Lord Tsongkapa, King of the Dharma
I am honoured to have the opportunity to write about Lama Tsongkhapa, one of the greatest Buddhist masters and philosophers of all time. I admire his selfless dedication to preserve and uphold the pure Buddhist teachings. Through this he was able to eliminate the confusion and wrong views prevalent during his time, while inspiring many to practice the Middle Way philosophy as taught by Nagarjuna. Out of all the incredible qualities that he possessed, I particularly respect the fact that he lived as an ordinary pure practitioner although he had achieved the realisation of of Highest Yoga Tantra. He has connected with us on a personal level by showing us how to begin, progress and complete the stages of the path to enlightenment. If he had appeared as a holy being from the beginning and manifested a lot of miracles, his legacy would not have endured, as contemporary practitioners do not easily believe in miracles. Therefore, it was important for Lama Tsongkhapa to be born as an ordinary practitioner, in order to show and inspire us with what we can all achieve. Thank you Rinpoche for giving me the opportunity to learn and be familiar with the life story of this extraordinary master.
King of the Dharma – The Great Lama Tsongkhapa
“If one keeps even a drop of the nectar of the name of this holy being – Lama Tsongkhapa – in a devotional heart, it plants the seed of liberation and one receives the fortune to practice and enjoy happiness from this life up to enlightenment.”
The prophecy regarding Lama Tsongkhapa’s birth had been spoken by the omniscient Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, in Bodhgaya, North India. One day, a young boy, who was the son of a Brahmin, went up to Buddha Shakyamuni, prostrated and offered a clear crystal mala (rosary) to him. Upon receiving the mala, Buddha Shakyamuni placed his holy golden hands on the boy’s head and made a prediction to one of his disciples, Ananda. He predicted that this boy would be born in the ‘Northern Land of the Red-Faced Barbarians’ (a reference to Tibet). In that incarnation, the boy would revive the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni in the era of degeneration. Buddha Shakyamuni also prophesied that the boy would be reborn as the emanation of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom, and that he would be called Sumati Kirti or Lobsang Drakpa in Tibetan. He would establish a monastery called ‘Ge’, meaning ‘virtues’, between Dri and Den.
This boy would be reborn as Lama Tsongkhapa, a notable Buddhist teacher who revitalised the Buddhist teachings by emphasising discipline and morality in addition to distilling the purest teachings from the greatest Buddhist masters of his time. He would also present a crown and ornaments to the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni in Lhasa, an act for which he is remembered until today.
After making the prophecy, Buddha Shakyamuni asked one of his disciples, Mahamaudgalyayana, a highly attained Arhat who had the ability to walk very fast over a vast distance, to bury a conch shell in Tibet where Gaden Monastery would be built. This conch shell was gifted to Buddha Shakyamuni when he was teaching on the shore of Lake Anavatapta by the King of the Nagas. Buddha Shakyamuni blew this conch shell on Mount Kailash (Ti-Se Snow Mountain) to herald his presence and assemble the great nagas and worldly deities. Its deep pervading sound represents the spreading of the Dharma teachings and thus the awakening of beings from ignorance. A conch shell also represents the speech of the Buddha, indicating that the future incarnation of the young boy would be the representative of Buddha Shakyamuni himself. He would touch the hearts of those who hear the Buddha’s teachings.
In 1409, the conch shell that was buried by Mahamaudgalyayana during the Buddha’s time was unearthed as Lama Tsongkhapa commenced the building of Gaden Monastery. The unearthing of the conch shell symbolised the fulfillment of Lord Buddha’s prophecy. The conch shell was later moved to Drepung Monastery where it could be seen until the mid-20th Century.
