Drupal blog posts http://tibetanlaw.org/blog en Urgyen Lingpa: political and legal sceptic http://tibetanlaw.org/node/58 <span>Urgyen Lingpa: political and legal sceptic</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/04/2018 - 14:27</span> <div><p><span><span><span>Urgyen Lingpa (O rgyan gling pa, born c. 1323) is most famous for his revelation of twenty-eight treasure troves, which include the <em>Pema Katang</em> (Padma bka’ thang) and the <em>Five Chronicles</em> (bKa’ thang sde lnga).</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span> About his life, little is known. However, as Matthew Kapstein (2000: 166–67) comments, some of the ‘prophetic’ passages in the Pema Katang amount to a direct commentary on the political situation in the mid-fourteenth century. This lends some credence to the claims of his hagiographers that he was the object of political persecution (eg. Dudjom Rinpoche 2002: 775–79). </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Urgyen Lingpa" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f1ba9c26-bb1c-41e4-9b1d-e5b9968578ea" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20UL%201.jpg" /><figcaption>Urgyen Lingpa</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>Passages ostensibly about the imperial period can, for example, be read as criticism of contemporary laws that were not properly made or applied. It seems that Urgyen Lingpa was quite critical of the Yuan, who then controlled Tibet’s administration.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Chapter 67 of the Pema Katang concerns Tri Song Detsen’s (Khri Srong lde btsan) law-making.<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> It starts with a fairly standard account of how the king establishes the religious and royal laws, like a silken knot and a golden yoke. Other religious histories, such as the twelfth-century Pillar Testament (<em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em>)<em> </em>and the <em>rGyal rabs gsal ba’i me long</em> of Lama Dampa (nearly contemporaneous with Urgyen Lingpa), contain similar accounts and emphasize congruence between the royal laws, the ten virtues, and the sixteen moral principles (the <em>mi chos chen mo bcu drug</em>). Urgyen Lingpa, by contrast, follows his account with a quite prosaic discourse on proper behaviour. For example:</span></span></span></p> <ul><li><span><span><span>Children should learn how to understand, write, and read.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Tantric practitioners should attend birth rituals,</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Nurses should give assistance and medical treatment to the sick.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Do not allow old people to become sad, but treat them with respect.</span></span></span></li> </ul><p><span><span><span>His tone can be harsh:</span></span></span></p> <ul><li><span><span><span>If there is no law in the land (<em>yul khrims</em>), the wicked oppress others.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Banish them by beating them with sticks (or) fetter them with neck ropes.</span></span></span></li> </ul><figure role="group"><img alt="Tri Song Detsen" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1dcf7bfc-4fd2-4146-a8f9-abe664d16602" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20UL%202.jpg" /><figcaption>Tri Song Detsen</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>The <em>rGyal po bka’ thang</em> also contains critical comments on those who make and administer the law. It starts, for example, by saying that when Tri Song Detsen issued oral decrees, he carefully examined the good and bad, the lesser and greater, and the higher and lower, in great detail, and he formulated them with succinct words and concise meanings [pp. 149–50]. But:</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།ལེགས་ཉེས་ཆེ་ཆུང་ལེགས་པར་མ་བརྟགས་ན།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།སེར་གཞིག་ལོང་མེད་བཙན་པོའི་བཀའ་ལུང་ལ།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།ཉེས་མེད་མི་ལ་ཆད་པ་ཕོག་པ་མང་།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།བྱམས་པ་མེད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་སྲིན་པོ་འདྲ།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།སེར་གཞིག་མེད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་རྦབ་དང་འདྲ།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <ul><li><span><span><span><span>If the good and bad, the lesser and greater, and the higher and lower [aspects] have not been examined,</span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span>And time is not taken to analyse corruption<span><span>,</span></span> then under the oral decrees of the emperor</span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span>Innocent people receive many punishments,</span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span>The king seems like a demon, devoid of kindness.</span></span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><span>The king who does not examine corruption in detail is like an avalanche. </span></span></span></span></li> </ul><h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།ལེགས་ཉེས་ཆེ་ཆུང་ལྟ་ལོང་མེད་པ་ནི།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།ཐ་མལ་བྱོལ་སོང་ཡུས་ཀྱིས་བརྣངས་པ་འདྲ།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།མ་བརྟགས་མ་གཞིགས་བཙན་པོའི་བཀའ་ལུང་ནི།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།གཞན་གྱིས་ཁྲེལ་ཞིང་རང་རེ་གྱོད་ཀྱིས་ཟིན། ...</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།བློན་པོ་ངན་པས་མི་རྣམས་གྱོད་ལ་སྐྱེལ།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>ཁྲིམས་ཀྱི་སྲང་མདའ་ལེགས་པར་བརྟག་པའི་དུས།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>།རང་འདོད་བཤད་པས་བདེན་པའི་ཚིག་མི་ཐོས།</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <ul><li><span><span><span>If time is not taken to examine the good and bad, and the greater and lesser, </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Common [people] [become] like beasts of burden, choked by false accusations.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>The unexamined, unanalysed oral edicts of the emperor</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Are despised by others, and disputed by everyone. ...</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Bad ministers generate disputes among the people.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>At a time when the scales of law ought to be properly examined</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>Because of self-serving explanations, not one word of truth will be heard.</span></span></span></li> </ul><p><span><span><span>Although ostensibly about the time of Tri Song Detsen, this passage can easily be interpreted as criticism of the contemporary period, in which laws were not being enacted or followed correctly.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Some of the prophetic comments in chapter 92 of the Pema Katang are also phrased in terms of law [pp. 564–65, ff. 355r–355v]:</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>ཧོར་དང་ཡོན་མཆོད་ཁྲིམས་གསར་སྦྲེལ་པ་འོང་༔</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>ནང་གནག་ཕྱི་དཀར་དུང་དཀར་སྙེ་མ་བཞིན༔</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>བོད་ཀྱི་བསོད་ནམས་མར་མར་བྲི་བའི་དུས༔</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <ul><li><span><span><span>The new laws of the Mongols and of the donor-priest relations (<em>yon mchod</em>) will be bound together.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>They will resemble a conch shell or an ear of grain, black on the inside and white on the outside.</span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>It will be a time in which merit will diminish in Tibet.</span></span></span></li> </ul><p><img alt="Conch shell" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="245de46c-7109-466f-804b-7844c95e61dd" height="235" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20UL%203.jpg" width="352" /></p> <p><span><span><span>It would be difficult to read this passage as anything other than a direct criticism of the Yuan administration and of those Tibetans, presumably the Sakya (Sa skya) hierarchs and the Pakmodru (Phag mo gru), who supported them.