Early teachings on the Four Phurpas in the light of the Eightfold Buddha Word, Embodying the Sugatas (bka' brgyad bde gshegs 'dus pa) revelation of Myang ral Nyi ma 'od zer (1124-1192), and the relationship between the Revelatory (gter ma) and Transmitted
Myang ral's twelfth century revealed corpus of the Eightfold Buddha Word, Embodying the Sugatas (bka' brgyad bde gshegs 'dus pa) became a template for Rnying ma practice focusing on the tradition's eight central tantric deities. In a previous article (2020a), I have suggested that the entire Action Phurpa ('phrin las phur pa) section of the Eightfold Buddha Word is likely to pre-date Myang ral, and seems to preserve an archaic practice tradition. Here, I explore further Phurpa materials in the corpus which relate to the teachings on the Four Phurpas, or the Four Phurpa Materials (phur pa'i rgyu bzhi), alongside related teachings in the corpus of transmitted texts (bka' ma) which were also part of Myang ral's heritage. The centrality of the Four Phurpa teachings in these texts may have influenced the later Vajrakīlaya traditions, which generally put considerable emphasis on these teachings. I assess how the specific teachings on the Four Phurpas passed on by Myang ral in the revealed (gter ma) and transmitted texts (bka' ma) relate to each other, and to other early sources on the Four Phurpas. It seems not only that some of the transmitted Eightfold Buddha Word texts of The Fortress and Precipice (rdzong 'phrang) cycle were very early, but one short instruction on the Four Phurpas is quite likely to derive from the historical Padmasambhava. Moreover, it draws upon an authoritative source which seems also to have made its way into texts within Myang ral's Embodying the Sugatas revelation dealing with the same topic. Finally, in considering the framing of Myang ral's Embodying the Sugatas as revelation, one effect of the new presentation is that King Khri srong lde'u btsan, who was supposed to have been the main original recipient of The Fortress and Precipice transmissions, but did not remain in the lineage, was brought back into centre stage in the transmission. For Myang ral was his rebirth, and key texts of the Embodying the Sugatas revelation are said to have come from the King's manuscripts.