Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wheel Turning Mouse

I was perfectly relaxed this morning, leisurely absorbing a fascinating article by Minoru Inaba on the subject of From Kesar (see our blog entry "From Gesar"), a Turkic king of the general region that included Kabul in the early 8th century. The first item Professor Inaba brings forward in evidence is a stone stele with a curious inscription. It tells of Śubhakarasiṃha's journey to China, where he finally arrived in 716 CE. After passing through Kashmir where he levitated his way over an unfordable river, he visits Uddiyana (see “Swat's Good Feng Shui”), and what he finds there is “a white mouse which was spinning the wheel and gathering donations everyday.” 

There is no indication of how the author — evidently Li Hua or some other disciple of the famous Indian esoteric Buddhist master — felt about this mouse or its whiteness, nothing to elucidate what kind of wheel it was spinning, no explanation how it merited religious veneration in the form of donations. Donations of what? Things written in stone tend to be glib, chiseling is hard work after all. For myself at this very moment, so is using the computer keyboard, so I'll make this brief.

Wait, I can read your thoughts and they are saying ‘Why in heaven’s name would a cult of a white mouse find itself so worthy of the traveler's attention during his brief stay in the homeland of Padmasambhava in the Swat Valley known to Tibetans as Orgyan?’  My thoughts exactly. 

The human mind loves puzzles, but at the same time finds them so discomforting that it will reach for practically anything to come up with a solution. One idea did occur to me, although I don't have the least idea if it is going to turn out to be correct or not (for that I would need your help or hindrance). Let’s see how far it can go. Perhaps ‘mouse’ or ‘white mouse’ is actually a personal name that for better or worse got translated somewhere along the way. In Indic languages the usual word for mouse is something like mua. As many Tibeto-logicians know, the name of Moses (called Musa in Arabic, and Moshé in Hebrew) in the Kālacakra Tantra was dutifully rendered into Tibetan as Byi-ba meaning mouse (see Hoffmann's article). Now here is the big What if! What if the mouse appears here in stead of a name for someone with a name similar to that of Moses, or just similar to any old word for mouse?

Here’s a guess that seems to roughly suit the time and place. It could be Jabir. Jabir appears in Tibetan sources as Dza-ha-pir (and the like) in association with particular long-life alchemical practices that were passed on in Tibet. Of course he is the one called Geber in European alchemical tradition, so he seems to have been or become renowned over a huge part of Eurasia. He has no exact birthdates, although as can be known from a quick web search, he is guesstimated to have lived from 721 through 815. He may have been Persian by birth, but in any case ended up in Khorasan (in what we now call Afghanistan) after the Abbasid revolution ended in 750. Mike Walter has published three amazing essays about the Tibetan sources on Jabir. To these I refer those who wonder, as many do, why that could even be possible.

In a world where we are slowly but surely, if resistantly, growing accustomed to Trumpian paralogistics, I can forgive you if you’re thinking this doesn’t tread water. Just let me add that Musa (for Moses) does appear in Jabir's full name: Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, meaning Jabir, Father of Musa and son of Hayyan. 

Okay, I tried. But I must admit I haven’t convinced myself that it was Jabir who was ‘turning the wheel’* in Oddiyana when Śubhakarasiṃha was passing that way in the early 710’s. The timing may be close, but not close enough for comfort. And like most puzzles, the solution even if it were established, which it isn’t, brings with it more puzzles. So this is where I appeal to you, dear friends, to write in with your cogent explanations and your bright ideas. There must be sense in this I’m still not able or willing to see.
(*For Tibeto-logicians that is just a nice metaphor that means teaching Dharma... or could it mean ruling?)

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Helmut Hoffmann, “Kālacakra Studies I: Manichaeism, Christianity and Islam in the Kālacakra Tantra,” Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 13 (1969), pp. 52-73, with the discussion of Moses and mice on p. 58. 

Minoru Inaba, “From Kesar the Kābulšāh Kingdom,” contained in: Michael Alram, et al., eds., Coins, Art and Chronology II: The First Millenniun C.E. in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna 1999), pp. 443-454.  Try "" On p. 448, the reign dates of From Kesar (or if you like me prefer the form From Gesar) are more or less determined to be from around mid-730’s until 745 when he was succeeded by his son Bo Fuzhun.* 
(*Obviously a name that comes to us by way of Chinese sources, not that there was anything Chinese about him).
Silvio Vita, “Li Hua and Buddhism,” contained in: A. Forte, ed., Tang China and Beyond (Kyoto 1988), pp. 97-124. Inaba makes reference to it. This could have the answer to the mouse mystery for all I know (since I can’t get access to it from where I am).

