Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Wutai shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain
Karl Debreczeny, Rubin Museum of Art
JIATS, no. 6 (December 2011), THL #T5714, pp. 1-133
Section 5 of 9 (pp. 9-43)

Tibetan Involvement with Wutai shan

Figure 8. Depiction of Wutai shan. Dunhuang Cave 61, West Wall. China; Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Gansu Province.
 

Tibetan interest in Wutai shan was expressed as early as the Tibetan imperial period (seventh-ninth century), when Tibet arose as one of the greatest military powers of Asia and the first significant cultural interactions between Tibet and China were recorded. According to one early Tibetan historical source, the [page 10] Testament of Ba (BazhéSba bzhed), Tibetan envoys returning from China circa 755 made a long detour in order to return via Wutai shan.14 Also it is said that several eighth-century figures prominent in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet, such as the Indian master Vimalamitra, one of the founding figures of the early Tibetan DzokchenRdzogs chen meditation tradition, were said to have “set out for Wutai shan.”15 Later historians, such as the famous Tibetan scholar Butön RinchendrupBu ston rin chen grub (1290-1364) in his Bde gshegs bstan pa’i gsal byed chos kyi ’byung gnas, projected back contemporary interest in Wutai shan to the imperial period, writing that the first Tibetan emperor, Songtsen GampoSrong btsan sgam po (ca. 569-649; r. 617-650), went to Wutai shan and built one hundred and eight temples there.16 Early Tibetan interest in Wutai shan is also corroborated in more contemporary Chinese official histories such as the Old Tang Dynasty History (Jiu tangshu), which records that in 824 the Tibetan emperor requested a map of Wutai shan from the Tang court.17 Shortly afterward in the 830s, the earliest depictions of Wutai shan in murals at Dunhuang, an important Buddhist center of activity and a trade site along the Silk Route bordering Tibet, China, and Central Asia, were being painted when the Tibetan [page 11] empire occupied the area.18 Tibetans would, therefore, have been aware to some degree of Chinese associations with Mañjuśrī at Wutai shan since at least the ninth century.

Figure 9. Map from gazetteer of Wutai shan. Qingliang shan zhi, dated 1596.

Although many of these early images of Wutai shan were simple and schematic, by the tenth century sophisticated topographic devotional paintings of Wutai shan appeared in the caves of Dunhuang, like the main mural in Cave 61 (Fig. 8).19 In this wall painting on China’s northern frontier with Tibet and Mongolia, many of the inscriptive and visual conventions for depicting the topographic, historical, and miraculous narrative landmarks of Wutai shan, which also appear in the panoramic map dated 1846 in this exhibition (Cat. 1), are already established.20 Thus, this nineteenth-century map is part of a larger visual tradition of depicting Wutai shan as the pure realm of Mañjuśrī, one that stretches back nearly a millennium. Topographically, these maps are also closely related to woodblock maps that were printed in the local gazetteers of Wutai shan, which first started being published in the seventh century and continue to appear up to the present day (Fig. 9).21 However, more than just conveying geographical information, these panoramic images of Wutai shan are devotional in nature, and, as Dorothy Wong puts it, they “translate a religious ideology, a cosmography into pictorial form of a landscape in a reconstructed space analogical to reality.”22

Tangut Western Xia (Xixia, 西夏)

During the early eleventh and twelfth centuries Wutai shan was becoming very popular in this same area among groups with close cultural, political, and economic ties to Tibet, like the Tanguts, who took over the Dunhuang area in 1036. The [page 12] Tangut Empire of Western Xia (Xixia, 西夏) was a multi-ethnic state located along the Silk Route that included large Chinese and Tibetan subject populations and drew heavily on Chinese cultural models in establishing its own imperial culture. Buddhism served to legitimize the Tangut state and engendered lavish imperial patronage, which consciously included an active mixture of Chinese and Tibetan clergy.23 The prominent place that Mañjuśrī held within the Chinese imperial cult, coupled with his role as protector of the state, would have made involvement at Wutai shan a natural step in the development of Tangut Buddhist state ideology. Also Wutai’s close association with Flower Garland (avataṃsaka, Huayan, (華嚴) Buddhism, to which the Tanguts were especially devoted, further assured Tangut interest in Wutai shan.24 The Tangut rulers not only patronized many sites at Wutai shan but even went so far as to build their own Wutai shan complex in the Helan Mountains (Helan shan, 賀蘭山) to the west of their capital some time in the eleventh century, calling it “Northern Wutai shan,” where major temples on Wutai shan like Qingliang si (清涼寺) and Foguang si (佛光寺; Fig. 4, no. 1) were re-created.25 This was not a strategy unique among peoples of Inner Asia, whose access to Wutai shan were limited due to the complex political relations with China. The Khitans of the Liao dynasty (遼, 907-1125) also built their own surrogate site well within their borders, calling it “Little Wutai shan,” and much later the Mongols would also follow suit, building their own “Little Wutai shan.”26

By the late twelfth to early thirteenth century, as Wutai shan became increasingly important to Tibet, Tibetans began to write the site back into accounts of their ancient history.27 For instance Nyangrel Nyima ÖzerNyang ral nyi ma ’od zer (1136-1204), a famous treasure revealer of the NyingmaRnying ma order, who wrote several influential accounts of the lives of Padmasambhava and the Tibetan “religious kings” of the eighth century, included an account of the divine conception of the Tibetan tsenpobtsan po, Tri SongdetsenKhri srong lde btsan (742-796), through the intersession of Mañjuśrī from Wutai shan [page 13] in China, in order to convert the people and establish Buddhism in Tibet.28 This is significant as it was the emperor Tri SongdetsenKhri srong lde btsan who built Tibet’s first monastery and declared Buddhism the Tibetan state religion. The implication is that these important steps toward establishing Buddhism in Tibet were the direct result of Mañjuśrī’s activities. Tri SongdetsenKhri srong lde btsan himself came to be considered an emanation of Mañjuśrī, indicated by Mañjuśrī’s identifying implements, the book and sword, at his shoulders (Cat. 30).29

PadampaPha dam pa

Figure 10. Padampa SanggyéPha dam pa sangs rgyas. Tibet; c. 13th century. Copper alloy; Height: 25 cm (9.75" h. x 7.25" w. x 5.625" d.). Nyingjei Lam Collection. L2005.9.51 (HAR68480).

One of the first historical figures who may have directly linked Tibet and Wutai shan was the South Indian adept Padampa SanggyéPha dam pa sangs rgyas (Padangba Sangjie, 帕當巴桑结, d. 1117; Fig. 10), founder of the Pacification of Suffering tradition, who was said to have traveled in China and lived on Wutai shan for approximately twelve years from about 1086 to 1097, before returning to Tibet to found a monastery.30 Little is recorded about PadampaPha dam pa’s life in China, though his trip to Wutai shan is mentioned in some of the earliest available historical sources on his [page 14] tradition.31 According to a much later biography, in the pure realm of Five-Peak Mountain PadampaPha dam pa actually met the reverend Mañjuśrī and his retinue, and in that realm (Wutai shan) he also achieved and demonstrated many signs of Spiritual Attainment (siddhi) such as suppressing the sun, and the Chinese king together with his ministers bowed respectfully. He also placed many Chinese worthy ones on the sublime path and founded a chapel (tsuklak khanggtsug lag khang, vihāra) there called “Tsitsu SaraTsi tsu sa ra.”32 In the fifteenth-century Blue Annals (Depter NgönpoDeb ther sngon po, written ca. 1476-1478) one of PadampaPha dam pa’s miraculous encounters with Mañjuśrī at Wutai shan is recorded:

When DampaDam pa proceeded to China, he met on the road leading to Wutai shan (Rtse lnga’i ri) an old sage (ṛṣi), carrying a staff made of rattan wood (chushingchu shing). This was a manifestation of Mañjuśrī, who said to him: “In this country there are many epidemics. At Vajrāsana (Bodhgaya, India) there exists a dhāraṇī of Vijaya (Nampar Gyelmarnam par rgyal ma). If you bring it to-day, the epidemics in this country will disappear.” DampaDam pa inquired: “Vajrāsana is far off. From where could I get it today?” The sage replied: “Inside a certain cavity in a rock (Drakkhungbrag khung [cave]) there is a hole (bukpabug pa). Go there and bring it here.” DampaDam pa went toward this cavity, and within an instant was transported to Vajrāsana, and back. Having obtained the dhāraṇī, he pacified the epidemics. After that he again met the Venerable Mañjughoṣa (Jampel Yang’jam dpal dbyangs). The picture depicting his journey to Vajrāsana was drawn by Chinese (artists), and printed copies (of it) have found their way to Tibet. DampaDam pa spent twelve years (in China), preached and propagated the doctrines of the Zhi byed. It is said that (his) Meditative Lineage exists there (in China). Some maintain even that DampaDam pa had died in China.33

Figure 11. PadampaPha dam pa depicted sitting in a cave. 1846 Wutai shan map detail (Cat. 1; Fig. 4, no. 13).
Figure 12. PadampaPha dam pa. Detail from Machik LapdrönMa gcig lab sgron (1055-1153). Tibet; 19th century. Pigments on cloth; 22" h. x 16" w. Rubin Museum of Art . F1998.4.11 (HAR 619).

Regardless of whether PadampaPha dam pa’s visit to Wutai shan was also an imagined projection back of later Tibetan interest in the sacred mountain, by the Qing period these stories became an important part of Tibetan lore at Wutai shan. This is [page 15] expressed clearly on the panoramic map of Wutai shan (Cat. 1) in which PadampaPha dam pa is depicted sitting in a cave (Fig. 11; Fig. 4, no. 13) holding a staff, not an object usually part of his iconography (Fig. 12), and likely a reference to his encounter with the sage carrying a staff in this story.34 The cave he sits in is labeled in both Tibetan and Chinese as “India Cave” (Gyagar Pukrgya gar phug, Xitian Dong, 西天洞) on the map, a reference to this story of PadampaPha dam pa’s cave serving as a magical portal to India. It is said that today’s visitors can still see a record of Mañjuśrī meeting PadampaPha dam pa at Wutai shan and a stone door panel (dogo lekrdo sgo glegs) of PadampaPha dam pa’s meditation cave there.35

Figure 13. Buddhapālita (Fotuo Poli, 佛陀波利) meets Mañjuśrī. Detail from The Bodhisattva Wensu (Manjusri) on Wutaisan. China; Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Gansu Province; 975-1025. Silk; 164 cm. high x 107.5 cm. wide. Musée national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet, Pelliot Collection, EO 3588.

This story of PadampaPha dam pa’s meeting with Mañjuśrī disguised as a sage follows typical Chinese narrative formulas of encounters with Mañjuśrī on Wutai shan. In particular, the details of this tale are almost identical to the famous story of another monk from the west, Buddhapālita (Fotuo Poli, 佛陀波利) of Kashmir, who visited Wutai shan about four centuries earlier in 676, which is prominently illustrated on the famous mural of Wutai shan in Cave 61 at Dunhuang (Fig. 8), that predates PadampaPha dam pa’s visit by more than a century.36 This conflation of miraculous stories [page 16] that collapse time is common to both Wutai shan narratives and images, and it may be that this story was added to PadampaPha dam pa’s biography later as Wutai shan grew in the Tibetan imagination.37 Similarly, the Chinese printed images referred to in the Blue Annals as circulating in Tibet may, in fact, illustrate any one of a number of such well-known Chinese stories, such as that of the aforementioned Buddhapālita (Fig. 13).38 Such stories reveal the timeless nature of these miracles, which are at once linked to specific prominent historical figures to provide an air of authenticity and at the same time infinitely repeatable, imbuing a limitless power to the site. Thus the visual inscription of these miracles on the map is not only an immediately accessible record of their occurrence in the past but also holds out the promise of such an experience for the viewer as a worthy pilgrim in the present.

Mongol Yuan (元) Empire

Figure 14. Map, Mongol empire in the mid-thirteenth century (ca 1249-50). (After Atwood, p. 366.)

It was the incorporation of Tibet and then China into the larger Mongol empire in the mid-thirteenth century (Fig. 14) that fostered the establishment of a regular Tibetan presence on Wutai shan, for which we have reliable documentation. Wutai shan is located only two-hundred miles southwest of (the imperial court in) Beijing (北京), which became the political center of China under Mongol rule in the thirteenth century. While the Mongol Empire was known for a policy of religious tolerance among the peoples it conquered and for generous patronage across a broad spectrum of faiths, it was the Tibetan tradition that Qubilai Khan (Hubilie, 忽必烈, 1215-1294; Fig. 15) singled out among all the faiths competing for imperial attention as a prominent religion of his court, and Qubilai Khan himself [page 17] came to be seen as an imperial emanation of Mañjuśrī.39 Patronage of several Tibetan traditions was divided up among the Mongol princes and their monasteries flourished as never before.

Figure 15. Qubilai Khan. Album Leaf; ink and color on silk; 23 3/8 x 18 ½ in. National Palace Museum, Taiwan. (After Possessing the Past, p. 264, plate 136).

