Early Modern Tibetan Biographies, Autobiographies and Treasure Text Biographies (of historically pre-modern figures)Please let me know if you find other texts that should be included in this list.

1) Please spend some time familiarizing yourself with the works summarized on the two webpages listed below where your work will be posted.a) pre-modern and early modern auto/biographies:
http://tibetan-biographies.wikischolars.columbia.edu/List+of+Tibetan+biographies
b) 20th century autobiographies:http://tibetanhistory-20thcentury.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Autobiography%2C+Memoirs%2C+or+Reports+of+Life+in+Tibet

2) Either select one of the highlighted auto/biographies (which have not already been summarized by past students) from the list below, or select one of the highlighted autobiographies from the 20th century autobiographies webpage: http://tibetanhistory-20thcentury.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Autobiography%2C+Memoirs%2C+or+Reports+of+Life+in+Tibet


3) To select the work you want to summarize and provide an abstract for, please sign in to the website and click edit in the menu bar to type your name before the name of the text you are selecting, and save your edit. This way everyone can see which books have been selected already.

I. Pre-modern Auto/Biographies:
  • Roach, Michael, and Christie McNally. 2008. King of the Dharma: the illustrated life of Je Tsongkapa, teacher of the first Dalai Lama : with the complete paintings and the original text of the All-knowing One, Jamyang Shepay Dorje, 1648-1721. Howell, N.J.: Rashi Gempil Ling, First Kalmyk Buddhist Temple.
  • Epstein, Lawrence. 1968. The biography of the second Rgyal-Dbang Karma-Pa, Karma Ba[gamma]si: translation and annotation. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Washington, 1968. Check Proquest Digital Dissertations. If not, I may be able to get from Epstein.
  • Stearns, Cyrus. 1999. The Buddha from Dolpo a study of the life and thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press.
  • More than a madman: the divine words of Drukpa Kunley, Liz Monson, et al. trans. Bhutan Institute of Language and Culture Studies, [2014]. Translation of the autobiography of a 15th-16th c lama
  • Deimberger, translator. Life and Tradition of Bodong Chole Namgyal.pdf (15th c teacher of Chokyi Dronma). I have a PDF of this text.


II. Early Modern (Auto)biographies of Tibetan Lamas
  • Padma-gliṅ-pa, and Sarah Harding. 2003. The life and revelations of Pema Lingpa. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications.
  • The life of the first Karma-pa, Dus-gsum mkhyen-pa "the knower of the three times" (1110-1193): An annotated translation of his biography from Zla-ba chu-shel-gyi phreng-ba [18th c source] Ji-young, Lee. Indiana University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016. 10240812. The intent of this thesis is to explore the political and social milieu behind the life of the first Karmapa hierarch, Dus-gsum mkhyen-pa, and the politics behind this 12th-century figure’s becoming the first in the line of succession of the Karma Bka’-brgyud-pa subsect. Despite the significance and the emblematic position as the founder of the Karma Bka’-brgyud-pa, little has been discovered or studied about this seemingly enigmatic figure of the most intriguing period in Tibetan history. He was undoubtedly one of the major figures who took part in the process of the “Tibetan Renaissance,” a religion-centered cultural revival which had been well underway and had eventually reached the point of crystallization in the 12th century. Re-emerging from the 150-year social, political and economic turmoil, Tibet was drawn to a religion, particularly esoteric Buddhism, not only as an important instrument in bringing new vigor back to their civilization but also as the primary vehicle within which the next phase of the Tibetan history was to be written. Relying on his biography in Zla-ba chu-shel-gyi phreng-ba, the most comprehensive source on the Karma Bka’-brgyud-pa history, composed by the 18th-century polymath Si-tu pa?-chen Chos-gyi ’byung-gnas, I will explore the life and achievements of the hierarch who lived during the formative period in Tibetan history which shaped the political and social structure of the centuries that followed.
  • Gorvine, William A. 2006. The life of a Bönpo luminary: sainthood, partisanship and literary representation in a 20th century Tibetan biography. Ph. D. dissertation. University of Virginia 2006. The dissertation explores a distinctive instance of religious life-writing by focusing on the life-story of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen. This project offers a detailed study of Shardza's religious biographies or namtar (rnam thar), composed in two versions by his disciple, Kelzang Tenpé Gyaltsen. Culminating in a translation and critical edition of a previously unavailable work (which should be the focus of your summary/report, though you can refer to the dissertation for background). Biography of Gyaltsen, Sharza Tashi, -- 1859-1934, written by Gyaltsen, Kelzang Tenpé, -- 1897-1959.
*I could not find any others that had not already been covered on the website: HYPERLINK "http://tibetan-biographies.wikischolars.columbia.edu/List+of+Tibetan+biographies" http://tibetan-biographies.wikischolars.columbia.edu/List+of+Tibetan+biographies
But feel free to look and ask Lauran Hartley or work with Tibetan/Chinese versions, as there are many more options. For instance, all the Dalai Lamas’ biographies have been translated into Chinese.


