1 This article was originally published by The International Journal of Tantric Studies, (http: //www.shore.net/~india/ijts), December 1995. The decision to re-publish the article here was made since back-copies of the Journal are no longer freely available on-line. I was also concerned to make a number of corrections, and I have increased the number of illustrations included. A rather different (shorter) version of the same article, under the same title, but without illustrations, appeared in The Tibet Journal, Vol.XX No.4, Dharamsala, Winter 1995: 47-63. Prior to publication, earlier versions of the paper were presented at the Tibet Foundation, London, and to the Oxford University graduate group for Buddhist Studies convened by Dr Sue Hamilton at Wolfson College, and I would like to thank those who made comments, provoking further thought and revisions to the article. I would also like to acknowledge Toni Huber's comments on an earlier draft and the helpful suggestions made by the editors of the International Journal of Tantric Studies. Thanks are also due to Sam Scoggins, formerly of Christ Church College, Canterbury, for technical help with the original IJTS version of the article.
The Dance of the Guru's Eight Aspects (Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams) is a ritual dance which derives from the visions of the thirteenth century Tibetan master Guru Chos-dbang. Its performance at the small rNying-ma-pa monastery in Rewalsar in Himachal Pradesh is described, along with the accompanying recitations of praises. The account is put into its context as a Buddhist tantric practice by a discussion of the tradition of 'chams, the general Vajrayāna principles which underlie it, and the specific tantric ritual practices performed by the monks in preparation for the dances. How interpretations of the Vajrayāna imagery shed light on its meaning and the significance of the concept of ''Liberation through seeing'' (mthong-grol) are explored.
This paper presents an account of a Tibetan ritual dance - 'chams - as performed at a small rNying-ma-pa monastery in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India.2
2 Fieldwork for this research was conducted from 1981-1983, funded by the then Social Science Research Council (now ESRC), London.
The Main Temple
My purpose is not only to describe but to relate the dance to its wider historical and religious tradition and to indicate its symbolic significance.
Rewalsar, a village near Mandi, is a pilgrimage site for Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.3 For Tibetans, it is associated with Guru Padma,4 the eighth century Vajrayāna master famed for his role in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet and recognised as a "second Buddha". For the rNying-ma-pa, he is not only a key historical figure in the transmission of the "Ancient Tantras" which they follow, but he represents the inner Root Guru: he is equated with the enlightened principle which unfolds realisation within, and innumerable Guru Yoga practices focus on him. The Buddhist story concerning Rewalsar5 comes from the "miraculous birth" accounts of Guru Padma,6 and it is appropriate that the main annual ritual dance at the Rewalsar rNying-ma-pa monastery is that of his eight "names" (mtshan) or aspects.
3 See Cantwell 1995 for more information on Rewalsar as a sacred place.
4 Guru Padma is also called Guru Rinpoche, the "Precious Guru", or "Padmākara" (Skt.), "Lotus-Born", which is equivalent to Tibetan, "Padma 'Byung-gnas". I avoid the alternative "Padmasambhava", since Tibetans consistently distinguish between the central figure of Guru Padma, and Padmasambhava who is one of the eight aspects. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the first of the eight aspects, usually called O-rgyan rDo-rje 'Chang, is frequently referred to as Padma 'Byung-gnas - and indeed, this is the case in the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams - so, in this article, I have simply used "Guru Padma" for the central form of Guru Rinpoche! For more on the symbolic significance and imagery of Guru Padma, see "The Legacy of Rig 'dzin Tshe dbang nor bu", which comments on a number of miniatures of Guru Padma within the Rig’dzin Tshe dbang nor bu edition of the rNying ma’i rgyud ’bum.
5 See Cantwell 1995.
6 There are also "womb birth" versions, such as that included (along with the "miraculous" alternative) in the 'Bum-nag, but the "miraculous birth" stories - especially the influential Padma bka'i-thang shel-brag-ma of O-rgyan Gling-pa (c.1323-1369) - were the most popular and the rNying-ma-pa have emphasised them.
Since the 1960s when the monastery became one of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche's (bDud-'joms Rin-po-che) centres in India, all the religious practices performed there were from Dudjom Rinpoche's works or compilations. There are7 two major annual sessions of intensive practice. In the summer, there is a period of one and a half months during which the monks are virtually in retreat, performing long recitation of the monks' precepts with confession and purification of transgressions. In contrast, the winter session, during the first Tibetan month, coincides with the main pilgrimage season, and both pilgrims and locally settled Tibetans join the monks in the temple. The ritual practices of Guru Padma (the bDud-'joms Bla-sgrub) or of Avalokiteśvara are performed on alternate years, but in both cases the session culminates on the tenth day of the first month with the Dance of the Guru's Eight Aspects (the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams).
7 For ease of description, I use the ethnographic present to describe the situation up to 1983.
Vajrayāna rituals are intended to bring about a transformation of the physical, vocal and mental states of the practitioner, the nature of which depends on the specific class of the practice performed. A basic principle in the Vajrayāna perspective is that all phenomena, including those of the emotional poisons, can be used to conquer Ignorance (Skt. avidyā) and express Enlightenment. In conventional Buddhism, dance is considered to be a form of sensual indulgence, and it is an activity from which monks and serious lay practitioners should refrain.8 In this Vajrayāna tradition, the sensual experience of dancing and observing the dances, are transformed such that the richness of the forms and costumes, the grace and dramatic movements of the dance, all express different aspects of the qualities of realisation. Thus, practising and watching the dances can itself constitute the path to Enlightenment.
8 The lists of eight or ten precepts which can be taken by devout lay followers include a commitment to refrain from, ''dancing, singing, music and unseemly shows; using garlands, perfumes and unguents; and things which tend to beautify and adorn the person'' (M. Wijayaratna: 170-1, 181).