On account of this growing interest in Tantric Buddhism among the Mongol elite many Tibetan lamabla mas (guru) started visiting the Mongol court, and when they did so they also visited Wutai shan. It was during the Mongol period that a number of prominent Tibetan historical figures traveled to Wutai shan and contributed to the popularity of the sacred mountain in Tibet. According to Tibetan tradition, Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita Künga GyentsenKun dga’ rgyal mtshan (1182-1251; Cat. 25 & Cat. 26), who was (later?) seen as a Tibetan emanation of Mañjuśrī on Earth (one of the “Three Mañjuśrī of Tibet”), was one of the most influential thirteenth-century Tibetan figures said to have visited Wutai shan.40 A local Tibetan history (dated [page 18] 1884), describes another Wutai shan in miniature recreated in PariDpa’ ri, complete with five peaks, just south of Liangzhou (Gansu Province) where Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita passed away. According to this account, Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita founded the monastery Drakgön Chokga LingBrag dgon mchog dga’ gling in 1246, and praised the site as comparable in beauty to Wutai shan, and even described it as a branch of Wutai.41 This text also lists the main images in the various chapels, including a wall painting depicting the landscape of Wutai shan, drawing a direct visual connection between the ideal and its surrogate.42

The historical record is more clear regarding Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita’s nephew Chögyel Pakpa Lodrö GyentsenChos rgyal ’phags pa blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-1280), who spent years on Wutai shan composing texts that eulogized Mañjuśrī and the mountain. Schaeffer demonstrates that Pakpa’Phags pa’s poetry of Wutai shan was some of the most influential, such as his one-hundred verse poem: “The Garland of Jewels: Praise to Mañjuśrī at Five-Peak Mountain,” written in 1257.43 Chögyel PakpaChos rgyal ’phags pa (Fig. 5) later became Qubilai Khan’s Imperial Preceptor (dishi, 帝師), the emperor’s chaplain and the highest spiritual authority in the empire. In fact every succeeding Yuan emperor appointed a Tibetan to this supreme religious position in the Yuan government, underscoring the importance with which Tibetan Buddhism was held at the Mongol court.

Figure 16. Mahākāla Hill. 1846 Wutai shan map detail (Cat. 1).

Many other important Tibetan clerics stayed on Wutai shan in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries for protracted time periods, such as Pakpa’Phags pa’s disciple and an influential tantric ritual specialist to Qubilai’s court, Ga Aknyen Dampa Künga DrakSga a gnyan dam pa kun dga’ grags (Danba, 膽巴, 1230-1303), who lived on Wutai shan for close to ten years. DampaDam pa was appointed abbot of Temple of Longevity and Tranquility (Shouning si, 壽寧寺, Takten Dechen Lingrtag brtan bde chen gling; Fig. 4, no. 72), raising the status of that monastery and making it what many consider to be the first Tibetan Buddhist [page 19] establishment on the mountain.44 He was also said to have founded temples at Wutai shan himself.45 DampaDam pa was a key figure within Qubilai Khan’s court for the military application and employment of tantric esoteric power in the service of the Mongol imperium. It was his ritual interventions that were credited for Mongol victories in several key battles, including the final fall of the Southern Song (Nan Song, 南宋, 1127-1279), allowing for the conquering of all of China and the very founding of the Yuan dynasty.46 Later, the same sculpture of the protective deity Mahākāla (Da Heitian, 大黑天) that was made to be used in those destructive rites, which had became a potent symbol of both Qubilai’s rule and the Yuan imperial lineage, was installed at Wutai shan for worship.47 On the map of Wutai shan there is, in fact, a site labeled “Gönpo RiMgon po ri,” or “Mahākāla Hill” (Fig. 16; Fig. 4, no. 49).

Figure 17. The Third KarmapaKarma pa Rangjung DorjéRang byung rdo rje’s visit to Wutai shan. Detail of “The Third Karmapa with episodes from his life.” Ca. late 16th century. 29 ½ x 17 7/8 in. (75 x 45.5 cm). The Hahn Cultural Foundation Collection. Literature: K. Tanaka 1999, vol. 2, no. 47. (After Jackson 2009, Fig. 5.5, p. 93).

Visual records of such visits by Tibetan hierarchs from this period can also be found in Tibetan paintings. For instance, the Third KarmapaKarma pa Rangjung DorjéRang byung rdo rje’s (1284-1339) visit to Wutai shan in 1333/34 during his trip to the Mongol court is depicted in a later sixteenth-century [page 20] biographical painting (Fig.17).48 This painting is one of a set of paintings illustrating “The Third KarmapaKarma pa with Episodes from His Life.” Amid the six episodes depicted from the master’s life in this painting is his meeting with the Yuan emperor in 1332 at lower right and his pilgrimage the following year to Wutai shan at lower left.49 The landscape of Wutai shan’s five peaks are prominently displayed in different colors, dominated by an emanation or vision of Mañjuśrī on his blue lion, which is associated with Wutai shan’s central peak, at center.

Figure 18. White stūpa & Chinese temple architecture. Photograph by Gray Tuttle.
Figure 19. Great White Stūpa in Beijing. Photograph by author, 2008.

It was also during Qubilai’s reign that the Great White Stūpa (Fig. 4, no. 40), which became the icon of Wutai shan, was built in 1301 by Pakpa’Phags pa’s protégé, the Nepalese artist Anige (阿尼哥, 1244-1278/1306), who had become head of the Mongol imperial atelier.50 This stūpa is a monumental Himalayan-style architectural landmark, which contrasts with the Chinese temple architecture it towers over (Fig. 18). It is believed to contain one of the miraculously created Buddha relic stūpas of the Indian emperor Aśoka, the archetypal model of the ideal Indian Buddhist sacral ruler (cakravartin). This reliquary on Wutai shan closely resembles another Great White Stūpa dedicated to Mañjuśrī, also built by Anige, in Beijing (Fig. 19) twenty-two years earlier at the founding of the Yuan dynasty in 1279, which was a symbol of Mongol imperial authority.51 The Nepalese Anige was involved in many other [page 21] Mongol court construction projects on Wutai shan, such as Southern Mountain Temple (Nanshan si, 南山寺; Fig. 4, no. 51), which was founded by the Mongol emperor Temür (Öljeitü Khan, r. 1294-1307) in 1297 to generate merit for the emperor’s mother and is one of the most extravagant Mongol court temple constructions ever recorded.52

Figure 20. Juyong Stūpa Gate. Photograph by author, 2003.
Figure 20a. Juyong Stūpa Gate. Photograph by author, 2003.

It is within this context of Mongol rule that the ancient rhetoric of conflating imperial identity with Mañjuśrī was revived and broadened to transcend ethnic proscriptions on rulership, where non-Chinese peoples could declare that they carried heaven’s mandate to rule.53 This ideology can be found stated in Mongol Yuan imperial inscriptions on a Buddhist monument, the Juyong Stūpa Gate (Juyong guan, 居庸关; Fig. 20), built near Beijing in 1354 by the last Mongol emperor to rule China, which states that Qubilai Khan (and by extension the Mongol line of emperors), were emanations of a bodhisattva from the area of Wutai shan (Mañjuśrī) divinely sanctioned to rule the empire:

[page 22]

That blessed Bodhisattva the Emperor Sečen (Qubilai Khan), possessed of vast wisdom...the wise one from the vicinity of Wutaishan... bodhisattvas destined by heaven [to rule]. 54

Tuttle questions the identification of the bodhisattva mentioned in this inscription with Mañjuśrī, and calls into question if Qubilai Khan was regarded as an emanation of Mañjuśrī in his own lifetime.55 However Qubilai does appear to be referred to as Mañjuśrī in a few roughly contemporary Tibetan sources. One of the earliest such references is found in the biography of Urgyanpa Rinchen PelU rgyan pa rin chen dpal (1229/1230-1309) by his student Sönam ÖzerBsod nams ’od zer (b. thirteenth c.), in which UrgyenpaU rgyan pa not only remarks on this notion that Qubilai Khan was viewed by some as an emanation of Mañjuśrī, but even challenges the legitimacy of this divine claim:

[page 23]

The precious lord (UrgyenpaU rgyan pa) said: “Because that Qubilai Khan wields immeasurable power, he has limitless glory. [Thus] there is a prophecy of the appearance of a miraculous emanation of Mañjuśrī in the Mongolian royal line. [However,] having thought about whether or not that is true, I feel that [if it were true, Qubilai would] have subjugated (others) through the meditative concentration (samādhi) of the Lord of Secrets, however there is oppression. If he is really a miraculous emanation of Mañjuśrī, [it should be done] through his glory, not oppression (force).”56

In other words if Qubilai Khan was really the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī incarnate he would not need to use such brute tactics as violence and intimidation. This direct quote suggests that not only was this idea of Qubilai as Mañjuśrī current in Qubilai’s own time, but even contested. Extremely telling in this context is, directly after making this comment UrgyenpaU rgyan pa then travels to Wutai shan, and while his biography describes what he saw and the initiations he gave there, no further mention of Qubilai as Mañjuśrī is made, as if for UrgyenpaU rgyan pa the matter is settled. Another only slightly later fourteenth-century source, TselpaTshal pa’s biography of his father Mönlam DorjéSmon lam rdo rje (1284-1346/7), mater-of-factly characterizes Qubilai as a wondrous manifestation of Mañjuśrī.57 While there maybe some question as to whether or not this association between Qubilai Khan and Mañjuśrī was accepted in his own lifetime, it became firmly established in later centuries and became a touchstone of later imperial authority. Thus Wutai shan became increasingly important within the Buddhist cosmology of China and Inner Asia as a locus of both religious and temporal power, even a source of political legitimation.

[page 24]

Chinese Ming (明) Dynasty

Figure 21. Fifth Karmapa Dezhin ShekpaKarma pa de bzhin gshegs pa (1384-1415). Ca. late 18th–early 19th century. 39 3/8 x 23 5/8 in. (100 x 60 cm). (After Pal 1984, Plate 92).

The conflation of the emperor with the deity Mañjuśrī may have subsided when Mongol rule in China was overthrown, and the Chinese established the native Ming dynasty (明, 1368-1644), and Tibetan Buddhism was not as prominent among the imperial elite; nonetheless, patronage of Tibetan Buddhism continued among the Chinese emperors and their court. Several Chinese Ming monarchs such as the Yongle (永樂, r.1403-1424) and Zhengde emperors were especially known for their devotion to Tibetan Buddhism, much to the dismay of their Confucian advisers, who worked hard to restore Chinese orthodox culture and social values in the wake of Mongol rule.58 This imperial Chinese patronage of Tibetan Buddhism during the Ming period is especially notable at Wutai shan, seen in the renovation and expansion of Clear Understanding Monastery (Xiantong si, 顯通寺, Ngönpar Selwé Lhakhangmngon par gsal ba’i lha khang; Fig. 4, no. 65) by the Yongle emperor in 1406 for the visit of a high Tibetan cleric, the Fifth KarmapaKarma pa (1384-1415), as part of his trip to visit [page 25] the Chinese imperial court (Fig. 21).59 Later the emperor sent a eunuch of the imperial court to have an image of the KarmapaKarma pa made and installed at Xiantong si,60 (Fig. 22) which became a center for the practice of both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai shan and can be seen as emblematic of Wutai shan as a unique site for the confluence of these traditions. The neighboring Great White Stūpa (Fig. 18; Fig. 4, no. 40) was also rebuilt in 1407 with donations made on behalf of the Fifth KarmapaKarma pa during his stay on the mountain.61

Figure 22. Clear Understanding Monastery (Xiantong si). Photograph by Gray Tuttle.
Figure 22a. Clear Understanding Monastery (Xiantong si). Photograph by Gray Tuttle.
Figure 23. Complete Illumination Monastery (Yuanzhao si). Photograph by Gray Tuttle.

Later, in 1414, TsongkhapaTsong kha pa’s (Zongkaba, 宗喀巴) famous disciple Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes also stayed at Xiantong si, as well as at Yuanzhao si (圓照寺, Küntu Khyappé LhakhangKun tu khyab pa’i lha khang; founded 1309; Fig. 23; Fig. 4, no. 66).62 Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes (Fig. 6) [page 26] lived on Wutai shan for four years and is credited with building five or six temples there and developing the GelukDge lugs church in both Chinese and Mongolian areas.63 Not long afterward, in 1426, the Chinese Xuande (宣德, r. 1426-1435) emperor officially designated Yuanzhao si’s abbot the manager of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist affairs on the mountain, effectively making this monastery the first GelukpaDge lugs temple in China.64 While literary evidence suggests that Tibetan oversight of major institutions at Wutai shan, like Xiantong si and Yuanzhao si, had already begun to appear in the fifteenth century under the Chinese in the Ming period, it was under the Manchus that this practice was formally established as imperial court policy in the seventeenth century.65

Figure 24. “Iron Bridge Man” Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po. Tibet; second half of the 15th century. Copper alloy with pigment. Nyingjei Lam Collection. L2005.9.63 (HAR 68496).

