The collection of masterpieces written by the great Tibetan Buddhist yogis, scholars, and saints.


Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Masters Sungbum

The sacred dharma of Tibetan Buddhism, which was widely spread in the snowy region, was introduced to Tibet during the 28th generation of King Thothori, and was widely spread under the support of the previous kings of Tibet, of which the 33rd generation King Songtsen Gampo and the 38th King Trisong Detsen made the most significant contributions. At that time, there were also many eminent monks and translators in Tibet, such as the Shiwatso, Padmasambhava, the great translator Thonmi Sambhota, Bairo, and the three translators Ka Chog Zhang. In particular, Guru Rinpoche taught the supreme tantra to 25 ministers from all over the country. Many achievers were born from this period and Guru Rinpoche also planted countless termas.  

The three sons of King Trisong Dezan, Mune Tsenpo, Murub Tsenpo, and Mutig Tsenpo, inherited their father’s work and continued to promote Buddhism. The son of Mune Tsenpo, Tri Ralpachen, not only established thousands of great monasteries, but also invited Surendra Bodhi from India and many other panditas such as the Tibetan Khenpo Ratna Rakshita and Dharmata Shila etc. The texts of the Mahayana and Theravada and also early period translations were all proofread and consolidated.  

Khenpo Bodhisattva established the first group of seven Tibetan bhikkhus known as the Semi Midun. After that, there appeared Kawa Paltsek and 100 other great translators trained by Khenpo Bodhisattva. There were countless talented and well-known translators who had translated a large number of Buddhist scriptures into the Tibetan language which was a favorable condition for promoting Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhism has a variety of methods of practice and there are differences within each particular school. Eight main schools can be differentiated; namely, the Nyingma School, Kadampa School, Lamdrepa School, Marpa Kagyu School, Shangpa Kagyu School, Shije School, Jordrugpa school and Nyendrubpa school. 

The masters gathered the contents of the tripitika of various sects into the same collection which also includes parts of the Bon Sutras. This collection is called Sungbum.


History of the Nyingma School

The Gampo dynasty of Tibet introduced Buddhism to Tibet during the period of the Mewon Namsum. Buddhism was first introduced to Tibet during the period of the 27th Tibetan King Lhathothori Nyenshal (433 AD). Later Buddhism began to take shape during the time of the 32nd Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617 AD).

The 37th Tibetan King Trisong Detseng invited Khenpo Bodhisattva from Zahor and Padmasambhava to Tibet. Together they are known as the Khen Lop Cho Sum. Khenpo Bodhisattva taught intelligent Tibetan boys how to conduct translation work and organized the first bhikshu ordination of seven persons. The establishment of a sangha of ordained bhikshus commenced in Tibet from this time.

Buddhism was well known to everyone during the early period of Buddhist development in Tibet and all beings in the snow-covered area basked in the rays of the profound tantric teachings. Buddhist texts were translated by the Khen Lop Cho Sum and the Ka Chog Zhang Sum translators. It is widely accepted that Buddhism is indebted to the great contribution of these great masters.

The resurrection of Buddhism in the later development period of Buddhism occurred when the Ngagpa Nubchen Sangye Yeshe and others wearing white clothing continued the lineage. Nubchen transmitted the lineage to Zur, Mei and Won. There were countless descendants and disciples of Zur, Mei and Won.

The Nyingma lineage holds six main practice centers. The lineage is divided into the kama lineage with sutra as the main body and the terma lineage as support. The teachings of the kama and terma lineage are suited to different disciples’ temperament. The lineage has been continuously spread into the future.
The great translator Rinchen Sangbo and the translator Ngog Loden Sherab translated many tantras and commentaries. So most of the teaching lineage was established by these two, and therefore the Buddhism flourished again.

Afterwards, the great translator Minling Lochen Dharmashri and the Dzogchen Gyalse Shenphen Thaye and other great masters came into existence. The lower lineage of vinaya was obtained to enable the bhikshu ordination lineage to continue. The dharma then started to flourish again everywhere. The contribution of the great Dzogchen practitioners are like the golden mountain ranges which stand dignified and for eternity. The pure holders of the lineage hold incomparable aspiration and power of activity, continuing to transmit the teachings to other sects such as the Sakya and Kagyu and not only the practice centers of India, Tibet and Nyingma monasteries. The Nyingma lineage teachings have continued to cultivate countless scholars and practitioners all over the world today.


The Complete Works of the omniscient Mipham Rinpoche

Mipham Gyatso Rinpoche of the Ju caste’s surname was Ajadru. His father was Ju Gonpo Dargye, and his mother, Singchung, was the daughter of the Dege official named Pon Chodar. Mipham Rinpoche was born in the 14th year of the rangjung calendar, the fire male horse year (1846 AD) on an auspicious day, in the Dege Yachu Dingchung area of the Chushi Gangdrug region of the Dokham District of Tibet. His uncle, Pon Lama Drubchog Pema Dargye, who was an official named him as Mipham Gyatso. At the age of 6, he studied reading and writing and astrology calculations with his father and uncle. At the age of 10, he began to write short essays. At the age of 12, he became a monk at a Nyingma monastery called Sang Ngag Choling. At the age of 18, he went on a pilgrimage trip to Lhasa with his uncle. His root guru was Vajradhara Jamyang Khentse Wangpo and he also learnt various philosophies from Wangchen Gerab Dorje, Patrul Jigme Chowang along with many other learned spiritual masters. He realized that all the profound essential teachings are only contained in the translated writings of the Nyingma tradition of the former lineage masters. This realization gave rise to unshakeable special faith and confidence. Mipham Rinpoche had unprecedented achievements in such disciplines as craftsmanship, medical prescriptions and astrology, so this great wise man was known far and wide.  

At one time, Mipham Rinpoche received instructions from Guru Vajradhara Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Rinpoche, who said, “You need to present the theories of our own school.” And in order to follow these instructions of the master and fine-tune his own wisdom, Mipham Rinpoche created various commentaries on abhidharma, ritual practices and ritual liturgies and poems etc. Mipham Rinpoche’s works have unparalleled depth in meaning, written from his own wisdom, with each part of writing having special meaning. It is said that whoever follows his works will receive incomparable benefits, merit and blessings. The Venerable spent most of his time residing in the Karmo Tiger Cave Monastery, the Ju Retreat, the Denkhog Retreat, etc. On Friday in the first month of the water rat year (January 29, 1912), the Venerable passed into parinirvana at the age of 67 years old.

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The history of the Sakya school

The Sakya name originated from a monastery built in the Sakya region named after the color of the local land. The Sakya School was formed when Khon Konchog Gyalpo established a monastery at the beginning of the water bull year (A.D. 107). Afterwards, many other significant masters appeared successively such as the Sachen Kunga Nyingpo and other masters. The lineage gradually flourished and it became known as the Sakya school.

The Kunga Nyingpo obtained the Kyedor Gyud Sum lineage (tradition of instruction) from the translator Drokmi Shakya Yeshe, Chakrasamvara lineage from the translator Mal Lodro Dragpa, Yoga and Mahakala lineage from the great translator Rinchen Sangpo, and Drubthab Gyatsa lineage from the translator Bhari. In Sakya, when Kunga Nyingpo was 47 years old, he obtained the Chagrilemidawi Zabchoshi initiations and oral transmissions of the 72 tantras and Lamdre Nyegyu lineage from Virupa. Kunga Nyingpo is considered one of the eight great founders of Buddhism in Tibet. There are a large number of very deep Dharma holders in this school, whereby a generation of great masters were born.