Vajrayāna rituals such as dance may be used primarily to aid the meditator or to aid practitioners and non-practitioners alike. *Some rituals were particularly orientated to the benefit of lay audiences, and as Geoffrey Samuel (1978: 101) has discussed, were a necessary aspect of the relationship of reciprocity between religious monastics and lay sponsors. Public performances of 'chams were an example of this. They may be part of numerous yi-dam deity cycles, different stages of practice and various types of ritual activities, but in general, their elaborate display of Enlightened qualities is said to be suited for the illumination of the widest possible human audience, and in particular, it is designed to bring about "Liberation through seeing" (mthong-grol).9
9 See the Fifth Dalai Lama's commentary on a 'chams: Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1976: 227.
In the Tibetan Vajrayāna, there are a number of specific techniques for achieving realisation through the use of the sense faculties, and these are classified according to the different senses. As well as applying to the viewing of 'chams, the potential for ''Liberation through seeing'' (mthong-grol) is also said to be a characteristic feature of any gter-ma (rediscovered 'treasure' text): simply by seeing the manuscript, the observer is liberated (Tulku Thondup: 1986: 112). The famous Bar-do thos-grol,10 now commonly erroneously referred to as the ''Tibetan Book of the Dead'', is in fact a practice of ''Liberation through hearing'' (thos-grol). Liberation occurs through the Guru, or in his absence, a Vajra sibling, reading the text aloud to the dying person. There is also a widely performed practice of wearing around the neck drawings of maṇḍalas which have been bestowed upon the person by a lama who folds and secures them in a special manner. Similarly, a roll of paper with mantras written on it may be tied around a corpse and burned with it.11 These practices, which are activated through the sense of touch, are termed, ''Liberation through wearing'' (btags-grol). Tulku Thondup (1986: 242 note 152) further mentions practices involving a consort, which liberate through touching; the ingestion of substances of ambrosia (Skt. amṛta, Tib. bdud-rtsi), which liberate through tasting; and the meditation on consciousness transference ('pho-ba), which liberates through thinking. In the case of the ''Liberation through seeing'' brought about by the observation of ritual dance, the activation of the power to transform the onlooker depends both on the dancer who must truly embody the deity whose costume he wears, and on the receptivity of the spectator.
10 See F. Fremantle and C. Trungpa. In the case of this edition of the text, the publisher apparently insisted on the book's main title against the translator's wishes.
11 Evans-Wentz: 136. At the funeral of the Rewalsar monastery's abbot in September 1982, the officiating lama had a cloth printed with a btags-grol 'khor-lo (''wheel (for) liberation through wearing''), which was wrapped around the abbot's body.
Many of the sequences of dances and meditations have certainly been preserved for centuries, and probably derive in part from the Indian Vajrayāna tradition. Innovations do not occur as a result of experimentation or improvisation, but new dances may be introduced by respected lamas as a result of their visionary experiences. Some 'chams have written manuals ('chams-yig) containing detailed teachings on the correct steps and their significance; others are maintained purely through demonstration and oral instruction. Training in 'chams involves the appropriate meditation practice, and learning the dance movements and associated chants.12 Only monks and other Vajrayāna practitioners who have been trained take part.13 The dancer must be capable of assuming the deity's form and of identifying with the primordial awareness (ye-shes) of the deity and maintaining the "View" of phenomena as ''radiant and empty'' (gsal-stong).14
12 Rigorous training might also entail memorisation of the principles of the dancing: see Chogyam Trungpa's account (Trungpa 1977: 92-93).
13 This is a general rule: some dances include ordinary lay people, but they never take the parts of the major deities.
14 See Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1976: 113.
A 'chams is usually held as the main feature or as part of the celebrations of traditional religious days. For the performers, it may represent the culmination of days or weeks of meditation and recitation practice connected with the deity involved. A performance usually lasts one to three days and takes place in the temple courtyard. The front of the temple may be decorated with paintings depicting the lineage lamas or the deities of the dance. In the centre of the courtyard, one or two high flagpoles with the ensigns of the important 'chams deities may be set up, and beneath, there may be a small shrine with the gtor-ma representing the main deity and various offerings.15 The temple serves as the dressing-room for the dancers who wear costumes and masks which are stored in the temple for the rest of the year, and each dancer enters the courtyard and returns after his dance through the front doorway.
15 *At the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams I observed at the 'Brug-pa bKa'-brgyud-pa monastery of the Tashi Jong handicraft settlement (Khampa-Gar Monastery, District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh), for example, the 'chams lasted for three days, and a shrine was set up on the second day, which was the tenth day of the moon, when Guru Padma's aspects were to dance.
Each 'chams is made up of a number of separate dances which may together develop a religious theme. The "manifestation" of the main deity is usually preceded by a number of preparatory dances which may purify the "ground" of the outer and the mental environment into a Buddha-field, and so on. Many 'chams, such as the Phur-'chams of the Fifth Dalai Lama's text, are divided into two main sections: a "Root Dance" for the "Realisation of Enlightenment", and a following section for "Liberating Negativity".16 This corresponds to the two basic divisions of Mahāyoga yi-dam deity 17 practice in general.
16 Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1976: 100ff.
17 Tib. ''yi-dam'' roughly corresponds with Skt. iṣṭadevatā and refers to a deity form which represents a specific aspect of the expression of Enlightenment, which the practitioner is generating through his identification with the deity. For a fuller explanation of Mahāyoga, see below.
Each dancer or set of dancers normally move in a clockwise circular path, sometimes marked by concentric circles outlined with flour or chalk18. The style of dancing depends on the nature of the figures portrayed, and the type of ritual activity they are performing. Black Hat dancers, Buddhas, yi-dams and high-ranking dharmapālas (guardian deities), often dance with slow dignified movements. Every movement has a significance; much of the Fifth Dalai Lama's 'chams text is devoted to detailed description of the different movements along with their names or purposes. Lesser deities - retinues of yi-dams and dharmapālas (guardian deities) who represent various emotional defilements which have been transformed into the forces which remove obstacles to realisation, may retain their "untamed" appearance, and perform running and stamping "dances".
18Mona Schrempf, in an article discussing 'chams as a way of demonstrating the subjugation and transformation of physical space (1994: 95-120), has further general information on 'chams and some interesting examples from her fieldwork. She discusses (101) the dance circles, noting that in many 'chams, the deities portrayed move in the inner dance circle, while the Black Hat dancers, as intermediaries between the divine forms and the human audience, move in an outer circle.
The Black Hat dancers and the chief deities usually wear their costumes over their monastic robes. This symbolises that they have not renounced their basic Buddhist commitments through their dance performance: on the contrary, the dance takes on its character as an Enlightened display through their inward nature which is that of Buddhist practitioners. Their costumes are mostly made of brocade and silk, sometimes with elaborate embroideries, and they are adorned in accordance with the particular deity's iconographical attributes. The mask depicting the deity's face may be made of layers of cloth, glued together around a clay model which is broken when the glue is dry, or of papier-mḥché, or carved wood. They may be two or three times head size; the dancer sees through the nostrils or mouth. Lesser deities generally wear less elaborate costumes.19
19 For more details on costumes, on the roles of non-dancing participants and the part played by the monk musicians, consult Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1976, especially 68ff.
