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Brewing and Drinking the Beer of Enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism: The DOH Tradition in Tibet Author(s): John A.

Ardussi Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 97, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1977), pp. 115124 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/599000 . Accessed: 30/11/2011 08:36
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Among the non-scriptural literary remains of Indian Tantric Buddhism, enigmatic spiritual songs (Skt. dohd) composed by accomplished yogic adepts have received a degree of attention by Western scholars. Less well-studied, however, is the far more voluminous literatuie produced in the genre by Tibetan Tantric yogins, who adapted it to suit their needs and personal inspiration. A thorough examination of these innovations may eventually provide greater insight into the kernel of their meaning and, by inference, into the Indian cultic environment from which the doha originated. The present essay explores one such thematic innovation from Tibet, the contemplative practice of brewing and drinking the "beer of enlightenment."


it was



to them.

For it

Tibet inherited a wide variety of commentatorial and didactic literary forms characteristic of the late Buddhism sprung from the soil of India. Of these, the song of spiritual realization (doha; Tib. mgur) came to be of particular significance, as can be judged from the volume of indigenous Tibetan materials in this genre.l It was especially among yogins that this tradition flourished,
1 Some of the songs of the Indian magician-saint Saraha are now available in translation in Herbert V. Guenther, [trans.], The Royal Song of Saraha, Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 1969. For Kanha, and further verses of Saraha, there is M. Shahidullah, Les chants mystiques de Kadha et de Saraha, Paris: AdrienMaisonneuve, 1928. The songs of Mi-la-ras-pa have not been critically edited, but are translated (with some notable lapses in accuracy) in Garma C. C. Chang, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, New York: University Books, 1962, 2 vols. An excellent translation of vol. 1 of the autobiography (containing many songs) of 'Brug-pa Kun-legs (1455-1529?) is now available from R. A. Stein, Vie et chants de 'Brug-pa Kun-legs le yogin, Paris: G.-P. Maisonneuve et Larose, 1972. The same author has provided a version of the text in "Le texte tib6tain de 'Brug-pa kun-legs," Zentralasiatische Studien 7 (1973): 9-219. An edition and translation of the first half of vol. 2 of the same autobiography. by the present writer, is available in his M. A. thesis "'Brug-pa Kunlegs, the Saintly Tibetan Madman," (University of Washington, 1972), pp. 84-256. The vast bulk of Tibetan mgur literature, unfortunately, remains untapped and untranslated. 115

was they, more than any other class of Tibetan Buddhists, who sought to maintain and emulate in a living tradition the life style and religious approach of the great Tantric magician-saints (siddhacarya; Tib. grub-thob) of India.2 Thus the

songs of such Indian saints as Saraha and Kanha were highly respected and much imitated by Tibetans. But for the better poets and the yogins accomplished in meditation, these songs came to serve simply as models in a rather elastic genre allowing wide scope for adaptation and elaboration. In fact, as is well known, it was the great Tibetan poet-saint Mi-la-ras-pa (1040-1123) who came to embody and personify the characteristics of the ideal yogin, one who has abandoned all his worldly possessions and aspirations, enabling him to devote his entire existence to the pursuit of qualified teachers and the techniques of contemplative training which they have to impart. Later generations of yogins, especially the "mad" saints (Tib. smyon-pa) of the revival movement of yogic ideals in the 15th-16th centuries, pat2 The canonical source for the eighty-five magiciansaints is AbhayadattaSri (Mi-'jigs-pa-sbyin-pa-dpal), Liiyi-pa'i sogs grub thob brgyad bcu rtsa bzhi'i yang dag lo rgyus, Peking Bstan-'gyur vol. 87, pp. 175-201 (rgyud'grel, Lu: ff. 2.a-68.a); cf. a translation by A. Grilnwedel, Die Geschichten der vierundachtzig Zauberer, BaesslerArchiv 5 (4/5), Leipzig, 1916, and an illustrated study by Toni Schmid, The Eighty-Five Siddhas, Stockholm, 1958.


Journal of the American Oriental Society 97.2 (1977) ently unique Tibetan elaboration of the Indian yogic doha, namely songs composed by highly accomplished Tantric yogins on the contemplative practice of brewing and drinking the "beer of Enlightenment. "6 Both the content and the context of Tibetan mgur must be understood in the light of the multifaceted complex of Indian Tantric Buddhism from which they emerged. Briefly, we may say that the spiritual path adopted by Tibetan yogins of later centuries consisted of a practical philosophical system (Tib. grub-mtha') passed on as an oral tradition (snyan-rgyud), deriving ultimately from Indian siddhdcdryas, and grounded in the rituals and contemplative techniques of Tantric literature but stressing the importance of intense individual effort. The process aims at a rapid, though difficult obtainment of enlightenment through powerful contemplative methods designed to restructure the personal reality of the practitioner's state of mind, so that he is brought quickly to comprehend and unify the paradoxical thesis of the Two Truths of Madhyamika philosophy: Conventional (samvrti) and Ultimate (nirvrti).7 The yogin comes to realize, and not merely to believe in the purely relative and dependent character of the experiential world, and in the process gains certain magical powers such as the ability to fly, and, as we shall see, to compose songs of spiritual realization. The Indian dohd seems to have arisen as an instructional technique, sufficient unto itself, but must certainly also be related to the style and symbolism of the Diamond Songs (vajra-giti; Tib. rdo-rje-glu) sung during the Tantric ritual of the 6 Guenther has provided a thoughtful and important analysis of the Indian dohdsin Part I, Ch. 2 "TheTeaching
of the Dohas" of his study The Royal Song of Saraha