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Although Urgyen Lingpa repeats the idealistic account of the enactment of the kings’ laws during the empire, then, he develops this account into a barely-disguised critique of the contemporary administrative regime. Good laws are capable to bringing peace and happiness, but current administrators were clearly falling far short of the ideal.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>References</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Kapstein, Matthew. 2000. <em>Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism</em>. Oxford: University Press.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Dudjom Rinpoche. 2002. <em>The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism</em>, Gyurme Dorje and M. Kapstein (trans.) Boston: Wisdom.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> The extracts here can be found in the historical documents section on this website.</span></span></p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=58&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="QiGPZGGeCYluDq8dboRcz4UM4ufJWFq1qSfCRzjEhc0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 14:27:47 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 58 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/58#comments The drum of the law: symbol of shamanic power, warfare, or justice? http://tibetanlaw.org/node/56 <span>The drum of the law: symbol of shamanic power, warfare, or justice?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/24/2018 - 09:20</span> <div><p><span><span><span>A curious reference to a <em>khrims rnga</em>, a drum of the law, appears in the<em> rLangs kyi po ti bse ru rgyas pa</em>. This semi-mythical genealogy of the rLangs clan was probably compiled in the late fourteenth century, quite possibly from earlier sources. In an early section, the sage Jangchub Drékol (Byang chub ’dre bkol) (c. 11th century) travels to eastern Tibet in search of his destined disciples. There he meets Ling Gesar, who gives the him various gifts. These include, [p. 46]:</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Ling Gesar" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a7bd2e32-d55a-42c2-8ae5-b14e26d7df22" height="369" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20drum%201.jpg" width="266" /><figcaption>Ling Gesar, 18th century                    </figcaption></figure><h2><span><span><span><span lang="BO" xml:lang="BO" xml:lang="BO"><span><span>བདག་ལ་ཁྲིམས་ཀྱི་དངུལ་མདུང་ཀེ་རུ་དང་། ཁྲིམས་ཀྱི་རྔ་བོ་ཆེ་ཟིལ་གནོན་དང་། ཁྲིམས་དར་ནག་པོ་དགྲ་འདུལ་དང་། </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span><span>The silver spear of the law [called] Ke ru, the great drum of the law [called] the vanquisher, and the black banner of the law [called] the subduer.<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>The significance of these artefacts is not entirely clear, but the drum and banner are clearly symbols of power, and the implication is that their force is shamanic. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>In other texts, the <em>khrims rnga</em> has more prosaic associations. The Padma bka’ thang, a biography of Padmasambhava created by the treasure-revealer Urgyen Lingpa (O rgyan gling pa) in around 1352, contains prophetic passages (chapter 92). It refers to a time when: </span></span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>བྱ་རོག་རྫོང་དུ་དམག་གིས་ཁྲིམས་རྔ་བརྡུང་༔</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <h2><span><span><span><span><span><span>སྙིང་མེད་པོ་རྣམས་གསེར་ཕྱེ་ཆུ་ལ་འབོར༔</span></span></span></span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The army will beat the drum of the law at Bya rog fortress;</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>And faint-hearted men will throw gold dust into the river.</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Mongol army" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b54bbc45-1c6f-46b5-8a4a-61ec4ecbebcf" height="302" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20drum%202.jpg" width="597" /><figcaption>Mongol army</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>This is a reference to an incident in the 1280s, when the emperor Qubilai dispatched an army to Tibet to threaten the Sakya <em>dpon chen</em>.<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> Here, the drum of the law seems to be a straightforward symbol of the imperial army. In a similar way, the phrase <em>khrims dmag</em>, ‘army of the law’, is used by Urgyen Lingpa and also by Jangchub Gyaltsen (Byang chub rgyal mtshan), in his testament, to refer to the imperial army. The word <em>khrims</em>, that is, indicates imperial power and authority and the army uses a drum, presumably to announce its arrival.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In later centuries, a drum was also used to announce the proclamation of government edicts and in the law courts. Alexander Cunningham refers to the <em>khrims rnga</em> at the court (the <em>shags khang</em>) in Ladakh, in the account of his travels in the mid-nineteenth century. In his dictionary, Jaeschke cites the phrase <em>khrims kyi rnga bo che brdungs te</em>, from the Tibetan <em>rGyal rabs</em>, and translates it as ‘the beat of the large proclamation (or law) drum’ (p. 133). Das translates the same phrase as ‘having beaten the large drum for the government edicts’, (p. 367). </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Drum in the Potala palace" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="e2b32c7c-07c1-4cca-a79c-1e2c91eb4aab" height="205" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20drum%203.jpg" width="274" /><figcaption>Drum in the Potala palace                      ......................        </figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><span>It seems that the symbol of the shamanic power of Ling Gesar, which appears in the Lang Potiseru and which might date from the early medieval period, becomes a more straightforward symbol of political power in the Yuan administration and within the governmental structures of the Ganden Podrang and the Ladakhi kingdom.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>It is tempting to assume that the ideas of a mythical and idealistic account will tend to take on more prosaic meanings as political institutions develop stronger and more secular structures. However, reflecting on the role of the drum in Tibetan culture, more generally, A. M. Trewin has suggested that its musical roles, the <em>lha rnga</em>, were a means by which a king could gain access to the transcendental realm.<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> They were a way to attain legitimacy in the eyes of the people. The <em>lha rnga</em> plays a mediating role, he says, across a transcendental-worldly axis. </span></span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-right"><img alt="Lama with lha rnga in Ladakh" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3ddfc039-63ad-4d59-8a8f-fc855651e28d" height="368" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20drum%204.jpg" width="251" /><figcaption>Lama with lha rnga in Ladakh</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span><span>In the case of the <em>khrims rnga</em>, then, it is also possible that the movement was in the opposite direction. A prosaic symbol of the Yuan administration, used by Urgyen Lingpa, becomes an image with transcendental connotations in the Potiseru. This text was probably only compiled in its final form in the fourteenth century, after all. This imagery was, then, valued and retained by later political regimes for its associations with the transcendent.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>________</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> The extracts here can be found in historical documents section of this website.