The prophecy regarding Lama Tsongkhapa was also mentioned in Manjushri’s root tantra. As Buddha Shakyamuni professed to his heart disciple Manjushri:
“After I pass away and my pure doctrine is absent,
You will appear as an ordinary being,
Performing the deeds of a Buddha
And establishing the Joyful Land, the great Protector,
In the Land of the Snows”
Here “The Land of the Snows” refers to Tibet and “Joyful Land” refers both to Gaden Monastery and to the Gaden doctrine.
Therefore, Buddha Shakyamuni gave prophecies on two occasions regarding the coming of Lama Tsongkhapa. The first one was to the boy who offered a clear crystal mala and the second one was to Manjushri. Buddha Shakyamuni clearly stated that the future incarnation of the young boy would be an emanation of Manjushri. This is possible because an enlightened mind is said to have three types of bodies – the Wisdom Truth Body (Dharmakaya), the Enjoyment Body (Sambhogakaya) and the Emanation Body (Nirmanakaya). Within Buddhism, an emanation is an animate or inanimate form manifested by the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas for the purpose of benefiting others. Therefore, Lama Tsongkhapa was an emanation of Manjushri, who manifested to spread the pure teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Lama Tsongkhapa is actually considered an emanation of three great bodhisattvas – Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani – as he possesses the profound qualities of enlightened compassion, wisdom and spiritual power that the three bodhisattvas embody respectively.
Avalokiteshvara – Buddha of Compassion
(Click here to learn more about Avalokiteshvara)
Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig is the flawless personification of perfect compassion who vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering. The Sanskrit name ‘Avalokiteshvara’ means ‘the Lord who looks upon the world with compassion’. In the Lotus Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni said that if a suffering being hears the name of Avalokiteshvara and sincerely calls out to him, Avalokiteshvara would hear the call and relieve the being from his suffering. Avalokiteshvara is often depicted as having 11 heads, 1,000 hands and an eye on the palm of each hand, commonly known as Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara. The thousand eyes allow the Bodhisattva to perceive the sufferings of sentient beings and the thousand hands represent his ability to reach out to help them.
Manjushri – Buddha of Wisdom
(Click here to learn more about Manjushri)
Manjushri is one of the most important figures within Mahayana Buddhism. His Sanskrit name means ‘he who is noble and gentle’. Manjushri first appears in Buddhist literature in the Mahayana Sutras, in particular the Lotus Sutra. The following is a description of Manjushri’s qualities by Zen teacher Taigen Daniel Leighton:
“Manjushri is the bodhisattva of wisdom and insight, penetrating into the fundamental emptiness, universal sameness, and true nature of all things. Manjushri, whose name means ‘noble, gentle one,’ sees into the essence of each phenomena. This essential nature is that not a thing has any fixed existence and separate in itself, independent from the whole world around it. The work of wisdom is to see through the illusory self-other dichotomy, our imagined estrangement from our world. Studying the self in this light, Manjushri’s flashing awareness realizes the deeper, vast quality of self, liberated from all our commonly unquestioned, fabricated characteristics.”
(Bodhisattva Archetypes, p. 93).
Vajrapani – Buddha of Protection
(Click here to learn more about Vajrapani)
According to the Mahayana tradition, Vajrapani is one of the eight heart disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni and is portrayed with a peaceful appearance. However, within the Vajrayana context, Vajrapani is often depicted in a wrathful form as the main recipient, holder and protector of the tantric texts, literature and teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni. Therefore, he blesses tantric practitioners to achieve realisations on the path of tantra. He is prophesied to be the 1000th Buddha who will manifest full enlightenment and turn the Wheel of Dharma in this eon, in the same manner as Buddha Shakyamuni. Thus, he is known to be the embodiment of the transcendent power and skillful means of an enlightened being.
