Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

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Kai lord
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Kai lord »

Forgive me if this has been done here in this forum before in an academic fashion. At any rate, please don't treat this attempt of mine too seriously as its done for the sake of an open discussion not thesis or research paper.

As we all know from the tradition legend of virupa the yogi, he had another name that went by....Dharmapala, the abbot of Nalanda, before his wandering.

As Dharmapala was a common name used in ancient India, dating his birth will be impossible if not for the fact that he was an abbot of the legendary university Nalanda as well. Hence we can narrow our choices to three possibility. Let name those three:
Early Dharmapala (early to mid 6th century), Mid Dharmapala (Mid to late 7th century) and late dharmapala (Mid 8th to early 9th century).

Lets begin with early dharmapala, also known as the dharmapala of Nalanda in the mid 6th century who was said to be a student of Dignaga, teacher of Silabhadra and contemporary of Bhavaviveka as recorded by Xuanzang, the legendary Chinese student of Silabhadra, in his "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions" and the famous translator, Yijing in his Account of Buddhism sent from the South Seas and Buddhist Monk's Pilgrimage of the Tang Dynasty

Arguments for this early Dharmapala being Virupa are:
1) He could be a direct student of Aryadeva and Asanga given his close proximity to both in terms of timescale.
2) He could be the guru of Shantaraksita, who came in the 8th century
3) As Lamdre stated, he was born approximately 1000 years after Buddhia's parinirvana

Arguments against this Dharmapal being Virupa are:
1) His preceptor or Guru, Jayadeva was supposed to be the abbot of Nalanda before and after him. But as we have seen above, the guru for this Early Dharmapala was Dignaga and the abbot of Nalanda after Dharmapala stepped down, was Silabhadra, not Jayadeva. Jayadeva was not mentioned in Xuanzang or Yijing's works or records
2) According to Tibetan tradition, Dharmapala was said to be a Yogacarin before his conversion to Prāsaṅgika madhyamaka. This would have been an impossibility for this early Dharmapala as he was contemporary of Bhavaviveka and candrakirti (as we would see later) only refuted the latter during the mid 7th century earliest.
3) Too early for highest yoga mother tantra like Chakrasamvara tantras to have appeared in this century. Dharmapala was famed for his early practice of Chakrasamavara. But the earliest record for the first translation of the Yoga tantra like the [ur=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vairocan% ... %C5%ABtral]Mahavairocana tantra[/url], was dated to the mid 7th century. While its possible that a secret oral tradition for yoga tantra to be available before that in the mid to late 6th century, Its unlikely mother tantras will emerge earlier than that.


Next we have the Mid Dharmapala, who might lived and was a contemporary of Shantideva who was alive in the late 7th century, given that the preceptor for Shantideva was none other than Jayadeva who was the head of the five-hundred panditas (scholar-practitioners) at Nalanda.

This possibility is strengthen by the Lamdre's claim that Shantaraksita whom was said to be a disciple of Virupa, was in Nalanda during the mid 8th century. Shantaraksita wrote an commentary on Candragomin who was legendary rival for Candrakirti, whom he debated for seven years.

So unlike the early Dharmapala we have seen, this Mid Dharmapala, would have been exposed to Prāsaṅgika madhyamaka in its fullest form and read all its relevant arguments and made His doctrine conversion.

Shantaraksita's guru, Buddhaguhya, was also the teacher for famous Vimalamitra. And because of this, we know for a fact that Mahayoga in its earliest form with Atiyoga, was already circulating in India. So its highly likely that early HYT like Guhyasamja and some mother tantras, was present in its early Oral form and was secretly passed verbally from one master to another in this period.

However, the big drawback is we don't have a record of this dharmapala being in existence or much a less being the abbot of Nalanda in the 7th century, Adi sankara, who criticized Dharmakirti in his work, seems to think that Dharmapala is a contemporary of Dharmakirti and in his infamous biography, Shankara Vijayam, it was written how he became a student of Dharmapala, the successor of Dharmakirti in Nalanda and then "defeated" him in debate.

Given how shaky the reliability of this account can be, its hence not established that a Nalanda abbot by the name of Dharmapala existed for sure during this time.

