica Antiqua I," BEFEO, LXXII, 1983, pp. 149-236.

R. A. Stein, "Tibeta Antiqua 11, " BEFEO, LXXIII, 1984, pp. 257-

T. Takeuchi, "A passage from the Shih-chi in the Old Tibetan

Chronicle, " Soundings in Tibetan Civilization, New Delhi,
1985, pp. 135-146.

G. Uray, "Notes on a Chronological Problem in the Old Tibetan

Chronicle," A. 0., 1968, pp. 289-299.

G. Uray, "The Annals of the 'A-Zha Principality", Proceedings of

the Csoma de Koros Symposium, Budapest, 1978, pp. 541-578.

Chos 'jug pa'i sgo - ler chos 'byung / Bsod nams rtse mo Kha
byang Ban po Bib. Nat. 493 2e moitie 14e siecle.

La pagination pour l'article est la suivante:

195. Passim P. T. 1286. Epouses aux 4 frontieres, catalogue des

principautes, l'origine du premier roi du Tibet.

207. (et Tribus, p. 58). Jeu de des pour diviser le royaume


208, n. 82. Srog phrag g.yas byas.

209. Lha bsang gar bu - bsangs. Nourriture pour le premier dieu-

roi, assimile a un dieu du sol/dieu-montagne (n. 84).

212, n. 92. Bshad mdzodyid bzhin nor bu, Copenhague, Delhi.

Recit des origines du roi d'apres legendes Bon po.

214. Passim P. T. 1038.

215. Gnod sbyin Dza.

219. Bon - en tant que religion organisee -ne parait pas

anterieure au XEe siecle.

219. Passim P. T. 1287, "La Grande Chronique."

236-248. Conflit entre Khyung po Spun sad et Seng go Myi chen,

cf. Takeuchi, IATS Seminar 1982, selon qui ce passage
representerait une adaptation tibetaine d'une anecdote du

254. Sacrifice de 100 chevaux sur la tombe du ministre Dba (PT

1287, lignes 264-274).

257. Bogaslovskii, le fief revient au btsan po en cas de

desherence. Ici, n. 261, c'est plutot que la terre etait cedee a
titre hereditaire au groupe familial.

271. Passim-discussion de P. T. 1047, texte de divination,

daterait du regne de Srong btsan sgam po.

275. Attestation de divinite qui s'incarne dans un medium (ici,

pour expliquer comment effectuer divination par planches).

276. Le dieu guerrier dgra bla. Les oracles ne paraissent pas etre
attribues a un medium en transe.

281. Divination, textes d'influences chinoises, indiennes non-

bouddhiques et PT 1045 (divination par le cri du corbeau).

291. Analyse textuel de PT 1047, daterait de 640-643.

292. Sens pour gsas-technique magico-religieuse (Bon) et les

executants-hommes et femmes-de ces techniques.

296. P. T. 1051.

297. Inscription de Rkong po.

ler edit-sous Khri srong lde btsan (755/56-ca. 797).
2e edit-sous Khri lde srong btsan (Mu tig btsan po 799-804).
Sku bla: divinite montagne. Sku lha = sku bla dans ce

301. Sku bla (lha) skye Iha et les 'go ba'i Iha Inga-relation
tardive et ancienne.
Liste alternative des 'go ba'i Iha Inga.

303. Definition sku bla

A) divinites montagnes.
B) ancetres et supports du principe vital des rois (srog ou bla).
C'est pourquoi rites d'enterrement royaux ds. des
"montagnes" (mot qui designe la tombe).

304. Maintien du culte du sku bla donne droit aux privileges

officiels. Diffusion etendue-chez les 'A zha (cf. Uray, et
Petech, ''Nugae tibeticae," R. S. O. 1956, pp. 291-294).

305. Offrandes: fleches avec soieries, or, turquoises, graines,

chang, viande cuite (gsur), sacrifice eu mouton, eheval, yak.

306. Offrande: Iha bsangs (cf. P.T. 239).

309. Resultats: le prestige de la personne royale, sa sante, la

stabilite du royaume et du gouvernement, l'absence de
maladies pour les hommes et le betail, l'abondance de la
nourriture (discussion retourne a la Chronique).

314. Un rouge et un noir barrent le chemin de Padmasambhava

(?prototype de srung ma dmar nag ).

317. Passim P. T. 1290.

335. La litterature Bon po s'appuie sur la tradition deja en

vigueur au IXe siecle.

335. Passim P. T. 1038, analyse parallele avee la Chronique et al.

336. Roi-descendant d'un dieu phyva, doue de 'phrul et byin.

337. Definition 'phrul-pouvoirs surhumains.

339. Definition byin-la source de la force guerriere des rois, une

splendeur, ou "eclat" divino

340. Gtsug.

347. L'edit de Bsam yas contient la promesse solennelle de Khri

srong lde btsan de faire adopter la religion·bouddhique et
l'engagement de la faire pratiquer par ses descendants--edit
religieux, pas de portee politique. Ce n'est pas (encore) la
religion officielle du Tibet.

350. Gtsug, la loi du ciel et de la terre (=l'order divin).

353. Gtsug, ordre de l'univers.

357. Gtsug, ordre du monde, pivot de la religion royale lie a une

cosmogonie-relation du dieu et la montagne au caractere
divin des elements du paysage, en premier les montagnes.

358. Passim I. O. 735 et I. O. 733.

361. Offrande de gtor ma I. O. 733 (=Thomas, AFL, Ill, 1. 45-51).

366. Post-mortem-paradis (pays de joie) en attendant la


367. Gtsug, vision totale du monde, de l'espace et du temps qui

commandait l'attitude de ses adeptes face a la vie et a la mort.

369. Offrandes des animaux, note 604, attestes ds. PT 126, 2 et, pp.
305-306 (infra) pas de karma, justice ou injustice sociale.

370. Egalite fondee sur une distribution egale des ressources.

370. N. 609, ceremonie de nourriture post-mortem bouddhiste, a

relier avec cha bsur? (Panglung Rinpoche, 1982 1ATS
seminar) 'Phrul gyi bhik shu-M. Stein annonce un article
sur ce texte celebre.

373. Lalou, "A Tun-huang prelude to the Kara1J.Q.avyuha"

(1938); Stein, "Un document relatif au rituel funeraire des
Bon-po tibetains," (P. T. 239).

376. N. 620, Srong btsan sgam po-Iegislateur atteste par sources

tibetaines et chinoises.

377. Faits legislatifs: p.e. egalisation des ressources. Srong btsan

sgam po: codificateur du Gtsug.

380. Passim, influence chinoise dans l'elaboration du Gtsug.


383. Confucianisme a ete la premiere grande religion connue au


385. N. 656, Bouddhisme introduit de Chine; cf. 648 A. D., Srong

btsan sgam po envoya un corps d'armee pour venir au
secours d'un pelerin chinois en Inde
387. Justification des conquetes militaires, le droit des btsan po a
soumettre les 4 orients.

388. Detourner au profit du bouddhisme la terminologie du

Gtsug et le prestige qui y etait attache.
Oeuvre des gter ston-Srong btsan sgam pol Avalokitesvara
= propagateur du Bouddhisme.
FRIENDS OF ASIAN ART sooner or later meet the Phur-pa, the alleviation of suffering is of course the fundamental tenet of Buddhist
Tibetan ritual dagger. They often have a notion that these instruments teachings, and Lhe Phur-pa practitioner is thus performing a meritori-
serve in a cult for the expulsion of demons. Nevertheless, bu)'ers and ous action.
sellers want morc precise knowledge about the dagger cult and they Though stabbing evil demons plays a main role the Phur-pa cult is
arc, furthermore, sometimes unable to classify Phur-pas. Recent re- more than just that. It is what modern sociologists might call a life-style
search findings presented in this article now shed some new light on the in which Phur-pa is omnipresent either in its appearance as a deity to
Phur-pa cult and enable coUcctors ofHimalayan art to improve their whom a day of the week (Thursday) and a planet (Jupiter) is conse-
judgement on the use. the type, the possible age and the commercial crated and who is worshipped in a quasi-Buddhist way (through Vaj-
value ofTibcran ritual daggers. rayana ritual or mandala meditauonal diagrams); or Phur-pa is worn
-First a few words on the state ofPhur-pa research: until recenLly only in his manifestation as a three-bladed dagger in the belts of his fol-
relatively scanty information on the ritual dagger was available. The lowers or hidden in a temple. Here mainly occidental people meet a
main problem was that Tibetologists, though aware of the existence of first obstacle in understanding the Phur-pa cult: Phur-pa is a god
an old and dignified cult, never had a chance 10 attend a proper dagger manifesting himself firstly as a normal Himalayan bronze statue and, as
ceremony. Also the rimal texts were not available. Therefore, research such, starting point for object-bound meditation; secondly as a mix-
had to conCenlrale on the obvious in the beginning: on the daggers and ture ofa bronze statue and a dagger (statue in the upper part, dagger
A Jinga effigy drawn on paper, reproduced
the iconography of ritual daggers, but not on the cult and its spiritual from a handbook for Phur-pa practitioners. in the lower part); and thirdly, as a more or less decorated three-
background. The first book on Phur-pa iconography was written by Ratna.glin·pa, circa A.D. 1450 bladed knife or lent peg. One should especially note that the Phur-pa
John C. Huntington in 1975 (The Phur-pa- Tibelan Ritual Daggers, dagger does not symbolise Phur-pa to the believer: it is Phur-pa. So the
Ascona, Switzerland). But mention must also be made of the researches follower holding a dagger between his palms (or hiding it in a conical
ofSiegbert Hummel who found that ritual daggers have a Sumerian receptacle made of brass or bronze) in reality carries a god with him.
origin and are not a Tibetan invention (Der lamaistische Ritualdolch Also in its manifestation as a dagger Phur-pa is not only used for
Phurbu und die allonenfalischell Nagebmnschen, Bern, Switzerland, 1952). formal expulsion rituals: Phur-pa is the appropriate weapon to fight
These studies certainly helped to increase our knowledge, but the the wild yak; it is used for speed walking, a way of trance running or
cult as such remained obscured. \'''hat people reaUy do with their
.~ .. jumping on uneven stOny ground; for dancing; for spiritually cleaning
daggers? Is there a theory behind their use? The second question is to , places and buildings by sucking away the evil spirits following the
some extent now answered by a few more recenl publications dealing principle of a vacuum cleaner; and to spiritually disinfect foodstuff
with the Tantric aspect of the dagger cult. R.A. Stein published twO either by stirring or by pouring liquids and grains over the blade. Next
clarifying articles (La gueule dll. makam... , Paris, France, 1977, and A follows the protection ofareas inhabited by humans against evil spirits
propos des docum.ents anciens relatifs au PhurbulKila, Budapest, Hungary, by planting wooden daggers in the earth around fields, tents, houses,
1978). In 1981 D.S. Ruegg followed with an article on the problem of temples and other threatened places in order to indicate that demons
rimal murder in Tantrism (Deux problemes d'exegese et de pratique lanln·que, are not admitted.
Brnssels, Belginm) and Stephan Beyer in his book The Cull of Tara Rimal daggers from Mesopotamia. The most critical part of the Phur-pa cult consists in alluring evil
(Berkeley, London, 1973) contributed valuable Buddhist liturgical Counesy Siegbert Hummcl demons in a triangular "prison" (yanlra) and "liberating" them with
material. the Phur-pa dagger. During this ceremony the practitioner acquires
Nevertheless, there were two gaps to be filled. One author of this godlike power by spiritually uniting himsdfwith the Phur-pa deity.
article has, therefore, translated several Tibetan "treasure texts" taken He prepares a sort of bait (Iinga) consisting either of a three-
mainly from a handbook for Phur-pa magicians. The other meanwhile dimensional figurine made ofRour or, more often, of an effigy drawn
has spotted and interviewed a number of dagger practitioners on paper. By reciting mantras (magic spells) and by performing mudras
(Tibetan refugees) in Switzerland and the Himalayas, applying tech- (ritual gestures) the demon is firstly attracted, then weakened by
niques borrowed from social research. He also attended Phur-pa thro\\~ng tablets (mustard seed and the like) and finally killed (by the
rituals and photographed dagger priests in action (Marcotty, Th.: deity, the practitioner, the iron dagger).
Dagger Blessing, Decisio Editrice, CH-69 I J Lugano, POB 2493, includ- The origin of the Phur-pa cult is certainly pre-Buddhist in the sense
ing translations from the Tibetan by Amy Helier). that it existed before the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth
Kowa few words on how the dagger cult accords with Buddhism. century A.D. There are some hints that the cult stems fi-om ~ifeso­
Rituals using the Phur-pa dagger are attested to in Indian Buddhist potamia. Hummel describes three-bladed daggers originating from
texts which d~te from A.D. 600-900. These were first studied by the Sumerian period (1500 B.C.) used for ground consecration (Boden-
masters of Vajrayana Buddhism in India, notably as part of the weihe) and for the protection of inhabited areas (tents). There are some
Guh;'asamaja-tallfra (text containing the essence of the esoteric teach- reasons to assume that the dagger cult then migrated to Central Asia.
ings on Ultimate Reality or Vajradhora). When Buddhist Tantric prac- In the eighth century A.D. it must already have been established in
tice spread LO "fibet during the eighth century, ritual use of the Phur-pa the ritual form stiU practiced today. Padmasambhava, who is credited
dagger was part and parcel of the many and varied Buddhist teachings with the introduction ofl ndian Buddhism in Tibet, on his arrival in
the Tibetans inherited. As later Nluslirn invasions in the twelfth to iepal is said to have encountered the Phur-pa cult (a book or manu-
thirteenth centuries eradicated aU forms of Buddhism in J ndia, fol- script) in a mountain cave hidden io a triangular stone box and
lowers of the Vajrayana teachings are uow found primarily in the guarded by a large scorpion.
Himalayas and in Tibet. Particularly in Nepal, where religious syncre- The first Tibetan sources of the Phur-pa cult also date back to
tism is widespread, a practitioner of the Phur-pa must not necessarily the eighth century A.D. There are a good dozen books (xylographs,
be a Buddhist, though he usually is. Even amongst Buddhists, only a manuscripts) directly or indirectly artributed to Padmasambhava,
small number of priests have been initiated into the Phur-pa cult, nowadays considered as the master of the Phur-po Dharma. These texts,
though the results of its practice may be beneficial to all. There are describing the expulsion ritual in detail, are supposed to be written by
rather twO teachings running side by side. Firstly, there is Buddhism the guru himself or by his direct followers. The texts were hidden
aiming atlhe ultimate salvation of mankind, and secondly, the Phur- (again?) at thar time, then "rediscovered" mainly in the fifteenth
pa cult invented and developed to protect people here and now against century and finally copied or printed (xylographed) partly a'i hand-
evil of all sorts, but not directly lea.ding to salvation. books for Phur-pa practitioners but also as constituents of the Kanjur
This already helps to explain the popularity of the Phur-pa cult.. (orthodox Buddhist canon).
\i\'hen the dagger stabs the linga effigy which embodies the evil to be As a second source there are Tibetan refugees scattered now all over
eliminated, it is believed thar this helps to cure illnesses and fight hail- the world but concentrated in India and Switzerland (at Rikon near
storms, hunger, melancholy, catlle disease, and similar earthly acci- Zurich). Those refugees introduced into the secrets of the Phur-pa cult
Tibetan Phur-pa priest "putting the stream of energy against Rimal gesture (mudra) utilising the iron
dents, thus bl;nging relief from problems, albeit temporarily. The Mara in motion" by rolling the Phur·pa between his palms are mainly members of the K yingmapa (red cap) order. The older ones
and iron dorjc (tbunderbolt) in the hands

70 "C>"'L.,·A~ousr lQA7 7J
Ciant Phur-pa of probably Sino-:\1ongolian origin. An atypically small specimen of the gianl Phul"-pa family. A Phur-pa 10 be placed in the centl"c oflhe mandala. The An unusual type of Phur~pa for worship, said to be of
Hammcn~d bras.'! sheet. Height I66 ems. Courtesy The hilt is brass sheet with blue and green c1oisonne deco- detail on the left shows the makarn (mythic crocodile) Bhutanesc origin (rolling impossible), cast with an
Zclltrnlasicn-lllslitut, Bonn University I"atioll; the blade, il"On shee" soldered. Height 28.4 ems holding the blade in itS mouth. Height 49.2 ems "upside·do\.,.n" Garuda. Sih·cr. Heighl 25.1 ems

are still trained at the Tanu;c faculty of onc of the large Tibetan pa deity in the upper section. ~1aterials are mainly bronze. The lower
monasteries. Comparing the assertions of these contemporary wit- part consists again of a blade with an often T-shaped cross·seclion.
nesses with the ancient books, it seems highly likely that the cult of the These Phur-pas, kept in temples and on the abbot's prayer tablc, are
dagger was not always and Ilot everywhere practised in exactly the evidently made in Nepal only, as dagger statues ofTibetan, Mongolian
same way. However, distinguishable schools (in the ritual, stylistic or or Chinese origin are not known. They serve as starting points 101' the
artistic sense) have evidently not developed. object-bound meditation and are normally not taken out of their
The collector of Himalayan art is, nevertheless, confronted with a triangular sockets. This type is quite rare so that nothing can be said
broad variety of Phur-pa daggers measuring from five ceotimetres to about fakes.
two metres in height, made everywhere between Kalhmandu and A fourth type of Phur-pa for worship is neither dagger nor half-
Peking and of different materials. \·Vhen trying to classify ritual dag- dagger. It normally is a metal statue (also thangka painting on cloth)
gers they are best distinguished by purpose: there are daggers made showing Phur-pa rather in his anthropomorphic manifestation. Icono-
just for worship, othel's for passive magic and, lastly, those for active graphic features are three faces, six arms, four legs, and prajna (insight
magic (exorcism). or wisdom envisaged as a feminine partner). There is also an icono-
To start with the Phur-pas for worship: the main distinguishing graphic model with neilher wings nor consort. Traces of blue paint in
feature of this t}'pe is that it cannot easily be moved around; it is either the hair also appear. Sometimes there is a horse head on top oflhe head
tOO hea\]!, too large or tOO fragile. The largest specimens (measuring to demonstrate the relation with Hayagriva. These statues (bronze:
160 to 200 ems) are made from pieces of sheet metal (bronze, brass) silver-bronze alloy, height 15 to 30 ems) are also relatively rare and
soldered together. These are large statues placed in a socket to be kept possibly rarely faked as wrathful deities do not appeal to tourists.
in the temple. Giant Phur-pas are often decorated with corals and After the Phur-pas for worship follow the ritual daggers for passive
gilded letters. The artislic value is rarely above average. They are often magic. The main quality ofPhur-pas for passive magic is that they are
said to be Mongolian but there is some evidence that this type of primarily made of wood (iron being the rare exception) and that their
dagger has also been produced in Nepal (and exported to ~llongolia height normally does not exceed 25 ems. These daggers are used to
and China?). Fakes of this lype have, umil now, not come to the. protect sometimes very large areas, such as a village and the fields of its
attention of the authors. inhabitants. Thi.s purpose explains the relatively large number of
A second type of Phur-pa for worship (height between 30 and 70 wooden Phur-pas on the market. They are for example used by hail
cms) is mainly used to mark the centre of the Phur-pa mandala. masters who plalll \\tOoden daggers along the borderline of the fields to
Mandalas are geomelrical figures strewn with coloured powders be protected in order to keep hail-storms (as also other demons) away.
(ground clay, sand) on the Roor ofa temple at solemn occasions. These \-"hen taking lhem away again the hail master has to carefully close the
mandala Phur-pas are sometimes made ofroughly carved and brighlly holes in the ground leaving healing substances inside. Due to the
painted wood but also of bronze with an iron blade whose cross-section quantity needed these Phur~pas are often just roughly carved.
is T-shaped. As the Phur-pa cull is still practiced today and possibly An identical or similar type ofdagger is used to protect the mandala.
even spreading again, a new Phur-pa of this type must not necessarily The daggers, somelimes adorned with ribbons or liltlejackets, lhen are
be a fake (an item to deceive the onlooker). 2'levertheless, lhere is a fixed illlriangular sockets and posilioned around the powder image. Tt
considerable number offakes on the market, the majOl;ty produced in is said a sel of thirty-seven daggers is required. In Tibetan literature
Patan (Kathmandu) for sale to foreign tourists. As the bad mandala many differel1l woods arc recommended to make these daggers (ju-
Phur-pas (false iconography, fi'audulent intention) and the good ones niper, sandalwood, etc.). Other woods may be choosen if the pre~
are not easily r1.islinguished a potential buyer should be careful. scribed materials are not al hand. Nevertheless, there seems to be a rule
A third type of Phur-pa for worship (normal height 20 cms but Winged Phur-pa for worship {rolling impossible}. Phur-pa/Hayagriva wilh consort (three faces, SL'\( arms that mainly lightweight woods should be used. The majority of
varying between 15 and 60 cms) is often a winged and/or armed Phur- Bronz.e. Hcight 17 ems. Privale Collection and four legs). Silver bronze. Height 14.2 ems wooden daggers on the market have certainly never been employed for

72 'r'August 1987
This ,,,ooden dagger for passive magic is A lypical dagger used for expulsion An iron dagger \\'ilh the lhird eye
dceoralro ,\;th a crystal and clad wilh rituals. incised wilh magic spells inlaid wilh silver, and coppeT eyes
red-brown ribbons. Height 23.9cms (mantr.lS1. Iron. Height 18.9ems and moulh. Height 22.8cms

magical protection. They are rather produced and sold assouvenirs for
Buddhist pilgrims.
In contrast [Q the Phur-pas for veneration and passive magic (pro-
tection) the aggressive daggers for active magic (exorcism) must fulfil
certain conditions: the dagger must be of iron from bottom [Q tOp; the
As is said la be a desccndant or ema· This 15 rupees dagger meetS thc expulsion These lWO daggers evidently belong to the
three blades must be symmetrically arranged in 120 degree angles (nol Cross-sections ofPhur-pa blades. 1. Wroughl iron nation of the Mongolian horse god, horse head ceremony requiremenls since il is an iron, same family and arc presumably from the same
T-like in 180/90/90 degree angles); and the practitioner must be able 2. T-shaped 3. Folded iron sheel 4. Cast iron daggers arc not uncommon. Height 1gems three-edged blade. Hcighl 25.6cms Tibelan workshop. Heights 17.4-and 21.4C01$
to roll the dagger between his palms using his ten fingers (the main
Phur-pa mudra). This again requires that the dagger should not be
gel's. butlhe majority are cheaply produced in Indian iron foundries
unduly decorated (no edgy wings) arms) etc.) and that it should not be
and not appropriate for a decent fight against Rudra, the chiefdemoB:
toO heavy (oflengths 15 to 30 ems). Daggers fulfilling these conditions
who. though knowing Lord Buddha·s of the eightfold path.
can be divided in twO sub-types: firstly) full iron daggers for the use of
has rejected it and is now omnipresent to poison the minds of faithful
the normal Phur-pa practitioner and, secondly, Phur-pas of high
artistic value made for the spiritual nobility and normally used in Buddhists.
Especially this full iron type is often clad \<\'ith a black or dark blue
temples only.
silken flag. \Vrapped around the dagger: the flag selyes to protect the
ThesomeLimes very simple full iron daggers are those normally used
practitioner's garments when he wears the instrument in his belt and to
for expulsion riruals. They often do not look very appealing. But
avoid rattling when the Phur-pa is kept in its conical rec ptacIe. The
whoever cares for the magical power should not despise these some-
flag aeronautically directs the dagger when thrown against demonS
times blackened and notched nails decorated with just hammered
faces and some 0 M A H H V/v! letters. This is the original and powerful and it is considered to be Hrhe dress of the deity".
Temple Phur-pas, the daggers rOI· the Buddhist nobility, are of
"Diamond Prince") the "iron axis of subjugation" which will not
course the joy of the antique dealer as they combine a certain magical
easily break when violently hitting a stone or when vehemently thrown
dignity and artistic beauty. These (sometimes U5S5000) pieces lead'
against visualised demons.
The practitioner will. ,,·hen testing the quality of a full iron dagger. relatively quiet life) used for the more peaceful forms of the rimal only
normally carefully hidden in a brocade cover and) in addition) in"
snap the blade with his finger-nail to see whether it produces a good
decorated box. The blade is often made of folded iron sheet extending
sound. This is done to check if the dagger is made of wrought iron (cast
iron is considered lo...\"e.r quality). A Phur-pa of this type should not
through the whole length of the instrument. This a buyer can check b,
weigh more than 350 grams. otherwise the rolling between the palms using a compass needle. The upper portion (the grip) iscast of brass at
would be difficult (the Phur-pa would slip down) and it would also be bronze showing (from bottom to lOp) snakes on the blade, a mythical The hilt of this dagger is decorated wiLh The expressions on a good j) with (normally) wrcc faa:s
crocodile (makara), an eternal knot, then, alrernatively, a dorje (thuO- we lotus, rather than the more general should be different: peacefully smiling; wrathful, bearing
a burden as the practitioner has to carry it throughout his lifetime. dorje motif. Iron. Heighl 23.8cms his teeth; and with longue hanging aul. Height 24.7 ems
Nowadays there are still some blacksmiths making wrought iron dag- derbolt) or a 10LUs. then again an eternal knot and finally Phur-ptl)

Arts of A<;%; ~r-A,l"gusl 1987 75

The head of this Phur-pa is hollow for sale This Phur-pa, dccoratcd with a linle The Phur-pa's faces arc almost completely
keeping mantras and prayers written on paper. glass neckJace, is made of iron coated rubbed away from being rolled between thc
Brass, copper and irOIl. Height 40.4 ems with thin brass sheet. Height 22.3cms palms. Copper and iron. Height 23.9 ems
The cenlrc Phur-pa is illustraled on the Lillc page

,\bove and below the face of this Phur-pa The often lost ear-rings have no ritual Old daggers arc not infrequently broken,
arc liltle figurines, probably dakinis. meaning; they serve to embellish the then repaired. This broken blade has been
Bronze and iron. Height 30.5 ems deity. Brass and iron. Height 26.3 cms crowned with silver. Brass. Height 30ems
The lhree abovc Phur-pas arc illUSlrated on the opposile pagc

three-faced head (two, four or more heads being suspicious excep- deliberately destroyed or thrown away with the resull that ritual
tions). On top of the head there can be a horse head, a half-dorje or daggers, carefully handed down from one generation to the next can,
SOme other decoration. BUI normally there is just nothing: lhe usual or even must, reach a considerable age. But when it comes to furnish-
hammering or the Phur-pa in the ground "mudra" does not allow ing proof everybody is helpless. The carbon-14 method is nOt appli-
fragile formations. Iconographic research has not led very far. J n fact cable: the percentage ofcarbon in Phur-pa iron is so small (more or less
eVery dagger is a unique artistic personality fitting hardly inm given one per cent) that the dagger in question must be completely destroyed
historical, geographical, or artistic categories. As these daggers are for an analysis. There are of course some people who, by heavenly
USually lefl at home (in the temple or in the monastery) their weight intuition, feel entitled to maintain that this or that dagger is a four-
may exceed 350 grams considerably. teenth or fifteenth century piece. But normal human beings must
There is a rumour spread among dagger practitioners that the iron satisfy themselves with the assumption thal a dagger showing signs of
used to make allt)'pes of ritual daggers should be meteoric iron "fallen wear (through rolling between lhe palms) should be an old dagger as
from the sky". Though this assertion is repeated over and over again, well, and that a Phur-pa that has been repaired several times (by
present research by spectral analysis has shown that the smiths might soldering or replacement of a broken blade) should even be older.
~ossibly have added some filings from meteoric iron, thus obeying the This again leads us to the problem of possible fakes. It sometimes
~ltual prescription, but as far as one can see today, no Phur-pa (or its happens nowadays that the remaining part ora good old Phur-pa-
Iron component) is made ofmcteoric iron in the metallurgical sense of generally the three-faced head-is combined with components from a
the,vord. new or worthless piece in a deceptive way. For buyers and sellers this
Another point ofdiscussion between buyer and seller is the question kind of "repair" will be a problem in the future since complete old
of how old a Phur-pa might bc. As a rule onc can assume that Phur- daggers meeting all ritual requirements have become rare and
Pas- being dagger and deity at the same time-have never been expensIve.

Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce


A "hidden shirt of mail" is the generally accepted meaning of the term beg-ce and the deity whose
distinguishing trait is possession of this attribute is known as Beg-ce:! a red male warrior having one
head and two arms who wears copper armour and holds a sword, bow and arrow, and ensign of
victory, bringing a heart and lungs towards his mouth while trampling on the cadavers of a horse and a
human. Icons portraying Beg-ce show him alone or accompanied by a naked blue female, holding a
ritual dagger phur-bu and riding a dred-mo bear, who is identified as his sister, hence the name given to
the pair, !Cam-srin (brother-sister).2 Due to the facts that no mention of this deity is found in the early
liturgical anthologies translated from Sanskrit, and that the term beg-ce has been considered a loan-
word from Mongolian, it has been hitherto accepted that the deity was introduced to Tibet from
Mongolia at a relatively late date, as part of the consolidation of the Tibetan (viz. dGe-lugs-pa) position
in Mongolia after 1580. 3 However, philological evidence suggest that beg-ce is a loan-word from
Tibetan to Mongolian and a corpus of eleventh century Tibetan textual sources related to this deity
have been identified. As the noun beg-ce is the pivotal characteristic which identifies the deity, we shall
first examine the philological considerations.
Laufer, in the article "Loan Words in Tibetan" (1916), did list beg-ce as a loan-word from Mongo-
lian, "probably from Mongol begder (Kovalevski, p. 1125) 'cotte de mailles cachees' ... " butLaufer
also remarked, "On the following page, Kovalevski gives begji side by side with begder, and begji
doubtless transcribes Tibetan beg-tse".4 The etymological derivation of beg-ce from begder (recte
bekter!) is unacceptable due to the difference of the second syllable. 5 Moreover, the spelling of begji
used by Kovalevski shows the letter j/3 used especially for the transcription of Tibetan and Sanskrit

1 Jaschke, p. 370, "beg-tse, a hidden shirt of mail". Das, p. 876, "Beg-tse, 1. name of a goddess (sic!) who when propitiated
protects her (sic!) devotees. 2. hidden shirt of mail." p. 877, "Bhai-ka-tse leam-bral, name of a sylvan nymph who undertook
to protect Tibet and defend Buddhism (Deb-snon, Ga, 2)." This reference to the Blue Annals is probably to be corrected to
Deb-snon, Kha, 2, corresponding to page 65 of the Roerich translation, but this edition has omitted the name of the deity and
simply refers to the category of dharmapala (religious protectors). It is interesting to note that Chos-grags, p. 564, defines,
"Beg-rce, bean" with no reference to an object but exclusively to the bean class of deities.
2 Cf. for example, TPS, plates 206-208.
3 Loan-word, cf. note 4. For late origin, cf. TPS, pp. 595-597, also 723-724 on the concept of "acceptance of Mongolian
deities when the Yellow Church spread in Mongolia after the conversion of Altan Khan by bSod-nams rgya-mts'o". Cf. also
Nebesky, p. 89. In a previous article, "Preliminary remarks to a Study of Beg-tse" (scheduled for publication since 1981 in
Wind Horse, Journal of the North American Tibetological Society, Asian Humanities Press, Berkeley [USA], under the
auspices of Professor Lewis Lancaster, editor) we have analyzed the legend of Beg-ce's inclusion in the Tibetan pantheon as a
consequence of the conversion of Altan Khan by bSod-nams rgya-mcho (henceforth given the title Dalai Lama Ill) in
comparison with the biography of Dalai Lama Ill, (fol. 93b recounts the meeting with Beg-ce in Mongolia in 1578) written by
the Fifth Dalai Lama. Earlier in the biography, in 1555, (fol. 39b) Beg-ce is specified as bSod nams rgya mcho's personal
religious protector. The autobiography of the Second Dalai Lama (written in 1528) also attests Beg-ce as personal protector
(fol. 2b). Due to the inordinate delay in publication of this article, we have taken the liberty to repeat some of the data in the
present summary. Detailed analysis will be given in the study to be presented at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris,
'Evolution du culte et de l'!conographie de Beg-ce, Divinite Protectrice Tibetaine'.
4 B. Laufer, "Loan words in Tibetan", p. 498, no. 199, TP, v. XVII, Leiden, 1916.
5 As previously mentioned by Tucci in TPS, pp. 596-597.
186 Amy Heller Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce 187

words having phonemes otherwise unknown in Mongolian. 6 Consequently, as a Sanskrit etymology Atisa's arrival in Tibet (1042).13 Acarya dMar-po has notoriety either for the corruption of certain
cannot be substantiated, the Mongolian begji comes from the Tibetan beg-ee, and not vice versa. mystic practices of the Annutara-yoga-tantra, particularly the doctrines of ritual sexual union and
Almost nothing is known of the origin and the history of the word beg-ee prior to its usage in murder, sbyor-sgrol, or for highly salutary translations. Gayadhara and Acarya dMar-po were there-
association with the deity. Among the Dun Huang manuscripts, to our knowledge the only occurrence fore both active in the mid-eleventh century, and in the opinion of dPa'-bo gCug-Iag 'phren ba, these
is in P. T. 1283 where the phrase Mon-ba Beg-ce is used as a proper noun to transcribe the name of the are but two among several names used by one person. 14
kingdom of Paektche which had been based in the western portion of the Korean peninsula. 7 I. O. 728 The probable ancient Tibetan origin of the deity Beg-ce is indicated by the mixture of non-Buddhist
has recently been republished with the reading beg-ee, while the 1962 reading of M. de la Vallee Tibetan elements in a Buddhist context which is characteristic of the two tantra in both title and
Poussin for this, and the later phrase, was dar zab kyi peg-ce. 8 M. de la Vallee Poussin's reading is content. The tantra for the male wrathful deity is called the Srog-bdag dmar-po san-pa sgrol-byed kyi
confirmed by consultation of the manuscript in toto where types of fabrics of silk and felt are discussed. rgyud and bears the interior title of Ma-ru-rce san-pa sgrol-byed kyi rgyud; for the female deity, the
Any etymological relation between the peg-ee of silk and the beg-ee of chain-mail armour remains to be tantra is entitled dMar-mo khrag gi mda' 'phen ma'i rgyud and bears two interior titles, dMar-mo
proven. khrag gi mda' 'phen ma'i nan snags san-pa dmar-po'i rgyud and dMar-mo 'jig-rten za-byed ma'i rgyud,
The earliest use of the word beg-ee as an attribute of a wrathful deity occurs in two tantra signed by as well as the abbreviated title dMar-mo san-pa'i rgyud. 15 The title of the male deity's tantra may be
the translators Sridharakrasu and Mar-pa. 9 Whether this refers to Mar-pa Chos kyi blo-gros translated as the 'Tantra of the Liberating Executioner (named) Srog bdag dmar-po'. In apposition, the
(1012-1096) or to his slightly younger contemporary Mar-pa Chos kyi dban-phyug (ca. 1042-1136) is interior titles gives the name Ma-ru-rce. The name Srog-bdag dmar-po no doubt reflects the srog-bdag
not certain. IQ The name of Sridharakrasu is otherwise unknown, but his identity is elucidated by the (master of vital forces) category of Tibetan deities. 16 However the name Ma-ru-rce is attested as the
statement that he was known in Tibet by two other names: Gayadhara and Acarya dMar-po.ll Both of name of a form of the Buddhist deity Yama in the tantra Me-Ice 'bar-ba ('Burning Flames') included in
these names are well known in the chronology of the eleventh century. Gayadhara is the name of the the bKa' 'gyur portion of the Tibetan canon (P. 466).17 The term san-pa, here translated as executioner,
principal Indian master in Tibet of 'Brog-mi (992 -1 074), the spiritual forefather of the Sa-skya orderY must also be linked to the gsen, sacrificial priests of the royal burials in pre-Buddhist Tibet. 18 The title
Acarya dMar-po is the name given to a Kashmiri translator who worked during the period preceding of the tantra dedicated to the female deity, which may be translated as the 'Highly Efficient Bloody
Arrow of the Red Female', would appear to be related to the instructions for divination arrows which
are also characteristic attributes of Tibetan deities of pre-Buddhist origin. 19 However, the contents of
both tantra do not primarily discuss ritual instructions of any kind but explain the legendary origin of
the deities and their physical description.

6 We are indebted to Professor Geza Dray for this information and the comment that Mong. begji therefore derives from
Tibetan beg-ce.
7 J. Bacot, "Reconnaissance en Haute Asie Septentionale par Cinq Envoyes Ouigours au VIII' Siecle", p. 141 et 145 (lignes 13 BA, 696-697. J. Naudou, Les Bouddhistes Ka,miriens au Moyen Age (Paris, 1968), p. 139 n. 2 and 4. The controversial
18-19) in]A 1956, pp. 137-153. T. Moriyasu, "La Nouvelle Interpretation des mots Hor et Ho-yo-hor dans le manuscrit subject of Acarya dMar-po has recently been studied by D. S. Ruegg in "Deux problemes d'exegese et de pratique tantriques",
Pelliot Tibetain 1283", p. 176, in A OH, XXXIV (1-3), pp. 171-184 (1980). pp. 219-221 (in Taoist and Tantric Studies in Honour of R. A. Stein, Bruxelles 1981, pp. 212- 226) where a summary of the
8 We are indebted to Dr. linos Szerb for calling our attention to the republication of I. O. 728 in A Catalogue of Tibetan opinions of 'Gos lo-ca-ba, Sum-pa mKhan-po and Taranatha is given, in conjunction with some remarks of the Fifth Dalai
Manuscripts Collected by Sir Aurel Stein, part eight, pp. 49-50, no. 728, edited by The Seminar on Tibet/The Toyo Bunko, Lama from his i':hos-'byun. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to note that dPa'-bo gcug-Iag 'phren-ba, writing in 1546, had a
1984. The phrase dar-zab kyi peg-ce is to be found in L. de La Vallee Poussin, Catalogue of the Tibetan Manuscripts from different opinion (cf. note 14 infra). In the Fifth Dalai Lama's gSan-yig, vo!. I, p. 377, he writes that Acarya dMar-po came to
Tun-huang in the India Office Library, Oxford, 1962, p. 233. This document will be analyzed in full in the forthcoming study Tibet three times - during the time of Khri-sronlde-bcan, during the phyi-'dar, and during the life of Sa-chen Kun-dga' siiin-
for the Ecole Pratique. It may already be stated here that the resume given by La Vallee Poussin is defective: it is not the po - having thus a lifetime spanning at least 300 years!
"questioning of a fiend Peg-tse by Buddha" (op.cit. p. 233) but rather questioning of a fiend 'Ja'-ga-ra by Buddha. Our 14 KPGT, Ta, fo!' 3b (= p. 510, vo!. 1,1981 edition), "Ga-ya-dha-ra ni Na-ro Mai-tri sogs grub-thob man-po'i slob-ma yin/ ...
attention was drawn to this manuscript by Mme. Anne-Marie Blondeau, to whom we are gratefully indebted. Bod-tu lan man-por byon ste re-re la mchan tha-dad-tu thogs i':in thegs gcig A-ca-rya dMar-po-iabs su yan grags/ phyis 'Brog
9 The two tantra are included in the Beg-ce be'u bum (recently republished under the title Beg-tse be'u bum, Rdo-rje tshe- (i. e. 'Brog-mi) -mGos (i. e. 'Gos-lo-ca-ba khug-pa lha-bcas) kyi bla-ma byas 50/ Kha-i':he zla-ba mgon-po/ Ston-iiid tin-'jin
brtan, publisher, Lahul-Spiti, RP., 1978). This work was initially compiled by Char-chen blo-gsal rgya-mcho (1502-1566) rdo-rje! Ye-ses rdo-rje/ Ses-rab gsan-ba/ Ma-ha'-ja-na/ Mantra-ka-lakSu/ Karma-bajra/ ]a-ma-ri/ dPa'-bo rdo-rje 'di Bod kyi
from much earlier gter-ma and bka'-ma materials. The authenticity of the early materials is discussed by the Fifth Dalai Lama, gans-ri lta-ba la yons gsun nas 'Brog-mi'i sar byon ste i':hos bstan nas slar rju-'phrul gyis biud skad/ ... " "As for Gayadhara, he
gSan-yig, vo!.ka, p. 823-835, and is corroborated by the Second Dalai Lama's autobiography, ritual texts, and the biography was the student of many siddha such as Naropa and Maitripa ... He came to Tibet many times, each time using a different
of his father (Tohoku nos. 5543, 5544, 5558 (4), 5577 (30), and 5558 (26)). The Second Dalai Lama's texts were written prior to name. Also known as Acarya dMar-po-zabs, later he was the teacher of 'Brog-mi and 'Gos the translator ... His names were
Char-chen's compilation of the Be'u Bum. Kha-che la-ba mgon-po, ... Ses-rab gsan-ba, ... dPa'-bo rdo-rJe ... He went to 'Brog-mi's place (i. e. Myu-gu-Iun) and having
10 Nebesky, p. 89, mentioned the attribution to Mar-pa, but considered it as "an invention of a later author". In the Be'u bum, taught dharma, he once again magically departed ... "
p. 211, Char-chen discusses this attribution and states that the Mar-pa in question was not Mar-pa Chos-kyi blo-gros (but 15 The two tantra are not included in either the bKa'-'gyur or the rNin-ma'i rgyud-'bum under these titles. Both are in the Beg-
rather Mar-pa Chos kyi dban-phyug): "Sridharakrasu Mar-pa lo-ca-ba (lho-brag-pa dan ma gcig go) la dbus kyi grva-than du ce be'u bum, pp. 7-14, 15-21.
gnan zin des rnams bsgyur/." Cf. BA, p. 383 for biographical data. 16 Cf. Notably Ariane Spanien's remarks on the concept of srog (vital forces) in a Tibetan non-Buddhist context as opposed to
l! Cf. infra. Passage refered to is found in the "San-pa dmar-po sgrub thabs rgyas pa" in the Be'u bum, p. 54, 1.4-5, "Bod du che (existence or series of existences) in relation to the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, pp. 12-15 (summary of P. T. 1055)
mchan 3 byun ste/ Ga-ya-dha-ra zes kyan bya/ A-ca-ra dMar-po zes kyan bya/ Sri-dhara-kra-su zes kyan bya ste/" In Char- in Choix de Documents Tibetains conserves a la Bibliotheque Nationale, tome 11 (1979). On the srog-bdag in general, cf.
chen's discussion of this master (Be'u bum, p. 218) he considers this Gayadhara as distinct from 'Brog-mi's master, "Ga-ya- Nebesky.
dha-ra ... 'di la Bod-na bla-chen-'Phrog-mi (sic! 'Brog-mi)'i bla-ma Ga-ya-dha-ra dan mi gcig go!" However, in the opinion 17 We are indebted to Monsieur Stein for this reference, in R. A. Stein, Annuaire du College de France, 74e annee, 1973-1974,
of the Fifth Dalai Lama, only one person is indicated, (gSan-yig, p. 832), "Pan-di-ta Gha-ya-dha-ra/ Sri-dhara-kra-su'an zer p.516.
'di lam-'bras-ba'i Gha-ya-dha-ra ni yin-par 'dug!" 18 G. Tucci, Les Religions du Tibet, p. 295, discusses the sku-gsen or gsen as "les sacrificateurs proprement dits ... Vraisem-
12 BA, pp. 112 and 207. bCo-brgyad Khri-chen, Sa-skya i':hos 'byun, pp. 22-23. Gans-ljons mdo snags kyi bstan pa'i sin rta dpal blablement le mot g,en doit etre mis en relation avec le concept g,ed, qui a la signification de bourreau, tortionnaire." ]aschke
ldan sa skya pa'i i':hos 'byun mdor bsdus skal bzan yid kyi dga' ston (n. d. Tibetan Educational Printing Press, Kashmir House, defines san-pa or bsan-pa as "the slaughter, the butcher" (p. 557). san is a homonym for gsen.
Dharamsala). 19 Nebesky, pp. 365 passim.
188 Amy Heller Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce 189

Both tantra begin with salutations to a Buddhist deity, Yamantaka for the male and Ekajati forthe Even the names of the male deity reflect a blending of Indian and Tibetan concepts. Srog-bdag dmar-
female. Then the birth of the deities is recounted: Two eggs, one of coral and one of bsve, are produced po is indicative of the Tibetan category of the srog-bdag deities, while Skyes-bu dbati. gi mdog can, who
by the union of a yak~a, gNod-sbyin zati.s kyi ral-pa can, and a rak~asa demoness, Srin-mo khrag gi ral- by philological apposition and description is red, bears in his name the Buddhist term for rites of the
pa can. The eggs wreak havoc in the sky, in the intermediary space between sky and earth, and on earth. vasikiira category of the Vajrayana system of four acts (ii-ba, rgyas-pa, dban, and drag-po). Red is the
Unable to control the eggs, the parents appeal to Mahadeva (to control the male deity) and to Ekajati color of dban rites. The name Yam-sud dmar-po is given to an emanation of Pehar and a bcan deity in
(to control the female deity). The eggs are opened by the subduing deity - it is specified that Ekajati the Gesar saga, but also appears in the Vajramantrabhirusandhimiilatantra (P. 467) devoted to a linga
strikes the egg of bsve with a kha~viinga scepter to open it. The tantra for the male deity then describes ritual associated with Vajrakila.n The name Ma-m-rce is attested for both a single deity as a form of
the appearance of the deity emerging from the coral egg: a coral man, his hair tied back in a chignon, Yama and a group of deities who act as acolytes of Yama. 24 The final name, gNod-sbyin zati.s kyi beg-
possessing a copper beg-ce, wearing copper inner armour (ral-kha) and a red goat-skin, holding a ce can, indicates that the object beg-ce is the principal attribute of the deity, here placed in the category
copper bow and arrow, copper sword, lance of bsve and coral, and an ensign of victory. The tantra for of gnod-sbyin injury-bestowing deities. The gnod-sbyin are apparently deities of the pantheons of pre-
the female deity describes the appearance of the deity emerging from the egg of bsve: a girl with a red Buddhist Tibet, later identified with the Indian yak~as, tree-spirits of the Vedic period, who were
face, a blue body, face of bsve (this is a voluntary repetition as bsve [or bse] is associated with the color incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon in India, and turned into guardians of temples.
red, but also implies association with the bsve Tibetan deities), conch shell teeth, turquoise eyebrows, The names given to the female deity are decidedly more Buddhist: Rig pa'i lha-mo gdoti. dmar ma,
flaming hair decorated with semi-precious stones, holding a copper knife and a phur-bu ritual dagger, Padma gar gyi dbati.-phyug ma. The latter is a feminized form of one of the names given to AvalokiteS-
and riding on a dred-mo bear who eats a man. vara, Padma gar gyi dbati.-phyug (Padma-narteSvara), but this is distinctly specified as the female
The legend of origin follows Tibetan rather than Indian paradigms. Among the four types of birth deity's esoteric name (gsan-mchan).25 The most usual name, Rig-pa'i lha-mo gdoti. dmar ma, is often
known in Indian Buddhist mythology, birth from an egg is included, eventually tracable to ancient shortened to gDoti.-dmar ma, which is simultaneously referential to one of the early names of the
Indian myths of a cosmic egg as source of the universe. But the Tibetan pre-Buddhist mythology has a Tibetans, the red-faced ones (gdon-dmar Bod kyi yul). The additional name Srid-pa'i bu-mo is prob-
version of birth from eggs as well - the purely Tibetan cosmogonies are distinguished from the cosmic ably to be linked to Bon-po concepts due to the Bon-po goddess named Srid-pa'i rgyal-mo. 26 Her
egg of other mythologies by myths which utilize more than one egg (usually, two, three or 18) which is allocated food (zas-skal) is the vital breath (srog-dbugs) of those who harm the doctrine. Both tantra
made of minerals. 20 This system is characteristic of the indigenous Tibetan legends on the origin of thus indicate that the male and female deities eat the beings they subdue, which explains the term given
different categories of deities - dgra-lha or bcan - as well as gods, men or animals. The two eggs here in the second interior title of the female deity's tantra, za-byed, the 'eater', an epithet of fire for
correspond to the pattern of mineral origin. purposes of purification. An object (mask or statuette) termed za-byed, used in Buddhist rituals of
The descriptions of the deities correspond quite closely to extant icons, of which the earliest material purification, has canonical antecedents attested as of the tenth century.27
dated with any certainty is of 18th century provenanceY If the appearance is thus partially fixed in The function of the female deity again reflect a blend of indigenous Tibetan concepts with Buddhist
terms of the general lines of the description and attributes, the names given in the tantra indicate the categories of deities or their powers. She is evoked as attendant to Yamantaka, attendant to Ekajati,
variety of categories to which the deities belong simultaneously. In each tantra, the deity emerging conqueror of the thousand asura, leader of bSe'i-skyes-bu (i. e. the male deity), most powerful of the
from the egg is questioned by the subduing deity in a series of questions and answers which recalls the horde of ma-mo deities, most magical of the ma-mo, armour-bearer of the secret ma-mo, guide to
pattern often found in Tibetan folk tales and the Gesar saga. In addition to inquiring whose emanation complete miraculous transformation (cho-'phrul yons kyi sna 'dren ma). The ma-mo are well known as
the deity is - which is a question common to Buddhist tantra introducing a new deity - the queries a class of ancient Tibetan goddesses. The other qualifications are quite Buddhist, in association with
include name, food, ritual, life-essence (srog-gi-snin-po). The male deity replies to Mahadeva: I am the wrathful deities, while cho-'phrul is one of the ten powers of bodhisattva. In this case, however, nine
speech emanation of the black Yama (or Yamantaka); my names are Skyes-bu dbati. gi mdog can, Srog- cho-'phrul are described: transformation into monkey, owl, fox, falcon, wolf, black bird, srin bird,
bdag dmar-po, and Yam-sud dmar-po. Shortly thereafter, the additional names Ma-m-rce and gNod- musk deer, or, engendering a state of delirium (smyo 'bog) in a human. In this case, cho-'phrul seems to
sbyin zati.s kyi beg-ce can are given. The life-essence is, as usual, a magic spell (mantra) and for food, evoke the pre-Buddhist milieu by its meaning of completely non-Buddhist transformation.
the deity eats those liberated from the 10 fields. The ritual to be accomplished is a linga offering using The very succinct ritual instructions given in the female deity's tantra are also for a linga ritual.
divination arrows mda' dar made from the quill feathers of a bcan bird with red silk streamers attached. However, rather than a humanoid effigy in dough or paper, the ritual requires a linga of the shoulder-
The Indian antecedents of the linga ritual have been previously demonstrated by Monsieur Stein, but in blade of a goat or a female dog, for the propitiation of both the male and female deities. Then follows
this tantra, the addition of indigenous Tibetan elements is apparent, as a complement to the Indian core the translator's colophon.
of the ritual. 22 Five other ritual texts provide more detailed instructions for linga rituals devoted to either the male
deity alone, the female alone, or the two together. These rituals are apparently related to the two tantra,
as is demonstrated by either the repetition of names given to the two deities or the repetition of the
20 Cf. R. A. Stein, Annuaire du College de France, 67e annee (1966-1967), pp. 419-420.
21 The Lhasa 20th century edition of the gSan-yig of the Fifth Dalai Lama bears a small portrait of the male deity as 'protector of
contents' on the last folio of the fourth and last volume (p. 735). This portrait is identified by the inscription "gNod-sbyin
dmar-po srog-gi-bdagl Chos-skyon zans kyi beg-ce-canl". If this is a facsimile reproduction of the 17th century Lhasa
edition, this portrait is the earliest inscribed and datable icon. Otherwise, the earliest dated portrait identified by inscription is 2J Cf. Nebesky, particularly pp. 168-170. Also plate V, identified by inscription as "Yam-sud dmar-po" in R. A. Stein,
found on the last folio (501) of the dkar-chag of the sDe-dge bsTan-'gyur, dated 1743 according to J. Kolmas. The portrait is "Peintures Tibetaines de la Vie de Gesar", Arts Asiatiques, 1958, fascicule IV (Paris). The deity is identified as Klu-bdud chen-
inscribed "gNod-sbyin che" (the illustration is reproduced in J. Kolmas, The Iconography of the Derge Kanjur and Tanjur, po Yam-sud dmar-po on fol. 256b line 2 of the Drag-snags 'dus-pa rdo-rfe rca-ba'i rgyud, Peking edition (no. P. 467).
New Delhi, 1978, p. 276). 24 The four Ma-m-rce as acolytes of a form of Yama are discussed in the text Las gsin dmar-po Ma-rH-rce biis skor ba,
22 M. Stein, (Annuaire du College de France, resume des cours de 1977-1978) analyzes the sections of the Guhyasamiija-tantra pp. 879-885 in The Siidhanamiilii of the Panchen Lama, part I, New Delhi, 1975.
(which has been dated from the 5th to 8th century) in which the rituals for the phur-bu and the linga as well as the double 25 Cf. A. M. Blondeau, Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Ve section, T. 86 (1977-1978), p. 83.
aspect of murder and ritual coitus are discussed, summarizing, "Il est clair desormais que le phur-bu et son rituel du linga, si 26 We are indebted to Dr. Samten Karmay for this information.
celebres au Tibet, sont bien d'origine indienne et remontent dans ce milieu au VIIIe siecle" (page 653). 27 Cf. R. A. Stein, Annuaire du College de France, 76e annee, 1975-1976, p. 532.
190 Amy Heller Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce 191

legend of origin. 28 One of these texts is signed by Sridharakrasu as sole translator, then a short Table of Principal Names
discussion of the lineage of practitioners follows. 29 It is here that the correspondence of Acarya dMar-
po and Gayadhara is indicated, as well as Indian antecedents for the cult in the persona of two masters. I. MALE DEITY
Their names are given in Tibetan, not Sanskrit, and their historic existence has as yet proved impossible
to verify. The first master is named Ni-ma grags, followed by Zla-ba nag-po. It is curious to note that
among the names given by dPa'-bo gCug-Iag 'phren-ba for Acarya dMar-po, Zla-ba mgon-po is listed. Names Skyes bu Srog- Ma-ru- Yam-sud Beg-ce- gNod- San-pa gNod-sbyin Chos- Sgrol-gin
If the Tibetan translation of the name is constructed from Sanskrit, Candrakala or Somakala, then dban gi mdog bdag rce dmar-po Can sbyin dmar-po zans-kyi beg- skyon dmar-po
Text can dmar-po dmar-po ce-can Beg-ce
either rendering would be equivalent: Zla-ba nag-po or Zla-ba mgon-po. This may be an indication
that Acarya dMar-po himself had transmitted the teachings in India under another name prior to his Tantra I / / / / / / /
work in Tibet. By the practice of this Hnga and gtor-ma (ritual cake) offering, it is specified that the
enemy will actually be liberated (= killed). When first practiced by Acarya Ni-ma grags, death Tantra 11 /
occurred instantaneously, but in the successive transmissions, increments of delay arise, so that when
Be'u Bum: Cha / / /
transmitted in Tibet, a five day delay between the ritual practice and its result are required. In addition
to previous attributes, here it is stated that the male deity holds a copper knife and the heart and lungs Be'u Bum: la / / / / /
of an enemy.
The junction of Buddhist and non-Buddhist practices is shown by the combination of a linga ritual Be'u Bum: Ta /
and a gtor-ma offering within this one text. The linga effigy is used as a support into which evil energies
Be'u Bum: Pha /
or entities are coerced, dissected into good and evil portions, and then eliminated, i. e. liberated from
the previous malevolent state towards a new and purified incarnation, when struck by a weapon gNan-lo: mdos / / / /
(usually the ritual dagger phur-bu) which embodies the power of a subduing deity. Concommitant
with the liberation of the evil aspect, the priest accrues for himself whatever portion of 'good' had been D.L.II (ca. 1528) / / / / /
separated from the 'evil'. Likewise, the function of the gtor-ma (and mdos, cf. infra) cake offerings is to
serve as a kind of bait or trap into which the priest attracts a demoniacal deity. But after its capture, the
demon is instructed to perform various acts (such as the elimination of hostile forces) and then released
by casting the gtor-ma (or mdos) away. There is no question of purification of an evil aspect or n. FEMALE DEITY
subsequent re-embodiment in gtor-ma or mdos offerings, although elimination of evil is the objective,
just as in linga rituals. The offering of gtor-ma during the dynastic period in a non-Buddhist context is
attested in I. O. 733 as analyzed by Mme. Ariane Macdonald-Spanien. 3o Names Srid-pa'i bu-mo Rig-pa'i lha-mo Padma gar-gyi bSe yi skyes-bu sna Srin-mo Srin-mo'i bu-mo
gdon dmar-ma gdon dmar-ma dban-phyug-ma 'dren ma dmar-mo gdon dmar-ma
In these five rituals, the basic content of linga rituals remains otherwise unchanged, the mantra is
identical. Only one text varies from this pattern, retaining the usual mantra but adding with com-
plementary syllables and phrases. This text is also signed by Sridharakrasu alone, who is supposed to Tantra I
have buried it without transmitting it further, due to the secret nature of this instruction. The title of
the ritual is the San-pa dmar-po'i gsad pa'i las sbyor ('the Red Executioner's murderous acts'). Tantra 11 / / /
The contents specifically describe a fumigation ritual (sbyin-sreg) utilizing a linga in humanoid shape ,
Be'u Bum: Na / / /
surrounded by arrows and owl feathers, all of which are burned. While the other rituals are qualified as
drag-po las (violent ritual acts, abhicara) within the Vajrayana category of the four acts, this ritual is not Be'u Bum: Ta / /
attributed to any category at all. Textual analysis demonstrates that the rituals qualified as drag-po las
repeat word for word the succinct ritual instructions first given in the two tantra. It is clearly establish- Be'u Bum: Pha /
ed by virtue of titles, names given to the deities, mantra and ritual instructions that the tantra are the
gNan-lo: mdos / / / /
antecedent of these rituals. (Cf. Table I.)
D.L.II (ca. 1528) /

28 Beg-ce be'u bum:

Cha: San-pa dmar-po'i sgrub-thabs rgyas-pa (pp. 49-55).
la: Pho-sgrub san-pa dmar-po'i drag snags (pp. 55-57).
Na: Mo-sgrub san-pa dmar-mo'i sgrub-thabs (pp. 57-59).
Ta: San-pa yab-yum sbrags-ma'i sgrub-thabs (pp. 59-62).
Tha: San-pa dmar-po'i gsad-pa'i las-sbyor (pp. 62-63).
29 Cf. note 11 supra.
30 Ariane Macdonald, P. T. 1286, p. 361 discussing 1. O. 733. On linga, cf. R. A. Stein, Linga, pp. 220- 222. Also discussed in
Helier, rKyal-'bud.
192 Amy Helier Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce 193

The text entitled the 'Secret precept and esoteric realization of gNod-sbyin dMar-po' is designated as pa. 34 Subsequently gNan traveled to Kashmir and India, remaining there for several years. Later
an instruction by Acarya dMar-po.31 Elsewhere the master has signed the colophon under the name historical sources, such as dPa'-bo gCug-Iag 'phren-ba (1546) and the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682),
Sridharakrasu. Although the two names are said to be used by one person, it may eventually be possible credit gNan for introducing the cult of the four-faced Mahakala to Tibet and ensuring its transmission
to establish a typology of rituals related to the choice of name used by the master. This text is highly among early Sa-skya-pa masters. 35 This was accomplished by his disciple gNam-Kha'u-pa who trans-
interesting because it describes a three-headed, six-armed form of the male deity. In this case the female mitted the cult to Sa-chen Kun-dga' siiin-po (1092-1158). Both Char-chen blo-gsal rgya-mcho and the
deity is called the yum (i. e. consort) but not the sister. Nonetheless, the names of the two deities do Fifth Dalai Lama link the cult of Beg-ce to the cult of the four-faced Mahakala by mentioning the
bear a resemblance to the names formerly given. The male deity is named gNod-sbyin dmar-po, San-pa assimilation of Beg-ce with the red acolyte of this form of Mahakala. 36 The implication is that the cult
dmar-po drag-suI can, and Phun-byed chen-po; the female deity is named Srin-mo dmar-mo, mKha'- of Beg-ce acquired 'official' acceptance via the context of the major importance that the Sa-skya-pa
'gro dmar-mo 'jigs-pa'i mche-ba can, dMar-mo mi-zad 'jigs-chul-can, bDud kyi bu-mo, Bud-med attributed to this form of Mahakala.
dmar-mo; they have assistants of unspecified quantity simply termed g.yog, servants; a name for the Two ritual instructions are attributed to gNan Dharma grags: a thread-cross (mdos) ceremony
principal deities plus their entourage is Srid-pa'i las kyi mthu-bo-che dMar-po dpon-g.yog (the red entitled San-pa dmar-po'i mdos-chog, and a gtor-ma offering entitled gNod-sbyin ra la ion pa'i sgrub-
master and attendants [who are] the great power of acts of creation). thabs (the realization of the gnod-sbyin riding on a goat).37 Neither of these rituals mention Mahakala.
This text shows the strongest Indian imprint in both iconography and the system of assimilations The mdos-chog opens with salutations to Bhagavat Yamantaka-raja. The names given to the deity are
established for the deity. Commencing with salutations to Yamantaka, a preliminary meditation over a
21-day period is devoted to the male deity as principal deity (gco-bo); a linga ritual to the deity as
support of form (rten-gzugs) for Mahesvara-Mahadeva then ensues; finally a gtor-ma offering is
addressed to the female deity having the male deity as her attendant. A change in appearance corre-
I Srog-bdag dmar-po, Srog-bdag dmar-po san-pa sgrol-byed, Yam-sud dmar-po, Skyes-bu dban gi
mdog can, and Gri-bcan dmar-po. All but the latter are found in the San pa dmar po sgrol byed kyi
rgyud which would appear to be one of the antecedents of this text. The text of the legend of origin
from a coral egg is not present, but the parents' names are the same in both cases. The parents are
spoJ;1ds to the change of role for the male deity. Initially, the male deity is simply called gco-bo: red in described in detail. The description of the father deity, gNod sbyin zans kyi ral-pa can, is philologically
color, having three heads and six arms - in the first right hand he holds male genitals, in the second and of interest, because he wears a copper beg-ce on his head (dbu-la zans kyi beg-ce gsol).38 The term beg-
third right arms the attributes are either unclear due to scribal error or a female genitals (mo) are held; ce thus appears to refer to chain-mail worn as protection anywhere on the body, and not exclusively
in the left arms, first a hammer, then a lasso, and finally a sword are held. 32 The female deity is over the torso. The father wears a copper ral-kha (inner layer of clothing).39 In his hands he has a
addressed as Yum dMar-mo sdig-pa'i phyag-rgya can, but is not described in the preliminary medita- copper sword, a red lance of bse, and waves a red ensign of victory. When combined with the
tion section. The attendants have one head and two arms, bearing male genitals in the left hand and a description of the mother deity (red in body, holding copper knife, heart and lungs, hair always tied
bladder (or shield) in the right hand. 33 In the second section, the male deity is addressed as agnod-sbyin back in a chignon) the resulting description of attributes and characteristics corresponds quite closely
and as attendant to Mahadeva, then assimilated to Mahadeva. In the third section, he is described as to the appearance of the male deity in the tantra. The female deity here is called 'sister and spouse' (srin
dark-red in color, having three three-eyed faces, blazing hair wound into a braid (which is compared to dan Icam).4o Srog-bdag dmar-po lcam-dral is the name given to the pair. They are accompanied by an
the braid of the deity Chans-pa), unspecified weapons in all six hands. He wears a fresh elephant hide entourage of eight assistants (knife-holding red men) who cut the 'soul-tree' bla-sin, dry up the 'soul-
and cemetary ornaments. The female is naked, and eats a human. In addition to the usual instructions lake' bla-mcho, and overthrow the 'soul-fortress' bla-mkhar of the enemies. This phraseology and the
for the ritual offerings and elimination of evil, a 'soul-stone' bla-rdo is used to combat harmful usage of the name Srid-pa'i lha-mo mthu-bo-che (in addition to the female deity's usual names) link the
influences, and the deities are requested to overthrow the 'soul-fortress' bla-mkhar of the enemies. The ritual instructions of gNan's mdos to Acarya dMar-po's instruction for the 3-headed six-armed aspect
inclusion of these two Tibetan concepts is significant because they are borrowed, verbatim, for inclu- of the male deity.
sion in a slightly later ritual attributed to gNan lo-ca-ba.
The translator gNan Dharma-grags was alive during the second half of the eleventh century. He
attended the council of translators assembled by the ruler of mNa'-ris in 1076, also attended by Mar-

