For A Critical History of the Northern Treasures

« For A Critical History of the Northern Treasures », Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, CRCAO, vol. 62, février 2022

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INTRIDUCTION : My interest in the ‘Northern Treasures’ goes back to 1989, when I was led to make the acquaintance—to serve him as French interpreter—of the famous ‘C. R. Lama’ (’Khor gdong gter sprul ’Chi med rig ’dzin rin po che, 1922–2001).1 There is little trace of this in my earlier publications, but to be fair, my 2016 book, Le Manuel de la transparution immediate, is the fruit of a quarter century of work on a manual of practice for the dGongs pa zang thal, one of the two main cycles of rDzogs chen in the Byang gter—so it is no exaggeration to say that in fact the Northern Treasures have been a focus of my attention almost from the moment I began learning Tibetan.

But it was during the preparation of the last IATS conference in Paris (2019) that I had the good fortune to get to know Dr. Jay Valentine and his work—especially his doctoral dissertation, which is the actual real starting point of all critical history of the Byang gter—The Lords of the Northern Treasures (2013). It was he who took the excellent initiative of setting up a first Byang gter panel, which was admittedly modest in terms of both the number of participants and the audience, but which can be seen as the unofficial inauguration of a new branch in Tibetological research. The present issue of the Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, of which he was the sole project manager, marks a further step in the foundation of this new research pole, as well as our obtaining, in July 2021, of ANR funding for the mcollective research project described below, which itself will be supported by the next major IATS conference in Prague (July 2022). Stéphane Arguillère (sources : RET)