During this period a famous Tibetan cultural hero, the “Iron Bridge Man” (Chakzampa Tangtong Gyelpolcags zam pa thang stong rgyal po, 1361?-1485; Fig. 24) also went to Wutai shan, where he gave a reading transmission of the Litany of the Names of Mañjuśrī (Mañjuśrī [page 27] Nāmasaṃgīti) to an eager congregation of (Chinese?) meditators.66 Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po stayed on Wutai shan in meditation for eight months, during which time the five forms of Mañjuśrī appeared to him in a series of visions and spoke a prophecy instructing him to build geomantic focal points (often taking the form of stūpas) to suppress the four elements, another activity for which Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po became famous.67 Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po’s travels to Wutai shan are mentioned in early biographical materials such as his own edicts (kashokbka’ shog), suggesting that this was not simply a later embellishment.68

Second Conversion of the Mongols

It is at this time in the late sixteenth century that the Mongols underwent a second more deeply rooted conversion to Tibetan Buddhism. From this point on the Mongols would play a key role in the politics of Tibet, Tibetan relations with China, and imperial interest in Tibetan Buddhism into the modern period. Although Tibetan Buddhism was important for the imperial elite, especially during the later Yuan, when the Mongols returned to the steppe their connections with the dharma waned. However, the Mongols did not give up their connections with Tibet entirely, and one ambitious leader, Altan Khan (1507-1582), saw promoting Tibetan Buddhism as a strategy to overcome the tradition of primogeniture and thereby not only legitimate his power locally within Ordos, but also secure trade alliances with the Ming court.69 To this end Altan Khan invited a number of Tibetan teachers, [page 28] among them a famous monk of the relatively new GelukDge lugs monastic order, Sönam GyatsoBsod nams rgya mtsho (1543-1588), to proselytize among his people and was so impressed with the monk’s wisdom that he gave him the title “Oceanic Guru” (dalai lama, Talé Lamata la’i bla ma). The next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama was then recognized in the grandson of Altan Khan, a shrewd political move that bound the Mongols closely to GelukDge lugs interests.

This second conversion of the Mongols was so thorough that Tibetan Buddhism became part and parcel of their identity. This was a historical turning point in Inner Asian politics that would have serious consequences for the following generations. The Mongols became fiercely loyal to the GelukDge lugs order and were instrumental in establishing the Dalai Lama’s political rule over Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism thus became a cultural and political rallying point for the fractured Mongols as well as other Inner Asian groups and once again an important factor in empire building. Interestingly, as Elverskog observes, the last record of Chinese imperial patronage of Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai shan was made in 1522, which corresponded with the time of the second rise of the Mongols.70 As part of this strategy envisioning a Buddhist reunification of Mongolia, the earliest Mongol source that clearly links Qubilai Khan with Mañjuśrī, the White History (Chaghan Teüke), was “rediscovered” and circulated by Altan Khan’s right-hand man, Khutugtai Secen Khung-Taiji, and attributed to Qubilai Khan himself. However internal evidence suggests that this text dates to the late sixteenth century, when Altan Khan and his allies were embracing Tibetan Buddhism as part of their bid to reestablish the former glory of the Mongol empire.71

Manchu Qing (清) Dynasty

In 1644 the Manchus, another nomadic people from the northeastern steppe, seized power from the Chinese and founded the Qing dynasty 清, 1644-1911), and Tibetan Buddhism was once again made one of the official religions of the empire. Under the Manchus the visual language of Buddhist imperial rule was further refined and the concepts of sacral legitimacy given a finer point, with a special focus on the [page 29] cult of Mañjuśrī. Therefore Wutai shan figured much more prominently in Qing imperial ideology than in previous regimes.72

Manchus as Inheritors of the Mongol Legacy

Manchu interest in Tibetan Buddhism can be traced directly to Mongol patronage in the thirteenth century. Specifically it was the patron-priest relationship between Qubilai Khan and his Tibetan Imperial Preceptor Pakpa’Phags pa that was seen as a powerful model worthy of emulation in the Manchu court of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.73 Lacking the proper bloodlines to claim themselves as the descendants of Qubilai Khan, the Manchu rulers used the Tibetan Buddhist succession mechanism of reincarnation to declare themselves Qubilai Khan’s spiritual inheritors. By promoting themselves as emanations of Mañjuśrī, the Manchu emperors were essentially declaring themselves Qubilai Khan reborn. Wutai shan as Mañjuśrī’s abode was thus at the heart of the Manchu court’s bid for political legitimacy. This is especially significant as the incorporation of the Mongols into the Qing dynasty was critical to the survival of the Manchu Empire, and both the Chinggisid lineage (of Qubilai Khan) and Tibetan Buddhism were powerful symbols in the Mongol political vocabulary of the seventeenth century.74 This was but one of several mutually reinforcing strategies aimed at various subject and neighboring peoples in establishing and solidifying the Manchu’s multi-ethnic [page 30] empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.75 The Manchu rulers, by adopting certain personas, turned themselves into the representatives of the respective cultures, whether Chinese or Mongol, Confucian or Buddhist, legitimizing their position and appropriation of those cultural traditions by denying their image as outsiders who gained possession of them through force.76

Divine Rite to Rule: Emperor as Mañjuśrī

Figure 25. Kangxi emperor slaying a tiger. 1846 Wutai shan map detail.

In Mongol sources the Manchu connection to Mañjuśrī starts as early as the first Qing emperor Hongtaiji’s (Bokto Gyelpobog to rgyal po) reign (1626-1643), and shortly before the Manchus completed their conquest of China, Hongtaiji changed their ethnonym from Jurchen to “Manju” (manzu, 满族) in 1635. Thus, an etymology seems to have been engineered to claim its source in the very name “Mañjuśrī.”77 This language also plays into the much earlier Tang indigenous China-Mañjuśrī connection previously referred to. However, it is the Kangxi emperor (康熙, 1662-1723) who first refers to himself as Mañjuśrī in his preface to the officially commissioned Mongolian translation of the Tibetan Buddhist canon (1718-1720):

Then Mañjuśrī, the savior of all living forms, [with the] intellect of all the Buddhas, was transformed into human form, and ascended the Fearless Lion Throne of gold; and this was none other than the sublime Emperor Kangxi-Mañjuśrī who assisted and brought joy to the entire vast world...78

Such divine projections went much further than previous Mongol imperial Yuan dynasty claims in inscriptions on Buddhist monuments such as the aforementioned fourteenth-century Juyong Stūpa Gate. The Kangxi emperor [page 31] personally visited Wutai shan five times, an extraordinary number for an emperor, underscoring the close relationship between the new Manchu sovereigns and China’s state protector, Mañjuśrī, who resided there.79 Within depictions of these trips the figures of the Kangxi emperor and Mañjuśrī are subtly conflated, whereby the act of the emperor slaying a tiger is equated with Mañjuśrī’s subjugation of poisonous dragons in subduing the land (Fig. 25; Fig. 4, no. 64).80

Tibeto-Mongolian Control of Wutai shan

Figure 26. Pusa ding Monastery. 1846 Wutai shan map detail.

Under the Manchu Qing dynasty Wutai shan was given more autonomy in its affairs, functioning in a unique way within the empire, and its Tibetan and Mongolian clergy enjoyed a specially privileged position.81 Shortly after the Qing dynasty was founded the first forty Mongol lamabla mas were sent to Wutai shan in 1655, and the Kangxi emperor is said to have converted ten Chinese Buddhist monasteries into Tibetan and Mongolian institutions in 1683 or 1705, providing them with state financial support.82 The position of head of all religious and temporal affairs for both Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist institutions on Wutai shan was given to a Mongolian practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, the “Jasagh Lama” (zasag/jasag, Zhasa, 扎萨克, Dzasak Lamadza sag bla ma) with his seat at Pusa ding [page 32] Monastery (Fig. 26; Fig. 4, no. 14).83 As previously mentioned, Pusa ding Monastery had been a focus of imperial patronage since the eighth century and was the centerpiece of Qing imperial patronage on Wutai shan. As the administrative heart of this hierarchy, it is depicted at the center of the woodblock map much larger than the others, and its yellow-tiled rooftops, usually reserved for imperial palaces, stamps the monastery with an imperial identity.84

The first of these imperially appointed overseers of Wutai shan, Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang (Awang Laozang, 阿王老藏, 1601-1687), commissioned one of the objects in this exhibition (Cat. 13).85 In 1661 Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang revised the local gazetteer of Wutai shan, printed in 1887, shortly after the woodblock map in this exhibition was made (Cat. 1). It is interesting to note in this context that the map in the Rubin Museum of Art resembles the map contained in this gazetteer (Fig. 9). Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang also encouraged the writing of the first Mongolian-language guide to Wutai shan in 1667, and the blocks were carved at Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang’s seat Pusa ding Monastery (Fig. 4, no. 14), where the footprint woodblock (Cat. 13) was also carved and printed.86

The ethnic identity of Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang is an interesting question, as he is recorded in his official biography as having been born in Beijing in 1601, more than forty years before the Chinese capital city fell to the Manchus. As Tuttle convincingly shows below Ngawang was one of the Mongols who stayed behind after the collapse of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1368) to serve the Chinese Ming dynasty (1368-1644),87 suggesting that Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang was likely an ethnic [page 33] Mongol whose family had lived among the Chinese for several centuries.88 As both the text on this object and his biography in the Five-Peak Mountain gazetteer describe him as a lamabla ma (lama, 喇嘛), we know he was primarily identified as a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism.89 That the Manchu emperors would appoint a Tibetan Buddhist to manage Chinese as well as Tibetan Buddhist affairs at Wutai shan, when even at its height Tibetan and Mongolian monasteries (so-called “yellow temples” [huangmiao, 黄庙]) were outnumbered by Chinese temples (Qingmiao, 青庙) by approximately four to one,90 suggests the prominent position of authority that Tibetan Buddhism held at Wutai shan in particular and the Qing empire in general.

Tuttle enumerates how this newly emphasized importance of Wutai shan in Qing dynasty ideology is clearly reflected in literary production. Although none of the Ming editions of the local gazetteer were state sponsored, all of the Qing editions were, the prefaces now written by Tibetan Buddhists like Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang. The Manchus also heavily patronized Chinese Buddhist institutions at Wutai shan, and is shown below by Tuttle this language of imperial Mañjuśrī may not have been aimed solely at Tibetans and Mongols. Particularly telling is a passage identified by Köhle in the forward to the 1701 edition to the Chinese gazetteer to Wutai shan, the Record of Clear and Cool Mountain (Qingliang shan zhi) – a widely disseminated Chinese-language document paid for by the Qing state – [page 34] which subtly refers to the Kangxi emperor as Mañjuśrī, and the language is couched in such a way that suggests that it was directed at a Chinese Buddhist readership.91

This is a radical departure from previous thinking, which has always assumed that the Manchu court’s rhetoric of the emperor as Mañjuśrī was only directed at Inner Asian peoples such as Tibetans, Mongolians, and Manchus. However, when the emperor’s former palace was set up as a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing and renamed Yonghe Palace (Yonghe gong, 雍和宫) in 1745, the biography of the court chaplain Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje (Cat. 2) explained that this was to serve the Mongol and Chinese communities.92 Based on this, together with records of regulations for ethnic Chinese practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, Tuttle suggests that by the eighteenth century the practice of Tibetan Buddhism was encouraged among certain strata of the elite.93

Art and Politics: Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje

Figure 27. Portrait of the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1796) as the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. Mid-18th century. Emperor's face painted by Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), (Italian, 1688-1766). China; Qing dynasty; Qianlong reign. TangkaThang ka; ink and color on silk; H: 113.6 W: 64.3 cm. Freer Gallery, Purchase--Anonymous donor and Museum funds, F2000.4.

Embodying Manchu interests in Tibetan Buddhism and Wutai shan was the highest and most influential lamabla ma of Inner Asia and China in the eighteenth century, the Changja HutukhtuLcang skya hu thog thu Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje (Zhangjia Hutuketu Ruobi Duoji, 章嘉呼图克图若必多吉, 1717-1786; Cat. 2), who served as the emperor’s personal chaplain and played a leading role in recasting Wutai shan into a Tibetan Buddhist site. While the Dalai Lamas were at the top of the GelukpaDge lugs pa hierarchy, the ChangjaLcang skya Hutukhtus were closest to the imperial throne. They were placed in charge of all GelukDge lugs affairs east of Tibet, putting Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje on a par with the other high GelukpaDge lugs pa incarnations: the Dalai Lama, Penchen LamaPaṇ chen bla ma, and the [page 35] Jetsün Dampa HutukhtuRje btsun dam pa hu thog thus of Mongolia. He is best known for the enormous translation projects of the Mongolian and Manchu canons, but his influence in the areas of art and politics was more far reaching. He helped craft Manchu policies regarding Mongolia and Tibet, at times interceding directly with the emperor over political issues. In the realm of art Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje had a guiding hand in the formation of the Sino-Tibetan imperial Buddhist style of the Qing dynasty that would come to symbolize Manchu rulership. These works of art were carefully crafted during Qianlong’s reign (1736-1795) in the Chinese court, which put great emphasis on the power of symbols, to bolster Manchu legitimacy as successors to the Yuan Empire.

Figure 28. Tibetan mantras in Qianlong emperor’s tomb. Photograph by Kristina Dy-Liacco, 2003.

