Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz, Nikolay Tsyrempilov, Kirill Alexeev, Jargal Badagarov
In September 2011 a research team from the State University of St. Petersburg (Russia), Bern University (Switzerland), Buryad State University and the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBT SO RAN), both at Ulaan Ude (Republic of Buryatia, Russian Federation), will start work on a joined research project about the Mongolian Ganjur as a source for the cultural history of the Mongols of the 17th up to the early 18th centuries. The project is supported by a grant from the German Gerda Henkel Foundation for a period of two years.
In the following communication a short overview of the general aims of the project and the methods applied are given, as well as an introduction to the different research areas of the three research groups.
1. The Mongols and Buddhism in the late 16th, early 17th century
The project concentrates on a crucial period of cultural and political transition in Mongolian history. On the socio-religious level the late 16th and early 17th century is characterized by the active taking over of Tibetan Buddhism by the Mongols and the social, cultural and religious changes arising from it. On the political level the period marks the definite end of the Northern Yuan Dynasty. In most of the well known works on the history of the Mongols this time, the period of the Altan Qaγan of the Tümed Mongols and his successors, is given special attention, because under him this so called “second conversion” of Buddhism among the Mongols commenced. Most scholars writing in English or other European languages still follow a narrative as it is told in the Mongolian chronicle Erdeni-yin tobči from the year 1662. The Erdeni-yin tobči, having been the first Mongolian chronicle translated into a European language, has long since then become the normative source on the events of the late 16th century. This source and other chronicles dating to the 17th century, with the notable exception of the Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur, our earliest historical source from around 1607, present us with a relatively homogenous and stereotypical picture of the Mongolian takeover of Buddhism, a picture that draws heavily on Tibetan Buddhist models of historiography. Furthermore, they express the dominant dGe lugs pa-view of the events. The focus on these sources has led to a kind of stalemate of our knowledge of the political and cultural history of the Mongols in the late 16th and early 17th century. Thus, many details are still not known about the cultural and religious, but also political networks that developed in that period and whose junctions were secular and religious centers like Köke qota, the city founded by Altan Qaγan, or Erdeni Juu, the monastery founded by Abadai Qan in the vicinity of the old Mongolian capital Qaraqorum. Due to the dGe lugs pa-dominance of our sources, we also do not know much about the activities of other, non-dGe lugs pa Tibetan Buddhist schools in the Mongolian regions during that period. Therefore, in recent scholarship the picture of a normative dGe lugs pa-exclusiveness taking root even in that early period is increasingly promoted. Only rarely historical sources hitherto not explored are consulted which may help to increase our knowledge of these centuries. One source only sparingly used for the history of the Mongols in the 17th up to the early 18th centuries is the colophons of the Ganjur-translations into the Mongolian language. The project described here aims to provide a systematical and thorough examination of the historical data given in these colophons.
2. The Ganjur as historical source
The Ganjur (from Tibetan bKa’ `gyur), the “translation of the word [of the Buddha]”, contains, according to the Tibetan Mahāyāna Buddhist tradition, the authentic words of the Buddha and includes, differing slightly with regard to the particular edition, between 760 and 1200 texts. This huge collection of the authoritative “word of the Buddha” was collected and arranged in the 14th century in Tibet and put into print for the first time in 1411 in Beijing by order of the Yunglo emperor of the Ming dynasty. A first complete Mongolian translation of the Tibetan bKa’ `gyur was executed by the order of the Tümed-ruler Namudai Secen Qaγan, his wife the Jönggen Qatun and her grandson Onbo Qung Tayiji, by a translation committee led by the two famous translators Siregetü güsi corji and Ayusi güsi in the years 1602 to 1607. While this translation today is not extant, we possess copies of the handwritten Ganjur compiled in the second large translation project of the time, in 1628-29 at the order of Ligdan Qaγan, the unfortunate last great Qan of the Northern Yuan Dynasty. Finally, in 1717 the Kangxi emperor ordered in an imperial edict a new redaction and the printing of the Ganjur. The redaction committee in charge of this project heavily drew on the Ganjur of the Ligdan Qaγan era. The resulting edition was printed between 1718 and 1720 in Beijing. All three known Ganjur translations were thus ordered and financed by powerful rulers, they were enterprises under the supervision of the state. The financing, copying and printing of the Ganjur contributed not only to the socio-religious prestige of the political authorities of the time, but also added to their political legitimization and authority, as the endeavour of the last great Qan, Ligdan Qaγan, to gain political support by inaugurating a Ganjur translation project, aptly demonstrates.