According to my informants in Rewalsar, the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams - Dance of the Guru's Eight Aspects - was introduced by the great rNying-ma-pa gter-ston, Guru Chos-kyi dBang-phyug (1212-70) or Guru Chos-dbang for short.20 In meditation, he visited Zangs mdog dpal ri (The Glorious Copper-coloured Mountain), the Buddha-field21 of Guru Padma, and he observed the ḍākas, ḍākinīs, and various forms of the Guru, dancing. When he "returned" to the ordinary level of experience, he taught the dances, which became very popular in Tibet; they were performed in many rNying-ma-pa monasteries, and also in some bKa'-brgyud-pa monasteries. Based on Guru Chos-dbang's teaching, the order and the steps of the dances of the Guru's aspects are the same in each case, and although there are slight variations in the decorations of the costumes, each aspect has his characteristic features and is clearly recognisable. There is no dance manual associated with the dance, but the tradition is orally preserved. The Guru always "manifests" in this dance on the tenth day of the moon, the time when, according to the "myth", Guru Padma promised to return and to be present in person.22 In the Vajrayāna, the tenth day is considered to display the energy of the male heruka (wrathful deity);23 Guru Padma can be seen as the enlightened heruka par excellence, and throughout the year, Guru Padma Tshogs24 offerings are performed on the tenth day.
20 For information on Guru Chos-dbang, see Dudjom Rinpoche 1991: 760-770; also Janet Gyatso 1994.
21 A Buddha-field (Sangs-rgyas-kyi zhing-khams) is a term for the environment in which a Buddha manifests, reflecting the particular qualities of the specific Buddha concerned.
22 See Schwieger 1997 on this tradition.
23 The twenty-fifth day is associated with the female ḍākinī principle.
24 *Tib. Tshogs kyi 'khor lo = Skt. gaṇacakra: a ritual communion feast, in which the assembly of practitioners are identified with the assembly of the maṇḍala deities and degenerations in the relationships between the practitioners, and between the divine and human assembly, are purified, through their shared consumption of the consecrated ''assembled'' (tshogs) foods.
Nonetheless, Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams are not always identical in that there may be variations in the dances of the retinue, some involving more dances than others, and while some, like the 'chams at Rewalsar, focus on the Guru's appearance, at other monasteries the Eight Aspects dance is integrated into another 'chams. For example, at a 'chams observed by G.A. Combe (1926: Ch.XV, 179-198) at Tachienlu, the "manifestation" was followed on the eleventh day by a 'chams of rDo-rje Phur-pa, which culminated in a "Casting the gtor-ma" (gtor-rgyab) ritual.25 Similarly, in the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams at the 'Brug-pa monastery in Tashi Jong (see back, note 15), an elaborate Phur-'chams was performed on the ninth day, and there were further dances of wrathful emanations in the maṇḍala of Guru Padma on the eleventh day. According to Nebesky-Wojkowitz (1976: 38-40), there are two alternative sequences in the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams in the 'Brug-pa monastery at Hemis, Ladakh: either there are additional dances of homage to the Guru, or there is a second day and a number of dances demonstrating the destruction of negativity embodied in a liṅga (an anthropomorphic dough effigy), followed by a dedication of animals in a "scapegoat" type ritual.
25 See Cantwell 1985, for a description of a gtor-rgyab ritual.
From the available accounts, it seems that the basic structure of the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams itself involves three sections. First, there are dances to prepare the ground and transform it into the Buddha-field. Usually, these consist of dances of the "ten wrathful ones" (khro-bo bcu) or of Vajra Masters wearing the Black Hat costume.26
26 I now believe that in Cantwell 1989: 260 and Appendix 2, A220.127.116.11, I misinterpreted comments by the Rewalsar mkhan-po in saying that where Black Hat dances occur in this context, the dancers transform themselves into the "khro-bo bcu". It is rather that whether the dances are of the khro-bo bcu or the Black Hatted Vajra Masters, their symbolic significance is the same.
Second, there are dances of the ḍākas and ḍākinīs of Guru Padma's retinue. Although based on Guru Chos-dbang's visions, there is some variation here, some monasteries performing elaborate dances of different groups in the retinue, while others simply have one set.
Third, there are dances of the eight aspects. Other figures from the "mythical"27 historical accounts of the establishment of the early teaching lineages in Tibet, such as the King Khri-Srong lde-brtsan, the Mahāyāna scholar Śāntarakṣita, and the Vajra Master Vairocana, may also appear. Once the eight aspects are present, but before they dance, various figures enter to pay homage to the Guru, and after the Guru's dances, there may be further dances of offerings and praises.
27 Here, I use the word "mythical" in its anthropological sense, to refer not to a false account, but rather one which, regardless of its historicity, has symbolic value.
The annual performance of the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams at Rewalsar dates from a visit by sTag-lung-rtse sprul Rin-po-che on bDud-'joms Rin-po-che's request, for the purpose of instructing the monks. In 1982, only two of the monks actually dancing (not including the musicians) had received teaching at this time, but each year, practices were organised, and monks who had not previously danced could learn. The then caretaker monk,28 who was one of the original practitioners and clearly a talented dancer, began a practice group during the twelfth Tibetan month.
28 Most of the monastic roles (except for the slob-dpon and dbu-mdzad) were rotated.
The group of six practised in the courtyard for about one hour every evening, with the caretaker monk demonstrating the steps of the Black Hat (Zhwa nag) dances, and in a good-humoured way, imitating clumsiness to show how not to dance. Three had never previously participated in a 'chams, and the oldest of these eventually dropped out and joined the monks providing the musical accompaniment on the tenth day. There was, in fact, a shortage of monks, since a few were in the monastery's retreat, and when the senior dbu-mdzad ("Head monk", or "Master of Ceremonies" in the context of much monastic ritual) was prevented by back trouble from providing further coaching, there was some uncertainty as to whether there would be a 'chams at all. The practices were interrupted for two days, but when the slob-dpon (the "Vajra Master", in charge of the monastery's ritual practice) returned from his visit to Nepal, he decided that the 'chams should go ahead, even if some of Guru Padma's aspects might not be able to dance; and he asked one of the monks in retreat to come out for the practice session (which began a week before the 'chams), to provide the final instruction.
