Notes on Jonang Series II

The second set in the Jonang Publication Series (Jo nang dpe tshogs) was recently published (vols. 11-21) in Beijing.[1] This annual series is dedicated to making select works on sūtra and tantra from the Jonang exegetical tradition available in softcover book form. Each Tibetan text in the series was chosen from the corpus of Jonang Tibetan Buddhist literature, and several of the rare works included in the series have only recently been recovered through our efforts at Jonang Foundation.

Texts were digitally inputted and edited by Tibetan Jonang scholars and monks in China as part of this ongoing publication project. Selections of texts for each set are made by the directors of the Jonang Standing Council, and are being made available via the Jonang Foundation website. Encouraged by Gene Smith, I have sketched a few arbitrary notes on the texts included as redaction prints and the manuscript sources consulted for Series II:

11) 'Dul ba bdud rtsi'i nying khu, by Tshal Minpa Sonam Zangpo. This is an assortment of the only surviving works by one of Dolpopa's main disciples. Texts are on subjects including Madhyamaka philosophy, ethics, history, and tantric practice. With the exception of his commentary on the Chos dbyings su bstod pa, all of the works in this volume were previously unpublished.

12) Spyod 'jug sa 'grel, by Sazang Mati Panchen. This is the famous commentary on the Bodhicaryāvatāra by one of Dolpopa's major disciples, and is the primary commentary for studying this Indian Mahāyāna classic within the Jonang scholastic curriculum. Offshoots of this text were previously printed at the Derge Parkhang and have been available in various editions.

13) Rgyud bla sa 'grel, by Sazang Mati Panchen. This is Sazang Mati Panchen's commentary on the Uttaratantra-śāstra. Though a few editions are available, this is the first published.

14) Sa bzang gsung 'thor, by Sazang Mati Panchen. These are a compilation of miscellaneous writings by Sazang Mati Panchen. Volume includes instructions and ritual works on various topics concerned with the Kālachakra and other tantric practices. Many of these works were rare for centuries and have only recently been recovered. This compilation is the first of its kind and it brings light to some of the seminal tantric practice texts of the Jonangpa.

15) Rgyud bla'i 'grel ba, by Zhangton Sonam Drakpa. This is the second commentary on the Uttaratantra-śāstra that appears in this Series II, and is also by one of Dolpopa's disciples. This text was not previously published.

16) Jo nang lo tshA'i gsung 'thor, by Lotsāwa Lodrö Pal. These are miscellaneous writings by Dolpopa's disciple Lodrö Pal, otherwise known as Jonang Lotsāwa. This is a particularly exciting volume as it makes several works on subjects concerning Mahāyāna thought and the Kālachakra available for the first time. It should be noted here that the work titled, Bka' bsdus lnga pa included in this volume, a follow-up to the classic Bka' bsdus bzhi pa by Dolpopa, was not composed by Lotsāwa Lodrö Pal but (as it states in the colophon) by Jamphal Drakpa, a disciple of Sazang Mati Panchen. Besides the Bden gnyis gsal ba'i me long that was published in the last volume of the 'Dzam thang edition of Dolpopa's Gsung 'bum, none of the other works in this volume were previously published.

17-20) Dus 'khor mchan 'grel, by Choglé Namgyal (4 vols). This is the famed annotated commentary on the root verses and Vimalaprabhā commentary on the Kālachakra-tantra by Choglé Namgyal, one of Dolpopa's closest disciples and a major lineage-holder in the Jonang transmission of vajrayoga. It should be noted that this edition is based on a manuscript from 'Dzam thang, and was not input from the manuscript that was published as part of the Paltseg Kālachakra Commentary Series and is therefore different from the manuscript found in the 'Bras spungs Collection. It is also important to be aware that although the 'Bras spungs edition and the current reproduction published here are different, they each appear to present separate compilations of different manuscripts attributed to Choglé Namgyal. One indication of this is verses by Dolpopa that appear at the end of the volume input as part of this series, suggesting that the annotations (mchan bu) by Dolpopa and Choglé Namgyal may have been conflated over time.[2]

21) Gzhi lam 'bras bu'i ngo sprod, by Choglé Namgyal. These writings are on the ground, path, and fruition of tantric practice according to the Jonang Kālachakra system. Besides this major work by Choglé Namgyal, there are a few short writings by the author including his praise to Shambhala that are included as an appendix. The works in this volume were not previously published.

Each volume in both Series I and Series II is available for purchase in the Jonang Foundation Shop.

This also appears on the TBRC Blog.



Endnotes:

1. Works in this series are in the Tibetan language, in printed Tibetan script (dbu can). Each volume is in bound paperback book form and was printed by Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, People's Publishing House, Beijing. This set of Jonang books is in "The Quintessence of Tibetan Cultural Series: The Jonang Series, Tibetan Buddhism"

2. This has become evident through my correspondences with Cyrus Stearns whose textual archeology has uncovered many of the missing pieces in this puzzle.


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Comments

Kind Michael Sheehy,

I’m an Italian student and I’m having a postgraduate degree course in language and culture of eastern Asia at Cà Foscari University in Venice.

My course focuses mainly on Chinese, but I also studied a little of classic Tibetan language (I can read it and try to translate something, but my knowledge is less than basic) and culture.

I’m extremely interested in the Jonangpas and, with professor Fabian Sanders as supervisor, I’m going to write a thesis about them.

At the moment I’m not yet sure about how to do that, but my idea is mainly to study who they are today, how their tradition survived and how do the live, what is their perception of themselves in relation to the Chinese and the Chinese perception of them.

I’m also very interested in their philosophical tradition, the Gzhan Stong view and the aspects of the Kalacakra teaching that survived with them.

However, as I’ve studied by myself the most I know about that, l don’t know if focusing my thesis just on this aspect will make sense: I think it would be better to write it in an “anthropological” way, integrating these facets with the actual practice, the conditions of the survival and the current situation.

I’ll be in Chengdu from march to may for a chinese course at xinan minzu daxue, then my intention is to spend june and july in the jonangpa areas for field resarch.

I’d be very happy if you can help me with any suggestion: everything you know can be useful for me, from the places you think can be more suitable for my research to bibliographical and methodological suggestions.

Best regards,
Filippo Brambilla

Filippo:

Thank you for your interest and for contacting me. On the contemporary Jonang tradition, you will want to read my dissertation. We can discuss your thesis via email.

Best,
M.s.