And this brought us to the last possibility, a late Dharmapala who could have lived during mid 8th century to early 9th century.
Since this post is getting too long, I guess I will end it for now and continue at a latter time if this post gets approved (Yeah still under probation) and the interest in it grows.
Matylda
Posts: 948
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Matylda »

Kai lord wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 3:52 pm Forgive me if this has been done here in this forum before in an academic fashion. At any rate, please don't treat this attempt of mine too seriously as its done for the sake of an open discussion not thesis or research paper.

As we all know from the tradition legend of virupa the yogi, he had another name that went by....Dharmapala, the abbot of Nalanda, before his wandering.

As Dharmapala was a common name used in ancient India, dating his birth will be impossible if not for the fact that he was an abbot of the legendary university Nalanda as well. Hence we can narrow our choices to three possibility. Let name those three:
Early Dharmapala (early to mid 6th century), Mid Dharmapala (Mid to late 7th century) and late dharmapala (Mid 8th to early 9th century).

Lets begin with early dharmapala, also known as the dharmapala of Nalanda in the mid 6th century who was said to be a student of Dignaga, teacher of Silabhadra and contemporary of Bhavaviveka as recorded by Xuanzang, the legendary Chinese student of Silabhadra, in his "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions" and the famous translator, Yijing in his Account of Buddhism sent from the South Seas and Buddhist Monk's Pilgrimage of the Tang Dynasty

Arguments for this early Dharmapala being Virupa are:
1) He could be a direct student of Aryadeva and Asanga given his close proximity to both in terms of timescale.
2) He could be the guru of Shantaraksita, who came in the 8th century
3) As Lamdre stated, he was born approximately 1000 years after Buddhia's parinirvana

Arguments against this Dharmapal being Virupa are:
1) His preceptor or Guru, Jayadeva was supposed to be the abbot of Nalanda before and after him. But as we have seen above, the guru for this Early Dharmapala was Dignaga and the abbot of Nalanda after Dharmapala stepped down, was Silabhadra, not Jayadeva. Jayadeva was not mentioned in Xuanzang or Yijing's works or records
2) According to Tibetan tradition, Dharmapala was said to be a Yogacarin before his conversion to Prāsaṅgika madhyamaka. This would have been an impossibility for this early Dharmapala as he was contemporary of Bhavaviveka and candrakirti (as we would see later) only refuted the latter during the mid 7th century earliest.
3) Too early for highest yoga mother tantra like Chakrasamvara tantras to have appeared in this century. Dharmapala was famed for his early practice of Chakrasamavara. But the earliest record for the first translation of the Yoga tantra like the [ur=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vairocan% ... %C5%ABtral]Mahavairocana tantra[/url], was dated to the mid 7th century. While its possible that a secret oral tradition for yoga tantra to be available before that in the mid to late 6th century, Its unlikely mother tantras will emerge earlier than that.


Next we have the Mid Dharmapala, who might lived and was a contemporary of Shantideva who was alive in the late 7th century, given that the preceptor for Shantideva was none other than Jayadeva who was the head of the five-hundred panditas (scholar-practitioners) at Nalanda.

This possibility is strengthen by the Lamdre's claim that Shantaraksita whom was said to be a disciple of Virupa, was in Nalanda during the mid 8th century. Shantaraksita wrote an commentary on Candragomin who was legendary rival for Candrakirti, whom he debated for seven years.

So unlike the early Dharmapala we have seen, this Mid Dharmapala, would have been exposed to Prāsaṅgika madhyamaka in its fullest form and read all its relevant arguments and made His doctrine conversion.

Shantaraksita's guru, Buddhaguhya, was also the teacher for famous Vimalamitra. And because of this, we know for a fact that Mahayoga in its earliest form with Atiyoga, was already circulating in India. So its highly likely that early HYT like Guhyasamja and some mother tantras, was present in its early Oral form and was secretly passed verbally from one master to another in this period.

However, the big drawback is we don't have a record of this dharmapala being in existence or much a less being the abbot of Nalanda in the 7th century, Adi sankara, who criticized Dharmakirti in his work, seems to think that Dharmapala is a contemporary of Dharmakirti and in his infamous biography, Shankara Vijayam, it was written how he became a student of Dharmapala, the successor of Dharmakirti in Nalanda and then "defeated" him in debate.