The entanglement indicated here of religious and political interests in the Ganjur –translation projects suggests that these text collections contain rich historical material in their colophons to research the history of the Mongols in the 17th – early 18th centuries. Due to the fact, however, that up to now the Mongolian Ganjur has not been the subject of thorough research, it is only rarely used as historical source by historians specialising in the history of the Mongols of the late 16th to early 18th centuries. Groundbreaking were the works of the scholars Sh. Bira and W. Heissig, who repeatedly pointed to the great importance of the historical data contained in the Ganjur-colophons. More recently, the Russian scholar Z. Kas’yanenko has drawn attention to the historical significance of the Ganjur-colophons. A systematic examination and analysis of the Ganjur-colophons is therefore a foremost task for Mongolian historical studies.
3. Theoretical considerations and aims of the project
The focus on the translation of the Ganjur, the Buddhist canon, makes it possible to describe the social transformation processes of the Mongolian societies of the 17th century in the light of the canonication processes of the Ganjur. Therefore a socio-cultural understanding of canonisation processes builds the theoretical foundation of the project: canonisation is considered as a form of self-representation of a given culture or one of its aspects. Processes of canonisation commence, when traditions and identities formerly taken for granted start getting contested, often by new and threatening developments like a military conquest, but also when new forms of political authority emerge that are in need of legitimization. The translation activities which took place in the Mongol regions around the year 1600 and which culminated in the Ganjur-projects, can therefore be described as processes of cultural canonisation which served the establishment and affirmation of a new Mongolian cultural identity, drawing no longer solely on indigenous Mongolian world views but increasingly on Buddhist ones. A material expression of this newly emerging cultural identity of the Mongols as being Buddhist consisted in the Buddhist scriptures, the Ganjur. Thus the Ganjur translation project under Ligdan Qaγan bound the intellectual elites to his court and first and foremost visually demonstrated his political power. The canon represented a self-referential political claim which was no longer solely determined by belonging to the Cinggisid family, the altan uruγ, but also by drawing on Buddhist models of political authority like the “religious king” (dharmarāja) or even the “world conqueror” (cakravartin), as Ligdan Qaγan in the colophons of the Ganjur-translation is often addressed.
By drawing on an understanding of “canon” as a form of cultural self-representation, the project aims to achieve two goals. On the one hand the systematic evaluation of the available historical data extracted from the colophons of the Ganjur will lead to new findings concerning the history of the Mongols in the 17th and early 18th centuries. We expect to get rich new material with regard to the religious, cultural and political history, especially on transregional knowledge transfer and emerging socio-religious regional and trans-regional networks. On the other hand, the philological description and comparison of the colophons of the extant three Ganjur-collections will shed new light on the origin and transmission history of the Mongolian Ganjur. This second aim is especially noteworthy because, in contrast to the history of the Tibetan Kanjur, the history of the Mongolian Ganjur has still to be written.