terned themselves after his life and activities.3 This conscious emulation extended as well to the composition of spiritual songs, so that the songs of all these yogins, mostly of the Bka'-brgyud-pa sect, can be considered as forming a more or less unified body of literature.4 Whether the songs are found interspersed through their hagiographies, or collected into separate works, the circumstantial motives for their composition are usually given, providing us with a valuable means of studying their social relevance. Athough there have been isolated attempts to translate the mgur of some of the more important Tibetan yogins, there has been so far no systematic study of the genre from a comparative point of view. Such an undertaking would involve that we examine the philosophical and contemplative assumptions underlying the songs, as well as require that we identify recurrent themes and relate them to the religious tradition as a whole. The Tibetan mgur, moreover, have been strongly influenced by popular traditions of song and dance, as has been ably demonstrated by the researches of R. A. Stein. In fact, it is in its adaptation to Tibetan social modalities that the genre most clearly demonstrates a departure from the Indian model.5 It would be premature in this essay to attempt to trace in detail the entire history of the mgur literature in Tibetan, much of which has yet to become available in printed editions. Rather I hope to illustrate some of the basic characteristics of the genre by studying what is an appar3 On the tradition of religious madmen in Tibet cf. (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1969), Introductionby E. Gene Smith; also John Ardussi and Lawrence Epstein, "The Saintly Madmanin Tibet,"
in John Fisher [ed.], Himalayan Anthropology (The Lokesh Chandra, [ed.], The Life of the Saint of Gtsang

Hague: Mouton [in press, 1977]). 4 The connection between the later "mad" saints and Mi-la-ras-pais further emphasized by their use of the spelling Dkar-brgyud-pa ("White Lineage") in place of the more commonBka'-brgyud-pa ("OralLineage")used elsewhere in the sect. The two terms are pronounced virtually identically, but the former stresses their retention of the white meditation garb of Mi-la-ras-pa,as has been pointed out by E. Gene Smith, op. cit., p. 2.
5 R. A. Stein, Recherches sur l'epopee et le barde au

(pp. 21-41). In particular, taking his cue from a text by the 15th century Tibetan scholar Karma Phrin-laspa, he distinguishes (p. 24) between three increasingly profound levels of doha understanding or meaning: pictorial, emotional, and cognitive. These categories can also be usefully applied to the indigenous Tibetan mgur, and the reader should consult Guenther's discussion for their meaning. The "Tibetan" component of Tibetan
mgur, however, requires further, partly historical, interpretation. The present study is meant to be a contribution towards that end.

Tibet (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1959), pp. 485-506; Stein, Tibetan Civilization (London: Faber & Faber, 1972), pp. 259-76.

The Two Truths are dealt with by T. R. V. Murti,

Allen & Unwin, 1955), esp. pp. 243-55.

The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (London: George

ARDUSSI: The Doha Tradition in Tibet Circle of Hosts (gana-cakra; Tib. tshogs-'khor).8 For the songs are always symbolic and ordinarily consist of analogical expressions of the paradox of existence, rendered in the language of Tantric ritual thinking, and compressed to the format of versified song. Yet there is a further component in addition to the didactic and symbolic. Like Mi-la-ras-pa, the famous Tibetan yogin 'Brug-pa Kun-legs (1455-1529?) had a gift for song, an ability that, by implication, possessed the nature of a magical attainment, resulting from their high level of yogic realization and from the great merit they had accumulated during their previous lives. Having gained control over their "subtle physiology," the cakras or mystical centers symbolically located along the axis of their bodies, and the "winds" or forces which move along the mystical "veins," they are able to concentrate this force in the center located at their neck, usually identified with the Sambhoga-kaya (Tib. longs-spyod-


sku) or "Enjoyment Body" of the Buddha.9 The process is a meditative one, and the practitioner at this level is regarded as partaking of Buddhahood and becomes able to produce songs of the Absolute Truth spontaneously; they simply appear in his mind as mental experience (Tib. nyams) natural to one who has achieved the longs-spyod level of Buddhahood. Thus, Mi-la-ras-pa says that when the Four Joys move upward and reach the level of longs-spyod in his neck, his "treasury of Diamond Song spontaneously flows forth."10 8 Cf. M. Lalou, "Pr6liminairesd'une Etude des Ganacakra," Studies of Esoteric Buddhism and Tantrism (Koya-

Similarly 'Brug-pa Kun-legs, at the court of the 2nd Dalai Lama, was once asked to sing "one of those introspective songs that arise in your heart."ll Mi-la-ras-pa further adds that "the little songs which come to my mouth just appear, as if in a book," and also that he sings his songs from the realm of the Absolute.l2 In Tibet, the spiritual song came to be a particularly important form of religious instruction, directed as well at monks, yogins, and laymen. It thus evolved into special forms, many of which consist of a complex of analogies between the processes and stages of yogic contemplation and the processes of the farming, animal husbandry, and household arts of the Tibetan peasantry. Since parallelism is the key to this kind of song, the tight compositional structure is itself an essential part of the instructional message, leading the listener by the universal Buddhist pedagogical techniques of parable and simile to a more profound realization of ineffable reality. (1) "You are a cultivator of this worldly realm, I am a cultivator of rebirth into Eternity; At harvest time we shall see [whose crops are] more, And in the end we shall compare [the amount of] joy."1l
(cited hereafter as Mgur-'bum), folio 151.b: dga' ba bzhi mgrin pa longs spyod kyi gnas su phyin pas rdo rje'i glu'i mdzod dang shugs su rdol ba. All references to the Mgur-