1000 years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s prophecy, another prediction regarding Lama Tsongkhapa was made by the Lotus Born Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava. According to one account, Padmasambhava incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in the Dhanakosha Lake, in the kingdom of Oddiyana. He arrived in Tibet during the 8th Century to aid in the establishment of Buddhism there and to introduce the people to the practice of Tantric Buddhism. He is also regarded as the founder of the Nyingma tradition, one of the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Padmasambhava was renowned for his mystical abilities and power that arose from his tantric practice, resulting in his ability to subdue a multitude of evil spirits and demons. He foretold that a fully ordained Buddhist monk named Lobsang Drakpa would appear in the east, near the land of China. This monk would be regarded as the emanation of the bodhisattva of great renown, Manjushri, and would attain enlightenment in that lifetime.
According to His Holiness the 2nd Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatso (1476 – 1542), Lama Tsongkhapa, Padmasambhava and Dipamkara Atisha (980 – 1054) were of the same mindstream. Lama Tsongkhapa is also said to be the incarnation of Nagarjuna, who was a 2nd Century Indian Buddhist philosopher who founded the Madhyamaka School of Buddhist philosophy. All four of them (i.e. Lama Tsongkhapa, Padmasambhava, Dipamkara Atisha, and Nagarjuna) were important figures in spreading and clarifying Buddha’s teachings.
In the year prior to Lama Tsongkhapa’s birth, his parents began to have auspicious dreams. His father, Lubum Ge, dreamt of a monk from Five-Peaked Mountain (Wu Tai San) in China. In many scriptures, this mountain is referred to by Lord Buddha to be the holy abode of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom. The monk, travelling from afar, requested shelter in his home for nine months. Lubum Ge gladly accepted the monk’s request in his dream.
Lama Tsongkhapa’s mother, Shingza Acho, also had an auspicious dream about being in a beautiful garden with 1000 other women. In that garden, there was a young boy who come from the east, dressed in white and carrying a vessel of water. There was also a young girl who came from the west, dressed in red, holding peacock feathers in her right hand and a large mirror in her left. The boy approached each of the women and asked the girl as to which woman was a suitable vessel. The girl chose Shingza Acho as the only suitable candidate out of all women in the garden. Upon choosing her, they bathed Shingza Acho in order to purify her.
In the first month after his conception, Lama Tsongkhapa’s parents began to have more auspicious dreams. His father dreamt of the bodhisattva Vajrapani. In his dream Vajrapani threw a vajra from his pure land, which fell and melted into his wife’s body.
In 1357, Shingza Acho dreamt of monks carrying many ritual items as offerings for Avalokiteshvara, requesting him to appear. Avalokiteshvara finally appeared in the form of a holy being as big as a mountain in the sky, shining as bright as the sun. As Avalokiteshvara approached her, he diminished in size and melted into her body.
The night before giving birth, Shingza Acho dreamt of a crystal door within her heart that opened and that celestial beings appeared to bathe her. At dawn, the baby who would later become the great master Lama Tsongkhapa was born. The auspicious dreams of his parents confirmed Lama Tsongkhapa as the emanation of Manjushri, Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara.
The Birth of Lama Tsongkhapa
Lama Tsongkhapa (‘The man from Tsongkha’) Lobsang Drakpa was born in 1357 to a nomadic family from Tsongkha in Amdo, Tibet (present-day Haidong and Xining, Qinghai). As witnessed during the birth of other holy beings, his birth caused no pain to his mother. The arrival of three great bodhisattvas in the form of a baby boy was accompanied by the incredible singing voices of dakas and dakinis as well as beautiful rainbows appearing in the sky.
A large sandalwood tree sprung up with more than 100,000 leaves from the exact spot where a drop of blood from Lama Tsongkhapa’s umbilical cord had fallen. The tree’s leaves bore the outline of the Buddha Simhanada, hence why the tree is known as the Tree of Kumbum or the Tree of 1000 Buddha Images. In the past, during the autumn season, pilgrims would collect and keep the fallen leaves. The leaves would then be crushed and made into medicine. Those who took the medicine would be healed and empowered with greater wisdom.
