Thursday, May 15, 2014

Royal Seal of the Last King of Zhangzhung

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"Wielding Power over the World of Sensual Pleasures, King of Life"

".... I was looking at the various Zhang Zhung Scripts associated with the Tibetan Bon tradition, and in particular I was interested in the sMar chen སྨར་ཆེན style of script, for which I created a test font. One of the problems in studying these scripts is a paucity of materials written in the scripts themselves other than tables of letters that are given in various calligraphy books.
However, there is one historical artefact that does have an inscription in the sMar chen script. This is a seal that is now held at the Menri Monastery at Dolanji in India (presumably originally from its namesake in Tibet). As far as I know there aren't any published photos of the seal, but it is discussed by Lopön Tenzin Namdak སློབ་དཔོན་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྣམ་དག (1927-), in his history of Bon, snga rabs bod kyi byung ba brjod pa'i 'bel gtam lung gi snying po སྔ་རབས་བོད་ཀྱི་བྱུང་བ་བརྗོད་པའི་འབེལ་གཏམ་ལུང་གི་སྙིང་པོ། (Dolanji, 1983), where he provides a copy of the seal imprint.".....http://babelstone.co.uk/Blog/2008/01/zhang-zhung-royal-seal.html

".....I think by far the simplest explanation is to read these two glyphs as war, and assume this is a variant spelling of the common Zhang Zhung word wer, which corresponds to the Tibetan rgyal "royal", rgyal ba "victor, conqueror", rgyal po "king", rgyal mo "queen", etc. It is even possible to read it directly as wer if you take the upper part of glyph 10 to be an e vowel sign. So in summary, my provisional reading of the inscription is :

ཁ་མན་པ་ཤང་ལིག་ཅི་ཝར། kha man pa shang lig ci war (Tibetan transliteration)
འདོད་ཁམས་དབང་སྡུད་སྲིད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ། 'dod khams dbang sdud srid pa'i rgyal po (Tibetan translation)

"Wielding Power over the World of Sensual Pleasures, King of Life" (English translation)

"Menri Monastery (Tibetan: སྨན་རི་, Wylie: sman ri — "medicine mountain") is the name of a Bon monastery in Tibet, which has been refounded in India. The name derives from the medicinal plants and medicinal springs on the mountain. Menri became the leading Bon monastery in the Tibetan cultural region. The abbot of Menri is recognized as the spiritual leader of Bon...In 1967, Menri was re-founded at Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, India by Lungtok Tenpai Nyima and Lopon Tenzin Namdak. This monastery has recreated the geshe training program, and is home to over two hundred monks. Menri in India and Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal now host the only two geshe programs in the Bon lineage.."

"The oldest sample of a ka ‘phreng presently known to me appears in the Sde srid MS (on p.306, f.124r). To my knowledge, only one sample of possibly early in situ use of any of these four scripts is known, and that is an undated seal, supposedly in Smar chen script, attributed to the last king of Zhang zhung, Lig myi rhya, and presently kept in the abbot’s quarters in Menri, the Sman ri bla brang, in exile. The Drag yig script is mentioned relatively early, in the 12th century C.E. Ma rgyud commentary sGom 'grel nyi ma'i snying po (attributed to Gu ru rnon rtse, b. 1136 C.E.). The text was originally written in Drag yig, ‘mixed’ with Tibetan script. A sample is shown in Lopon Tenzin Namdak’s 'Bel gtam gyi snying po, on p.28, photo-mechanically reproduced from the commentary (cf. Martin 1994: 28ff). The text was ‘copied’ in ‘pure’ (Tibetan) script. The context suggests that no translation was involved, only transliteration."...JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR BON RESEARCH

"The ‘Zhang zhung’ Royal Seal of Lig myi rhya (Smar chen).......The seal, depicted at the beginning of this article has most recently been discussed on the Zhang zhung Studies Forum and Andrew West later publicised his conclusions on his blogspot, BabelStone..... there you will also find a useful table with the readings and corrections by Lopon Tenzin Namdak and those suggested by Andrew West. A print of the seal was originally published by Lopon Tenzin Namdak ('Bel gtam gyi snying po, p.28) and was later again reprinted in Bon sgo (Vol.8 (1995), p.55) and elsewhere."...JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR BON RESEARCH

"Ligmincha Institute is named for the Ligmincha dynasty of kings of the ancient country of Zhang Zhung, which is said to have been located in what is now northwestern Tibet. The inscription in Zhang Zhung language on the outermost circle of the Ligmincha seal is from the official seal of the last king of Zhang Zhung. It means “The king of existence who has power over the Three Worlds (Tib.: KhamTshan pa shang lig zhi ra rtsa). Just within that circle appear the five petals of a lotus flower, symbolizing the five sciences (rig-gnas-Inga) whose knowledge is necessary for an educated human to live fully in the world. Within that circle is an eight-pointed star signifying the first eight ways toward enlightenment among the causal and fruitional vehicles of the Nine Ways of Bon. At the center of the seal is the Tibetan letter A, which represents the Ninth Way, the Ultimate Path of Self-Liberation, known as dzogchen, the Great Perfection.".....http://www.ligmincha.org/en/about-us-ligmincha-institute/mission-statement.html

......"Where to Look For the Origins of Zhang zhung-related Scripts?"......JOURNAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR BON RESEARCH......Volume 1 Inaugural Issue (2013).....Three Pillars of Bon: Doctrine, ‘Location’ (of Origin) & Founder— Historiographical Strategies and their Contexts in Bon Religious Historical Literature, NWO Vidi, grant number 276-50-002, which ran from 2005 to 2010 at CNWS/LIAS, Leiden University......Henk Blezer, Kalsang Norbu Gurung, and Saraju Rath

Discuss the historical geographical and mythological coordinates which would authenticate the existence of Zhang Zhung and of its lingmore......by Hriput Namu Tara

"Tradition has it that Zhang Zhung consisted "of three different regions: sGob-ba, the outer; Phug-pa, the inner; and Bar-ba, the middle. The outer is what we might call Western Tibet, from Gilgit in the west to Dangs-ra khyung-rdzong in the east, next to lake gNam-mtsho, and from Khotan in the north to Chu-mig brgyad-cu rtsa-gnyis in the south. The inner region is said to be sTag-gzig (Tazig) [often identified with Bactria], and the middle rGya-mkhar bar-chod, a place not yet identified....some of the ancient texts describing the Zhang Zhung kingdom also claimed the Sutlej valley was Shambhala,.....There is some confusion as to whether Tibet destroyed Zhangzhung during the reign of Songtsän Gampo (605 or 617? - 649) or in the reign of Trisong Detsen (Wylie: Khri-srong-lde-btsan), (r. 755 until 797 or 804 CE)."..... Karmey, Samten G. (1975). "'A General Introduction to the History and Doctrines of Bon"

Unearthing Bon Treasures: Life and Contested Legacy of a Tibetan Scripture ... By Dan Martin

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….May 2014

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