There were three main realized disciples of Kunga Nyingpo, seven Zod Thob and 80 Togpa dang denpa. One of Kunga Nyingpo’s disciples, Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, was like the second Buddha. He dominated the three major regions of Tibet and became the first person who was both a Buddhist master and king of Tibet.

The five forefathers of the Sakya, the seven manifestations of Manjushri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani and the eight lineages of the teachings taught by the heart son were passed on by the Drubchen Buddhashri to the Ngorchen Dorje Chang Kunga Sangpo which created the Ngor lineage. The activities of the lineage have continued until today. Ngagpa Zunggyipalwa’s lineage was called Lamdre Dzong and passed onto Kunga Namgyalwa which was renamed the Gankarwa lineage. Furthermore, Doring Kunpangpa’s disciple, Tsarchen Losal Gyaltso, established the Tsar lineage. Each lineage gave birth to countless disciples, spreading various teachings in the snowy land, supported by teaching, debating and writing. In short, all the great masters purely adhered to the lineage of the Sakya school and taught the teachings vigorously, so that the Hevajra generation and completion stage practice is like the water of a lake accumulating in the summertime.


The complete works of the omniscient Gowo Rabjampa Sonam Senge

The omniscient Gorampa is said to be the reincarnation of the great Sakyapa, Dragpa Gyaltsen. Goram Tenpa Nyima Kunkien Sonam Senge was born in the earth female rooster year (1426) in Bumgowoteng village in the Bomyul area in the Dokham region of Tibet. His father’s name was Zhang Kyab and mother’s name Gyalwamen. He was born with the name Minyag Pal. When he was 8 years old, he received novice ordination from the two masters, Khenpo Sonam Hoezer and Lopon Kunga Bumpa and was given the dharma name Sonam Senge. He learnt reading and writing, memorized the five treatises of Maitreya, Rong commentaries and Yag commentaries etc. When he was 13 years old, he received many tantra initiations and teachings. When he was 19 years old, he went to Tsang region to engage in debating at various places. Then he received initiation from Gowo Rabjampa Lama Sherab Palwa. The Gowo Rabjampa said, “You stay here and study.” The oral transmissions given by the Gowo Rabjampa could be recited immediately again which caused the Gowo Rabjampa to feel overjoyed and said, “You will become the same as myself.” He also gave Gorampa the title of Gowo Rabjampa which means the highest diploma. At the age of 25, he received the four classes of tantra and many other tantric teachings from the master Jamyang Kunga Sangpo of Ae Wam Monastery for 3 years. At the age of 27, he received bhikshu ordination from his master Khenpo Muchen. He had 18 great masters headed by Konchog Gyaltsen. He has a thorough understanding of the teachings of the Dharma, especially the teachings of the five forefathers of the Sakya lineage. In particular, he studied and memorized the works of the five forefathers of the Sakya lineage, abhidharma, tantra completely thoroughly. He was the greatest master amongst all of the great masters in Tibet. At the age of 31, his root guru Muchen instructed, “You should go to Tsang region to benefit sentient beings. From today onwards, you can teach others.” He provided everything necessary for the giving and receiving of the teachings, so that turning of the Gorampa buddhadharma wheel is not hindered. Everyday he had 10 classes teaching abhidharma texts to many monks. His disciples grew to a size of 800 sangha. At the age of 51, he went to Sakya. At the age of 53, he held the throne in Ae Wam Monastery for 5 years. At the age of 58, the throne was passed on to the Gyaltsen Konchogphel and so Gorampa stood aside.

On the 9th of November in the earth male monkey year (1488), Gorampa went to Sakya when he was 60 years old. When he was 61 years old in the earth female rooster year (1489), he departed back to the main monastery Rinchentse on the morning of January 21, passing by a Ngonmo Sakya monastery on the way back, and he reached parinirvana in this monastery.

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History of the Supreme Marpa Kagyu

The supreme translator Lhodrag Marpa Chokyi Lodro is the manifestation of Dombhi Heruka. He received the teachings in India passed through the four special transmission / lineages from Naropa who received it from Tilopa who received it from Vajradhara. The teachings received are called the Kababshi. He also received teachings from Venerable Maitripa and many other masters. The great translator Marpa established the two traditions of the philosophical teachings’ and practice which gave birth to the Marpa Kagyu School.

The chief disciples were called the four pillars. Three of the four pillars were Zhung Gyi Ngog Ton Chodor, Dol Gyi Tsur Ton Wangnge and Me Ton tshonpo. They were ordered to carry on the philosophical teaching lineages of tantra, phowa and luminosity hoesal respectively. Venerable Milazhepa Dorje was appointed to carry on the practice lineage, and in particular the tummo dedrod practice. Master Milarepa realized the ultimate or enlightenment in one lifetime so he proved with his life the ultimate accomplishment and therefore adhered to the practice lineage. The holder of oral transmission lineage is Rechung Dorje Dragpa, the disciple like the moon. He went to India to receive the Lumei Khandroyi Chokhor teaching from the dakinis that were the remainder of the teachings not received by Marpa. Rechungpa had 12 main disciples that transmitted his lineage.

Gampopa was a heart son like the sun. In the past, Shakyamuni Buddha had prophesied Bhikshu doctor / Gelong Tsoje or Nyamme Dagpo Lhaje in the Samadhi Sutra and Great Compassion White Lotus Sutras. His disciples were as follows: 1. Barompa Darma Wangchug who established the Barom Kagyu lineage; 2. Phagdru Dorje Gyalpo who established the Phagdru Kagyu lineage; 3. Khampa Use / Dusum Khenpa who established the Kamtsang Kagyu; 4. Wongom Tsultrim Nyingpo’s disciple Shangtshalpa Tsondru Dragpa who established the Tsalpa Kagyu lineage; 5. The Dagpo main seat which was run by Dagpo Rinpoche’s disciples, including Dagpo Khuwon. There are five major sects including the Dagpo Kagyu lineage.

It is said that there were five hundred disciples who were in charge of the Dharma lineage by the philanthropist Palden Phagmo Drupa. Among them were the main disciples: 1. Kyobpa Jigten Gonpo established the Drigung Kagyu; 2. Thangpa Tashi Palwa established Taglung Kagyu; 3. Drogon Gyaltsa Khuwon established the Throphu Kagyu; 4. Lingre Pema Dorje established the Lingre Kagyu. In particular, Master Lingrepa’s disciple Drogon Tsangpa Gyare’s dharma activity was particularly great. His disciples were as numerous as the distance of eighteen days of flight by an eagle; 5. Venerable Marpa Drubthob established Martsang Kagyu; 6. Yelpa Yeshe Tsegpa established the Yelpa Kagyu; 7. Sharawa Yeshe Senge established the Yasang Kagyu; 8. Nyiphu Gyergom Chenpo established the Shugseb Kagyu. These are the eight sects.

Among the many sects, the teachings or reincarnation lineage of the Karma Kamtsang School is unique. Master Karmapa Dusum Khenpa, known as the sixth Buddha, is known as the “lion among men”. It is famous all over the world. In the Karmapa Lineage, seventeen reincarnations have been born till this generation. Every disciple’s career achievements and lineage are incredible.

