by George N. Roerich | 1949 | 382,646 words | ISBN-10: 8120804716 | ISBN-13: 9788120804715
This page relates ‘Lineage of the pratimoksha vow’ of the Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)—An important historical book from the 15th century dealing with Tibetan Buddhism and details the spiritual doctrine and lineages of religious teachers in Tibet. This chapter belongs to Book 1 (The beginning of the story of the Doctrine).
[Full title: Lineage of the pratimokṣa vow (so so thar pa’i sdom brgyud kyi skabs. Chandra 34;Chengdu 57-59; Roerich 34).]
In this country of Snows there exist three lineages of ordination: The first lineage: Ācārya Nāgarjuna, Bhavya, Śrīgupta (dpal sbas), Jñānagarbha (ye shes snying po), Śāntarakṣita (zhi ba 'tsho), and then (transmitted) through sba ratna. This lineage of bla chen dgongs pa rab gsal and other great teachers, has been transmitted in khams. In dbus and gtsang it has been handed down through klu mes and others. The second lineage: the lineage of rgyal ba'i shes rab of zhang zhung, the disciple of the three Pālas, who had been the disciples of Paṇḍita Dharmapāla. This line was called the "Line of the Upper Vinaya" (stod 'dul ba).
The third lineage: the disciple of Nāgarjuna-Guṇamati, Ratnamitra, Śrī Dharmapāla, Guṇasāgara, Dharmamāla, Ākaragupta, the mahā-paṇḍita Śākyaśrībhadra. The latter ordained many monks in Tibet, including the sa skya pang chen and others. Through rdo rje dpal and byang chub dpal (the rite) was transmitted to the four "assemblies" (chos lung tshogs pa) and others. The great bhadanta tsong kha pa, the second Munīndra, also obtained monkhood through the lineage of the Paṇ chen (Śākyaśrībhadra).
In the Mañjuśrīmū-latantra (ed. Ganapati Śastri, III, p. 616 ff.) it is said:
"In four hundred years after the death of the Tathāgata, there will appear a monk named Nāga (klu). He will benefit the Doctrine, and will attain the pramuditā stage, and will live for six hundred years. This Great Soul will attain realization with the help of the Vidyā Mahāmayurī, and will understand the meaning of various śāstras, as well as the meaning of non-reality (dngos po med pa). At the time of giving up his body, he will be reborn in Sukhāvatī. He will gradually and surely attain Buddhahood. A monk, named Asaṅga, learned in the subject-matter of the śāstras, will classify sūtras into those of "direct" (nīta-artha) and "indirect" (neya-artha) meaning. He will also be a teacher of worldly sciences, and will become the author of śāstras."
These two teachers, mentioned in the (above) prophecy, greatly spread the doctrine of the Pratimokṣa, and the Mahāyāna. When Nāgārjuna appeared in this world, there were many immoral monks, and they were expelled by the Teacher, and the Doctrine received a new impetus.
Now, according to the book of rgya ma dbon ston, which contains a prophecy by the Tārā to Śākyaśrībhadra (kha che pang chen) about his becoming the Buddha Bhāgīrathī of the Bhadrakalpa (i.e. One of the Thousand Buddhas of the Bhadrakalpa):
"To the West of Śrīsthāna, and to the East of Śrīparvata, in the town of Puṇyāvatī (bsod names dang ldan pa) was born the ācārya Nāgarjuna. At the age of 28, he was ordained by the upādhyāya Vimalatejas (dri ma med pa'i gzi brjid), who had attained the stage of Training (Prayoga-mārga), and the ācārya called Jñāna, who was a Śrotaāpanna,"
Most of the authorities state that he was ordained by Rāhulabhadra All the same, this teacher and the ācārya Asaṅga belonged to the Mūlasarvāstivādins. They are the two great propagators of the Doctrine. Tibetan monks belong to the lineage of the ācārya Nāgarjuna. Numerous treatises and commentaries composed by these two ācāryas exist in translations in Tibet. The Chapter on the Lineage which handed down the vow of ordination.
King Aśoka (mya ngan med), who acted as supporter of the Doctrine in India, was, as stated above, very famous. I was unable to write down the history of his (reign), as I did not hear of any one possessing an Indian royal chronicle (relating) the succession (of reigns).