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Dharma from the Sky: The Pangkong Prayer

Pages 61 - 69


The traditional story of the first appearance of the dharma in Tibet tells of a number of books that fell from the sky onto the roof of a Tibetan king's palace. When these books are listed, most are familiar texts, such as those dedicated to the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. But one prayer that usually appears in this list is more mysterious: a confession liturgy, even the name of which became garbled in the later Tibetan tradition. This paper traces this liturgy back to Dunhuang, where we can reconstruct its name as “The Hundredfold Pangkong”. The latter part of the name, which has not previously been understood as a transliteration from Chinese, ultimately derives from a Chinese apocryphal sūtra. Finally, comparison with the role of confession liturgies in royal courts in China offers some clues as to why they temporarily became important enough to Tibetans to be included in the list of the first Buddhist books that fell from the sky into Tibet.

按照藏傳佛教的傳說,佛法源自上天降下在西藏王宮房頂上的經書,如此給人 類彰顯佛教之美。這些經書包括著名的佛經,例如致阿米多佛菩薩的書卷.只 有一本與眾不同:一本念罪類的經書。經書書名後半部分缺乏較明確的來源, 但可以確定是敦煌佛教文化的產物。其名可被翻譯為【百次龐孔】.雖然“龐 孔”的音譯不被大眾視為中文,但始終都是中文異教經文的一個例子。總括而 言,由於這些經文很快在西藏受到歡迎,成為第一批被列為自天降下的佛宗經

British Library (London)


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