In 1379, Lama Tsongkhapa’s mother, with the help of fellow Buddhists, built a small temple with a stupa around this tree. This simple temple was the first temple built at Kumbum. In 1481, the nobility and nomads of the Kokonor region built a larger temple for making offerings at the holy tree. In 1560, the meditator Rinchen Tsondru Gyeltsen built a small monastery called Gonpalung for intensive meditation practice in that region. Later, the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso (1543 – 1588) stopped at the isolated retreat place and requested Rinchen Tsondru Gyeltsen to construct a larger monastery at the exact site and appointed him as the abbot. The new monastery was called Kumbum Monastery. The holy tree at Kumbum Monastery is located near a bejeweled silver stupa and can still be seen in that monastery. Several Dalai Lamas have visited this site throughout history. The tree remains a most sacred pilgrimage site for those who pray there as they are healed of diseases, purify obstacles, gain merit, increase luck and receive blessings.
Based on the prophecy of Buddha Shakyamuni, many Tibetan scholars and practitioners had anticipated the emanation of Manjushri to be born as the Tibetan lama, Je Tsongkhapa. The Kadampa Master Choje Dondrub Rinchen (1309 – 1385) was one of the great Buddhist masters who anticipated the coming of Lama Tsongkhapa and was interested in the auspicious omens surrounding his birth. He studied and lived in central Tibet before returning to his homeland to build two monasteries in Amdo. This master also had a dream of Yamantaka, who is Manjushri in wrathful form, who informed him that he would come to the area of Tsongkha within one year, while pointing at the land of the Tsongkha River, “At about this time next year, I will be arriving in the hinterlands of that place. Until then let your heart be at ease.”
Lama Tsongkhapa’s Early Life
After Lama Tsongkhapa was born, Choje Dondrub Rinchen offered some gifts to his parents along with a letter to explain on how to protect their newborn baby. When Lama Tsongkhapa was about three years old, Choje Dondrub Rinchen offered a gift of livestock to his father and requested the right to be in charge of Lama Tsongkhapa’s education. Recognising his son’s superior qualities from his early years, his father sent him to receive lay upasaka vows when he was only three years old from H.H. the 4th Karmapa Rolpai Dorje (1340 – 1383). He was given the name Kunga Nyingpo, and Rolpai Dorje predicted that this boy would come to be referred to as ‘the Second Buddha’.
Lama Tsongkhapa left his parents to live with Choje Dondrub Rinchen at the age of seven. Even at such a young age, he exhibited supreme intelligence. He could read and write Buddhist texts just by observing his teacher. Choje Dondrub Rinchen gave him the empowerments of Heruka, Hevajra and Yamantaka, three of the most prominent Higher Tantric initiations, and the oral transmissions of many sutras including the Manjushrinamasamgiti. He was also given in-depth teachings on these tantric practices. It was during this period that Lama Tsongkhapa started to practice meditation. He was only eight years old when he received his novice vows and was given the name Lobsang Drakpa (which translates to Sumati Kirti in Sanskrit), another fulfillment of Buddha Shakyamuni’s prophecy.
At the age of seven, the young Lama Tsongkhapa had pure visions of Dipamkara Atisha (982 – 1054), a noble Buddhist teacher, whose life’s work was to restore the purity of the Dharma in India and Tibet. His vision of Atisha indicated that he would follow after Atisha’s footsteps in clarifying the Buddhist teachings.
At the age of 16, Lama Tsongkhapa left Amdo for U-Tsang in order to further his studies on the great Buddhist treatises. Before he left, Choje Dondrub Rinchen instructed Lama Tsongkhapa to focus on the practice of Yamantaka, Vajrapani, Manjushri and Amitayus, and to propitiate three Dharma Protectors (i.e. Vaisravana, Mahakala and Dharmaraja / Kalarupa) in order to safeguard him on his spiritual path.
