Translation and Contextualization of Pha dam pa Sangs rgyas’s Three Cycles of Mahāmudrā Signs

24.04.2020

Julika Weber

The great Indian yogin Pha dam pa Sangs rgyas (11th-12th century) is a very well-known figure in the contemporary world of Tibetan Buddhism, yet relatively unstudied. He is known to have founded the Sdug bsngal zhi byed “pacification of suffering” lineage. Although much research is still necessary concerning the particulars of the Zhi byed tradition, its relevance is undisputed. To various degrees it was integrated into all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and lies at the basis of the very vibrant Gcod philosophy and practice.

This thesis aims at bringing together the main aspects concerning Pha dam pa and the Zhi byed doctrine. Thereby a general understanding concerning the identity of this individual, his legacy and the importance he had for the development of Tibetan Buddhism in the 11th and 12th century is expressed.

The present thesis also offers a translation of three extremely relevant texts called Phyag chen brda’i skor gsum composed by Pha dam pa’s heart disciple Kun dga’. They give direct insight into the character of Pha dam pa, his way of guiding disciples and what he considered to be important points on the Buddhist path.