34 BA, p. 71. Biographical data for gNan Dharma-grags is also to be found in T. G. Dhongthog Rinpoche, Sa-skya'i chos-'byun,
A History of the Sa-skya-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Delhi, 1977, pp. 186-196 and in 'Jam-mgon Kon (sic! Kon)-sprul Blo-
gras mtha'-yas, gTer-ston brgya rtsa'i rnam-thar, Arunchal Pradesh, 1973, pp. 259- 261. D. Martin has recently discussed
Padma d~ar-po's remark that the father of Ras-chUli.-pa was named gNan Dharma-grags, and would have been a contempo-
31 Beg-ce be'u bum: Pha. gNod-sbyin dmar-po'i gsan sgrub bka' rgya-ma (pp. 72-78). It is specified (p. 75) that this instruction rary of gNan Dharma-grags (the translator). However, neither KOIi.-sprul nor Dhongthog mention that gNan was the father
comes from Acarya dMar-po. Immediately thereafter (with the omission of any interim transmission) it is specified that Sreg- of Ras-chUli.. Cf. D. Martin, "The Early Education of Milarepa", The Journal of the Tibet Society, Vo!. 2 (1982), p. 69.
ston Amoghadvaja (i. e. Don-yod rgyal-mchan) requested this teaching from Pha-rgod Kun dga' bzan-po. These two masters 35 Fifth Dalai Lama, gSan yig, vo!. ka, p. 823; KPGT, Ta fo!' 11 b (= vo!. I, p. 526 of 1981 edition).
are in fact the grandfather and great-grandfather of the Second Dalai Lama (1475-1542), as discussed in both Second Dalai 36 Fifth Dalai Lama, gSan yig, vo!. I, p. 823; Char-chen, in Beg-ce be'u bum, p. 219, "gNan-Ios dPal mGon hi bzi-pa'i bka'-
Lama' autobiography and by Thu'u bkwan I1, in Grub-mtha' sel-gyi me-Ion, p. 126. Other than this text and the Fifth Dalai sdod San-pa dmar-nag gi tha-siiad byed cin rcubs grags chef sgrub yig mdos-chog bskul byan sogs kyan brcams sin bka'-rgya
Lama's analysis of it in his gSan-yig, only one other reference to the three-headed, six-armed form of the male deity has been che bar mjad/".
found: The younger Brother Don- Yod, f. 30b- 31a of Tibetan text, "gnod-sbyin mgo-bo 3 lag-pa 6 mdun dmar can zig (slebs 37 Beg-ce be'u bum: Ra: gNod-sbyin ra la ion pa'i sgrub thabs (pp. 96-99), La: San-pa dmar-po'i mdos chog (pp. 100-105). In
byun bas ...) bdag gnod-sbyin gyi rigs la bek-ce zer ba zig yin!" as published by T. J. Norbu and R. B. Ekvall, Bloomington, the Fifth Dalai Lama's discussion of Beg-ce, he also refers to the "bla rdos man nag gNan-Io'i chig" (gSan-yig, vo!. 1, p. 829).
Indiana, 1969. 38 Beg-ce be'u bum, p. 101, line 3.
32 P. 72, 1.3-4, "gco-bo dmar-po hi gsum phyag drug-pa g.yas kyi dan-po na pho-mchan/ bar-pa na ta (? sic! tha) mol g.yon 39 Definition of ral-kha from Chos-grags, p. 821, "ral kha dpun bcad/ rnul gzan nam nan-gos".
gyi dan-po na tho (sic! mtho)-ba/ bar-pa hgs-pa/ tha-ma na ral-gri/." We have interpreted mo as mo-mchan (female genitals) 40 The philological apposition is given on pp. 101-102, "khyod kyi pha dan yab ... khyod kyi ma dan yum ... khyod kyi srin
in apposition to the term pho-mchan (male genitals). Detailed analysis of this text will be forthcoming in the study, for the dan !Cam ... " followed in each case by the description. An analogous historical situation is that of Ni-gu-ma, who was
Ecole Pratique. simultaneously the sister and spouse of Mar-pa. (BA, pp. 728, 730 passim.) We are indebted to A. M. Blondeau for this
33 The term used is phug, defined as bladder or as a substitute term for phub, shield (jaschke, p. 343). analogy.
194 Amy Heller Early Textual Sources for the Cult of Beg-ce 195

The offering of mdos in non-Buddhist Tibetan ceremonies during the dynastic period is well attested, and functions could be grafted, reflecting both Indian and Tibetan paradigms. The addition of Buddhist
but gNan lo-ca-ba's mdos construction for San-pa dmar-po is a Buddhist ritual. 41 Phrases such as elements does not modify the Tibetan basis, but rather serves as its complement. The primary function
"Accept this offering of mdos to protect from enemies of the Three Jewels (dkon-mchog-gsum = of the deity eventually is given Buddhist terminology as chos-skyon, protector of Buddhism, but even
Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) . 00" make the Buddhist context of this ritual absolutely clear. But this when called Chos-skyon Beg-ce, the alternative terminology of Srog-bdag dMar-po, reflecting Tibetan
text reverses the principle of the texts previously discussed, which show Indian ritual paradigms with origins, is habitually retained.
an admixture of Tibetan elements. Here the structure of the Tibetan mdos ritual serves as a base on In conclusion, we can retain the following elements: 1) The hypothesis of a late Mongol origin for
which Buddhist elements are superimposed. The Tibetan 'persona' of the deity is emphasized by the the deity is disproven. 2) In the eleventh century a deity with distinctive attributes (notably the beg-cc)
use of the name Gri-bcan dmar-po, indicative of the Tibetan category of the bean deities. Among the and multiple names has already been created - the variety of names indicates that an amalgamation was
functions the deity is called to exercize, he is the master of the rocks (brag-gi mna'-bdag-po) which already accomplished. 3) Was this deity pre-Buddhist? Given the lack of earlier sources we cannot be
recalls the class of the brag-bean, the "rock bean". The amalgam of Buddhist and Tibetan concepts is absolutely certain, but the probability is increased due to the non-Buddhist Tibetan names, functions,
further suggested by the secret name for the male deity which this ritual introduces: sGrol-gin dmar- and myth of origin. 4) The super-imposing of Buddhist elements - making the deity part of the
po. The sgrol-gin are known as a category of Tibetan Buddhist deities, related to the gin (or gyin) which entourage of Yama, Yamantaka, Hayagrlva or Mahakala - seems to be the conduit which allows the
are included among indigenous Tibetan deities. The usage of the term sgrol is undoubtedly related to pre-Buddhist deity to be integrated into the Buddhist pantheon, reconciled by eventually allowing the
the verb sgrol-ba, 'to liberate', which in the context of abhicara (drag-po las) means 'to kill', i. e. to co-existence of Buddhist (i. e. chos-skyon, protector of Buddhism) and Tibetan (i. e. srog-bdag, master
liberate the conscious principle (rnam-ses) from an evil embodiment so that it may find a new and of vital forces) functions. Thus the deity may be alternatively called Chos-skyon Beg-ce and Srog-bdag
hopefully better embodiment. Consequently, usage of the term sgrol-gin implies that the concept of dmar-po.';-
reincarnation is assimilated, although, simultaneously, the Tibetan non-Buddhist categories of bean
and srog-bdag persist.
The second ritual attributed to gNan lo-ca-ba is a gtor-ma offering to the male deity serving in the
capacity of attendant (bka'-sdod) to Hayagrlva. The ritual instructions specify the construction of a
marJ4ala as well as the gtor-ma. The detailed description of the male deity as well as his names and Dictionaries: S. C. Das, Tibetan-English Dictionary, Kyoto, 1983 (abb. Das), H. A. Jaschke, Tibetan-English Dictionary,
mantra correspond to those given in the tantra for San-pa dmar-po sgrol-byed (cf. Table I). Two London, 1972 (abb. ]aschke).
additional functions are given: enemy god of the yogins (rnal-'byor dgra-Iha) and army commander of
the gnod-sbyin deities (gnod-sbyin rnams kyi dmag-dpon-po). The term ma-ru-ree is used as a proper Principal Sources in Western Languages

noun referring to both a place and the personal name of gNod-sbyin san-pa Ma-ru-rce. It is significant BA: Blue Annals, translated by G. N. Roerich, Delhi, 1979.
that in these instructions for worship as an attendant to Hayagrlva, the male deity has the alternative Linga: R. A. Stein, "Le Linga des danses masquees lamaiques et la theorie des ames", in Liebenthal Festschrift, Sino-Indian
names of Yam-sud dmar-po and gNod-sbyin zans kyi beg-ce can because later rituals and icons of Studies, vo!. V, 3-4, 1957,200-234.
Hayagrlva distinguish two attendants using the names Yam-sud dmar-po (shown on the goat) and Beg- Nebesky: R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, Graz, 1975.
P. T. 1286: Ariane Macdonald, "Une lecture des P. T. 1286, 1287, 1038, 1047 et 1290. Essai sur la formation et l'emploi des
ce lcam-srin, as the identifying inscription for the group comprised of the male deity, the female deity,
mythes politiques dans la religion royale de Sron-bcan sgam-po", in Etudes Tibhaines dediees a la memoire de Marcelle
and a male acolyte. 42 This distinction is attested in ritual instructions for Hayagrlva in the form rTa- Lalou, Paris, 1971.
mgrin yan-gsan written by the Second Dalai Lama (1475-1542) and included in his collected works rKyal-'bud: A. Helier, "rKyal-'bud: An early Tibetan ritual", in Soundings in Tibetan Civilization, New Delhi, 1985,257-267.
(gsun- 'bum). 43 While it would be outside the eleventh century focus of this summary to discuss this TPS: G. Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls, Roma, 1949.
ritual in detail, it is worthwhile to indicate a few salient factors showing aspects of the evolution of the
Principal Sources in Tibetan
cult in comparison to the eleventh century data.
KPGT: dPa'-bo gcug-lag 'phren-ba, mKhas-pa'i dga'-ston, Delhi, 1981.
As will be seen in the table of names and functions, the male deity is placed in the category of chos- Chos-grags: dGe-ses chos-kyi grags-pas brcams-pa'i brda dag min chig gsal-ba, Beijing, 1981.
skyon, protectors of Buddhist law, while simultaneously retaining the names Srog-bdag dmar-po, Beg-ce be'u bum: Char-chen blo-gsal rgya mcho, Beg-tse be'u bum, Lahul-Spiti, RP., 1978.
gNod-sbyin zans kyi beg-ce-can, sGrol-gyin bsan-pa dmar-po, and sGrol-gyin chen-po srog-bdag gSan-yig: Nag-dban rgya-mcho (Fifth Dalai Lama), gSan-yig ganga'i chu rgyun, Delhi, 1970 (vo!. I- IV).
dmar-po. Among the names for the female deity, Rig-pa'i lha-mo gdon-dmar-ma is used here to refer
to her, while the secret name (gsan-mehan) previously attested for the sister, Padma gar gyi dban phyug
ma, is used to refer to the consort of Hayagrlva. In the entourage of the deities, a male acolyte also
named Srog-bdag dmar~po appears, as well as the eight assistants bearing knives. Ma-ru-rce is exclu-
sively the place of residence and not a name for the male deity in this ritual.
This analysis of eleventh century sources indicates that a deity identified by the possession of the
beg-cc was known in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon at this time. The essential person of the deities - a
wrathful warrior and a wild demoness - were already determined as a base on to which various names

41 Cf. M. Lalou, "Rituel Bon-po des Funerailles Royales" under the term nam-ka" (which is also used in this mdos-chog).
42 Cf. Than-ka of rTa-mgrin yan-gsan. Inventory no. 58-1 in the Tibetan Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manu-
script Library, Yale University. " We would like to thank Professors Anne-Marie Blondeau, Ariane Macdonald-Spanien, Samten Karmay and Yonten Gyatso
4; Second Dalai Lama, gSun 'bum, Padma yan gsan khros-pa'i sgrub-thabs, Ma, fol. 6-26 (= Tohoku cat. 5558 (4)). for their help, encouragement and criticism.
Acta Orientalia Academiae SC'tent'tarwn Hung. Tomus XLIII (2-3), 375-389 (1989)



To the memory of Tsepon VV. D. Shakabpa

In the early twentieth century, from 1913-1922, Dr. Albert Shelton,

physician of the Foreign Christian Missionary Hospital at Batang, befriended
the forlorn "Prince" of Batang, sole survivor of his family. Following his
father's execution and the destruction of the Batang monastery in 1905, the
family was exiled to Chengdu, where all other members perished. Broken in
health and hopelessly addicted to opium, the young man returned to Batang
as a private citizen and lived with the Shelton family for almost a year. Due to
the precarious political situation generally prevailing in Batang at this time,
the Prince ceded to Dr. Shelton several precious family heirlooms. These,
along with other items collected by Shelton, were sold to the Newark Museum
in order to provide funds for the mission hospital. Subsequently, the Newark
Museum complemented Shelton's core material from Batang with items
acquired from other missionaries based in Khams and Amdo, and from the
first Americans invited to Lhasa. 1
The museum's committment to the Tibetan Collection has not faltered.
Eleanor Olson, former curator of the collection, published five volumes of
catalogues of the Tibetan Collection from 1950 to 1971. Much of her pioneering
research was accomplished per force with the aid of few tibetologists and even
fewer Tibetans, and the collection has grown considerably in the intervening
years. Now, through generous grants from private and public foundations,
the museum has undertaken the complete revision and publication of the
entire five-volume catalogue under the supervision of Valrae Reynolds,
curator of the collection since 1971.
I have been privileged to collaborate in these efforts. Two months ago,
while reviewing portions of the collection in preparation for the revised edition,
I came across a document acquired from the Prince of Batang which I bring to
your attention today, although I am not specialized in this area of Tibetology.

1 For background information on the Shelton-Crane Collection, cL V. Reynolds,

and A. HelIer, Catalogue of the N ewark 1\!luBeum Tibetan Collection, vo!. I (revised edition
1983), pp. 54-58.

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

Akademiai Kiad6, Budapest

Prior to now, the document had been misidentified and as such, remained The initial organization of the new Manchu protectorate was designed
unexploited. 2 It may now be affirmed that the document is a decree, dated at this time. The Governor-general of Sichuan was responsible for direct
1740, from Mi dbang Pho lha nas to the district governor (rdzong sdod) of administration of the territory of south-eastern Tibet, from Tatsienlu to the
Batang. It seems that the document is established to decide the succession of borders of central Tibet. In early 1721, the major portion ofthe armies returned
the present rdzong sdod of Batang to his two sons, named at the end of the to China via the southern trade route, but the protectorate was reinforced by
decree. a garrison 3,000 men strong in Lhasa, and detachments of troops at Lho-rong-
Before discussing the document in detail, a brief review of the historic dzong, Chab-mdo, Batang, Li-thang, and Tatsienlu. Direct administration of
context pertinent to Batang will better enable us to assess the value of its this large territory soon proved unwieldy. In 1725, during the second year of
contents. The political context of this era is well known because of the work of the Yung Ch'eng Emperor's reign, the political administration and boundaries
Professor Petech, China and Tibet in the early 18th century.s Batang is the were redefined. Under the new arrangement, the Ning-ching-shan range,
common name for the principal town within the district of 'Ba' situated in between the Mekong and the Yangtse rivers, was used as a rough divide.
what Sichuan. It has long been an important stop of the southern trade route The territories to the west were given back to Lhasa jurisdiction; the territories
from China to Lhasa. For the antecedents of the period which concerns us, to the east remained incorporated in China but the administration was entrus-
according to the Fifth Dalai Lama's autobiography, in 1648 two officials were ted to local chieftains under nominal supervision by Sichuan provincial
sent from Lhasa to several areas in eastern Khams to make a census of the authorities. Batang, just east of the boundary, was thus officially incorporated
population and collect taxes for the treasury of the Tibetan government. 4 in China as of 1725.
The district of 'Ba' is specifically mentioned at this time, and as such, was In Lhasa, however, internal governmental rivalries between the Seventh
considered part of Tibetan territory in 1648. In 1677 the autobiography Dalai Lama's father and the Lha,sa cabinet led to civil war in central Tibet in
mentions a similar mission regulating taxation as well as financial support 1727-28. The rival parties appealed to the Manchu who sent an army to
from the Lhasa treasury for the 'Ba' district monasteries.s restore order. By the time Manchu troops arrived in Lhasa, the cabinet minister
The political situation of Batang changed, however, in the wake of the Pho lha nas bsod nams stobs rgyas (1689-1747) had already established his
Dzungar invasion of 1717. The K'ang hsi Emperor dispatched successive supremacy. Already in 1727 he began to be famous in Tibet by the name
contingents of imperial troops, one of which traveled from Sichuan to Khams, Mi-dbang, literally "ruler of men". Mi-dbang received Manchu support for his
in the direction Tatsienlu, Li-thang, Batang. Tatsienlu was occupied in 1718 regime in the form of two Imperial Representatives (Amban), accompanied by
by the Governor-general of Sichuan who sent a detachment to Li-thang an armed garrison. From 1729-1735, the Dalai Lama was exiled from Lhasa,
at this time. Batang was occupied in the following year by the Manchu general first in Li-thang, then in mGar-tar nearby, both located well within the area
Galbi. Local opposition to the Manchu occupation was suppressed by the of Manchu sovereignty. Mi-dbang effectively governed during the Dalai
execution of the Abbot of the Li-thang monastery. General Galbi's forces Lama's absence, and governed so ably that the garrison was reduced to only
reached Lhasa in September, 1720. Shortly thereafter, the 12 year old Seventh 500 men in 1733.6 The role of the amban became quite nominal. The Dalai
Dalai Lama, escorted by a large army, at last reached Lhasa to be duly enthro- Lama, accompanied by the ICang-skya Qutuqtu Rol-pa'i rdo-rje and Sichuan
ned in the Potala. troops, made his return journey from Khams to Lhasa during spring. and sum-
mer of 1735. From this time until the death of Mi-dbang in 1747, the Dalai
.. Lama exercised purely religious authority.
In October 1735, the Yung Ch'eng Emperor died and was succeeded by
2 The document bears Newark Museum Accession number 18.141. It was previously
published (but misidentified) by E. Olson, Oatalogue, Vol. Ill, p. 123-124.
his fourth son who became the Ch'ien Lung Emperor. Shortly thereafter, the
3 This work gives a detailed, comprehensive discussion of the period. Much of the ICang-skya Qutuqtu left for Beijing together with the Sichuan troops who had
information in this resume of the historical context is derived from Professor Petech's aocompanied the Dalai Lama to Lhasa earlier in the year. As a result of his
analysis, as well as from J. Kolmas, Tibet and Imperial, Ohina. Tibetan sojourn, ICang-skya submitted a memorial to the emperor on the
4 As quoted by Tsepon Shakabpa, in Tibet, a Political History, p. 113.
difficulties of the financial situation in Lhasa.? Since the annexation of Batang,
~ As quoted by Tsepon Shakabpa, in An Advanced Political History of Tibet,
Vol. I, p. 452, "1677 lor 'Ba' chos sder dge 'dun sum brgya skor la sngar yod phogs thob
thog/ da lam phar ... sngon du chos gzhis sbyor 'jags dang/ khral mi mams la khras gso 6 Garrison figures from Kolmas, op. cit., p. 41.
khungs 'jug!" 7 Cf. Petech, op. cit., p. 179-180, who quotes the L 7 DL ff. 244b-245a.

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989 Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

Li-thang, and neighbouring tracts to Sichuan, Lhasa had lost the revenue the brgya-dpon. According to Mi-dbang's decree, the rdzong-sdod to whom the
from the taxation of these places. A 1730 census for Batang shows 3,679 document is addressed continued to serve as administrator of Batang in 1740.
families for the area, whose tax contribution was apparently sorely missed in Let us now consider the document itself. It is written in the 'brutsa
Lhasa, as ICang-skya specifically asked for the restitution of Batang and Li- rkang-ring dbu-med script on yellow satin, 177.8 X 78 cm., rolled for purposes of
thang to Lhasa in his memorial to the throne. 8 In June 1738 the Emperor t'
convenience. The piece of satin has no cloth support as backing, and there are
accorded an annual subsidy of 5,000 taels out of the Tatsienlu customs, but no seams or stitch lines which indicates that it never had a cloth support.
referred the matter of the restitution of Batang and Li-thang to the Governor The text of the decree is in two sections, each followed by a square red official
-general of Sichuan and Shensi. In January, 1739, the Governor-general sent a seal. The first section is terminated by the seal, here 3.8 cm square with six
statement to the Emperor opposing the proposal. Ch'ien Lung accordingly columns of hor-yig characters. This seal is virtually identical with the recons-
refuted his sanction: Batang was not restituted to Lhasa jurisdiction. In Janu- truction of the rgya-dam seal of Mi-dbang as published by Professor Schuh. 12
ary, 1740, Ch'ien Lung, grateful to Mi-dbang for his efficient administration, The second seal, 11 X 11.3 cm., is identical with that on Mi-dbang's 1741
granted him a new title, that of chun wang (Tibetan, jun dbang), prince of the decree to the Capucins preserved in the Archives of the Propaganda in Rome. 13
second rank. Professor Petech has summarized the situation in 1740 thus, There can be no doubt that the document is genuine and unaltered.
"The power of Mi-dbang was absolute, the authority of the Dalai Lama was in The first section (Intitulatio) states that in accordance with the order of
abeyance, the supervision by the Chinese nominal only."9 the Emperor and Mi-dbang's own powerful desire, now that those engaged in
One further comment on Mi-dbang's administrative reforms as analyzed rebellion have been destroyed, Mi-dbang obtained the power to increase joy
lo and prosperity of beings and the Buddhist doctrine. He states that in addition
by Professor Petech will be pertinent to our assessment of the 1740 decree.
The area of Tibet governed by Lhasa was divided into 53 districts. With the to being the "ruler of men" (i.e. Mi-dbang) he has now been given the title
exception of Sa-skya which was an autonomous principality, these districts jun dbang, and these are his words, (lines 1-3).
were governed by officials appointed by and dependent upon Lhasa. At the ,.:c The second section is the main body of the document. In the Publicat10
head of each district there was a civil governor and a military commander (lines 4-9) the list of people to whom the document is directed: Mi-dbang
with equal status, both called rdzony dpon (or, archaic, rdzong sdod). With enumerates the subjects of the monastic territories, lamas and teachers great
time, the distinction between civil and military became obsolete, and both and small, the noble patrons of the precious teachings of bTsong kha pa,
were on equal footing. However, the administration of the territories annexed the dpon-chen belonging to the districts of China, Tibet and Mongolia, dpon-
in 1725 was a curious admixture of Tibetan and Chinese bureaucratic systems. skya, messengers (al-chi), the mi-dpon belonging to the governmental and
According to Gore, in Batang at this time five families contended as land- aristocratic territories, the general populace in the traditional division of Tibet
holders in the valley; only one family was responsible for governing the district into Mnga-ris (bye brag dkor gsum) , dBus-gTsang (ru-bzhi), mDo-khams
and had received from Lhasa a hereditary mandate to this effect. l l We thus (sgang-drug), not forgetting the rdzong-sdod, their stewards or intendants
far understand this person to be the rdzong sdod mentioned in the 1740 decree. (gnyer las 'dzin), the soldier, the robber, the trader. In particular, the message
The Manchu were represented at Batang by a functionary liang t'ai in charge is sent to all the population of 'Ba': the district governor (rdzong sdod) , the
of convoys to the garrison. The Tibetans called this functionary the phogs dpo'fl,. officials in his domain, the lamas and the stewards of the monasteries and the
The Chinese chose two native chiefs to administer justice, impose taxation village chiefs.
including corvee, that is labor. The Tibetan term for this position was sde-pa" Within this large second section, lines 9-17 constitute the Narratio
the Chinese term t'u szu. One sde-pa had more responsability than the other. and the Disposito, i.e. the explanation of the situation and the dispositions
The sde-pa were assisted in administration by subordiates: four sub-prefects made by Mi-dbang in regard to this situation. He initially describes the histo-
rgyal-ngo and three military officers dmag-dpon. The dmag-dpon in turn was rical antecedents of the military and civil administration of 'Ba' from the time
assted by a subordinate military officer theoretically in charge of 100 men, of the Fifth Dalai Lama until 1740. The ancestors of the current district
governor, Rin chen, had received their commission since the time of the Fifth
8 Census figure for Batang in 1730 given by F. Gore, "Notes sur les Marche

Tibetain es du Sseu-tch'ouan et du Yun-nan", p. 354.

9 Cf. Petech, op. cit., p. 18!.
12D. Schuh, Grundlagen tibetischer Siegelkunde, p. 70-71.
10 Cf. Petech, idem., p. 253.
13This seal is reproduced by E. Walsh, "Examples of Tibetan Seals .. .", p. 470,
11 Cf. Gore, op. cit., pp. 322-3M. and by L. Petech, I Missionari . .. , Vo!. IV, pp. 210-212.

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIll, 1989 Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

Dalai Lama as they served diligently and were rewarded by the commission as as I do not know Chinese. As an isolated document, its interpretation is all the
brgya-dpon. The docum.ent or successive' documents confirming their position more subject to caution. But a limited critical assessment is warranted.
bore red and black seals. During the seventh year of Yung Ch'eng's reign There is no specific date given, but the decree must date late than spring,
(1730) the order came to hold the position ofrdzong-sdod as well as brgya-dpon. 1740 when news of the imperial appointment of Mi-dbang as jun-dbang reached
However, this was disputed by the younger brother in the family. The trouble Lhasa. Mi-dbang was presumably well aware of the 1739 imperial refusal to
persisted, and in 1734, a Chinese official named Cang was sent to settle the return Batang and Li-thang to Lhasa. However, in seemingly direct contra-
matter at Ya'-cug. He decided to revert to a previous arrangement adopted in diction with the 1739 imperial refusal, it is quite clear that in this document
1717 which distributed portions of the house, lands, and fields to the younger Mi-dbang, by his very intervention, regards Batang as a Tibetan territory.
brother who was ordered to serve as brgya-dpon. The elder brother kept the Mi-dbang not only indicates his support of the rdzong-sdod, he also decrees the
position of rdzong-sdod however,neither he nor his descendents may make any possession of rights and properties allocated to him. While simultaneously
claims to the position of brgya-dpon. In the following year, accordingly, the granting him privileges, Mi-dbang imposes specific obligations on the rdzong-
Seventh Dalai Lama issued a decree of great importance (Ma' -shog she-bam sdod and on the rdzong-sdod's subordinates.
chen-mo) for the retention (of rights and properties) in favorof Rin-chen. In the absence of further corroboration from other sources, either
Mi-dbang's intervention further gives total support for possessions of Rin-chen Chinese or Tibetan, it is impossible to know what were the consequences,
and his family. He instructs all those mentioned in the Publicatio to help and if any, of this decree. It is not even certain that the "Prince" of Batang who
do what is beneficial for Rin-chen, stipulating that no new harm, taxes or had the document in the early twentieth century was a direct descendant
military service should be imposed using the welfare of the government as of the rdzong sdod of 1740, but it is likely that his family had preserved the
a pretext. Rin chen's instructions are to be obeyed without opposition. Two document because it directly concerned them. The very silence of contemporary
proverbs are used to indicate the attitude expected of the subordinates: sources is indicative that this document was not a source of dissension. Given
'Act as the body who is placed under the head' ('khri'i mgo 'og Ius chug tshul the long-standing nature of the dispute and the successive interventions which
bzhin byed pa) and 'Seeking a sunny side on the higher summit' (ri mgo gang preceded Mi-dbang's decree, had the decree been disputed, it would be attested.
mtho'i nyi ma) which here means to seek no other leader and side with the We thus conclude that it was acceptable within the relation of protectorate
winner,!4 Rin chen is instructed to punish any who may rebel. The following in vigor in 1740 for Mi-dbang to intervene in the jurisdiction of Batang. 15
administrators must not weaken or allow any talk of opposition whatsoever. This decree raises questions of the actual administration of Batang at this
From this time until as long as there are descendents of Rin Yon-tan chen's time.
two sonS, these orders are to be heeded. Such are the terms decreed by Mi- In closing, I must express my appreciation to Tsepon Shakabpa, Samten
dbang in 1740. Unfortunately the scribe neglected to add the interstitial Karmay, Yonten Gyatso, Yoshiro Imaeda, and mTshan-zhabs Rinpoche who
numerals for the day and month which would have allowed a more precise de- have been of great help in the comprehension of the language of this document.
termination of the date. I am deeply indebted to both Professor Anne-Marie Blondeau and Professor
Although there subsist a few points of vocabulary or syntax which remain Dieter Schuh, but bear sole responsability myself for the opinions expressed
obscure (cf. Tibetan text and translation), the general tenor of this document here.
is quite clear. It seeks to be authoritative. However, to date I have found
no mention of it in the biography of Mi-dbang, the Mi-dbang rtogs brjod, 15 Professor Schuh assesseil this document differently, and in a personal communi-

nor in the biographies of the Seventh Dalai Lama, the lCang-skya Qutuqtu cation comments thus: As far as the political implications of this document and the VIIth
Dalai Lama's decree are concerned, I am by no means sure, that both documents show
Rolpa'i rdo rje, or mDo-mkhar Tshe-ring dbang rgyal. Nbr in contemporary a direct intervention of Lhasa in an area supposedly outside its domain. The very exis-
Chinese sources as analyzed by Professor Petech. Time has not allowed me tence of these documents shows of course, that the Dalai Lama und Pho-Lha-ba had
to consult the Seventh Dalai Laina'sgTam-phud nor primary sources in Chinese some influence in Batang due to their undisputed authority as head of the yellow church
and ruler of Tibet. Perpahs we should keep in mind, that we can not always strictly
apply our political ideas and terms of administrative rights, authority and jurisdiction
14 The proverb ri mgo mtho'i nyi ma is listed among proverbs by G. N. Roerich to the situation in Central Asia. Pho-Lha-ba's decree confirms only certain rights and
and L. Lhalungpa, Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan (revised edition), p. 272. Khri'i mgo 'og privileges, which had been granted and established before. A great part of the document
lus chug tshul has been specifically qualified as a proverb by Yon-tan Gyatso and mTshan- consists - as it is the case with the majority of legal documents - of formulas, which
zhabs Rinpoche. can be found in other documents quite often.

Acta Orient. Hu'n(J. XLIII, 1989 16 Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

Transcription of Newark Museum Document 18.141 22 zhes go bar bya ba'i yi ye drag po zhes pa leags spre zla tshes dge bar phyogs tl/,(uns cad
las rnam par r(JIJal ha'i chos 'khor lha sa'i pho brang chen po dga'
1 gnarn bsko8 'jam dbyangs Z gong ma chen po'i lung dang rang gi las BmO» dpung gsked 23 ldan khang gsar nas l)r·isl/ (seal)
btaa» pOB mi bs-run log par' khu ba'i sde rigs tshar bead naB
2 batan 'gro'i phan bde spel ba'i mthu tlwb pa gangs can pa rnam3 kyi mi'i dbang po
zlW8 ShU{j8 'byung snyan pa'i dbyangs lo1Ji bstod cing deng akaba jun dbang zhes
3 'jig rten khams na yongs 8U gragsla eke ba'i khyu mchog gang de'i gtam// (seal)
4 ,'phags pa 'jig rten dbang phyug gi ydm bya zhing mchog dam par gyur pa bsilldan kha
ba'i l}ongs kyi 'dzin
5 ma'i gzhi 'dir 'klwd pa'i lha sdc dang bla ma 8k>b dpon cloe chung 'jam mgon btu ma btsong
kha pa che» po'i batan pa rin po che'i 1/0» bdug rgyal rigs 80gs dang rgya bod hor gsum
gyi sder
6 gtogs pa'i dpon chen dpon skya at chi mi ana gzhung 8{Jer m-elwd gzhis mi dpon yang
btsan dang bcas skye 'yro 8pyi dang bye brf1{/ skor g8'um ru bzhi sgang drug mda khams
'1 stod smad bar gsum gyi lha sde mi sdc bla dpon ehe chung rdzong sdod gnyer las 'dzin
zhi drag gi sne mar rnngags slebs dmag jag tshong gsum gyi 'grul 'grim 80gS
8 mehog dman bar pa rnurns dang khyad par du 'ba' rdzong Bdod dang mnga' khut gyi las
lnJed rim byor ehos sde khag gi bla gn-yer bsdud dung bskul brda'i 'go pa sogs mtha' dag la
9 springs pal 'ba' rdzong sdud r·in ehen zer ba 'di pa'i pha mes kyi Z gong Ba Inga pa ehen
po nas bzungs gzhung tnchod yon, na 'j·int gyi las don la khur bsams mam dag gi rus
10 T>yung bas mtshar kha bdag brkyen gyi gnang ba'·;' gtan tshiga dmar nag dang 'brel OOs
'ba' yi brgya dpon gtan 'jags lcyi thog Z gong ma g.yung ein 10 bdun pa'i nang du 'ba'i
rdzong sdod du
11 Z bka' phoos pas las tskan nyis 'dZ'in byed bzkin la no bos nang rtsod byas par rten nang
ma dum par Z g.yung cin lo bcu geig pas nang ya' CWJ tu cang tha yes can gyis bead
12 byas pa'i Z gong ma khang ski 10 lnga' bcu nga lnga phan gyi khang sa zhing dang g.yog
r-igs rnams bgos pas mtshams geod dang 'ba' brgya dpon gyi zhi drag gi zhahs phyi dgos Small seal of l\fi -d bang
rigs no
Photo, Courtesy of the Newark Museum, Newark, N . .T., USA
13 bos bsgrub dgos dang bgo skal gyi sa khang zhing dang kIlO rang gi thog gsar lon rigs gang
yod mams rang 'jags dang klw pa brgyud boos la 'ba' brfJI-Ja dpon gyi 'gall, khur 8pU tsam
14 moo kyi bead khra sprad 'dug pa ltar la Z gong sa skyabs mgon mchog nas 'jags gnas kyi
gtan tshigs shi'YIg yos 10 Z bka' shag she barn ehen nw gnang 'dug don bzhin 'di , English Translation
15 nas /""Yang rin ehen brgyud boos la dbang rigs bdag thob gong gsal gyi sa khang zhing Intitulatio (lines 1-3)
tshang ma 'jags gnas zhabs 'degs kyi rgyab gnon gtsang mar sbyin pa y·in pas khyod gong
,, The words of the great leader of men now ·widely known in the world as jun dbang, ca.lled
16 tshang ma nas rogs ram phan char gang 'gro lnJed pa las gnod 'gal dang khrat dmag las Mi-dbang of the Tibetans (or: by the Tibetans) in melodious praise of his strength, (he
gsutn gsar 'gel gzhung don la kOO g.yar gyi da lam ring zer ba sogs who) had obtained the power to increase the joy and prosperity of beings and the Budd-
17 gtan nas mi '08 pa'i rkang 'gro lag 'don gyi khral 'gel bkod byas mi chog cing g.yogs rigs hist doctrine, after having destroyed those engaged in rebellion in accordance with the
pho mo zhing pa dud zhib rdzi8 pa mgo brtag mtha' 'dug boos nas kyang rang rang order of the heaven-appointed ManjughoshaEmperorand his (Mi-dbang's) own powerful
18 gi 'ba' gan nany gsallas mi 'gal ba'i rin chen brgyud boos kyi khar nyan ngag 'khri'i mgo army of karmic desire. (seal of Mi-dbang)
'og Ius chug tshut bzhin byed pa laB dpe ngan lam zhugs kyi ya bzung do bsdo'i
19 don bud byol zur ltos med dran khrul ri mgo gang mtho'i nyi mu dpon 'go gzhan 'tslwlsogs Publicatio (lines 4-9)
byas na mthus rgyu min cing nges med re zung nas llyas pa byung srid na tshar good
20 rjes 'dzin khrims pa Tang naslhod yangs su ma song ba'i gtan tshigs na rim gyi rgyab rtsa This message to those living on this soil of the cool snowy country (Tibet), the excellent,
byed pa ma gtogs ngan pa rgyab skor sags 'di don las 'gal ba'i rigs skad cig tsam yang pure field of conversion of Avalokiteshvara, the subjects of the monastic territories, the
21 chog TgyU min pas ji srid bar rin chen bu dpal byor stabs 'phel padma lha dbang gnyis lamas and teachers great and small, the noble patrons of the precious teachings of bTsong
brgyud beGS la bde ba.r yi ye 'dzin 'jug pa gyis kha pa, the dpon·chen belonging to the districts of China, Tibet and Mongoliu, the dpon-

M:ta Orient. HWlq. XLIII, 1989 16' Aeta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

skya, the messengers, the mi-dpon belonging to the governmental and aristocratic terri- Notes to the Translation
tories, the yang-btsan and the general populace, (all those in) Mnga' ris skor gsum, Dbus-
gTsang, A-mdo, and Khams (who are) subjects of the monastic estates and non-monastic Y.G. Yonten Gyatso, Paris (E.P.H.E.), letter July 20, 1984
estates, lamas and mi dpon great and small, the rdzong sdod, their intenpants, those D.S. Professor Dieter Schuh, letter October 18, 1984
commissioned with civil and military duties, the comings and goings of the soldier, the T.R. mTshan-zhabs Rinpoche, Zurich
robber, the trader, and those who are excellent, inferior or in between, and in particular A.M.B. = Professor Anne-Marie Blondeau, letter November 26, 1984
to the 'Ba' rdzong sdod, the rotating officials of this domain, the monastic intendants, 1.1 Y.G. reads, "rang gi las smon (gyi) dpung gshad btsan pas = las dang smon
the tax-collectors and assembly of the elders, etc. lam gyi nus shugsla brten nas." T.R. also reads this way, but qualified
the use as "poetio".
Narratio (lines 9--14) D.S. proposed: "by means of fieroe military power due to the order of the ...
Emperor and due to his own karma-wish(?)
'The ancestors of this 'Ba' rdzong sdod called Rin-chen have served with pure intentions 1.2 Both Y.G. and D.S. suggested the possible reading, "gangs can pa rnams kyis"
the successive rulers of the (Tibetan) government since the tiIne of the Fifth Dalai Lama, 1.4-5 Y.G. proposes: bla ma(r1ang)sIob dpon.
resulting in the remarkable kind gift of the decree(s) bearing red and black seals perma- D.S. comments thus:
nently establishing (them) as brgya-dpon of 'Ba' district. In the 7th year ofYung Ch'eng Line 4-5: 'dzin-ma'i gzhi 'dir '
(1730) the order came to serve as rdzong-sdod as well. As the two positions were held 'dzin-ma is according to DAGYAB, p. 558, = sa-gzhi. DAS (S. 1054) gives
(simultaneously by one person) the younger brother disputed this within the family, more correctly the meaning 'earth' (= sa-gzhi), which means, that 'dzin-ma'i
without resolution. In the 11th year of Yung Ch'eng (1734) the (Chinese or lVIanchu) gzhi is identicl11 with sa-gzi 'soil'. In legal documents, the equivalent for
official Cang arranged a settlement at Ya'-cug. He decided to divide the servants, house, 'dzin-ma'i gzhi is usually given as sa'i-cha. Compare MTH III 5, Document
land and fields as it had been in the 55th year of K'ang hsi (1717). Also (as part of the XXXII,line 5: dbus-gtsang khri-skor bcu-gsum gyi sa'i-char 'khod-pa'i
decision) the younger brother must fulfill the civil and military duties as the brgya-dpon. Iha-sde and MTH III 5, Document XXXIII, line 4-5: khri-skor gyi
(The elder brother's) portion of the land, houRe, fields and all that he has newlv received 'dzin-ma'i gzhir 'khod-pa bla-dpon. 'khod~pa means 'to be placed', 'dwell'.
is settled, but neither he nor his descendants may make any claim (literally: n~t so much So we come to the following translation: Living on this soil of the cool
as a hair) to the position of brgya-dpon. In accordance with the settlement thus given, the snowy country (Tibet).
Seventh Dalai Lama made the decree of great iInportance in the wood-hare year (1735) 1.6 Y.G. explains dpon-skya: "bla ma dang grva pa ma yin pa'i dpon-po la dpon-
for permanent establishment (of Rin-chen's possessions and title). skya zer"
D.S. notes, "The title can be found also in MTH HI 5, Document xxxn,
Dispositio (lines 14-21) line 5-6: 'khod pa'i Iha-sde, mi-sde dpon.chen, dpon-skya ...."
1.6 D.S. explains al-chi = messenger:
From here also, I (Mi-dbang) give pur support of confirmation establishing the fields,
house, lands and all fore-mentioned possession (and title) for Rin-chen and his descen- Line 6 al-chi.
In a document, published in ZAS 8, S. 440, line 5, we find el-'chi mi-sna
dants. All of you mentioned above (in the publicatio) must help and care for (Rin-chen)
'grim-'grul "messenger (and) different people, travelling around". The
as much as you can, and refrain from harm, new imposition of taxation or military service
Mongolian equivalent elN for el-chi is directly attested by the Tibeto-Mon·
giving the welfare of the government as a pretext saying 'it is only meant for this occa-
golian document Bylakuppe 1 (ARCHlV 4, S. 11-12). For the occurence
sion'. It is not allowed to establish imposition of taxes in kind or labor which are absolutely
of al-chi for elci' compare MTH III 5, Document XXXV, line 4, where
incorrect. From the male and female servants, the farmers, the householders, the shepherds
al-chi 'grim-'grul can be found. The usage to mention messengers in the
and those who have sought Rin-chen's protection, according to each one's promise of
publicationes can already be found in Mongolian documents of the Yuan-
loyalty, the instructions of Rin-chen and his descendants are to be obeyed (in a subordi-
Dynasty (compare POPPE, text I, line 4; text H, line 5-6, where we
nate manner) like the body under the head. For example, avoid daring to go an an evil
find yorci'iqun yabunqun lilc'in = tib. el(= all-chi 'griIn-'grul.
path, it is an error. Just as the sun shines first on the highest summit there is no reason
'elchi also occurs in the Mongolian Yuan dynasty document analyzed by Pelliot
to seek other leaders. If anyone were to do this, punish (them). It is not allowed to have
even an instant of opposition (to this decree) such as supporting evil - the next holder
in TPS,p. 623, line 7, where its context is identical to the document published
of legal (authority) should only support the successive decrees without any weakening. by Poppe.
1.6 yang-btsan also occurs in the 1735 document from Mi-dbang on Sera (cf. Uebnch,
From now on, Rin chen's two sons, Dpal 'byor stbos 'phel and Padma lha dbang and
line 4 (publicatio) " ... drag btsan, yang btsan ..." p. 124-125, Heilen und
their descendants must preserve these joyful (legal) documents.
Schenken, Fest8chrijt fur Gunther Klinge.
1.7 Y.G. explains, "bla.dpon = bla-ma (dang) mi-dpon".
Colophon (lines 22-23) .D.S. comments:
?,hese are the letters to be heeded in the year drag po, called iron-monkey, month, auspic- Line 7 bla-dpon che-chung
lOUS day, from Lhasa which is the Dharma headquarters completely victorious over The interpretation bla-dpon = bla-ma + mi-dpon is possible but proble-
all directions from the dGa' Idan khang gsar palace. (seal) matic. In line 5 we read Iha-sde dang bla-ma slob-dpon che-chung. So the

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989 Acta Orient. Tlun!!. XLIII, 1989

interpretation bla-dpon = bla-ma + slob-dpon IS even more convincing dpyad-mchams is a settlement of a legal dispute. dpad-mchams byed·pa
in this case. But unfortunately bla-dpon (bla-dpon chen-po) also occurs means 'to arrange a settlement of a legal dispute'. A different expression
in documents as the title for the highest dpon (of Tibet, the Regent). for this kind of settlement is dpyad-khra, which is given in line 14 with
Compare MTH III 5, Document XXX Line R7, XX Line 37 and 38 etc. the spelling bcad-khra. For this compare WSTB 10, S. 303-314.
1.7 gnyer las 'dzin = intendant. Y.G. remarks, "bead mtshams byas pa = zallce gcod pa; thag bead pa." and,
D.S. agrees this interpretation is most probably correct and has given detailed "bcad-khra = contract"
discussion of this term in Archiv 2, p. 51-52. As dpyad khra cf. the expression zhib dpyad gzhung khra used to denote "land
1.7 zki.drag gi sne-mor mngags-slebs also occurs in MTH Ill, 5, Document XL (Fifth settlement", cf. Surkhang, p. 20.
Dalai Lama, 1670) p. 369, line 2-3. 1.12 Y.G. proposed the reading, "'Ba' brgya-dpon gyi zhi·drag gi zhabs.phi('i)
D.S. comments: dgos rigs No-bos bsgrub dgos" interpreting zhabs-phyi in its usual sense
Line 7 zhi-drag gi sne-mor mngags-slebs of "service, servant", which would then give the reading 'The younger
mngags-slebs means '(someone) who arrives after being sent'. Evidence brother must fulfill the duties as civil and military zhab8-phyi of the 'Ba'
for this interpretation can be found in the Tibeto-mongolian document brgya.dpon"•
Bylakuppe 1 (compare ARCHIV 2, p. 11-12, line 8), where we find D.S. understands zhabs-phyi dgos-rig8 as "duties" proposing thus, " ..• that
zhi-drag gi sne-mor spyir btangdmigs-bsal nmgags-slebs. The Mongolian the necessary civil and military duties of the (office) of the 'Ba' brgya-dpon
equivalent for nmgags·slebs is given as jaruyci elCi 'messengers being send'. had to be fulfilled by the younger brother." I.e. that the younger brother
The whole expression should be translated as 'those who are commissioned becomes the brgya-dpon. This interpretation is tentatively adopted in the
as leading officers for civil and military (duties)'. For a similar interpretation translation, in the absence of further corroboration from other sources.
compare also ARIS, p. 13-15, where we find the following translation: A.M.B. has remarked that kho·rang could designate either Rin chen or the
"those commissioned with civil and military duties". younger brother, or perhaps both of them.
1.8 reading mchog dman bar-ma (instead of bar-pa) 1.14 bka'·shog she-bam·chen mo: cf. detailed discussion of the meaning very special,
1.8 D.S. comments: very important type of decree in Schuh, WSTB, p. 321-323.
Line 8 bsdud dang bskul-brda'i 'go-pa 1.15 Y.G. reads, "zhabs 'degs kyi rgyab gnon = rgyab skyor".
A similar formula is found in MTH III 4, document I, line 7-8: bsdud D.S. comments:
dang bskul-brda' byed-mi. An interpretation is given in ZAS 8, p. 429: The expression zhabs-'degs kyi rgyab-gnon is found in many documents (compare
'taxcollectors and leaders of the assembly of eldest'. This interpretation MTH III 5, document IV, line 11; document V, line 13; document VII, line 11-
is based entirely on the information of the Tibetan owner of this document 12). We have to ask the question, if the use of zhabs-'degs kyi rgyab.gnon in·
Pad-ma-dbang-phyug. stead of rgyab-gnon has any legal and political implications. While discussing
T.R. agrees with this interpretation, recalling the expression brda'i yig = brda'i the confirmation of 'Gyur·med-rnam-rgyal on MTH III 5, document IV, which
rnying (old orthography). was issued 1725, I suggested such kind of political implication (MTH III 5,
b8dud dang b8kul-brda byed mi is also found in MTH IIl, 5. Document XL, line 2, p. 103), since this confirmation was issued in 1731 during the lifetime of his
p.369. father Pho-lha-nas. On the other hand, it can be seen from the last confirmations
1.9 reading: pha·mes (kyis) of MTH III 5, documents IV and document V, that the same person seems to
Y.G. explains, "khur bsams rnam dag gi as khur sems rnam dag = bsam pa yag use both expressions indiscriminately. Nevertheless I would suggest, that the
po'i sgo nas las ka yag po byas pa. rus-thon byung bas = las ka'i 'bras-bu issueing chancellery of the document wanted to indicate intentionally by the
byung bas". addition of zhabs-'degs in the above mentioned expression, that Pho-lha-nas
1.10 D.S. comments thus on mchod-yon: did not grant a confirmation of certain rights in his role as the ruler of the terri-
Here mchod-yon indeed means the ruler of Tibet as found in the persons tory concerned, since the territory was no longer ruled by the Tibetan govern-
of the Dalai Lama as mchod-gnas and the Qoshot Khans as yon·bdag. ment.
This is also evident from MTH III 5, Document XXXV, line 10-11, 1.16 Since Mi-dbang directs his remarks to all in the publication, as A.M.B. has re-
where 'the decrees of the previous mchod-yon' mchod-yon gong-ma'i bka'- ma....ked, who were the people capable of imposing new taxes or corvees or military
tham are mentioned. Compare also ARIS, p. 18. service on the territories administered by the rdzong-sdod? Was 'Ba' subject
Y.G. proposes to read tshan-kha for mtshar·kha. to taxation, etc. by both China and Tibet?
1.11 reading nu-bo (younger brother) for no-bo. 1.17 Both T.R. and D.S. suggest reading rdzi-bo for rdzis-pa. T.R. suggested the
1.11 (Cang) tha yes can is understood here as a Tibetan transliteration of Chinese meaning "those protected by Rin chen" on the basis of the expression mgo-btags
tha'-ye (a notable) or ta-ch'en (an official). We have understood Ya'cug as a place- zhu-ba for mgo-brtag. (Cf. Das, p. 284)
name, but it could also be part of the official's name, i.e. Ya'·cug-tu Cang. 1.18 'ba'·gan cf. Jaeschke, p. 391 (under 'ba') warrant for proceeding against a debtor.
1.11-12 Several remarks on dpyad mtshams byas pa. Goldstein gives 'ba' written agreement, contract; 'ba' yig written agreement.
D.S. comments: D.S. comments thus:
Line 11-12 dpyad-mchams bya8-pa Line 17-19 g.yogs-rigs pho-mo mthus-rgyu min cing

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989 Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

All servants, male and female, all farmers and herdsmen, who lire subordin- 20. Shakabpa, Tsepon W. D. Tibet, a Political History, New Haven, 1968.
ate (of Rin-chen), should not do anything which opposes to their 'pro- 21. Shakabpa, Tsepon W. D., An Advanced Political History of Tibet, Kalimpong, 1976.
misses of Loyalty' and should should act as the body, who is placed under 22. Surkhang, W. G. "The Measurement of Lag 'don Tax in Tibet." in The Tibet Journal,
the head, by obeying Rin-chen and his decendents and respecting their vol. 9 (1984) pp. 20-30.
order. It is improper for them, if they look for other masters etc. 23. Debach, H. "Die Besitzurkunde des Se-ra Sngags-pa Gra-C'ang" in Heilen und
As far as 'ba'-gan is concerned, it is normally a letter of intent (gan-rgya), in Schenken, Festschrift fiir Gunther Klinge zum 70. Geburtstag, Wiesbaden, 1980,
which a certain fine ('ba') is fixed in case somebody defaults. For such a kind of pp. 121-127.
letter of intent compare FOLIA RARA. I dispose of several gan-rgya of the 24. Uebach, H. "Reisebegleitschreiben der Panchen Lamas fiir Geistliche aus Ladakh"
above mentioned type, in which the farmers promise loyalty to their landlords. in Contributions on Tibetan Language, History and Culture (eds. E. Steinkellner
and H. Tauscher) Wien, 1983, pp. 389-398.

Bibliography and Abbreviations

Tibetan Sources
1. Aris, M. V. "Notes on the history of the Mon-yul Corridor" in Tibetan Studies in
Honour of Hugh Richardson, Warminster, 1980, p. 9-20. 1.lCang skya Qutuqtu Il, Ye shes bstan pa'i sgron me (alias Rol pa'i rdo-rje), Rgyal
2. Das, S. C. Tibetan-English Dictionary, Kyoto, 1983. ba'i dbang po thams cad mkhyen gzigs rdo i'je 'chang blo bzang bskal bzang rgya
3. Goldstein, M. C. "Taxation and the structure of a Tibetan Village" in Central Asiatic mtsho'i zhal snga nas kyi rnam par thar pa mdo tsam brjod pa dpag bsam rin po
Journal vol. 15 (1971), pp. 1-27. che'i mye ma. (Biography, Dalai Lama VII; abb: L 7 DL) Delhi, 1978.
4. Goldstein, M. C. Tibetan-English Dictionary of Modem Tibetan, Kathmandu, 1975. 2. 'Ibu'u bkwan blo bl!'ang ehos kyi nyi ma, Khyab bdag rdo rje sems dpa'i ngo bo dpal
5. Gore, F. "Notes sur les Marches Tibetaines du Sseu-tch'ouan et du Yun-nan", Bulletin Iden bla ma dam pa Ye shes bstan pa'i sgron me dpal bzang po'i mam pa thar pa mdo
de l'Ecole Franr,;aise d'Extreme Orient, 1923, pp. 319-399. tEam brjod pa dga' Idan bstan pa'i mdzes rgyan. (Biography, ICang skya Il) New
6. Kolmas, J. Tibet and Imperial China: A Survey of Sino-Tibetan Relations up to the Delhi, 1969.
end of the Manchu Dynasty in 1912. Canberra, 1967. 3. Mdo-mkhar Tshe ring dbang rgyal, Dpal mi'i dbang po'i rtogs pa brjod pa 'jig rten
7. Olson, E. Catalogue of the Tibetan Collection and other Lamaist Articles, The Newark kun tu dga' ba'i gtam (Biography, Mi dbang Pho lha nas bsod nams stobs rgyas;
Museum. Vol. I-V., Newark, 1950-1971 (abb: Catalogue). abb: Mi dbang rtogs brjod) Darjeeling, 1974.
8.Pelliot, P. "Un rescrit mongol en ecriture 'Phags-pa" in Tucci, G., Tibetan Painted 4. Mdo-mkhar Tshe ring dbang rgyal, Autobiography; abb: Zabs drung rtogs brjod in
Scrolls, Roma, 1949, pp. 621-624 (abb: TPS). Rare Tibetan Historical and Literary Texts from the Library of Tsepon Shakabpa,
9. Petech, L. I Missionari italiani nel Tibet e nel Nepal, 7 vol. Rome, 1952-1956. New Delhi, 1974.
(abb: I Missionari ... ) 5. Dagyab, L. S., Tibetan-English Dictionary, Dharamsala, 1966.
10. Petech, L. China and Tibet in the early XVIIIth Century, Leiden, 1972. 6. Dag yig gsar bsgrigs, Beijing, 1979.
11. Reynolds, V. and A. HelIer, Catalogue of the Newark Museum Tibetan Collection, vol.
I. (revised edition), Newark, 1983.
12. Roerich, G. N. and L. Lhalungpa, Textbook of Colloquial Tibetan, (revised edition),
Delhi, 1978.
13. Schuh, D. "Fri.ihe Beziehungen zwischen dem Ladakhischen Herrscherhaus und der
sudlichen 'Brug-pa-schule, in Archiv fur Zentralasiatische Geschichtsforschung,
Heft 2, St. Augustin, 1983 (abb: Archiv 4).
14. Schuh, D. "Zwei ch'ing.zeitliche tibeto-mongolische Dokumente" in Archiv fur
zentralasiatische Geschichtsforschung, Heft 4, St. Augustin, 1983 (abb: Archiv 4)
15. D. Schuh and J. K.Phukang, Urkunden und Sendschreiben aus Zentraltibet, Ladakh
und Zanskar, vol. 2, St. Augustin, 1979 (abb: MTH Ill, 4).
16.Schuh, D. Grundlagen tibetischer Siegelkunde, St. Augustin, 1981. (abb. MTH Ill, 5)
17. Schuh, D. "Eine kollektive tibetische Schuldurkunde" in Folia Rara, Wiesbaden,
1976, p. 93-110 (abb: Folia Rara).
18.Schuh, D. "Zum Entstehungsprozess von Urkunden in den Tibetische Herrscher-
kanzleien" in Contributions on Tibetan Language, History, and Culture, Wien,
1983, pp. 303-328 (abb: WSTB 10).
19. Schuh, D. "Ein Rechtsbrief des 7. Dalai Lama fUr den tibetischen Residenten am
Stupa von Bodnaath" in Zentralasiatische Studien, 8, 1974, pp. 423-453 (abb:
ZAS 8).

Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989 Acta Orient. Hung. XLIII, 1989

All illustrations courtesy of The Newark Museum.

