Wylie:Rgya gar gyi grub thob chen po dam pa rgya gar ram dam pa sangs rgyas zhes pa'i gsung mgur zhal gdams ding ri brgyad cu pa
རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གྲུབ་ཐོབ་ཆེན་པོ་དམ་པ་རྒྱ་གར་རམ་དམ་པ་སངས་རྒྱས་ཞེས་པའི་གསུང་མགུར་ ་ ་ ་
rgya gar gyi grub thob chen po dam pa rgya gar ram dam pa sangs rgyas zhes pa'i gsung mgur zhal gdams ding ri brgyad cu pa
Eighty Pieces of Advice for the People of Dingri: Sung by the Great Indian Adept Called Dampa Gyagar or Dampa Sangye
Dampa Sangye imparted some Pieces of Advice to the residents of his monastery at Dingri Langkhor in a kind of farewell or final testament, with awareness of his own impermanence. It is perhaps the most famous and popular of his works. However, the versions that we have now share only a few verses with the earliest versions recorded in this distinctive style of couplets, all ending with “Dingriwa,” that is, “Dingrians” or “people of Dingri.” According to Dan Martin, Dampa was the first to pronounce such verses, and the second was his disciple Kunga, who repeated 118 verses a year before his own death, only seven years after his guru passed away. Then apparently this fairly easy compositional style was supplemented over the years by other lineage holders. Consequently, after so many versions, there are some issues with the exact list, as if that matters. In modern collections there are two conflicting titles: the Eighty Pieces, as here in The Treasury of Precious Instructions, and, more usually, the Hundred Pieces. Some collections, such as the Dingri Volumes, will have both versions. There is no evidence, however, that Dampa Sangye actually gave these teachings twice, and in fact most of the couplets or verses are present in both editions. It seems likely that a hundred (brgya rtsa) easily morphed into eighty (brgyad cu) at some point in its scribal history. Ninety-one made it into Dampa’s biography. Here the number turns out to be ninety-seven, although it may be noted that in some translations the second verse here is actually the first, which would make it ninety-six.
There are a few histories of the setting for the teachings as well. The most often repeated seems to be as follows. Dampa Charchen, one of Dampa Sangye’s four main disciples known as the four gatekeeper yogins of the later transmission, came before Dampa and said, “Dampa, you are getting very old! You yourself will surely pass from happy states on to happy states. But think of the people of Dingri. What shall we do?” In some versions, this leads directly to the verses of advice, but in our version there is a short reflection in response that clearly affirms Dampa’s premonition of his death. The final verse also returns to the personal with the straightforward “I will leave.”
But there is another interesting twist on the story in a commentary called Storehouse of Jewels, based on explanations of Ngawang Gyaltsen, where the scene is Bodhisattva Kunga’s “last words” to the people of Dingri. As Bodhisattva Kunga approaches nirvana (d. 1124), he speaks the opening verses from “namo guru” through the first verse ending with “it will be so hard to regain a human life, people of Dingri.” Then, the commentary says, he goes on to repeat the hundred (or so) pieces of advice from Dampa Sangye’s last words, beginning with the above story of Dampa Charchen’s request. One version does not obviate the other, except in that the opening words would be Kunga’s rather than Dampa’s.
There are also any number of translations and commentaries available in Western languages, beginning perhaps with Evans-Wentz’s version (really Lama Kazi-Samdup’s translation) in 1954, to the wonderful translations with their oral commentaries by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (2006) and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (2015). And because these pieces of advice are so worth repeating, there will be many more—perhaps eighty or a hundred.
- 2 See “The Tingri Hundred” on Tibeto-logic blog, December 9, 2008.
- 3 sgo ba’i rnal ’byor bzhi. Dam pa ’char chen, also spelled phyar chen—stories of his escapades are found in many places in Dampa’s life story. The other three “gatekeepers” are Dam pa phyar chung, Vajrakrodha, and Byang chub sems dpa’ (Bodhisattva) Kun dga’.
- 4 Pha dam pa sangs rgyas kyi zhal chems ding ri brgya rtsa ma’i don ’grel man ngag rin po che’i gan mdzod, DV, vol. nga, pp. 586–87.
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Alternate Print: Tsibri print of this text from Matthieu Ricard
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- Genre from Richard Barron's Catalog
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- rtsa ba
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As the only available unicode Tibetan text at the time, Nitartha International's version of the Paro Edition of the gdams ngag mdzod is provided here. However, note that it has not been thoroughly edited and that there may also be mistakes introduced through the conversion process. Eventually we will provide a fully edited version of the entire Shechen Edition, entered and edited multiple times by Pulahari Monastery in Nepal, but as of fall 2017 that project has not been finished. Note that the folio numbers that appear throughout were added by Nitartha Input Center at the time of input.