In addition, the great master Dragpa Senge reincarnation is the manifestation of the Amitabha Buddha, known as Shamarpa Gyalwa Gargyi Wangchuk and the red crown holder. Furthermore, the reincarnation of the master Goshri Paljor Dondrub is Gyaltsab Rinpoche. The master Drogon Repachenpo passed down from generation to generation as the incarnation of Buddha Maitreya is the lineage of the Great Situpa. And the manifestation of Vairocana was passed down as the lineage of Jamgon Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso. The reincarnation of Tertön Rinchen Lingpa is the reincarnation lineage of Pawo Rinpoche. The reincarnation of Master Trechen Chokyi Gyatso is Treho Rinpoche and other masters of the lineage. They have tried their best to support and spread the teachings of the lineage.

The Kamtsang Kagyu lineage developed into other branches. 1. Kamtsang Kagyu acted as the foundation; 2. Norbu Korsum (Oral transmission of the three gems) was transmitted from the fifth Karmapa Deshin Shegpa to the lineage holder of the Zurmang Kagyu, Drung Ma Sewa Lodro Rinchen; 3. Nedo Kagyu was established by a disciple of the 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje and the sixth Shamarpa Garwang Chokyi Wangchug, Khedrup Karma Chagme. These are the three lineages. Such is the incomparable Dagpo Kagyu. Naropa was recorded to say to Marpa, “The teaching lineage has a longer history than a great river. The experience and understanding of the dharma, the two paths to enlightenment, will last as long as the Buddhist teachings.” The Kagyu lineage outshines all lineages as the holder of the dharma of realization lineage.



The Complete Works of Venerable Gampopa (or Dagpo Lhaje)

The Buddha Shakyamuni prophesized of Gampopa’s existence in sutras. He said, “There will be a monk who will be named Gelong Tshoje, dharma speaking lily or moonlight boy.” Venerable Dakpo Lhaje was born in Nyal area of Chil Village in Central Tibet. His father was Nyiwa Sangye Gyalpo Ga and his mother was Mrs. Shomozatse. He was born in the first year of the rabjung calendar, the earth female sheep year (1079) and was named Darma Drag. Because his father was a Tibetan medical practitioner, Gampopa began to study medicine at the age of 7. He also learnt medicine from masters of India, Tsang region in Tibet, and Nepal and studied for about eight years. He studied with Tsugphudchen doctor from Khyithen, China and twelve other doctors for a period of almost 13 years and became an exceptional doctor. 

The Venerable Gampopa married a wife at the age of 16. He became a great knower of samsaric activities (learned at everything in the world). He was diligent in helping others, and healed many patients, so he became known as the Dagpo Doctor. Having continued his family life for 12 years, when he was 25 years old, the smallpox plague was spreading around his hometown. From this illness, his three-year-old small daughter unfortunately died of this illness. After the sky burial, his 8-year-old boy also unfortunately died. After the sky burial ceremony, he returned home and found his wife, worn down from long-term illness was not far from death. The Venerable swore at that moment: “From now on, all my property will be donated, and I will become a monk and practice the bodhisattva path.” He put a sutra book on his head, his wife nodded and then passed away shortly after giving approval. 

At the age of 26, Gampopa went to Dagpo Tronkar to request bhikshu vows from the spiritual guides Mangyul Loden Sherab and Lopon Shapalingpa. He was given the bhikshu name Gelong Sonam Rinchen. At the age of 28, he went to the northern part of Central Tibet to meet Master Chen Ngawa’s disciples and many spiritual teachers received the instructions for practice on the Kadampa Lamrim path and many tantric methods. At the age of 31 (or 32 years old according to some sources), Gampopa heard beggars talking about the miracles of Venerable Yogi Milarepa in the spring. Gampopa asked where the Great Master they spoke about lived, and the beggars replied: “Mangyul Gungthang and the master’s name is Milarepa.” After getting permission from his previous masters to leave, Gampopa felt great joy in his mind, and left immediately to go to Mangyul Gungthang to visit the great Milarepa. The Venerable gave rise to great faith and devotion when he first visited Milarepa, his eyes were full of tears, and he made prostrations and then offered gold to Milarepa. Milapera took the leftover barley wine from his kapala and said, “Drink!” and Gampopa drank all of the leftovers in one big gulp, creating the auspicious conditions to later receive the complete Kagyu teachings of the lineage. Milarepa said, “Oil does not come out of sand. Oil can be taken out of mustard seeds. No need to say any more. Meditate by following my way only.” Gampopa received Milarepa’s blessings and empowerments, and accompanied Milarepa day and night. The deep teachings such as the empowerments and blessings were all imparted without reservation to Gampopa like filling a vessel to the brim. According to Guru Milarepa’s instructions: “The old father has a great son, you will benefit the teachings and sentient beings more than me, go to Central Tibet to benefit the people! Your practice center and disciples are on Mount Gampodar.” After that, the Venerable Gampopa stayed in the Dagla Gampo Mountain to do retreat practice, so he was given the title of Gampopa, turning the great sacred dharma wheel, gathering the Kadam and the Great Mahamudra teachings and spreading them widely, and establishing the Dakpo Kagyu dharma practice center. The Venerable Gampopa slightly changed the long Kadampa Dharma crown by wearing a Dharma crown with round petals in the center of the crown which he called a meditation hat. It is also known as a crown commonly used by Kagyu lineage practitioners. The Venerable Gampopa passed into parinirvana at the age of 75 years old in the 3rd year of the rabjung calendar, the water female rooster year, the 15th day of the month in summer, (1153), his dharma body sitting up in meditation posture at the moment of death.

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The Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje (1204—1283)

On the evening of the 10th of February in the fire rabbit year of the Tibetan calendar (1507 AD), the Karmapa Mikyö Dorje was born in the Satam village of Lungkar Tiphug on the right side of the Ngomchu river district in Chamdo. His father’s name was Ajam and his mother was Dongsa Lhama Dron. At the age of seven months, Riwochewa and Lhorongpa came to invite him and took him to Riwoche. At this time, Venerable Jigten Wangchug said, “This is without a doubt the Karmapa’s reincarnation.” He ordered Lhorongpa Yumse, “Assistant, take good care of him.” Soon, His Holiness arrived in Lhorong County with accompanying horses and offerings. 

When Mikyö Dorje was 5 years old, he was formerly recognized as the reincarnation of the seventh Karmapa Chodra Gyatso by the Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche Tashi Namgyal, the people of Riwoche, Gushri of Lhorong and others. At the age of 6 (1513 AD), he was placed on the dharma throne. He received the mahayana liberation vow from Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche and received the dharma name, Chogyi Dragpa Palsangpo and learned how to read and write. When he was 8 years old, he went to Zurmang (now known as Nangchen) and was invited to Jang Chub Ling by the great achiever Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, and then went on a pilgrimage to Nenang of Kampo. At the age of 9 he went to Jangyul area (now known as Lijiang). In the year of the fire rat year (1516), he arrived in Satham County. King Satham personally greeted him and promised to contribute more than 500 soldiers to Tibet every year for 13 years and build one hundred monasteries. His Holiness continued along the Nyag Chu river in Kardze Khul in a boat. At the age of 10, he received the novice ordination from the Great Achiever of Sangye Nyenre, and went to the Denkhog Jang Chub Ling, where he received the initiations, teachings and oral transmissions for 3 years. In the earth rabbit year of the Tibetan calendar (1519) China sent an invitation written with golden ink, but he did not go. Instead, he went to Kongpo. Then the King of Mon presented him with the red golden crown. When His Holiness was 21 years old, he received bhikkhu ordination from his teachers, Khenchen Choe Drub Senge and teacher Karma Trinlepa and received many teachings from these two teachers. He also learned linguistics and grammar from Karma Lotsawa Rinchen Tashi, and then stayed in the Kongpo area in Kham for some time. At the age of 31, he returned to Tsurphu Monastery and at that time Tsang and Central Tibet started to engage in a war so His Holiness helped them concede to a peace agreement to stop the war. In his later years, he went on pilgrimage in Tsari region and went into retreats here and there. He passed away in the Yarlung area of ​​Lhokha in the wood tiger year, the 9th year of the rabjung calendar (1554).

