Monday, May 12, 2014

Kingdom of Suvarnadwipa & Zang-zung

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"To fully appreciate Sri Simha's background we must briefly digress into the geography of a mysterious seventh century Himalayan country called Suvarnadwipa and its southern neighbour, the Kinnaur Valley."......The Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1923-1981)

"Tibet. In 617 A.D. Namri Songtsen, the 32nd King of the peoples of Tibet, had a son named Tri De-songtsen (Ch: Chi Tsung-lung-tsan), who is better known as Tri Songtsen Gampo. This young ruler (he was 13 when he ascended the throne in 630) quickly squashed the attempted coup that accompanied his father's assassination and then proceeded with the systematic and bloodthirsty reduction of all traces of opposition to his control over the Tibetan Plateau. Having married his sister to the king of Suvarnadwipa, he conspired with her in the latter's ambush and murder. Following upon the death of the last descendant of the matriarchal dynasty of Suvarnadwipa, the armies of Tibet streamed westward along the Indus and north toward the vast basin lands of the Tarim ..... Songtsen Gampo's apotheosis into the Buddhist archetype of unconditional love and mercy, as Avalokitesvara, is incongruous in face of the reality of his character as one of the greater warlords of Oriental history. He did, however, accomplish much good by introducing culture and the art of writing into the country. Songtsen Gampo died of the plague in 649 A.D. and the throne descended to his grandson, Mangsong Mangtsen."........The Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1923-1981).....http://www.dharmafellowship.org

"The seventeen tantras, though not traditionally classified as a treasure (Wylie: gter ma), nonetheless share in the treasure tradition. They are associated with sacred literature first transmitted in the human realm by the quasi-historical Garab Dorje (Fl. 55 CE) and passed according to tradition along with other tantras through various lineages of transmission by way of important Dzogchen figures such as Mañjuśrīmitra, Shri Singha, Padmasambhava, Jnanasutra and Vimalamitra...... It should be mentioned here that the Dharma Fellowship (2009) drawing on the work of Lalou (1890–1967) holds the 'Five Peaked Mountain' of "the Land of Cina" (where Cina isn't China but a term for the textile cashmere) the Five Peaked Mountain which Kunsang and others have attributed to Mount Wutai in China is instead a mountain near the Kinnaur Valley associated with the historical Suvarnadwipa (Sanskrit) nation also known as 'Zhang-zhung' in the Zhang-zhung language and the Tibetan language."....Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa

"......near the Kinnaur Valley within the Kinnaur District:.......It is explained that Sri Simha divided the Pith Instruction into four sub-sections, and these are known as the Exoteric Cycle, the Esoteric Cycle, the Secret Cycle, and the Supreme Secret Cycle. Before his own death he deposited copies of the first three cycles in a rock cut crypt beneath the Bodhivriksha Temple of Sugnam (Sokyam) in the land of Cina. The texts of the Supreme Secret Cycle, however, he hid separately within the pillar of the "Gate of a Myriad Blessings"......Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa

"As Prof. R. A. Stein says, the Western Land of Women was "a mysterious region mentioned by Chinese and Indian authors." Apparently this matriarchy, with its capital at the Silver Castle of Khyunglung (east of present day To-lung) in Western Tibet, was the same as the land of Zang-zung. The latter is the Tibetan name of the land. Zang-zung or Suvarnadwipa was an ancient Indo-European nation, said to have been ruled by a royal lineage of women. This matriarchy or queendom once existed along the valleys of the upper Sutlej and the Indus rivers, from Tirthapuri, west of Mount Kailash, as far as the borders of modern Ladakh. In Ladakh itself, matriarchal lineage has been known during various periods of Ladakhi history. It is likely that Suvarnadwipa once consisted of the whole of Western Tibet and Ladakh, prior to conquest by the Tibetan people invading from the east........Apart from gold and matriarchy, the Golden Land of Suvarnadwipa (or Zangzung) was famous for manufacturing and exporting to India a peculiarly fine wool cloth known as cina-patti, or in other words, "fabric (patti) from Cina." Thus we find in Kautilya, for example, the mention of Cina as a valley within the territory of Suvarnadwipa, from whence cina-patti was brought to India. At present this same extra-fine cloth, no longer manufactured in Suvarnadwipa, but instead in Kashmir, is known as cashmere.......Prof. Stein is vague in delineating the actual borders of the ancient land of Suvarnadwipa: "How far Zang-zung stretched to the north, east and west is a mystery," he says. :"It seems to have dovetailed into two countries mentioned by T'ang historians as Lesser and Greater Yang-t'ung." This only confuses the matter further, since Pelliot and Tucci consider Yang-t'ung to be Zang-zung itself.".....Rolf Alfred Stein (13 June 1911 – 9 October 1999) was a German-born French Sinologist and Tibetologist. He contributed in particular to the study of the Epic of King Gesar, on which he wrote two books, and the use of Chinese sources in Tibetan history. He was the first scholar to correctly identify the Minyag of Tibetan sources with the Xixia of Chinese sources.

