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Associate Professor Faculty of Buddhism

Minobusan University



The Bodlipathapradipa (=BPP) is a small text written by Dipamkara srijnana (or Atisa). He was requested by a Tibetan king to teach Indian Buddhism and wrote it. Because he had a great influence on Tibetan scholars like Tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa (1357-1419), it is obviously one of the important texts in Tibet. From the web site of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center , we can get information on the seventeen commentaries to it. I have been researching into them 3

and discussing its result of my research in papers , that is to say, on the commentaries by Dipamkarasrijnana himself, Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan (1570-1662), Co ne Grags pa bshad sgrub (1675-1748), Blo bzang dpal ldan bstan 'dzin snyan grags (1849-1904), and Thub bstan chos kyi nyi ma (1883-1937). This paper also discussed one of the results of my research and I refer to the commentary of lCang skya Rol pa'i rdo rje (1717-1786), the Byangchublamsgronma'isabcadmdorbsdus . And I have attached its romanized texts with synopses by other masters as appendices.

On Cangskya Rolpa'irdorje and his works

The second lCang skya, Rol pa'i rdo rje, who was recognized as the reincarnation of the lCang skya ngag dbang blo bzang chos ldan (1642-1714) by dKon mchog 'jigs med dbang po, was born at Lang gru'i sde bzhi'i nub padmo'i sde pa 'brog gnas brag dkar. E. Gene Smith summarizes his biography written by Thu'u bkwan Blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma (1737-1802). I will enumerate some important topics in his life: 1717 Birth on the tenth day of the first Mongol month.

1724 Chinese emperor ordered that he be conducted to China as a “guest.”
1734 He was ordered to accompany the seventh Dalai Lama back to Tibet. 1735 The final monastic vows at bKra shis lhun po.
1736 He set out for China reigned by his friend, Ch'ien lung and was asked to take the seat of the highest lamaist position (thamkablama) in China.
1741 Beginning of compilation of the Dag yig mkhas pa'i 'byung gnas and the translation of the bstan 'gyur into Mongolian.
1744 Establishment of dGa' ldan byin chags gling in Peking with the emperor.

1745 Bestowal of the tantric initiation to the emperor.
1746 Beginning to write the Grubmtha'rnamparbzhagpagsalbarbshadpathubbstan lhunpo'imdzesrgyan.
1772 Supervision of the translation of bkagyurinto Manchu.
1777 He performed the funeral rites for the mother of the emperor. 1785 Seclusion at Wu t'ai shan and death there next year.
He was not only one of the great teachers of Gelug pa, but also well acquainted with Mongolian and Manchu as he translated the bstan ‘gyur into Mongolian and also the bka' 'gyur into Machu .
Regarding his works 206 texts are listed by Lokesh Chandra in his MaterialsforaHistoryof Tbea Literature'. Among them I refer some texts that are related to the Bodhipathapradipa. The text which I consider in this paper is the sixth:

3'14: Byangchublamsgronma'isabcadmdorbsdus.

The fifth is a commentary to the Bhadracaiipranidhana:

3'13: 'Phagspabzangspyodsmonlamgyirnambshadkunbzangdgongspagsalbar byedpa'irgyan.

Dipamkarasrijnana cites the Bhadracaripranidhana at the first section of the Bodlipatha- pradipapaiijka in order to explain a way of offering (puja) . Therefore the commentary to the Bodhipathapradipa seems to come next to it. But no mahayana works, but many tantric works, follow them. We can see only six mahayana or madhyamika works in his collected works:
3915: dBuma'iltabanyamssulentshuldekhonanyidsnangbarbyedpa'isgronme. 3929:Byangchubsemsdpa'ibslabbyabsduspagzhanphanbdudrtsi'od'phreng.
3930: rGyalba'ibstanlajiltarslobpa'irimpamdotsambrjodpagzhanphanbdudrtsi'i snyingpo.

3931: bSlabbya gsalba'i sgronme.
3933: bSlabbya bdudrtsi yangzhun.

3990: Byangchublamgyirimpa'idmigsrnamsyidlabyatshulshintubsduspagnod dongsalba.