From childhood the young ChangjaLcang skya incarnation was educated with the imperial princes, among them Kangxi’s grandson, the future Qianlong emperor (Fig. 27). Together they studied Buddhist scripture as well as Chinese, Mongolian, Manchu, and Tibetan. This kind of close contact between monk and emperor from such an early age was unprecedented and allowed Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje to take a leading role at court and speak his monastic order’s interests directly into the ear of the emperor. Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje’s own incarnation lineage was carefully crafted to reflect that the patron-priest relationship between Qubilai and Pakpa’Phags pa was reborn, quite literally, in Qianlong and himself.94 In 1745 Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje initiated Qianlong into the Buddhist rites of the divinely anointed sovereign (cakravartin), as Pakpa’Phags pa did for Qubilai Khan centuries before. Later, when Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje translated Pakpa’Phags pa’s biography into Mongolian in 1753, he drew a direct parallel between the two acts, ruminating that he and the emperor had been connected through many lifetimes and states directly that Qubilai was the predecessor of Qianlong in the Mañjuśrī incarnation lineage.95 The Qianlong [page 36] emperor more than any other Manchu ruler realized the potential of patronizing Tibetan Buddhism, as is evidenced by the volume of images produced by the imperial workshops in the Tibetan style under his reign.96 The Qianlong emperor’s own tomb, covered in Tibetan mantras, letters, and symbols (Fig. 28) is a graphic expression of his deep seeded interest in the religion.97

Figure 29. Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’s burial stūpa. Taming the Ocean Monastery (Zhenhai si). Photograph by Gray Tuttle.

Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje helped the emperor craft a policy toward Tibet and Mongolia that underscored Manchu inheritance of Qubilai’s realm, both politically and symbolically, through the production of religious art, with a special focus on Mañjuśrī. As part of this larger campaign, Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje was an instrumental figure in giving Wutai shan a Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist identity, which is reflected so clearly on the woodblock map (Cat. 1). Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje spent thirty-six consecutive summers from 1750 until his death in 1786 in meditative retreat on Wutai shan at his seat there, Taming the Ocean Monastery (Zhenhai si, 鎮海寺, Gyatso Dülwé Lingrgya mtsho ’dul ba’i gling; Fig. 29; Fig. 4, no. 37).98 He had oversight of six temples on Wutai shan and was particularly involved with the Pule yuan (普樂院, Kündé Tselkun bde tshal; Fig. 4, no. 22), another important site for the practice of Tibetan Buddhism [page 37] on the mountain.99 Most significant, he wrote a Tibetan guide to Wutai shan, the Pilgrimage Guide to the Pure Realm of Clear and Cool Mountain (Zhing mchog ri bo dwangs bsil gyi gnas bshad), which was also translated into Mongolian and actively promoted pilgrimage to Wutai shan among the Mongols and Tibetans.100 While the guide is largely drawn from the content of Chinese gazetteers, it importantly re-situates Wutai shan into a larger Buddhist cosmology as one of the five “especially excellent sites of empowerment.”101 After his death on Wutai shan in 1786 he was buried at his local seat, Taming the Ocean Monastery, in a white stone stūpa, which became its own focus of pilgrimage (Fig. 29).

[page 38]

Portraits of Emperor as Mañjuśrī

Figure 30. Qianlong emperor as Mañjuśrī, detail of Fig. 27.
Figure 31. Ding Guangpeng. The Shuxiang Temple’s True image of Mañjuśrī. Hanging scroll, ink and colors on paper; 297.3 x 159.1 cm. National Palace Museum, Taipei. (After Berger [2003], p. 163, fig 55).

A graphic part of this politically charged Tibetan Buddhist imagery produced at court under Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje was the overt depiction of the Qianlong emperor as an emanation of Mañjuśrī (Fig. 30) and, by extension, of Qubilai Khan. In these paintings the attributes of Mañjuśrī are clearly displayed: the Book of Transcendental Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) and the sword that cleaves through the dark clouds of ignorance, resting on lotus blossoms at his shoulders. This is the traditional iconographic formula used to identify someone as the emanation of a deity or as the reincarnation of a predecessor in Tibetan Buddhist art. Further, in the Mañjuśrīmulakalpa, Mañjuśrī is described as “the great cakravartin-chief (the divinely anointed ruler)...he holds a great wheel which is turning...” reflected by the wheel (cakra) held in Qianlong’s own hand. Reinforcing this message are inscriptions in Tibetan on the front of the paintings, which states directly that the Qianlong emperor depicted here is:

[page 39]

Ṭīkṣṇa-Mañjuśrī, the great being (mahātma) who manifests as lord of men, king of Buddhist Law (dharma), may he be steadfast on the vajra throne, and [his] wishes be spontaneously fulfilled, and may he have great fortune.102

Seated prominently, in a large nimbus above the figure of the Qianlong emperor as Mañjuśrī incarnate, is Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje with an inscription “tsawé lamartsa ba’i bla ma,” or “root guru,” reinforcing their spiritual relationship and validating Qianlong’s role as Mañjuśrī, and Qubilai Khan. There is textual evidence that the conflation between Qianlong and Qubilai expressed in these paintings was known in Rölpé DorjéRol pa’i rdo rje and Qianlong’s lifetime. Moreover, their active part in promoting this politico-religious rhetoric can be found in the ChangjaLcang skya’s own writings, such as the aforementioned translation of Pakpa’Phags pa’s biography (1753), where it is stated outright. Like his grandfather the Qianlong emperor visited Wutai shan many times, and as Berger suggests it was likely around the time of his first tour of Wutai shan in 1750 that these images of Qianlong as Mañjuśrī began to be painted.103

It has been long assumed that these images of Qianlong as Mañjuśrī produced at the imperial court were only directed at a very small audience who could decode such cryptic iconography. But as Berger reveals, a large replica of the famous miraculous “true image” of Mañjuśrī on his lion at Wutai shan’s Shuxiang Monastery (Shuxiang si, 殊像寺; Fig. 4, no. 42) commissioned by the Qianlong emperor in 1761, which was placed in public view at Baoxiang Monastery (Baoxiang si, 寶相寺) outside Beijing (Fig. 31), was known in local Chinese folklore as an image of the Qianlong emperor as Mañjuśrī, suggesting that ordinary Chinese were well aware of this visual message as well.104 That the British diplomat Lord McCartney was told by a Tartar (Mongol) official during his 1793 embassy that the Qianlong emperor was an incarnation of Qubilai Khan also suggests that this association was well known.105 [page 40]

a. Royal Inheritance through Reincarnation in Tibet: The Fifth Dalai Lama

Figure 32. Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang (1617–1682) . Tibet; 18th century. Pigment on cloth; 70.625" h. x 40.5" w. Rubin Museum of Art. C2003.9.2 (HAR 65275).
Figure 33. Songtsen GampoSrong btsan sgam po (ruled 617-650). (From a set of the previous lives of the Dalai Lamas). Tibet, 19 century. Pigments of cloth; 29.875" h. x 19.25" w. Rubin Museum of Art C2004.38.1.
Figure 34. Potala Palace. Tibet.

Such use of royal Buddhist imagery was not an isolated incident during this period. At almost exactly the same time as the founding of the Qing Empire in the mid-seventeenth century in China, a very similar language of divine inheritance, the succession of past glorious empires through reincarnation, was being employed in Tibet. The Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682; Fig. 32), who came to power through Mongol military might in the 1640s, identified himself as an incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteśvara.106 This was a politically loaded choice, because not only was [page 41] Avalokiteśvara the patron deity of Tibet but also because the founder of the Tibetan Empire, Songtsen GampoSrong btsan sgam po (ruled 617-650), was considered his emanation (Fig. 33).107 By asserting himself as an emanation of Avalokiteśvara, the Dalai Lama was symbolically declaring that his was a divine kingship and more specifically that he was in the lineage of the Tibetan emperor who first united Tibet and thus positioned himself as the rightful inheritor of the old Tibetan Empire. To reinforce this association he built his own massive seat of power on the same hill (Red Hill [Marpo Ridmar po ri]) where once stood the palace of the Tibetan emperors of old and named it “Potala” (Fig. 34) after the earthly abode of Avalokiteśvara, Mount Potalaka. Some of the first instances of the Manchu emperors being referred to as the “Mañjughoṣa emperors” is found in a letter from the Fifth Dalai Lama to the Qing founder (Hongtaiji) in 1640s and 1650s,108 and one cannot help but wonder at the timing of the Dalai Lama’s use of such language in this communication to another ruler during his own rise to power, with the subtext reading “Tibet is ruled [page 42] by Avalokiteśvara (me) in the west, and China is ruled by Mañjuśrī (you) in the east – separate but equal.”109

Sixth Dalai Lama’s Exile on Wutai shan

Figure 35. Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang GyatsoTshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho (1683–1706/1746). Mongolia, 18th century. Mineral pigments on cloth; 29.5" h. x 14" w. Rubin Museum of Art C2004.37.2 (HAR 65384).

While the promotion of the cult of Mañjuśrī at Wutai shan by the Manchus could also be interpreted as an attempt to counteract the influence of the Fifth Dalai Lama among the Mongols, his own lineage and monastic order soon became heavily invested in Wutai shan. Many Tibetans and Mongolians believe that his successor, the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang GyatsoTshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho (1683-1706/1746; Fig. 35), a popular and controversial historical figure who was supposed to have died in custody en route to the imperial capital, secretly lived out his days in meditation in a cave at Wutai shan (Fig. 4, no. 63).110 The death of the Fifth Dalai Lama was kept hidden by his successor’s regent for many years, and the boy identified as his reincarnation was by then not interested in living the life of a renunciate. Instead he preferred archery and the company of women to his religious duties, and is fondly remembered to this day among Tibetans for his love poetry. This outraged the Kangxi emperor, who considered him illegitimate and ordered his arrest. As he traveled under armed guard toward Beijing he fell ill and died near lake Kokonnor in AmdoA mdo (Eastern Tibet, modern-day Qinghai Province [青海]), some suggest by poison. However, a secret biography (written in 1757) edited by [page 43] a Mongolian monk alleges that the Sixth Dalai Lama was spared by the Mañjughoṣa emperor, himself a bodhisattva, and allowed to live in exile on Wutai shan, meditating in a cave with his female attendant. This site, the Cave of Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin dong, 观音洞, Chenrezikkyi Pukspyan ras gzigs kyi phug; Fig. 4, no. 43), continues to be a very popular pilgrimage destination for both Tibetans and Mongolians.


