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Buddhist Worldly Protector: Tsiu Marpo Narrative

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Tsi'u Marpo: History, Narrative & Myth by Cameron Bailey, December 28th, 2015

According to the Tantra of the Red-Razored One the being that would become the deity Tsi'u Marpo was born during the dispensation of the Buddha Kashyapa as the Khotanese Prince Chorwa. Chorwa is said to have had faith in Buddhism and to have taken monastic ordination. One day, when he was meditating alone in the forest, the daughter of the local king was bathing nearby when she was bitten by a venomous snake. Chorwa was able to save her life by giving her a medicinal antidote, but when two evil ministers saw this, they spread the false rumour that the monk and the princess were making love.

The king, outraged by this, sent men to kill the monk. The princess attempted to dissuade him by telling him the truth of the matter, but he did not listen, and out of protest she vowed to be reborn as the hostile spirit sister of the monk in a future life, then threw herself off a cliff, committing suicide, in protest. Chorwa, meanwhile, fled to the Himalayas, and his mind became downcast and full of evil intentions. He then proceeded to go on a killing and raping spree, but eventually the king's army caught up to him and stabbed him to death. Before he died, the monk swore to be reborn as a tsen demon, and the "executioner of all beings."

Thereafter he hatched from an egg produced from the union of a deity named "Lekpa" and a female tsen. When he was born, he had six other tsen demon brothers growing inside his body - (2) the "black obstacle might demon" in his head, the (3) "divine might demon" in his bones, (4) "rock might demon" in his body heat, (5) "knife might demon" in his blood, (6) "serpentine might demon" in his pus, and (7) "defiling might demon" in his 'messy rotten garments of flesh.' Together they became the seven wild tsen brothers.


Bell, Christopher. 2006. “Tsiu Marpo: The Career of a Tibetan Protector Deity.” M.A. Thesis. Florida State University.

Kalsang, Ladrang. 1996. The Guardian Deities of Tibet. Dharamsala: Little Lhasa Publications.