Michael Walter, “Jâbir, the Buddhist Yogi I,” Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 20 (1992), pp. 425-438.

——, “Jâbir, the Buddhist Yogi II: ‘Winds’ and Immortality,” Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 24 (1996), pp. 145-164.

——, “Jâbir, the Buddhist Yogi III: Considerations on an International Yoga of Transformation,” Lungta [“Cosmogony and the Origins,” guest edited by Roberto Vitali], vol. 16 (Spring 2003), pp. 21-36.

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Last word:

Nature does not open the door of the sanctuary indiscriminately to everyone … No one may aspire to possess the great secret, if he does not direct his life in accordance with the researches he has undertaken. It is not enough to be studious, active and persevering, if one has no firm principles, no solid basis, if immoderate enthusiasm blinds one to reason, if pride overrules judgment, if greed expands before the prospect of a golden future …  Jabir ibn Hayyan.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Channels = Veins, Nerves & What, Sinews?

I was planning a blog about chakras, but something else came up. I was reading Janet Gyatso’s translation and discussion on the typology of bodily channels that is findable in the Explanatory Tantra* when a remarkable parallel dawned on me, slowly. I have no intention to detract the least bit from Janet’s accomplishment. Quite the contrary, it is my fondest desire to send you off to read it so you will see for yourself how amazing it is. However, she uses that particular quote from the E.T. as a springboard to go into intricately nuanced studies of the historic discussions linking medical channels with those known from canonical Buddhist tantras. This problem occupies much of the heart of her book, while I spring off in a different direction.
(*One of the famous Four [Medical] Tantras, the Rgyud-bzhi. Although they do have the word tantra in the title, they do not form a part of the canonical Buddhist tantras. Confusing? Bear with us.)
Right now my finger joints are torturing me (perhaps tendonitis?) and I hope to avoid spilling a lot of my very limited keyboard energy. Instead I’d like to stop right there with the 3rd category of veins, called connective channels, since I noticed something very interesting, strongly suggesting what many will find a surprising connection with Byzantine or Graeco-Arabic medicine of the Hippocratic school. The four major categories are 1. formative channels, 2. evolving channels, 3. connective channels, and 4. lifespan channels. 

Now for no. 3, the connective channels, I quote the passage from the Explanatory Tantra, ch. 4, according to the official Mentsikhang translation (truncated just because at this late hour I think you and I will prefer something shorter):  
“The interconnecting channels are of two: white (nerves) and black (blood vessels) channels. The blood vessels having its main trunk branch upward to form twenty-four major blood vessels. These channels are responsible for the formation and development of blood components and muscle tissues. These twenty-four channels consist of eight major deep blood vessels, which are connected to the vital and vessel organs, and sixteen superficial blood vessels that are connected externally with the head and limbs... 
“The brain, being the base of the nervous system, is like vast ocean of channels from which the spinal cord descends like a descending root. There are nineteen peripheral nerves which are responsible for all physical mobility. Out of these, thirteen concealed nerves are connected with the internal organs like suspended silk cords, whereas six visible nerves which further branch into sixteen minor nerves are connected with the outer limbs.”
To unpack a bit, here there is a concern to distinguish structures visible on the surface, as many veins are, from those that are buried in deep tissue, and normally invisible. But note right away that in place of “sixteen minor nerves” we will probably prefer to read sixteen minor water channels (chu-rtsa phran-bu bcu-drug), although I suppose we could then argue that in this medical context, chu ought mean not just water, but bodily fluids in general. I suppose...