The practices resumed, sometimes presided over by the slob-dpon who timed the steps by playing the cymbals. The dancers included two young monks from the 'Bri-gung bKa'-brgyud-pa monastery, and a monk from a rNying-ma-pa monastery in Kinnaur, who had learnt and participated in the 'chams at Rewalsar three years previously. When the monk came out of retreat to coach the dancers, he taught the group the Ging 'chams, and through the process of his teaching the various dances of the eight aspects and discussion with the slob-dpon, the roles of the different aspects were gradually allocated. The senior dbu-mdzad recovered enough to join the final rehearsal and to perform the Black Hat dance and the dance of Padmasambhava; monks from the bKa'-brgyud-pa monastery wore the costumes of the two consorts of Guru Padma and the two aspects, Śākya Seng-ge and Blo-ldan mChog-sred, who did not dance.
A few days before the 'chams, two of the monks checked the costumes which are stored in the upper storey of the temple, and made the necessary repairs.
The final rehearsal, complete with the textual and musical accompaniment, but without the costumes, took place on the evening of the ninth day. The monk musicians were mainly older monks who had danced in previous years.
The Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams in Rewalsar is performed in the context of an intensive practice session of Mahāyoga ritual. From the monks' perspective, the public dance represents a culmination of several days of meditation and mantra recitation. *Mahāyoga is one of the ''Inner Tantras'' in the rNying-ma-pa classification system, in which visual imagery is relied upon. From the time of empowerment, the practitioner should experience himself and other beings as manifestations of the enlightened deity form, and all phenomena as the attributes of the divine palace and maṇḍala (the transformed circle of the universe). In 1982, the specific practice performed was that of the bDud-'joms Bla-sgrub, a practice designed to ''accomplish the heart/mind (thugs) of the lama'', in this case, in the form of Guru Padma. The main visualisation is that of the maṇḍala of Hayagrīva with consort, surrounded by ḍākinī emanations, together with male 'ging', beyond which there is an outer circle of numerous other deities. Above Hayagrīva arises the central form of Guru Padma, encircled by his Thod-phreng-rtsal emanations in the four cardinal directions, each one associated with one of the ''Buddha families'',29 and beyond these, his eight aspects (mtshan brgyad) arise above the eight points of the compass. After the completion of the Generation and Invitation to the maṇḍala deities, together with ritual activities such as making offerings and reciting praises to them, the main practice through which the practitioner fully realises his identity with the lama, is performed. In the first stage (the ''Approach''), the practitioner identifies with Hayagrīva, and reciting the mantra of Guru Padma, he imagines the Guru/lama upon his head. Then he receives empowerment through light rays from the Guru dissolving into himself. Finally, Guru Padma and his retinue arise within his/Hayagrīva's heart, and within the Guru's heart, the seed-syllable, surrounded by the syllables of the mantra, radiate light, purifying and transforming all beings into the lama. With the understanding that the nature of one's own mind is inseparable from that of the lama, and that all appearances are nothing other than his form, all sounds are his mantra, and all thoughts his mind, the Thod-phreng-rtsal mantra is recited and the ''Accomplishment'' stage effected. A further meditation on accomplishing enlightened activities completes the main practice.
29 The Buddha families (Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma and Karma) represent the enlightened nature of the five principal emotional poisons (kleśa). For an interesting modern interpretation of the qualities associated with each, see Trungpa 1973: 224-230.
It is this practice, along with its accompanying Tshogs (ritual communion feast - see note 24), which was repeatedly performed by the monks in the days leading up to and following the public 'chams in 1982. The ritual dances, then, are integrated into this intensive practice session, an outward demonstration of the enlightened forms which the monks have been constantly meditating upon.
The morning recitation practice began in the temple at 3.30 am., consisting of the full Bla-sgrub Las-byang ritual practice of Guru Padma. The whole practice, including the Tshogs feast offering (normally performed in the afternoon) was completed by about 8.15 am., at which time the monks had a break. The scheduled start to the 'chams (9 am.) was postponed due to heavy rain, and there was a further mantra recitation session in the temple. Meanwhile, spectators began to gather around the courtyard: most of the audience were Buddhist hill people and Tibetan refugees, with a few local Indians and westerners. At about 11 am., the dancers began to don their costumes, and a couple of monks with lay helpers prepared the dance arena.
Meanwhile, two "jokers" (a-tsa-ra)30 entertained the audience, and the monastery's visiting mkhan-po (in charge of academic studies), the slob-dpon and the monk musicians took their places along one side of the courtyard.
30For more on the role and significance of the jokers, see Cantwell 1987, or 1989: Section 18.104.22.168.
Procession of monks leading the Black Hat
A procession of bKa'-brgyud-pa monks playing instruments led the nine Black Hat dancers into the courtyard, to the accompaniment of the rNying-ma-pa monk musicians.
I have dealt with the Black Hat 'chams elsewhere (Cantwell 1992); here, it suffices to note that the four Black Hat dances prepare for the manifestation of the Guru's aspects, by both purifying the outer and the inner mental environment, and inviting the Guru's presence. The first two dances demonstrate the ritual activities of "pacifying" and "destroying", and the third gSer-skyems - "Golden drink" offering - dance invites the deities of Guru Padma's maṇḍala, along with the dharmapālas (guardian deities), to prepare the place for the arising of the Guru, conferring their powers upon the practitioners. Finally, there is a dance of return to the temple.
"Lighting the Path" (lam sgron)
"Wrathful Dance" (drag 'chams)
"Golden Drink Offering" (gser skyems)
Dance of Return (log 'chams)
After the Black Hat dances, there was a break while the dancers changed their costumes; eight of them were also to dance as Ging, members of Guru Padma's retinue who announce his imminent arrival. The Ging 'chams is usually performed with eight dancers at Rewalsar owing to the lack of monks - I was informed that sixteen would be the ideal number. Half of the group are dpa'-bo - "Male Courageous Ones" or vīra (Skt.) and half are dpa'-mo - "Female Courageous Ones" (vīrā), the males wearing mock tiger skins and the females wearing mock leopard skins. One informant said that rather than representing the male/female division, the two types of Ging were the Nam-ging ("Ging of the skies") and the Sa-ging (Ging of the earth).31 These two categories are not mentioned in the Bla-sgrub Las-byang text where, in The Invitation, they are simply referred to as the "Four Ging who subdue Māra" (p.7, line 5), and they are situated in the four directions. Whether the twofold division is on the grounds of gender or spatial location, the most important classification of the Ging is according to their positions in the maṇḍala: two, one from each group, come from each of the directions. This is expressed in the 'chams through the colours of the masks: two are blue (east), two are yellow (south), two red (west), and two green (north). The role of the Ging in the 'chams, as those who "subdue Māra", is to destroy and clear away any obstacles, so that the environment will be prepared for and the observers receptive to the true nature of the manifestations of the Guru, when they arise. As members of Guru Padma's retinue, they are an expression of his enlightened activities. The Tibetans specifically refer to these Ging who appear in the maṇḍala and in the 'chams, as Ging-chen, literally, "Great Ging", distinguishing them from minor ging who are a group of worldly deities.32
31 This division was also used in the Ging 'chams performed at the 'Brug-pa monastery in Hemis, Ladakh: see Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1976: 81.