Photographs by Armen Shamlian

THE TIBETAN Collection of The Newark Museum, far-away recipients, while artists themselves travelled
comprising manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, textiles, widely, selectively blending elements from several stylis-
costumes and ceremonial and ethnological objects, as tic tendencies. In addition, there are very few dated
well as photographic archives, constitutes one of the images. Certain provenance is often impossible to estab-
foremost collections of Tibetan art in the world. Its lish as these objects are now isolated from the country
importance has been well known since 1950, when the where they were produced, which remains largely inac-
museum published the first volume of its Catalogue o]the cessible today. Even if a given sculpture or painting is
Tibetan Collection. Eleanor Olson, the former curator of rendered in the style ofa certain region or school, it may
the collection and author of this catalogue, must be never be possible to give it a definitive date or prove-
remembered for her pioneering efforts at identification nance. Bearing these factors in mind, we will focus in
and analysis of Tibetan art and ethnology, and for this article on a few of the most significant and charac-
educating the public through exhibitions in Newark teristically Tibetan paintings and sculptures in the col-
and elsewhere. Valrae Reynolds, Curator of the Orien- lection.
tal Collections, has continued the museum's commit- A very early school of Tibetan manuscript illumina-
ment to the Tibetan collection through major exhibits, tion is documented by a fourteen-volume series of the
publications and important acquisitions. Prajnaparamita Buddhist scriptures*. Each volume has * 103
The Newark Museum's Tibetan collection includes from 320 to 380 folios. Among these, there are twelve
over five hundred thangka (scroll paintings) and images. illustrated folios presenting illuminations of identical
Buddhist art from hldia, Kashmir, Nepal and China, format and painting style. Through radio-carbon
which reflects the complex artistic influences on Tibet, testing, it has been possible to date the paper to circa
is also an important component of the museum's hold- 1195, with an adjusted age range of 1040 to 1335, pre-
ings. Tibetan artists have progressively fused these in- dating all printed editions of the Tibetan Canon. Each
fluences into expressive and distinctive styles of their folio has been dyed a deep brown and painted with a
own since the seventh century A.D. The major body of central, glossy black rectangle on both sides. The script
Tibetan works of art in the collection of The Newark is graceful and controlled, written either in alternating
Museum documents these developments from the twelfth gold and silver or completely in gold, with seven or eight
to the twentieth centuries. lines to a page. It is presumed that the paper was
Tibetan artists are especially renowned for their manufactured close to the time of its use for these vol-
paintings and images of religious subjects, which char- umes. The superbly executed calligraphy contains some
acteristically portray Buddhist deities and historic archaisms and orthographicallapses which tend to fur-
lamas (teachers). The incentive for the commission ofa ther corroborate the twelfth century date.
work of art is to acquire religious merit. Both sculpted This date is also consistent with the style of the illus-
and painted portraits of a Buddha or a deity have a trations, which reflect the prominence of Pala Indian
precise usage in rituals, symbolically representing an influence at the time. The left-side illustrations display
ultimate Buddhist truth in the ideal form ofa member of Buddhas, individually varying in colour of body and
the Buddhist pantheon. Narrative paintings, such as mudra (hand gestures), but all seated on distinctive Pala-
those showing events in the lives of previous teachers, style elliptical thrones with triangular decorations at
have an additional educational purpose, that of in- shoulder level, their heads in gold ovoid haloes. Only
spiring monks and laymen with the deeds accomplished one Buddha is crowned; all wear monastic robes. Each
by the subject of the biography. The practice of por- sits facing forward on a flat cushion atop a lotus base
traying the religious masters in sculpture and painting having one row of petals, set on a low platform. On the
developed particularly in Tibet, where the living and right-side illustrations, nine folios show monks in red
historic teachers are venerated as human embodiments robes, on similar thrones, but other figures are kneeling
of the nature of the Buddha. Tibetan artists also excel in a three-quarter view. Two figures are depicted as
at dramatic portraits of forceful deities whose many Bodhisattvas, wearing circular ear-rings and triangular
a ttri butes are used to destroy all forms of ignorance. ornaments as arm bands and crown decorations, with
The primary religious function of these works of art their dhoti (wrap for the lower halfofthe body) stopping
has led to an emphasis on iconographic accuracy and above the knee. The unusual kneeling, three-quarter
consistency. The sacred presence attributed to early view is especially prevalent in subsidiary figures on
sculpted images resulted in such esteem that, in some Pala-style Tibetan thangkas and in the early thirteenth
cases, copies were made even centuries later. Similarly, century woodblock prints recovered from Kharakhoto
block prints of illustrated scriptures or individual in Central Asia. In contrast to the firm hand of the
paintings also ensured wide diffusion of styles. Manu- script, the illustrations present a nervous outline and
scripts, thangkas and images were sent as presents to sketchy, often asymmetrical patterns for the deities'

..:,rnber-October 1989 139
triangles .ar~ in juxtaposition with an elliptical halo
at the deity s shoulder level. This drawing is superbly
rendered, and closely corresponds to some of the finest
examples of Pala·style paintings in Tibet.
Anothn exam~Je offine metal casting can be seen in
a sdmall yet ~agn1ficent portrait of a Bodhisattva (front
an Id back views)' . C ast '111 onc piece
" In an alloy whose .107
gl~ .en red colour suggests a high percentage ofcopper
t liS Image has COnt rastlng . SI'1 ver and gold inlay used for'
t IleCl Aoral and str'Ipe d patternmg . of the garment as well
as or the Roral and lozenge design of the bro~d sash
acr~~s t~e chest, and the diamond pattern motif of the
~e Itatlon strap secured in a bow around the left knee
~dver has also been used for the dou ble-beaded sacred
tHead which runs from the left shoulder and loo s
aro~nd the back. The coils of hair are elaborately pil~d
at t le fOp ~f.the he~d) under a jewel or lotus bud finial.
Ilnd~ed, thIS Image IS as exquisite from the back as from
t le Iront.
Because of the presence of the meditation stra and
lWO lotus p.lants~ and ~h~ lack offunher specific SY:bols,
one could Identify thiS Image with several B0 dh'Isattvas
0: .
~ven as a portrait of an historic lama represented in
dlvlIle form. This pose and the teachin d
k . PI' g mu ra are
nown I.n a a Images of the Bodhisattvas Man'ushri
103 Two folios from the Prajnaparamira, ink, colours and gold on dyed paper. and 1vfaltre>~a, while a form of Avalokiteshvara isJoften
Tibet. circa 1195. 64.1 x 21 ems. The Crane Collection portrayed wah th~ meditation strap, a single lotus plant
and a pendant fight leg. The lotus flower at the lef;
shoulder of this figure has a rough top bud d h
evidenc f fil' " an sows
garments and throne cushions. It is possible that this this form of reliquary with him to Tibet; the chonen e0 mg; It IS possible that an attribute once
suggests a provincial school. would thus be ~n expression of eleventh century Pala was placed there.
A fascinating problem is posed by the geographic style. Although this particular example is definitely 104
Chorfen. cast brass. Tibet. circa 1230. Heighl
The ?ate and provenance of this image are difficult to
provenance of these manuscripts. They were purchased dated, it is possible that production of Kadampa chor- 34.3 ems. W. Clark Symington Bequest Fund detennllle. !he s,:"all format) coiffure, use of inlay and
in eastern Tibet by an American missionary between tens conLinued well beyond the thirteenth century. The orna~e fabncs, thIck Curves of the lotus Rower plants
1904 and 1910, and came to The Newark Museum in Newark M useum has three more Kadampa chonens irammg the body of the deity, and unusual pendant left
1911. The missionary acquired the volumes "from the (one is illustrated·); others are known from private and eg are clearly related to the Pala style as known in
widow ofa former treasurer of the King ofTachienlu". public collections; and there are numerous examples in several twelfth century images excavated from Bihar.
In bulk and richness, the volumes certainly are fit for a situ in Tibet as well. ~ow~ver, the face doe~ not .have the strong features of
royal or important monastic library. Only conditions of Despite the loss of its finial decoration, the museum's 1 ala Images, nor the sliver Illlay typically used for the
extreme political duress prevailing in the region at the chorren· shows skilful casting and embellishment. Met-
time allowed the set to fall in to foreign hands. The allurgical analysis has revealed that copper is the main
circumstances of the original commission remain elu- component, with traces of lead and iron, while the
sive. The geographical range of Pala-influenced paint- percentage of zinc (20.2 to 25.3) approaches the upper
ing in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries was so vast- limit attainable before modern technology made a
from Alchi in Ladakh to Kansu, China-that the origin higher content possible. The chorten was cast in hollow
of the manuscripts is difficult to determine. While it is sections which were then welded together. Its sym·
possible that the volumes were a local commission, little metrical beading contrasts with the two distinct forms of
is now known about noble and monastic establishments lotus petals present: Rat, elongated petals on both the
in eastern Tibet in this early period. That the heavy and parasol and the base of the spire) and modelled) wide
voluminous manuscripts made a long voyage remains a petals with up-turned tips forming the lotus base of the
plausible hypothesis, especially since it is known that entire structure.
the 1410 xylographic edition of the Tibetan scriptures Two small drawings wefe discovered inside the chor-
in 108 volumes was printed in Peking on the basis of a ten, pressed against the inner wall of the main chamber:
Tibetan manuscript edition sent from Central Tibet to a ponrait ofShakyamuni, and a portrait of Amitabha •. '106
Peking for this purpose. How and when the Newark The firm date for the contents of the reliquary is parti-
manuscripts appeared in eastern Tibet is as yet a mys- cularly important for the drawing of Amitabha. Exe-
tery, but further study of the liturgy and the literary cuted in black ink on thick buff paper, this portrait
content of the manuscripts may yield information. shows the deity as a Bodhisattva, identified as such by
Among the most significant items in the Tibetan the dl!yQnQ (meditation) mudra. He wears elegant neck-
collection is a small cast-brass chQrten (sacred reli- laces, anklets and bracelets. disc ear-rings, and arm
quary)·. I ts consecration contents included drawings, bands with triangular appliques. His crown is decorated
birch-bark manuscripts, felts and barley grains. The with tiered rows of triangular appliques topped by a
barley grains have been carbon-dated to )230 A.D., jewel finial, with florets and curving ribbons behind the
thus establishing a firm date for the reliquary and ears. The face is broad and expressive) the upper eyelid
making it the earliest now known. This style of reliquary showing the characteristic Pala dip above the pupil. His
is called a Kadampa chorten, after the religious order long hair falls in curling locks) fastened with lows orna-
foundod by disciples of Atisha (982-1054), a highly ments at the shoulders. His garments are the short
acclaimed Indian religious master from Bihar who dhoti, tied with sashes, and a sacred thread. The cos-
taught in western and central Tibet in the mid eleventh tume and crown are related to models from Pala India, 105 Chonen. cast brass. Tibet. 12th century or Draw!ng of Amitabha (found in the chonen at upper
century. It is traditionally believed that Atisha brought as is the particular rendering of the throne) where two later. Height 56.5 ems. The Shelton CoJfection left). Ink on paper. Tibet. circa 1230. 12 x
10.5 ems. W. Clark Symington Bequest Fund

un Arts of ~ ~lember-0ctober 1989

the lower torso instead of, as is customary at the hip.
Two now empty loops are cast at the arms; a nimbus or
encircling scarf was probably anached there, as is indi·
cated by the chaplet marks which remain on the knecs)
upper arms and back of the base. The back ofthc image
is unfinished, a quality now usually associated with
western Tibetan casting of the thirteenth to sixteenth
ccnwries) as is the treatment of the wide and exag-
gerated eyes and brow, and the disproportionately
thick) tubular legs. \Vhile the exact provenance remains
unknown, the crown and beaded body ornaments show
.-he synthesis of influences from Kashmir) eastern India
and Nepal, which tended to prevail in western Tibet in
the fourteenth to fifteenth cemuries.
'lOO The small) golden brass figure of :V1ilarepa* is a
delightful portrait of this most popular Tibetan mystic
and poet. Sitting in the royal ease position, ~1ilarepa
gracefully raises a hand to his right ear in his charac-
teristic gesture. incised floral and zigzag pauerns deco-
rate his garments) which gemly cling to his body in
folds. Silver inlay has been used for his eyes. His small
beggar's Clip has been cast bearing two brass balls) with
recesses to hold five small jewels oflapis lazuli, turquoise
and a central ruby. Granules of brass are used lO deco-
rate the matted hair at the back of his head and
shoulders. He sits on an antelope skin, incised to re·
semble fur. His right foot rests on a lotus stem that grows
from the lavish three-layered lotus petals of the base; a
simple notched band encircles the base above and be-
low the petals. The face is much worn from adoration by
rubbing. Milarepa's poems became very well known in
Tibet after Tsang Nyon (1452-150i) collected them in
109 Milarepa. cast brass with silver and jewel
an anthology. It is likely that this portrait was caSt at inlay. Tibet. 15th-16th century. Height
Bodhisauva (front and back: views). cast copper allov with silver and gold inlav· Tibet. 12th century. Height 17 ems. The Members' Fund
107 that time, or shortly thereafter. 11.2 ems. Sophronia Anderson Bequest Fund
The extraordinary, solid silver image of the goddess
eves and the dip of the upper eyelid. The base, of a Vajravarahi* exemplifies rhe striking clarity of Tibetan
d~uble layer OflOlUS petals between twO beaded nn:s, artiSlic expression. Depicted as a mature WOmall in a The middle and upper registers show the celestial
is known in excavated Indian examples as ~vell as In yogic dance position, she wears a costume which con- paradise, where clusters of deities and monks worship
Tibetan images rendered in Pala style. A vanant form, sists ofonly a «bone" apron, rendered in strands ofsolid on both sides of Amitayus and his two Bodhisattvas.
with non-aligned petals, is visible in the ch~rLen da~ed silver, and studded with turquoises in silver florets at the Rainbows ar.d flowers link each side group with a smaller
to 1230•. Indian images often show the dhou extending 'IO-l joining points. Turquoises also adorn the trefoil settings Buddha seated on a simple lotus throne and emanating
to the ankle, while the Tibetan rendilio~ afthis ga.rment on the lightly gilded bands at her elbows, wrists. ankles rainbow rays of light. At the tOP, celestial musicians and
ends above the knee, as seen in the drawing of Amllabha and feet, and in her jewellery. "r'he crown has fi\·e skulls divine attendants hover near the clouds and flowers
from 1230 and in this Bodhisattva image. The do\~'n­ with red-painted eye sockets, and gilt scr.oll flourishes, over the head of Amitayus. In each upper corner) an
ward tilt of the head and the gentle facial expressl~n once ser with turquoises. The goddcss's face and her enthroned golden Buddha is depicted in a red, moun-
recall Nepalese images dated to the eleventh to thlr· identifying feature) thc sow's head, are painted in "cold tainous setting. This painting reflects the Aourishing of
teenth centuries. Although a firm date cannot yet be gold", and she has naturalistic polychrome features. a distinct Tibetan sLyle, which successfully melded Chi-
established for this Bodhisanva image, it is most prob- But for the third eye and the flaming eyebrows, this face nese influences in garment drapery and cloud forms)
able that it was executed prior la the late thirteenth could be met in the streets of Lhasa today. The orna- with Indian and Nepalese influences in the scroll-work
century when Nepalese gilt and jewellery motifs became mentation compares closely to Chinesc Yung Lo (1403- of the jewellery, the back of the central throne, and the
1424) and Hsuan Te (1426-1435) castings, suggesting idealised foliage. It is comparable in these stylistic con-
pronounced influences. ..
The next example of metalwork can be poslUvely a fifteenth to sixteenth century date, but the Tibetan ventions to the mural compositions in the chapels of the
identified. Vajrasattva , "whose essence is the thunder- provenance is mOst probably due to the physiognomy monumenlal Kumbum of Gyantse in southern Tibet,
bolt" is shown as a Bodhisattva in this golden brown ~nd to the sense of life-like energy exuding from the consecrated in 1427.
brass image*, hollow-cast in one piece with a tria~gular­ 'lOll Image. The superb tbangka Wilh scenes from the Bodhisattva
shaped lotus base. In the broad face with bow lips and The earliest thangka in The i'\ewark .Museum's col- Avadanakalpalata* shows a series ofevenLS in the previous
a pronounced chin, inlaid copper has been used .f~r the lection portrays "The Paradise of Amitayus", the Bud- lives of the Buddha. Tnegraduated green and tantoncs
eyes and tips. Silver and black complete the detallmg of *111 dha of Infinite Long Life*. In this idealised landscape, of the landscape background contrast vividly with the
the eyes. The crown has rosettes and ribbon decorauo~s the central Buddha is sealed on an ornate lotus lhrone sno)\·-topped, bluc-green mountains, the blue sea, and
behind the ears which evolved from Pala models, bUlIl which rises from the blue lake in the lower register. the blue and green trees. Six distinct talcs are evoked
also has stones set in the centre of the quadrifoil decora- From its stem emerge leaves and tendrils which encircle here, unified by lhe peaceful landscape. Buddhas and
tion of the triangular ornaments, a feature adapte? peacocks) the emblem ofAmitayus, and then extend to monks in orange and red robes are juxtaposed with the
from Kashmiri crowns. The finial of the head-dress IS form the lotus thrones ofthe twO attendant Bodhisattvas ",hite bodies and coloured costumes of the subsidiary
now missing. Turquoise and coral, typically Tibe~an standing beside the Buddha. This paradise is ofcharac- figures) whose garmenLS seem inspired by sixteenth to
stones, are used in the arm bands and necklaces, which tcristic composition. The lower register represents a seventeenth century :\1fughal India. This correlates
relate to Nepalese jewellery forms of the twelfth to terrestrial paradise, here having two small pavilions in a wilh the Indian setting of the Buddha's lives, but may
fourteenth centuries. Sections of the body ~rnam;nts landscape filled with golden flowers and trees beside a indicate as well the anist's familiarity with the genre of
and the dhoti are decorated with copper mlay. rhe central lake and twO small ponds. The waves in the Indian miniatures. The inspiration for the spacious sel-
deity holds his identifying symbols, tlie vajm (thunder- water have creSlli of gold. Human figures frolic in the ting of these narrative paintings may also have been
bolt or diamond sceptre) and the beU; however, the bell ponds, ducks and fish swim in the lake, and birds and :\1ughal miniatures, which often feature a subtly graded,
108 VaJrasanV8. cast brass with copper. silver and jewel heavenly attendants stroll on the shores. two-dimensional background. The waves in the sea and
inlay. Western Tlbet(?). 15th century. H:ight 45.5 ems. is held in an unusual position, flush against the centre of
The Members' Fund and The Membership Endowment Fund

ArtS of ~ ~elTlber--OCtober 1989 1+3

The Paradise of Amitayus (and detail, right), colours and gold on COnon cloth. Southern or Central Tibet. 15th century.
85.4 x 75.7 ems. Sophronia Anderson Bequest Fund. Membership Endowment Fund. and Charles W. Engelhard Bequest Fund

VajravarahL cast and h~mmered sllverMwlt i~~la ~1 ~ JGriggS and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund
110 . .h . I "It "ewel inlay and painted details. Tibet.
15th-16th century. HeIght 32.4 ems. ary IVlngs 0

Scenes from the Bodhisattva Avadanakalpafata. colours and

gold on cotton cloth. Tibet. 17th century. 78.4 x 55.4 113 Portrait of Son am Gyatso. colours and gold on conon
ems. Helen and Carl Egner Memorial Endowment Fund cloth. Ngor Pal Evam Choden Monastery. Southern Tibet.
circa 1667. 196.2 x 159.3 ems. Anonymous Fund

:~~:~:_--------------------------------~------- J.f5
can be interpreted as emanations of Padmasambha"a
is further defined inside a trilobate throne a.rc~. This dark pink clouds) brocade patterns, trees on a receding
as well as deifications of the phurpa ritual dagger. The rock background and animal vigneues. Given the in-
the craggy rocks show the use of Chinese painting con- thangka literally shimmers ",,--jth brocade r;noufs 1Il g~ld
four animal-headed protectors and the four flame- herent restrictions imposed on the artist by the wood-
ventions. However, the architeclUral models are dearly on gold, and small Recks of mica ground mto the ~II~­
encircled fierce protectors, all wearing tiger-skin loin blocks, it is precisely the attention paid to details such as
Tibetan, although idealised. . . eral base of certain colours, notably the. blue ~ack­
cloths, and the five dakinis (female deities), are further these which shows the mastery ofTibetan artists of this
This thangka. now isolated, was ongmally pan of a ground against which the thronecol~mnsnse. By v1.:tue
series depicting episodes from the Avadanakalpalata, 108 emanations which guide the disciple. The asymmetric period.
ofits date and certain provenance thIS thangka pro\'ldes
stories of previous lives of the Buddha. ~lrsl t.ran~laled significant information on the historical development of
composition increases the sense of depth in this divine Although probably not earlier than the nineteenth
in the mid thirteenth century, these stones were lI1eo,T- realm, whose sole references to landscape are the gently century, the final painting to be considered shows the
the gor School of painting. d curving rocks rising from craggy bases in the lower
d into the Tibetan Tanjur .(Buddhist Canon) 111 persistence of the graceful and sensitive draughtsman-
pora te ., os 'The 'Jag-thang genre, in which a blac~ backgr~u.n
the mid seventeenth century. ThiS patnlln~ ~ay P - register. ship of Tibetan artists at their finest. The mandal.a (Bud-
is used for representing wrathful eman~nolls of del lies,
sibly be related la the contemporary styhso c trends is well represented in the Newar~ hol?lI1~ by the por-
\Vbile nag-thang have previously been considered dhist magic circle) of Vasudhara* is executed in gold
prevalent fTom the eighteenth century on, a recently line on a dark-blue painted or dyed paper sheet, The
followed by the Tenth Karmapa Lama (J 604:-1674), a trait of Guru Dragpoche*. ThLS deity. 1S a wrat~[ul
noted artist who was influenced by both Clunese and . 0 f Padmasambhava , a BuddhISt master flOm published, late seventeenth century black manuscript paper suPPOrt and square formal would be highly un-
emanaoon k' from Lhasa, commissioned by the Fifth Dalai Lama usual in a thangka and it has been suggested that this
Mughal Indian art. . . Oddiyana (now believed to be t~le Sw~t V.alley, Pa. '1-
Portraits of lamas may have been used In ntuals of (1617-1682), contains similarly rendered small geome- mandala was to be used folded, as a charm inside an
stao) who is traditionally credited wH.h II1troduclOg
reverence but they also prominently decorated t1~e walls Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet in the ~Ighth century.
tric pauerns and controUed delimitations offlames. The image. The centre portrait of the Goddess of Abundance
of monasteries to illustrate the h~lor~ ,of the sHe and Like the historical Buddha Shakyamulll, Padmasamb-
rich transparent colouration and golden radiances is surrounded by eight nearly identical emanations,
'n-pire the monks to emulate their splntual ancestors. hava is revered as a divine teacher in human form, but around the figures against tbe black ground in the scated inside 10lUS pelals. Each holds her right hand in
I , . fS OyalSo Newark nag-thang painting unite to produce an effect the gift-bestowing mud ra, offering ajewel, while the left
The very large size of the portrait 0 onam * in the Tibetan religious tradition, he has several wrath-
(1617-1667), twentieth abbot of the Ngor Monastery , ofluminous beings in a world of midnight darkness. hand holds a spike of grain. On the heart of each
ful and pC<'1ceful emanations. .
suggests that this painting was executed for pennanent In the cenrre, the male deity embraces hiS consort The extraordinary quality of eighteenth century goddess is inscribed the Tibetan prayer used to invoke
installation on a \\tall. h was customary to honour an as the\' trample human figures on a 100~S ba~e. Guru Tibetan painting is shown in the portrait of Sakya her, and each prayer is different.
abbot by adding his portrait to the linea?e shortly after Dragpoche is shown as a red-"vinged den-y With three Pandila (1182-1251)*. Sakya Pandita was an eminent All wear regal jewellery and a distinctive crown hav-
his death, and we may surmise that thiS was the case heads (white, red and green), six arms and [our ~egs. scholar and translator who travelled to ~Ifongolia to ing rosettes around the forehead, and topped by three
here. Established in the mid fifteenth century, .th~ Ngor Draped with garlands of skulls, scarves ~nd ~l1Imal begin the conversion of the Yfongols to Tibetan Bud- jewels, with a large name or curved-edge leaf at the
Ylonastery was renowned for .its ~chool of patnun~. A peltS, he is dressed in armour and holds ntu~1 Imple- dhism. He is revered as one ohhe previous incarnations rear. This model crown is used as regal identification in
group of epalese artists was lIlvHed to ?e~o:ate Ngor ments, weapons and a scorpion. The female deny ~vears of the Panchen Lama, regarded as emanations of Bud- eighteenth cenlury paintings and block prints of the;
when it was founded, and Nepalese styLIstic mfluence, a leopard skin at her waist, with bone and g.old Jewel- dha Amitabha. This composition is from a set depicting Kings of Shambala, a semi-mythical kingdom where
particularly evident in throne forms and colour schemes, lery. They srand on a lotus pedestal covered WIth a small the Panchen Lama's Lineage which exists in painted the Buddha revealed certain scriplUres. The scarves are
is apparent in both port:~its and ~andalas fro~ Ngor~ geometric pauern, inside an arch of finely controlled form, as well as in a wood block edition from about 1737. draped over the shoulders. curving at the forearm, and
1n this portrait, tbe addition of Chmcse decorative ~e flames, subtly graduated in LOnes of red and orange. All of the details seen in this painting, from the main the skjrts are tied in front at the waist, extending to the
ments can also be seen in the playful dragons c1u~ching Twenty-seven deities, both wrathful and peaceful, figure and the four subsidiary deities and yogins, to the ankle in elaborate multi-layered folds. The ourer con-
pearls and curling around the columns on both. Sides of surround the central couple. A peaceful form of intricate 'Chinese-style landscape, arc included in lhe centric circle shows flames, and the second concentric
the seated lama, and in the peony pattern of hLS robes. Padmasambhava sits at the upper left. The four phurpa, wood block edition, but finely-painted features such as ring shows stylised \'ajra and jewels. In the third ring,
The composition follows the model ofan outer.horde: of winged forms whose bodies end in triangular blades, the ornate brocades, the beautifully stippled tree and the Sanskrit alphabet is written in Tibetan letters, along
miniature figures framing a central portralt, which rocks landscape, and the naturalistic miniature monkey with a small prayer for the prosperity and long life of the
family to the right of the saint are inventions and em- donor or artist.
bellishments of the individual artist or atelier. This small group ofTibetan sculptures and paintings
The lama sits on a Chinese-style lacquer throne with is merely intended to highlight the Tibetan collection of
dragon finials at shoulder level, tassels and silk coverings. The ='J"ewark ~tuseum. It is hoped that readers will be
He is dressed in rich gold, orange and red silks and the able to visil the museum to personally explore this
red hat of the Sakya order, giving the gesture of argu- wonderful collection. The newly-designed and exten-
mentation used in metaphysical debate. The varied sive galleries will, for the first time, allow Newark's
gold patteming of the gannents and throne coverings Tibetan rreasur to be shown in their full glory.
is exquisitely done, even though the patterns do not
conform to the folds of the cloths. The throne, the foot
rest, and the rock which holds offering vessels, gems and
fruit, are situated so tbat lhe lama's face is the exact
centre of the composition, ideal for meditational pur-
poses. Below Sakya Pandita are Mahakala (Iefl), and
the Indian yogin Harinanda (right), whom Sakya
Pandita converted, marvellously depicted with matted
locks) adept's staff, meditation band, and a woHskin-
covered throne. Above are Manjushri (left), the Bodhi-
sattva particularly revered by the Sakya order, and the
Lama Drag-pa Oyall,en (right), who helped Sakya
Pandita in his conversions.
The extremely dense composition is characteristic of
mid eighteenth century Central Tibetan painting. Swirl-
ing flames or clouds intersect the landscape elements
to define the subsidiary figures. The landscape itself
abounds in detail. The wide diffusion of this style resulted
from the woodblocks, which create additional questions
for paintings associated \vith the woodblock set. Are the
paintings dated concurrently with or later lhan the
wood blocks? \tVhich paintings are directly derived from
the wood block seL or even printed from the blocks?
Giuseppe Tucci) the renowned an historian who ex-
plored monuments in western and Central Tibet early 116 Mandala of Vasudhara. gold line on blue painted
115 Sakya Pandna. colours and gold on cotton cloth.
in this century, had originally published this and another paper Obtamed In Outer Mongolia. 19th century.
114 Guru Dragpoche. colours and gold on black Tibet, 18th century. 62.3 x 35.6 cms_
painting from the same set, both showing the distinctive 86.4 ems square. GIft of Mrs Frank L Babbott
painted canon cloth. Tibet. 18th century. Felix Fuld Bequest Fund
78.4 x 64 cms. The Crane Collection

ArtS of 19' ~~ernboo...r--oaOber 1989 147



Les questions abordées ici nous ont été suggérées par les recherches entreprises en vue de
notre mémoire de diplôme à l'École Pratique des Hautes Études. Ce mémoire sera intitulé
« Étude sur le développement du culte et de l'iconographie de la divinité Beg-tse.~) Notre étude
nous a amenés à remettre en question le bien-fondé des informations de plusieurs tibétologues
occidentaux selon lesquels la divinité Beg-tse serait d'origine mongole et aurait été
tardivement incorporée dans le panthéon tibétain, à la suite du voyage du Troisiéme Dalaï
Lama en Mongolie (1578). Sans revenir ici sur cette question, nous nous proposons de
considérer un problème lié à Beg-tse, celui des Srung-ma dmar-nag, divinités protectrices,
rouge et noire, chargées de la protection du Dalaï Lama. La divinité noire est lHa-mo dmag
zor ma, tandis que l'identité du protecteur rouge est controversée (1). Pour certains, il s'agit
de Beg-tse, pour d'autres de Pehar, ou encore d'un acolyte de l'une ou l'autre de ces divinités,
notamment rDo-rje grags-ldan, habituellement considéré comme un ministre de Pehar. Afin
d'examiner ce sujet, nous allons nous référer à plusieurs textes tibétains, de même qu'à des
documents iconographiques, sans oublier la tradition orale.
La première référence littéraire aux Srung-ma dmar-nag se trouve dans la biographie du
Troisième Dalaï Lama écrite par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama en 1646. Au début de la
biographie, il est dit qu'avant de renaître au Tibet en 1543, le Dalaï Lama voyagea dans une
série de paradis. Il rencontra Padmasambhava dans un palais du paradis Zangs-mdog dpal-
ri (2). Padmasambhava est entouré d'Ati"sa, Sa-skya PaI,lQita, et Tsong-kha-pa. Près d'eux se
trouvent deux divinités, considérées comme sngar gyi srung-ma che-chung gnyis po, « les deux
Protecteurs de jadis, le grand et le petih, en référence à une mention de leur première
apparition lors d'une étape antérieure du même voyage du Dalaï Lama au pays des raksasa.
Lors de la première apparition, les protecteurs sont à peine nommés. La seconde fois, leur
description et leur rôle sont clarifiés. Les noms personnels des protecteurs ne sont pas indiqués
ici, mais ils sont décrits ainsi: « Le grand Protecteur est de grande stature, de couleur noire, de
forme très effrayante, avec des cheveux blancs hérissés (sur la tête et descendant jusqu'à la
taille), tenant une épée et une coupe crânienne remplie de sang; le petit Protecteur est rouge
flamboyant, il porte une cuirasse de bse, un casque de bse orné de plumes et de soieries, et des
bottes rouges de bse; il tient une lance rouge et un lasso, et a également des étuis d'armes en
peau de léopard et de tigre; il est debout.~) (3) Même si la description est succincte, le

protecteur rouge ressemble beaucoup aux images de Beg-tse rencontrées sur les thang-ka. Mais enfance lors de la cérémonie de la fin de l'année 1545, alors qu'il a deux ans, des dignitaires
de qui s'agit-il? sont ve~us vérifier s'il était bien la réincarnation du Deuxième Dalaï Lama (12). Une partie de
(' (Le Dalaï Lama) demande à Padmasambhava : 'Qui sont-ils, ces deux?' Padmasambha- l'interrogation porte sur les bannières de chos-skyong (protecteurs) que l'enfant doit
va répond: 'Vous apprendrez peu à peu que ce sont mes deux assistants. Emmenez-les comme reconnaître. A ce moment il reconnaît notamment la bannière de Beg-tse. Les réponses du
compagnons et retournez au Tibet centrai.' Ayant dit cela, il envoya comme compagnons ces petit garçon indiquent aux dignitaires qu'il est bien la réincarnation du Deuxième Dalaï
deux protecteurs.» Peu après, l'identité du protecteur noir est dévoilée - il s'agit de dPal- Lama, et révèlent sa reconnaissance explicite de la divinité Beg-tse. Au moment de prononcer
ldan lHa-mo dMag-zor-ma. Le nom du protecteur rouge n'est pas énoncé. ses vœux de novice (dge-tshul) il reçoit plusieurs initiations, dont celle de Beg-tse (13). Peu
Dès lors, un couple de divinités protectrices, l'une noire et l'autre rouge, ayant des liens après, en 1553, il reçoit l'autorisation (lung) des gSung-'bum et rNam-thar du Deuxième Dalaï
particuliers avec la personne du Dalaï Lama, est ainsi repéré, en tant que ses protecteurs et Lama où Beg-tse est mentionné à de nombreuses reprises (14). Nous examinerons ces s0':lrces
(' amis ». De nos jours ces deux protecteurs sont connus sous l'appellation srung ma dmar-nag. par la suite. C'est en 1555, âgé alors de douze ans, que le Troisième Dalaï Lama a plUSieurs
Même si le nom du protecteur rouge manque ici, le paradigme de deux protecteurs liés au rêves où des divinités lui apparaissent (15). La biographie relate cet épisode à la première
personnage du Dalaï Lama est clairement établi, attesté depuis 1646, date de la rédaction de personne :
l'œuvre. Il serait tentant de reculer la date jusqu'à 1543, l'année de la naissance de bSod-nams (' Une nuit en rêve, je me rendis en un lieu entre deux montagnes rocheuses; au moment
rGya-mtsho, quand la rencontre avec ces protecteurs aurait eu lieu. A notre connaissance où j'arrivais auprès d'une jarre en cuivre (fermée) d'un couvercle qui se trouvait là, ...comme
cette rencontre n'est pas attestée dans les sources contemporaines de l'événement. Force nous le couvercle s'était ouvert, ... un homme rouge qui portait une cuirasse en cuivre (zangs kyi
est donc - pour l'instant du moins - de l'attribuer à la plume du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. khrab gyon pa'i-mi dmar-po) apparut et dit: 'Me connaissez-vous ou non? Je suis votre chos-
Néanmoins, nous nous proposons d'examiner dans quelle mesure l'identité du protecteur skyong, le grand yaktja.' Après, une fille montée sur un ours dred lui apparut, et le bruit courut
rouge peut être établie, et s'il s'agit de Beg-tse. partout que ce lieu s'appelait Ma-ru-rtse.»
Avant d'examiner de plus près la biographie du Troisième Dalaï Lama, voyons quelques S'il y a plusieurs protecteurs guerriers rouges dans le panthéon tibétain, seul Beg-tse
sources iconographiques, tardives il est vrai, mais néanmoins révélatrices. Par ailleurs, ces correspond à cette description, aussi bien d'après la liturgie dge-lugs-pa rédigée par le
thang-ka nous aideront à mieux comprendre certains passages de la biographie. Notre premier Deuxième Dalaï Lama, que d'après les exemples de thang-ka que nous venons de vOIr.
exemple est un thang-ka dédié à Beg-tse lCam-sring (fig. 20) (4). La divinité principale Il n'y a pas d'équivoque possible: dès 1555, la divinité explicitement mentionnée comme
masculine est rouge, trapue, pourvue de cuirasse, casque orné de drapeaux et bottes rouge- chos-skyong personnel (protecteur personnel) du Troisième Dalaï Lama est le yakfia Beg-tse. Le
doré, tenant viscères et accoutrements d'armes - à noter en particulier son épée, avec sa passage concernant le voyage vers la Mongolie est très clair: « Une nuit, après environ deux
poignée en forme de scorpion, et sa lance pourvue de soieries, dont la pointe transperce une jours de route, le chos-skyong Beg-tse amena une horde de démons (lha-'dre) mongols à têtes
tête humaine. Il piétine deux cadavres. Dans le registre inférieur gauche se trouve une divinité de chameaux, de chevaux, de rats, etc. Liés par serments, ils jurèrent de ne plus faire obstacle
féminine, nue, portant des armes, et montée sur une ourse qui dévore un cadavre humain; à ceux qui pratiquent la doctrine» (16). Contrairement à la version de cette l.égende rapp~rtée
c'est la sœur de Beg-tse. A droite se trouve leur assistant, habillé comme Beg-tse, mais tenant par plusieurs tibétologues occidentaux, ce sont des lha-'dre mongols qUi sont soumis et
d'autres armes, notamment le lasso, et monté sur un chacal bleu clair. Ce thang-ka est une incorporés dans le bouddhisme tibétain par leur serment. Beg-tse, alors chos-skyong reconnu
figuration-type, nous la retrouverons maintes fois ailleurs, tel cet autre exemple (fig. 21) (5) du Dalaï Lama, amena ces divinités afin que le Dalaï Lama puisse les lier par serment.
qui représente les mêmes divinités. A noter cependant que le casque de Beg-tse fait défaut ici, Ces quelques passages de la biographie du Troisième Dalaï Lama démontrent que la
remplacé par un diadème orné de crânes. L'identification est plus problématique quand nous divinité Beg-tse faisait déjà partie du panthéon tibétain à cette époque, e.t qu'elle. étai~
rencontrons une divinité masculine seule, comme dans l'exemple textuel fourni par la reconnue, dès 1555, comme chos-skyong personnel du Dalaï Lama. Cela peut-Ji nous aider a
biographie du Troisième Dalaï Lama, et cet autre thang-ka, un portrait du Cinquième Dalaï déterminer s'il s'agit du protecteur rouge anonyme de la biographie du Troisième DaJaï
Lama, représenté avec deux protecteurs dans le registre inférieur (fig. 22) (6). A nos yeux, le Lama? Les seuls éléments descriptifs que ce texte fournit, au sujet de la divinité, sont
trait distinctif qui permet d'identifier cette divinité comme Beg-tse est la poignée de l'épée en fragmentaires. Il y a d'abord le protecteur anonyme, pui~ il est précisé que la divinit~ appelée
forme de scorpion. Mais cette particularité fait défaut dans notre description textuelle, comme Chos-skyong Beg-tse est la seule à avoir un beg-tse de CUivre, et qu elle porte une cUlr~sse en
elle manque dans cet autre exemple, encore un portrait du Cinquième Dalaï Lama avec la cuivre. La réponse à notre question est partiellement donnée par plusie.urs tex~es éCrits ~ar
divinité Beg-tse en tant que protecteur, identifiable grâce à ses autres attributs, tels les dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, le Deuxième Dalaï Lama, notamment son autobIOgraphIe et certams
viscères et la lance (fig. 24) (7). Mais, en l'absence de l'épée-scorpion, et avec lHa-mo dMag- rituels inclus dans son gSung-'bum (œuvres réunies).
zor-ma, de qui peut-il s'agir? Serait-ce une forme de Beg-tse ou un acolyte de Pe-har, appelé Les textes des rituels ne sont malheureusement pas datés. Quant à l'autobiographie, elle
rDo-rje grags-ldan, aussi représenté comme un guerrier rouge, habillé d'un casque et d'une s'arrête en 1528, quand dGe-'dun rGya-mtsho est âgé de 40 ans. Il mourra quatorze ans plu~
cuirasse de bse, brandissant une bannière rouge dans la main droite et un lasso dans la main tard. En examinant les données de cette autobiographie, il ne faut pas perdre de vue que celUi
gauche, pourvu d'étuis d'armes en peau de tigre et de léopard. rDo-rje grags-ldan est qui l'écrit n'est pas encore Dalaï Lama, titre qui ne lui sera attribué que de manière posthume.
représenté soit à cheval, soit debout, la jambe droite pliée et la gauche en extension (8). Il est Il fut cependant reconnu, de son vivant comme incarnation de la lignée de 'Brom-s~on. et de
facile de confondre la forme de rDo-rje grags-ldan pourvu de monture avec bSe-khrab-can dGe-'dun-grub. C'est ce dernier qui sera considéré comme le Premier Dalaï Lama. AmSI dGe-
(fig. 23), appelé (' acolyte de Beg-tse» par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama (9). Mais en l'absence de 'dun rgya-mtsho ne rédigea pas son autobiographie en tant qu'homme d'État, mais en tant
toute monture, pour cette divinité tenant une lance rouge et le lasso comme l'acolyte habituel que religieux, pour l'édification de ses fidèles. Le texte, qui ne comporte que 39 folios, présente
de Beg-tse, l'affaire se complique. Un exemple (fig. 25) illustre notre propos, et montre à quel un résumé à peu près annuel des événements significatifs sur le plan religieux.
point l'identification s'avère problématique (10). Une analyse récente décrit ces deux dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho commence son récit autobiographique en traçant so~ ~rbre
protecteurs comme les Srung-ma dmar-nag (11). A relever que cette peinture correspond de généologique biologique (17). Il est issu d'une famille dont l'arrière-grand-père SUivait les
très près à la description du protecteur rouge fournie par la biographie du Troisième Dalaï enseignements Shangs-pa, au monastère rTa-nag rdo-rje gd~n, dans le gTsang. Son grand-p~re
Lama. Mais est-ce une forme de Beg-tse ou de Pehar? compléta ces enseignements par des études de cycles rnymg-ma-pa et sa-skya-pa. Son pere
Afin de cerner de plus près cet aspect de la question, il nous faut revenir à la biographie poursuivit la lignée des enseignements familiaux en les complétant, à son tour, auprès de
du Troisième Dalaï Lama et voir comment la divinité Beg-tse y est attestée. Pendant sa petite maîtres dge-lugs-pa, notamment les disciples de Tsong-kha-pa, Shes-rab seng-ge et dGe-'dun-
grub. dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho mentionne explicitement une divinité qu'il appelle Chos-skyong

beg-tse-can parmi les cycles les plus significatifs étudiés par son père (18). dGe-'dun rgya- la divinité figurant dans les exemples de lhang-ka que nous avons examinés plus haut. Dans
mtsho est né en 1476 à rTa-nag, alors que son père avait quarante-quatre ans. Peu après sa un autre rituel de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, des descriptions plus détaillées apportent d'autres
naissance, il montre des signes distinctifs et est reconnu comme sprul-sku. 11 explique précisions pour cette forme de la divinité. Toujours invoqu~e en tant que ~hos-skyon.g lCam-
notamment qu'il a des liens spécifiques avec Ye-shes mgon-po phyag-drug, chos-skyong de sa sring, la divinité masculine principale est appelée gNod-sbym chen-po. Le rItuel mentIOnne sa
famille et que ses parents avaient eu plusieurs rêves prémonitoires, en particulier de lHa- position de piétinement de cadavres de chevaux et d'hommes, ses crocs menaçants, ses
mo (19). Le petit garçon reconnaît alors lHa-mo comme son chos-skyong personnel et sourcils et moustaches flamboyants, le bse comme matière de la lance, un sautoir de têtes
Cakrasarp.vara comme son yi-dam (divinité tutélaire) (20). Après ses vœux de novice à bKra- humaines, le port de ce que nous interprétons comme une cuirasse de cuivre (zangs kyi beg-Ise)
shis lhun-po, il retourne à rTa-nag pour étudier auprès de son père. Vers l'âge de huit ans, il et d'un sous-vêtement de soie rouge, et enfin, des bottes rouges en peau (28). Pour situer le rôle
mentionne, pour la première fois, son initiation au cycle de la divinité qu'il appelle alors Chos- dévolu à la divinité, dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho précise qu'il est gardien (srung-ma) du lieu Ma-ru-
skyong beg-tse lcam-dral (21). Mais ce sera la divinité dPal-ldan lha-mo dmag-zor-ma qui rtse.
jouera le rôle le plus éminent dans la vie de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho. En 1509, il ordonne la Or si nous comparons cette description à celle qui est donnée dans la biographie du
construction d'un nouveau monastère, Chos-'khor-rgyal me-tog-thang, près d'un lac où lHa- Troisièr'ne Dalaï Lama, une correspondance étroite s'impose immédiatement avec la divinité
mo se manifesta par plusieurs visions (22). Ce lac et sa région sont considérés comme qui est le chos skyong personnel du hi~rarque dan~ son ré~it rac~nté à.la première perso.nne.
particulièrement sacrés car protégés par lHa-mo. Selon certaines informations orales récentes, Quand le Cinquième Dalaï Lama rédIgea cette bIOgraphIe, enVIron cmquante ans. apres la
la géographie sacrée de la région comprend un second lac, appelé Beg-tse-mtsho, lac de Beg- mort de bSod-nams rgya-mtsho, il prit soin d'indiquer quelques sources contemp?rames ~e la
tse (23). Ainsi, d'après la tradition orale, la nature elle-même associe les deux divinités vie de son sujet. Si on ne trouve pas de mention de la divinité Pe-har dans l'autobIOgrap~ledu
protectrices, Beg-tse et lHa-mo. Du fait de cette protection, sur la région et sur sa propre Deuxième Dalaï Lama, elle est par contre souvent mentionnée dans la biographIe du
personne, dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho compose plusieurs rituels dédiés à lHa-mo, dont une série Troisième Dalaï Lama. A un moment, Pe-har se présente comme l'assistant de Padmasambha-
spéciale comprenant des rituels pour Ye-shes mgon-po phyag-drug, Yama, lHa-mo, le chos- va, ce qui rappelle le passage concernant le protecteur ro~ge anonyme (~9). Cepe~dant, ~ans la
skyong Mahâkâla à quatre têtes, et le chos-skyong Beg-tse (24). biographie du Troisième Dalaï Lama, les passages relatr~s à P~har et a ses mamfestatIOns ne
Ce sont là les principaux protecteurs mentionnés par dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho dans son comportent pas de description qui évoquerait une mamfestatIOn rouge (30). .
autobiographie. L'examen de la table des matières de son gSung-'bum confirme ces affinités. A Qu'en est-il de notre image du protecteur rouge anonyme: A notr.e connalss~nce, les
nos yeux il est particulièrement significatif que le seul chos-skyong rouge auquel dGe-'dun armures de bse et de cuivre reçoivent à peu près le même traItement IconographIque: la
rgya-mtsho ait dédié un culte soit le chos-skyong Beg-tse, du moins d'après ces sources. 11 est cuirasse est d'un métal rougeâtre. D'après tous les textes examinés, les armures de Beg-tse
aussi frappant de constater que nous n'avons rencontré aucune mention de Pehar dans sont en cuivre tandis que les armures des acolytes sont en matière bse, mais nos sources
l'autobiographie de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho (25). iconographiqu~s ne permettent pas de les distinguer. Ce n'est donc pas la ma~ière de l'~rn:rure
Une série de rituels inclus dans le gSung-'bum de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho nous permet de qui peut aider à déterminer l'identité du protecteur rouge. Les armes varIent aUSSI dune
savoir à quoi ressemble la divinité qu'il appelle Chos-skyong beg-tse-can, dont il eut représentation à l'autre. L'épée et la lance sont les seules à .apparaître con~ta.mment chez Beg-
connaissance dès sa petite enfance. Rien ne nous permet de savoir si la divinité étudiée par son tse. En revanche, l'épée n'apparaît ni chez ses acolytes, m dans la deSCrIptIOn du protecteur
père, au milieu du xv' siècle, avait la même forme; car une même divinité peut, bien sûr, rouge anonyme. . .
revêtir plusieurs aspects (26). Mais il nous sera profitable de comparer les descriptions fournies Que peut-on conclure de l'identité du protecteur rouge? Rappelons que la descrIptIOn de.s
dans les sadhana composés par dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho de son vivant, avec le protecteur rouge deux protecteurs est fort succincte. Si l'identité de lHa.-m.o n'était I?as p~éci.sée dans le texte, Il
anonyme rencontré avant sa naissance suivante en tant que bSod-nams rgya-mtsho. Force est serait impossible de la reconnaître d'après la deSCrIptIOn fourme. AmsI, par exemple, sa
de nous appuyer sur des descriptions textuelles, car jusqu'ici, nos recherches d'images monture n'est pas mentionnée. Quant à l'identité du protecteur rouge, elle demeure douteuse.
sculptées ou peintes de Beg-tse, identifiées par inscription, ont été compliquées du fait de leur Toutefois, le sDe-srid Sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho, régent du Cinquième Dalaï Lama au moment
abondance à partir du XVIII' siècle, et leur absence jusqu'à l'époque du Cinquième Dalaï de sa mort, a cité ce même passage, à deux reprises, dans le Vaiqiirya ser-po, rédigé entre 1692
Lama. Pourtant, l'existence de la divinité bien avant cette date est attestée par les sources et 1698 (31). Selon lui, ce passage révèle l'identité du protecteur rouge, qui gNas-chung
écrites tibétaines. Procédant schématiquement, nous dresserons la liste des éléments chos-skyong (habituellement associé avec Pehar et son acoly~e célè~re rDo-rJe grags-lda~),
descriptifs et des attributs d'après le rituel le plus bref que le Deuxième Dalaï Lama ait dédié choisi par dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho comme protecteur du monastere de ~ras-. sp~ngs. ~e ChOlX
à cette divinité et qui est intitulé «( Louange et exhortation au Chos-skyong lCam-sring, (rituel) n'est pas attesté dans l'autobiographie de dGe-'dun rg1a-mtsho, et a du aVOlr he~ apres .1528,
appelé le messager des actes rituels» : date à laquelle le texte s'arrête. Cependant, il est curIeux que les ~eux autres ~IOgr~p~Ie~ de
dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, qui relatent toute sa vie, ne fassent pas mentIOn de ce ChOIX qm s avere,
divinité masculine
corps rouge pour notre propos, d'une importance capitale (~2). Le ~n.e~s~id poursui~ son analyse en
écrivant clairement que Padmasambhava confia a cette divImte la protectIO? de bSod-nams
épée de cuivre (main droite)
rGya-mtsho suite à la relation établie par dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, et que rDo-rJe grags-ldan est
flèche et arc (main gauche)
poumons et cœur (tenus contre la poitrine) devenu le dieu qui protège co.ntre les enn~mis (dgra-lha) pour d?a'~ldan'pho-~ra',lg? siège de la
lignée des Dalaï Lama. Or, SI dans le Vazqiirya ser-po le sDe-srId s exprIme amsI, Il semble se
lance rouge munie de drapeaux
contredire de manière frappante dans le mChod-sdong chen-po 'dzam-gling rgyan-gcig, livre
visage à expression courroucée
qu'il rédigea en 1695 à l'occasion de la consécration du fu.néraire du ~inquième
trois yeux
Dalaï Lama (33). 11 y a néanmoins une nuance extrêmement sIgmfica~Ive. Cette fOlS, le sD~­
cheveux blonds-roux noués sur la nuque (27)
srid explique qu'il y a deux divinités principales chargées de la prot~ctIOn du contenu, c'est-a-
Ce même texte décrit, à gauche de la divinité masculine principale, une divinité féminine dire la momie du Cinquième Dalaï Lama, sa personne phYSIque, et les supports de
de couleur bleu foncé, tenant épée de cuivre et phur-bu de fer, montée sur une ourse (dred-mo). consécration. Pour la lignée féminine, la protection est confiée à lHa-mo dmag-zor-ma, et pour
Leur acolyte, à droite de la divinité principale, est rouge. 11 porte cuirasse et casque en la lignée masculine, à Beg-tse, appelé srung-ma glso-bo, le principal protecteur, parce que dG~­
matière bse (de couleur rouge), tient une lance rouge à la main droite, un lasso à la main 'dun rgya-mtsho lui avait confié la protection de dGa'-ldan pho-brang (34). Le sDe-srId
gauche et est monté sur un chacal. D'après une description aussi succincte, on reconnaît déjà

explique ainsi les raisons de cette charge: « Beg-tse est le principal protecteur de ce palais -
et ici le sDe-srid semble se référer simultanément au palais qu'est le monument funéraire et au
palais de dGa'-ldan pho-brang, siège des Dalaï Lama - du fait que le précédent Seigneur dGe-
'dun rgya-mtsho en a confié la garde à Beg-tse, et en particulier d'après les paroles du
Cinquième Dalaï Lama dans le gSang-ba'i rnam-thar rgya-can ma (son autobiographie
ésotérique), (où) l'acolyte de Beg-tse est rDo-rje grags-ldan, et dans les rituels divers qu'il
composa pour Beg-tse ». Le passage se poursuit avec des citations d'un de ces rituels dédié à
Beg-tse et avec une liste très détaillée des «supports» de Beg-tse, de sa sœur et de son acolyte
habituel, qui furent déposés à l'intérieur du reliquaire funéraire du Cinquième Dalaï Lama.
La nuance importante, évoquée plus haut, est la suivante: dans le premier cas Rdo-rje 1. Mme Ariane Macdonald, Annuaire de l'École Pratique des Hautes Études, IVe section, 1975/1976,
grags-ldan est le dgra-lha protecteur de dGa'-ldan pho-brang, tandis que Beg-tse est le p.983.
principal protecteur, le srung-ma gtso-bo, du palais, divinité dont émane rDo-rje grags-ldan en 2. Thams-cad mkhyen-pa bSod-nams rgya-mlsho'i rnam-Ihar dngos-grub rgya-mlsho'i shing-rla, fol. 109. Vol.
tant qu'acolyte (35). Nya du gSung-'bum du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Tohoku Catalogue, n° 5590, p. 219 (désormais, dNgos-grub
shing-rla) : fol. 8 b-9 a. De nas Sangs-rgyas bcom ldan 'das de dag gi drung nas phyin Isa-na/ grong-khyer Ihams-cad
Au Potala, nous avons été frappée de trouver une peinture de Beg-tse avec lHa-mo sur un kyi db us sul Zangs-mdog-dpal-ri rlse gsum pa dbus na ... ri de'i mlha' dun nas srin-po'i grong-khyer dpag lu med
pilier près de l'entrée du reliquaire funéraire du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. C'est une pas yongs su bskor-ba/ pho-brang chen po de'i dbus na nyi-ma'i gdan-la Gu-ru dus-gsum sangs-~gyas Padma-'byung-
représentation de Beg-tse dans ce que l'on peut appeler sa forme' classique', avec épée à gnas ... yang de'i g.yas phyogs na Jo-bo rje dPal-ldan Ali-sha dang/ g.yon na Sa-skya.pandlla chen po K~n dga'
poignée de scorpion, tenant des viscères, et piétinant des cadavres. Notre visite du Potala fut rgyal-mlshan mdun na rJe rin-po-che Tsong-kha-pa chen po rnams bzhugs 'dug/de dag gl drung .na s~~?r gYI, srung-
brève, quatre heures, et nous n'avons sûrement pas tout vu. Cependant, la seule forme de ma che-chung gnyis po yang 'dug sle/ srung ma che ba dei lus bongs che mal kha-mdog nag pa/shm lu JIgs pa I.gzugs
Pehar que nous ayons pu voir était le Pehar blanc à six bras et nous n'avons remarqué aucune can/ rai-pa dkar-po' i Ihor cog bsgrengs pal sma-ra dkar-pos sked ba non-bal lag-pa g. yas g. yon gnYls na rai grl dang
représentation de rDo-rje grags-ldan. Dans le ' Dzam-gling rgyan-gcig, le Sde-srid précise que Ihod khrag 'dzin-pa zhig 'dug/ srung ma chung-ba ni kha-mdog dmar-po me lIar 'bar bal bse-khrab dang b~e rmog
Beg-tse est la divinité principale de la lignée masculine (des protecteurs), 'pho-brgyud kyi gtso- gyon pa'i Idem phru can snas brgyan-pa/ lag na mdung-dmar dang zhags-pa Ihogs pal slag-ral dang/ gz,lg-shubs
can/bse lham dmar-po gyon-pa'i sien na o-rgyan rgyab pa lia-bu zhig 'dug pal De'i Ishe ngas O-rgyan Hm-po-che
bo, dont rDo-rje grags ldan ne serait qu'un des acolytes. Serait-ce là une tentative de solution
lal'di gnyis su zhig lags zhus-pas/Gu-ru rinpoche'i zhal nas/ nga'i bka sdod yin pa rim-gyis s~es par 'gyur-
du conflt d'identité de la part du sDe-srid ou du Cinquième Dalaï Lama lui-même? Puisque zhings/khong gnyis grogs su khrid la/slar bod yul dbus su song-zhig/ces gsungs-nas/ srung-ma de gnYIs kyang grogs-
rDo-rje grags-ldan, en tant qu'acolyte de Pehar, est souvent pourvu d'une monture ainsi que su brdzangs-so/ (à noter ici le terme sma-ra, littéralement la barbe, dans la description de IHa-mo, ce qUI peut
Pehar, s'agit-il vraiment de notre protecteur rouge anonyme, sous la forme de rDo-rje grags- étonner le lecteur chez une divinité féminine. Cependant, beaucoup d'images de lHa-mo la montrent pourvue de
ldan en tant qu'acolyte de Beg-tse, debout et piétinant des cadavres comme le fait Beg-tse? moustaches, cf. G. Tucci, Tibelan Painled Seroils, pl. 202, où elle est représentée en compagnie de Beg-tse).
Lors d'une visite récente au monastère de dGa'-ldan, on nous a remis une petite image 3. Cf. note 2 supra.
(Fig. 26), en précisant que c'était Beg-tse, et non pas Pehar (36). Nous avons vu plus haut 4. Thang-ka du Newark Museum, numéro d'inventaire : 20.268. Pour une analyse récente, cf. V.
(Fig. 25) une divinité iconographiquement identique à celle-ci et identifiée comme le Reynolds, A. Helier, J. Gyatso, Calalogue of Ihe Tibelan CoileC/ion of Ihe Newark Museum, vol. 111 (1986),
protecteur rouge des srung-ma dmar-nag. Or, sur un autre thang-ka qui représente lHa-mo et le pp. 180-181, planche 15.
5. En possession de l'auteur.
protecteur rouge, on peut lire le nom rDo-rje grags-ldan en lettres dorées sous la divinité 6. G. Tucci, Tibelan Painled Seroils, Rome, 1949, planche 80, discussion p. 406 (vol. II).
masculine (37). Il est, pour le moment, impossible de conclure catégoriquement d'après ces 7. Thang-ka du Vôlkerkundemuseum der Universitiit Zürich, no d'inventaire 14403. Nous remercions
quelques sources. Il nous manque notamment de pouvoir consulter le rNa-ba'i bcud-len. Une notre collègue Martin Brauen de nous avoir aimablement fourni ces photos: .
autre source à prendre en considération est l'anthologie de rituels qu'est le gNas-chung chos- 8. Description de rDo-rje Grags-Idan d'après R. de Nebesky-WoJkowltz, Oracles and Demons of Tlbel,
spyod (38). Nous ne pouvons pas entrer dans le détail d'une telle analyse comparative qui fera Graz, 1975, p. 175 et planche V, en face de p. 145 (Collection du Museum für Vôlkerkunde, Vlenn.e, n° 134449).
l'objet d'un travail ultérieur. Néanmoins, il est important de signaler, dès maintenant, que le 9. Thang-ka du Newark Museum, inv. 20.292. (Cf. V. Reynolds, A. Helier, J. Gyatso, op. cil., p. 187.) Le
gNas-chung chos-spyod cite verbatim le ' Dzam-gling rgyan-gcig à propos de Beg-tse, faisant de Cinquième Dalaï Lama associe bSe-khrab-can avec Beg-tse dans le rituel Srog-bdag dmar-po'i bsnyen-sgrub,
lui la tête de la lignée masculine des divinités protectrices (39). Tohoku Catalogue N° 5625 (74). . , .
10. Thang-ka d'une collection particulière, illustré dans le Thangka Calendar, .1984, P?ur le mOlS d av.rd.
Telle est la complexité des études sur les protecteurs. Nous constatons que les fonctions et
Éditions Baader-Papyrus, Stuttgart. Nous remercions son propriétaire de nous aVOIr permIs de la reprodUIre.
les rôles qui leur sont dévolus varient selon les circonstances et évoluent constamment. Nous
Il. Remarques de Dagyab Loden Rinpoche pour le calendrier 1984 des éditions Baader-Papyrus.
avons vu ici une démonstration des fluctuations d'identification, selon les auteurs et les 12. dNgos-grub shing-rla, fol. 23b.
époques. Il apparaît néanmoins que Beg-tse fut un protecteur important pour les Deuxième et 13. Ibid., fol. 33 a.
Troisième Dalaï Lamas, dès leur petite enfance. En 1555, le Troisième Dalaï Lama l'appelle 14. Ibid., fol. 35 a-b. Dans le Tohoku Catalogue, sous les œuvres de dGe-'dun rGya-mtsho, vide
son protecteur personnel. Ensuite, le Cinquième Dalaï Lama lui attribue un autre rôle en le no' 5558/26; 5577/30; ainsi que no 5543, son autobiographie, Thams cad mkhyen pa rje-nyid kyi rnam-Ihar (cf.
désignant comme chef de rDo-rje grags-ldan, et le sDe-srid fait de lui le principal protecteur notes 17-19 infra). .. .
masculin du reliquaire funéraire du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Était-il alors le principal 15. dNgos-grub shing-rla, fol. 39 b. yang nub cig mnal lam du/ brag ri dmar po gnYls kYI ~ar la phym pas
protecteur rouge de la personne du Dalaï Lama? D'après les textes examinés ici, en parallèle zangs kyi bum pa kha bcod yod pa zhig 'dug pa'i rlsar sleb pa ... kha gcod de phe song bas/ ~um pa'l nang nas zan~s
avec les sources iconographiques, il serait tentant de le croire. Seule une étude globale, kyi khrab gyon pa'i mi dmar po zhig byung nas nga ngo shes sam ma she~ na khyed rang gl ch.os skyong gnod sbym
chen po yin zer/ de'i rjes su bud med dred zhon pa zhig byung sle/ gnas 'dl Ma-ru-rlse zer ba ym zhes phyogs k~~ ~u
retraçant l'évolution historique des protecteurs de la lignée des Dalaï Lamas pourra nous
rgyug pa zhig byung/. La formule d'adresse ({ Me connaissez-vous ou non?) (nga ~go-s~e~ sam ma shes na),
aider à résoudre avec certitude cette énigme. ici est une formule classique de la littérature tibétaine avant de déclarer son IdentIte, cf. chants de 1epopee,
Nous tenons à exprimer notre gratitude à nos maîtres qui sont pour nous une source 16. Ibid., fol. 93b.
inestimable d'encouragements et de conseils, Mme Ariane Spanien-Macdonald et Mme Anne- 17. Autobiographie de dGe 'dun rgya mtsho, Thams cad mkhyen pa rje nyid kyi rnam Ihar, fol. 2 a-b, pour
Marie Blondeau, et nous sommes extrêmement reconnaissante envers Yonten Gyatso et l'arbre généalogique, repris verbalim dans la biographie qu'il écrivit ?e, son père, Ku~.dga' rgyal mts~~n, rJe
Samten Karmay pour leur aide dans l'interprétation des passages difficiles. blsun Ihams cad mhkyen pa'i gsung 'bum lhor-bu las khyab-bdag rdo rJe chang chen po 1 ngo-bo grub fa 1 dbang
phyug rje blsun bla ma kun dga' rgyal mlshan dpal bzang po'i ngo-mlshar ba'i rnam Ihar mdo-Isam-du brJod pa nor-

bu'i lhem skas zhes bya ba, fol. 2b-3b (désormais, rJe-nyid kyi rnam lhar et Ngo-mlshar-ba'i rnam-lhar). Nous ne gNas chung sprul-pa'i chos skyong chen po gsung rgyal dGra -Iha skyes-gcig dang 'phrul blon rDo-rje grags-ldan lha-
ferons que résumer briévement ici les données relatives au culte dédié à Beg-tse par le Deuxième Dalaï Lama. mi dad pa'i lshul bslan le Sangs-rgyas kyi bslan pa spyi bye-brag skyong-bar sku'i rnam 'gyur dang mlshan grangs
Nous en ferons le sujet d'une longue discussion dans notre mémoire pour l'École Pratique des Hautes Études. pas mi khyab kyangj rJe dGe 'dun rgya mlshos 'Bras-spungs kyi srung- mar bskos pas gNas-chung chos-skyong du
18. rJe-nyid kyi rnam-lhar, fol. 2 b; Ngo-mlshar-ba'i rnam-lhar, fol. 5 b, où dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho précise gragsj rJe 'di nyid sprul sku ... rnga yab gling du Orgyan chen pos yang bskyar gyis dam bsgrags le slar yang rJe
que son père détenait ces enseignements de Don-yod rgyal-mtshan, son grand-père. bSod nams rgya mlsho'i bka'i srung mar gnyer glad mdzad pa bzhinj rgyal dbang rim 'byon gyi bka' sdod dGa'-ldan
19. rJe-nyid kyi rnam-lhar, fol. 4 b; Ngo-mlshar-ba'i rnam-lhar, fol. 27 b, relatif à l'année 1432, où Ye-shes phyogs las rnam rgyal pho-brang gi dgra-Ihar gyur bar ...
mgon-po est qualifié de mes-dpon gyi chos-skyong, Protecteur de la lignée ancestrale. 32. Ces biographies ne sont pas mentionnées par Vostrikov. Elles ont récemment été rééditées en Inde
20. rJe-nyid kyi rnam-lhar, fol. 6 b. dans la série de la Library of Congress, Washington D.C., PL-480, I-Tib-78-908873, sous le titre global de
21. Ibid., fol. 7 b. Khrungs-rabs, vol. 2 : rJe lhams-cad mkhyen-pa dGe-'dun rgya-mlsho'i rnam-lhar rlogs-brjod dpag-bsam gyi Ijon-
22. Ibid., fol. 22 a-b pour les débuts de la construction de Chos-'khor-rgyal, puis 28 b, discussion des shing, pp. 407-581, où figure un colophon daté Icags-pho-stag (au plus tôt 1590, la première année fer-tigre après
visions dans le lac. la mort de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho) et un chapitre supplémentaire, pp. 581-632, daté lcags-pho-spre'u, donc au
23. Nous devons ce renseignement à Dvags-po Rinpoche, qui nous l'a communiqué en 1979, et à Heather plus tôt, 1620.
Karmay, qui est allée sur place en 1986. Qu'ils reçoivent ici l'expression de notre gratitude. 33. Sde-srid sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho, mChod-sdong chen-po 'dzam-gling rgyan-gcig rien glsug-Iag-khang gru-
24. Ibid., fol. 28 b-29. rdzings byin-rlabs kyi bang-mdzod : désormais. 'Dzam-gling rgyan-gcig, vol. II, pp. 80-82 : «Selon les ordres du
25. La seule référence éventuelle à Pehar est la mention du gzhi-bdag (anonyme) chen po de bSam-yas, bla-ma Seigneur (= le Cinquième Dalaï Lama) ... depuis que le Seigneur précédent, dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, a
fol. 14 a, fol. 18 b, rJe-nyid kyi rnam-lhar, et aussi p. 363 (édition moderne de ce même texte, = 14 a de l'édition confié à Beg-tse le rôle de (protecteur) principal du palais lui-même, Beg-tse doit servir en tant que divinité
ancienne. Notre copie de ce texte est amputée des fol. 14a, 15a, et 16a que nous avons donc lu dans l'édition principale. C'est abondamment démontrè dans l'autobiographie ésotérique, le gSang-ba'i rnam lhar rgya-can ma,
moderne. Le passage en question (14a) est relatif à l'année 1496. du grand bla-ma Seigneur (= le Cinquième Dalaï Lama) où rDo-rje grags-ldan est l'acolyte de Beg-tse, ainsi que
26. Ngo-mlshar-ba'i rnam-lhar, fol. 5b, année 1432 (chu-pho-bya corrigé en chu-pho-byi, car Kun-dga' dans les divers siidhana (du Cinquième Dalaï Lama) ... Comme lHamo a dit (<il faut me confier (la protection) du
rGyal-mtshan naquit en 1432, ayant 44 ans en 1476 à la naissance de dGe 'dun rgya-mtsho), pour sa première reliquaire funéraire.>, c'est ainsi qu'apparaissent les indications de la relation qui les associe. (kha-ya,
propitiation de la divinité. Nous avons mentionné plus haut un rituel attribué à la fois au grand-père et au père «partnership.». (Quant à) la division en deux lignées masculine et féminine (des protecteurs), la principale
de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho pour une forme de Beg-tse à trois têtes et six bras. Cette forme n'est pas attestée dans divinité féminine sera une statue de dPal-ldan lHa-mo posée sur le centre du trône de lion (image qui est) le
les œuvres de dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho. Rien ne nous permet de savoir quelle forme était celle de 1432. Pour la support du serment de la pensée de Bo-dong Pan-chen ... , et elle était extrêmement prisée par le bla-ma
discussion de cette forme de Beg-tse, cf. «Early Textual sources for the cult of Beg-tse.> à paraître dans les Seigneur. Qant à la divinité principale de la lignée masculine, le grand bla-ma Seigneur omniscient a dit que le
Proceedings of lhe 1985 Seminar of lhe Inlernalional Associalion for Tibelan Sludies, ed. Helga Uebach and yak~a-bourreau Beg-tse lcam-dral est continuellement, de tout temps, la sentinelle de la doctrine. 11 s'agit d'une
Panglung Rinpoche (sous presse, 1988). lourde responsabilité engagée par serment des actes rituels de la réalisation. 11 est le dieu maître (des rites de)
27. dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, gSung-'bum, U. 77 a-78 a. Chos skyong Icam sring gi bslod bskul phrin las kyi pho puissance, de violence, et de transformation magique ... »
nya zhes bya ba. (80) rje bla ma'i bka' lasj yang pho-brang 'di nyid kyi srung-ma'i glso-bo beg-lser rje gong- ma Dge-'dun
28. dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho, gSung-'bum, Ma. 6 a-26 b, Pad ma yang-gsang khros pa'i sgrub lhabs phrin las rgya-mlsho nas gnyer glad gnang-ba dangj khyad-par rje bla-ma chen-pos rgya-can (- gSang-ba'i rnam-lhar rgya-
bzhi'i bang mdzod. Tohoku catalogue n" 5558j4, p. 191. 11 s'agit d'un long rituel dédié à une forme de Hayagriva can ma) du' ang beg-Ise' i las-mkhan rdo-rje grags-ldan gyis mdzad de las sna tshogs bsgrubs-pa sogs rgya-cher bslan
dont Beg-tse est l'assistant. Les passages relatifs à Beg-tse se trouvent fol. 20 a-23 b. pas beg-lses glso-che hyed dgos ... lha-mos mchod-sdong 'dl dag nga la gnyer-glad dgos zhes pa' 1 mlshan-ma kha-yar
29. dNgos-grub shing-rla, fol. 43 b. «Le chos skyong s'approche du maI,lQala (que l'on était en train de byung yang ... pho-brgyud mo-brgyud gnyis-su phye-ba'i mo-brgyud glso-mo Bo-dong pan-chen gyi lhugs dam rien
préparer). 11 dit, «En général, Padmasambhava est le pistil (zi'i 'bru = ze 'bru, anthères, pistil) de l'esprit des Dpal-Idan Iha-mo'i sku brnyan ... ('di)rje bla-ma lhug-Ia glsigs shin-lu che-ba de seng-khri'i db us-su bzhugs su gsolj
mille buddha. Moi, je suis l'assistant de Padmasambhava. Par ordre de Padmasambhava ... mon travail est de pho-brgyud kyi glso-bo nij rje bla-ma kun-mkhyen chen-posj bslan-pa'i mel-lshe dus kun g. yel-med-duj bsgrub-pa'i
protéger la doctrine du Buddha et comme nourriture, je prends le souffle vital, la chair et le sang des ennemis ... 'phrin-Ias g.yar dam khur Ici-baj dbang-drag rdzu-'phrul lhogs-pa-med mnga'l Ihaj gnod-sbyin bshan-pa hel-Ise
c'est pourquoi à présent devant chacun de ces supports (cf. lorma) se tient un Pe-dkar rgyal-po, chacun boira le Icam dral gyisj zhes dangj ...
sang des démons ennemis qui nuiront à ces supports, et leur souffle vital coule comme le fleuve Gange jusqu'à ce Ce passage se poursuit par une longue liste d'offrandes (rien-supports) pour Beg-tse et ses acolytes qui ont
qu'il arrive dans ma bouche ... » ... chos skyong chen po dkyil 'khor gyi drung du byon lej 'di skad ces gsungj spyir été déposées à l'intérieur du monument funéraire, et ensuite dresse la liste des offrandes pour IHa-mo. La
sangs-rgyas slong gi lhugs kyi zi'i 'bru de Padma 'byung gnasj Padma 'byung gnas kyi bka' sdod de nga yinj das du discussion détaillée de ce passage extrêmement intéressant sera poursuivie dans notre mémoire de l'École
sangs-rgyas kyi bslan pa bsrung pa dangj zas-skal du dgra'-bo'i sha khrag srog-dbugs rnams phog-pa yin pasj da Pratique des Hautes Études.
ni .. drung na Pe-dkar rgyal po re re yodj rien de dag la gnod pa'i dgra bgegs kyi sha khrag 'lhungj dgra-bo'i srog 34. 'Dzam-gling rgyan-gcig, vol. II, p. 80-83.
dbugs chu-bo ganga'i rgyun lsam zhig nga'i kha na rgyan mi 'chad par 'gro yangj ... Bien qu'il se déclare l'assistant 35. Cf. Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho (Cinquième Dalaï Lama), gSang-ba'i rnam-thar rgya-can-ma, A
de Padmasambhava, il faut noter que cette description de la fonction de Pe-har comporte la protection de la record of the visionary experiences of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Leh, 1972, p. 277-279 pour la discussion du grand
doctrine bouddhique en général, mais ne prècise pas de liens particuliers avec la lignée du Dalaï Lama. pouvoir de Beg-tse ainsi que de son émanation, rDo-rje grags-ldan, comme acolyte. Comme cette
30. Ibid., fol. 62 a-b. autobiographie mentionne aussi d'autres visions de Beg-tse, l'ensemble de la discussion sera présenté dans notre
31. C'est Mn" Ariane Macdonald qui la première attira l'attention sur ces deux passages dans ses mémoire pour l'École Pratique des Hautes Études.
conférences à l'École Pratique des Hautes Études en 1974-1975. (Cf. Ariane Macdonald, Annuaire de l'École 36. En possession de l'auteur. Iconographiquement identique au portrait du calendrier 1984, cf. supra, et
Pratique des Hautes Études, IV' Section, 1975-1976, pp. 979-984.) Nous n'étions pas encore l'élève de au portrait sur le thang-ka de la note 37.
Mm' Macdonald à ce moment et nous tenons à remercier Mm' Anne-Marie Blondeau de nous avoir aimablement 37. Le thang-ka est actuellement (mai 1987) exposé à Paris, n" 33, «portrait du Sixième Panchen Lama.>,
prêté ses notes des conférences. Les passages se trouvent dans le VaÙ!ürya ser-po, Delhi, 1968, p. 109 pour la dans le cadre de l'exposition Trésors du Tibet. Cette peinture est illustrée dans le catalogue de l'exposition et
citation du Dngos-grub shing ria que nous avons relevée note 10 supra, et p. 377, où le Sde-srid s'y réfère: dans Bod kyi lhang-ka, planche 80, Rig-dngos dpe-khrun-khang, 1984. 11 est malheureusement impossible de lire
«Aussi, quant au nombre infini de noms et d'émanations protégeant la division générale de la doctrine de le nom de la divinité d'après la reproduction, mais l'inscription est visible à l'observation du thang-ka. Cf. aussi
Buddha, le grand gNas-chung sprul-pa'i chos-skyong, le roi de la parole (gsung-rgyal) dGra-lha skyes-gcig et le planche VII supra.
ministre des transformations magiques rDo-rje grags-Idan ont montré la manière unie (de protection, c'est-à- 38. Titre abrégé, gNas-chung chos-spyod, pour l'anthologie de rituels du monastère de gNas-chung, dont le
dire les identités des trois divinités se mêlent). Comme le Seigneur dGe-'dun rgya-mtsho l'avait nommè titre complet est: Sa gsum na mnon par mtho ba rdo-rje sgra dbyangs-gling gi zhal 'don bskang gso'i rim pa phyogs
protecteur de 'Bras-spungs, il est connu comme Gnas-chung chos-skyong. Quand le corps d'émanation de ce gcig tu bsgrigs pa'i ngo mtshar nor bu'i 'phreng-ba skal bzang-gzhon nu'i mgul rgyan, Gangtok, 1969 (édition
même Seigneur était à ... rNga-yab-gling, Padmasambhava réitera son serment (lui rappela publiquement son facsimilé d'après l'édition de 1845).
engagement) et lui confia à nouveau la protection de la parole de bSod-nams rgya-mtsho. En tant que gardien 39. Ibid., pp. 98-100, pour Beg-tse comme protecteur principal masculin d'après le 'Dzam gling rgyan gcig.
de la parole (= doctrine) des Dalaï Lama successifs, il est devenu le dieu (qui protège contre) les ennemis (dgra- 11 est à noter que ce rituel est daté 1795 dans la citation, alors que la date habituellement attribuée pour le
Iha) de dGa'-ldan pho-brang ... » 'Dzam-gling rgyan-gcig est 1797.
Fig. 20. - Beg~lse, the ~ew3rk ~Iuseum.
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Tibetan Documents in
The Newark Museum
Amy Helier

ibetan administrative dOCUIllC11lS. 1101ds' ilnick in lhis issue. pp. 32-38).

