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Brag dkar rta so (lit. ‘white rock horse tooth’) is one of Mi la ras pa’s outer fortresses, located near sKyid grong (about 50 miles north of Kathmandu), between the Mang yul and Gung thang areas. Its name comes from a ‘white rock’ (brag dkar) situated there which has the form of a ‘horse tooth’ (rta so). It is described as the site where the Venerable Mi la ras pa untied the knot of the Central Channel and also as the second Akaniṣṭha.

This place had already been blessed by Padmasambhava, who stayed there during one of his travels in that area.

It is situated at a height of about 3600 m. There lHa btsun Rin chen rnam rgyal (1473-1557) founded a small homonymous monastery that became a famous printing house (par khang). Its establishment was predicted by the Seventh Karma pa, when he met Rin chen rnam rgyal and his main master, gTsang smyon Heruka (1452-1507).

Rin chen rnam rgyal arrived for the first time at Brag dkar rta so after gTsang smyon Heruka’s death, but he decided to establish his seat there only in the autumn of the Bird Year, at the age of fifty-three (1525). After this date, he started his printing activity there and continued until his death.

Brag dkar rta so xylographs that have been analysed so far range from 1525 to 1563. Most are biographies or biographies with songs and are associated with the bka’ brgyud school.

The xylographs produced here were mainly sponsored by the rulers of Mang yul Gung thang since lHa btsun was a member of the family. It is likely that they also sponsored the foundation of Brag dkar rta so.

Below, identified xylographs produced at Brag dkar rta so are listed and information on dating, literary genre and religious school with which they are associated is provided:

  1. Grub thob gling ras kyi rnam mgur mthong ba don ldan (not before 1525 not after 1557, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  2. Yang dkon chos rje’i mdzad pa’i bar do ’phrang bsgrol (not before 1525 not after 1557, bar do instructions, bka’ brgyud pa);
  3. Khams gsum ’dran bral grub thob ko rag pa’i mgur ’buṃ (not before 1525 not after 1557, spiritual songs);
  4. Thun mong ma yin pa rdo rje mgur drug sogs / mgur ma ‘ga ’yar (not before 1525 not after 1557, spiritual songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  5. mKhas grub kun gyi gtsug rgyan / paṇ chen nā ro pa’i rnam thar / ngo mtshar rmad ’byung (not before 1525 not after 1557, biography, bka’ brgyud pa);
  6. sTon pa sangs rgyas kyi skyes rabs brgyad bcu pa slob dpon dpa’ bos mdzad pa bzhugs (1541 or 1553, Jātakamālā);
  7. Grub thob gtsang pa smyon pa’i rnam thar dad pa’i spu long g.yo ba (1543, biography, bka’ brgyud pa);
  8. Bram ze chen pos mdzad pa’i dho ha bskor gsum / mdzod drug / ka kha dho ha / sa spyad rnams (1543, spiritual songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  9. Sangs rgyas thams cad kyi rnam ’phrul rje btsun ti lo pa’i rnam mgur (1550, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  10. rJe btsun mi la ras pa’i rdo rje mgur drug sogs gsung rgyun thor bu ’ga’ (1550, spiritual songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  11. ‘Gro ba’i mgon po gtsang pa rgya ras kyi mgur ‘bum rgyas pa (1551, spiritual songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  12. bDe gshegs phag mo gru pa’i rnam thar (1552, biography, bka’ brgyud pa);
  13. sGra bsgyur mar pa lo tstsha’i mgur ’bum (1552, spiritual songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  14. rJe btsun mi la ras pa’i rnam thar rgyas par phye pa mgur ’bum (1555, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  15. dPe chos rin po che spungs pa’i ’bum ’grel (1555, commentary, bka’ gdams pa);
  16. dPal ldan bla ma dam pa mkhas grub lha btsun chos kyi rgyal po’i rnam mgur blo ’das chos sku’i rang gdangs (not before 1555 not after 1600, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  17. Phyag rgya chen po rnal ’byor bzhi’i rim pa snying po don gyi gter mdzod (1556, Mahāmudrā instructions, bka’ brgyud pa);
  18. rNal ’byor dbang phyug lha btsun chos kyi rgyal po’i rnam thar gyi smad cha (not before 1557 not after 1600, biography, bka’ brgyud pa);
  19. rGyud kyi dgongs pa gtsor ston pa / phyag rgya chen po yi ge bzhi pa’i ’grel bshad gnyug ma’i gter mdzod (1561, Mahāmudrā commentary, bka’ brgyud pa);
  20. Tshe gcig la ’ja’ lus brnyes pa rje ras chung pa’i rnam thar rags bsdus mgur rnam rgyas pa (1563, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa);
  21. rJe rgod tshang pa’i rnam thar rgyal thang pa bde chen rdo rjes mdzad pa la mgur chen ’gas rgyan pa (1563, biography with songs, bka’ brgyud pa).