The Tibetan Epic Master Grags-pa and the Transcribed Texts from His Performance
Affiliation: Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Translator: Yang, Maocuo    
The old Grags-pa is the most outstanding bard of Gesar Epic nowadays and he predominantly devoted excellence in the work of compiling Gesar Epic. He is as a glorious banner for those of us who working at the frontier of this field. In 1986, Grags-pa received recognition, in his bardic performance, from the Ministry of Culture, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Chinese Folk Literature and Art association. In 1991, he was again recognized as “the Outstanding Gesar Bard” and therefore once again was offered the prestigious title. 
Grags-pa was born in a poor family in Bianba County of Chamdo in Tibet. He is exceptionally intelligent and talented since his childhood so that he has possessed a stupendous memory. He learnt how to perform Gesar since he was a teenager and in his twenties he had already achieved an excellent accomplishment in performing Gesar. Ever since, he mainly has performed Gesar to travel and wander everywhere. Therefore, he left his footprints in the far mountains and rivers, and his imposing singing voice reverberates on every farm and ranch. Having this reputation as “sGrung mkhan Grags-pa”, he is well known across the half land of Tibet and became a famous bard.
After the Chinese reform and opening up policy, Old Grags-pa’s artistic life truly began. The value and meaning of this long-term buried plateau celebrity have been gradually discovered and known by the public. Under the care and guidance of the Party Committee in the Tibet Autonomous Region and People’s Government; with the organization and plan from other official ministries such as Tibet University, Old Grags-pa’s bardic book is recorded and accomplished. Thus, the beggar who used to be looked down upon now has become a prestigious “National Treasure”. Thinking his past and present, the old man has been emotionally moved and touched to articulate that he has encountered with rational people and auspicious time in his later ages. He believes that he is the luckiest and happiest person; what’s more he wants to do well in the bardic performance and dedicates the epic Gesar to his beloved mother land.
So far, Old Grags-pa has 25 sets of bardic books. There are 600,000 verses in total and about 6,000,000 words. It is equivalent to 25 Homeric epics or 15 Ramayana, or 3 Mahabharata. It is equivalent to 5 A Dream in Red Mansions if it is counted by words. This is an impressive number, a precious cultural heritage and a huge spiritual wealth. This is a set of systematic and well-accomplished bardic book at present. It embodies the wisdom and artistic genius of Old Grags-pa --- the artist, and is a crystallization of his life as well. This article generally describes Grags-pa’s exceptional personal experiences and artistic achievement.