The Life and Works of the 13th Karma-pa bDud-'dul-rdo-rje (1733-1797)


Gabriele Coura

  • Betreuung: Klaus-Dieter Mathes

The subject of this thesis is the Thirteenth Karma-pa, bDud-'dul-rdo-rje (1733-1797). In order to examine the impact he had on the times and society that he was living in, two different sources are consulted: a life story and his writings.

The chapter on the life story forms the core part. It starts with a survey of the available sources on bDud-'dul-rdo-rje's life, and goes on to describe the political circumstances in Tibet during his time, as well as people and places that were important to him. The life story chosen for translation is the first chapter of the bKa' brgyud gser phreng gi rnam thar rab 'byams zla ba chu shel gyi 'phreng ba'i kha skong by sTobs- dga'-g.yul-rgyal (1940-1997), a source that is more comprehensive and more precise than the earlier ones.

After a brief introduction into the author's life and works and into the text itself, the critical edition and translation follow. In a final section, the information gained is compared to that of other sources: contradictions are pointed out, and additions and omissions are described. As bDud-'dul-rdo-rje's writings are not widely available, the third chapter first gives an overview of accessible texts, both in Tibetan and in translation. A brief evaluation of the writings follows; based on the Collected Works, it examines the literary genres and the topics treated.

On the whole, the result is a clearer picture of bDud-'dul-rdo-rje – his life was characterized by a close relationship to his teachers Si-tu Chos-kyi-'byung-gnas and Kah-thog Tshe-dbang-nor-bu, considerable dedication in teaching his students, and a keen interest in a wide range of topics that is reflected in his writing.