By Michael Aris
A suite of essays on Bhutan
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Additional info for Bhutan
I follow Das (1902: 971) in taking it as sa-yi lte-ba or sa-gnad che-ba, 'any important place excellent in position and free from the depredations of malignant spirits, and on such places Buddhist viharas are enjoined to be erected'. 153 of an unidentified biography of Atisa) although unclear, would confirm the opinion that me-btsa' (or me-tsa) is ageomantic term referring to places which act in a strange way on other places, just as in acupuncture one or several points in the body relate to the operation of its vital organs.
210a) relates how the whole of China was subdued by a female tortoise lying on her back. Although she is still on a north-south axis as in the scheme of Chinese zones, her four limbs are stretched out to the four half-points of the compass, exactly as in the Tibetan scheme. If we accept her as the prototype for the Tibetan demoness then the latter's character becomes more apparent for she is not just a common demoness but, more pertinently, the female version of the male srin-po, the red-faced demons who so often represent the old Tibet (gdong-dmar srin-po bod-kyi yul); lying on her back she is the ancient yet virgin territory waiting to be subjugated and civilized.
She claims this text was redacted during the reign of Srong-btsan himself, and it is interesting to note that some of the divination charts mentioned there contain the element par in their names (as in skang-par, ryu-pharthun, etc) which I have assumed derives from par-kha, 'trigram'. On arrival in IRa-sa the wheels of the chariot transporting the famous image of Sakyamuni which Kong-jo is also taking with her get stuck in the sand and despite the efforts of the two champions IRa-dga' and Klu-dga' who are accompanying the party as bodyguards (and from whom, incidentally, NARRATIVE 13 the rGya clan of the 'Brug-pa school claim descent) the chariot cannot.
Bhutan by Michael Aris