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Roger Jackson
Dept. of Religion
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
Peter N. Gregory
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Alexander W Macdonald
Universitrf de Paris X
Nanterre, France
Steven Collins
Concordia University
Montreal, Canada
Volume 13 1990
Ernst Steinkellner
University of Vienna
Wi en, Austria
Jikido Takasaki
University of Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan
Robert Thurman
Columbia University
New York, New York, USA
Number I
This Journal is the organ of the International Association of Buddhist Studi ..
Inc. It is governed by the objectives of the Association and accepts scholarly es,
tributions pertaIning to Buddhist Studies in all the various disciplines
philosophy, history, religion, sociology, anthropology, art; archaeology,
ogy, textual studies, etc. The JIABS is published twice yearly in the summer and
wInter. .
Manuscripts for publication (we must have two copies) and correspondence
cerning articles should be submitted to the JIABS editorial office at the address
given below. Please refer to the guidelines for contributors to theJIABS printed
on the inside back cover of every issue. Books for review should also be sent to tlie
address below. The Editors cannot guarantee to publish reviews of unsolicited',
books nor to return those books to the senders.
The Association and the Editors assume no responsibility for the views expressed
by the authors in the Association's Journal and other related publications.
Editor's Address
Roger Jackson
c/o Dept. of Religion
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
Andre Bareau (France)
Joseph M. Kitagawa (USA)
M.N. Deshpande (India) Jacques May (Switzerland)
R. Card (USA) Hajime Nakamura (Japan)
B. C. Cokhale (USA) John Rosenfield (USA)
John C. Huntington (USA) David Snellgrove (UK)
P.S. Jaini (USA) E. Zurcher (Netherlands)
Both the Editor and Association would like to thank Carleton C o l l e g ~
for its financial support in the production of the Journal.
Copyright The International Association of Buddhist Studies 1989
ISSN: 0l93-600X
Indexed in Religion Index One: Periodicals, American Theological Library
Association, Chicago, available online through BRS (Bibliographic
Retrieval Services), Latham, New York, and DIALOG Information
Services, Palo Alto, California.
Composition by Ann Flanagan Typography, Berkeley, CA 94710.
Printing by Thomson-Shore, Inc., Dexter, MI 48130.
1. Tibetan Materials in the Asia Rare Book Collection of
the Library of Congress by John B. Buescher 1
2. The Religious Standing of Burmese Buddhist Nuns
" (thila-shin) : The Ten Precepts and Religious
Respect Words by Hiroko Kawanami 17
3. A Possible Citation of Can drago min's Lost
. * Kayatrayavatara by Peter Skilling 41
4. Meditation and Cosmology: The Physical Basis of
the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions
According to dGe-lugs Tibetan Presentations
by Leah Zahler 53
iiI. "Buddhist Soteriology: The Marga and Other
Approaches to Liberation": A Conference Report
by Robert E. Buswell) Jr. and Robert M. Gimello 79
Mahamudra: The Quintessence if Mind and Meditation,
by Tashi Namgyal [tr. Lobsang LhalungpaJ
(Matthew Kapstein) 101
2. Les Tamang du Nepal: Usages et religion) religion de l)usage,
by Brigitte Steinmann
(David Holmberg) 114
I. Notice of Studies in Central and East Asian Religions
(Per Kvaerne) 117
Tibetan Materials in the Asia Rare Book
:collection of the Library of Congress
by John B. Buescher
The United States Library of Congress houses an immense col-
lection of Tibetan books. Most of these are editions published
or acquired in India and the Himalayan states as a result of the
Public Law 480 program. Most of the other Tibetan books in
modern editions were published in China or the West. All of
these materials have been catalogued and are kept in the
Library's main collection. The China Section of the Library's
Asian Division, however, also maintains a "rare book collec-
tion" which includes some other Tibetan materials, mostly
'Tibetan hand blocked books and a few artifacts acquired by the
Library prior to the establishment of the PL 480 program. A
note at the Library lists the artifacts in the following way:
"Bonpo Charms. These charms are used by priests with Tibetan
manuscript books. Obtained by Dr. J,F. Rock in Yunnan in
"Tibetan Prayer-Wheel with Manuscript Inside. Gift John
Davis Batchelder, 1936."
}\lso within the "rare book collection" is a catalog of the collec-
tion of Tibetan books in Leiden's Rijkmuseum voor Volken-
kunde and a partial index of Tibetan materials in the Beinecke
Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University.
As for the Tibetan books in the collection, much of the bulk
of these consists of four editions of the Tripitaka: one copy of
the Peking Edition published by the Suzuki Research Founda-
tion, and three other editions, all handblocked.
. The rest of the collection consists of a variety of old hand-
blocked books. Efforts at cataloging these materials have been
2 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
erratic, reflected in the ad hoc classification system presentl
in use. The collection is divided into the following sections: y
Miscellaneous unclassified texts
The first section (items 1-62) consists of books partially
described by William W. Rockhill in a handwritten booklet of
notes (kept with the collection), "Catalogue of the Tibetan
books in the Library of Congress," dated November 28, 1902.
Rockhill's notes include a small amount of bibliographic infor-
mation on the books, which, however, is often incorrect. Those
sections of the collection in the groups, "T1-T106, AA-Pp,
aa-zz, A-Z, a-z," were labelled as such by Walter Maurer in
his handwritten, sparsely annotated and sometimes inaccurate
"List of Tibetan Materials with Identification Numbers," also
kept with the collection.
The handlist that follows, therefore, is the only complete
one that exists for this collection. Still, the list merely records
the information on each text's "title page," even if this is liter-
ally the heading for a text's table of contents, e.g., entry 1, or, if
this is actually the first entry of a larger collection, e.g., the
mantra in entry D. If there is no separate "title page," this hand-
list records the title of the book when it is recorded at the begin-
ning or end of the work. In this list entries have been left blank:
l) when the title page of the work is missing or illegible, and
the title is not repeated in full or abbreviated form in the body
of the text or in the book's colophon at the end; 2) when there
is neither a text on the shelf nor a corresponding entry in Rock-
hill's or Maurer's lists in an otherwise strictly-ordered classifi-
cation series; or 3) when the entry consists of single leaves of
various unidentified works collected in a single slipcover. In
addition, some entries here are two or more complete works
printed together and assembled under the same cover. In these
cases, only the title or the title page of the first work is repro-
duced here.
The list uses the Library of Congress transliteration
cheme for Tibetan. Retained here are unusual spellings or
in the original, e.g., btson kha pa (instead of tson
kha pa) inentry T95.
Quite plainly, the bare handlist that follows represents
only a first pass through the collection and lacks the col-
ophonal material and descriptions of the works that would
make it a real catalog. This list, however, can serve as a pre-
liminary sketch of the Library's collection and will help those
who wish to see the books.
I thank the staff of the China Section of the Library's
Asia Division, especially Mr. Robert Dunn, for their kind
assistance and for allowing me extended access into the
Library'S collection.
lao chos skyon ba'i rgyal po sron btsan sgam po'i bka' 'bum las
bla rna brgyud pa'i gsol 'debs 10 rgyus dkar chag
1 b. rna J!.i bka' 'bum glegs bam dan po thugs rje chen po sans
rgyas ston rtsa'i 10 rgyus chen rna
lc. chos skyon ba'i rgyal po sron btsan sgam po'i bka'i 'bum las
smad kyi cha ial gdams kyi bskor
2. rna J!.i bka' 'bum
3. gnas brtan chen po bcu drug gi mchod pa rgyal bstan 'dzad
med norbu
4. rmi lam gyi don legs par bsad pa'i sel dkar me Ion
5. nag yig chud du gdul bya'i sfiin mun sel byed fii rna stod gi
'od zer
6. min gi rgya mtsho'i rgyab gnon nag yig chen po skad kyi
rgya mtsho 'am skad rigs gsal byed fii rna chen po
7. min gi rgya mtsho 'am tshig gi rgya mtsho
8. mfiam med tson kha pa chen pos mdzad pa'i byan chub lam
rim chen po
9. mal 'byor gyi dban phyug dam pa rje btsun mi la ras pa'i
mam thar thar pa dan thams cad mkhyen pa'i lam ston
10. rje btsun mi Ia ras pa'i mam thar rgyas par phye ba mgur
II. gso ba rik pa'i bstan bcos sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud
bii'i gsaI byed bai dii rya snon po'i phren ba las dum bu
gsum pa man nag yon tan rgyud kyi mam bsad
12. bdud rtsi sfiin poyan lag brgyad pa gsan ba man nag gi
rgyud las dum bu gfiis pa bsad pa'i rgyud
bla rna mehod pa'i eho ga bka' drin gsol 'debs phyag chen
gsol 'debs rnams
beom Idan 'das kun rig gi bsgrub thabs dkyil 'khor gyi ch
. 'd 0
ga nag on
'dul ha'i mdo
'phags pa snan brgyad
'phags pa bzan po spyod pa'i smon lam gyi rgyal po
bsags pa smon lam rnams
dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i bsgrub thabs
klu 'bum dkar po
klu gdol pa'i rigs nag po 'dzin pa lak med
gso ba rig pa'i bstan beos sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud bii
gsal byed bai du rya snon po'i rna Hi ka
bai durya snon po'i 'phren ba las dum bu bii pa rna rgyud
~ ~ ~ h l ~ .
bai du rya snon po'i 'phren ba las dum bu gnis pa bsad pa'i
rgyud kyi ~ a m bsad .
dge ldan khri rin po ehe ache thu no min han gyi rnam thar
mkha' spyod 'grub pa'i gtam snan lha'i rna bo ehe
thugs rje chen po beu geig ial dpal mo lugs kyi dban gi bla
rna brgud ba'i gsol 'debs
brjod thog yan ti'i za rna tog
tsan danjo bo'i 10 rgyus skor tsher phan yon mdor bsdus rin
po ehe'i phren ba
slob dpon chen po padma 'byun gnas kyis gsun ba'i gso!
'debs le'u bdun
thos grol bde legs kun ster
ja mehod bkra sis char 'bebs rna
'phags pa kha mehu nag po ii bar byed pa'i mdo
'phags pa thugs rje chen po ial beu geig pa dbal mo lugskyi
sgrub thabs smyun bar gnas pa'i eho ga dan beas pa pharr
bde'i snan ba gsar dnom .
myur mdzad ye ses kyi mgon po phyag drug ba'i gtor
ga bskan gso eha gso lag mna' gsol
bka' drin dan rje 'dzin gsol 'debs don gnis lhun grub .
bstan bsrun rgyal po chen po bkwan 10 yi'i gsoI mehod 'dog>
don kun snol .
sans rgyas su grub par ~ a m par bkod pa ies bya ba t h e ~
pa chen po'i mao
o yen pad mas mdzad pa'i bka' than bsdus pa
ri bo dwans bsil gyi kar chan mjug rna tshad ba ywod
39. rna ni ril bsgrub kyi cho ga 'khyer bde
40. dpal rdo rje 'jigs byed l h ~ bcu gsum ma'i sgrub pa'i thabs
rin po che'i za rna tog
41. rtsi sfiin po yan lag brgyad pa gsan pa man nag gi
rgyud las bsad pa'i rgyud
42. rgyal po chen po rnam thos sras la mchod gtor 'bul ba'i rim
pa dnos grub kyi ban mdzod
43. 'dod khams dban phyug rna 'khor rgyal mo'i sgrub thabs
gtor cho ga
44. dam can chos gyi rgyal po'i gtor chog bskan gso bstod bskal
mna' gsol bcas
45. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po pa'i sa chog sta gon 'dod pa
'jo ba'i nag 'don 'khrig changs su bkod pa
46. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po pa'i spyin sren gi cho ga'i nag
'don khrin chags su bkod pa 'dod pa 'jo ba'i bum bzan
47. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po zabs lugs kyi sgrub thabs 'dod
pa 'jo ba'i nag 'don 'khrin chags su bkod pa
48. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po zabs lugs kyi bum bskyed
mdun bskyed sgrub cin mchod pa 'dod pa 'jo ba'i nag 'don
'khrigs chags su bkod pa
49. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po zabs lugs kyi bla brgyud nag
'don 'khrin chags su bkod pa
50. dpal 'khor 10 sdom pa nag po zabs lugs kyi dban chog smon
lam sis brjod bcas 'dod pa 'jo ba'i nag 'don khrigs chags su
bkod pa
52. thod pa bzan nan brtags thabs dan ka pa la bzan po mchod
nas dnos grub len tshul 'dod dgu'i 'byun gnas
53. rje btsun rna rna ku ru ku lle'i sgrub thabs u tpa la gsar ba'i
mali kka
54. dbal rdo rje 'jigs byed kyis zi ba dan rgyas pa'i spyin bsrags
kyi cho ga lag len 'don gyi rim pa mdor sdus pa mams
56. tshe lha mam gsum gyi sgrub thabs mdor bsdus 'chi bdag
sde 'joms
57. 'dzed hor phyogs kyi gzi bdag mams kyi bsan mchod
58. Iho slob tshe ... 'dod
59. rtsa rgyud
60. sgroI rna dkar mo'i bstod pa
61. snags gzuns
62. dpalldan sman brgyud grwa tshan gi dbyans yig rin chen
phren ba mkha' pa'i lin
T1. byan chub sems dpa'i sbyod pa la 'jug pa
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa rdo rje gcod pa z .
bya ba chen po'i mdo . es
bcom Idan 'das nan son thams -cad yons su sbyod pa g .
brjid kyi rgyal bo'i bdag bskyad sin tu rgyas pa 21
dbu rna la 'jug pa'i rtsa 'grel rig pa'i gru gzins
dpal khrag 'thun gi rgyal bo 'khor 10 snom par brjod pa rnal
'byor rna bla na med pa rgyu thams cad kyi bla rna bde
mchog bsdus pa
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i man nag gi bstan beos
mnon par rtogs pa'i rgyan
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sden grag brgya ba
mfiam med tson kha pa chen pos mdzad pa'l by an chub lam
rim chen mo
'dus pa chen po rin po che tog gi gzuns ses bya ba theg pa
chen po'i mdo .
ri bo dwans bsil gyi 'jam dbal mtshan Idan glin gi rntshar
sdug sku brfian gyi 10 rgyu bskor tshad dan bcas pa dan
Idan skye bo'i sbro bskyea me tog 'phren mdzes
'phags pa tshigs su bead pa
'phags pa bskal pa bzan po
'phags pa bskal pa bzan po
dga' Idan bkra sis chos 'phel glin gi chos spyod rab gsal
'jam mgon rgyal ba gfiis pa la bstan pa'i sfiin po gsal bar
mdzad pa'i tshullas brtsams te bstod pa don dan Idan pa'i
rgya cher 'grel ba bstan pa'i di fiid snan ba
bder gsegs bdun gyi mchod pa'i chog sgrigs yid Min dban
dbus 'gyur chos sde che chun rnams su gsun ba btshos su
'od kyi rim bkal 'bab rna yin rgyan
bslab pa yons su sbyad pa'i gzi gsum gyi cho ga la sogs pa
so sor thar ba'i blan dor gyi gnas rnams mdor bsdus pa
dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i bla rgyud gsol 'debs byin rlabs chan
'bebs .
dran ba nes pa'i don rnam par phye ba'i bstan beos legs
bsad sfiin po
bstan beos chen po dbu rna Ia 'jug pa'i mtha' dpyod lun rigs
sgron me zes bya ba kun mkhyen bla rna 'jam dbyans bzad
pa'i rdo rje'i gsun rgyun
byin brlabs dnos grub bkra sis char 'bebs ba'i bstan 'gros
phan bde'i dga' tshal rgyas ba'i phyir no mtshar 'dzam glins
sted dkon pa'i mchog gzun mdo brgya dan drug bcu rtsa ..
bdun bsugs sho
T2S. byan chub sems dba'i spyod pa la 'jug pa
. T35.
ri bo dge rgyas dga' ldan bsad sgrub glin gi chos spyod rab
gsal dges bsdus
bder gsegs bdun gyi mchod ba'i chog sgrigs yid Min dban
bka' drin dan rjes 'dzin gsol 'debs don gfiis lhun grub
ston chen mo rab tu 'noms pa ies bya ba'i mdo
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa yon tanrin po che
sdud pa
dag yig mkhas pa'i 'byun gnas ies bya ba las phar phyin gyi
dballdan sa gsum 'grol ba'i mig gcig bu
rgyud thams cad kyl rgyal po dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i bskyed
rim gyi rnam Mag rdo rje 'chan dban bla ma'i sun rgyun
'dir rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal bo dbal gsan ba 'dus pa'i
rdzegs rim rim Ina gsal pa'i sgron me mkhas pa'i yid 'phrog
rdo rje 'chan dban nam mkha' grags pa'i gsun rgyun
rnam 'dren bskal bzan sans rgyas ston gi mchod chog phan
bde'i dnos grub stsol ba'i 'dod 'jo'i bum bzan
rdo rje sems dba'i bsgom bzlas bya chu la sdig sgrib fies ltun
gtshig du bsel bar byed pa'i zla ba'i 'od zer
rje tsun 'jam dbyans Mad pa'i phar phyin gyi mchan 'grel
Mad pa'i dgons rgyan las skabs dan po'i mchan
dge sIon gi khrims fiis brgya Ina bcu rtsa gsum gyi blan dor
phyin cim log par fiams su len tshul gyi bslab bya gnam rtse
lded mar grags pa
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i man nag gi bstan bcos
mnon par rtogs pa'i rgyan gyi 'grel pa yum don gsal ba
rgyas pa'i bstan bcos tshad rna rnam 'grel gyi don 'grel
rgyaI tshab nes pa rab gsal ies bya ba le'u dan po'i dka' ba'i
gnad la dogs pa gcod pa 'di ni rje btsun chos kyi rgyal
mtshan dpal bzan po'i gsun rgyun lags
bcom ldan 'das dpal 'khor 10 bde mchog 10 i ba'i lugs kyi
dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga bde chen rol mtsho ies bya ba mkhas
grub dge legs dpal bzan pos mdzad pa
dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga bga' don gyi
rim par bsgrigs pa
byan chub sems dpa'i tshul khrims kyi rnam bsad byan
chub giun lam
gso ba rig pa'i bstan bcos sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud
bii'i gsal byed bai dii ra snon po'i rna lli ka
ri po dag gyas dgan ldan Mad thab blin gi chos thon dbans
bnad pa bsdus

]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
'phags pa gser 'od dam pa mdo sde'i dban po'i. rgyal po '
b h
,. d Zes
ya ba theg pa c en po 1 mo
rje btsun bla rna nag dban chos kyi grags pa'i gsun 'burn 1. .
h h
. b . as
fier mkho sna ts ogs p yogs gClg tu sgngs pa
gsol 'debs thugs rje myur 'jug
dpal rdo rje'i 'jigs byed kyi sgrub thabs zam tog nag 'do
bya tshul go bde bar bsgrigs pa 'jam dbal dgons rgyan n
dpal rdo rje 'jigs byed chen po lha bcu gsum pa'i dkyil 'kho
sgrub mchod bdag 'dug dan bcas pa r
yid dan kun gzi'idka' gnas mam par bsad pa mkhas pa'i
'jug nogs .
'dul ba sde bzi'i don gsal bar byed pa'i legs bsad nor bu'i
'phren mdzed skal bzan mgrin rgyan las zu ba spyir bstan
rtags rigs kyi mam Mag fiun gsal legs bsad gser gyi phren
mfiam med tson kha pa chen pos mdzad pa'i byan chub lam
rim chen mo
'jam dbyans dkar po'i sgrub thabs ses rab gsal byed
dga' ldan bkra sis chos 'phel glin gi chos spyod rab gsal
bde ba can smon lam
bde ba can du skye ba'i smon lam zin mchog sgo 'byed kyi
'don bsgrigs mam dag zin du bgrod pa'i bde lam
rje btsun mi pham mgon bgrol ston mchod sogs phul te
bsag sbyan bya tshul gyi chog sgrigs byams mgon dgyes pa'i
mchod sprin
bla rna dan 'jam dbyans zun 'breI gyi bla ma'i mal 'byor
byin rlabs myur 'jug
don bdun bcu'i rnam bzag
dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i rtsa rgyud
bcom ldan 'das kun rig gi bsgrubs thabs dkyil 'khor gyi cho
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdus pa chags su
bead pa
dge slon gi phyir bcos byed tshul
byan chub lam gyi rim pa'i dmar khrid thams cad mkhen
par bgrod pa'i bde lam
rgyud thams cad kyi rgyal po dpaI gsan ba 'dus pa'i rgyud
rgyud phyi rna dan bcas pa
mi rgon rnam par 'dzoms pa
byan chub lam gyi rim pa
rgyal ba khyab bdag rdo rje 'chad chen po'i lam gyi rim pa
gsan ba kun gyi gnad rnam par phye ba
byan chub lam gyi rim pa'i 'khrid yig 'jam ba'i dbyans kyi
byan chub lam gyi rim pa la blo sbyon bal thog mar blo
sbyon bchos kyi sgo 'byed
by an chub lam gyi rim pa'i dmar khrid thams cad mkhyen
par bgrod pa'i bde lam
skyes bu gsum gyi fiams su blan ba'i byan chub lam gyi rim
lam rim gyi khrid kyi zin bris
gzuns mdo brgya dan drug cu rtsa bdun gyi bo ti gfiis byas
pa'i gfiis pa'o
'phags pa 'dus pa chen po rin po che tog gi gzuns ses bya ba
theg pa chen po'i mdo
'phags pa 'jam dpal gyi don dam pa'i mtshan yan dag par
brjod pa
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa ston phrag fii su Ina ba las
dum bu dan po
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad ston pa
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad ston pa
rnal 'byor gyi dban phyug dam pa rje btsun mi la ras pa'i
mam thar thar pa dan thams cad mkhyen pa'i lam ston
mi dge ba bcu'i nes 'dzin 'phros dan bcas pa
ljun bsags
bsam gzugs chen mo las mdor bsdus te bkod pa bsam gzugs
kyi rnam Mag legs bsad bam bzan zes bya ba Mugs pa dge
legs 'phel
'phags pa 'jam dpal gyi mtshan yan dag par brjod pa
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i man nag gi bstan bcos
mnon par rtogs pa'i brgyan gyi 'grel ba don gsal ba'i rnam
bsad sfiin po'i brgyan
ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa'i man nag gi bstan bcos
mnon par rtogs pa'i rgyan ces bya ba'i 'grel pa
rten 'brel gyi rnam bsad rin po che'i phren ba zes bya ba
mkhas mchog chos 'byun gnas kyi gsun rgyun
byan chub sems dpa'i bslab bya mdor bsdus pa gzan phan
bdud rtsi'i 'od phren
bder gsegs bdun gyi mchod pa'i chog sgrigs yid Min dban
10 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
T94. beom Idan 'das dpal rdo rje 'jigs byed ehen po dpa' bo gci
pa bdud thams ead las rnam par rgyal ba'i dkyil 'kho
' ~
eho ga'i nag 'don gyi rim pa bdud dbun phye mar 'thag p ~ ~
. al
'khrul 'khor
T95. rgyal ba kun gyi mkhyen brtse nus gsum gyi bdag fiid r
btsun btson kha pa ehen po la dmigs brtse ma'i gsol ' d e ~ e
dan 'brel ba'i bla ma'i rnal 'byor dga' ldan Iha brgya m a ' ~
'khrid yig dnnos grub kun 'byun 1
T96. mdo sems thun mon ba'i bsdus gra'i rnam biag legs pa gcig
T97. bstan beos dbu ma la 'jug pa'i rnam bsad dgons pa rab gsal
gyi dka' gnas gsal bar byed pa'i spyi don legs bsad skal bzan
mgul rgyan
T98. geug tor rnam par rgyal ma'i sgrub thabs ston mehod rjes
nan gi eho ga dan beas pa bdud rtsi'i ehu rgyun .
T99. bsam gzugs kyi rnam biag sems kyi bdud rtsi
T100. ye ses kyi mkha' 'gro ma sen ge gdod pa ean gyi mdon rtogs
TlO1. slob dpon ehen po padma 'byun gnas by as gsuns pa'i gsol
'debs le'u bdun pa .
T102. ston ehen mo rab tu 'jams pa ies bya ba'i mdo
T103. rtsis kyi man nag fiin mar byed pa'i snan ba
T104. thig Ie beu drug gi eho ga la pha ehos nas kha 'gens dgos
pa'i nor bu'i phren ba ran rgyud bskul 'debs ma bu bsilO
smon sis brjod
T105. bstan beos mnor rtogs rgyan gyi skabs bii pa'i spyi don legs
bsad rnam 'pyod lun gi ban mdzad bio gsal yid 'phrog
AA. beom Idan 'das kun rig gi ehog rgyud don gsal ba'i sfiin po
bsdus pa yid biin gyi nor bu
BB. gso ba rig ba'i bstan beos sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud
bii'i gsal byed bai du ra snon po'i mallika
CC. beam Idan 'das rdo rje 'jigs byed Ita beu gsum ma'i bsgrub
thabs nag grigs ma biug sho . .
DD. sa gsum mnon dge rdo rje sgra dbyans glin gi ial 'don dbal
rdo rje 'jigs byed ehen po'i eho ga'i rim pa bia brgyud gsol
'debs bdag bskyed bum pa db an dan beas pa
EE. reis giun yan gsal sgron me
GG. 'phags pa gser 'od dam pa mdo sde'i dban po rgyal bo zes<
bya ba theg pa ehen po'i mdo
HH. bdud rtsi sfiin po yan lag brgyad ba gsan ba man nag gi
rgyud ees bya ba
II. 'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa sdus pa tshigs su
bead pa
JJ. tshe dpag med kyi dkyil 'khor bZugsho
KK. bstan bcos chen po bai dur dkar por blo rmons 'jug pa bde
ba'i phyir dkar chags thor bur bkod pa
LL. phug lugs rcis kyi legs bsed mkhas pa'i mgul rgyan bai dur
dkar po'i do sal dpyod ldan siiin nor
MM. grub pa'i mtha' rnam par bZag pa'i thub bstan Ihun po'i
, mdzes brgyan zes bya ba bzugs so
NN. sman min bod dan rgya'i skad san spyar ba
00. gon ma chen po'i zabs brtan gsol 'debs
PP. rnal 'byor gyi dban phyug dam pa rje btsun mi la ras pa'i
rnam thar ba dan thams cad mkhyen pa'i lam ston
aa. ces sprul sku bsod nams ye ses dban pos mdzad pa'i bsan
rnam dag ma la gser skyems kyi 'don cha sogs 'ga' zig dpon
slob lean skya rin po che'i gsun ltar gian
bb. bcom ldan 'das kun rig rnam par snan mdzad kyi sgo nas
gsi po rj es 'dzin lho
cc. bcom ldan nan son thams cad yons su sbyon ba gzi brjid
rgyal po'i mdun bskyed kyi nag 'don
dd. gso ba rig ba'i bstan bcas sman bla'i dgons brgyan rgyud
bzi'i gsal byed bi dur snon po'i 'phren ba las dum bu bzi ba
phyi ma rgyud gyi rnam bsad
ee. dbus 'gyur chos sde che chun rnams su gsun ba'i chos sbyod
kyi rim pa skal bzan mgrin rgyan
if. gso rig bstan bcas mthar nag gi siiin po rnams phyogs gcig
tu bsdus pa man nag rin chen 'byun gnas
gg. khams gsum chos gyi rgyal po tson kha pa chen pos mdzad
pa'i byan chub lam gyi rim pa chen mo
hh. ye ses kyi mgon po phyag drug pa'i mdon rdogs bskad
bsdod rnams
11. ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa ston phrag brgya ba dum bu
bju gjig pa bam po iiis brgya bcwa Ina ba
lJ. 'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol phyin pa brgyad ston pa
kk. rab tu gnas pa'i cho ga lag len du dri ba dge legs rgya
mtsho'i char 'bebs
11. beam ldan 'das kun rig rnam par snan mdzad kyi gtar rag
smon lam sis brjod
mm. 'phags pa 'jam dpal gyi mtshan yan dag par brjod pa
00. rnam rgyal ma yi sgrub thabs nam mkha'i nor bu
pp. gso ba rig pa'i bstan bcos sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud
bZi'i gsal byed bai du rya snon po'i phren ba las dum bu
gsum pa man nag yon tan rgyudkyi rnam bsad
gu ru padma 'bymi. gnas kyi skyes rabs rnam par tharpa'
b b
ya a
bde bar gsegs pa'i bstan pa'i gs?-l byed ehos kyi 'byuit gn
. b' h ,. d as
gsun ra nn po eel meo
bdud rtsi sfiin po yan lag brgyad ba gsan ba man itag .
rgyud las dum bu dan po rtsa ba'i rgyud gl
sman bla'i mdo eho ga mehod phren dan beas pa ,
bder gsegs bdun gyi mehod pa'i ehog sgrigs yid Min dban
~ ~ .
ehos kyi rgyal po nor bu bzan po'i mam thar phyogs bSgrigs
byas pa thos ehun yid kyi dpa' ston zes bya ba
ehos rjes sbya paI).c;li ta'i bka' 'bum las legs bsad rin chen gter'
rje btsun mi la ras pa'i rnam thar rgyas bar phye ba rngur
'bum "
rdzogs pa chen po klon chen sfiin thig gi snon 'gro'i khrid
yig kun bzan bla ma'i zallun
beom ldan 'das rdo rje 'jigs byed lha beu gsum ma'i bsgrub
thabs dag grigs rna
min gi rgya mtsho'i rgyab gnon dag yig chen po skad kyi rgya
mtsho 'am skad rigs gsal byed i rna chen po'
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad ston pa
klog thabs dnos grub kun 'byun .
dkar ehag dgos 'dod kun 'byun
orp. a}; hurp. orp. dzam bha la dza Ian dra ye swa ha
orp. intra ni mu kharp. bhra rna hri swa ha
orp. padma kro ta arya dzarp. bha la hri da ye hurp. phat
orp. dzam bha la dza lentra dha na me dhi hrih swa ha
orp. ba sundha ri swa ha
orp. ye dha rarp. swa he tu pra bha wa he tun te !?an ta tha ga
to hya ba te !?a fitsa yo ni ro dha i barp. bha te rna ha sra
mana}; ye swa ha
E. beom ldan 'das kun rig rnam par snan mdzad kyi bum chog
F. hum 'jigs byed bans brgyud '
G. beom ldan 'das thams cad rig pa'i bum ehog lhalna rna
H. bdud rtsi sin po yan lag brgyad ba gsan ba man nag yon tan
rgyud kyi lhan thabs zug rdu'i tshag du sel ba' gtur nus man 'che
ags geod ba'i nal gre
1. rna ni bka' 'bum
J. 'phags pa dum bu ze gis pa zes bya ba'i mdo
K. theg pa chen po'i mdo snin rje chen po pad mad kar po mam',
M. dpal mgon learn dral dan dur bdag la gser skyes 'bul tshul
~ u .
.. w.
gan sus tum po Mugs su
smon lam de ltar phul byun bzan po'i mead pa yis
mam rgyal rna biugsho
sans rgyas chos dan 'grob bar sog ran id skad cig gis 'phags
pa sbyan ras gzigs db an phyug tu gyur pa'i thugs ka'i hrh yig
gi 'od zer gyis bsgoms pa dan 'dra pa'i ye ses pa dban lha
dan bcas pa sbyan drans
ldan Mugs
rje btsun sgroI rna Mug so
'phags pa bsan 'dus smon lam
brjed thog yan ti'i za rna tog gi dkar chags
bcom ldan 'das rgyal po'i bdag bskyed sin tu rgyus bab iugs so
'phags pa thar pa chen po phyogs su rgyas pa 'gyod tshans kyis
sdig sbyan te sans rgyas su 'grub par mam par bkod pa ies bya
ba theg pa chen po'i mclo
rje btsun mi la ras pa'i mam thar rgyas par phye pa mgur
rje byun blo bzan dpalldan bstan pa'i i rna byogs las mam
rgyal dpal bzan po la dad ldan mams kyi sna phyir ba'i rje
ran id kyi brdan Mugs gsol 'debs dan smon cig rjes 'jin gyi
rim pa mams chabs gcig dir bsdebs pa biugs so
blo bzan ye ses
rje thams cad mkhyen pa tson kha pa chen po blo bzan grags pa'i
dpal gyi bka' 'bum ca ba'i dkar chag Mugs so
rje btsun mi la ras pa'i mam thar rgyas par phye pa mgur 'bum
dpal dus kyi 'khor lo'i rcis kyi man nag mkhas pa mams dga' bar
mkhas grub thams cad mkhyen pa dge legs dpal bzan po'i gsun
'bum ja pa'i dkar chag
mal 'byor gyi dban phyug dam pa rje btsun rni 1a ras pa'i mam
thar thar pa dan thams cad mkhyen pa'i lam ston pa
ye ses kyi mkha' 'gro rna sen ge'i gdod pa can gyi sgrub thabs
gans ljons yi gi'i phyi mo b10 gsa1 dga' bskyed dan snags klogs un
du bcas pa
khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po tson kha pa chen po'i nan thugs
kyi sras gcig zla med pa mkhas grub smra ba'i i rna dge legs
dpal bzan po 1a phyi nan gsan gsum gyi mam par thar pa'i sgo
nas gsol ba 'debs pa dad pa'i ro1 mtsho spel ba'i zla 'od
bcom ldan 'das non son thams cad yons su sbyod pa gzi brjid kyf
rgyal bo'i mdun bsgyed kyi nag 'don ;
bla rna mchod pa'i choga bka' drio gsol 'debs phyag chen gs t
'debs mams .0 <i
dam can chos kyi rgyal po'i mdun rtogs bskad bstod zon las
sgyems trag bskal rtlams ..
gso ba pa'i bstan sman bla'i dgons rgyan rgyud bZi'i gsa:C,
byed bm.turya sn?npo 1 phren ba las dum bu dan po bsad pil
rgyud kyi mam bsad
'phags pa ses rab kyi pha ral tu phyin pa rdo rje gcod pa ies
ba theg pa chen po'i mdo .
t. rdo rje Jigs byed chen po'i bum chog dban
u. bder gsegs bdl,m kyi mchod pa'i cho ga bsgrigs yid biin
v. mkhas grub thams cad mkhyen pa dge legs dpal bzan po'i
w. rje bla rna srid ii'i gtsug rgyan ban chen thams cad mkhyen
blo bzan dpalldan ye ses dpal bzan bo'i ial sna nas kyi
thar pa i ma'i 'od zer ies bya ba'i smad cha biugs so
x. khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po tson kha pa chen po
pa'i byan chub lam gyi rim pa chen mo
y. dpal gsan ba 'dus pa'i bsgrub thabs rdo rje gcod pa lam brtsi
mdo snig bsags gser chos
z. tshe dan ye ses dpag tu med pa'i mdo ies bya ba dan tshe
med kyi sin po dan tshe dpag med kyi sin po tshe'i dban
ba ies bya ba dan tshe dpag med thams cad kyi sin po
Miscellaneous Unclassified Texts
bder gsegs bdun gyi mchod pa'i chog bsgrigs yid Min dban rgyal
byan chub ltun bsags
'phags pa tshe dan ye ses dpag tu med pa ies bya ba theg pa
bcom ldan 'das rna ses rab kyi pha ral tu phyin pa'i sfiin po
bla rna 10 tswa ba chen po'i mam par thar pa dri rna med pa sel
brjod thog yan ti'i za rna tog gi dkar chags
sman min bod ,dan rgya'i skad san sbyar ba
trial 'byor gyi dban phyug dam pa rje btsun mi la ras pa'i rnam thar
dbUS 'gyur chos sde che chun rnams su gsun ba
blun zes bya ba'i mdo
rje btsun tson kha pa chen po'i gsol 'debs mchog sbyin nor bu
... Je thams cad mkhyen pa tson kha pa chen po blo bzan grags pa'i
J "b
dpal gyi bka urn
ltfhe Religious Standing of
Buddhist Nuns (thila-shin):
!fhe Ten Precepts and Religious Respect Words
i/;y.Hiroko Kawanami
:.[his paper
seeks to illuminate the socio-religious place
'gccupied by contemporary Buddhist nuns
(known as thilri-
iJhin) in Burmese society and within the Buddhist community .