32 See also Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1975: 278-280, on the categories of great and minor ging; also interesting is his account (p.509) of the part played by eight rNying-ma-pas as masked ging in the Lhasa New Year celebrations.
The Gings' masks have wrathful expressions, and each has multi-coloured fan-like adornments on either side and a triangular flag attached above, with a long headdress hanging down the back, from the top of the mask. The Ging wear brocade poncho-like upper garments, "tiger" and "leopard skin" wraps, with ornamental strips of overlapping pieces of cloth hanging from their waists. Each Ging carries a pole drum in the left hand and a drumstick in the right.
Dance of the Ging (Ging 'Chams)
The Ging 'chams began with the dancers rushing from the temple in two groups, beating their drums and running in different directions around the courtyard.
This part of the "dance" is called, gsum-skor, "three circumambulations", since both groups go around three times. The cymbals were played quickly and continuously throughout the dance, being joined by the horns at the beginning and at the end as the dancers returned to the temple.
Bla sgrub las byang, folio 12b
The seated monks recited a short praise to the Ging as the assembly of Courageous Ones surrounding Hayagrīva yab-yum (Bla-sgrub Las-byang, p.12b, line 4-6).
Then the eastern and southern Ging formed one row, facing the northern and western Ging, and they all danced in these positions, whirling, hopping, bending over and kneeling.
Northern (green-faced) and Western (red-faced)
They changed places, continued dancing and then became one circle, dancing around in first one and then the other direction. This circling is called, dgu-skor, "nine circumambulations", since nine revolutions must be made. Finally, the dancers ran back into the temple in a single file.
Procession leading the Guru's Eight Aspects
Following an hour and a half's break during which the dancers could rest and eat, at about 3 pm., the procession to lead on the Guru and his aspects began.
Procession of the Guru's Eight Aspects
An older monk who had taken part in the morning dances led, carrying a white flag topped with burning incense. Behind, four monks held up "victory banners" (rgyal-mtshan); these are used in ceremonial processions to mark the coming of a high lama. They were followed by monks playing long horns and trumpets, while the monk musicians alongside joined in making music. Many spectators put the palms of their hands together in respect as the Guru's aspects emerged from the temple.
central figure of Guru Padma with Consort
In the middle of the file walked the central form of the Guru flanked by his two consorts, with a monk holding a large ceremonial parasol over his head.
The monastery's slob-dpon had requested a local respected sngags-pa (non-monastic mantra practitioner) to act as the Guru, since it is vital that the central figure should be an advanced meditation practitioner who can maintain awareness of himself as the Guru, and he should be felt by observers to embody Guru Padma's presence. In front of the Guru, Śākya Seng-ge, Padma rGyal-po and Padmasambhava walked in file, and behind, Padma 'Byung-gnas, Blo-ldan mChog-sred and Nyi-ma 'Od-zer. They did one circumambulation of the courtyard while the two wrathful aspects, rDo-rje Gro-lod and Seng-ge sGra-sgrogs, danced, whirling around the courtyard. Then, they seated themselves along one side of the courtyard, the two wrathful aspects completing their dance and taking their places at the two ends of the line. Usually, I was told, Śāntarakṣita and Khri-Srong lDe-brtsan would also appear, as the other main figures who made the rNying-ma-pa lineages possible, but they were not represented because of the shortage of monks.33
33 They did appear, along with Vairocana, in the Tashi Jong 'chams. They sat in front of the Guru and his aspects.
Indra and Brahmā paying homage
Then, two more figures walked from the temple up to the central form of the Guru to pay their respects. They were Indra and Brahmā, the great Hindu deities, who in Buddhist thinking, became the kings of the worldly gods and peaceful protectors of the Dharma. On behalf of all the forces of saṃsāra, which they govern, they paid homage to the Guru.
To the accompaniment of the cymbals and drums, the monk musicians then began to chant praises to the Guru. The first three verses from the Bla-sgrub Las-byang section of "Praises" (p.11, line 6 - 11b, line 4) praise the Guru as the embodiment of the Trikāya (''triple Buddha body''), with the form of Samantabhadra, unobstructed speech and inconceivable unmoving mind; his form arisen for the benefit of beings, ornamented with Buddha marks and qualities, with complete mastery over the phenomenal world. This section was followed with a verse (p.12, line 5 - 12b, line 1) praising the five Thod-phreng-rtsals - ''Emanations Garlanded with Skulls'' - which encircle Guru Padma in the Bla-sgrub Las-byang text, and beyond which the eight aspects arise in the eight directions. The Thod-phreng-rtsals are praised for their accomplishment of the four activities; with the completion of this verse, the horns joined the cymbals in a crescendo of music.
Dance of Padma 'Byung gnas
The dance of Padma 'Byung-gnas began. With the cymbals playing, this aspect, dressed in accordance with the iconography of the form usually called "O-rgyan rDo-rje 'Chang", rose from his seat, and performed a slow dance with some whirling around.
In his right hand, he held a vajra and in his left, a bell; as he danced, he crossed over and uncrossed his arms several times, presumably demonstrating the inseparability of wisdom (the bell) and means (the vajra).
Bla sgrub las byang, folio 12b
While he danced, the lines praising Padma 'Byung-gnas were recited very slowly:
"Hrīḥ (The One who is) free from attachment, undefiled by any fault;%
(I) praise the form of Padma 'Byung-gnas!%"
The dance is called, "mTsho-kyi bzhad-pa'i stangs-stabs", "Movement of blossoming from the lake", and it is associated with the "birth" of Padmākara from the lotus in the land of O-rgyan.34 This aspect, then, demonstrates the origination of Guru Padma's manifestation in the world and expresses his primordial Buddha nature.