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> This incident is described in the <em>Gung thang dkar chag</em>. See Per Sørensen and Guntram Hazod, <em>Rulers on the celestial plain: ecclesiastic and secular hegemony in medieval Tibet</em> (Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2007), 185–87.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> A. M. Trewin. <em>Rhythms of the gods: the musical symbolics of power and authority in the Tibetan Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh</em>. Ph.D. thesis (City University), p. 253.</span></span></p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=56&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="TVFnCS25aCQNEoXgVru9brw8N6CW8SDeKyXkrmV0rJI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 24 Jul 2018 09:20:47 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 56 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/56#comments The turquoise dragon: symbol of political status? http://tibetanlaw.org/node/55 <span>The turquoise dragon: symbol of political status?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/13/2018 - 14:12</span> <div><p><span><span><span>The <em>Khrims gnyis lta ba’i me long</em> (The mirror of the two laws) is the earliest (known) Tibetan legal treatise. Created in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries, it contains fifteen edicts, the <em>zhal lce bco lnga</em>, which provided inspiration for later legal<em> </em>texts. They are introduced as the <em>g.yu ’brug sgrog pa’i zhal lce so sor bshad pa</em>, ‘an explanation of the edicts, which are (like) the roar of a turquoise dragon’.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>What, if anything, was the significance of this image?</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Khrims gnyis lta ba’i me long, LTWA, p. 19." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a72d6d2a-8559-4b1b-b86d-65d4f65331f7" height="196" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dragon%201_0.jpg" width="889" /><figcaption>Khrims gnyis lta ba’i me long, LTWA, p. 19.</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>The origins, purposes, and date of the treatise are obscure but, as I have suggested, elsewhere, it must post-date the fall of the Yuan empire in 1368, and it seems to have been written by, or for, the Pakmodru (Phag mo gru), as an attempt to consolidate their power in central Tibet.<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> The text expresses traditional ideas about law, emphasizing convergence between religious and royal laws, it includes a short history of law, and it discusses the principles on which mediators should act. The section on the <em>zhal lce</em> is, in effect, a survey of mediation practices, concerning the ways in which mediators should deal with cases of killing, blood-wounding, theft, sexual misconduct, divorce, and so on.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span> So why the turquoise dragon?</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Ivory seal given to the Pakmodru Desi, Grags pa rGyal mtshan. Source: http://www.tibet-encyclopaedia.de/siegel.html " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="8757ae2a-0b28-4a33-9571-d142c9c8229b" height="281" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dragon%202.jpg" width="256" /><figcaption>Ivory seal given to the Pakmodru Desi, Grags pa rGyal mtshan.<br /> Source: http://www.tibet-encyclopaedia.de/siegel.html</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>Was it a reference to a seal? These were valuable indicators of power and authority at the time, and <em>’ja sa</em>, official documents, could be identified by reference to their seals. The Red Annals, for example, refers to a <em>’ja sa</em> of Gu shri’s crystal seal.</span></span></span><a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></a><span><span><span> An ivory seal of a dragon’s head, set with a small turquoise stone, was given by the Ming emperor to the Fifth Pagmodru Desi, Grags pa rGyal mtshan, in 1406, and used by them for several centuries.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>But this would not make sense of the orality implied in the term <em>sgrog pa</em>. This suggests that the <em>zhal lce</em> were proclaimed, like the roar of a turquoise dragon. Were they proclaimed at one of the great councils convened by the Pakmodru in 1373 (organised by Lama Dampa) and in 1415? This is often how decrees were publicized. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>If so, why the turquoise dragon? </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A donation inscription at a temple in Mulbekh reads:<a href="#_ftn1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>       rgyal po’i mi chos dpa’ rtsal glang chen yu brug ’dra /</em> </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>       the worldly ways and bravery of the king resemble those of the elephant and the turquoise dragon. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The image is also found in the biography of the founder of the Bön religion, Shenrab Mibo (gTon pa gshen rab mi bo), the <em>mDo dri med gzi brjid</em>. </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Shenrab Miwo, bottom-left. Source: http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Tonpa_Shenrab_Miwoche" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3b3d65c6-4b09-418b-8e6d-488759db60e1" height="330" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dragon%203.jpg" width="284" /><figcaption>Shenrab Miwo, bottom-left.<br /> Source: http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Tonpa_Shenrab_Miwoche</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>The Prince talks of the need for a strong king, using a series of metaphors. They include:</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>ngar chen g.yu 'brug med na bung pas zer skad che/</em></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Without the thunderous roar of the turquoise dragon the buzzing of the bees would be the loudest sound.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The Prince goes on to explain that the priest is, nevertheless, superior to the king:</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>      bar snang mkha' la g.yu 'brug ngar che yang /</em></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>      btsun snyan brjid ldan ka la bing ka yin/</em></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>      Although the turquoise dragon may roar the loudest in the sky,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>      The kalapinga bird has the most sweetly melodious voice.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Here, the turquoise dragon is associated with distinctly royal, as opposed to religious, power and authority. This mirrors our legal text, in which the <em>zhal lce</em> concern the application of the king’s laws, as distinct from religious laws.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Also from this period is the <em>rLang kyi po ti bse ru</em>, the mythical genealogy of the Pakmodru rLang clan. Early passages glorify the clan and its lineage:</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>       dpa' la btsun pa seng stag grus ma dang 'dra ba cig yin /</em></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><em>       'jigs la ngar che ba nam mkha'i g.yu 'brug dang 'dra ba chig yin / </em></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>       Brave and exalted, like lionesses and tigresses,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>       Terrifying and mighty, like the turquoise dragon in the sky,</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Here, the power and might of the rLangs family are explicitly likened to a turquoise dragon. </span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="White Jambhala on a turquoise dragon Detail of Tuchen Wangdu Nyingpo, Tibet, 18th C. Rubin Museum of Art, C2001.3.5 (HAR 65011)" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="28f41259-f65d-4fa1-8774-58fe63615279" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dragon%20Rubin%201_0.jpg" width="446" /><figcaption>White Jambhala on a turquoise dragon, detail of Tuchen Wangdu Nyingpo, Tibet, 18th C.