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The Light of Kailash, Volume Two

A History of Zhang Zhung and Tibet: The Intermediate Period

by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Translated from Tibetan by Donatella Rossi

This summa of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s researches is dedicated first and foremost to his fellow countrymen and women and to Tibetan youth in particular. The text was originally conceived as a set of university lectures that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu was invited to give at the University of Nationalities in Beijing in 1988, forming a first abridged version of The Light of Kailash subsequently enlarged by the author after further research; the manuscript through meticulous selection and a critical use and analysis of a vast array of literary and frequently unpublished sources became a work of 1,900 pages divided in three volumes.

The first volume, The Early Period: The History of Ancient Zhang Zhung, considers the rise of early human generations and the Bon lineages of ancient Zhang Zhung, its dynasties, language, and culture.

The second volume, The History of the Intermediate Period: Tibet and Zhang Zhung, is focused upon human generations, the Bönpo lineages, the spread of Bön during the lifetimes of the first Tibetan monarchs, the dynasties, written language, and civilization of ancient Tibet, as well as upon the reigns of specific kings, the Bön religion, and Bönpo religious figures (Dran-pa Nam-mkha’ in particular) of Zhang Zhung during that period.

The third volume, The History of the Later Period: Tibet, is concerned with an assessment of the genealogies, Bonpo lineages, royal dynasties (from the first monarch gNya’-khri bTsan-po until the forty-fifth monarch Khri-dar-ma ’U-dum-btsan), language, and civilization of Tibet.

This amazing trilogy, aptly named The Light of Kailash, offers an open, groundbreaking, holistic, unbiased approach to the study of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Tibet and to the understanding of the origin of this fascinating and endangered civilization.

  • Translator’s Foreword 7
  • I. Origins of the Human Generations of Ancient Tibet 17
  • II. Origins of the Bonpo Lineages of Ancient Tibet 41
  • 1. Origin of the word “Bon” 42
  • 2. The Diffusion of Bon at the Time of King Mu-khri
  • bTsan-po 54
  • Iii. The Royal Lineages of Ancient Tibet 87
  • 1. The Divine Lineage of the First King of Tibet 2. The Succession of the Tibetan Monarchs from gNya’-
  • Khri bTsan-po to the Dharmarāja Srong-bTsan sGam-po 123
  • Iv. The Written Language of Ancient Tibet 173
  • 1. The Foremost Diffusion of the Tibetan Written
  • Language 174
  • 2. Did a Tibetan Language Exist Before the Dharmarāja
  • Srong-btsan? 178
  • V. The Civilization of Ancient Tibet 203
  • 1. The Twelve Lores of Bon 203
  • 2. The Three Cardinal Aspects of the Culture of the
  • Intermediate Period 212
  • 3. Royal Castles of Ancient Tibet 228
  • VI. Kings, gShen-pos, and Bonpos of Zhang Zhung 236
  • 1. King sTag-rna gZi-brjid 236
  • 2. Mu-wer bTsad-po 238
  • 3. The Bon gShen-po Dran-pa Nam-mkha’ 239
  • 4. The King of Zhang Zhung Lig-mi-rkya lDe-bu 244
  • Bibliography 260
  • Indexes
  • Tibetan and Zhang Zhung Names and Terms 271
  • Textual Sources 299
  • Sanskrit Names and Terms 303
  • Chinese Names and Terms 305
  • List of Tables
  • Table 1. The Twelve Animals of the Astrological Cycle 31
  • Table 2. The Original Clans as mentioned in the Po ti
  • bse ru, the Lho brag chos ’byung, and the Rus mdzod (1) 35
  • Table 3. The Original Clans as mentioned in the Baiḍūrya
  • dkar po, and in the Nyer mkho bum bzang (2) 35
  • Table 4. The Names of the Twelve Lores as recorded
  • in the Byams ma, and in the Dar rgyas gsal sgron (1) 53
  • Table 5. The Names of the Twelve Lores as Recorded
  • in the rGyal rabs bon ’byung and in the Legs bshad mdzod (2) 54
  • Table 6. (1 through 32) The monarchs of the Intermediate Period, from the first king gNya’-khri bTsan-po, up to gNam-ri Srong-btsan, the father of Srong-btsan sGam-po; their royal protectors [sku gshen]; and the temples they
  • built, as recorded in eight different textual sources 70
  • Table 7. The Divine Lineage of the First King of Tibet as recorded in the lDe’u rgya bod kyi chos ’byung, the lDe’u chos
  • ’byung chen mo, and the Srid pa rgyud kyi kha byang 100
  • Table 8. The Succession of the Thirty-Four Tibetan Dynasties of the Intermediate Period according to
  • Twenty Different Sources 133
  • Table 9. Stanza 129 from the Eighth Chapter on Meditative Absorption of the Bodhicaryāvatāra by the Noble Śāntideva, written in Lha Babs Yi Ge (The Language Descended from
  • the Gods) 194
  • Table 10. Sample of Lha Babs Yi Ge (The Language Descended from the Gods) by Chögyal Namkhai
  • Norbu with Tibetan Equivalent 196
  • Table 11. Image of the Yum-bu Bla-sgang Palace 230

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