March 18, 2013


References to Nepal and Nepalese in Tibetan Sources: Some Random Notes
0. Prologue
I recall that Iain Sinclair, a friend and colleague, once encouraged me to keep a track of references to Nepalese paṇḍitas found in Tibetan sources. So far I have not been able to do so. One does occasionally come across references to bal yul, bal po, and bal mo. Nepal, one of Tibet’s most important neighbours, and Nepalese culture seem to have some enduring impact on the Tibetan Buddhist culture. In the following, I intend to make some random notes of allusions to anything connected with Nepal and Nepalese found in any type of Tibetan literature.

1. Nepal

West of Tibet (Ka khol ma, p. 126). According to the Padmasambhava’s legends, he arrives at the “border between India and Nepal” (rgya gar bal po gnyis kyi mtshams) and stays on “a mountain that looks likes a leaping lion” (seng ge gnam mchong ’dra ba’i ri). See the Padma bka’ thang (p. 325). Padmasambhava goes to Tsha-ba-tsha-shod (?) in Nepal (bal yul) and meditates at Chu-mig-byang-chub-ring-mo. 

sGam-po-pa’s influence in Nepal? Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon (p. 30)

(Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon, p. 97)

2. Nepalese Queen
Bal-bza’ Khri-btsun: See the Ka khol ma (pp. 124–146 (chapter on her invitation), 202, 209). She is said to be the embodiment of sGrol-ma-dkar-mo Khro-gnyer-can-ma.

3. Nepalese King
Bal-po’i-rgyal-po Vasudhara (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 4, pp. 524, 538). Si-tu-paṇ-chen visited Nepal twice and obviously had very good connection with Bal-yul Yum-bu-rgyal-po and Buddhist and Brahmanical paṇḍitas. See Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon (p. 456–458). The Nyang ral chos ’byung (p. 499) states that Dharma kings (chos dang ldan pa’i rgyal po) including of Nepal have propagated Buddhism.

4. Nepalese Women (bal ’bangs/mo)
(a) Bal-’bangs Kālasiddhi & Bal-mo ŚākyadevāIn Padmasambhava’s legends narrated, for example, in the Padma bka’ thang (p. 3), of the “five women who appealed Guru’s heart” (gu ru’i thugs su byon pa’i bud med lnga), two are Nepalese: the (female) Nepalese citizen (bal ’bangs) named Kālasiddhi (spelled there as Kālasiddhi) and Nepalese woman (bal mo) named Śākyadevā (spelled there as Śākyadeva). The story of Śākyadevā is narrated later in the Padma bka’ thang (pp. 325–326, cf. 359).
(b) Bal-po Vasudhara: Padmasambhava stays in Bal-yul and benefits people in Nepal such as Bal-po Vasudhara (Padma bka’ thang, p. 357).

5. Nepalese Paṇḍitas
Names of all Nepalese paṇḍitas will come here.
Bal-po Śrīkīrti? (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 4, p. 514)
sLob-dpon Vasudhara (Nepalese?) (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 4, p. 527).
Bal-poVasudhara (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 4, p. 534, 539).
Bal-po Saṃghaśrī (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 1, p. 37). Sa-paṇ received pramāṇa teachings from him. (Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon, p. 48)
Bal-po Ka-na-ka-pa (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 1, p. 84)
Bal-po’i-paṇḍita Mañjuśrī (Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon, p. 80)

6. Nepalese gTer-ston
Bal-yul gTer-ston Vajramati. See the Kong sprul gsan yig (vol. 1, fol. 303b)

5. Nepalese Doctors

Bal-po’i-sman-pa Bi-ji-sman-gzhon (?) Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon (p. 21)

7. Nepalese Craftsmen
During the time of Ral-pa-can, it is reported that Nepalese artists (lha bzo) and sculptors (rdo bzo ba) were invited to Tibet. See, for example, the rGyal rabs gsal me (p. 228).

8. Nepalese Temples/Places
(a) E-yi-gtsug-lag-khang: Padmasambhava conceals treasures in (Bal-yul) E-yi-gtsug-lag-khang. See the Padma bka’ thang (pp. 357–359).
(b) Asura: Padma bka’ thang (p. 357).
(c) Yang-le-shod: Padma bka’ thang (p. 357).
(d) Shing-kun (= ’Phags-pa-shing-kun?): Padma bka’ thang (pp. 357–358).
(e) Bal-yul-gyi-gnas Bhu-ra-sa’i? Brag-phug (lNga pa’i gsan yig, vol. 4, p. 524).

9. Nepalese Language/Scripts
Notes. Rwa-lo is said to know Nepalese language and script (Rwa lo’i rnam thar).

10. Nepalese Sacred Objects (i.e. sku gsung thugs rten) 
(a) Jo-bo statue (of Mi-bskyod-rdo-rje): Ka khol ma (pp. 30–31)
bal bod kyi rten khyad ’phags (Mi-nyag-mgon-po, mKhas dbang rim byon, p. 33)

PS: Nepal (Bal-yul) is mentioned in Tibetan sources in various texts and contexts. Rwa-lo was very active in Nepal? (Rwa lo’i rnam thar). The most famous instance is the mentioning of Nepal in connection with the Nepalese princess (bal bza’) whom King Srong-btsan-sgam-po wooed as his queen. See the ’Phrul gyi me long (p. 26). Nepal is mentioned in the context of Nepalese craftsmen (bal po’i lha bzo ba). See the ’Phrul gyi me long (p. 27). During the reign of Srong-btsan-sgam-po, his “six authoritarian foreign ministers and one hundred ministers” (phyi blon btsan pa drug dang blon po rgya) are said to have “opened the mine of treasures of food and wealth from the land of Nepal in the west.” See the ’Phrul gyi me long (p. 32): nub phyogs bal po’i yul nas zas nor longs spyod kyi gter kha ’byed pa dang |. Yar-lungs-pa Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (not quite a good translator) stayed in Kathmandu and translated. Just mentioned in Si-tu-paṇ-chen, bKa’ ’gyur dkar chag (new ed., p. 480).

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