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Jonang School History

The lineage began when the translator Gyi Jo Lotsawa Dawai Hoeser translated the commentary of the Kalachakra in 1027 and passed this onto the Venerable Master Kunpangpa. The lineage was called Jordrugpa at this stage. Later, the master Kunpangpa built a monastery in the Jomo area and founded a practice center there, hence the name of the lineage was changed to the Jonang school.

Venerable Master Kunpangpa (1243) and his disciple Master Jangsem Gyalwa Yeshe (1257-1320) and his disciple Master Khetsun Yonten Gyatso (1260-1327) were the three masters hailed as the “Three Forefathers of Jonang”. The disciple of Master Khetsun Yonten Gyatso, Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, who is the Master of the three realms, was the founder of the madhyamaka view called Zhentongpa. The unbroken lineage was passed on from master to master, through fifteen major masters, including the supreme master Taranatha who is the manifestation of Chakrasamvara, and this lineage continues to flourish. The successors of the Jonangpa lineage throne, from Master Kunga Rinchen Gyatso until now, have spread the dharma all over the world and promoted the most profound teachings.


The Complete Works of Thugje Tsondru

Zhang Kunpang Thugje Tsondru is the founder of the Jonang School. He was born in the Tibet upper Tsang Todog Ngabchar region in the 4th year of the rabjung calendar, the water rabbit year (1243). When he was 7 years old, he received the lay vows from Khyogpon Dzongba. When he was 9 years old, he was ordained as a monk from Khenpo Khyogzhang and the dharma name given was Thugje Tsondru. At the age of 20, he received the bhikkhu ordination from Venerable Sonam Nyingpo of the Chidrub Monastery in Ye. He went to Sakya, Dar and other monasteries in (in Central Tibet and) U-Tsang to learn the dharma from Masters Drogon Phagpa, Sange Bum and Khenchen Chim. Later he went to Dar, Donmori and Kyangdur and became the Zurcho and Chopon. He learnt all the dharma held by Kunkhen Choku Hoeser. The Venerable had a deep understanding of the dharma and proficient in all aspects of the scriptures and tantra. He learnt the Jorwa Yenlag Drug six unions of practice. He learnt most of the sutras and tantras. He was especially proficient in the Kalachakra tantra. He learnt the 21 different lineages of Jordrug. When Thugje Tsondru meditated, he could see the deity. Thugje Tsondru is in the refuge tree of the Guhyasamaja and Lamdre lineages. 

Afterwards, he established his seat in Kyangdur, Ngabshar of the northern Latod Jang area. After that, he lived in seclusion in the mountains and forests to study Buddhism, known as being a Kunpangpa. Later, when he was in Sekharchung, the mother of the twelve protector gods, Jomo Nagmen Gyalmo, invited him to Jonang. He wrote the Naljor Yanlag Drugpa (six branches of yoga) treatise in his chambers, which was the first time this treatise was put down in writing in Tibet. In 1294, the Venerable built a monastery and retreat center in the holy place of Jonang in his later years. He served as the abbot and lived there for 21 years. He taught the dharma and gave oral transmissions to many disciples. From this time onwards, the Jordrugpa became the Jonang school and they focused on practicing the six branches of Naljor maintaining the lineage continuously until now. Afterwards, his position of lineage holder was transferred to Jangsem Gyalwa Yeshe. 

The Venerable passed away at the age of 74 on the 25th of February in the 5th year of the rabjung calendar in the wood rooster year (1314) (or Ox year 1313 according to some sources).

The four main disciples of Kunpang are Jangsem Gyalwa Yeshe, Latodpa Wangyal, Munle Dragkhawa Dragpa Sengge and Tonpa Kungyal. One of his disciples, Tsangnag Phugpa Thugje Sengge, and others authored the text Bardo Trangdrol (The Road to Crossing the Bardo).

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The Jonang Dharma King – Sherab Gyaltsenpal Sangpo

His Holiness Kunkhen Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen is mentioned in many sutras and tantras such as the Tsugtor Nampar Gyalmai Gyu. His Holiness is the founder of the view of Shentongpa and also the Jonang lineage. He was born in the water male dragon year, the 5th year of the rabjung calendar (1272), in Dolpokayori Village in Ngari, Tibet (now in Nepal). His father’s name was Yeshe Wangchug and mother’s name Lhamo Tsultrim Gyen. When His Holiness was around five to ten years old, relying on his uncle Changchub Senge and others, he learned all the dharma teachings of the Nyingma School, and then went to Tengshod area in Lo region to learn from master Kyiton Jamyang Dragpa. When he was 13 years old, he went to Kyi Teng monastery in private and received novice ordination from Khenpo Tsultsim Nyingpo and others, and was given the dharma name Sherab Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo, and received Tantric ordination and many initiations and oral transmissions from this master. At the age of 19, he reached the upper part of Lowo, with many great Masters such as Kyiton Dragpa Gyaltsen, and learned prajna, logic and buddhist theory. At the age of 21, he went to Sakya, and from Lama Jampeyang and the Lama Dagchenpa, received many oral instructions, philosophical theories and many rituals, and received extensive oral transmissions and teachings. At the age of 23, he went to Central Tibet to debate with above a hundred scholars, and the scholars found him very admirable. At the age of 24, he received full bhikkhu ordination from Khenchen Sonam Dragpa, his Lopon Chogjin, accompanied by forty bhikkhus. He became famous everywhere and he was awarded the throne of Sakya Monastery at the age of 25. Until the age of 31, in Tsang region and Central Tibet, he went to Sakya, Kagyu, and Nyingma monasteries, and learned the dharma with all the scholars so he received all the main abhidharma and tantra teachings regardless of faction and became learned in all of them. At the age of 31, he went to Jonang to learn from Venerable Yonten Gyatso and also Kunpang Chodragpal Sangpo. He received many rare and profound teachings such as the Kalachakra from several masters. He learnt many teachings such as the teachings of the lineage of Jordruk and tantra commentaries. Dolpopa was very skilled at speaking. He became a proficient scholar. Astrology calculations and paintings were also all learned by him. When he was 35 years old, he established the main monastery, taught the disciples abhidharma and tantra and conducted other great activities to spread the dharma. He authored many essays and established the theories of madhyamaka and the view of shentongpa. He authored 75 works and spread the Dharma in a big way. At the age of 63, after the great lotsawa Lodropal Chenpo passed away, the post of the abbot of the practice center was handed over to the Venerable Chokle Namgyal to promote the dharma. Then he went to Narthang. At the age of 67, he went to Tanag in the year of the earth male dog. In the earth pig year, from April he went to Lhasa to do a pilgrimage and visited many monasteries. He visited Jonang Monastery on May 16th in the rat year and showed many signs of magical powers and achievements in the monastery. 