Because I have not researched them in detail, I cannot refer to their contents here. From their titles, no.3915 seems to be a text on the Madhyamika view, nos.3929-3933 seem to be texts on the disciplines which are familiar with the ^ksasamuccaya of Santideva and no.3990 seems to be a text on the stages of the path to the enlightenment which is familiar with not only the Bodhipathapradipa of Dipamkarasrijnana but also the Lam rim chen mo of Tsong kha pa. It can be said that all of these texts are secondly related to the Bodhipathapradipabecause their main subjects are the same as those of the Bodhipathapradipa.But I think that it does not seem to have a great influence on his philosophical view because he seems to be more interested in tantric works than in those of mahayana.
He is famous as a writer of the texts on the philosophical systems (grub mtha') of Buddhism:

3977: Rang danggzhan gyi grubpa'i mtha'rgya mtsho lta bu'i rnam bzhaggsalbar bshadpathubbstanlhunpo'imdzesrgyanlegsbshadkyigterchenpolassems tsampa'igrubmtha'yanchad.
3978: dBumarangrgyudpa'imtha'yan chad. 3979:Grubmtha'irnambzhagthubbstanlhunpo'imdzesrgyangyismadcha.
3980: Grubmtha'rnambzhagthubbstanlhunpo'imdzesrgyanrgyanagsparma'iyig skyonsogsgyidogsselzhulandugnangba.

Many studies on these texts have been published and it is reported that they are closely related to the texts of philosophical tenets by Sum pa mkhan po ye shes dpal 'byor (1704-1788), dKong mchog 'jigs med dbang po (1728-1791) and Thu'u bkwan blo bzang chos kyi nyi ma (1737-1802) . Though I do not know how Rol pa'i rdo rje evaluate the author of the Bodhipathapadipa in these texts. Though it needs more detailed research, Dipamkarasrijnana does not seem to be treated as one of madhyamika masters in them .

As this text is named in its title ‘synopsis (sabcad)', it is a small text only in five leaves (1-5b1) to classify the contents of the Bodhipathapradipawith their synopsis. Therefore we can see his original words only in headings and the colophon. On a style of writing the author relates headings at first and cites, though their numbers are not fixed, the first four syllables and the last three syllables of root verses with the word “from (nas)”. Therefore there is no explanation of passages of the root verse, so we cannot call this text a commentary to the Bodhipathapradipa. But we can know how he understands its structure or contents from this synopsis.
I will pick up here some passages to be noted. In the beginning of the text there is a passage of homage to Dipamkarasrijnana and his descendants:

Homage to those who have the tradition of the glory great master Atisha and his sons
I cannot judge whether this is attributed to the author of this text, Rol pa'i rdo rje, or its compiler, but the author of the Bodhipathapradipa is called “Aisha” in honorific title, not Dipamkara srijnana. And “those who have the tradition of the glory great master Atisha and his sons” could mean scholars not only of Kadam pa but also of Gelug pa to which Rol pa'i rdo rje belongs. It is expressed in this passage that the author or the compiler follows the teaching of these traditions.
We can see his words in two sections of this commentary. The first comes in the commentary to BPP 73-74:

The former is also related in [these] words .

Though he classifies BPP 47-74 into five, the fourth and the fifth are united under the same heading:
The fourth on not renouncing sentient beings with conceptual mind and the fifth on the discipline of reason to remember in another birth are from “this is birth” to “to protect completely ”.
Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan and also Co ne Grags pa bshad grub classify BPP 73 into the fourth and BPP 73-74 into fifth in their commentaries and BPP 73 is repeated. Therefore Rol pa'i rdo rje accepts the classification of previous commentaries and explains a reason for the combination of two headings with his words. Please compare it with their synopses in appendices.

The second comes in the commentary to BPP 87-90:
These two verses for each simile come out of order .

This means that BPP 91-94 comes before BPP 87-90 and the order of the root verses are reversed in this commentary. This disorder appears also in the commentary by Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan and Co ne Grags pa bshad grub, so Rol pa'i rdo rje seems to follow their interpretation. These two comments are not explanation of the root verse, but indication of the structural irregularities of contents. He acknowledges that these irregularities appear also in the previous commentaries and he must explain why this disorder comes in his commentary.

The text ends its analysis with the last heading:

The meaning of conclusion as the third runs from “the Bodhipathapradipa” to “edited and this teaching was composed at the Tho-ling temple of Zhang-zhung ”.
But this number of headings is a miscount. We cannot find “the meaning of conclusion” as the third topic in the text so I read it as “the fourth”.