to the textual Buddhist tradition, frequently
'Eited by monks and laity alike, contemporary Buddhist nuns
not bhikkhunf, and therefore not invested with any formal
freligious significance; they are considered merely as pious lay
ftvoinen. However, these "religious women" who have their
:heads shaven and live by receiving alms, playa much more
role in the Buddhist community than might be
from "official" explanations. Their true status is
however, it is this very "ambiguity" that allows
ithem to play an indispensable role in the maintenance of pres-
Burmese Buddhism.
(. The major focus of this paper is on two areas: the taking of
.the ten precepts and the usage of religious honorifics in Burma
:toaddress monks, novices and nuns. An investigation of these,
I .. believe, will help to illuminate the religious standing of thila-
'Wn in Burma.
'f. The Status rif Religious Women)) in Buddhism
./. The "official version" of Buddhist texts in the Theravada
tfadition may serve as the starting point for understanding the
.:eligious status of contemporary Buddhist nuns. While doing
f?y fieldwork, I found that stories of bhikkhunfs and "religious
18 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
women" in the Buddhist texts were frequently referred to b
monks and laity in an attempt to explain the present positi Y
of thila-shin in Burma. The formation -of the Bhikkhunz
and the textual account of bhikkhunzs who once existed We a.
impo:-tant the. Tradition also tells us
the lmeage of bhzkkhunz ordmatlOn has become extinct and
there exists no bhikkhunzwho can confer ordination on Contel11,
porary Buddhist nuns. Therefore, present-day thila-shin are not
bhikkhunfs. The pseudo-ordination ceremony that initiates
laywomen into the Order is considered a ritual that provides
them with a no more that of pious lay
women who. abIde by a:IdItlOnal sabbatIcal vows. Ironically,
the assumptIOn that theIr predecessors once held a legitimate
religious status seems to stress all the more the "illegitimate"
religious status of present-day Buddhist nuns. These
tions are repeatedly referred to by monks and scholars to
remind the general public of where a contemporary Buddhist.
nun "should stand," in order to perpetuate the ideology thai
"she is not a bhikkhunz and that she can never become one."
According to traditional Buddhist classification, the
Buddhist assembly comprised four kinds of people: bhikkhu
(almsmen), bhikkhunz (almswomen), upiisaka (devout laymen)
and upiisikii (devout laywomen). Both male upiisaka and ferriale
upiisikii were pious layfolk who followed the Buddhist morality
of five precepts (eight on sabbatical days). These people
above all householders and material benefactors of the
Sangha, called dayaka (donor) or dayikii (female donor), arid
responsible for the upkeep of both the bhikkhu and bhikkhunf,
communities. The number of precepts taken is usually a majori
index of the religious status of an individual, and from this view<
point, a thila-shin is categorized as an upiisikii (laywoman)
who takes eight precepts. However, strictly speaking, a thila-shirl
does not fi t into the category of upiisikii, because she is not a
ductive householder but an almswoman who is dependent ope
the laity. . ./
Historically and socio-culturally, it seems that womyB,
have always been discouraged from spiritual renunciation.Iil
the Hindu tradition, from which Buddhism arose, married
status was the only acceptable way for women to pursue
religious goal.4 The institutionalized body of male renouncers:
and still is dependent on lay householders for material sup-
;;i'ort as well as for recruitment of celibate monks. Women were
to look the family chil.dren, and be responsible
perpetuatIOn of the Bud.dhlst faIth future genera-
:\j'iion. As N. Falk observes,s stones pIOUS laywomen
far more numerous and elaborated m the texts than those
to Buddhist nuns. This implies that the role of female
householders was far more .acknowledge.d and
that of female renouncers m the BuddhIst tradItIOn.
\>. Present-day Buddhist nuns in Burmc;t are called thila-shin.
':h'he Burmese term thila derives from the Pali word sfla,6 which
that virtuous behaviour, ethical conduct and moral
}practice which Buddhist texts list as the initial point of depar-
(;ture towards higher spirituality. The precepts Buddhists
are also called thila. The Burmese word shin means the
i"holder" or "one who possesses." Therefore, thila-shin means a
who the Buddhist :ode of morality, one who is
and moral m every way thIS word would apply.
IfY; The legal position of a thila-shin in Burmese Buddhist law
it clear that she is still a member of the secular world:
not deprived of social rights to inherit estate and prop-
whereas monks and novices are governed by monastic
that oblige them to renounce all secular rights. Neverthe-
01ess, in most cases a woman, should she become a thila-shin, vol-
,1tiiltarily hands over her property to her family or donates her
,;Wealth to the nunnery, considering it incompatible with the
;Ip\lrsuit of a religious life; alternatively, she may use her inheri-
to build her own accommodation inside the nunnery
after her death, it becomes communal property of
,!'the institution.
f:,With regard to civil status, a thila-shin is put in the same
as a monk. The Constitution of Burma (No. 180,
q974) stipulates that "any religious persons" or "any member
the religious Orders," whether Buddhist, Christian, Mus-
film, etc., whether male or female, may not vote in elections.
li'Jieligious persons" are denied certain 'civil rights so that they
1M not engage in political activities. This reflects fear on the
jPq.rt of political authorities in Burma that "religious persons"
ff!Jiay exert their power in secular forms. The assumption is that
c:!::religious" persons should be confined to the religious realm,
20 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
and in this respect, both monks and nuns are considered to
belong to the lokuttara.
In order to understand the present standing of the thila-sh'
in Burma, we have to understand the distinction
lokiya, worldly and mundane, and lokuttara, transcendental and
spiritual (law-ki and law-kouk-tara in Burmese pronunciation) 8
In Burma, this distinction is frequently referred to and
stood as that between the secular and the religious. Members
of the Buddhist community who have committed themselves to
the "higher ideal" are referred to as those who belong to
lokuttara, contrasted to those who belong to the lokiya. The lokui2
tara person is unproductive, and thus completely dependent art'
the productive members of the lokiya for material support. The
Buddhist community provides a field of religious merit for
ular people. Accordingly, "giving" is encouraged as the most
meritorious and ethically valued activity for those in the
while "receiving" is the norm of life for those in the lokuttara:
The difference in ways of life is well recognized and the hound;
ary between the two worlds is firmly maintained. They are
dependent on one another, and this complementarity provides
the basis for Burmese Buddhism.
Thila-shin stand in between the lokiya and the lokuttatd.
Their position may be perceived as both lokiya and lokuttara,8r
part of either, depending on the situation and context, ari(1
according to the standing of the speaker in relationshiptoa
thila-shin. Almost all my Burmese lay informants asserted that
thila-shin did not belong to the lokiya. Having said that, sonie,
consider thila-shin as indispensable members of the lokuttara;
vital to the maintenance of the Buddhist community, while
some disregard them as mere burden on the productive
tion. Monks, who officially adhere to the doctrine that
porary nuns are "laywoman," tend to discount their
in everyday life. The thila-shin themselves strongly identify with
the Buddhist community as far as their lifestyle and affiliati()ri,
are concerned, yet their religious activities tend to centre
around merit-making, entailing the act of "giving" that is
focus of members of the lokiya.J'/[i
A thila-shin seeks to clarify her standing by distinguishing
her status from that of the permanent or
(yogin in Pali) woman. Most Burmese laity, young and6
and female, married and single, spend a certain time in
i,m editation centres as yaw-gi. They are usually clad in brown,
eight precepts meditate premises.
ii},1ost permC).nent or semI-permanent yaw-gz are old women
Yelieved of their domestic chores and responsibilities. When
why they had not become thila-shin, many of them said
;,Jthat they were too old to pursue a professional life. Further-
in contrast to a thila-shin, whose commitment to a reli-
J)giouscause is demonstrated by her shorn head, the retained
:;Jiair oftheyaw-gi was frequently derided as evidence of the lack
f10fspiritual worth that made it difficult for them to detach
7:themselves from the lokiya world. .
V:;;'/.Even though yilw-gi observe the same number of precepts
lead a stoic lifestyle in religious premises, they are
as basically outside the lokuttara. Still, thila-shin envy
they for and per-
is{)nal relIgIOus pursUIts SInce, unlIke nuns, yaw-gz are not
to provide menial services for the monks or the
lp.uddhist community. Also,yilw-gi cannot, nor do they wish to,
Hive on "receiving" alms like the thila-shin. Therefore, in order
a religious life as yaw-gi, they have to be materially self-
and fairly well off, which suggests that they have not
up their role as "donors" who are responsible for "giv-
to the Buddhist community.
l}E! At one level, the thila-shin claim that they have renounced
lithe lay world to take up a life of stoic discipline and hardship.
1;Ihey say they have symbolically become "daughters of the
(Hpayil-thami) and entered the Order of sisterhood
ifot the pursuit of spiritual advancement. The keeping of
morality obliges them to abstain from sex, alcohol,
after midday and from such worldly pleasures as singing
dancing and cosmetics and garlands, which may hinder
iWeir effort to purify the body and soul. Thila-shin say that their
;lifeis cool (ei-thi) and clean (thdn-sin-thi) compared to the hot
and filthy (nyik-pak-thi) life of the secular world: This
them a reason to feel spiritually superior to the laity, both
men and women.
.. As mentioned before, the daily life of thila-shin is centered
merit-making activities that involve menial services to
!the religious community of the monks. Perseverance and
22 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
hardship are "giving,:' and believed
to lead to the acqulSltlOn .of ment. thzla-shm said that
they were enabled to acqUIre more ment than those living i
the secular world, since they could devote themselve
wholeheartedly to a lifestyle with a religious cause, anothe
reason for their spiritual superiority to the general laity. r
However, there is a contradiction between the spiritual
fel.t by thild-shin theI?selves and the mundane degraj
dation to whIch they are subject. In order to cope with the
embedded tension, they distinguish their relationship with the
secular world on two levels: that of spiritual supremacyand<
that of economic dependence. .
On an economic level, thild-shin seem to be reminded of
their worldliness. They feel down-graded, inferior and "bad",
(a-na-thi) , being obliged to be economically dependent on thei;
lay benefactors despite their "illegitimate" religious status.:
Thild-shin are aware that theoretically they are not full mem:}
bers of the Buddhist Order. Therefore, they feel that they art
not fully entitled "to receive" like the monks and novices whose ..
legitimate religious status, backed by the Sangha, gives
full rights to receive from the laity. The alms received byt
monks and thild-shin appear to be fundamentally differentl
Thild-shin are given raw rice and money, which indicates that
they can cook and look after themselves, in contrast to
monks, who are given only cooked food. The degree .of
autonomy maintained by the thild-shin shows that they retaini
closer link to the. secular than monks, who are completely'
dependent on the laity.j;
In most big monasteries, there usually are lay helpers
offer the monks menial services such as cooking and
so it is not necessary for the thild-shin to perform these duties:?
Nonetheless, thild-shin are eager to take part in merit-makirig
activities by offering food to the monks. They like to "be inN
need of the monks" and this becomes almost a religious objec"'il(
tive for some of them. However, it must be added that
thild-shin spend their time cooking for and serving the monks;.,
those who are students and teachers of Buddhist scriptures anq.,'
philosophy devote most of their time to the work of education.!,;
Therefore, there is a division of labour among the nuns,
the basic economic unit within a Burmese nunnery is usuallf,

j;ornprised of a partnership between a nun who teaches and a
who is in charge of the household.
It is wrong to assume
j'jthat most nuns are for the monks, and to my I
rnany thzla-shzn no_t able to bOll water!
;:'c In a BuddhIst culture, gIvmg (dana) IS encouraged, but
gifts may become problematic. Although it is theoret-
i)-cally unnecessary for thila-shin to reciprocate a material gift
a material countergift, they feel comfortable in "giving,"
i,'but "receiving" makes them feel "indebted." While monks and
enjoy the privilege of receiving to the full on the sup-
Hpbsition they providing the with a. to
;::aGquire relIgIOus ment, the role of recIpIent for thzla-shzn con-
reminds them of their ambiguous religious standing,
i';;Jch that they are not fully exempted from the social rules of
0:ftciproci ty.
.. When they receive, thila-shin recite and give out religious
lhIessings in return. They may chant for the donor the "power-
Buddhist protection-formulas called paritta (payeik-kyi in
These are believed to ward off evil spirits and confer
fUpon the recipient prosperity, safety, luck and happiness.
',Thild-shin also show their utmost hospitality and kindness, and
1()ffer whatever humble food they have whenever a lay guest vis-
nunnery. But these acts are not sufficient to convince
that they have paid back their debts in terms of the reli-
:'gious merit acquired by their lay benefactors. The feeling of
to receive all the time becomes a psychological burden,
seems to make them feel inferior. At times, they expressed
lthis as a wish not to descend to the status of a mere beggar who
alms with no religious significance.
:;", Officially, "Buddhist nuns" observe eight precepts. Novices
;observe ten precepts and monks abide by the 227 rules of
Vinaya. Five precepts are considered as fundamental to
;Buddhist morality, so devout lay Buddhists abide by at least
On uposatha days, during the vassa
and on other special
such as the day of the week when they were born, Burmese
!Byople make special efforts to observe an additional three pre-
,!?!epts and interrupt their ordinary lay life by taking religious
(pisciplines. "Celibacy" and "no solid food after midday"
important and difficult additional abstinences on these
24 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
There are thila-shin who to abide by ten precepts
the same number taken by nOVIces. These precepts may be th'
same in content, but different in context and significance. Th;e
derives from the precept-takers' difference in status. A novi IS.
is "on the way to becoming a fully ordained member of
Sangha," further religious status for a thila-shin
closed. ThIs dIfference becomes clearer when we examine th' ..
manner in which the basic Buddhist precepts are taken. . e
. Novices and thila-shin and take the first six precepts
III the same manner. For nOVIces, the seventh and the eighth
precepts are separated and recited as two precepts: 7) absten_.
tion from dancing, singing, music and shows, and 8) abstention
from garlands, perfumes, cosmetics and adornment. Thild-shin
and laity take these precepts as two precepts merged into one
which makes one long precept, counted as the seventh.
ninth precept-abstention from sleeping on luxurious beds, is
ninth for novices only; the same precept slides into the placeof
the eighth for thila-shin and laity. Therefore, it is recited as
ninth for the novice and the eighth for thila-shin and laity.
nically speaking, this means that there is no ninth precept fot
thila-shin and laity, and the artificial gap created between the
eighth and the tenth precept marks the boundary between
their religious status and that of a novice. If a thila-shin wishes
to abide by the ten precepts, the present custom is to fill in the
gap of the ninth position by reciting the phrase which sends
loving kindness (metta or myit-ta) to all sentient beings,
cially to the spirits. This allows her to carryon to the taking of
the tenth precept. However, this so-called "ninth precept" is
not a precept of abstinence, but rather a code of behaviour set
up for instrumental reasons.
It seems that the gapll stands as a reminder that the reli-
gious status of thila-shin is that of upiisikii, and the manner in
which the precepts are taken seems to confine them to the
same level as the laity, or lokiya. In the meanwhile, a novice
confronts no gap which hinders him from following further
precepts and he is led to a higher religious status in the lokuttara.
The tenth precept prohibits the taker from handling gold
and silver, which means, in effect, money. This precept has a
considerable religious significance for contemporary Buddhist
nuns, while it is taken for granted by monks and novices. Most
jflhitri-shin in Burma. receive .and han?le money, and are rarely in
abstam It. .lIve .under the I?res-
of low mcome, smce theIr daIly lIfe has to be mamtamed
donations of 1 to 5 kyats, while monks receive 50 to
11'lbOkyats for attending a religious function. Threatened by the
of their financia! base, thila-shin canr:o.t abstain
ill1ssing over money, hagglmg at markets and lIvmg as thnftIly
seems to result in a general image of nuns as

the other hand, thila-shin are often indispensable to the
of monasteries on behalf of the monks, who are
I:,hbt allowed to handle money. Still, they do not consider this
!fale of treasurer as an important base of power from which to
;iaernand further influence. The negative value attributed to
'itheir capacity "to be able" to handle money, makes them feel
,Worldly and degraded, and it is regarded more or less as a
that keeps them away from spiritual advancement.
i;'A.bstinence from handling money comes to be regarded as a
privilege for thila-shin. Not having to deal with it is
to as a "cool" state of detachment from "hot" matters,
state of bliss. As one thila-shin expressed it, if
'oIlly she were relieved from worries about money and mainte-
she would be able to concentrate fully on Buddhist
{,studies and meditation. Such a state was considered to give her
'the physical and spiritual freedom to concentrate wholehear-
on her basic spiritual pursuit.
,ii Only a few thila-shin in Burma are able to follow all ten pre-
To become a ten-precept thila-shin, a woman has to
have either a wealthy family background or a highly successful
ilcademic career, or both, so as to be able to attract numerous
donors and benefactors who can give her a solid financial
standing. It may sound paradoxical, but to be in a position of
detachment, she must have sufficient resources and backing to
be able to afford it. She also must have a reliable layperson or a
pun serve as a kat-pi-ya, to attend to her needs. A kat-pi-ya will
act as secretary and treasurer and attend to the daily needs of
the ten precept thila-shin. If money is donated to the thila-shin,
her kat-pi-ya will receive and deal with it on her behalf. The
aCtual difficulty lies in the fact that thila-shin are rarely in a pos-
ition to be looked after like monks, since they usually cannot
26 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
att.ract sufficient respect from the laity to
bemg attended on a full-tIme basIs. On the contrary, thila-ski;
themselves often act as kat-pi-ya to monks, looking after theh\l
financial interests and, as we have seen, acting as manager
treasurer for the running
Thild,-shin who have attained the ten precept status
regarded as those who have attained a higher stage of detac0\
ment, with spiritual They do
have to commIt themselves to a lIfestyle of collectmg alms and"
receiving which reverses the power
between the thzla-shzn and her lay donors. In general,
precept thila-shin still maintain close relationships with their;!
lay donors, but give a general impression that they are
desperately in need. Having a secure backing gives them a
ing of assurance so that they do not feel servile or inferior iJ
any way to their lay benefactors. The inner tension felt
their spiritual worth and economic dependency
resolves as the former gains strength. Ten"'precept thila-shin
well respected, regarded as higher on the spiritual ladder thiifi!
ordinary eight-precept thila-shinand perceived to have a spit
cial quality called gon.
Moreover, their status of "not
to receive" gives them more importance, hence reasons for the
laity to give; thus, they become the centre of worship
Buddhist nuns. However, the formal religious status of
precept thila-shin is still considered to be that of upiisikii,
they have not been through an "official" ordination
The only implication may be that they have, succeeded IF}
renouncing their role of service to the monks and novices, ansl
achieved a certain state of religious autonomy within
Buddhist community. "

As a current movement in Sri Lanka shows,14 nuns clad
yellow who are ten-precept observers aspire to a higher
ous status than ordinary eight-precept nuns. They are
ing to secure a proper religious status between that of lll:X:f
upiisikii and bhikkhunf. The aim of this movement is to raise
:eligious. into a category through strict
Ity, medItatIOn and reCItatIOn of the dhamma, so that they
approximate the ideal of "sainthood" (arahantship).15
in Burma, thila-shin are eager to enhance their spirituality
spite of many obstacles. The taking of ten precepts is a valr,9:1

l"CligiouS statement which signifies that a thila-shin has over-
the "uncomfortable" position of being materially depen-
on the laity. Son:e the ten in the
ib "ening, even though It has no practIcal effect, smce they go to
and attend religious functions in the mornings. Some
(!ithi!d-shin keep the ten precepts on uposatha days, on the day of
on which they were born, or during the Vassa. A nun may
up her whole donation income for the rest of the year to
('cbeable to abide by the ten precepts during the three months
;;. The abstinence enjoined on the ten-precept abider is often
{i'2bInbined with one or two austere Buddhist practices called
(du-tin in Burmese), which also enhance one's
'spiritual stature. Among the most common of the thirteen kinds
['ofdhutaizga are the taking of one meal a day (ekasanikaizga) and
:themixing up of all the food and taking it directly from the
i,h()Wl (pattapirpjikaizga), with no second helpings. To these basic
i!flhutahga, thila-shin may add vegetarianism, eating only beans,
{po sleep, and so on. The observation of these trials is by no
([tieans forced upon them, but a matter strictly of individual
ithoice and decision. If a thila-shin is healthy and committed
to take upon herself this kind of hardship, her efforts
'%d sacrifice are met with respect by the laity. The thila-shin her-
;self also believes that she is on the path to a higher spiritual
Officially, thila-shin are not obliged to abide by as many
,tules and regulations as monks. However, in practice, their
?aily life is governed by far more rules and minor details than
that of monks and novices. These are either imposed as a
oflife or observed as written nunnery rules
or a com-
'Inunal code for thila-shin. Moreover, it is often the case that
ithild-shin explicitly display their seriousness towards their
religious profession and give the impression that their commit-
,iilent is stronger than that of the monks. Thila-shin seem to
,know that their religious position depends on their outward
image-on how they are perceived in the society-so they try
a.ll means to keep up their religious stance in good manners,
clean clothes and pious behaviour, etc. I t can be argued that
.the insecurity of their religious position drives them to make
far more efforts in observing the rules and regulations. The
28 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
only way. of keeping their religious position intact is by'
stantly working on it and displaying their
so. that pious becomes widely acknowledged by
laIty. It IS thIS recogmtIOn and the general approval ofs
that give thila-shin a secure place in the lokuttara.
II. Religious Honorifics.
Religious honorifics 19 are special pronouns and verbs;;
which are generally applied in situations of interacHbifl
between members of the Buddhist community and the
Burma. Burmese people employ religious honorifics
monks, novices and nuns to ther.n from the
and to confirm where they stand III relatIOnshIp to members6f;
the Buddhist community. The usage of religious
also clarifies the standing of monks, novices and nuns
Buddhist community, marking their internal hierarchy.
are especially useful as an index for understanding the am1)"
ous position held by contemporary Buddhist nuns, who sta.J:i ,!
in the religious and the secular worlds. fll
A. Payzng pect . .
Along with the use of .rehgIOus honorifics, respect(uJj
etiquette and deportment are displayed when a lay
dealing with members of the Buddhist community.
learn to clasp their palms in front of their faces as an
respect called u-daw. They also learn the proper way of worshjB;
(shikkho) in the form of "five touchings": clasping of
elbows and kn.ees touching the fi?or, palms touching the. fl9ij
to make a triangular shape wIth both thumbs and
fingers, and the forehead touching this triangular shape
floor. On ceremonial occasions or in monasteries, lay
prostrate themselves three times, putting their foreheads
floor. This is a show of respect and worship towards those
are considered to be higher in religious status and
It might be assumed lay worsh.ip all those
the yellow robe of the Sangha, but III practice, they do not
trate themselves to every monk they come across on the
worship and show of respect depends on various criteria,
as the monk's position in the Buddhist community, age,
achievement, textual knowledge, preaching ability,
reputation, and other charismatic qualities. Laywomen
to themselves more freqently and eagerly than
Thzla-shzn, however, are the. to prostrate
to almost every monk. ThIS IS an Inward as well as
gesture which demonstrates that they are the most
of monks and the Sangha.
IS not compulsory for Burmese people to prostrate them-
to thila-shin. However, lay children are taught to worship
f."b6th monks and nuns. Lay women, in general, prostrate them-
to a thila-shin, especially if she is senior, elderly and
in the religious community. Lay men tend to refrain
f:fi(jm prostrating themselves to a thila-shin unless they are very
though young men these days often ignore both monks
and show little respect towards the Sangha. Whether
:;liypersons prostrate themselves also depends on their specific
:'Itlationship to the monk or nun. If they are a diiyaka with a sup-
rp6ttive relationship, they will obviously prostrate to the reli-
Jgipus member whom they are supporting, in part as a display
:(8ftheir religious sponsorship.

