Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (2008): A Rosary of Rubies. The Chronicle of the Gur-rigs mDo-chen Tradition from South-Western Tibet. Collectanea Himalayica, Bd. 2. München: Indus Verlag.




The mDo-chen bKa’-brgyud-pa school represents a little known Buddhist tradition from Mang-yul Gung-thang in south-western Tibet. It goes back to a Buddhist yogin known as Ma-bdun-pa or Ma-bdun ras-chen (12th/13th c.) and was later mainly spread by mem­bers of the Gur family. Although belong­ing to the “Upper ’Brug” (stod ’brug) branch of the ’Brug-pa bKa’-brgyud-pa school, the mDo-chen tradition has always been deeply infused with the “spoken teachings” (bka’ ma) and “treasure teachings” (gter ma) of the rNying-ma-pa school, and the cult of the “Seven Ma-mo Sisters” (ma mo mched bdun) was part­ic­ularly practised and transmitted by its members. This book presents a critical edition, an annotated translation and a photo­graphic reproduction of a manuscript copy of a rare chronicle of the Gur-rigs mDo-chen tradition written by Brag-dkar rta-so sPrul-sku Chos-kyi dbang-phyug (1775–1837). The text provides us with an over­view of the tradition’s development mainly through biographical accounts but also through pro­ph­ecies, prayers and praises for individual masters. The study concludes with two appendices based on the mDo chen bka’ brgyud gser ’phreng, a lin­­eage history composed in the 15th century, and the “records of teachings received” (thob yig) of three important mem­bers of the Gur family, thus allowing us to gain an insight into the trans­missions of the mDo-chen bKa’-brgyud-pa school and the interactions of its represen­tatives with other important Bud­dhist teachers up to the 18th century. The present work is a further outcome of the author’s investigations into the cultural and religious tradi­tions of south-western Tibet and the neighbour­ing Himalayan valleys.