Lalitavajra as a Promotor of Manchu and Mongol Buddhist Literature
Independent Scholar, Germany
(59th Annual Meeting of the PIAC, 2016)
The paper deals with the coordinator in-chief of an imperial translation project in Manchu China – the first version of the Kanjur in the Manchu language, a truly national enterprise for the ruling (Manchu) imperial house, in 108 huge volumes. The person entrusted with this important task was the 2nd lCang-skya Qutugtu Lalitavajra (Rolpa’i rdo-rje), the highest Lamaist authority in Peking and a close friend of the Qianlong emperor – they had grown up together, and Lalitavajra not only served the emperor loyally as political emissary in Tibet and advisor but he also initiated him into Lamaism.
A quadrilingual album of the incarnations of the lCangs-skya preserved in the Berlin Museum of Ethnology ends with a portrait and a eulogy of Lalitavajra, and as this document originated in the Peking Palace it is likely that the Qianlong emperor commissioned this work in appreciation of his mentor.