On the 6th of December in the iron female ox year (1361), when His Holiness was 70 years old, he entered parinirvana in his own chambers.

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The Complete Works of Kunpang Chodragpal 

Kunpang Chodrag Palsangpo, the manifestation of Bodhisattva Akasagarbha, was born in Ralung in the first year of the rabjung calendar in the water sheep year, with his father’s name Ratna Mati from Nepal and his mother’s name Yeshedron. When he was 5 years old, he learned buddhist sculpture craftsmanship, thangka painting and calligraphy etc and was proficient in everything. When he was 7 years old, he became a layman practitioner under the seat of the master Jang Chub Hoeser. He entered the Gungthang Monastery at the age of 8, and received the ordination of a novice monk from Khenchen Dondrup Pal and given the dharma name Chodragpal Sangpo. He then went to Sakya and met the great translator Jamyang Chokyi Gyaltsen. When Chodragpal was 21 years old, he traveled around various colleges in Tibet to engage in debating, and visited Master Buton at Shalu Monastery. He met with Tharpa Lotsawa Nyima Gyaltsen at Sangphu Monastery and many wise and capable scholars. At the age of 23, he went to Jonang Monastery and received bhikkhu ordination from the Venerable Yonten Gyatso. At the age of 25, he met Dolpopa and was so touched he shed tears instantly. He returned to the Kyiphug Chokyi phodrang to live with Dolpopa in private for more than twelve years and learned everything he had to teach inside and out.

Later, Kunpang Chodragpal was invited to and offered Chusang Monastery by Tonpa Yeshe Pal where he stayed teaching debating for three years. He kept improving in various areas of wisdom and supernatural powers. Then he went to China to teach the dharma for more than seven months instead of a request for Dolpopa. In the year of the dog, he returned to U-Tsang to begin drafting commentaries on tantra. He was also invited to Drigung, Taglung and Yarlung. Afterwards, he was invited to Tshurphu Monastery and attracted thousands of scholars. He engaged in many discussions on the dharma at this time. After returning to the Chusang area, Chodragpal tried his best to teach the scriptures and practice. When he was 81 years old, he was invited to Palteng Monastery. His disciples advised that going there might be life-threatening, so he must think twice about making the trip. His Holiness replied, “In order to promote the Dharma and benefit sentient beings, even the risk of danger should not stop me.” So Chodragpal set off to Palteng Monastery and on the way he met a person called Jangwa Siddhi who stabbed the Venerable three times. After the evil one fled away happily, the monks gathered and screamed and sent his remains to Chusang and organized a mourning shrine hall. Unparalleled relics appeared from Chodragpal’s cremation.

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The Complete Works of Lotsawa Lodro Pal

The great translator was a manifestation of the bodhisattva Nivarana Viskhambin. His father was named Yeshe Sangpo and mother named Lhamo Jinga. He was born in the Dome area in the 5th year of the rabjung calendar in the year of the water male horse (1299) accompanied by many miracles. Before the age of 5, he did not need to drink breast milk and could read mantras such as the six-syllable mantra. When he was 7 years old, he studied with the Lama Pang Dzongpa and learned everything by heart. He had a unique understanding of the Tag Nyi (2nd section of Hevajra Mulatantraraja) and Shedkor (yama sutra) so he was suspected of being a reincarnated being. When he was 8 years old, he learned Gur Sambhutri, Bodhisattva Charya Avatara, Karika and memorized them by heart. He came to Tanag at Upper Tibet at the age of 9, and was ordained as a novice monk from the Khenchenpa. The dharma name given was Lodro Pal Sangpo. Then he went to Sangphu Monastery to study with Khenchen Tsultrim Sangpo. When he was not yet 15 years old, he went to Sakya Monastery to meet Tonpa Namkha Yeshe to learn a lot of sutra and tantra and then went to the monasteries in U-Tsang, to engage in debating. When he was 25 years old, he went to Dragram. He learned grammar and the Lenza language from the Lotsawa Loten of Pang. One time, he heard others saying that there are very few masters like Dolpopa in India. He was deeply inspired and went to see Dolpopa in Jonang. From then on, the great translator relied on Dolpopa to learn the commentaries on Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and receive many initiations and oral transmissions. At the age of 27, he received the bhikkhu ordination from Dolpopa at Jonang. Around that time, he taught a thousand people prajnaparamita, logic, discipline and tantra commentary. At the age of 41, he was offered statues of the Buddha and forefathers of the Jonang school and other magical treasures at Jonang monastery. The great translator was the lineage holder of the Jonang school for seventeen years, and his activities of spreading the dharma prospered. Sixteen statues of arhats were set up in the Great Scripture Hall of the Kubum Monastery. He established a stupa with 32 pillars symbolizing the thirty-two major features of the Buddha and 80 beams symbolizing the eighty minor features of the Buddha. Lotsawa Lodro Pal then engaged in the practice of Manjushri. Any blessing pills given by him made any person who took these pills more intelligent. The great translator had great wisdom and was proficient in all major theories. The tantra was then proofread and compiled into a volume. He wrote many texts including the Gyud Bum Dagther. The great translator taught this collection for four months. On the early morning of the 8thof December, he passed away at the age of 55 in the sixth year of the rangjung calendar, the year of the water male horse (1353) at the same time that many miracles spontaneously occurred.

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The Complete Works of Chogyal Choglenamgyal  

Choglenamgyal was born in the Ngari area of ​​Tibet in the Tibetan year of the fire male horse (1306). His father’s name was Jinpa Pal and mother’s name was Tingdzin Drolma. When Choglenamgyal was 4 years old, he learned dharma, writing and language from Gelong Rinchen Dorje, Lama Riwo and Choje Ratna Bodhi Lama and Sanskrit from Pandita Umapati. When he was 8 years old, he became an attendant of Lama Jangchub Pal, and then he went to Lobu Tongchen in Tsang. He received the novice ordination from Rinchen Pal. The dharma name given was Chokyi Gyalpo. He requested dharma from the scholars Khepa Tsangnagpa and Lama Gyarewa, Lama Dang Shodpa, Phenyulwa Dragpa and others. And then he was invited to Chuphug Monastery to inherit the position of Lama Jangchub Pal.

Choglenamgyal went to Gungthang Kyirung, Latoe Tholbu, Phagkor and other places to study. In the Tibetan year of the water female bull, he went to Sakya to request the dharma from Lama Kunlo. He then went to Dragram to listen to the teachings of Lopon Kunsangwa. When he was 21 years old, he went to Gunthang Chokor Ling to receive bhikkhu ordination from Khenchen Dondrub Pal. Then he went to Sangphu, Shalu, Nathang, Palteng and Throphu to engage in debating. His name became Choglenamgyal after all these debating experiences as his fame spread far into the ten directions. He went to Sakya to meet Lama Kunga Gyaltsen and Khepa Jangchubpa to discuss the dharma. Then he went to Shalu and met with Butonpa. Choglenamgyal then went to Phenyul to visit Tashi Sengge, and went to Yarwodrathang to meet Lama Rakawa Dragpa and others to receive initiations and oral instructions.  

When he arrived in Tsang, he heard the name of the infamous Dolpopa. So, at the age of 27, Choglenamgyal went to Jonang to discuss the dharma with Dolpopa and learned all of his teachings inside out. He also learnt Sequences of Tantra and other dharma from Kunpang Chodragpal and Sasangmati. 