First-person pronouns .
general, when a Burmese speaker
is talking to some-
76'hrin the Buddhist community and therefore superior in
status-whether it be a lay person talking to a nun,
and monk, or a nun or novice talking to a monk, or
iuuns, novices and monks talking among themselves to someone
in age and position-the speaker uses the "first-person
This is a special pronoun signifying
tl:your disciple or pupil," which has the effect of humbling the
in front of the listener. A thila-shin refers to herself as
not only when talking to monks but also when talking
thila-shin. When she is talking to a novice, she may use
or hsaya-lei, depending on the context and relative
;friteria, such as his age or the age difference between herself
the novice. However, this pronoun is never used when talk-
ingto a lay person.
30 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
The honorific first-person pronoun is employed in the
ing context of relationships:
lay person
junior monk
nun, novice, monk
nun, novice, monk
novice, monk
senior monk
Those who are lower in religious status usually do not
bally object, and acknowledge whatever has been uttered
those who are superior. Therefore, tabyi-daw is used in the .
context as the affirmative expression, "tin-bahpaya"22 (yes,
are right, the venerable one), literally meaning "place your
on my head, my lord, "23 thus manifesting the utmost ---'.u.".
of the speaker. In Thailand, lay people are reported to
monks using the first-person pronouns phom for female,
.dichan for male.
But in Burma, the term tabyi-daw is used
both sexes and. allows the lay speaker, male or female,
become gender-free in self-address.
The first-person pronoun employed is kyamd ( .
kyun-md) by a laywoman and kyun-daw by a layman.
pronouns are employed when talking to lay people but
members of the Buddhist community. When a thild-shin is
ing to someone inferior in religious status, that is to say
person, she refers to herself as hsaya-lei, which signifies
teacher." I t may be relevant to add that female lay L\-"'\-U'vL
addressed as hsaya-md (female teachers), with the .n .... u ... '" .. -..,
ma added to hsaya (teacher), but thild-shin have
exempt from the application of the gender-suffix.
address themselves to thild-shin and lay people as kohin,
"novice," but they use tabyi-daw when talking to monks.
in general draw a line between themselves and the rest, ..
therefore represent the textual view that they are the only
ble members of the lokuttara. They most often refer to
selves as hpon-gyi or u bazin, meaning "monk." If the
much senior in age and position, he may refer to himself
often used by elderly people. If talking to someone muchj
in age and position, he may refer to himself as ngd and
the listener using min, an intimate term of reference,
closeness of the relationship with young novices or nuns or
lay children whom he knows well.
C. Third-person pronouns
From the point of view of monks and nuns, the laity in the
secular world are generally dealt with in one category, "those
give material support." All lay people are addressed as
"donors" or "patrons" (dqyaka) by monks, novices and nuns.
The Burmese term used is taga for a male donor and tagama for
'a female donor. Even if this person is a relative or friend, hel
she will still be known respectively as taga or tagama in relation
to a particular monk or nun.
... In general, monks address a thila-shin as tagama (female
donor)' just as they would any other laywoman. Occasionally,
inonks are heard to call her hsaya-lei (Ii ttle teacher), w hi ch
sounds more affectionate, or use her formal thila-shin title
according to the relationship between them (for example, if she
is his disciple).
.. However, the mother of a monk or a nun is put into a special
tategory of "motherhood," which may serve to support the
yiew of some scholars26 that the dominant image of women in
popular Buddhist texts is that of "mother nurturer," thus empha-
sizing the important position of the mother in Buddhism.
the Burmese word mi-ba (parents) signifies, a mother (mei) is
placed in front of a father (pa), and given more respect. "She
'risks her life for childbirth and gives her blood as milk"; there-
fore, the gratitude towards a mother is highly acknowledged.
?1mei is the word for an ordinary mother, but the term me-daw
("enerable mother) or me-daw-gyi (venerable big mother) is
ysed for the mother of a monk or nun. Me-daw is used not only
for the biological mother, but also for bazin me-daw, a monk's
symbolic mother, who helps him upon his entrance into the
Order. Thila-shin often take up the me-daw role in rela-
tion to a novice and commit themselves to the task of looking
after him throughout his career as monk. A specific thila-shin
will be generally identified as the "me-daw of such-and-such a
irlOnk,"28 and if the monk establishes himself or becomes
famous in the Buddhist community, the respect towards
the monk will be shared by and added to the credit of his
!j:symbolic mother." The thila-shin's maternal role is confined
32 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
not just to specific relationships with a novice or a monk; he
attitude toward and role in the Buddhist community as a W h o l ~
often are understood as analogous to that of a mother.
In general, the Burmese laity address the monks as ashin
hpaya (the venerable one), hpon-gyi hpaya (the venerable monk)
u bazin (monk) or hsaya-daw hpaya (the venerable teacher):
Nevertheless, the affectionate diminutive hpon-hpon (for hpon-
gui; monk) seems to be the term most popular and frequently
used. When Burmese people refer to a monk objectively, they
cite the name of the monastery he belongs to and call him hsaya-
daw (honourable teacher or abbot) of such-and-such monas-
tery. At times, it is the name of the place he comes from or
where the monastery is located, instead of the name of the
monastery. Burmese people never address a monk with his for-
mal religious title except at formal ceremonies and functions.
Thila-shin are addressed as hsaya-lei (small teacher),
hsaya-gyi (big teacher)29 or just hpaya. Formal religious titles
(bwe) are bestowed upon monks and nuns upon entering
the Order, but these formal names are not used casually. In
everyday life, nuns address each other in many ways, with a
combination of diminutive kin terminology and the respectful
religious term hpaya. Daw-gj?O hpaya or gyi-gyi hpaya (venerable
big aunt), Daw-lei
! hpaya (venerable small aunt), ma-ma hpaya
(venerable big sister), adaw hpaya or daw-daw hpaya (venerable
aunty), ahpawa hpaya or hpawa hpawa hpaya (venerable granny),
and so on, are used according to where the speaker stands in.
relationship to the addressed. If the thila-shin is not a close
acquaintance such as ifshewere a guest, then she may be called
hsaya-lei hpaya (venerable little teacher) out offormal politeness.
D. Honorific verbs . .
Honorific verbs are employed to imbue the activities of
members of the Buddhist community with reverence so that
their mundane activities gain special religious significance.
For ordinary activities such as sleeping, bathing, coming
and going, eating, talking and so on, honorific verbs are
employed for monks in order to signify that their activities are
still in a religious context. These are kywa-la-thi (to come)
kywd-thwa-thi (to go), kyein-thi (to sleep), yei thon-that-thi (to
bathe), which latter may be expressed as ''yei thon-daw-mu-ba
npaya" (please take a bath, the venerable one). The speech of
"monks is marked by the use of honorific verbs such as mezn-
'"daw-mu-lai-thi (to instruct) or amezn-shi-lai-thi (to speak). In
contrast, the speaker who is a lay person or inferior in religious
(ank, uses honorific verbs such as shauk-thi, shauk-tin-thi, shau-
ta-thi, which literally means "to ask permission" or "to wait for
jhstruction," in order to represent their humble position in
'communicating with the monks.
For the activities of lay people and nuns, ordinary verbs as yei cho-thi (to bathe), eik-thi (to sleep), thwa-thi or la-thi
(to come or to go) , pyaw-thi (to speak) are used.
. In some areas, a complicated mixture of honorific terms
and ordinary verbs is used for thila-shin. For example, in regard
to clothing, monks and nuns wear religious robes that are mar-
kedly different from the apparel of the laity. The verb yon-thi (to
put on) is a special verb used to signify the "putting on" of the
religious robe, while lay people use the ordinary verb wut-thi to
"put on" their lay apparel. Monks obviously put on their saf-
fron robe, thin-gan, using the expression "thin-ganyon-thi." This
is worn in three different pieces; e-kathi, du-gouk and thin-bain; it
has been suggested
that if one wants to be precise, the ordi-
nary verb wut-thi is used for wearing the lower garment, thin-
bain. However, monks who are secure in their religious status
do not make a fuss over the selection of honorific verbs nor do
they make minute distinctions between the upper or lower
robe, and deal with the religious apparel (thin-gan) symboli-
"cally as a whole.
Thila-shin, who are eager to promote their religious status
by all means, are keen to employ the religious respect verb
yon-thi for the putting on of their religious apparel. This com-
prises a long-sleeved blouse (ezn-gyi) , a smock-like garment
(gaik) and a rectangular-shaped wrapping cloth (ko-yon). How-
ever, for the lower garment, hka-wut (the term htamein is used
for a lay woman's sarong), only the ordinary verb wut-thi can
be used to signify the putting on, because of the negative value
attributed it. The lower garment of women, whether a lay-
woman or thila-shin, symbolically represents the impure and
"inferior" nature of femininity and remains as a reminder of
where women actually stand in socio-religious terms. Thus,
the visible demarcation in the nuns' clothing presents the divi-
sion of their identity, split between the secular and the religious
As for religious words and honorific verbs for eating, they'
is an interesting mixture of religious and lay connotations
the nuns. The ordinary word for the rice crop is saba, hsan for
husked rice and htamin for cooked rice. Cooked rice as a reli-
gious offering is called hsim, and it is the only categorical food
that monks are allowed to eat. The word is frequently used for
festive, m.eals offered to ,both monks and nuns; are given
the hsun mstead of htamm. Nevertheless, the eatmg activity of
thila-shin is represented by the ordinary verb sa-thi (to eat), so
that a religious noun (hsun) and an ordinary verb (sa-thi) are
combined so as to represent their act of eating as hsun sa-thi.
people's eating is as Sfl-thi: M?nks' eating
IS descnbed by a speCIal phrase, hsun hpon pez-thz,33 which is
equivalent to the verb sa-thi for ordinary lay people.
The most important activity for those who belong to the
Buddhist community, collecting alms, is expressed by the term
hsun-hkan-thi. When thila-shin collect alms, they describe the
activity as going for hsun-hkan, which is the same expression
used when monks and novices collect alms. It is generally
known that the literal meaning of hsun is "cooked" rice in a
religious context and hkan means "to receive alms," and it is
only the monks who receive cooked rice (hsun) while nuns are
given uncooked rice (hsan). Strictly speaking, since nuns col-
lect "uncooked rice," their act of alms-collecting should be
referred to as hsan-hkan-thi, and not hsun-hkan-thi. Nowadays,
however, all acts of collecting alms, for both monks and nuns,
are referred to as hsun-hkan-thi. I assume that the moment
uncooked rice (hsan) is offered to thila-shins, the religious
nificance of "offering food" or "receiving religious alms"
implied by the honorific verb hkan-thi becomes more salient
than the distinction between cooked and uncooked. Moreover,
there is a similarity in tone between hsan and hsun. The pointis
that the act of collecting alms referred to as hsun-kan-thi high-
lights the fact that nuns are fully acknowledged members of the
Buddhist community who are also dependent on the mercy or
lay donors, and though it is understood that the nuns can cook
raw rice (hsan) which they have collected, this has to be played
down so that their dependent position becomes emphasized iT!-
the act of alms-collecting, lest the problems of their claim for
independence be raised.
Another example is provided by the honorific verbs used in
connection with the residence of monks and nuns who live in
monasteries or nunneries. These religious premises, which are
different from lay people's living quarters, are supposed to be
. a realm where the lifestyle of stoic discipline and morality is
prevalent. In this case, the honorific verb, thadin thon-thi (to
live, to reside, to stay, literally to practise religious life) is used
for both monks and nuns, instead of the nei-thi or te-thi (to live
or to put up) used for lay people. At one point during 17th to
mid-19th century Buddhist nuns were also called thadin thei,34
meaning those who live in religious compounds, rather than
the present-day name thila-shin.
Ill. Conclusion
The honorific pronouns and special verbs employed make
,.it clear that the demarcation line is clearly drawn between
rnonks, who enjoy supreme religious status, and the rest, who
are considered religiously inferior. The monks are referred to
with the highest respect and deference, so that even their daily
activities are not allowed to sound mundane and ordinary but
represented as holy and spiritual.
The categorization and application of religious honorifics
signify that thila-shin in Burma are very much integrated mem-
bers of the Buddhist community. They may not be part of the
lokuttara from a textual point of view, which often represents
.the view of monks and some intellectuals, but in actual daily
life, thila-shin are treated very much as part of the religious
Senior and important nuns, such as ten-precept thila-shin,
are treated with more respect than ordinary nuns, which
results in more frequent use of honorific words. Honorific
:words used to address thila-shin are often used with the same
amount of deference as for novices, suggesting that in practice,
thila-shin and novices are almost at the same religious level.
This evidence suggests that seniority, length of service, influ-
ence and actual position in the religious community are much
more significant criteria than whether one is categorically "in"
or "out" of the lokuttara.
36 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
The reverence shown towards them in the application "''f
religious honorifics is one criteria of evaluating where the
shin stand. I have come to the conclusion that thila-shin
widely associated with the lokuttara, in spite of efforts
categorize them as pious laywomen (upiisikii).
The major difficulty in understanding the place of
however, lies in the fact that we have to deal with two
social perception and actual standing. The religious positionaf
nuns relies much on social
The laIty IS affected by the monk.s,. who,
. the textual VIew, tend to play down the posItIon of nuns, bi:ir
social perception also is affected by actual lay interaction willi-
the nuns. As the standard of education rises and the
tance of their role in the Buddhist community increases,
respect shown toward thiM-shin increasingly seems to
their official religious status. Still, their lack of secure
status means that their position constantly fluctuates betweeB?1
the limited importance given them in the official view and
actual importance they have achieved in the Buddhist commti!
nity, so their status finally can be defined only in relational
contextual terms, vis a vis-and somewhere in
monks and the laity. .
1. Fieldwork in Burma was conducted from March 1986 to June 1987,;
and January to March 1988, supported by Central Research Fund, University';
of London and Toytota Foundation, Japan. I would like to thank Dr. Alfred;
Gell, Gustaaf Houtman, Sam Landell-Mills and Jonathan Spencer for
useful comments and proof-reading. I am also deeply indebted to my Burmese';
teacher Mr. John Okell, whose method I used for Burmese transliteration, fl?r'
correcting my mistakes and for many useful suggestions.
2. The Pali terms, bhikkhu for male, bhikkhunffor female, literally
those who live on alms. There are no equivalent terms in English
Horner choses "monk" as the nearest equivalent for bhikkhu, and "nun" for;
bhikkhuni (1938: and these terms seem to be the accepted translation. The,':
ancient bhikkhunfs, who abided by 311 Vinqya rules, may have been equivalent
"female monks," though they are considered extinct today. ,{
In this article, I will refer to these "religious women" as "thilri-shin" in
Burmese context or "contemporary Buddhist nuns," in contrast to
bhikkhunis. I have also used the term "nuns" for convenience to signifY that they::
.. . alII1sWomen with heads shorn and live a religious life following eight to ten
though only when the term was considered not confusing for the
p. .
"i. . 3. "A good deal of uncertainty surrounds the actual foundation of the
Order of almswomen that its beginnings are wrapped in mists":
gorner, Women in Primitive Buddhisin (London, 1930), p. 102. Perhaps the story
; [the formation of the bhikkhunz Sangha was a myth in itself; its formation dur-
fng the time. of and its uncertain exti.nction make the story in
order to ratlOnahze why present-day BuddhIst nuns can never acqUlre formal
religious status.
i . 4. See Khantipalo Bhikkhu, Banner of the Arahants, (Kandy, 1979), pp.
:131-2, and Catherine Ojha, "Feminine Asceticism in Hinduism: Its Tradition
and Present Condition," Man in India, 61:3 (1981), pp. 254-85.
5. "The Case of the Vanishing Nuns: The Fruits of Ambivalence in
Ancient Indian Buddhism," Unspoken Worlds, ed. N. Falk & R. Gross (San
Francisco, 1980), p. 220.
. 6. Strictly speaking, eight to ten precepts should not be called "szla" but
"sikkhiipada" in Pali. However, the first five sUa (panca-szla) and the first five sik-
khiipada are the same in content, and called panca-dhammii. These five rules of
U10rality provide preliminary conditions for higher spiritual development. The
:eightfold precepts recommended for the Buddhist laity are called atthanga-
samaniiagata uposatha (i.e., attangika u.). See Pali Dictionary, ed. T. W. Rhys Davids
andW. Stede, (1925), pp. 171-2.
. 7. Mya Sein, Daw, Myan-ma Bok-dd-ba-tha Taya U-padei (Principles of
Burmese Buddhist Law), (Mandalay, 1962), p. 319.
8. The term lokiya is translated as mundane or worldly, thus "secular,"
while lokuttara is translated as transcendental, supra-mundane or spiritual. See
PaliDictionary, ed. byT. W. Rhys David and W. Stede, (Surrey, 1925), p. 46.
9. One chapter of my thesis, "The Position and Role of Women in Bur-
mese Buddhism" is about this partnership. There are many patterns to be
found in it, but the combination of scholarly nun. and domestic nun was the
most common.
10. The Buddhist Lent is a period of retreat during the rainy season when
religious observances are strictly observed. It usually extends over three
months, from July to October.
II. Ven U. Nyanawara, lecturer at the Madalay Pali University says that
throughout the Buddhist canon, Tipitaka, the seventh and eighth of the ten pre-
cepts stand separately for the monks and novices. But they are combined into
one (the seventh precept) for lay followers as a part of the eight precepts. He
adds that nowhere in the Tipitaka could he find a reason why they are divided
for some and fused for others (Private Correspondence, 21 June 1988).
12. Among them are thUd-shin whose names are Daw Mala-yi, Daw
Hei-ma-yi (Thameik-taw Gyatin), Daw Khon-ma-yi (Aye-myo Gyatin), Daw
Nya-ne-ti (Daw Nya-na Sari Kyatin-Daik).
13. Gon (guna in Pali) was translated by my informants as "good quality"
or "virtue, worth, prestige, honour"; it connotes for Burmese Buddhists a
special quality inherited from previous incarnations.
38 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
14. L. W. Bloss, "The Female Renunciants of Sri Lanka: The Dasasila11'l. _
tawa," The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 7:2 (19S:{
pp. 7-29, E. Nissan, "Recovering Practice: Buddhist Nuns in Sri Lanka" So h
Asia Research, 4:1 (1984), pp. 32-49, R. Gombrich and G. Obeyesekere u!
"Buddhism Transformed," (Princeton, 1989). ' In
15. Arahant in . P a l ~ (yahiln-da in Burmese) is one who has attained the final
and absolute emanCIpatIOn. .
16. See Khantipalo Bhikkhu, "With Robes and Bowl," (Ceylon, 1965)
p. lO. '
17. Verbally transmitted rules are primarily about the everYday
behaviour of thila-shin. Sneezing, laughing, talking loudly, big gestures, yawn-
ing, abusive words, big strides in walking, noisiness, laziness and lack of respect
towards elders, etc., are all frowned upon as improper behaviour.
18. Every thila-shin in Sagaing Buddhist community is required to
memorize the "Regulations for ThUa-shin" written in 1914 by the influential
abbot of Maha Ganda-yon monastery. The rules stipulate details from the
acceptance of newcomers, and daily routine, duties and obligations, up to'
minor details of everyday behaviour,such as going out for alms, and behaviour
towards monks, senior nuns and towards lay men. Respect, obedience, mindful-
ness, moderation and good manners are emphasized. It is interesting to note
that proper conduct towards a monk is stipulated in every possible situation,
which shows the full apprehension of the danger of monks and nuns living side-
by-side in a small community. Punishments following the violation of these
rules are also specified in detail.
19. Burmese laity learn how to use religious honorifics from their parents
or learn the usage while staying in monasteries and nunneries, but there are
increasing numbers of lay people who do not know the correct usage. While
these people and children shy away or keep silent in front of monks for fear of
offending them, thila-shin often take up the role of teaching or correcting reli-
gious honorifics for the laity.
20. See. J. Bunnag, Buddhist Monk, Buddhist Layman, (Cambridge, 1973),
21. It was suggested that a laywoman used to refer to herself as tabyi-daw- .
ma, but I did not hear this said even once during my seventeen months in the
Buddhist community. Theoretically, it is correct to add the female suffix ma, but
custom has allowed the pronoun tabyi-daw to stay free of gender suffix. Nuns, as
well as laywomen, refer to themselves as tabyi-daw (your disciple) in front
of monks.
22. The term hpayil is used for God, Buddha, objects of worship, lord,
master, etc. Judson's Burmese-English Dictionary, revised by R.C Stevenson
(Rangoon, 1893),p.802
23. This literal translation was suggested by John Okell.
24. J. Bunnag, ibid., p. 35.
25. Kyun, literally meaning "slave," signified the lowest and humblest
position in the household. The meaning of kyun-ma was literally "your female
slave," which was the humblest of self references for a laywoman. Kyun, com-
bined with an honorific daw to make kyun-daw and kyama, are khin-bya (your
ster) by a layman and shin (your honour) by a laywoman. See Judson's Bur-
English Dictionary, p. 260.
26. C. Keyes, "Mother or Mistress But Never a Monk: Buddhist Notions
Fernale Gender," American Ethnologist, 11:2 (1984), pp. 223-41, T Kirsch,
ex:t and Context: Buddhist Sex Roles," American Ethnologist, 12:2 (1985),
. 27. Hkame-daw, the honorific term employed for the father of a king, monk
nun, was heard, but not as frequently nor with as much emphasis as the hon-
'fie term for mother (me-daw). This seems to suggest that "fatherhood" is sym-
ically less important in the Buddhist community. .
28. This was so in the case of Daw Dhammasari (1878-1971) who was
ed the TIpifaka medaw, since she was the symbolic mother of the eminent
nk who had memorized the whole of the TIpifaka.
29. Notice that female teachers in the lay world are called hsaya-ma
teacher), with a female gender sufiL'{ ma added to hsaya (teacher). Lay
ie teachers are simply addressed as hsaya. Nuns, who are part of the asexual
tara, are exempt from the gender distinction in the secular loki;ya. Therefore
are never addressed as hsaya-ma, but as hsaya-lei (small teacher) or hsaya-gyi
I ig teacher) . .
30. Gyi-daw or daw-gyi is a kinship term used for the elder sister of both
and paternal sides, and gyi-gyi is the affectionate diminutive for it.
31. Daw-lei is used for the younger sister on both maternal and paternal

i:' 32. J. Okell points out that the difference between the verbs yon-thi and
simply designates the differences in the kind of "putting-on" involved.
33. This term may derive from hpim (glory) in reference to hpon-gyi
f(monk), butJ. Okell considers that it may derive from the Pali word bhufijati (to

34. This term could originally be used for both female and male sabbath-
'keepers, but it became distinctively used to refer to female sabbath keepers or
in the Ava period, according to the accounts of the time. See Va-way Tun,
:'[hilti-shin Thamaing (The History of Burmese Nuns), (Rangoon, 1965), p. 162.
. 35. The situation for contemporary Buddhist nuns in Thailand seems to
,be different; according to J. Bunnag (ibid., 1973),p. 35, nuns or mae chi are
,treated in these same contexts as ordinary lay people., even with regard to lin-
guistic usage between the Buddhist community and Thai laity.
of Can drago min's
* Kayatrayavatara "
is a well-known-and, as is so often the case,
isinewhat obscure-figure in the history of Indian Buddhist
:terature. As the traditional accounts of his life are readily
and have been much discussed, I will not deal with
;ffiem here. The most recent detailed and scholarly treatment of
and his works that I know of is given by Michael
in the introduction to his Candragomins Lokanandana(aka
'Wiesbaden"1974, pp. 1-13), which also furnishes comprehen-
sive ,bibliographical references.
11 Since the publication of Hahn's work, Candragomin has
more the limelight with English
of the TIbetan verSIOns of a number of hIS works lost m
Sthe original Sanskrit. In Dif.ficult Beginnings: Three 14Vrks on the
Path (Boston 1985) Mark Tatz
three of Candragomm s most Important and charactens-
works-the Candragomipra1Jidhana, Bodhisattvasafrwaraviinfaka,
ind Defanastava-and provides some useful introductory and
material. While Tatz's book focuses more on the
?r practical side of C.andr.agomin: another set of traris-
IS more concerned WIth hIS devotIOnal nature: the four
(stotra) to Tara translated by Martin Willson in his In
rraise if Tara: Songs to the Saviouress (London, 1986,. pp. 222-
t237). Candragomin was also renowned as a dramatist, and
Hahn has now provided an English translation of the
under the title Joy for the 14Vrld (Berkeley, 1987),
J>ased on his edition of Tibetan and Sanskrit sources with Ger-

Plan translation, referred to above.
I. 41
42 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
In addition, A. K. Warder has devoted a section ofh.
Indian Kiivya Literature (vol. 3, Delhi, 1977, pp. 66-77) to C IS
in to the Lokiinanda, and
Kanyawasam has contnbuted an entry on Candragornin t
the Encyclopaedia qf Buddhism (vol. iii, fascicle 4, Colornbo 197i
pp. 646-648). '
Michael Hahn (1974, pp. 9-12) lists 63 works attributed (
Candragomin in the Peking edition )gyur. The
of these are short siidhanas and stotras, and It IS by no means ce;.
tain that all of them are correctly attributed, or that they are
all by one and the same author. Taranatha reports a tradition
that Candragomin composed a total of 432 separate works: 108
"hymns" (bstod pa, stotra) , 108 treatises on "inner science"
(nang rig pa)i bstan beos, adhyiitma-vidyii-fiistra), 108 treatises on
"outer science" (phyi rol gyi bstan beos, bahirdhii-fiistra), and 108
on "fine arts" (bzo gnas, filpa-sthiina).1
The present paper hopes to throw further light on
dragomin's literary career by investigating the possibility that
he composed a work on the three "bodies" (trikaya, kiiyatraya)
of a Buddha, and that this work is partially preserved in Ti.'
betan translation. The evidence for this will be presented in.
two sections:
(I) the attribution to Candragomin of a text entitled * Kiiya-
trayiivatiira by the Tibetan historians Bu ston and Taranatha:
Although this evidence is based on Tibetan tradition, I assume
that the two authors base their statements on Indian sources.
(II) a citation of seven verses on the trikiiya by Dasabala-
srlmitra in his Samskrtiisamskrta-vinifeaya, a Northern Indian
source preserved only in Tibetan translation. Although
Dasabalasrlmitra does not give the title of the text from which
he has drawn the verses, he ascribes then to a * Mahii-upiisaka
The presentation of evidence is followed by (III), an attempt to
reconcile the evidence of the Tibetan historians with that of the
Indian Dasabalasrlmitra, in the form of a discussion of whether
* Mahii-upiisaka Candra is Candragomin, and whether the verses
cited by Dasabalasrimitra could be from the * Kayatrayiivatara.
iJ.Eu stan and Tiiraniitha on Candragomin's *Kayatrayavatara
In their well-known histories of Buddhism, Bu ston (1290-
) and (born 1575)2 ?escribe the life.,
literary actIvIty o! Candragomm. Both authontles attn-
16ute to him a work entItled sKu gsum la' jug pa, * Kii;yatrayiivatiira.
'i.rhe references are as follows: .
rje btsun 'jig rten dbang phyug gi zhal nas I theg chen gyi bstan
bcos mang du rtsoms shig gsungs nas zla ba sgron ma'i 'grel pa
dang/ sku gsum la 'jug pa la sogs pa mang du mdzad I
When holy LokeSvara had commanded [Candragomin] to
"compose many treatises on the Great Vehicle!" (mahiiyiina-
fiistra), he wrote many works such as the Commentary on the
Candraprad1:pa[ -sutra] , the * Kiiyatrqyiivatiira, etc.
?iii) n.ranatha (120.22 I 1207)
sdom nyi shu pa dangl sku gsum la 'jug pa nil theg chen
pal).<;lita phyis byon pa thams cad kyis slob par byed pa byung
All the later authorities (pa'l}r/ita) of the Great Vehicle studied and
taught the [Bodhisattva-]samvaravimfaka and the * Kiiyatrayiivatiira.
The first work mentioned by Bu ston, a commentary on the
well-known Candrapradzpa- or Samiidhiroja-sutra, has not been
preserved. Taranatha (120.12f/ /206-207) also implies that
'such a work was composed by Candragomin, since he includes
the Candrapradzpa- (Zla ba sgron me) in a list offive "marvelous"
(rmad du byung ba, adbhuta) sutras which Candragomin, at the
behest of Arya Tara, "expounded constantly and without inter-
ruption to others, and recited daily," and states that he com-
posed treatises that summarized the essential meaning (don
bsdu'i bstan beos) of such sutras.
The first work mentioned by Taranatha, the Bodhisattva-
samvaravimfaka, is extant in Tibetan and has been translated
into English by M. Tatz (see above). Taranatha's estimation of
44 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
the import;mce and popularity of this text in India is corrob::
orated by the fact that at least two Indian commentaries, both
available, in Tibetan translation, are known: one by the great
par!,q,ita and another by Bodhibhadra.

Bodhisattvasafnvaravifnfaka played a significant role in the history of
Tibetan Buddhism as a manual of bodhisattva practice; a commen:
tary on it was composed by the Sa skya scholar Grags pa rGya.t
mtshan, and it is frequently referred to in Tibetan literature.
Despite the fact that it was singled out for attention by
Bu ston and Taranatha, the second text mentioned by the two
authorities, the * Kifyatrayiivatiira, does not seem ever to
been translated into Tibetan; nor is it extant in the original
Sanskrit or in Chinese translation. While the bsTan 'gyur does'
contain a number of short texts devoted to the subject dr.
trikifya, none of them are attributed to Candragomin.

In the citations given above Bu ston and Taranatha
tion the * Kifyatrayiivatiira in quite different contexts and
it with different works. Furthermore, their treatment of Carl.:;'
dragomin's life and works differs in that each deals with
ignored by the other, Taranatha's account being
and in that even events common to both accounts differ iill
details. From this I conclude that the two authors derived
knowledge of the * Kifyatrayiivatiira from different sources:
ston from a hagiographical tradition, andraranatha
scholastic tradition that perhaps reflects the curriculum of
universities of Northern India.

