Survey of the gdams ngag mdzod

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The Paro edition of the gdams ngag mdzod in 18 volumes (4776 folios; edited by Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche and published by Lama Ngodrup and Sherab Drimey 1979–81) consists of the following nine sections:

1) gsang sngags rnying ma (2 volumes: ka and kha) 2) bka’ gdams (2 volumes: ga and nga) 3) sa skya lam ‘bras (2 volumes: ca and cha) 4) mar pa bka’ brgyud (4 volumes: ja, nya, ta, and tha) 5) shangs pa bka’ brgyud (2 volumes: da and na) 6) zhi byed dang gcod (2 volumes: pa and pha) 7) dus ‘khor dang o rgyan bsnyen sgrub (1 volume: ba) 8) khri skor sna tshogs (2 volumes: ma and tsa) 9) jo nang khrid brgya dang dkar chag brgyud yig (1 volume: tsha)

For more details on the names and contents of texts beyond the survey presented here (including already translated texts), see http://tbrc.org/#library_BannerSearchResults-gdams+ngag+mdzod and the reports/databases by Richard Barron and Marcus Perman.

The following is a survey of the above sixteen volumes, listing for each the number of folios, the overall number of texts, and the number of texts in each subcategory in terms of their contents.


) Outline and contents of the gsang sngags rnying ma section (volumes ka and kha)

The gsang sngags rnying ma section consists of 38 texts with a total of 484 folios. The texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into two main categories:

1) Texts on rdzogs chen sems sde, klong sde, and man ngag gid sde (379 folios)
2) Miscellaneous (105 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume ka (18 texts; 225 folios)

11 texts on rdzogs chen

7 texts on sems sde (collection of quotes from the eighteen sems sde tantras, rig pa’i rtsal dbang, explanation of kun byed rgyal po, instruction manual, supplication, instructions by Garab Dorje, snyan brgyud lugs) 107 folios

4 texts on klong sde (collection of quotes from the klong sde tantras, 3 texts on klong sde rdo rje zam pa) 47 folios

Man ngag lta ba’i phreng ba + commentary 34 folios

1 text on ‘dus pa chen po mdo 21 folios

1 explanation of sgyu phrul drva ba’i lam 8 folios

1 explanation of na rag dong sprugs 8 folios

1 text on mamos 5 folios

1 text on Vajrasattva 5 folios


Volume kha (20 texts; 259 folios)

18 texts on rdzogs chen man ngag sde

9 texts on spros bcas dbang, spros med dbang, shin tu spros med dbang, rab tu spros med bbang, and related texts 56 folios

4 texts on rang grol (sems nyid rang grol, rang grol lam rim, chos nyid rang grol, mnyam nyid rang grol) 33 folios

1 instruction manual on gsang ba snying thig 59 folios

1 instruction manual on sems nyid ngal gso 43 folios

1 ritual to venerate the man ngag snying thig bla ma brgyud pa’i rim pa 21 folios

sangs rgyas kyi ‘das rjes gsum 8 folios

mchog gsang lam khrid chen mo 5 folios

Padmasambhava’s mdo sngags thun mong gi lam rim 14 folios

Ekajati rjes gnang 10 folios

) Outline and contents of the bka’ gdams section (volumes ga and nga)

The bka’ gdams section consists of 40 texts with a total of 593 folios. The texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into eight main categories:

1) Texts on blo sbyong (156 folios)
2) Texts related to Atisha’s Bodhipathapradipa (137 folios)
3) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, and instruction manuals on the major bka’ gdams deities (91 folios)
4) Texts on the bodhisattva vow (50 folios)
5) Texts on Gedan Kagyü Mahamudra (30 folios)
6) Texts on Tsongkhapa’s “The three essential points of the path” (27 folios)
7) Texts on Madhyamaka (19 folios)
8) Miscellaneous (Atisha’s biographies, supplications, etc; 83 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume ga (16 texts; 270 folios)

8 texts related to Atisha’s Bodhipathapradipa 137 folios

4 texts on blo sbyong (2 root texts, 1 TOC, and 1 commentary) 62 folios

2 texts on the bodhisattva vow in Nagarjuna’s and Asanga’s traditions 50 folios

2 texts on the life of Atisha 21 folios


Volume nga (24 texts; 323 folios)

