November 04, 2012


The largest book (in a poti-format), and perhaps also the biggest book ever in the world, is the one called “Po-ti-lcags-lung-ma” (lit. “The Poti with Iron Cord”) in Sa-skya Monastery in Tibet. For a description, see the Ri mo’i rnam gzhag (pp. 507, 94). The manuscript is that of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā, and is made from precious materials such as gold, silver, turquoise. The colophon of the manuscript is said to mention that it was commissioned/made by ’Phags-pa, an emanation of (Bodhisattva) Samantabhadra, and that it is the “support of personal practice” (thugs dam rten) of the successive (Sa-skya) patriarchs (gong ma rim byon rnams).


  1. Dear D.,

    I went to Sakya several years ago and saw that huge heavy book. I wonder what the lung in lcags-lung means, because as I understand it the book covers were made of metal, which is the main reason why it takes so many people to open it (I forgot how many they said). I also had them blow the Dharma conch in favor of my grandfather who had died. Sarat Chandra Das said something about big books in his "Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet" at p. 210. Das often sent Ugyen Gyatso to go into the monasteries and report on what he found there rather than going himself. It says

    "Ugyen visited the same day the famous library, where he saw many manuscripts written in gold, the pages some six to eight feet long and three or four feet broad.* On the board which covered these volumes were painted in gold and silver the images of innumerable Buddhas."

    The relevant part of the footnote added by Rockhill says *"Our author farther on (p. 241) says that these volumes are about six feet long by eighteen inches broad. This appears more likely."

    The Guinness must have an entry for biggest book in the world... Should I go check it?

    Hope you're having fun these days and enjoying nice cool weather.


  2. Dear Dan,

    Thank you for your comments with “additional value” (Mehrwert). Now that you bring up about the issue of lcags lung, I am not quite sure. You were in situ, I not. At any rate, I take for granted that lcags lung is a kind of “cord” or “strap” made of iron, as suggested by the Tshig mdzod chen mo (s.v. lcags lung: lcags kyi ’ju lung). Of course, ’ju lung (“holding/fastening cord”) in turn is understood as lag pa ’chang sa’i lung “a rope with which one holds [something in the] hand.”

    Yes, please do check the Guinness record. It might still stand a chance for qualifying as the biggest poti.

    Perhaps the weather is too cool and wet to enjoy.



  3. I don't know how to calculate the weight and volume differentials, but it seems that in February Guinness was saying that THISis the largest book in the world.

    There is a video

    If you know a little Hindustani, you can recognize some of what it's saying, but anyway you get to see the huge book about Muhammad and all the good things he has done, PBUH.

    Sorry to be the messenger of this news, but Buddhism loses and Islam wins once more.

  4. I think Guinness ought to send a team to investigate, like they did for that old Nepali man who proved to be the shortest man in the world.