II. Dafabalafrfmitra and the qf*Maha-upasaka
A possible citation of the lost * Kifyatrayiivatiira is given
Dasabalasrimitra in his Samskrtiisamskrtavinifcaya.7 In an
paper I have attempted to demonstrate that the author of
text most probably lived in North-eastern India during
Sena period, in about the second half of the 12th century
In the 27th chapter, the *
Dasabalasrimitra cites seven versesH
seven syllables per line on the subject of the trikifya,
attributes to a * Mahii-upiisaka Candra. A transcription of the.
verses (1) follows, along with (2) a translation of verses 1 t9
'on the dharmakaya and verse 7 on the nirmiir;akaya. In the
~ b s e n c e of a commentary or a wider context, I have been
unable to understand verses 5 and 6 or to relate them to the
:safnbhogakiiya, and therefore leave them untranslated.
:(1) Text
dge bsnyen chen po zla ba'i zhal nasi chos kyi sku'i dbang du
byas nas gsungs pa I
1. 'di yi chos sku de bzhin nyid I
mam rtog mams kyi spyod yul min I
sems can rnams dang don rnams kyil
rang bzhin de dag gnyis su med I
2. sna tshogs ngo bo'i sku rnams dang I
'gro rnams de nyid ngo bo rnamsl
gang du ro gcig 'gro 'gyur bal
rgya mtshor 'bab pa'i chu bo bzhinl
3. mam pa 'di 'dra'i sku de nil
skyob pa mams kyi chos sku stel
rnam pa thams cad mam dag pal
rdzogs byang chub kyi spyod yul nyidl
4. de yi 10 nus pa rang ngang gis I
dus rnams kun tu
'jig rten dul
mtha' yas don mams byed pa nil
nyi ma'i 'od zer Ita bu'o I I
longs spyod rdzogs pa'i dbang du byas pa nil
5. dmus long Ita bus bdag spangs nasi
rang nyid bsod nams bsags can gyis I
de ni gcig pu gcig
car du I
nyi rna Ita bur kun gyis mthong I
6. 'on pa Ita bu bdag spangs nas I
bsod nams nor bsags snyan rnamskyis I
dam chos bdud rtsi'i bcud len ni I
de la de ring yang Idan 13 nyid Ices 14 so I I
46 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
spruIpa'i sku'i dbang du byas pa nil
7. mtha' yas phyogs su mtha' med pa'il
sems can theg pa gsum gyis 'dir I
yang dang yang du mam dag byed I
sa bon ci bzhin bsam ji 15 bzhin I zhes so I /
(2) Translation ofverses 1,2,3,4, and 7
With reference to the dharmakiiya, the Great Upiisaka Candra has
1. His [the Buddha's] dharmakiiya is Suchness (tathatii) ,
beyond the sphere of discrimination (avikal pa-gocara) ,
not separate (advrrya) from the true nature (svabhiiva)
of sentient beings (sattva) and phenomena (artha).
2. The manifold "essential bodies" (svabhiivakiiya)
and all realms of existence (gati) are precisely it
wherein all phenomena take on a single taste (ekarasa)
like the rivers that merge with the sea.
3. A body of such a nature
is the dharmakiiya of the Protectors:
perfectly pure (vifuddha) in every respect,
the very sphere of perfect awakening (sambodhi).
4. Quite naturally (svarasena) it has the ability
to effect limitless benefits (artha)
throughout all time, throughout the world,
just like the rays of the sun.
With reference to the nirmii'f}akiiya:
7. Here [in this world], by means ofthe three vehicles (yiina)
again and again it purifies
limitless sentient beings in limitless directions
according to their potential (bzja) and aspirations (Maya).
The Samskrtiisamskrtavinifcaya is an erudite and eclectic
work that draws on a wide range of sources of both the friivaka-
and bodhisattva- yiinas. All named sources that I have been able
i'fotrace are correctly. attributed; furthermore, the translation
if(bY unkno'::r: hands) IS s.mooth and and, when
the ongmal Sansknt of the texts cIted when such are avall-
t;::ble, is up to the best standards of Tibetan translation. Thus
cannot be much doubt that in the original Sanskrit text
Samskrtiisainskrtavinifcaya Dasabalasrlmitra cited the ver-
and correctly attributed them to * Mahii-upiisaka
according to the tradition that he had received, or
Hhat the verses were accurately rendered into Tibetan.
oj Sources
The question that I now wish to consider is whether
;,'*Mahii-upiisaka Candra can be identified with Candragomin,
;Ihhd whether the source of the verses can be the latter's lost

;!I(r In Tibetan texts, the name Candragomin is generally
ifiansliterated rather than translated; such is the case with
lm()st of the colophons of the works' attributed to him, and with
l'theTibetan historians Bu ston and Taranatha, who preface the
:'hame with iiciirya (slob dpon). Three of the bsTan 'gyur texts listed
(1974, p. 12) are ascribed to btsun pa Zla ba, which is
in the Mahiivyutpatti
as equivalent to Candragomin. Zla
the standard Tibetan equivalent of candra, while btsun pa,
ll.ormally representing bhadanta,17 would seem here to represent
Tibetan tradition is unanimous in asserting that Can-
:aragomin was a layman; I-Ching (in English translation) sim-
iWy calls him "Mahasattva Candra, a learned man."IB
iIaranatha (117.6/ /202) explains the name as follows: ''At the
.;ihstance of Arya AvalokiteSvara, he became a gomi-upiisaka (go
tizCi dge bsnyen); since his name was Candra, he was known
as Candragomin (Tsandra go mi)." Further on
;(204.l7/ /337) Taranatha uses the phrase go miJi dge bsnyen to
Kumarananda, who taught the Prajiiiipiiramitii in
India at an unknown date. An Amaragomin (Go mi 'chi
;Wed) collaborated with bLo ldan shes rab on the translation
$fMaitreya's Abhisamayiilanakiira
' and Arya Vimuktisena's
around 1100; according to Bu ston, he was a resident
48 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
Instances of the use of in the s.ame ser:se as described
by Taranatha also occur outsIde of IndIa. In TIbet, 'Gos 10 t
ba gZhon nu dpal (1392-1481), writing in his Blue
states that the_ Rinpoche lung pa '.'took up
vows of an upasaka at the age of eIghteen. Roench gives th
Tibetan for "vows of an upiisaka" as go mi)i sdom pa
smiwara] , and explains the phrase thus: '''vows of Gomi' ab.
staining from sexual life. Some say that the term mean; the
'vows taken by Candragomin."'22 .
In Sri Lanka, an important literary figure of the latter part
of the 12th century was GurulugomI [Garu<;la-gomin], whose
name is explained by C. E. Godakumbura as follows: "In the
name Gurulu-gomin the latter part -gamin means a Buddhist
lay-follower [footnote: gamin = with no
source given]. The same title was suffixed t9 the name of
Candra, the grammarian and author of the Siualekha. Both
these names GurulugomI and SandagomI [= Candragomin)
are cited as examples of nipiitana by the author of the Sinhalese
Grammar, the Sidatsangarii, which was composed somewhere in
the thirteenth century."23
I may note here that CaI}dragomin's Sisyalekha and
grammar were well-known in Sri Lanka and exerted a consid-
erable influence upon its literature. 24 Taranatha (117.811202),
reports that Candragomin visited that country, where he'
spread the knowledge of secular subjects, taught the
Mahayana as appropriate, and built many dharma-centres.,'
In standard Sanskrit gomin literally means "lord or owner
of cattle." This definition is given, for example, by two South
Indian commentaries on the Amarakofa, explaining the
dvau gavzfvare gomiin gomz of the root-text: gaviim-zsvare sviimini
gavzsvare) santy-asya gomiin gomz ca gosviimi-niimanz, and
25 Monier-Williams adds the definition "i-.
layman adhering to the Buddha's faith," which he ascribes to
"lexicographers" without giving an exact reference.
From "owner of cattle" to "Buddhist layman" is something
of a quantum leap, and it is obvious that the meaning oft4e,
Buddhist usage of gomin is not to be sought in orthodox etymoh
ogy. I have not come across any other examples of the technical.
usage of gomin for a type of upiisaka, or been able to find a
specific definition of the term. Thus I am unable to state!
exactly what type of upiisaka vows gomin implies. But the
of Tibetan and Sinhalese sources is quite remarkable, and
establishes the definition of gomin as an unspecified
of upiisaka. .
This brings us to the first of the questions I raised earlier,
;{$hether * Candra can be
'aentified wIth Candragomm. Smce tradItIOn avers that Can-
!Jragomin was upiisaka, and since his name is interpreted in
Tibet and Sri Lanka as "Candra the upiisaka," I feel that
c.itis certain that he and * Mahii-upiisaka Candra are one and the
. Very few of the Buddhist writers about whom we have
knowledge .were the masters of b?th
'Jfiivaka and bodhzsattva vehIcles were bhzk!jus. Thus, consIdenng
the fame and influence of Candragomin, the epithet Mahii-
:ljpiisaka, "the Great Layman," would been quite fitting.27
The second questIOn I have raIsed, whether the verses
ibited by Dasabalasrimitra are taken from the * Kiiyatrayiivatiira
;i:'annot, in the absence of that text, be resolved with finality. I
itin only say that, on the basis of the points listed below, there
1s.a strong likelihood that such was the case:
the subject of the verses is clearly the trikiiya, and they are
cited by Dasabalasrimitra as authoritative in the context of
that subject;
Taranatha states that" all the later authorities of the Great
Vehicle studied and taught ... the * Kiiyatrayiivatiira";
Dasabalasrimitra was one such authority;
since the * Kiiyatrayiivatiira was still known to Tibetan schol-
ars some centuries after the time of Dasabalasrimitra (if my
dating of the latter is correct), it could still have been extant
in India at the time ofDasabalasrimitra;
it is unlikely that Candragomin would have composed two
authoritative texts on the subject of trikiiya.
In conclusion, I must confess that I have not been able to
the extensive opus attributed to Candragomin in the
:RsTan 'gyur for these verses. However, since the titles of these
indicate that they are siidhanas or stotras dedicated to vari-
,Ous bodhisattvas or tantric "deities," none of them are likely can-
gidates. A more promising source for further evidence is the
corpus of Mahayana fiistra literature preserved in'
Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese; considering the alleged popu-
50 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. I
larity of the work, it is possible that citations of it exist wh':h<
h . . Ie
may prove or Isprove my t eSIS. .
1. Tibetan text ed. A. Schiefner, Tiiraniithae de Doctrinae Buddhicae in indo
Propagatione, rep. Tokyo, n.d., p. 120.17. English translation ed. D. Ch
topadhyaya, History if in !ndia, Calcutta, 1980, p. 207. Ref:!}
ences to Taranatha WIll hereafter be gIven m parentheses by Schiefner, page
and line, followed by Chattopadhyaya, page, i.e. 00.00/ /00.
2. Dates as given by Hahn, 1974, p. 6.
3. Tibetan text ed. Lokesh Chandra, Bu-ston's History if Buddhism, New
Delhi, 1971, p. 836.1. English translation by E. Obermiller, History if Buddhism
by Bu-ston, part ii, Heidelberg, 1932, p. 133.
4. For these commentaries, cf. Hahn, 1974, p. 12, and Tat:,;, op. cit.,pp:
13-16. Tatz incorporates material from both in his own commentary, p.
also refers (p. 15) to "a fragment of what constitutes the beginning of a cori-'
mentary to the Twenty verses which is otherwise unknown" from Tun Huang,
which, considering its relatively early date, is more likely to be a translation
from Sanskrit than an original Tibetan commentary, and thus may represent a
third Indian commentary.
5. Tatz, op. cit., pp. 13-16.
6. These include the following (references here and in the following.
notes are to the Peking edition of the Tibetan Tripitaka reprinted by the Tibetan
Tripitaka Research Institute, Tokyo-Kyoto, 1958):
Kiiyatrayiivatiiramukha ofNagamitra, P 5290, pp. 118.1.1-121.4.7.
This text, composed entirely in verse, does not contain the verses
discussed in this article or appear to be related to them in
arrangement, or in any other way.
Kiiyatrayav!tti ofJfianacandra, P 5291, pp. 121.4.8-136.1.1. This isa
prose commentary on the preceding; although it makes a number
of citations from Mahayana siitras, a cursory examination does not,'
reveal any citation of the verses in question, or any reference to
Candragomin and his * Kiiyatrayiivatiira.
Kiiyatrayastotra, attributed to Nagarjuna, P 2015. Christian
Lindtner, in his Niigii7juniana: Studies in the Writings and Philosophfof
Niigii7juna (Copenhagen, 1982, pp. 15-16) lists this with the texts
he considers "most probably not genuine." Cf. p. 16, note 35, for
bibliographical references, to which may be added "Trikayastava
in an Inscription at Mahintale," Epigraphia Zeylanica, vol.
pp. 242-246. Cf. also D. Ruegg, The Literature if the Madhyamakq
School if Philosophy in India, Wiesbaden, 1981, p. 56 and note 163."
The Sanskrit titles given in the Tibetan Tripitaka are in some cases recon.-
structed by its editors. To the best of my knowledge, the original titles of the
above and of Candragomin's sKu gsum la 'jug pa are not attested in
.. "U" text. A possible alternative for Kiiyatraya- is Trikiiya-; I have
Kiiyatraya- since it has been preferred by most scholars to date.
7. sTobs "bcu dpal bshes gnyen, 'Dus byas dang 'dus ma byas roam par nges
vol. 146 .
. 8. P. Skilling, "The SainskrJiisainskrta-Vinifcaya of Dasabalasnmitra,"
. Studies Review, London, vol. 4 no. 1, 1987, pp. 3-23.
9. Pp. 90.1.2-99.2.4, Byang chub sems dpa'i tshullugs la shes rab pha rol phyin
sgom pa roam par nges pa. The citation is found at ngo mtshar bstan bcos, no,
7b1 (p. 97.1.3fl). I have also consulted the Sde-dge Bstan-'gyur Series:
108, "published as a part of the dgons-rdzogs of H.H. the Sixteenth
Karma-pa," dbu ma, ha, 290b4-291a1 (p. 580.4ff). The few minor
are given in the following notes.
10. Sde dge:yis.
11. Sde dge: duo
12. Sde dge: cig.
13. Here the Peking edition adds an unnecessary pa, which does not fit
!ilii., 14. Peking: zhes .
. 15. Sde dge: ci. "
16. Mahiivyutpatti, ed. R. Sakaki, Kyoto, 1926, item 3493.
17. Mahiivyutpatti 8702, 9220.
18. Translated J Takakusu, A Record qf the Buddhist Religion as Practised in
and the Malay Archipelago, rep. new Delhi, 1982, p. 164.
E. Conze, The Prajniipiiramitii Literature, Tokyo, 1978, p. 39; A. Chat-
yaya, Catalogue qf Indian Buddhist Texts in Tibetan Translation: Tanjur (bsTan
), Calcutta, 1983, p. 17.
" 20. E. Conze, op. cit., p.1l2; A. Chattopadhyaya, op. cit., p. 211; C.
sa, L'Abhisamayiilainkiiravrtti di Arya-Vimuktisena, Rome, 1967, p. 3.
21. E. Obermiller, op. cit., ii 215.
22. G. N. Roerich, The Blue Annals, rep. Delhi, 1976, vol. i, p. 297. Addi-
's in square brackets in this and the following citation are my own.
23. C.E Godakumbura, Sinhalese Literature, Colombo, 1955, p. 49.
24. Cf. A.G.S. Kariyawasam, op. cit., p. 648. "
25. A. A. Ramanathan, Amarakofa with the Unpublished South Indian Commen-
"es, vol. i, Madras, 1971, pp. 588-589 (Dvifiyakiirp!a, Vai.{yavarga, v. 58).
. 26. Sanskrit-English Dictionary, rep. Delhi, 1976, p. 366.
27. Throughout this paper, I have rendered Dasabalasrlmitra's dge bsnyen
po Zla ba as Mahii-upiisaka Candra. Based on the Tibetan and Sinhalese
that dge bsnyen = upiisaka = gomin, it would also be possible to
it as Candra-mahagomin or Mahacandragomin. Neither of these seems

and .
PhysIcal BasIs of the ConcentratIons
Formless Absorptions According to
Tibetan Presentations
;'!'he concentrations (bsam gtan, dhyiina) J and formless absorp-
t'tfbilS (gzugs med kyi snyoms Jug, iirupyasamiipatti) are important
as a system of meditation but also because of their
to traditional Buddhist cosmology. Buddhist
!istholars have studied this relationship from two points of view,
,:bbth concerned with action (las), or karma. The first places
ffth6se rebirth states in the structure of the cosmology, which, in
;;iUrn, provides a general map of cyclic existence ('khor ba,
Ml1Psara) and of the physical and mental states possible within
is the approach of chapter 3 ofVasubandhu's Treasury if
::Yanifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakofa, Chos mngon paJi mdzod) and
(Abhidharmakofabhii,rya, Chos mngon pa'i mdzod
fki- bshad pa)-for Tibetans of all schools, the major Indian
for the map of cyclic existence. Chapter 4, a detailed
Yqi$cussion of the topic of karma, amplifies the general map in
3 by applying many of its technical points to specific
and levels of cyclic existence.
Vasubandhu's Treasury if Manifest Knowledge and its Autocom-
lists only five transmigrations, whereas Tibetan cos-
!'piologies include a sixth, that of demigods (lha ma yin, asura).
iRemigods are also included in Theravada cosmologies,3 which
not transmitted to Tibet. For Tibetan descriptions of
(1emigods, the main source seems to be stanza 102 of Nagar-
Friendly Letter (Suhrllekha, bShes paJi spring yig) , which
them in the context of a vivid depiction of the suffer-
cyclic existence; Nagarjuna's Friendly Letter influenced
dGe-lugs (Ge-luk
) stages-of-the-path (lam rim) tradition,5
54 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
as well as the more technical discussions of cosmology in dG
lugs monastic textbooks (yig cha). e:
The second point of view, which presupposes the firf
examines the qualities of the sentient beings (sems can,
the various realms and levels of cyclic existence in order
between those are capable of cultivating and
attammg the concentratIOns and formless absorptions and
those who are not. It is from this second point of view that
dGe-Iugs monastic textbooks set forth the topic of the physical
basis (lus rten) of the concentrations and formless absorptions.&
1. Cyclic Existence
I t may be useful to set the topic of the physical basis of the con-
centrations and formless absorptions against the backgroun(1
of a dGe-Iugs presentation of cyclic existence. The contempQ:
rary dGe-Iugs scholar Lati Rinbochay explains cyclic
tence as consisting of the three realms and the nine
(khams gsum sa dgu). The three realms are the Desire Realrri'
('dod khams, kiimadhiitu), the Form Realm (gzugs khams, riipadhiitu),"
and the Formless Realm (gzug med khams, iiriipyadhiitu). The'
nine levels are the Desire Realm, the four main divisions of
Form Realm, and the four divisions of the Formless Realm;
Since these divisions of the Form and Formless Realms corres-
pond to the actual absorptions (dngos gzhi'i snyoms 'jug,
maulasamiipatti) that cause rebirth in those realms, the fout:"
main levels of the Form Realm are called the First Concentni>
tion (bsam gtan dang po, prathamadhyiina), the Second Concentra.-:
tion (bsam gtan gnyis pa, dvitfyadhyiina), the Third
(bsam gtan gsum pa, tritfyadhyiina) , and the Fourth Concentration'
(bsam gtan bzhi pa, caturthadhyiina). The divisions of the
Realm also have the same names as the actual absorptionsthaf,
cause rebirth in them; they are called Limitless Space (nain
mkha' mtha' yas, iikiifiinantya) , Limitless Consciousness (rnam:,f
shes mtha' yas, vijiiiiniinantya) , Nothingness (ci yang med,
iikir[lcanya) , and the Peak of Cyclic Existence (srid rtse,'
bhaviigra).7 (For a chart of cyclic existence showing the thr(':(':}
realms and the nine levels, see page 72.) :
Rebirth in all these levels is held to be caused by previous:.
.;itctions . Rebirth in the bad transmigrations (ngan 'gro, dur-
- those of hell (dmyalba, ghosts (yi
, preta), and ammals (dud 'gro, tzryanc)-ls caused by non-
;virtuOUS (mi dge ba, akufala) actions, whereas rebirth in the
:happy transmigrations (bde 'gro, sugati) -those of humans (mi,
'rtzanuva), demigods (lha mayin, asura), and gods (lhaj deva)-is
by virtuous (dge ba, kufala) actions. Thus, one purpose
[of such presentations is ethical: it is assumed that if listeners
what types of action cause the various types of rebirth,
:they will try to modify their conduct accordingly so that, at the
;Very least, they may avoid rebirth in bad transmigrations and
attain rebirth in happy transmigrations. According to pres en-
;tations of the topic of Grounds and Paths (sa lam, bhiimimiirga),
this is the level of the special being of small capacity (skyes bu
(chung ngu khyad par can), the lowest of the three types of religious
;practitioner. It is assumed to be the level of most people who
'.listen to Buddhist teachings, whereas those of middling capac-
'ity (skye bu 'bring) and, especially, those of great capacity (skye
[bu chen po) -respectively, those who wish to attain freedom
Trom cyclic existence for their own sakes and those who wish
:tp attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings-are
held to be few.
Therefore, Lati Rinbochay describes the Desire
.Realm, especially the bad transmigrations, in far greater detail
;than is strictly necessary for a presentation of the con centra-
:tions and formless absorptions.
Virtuous actions are said to be of two types-meritorious
(bsod nams, pU'fJya) and unfiuctuating (mi gyo ba, iinifijya).
Meritorious actions are those that cause rebirth as a human or
as a god of the Desire Realm. Unfiuctuating actions are those
that cause rebirth in the Form and Formless Realms-the
absorptions of the concentrations and formless absorp-
tions. "Thus," Lati Rinbochay comments,
from the point of view of taking rebirth in cyclic existence,
these eight concentrations and formless absorptions are the
best possible actions. 9
But his comment raises the question of motivation: does the
practitioner seek rebirth in cyclic existence or liberation
from it?
56 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
From this point of view,. of the Form and
Formless Realms as wIthm sug/?ests that,'.
for dGe-lugs-pas, duectmg the mmd'mward IS not m itself
guarantee of liberation; even if extremely subtle states ar
reached, they may lead, not to liberation, but only to SUbtl\
states of suffering-that is, to rebirth in high levels withiR
cyclic existence.;
Not all beings are capable of attaining those states, how-
ever. The limitations of those who are not capable of attaining'
them, as well as the capacities of those who are, depend toa.
great extent on those beings' previous actions. The topic of the ,
physical basis of the concentrations and formless absorptions
deals with the question of who-that is, what types of person
(gang zag, pudgala)-can achieve the concentrations and form?
less absorptions. From the practitioner'S point of view,
topic answers the question, "Am I included among those whd
can do it?"
II. The Meaning qf"Physical Basis"
The meaning of "basis" (rten, iifraya) in the term "physical'
basis" (lus rten) requires some explanation. Tibetan writers and
scholars often refer to persons "in," or "having," a basis ofthe"
Desire, Form, or Formless Realm. In this somewhat awkward
phrase, "basis" is a technical term referring to the collection
of aggregates (phung po, skandha) in dependence upon
the person is designated-that is, the basis of designatioh
(gdags gzhi) of the person, since, according to Prasangika
Madhyamika tenets (grub mtha', siddhiinta) , the person is q()t \
any of the aggregates and is not the collection of aggregate
but, rather, is designated in dependence upon the collectionof
aggregates. Thus, beings of the Desire and Form Realms.'
technically, persons "in" or "having" Desire or Form Realm.
bases-have all five aggregates, so that person is designated in.
dependence upon the collection of the form aggregate (gzugs
kyi phungpo, rupaskandha) and the four mental aggregates, or the
body and mind. This is the basis of the person. 'y;
In the topic of the physical basis, the term "physical
is used loosely, since it refers to beings of all three realms;',
. '.-t.riCtly spe.akin. g, those of the Desire and Form Realms
a physzcal basIs, SInce only they have a form aggregate-a
well as the four mental aggregates. Beings of the
I'()rrnless Realm have only the mental aggregates and, there-
Ifore, have no bodies. Nevertheless, they are also discussed
Itjhder this heading, since the term "mental basis" (sems rten) is
tsed technically in a completely different context. The topic of
_frital bases. deals bet;-veen
It deals wIth the ways In whIch certaIn conscIOUS-
lIesses do do not support (that is, act as of)
lither conscIOusnesses-for example, the way In whIch an

absorption of a becomes the mental basis

lIthe path of preparatIOn (sbyor lam, prayogamarga), the second
!',Afthe five paths leading to liberation from cyclic existence and,
the person cultivating the
of preparatIOn In thIS way would be on the first
the five paths, the path of accumulatIOn (tshogs lam,
lo/bhiiramarga), who has attained an actual concentration.
III Classes if Beings Who Cannot Achieve the Concentrations and
'fPormless Absorptions
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po (Gon-chok-jik-may-wang-
lEg) begins his exposition of his own system by enumerating
eliminating those persons who cannot achieve the concen-
and formless Lati and
ID,ldro both follow thIs method In theIr oral presentatIOns.
the six transmigrations of cyclic existence, the
imain groups of those who cannot are beings in the three bad
demigods; humans of the northern continent,
t1gnpleasant Sound (sgra mi nyan, kuru); the higher types of gods
Desire Realm, and the gods of no discrimination ('du shes
fled pa'i sems can, asamjiiisattva) in the Great Fruit Land ('bras bu
(he, vrhatphala) of the Fourth Concentration.
All these are said
"strong fruitional obstructions" (rnam smin gyi sgrib pa,
fp,ipakavarar;a), which Gediin Lodro explains as meaning "that
actions (las), or karmas, that caused such persons to be
as beings of any of those transmigrations "prevents
ltich persons from engaging in virtuous activity" -at any rate,
_ I,li. ..'.
f-, '

58 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
the type of virtuous activity required for generation of the c
.. d r: lb 12 On:
centratlOns an lorm ess a
Additional reasons are given fOF the inability of sut'
beings achieve an.d formless
Accordll1.g to LatI Rll1.bochay, bemgs m the three bad
cannot gives no
tumty to do SO.13 Gedun Lodro explams the suffenngs oft1';;1
bad transmigrations in great detail in this context: "Heir:
beings not only have physical suffering but are particularly
mented mental suffering"; ghosts "are
the sufferIngs of hunger and thIrst and, therefore, "are
mendously afflicted with jealousy of those who have food
drink," and animals, although they have less physical aria'
mental suffering than hell beings and hungry ghosts, are t6(r
stupid to focus on an object of observation (dmigs pa, iilambanaj"I
Gediin Lodro notes that "the faculties of hell beings and
gry ghosts are sharper than those of animals." 14 In addition t6l
stupidity, animals also have the sufferings enumerated by
Rinbochay in his description of cyclic existence: they eat
another or constantly have to search for food or are used f()f;

The fruitional obstruction of demigods is such that theo/
"are strongly afflicted by jealousy."16 As Gediin Lodro
lains, this

because their rebirths as demigods are impelled by an actioAI
(las, karma) conjoined with a mind of jealousy regarding
wealth and resources of the gods.

. According to Lati Rinbochay, humans of the northern cort5
tinent, Unpleasant Sound, and the higher types of gods of
Desire Realm cannot achieve the concentrations and
absorptions because they are unable to analyze. They cannot
analyze because they/f
experience a continuous wonderful fruition of past
Thus, they do not have untimely death; things go well for theIIl,:
and they experience the fruition of good past actions .s8;
strongly that they do not have much to think about and,
fore, do not have strong power of thought. IS
Lodro cites commentaries on. Treasury if
Knowlege a.s the sources thIS pomt. He a:so suggests
the pleasant lIves of such beings are mostly gIVen over to
neutral (lung du rna bstan pa, avyiikrta) activity, since
d.o not have force of thought to engage in
"'either vIrtue or nonvIrtue. 19
Lati Rinbochay and Gedun Lodro differ as to which of the
"lh:io-her Desire Realm gods cannot achieve the concentrations
ri'd formless absorptions and, to some extent, with regard to
';ihe reason. According to Lati Rinbochay, the three higher
cannot-mainly because, like humans of the northern
2 continent, they cannot analyze. According to Gedun Lodro,
Vhowever, the four higher types of gods of the Desire Realm can-
';l1ot do so. He divides the six types of Desire Realm gods into
'F!those who depend on the earth and those who are in the sky
n.rid holds that only the two lowest types, which depend on the
can generate the concentrations and formless absorp-
:{dons; the four higher types, those who are in the sky, cannot
'because they cannot see the faults of the Desire Realm.
;fnchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, however, gives a somewhat differ-
presentation; according to him, all six types of gods of the
/;pesire Realm can newly generate the concentrations and form-
less absorptions because all "have new generation of concentra-
tive discipline" (bsarn gtan gyi sdorn pa, dhyiinasa'T(luara;21 for a
discussion of the topic of concentrative discipline, see pages
64-68) .
. Because of their fruitional obstruction, gods of no discrimi-
;hation in the Great Fruit Land of the Fourth Concentration are
also prevented from achieving the concentrations and formless
absorptions by inability to analyze-in their case, according to
Lati Rinbochay, because they are born into a meditative
absorption without discrimination as a result of having culti-
Vated such an absorption in the previous lifetime.
mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po also includes gods of no discrimi-
nation among those having a strong fruitional obstruction.
Gedun Lodro, however, includes these gods in a "secondary
group" of gods and humans unable to achieve the concentra-
tions and formless absorptions-a group consisting of "hu-
mans or gods at a time of sleeping, fainting, the meditative
absorption of cessation ('gog pa'i snyorns 'jug, nirodhasarniiPatti) ,
60 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
or the abso:ption of (du shesrArJJ
pa, asarrt)na). '24 Accordmg to Ged un Lodro, those who are
as ?"od.s of no have . a
eqUIpoIse of non-dIscnmmatIOn because of mtense
. h ." f . d" h .
WIt overcommg coarse states 0 mm ; t ey have
achieved an actual concentration. They .
mistake the factor which is pacification of coarse minds
eration; thus, they view the meditative absorption of
crimination as being a path to liberation and see birth in
level as liberation.
IV Exceptions Among Beings Otherwise Qualified to Generate the
Concentrations and Formless Absorptions
The remaining types of sentient beings-that is,huinans
three continents other than Unpleasant Sound, the lower
of Desire Realm gods, and Form Realm gods other than
of non-discrimination-can achieve the concentrations
formkss absorptions. Even among them, however,
exceptions based on inability to analyze, disqualification
to genital abnormality, and the presence of strong
obstructions. . ".
Inability to analyze. Gediin Lodro lists as "the main
exceptions ... those who are insane, those whose elements
physically disturbed, and beings emanated by anothei:!
being." 26 He explains that beings of the last type cannot
ate calm abiding (zhi gnas, famatha) or the concentrations
formless absorptions because they do not have minds of
own: they "are incapable of deciding to generate calm
because they depend on the mind of the emanator."27 He alsQ'i
includes among the rriain exceptions those humans who
"overpowered by poison"; such persons are suffering
type of craziness, but not the natural insanity referred to
rather, their minds are temporarily "affected by certain
stances," including drugs such as marijuana and datura, as wenl!
as manufactured drugs (in both the Tibetan and Western
terns) .28 "These," he notes, "are the main cases of the