Because he had a strong inkling that he would never return to his hometown, Lama Tsongkhapa made a beautiful mandala offering, which looked like sparkling jewels, to Choje Dondrub Rinchen as a parting gift. He also recited the ‘Praises of the Names of Manjushri’ to his master as he was walking away from his guru. As he reached the line, “Those who do not return to cyclic existence do not come back,” he knew that he would not be returning. At the time, he felt such great sadness that his tears ran down his cheeks. Choje Dondrub Rinchen remained in Jakyung Monastery, which is situated south of Kumbum Monastery.
Lama Tsongkhapa’s Quest for Knowledge
In the autumn of 1373, Lama Tsongkhapa started his journey to Drikung Monastery, Central Tibet. It took five days to reach his destination from Lhasa. At this monastery, he trained under the guidance of the abbot Chennga Chokyi Gyelpo and studied a wide range of topics including the secret instructions called ‘A String of Diamonds’, the Six Yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra, also known at the ‘Great Seal’.
The young Lama Tsongkhapa continued his journey to Gungtang, where he studied the eight branches of medical diagnosis under the guidance of the great physician Lhadje Konchok Kyab. He studied medicine in order to show his pure dedication towards following the bodhisattva’s codes of conduct. A bodhisattva should train in every art and science that would be of benefit to others. Although he mastered the medical treatises, he never actually practised medicine. However, because of his medical skills, other physicians would often consult him regarding the best possible treatment for their patients.
Lama Tsongkhapa continued his quest for knowledge in one of the largest monasteries at that time, Chodra Chenpo Dewachen in Nyerthang, following the completion of his studies in Drikung Monastery. He studied under the guidance of Tashi Senge and Densa Gekong. In Nyerthang, he studied the works of Buddha Maitreya and achieved the complete understanding of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita). As such he was already renowned as a great scholar at the young age of 19.
Later, he debated at Samye Monastery, received the Heruka initiation in Zhalu and took his examinations on the Prajnaparamita in Sakya. According to his autobiography ‘Fulfilled Aims’, he studied texts and topics such as ‘Five Treatises of Maitreya’ at length. He also studied the related works by Asanga (4th Century), the Abhidharma of Vasubhandu (4th Century), the logic systems of Dignaga and Dharmakirti (6th Century) and the Madhyamaka system of Nagarjuna (150 – 250 CE). His in-depth study on philosophy and logic would later become the essence of the Gelug Tradition.
During his studies, he also took part in philosophical debates at various monasteries, such as Sakya, Sangden, Garong, Ngam-ring and Nenying Monasteries. His fame continued to rise after taking part in the dialectical debates on four of the great Treatises of Maitreya in Tse-tang.
He was committed to develop the correct understanding of Dharma and determined to combine his education with the practice of both sutra and tantra. Lama Tsongkhapa was also interested in other areas of study such as poetic composition, astrology and mandala construction. Both teachers and fellow students respected him for his supreme intelligence and his skillful debates. His pursuit for knowledge continued from 1373 to 1393 as he travelled all over Tibet and studied under 45 of the greatest teachers from different Buddhist lineages. Despite his renowned mastery of Dharma, Lama Tsongkhapa remained humble throughout his life.
During his quest for knowledge, he focused on the Sakya tradition and the Sangpu tradition, which originated from Sangpu Monastery that was founded by Atisha. One of his main teachers was Rendawa Zhonnu Lodro (1349 – 1412). Rendawa was a proponent of the Prasangika view of Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka (Middle Way) philosophy. During this time, Lama Tsongkhapa devoted himself primarily to the learning and training in the Commentary of Valid Cognition. He developed a strong mutual Guru-student relationship with Rendawa. They respected and admired each other, and Lama Tsongkhapa even composed a prayer to Rendawa as a sign of his admiration:
Lord of stainless wisdom, Manjushri,
Objectless compassion, Chenrezig,
Crown jewel of the sages of the Land of Snows,
O Rendawa Zhonnu Lodro, at your feet I make this request;
Grant protection to me; a fly seeking liberation.
