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In accordance with Jigme Rinpoche’s guidance, Dhagpo Kagyu Ling—along with Dhagpo Kundreul Ling, Dhagpo Möhra, in Germany, and many of the urban centers—have devoted the month of January to a study retreat focused on texts of the Buddha Dharma. A month where, in different languages and different places, everyone tries their best to connect with the Buddha’s teaching—to listen, to reflect, and to understand.

     Is it a coincidence of timing or simply all the right factors coming together that allowed for a unique collection of more than 200 volumes to arrive from China at Dhagpo’s (Kagyu Ling and Kundreul Ling) library precisely during this month dedicated to Dharma study? There will surely be many opinions…

Several years ago, Shamar Rinpoche asked Dhagpo’s library to acquire a unique collection. That of the Kangyur (the collection of the Buddha’s words) and the Tengyur (the various commentaries written by Indian teachers of the past) in the Tibetan language. While the library already possesses a woodblock printed edition in the traditional Tibetan pecha format, made in Derge in the 18th century, this new collection is the first of its kind and required nearly ten years to create. It is a collated, hardcover collection that brings four different versions together in one.

Indeed, over the course of the centuries and the development of Buddhism in Tibet, the first manuscript editions (like that of Narthang in the 14th century) were edited and engraved on wood blocks to allow for mechanical impression. The first xylographic incunabulum, or early woodblock printed edition, of the Kangyur and Tengyur was created during the reign of Chinese Emperor Yongle in Beijing around the year 1410–1411 CE.

This first printed edition is notably associated with the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa (1384–1415 CE), because he had been invited to the court of the Ming Dynasty several years earlier and took part in editing its texts.

Other versions were likewise woodblock printed over the centuries, which gave rise to multiple editions. Several Karmapas and Shamarpas were involved in their creation. The Lithang Edition of the Kangyur came to be thanks to the efforts of the 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1556–1603 CE) and the 11th Shamarpa, Chokyi Wangchuk (1584–1629). Closer to our own era, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924–1981 CE) had 500 copies of the Derge Kangyur printed between 1976 and 1979, while in exile, and distributed them to libraries and monasteries of all Buddhist traditions. He also began reprinting the Tengyur, a project that was continued and concluded following his parinirvana.

The present collection brings together the four woodblock editions from Derge, Narthang, Beijing, et Chone.
An enormous, detailed, and intensive effort allowed for comparing the various versions in order to offer this collection in book format, supplemented with notes and including tables of contents for easy use.

The Buddha’s words (Kangyur) are make up 108 volumes including four tables of contents, and the commentaries by later Indian teachers (Tengyur) constitute 124 volumes including four tables of contents.

This makes for 650 kilograms of books in 32 boxes that made their way to the Dhagpo Library. They are now housed in the shelves of the Tibetan stacks under the benevolent gaze of the statue of 16th Karmapa.

An identical collection arrived at almost the same time at the Kundreul Ling Library and can already be found at the KIBI and Sri Diwakar Libraries in India.

Such a collection is the heart of the library. In a way, it constitutes all there is to know.

We are happy to share some photographs of the works installed in the Dhagpo (Kagyu Ling and Kundreul Ling) Library. The acquisition of these books is once again the example of dependent arising itself: a chain of causes and conditions that cross time.

Galery (Click here to enlarge the pictures and read the legends):




The Buddha himself, the Karmapas, the Shamarpas (past and present), the untiring efforts of the lineage’s teachers—as we see in the example of Jigme Rinpoche—and also every person who contributes in some way so that these books may arrive at the library and be useful to Dharma students today and in the future.

Don’t hesitate to consult the online resources compiled by the librarians to find out more about the Kangyur and Tengyur and to ask the librarians to show you the collection during your next visit to Dhagpo.