[14] Bazhé ZhaptakmaSba’ bzhed zhabs btags ma (Bazhé Zhaptakma (Tsenpo Trisong Detsen dang Khenpo Loppön Pemé Dü Dongak Sosor Dzepé Bazhé Zhaptakma)Sba bzhed zhabs btags ma (btsan po khri srong lde btsan dang mkhan po slob dpon padma'i dus mdo sngags so sor mdzad pa'i sba bzhed zhabs btags ma)Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe, 1990), 93; Matthew Kapstein, The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism Conversion, Contestation, and Memory (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000), 72; citing the Testament of Ba (Sba gsal snang, Sba bzhed ces bya ba las sba gsal snang gi bzhed pa bzhugs [Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, Beijing, 1980], 8). This passage does not appear in other editions of the Sba bzhed/Sba’ bzhed published by the Austrian Academy of Science (H. Diemberger and Pasang Wangdu, eds., dBa’ bzhed: The Royal Narrative Concerning the Bringing of the Buddha [Vienna: Austrian Academy of Science], 2000) or R. A. Stein, Une chronique ancienne de bSam-yas, sBa-bžed (Paris: Institut des hautes études chinoises, 1961).
[15] Bdud ’joms ’jigs bral ye shes rdo rje [Dudjom Rinpoché], The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, trans. Gyurme Dorje (Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, 555. Of course it is quite possible that this reflects more the popularity of Wutai shan at a much later time when these historical texts were written down, in which the contemporary relationship with the mountain was being projected back into the past. Buddhajñānapāda (active eighth century) is also said to have set out for Wutai shan to meet Mañjuśrī (Dudjom Rinpoché, Nyingma School, 495). At about the same time Vimalamitra’s teacher, the master Śrī Siṃha, was said to have studied the doctrines of mantra on the five-peaked mountain of Wutai shan under the outcaste master Bhelakīrti (Dudjom Rinpoché, Nyingma School, 497). Some suggest that Buddhajñānapāda and Śrī Siṃha are one and the same person (Samten Karmay, The Great Perfection (rDzogs chen): A Philosophical and Meditative Teaching of Tibetan Buddhism [Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1988], 63, fn. 16). At other times Tibetan masters, such as the treasure revealer (tertöngter ston) Guru Chökyi WangchukChos kyi dbang phyug (1212-1270), traveled to Wutai shan in their dreams to receive teachings from Mañjuśrī (Dudjom Rinpoché, Nyingma School, 763). Later, in the fifteenth century, a Drigung’Bri gung monk ran away to Wutai shan. See: Elliot Sperling, “Early Ming Policy toward Tibet: An Examination of the Proposition that the Early Ming Emperors Adopted a ‘Divide and Rule Policy,’” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1983.
[16] “Then the king having gone to Five Peaked Mountain in China built one-hundred and eight temples” (de nas rgyal pos rgya nag ri bo rtse lngar byon nas lha khang brgya rtsa brgyad bzhengs so/). Butön RinchendrupBu ston rin chen grub, Deshek Tenpé Seljé Chökyi JungnéBde gshegs bstan pa’i gsal byed chos kyi ’byung gnas [Butön ChöjungBu ston chos ’byung; History of Buddhism in India and Tibet] (Beijing: Zhongguo Zangxue zhongxin, 1988), 183; Eugéne Obermiller, The History of Buddhism in India and Tibet (New Delhi: Paljor Publications, 1999), 185; Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan Fojiao yu Wutai Shan,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (1988): 16.
[17] Dorothy Wong, “A Reassessment of the Representation of Mt Wutai from Dunhuang Cave 61,” Archives of Asian Art 46 (1993): 38; citing the Old Tang Dynasty History (Jiu tangshu), 945, juan 17, Jingzong ji, juan 196, and Tufan zhuan [Liu Xu et al., Jiu Tangshu (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1975)]).
[18] Simple depictions of Wutai shan from this period can be found in Caves 159, and 361 (Wong, “A Reassessment,” 41). The Tibetan occupation of Dunhuang was from 781-848. During the eighth and ninth centuries the Tibetan empire ruled over large Chinese subject populations in the Hexi area. However, the phrase “Riwo TsengaRi bo rtse lnga” does not seem to appear in the oldest Tibetan documents (eighth-ninth centuries) published in Choix de documents tibetains a la Bibliotheque nationale.
[19] See Wong, “A Reassessment.” Chinese textual evidence suggests that murals of Wutai shan were already being painted in China during the late Tang period (ninth century?). Cave 61 is dated to ca. 947-957, and the major donor was a member of the local ruling Cao family, who were major patrons of Buddhist artistic projects in the area. Interestingly all of the donors listed in this cave are women. See Wong, “A Reassessment,” 28-29, 38. However, members of the Dunhuang Research Academy have recently revised the dating of the paintings in Cave 61 to the fourteenth century.
[20] Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 116.
[21] For a comparison of the Wutai shan woodblock to a contemporary gazetteer map (printed 1887) see: Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 109-10.
[22] Wong, “A Reassessment,” 45.
[23] The Tangut emperors presented themselves as sacral cakravartin rulers. The cakravartin, or “wheel turning king,” was a concept of sacral rule in India that was imported into Central and East Asia with Buddhism, whereby conquest was presented as a proselytizing tool, and thus gave the ruler divine sanction to expand his empire. Among the northern nomads the Tangut emperors were known as the Burqan Khan, or “Buddha Khan.” Christopher P. Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire (New York: Facts on File, 2004), 48.
[24] Gimello, “Wu-t’ai shan,” 506.
[25] The first record of Tangut patronage of sites on Wutai shan was in 1007, when the Tangut ruler made offerings at ten temples, and the earliest known references to the Tangut’s “Northern Wutai shan” date to the late eleventh century. Ruth Dunnell, The Great State of White and High: Buddhism and State Formation in Eleventh-century Xia (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1996), 35-36; Gimello, “Wu-t’ai shan,” 507.
[26] See Isabelle Charleux, “Mongol Pilgrimages to Wutai Shan in the Late Qing Dynasty,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5712; and Gimello, “Wu-t’ai shan,” 507.
[27] See for instance described below, as well as the history of the Pacification of Suffering (Zhijézhi byed) which, according to Dan Martin, also dates to the early thirteenth century, contained in the Zhijé Ngabarchi Sumgyi KorZhi byed snga bar phyi gsum gyi skor (Zhi byed snga bar phyi gsum gyi skor [The Tradition of Pha Dam-pa Sangs-rgyas: A Treasured Collection of His Teachings Transmitted by Thugs-sras-Kun-dga’], ed. with an English introduction by Barbara Nimri Aziz [Thimphu, Bhutan: Druk Sherik Parkhang, 1979]).
[28] Nyangrel Nyima ÖzerNyang ral nyi ma ’od zer, Katang ZanglingmaBka’ thang zangs gling ma (Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe, 1989), 32-33. On the author Nyima ÖzerNyi ma ’od zer, who was himself considered an incarnation of the “Dharma King” Tri SongdetsenKhri srong lde btsan, see: Dudjom Rinpoché, Nyingma School, 755-59. On the writings of Nyima ÖzerNyi ma ’od zer, see Dan Martin, Tibetan Histories: A Bibliography of Tibetan-Language Historical Works (London: Serindia, 1997), 30-32.
[29] Within this context Nyangrel Nyima ÖzerNyang ral nyi ma ’od zer refers to Tri SongdetsenKhri srong lde btsan as “an emanation of Mañjuśrī”: ’phags pa ’jam dpal gyi sprul pa rgyal po khri srong lde’u btsan/ (Nyi ma ’od zer, Katang ZanglingmaBka’ thang zangs gling ma, 32).
[30] According to Tibetan sources he traveled five times to Tibet, and on his fifth trip he traveled on to China for twelve years where he was known as “Bodhidharma.” Later in 1097 he returned to DingriDing ri where he founded a monastery, Dingri LangkhorDing ri glang ’khor (1097), and then passed away in 1117. On PadampaPha dam pa’s life and lineage see: George Roerich, Blue Annals (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1976), 867-78; Jerome Edou, Machig Labdrön and the Foundations of Chöd (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1996), 31-38; Chökyi SenggéChos kyi seng ge and GangpaGang pa, Padampa dang Machik Lapdröngyi NamtarPha dam pa dang ma cig lab sgron gyi rnam thar [Biographies of Dampa Sanggyé and Machik Lapdrön] (Xining: Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House, November 1992). Also see Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan Fojiao,” 17.
[31] In the earliest work devoted entirely to the history of the Pacification of Suffering, which dates to the early thirteenth century, contained in the Zhijé Ngabarchi Sumgyi KorZhi byed snga bar phyi gsum gyi skor, only brief mention is made of PadampaPha dam pa’s visit to Wutai shan (vol. 4, p. 325). I would like to thank Dan Martin for bringing this to my attention, as well as the early thirteenth-century dating of the text.
[32] tsi tsu sa ra zhes pa’i gtsug lag khang ’ga’ zhig bzhengs/. “TsitsuTsi tsu” appears to be a transliteration from Chinese (possibly zi zu or zi zai?), and “sarasa ra” from the Sanskrit for temple. Alternatively “TsitsuTsi tsu” could be a phonetic rendering of tsetsukrtse btsugs, “established [on] the peak.” I can find no other reference to this temple, and the most said even in Chinese secondary literature is that “He had a deep influence on Wutaishan’s magnificent temple architecture” (Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan Fojiao,” 18) but without further elaboration. This later elaboration can be found in: Chökyi SenggéChos kyi seng ge, PadampaPha dam pa, 50. A more detailed account of PadampaPha dam pa’s activities on Wutai shan, including the following story in the Blue Annals, can be found in: Chökyi SenggéChos kyi seng ge, PadampaPha dam pa, 49-51 and 55.
[33] Roerich, Blue Annals, 911-12; Depter NgönpoDeb ther sngon po, 809-10. One other reference to PadampaPha dam pa and Wutai shan is found in the Blue Annals: “I will stay with a Jñāna-​dakini on Wutaishan of China” (Roerich, Blue Annals, 898). Interestingly, despite the fact that it is stated that his meditative lineage exists in China (Wutai shan?), there do not appear to be any references to Padampa SanggyéPha dam pa sangs rgyas (Padangba Sangjie, 帕當巴桑结) in Chinese primary sources. He is commonly mentioned in modern Chinese secondary literature as the first historical figure to link Tibet and Wutai shan, but without any details. See for instance: Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan fojiao,” 17; Wang Lu, “Shengdi Qingliang shan zhi,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 2 (1990): 22; Wen Jinyu, “Wutai shan zangchuan fojiao yu min zu tuan jie,” Fojiao wen shi 2 (2003): 23.
[34] This staff is part of the woodblock, and can be seen on other printings, such as the one in Helsinki. However the color of the staff is not consistent between block prints. See for instance Harry Halén, Mirrors of the Void: Buddhist Art in the National Museum of Finland: 63 Sino-Mongolian Thangkas from the Wutai Shan Workshops, a Panoramic Map of the Wutai Mountains and Objects of Diverse Origin (Helsinki: National Board of Antiquities, 1987), 147. Note an old bearded sage rides by on a tiger – probably an emanation of Mañjuśrī.
[35] Chökyi SenggéChos kyi seng ge, PadampaPha dam pa, 51.
[36] Cave 61 is thought to date to 947-957. See Wong, “A Reassessment,” 29 and 37. Also see: Yanyi, Guang Qingliang zhuan [Extended History] (Taiyuan: Shanxi renmin chubanshe: Shanxi sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing, 1989), 1111; and Edwin Reishauer, Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law (New York, NY: Ronald Press Co., 1955), 246-47. The story of Buddhapālita’s encounter with Mañjuśrī is recorded in the gazetteer under the entry for the Vajra Cave (Jingang ku, 金剛窟, Dorjé Pukrdo rje phug; Fig. 4, no. 58).
[37] Evidence suggests that this story of PadampaPha dam pa’s encounter with Mañjuśrī is a later addition. This narrative does not appear in his earlier biographies, but only seems to appear in later sources, such as the Blue Annals (fifteenth century). Another example of such a conflation is the story of a Tang/Song dynasty official who mistakes Mañjuśrī for a lecherous monk and shoots him with an arrow. In later telling the official becomes the Kangxi emperor. See Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 124.
[38] One such example of an illustration of similar stories is a Chinese stone relief carving dating to the late ninth-tenth century which is inscribed in a suitably generic manor: “A foreign monk from the western country came to pay tribute to the Buddha. Mañjuśrī manifested himself in the body of an old man.” Wong, “A Reassessment,” 48, figure 24.
[39] Christopher P. Atwood, “Validation by Holiness or Sovereignty: Religious Toleration as Political Theology in the Mongol World Empire of the Thirteenth Century,” The International History Review 23, no. 2 (2004): 237-56.
[40] However, early sources do not seem to mention this trip, and only attest to Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita going as far as Liangzhou in Gansu Province (甘肃), where he died. For instance Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita is not mentioned going to Wutai shan in the brief account of his travel to the Mongol empire the fifteenth century Gyabö Yiktsang ChenmoRgya bod yig tshang chen mo, where it records his death at Huanhua Monastery (Tokgi Pakriltog gi spag ri, Huanhua si, 幻化寺) in LetöLas stod (Liangzhou, 涼洲; Peljor ZangpoDpal ’byor bzang po, Gyabö Yiktsang ChenmoRgya bod yig tshang chen mo [Thim phu: Kunsang Topgyel and Mani Dorji, 1979], 15r-15v; [Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe, 1985], 324; Chinese translation, 179). The earliest dated source that I am aware of which mentions Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita visiting Wutai shan is the early sixteenth century poetical telling of his life, the Sapen Tokjö Kelzang LeklamSa paṇ rtogs brjod bskal bzang legs lam, written in 1519, which only mentions that he went there and described what he saw (Sapen Tokjö Kelzang LeklamSa paṇ rtogs brjod bskal bzang legs lam [Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe, 1985], 202-203.) Interestingly, the author of this sixteenth-century account mentions the biography of Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita written by SapenSa paṇ’s personal physician BijiBi ji, which suggests that later sources like this one and the Sakyé DungrapSa skya’i gdung rabs were in part based on contemporary thirteenth-century sources now lost to us, and may not simply be later embellishments (I would like to thank Pema Bhum for bringing this to my attention).