34 There is a detailed account of this "birth" in Chapters 12 to 20 of the Padma bKa'i-thang shel-brag-ma. For an English translation, see G.M. Bays, 1978.
Dance of Padmasambhava
The dance of Padmasambhava followed. Wearing saffron robes and the hat of an ācārya, he carried a skull-cup in his left hand, and throughout the dance, his right hand was in the teaching mudrā (symbolic gesture).
This dance was also slow and graceful; he lifted one leg straight out, turned, and then slowly moved his leg down, lifted the other leg, and so on. The dance is called, "Yon-tan-gyi rba-rlabs g.yo-ba'i stang-stabs", "Movement of the rolling waves of (Buddha) qualities", here implying the qualities of knowledge and wisdom contained in his teachings, Padmasambhava essentially being the aspect of Guru Padma as the Dharma teacher who established the monastery of bSam-yas and thus, Buddhism, in Tibet.
Bla sgrub las byang, folio 12b
With the cymbals still playing, the monks recited his praise:
"(The One who) has fully perfected all (Buddha) qualities;%
(I) praise the form of Padmasambhava!%"
The next dance ought to have been that of Blo-ldan mChog-sred, who is associated with the perfection of the intellectual capacity. In accordance with the usual iconography, he wore royal garments and held a ḍamaru (small drum) in his right hand and a vase of red flowers in his left. The dance he would normally have performed is called, "rMongs-pa'i mun-pa sel-ba'i stangs-stabs", "Movement of clearing away the darkness of delusion".
As he did not dance, the monks simply recited his praise:
"(The One who is) undeluded regarding everything to be understood;%
(I) praise the form of Blo-ldan mChog-sred!%"
Dance of Padma rGyal po
Padma rGyal-po - "Lotus King" - then performed the slow and majestic dance of "Khams gsum dbang-sdud-kyi stangs-stabs", "Movement of bringing the three (world) realms under (his) power". Dressed in the costume of a king with a mirror in his left hand, the most striking feature of this dance is that he held up and played a ḍamaru in his right hand.
Associated with the story of Guru Padma as the Prince of O-rgyan, the wider significance of this aspect is of the Guru as a king of the Dharma, controlling the phenomenal world. The monks chanted the appropriate praise:
"(The One who) has brought the three spheres of existence
(of) the three (world) realms under his power;%
(I) praise the form of Padma rGyal-po!%"
Dance of Nyi ma 'Od zer
The dance of Nyi-ma 'Od-zer followed.
Although slow, as the dances of the previous peaceful aspects, it involved his whirling around on one leg and many arm movements. Golden coloured, dressed as a yogi, wearing a mock skin wrap and brandishing a khaṭvāṇga (tantric staff) in his right hand, this aspect represents the activity of subduing through the transmutation of the three poisons. In one of the stories of Guru Padma, when some Tīrthikas (Hindu philosophers adhering to ''extreme'' eternalistic or nihilistic views) attempted to poison him, he transformed the poison into amṛta (divine elixir) and demonstrated this form to tame the Tīrthikas. His dance is called, "'Gro-ba 'dul-ba'i stangs-stabs", "Movement of taming (all) beings".
Bla sgrub las byang, folio 12b
The praise to him was recited:
"(The One who) removes the darkness of delusion,
(who) tames (all) beings;%
(I) praise the form of Nyi-ma 'Od-zer!%"
Next, the dance of Śākya Seng-ge should have been performed, but as in the case of Blo-ldan mChog-sred, the monks simply recited his praise:
"(The One who) tames the four Māras (which) lead beings astray;%
(I) praise the form of Śākya Seng-ge!%"
His usual dance is known as, "bDud-phung 'joms-pa'i stang-stabs", "Movement of conquering the host of Māra", the activity which is, of course, associated with the Buddha Śākyamuni's attaining of Enlightenment, and in this case, Guru Padma's equal demonstration of Buddhahood. He was appropriately dressed in accordance with the Tibetan portrayal of Śākyamuni, with the one addition of a vajra in his right hand.
Dance of Seng ge sGra sgrogs
Finally, the two wrathful aspects danced. First, Seng-ge sGra-sgrogs performed his dance called, "Srid gsum gYo-ba'i stang-stabs", "Movement of shaking up the three spheres of existence".
This is associated with his overturning the world-view of five hundred Tīrthikas with destructive means. With a wrathful blue mask and apron embroidered with a wrathful face, covered with a mock tiger skin wrap, his dance was complex, faster than the peaceful dances, with whirling and hopping from one foot to the other.
His praise was as follows:
"(The One who) tames the destructive spirits, the Tīrthikas;%
(I) praise the form of Seng-ge sGra-sgrogs!%"
As he completed his dance, a monk offered him a kha-btags (silk scarf).
Then, a layman, on behalf of the lay community, offered a kha-btags to the central figure of the Guru, and a monk offered one on behalf of the monastic community. The monk also offered a kha-btags to rDo-rje Gro-lod as he rose to dance. The offering of kha-btags is one of the most common Tibetan ritual forms: it expresses respect and gratitude.
The Protectors' Shrine Room
The dance of rDo-rje Gro-lod is called, "Dregs-pa rtsa gcod-kyi stang-stabs", "Movement of eradicating the Arrogant Ones".35 rDo-rje Gro-lod is a really wrathful form of the Guru, manifested for the purpose of subduing negative forces and transforming them into Dharma protectors. He has a special significance for the Rewalsar monks, since he is the monastery's yi-dam, and his practice is performed daily, both in the temple's main assembly hall and in the mGon-khang (the Protectors' shrine-room).
35 "Dregs-pa" can mean "pride" and/or the "Arrogant Ones" - a general class of negative forces subdued and controlled by Guru Padma.
Dance of rDo rje Gro lod
With a maroon wrathful mask and dressed in a rich brocade outfit, an upper yellow robe and a mock tiger skin wrap, he wielded a vajra and phur-pa and danced majestically, like Seng-ge sGra-sgrogs, with more fast movements than the peaceful dancers.
Bla sgrub las byang, folio 12b
His praise was recited:
"(The One who) annihilates the obstacles and hostile forces
of pride (dregs-pa);%
(I) praise the form of rDo-rje Gro-lod!%"
The Guru, his Consorts, and Aspects
rDo-rje Gro-lod returned to his seat, and the horns were played, joining the cymbals which had accompanied the dances.