His beloved student’s prayer moved Rendawa. However, he felt the prayer made by Lama Tsongkhapa was more applicable to describe his student’s qualities. Therefore, he reciprocated by replacing his name with Lama Tsongkhapa’s along with other slight amendments:
Objectless compassion, Chenrezig,
Lord of stainless wisdom, Manjushri,
Conquering mara’s hordes, Vajrapani,
Crown jewel of the Sages of the Land of Snows,
Lobsang Drakpa, at your feet, I pray.
The prayer containing the blessings of Lama Tsongkhapa and Rendawa is also known as the Migtsema mantra. It is one of the most important prayers for Gelugpa practitioners and devotees of Lama Tsongkhapa.
MIG-MEY TZE-WEY TER-CHEN CHENREZIG
DRI-MEY KHYEN-PI WANG-PO JAMPAL YANG
DU-PUNG MA-LU JOM-DZEY SANG-WEY DAG
GANG-CHEN KE-PEY TSUG-GYEN TSONGKAPA
LO-SANG TRAG-PEY SHAB-LA SOL-WA DEB
Translated in English:
Je Tsongkhapa, crown jewel of the holy Masters of the land of snows,
You are Avalokiteshvara, great goldmine of Compassion untainted by ego’s delusion.
You are Manjushri, great Master of stainless wisdom.
You are Vajrapani, great subduer of all the gatherings of demons.
At your feet, famed Lobsang Drakpa,
I humbly bow and earnestly request that all sentient beings achieve Enlightenment.
Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema mantra is a wonderful and powerful mantra suitable for anyone at any given stage of practice. In addition, the Migtsema mantra is at the center of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Guru Yoga, which was originally taught by Manjushri to Lama Tsongkhapa. Lama Tsongkhapa taught it to Sherab Senge and he in turn, passed it to Palden Sangpo who wrote it down for posterity. Here are the known benefits of reciting the Migtsema mantra, commonly known as Lama Tsongkhapa’s mantra:
- Pacifies negative karma and obstacles.
- Increases merits, life span and Dharma realization.
- Increases compassion, wisdom and spiritual power.
- Protects from spirits and untimely death.
- Creates rain for crops and controls the weather.
- Cures the ‘drib’ disease (a type of mental obscuration that makes us dull and sleepy especially during one’s Dharma studies) and is caused by a certain classes of spirits.
- Protects from harm from weapons.
- Cures wind or ‘lung’ diseases (another mental disease that makes our emotions go up and down due to mental stress arising from various causes).
- Cures physical and mental disabilities.
- Protects from harm such as robbers.
- Pacifies obstacles to grow crops such as insect infestation.
- Protects those who are travelling.
- Those who chant the prayer will never be hungry or want for food.
A lot of questions arise due to the fact that Gelug practitioners pray to Lama Tsongkhapa, a seemingly ordinary teacher, instead of the bodhisattvas Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani individually. The reason is that Lama Tsongkhapa, the humble and brilliant Dharma teacher, is the embodiment of the three great bodhisattvas. Therefore, reciting Lama Tsongkhapa’s mantra is the same as invoking and receiving blessings from the three great bodhisattvas.
Aside from the Migtsema, there are various praises of Lama Tsongkhapa that can be recited as a prayer to receive blessings from him. These include:
- Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training
- In Praise of The Incomparable Tsongkhapa
- Song of the Tricosmic Master
- A Song Rapidly Invoking Blessings
- Song of The Mystic Experiences of Lama Je Rinpoche
- Prayer for the Flourishing of Je Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
- A Disciple’s Prayer
- A Prayer to Meet with the Teachings of the Great Je Tsongkhapa
- Teachings of the Victorious Lobsang
- Song of the Eastern Snow Mountains.
