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At the Court of Kublai Khan: Writings of the Tibetan Monk Chogyal Phagpa
By: Christopher Wilkinson (Translator)

At the Court of Kublai Khan: Writings of the Tibetan Monk Chogyal Phagpa

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Translator: Christopher Wilkinson
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781519274106
Publication Date: 2017

Product Code: 9781519274106

Description About the author
At the height of the Mongol Empire, a ten year old Tibetan child, Phagpa (1235-1280), was taken to the court of the Khans. He was educated there by his uncle, Sakya Pandita, and grew up speaking both Mongolian and Tibetan. While in his twenties, he created the first written alphabet for the Mongolian language. He became a religious advisor to Kublai Khan, and officiated at his installation as Emperor. As Kublai Khan had granted him regencies over the thirteen myriarchies of Tibet, he was titled Chogyal, or "Dharma King." His full name was Phagpa Lodro Gyaltsan Pal Zangpo. He was on familiar enough terms with the leaders of the Mongol empire, including Kublai Khan, that he wrote letters to them. In his capacity as a religious teacher he also gave them teachings about Buddhism. It is not unusual to have teachings about Buddhism that are written by Tibetan Lamas. What is unusual about Chogyal Phagpa's teachings is that he delivered them primarily to audiences that were neither Tibetan nor necessarily sympathetic to Buddhism. The ancestral traditions of the Mongols met with many, if not all, of the great religions of the world under the Mongol empire. Phagpa advised Kublai Khan and his court on religious concerns in general, while he also taught them his own religion, the Dharma of the Buddha. Buddhism is largely a peace loving tradition, while Chogyal Phagpa lived his life in a war torn world. He spoke out without reservation on many topics of government, while holding strong to the basic tenants of Buddhism. Those who study human rights and their protection will find Phagpa's arguments noteworthy. His sense of diplomacy is everywhere evident throughout his writings, while his sense of humanity is never lost. Phagpa's writings carry a sense of wonder, while his style of writing is extremely exacting. In a world where only a small minority spoke Tibetan, and writings might be interpreted or misunderstood in many ways, Phagpa wrote with great care for grammar and meaningful use of the language. His conscious efforts at literary excellence make his work a joy and a pleasure to read. I hope that some portion of this literary excellence is carried over in my humble translation. The texts translated in this volume are an anthology of his writings, as are the previous two volumes in this series: Chogyal Phagpa: The Emperor's Guru and Advice to Kublai Khan: Letters by the Tibetan Monk Chogyal Phagpa to Kublai Khan and his Court. In this volume you will find Chogyal Phagpa's writings on morality, ranging from the vows of refuge to the vows for the Vajrayana, the samaya. You will also find many of his poems and letters, and there is a biography of a Mahasiddha that he wrote. In the Tibetan, Chogyal Phagpa's collected works fill three large volumes of about a thousand pages each. There remain a very large number of works to be translated. I hope that these works translated here will serve to give you a sampling of his many remarkable writings and inspire you toward further reading.
At the Court of Kublai Khan: Writings of the Tibetan Monk Chogyal Phagpa, Christopher Wilkinson (Translator), Paperback, 173 Pages, 2017, $19.99

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