Dolpopa Collected Writings (dol po pa gsung ’bum) new edition

By David Reigle on November 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm

A new edition of the Tibetan language collected writings (gsung ’bum) of Dolpopa was published in 13 volumes in 2011, although it does not seem to have become available until 2013. It was published in China in western style book format (paperbound). Dolpopa’s collected writings first became available to the world in 1992 with the publication of The ’Dzam-thang Edition of the Collected Works (gsung ’bum) of Kun-mkhyen Dol-po-pa Shes-rab-rgyal-mtshan, collected and presented by Matthew Kapstein (Delhi: Shedrup Books, 1992, 7 volumes in 10). This first publication was a reproduction of a print of a set of manuscripts in dbu med (cursive or “headless”) script. Several years later a blockprint ’Dzam-thang edition was published in 8 volumes, in dbu can (block letter or “having heads”) script. The new edition is also in dbu can script, and is newly typeset. It is therefore easier to read; and since it is an edition rather than a reproduction, it has eliminated most typographical errors.

In its arrangement it is based on the ’Dzam-thang editions, which are the only extant collections. It includes all of Dolpopa’s texts found in the ’Dzam-thang editions, plus some new texts that are not found in those editions (these comprise vol. 13). As for the editing of its texts, roughly half of them are taken from the ’Dzam-thang blockprint edition as the only source. The other roughly half of its texts are based primarily on newly available sources, supplemented by the ’Dzam-thang blockprint edition. These are mostly from the major find of rare Tibetan texts long hidden away in private libraries at Drepung Monastery (see the posts on “Rare Tibetan Texts” at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center website: http://about.tbrc.org/tag/drepung/). In particular, almost all of them are from the Nechu (gnas bcu) temple at Drepung Monastery.

Its contents are, very briefly:

vol. 1: biography of Dolpopa, including past lives;

vol. 2: Ri chos nges don rgya mtsho, the “Mountain Doctrine”;

vol. 3: commentary on Maitreya’s Uttaratantra, plus three shorter works, including an annotated edition of Nāgārjuna’s Dharmadhātu-stotra;

vol. 4: commentary on Maitreya’s Abhisamayālaṃkāra, plus one shorter work;

vol. 5: commentary on the Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra in 100,000 lines;

vol. 6: commentaries on the Prajñāpāramitā-sūtra in 25,000 and in 18,000 lines, plus six shorter works;

vol. 7: bKa’ bsdu bzhi pa’i don bstan rtsis chen po, the “Fourth Council,” its commentary, its summary, and twenty other works;

vol. 8: dPon byang pa’i phyag tu phul ba’i chos kyi shan ’byed, “Analysis of Dharma for the Ruler of Jang,” and five other works;

vol. 9: short Kālacakra works, etc., thirty in all;

vol. 10: Kālacakra sādhana (full), and ten other works;

vol. 11: thirty-eight short miscellaneous texts, many of which are supplications (gsol ’debs), including the bsTan pa spyi ’grel, “General Commentary on the Doctrine”;

vol. 12: seventy-four short miscellaneous texts, including advice or instruction (gdams pa), replies to queries (zhus lan), songs of praise (bstod pa), aspirational prayers (smon lam), etc.;

vol. 13: annotated edition of Maitreya’s Uttaratantra and Asaṅga’s commentary thereon, abbreviated meaning of the Kālacakra-tantra commentary, and eleven shorter works.

As may be seen, it does not include his annotated editions of the Kālacakra-tantra and Vimalaprabhā commentary, which still remain lost.

Here are the particulars. The title of this set is: Jo nang kun mkhyen dol po pa shes rab rgyal mtshan gyi gsung ’bum. It was compiled and edited by the Paltsek institute in Lhasa: dPal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ’jug khang (approximately, “Pal-tsek Old Tibetan Books Research Institute”), and published in 13 vols. in their series, Mes po’i shul bzhag (something like, “Legacy of the Forefathers”), vols. 196-208. It was published by the China Tibetology Publishing House in Beijing: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2011, ISBN 978-7-80253-437-7. Prior to this the collected writings of the later Jonang writer Tāranātha were published in 45 volumes in this same series, vols. 43-87, 2008.

