BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Indian pandits in the land of snow

by Sarat Chandra Das

Excerpt:

* The Tashi-lhunpo University is under the direct control and presidency of the Tashi Lima himself, who is called Pan-chen rin poohe (pan-pandit, chen-great, rinpoche, mahdratna, or the most precious gem). The doora of the University are open only to the most respectable, with the exception of yonng men living in the surrounding villages of Shiga-tse, &o., as nearness, of home is considered a hinderance to religious and monastic discipline.

to any of the neighbouring villages:—De-leg, Tashi gyan-tse, Namral, &o.? On the Gergans replying "no sir," "nothing of the kind," the registrar asks him to sign a paper to that effect. In the meantime the boy goes on reciting like a parrot the contents of the standard course consisting of 125 leaves. If he can satisfy them he is formally enrolled, and his head is shaven clean with the exception of a small tuft of hair which is left on the crown. If he fails to acquit himself well he is turned out of the monastery and his tutor immediately receives ten stripes of the cane, and binds himself to pay a fine consisting of 40 lbs. of clarified butter within three days. If the Gergan happens to be a Khan-po, official or respectable man, he sends an ordinary monk as his representative to present his pupil to the director for admission, and in the event of the boy's failure to receive the usual punishment.

From the date of his admission the boy, though treated as a novice, is entitled to the usual allowance of a Tdpa (novice monk). As long as he does not take the vows of a Ge-tshul he is not allowed to join the ordinary monks in the religious services of the monastery or to sit with them in the grand hall of congregation. At the time of the regular daily services he sits with his fellownovices in the hall called Sher-chan Lha-khang. When it pleases the Grand Lama, he calls all these novices, to receive the first ordainment and to subject themselves to the tonsure. Dressed in the prescribed church robes consisting of a lower garment, upper garment, the monkish petticoat and the wrapper, they present themselves before the Grand Lama, who, with a pair of scissors in his hand, calls each boy by the name that was given to him by his parents and asks :—-" Do you subject yourself to the tonsure cheerfully?" "Yes, your Holiness, I do so with the greatest pleasure ; " is invariably the reply. The Grand Lama then cuts off the tuft of hair from the boy's head, and gives him a new name hy which he is to be called henceforth. On this occasion the Grand Lama alfeo adds certain titles of aristocratic distinctions to the names of those who have sprung from the upper sections of the people. The scions of the old nobility and descendants of the earlier Tantrik (Lamaic) families called Ngag-tshang are given the titles of Shab-dung. The sons of land-holders, and high officials, the title of Je-dung, and those come from the class of gentlemen and the family of Sha-ngo are called Ghoi-je. As soon as these titles are bestowed each recipient, as a rule, entertains all his fellow-novices for three days with rice, tea, biscuits, cakes, and barley flour. For one whole day religious services for propitiating the guardian spirits and tutelary deities are conducted, when his guardians entertain the members of his Mi-tshan,* and makes them presents of silver coins of the value of two annas or upwards. It is in consideration of these dinners that the title holders are exempted from certain menial services such as fetching water, sweeping the floor, &c,

* Mi-tshan is same as Khain-tshan (section or ward of a monastery).

which every novice has to render to the congregation. They are also allowed the privilege of wearing the kind of Lamaic mantles called Oham-tse Dagam* Then at a convenient time the Tapis dressed in the prescribed clothes of their order are brought before the Grand Lama for ordainment in the orders of Ge-nen (upasaka) and Ge-tshul (novice monk). They are seated in a row before him each on his own mendicant's rug. The Grand Lama assisted by at least four ordained monks receives each novice who presents him with a mendicant's platter filled with certain medicinal fruits, &c. The novice for receiving the vows, sits on his insteps with the feet touching each other and places the joined palms of his hands on the joined knees. He then reverentially says: "I take refuge in Buddha, in Dhaema and in Sa&gha." As soon as he has repeated this twice, the Grand Lama commands him not to sin, and to observe the Pancha-iila, the five commandments.f This ceremony finished, each again approaches the Grand Lama, for admission in the sacred order. As soon as he has again thrice repeated the formula of taking refuge, the Grand Lama puts him the following questions:—Have you obtained the permission of your parents to leave the world for ordination in the holy order? Have you committed the murder of your father or mother, &c.? He then commands him not to sin and to look to him in the light of a living Buddha and to regard his residence as the superb mansion of the gods. The vows of a S'ramanera (novice monk) are then given. At the end of the ceremony each novice-monk presents the Grand Lama with a silk scarf and ten Tankas (Tibetan silver coin). Henceforth they are permitted to freely take part in all the congregational meetings and services. For a period of three years, from the date of entrance, they are regarded as Rig-chung or monks of the primary stage, after which they are called Rigding, i. e., those of middle stage. Monks of five years' standing are called Rig-chen, i. e., monks of the higher stage. They are permitted to pass an examination in the sacred books to obtain the rank of Phal-chenpa. The most intelligent among the Phal-chenpa go up for the degree of Kah-chan (called Rab-champa at Lhasa) which is something like the degree of D. D. Those who fail in this examination, go to the Buddhist college at Gyan-tse where there are eighteen Ta-tshangs or classes, to graduate themselves as Tung-Rampa or Bachelor of Divinity. Some of the Phalchenpa scholars also go to the college at Namring in Upper Tibet for the same kind of degree, but the Tung Rampa of Namring being of inferior attainments is not recognized by the University authorities of Tashi-lhunpo, for only the Kah-chan and the Tung

* These mantles are furnished with hoods at the back.

+ If convenient the Grand Lama also ordains them in the orders of Ge-nen (Upasaka) and Ge-tshul (S'ramanera) at the same time but generally these ceremonies take place at different periods.


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