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A Partial Genealogy of the Lifestory of Ye shes mtsho rgyal
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2006-08
Publisher: Tibetan and Himalayan Library
Sources ID: 127100
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)

Creator's Description: this essay surveys the sources for the lifestory of Ye shes mtsho rgyal, also known as Mkhar chen bza'. It considers references to such a figure in works from Chronicle of Ba (Sba bzhed), Rnying ma bka' ma materials on Vajrakīla traditions, Nyang ral's life of Padmasambhava, and other Rnying ma sources, down to the well-known biography from the Treasures of Stag sham, as well as a recent Bon po version of her life. It also considers what historical works do not mention her, and raises the question of whether she was a historical person or not. The heart of the essay provides detailed information on an important but little-known long biography of Ye shes mtsho rgyal from the fourteenth century by Dri med kun dga' snying po, a work that is interestingly different from Stag sham's story but also clearly was a source for him. Among other things, this version of the story makes no mention of any connection of Ye shes mtsho rgyal to the king Khri srong lde btsan. Another intriguing suggestion concerns references to her by Gu ru chos dbang, which hint that yet an older rendition of her lifestory might have been preserved in his collected works which has either been lost or is still to come to light. The essay considers the development of the role of Ye shes mtsho rgyal as a female consort and especially the seemingly feminist figuration of her by Stag sham. It also serves to illustrate the complex process of hagiographical development known also for so many other saints in Tibetan religious literature.