Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Buddharaksita & Tilise from Khotan (433 AD)


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".... the thirteenth-century historian Nelpa Pandita Dragpa Monlam Lodro (nel pa paNDi ta grags pa smon lam blo gros), asserts that around 433 CE certain Buddhist texts, including the Karandavyuhasutra and a text recorded under multiple names, including Pankyong Chagyapa (spang skong phyag brgya pa), were brought to Tibet by the masters Buddharaksita and Tilise from Khotan. At that time, Khotan was already an important oasis and crossroads for Buddhist teachers moving between India and China. Nelpa Pandita recounts how they returned to Khotan having discovered that no one could read or understand the meaning of the books.".....

"Central Tibet’s earliest exposure to Buddhism is ascribed to the reign of the twenty-eighth king Lha Totori Nyentsen (lha tho tho ri gnyan btsan; 374-493), although there may have been even earlier contacts in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands. However, the formal introduction of the Buddhist teachings coincided with the nine great religious kings who forged an empire in Central Asia between 629 and 848….….Treasury of Lives

"Lha Thothori Nyantsen (Tib. ལྷ་ཐོ་ཐོ་རི་; Chinese: 佗土度) (also spelled Lha Tho tho ri Nyentsen or lHa-tho-tho-ri gNyan-btsan) was the 28th King of Tibet according to the Tibetan legendary tradition. The syllable Lha (divine, pertaining to the gods of the sky) is an honorary title and not a part of his proper name…..According to an indigenous legend, Buddhist scriptures (among them the Karandavyuha Sutra) first arrived in Tibet in his time. The tale claims that this happened in a miraculous way (the volumes fell from the sky on the roof of the royal palace a motif which also happened to one of the royal personages of the name Indrabhuti), but there may be an historical background (arrival of Buddhist missionaries). In any case, this first contact of Tibetans with Buddhism cannot have been more than an incident without lasting impact….. He did not rule over the whole of Tibet; his power was probably limited to the Yarlung valley area......

"The Cintamani is said to be one of four relics that came in a chest that fell from the sky (many terma fell from the sky in caskets) during the reign of king Lha Thothori Nyantsen of Tibet. Though the king did not understand the purpose of the objects, he still kept them in a position of reverence. Several years later, two mysterious strangers appeared at the court of the king, explaining the four relics, which included the Buddha's bowl (possibly a Singing Bowl) and a mani stone (a jewel, crystal or gem with the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra inscribed on it). These few objects were the bringers of the Dharma to Tibet."….Studholme, Alexander: The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum, Albany, New York 2002, p. 14.

"Some Buddhist texts were translated into Tibetan from Chinese, Khotanese, and Burushaski, but the vast majority of translations were made from Sanskrit sources, in two distinct phases, that are demarcated by the implosion of the Tibetan empire during the ninth century. The Nyingma tradition maintains the teaching cycles and texts that were introduced during the earlier dissemination, or ngadar (snga dar) at the height of Tibet’s imperial power. This is in contrast to the various so-called new, or sarma (gsar ma) schools (Kadam, Kagyu, Gelug, etc) that adhere to texts and teachings that were introduced during the later phase of dissemination, or chidar (phyi dar), from the late tenth century onward. An even narrower line of demarcation between the early and later phases of translation is sometimes drawn between the lifetime of the Indian scholar Smotijnanakirti (early tenth century) and that of the Tibetan translator Rinchen Zangpo (rin chen bzang po).…….Treasury of Lives

Buddhism spread into Khotan along the Silk Road from Bactra (Balkh).... Bactria (today’s Balkh in northern Afghanistan) was then the wealthy capital of the independent Bactrian kingdom, combining Hellenistic and Indian cultures.

"The Kingdom of Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim basin. (The area lies in present day Xinjiang, China.) The ancient capital was originally located to the west of modern day Hotan (Chinese: 和田) at Yotkan. From the Han Dynasty until at least the Tang Dynasty it was known in Chinese as Yutian (Chinese: 于闐, 于窴, or 於闐). The kingdom existed for over a thousand years until it was conquered by Muslim invaders in 1006…..According to legend, the foundation of Khotan occurred when Kushtana, said to be a son of Asoka, the Mauryan emperor, settled there about 224 BCE. However, it is likely to have existed much earlier than this. As early as 645 BCE, the Yuezhi (known later as the Kushans) were mentioned as suppliers of the famous nephrite jade to China, and the excavations of the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BCE) tomb of Fu Hao showed that all the jade originated from the oasis area of Khotan. The first inhabitants of the region appear to have been Indo-Europeans from the west, and well-preserved mummies of European origin have been found in the Tarim area. In the second century BCE a Khotanese king helped the famous Kushan Emperor Kanishka to conquer the key town of Saketa in Middle India"….