[41] Dongdruk Nyempé LodröGdong drug snyems pa’i blo gros, Lenjü Depzhi Sokkyi KarchakLan jus sde bzhi sogs kyi dkar chag (Gansu Province: Minzu chubanshe, 1988), 59-73 (especially 62); Zhongguo ren min zheng zhi xie shang hui yi and Tianzhu Zangzu Zizhixian wei yuan hui, eds., Tianzhu zangchuan fojiao si yuan gai kung (Tianzhu, 2000), 235-245 (especially 239). This site also has five peaks, just like Wutai shan, and fits into the larger pattern of mirror/surrogate sites described above. Thanks to Gray Tuttle for sharing this information. Could this surrogate site near Liangzhou, where Sa PenSa paṇ died, be the source for the tradition of SapenSa paṇ visiting Wutai shan? Or is this comparison to the beauty of Wutai evidence that he had in fact visited Wutai shan? The historicity of Sa PenSa paṇ’s visit to Five-Peak Mountain remains unresolved.
[42] logs bris su ri wo rtse lnga’i gnas kyi bkod pa yod pa’i lha khang bcas lha khang gsar du bzhengs/. See: Dongdruk Nyempé LodröGdong drug snyems pa’i blo gros, KarchakDkar chag, 64; and Zhongguo, Tianzhu Zangchuan Fojiao, 240.
[43] In 1257 Chögyel PakpaChos rgyal ’phags pa wrote several important works while residing on Wutai shan; see Kurtis Schaeffer, “Tibetan Poetry on Wutai Shan,” paper given at the “Wutai Shan and Qing Culture” Conference at the Rubin Museum of Art, May 12-13, 2007. On Pakpa’Phags pa at Wutai shan see: Gao Lintao, “Basiba yu Wutai shan,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (2000): 25-26, 46; Zhou Zhuying, “Yuandai Dishi Basiba yi guan ta,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (2000): 27.
[44] Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan fojiao,” 18; Liu Yao, et al., Wutai shan lüyou cidian (Beijing: Tuanjie chubanshe, 1992), 227.
[45] Gao Lintao, “Basiba,” 26. One of these temples may include Youguo Monastery (Youguo si, 佑國寺, Yülsung Lingyul bsrung gling), founded in 1295. While DampaDam pa’s Tibetan biography has yet to be located (at least one by Ngor Khenchen Sanggyé PüntsokNgor mkhan chen sangs rgyas phun tshogs [1649-1705] is known to exist), several short biographies exist in Chinese sources such as A Comprehensive Registry of the Successive Ages of the Buddhas and the Patriarchs (Fozu lidai tongzai, 佛祖历代通載; written before 1340) and a shorter biography found in the official Yuan imperial history, the Yuanshi (chapter 202). DampaDam pa’s biography in A Comprehensive Registry of the Successive Ages of the Buddhas and the Patriarchs (chapter 22) mentions him building temples on Wutai. In 1293 a temple was built on Wutai shan in his honor for healing the emperor (Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan Fojiao,” 18).
[46] On DampaDam pa see: Elliot Sperling, “Lama to the King of Hsia,” The Journal of the Tibet Society 7 (1987); Elliot Sperling, “Some Remarks on sGa A-gnyan dam-pa and the Origins of the Hor-pa Lineage of the dKar-mdzes Region,” in Tibetan History and Language: Studies Dedicated to Uray Geza on His Seventieth Birthday, ed. Ernst Steinkellner (Wien: Arbeitskreis fur Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universitat Wien, 1991), 455-65; Elliot Sperling, “Rtsa-mi Lo-tsa-ba Sang-rgyas Grags-pa and the Tangut Background to Early Mongol-Tibetan Relations,” in Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 6th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies Fagernes 1992 (Oslo: Brill, 1994), 801-24; and Herbert Franke, “Tan-pa, A Tibetan Lama at the Court of the Great Khans,” in Orientali Venetiana I, edited by Merio Sabatini (Firenze, Italy: Leo S. Olschki, 1984), 157-80.
[47] What is described as “Pakpa’Phags pa’s” one thousand (jin, ) catty bronze sculpture of Mahākāla on Wutai shan is mentioned in Wen Jinyu, “Wutaishan Zangchuan Fojiao,” 23. Four centuries later when the Manchus declared themselves the rightful inheritors of the Yuan legacy they installed this same statue of the protective deity Mahākāla in the Manchu imperial shrine at Mukden in 1635. The 1638 dedicatory inscription reads: “Pakpa’Phags palamabla ma had cast the golden image of Gur Mahākāla made the statue an offering at Wutaishan...” Grupper, The Manchu Imperial Cult, 76, fn. 19.
[48] “The Third KarmapaKarma pa with Episodes from his Life,” ca. late sixteenth century (75 x 45.5 cm.), Hahn Cultural Foundation. Tanaka Kimiaki, ed., Art of Thangka from Hahn Kwang-ho Collection, vol. 2 (Seoul: Hahn Foundation for Museum, 1999), 114-15, no. 47. On this painting also see David Jackson, Patron & Painter: Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style (New York, NY: Rubin Museum of Art, 2009), 160.
[49] This was probably Toghon Temür (Wenzong, 文宗, r. 1328/9-1332), great grandson of Qubilai Khan. The Mongol emperor Toghon Temür is depicted in a beautiful contemporary cut silk appliqué (kesi, 缂丝) tangkathang ka, a monumental sized Yamantakamaṇḍala in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, closely dateable to circa 1328-1329. Interestingly this deity is also an emanation of Mañjuśrī.
[50] Gao Lintao, “Basiba,” 26. Anige was first brought from Nepal to Tibet for a Mongol imperial commission to construct a reliquary stūpa for Sakya PenditaSa skya paṇḍita in 1260, and so impressed Pakpa’Phags pa that he recommended Anige for service to Qubilai Khan. Anige rose to Supervisor-in-Chief of All Artisans at the Mongol court in 1273, and as the imperial construction apparatus was expanded Anige’s status only rose (on Anige’s life, see Jing Anning, “The Portraits of Khubilai Khan and Chabi by Anige (1245-1306), a Nepali Artist at the Yuan Court,” Artibus Asiae 54, no. 1/2 [1994]: 40-86).
[51] The Manchus also built a Great White Stūpa in Beijing (Beihai Gongyuan, 北海公园) dedicated to Mañjuśrī’s powerful tantric form, Vajrabhairava (Daweide Jingang, 大威德金刚). See Herbert Franke, “Consecration of the ‘White Stupa’ in 1279,” Asia Minor 7, no. 1 (1994): 155-183.
[52] Natalie Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” (Master’s Thesis, Harvard University, 2006), 73-119. New monasteries built in the Yuan include: Wansheng Youguo Monastery (Wansheng youguo si, 万圣佑国寺), Dayuanzhao Temple (Dayuanzhao si, 大圆照寺), Pu’en Monastery (Pu’en si, 普恩寺), Tiewa Temple (Tiewa si, 铁瓦寺, Lhakhang Chaktokchen Jawalha khang lcags thog can bya ba), Temple of Longevity and Tranquility (Shouning si, 壽寧寺, Takten Dechen Lingrtag brtan bde chen gling), West Shouning Temple (Xishouning si, 西寿宁寺), Protection of the Nation Monastery (Huguo si, 護國寺), Gold Lamp Temple (Jindeng si, 金灯寺), Wanghai Temple (Wanghai si, 望海寺), Spring Water Temple (Wenquan si, 温泉寺), Stone Stupa Temple (Shita si, 石塔寺), and Clear and Cool Monastery (Qingliang si, 清涼寺). Wen Jinyu, “Wutai shan zangchuan fojiao,” 24.
[53] Johan Elverskog, “The Mongolian Big Dipper Sūtra,” The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 29, no.1 (2008): 87-123.
[54] David Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva in the Governance of the Ch’ing Empire,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 38, no. 1 (1978): 12. The Juyong Stūpa Gate was constructed on the order of the last Mongol emperor in 1345 and its construction was supervised by the Tibetan cleric Namkha SenggéNam mkha’ seng ge (fourteenth c.). Stūpa gates such as these were used to mark the cardinal directions in delineating the sacred space of a city, like those found in the deity palace of a maṇḍala. This gate marked the road that led from the north from Mongolia to the Yuan capital Dadu (大都; Beijing), and a key military victory for the Mongols that gave them control of the North China plain.
[55] The straightforward reading of the Juyong Stūpa Gate inscription by Farquhar has been challenged by Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai Shan,” 3-5, who points out that the earliest clear identification of Qubilai with Mañjuśrī is in the sixteenth century. Still, for later generations this association was strong, and important in understanding the development of the state Mañjuśrī cult at Wutai shan. On the rest of the Juyong Stūpa Gate inscription see: Yael Bentor, “In Praise of Stupas: The Tibet Eulogy at Chu-Yung-Kuan Reconsidered,” Indo-Iranian Journal 38 (1995): 31-54.
[56] rje rin po che’i zhal nas/ se chen rgyal po de bsags pa tshad med pa mnga’ bas/ zil dpag tu med pa ’dug hor gyi rgyal rgyud la/ ’jam dpal gyi sprul pa ’byon par lung bstan pa de/ ’di yin nam m yin snyam nas/ gsang ba’i bdag po’i ting nge ’dzin gyis mnan pas/ non gyi ’dug ’jam dpal gyi sprul pa yin na zil gyis mi non gsungs//. Sönam ÖzerBsod nams ’od zer, Grub chen u rgyan pa’i rnam par thar pa byin brlabs kyi chu rgyun (Gangtok, 1976), 174; and Tamdrin TsewangRta mgrin tshe dbang, ed. (Lhasa, 1997), 242. While the language is somewhat softer in the Gangtok edition (using yöpayod pa instead of duk’dug), the content is the same for both texts.
[57] Per Sørensen, Guntram Hazod, and Tsering Gyalbo, Rulers on the Celestial Plain: Ecclesiastic and Secular Hegemony in Medieval Tibet. A Study of Tshal Gung thang, vol. 2 (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2007), 5b. Both these early references to Qubilai Khan as an emanation of Mañjuśrī were identified by Leonard van der Kuijp in “The Tibetan Expression ‘bod wooden door’ (bod shing sgo) and Its Probable Mongol Antecedent,” in Shen Weirong, ed., Wang Yao Festschrift (Beijing: Science Press 3, 2010), note 89. I would like to thank Professor van der Kuijp for sharing his manuscript before it was published.
[58] The Yongle emperor was the first Ming sovereign to establish significant ties with Tibetan patriarchs, and very recently there has been some acceptance that he was probably a believer in Tibetan Buddhism (see for instance James Watt and Denise Patry Leidy, Defining Yongle: Imperial Art in the Fifteenth- Century China [New York: The Metropolitan Museum, 2005]). The Zhengde Eperor was an enthusiastic patron of Tibetan Buddhism who took his zeal to a level few had dared. Not only did he study Tibetan Buddhist religious practice, but he also studied the Tibetan language. Wuzong (武宗, Rinchen Pendenrin chen dpal ldan, r. 1506-1521) even went so far as to style himself an emanation of the Seventh KarmapaKarma pa (Chödrak Gyatsochos grags rgya mtsho, 1454-1506), and adopted the Tibetan name Rinchen PendenRin chen dpal ldan (Elliot Sperling, unpublished paper presented at Fourth Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan studies, 1985). He built new temples within the Forbidden City (Zijing Cheng, 紫禁城), kept many Tibetan monks around him and even wore monk’s robes at court. This horrified the Confucians, who had to compete with the monks for the emperor’s ear. Much of this is omitted from the official accounts of his reign, which simply say that he was an ineffectual ruler “not interested in culture.” Testament to some of Zhengde’s religious interests are found in the form of an invitation letter sent in 1515 to the Eighth KarmapaKarma pa (Mikyö Dorjémi bskyod rdo rje, 1507-1554) preserved at TsurpuMtshur phu Monastery, and a detailed Tibetan account of the invitation mission in the Khepé GatönMkhas pa’i dga’ ston (See Hugh E. Richardson, “The Karma-pa Sect: A Historical Note. Part I,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1958: 139-64 and “The Karma-pa Sect: A Historical Note. Part II, Appendixes A, B, C,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1959: 1-18).
[59] Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 79; Hoong Teik Toh, “Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China” (PhD diss., Harvard University, 2004); Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje, Zhingchok Riwo Dangsilgyi Neshé Depé Pemo Gyejé Ngotsar Nyimé NangwaZhing mchog ri bo dwangs bsil gyi gnas bshad dad pa’i padmo rgyas byed ngo mtshar nyi ma’i snang ba (Xining: Mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1993), 122-124. A short biography of the Fifth KarmapaKarma pa can be found in the Five-Peak Mountain gazetteer by Zhencheng (1546-1617), Qingliang shan zhi [Record of Clear and Cool Mountain] (Yangzhou: Jiangsu Guangling guji keyin she, 1993 [1596, revised 1661]), 82.
[60] Zhencheng (1546-1617), Qingliang shan zhi, 82; Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje, Zhing mchog ri bo dwangs bsil, 126.
[61] The Great White Stūpa was rebuilt in 1567 by the Chinese empress dowager, and repeatedly in the Qing period by the Mongols (in 1703, 1887, 1895, 1905).
[62] Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes also renovated the Temple of Longevity and Tranquility (Shouning si, 壽寧寺, Takten Dechen Lingrtag brtan bde chen gling; Fig. 4, no. 72) while on Wutai shan. Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes was a personal attendant to TsongkhapaTsong kha pa, the founder of SeraSe ra (Sela, 色拉) Monastery, and the third of three main Tibetan patriarchs received by the Yongle emperor. A short biography of Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes can be found in the Wutai shan gazetteer by Zhencheng (1546-1617), Qingliang shan zhi, 83. A brief account of Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes’s dealings with the Ming court can be found in a history of SeraSe ra Monastery contained within Purchok Ngawang JampaPhur lcog ngag dbang byams pa, Drasa Chenpo Zhi dang Gyüpa Tömé Chaktsül Pekar TrengwoGrwa sa chen po bzhi dang rgyud pa stod smad chags tshul pad dkar ’phreng bo (LhasaLha sa: Tibetan Peoples Publishing House, 1989), 50-58. For more information on Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes and the court, see Elliot Sperling, “The 1413 Ming Embassy to Tsong-kha-pa and the Arrival of Byams-chen chos-rje Sha-kya ye-shes at the Ming Court,” Journal of the Tibet Society 2 (1982): 105-108 and Sperling, “Early Ming Policy toward Tibet,” 146-55; Huang Hao, Zai Beijing de Zangzu wenwu (Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 1993), 32-33; Heather Karmay, Early Sino-Tibetan Art (Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1975), 80-82; Cha har dge bshes blo bzang tshul khrims, Rje thams cad mkhyen pa tsong kha pa chen po’i rnam thar go sla bar brjod pa bde legs kun gyi ’byung gnas, in Blo bzang tshul khrims cha har dge bshes kyi gsung ’bum, vol. kha (New Delhi: 1971); and Tshe mchog gling yongs ’dzin ye shes rgyal mtshan, Byang chub lam gyi rim pa’i bla ma brgyud pa’i rnam par thar pa rgyal btsan mdzes pa’i rgyan mchog phul byung nor bu’i phreng ba (New Delhi: 1970).