'bum, except where so stated, are to the printed version in 342 folia at the University of Washington(Far Eastern
Library: FEL-TIB-4A). 11 Rnal 'byor gyi dbang phyug chen po kun dga' legs pa'i rnam thar gsung 'bum rgya mtsho las dad pa'i ku shas chu thigs tsam blangs pa ngo mtshar bdud rtsi'i zil mngar (cited hereafter as Autobiography of 'Brug-pa Kun-legs, vol. 2), folio lO.b: nyams dbyangs thugs la shar ba. All readings of this text are from the British Library

san, 1965), pp. 41-46. Much work remains to be done on the theory and practice of this key Tantric ritual. 9 On the interpretation of this contemplative "psychophysiology," cf. D. L. Snellgrove, The Hevajra Tantra (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), vol. 1, pp. 2728, 35-39. H. Guenther's well-known insistence on the communicative aspect of Samrbhoga-kaya ("communication-with-others") can be usefully noted here; cf. H.
Guenther, (trans.), The Life and Teaching of Naropa

wood block print $19999sl0.

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. 267. Conflicting theories on translating this kind of terminology have
been dealt with by R. A. Stein, Vie et chants de 'Brug-pa kun-legs le yogin, pp. 31-35, and I concur with his rea-

soning on the difference between translation and interpretation (p. 32). 10 Gtsang-smyon-pa Sangs-rgyas rgyal-mtshan (14521507), Rnal 'byor gyi dbang phyug chen po rje btsun bzhad pa rdo rje'i rnam thar rgyas par phye ba mgur 'bum

12 Mgur-'bum, f. 103.b: kha ru glu chung len pa de / / snang ba dpe char shar ba yin //; Ibid., f. 112.b: gnas lugs ngang nas glu gcig len. Compare the similar statement of Gtsang-smyon-pa in his biography by (Lha-btsun) Rin-chen rnam-rgyal, Grub thob gtsang pa smyon pa'i rnam thar dad pa'i spu slong g.yo'a ba, f. 38.a (contained in S. W. Tashigangpa, [ed.], Bde mchog mkha' 'gro snyan rgyud (Ras chung snyan rgyud), Leh, 1971, vol. 1). 13 Mgur-'bzum, f. 89.b-90.a: khyod 'jig rten 'di yi so nam mkhan // nga skye ba gtan gyi so nam mkhan // ston thog su mang blta yang blta // nam phugs su skyid 'gran

yang 'gran //.


Journal of the American Oriental Society 97.2 (1977) the vicinity of Mt. La-phyi on the Nepal-Tibet frontier, a favorite meditation site of Mi-la-raspa. "At that time many other disciples had also come, and
the Reverend [Mi-la-ras-pa] said, 'Let us go for fun to the top of the high mountain which is there in front of Mt. La-phyi.' But the disciples said, 'Please, we

Other songs, while yet retaining some of the symbolism of the Indian doha and vajragiti, adapt it to more uniquely Tibetan conditions. Since it was a popular prejudice among some groups of monastic Buddhists that yogins spent all their time in meditation and begging, while doing nothing to earn a livelihood, Mi-la-ras-pa once replied in the following way to the argument of his disciples that even he needed a home, food and clothing.14 (2) "Fearing hunger I sought for food; The food I ate was deep meditation of the Absolute; Now I have no feat of hunger. Fearing thirst I soughr for drink; My drink was the ambrosialbeer of mindfulmindfulness; Now I have no feat of thirst." Beer or alcoholic drink as a symbol for nectarous
essence (amrta; Tib. bdud-rtsi), the refined essential

beg you not to go as you are old and probably won't

make it I' 'It is okay for me to do something as easy as this,' he said, and sang this song: (3) 'I bow down to all my Lamas. Now Mi-la wants to climb that mountain peak, But Mi-la-ras-pa is old, His powers have weakened, so he cannot go. Lie down, oh inanimate mountain I' Immediately as he sang that verse the mountain bent down its head and on its peak the Reverend planted his feet. Then it straightened back up again. There on the mountain peak he sat for some time encloaked in a rainbow. Then he flew back down again and said to the disciples, 'Up there on the mountain peak someone came and served me beer.' 'Please tell us the method we too can use to get there, and how we can obtain the beer I' they requested. 'If you would reach the mountain peak,' replied Mi-la-ras-pa, 'you must meditate according to these instructions,' and he sang this song: (4) 'Oh disciples of mine, desiring to see the sights of the mountain,17 Grasp them as you would with the Clear Light of the self-mind [in meditation]; Group them into divisions, as you would in a catalogue;

of teachings or contemplative experiences, is common in Tibetan Buddhist writing, and initially derives from Indian usage.15 In the case of the following beer-drinking songs, however, both the preparation and the drinking serve as symbols of yogic endeavour. The fermented beverage has been shifted to a different, pictorial, level of symbolism, while the motif of the songs has probably been adapted from peasant-agricultural folk themes. Here, in fact, the pedagogical parallels could only have been intelligible to persons acquainted with the terminology and technique of the household art of brewing beer. The first example, from the "Collected Songs" (Mgur-' bum) of Mi-la-ras-pa, seems also to be the earliest to come down to us in writing.16 The setting is in
Mgur-'bum, f. 40.a: ngas Itogs kyis dogs nas zas cig btsal // zas ni chos nyid ting 'dzin zas // da Itogs kyis dogs pa nga la med // ngas skom gyi dogs nas btung ba btsal // btung ba dran shes bdud rtsi'i chang // da skom gyis dogs pa nga la med //.