But wait one minute. Yonten Gyatso, in his review of Barry Clark’s translation of this passage criticizes him for translating chu-rtsa as tendons or as ligaments. The reviewer finds no reason that ligaments should appear in the context of channels, and there is indeed something puzzling about this. However, I would point out, there is a word chu-ba that means ligamentand the sixteen minor chu-rtsa are really and truly explained as connective tissues for bones* in the medical dictionaries available to me.  They even enumerate them, siting them in wrists, elbows and other joints.
(*Whether these sinews be tendons or ligaments, such are liable to be confounded in any language. In my understanding rgyus-pa should mean the tendon that connects muscles to bone, while chu-ba means the ligament that joins bone to bone. I have several hefty Tibetan-Tibetan medical dictionaries, but I’m too lazy to list their titles here. In her book, at pp. 229 and 447, Gyatso puts forward the correct spelling for the word for tendon as not chu-ba, but chus-pa, throwing us ever so slightly off track. No, the correct spelling is not chus-pa, and Yes, the chu in chu-rtsa is not the chu meaning water, but the chu that is short for chu-ba, so there is really no good reason to go on using the translation water channel.)
It would seem — I claim no expertise for myself — that in the Hippocratic Corpus there are three main classes of channels: phlebes meaning mainly the blood vessels, neura, the ligaments & nerves, and poroi for the irregular on-and-off valve-like openings for draining excess fluids. On these, see Craik’s article, especially p. 107.  

Taking down my Liddell & Scott, I find that the word neura in Greek means “a string or cord of sinew, a bowstring” (in Homer, Hesiod, etc.). The Latin for neura is nervus.

I think you will remember this the next time someone says you are high-strung or about to snap. We’re all a little neurotic sometimes, although I hope you’re not thinking I am as much as I fear you are.

But seriously, in both Greek and Tibetan medicine, it looks as if we are meant to understand that [1] sinews — those most connective of connective tissues, [2] nerves, and likewise [3] blood vessels, are all about connecting things. Has this never occurred to you? 

Or, to cut this short since I’m low on energy and you have demonstrated enough patience by now, I’ll just conclude with a summation: A long-influential strain of early Greek-style medicine had in common with the official bible of traditional Tibetan medicine a tendency to classify the sinews and the nerves together, or what might be saying the same thing, they had some trouble distinguishing them. This general point, while I believe it will hold true, does require finessing, should you feel so inclined to go into it with the necessary detail and rigor. Feel free and stress-free until next time, my friends.

Notice the "suspended silk cords" or tassels
hanging directly down from the brain
(with no detour via the spinal column)

Good to read just so you’ll know:

E.M. Craik, “Hippocratic Bodily ‘Channels’ and Oriental Parallels,” Medical History, vol. 53 (2009), pp. 105-116.  Try this link.

Frances Garrett & Vincanne Adams, with assistance from Jampa Kelsang, Yumba and Renchen Dhondup, “The Three Channels in Tibetan Medicine, with a Translation of Tsultrim Gyaltsen's A Clear Explanation of the Principal Structure and Location of the Circulatory Channels as Illustrated in the Medical Paintings,” Traditional South Asian Medicine, vol. 8 (2008), pp. 86-114.

Janet Gyatso, Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet, Columbia University Press (New York 2015).

I.M. Lonie, “Medical Theory in Heraclides of Pontus,” Mnemosyne, 4th series vol. 18, no. 2 (1965), pp. 126-143. Interesting for its treatment of the poroi, Lonie takes you into a Greek medical world no less fascinating and surprising than the Tibetan.

D. Martin, “An Early Tibetan History of Indian Medicine,” contained in: Mona Schrempf, ed., Soundings in Tibetan Medicine: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives, Brill (Leiden 2007), pp. 307-325. It reveals the existence in Rome of the lost medical history by Che-rje dating to very close to the beginning of the 13th century. Neglected in this study is any notice of the closely contemporary parallel sketch of medical historical pluralism in the Four Tantras itself:  See now Janet Gyatso's book, at p. 150, and see also the Mentsikhang's edition and translation of the Subsequent Tantra, at p. 295 (listed here below ↓ under “Yuthok”). This passage, quite oddly, attributes pulse and urine diagnostics to Tibet’s own indigenous medicine, even when we now can say there are sure indications that the former was largely informed by Chinese medicine — the Four Tantras actually make use of borrowed Chinese technical terms in this context — while the latter, urinalysis, has clearly dependent connections with Graeco-Arabic sources on that subject.

Wendy McDowell, “Medicine’s Unique Ways of Knowing: An Interview with Janet Gyatso,” Harvard Divinity School Bulletin (2016), go to this link.