9 texts on blo sbyong 94 folios

3 texts on bka’ gdams thig le bcu drug (dbang, sgrub thabs, khrid yig) 34 folios

3 sādhanas and rjes gnang manuals for protectors (1 white Jambhala, 2 gri gug ma) 15 folios

2 texts on bka’ gdams lha bzhi (dbang and sgrub thabs, khrid yig) 42 folios

2 texts on dge ldan bka’ brgyud Mahamudra (root and commentary) 30 folios

2 texts on lam gtso rnam gsum (root and commentary) 27 folios

2 texts on Madhyamaka (one based on the two great chariots of the mahayana and one on gzhan stong dbu ma chen po!) 19 folios

sdig sbyong man ngag 47 folios

1 supplication to the bka’ gdams lineage 15 folios


) Outline and contents of the sa skya lam ‘bras section (volumes ca and cha)

The sa skya lam ‘bras section consists of 35 texts with a total of 465 folios. The texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into five main categories:

1) Texts on lam ‘bras (159 folios)
2) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, and instruction manuals on the major Sakya deities (128 folios)
3) Instruction manuals by various Indian vajrayana masters (141 folios)
4) Texts on zhen pa bzhi bral (26 folios)
5) Miscellaneous (11 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume ca (12 texts; 253 folios)

7 texts on lam ‘bras (root text, commentaries, instruction manulas) 144 folios

4 texts on Hevajra (abhisheka manuals, torma ritual) 101 folios

1 instruction manual on mkha’ ‘gro ma rdo rje gur 8 folios


Volume cha (23 texts; 212 folios)

16 instruction manuals (root texts and commentaries) by various Indian vajrayana masters 141 folios

2 texts on zhen pa bzhi bral (lineage prayer and instruction manual) 26 folios

1 text on lam ‘bras (bla ma mchod pa) 15

Cakrasamvara chang gi cho ga 8 folios

Rdo rje nag po chen po rgsub thabs rjes gnang bcas 11 folios

‘brog mi lo tsA bas mkhas pa sgo drug khrid yig 8 folios

lam skor phyi ma brgyad kyi brgyud pa’i gsol ‘debs 3 folios


) Outline and contents of the mar pa bka’ brgyud section (volumes ja, nya, ta, and tha)

The mar pa bka’ brgyud section consists of 95 texts with a total of 1049 folios. In general, the texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into five main categories:

1) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, and ritual instructions on the deities Cakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Mahakala, and Vetali (289 folios)
2) Instructions on the practices related to the texts under 1) (75 folios)
3) Instruction manuals on The Six Dharmas of Naropa (120 folios)
4) Mahamudra instruction manuals (336 folios)
5) Miscellaneous (229 folios)

Thus, the bulk of these texts (35 %) consists of sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, ritual instructions, supplications, and—surprisingly few—instructions on the primary deities Cakrasamvara and (to a lesser degree) Vajrayogini. The second biggest group (32 %) consists of texts on Mahamudra, followed by instructions on The Six Dharmas (11 %). The miscellaneous group (22 %) contains a variety of texts such as a number of guru yogas, some texts by the Karmapas, Jigten Sumgon’s dgongs pa gcig pa, supplications, instructions on utpattikrama and sampannakrama.

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume ja (13 texts; 270 folios)

9 texts on Cakrasamvara in the snyan brgyud lugs, the ras chung lugs, and the mai tri’i lugs (sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, ritual instructions, and one sampannakrama manual)
165 folios
3 texts on Vajrayogini in the snyan brgyud lugs (sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, ritual instructions)
44 folios
1 text on Mahamudra and the Six Dharmas
61 folios


Volume nya (24 texts; 243 folios)

8 texts on Cakrasamvara:

5 instruction manuals on Cakrasamvara (1 on third abhisheka practice)
37 folios
2 texts on Mahamudra in relation to Cakrasamvara
13 folios
1 supplication to Cakrasamvara and Vajrayogini in the snyan brgyud
21 folios

8 texts on Mahamudra:

Ngondro manual
6 folios
Instruction Manual on Mahamudra (gnyug ma’i de nyid gsal ba)
26 folios
2 texts on the Four-Letter Mahamudra (phyag chen yi ge bzhi pa) root and commentary
11 folios
2 texts by bla ma zhang:
phyag rgya chen po’i lam mchog mthar thug
phyag chen sngon ‘gro dang dngos gzhi
28 folios
Rechungpa’s Seven-Branch Mahamudra (phyag rgya chen po yan lag bdun ldan gyi khrid yig)
1 folio
sems khrid yid bzhin nor bu’i lo rgyus
11 folios