, abiding in a normal state."29 Of humans in this main type,
that "not only can these people not generate calm abid-
.... or an actual concentration; they also cannot generate a vow
.emancipation, a bodhisattva vow, or a tantric vow." 30
abnormality. Among the humans of the three continents
than Unpleasant Sound who cannot generate the concen-
and formless absorptions are those disqualified
of genital abnormality. It is important for modern
to bear in mind that the abnormalities referred to
are anatomical abnormalities and the mental distortions
to accompany them; there is no mention of sexual
According to dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, persons
IIn.IIIICU are neuter persons (za ma, eunuchs (ma
parpjaka) , and androgynes (mtshan gnyis pa, ubhayavyafi-
; Lati Rinbochay gives the second category as "the impo-
and appears to include what we generally think of as
among the neuter-those who "have neither male nor
organs or ... lose their organs through sickness, through
application of medicine, or through the organs' being cut
a weapon." He explains impotent persons as those who
male or female organs but lack the sexual capacity of
and females: Androgynous humans, according to both
Rinbochay and Gediin Lodr6, are those who have both
and female organs.
.. According to dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, the reason
with genital abnormalities cannot newly generate the
fCb]ncc::ntlratl' and formless absorptions is that they have
afflictive obstructions (nyon mongs kyi sgrib pa, klefiiva-
.32 Lati Rinbochay explains that
their minds are continuously held by such afflictions as desire,
anger, and jealousy. Because there is no time at which they are
free of these afflictions, they have no opportunity to cultivate
therefore, cannot newly attain the concentrations and
62 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
Gedun Lodro distinguishes between the incapacity
such meditation of the neuter and the androgynous. Accord'
. lng
W 1m .
Neuter beings, like those in the northern continent, are Un hI
to carry anything to a conclusion. They do not .
sufficiently strong force of thought. 34 .
The androgynous, however, are prevented from attaining calm
abiding or the concentrations and formless absorpti()n
because they have too many afflictions: . S
Androgynous humans, those who have both male and female
signs, have the affiictions of both male and female and thus
have too many affiictions to be able to generate calm abiding
[or the concentrations and formless absorptions]. 35
With regard to the afflictions of male and female, Gediin
Lodro explains:
In general, we refer to the three poisons, the six root affiictions
(rtsa ba Ji nyon mongs J miilaklesa), and the twenty secondary affiic
tions (nye baJi nyon mongs
upaklefa). Both males and females
all these. The male and female affiictions that I was referring
to are the desire each has for the other. Males have an attrac-
tion to females and females, to males. A person who had both
types of desire would have a great deal. 36
I t is important to note that people with genital abnorc
malities cannot newly attain calm abiding and the
tions and formless absorptions.
dbang-po does not say of them, as he does of those with strong
karmic obstructions, that they "can neither newly generate
absorptions nor keep what has already been generated"; he
says only that those with genital abnormalities "do not have
generation of these [absorptions]." 37 According to Gediin
Lodro, those who had previously attained calm abiding or any
of the concentrations and formless absorptions and later fell
into one of the categories of genital abnormality through acci-.
dent or illness would not necessarily lose their attainments;
'oI1le people would be able to use their previous understanding
hold on to th.eir attainments, but the case of a strong acci-
!'dent, the. attamment would deterIorate.
Thus, although
capable of generating the concentrations and formless
must be genitally normal males and females,
"Gediin Lodro's qualification shows that the criterion of genital
rtorrnality is not applied mechanically.
jStrang karmic obstructions. Some humans are prevented from.
:.generating the concentrations and formless absorptions by karmic obstructions (las sgrib, karmiivaralJa). 39 These kar-
,'tnic obstructions are the actions of abandoning the doctrine
'(chas spong) and the five heinous crimes (mtshams med pa, iinan-
tarya). Abandoning the doctrine, in the narrowest technical
sense, involves partisanship among Buddhists; it is a Bud-
:i:lhist's disparagement of another Buddhist position. The five
'heinouscrimes, which bring immediate retribution at death,
'are those of killing one's father, killing one's mother, killing a
Foe Destroyer (dgra bcom pa, arhan) , maliciously causing the
'body of a tathiigata to bleed, and causing division in the
'spiritual community (dge 'dun, san:tgha) .
. ' According to 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa Uam-yang-shay-
ba), the reason karmic obstructions prevent attainment of the
.concentrations and formless absorptions is that they "obstruct
the Superior (,phags pa, iirya) paths and the special faith, and
so forth, that are the virtuous roots for training in them."40 .
Obviously, if even the virtuous roots necessary for training in
the Superior paths are obstructed, it will be impossible to
attain the Superior paths themselves. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-
pa's reason is based on a passage concerning the Superior
paths in Vasubandhu's Autocommentary on the "Treasury qf Manifest
Knowledge"; 41 in this context, 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa is treat-
ing the concentrations and formless absorptions as analogous
to the Superior paths. Thus, the virtuous roots necessary for
training in the concentrations and formless absorptions are
also obstructed. By his mention of virtuous roots, 'Jam-
dbyangs-bzhad-pa seems to imply that even to train in the
Superior paths and the concentrations and formless absorp-
tions one needs to accumulate a certain amount of merit; this
position, based on the above-mentioned passage in Vasuban-
dhu's Autocommentary on the "Treasury if Manifist Knowledae J) I
. h h - . fTb '" J a So
accor s t e assu.mptlOns 0 1 etan prac:ice generally.
KarmIc obstructlOns are not held to be Irreversible h<"
b . f h ' ow-
ever; 1 etan presentatlOns 0 t e concentrations and forml
h ess
a ag:-ee t at persons who have committedthe<
actlOns III questlOn can become capable of generating the Co ..
centrations and formless absorptions if they engage in a mea:
of purifying those actions. This position, too, accords with th s
assumptions of Tibetan practice. As Hopkins points ou::
"purificationm here probably refers to the four power'
explained in the context of confession of misdeeds."42 The
are: (1) the object, or base; (2) contrition; (3) "an aspiration
toward restraint"; (4) application of an antidote; this last
according to the rNying-ma scholar Khetsun Sangpo
bochay, "can be any virtuous practice."43
V Concentrative Discipline
'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa says of several types of beings
that they cannot generate the concentrations and formless
absorptions because they cannot generate concentrative
pline (bsam gtan gyi sdom paJ dhyiinasarrwara) .44 He uses this line
of reasoning in relation to. humans of the northern continent,
Unpleasant Sound, who "do not have either the discipline of
individual emancipation (so mthar gyi sdom paJ priitimok-iasarrwara),
concentrative discipline (bsam gtan gyi sdom pa) dhyiinasan:wara),
or bad discipline (sdom min) asaT(lvara) " ;45 he also uses it in rela-
tion to humans with genital abnormalities and beings of the
three bad transmigrations.
He concludes from Vasubandhu's
silence concerning demigods that they, too, are unable to gen-
erate the concentrations and formless absorptions because
they lack concentrative discipline, although he also mentions
their "obstructions of jealousy."47 Similarly, he gives ability to
generate concentrative discipline as the reason that humans of
the three continents other than Unpleasant Sound and "the six
types of gods of the Desire Realm and transmigrators of the
Form Realm" can generate the concentrations and formless
. absorptions. 48
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, in his condensation of
fJain-dbyangs-bzhad-pa's text, follows 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-
""':f although he does not mention concentrative disci-
in relation to demigods; apparently, he considers their
strong obstructions of jealousy and of [being that kind
..61J transmigrator': sufficient reason for thei: inability to gener-
Ifiethe concentratIOns and formless absorptIOns.
the source for this discussion of concentrative disci-
'iIne, 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa cites chapter 4 ofVasubandhu's
iP.w.; .. , ...'(f.a. sury of Manifest 50 According
J3the Treasury, concentratIve discIplme IS one of the three types
\5fdiscipline (sdom pa, sa7[lvara); the other two are the discipline
6findividual emancipation (so sor mthar pa, and
(zag med, aniisrava) discipline.
cited above 64) also bad dis-
rCipline (sdom mzn, asa7[lvara)-hterally, "non-discIplme." All
according to both the and Prasangika
...lf ... o. f tenets, are .types of
form (rnam par rzg byed ma yzn pa'z gzugs, aVZJnaptzrupa). 52
I.ccording to Hopkins, non-revelatory forms are so called
are continuations of virtue or sin and arise from revelatory
actions of body or speech or arise from cultivating meditative
stabilization [ting nge 'dzin, samiidhiJ. Since the motivations of
these actions are not knowable by others, they are called 'non-
revelatory forms. '53
Treasury of Manifest Knowledge lists three types of
form: discipline, bad discipline, and something
:that is neither. 54
Although the word "discipline" is used by Hopkins as a
:translation of 'dul va (vinaya), I am following La Vallee Pous-
translation ofVasubandhu's Treasury in using "discipline"
translate sdom pa (sa7[lvara) in this context, since it is proba-
ply the only English (and French) word that conveys both
of sa7[lvara-"vow" and "restraint."55 In the case of indi-
emanicpation (so sor thar pa, the meaning is
to that of "vow," whereas, for the other two types of
the meaning is closer to that of "restraint."

66 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
The discipline of individual emancipation is a vow take
from someone else. Thus, .states
humans of the northern contment do not have the dIscipline of
individual emancipation because "they [can] not take SOille_
thing supreme [that is, a vow] from another [person, who is
giving it] ."56 The last two, obviously, are not mentioned in Vasu_
bandhu's Treasury, but it is worth nothing that Gedun LOdro
remarks of humans whose minds are not in a normal state that
they "cannot generate a vow of individual emancipation,a
Bodhisattva vow, or a tantric VOw."58 A sGo-mang (Go-mang)
scholar and, therefore, a follower of 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa
he implicitly extends 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa's line of
ing, based on Vasubandhu's Treasury, to the other two types of
saT(l.vara used in contemporary Tibetan practice.
Concentrative and uncontaminated discplines are'
restraints rather than vows. They are induced by the illere
attainment of certain minds-the former, by the mere
ment ofa mind of the Form Realm (that is, by the initial attain-
ment of calm abiding
) and the latter, by the mere attainment;
of an uncontaminated path. The mere attainment of such a
mind leads the practitioner to refrain from certain actions.
Thus, he or she acquires a restraint, or discipline.
Since con-
centrative discipline is form-non-revelatory form-beings of
the Formless Realm, although able to generate the concentra-
tions and formless absorptions, are not said to have concentra-
tive discipline. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa cites Vasubandhu's
Treasury qf Manifest Knowledge (4.44a-b) and its Autocommentary
to establish this point but do not discuss it.
Bad discipline is an absence of restraint, a non-revelatory
form produced by non-virtue-for example, the action ofa
butcher in killing animals.
According to 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, then, many of the
beings who cannot generate calm abiding and the concentra-
tions and formless absorptions cannot do so because they caIl-."
not generate concentrative discipline; of some, he adds
they also cannot generate the other two types of discipline. The
problem with this line of reasoning is its apparent circularity ..
'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa is saying that such beings cannot gen-
erate calm abiding and the concentrations and formless.
absorptions because they cannot generate something-',.::a
'trorrn-that is induced by the mere attainment of calm abiding.
hIe seems to be saying that such beings cannot achieve the
because they cannot achieve the effect; as Hopkins
this, "ir: gene:-al, nO.t very suita?le r:asoning." It is
somewhat mIsleadIng In thIs context, SInce It suggests that
discipline must be something beyqnd the disci-
that. when one attains a [level of] concentra-
and It IS not.
Georges Dreyfus holds that it is best not to emphasize the
,fact that concentrative discipline comes only with the attain- .
of a level of concentration. Rather, the argument should
lbe based on the inability of such beings to generate any disci-
flJline at all. According to him, suchbeings :thical
Therefore, they cannot have the dISCIplIne of the IndI-
Itidual emancipation and, for the same reason, cannot attain
type of meditative stabilization. Thus, they do not have
(concentrative discipline.
Hopkins, perhaps more plausibly, takes the circularity of
ifJam-:dbyangs-bzhad-pa's reasoning into account and argues
Fthat it comes from the way the topic is presented in 'Jam-
sources. It is as though 'Jam-dbyangs-
[bzhad-pa were saying, ''Although there are no direct statements
lthat such beings cannot attain the concentrations, we know
they cannot because there are explanations that they can-
have concentrative discipline."65
'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa's source is Vasubandhu's Treasury
Manifest Knowledge and its Autocommentary. Vasubandhu's dis-
of calm abiding and the concentrations and formless
is divided among chapter 6, which includes a
!fjjresentation of calm abiding; chapter 8, which presents the

and formless absorptions as meditative states
stating what types of beings cannot and can attain
,them; chapter 3, which lists and describes the Form and Form-
Realm rebirth states; and chapter 4, which deals with the
of karma. In the context of karma, Vasubandhu discusses
discipline not in relation to the attainment of
fliweditative states but in relation to the non-revelatory forms
carry continuations of virtuous and non-virtuous actions.
is from this discussion of non-revelatory forms that 'Jam-
whose concern is meditative states, must

68 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
extrapolate his presentation of the types of beings that cann
. h 0"
an can attam t ose states.'
VI. .. Points Discussed by dKon-mchog- 'jigs-med-dbang;"
po and Gedun Lodro . . ...
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po and Gediin Lodro, who foff
low 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, discuss several other
concerning the physical basis. One of the most
cerns the capacity of beings in the bad transmigrations for ad3
ing virtuously and the difference between the type of
action involved in generating the concentrations and formless":
absorptions, on the one hand, and the altruistic mind
enlightenment (byang chub kyi sems, bodhicitta) , on the otheI':;l
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po establishes, in a debate,
beings in the three bad transmigrations can attain great
(byams pa chen po, mahamaitri), great compassion (snying rje
po, mahiikarurja), and the altruistic mind of enlightenment
cannot attain the four immeasurables (tshad med bzhi, catviirj]
They can attain the altruistic mind of
ment, as well as great love and great compassion, because
can newly generate the seven cause-and-effect
instructions (rgyu 'bras man ngag bdun) for attaining the altruistit]
mind of enlightenment-great love and great compassioll'l;
being the fourth and fifth of these. 67 However, they cannot
erate the four immeasurables because the four
are actual absorptions of concentrations, which cannot
attained in the bad
Gediin Lodro, following 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa's
detailed version of this debate in the Great Exposition of the
centrations and Formless Absorptions,68 discusses the problem
sented by a sutra statement that "there are cases of hell
who newly saw the truth." The problem is that

"newly seeing the truth" means that one is achieving the patl;,;i
of seeing (mthong lam, darfanamiirga), and in order to achieve
path it is necessary to achieve the path of preparation (sbyor
prayogamiirga), the sign of which is the attainment of the
tive stabilization which is a union of calm abiding and
insight (lhag mthong, vipafyanii). Thus, before that path, one
Illust have achieved a full-fledged calm abiding.
.There are. two answers. One is that, in this statement, "the
word 'truth' does not refer to the path of seeing but to the gen-
of the altruistic mind of enlightenment"; Ged un Lodro
adds, "lnded, many sutras say that there are cases of hell
beings, hungry ghosts, and nag as (klu) who newly generate the
altruistic mind of enlightenment during that lifetime and
'become Bodhisattvas."7o The other is that 'seeing the truth'
i"eally does mean achieving the path of seeing, and the moment
such a person attains the path of seeing, he or she ceases to be
ihungry ghost or a hell being."71
The first answer, which Gedun Lodro appears to favor,
raises the question of how someone who cannot achieve calm
abiding can nevertheless generate the altruistic mind of
Gedun Lodro's answer turns on the difference
between wisdom analyzing an object and great faithful interest
'in and aspiration toward it. For calm abiding, a strong factor
of wisdom is necessary:
Although one does not engage in a great deal of analysis during
[the cultivation of] calm abiding, being told about an object by
someone else is not sufficient to cause that object to appear to
your own mind; you yourself must investigate it carefully. For
the generation of an altruistic mind of enlightenment, however,
it is enough to be told that there is such a thing as Buddhahood,
and if you come to believe that and can thereby generate great
effort, the altruistic mind of enlightenment can be attained. 72
According to Gedun Lodro, it is better if one engages in
analysis even in the generation of the altruistic mind of enlight-
enme.nt, but analysis is not necessary; "non-artificial, spon-
taneous experience" of the altruistic mind of enlightenment-
that is, the arising of the altruistic mind of enlightenment as
strongly outside meditation as in a strong meditation session-
is possible even without analysis.
Thus, beings such as hell
beings and hungry ghosts, who are incapable of analysis
because of their intense sufferings and therefore cannot gener-
ate the concentrations and formless absorptions, can neverthe-
less generate the altruistic mind of enlightenment.
70 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po also discusses wheth ...
absorptions attained in a former rebirt,h can be retained_
particular, whether beings of the three bad transmigrations In
humans of the northern continent, Unpleasant Sound,
cannot newly generate the concentrations and formless
tions, can retain "possession of actual absorptions alread
attained" in a previous lifetime in the Form or Formles}
He establishes that they cannot, since the
tion-or, one might say, the mind-of a being of the Form or
Formless Realm who is about to die and who will definitely be
reborn in the next lifetime in a bad transmigration or as a
human of the northern continent degenerates before death.
Such a being, just before death, has manifest afflictions of the
Desire Realm such as gross craving and, since it is impossible'
to manifest such afflictions and an actual absorption simul-
taneously, the absorption is necessarily lost-not at the point of
rebirth, as we might think, but just before death from the Form
or Formless Realm.
He makes several other points about beings in transition-
beings of various types who are about to be reborn. Some of
these points seem merely to involve verbal faults in debate.
Others emphasize the changes such beings undergo-especially,
that they become intermediate-state (bar do, antariibhiiva) beings
between their death at the end of one lifetime and their birth in
the next; these points about such changes counteract the
dency to think of the status of the beings in question as fixed,
even for the duration of a lifetime. For example, it is wrong to
say that beings in the bad transmigrations necessarily have
strong karmic obstructions in their mental continua (rgyud,
sar[ltiina). To someone who takes this position, he cites as a
counterexample "someone in a bad transmigration who, hav-
ing used up his [or her] strong karmic obstructions, is about to
die and is definite to attain a [human] basis of leisure and for-
tune in the next life."76 The point seems to be that one cannot
make such generalizations about the entire lifetime of a being'
in a bad transmigration; beings change during the course ora
life in one of the bad transmigrations and have other predispos-
itions in their continua; therefore, although they have strong
karmic obstructions in their continua at the time of their birth
in a bad transmigration, the karmic obstructions that caused
them to be born there can be used up in that lifetime.
The topic of the physical basis of the concentrations and
absorptions is more than a mere list of types of person.
ementary though the topic seems, it presupposes essentiiil
ddhist doctrines. The doctrine of selflessness (bdag med,
iratmya), for instance, is implied by the very term "physical
'sis," with its reference to the basis of designation of the person
, e collection of aggregates in dependence upon which the
son is designated.
'Of more obvious importance is the doctrine of actions and
/eir effects. The classes of beings who cannot and can achieve
econcentrations and formless absorptions are first
'lineated in terms of the six transmigrations of cyclic exis-
. ce-the traditional Buddhist, cosmology, which is produced
karma. Then, within the broad categories of beings who can
hieve the concentrations and formless absorptions, excep-
os are set forth-being whose obstructions, like the six trans-
igrations themselves, are also produced by karma. What
sults from this method of delineation is a hierarchical rank-
g of present capacity, changeable in the long run by actions
ut often fixed for the duration of any given lifetime if a physi-
\1 manifestation limits the mind based on it. Over many
fetimes, however, all beings are considered capable of attain-
'" g not only the concentrations and formless absorptions but
'so liberation from cyclic existence and Buddahood. Given an
of humans capable of cultivating and attaining calm
and the concentrations and formless absorptions, the
ranking presented in the topic of the physical
''basis of concentrations and formless absorptions serves both to
the members of the audience of their present capacity
to spur them to effort.
]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
The Three Realms and Nine Levels
(Read from bottom to top)
3. Formless Realm
(gzugs med khams,
2. Form Realm
(gzugs khams,
. riipadhiitu)
1. Desire Realm
('dods khams,
9. Peak of Cyclic Existence
(srid rtse,
8. Nothingness
( ci yang med,
, aki'f(lcanya)
7. Limitless Consciousness
(rnam shes mtha'yas,
6. Limitless Space
(nam mkha'mtha'yas,
5. Fourth Concentration
(bsam gtan bzhi pa)
4. Third Concentration
(bsam gtan gsum pa,
3. Second Concentration
(bsam gtan grryis pa,
2. First Concentration
(bsam gtan dang po,
gods'(lha, deva)
demigods (lha mayin, asura)
humans (mi, manuva)
animals (dud 'gro, tiryak)
hungry ghosts (yi dvags, preta)
hell beings (dmyal ba, niiraka)
P = Tibetan Tripi[aka, Peking edition (Tokyo-Kyoto: Tibetan Tripitaka
Research Foundation, 1956).
1. When both Tibetan and Sanskrit forms of technical terms are given,
tibetan is given before the Sanskrit, since Tibetan is the language of the
'discussed here and since even Sanskrit works, such as Vasubandhu's Treas-
Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmokofa, Chos mngon pa'i mdzod), are cited by
tan writers in Tibetan. However, an ex<;eption is made for the titles of
:, such as Vasubandhu's Treasury qf Manifest Knowledge, since those works are
rally known to Western scholars by their Sanskrit titles.
2. Vasubandhu, Treasury qf Manifest Knowledge and Autocommentary on the
sury qfManifest Knowledge," P 5590 and 5591, vol. 115; Abhidharmakofa &
a qf Achiirya . Vasubandhu, ed. by Dwarikadas Shastri, part 2 (Varanasi:
dha Bharati, 1971), cited hereafter as Shastri; Louis de La Vallee Poussin,
, s: and ed., L'abhidharmokofa de Vasubandhu, Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques
(reprinted 1971), cited hereafter as La Vallee Poussin.
<: :3. La Vallee Poussin cites Buddhaghosa, Atthasiilinf 62 (La Vallee Pous-
/16:2, p. 1).
4. To make the pronunciation of Tibetan names accessible to readers,
Tibetan names are phoneticized, at their first occurrence in the
, according to a system developed by Jeffrey Hopkins. However, the names
()ntemporary Tibetans are given in the phoneticized forms they prefer to use
lie West and are not transliterated.
5. Niigiirjuna, Friendly Letter (Suhr:llekha, bShes pa'i springyig) , P 5409, vol.
; Lozang Jamspal, Ven. Ngawang Samten Chophel, and Peter Della San-
a., Nagarjuna's Letter to King Gautamiputra (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978),
';xv, 53, 105 (Tibetan text).
. 6. The sources for this discussion of the topic are the relevant sections of
o dGe-lugs monastic textbooks, both from sGo-mang College of 'Bras-spung
onastic University, and two oral presentations. The two monastic textbooks
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po (1728-91), Condensed Statement qf('Jam-
. dbyangs-bzhad-pa's) "Great Exposition qf the Concentrations and Formless Absorp-
tions" (bsam gzugs chen mo las mdor bsdus te bkod pa); cited hereafter as dKon-
mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement
'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa (1648-1721), Great Exposition qfthe Concentrations
and Formless Absorptions (bsam gzugs chen mo), the extensive work on which
it is based; cited hereafter as 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations.
bibliographical details, see the bibliography.
The two oral presentations, by Lati Rinbochay (rin po che) and Geshe (dge
Gediin are found in:
74 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. I
Lati Rinbochay, Denma Locho Rinbochay, Leah Zahler,Jeffrey BOPkin
Meditative States in Tibetan Buddhism (London: Wisdom Publications, 1983):
cited hereafter as Med. States '
Geshe Gedun Lodro in Geshe Gedun Lodro and Jeffrey Hopkins, "Cal
Abiding and Special Insight" (edited transcripts of lectures given at t ~
University of Virginia, 1979); cited hereafter as Gedun Lodro. e
The transliteration of Tibetan follows the system of Turrell Wylie (,'A Stan_
dard System of Tibetan Transcription," Harvard Journal rif Asiatic Studies, vol. 22
[1959J, 261-67), except that, in text-titles and proper names, the root letter
rather than the first is capitalized. vVith regard to phorreticization, see note 2.
7. Med. States, pp. 41, 45.
8. "Grounds and Paths: Lectures by Denma Locho Rinbochay on
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po's 'Presentation of the Grounds and Paths: An
Ornament Beautifying the Three Vehicles'" (unpublished transcript oflectures
given at the University of Virginia, 1977), pp. 4-12. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med_
dbang-po, Presentation rifthe Grounds and Paths, 422.1-424.3. Jules Brooks Levin:
son, II, "The Process of Liberation and Enlightenment in the Buddhism of
Tibet" (unpublished thesis: University of Virginia, 1983), pp. 12-17.
This differentiation of the three types of religious practitioner according to
motivation is derived from AtIsa's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipatha-
pradrpa, byang chub lam gyi sgron ma), stanzas 2-5 (A Lamp for the Path and Commen-
tary rif Atria, trans. and ann. by Richard Sherburne, S.]. [London: GeorgeAllen
& Unwin, 1983J, p. 5; P 5344,20.4.3-6). .
9. Med. States, p. 47.
lO. Ibid., pp. 48-50; Gedun Lodro, pp. 44-55.
11. Med. States, pp. 48-49.
12. Gedun Lodro, p. 47;dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed
Statement, 543.2.
13. Med. States, p. 48.
14. Gedun Lodro, p. 44, 45.
15. Med. States, pp. 35-36.
16. Ibid., p. 48; Gedun Lodro, p. 45; dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po,
Condensed Statement, 543.4.
17. Gedun Lodro, p. 45.
18. Med. States, p. 49.
19. Gedun Lodro, p. 46.
20. Ibid., p. 54; Med. States, p. 223, n. 1
21. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.5-6.
22. Med. States, pp. 43, 49.
23. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.2.
24. Gedun Lodro, p. 48.
25. Ibid., p. 54. This absorption, which is a Form Realm absorption, dif-
fers from the formless absorption of nothingness because "in the level -of
Nothingness there is no appearance of form, and one does not have the mista-
ken discrimination that the absorption of no discrimination is a path to 1iberac.
'ion and that birth at that level is liberation" (idem). Georges Dreyfus (Geshe
points out that the formless absorption of nothing-
ess is achieved through contemplation ofthe faults ofform, whereas an absorp-
of no discrimination is not achieved in this way. l\iIoreover, since gods of no
discrimination are born in the Form Realm, they perceive form at the times of
birth and death there, although probably not at other times (Georges Dreyfus
in conversation).
26. Gediin Lodro, p. 46.
27. Idem.
28. Ibid., pp. 46, 52.
29. Ibid., p. 46.
30. Idem.
31. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.1; ivIed.
States, pp. 49, 38; Gediin Lodro, p. 47.
32. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.1.
33. Med. States, p. 49.
34. Gediin Lodro, p. 47.
35. Idem.
36. Ibid., p. 52.
37. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.1. Cf.
ibid., 542.7.
38. Gediin Lodro, p. 53, and Med. States" p. 233, n. 2.
39. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 542.7-543.1;
,Med. States, p. 49; 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 21.2 fT.
. 40. 'Jamcdbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 21.5.
41. Vasubandhu, Autocommentary of the "Treasury of Manifest Knowledge,"
commentary to 4.96 (P 5591, vol. 115, 216.4.5; Shastri, p. 723; La Vallee Pous-
sin, 16:3, p. 203).
42. JefTrey Hopkins in conversation.
43. Khetsun Sangpo Rinbochay, Tantric Practice in Nying-ma (Ithaca, NY:
Gabriel/Snow Lion, 1982), p. 142, where the four powers are explained in rela-
tion to the Vajrasattva meditation. They are also explained in relation to taking
;refuge, pp. 121-22.
44. The usual term for concentrative discipline in Vasubandhu's Treasury
of Manifest Knowledge (4.13d) and its Autocommentary is dhyiinaja (bsam gtan skyes),
:'horn of concentration," although dhyiinasan:zvara also occurs (P 5591, vol. 115,
197.2.7; Shastri, p. 605; La Vallee Poussin, 16:3, p. 43).
. 45. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 23.1.
46. Ibid., 23.5-24.2.
47. Ibid., 24.3-5; "the bases of concentrative discipline are definitive as
'only [those of] gods and humans, and Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Knowl-
edge here does not explain demigods as gods." To support his description of the
demigods, 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa cites Nagarjuna, Friendly Letter, stanza 102.
48. Ibid., 24.5-7, 25.1.
49. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 543.4; dKon-
mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po paraphrases Nagarjuna, Friendly Letter, stanza 102,
but does not cite it.
76 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
50.'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 24.3, 24.5 ff. . ....
5.1. Vasu.bandhu: Treasury,q/ Manif:st 4.l3c-d (P 5591, vol. ui;i
197.2.7, Shastn, p. 605, La Vallee Poussm, 16.3, p. 43) '< .
52. Jeffrey Hopkins in conversation. .
53. Jeffrey Hopkins, Meditation on Emptiness (London: Wisdom
. lCa_.;!
tions, 1983), p. 234. . ..
54. Vasubandhu, Treasury q/ Manifest Knowledge, 4.l3a':'b (P 5591, vol.
197.2.6; Shastri, p. 605; La Vallee Poussin, 16:3, p. 43)
55. Hopkins, Meditationon Emptiness, p. 532. Vasubandhu, Treasury if
ifest Knowledge, 4.13; La Vallee Poussin, 16:3, p.
56. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations,
57. Jeffrey Hopkins in conversation, citing Geshe Bel-den-drak-pa.!1
58. Gedun Lodr6, p. 46 (see above, page
59. According to dGe-lugs monastic textbooks, calm abiding is the
Form Realm mind but does not cause rebirth in the Form Realm; it is also
dered to be the first preparation for a concentration or formless
'Jam-dbyangs-bihad-pa cites Vasubandhu's Autocommentary on the
4.26a-b-"Those who possess concentration unquestionably possess
trative discipline. Here the preparations (nyer bsdogs, samantaka) are also
cated within the mention of concentrations"-to establish that those who
attained even a preparation for a concentration have concentrative
(,Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 23.5; see P 5591, vol. 115,
Shastri, p. 618; La Vallee Poussin, 16:3, p.
In presentation of the preparation.s for the and
less absorptIOns, the dGe-lugs textbook wnters combme Vasubandhu's
mention ofa preparation-that is, a period of preparation-for each of the
centrations and formless absorptions with Asariga's subtler presentation, in hili
Grounds q/ Hearers (fravakabhumi, Nyan sa) and Compendium qf Manifest
(Abhidharmasamuccaya, mNgon pa kun btus),of the stages through which:';
meditator pass must during that period. Asariga lists seven mental
tions (yid la byed pa, manaskara), the first six of which he explicitly calls
tions. (The last of the seven is not a preparation but an actual
Although Asanga does not include calm abiding among the seven
contemplations and does not explicitly call it a preparation, the textbook
ers demonstrate, by a close reading of Asanga's Grounds qfHearers, that he
to it as a mental contemplation in another passage; he also explains that
attained before the first of the seven. Therefore, the dGe-lugs textbook
conclude that calm abiding must precede the first of the preparatory mentat;:
contemplations mentioned by Asanga and that it is the first of the
for a concentration or formless absorption. (Gedun Lodr6, pp. 336-37,

60. Georges Dreyfus in conversation. -{:$:
61. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 25.2. P 5591, vol. US,
205.1.1; Shastri, p. 651; La Vallee Poussin, 16:3, p. 105. La Vallee Poussin
that the Tibetan version he used skips part of this verse; it is also mising
but the version cited by 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa agrees with Shastri
Vallee Poussin and not with P.il1t!

