Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

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

This page relates ‘Minor lineages (brgyud phran gyi skabs)’ 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 12 (Peace-Making Lineages).

Chapter 5a - Minor lineages (brgyud phran gyi skabs)

[Chandra 804; Chengdu 1057;Roerich 905.]

The schools of gra pa, lce and ljang were branches of the "'Intermediate Lineage" (bar du byin ba'i rgyud). The hidden precepts of the nine "Zhi byed sgron ma" were bestowed (by dam pa) on the kalyāṇa-mitra gra pa:

the man ngag sku'i sgron ma,[1]
the theg pa gsung gi sgron ma,[2]
the gsang ba thugs kyi sgron ma,[3]
the yang dag lta ba'i sgron ma,[4]
the rin po che sgom pa'i sgron ma,[5]
thebyang chub spyod pa'i sgron ma ,[6]
the mnyam nyid gzhi'i' sgron ma,[7]
the rnal 'byor lam gyi sgron ma,[8] and
the dngos grub 'bras bu'i sgron ma.[9]

When dam pa was visiting gra thang, gra pa thought: "This is an ordinary a tsa ra", and did not honour him. In the morning they observed that the reeds, which the a tsa ra used as his mat, were not crushed (by the weight of his body). They reported the matter to the kalyāṇa-mitra gra pa, who thought: "He must be dam pa sangs rgyas" and ran after him. He overtook him at Lower gra phyi, and offered him some gold. Though dam pa did not accept it, he promised to visit (gra pa) later. Having returned to gra thang, he (dam pa) preached the "Nine Cycles of sgron ma," The kalyāṇa-mitra gra pa bestowed them on sum btsun chung on the rock of srin chu. The latter bestowed them on myang ston do pa at do ri. The latter on bla chung 'od zer of shab. The latter on 'chus pa dar brtson at sangs. The latter composed a commentary and precepts, and taught it to ‘chus pa brtson seng, who taught it to rog shes rab 'od.

The School of lce:

There lived a father named kalyāṇa-mitra lce pa of bzang yul and his son. ‘tshur ston dbang nge was the teacher who introduced them first (to the doctrine). After that the Kashmirian Somanātha came to Tibet to spread the doctrine of the Kālacakra. Lce, father and son, acted as his supporter in the translation (of the Kālacakra) by gnyos lo tsā ba, and supplied him with adequate provisions. They offered him 30 golden srangs as remuneration for the translation, and other articles worth 30 srangs. He completed the translation within one year, and became an expert in (the doctrine).

Finally, when dam pa sangs rgyas came to lce dal sgan, lce pa was staying in seclusion, and they did not meet. His son zla ba grags pa was born in the year Fire-Male-Dog (me pho khyi 1046 A.D.) when the kalyāṇa-mitra gra pa was 35. He was ordained and practised penance. He also possessed an excellent knowledge of the Mantrayāna. He was in sorrow at the absence of dam pa, and inquired about his whereabouts. He heard that dam pa was residing at yer pa.

He also heard a prophecy uttered by ḍākinīs in the sky:

"O son of good family! The Venerable Kamalaśrī is a yogin observing the three vows.[10] He knows the true thought of the Buddha. As he possesses the three precepts of the Meditative Lineage transmitted from the ācārya Ārya Nāgārjuna, father and son (Āryadeva), ask him for instruction in the Doctrine."

During that time dam pa was supported by an ascetic named nyi khri at yer pa. The ascetic tshul grags, uncle of the bla ma lce, and a disciple named kon sgom of khul bu were sent to invite dam pa. The ascetic nyi khri said to them: "I am old and broken down. I am unable to go and attend on the Venerable one! Should the Venerable one depart, my fortune would be lost. Though it is not proper to say such things to a great man like your Teacher lce, but I can say it, as he is somewhat younger than I. I am able to support him, therefore please ask him to come here", saying so, he prevented the Venerable one from going away.

When they gathered all the gold owned by lce dal sgang pa, father and son, they even took away the golden vajra, which served as ornament on his mother’s belt, and the fur lined silk garment of his father, as well as several rolls of woollen cloth, and proceeded to yer pa. In front of the Venerable one, they placed a golden maṇḍala, the garment and the woollen cloth, but the Venerable one did not even look at the things but the two rejoiced and seemed happy, as if they were mother and son.

The Venerable Kamalaśrī put some questions to lce Candrakīrti on the vow[11] of the bodhicitta, on the practice of the bodhicitta (‘jug pa), and on the meaning of the Prajñāparamitā. After that he put questions on the meaning of the four initiations of the Tantras, as well as many questions about the ultimate meaning of the Mantrayāna. Lce gave his replies on the expression of intention (of developing) the bodhicitta, its practice, the meaning of the Prajñāpāramitā, and on the meaning and symbols of the four initiations of the Mantrayāna, and their ultimate meaning. Their voices sounded louder and louder, and those who happened to be in the neighbourhood came in to listen.

The Venerable one (dam pa) said: "Now it is time to stop", and saying so, entered the Cave of zla ba.

The ascetic nyi khri asked dam pa: "How much does this kalyāṇa-mitra lce know?"

Dam pa replied: "This dog is indeed a good one! But he needs a good stick!"

Then he said to him:

"I shall preach to you the hidden precepts! Come to the mountain of lha ri snying po."

He proceeded there. At first dam pa asked him about the training of the Mind, and then he obtained precepts on it. After that (dam pa) preached to him the precepts of the ordinary path (lam thun mong pa'i gdams ngag) of the Prajñāpāramitā. Then he taught him the precepts of the extraordinary Prajñāpāramitā (phar phyin thun mong ma yin pa'i gdams ngag). After that he taught him the common precepts of the Tantra, and the extraordinary precepts of the Tantra. On the whole he taught him during nine months 108 different precepts.

