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Two Bka’-’gyur Works in Mahāmudrā Canons
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2009
Sources ID: 22026
Visibility: Private
Abstract: (Show)

Creator's Description: Tibetan Buddhist lists and collections of Indian Great Seal (Phyag rgya chen po, Mahāmudrā) texts consist almost exclusively of works found in the Translation of Treatises (Bstan ’gyur). There are, however, two Translation of the Word (Bka’ ’gyur) texts that appear in a collection of Ten Dharmas of Mahāmudrā (Phyag rgya chen po’i chos bcu) transmitted by the eleventh-century Indian teacher Vajrapāṇi: the Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra Called “The Gnosis of the Moment of Passing Away” (’Phags pa ’da’ ka ye shes shes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo, Ārya-​ātajñāna-​nāma-​mahāyāna-​sūtra) and the Royal Tantra on the Glorious Unpolluted (Rgyud kyi rgyal po dpal rnyog pa med pa zhes bya ba, Śrī-​anāvila-​tantra-​rāja). In exploring these two texts, rarely discussed by either Tibetan or Western scholarship, this article provides a translation and discussion of the Gnosis of the Moment of Passing Away (Ātajñāna, ’Da’ ka ye shes) and a synopsis and discussion of the Unpolluted (Anāvila, Rnyog pa med pa). It concludes that although neither text is an obvious choice for a Great Seal canon, each contains terminology and themes that are consonant with the Great Seal discourse of later Indian, as well as Tibetan, Buddhism, each appears to have been sufficiently prominent to come to the attention of Vajrapāṇi, and each can serve to provide the necessary authority of the word of the Buddha (Buddhavacana; Sangs rgyas kyi bka’) to lists of Indian Great Seal texts utilized by Tibetans.

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