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The Maṇi bka’ ’bum is a ‘‘revealed scripture’’ (gter ma) that claims to be a testament of the ancient Tibetan king Srong btsan sgam po, traditionally believed to have been an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, the tutelary deity of Tibet. The Maṇi bka’ ’bum includes two narratives that resemble the Vessantara Jātaka, which has spread widely in Asia as a Buddhist tale about a former birth of the Śākyamuni Buddha as a generous prince called Vessantara, who gives away even his wife and children. The Maṇi bka’ ’bum contains stories of King Srong bstan sgam po’s former births, one of which is as a prince named ’Jig rten dbang phyug (Skt. Lokeśvara), who gives away his two wives, who are to be identified as a Nepalese wife named Khri btsun and a Chinese wife named Kong jo, along with his two children. The article looks into possible sources of the two versions of this story in the Maṇi bka’ ’bum, finding parallels in the Rgyal bu Don grub kyi mdo. Consideration is also given to the Fifth Dalai Lama’s use of the Maṇi bka’ ’bum’s accounts for his own birth story, the ’Khrung rab.



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