In the colophon it is said:

Likewise, thinking that this Analytical topic outline ofthe Bodhipathapradipa is useful for zealous students like the young student, Gu shri Blo bzang nor bu, who has faith, effort and discernment, lCang skya rol pa'i rdo rje writes [it] .

Though it is not clear who wrote this colophon, it expresses the motivation to write this text and the author wrote it for his students. Therefore it is written as a handbook or guidebook of the Bodhipathapradipaand he seems to have no positive motivation to explain or interpret passages of the root verse from his own point of view, so he indicates only this analytical topic of outline of the root verse. And the structural analysis is similar with that of Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan and it means that Rol pa'i rdo rje follows the traditional analysis of the Bodhipathapradipa. Therefore we cannot get his original reading of the Bodhipathapradipafrom this text.


As the Tibetan text is just a list of headings, I can very little comment upon his interpretation to the Bodhipathapradipa. My first impression is that he classifies the root verse on the basis of the commentary by Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan as Co ne Grags pa bshad sgrub also does in his commentary. Of course I must research previous commentaries to that of Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan and make clear on which text Blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan depends. Synopsis is usually used to analyze the contents of a main text in Tibetan Buddhism. Though Rol pa'i rdo rje also uses this system of synopsis to understand contents of the main text as previous masters do, he does not give his own explanations. Because the Bodhipathapradipais a short text in 276 pada (68 or 69 verses), it is not easy to make original different interpretations of commentators from other commentaries of previous masters. Because Rol pa'i rdo rje also has no intention to take an extreme interpretation of contents of the root verses, he would follow the traditional reading.


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The Tibetan Text of

the Byangchublamgyisgronma'isabcadmdorbsdus

Byang chub lam gyi sgron ma'i sa bcad mdor bsdus bzhugs so
(1b) jo bo chen po dpal a ti sha yab sras brgyud par bcas pa la phyag 'tshal lo //

0.'dirbyangchublamgyi sgron me 'chad pa la don bzhi ste mtshan don /'gyurphyag gzhung gi don / mjug gi don no //

1. dangponi / rgyagarskad du nas sgronme/[title]

2. gnyis pa ni /byangchubsemsdpa'nas phyag'tshallo//
3. gsum pa la gsum / bstan bcos la 'jug pa'i sgo / 'jug bya bstan bcos kyi rang bzhin / bstan bcos

mthar phyin pa'i bya ba'o //

3.1. dang po la gnyis / mchod par brjod pa dang / rtsom par dam bca' ba gnyis /
3.1.1. dang po ni / dusgsumrgyalba nas phyag'tshalte/[1-2]
3.1.2. gnyis pani /slobmabzangponas gsalbarbya / [3-4]

