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Title: The 'Thob yig gsal ba'i me long' by Dza-ya Paṇḍita Blo-bzang 'phrin-las (1642-1715) : an enquiry into biographies as lineage history
Author: Ujeed, Sangseraima
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 9508
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis centres on a text belonging to a rich but understudied genre of Tibetan Buddhist literature known as thob yig or gsan yig, 'records of teachings received'. Their undeniable value has been acknowledged by scholars who utilised them as supplementary material for research on biographies, transmission lineages and authentication of Buddhist texts. However, extensive studies of thob yigs as the focal topic of research are few and scarce. Chronologically, these texts form the "biography" of Tibetan Buddhism since the very beginning of sectarian Buddhism in Tibet. The primary purpose of these texts is to document in detail the transmission lineages through which major religious practices and teachings were passed down. The main text investigated for this thesis is titled the "Thob yig gsal ba'i me long" and was compiled by the 17th century Khalkha Mongolian monk-scholar Dza-ya Paṇḍita Blo-bzang 'phrin-las (1642-1715). He who was one of the most distinguished Mongolian Tibetan Buddhist masters of his time and still occupies one of the highest positions amongst the ranks of Mongolian monk-scholars to have emerged throughout history. Unlike simpler examples of its genre, Dza-ya Paṇḍita's thob yig also includes relevant information on tantric and monastic precepts, instructions and consecrations, expositions on doctrine and practice, meditation guidelines, historical events, and autobiographical and biographical material related to important female and male Buddhist figures. Though catching the attention of scholars both in and outside of Mongolia as an important work for the study of Tibetan Buddhism, to date, it has never been studied in detail. This thesis attempts to remedy the lack of study of this vast work. The focus here being the aspect of rnam thar, 'biography" in Dza-ya Paṇḍita's thob yig. These life stories totalling around 227 form the structural backbone of the work and is the feature which makes the Thob yig gsal ba'i me long a truly unique example of its genre. The chapters of this thesis investigate a selection of rnam thars belonging to Dza-ya Paṇḍita's own teacher and contemporaries, as well as the author's rang rnam, 'autobiography'. Through thus analysis, the goal of this thesis is to demonstrate what these life stories reveal about the author's outlook on the chaotic 17th century period, his vision of an exemplary Dge-lugs tradition, the manifestation of Dza-ya Paṇḍita's relentless devotion to Buddhism in the narratives he composes, and how this work and its contents fits into the larger context of Tibetan Buddhist writing.
Supervisor: Roesler, Ulrike Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available