Chogyal Phagpa's collected writings are preserved in three large volumes of the Sa skya bka bum, the Collected Works of the Sakya Founders. The present anthology is a mere sampling. It is the usual practice of political historians to seek out and document writings directly relevant to policy and political history, while the usual practice of the community interested in Buddhist practice and theory is to seek out and analyze texts that address philosophy or meditative practices. The present anthology represents a different approach. I have brought together for you a large selection of Phagpa's own writings, ranging from poetry he wrote in praise of yaks and beer to such important documents as his poem for the investiture of the Emperor: In Praise of Friendship. I have included such works as his Rosary of Jewels: Praise of Manjusri on Wu Tai Shan, in which we find one of the earliest recorded documentations of the fantastic spectacle of strange lights on these famous mountains. You will also find a variety of short works that touch on the practice and understanding of Buddhism. It is said that it was at the conferral of the Great Empowerments into the mysteries of Hevajra that Kubala Khan ritually offered Phagpa the entire nation of Tibet. A few poems connected with this empowerment are included in the present collection. The importance of Chogyal Phagpa's writings and correspondence in understanding Tibet's influence on the Yuan Dynasty cant be overestimated. There remain to be translated forty-two letters addressed to the Khans themselves and to Tibetans, ranging in size from one to thirty-five Tibetan pages. There are also numerous explanations of Buddhism written specifically for the Khans, Kubala being foremost, that remain to be translated. It is my intention to proceed in translating these works at the earliest opportunity.
Christopher Wilkinson began his career in Buddhist literature at the age of fifteen, taking refuge vows from his guru Dezhung Rinpoche. In that same year he began formal study of Tibetan language at the University of Washington under Geshe Ngawang Nornang and Turrell Wylie. He became a Buddhist monk, for three years, at the age of eighteen, living in the home of Dezhung Rinpoche while he continued his studies at the University of Washington. He graduated in 1980 with a B.A. degree in Asian Languages and Literature and another B.A. degree in Comparative Religion (College Honors, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). After a two year tour of Buddhist pilgrimage sites throughout Asia he worked in refugee resettlement programs for five years in Seattle, Washington. He then proceeded to the University of Calgary for an M.A. in Buddhist Studies where he wrote a groundbreaking thesis on the Yangti transmission of the Great Perfection tradition titled Clear Meaning: Studies on a Thirteenth Century rDzog chen Tantra. He proceeded to work on a critical edition of the Sanskrit text of the 20,000 line Perfection of Wisdom in Berkeley, California, followed by an intensive study of Burmese language in Hawaii. In 1990 he began three years' service as a visiting professor in English Literature in Sulawesi, Indonesia, exploring the remnants of the ancient Sri Vijaya Empire there. He worked as a research fellow for the Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation for several years, playing a part in the early development of the Rubin Museum of Art. In the years that followed he became a Research Fellow at the Centre de Recherches sur les Civilisations de l'Asie Orientale, College de France, and taught at the University of Calgary as an Adjunct Professor for five years. He has currently published eighteen volumes of translations of Tibetan literature, and is currently engaged in further translations of great classics in Buddhist literature.