Thod rgal kyis dpe'u ris (Drawings of examples of Thögal). Tibet early 20th century.
Department of Oriental and Judaica Collections, Jt 12
This small text in eight leaves contains hand painted illustrations showing meditative positions and visions. They are described in Tibetan written in drutsa script, which is a variant of ume script. The depicted techniques date from the 8th century but the manuscript is presumably from the 20th century. It was purchased by the Danish conservator Jesper Trier in Nepal.
In translation the title is “Drawings of examples of Thögal”. Thögal (Tibetan thod rgal) means “to pass over” and is the name of a special meditative technique that implies passing over the more conceptually based types of meditation. By means of certain instructions, physical positions, breathing, and especially positions of the eyes special visions and consequent meditative states are achieved.
As a technique, Thögal is considered to be quite advanced, but it is said that anybody can practice it effectively. The technique does not require any preliminary intellectual knowledge, but usually some basic experience is needed. In addition, it is necessary that the technique is explained by a master who himself received the orally transmitted instructions, i.e. the master has to belong to an authentic chain of transmitters.
The descriptions of the Thögal techniques belong to the so-called Dzog Chen branch of Tibetan Buddhism and are found in the literature of both the Njingma and the Bon schools. Some of these texts have been translated and published in English.
This text is found in the museum collection of the Royal Library’s Oriental Collection. It is catalogued under Jt 12, catalogue no. 513a on page 237 in vol. 1 of Buescher, Hartmut and Tarab Tulku: Catalogue of Tibetan Manuscripts and Xylographs, The Royal Library & Curzon, Copenhagen, 2000. 2 vols. (Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Xylographs etc. in Danish Collections [COMDC]. Vol. 6:1-2).
7 x 36.5 cm.
© Det Kongelige Bibliotek 2003