<br /> Rubin Museum of Art, C2001.3.5 (HAR 65011)</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>This, however, is not the end of the story. The image is also used with other meanings. Elsewhere in the Potiseru, the turquoise dragon is the source of water that tempers weapons. In the Gesar epic it is a protective deity. In the <em>Tibetan History of </em>Bon, one of the rMe’u scholars obtains supernatural powers and rides a turquoise </span></span></span><span><span><span>dragon, using his rosary as a whip. Other deities ride turquoise dragons.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Mount Kailash is sometimes described as a <em>mchod rten</em> with four gates, of which the southern is the <em>g.yu ’brug</em>. In Chinese mythology, the green dragon of the spring resides in the east, and is associated with the source of a river. Tibetans, too, described rivers as turquoise dragons.</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-right"><img alt="(c) John Bellezza" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7361fbac-7e08-4d2f-bd25-a324b7b8d9c6" height="222" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dragon%205.jpg" width="559" /><figcaption>Tashi Do. (c) John Bellezza</figcaption></figure><p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span>The <em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em> describes the sKyid chu as the <em>g.yu chu sngon mo</em>, the <em>Padma bka’ thang</em> describes the Yar lung gtsang po as a <em>g.yu ’brug</em>, and Lama </span></span></span><span><span><span>Dampa refers to the sKyid chu, as the <em>g.yu ’brug sngon mo</em>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The image of the turquoise dragon, it turns out, was rather common in this period. The author of our text could have been referring to China, in the east, still the seat of the <em>gong ma</em>, the ultimate legal authority. And the 1373 Pakmodru council was held at sNe’u gdong, on the banks of the sKyid chu. Or might the author simply have picked the image for its associations with power, geomancy, and the realm of the deities?</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The turquoise dragon was undoubtedly an image of power and might, and specifically of royal status, however. In around the same period as the legal text, it was used in passages that distinguished royal from religious authority and it was specifically associated with the power and glory of the rLangs clan. It is, at least, likely that our author used the image deliberately, to symbolize the status of the rLangs family, just at the time they were trying to reinforce their shaky position as rulers of central Tibet.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> Pirie, Fernanda, forthcoming.'<span><span><span lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US"><span><span>The making of Tibetan law: the <em>Khrims gnyis lta ba’i me long'</em>. In J. Bischoff, P. Maurer, and C. Ramble (eds), <em>On a Day of a Month of a Fire Bird Year</em>. Lumbini: International Research Institute.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1"><span><span><span><span><span>[1]</span></span></span></span></span></a> All textual citations are found in the extracts on this web-site.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> </span></span></span></span></span>I am grateful to Nils Martin for this reference. He dates the inscription to 1332 or 1392.</span></span></p> <p> </p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=55&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="rOz4417okIuPCWRMzi5SyyVAUFrrwZuYv9Fqu-mTP7I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 14:12:19 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 55 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/55#comments The problem of punishment in early Tibetan law http://tibetanlaw.org/node/21 <span>The problem of punishment in early Tibetan law</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Fri, 01/13/2017 - 17:32</span> <div><p>By adopting Buddhism Tibetans adopted a jurisprudential problem: how were they to account for the use of physical punishments? This problem had already troubled Indic writers, who had developed different approaches to the role of the good Buddhist king, the <em>cakravartin</em>. As Zimmerman (2006) has described, these involved an extreme position, whereby it was said to be impossible to be a good Buddhist king; there was a theory of compassionate punishment, which advocated the avoidance of physical penalties, in favour of rehabilitation; and there was a pragmatic position that largely ignored the problem. Indic Buddhist texts translated into Tibetan, such as Nagarjuna’s <em>Precious Garland</em>, fell into the second category and made it clear that a Buddhist king should not mete out harsh physical punishments.</p> <p>Initially, this issue does not seem to have troubled Tibetan writers (see my earlier <a href="http://tibetanlaw.org/blog/khrims">blog post</a>). However, in the ninth and tenth centuries, as the structures of the empire began to crumble, writers began to construct more elaborate accounts of the Tibetan polity and this meant re-presenting the early emperors as Buddhist kings. In these histories we see the development of a distinctly Tibetan approach to the problem of punishment, which had the kings enacting horrific punishments on emanated people, in order to frighten their subjects into good behaviour. These ideas can be traced through distinct—and not entirely consistent—stands in four histories.</p> <p><img alt="Tri Song Detsen" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a8c864c0-3368-4f48-9ea9-13bbb89df29a" height="383" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20punishment%201.jpg" width="274" /></p> <p>In the <em><strong>dBa’ bzhed</strong></em>, which probably dates to the 11th century, Songtsen Gampo is described as making laws on the basis of the ten Buddhist virtues. These involve compensation payments for killing and stealing, and mutilation punishments for sexual misconduct. We can assume that this must have reflected the penalties being imposed in at least some parts of contemporary Tibet. However, the same text also describes the later king Tri Song Detsen forbidding death and mutilation penalties. Thereafter, in Nyang ral’s <em><strong>Me tog snying po sbrang rtsi’i bcud</strong></em> and the <em><strong>Ma ņi bka’ ’bum</strong></em> (both compiled in the 12th century) Songtsen Gampo’s laws are presented as involving fines, but not mutilation. The fact of punishment is, in effect, denied.</p> <p>Another strand is found in the tale of the Khotanese monks, who visit Tibet searching for ’Phags pa sPyan ras gzigs. They find a land strewn with executed and mutilated bodies and lose their faith, until they are confronted by the king, who reveals himself to be the deity. In the <em>dBa’ bzhed</em> this is enough to restore their faith, but in the versions of the <em><strong>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</strong></em><em> </em>(also 12th century) and by Nyang ral, the novice monks question the king, who explains that these punishments have been meted out on emanations simply to frighten people. The problem of punishment has been pushed into another realm (see further Mills 2011)</p> <p>A related account emerges in a rather obscure passage in the <em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em>. After Songtsen Gampo has resolved to pin down the demoness by building the temple at Lhasa, he manifests 5,000 emanations. Of these, at least one thousand are unruly and need to be tamed through physical punishments, which the text describes in some detail. The <em>Ma ņi bka’ ’bum</em> has two passages that describe Songtsen Gampo and his queens presiding over punishments: in one case they are meted out by one thousand emanations, and in the other they are imposed on emanations, at a cliff outside Lhasa.