-, li'"

62. Hopkins, Meditation on Emptiness, p. 234. Vasubandhu, Autocommentary,
.4.36c-d. (P 5591, vol. 115, 202.5.6-203.l.4; Shastri, pp. 640-42; La Vallee
'pollssin, 16:3,p. 9l.)
63. Jeffrey Hopkins in conversation.
64. Georges Dreyfus in conversation.
65. Jeffrey Hopkins in conversation.
66'. The four immeasurables are love (byams pa, maitri), compassion (snying
kiiruTja) ,joy (dga' ba, muditii) , and equanimity (btang snyoms,
67. The seven cause-and-effect quintessential instructions are (I) recog-
of all sentient beings as having been one's mother, (2) mindfulness of
their kindness, (3) the wish to repay their kindness, (4) great love, (5) great
tornpassion, (6) the high resolve to free all beings from suffering, (7) the deci-
';ion to achieve Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. Donald S. Lopez,
Jr.; notes, "These seven were derived by Tsong-kha-pa in his Lam rim chen mo
frOrn a statement by Ansa in the Bodhimiirgapradfpapaiijikii, in commentary on
'thetenth stanza of his Bodhipathapradfpa." (Donald S. Lopez, Jr., The Heart Sutra
Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries [Albany, NY: State University of New
York Press, 1988J, p. 212, n. 5.)
68. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa, Concentrations, 9.1-10.2.
69. Gediin Lodro, p. 48.
70. Ibid., pp. 48-49.
71. Ibid., p. 49.
72. Idem.
73. Ibid., p. 50.
74. dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po, Condensed Statement, 539.3.
75. Ibid., 539.3-5.
76. Ibid., 540.7-541.1.
,'Asanga. Compendium of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmasamuccaya, mNgon pa kun
.. ' btus). P 5550, vol. 112. Translation: Walpola Rahula. Le Compendium de la
super-doctrine (philosophie) (Abhidharmasamuccaya) d'Asanga. Paris: Ecole fran-
q.ise d'extreme-orient, 1971.
'---__ ----,. Grounds of Hearers (Sriivakabhumi, Nyan sa). P 5537, vol. 110. Sanskrit
. text: Sriivakabhumi. Ed. by Karunesha Shukla. Tibetan Sanskrit Works
Series, voL 14. Patna: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1973.
;Atisa. Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathapradfpa, Byang chub lam gyi
sgron ma). P 5344, vol. 103. Translation: RiChard Sherburne, S.]., A Lamp
for the Path and Commentary of Atfsa. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983.
Denrna Locho Rinbochay. "Grounds and Paths: Lectures on dKon-mchog-
'jigs-med-dbang-po's Presentation of the Grounds and Paths: An Ornament
BeautifYing the Three Vehicles." Unpublished transcript oflectures given at the
University of Virginia, 1977.
Lodro and Jeffrey Hopkins. "Calm Abiding and Special Insight."
Edited transcripts oflectures given at the University of Virginia, 1979.
78 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
Hopkins,Jeffrey. Meditation on Emptiness. London: Wisdom Publications, 1983
'Jam -d byangs-bzhad -pa (1648-1721). Great Exposition if the Concentrations a ~ d
Formless Absorptions / Treatise on the Presentationsif the Concentrative and FOrml
Absorptions, Adornment Beautifying the Subduer's Teaching, Ocean if SCripture a n ~
Reasoning, Delighting the Fortunate (bSam gzugs chen mo / bsam gzugs kyi snyorns
'jug rnams gyi rnam par bzhag pa'i bstan bcos thub bstan mdzes rgyan lung dan
rigs pa'i rgya mtsho skal bzang dga' byed). Folio printing in India; no publicI-
tion data. Also in The Collected Works if 'jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa'i-rdo-rje: Repro
duced from Prints from the Bkra-sis-'khyil Blocks. Vol. 12:3-379. New Delhi:
Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1974.
Khetsun Sangpo Rinbochay. Tantric Practice in Nying-ma. Ithaca, NY: Gabriel!
Snow Lion, 1982. .
dKon-mchog-'jigs-med-dbang-po (1728-91). Condensed Statement oj ('Jam-
dbyangs-bzhad-pa's) "Great Exposition if the Concentrations and Formless Absorp_
tions" / An Excellent Vase if Good Explanation Presenting the Concentrations and
Formless Absorptions (bSam gzugs chen mo las mdor bsdus te Mod pa bsam gzugs kyi
rnam bzhag legs bshad bum bzang), in The Collected Works if Dkon-mchog-'jigs_
med-dban-po, the Second 'jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa if La-bran Bkra-fis-'khyil; Repro-
duced from Prints from the Bkra-fis-'khyil Blocks. Vol. 6:537-605. New Delhi:
Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1972.
-'--____ . Presentation if the Grounds and Paths, Beautifol Ornament if the Three Viihi-
. cles(Sa lam gyi rnam bzhag theg gsum mdzes rgyan). Buxaduor, 1965.
Lati Rinbochay, Denma Locho Rinbochay, Leah Zahler, Jeffrey Hopkins.
Jl;Jeditative States in Tibetan Buddhism. London: Wisdom Publications, 1983.
Levinson, Jules Brooks, II. "The Process of Liberation and Enlightenment in
the Buddhism of Tibet." Unpublished thesis: University of Virginia, 1983.
Lopez, Donald S., Jr. The Heart Sutra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries.
Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988.
Nagarjuna. Friendly Letter (Suhrllekha, bShes pa'i spring yig). P 5409, vol. 103.
Translations: (1) Leslie Kawamura in Golden Zephyr. Emeryville, CA:
Dharma Publishing, 1975. (2) Yen. Lozang Jamspal, Yen. Ngawang
Sam ten Chophel, and Peter Della Santina, Nagarjuna's Letter to King
Gautamiputra. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978. (3) Geshe. L. Tharchin
and A. B. Engle, Nagarjuna's Letter. Dharmsala: LTWA, 1979.
Vasubandhu. Treasury if Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharmakofakiirikii, Chos mngon pa'i
mdzod kyi tshig le'ur byas pa). P 5590, vol. ll5. Sanskrit text: Abhidharmakofd
& Bhiisya if Achiirya Vasubandhu. Ed. by Dwarikadas Shastri. Part 2. Yare
anasi: Bauddha Bharati, 1971. Translation: Louis de La Vallee Poussin:.
L'abhidharmakofa de Vasubandhu. First pub. 1923-31. Rpt. Milanges Chino is et
Bouddhiques, vol. 16 (1971). Translation of La Vallee Poussin: Leo M.
Pruden. Abhidharmakofabhiisyam by Louis de La Vallee Poussin. Vols. 2 and
Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1988.
Vasubandhu. Autocommentary on the "Treasury if Manifest Knowledge" (Abhidhar-
makofabhiisya, Chos mngon pa'i mdzod kyi bshad pa). P 5591, vol. 115. For.
Sanskrit text and translation, see previous entry. .
Wylie, Turrell. "A Standard System of Tibetan Transcription." HarvardJournal
Asiatic Studies, vol. 22 (1959), 261-67.
Soteriology: The Miirga and Other Approaches to
lA-Conference Report, by Robert E. Buswell) Jr. and
JRobert M. Gimello
, . Religious Studies, particularly the cross-cultural version thereof
is often known as Comparative Religion, has long promised
f'toJiberate scholars from culture-bound categories, perspectives, and
\nethods. This promise has regularly taken the form of an exhorta-
"cion combined with an invitation-an exhortation to cease relying
xclusively on Western (viz., Judeo-Christian) traditions in estab-
'lishing the major features of religious experience or in determining
general terms in which religion can or should be studied, and an
'invitation to draw freely upon other traditions for themes and
that may be usefully employed in the study of religions
generally. This promise, unfortunately, has seldom been fulfilled. It
is still all too common to find non-Western religious traditions like
v'faoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism treated only in terms drawn from
the European heritage, such as prayer, theodicy, transcendence,
ritual, eschatology, deity, and so forth. Some such concepts
useful in the study of traditions other than those in which they
;Were generated; others prove often to be quite inappropriate if not
'utterly untransferable. But this examination has typically been one-
.sided: where are the Hindu categories used to illumine Christianity,
!the Taoist concepts employed in analyzing Judaism, the shamanic
'tlitmes applied to Islam? No doubt such truly cross-cultural studies
\of religions have been occasionally essayed, but only rarely in a sys-
tematic fashion.
This conference on "Buddhist Soteriology" was, among other
;things an effort, albeit an admittedly modest and limited one, to
to rectify this situation. The conference was held at the Univer-
sity of California, Los Angeles between the 25th and 30th of June,
1988, under the sponsorship of the Joint Committee on Chinese
Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social
cience Research Council, and the University of California System-
wide Grant Program in Pacific Rim Studies. An international group
scholars, who together covered the entire span of Budd-
chism's history and geographical extension, gathered for a wide-rang-
ing series of discussions on the problem of soteriology in many of its
80 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
most important dimensions. The participants sought to utilize b h'
Buddhism's emphasis on soteriology as the bedrock of its Own idot
. d h . , f h "h en
tlty an t e potentIal use 0 t e concept 0, marga, or pat ," as a fut
category in of Religious Stud.ies.
ongmal research on the theones and methods of lIberatIOn in BUdd}
hism and the general question of the role of soteriology in the arr .....
of things that comprise abstracts. of papers
at the follow III thIs of the nature of
the relatIOnshIp between doctnne and relIgIOus experience""'i .
Buddhism and in religions generally-was among the dominan{
theoretical goals of the conference. The participants were joined by
several discussants versed in. othe.r religious traditions,. including.
Bernard Faure (Stanford UmversIty), Karl Potter (UmversityQf
Washington), Lee Yearley (Stanford University), and Yoshihide
Yoshizu (Komazawa University), who provided a valuable comparai
tive perspective and deepened our appreciation. of the potentiaF
implications of this topic. .'
Hoping to address an audience especially of scholars in Relii
gious Studies, the conference sought to undertake a manifold investi,.;
gation of the primary Buddhist concept or category of marga-"the'
path" -in order both to clarify the range of that category's meaniIlg
in the Buddhist tradition and to suggest its utility in the cross-cultural
study of religion. It was our contention not only that marga is a theme]
central to the whole of Buddhism, but also that it has range and
theoretical potential sufficient to allow our speaking usefully of a
Christian marga, Jewish marga, Islamic marga, etc. The focus on
Buddhism made sense, we felt, because, as a potentially cross-culturaf
category fot the study ofreligions, marga has been given its
tained, comprehensive, and subtle explication in Buddhism. ..' ','
The Western concept to which the Buddhist category ofmargais
most close related is "soteriology." The equivalence, to be sure,if
hardly exact, given, for example, the English term's etymological
implication of "savior," but no other more fitting term has
gested itself to us. What we mean by "marga" or "soteriology" is, gen-
erally speaking, the transformative dimension of religion, whichis:
often manifest as an explicit pattern of religious behavior leadi?g
necessarily to a specific religious goal. While it is certainly true that
transformative power-the capacity to alter character, values, and.
world-views-is implicit in all religions, nowhere is this more clearly
the case than in Buddhism. That tradition, throughout the two-and-.
a-half millenia of its pan-Asiatic career, has been relentlessly
in declaring itself to be a soteriology above all else. Its unflaggmg
concentration on "the path" has led not only to the careful and
delineatian af numeraus curricula af religiaus practice and
precedence af such delineatian amang the variaus mades af
discourse, but alsO' to' the adaptian af just thase principles
,r:iliaught aJ:?d discaurse that wauld best the af
iJ'terialagy. Thus we have the recurrent matIf af the, BuddhIst as
rat. her than the repeated af the ,superi.or:"
'tr,of analYTIcal and av:r synthetIc can.stn:ctIve
,peculatian, the charactenstIc mvacatIOn af pragmatIc cntena far
I af dactrines and practices, the pervasive influence af
afupqya (expedience), the tendency to' chaase discip-
"1+{'ed experience (e.g., meditatian) aver reasan as the final arbiter af
;dth ar efficacy, and sa an .
. centrality within Buddhism af miirga, and af systematic dis-
on "the path," suggests to' us the passibility af approaches to'
af bath Buddhism and ather religians that may be truly
It has lang been a daminant canventian af Religiaus Studies
'JYocus principally an certain cardinal cancepts ar archetypal
in its effarts to' understand particular religiaus tradi-
!t6IlS. This approach has had its uses, but it is fraught with perils.
'toO' easily can it lead to' purely abstract, reified, and fragmented
filceptians af religian in which excessive emphasis is given to' the
and religian af the thaugh the identity
relIgIOn can be reduced salely to' Its cardmal tenets. As much
ff!(being systems af dactrine, hawever, religians are alsO' axialagies
IIidways aflife, and thase facets are mare immediately familiar and
to' the ardinary adherents af a religian than wauld be any
schalastic discussians afthe elite theareticians. This is because
rfue truths af a religian are revealed to' mast adherents nat as much
its dac:rines as by the lifestyle af the manastery
cammumty. In the case af BuddhIsm, for example, even the
;'Ii?st unsaphisticated af manks unable to' list the twelve links af the
?f ari9"inati?n-ar anf af the ather interminab.le
ltil1mencal lIsts aftenets m whIch BuddhIst texts abaund-wauld stIll
the manastic regimen he fallaws each day, and it wauld be that
which mast directly infarms his religiaus understanding.
iWhile the experiences fastered by the manastic discipline and life-
ifYIe may be anly implicit in the dactrines af the religian, they are
in the miirga itself. As the living cantext within which all that
is defined, the miirga creates a cammanality af cancern
reticulates all the variaus strands af its' religiaus endeavar-
!woral values, ritual abservances, dactrinal teachings, and cantemp-
exercises-intO' a unified netwark af practices facused an liber-
(fion. The miirga thus incarparates everything from the simplest act

82 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
of charity to the most refined meditative experience; it
attention not on the isolate.d of specific religious practices
on the whole pattern of dIscIplme that encompasses the life of
A specific example of miirga as the ordering mechanism or
structure" of religion might well be in order at this point.
one of the earliest and simplest statements of the Buddhist path
so-called "three trainings" In this scheme, the
is instructed to begin his pursuit of liberation by cultivating
ence to basic moral rules (non-\fiolence, avoidance of false speechc)J
. etc.) so as to delimit strictly the range of appropriate human
in the physical, verbal, and mental spheres. The rationale provided'.!
for such ethical discipline (ffla) at the outset of the path is that
ity minimizes present mental anguish, guilt, and uncertainty, lead:)1
ing in turn to more rudimentary forms of tranquility and peace
result from control ofthe mind. But rather than tranquility
abstract ideal divorced from the preceding practice of morality,
actually embodied in the ethical observances of the student.
control over his response to external stimuli that the student
gains through moral observance and tranquility leads to the
ment of an introspective focus, which allows him to begin to
control over the impulses that initiate action in the first place.
internal control regulates in turn the processes of the mind,
ting the student to become still more concentrated and focused. Thatlli
concentration (samiidhi) can then be put to use in investigating
student's world with insight. The wisdom (prajfiii) achieved
such investigation finally reveals the nature of the world as
impermanent (anitya), unsatisfactory (dulJkha), and impersonal
man)-the fundamental Buddhist dogma of the "three marks
tence" This insight ultimately brings a permanent eng]
to the impulses that sustain one's ties with the phenomenal
suffering, engendering the radical renunciation that is nirviir;a. WeJ
thus see that the program of practice outlined in the three
training finally corroborates the most basic doctrinal
Buddhism by bringing them into the whole pattern of discipline
defines the spiritual career of the individual. The path thus
all these different facets and stages of Buddhist spiritual
into an organic whole, in which each part incorporates all
parts: morality is the premonition of both concentration and wisriJ
dom, concentration the resonance of morality and the
wisdom, and wisdom the consumation of both morality and conC''
tration and the initiation into liberation.
The value of this approach is especially evident when one con-
'iders the goal of the Buddhist path, nirvii1Ja, and the notorious diffi-
,s1.l1ty of characterizing, let alone defining, that goal. How better to
it than by appreciating the sense in which nirvii1Ja is
and shaped in the very path leading to it? Ninian Smart has
')offered the useful analogy of the relationship between the goal of a
'garne a.nd t?e rules of that game. An.y effort to define a "home run"
{,would lllevltably lead to a systematIc statement of the rules of the
of baseball. Similarly, virtually the only feasible description of
aI1 ineffable religious goal like nirvii1Ja is an outline of the path leading
tb it. In both cases, the goal is implicit in, and accessible only
through, the rules of behavior leading to its attainment. Conversely,
the meaning of anyone element in the path consists principally in
the contribution it makes to the achievement of that goal.
The miirga proves therefore to be that factor which insinuates
itself into everything that is Buddhist, uniting not only its various
'practices and strata of adherents, but also the disparate branches of
'its diffuse tradition. This is by no means to advocate that there was
'but a single soteriology accepted by all the schools of Buddhism.
While soteriology may be what brings continuity to the Buddhist
,religion, many permutations occurred as that concept was dissemi-
nated and interpreted in different regions of Asia. Thus miirga may
also provide a key that will help unlock the distinctive contributions
wade to Buddhism by its various indigenous traditions.
But we also believe that the potential "revisioning" of religion
by Buddhism's emphasis on the path offers the possibility
of a more holistic assessment not only of Buddhism, but indeed of
'any given religious tradition. Miirga provides a more integrative way
of interpreting religion, in which all elements of a religious tradition
,can be seen to collaborate in the service of the common goal of liber-
iation. Thus a religion's doctrines can be seen to correspond to its
,concrete practices and to flow from them; its world views and
axiologies can be seen as implicit in its regimens of practice; the
popular piety of its common adherents can be seen to resonate
deeply with the insights that inform the conceptual systems of its
elite philosophers. More than cardinal doctrines, then, we believe it
to be the miirga that creates within a religion a sense of communal-
ity-the Buddhist ideal of sa1!lgha-among the various strata of adhe-
rents with all their variant concerns and needs. It is this emphasis
on miirga that serves to keep religion accessible to all, not simply a
small elite. The emphasis on a practical spirituality brings even the
highest reaches of religious achievement within the purview of the
most humble of adherents. It also demands that even the more basic
84 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
of practices be directly preparatory to, if not actually refle .. ' .
. h h d d B k 1 h eted
WIt m, t e most a vance. y rna mg re IglOUS ac Ievement q . ,.
tifiable in terms relevant to daily life, all the activities of
adherents are made to serve the soteriological process. The st
the lay .Ch'an P:ang Yun, be
MystIcal experIence and actIve servIce are carrymg water ad
gathering kindling." n
The Meaning ifSIla in the Magga if the Theraviida Tradition
George D. Bond, Northwestern University
The Theravada tradition since at least the time of Buddhaghos
has regarded sUa as an integral component of the path to liberation.
I t has alluded to the significance of sUa by referring to it as "a stair
that leads to heaven" and a "door that leads to nibbiina." This paper
examines the meaning and function of sUa in relation to the path and
the goals ofthe tradition.
Szla means behavior or character, and more specifically, good
character or virtue. Theravada defined the content of szla
number of formulations of precepts. The essential formulation was.
that of dasa szla, although the tradition actually had two lists often.
precepts: the sikkhiipadas, or training precepts for the monks; and
another list termed the dasa kusala kammapathii. This second list
analyzes sUa into three categories: body, speech, and mind. It
appears that over time the tradition opted for the sikkhiipadas as the
primary definition for dasa szla. Another formulation of the precepts
constituting szla divided szla into the three divisions of culla, majjhima
and mahii. This formulation combined both of the lists of dasa szla and.
included other virtues to indicate the ethical perfection of the arahant.;
To understand the meaning of sUa for the path and its goal, we
must recognize that Theravada affirms a gradual path that repre-'
sents a series of soteriological strategies adapted to persons of differ
ing levels of wisdom and spiritual perfection. This path has lokiyg
and lokuttara levels that fit the three general types of persons: puthuj-
janas, sekhas, and asekhas. For the puthujjanas, there are mundane
mulations (abhisamiiciirika szla) and for the sekhtis, su
(iidibrahmacariyaka). Lay persons on the mundane level follow the
refuges and the five precepts, except on uposatha days, when they are.
expected to observe eight of the sikkhiipadas out of veneration for, and
in imitation of, the arahants. Before being fully admitted to the ordet,
novice monks on the mundane level observe the ten sikkhiipadas; after.
ordination they follow a fourfold szla. The tradition also specified
;c0nds of sfla to be followed by those on the lokuttara or ariya maggas.
::This formulation of .. involves comprehensive formulation
idescribed as culla, and maha szla. .
:> Just as the meanmg of sfla as a component of the 'path vanes
to the level ofthe person, so also does the relatIOn of sfla to
the. goal of the path. For those on the mundane level, the
i'bhisamiiciirika sfla leads to attainments within the round of sarrzsiira,
lauch as faith, learning, generosity and a heavenly rebirth. On the
path, however, sfla is integral to the process of mental purifi-
restraining the akusala impulses and eradicating the unwhole-
'some roots and volitions.
1'10-Mind and Sudden Awakening:
"Thoughts on the Soteriology qf a Kamakura Zen Text
"Cail Bielefeldt, Stanford University
r "
Zen Buddhism is often depicted as a religion that seeks to bring
)libout direct, intuitive experience of ultimate reality through the
psychological technique of meditation. This paper questions the
'adequacy of such a soteriological model when applied across the
range of historical forms of Zen; it does so by examining the example
'bra thirteenth-century Japanese text, popularly known as the Zazen
fon, that appears to favor a rather different religious style.
;t, The paper begins with distinctions between explicit and
Jrriplicit systems of Buddhist soteriology and between ultimate and
proximate soteriological goals. The argument then attempts to show
that the religion of the Zazen ron seeks to mediate between the explicit
:Jlorms and ultimate ends of the Mahayana theology and the implicit
'values and proximate goals of its Japanese audience; thus the
Mahayana goal ofliberation from the world through the attainment
8r buddhahood is redefined as consolation in the world through
belief in the immanence of the Buddha mind. Under this reading,
the key salvific experience is identified not with the mystical awaken-
ing of the Zen meditator but with the leap of faith of the Zen convert;
similarly, the soteriological role of meditation is less that of cause of
awakening than of expression of faith. The paper ends with the sug-
gestion that such a "soteriology of conversion" may be seen as a
reflex of the apologetic purposes ofthe Zazen ron itself.
86 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
Theraviida Buddhist Soteriology and the Paradox qf Desire
Grace G. Burford, Georgetown University
Despite its own claims to the contrary, Theravada BUddhi<;
developed the teachings and practices it now considers ortho;l11,
over a considerable period of time. Its literature reflects both thX:
early of this and its later formulations.
study exammes the nature of the Ideal goal and the path to it accord_"
ing to the Atthakavagga of the Suttanipiita and in both a late canonical
and post-canonical commentary on it. . ....... .
Careful analysis of the Atthakavagga indicates that it represents
two different approaches to the highest goal. One of the two
soteriologies in the text describes a path that involves developing
various specific ethical habits and virtues. The primary virtue
within this path scheme is desirelessness. Through seeing and know,
ing things as they really are, one eradicates desire, selfishness, and
attachment. The other path the Atthakavagga recommends takes this
notion of desirelessness to its logical conclusion, denying the valueof
preferring any particular view (ditthi) over any other, eventually
expressing disapproval of any preferences for a particular teacher,;
path or even goal. This latter soteriological view challenges the'
former with the paradox of desire: how can preference (i.e., desire)
for a p,articular teaching, teacher, path, or goal help one to cultivate
desirelessness ?!
Since these two approaches are in practical terms incompatible
(should one cultivate specific virtues, in accordance with a specific
teacher's view, or not?), the Atthakavagga poses a soteriological
lem for the Theravada tradition. The second part of this study.
examines the two major Pali commentaries on the Atthakavagga, iI1
order to see how the Theravada tradition has interpreted this poten
tially problematic text. .
These commentaries clearly reflect the Theravada tradition's'
decision to opt for the path that follows a particular teacher's teach-
ing. They interpret the A(thakavagga verses th'at present the anti-diNk?
view as referring only to views and teachers other than the Buddha '"
and his view (the right ditthi) , effectively undermining
Atthakavagga's ditthi polemic with a "present company excepted";
interpretation. In the process, the commentaries also resolved the
inherent challenge of the Atthakavagga's raising of the paradox of
desire: it may be paradoxical, or perhaps more accurately ironic,
it is in practical fact necessary to desire the ideal in order finallYN
attain it. The desire to be desireless is what distinguishes the Bu&:S
dhist adherents from those religious who do not strive to better them-.
selves at all.
The Wholesome Roots and their Eradication:
A Descent to the Bedrock if Buddhist Soteriology
. ,Robert E. Buswell, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles
Buddhism has generally conceived that the "taste ofliberation"
'jthat pervades its scriptures was something that was accessible to all
: beings, provided they fulfilled the necessary preconditions to its
<achievement. This universalistic tendency in Buddhism is perhaps
':best exemplified in the famous refrain of the Nirvana Siitra that all
beings are endowed with the capacity to achieve buddahood. 'While
ultimate goal of enlightenment f?r .all, some
; BuddhIst sCrIptures made the apparently conflIctmg claIm that cer-
. 'lain persons could be forever barred from salvation-a claim some-
; times found even in the same text, as in our example of the Nirvana
,.Sutra. Such individuals, who had engaged in the most heinous of evil
"actions, were called "those whose wholesome roots are eradicted"
'(samucchinnakufalamiila), and in the vast majority of cases, were con-
demned to subsequent rebirth in hell. This paper uses the notion of
samucchinnakufalamiila to explore two related questions in Buddhist
:soteriology: 1) what could cause salvation to become forever out of
and 2) what factor is absolutely essential if people are to
'retain their capacities for religious cultivation? _
.' U sing sources ranging from the Chinese Agamas and Pali
'Nikiiyas, to the Abhidharmamahavibha-ia of the (now avail-
:.ilble only in Chinese translation), and even to Chinese San-chieh
;.chiao and Ch'an materials, this paper seeks to prove that niggard-
liness is the quality that leads to the eradication of the wholesome
'roots while giving sustains and, if need be, regenerates, them. Our
.,examination of the wholesome roots will reveal their association with
.the concept of merit-making, or pur;ya, and take us down to the bed-
.rock of Buddhist soteriology. With the plethora of qualities that
Buddhists emphasize in their writings, it is difficult to determine
;which is most fundamental-which is the "lowest common
denominator," as it were, ofthe Buddhist spiritual equation. We will
find in this material that the essential catalyst to cultivation will
'prove to be not one of the several important philosophical concepts
for which Buddhism is often renowned; instead it will be the simple
practice of giving (dana).
88 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO.1
. Attainment through Abandonment:
The Sarviistiviida Path qf Removing Defilements
Collett Cox, University of Washington
the accounts, the Buddha's enlightenment
expenence culmmates m the knowledge of the destruction of th
fluxes (iisravakJayajfi.iina), resulting in an end to rebirth, an end to
fering. The Sarvastivada, a northern Indian school of Abhidharma
developed a complex and intricate path of religious praxis als6
directed exclusively toward this ultimate goal: the complete cessa-
tion of defilement. Theirs is a path of attainment through
ment, in which freedom from suffering is reached in progressive
stages through the removal of defilements. Though knowledge and
insight are integral to this religious process, they do not, in them-
selves, constitute the final goal; instead, they serve as tools to be used.
in effecting the abandonment of specific defilements.
The singular importance of the abandonment of defilements in
the Sarvastivada Abhidharma path structure is indicated first by the
detail with which the defilements affiicting unenlightened beings are.
enumerated (e.g., the six or ten basic defilements associated with.
various states of mind in various meditative and rebirth states
resulting in a total of 98). Further, religious aspirants are diff
tiated according to their level of attainment, that is, by the number of
defilements abandoned and the degree of completeness of this aban:
donment. The complete abandonment of a particular defilement is
designated cessation through application (pratisa1!lkhyiinirodha); that
is, religious aspirants require disconnection (visa1!lyoga) from particu-
lar defilements through the application of vision (darfana) or cultiva"
tion (bhiivanii). The Sarvastivada equate this complete cessation of
each defilement with nirvii7J.a. This cessation, disconnection, or
is then acquired repeatedly in progressing along the path; and once
all defilements are abandoned, the final goal is attained.
This paper examines the Sarvastivada Abhidharma path struc-
ture using both early Sarvastivada texts (e.g., the Prakara7J.apiida,
Dharmaskandha, and Sa1!lg'ltiparyiiya) , and texts representing the
developed perspective (e.g., the
literature, Abhidharmakofabhiiija, and Nyiiyiinusiira). I seek to clarify
the following questions:
1) What is the nature of defilements (i.e., anufoya, klefa), and
what is the mechanism by which they affect unenlightened sentient
beings (e.g., bija, priipti)?
2) What is the specific method by which defilements are to be
abandoned (e.g., apriipti, visa1!lyogapriipti, and miirga)?
3) What are the relations between this interpretation of defile-
inents and accepted by the Sarvastivada
How dId dIffenng assumptIOns held by other sects alter their
:,'clescriptions of the path?
ChJan: Learning) Letters) and Meditation
;flobert M. Gimello) University qf Arizona
In terms of rhetoric, Ch'an Buddhism eschews verbal formula-
'lions or expressions of truth in favor of direct, un mediated experi-
'ence. Despite this, there have been periods throughout its history
recoiling from spasms of antinomianism, Ch'an proved itself
,:to be rather more hospitable to textual study and more appreciative
of literary expression than its typical rhetoric would have led one
\0 expect.
One such period was that of the Northern Sung dynasty, when
'the predominant strains of Ch'an advocated the systematic integra-
tion of learning and meditation practice. This advocacy not only
'included a repetition of older calls to "unify Ch'an and the scriptural
'teachings," but also the novel contention that the Buddhist contemp-
lative career could even be combined with secular learning and the
practice of humane letters. Under the banner of "lettered Ch'an,"
many Ch'an figures sought to incorporate Ch'an into the literary
and academic culture of the intelligentsia. This effort to harmonize
Ch'an with learning and literature was not simply a device for reli-
gious propagation, but was seen also as having intrinsic religious
merit in the minds of those who fostered it. It was viewed as a way of
,protecting the tradition from antinomian corruption and as a means
9f enriching Ch'an spirituality by putting the resources of the liter-
ary and learned traditions at Ch'an's disposal.
The topic of "lettered (wen-tzu) Ch'an" may also serve as a "case
of the broader issue of the relationship between intellectual
disciplines like study and literary composition, on the one hand, and
the meditative disciplines of the interior or contemplative life, on the
other-i.e., to what Jean Leclercq has called in Christian terms
"The love oflearning and the desire for God." It may be especially
profitable to raise such questions in respect to China, for there we see
Buddhism developing within a cultural context in which literary sen-
sitivity and accomplishment, together with scholarship, were pri-
mary measures of piety itself. It is not surprising, therefore, that the
question of the soteriological value of learning and letters should
have been put especially acutely by Chinese Buddhists.
90 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
My discussion of this topic is based especially on the writings f
three major figures of the Lin-chi lineage of Northern Sung Ch'a
They are Chueh-fan Hui-hung (1071-1128) of the Huang_lu
branch of Lin-chi, and Yuan-wu K'o-ch'in (1063-1135) and
Tsung-kao (1091-1157), both of the Yang-ch'i branch. The writin
of men both explicit. and .imp1icit references to
tOpIC of the relatlOnshlp among learnmg, hterature, and meditation;
and their views of those relationships greatly influenced later Easf
Asian religious thought and practice.
The Cosmogonic Basis ifTsung-mi's Theory if the Path
Peter N. Gregory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
This paper examines how Tsung-mi derives a cosmogony from
the Awakening if Faith to serve as a map for Buddhist practice. Just
understanding of the twelve-linked chain of dependent origination
provided a map for earlier Buddhists, so Tsung-mi's understandingof'
the process of phenomenal evolution according to his interpretation
of the Awakening if Faith provided a structured pattern from which he.
derived his ten-staged process of religious practice and realizatiop.
The paper explores Tsung-mi's account of the stages of practice and
realization in his Ch'an-yuan chu-ch'uan-chi tu-hsu, where his theorYlS
expressed in its most developed form. It also traces the evolution of his
ten-staged theory by looking at its "primitive" expression in earlier
works, such as his commentary and sub commentary to the Yuan-chueh'
ching and his commentary to the Awakening if Faith. These earlier
works clarify the centrality of the Awakening if Faith in Tsung-mi's
understanding of the Buddhist path. The paper uses its discussion, of
Tsung-mi's thought as a way of exploring the larger comparative
issues of the relationship of cosmogony to ethics and of ontology
The Development if Early Japanese Tendai Views on
the Rapid Realization if Buddhahood
Paul Groner, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
The definition of buddhahood, the amount of time required to
realize it, and the number of people who can hope to attain it have,
often been topics of bitter controversy among Buddhist schools . .1:
certain points in Buddhist history, these issues have been subjectso[
yt-tense scrutiny, resulting in substantial revisions in the definition of
and the path to it. At the beginning ninth century
!rnostJapanese monks would have accepted the posItIOn that buddha-
was result of eons .of that could attain. By the
end bf the nmth century, thIs sItuatIOn had radIcally changed due to
:l'the establishment of two new schools, Tendai and Shingon. Large
,'groups of monks arid lay believers had come to believe that buddha-
./lood could be attained by everyone in a single lifetime.
/./ This paper focuses on the emergence and early development of
'bhe of the key concepts employed in the redefinition of these issues
Tendai monks:. narr:ely, .the teaching "the
t'realizatlOn of buddhahood m thIs eXIstence" (sokushzn )obutsu). The
&stlldy will be divided into two parts. In the first, the Chinese origins
and the first Japanese usages of the concept will be considered.
Saicha, the Tendai monk who introduced the concept to Japan, died
before he could define it exactly. The second part of the study will
focus on the efforts of his disciples to do so. Their concerns will be
examined through a series of letters on doctrinal issues that they
exchanged with Chinese monks. Eventually, the Japanese monks for-
ruulated their own innovative positions rather than adopt the more
cbnservative positions of their Chinese counterparts. The questions
ra.ised by Tendai monks reveal the key issues and concerns that led
them to formulate their views on enlightenment in new and distinc-
tive ways.
Japanese Tendai views on the realization of buddha hood in this
profoundly affected subsequent Japanese Buddhist history
fnboth positive and negative ways. On the negative side, the teach-
ing eventually led to a decline in serious practice within the Japanese
Tendai school because the final goal was said to be so easy to realize.
Qn the positive side, :Yendai arguments that buddhahood was possi-
pIe for everyone contributed to the spread of Buddhism to all seg-
!pents of society. Although later Japanese schools eventually rej ected
much of the Tendai teaching on the rapid realization of buddha hood,
nevertheless had to compete with it and to formulate their respec-
tive doctrines and practices in response to it. This paper, which
traces the early history ofthe Tendai view on the rapid realization of
enlightenment, thus helps to clarify many aspects oflater Japanese
;Buddhist history.
92 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
The Concept of Sudden Awakening in Bodhidharma's Teaching oj the /t,,1i'rtl

Ki Doo Han,Won'gwang University
To propagate the of sudden awakening, such ernI!
nent Ch'an teachers as HUl-neng, Ma-tsu, Po-chang,
and Lin-chi all used Bodhidharma's teaching of the mind
(hsin-ti). The Platform of the Patriarch provides a discipHs
nary platform for transmlttmg the mmd ground, through the notion!
of the nonabiding mind. This teaching, however, was not
to the Ch'an schools, and this paper seeks to trace the pedigree6f
this term in both Ch'an and doctrinalliterature.C:'':

The characteristics of the teaching of the mind ground in
were clarified by Shen-hui as
1) Bodhidharma's teaching of the mind ground was transmitt;ci
to successive Ch'an teachers from Hui-neng to Lin-chi.