It may be noted that we also have newly typeset editions in dbu can (block letter or “having heads”) script of three of Dolpopa’s major works in the Jonang Publication Series, vols. 1-3, 2007. These are:

vol. 1: Ri chos nges don rgya mtsho, the “Mountain Doctrine”;

vol. 2: rGyud bla’i ṭīkka, commentary on Maitreya’s Uttaratantra (this volume also includes his annotated edition of the Uttaratantra and Asaṅga’s commentary thereon);

vol. 3: Phar phyin mdo lugs ma, commentary on Maitreya’s Abhisamayālaṃkāra (the short title given on the cover and spine, Phar phyin mdo lugs ma, could cause confusion with his commentaries on the Prajñāpāramitā-sūtras, until one refers to the full title given on the title page, Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa man ngag gi bstan bcos mngon par rtogs pa’i rgyan gyi rnam bshad mdo’i don bde blag tu rtogs pa).

Moreover, we have newly typeset editions in dbu can script of the annotated editions by Chogle Namgyal (phyogs las rnam rgyal) of the Kālacakra-tantra and Vimalaprabhā commentary in the Jonang Publication Series, vols. 17-20, 2008. His annotations no doubt include much from Dolpopa, his teacher. We also have Chogle Namgyal’s full Kālacakra sādhana. It is included in the Jonang Publication Series vol. 23 (2010), which is given the short title on the cover and spine, bsTan ’gyur dkar chag (from which one would not know that this volume includes his full Kālacakra sādhana, although it is added on the title page, dang dus ’khor sgrub thabs). It will be interesting to compare this in detail with Dolpopa’s full Kālacakra sādhana. Likewise, Dolpopa’s annotated edition of Nāgārjuna’s Dharmadhātu-stotra may be compared with the commentary on this text by his disciple Tshal Minpa Sonam Zangpo (mtshal min pa bsod nams bzang po). This commentary was included in the Jonang Publication Series vol. 11 (2008), which is given the short title on the cover and spine, ’Dul ba bdud rtsi’i nying khu (from which one would not know that this volume includes his commentary on the Dharmadhātu-stotra, and indicated on the title page only by the word sogs, “etc.”).

Maitreya’s Uttaratantra or Ratnagotravibhāga was much commented on in Tibet, and was especially favored by the Jonangpas. Besides Dolpopa’s commentary, five other commentaries on it have been published in the Jonang Publication Series. In volume 31 (2010) is the early commentary on it by Rinchen Yeshe (rin chen ye shes), from whom Dolpopa received the five books of Maitreya, according to Tāranātha. In volume 31 is also the later commentary on it by Yeshe Dorje (ye shes rdo rje). Volume 13 (2008) is the commentary on it by Dolpopa’s disciple Sazang Mati Panchen (sa bzang mati paṇ chen blo gros rgyal mtshan). Volume 15 (2008) is the commentary on it by Dolpopa’s disciple Zhangton Sonam Drakpa (zhang ston bsod nams grags pa). In volume 30 (2010) is the commentary on it by Dolpopa’s disciple Gharungpa Lhai Gyaltsen (gha rung pa lha’i rgyal mtshan). This volume has the short title on the cover and spine, bsTan pa spyi ’grel gyi ’grel ba (from which one would not know that this volume includes his commentary on the Uttaratantra, although it is added on the title page, dang theg pa chen po rgyud bla ma’i bstan bcos kyi rnam par bshad pa). No doubt these three commentaries by Dolpopa’s disciples include some of his teachings on the Uttaratantra.

Category: Noteworthy Books | 1 comment

  • […] For those who are interested in Buddhadharma but have never heard about Dolpopa, I recommend checking him out (probably starting with The Buddha from Dolpo). Hopefully we will see more from Dolpopa in English, as his collected works are gaining attention in academia. […]


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