</p> <p><img alt="Songtsen Gampo" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6f89ed4c-3049-4d87-9d52-75eec78f2c87" height="403" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20punishment%202.jpg" width="267" /></p> <p>In these later texts, Songtsen Gampo no longer orders mutilation penalties, but the narratives do not abandon the idea of physical punishment altogether. If anything, the description of these punishments becomes more gruesome. It is just that they are now illusory.</p> <p>Why did Tibetan writers not follow the Indic example of abandoning physical penalties in favour of compassion and rehabilitation? In another passage in the <em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em>, Songtsen Gampo complains that his subjects’ intellect does not lean towards religious knowledge, and that they are not be suitable for religious training. However, they can, he says, be tamed by his religious and royal laws. Similarly, the <em>Ma ņi bka’ ’bum</em> recounts that:</p> <p><em>da nas dgung lo bcu gsum na/ sprul pa'i rgyal bu’i thugs dgongs la/ da ni kha ba can gyi rgyal khams ʼdi chos kyis ʼdul dgos pa la ʼdir skyes pa’i mi rnams/ pha spre’u dang ma brag srin gyi bu dud ʼgro’i rigs su song bas/ zhi bas mi thul te/ thabs drag pos nan gyis chad pas bcad nas ʼdul dgos par ʼdug/ de la dbang che ba zhig dgos pas/ </em></p> <p><em>At the age of thirteen, the emanation prince formed a resolution: ‘Now, this snowy kingdom must be civilized through the dharma. Since people born here are children of the father monkey and mother rock ogress, belonging to the class of animals, they are uncivilized; they must be tamed by being punished severely, using harsh methods. For that, a very powerful man is needed.’</em></p> <p>The relationship between ruler and subjects is here presented as one based on discipline and violence, not compassion, exhortation, and example. Harsh punishment is, that is, intrinsic to the political theory being developed by these writers.</p> <p>Of course, this left Tibetan rulers with something of a problem. It is not surprising that the Tshal pa Lama Zhang (1122–1193)—who felt he needed to use considerable violence to secure his dominions—should have had trouble justifying his activities as a ruler (Yamomoto 2015).</p> <p><img alt="Lama Zhang" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f6175a7e-8a63-4f78-8423-ccf997ab2748" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20punishment%203.jpg" /></p> <p>It was a problem with which Tibetans continued to wrestle for centuries to come.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p><em>dBa’ bzhed.</em> In <em>rBa bzhed phyogs bsgrigs.</em> 2009. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 238, 240–41, 262.</p> <p><em>Me tog snying po sbrang rtsi’i bcud</em>. Nyang ral nyi ma’i ’od zer. 1988. <em>Chos ’byung me tog snying po sbrang rtsi’i bcud</em>. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, pp. 174–75, 266–67.</p> <p><em>Ma ņi bka’ ’bum</em>. <em>A Collection of Rediscovered Teachings Focussing upon the Tutelary Deity Avalokiteśvara (Mahākaruṇika)</em>. 1975. Trayang and Jamyang Samten (eds), New Delhi, pp. 204, 277, 374, 376, 407–08.</p> <p><em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em>. A ti sha, sMon lam rGya mtsho (ed.) 1989. Lanzhou: Kan su’u Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 235, 258, 302–05.</p> <p>Mills, Martin. 2012. Ritual as History in Tibetan Divine Kingship: Notes on the Myth of the Khotanese Monks. <em>History of Religions</em> 51: 219–20.</p> <p>Yamomoto, Carl. 2015. ‘Only Kingly Deeds: Zhang Tselpa and the Symbolism of Kingship’. In B. Dotson (ed.), <em>Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie</em> 24: 105–16.</p> <p>Zimmerman, Michael. 2006. Only a Fool Becomes a King: Buddhist Stances on Punishment. <em>In</em> M. Zimmermann (ed.) <em>Buddhism and Violence</em>. Lumbini: International Research Institute.</p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=21&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="99KWcafILHKzzimelPVVtuDa5XZ3jjZyJ2-reyAbBAI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:32:52 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 21 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/21#comments Yeshe Öd the law-maker http://tibetanlaw.org/node/20 <span>Yeshe Öd the law-maker </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:04</span> <div><p>Lha bLa ma Ye shes ’Od, ruler of Western Tibet in the late tenth century, is well known for his efforts to promote Buddhism, suppress Bon, and stamp out inappropriate ritual practices. He was also a law-maker.</p> <p>Laws have not survived from his time, but a biography, written four centuries later, is shot through with references to <em>khrims</em>. [1] It indicates that for Yeshe Öd, law-making was a means to protect religious institutions, maintain peace, promote the moral conduct and happiness of his people, and ensure correct behaviour among monastics.</p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Yeshe Od" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="97f5c6e1-a0bf-4d56-a4aa-3af65796cc89" height="357" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%201.jpg" width="268" /><figcaption>Yeshe Öd, Tholing monastery, © David Pritzker</figcaption></figure><p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>As his biography describes, before resigning as king and taking religious vows, Yeshe Öd creates law and presents the <em>khrims gnyis</em>, two laws, to a great assembly. Later, he gives repeated instructions to his successors about how they should create and follow law. They should, for example, ensure that power is not fragmented and is exercised in accordance with the old royal laws (<em>rgyal khrims</em>); edicts should be made to ensure that religious establishments and their inhabitants are supported and the doctrine is spread;those who break the law must be punished appropriately; literacy and virtue must be promoted, and so on (fols 13a–14b, 31a–32a, 33b–34b, 35a–b). When they make new laws, he says more than once, rulers should respect the ancient laws of their forebears, the advice found in Indic texts, and his own, more recent, laws (fols 25a–b, 26a). Laws, that is, are the means by which rulers should govern. They are also supposed to enshrine moral principles.</p> <p>In a fine analysis of this text, Jacob Dalton (2015) describes the way in which it articulates (new) ideas about the relationship between religion and state. It emphasizes a distinction between the two, and indicates a supportive relationship, encapsulated in the idea of <em>lugs gnyis</em>, two systems. This reflects a long tradition in Indic writing, whereby the activities of king and priest are distinct, but complementary. In Tibet, this relationship becomes explicit two centuries later, in the ideas by which Tibetans represented their relations with the Mongolian rulers: the Mongol king as the patron of the Tibetan priest. As Dalton convincingly argues, a separation between the two realms of activity is already apparent in the biography of Yeshe Öd.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Tabo" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="30657ed1-6f6c-4624-a80f-121ed0051160" height="324" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%202_0.jpg" width="532" /><figcaption>Assembly convened by ’Byang chub ’Od, successor to Ye shes ’Od, Tabo monastery<br /> © CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai</figcaption></figure><p>Looking even more closely at the references to law, I suggest, can add both support and nuance this view.</p> <p>Firstly, the reference to <em>khrims gnyis</em>, two laws, is reflected in two distinct types of rules. On the one hand, there are the <em>chos khrims</em>, <em>tshul khrims</em>, and <em>dge ’dun gyi khrims</em>. These terms are all used to describe rules for monastics, and they are presumably rules of discipline. On the other hand, there are the <em>khrims lugs</em> or <em>khrims yig</em>, in general. These terms seem to refer to rules that apply to the laity (see, for example, fol. 30b, for the distinction between the two). The domains of monastic and secular activity, that is, are distinguished by the different laws that apply to those within them.