3.2. gnyis pa la gnyis / skyes bu gsum gyi lam mdor bstan pa dang / rgyas (2a) par bshad pa'o //
3.2.1. dang po ni / chungngu'bringdangnas bribarbya/ [5-8]
3.2.2. gnyis pa la gnyis / skyes bu chung 'bring che gsum gyi lam gyi rim pa bshad pa dang / bye brag tu skyes bu chen po'i lam rgyas par bstan pa'o // dang po la gsum las skyes bu chung ngu'i lam gyi rim pa bshad pa ni / gangzhigthabsninas thamar shes/ [9-12] skyes bu 'bring gi lam gyi rim pa bshad pa ni /sridpa'ibde la nas 'bringzhesbya/ [13-16] skyes bu chen po'i lam gyi rim pa bshad pa ni / rangrgyudgtogspa'inas mchog yinno/ [17-20] gnyis pa la gsum / smon sems bslab bya dang bcas pa bshad pa dang / 'jug sems bslab byadang bcas pa bshad pa dang /sngags la 'jug tshul mdo tsam bstan pa'o // dang po la gnyis / bshad par dam (2b) bca' ba dang / dngos so // dang po ni semscandampanas bshadparbya / [21-24] gnyis pa la gsum / sbyor ba dang / dngos gzhi / mjug bslab bya la slob tshul lo // dang po la gsum / tshogs gsog pa / skyabs 'gro bya ba / byams pa dang snying rje bskyed pa'o /
/ dang po ni / rdzogssangsbrisskunas bdundagkyang/ [25-30] gnyis pa ni / byangchubsnyingpo'inas langsumbya/ [31-36] gsumpani/denassemscannas'dodpayis/[37-44] gnyis pani/ ldogpamedparnas bskyedparbya / [45-46] gsum pa la lnga las / dang po phan yon dran pa la bslab pa ni / deltarsmonpa'inas rabtu bshad/ [47-50] gnyis pa lan drug bskyed pa la bslab pa ni / deyismdo klognas ma mchisso/ [51-70] gsum pa tshogs bsags la bslab pa ni / byangchubsmonpa'inas spelbya zhing/ [71-72] bzhi pa sems can blos mi spang ba dang / lnga pa skye ba gzhan du dran pa'i rgyur bslab pa ni / 'diniskyebanas yongssubsrung/ [73-74] snga ma 'ang gi sgras bstan no // gnyis pa 'jug sems bslab bya dang bcas pa bshad pa la bzhi / 'jug sems bskyed dgos pa'i rgyu mtshan / 'jug sdom len pa'i rten / len pa'i cho ga / blangs nas bslab bya la bslab tshul lo // dang (3a) po ni / 'jugsemsbdagnyidnas ngesparblang/ [75-78] gnyis pa la gnyis / rten khyad par bstan pa dang / dge slong gi sgom ldan rten gyi mchog tu bstan pa'o // dang po ni / sosortharpa nas gzhandumin/ [79-82] gnyis pa ni / sosortharparisbdunnas sdompadagtubzhed/ [83-86] gsum pa la gnyis / bla ma yod pa'i cho ga dang / bla ma med pa'i cho ga'o // dang po la gnyis / bla ma'i mtshan nyid bstan pa dang / dngos so// dang po ni / sdompa'ichoga nas shesparbya / [91-94] gnyis pa ni / byangchubsemsdpa'inas sdompablang/ [87-90] dpe la lar tshigs bcad 'di gnyis go ldog tu 'byung ngo // gnyis pa la bzhi las / dang po bshad par dam bca' ba ni / dela 'bad pasnas bshad parbya /
[95-9'] gnyis pa khungs ni / delasngon tshenas rabgsalbri/[99-104] gsum pa dngos ni/mgonpornamskyinas lasbsgrallo / [105-10'] bzhi pa tshul khrims gsum la bslab par khas len pa la gsum dang po sdom pa'i tshul khrims khas len tshul ni / gnodsemskhro
bo'inas bslabparbya/ [109-116] gnyis pa sems can don byed kyi tshul khrims la bslab tshul ni / bdag
nyidmyurba'inas gnasparbgyi/ [117-120] gsum pa (3b) dge chos sdud kyi tshul khrims la bslab tshul zhar byung dang bcas pa ni / tshad med bsam gyis nas mi bya'o / [121-12'] bzhi pa mjug bslab bya la bslab tshul la gsum / lhag pa tshul khrims kyi bslab pa la bslab tshul bshad pa / lhag pa ting nge 'dzin gyi bslab pa la bslab tshul bshad pa / lhag pa shes rab kyi bslab pa la bslab tshul bshad pa'o // dang polagnyis /dngos dang / de'i che ba'o // dangponi / ranggilusngagnas guscher'gyur/ [129-133] gnyis pa ni / delarnamdagnas rdzogspar'gyur/ [134-136] gnyis pa la gsum / sangs rgyas pa la mngon shes bsgrub dgos par bstan pa
dang / mngon shes bsgrub pa la zhi gnas bsgrub dgos par bstan pa dang zhi gnas bsgrub tshul dngos so // dang po ni /bsodnamsyeshesnas le losmin / de yang tshigs bcad dang pos [137-140] mngon shes 'grub pas rang don du tshogs rdzogs myur ba dang / gnyis pas [141-144] gzhan don rgya chen 'grub pa dang / gsum pas [145-14'] bsod nams mang pos dud pa dang / bhzi pas [149-152] myur du 'tshan rgya bar bstan ces bshad pas gsungs / gnyis pa ni /zhignas'grubpa nas 'badparbya/[153-156] gsum pa la gsum / zhi gnas kyi tshogs bsten pa / zhi (4a) gnas bsgrub tshul dngos / bsgrub pa'i phan yon no / dang po ni / zhignasyanlagnas lalegsgnas/ [157-162] gnyis pa ni / dmigspagangrungnas gzhagparbya/[163-164] gsum pa ni / rnal'byorzhignasnas 'grubpar'gyur/ [165-166] gsum pa shes rab kyi bslab pa la bslab tshul gsum / bslab dgos pa'i rgyu mtshan / thabs shes zung 'brel la slob dgos par bsgrubs pa / zung 'brel la slob tshul dngos so // dang po ni /shesrabpharolnas bsgomparbya / [167-172] gnyis pa la thabs shes zung 'brel la slob pa'i khungs bstan pa / thabs shes kyi dbye ba bshad pa'i rgyu mtshan / thabs ngos gzung ba / de shes rab dang 'brel dgos par bstan pa / shes rab ngos gzung dang lnga / dang po ni / thabsdangbralbanas spangmibya/ [173-176] gnyis pa ni / shesrabgangdangnas gsalbarbya/ [177-180] gsum pa ni / shesrabpharolnas thabssubshad/ [181-184] bzhi pa ni / thabsbsgomsdbanggisnas bsgompasmin/ [185-188] lnga pa ni / phungpokhamsdangnas yongssubshad/ [189-192] gsum pa la bdag med gtan la dbab pa dang / de nyid bsgoms tshul / bsgoms pa'i 'bras bu dang gsum / dang (4b) po la gnyis / rigs pas gtan la 'bebs pa dang / rgyas par gzhung gzhan du shes dgos par bstan pa'o // dang po la 'bras bu la dpyod pa yod med skye 'gog gi gtan tshigs / rgyu la dpyod pa rdo rje gzegs ma'i gtan tshigs / ngo bo la dpyod pa gcig du bral gyi gtan tshigs so // dang po ni / yodpaskyeba nas 'byungba min/ [193-196] gnyis pani / dngosporanglasnas rangbzhinmed / [197-200] gsum pa ni / yangnachosrnamsnas nyiddunges/ [201-204] gnyis pa ni / stongnyidbduncu'inas rabtubshad/ [205-212] gnyis pa de nyid bsgoms pa'i tshul la gnyis / bden pa bkag tsam gyi
med dgag bsgom bya'i yul du bstan pa dang / bsgom mkhan gyi shes pa la mtshan 'dzin spang bar bstan pa'o // dang po ni / debaschosrnamsnas bsgompa yin/ [213-216] gnyis pa ni / shesrabkyisninas debsgombya/ [217-220] gsum pa bsgoms pa'i 'bras bu la shes rab bsgoms pas thar pa 'thob par

