Ripa Bayo: The Wayfaring Doodler

Buddhist Digital Resource Center

Karma Drubgyu Trinle Rabgye Pel Zangpo (1876-1942), also known as Ripa Bayo, was a luminary, artist, prophet, and a bona fide Tibetan vagabond. This exhibit of illustrations from Ripo Bayo’s collected writings showcase his unexpected modernist vision, his adventurous spirit as a traveler, his prophecies and story telling, and his ability to wonder at the world.

Ripa Bayo: The Wayfaring Doodler
Ripa Bayo was the seventh in an esteemed tulku line of reincarnated Buddhist masters. A lineage-holder of both the Barom and Karma Kagyu traditions, his root guru was the 15th Karmapa. Ripa Bayo’s yogic achievements are said to have been so incredible that he was able to will miracles. According to the scholar Tashi Tsering, “he obtained the highness power of wonder workings” and “possessed unchallengeable spiritual powers and talent to fulfill the wishes of all beings.” Though he lived much of his life in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, he traveled frequently, venturing far and wide. Among the destinations of his many wanderings were India, Nepal, Mustang, Bhutan, and across the Tibetan plateau. 

This hand drawn page is a symbolic teaching based on Ripa Bayo's visions and dreams. The meaning behind the symbols is intentionally "hidden for the future."

Illustrations from Ripo Bayo's dream account; this is one episode from the famous Tibetan Gesar epic.

In the right frame is "The Demon of Jang who Wears a Red Hat"; Jang is a country that King Gesar conquers. In the left frame is the "Black Cloaked One from Gade"; the Ga tribe is located in Gesar's kingdom of Ling.

Page from Ripa Bayo's Autobiographical travelogue, from the years 1891-1904.

This illustration depicts Zangyak Drak Monastery, near Lhasa in central Tibet.

TBRC Place ID: http://www.tbrc.org/#!rid=G2444.

"The Charnal Ground that Resounds with Ha Ha Laughter"

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

Illustrations from Ripo Bayo's dream account, examples to open the doorway to the Gesar epic.

In the left frame is the figure Tragen, the "Old Hawk Teacher." In the right frame is Trotung, the "Little Angry King,"

Illustrations of symbolic teachings depicting the intent of the enlightened mind.

The caption here reads, "Ama Railroad. European Railroad Line in India. Smoke from a Train Car."

Illustrations of warriors from Ripo Bayo's dream account, examples to open the doorway to the Gesar epic.

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

Illustrations of figure from Ripo Bayo's dream account, examples to open the doorway to the Gesar epic. Image of King Zigpen, the "Youthful Leaping Leopard," one of the Seven Super Warriors.

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

These drawn figures appear in a procession across the page, performing a ritual ceremony for the casting of the torma, a deity offering.

Illustration of the Lhodrak Borderland of Tibet and Bhutan. This drawing was initially part of Ripa Bayo’s Autobiography During the Years, 1891-1904.

The sites, from left to right, are Drowo Lung, Castle and River through Lhodrak, Nine-Story Castle, Charnel Ground and Temple, and Tse Lam Pelri Monastery.

TBRC Place ID: http://www.tbrc.org/#!rid=G2134.

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

Illustrations of Symbolic Teachings, Hidden for the Future.

An drawing of Shudmo Monastery.

Labchi Snow Mountain and the Five Sisters of Longevity Mountain Range.

Credits: Story

Curatorial Team:

Emma Lewis
Devin Zuckerman
Michael Sheehy

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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