</p> <p>Secondly, both types of law have broadly moral and religious purposes. As the text makes clear, lay people are expected to engage in religious practice, and the <em>khrims</em> should guide them towards virtuous conduct (fols 30a–b, 33b–35b). This is very different from imperial laws (see original blog post).* In Dunhuang documents <em>khrims</em> were practical judicial and administrative rules; they specified amounts of compensation, distinguished types of offence, and made procedural rules for litigation. They were primarily directed towards the resolution of conflict and the management of commercial activities. For Yeshe Öd, <em>khrims</em> are tools of government, but they are firmly associated with the promotion of moral conduct. We should probably assume that by the time he came to power the management of conflict and disputes had become very localized, the centralized judicial system of the empire had disintegrated, and its complex rules had become anachronistic. Law is now the basis for the moral order that Yeshe Öd is seeking to establish in Ngari.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Tholing" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6c927df7-6e8d-44ad-bb2d-8923ab644120" height="263" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%203.jpg" width="582" /><figcaption>Tholing monastery, founded by Yeshe Öd © David Pritzker</figcaption></figure><p>Thirdly, in many respects, Yeshe Öd is collapsing the distinction between the functions of king and priest. He gives orders for the suppression of dubious ritual practices and the punishment of those who transgress these directions (fol. 28a–b, 34a). Religious activity is, to a significant degree, his responsibility. He also makes it clear that the monks need to respect the ruler’s <em>khrims</em> as well as their own rules of discipline (fols 25a–b). Dalton suggests that the king, himself, will be restrained by the ethics of the law. He must certainly act morally, but on this account he is also the supreme law-maker.</p> <p>The distinction between religion and state is, nevertheless, important and Dalton is quite right to highlight its emergence in this text. Here I have suggested that the distinction is reflected in two types of laws—for monastics and the laity. A similar distinction is made in later historical narratives, which refer to  <em>chos khrims</em> and <em>rgyal khrims.</em> It is central to the ways in which Tibetans later presented the nature of their polity.</p> <p><strong>Sources</strong></p> <p>Gu ge Pandita Grags pa rGyal mtshan, <em>Lha bla ma Ye shes ʼOd kyi rnam thar rgyas pa bzhugs so</em>. Do rgya dbang grag rdo rje (ed.) 2013. Lhasa.Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrung khang.</p> <p>The manuscript can be found at TBRC: W1PD153537, v. 13, pp. 283–365.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>Dalton, Jacob. 2015. Power and Compassion: Negotiating Buddhist Kingship in Tenth-Century Tibet. In O. Czaja and G. Hazod (eds), <em>The Illuminating Mirror</em>. Weisbaden: Dr Ludwig Reichert Verlag. pp. 101–18.</p> <p><strong>Notes</strong></p> <p>[1] <em>Lha bla ma Ye shes ʼOd kyi rnam thar rgyas pa bzhugs so</em> was written by Grags pa rGyal mtshan in around 1480. As a historical account, the content and style must have been influenced by the writer’s own background. However, it seems that he lived and worked in the monastery of Tholing, founded by Yeshe Öd, and probably had access to original sources (Dalton 2015: 102).</p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=20&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="Tk3zaP2726_ZI8MqlLbML0HqaI7MDjD7WmCCTtyS-RM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:04:59 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 20 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/20#comments Imperial Amnesties. Or, did Tibetans use dice to decide legal cases? http://tibetanlaw.org/node/19 <span>Imperial Amnesties. Or, did Tibetans use dice to decide legal cases?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/12/2016 - 16:44</span> <div><p>Chinese emperors regularly granted amnesties. These were gestures of mercy, often announced at the beginning of a reign, or on other auspicious occasions. During the Tang dynasty there were 176 such amnesties. They generally applied to convicted criminals, but might also extend to cancel debts.1 Were Tibetan emperors inspired to do something similar?</p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Emperor Xuanzong of China, who granted a debt amnesty in 744." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="63079910-3fce-4bf5-b236-76a6425be6ec" height="402" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dice%201_0.jpg" width="316" /><figcaption>Emperor Xuanzong of China, who granted a debt    <br /> amnesty in 744.</figcaption></figure><figure role="group"><img alt="Tri Song Detsen" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a84a2b67-fb41-4a5e-824c-5a9d7a165d02" height="402" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dice%202_0.jpg" width="318" /><figcaption>Emperor Tri Song Detsen</figcaption></figure><p> </p> <p>In this post I suggest that a legal document from Dunhuang (<em>The Replies Document</em>, ITJ 740.2) relates to the declaration of an amnesty (<em>bka’ sho</em>). The document, itself, records a series of requests made by local officials to central authorities. They were asking whether a legal case should be decided by the application of <em>sho </em>(<em>shos bcad</em>). In a detailed analysis of this document, Dotson (2007) has suggested that the <em>sho</em> were dice, and the officials were asking whether a liability or punishment should be decided according to the role of dice.</p> <p>Subsequently, several writers have referred to the ‘dice statutes’ of the empire. More recently, however, Dotson (2015) has expressed doubts about this interpretation and suggests that a <em>bka' sho</em> has the character of a royal amnesty. Here I add my own, more sociological, reasons for suggesting that dice are unlikely, and that the <em>sho </em>relates to a debt amnesty. </p> <p>As Dotson (2007) carefully describes, the <em>bka’ sho</em> were periodic edicts, supplemented by <em>sho tshigs</em>, rules which specified the way in which the edict was to be applied. The Replies document records details of petitions that were presented following the making of a tiger-year edict, together with the replies. The details of the cases suggest that the application of the <em>sho tshigs</em> would benefit those who would otherwise be under a liability, including penalties on unpaid loans, liability for the loss of property, or in the event of marital disputes, as well as obligations to monasteries or for the provisioning of troops. The use of dice, Dotson originally suggested, gave these debtors a chance of relief.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Tibetan four-sided dice" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0d1ed868-48ee-4a1d-a05a-cd72a0bf3e41" height="249" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dice%203_0.jpg" width="332" /><figcaption>Tibetan four-sided dice</figcaption></figure><p>Later records—from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—indicate that Tibetans used dice in legal cases when basic facts were in dispute. In such cases, their use was akin to the conduct of an ordeal, for which there are other precedents in Tibetan texts.2 Such techniques have been used widely around the world to solve cases in which facts are disputed: they are often regarded as means by which the divine can indicate the right result.</p> <p>The queries raised by the Replies document are not of this nature. The basic facts in all the cases are not in dispute. Moreover, they all involve quite complex situations of debt and liability. Many indicate a sophisticated system of trade and property arrangements, in which fine distinctions are made between types of loan and ownership. It seems highly unlikely that an element of chance would be introduced into such relations by the throw of dice, particularly when the basic facts are not in dispute.