[63] According to Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes’s biography in the history of SeraSe ra Monastery by Purchok Ngawang JampaPhur lcog ngag dbang byams pa (Purchok Ngawang JampaPhur lcog ngag dbang byams pa, Grwa sa chen po bzhi, 50-51), because Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes’s had cured the emperor from a serious illness “the six great monasteries of Wutai shan…were founded, and in all of those places he spread the practice of the GelukDge lugs order.” Some Chinese sources say five temples, while others say six. Li Jicheng, “Zangchuan Fojiao,” 18; Zhao Hong, “Huangjiao zai Wutai shan de chuanbo,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 2 (1988): 17.
[64] Zheng Lin, “Yuanzhao si fojiao jian shi,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 1 (1997): 21; Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Ri bo rtse lnga,” 17. Yuanzhao si was later associated with the Chinese master Qinghai (1922-90) who was a key figure in the recent revival of Tibetan Buddhism among the Chinese at Mount Wutai. See: Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Ri bo rtse lnga.”
[65] Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 80-83.
[66] See Cyrus Stearns, King of the Empty Plain: The Tibetan Iron-bridge Builder Tangtong Gyalpo (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2007), 316-20. Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po was famous for building fifty-eight iron chain-link suspension bridges throughout the Himalayas, hence his epithet “Iron Bridge Man.” According to an inscription on the back of this sculpture in Fig. 24, the image was blessed by Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po, and thus likely a contemporary “portrait.” The inscription reads: “[This] image of the siddha Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po contains (blessed) hand-barley of the lord himself” (grub thob thang stong rgyal po'i sku rje rang nyid gyi phyag nas bzhugs so/). This inscription is (miss-)translated as “This is the image of the siddha Thangtong Gyalpo, by his own hand” and stating that he was himself involved in the making of the image in David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection (London: Laurence King Publishing, 1999), 184. Sculptures of Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po said to have made by his own hands were kept in the JokhangJo khang in Lhasa. On Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po as an artist see Stearns, King of the Empty Plain, 44-46.
[67] Stearns, King of the Empty Plain, 319-20, and 557, fn. 865. Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po is said to have built one hundred and one stūpas.
[68] Stearns, King of the Empty Plain, 5. The biography translated by Stearns was written considerably after his life (1609). Tangtong GyelpoThang stong rgyal po then went on to meet the Chinese emperor in Beijing, who Stearns identifies as Yingzong (英宗, 1427-1464), emperor of both the Zhengtong (正统, 1436-1449) and Tianshun (天顺, 1457-1464) reigns (Stearns, King of the Empty Plain, 557, fn. 867). However, there is no confirmation of this in Chinese sources.
[69] Another important factor that motivated Altan Khan to invite Tibetan masters was a much more practical one: After the 1571 peace accord smallpox ran rampant due to the newly opened Sino-Mongol markets, and Altan Khan was seeking a tantric ritual cure to suppress the epidemic. Thus neither the reestablishment of the Tibet-Mongol connection or the Mongol conversion to the GelukDge lugs order was far from inevitable, nor was the Third Dalai Lama, the only player in this process, as is often depicted by later historians like the Fifth Dalai Lama. I would like to thank Johan Elverskog for this clarification. See also Johan Elverskog, Our Great Qing: The Mongols, Buddhists and the State in Late Imperial China (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2006), 107-108, 111-12. On the smallpox epidemic see: Johan Elverskog, “Tibetocentrism, Religious Conversion and the Study of Mongolian Buddhism,” in The Mongolia-Tibet Interface: Opening New Research Terrains in Inner Asia, eds. Hildegaard Diemberger and Uradyn Bulag (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2007), 59-81.
[70] This observation was made by Johan Elverskog at the “Wutaishan and Qing Culture” symposium in reaction to David Robinson’s work on the Inner Asian ruling complex and its continuation into Ming, which was then powerfully challenged once the Tibet connection was lost. See: David M. Robinson, “Politics, Force and Ethnicity in Ming China: Mongols and the Abortive Coup of 1461,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 59, no. 1 (June, 1999): 79-123.
[71] According to Atwood, “Validation by Holiness or Sovereignty,” 82, despite Khutugtai Secen’s claim, the text shows no connection in language or themes to real Yuan-era documents. Atwood concludes that the history is likely a late sixteenth-century utopia, retrojected to Qubilai’s time, envisioning Buddhist reunification of Mongolia. Thanks to professors Tuttle and Elverskog for bringing this to my attention.
[72] As Mark Elliot reflected in his comments at the “Wutaishan and Qing Culture” symposium this makes sense considering the way in which the Manchus came to power and exercised authority over a great deal of Buddhist Inner Asia, which the Ming did not.
[73] This is a bit of an oversimplification, as there was also a Chinese Ming-period link in this transmission, Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes (d. 1435), a fifteenth century Tibetan cleric who served as a preceptor to the Chinese emperors Yongle, Xuande, and Zhengtong (正统, 1436-1449). Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes’s role as preceptor at the Chinese court was perceived as important enough that he was recognized by the eighteenth century to be a reincarnation of the thirteenth-century SakyaSa skya Imperial Preceptor Pakpa’Phags pa, thus allowing the GelukpaDge lugs pa to usurp the SakyaSa skya prerogative of serving the emperor. See Sperling, “1413 Ming Embassy ,” 105-108; Elverskog, Our Great Qing.
[74] The Chinggisid lineage refers to the lineal descendants of Chinggis Khan (ca. 1162-1227), founder of the Mongol Empire. Descent from Chinggis Khan was for centuries a crucial factor in rulership throughout Inner and Central Asia, and even a prerequisite for claiming the title “khan” (See James Millward, Ruth Dunnell, Mark Elliot, and Philippe Foret, eds., New Qing Imperial History: The Making of Inner Asian Empire at Qing Chengde [London: Routledge, 2004], 96). Both the inheritance to the Chinggis legacy and patronage of Tibetan Buddhism on the Qubilai model were important to Mongolian nation building. Ligdan Khan (LekdenLegs ldan, b. 1588, r. 1604-1634), the last emperor of the Northern Yuan dynasty, aimed at centralizing Mongolian rule. As part of Ligdan’s bid to rebuild the Mongol state he attempted to revive the old Mongol-Tibetan (SakyaSa skya) alliance. In the colophon of the Mongolian translation of the Tibetan tripitika (KangyurBka’ ’gyur) he sponsored, he proclaimed himself Chinggis Khan. He also installed in his capital the Mahākāla image associated with Pakpa’Phags pa and the founding of Qubilai Khan’s empire (see above). Ligdan’s defeat in 1634/5 and the capture of the symbolically significant Mahākāla sculpture was a crucial step in the early development of Manchu power. See Atwood, “Validation by Holiness or Sovereignty,” 334-35. For more on the Mongol threat to the Manchu Empire see: Samuel M. Grupper, The Manchu Imperial Cult of the Early Ch’ing Dynasty: Texts and Studies on the Tantric Santuary of Mahakala at Mukden (PhD diss., Indiana University, 1979). Later, one of the greatest Manchu rulers, the Qianlong emperor (乾隆, 1711-1799), cited their close relationship with Tibetan Buddhism as an important factor in the submission of first the Khalkha Mongols in 1691, and then the return of the Torghut (Kalmuk) Mongols in 1771 (Grupper, The Manchu Imperial Cult, 94).
[75] On Manchu use of indigenous Mongolian political models see Elverskog, Our Great Qing.
[76] On the Manchu emperors taking on various cultural guises see: Wu Hung, “Emperor’s Masquerade – ‘Costume Portraits’ of Yongzheng and Qianlong,” Orientations 26, no. 7 (July/August 1995): 28; J. Rawson, Regina Krahl, Alfreda Murck, and Evelyn Rowski, China: The Three Emperors 1622-1795 (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2006), 248-51.
[77] Wang Junzhong, Dong Ya Han Zang fojiao yanjiu (Taibei: Dong Da tushu gongsi, 2003), 80-134. Before this the Manchus referred to themselves as the Jurchen and their empire as the Later Jin, after the Jin dynasty (金, 1115-1234) of Inner Asia which conquered North China. Elverskog (“Wutai Shan in the Mongol Literary Imaginaire,” paper given at the “Wutai Shan and Qing Culture” Conference at the Rubin Museum of Art, May 12-13, 2007) suggests that these models were originally taken from Mongol traditions by the Manchus, and not pushed onto the Mongols by the Manchus, which explains to some degree the Mongol receptivity and success of this program.
[78] Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva,” 9.
[79] For an in-depth analysis of these visits see Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?”
[80] Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 124; Chun Rong, “Cifu si,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 1 (1999): 22. This is the most often reproduced scene from Kangxi’s Western Tour (Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 124; and Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 93).
[81] Wutai shan was treated as a tributary territory within the Lifanyuan zili, wherein lamabla mas from Beijing, Jehol (Inner Mongolia) and Wutai shan enjoyed a privileged position. Vladimir Uspensky, “Legislation Relating to the Tibetan Buddhist Establishments on Wutai Shan during the Qing Dynasty,” paper given at the “Wutai Shan and Qing Culture” Conference at the Rubin Museum of Art, May 12-13, 2007. This special territorial status of Wutai shan within the Qing Empire can also be seen in the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s trip to Wutai shan in 1908, where he was able to interact with western diplomats in a way that he was not able to pursue previously as seen in Elliot Sperling, “The Thirteenth Dalai Lama at Wutai Shan: Exile and Diplomacy,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5720.
[82] The Kangxi emperor is generally attributed with converting ten Chinese monasteries to Tibetan Buddhism either in 1683, after his first two tours, or alternately in 1705, shortly after his fourth tour of the mountain. For instance see: Xiao Yu, “Pusading de fojiao lishi,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 1 (1996): 13. However as Köhle (“Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 77-78, fn. 14) points out, none of the secondary literature that makes this statement cites a primary source, and that this process of conversion was probably a more gradual process where the Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian traditions co-existed within these institutions.
[83] On the Mongolian title see Atwood, “Validation by Holiness or Sovereignty,” 617-18. For an outline of this title and its Manchu invention, see: Uspensky, “Legislation Relating to the Tibetan Buddhist Establishments.” From 1659 until 1937 Pusa ding Monastery was the seat of a succession of twenty-three Jasagh Lamas: Laozang Danbei (老藏丹贝), Laozang Danba (老藏丹巴), Yuzeng Shucuo (预增竖错), Dansheng Jiacuo (丹生嘉错), Laozang Queta (老藏缺塔), Zhangmu Yangdanzeng (章木样丹增), Quepei Daji (缺培达计), Chenlai Da’erlai (陈赖达尔来), Gailichen Pianer (改利陈片尔), Geshou Quebei (格兽缺培), Lama Nima (喇嘛尼嘛), Zhangmu Yang (章木样), Zhaya (扎亚), Longsang Danpian (罗桑旦片), Awang Qingba (阿旺庆巴), Zhangyang Mola (章样摩拉), Shaoba Chunzhu (少巴春柱), Xiaba Quebei (降巴缺培), Awang Sangbu (阿旺桑布), Jiachan Sangbu (加禅桑布), Luosang Basang (罗桑巴桑), Awang Yixi (阿旺益西). Zhao Peicheng, “Shitan Wutai shan zangchuan fojiao yu jingangshenwu,” Yizhou Shifan Xueyuan xuebao 20, no. 4 (August 2004): 39. According to Zhao the first six were imperially appointed from Protection of the Nation Monastery (Huguo si, 護國寺), Chongguo Monastery (Chongguo si, 崇國寺) in Beijing, whereas subsequent appointments were made by the Dalai Lama (Zhao Peicheng, “Shi tan Wutai shan zangchuan fojiao”). Huguo si (“Protection of the Nation Monastery”) was a center for Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing in the Ming and Qing periods.
[84] Interestingly, the other main imperially sponsored temple, Tailu Monastery (Tailu si, 臺麓寺), headed by the “Da Lama” (da lama, 大喇嘛), appears tiny in the bottom right corner of the map (Fig. 4, no. 70). The colorings on other printings of the map, such as the one in Helsinki, plot the ten imperial monasteries more carefully, giving them each yellow roves. See Chou, “Ineffable Paths,” 109.
[85] On Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang see: Toh, “Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China,” 229-37; Jie Lüe, “Qingliang laoren Awang Laozang ta ming,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 1 (1996): 35-36; Cui Zhengsen, “Qingliang laoren Awang Laozang,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 3 (1999): 27-30.
[86] Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva,” 30. There is a possible error in the date of the colophon of the Mongol edition, and may actually date to 1721.