Given how shaky the reliability of this account can be, its hence not established that a Nalanda abbot by the name of Dharmapala existed for sure during this time.

And this brought us to the last possibility, a late Dharmapala who could have lived during mid 8th century to early 9th century.
Since this post is getting too long, I guess I will end it for now and continue at a latter time if this post gets approved (Yeah still under probation) and the interest in it grows.
If you will find some spare time, then please continue, sunce it is very interesting subject specially since XuanTsang is indirectly invovled.
Kai lord
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Kai lord »

Before we start on the hypothesis on the dating of late Dharmapala from Mid 8th to early 9th century, possibly even from early 8th century. We need to understand the transmission order for Mahayoga lineage.

Mentioned by Dudjim Rinpoche that the middle Indrabhuti was most likely to be the famed king Ja with the Elder Indrabhuti being the one blessed by Buddha himself. Another main or first human lineage holder of Mahayoga, Kukuraja the second, had an interesting teacher and student relationship with King Ja in which they basically taught each other and furthermore Kukuraja was the guru for the latter's children, specifically Sakrabhuti and Gomadevi

Now like many lineage holders with similar names, Kukuraja is claimed by scholars to have multiple versions with the first and earliest one being in the same period as the Buddha and elder Indrabhuti. There is another Kukuraja associated with Mahamaya tantra whom I strongly believed is the same master as Kukuraja the second since they had similar behavior in regards to dogs and shared similar styles of teaching their tenets.

Kukuraja the second, eventually, went on and transmitted Mahayoga to Lalita Vajra and Buddhaguhya both who passed it on to Vimalamitra and other eight awareness holders like Guru Rinpoche and Nagarjuna.

As noted in the previous article, Chandragomin who lived in mid to late 7th century and contemporary of Lalita Vajra and Buddhaguhya , wrote the Great Knot commentary on Guhyagarbha, which suggested that Kukuraja the second, must have lived around that time. So the eight awareness holders must have been around since late 7th century to early 8th century onwards.

You must ask "why do all these details matter?" It matters because the awareness holder Nagarjuna was likely the same tantric Guru of Nagabodhi, student of the adi Siddha known as Saraha and also the lineage holder of Guhyasamaja (Arya tradition), Chakrasamvara and Hevajra (Marpa- Naropa tradition), etc. Through him, we can estimate the dates where practitioners of Chakrasamvara and Hevajra began to merge.

In addition to that, for the Mahamaya lineage, its transmission goes something like this Kukuraja the second ====> Tsokye Vajra====> Dombhi Heruka====> Tilopa and Dombhi Heruka was none other than the famed disciple of Virupa and Luipa. This greatly narrows down our range of dating for late Virupa.

Luipa was known to be a younger contemporary of Dharmaraja of Pala Empire who ruled between 770 and 820. Since Luipa received Chakrasamvara from the student of Nagarjuna, Shavaripa, the Chakrasamvara practitioners must have started emerging since early 8th century. So it was very likely for Virupa to encounter that practice if he lived in Nalanda during that time. And Domdhi siddha must have been around since late 8th century at least for him to be able to encounter both Luipa and Kukuraja's disciple.

Scholars believed that Hevajra tantra emerged after early mother tantras like Mahamaya and Chakrasamvara. Although Lawapa and Sarouha were credited for spreading the first written copy of Hevajra tantra around the late 8th to early 9th century, Virupa was recognized as the first siddha to encounter its full teachings and receive the oral transmission of it from Dakini.

This holds the high possibility of the awareness holder Nagarjuna whom was also a lineage holder for Hevajra, being contemporaneous with Virupa.

Recall that Virupa or Dharmapala also lived a very long age and only encounter Hevajra teaching in his 70s. So its reasonable to believe that Dharmapala born in early 8th century, went to Nalanda where he spent most of his life there, became well versed in doctrines enough to teach Shantaraksita later in the mid 8th century and then encountered Hevajra in latter half of the 8th century and transmitted it to Dombhi.

The main issue encounter so far, is improbability of Dombhi encountering Tilopa and then passed Mahamaya tantra lineage on to him. As for dating Luipa to the tenth century, I don't think that is reasonable given that he would be too far off from Nagarjuna to be able to receive transmission directly from his student.