At the age of 34, he went to Lhasa. He was then requested to visit Ngamring Monastery and taught the tantra commentaries. At the age of 39, he became the abbot of Ngamring Monastery. On the 1st of August of the water female snake year of the Tibetan Calendar, a hand-written copy of the Kangyur was begun and completed in the year of the wood male horse. At the same time, he took over as the holder of Jonang Monastery. In the summer of the same year, he went to Ngamring Monastery and the position of the abbot of Ngamring Monastery was transferred to Khenchen Phagpa. After that, he returned to Jonang Monastery to teach on tantra and confer the teachings to his disciples for four years. He then went to live in Sekharchung. At this time, Dolpopa passed away so he went to Jonang to engage in prayers for the deceased and taught tantra commentaries. At the age of 72, he was invited to Lhasa to teach the dharma at every monastery. And then he was invited to go to Jonang and made offerings to those in retreat houses. Jamyang Shakya Gyaltsen invited him to Sekharchung. Choglenamgyal wrote many books such as the Commentary to Prajnaparamita. At the age of 81, he passed away in the morning on the 11th of April, the month of saga dawa.

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The incarnation of Manjushri – Nyawon Kunga Pal

The manifestation of Manjushri Bodhisattva is Nyawon Kunga Pal. His father’s name was Namgyal and mother’s name was Pema Dron. He was born on the 8th day of September of the wood female rooster year in the Tibetan calendar (1285) in the region of Nyangpa. At the age of 3, he could recite a sutra stating all of the names of Manjusri. At the age of 4, the mother and son went to the Jonang to pay homage to the Venerable Yonten Gyatso. The master took one look at Kunga Pal and said, “This is the manifestation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri.” The Venerable then went to Sakya to further his education and study logic, abhidharma, discipline and prajnaparamita commentaries for five years. At the age of 12, he received the novice ordination from the Khenchen Nyima Gyaltsen, and was given the dharma name Kunga Palsang. He then met Rinchen Sangpo in Taglung, Lopon Losang Dragpa in Narthang and Khenchen Chokyi Dragpa in Nagphug. He learned the five treatises and the tantras from these three masters. Later he gained a reputation for being very knowledgeable. At the age of 19, he went to Nyithang to receive bhikkhu ordination from Khenchen Tashi Sengge. He was known for being unbeatable when he went to debate on the scriptures in various places in U-Tsang. At that time, when Dolpopa went to Jia Godshong to speak on the dharma they met and Kunga Pal gave rise to great devotion and he voluntarily followed and served as his attendant until the age of 56 years old. He learnt a lot of dharma from Dolpopa such as Nyedon Dorje (ten main sutras). After that, Kunga Pal was invited to Tsechen Monastery, Nyangtod and offered countless Buddhist treasures such as scriptures, and Buddha statues. He lived here for a long time and continuously taught his disciples about logic and tantra. He was known as Kachupa afterwards. Many masters such as Redawa, Je Tsongkhapa and others came to him to seek the Dharma. The grounds of the monastery continued to expand, and oversaw the establishment of additional large scripture halls and prajna sutra and tantra commentaries written in gold ink. One time, he engaged in an inconclusive three-day debate with Khenchen Yagpa about Rangtong and Shengtong. Afterwards, Khenchen Yagpa died of an accident with yak one day. The master then performed rituals for the deceased for Khenchen Yagpa and saved him from the bardo. The Venerable continuously taught the dharma, particularly on logic and tantra. After his observations, actions and thoughts had come to completion, after saying he needed to talk with his family and friends, he passed away at the age of 95 on the 6th of June of the earth female sheep year (1379) in the Tibetan calendar, body seated in vajra position and hands forming the vajra mudra with eyes open, calmly resting, staying in thugdam for eight days.

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The Complete Works of Zhangton Sonam Dragpa

Zhangton Gyawo Sonam Dragpa was the manifestation of Vajradhara. His father’s name was Chogyal Pal and his mother’s name was Chokyi Drolma. Zhangton Gyawo Sonam Dragpa was born in the Tibetan calendar of the iron male dragon (1292) in Kyishod. After the baby was born, the mother’s leprosy was healed, and she became physically and mentally healthy. When he was 6 years old, he went to Yarpo Drathang and learnt how to practice the dharma from Dorje Gyaltsen, debated with Kunseng and others at Riwo Gaden Monastery, and then received the novice monk ordination from Khenchen Shonu Pal in front of the Buddha statue in Lhasa Jokhang Monastery. The dharma name given was Sonam Dragpa Pal Sangpo. After that, he went to study with Lama Tashi Sengge of Tshal Gung Thang. When he was 14 years old, he went to Chagpho Mountain to meet with Atsara Nagpo and others to study astrology and grammar, and then went to various monasteries in U and Kham to study and debate. At the age of 22 he went to Tsang and then returned to the Sakya Monastery, he received the bhikkhu ordination from Khenchen Jigme Dragpa, where he satisfactorily studied the vinaya. After that, he went to Lobu Tongchen, Latod, Dragram, Shalu, Narthang, Todlung and other places to debate the scriptures. At one time when he was in Tsurphu Monastery, he heard from the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje about Dolpopa. He felt instant admiration in his heart and was determined to go to see him. From Dolpopa, he learned the two Kalachakra lineages of Ra and Dro, many tantras and the Jorwa Yenlag Drug. Between the ages of 35 and 63, he stayed with Dolpopa to study the commentaries and became a well-known scholar. At the age of 64, he was invited by Khenchen Lhawang to go to Palteng and he was offered Palteng Monastery. He established a large scripture hall and golden statues of Dolpopa and wrote down the tantra commentaries. The Venerable spoke tantra during the yarne and debating events at Palteng Monastery for fifteen years, and many scholars were nurtured during this time. Sonam Dragpa wrote many books such as Ka Drel (Relieving Difficulties). At the time of the completion of hearing, contemplation and meditation, on the 18th of April in the sixth year of the Tibetan calendar (1370), he was silent and passed away at the age of 79. The Dharma body was in seated position and unmoving for five nights.

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The manifestation of Maitreya Buddha — Sasang Mati Panchen