works on history (364A-2642, ff. 249.a-250.b; 364B-2643,

ff. 289.a-291.a). The differences, however, are mostly The earlier translation by Chang (The insignificant. Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, pp. 572-75) is defective largely because he was ignorant of the technical terms used in brewing beer. Fortunately, the Autobiography of 'Brug-pa Kun-legs, vol. 2, ff. 9.a-b, contains a detailed recipe which clears up most of the difficulties, and the present translation is based on it. I plan to deal with this unique recipe in a separate article. 17 There is here a deliberate play on the words Itas and Itad, which are pronounced the same but have different meanings. The text has Itas which means 'sight' in the sense of 'insight,' or 'prognostic,' but is meant

15 Tibetan beer (chang) is technically an infusion of fermented barley, but the name is also loosely applied to any kind of alcoholic beverage, much as Sanskrit surd came to be used. 16 There are also oral versions, of unknown age. Cf. the Reverend H. Hanlon, "The Folk-Songs of Ladak and

Baltistan," Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists (London, 1893), vol. 2, song j#102. The following translation is based on readings from Mgur-'bunz, ff. 291.a-292.b, as well as two separate editions from the Toyo Bunko collection of Tibetan

to call to mind Itad, a 'view' as of a landscape. The

entire stanza 4 compares the climbing of a mountain and viewing of the sights with a kind of contemplative sddhana in which the visualizations are described in terms of grasping, binding, etc.

ARDUSSI: The Doha Tradition in Tibet

Bind them firm as you would with a great knot; Hold them firm as you would with a great hook. If you meditate thus, you will arrive,18 And reaching the mountain peak, you will see the view, And will drink the beer of this experience. (5) But come within, you suitable men and women 1 The sights and feast will fully satisfy you.19 You unsuitable ones who remain without, Though you are unable to drink the beer which is pure, Can you not at least drink the [material] weak beer? Though you cannot strive for Enlightenment, Can you not at least strive for a superior birth?' Then Ras-chung-pa [his principal disciple] said, 'Yes, I can strive for Enlightenment, and I pray you allow me to drink the beer as well.' The Reverend replied, 'This is how we drink the beer: according to the system of our dear Mar-pa [Mi-la-ras-pa's guru],' and he sang this song: (6) 'I bow down to the feet of Mar-pa the Translator, Who dwells in the unbroken flow of innate reality, The master of spiritual truth. These are the marks of him, my [spiritual] father: Like the sky, he is clear and pure; Omnipresent is he, like sun and moon; Beyond measure in stature is he, like a thicket of reeds; This man from Lho-brag is the Lord Buddha, Residing as the adornment of my head, inseparable from me.20 (7) Chief among the six classes of beings are humans. Yet every spring and every autumn They busy themselves first with their useless crops, And then with the making of beer from yellow barley. (8) We, too, brew a batch of beer and drink. Now to explain our method for the brewing of beer: Set out the hearth stones of Body, Speech and Mind; Within the copper pot of Emptiness Pour the barley of Purest Faith;21 18 Again a double meaning, for the verb thar-pa mean both 'to reach' the mountain top, and also to 'achieve liberation.' 19 Probably a subtle suggestion of the gana-cakra, on which cf. below, p. 122. 20 This recalls the practice in Buddhist iconography, where a Bodhisattva is depicted with a miniature image upon his forehead of the Buddha of which he is an emanation. 21 Chang (Ibid., p. 575, fn.) gives "the pure White Element," but the texts clearly have the common formula dkar-mo-dad-pa, not -dang-ba.


Pour in also the water of Mindful Compassion; Light the fire of Great Wisdom, Then cook to a mash of Dimensionless Uniformity. Spread it out in the central plain of Sameness, Upon the rug of Great Joy;22 Add the starter of Sacred Instructions, then Keep it warm in the bed of the Four Immeasurables.23 When it has risen and become the ferment of Manywith-one-flavor, Pour it into the pot of the [five] Impulses; Infuse it with water to a union of Wisdom and Means; Strengthen it into the beer of the Five Knowledges. (9) From the spiggot, the source of all desires, Tap the beer, the endless flow of nectar. Its raw material is the Pure Heruka; Its other ingredients are the Heruka of the Dharmarealm; Its color is the Lotus Heruka; Its flavor is the Diamond Heruka; Its smell is the Various Heruka; Its touch is the Heruka of sensuous beauty.24 (10) And now one drinks the beer of yoga. With the first [drink] he clarifies and purifies himself as Diamond Body; With the second he perfects his Buddhahood as Enjoyment Body; With the third he appears visibly as Emanation Body. The suitable man will drink of this unending flow of beer, which becomes [for him] nectar; There is no chance for the unsuitable to drink it. Phyar-bar bdal does not mean to raise a flag (Chang, Ibid., p. 574), but rather to spread out on a rug. The cooked barley is spread out onto a large rug (often called a brdal-phyar) or winnow to cool, before adding the starter. 23 Tibetan beer starter, like that for sake, contains not only yeast but also mold spores (Aspergillus oryzae), chemically essential for fermentation. This fact was confirmed by clinical analysis performed for me on a sample of phabs (graciously supplied by Dr. Melvyn Goldstein), by Dr. Howard Douglas of the University of Washington School of Medicine. The usual translations of phabs and chang-rtsi as 'yeast' must therefore be rejected. Phabs is stirred into the cooled barley, which is then kept warm for several days while it ferments as a kind of damp mash (glum). It is then infused with water (bsings) in a large pot, where it absorbs the alcohol, thereby becoming 'strengthened into beer' (chang du ngar). 24 The practitioner here contemplates himself in the maid1ala of Heruka, experiencing within himself the aspects of the various Buddha families.