"Burushaski.. : بروشسکی burū́šaskī) ….is a language isolate spoken in northern Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan. As of 2000, Burushaski was spoken by some 87,000 Burusho people in the Hunza–Nagar District, as well as northern Gilgit District and the Yasin and Ishkoman valleys of northern Ghizer District. Their native region is located in northern Gilgit–Baltistan and borders Afghanistan's Pamir corridor to the north…..Tibetan sources record a Bru-śa language of the Gilgit valley, which appears to have been Burushaski. Although Burushaski may once have been a significant literary language, no Bru-śa manuscripts are known to have survived….

Kharoṣṭhī and Brāhmī Inscriptions from Hunza-Haldeikish: Sources for the Study of Long-Distance Trade and Transmission of Buddhismmore….by Jason Neelis…..

Naiba jiaoshi 奈巴教史 ne pa chos 'byung # Naiba jiaofa shi 奈巴教法史 Ne'u Chöchung (Chronik des Nelpa Pandita) Ne'u chos-'byung Ne'u Pandita Dragpa Mönlam Lodrö / Sangphu Ne'uthog # Naiba jiaofa shi 奈巴教法史……

"Yumbu Lakang is the oldest-known dwelling in Tibet, its construction surrounded by various myths and legends associated with the founding of the Tibetan civilization. One such myth tells that King Nyatri Tsenpo descended from heaven in the 2nd century BCE to build the castle. Another legend claims that the 28th King of Tibet, Lha Totori Nyentsen, resided here late in the 4th century….Not far from the ancient castle, is a plot of land shaped like a scythe (when viewed from the air), and enclosed by low walls. This is known as Zorthang, Scythe Plain, and is reputed to be the first cultivated field in Tibet. It is a tradition for pilgrims and farmers alike to collect soil from this place and to sprinkle it on their own plots to ensure a good harvest. Each year at sowing time the small community of monks, still at Yumbu Lakang, conduct rituals to propitiate its earth spirits.....

King # 28…….Lha Thothori Nyantsen (lHa-tho-tho-ri gNyan-btsan)…."The traditional list of the ancient Tibetan rulers consists of 42 names.The first 26 rulers may belong to the realm of legend, as there is insufficient evidence of their existence, but modern scholars believe that the kings from no. 27 to no. 32 were historical…..[The rulers from no. 33 to no. 42 are well documented in many reliable Tibetan, Chinese and foreign sources. A unified Tibetan state did not exist before the times of the kings number 31, 32, and 33. The earlier rulers, known as the Yarlung dynasty, were probably just local chiefs in the Yarlung Valley area, certainly not emperors of Tibet. Traditional Tibetan titles for the emperor include tsenpo ("Emperor") and lhase ("Divine Son")."….

King # 8…..Drigum Tsenpo (Gri-gum bTsan-po)….."The Tibetan kings were said to remain connected to the heavens via a dmu cord (dmu thag) so that rather than dying, they ascended directly to heaven, when their sons achieved their majority. According to various accounts, king Drigum Tsenpo (Dri-gum-brtsan-po) either challenged his clan heads to a fight, or provoked his groom Longam (Lo-ngam) into a duel. During the fight the king's dmu cord was cut, and he was killed. Thereafter Drigum Tsenpo and subsequent kings left corpses and the Bön conducted funerary rites…..

"The Old Tibetan Chronicle is a collection of narrative accounts and songs relating to Tibet's Yarlung dynasty and the Tibetan Empire. The three manuscripts that comprise the only extant copies of the Chronicle are among the Dunhuang Manuscripts found in the early 20th century in the so-called "hidden library" at the Mogao Grottoes near Dunhuang, which is believed to have been sealed in the 11th century CE. The Chronicle, together with the Old Tibetan Annals comprise Tibet's earliest extant history….


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2013


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