1 instruction manual on The Six Dharmas (gsang chen gyi de nyid gsal ba) 46 folios

Miscellaneous:

3 texts on lus med mkha’ ‘gro in ras chung lugs 19 folios

Marpa’s dril bzhi’i lo rgyus 16 folios

Supplication to Gampopa’s lineage of the union of Mahamudra and the Six Dharmas 3 folios

Summary of Gampopa’s Four Dharmas 2 folios

Entrustment of Practice (sgrub pa’i zhal bskos) 3 folios


Volume ta (27 texts; 263 folios)

9 texts on Mahamudra:

Karma Kamtsang Ngondro
9 folios
Zur mang drung pa’s Mahamudra instructions
7 folios
Phag mo gru pa’s Mahamudra instructions
10 folios
2 texts on phyag chen lnga ldan (‘bri gung)
13 folios
Karma chags med’s phyag rdzogs zung ‘jug
12 folios
3 other Mahamudra instruction manuals
30 folios

5 texts on The Six Dharmas:

bdud rtsi’i snying khu, sngon ‘gro, and gsol ‘debs
25 folios
Instruction manual on Six Dharmas
23 folios
‘bri gung Six Dharmas
4 folios

2 instruction manuals on Vajrayogini:

Visualization manual for Vajrayogini
21 folios
rlung sems gnyis med for Vajrayogini
5 folios

Miscellaneous:

sku gsum ngo sprod (Rang byung rdo rje) 8 folios

sku gsum ngo sprod (Theg chog rdo rje) [Translated by Phil Stanley, Scott Wellenbach, and Karl Brunnholzl] 4 folios

rlung sems gnyis med (Rang byung rdo rje) 4 folios

Naropa’s gegs sel gzer lnga’i man ngag [Translated as Naropa’s Five Nails by Susanne Schefczyk] 11 folios

Guru yoga of the Eighth Karmapa (thun bzhi’i bla ma’i rnal ‘byor) [Translated by Tina Draszczyk and Nalanda Translation Committee] 8 folios

Visualization manual for the rdo rje ‘chang thung ma 4 folios

ri chos bai durya’i phreng ba 5 folios

‘Jig rten gsum mgon’s dgongs pa gcig pa 20 folios

The essence of dgongs pa gcig pa 11 folios

lnga ldan gtor dbang 6 folios

bla med lhan skyes rnam bzhi’i rdzogs rim snying po’i don gyi phreng ba 23 folios


Volume tha (31 texts; 276 folios)

15 texts on Mahamudra:

2 texts on khro phu Mahamudra
5 folios
7 texts on ‘brug pa bka’ brgyud Mahamudra (ro snyoms skor drug)
71 folios
1 text by ‘ba’ ra ba rgyal mtshan dpa bzang on guru yoga in connection with Mahamudra and The Six Dharmas
17 folios
1 text on Ngondro notes
9 folios
4 further Mahamudra instruction manuals
31 folios

5 texts on Four-Armed Mahakala (sadhanas and abhisheka manuals in the tshal lugs and thel lugs) 46 folios

2 texts on Vetali (sadhanas and abhisheka manuals) 14 folios

2 instruction manuals/notes on The Six Dharmas 24 folios

Miscellaneous:

rten ‘brel sgom rim 4 folios

bla ma phyi nang gsang bar sgrub pa’i gzhung 6 folios

lam zab thun mong gi khrid 10 folios

lam zab thun mong ma yin pa’i khrid rim snying po 5 folios

khrid chen brgyad mdzes par byed pa’i rgyan 8 folios

dge sbyor bdun pa’i nyams len sgang du bsgril ba 7 folios

bka’ brgyud spyi khab kyi bla ma mchod pa’i cho ga 19 folios

) Outline and contents of the shangs pa bka’ brgyud section (volumes da and na)

The shangs pa bka’ brgyud section consists of 55 texts with a total of 648 folios. In general, the texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into six main categories:

1) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, and ritual instructions on the major Shangpa deities (312 folios)

2) Texts on the Six Dharmas of Niguma (160 folios)

3) Texts on Niguma’s phyag chen ga’u ma (20 folios)

