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BuddhistRoad Paper 7.1 “The Phurpa Root Tantra of Nyang-rel Nyima Özer’s (1124–1192, Tib. Myang ral Nyi ma ’od zer) Eightfold Buddha Word, Embodying the Sugatas (Tib. bKa’ brgyad bDe gshegs ’dus pa) Corpus: A Thematic Overview and Philological Analysis”
This article is an in-depth study of the bDe bar gshegs pa thams cad kyi phrin las (var. ’phrin las) ’dus pa phur pa rtsa ba’i rgyud [The Phurpa Root Tantra that Comprises the Activities of all the Sugatas; hereafter Phurpa Root Tantra], a seminal text on the tantric deity Vajrakīlaya from the bKa’ brgyad bDe gshegs ’dus pa [Eightfold Buddha Word, Embodying the Sugatas; henceforth KD] corpus revealed by Nyang-rel Nyima Özer (1124–1192, Tib. Myang ral nyi ma ’od zer) in 12th century Tibet. The study consists of two main parts: a detailed thematic overview of the contents of the tantra’s thirteen chapters, and a philological analysis of selected variants found among the different editions of the text, an analysis which elucidates the relationships between the various textual witnesses and allows us to construct a stemma. Given the increasing awareness among specialists of the formative role played by the KD corpus in the codification of the Nyingma (Tib.rnying ma) school of Tibetan Buddhism, this article lays the groundwork for future investigations of this vast repertoire of tantric material. Our enquiry shows that despite being revealed by a named and famous visionary, the Phurpa Root Tantra shares significant features with the (usually anonymously produced) scriptures of the rNying ma rgyud ’bum [Ancient Tantra Collection; henceforth NGB]. The paper thus contributes to the ongoing scholarly discussion concerning processes of scriptural production in the context of Tibetan tantric religion.
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