III. Collections of Short Biographies (not all from early modern period)
  • (Xiaobai Hu)Janice Dean Willis. 1995. Enlightened beings: life stories from the Ganden oral tradition.Boston : Wisdom Publications, 1995. The core of this book are five short biographies of figures who lived from 14th-17th c, collected by an 18th c figure.
  • Ngag Dbang Bstan 'Dzin 'Jigs Bral Dbang Phyug Chos Kyi Rgyal Mtshan (??1808-1887??). [published between 1980 and 1998]. Birth series history of dZatrul Rinpoche: a lineage of devotional luminaries. Kathmandu, Nepal: Vajra Yogini Temple.
  • Jam dbyangs rdo rje, Smyo shul Mkhan po; Richard Barron. A marvelous garland of rare gems: biographies of masters of awareness in the Dzogchen lineage: a spiritual history of the teachings on Natural Great Perfection. Junction City, CA : Padma Pub. 2005.
*There are many other collections of biographies I have not listed here, but if you find one you want to work on, please just run it by me.


IV. Other temporal oddities
(Pre-modern/ mythic figures)
(avoid these biographies, unless you cannot find another):

  • Ye-shes-mtsho-rgyal, Ñaṅ-ral Ñi-ma-ʼod-zer, Erik Pema Kunsang, and Marcia Binder Schmidt. 1993. The lotus-born: the life story of Padmasambhava. Boston, Mass: Shambhala Publications. The biography was written by Nyang ral Nyi ma 'od zer (1124-1192).
  • Gyalwa, C., N. Ningpo, et al. (1999). Lady of the Lotus-Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal. Shambhala, Boston.
  • Doney, Lewis. 2014. The Zangs gling ma: the first Padmasambhava biography : two exemplars of the earliest attested recension. Andiast: IITBS GmbH, International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. The biography was written by Nyang ral Nyi ma 'od zer (1124-1192).
  • Thubten Kalsang. 1984. Atisha: a biography of the renowned Buddhist sage. New Delhi: Mahayana.
  • Kramer, Ralf, and Blo-gros-ʼbyuṅ-gnas. 2007. The great Tibetan translator: life and works of rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059-1109). München: Indus Verlag.
  • Karma-blo-gros-chos-dpal-bzaṅ-po, and Peter Roberts. 2001. A spiritual biography of Rechungpa: based on The radiance of wisdom: the life and liberation of the Ven. Rechung Dorje Drak = Je bhun ras chung rdo rje grags paʼi nam thar rnam mkhyen thar lam gsal baʼi me long ye shes snag ba bzhugs so. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications. This is apparently NOT a translation of an actual text of Rechungpa’s life, the earliest extant version of which was written in the sixteenth century as The Life of Rechungpa by Tsangnyön Heruka’s pupil, Götsang Repa). Maybe this is a modern oral version.
  • Thrangu (Rinpoche), Peter Alan Roberts, Sandy Garson, and Rgod-tshaṅ-ras-pa Sna-tshogs-raṅ-grol. 2002. Rechungpa, a biography of Milarepa's disciple: based on The mirror illuminating the path to liberation. Boulder, CO: Namo Buddha Publications. This is apparently NOT a translation of an actual text of Rechungpa’s life, the earliest extant version of which was written in the sixteenth century as The Life of Rechungpa by Tsangnyön Heruka’s pupil, Götsang Repa). Maybe this is a modern oral version.


