A rather short section here which brings to a close the first chapter of the biography. One friend commented that reading in this way is a bit like the serialised stories that used to appear in newspapers, and that theme is continued in the Chinese text itself where at the end of the chapter we are tantalised with promises of what is to come. As I read over these rough translations I am aware that there are a number of names of people and locations that could be easily rendered in their Tibetan form, and I will try to clarify these when I have a bit more time.
Babang Si was constructed in the eighteenth century by the fifth Sidou Tulku (Situ Rinpoche) Queji qiongnai (Chokyi Jugne), it belongs to the Gama Gaju 噶玛噶举 (Karma Kagyu) school. The scale of the temple is grand and imposing, and it is known as the highest institution of Kagyu learning. Since the time of the fifth incarnation, it has been the residence of the Sidou Tulku line, together with Chubu Temple in Tibet and Gongga Temple on Mount Shengle 胜乐山 (胜乐金刚 Cakrasaṃvara) they are known as the three great triumphs of the Kagyu school.
After Kesa Dengpi and Renzhi Luobu departed the county town of Dege, they travelled for more than a day, and on the evening of the second day, finally arrived in Babang township. The two men, exhausted from their journey, rode their horses into the mountainside edifice of Babang Temple.
Babang Temples’s Guest Monk was named Wo’re 沃热 (Woeser?) and he heard that these two monks had come from far away Gongga Temple to seek an audience with Qinzun Tulku. After Wo’re had introduced himself to the guests, he instructed two young monks to help unload the horses’ saddles and bags, and to bring hay to feed them. Then he led the guests to the Guest Hall for tea and tsampa. While the guests were sitting drinking tea, Wo’re went to the rear hall to report to the Great Tulku. When Qinzun Tulku heard that these monks had come from Gongga Temple, he sent Wo’re to bring them to the Rear Hall for a meeting. When Kesa Dengpi and Renzhi Luobu had eaten their fill they then followed Wo’re to the residence of Qinzun Tulku.
The Tulku’s residence was not large, but it was very elegant. The floorboards were polished with butter oil to make them shine and were covered with exquisite Tibetan cashmere blankets. The Tulku’s meditation platform was the broad and hemmed platform of a great Tulku, and before the platform were placed a set of three Tibetan carved red birchwood tables on which were placed a tea set made of pure silver. Upon one wall were hung thangka paintings of the three founders of the Kagyu school Maerba 玛尔巴 (Marpa), Milareba 米拉日巴 (Milarepa), and Tapo Lajie 塔波拉杰 (Dagpo Lhaje = Gampopa). On the offering table before these thangkas were seven water offering bowls made of silver, and in the centre a burner containing sandalwood incense – the rich sandalwood smoke arising from the burner giving the whole room an even more peaceful and dignified air. Behind the pure water were eight small butter lamps, and on the table were also varieties of torma made from tsampa and butter.
After the monks from Gongga Temple had paid their respects to Qinzun Tulku, Renzhi Luobu explained their reason for coming and with both hands offered up the letter that the Great Treasure Dharma King had sent to Gongga Si, respectfully requesting the great Tulku’s aid in clarifying their confusion.
Qinzun Tulku took hold of the Great Treasure Dharma King’s letter and, after giving it his full attention, he explained word-by-word and sentence-by-sentence the cryptic suggestions contained in the Dharma Kings’s letter to the monks from Gongga Temple. Using letters hinted at in the enigmatic language of the missive he spelled out ‘Pengbuxi’; then, he discovered the first Tibetan letter in each of the two syllables that make up ‘Zhalang’; and, he also calculated the day, month, year, and direction in which, according to the letter, the reincarnate child had been born. Renzhi Luobu took very careful notes of everything that Qinzun Tulku said, and then he prostrated towards the Tulku in thanks. The next day they left Qinzun Tulku and departed Babang Temple, hurrying back to Liuba’s Gongga Temple. If you wish to know how the monks of Gongga Si prepared to search for Master Gong’s reincarnate child, then you must read on for answers.
It will be:
With guidance sought from eminent monk Qin (i.e. Qinzun Tulku)
Searching snowy lands for the reincarnate being
To be continued…
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