Plinio Prioreschi, A History of Medicine, Volume Two: Greek Medicine, Horatio Press (Omaha 1996), p. 262:
“The Hippocratic physician knew very little of the nervous system; nerves were confused with tendons and ligaments and the word neuron meant tendon or sinew.”
Yang Ga (Dbyangs-dga'), The Sources for the Writing of the Rgyud bzhi, Tibetan Medical Classic, doctoral dissertation, Harvard University (Cambridge 2010). Here a number of connections are made between Tibetan and Greek medicines in fields of wound treatment, uroscopy, and so on. I should add that he finds many connections with Chinese and Indian medical systems as well. I notice, too,  that on p. 309 he translates chu-rtsa as “tendon-like channel.” For Graeco-medical urinalysis, Yang Ga drops the name of Theophilus (7th-9th century CE sometime), but see also R. Yoeli-Tlalim, who located impressive parallels elsewhere in the literature.

Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, “On Urine Analysis and Tibetan Medicine's Connections with the West,” contained in:  Sienna Craig, Mingji Cuomu, Frances Garrett & Mona Schrempf, eds., Studies in Medical Pluralism in Tibetan History and Society, International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (Halle 2010), pp. 195-211. In this article Ronit discusses Isaac Israeli, aka Isaac Judaeus (ca. 850-950 CE), a Jewish Egyptian-Tunisian medical writer, who composed his works in Arabic. His work was subsequently translated into Hebrew and Latin and became among the best known works on the subject in both the Middle East and Europe. The outline he supplies for his systematic treatment of urinalysis closely matches the outline of the urinalysis section in the Tibetan medical text the So-ma-ra-dza (Tibskrit for Somarâja, “King of Sleep,” an epithet of cannabis).

Yonten Gyatso, review of Barry Clark, The Quintessence Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, Snow Lion (Ithaca 1995), contained in Tibet Journal, vol. 28, no. 3 (Autumn 2003), pp. 97-106, and particularly p. 103, where the passage on the nerves is dealt with. The author is a contemporary figure in the field of Tibetan medicine, well-known for his herbarium project.

Yuthog Yonten Gonpo, The Basic Tantra and the Explanatory Tantra from the Secret Quintessential Instructions on the Eight Branches of the Ambrosia Essence Tantra, translated into English by the Translation Department, Men-Tsee-Khang Publications (Dharamsala 2011), the 2nd edition, in 337 pages; at pp. 62-65 you will find the main discussion of the channels. I find it interesting that this official publication gives the authorship credit without comment or discussion, since this has been a point of contention for much of Tibet’s history (see chap. 3 in Janet Gyatso's book). The cover page doesn’t distinguish the Elder from the Younger Yuthog, but we may learn from the Preface (p. v) that the Elder composed, while the Younger rewrote, the Four Tantras. As of today I believe it is quite sure and well established that the Four Tantras were put together in circa 1200 CE and that there never was an Elder Yuthog. So although it no longer makes sense to call him by this name, the Younger Yuthog (perhaps with aid of his immediate students) is to be regarded as the author/compiler of all of it.

Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, The Subsequent Tantra from the Secret Quintessential Instructions on the Eight Branches of the Ambrosia Essence Tantratr. into English by the Translation Department, Men-Tsee-Khang Publications (Dharamsala 2011).

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If you want to try an experiment, go to this website and use their search-box to find “nerves” or “tendons” and see how they are seemingly identical (or confounded?) in a number of Hippocratic works.

The frontispiece, derived from the famous 17th-century medical illustrations that feature so largely in Janet Gyatso's not only well-written but beautifully produced book, is not actually meant to illustrate the channels themselves, but rather the pulses that indicate particular types of disorders. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that the Tibetan word rtsa means both channel and pulse. (Not every channel pulsates as much as the other, but well, I guess you got my point.)

From the pavement of Santa Catarina, Sinai.
We’re all interconnected, you betcha!
Look into it & you’ll start seeing things.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Letter Writing Manuals

བོད་གཞུང་སྦྲཊ་གླ་- "Tibetan Government Postal Fee" -
green 4-tamka.stamp (1930's)

C learly today in the internet world where we find ourselves the last thing we imagine we need is a letter writing manual. Letter writing itself has suffered a serious setback (so often dismissed as ‘snail mail’), and the internet communications that take its place are so deficient in tact and taste, they most often do without even the minimal greeting line, without the least “How do you do?” Not even a “How yuh doin’?” Not even a “Howdeedo?” Lucky to find a “Hi!” let alone, “I do trust this letter will find you and yours in fine health and soaring spirits, enjoying the fresh cool December weather.” Instead we get fyi, fyeo, lol and lmao, for which we need a different kind of manual, a code manual.

