also known as 'chöjung' (written form: chos-'byung) among the ecclesiastically educated natives. The usual way of reading from cover to cover is not applicable here, for the simple reason of doing so presupposes a great deal of preliminary familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism and its history. In other words, it works as a primary source for tracing particular lineages of the Nyingma, Kadam, Kagyü, and Sakya sects, with many of their by now extinct branches; abbatial successions; excerpts from the hagiographies of wandering siddhas/druptob-s and yogins/neljorpa-s; related names and places; royal and noble patrons; sútra and tantra transmissions during the later diffusion (phyi-dar, pronounced 'cheedar')and, to some extent, under the early diffusion (snga-dar) of Dharma in Tibet.
The compilation of this treasure trove of primary data came to completion in 1478 at the quill of the "translator from the Gö region, Shönupel"; a fact which naturally implies that the systematic destruction of Tibetan culture by the Chinese lies almost half a millenium beyond the scope of the book. For a much more recent treatment of similar kind, see Dudjom Rinpoche's (1904-87) The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History (trans. and annot. by Gyurme Dorje & Matthew Kapstein, Boston 1991) originally in two volumes, but of late reissued in one tome. To researchers: T.V. Wylie's "A Place Name Index to George N. Roerich's Translation of the Blue Annals" (Rome 1957) comes in handy! As for the translator (1902-60), he was a student of the pioneering French Orientalist Paul Pelliot's. His father, the famous Nicholas Roerich, was a Russian-born painter, Theosophist, traveler, art collector and potential intel gatherer who is also said to have been the "guru" to Vice President Henry Wallace (Secretary of Agriculture, and of Commerce). This latter gentleman is credited with having come up w/ the pyramid and the all-seeing eye (of Horus?) design being visible on back of the US dollar bill.
As a concluding note, the saffron-robed novices/monks, shown on the cover photo while on their daily routine to collect alms, are not Tibetan but hail from some Theravádin/Hinayána country in Southeast Asia.