The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead

By Bryan J. Cuevas | Go to book overview

10
Traditions in Central
and Southern Tibet

The Fifth Dalai Lama's Inheritance

The historical preoccupation of the Tibetan religious schools with “spiritual genealogy, ” to use a phrase of Franz-Karl Ehrhard, 1 is most clearly represented in the genre of transmission records (gsan-yig, lit., “record of [teachings] heard”) or accession lists (thob-yig, lit., “record of [teachings] obtained”). These texts generally contain lists of the titles of written texts, verbal instructions, and ritual initiations obtained by an individual during his or her lifetime. In addition, they frequently record the entire line of disciples to whom the rites and teachings had previously been transmitted, and thus they provide essential information for scholars interested in textual and biographical history. Such genealogical records are also quite useful for tracing the transmission of religious disciplines and doctrines in Tibet. One of the most substantial works of this genre is the Transmission Record of the fifth Dalai Lama. For my present considerations, this massive work is noteworthy for two reasons. First, the text gives an extensive list of titles and names of compositors for works belonging to the cycle of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. 2 This list of titles is important because it indicates what texts existed and were available in Tibet during the time of the fifth Dalai Lama's writing of his record; that is, between the years 1665 and 1670. Furthermore, the list also allows us to establish some of the works authored by Karma Lingpa himself by sorting out those works penned by others whose names are not identified in the colophons. Second, the fifth Dalai Lama's Transmission Record delimits a more or less complete succession of teachers involved in the transmission of yet another tradition of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities in central and southern Tibet (see fig. 10.1). 3 In the following section I will review briefly this specific Karling lineal tradition inherited by the fifth Dalai Lama.

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The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • A Note on Tibetan Words xi
  • 1 - Introduction: the Saga of the Tibetan Book of the Dead 3
  • I - Death and the Dead 25
  • 2 - Beginnings: Funeral Ritual in Ancient Tibet 27
  • 3 - Transitions: the Buddhist Intermediate State 39
  • 4 - From Death to Disposal 69
  • II - Prophecy, Concealment, Revelation 79
  • 5 - Prophecies of the Lotus Guru 81
  • 6 - A Tale of Fathers and Sons 91
  • 7 - The Gampodar Treasures 101
  • 8 - The Third Generation 120
  • III - Traditions in Transformation 135
  • 9 - Traditions in Eastern Tibet 137
  • 10 - Traditions in Central and Southern Tibet 158
  • IV - Text and Consolidation 177
  • 11 - Rikzin Nyima Drakpa, Sorcerer from Kham 179
  • 12 - Conclusion: Manuscripts and Printed Texts 205
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 271
  • List of Tibetan Spellings 303
  • Index 312
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