Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tools - TBRC lineage searches, teacher names

We have mentioned Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center before, but did you know what you could do lineage research with the database provided?

Let's take an example Je Tsongkhapa's Sakya background, do a search on persons and tsong kha pa, and you get a reference to his ordination name page, or blo bzang grags pa'i dpal. You get all the writings of Je Tsongkhapa. In addition, at the bottom there's a list of his teachers, we know that Rendawa, or red mda' ba, was a Sakya, but hmm, no red mda' ba in the listing... Do a new search for persons, and you get his page, based on his other name gzhon nu blo gros. Ok, now we could compare the pages and indeed see Rendawa is in the listing, and go to his page. According to this page he had ten teachers, and you could go backwards in time and establish the lineage this way.

What did we learn? Well, there are various ways to establish lineages via known so called rnam thar texts, these are the biographies of famous teachers. But TBRC is really establing itself as a resource where you could do detective work and find out all kinds of cross-relational lineages, for example find out the Sakya lineage behind Je Tsongkhapa.

The other thing we learned is that Tibetan teachers have had many names, you need to learn to figure out the ordination name versus the given name, or another name given by their students as a homage, or a nick name... We will talk more about that later.

We will next look at how to learn to read titles presented inside TBRC, it's kind of cool to see what various teachers wrote.

1 comment:

Mark said...

TBRC is very cool. The only thing I found to be missing that really wanted was dbyangs chan grub pa'i rdo rje's ljon shing dbang bo.