lo chen nyi zla skar gsum

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lo chen nyi zla skar gsum, 'The Three Great Translators: The Sun, the Moon and the Star'. Namely, the Sun is Lotsāwa Kawa Peltsek (lo tshaa ba ka ba dpal brtsegs), the Moon is Chokro Lotsāwa, Lui Gyeltsen (lcog ro lo tshaa ba klu'i rgyal mtshan), and the Star is Lotsāwa Rinchen Zangpo (lo tshaa ba rin chen bzang po). Meanwhile, Lotsāwa Bérotsana (lo tshaa ba bai ro tsa na) is considered to be the 'Sky', probably signaling his primary importance in the earlier Sanskrit-Tibetan translations. Kawa Pelstek and Chokro Lotsāwas were, like Bérotsana, disciples of Padmasambhava, and hence contemporaneous with them both from roughly the mid-700s to early 800s; while Rinchen Zangpo was later and lived from 958 to 1055. The astronomical simile expressing their collective preeminence is recounted in the famous quotation by Ngok Lotsāwa Loden Sheyrab (rngogs lo tshaa ba blo ldan shes rab, 1059-1109) as follows:

Bérotsana, equal to the limits of the sky, The duo of Kawa and Chok, the pair of sun and moon, And Rinchen Zangpo, like unto the great star of dawn; Compared to them, we are mere fireflies.

bai ro tsa na gnam mkha'i mtha' dang mnyam/ ka lcog gnyis ni nyi zla zung gcig ste/ rin chen bzang po tho rangs skar chen 'dra/ kho ba yang ni srin 'bus me khyer bzhin/

[Erick Tsiknopoulos]