yellow silk scroll (4.51m x 85cm.) is the original Cha-yig (bCa'-yig) created
upon the demand made by the monks of the monastery of Gaden Rabgyeling to
the Fifth Dalai Lama, who founded it in 1645. One of thirty Gelugpa monasteries
founded by the Great Fifth during his reign, it is situated on the east bank
of the Tsang-po River just below the Bonpo monastery of Men-ri (sMan-ri).
At the head of the scroll are represented the founder of the Gelugpa
order, the Lord Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), with his two chief disciples Khedrup-Je
and Gyeltshab-Je, and also the Tutelary deities (Yi-dam) - Bhairava in yab-yum
embrace (top left), and Samvara with Vajravarahi (or Guhyasamaja?) in yab-yum
At the foot of the scroll, below the seal of the Dalai Lama, are
the main protectors of the Gelugpa school : centre : the Six-armed Mahakala
(mGon-po phyag-drug), emanating the flames of gnosis, with five attendant
top left : Kubera, holding a mongoose and a banner, scated on
centre left : Remati (a ferocious form of dPal-ldan Lha-mo) riding
on her mule above the snowy mountains of Tibet.
Top right: Yama (gShin-rje , with is yum), the Lord of Death
Middle right : rDo-rje Legs-pa, and his attendant ( bottom
Resumé of the contents of the regulations
Hommage to the Buddha, the Arhats, Bodhisattvas, to Santaraksita
to the early Tibetan monks, such as Gongpa Rabsel (dGongs-pa Rab- gsaI),
to Atisa, Tsongkhapa and his two disciples, and to the Fifth Dalai Lama,
emanation of Avalokitesvara, of Compassion, who enjoys is dominion over Tibet.
These regulations were written at the behest of the monks of Gaden
Rabgyeling and are called the "Treasure House of Precious Jewels". The Lord
Tsongkhapa said: "In this short life, happiness disapears like a dream. Especially
in this present degenerate age, rare are those Tibetans who practice virtue.
The only means, in this life, short as a flash of lightening, and of little
import - the only way to the cessation of suffering is to be without attachment
in the world. Why should one take pleasure in this source of misery?
So in this samsaric existence, there is no way of escaping unless
one makes the effort to attain Buddhahood. The Buddha said : "I have shown
you the way by which you can extinguish suffering you should follow it ".
So, as the Buddha has shown us the way complete and correct, for leading
all living beings to salvation we too must follow and practice it.
It is further said: "A monk ought to be disciplined, enlightened
in his attitude, disinterested ln the life of a laymnan, selfless, without
desire, and resolve upon leading his monastic life. ''
It i s also said : "One cannot be a monk just by shaving one's
head; one cannot be a brahmnan just by reciting Om! " A monk that takes up
monastic practice must resolve to think only of the life to come, and all
his activities must be determined by an attitude of melancholy with the regard
to this life.
Otherwise, if he but gives an outward impression of having subdued
his thoughts, and wears the robes of monk, without actually having abandonned
his former attitudes, he is no different from a layman.
Therefore, those who wish that the doctrine of the Buddha shall
remain for a long time, and who wish for salvation for themselves and for
others, must practice the root of the Dharma, which is the monastic
discipline of the Vinaya. Whether the doctrine of the Buddha exists or not
is determined by the existence of the practice of the Vinaya. It is the basis
of all teachings.
The strict observance of the rule stated therein is the source
of all virtue.
We, the Gelugpa, who follow the lama Tsongkhapa, must understand
the essential doctrines expounded for practice in the Sutras an Tantras,
and we should be sure to realise that all the sacred books contain precepts.
Such is the special and good tradition (of the Gelugpa).
In recent times, the Fifth Dalaï Lama, Lobzang Gyatsho gives
immeasurable happiness to the people of Tibet, and Tenzin Chogyel (Gushri
Khan ), manifestation of Vajrapani, these two, united as priest and
patron, like the Sun and Moon, defeated the opponents of the Gelugpa; like
the sun removing darkness, and established the yellow doctrine all over the
The monastery of Ganden Rabgyeling was founded by the Fifth Dalai
lama in order to purify the sins commited in battles and elsewhere by the
princes of Er-khe, who live in the region of the Koko Nor, and who only think
of the Government and the Doctrine.
The monks of the monastery must also observe strictly the detailed
rules (given in the Vinaya texts) as follows :
A. Concerning entering the establishment.
B. The observance of rules and studies.
A. Laymen, and monks from other monasteries.
The layman must be aided by a senior monk to go through the complete
ritual of ordination. Monks from other monasteries are qualified to enter
without the ceremony of ordination, but it must be ascertained that they
have not been banished from other establishments.