Then, the mkhan-po gave a talk about Guru Padma and his manifestations. After this, with the instruments playing, the Guru and his aspects rose and followed the procession around the courtyard, the two wrathful aspects again not remaining in file but dancing whirling around as they circumambulated the courtyard. The monks leading the procession halted beside the temple porchway while the aspects walked in, with the dancing Seng-ge sGra-sgrogs and rDo-rje Gro-lod following. After some final music, the procession of monks followed them into the temple, and the mkhan-po gave some further teaching.
In my description of the dances, I have included reference to the interpretations given of the imagery and the movements. For example, the dance of Padma 'Byung-gnas can be said to indicate the Guru's primordial Buddha nature, and the gestures of his uniting the ritual implements of the vajra and bell can be presumed to refer to the indivisibility of 'means' and 'wisdom', the vajra and bell always carrying these connotations in Vajrayāna ritual. Even ordinary lay Tibetans are familiar with much of this general Vajrayāna symbolic language and also with many of the stories of Guru Padma's activities and his ''eight aspects''. In case anyone was lacking such familiarity with the mythical accounts of Guru Padma, the monastery's visiting mkhan-po made a lengthy speech detailing some of the stories, when the dances were completed. However, to fully appreciate the significance of this ritual symbolism, two further points need to be made.
First, the ritual expressions frequently carry several levels of interpretation simultaneously. In the specific case of the Guru Padma dances, the ''aspects'' portrayed are associated both with actual events in the life story of the historical Guru - sometimes with more than one ''event'' 36 - and with some particular aspect of meditative realisation. The dance of Padma 'Byung-gnas represents the Guru's birth, and also the awakening of primordial Buddhahood. The various levels of interpretation add to the forcefulness of the imagery, one level enriching another. rDo-rje Gro-lod, for example, is associated with an incident in the Guru's life when he forcefully subdued hostile forces in the cave of sTag-tshang (Tiger's Den) in Bhutan.37 This event is seen as an important part of the process of his bringing the human and divine residents of the border country between India and Tibet under his control, in preparation for his entry into and subjugation of Tibet, such that Buddhism could be firmly established there. rDo-rje Gro-lod is also a name received by the Guru when he meditated and taught ḍākinīs in a fearful cemetery in Khotan known as ''Erection of Worlds'' (''Lo-ka brtsegs'': Padma bKa'i-thang Chapter 33). Moreover, he can be meditated upon as a wrathful yi-dam deity, complete with a divine palace, maṇḍala and so on. The Rewalsar monks in fact perform daily and more elaborate monthly ritual practices, in which they envisage rDo-rje Gro-lod's form and maṇḍala, and after various preparatory rituals, recite his mantra and identify with his physical, vocal and mental expressions. In watching rDo-rje Gro-lod's dance, knowledge of the various mythological dimensions of his character enriches the imagery of rDo-rje Gro-lod as an aspect of Enlightenment who can be meditated upon to accomplish the Vajrayāna transformation.
36 For instance, in the Padma bKa'i-thang shel-brag-ma, most of the aspects are connected both with a period of meditation and teaching in one of the great cemeteries, and a later event when the Guru manifested the aspect for a specific purpose.
37 Some sources speak of multiple Himalayan sites called sTag-tshang, where the Guru (as rDo-rje Gro-lod) wrathfully subdued negative forces: see, for example, Tulku Thondup 1984: 144.
Secondly, an intellectual knowledge of these ''interpretations'' does not in itself constitute a key to the meaning of the symbolism. As Dan Sperber (1975) has pointed out, ritual symbolism is not analogous to a language or system of communication, for which one would simply need to understand the code. To appreciate the point of turning on a light, it is not adequate to merely examine the features of the bulb: one needs to turn attention to what the light is illuminating (Sperber 1975: 70 makes this point very effectively). In some cases, ritual behaviour may entirely lack any intellectual justifications. The Dorze, studied by Sperber, were puzzled by attempts at interpretation of their rituals - for them, it was a sufficient explanation to say that their rituals were performed in accordance with ''custom'' (Sperber: 17-18). In the Tibetan case, indigenous exegesis of ritual symbolism is highly developed, with ritual manuals and commentarial works elaborating numerous symbolic associations of the complex imagery. But no one explanation or combination of explanations can entirely encompass or fully explain the symbolism. While understanding such interpretations is an important part of the training in Vajrayāna practice, practitioners do not all have the same level of knowledge and the less scholarly are not always or necessarily at a disadvantage in bringing about meditative accomplishments. In the case of the dances considered here, even comparatively ignorant onlookers, who have little idea of the particular connotations of the ritual symbolism, would nonetheless be thought to benefit from watching, simply by accepting that the dances demonstrate a display of the Guru's Enlightened Mind. Further, even the most elaborate explanations of the ritual symbolism leave a large proportion of ritual activity uncommented upon. Complex hand movements and dance steps may be glossed by one ''interpretation'' - described, for instance, as an activity of ''pacifying'' or ''subduing''. The interpretation can never be a substitute for the experience of performing or watching the performance of the dance. The exegesis of symbolism does not so much define or limit its meaning: rather, it points to mental processes which cannot be fully explicated by verbal discourse. Through these psycho-physical processes, the ordinary body and mind are transformed and the Vajrayāna method of ''Liberation through seeing'' is brought about.
Whether in practice, the dances constitute a "Liberation through seeing" for the spectators is not an easy question to answer, but discussions on the significance of the dances with some of those who had watched, provided a consistent picture of the way the Tibetans view the dances. The most immediate response on being asked their reasons for watching the 'chams is that it is, "byin-rlabs chen-po": "great adhiṣṭhāna", 38 quite different from entertainment such as cinema,39 since it has a very powerful and beneficial effect on the mind. The idea of great adhiṣṭhāna here is not simply that the presence of the Guru arises briefly, during the 'chams, but that the mental impression created by seeing him is so great that it remains imprinted on one's mind. The significance of this is that when one dies, there is a good likelihood that having once seen him, one will be able to recognise his forms again, and thus to be reborn in Zangs mdog dpal ri. Most informants stressed that the "seeing" is not simply a passive process; as each of the aspects danced, they would think, "This is a 'Byung-gnas himself"; "This is Padmasambhava himself", and so on. They either said that they would then do a supplication to each aspect or that they would develop the aspiration to see them again in Zangs mdog dpal ri. One nun added that such an aspiration is particularly powerful if coupled with regret at one's previous negative actions, so that one thinks, "May my negative actions not lead me to the hell realms; may they be purified and may I gain birth in Zangs mdog dpal ri". A married female practitioner emphasised that although the 'chams is very powerful, it will not necessarily help if after observing it, one continues life as though it has no relevance. It is important to remind oneself of the presence of the Guru every day, to do supplication and create the aspiration to realise Buddhahood.
