Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

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Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby AlexanderS » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:20 pm

What is source of that quote that is often bandied around modern buddhists books. I'm talking about when the one that goes something like "When the iron bird flies and the iron ox runs of wheels, and the Tibetan people are scattered like ants across the earth my teachings will come to the country of the red men"?
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Will » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:46 pm

AlexanderS wrote:What is source of that quote that is often bandied around modern buddhists books. I'm talking about when the one that goes something like "When the iron bird flies and the iron ox runs of wheels, and the Tibetan people are scattered like ants across the earth my teachings will come to the country of the red men"?


It was from some 20th century Nyingma terma reader - cannot recall his name.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:34 am

Is there not a written source? I'd like to know the root text.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:43 am

I believe the quote is attributed to Padmasambhava, 8th Century. I don't have a source but that is the standard attribution.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:49 pm

I know but I want a source to the main text.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Will » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:38 pm

From the Early Tibet blog, 2007:

As a postscript to this discussion, I couldn’t ignore the much-quoted prophecy attributed to Padmasambhava which also speaks of Buddhism coming to the ‘red-faced men’, often interpreted uncritically as a reference to Native Americans:

When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the world, and the dharma will come to the land of the red-faced man.

I have never seen a reliable reference to the source of this prophecy (presumably it ought to be from a treasure text) and I’d be happy to be put right if anybody is able to point out a source. However, even if there is something like this prophecy in a genuine Tibetan source it should be pointed out that Tibetans would always have understood the phrase ‘red-faced men’ to refer to themselves.


If this scholar has not seen a terma text reference, it probably does not exist; just an oral tradition from recent times.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:56 pm

Actually, I think I might have read it in W Y Evanz-Wentz 'The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation' which was published in 1954. Not absolutely certain, but I'm pretty sure that was where I first encountered it.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:55 pm

jeeprs wrote:Actually, I think I might have read it in W Y Evanz-Wentz 'The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation' which was published in 1954. Not absolutely certain, but I'm pretty sure that was where I first encountered it.


I am unable to find it there. The earliest reference I have come across is in Mircea Eliade's journals (volume 4), in an entry dated 20 January 1981.
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Re: Source of famous guru rinpoche quote

Postby Lingpupa » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:49 am

It was circulated in the 1970's by Trungpa's followers. I have seen the question of its origin discussed many times over the years, but there seems to be no evidence at all for it having any earlier source. I'm fairly sure it is not in any of E-W's works, although he was so free with his "interpolations" it would not be impossible.

Van Schaik's suggestion that Tibetan's would understand "red faced men" as referring to themselves is right on, but there is another aspect: there are good, though inconclusive, grounds for suspecting that the quote originated in America in the early 1970s with the intention that it would be understood as referring to the native American peoples.
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