Then lce asked dam pa permission to follow after him wherever he would go.

Dam pa then manifested him the symbol of pouring from a vessel filled with water into an empty one, and said:

"You and I have become equals! You need not follow me! Should you follow after me, your parents will become displeased. Go to your native place and practise meditation."

Lce having returned to his native place, concentrated himself on meditation following the instructions given by dam pa. Dam pa also saw the ma-ṇi-padma of Lower yer pa[12]. Nyi ma byang chub, the cousin of lce, who was studying under ba ri pa, met dam pa at ding ri. Except for some symbols, the Teacher did not give him any teachings in words. Though faith was born in him, dam pa did not instruct him with the help of words.

Therefore he returned to his native place, and presented a horse to lce Candrakīrti, and requested for precepts. He bestowed, on him several extraordinary precepts of the Mantrayāna, such as the sku gsung thugs[13], the sems nyid gcig pu[14], the phyag rgya gcig[15] and the phyag rgya bzhi, the rim Ina, the sems la gros 'debs, and other precepts. He preached only a few precepts to his father, to sa then, to sgom chen brag po, and others, who had asked him about precepts bestowed by dam pa. The ācārya Rāhulavajra, an attendant of lce Candrakīrti, received ordination of the age of 17. He did not separate from the bla ma Candrakīrti, even for one night, till the latter’s death, and received from him the complete hidden precepts of the Venerable one (dam pa).

Candrakīrti said: "You should meditate like myself, but do not preach it to others! You should eat the whole carcass of the sheep yourself (that is, keep the Doctrine to yourself—sa gzug rang zo, a famous proverb frequently quoted by the writers of the bka’ gdams pa). You should drink melted butter and wipe your mouth with a lump of earth (i.e. Act, as if you did not get precepts)," saying so, he imposed on him a vow.

From him the monk byang chub ye shes heard the Doctrine. At first he studied much the precepts of the bka’ gdams pas and the "Domain of the Practice" (spyod phyogs) under the kalyāṇa-mitra yang gang pa, dge gong pa, and others, and mastered them. Then he learned numerous texts of the Abhidharma and the Mādhyamaka. He then studied many "Old" and "New" Tantras. From nyi ma byang chub, who died at spang dug mo, he obtained the complete precepts of dam pa. After that he studied the list of precepts which had been taught by dam pa to lce, and obtained the precepts from Rāhulabhadra.

Having understood that the essence of the Doctrine was contained in the precepts of dam pa, he stayed in the meditative cell of Candrakīrti. He showed great devotion (towards him), and in his dream saw Candrakīrti as he had seen him before, sitting in Heaven and preaching precepts. He thought whether the dream was due to his faith (in Candrakīrti), or that it represented an illusion created by dpe dkar. In the morning the ācārya sent a messenger to him and told him to come there.

Having gone there, the ācārya Rāhulavajra smiled at him and gave him whatever remained of his food, saying:

"Last night I received a prophecy from the bla ma Candrakīrti, which said that ''he will be able to master my entire Doctrine. Offer it to him! Now I have brought all the books, and have placed then in front of you, offering them to you."

After finishing tea, he presented him with the ancient books of precepts, and told him not to give them to those who had broken their vows, and to those who were unfit to receive them. The monk byang chub ye shes taught the Doctrine to chus pa, father and son. They taught it to rog shes rab 'od. This doctrine was known by the name of "The Precepts of the combined Sūtras and Tantras," because these precepts were identical in meaning with the verses of the Sañcaya[16] and the Nāmasaṅgīti, thus they contained precepts which belonged to the Prajñāparamitā, and the Tantric precepts of the 58 male and female siddhas.

The ljang system:

(Dam pa) bestowed the precepts of the "unwritten" Prajñāparamitā (sher phyin yi ge med pa) on ljang bka’ gdams pa of 'chims yul. Ljang preached them to ljang chung ba. The latter taught them to ‘chus pa, father and son. They taught them to rog shes rab 'od. (It is said) that there had been only one method of revealing the moral faults of disciples (by pointing them out to them).

The Chapter on the "Lesser"Lineage (brgyud phran).

Footnotes and references:


Skt. Upadeśakāyapradīpa-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 2315, (R).


Skt. Yānavākpradīpa-nāma, Tg.rgyud No.2316, (R).


Skt. Cittaguhyapradīpa-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 2323, (R).


Skt. Saṃdarśanapradīpa-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 2317, (R).


Skt. Ratnapradīpa-nāma, T&. No. 2318, (R).


Skt. Bodhicaryāpradīpa-nāma Tg. No.2321, (R).


Skt. Samatāvastu-pradīpa-nāma, Tg. rgyud, No. 2319, (R).


Skt. Yogapatha-pradīpa-nāma, Tg, No. 2322, (R).


Skt. Koṭniṣṭha-phalapradīpa, Tg. rgyud, No. 2320, (R).


the Pratimokṣa vow, (2) the Bodhisattva-vow, (3) the Tantric vow, (R).


Pranidhāna, (R).


probably a famous rock cut inscription made by some famous teacher.


name of a section of dam pa’s precepts.


name of a section cf dam pa’s precepts.


name of another section.


Skt. Prajñāparamitā-sañcaya-gāthā, mdo mangs, 108/Cat. Du Fonds Tibètain de la Bibliothèque Nationale, par M. Lalou, Paris, 1931/).911

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