T edicts i,;.~lIed by Cl monastery or
govef1llllC111 to inf0I111 the populace of
From the eighteenth century on, the an
of Tibetan documems. carefully calli-
'Prince' of l3atang, sole survivor of his
family ,Ind scion of the Bmang region on
The Sino~ Tibel<lJl border. III the aflennath
specific decisions. provide :Ill ~xcep­ gr:lphed all yellow silk, became highly of his rather's execution and The destruc-
rional source of historical and socio- refined. Before that time. they were
logical information and some include usually wrillcl1 on paper wilh :l silk or
small dnlwings. which. by virtue of the r:ll1lie backing.
document. ure dated. This is quilC the In lhe early lwentieth century, The
opposite to the inscriptions on the Newark Museum acquired sevcr<ll Ti-
rcvt.:rse of palmed or applique scrolls, betan documents. From 1913 to 1922, Dr
(rig. 1) Or Alh<;" L. Sheiwn with dnughlers and
which ;Ire usually secondary iO the icon, Albcn ShelTon (Fig. I), physician at the
Tibelan rriemh
but can be mosl significant. as in the Foreign Christian Missionary Hospital in Batung, C:li>tWl Tibet. c. 1913
Tsongkhapa applique (scc Valrae, l~cy- Balang CBa~thang), befriended The 111e Newark !\-'TlIsclInI Ti!x:tan archive photngraph


(Fig. 2n) A gClleral view urlhcd,lInaged

[l1unuSlcry m Bmallg. C"Slem Tihel.l". \9011
The Newar~ MlI~cull1 Tibcwn ar<"hive phowgmph
I'hologr;Iph hy Or Shcllon

(Fig. 2b) TIle dmn"gcd 11Iona,ler}' at Tlatang.

CMlen! Tibel
Rllined inn,S" in Ihc-chapel.I·. 19t1$
The Newark MU>l'um Tibelan archive pholograph
l'hOlograph by Or ShcllOl1

62 63
(Fig. 3) Document signed by Miwang Pholh,mch. (Fig. 3a) Dew!l or Figure 3 showing upper seal
daled 1740
Lhasa. Tibet (Fig. 3b) Detail or Figure 3 showing lower seal
Ink on siltin
Height 177.8. width 78 cm
The Newark Museum
Alben L. Shclton Collcclion. purchase 1918
( 18.141)

to local chieftains under the nominal su-

pervision of the Sichuan authorities. It
would appear that the tax contribution
from this district was missed by the Lhasa
tion of the Balang monaslery (Figs 2a and government which petitioned the new
2b) by Chinese troops in 1905, the family emperor, Qianlong (r. 1736-95). to resti-
had been exiled to China, where all other tule Batang and nearby Litang (Li-thang)
members perished. After the overthrow to Tibet on financial grounds. Qianlong
of the last Manchu emperor in 1911, the officially refused Ihis proposal in January
young prince returned to Batang as a pri- 1739, but an annual subsidy of five thou-
vate citizen and lived with Dr Shelton and sand taels was accorded to Lhasa to com-
his family for almost a year. Hoping to pensate forthe lost taxes. In 1740, there-
ensure the protection of precious family fore. Batang was in theory officially out-
heirlooms during this lime of immense side Tibetan jurisdiction, but, as this
political and social upheaval, the prince document shows, the Lhasa government
gave a number to Dr Shelton, including was nevertheless very concerned with af-
several historical documents. Or Shelton fairs in the region. It would appear that
sold these to The Newark Museum in the Lhasa government still regarded
1918. Batang as a Tibetan territory subject to its
The first document discussed here authority in spite of Qianlong's 1739 re-
(Fig. 3) is a decree daled 1740, issued by fusal, but it is impossible to be certain on
the Lhasa government to settle a regional the basis of an isolated document.
dispute in Batang, now a district of Si- The Manchu representative in Batang
chuan province in China, but ethnically, was responsible for the Manchu troops
and formerly politically, Tibetan. The garrisoned in thei'"egion, but the extent of
text discusses the history of regional his actual authority is uncertain. The Si~
government during the time of the Fifth chuan officials were apparently ineffec-
Dalai Lama (1617-82) and Ihe events tive, and, according to this document, il
leading to the conflict of 1740. The men- was the local, ethnically Tibetan, district
TT~,,,'i""~o,ll'-r'i·;,.'..,1"'1..•.' .1"'1..;•••- ;• ....,.-....~•.".:--~ m""1
tion of Ihe Fifth Dalai Lama led early governor who actually controlled the area
4 ,if ,if ~
'n"n . ,,~,.. scholars to attribute this document to him, by virtue of lhe hereditary mandate estab-
but it has now been possible to establish lished al the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
a firm date of 1740 on the basis of the text His family had initially been responsible
and the seals of Miwang Pholhaneh forests and abundant mineral resources, Sichuan to eastern Tibet on the pretext of only for the military administration of the
Sonam Tobgye (Mi-dbang Pho-Iha-nas and had long been an important stop on giving support to the nine-year-old district, but wilh time, members of the
bsod nams stobs rgyas; 1689-1747), the the southern trade route from China to Seventh Dalai Lama then in residence family were also entrusted with civilian
secular authority of the Tibetan govern- Lhasa. Little is known of its history prior near Batang. This was the first time that authority. In 1730, two brothers began to
ment at that time. The document is metic- to Ti betan government censuses con- there had been direct Manchu interven- vie with each other for power. Four years
ulously calligraphed in black ink in the ducted in 1648 and 1677. when the popu- tion in Tibelan politics. In 1719, Manchu later, a Chinese official tried to settle their
Tibetan cursive brll-sha script on yellow lation of Batang was included and sub- troops occupied Batang, arousing intense rivalry by giving the younger brothermil-
satin. The fabric has no cloth backing and sequently taxed by Lhasa. local opposition which was suppressed itary authority while making the elder
there are no seams or stitch lines to indi- In 1642. the Fifth Dalai Lama, chief by the execution of the abbot of a major brother the district governor, but it is un-
cate that it ever had a cloth support. Two prelale of Ihe Tibetan Gelugpa (dGe- monaslery. The following year, the certain whether the negotiations were
intricate red seals punctuate the principal lugs-pa) monastic order, assumed politi- Seventh Dalai Lama (1708-57), escorted successful. In 1737, the Seventh Dalai
paragraphs of the decree. Visually, this cal power and subsequenlly began to re- by a large Manchu amlY, finally reached Lama wrote a letter expressing support
document is impressive, while histori- organize the government, including the Lhasa and was duly enthroned in the for the elder brother as district governor.
cally, it raises significant questions about regional authorities of the Batang district. Potala Palace. The Newark Museum's decree. issued by
the type of government in operation on He established a hereditary mandate in Initial planning for the establishment Miwang in 1740. reinforced the right of
the Sino-Tibetan border in the early favour of one of the five families vying of the Manchu protectorate of south-east- the elder brother and his descendants to
eighteenth century. for control. When Tibet was invaded by ern Tibet began at this time, and Batang, this position. After a detailed discussion
The Batang region, well-known for its Ihe Dzungar tribes of Mongolia in 1717, just east of the new boundary, was offi- of the history of the conflict, Miwang in
thennal sources, was prosperous due to the Chinese emperor, Kangxi (r. ]662- cially incorporated into China in 1725. this document stated their rights and
its mild climate, gemle pasture lands, vast 1722), dispatched waves of troops from Administration of the area was entrusted privileges and detailed the properties to

64 65
(Fig. 4) Documenl signed by Miwan£ Pholhaneh
(Fig. 5) Document signed by the Third Changkya
and inscribed by Cardinal Slefano Bo.-gi... dated
HuktuklU. dated 1836
Peking, China
Lhasa. Tibet
Ink and colour on salin
Ink on silk
Height 301 cm. width 125.7 cm
Bavarian Slale Library. Munich
The ewark Museum
Photograph courtesy of SOlheby's
Alben L. Shellon Collection. purchase 1918

be allocmed to them. (A full translalion

and analysis of this document is now in
press: A. Helier, 'Mi-dbang's 1740
decree to Batang' in Proceedings of the
1984 Csoma de Koros Symposium, Aeta
Oriell/alia f-1l1ngarica, Budapest, 1990.)
The two seals used in this document
are those of Miwang Pholhaneh Sonam
Tobgye, who governed Tibet from 1728-
47, immediately after the 1727-28 Ti-
betan civil war. The Seventh Dalai Lama
was exiled from Lhasa between 1729 and
1735, and thereafter exercised purely re-
ligious authority while secular affairs
were in the hands of Miwang, supported
from afar by the Qianlong emperor.
Miwang governed so well that by 1733
the number of Chinese troops in Lhasa
had been reduced to only five hundred. In
1740, in recognition of his efficient ad-
ministration, Miwang was awarded a new
title, junwang Uun-dbang; 'prince of the
second rank'); this title is specifically itself had been lost long ago, with only a
mentioned in the preamble to the decree. paper copy surviving in the Archives of
It is probable that a seal was made to the Propaganda Fide in Rome, but it was
reflect the new honour. The small square recently discovered in a private collection
seal (Fig, 3a) which concludes the first and subsequently purchased by the
paragraph of the document is already Bavarian State Library in Munich. It can
known from two documents dated 1730 be seen that the large seals on the two
and 1741, published by Professor Dieter '- - 1"1''h documents are virtually identical, the only
Schuh in his major study Grllndlagen ti-
betiseher Siegelkllllds (Sankt Augustin, [t" (\;". t'J!':t~ -'}~J\I\~ variations being due to ink impression.
Comparison of these two decrees re-
198 I). This small, six-column seal is
written in the Tibetan language. The
• t.Jj( ~--;:qn . veals that both use particular expressions
common to Tibetan administrative lan-
large, five-column square seal (Fig. 3b)
which concludes the document is pre-
iJf ,",",..,.,....,."...".'I'l"'1'"'!' guage; in all cases the seals are impressed
with red ink; both documents are written
sumed to be the seal indicative of on yellow silk of almost identical format,
Miwang's new title. and both were issued from the same
Despite several serious attempts by chancery office of the Lhasa government.
scholars, this seal has proved impossible The similarities end there. To a certain
to decipher. The letters do not correspond extent, of course, this is to be expected
to Chinese, Manchu or Mongolian seal owing to the subject of the 174 I decree,
alphabets, but are closest to the pllOgpa which was issued to the leader of the
('pllOgs'pa) script used in Tibetan lan- Capucin mission to Tibet, Padre Orazio
guage seals - as in the other example. As della Penna, giving the right of religious
this seal is so far known only on Tibetan freedom. This document does not explain
documents issued in Lhasa, we presume the historical background of the Capu-
it is in the Tibetan language, but this ques- cin mission, which had initially con-
tion remains open. The seal has long been sisted of two friars working as doctors
known from another decree (dated 1741) in Lhasa from 1705 to 1711. Orazio
in which Miwang authorizes the Capucin della Penna had been in Lhasa engaged
Fathers to establish a mission in Lhasa in medical work for the Capucin mis-
(Fig. 4). It was believed that the document sion from 1721 to 1733. When he re-

66 67
(Fig. 5a) Detail of Figure 5 showing upper seal the midst of a cloud of red flames. The
(Fig. 5b) Detail of Figure 5 showing lower seal
extended right arm wields a club. identi-
cal in form to the one held by Lhamo,
while the left forearm rests on the horse's
green mane. The strings and ends of a
lasso protrude slightly beyond the mane.
while two loops of the lasso are drawn
, above the horse's head. A long pointed

<lt1 lance with a triangular banner is held

against the shoulder pad "'of the annour.
The identity of this warrior deity remains
uncertain. He may be Begtse, since
Yama. Begtse and Lhamo all belong to a
group ofeight protectors venerated by the
Gelugpa order to which the Batang
monastery belonged.
Yama, Lhamo and Begtse (both as a
mounted warrior and in his usual stance
trampling cadavers) figure prominently as
protectors of the Panchen Lama lineage in
a series of woodcuts produced at Tashi-
Ihunpo (bKra-shis-lhun-po) in central
(Fig. 6) Detail of illuminated edict by the Sixth sanctity, but the figure of the lama pre- Tibet circa 1750, and found throughout

T~:::'d~~r111T" · Panchen Lama. dated 1777

Tashilhunpo, Tibel
Ink on silk
Height 218.4 cm. width 75 cm
sents something of an anomaly. The
Changkya lamas are incarnations of the
Tibetan Gelugpa monastic order, usually
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
wherever there was a Gelugpa monastery
(including Peking). This increases the

lQ'ty' The Brilish Library

Photograph courtesy of Sothcby's
recognizable by their yellow hats. Here
the lama is dressed, not in typical monas-
tic apparel, but in Chinese official robes
and a pointed hat. Although this hat is
likelihood that the red warrior is Begtse,
since several Panchen lamas composed
liturgies dedicated to him. The artist
possibly used the woodblock prints as a
similar 10 secular hats of Ihe Amdo (A- model, simplifying the elaborate swirls of
mdo) region in north-eastern Tibet, it the clouds and the intricat.e decoration of
upper register. The Second Changkya most closely resembles those worn by the attributes, while almost completely
Huktuktu had been the Tibetan Bud- Mongolian lamas. The Changkya incar- eliminating colour infill. In a bilingual Ti-
dhist advisor to the Qianlong emperor. nations' home monastery is Gon-Iung betan-Mongolian document on si Ik issued
and had long served as an intermediary Jampa Ling in the Amdo region of Tibet. from Tashilhunpo in 1777 (Fig. 6), Lhamo,
between China and Tibet. The Third The long rosary and the vase of holy Yama and Begtse are found with two
Changkya continued to live in Peking water held in his lap indicate the lama's other protective deities in the lower reg-
as advisor to the Daoguang emperor (r. religious role. In portraits of lamas of the ister, but the Tashilhunpo artists used far
1821-50). In this decree, writlen in Changkya lineage the vase of water is the more colour inside the outline - subtle
ham-yig script on yellow satin bordered characteristic attribute. Even the long ro- nuances of greys and black for the clouds
in blue, the Third Changkya refers to sary was worn by mandarins during the of smoke enveloping Lhamo, pink and
the Second Changkya's missive con- Qianlong period. red waves in the sea of blood beneath her.
gratulating the Pende-ling (Phen-bde- In the lower register, Lhamo, the In the document in The Newark Museum
ling) monastery in Batang on its excel- guardian goddess of Tibet. is portrayed dated to 1836, a different sense of colour
lent teachers and high level of Buddhist on her mule inside flames outlined in is conveyed, primarily through the con-
studies. Here he declares that this black ink above the waves of a sea of trast of the rich yellow silk with the prom-
monastery is still most praiseworthy, it as the Tibetan snow lion, a mythical blood. Unfortunately the decree has been inent black outline, heightened by
exhorts the monks to continue their ef- creature used as the emblem of Tibet on slightly damaged at the level of Lhamo's touches of green and turquoise. Although
forts and urges the lay populace to ac- the Tibetan national nags created in the body, but her fierce eyes and wild hair are the artist's nationality remains uncenain,
turned to Lhasa with a new mission, he Kushab, Mi-dbang sKu-zhabs) liter- tively support the monastery (cf., full early twentieth century. not marred. Immediately below the snow this document provides a fine example of
requested freedom to proselytize. which ally,'His Honour Miwang, King of Grand translation by D. Sehuh, •Politische Im- The portrait of the lama is intriguing. lion, there is a portrait of Yama and Yami painting in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition
was allowed by Miwang's 1741 decree. Tibet', accurarely renecting Miwang's plikationen tibetischer Urkundenfor- He is seated with legs pendam on a treading on a bull and a prostrate body. as practised in Peking in the early
In addition, Miwang stated that the position at his time. meln', Archiv fiir Zeno;alasialische Chinese throne draped with silk scarves. Yama is regarded as the lord of the hells, nineteenth century.
Capucin friars and converts were to enjoy Geschichtforschung, Sankt Augustin, Such scarves are a common sign ofhom- and his presence here is perhaps intended
official protection. However, only a year
later major limitations were imposed and
in 1745 the Capucin mission left Lhasa
T he second sample from The Newark
Museum's collection is a Tibetan
document issued by a Tibetan Buddhist
There is a small, round personal seal
mage and religious honour, and are used
for icons as well as people. The scarves
as the counterpart of the lama's vase,
which theoretically holds the nectar of
(Fig. 5a) affixed after the lama's name, are also used as decorative motifs on the immortality. In the lower right corner is a
never to return. On the reverse of this lama living in Peking in 1836 (Fig. 5). while a square, official seal is used at the green and gold arch under which the lama wrathful, three-eyed warrior, wearing red
document, an inscription in Italian, The lama, Yeshe ten pe gyaltsen (Ye- conclusion of the decree. The square seal is seated. The arch is further adorned with annour and an elaborate helmet deco-
signed by Cardinal Stefano Borgia, iden- Amy Helier is a doctoral candidmc in Tibetan His-
shes bstan-pa'i rgyal-mtshan), the is positioned in the centre of a lotus a flaming jewel at its apex, and berib- rated with triangular flags, small peacock tory and Art at L 'Ecole Praliquedes Hllutes Eludes,
tifies it as the diploma of the 'Re del gran Third Changkya Huktuktu (ICang-skya pedestal carried on the back of a lion (Fig. boned fly-whisks are suspended from feathers and skulls. Mounted on a black Paris. She became associaled with The Newark
Tibetto, MivGl1gh Kuisciap' (Miwang qutugtu; 1787-1846), is portrayed in the 5b). The turquoise-coloured fur identifies each end. All of this suggests honour and horse adomed with red tassels, he rides in Museum in 1981,

68 69

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library



Amy Heller



Introduction to an exhibition at the Beinecke Library

January-March, 1991


The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Copyriglrt 1991 by Yale University WH I RL WIN DS of fire for the dance of multiheaded deities, a lotus pedestal for
the serene meditation of a Buddha, geometric diagrams juxtaposing form and
Porlmit uf alallla; 19t11 ccntury; c%rs alld gilt 0/1 cotton; 25 x 45 illc1u?s colors in abstract representation of the universe-such are the creations of
Tibetan artists as they evoke the varied metaphysical concepts of Buddhism,
FACINC PAGE long expounded by Tibetan monks and sages in oral discourse and written trea-
IlIlIlIlilll1ted Icaf frolll till' Trcatisc Oll till' PerfecliUlI of Wisdom; I)-14th century;
tise. This exhibition of Tibetan icons, illuminated manuscripts, and books exam-
silvcr calligmphy UII black laminated paper; 25 x 9 illc1/l's
ines how Tibetan literature and art express the religious ideals of Buddhism in
verbal and symbolic languages.


Buddhism was founded in India in the sixth century H.C.E. by the historic Bud-
dha Shakyamuni, who designed a philosophical method to ensure high mora]
principles and to eliminate suffering. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama,
spiritual leader of Tibet and recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Peace, has
explained that "the basis of Buddhist philosophy is the notion of compassion for
others. There is an underlying assumption that happiness for oneself comes
automatically as a result of this unselfish concern."
While the Buddhist religion takes this ethical basis as its first premise, certain
concessions (or responses) to the philosophical and artistic creativity of contem-
porary Indian society were inevitable. Shakyamuni, for example, had expressly
forbidden any likeness of himself during his lifetime, but veneration for the Bud-
dha rapidly led to his deification. First the events of his life were given emblems
-such as the eight-spoked wheel symbolic of the eightfold noble path of moral
principles, considered a key to understanding. The wheel is the reminder of the
moment when, once enlightened, the Buddha started to teach the doctrine and
set "the wheel of truth into perpetual motion." Eventually images of the Buddha
in human form were made. Later these were codified in a precise system, incor-
porating some of the concepts and conventions used in Indian mythology and art
to represent a sage or philosopher.
Prior to the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet in the seventh century, philo-
sophical and religiolls developments left definite imprints upon early Bud-
dhism. Already in India, ancient tree spirits were given a protective role as
defenders of Buddhism, later still as defenders of monasteries. The ancient belief
in reincarnation was reinterpreted as the Buddhist wheel of existence, from
..vhich the enlightened mind would be forever liberated. At the same time, the
symbolic conquest of Vedic deities, shown by their incorporation into the Bud-
dhist pantheon, was interpreted as proof of the philosophical validity of
Later metaphysical developments led to the concept of a plurality of Buddhas,
conceived as a succession of Buddhas over time. Eventually came the idea of
"Buddha-families" arrayed at the cardinal points and center of the universe,
reflecting a complex system of analogies. Amitabha Buddha, for example, gov-
erns the Western paradise; his color is red, his hand gesture is meditation, his
element is fire. He assists perception and is manifest in Avalokiteshvara, the
Bodhisattva of Compassion. He has the fierce Hayagriva as defender.
The idea of associating a Buddha with a vaathful aspect had been fore~
shadowed by the Vedic triad of Brahma ("the creator"), Vishnu ("the preserver"),
and Shiva ("the destroyer") who interact constantly to sustain life in the uni-
verse. In Tibet, this idea ,·vas further refined, and particular teachers came to be
regarded as emanations of certain Bodhisattva-notably the Dalai Lama as an
emanation in human form of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
In literature and art, the reverence accorded past and present teachers is demon-
strated by the importance of hagiographies.


During the seventh century, Song-tsen gampo, the ruler of one district of Tibet,
succeeded in forming a confederation stretching from Nepal to beyond the
Mekong River, further extended by the capture of garrisons along the silk route
from the Chinese. The religious conversion of the Tibetans is causally related to
this military expansion, for they encountered Buddhism on all borders. By con-
tracting matrimonial alliances with Tibetan aristocracy and the Chinese court,
Song-tsen gampo further consolidated his domain. The growth of this Tibetan
empire in Central Asia is well documented by Chinese and Arab histories which
describe Tibetan metallurgical skills, needed for armor and weapons, as a
"wonder of the world."
The conceptual unification of this vast Tibetan territory \vas in part accom~
plished by a religious system of beliefs and rituals propagated by Song-tsen
gampo and his descendants. The glorification of the Tibetan ruler, belief in
mountains as his divine ancestors, faith in his military might and sacred obliga-
tion to preserve the stability of the Tibetan world order-these ideas are later
reflected in the saga of the legendary Tibetan king Gesar, also eventually incor-
porated into the Buddhist pantheon.
The school of Buddhism adopted in Tibet is knovl.'n as Vajrayana, the Path of
Vajra or Adamantine Scepter. Prevalent in northern India from the sixth to the
eleventh century, this school emphasized, in its philosophy and mystic prac-
Portrait of Gesnr; 1948; blockprint all paper; 2) x J1 illches tices, the goal of reaching Buddhahood in one lifetime. Believed to be partic-
ularly arduous and efficient, Vajrayana Buddhism seeks actively to conquer all Among the first Buddhist texts introduced to Tibet was the "Treatise on the
defilements-ignorance, delusion, and greed. Prayer, spells or mantra, and Perfection of Wisdom" (Prajnyaparamita-sutra), which emphasized moral values
meditation are used to channel negative emotions, transforming them into quali- leading to a succession of good rebirths. In accordance with earlier schools of
ties that lead to enlightenment. Buddhism, nirvana is seen as a progressive goal, to be gradually realized over
An alternate name for this school is Mantrayana, the Mantra Path, reflecting the course of several lifetimes. Some esoteric Vajrayana texts are also attested in
the importance of mantra prayers, rhythmic repetitions of syllables in cadence Tibetan library catalogues of the early ninth century, but in smaller proportions,
with special intonation, such as the famous formula Om Mani Padme Hum, sacred since memorization and oral transmission, rather than writing, were the didactic
to Avalokiteshvara and the Dalai Lama. Judging from contemporary religious methods preferred to prevent profanation and to ensure that only selected stu-
practices and historical accounts, the spells or mantra were always accompanied J dents had access to these advanced techniques.
by gestures, both static and moving, synchronized with the repetition of In many Vajrayana rituals, the repetition of mantra and prayer is accompanied
syllables. ) by hand movements in distinct sequences of gestures, a sign language comple-
Tibetan royal favor for Buddhism-indicated by the foundation of the first menting the rhythmic intonation. The unique Tibetan practice of spinning
monastery around 780 and later taxation edicts to support the clergy-in fact prayer wheels also involves repetition of both gesture and sacred formulae. The
undermined the traditional system of beliefs guaranteeing the divine right to content of the rituals-for pacification, development, subjugation, or elimina-
rule. Factions formed within the populace, divided in its support or disavowal tion-is often introduced by a narrative of the divine precedent, recounted in
of Buddhism. The weakening of central authority was such that the dynasty detail, from the mythology of a Buddha or a lama (teacher), which the adept or
collapsed around 850, and the confederation reverted to local, autonomous monk re-enacts through intonation and gestures. An example is the pious tale of
principalities. At this period, it is known that small groups of religious adepts Padmasambhava, a semihistorical Vajrayana teacher held to have vanquished
survived in geographic and conceptual isolation. It is probable that these circum- whirlwinds and mountains (the indigenous deities), which he transformed into
stances led to the integration of Tibetan non-Buddhist beliefs and practices with protectors of Buddhism. Mastery over the mountains and majestic expanses,
the observances and principles of Vajrayana Buddhism, forming the matrix of over the unpredictable and sometimes violent weather, over the very grandeur of
Tibetan civilization as it is known today. nature-takes on another dimension in Tibet where the land itself inspires both
The eleventh century heralded a new era of royal support for Buddhism by a contemplation and awe. Vajrayana rituals seek to answer both such needs, con-
scion of the former dynasty, now established in western Tibet. As his kingdom crete and spiritual. There is an emphasis on psychological training, through the
rapidly prospered due to its location on trade routes linking Tibet with Nepal practice of ritual, to increase discipline and concentration. In his book Religious
and India, this sovereign actively supported the construction of monasteries and Observances in Tibet (Chicago, 1964), Robert B. Ekvall has stated that in Tibet
the translation of religious texts. Due to the impact of Islam in India, Buddhism
the idea gained acceptance that the words in themselves had power and were of value.
was then gradually disappearing in the land of its birth, and sages sought pros- From that point on, the expression of (Tibetan) verbalized religion developed along two
elytes abroad. In eastern Tibet as well, there was renewed interest in Buddhist lines: (1) if words, both in meaning and sound, had power in themselves, power was exer-
activity, further accelerated by the arrival of refugees from Buddhist states along ted by utterance and could be used for subjugating and controlling spirit beings; and (2)
the silk route, also subjected to Islamic invasions. This context was favorable for since words had value in themselves, the repetitious utterance of them could be utilized to
achieve religious goals and could aid in the amassing of merit.
the Indian, Kashmiri, and Nepalese teachers and artists to settle in Tibet. Several
theological tendencies flourished, as did many distinct schools of art, all faith- The word, written or recited, thus was of primary importance in its own right
fully preserving the Buddhist heritage. and as a source of the symbolic language of gestures, proportions, colors, and
attributes found in Tibetan images.
THE WORD IN TIBETAN CONTEXT Reflecting the importance of Indian literary and philosophical models, the
The power attributed to "word," the use of verbal language, was distinctive in Tibetan alphabet was modeled on a script in use in northern India around 600.
both pre-BuddhistTibet and in Vajrayana, probably contributing to the appeal of Even Indian book formats-unbound rectangular leaves sandwiched between
this school of Buddhism to the Tibetans. No complete texts contemporary with wooden covers-were adopted by the Tibetans. In addition to oral transmis-
Song-tsen gampo and his immediate descendants have survived, but fragments sion, translation of texts spurred religious conversion. The translation of Bud-
of the earliest known Tibetan folk tales and myths from the seventh and eighth dhist treatises from Sanskrit (and occasionally Chinese or Central Asian lan-
centuries already show use of repetitive cadence, interstitial syllables, and ono- guages) into Tibetan served as a major impetus in the codification of Tibetan
matopoeia. Verbal language was evolving into ritual to preserve a continually scripts and of Buddhist religious terminology, resulting in a lingua franca,
valid oral tradition. superimposed on regional dialects. Translation and copying of the Buddhist
texts took on further virtue as pious acts that improved the personal karma (seventh to tenth centuries) and the lack of archeological investigation has ren-
or merit of the individual scribe, as well as that of the person commissioning dered assessment of this formative phase of Tibetan Buddhist art problematic. In
the copy, Lhasa, some temples are believed to date in paTt from this period, but thorough,
The earliest extant Tibetan printed text dates from 1308. Progressi\'el)~ books, scientific examination is yet to be done. However, many royal proclamations of
cloth banners, and religious art began to be printed throughout the country. this period have survived, inscribed on stone pillars some 25 feet high. The firm
However, the persistence of major commissions for hand-copying of religious lines of the calligraphic Tibetan letters contrast with the capitals and pedestals
treatises by scribes is weB documented through the end of the eighteenth cen- carved in the round. Both Chinese decorati\'e motifs, such as the tortoise (sym-
tury, Block-printed texts or xylographs are attested for the Tibetan Buddhist bolic of longevity), and Indian Buddhist emblems embellish these stele. The
scriptures from the early fifteenth century, and continued to be made through Tibetan territories along the silk routes, on the other hand, some 1,()(X) miles
the twentieth. north, were more directly exposed to Central Asian idioms of Buddhist art,
which subsequently appeared in other areas via trade and troop movement.

Buddhist art developed specific forms in response to ritual requirements. A !\.IANUSCRIPT, A STATUE, AND A PAINTING

Painted scrolls (tang-ka) on cotton or silk typicall y represent Buddhas, deities, or Three items in the exhibition may serve to illustrate the use of images in the con-
revered lamas of the past. Landscapes are idealized, corresponding to literary text of Tibetan Buddhism and the methods used to date Tibetan religious
descriptions in theological treatises. The mandala (literally, circle), Cl geometric artifacts.
form used in painting and sculpture, isa series of concentric ringssurroundinga Trealiseoll the Perfectioll o.nVisdol1l (openil/g page). This illuminated manuscript is
sequence of squares of decreasing dimensions with a focal point at the center of written on black laminated paper; each recto page has eight lines of calligraphy
the smallest square. The de\'otee is instructed to concentrate in specific order on in silver, some of the highly stylized letters following distinctive eighth-century
sections of the tang-ka or mandala. The order of concentration is enhanced by Tibetan forms. The verso pages each have seven lines of silver calligraphy in the
contrasting colors, juxtaposed to create optical illusions of depth. The tang·ka is
thus a tool for teaching meditation.
The language of Tibetan icons embodies the codification of metaphysical con-
cepts central to Indian Buddhism as adapted by the Tibetans. The principles of
the iconographic canons all originated in India and are strictly adhered to by
Tibetan artists. Yet there is a distinct quality to these images, quite different in
many respects from their Indian antecedents. In part, this is due to the indige-
nous Tibetan deities integrated into the Buddhist pantheon, bearing attributes
\vith no direct counterpart in India. This distinction is also related to the geo-
graphic situation of Tibet in central Asia, crisscrossed by trade routes linking
Europe. the Indian subcontinent, and high Asia, the same routes Buddhism had
followed as it expanded beyond India.
By the time Buddhism reached Tibet, several Indian schools of Buddhist art
had been defined, as had Central Asian and Chinese traditions. ''''hile the influ- same hand, \\~ith illuminations at both ends of the page showing seated Bud-
ence oi Buddhism was gradually increasing in Tibet in the eighth to tenth centu- dhas, whose hands are consistently represented in the gesture of leaching. Their
ries, Nepalese and Kashmiri schools of representation were forming as well. As coiffures, ovoid halos, and thrones follow Indian styles of the twelfth and thir-
the Buddhist masters from each land arrh"ed in Tibet, they carried small statues teenth centuries.
and paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and stencils to use in their teaching. This manuscript is similar in many respects to a group of manuscripts found
The very practice of certain rituals required the creation of ephemeral sculptures, in eastern Tibet, radiocarbon dated to the thirteenth century. Howe\'er, it must
in dough or butter. These objects conveyed not only the fundamental icon- be emphasized that the religious milieu held earlier style in such esteem that rep-
ographic basis for the design of Buddhas, deities, and their realms, but also licas were made even centuries later. Despite sensitivity to beauty and high-
reOected the cultural context from \"·:hich the teacher had come. quality workmanship, Tibetans favored iconographic accuracy and stylistic con-
The scarcity of extant dated icons of the early period of Buddhism in Tibet sistency: aesthetic innovation was not a goal in itself. These factors. together with
the anonymity preferred by Tibetan artists and the paucity of dated images.
complicate the study of Tibetan art history. In addition .. these icons must now be
considered as examples isolated from the context of the country where they were
produced, which remains largely inaccessible today.
Vigl/ollgtaka (faciug page). The small image of the protective deity Vignangtaka ..
he who destroys obstacles.. provides a good example of Tibetan skills in repro-
ducing Indian stylistic conventions in sculpture. Like Manjushri, the Bodhisat-
tva of \'\'isdom, his wrathful counterpart Vignangtaka brandishes the "s\vord
\vhich cuts through the clouds of ignorance." Simply dressed in a loin cloth and
scarves, serpents wound about his ankles, this protector is the model of an
Indian hero.. wielding Cl vajra-noose in his left hand to obstruct other demons.
The elephant-headed demon he tramples symbolizes Hindu deities vanquished
by Buddhism and converted into protectors of the faith.
Influence of late Pala India is e,·ident in Vignangtaka's smooth belly and sen-
sual navel as well as his helmet, jewelr)', and scarves. Howen~.r.. this is a solid-cast
image with a hollow base and an unfinished back-factors not prevalcnt in India
but associated with Tibetan images of the twelfth through thirteenth centuries.
A IlillctcCllfh-Cl?1l1Ilry lama (cover). Despite religious conservatism, several
schools of painting developed in Tibet.. following the mastery of individual
painters. In this painting.. we seean example of the Kanna-gar-bris school, char-
acterized by the juxtaposition of large expanses of soljd celor \vith areas of high
detail, and by the use of translucent colors.. sometimes applied in graduated
nuances. The halo of the lama appears to rise from the pale clouds behind his
throne.. enhancing the adept's meditation on the lama as a personification of the
nature of Buddha. The gesture signifies exposition of the Buddha's teachings.
The lama is seated on a throne, offerings and ritual implements placed before
him. The deep green field in which the throne is situated contrasts vividly with
the pale clouds.
The lama's mitre is distinctively associated with one monastic order, and this..
in conjunction with the name inscribed beneath the throne, permits almost cer-
tain historical identification of this master as a nineteenth-century incarnate
lama of the Karma-pa order, Si-tu Chos-kyi rgya-mtsho. Although it is not
uncommon for a name to be re-used by several individuals.. this identification is
nonetheless quite probable and provides a clear example of later development in
Tibetan artistic schools.
• •
In both literature and art, Tibetans have developed their own traditions while
simultaneously preserving the Indian Buddhist heritage. Although \'VE' regard
these objects as testimony to the achievements of the Tibetan historical and cul-
tural milieu, for the Tibetans, who \vere exposed to the Buddha's doctrine over a
millennium after his death.. it is otherwise. For them.. the image embodies the
Vigl/allgtaka, cOllqueror of obstacles; 1)-14111 century; solid-cast brn55
presence of the Buddha, the 'word reveals the immanence of his teachings..
willi polychrome detail alld traces of ill/ay; 7 ilU:1ws high
while the thought of enlightenment remains the constant objective. This triad
-image, word, and thought-constitutes the fundamental expression of the
ideals of Shakyamuni.


The books, manuscripts, paintings, prints, and religious objects at Yale consti-
tute one of the most comprehensive Tibetan collections outside Asia. Yale has
collected Tibetan materials since the mid-1920S when Leonard C. Hanna, 1913,
gave the university a large group of iconographic prints. In 1950, His Holiness the
Fourteenth Dalai Lama presented to Yale a complete set of the Kanjur, the canoni-
cal scriptures of Tibetan Buddhism, in one hundred volumes. EXHIBITION AND INTRODUCTION

Yale's Tibetan Collection continued to grow by purchase, exchange, and the Amy Heller
generous gifts of alumni and friends. In 1967, the collection was greatly enriched
by the bequest of Edna Bryner Schwab, which included religious objects, manu-
Yale University Printing Service
scripts, block-printed texts, tang-kas, bronze images, and books on Tibet.
For many years, the Tibetan Collection at Yale has been overseen by Wesley E. PHOTOGRAPHY

Needham, 1954 Hon., himself a generous donor, who has fostered its growth, Photographic Department, Audio Visual eenter, Yale University
catalogued its contents, and interpreted its holdings for generations of delighted
listeners, students, and scholars.
Historic and Iconographic Aspects
of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag


The Srung-ma dmar-nag, the Red and Black guardians, were initially the two principal religious
protectors of the Dalai Lama lineage, later recognized as protectors of the Tibetan government
Dga'-ldan pho-brang. Their colors red and black reflect the classical division of rites into four
categories (zhi, rgyas, dbang, drag), i.e. white in rites for tranquillity, yellow for prosperity, red for
subjugation, and black for violent rites!). The well-known goddess Dpal-ldan Lha-mo is identified
as the black protector, but the identity of the red protector has been a subject to controversy as
recently as 1986 2 ). The divergent traditions opt for either Rdo-rje grags-ldan, habitually
considered to be an emanation of Pehar, or Beg-tse - both depicted as wrathful red warriors").
Our initial research on the history of these protectors until the death of the Fifth Dalai Lama
(1682) indicated that the controversy stems in part from an historic basis: already the Second Dalai
Lama had associated Lha-mo and Beg-tse as protectors of his personal monastery Chos 'khor rgyal
at a time when Pehar was recognized only as guardian of Bsam-yas; Pehar/Rdo-rje grags-ldan
acquired distinct status as political protector via the Gnas-chung Oracle concommitant with the
emergence of Dga'-ldan pho-brang as a political entity (post 1642)4). In order to determine how
Lha-mo became associated with Gnas-chung and trace the evolution of the Srung-ma dmar-nag
through the present times, we propose to examine here additional iconographic and historic
sources in conjunction with information from contemporary Tibetans.

Iconographic Identification

As of the eighteenth century, the Srung-ma dmar-nag are often represented as protectors in the
lower register of a thang-ka, primarily but not exclusively associated with the Dge-lugs-pa order. In

I) In Tibetan these categories are zhi-ba, rgyas-pa, dbang and dmg. Cr. Dvags-po Rinpoche, "Rituels tibetains", in Dieux et
Demons de I'Himalaya, Paris, 1977, pp. 31-33.
2) The controversy has taken the form of written debate since the 1984 publication by Spel-zur Rdo-rje Nor-bu, Bod
gzhung chos-don drung che khams-sprul 'jam-don la spring-yig bden rdzun rnam dbye mngon-par gsal-ba'i dvangs shel me-long dge
(pp. 101-107, Anupam graphic arts, Jolad oni, Hubli-20, Mungod, India), answered in 1986 by the Council for
Religious and Cultural Affairs of H. H. the Dalai Lama, Chos-rig-ldan-khang nas lan-du ldon-pa'i ched bsgmgs,
Dharamsala, p. I. for the chronology of the debate and pp. 80-87 for the identification of the Srung-ma dmar-nag;
Cr. also the speeches by H. H. the Dalai Lama published under the title Gong-sa skrabs rngon chen-po mchog
nas / chos-skrong bsten phyogs skor bka' slobsnga-17es stsal-ba khag cha tshang phyogs bsdebs zhus-pa, Council for Religious and
Cultural Affairs of H. H. the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, 1986. These materials were brought to our attention following
the oral presentation at Narita and have not been analyzed here.
3) In 1974-1975 Mme Ariane Macdonald, in her courses at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, first drew attention to
this controversy and, quoting Gnas-chung Rinpoche, identified Rdo-rje grags-ldan as the red protector. Her study is
summarized in the Annuaire 1975/1976, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, IVe section, Paris, p. 983-984. Cr. also: E.
Dargyay, 'The White and Red Rong-btsan of Matho Monastery (Ladakh)" in Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 5, pp.
4) Cr. Presentation at the April, 1987 C.J\i.R.S. Colloquium, published in the proceedings volume as A. Heller
"Remarques Preliminaires sur les Srung-ma dmar-nag, divinites protectrices du Potala "in F. Mever (red.), Tibet,
Civilisatwn et Societe, Fondation Singer-Polignac, Paris, 1990, (in press). Our attention was first drawn to this subject bv
research on Beg-tse, to be submitted as a thesis, "Etude sur le developpement de l'iconographie et du culte de Beg-lse,
divinite protectrice tibetaine, VUle au XVIUe siccle" for the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris.
480 Amy HELLER Histone and Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-1ULg 481



Plate 2 Thang-ka of Pehar and his mmlsters, Museum fUr

Volkerkunde, Wien (Beg-tse and Lha-mo at top)
Plate 1 Detail of Kalachakra thang-ka, Viilkerkundemuseum der Universitat
Ziirich (Gnas-chung chos-rgyal, red guardian)
fully extended left armS), although the lasso is most often held against the chest as in plate 1.
The red and black guardians may also appear in the upper register of a thang-ka, such as plate 2
general, Lha-mo is represented riding her mule and the red protector usually stands, crushing where Lha-mo is shown in tandem with Beg-tse flanking Padmasambhava, while the group of
two cadavers, but he may be shown on horseback 5 ). Pehar and his ministers (Brgya-byin, thugs kyi rgyal-po in center) appear below 9 ). An earlier
The typical presentation is illustrated by plate I, a contemporary thang-ka used when H. H. the presentation of Beg-tse as assistant to Lha-mo is shown in plate 3, and detail in plate 4 10 ). The
Dalai Lama conferred the Kalachakra Initiation in 1985, identified thus: "Besides the Kalachakra iconography of Beg-tse directly corresponds to rituals composed by the Second Dalai Lama
meditational deities, the thangka also has the Buddha Sakyamuni at the top flanked on either side (1475-1542) based on earlier texts ll ): Beg-tse is a three-eyed red warrior in full armor, carrying
by H. H. the XIV Dalai Lama and Choegyal Dawa Sangpo. At the bottom are the two guardian sword in right hand, grasping a heart and lungs against his chest while holding lance, bow and
deities, Nechung Choegyal and Paidan Lhamo"ti). The iconography of Gnas-chung chos-rgyal arrow at left shoulder, as he tramples two cadavers; his assistant carries a lance and lasso. Beg-tse
corresponds to a form of Rdo-Ije grags-ldan first attested in undated rituals composed by may also be portrayed wearing a helmet with Hags in addition to the usual armor I2 ); his sword
Gter-bdag gling-pa (1646-1714), describing a standing red warrior wearing armor and helmet sometimes has a distinctive scorpion-shaped handle.
with flags, holding a lance and a lass0 7 ); as a variation, in other examples the lasso is flung from his
5) G. Tucci published a Bka'-brgyud-pa gser-thang showing mounted aspects of the red and black guardians beneath a
'Brug-pa master, cf. plate T, Tibetan painted Saotts, Roma, 1949. In private collections are found other Bka'-brgyud-pa
and Sa-skya-pa thang-kas showing Lha-mo teamed as protector with either Beg-tse or Rdo-rje grags-ldan. To date no 8) Cr. Cover photo of F. Meyer, Tibet, Civilisation et Societe, Paris, 1990.
Rnying-ma-pa or Bon-po thang-ka have been found where Srung-ma dmar-nag are depicted. 9) Wiener Museum fUr Viilkerkunde. We are grateful to the museum for authorizing this reproduction and to our dear
6) We are indebted to Dr. Martin Brauen, curator, for kindly procuring this slide used in Rikon, 1985, from the friend and colleague, the late Dr. Janos Szerb, for kindly taking this photograph. This thang-ka has been analyzed in R.
collections of the Volkerkundemuseum der Universitat Ziirich. The identification is quoted from Tendzin Chhodak, de Nebesky- Wojkowitz, "Das tibetische Staatsorakel", Anhiv fUT VOlkerkunde, Ill, pp. 136-155, illustrated facing p. 144.
Potala Publications, description of Kalachakra Thangkas, replica of the one used for the Kalachakra initiations in R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz again refered to it in Oracles and Demon> of Tibet, Graz, 1975, p. 126.
Rikon (Switzerland) and Bodh Gaya, published on back cover of the Tibetan Review, Vol. XXIV, no. 7, July 1989. It is 10) Asian Arts Museum of San Francisco, inventory no. 62-D32. We are grateful to Dr. Therese Tse Bartholomew,
significant however that there is no inscription on the thang-ka providing the name of the protector, and the certainty curator, for facilitating reproduction of this thang-ka which she has dated as 18th century. Another thang~ka of Lha-mo
of this identification has been questioned in Tibet in 1986, when an icon portraying an identical red protector was with Beg-tse as her acolyte appears in G. Tucci, op. eit., plate 202.
categorically identified as Beg-tse by monks at Dga'-Idan. Cr. A. Helier, op. cit. (1990), pI. 26. 11) For a brief summary of this material, cf. our previous article, "Early Textual Sources for the Cult. of Beg-tse" in H.
7) Gter-bdag gling-pa, Rdo-rJe gmgs-tdan gyi mngon-rtogs 15011.15-'015 gnyis, included in the anthology of rituals for Uebach and J. Panglung (eds.) Tibetan Studies, Munich, 1987, pp. 185-195, while the detailed historic, liturgical and
Gnas-chung monastery, Sa gSUl!! lla mgnoll fiar mtho-ba Rdo-Ije sgHl.dbyangs gling gi zhal 'don bslwng-gso'i rim pa ph.vogs gng iconographic data will be presented in our thesis for the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
tu bsgrigs pa'i ngo-mtshar nOT-bu'i 'phreng-ba skal-bzang gzlwll nu'i mgul-rgyan, The Collected Liturgical Texts of Gnas-ehung 12) Cr. V. Reynolds, A. Helier, and J. Gvatso, Catalogue of the Tihetan Collection ofthe Newark Mweum, vol. Ill, Sculpture and
Rdo-rje sgra-dbyangs-gling, Gangtok, 1969, pp. 71-73. (hencef(mh: Gl1fls-ehung). Painting, Newark, 1986, pI. 15.
482 Amy HELLER Historic atul Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma d7llar-nag 483

Plate 3 Thang-ka of Lha-mo, The Avery Brundage Collection, Plate 4 Detail of Beg-tse (alone) from Lha-mo thang-ka, The
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Accession number 62 D32 Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
(Beg-tse as acolyte)

His Holiness explained that all Tibetan Buddhist schools recognize Lha-mo as the black
Comparison of the attributes and representation of these two red protectors clearly indicates protector, having had this function since the time of Dge- 'dun grub (1391-1474), retroactively
their close ressemblance, and perhaps has contributed to the current controversy over the recognized as the First Dalai Lama. His Holiness noted the demonstration of Lha-mo's influence
identification of the red protector of the Srung-ma dmar-nag. as shown by the appearance of particular visions in the lake Lha-mo bla-mtsho near Chos-'khor
rgyal monastery, citing the vision which led to recognition that he was the incarnation of the
Thirteenth Dalai Lama.
As for the red protector, it is explained that the root of Gnas-chung chos-rgyal is ultimately the
Contemporary Accounts protector Pehar and his manifestations, in particular the 'minister of speech' Rdo-rje grags-Idan.
After quotations from earlier rituals dedicated to the protectors, to trace the history of the
Today still the protective deities have a very significant role and we may surmise that the Srung-ma dmar-nag, it is recalled that Padmasambhava first named Pehar as guardian of
controversy over the identity of the red protector had become quite important, to such an extent Bsam-yas monastery in the eighth century. Further relations were encurred at the time of the
that H. H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama specifically discussed the history and identification of the Second Dalai Lama, with the deity under the name of Gnas-chung 'Od-Idan dkar-po. Once the
Srung-ma dmar-nag as the major topic of an essay in 1973 13 ). This essay identifies Gnas-chung Dalai Lamas had taken the responsibility for Tibet, the principal protectors were then Lha-mo and
and Lha-mo as the red and black guardians. Gnas-chung. The colophon reads "As for the final stanzas (of this essay), according to the desire of
(Lha-mo) 'Dod-khams bdag-mo, the pronouncement came from Rdo-tje grags-Idan (i.e. speaking
through Gnas-chung Oracle) and I, the Buddhist monk Bstan-'dzin rgya-mtsho, transcribed it on
13) Bstan-'dzin rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama X IV, Con sa skyabs mgon dun po mdwg nas Bad skyong l/w srung gi 'phrin hcol dam /dan this first day of the first month of the water-bull (= 1973), Tibetan royal year 2100. Let virtue
myur b!>kulllla'i dgos don dang 'bTeI ba'i Ma' slob. Dharamsala, 1980. Included in the U. S. Library of Congress PL-480 prevail." - in other words, written by H. H. the XIV Dalai Lama upon consultation with
collection under the inventOl'Y number 80-900001, pp. 1-24. The discussion of the sTllng-ma dmar-Ilag begins on p. 15 Gnas-chung Oracle 14).
and continues to the end of this essay. In the context of His Holiness' remarks on the Lha-mo bla'rmsho, Sir Charles
Bell has discussed this lake and Lha-mo as principal guardian of the Tibetan Government in his Portrait of a Dalai 14) Bstan-'dzin rgya-rmsho. op. cit. p. 23: Mjug gi siw-Ia-ka gfig ni 'Dod khams hdag mo'i bzherl-pa ItaI' Rda-IJe gmgs-lrlan nm
Lama, The Life and Times of the Great Thirteenth. (London. 1946 and 1987) gsungs bris byas 11a yinl Shakya'i rlge-slong Bstan-'dzin rgya mtshos 1 bod rgyallo 2100 chu-glallg zla 1 tshes 1 dge ba la 11.
484 Amy HELLER
1 Historic and Iconographic Alpects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag 485

Thus, there is a clear, categoric identification of the Srung-ma dmar-nag in 1973. This is now
the authoritative identification and history as dictated by the Oracle. However, in personal
interviews, variant accounts of the history and identification have been given by knowledgeable
Among the authorities consulted, Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa, former Finance Minister of the
Tibetan government and political historian, considered that the Srung-ma dmar-nag are to be
identified as Beg-tse and Lha-mo I5 ). Mr. Shakabpa was a secretary to the official search party for
the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama which visited the lakes Lha-mo bla-mtsho and the
nearby Beg-tse bla-mtsho to seek information leading to the discovery of the Fourteenth Dalai
Lama. Historically, Mr. Shakabpa traced the origins of the Srung-ma dmar-nag to the Second
Dalai Lama, who, after death and before rebirth, "visited Padmasambhava's Zangs-mdog-dpal ri
paradise where he found that Beg-tse and Lha-mo followed him all around, so, when born as the
Third Dalai Lama, he set them up as Srung-ma dmar-nag." This account is corroborated by the
biography of the Third Dalai Lama, where a detailed iconographic description of the two
protectors is found just prior to the birth of the Third Dalai Lama - but it is to be noted that no
names are supplied in this passage l6 ), ·1

Again according to Mr. Shakabpa, Beg-tse and Lha-mo as Srung-ma dmar-nag would be ! Plate 5 Flag of Beg-tse, Sammlung Heinrich Harrer,
attested in the writings of Klong-rdol bla-ma and Sle-Iung bzhad-pa'i rdo-rje, two 18th century Viilkerkundemuseum der Universitiit Zurich.
Tibetan historians, Checking this, although there is no specific mention of the term Srung-ma 1

dmar-nag which seems to date only from the 20th century, Klong-rdol bla-ma has written that
since the time of the Second Dalai Lama Beg-tse was appointed guardian of Chos 'khor-rgyal
monastery and Bkra-shis Ihun- po I7), while Sle-Iung stated that Beg-tse is the principal religious
and political protector of the Tibetan government I8 ).
The divergent traditions of the Srung-ma dmar-nag have also been mentioned by several
contemporary Dge-Iugs-pa authorities, naming either Beg-tse or Rdo-rje grags-Idan as the
Srung-ma dmar-po I9). It is significant that Nebesky-Wojkowitz noted an oral tradition that
Rdo-rje grags-Idan was an emanation of Beg-tse, while Mme Ariane Macdonald quoted
Gnas-chung Rinpoche for the identification of Rdo-rje grags-Idan as the red protector of the
Srung-ma dmar-nag, stipulating that he was the Fifth Dalai Lama's 'khrungs-pa'i lha, god of the
birthplace 20 ). In interviews Dvags-po Rinpoche considered that Beg-tse was clearly the original
red protector but noted that in some traditions Beg-tse was later replaced by Rdo-rje grags-Idan.
Dvags-po Rinpoche had personally visited the lake Beg-tse bla-mtsho. He stated that the Second
Dalai Lama had met Beg-tse at this lake 2ll . Dvags-po Rinpoche further noted that during the

15) Private communication from Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa, February 7, 1981 and May 10, 1981. The texts of the two
interviews are in possession of the author.
16) We refer the reader to our initial study, "Remarques preliminaires sur les divinites Srung-ma dmar-nag du Potala" (cf.
note 4) for analysis and translation of certain passages from the Third Dalai Lama's biography, while reserving
discussion of the Third Dalai Lama's relation with Beg-tse for our thesis of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
17) Klong-rdol bla-ma, Bstan srung rgya mtsllO rning pangs, gSung 'bum, ya, p. 1260...Rgyal-ba Dge 'dun rgya-rntsho sogs kyi dus
Chos 'khor rgyal dang bKra-shis lhun po la sogs pa gtad-pa'i c1ws skyong Beg-tse....
18) Sle-Iung bzhad-pa'i rdo-rje, Dam can bstan srung rgya mtsho'i rnam par thar pa... Bhutan, 1976, p. 417, Gnod sbyin chen po
zangs kyi Beg-tse can.... dga'-ldan pho-bmng gi chos .md kyi gnver kha thams cad dang du bzhes pa'i chas srung ,hen po 'di... Full
discussion of the remarks of Sle-Iung and Klong-rdol will be forthcoming in our thesis for the Ecole Pratique des
Hautes Etudes.
19) Among Dge-Iugs pa authorities consulted, we are gratefully indebted to Dvags-po Rinpoche Byams-pa rgya mtsho, Plate 6 Flag of Lha-mo, Sammlung Heinrich Harrer, Viilkerkun-
Ngag dbang Grags pa, Yon-tan Rgya-mtsho (Paris). and Mtshan-zhabs Rinpoche (Zlirich) for discussing this subject demuseum der Universitiit Zurich.
with us. We have also consulted Dagyab (Brag-g.yab) Rinpoche Blo-Idan Shes-rab, who, in the accompanying essay to
the 1984 Thang-ka Calendar. Editions Baader. Stuttgart, had identified a thang-ha showing the Srung-ma dmar-nag. lifetime of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama (1876---1933), two stones (bla-rdo) were found at Chos 'khor
We also disucssed this tradition with Yen. Bdud-joms Rinpoche, Ngor Thar-rtse Rinpoche Hiroshi Sonami and Dr.
Samten Karmay. We take this opportunity to thank them all for their generosity.
rgyal, one inscribed with the seed syllable k,'Yee for Beg-tse, and one inscribed with Lha-mo's seed
20) R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles ana Demons of Tibet. Graz. 1975. p. 125; A. Macdonald, op. ,it. p. 984: "Gnas-chung syllable, bhyo. Both stones were brought to the palace Norbu Gling-ka, as testimony to the
rin-po-che m'a dit que le protecteur rouge etait Rdo-rje grags-Idan, en precisant qu'il etait le 'khrungs-pa'i lha, le dieu continued vigilance of the two protectors 22 ). These two flags (plates 5 and 6), ostensibly dating
du pavs natal du Ve Dalai Lama".
21) This was corroborated in a separate interview with Song Rinpoche, former official of Dga'-ldan monastery, conducted 22) We are particularly grateful to Dvags-po Rinpoche for granting successive interviews in 1978, 1987, and 1988. The
by Tsenshab Rinpoche in 197/i. story of the stones is also summarized in the biography of the XlIIth Dalai Lama, p. 254 in the edition 'Khnmgs-rabs;
486 AmyHELLER Historic and Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag 487

from early 20th century, show the two syllables bhyo and kyee with distinctive attributes for Lha-mo you,,31). In the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's essay, this name is used when tracing the history of
and Beg-tse, notably the scorpion handle sword 23 ). . Gnas-chung and Pehar 32 ). But does the deity's very name - Rdo-rje 'Od-ldan dkar po, the vajra of
In addition, our esteemed colleague, Dr. Samten Karmay, has recently summarized the white brilliance - signify that he is a white manifestation, such as Pehar himself? There is also
situation thus: J;>uring the lifetime of the Fifth Dalai Lama, his two principal religious protectors explicit recognition of Beg-tse on separate occasions during the Dalai Lama's childhood 33 ). Most
were Dpal-ldan Lha-mo and Beg-tse. Later the red protector became identified as Pehar of significantly, when the Third Dalai Lama was twelve, in 1555, he has many dreams where deities
Gnas-chung 24 ). appear 34 ). In one dream, the Third Dalai Lama recognized Beg-tse as his personal protector.
Later in the same year, and again in 1558, the Gnas-chung oracle appears, stating that he is a
form of Pehar and works as Padmasambhava's assistant (bka'-sdod). Thus, although Lha-mo and
Pehar are not teamed as a pair, both are attested as the attendants of Padmasambhava by this
Historic Sources biography. When a detailed description of Pehar and his manifestations is given, there is no red
warrior 35 ). In 1570, the Third Dalai Lama consecrated major images of Lha-mo and Beg-tse at
According to the biography of the First Dalai Lama (1391-1474), immediately after his birth a Chos 'khor rgyaI 36 ). It is specified that these images reflect the practices of the Second Dalai Lama
crow suddenly appeared on the roof of the house and remained as a sign of protection from at Chos 'khor rgyal.
Mgon-po zhal-bzhi (the Four Faced Mahakala)25). Just after his monastic vows in 1410, and several These few passages of the biography of the Third Dalai Lama demonstrate that a model of the
times throughout his life, Lha-mo, especially in the form Lha-mo Dmag zor-ma, appeared in his Srung-ma dmar-nag is attested. The importance of Lha-mo is clear. Beg-tse is the red warrior
dreams 26 ), as did Mgon-po zhal-bzhi 27 ). These are the two major protectors - both black - attested named as guardian of the Dalai Lama, while no red warrior form of Pehar is yet found. The
by this biography, composed by a student of the First Dalai Lama in 1494. association of Beg-tse and Lha-mo at Chos 'khor rgyal is clarified. It would appear that Beg-tse was
In the late fifteenth century, Lha-mo and Beg-tse are both important for the Second Dalai then the model for the description of the anonymous red protector and functioned as principal
Lama. Checking his collected works (gsung 'bum), we find a major history and rituals for Lha-mo, red protector. As yet, however, the evidence is not conclusive.
and three rituals for Beg-tse in his usual aspect. Beg-tse is worshipped alone or as an attendant to We must recall that the Fifth Dalai Lama is the author of the Third Dalai Lama's biography, and
Hayagriva. These two are the only red male wrathful gods here. To date we have found only one it is therefore important to trace the Srung-ma dmar-nag in other works he composed.
reference to Pehar, called guardian of Bsam-yas, in tile entire gsung 'bum. There are no specific According to the Fifth Dalai Lama's general autobiography, throughout his life, rituals for
rituals dedicated to Gnas-chung 'Od Idan dkar-po, Pehar or his manifestations the Rgyal-po Lha-mo and Beg-tse, sometimes in conjunction with Mgon-po zhal-bzhi, are successively
Sku-lnga in the gsung 'bum of the Second Dalai Lama 28 ). performed at Chos 'khor-rgyaI 37 ); upon his death, Lha-mo and Beg-tse are the principal
Proceeding chronologically, we have already mentioned one passage describing the model of protectors entrusted with responsibility for his funerary monument 38 ). The Fifth Dalai Lama
the Srung-ma dmar-nag from the biography of the Third Dalai Lama (1543-1588), written by the often consulted the Gnas-chung Oracle speaking for Pehar in Lhasa. The medium's appearance as
Fifth Dalai Lama in 1646. It is noteworthy that later in the biography, on separate occasions, Pehar's oracle - wearing red armour and helmet, holding many weapons - is described in a ritual
Lha-mo is called the attendant (bka'-sdod) of Padmasambhava29 ). Her protection of Chos 'khor composed in 1651 by the Fifth Dalai Lama39 ). In yet another ritual dedicated to Pehar, probably
rgyal is attested 30). All traditions indeed concur that Dpal-ldan Lha-mo is the black protector. also composed in 1651, the Fifth Dalai Lama specified that praise should be made to Pehar and his
But was Beg-tse the red protector for the Third Dalai Lama? To determine this, we must return manifestations as emanations (sprul-pa) of Beg-tse40 ), which corroborates R. de Nebesky-
to the biography of the Third Dalai Lama to see how Beg-tse and Pehar appear there. In 1544, age Wojkowitz's remark that some Tibetans regarded Rdo-rje grags-ldan as an emanation of
one, bSod nams rgya mtsho goes to 'Bras-spungs where at the Gnas-chung chapel, the great Beg-tse41 ). It is noteworthy that in the Fifth Dalai Lama's most detailed ritual for Pehar, Rdo-rje
protector Rdo-rje 'Od-ldan dkar-po tells him, "0 friend, ... wherever you may go, I will be with
31) Ibid., fo!. 19b-20a.
vo!. v: (cf. note 74 infra). Cf. also A. Macdonald, op. cit., p. 982, who discusses Dvags-po Rinpoche's religious 32) Cf. A. Macdonald, op. cit., p. 983 for a discussion of 'Od-Idan dkar-po in relation to Pehar during the life of the Third
affiliations and his personal links with the family of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. and Thirteenth Dalai Lamas.
23) Sammlung Heinrich Harrer, Viilkerkundemuseum der Universitiit Zurich inv. no. 14910 and 14911. We thank Dr. 33) Dngos grub shing rta. fo!. 23b
Martin Brauen, curator, for authorization to publish these. 34) Ibid, fo!. 39b.
24) S. G. Karmay, Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama. London, 1988, p. 74. 35) Ibid, fo!. 43b for the oracle declaring his relation with Padmasambhava and Pehar, and fo!. 62b-63a for the detailed
25) Ye-shes rtse-mo, Rje thams-cad mkhyen-pa Dge 'dun grub-pa dpal bzang-po'i rnam-thar ngo mtshar rmad byung nor-bu'i description of Pehar and his emanations.
'phreng-ba (in 'Khrungs-rabs series, vo!. 1, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 207-300), p. 214. 36) Ibid, fo!. 84a
26) Ibid, pp. 222 (1410), 230 (1431: dream of a richly decorated girl after gtor-ma of Lha-mo dmag zor-ma), 236, 244 37) Autobiography of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Dukula gos-bzang, vo!. Ka, 305a, 312a, 335a-b; vo!. Kha. 154a, 174a, 194a,
(1444). 220a-b, 232a-b, 257b, 263b; vo!. Ga. 5a, 37a. for successive rituals performed at Chos 'khor rgyal and its hermitage for
27) Ibid, pp. 234 (dream), 243 (appearance in vision ca. 1443). Lha-mo and Beg-tse. These are often accompanied by rituals for Gur-gyi-mgon po and Mgon-po zhal-bzhi. In 1676,
28) Dge 'dun rgya-mtsho, Khyab-bdag Rdo-rje 'chang chen po'i ngo-bo grub-pa'i dbang-phyug rje btsun bla ma Kun dga' we note the association of Lha-mo with Beg-tse as a team of protectors in another biography written by the Fifth Dalai
rgyal-mtshan dpal bzang po'i ngo-mtshar ba'i rnam thar mdo tsam du brjod pa nor-bu'i them skas, fo!. 1-40 (=Tohoku Catalogue Lama, cf. Rigs dang dkyil 'khor kun gyi khyab bdag Rdo-rje '-chang blo-gsal rgya-mtsho grags-pa rgyal-mtshal dpal bzang-po'i
no. 5544), fo!. 2b: Slob-dpon Padma 'b~ung gnas kyis.. .'Ba 'ta-hor gyi sgom grva bcom nas Rgyal-po Spe-dkar bSam-yas kyi rnam-par thar-pa slob bshad bstan-pa'i nyi-od, (=Tohoku Cat. no. 5599), fo!. 30a-b.
gtsug-lag-khan gi srung-mar spyan drangs/ 'The teacher Padmasambhava having conquered the meditation college of 38) (Sde-srid) Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho, Mchod-sdong chen-po 'dzam-gling rgyan-gcig rten gtsug lag khang gru rdzings byin rlabs
Batahor then invited Rgyal-po Spe-dkar as the protector of the temple of Bsam-yas." We thank the Beinecke Rare kyi bang mdzod, Delhi, 1982, vo!. 11, pp. 80-82. Detailed discussion of this passage is reserved for our thesis while a
Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, for authorization to quote from this xylograph in their collections. summary is found in our preliminary study (cf. note 4).
29) Ngag-dbang Blo-bzang rgya-mtsho, Rje btsun Thams-cad mkhyen pa bsod-nams rgya mtsho'i rnam thar dngos grub rgya-mtsho'i 39) Fifth Dalai Lama, Chos rgyal chen po'i gsol-kha rgyal-pas mkhyen brtse-ma, in Gnas-chung, pp. 73-76; Colophon on p. 76
shing rta, fo!. 109 (henceforth: Dngos grub shing-rta), fo!. 60b.... 'Dod khams dbang mo dmag zor ma / de yang Rgyal dbang giving date of 1651.
Padma 'byung gnas kyi bka' sdod /.... For purposes of clarity, we are here obliged to refer to some passages already 40) Fifth Dalai Lama, Sprul-pa'i chos-rgyal cI!en-po la mchod gtor 'bul tshul (in Gsung-'bum, vo!. Da, pp. 64b-67a, and also
discussed in our preliminary study of this subject while the passages on Beg-tse are fully analysed in our thesis (cf. note edited in Gnas-chung. pp. 84-87.
4). 41) This is also corroborated by a passage in the Fifth Dalai Lama's record of visions, Gsang-ba'i rnam-thar rgya-can-ma, Leh,
30) Ibid, fo!. 77b 1972, pp. 278-280 as discussed in our previous study.
488 Amy HELLER Historic and Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag 489

grags-Idan appears wearing monastic robes and riding a camel42 ). It is only later that Rdo-rje grags-Idan and the Second Dalai Lama had attained firm status by mid-eighteenth century, and
grags-Idan as a red warrior is. first described, in rituals by Gter~bdag gling-pa, 1646-1714, a for some, completely eclipsed the relation between the Second Dalai Lama and Beg-tse.
student of the Fifth Dalai Lama 43 ). This is the form in which Rdo-rje grags-Idan is identified with The Eighth Dalai Lama (1758-1804), born in Gtsang, had Li-byin ha-ra as 'khrungs-pa'i Iha 52 ).
the Gnas-chull'g Oracle and recognized as protector of the Dalai Lama. During childhood he received initiations for Lha-mo and Beg-tse in childhood from the Panchen
The Fifth Dalai Lama's regent, Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho, wrote an account of the early Lama residing near his birthplace 53 ). Dgra-Iha 'Od-Idan dkar-po is the god who frequently
life of the Sixth Dalai Lama, composed ca.1702. Shortly after birth, Rdo-rje grags-Idan - red, possessed the Gnas-chung medium at this time; a ritual for Dgra-Iha 'Od-Idan dkar-po was then
holding lasso and lance - appears as the personal guardian deity of the Sixth Dalai Lama. But at part of the Smon-Iam gtor-rgyag ceremony54). The Eighth Dalai Lama visited Chos 'khor rgyal for
age 11, the Sixth Dalai Lama has a vision of Lha-mo, and then dreams of Beg-tse holding a sword one month in 1778, where he principally venerated Lha-mo dmag zor_ma55 ).
and a lasso, as the chief of the male lineage of protectors. To celebrate his arrival in Tibet, rituals The Ninth Dalai Lama (1806-15) was a native of Khams; the god of his birthplace is called
specifically for Lha-mo and Beg-tse are performed at Chos 'khor rgyal. Such rituals are enacted khrungs-lha mdung dmar-can, possibly a reference to Bse-khrab, the wrathful, red form of
throughout his lifetime 44 ). Tshangs-pa 56 ). He later identified himself with Gnas-chung57 ). A very important vision of Lha-mo
Thang-kas of both Sixth and Seventh Dalai Lama with Beg-tse as protector are known 45 ). and Gnas-chung occurred in 1810 58 ).
Indeed, when the Seventh Dalai Lama (1708-57) visited Chos 'khor rgyal in 1754, he visited the The Tenth Dalai Lama (1816-1837), born in the Li-thang district, had an early childhood vision
lakes of Lha-mo and Beg-tse~). Almost every year of his life, he began the New Year's ceremonies of Lha-mo and Mgon-po zhal-bzhi, whose principal assistant is Beg-tse, as his personal protectors
with rites for Lha-mo Dmag zor-ma in his Potala chambers 47 ).In the Potala, a special thang-ka of and friends 59 ). The oracle of Bse-khrab stated that he was responsible for the protection of the
Lha-mo dmar zor ma, called "Lha-mo's talking thang-ka" (Lha mo gsung-byon-ma sku) and Potala and the Dalai Lama through age 6 60 ). In the Potala, the special "talking thang-ka" (sku-thang
attributed to the Second Dalai Lama, was particularly venerated 48 ). At the conclusion of Smon-Iam gsung byon-ma) of Lha-mo dmag zor ma was sometimes consulted for oracles 61). When the Tenth
festival, a gtor-bzlog ceremony, invoking Lha-mo and Beg-tse to eliminate evil in the coming year, Dalai Lama visited Gnas-chung, Dgra-Iha 'Od-Idan dkar-po appeared, but rituals invoking
was performed 49 ). Nonetheless, upon the death of the Seventh Dalai Lama, to ensure the Rdo-rje grags-Idan were also made 62 ). Among signs of his imminent death, the cry of the owl, an
succession at a moment when the oracle had not been able to enter trance, the De-mo Regent omen associated with Beg-tse, was heard in Lhasa63 ).
wrote a ritual in praise of Gnas chung chos-rgyal and Rdo-rje grags-Idan 50 ). In the ritual's The Eleventh Dalai Lama (1838-1856), a native of Mgar-thar in Khams, was also personally
colophon, the Regent writes, " ... As for this great protector of the Dalai Lama, since the time of protected by Bse-khrab, traditionally responsible for this district 64 ). During his life, the oracle
the omniscient Dge 'dun rgya mtsho, the protector has maintained an unbroken bridge of Gnas-chung was consulted, generally referred to as "Gnas-chung chos-skyong chen-po" by the
protection of the continuing succession .... as the extraordinary protector against enemies biographer65 ). During his visit to Chos 'khor rgyal, relics for Lha-mo and Beg-tse are mentioned,
(dgra-lha thun mong ma yin pa)"51). It is thus clear that the tradition of a relation between Rdo-rje and the monastery is referred to as the "personal monastery of the Dalai Lama.,,66).
The Twelfth Dalai Lama (1856-75), a native of 'Ol-dga' not far from Chos 'khor rgyal and
Bsam-yas, was recognized in part due to signs from Chos 'khor rgyaI 67 ). The Lha-mo sku-thang
42) Fifth Dalai Lama, Rgyal-po chen po sde lnga gsol mchod 'bul tshul 'phrin las 'gags-med rdo-rje sgra dbyangs, in Gnas-chung, pp.
12---45, p. 23 describing Rdo-rje grags-Idan in monastic robes riding a camel; Cf. also the ritual by the Fifth Dalai 52) A. Macdonald, op. cit., p. 981. On Li-byin ha-ra, Cf. R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op. cit. (1975), p. 25 passim.
Lama, based on Myang-ral's gter-ma, 'Phrin las don beu-ma, ibid, pp. 49-71 where pp. 52 and 67 describe this form. 53) Ngag-shod bla-ma Bstan-'dzin shes-rab, Rgyal-ba'i dbang-po thams-cad mkhyen gzigs chen-po rje-btsun blo-bzang bstan-pa'i
43) Cf. supra note 11. There is no date mentioned in the colophon of this ritua!. Consultation of Gter-bdag gling-pa's dbang phyug Jam-dpal rgyal-mtsho dpal bzang-po'i zhal snga nas kyi rnam-par thar-pa mdo-tsam brjod-pa 'Dzam-gling tha-gru
gsan-yig has not revealed a lineage of transmission for this form of Rdo-rje grags-Idan, which would tend to confirm yangs-pa'i rgyan, (in 'Khrungs rabs series, vo!. Ill, pp. 477-628, Dharamsala, 1984), p. 496.
that this warrior aspect had its origin in a vision of Gter-bdag gling-pa, or possibly a vision of the Fifth Dalai Lama with 54) Ibid, p. 520.
whom he studied as of age 11. 55) Ibid, pp. 516 passim.
44) We thank Dr. Michael Aris, who has been preparing a study of the life of the Sixth Dalai Lama, for calling our 56) Rgyud smad dbu mdzad 'Jam dpal tshul khrims and Bde yangs rab 'byams Skal-bzang chos 'phel, Rgyal-ba'i dbang-po
attention to this source: Sde srid Sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho, Thams cad mkhyen pa drug pa Blo bzang rin-chen thams-cad mkhyen-pa blo-bzang bstan-pa'i 'byung gnas Ngag-dbang Lung-rtogs rgya-mtsho dpal bzang-po'i zhal snga nas kyi
Tshangs-dbyangs rgya-mtsho'i thun mong phyi'i rnam par thar pa du-ku-la'i 'phro 'thud rab gsal gser gyi snye-ma, vo!. I-ll, Delhi, rnam-par thar-pa mdor mtshon-pa Dad-pa'i yid 'phrong (in 'Khrungs-rabs series, vo!. Ill, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 627-759),
1980. Aris refers to the guardianship of Rdo-rje grags-Idan on p. 129 in Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives, London, p. 656; for clarification of Bse-khrab as protector of Khams, cf. infra, section on the Eleventh Dalai Lama.
1989, and refers to fol 92b-93b (this equals vo!. 1, p. 184 of the Tibetan text). The dream of Beg-tse as the chief 57) Ibid, p. 646 passim.
masculine protector occurs in 1695, vo!. I, p. 261. For passages on worship of Lha-mo and Beg-tse, cf. inter alia, vol I, 58) Ibid, pp. 670-672 passim.
p. 261, 267, 316 vo!. ll, p. 138. .,9) Dar-han mkhan-sprul Blo-bzang 'phrin-Ias rnam-rgyal, Rgyal-ba' dbang-po thams-cad mkhyen gzigs bcu-pa chen-po
45) Cf. Cover of M. Aris, op. cit for a portrait of the Sixth Dalai Lama with Beg-tse as protector, from the collection of the Ngag-dbang blo-bzang 'jam-dpal bstan-'dzin Tshul-khrims rgya-mtso dpal-bzang-po'i rnam-par thar-pa Ngo-mtshar nor-bu'i
Stockholm Museum; for the Seventh Dalai Lama, slide of a thang-ka at 'Bras-spungs photographed in 1980, in the 'phreng-ba (in Khrungs-rabs series, vo!. IV, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 1-293), p. 30.
collection of The Newark Museum. 60) Ibid, p. 48.
46) Lcang-skya Ho-thog-thu, Rgyal-pa'i dban-po thams-cad rnkhyen gzigs rdo-rje 'chang Blo-bzang bskal-bzang rgya-mtsho dpal 61) Ibid, p. 113 and 116.
bzang-po'i zhal snga nas kyi rnam-par thar-pa mdo-tsam brjod-pa dpag-bsam rin-po-che'i snye-ma (in Khrungs-rabs series, vo!. 62) Ibid, p. 131 for 'Od-Idan dkar-po present at Gnas-chung; p. 171 for ritual dedicated to Gnas-chung sprul-pa'i
Ill, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 1-476), p. 406. rgyal-chen Rdo-rje grags-Idan.
47) Cf. Ibid, pp. 427, 441. 63) Ibid, p. 276 for the hoot of the owl as omen; cf. R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op. cit. (1975), p. 93 for the association of the
48) Ibid, p. 441. owl and its cry as signs of Beg-tse.
49) Ibid, pp. 447-448. 64) Dar han sprul-sku Blo-bzang 'phrin-Ias rnam-rgyal, Lhar bcas skye rgu'i gtsug nor 'phags chen phug na Padmo rje btsun
50) The author is De-mo Ngag-dbang 'Jam-dpal, regent of Tibet from 1757-1777. The full title of the ritual is Gnas-chung Ngag-dbang bskal bzang bstan-pa'i sgron-me Mkhas-grub rgya-mtsho dpal bzang-po'i rnam-par thar-pa Ngo-mtshar lha'i rol-mo
sprul-pa'i chos rgyal chen po Rdo-r}e grags-ldan 'khor bcas dbu-'phangs bstod cing mnga' gsol-ba'i 'phrin bcos kun gsal shis-pa dbyangs-can rgyud-du snyan-pa'i tambu-ra (in 'Khrungs-rabs series, vo!. IV, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 295-469), p. 299.
brjod-pa'i sgra dbyangs, in Gnas-chung, pp. 161-163. 65) Ibid, p. 394, 403, for rituals or consultation of the Gnas-chung chos-skyong.
51) Cf. E. Gene Smith, "Preface" to Gnas-chung, p. 3, and "Introduction" to vo!. I, Collected Works of Thu'u Bkwan Blo-bzang 66) Ibid, pp. 412-421 for the visit to Chos 'khor rgyal, p. 421: Skyabs mgon thams-cad mkhyen shing gzigs pa chen po gdan-sa
chos-kyi-nyi-ma, Delhi, 1969, p. 8, for the circumstances of the Oracles at the time of the Seventh Dalai Lama's death. chen-po Chos 'khor rgyal...; relics of Lcam-sring (i.e. Beg-tse) mentionned p. 416.
The colophon of the De-mo regent's ritual is quoted from Gnas-chllng, p. 162: sprul-pa'i chos-rgyal chen po 'di nyid.. .'di 67) Sgo-mang mtshan-shabs ngag-dbang blo-bzang, Lhar bcas srid-zhi'i gtsug-rgyan rgyal-mchog ngur-smrig 'chang-ba
nyid kyang gzugs-can gyi khog tu ma phebs-shing / rgyal-ba'i bstan srung chen-po 'di ni / Thams-cad mkhyen-pa Dge 'dun beu-gnyis-pa chen-po'i rnam-par thar-pa rgya-mtsho lta-bu las mdo-tsam brjod-pa Dvangs-shel me-long (in 'Khrungs-rabs, vo!.
rgya-mtsho nas bzung rgyal-ba zam ma-chad-pa rim-byon gyi sku'i srung-rna ...dgra lha mthun-mongs (sic) ma yin-pa'i stabs /. IV, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. 471-720), p. 480.
490 Amy HELLER Historic and Iconographic Aspects of the Protective Deities Srung-ma dmar-nag 491

gsung-byon ma was also venerated during his life 68 ), while the gate of Zhol, at the base of the the flag, but no specific names were given for the two protectors81l/82). The Thirteenth Dalai lama
Potala, is called the shrine of both Beg-tse and Rdo-rje grags-Idan 69 ). Notably, just before he took did write a ritual expressing his personal veneration of Lha-mo and Rdo-rje grags-Idan as an
monastic vows in 1864, the Lha-mo thang-ka was consulted 70 ); afterwards, in the procession emanation of Pehar, but the name Srung-ma dmar-nag was not used therein 83l . Beg-tse's
around Lhasa,.he passed through the gate of Zhol, invoking Lha-mo and Rdo-rje grags-rgyal ma continuous importance for the Thirteenth Dalai Lama is shown when the Dalai Lama prepared to
(protectress of 'Bras-spungs), then Beg-tse and Rdo-rje grags-Idan 71 ). In Gnas-chung, Dgra-Iha leave Lhasa in the face of the British invasion of 1904, and Beg-tse appeared just outside the
'Od-Idan dkar-po often~ossessed the medium 72 ). During the Twelfth Dalai Lama's visit to Chos Potala in the form of an owl to implore the Dalai Lama not to leave Tibet84 ). As omens of his
'khor rgyal, he had clear visions of Lha-m0 73 ), When he suddenly became ill shortly after approaching death, the cry of the owl is heard for two nights in the vicinity of Gnas-chung 85 ). The
returning to Lhasa, the Gnas-chung oracle was consulted. The oracle was present in the same appearance of this specific sign of Beg-tse near the Gnas-chung monastery is quite possibly
room when the Twelfth Dalai Lama died, having had a final vision of the wrathful Lha-mo with an referential to the tradition associating Rdo-rje grags-Idan with Beg-tse,
anonymous warrior attendant 74 ). Certainly, as indicated by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's essay, Rdo-rje grags-Idan is now the
According to the biography of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, the Lha-mo bla-mtsho was consulted protector of choice of H. H. the Dalai Lama86 ). Beg-tse's emanation of Rdo-rje grags-Idan is
for visions to find the new incarnation 75 ). Lha-mo and Beg-tse were worshipped at Chos 'khor apparently not widely known, But a recent biographical sketch of the current medium for Rdo-rje
rgyal throughout his life 76 ) and Chos 'khor rgyal was again called the personal monastery of the grags-Idan indicates that at Gnas-chung, a reflection of this tradition is well known 87 ). We have
Dalai Lama lineage 77 ). In Lhasa, the Gnas-chung oracle, serving as medium to the protectors noticed the scorpion handle of Beg-tse's sword - and to our knowledge, only Beg-tse and a
Dgra-Iha 'Od-Idan dkar-po and Rdo-rje grags-Idan, was invoked to make prophecies 78l . The term particular form of Lha-m0 88 ) have this sword, while the wrathful form of Padmasambhava, Guru
Srung-ma dmar-nag is first attested, to our knowledge, in the biography of the Thirteenth Dalai Drag-po, holds a scorpion. According to the medium of Rdo-rje grags-Idan, among the earliest
Lama where the Srung-ma dmar-nag are venerated in conjunction with Li-byin-ha-ra 79 ). The role signs indicating the protector's manifestation, a scorpion mysteriously appeared and "the
of the Srung-ma dmar-nag in Lhasa New Year's ceremonies during the life of the Thirteenth appearance of a scorpion was the familiar sign of Dorje Drakden (sic)"89). It is quite possible that
Dalai Lama has been previously described, notably by Mme Ariane Macdonald Spanien. this characteristic reflects Beg-tse's emanation of Rdo-rje grags-Idan as his attendant.
To summarize this examination of the history of the Srung-ma dmar-nag, it would appear that
"L'image des deux protecteurs du gouvernement, peinte sur des etendards roules, est portee par les through the lifetime of the Second Dalai Lama, Beg-tse and Lha-mo served as major protectors at
deux generaux qui conduisent les corps d'armee, le 24e jour du premier mois, au moment du gtor-rgyag, Chos 'khor rgyal; Pehar was then guardian of Bsam-yas. The Third Dalai Lama called Beg-tse his
lancer d'une arme magique contre les ennemis, ceremonie a laquelle participe le dieu de Gnas-chung
dans son medium en transes"SO), 81) Tibetan National Flag. Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, 1980 (no author, no pagination). In the
section 'grel-bshad: rigs kyi kha-dog dmar-po dang / nam-mkha'i kha dog sngo-nag spel-bas ring-nas 'go-ba'i lha-srung dmar-nag
gnyis kyis bstan srid srung skyong gi 'phrin las g.yel med du sgrub pa mtshon. Translation in the section 'Explanation of the
The very fact that these standards (srung ma dmar-nag gi rten mdung) were not unrolled, symbolism of the Tibetan National Flag, no. 3': "The alternating red colour of the peoples and the dark blue color of
rendering the images impossible to see, probably also contributed to the controversy surrounding the sky symbolise the unrelentless accomplishments of the virtuous conduct to guard and protect the spiritual and
the identification of the Srung-ma dmar-po. When the Thirteenth Dalai Lama standardized the secular rule enacted by the two protector-deities, one red and one black, who have safeguarded from old." Although
no author is named, on the frontespiece of the brochure one reads "Authorized and approved by the Kashag of H. H.
Tibetan flag, the Srung-ma dmar-nag were prominently symbolized by the red and black stripes of the XIV Dalai Lama." It is interesting to note the translation "two protector deities, one red and one black, who have
safeguarded from old" for 'go-ba'i lha-srung dmar-nag gnyis, which we understand to refer to the srung-ma dmar-nag as
68) Ibid, p, 512, 529, the 'go-ba'i lha, i.e. inherent protective deities, body gods (presumably of H. H. the Dalai Lama). On the role of the
69) Ibid, p, 516. 'go-ba'i lha, cf. R. A. Stein, La Civilisation Tibetaine. Paris, 1981, pp. 195-198.
70) Ibid, p. 548. 82) A photograph of the flag taken ca. 1940 is found in R. Tung, A Portrait of Lost Tibet, New York, 1980, pI. 33 with the
71) Ibid, p. 552. On Rdo-rje grags-rgyal-ma cf. A. Macdonald, op. cit., p. 982 for her role as gzhi-bdag of Dge-'phel-ri near following caption: "The Tibetan flag is symbolically significant. The twelve stripes of red and blue represent the twelve
'Bras-spungs, and R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op. cit. (1975), p. 182 passim. nomadic tribes from which the Tibetans are said to have descended. They also represent the red god Chamsing and
72) Ibid, rituals and consultations pp. 559, 587, 603. the blue god Maksorma." In presonal communication, Ms. Tung has explained that Tse-pon Shakabpa was the source
73) Ibid, pp. 657-663 passim for visit to Chos 'khor rgyal; p. 663 Chos 'khor rgyal is referred to as the Dalai Lama's of this information.
personal monastery: Chos 'khor rgyal 'di Rgyal-dbang mchog gi gdan-sa khyad par can. 83) Phur-lcog Yongs-'dzin, op. cit., p. 680. The ritual is entitled: Dpal-ldan Lha-mo dang / Sku-lnga / Rdo-rJe grags-ldan bcas kyi
74) Ibid, p. 690. thugs-dam bskang-ba dang / dgyes-pa skyed-par byed-pa'i cllO-ga gsol-mchod mdor-bsdus ting-'dzin Lha-yi-rol-gar dngos grub kun
75) Biography of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama by Phur-lcog Yongs-'dzin (in Khrungs-rabs, vol. 5, Dharamsala, 1984, pp. gyi gter gyur, blockprint in 19 fol., printed in 1977.
1-736) entitled: Lhar bcas srid zhi'i gtsug rgyan gong-sa rgyal-ba'i dbang-po bka' drin mtsungs-med sku-phreng bcu-gsum-pa 84) Phur-lcog Yongs-'dzin, op. cit., p. 289.
chen-po'i rnam-par thar-pa rgya-mtsho lta-bu las mdo-tsam brjod-pa ngo-mtshar rin-po-che'i phreng-ba. p. 13: signs from 85) Ibid, p. 720.
Lha-mo's lake. 86) Cf. supra and a recent biography of H. H. the Dalai Lama where this relation is discussed (C. B. Levenson, Le Seigneur
76) Ibid, p. 253, where the signification of Chos 'khor rgyal is explained as well as the meaning of the visits of the Second du Lotus Blanc, Paris, 1987, p. 289).
Dalai Lama and the Third Dalai Lama to this monastery and its dependencies. Beg-tse is here refered to as 87) John F. Avedon, In Exile from the land of Snows, London, 1985. Chapter 8, ''The Wheel of Protection", is devoted to the
Lcam-sring, his principal alternative name, and his role is confirmed. State Oracle of Tibet and Lobsang Jigme, the Medium of the State Oracle of Tibet, whose personal biography is
77) Ibid, p. 10 and p. 581: Gong-sa mchog gi gdan-sa Chos 'khor rgyal, "Chos 'khor rgyal, personal monastery of H. H. the recounted in detail, pp. 238-270.
Dalai Lama". 88) Lha-mo in this case wears a helmet decorated with peacock feathers, and a breast-plate armour on top of brocade
78) Ibid, pp. 284-286. robes. Her body is black, but the palm of the hand, gripping the scorpion handle sword, is red. This form of Lha-mo,
79) Ibid, p. 686: the explicit phrase is: / Gshung bsten srung-ma'i dbang-po dmar-nag gnyis kyang bka' bsgos dam-bzhag rjes 'brei gyi known either as Lha-mo drag-mo or Lha-mo sbal gdong-ma, is the center of a Lhasa festival. According to
'khu-ldog-pas li-sbyin-har (sic: li-byin-har) bsten gsol gzab 'bungs ngo 'phrod / Mtshan-zhabs Rinpoche and Tashi Antille, both natives of Lhasa, this festival is called Dpal-Iha ri-khrod, held on the
80) A. Macdonald, op. cit, p. 983. We are grateful to H. E. Richardson for references for the discussion of this ceremony in 14-15th days of the 10th month, when Lha-mo's clay image is taken from its chapel in the Gtsug lag-khang, carried by
Thupten Sangyay, Festivals of Tibet, Dharamsala, 1974, pp. 19-24 (in sections Gra-phyi rtsis bsher and Smon-Iam monks from the Meru monastery who parade through the Lhasa Bar-khor. At this occasion, children receive money
gtor-rgyag) and Bod gzhung gi sngar srol chos srid kyi mdzad rim, p. 25. Mr. Richardson also mentioned that there are and presents, hence its popularity. The image was still in a chapel of the upper storey of the Jo-Khang in 1986. This
several films of Lhasa processions in the National Archive (G. B.) which unfortunately we have been unable to consult. holiday (called Dpal-Lha'i Ri-gra) is described by Thubten Sangay, op. cit., pp. 60-63. In the future we hope to study
C. Bell, op. cit., p .•286 also describes this gtor-rgyag ceremony, as does F. Michael, Rule by Incarnation. Boulder, 1982. p. the history of worship of Lha-mo in her many aspects.
71. 89) .J. F. Avedon, op. cit., p. 258.
492 Amy HELLER

personal protector, while the importance of the Gnas-chung oracle was growing. The oracle at
first speaks for the deity Gnas-chung 'Od-Idan dkar-po during the life of the Third Dalai Lama,
later for Pehar who had then taken residence at 'Bras-spungs and Gnas-chung. During the
lifetime of the fifth Dalai Lama, by virtue of his personal visions, Beg-tse came to be regarded as
an ancestor of Rdo-rje grags-Idan, whose iconography as a warrior was perhaps modeled on
Beg-tse. Upon the death of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Lha-mo and Beg-tse served as the principal
protectors of his funerary monument, and as major protectors through the life of the Sixth and
Seventh Dalai Lamas. After the death of the Seventh Dalai Lama, Rdo-rje grags-Idan was
regarded as exclusively associated with Gnas-chung chos-rgyal and Pehar, and a transposition
allows Beg-tse to be officially superseded by Rdo-rje grags-Idan in his relation with the Dalai
Lamas. The earlier association of the Dalai Lamas with Beg-tse was nonetheless retained in the
writings of two eighteenth century Tibetan historians, Klong-rdol and Sle-Iung; this tradition
remained well known as evidenced by several Tibetan informants. The continued importance of
Lha-mo and Beg-tse at Chos-'khor-rgyal is significant in this respect, while in Lhasa, the influence
of Lha-mo and the Gnas-chung oracle (possessed by either Dgra-Iha 'Od-Idan dkar-po or Rdo-rje
grags-Idan) apparently became paramount as of mid-eighteenth century, as later reflected by the
Ninth Dalai Lama's vision of Lha-mo and Gnas-chung. When the Twelfth Dalai Lama invoked
Lha-mo and Rdo-rje grags-rgyal-ma, then Beg-tse and Rdo-rje grags-Idan, it would seem to attest
two teams of protection, one female and one male; while the Thirteenth Dalai Lama propitiated
the Srung-ma dmar-nag in Lhasa, and Beg-tse and Lha-mo at Chos 'khor rgyal. It may thus be
said that the oral and iconographic traditions identifying Rdo-rje grags-Idan or Beg-tse as the
Srung-ma dmar-po accurately reflect aspects of the evolution of the Srung-ma dmar-nag, while
the fluctuation of the identification may possibly be linked to the political influence of the
Gnas-chung Oralce.

We gratefully acknowledge the cntlClsm, encouragement and inspiration given by Mmes.

Ariane Macdonald Spanien and Anne-Marie Blondeau. We are also grateful to Dr. Samten
Karmay, and particularly Ven. Mtshan-zhabs Rinpoche for their generous help in the
interpretation of difficult passages in Tibetan.











Table des Matières

Table des planches hors texte

Ch.I Introduction l
Ch.II Discussion relative aux termes Beg-tse
et Lcam-sring 19
Ch. III Présentation analytique du Beg-tse be'u-bum 34

Section: Les ancêtres présumés de la divinité Beg-tse

Ch.IV Les premiers développements du culte
(VIlle au Xe siècle) 49

Ch.V Le tantra dédié à Srog-bdag dmar-po et les

rituels qui en dérivent 107

Ch.VI Les antécédents de Beg-tse dans les gter-ma

de Nyang-ral Nyi-ma 'od-zer (1124-1192) 148

Section: L'émergence historique de Chos-skyong Beg-tse

Ch. VII Beg-tse en tant que divinité constituée dans
la famille du Deuxième Dalaï Lama (1475-1542) 167
Ch. VIII Le culte de Beg-tse selon Tshar-chen et
l'école Tshar-pa 197
Ch.IX Le Cinquième Da1aï Lama (1617-1682):
le développement d'un culte de Beg-tse à
l'échelle gouvernementale 221
Ch.X Conclusion 286
Bibliographie 289
Annexe I: La généalogie de Tshar-chen 301

Annexe II:Translittération de l'évocation de Beg-tse

par le Deuxième Dalaï Lama 304

Nous avons pris le parti d'étudier les textes du Beg-tse

be'u bum, l'anthologie compilée au XVIe siècle par Tshar-

chen, afin de voir s'il était possible d'y relever des

facteurs qui contribuèrent à la formation de l'identité

de Beg-tse. Nous sommes toutefois conscient que ce

recueil ne revèle qu'un courant de ce processus complexe

de développement. La tradition dont le Deuxième Dalaï

Lama, prédécesseur de Tshar-chen, est le détenteur, est

absente du Beg-tse be'u bum, ce qui implique qu'il

existait, dans la première moitié du XVIe siècle au

moins, deux lignées de transmission distinctes. L'une

chez les Tshar-pa, branche des Sa-skya-pa, l'autre chez

les Dge-lugs-pa, par le biais des Shangs-pa bka'-brgyud-

pa, famille de celui qui fut reconnu comme la

réincarnation de Dge-'dun grub.

Table des planches hors texte

Planche 1. Peinture de Beg-tse, propriété de l'auteur.

Planche 1-a. Peinture de Beg-tse, d'après TES, pl. 206-208.

Planche 2. Peinture de Beg-tse, (collection Newark Museum).

Planche 3. Peinture avec Beg-tse comme acolyte, d'après TES

pl. "T" .

Planche 4. Peinture de Beg-tse (collection Indian Museum,


Planche 4-b. Peinture de Beg-tse avec plastron Kye,

(collection du Musée de Beaux-Arts, Ulan Bator, cliché de Y.
Imaeda et F. Pommaret).

Planche 4-c. Peinture d'un aspect de Beg-tse, avec monture

de cheval et casque trioculaire (collection Zimmerman).

Planche 4-d. Peinture de Beg-tse avec plastron Bram,

(collection du Musée de Beaux-Arts, Ulan Bator, cliché de Y.
Imaeda et F. Pommaret).

Planche 5. Peinture de Beg-tse (collection du Musée Guimet).

Planche 5-a. Sculpture de Beg-tse, sans acolyte (collection

du Musée Guimet).

Planche 6. Dessin xylographique d'après TPS fig. 105 avec

Lha-mo, Beg-tse, et Tshangs-pa dans le régistre inférieur,
sous un Panchen Lama.

Planche 7.a-b Photographies de médium, d'après J. F. Rock.

Planche 8. Peinture d'attributs (collection Musee Guimet).

Planche 9. Peinture de Lha-mo avec Beg-tse comme acolyte:

d'après TES, pl. 202.

Planche 10, Peinture d'attributs, d'apres V. Sierksma,

Tibet's Terrifying Deities.

Planche 11. Peinture de Tshangs-pa entouré de Tsi'u dmar-po

et Rdo-rje grags-ldan, d'après R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz.

Planches 12-15. Fac-similé du manuscrit 1.0. 728.

Planche 16. Peinture de Yam-shud dmar-po, d'après R. A.

Stein, "Peintures Tibétaines de la vie de Gésar".

Planche 17. Dessin de linga du rituel Wa-thod las-kyi rlung-

dmar, d'après Tshar-chen, Beg-tse be'u bum.
Planche 18. Tableau 1: Les caractéristiques de la divinité
masculine d'après les gter-ma de Gnubs.

Planche 19. Tableau II: La relation entre les tantra et

certains rituels du Beg-tse Be'u Bum.

Planche 20. Tableau III. Les attributs caractéristiques de

Yam-shud dmar-po.

Planche 21. Photographie de deux rkyal suspendus devant un

sanctuaire au Bhoutan, cliché de Dr. Helga Uebach.

Planche 22. Photographie de deux porteurs de rkyal pendant

un rituel à Lhasa, cliché de H. E. Richardson.

Planche 23. Carte de la région de Sa-skya d'après C.

Cassinelli et R. Eckvall, Sa-skya. A Tibetan Principality.

Planche 24. Peinture de Lha-mo avec Beg-tse comme acolyte

(Ecole Tshar-pa) et schéma analytique (collection Museum für
Volkerkunde, München).

Planche 24-a. Dessins xylographiqes de Beg-tse et Mgon-po

bram-ze gzugs figurant à la fin du Bstan-'gyur de Sde-dge
(1737). Inscriptions: Bram-ze-gzugs, Gnod-sbyin che.

Planche 24-b. Peinture de Bram-ze gzugs, (collection de la

Yale University Art Gallery, Don Heeramaneck).

Planche 25. Dessins xylographiques qui figurent à la fin du

Gsan-yig du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. A gauche, Beg-tse. A
droite, Pehar.

Planche 26. Peinture représentant le Cinquième Dalaï Lama

ayant Beg-tse et son acolyte Btsan-rgod dans le registre
inférieur ( d'après TES, Planche 80).

Planche 27. Peinture représentant Pehar, Beg-tse et Rahula,

propriété de l'auteur.

Planche 28. Srog-bdag (dmar-po) identifié par une

inscription, conforme à la liturgie du Cinquième Dalaï Lama.
Détail de la peinture no. 85.16, (collection de Beinecke
Rare Book and Manuscript Library).

Planche 29. Photocopie des dessins xylographiques de Beg-tse

et Lha-mo figurant à la fin du 'Dzam-gling-rgyan-gcig.

Planche 29-b. Peinture de Beg-tse comme protecteur du

Sixième Dalaï Lama, (collection Volkensmuseum, Stockholm).

Planche 30. Peinture de la Donation Fournier qui montre Beg-

tse seul avec sa parèdre (sans acolyte masculin).
Planche 31. Dessin de Gnod-sbyin Tsi'u dmar-po, d'après ~

Planche 32. Peinture identifiée comme Tsi-dmar-ra, d'après

M. de Montmollin (collection Volkerkundemuseum der
Universitat Zürich).

Planche 33. Dessin de Beg-tse sans acolyte, d'après ~

bmg.,inscription: Dregs-pa lcam-sring.

Chapitre 1. Introduction

L'identification de Beg-tse d'après les sources occidentales

Le point de départ de cette étude a été la découverte

fortuite d'une peinture tibétaine représentant une divinité

guerrière rouge et son entourage (planche 1), peinture dont

l'identification a pu être établie d'après G. Tucci (Tibetan

Painted Scrolls), qui décrit la liturgie et l'iconographie

de la divinité représentée et l'appelle Lcam-sring ou Beg-


Tucci explique que le nom le plus courant de cette divinité

est Lcam-sring, qu'il traduit par "frère et soeur", tandis

que Beg-tse, qu'il rend par "Cuirasse de cuivre" et "Cotte

de mailles cachée", serait un nom dérivé de l'armure portée

par le guerrier (1). Il base sa discussion iconographique

sur une peinture (planche 1-A) qu'il décrit d'après un

rituel dédié à cette divinité par le Cinquième Panchen Lama.

Pour lui, la divinité est de couleur rouge comme la montagne

de cuivre qu'elle habite; elle a deux bras, celui de droite

brandit l'épée de cuivre, tandis que le gauche est plié,

porte vers la bouche le coeur de ses ennemis, en même temps

qu'il saisit un arc et une flèche. Beg-tse, trioculaire,

porte un diadème de crânes; sa cuirasse de cuivre lui

recouvre entièrement le corps; autour de la taille, il porte

une guirlande de têtes. A sa gauche se trouve sa soeur Rig-

pa'i Lha-mo: de visage rouge et de corps bleu, elle tient

une épée de cuivre et un poignard, et elle est montée sur

une lionne qui piétine un corps humain. A droite de Beg-tse


se trouve la divinité masculine rouge Srog-bdag, à une tête

et deux bras, tenant une lance à droite et un lasso des

btsan à gauche. Dans le registre inférieur, huit acolytes

masculins ayant tous l'épée de cuivre dans la main droite.

Ce groupe s'appelle les gri-thogs (porteurs d'épée ). Ils

sont disposés en mandala: Mi, rouge, à l'est; Ri-rtsi-mi

(couleur non précisée) au sud; Kro-dhi-mi, rouge, à l'ouest;

Srog-bdag ko-shang au nord; Om-kri-mi, rouge, au sud-est;

Ro-kri-mi, rouge, au sud-ouest; Ham-shang-mi au nord-ouest;

Srog-bdag thal-ba au nord-est (2).

Cette description correspond étroitement à l'iconographie de

cette divinité telle qu'elle est définie dans les autres

sources en langues occidentales. Grünwedel relève que l'épée

est munie d'un pommeau noir "en forme d'écrevisse".

D'autres peintures représentent Beg-tse coiffé d'un casque

couronné de plumes ou de drapeaux (cf. planche 2: casque à

drapeaux; planche 3: casque à plumes ), ou d'un bonnet

pourvu de trois yeux (btsan-zhva) (cf. planche 4 et planche

4-c ) (3). Le manche de son épée peut être en forme de

scorpion (cf. planche 1 et planche 4-b) ou de vajra (cf.

planche 4 et planche 5). On trouve aussi un aspect de Beg-

tse monté sur un cheval et tenant un lasso en plus d'autres

attributs (cf. planche 6). En outre, au centre de la

cuirasse, il y a parfois un troisième pectoral "miroir" (me-

~) gravé de lettres tibétaines, la syllabe de base d'une

invocation à la divinité - exactement comme les pectoraux

"miroir" portés par les médiums en transe (cf. planches 4-b,

4-c, 6, 7a, et-7b) (4).


Dans les peintures, on distingue plusieurs genres de

représentations. Soit Beg-tse constitue avec son entourage

le sujet principal d'un tableau. Soit il figure, seul ou

avec un entourage restreint, dans le registre inférieur d'un

tableau dont le sujet principal est un maître religieux;

ainsi est-il souvent représenté sur des portraits des Dalaï

et Panchen Lamas (5). Soit, dans la peinture dite

"d'offrandes", il est représenté par ses principaux

attributs (cf. planche 8) (6), mais il peut à son tour être

représenté comme acolyte d'une autre divinité, tel Hayagriva

ou Dpal-ldan Lha-mo (cf. planches 9 et 10) (7). En

sculpture, il est le plus souvent montré seul, ou avec la

seule compagnie de l'acolyte et de sa soeur (cf. planche

5a) •

Si l'iconographie dont il vient d'être question est

relativement constante, les sources en langues occidentales

sont contradictoires en ce qui concerne la mythologie de

Beg-tse et les fonctions qu'il a exercées. En effet, Tucci

n'a pas été le premier à étudier ce protecteur. Grünwedel

(1898) avait déjà décrit une statue identifiée comme Beg-tse

ou Lcam-sring et publié un résumé de l'iconographie (8).

Grünwedel rapporte une légende mongole sur Beg-tse d'après

le récit (1662) de Sanaang Secen, historiographe mongol (9),

légende qui concerne Bsod-nams rgya-mtsho, le Troisième

Dalaï Lama. Au cours de son voyage en Mongolie en 1578, il

aurait rencontré et dompté Lcam-sring. Cette légende est

reprise depuis Grünwedel chaque fois qu'il est question de

l'origine de Beg-tse. Pourtant, son acceptation semble avoir


été trop hâtive, car Grünwedel lui-même en donne une seconde

version où il s'agit de Rta-mgrin et non de Beg-tse (10).

Grünwedel classe Beg-tse parmi les protecteurs de la loi


Depuis, la plupart des auteurs ont cité l'étude de Grünwedel

tout en présentant de nouveaux documents iconographiques

(11). Pour certains, Beg-tse est un "dieu de la guerre",

tandis que d'autres l'appellent un "protecteur de la

doctrine bouddhique" (12). A l'unanimité, les sources

occidentales soulignent l'origine mongole de cette divinité,

qui, pourtant, ressemble beaucoup à d'autres protecteurs

tibétains, plus particulièrement à ceux qui prennent

possession des médiums bien qu'à ce jour nous n'ayons eu

connaissance d'aucun médium pour Beg-tse (cf. planche 7 )

(13). L'examen des études plus détaillées de Tucci et

Nebesky-Wojkowitz fait ressortir les points suivants:

1) Tucci (1949) donne une description iconographique

complète de cette divinité qui, selon lui, est un btsan, un

démon local incorporé dans le panthéon bouddhique, voire le

chef du groupe des protecteurs de la doctrine (bstan-srung,

chos-skyong) (14). Il cite d'après Grünwedel la légende

mongole selon laquelle le Troisième Dalaï Lama (1543-1589) a

rencontré et dompté le protecteur Beg-tse lors de son voyage

en Mongolie en 1578, et l'explique ainsi: "This would allow

us to suppose that Beg tse was originally one of the Mongol

gods, later transformed, due to his popularity,into Sa bdag

or bTsan;" (15). Tucci note qu'aucune trace de Beg-tse ne se

trouvait dans les plus anciens manuels liturgiques (indiens)


et constate que sa popularité se limite essentiellement à

l'ordre des Dge-lugs-pa: il est "a god of war" d'après

Tucci. Pour expliquer ce nom de la divinité, Tucci cite des

travaux philologiques de Laufer (1905) qui, selon son

analyse, prouvent une provenance mongole pour le nom Beg-tse

attribué à la divinité (16). Tucci traduit le nom Lcam-sring

"frère et soeur", notant que Beg-tse et sa soeur ne peuvent

pas être séparés, bien que la divinité masculine soit

représentée sans elle sur une autre peinture identifiée par

Tucci dans le même ouvrage (17). Pour l'acolyte, Tucci donne

deux noms, Srog bdag dmar-po, "Srog bdag le rouge", et

Btsan-rgod, "btsan sauvage" (18).

2) R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz (1956) consacre un chapitre

entier de son livre sur les divinités protectrices de la loi

(chos-skyong) à Lcam-sring et considère qu'en plus d'être

chos-skyong, Beg-tse " is the war god". Bien que le terme

tibétain ne soit pas précisé, "war god" parait être une

traduction facheuse de dgra-lha, littéralement "ennemi-

dieu", mais dont la signification plus précise serait "dieu

qui protège contre les ennemis". Nebesky-Wojkowitz s'appuie

sur le travail de Tucci, tout en étayant sa description

iconographique par d'autres sources tibétaines - dont l'une

décrit Beg-tse comme un btsan sauvage (btsan rgod,

après), ayant un cheval comme monture (19). Iconographi-

quement, comme Tucci, Nebesky-Wojkowitz décrit la divinité

pourvue de la cuirasse de cuivre sur son corps, mais ajoute

un vêtement de soie rouge et une pelisse en peau de bouc

brunâtre, ainsi que de hautes bottes rouges (20).


Nebesky-Wojkowitz cite également la légende mongole d'après

Grünwedel et ajoute:

" Moreover, the contents of this legend also suggest

that Beg-tse was originally a pre-Buddhist deity of the
Mongols, who began to be venerated by the Tibetans
after Bsod-nams rgya-mtsho had turned the defeated
enemy of Buddhism into a protector of the Buddhist
creed. The foreign origin of this war-god becomes
obvious also by an analysis of Lcam-sring's two main
alternative names, Beg-tse,"hidden shirt of mail", or
Beg-tse-can, "he, who possesses a hidden shirt of mail"
as has been shown recently by Tucci." (21).

Nebesky-Wojkowitz traduit plusieurs descriptions de Beg-tse

et de tout son entourage dont il énumère les noms et les

principales caractéristiques. Par le biais des différents

noms, il associe la divinité à plusieurs catégories de

numina tibétains, d'après lui pré-bouddhiques, et notamment

aux srog-bdag. gnod-sbyin et btsan (22). Il cite, en

particulier, un texte tardif (XVIIIe siècle) dont il met en

doute les bases anciennes, pour fournir les origines

familiales du dieu: sous le nom Gnod-sbyin zangs kyi beg-

tse-can, cette divinité serait née de l'union d'un yaksha

(gnod-sbyin) avec une ogresse (srin-mo). Il remarque que la

soeur de Beg-tse serait également son épouse, mais d'après

notre examen iconographique, on ne relève aucune

représentation d'union sexuelle (yab-yum) (23). En note,

Nebesky-Wojkowitz cite plusieurs rituels dédiés à Beg-tse

qu'il a répertoriés d'après le catalogue de l'université de

Tohoku, sans les avoir étudiés. La consultation de ce

catalogue montre en fait que deux de ces textes sont

attribués au Deuxième Dalaï Lama, et l'anachronisme majeur

qu'ils dénotent semble avoir totalement échappé à Nebesky-


Wojkowitz pour qui le culte n'était pas antérieur au

Troisième Dalaï Lama.

En dehors du chapitre consacré à Beg-tse, Nebesky-Wojkowitz

signale que le protecteur Yam-shud dmar-po, également appelé

Srog-bdag dmar-po, serait tantôt une forme de Beg-tse ou de

son acolyte, tantôt un aspect des protecteurs Tsi'u dmar-po

et Rdo-rje grags-ldan, tous deux associés au culte de Pehar

(cf. planche Il) (24). Aussi fait-il un rapprochement entre

les protecteurs Pehar et Beg-tse. Remarquant que la

représentation iconographique de Rdo-rje grags-ldan, dieu

actuellement identifié comme oracle de l'Etat tibétain et

ministre principal de Pehar, est très proche de celle de

Beg-tse et presque identique à celle de son acolyte Srog-

bdag dmar-po, Nebesky-Wojkowitz rapporte une tradition

d'après laquelle Rdo-rje grags-ldan serait une émanation de

Beg-tse (25). En rapport avec la fonction de Beg-tse comme

dgra-lha, Nebesky traduit un rituel de magie agressive qui

invoque Beg-tse et Rig-pa'i Iha-mo dans le but de nuire à

des ennemis humains, et même de les tuer (26).

En 1975, Ariane Macdonald mentionne Beg-tse dans le contexte

des protecteurs rouge et noir, Srung-ma dmar-nag, les dieux-

protecteurs actuels du gouvernement tibétain. Après

plusieurs études démontrant les parentés entre les dieux du

sol et les protecteurs chos-skyong, elle étudie de plus près

les protecteurs du gouvernement en expliquant alors:

"Il existe aussi deux traditions sur les Srung-ma dmar-

nag, ou plus exactement deux traditions concernant
l'identité du protecteur rouge, tout le monde étant
d'accord pour voir Dpal-ldan Lha-mo comme la

protectrice noire. Le dieu rouge est soit identifié à

Beg-tse, qui fut le chos-skyong des deux premiers
Dalaï-lama (XVe-XVIe siècle) à Tashilhunpo, soit à Rdo-
rje drag-ldan, nom le plus couramment donné, depuis
l'époque du Ve Dalaï-Lama (XVIIe siècle), au dieu qu
s'incarne dans le médium de Gnas-chung" (27).

Est-ce pour cela que de nombreuses peintures associant Beg-

tse et Dpal-ldan Lha-mo avaient été exécutées (cf. planches

7, 9 et 10 )7 Bien que le sujet des Srung-ma dmar-nag

dépasse le cadre de la présente étude, il s'imposait de

déterminer pourquoi et comment Beg-tse avait été associé à

ce statut de protecteur politique au moins jusqu'à l'époque

du Cinquième Dalaï Lama (28).

Dans une étude concernant le développement du culte du

protecteur Tsi'u dmar-po, A. Macdonald faisait remarquer que

des circonstances politiques expliquent souvent les

modifications des idées religieuses: "Nous avons ainsi

constaté que le trait dominant d'un dieu composite n'est pas

fixé une fois pour toutes, mais varie en fonction de

l'attraction exercée par le dieu protecteur du groupe au

pouvoir à une époque donnée ... " (29). Etant donné le rôle de

protecteur politique parfois attribué à Beg-tse, il fallait

chercher si des évènements historiques avaient influencé

l'iconographie et le culte de ce dieu protecteur.

Pour Macdonald, c'est "le gnod-sbyin et le btsan, le mangeur

de souffle, de sang et de chair Tsi'u dmar-po (qui) a servi

de modèle aux autres chos-skyong" et c'est aux XVe-XVIe

siècle que s'est constitué son culte, élaboré à partir d'un

culte des protecteurs associés à l'ancienne dynastie

tibétaine (30). Le personnage de Beg-tse comme protecteur


féroce était-il donc modelé sur Tsi'u dmar-po? Quelle était

la fonction la plus ancienne qui lui était attribuée et

quels furent les antécédents de la constitution de son


Or, d'après Tucci et Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Beg-tse était

inconnu au Tibet avant la fin du XVIe siècle, tandis que

Macdonald, sans citer de source, considère que son culte s'y

pratiquait déjà pendant le XVe siècle et, de surcroît,

associé dès cette époque avec l'éminente lignée des Dalaï

Lama. Comment aurait-il été possible qu'un dieu étranger

introduit à une époque tardive prenne une importance

suffisamment grande pour que la tradition l'associe à la

protection du gouvernement? Fallait-il voir dans la

tradition rapportée par Macdonald un écho de celle qui avait

été notée par Nebesky-Wojkowitz, voyant dans Rdo-rje grags-

ldan une émanation de Beg-tse? La fonction et la mythologie

de ce protecteur nous paraissent difficiles à cerner.

Tout en acceptant la légende de l'origine mongole de Beg-

tse, Tucci et Nebesky-Wojkowitz ont tous deux associé Beg-

tse avec les plus anciens groupes de numina tibétains. La

contradiction était patente. Si Beg-tse avait des origines

tibétaines, il fallait les determiner et les mettre en

évidence. Etait-il associé à un lieu? Etait-il associé à un

clan particulier? Tucci avait bien relevé la similitude

iconographique entre Beg-tse et les dieux tibétains du sol

(sa-bdag et btsan). Si Beg-tse était une divinité tibétaine

ancienne, par la suite incorporée dans le panthéon en tant

que protecteur, l'étude de son culte pouvait peut-être


élucider l'évolution historique de son statut, de ses

fonctions, et de son iconographie.

Sources tibétaines

Pour l'étude des rituels, nous nous sommes principalement

appuyé sur le Beg-tse Be'u Bum, une anthologie de rituels et

de textes dédiés à Beg-tse, publiée en Inde en 1978, d'après

une édition de date indéterminée. Sa compilation est

attribuée à Tshar-chen Blo-gsal rgya-mtsho (1502-1566), un

maître Sa-skya-pa. Dans l'édition actuelle, cette anthologie

comprend une quarantaine de textes, ce qui permet un corpus

de base relativement grand. Etant donnée son importance,

nous analysérons cette collection dans un chapitre à part,

avant d'aborder la classification chronologique des rituels

et des sources historiques relatifs à Beg-tse.

La comparaison des rituels du Beg-tse Be'u Bum avec d'autres

rituels, dont ceux du Deuxième Dalaï Lama, du Cinquième

Dalaï Lama, fournit les bases de notre analyse de la


Plusieurs textes historiques et biographiques ont été

dépouillés afin de voir les liens entre certains personnages

et le rôle de Beg-tse dans leur vie. Pour vérifier la


légende d'origine mongole et le rôle du Troisième Dalaï Lama

dans l'élaboration du culte, la lecture de la biographie du

Troisième Dalaï Lama, rédigée par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama en

1646, s'imposait. Cette biographie, intitulée Rje btsun

thams-cad mkhyen-pa Bsod nams rgya mtsho'i rnam-thar dngos-

grub rgya-mtsho'i shing-rta (f.109), se trouve dans l'antho-

logie des oeuvres (gsung-'bum) du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Son

étude nous a amené à poursuivre notre investigation en

remontant aux sources du Deuxième Dalaï Lama.

L'autobiographie du Deuxième Dalaï Lama intitulée Rje nyid

kyi rnam-thar (f.1-38), a été rédigée en 1528, quatorze ans

avant sa mort. Elle se trouve en tête de son gsung-'bum.

Elle est suivie d'une biographie de son père, qui était lui-

même un disciple du Premier Dalaï Lama. Composé en 1536,

cette biographie s'intitule Khyab-bdag rdo-rje 'chang chen-

po'i ngo-bo grub-pa'i dbang-phyug rje-btsun bla-ma kun-dga'

rgyal-mtshan dpal bzang-po'i ngo-mtshar-ba'i rnam-thar mdo-

tsam-du brjod pa nor-bu'i them-skas (f. 40). Le gsung-'bum

comprend également deux rituels dédiés à Beg-tse. Leurs

titres furent déjà relevés par Nebesky-Wojkowitz (31).

Dans la même collection, Beg-tse est aussi évoqué dans un

rituel dédié à Hayagriva, Pad-ma yang-gsang khros-pa'i

sgrub-thabs phrin-las bzhi'i bang mdzod, f.20. Jusqu'ici non

dépouillés, ces textes sont d'intérêt majeur pour comprendre

le rôle attribué aux protecteurs à cette époque et l'état

littéraire de la composition des rituels.