of the American





Here is another parable of drinking: (11) With the first beer of purest experience, Tapped in the Dharma-realm, One makes offerings to the Buddha and Lamas, possessed of the three [vows]. With the second beer of Wisdom and Means, Summoning them through one's sacral pledges, One pleases the various deities of the mandala. With the weakest beer, of high and ordinary,25 Keeping it within the realm of sensory experience, One satisfies the desires of self and all others. (12) In the beer ladle of the Six Adornments Is the beer of the pure oral teachings;26 To drink that beer is to radiate joy, To taste its flavor is to achieve liberation. (13) This is the technique for drinking the beer of the yogin, A special teaching, not for everybody. It is a wondrous and astonishing practice; Indeed, is it not the greatest of miracles?'" A different kind of beer-drinking song, by the Tibetan famous yogin Lo-ras-pa Dbang-phyug shows the same kind of brtson-'grus (1187-1250), but extended to include parallelism, analogical This song was sung to agriculture and plowing. chide some monks who had been engaging in drinking and merriment during the harvest season in the province of Gtsang, perhaps in the region of Dol Ma-ma-gser-stengs as suggested by the second stanza.27 High and ordinary: the two kinds of magical attainment, Nirvana, and the lesser ones such as the ability to fly. When the glum is first infused, the beer which is strained off is the first or strongest beer. More water is added and stirred in, making a second, weaker infusion. A third infusion will be very weak in alcohol. 26 The Six Adornments (mdzes-pa drug) are probably not the adornments of a Tantric yogin, as Chang implies (Ibid., p. 575, fn.) but rather the Nd-ro chos-drug, the 'six teachings of Naropa,' the principal oral teachings of the Bka'-brgyud-pa sect. The master 'ladles out,' as it were, the profound instructions to his disciples, often called 'vessels' in Tibetan. 27Rgod-tshang ras-pa Sna-Tshogs-rang-grol(1494-1570), Chos rje lo ras pa' i rnam par thar pa bdud rtsi' i phreng ba, ff. 62.b-63.a (Khams-sprul Don-brgyud-nyi-ma, [ed.], Bka 'brgyudpa Hagiographies, Tashijong, Palampur, H. P. [India], 1972, vol. 2, section 2). The text of this and the next song are given here on account of their relative scarcity in western libraries. So nam byed pa de rgyal khams phyogs med na byed kyang // lo legs pa rnal 'byor rang re

(14) "While agriculture is practiced everywhere in the world, The yogin, too, has his good crops. To explain a bit about this system of goodness: I - plow the ground of the fields of faith; II - plant the seeds of the oral instructions; III - fertilize with the water and manure of the practices. In due time, when these three have been brought together, The sprouts of Enlightenment will grow up little by little. Happy am I when neither frost nor hail touches these crops. (15) While the beer is tasty in Dol Ma-ma-gser-stengs, Yogins, too, become intoxicated from beer. To explain a bit about this system of intoxication from beer: I - that from the excellent barley grains from the fields of faith; II - that from the practices of the Wisdom-Dakinis; III - intoxication on the beer of the dance of the instructions. In due time, when these three are in abundance, One spews out the vomit of disgust with Samsara; Having vomited and become free from drunkenness, how happy am II" In another beer-drinking song, this one by 'Brugpa Kun-legs, the imagery of brewing the beer of Tantric yoga is combined with an even clearer moralistic the listener that element, instructing affairs should take priority over the spiritual is worldly. Here, 'Brug-pa Kun-legs staying at an inn in Lhasa, and the hostess, who ordinarily would be skilled in making beer herself, has asked him if he, too, knows how to brew. He replies tsho legs // legs pa'i legs lugs bshad tsa na // gzhi dad pa'i sa zhing bshim dang gcig // gdams ngag gi sa bon thebs dang gnyis // nyams len gyi chu lud 'dzom dang gsum // khong de gsum ' dzom pa' i dus tshod na // byang chub kyi myu gu ban ma bun mar skye bar gda' ste // lo la sad dang ser ba mi yang (sic. yong) ba de blo re rang bde // chang zhim po de dol gyi ma ma gser stengs na zhim kyang // chang bzi ba de rang re rnal 'byor tsho bzi // chang gis bzi ba' i bzi lugs de bshad tsa na // gzhi dad pa' i nas 'bru bzang ba dang gcig // ye shes mkha' 'gro'i lag len thon dang gnyis // gdams ngag gi gar chang bzi dang gsum // khong de gsum 'dzom pa'i dus tshod na // 'khor ba la zhen log gi skyugs pa chal ma chil // skyugs kyang skyur 'gong med pa de nyams su dga' //. The text consistently has gzi-ba, which I have changed to the more proper bzi-ba.

ARDUSSI: The Doha Tradition in Tibet


in the affirmative with the recipe mentioned above. Assured of this, the hostess has apparently decided to leave 'Brug-pa Kun-legs in charge of her affairs during a short absence.28
"She put down four measures of barley and said, 'Brew a batch with this, Kun-dga' legs-pa'. Then she went off, carrying her cold weather clothing. In three days time she returned and asked, 'Has the beer risen yet?' 'If it has risen it has risen; if it hasn't risen it hasn't risen. It's still in the winnow,' I said.29 And she replied, 'You're a disaster as a teacher ! The knowledge you have, but still you didn't brew the beer I' To this I replied, 'Hostess, I [as a yogin] must know all things; but I also must not do them. What is achieved by doing everything one knows how? I even know how to kill goats [but don't do so] !' And I sang this song: (16) 'Oh hostess, concerned with yourself alone, Hear without distraction the words of this melody I In the Mandala of Victory which is my own body, I have laid out the hearth stones of Wisdom and Means; In the spacious vessel of Bliss-Emptiness I pour the water of indivisible Union-contemplation, And ripened barley of the Three Bodies.

