Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

by George N. Roerich | 1949 | 382,646 words | ISBN-10: 8120804716 | ISBN-13: 9788120804715

This page relates ‘First incarnation series (ii): sangs rgyas ras chen’ 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 8 (The famous Dakpo Kagyü (traditions)).

Chapter 6 - First incarnation series (ii): sangs rgyas ras chen

His disciple sangs rgyas ras chen: he belonged to the gru gu[1] clan, and was born in yar klungs, to father gtsang pa dpal grags and mother btsun chung ma.[2] In his childhood, wherever he went, a rainbow appeared. Four dākiṇīs adorned with gold ornaments, followed after him. At the age of nine, he came to zangs ri ras pa and heard from him hidden precepts received from ras chung pa. Thereupon a feeling of well being, clearness and an absence of all constructive thoughts, was produced in him. He used to wear a single cotton cloth and became known by the name of ras chen. When he reached the age of 15, zangs ri pa died, before he could complete his studies.

At the time of the death of his Teacher he lamented and said:

"I have not finished my study and the Dharmasvāmin is passing away."

Then (the Teacher) said to him:

"Now meet rgya sgom! In any case (ji ltar byas kyang) you will be happy!"

Afterwards he met phag mo gru pa and obtained from him instruction in religion. After that he obtained many precepts of the "New" and "Old" Tantras from 'tshur dbang ne (a disciple of mar pa) at dol. He practised varāhī (The Venerable One with two faces) and could subdue illnesses and people possessed by demons by the mere fixing of his mind. At gnyal he heard many doctrines from gtsang ston dkon ne, father and son. At that time he had a vision of Sukhasiddhī (name of a dākiṇī). At za chu 'dus he obtained many precepts and initiation from dar ma shes rab, a disciple of sgam po pa, who was meditating without interruption on the ābhāsvara ('od gsal rgyung chad med pa).

He practised meditation at grog phugs shang of gnyal. The (five) eyes (spyan lnga)[3] and the (five) supernatural powers (abhijñās) were born in him. Later he proceeded to yar klungs and obtained from the Master (rje) sgom zhig po the complete precepts of Vimala (snying thig). He considered that the proximity of his native place was harming his meditation. He obtained from thod pa bsam grub (one of ma gcig’s sons) at gyes the system of the Lady of the school of gcod (jo mo ma gcig lab sgton ma).

After that he proceeded towards kong po and met the bla ma mnga' ris pa, from whom he heard many precepts. From gnyal pa jo sras at spo bo he obtained the Cycle of Vajravārahī, the "Six Doctrines" of nA ro and, especially the mgon po ber nag can (the Mahākāla "wearing a black mantle"). His mother sent from yar klungs a man named ro zan nag po ("the black corpse eater" or "black vulture") to invite him, but he did not go. Instead he proceeded to tsha ba sgang and dmar khams. There his fortune increased. He established a Tantric school and acted as mediator in many disputes. Then he heard that dus gsum mkhyen pa was residing at sgam po gnas nang. He thought that he should proceed there to see his face and obtain his blessing, but that it was not necessary to request him for religious instruction. When he came there, an upāsaka named rdo rje dpal rtsegs received him.

When he met dus gsum mkhyen pa, the latter said to him:

"You being a wise young Tantric, you can become my disciple."

He inquired: "What sort of disciples have you?"

Dus gsum mkhyen pa said:

"’bal tsha stag dol pa, 'de chung sangs rgyas and others. You go to the latter’s place."

He went to 'de chung sangs rgyas who told him:

"You being a wise young Tantric, you can become a disciple of my Teacher. Now go to 'bal tsha stag dol pa."

He went to him, and saw a large tiger in a cave, and being frightened, fled away. He was told to go again, and so went once more (to see him). He saw a lake and went round it and threw small pebbles into it. Then again he was told to go, and he went. (This time) he saw an ascetic holding in his lap the pebbles thrown (by him during the previous visit).

The ascetic said to him: "You being a wise young Tantric, you can become a disciple of my Teacher!"

He thought: "Even his disciples possess such (extraordinary) faculties."

Again he proceeded to dus gsum mkhyen pa and heard precepts (from him). He made a vow not to place his head on a pillow for seven years. He then removed all errors in connection with precepts.

The Precious Dharmasvāmin said:

"Among the natives of dbus, who are looking for advantages, you and the ācārya bka' gdams pa are the wealthiest!"

Accordingly he was not allowed to stay in solitude, and because of this the goal of his labours became extensive. He practised meditation for three years in the presence of the ācārya bka' gdams pa. Having received dus gsum mkhyen pa’s advice to take up ordination, and at the suggestion of the ācārya bka' gdams pa, at the age of 37, he took up ordination as novice and monk from the upādhyāya ma drel ba and the ācārya bka gdams pa, and was given the name of bsod nams grags pa.

At kar ma he met the Precious One (dus gsum mkhyen pa) and spent with him three years. When dus gsum mkhyen pa was going to dbus, he saw him off as far as tre shod rna rgyang. After that he himself proceeded to dmar khams, and while he was engaged in extensive labours for the welfare of living beings, he perceived that the Dharmasvāmin dus gsum mkhyen pa had passed away. Later he rendered great services to his monastery. It is impossible to describe all his visions of Teachers, siddhas and tutelary deities. At the end of his excellent labours for the welfare of living beings, he passed away into the Holy Sphere the 25th day of the first summer month (dbyar zla ra ba), aged 70. After (his death) also he appeared to his disciples in many forms. After the cremation of his remains, numerous sacred images and relics were recovered (from the ashes).

Footnotes and references:


gru gu -a clan of this name still exists in Amdo. In ancient times designated Central Asian Turks.


in Tibet, if a second daughter is to be born after the death of the first, she is called 'nun', to protect her life from misfortunes. Similarly a boy is called bande, "monk."


S. C. Das' Dictionary, p. 804

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