An Examination on the Date of Phagmodrupa’s Maha Parinirvana
It is on the 15th day of the 1st month of 1167, the Fire Pig Year according Tibetan calendar, that Lord Jigten Sumgon left the Tsi-Lumo-Che cave of Kham Nangchen and started to journey towards central Tibet to have an audience with Phagmodrupa. At the midnight of the 11th day of the 5th Tibetan month, Lord Jigten Sumgon arrived at Phagdru Densatil. On the 13th, he had an audience with Glorious Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo, according to Jigten Sumgon’s Autobiography: Dorje Rinchen Barwa. The Volume 724 of Jigten Sumgon’s Collected Works says, “He followed Phagmodrupa for 33 months and 13 days until Phagmodrupa entered into maha parinirvana.” When adding 33 months and 13 days to the Fire Pig year 1167, it turns out to be 1170, the Iron Tiger year, which is consistent with records in the Blue Annals, A scholar’s Feast, and The Dungkar Dictionary and so on.
Regarding the month of Phagmodrupa’s maha parinirvana date, it is documented in Taklung Thangpa’s daily recordings, who was the main attendant that cared for Phagmodrupa’s body during this period. It writes “In the last month of Fall, the precious body was struck with sickness. I was called upon and went in the presence of him.” It continued “On the 10th day of the second half of this month, right after sunrise (he passed into maha parinirvana)”. The last month of Fall corresponds to the 9th month of the Tibetan calendar, which is congruous with records in Volume 044 of Jigten Sumgon’s Collected Works “For the three months of summer, (he) stayed well as usual. Within seven days, on the day of Lhabab (the Descending Day of Buddha) memorial service, Lord (Phagmodrupa)’s passing into maha parinirvana took place.” This documentation confirms that Phagmodrupa passed in to maha parinirvana in the 9th Tibetan month, “on the 10th day of the second half of this month”, that is after sunrise on the 25th.