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Merchants on the Silk Road" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="d4d7c4f6-412b-4d4e-98b2-f901deb94b9c" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dice%204.jpg" /><figcaption>Merchants on the Silk Road. Dunhuang, Cave 45. © Dunhuang Research Academy</figcaption></figure><p>How, then, are the <em>sho </em>to be interpreted? In each case it is being argued, or it is presumed, that one party is under an obligation to another, and the presumptive debtor is asking that the <em>sho tshigs</em> apply. In one case (clause 4), a debtor argues that his unpaid loan has become a punishable offence (<em>nongs pe’i chad pa</em>) and asks for kindness in the application of the <em>bka’ sho</em> (<em>thugs dpag mdzad pe’i bka’ shos gcad par gsol ces</em>). The creditor, on the other hand, is claiming that the debtor’s obligation to pay a penalty (<em>gyur</em>)3 is not in the nature of a punishment (<em>khrin</em>). This indicates that the application of the <em>bka’ sho</em> would relieve the debtor of his obligation to pay the penalty. It suggests that the <em>bka’ sho </em>operated like a debt amnesty, cancelling an obligation that had become akin to a punishment. <span> </span></p> <p>A similar arrangement is evident in another Dunhuang document: S. 2228. This concerns a field donated to a monastery, which was due to be returned to the donor under an administrative arrangement (<em>mkhos</em>).4 The monastery was asking that the related provisions (<em>rtsis mgo</em> and <em>sho tshigs</em>) not apply to this particular field. The <em>sho tshigs</em>, in this case, seem to have been part of an arrangement<em> </em>whereby monastic property was being returned to its original owners. This would be consistent with the purpose of the <em>bka’ sho</em>, indicted by the Replies document, namely to protect debtors. S. 2228 may relate to a situation in which over-generous donations to—or the over-insistent demands of—a powerful monastery, had led to indebtedness among the surrounding farmers. The authorities might have decided that it was necessary to protect the peasants, and thereby the tax-base of the area, through an arrangement for the return of their property.</p> <p></p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Cave shrines at Dunhuang" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="803b89a6-1d29-4366-8dc9-284db9719595" height="286" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Blog%20dice%205_0.jpg" width="391" /><figcaption>Cave shrines at Dunhuang, photographed photographed by Aurel Stein<br /> © The British Library Board</figcaption></figure><p><span>It is entirely plausible that in areas like Dunhuang, full of merchants and trading activities, levels of indebtedness periodically rose to such levels that the authorities felt it necessary to intervene to protect debtors. Similar practices have been noted widely around the world—periodic debt amnesties are referred to in the Old Testament, for example.</span></p> <p>There are two references to <em>sho </em>in the Tibetan Annals. The entry for the year 692–93 records that the <em>sho tshigs</em> of Sum pa were ‘seized’ (<em>bzung</em>). This suggests that an amnesty might have been specific to a particular region, maybe one that had just been incorporated within the imperial domains. Even more significantly, and as Dotson (2015) points out, the Annals record that in 756, shortly after his enthronement, Tri Song Detsen made a <em>bka’ sho</em>. This is the clearest indication that the Tibetan emperors were emulating the activities of the Chinese. Tibetan emperors may well, that is, have granted periodic amnesties to protect peasants and debtors who were suffering at the hands of the rich and powerful in their expanding empire.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>Dotson, Brandon. 2007. Divination and law in the Tibetan Empire. In M. Kapstein &amp; B. Dotson (eds) <em>Contributions to the Cultural History of EarlyTibet</em>. Leiden: Brill.</p> <p>__. 2015. Introducing Early Tibetan Law: Codes and Cases. In D. Schuh (ed.) <em>Secular Law and Order in the Tibetan Highland</em>. Andiast: IITBS.</p> <p>Iwao, Kazuchi, Sam van Schaik, and Tsuguhito Takeuchi. 2012. <em>Old Tibetan Texts in The Stein Collection Or. 8210</em>. Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko.</p> <p>Johnson, Wallace. 1979. <em>The T’ang Code</em>, vol. 1. Princeton: University Press.</p> <p>McNight, Brian. 1981. <em>The Quality of Mercy: Amnesties and Traditional Chinese Justice</em>. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii.</p> <p>Pirie, Fernanda. 2015. Oaths and Ordeals in Tibetan Law. In  D. Schuh (ed.) <em>Secular Law and Order in the Tibetan Highland</em>. Andiast: IITBS, 177–95.</p> <p>Schuh, Dieter. 2015. Synthetisches Geld in Tibet. Betrachtungen zu den Zahlungs einheiten in tibetischen Gerichtsverfahren. In  D. Schuh (ed.) <em>Secular Law and Order in the Tibetan Highland</em>. Andiast: IITBS, 159–75.</p> <p><strong>Notes</strong></p> <p>1 See, generally, McKnight (1981: 2) and Johnson (1979: 16).</p> <p>2 Ordeals are, for example, described in the <em>zhal lce bcu drug</em> (Pirie 2015).</p> <p>3 Schuh (2015) argues that <em>gyur</em> is a penalty.</p> <p>4 This document is presented in Iwao et al. (2012: 43–44) and discussed by Dotson (2015: 298–302).</p> <p></p></div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=19&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="RWzhW49w2Ranf8cyf73ptbSAI2rTzCPypSc-MBKegxE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 16:44:47 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 19 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/node/19#comments Khrims: changes in the Tibetan concept of law http://tibetanlaw.org/blog/khrims <span>Khrims: changes in the Tibetan concept of law</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fernanda Pirie</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/14/2016 - 21:08</span> <div><p>The Tibetan concept of <em>khrims</em> can generally be rendered as ‘law’. Examining early sources, however, suggests a subtle shift in the ambit and significance of this term towards the end of the imperial period. This was a time during which new ideologies about Tibetan history, kingship, and statehood were being worked out and the concept of <em>khrims</em> came to play a new, and prominent, role within them. In this post I trace these changes and consider their historical context.</p> <p>The earliest, datable, reference to <em>khrims</em> (<em>grims</em>) is found in the Old Tibetan Annals for 655–56 (below): the chief minister made a <em>bka’ grims kyi yi ge</em>, a legal code, the year after the emperor’s <em>rtsis mgo</em>, administrative plan.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Extract from Old Tibetan Annals. © Bibliotèque Nationale de France, PT 1288" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1bb67a4c-c5cc-4152-8422-683815225c88" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/1-extract.jpg" /><figcaption>Extract from Old Tibetan Annals<br /> © Bibliotèque Nationale de France, PT 1288</figcaption></figure><p>Among the documents found at Dunhuang there are copies of legal codes, which specify compensation for homicide, injuries, and theft. There are also records of individual cases, which refer to several sorts of <em>khrims</em>, including rules for guarantors (<em>gnya’ khrims</em>) and other procedural matters.<sup>1</sup> There are some references to <em>bka’ grims</em>, indicating (Tibetan) law, in general, but for the most part the <em>khrims</em> seem to have been specific laws or legal codes, which were referred to as guidance in legal cases.