V. Imperial Period Figures, Mythic Histories, Post-Imperial Figures, etc.
(Pre-modern mythic figures written about by modern authors)

  • Ye-śes-mtsho-rgyal, gter-ston O-rgyan-gliṅ-pa, and Tarthang Tulku. 1978. The life and liberation of Padmasambhava. Berkeley, Calif: Dharma Pub.
  • Stag-śam Nus-ldan-rdo-rje. Mother of knowledge : the enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal. “by” Nam-mkhaʾi-snying-po ; oral translation by Tarthang Tulku ; edited by Jane Wilhelms.Berkeley, CA : Dharma Pub. 1983. A rediscovered Terma text, “written by” one of Yeshe Tsogyel’s fellow disciples.
  • Bsam gtan gling pa (b.1655). The lives and liberation of princess Mandarava the indian consort of Padmasambhava. Lama Chonam and Sangye Kandro, trans. Boston, Mass: Wisdom Publications.
  • Stag-śam Nus-ldan-rdo-rje, Mchog-gyur-gliṅ-pa, Tseten Dorji, Ye-shes-mtsho-rgyal, and Tāranātha. 1973. Accounts of the lives of manifestations of Gu-ru Rin-po-che from the discoveries of Stag-śam Nus-ldan-rdo-rje and Mchog-gyur-gliṅ-pa and the Slob dpon Padmaʼi rnam thar Rgya gar lugs of Taranatha. Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh: Tibetan Nyingmapa Monastery.
  • Stag-śam Nus-ldan-rdo-rje. Mother of knowledge: the enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal. 1983. “by” Nam-mkhaʾi-snying-po ; oral translation by Tarthang Tulku ; edited by Jane Wilhelms.Berkeley, CA : Dharma Pub. A rediscovered Terma text, “written by” one of Yeshe Tsogyel’s fellow disciples. (compare with the wikischolar entry on a different translation of this text: Stag sham Nus ldan rdo rje, Dowman, Keith (trans). 1984. //Sky Dancer//. London; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul).
  • Dowman, Keith, Padma Sambhava, and Mchog-gyur-gliṅ-pa. 1973. The legend of the Great Stupa = mChod-rten-po-bya-rung-kha-sor-gyi-lo-rgyus-thos-pas-grol-ba. The life story of the lotus born Guru = O-rgyen-mam-thar-dpag-bsan-lyong-sing. Berkeley, Calif: Dharma.
  • Blo-bzaṅ-chos-kyi-ñi-ma, and Craig Earl Watson. 1976. “An abridged biography of Dgongs-pa Rab-gsal / a critical transcription and translation by Craig Earl Watson.” Thesis (M.A.)--Indiana University, 1976.
  • Molk, David, Tsering Wangdu, Chos-kyi-seṅ-ge, and Kun-dgaʼ. 2008. Lion of siddhas: the life and teachings of Padampa Sangye. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications. Sungoh.
  • Ye-śes-seṅ-ge, and Bryan J. Cuevas. 2015. The all-pervading melodious drumbeat: the life of Ra Lotsawa. New York, New York : Penguin Books, 2015. I can send you Cuevas' article about the dating of this book to sort that out; he thinks it is an early modern (17th? c author).

VI. no obvious date:
  • Tshe-dbaṅ-'chi-med-mgon-po, and Chos-kyi-dbaṅ-phyug. 1979. Collected writings and autobiographical material of Mdo-chen-pa Tsche-dbaṅ-'chi-med-mgon-po. Dalhousie: Damchoe Sangpo.


VI. Contemporary (Auto-)Biographies of Modern Figures