Edition and translation of the Mi zad pa’i gter mdzod yongs su gang ba’i glu zhes bya ba gnyug ma’i de nyid rab tu ston pa’i rgya cher bshad pa


Lorena Longobardi

Lorena Longobardi ist unter den ÖAW DOC Stipendiat*innen 2021

  • Betreuung: Klaus-Dieter Mathes

This project offers the first critical edition and English translation of the most extensive Tibetan commentary of Saraha’s Dohākoṣa (the “Treasury of Dohā verses”). It is generally referred to as Dmangs do hā (the “People Dohā”), by the late Indian tantric commentator Advayavajra (11th century) and consists of more than 60 folios. The text, entitled Mi zad pa’i gter mdzod yongs su gang ba’i glu zhes bya ba gnyug ma’i de nyid rab tu ston pa’i rgya cher bshad pa, “The Extensive Commentary on the Totally Completed Song of the Inexhaustible Treasury which Elucidates the Own True Nature” (Tib. མི་ཟད་པའི་གཏེར་མཛོད་ཡོངས་སུ་གང་བའི་གླུ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་གཉུག་མའི་དེ་ཉིད་རབ་ཏུ་སོན་པའི་རྒྱ་ཆེར་བཤད་པ།; Skt. *Dohanidhikoṣapari-pūrṇagīti-nāma-nijatattvaprakāśatīkā), exists in Tibetan only and was most likely written directly in this language. It was in those dohās that Saraha launched what was later called Mahāmudrā, a system which is intended to be a direct path to realization, independent of the sūtras and tantras, that denied conventional means of achieving realization such as śamathavipaśyanā meditation or analytical reasoning, and one that employed unconventional techniques for experiencing the co-emergent nature of mind. According to the Tibetan tradition, the People Dohā by Saraha is part of a trilogy known as the “Three Cycles of Dohā” (dohā skor gsum) consisting of People, King and Queen Dohā. The People Dohā begins with a critique of social, ritual, scholastic, and meditative practices considered by Saraha to be useless or detrimental to spiritual growth. The leitmotifs of the work are the immediacy of ultimate  spiritual experience in human bodily existence, the impossibility of adequately expressing this experience, and the necessity to engage in the meditative practice with an altruistic attitude under the guidance of one’s spiritual mentor.

The specific aims of the proposed doctoral research project are to edit and translate the text, to identify the original pratīkas (i.e., the quoted dohās) reported in it and to compare them to the other versions. Other objectives are to infer from his work the depth of his erudition, the audience he addressed, his authorship inside the transmission of this text and the evolution reached at his time by Mahāmudrā’s system, in addition to investigating the transmission history of the Dohākoṣa in general. The project will involve a thorough study of the Extensive Commentary, including the following steps: 1. A critical edition of the Extensive Commentary, 2. An annotated English translation of the Extensive Commentary, 3. A study of the Extensive Commentary. Due to the fact that the root verses appear expanded and revisited in comparison to the standard canonical Tibetan version of the text, I aim to account for all the root verses of Saraha’s People Dohā which are not attested for in the other commentaries. The inclusion of these additional root versions aids in the understanding of the root stanzas and contributes to bring new knowledge to the field of research focused on Saraha’s work and the ongoing research in the field of dohā literature studies.