Brewing, brewing the beer of achievement of the two goals [of self and others], The time has passed and I have forgotten to brew the hostess' beer. In the spacious edifice of the Thought of Enlighten(17) ment, I have erected the three white mats of the goals of others; Calling, calling the patrons of the six classes of sentient beings, The time his passed and I have forgotten to call the guests, driving their horses and servants [to the inn]. (18) Upon the hearth, devoid of the two extremes, I have lit the fire of burning wisdom; Boiling, boiling the good tea of Emptiness, The time has passed and I have forgotten to prepare the tea for the crowds.'"

For the present we need not concern ourselves

with the technical terms, but rather with the main thrust of the songs, which is the parallel of the tasks of movement process or progressive and the yogin.30 Here the peasant-agriculturalist of brewing and drinking beer the appropriateness which as a symbolic parallel to yogic meditation,

Autobiography of 'Brug-pa Kun-legs, vol. 2, ff. 10.ab: nas bre bzhi bzhag // khyed dpon slob kyis 'di 'tshod bsnyol mdzod cig zer / khyag chad (sic. chas) khur nas song ngo // zhag gsum na 'khor byung nas / chang langs e byung zer bas / langs na 'ang langs zmalangs na 'ang ma langs / zhib ma'i nang na yod byas pas / khyed dpon slob kyi thabs brdugs pa / mkhyen rab ni 'dug mi 'tshod pa zer ba la / ngas 'di byas / gnas mo bya ba thams cad shes dgos / mi byed dgos zer ba yin / shes tshad rang lag tu blangs pas ci yong / shes pa ra gsod pa yang shes byas nas / mgur 'di 'then no // ang gi gnas mo rang don can // ma yengs dbyangs kyi tshig la nyon // nga rang lus rgyal ba'i dkyil 'khor du // thabs shes gnyis kyi sgyed bu btsugs // bde stong gi khog ma yangs pa ru // zung 'jug ting 'dzin 'bral med chu // sku gsum 'bras bu'i nas cig blug // don gnyis grub pa'i chang cig tshod tshod nas / gnas mo'i chang tshod brjed de thal // nga byang sems kyi khang pa yangs pa ru // gzhan don gyi stan dkar gsum brtsegs bting // 'gro drug gi yon bdag 'bod 'bod nas / yog pa rta 'gugs kyi mgron 'bod brjed de thal // nga mtha' gnyis bral ba'i thab kha la // ye shes tsha ba'i me sbar te / stong nyid kyi ja bzang skol skol nas // rgya ja'i g.yo sta brjed de thal //. 29 The winnow (zhib-ma) is used here as a brdal-phyar for cooling the cooked barley, which according to the story, 'Brug-pa Kun-legs has allowed to become completely cold and unsalvageable.

might seem unusual in a Buddhist setting, can be seen to stem partly from the particular character in India the of Tibetan Whereas culture. of alcohol was especially prohibited consumption as a potential for Brahmans cause for pollutive varna degradation (on account of the sins, such to which it might as illicit sexual intercourse,

lead), no such social stigma attached to the practice

in Tibet (if done in moderation), where barley beer was popular with all classes. A study of the further that, literature hagiographical suggests in spite of their vows of abstention, the monks' fondness for beer was a frequent cause of disciand nuplinary unease in Tibetan monasteries, merous tracts were written to condemn its use.31 30 Most of the terms have been dealt with as they occur in the sddhanas translated by Stephan Beyer, The Cult of Tdrd (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), pp. 66-170. 31 Among Rnying-ma-pa writers may be cited Dpalsprul O-rgyan-'jigs-med-chos-kyi-dbang-po (b. 1808), Myos byed kyi btung ba'i nyes dmigs mdo rgyud bstan bcos rnams las btus pa nyes pa'i 'phreng sgrol (Sonam T. Kazi, [ed.], The Collected Works of Dpal-sprul O-rgyan'jigs-med-chos-kyi-dbang-po [Gangtok, 1971], vol. 5, pp. 587-631); for the Dge-lugs-pa cf. Thu'u-bkwan Blo-