2) The Northern of Buddhism pursued a
tval form of Ch'an, as IS expressed m such concepts as solidifyirig
abiding mind, and collecting the mind, while the Southern'
'school ofCh'an pursued a non conceptual form through its
of "no-thought." '.
3) Northern Ch'an Buddhism advocated measures to counteria
defilements, while Southern Ch'an Buddhism promoted
natural knowledge and an awakening to one's own
4) Northern Ch'an Buddhism sought to develop prajiia
samadhi while Southern Ch'an Buddhism sought samadhi from
Shen-hui believed that Bodhidharma's teaching of the miria
ground could be obtained through knowledge, and also argued for:r
soteriological program of sudden awakening / gradual
Because ,of this, he was criticized as a master of intellectual
edge. The National Master Nan-yang Hui-ch'ung criticized
hui for his opinion that "only sentient beings can become a
and claimed that insentient beings could also realize buddhahoogf]
This notion was the source of the shift from the moderate subitisirl!
of sudden awakenip.g / gradual cultivation to the radical subitismq[
sudden awakening / sudden cultivation. The evidence marshalled
this paper, however, suggests that the mind ground requires a
cess of gradual cultivation in order for the sprout of enlightenment
to grow, blossom, and bear fruit. The differing treatments of
seminal concept provide important information for explaining
transformation from early to later Ch'an thought. . <.,<{1}

Tibetan Perspective on the Nature of Spiritual Experience
Hopkins, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
In this paper I utilize written and oral Tibetan sources from a
renre called "grounds and paths" (sa lam, bhiimi-marga) in consider-
1) Atisa's threefold typology of practitioners and paths, 2) the
';'irofound experience of the mind of clear light in Highest Yoga
and 3) the meaning of "path," or spiritual experience in the
:,J,tnbre general sense. I make use of Tibetan dGe-lugs-pa literature on
Buddhist path to provide a view of what constitutes religious
,'{bkperience in this as ,::11 as to sugges.t a basis for compari-
;son and contrast wIth nontradItIOnal formulatIOns of aspects of the
by Rudolph Otto, Carl Jung, and Wilfred Cantwell Smith.
Due to its exclusionary agenda, this threefold Indo-Tibetan
,'b'pology is clearly inadequate for categorizing all religious persons
Sand religious experience; nevertheless, it provides an avenue for
i'exploring forms of Buddhist religious experience in general, from
';which hints about religious experience in general may be gleaned. A
theme of the paper is that three phases of experience of the
dread, overcoming obstacles, and being totally "at
!;home"-need to be emphasized in order to convey even a minimally
;;tounded picture of the path. Through this, the enormity and
Ymomentousness of the religious enterprise can be appreciated.
On the Ignorance of the Arhat
,Padmanabh S. Jaini, University of California, Berkeley
: Vasubandhu, while commenting in the first verse bfhisAbhidhar-
'Trlakofa on the words sarvatha speaks of two kinds
iqf ignorance (ajiiana). The first one is called or impas-
sioned ignorance, which seems to be the ignorance of the Four Noble
.Truths. The second variety is called the ignorance, not
bfthe Truths, but of things, such as of the infinite variety of objects
distant in space and time. The maintain that whereas
the Buddha destroys both kinds of ignorance, the arhats, even when
they destroy the klefas, are not free from the second variety, the
Yasomitra, in his Sphutartha-vyakha, i!lustrates this
point by the examples of such eminent fravakas as Sariputra and
Maudgalyayana, and seeks to explain the apparent contradiction
between the arhat's freedom from all forms of and the pres-
ence of this "ignorance." The paper aims to examine the nature of
94 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
Buddhis.t arhat's alleged in the of the Yoga
Jama matenals on the completIOn of the path to
to this of the arhats be found in caseg11
the yogms approachmg kazvalya as descnbed by PatanJali inhi'41
!!gasii!ra: Its commentary, the Vyiisa-bhiifya, states the so-calll
ommsClence," and partIcularly the knowledge ofobJects
place and time, are results of yogic practices (not dissimilar to
practice of samiipattis in Buddhism), and are not a prerequisite
yogin's attainment of
The. J aina position on this issue differs
demandmg that persons who overcome the klesas (as the BuddhlM
ar:hat does) must proceed further in higher trances (called
ladhyiinas) to remove the ignorance of objects (jfiiiniivararJa-karma)aWJ
well. Only then may they become an omniscient (kevala-jiiiinin)
as in the case of the Buddha, attain nirviirJa.\;;jil4:
Beyond Cultural Construction?: Concentration and Indo-Tibetan Claims
Unmediated Cognition ' ... ,;ili!
Anne C. Klein, Rice University
Buddhist and contemporary Western intellectual
share a general emphasis on the nature
ence. Nevertheless, they reach dlametncally OpposIte
regarding the possibility of either an unmediated cognition or a
nized object that lies outside cultural particularity. This paper
at Indo-Tibetan, and especially dGe-Iugs-pa, premises by
such claims are supported. I focus on the role of mental
tion in the purportedly unmediated cognitions of
emptiness on the first and sixth bodhisattva grounds.
junctures where traditional texts examine the interplay between
centration and wisdom, that is, between withdrawing the mindig'1
one sense and expanding its horizons in
Since the initial direct cognition of emptiness occurs on the
ground, it might seem that whatever reconciliation between calmiIJ,g1
and insight might be required should take place there. However,
relationship of these functions again becomes an issue on the siXW:J
ground with the development of a new form of concentration, knowfl:
as the uncommon absorption of cessation
samiipatti, thung mong ma yin pa'i gog snyoms). This is a category uniqu(t,ol
Prasangika and in Tibet is discussed mainly in dGe-Iugs-pa
taries on Candrakirti's Entrance to the Middle Wtry (Madhyamakiivatiira,
ma la 'jug pa), especially Tsong-kha-pa's Clarification if
Thought (db U ma dgongs pa rab gsal) and in works by Pan-chen
So_nam-drak-ba, Jetsun Chos-kyi-gyal-tsen, and Jam-yang-shay-ba.
This uncommon absorption is described as quite distinct from the
cessation discussed by Vasubandhu and Buddhaghosa .
. Vnlike those, this is a wisdom consciousness regarded as crucial to
qualities that characterize the higher grounds; it is a major catalyst
of the seventh ground's special mental agility and freedom from con-
ceptuallimitations, as well as a contributing factor to the ability to
.combine universal insight with particular response (wisdom and
method) that is associated with the eighth ground and above.
The paper argues that the role of calming and concentration is
crucial to understanding the underpinnings of Indo-Tibetan Bud-
dhist claims about unmediated cognition. I also suggest that the
mediated/unmediated dichotomy, important as it is, is not the most
useful paradigm by which to engage this Buddhist material, and that
the role of concentration, which has no clear analogue in most West-
ern thought, is part of the challenge to this model.
Paths Terminable and Interminable
Donald S. Lopez,Jr., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The second of the eight topics covered in Maitreyanatha's com-
.. mentary on the prajfiiipiiramitii, the AbhisamayiilaT(lkiira, is the knowl-
edge of the paths (miirgajfiatii), the bodhisattvds understanding of the
minute structure of the paths of friivakas, pratyekabuddhas, and
bodhisattvas, conjoined with the realization that all these paths are
ympty. This paper uses Tsong-kha-pa's (1357-1419) commentary on
the topics of the knowledge of the paths in his Legs bshad gser phreng to
consider three problems arising from the Indian Mahayana and
Tibetan expositions of the paths to enlightenment. The first is the
. persistence of the complex of defilements, derived by the
Abhidharma, after the antidote to those defilements (knowledge of
the sixteen aspects of the four truths) had been effectively replaced
by the panacea of emptiness. The paper considers several arguments
that might account for the continuation of a highly structured system
of defilements, including the possibility that they represent Buddhist
.categories of pollution, analogous to those in the caste system.
The second topic dealt witp in the paper is the controversy
within the Mahayana over the number of vehicles. The arguments
for three vehicles and for one vehicle are presented at some length,
focussing especially on how the proponents of one position sought to
account for statements in the sutras that seemed to support the other
96 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
position. This leads into a consideration of the strategy of
. h M h . 11 . h
tary m tea ayana, especla y as It soug t to account both
prior tradition, labelled the Hinayana, and for those who
its path, the The .tradition had. to be
m or_de! to estabhsh_ mamtam the supenor posItion.
Mahayana, but the Hmayana could not be rejected
The final question taken up in the paper is one that
naturally from the assertion that there is but one final vehicle thata'l11
sentient beings will ride to buddhahood: the question of
saT(lsiira will ever end. Positions on both sides of the issue are
cussed at some length, and the doctrinal agendas that underlie
positions are analyzed. Tsong-kha-pa finds a reason to argue
saT(lsiira is endless in the doctrine of emptiness, a position that hig
most important commentators vigorously reject. The paper
cludes by considering several models by means of which the
dinarily long bodhisattva path might be understood, including th
model of narrative. "
The Encounter and Marga Paradigms in Classical Ch) an:
Analysis and Implications
John McRae, Case Western Reserve/Cornell University
This paper states a set of hypotheses and tentative conclUSIOns
regarding the creation of a new paradigm for religious practice in the'
Hung-chou school of classical Ch'an Buddhism. ..
One important aspect of recent research on early and classical
Ch'an is the devaluation of the sudden/gradual and Northern!
Southern dichotomies as primary indicators of the development and
transformation of the school. The first section of the presentation:
will reconsider apparent discontinuity between early Ch'an and the,
classical Ch'an of Ma-tsu Tao-i (709-88) and the Hung-chou
school. After describing the unique characteristics of the Hung-chou
school ofCh'an, in particular its apparently single-minded devotion
to "encounter dialogue," or spontaneous religious repartee, the
paper gives brief details regarding the biographical, doctrinal, and
practical continuities between early and classical Ch'an.
The next section analyzes the "encounter paradigm" for reli-
gious practice implied in classical Ch'an in terms of its extremely
personalist and anti-ritualist internalization of the norms of spiritual
teaching. This is followed by a description of the highly rationalized
(i.e., hierarchical and progressive) "miirgaparadigm" attributed to
traditional Chinese Buddhism and rejected by classical Ch'an.
. The conclusion offers a hypothesis regarding the implications of
fhe of paradign: within the context of
fchinese socIal.and mtellectual hlstor;.:. SpecIfically, the paper argues .
fffiat the theones of the anthropologIst Mary Douglas (as argued
ftspeciallY in Symbols) cosmology
JJ()cial structure proVIde an excellent startmg pomt forunderstandmg
ttbe role ofCh'an Buddhism in the T'ang / Sung transition.
fhe Sudden and Complete Path ojT'ien-t'ai Chih-i
Ibaniel B. Stevenson, Butler University
The sixth and seventh century in China have traditionally been
as a watershed in the history of East Asian Buddhism, a
of great systematic change out of which emerged the basic
of thought and practice that have stood as a hallmark of
Asian Buddhism down to the present day. One of the most sig-
trends to take shape during this era was a shift. towards a
(chi) or "sudden" (tun) model of the bodhisattva course. Far
1Trom being solely a matter of doctrinal interest, of concern only to
scholastic elite, the vision of a "sudden" enlightenment was
all a vision of a religious path. As such, it initiated responses
:throughout all aspects of the Buddhist tradition-practical and
:Jnstitutional, as well as intellectual-and became a pivotal structure
;around which entire programs of religious culture were forged. This
paper will discuss one such program-that described in the writings
of Chih-i (538-597), the great architect of T'ien-t'ai Buddhist
thought and practice.
, Chih-i is the author of one of the most comprehensive and
widely read statements of the "sudden" approach to Buddhist prac-
tice ever produced in Asia-the Mo-ho chih-kuan ([Treatise on] the great
calming and discerning). This work delves into all areas of religious life,
and thus offers priceless insights into both the conceptual models
that informed T'ien-t'ai practice and the network of spiritual disci-
plines through which these models were actualized in the T'ien-
t'ai community.
Relying primarily upon the Mo-ho chih-kuan, the paper sketches
a holistic picture of Chih-i's "sudden" program of spiritual develop-
ment, which above aU strives to convey the ways in which this model
resonated with, and helped to integrate, all dimensions ofT'ien-t'ai
religious life.
The paper begins with a discussion of Chih-i's views regarding
the enlightened mind and its relation to the ordinary human condi-
98 JIABS VOL; 13 NO.1
. tion. Having elicited the basic framework upon which his vision f
the sudden approach is structured, it then takes up his subitist
itself. The various stages of spiritual development on that path ar
outlined and junctures considered to be crucial are pinpointed. B;
working into the discussion such basic formula as the TwentY-flv
Preliminary Expedients and the Ten Modes of Meditative
ment (shih kuan-fa), the paper treats in detail the integrated program'
of spiritual disciplines designed to affect these transformations. The
paper concludes with observations on the various ways in which
these models of religious practice were reflected in the institutional
structure and patterns of religious life seen in the early T'ien-t'ai
Vision and Cultivation on the Path to Liberation in Early Buddhism
Alan Sponberg, Stanford University
One of the most innovative contributions to systematization of
Buddhist soteriology was the introduction of the distinction between
a path of vision (darfanamrga) and, following it,a path of cultivation
(bhiivaniimiirga). This bipartite model of the path to liberation
nated with the Vaibha:;;ika-Sarvastivada school and was sub-
sequently expanded by the Yogacarins to become the core of the
mature five-stage path theory of Mahayana Buddhism. Louis dela
Vallee Poussin was perhaps the earliest Western scholar to note the
peculiarity of this development, discussing it in the context of a
broader survey of documents reflecting the tension between what he
interpreted as a "rationalist" faction and a "mystical" faction among
earlier Buddhist soteriologists. Following Poussin's lead, Erich
Frauwallner, for example, took a much stronger position on the ques:
tion, asserting that the division represents the Vaibha:;;ika commit-
ment to a rationalist soteriology in juxtaposition to the "mystical"
tendency he sees to prevail in the Pali Abhidhamma.
In examining the Vaibha:;;ika theory, this paper suggests that the
inclusion of the path of cultivation is more significant and innovative
than the notion of a specific moment of cognitive insight (iiiiiJa-das
sana), the latter having clear precedent in important canonical
sions not considered by Frauwallner. This, in turn, suggests that the'
real question to be raised here is what led the later Abhidharmikas
to insist on a path of cultivation subsequent to the moment of insight'
into the Four Noble Truths that had been the culmination of the stan-
dard early accounts of the path, a question all the more intriguing ...
given the fact that the do indeed demonstrate a marked
tendency towards rationalism in many other respects.
This issue becomes less problematic if seen not in terms of
"rationalism" versus "mysticism," but as a Buddhist attempt to
mediate a long-standing dispute between those South Asian wander-
ers (parivrajakas) who sought deliverance in a moment ofliberating
cognitive insight and those who pursued instead a process of re-
demptive purification. Historically, it is this division between vision
and purification that reemerges throughout early Buddhist soteriol-
ogy, a process independent of movement towards rationalism. In this
context, the innovation of cultivation after liberating
insight indicates the strength of the purification theme in Buddhism,
despite injunctions against extreme psychological asceticism. It also
reflects the increasingly psychological turn in which the liberating
value of insight required a period of deeper cultivation to fully extir-
pate greed, hatred, and delusion. Even more striking then than the
appreciation of rationalism evident in this phase of Buddhist soteriol-
ogy is the appreciation of the unconscious levels of affiiction not
immediately accessible by even the most direct insight into reality.
ahiimudrii: The Quintessance of Mind and Meditation.
anslated and annotated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa, with a
", word by Chogyam Trungpa. Boston/London: Shambhala, 1986.
+ 488 pp. $25,00 (paper).
Among the many exceptional achievements of Tibetan scholas-
writing, a position of special distinction has long been accorded
hin the Bka'-brgyud
traditions to the Nges don phyag rgya chen po'i
rim gsal bar byed pa'i legs bshad zla ba'i 'od zer, the Moonlight of
ahiimudrii, by the master Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal.
nowned as an encyclopedic summation of the theoretical and
ctical dimensions of the mahiimudrii ("Great Seal") teaching stem-
fig from the mahiisiddhas of Buddhist India and their Tibetan ad he-
ts, the Phyag chen zla zer, as it is called for short, enjoys authority
tting across the various lines of Bka' -brgyud-pa sub-sectarian dif-
ence, and thus exceeds in its influence even such revered
. hiimudrii texts as the Phyag chen gan mdzod of 'Brug-chen Padma
ar-po (1527-92), which is studied in the.schools of the 'Brug-pa
a'-brgyud order,
or the Phyag-chen nges-don rgya-mtsho, of Karma-
IX Dbang-phyug rdo-rje (1554-1603), a primary meditational
atise of the Karma Bka'-brgyud.
Lobsang P. Lhalungpa's superb
'. 'nslation of Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's masterwork, then,
be celebrated by all students of Indo-Tibetan thought and con-
Indeed, the richness of this book recommends it to all
fgaders who are seriously engaged in inquiry concerning systematic
whether. from a. Buddhological, philosophical,
*psychologIcal or practIcal standpomt.
The text is broadly divided into two books: a preliminary disser-
on the fundamental categories employed in the discussion of
:P,llddhist meditation, namely, famatha and vipafyana (pp. 15-88); fol-
!!pwed by a fully detailed exegesis of the system of the mahiimudrii in
fj5articular (pp. 92-414). The first of these clearly seeks to relate the
as a whole to the tradition of meditational theory stemming
[rom Kamalaslla, and represented in the three Bhiivaniikrama and the
texts that are well-known to contemporary Bud-
The association is further reinforced by Bkra-shis rnam-
use of the phrase sgom-rim (= Bhiivaniikrama) in the full title of

$1 lOl

102 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
his work. It is in the second book that the polemical significance of'.
his appropriation of is felt, for here he directly
attacks the charges, vOIced most prommently by Sa-skya PaI).<;iita
Kun-dga' rgyal-mtshan (1182-1251), that the mahiimudrii of the Bka'_c
brgyud schools is to be identified with the antinomian subitism attri_
buted to Ho-shang Mahayana (pp. 104-9).
The polemical dimension of the work, however; is not its dorni:'
nant trait. Its real interest derives from' the thoroughness of its
delineation of the theory and practice of the mahiimudrii as a distinc_ ' ..
tive system standing in a unique relationship to the major traditions'
of sutra and tantra in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Thus mahiimudrii, in a
way reminiscent of the Rdzogs-chen as treated by many Rnying-rna_
pa writers, is spoken ()f as "a separate path and independent of the
sutras and tantras" (p. 112). At the same time, mahiimudrii may skill-
fully employ practices taught in the sutras and tantras, so that "it is'
not contradictory to regard mahiimudrii as identical to the common"
and profound path of the sutras and tantras." And theoretically, too/
the "thatness" (de-kho--na-nyid) to be realized as the final intention o(
both finds its culmination in the mahiimudrii (pp. 112-16). The
rateness of the mahiimudrii is thus tentatively posited, in a dialectical;.
motion that seeks ultimately to determine not what is most
tive but what is most universal within the varied scriptural tradi{.;'
tions of Buddhist meditation. In effect Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal
an on-going discussion among the traditions of sutra, tantra, andj
mahiimudrii proper, in which the dialectical pattern just outlined is;t
recapitulated with respect to the numerous particular
he details. (
To exemplifY this procedure with respect to practice, we mal;:,
point to his treatment of the role of breathing in meditation (pp. 154-;.1,
7): the point of departure is a passage from the mahiisiddha
Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's exposition of which involves consideration o:";;
the discussions of breathing found in the Abhidharmakofa, the)\1
Mahayana sutras, and several tantras. Similarly,' but in a
theoretical vein, the investigation of vipafyanii in Chapter Four o(S
Book Two (pp. 175ft) finds its conclusion in remarks on "The
ing ofInsight with that of Other Systems" (pp. 209-12), where the,::Fl
main concern is to indicate the manner in which normative
nal presentation of the two sorts of selflessness (nairiitmya)
is to be understood in connection with the mahiimudrii teaching.::'
Lobsang P. Lhalungpa's outstanding translation of the abundant,}:}
feast of dharma that we find here is both accurate and highly readable}14
throughout, a formidable achievement when one considers
extreme difficulty of the text in question. The overall excellence ofj:

(his work leaves this reviewer with few t? pick, small
that: clear and accurate use of Sansknt tItles of cIted works m
cases, for instance, alternates in others with altogether confus-
ffug of Tibetan. of
tItles: e.g., mgoshl (p. 33) dngos-g;:;hz; I.e.,
rJ3hilmivastu. And the entIre treatment of the bIblIography and mdex
tbf citations (pp. 463-88) will not be regarded as meeting the stan-
of contemporary academic usage. Also, I would like to encour-
readers of do everything in power to stamp
'!6ut the neologIsm sutnc, used throughout thIS and many other
books on Tibetan Buddhism.
None of this, however, distracts
this reviewer's admiration for an exemplary and extremely
addition to the volume of Tibetan doctrinal literature now
in English translation. .
There remains, however, one rather puzzling aspect of the book,
striking lack of information we find there about its author,
Wwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal. The issues that may be raised in
connection take us beyond any questions explicitly raised in the
fbook under review, and so will be addressed separately.
(11. The Enigma if Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal

Given the clear importance of the Phyag-chen ;:;la-;:;er, the enor-
[fuity of its achievement, and the fact that its popularity as an instruc-
text within the Bka' -brgyud traditions demonstrates the high
in which it was traditionally held, we should expect that, as
often to be the' case with the great names in Tibetan Buddhist
history, a great deal would be known of its author, Dwags-
lPo Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal. Wrong. Next to nothing seems known of
!Rim, and, though I cannot claim to have turned every stone yet, the
of my search for reliable information about him have so far
remarkably disappointing. This presents something of a puz-
but because that puzzle is itself in some sense illuminating, an
of it seems in place here.
:0, Mr. Lhalungpa's introduction (p. xxi) tells us that

In writing this work the great Tibetan teacher Tashi Namgyal (1512-87)
made known many of the ancient secret oral teachings and published
them as xylographic prints. Among other well-known treatises by the
author are The Resplendent Jewel: An Elucidation qf the Buddhist Tantra and The
Sunlight: An Elucidation qf Hevajra-tantra. In the course of his extensive
studies and training Tashi Namgyal studied with some Sakyapa teachers
and even acted as the abbot of Nalanda Sakyapa Monastery, north of
Lhasa. During his later years he functioned as Gampopa's regent and as
chief abbot of the monastery ofDakla Gampo, in South Tibet.
104 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
The text itself contains little information regarding its author: eve';(
the opening praise-verses, for instance, omit specific reference to
personal teachers. It is only in the colophon that he situates hirnsei}
for us (p. 411)
... I, Campopa Tashi Namgyal, started composing this text at an ausp;2
cious time and completeq it on an auspicious day of the third month of
the Ox year, at the Nagakota retreat, bel.ow the glorious monastery ot.,
Taklha Campo. The founding of this monastery was prophesied by
Buddha. The scribe was Thupden Palbar, who is himself a dedicated
ter of the Mantrayana system.
A translator's note (p. 461) tells us that "[ t ] he Ox year could bt
either the Wood Ox year, 1566 C.E., or the Fire Ox year, 1578
We have before us, then, a number of substantive
regarding Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal, a few of which find sornlt
confirmation in the text's own colophon, the remainder being
seilted without textual support. In the absence of an
(auto) biography, or even of a substantial historical note in a
thetic history of Tibetan Buddhism or of one of its
schools, it may be worthwhile to examine the assertions madehere::j
with some care. The absence of extensive written evidence
course, part of the puzzle, and I shall return to this question belovJ.t
Let's first, however, examine the positive assertions in turn:;.,i;f
. 1. Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal was affiliated with Dwags5:
l(h)a sgam-po Monastery. .
2. He lived from 1512 to 1587, had some connection with
Sa-skya-pa school, and "even acted as abbot Of Nalanda
Monastery." ' ..

3. He composed "other well-known treatises," including thlJ
Phyag-chen z!a-zer, which was written in an Ox year equivalent
either 1566 or 1578. Moreover, he was responsible for the
raphic publication of his own work.

