Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

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

This page relates ‘Kharakpa (kha rag pa'i 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 13 (Cutting and Kkarakpa).

Chapter 3 - Kharakpa (kha rag pa'i skabs)

[Full title: Kharakpa (kha rag pa’i skabs. Chandra 886; Chengdu 1162; Roerich 999).]

The natives of the Snow (Country[1] ) possess a crown ornament and two ear ornaments. The crown ornament (is) padmasambhava. The first ear ornament (is) kharag sgom cahun. The second (ear ornament) is the Venerable mid la. Kha rag sgom chun: He benefited of two streams of precepts, and was a yogin who practiced meditation only. Here one of the streams of these precepts, which originated from a ro ye shes 'byun gnas: a ro had been an incarnation. He assumed the appearance of a small boy concealed in the sand near the ring mo spring.

A royal nun saw him there, having come there for a walk, she thought that

“people might start gossiping, if I were to take the child with me out of mercy”.

She reported the matter to an official of the locality, who said to her: “Well, poor thing! Take him!” She took the child. He lay down like a corpse, and emitted the sound of “a-a”, because of this he was called “a ro”[2] . Later when the child learned to walk, he went inside an enclosure (kun dga 'ra ba) where monks were telling their prayers.

The monks asked him: “A ro! What are you doing here?”

The child replied: “I shall also recite prayers.”

“Do you understand the Doctrine?” they inquired, and the child replied: “I know well many doctrines!”

“Well then, do you know this also?” and they handed him a volume of the bodhicaryāvatāra, and he recited it in a proper manner.

“I also know some doctrines unknown to you!” said A ro, and recited several names of precepts belonging to the system of A ro.

All the monks became amazed, saying: “A ro is A! He is the origin of knowledge!”

Thus he became known as ye shes 'byung gnas. He had a long life, and guided disciples with the help of profound precepts. He also laboured for the welfare of living beings. His disciples were: ya zi bon ston of khams, bru sha rgyal bu of kha rag, grunt shing shes rab smon lam of dbus, caog ro zans dkar mdzod khur of, gtsang. Of the above, ya zi bon ston proceeded to dbus and gtsang, and preached the Doctrine to gru gu klog 'byung of Upper gtsang rgyan. The latter taught it to glan sgom tshul khrims snin po of bras chu bar.

The latter used to say:

"If I were to preach the Doctrine into the ear of a corpse, the corpse would move. If I were to teach meditation to a bird of the Sky, it would succeed (in it)."

He taught it to rba sgom bsod nams rgyal mtshan, who belonged to the clan of ' ‘ju of sbas in 'phan yul.

Having met Atīsha, he offered him his understanding (of the Doctrine), and the latter became pleased, and said:

“Now these (precepts) of your should be supplemented by love and mercy. Then meditate! Should you experience difficulties in your meditation, Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara will appear to remove them.”

Atīsha after seeing several Tibetan writings, was not too pleased (with them), but when he saw the Mahāyāna Yoga (a ro'i theg cahen rnal’byor) by a ro, he exclaimed: “These words are full of poetry, and possess an excellent meaning,” and became pleased. Rba sgom was the household priest of the father of pu to ba. Pu to ba before going to rwa sgreng asked him for precepts on meditation.

He said:

“The meditation of those who didn't study even a little, is even shallower than an arm pit.”

Later when pu toba became a great kalyāna mitra, he thought: “What sort of doctrine rba sgom possesses?”

After that he had a remarkable dream, and said: “This doctrine of rba sgom is a perfect one!” His (rba sgom) disciple was kha rag sgom zhun. In a place called dun zur in Upper gtsang there was a hermit named dkon mcahog rten. He had three sons: bal po dbangrdor, after him swa dban rwa, after him the hermit dbang phyug blo gros. DBan phyug blo gros was full of faith since his childhood. He resolved to take up ordination. He obtained many precepts of the “Great Achievement” (rdzogs cahen) from one named ye shes of be'u klu, a native of thodphu. While he was practicing meditation in the meditative cell of ‘phyil phu, bal po dbang rdor acted as his attendant.

When rba sgom was residing at brag dkar rtsi zan people used to say:

“There is a good Master possessing secret precepts.”

Bal po dbang rdor went to see him, and when they met, they held a conversation on religion. He understood that the Teacher was endowed with secret precepts, and reverence was born in him.

Dbang rdor told this story to gtsang bu, and added: “Let us go to his place!”

(The brother) replied: “But we have no presents (to offer him)!”

Dban rdor replied: “We have a piece of butter. We could offer it."

So they went together. As soon as gtsang bu and rba sgom met, their minds became one.

Gtsang bu asked for precepts, and the Teacher said: “You should take up ordination!”

He was then ordained in the presence of mar sgom at lab so. After that he obtained from rba sgom the “Three Cycles of Precepts”. (gdams ngag skor gsum[3] ). There were others also, who had come to ask for instruction in religion. The Teacher dismissed others, and kept gtsang bu near himself. Rba sgom went into seclusion for seven days, and had a vision of yamāntaka. During this time rba sgom wrote out precepts on a slate (gya' ma), and threw them out of his cell. Gtsang bu read them. Then an alms giver offered him two loads of flour, and rba sgom said: “The Evil One (Māra) has come!”[4] and ran away. Gtsang bu followed after him. The Teacher and (his) disciple reached rwa sgreng. (They found) that 'brom ston pa had died, and that rnal 'byor pa was preaching to a class. Gtsang bu felt reverence towards the hermits of rwa sgreng.

Rba sgom said:

“They are like a sack of wool![5] . We, Teacher and disciple, stand higher than they in meditation.”

