October 31, 2012


There are several anecdotes circulating among Tibetan intellectuals, in which the Great Fifth is made fun of by people around him, particularly because of his rNying-ma affiliation. The following text for “tea offering” (ja mchod) is a “literary caricature” (ascribed to dGe-bshes Bar-skor-rab-’byams-pa), which pokes fun at the Great Fifth:


He who possesses (lit. internalized) the first of the twelve [members] of dependent arising;
He who is encircled by the entourage of the first kind out of the twenty types [of saṃgha];
He who is under the influence of the middle (or second) of the Three Natures;
To the lord of the “sweet-voiced” that [we] make [this] offering!

(a) 1st of the 12 members of dependent arising = ignorance (ma rig pa)
(b) 1st kind among the 20 types of saṃgha = dull-witted ones (dbang po rtul po)
(c) 2nd svabhāva = Dependent Nature (gzhan dbang)
(d) “sweet-voiced” = donkey (bong bu)


  1. I wonder if this Geshé Barkor Rabjampa is supposed to be a real person, or is the name itself part of the joke? In any case, quite a clever verse, bound to be opaque to all but the most educated Buddhists.

    Nice to see the donkey make his appearance! Most people where I live don't think their voice is all that sweet, especially not early in the morning.

  2. According to our late grammar and poetry teacher, rGan Padma-rgyal-mtshan (Sarnath), Bar-skor-rab-’byams-pa is supposed to be a real person. But I am now not sure. Of course mgrin bzang may also be translated as “good throat” but presumably also sarcastically.