4) Texts by Sukhasiddi (26 folios)

5) Texts on the five golden dharmas of the Shangpa tradition (27 folios)

6) rnam thar, guru yogas, and dohas (103 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume da (20 texts; 265 folios)

8 texts on shangs lugs rgyud sde lha lnga (supplications, sadhanas, abhisheka manuals and mandala rituals) 108 folios

4 texts on the five deities of Cakrasamvara in the Niguma tradition (sadhana, mandala ritual, ganacakra ritual, and explanation of the sadhana) 44 folios

2 texts on the Six Dharmas of Niguma 53 folios

2 texts on the shangs lugs gser chos lnga 17 folios

Supplication to the incarnations of ‘Jam mgon bla ma Guṇa 1 folio

mdun bsyed nyer mkho’i sbyangs khrus 1 folio

Refuge and bodhicitta connected to Cakrasamvara 1 folio

Compilation of liturgies and practices in the late Shangpa tradition 40 folios


Volume na (35 texts; 383 folios)

8 texts on six-armed Mahakala (sadhana, torma rituals, rjes gnang, guru yoga, supplication) 98 folios

6 texts on the Six Dharmas of Niguma (instruction manuals and supplications) 107 folios

4 texts by Sukhasiddhi (lo rgyus, dbang, Six Dharmas, oral instructions, Mahamudra) 26 folios

3 shangs pa bla ma’i rnam thar 34 folios

2 texts on Niguma’s phyag chen ga’u ma 20 folios

2 texts on shangs lugs lha bzhi (practice and commentary) 11 folios

2 texts on shangs lugs mkha’ ‘gro lnga (sadhana and torma ritual) 6 folios

Compilation of shang pa bka’ brgyud dohas 49 folios

shangs pa bla ma’i mchod pa 16 folios

me tog mkha’ spyod dkar dmar gyi nyams len dbu ma’i mdud grol (from gser chos lnga) 10 folios

shing skyong chen po kshetrapAla yab yum rjes gnang 3 folios

ni gu ma’i smon lam 2 folios

ni gu ma’i gsol ‘debs 1 folio


) Outline and contents of the zhi byed dang gcod section (volumes pa and pha)

The zhi byed dang gcod section consists of 28 texts with a total of 448 folios. In general, the texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into four main categories:

1) Texts from the three transmission lineages of zhi byed (203 folios)
2) Instructions by Padampa Sangye (23 folios)
3) Various texts on gcod (211 folios)
4) Supplication to the gurus of both zhi byed and gcod (11 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume pa (7 texts; 226 folios)

Dam chos sdug bsngal zhi byed kyi gzhung gsang ba bsam gyis mi khyab pa’i rgyud sde’i dum bu rin po che’i snying po 19 folios

Compilation of abhisheka rituals for zhi byed snga phyi bar gsum 129 folios

Compilation of instruction manuals for zhi byed snga phyi bar gsum 49 folios

Supplication to the lineage of the three transmissions of zhi byed 6 folios

Padampa Sangye’s instructions on the five paths of zhi byed 15 folios

Padampa Sangye’s oral instructions to Bodhisattva Kunga 3 folios

(Padampa Sangye’s?) thugs kyi zhal chems pad mo brtsegs pa 5 folios


Volume pha (21 texts; 222 folios)

20 texts on gcod (abhisheka manuals, instruction manuals, visualization manuals, ritual instructions, recitations) 211 folios

Supplication to the gurus of both zhi byed and gcod 11 folios


) Outline and contents of the dus ‘khor dang o rgyan bsnyen sgrub section (volume ba)

The dus ‘khor dang o rgyan bsnyen sgrub section consists of 26 texts with a total of 312 folios. In general, the texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into four main categories:

1) 13 texts on the six-branch yoga of Kalacakra (162 folios)
2) 6 texts on Kalacakra (sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, and ritual instructions; 80 folios)
3) 5 texts on Orgyan Rinchen Pal’s rdo rje gsum gyi bsnyen sgrub (60 folios)
4) 2 miscellaneous texts (bcud len; thun mong ma yon pa’i smon lam rgyal ba rgya mtsho ma; 10 folios)


) Outline and contents of the khri skor sna tshogs section (volumes ma and tsa)

The khri skor sna tshogs section consists of 59 texts with a total of 548 folios. In general, the texts contained in this section can be broadly classified into four main categories:

1) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, rituals, and instructions on deities (241 folios)
2) Bla ma mchod pa, guru yogas, and supplications to gurus and mahasiddhas (101 folios)
3) Texts on Mahamudra (76 folios)
4) Miscellaneous (candali, gcod, bcud len, ‘pho ba, tshe sgrub etc.; 130 folios)

In more detail, each volume consists of the following texts:

Volume ma (30 texts; 309 folios)

7 texts on Avalokiteshvara (abhisheka manuals, mandala instructions, lam rim, sadhana, supplication) 62 folios

4 texts on phyag chen sems nyid ngal gso 53 folios

3 texts related to the 84 mahasiddhas (2 supplications, 1 text connected with rdzogs rim) 64 folios

2 texts on Manjushri (rjes gnang and khrid) 17 folios

2 texts on Vajrapani (rjes gnang and khrid) 19 folios

2 texts on Amitayus (rjes gnang and khrid) 15 folios

2 texts on Jambhala (rjes gnang and khrid) 14 folios

2 texts on Tara (rjes gnang and khrid) 13 folios

2 texts on brag lha’i mgon po (rjes gnang and khrid) 8 folios

Bla ma mchod pa for all lamas of the eight practice lineages 28 folios

Guru yoga for all mahasiddhas 8 folios

grub chen mi tra dzo kis mdzad pa’i snying po don gsum gyi man ngag gi rtsa ba rdo rje’i tshig rkang 7 folios

bla ma’i rnal ‘byor skabs bla ma brgyud pa’i kha skong 1 folio


Volume tsa (29 texts; 239 folios)

6 texts on Avalokiteshavara (instructions, sadhanas) 37 folios

4 texts on White Tara 37 folios

3 texts on Bodong Mahamudra 23 folios

3 texts on bcud len 14 folios

2 instructions on bka’ babs drug ldan 45 folios

2 texts on Ushnishavijaya 19 folios

2 texts of Bodong gcod 17 folios

2 texts on ‘pho ba 16 folios

2 texts on tshe sgrub 14 folios

2 texts on Bodong candali 11 folios

grub chen zhi ba sbas ba’i thugs bcud bka’ babs bdun ldan gyi gzhung 6 folios

) Outline and contents of the jo nang khrid brgya dang dkar chag brgyud yig section (volume tsha)

The jo nang khrid brgya dang dkar chag brgyud yig section consists of 13 texts with a total of 229 folios. 12 among these texts are from the lineage of 108 instructions (191 folios; compiled by Kun dga’ grol mchog and Taranatha) and one text is a pratimoksha vow liturgy by Jamgon Kongtul (38 folios).

In addition, this volume contains the table of contents of all 16 volumes of the gdams ngag mdzod (84 folios).


) Summary and Evaluation

The texts in the 16 volumes of the gdams ngag mdzod can be summarized into the following eleven main categories:

1) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, ritual instructions, and instruction manuals related to deities (including zhi byed and gcod)
1765 folios
2) Sampannakrama practice manuals (Six Dharmas of Naropa/Niguma/6 branch-yoga Kalacakra)
463 folios (131/160/162)
3) Mahamudra instructions
462 folios
4) Dzogchen instructions
379 folios
5) Sakya instructions (lam ‘bras/zhen pa bzhi bral)
326 folios (300/26)
6) Jonang instructions
191 folios
7) Shangpa instructions
156 folios
8) Blo sbyong
156 folios
9) Instructions related to Bodhipathapradipa
137 folios
10) rdo rje gsum gyi bsnyen sgrub
60 folios
11) Miscellaneous
691 folios

These can be further summarized into four categories:

1) Sadhanas, abhisheka manuals, ritual instructions, and instruction manuals related to utpattikrama and sampannakrama practices (Six Dharmas of Naropa/Niguma/6 branch-yoga Kalacakra)
2228 folios
2) Kadampa, Sakya, Jonang, Shangpa, and bsnyen sgrub instructions
1026 folios
2) Mahamudra and Dzogchen instructions
841 folios
4) Miscellaneous
691 folios

Given that the above category (2) also contains a certain number of instructions related to category (1) and that category (4) contains some liturgical materials too, the vast majority of the texts in the gdams ngag mdzod are of liturgical and ritualistic nature.


Compiled by Karl Brunnholzl for Tsadra Foundation, April and July 2010.