Jampa Gompa

Thubchen Gompa

Luri Gompa

APPENDIX A: Jampa Mandalas

Due to the scarcity of historical records, it is extremely difficult to identify the Jampa mandalas, or to base identifications with utter certainty on the inscriptions in the gompa. Both Keith Dowman and Roberto Vitali (see Bibliography) have offered a set of identifications for the twenty mandalas of the lower register of the main floor. Both note that they base their identifications on the inscriptions below the mandalas, mentioning no other source for these identifications. Lama Jorden considers, however, that relying on these inscriptions for positive identification with complete certainty is problematic, for several reasons:

  1. The inscriptions themselves are not complete;
  2. In certain instances, a single verse inscription includes two or three names of deities: e.g., lines 105-108 of an inscription verse (See Appendix B: Inscriptions) carry the names of Amitabha and Avalokiteshvara. Thus, for the mandala on north wall # 6, Dowman identifies Avalokiteshvara, while Vitali gives Amitabha.

While it is true that these two deities are connected within their "tathagatha family," wherein Avalokiteshvara is the Bodhisattva form of Dhyani-Buddha Amitabha, and thus making allowance for the multiple aspects of certain deities, these two identifications are not entirely congruent. Moreover, even if the inscriptions relate to identification of the mandalas, no scholar at present has the expertise to reach final conclusions on certain names found in these inscriptions. Interpretation of these inscriptions and their intended purpose is complex and uncertain, and we need to be very careful in attributing names to the mandalas. Further research and study by a Sakya-pa lama who has expertise on these mandalas and on rituals that are closely related to them, along with review of the inscriptions, is warranted.

Dowman's and Vitali's identifications are given here, keyed to our wall layouts. A list of 54 mandalas found in Mustang appears in "Lo (Mustang) ko Sanskritik Sampada" (Nepali text), by Prayag Raj Sharma and Jagman Gurung (see Bibliography). Some of the identifications offered by Dowman and by Vitali can be matched to particular mandalas listed in Sharma and Gurung. In addition, some partial identifications have been offered or suggested by the Khenpo Rinpoche of Lo Monthang and members of the Lo community. As noted above, further research may help to confirm or add to these identifications.

We have added a few translations or explanatory note, in brackets, of the names of lesser-known deities and supramundane beings. The list below is based on Dowman's identifications, which he gives in Sanskrit, while Vitali's are in transliterated Tibetan. Where there is any slight variance, we have noted Vitali's identification.

East wall, south section:

  1. Vajrasattva with Ashtamahanaga retinue [Eight Naga and Nagini couples].
  2. Jvalanala [the name Jvalanala signifies blazing flame, identified as a wrathful form of Vairocana] with Ashtagraha and Naksatra retinue [Eight planets and nine constellations].
  3. Vajrasattva with Dasadikpala retinue [10 Directional Guardians].

South wall:

  1. Vajrapani (as Vajrasattva) with Chaturmaharaja retinue [Four Guardian Kings].
  2. Karmakula of Amoghasiddhi [kula signifies family; here, the action or activity family headed by this Dhyani-Buddha].
  3. Karmakula of Avalokiteshvara.
  4. Karmakula of Trailokya-vijaya. {Vitali gives Mi 'gyur rdo rje, a form of Trailokya-vijaya that can be understood as belonging to the action family or mind aspect of Vajrasattva: i.e., his
    unchangeable--hence Vajra--mind. See inscription verses 109-111.}
  5. Karmakula of Vairocana.
  6. Tsargyu tsawa'i Nam-nying? (probably Akashagarbha-mulatantra mandala).

West wall, south section:

  1. Vajradhatu [Diamond sphere].

West wall, north section:

  1. Dharmadhatu Vajisvara [a form of Manjushri].

North wall:

  1. Manjughosa [a form of Manjushri].
  2. illegible
  3. illegible
  4. illegible
  5. illegible
  6. Avalokiteshvara. {Vitali gives 'od dpag med, the Tibetan name for Amitabha. See inscription verses 105-108.}

East Wall, north section:

  1. Trailokya-vijaya as Akshobhyavajra. {Vitali gives Mi bskyod rdo rje, the Tibetan name for Akshobhya.}
  2. Mahakrodha Jvalanala with Ashtamahadeva retinue [Eight Great Gods].
  3. Chakravartin? [Universal monarch] {or} Trailokya-vijaya with Navabhairava retinue [Nine Bhairavas--terrifying deities, one of whom appears below the throne of the deity; the Bhairavas are seen here in consort with their shaktis].

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