This is, of course, supported by the author's colophon. Confir-i:;
mation of his monastic affiliation may be found elsewhere as well,
instance in the notes on Tibetan monastic institutions compiled bX:::
the patron of 19th century Tibetan Buddhist eclecticism, 'JaIJl<f:l
dbyangs Mkhyen-brtse'i dbang-po (1820-92) :('11
As for Dwags-la sgam-po: It was founded by Dwags-po Rin-po-che
Bsod-nams rin-chen [a.k.a. Sgam-po-paJ-the heart-like spiritual son of
Mi-la Bzhad-pa'i rdo-rje, the great pillar of the lineage of attainment fol-
lowing Lord Mar-pa-when he was in his forties. It became the source of
all the Bka'-brgyud-s [i.e., of the four great and eight lesser lineages stem-
ming from Sgam-po-pa, Bka'-brgyud che-bzhi chung-brgyadJ, and was later
preserved by Sgom-tshul Tshul-khrims snying-po and [Sgam-po-pa'sJ
other nephews, and by the all-knowing Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal and other ema-
national rebirths, who came successively.6
'Sgam-po-pa's monastic seat, then, appears to have been maintained
by a familial line and by a line of sprul-sku-s, Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
!having figured among the latter.
Histories of the Bka' -brgyud schools sometimes include a brief
discussion of Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po's beginnings and early succes-
sion immediately following the life of the founder: as the English ver-
,'sian of The Blue Annals provides a readily available example, there is
no need to repeat this material here.
But the distinction of its foun-
,'der notwithstanding, Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po and its traditions had
,'lapsed into some obscurity within four centuries of its foundation .
This is well-indicated by no less a Bka' -brgyud historian than
;Dpa'-bo Gtsug-lag phreng-ba, writing during the period 1545-65,
who expresses uncertainty as to whether those in the line of Dwags-
l(h)a sgam-po's hierarchs have formed a continuous master-disciple
The dates, 1512-87, assigned to Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
'by Mr. Lhalungpa are those that have been adopted by the US.
Library of Congress, and are found in recent Tibetan chronologies
as welP However, the reader who undertakes the tedious task of
'reading Tshe-tan Zhabs-drung's recent compendium of Tibetan
chronologies in its entirety will find Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
entered with two conflicting sets of dates, the alternative being 1398-
,)458, the name given with the birth-year further qualified with the
phrase rong-ston-gyi slob-rna, "disciple of Rong-ston."w Rong-ston is,
of course, the famous Sa-skya-pa scholar Rong-ston Shes-bya kun-
gzigsl -rig (1367-1449), who founded the "Nalanda" (actually
Nalendra) monastery in 1435-6. In the light ofthe assertion that the
author of the Phyag chen zla zer had been abbot of this Sa-skya-pa
establishment, this matter clearly demands careful consideration.
Were there two Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal-s, or just one?
And if one, did he belong to the mid-sixteenth century or to the
Yearly fifteenth?
106 jIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
. A summary of the life of Rong-ston may be found on pp. 1080
82 of the Roerich translation of The Blue Annals. On p. 1082 We fi d
the following: ' n
Before his passing into Nirval).a, he appointed to the Abbot's chair h
Dharmasvamin bKra-sis rnam-rgyal. This one also laboured extensiv:l e
for the benefit of the Doctrine, preached, erected large images, etc. R:
was born in the Earth-Male-Tiger (sa-pho-stag-l398 A.D.) and passed
away at the age of 6l.
According to the Tibetan manner of calculating one's age, that
would have been 1458.
We have therefore a Chos-rje Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal: he is not
explicitly identified in The Blue Annals as Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-
However, a recent account of Rongcston's life and work does
refer to him as "Dags-po-dbon Pal).-chen Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal" and as
"Dwags-po pal).-chen Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal."12 The primary Source
cited is Gser-mdog Pal).-chen Shakya-mchog-Idan's (1428-1507)
biography of Rong-ston/
where on plate 336, lines 5-6, we find one
Dags-po dbon-por grags-pa Pan[sic!J-chen Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal, "Pan"
chen Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal famed as the Dags-po nephews." N ~ t
only does Rong-ston's disciple have the same name and titles similar
to those of the author ofthe Phyag chen zla zer, but the addition here of
the title dbon-po immediately calls to mind the dbon-brgyud, "nephews'
line," among Sgam-po-pa's successors, referred to above, where it
was distinguished from the line of sprul-sku-s to which our subject
There are, however, better reasons to doubt the identification of
the two, and to argue that the mahiimudrii master indeed belonged to
the sixteenth century. To begin with, it seems odd that 'Gos Lo-tsa"
ba, author of The Blue Annals and a scholar with powerful Bka'-
brgyud affiliations, would have failed to mention that Rong-ston's
successor had been the author of important and influential Bka'-
brgyud treatises if that had indeed been the case. Less circumstan-
tially, we have a record of the mahiimudrii master Bkra-shis rnam-
rgyal's lineage, known from two independent sources: KaJ:l-thog Rig-
'dzin Tshe-dbang nor-bu (1698-1755)/4 and 'Jam-mgon Kong-sprul
Blo-gros mtha' -yas (1813-99), who takes this up in the dkar-chag of
his encyclopedic anthology of Tibetan Buddhist meditational tradi
tions, the Gdams ngag mdzod.
The former may, I believe, be consi-
dered particularly good testimony in this instance: Tshe-dbang nor-bu
was a noted historian with strong Bka' -brgyud connections; coming,
as he does, during the early eighteenth century it seems unlikely that
he would place a mid-sixteenth century figure in the early fifteenth;
and, significantly, Pal).-chen Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal appears to have
1. been a figure of special interest to him, for he concludes his summa-
.tion of the lineage that he has made great efforts
:to receive the of hIS en.tIre Collected Works (Gsung 'bum
rdzogs), Omlttmg here the IndIan predecessors of Mar-pa, a
of the lineage according to both sources (with dates
.supplied as reported in recent Tibetan chronologies) runsas follows:
1. Mar-pa (1012-97)
2. Mi-la ras-pa (1040-1123)
3. Sgam-po Lha-rje Bsod-nams rin-chen (1079-1153)
4. Dbon-sgom Tshul-khrims snying-po (1116-69)
5. La-yag-pa Byang-chub dngos-grub
6. Mkhan-chen Bye(d)-dkar-ba
7. Snyi-sgom chen-po
8. 'Bri-gung gling-pamched
9. Dpal-ldan Lha-lung-pa
10. Mkhan-chen Lha-btsun-pa
11. Jo-sras Rdo-rje blo-gros [Tshe-dbang nor-bu runs this name
together with the preceding.]
12. Spyan-snga Chos-kyi rgyal-mtshan
13. Chos-kyi seng-ge
14. Chos-kyi dbang-phyug
15. Mkhan-chen RgyaI-mtshan bzang-po
16. Spyan-snga Bsod-nams rgya-mtsho [Kong-sprul reads:
17. Rje Bsod-nams lhun-grub
18. Sgam-po PaI).-chen Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
(1398-1458 or 15l2/3-87?)
19. Spyan-snga mtshan-can
20. Sprul-sku Nor-bu rgyan-pa (1588 or 1599-1633)
21. Spyan-snga Rin-chen rdo-rje
22. (Spru1-pa'i sku-mchog) Bzang-po rdo-rje
[23a-24a complete Tshe-dbang nor-bu's version:]
23a. Grub-mchog 'Od-gsal dbang-po
24a. Tshe-dbang nor-bu (1698-1755)
[23b-30 complete Kong-sprul's list:]
23b. Lhun-grub nges-don dbang-po
24b. Grub-chen Dam-chos dbang-phyug
25. Bstan-pa dar-rgyas
26. Grub-dbang Byang-chub rdo-rje
27. Byang-sems Kun-dga' snying-po
28. Rgyal-sras Gzhan-phan mtha'-yas (b. 1800)
29. Rdo-rje-'chang Mkhyen-brste'i dbang-po (1820-92)
30. Kong-sprul B1o-gros m tha' -yas (1813-99)
108 JIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
I t will be immediately apparent that the absence of more prec'
information on the dates of most of these persons presents SOIne It
stacles to the use ofthese lists as evidence to decide the case ofBt -
shis rnam-rgyal. Given that five generations of teachers are reportrd
as intervening between him and Tshe-dbangnor-bu, whose dates a
quite well established, however, it does seem more plausible to assi;e
Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal to the sixteenth century, assuming an averat
of roughly thirty years per generation, a figure nearly consistent
the distribution of the list overall. And certainly, the dates assigned
to Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's grand-disciple Nor-bu rgyan-pa appear
clinch the matter.
About this last point, however, we must exercise some caution
for Nor-bu rgyan-pa's dates are known from just the same ver;
recent sources as Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's, and, because he belongs to
the same lineage, may be subject to similar possibilities of error.
What we must do, then, is determine just what sources the recent
chronologists have utilized. Earlier chronological documents, COIn-
bined with the evidence ofthe lineage lists, would do much tei bolster
the argument. .
Fortunately, we can be fairly certain regarding the
the immediate sources of contemporary Tibetan chronologies in
case with which we are here concerned: the chronology of
dbang nor-bu himself; 16 and that ofSum-pa Mkhan-po Ye-shes dpal-
'byor (1704-87) .17 Both concur in assigning the birth of Bkra-shis
rnam-rgyal to 1513 (Water Bird, Ninth Rab-byung), and Sum-pa
gives the year of his death as 1587 (Fire Pig, Tenth Rab-byung). Both"
concur in assigning the birth of Sgam-po-pa Nor-bu rgyan-pa to
1588 (Earth Rat, Tenth Rab-byung), and Sum-pa specifies 1633
(Water Bird, Eleventh Rab-byung) as the year of decease. It seems
very unlikely that both of these eighteenth century historians, writ-
ing in different parts of Tibet and adhering to different traditions,
would be similarly wrong about all ofthis. Moreover, the occurrence'
of the name of Sgam-po-pa Nor-bu rgyan-pa among the Circle of
Rnying-ma-pa and Bka'-brgyud-pa luminaries gathering around
Rig-'dzin 'la' -tshon-snying-po (1585-1656) offers further confirma-
tion of the general accuracy of these dates. We must, I believe, accept
the conclusion that there were two Dwags-po PaIf-chen Bkra-shis
rnam-rgyal-s, one a fifteenth century Sa-skya-pa, the other a six"
teenth century Bka'-brgyud-pa.
One further puzzle must be raised in this connection: Sm
sdong mtshams-pa Rin-po-che, in his history of the successive
Karma-pas, mentions as a disciple of Karma-pa IX Dbang-phyug
rdo-rje (1554-1603) a certain "Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal-gyi
an "incarnation" of Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal.
this Sgam-po-pa Nor-bu rgyan-pa, who, if born in 1588, the
following Bkra-shis. rnam-rgyal's passing, was recog-
iiUied as thy latter's rebIrth? Or was there an otherwIse unknown
Or does it refer to Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
riliiIIlself, as an incarnation of Rong-ston's successor? (His seniority
respect to the Karma-pa would not have precluded his being
.. ..n ... sidered the l.atter's disciple) Regrettably, the.
.ff,we noW know It does not contnbute to the resolutIOn of thIS questIOn.
Among contemporary Bka'-brgyud-pa scholars, the Phyag chen
t.lld zcr is often spoken of as one of three texts by Dwags-po Bkra-shis
fJpd-zer, together referred to as the "Trilogy of Light Rays," 'Od zer
gsum. As noted above, Mr. Lhalungpa has mentioned these
IVorks briefly in his introduction. Also attributed to the same author
several short texts found in the section on the Dwags-po tradi-
tR6n in the Mar-pa Bka'-brgyud volume(s) of the Gdams ngag mdzod.
coloph?ns ir: all ?fthese works and I
mformatIOn gIVen m them here wIth the tItles and bnef
1. Nges don phyag rgya chen po'i sgom rim gsal bar byed pa'i legs bshad <.la ba'i 'od
zer. Recent (circa 1940s or 1950s) xylographic edition from SrI Sne'u-
steng, Rtsib-ri, near Ding-ri. 379 folios. This is the edition used for the
Lhalungpa translation. It has been reproduced under the full title in
Delhi: Karma chos 'phel, 1974.
2. Sngags kyi spyi don nor bu'i 'od zer. An old xylographic edition apparently
from Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po itself [see below]. 74 folios. The left-hand
margin recto of each folio bears the letter tsa, indicating this to be the 17th
text of a series. Reproduced by DKC, 1974. A general dissertation on
Mantrayana Buddhism, emphasizing the anuttarqyogatantras of the "new
translation" (gsar-ma) schools in the tradition of Sgam-po-pa. The
author's colophon (73b) indicates it to have been composed at Dags-lha
sgam-po during the first half of the fifth month of a Bird year by "one
named Sgam-po-pa Mam-ga-la [= Bkra-shis]."
3. Dpal kye'i rdo de zhes bya ba'i rgyud kyi rgyal po'i 'grel pa legs bshad nyi ma'i
'od zer. An old xylographic edition apparently from Dwags-l(h) a sgam-po
itself [see below]. 284 folios. Reproduced by DKC, 1974. This is a very
thorough commentary on the Heuajratantra. The author's colophon (283a)
tells us that it was written, with many disciples providing scribal assis-
tance, at the Nagakota retreat below Dwags-lha sgam-po during the third
month of a Dragon year by "one named Sgam-po-pa Mam-ga-la." This
work and the tWo preceding comprise the so-called "Trilogy of Light
Rays" ('od zer skor gsum) .
110 JIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
4. Sngon 'gro'i khridyig thun bzhi'i rnal 'byor du bya ba. Xylograph included; ",
the Dpal-spungs (Sde-dge) edition of the Gdams ngag mdzod. 6
in nag mdzod, vol. V, platts 547-58. An aCCOunt
practl:es .to be at th.e commencement of
the four dally meditatIOn stnct retreat. The author's c6tl
ophon (558) tells us that It was wntten, as requested by his disciples ",I
. . , at;
the sgrub-sde ("retreat center") by "one named Sgam-po-pi!'l
Mam-ga-la." "V

5. Zab lam chos drug gi khrid yig chen mo gsang chen gyi de nyid gsal ba.
raph in the (Sd<;:-dge) edition of the Gdams
mdzod. 46 fohos. Reproduced m Gdams nag mdzod, vol. V, plates 559-650::
Detailed guidance on the practice of the "six doctrines" of Naropa.
author's colophon (650) tells us that it was written, with Dge-slong
gros-mchog providing scribal assistance, at the retreat of Dwags-Iha'
sgam-po during the fourth month of a Bird year by "one named
po-pa Mam-ga-Ia." The work had been requested by Rgya-ston Naiiit:i
mkha' rdo-rje and Slob-dpon Nyi-ma-grags. . :,;)
6. Phyag rgya chen po'i khridyig chen mo gnyug ma'i de nyid gsal ba.
included in the Dpal-spungs (Sde-dge) edition of the Gdams ngag
26 folios. Reproduced in Gdams nag mdzod, vol. V, plates 651-702. PracH:l
cal guidance on meditation according to the traditions of the
The author's colophon (702) tells us that it was written, with Bkra-shfii
don-grub providing scribal assistance, at the retreat ofDwags-lha sganl2}
po during the fourth month of a Sheep year by "one named

7. Sgam po pa bkra shis rnam rgyal gyis mdzad pa sgrub pa'i zhal bskos:
raph included in the Dpal-spungs (Sde-dge) edition of the Gdams ngagA
mdzod. 3 folios. Reproduced in Gdams nag mdzod, vol. V, plates 707-12.
discussion of general principles and regulations that are to be adhered to,!
by retreatants. There is no author's colophon, but simply the ascription {
of authorship on the title-page (707). fir

Besides these works, Tshe-dbang nor-bu, as reported above,
mentioned a set of Complete Works, and has specifically referred in theji
same breath to a tradition at Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po of instruction
CakrasaqlVara. The fact that the second work listed above
to have been the seventeenth of a series further suggests that
available texts represent only a portion of Dwags-po
rnam-rgyal's erudition. .
The colophonic information summarized above seems to
that Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's preferred and
sole place of residence was Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po, where his
larly activity was undertaken on behalf of the disciples who
gathered there for intensive practice of the main Bka' -brgyud
tational and yogic traditions, i.e., the "six yogas" and the
>"prolonged retreat. Because he had the unfortunate habit of noting
it ars only by animal sign, without reference to element or cycle, we
take Mr. Lhalungpa's attempt to identify the Oxyear in ques-
",ca . ITh .. b b
above too senous y. ese mature to e sure, ut
'they could have been composed m appropnate years after the
was, say, roughly twenty, and pnor to hIS death.
there is the fascinating question raised by the assertion
Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal undertook to xylographically
J'ublish his own writings. The only materials I have seen that might
any evidence about this are the and third list:d
['above. These are reproduced from old prmts; that much IS certam.
'[IvIy superficial is that style of the is .conson-
:tant with other southern TIbetan pnnts executed dunng the sIxteenth
,'century, e.g., the Lho-brag edition ofDpa'-bo Gtsug-Iag phreng-ba's
'Chos-byung mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston. The printer's colophon of no. 2 (folios
1:73b-74a) clearly states that publication has been undertaken by the
disciples. Indeed, it is Nyi-ma-grags, who requested the
of this text and of both nos. 3 and 5 above, who is
:lnamed as correcting the final version ofthe blocks. The case of no. 3,
'h()wever, is much less clear. The long printer's colophon (283a-
while specifying the donors, carvers, etc., never clearly iden-
;):lfies itself, as does the printer's colophon of no. 2, as the of
it could be the work of Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
fhimself. The sole indication is a verse of homage to Sgam-po-pa
'(283a7-283bl), which, if addressed to Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal and not
to Mi-Ia ras-pa's famous disciple, would resolve the matter. Indeed,
:irt the printer's colophon of no. 2, Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal is addressed
!mambiguously as "Sgam-po-pa," and 1 believe that to be the case
here as well. It would appear, then, that we can securely attribute the
',?Cylographic publication of Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal's writ-
.ings not to the author, but to his immediate disciples.
\ The foregoing observations establish both that Dwags-po Bkra-
rnam-rgyal was an eminent sixteenth century Bka'-brgyud
scholar and that precious little else is known of him, besides what we
c,lm gather from his erudition. How could it have come to pass that
Tibetan Buddhist historians let this one fall through the cracks? The
fsituation would be quite different, of course, if his complete works
\<Vere now available-they might, after all, include a biography-or if
'there were a gdan-rabs of Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po to which we had
But that is the point exactly: Tibetan religious history was
;!argely a matter of lineage records, and Dwags-l(h)a sgam-po,
though a hallowed Bka' -brgyud shrine, played little major role in the
transmission of the dominant Bka'-brgyud lineages. Notable scholar
112 ]IABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
though he may have been, Dwags-po Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal
a backwater.
There is, I think, a moral here for those involved in
and studies, at least as presently
tIced m the worl.d. I.t has become too often the ca;el1
that we permIt "great scholar, "
ened master," and the lIke-to stand m place of substantive
research. By themselves, such descriptions are hollow and
mative; they are a .lazy way. to out who. these
really were. SometImes the mqUIry, as m the present Instance, wiln
yield less than we might have hoped for, even throwing aspects of
record into doubt. No matter. In gaining a clear sense of the
darkness, we perceive more distinctly the pockets oflight. Given
present tenuous conditions for the preservation of Tibetan
and learning, the small gains won in this fashion seem not to be with.'
1. Throughout the present review, "Bka' -brgyud" will be
often the case, to refer collectively to the Mar-pa Bka'-brgyud
. ,- '-'."f,j
lineages stemming from the translator Mar-pa Chos-kyi blo-gros
and not to such traditions as the Shangs-pa Bka' -brgyud that, despite the'
mon name, must be historically distinguished.
2. See Collected WOrks (Gsun[sic!]-'bum) qf Kun-mkhyen
(Darjee1ing: Kargyud Sungrab Nyamso Khang, 1973), vol. 21, pp. 7-370.4,
3. The text is available in a modern xylographic edition from Rum-btegJ
Sikkim. It is not without interest to note that the two. works just
belong to the same historical period as the text whose translation is
4. This is not the place to repeat the now extensive
KamalasIla, the "Bsam-yas debate," and related topics. The 1987 Louis
; ,,:)1'1}if,&
dan Lectures (University of London) by David S. Ruegg represent the most receR!!
and thorough attempt at synthesis. The BhiivaniiyogiilJatiira does not appear to
directly referred to by Bkra-shis rnam-rgyal; its relationship with the
l;3hiivaniikrama has been rightly insisted upon by Luis O. Gomez,
Bhavanayogavatara de KamalasIla," Estudios de Asia y Africa XIV (1979),
110-37. .
5. This verbal monstrosity is, of course, formed on analogy to
which is itself an Anglicization of Sanskrit tiintrika, "pertaining to the
a term perhaps not used in Buddhist texts, but sufficiently well-knownfr
other Sanskrit traditions to warrant its adoption. But there can be no such ."
in Sanskrit as *sutrika; the grammatically correct form would be sautnka, a teo,.
Cited, so far as I know, to refer only to weavers and textures, i.e., persons and
gs "pertaining to thread." So please, dear reader, don't suture the sutras
ess you're a binder. .
6. Mkhjen-brtse on the History if the Dharma, Smanrtsis Shesrig Spendzod,
39 (Leh: S. W. Tashigangpa, 1972), plate 121: de la dwags la sgam po nil mnga'
. mar pa'i sgrub brgyud kyi ka chen mi la bzhad pa'i rdo rje'i thugs sras nyi ma lta bu
'S po Tin po che bsod nams Tin chen gyis dgung lo bzhi bclt grangs dus btab;' bka' brgyud
cad kyi 'byung khungs su gyur phyis sgom tshul tshul khrims snying po sogs dbon
I kun mkhyen bkra shis rnam rgyal sogs skye sprul rim byon gyis skyong II
7. George N. Roerich, The Blue Annals, 2nd ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banar-
"asS, 1976), pp. 462-8. For Padma dkar-po's account, see Lokesh Chandra,
., TIbetan Chronicle if Padma-dkar-po (New Delhi: International Academy of
ian Culture, 1968), plates 518-25. Dpa'-bo Gtsug-Iag phreng-ba's will be
" d in his Chos-byung mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston (Delhi: Delhi Karmapae Chodhey
lwa Sungrab Partun Khang [DKC hereinafter], n.d.), vol. 1, plates 813-7.
8. Chos-byung mkhas-pa'i dga'-ston, vol. 1, plate 820: 'di thams cad phyi mas
. ma la ehos gsan par ma nges so. Cf also his remarks on Mkhan-chen Shakya
ng-po (vol. 2, p. 363), who was invited to Dwags-lha sgam-po "when the
hing had declined there." Though undated, this is reported immediately
re the life of Karma-pa Vln Mi-bskyod rdo-rje (1507-54), and so would
to refer to circumstances obtaining in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth
turies. Is this Mkhan-chen Shakya bzang-po to be identified with the
han-chen Rgyal-mtshan bzang-po listed in the lineages given below?
9. E.g., T. G. Dhongthog Rinpoche, Important Events in TIbetan History
elhi: T. G. Dhongthog, 1968), p. 31; Dudjom Rinpoche, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje,
e Nyingma School if Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, trans. by
;yurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (London: Wisdom Publications, 1990),
1. 1, p. 955; Tshe-tan Zhabs-drung, Bstan rtsis kun las btus pa (Xining, Qinghai:
'tsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1982), pp. 228, 238. The first two cited
1512 (Water Monkey of the Ninth Rab-byung) as the year of birth, without
oviding a death-date. The latter gives 1513 (Water Bird)-1587 (Fire Pig of the
nth Rab-byung). .
lO. Tshe-tan Zhabs-drung, op. cit., p. 210, 221.
11. The accuracy of Roe rich's rendering is cOhfirmed by reference to the
betan text: Deb ther sngon po (Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang;
84), vol. 2, p. 1260.
12. David P. Jackson, in collaboration with Shunzo Onoda, eds., Rong-
n on the Prajiiiipiiramitii Philosophy if the Abhisamayiila11Jkiira (Kyoto: Nagata Bun-
odo, 1988), pp. vii & xi.
. 13. Rje btsun thams cad mkhyen pa bshes gnyen shiikya rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar
mtshar dad pa'i rol mtsho, in The Complete U'Orks (Gsun 'Bum) oJGser-mdog PaTf.-
Siikya-mchog-ldan (Thimphu, Bhutan: Kunzang Tobgey, 1975), vol. 16,
tes 299-378.
14. Lha rje Mnyam med Zla 'od gzhon nu'i bka' brgyud Phyag chen gdams pa ji
nod pa'i rtogs brjod legs bshad Tin chen 'byung khungs, in The Collected U'Orks
, ) if Rig-'dzin chen-po Tshe-dban-nor-bu (Dalhousie, H. P., 1976), vol.
;plates 155-243. The lineage reproduced here is given on plates 195-6.
114 jIABS VOL. 13 NO.1
15. Gdams nag mdzod (Delhi: N. Lungtok and N. Gyaltsan, 1971) vol. XII
plates 736-7.'
16. Sangs rgyas kyi bstan pa rin po che ji ltar gnas gyur dus kyi nges pa rjes su dran
pa bskyed pa legs bshad sa bon tsam smos pa nyung ngu don gsal nn po che'i sgron m ..
The Collected Works (Gsun 'bum) if Rig-'dzin chen-po
(Dalhousie, H. P, 1977), vol. IV; plates 103-161. Plates 157-8 are those that
concern us here.
17. Lokesh Chandra, ed., Dpag-bsam-ijon-bzan, part III (New Delhi: Inter_
national Academy of Indian Culture, 1959). The data relevant here will be
found on pp. 55-68.
18. The Collected Works if Sman-sdon lVItshams-pa Rin-po-che Karma-nes-do
bstan-rgyas (Bir, H.P: D. Tsondu Senghe, 1976), plate 331. This work was written
in 1897.
Les Tamang du Nepal: Usages et religion, religion de l'usage
by Brigitte Steinmann
Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations, 1987. 310 pp., photo-
graphs, maps, index, references, glossaries, appendix. 159 francs
Les Tamang du Nepal: Usages et religion, religion de l'usage is focusedon
the customary practices of everyday life among a group of eastefn
Tamang, the largest Tibeto-Burman speaking ethnic group of NepaL
Although Tamang have historically been in communication with
greater Tibetan Buddhist culture, Brigitte Steinmann avoids a com-.
mon inclination in studies of religion in the Himalayas to reconstruct,
cultures, like that of the Tamang, as pale or degraded expressions of.
putatively purer forms, forms generally abstracted from textuitl
sources. She grounds her study in the immediate world of village
Tamang whom she sees as "steeped in a magico-religious ambiance"
(227) and reconstructs their religious world in local idiom. She pro-
vides the most detailed ethnographic accounting of everyday life we .
have of an eastern Tamang community, and the book is a major corJ.-
tribution to our knowledge ofTamang, Nepal, and Tibet. Each chap-
ter contains a wealth of finely grained and fascinating ethnography,
We learn of everything from the details of house construction and
notions of space to Tamang theories of souls and shamanic cures.
This detail is not only intriguing in its own right; it is of extensive
comparative interest to other specialists of Nepal and Tibet. . ........
Her primary concern is to situate Tamang ritual practices
religious consciousness in the everyday exigencies of a harsh lifeiJ.I
the midhills of the Himalayas . For Steinmann, villagers are tied inex.:'
to a world of things that must be produced and transformed
"trnd it is in relation to these things and their customary usage that
l\ual life must be understood. Religiosity, at least in what she sees
(\a primary level, is not defined by ethical precepts derived from
{high religion but by rules or taboos related to the world of things in
\vhich villagers are inextricably enveloped. She writes, for instance,
,that "the interdictions against women to plow, to kill animals, the
5iecornmendations to avoid cremation grounds and the altar of clan
:gods, the prescription to serve nourishment with the right hand, are
ascribable to [an] ensemble of non-written rules which condense
;consciousness in a certain type of religiosity. I t is not defined by the
"observance of grand ethical codes, but by an ensemble of taboos and
i()f mechanisms which have their profound reasons, but which the
rcomrnunity itself most of the time ignores" (153). Tied to this orien-
;tation is an attempt on Steinmann's part to delineate the particular
of Tarnang culture. She is concerned with the distinctiveness of
';tamang and how this distinctiveness is related ultimately to the
'specificity of their material and historical circumstances. The book
proceeds on two levels. First of all, it is a detailed ethnography of
'famang practices and secondly, a theoretical argument about
'levels of religiosity an argument developed in direct reference to
;these practices.
The first of three sections of the book is devoted to clinical
of what Tamang eat and who eats what, how they clothe
themselves, how they construct and inhabit their dwellings, how
they order, use, and furnish space within the house, how they light.
heat their dwellings, how they cleanse and purify objects and
persons, and how they transport things. She concludes the first sec-
,tion with an overview oflocal economy, including the play of money.
Each of the chapters of the first part includes a detailed table of the
,'materials and the methods oflocal production.
The second section deals with what she calls "the magi co-
religious" dimensions ofTamang practice. Here the major emphasis
is on rituals of the life cycle, collective rituals related to social struc-
iure, and the production and manipulation of ritual objects. She pro-
yides detailed accountings of specific rituals and the theories on
which they are based. In the process she introduces us to the array of
beings who inhabit the local cosmos, theories of souls
.and bodies, and the main specialists of the local field of practice:
,Buddhist lama, bombo (shaman), tamba and dhami, loban lama, and
The third section begins with an overview of the roles and attri-
,butes of these specialists and moves into a focused discussion of the
116 jIABS VOL. 13 NO. 1
tamba, a specialist who appears to be unique to the eastern .J.ctLI[l:lnj;!
The tainba is simultaneously an expert in oral recitations, a
a village headman, and a sage. The tamba .occupies a central rV"Uln,n
in Steinmann's study because he articulates what she .
as a religion ()f the "earth" and a religion of the "sky." The
responds to an order of worldly things and the latter to the
of Buddhist lamas and bombos. In reference to these specialists
a primary level of system of taboos and precautions, Steinmann'
tifies her levels of religiosity. The tamba takes form in .
scheme as a master of ceremonies who generates and p
specifically Tamang "rationalization" of practice, a
that is meaningful to villagers in their immediate experience
world. "Our tamba ... occupies a stable position rooted in the
of religion. Nevertheless, and without having much to exercise
a theological point of view, he edges easily in the milieux which
the meteorology of the sky of religion" (23). The tamba, for
mann, is less a practitioner than a sage who takes what is
confers it with meaning. In support of this explanation, .
provides us with the translation of many of the chants of the
many of which are recited on ritual occasions. Eastern
more so than other sectors ofTamang, however, have for the
decades been increasingly circulating outside of the closed
of village subsistence and the tamba, whose validity is linked to, is under assault. The traditions for which he speaks
demise and subject to the transformations motivated by the
experiences of those who move beyond the confines of the
Tamang in the Timal area where Steinmann worked have in
lar been engaged as porters in an external and cosmopolitan
of tourism that transforms their relation to and
their traditions. The book is framed in this overall context
Her insights into thes'e transformations are especially
because the conversion of Tamang of Timal into a
letariat presages changes now occurring throughout the
world in Nepal.
Steinmann has provided us not only with a precise eUmcIgr,al
true to local realities and a theoretical argument about the
"usage" to "religion" but a work of significant comparative
Her marvelous control over the practices of a local Tamang
woven into a dialogue with greater Tibetan traditions and
Tibetological study of those traditions, Her engaging
local elaborations of Buddhism and shamanism will speak to
interested in the Himalayas and with the religious practices
traditions found there.
[Studies in Central and East Asian Religions. Vol. 1,
tcopenhagen and Aarhus, 1988. 122pp.
lrhis is a new journal edited and published as the "Journal of the
Seminar for Buddhist Studies," based in Copenhagen and Aarhus,
$ythree Danish scholars-Ian Astley-Kristensen, Henrik H. Soren-
:sen, and Per K. Sorensen.
!. Although the result of a Danish effort, and reflecting the remark-
ibIe upsurge of Buddhist studies currently taking place in Denmark,
{he journal is an international publication, as evidenced by the con-
;tfibutors to the first volume, which contains the following articles:
;t)lle Qvarnstrom, "Space and Substance. A Theme in
,:Madhyamaka-Vedanta Polemics"; Jeffrey D. Schoening and Per K.
:Sorensen, "Two Minor Works by Sa-skya PaI).<;lita"; Ian Reader,
("Miniaturization and Proliferation: A Study of Small-Scale Pilgrim-
: ~ g e s in Japan"; Ian Astley-Kristensen, ''An Example ofVajrasattva
inthe Sino-Japanese Tantric Buddhist Tradition"; Sun Wenjing,
,1'Remarks on the Cataloguing and Classification of Tibetan Classics
lnd Literary Texts: A Preliminary Survey of the Tibetan Collection
Jrithe China Library of Nationalities in Beijing." The journal also
has a Review section.
f The appearance of Studies in Central and East Asian Religions is to
be warmly welcomed. After this promising start, one awaits the
;ttppearance of vol. 2 with impatience.
Per Kvaerne
1brJohn B. Buescher
!Program Officer .
!Division ofEducatlOn
HumamtIes .
nioo Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20506
Robert E. Buswell,]r.
Dept. of East Asian Languages
and Cultures
D]O 1, 290 Royce Hall
Ins Angeles, CA 90024
:1'ro Robert M. Gimello
.pept. of Religious Studies
;University of Arizona
tucson, AZ 85721
Prof David Holmberg
Dept. of Anthropology
McGraw Hall
Cornell University
ithaca, NY 14853
Prof. Matthew Kapstein
Dept. of Religion
Kent Hall .
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
Dr. Hiroko Kawanami
Dept. of Anthropology
London School of Economics
and Political Science
University of London
London, England
Prof. Per K vaerne
Universitet i Oslo
Institutt for Religionshistorie
og Kristendomkundkap
Postboks 1010
Blindern, 0315
Oslo 3, Norway
Mr. Peter Skilling
49/20 Soi Ruam Rudee 3
Ploenchit, Bangkok 10500
Ms. Leah Zahler
Dept. of Religious Studies
Cocke Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903