4. The different Ganjur translations and collections
Since a couple of decades the origin and transmission history of the Tibetan Kanjur has been the subject of tibetological research. The same cannot be said for the Mongolian Ganjur. We still know only the rough outlines of its transmission history: As already mentioned, the first translation of one Tibetan Kanjur redaction has been undertaken in the first decade of the 17th century. Up to now not a single copy of this first translation has surfaced so that it has to be considered as lost. The oldest Ganjur-translation which has come down to us is the handwritten Ganjur preserved at St. Petersburg State University which has been made accessible through the catalogue prepared by Zoya Kas’yanenko (Kas’yanenko 1993a). This Ganjur was discovered in 1892 by the Russian scholar A. Pozdneev in Inner Mongolia. It is claimed that the Ganjur preserved at St. Petersburg is one of the original “black” manuscripts which had been prepared in 1629 by the Ganjur-redaction committee led by the learned Sa skya pa monk Kun dga’ `od zer at the request of Ligdan Qaγan. In his chronicle Altan erike of 1817 the Mongolian historian Ārya pandita mkhan po provides detailed information about the work of the redaction committee. The German scholar Walther Heissig was able to study the section Vinaya in a photocopy made available in New Delhi by the courtesy of the late Raghu Vira and his son Lokesh Chandra. Before the publication of Kas’yanenko’s catalogue, however, the St. Petersburg handwritten Ganjur was inaccessible to scholars outside Russia and thus could not be compared to the printed edition of 1718-20. This handwritten Ganjur is most probably not the final redaction, but only a draft to the final redaction of the Ligdan Qaγan era. It contains 883 individual texts. Accompanying this Ganjur is a detailed table of contents (γarčaγ) entitled Sayibar oduγsan-u jarliγ nom erdeni-yin toγ-a šasin-i delgeregülügči naran-u gerel nere-tü γarčaγ, “γarčaγ named `sun light’, which increases the jewel[like] teaching, the Word of the Sugata”. The γarčaγ is included in the first volume of the section Dandir-a and has been made available in Latin transcription by Z. Kas’yanenko. As the γarčaγ deviates in major points from the handwritten St. Petersburg Ganjur it accompanies, it cannot be considered as the standard catalogue of this Ganjur, but rather as yet another preliminary draft.
A second handwritten Mongolian Ganjur is preserved in the manuscript section of the IMBT SO RAN at Ulaan Ude. About this Ganjur nothing is known. It has yet to be established whether this Ganjur is a copy of the St. Petersburg redaction or not. In our research project this Ganjur will be described and made accessible for scholars for the first time.
As already mentioned, the third Ganjur redaction endeavour was undertaken during the Kangxi-era. This revised Ganjur translation which relied heavily on the Ligdan Qaγan redaction was put into print in Beijing from 1718-1720. Whereas it is not yet clear which Tibetan Kanjur redaction built the source for the St. Petersburg handwritten Ganjur, the sections and texts of the Beijing print were arranged according to the Beijing edition of the Tibetan Kanjur of 1684-92. The printed Ganjur contains 1161 individual texts. The catalogue of the printed Beijing edition has been prepared by L. Ligeti in the forties of the 20th century.
Apart from these three extant Ganjur collections 58 hand-written Ganjur volumes are preserved at the State Library in Ulaanbaatar, as well as the two volumes from the Bayisingtu Keyid which have been described by Heissig. In the Royal Library Copenhagen one handwritten Ganjur volume is kept. They must be included in the analysis of the collected data during the second phase of the research project. Most probably still more separate Ganjur volumes are preserved in Mongolia, and we would be thankful if our Mongolian colleagues could join us in our efforts to shed new light on the complex transmission history of the Mongolian Ganjur translation by adding new material to the research.
5. Methods applied
The goals of the project are ambitious and the size of the data is considerable. Nowadays, however, computer technology opens up new possibilities to generate data from large textual corpora. Therefore, in the first phase of the project a non-public website will be set up to which only the members of the three research groups have access. The colophons of all three Ganjur editions will be transcribed and imported into a specially designed web mask. During the import the personal names, place names, and dates mentioned will be marked with tags so that at the same time electronic indices can be set up. The indices have to be further differentiated (just to give an impression: for the personal names rulers, their wives, further donators, translators, editors, writers, block print carvers, monks, abbots etc. etc.; for the place names monasteries, temples, hermitages, cities, rivers, mountains etc. etc.). The complete corpus of texts includes for the St. Petersburg handwritten Ganjur 466 colophons and for the Beijing print edition 598 colophons, whereas for the Ulaan Ude Ganjur the number is yet unknown. The colophons differ considerably in length, from just one line to several folios. As the catalogues of Kas’yanenko and Ligeti make the task of transcribing the colophons for two of the extant Ganjur easier, the groups try to complete the task of transcribing and importing the colophons into the database within the first year.