Sasang Mati Panchen was the manifestation of Maitreya Buddha. His father’s name was Zopa Pal and mother’s name was Padma Tsun. He was born in the fifth year of the wood male horse (1294) of the Tibetan calendar in Ngari. At birth, he took three steps and said, “Maitreya will relieve the heat of suffering by the coolness of samadhi and rescue all sentient beings. In particular, save beings for above a hundred of years in Tibet. Afterwards, Maitreye will go to Tushita Heaven.” The mother took him to Sangthab and Mati Panchen spoke some dharma. At this time, Drubthob Jarinwa saw this and put the baby’s foot on his head as a sign of respect. When Mati Panchen was 4 years old, he memorized the five treatises of Maitreya. At the age of 9, he entered the Dorawa Monastery and studied logic and Prajna Paramita Sutras with Lama Rinchen Sangpo for one year. He went to Nyithang at the age of 15 and received the novice ordination from Khenchen Tashi Sengge, and given the dharma name Lodro Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo. And then went to Ralung to see Lama Yeshe Gyaltsen and Sakya Monastery to see Jamyang Chokyi Gyaltsen and so on. From the age of 21, he went to Lobu Tongchen to see Kyiton Nyima Gyaltsen, Dragram to see Lama Sonam Sangpo, Jang Monastery to see Tonpa Sangye Sangpo, Taglung to see Lama Rinchen Sangpo and others. He learnt a lot of dharma and became a Kachudzinpa (holder of ten sutras). He went to Zhalu at the age of 25 years old and received the bhikkhu ordination from the Khenchen Rinchen Dragpa. After listening to the biography of Dolpopa, he gave rise to deep seated faith and went to Jonang Temple with another monk. After making prostrations, he learned all the methods of internal and external dharma and became a heart son of Dolpopa. Afterwards, he studied astrology, empowerment and secret methods with the great translator Kunpang Cho Drag Pal. At the age of 48, he studied dharma and grammar and other theories from the translator Lodro Tenpa. At the invitation of the Lama Dawa Gyaltsen, he went to Sazang Gaden Monastery as the main guest and presided over the Yarne retreat, debating events and stayed at the monastery for a year. The whole monastery was offered to Mati Panchen so he lived in this monastery for a long time and many Buddhist monks often gathered there to listen to him speak the dharma. Depa Dolpa instructed Mati Panchen to build precious statues and halls at Jampa Ling in Jonang. Mati Panchen wrote many commentaries in his lifetime. On the 15th of September in the sixth year of the Tibetan calendar, the year of the fire dragon (1376), he quietly passed away at the age of 83 accompanied by many miracles.

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The incarnation of Aryadeva — Gharunglhahi Gyaltsen 

Gharungwa Lhahi Gyaltsen was the incarnation of Aryadeva. His father was Yeshezang and his mother was Pal Tsunma. He was born in Dethang in the first year of the Tibetan calendar in the year of the earth female sheep year (1319). When Gharung lhahi Gyaltsen was 5 years old, he went to Kubumthang Monastery to become a monk under the seat of Lama Dondrub Pal. The dharma name given was Lhai Gyaltsen Palzangpo. It took him two years to learn Tibetan reading and writing and debating, and then went to monasteries such as Sangphur Monastery in U region to learn Buddhist texts from many scholars. Later, he studied in Tanag, Shalu, Todlung, Tshurphu and other places under the seat of Togden Dragseng and others. When he was 20 years old, he learned reasoning from Lopon Kunsang and others in Dragram Monastery, Tsang. And then went to Gungthang to debate the sutras for three days. He also studied in Taglung, Throphu, Dechen, Tsechen, Nub Cholung and other places. He then went to Sakya to visit Jamyang Chokyi Gyaltsen, Lama Rinchen Sangpo at Palteng, Yeshe Gyaltsen at Ralung, and learnt many practice skills from these masters. At the age of 32, he heard of the name of the infamous Dolpopa (developed great confidence in Dolopoa) and went to Jonang Temple to pay a visit and offered conch and other relics to this master. For many years, he studied the dharma and received many initiations and oral transmissions from Dolpopa. He also learnt discipline and other dharma such as the Dondam Nyenpa (Explanation of Knowledge) from Kunpang Chodrag Pal. He also learnt Semdrel and other dharma from the great translator, Matipenchen, Choje Chogpa, Nyawonpa and others. When he went to Gharung Monastery, the Lopon Chodrag asked the Venerable to be the abbot and presented him with many precious objects such as antique Buddha statues previously left there by Kagyu masters. He started teaching the dharma at Gharung Monastery. At the invitation of Khenchen Janchub Sangpo, he went to the holy place of Namkha Dzo, and Khenchen Jangchub Sangpo offered the monastery to the Venerable. Gharung lhahi Gyaltsen made many repairs to the existing buildings and built a large scripture hall and Buddha statues. He taught the monks there tantra commentary. Gharung Lhahi Gyaltsen passed away at the age of 83 on the 8th of June in the Tibetan calendar year of the fire female sheep (1399-1409). His body remained in thugdam, unchanging for 16 days and nights.

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The incarnation of Arhat Bhakula – Tsalminpa Sonam Sangpo

Venerable Tsalminpa’s father was named Tharpa Sangpo and mother was named Konchog Dron. He was born in the iron female snake year (1341) in Kyerphu. When he was 5 years old, he became a monk, and his dharma name was Sonam Sangpo. He learned the commentaries on the great theory and logic with Venerable Sangye Sangpo (also known as Jamyang Dondrub) and other masters, and studied discipline from Jangsengwa. In the year of the earth male dog, he received the bhikkhu ordination from Khenchen Yonten Gyatso in the Potala Palace of Lhasa. The dharma name given was Kunga Sonam Sangpo. He adored Dolpopa as a teacher, and from 17 to 39 years old, Tsalminpa studied under him and learned all the teachings that he held and became his attendant. Tsalminpa also learned the scriptures, tantra and practical know-how from Nyawon, Buton, Gyalse Thogme, Matipanchen and Choje Chogpa. He also went to Sangden Gephel to teach the dharma. At the age of 53, in the iron male monkey year, he was invited to Lhagang as a teacher for 11 years. At the age of 63, in the year of the water female sheep, Karma Chopal Sangpo made an offering to the Venerable of Tsalmin Monastery, and the Venerable began to spread the Kagyu teachings. When he was 75 years old, he felt uncomfortable when he was speaking the dharma. The disciples urged to postpone the teaching but the master replied, “I will never abandon the Dharma.” When he was 90 years old, he wrote the Prajnaparamita commentary. When he was 92 years old, he taught the Kalachakra commentary. At Dechen Ling Monastery, he saw Dorje Phagmo in meditation. Then the next reincarnation of the Karmapa said, “My Khenpo Bhakula is in Tsalmin Monsatery”, and then prophesized, “my horse died, he reborn in the Dewachen.” His Holiness also said, “I am Bhakula.” After some time, Sha and Gal were at war and Tsalminpa stopped the war with just one look. 

On the tenth day of the first month of the water female bull year in the Tibetan calendar (1433), the Venerable ordered the robes to be brought and offerings made. After speaking, he wore robes and sat in a vairochana position and entered parinirvana at the age of 93.

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The Complete Works of Venerable Tāranātha 

Venerable Tāranātha or Kunga Nyingpo Tashi Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo was born in the 10th year of the rabjung calendar, the wood pig year (1575) in the vicinity of Jomokharag in Central Tibet, named the Drangphu area. His father was 46 years old and called Namgyal Phuntshog and mother Dorje Buga was 19 years old. When the master was born he had clean white hair. His grandfather commented that all young children with white hair have great wisdom, so he should not be contaminated by filth. The grandfather also gave the boy the name, Sichod Dorje.  

At the age of 2, due to a serious illness, five Indian yogis came to give their blessings, and then his uncle who was a doctor cured the illness. At the age of 4, when he could speak, he was often saying: “I am the Lama Kunga Drolchog, and my neighbour’s name is Paljor”. The Jonang lineage Khenchen Lungrig Gyatso recognized him and went to welcome him, Tāranātha then boarded the throne of the former master’s practice center.  

When he was 6 years old, he began to learn to read and write on the 1st of January of the iron male dragon year. He began to receive profound dharma teachings from the two masters, Venerable Doringwa and Khedrub Lhawang Dragpa.  

