The biographies of Ras-chung-pa : the evolution of Tibetan hagiography
This thesis examines accounts of the life of Ras-chung-pa, also known as rDo- rje Grags-pa (1084-1161), written from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It identifies what sources are presently available and discusses their inter-relationship. The thesis will present a development of narrative traditions that fuse and eventually climax in the sixteenth century Ras-chung-pa'i rNam-thar by rGod-tshang Ras-pa, which is the standard biography for present-day Tibetan Buddhism. This thesis will reveal how rGod-tshang Ras-pa's version of the first half of Ras-chung- pa's life is a late composite of various conflicting narratives. As the primary source materials have been little studied or even identified, a major part of the thesis will be an exploration and identification of the sources. The thesis will both show how narratives about Ras-chung-pa evolved and suggest their possible historical sources.