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Thu'u-bkwan Blo-bzang Chos-kyi Nyi-ma. The Crystal Mirror of Tenets. The Sakyapa chapter [Туган Лопсан-Чойкьи-Ньима. Хрустальное зерцало философских систем. Глава Сакьяпа]. Edited and translated from Tibetan, with Introduction and Notes by Dr R.N.Krapivina. St Petersburg, 1995. 196 p.


SUMMARY

This publication presents the first European translation of the Sakyapa chapter of The Crystal Mirror of Tenets (Grub-mtha' Shel-gyi Me-long), one of the most authoritative Tibetan historic treatises, which belongs to the late period of Tibetan historiography. It was written in 1802 by Thu'u-bkwan Blo-bzang Chos-kyi Nyi-ma (1737-1802), the reincarnate lama and the abbot of Dgon-lung Byams-pa-gling Monastery in Amdo.

The Crystal Mirror of Tenets belongs to the works of chos-'byung class, devoted to the history of Buddhist teaching and is universally acknowledged as the most detailed study of the doctrines of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, other authors being mainly concentrated on the analysis of Indian Buddhism, The Crystal Mirror has rightfully attracted the attention of the scholars, Andrei Vostrikov made a short description of the treatise [vid. Vostrikov A. I. Tibetan Historical Literature translated by H. C. Gupta. Calcutta: Indian Studies, Past and Present, 1970]. Separate chapters have been translated and researched [vid. Das S. Ch. Contribution on the Religion, History etc. of Tibet, in – Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1881. 18S3; Hoffman H. Quellen zur Geschichte der tibetischcn Bon-Religion. Wiesbaden, 1950; Ruegg D. S. The Jonan-pas. A School of Buddhist Onlologists according to the Grub-mtha Sel-gyi me-long, in – Journal of the American Oriental Society, Baltimore, Maryland. No 1, Vol. 83 (1963); Chattopadhyaya A. Atisa and Tibet, Calcutta: R. D. Press, 1967; Tukan. Issaishugi Sakya-ha no sho (The Sa skya pa Chapter of the Grub-mtha shel gyi-me-long by Thu'u-bkwan). Transl. from the Tibetan by M. Tachikawa. Studia Tibetica. Tokyo, Vol. 1, No 3 (1974)].

The translator, a researcher of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg branch), Raisa Krapivina used the Sde-dge edition of the text from the collection of the Institute (Inv. No В 8096, Nova 1974a) which is reproduced in the present book. The Crystal Mirror of Tenets comprises twelve chapters which describe different schools and trends of Tibetan Buddhism. The sixth chapter of the treatise is devoted to the Sakya school, one of the four most important traditions in Tibetan Buddhism. The Sakyapa chapter takes up sixteen woodcut folios of the usual Tibetan long format — from f. 75v 1 to f. 91 r 6. It is made of three parts: 1) a history of the Sakya school, 2) a history of the school's basic doctrine — The Path and its Fruit (Lam-'bras) and 3) an introduction to the philosophical doctrine of the school.

Thu'u-bkwan's presentation of the history of the Sakya school — its origins, transmission lineages and brief account of the gratest teachers — contains numerous quotations from the works of his predecessors, while the second and the third parts of the Sakyapa chapter seem to be more independent. Studying the history of the Path and its Fruit doctrine the author mentions its connection with the Hevajra Tantra, traces its lineage to mahasiddha Virupa, and focuses on the transmission of its principle text Rdo-rje tshig-rkang.

Analysing the doctrine of the Sakyapa Thu'u-bkwan shows the two aspects of Lam-'bras teaching — Sutra and Tantra and its central idea of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana. In his study of the teaching of the school based on the Sutras Thu'u-bkwan used the works of the well-known 16th-century Sakyapa scholar Mang-thos Klu-grub Rgya-mtsho.

In the third part the author also expounds the Sakyapa conception of the nature of the mind, i.e. clarity, voidness and the unity of clarity and voidness. The translation is fully annotated and introduced. The annotations explain important realities and key philosophical terms. The three introductory articles — On the Text and its Author, A Historical Survey of the Sakyapa, and An Introduction to the teaching of the Sakyapa — are summing up the long-term research work endeavoured by the translator. The introduction touches upon some general questions of the history and theory of the Teaching which by all means make it a valuable source of information for those who study or practice Tibetan Buddhism.

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Keywords


The Crystal Mirror of Tenets
history of Buddhism
Saskya-pa
Thu'u-bkwan Blo-bzang Chos-kyi Nyi-ma
Tibetan literature

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