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A Ngor Mandala Collection

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Item Code: AZG922
Author: Lokesh Chandra, Musashi Tachikawa and Sumie Watanabe
Publisher: Vajra Publications, Nepal
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 9789994672004
Pages: 140 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00x9.00 inch
Weight 960 gm

Book Description

About the Book
Scholars of the Ngor Monastery belonging to the Sa skya School of Tibetan Buddhism started to compose a systematic work of theories and practices of Indian and Tibetan mandalas in 1870 and finished its publication by 1894. The title of this work is the rgyud sde kun btus (Collection of the Tantras). which consists of thirty-two volumes. The work was reprinted in India during 1971 and 1972. Probably shortly after the completion of the compilation of texts at the Ngor Monastery, Tibetan artists began to draw mandala pictures according to the description given in those texts. Rev. bSod nams rgya mtsho, a former abbot of the Ngor Monastery, told once that three sets of the mandala pictures of the rGyud sde kun btus were painted. One of the three sets was reprinted by Rev. bSod nams rgya mtsho from Kobansha in 1983. Dr. Lokesh Chandra published a set of line drawings of the Ngor Mandala Collection in 1967. The set of mandala collection used for the line drawings has been reproduced in this volume. This set seems to be the second set out of the three sets. As for the third set, nothing clear is known.

No one can deny that the Ngor Mandala Collection is one of the most authoritative Tibetan mandala collections.

In the early 1950s Venerable Phende Rinpoche came to stay with Prof Raghu Vira at the International Academy of Indian Culture. He had a rich collection of statues and thankas, among which were some exquisite scrolls of mandalas. The three mandalas reproduced on pages 110 and 111 by BC Olschak in her book Mystik und Kunst Alt-tibets (Hallwag Verlag Bern und Stuttgart. 1972) are from this set This set came from the monastery of Phende Rinpoche Olschak reproduces the mandalas of Pancaraksa, Samvara and Kalacakra. The whole set was sold as individual items, and it would have to be put together from various private and museum collections.

My father Prof. Raghu Vira, was interested in the reproduction of this unique series of Ngor Mandalas. Phende Rinpoche got another set of the Ngor Mandalas for him. They were not very clear for reproduction. Moreover, their colour reproduction was ruled out by the prohibitive cost and the lack of state-of the-art technology in India at that time. So line drawings of the initial mandalas was done from this set. The remaining mandalas were drawn from another set procured by Phende Rinpoche. The correlation of the sets will have to be worked out by future research. The sets used for the line drawings were photographed in colour and are being reproduced in this volume. I am obliged to Prof. Musashi Tachikawa for the reproduction. They are important to comprehend the evolution of the Tibetan tradition of depicting the mandalas of all the Tantras as the central point of a sgo man 'many-door structure with several chapels. They are a continuation of the sata-dvara or temenos with a 'hundred doors'. The term sata dvara occurs in Panini 4.1.123. The Gyantse Kumbum is an outstanding example of this type of meditational architecture. It can be studied in the detailed descriptions by Franco Ricca and Erberto Lo Bue, The Great Stupa of Gyantse (London) where they have indicated the scriptures followed in each chapel. Such sgo-man or kumbum were spread over Tibet, and some of them have survived the political holocaust in a ruined state. The depiction of all the sutras goes back to the early centuries, e.g. at the Ming-oi at Kizil. Ming-oi means 'myriads of images. They are the means of dhyana to transmute the world of senses into realms of subtle forms, and finally to the formless realm of the Absolute Sublime.

Thirty years have passed since I was shown the Ngor Mandala Collection by the late Rev. bSod nams rgya misho, a former abbot of the Ngor Monastery in Tibet. who was working at the Toyo Bunko, Tokyo, as a researcher from 1963 to 1975. With much effort of the late Prof. Hajime Kitamura, who was the Head of the Tibetan Section of the Toyo Bunko at that time, the late Rev. b5od nams rgya mtsho managed to bring the Ngor Mandala Collection to Japan.

1 still remember the day when I had the chance to look at the Ngor Collection closely, I was struck by the fineness expressed in those mandalas. The size of each mandala is 38.5 cm x 38.5 cm. Hundreds of deities were depicted in a small limited space. Through a magnifying glass I could find the face of each deity slightly smiling. In 1983 the Ngor Collection was reprinted by Kodansha, Tokyo. At that occasion I had a chance to help the late bSod nams rgya mtsho in editing the book together with my colleagues.

About ten years later I could have an occasion to see another set of Ngor Mandala Collection. When I visited the Institute of Dr. Lokesh Chandra, Delhi, on behalf of the National Museum of Ethnology in the summer of 1996, he gave me a set of negative color films. Having returned to Japan, I found that the set of films included the mandala pictures of a Ngor Mandala Collection, which was obviously a version different from the collection reproduced by Kodansha. When I met Mr. Bidur Dangol, the Director of Vajra Publications.

Kathmandu, in 2004, I mentioned about the film set given by Dr. Lokesh Chandra. Then, Mr. B. Dangol strongly suggested to reprint the Ngor Mandala Collection. Here I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Lokesh Chandra who not only gave me the film set of a Ngor Mandala Collection but also wrote a foreword for this book.

In the middle of the nineteenth century Byams pa Kun dga' bstan pa'i rgyal mthan (1829-1870), an abbot of the Ngor Monastery of the Sa skyn school, felt the necessity to make a large collection of theories and practices of mandalas which had been developed among different schools by that time. Under his inspiration, three scholars, Mkhen brtse dbang po (1820-1890), Kon sprul yon tan rgya mtsho (1813-1899), and Jam dbyangs blo gier dbang po (1847-1914) began to compose a systematic work of theories of Indian and Tibetan mandalas in 1870, and they finished its publication by 1894. The title of this work is the rGyud sde kun brus (Collection of the Tantras), which consist of thirty-two volumes. The work was reprinted in India during 1971 and 1979,".

It was most likely that, parallel with the compilation of a great number of texts, the Ngor Monastery was also collecting iconographic materials such as mandala pictures. Probably shortly after the compilation of texts was completed, Tibetan artists began to draw mandala pictures according to the description given in those texts. The catalogue to the rGyud sde kun btus, however, does not offer a list of those who painted the mandalas of the Ngor Mandala Collection.

In 1967 Lokesh Chandra reprinted a set of line-drawings of the Ngor Mandala Collection which blonged to the collection of Raghu Vira, Father of Lokesh Chandra, in the Sata-Pitaka Series. In 1983 the late bSod nams rgya mtsho, a former Abbot of Ngor monastery, published an enlarged version of one hundred and thirty-nine mandalas of the Ngor Collection, which were drawn on the bassis of the rGyud sde kun btus. In 1989, the Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies (CEACS) published a second, more compact reproduction of the Ngor Collection as Volume 2 in its Bibliotheca Codicum Asiaticorum Series In the CEACS edition only eight mandalas are printed in color, the other mandalas are printed black-and-white. Several years later CEACS published listings of the deities of the Ngor Mandalas, where the Tibetan names of deities appearing in each mandala have been given her with a simple chart of each mandala."

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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