Ra Lotsawa's namthar will be published by Penguin Classics in late 2014 or early 2015.
The full article can be found here: http://artsandsciences.fsu.edu/In-the-N ... fellowship“Among the most illustrious Buddhist saints of Tibet, Ralo stands tall as one of the most notorious figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhist culture, equal in celebrity to Tibet’s beloved poet Milarepa (1040-1123 A.D.),” Cuevas said. “But whereas Milarepa is viewed as Tibet’s ideal Buddhist contemplative yogin(a master of yoga), who in a single lifetime transformed himself from great sinner to great saint, Ralo is his shadow double.”
Was Ralo, who was born in 1016 and died around 1100 A.D., an enlightened saint or a murderous villain? Nearly 1,000 years later, the answer to that question is still somewhat ambiguous. According to legend, he killed more than a dozen Tibetan lamas, or Buddhist high priests — many of them famous and with large numbers of followers of their own. But according to texts of the Yamāntaka and Vajrabhairava traditions of Buddhist practice that he brought from India and Nepal, translated and then popularized in Tibet, Ralo was compelled to “liberate” those who were on the wrong path so that they could eventually reach a state of enlightenment.
Faithful supporters viewed Ralo’s actions as heroically virtuous, both because they served to promulgate a “truer” Buddhism and to subjugate his enemies.
“He is the paradigmatic sinister yogin, Tibetan Buddhist antihero and wonder-worker, who deployed his magical abilities to defeat his competitors and to gain abundant riches, worldly power and spiritual influence,” Cuevas said. “His achievements, however, were not confined to the promotion of hostile practices in defense of Buddhism but included translations from Sanskrit of major Indian Tantric Buddhist scriptures — hence the name ‘Lotsawa,’ the Tibetan term for ‘translator,’ which was reserved for only the most learned of Buddhist linguistic scholars.”
Cuevas says his translation of “The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat” will challenge popular and overly romantic conceptions of Buddhism as a thoroughly pacifist and non-violent religion.
“The topic of Buddhist violence has been attracting a growing audience in recent years, and a few excellent books on the topic have now appeared,” he said. “To date, however, there have been no sustained scholarly studies on the history of Buddhist sorcery and ritual magic. Buddhist sorcery has been a legitimate expression of religious and political action throughout Buddhist history. In Tibet, magic and spiritual warfare have been inextricably tied to conventional Buddhist forms of ritual action and deeply embedded in Tibetan religious ideology.”
Readers of Ralo’s translated biography, Cuevas said, will discover “extravagant accounts of Ralo’s magical exploits, as well as the more conventional episodes in the life of a Buddhist saint — wondrous birth, remarkable childhood, quest for the guru, enlightenment, meritorious works and expansive preaching career.”