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Title: A feast for scholars : the life and works of Sle lung Bzhad pa'i rdo rje
Author: Bailey, Cameron
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Bzhad pa'i rdo rje (1697-1740), the Fifth Sle lung Rin po che, was a religiously and politically controversial figure and an incredibly prolific author, having written or compiled over 46 volumes worth of mainly religious texts. A high-ranking Dge lugs pa sprul sku, Sle lung is seen as having gradually "defected" to the Rnying ma school, although he self-identified as a follower of the "non-sectarian" (ris med) perspective. Sle lung also acted as a spiritual advisor to most of the major central Tibetan rulers during the course of his life, most significantly Mi dbang Pho lha nas (r. 1729-1747). But despite numerous features of fascinating interest, Sle lung and his writings have received very little scholarly attention, and this thesis is intended to fill this unfortunate lacuna. The present study begins with an extended biographical examination of Sle lung's life, and the political and religious unrest in central Tibet at the time in which he was deeply invested. I pay special attention to the controversies that surrounded him, particularly his purported sexual licentiousness and his ecumenical work which was unpopular among his more sectarian Dge lugs pa critics. This opening biography provides critical historical context as I move on to examine two of Sle lung's most important literary works. The first is the sixteen-volume Gsang ba ye shes chos skor, a massive cycle of teachings by Sle lung and his students that integrates tantric theories derived from Sle lung's experience with Gsar ma (specifically Dge lugs pa) teachings. The second work is the Bstan srung rgya mtsho'i rnam thar, a unique text in Tibetan literature which consists of an apparently unprecedented compilation of Tibetan Buddhist protector deity (bstan srung, chos skyong) origin myths. I will make sense of key features of these two works within the larger context of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the political and personal concerns of Sle lung himself.
Supervisor: Roesler, Ulrike Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tantric Buddhism--China--Tibet Autonomous Region--Doctrines--Early works to 1800 ; Buddhist monks--China--Tibet Autonomous Region--Biography