Clive Farahar Antiquarian Books - Rare and Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts

TIBET. SHEN-RAB  (bon gshen-rabs mi po ye gshen, 'the Omniscient human descendant of Gshen', founder of the Bon sect of Buddhism)  Manuscript in Tibetan of the 'Chapter Explaining the Threefold Teaching of Shen-rab', containing five copies of the work, in verses of 7 syllables, the 1st four sets are in the same hand, the 5th set is very similar but the characters are slightly taller in proportion, np 19th Century
in each set the outer sides are blank and the first opening is decorated in the right and left margins with red and yellow stripes and rosettes, written in neat dbu can (formal script, 'with heads') in silver ink on black background, serial number of the volume (edge-mark) 'ca' (5) throughout, buff Tibetan paper, generally crisp, 4½" x 18" (14cm x 51cm), text area about 3½" x 17" (8½cm x 42cm), 125ff. (of 126), mostly 7-8 lines per side, a very few light worm holes in a few blank margins, just touching three letters, two letters obscured on 87v, a few paper faults (all avoided by the scribe), otherwise text excellent (Transcriptions of beginning and end, using Wylie's convention) Begins (taken from the 2nd set): (127v-1) gyung-drung lta yi skad du na / /mu phya ha ling sangs te spra/ /gang-zag mi yi skad du na/ /gshen-rab-khyi bstan-pa rnam gsum rjes-su bzhag-pa'i (127v-2) le'u 'o/ /de'i tshe se'i dus na/ /ngan song-gi sgo gcong-pa'i mdo bstan-pa'i / e-ma-ho/ Ends (taken from 126r): ... (126r-1) las kyi 'prel ba'i yon bdag rnams dang / nam mkha'i khyab pa'i sems can thams cad rnams dang / bdag don du bon-sku thob- (126r-2) par 'gyur cig / gzhan don du rdzogs sku thob-par 'gyur cig / 'gro don du sprul-sku thob-par 'gyur cig /sku gsum dgyer med sangs-rgyas- (126r-3) kyi sa la gnas par 'gyur cig /dge pa dar zhing rgyas 'phel nas / 'khor ba dong nas spugs par shog / sems can (126r-4) thams-cad-kyi sangs-rgyas par 'gyur cig / o' ru pa ri ma ni tha bha wa ye svo' ha' / bsvo o' ru ma ni pra bha (126r-5) pa stra ye hu phah [ last letter inverted] ./. o' ru rtse ra ma ni pra bha ye sva' ha' / o' ru pa ru ma ni pra par sta ye sva' ha' //
The leaves are numbered 103-126; 127-151; 152-176 (152 repeated, 172 not used but text continuous); 177-201; and 202-227, but not corresponding page for page, the last set bears also secondary numbering 1-26, western numbers lightly pencilled in. Lacks opening leaf [f. 102] of first set (one side with outer side blank, text can be supplied from the other sets). 106v bears only in Tibetan "this side intentionally blank". The title is given in the opening lines, "gyung-drung lta yi skad du na (in the language of the gods) mu phya ha ling sangs te spra / gang-zag mi yi skad du na (in the language of men) gshen-rab-khyi bstsan-pa rnam gsum (the threefold teaching of Shen-rab) rjes-su bzhag-pa'i le'u 'o (chapter explaining)".
The Bon religion of ancient Tibet still exists as a sect with its own distinct practices, such as perambulating sacred objects counter-clockwise. It retains more shamanistic elements from the pre-Bhuddist era, associated with spirits, exorcism and demons, but has absorbed much from Bhuddism to create a fully-fledged system, often with its own alternative philosophical terminology. The "language of the gods" is the dialect of Zhang-zhung (Shang-shung), an ancient kingdom in Western Tibet, where the Bon school originated, and "the language of men", classical Tibetan. Mount Kailash is revered as the place where Shen-rab alighted from heaven.

Stock ref: 11170