Un contemporain cadet du Deuxième Dalaï Lama fut Tshar-chen,

le compilateur du Beg-tse Be'u Bum. Le Cinquième Dalaï Lama


composa sa biographie et celles de plusieurs maîtres de la

lignée Tshar-pa. De nos jours, cette école est peu connue.

On reconnaît une scission, d'ordre politique et religieux,

entre elle et les autres écoles Sa-ska-pa depuis l'époque de

Tshar-chen jusqu'au XIXe siècle (cf. chapitre VIII). Une

étude de E. Gene Smith avait mis en évidence les problèmes

politiques de Tshar-chen par rapport au chef (bdag-chen) de

Sa-skya de son époque, Kun-dga' rin-chen (1517-1585). Dans

l'espoir d'éclaircir le rôle attribué aux protecteurs dans

un conflit politique, la lecture de la biographie de Tshar-

chen a été entreprise conjointement avec celles de Kun-dga'

rin-chen et de son fils et héritier, Bsod-nams dbang-po.

Elles ont été composées respectivement en 1628 et 1638 par

un historien Sa-skya-pa, 'Jam mgon a-myes zhabs, lui-même

petit-fils de Kun-dga' rin-chen et contemporain du Cinquième

Dalaï Lama. A-myes zhabs détenait des enseignements Tshar-

pa et Sa-skya-pa, ce qui permet de dégager deux perspectives

historiques contemporaines de ces conflits du XVIe siècle et

de leur solution. En outre, comme l'élève principal de

Tshar-chen était un détenteur antérieur des enseignements

gter-ma transmis au Cinquième Dalaï Lama par son maître

Ngag-gi dbang-po (1580-1639), ces événements ont été traités

dans la biographie qu'il rédigea en son hommage, Byang-pa

rig-'dzin chen-po ngag-gi dbag-po'i rnam-par thar-pa ngo-

mtshar bkod-pa rgya-mtsho (f.1-64).

Par souci de préserver l'histoire de sa lignée, le Cinquième

Da1aï Lama avait non seulement rédigé des biographies de

deux de ses prédécesseurs, mais aussi une série

d'autobiographies. Ses trois différentes autobiographies ont


été consultées pour comprendre ce qu'était, selon lui, la

fonction du culte de Beg-tse et des autres protecteurs

politiques de l'Etat. Aussi bien par ses expériences

mystiques que par le culte rendu à Beg-tse au niveau

personnel et gouvernemental, le Cinquième Dalaï Lama a

modifié le statut de Beg-tse. Pour compléter l'examen du

culte de Beg-tse pendant la vie du Cinquième Dalaï Lama,

nous avons aussi lu certains textes du Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas

Rgya-Mtsho, dernier régent du Cinquième Dalaï Lama et chef

d'Etat effectif après sa mort (1682-1705). Son récit des

cérémonies funéraires du Cinquième Dalaï Lama et sa

biographie de la jeunesse du Sixième Dalaï Lama (1682-1704)

sont des clefs pour comprendre la pérennité de l'empreinte

du Cinquième Dalaï Lama dans le culte dédié à Beg-tse par la

lignée des Dalaï Lama. Nous arrêtons notre examen du

développement du culte de Beg-tse à cette étape, qui en est

l'une des plus significatives.

L'autre axe méthodologique de cette recherche a été la

confrontation de la tradition orale vivante (racontée par

des lettrés tibétains) avec l'iconographie et les

renseignements des sources textuelles. Les perspectives de

l'histoire du culte exprimées par des maîtres nous ont

orienté vers des sources bibliographiques pour compléter les

récits historiques d'après leurs traditions religieuses

personnelles. C'est ainsi que cette étude a particulièrment

benéficié des connaissances de Dvags-po Rinpoche, de feu

Tsepon W.D Shakabpa, de feu Bdud 'Joms Rinpoche, et de feu


Thar-rtse Mkhan Rinpoche Hiroshi Sonami, dernier abbé du

monastère de Ngor.

Nous tenons à exprimer notre gratitude à Dvags-po Rinpoche,

et notre reconnaisance envers feu Tsepon Shakabpa et feu

Hiroshi Sonami, pour les entretiens qu'ils nous ont

accordés. En outre, nous avons bénéficié de l'appui de notre

directeur d'études, Mme Ariane Macdonald-Spanien. Mme A.-M.

Blondeau a attentivement soutenu les progrès de ce travail

depuis son début. L'aide de maîtres tibétains nous a été

indispensable, car la majeure partie de notre bibliographie

n'a pas été dépouillée jusqu'ici. En particulier Dvags-po

Rinpoche, et Yonten Gyatso, dont l'expérience dans

l'interprétation des documents de Dun Huang nous a été

particulièrement utile. Yonten Gyatso avait été sensibilisé

aux frictions politiques du XVIe siècle par son travail

personnel, et nous a fait bénéficier de son aide pour

comprendre les biographies des maîtres de cette époque.

C'est à Mtshan-zhabs Rinpoche que nous témoignons notre

reconnaissance pour l'aide et les éclaircissements qu'il

nous a apportés dans maints passages des oeuvres du

Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Nous remercions vivement Samten

Karmay, qui est venu plusieurs fois à notre secours pour

nous aider à comprendre des rituels et discuter de certains

écrits du Cinquième Dalaï Lama, notamment l'autobiographie

secrète qu'il étudiait au moment même où nous en avons

entrepris la lecture. Enfin, Mtshan-zhabs Rinpoche a eu

l'amabilité et la patience de relire toutes nos traductions

des écrits du Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Nous tenons à lui


exprimer ici notre reconnaissance pour cette aide

inestimable. D'autre part, Mme Patricia Middleton du Service

des Lecteurs de la Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript

Library, Yale University, nous a facilité la consultation

des xylographes tout au long de cette recherche et nous l'en

remercions vivement.

Enfin, je voudrais remercier mon mari et nos enfants qui,

par leur patience et leur soutien, m'ont encouragée à

poursuivre ce travail.

1.G.Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls, Roma, 1949, pp. 594-596.

(Désormais: TPS) Ces noms seront étudiés au chapitre II.

2 . .I..b.i..d, p. 595.

3.Planche 2: Newark Museum: casque à drapeaux, épée à

pommeau de scorpion, pas de monture, entouré de Lha-mo et
Srog-bdag; Sa-skya-pa.

Planche 3:--.TES. planche "T": casque à plumes et drapeaux,

attributs: lance à droite, porte coeur à la bouche avec main
gauche, cheval comme monture, Bka'-brgyud-pa.

Planche 4: Indian Museum, Calcutta: casque trioculaire,

épée à manche de vajra, pas de monture, entouré de Lha-mo et

Planche 4-c: Collection Zimmerman (= no. 224 dans Dieux et

démons de l'Himalaya ): casque trioculaire, syllabe hri,
monté à cheval; lance et coeur-poumons portés vers la
bouche. Nous remercions M. Zimmerman de nous avoir
aimablement fourni cette photographie.

4.Nous avons eu connaissance de cette peinture grâce à

Yoshiro Imaeda et Françoise Pommaret, qui l'ont
photographiée d'après N. Tsultem, Mongolian Arts and Crafts,
Ulan Bator, 1987.

5.Cf. T. Schmid, Sayiours of Mankind, Dalai Lamas and former

incarnations of Ayalokiteshyara, Stockholm, 1961, vol. 1:
planche VIII- portrait du Deuxième Dalaï Lama avec Beg-tse
(?); planche XII -portrait du Sixième Dalaï Lama avec Beg-

tse; vol. II: planche XI -portrait du PremierPanchen Lama

avec Beg-tse; planche XII - portrait du Deuxième Panchen
Lama avec Beg-tse; planche XIII-portrait du Troisième
Panchen Lama avec Beg-tse; A noter particulièrement les
planche XII, XIII, pour la forme avec lasso, et planche
XXIV, pour la forme avec lasso et cheval comme monture.

6. Planche 8: Offrandes à Beg-tse, Musée Guimet 23130,

d'après G. Béguin, Tibet:Terreur et Magie, Bruxelles, 1989.

7. Acolyte de Rta-mgrin yang-gsang: TES. "X" ; Planche 9:

Acolyte de Lha-mo d'après TES planche no. 202 ; planche 10:
thang-ka d'offrandes à Lha-mo, Mahakala et Beg-tse d'après
F. Sierksma, Tibet's Terrifying Deities, The Hague, 1966,
planche 13. Cf. aussi chapitre VIII pour la peinture de la
collection de feu Dr. B. C. Olschak, mtshal thang de Lha-rno
avec Beg-tse comme acolyte, portraits de maîtres Sa-skya-pa
dont Mkhyen-brtse dbang-phyug (planche 24).

8. A. Grünwedel, Mythologie des Buddhismus, Leipzig, 1898,

reprise en traduction, Mythologie du Bouddhisme, Paris,
1900, p. 71.

9.~, pp. 82-83 pour la légende mongole sur Beg-tse.

10.Ibid, p. 166 pour la seconde version concernant Rta-


11.Cf. notamment E. Olson, Catalogue of the Tibetan

CollectiQn of The Newark Museum, Newark, 1971, pp. 62-63; A.
Getty, The GQds Qf Northern Buddhism, Boston, 1974, p. 151;
B. C. Olschak, Mystic Art of Ancient Tibet, London, 1975, p.
174; G. Béguin (réd), Dieux et Démons de l'Himalaya, Paris,
1977, no. 224.

12.R. de Nebesky Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, The

Hague, 1956 (2e édition, Graz, 1976), p. 94 "war-god"; T.E.S.,
p. 594 protecteur de la religion, p. 595 dieu de la guerre,
cf. infra.

13.Planche 7 a-b, photographies d'un médium d'un protecteur

en transe d'après J. Rock, "Sungmas, Living Oracles of the
Tibetan Church" NatiQnal Geographie Magazine, October, 1935.

14.TES, pp. 594-596, pour la description principale; p. 407

Tucci identifie un portrait de Beg-tse en tant que
protecteur de Tsong-kha-pa; p. 579 Beg-tse apparaît sous un
maître Bka'-brgyud-pa; p. 588 Tucci décrit deux thang-ka
d'une forme de Hayagriva avec Beg-tse dans son entourage; il
ne remarque pas la représentation de Beg-tse sous Lha-mo
(planche 202, discussion pp. 590-594 ) Nous traduisons "chef
des protecteurs" pour rendre l'expression utilisée par
Tucci, "chief of the Bstan-srung" pour traduire bstan-
bsrung-gi rje-bo ". Tucci ne fait pas de référence précise
au terme chos-skyong bien que celui-ci apparaisse dans le
titre de l'oeuvre qu'il traduit pour étudier l'iconographie
et les fonctions de Beg-tse.

15.TES, p. 595.

16.Cf. chapitre II.

17.Cf. supra, note 14. Sur la planche T (=notre planche 3),

Beg-tse apparaît sans sa soeur sous le maître Bka'-brgyud

18.Tucci, TPS, p. 595, décrit Srog-bdag et son attribut, le

lasso des btsan, en renvoyant à "tanka no. 120." Ceci est
une peinture Bon-po, o~ le protecteur Bon-skyong A-bse
rgyal-ba est en effet représenté avec le lasso. Pourtant,
c'est sur la planche T que Tucci identifie Beg-tse en
compagnie d'un btsan qui tient le lasso (discussion p. 579),
et p. 589, Tucci identifie à nouveau Btsan-rgod comme
acolyte de Beg-tse (discussion de la planche 200,). Tucci ne
s'étend pas à ce propos, mais l'identification de Beg-tse et
A-bse a parfois été affirmée.

19.Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op. cit., p. 91, pour cet aspect de

Beg-tse. Nebesky-Wojkowitz cite un rituel de Gung-thang
bstan-pa'i sgron me (XVIIIe siècle), qui comprend une
citation d'un tantra nommant Beg-tse sous la forme de btsan-

20.Nebesky-Wojkowitz ne donne pas le terme tibétain pour ces

bottes. D'après Getty, op. cit., p. 151, ce serait sog-lham,
littéralement, "bottes mongoles", ce qui renforce selon cet
auteur la théorie d'une provenance mongole de cette
divinité. C'est en fait une transposition fâcheuse pour ~
ti Iham, condensé en sag-lham, "bottes en peau". Cf.
chapitre VII et l'annexe II pour le rituel composé par le
Deuxième Dalai Lama, où ce terme est clarifié.

21.Cf. Nebesky-Wojkowitz, p. 94.

22.~, p. 95. Cf. chapitre IV et V pour les définitions de

plusieurs catégories de démons tibétains.

23.A ce jour nous n'avons trouvé que deux représentations de

Beg-tse seul avec sa soeur, et celle-ci apparaît à gauche de
la divinité masculine. Cf. chapitre V pour une description
d'un aspect de Beg-tse yab-yum, et chapitre IX pour les
portraits de Beg-tse seul avec Rig-pa'i Iha-mo.

24.Planche Il: thang-ka de Tshangs-pa dkar-po avec Rdo-rje

grags-ldan et Tsi'u dmar-po , d'après Nebesky-Wojkowitz,
op. cit., planche V, face à p. 145. Nebesky-Wojkowitz note
les assimilations de Yam-shud dmar-po, parfois considéré
comme une forme de Tsi'u dmar po ou de Rdo-rje grags-ldan,
avant de traduire deux descriptions pour Yam-shud dmar-po
( pp. 168 -1 70 ) .

25. Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op. cit, p. 125 (chapitre sur Pehar).

26.~, pp. 490-492

27. A. Macdonald, "Histoire et philologie tibétaines"

(conférences 1974-1975), ~ Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratique
des Hautes Etudes, IVe Section, Paris, 1975, p. 983. Ses

études sur les parallèles et les parentés entre plusieurs

anciennes catégories tibétaines de dieux du sol et les
protecteurs chos-skyong sont résumées dans les comptes
rendus de ses conférences de 1974-1978 à l'Ecole Pratique
des Hautes Etudes.

28.Le sujet extrêmement complexe du Srung-ma dmar-nag a donc

été l'objet de nos études séparées, "Remarques préliminaires
sur les Srung-ma dmar-nag, divinités protectrices du Potala"
in F. Meyer (réd.), Tibet. Civilisation et Société, Paris,
1990, pp. 19-27, et "Historie and Iconographie Aspects of
the protective deities Srung-ma dmar-nag", in: Proceedings
of the Fifth IATS Seminar (1989), Narita, Japon (sous
presse) .

29.A. Macdonald, "Histoire et philologie tibétaines"

(conférences 1976-1977) in Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratique des
Hautes Etudes,IVe Section, Paris, 1976, p. 1142.

30.La description de Tsi'u dmar-po est une citation de

Macdonald d'après l'Annuaire 1976, p. 1141, mais la datation
est celle qu'elle a determinée l'année suivante, cf.
"Histoire et philologie tibétaines" (conférences 1977-1978),
Annuaire de l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, IVe Section,
Paris, 1978, p. 1027, où elle remarque que la liturgie pour
Tsi'u dmar-po "a été fixée au XVe siècle".

31. Nebesky-Wojkowitz les a signalés (op. cit., p. 95) mais

semble pourtant ne pas y avoir attribué de l'importance.

Chapitre II.Discussion relative aux termes Beg-tse et Lcam-


La signification du terme beg-tse

A notre connaissance, Jaschke (1881) fut le premier auteur

occidental qui a défini le terme beg-tse, sans toutefois citer

de source (1). Pour lui, il s'agit d'un substantif, "a hidden

coat of mail" (2), une acception reprise par le Dictionnaire

thibétain-latin-français (1899) (3). S. C. Das (1902) explique

d'abord ce terme comme "name of a goddess who when propitiated

protects her devotees"; puis reprend la définition de Jaschke,

sans pourtant le citer (4). Sous la variante orthographique

Bhai-ka-tse lcam-bral, Das désigne "name of a sylvan nymph who

undertook to protect Tibet and de fend Buddhism", en se référant

aux Annales Bleues (1476) (5). En 1949, le dictionnaire

tibétain-chinois de Chos-grags glose Beg-rtse par btsan, nom

génerique d'une catégorie de dieux tibétains (6). En 1966, L.

S. Dagyab associa également Beg-rtse à la catégorie des btsan,

stipulant le btsan sauvage (btsan-rgod) (7). C'est là la

définition la plus récente, aucun dictionnaire depuis Dagyab ne

définissant ce terme.

Entre-temps, en 1916, Laufer écrit son étude intitulée "Loan

words in Tibetan", où il englobe Beg-tse dans les mots

empruntés au mongol:

" beg-tse, a hidden shirt of mail; name of the God of War.

Probably from Mongol begder (Kovalevski, p.1125), 'cotte de
mailles cachées," but on the following page, Kovalevski
gives begji side by side with begder, and begji doubtless

transcribes Tibetan beg-tse. Cf. Persian bagtar, Djagatai

bêktêt ('armor')" (8)

tout en signalant que le terme mongol begji est une

transcription du tibétain. Mais il se ravise dès 1919:

"Mongol bêgdêr, coat of mail, armor, goes back to Persian

bagtar (Jagatai bêktêr, Tibetan beg-tse.)" (9).

Sans la nuance stipulée par Laufer, l'hypothèse que Beg-tse est

un mot d'emprunt du mongol a été retenue depuis lors par

presque tous les auteurs occidentaux . Or, grâce au professeur

Géza Uray, nous apprenons que 1) begder (rekte: bekter) ne peut

dériver de beg-tse étant donné la différence de la deuxième

syllabe des deux mots; 2) l'orthographe du mongol begji (défini

comme "cuirasse cachée") d'après Kovalevski montre un lettre (j

= dz) employée spécialement pour la transcription des mots

tibétains et sanscrits ayant des phonèmes que le mongol n'avait

pas connus; par conséquent, il est clair que le mongol begji

provient du tibétain beg-tse et non pas l'inverse (10).

Bien que plusieurs lettrés tibétains consultés aient souligné

la sonorité "bizarre, voire étrangère" de Beg-tse, les

remarques du professeur Uray nous ont incités à chercher les

premières occurrences du terme beg-tse en tibétain. Parmi les

noms de la divinité, il y a Gnod-sbyin zangs-kyi beg-tse can,

Yaksha au beg-tse de cuivre (cf. chapitre V). Cet emploi

suggère que le nom propre dérive d'un substantif, nom d'objet,

d'abord attribut de la divinité, devenu ensuite l'un de ses

noms propres. D'après l'iconographie où Beg-tse apparaît sous


l'aspect d'un guerrier, son nom pouvait effectivement dériver

de l'armure qu'il porte, selon l'interprétation que Jaeschke

donne à ce terme. Son armure ne se distingue cependant en rien

de celle de nombreuses autres divinités guerrières. Il y a

notamment une ressemblance étroite entre son habit et celui de

son acolyte Srog-bdag dmar-po. Pourtant, les rituels utilisent

généralement le terme khrab (cuirasse) pour désigner l'armure

de l'acolyte, tandis que la divinité principale est décrite

comme portant le beg-tse (11). Il reste donc difficile de

cerner la signification de ce terme.

Quant à l'émergence historique de ce terme comme nom de

divinité, elle ne se recontre pas avant le milieu du onzième

siècle au plus tôt, c'est à dire à l'époque de la deuxième

diffusion du bouddhisme au Tibet, si nous acceptons la

chronologie tibétaine. Il reste alors à déterminer si l'emploi

du terme beg-tse se confirme avant les traductions et

compositions de rituels consacrés à cette divinité. Dans les

documents de Dunhuang (milieu du VIle au Xe siècle), nous avons

relevé une occurrence de beg-tse comme nom propre, et deux

mentions d'un objet susceptible d'être en rapport linguistique

avec beg-tse.

Le premier emploi de Beg-tse comme nom propre se trouve dans le

manuscrit P.T. 1283, déjà étudié par Jacques Bacot en 1956

dans son article "Reconnaissance en Haute Asie Septentrionale

par cinq envoyés ouigours au VIlle siècle" (12). Beg-tse

désigne ici un royaume de la Corée occidentale, connu sous le


nom de Paek-tche, dont Beg-tse serait la transcription

tibétaine. Ce royaume n'existait plus lorsque le rapport de

reconnaissance fut rédigé. D'après P.T. 1283, le nom complet du

royaume était Mon-ba Beg-tse. Il ne semble pas qu'il y ait de

relation entre ce nom et la divinité Beg-tse, d'autant que ce

manuscrit a été traduit de l'ouigour et contient plusieurs

transcriptions de termes étrangers.

Par ailleurs, une campagne militaire menée en 739 d'après la

Chronique Tibétaine (13) prend pour cible un lieu Beg qui n'a

pas été identifié, mais à cette époque, les armées tibétaines

livraient régulièrement des batailles à la frontière nord-est,

surtout contre les Chinois, et parfois aussi contre les

Sogdiens ou les Ouigours. Il pourrait s'agir également d'un

lieu tibétain (14). Toutefois l'hypothèse d'une origine

nontibétaine du terme semble renforcée par une source tardive,

le Mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston de Dpa'-bo gtsug-lag 'phreng-ba (ca.

1550). Dans sa discussion des maîtres rnying-ma-pa de l'époque

ancienne, Dpa'-bo relate l'histoire de Sog-po Dpal gyi Ye-shes,

reconnu par la tradition tardive comme un Ouigour (sog-po)

établi au Tibet (15). D'après le Mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston, le nom

religieux de cet homme était Sog-po Dpal gyi Ye-shes, mais

auparavant, son nom personnel était Mgar-ba Beg-tse (16). Est-

ee là une indication qu'au milieu du XVIe siècle le nom de Beg-

tse voilait une origine étrangère ouigoure ou sogdienne? Nous

ne pouvons que constater cette utilisation.

L'examen de documents de Dun Huang qui attestent l'objet tend

davantage à suggérer une origine chinoise pour ce terme.


1. O. 728

Ce manuscrit, déjà étudié par de la Vallée Poussin (1962), fut

récemment l'objet d'une édition du Toyo Bunko (17). Alors que

de la Vallée Poussin avait le résumé "Interrogation par le

Buddha d'un démon Peg-tse" (18), l'édition du Toyo Bunko

établit la lecture de ce nom comme beg-tse. La consultation du

manuscrit en fac-similé confirme la lecture peg-tse, et non


Le manuscrit fragmentaire comporte deux folio (17,7 x 6 cm),

numérotés sept/huit, avec quatre lignes d'écriture dbu-can sur

chaque face. La source du fragment n'a pas pu être identifiée.

D'après Mme Anne-Marie Blondeau, l'écriture trahit un rédacteur

connaissant mal le tibétain. Le texte rapporte, dans un style

simple évoquant la langue parlée, une conversation entre le

Buddha et un srin-po (démon) appelé 'Dza-ga-ra, nom inconnu par

ailleurs (19). Un objet peg-tse fait partie des sujets abordés.

Nous proposons ici un essai de traduction:

"Jadis le démon 'Dza-ga-ra se présenta devant le Bhagavat

et lui demanda, 'quel peg-tse vous est agréable? Quel

chanvre (? sa pour sa-ma-tshang)(20) de bonne qualité

(bag-gsal)(21) vous est agréable ou non?" Il demanda

(encore) "Quelle nourriture (zan) vous est agréable, la

farine de bonne qualité (bag-gsal) ? Ou pas? Quelle soie

vous est agréable? Est-ce que le feutre (phying-ral) de

bonne qualité est agréable ou non? Est-ce le chef de la

parenté (gnyen-rje) ou la reine principale (btsun-mo-rje)


qui est de bonne qualité? Ou n'est-ce pas la reine


[Phrase barrée dans le texte:à nouveau à côté de la

maison, 'Dza-ga-ra ]

Le Bhagavat dit, "Toi, homme qui sait beaucoup (myi-shes-

khyod) (22), le peg-tse confectionné de brocart de soie et

chanvre (sa-ma-tshang) est agréable. Toi, homme qui sait

beaucoup, tu dis la vérité. Toutes sortes de nourritures

préparées sont délicieuses comme tu l'as dit. La bonne

qualité (bzang) des soies et brocarts qui sont agréables,

c'est comme tu l'as dit. Quant au chef des hommes de la

parenté (gnyen sha-rus myi-rdze) (23 ), c'est comme tu

l'as dit.

Aussitôt que 'Dza-ga-ra fut parti, le Bhagavat se

transforma en démon à neuf têtes et alla chez 'Dza-ga-ra.

'Dza-ga-ra s'enfuit. La famille ne laissa pas entrer (le

Bhagavat). La reine se cacha ( ou cacha Dzagara ?) et

lorque le Bhagavat fut parti, 'Dza-ga-ra (demanda?) à la

reine ...

Texte tibétain

(fol.7a) sngun* Bcom Idan 'das kyi sbya*-ngar* srin-po 'Dza'

ga-ra mchisj jnas zhus pa peg-tse gang 'jamj j'ag*-gsal-pa sa

'jamj jma yin ces smrasj jzhus-pa zan gang zhim bag-gsam* phye

zhiml ma byin* ces smrasl gos gang 'jam (7b) bag-gsal-pa

phying-ral 'jaml Ima yin ces smrasl gnyen-rtse* 'ami Ibtsun-

mo rdze* bag-gsal-pa btsun-mo rtse ma yin ces smrasl Imyi*

shes khyodl Islas log khyam du 'Dza-ga-ral (barré dans le

texte) IBcom Idan 'das la O zhus-pal 1 1 1 (8a) sa ma tshang

dar zab kyi peg-tse 'jam myi* shes khyodl bden khyo* kyi smras

pa zan g.yos sna 'tshog* zhim khyod kyi smras bzhin yinl gos

dar zab kyi bzang 'jam khyod kyi smras bzhin yinl Ignyen sha-

rus myi-rdze* ne o * khyokyis* smras bzhin (8b) yinl 'Dza-ga-ra

thal ma thag Bcom Idan 'dasl Isri-'a-go-drgu* par sprul kho-'i

gnas su bzhud 'Dza-ga-ra bros gnyen kyis khyim du ma bdangs

btsun-mos spas* slar bzhud bshegs*-pa dangl l 'Dza-ga-ra btsun-

mo la ...


°indique lettre ajoutée sous la ligne d'écriture

1) sngun* sngon

2) sbya*-ngar spyan-sngar

3) 'ag*-gsal bag-gsal

4) bag-gsam* bag-gsal

5) byin* yin

6) gnyen-rtse* gnyen-rje

7) btsun-mo rdze* btsun-mo- rje

8) btsun-mo rtse* btsun-mo-rje

9) myi* mi

10) khyo* khyod

Il) sna-'tshog* sna-tshogs

12) myi-rdze* mi-rje

13) ne* ni

14) khyokyis* khyod-kyi


15) sri-'a-go-drgu* srin-mgo-dgu

16) bshegs* gshegs

Ce texte présente plusieurs anomalies linguistiques. On

constate l'emploi de verbes non-honorifiques à l'égard du

Buddha, et de nombreuses confusions élémentaires dans la langue

- telle l'incapacité de suivre la conjugaison du verbe "être".

L'orthographe d'un même mot varie d'une ligne à l'autre, comme

par exemple celle du nom 'Dza'-ga-ra/ 'Dza-ga-ra.

Quant à l'objet peg-tse mentionné dans ce fragment, il semble

être en relation avec des textiles, puisque son contexte

comporte mentions de soie et feutre. Cette hypothèse est étayée

par une tentative d'étymologie à partir du chinois, que nous

devons au professeur Uray: le tibétain peg-tse serait le reflet

de l'ancien chinois:~ -j- po/pai plus tseu, souvent traduit

"soie", mais chez Morohashi, la signification "tissu de soie

non-teinte" est confirmée (24). Le glissement de l'ancien

chinois ~(prononcé ha) pour la transcription pha, ou pa, ou ha

de l'ancien tibétain est souvent rencontré dans les manuscrits

de cette époque, ce qui nous donne les orthographes possibles

peg-tse, pheg-tse, ou beg-tse. Ce glissement a été rencontré

ailleurs dans un texte chinois en transcription tibétaine (25).

La signification de peg-tse pourrait donc être "tissu de soie

non-teint". On retiendra cependant que l'expression dar zab kyi

peg-tse (le peg-tse de brocart de soie) suggère que le peg-tse

n'est pas forcément confectionné en soie. Néanmoins,

l'association textile semble se confirmer d'après un autre

manuscrit de Dunhuang, P. T. 1134.


Le P. T. 1134, qui a fait l'objet d'une étude détaillée par

Monsieur R. A. Stein (26), expose les précédents mythiques du

rituel funéraire. Il y est fait mention d'une personne tenant

un pag-tse de soie (27). Il s'agit d'un objet, toujours en

soie, que l'on peut tenir dans la main. S'agit-il du même mot

dans une variante orthographique?

S'agit-il simplement de différentes significations pour un seul

et même mot, ou y aurait-il une filiation à établir? y a-t-il

un rapport avec l'attribut de la divinité? On doit se rappeler

que l'armure des anciens guerriers tibétains était remarquable

pour sa qualité protectrice et sa facture très fine. D'après

les sources chinoises et arabes qui la décrivent, c'était une

armure "à chaîne" (cotte de mailles) ou à écailles imbriquées.

Les plaques, se chevauchant dans le sens vertical, devaient

être fixées à un justaucorps de cuir ou d'étoffe (28). Beckwith

a récemment analysé à ce propos les sources arabes et

centrasiatiques en soulignant que l'armure couvrait le guerrier

de la tête aux pieds (29). Nous verrons plus loin qu'une

description attribuée à un auteur du onzième siècle mentionne

un beg-tse de cuivre (zangs-kyi-beg-tse) porté sur la tête, et

un beg-tse de cuivre ajusté au corps comme chemise (30). Doit-

on y voir une allusion à la signification de la "cotte de

mailles cachée" attribuée à beg-tse? Ceci semble plutôt une

référence à une couche de tissu sous la cuirasse et/ou sous le

casque, correspondant à un justaucorps, peut-être muni d'un

capuchon. On peut considérer que, dans cet exemple, l'emploi du

mot "cuivre" (zangs) est une épithète pour la couleur rouge,

comme ailleurs l'exemple des "dents de conque" (dung-so)


impliquant la blancheur des dents, et non leur matière


Un deuxième glissement de sens du substantif beg-tse à l'époque

tardive (XVIIe siècle) est suggéré par l'occurrence de beg-tse

avec la signification de cuirasse, dans l'exemple bse'i beg-tse

(cuirasse en cuir), rencontré dans un rituel composé par le

Cinquième Dalai Lama (31).

Là s'arrêtent les changements de sens de ce vocable. Si nous

pouvons constater les occurrences anciennes de peg-tsejpag-tse,

liées à la soie ou une autre matière textile, dans l'état

actuel de nos connaissances la signification exacte reste à

établir. Nous ne pouvons suggérer que le sens ancien de beg-tse

ne semble pas correspondre à la cotte de mailles cachée, mais

plutôt à la chemise ou le tissu à l'intérieur de la cotte de

mailles, dissimulé par celle-ci. Quant au sens tardif, on

constate le glissement du sens de la chemise sous la cuirasse à

celui de cuirasse. Entretemps, la divinité appelée par

l'épithète Beg-tse-can (pourvu de beg-tse) est attestée par le

nom Beg-tse lcam-dral ou Beg-tse lcam-sring, dès la biographie

du Premier Dalai Lama rédigée en 1494.

La signification du terme Lcam-sring

Lcam-sring est l'autre nom de la divinité qui se rencontre le '

plus souvent. Dans la littérature occidentale, la signification

acceptée depuis Tucci est celle de "brother and sister". Elle


correspond en fait à lcam-dral, parfois donné comme nom

alternatif, Beg-tse lcam-dral.

Lcam-sring, d'après Das, désigne "la femme, l'épouse" et

sring- forme abrégée de sring-mo, "la soeur" (32). On retiendra

néanmoins que dans le dictionnaire de Dagyab lcam-sring est

défini comme " forme honorifique de soeur" sans mention de la

notion d'épouse (33). La signification de lcam-sring serait

donc "soeur et épouse", et le nom Beg-tse lcam-sring implique

Beg-tse en compagnie de sa soeur-épouse (Rig-pa'i Lha-mo). La

définition la plus récente est celle d'après le Tshig-mdzod

chen-mo (1984): "lcam-sring: (1) forme honorifique pour soeur

(sring-mo), (2) l'assistant Srog-bdag dmar-po de l'entourage de

la divinité tutelaire Hayagriva". (34). Le nom Lcam-sring peut

donc être interprété comme l'abréviation de Beg-tse lcam-sring,

le nom complet des deux divinités, ayant ainsi la signification

de "frère et soeur" d'après la mythologie des divinités, ou il

peut désigner la divinité masculine seule.


1.Beg-tse ne figure ni dans la Mahavyutpatti, ni dans le

dictionnaire de Csoma de Koros (1834).

2. H. A. Jaschke, A Tibetan English Dictionary, London, 1972,

p. 370 (ré-édition d'après l'original de 1881).

3. Dictionnaire thibétain-latin-français, p. 671 "Tunica ferrea

abscondita, tunique de fer cachée."

4. S. C. Das, A Tibetan English Dictionary, p. 876

5. Ibid, p. 877, "d'après Deb-sngon, Ga, 2.". Cette référence

s'avère fautive. Ceci s'explique peut-être selon l'analyse de
M. Aris, 1976, p. 601 (n. 1) qui écrit,

" Deb-ther sngon-po 'The blue annals', written between

1476 and 1478 by 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba Gzhon nu-dpal; Yang-pa
can/Kun bde gling edition in 15 sections. G. N. Roerich's
translation of this work (2 vols., Calcutta, 1949-54) was
made from the slightly differing text of the later Amdo
edition of Mdzod-dge dgon-pa."

Nous n'avons pu consulter que la deuxième édition (dans la

version tibétaine et en traduction), où la référence de Das est
erronée. D'après le contexte, il semble que cette référence
comporte néanmoins une erreur typographique. Ce serait plutôt
la deuxième page de chapitre 2 (kha) qui mentionne en effet un
dieu protecteur anonyme. Si l'autre édition précisait en effet
le nom de Beg-tse, il serait possible de rétablir la référence
ainsi "Deb-sngon, Kha 2. A notre connaissance, ceci est la
seule occurrence d'une définition selon cette orthographe.

6.Chos-grags, Brda-dag ming-tshig gsal-ba, Beijing, 1981, p.

564. Pour les btsan, cf. chapitre IV.

7.L. S. Dagyab, Tibetan Dictionary, Dharamsala, 1966, p. 441:

Beg-rtse: btsan-rgod kyi bye-brag.

8. B. Laufer, "Loan words in Tibetan", T'oung Pao, vol. XVII,

Leiden, 1916, p. 498, no. 199.

9. B. Laufer, Sino-Iranica, 1919, p. 575, no. 13. Nous

remercions Fernand Meyer de cette référence.

10. Lettre de professeur Géza Uray, du 21 mars 1985.

Il.Pour une exception de taille à cette règle, cf. chapitre IX,

sur le rêve de Beg-tse fait par le Troisième Dalaï Lama, où
Beg-tse se présente habillé d'une cuirasse (khrab).

12. Journal Asiatique, vol. CCXLIV, 1956, pp. 137-153.

13.Cf. L. Petech, "Glosse agli Annali di tun-huang", p. 276,

relatif aux lignes 280-281 des Annales: yos bu'i 10 (=739)~/

btsan po dbyard chab-srid la beg-tu gsheg-ste/ ... Pourtant, C.

Beckwith omet toute discussion de cette expédition militaire
dans son étude magistrale The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia
Princeton, 1987.

14. Sbeg (ou variante: Speg) est un élément d'un nom personnel
d'un tibétain actif dans le gouvernement de Khri Ide srong-
btsan ca. 812. Il s'appelle Rlang blon Khri sum rje speg (sbeg)
lha d'après Tucci, Tombs of the Tibetan Kings, p. 50, cité par
J.Szerb qui pose les problèmes d'identification de ce ministre,
.in " Tibetan Uigur Treaty of 822/823 A.D." in WSTB-I, 1983, pp.

l5.Cf. K.Dowman, Sky-Dancer, p. 283 ; Bdud 'Joms Rinpoche,

Rnying-ma'i chos 'byung,1976, p. 287, écrit qu'il s'appelle
Sog-po Beg-tse avant sa conversion. Bdud 'Joms Rinpoche ne cite
pas de source pour cette remarque, et nous supposons qu'il l'a
faite d'après le Mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston, tha 33a (=p. 598, vol.I
de l'édition de 1981). Nous remercions Matthew Kapstein et A.-
M. Blondeau de nous avoir signalé cette référence.

16.Padma 'phrin las (1681), Bka-ma mdo-dbang gi rnam-thar, pp.

152-3, confirme ce nom et note sa naissance à Yar-'brog, que
Thomas (A.F.L:, p. 94, 1. 321) a identifié comme Sog-yar à
cause des Sogdiens installés à cet endroit.

l7.Cf. texte no. 728 in The Seminar on Tibet, A Catalogue of

the Tibetan Manuscripts collected by Sir Aurel Stein, part
Eight, The Toyo Bunko, Tokyo, 1984, pp. 49-50. Nous avons eu
connaissance de cette référence grâce à Dr. Janos Szerb.

18. L. de la Vallée Poussin, Catalogue of Tibetan Manuscripts

from Tun-Huang in the India Office Library, Oxford, 1962, p.
233. Nous remercions A.-M. Blondeau de nous avoir communiqué
cette référence.

19.Nous devons au professeur Géza Uray de savoir que la

structure phonétique du nom est telle qu'il est très peu
probable que ce soit d'origine turque (ouigoure) ou chinoise.
Le manuscrit 1. o. 728 donne deux orthographes pour ce même
nom: 'Dza'-ga-ra et 'Dza-ga-ra (lettre du 21 mars 1985.)

20.La signification de sa est incertaine, quoique son emploi

est possiblement à rapprocher de celui de sa-ma tshang fol. 8a.

21.bag-gsal-ba se rencontre ici avec plusieurs orthographes,

mais nous proposons la traduction "de bonne qualité" car cela
s'applique tant aux tissus et nourritures qu'aux personnes.
Cettte expression serait à rapprocher de bag-dro-ba (kha-dro-
ha) selon Chos-grags, p. 554, bag dro-bar gyur-pa - sems dga'
ba'i dro-bar gyur pa (la joie qui rechauffe le coeur). Nous
devons cette interprétation à Yonten Gyatso.

22.D'après Yonten Gyatso, myi shes khyod serait l'équivalent

des expressions de la langue parlée shes ldan khyod ou mkhyen-

23.C'est Yontan Gyatso qui a rapproché gnyen (la parenté) des

périphrases explicatives sha-nye, cousin germain côté maternel,

et rus-nye, cousin germain côté paternel. Das, p. 1227, signale

la lecture sha-nye, parent consanguin proche, ou descendant.

24. Lettre du 21 mars 1985 du professeur Uray, " ... (la citation
du dictionnaire de) Morohashi est no. 8855. La forme en ancien
chinois est b'*ok d'après Karlgren, Grammata Serica Recensa,
no.782/ f-h. On trouve b'*ok transcrit comme ph(e)g dans un
texte chinois en écriture tibétaine (cf. B. Csongor," Sorne
Chinese texts in Tibetan Script from Tun-Huang", ~
Orientalia Hung., 1960, p. 137, no. 737). Ancien chinois ~
(Karlgren, no. 964a-j) se présente comme ~, ~ et ~ (cf.
F. W. Thomas et L. Giles, "A Tibeto-Chinese word-and-phrase
book", BSOAS XII:3-4, 1948, p. 767b, et Csongor, op.cit., p.
124, no. 123)". Dr. Tsuguhito Takeuchi nous a confirmé le
bien-fondé, à son avis, de cette hypothèse étymologique (lettre
du 1er octobre 1989).

25. Csongor (ibid, p. 109) montre que l'ancien chinois ~

initial était transcrit en tibétain non seulement par pha, mais
assez souvent par ha et pa. Nous remercions le professeur Uray
qui nous a communiqué cette référence.

26. R. A. Stein "Du récit au rituel dans les manuscrits

tibétains de Touen-Houang", (pp. 491 -500 pour la discussion de
P. T. 1134) in: A.Macdonald (red.).Etudes Tibétaines dédiées à
la Mémoire de MArcelle Lalou, Paris, 1971, pp. 479-547.

27.P. T. 1134: 1. 57-58: Gyam-za ting ni dme gos nag-po ni skul

mnabsl pyag-na dar-gyi pag-tse ni snams srab-mda' 'a breng ..
"Quant à Gyam za-ting (= la mère 'Gyam-za, d'après Stein, p.
492) elle porte une soie sale et noire sur le corps, et tient
un pag-tse de soie dans la main, puis les rênes de cuir ... "

28. P. Demiéville, Le Concile de Lhasa, Paris, 1952, p. 375.

29. Beckwith, op.cit., 1987, pp. 109-110, p. 185, passim.

30. Cf. chapitre V, rituels de Gnyan Lo-tsa-ba; dbu-la zangs-

kyi beg-tse gsoll ra-klog dmar-po'i steng-na zangs-kyi beg-tse
ral-kha gyon-pa/

31.Cf. chapitre IX.

32.Das, op.cit.,p. 399 pour la définition lcam-dral, et aussi

pour lcam-mo," an abbreviation of and sring-mo; according
to sorne a sister";p. 1288, sous sring-mo, "sister, bu
sring,ming-sring, resp. lcam-sring, brother and sister, cousins
(J~.)." Si nous acceptons la définition de ming-sring comme
étant exacte, la forme de l'honorifique proposé, lcam-sring,
est fautive, la forme honorifique correcte étant sku-mched
ming-sring. Cf. Das, QP.~.,p. 436 pour mched.

33. L. S. Dagyab, op.cit., p. 189, lcam-sring: sring-mo'i zhes-

sa(forme honorifique de soeur); p. 188, il définit lcam-dral:
ming-sring,(frère et soeur).; Ceci s'accorde avec Dag-yig gsar-
bsgrigs, Xining, 1979, p. 221: sring-mo'i ming gzhan-
~: lcam-sring zhes-pa Ita-bu. et à la même page: lcam-dral 1.
sring-mo dang ming-po gnyis zhes-pa'i don.

34. Tshig-mdzod chen-mo, édition de 1984, vol. l, p. 766:"

lcam-sring: (l)sring-mo'i zhes-sa (2) yi-dam rta-mgrin gyi
'khor 1as-mkhan srog-bdag dmar-po."

Chapitre III. Présentation analytique du Beg-tse be'u bum

Notre principale source pour les rituels dédiés à Beg-tse est

le recueil intitulé Beg-tse be'u bum, dont la compilation est

attribuée à un maître Sa-skya-pa du XVIe siècle, Tshar-chen

blo-gsal rgya-mtsho (1502-1566) (1). Le titre abrégé Beg-tse

be'u bum figure sur la couverture du livre publié en 1978 (2),

mais le titre du manuscrit qu'il reproduit est Gnod-sbyin beg-

gdong lcam-sring gi chos-skor yongs su tshang-ba'i glegs-bam,

" Livre du cycle complet de préceptes du Yaksha Beg(-tse) (et

de ) Gdong ( dmar-ma) lcam-sring". Dans ce contexte, Beg-Gdong

est la forme condensée des deux noms Beg-tse et Gdong-dmar-ma.

Tel qu'il se présente aujourd'hui, le contenu de ce livre est

un ensemble de textes liturgiques. D'après les colophons,

certains textes seraient d'origine indienne, traduits en

tibétain. D'autres ont été écrits par des maîtres tibétains.

La collection comprend des textes transmis oralement (bka'-

ma), de maître à disciple, et aussi des gter-ma, des textes

'révélés' que la tradition fait remonter à des maîtres du IXe-

XIIe siècle. L'exactitude de ces attributions sera examinée au

fur et à mesure dans les chapitres suivants, mais force nous

est de remarquer déjà que les auteurs tibétains tardifs font

remonter la tradition aux maîtres anciens afin de justifier

leurs propres rédactions. La chronologie est donc douteuse aux

yeux de la tibétologie. Nous suivrons les étapes définies par

les sources tibétaines dont l'incohérence est en elle-même

révélatrice. Notamment, la signature du Cinquième Dalaï Lama

en colophon d'un texte du Beg-tse be'u Bum confirme que cette

anthologie a subi ultérieurement des modifications ou des


ajouts. S'il n'y a pas de colophon proprement dit pour

l'ensemble, une série de dessins relatifs à certains rituels

clôt l'anthologie - et au milieu de ceux-ci, quelques phrases

en guise de colophon, semble-t-il, de toute l'anthologie ont

été insérées:

" ... en provenance de Gnas-gsar, grâce au maître précieux

Bod-mkhar-ba (le maître Tshar-pa du Ille Dalaï Lama) qui
l'offrit à Grum-mda' mkhan-chen, qui à son tour le
transmit à Mthu-stobs dpal-'byor qui le déposa entre mes
mains à moi, le moine de Zahor ... " (3).

Le nom de plume "moine de Zahor" est courramment utilisé par

le Cinquième Dalaï Lama. En conséquence il est peut-être

possible d'identifier Mthu-stobs dpal-'byor avec Pha-bong kha-

pa dpal-byor Ihun- grub, un maître du Cinquième Dalaï Lama

(4). Le Cinquième Dalaï Lama y aurait-il porté les touches de

finition? Cela est possible mais nous ne pouvons pas encore

répondre à cette question.

L'ordre de présentation des textes

La table des matières de l'édition de 1978 (5), avec les noms

d'auteurs ou de traducteurs qu'il a été possible d'identifier

d'après les colophons, se présente comme suit:

1.Gnod-sbyin beg gdong lcam-sring gi chos skor yongs su

tshang-ba'i glegs-bam gyi ~kar-chag. "Table des matières
du livre du cycle complet de préceptes de Gnod-sbyin Beg
(-tse) et de Gdong(-dmar-ma ) lcam-sring", pp. 1-5.

2. Texte Ka: Srog-bdag dmar-po shan pa sgrol byed kyi

rgyud. " Tantra de Srog-bdag le rouge, bourreau qui
libère". Traduit par Shridharakrashu et Mar-pa chos-kyi
dbang-phyug (XIe s.), pp. 7-14.

3. Texte Kha: Dmar-po khrag-gi mda' 'phen-ma'i rgyud.

"Tantra de la flèche sanglante (du dieu) rouge décochée".

Traduit par Shridharakrashu et Mar-pa Chos-kyi dbang-

phyug, pp. 15-21.

4. Texte Ga. Shan-pa dgu-skor gyi sgrub-thabs 'bring-

bsdus las sbyor gyi rim-pa. " Les degrés de pratiques
rituelles moyennes et condensées de la méthode de
réalisation du groupe des neuf bourreaux." Texte attribué
à Padmasambhava, caché dans le temple Dbu-rtse de Bsam-
yas et révélé par Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes (fin Xe s.),
pp. 23-35.

5. Texte Nga. Shan-pa dgu skor gyi sgrub-thabs rgyas-pa.

"Méthode de réalisation développée du groupe des neuf
bourreaux." Texte attribué à Padmasambhava, révélé par
Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes, pp. 37-46.

6. Texte Ca. Shan-pa dgu skor gyi sgrub-thabs slob-dpon

padma bsam-yas su gter-la sbas-pa gnubs sangs-rgyas ye-
shes kyis gter-nas spyan-drangs pa'i chos-skor la 10-
rgyus kyi yi-ge." Lettres de l'histoire du cycle de la
méthode de réalisation du groupe des neuf bourreaux,
cachée à Bsam-yas par l'Acarya Padmasambhava (puis)
exhumée par Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes." pp. 46-48.

7.Texte Cha. Shan-pa dmar-po'i sgrub-thabs rgyas-pa.

"Méthode de réalisation développée du bourreau rouge."
Composé par A-ca-rya Nyi-'od grags, traduit par
Shridharakrashu, pp. 49-55.

8. Texte Ja. Pho sgrub shan-pa dmar-po'i drag sngags. "La

formule rituelle violente de Shan-pa dmar-po réalisé en
forme masculine." Composé par A-ca-rya Nyi-'od grags,
traduit par Shridharakrashu, pp. 55-57.

9. Texte Nya. Mo sgrub shan-pa dmar-mo'i sgrub-thabs.

"Méthode de réalisation du bourreau féminin rouge sous
forme féminine." Composé par A-ca-rya Nyi-'od grags,
traduit par Shridharakrashu, pp. 57-59.

10.Texte Ta. Shan-pa yab-yum sbrags-ma'i sgrub-thabs,

"Méthode de réalisation de la combinaison masculin et
féminin (yab-yum) des bourreaux." Sans auteur, pp. 59-62.

Il. Texte Tha. Shan-pa dmar-po'i gsad-pa'i las-sbyor.

"Pratiques rituelles de meurtre (à l'aide) de Shan-pa
dmar-po." Composé par Shridharakrashu mais caché sans
être révélé, pp. 62-63.

12. Texte Da. Shan-pa dmar-po'i sgrub-thabs gnam-lcags

thog-dmar. "Méthode de réalisation de Shan-pa dmar-po,
éclair rouge (du) météore." gter-ma révélé par Zangs-pan
Dar-ma skyabs, pp. 64-69.

13. Texte Na. Shan-pa dmar-po'i sngags kyi man-ngag.

"Instructions de la formule rituelle de Shan-pa dmar-po."
Sans auteur, pp. 69-70.

14. Texte Pa. Dmar-mo khrag-gi mda' 'phen ma'i 'khor-lo'i

man-ngag. "Instructions du cakra de la flèche sanglante

décochée de la déesse rouge." Sans auteur prec1s mais se

présente comme texte d'origine indienne, pp. 70-72.

15. Texte Pha. Gnod-sbyin dmar-po'i gsang-sgrub bka'

rgya-ma. "Réalisation secrète scellée de Gnod-sbyin dmar-
po." Composé par A-ca-rya dmar-po, expliqué par Gru-ston
Kun-dga' bzang-po à la demande de Sreg-ston A-mo-gha
dhva-tsha (respectivement, l'arrière-grand-père et le
grand-père, né en 1401, de Dge-'dun rgya-mtsho, Deuxième
Dalaï Lama), pp. 72-78.

16. Texte Ba. Drag-po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi man-ngag.
"Instructions de gonfler le rkyal des btsan violents."
Sans signature d'auteur, mais enchaîne aussitôt sur trois
textes ancillaires, dont la composition est attribuée à
Padmasambhava et la révélation à Mnga'-bdag Nyang-ra1
(1124-1192), pp. 78-82.

17. Texte Ma. Drag-po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi zhal-shes.
"Instructions développées de gonfler le rkyal des btsan
violents." Cf. texte Ba. pour la composition; pp. 82-83.

18. Texte Tsa. Drag-po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi zhal-shes
kyi yig-chung. "Annotations sur les instructions
développées de gonfler le rkyal des btsan violents." Cf.
Texte Ba. pour la composition; pp. 83-85.

19. Texte Tsha. Drag-po btsan gyi rkyal 'bud kyi zhal-
shes kyi yig-chung gi yang-yig. "Complément aux
annotations sur les instructions développées de gonfler
le rkyal des btsan violents." C'est ici que la révélation
est attribué à Nyang-ral, pp. 85-86.

20. Texte Dza. Lha-dbye sbyor-ba. "La pratique de séparer

(l'ennemi de ses) protecteurs Iha." La composition est
attribuée à Sprul-sku Thugs-rje chen, qui transmit ce
texte à Zas-ston Ihun-bzang-bdag, pp. 86-87.

21. Texte Wa. Gnod-sbyin dmar-po'i sgo-nas dgra la khyi

dmag drang-ba. "Instruction pour guider l'armée de chiens
contre l'ennemi sous l'égide de Gnod-sbyin dmar-po."
Texte que Vairocana (fin VIlle s.) obtînt de maître Da-
tsanda-la, p. 88.

22. Texte Zhao Gnod-sbyin dmar-po'i sgo-nas dgra la bya

dmag drang-ba. "Instruction pour guider l'armée des
oiseaux contre l'ennemi sous l'égide de Gnod-sbyin dmar-
po." Sans colophon mais ce texte est le pendant du texte
Na, pp. 88-89.
23. Texte Zao Wa-thod las kyi rlung dmar. "Vent rouge des
actes rituels du crâne de renard." Sans auteur, pp. 89-

24. Texte 'A. Shan-pa dgu bskor gyi bskul-byang.

"Exhortation du groupe de neuf Shan-pa ." Sans auteur,
pp. 90-93.

2S. Texte Va. Sgrol-ging dmar-po'i gnad-gdams. "Préceptes

essentiels concernant Sgrol-ging dmar-po." Sans auteur,
pp. 93-96.

26. Texte Ra. Gnod-sbyin ra-la zhon-pa'i sgrub-thabs

o....s'---!.!m""d.....z"-'a""'d"'"---~p""'a . "Méthode de réal i sation du Gnod - sbyin
monté sur une chèvre composée par Gnyan Lo-tsa-ba (XIe
s. ) ." pp. 9 6 - 9 9 .

27. Texte La. Shan-pa dmar-po'i mdos chog gnyan-lo-

tstsha-ba mdzad-pa. "Le rituel de m.dos. de Shan-pa dmar-po
composé par Gnyan Lo-tsa-ba." pp. lOO-lOS.

28. Texte Sha. Gnod-sbyin beg-tse lcam-sring gi sgrub-

thabs. "Méthode de réalisation de Gnod-sbyin Beg-tse
lcam-sring." Composé par Kun-mkhyen seng-ge-'bum, pp.

29. Texte Sa. Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi gtor-chog. "Rituel

de gtor-ma de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral." Sans auteur, pp.

30. Texte Ha. Gnod-sbyin lcam-sring gi sgrub thabs drag-

po gnad bskul dang beas-pa. "Points essentiels de la
méthode de réalisation violente de Gnod-sbyin lcam-sring
avec exhortation." Auteur: Kun-mkhyen dpal-ldan seng-ge
(fin XIIIe s.), pp. 122-128.

31. Texte A. Gnod-sbyin beg-tse gdong lcam-dral gyi

bstod-bskul. "Exhortation et louanges de Gnod-sbyin Beg-
tse avec Gdong (-dmar-ma) lcam-dral." Auteur: Kun-mkhyen
seng-ge-'bum, composé au sanctuaire du monastère Mus-
srad, pp. 128-131.

32. Texte Ki. Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi bstod-bskul Kun-

mkhyen Dpal-ldan seng-ges mdzad-pa. "Exhortation et
louanges de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral, composé par Kun-mkhyen
dpal-ldan seng-ge." Il l'aurait écrit à l'ermitage du
monastère Mus-srad, pp. 131-134.

33. Texte Khi. Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi gzungs 'jug gi

man-ngag gnyag-ban gyis mdzad-pa. "Instruction pour
introduire des dépôts de consécration (dans une statue)
de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral, composée par le moine Gnyag."
pp. 13S-144. Ce texte se présente avec un titre
intérieur, Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi rten 'dzug-pa'i
phyag-len gyi rim-pa, "les degrés de la pratique pour
établir des supports (tl.e.n) de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral."
D'après le colophon, le moine Gnyag Bi-dza-ya bha-dra (6)
l'obtint auprès du maître Sa-skya-pa Mus-srad-pa chen-po
Rdo-rje rgyal-mtshan.

34. Texte Gi. Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi las byang 'phrin-

las Ihun-grub ces bya ba rje tshar-chen gyis mdzad-pa.
"Entrée aux rites de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral appelés 'Masse
spontanément apparue d'activités pures' composé par le
seigneur Tshar-chen". D'après le colophon, ce texte a été
composé par Tshar-chen Blo-gsal rgya-mtsho grags-pa
rgyal-mtshan dpal-bzang-po à partir de textes attribués à
A-ca-rya Nyi-ma 'od-grags et Gnyan-Lo-tsa-ba, pp. 14S-

190. En outre, p.168-174, il Y a la citation d'un rituel

de 'Dar-phyar-ru-pa (milieu du XIIIe s.), et celle d'un
texte signé par Mus-srad-pa Rdo-rje rgyal-mtshan.

35. Texte Ngi. Gnod-sbyin shan-pa 'khor bcas kyi bskang-

gso rgyas-pa tshar-chen gyis mdzad~pa. "Rite de
propitiation développée de Gnod-sbyin Shan-pa avec son
entourage composé par Tshar-chen." D'après le colophon,
après avoir été demandé par Rdo-rje bkra-shis, ce texte a
été préparé par le moine du clan Ldong Ldum-bu-pa (c'est-
à-dire, 'le moine de Ldong qui a un bol d'aumone' - c'est
en fait un nom de plume Tshar-chen). pp. 190-207.

36. Texte Ci. Lcam-dral gyi rjes-gnang rje tshar-chen

gyis mdzad-pa. "L'autorisation (de pratique) de Lcam-dral
composée par le seigneur Tshar-chen." D'après le
colophon, le moine Blo-gsal (=Tshar-chen) a composé ce
texte d'après le texte de Kun-mkhyen dpal-ldan seng-ge.
pp. 207-210.

37. Texte Chi. Gnod-sbyin shan-pa lcam-sring gi chos skor

gyi byung tshul rjes gnang gi skabs-su Dye-bar mkho-ba
rje tshar-chen gyis mdzad-pa. "Origine du cycle de Gnod-
sbyin Shan-pa Lcam-sring nécessaire lors de l'autori-
sation (à la pratique) , composée par le seigneur Tshar-
chen." D'après le colophon, ce texte a été composé par un
moine de clan Gnyags qui se désigna par le nom Mus-chen.
pp. 210-213.

38.Texte Ji. Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi bsnyen-bsgrub las

gsum lag-tu blang-ba'i rim-pa ha-la nag-po'i dug-gi spu-
gri. "Rasoir du poison noir Ha-la, les degrés de la
pratique des trois activités rituelles du culte (bsnyen-
bsgrub) de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral." pp. 217-234. Sans
signature d'auteur mais attribué par colophon à Blo-gsal
rgya-mtsho (= Tshar-chen).

39.Texte Nyi. Beg-gdong lcam-dral gyi gtor-chog bsdus-pa.

"Rituel abrégé de gtor-ma de Beg-Gdong Lcam-dral." pp.
235-241. D'après le colophon, ce texte était celui que
pratiquait Tshar-chen. Il le transmit à 'Byams-pa blo-
gros, un de ses disciples qui était né dans le clan Ldong
comme Tshar-chen. Le colophon ne donne pas de nom
d'auteur précis.

40. Texte Ti. Chos-skyong Beg-Gdong lcam-dral gyi thugs

dbang chen-mo. "Grande consécration de l'esprit de Chos-
skyong Beg-Gdong Lcam-dral." pp. 241-251. Enseignement du
maître Ser-cho'i rtse à la demande du moine de 'Dar Rig-
'dzin rdo-rje.

41. Texte Thi. Gnod-sbyin dregs-pa lcam-sring gi shin-tu

zab-pa'i 'khor-lo'i dpe-bris. "Dessins des cakra très
profonds (pour les actes rituels de) Gnod-sbyin dregs-pa
Lcam-sring." pp. 253- 280. Ce texte est celui en
provenance de Gnas-gsar qui passa jusqu'au Cinquième
Dalaï Lama dont il porte la signature.

La question de l'ordre de présentation actuelle de ces textes

et sa logique nécessite une tentative d'explication. On peut

identifier plusieurs sous-groupes (tels les groupes de textes

attribués à Gnubs ou Nyang-ral) dans l'anthologie. Le

placement des tantra en tête de la collection s'explique par

leur signification religieuse. C'est-à-dire, pour les fidèles,

les tantra seraient en principe les textes les plus anciens

qui établissent les bases du culte de la divinité. Pourtant ce

n'est pas l'ordre chronologique selon les normes occidentaux

qui régit la présentation des textes. Par exemple, au lieu de

regrouper les tantra avec les rituels dérivés de ceux-ci, les

tantra sont suivis de trois textes attribués à Padmasambhava,

dont la revelation aurait eu lieu au Xe siècle. Viennent

ensuite les textes en relation avec les tantra, dont certains

auraient été l'oeuvre des religieux qui diffusèrent ces tantra

en Inde, longtemps avant leur traduction en tibétain au XIe

siècle, tandis qu'au moins un texte est une oeuvre

contemporaine de la traduction. Ce n'est donc pas

l'échellonnement historique qui régit l'ordre de présentation

des textes ici. La structure actuelle de la présentation

correspond à une logique interne, à la tibétaine, indépendante

de la chronologie. Comme nous avons cherché à comprendre la

progression historique dans la constitution de l'iconographie

et l'élaboration des rituels, nous avons pris le parti de

suivre les textes dans l'ordre chronolpgique des auteurs, sans

tenir compte de l'organisation interne actuelle du Beg-tse

be'u bum.

D'après le Cinquième Dalaï Lama, il y avait une grande

différence dans l'ordre de présentation de la collection telle


qu'il l'a étudiee. Le Gsan-yig du Cinquième Dalaï Lama (7),

liste d'enseignements reçus imprimée de son vivant, confirme

qu'il était détenteur des enseignements du Beg-tse be'u Bum.

En effet, le Gsan-yig fournit la plus ancienne preuve

indépendante de l'existence d'une anthologie dédiée à Beg-tse.

Sur les 41 textes du recueil actuel, on trouve 38 textes qui

sont cités dans le Gsan-yig. Parfois il y a une légère

variation dans le titre du texte, mais très souvent, la

citation du Cinquième Dalaï Lama comprend soit le premier vers

du texte, soit des phrases du colophon, permettant ainsi une

quasi-certitude dans l'identification. Il y a six textes cités

dans ces passages du Gsan-yig que nous n'avons pas pu

identifier d'après le Beg-tse be'u bum actuel. S'il est

possible que la collection reçue par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama

était plus grande que le Beg-tse be'ubum de nos jours, on

peut aussi penser que ces textes non-identifiés seraient peut-

être des subdivisions comportant des titres intérieurs (8). La

liste du Cinquième Dalaï Lama correspond de si près à certains

textes du Be'u bum que toutes les subdivisions sont annotées,

avec la citation de leur premier vers, comme s'il s'agissait

de rituels indépendants (9).

Le système de classification adopté par le Cinquième Dalaï

Lama est analytique. Il explique qu'il y a deux grandes

divisions, les textes bka'-ma et les textes gter-ma. Il

poursuit en regroupant les textes bka'-ma sous huit

principales catégories:

1) l'histoire de la transmission (10 )

2) les autorisations (à la pratique) (rjes-gnang) (11 )
3) les tantra
4) les realisations (sgrub) (12 )

5) les propitiations (gtor-ma, ffidQs, bskang-gso) (13 )

6) les supports (rten gzugs)
7) les louanges et les exhortations (bstod-bskul)
8) les actes divers (las-tshogs)

Il passe alors à la division des textes gter-ma, pour lesquels

il y a deux principaux cycles, chacun associé avec un gter-

~ particulier. Ceci correspond aussi au Beg-tse be'u bum de

1978. Le Cinquième Dalaï Lama termine sa discussion en

retraçant plusieurs lignées de transmission des origines

indiennes jusqu'à son époque.

Le style de la rédaction est très dense. Quelques citations

précises du Gsan-yig (cf. notes 6, 8-10) montrent

l'imbrication du contenu des titres et des colophons des

textes. Par sa rigueur, le Gsan-yig peut clarifier la lecture

du Be'u bum. Par example, Tshar-chen a compilé un texte (no.