In earlier days people took letter communication very seriously, treated it as an art with specific rules and standards that were supposed to be well understood by both sender and recipient. Letters could and often did bear a legal significance. It was important to do it right or not at all. That is why letter writing manuals were needed, and they were particularly needed when writing to an official (and perhaps needed even more when officials wrote to other officials). A pleasing calligraphic hand was a separate, related desideratum.

The list below is one of letter writing manuals. It includes neither individual letters nor collections of the same, although collections intended to serve as ‘exemplars’ are supposed to be included. I head the list with an anonymous medieval Gujarati example just for fun, so you’ll wonder why it’s there. I am aware of two Persian writings of this genre from the period of Mongolian dominance: The first is An Exploration of the Approaches to Letter-Writing by Bahā' al-Dīn Muḥammad Mu'ayyadal-Baghdādī, a work dated to around 1182 to 1184. The second was by the Ilkhan ruler Hulegu’s close adviser the famous astronomer Naṣīr al-Dīn Tūsī (1200-1273). By contrast, all Tibetan manuals known to me date from the last three hundred years, if they are datable at all.*
(*For more on the Persian manuals, and on letter writing conventions in general, look here.)

That information you just read about was included in a recent article about a Drigung Kagyu abbot’s letters to his political superiors, including the Mongol Khans Hulegu and Khubilai. Also found there is a listing of studies and translations of Tibetan letters.*
(*For that listing, see pp. 323-326 in J. Samten & D. Martin “Letters to the Khans: Six Tibetan Epistles of Togdugpa Addressed to the Mongol Rulers Hulegu and Khubilai, as well as to the Tibetan Lama Pagpa," contained in: Roberto Vitali, et al., eds., Trails of the Tibetan Tradition: Papers for Elliot Sperling, Amnye Machen Institute [Dharamshala 2014], pp. 297-332. To this list we must add an important publication that was neglected without any reason besides neglect, the work of Franz-Karl Ehrhard, A Buddhist Correspondence: The Letters of Lo-chen Bsod-nams rgya-mtsho (1424-1482), Lumbini International Research Institute [Lumbini 2002].)

This list was originally compiled without paying any attention to Hanna Schneider’s article "The Formation of the Tibetan Official Style of Administrative Correspondence (17th-19th Centuries).” Still, I recommend consulting Schneider’s work for more information about Tibetan letter writing, and especially the most relevant part for us today on p. 119, listing some authors of manuals who are not yet included in our list. These other authors are:

Sum-pa Mkhan-po Ye-shes-dpal-’byor (1704-1788), ’Jigs-med-gling-pa Rang-byung-rdo-rje (1729/30-1798), Dngul-chu Dharmabhadra (1772-1851?), and Mi-pham-rgya-mtsho (1846-1912).

I should go look through their collected works and give details for these manuals, also. Adding them all together, at this moment we know about 15 examples of Tibetan letter writing manuals. Oh, well, a Tibeto-logician’s work is never done. Why even pretend it is? Even so, know that you would not be remiss in letting us know if you know about something mistaken or missing. Meanwhile, fond wishes for a gloriously euphoric holy day season, with hopes to meet again in the coming year.

Truly yours,

     Ingo Strauch, Die Lekhapaddhati‑Lekhapañcasika: Briefe und Urkunden im mittelalterlichen Gujarat. Text, Übersetzung, Kommentair. Glossar (Sanskrit‑Deutsch‑Englisch), Dietrich Reimer Verlag (Berlin 2002).
    Pushpa Prasad, Lekhapaddhati: Documents of State and Everyday Life from Ancient and Medieval Gujarat, Oxford University Press (Oxford 2008).

     Zhu ’phrin yig sgrom rnam gzhag gser gyi rna rgyan. Contained in: Bzo rig kha shas kyi patra lag len ma and other Texts on the Minor Sciences of the Tibetan Scholastic Tradition, reproduced from works in Library of Burmiok Athing (Densapa), LTWA (Dharamsala 1981), pp. 181‑245. Author unidentified, but apparently a Tibetan writing under a Tibskrit version of his name. If the rectified Sanskrit is *Vajrālpa, then the Tibetan form of that could be *Rdo-rje-chung-ngu.