At the age of 8, he returned to Jonang Cholung Monastery and received the monk ordination from Kunga Tashi Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo on August 5, and was presented with the dharma name Kunga Nyingpo Tashi Gyaltsen Pal Sangpo. The Venerable’s former disciple, Khewang Jampa Lhundrub, served as the parent teacher, living with him and taught him many teachings, so that Tāranātha learned the abhidharma teachings. He became very learned. Soon afterwards, he went to the East and received the teachings of the four tantras from masters of many Buddhist schools. In particular, the Sakya, Jonang, Shalu, Karma Kamtsang and Taglung lineages. Then the Venerable became the lineage holder of the Shangpa lineage and used the Shangpa teachings to benefit sentient beings greatly. 

When the Venerable was 17 (or 18 years old according to some sources), his master Jamyang Kunga Gyaltsen was the khenpo, and the Jampa Lhundrub was appointed as teacher and Tāranātha received his bhikkhu vows. At one time in Samding Monastery, he received the Kagyu school teachings from His Holiness the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje and Shamar Rinpoche. He also received teachings, oral instructions and initiations from the Dagpo, Shangpa Kagyu, Sakya, Shije, Gelug and other schools from many masters. He discussed the essentials of supreme yoga with many masters in East India to resolve doubts in his understanding, and obtained many Vajrayana teachings and commentaries, and learned a lot of teachings that were not present in Tibet at that time. From the Indian Brahman pandita, he learnt Sanskrit linguistics, grammar and poems and so he also became a language specialist.  

He visited His Holiness Dolpopa, and as instructed by Dolpopa, from the age of 31, his main activity was to teach the tantric teachings and conducted broad Buddhist spreading activities for 8 years. From then on, the spread of the Jonang madhyamaka and Shengtongpa reached its greatest popularity. Later on, the Jonang Labrang was built. On March the 8th of the wood female rabbit year (1615), when the Venerable was 41 years old, Tagten Phuntshok Ling was built. The monastery was built by 20 craftsmen from Nepal, 180 calligraphers were invited and let them copy 200 volumes of shastras, conducted translation work and consecration procedures. He wrote 40 volumes of scriptures in his lifetime. He taught many disciples regardless of their own lineage. 

In the 11th year of the rabjung calendar, the wood male dog year (1634), His Holiness, went to the Pure Land of Medicine Buddha at the age of 60 years old.

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History of Gedenpa

The Gelug School and Gaden School are synonymous, derived from the name of the Gaden Monastery. Master Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa, a manifestation of Manjushri Bodhisattva, was prophesied in the Buddha’s scriptures. Tsongkhapa established the Drog Riwo Geden Namgyal Ling in 1409. Tsongkhapa, Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen and Khedrub Geleg Palsang are known as the Three Masters and Disciples who were the forefathers along with the successive lineage holders forming the Gelugpa lineage. The view taken by Gelugpa is from the Kadampa view. The root of this sect was passed on by Venerable Atisha which developed a separate branch known as the new Kadampa or Gelugpa.

The heart son of Master Tsongkhapa was the first Dalai Lama Gedun Drubpa. Other disciples of Tsongkhapa include the seven heart sons, the eight Khordagpa (great disciples), the four thrinle namkha dang nyampa (disciples with unexcelled careers), the ten U-tsang tenpe donme (bright lamp disciples of the Utsang),the six shendon lhungyi drupa (inherently dedicated to others disciples), the two miwang tsugna kurwa (who were respected by everyone), the six sakyong choje (guardian of the world disciples),the eight kegu yi tsuggyen (presence of the people’s most crowned disciples) and so on.

The four major practice centers established were: 1. Venerable Gedun Drubpa founded the Tashilhunpo Chode monastery in Central Tibet; 2. Jamyang Choje established the Drepung Monastery; 3. Jamchen Choje Shakya Yeshe established Sera Mahayana Monastery; 4. Venerable Sherab Senge established the Lower Tantric monastery, and his disciple Gyudchen Konchog Dondrub established the Upper Tantric monastery.

The disciples who purely adhere to the lineage of the yellow crown not only spread it in Tibet, Mongolia and Han, but also spread it elsewhere. From His Holiness the Fifth Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama came into both political and religious power, and all his reincarnated masters are revered as the Universal Master of Buddhism. There were also other venerables such as the Panchen Lama and the GadenTri Rinpoches who have promoted the teachings and practices of the Yellow Crown to promote the victory of the religion. The Gelug lineage historically holds four major practice centers at U-tsang, the Upper and Lower Tantric monastery, Kubum monastery in the Domed region, the Dharma practice center called Tagmo Chode in the Ngari Mangyul builty by Tsongkhapa’s disciple, the former Sherab Sangpo,and the later Sherab Sangpo established the Chabdo Monastery and other practice centers in the Tibet. The disciples of this lineage mainly focused on the teaching lineage and spread the Dharma diligently. The merits derived from this lineage are extraordinary and the associated Buddhist teaching activity is endless.


The Complete Works of Master Tsongkhapa

The Venerable Tsongkhapa was the founder of the Gelug School and the first Abbot of Ganden Monastery. He was born in the fire rooster year, the 6th year of the rabjung calendar (1357 AD) in the Dokham region. He was born at the lower part of Dokham in a place in Tibet previously known as Tsongkha. The son of his father Darakhache Lubumge and his mother Shingmo Achoe. His caste name was Mal. When he was three years old, His Holiness 4th Karmapa Rolpe Dorje gave him the perfect lay ordination and the name Kunga Nyingpo. At the age of 7, he obeyed the Venerable Dondrub Rinchen and received an initiation. At that time, the two-arm Vajrapani and the great Atisha often appeared in his dreams. Afterwards, Lama Dondrub Rinchen served as his main teacher. Later, Dondrub Rinchen served as the khenpo and Shonu Changchub acted as the Lopon and granted him novice vows. He was then given the dharma name Lobsang Dragpa.  

When he was 16 (or 17 years old according to some sources), he happily went to Central Tibet to seek Dharma under the instructions of his master and strong aspirations, and arrived at the Drigung region in autumn. Then he went to Kyishod, and then went to Gungthang region to learn medicine. He then went to Dewachen Monastery in Ratoe.  

At 19 years old, he went to Sangpu Monastery and Tsang region. He received several teachings in these regions and then went to Sakya, Sangden, Ngam Ring, Gar Rong Chode, Bodong Ae and other practice centers to debate on prajnaparamita. He also went to Tsechen, Gyormolung, Sakya, and Lhasa Maldro Lhalun. In short, he went through all the major practice centers to listen, think, practice, speak, debate, and write on abhidharma and tantra. At the age of 24 years old, from Kashi Tsultrim Rinchen received the bhikkhu ordination, and at 36 years old his primary occupation was to practice dharma in Kyormolung.

The four major achievements of Tsongkhapa include: at the age of 37, he repaired the interior and exterior of the Maitreya statue in Hol Khai Dzingchi; at the age of 39, he turned the wheel of dharma in the villages in Nyal; at the age of 52, he founded the Lhasa Chotrul Chenpo Monlam; at the age of 59, he organized a debating program at Ganden Monastery. 

Among the many masters in Tibet that stands like a treasure, Master Tsongkhapa can be considered the second Buddha, and ascended to the highest level among all the stages of abhidharma and tantra. He had countless disciples. He excelled at the four means of gathering disciples and fulfilled all the wishes of his disciples. He ascended to the throne of a Dharma King. 

One morning of the earth pig year (1419), he passed into parinirvana at Hoesalbug Monastery in his own chambers.

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