In 1370, Lama Tsongkhapa and Rendawa headed to Ngam-rim, where Master Rendawa composed a commentary on the ‘Compendium of Abhidharma’ (Abhidharma Samuccaya). The young Lama Tsongkhapa also listened to his teaching on the commentary of the Pramana-vartika. Lama Tsongkhapa was so enthralled and moved by the meaning and realisation of Pramana-vartika that shivers of bliss rolled up his spine and tears fell in a steady stream.
Several years later, he spent the summer in Narthang Monastery where he listened to a teaching on a commentary of the Pramana-vartika composed by the great Lotsawa Donsang and participated in philosophical debates there.
As the number of his disciples grew, Lama Tsongkhapa decided that it was time for him to become a fully ordained monk. Lama Tsongkhapa received the vows of a fully ordained monk in Yarlung, surrounded by 20 monks. Tsultrim Rinchen, the master of the Four Great Subjects was the vow preceptor.
While staying in Tsel Monastery, Lama Tsongkhapa examined and grasped the entire breadth of the Kangyur, the spoken word of the Buddha, and Tengyur, the commentaries to the Buddha’s teachings, opening him to new insights into the entire body of Buddhist teachings. It was in Tsel Monastery that he began to compose his commentary on Abhisamaya-alamkara and engaged in an informal memorisation contest with three other monks: Ling Tsungme, Jampel Trashi of Domey and Sakya Drup, who were famous experts of scripture. Lama Tsongkhapa however, with his divine intelligence, emerged as the winner.
Before completing the composition of his commentary of the Abhisamaya-alamkara, he accomplished with great zeal the practice of Nyungne at the feet of the self-arisen statue of Avalokiteshvara. He also went to Cha-yul and Dewachen to give many lectures. It was in Dewachen that he finalised his commentary.
From Dewachen, he went to Kyormo Lung, where he received teachings on the Kalachakra Tantra from Tokden Yeshe Gyeltsen, the teacher of H.H. the 4th Karmapa Rolpai Dorje. It was also the place where Lama Tsongkhapa had the opportunity to learn about the Great Commentary to the Wheel of Time (a Kalachakra commentary) in more detail, as well as related subjects such as the preparation of astrological charts.
During the summer at Olkha Cholung in Yarlung, he conducted a retreat focusing on the meditational deity Heruka. There, he performed the Six Practices of Niguma and inner breathing exercises 100 times during each session. He developed high realisations as a result of his practices. In the spring of 1390, he went to the region of Tsang and arrived at Nubchu Lung in Rong where he listened to the teachings of the Basket of the Tantra from Drakpa She-nyen.
Lama Tsongkhapa studied under the guidance of many great masters including:
- Chennga Sonam Gyeltsen (1378 – 1466), a Drigung lama from whom he received the Six Yogas of Naropa;
- The Jonang lama Chokle Namgyel (1306 – 1386), from whom he received the Kalachakra cycle;
- The Sakya master Rinchen Dorje, from whom he received the Lamdre teachings and the Hevajra Tantra;
- Khyungpo Lepa Zhonnu Sonam, from whom he received the Guhyasamaja cycle;
- Djen Nga Drakpa Jam-chup in the Tel Monastery, from whom he received the Six Yogas of Naropa, the collected writings of Pakmo Drupa, the writings of Jikten Gonpo and the teachings of Path and Goal; and
- Lama Dampa Sonam Gyeltsen Pelzangpo, from whom he received the cycle of the body mandala of Heruka Chakrasamvara.
Equipped with concrete understanding of Madhayamaka philosophy, he began to compose his most important early work on Prajnaparamita titled ‘The Golden Garland’ (legs bshad gser phreng).
He studied logic and reasoning intensively at the age of 22 by focusing on the works on valid cognition by Dignaga and Dharmakirti. He was especially impressed by the works of Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa, a 10th Century renowned Buddhist logician from Srivijaya, Sumatra. Dharmakirti was also known as Dipamkara Atisha’s teacher. Much of Dipamkara Atisha’s work was based on the work of Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa. For the next 11 years, he travelled from one monastic college to another to learn new philosophical knowledge and to give teachings.