Journal of the American Oriental Society 97.2 (1977) practitioner also partakes of the offering material, and since the offerings have all been purified to divinely pure status, to nectar, the beer symbol is again applicable (stanza 11). In the concluding meditation, the Process of Perfection (sampannakrama; Tib. rdzogs-rim), the yogin strives to fuse his now divine being with the Clear Light (Tib. 'od-gsal) and Great Bliss (Tib. bde-ba chen-po) of Emptiness, and it is particularly in this experience that the analogy of intoxication from beer is commonly used.32 One technique of performing the Process of Perfection involves using the symbols of the "veins," "winds," and "drop," to generate bdud-rtsi which the practitioner (who has become the deity) then "drinks" in an analogical representation of experiencing the Absolute. Variations in the symbolic details of these two processes, which also appear in our songs, derive from the fact of different elaboration in individual contemplative and sectarian practice, although their fundamental ritual structure remains the same.33 We should finally recall that the contemplative act of generating oneself as the mandala of the deity and its retinue is related thematically to the Tantric practice of the Circle of Hosts (ganacakra; Tib. tshogs-' khor). In this ritual, aimed at the rapid obtainment of Enlightenment, yogins and their ritually purified consorts (originally lowcaste women) assemble to perform a combined physical and contemplative enactment of the Processes of Generation and Perfection. And in those contemplations the gaining of divine status is celebrated by consumption of sacramental flesh and alcohol, and in addition by the performance of ritual dancing and Diamond Song (vajra-giti). In both India and Tibet the extent to which the physical implements and actions of this ritual were either used or replaced by symbols was rather a matter of traditional or sectarian interpretation, since its only real significance was seen to lie in the simultaneous contemplative realiza32 See the vajra-giti of the 1st Panchen Lama where he speaks of his "perceptions, perpetually intoxicated by the beer of Clear Light" (yul 'od gsal chang gis rtag Panchen Lama I, Blo-bzang chos-kyimyos pa'i ...). rgyal-mtshan (1567-1662), Chos smra ba'i dge slong blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan gyi spyod tshul gsal bar ston pa nor bu'i phreng ba, f. 55.a (Nawang Gelek Demo, [comp.], The Autobiography of the First Panchen Lama Blo-bzang-chos-kyi-rgyal-mtshan [New Delhi, 1969]). 33 Beyer, The Cult of Tara, pp. 108-27.

We have seen that the song of Lo-ras-pa was motivated by similar reasons. Thus, the overall theme of the songs and their connected stories is to introduce the subject of beer and then to discourage its use, by calling attention to a spiritually more proper kind of "beer." The symbol can be seen to have more subtle implications, however, when the songs are viewed in their original environment as grounded in Tantric ritual thinking. Although lay Tibetan listeners would probably have seen in its pictorial content a kind of quixotic yogic humor, for monks and yogins it is clearly meant to evoke emotional, and hopefully (using Guenther's terms) cognitive responses. From a religious viewpoint, the meditative processes alluded to in these songs are subsumed under what is termed Generation in Oneself (Tib. bdag-bskyed), an aspect of the Process of Generation (utpatti-krama; Tib. bskyed-rim), the first of the two-fold division of Tantric meditation according to the highest Tantra class (Anuttara-yoga Tantra). Here, the practitioner visualizes from the realm of Emptiness ("the copper pot of of Emptiness," etc.) an image of himself (termed
the Symbolic Being - samaya-sattva) as a particular

divinity accompanied by its retinue of attendants, the mandala of the divinity. The locus of the visualization is the practitioner's own body ("the hearth stones of Body, Speech and Mind," "the Mandala of Victory which is my own body"). Having purified and empowered the visualized image by mantras, the actual divinity (termed
the Knowledge Being - jnina-sattva) is summoned

from the realm of the Absolute to fuse with the visualized image, by which technique the meditator "becomes" the deity and gains its "ego" (Tib. nga-rgyal); and he is firmed in this status by a contemplative initiation involving a consecration with nectar - bdud-rtsi. It is here that

the analogy of drinking beer has its first application. Most sddhanas (of which these meditations are but the mental aspect), however, go beyond this and continue with a series of food and drink offerings contemplatively projected to all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and sentient beings of the six destinies (as in stanza 17). Since the
bzang-chos-kyi-nyi-ma (1737-1802), Dben gnas bde chen chos gling gi bsam gtan pa rnams kyi bca' khrims bstan pa'i pad tshal rgyas pa'i nyin byed sogs bca' yig gi rim pa phyogs gcig tu bkod pa, esp. ff. 19.a-b (Nawang Gelek Demo, [comp.], Collected Works of Thu'u-bkwan Blobzang-chos-kyi-nyi-ma [New Delhi, 1969], vol. 2).

ARDUSSI: The Doha Tradition in Tibet tion. The entire rite could also be, and was, performed purely as a mental event.34 But it is interesting to note that even in certain Yellow Hat Dge-lugs-pa monasteries, during the performance of the gana-cakra, sacramental beer was consumed by the monk participants, though in very small quantities and only with the contemplative conviction that it was ritually purified bdud-rtsi.35 Thus, while the various Tibetan schools came to stress more and more the purely contemplative importance of the Processes of Generation and Perfection, the underlying material aspect has been retained in at least a symbolic way. The Tibetan yogic beer-drinking songs, insofar as they are structured around these Processes, have simply adapted the pictorial terminology of the popular practice of beer making and drinking to illustrate their meaning. There is thus both a ritual-structural and a social origin for the beer symbol in this context. I will conclude by suggesting that the main function of the spiritual song be understood as a "skilful means" (upaya) of contemplation and religious instruction, guiding the listener through analogy and paradoxical juxtaposition of symbols to more subtle levels of meditative realization, or, if he be but a simple peasant, to a clearer awareness of spiritual modes of thought. In this respect they are similar to icons or painted mandalas as meditative aids, though it must be pointed out that not all are as highly symbolic or concerned with such profound aspects of religious truth as those translated above. Although in this essay I have purposefully isolated those elements of Tibetan culture and religious history which have contributed to the meaningfulness of contrasting the brewing and drinking of beer analogically with the cultivation of certain meditative experiences, it would be misleading to be too emphatic about any real connection between them. As we have seen (stanza 18), 'Brug-pa Kun-legs felt that the brewing of tea was an equally valid analogy. In one song 34 Cf. on this the noteworthy statement of Snellgrove,
The Hevajra Tantra, vol. 1, p. 43, last paragraph. 35 Thu'u-bkwan Blo-bzang-chos-kyi-nyi-ma, op. cit., f. 11.b. Whether this held true for all Dge-lugs-pa monasteries cannot yet be stated with certainty. The use of intoxicants has some important ramifications in