38 The Tibetan concept of byin-rlabs, which is used to correspond with Skt. adhiṣṭhāna, is almost impossible to directly translate into English. It refers to the great ''majestic power'' of the Enlightened manifestation, which transforms the object concerned, consecrating it. ''Byin-rlabs'' may be granted onto a human practitioner, onto a place or an image of the deity, onto ritual objects, offerings etc. It is variously translated, eg. as ''blessing'', ''grace'', ''consecration'', ''empowerment''. See the discussion on the term in T. Huber 1994: 41-43.
39 This is not to deny that the 'chams does simultaneously have entertainment value, and is an enjoyable experience. The point is that its religious context is important and it cannot be reduced to a kind of leisure activity. Nowadays in the West, 'chams is frequently performed to public audiences in theatres; Tibetans sometimes find this disturbing. Such an adaptation in the context in which 'chams may be performed in the modern world has been encouraged by the overwhelming need for a threatened people to preserve their cultural heritage at all costs, and their need for international support. There is also an important financial dimension to the contemporary internationalization of 'chams performances: monks from the larger exile monasteries may do extended ''tours'' in the West, raising large sums of money for their institutions. This could be said to represent an extension of the traditional relationship of reciprocity between monasteries and lay sponsors.
The mkhan-po said that as one spectates, one should perform the Generation stage (bskyed-rim) meditation of dag-snang, "pure appearances". This means that everything which arises is "pure" or "empty" (Skt.Śūnyā = Tib.stong-pa) in its nature, but spontaneously appears as the display of the maṇḍala. One should not "grasp" the manifestations of the Guru as though they were substantial, but should see them as ''radiant and empty'' (gsal-stong). Perfection of this meditation constitutes, "Liberation through seeing". Most informants did not mention such a meditation that could be spontaneously liberating, although one monk with years of meditation experience, spoke in one breath of making supplication, and doing the ''radiant and empty'' meditation. Faith or devotion, and emptiness meditation are both integrated in most Vajrayāna practices. The mkhan-po assumed that the practitioner would have devotion to the Guru, while the other informants' comments were made in the context of Tibetan Buddhist assumptions concerning the nature of Zangs mdog dpal ri and its inhabitants, as insubstantial, empty, clear and luminous. The difference is that they emphasised the "gradual" approach to the Path. They recognised the aspects as manifestations of the Buddha-mind, yet, feeling far from Realisation, the glimpse served as an inspiration to aspire to a later rebirth in Zang mdog dpal ri. On the other hand, the mkhan-po was concentrating on the meditation of realising all appearances as they arise, to be Zangs mdog dpal ri. Yet in practice, it would not be likely for such a meditation to be instantaneously perfected, and it would not conflict with practices which emphasise the relative level. Clearly, each spectator will view the 'chams from the perspective of their own level of practice, as well as that of their own unique individual experience. In general, Tibetans are aware of the Guru's presence as they watch, and feeling devotion, they aspire to be born in his Buddha-field.
Although some 'chams may be primarily oriented to bringing about worldly benefits,40 such as auspicious circumstances or the reinforcement of the lifeforce etc., this does not seem to apply to the Guru mTshan brgyad 'chams. Its performance at Rewalsar could be said to constitute an important component of the reciprocity between monks and lay patrons (see above), especially since it is performed at a time when the lay villagers supporting the monastery are able to attend, and the occasion is also used for their committee's annual business meeting, when they discuss the monastery's financial and practical needs (Cantwell 1989: 79). However, in this instance, as in the case of much Dharma teaching which lamas impart to their followers, the benefit which the monks provide for the lay people is not equated with worldly goals.
40 Geoffrey Samuel (1993: 268-269) discusses 'chams in a chapter on "Tantra and the Pragmatic Orientation". He is careful to point out that multiple interpretations are possible, so that apparently pragmatically oriented rites can simultaneously express the goal of Enlightenment, and that a rigid opposition between "this-" and "other-worldly" aims is misplaced in Vajrayāna "shamanic" procedures concerned with the renewal of harmony.
*G.M. Bays, 1978, The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, Dharma Publishing.
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*T. Huber, 1994 ''Putting the gnas back into gnas-skor: rethinking Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage practice'', in the Tibet Journal (special issue edited by Toni Huber), Vol.XIX No.2, Summer 1994: 23-60, Dharamsala.
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*P. Schwieger, 1997, "A note on the history of the cult of Padmasambhava on the 10th day of the month", in H. Krasser, M. Torsten Much, E. Steinkellner, H. Tauscher (eds) Tibetan Studies. Proceedings of the 7th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz 1995. Vol.II: 851-855. Wien, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
*D. Sperber, 1975, Rethinking Symbolism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
*Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, 1984, The Tantric Tradition of the Nyingmapa: the origin of Buddhism in Tibet. Marion MA: Buddhayana.
*1986, Hidden Teachings of Tibet: an explanation of the Terma tradition of the Nyingma school of Buddhism. London: Wisdom Publications.
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*bDud-'joms 'jigs-bral ye-shes rdo-rje, bDud-'joms Bla-sgrub: "Bla ma thugs kyi sgrub pa'i las byang dngos grub 'dod 'jo'i dga' ston", n.d., n.p. (A photocopy is included in Cantwell 1989: Appendix 4).
*O-rgyan Gling-pa, Padma bKa'i-thang shel-brag-ma: "O rgyan guru padma 'byung gnas kyi skyes rabs rnam par thar pa rgyas par bkod pa padma bka'i thang yig", n.d., n.p.
*'Bum-nag: ''rDo-rje phur-pa'i bshad-'bum slob-dpon rnam-gsum-gyi dgongs-pa slob-dpon chen-po padmas mkhar-chen bza'-la gdams-pa phur-'grel 'bum-nag ces gzhan-las khyad-par 'phags-pa'i thugs-kyi ti-la-ka'o''. From ''rnying-ma bka'-ma rgyas-pa'' Vol.THA: 215-560, edited by Dudjom Rinpoche, Kalimpong W.B.: Dubjung Lama 1982.