The Lamp for the Eye of Contemplation, the bSam-gtan mig-sgron by gNubs-chen Sangs-rgyas ye-shes: Hermeneutical Study with English Translation and Critical Edition of a Tibetan Buddhist Text on Contemplation


Dylan Esler

PhD defended at: 

Université catholique de Louvain


The present thesis is an attempt to understand, from both philological and metaphysical perspectives, an important 10th century Tibetan Buddhist text on contemplation, the bSam-gtan mig-sgron by gNubs-chen Sangs-rgyas ye-shes. This text is a seminal source for the study of the various meditative currents that were transmitted to Tibet from India and China during the early dissemination of Buddhism in Tibet.
The thesis is divided into three parts. After an introduction situating the author and his work, Part I provides an unabridged, annotated English translation of the text. Part II contains a critical edition of the Tibetan text of the first four chapters, preceded by some introductory comments concerning the sources available for its elaboration. Part III, which begins with an overview of the place of meditation within the Buddhist tradition, consists in a hermeneutical study of the four principal chapters of the bSam-gtan mig-sgron.
While the first two parts of the thesis are more philological in nature and the third part is more metaphysical in its orientation, it is hoped that these two approaches will prove to be complementary and mutually illuminating in providing a deeper understanding of the doctrines and practices exposed in this work.