Thursday, 23 February 2012

Arura donation of medical works to Bodleian

On Thursday 16th Feb, Oriental Institute Oxford had the pleasure of welcoming members of the Arura medical group, who kindly had brought from Xining 89 published works on Tibetan medicine as
a donation to Bodleian Libraries' Tibetan Collection.

Dr Dorje, Mr Gonthar, Dr Evison and Dr Tsokchen
The donated works currently await cataloguing before being placed in the library - a listing of the works will follow on this blog when ready. Some samples:

(a single left-click on an image enlarges it nicely)

We were able to inform the doctors that Bodleian holds 2 notable Tibetan medical manuscripts: 

'Di na dug nad gso ba bal po sman dkar gyi gdams pa dpa' bo chig thub zhes bya ba bzhugs 

'Di na dug nad gso ba bal po sman dkar gyi gdams pa dpa' bo chig thub

pp. 1b & 2a


and the Sman dpyad zla ba'i rgyal po zhes bya ba'i rgyud :

Sman dpyad zla ba'i rgyal po zhes bya ba'i rgyud

Drs Dorje and Tsokchen expressed considerable interest in the former manuscript, a work they had not seen before - there will be further collaboration.

We are most grateful for the timely and generous donation -  
Thugs rje che!

May 2012
        Two very useful and illuminating comments have been made on MS.Tibet.c.29 by Yonten Gyatso, currently of Chicago. To see the comments, click on the 'comments' link just below here.

       In order to help illustrate the comments Yonten-la makes, below is a photo of the colophon of the text.

MS.Tibet.c.29 colophon, page 9v (left-click once to enlarge image)

       [Also added today, further above, is a link to the relevant pages in John Stapleton Driver & David Barrett's A descriptive catalogue of the Tibetan manuscripts held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford  for the text MS.Tibet.c.19 (b). The 3 pages give an outline of the contents of that manuscript, the Sman dpyad zla ba'i rgyal po zhes bya ba'i rgyud.]


  1. Regarding MS. Tibet.c.29, its title and the sneak peek provided by the first two folios enable me to say that I know of 2 other short texts that talks about the same thing - bal po sman dkar gyi gdam pa.

    The two texts are:

    1. Sman dkar gyi lo rgyus nges pa rnam rol snyan grags lha'i rnga chen/ (pp 248-250)*
    2. Sman dkar gyi lag len/ (pp 250-254)*
    (* Page numbers are according to TBRC W29481, 013th of the Arura series.)

    Both these in Zur mkhar mnyam nyid rdo rje's Man ngag bye ba ring bsrel, available in different published editions and formats, the most wonderful TBRC lists 4 editions, all available for free download.

    The first text, as the title suggests, is about some background information such as history about this instruction, while the second text is on the actual practice, and it talks about different versions of this practice.

    Yonten Gyatso

  2. I was curious to know who might be the author, when I first saw the pictures of MS. Tibet.c.29. Now that I have read the text in entirety, thanks to your kindness, I now know who the author is. The name is actually right there in the text on folio 9b, strongly implying but not explicitly stating that he was the author. So, with a little bit of corroborating information from elsewhere, I could verify that the name is that of the author.

    Here is what I found. In the folio 9b there is a line that says “I Buddha Ratna searched [for this instruction] with hardship” Tib: buddha ratna kho bos dka’ bas stsal [btsal?], not really saying he wrote it, or uses words to that effect. So this line left us with only to infer, although strongly, as to who the author is.

    So, in order for us to say with confirmation that the person mentioned in that line is the one who wrote the text, we need to look at Zurkhar’s text (see TBRC W29481 p. 249) where he mentions one Sangs rgyas rin chen (=Sans. Buddha Ratna) of Chu bar (=chu dbar) as the person who received all aspects of this instruction from Hak+ta / Hag ta, a Nepalese doctor, and known to have put them in writing. However, there are others who have also written on the subject, not counting Zur mkhar.

    According to how Zur mkhar puts it in his text (ibid), Dpal ngag gi dbang po, after having received the same instruction from Sang rgyas rin chen, also seems to have written on it. Zur mkhar also records in his other text (W29481 pp. 250-254), the different transmission lineages by which this instruction reached him, and I think that could mean that still more people might have written on the subject. But the fact that the line I mentioned before was written in first person reasonably confirms that it was written by Buddha Ratna (Sangs rgyas rin chen).

    Thank you for letting me read the whole text.

    Yonten Gyatso