B. A monk's time is occupied by two activities : studies
and ritual performances. If a novice is young he must stay with his master
in the same cell for three years. If a novice disobeys his master concerning
his studies, he must be punished appropriately.
Monks must gather together in an orderly manner for the
assembly. If one is late, he must make salutations, from 3 to 100 times,
in accord with the order given by the disciplinarian. When entering the assembly,
one must be silent, must not wear inappropriate colours garments with sleeves,
with animal skins, or those which are used at home. When chanting, everyone
must follow the choir master, must not sleep, talk, lean against the wall,
a pillar, bend forward, lie on the side, play with the hands, or lick one's
bowl. Every one must be present at the assembly, except high-ranking lamas
who have special work to do. If anyone is unable to attend the assembly,
he must seek permission.
Cleanliness is required in the kitchen. Only those engaged
in work in the kitchen are allowed to enter there. The head cook must make
sure that the food given by a benefactor reaches the mouths of the monts.
If there are monks in retreat they must accordingly be offered their share.
In the case where extra money and salt are to be given to a special
person, this must be done, but not in excess.
During the confession period, all must come at the sounding
of the gandi. Those who do not appear shall be punished. During the term
time, apart from staff, and those who make a special request, so as to perform
a ritual in a village, no-one is allowed to stay out more than ten nights.
During the vacation, if need be, one is allowed to go out for ten days, collecting
firewood, or for other purposes, but if he stays longer than the period allowed,
he should be punished. When appointing someone to a new post, the lamas, choir-master
and senior monks should be consulted. Partiality must be avoided at all costs;
old and young, all must agree. If any case of partiality arises, it must
be investigated and must not occur again New staff should be appointed according
to the traditional ceremony. The administrators must remind the local dzong
(rdzong), or district headquarters, to change the flag as is the custom.
Unless it is for the monastery no monk is allowed to work in any field. Nobody
is allowed to go around in the monastery without proper garments on. No gathering
and talking of non-sense is allowed, nor playing with arrows, stones, jumping,
fighting, or disputing.
If a monk breaks one of the four root rules, he must admit
it himself first, and then distribute his money among the monks, after which
he must be discharged. If there is strong evidence that someone has broken
the "four roots or has been drinking chang, and he refuses to admit it, he
must be banished and his belongings are given to the monastery. The belongings
of a deceased monk are to be cared for by the monastery and used for his
funeral purposes. The remainder shall be kept by the monastery. If anyone
causes quarrels or criticies the lama or the disciplinarian, whoever it may
be, must be punished and banished. No woman is allowed within the limits
apart from the corvée required by the Labrang (monastic administration).
If a layman criticises or is disrespectful to the monks, the disciplinarian
must see to the matter.
When the monks perform the Gutor (dGu-gtor) at the district
headquarters, the discip]inarian is in charge. All the rituals, monthly or
annual, during which time there are distributions of alms or other offerings,
must be performed as before. No-one is allowed to seize land or property
or people who work on the land, in order to meet the costs of performing
certain rituals in the monastery.
The establishement has the rights over the wood and grass
in the vicinity. From the west, of Taudrok (rTa'u-grog) on the mountain behind
the monastery, no wild animals or birds are allowed to be hunted. During
the Gutor ceremony, when there is a great gathering, no monks or laymen are
permitted to quarrel. This would undermine the general monastic discipline.
Inside or outside the monastery, the officials, taking the Three Jewels as
a witness, must never act in partiality (eg. punishing an innocent person,
or protect the guilty).
The monks must learn how to dance, chant and play musical
instruments, how to make offering cakes (gtor-ma) etc. The lama must be able
to perform the empowerment ceremony and other rituals. The disciplinarian
must never act out of partiality. The administrators, whoever they are, must
act according to this Cha-yig. The white-wash of the buildings, the monks'
cells and the temple, must be under the responsibility of the sacristan,
with the help of the labrang. The Lama, the treasurer, the choir-master and
senior monks must take care of the common property of the monastery.
There is no doubt that happiness will come if one practices
the Dharma. Listen to this guide which tells you what to adopt and what to
Thus this "Treasury of Jewels" is sealed, as requested,
with the seal of the Fifth Dalai Lama. May the precious teachings of the
lama Tsongkhapa spread and remain for a long time. Written from the Great
Immeasurable Castle, the second residence of Avalokitesvara (i.e. the Potala
Palace), on an auspicicus day, the 20th of the 10th month of the Female Wood
Snake year, 1664.
Seal of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
- Samten G. Karmay, C.N.R.S. PARIS.
- Heather Stoddard, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations