by Pierre Dèzes


1. Introduction

«In this Zangskar valley which is full of wealth and happiness, first of all came the Gesar of gLing, the prime mover in this land. Then came Padmasambhava who gained control over the non-human spirits and put down the bad features of the area. The valley is shaped like a female demon lying on its back; so he built Kanika on its head. His statue was made on its heart at Pipiting and on the feet of the demon was built a shrine in a garden of the future Buddha Maitreya, Padmasambhava prophesied that Zangskar would be like the happy cemetery of Sukhavati in India. To the east is Tsere, to the south is Mahakali, to the west is Dur.lha.khrug.pa and in the north is the jewel of Cintamani. The owner of the valley is the Goddess with One Eye. The trees of the cemetery are the bushes at Sani and the birds there are the vultures thereof. So said Padmasambhava. It was a place where the Dakinis assembled, he said. And so far as human settlement is concerned, Rang.thags.sha and Ri.nam in the north and Pip.ca and Kumik in the south were established at the very beginning. After that appeared others. As it developed it became a part of Kashmir.»

The Bo-Yig document of Phugtal (trad. Osmaston, 1995)


Fig 1.1: Buddha carved on a Mani stone near Kurghiakh. Such stones carved with drawings or holy inscriptions (Om Mani Padme Hum) are found on the top of stone walls bordering Chortens (see fig. 1.9).


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©Pierre Dèzes