But out of three possible dating for Dharmapala, this one might be most probable.
Matylda wrote: Tue May 24, 2022 1:09 pm If you will find some spare time, then please continue, sunce it is very interesting subject specially since XuanTsang is indirectly invovled.
Done!
Matylda
Posts: 948
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Matylda »

Kai lord wrote: Wed Aug 24, 2022 1:21 pm Before we start on the hypothesis on the dating of late Dharmapala from Mid 8th to early 9th century, possibly even from early 8th century. We need to understand the transmission order for Mahayoga lineage.

Mentioned by Dudjim Rinpoche that the middle Indrabhuti was most likely to be the famed king Ja with the Elder Indrabhuti being the one blessed by Buddha himself. Another main or first human lineage holder of Mahayoga, Kukuraja the second, had an interesting teacher and student relationship with King Ja in which they basically taught each other and furthermore Kukuraja was the guru for the latter's children, specifically Sakrabhuti and Gomadevi

Now like many lineage holders with similar names, Kukuraja is claimed by scholars to have multiple versions with the first and earliest one being in the same period as the Buddha and elder Indrabhuti. There is another Kukuraja associated with Mahamaya tantra whom I strongly believed is the same master as Kukuraja the second since they had similar behavior in regards to dogs and shared similar styles of teaching their tenets.

Kukuraja the second, eventually, went on and transmitted Mahayoga to Lalita Vajra and Buddhaguhya both who passed it on to Vimalamitra and other eight awareness holders like Guru Rinpoche and Nagarjuna.

As noted in the previous article, Chandragomin who lived in mid to late 7th century and contemporary of Lalita Vajra and Buddhaguhya , wrote the Great Knot commentary on Guhyagarbha, which suggested that Kukuraja the second, must have lived around that time. So the eight awareness holders must have been around since late 7th century to early 8th century onwards.

You must ask "why do all these details matter?" It matters because the awareness holder Nagarjuna was likely the same tantric Guru of Nagabodhi, student of the adi Siddha known as Saraha and also the lineage holder of Guhyasamaja (Arya tradition), Chakrasamvara and Hevajra (Marpa- Naropa tradition), etc. Through him, we can estimate the dates where practitioners of Chakrasamvara and Hevajra began to merge.

In addition to that, for the Mahamaya lineage, its transmission goes something like this Kukuraja the second ====> Tsokye Vajra====> Dombhi Heruka====> Tilopa and Dombhi Heruka was none other than the famed disciple of Virupa and Luipa. This greatly narrows down our range of dating for late Virupa.

Luipa was known to be a younger contemporary of Dharmaraja of Pala Empire who ruled between 770 and 820. Since Luipa received Chakrasamvara from the student of Nagarjuna, Shavaripa, the Chakrasamvara practitioners must have started emerging since early 8th century. So it was very likely for Virupa to encounter that practice if he lived in Nalanda during that time. And Domdhi siddha must have been around since late 8th century at least for him to be able to encounter both Luipa and Kukuraja's disciple.

Scholars believed that Hevajra tantra emerged after early mother tantras like Mahamaya and Chakrasamvara. Although Lawapa and Sarouha were credited for spreading the first written copy of Hevajra tantra around the late 8th to early 9th century, Virupa was recognized as the first siddha to encounter its full teachings and receive the oral transmission of it from Dakini.

This holds the high possibility of the awareness holder Nagarjuna whom was also a lineage holder for Hevajra, being contemporaneous with Virupa.

Recall that Virupa or Dharmapala also lived a very long age and only encounter Hevajra teaching in his 70s. So its reasonable to believe that Dharmapala born in early 8th century, went to Nalanda where he spent most of his life there, became well versed in doctrines enough to teach Shantaraksita later in the mid 8th century and then encountered Hevajra in latter half of the 8th century and transmitted it to Dombhi.

The main issue encounter so far, is improbability of Dombhi encountering Tilopa and then passed Mahamaya tantra lineage on to him. As for dating Luipa to the tenth century, I don't think that is reasonable given that he would be too far off from Nagarjuna to be able to receive transmission directly from his student.

But out of three possible dating for Dharmapala, this one might be most probable.
Matylda wrote: Tue May 24, 2022 1:09 pm If you will find some spare time, then please continue, sunce it is very interesting subject specially since XuanTsang is indirectly invovled.
Done!

sorry I did not log in for long time, so just see your answer... thank you :)
Kai lord
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Kai lord »

Matylda wrote: Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:54 pm sorry I did not log in for long time, so just see your answer... thank you :)
Glad that you like it, I wish to add a few interesting stuffs that are left unsaid in my long post above, so I will use those interesting information as footnotes in this post:

1) Nagabodhi was also second human lineage holder of Shingon. After him, the fourth human lineage holder, Amoghavajra, was also a disciple of Lalita Vajra and as a result, a lineage holder of Vajrabhairava. Interestingly, he didn't pass that lineage down to his Zhenyan disciples..... not even secretly.

2) Buddhaguhya had a mentor known as Buddhashrijnana who was more famously known as Jnanapada, the lineage master of Guhyasamaja Manjuvajra. The latter also received semde teachings from Manjushrimitra but he didn't pass that down to anyone.

Nevertheless this inevitably proved that the two popular lineages of Guhyasamaja started very early and were relatively close to each other in terms of time scale.

3) Lawapa, the mahasiddha, who brought the hevajra tantra in its first written form into this world, is the the third Indrabhuti. he would go on and taught a disciple with the same name....the fourth Indrabhuti.
Malcolm
Posts: 41265
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Malcolm »

Kai lord wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:32 pm
3) Lawapa, the mahasiddha, who brought the hevajra tantra in its first written form into this world, is the the third Indrabhuti. he would go on and taught a disciple with the same name....the fourth Indrabhuti.
Who makes this claim?

Jestun Drakpa Gyaltsen only lists three.
Vases, canvas, bucklers, armies, forests, garlands, trees
houses, chariots, hostelries, and all such things
that common people designate dependent on their parts,
accept as such. For Buddha did not quarrel with the world!

—— Candrakīrti. MAV 6:166
Kai lord
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun May 15, 2022 2:38 am

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by Kai lord »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:42 pm
Kai lord wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:32 pm
3) Lawapa, the mahasiddha, who brought the hevajra tantra in its first written form into this world, is the the third Indrabhuti. he would go on and taught a disciple with the same name....the fourth Indrabhuti.
Who makes this claim?

Jestun Drakpa Gyaltsen only lists three.
From the book Masters Of Mahamudra: Songs And Histories Of The Eighty-four Buddhist Siddhas, there are the following passages:


.......The inevitable problem of identification concerning Kambala arises with those Tibetan historians who identify Kambala, or L wa wa pa, with Indrabhuti the Younger, son of King Dza/Indrabhuti II. The basis of this identification is a statement made by Kambala himself in his own commentary on the Sri-sahaja·siddhi of Dombi Heruka. 182 Another lineage that places L wa wa pa in the eighth century is the rDzogs chen anuyoga lineage, which makes Mahasiddha Kambala (Lwawapa) him a Guru-bhai of a Kukkuripa, and Indrabhiiti's disciple. Clearly, if a Lwawapa/Indrabhuti lived in the eighth century, Laksminkara's brother would be Indrabhiiti IV, and his Guru Kambala.....
......Two controversies contort this picture. First, 'Gos Lotsawa identifies Lawapa with Indrabhuti the Younger in a Guhyasamaja
lineage;

Second, Dudjom Rimpoche identifies Indrabhuti the Younger as the eldest son of Indrabhuti II/King Dza, also identifying him with Lawapa.2u The resolution of this conundrum requires further research..........
Not saying they are right, dating and differentiating Indrabhuti is an ongoing issue that has troubled historians for decades, I doubt they will ever be resolved.
tingdzin
Posts: 1673
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Dating of Dharmapala (Virupa)

Post by tingdzin »

Not only Indrabhuti. A lot of early Indian lineages are questionable, not least the Shingon one that begins with the Iron Stupa. Some of them are obvious attempts to create a continuity that can only be guessed at. Dan Martin's new translation of the Scholar Deyu (and the number of footnotes) gives one some idea of the complexity and controversy surrounding these things. That said, I think your conclusion about Virupa's dating is probably the most logical.
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