In the second year of the project the data will be analysed, both philologically and historically. Of particular relevance appears the emergence of social networks in which political and religious actors participate. Therefore it is the aim, with the help of social network analysis, to examine the formal structures and dynamics of the relations of the individual actors. Special software is available to carry out the social network analysis.
While the colophons of all three extant Ganjur collections build the bulk of the data corpus, in the second phase of the project also other Mongolian and Tibetan sources of the time will be drawn upon. Very important in this respect are the parallel translations of canonical works which have been prepared in the late 16th, early 17th century, often by the same translators who later worked in the translation and redaction committees of the Ganjur projects, and that are nowadays preserved in various libraries around the world.
6. The three research groups and their tasks
The research team will work in three independent groups, each group concentrating on one Ganjur collection. The groups will meet in regular intervals.
6.1. The St. Petersburg research team
The research team from the State University of St. Petersburg includes Kirill Alexeev (group leader) and Anna Turanskaya. They will concentrate on the St. Petersburg hand-written Ganjur. They can rely on the catalogue already prepared by Kas’yanenko, which has, however, once again to be compared with the texts and, if necessary, corrected.
6.2. The Ulaan Ude research team
The research team from the IMBT SO Ran and Buryad State University includes Dr. Nikolay Tsyrempilov (group leader) and Jargal Badagarov. Badagarov will be responsible for the website which will be operated from Ulaan Ude, and technical support. Both researchers will catalogue the as yet unknown handwritten Ganjur preserved in the Manuscript section of the IMBT SO RAN.
6.3. The Bern research team
The research team from Bern University includes Prof. Dr. Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz (group leader and leader/co-ordinator of the entire research team), Ekaterina Sobkovyak and Natalia Yampolskaya. They will transcribe the colophons of the Beijing printed Ganjur. As is the case with the St. Petersburg handwritten Ganjur, the researchers can rely on the catalogue prepared by Ligeti, but the transcriptions have again to be compared to the texts and, if necessary, corrected.
In contrast to Tibetan Studies where Kanjur research occupies an important place, research into the Mongolian Ganjur is a neglected field in Mongolian Studies. By focusing on the colophons of the Mongolian Ganjur the project takes a first step in closing our knowledge gap about the multi-layered process of its translation and transmission history. The results of the research carried out will be published in book form (here the catalogue of the Ganjur in Ulaan Ude will be of special importance) and papers in journals.
Christopher P. Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol empire. New York: Facts on File.
Charles R. Bawden, The modern history of Mongolia. London and New York: Kegan Paul International.
Patricia B erger, “After Xanadu: The Mongol Renaissance of the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries”, in: P. Berger, T.T. Bartholomew, Mongolia. The Legacy of Chinggis Khan. San Francisco: Thames and Hudson, 50-75.
Sh. Bira, “Istoriko-politicheskie idei mongol’skikh kolofonov “Ganzhura””, in: Sh. Bira, Mongol’skaya istoriografiya. XIII-XVII vv. Moskva, 217-224.
Friedrich A. Bischoff, Der Kanjur und seine Kolophone. Bd. 1 (Vol. 1-25: Tantra), Bd. II (Vol. 26-47: Prajñāpāramitā, Vol. 48-53: Ratnakūta, Vol. 54-59: Avatamsaka, Vol. 60-92: Sūtra, Vol. 93-108: Vinaya). Bloomington: The Selbstverlag Press.
Natal’ya D. Bolsokhoeva, Cymzhit P. Vanchikova, Dandar B. Dashiev et al., Vvedenie v izuchenie Ganzhura I Danzhura. Istoriko-bibliograficheskij ocherk. Novosibirsk: Nauka.
C. Damdinsüren, Mongolyn uran zochiolyn toim, II. Ulaanbaatar.
Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur
Jorungγ-a (ed.), Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur orosiba. Beijing: Ündüsüten-ü keblel-ün qoriy-a, 1984.
