February 08, 2016


In our digital world and in our digital age, one would think that one can find almost everything with a click of a mouse. This is not always the case. Here is one example. bSam-gtan-rgya-mtsho cites a certain sMyu gu’i bstan bcos ’phrul gyi sgron me. The title means something like The Magical Lamp: A Treatise on Pen. Enticing indeed! What about its whereabouts? Who composed it? When? What could it deal with? How big could it be? There are only questions and no answers yet. A website on Tibetan calligraphy shed some slight light on the topic. We have heard of the legendary figure Khyung-po g.Yu-khri. He is known for a certain style of Tibetan dBu-can script. He was a calligrapher, a scribe (yig mkhan). The Thems-spangs-ma Golden bKa’ ’gyur is said to represent the Khyung-po-g.yu-khri-lugs. Now the interesting thing is he is said to have authored two works, namely, the Rin chen sgron bu and sMyu gu’i bstan bcos ’phrul gyi sgron me. The latter seems to be extant for it is cited by bSam-gtan-rgya-mtsho. But the identity of the author as well of the work and the authorship of these works (should they surface soon) can by no means be uncritically accepted.


  1. Very interesting! What do you make of this entry, said to be by Bo dong Phyogs las rnam rgyal:

    "Khyung po g.yu khris mdzad pa'i yi ge'i dad gus byung tshul."

    I'm a little puzzled how to construe it, but perhaps it tells the story of how Bo dong pa gained faith in the kind of lettering that was invented by Khyung-po G.yu-khri?? (I can think of other ways to read/understand it, too.)

    See Bsod nams don grub, Bod kyi Lo rgyus Dpe tho, Bod ljongs Mi dmangs Dpe skrun khang (Lhasa 2000) no. 0195 on p. 40.

  2. Did you see the passage in Kongtrul's She-bya Kun-khyab? Gyurme Dorje translated it, and there you can see at p. 252: "Later still there was one Khyungpo Yutri Bar who composed a treatise on measurements, bamboo pens, paper-making, calligraphy (smyu gu shog chag 'bri lugs), and so forth, modeled on the iconometric measurements of a mandala, which divided [the paper] into grids of large and small units (cha chen cha chung) and so forth. He educated an inconceivable number of students..." There's a bit more on him in the footnotes, on p. 783, where you can see a mention of his original treatise "entitled Miraculous Lamp ('Phrul gyi sgron me)." It says the late Dungkar Rinpoche believed he had lived between the earlier and the latter spreadings of Buddhism, so I guess around 10th century? You think?