</p> <p>In other imperial sources, emperors are credited with the establishment and maintenance of peace, order, and good customs. The concepts of <em>chos </em>(<em>lugs</em>)<em> bzang</em><em> </em>(good customs and practices) and <em>gtsug lag</em><em> </em>(administrative order) are found in the inscription on Tri Song Detsen’s tomb, for example, in the Sino-Tibetan treaty of 822, scattered throughout the Prayers of Dega Yutsel, written at around the same time, and in the Old Tibetan Chronicle (from the 840s). </p> <figure role="group" class="align-right"><img alt="Pillar from Tri Song Detsen’s tomb, photographed by Hugh Richardson © Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0b11f999-f962-4ae7-9e8c-3c0aa8eee658" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/2-pillar_0.png" /><figcaption>Pillar from Tri Song Detsen’s tomb, photographed by Hugh Richardson<br /> © Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford</figcaption></figure><p>In these, more ideological, accounts references to law are surprisingly sparse. The Chronicle has a single reference, attributing the making of a <em>gtsug lag bka’ khrims ched po</em> (a great legal and administrative edict) to Songtsen Gampo. During the last decades of the empire, then, the rulers were being credited with the establishment of <em>gtsug lag</em> (good order)<em> </em>and <em>chos bzang</em> (good practices), but law-making was not fundamental to these achievements.</p> <h2>Later texts</h2> <p>It is not until some time later that historical accounts begin to attribute the establishment of good order to the reception of Buddhism. The <em>Scripture from the Sky</em> (<em>Dharma from Heaven</em>), which van Schaik dates to some time after the turmoil of the mid-ninth century,<sup>2</sup> looks back to the rulers of an earlier era.</p> <figure role="group"><img alt="Extract of the Scripture from the Sky © British Library, IOL 370" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4982c538-98e6-4023-986e-6168b85f4cf8" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/image3_0.png" /><figcaption>Extract of the <em>Scripture from the </em>Sky<br /> © British Library, IOL 370</figcaption></figure><p>They are said to have received <em>bstan pa</em> (or <em>dar ma</em>, scriptures), on the basis of which they established <em>chos gtsug lag</em> (good order and customs). The result was a domain characterized by peace and moral behaviour. The text refers to law (<em>khrims</em>) as an activity of a protective king (<em>myi mgon</em>), but it is just one of the characteristics of a good kingdom, alongside the path of truth, the discipline of the ten virtues, and the teachings of wise forebears. Buddhist ideas are now shaping the account of Tibetan kingship, but law still only plays a minor role within it. </p> <h2>The dBa’ bzhed</h2> <p>The Chronicle of the Ba clan marks a further shift and a new emphasis on law. The early sections of the account concern the activities of Songtsen Gampo, after his ancestors have received scriptures from the sky. The king sends Tonmi Sambota to India to learn writing, so as to be able to understand these documents, and the minister also brings back the text of the ten virtues. After he has created a Tibetan script, Songtsen Gampo makes laws (<em>bka’ khrims</em>), on the basis of those ten virtues. These are announced to the people, along with a <em>rtsis mgo</em> (administrative plan) and the <em>chos lugs bzang po </em>(rules for good behaviour), and he gives strict instructions about the observation of the laws.</p> <figure role="group" class="align-left"><img alt="Fragment of the dBa’ bzhed found at Dunhuang © British Library, Or 8210/S.9498A" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="94a6da15-d420-40d4-9627-1dab398121c6" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/testament-of-ba.jpg" /><figcaption>Fragment of the dBa’ bzhed found at Dunhuang<br /> © British Library, Or 8210/S.9498A</figcaption></figure><p>The references to the <em>rtsis mgo</em> and <em>chos lugs</em> recall the language of the Annals and the tomb inscription. However, in this text they are firmly associated with the <em>bka’ khrims</em>, laws, which are themselves based on the ten (Buddhist) virtues. In this account, then, the making of the laws has become a foundational act for the great imperial order. The <em>khrims</em> are said to concern compensation and punishment for homicide, injury, stealing, and sexual misconduct, but they are also associated with rules for the conduct of the subjects (<em>chos lugs bzang po</em>). Laws are no longer simply judicial instruments, then; they also guide the people towards good behaviour in accordance with the ten virtues. </p> <p>In a later section of the Chronicle, concerning the reign of Ralpachan, it is said that the <em>chos khrims</em> were ‘re-tied’, like a silken knot, indicating that practices of Buddhism were being re-established. This suggests a new type of <em>khrims</em>, relating specifically to religious practice. This sets the scene for later texts, which refer to both <em>rgyal khrims</em> and <em>chos khrims</em>, royal and religious laws. </p> <p>By the time of the dBa’ bzhed, then, the concept of <em>khrims </em>has come to replace the <em>gtsug lag</em> of the earlier texts as the foundation of imperial order. The term <em>gtsug lag </em>is now being associated with religious establishments (<em>gtsug lag khang</em>), while <em>chos</em> is more closely associated with religious practices.<sup>3</sup> The concept of <em>khrims</em> does not change so markedly, but it does widen from a sense of imperial edicts and judicial instruments to include more general rules for moral conduct and religious discipline. It has also become central to the account of the religious roots of Tibetan civilization. From this point onwards the historical narratives (including the <em>bKa’ chems ka khol ma</em> and the many others that follow it) almost always credit Songtsen Gampo with the creation of law based on the ten virtues.</p> <p>The dating of the dBa’ bzhed is uncertain: the Dunhuang fragments relate to a different part of the narrative, so the early section on Songtsen Gampo could date from any time up to the twelfth century. However, it does seem to mark a shift between the ideas of the Old Tibetan Chronicle and those of a later tradition of historical writing. It is in the period of imperial disintegration and its aftermath, then, that we find the emergence of new ideas about law, which would become central to later Tibetan ideologies of law and government.</p> <h2>References</h2> <p>Dotson, Brandon. 2015. Introducing Early Tibetan Law: Codes and Cases. In D. Schuh (ed.) <em>Secular Law and Order in the Tibetan Highland</em>. Andiast: IITBS.</p> <p>Pasang Wangdu and Hildegard Diemberger. 2000. <em>dBa’ bzhed: The Royal Narrative Concerning the Bringing of the Buddha’s Doctrine to Tibet</em>. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.</p> <p>van Schaik, Sam. 2013. The Naming of the Tibetan Religion: <em>Bon</em> and <em>Chos</em> in the Tibetan Imperial Period, <em>Journal of the International Association of Bon Research</em> 1: 227–57.</p> <p>van Schaik, Sam and Kazushi Iwao. 2008. Two fragments of the <em>Testament of Ba</em> from Dunhuang, <em>Journal of the American Oriental Society</em> 128: 477–87.</p> <h2>Texts</h2> <p>The Old Tibetan Annals (PT 1288)</p> <p>Prayers of Dega Yutsel (PT 16/IOL 751)</p> <p>The Old Tibetan Chronicle (PT 1287)</p> <p>The Scripture from the Sky (Dharma from Heaven) (IOL 370)</p> <hr /><p><sup>1 </sup>These cases, which concern theft, land use and ownership, assault, injury, and ownership of women, are discussed by Dotson (2015).</p> <p><sup>2 </sup>earlytibet.com/2010/09/24/dharma-from-the-sky-iii/</p> <p><sup>3 </sup>As van Schaik (2013: 237–40) points out, in earlier texts it has the wider meaning of (prescribed) conduct or customs.</p> </div> <section class="comments" > <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=10&amp;2=field_blog_comments&amp;3=comment" token="5U6lnuxwWfDF85pIx7pLRXWTV9nP_6cSEhG4Zqu-1Jk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 21:08:20 +0000 Fernanda Pirie 10 at http://tibetanlaw.org http://tibetanlaw.org/blog/khrims#comments