Alois Hahn, “Kanonisierungsstile”, in: A. and J. Assmann (eds.), Kanon und Zensur. Archäologie der literarischen Kommunikation II. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.
Walther Heissig, „Zur geistigen Leistung der neubekehrten Mongolen des späten 16. und frühen 17. Jhdts.“, in: Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher, XXVI, 101-116.
Walther Heissig, „Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der mongolischen Kanjur-Redaktion der Ligdan Khan-Zeit (1628-1629)“, in: Studia Altaica. Festschrift für Nikolaus Poppe zum 60. Geburtstag am 8. August 1957. Wiesbaden, 71-87.
Walther Heissig, Beiträge zur Übersetzungsgeschichte des mongolischen buddhistischen Kanons. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Walther Heissig, „Zur Organisation der Kandjur-Übersetzungen unter Ligdan-Khan (1628-1629)“, in: Zentralasiatische Studien, 7, 477-501.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Mongol’skij rukopisnyj Ganzhur“, in: Vostokovedenie, No. 3, Leningrad.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Ko voprosu ob istorii redektcii mongol’skogo `Ganzhura’“, in: Mongolica. Pamyati akademika Borisa Jakovlevicha Vladimircova 1884-1931. Moskva, 252-264.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Oglavlenie mongol’skogo `Ganzhura’ pod nazvaniem `Solnechnyj svet’“, in: Pis`mennye pamyatniki Vostoka: Istoriko-filologicheskie issledovaniya. Ezhegodnik 1978-1979. Moskva, 158-185.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, Katalog peterburgskogo rukopisnogo `Ganzhura’. Sostavlenie, vvedenie, transliteraciya i ukazateli. Moskva: Nauka.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Novye dannye o pervoj redakcii buddijskogo kanona na mongol’skom yazyke“, in: Mongolica II k 750-letiyu „Sokrovennogo skazaniya“. Moskva, 221.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Nekotorye istoricheskie svedeniya v kolofonakh `Gandzhura’“, in: Mongolica IV, Sanktpeterburg, 20-22.
Zoya K. Kas’yanenko, „Kolofony original’nykh sochinenij – istochnik informacii o formirovanii pis’mennoj kul’tury narodov Central’noj Azii“, in: Mongolica IX, Sanktpeterburg.
Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz, „The Transmission of the Mongolian Kanjur: A preliminary Report“, in: H. Eimer, D. Germano (eds.), The Many anons of Tibetan Buddhism. PIATS 2000: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the Ingternational Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000. Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill, 151-176.
Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz, “Kanon und Kanonisierung in der buddhistischen Mongolei: Zur Notwendigkeit einer Neubestimmung des Kanonbegriffs in der Religionswissenschaft“, in der Religionswissenschaft“, in: M. Deeg/ O. Freiberger/ Ch. Kleine (Hg.), Kanonisierung und Kanonbildung in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte. Wien, 2011 (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Sitzungsberichte, 820. Band), 379-420.
Louis Ligeti, Catalogue du Kanjur Mongol Imprimé. Vol. I. Budapest: Société Körösi Csoma.
Louis Ligeti, “Répertoire du Kanjur mongol imprimé”, in: Acta Orientalia Scientiarum Hungaricae, Tomus XLI, Fasc. 3, 344-496.
Mongγol γanjuur danjuur-un γarčaγ 2002
Mongγol γanjuur danjuur-un γarčaγ. Catalogue of Mongolian Ganjuur and Danjuur. Vols. I, II. Editorial Borad of the Catalogue of Mongolian Ganjuur and Danjuur. Kökeqota: Yuanfang Press.
Ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho 1646
rJe btsun thams cad mkhyen pa bsod nams rgya mtsho’i rnam thar dngos grub rgya mtsho’i shing rta zhes bya ba bzhugs so, in: `Phags pa `jig rten dbang phyug gi rnams sprul rim byon gyi `khrungs rabs deb ther nor bu’i `phreng ba, Vol. 2. Dharamsala: Tibetan Cultural Printing Press, 1984, 1-171.