They went back and journeyed via 'dal ma lung of yag 'brog. They proceeded to the land of the lho la yag pa nomads. When he was about to start for mkhar cahu, he received a message saying that his mother had fallen ill. He proceeded to his native place, and found that his mother had passed away. (The relatives) performed the funeral rite (gshid) and killed a cow. Filled with sadness, rba sgom went back. Gtsang bu helped them in the performance of the funeral rite, and then followed after rba sgom. When he reached the monastery of u skyu 'gul of gžu, he noticed traces of a cremation. He asked: “Whose are these?”

They replied: “The late rba sgom’s”. (gtsang bu) wept bitterly, and then proceeded towards rwa sgreng, and for seven years followed on dgon pa ba and rnal 'byor pa.

Dgon pa ba said to him:

“Your Teacher has entered seclusion for seven days, and had a vision of Yamāntaka.”

He understood dgon pa ba to possess the faculty of prescience. Then for a long time he practiced meditation in the cave of gžu rmkhan brag (“Archer’s rock”). Pu to ba, teacher and disciple, also happened to stay at the same time on the “Archer’s Rock” (gžu mkhan brag).

Pu to ba said:

“This young hermit gtsang bu is greatly addicted to meditation. Because of lack of study, can he enter the Path?”

(Gtsang bu) overheard him saying it, and went to see pu to ba. He related to him about (his) understanding of the four blo ldog[6] .

A sthavira named rGyal se said: “Now you, kalyāna mitra, ought to reply to him!”

Pu to ba said “I cannot reply to it now!”

This gtsang bu became a skyes bu smra ba'i sen ge (“Lion of Speech among Men”). Pu to ba used to send him the best portions of offerings received by himself.

Pu to ba praised him greatly, saying:

“This Doctrine (cahos) which he (gtsang bu) was able to practise during one day, we, Teacher and disciple, couldn't accomplish within one year.”

On one occasion rnal byor pa be'u klu'i ye shes sent him a message:

“On account of my illness, come here in the name of our vows!”

Gtsang bu went to take leave of Pu to ba. Parting was difficult for both; and both shed tears. During his journey to rgyal in than yul, he received many requests for religious instruction and offerings. He visited the blama bha rag, and for a short time attended on be'u klu'I ye shes. He practiced meditation at Kha rag phug pa nag po, (rib) and his fame encompassed all quarters. About a thousand students (tshogs pa) gathered round him. After a short while he felt this to be a hindrance, dismissed his students, and left only a small number of disciples. Thus lie lived for many years.

In the end he held a pompous feast and said: “This will be (my) last food!”

And added:

“After my death, convey this body to the summit of a mountain, and don't erect memorials after me!”

Saying so, he passed away. His remains were then carried to the summit of kha rag. A yogin having severed with a knife one of his hands, died on the spot. Kha rag’s two disciples: lho pa dharmaskyabs and rdul ston rdo r’je rin chen. Lho pa was a native of la ya smon mda”. He obtained many doctrines from ron pa cahos bzang. He took up ordination in the presence of ba dkar 'brin ston, and obtained from him the bslab phyogs (Domain of the Vows), the Doctrine of Maitreya, and many others. Also he obtained from yol cahos dban many hidden precepts. Having visited kha rag pa, he offered him a bag of butter and asked for precepts.

(Kha rag) at once shut the door and said to him:

“There are many who possess hidden precepts! You can ask them!”

After that lho pa spent three years at the residence of bal po dbang rdor (kha rag pa’s brother). Gtsang bu said:

“Did lho pa go away?”

(When told that he was still there) he said: “Then, bring him here!”

He imparted to him the complete precepts and associated with him for five years. He also became very famous and had numerous disciples who included such great scholars as yar sregs rgye dman and others, myang sgom rgod po, myang sgom dkar po, and myang sGom žig po cahos se, known as the “Three Brothers myang sgom” (myang sgom mched gsum).

Rdul ston, who knew numerous precepts, met kha rag pa and overheard him saying:

“This scholar can enter into Religion.”

Rdul ston then thought:

“What does he mean by this? For I have studied numerous doctrines”.

Later, after he had obtained the precepts of the Three Cycles of kharag (kha rag skor gsum), and had practiced them, he realized that (kha rag pa’s) first words were true. From Kha rag he proceeded towards Yar 'brog. Thus one of the streams of precepts was that which flowed from Rwa sgren and consisted of the precepts handed down from Atīsha. Kha ragpa combined the two (streams) and named them the “Purification of the Bodhicitta” (byan carub sbyong).

They were also known by the name of the “Three Cycles of kha rag” (kha rag skor gsum). They spread widely. Now the Spiritual Lineage of a ro himself: rba sgom transmitted (the Doctrine) to dam pa 'dzi sgom of gtsang ron. The latter to ba ra sgom chen of yar 'brog. The latter to the lady myan mo of yul cahos. The latter to the doctor (lha r’je) lha khang pa of skyi mkhar. The latter to ston sāk of dbus. The latter to žig po bdud rtsi. In this manner the Lineage spread widely.

The Chapter on kha rag pa.

Footnotes and references:


i.e. Tibet {R}


‘A-corpse.’ This seems to be a later explanation of the name. Originally it must have been a corrupt form of a Sanskrit word {R}


probably the kha rag skor gsum {R}


meaning that he, had received worldly things as a present {R}


big to look at, and small when pressed down


‘Turning points of the Mind’. The four ‘Turning points of the Mind’ or blo ldog bžt are: meditation on the value of birth in human form, on the uncertainty of death, the sufferings of Samsara, on Karma, Cause and Effect.

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