January 20, 2014


The phrase bden pa gnyis kyi rkya bar du blo bcug nas shes bya la ’jal bar byed pa ’di (RZ2: 69), that is, Mutatis mutandis, seems interesting for two reasons. First, what may be the meaning of rkya? Second, although ’jal bar byed requires an accusative object, I would think the accusative object need not be marked by a la don particle. One does, however, find cases similar to the second point. With regard to the first, rkya does have the meaning of zam pa (“bridge”) and this seems to contextually fit the best, although one may render it freely here as “gap between.” “This assessment of phenomena by putting the cognitive subject/agent in the gap between (lit. “bridge between”) the two modes of reality is ….”


  1. There's an article by Iwao about rkya as a taxable unit of arable land in Old Tibetan times. But there is another meaning of rkya known in the O.T. texts that Bellezza has discussed recently, and I'm sure he's right about this meaning in some cases, as meaning a horseman. I don't know if either of these O.T. usages makes sense here, although I suppose RZ was close enough to the period to still use them. I'm not familiar with rkya as a word for 'bridge," so I don't know. I was thinking the syllable might really intend to be rgya in the meaning of 'trap,' although that might seem to be a rather radical statement for Rong-zom-pa to make, so I'm imagining instead that he intended to say rgya-ma in the sense of a set of scales for weighing. Then the 'jal-ba makes sense, too. But then again...

  2. OK, it makes sense. So actually rkya = dpya. I think one still uses the expression dpya khral for “tax” or “taxation.” The Tshig mdzod chen mo states that rkya (in mngon brjod) can mean zam pa. Contextually it must seems to mean “the gap between” or the “bridging gap.” I initially thought he might have mean it in the sense of a “wedge” but syntactically it seems not possible. And ’jal ba here obviously means “assessing.”

  3. So do we have to pay a tax on the two truths? Please don't leave us hanging here!
    I'm thinking right now that skya-ba is the intended word here, meaning 'paddles' of a rowboat.
    I've noticed what seems like a rather similar expression in the Deyu history:

    sgra dang tshad ma'i skya bar nas thon pa. I attempted to translate it like this: "something that came out from between the paddles of grammar and logic." I'm not very sure of it. But anyway, paddles are used on both sides of the boat, right?

  4. I did not consider skya as a variant of my reading rkya, but it is absolutely possible and we can be tolerant towards such an orthography. If rkya in my text = skya in your text, I prefer the meaning “wall” (one of the meanings given by our friend Jäschke). By the way, I prefer to read it as skya and not skyab ba (both recorded by him). And bar is not ba+r but bar “in between.” It might also work in your case: “something that emerged from in between the walls of grammar and logic.” In my case: “by placing the cognitive subject in between the walls of the two modes of truth/reality.”

  5. Well, here are more examples of oars: •SKYA BA Oar, or possibly rudder. Samdo A V 161v.3, 180v.6. Btsan-lha, q.v. skya ba ni gru bas chu dkrugs. Utpal 27.5. Tibetan oars may be forked sticks with leather sewn around the forked part; see Hummel in Tibet Journal, vol. 25 no. 3 (Autumn 2000) p. 17 n. 16. skya ba gru dbyug. Khyung-sprul 17.