[87] Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai Shan.” Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang was originally from Höhhot, now the capital of Inner Mongolia. On the Mongol use of the surname Jia (), see Farquhar, “Emperor as Bodhisattva,” 8, note 17, quoting David Robinson’s work on Ming military records. Also see Henry Serruys, Sino-J̌ürčed Relations during the Yung-Lo Period, 1403-1424 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1955); “Remnants of Mongol Customs during the Early Ming,” Monumenta Serica 16 (1957): 137-90; “Mongols Ennobled During the Early Ming,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 22 (December 1959): 209-60; “A Manuscript Version of the Legend of the Mongol Ancestry of the Yongle Emperor,” Analetica Mongolica 8 (1972); Sino-Mongol Relations during the Ming vol. 1-3 (Bruxelles: Institut belge des hautes études chinoises, 1967; rpt. 1980); The Mongols in China during the Hung-wu period, 1368-1398 (Bruxelles: Institut belge des hautes études chinoises, 1980); and The Mongols and Ming China: Custom and History, ed. Francoise Aubin (London: Variorum Reprints, 1987).
[88] It has also been suggested that he was ethnically Chinese (Toh, “Tibetan Buddhism in Ming China,” 231, fn. 3) or even a Manchu (Gao Lintao, “Huangjiao zai Wutai shan de chuanbo,” Cangsang 1-2 [2004]: 96). However, further supporting evidence that Ngawang LozangNgag dbang blo bzang was a sinocized Mongol is suggested by the fact that his own teacher was a Sinocized Mongol lamabla ma, Lozang Tenpé GyeltsenBlo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan (1632-1684), who had entered service under the Ming. See Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” M.A. Thesis, 14, fn. 23, citing the Zhencheng (1546-1617), Qingliang shan zhi, juan 7, 24b.
[89] His biography in the local gazetteer of Wutai shan, the Record of Clear and Cool Mountain (Qingliang shan zhi), records that he became a monk at age ten, received ordination at age eighteen, and investigated thoroughly and understood yoga of esoteric Buddhism (Yujia mifa, 瑜伽密法; 10岁出家,18岁受具戒,究明瑜伽密法。). See Zhencheng, Qingliang shan zhi, 102-103.
[90] According to a Chinese census taken in 1956 there were 124 temples and monasteries, ninety-nine being Chinese Buddhist, and twenty-five Tibetan and Mongolian. It does not say how these affiliations were designated, or how institutions that incorporated both traditions were counted. See Wang Xiangyun, “Wutai shan yu zangchuan fojiao,” Tsinghua University, http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/docsn/lsx/learning/Meeting/Complete/wangxiangyun.pdf, 6 [no longer available].
[91] Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai Shan.” This passage was first identified by Natalie Köhle in her M. A. Thesis, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 25-31; and Köhle, “Why Did the Kangxi Emperor Go to Wutai Shan?” 87.
[92] This was the Yongzheng emperor’s (雍正, 1678-1735, r. 1722-1735) former palace. See Tukwan Chökyi NyimaTu’u bkwan chos kyi nyima, Changja Rölpé Dorjé NamtarLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’i rnam tar (Gansu Province: People’s Publishing House, 1989), 220.
[93] For more on Tibetan Buddhist temples in Beijing see: Susan Naquin and Chün-fang Yü, Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992), 341-45, 584-91. Note that Naquin (Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China, 341, 584) treats Tibetan Buddhism as a foreign religion, comparing them to the Catholics, and like them were forbidden to proselytize among the Chinese, and its spread to the Chinese lay community discouraged. Rather it was to foreigners like Mongol Bannerman, Manchus, and (Manchu) court members that they ministered to. Nonetheless she counts fifty-three Tibetan Buddhist temples in the greater Beijing area in the late eighteenth century.
[94] This included adjusting the Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’s incarnation lineage to include both the thirteenth century SakyaSa skya Imperial Preceptor to Qubilai Khan, Pakpa’Phags pa, and the fifteenth-century cleric to the Chinese Ming court, Shakya YeshéShākya ye shes, thus allowing the GelukpaDge lugs pa to usurp the SakyaSa skya prerogative of serving the emperor.
[95] E. Gene Smith, “Introduction,” in The Collected Works of Thu’u-bkwan blo-bzang-chos-kyi-nyi-ma vol. 1, 1-12 and appendix I and II (Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo, 1969), 6. Qubilai is also clearly placed within Qianlong’s incarnation lineage written by the Sixth Penchen LamaPaṇ chen bla ma. See Vladimir Uspensky, “The Previous Incarnations of the Qianlong Emperor According to the Panchen Blo bzang dpal ldan ye shes,” in Tibet, Past and Present: Tibetan Studies I, Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies Leiden 2000, edited by Henk Blezer (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 221 and 225.
[96] Patricia Berger, “Preserving the Nation: The Political Use of Tantric Art in China,” in Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism 850-1850, edited by Marsha Weidner (Spencer: Spencer Museum of Art, 1994), 118.
[97] For a discussion of the Qianlong emperor’s tomb, see: Francoise Wang-Toutain, “Qianlong’s Funerary Rituals and Tibetan Buddhism: Preliminary Reports on the Investigation of Tibetan and Lantsa Inscriptions in Qianlong’s Tomb,” in Studies in Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Art. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology & Art, Beijing, September 3-6, 2004, edited by Xie Jisheng, Shen Weirong, and Liao Yang (Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2006), 130-69.
[98] Zhou Zhuying, “Zhenhai si de jian zhu yu cai su yi shu,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (2003): 15-22. First he resided at the Cave of Sudhana (Shancai dong, 善財洞, Norzang Druppuknor bzang sgrub phug; Fig. 4, no. 69), Vajra Cave (Fig. 4, no. 58), and Pusa ding (Fig. 4, no. 14), then later made Taming the Ocean Monastery (Fig. 4, no. 37) his regular residence. Zhao Peicheng, “Shi tan Wutai shan Zangchuan Fojiao,” 39; Xiao Yu, “Zhangjia Hutu yu Wutai shan Fojiao,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (1990): 13. On Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’s tenure on Wutai shan see: Ma Lianlong, “Sanshe Jiangjia Guoshi zhu xi Wutai shan shi lue,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 3 (1989): 35-38; Xiao Yu, “Zhangjia Hutu,” 13-17; and Wang Jianmin, “Zhenhai si Zhangjia Ruobi Duoji lingta kaolüe,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 1 (2002): 35-41.
[99] Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje had jurisdiction over six monasteries on Wutai shan: Taming the Ocean Monastery (Fig. 4, no. 37), the Pule yuan (Fig. 4, no. 22), Jifu Monastery (Jifu si, 集福寺, Getsok Lingdge tshogs gling), Cifu si (慈福寺, Jamgé Lingbyams dge gling; Fig. 4, no. 21) – where the map (Cat.1) was made, Wenshu Monastery (Wenshu si, 文殊寺), and Guanghua Monastery (Guanghuahou si, 廣化睺寺, Yongdül Lingyongs ’dul gling). The Jasag lamabla ma managed the other twenty. Wang Lu, “Wutai shan yu Xizang,” Wutai shan yanjiu, no. 4 (1995): 25; Wen Jinyu, “Wutai shan Zangchuan Fojiao,” 26.
[100] Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje, Zhing mchog ri bo dwangs bsil gyi gnas bshad. On its Mongolian translation, see: Walther Heissig, Die Pekinger lamaistischen Blockdrucke in mongolischer Sprache; Materialien zur mongolischen Literaturgeschichte (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1954), 163-65. However, it is unclear if this Mongolian text is indeed a direct translation of Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’s text, or an adaptation connected with Tukwan Chökyi NyimaTu’u bkwan chos kyi nyima. I would like to thank Gene Smith for this information. Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje’s guide was more recently translated into Chinese: Wang Lu, “Shengdi Qingliang shan zhi,” 7-48.
[101] Bodhimaṇḍa in the center, Wutai shan in east, Potala in south, Udyana in west, and Shambhala in north. Chou, “Ineffable Paths”; and Wen-shing Chou, “Fluid Landscape, Timeless Visions, and Truthful Representations: A Sino-Tibetan Remapping of Qing-Dynasty Wutai Shan,” paper given at the “Wutai Shan and Qing Culture” Conference at the Rubin Museum of Art, May 12-13, 2007.
[102] ’jam dpal rnon po mi’i rje bor/ rol pa’i bdag chen chos kyi rgyal/ rdo rje’i khri la zhabs brtan cing/ bzhed don lhun grub skal ba bzang/. See for instance: in the Freer-Sackler Gallery (F2000.4); and the National Palace Museum, Cultural Relics of Tibetan Buddhism Collected in the Qing Palace (Hong Kong: Forbidden City Press, 1992), pl. 32.
[103] Patricia Berger, “The Jiaqing Emperor’s Magnificent Record of the Western Tour,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011), http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5711.
[104] Berger, “Preserving the Nation,” 161-63, and figure 55. The (carving and) worship of this stone image was presided over by Changja Rölpé DorjéLcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje (Wang Jianmin, “Zhenhai si Zhangjia Ruobi Duoji lingta kaolüe,” 36; Ma Lianlong, “Sanshe Jiangjia Guoshi,” 36). For more on potential Chinese audiences for imperial activity on Wutai shan, including Tibetan Buddhist, see Tuttle, “Tibetan Buddhism at Wutai Shan,” 17-20.
[105] On Lord McCartney’s 1793 embassy, see: James Hevia, Cherishing Men From Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995); and Uspensky, “The Previous Incarnations.”
[106] The Fifth Dalai Lama’s History of Tibet (1643) says that the Mongol leader who placed him in power, Gushri KhanGüüshi Khan (1582-1655), ruled over a unified Tibet, not the Dalai Lama himself. Later Tibetan sources (for example, Dkon mchog bstan pa rab rgyas, Domé ChöjungMdo smad chos ’byung [History of Amdo] [Gansu: Minzu chubanshe, 1987]) are very clear that the Dalai Lama was only given control of the thirteen myriarchies of central Tibet, the same as the SakyaSa skya and PakmodruPhag mo gru in the thirteenth-fourteenth and fourteenth-early seventeenth centuries. Some later Tibetan historians (for example, Shakabpa) claimed that the Fifth Dalai Lama ruled a much greater territory analogous to the old Tibetan Empire. See: Derek Maher, “An Examination of a Critical Appraisal of Tsepön Shakabpa’s One Hundred Thousand Moons,” paper given at the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Bonn, Germany, August 27-September 2, 2006; Derek Maher, “The Dalai Lamas and State Power,” Religion Compass 1, no. 2 (2007): 260-788. I would like to thank Gray Tuttle for this clarification. On the Dalai Lama’s identification with Avalokiteśvara, see Ishihama Yumiko, “On the Dissemination of the Belief in the Dalai Lama as a Manifestation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara,” Acta Asiatica 64 (Jan. 1993): 38-56; and Matthew Kapstein, “Remarks on the Maṇi bKa’-’bum and the Cult of Āvalokiteśvara in Tibet,” in Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation, edited by Steven D. Goodman and Ronald M. Davidson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), 79-94. On the Fifth Dalai Lama’s participation/compliance in the Mongol violence that brought him to power, see: Elliot Sperling, “‘Orientalism’ and Aspects of Violence in the Tibetan Tradition,” in Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections, and Fantasies, edited by Thierry Dodin and Heinz Rather (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001).
[107] This is indicated by the small Amitābha Buddha’s head peaking out of the emperor’s turban.
[108] There are two letters addressed to the founder of the Qing (Gongma Gyelpo HongdiGong ma rgyal po hong di) in the collected letters of the Fifth Dalai Lama (published separately as correspondence of the Fifth Dalai Lama to persons in China, Tibet, Mongolia, and so forth: Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, Rgya bod hor sog gi mchog bar pa rnams la ’phrin yig snyan ngag tu bkod pa rab snyan rgyud mang [Xining: Minzu chubanshe, 1993]). The first letter (pp. 91-93) is undated (the 1640 letter?), and a second letter (pp. 168-71) is dated to 1655, both of which refer to the Manchu ruler (referred to within the text as the “lord” in a title combining Mongolian and Tibetan: Bokto GyelpoBog to rgyal po [Hongtaiji]) as the Mañjughoṣa emperor (Jamyang Gongma’jam dbyangs gong ma). This reference to Mañjuśrī likely stems from the prophecy contained in the Bka’ thang zangs gling ma (by the treasure revealer Ngadak Nyangrel Nyima ÖzerMnga’ bdag nyang ral nyi ma ’od zer – see footnote 28 above), which the Fifth Dalai Lama was quite fond of. There is also a 1640 entry in the Fifth Dalai Lama’s autobiography (vol. 1, f. 94r) which refers to him sending one a letter to Hongtaiji (who he again refers to as the Bokto GyelpoBog to rgyal po), but it is not clear if this is in reference to the same letter. I would like to thank Gene Smith for this information. There is also documentary evidence that suggests Tibetan lamas were proselytizing in Manchu territories in the early seventeenth century. One can trace Manchu aspirations to rule in the Mongol model to Qing Taizi (r. 1616-1626) and his relationship to his lama, Olug Darhan Nangso, from whom he received initiation prior to 1621. See Grupper, The Manchu Imperial Cult, 51. On Manchu use of indigenous Mongolian models see Elverskog, Our Great Qing.
[109] This interpretation is strongly suggested by the fact that the Fifth Dalai Lama wrote into the biography of the Third Dalai Lama (the great proselytizer of Tibetan Buddhism among the Mongols), which he was writing on route to the Qing court, a prediction of Manchu rule in China. Elverskog, “Wutai Shan in the Mongol Literary Imaginaire.”
[110] On this secret biography of the Sixth Dalai Lama see: Piotr Klafkowski, “Dharmatala’s History of Buddhism in Mongolia as an Unknown Account of the Life of the Sixth Dalai Lama,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarm Hungaricae 34, nos. 1-3 (1980): 69-74; and Michael Aris, Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives: A Study of Pemalingpa, 1450-1521, and the Sixth Dalai Lama, 1683-1706 (London; New York: Kegan Paul, 1989), 198-99.

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Karl Debreczeny, “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): , http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).

Note Citation for Whole Article

Karl Debreczeny, “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 1-133, http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).

Bibliography Citation

Debreczeny, Karl. “Wutai Shan: Pilgrimage to Five-Peak Mountain.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 1-133. http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5714 (accessed ).