Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Khardo Hermitage
by José Ignacio Cabezón
January 30, 2006
Section 5 of 5

Notes

[1] Most of the account of Khardo Hermitage (Khardo RitröMkhar rdo ri khrod) is based on an extensive interview with a former monk of the monastery conducted in LhasaLha sa in 2004. This informant states that there exists a catalogue (karchakdkar chag) for the hermitage (ritröri khrod) written by its founder, Khardo Zöpa GyatsoMkhar rdo bzod pa rgya mtsho (1672-1749), but this text was not available to me; neither is it mentioned in the TBRC database entry that lists Zöpa GyatsoBzod pa rgya mtsho (1672-1749)’s texts.
[2] Or it may be that the informant said Khrungs ba’i bla ri, in which case it would be “Birth Soul Mountain.”
[3] The spelling of this name is conjectural. If it is accurate, it means The Cave That Is a Place of Worship.
[4] When the Khardo LamaMkhar rdo bla ma found the texts, he asked for 100 monks to be sent from the Lhopa Regional House (Lhopa KhangtsenLho pa khang tshan) of SeraSe ra to help carry them away, but the regional house (khangtsenkhang tshan) only sent one monk. As a result, only the volume of the Sūtra of Good Fortune (Do KelzangMdo skal bzang) was recovered from the cave (the rest presumably disappeared because they were not disinterred in time). This special volume of the Sūtra of Good Fortune apparently still exists, being kept at SeraSe ra Byes.
[5] Both the spelling and the meaning of this term are unclear.
[6] Réne de Nebesky-Wojkowitz has described this machine in his Oracles and Demons of Tibet (Taipei: SMC Publishing, nd), 493, where he calls it “the Mill of the Shinjé” (Shinjé Rangtakgshin rje’i rang thag): “It consists of two millstones. The lower is firmly fixed, the upper one can be turned with the help of a handle. Into the surface of the upper stone has been chiseled a number of powerful mantras. The gShin rje rang thag serves as an instrument to kill the leader of a hostile party, and it may be turned only by a learned, high-ranking priest specially nominated by the authorities. In the initial stages of this action the priest has to concentrate his thoughts upon a few seeds of white mustard, into which he tries to transfer the ‘life-essence’ (srog snying) of the enemies. As soon as certain secret signs indicate that this process has been successfully accomplished, he has to place the seeds between the millstones and grind them under the chanting of mantras. Tradition alleges that turning the gShin rje rang thag is a process dangerous even to the person who handles the mill, and several priests who have carried out this task are said to have died soon afterwards.”
[7] The word gong ma can mean “upper/higher,” but it can also refer to the emperor (in this case, the Dalai LamaDa lai bla ma). Either interpretation makes sense, given that this building (a) is higher on the mountain than the main compound, and (b) was constructed as a residence for the Seventh Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso (Dalai Lama Kutreng Dünpa Kelzang GyatsoDa lai bla ma sku phreng bdun pa bskal bzang rgya mtsho) when he came to visit his teacher Zöpa GyatsoBzod pa rgya mtsho.
[8] This is the date given by Dung dkar blo bzang ’phrin las, Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo (Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 2002), 432. However, according to an informant, Zöpa GyatsoBzod pa rgya mtsho lived at the site from the time he was 24 years old (that is, from 1796/7), and perhaps even a few years before that.
[9] The details of the life of the various KhardoMkhar rdo incarnations that follow are based on an informant’s account. For a slightly different version of the life of KhardowaMkhar rdo ba, see the Introduction to the Hermitages.
[10] On this figure, see the Introduction to the Hermitages.
[11] See above concerning the miracle associated with the Great Heap of Light Cave.
[12] One of these, Nakchu Zhapten GönpaNag chu zhabs brtan dgon pa, eventually came under the aegis of the Drupkhang Lama’s estate (Drupkhang labrangSgrub khang bla brang).
[13] From this point on, there has been an important connection between DrapchiGrwa bzhi and KhardoMkhar rdo. For example, only the KhardoMkhar rdo rituals are performed at DrapchiGrwa bzhi even though the temple itself belongs to the Purchok Lama’s estate (Purchok labrangPhur lcog bla brang).
[14] The spelling of this word is uncertain. Alternatives include Gachö YingDga’ spyod dbyings and Khachö YingMkha’ spyod dbyings.
[15] This is the seventh Khardo incarnation Jampel Tendzin Nyendrak Gyatso (Khardo Kutreng Dünpa Jampel Tendzin Nyendrak GyatsoMkhar rdo sku phreng bdun pa ’jam dpal bstan ’dzin nyan grags rgya mtsho).
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Khardo Hermitage , by José Ignacio Cabezón

Table of Contents

  1. Location and Layout
  2. History
  3. Ritual Cycle
  4. Glossary
  5. Notes
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