March 21, 2013


Wait a minute! We are often told that the first Tibetan Buddhist monks were a group of “Seven Men on Test/Probe” (sad mi mi bdun). The lists in Tibetan sources differ (Bod rgyas.v.). But who, among these seven men, was the “very first”? According to the Zhabs btags ma, sBa Ratna, who was Khri-srong-lde-btsan’s “uncle minister” (zhang blon), was the very first to be ordained (pp. 91–92): bod kyi rab tu byung ba la snga ba de yin no||. Then the rest, that is, “six men on test” (sad mi mi drug) were ordained. See also the Zhabs btags ma (p. 153): bod kyi dge slong la snga ba sba ratna; bDud ’joms chos ’byung (p. 129).

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