Bis-pa Ngag-dbang-mi-pham-zla-ba (1767‑1807)
—  Recognized as rebirth of Bis-pa Dge-bshes Shes-rab-bstan-’dzin. Dungkar Rinpoche’s dictionary, p. 1393.
   ’Phrin yig gi rnam gzhag dper brjod dang bcas pa padma dkar po’i ’phreng mdzes. Listed in Btsan-lha’s dictionary, p. 1055.

Dbal-mang II Dkon-mchog-rgyal-mtshan (1764‑1853)
—     Aka Dbal-mang Paṇḍi-ta.  For a brief biographical sketch, look here, at “Treasury of Lives” website. His collected works in 11 volumes were published in 1974.
     Yig bskur rnam bzhag nyung ngu rnam gsal.
—     For a copy, see TBRC.

’Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa I Ngag-dbang-brtson-’grus (1648‑1721/2)
     ’Phrin yig gi rnam par bzhag pa blo gsal rna rgyan sindhu wā ra’i ’phreng mdzes. A copy can be found at TBRC.

’Jam-dbyangs-mkhyen-brtse’i-dbang-po (1819/20‑1892)
     ’Phrin yig dper brjod utpal gzhon nu’i do shal, Kan su’u mi rigs dpe skrun khang (Xining 2003). Samples of letters.

     Yig bskur rnam gzhag me tog phreng ba (Chengdu 2006), in 354 pages.

Khe-smad Bsod-nams-dbang-’dus (b. 1901)
   Gnas dus dang mthun pa’i gzhung sger zhu ’phrin dang, skyabs tho, bsngo yig, mdza brtse’i sgor gsar bsnon bcas, Thopkung (Dharamsala 1967).

Kong-sprul Blo-gros-mtha’-yas (1813-1899)
     Yig bskur rnam bzhag nye mkhor brjod pa dbyangs can rgyud mangs.
—     A copy is included in his Collected Works published under the title Rgya chen bka’ mdzod, vol. 9, pp. 181-235. TBRC code W23723.
—     Raghu Vira catalog, "Tib.820," describes a complete 29-folio woodblock. Here the title is supplied in the form Yig bskur rnam bzhag nyi mkhor brjod pa dbyangs can rgyud mangs. But those two syllables are correctly spelled nyer mkhor. That’s the two-syllable form of the quadrisyllabic nye bar mkho ba, with ending -r at the end.

Nor-rgyas Nang-pa Dbang-’dus-tshe-ring
—     Shortened form: Nor-nang Dbang-’dus-tshe-ring. Our contemporary Dge-bshes Nor-nang is his grandson. See Geshe Nornang, “Kadrung Nornang’s Rules for Formal Tibetan Correspondence,” flyer for a talk, online at (December 12, 2009).
   Deb ther long ba’i dmigs bu. A manual for Lhasa officials.
   Yig bskur rnam gzhag nyer mkho smyug ’dzin dbang po’i yid gsos dpyid kyi pho nya’i glu dbyangs (1888). On official letter writing, with a collection of examples. For copies, see TBRC.

Smin-gling Lo-chen Dharma-shrī (1654‑1717/8)
   Yig bskur gyi rnam grangs. This has been published in a volume entitled ’Byung rtsis dang sdeb sbyor ’grel ba snyan ngag gi ’grel ba’i skor bcas, Bod ljongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang (Lhasa 2013). It should also be possible to locate it in his collected works.

Tshe-ring-bsam-’grub (20th century)
   Gdan rabs lo rgyus (=Dpal ldan bde chen chos ’khor gling gi gdan rabs dang yig bskur gyi rnam gzhag). TBRC code W1KG16719.

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PS:  I'll read the following book as soon as I possibly can: Carol Poster & Linda C. Mitchell, eds., Letter-Writing Manuals and Instruction from Antiquity to the Present, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia 2007). Meanwhile, I'll be sure to add to my Latin vocabulary the term Ars dictaminis.  Oh, and something I came to know of just now, thanks to a Schmoogle search, is this essay by Christina A. Kilby, entitled “The Past Lives of Tibetan Letters.”

PPS (Christmas 2016):  And another addition to the bibliography on Tibetan letter studies, one especially relevant to Tibet's claims for independence:  Ryosuke Kobayashi, The Lungshar Delegation and Britain in 1913: Focusing on the Letters of the 13th Dalai Lama, Inner Asia, vol. 18 (2016), pp. 288-308.

Horses of His Holiness (from the Dolan movie)

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