34, Gi) à partir de plusieurs rituels plus anciens dont deux

sont cités dans le colophon du texte. Le Gsan-yig permet

d'identifier trois autres sources par la citation de leur

premier vers ainsi que par le nom du maître qui composa

initialement le rituel (14).

Données historiques concernant la compilation et la


La compilation du Beg-tse be'u bum est attribuée à Tshar-chen.

Cette compilation n'est pas attestée dans la biographie de

Tshar-chen que rédigea le Cinquième Dalaï Lama. Il y mentionne

toutefois un Stag-zhon be'u bum et un Mgon-po be'u bum dont

Tshar-chen possédait les enseignements (15). Comme la

biographie de Tshar-chen (cf. chapitre VIII) décrit les

relations étroites entre une forme de Mgon-po et Beg-tse ainsi


que leur propititation commune, on peut se demander si la

collection actuellement connue comme Beg-tse be'u bum ne

faisait pas partie du Mgon-po be'u bum à l'époque du Cinquième

Dalaï Lama (16). Tshar-chen était-il le véritable compilateur

du Beg-tse be'u bum? Plusieurs rituels portent sa signature ce

qui tend à confirmer cette attribution (17).

Afin de comprendre l'histoire de l'anthologie, nous avons

étudié le texte Chi., qui se présente comme une analyse

historique de l'enseignement (chos-skor gyi byung-tshul).

L'auteur est un maître du clan Gnyag(s) qui se désigne par le

nom Mus-chen (18). Ce texte décrit les origines du culte en

présentant une lignée de transmission identique à celle des

tantra (cf. chapitre V), c'est à dire, une révélation divine

en Inde auprès du maître Nyi-'od grags, et après une

génération, l'enseignement passe à Shridharakrashu, qui serait

en principe le maître responsable pour l'introduction au Tibet

des enseignements: on lui attribue leur traduction en

collaboration avec Mar-pa chos-kyi dbang-phyug (XIe siècle).

Le maître appelé Gnyan lo-tsa-ba est aussi cité comme son

élève. Immédiatement après Mar-pa et Gnyan, le religieux 'Dar-

phyar ru-pa est mentionné (19). D'après le texte Chi, ce

maître avait obtenu trois systèmes d'enseignements sur Beg-

tse: une révélation directe par des visions de Padmasambhava,

et aussi les deux traditions selon Mar-pa et Gnyan. Shud-bu

bkra-shis 'od-zer était le nom du maître qui lui transmit ces

deux systèmes différents (20). Après 'Dar-phyar ru-pa, la

transmission a été assurée par plusieurs maîtres Sa-skya-pa,

notamment par Seng-ge 'bum et Dpal-Idan seng-ge dont des

rituels ont été incorporés dans le Beg-tse be'u bum. Ce texte


explique la lignée de la transmission parmi les Sa-skya-pa

jusqu'à une génération avant Tshar-chen.

Sans pouvoir affirmer avec plus de certitude sa compilation

par Tshar-chen, l'existence au milieu du XVIIe siècle d'une

collection de rituels dédiés à Beg-tse est sûre selon la

demonstration faite par le Gsan-yig de Cinquième Dalaï Lama

(cf.supra). Il Y avait peut-être même plusieurs versions de ce

recueil, car si le Gsan-yig du Cinquième Dalaï Lama atteste

une anthologie très proche à l'édition de 1978, vers 1725,

Sle-lung bzhad-pa'i rdo-rje a reçu une collection où manquait

toute une série de textes (21). Le Gsan-yig d'un maître Sa-

skya-pa du XVIIIe siècle montre un ensemble de textes

identique à la collection décrite par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama,

avec l'ajout d'un texte composé par le Premier Panchen Lama

(22). Toutefois la transmission du Beg-tse be'u bum à Bkra-

shis Ihun-po n'est pas formellement attestée (23). Quoique la

nature même de ces enseignements implique une diffusion

relativement restreinte, des gsan-yig Dge-lugs-pa et Sa-skya-

pa du XXe siècle permettent de savoir que la transmission du

Beg-tse be'u bum a été assurée parmi des moines de ces écoles

jusqu'à nos jours (24).

1.Cf. chapitre VIII pour l'étude de la biographie de Tshar-

chen ainsi que les rituels qu'il composa.

2.Tshar-chen blo-gsal rgya-mtsho, Beg-tse be'u bum, Lahul-

spiti, 1978. Le manuscrit original reproduit dans l'édition de
1978 a été trouvé au monastère Kyi dans la région de Spiti.
Selon une communication personnelle de E. Gene Smith, ce
manuscrit provient "de la tradition de Bkra-shis Ihun-po"

(entretien, 1980, dont les notes sont en possession de


3.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 273: Khyab-bdag gnas-gsar-ba'i khrod-

nas 'khyer-te kun-chad (i11isibe un mot)-song-ba rin-po-che
bod-mkhar-bas grum-mda' mkhan-chen la gnang-ba khong-gi sku-
tsha mkhan-chen mthu-stobs dpal-'byor nas bdag za-hor ban-
dhe'i lag-tu son-pa'i khyad chos-la byung-ngo/

4. La biographie de Pha-bong-kha-pa rédigée par le Cinquième

Dalaï Lama est éditée dans son gsung-bum, vol. Nya, fol. 1-44.
Il lui aurait transmis certains enseignements sur Beg-tse
pendant sa petite enfance. Cf. chapitre IX.

5.Cette table des matières apparaît en transcription au début

du livre, tandis que le titre écrit en tibétain se trouve
avant chaque texte. Les titres sont pareils sauf pour trois
textes (nos. 34, 35, et 37) où la liste en transcription
rajoute l'attribution à Tshar-chen comme auteur à la fin du

6.11 faut rectifier Gnyag en Gnyags, à la lumière de

l'orthographe de ce nom d'après le texte Chi. du Be'u bum. Ce
nom se confirme aussi d'après BA, p. 104. En tibétain ce
maître s'appelle (Gnyags) Rnam-rgyal (dpal) bzang quoiqu'il
ait signé ici avec des prénoms sanscrits.

7.Cinquième Dalaï Lama, Gsan-yig gang-ga'i chu-rgyun, Delhi,

1970, vol. l, pp. 823-835.

8.Plusieurs citations du Gsan-yig sont ainsi. Par exemple, à

la page 827, apparaît la citation suivante: Gnod-sbyin lcam-
dral 'khor-bcas kyi phyi-rten gzugs-pa'i (sic) phyag-len gyi
rim-pa gnyag-gi ban-de bi-dza-ya bha-dras dpal-nyan-po'i
gtsug-lag khang-du mdzad-pa. "Degrés de la pratique pour
établir des supports exotériques de Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral et
l'entourage, composés par le moine Gnyag au sanctuaire Dpa1-
Nyan-po." Cela correspond de près au titre intérieur de Be'u-
bum, texte khi (pp.135-144), "Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi rten
'dzug-pa'i phyag-len gyi rim-pa" quoique le titre général de
ce texte, Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi gzungs-'jug gi man-ngag
gnyag-ban gyis mdzad-pa, n'apparaisse pas. L'information du
colophon permet de savoir que ce texte a en effet été composé
par ce moine au sanctuaire nommé.

9. C'est notamment le cas des trois textes gter-ma attribués à

Gnubs sangs-rgyas ye-shes, dont les nombreuses subdivisions
(cf. chapitre IV) sont toutes indiquées dans le Gsan-yig, pp.

10. Cf. Gsan-yig, p. 824, le titre cité est: gnod-sbyin bshan-

pa lcam-sring gi chos skor byung-tshul bla-ma rnams gyi gsung
sgros ltar gnyag-gi bandhes yi-ger bgod-pa/ Le titre du texte
chi (no. 37) qui figure pp. 210 -213 dans le Be'u bum est
'Gnod-sbyin bshan-pa lcam-sring gi chos skor gyi byung-tshul',
tandis que le dernier vers de ce texte (p. 213: bla-ma rnams
kyi gsung-sgros lo-rgyus gnyags-kyi bandhes yi-ger bkod-pa'o)
fournit la deuxième phrase de la citation dans le Gsan-yig.

Il.Sous la catégorie rjes-gnang, le Gsan-yig (p. 824) fait

état de trois textes, dont seul un a pu être identifié. Le
Gsan-yig cite ainsi: Gnod-sbyin dregs-pa lcam-bral (sic) gyi
rjes-gnang gi yi-ge kun-mkhyen dpal-ldan seng-ge'i tho-yig las
cung-zad gsal-bar rdo-rje 'chang tshar-pa chos-rjes mdzad-pa
'phrin-las thams-cad myur-du sgrub-par mdzad-du gsol. Dans le
Be'u bum, le titre du texte ~ (pp. 207-210) est simplement
Lcam-dral gyi rjes-gnang, mais le colophon cite le même texte
de Dpal-ldan seng-ge comme source de la rédaction de Tshar-
chen (p. 210: ces-pa 'di ni kun-mkhyen dpal-ldan seng-ges
mdzad-pas rjes-gnang gi tho-yig las cung-zad gsal-bar ban-dhes
blo-gsal gyis dpal gnod-sbyin 'khor-bcas bzod-par mdzad-cing
'phrin-las thams-cad myur-du 'grub-par mdzad-du gsol).

12.Cette rubrique (Gsan-yig, pp. 825-826) comprend 8 textes,

dont voici deux exemples d'identification:

1) p. 825: Mo'i sgrub-pa dmar-mo drag gi mda'-'phen-ma'i ngan-

sngags shan-pa dmar-mo'i sgrub-thabs a- carya ni-ma grags kyis
mdzad-pa shri-dharakrashu bsgyur-bal Ces indications
correspondent à texte Nya du Be'u bum: Mo-sgrub shan-pa dmar-
mo sgrub-thabs, composé par Acarya Ni-ma-grags et traduit par

2) p. 825 : 'gor gnod-sbyin 'di ni skyes-bu dang gi mdog-can

zhes kyang bya zhes-yod-pa'i bshan-pa dmar-po'i sgrub-thabs
dgra-bo dngos-su sgrol-bar 'gyur-gyi mtha'-can a-car-ya nyi-ma
grags kyis mdzad-pa shri-dhara-krashus bsgyur-ba! 'di'i mjug
tu rgya-gar bam-so dmar-po nas nyi-'od grags bton-tshul dang
dgra-la mig bItas-pa tsam-gyis shi-ba byung-ba'i lo-rgyus
kyang yod dol Cela correspond à texte cha (pp. 49-55), Bshan-
pa dmar-po'i sgrub-thabs rgyas-pa, composé par Nyi-'od grags
et traduit par Shri-dharakrashu; p. 49 le premier vers est:
gnod-sbyin 'di ni skyes-bu dbang gi mdog-can zhes-kyang bya;
p. 54, le colophon du texte est cité par le Gsan-yig, pour la
découverte du Rgya-gar bam-so dmar-po dont serait extrait ce
texte et la précision qu'un simple regard causait la mort de
l'ennemi au moment où Acarya Nyi-'od grags instaura ce cycle
d'enseignements. C'est le seul texte du Beg-tse be'u bum qui
fournit précisément ces renseignements. Cf. chapitre V, notes
38 et 39.

13. Dans le Gsan-yig (pp. 826-827), cette catégorie comprend

dix citations dont cinq sont en fait des subdivisions du seul
texte gi (pp. 145-190) Gnod-sbyin lcam-dral gyi las-byang
'phrin-las Ihun-grub, un long rituel compilé par Tshar-chen.
Un exemple de ce genre de citation est fourni note 12.

14.Gsan-yig, p. 826: 'gor chos-skyong beg-tse can gyi gtor-ma

gtong-bar 'dod-pas zhes-yod-pa'i rta-mgrin gyi thugs-ka-nas
Iha-mo dang de'i smin mtshams-nas beg-tse spro-ba'i gtor-chog
yig-rnying bcol-ba'i 'phrin las sgrub-par mdzod kyi mtha'-can!
'dar-phya-ru-ba rin-chen dpal-bzang gis brag-ram chos-grvar
mdzad-pa'i bkang-ba ra-dmar brag-chang ma! mus-srad-pa rdo-rje
rgyal-mtshan gyis mdzad-pa'i bkang-ba Iha-mchog sgrol-ging ma!
a-mo-ghas mdzad-pa'i (827) bkang-ba dus gsum rgyal-ba mol 1
Cette citation permet l'identification de trois sections du
texte gi (1) la subdivision Ra-dmar brag-chang-ma, attribuée à

Dar-phyar-ru-pa, composée à Brag-ram chos-grva (= Be'u bum pp.

168-171, dont le premier vers est Ra-dmar khrag-chang sbyar-
ba'i mchod-yon); (2) la subdivision Lha-mchog sgrol-ging-ma,
attribuée à Mus-srad-pa rdo-rje rgyal-mtshan (= Be'u bum pp.
171-174, dont le premier vers est Lha-mchog sgrol-ging chen-po
mthu-bo-che) et (3) la subdivision Dus-gsum rgya1-ba-mo,
attribuée à Amogha (= Be'u bum, pp. 175-177, dont le premier
vers est Dus-gsum rgyal-ba'i bstan-srung mthu-rtsal-can).

15.Tshar-chen, fol. 86.

16. Selon plusieurs lamas Sa-skya-pa, Beg-tse "est une forme

de Mgon-po". Dans le Gsan-yig du Cinquième Dalaï Lama, lors de
la discussion d'enseignements dédiés à une forme de Mahakala
qui précède immédiatement la liste des enseignements dédiés à
Beg-tse, plusieurs fois le titre Tshar-lugs be'u bum, 'recueil
ésotérique selon l'école Tshar-pa' apparaît. Comme cette
phrase ne figure pas dans les pages de la discussion sur Beg-
tse, cela paraît distinguer les enseignements sur Mgon-po de
ceux sur Beg-tse, et ainsi il semble peu probable que la
collection sur Beg-tse faisait partie du Mgon-po be'u bum de
Tshar-chen. A notre connaissance, le Mgon-po be'u bum n'a pas
fait l'objet d'une édition moderne.

17.Dans la discussion du Gsan-yig (op.cit., p. 823) le

Cinquième Dalaï Lama attribue la compilation de l'ensemble à
Tshar-chen, mais il n'utilise pas le titre Beg-tse be'u bum.

18. Ce maître est le même qui signa le texte Khi. en utilisant

le nom Gnyag(s) Bi-dza-ya bha-dra (=Gnyags Rnam-rgya1 [dpal]
bzang). En tant qu'élève de Mus-srad-pa chen-po Rdo-rje rgyal-
mtshan, il eut le sobriquet Mus-chen ajouté à son nom. D'après
les gsan-yig consultés (cf. infra), sa position dans la
transmission se situe en tant que maître de 'Khrul-zhig Ratna-
bhadra qui enseigna directement à Tshar-chen.

19.Ce maître est nommé dans la transmission antérieure des

enseignements par le Deuxième Dalaï Lama, cf. chapitre VII.

20. D'après les lignées de transmission des enseignements sur

Beg-tse, ce maître était le disciple proche (nye-gnas) de Sa-
chen Kun-dga' snying-po (début XIIe s.), mais il n'est pas
mentionné dans les histoires Sa-skya-pa. Cf. Beg-tse be'u bum,
pp. 210-213.

21. Il s'agit des quatre textes gter-ma attribués à Myang-ral,

numérotés 16-19 selon la table des matières du Beg-tse be'u
hum (cf. Sle-lung bzhed-pa'i rdo-rje, Dam-can rgya-mtsho'i
rnam-par thar-pa cha shas tsam brjod-pa sngon med legs bshad,
Thimphu, 1976, pp. 417-437).

22.Nous devons connaissance de cette référence à feu Dr. Janos

Szerb: Zhu-chen tshul-khrims rin-chen, The Gsan-yig of Zhu-
chen Tshul-khrims rin-chen of Sde-dge, vol. II, Dehradun, 1970,
pp. 292-306. Cf. p. 301 pour la mention du rituel du Premier
Panchen, Chos-skyong dregs-pa lcam-sring gi bsnyen-bsgrub
bsad-pa gcig-tu dril-ba'i gdams-pa 'jigs-rung me'i spu-gri
zhes-bya ba pan-chen blo-bzang chos kyi rgyal-mtshan gyi

23. Mise à part la remarque de E. Gene Smith, il semblerait

que les textes utilisés à Bkra-shis Ihun-po étaient ceux de la
tradition de Dge-'dun rgya-mtsho, qui n'est jamais mentionné
dans le Beg-tse be'u bum (cf. chapitre VII). Il est sûr que la
pratique du culte de Beg-tse y a été perpetuée par la lignée
des Panchen Lama car le Gsan-yig du Deuxième Panchen Lama
(Gsan-yig, vol.I, Kha 180al,) décrit la lignée des maîtres de
l'initiation pour Beg-tshe (sic) et nomme Dge-'dun rgya-mtsho
et ses ancêtres, suivis de Bsod-nams rgya-mtsho, Dben-sa-pa
yab-sras, le Premier Panchen Lama, et Dkon-mchog rgyal-mtshan
qui transmit l'enseignement au Deuxième Panchen. Un rituel
pour Beg-tse écrit par le Troisième Panchen Dpal-ldan Ye-shes,
le Chos-skyong lcam-sring gi gtor-chog, fol. 12, comportant
des sections rédigées par Dge-'dun rgya-mtsho et le Premier
Panchen Lama, a été récemment édité dans la série de la
Library of Congress, I-Tib-270.

24. Le Gsan-yig du Sa-skya khri-chen actuel confirme que ce

maître a reçu la transmission du Beg-tse be'u bum, dont la
compilation est attribuée à Tshar-chen. Cette liste nomme des
moines Dge-lugs-pa et Sa-skya-pa dans la transmission (pp.
413-420) (The Gsan-yig of R.R. Sa-skya Khri-chen, New Delhi,
1977). Comme demonstration de la continuation de la
transmission à l'intérieur de l'école Dge-lugs-pa jusqu'à nos
jours, on peut citer le gsan-yig de Pha-bong kha-pa bde-chen
sying-po, un maître du XIIIe Dalaï Lama qui était également le
maître de Khri-byang Rinpoche, le précepteur ainé du Dalaï
Lama actuel. L'ordre de présentation selon Pha-bong kha-pa
(cf. Gsung-'bum, vol. kha, pp. 223-227, New Delhi, 1972) était
identique à celui du manuscrit Beg-tse be'u bum utilisé pour
l'impression en 1978. D'après son gsan-yig il manquait un seul
texte -le texte de dessins signé par le Cinquième Dalaï Lama -
au manuscrit étudié par Pha-bong kha-pa.

Section: Les Ancêtres présumés de la divinité Beg-tse

Chapitre IV. Les Premiers développments du culte (VIlle-Xe


Pour cette période, contemporaine de la première diffusion du

bouddhisme au Tibet, nous nous sommes basé principalement sur

1-que1ques rituels inclus dans le Beg-tse be'u bum, 2-le

rituel Sde-brgyad cha-snyoms, et 3-le Vajramantrabhirusandhi-

tantra. Précisons d'emblée que le nom de Beg-tse ne figure

dans aucun de ces textes. Nous les avons étudiés car ils

concernent les divinités Yam-shud dmar-po, Srog-bdag dmar-po,

et Gnod-sbyin dmar-po, qui ont été rattachées à Beg-tse par la

tradition tibétaine tardive, un processus qui sera examiné

plus loin. L'étude des descriptions de ces divinités permet de

reconnaître des éléments constitutifs de l'iconographie

ultérieure de Beg-tse, tandis que l'analyse des rituels montre

pourquoi et comment elles ont été invoquées.

l. Les rituels du Beg-tse be'u bum

Cinq textes du Beg-tse be'u bum relèvent de deux maîtres

tibétains, Gnubs-chen et Vairocana, traditionnellement

assignés à l'époque de la première diffusion du bouddhisme au

Tibet (snga'-dar, VIlle au XIe siècle).


A. Les gter-ma de Gnubs-chen

A.1 La place de Gnubs-chen dans la chronologie

Relativement peu de renseignements biographiques concernant

Gnubs-chen (variante: Snubs) nous sont parvenus. Mis à part

les Annales Bleues (1476), seules les sources Rnying-ma pa

racontent sa vie (1). La tradition historique tibétaine compte

Gnubs-chen Sangs-rgyas ye-shes au nombre des vingt-cinq

disciples tibétains de Padmasambhava, le maître indien

responsable de la fondation de Bsam-yas, le premier monastère

tibétain, vers 779 (2). Ses dates historiques furent

controversées dès le XVe siècle. Certains auteurs tibétains le

situent au neuvième siècle et d'autres au dixième siècle,

tandis que l'activité missionnaire de Padmasambhava au Tibet

est traditionnellement située dans la deuxième moitié du

huitième siècle (3). Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes est communément

appelé Gnubs-chen (Gnubs le Grand) pour le distinguer des

autres maîtres de la lignée Gnubs dont nous parlerons plus


Avant de passer aux renseignements biographiques, il faut

avertir le lecteur d'une anomalie particulièrement importante

pour la chronologie. La rédaction de la plupart des rituels

transmis par Gnubs-chen est attribuée à Padmasambhava,


personnage dont le caractère fortement légendaire a été bien

établi (4). Celui-ci aurait caché ses écrits en prévision des

persécutions et du déclin du bouddhisme. En général, d'après

la tradition tibétaine, la grande période de révélation de

textes commence vers la fin du onzième siècle et se poursuit

jUsqu'à nos jours, après avoir connu son apogée du XIIe au

XIVe siècle. La tradition tibétaine considère que dans le

bouddhisme indien déjà, il était possible d'avoir caché un

texte en attendant le moment propice de sa révélation. Quand

les colophons des textes que nous examinerons ici qualifient

Gnubs-chen de gter-ston, c'est-à-dire celui qui est

responsable de la révélation du texte, cela ne fournit pas

d'indice de datation de son époque de vie.

Il s'agit là d'un élément d'incohérence dans la chronologie,

ce qui pourtant ne signifie pas que cette attribution de gter-

~ est obligatoirement à remettre en question. Les analyses

des historiens tibétains depuis le XVIe siècle considèrent que

Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes est bien le gter-ston qui révèla ces

textes (5). Cependant la question se pose: le Gnubs sangs-

rgyas ye-shes cité comme gter-ston est-il Gnubs-chen disciple

de Padmasambhava, ou serait-il un descendant du même nom qui

vécut plus tard? Si nous acceptons l'attribution de Gnubs-chen

comme le révélateur des textes, il apparaît que la période de

révélation commence immédiatement après l'époque à laquelle

ils furent cachés. D'après la tradition tibétaine, dans le

Tibet du Vllle-IXe siècle, il y a eu plusieurs moments

d'hostilité soit à l'égard du bouddhisme en général, soit


envers les disciples de Padmasambhava en particulier, ce qui

permet de supposer qu'entre les périodes d'hostilité, le

climat religieux était tel que certains textes pouvaient être

déjà divulgués. L'énigme reste posée. L'état actuel de nos

connaissances ne permet pas l'établissement d'une chronologie

définitive des dates de vie de Gnubs-chen (6).

Pour fixer la date des gter-ston, une tradition tibétaine

schématisa deux périodes de révélation au Tibet, l'une à

l'époque ancienne et l'autre à partir du XIe siècle. Ainsi, on

raconta que les premiers gter-ston "n'avaient pas la force

mentale suffisante, et n'avaient pas atteint une vision claire

de la Doctrine ... (car) ces gter-ston avaient souvent fait des

rituels ... afin d'obtenir des pratiques magiques, et non pas

l'obtention de la Connaissance pour le bien de tous les

êtres." (7). Les données biographiques que nous avons pu

réunir sur Gnubs-chen tendent à corroborer cette explication

(cf.infra) (8).

La lignée de la transmission montre à quel point les

enseignements des textes inclus dans le Beg-tse be'u bum sont

restés dans la lignée familiale de Gnubs: le dharmakaya est le

Buddha Snang-ba mtha' yas, le sambhogakaya est la divinité

Padma dbang-chen (forme de Hayagriva), le nirmanakaya est le

maître Padmasambhava qui aurait transmis les textes à Gnubs-

chen Sangs-rgyas ye-shes. Il les transmit à Gnubs-pa tshur-

ston-pa, qui les enseigna à son tour à Gnubs-ston phug-pa-

'bar. Plus tard, la transmission passa entre autres par Tshar-


chen blo-gsal rgya-mtsho (1502-1566), compilateur du Beg-tse

be'u bum (9). L'identification des deux maîtres de la famille

Gnubs est problématique. Plusieurs Gnubs-ston sont connus

(10). Le nom Gnubs tshur-ston-pa semble réunir deux noms de

famille: Gnubs et Tshur. Ceci est curieux, et pourrait

ihdiquer un disciple de Gnubs de la famille Tshur, ou du lieu

Tshur. Un maître appelé 'Tshur-ston dbang-nge fut l'élève de

Mar-pa et de Ras-chung-pa, donc vivant au milieu du XIe

siècle, dans un contexte où certains textes de la lignée Gnubs

étaient connus (cf. infra). A la même époque, un maître

féminin appelé Gnubs-ston bag-ma est aussi repéré (11). Un

maître Gnubs-ston est mentionné dans une des lignées

d'enseignement du tantra Dgongs-'dus, laquelle doit être

signalé ici, car elle comprend un personnage du nom de Yam-

shud dngos-grub. Les Annales Bleues rappellent que celui-ci

fut élève d'un élève de Gnubs-ston, le disciple de Sgro-sbug-

pa (1074-1134) (12). Or, d'après les Annales Bleues, Yam-shud

dngos-grub était en vie en 1180 (13), donc Gnubs-ston vivait

vers le milieu du XIIe siècle. Un lien possible entre Gnubs-

ston phug-pa et Yam shud serait Phug-po-che, le monastère-mère

de la lignée Yam-shud et auquel il se pourrait que le nom

Gnubs-ston phug-pa fasse référence (14). Rien ne nous permet

de préciser davantage l'identification des maîtres appelés


A.2 Les données biographiques de Gnubs-chen


D'après le Dgongs-'dus Chos-'byung (1681), Gnubs-chen naquit

près de Bsam-yas dans la région de Dbus. Il étudia avec

Padmasambhava près de la frontière indo-népalaise (15),

traduisit des textes dont plusieurs furent incorporés dans les

anthologies rnying-ma-pa, et rédigea des ouvrages

philosophiques, notamment le Bsam-gtan mig-sgron me, de

tendance rdzogs-chen (16). Ses pratiques rituelles consacrées

aux protecteurs eurent des conséquences restées célèbres.

Ainsi, il supprima trente-sept individus par le pouvoir de

Yamantaka invoqué par l'emploi de mantra violents (17). Il se

spécialisa dans l'étude de cycles dédiés à Yama et Yamantaka

(18 ). La systématisation qu'il développa pour ces deux cycles

religieux a été transmise oralement (bka'-ma) depuis son

époque jusqu'au XVIIe siècle, quand Gter-bdag gling-pa réunit

les textes et les fit transcrire (19).

D'après les sources tardives, la relation de Gnubs-chen avec

Yama et Yamantaka avait des précédents karmiques, et eut aussi

des répercussions karmiques. Avant de naître comme Gnubs-chen,

ce maître eut une vie antérieure en Inde sous le nom (B)Shan-

pa Ma-ru-rtse (littéralement, le boucher Ma-ru-rtse), nom

d'une forme de Yama dans le bouddhisme indien d'après le Me-

lce 'bar-ba'i rgyud (P.466) (20). Dès les premières

traductions tibétaines du Ramayana ( manuscrits de Dun Huang),

Ma-ru-rtse est la transcription tibétaine du sanskrit Marica,

nom d'un démon devenu ministre de Ravana (21). D'après R. A.

Stein, dans l'épopée de Gésar, Sdig-chen bshan-pa Rme-ru-rtse

est le ministre des Hor, soumis par Gésar et devenu son ami;

il est rouge, a l'aspect de Yama, et selon une source, il a

les cheveux rouges. Dans le Ramayana tibétain, le personnage

Ma-ru-rtse est déjà caractérisé par des cheveux rouges et une

localisation au nord, qui est la situation géographique pour

un lieu Ma-ru-rtse associé soit avec Khotan, soit avec 'A-zha

ou Bru-sha(22). Nous retrouverons Shan-pa Ma-ru-rtse dans les

tantra et les rituels du phyi-dar relatifs à Beg-tse

(cf.Chapitre V). Par ailleurs le lieu-dit Ma-ru-rtse, situé au

nord-est, est le charnier-résidence de Beg-tse d'après le

Deuxième Dalai Lama (cf.Chapitre VII) (23).

Le karma de la naissance antérieure de Gnubs-chen comme Shan-

pa Ma-ru-rtse aurait influencé les descendants de Gnubs pour

plusieurs siècles à venir (24). Son fils (ou 'fils spirituel',

disciple) fut Von-tan rgya-mtsho. Ils avaient déjà été liés

comme père et fils dans leur existences précédentes en Inde.

Yon-tan rgya-mtsho se spécialisa dans l'évocation d'une forme

particulière de Yama appelée Gshin-rje dmar-nag. Il eut deux

fils, Ye-shes rgya-mtsho et Padma-dbang-rgyal. L'aîné fut un

maître des enseignements rituels des divinités terribles en

général, tandis que le cadet fut, comme Gnubs-chen, maître des

enseignements consacrés à Yamantaka, dont il engagea le

pouvoir pour tuer plusieurs bon-po (25). Ye-shes rgya-mtsho

eut un fils, Lha-rje gnubs-chung, qui enseigna les rites

terribles à Milarepa (milieu du XIe siècle) (26). Il eut

d'autres disciples, dont Nyang shes-rab mchog, qui fut désigné

comme successeur dans la lignée, car Lha-rje gnubs-chung

n'avait pas de descendant direct. De cette manière, tous les


enseignements de la lignée Gnubs passèrent à la lignée de

Nyang (variante: Myang) (27). Il faut également mentionner le

lignage par réincarnation car, selon le Cinquième Dalai Lama,

Gnubs-chen s'était réincarné dans Rgya-zhang-khrom rdo-rje

lod-bar, un autre contemporain de Milarepa, renommé pour la

diffusion d'imprécations et connu comme découvreur (gter-ston)

de rites relatifs à Yam-shud-dmar-po et Sgrol-ging dmar-po

srog-gi-gshed, divinités assimilées à Beg-tse dont il sera

question plus loin (28).

A.3 Les gter-ma de Gnubs dans le Beg-tse be'u bum

Trois textes du Beg-tse be'u bum auraient été "découverts" par


(1) Ga: Shan-pa dgu skor gyi sgrub thabs 'bring-bsdus las
sbyor gyi rim-pa,"Les degrés de pratiques rituelles
moyennes et condensées de la méthode de réalisation du
groupe des neuf bourreaux"

(2) Ng.a: Shan-pa dgu-skor gyi sgrub thabs rgyas pa "La

méthode de réalisation développée du groupe des neuf
bourreaux" ;

(3) ca: Shan-pa dgu-skor gyi sgrub thabs Slob-dpon

Padmas Bsam-yas su gter-la sbas-pa Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-
shes kyis gter nas spyan drangs-pa'i chos skor la Lo-
rgyus kyi yi-ge: "Lettres de l'histoire du cycle de la
méthode de réalisation du groupe des neuf bourreaux,
cachée à Bsam-yas par l'Acarya Padmasambhava (puis)
exhumée par Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes."

A la fin du texte ca, en guise de colophon de cet ensemble de

textes, il Y a un bref récit historique de leur utilisation,

ainsi qu'une liste récapitulative de toutes les activités

rituelles qui y sont décrites (29).


1) Texte Ga, les degrés de pratiques rituelles moyennes et

condensées, comporte sept subdivisions :

la) Dmar-po spu-gri reg-chod Shan-pa dgu'i gdams-pa,

"Instruction des neuf Shan-pa qui est le rasoir rouge qui
coupe au toucher", pp. 24-27.

lb) Srog-bdag Yam-shud dmar-po dgu'i ngan-snags kyi sgrub-

thabs, "La méthode de réalisation du mantra maléfique des
neuf Srog-bdag Yam-shud dmar-po", pp. 27-28.

lc) Srog-bdag Yam-shud dmar-po thun gyi sgrub-pa, "La

réalisation de Srog-bdag Yam-shud dmar-po (au moyen de)
substances magiques (.:t..h.!.JJ:l) ", pp. 28-29.

Id) Srog-bdag dmar-po Yam-shud kyi mda' zor 'phang-ba'i las

bstan, "La doctrine rituelle de lancer la flèche et l'arme
magique ~ de Srog-bdag dmar-po Yam-shud", pp. 29-31.

le) Srog-bdag dmar-po Yam-shud kyi shan-pa dgu'i bsnyen-pa

rdzogs, " La vénération complète des neuf shan-pa de Srog-
bdag dmar-po Yam-shud", pp. 31-32.

If) Srog-bdag dmar-po'i spu-gri la lde-kha rnams-pa drug,

"Les six groupes (d'activités) du rasoir de Srog-bdag dmar-
po", pp. 32-34.

19) Srog-bdag dmar-po'i smod-pa, "Les imprécations de Srog-

bdag-dmar-po", pp. 34-35.

Le début du texte est constitué par un récit du précédent

mythique qui sert de modèle aux actes que les divinités

devront accomplir:

"A une époque antérieure, le puissant Padmasambhava se

trouvait à l'intérieur de la grotte d'un charnier; après

s'être emparé de la force vitale de Sgrol-byed Srog-bdag Yam-

shud dmar po, il composa la méthode de réalisation (sgrub

thabs) des neuf bourreaux rouges, et dit, 'Que tous les yogins

des générations ultérieures protègent (ainsi) leur propre

'force vi tale' (.arQg.) "( 30 ).


Se référant à ce précédent mythologique, l'exécutant invoque

la divinité pour dérober à son tour la force vitale des


(la) La première subdivision décrit un rituel de préparation

d'un linga. Il doit être exécuté sur un rocher rouge qui a la

forme d'un lion, au moment de la lune décroissante, un jeudi

ou un mardi. Les préliminaires durent neuf ou sept jours.

Ensuite l'exécutant prononce trois cent mille fois les

formules ésotériques (mantra) pour faire approcher les dieux

maîtres de force vitale (srog-bdag). Pendant cette récitation,

il accomplit les actes rituels du mandala (dkhyil-'khor). Au

centre se trouve une excavation triangulaire noire remplie de

sang et de poison, entourée de trois cercles concentriques

rouges. A la limite extérieure de ceux-ci, les huit

ingrédients rouges. Une enceinte extérieure noire circonscrit

l'ensemble. Sur l'un des cercles concentriques, l'officiant

dresse des flèches rouges enrubannées de soies (mda'-dar); sur

un autre, il pose de petits morceaux de beurre rouge; sur le

troisième, des "prémices" (de nourriture) sauvages (phud-rgod,

pissenlits, etc.) et diverses graines. Au centre, sur le

triangle, il dépose le linga confectionné en pâte et muni du

nom personnel et du nom de clan (de l'ennemi). Il l'enduit de

sang de chèvre. A défaut de pâte, une écorce de bouleau

pourrait aussi convenir pour fabriquer le linga. En écrivant

les noms, il fait entrer l'âme (bLa) (de l'ennemi) dans

l'effigie. La tête de l'effigie ( linga) doit montrer la

direction sud-ouest, tandis que le pied montre le nord-est.


Ayant accumulé les ingrédients à lancer (~-rdzas), il faut

effectuer mille fois la récitation des formules esotériques

(mantra) violentes pour appeler, puis pour renvoyer la

divinité. Il faut l'appeler au meurtre au centième appel (31).

Les signes de réalisation surviennent après le nombre de jours

prescrits et sont décrits dans un langage volontairement

obscur, moitié sanscrit, moitié tibétain. Certaines syllabes

sont compréhensibles en elles-mêmes, hors contexte, d'autre

combinaisons bi-syllabiques utilisées dans les mantra ici

réapparaîssent en tant que noms des assistants dans le

deuxième texte de ce cycle. L'instruction prend subitement fin

après le renvoi des divinités. Le colophon, de cette première

subdivision, précise que Padmasambhava cacha le texte au

monastère de Bsam-yas, que Gnubs le révéla, et que c'est très

précieux pour faire souffrir (32). C'est un descendant de

Gnubs-chen, Gnubs-ston phug-pa, deuxième de la lignée de

transmission ci-dessus, qui demanda cette instruction.

(lb) La deuxième subdivision du texte est très proche de la

première (la). On y trouve les instructions de préparation

d'un mandala identique. Il y a cependant l'ajout des

précisions quant à certaines substances magiques (~) à

lancer sur le linga, notamment des graines de moutarde blanche

et des cendres funéraires. Au moment de les lancer, le mantra

est entonné, appelé thun-sngags (formules ésotériques des

substances magiques). Ces mantra, proches de celles de la

section précédente, doivent être répétées mille fois.


L'attribution de la composition à Padmasambhava est réitérée à

la fin de cette subdivision.

(lc) La troisième subdivision présente une description plus

importante des substances magiques (±hun) et des résultats à

obtenir par cette pratique rituelle. L'officiant doit

accumuler les uns après les autres les ingrédients dans le

crâne d'un renard de charnier(33). Il faut prendre du sang de

renard, de chèvre, et de chien, aussi des graines de moutarde

blanche. L'éxécutant fera chauffer ceux-ci à l'intérieur du

crâne, couvert d'une soie rouge pure. Ensuite il frappe le

linga tout en récitant les prières usuelles nécessaires, puis

fait l'exhortation (bskul-ba) de la divinité pour qu'elle se

manifeste (34):

" Le moment est venu du grand btsan cruel. 0 fils des

grands btsan fiers, au moment du rite de lancer les
substances (~) de la cruauté, (il y a) mille guerriers
des btsan, les hennissements (des chevaux), les cris du
bétail; les ~ rouges des btsan et le ~ (l'arme
magique) rouge ensanglanté frappent les ennemis. Au moment
de lancer les substances ~ , les ennemis sont
démembrés/désintégrés (lnga phung yan-lag 'bral bar). Le
vaisseau vital rouge est asséché. Toute la création même a
la gorge tranchée (srid-pa kun kyang gnyal thag chod) (35).
Srog bdag dmar po dont la force magique est grande, il est
temps de frapper avec les ~ des btsan, il est temps
d'envoyer le zor ensanglanté. Frappez les ennemis de
grandes maladies du bétail. Frappez les ennemis de
mauvaises augures. Faites ainsi au moment de l'évocation.
Au plus près, frappez une maison. Au plus loin, frappez les
ennemis. Frappez aussi le linga. Et maintenant les actes
rituels des substances magiques (~) de Srog bdag Yam
shud sont terminés."

(ld) La quatrième subdivision suit sans transition. Il s'agit

de procéder au lancement d'une flèche-arme magique, mda'-zor.

L'exécutant réunit les plumes de divers oiseaux, les enduit de


sang et de poison, et avec les flèches ainsi confectionnées,

il invite la divinité à s'approcher en récitant le mantra

particulier. Tout en récitant, il frappe les flèches (36).

Ensuite il faut exhorter la divinité ici appelée "Grand btsan

du monde phénoménal" (srid-pa'i btsan chen). Sa résidence se

trouve dans un pays au-delà du pays des dieux btsan. Elle

habite un château-fort rouge, avec piliers de turquoises (~

mkhar dmar-po Idem-se-Idem! g.yu'i kha-bad thibs-se-thibs)

(37). Cette description comporte les interjections

monosyllabiques intersticielles typiques du chant tibétain

ancien (38). Il est le maître de toutes les douleurs,

particulièrement des douleurs aiguës dues au sang (39).

Maintenant il est temps de lancer le mda'-zor nuisible ainsi

que l'arc de bse et le carquois de bse (40). L'arc,

partiellement en cuivre, avec deux extrémités en fer bleu, est

bandé par un tendon de jeune yak sauvage (41). Sur un cheval

en bse l'éxécutant attache les flèches confectionnées en

diverses plumes d'oiseaux, dont le hibou et le corbeau (42).

Avec le miroir des transformations magiques, la divinité

trompe les yeux (43). Les ZQr (flèches) ayant été lancées,

ensuite on frappe le linga, et c'est la fin de ce mda'-zor

secret et véridique.

(le) La cinquième subdivision du texte est à nouveau un rituel

d'invitation aux neuf bourreaux de Srog-bdag dmar-po Yam-shud,

destiné à provoquer la folie et diverses afflictions chez les

ennemis. Sur le tronc d'un tamarinier ('om-bu), l'exécutant

récite le mantra afin de le donner aux ennemis, qui ainsi


qui ainsi deviendront fous (44). Sur du suc et du fromage de

hse, l'exécutant récite le mantra, et cela donne aux ennemis

la lèpre. D'autres activités provoqueront le gonflement du

corps des ennemis. Si l'exécutant écrit (le mantra) sur de

l'écorce et l'attache à l'épaule droite, c'est une excellente

protection contre le retournement contre soi des imprécations.

Ou si l'exécutant l'écrit sur un tissu qu'il enroule autour de

la tête, les armes ne pourront pas lui nuire. Si l'exécutant

veut éviter d'être touché en retour par les actes de violence,

il faut faire le rituel pour le bien de tous, et manifester

cette attitude avant de commencer le rite (45). Si des

nuisances se manifestent, il faut accroître la force de Srog-

bdag dmar-po en récitant son mantra sur des petites boules de

pâte rouge (bshos-bu) où un dessin de la divinité a été

gravé. La divinité sera ainsi liée par le mantra chaque fois,

et donc "présente" dans chaque boule de pâte. Son activité

pourra se multiplier en quelque sorte. Il y a une liste de

signes qui apparaîtront si le mantra est efficace. Il faut

frapper avec un poignard phur-bu de bois de santal, tout en

imaginant le 'grand rouge' et en pensant aux actes qu'il

accomplira. Il faut réunir les herbes sauvages, le gâteau

rituel gtor-ma, et les petites boules de pâte. Ensuite,

faisant ses louanges et l'incitant à l'action, l'exécutant

envoie la divinité contre l'ennemi (46). A ce moment les

signes se manifesteront rapidement chez l'ennemi. Comme il ne

convient pas de pratiquer ce rituel, l'exécutant périra sauf

si c'est le moment de faire un acte rituel de la sorte (47).

C'est extrêmement esotérique, d'où l'instruction de répéter le


mantra mille ou dix-mille fois. Ainsi s'achève cette

instruction pour dompter.

(If) La section suivante, intitulée "le rasoir de Srog bdag

dmar-po", comprend six parties: la folie, le meurtre par le

couteau, l'épidémie, les présages de désintégration, les

transformations magiques, et finalement leur envoi (contre

l'ennemi) (48). Ces conséquences seront provoquées par les

mêmes actes rituels (c'est à dire, invitation à l'approche et

récitation de mantra) qui obligent la divinité à agir, comme

dans les sections précédentes. Pour chaque partie, un

ingrédient particulier est mentionné; par exemple, pour

produire la mort par épidémie, l'ingrédient essentiel est le

coeur d'une chèvre, tandis que pour tuer avec un couteau, ce

serait une omoplate ( de chèvre?) qui est exigée. Les

ingrédients en eux-mêmes ne sont pas inhabituels pour ce genre

de pratique rituelle, si ce n'est le crâne d'un Mon-pa,

habitant des marches himalayennes, qui sera le réceptacle où

seront déposés les ingrédients necessaires pour obtenir les

mauvais pronostics (49).

(lg) La septième et dernière subdivision est constituée de

huit imprécations. En dernier, le voeu est formulé que la

divinité accepte la chair, le sang, les os des ennemis, et que

leurs vaisseaux et canaux soient coupés (50).

2) Shan-pa dgu skor gyi sgrub-thabs rgyas-pa, "La méthode de

réalisation developpée du cycle des neuf bourreaux". Malgré ce


que le titre laisse entendre, la structure de ce rituel est

bien plus simple que celle du précédent. C'est une offrande de

gâteaux sacrificiels (gtor-ma et linga) qui comporte une

description physique détaillée de la divinité, appellée Yam-

shud dmar-po, Srog-bdag dmar-po ou Brag-btsan dmar-po (51).

Ici, il n'y a pas de préambule au rituel. L'aire consacrée est

un sol enduit de sang. Au milieu, l'exécutant pose divers

ingrédients sur des cercles (52). Cependant, dès ce stade du

rituel, il y a huit bourreaux (shan-pa) de l'entourage (et non

pas neuf comme le tître implique), qui reçoivent l'offrande de

huit flèches; huit cercles concentriques leur sont destinés.

Huit morceaux triangulaires de pâte sont enduits de sang, et

dans chacun l'exécutant plante une flèche. Ayant fait les huit

cercles, l'exécutant y dépose diverses graines, des offrandes

de nourriture et de la boisson. Un autre cercle constitue le

centre. Chaque ensemble de pâte ainsi préparée avec sa flèche

est "une montagne". Le cercle central est celui de la

divinité principale. Une chèvre rouge à "la bouche en corail"

(= le museau rougeâtre) est établie comme support, utilisée au

préalable pour un rituel de la divinité d'élection (yi-dam)

choisie pour un rite de subjugation, ici assimilée à Rta

mgrin. Puis cette chèvre sert de support pour les rites de

propitiation de Srog-bdag dmar-po (53). Ils débutent avec une

évocation de la résidence de la divinité, appelée ici Yam shud

dmar-po: c'est le palais Bse-mkhar rouge. Quatre couteaux de

fer à neuf faces le délimitent. Un coté de la résidence est en

bse avec piliers de turquoises. Devant la porte principale en


cuivre, une peau de chèvre est suspendue. Une lumière rouge de

hse émane de partout, et mille dragons de hse l'entourent.

L'habitant de cette résidence s'appelle aussi Srog bdag dmar-

po et Brag-btsan dmar-po, c'est lui qui tient dans sa main la

vie de tous les hommes, de tout le bétail (54). Il est

convoqué en lui rappelant son voeu d'autrefois de protéger la

doctrine (bouddhique), et de venir afin de "libérer" ceux qui

ont enfreint leurs voeux. Avec l'entourage, il est invité sous

l'épithète Skyes-bu srog bdag, 'Homme maître du principe

vital'. Parmi les offrandes, on compte les ingrédients tels

que chair, gâteau rituel (gtor-ma) et nourriture sauvage.

L'exécutant lui offre aussi toutes sortes de richesses et

biens, dont le trésor de nourriturre inépuisable et qui ne se

consomme pas, et toutes sortes de richesses du monde

phénoménal (55).

L'exécutant récite le mantra, puis des louanges qui évoquent

la généologie de la divinité. Le père s'appelle Yab bzang

skyes (Père noblement né), la mère s'appelle Srid-pa'i rgyal-

mo (Reine du monde phénoménal ou reine de la création). Ce

dernier nom est également celui d'une importante déesse bon-

po. La description suit ainsi:

Sur le corps, une cuirasse de cuir ( hse), de couleur rouge

et une cape militaire ('thab-ber) rouge. La taille est
ceinte d'une ceinture de corail rouge. Sur la tête il porte
un casque de hse, de couleur rouge, muni d'une touffe de
soie rouge. Sur les pieds, des bottines de cuir avec des
jarretières en peau de bouc rouge. Il tient l'arc et la
flèche de hse à la main, tout en portant des gantelets de
hse. Il porte un bouclier en hse sur le dos. Il tient aussi
une lance de hse dont le sommet est orné de bannières
rouges (56).

Il est difficile de demêler les attributs qui sont propres au

père et ceux qui sont propres au fils. Maintenant, en rappel

d'une promesse (qui sera élucidée par le troisième texte de ce

cycle), il doit priver de force vitale (srog) ceux qui ont

enfreint leurs voeux. Il doit tuer les êtres avec un couteau

et envoyer certaines maladies. Les assistants sont priés de

contribuer à cette tâche, les huit bourreaux, mais aussi dans

l'entourage, une fille anonyme (bud-med) est mentionnée (57 ).

La durée de vie (~) ainsi que les corps des ennemis seront


Quant aux punitions des ennemis, pour certains leur montagne-

support d'âme s'écroulera depuis le sommet, pour d'autres,

leur 'citadelle support d'âme' s'effondrera depuis les

fondations, d'autres auront leur 'arbre de vie' déraciné, et

d'autres encore auront leur 'pierre de vie' brisée en

morceaux, enfin certains auront leur 'lac de vie 'totalement

asseché. Pour certains, le corps sera privé de l'âme vitale

(58). C'est Srog-bdag dmar-po et son assistance qui seront

chargés de ces actes, et qui couperont l'artère vitale. Une

fois que les signes (que les actes ont été accomplis) se sont

manifestés, l'exécutant tue la chèvre et en fait l'offrande à

la divinité. La peau de la chèvre sera étalée sur le sol ayant

toujours la fonction de support de la divinité (59). Parmi les

signes de réalisation, un ministre (zhang-blon) et un moine,


habillés de robes courtes et de brocarts rouges, une lumière

rouge, et des cavaliers rouges doivent apparaître (60).

Les noms des huit membres de l'entourage sont fournis ici,

reconnaissable grâce à leur apparition sous forme abregée dans

certaines formules (mantra) récitées dans le texte précedent:

1) Srog te rce thal ba

2) Srog ko ti ko la ya
3) Srog Kam sham tri

4) Srog Mu tri ma ra ya
5) Srog tri te tri

6) Srog tsam shi

7) Srog tam sham starn

8) Srog la li pra ma ni ( 61 ) .

Ensuite l'exécutant offre le linga. Ce linga sera posé au-

dessus d'une omoplate de chèvre, de chien ou d'homme. Une fois

que le nom et le clan ont été inscrits sur le linga,

l'exécutant dépose le linga et l'omoplate dans un récipient en

y ajoutant des graines de moutarde, des cendres, du sang

seché. Le tout sera brûlé, puis jeté (62).

Le rituel se termine par un bref colophon, qui attribue le

texte à Padmasambhava et nomme (Gnubs) Sangs-rgyas ye-shes

Rinpoche comme le découvreur du texte, après qu'il eut été

englobé dans la collection Srog-las kyi rkyal-bu. Le colophon

indique également que ce rituel fut utilisé pour détruire la

forteresse appelée Mkhar-pa A-lag, puis Kha-che Khri-brtan,


(Srinagar). Il a détruit tous ceux qui ont enfreint leurs

voeux (63).

3) Shan-pa dgu-skor gyi sgrub thabs Slob-dpon Padmas Bsam-yas

su gter-la sbas-pa Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes kyis gter nas

spyan drangs-pa'i chos skor la Lo-rgyus kyi yi-ge: "Lettres de

l'histoire du cycle de la méthode de réalisation du groupe des

neuf bourreaux, cachée à Bsam-yas par l'Acarya Padmasambhava

(puis) exhumée par Gnubs Sangs-rgyas ye-shes."

Le troisième texte, d'après son titre, nous livre une histoire

détaillée du cycle rituel. Elle est constituée par une légende

d'origine de la divinité. Dans un kalpa antérieur, le roi Gser

gyi shugs can et sa reine, Utpala'i rgyan, eurent deux fils

excellents. L'aîné s'appelait Grags-ldan et le cadet, Grags-

skyes. L'aîné aimait la doctrine de Buddha, tandis que le

cadet adhérait à celle des hérétiques. L'aîné résolut de

convertir son frère au bouddhisme. Un soir, ils jouèrent aux

dés: celui qui gagnerait ferait entrer l'autre dans la

doctrine de son choix. Le cadet gagna. L'aîné dit qu'il ne

croyait pas à la doctrine du cadet, mais qu'il tiendrait sa

promesse. Un autre soir, ils jouèrent à nouveau et c'est

l'aîné qui gagna. Il dit au cadet, "Maintenant, entre à ton

tour dans la doctrine blanche." Mais le cadet n'écouta point

et s'enfuit. L'aîné le poursuivit et le rattrapa. Le cadet

dit, "Même si tu me tues, je n'adhérerai pas au bouddhisme.

Mais ne me tue pas. Quand tu seras le buddha Shakyamuni, je

m'emparerai du souffle vital (srog dbugs) de tous ceux qui

nuisent à la doctrine bouddhique, et je tuerai ceux qui


(cherchent à) la détruire. " (64) Sur ce, l'aîné lui conféra

l'initiation en lui disant, " Quand je serai Shakyamuni, il ne

faudra pas tuer ceux qui nuisent à la doctrine, mais tu la

feras croître ." Il lui donna les attributs suivants:

une chemise de "cuivre"(zangs kyi ral-kha)

un bâton de corail (byi-ru'i mkhar-ba)

un arc et une flèche de bse (bse'i mda'-gzhu)

le nom Srog-bdag Yam shud dmar-po." (65)

Etant devenu le maître de la vie des êtres en vertu de son

initiation, on l'appela simplement "Srog-bdag" (66).

S.Les rituels du Seg-tse be'u bum attribués à Vairocana

1) Texte wa. Gnod-sbyin dmar-po'i sgo-nas dgra la khyi dmag

drang-ba, l'instruction pour guider l'armée des chiens contre

l'ennemi sous l'égide de Gnod-sbyin dmar-po;

2) Texte zhao Gnod-sbyin dmar-po'i sgo-nas dgra-la bya dmag

drang-ba, l'instruction pour guider l'armée des oiseaux contre

l'ennemi sous l'égide de Gnod-sbyin dmar-po;

3) Texte zao Wa-thod las kyi rlung-dmar, le vent rouge des

actes rituels du crâne de renard.

Le colophon du premier texte ne mentionne pas de nom d'auteur,

mais rapporte que le texte a été transmis par le maître

Vairocana, actif au Tibet comme traducteur et maître religieux

pendant la deuxième moitié du VIlle siècle (67):" Le maître

Dhatsanda prononça (le texte) 'l'instruction pour guider

l'armée de chiens contre l'ennemi sous l'égide de Gnod-sbyin


dmar-po après que Vairotsana (lui) ait offert un srang d'or"

(68 ). L'identité de ce maître Dhatsanda ou Dhatsandal n'a pas

pu être établie (69).

L'association de ces trois textes comme un ensemble est

impliquée par la similitude des titres pour le premier et le

deuxième, mais le troisième ne suit pas ce modèle. Pourtant,

le contenu de ces trois rituels est tout à fait particulier.

Ce sont des instructions très concrètes pour l'exécution de

rites de magie noire, et en cela, tous trois s'écartent de

l'ensemble du Beg-tse Be'u Bum. Comme ces titres ne figurent

pas dans l'anthologie des écrits de Vairocana, il est possible

qu'ils lui aient été attribués ultérieurement. Sous toute

réserve, nous acceptons provisoirement l'attribution et nous

proposons d'examiner ces textes comme d'autres sources

documentant les divinités présumées ancêtres.

B.l Données biographiques de Vairocana

Vairocana figure dans plusieurs listes des sept premiers

moines tibétains, ordonnés par Shantirakshita, le premier abbé

de Bsam-yas, peu après sa fondation ca. 779 (70). Il compte

aussi au nombre des vingt-cinq disciples de Padmasambhava.

Formé comme traducteur, il aurait été envoyé à la recherche de

textes en Inde par le roi Khri-srong Ide-btsan (règne: 755-

797). Son principal maître à l'étranger fut Sri-Simha. A son


retour au Tibet, le souverain et son épouse khotanaise

devinrent ses disciples. D'après les sources tardives rnying-

ma-pa, Gnubs-chen Sangs-rgyas Ye-shes fut aussi son disciple.

Cependant, le succès des enseignements de Vairocana éveilla

l'animosité d'une autre épouse du roi et de plusieurs

ministres hostiles au bouddhisme. Il fut banni du royaume, et

continua ses enseignements à l'est du Tibet (71). Comme

Padmasambhava, Vairocana est censé avoir caché des textes en

prévision des hostilités à l'égard du bouddhisme.

B.2 Explication des rituels attribués à Vairocana

1) Le rituel des chiens exige la préparation d'un mélange de

chair de chien, de la graisse, d'abeilles rendues folles,

d'herbes médicinales, de chair de vache et du miel blanc. Ce

mélange sera versé dans la corne d'un yak mâle ou femelle.

L'exécutant doit y ajouter un peu de sel pour empêcher que les

vers ne s'y mettent. Il couvre l'ouverture de la corne avec un

peu de peau qu'il fixe par une ficelle. L'exécutant doit

ensuite attendre neuf jours jusqu'à ce que le mélange se

putréfie. Après neuf jours, il ouvre la corne, récite le

mantra et souffle dessus. Sur ce, parce que les portes et la

maison de l'ennemi auront été ébranlées, tous les chiens de la

région se rassembleront et certains mordront les portes,

certains gémiront. L'ennemi se doutera de quelque chose, et de

toutes ces causes, sa mort adviendra. En guise de conclusion,

il y a l'avertissement que ce mélange est un poison et qu'il

faut se garder d'y toucher. Il ne faut pas diffuser cet


enseignement, à moins de le faire pour (le bien de) la


2) Le rituel des oiseaux commence par une salutation à un

maître anonyme: Na-mo Gu-ru. Quant aux oiseaux qui mènent la

guerre contre l'ennemi, puisque le hibou et le corbeau sont de

vrais ennemis mutuels, (en général) il ne faut pas les

rassembler. L'exécutant les rassemble ici à dessein pour faire

du mal à l'ennemi. Il commence avec le coeur d'un corbeau, et

prononce des mantra au-dessus 10,000 fois. Ou il commence avec

le coeur d'un hibou, et fait pareil. Ensuite, dans le crâne du

hibou ou dans sa griffe, l'exécutant dépose le coeur du

corbeau. Inversement, il dépose le coeur du hibou dans le

crâne ou la griffe du corbeau. Les deux assemblages sont alors

placés dans une poterie en forme de grenouille, qu'il portera

sur lui où qu'il aille, afin d'être suivi par les cris des

deux oiseaux. Il l'enterre près de la maison de l'ennemi, et

ceci attirera tous les oiseaux du pays. En conséquence, sa

maison sera attaquée par les oiseaux. Si l'exécutant n'en a

pas besoin immédiatement après la préparation des assemblages,

il doit enterrer la poterie.

3) Gnod-sbyin dmar-po n'est pas associé au troisième texte,

Wa-thod las kyi rlung dmar, "le vent rouge des actes rituels

du crâne de renard". Le titre est trompeur, car le rituel ne

fait pas état de ce crâne.Le but de ce rite est le meurtre. Le

texte décrit un linga, à dessiner sur de l'écorce de bouleau.

Des dessins de rdo-rje et des imprécations écrites entourent


le dessin anthropomorphe. Ils serviront à dompter l'ennemi.

Les neuf membres du linga seront l'objet de gestes rituels

(phyag-rgya) précis (72). Par les imprécations, l'exécutant

convoque le principe conscient (rnam-shes) de l'ennemi qui

sera amené et absorbé par l'exécutant. Il doit faire une

fumigation de "camphre noir" (excréments de porc) et réciter

les imprécations pendant trois jours tout en lançant les

substances comme des graines de moutarde sur le linga.

Ensuite il roule le linga entre ses mains et l'enroule dans le

coeur d'un mouton noir. Ce paquet sera déposé à l'intérieur

d'un oeuf de pigeon, que l'on mettra ensuite dans une petite

boîte (~). Il faut placer cette boîte à un endroit associé

avec les klu ou les btsan. L'ennemi mourra à coup sûr. Le

rituel se termine avec un rappel de son titre initial,

légèrement modifié: le mantra noir du vent rouge des actes du

crâne du renard (qui est) le mantra du meurtre (73 ).

II. Sde brgyad cha snyoms, "Une répartition égale des

catégories des huit (divinités)"

Ce texte, attribué à Gnubs-chen, n'est pas un gter-ma. Souvent

recopié, on le trouve en tant que rituel indépendant, ou en

conjonction avec des louanges pour Padmasambhava (74); il a

également été englobé dans le Gnas-chung chos spyod,

l'anthologie des rituels du monastère de Gnas-chung (75). Le

rituel est dédié à des divinités, organisées en séries de huit

selon leurs noms et type d'activité (mondaines, ésotériques ou

secrètes: phyi, nang, gsang). Parmi les huit dieux ésotériques


(nang gi sde brgyad) se trouve le btsan-rgyal Yam-shud dmar-

po, en compagnie du chos-skyong Gnod-sbyin dmar-po. Parmi les

huit dieux des activités secrètes (gsang ba'i sde brgyad), il

y a l e gnod-sbyin Bshan-pa gri-thogs, et le btsan-po Yam-shud

srog len. Enfin, au nombre des "huit dieux les meilleurs"

(mchog gi sde brgyad) figure btsan-mchog Gri-btsan mthu-bo.

Nous rencontrons ici plusieurs catégories hybrides, comme

btsan-rgyal, à la fois btsan et rgyal-po, divinités tibétaines

autochtones. Il est curieux de trouver la dénomination btsan-

PQ, car si les btsan sont bien des dieux tibétains, btsan-po

désigne en général le souverain politique tibétain à l'époque

dynastique. Il faut noter la distinction, faite ici, entre

btsan-rgyal Yam-shud dmar-po et, dans le même groupe de dieux,

chos-skyong Gnod-sbyin dmar-po. Nous verrons, dès la rédaction

des tantra (XIe siècle, cf. chapitre V), que plusieurs textes

du Beg-tse be'u bum, semblent les assimiler l'une à l'autre,

et les deux à Beg-tse. Malheureusement, ce rituel ne décrit

pas les dieux qu'il nomme.

III. Le Vajramantrabhirusandimula-tantra ( P.467)

Ce texte canonique n'est pas exclusivement dédié à la divinité

Yam-shud dmar-po, mais atteste sa présence dans le panthéon

bouddhique de l'époque dynastique. Il s'agit d'un tantra

indien qui, de nos jours, n'est connu que par sa traduction

tibétaine, le Drag-sngags 'dus-pa'i rdo-rje rtsa-ba'i rgyud


(76 ). R. A. Stein a fait les remarques suivantes à propos de

ce texte:

..... selon le colophon, il a été traduit par le maître

indien Padmasambhava et par le traducteur tibétain
Vairocana. De plus, ce texte a été transmis par une copie
faite pour servir d'exemplaire personnel (bla'i phyag-
~) du roi Khri srong Ide btsan. On y trouve le rituel
précis du linga et de la 'libération de l'âme' au moyen
du phur-pa ainsi que des allusions à la soumission de
Rudra Thar-pa nag-po. On y trouve aussi ... des éléments
tibétains indigènes mêlés aux éléments bouddhiques
indiens." (77)

Ici également l'attribution à Vairocana est sujette à caution.

Le premier chapitre de ce texte énumère des divinités classées

par catégories, leur assemblée et la description du paradis où

le texte fut divulgué. Yam-shud dmar-po figure ici, mais sans

description. Le troisième chapitre décrit le mandala de

l'assemblée des divinités devant laquelle Vajrapani expose le

texte. Yam-shud est mentionné dans un groupe de quatre

divinités associées aux portes du mandala, à côté de Li-byi,

Lag-dgu et The-se (78). Il est décrit comme rouge, tenant une

longue lance à soieries rouge, et monté sur un cheval rouge

orné de peaux humaines. The-se, notamment, est connu en tant

que dieu du sol (sa-bdag) parmi les divinités pré-bouddhiques

adoptées ultérieurement dans le panthéon bouddhiste (79).