Mi-la-ras-pa likened the Processes of Generation and Perfection to the process of building a house, which should prove that such analogies are primarily poetic in inspiration.3 Drinking alcohol to produce intoxication does not seem to have been regarded even by Tantric Buddhists as a "skilful means" of comprehending the intoxication of Enlightenment. On the contrary, its use in the gana-cakra appears designed to illustrate the practitioner's acquisition of power over experiential reality, in effect his power to resist its intoxicating effect.37
36 Mgur-'bum, f. 46.b. 37 I believe that this is an important point which deserves emphasis. There are certain traditions in the general Hindu framework, especially of the bhakti mode,

where the devotee's personal experience of the divine is

described in terms of intoxicating madness (David Kinsley, "Through the Looking Glass: Divine Madness in the Hindu Religious Tradition," History of Religions 13 [May, 1974], pp. 286-305). But there it is clear that the intoxicating experience is basically dependent in character, one bestowed by the deity as a kind of 'grace'. In the Buddhist Tantric tradition, on the other hand, where the practitioner cultivates his own divinity, his own salvation, through Wisdom (prajila) and Means (upaya), the emphasis is on his perfect mental control of every contemplative act. Of course, nothing can be said about the differences or similarities of the final experience, but I would summarize by suggesting that whereas the H1indu bhakta receives or gives way to intoxicating madness, the Buddhist Tantric yogin methodically creates it. Indeed, it is mainly because of its debilitating effect on the visualizing faculties that prominent Tibetan thinkers of every sect have condemned the use of alcohol, and not simply on moral grounds. For this reason I find it difficult to agree with Frits Staal's contention that Vasubandhu's reference to magical powers deriving from the use of herbs (Abhidharmakosa

VII.53) suggests a type of mystical experiencecomparable

to, or contributing to the better understanding of, experiences obtained otherwise through meditation (Frits Staal, Exploring Mysticism [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975], pp. 162-64). We do not know just what Vasubandhu meant by osadhikrta-rddhi, since he provided no explanation in his autocommentary. However, two noted Tibetan scholars have commented on this passage, and both concluded that he was referring to such practices as applying herbal concoctions to the arms and legs and gaining thereby the power to fly through the air. Cf. Kun-mkhyen 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhadpa'i-rdo-rje, Dam pa'i chos mngon pa mdzod kyi dgongs

Tibetan Buddhist practice, which I intend to deal with

in a separate study.


Journal of the American Oriental Society 97.2 (1977) the student should abandon the mundane (which would involve making the kind of subject-object distinction condemned by Madhyamika philosophers), but rather that he should employ it to gain yogic insight into the total interrelationship between the spiritual and the mundane, between Nirvana and Samsara. The student is taught that Nirvana is not other than Samsara, and that from the moment this realization arises and displaces dualistic thought, there can be no effective distinction between drinking alcoholic beer and the beer of enlightenment.38

At the simplest level, then, the songs and stories connected with them teach the greater importance of the spiritual over the mundane, of the proper life of the yogin over that of the householder. Here, more notably than with the Indian dohd, the Tibetan approach has been to incorporate an immediate social dimension, culling similes from peasant-agriculturalist occupations. To the more discerning and religiously trained listener they demonstrate further the process by which yogic realization can be obtained, that it is a natural process like building a house or brewing beer, with a predictable result. But ultimately, and this seems to me the fundamental message conveyed by the analogical technique, they teach not that
'grel gyi bstan bcos thub bstan nor bu'i gter mdzod dus gsum rgyal ba'i bzhed don kun gsal, ff. 40.a-b: sman las skyes pa sman gyis chyab par lag pa dang / rkang pa la bskus na nam mkhar 'gro ba Ita bit dang .... (Nawang Gelek Demo, [comp.], The Collected Works of Kun-mkhyen 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa'i-rdo-rje [New Delhi, 1972], vol. 10; cf. also 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa II, Dkon-mchog'jigs-med-dbang-po (1728-1791), Dam pa'i chos mngon pa mdzod kyi don legs par bshad pa rin po che' i gru gzings, f. 24.b (Nawang Gelek Demo, [comp.], The Collected Works of Dkon-mchog-' jigs-med-dban-po [New Delhi, 1972], vol. 7). This is clearly not the kind of mystical expe-

Precisely this point is made by the Rnying-ma-pa

scholar 'Jigs-med-gling-pa (1730-1799), ". . . the words of the poetic songs . . . are a cause for the experience of

the flavor of the mutual interrelatedness of Samsara and Nirvana ..." Cf. 'Jigs-med-gling-paRang-byungrdo-rje Mkhyen-brtse-'od-zer, Yul Iho rgyud du byung ba'i rdzogs chen pa rang byung rdo rje mkhyen brtse'i 'od zer gyi rnam par thar pa, f. 138.a (Sonam T. Kazi, [ed.], The Collected Works of Kun-mkhyen 'Jigs-med-gling-pa [Gangtok, 1971], vol. 9).

rience Staal had in mind.

The present essay is based on a rather different earlier version presented before the Inner Asia Colloquium, University of Washington, during 1970, and I would like to thank the then members and particularly the Chairman, ProfessorT. V. Wylie, for their criticisms and suggestions. However, the responsibility for any errors is entirely my own.