Klaus Sagaster, “The History of Buddhism among the Mongols”, in: Ann Heirmann, Stephan Peter Bumbacher (eds.), The Spread of Buddhism. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 379-432.
Michael Schnegg, Hartmut Lang, Netzwerkanalyse. Eine praxisorientierte Einführung. (Methoden der Ethnographie, Heft 1). März 2006, http://www.methoden-der-ethnographie.de/heft1/Netzwerkanalyse.pdf.
Thomas Schweizer, Muster sozialer Ordnung. Berlin: Reimer.
Thomas Schweizer, „The embeddedness of ethnographic case. A social network perspective”, in: Current Anthropology, 38, 738-759.
J. Scott, Social network analysis: A handbook. Park: Sage.
Boris Ya. Vladimircov, “Nadpisi na skalakh khalkhaskogo Tsoktu-taidzhi”, I, in: Izvestiya Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1926, 1253-1280, II. 1927, 215-240.
Friedrich Weller, “Der gedruckte mongolische Kanjur und die Leningrader Handschrift”, in: Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, XC, 309-431.
 This redundant trope of scholarship is increasingly questioned, see, for example, Sagaster 2007: 398-399.
 See Bawden 1989: 28-29, or Berger 1995: 52.
 The periodisation of Mongolian history into a “first conversion” to Buddhism, a “dark age” denoting the supposed absence of Buddhism, and a “second conversion”, is built on the Tibetan standardized model of historical time. This periodisation provides an ideological frame for arranging the historical narrative, like the European periodisation of historical time into “antiquity”, “middle ages” and “renaissance”. Furthermore, the Mongol “conversion narrative” heavily relies on the Tibetan works of the 5th Dalai Lama, notably his biography of the 3rd Dalai Lama, rJe btsun thams cad mkhen pa bsod nams rgya mtsho’i rnam thar dngos grub rgya mtsho’i shing rta zhes bya ba bzhugs so, written in 1646.
 Atwood 2004: 491.
 See Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur, fol. 52r7-19.
 Compare Vladimircov 1926: 1253-1280, and 1927: 215-240; Damdinsüren 1977.
 Bira 1978: 217-224.
 Heissig 1954: 101-115; 1957: 71-87; 1962; 1973: 477-501.
 Kas’yanenko 1998: 20-22, Kas’yanenko 2011.
 As the sociologist Alois Hahn elaborates, see Hahn 1987: 28-37.
 See Heissig 1984, Kas’yanenko 1993a, Kollmar-Paulenz 2002, Kollmar-Paulenz, 2011.
 Weller 1936, Kas’yanenko 1977, 1986, 1993a, 1993b.
 For a critical evaluation of this claim see Kollmar-Paulenz 2002: 173.
 See Kas’yanenko 1993a: 9, Kollmar-Paulenz 2002: 166.
 Kas’yanenko 1987.
 The most obvious being the different arrangement of the individual sections.
 The arrangement of the texts does not agree with any of the known Tibetan redactions. See also the remarks by Uspensky 1997: 114.
 For the history of its compilation, names of translators etc. see the lengthy exposition in the last volume of the `dulv-a section.
 The Ganjur in the possession of Raghu Vira was reproduced by Lokesh Chandra and is available in the Śatapitaka Series.
 Ligeti 1942, and also 1987: 347-497. See also Bischoff 1968, and now Mongγol γanjuur danjuur-un γarčaγ 2002.
 Heissig 1973.
 Heissig 1957.
 See Schweizer 1996, 1997 and Schnegg/Lang 2006.
 Compare also Scott 2000.
 To mention but three: the Ārya-suvarnaprabhāsottama-sūtrendrarāja-nāma-mahāyānasūtra (Qutuγtu degedü altan gerel-tü erketü sudur-nuγud-un qaγan neretü yeke kölgen sudur), translated 1579; the famous Vajracchedika, translated 1612 by Siregetü güüsi čorji; the Ārya-gośrnvyākarana-nāma-mahāyānasūtra (Qutuγtu üker-ün aγula vivangirid üjegülügsen neretü yeke kölgen sudur) translated probably 1605.