L'identification de Li-byi est problématique. Li-byin est un

terme associé à la divination dans plusieurs manuscrits de Dun

Huang, mais il y a aussi une divinité Li-byin ha-ra, repérée

dans les panthéons tibétains, à laquelle se rapporte peut-être

Li-byi (80)/ (81 ).


Il serait en dehors du sujet de cette étude d'analyser ce

tantra en détail, mais pour mieux situer le contexte tibéto-

indien du mandala en question, voici la liste abrégée des

divinités du mandala: les hordes de Yama masculin et féminin,

les hordes de Gnod-sbyin gang ba bzang po, les hordes de

rakshasa (Srin-po) à l'extérieur; (Rudra) Thar-pa nag-po, Rmu

rje nag-po, Maheshvara, et Rahula comme maîtres des points

cardinaux; les quatre divinités des portes déjà citées. Lors

de l'exposition d'un mantra, le nom Ma-ru-tse se rencontre,

mentionné à nouveau dans un contexte des divinités indiennes

du Ramayana (82).

Résumé: Caractéristiques des "ancêtres" de la divinité Beg-tse

Si nous admettons la date ancienne des textes de Gnubs, de

Vairocana, et du Vajramantrabhirusandi-tantra, nous sommes

déjà en mesure de considérer une étape préliminaire dans la

composition ou la constitution du culte de la divinité et de

son iconographie. La divinité Beg-tse lcam-sring aura,

ultérieurement, comme attribut distinctif un beg-tse. Ce terme

est totalement absent à ce stade. Toutefois le terme ral-kha

censé avoir été son synonyme est attesté. Nous ne pouvons pas

expliquer l'absence du terme beg-tse dans le contexte de ces

rituels. S'il apparaît que plusieurs divinités prototypes sont

ainsi attestées, on ne peut pas isoler un antécédent direct.

Il y a une similitude parmi les noms et les attributs. Il sera


utile de dresser ici un tableau des noms et des attributs

d'après les textes.

1. D'après les rituels de Gnubs dans le Beg-tse be'u bum

1. la-lg Aucune description physique n'apparaît.

Les noms Srog-bdag dmar-po, Yam-shud dmar-po, Srid-pa'i

btsan-chen, lors des rituels, impliquent l'appartenance

aux catégories srog-bdag et btsan. Les assistants sont

des shan-pa. Il y a une association avec le sacrifice

de la chèvre, l'utilisation de sang et la couleur rouge

de maints objets dans la paraphernalia rituel, la

description de la résidence Bse-mkhar dmar-po, située

au nord-est. Sous le nom Skyes-bu srog-bdag (Id), la

divinité reçoit des offrandes de richesses en même

temps que les offrandes de chair et de gtor-ma.

2.Sous les noms Srog-bdag dmar-po, Brag-btsan

dmar-po, et Yam-shud dmar-po, la divinité demeure dans

une résidence sans nom, faite de bse et de turquoises.

En tant que fils de Yab bzang skyes et Srid-pa'i rgyal-

mo, le dieu a une cuirasse de cuir (bse), une cape

rouge (thab-ber), un casque de cuir avec soieries, des

bottes de cuir, des bottes rouges en peau; un bouclier,

une lance avec drapeaux rouges, un arc et une flèche de


3. Srog-bdag Yam-shud dmar-po a comme attributs:

une chemise (ral-kha) de "cuivre" (= rouge), le bâton

de corail, l'arc et la flèche de cuir (bse).


II. Rituels de Vairocana dans le Beg-tse be'u bum

1. Nom:Gnod-sbyin dmar-po; pas de description; rouge

de par son nom, catégorie des gnod-sbyin.

2. Idem.
3. Description d'un rituel de linga sans nommer de


III. Sde-brgyad cha snyoms

Aucune description physique. Parmi les noms, Chos-

skyong Gnod-sbyin dmar-po, btsan-po Yam-shud srog-

len, btsan-rgyal Yam-shud dmar-po, gnod-sbyin Shan-

pa gri-thogs; la couleur rouge est évoquée dans les

noms précédents; quant aux catégories de

numina,gnod-sbyin, btsan, rgyal-po,et peut-être

srog-bdag sont impliquées. Le rang bouddhique de

chos-skyong est acquis pour Gnod-sbyin dmar-po.


Yam-shud (dmar-po) est rouge; il tient une lance à

soieries rouges, ayant un cheval rouge comme


La signification de ces catégories de numina est surtout

connue d'après les textes tardifs, même si la terminologie est


ancienne. Il faut tenter de cerner autant que possible leur

nature et l'histoire de leur fonctions.

Les souverains tibétains (btsan-po) ont été très tôt le centre

d'un système de croyances qui sacralisait leur rôle de

souverain guerrier et législateur. Dans une légende de la

mythologie du btsan-po, le premier roi reçoit comme attributs

divins l'arc et la flèche, la cuirasse, le casque, et l'épée

(83). Ainsi la notion du btsan-po comme guerrier serait très

ancienne, mais l'on ne peut pas déterminer si les attributs

guerriers de la divinité reflètent réellement ceux du btsan-po

divin. A notre connaissance, les btsan ne sont repérés qu'en

catégorie maléfique dans les documents de Dunhuang (84). Les

textes de Gnubs font état d'un modèle de btsan guerrier, dont

le caractère agressif est évident dans le nom Btsan-rgyal Yam-

shud srog-len (littéralement, Yam-shud qui prend la vie). Les

attributs de Brag-btsan dmar-pojSrog-bdag dmar-po utilisent

plusieurs éléments parmi ceux du btsan-po divin: la cuirasse,

le casque, l'arc et la flèche. On doit cependant retenir

qu'ici, ces attributs sont aussi ceux d'un srog-bdag,

littéralement 'maître de la vie', dont le nom semble être

également un vocable ancien emprunté par le bouddhisme.

La fonction du srog-bdag ici est de combattre les ennemis. Il

fait simultanément oeuvre de divinité protectrice du dévôt et

de la doctrine bouddhique. Son rôle serait proche de celui des

sku-bla qui sont les divinités protectrices pré-bouddhiques,

chargées de veiller sur le principe vital ~ de l'homme et


des animaux (85). Les plus anciens recits (VIle-VIlle siècle)

qui temoignent des croyances tibétaines relatives à la vie et

la mort font état de la vie terrestre unique, terminée par la

mort et suivie d'une survie dans un lieu de paix et de bonheur

(86). Selon ce systeme, où il n'y a pas de renaissances

successives, la vie est donc d'importance capitale et les

numina protecteurs ou destructeurs de la vie le sont aussi. On

n'a cependant aucune indication de leur représentation à

l'époque ancienne, tandis que les offrandes de richesses et de

graines pour les propitier (87) se rapprochent de celles

dédiées à Srog-bdag dmar-po.

Si le terme srog-bdag n'est pas repéré dans les anciens

récits, srog (la vie) l'est. Les définitions de srog et ~

semblent avoir varié dans le temps. Une définition actuelle de

srog et ~ sera, selon un lama rnying ma pa, "If you don't

have srog, as shown by possession of dbugs, breath, then you

die, but even if you lose ~, you can still live." (88).

D'après cette explication, ~ correspond davantage à l'âme ou

à l'esprit, tandis que srog signifie la vie. Macdonald a

constaté qu'à l'époque ancienne, srog a une signification "le

liant au corps tout entier et non pas particulièrement au

souffle (dbugs)" (89). Un exemple qui conserve cette

signification est fourni par srog-shing, un bâton de

consécration déposé à l'intérieur d'une image bouddhique - la

cérémonie d'insertion de ce bâton "vivifie" l'image et la rend

sacrée. Afin de voir la différenciation de ~ et srog, il est

utile de comparer srog-shing avec bla-shing, rencontré dans un

des rituels de Gnubs-chen avec le sens de "l'arbre (siège) de


l'âme". La fonction du sku-bla semble comporter une notion de

génie responsable du lieu sku, le corps, où siège le principe

vital, tandis que srog-bdag semble initialement impliquer un

dieu chargé de la protection de la vie, et par extension, un

dieu qui protège en tant que combattant. Afin de l'intégrer

dans le bouddhisme, sa fonction se serait transformée: ce

n'est plus la vie en péril, mais la sauvegarde des

enseignements qui est nécessaire. C'est ainsi que dans le

bouddhisme, un srog-bdag peut avoir comme rôle principal la

charge de veiller sur la doctrine bouddhique en combattant

pour la protéger.

Quant à la catégorie tibétaine gnod-sbyin, elle est très

ancienne, bien que gnod-sbyin (tib.) traduise le sanscrit

yaksha, les génies des arbres dans la mythologie indienne

d'avant le bouddhisme. Déjà en Inde ils avaient perdu leur

personnalité paisible pour devenir des esprits maléfiques,

voire guerriers. Les gnod-sbyin du panthéon tibétain pré-

bouddhique ne sont pas obligatoirement maléfiques, et ceci en

dépit de la signification (actuelle): gnod-pa, nuire, et

sbyin-pa, donner (90). Un gnod-sbyin célèbre du panthéon

tibétain pré-bouddhique s'appelle Gnod-sbyin gangs-ba bzang-

po, dont le nom signifie 'glacier favorable' (91). Il Y a

aussi Gnod sbyin Dza, dont serait issu la lignée ancestrale

des rois tibétains selon un document de Dun Huang (92). Dans

les rituels transmis par Vairocana, Gnod-sbyin dmar-po a une

fonction purement maléfique, telle qu'on l'associe plus

volontiers avec les yaksha indiens, bouddhistes et


brahmaniques, tandis que Chos-skyong Gnod-sbyin dmar-po du

Sde-brgyad cha-bsnyoms fait oeuvre de protection de la

doctrine bouddhique.

Le terme chos-skyong, littéralement "protecteur de la

doctrine", est seulement attesté dans le Mahavyutpatti (ca.

820) dans la rubrique "noms des maitres antérieurs" comme la

traduction littérale du nom Dharma-pala (93). Sa signification

en tant que rang ou fonction exercée par une divinité n'est

pas encore attestée à cette époque, à notre connaissance.

L'appellation shan-pa des assistants a aussi des références au

Tibet ancien. La fonction de shan-pa, que nous traduisons

'boucher, tueur ' doit aussi être associé avec son homonyme,

les prêtres gshen des funérailles royales tibétaines pré-

bouddhiques (94). Dans leur fonction ici, les shan-pa sont

chargés de meurtre par diverses façons.

Typologie des rituels

Les rites à accomplir sont assez divers, quoique tous sont

destructeurs, d'une manière ou d'une autre. Les listes du Sde

brgyad cha snyoms constituent l'exception à cette règle, car

il s'agit là d'offrande de propitiation afin que les numina ne

nuisent pas. A l'intérieur des rites violents, les louanges de


la divinité sont chantées pour lui faire accomplir un acte

destructeur par la suite.

Plusieurs fois dans l'exécution des rituels, l'activité se

déroule sur l'aire consacrée d'un mandala. Daris le bouddhisme

indien, le mandala, un schéma géometrique consistant en une

succession de carrés et de cercles concentriques qui sert de

résidence à une divinité, constitue l'un des éléments de base

de la méditation. C'est ainsi que les divinités sont réparties

dans le Vajramantrabhirusandi-tantra. Dans le mandala du rite

de linga (la, lb), le centre est occupé par une excavation

triangulaire noire dont la forme correspond aux rites

"d'action violente", drag-poli las, l'une parmi les quatre

catégories de rites bouddhiques (95 ). C'est à l'intérieur de

ce triangle que sera déposé le linga, figurine anthropomorphe

de matière périssable (habituellement en pâte ou dessiné sur

une écorce d'arbre ou sur papier). Le linga sert simultanément

d'offrande et d'appât aux divinités. Bien que le rituel du

linga soit devenu particulièrement célèbre au Tibet, ses

origines indiennes ont été clairement démontrées par les

travaux de R. A. Stein (96). Selon ses études, le rituel du

linga est attesté au milieu du VIlle siècle et a probablement

connu au préalable une longue evolution dans les courants

tantriques (aussi bien bouddhiques que non-bouddhiques)

indiens. Dans les rituels de Gnubs, le linga est notamment

utilisé en complément d'une omoplate de mammifère (chèvre,

homme ou chien - Gnubs,texte 2), d'un crâne de renard (le),

d'un mda'-zor (Id), et d'un gtor-ma (Gnubs, texte 2); dans le


Wa-thod las kyi rlung-dmar, le rite du linga se termine par

l'utilisation d'un coeur de mouton, puis d'un oeuf de pigeon.

Si les origines indiennes du rite du linga sont claires, il

n'en va pas de même des rites de zor et gtor-ma. Le terme zor

peut se référer à des armes concrètes: faucille, couteau,

épée, arc et flèche. Mais ZQr désigne ici des armes magiques.

Le zor ensanglanté (khrag-zor) ainsi que le mda'-zor sont à

rapprocher des petits modelages pyramidaux de pâte crue

appelés zor (97). Le khrag-zor est un mélange de sang (texte

lc: sang de renard, chèvre et chien) et de graines de moutarde

à l'intérieur du crâne de renard - le liquide seul peut être

appelé khrag-zor, ou le liquide peut être utilisé pour enduire

un bâton en bois qui sera planté dans de la pâte, ensemble

aussi appelé khrag-zor. Le mda'-zor, dont il est question dans

le rituel, est la flèche enduite de sang et de poison (Id).

Ces deux types de zor sont destinés à la divinité Srog bdag

Yam shud dmar-po agissant en qualité de btsan.

Bien que l'offrande de gâteaux sacrificiels (gtor-ma) soit

habituelle dans le bouddhisme, les modelages zor semblent s'en

distinguer sensiblement. L'offrande de gtor-ma est connue dans

le bouddhisme, de même que dans les rituels pré-bouddhiques de

divination et de funérailles (98). Le gtor-ma bouddhique

indien (sanscrit:balin) désigne "une oblation en général, mais

plus particulièrement l'offrande de graines, etc., lancée

près de la maison aux animaux sauvages qui sont censés la

protéger" (99). Le gtor-ma tibétain actuel a été décrit comme


un "échafaudage, généralement de pâte crue assaisonnée et

coloriée avec les substances que le rite, bénéfique ou

maléfique, désigne, choses douces ou bien sang, viande,

alcool, poison, etc." (100). Cela semble dériver du gtor-ma

tibétain pré-bouddhique, dont plusieurs sortes (de lait, riz,

graines de moutarde, chair et autres) sont mentionnées (cf.

note 98). Par contre, l'offrande de zor, khrag-zor, mda'-zor,

n'est pas attestée telle quelle parmi les cultes pré-

bouddhiques, à notre connaissance.

La notion du sacrifice des animaux se rencontre surtout dans

le Tibet pré-bouddhique lors des funérailles royales, les

animaux psychopompes étant surtout le cheval et le mouton.

Les sku-bla étaient l'objet d'offrandes diverses: flèches avec

soieries, or, turquoises, graines, bière, viande cuite, le

sacrific~ du mouton, du cheval et du yak (101), toutes

offrandes pour réjouir (dgyes-pa) les sku-bla. Certaines de

ces mêmes offrandes apparaissent dans le contexte des rituels

de Gnubs (bière, gser-skyems, dans le Sde-brgyad cha bsnyoms;

flèches mda'-dar, objets de richesse et graines dans le cycle

du Be'u Bum), mais l'animal du sacrifice est surtout la

chèvre. Si la nécessité de réjouir la divinité est semblable

dans les voeux qu'elle accepte, qu'elle se régale de la chair,

du sang et des os de l'ennemi, la terminologie est

sensiblement différente (102).

A plusieurs reprises dans ces rituels, il y a des emprunts

conceptuels au milieu tibétain pré-bouddhique qui sont


reconnaissables à leurs prolongements dans la terminologie

rnying-ma-pa et bon-po. Tel est le cas du groupe des neuf

shan-pa. Plusieurs groupes de neuf frères (ou frères et

soeurs) sont connus dans la mythologie tibétaine ancienne; le

terme mched explique leur parenté (103). D'après le cycle de

Gnubs-chen dans le Be'u bum, neuf Yam-shud dmar-po (qui sont

tous shan-pa) doivent agir - mais il n'y a pas de terme de

parenté pour expliquer leur relation. Les Rnying-ma-pa et les

Bon-po ont tous deux neuf 'véhicules' ou doctrines

essentielles, tandis qu'il y a les neuf étages du ciel des

mythologies cosmogoniques des Bon-po. Parmi les noms de la

divinité, celui de Srid-pa'i btsan-chen, qui pourrait être

soit un nom propre soit une épithète, évoque le milieu bon-po,

où figure aussi Srid-pa'i rgyal-mo, qui est nommée ici (Gnubs,

texte 2) comme mère mythologique (104). Le nom Brag-btsan

dmar-po relève simultanément du contexte tibétain ancien et du

contexte bon-po (105).

Yam-shud dmar po aurait sa place dans le contexte des

divinités locales tibétaines devenues protectrices du

bouddhisme. D'après R. A. Stein, Yam-shud dmar-po est

identifié de la façon suivante:

"Guerrier rouge en armure rouge, chevauchant un cheval

rouge. Sur la poitrine, le miroir des divinités guerrières
qui s'incarnent dans des médiums. Fourreau à flèches (stag-
gdong) et à arc (gzig-shubs).La main droite tient une
lance. C'est le btsan (divinité terrible des rochers) Yam-
shu [=Shud] dmar-po.Il est bien connu dans le lamaïsme. De
divinité locale, dieu guerrier (dgra-lha), il a été promu
au rang de protecteur de la religion (bstan-srung, chos-
skyong)" (106).

Le passage du dieu du sol au type guerrier dgra-lha est

illustré par le processus d'évolution du sku-bla, sku-lha, au

dgra-lha, défini par R. A. Stein ainsi, " Le sku-bla ancien ...

est devenu le sku-lha, montagne sacrée et ancêtre, et a pris

facilement un aspect guerrier (dgra-lha)" (107). Les divinités

montagnes seraient habillées de cuirasses de diverses matières

(cuir [bae], minéraux) (108). Ainsi en est-il de la

description du père de Yam-shud dmar-po qui se rapproche à

bien des égards des divinités des montagnes. La matière bae de

sa cuirasse est définie de nos jours comme étant le cuir,

tandis que R. A. Stein retient sa signification ancienne d'une

pierre semi-précieuse (109); il Y a aussi les bae, une classe

de numina anciens (110), tel l'emploi dans une expression

comme bse-rta, le cheval des bae. Parmi les descriptions

rituelles, l'association de bae avec la couleur rouge a

souvent été indiquée, bien que cette notion soit absente des

dictionnaires. Yam-shud dmar-po semble hériter de la cuirasse

de bae de son père. La série d'actes que doivent accomplir la

divinité et son entourage lors de la destruction des divers

lieux de siège de l'âme (tel le désechement du lac d'âme, ~

mtsho) doit etre comprise dans le contexte tibétain pré-

bouddhique. Ce motif a priori non-bouddhique réapparaît dans

l'épopée de Gésar et dans un autre rituel dédié à Yam-shud

dmar-po qui daterait du XIe siècle (Ill).

Deux des trois rituels transmis par Vairocana ne correspondent

pas à un corps doctrinal définissable. Les deux rituels pour

amener les armées d'animaux contre les ennemis ont un aspect


de "recettes de cuisine" dans leurs instructions concises et

concrètes pour détruire l'ennemi. Leur contexte a été

"bouddhisé" par la mention de ne les exécuter que pour le bien

de la doctrine bouddhique, sinon ces rituels sont du domaine

de la sorcellerie plutôt que de la religion. Les ingrédients

sont typiquement tibétains, puisque le yak ou sa femelle, dont

la corne fournit le récipient nécessaire au breuvage, est

l'animal tibétain par excellence. De même, l'animosité du

corbeau et du hibou est un thème courant de la littérature

tibétaine. Le troisième rituel associé à Vairocana n'est très

probablement pas de lui, car il appartient davantage au milieu

du bouddhisme tantrique indien tardif dans sa concision pour

l'instruction sur le linga, rédigée dans une terminologie de

traduction déjà figée (bsgral-ba'i thabs, rnams-shes), tout en

présentant certains termes tibétains (btsan) sans innovation


Eléments de datation des documents

La datation du Vajramantrabhirusandi-tantra peut être établie

par rapport au règne de Khri-srong Ide-btsan, mort à la fin du

VIlle siècle. Il est vraisemblable que ce texte aurait été

traduit à cette période, ou un peu plus tard. Par contre, il

est extrêmement difficile de dater les deux rituels de guerre

transmis par Vairocana. Rien ne les relie aux cultes pré-

bouddhiques tibétains tel que nous les connaissons, ni aux

autres rituels de cette étape, même si Gnod-sbyin dmar-po,

auquel ils s'adressent, est mentionné dans le Sde-brgyad cha


bsnyoms. L'attribution au célèbre traducteur Vairocana paraît

difficile à soutenir, quoique bon nombre de rituels purement

magiques lui soient attribués. Il est aussi possible que ces

rituels aient été réunis par un maître reconnu comme

incarnation de Vairocana (112). La seule raison d'une telle

attribution serait de donner un air d'ancienneté à ces textes,

ainsi que de les rattacher au prestige du traducteur. Quant au

troisième texte associé à Vairocana, une date très ancienne

semble exclue.

Pour la datation des rituels associés à Gnubs-chen, comme

auteur ou comme gter-ston, il faut considérer plusieurs

facteurs autres que la chronologie de ce maître. Les colophons

des textes fournissent non seulement les noms des maîtres

associés comme auteurs ou transmetteurs, mais ils schématisent

parfois une chronologie de leur utilisation. Ceci est le cas

du cycle de Gnubs-chen du Beg-tse be'u bum. La composition est

attribuée à Padmasambhava, ensuite il y a une étape

intermédiaire d'utilisation - dont la durée n'est pas précisée

- à l'extérieur du Tibet, enfin le texte aurait été révélé par

le gter-ston. Ces éléments tendent à suggèrer que la

révélation de ce cycle daterait au plus tôt de la fin de la

première diffusion du bouddhisme au Tibet, ou même du début de

la seconde diffusion (milieu Xe-début XIe siècle). Avec la

chute de la dynastie ca. 842 et la période d'instabilité

politique qui s'ensuivit pendant près d'un siècle, il n'y

avait plus de pouvoir centralisateur soutenant l'église

bouddhique. D'après l'analyse de Mme Anne-Marie Blondeau, ce


serait précisément à ce moment que "de nombreux anachorètes

vivaient avec leurs disciples dans des ermitages. De petits

foyers bouddhistes ont certainement, à travers tout le

territoire, gardé et transmis les enseignements reçus. Mais

ces groupes, privés de la protection du pouvoir central qui

assurait à la fois leur subsistance et leur cohésion, coupés

des maîtres indiens qui pouvaient maintenir l'orthodoxie,

isolés géographiquement les uns des autres, ont dû intégrer

des pratiques et des croyances non-bouddhiques qui ne purent

ensuite être entièrement éliminées, et qui donnent au

bouddhisme tibétain sa physionomie syncrétique si

particulière" (113). Logiquement, c'est pendant cette période

intermédiaire - que ce soit dans le climat chaotique du Tibet

ou dans le milieu de syncrétisme religieux du Cachemire de la

même époque - que l'élaboration de tels rituels est probable.

Des édits royaux du milieu du Xe siècle mettent la population

en garde contre la pratique d'un bouddhisme tantrique mal

interprété, notamment contre la pratique d'offrandes à des

démons mangeurs de chair, contre des offrandes de sang et de

chair lors de pratiques bouddhiques (114).

Le contexte des rituels présentés ici, qui exigent souvent de

tels sacrifices et offrandes, qui présentent le meurtre comme

objectif, et qui demandent aux divinités de se réjouir de la

chair, du sang et des os de l'ennemi, tout en présentant de

nombreuses caractéristiques empruntées à la mythologie

tibétaine pré-bouddhique et des éléments syncrétiques du

bouddhisme indien tardif, semble confirmer une chronologie de


divulgation qui précède de peu l'opprobre royal du milieu du

Xe siècle. Si le Sde-brgyad cha bsnyoms ne fait pas état de

telles offrandes, la notion du chos-skyong courroucé en

conjonction avec les noms des divinités extrêmement hybrides

implique toutefois un mouvement religieux qui pourrait bien

correspondre à la période tibétaine d'instabilité politique et

d'un foisonnement de concepts religieux. Bien que l'identité

de la divinité Beg-tse ne soit pas encore fixée à cette

époque, on peut considérer que le prototype de rituels qui lui

seront ultérieurement dédiés est défini, et Srog-bdag Yam-shud

dmar-po, un dieu-guerrier rouge chargé de subjugation, fait

partie du panthéon tibétain.

1. Ce résumé biographique est établi d'après 'Gos-lo-tsa-ba,

The Blue Anna1s (1476), trad. G.Roerich, Delhi, 1979
(désormais BA), pp. 104-108; Bdud-'joms Rinpoche, Rnying-ma'i
chos-'byung (1979), Kalimpong, 1979 (désormais NMCH ), pp.
290-299 ; Padma-'phrin las, Bka' ma mdo dbang (Dgàngs-'dus
chos 'byung, 1681), Leh, 1972, pp. 160-177; et Ratna-gling-pa,
Chos-'byung (XVe siècle), [The Rnying-ma pa Apo1ogy of Rin-
chen dpal-bzang,] Palampur, 1972, p. 127.

2. Cf.K. Dowman, Sky Dancer, London, 1984, pp. 112 and 282
pour les listes des vingt-cinq disciples de Padmasambhava.
C'est la tradition tardive qui se veut basée sur la tradition
ancienne. Le chos 'byung de Ratna gling-pa est la plus
ancienne référence historique pour ce renseignement à notre
connaissance, tandis que la littérature hagiographique de
Padmasambhava le signale environ un siècle avant d'après 0-
rgyan gling-pa (1329-1367), Padma-bka'-thang, chap. 21.

3.Par exemple, le Cinquième Dalai Lama lui attribue une durée

de vie de 130 ans (Gsan-yig, Delhi, 1979, vol. III, p. 19).
H.H. Bdud-'joms Rinpoche, NMCB, p. 290 passim, donne les dates
786-879 A.D. dans son récit biographique récent, tandis que S.
Karmay, situe Gnubs au dixième siècle, en se basant sur le BA.

("Rdzogs chen in its earliest text", .in: B. N. Aziz et M.

Kapstein (réd.) Soundings in Tibetan Civilization , Delhi,
1985, p. 273, note 2:

"The dates of this master are very uncertain. However

he is in aIl probability the author of the ... Bsam gtan
mig sgron ... In this work a clear reference is made to
King Glang Dar-ma (803-842). Also one gets the impression
that the text was composed a long time after the death of
the King. In his Deb ther sngon po ... , p. 108, 'Gos
states that Gnubs ... was active during the reign of King
Bkra shis brtsegs dpal (ca. early tenth century) ... ".

Le passage entier des BA (p. 108) n'est pas aussi clair que

"In regard to the time of the appearance of this Sangs-rgyas

ye-shes, sorne say that he lived in the time of Khri sron Ide
btsan, sorne say that he lived in the time of RaI-pa can and
again sorne say that he lived in the time of Khri Bkra shis
brtsegs pa dpal. It seems it would be correct to say that
having been born during the reign of (king) Ral-pa-can, he
lived until the time of Khri Bkra-shis brtegs pa dpal."

Ailleurs, l'auteur des BA considère (p. 105 ) que Gnubs a vécu

113 ans, donc, en effet du début du neuvième siècle (naissance
à l'époque de RaI-pa can )jusqu'au début dixième (mort sous le
règne de Bkra-shis-dpal)

4.Cf. les conférences de A.-M. Blondeau à l'Ecole Pratique des

Hautes Etudes, Ve section, 1977-1980.

5. Tshar-chen blo-gsal rgya-mtsho, Beg-tse be'u bum, pp. 219-

220. Cinquième Dalai Lama, op.cit., vol. l, p.830 pour la
discussion des trois textes (9 rituels) de Gnubs. Cf.infra
pour la lignée de transmission de ces textes.

6.BA, p. 105 (114 ans); Cinquième Dalai Lama, op.cit., vol.

III, p. 19 (130 ans); Bkd-ma mdo-dbang, p. 173, qui se réfère
au conflit de son âge lors de sa mort, et se prononoce en
faveur de 130 ans plutôt que 113.

7.E. Dargyay, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism, Delhi, 1977, pp.


8.Cf. note 17.

9.Lignée citée dans Cinquième Dalai Lama, op.cit., vol. III,

p. 834.

10. Cf. BA.

Il.Pour 'Tshur-ston dbang-nge, cf. BA, pp. 364 et 439. Pour

Gnubs ston bag-ma, élève de Zur-chung, cf. NMCB p. 354 et BA
p. 120.

12.Cf.BA, pp. 124-125, et aussi p. 156.

13.LQid, p. 941

14.Ce monastère était une branche de Khrab-1a-kha, dont il

était voisin, dans les environs de Bsam-yas. Le fief natal de
la lignée Gnubs était le grand village de la vallée Sgrags
(Sgrags grong mo che), au nord de Bsam-yas, où Gnubs-chen
naquit. C'était le site d'une forteresse cum monastère, Sgrags
yang rdzong ou Sgrags yong rdzong, photographiée par Heinrich
Harrer. Mchims-pu, Phug-po-che et Sgrags yang zong étaient
tous fréquentés dans la région. Cf. A. Ferrari, Mk'yen-brtse's
Guide to the Ho1y Places of Central Tibet, Roma, 1958.

15.Dès le chos-'byung de Ratna-g1ing-pa, p. 127, Gnubs était

considéré comme un disciple de Padmasambhava, tandis que BA
(p. 104) omet toute mention de cette relation et signale ses
voyages d'étude en Inde, à Gilgit (Bru-sha) et au Népal. Cf.
Dgongs 'dus chos-'byung, p. 163.

16.S. Karmay, The Great Perfection, Leiden, 1988, pp. 99-101,

analyse l'attribution à Gnubs-chen de ce texte célèbre, et
considère qu'elle est digne de foi.

17.NMCB, pp. 295-296, mentionne d'abord la mort de trente-sept

villageois et ensuit soixante-et-un autres qui avaient
corrompu le sens des rituels et furent donc détruits.

18.Dès 1476 dans BA (p. 104), sa maîtrise des divinités

terribles est attestée, sans plus de précisions.

19.Gsung bka'-ma, vol. 5-6, Ngagyur nyingmay sungrab series,

vol. XI-XII, Gangtok, 1969.

20.D'après R. A. Stein, "A propos des documents anciens

relatifs au phur-bu (kila)",p. 443 ( in: L.Ligeti (réd.),
Proceedings of the 1976 Csoma de Koros Symposium,
Budapest, 1978), ce tantra est un texte du cycle de Phur-pa qui
a été rattaché à Padmasambhava. Il aurait été transmis par
Padmasambhava à son disciple avec une imprécation. R. A. Stein
l'avait déjà analysé pour Gshin-rje (Yama) Ma-ru-rtse par
rapport aux éléments empruntés du Ramayana (Annuaire du
Collège de France, 1973-74, pp. 515-517) qui comprennent le
nom tibétain Ma-ru-rtse pour rendre le nom sanscrit Marica, le
yaksha devenu ministre du roi Ravana, responsable du rapt de
Sita. Cf. aussi notes 21-22.

21.R. A. Stein, Recherches sur l'épopée et le barde au Tibet,

Paris, 1959, p. 522 et n. 49 (p. 532), cite cette
identification d'après F. W. Thomas, "A Tibetan version of
the Ramayana", in: Indian studies in honor of Charles Rockwell
Lanman, Cambridge, 1929, pp. 195 et 200.

22.R. A. Stein, ibid, pp. 521-523, explique l'emprunt du nom

Ma-ru-rtse pour un personnage de l'épopée et pour un lieu; il

signale que d'après la version tibétaine du Ramayana, Ma-ru-

rtse agit comme ministre de yaksha Kore (Kuvera; au Nord),
ayant des cheveux rouges comme le personnage Rme-ru-rtse de
l'épopée. Cf. le manuscrit 1.0. 737 A, ligne 110, yag-sha Ko-
re'i bIon-pol ma-ru-tse zhes bya bal skra dmar zhing gyin dul
'greng/ ....
23.Nous devons à Fernand Meyer le renseignement que ma-ru-rtse
comme substantif se rencontre tardivement avec la
signification d'un médicament qui est un fruit rouge-jaune de
l'arbre butea frondosa, d'après le Vaidurya sngon-po (fin
XVIIe siècle) tandis que parmi les textes médicaux traduits
par Rin-chen bzang-po, le nom sanskrit Marica est aussi
utilisé pour désigner le poivre noir.

24.A notre connaissance, on trouve ce récit tel quel depuis le

XVIIe siècle, quoiqu'il existe une variante antérieure
attribuée au XVe siècle. D'après le Dgongs-'dus chos 'byung,
p. 177: (à propos de Yon tan rgya mtsho) De yang gdul bya'i
don du slob dpon sangs-rgyas ye-shes dang tshe rabs du mar
'brel zhingl khyad par sku tshe 'di'i snga ma yab sras su
'brel te gdul bya dang phyir sangs-rgyas ye-shes nyid rgya-gar
du bshan pa ma-ru-tse bya bar 'khrungs-shingl gnubs yon-tan
rgya-mtsho yab ma-ru-tse dang yum rje-btsun sgrol-ma'i sprul-
pa gdug-rtsub-kyi-skor-mgo-ma zhes bya ba lai sras che-ba
dga'-bol chung-ba dga'-chungl sras-mo dga'-lcam gsum yod pa'i
sras chung-bar 'khrungs so/ ... " (Yon-tan rgya-mtsho) était lié
avec le maître Sangs-rgyas ye-shes pendant plusieurs vies pour
le bien des êtres à convertir. En particulier, ils étaient
liés comme père et fils dans la vie antérieure à celle-ci.
Afin de convertir les êtres, ce même Sangs-rgyas ye-shes est
né en Inde comme Bshan-pa Ma-ru-tse. Gnubs Yon-tan rgya-mtsho
naquit comme fils cadet du père Ma-ru-rtse et de la mère Gdug-
rtsub-kyi-skor-mgo-ma, une émanation de Tara, qui avaient un
fils ainé Dga'-bo, un fils cadet Dga'-chung, et une fille
Dga'-lcam. Le passage continue avec l'histoire de la famille,
notamment la renaissance de Gshan-pa Ma-ru-rtse comme Gnubs
Sangs-rgyas ye-shes. Une variante tardive de cette histoire se
trouve dans le NMCB de Bdud 'joms Rinpoche, p. 294:( à propos
de Gnubs-chen) khyad par du tshe snga-ma la rgya-gar du shan-
pa ma-ru-tse bya bar 'khrungs nas sems-can gyi don mdzad-pa'i
'dul zhing Ihag-ma lus-pa rnams rdzogs pas mdzad-pa dang/ ... "
"En particulier dans une vie précédente (Gnubs-chen) naquit en
Inde comme Shan-pa Ma-ru-tse, afin de dompter pour le bien des
êtres, il en tua beaucoup ... " Une source antérieure, Gshin-rje
dmar-po'i bla-ma brgyud-pa'i lo-rgyus "L'histoire de la lignée
de lamas qui firent la transmission de Yama rouge", ( édité ~
Gsung bka'-ma, vol. 6, Gangtok, 1969, pp. 4-6) fournit un
récit détaillé des mêmes renaissances en ajoutant une
naissance intermédiaire. Cette histoire est attribuée à Rngog
Bsod-nams shes-rab que D. Martin date au XVe siècle. Cf. note

25. NMCB, p. 303.


26. D. Martin, "The Early Education of Milarepa" .in: The.

Journal of the Tibet Society, 1982, pp. 53-79, l'identifie
comme maître de Milarepa.

27. NMCB, pp. 295-304

28. Cf. Cinquième Dalaï Lama, op.cit., vol. III, p. 98 (= Ga,

fol. 49b) pour la lignée de Yam-shud dmar-po transmise via
Gnubs-chen,puis Rgya-zhang-khrom ainsi que le rituel du
Cinquième Dalaï Lama dédié à Sgrol-ging dmar-po srog-gi-gshed,
transmis par les mêmes maîtres, dont nous parlerons plus loin
(chapitre IX). La renommée d'imprécations de Rgya-zhang-khrom
est attestée selon la traduction de Dargyay, op.cit., p. 110:
ses dates sont établies d'après Kong-sprul, Gter ston brgya
rtsa, Arunachal Pradesh, 1973, p. 108, qui confirme la
contemporanéité avec Milarepa. Selon le A-bse lo-rgyus, il
utilisa aussi le nom Gnubs-ston rdo-rje 'bar. Cf. Martin,
op.cit., pour trouver des renseignements sur Rgya-zhang-khrom.

29.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 48: Srog bdag yam-shud dmar-po 'di

sgrub-thabs rgyas 'bring bsdus gsum! thun-sgrub dang bzhi!
zor-kha dang Inga! sbyor-ba bsrung-ba bstan-pa drug! 'khu
bzlog byed na gzir-ba dang bdun! thugs-kyi Ide-kha drug dang
brgyad! smod-kha rme-ba dang dgu! lo-rgyus dang bcu yod do!de
Itar bcu'i ma-bu-tshang-ba'o! 'dis dang-po mkhar-pa a-lag
(byang-shar du yin) phung-bar byas! bar-du kha-che khri-stan
phung-bar byas! tha-mar dam-nyams gang-la rbad-pa phung-bar
byed-do! 'di snubs tshur-ston la zhus-pa'i de nas rim-par
brgyud-nas snubs phug-pa la bdag-gis zhus shing bris sol
i.:t.h.i./ /
30.LQLd, p. 24:Sngon-tshe stobs dang Idan-pa'i padma-'byung-
gnas kyis! dur-khrod phug nang nag-po ru! sgrol-byed srog bdag
yam-shud dmar-po'i srog phrag (recte:phrog) nas! shan-pa dmar-
po dgu'i sgrub-thabs mdzad! phyi-rabs rnal-'byor thams-cad la
rang-rang gi srog pas gces-par bgyis gsung//

31. Traduction résumée d'après Ibid, pp. 24-25: de (-shan-pa

dgu) 'di bsgrub-pa'i gnas dag ni! brag dmar seng-ge 'dra ba'i
gnas dag tu! mar-ngo'i dus-kyi phur-pa gza' yang na mig-dmar
dar-ba la! sngon-'gro gzung-bzhin tshul-du bya! zhag dgu 'am
bdun du'o! de nas srog-bdag snyen-sngags 'bum-tshe gsum du
bzlas! de nas bsgrub-cing las la sbyar! ces bsgrub-cing las-
sbyor dkyil-'khor ni! dbus su gru-gsum thub-brus nag po la!
de-la dug dang khrag-gis byugs byas-la! de mthar zla-gam dmar-
po gsum! de'i phyi-rim phyir Itas dmar-po brgyad! mtha'-ma
lcags (25)-ri nag-po 'khor bar bri! de-la rdzas kyi rim-pa
dged bya bal zla-gam rnams pa gsum-po la! gcig la mda'-dar
dmar-po gzugs-par bya! gcig la bshos-bu dmar-po bzhag-par bya!
gcig-tu phud-rgod 'bru sna bzhag-par bya! dbus kyi gru gsum
dag-tu yang! ming-rus ling-ga gzhugs byas-te! 'bru la byas
pa'i ling-ga la! ra'i khrag-gis sbru yang byugs! gro-ga'i
shog-bu gang-rung-la! ming-rus bris-ba b1a-nam khong du gzhug!
mgo-bo Iho-nub 'tshams-su bstan! rkang-pa byang-shar 'tshams
su bstan-par bya! thun-rdzas gong dang 'dra-bar bsags byas la!

phyis bya-ba gong bzhin-nol bsnyen-pa mtha'-ru phyin-pa dangl

thun dang drag-sngags bzlas-pa nif 'bod-pa stong-la rbod-pa
stongl bsad-pa brgya-ru bes (sic:bos) par bya/

32.IQid, p. 27: Slob-dpon padmas bsam-yas dbu-rtse'i skyed-

tshang du sbasl snubs ban sangs-rgyas rin po ches bton pa'ol
kho las mi byed cing 'khu-bzlog gzir-bar bya ba rab-tu gces/
Il y a deux interprétations possibles pour ~ ici: 1) las-
substantif (= rituel)" Tout en ne l'ayant pas pratiqué, c'est
(un rituel) très précieux pour faire souffrir et (?) méconter
(les démons)"; 2) las-particule instrumental ici, lié à la
phrase précédente- "Gnubs l'a extrait ne l'ayant pas fabriqué
lui-même, c'est (un rituel) très précieux pour faire

33. Traduction résumée d'après Ibid, p. 28: stobs-dang ldan-

pa'i rnal-'byor-pasl dur-khrod wa'i thod-pa-rul thun-rdzas
rim-pa bsag-byas-lal wa-dang ra-dang khyi khrag dangl nyung-
dkar dug sna tshang-bar bsags-byas lai dar-dmar dag-gi kha
bcad-dol thun khol-am dpag-pa'i rtags byung-na brdeg-gol thun-
sngags 'di ltar bzlas-sol

34.Ibid, p. 28: thun gyi dus-su bskul-ba nif Hum-bhyo btsan-

chen bdug-pa'i dus-la babl nga-rgyal chen-po btsan-gyi but
bdug-pa'i thun-chog 'phen-pa'i tshel btsan dmag stong-de sha-
ra-rai bdug-pa'i rta-skad di-ri-ril spyug-pa'i bdas-skad phyu-
ru-rul khrag-zor dmar-po thal-la-lal btsan-thun dmar-po dgra-
la-rgyobl bdug-pa'i dg ra thun 'phang-pa'i tshel dgra-bo Inga
phung yan-lag 'braI-bar byed-dol srog-rtsa dmar-po skem-par
byed-dol bdug-pa'i thun-gyis brgya-pa'i tshel srid-pa kun-
kyang gnyal-thag chodl srog-bdag dmar-po mthu-bo-chel btsan-
thun brdeg-pa' dus-la babl khrag-zor dbab-pa'i dus la babl
phyugs-pa'i nad-chen dgra-la phobl ltas-ngan bya rnams dgra-la
phobl ces bskul-ba skabs-su bya'o Ithag nye-na khang-pa la
brdegl (thag) ring-la dgra phyogs-su 'phangl ling-ga yang
brdegl srog-bdag yam-shud kyi thun gyi rdzogs-so/ Afin de
comprendre ce passage, bdug-pa > gdug-pa. En apposition avec
la phrase thag-nye na (=tout près) ring na = thag ring-na (à

35. Selon l'avis de F. Meyer, gnyal-thag-chod aurait la

signification littérale "couper le cou", d'après l'expression
archaïque gnya'-thag gcod, gnya' qui, aujourd'hui aussi,
signifie" le cou". A la lecture de cette phrase, S. Karmaya
rappelé celle de l'édit de Lha Bla-ma Ye-shes 'od: sgrol ba
dar bas ra lug nyal thag bcad, qu'il a traduite "As
'deliverance 'has become popular, the goats and sheep are
afflicted" (" The Edict of Lha bla-ma Ye-shes 'od", p. 154,
~: M. Aris et A. S. S. Kyi (réd.) Tibetan Studies in Honor of
H.E.Richardson, Warminster, 1981 ), nyal et gnyal étant

36.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 30: de-ltar bzlas-shing roda' la brdeg/

"ainsi récitant (le mantra), frappez la flèche." Il ne s'agit
donc pas de la tirer, mais de lui conférer une force magique
en la frappant au moment de la récitation.
38. Cf. Stein, op.cit. (1971), p. 518, " ... à la tête d'un
fleuve (1. 22 chab- mgo na; 1. 24 chab kyi ya-mgo ya-byi na)"
pour le même genre d'interjections dans des manuscrits de Dun
Huang. La pérennité de ce processus est démontrée par M.
Helffer, Les chants dans l'épopée tibétaine de Gésar, Genève-
Paris, 1977.

39.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 30 (khrag-gzer nad gzer kun gyi bdag).

Nous remercions Fernand Meyer de son aide pour la terminologie
médicale. Jaeschke, p. 49, sous khrag, traduit par erreur
"rheumatic pain", khrag-gzer.

4ü.IQid, p. 30 gdug-pa'i mda' zor 'phen-pa'i dus la bab/bse'i

gzhu-mo bse'i shul (recte:shubs) yang btangl

41.IQid, p. 30, zangs kyi nan mas mnanl lcags kyi mchog ma
sngon-po canl 'brong bu dar-ma'i rgyud kyi(s) sbreng 1 D'après
Mme. A.-M. Blondeau, nan serait sûrement une partie de l'arc,
mchog-ma se réfère à la pointe ou aux extrémités de l'arc et
rgyud serait le tendon d'un jeune yak.

42.IQid, p. 30, p. 30

44.IQid, p. 31: 'Om-bu'i dong-po lai sngags-kyi bzlas-pa

steng-du byas-na dgra-bo de la byin-nal dgra-bo smyo-bar
'gyur-rol thar-nu'i 'o-ma dang bse-zho la bzlas-nas byin-nal
dgra-bo mdze-ru 'gyur-rol

45.IQid, pp. 31-32

46.IQid, p. 32: Srog-bdag dmar-po 'khor dang bcas lai phud-

dang gtor-ma dang bshos-bu 'bul-lol de nas bstod-pa dang
bskul-ba bya-zhing dg ra la rbad dol (renvoyer la divinité
contre l'ennemi).

47.Traduction résumée de Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 32 de nas bstod-

pa dang bskul-ba bya-zhing dgra la rbad-dol des dgra-la rtags
myur-du 'ongl gar-thod mar-thod gang song du las 'di byar mi
rung-ste rang phung-bar 'gyur-rol las sdugs-na bya-ba'i dus
yinl shin-tu gsang-ba'i las-sol dmar-po gzir-cing gcun-pa'i
man-ngag dam-pa rdzogs-sol ithil "Comme il ne convient pas de
faire ce rituel en haut, en bas ou n'importe où (gar-thod mar-
thod gang song du), (l'exécutant?) lui-même périra ( litt.
deviendra détruit= phung-bar 'gyur ro) (sauf si) c'est le
moment des faire les actes de misère. Ce rite est très secret.
L'instruction pure (sur la façon de) dompter le rouge en
souffrant est achevée".

48.Beg-tse be'u bum, p.32: Srog-bdag dmar-po'i spu-gri lai Ide

kha rnams drug gis bstan-tel smyo-'bog grir-bsad rims-nad dang

'dong-ltas dang chos-'phrul gtong-ba ni! mtha'-bsdus las kyi

sbyor-ba yin/.

49.~, p. 33 l'expression est Mon-pa thod pa'i ru ... Nous

remercions Mme Anne-Marie Blondeau de nous avoir signalé un
passage d'un tantra du Rnying-ma'i rgyud 'bum, "Le filet des
mille Lha-'dre" (Lha-'dre stong gi dra-ba'i rgyud) où le crâne
d'un Mon-pa sera pris comme support pour plusieurs dessins en
utilisant du sang de chien comme encre. Cet emploi est
mentionné au moment où chaque membre d'un groupe divin énonce
son imprécation destinée à détruire un ennemi de la doctrine
bouddhiste. (pp. 553-556, chapitre 10 de ce tantra).

5û.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 35: dams-nyams-pa 'di'i sha dang khrag

la rol-cigl snoms-gcig! srog-rtsa chod-gcig! snying-rtsa
phyung-gcig/ 'di'i sha-khrag-dang rus-pa dang bcas-pa bzhes-
gcigl ... dgra-bgegs ma-lus gzhoms-gyur-gcigl "Régalez-vous
de ce sang et de cette chair de ceux qui ont enfreint leur
voeux (dam-nyams-pa) Anéantissez. Tranchez la veine vitale.
Détruisez la veine du coeur. Prenez leur chair, leur sang, et
leurs os. Que les ennemis bgegs soient entièrement vaincus."

51.Contrairement aux deux autres noms, celui de Brag-btsan

dmar-po ne revient pas souvent dans les rituels du Beg-tse
be'u bum. Pourtant, Brag-btsan dmar-po est aussi assimilé à
Beg-tse par le Deuxième Dalaï Lama (cf. chapitre VII).
L'importance de ce btsan à l'époque ancienne est maintenue
dans d'autres traditions. D'après Bdud-'joms Rinpoche, Brag-
btsan dmar-po était le dieu du site de naissance ('khrungs-
~) du souverain tibétain à l'époque dynastique. (In ~
bsnyen Jag-pa me-len gyi gsang-mchod (I-Tib-75-902088), p. 3b
Brag-btsan dmar-po rje'i 'khrungs-lha bsangl ) Au colophon de
ce texte, Bdud-'Joms Rinpoche précise qu'il l'a rédigé en se
basant sur des textes anciens, sans préciser davantage sa

52.Traduction résumée de Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 38: (début du

rituel): khrag gi dmar Ijibs-btang! dbus kyi zla-gam dag-la
bzhag-par byas! mda' dmar bya rgod sgros sgron-la dar-dmar
mda' tshad gdags-pa bya ! de-la za-'og dmar-po zla-gam dang
zer-mo'i phod-kyi brgyan-pa gzugs! 'khor gyi shan-pa brgyad la
yang! zur-gsum bshos-bu brgyad la ra-khrag byugs-byas-la! bya-
rgod 'dab brgyad dag-la yang! dar dang za-'og phod kyi gong
bzhin rgyan-byas la! zla-gam brgyad-la gzugs-par bya! 'bru-sna
gser-skyems phud dang ci-mang-bsags! zla-gam rnams dgu-po la!
ri-dag la snying-po ni! tri ma-ra-ya-ja-ja* zhes byas lai
"Etablir une aire consacrée rouge, laissez-la comme le cercle
pur du centre; Offrir des flèches rouges (ayant) des plumes de
vautour (et) attacher à toutes les flèches des soieries
rouges. Placer celles-ci sur des cercles rouge et décorer(-
les) de touffes de hérisson (zer-mo'i phod) .Aussi pour les
huit shan-pa de l'entourage, enduire de sang de chèvre huit
morceaux de pâte bshos-bu triangulaires, pour les huit plumes
de vautour, décorer-les comme auparavant de soieries. Faire la
forme de huit cercles (signifie: planter une plume dans chaque
cercle comme avant pour le cercle central). Accumuler beaucoup

de nourriture sauvage, offrandes liquides, et graines. Pour

les neuf cercles, au coeur de ces "montagnes" (=les monticules
de pâte avec la flèche plantée comme cime) faire le mantra
tri .... " Le sens précis de Ijibs (> lcibs- couverture ou
enveloppe de protection) n'apparaît pas ici, l'idée est que
l'exécutant recouvre le sol de rouge pour le protéger, le
consacrer. Nous devons confirmation de cette interprétation à
S. Karmay. Ensuite, il utilise cette 'aire' rouge pour y
dresser le cercle pur du centre. Pour la phrase dbus-kyi zla-
gam dag-la,le sens de dag ici serait celui de dag-pa pur, et
non pas dag pluriel, car il n'y a qu'un cercle au centre.
L'interprétation zer-mo'i phod, touffes de hérisson, n'est pas
sûre. D'après .Dag yig gsar-bsgrigs: zer-mo= rgang, le
hérisson, et phod -phod-ka, = zhva gcig gi ming, zhva'i mtha'
nas 'phyangs-pa'i tshar-lo'i ming, nom d'une sorte de chapeau,
et nom de ce qui s'étend au-delà des bords du chapeau.

53.Ibid, p. 38: ra dmar byi-ru kha-gcig brten-du 'dzugs-par

bya! de las rta-mgrin dbang-gi yi-dam gang byed kyi 'phrin-las
gzhung bzhin rdzogs-byas-la! de rdzogs srog-bdag dmar-po 'di
nyid kyis! 'phrin-las dag-la 'jugs-byas-te/ (brten-du 'dzugs=
littéralement, planter comme support, ici rendu "établir comme
support"). Rappelons que l'association de Srog-bdag dmar-po
comme assistant de Hayagriva est encore en vigueur de nos
jours d'après la définition du Tshig-mdzod chen-mo (cf. supra,
chapitre II).

54. Traduction résumée d'après Ibid, p. 39: kyai phyogs-phyogs

ci-gcig pha-gi-na! nyi-ma byang-shar 'tshams shed na! yam-shud
dmar-po de na bzhugs! gzhal-yas sku-mkhar dmar-po ni! 'gri-
bzhi lcags-la zur-dgu 'chong! log dgu bse la kha-bad g.yu!
sgo-mo zangs-la ra-them lcags! bse-mkhar dmar-po gnam-du Idem-
se-Idem! zangs-sgo dmar-po thibs-se-thibs! lcags kyi dre-them
khro-lo-lo! byi-ru dmar-po'i rten dmar rtsal! bse'i 'od dmar
lam-se-lam! bse-yi klog stong khyugs-se khyug! bse-yi 'brug
stong Idi-ri-ri! de 'dra'i sku-mkhar nang shed-na! srog-bdag
dmar-po de-na bzhugs! brag-btsan dmar-po de-na zhugs! mi
phyugs pho-mo thams-cad srog! skyes mchog khyod kyi lag na

55. Traduction résumée d'après Ibid, p. 40: Khyed la mchod-pa

'bul-ba ni! mthun-pa'i rdzas dang longs-spyod sna-tshogs
dang!sha khrag gtor-ma phud dang bcas pa 'di! sngags dang
phyag-rgyas byin gyis brlabs! zad-med zas dang 'phongs-med
nor! srid-pa'i bkor-cha (recte:dkor-cha) sna tshogs rgyan!
bdag-cag dad-pas 'bul lags (?) kyi! thugs-dam dbang gi bzhes
su gsol/

56.Ibid, p. 41: skyes-bu khyod kyi pha dang yab smos-pa! pha
ni yab-bzang skyes to-te! skyes-bu'i ma dang yul (sic:yum)
smos-pa! ma ni srid-pa'i rgyal-mo bya! pha-yis zas nor skal
phog-pa! bse-khrab dmar-po dang 'thab-ber dmar-po sku-la gsol!
byi-ru dmar-po'i rked chings-can! bse-rmog dmar-po mgo-la
gsol! leb-rgan dmar-po ze'u can! bse'i Iham chung rkang la
gyon! ra-rgan dmar-po'i Iham sgrogs-can! bse'i mda'-gzhu lag
na gtang! bse yi lag-khrab changs-se-changs! bse-phub dmar-po

rgyab la bskon! bse-yi dem-dom nyi-li-li! bse mdung dmar-po

lag-tu bskur! ba-dan dmar-po lams-se-lams!

" Ô Homme, ton père (pha-dang-yab) est appelé ainsi: Yab-

bzang-skyes-to-te; la mère (ma-dang yum) de toi Homme est
appelée ainsi: ta mère, elle s'appelle Srid-pa'i rgyal-mo. Ton
père qui a obtenu en partage nourriture et richesse porte sur
le corps une cuirasse de cuir (bse) rouge et une cape
militaire rouge; sa taille est ceinte d'une ceinture de corail
rouge, sur la tête il porte un casque de cuir (bse) rouge muni
d'une touffe de soie rouge, il porte aux pieds des bottines de
cuir avec des jarretières de bouc rouge; il tient l'arc et la
flèche de bse dans ses mains, qui sont protégées par des gants
de cuir. Il porte dans le dos un bouclier de cuir/il y a bse
yi dem-dom nyi-li-li (incompréhensible). A la main il a une
lance de cuir ornée de bannières rouges .. ".

57 ., pp. 42, et 42.5: 'khor dang bu-smad thams-cad lai "à
tout l'entourage y compris une fille".

58 ., p. 43: bla ri rtse nas bsnyil/bla mkhar rmang-nas

pbQb/la la bla shing rtsa nas phyung/bla rdo dum bur chog/ ~
mtsho gting nas skoms/bla-tshe lus dang phrol/ la traduction
de bla-tshe lus dang phrol est approximative; le corps= ~
bla-tshe a le sens ~=durée de vie biologique, bla-tshe
"l'âme" qui gouverne cette durée de vie, d'où l'expression,
"âme vitale".

59 ., p. 43: dgra-bo'i srog-rtsa chod! rten du btsugs-pa'i

ra dmar 'di!rtags phyin-pa dang bsgral la mchod-par 'bul-lo!
pags-pa gsol-tu brkyangs-la kho'i rten du gzugs-so/ "Coupez
l'artère vitale de l'ennemi. (Quant à) cette chèvre rouge
établie comme support, une fois que les signes (de
réalisation) sont venus, faites-en l'offrande en la 'libérant'
(=la tuant) et étalez la peau en offrande. Etablissez (la
peau) comme son support".

60.Traduction résumée d'après Ibid, p. 43: de la rtags-ni 'di

Itar 'byung-ba yin! zhang-blon ban-de btsun-pa dang! brtsed-po
dag (?lire brtsengs= short robe, Das, p. 1016) dang gos-dmar
gyon-pa dang 'od-dmar rta-pa dmar-po byung-ba dang chos-gos
dmar-po gyon-pa dang rtag-tu bskul-zhing rbad-par bya/

61. La liste de noms de huit assistants de Beg-tse se

retrouvera maintes fois au cours des siècles, mais les noms
des huit assistants de Srog-bdag dmar-po ici sont sujets à
variantes. A titre de comparaison dès maintenant, voici la
version que dresse Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op.cit., p. 92: le
groupe appelé les gri-thogs (ceux qui tiennent le couteau)- Mi
dmar khra ma, Ri tsi mi dmar, Kro ti mi dmar, Srog bdag ko
sha, Am kri mi dmar, Ro tri mi dmar, Ham shang ou Ha sham mi
dmar, Srog bdag thal-ba. Il cite le nom Srog bdag la li (qui
pourrait se rapprocher du nom Srog-la li pra-rna-ni du texte de
Gnubs) parmi d'autres membres de l'entourage, dans le groupe
appelé "les 21 bourreaux". (Sa liste est probablement établie

d'après un rituel qu'il cite ailleurs, écrit au XVIIIe siècle

par un lama dge-lugs-pa, Gung-thang dkon-mchog bstan-pa'i
sgron-me.) Cf. Chapitre V: rituels de Gnyan lotsava.

62.Traduction résumée d'après Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 45: ~

khyi-mi'i sog-pa gang-rung la! ming-rus ling-ga 'og-na gsal
bris byas la! 'brub-khung nang-du bcug-la yang! nyung-dkar
thal-chen snying khrag skam-po'i thun gyis brdeg! mtha' mar
gong gsum rtsa-can rnams-pa ru-gtang-par bya! bsreg dang
'phang-ba'i las kyang byas na legs-sol

63.Ibid, p. 45: Srog-bdag yam-shud dmar-po spu-gri reg-chog

ces bya bal slob-dpon padma 'byung gnas kyis mdzad-pa! srog-
bdag-dmar-po btsan gyi cog gdungs ces bya bal shan-pa dmar-po
dgu'i sgrub thabs! srog-las kyi rkyal-bu nas bsdus-pa! slob-
dpon padmas bsam-yas dbu-rtse rim-dgu'i skye-tshang-du sbas!
de nas slob-dpon sangs-rgyas ye-shes rin-po ches bton-pa'o!
sngon mkhar-pa a-lag phung-bar bya! bar-du kha-che khri-brtan
(46) phung-bar byas! tha-mar dam-nyams gang-yin pa phung-bar
byed-pa yin nol. Nous devons l'identification de Kha-che khri-
brtan comme Srinagar à Samten Karmay. La localisation de
Mkhar-pa a-lag, au nord-est, est partiellement élucidée par le
colophon du troisième texte de ce cycle, cf. infra.

64. Cf. A. Macdonald, "Notes" in: Choix de Documents Tibétains

conservés à la Bibliothèque Nationale, tome II, p. 14 (rélatif
à P.T. 1055) qui remarque que srog-dbugs se rencontre
tardivement, et diffère de l'utilisation tibétaine ancienne de
~ . Serait-ce là un indice de date tardive pour cette

65. Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 47: dbang rtags su zangs-kyi ral-kha

dang byu-ru'i mkhar-ba dang bse'i mda' gzhu lag tu bskur-te!
ming-yang srog-dbag yam-shud dmar-por btags sol

66.En outre, le nom Gud-na- Yo-la-ma-lags (p. 47,ligne 6 du

Beg-tse be'u bum) est fourni avant une courte lacune dans le
texte. Ce nom ne réapparaît pas ailleurs à notre connaissance.

67.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 88, gdams-ngag 'di pandita dha- tsan-

da la bee-ro-tsa-nas gser srang gang phul nas zhus so

68. Cinquième Dalaï Lama, op.cit., vol. l, p. 830: Gnyis-pa

bye-brag gi skor-la! gnod-sbyin dmar-po zhal-gsum phyag drug-
par brten-ba'i gsang sgrub bka' rgya-ma snying khrag thang la
pho zhig gi mtha' can! gnod-sbyin gdug-pa'i las sbyor la brten
nas dgra la khyi dmag drang-pa be-ro-tsa-nas pandita dha-tsa-
nda la gser srang gang phul nas zhus-pa! dg ra la bya-dmag
gtong-ba sa-la sba'o'i mtha' can! wa-thod las kyi rlung dmar-
la brten nas sngag-pa nag-po bsgral-pa'i gdams-pa mantra i i t ' i
mtha-can rnams!

69. Toute recherche pour identifier ce maître est demeurée

infructueuse. Il serait, d'après son nom, probablement
d'origine indienne ou kaçmirienne, mais nous ne pouvons rien
affirmer. Cf. J. Naudou, Les Bouddhiste kaçmiriens au Moyen

Age, Paris, 1976, où sont mentionnés plusieurs maîtres avec

des noms proches.

70. R. A. Stein, Sba-bzhad, et G. Tucci, Minor Buddhist Texts,

p. 324, cités d'après Dowman, op.cit, p. 348 (note Il).

71. Cf. BA: pp. 167-172; Dowman, op.cit, pp. 279-281; Dargyay,
op.cit., p. 44 passim.

72.D'après le dessin relatif à ce rite, les neuf membres sont

les pieds (1), les genoux (2,3), le sexe (4), les coudes (5,6)
les épaules (7,8) et la tête (9) du linga.

73.Beg-tse be'u bum, p. 90: Wa-thod las kyi rlung-dmar gyi

sngags-pa nag-po gsad-pa'i mantra! ithij

74. Sous le titre Sde-brgyad gser-skyems, ce rituel est édité

indépendamment, en huit pages, (sans lieu de publication,
publié en 1970, et repris par la Library of Congress sous le
numéro d'inventaire: 72-902832). Sous ce même titre Sde-brgyad
gser-skyems, ce rituel se trouve avec des louanges pour
Padmasambhava dans un exemplaire manuscrit, en provenance de
Solu Kumbu, dans la collection Weiler (Beinecke Rare Book and
Manuscript Library). Nebesky-Wojkowitz, op.cit., pp. 254-266,
cite un manuscrit bon-po, Khod spungs dran-pa che'i rdzongs
chen gyi sgrub pa lags-so, qui, fol.1b-7b, fait état des mêmes
catégories et des noms de divinités identiques.

75.Sous le titre Sde brgyad cha snyoms, in: Gnas-chung chos-

spyod, pp. 151-154.

76. Kg. Rnying-rgyud, 843 (P. 467) d'après Y. Imaeda,

Catalogue de Jang Sa them, Tokyo, 1982; Cf. les analyses de
Stein, Annu