Historical Dictionary of Tibet.....By John Powers, David Templeman

"Today, the territory in Tibet that once was ancient Suvarnadwipa, is more or less a dry barren wasteland. In Sri Simha's era, however, it was apparently rich, not just in gold, beautiful Amazonian women and fine cloth, but in verdant gardens, herds of sheep and goat, and apple orchards. The researches of Marcelle Lalou have sufficiently shown that the territory of the Indian Kailasa, south of Western Tibet (below Suvarnadwipa), comprising modern Kinnaur, was known in ancient times as the valley of Cina. Ancient Cina (or modern Kinnaur), south of the 15,400 ft Shipki Pass (known to the Tibetans as Sarang-la), was apparently a vassal state of Suvarnadwipa. In present times this extensive but isolated valley, hemmed in by the Himalayas, now belongs to India. It is pierced by a major India-Tibet roadway, originally commissioned by Lord Dalhousie in 1850. The valley is home to both Buddhist and Hindu temples.......Confusion arose when, in the 9th century, Tibetans attempted to translate, from the early historical records of the Dzogchen Tradition, the name "Cina" into their own language. By that time the Indo-European matriarchy of Suvarnadwipa (or Zang-zung) had been overrun by Tibet for more than a century. Every vestige of the land, its people and its language, had long since undergone severe changes. The name ‘Cina,' referring to the southern district of Suvarnadwipa, no longer held any meaning for the Tibetan historians. "Cina" and "Mahacina" were, by the ninth century, almost mythical places. While "Mahacina", which probably originally meant Central Asia, came to mean "China" (rGya-nag, the "vast region where people dress in black" according to the Tibetans), the location of Cina simply got lost. With time, Tibetans came to believe that "Cina" was related in some way with "Greater China" (mahacina), and therefore that Sri Simha was a Chinese sage."....Marcelle Lalou (1890–1967) was a 20th-century French Tibetologist. Her major contribution to Tibetology was the cataloging of the entire Pelliot collection of Old Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang at the Bibliothèque Nationale. In addition to her cataloging work, she wrote articles on various aspects of Old Tibet, and she published a Tibetan textbook. Some of her most notable students include Rolf A. Stein and J. W. de Jong.

The Zhangzhung language & Kinnauri.......A handful of Zhangzhung texts and 11th century bilingual Tibetan documents attest to a Zhangzhung language which was related to Kinnauri..... A modern Kinnauri language called by the same name (pronounced locally Jangshung) is spoken by 2,000 people in the Sutlej Valley of Himachal Pradesh who claim to be descendants of the Zhangzhung."....http://www.ethnologue.com/language/JNA

"The Kinnauri tribal group is in fact an Indo-European people who, nevertheless, tend to consider themselves distinct not only from Tibetans but also from their Indian cousins to the south. Homskad, the language spoken in Kinnaur, is dispersed into about 12 different dialects. Kinnauris are traditionally farmers, who adhere to a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist customs, with most villages having both Saivite Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist temples. The present culture is probably not much different than when Sri Simha lived there in the 8th century.......Scholars have also been ambiguous about the location of the town where Sri Simha was born. All that the Tibetan sources tell us is that it was named So-khyam, the meaning of which has remained until now uncertain.......So, what are the facts? Well first off, Cina — the land from whence Sri Simha came — definitely is the Kinnaur Valley, also known as the Kunnu Valley; a Himalayan district, today within India. Suvarnadwipa lay to the north of this valley, in what now is Western Tibet. "So-khyam" is the Tibetan rendering of the name "Su-gnam", the latter a prosperous village at the nine thousand foot level, deep in the Kinnaur Valley......And the gold? Yes, a large deposit is still there to be mined. The largest lode may be found at Shok Jalung, on the Tibetan side of the mountains.....: latitude 32° 24,' longitude 81° 34'.....the location is at 16,000 ft above sea level, and virtually impenetrable."....http://www.dharmafellowship.org

Jangshung.......A language of India.......Alternate Names: Central Kinnauri, Jangiam, Jangrami, Thebarskad, Thebor, Thebör Skadd, Zangram, Zhang-Zhung....Population: 1,990.....Location Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur district, Morang Tahsil, Jangi, Lippa, and Asrang villages."...http://www.ethnologue.com/language/JNA

"Suvarnadvipa (Skt. Suvarṇadvīpa; Tib. གསེར་གླིང་, Wyl. gser gling) is believed by most scholars to be identified with Sumatra. It might also be Java or Malaysia. It was home to Atisha's most important teacher, known as Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa."

Atisa and Tibet: Life and Works of Dipamkara Srijnana....By Alaka Chattopadhyaya

Historical Dictionary of Tibet By John Powers, David Templeman

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