bstan pa dang / sangs rgyas 'thob par bstan pa gnyis / dangpoladngos dang /khungs bstan pa'o // dang po ni / rnam par rtog las byung nas mchog yin no /
[221-224] gnyis pa ni / (5a) deltaryangninas 'thobpar'gyurzhesgsungs
so/ [225-230] gnyis pa ni / lungdangrigspanas yunmiring/ [225-240] gsum pa sngags la 'jug tshul phyogs tsam bstan pa la / sngags la 'jug pa'i rten gyi gang zag bstan pa / dbang 'thob dgos par bstan pa / tshangs spyod dbang gong ma gnyis dngosu bskur mi rung bar bstan pa / rgyud nyan bshad byed tshul la dgos pa bcad pa dang bzhi / dang po ni /sngagsmthunyidlasnas spyod'dodna / [241-248] gnyis pani / detsheslobdponnas skalldan'gyur/ [249-256] gsum pa ni / dangpo'isangsrgyasnas yodmayin / [257-268] bzhi pa ni / rgyudkun nyan dangnas nyespamed/[269-272]

3.3. gsum pa bstan bcos mthar phyin pa'i bya ba ni / gnasbrtanmarmenas mdorbsdusbyas/ [273-276]

4. bzhi (sic. gsum) pa mjug gi don ni / byangchunlamgyisgronmanas / gtanlaphabpachos 'dinizhangzhunggitholinggtsuglagkhangdumdzadpa/

de ltar byang chub lam gyi sgron me'i sa bcad mdor bsdus pa 'di yang slob bu dad brtson rnam dpyod dang ldan pa na'i man gyi gu shrii blo bzang nor bu sogs don gnyer can 'ga' zhig la phan par bsams nas lcang skya rol pa'i rdo rjes bris pa'o //
(5b) 'di kyang 'gro ba thams cad byang chub kyi lam yang dag pa la 'jug par gyur cig // bkra shis /