When Lama Tsongkhapa was 33 years old, he met with the extraordinary Lama Umapa from Tsang, who travelled to study with Lama Tsongkhapa. Lama Umapa had a special ability to communicate directly with Manjushri after undertaking extensive practices related to Manjushri. Lama Umapa would later become Lama Tsongkhapa’s medium of communication with Manjushri. They often spent time together in retreat during which Lama Umapa delivered Manjushri’s advice and responded with answers from Manjushri to Lama Tsongkhapa’s questions.
The Purification Retreat
One day, during their meditation retreat, Lama Umapa relayed an important message from Manjushri. Manjushri advised Lama Tsongkhapa to stop meditating excessively because he would not gain realisation by meditation alone. Meditation is important to collect positive merit and purify negative karma, but it was not going to be enough for Lama Tsongkhapa to purify his negative karma at the rate that was necessary for him to become enlightened. Manjushri instructed him to go into a purification retreat instead.
As instructed by Manjushri, during the winter of 1392, Lama Tsongkhapa took a break from his teaching obligations and withdrew from the public for four years. He lived simply with a group of eight close students. The purification retreat began at Chadrel Hermitage in 1392 and moved to Olkha Cholung several years later. During the four-year long purification retreat, he performed 100,000 prostrations to each of the 35 Confessional Buddhas, completing a total of 3.5 million prostrations, in conjunction with the practice of Triskandhadharmasutra (‘Sutra of the Three Superior Heaps’). Imprints of his body could be seen on the ground after the retreat. His purification practices were fruitful as he gained direct visions of the 35 Confessional Buddhas. He also completed 1.8 million mandala offerings until his forearm was wounded and bled, as the result of using his forearm during the offering process.
Toward the end of the retreat, Manjushri appeared in his vision. Manjushri told him that his negative karma was purified, and as a result he could now have direct communication with Manjushri without having to go through Lama Umapa. He also gained a vision of Maitreya Buddha. Lama Tsongkhapa’s purification retreat inspired many masters and gurus to be more dedicated and committed to investing more effort in their spiritual journey.
The Lamrim Chenmo: The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment
In 1398, he composed the ‘Praise to Dependent Origination’ after attaining realisation and the perfect understanding of the Madhyamaka upon obtaining a vision of an assembly of the great Indian Prasangika masters. In 1402, at the age of 46, Lama Tsongkhapa began to write a book about the graded path to Enlightenment called the Lamrim Chenmo or ‘The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’. This most famous book was based on Dipamkara Atisha’s text called ‘Bodhipathapradipa’ (‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’). It describes in detail the gradual path to enlightenment from the perspective of the sutra but also incorporates aspects of tantra as well. The Lamrim Chenmo was written while he was staying at Reting Monastery and was considered as one of Lama Tsongkhapa’s greatest deeds.
After completing the Lamrim Chenmo, he began writing several other works around 1407 and 1408, specifically his commentary on Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way’ called ‘The Ocean of Reasoning’ and ‘The Essence of Eloquence’. In 1415 he composed the Lamrim Dring or ‘The Medium-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’, which is a condensed version of the Lamrim Chenmo.
As a companion volume to the Lamrim Chenmo, he wrote the Ngarim Chenmo, or ‘The Great Treatise on the Tantric Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ in 1405. The volume covers all the four classes of tantra in accordance with the Sarma traditions (such as the Kagyu and Sakya traditions) with a detailed explanation of the two stages of Anuttarayoga Tantra, also known as Highest Yoga Tantra. His other important tantric works include his works on Guhyasamaja, especially his ‘Commentary on the Vajrajnanasamuccayanama Tantra’ composed in 1401 and ‘Exposition of the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja’ composed in 1411.
The Realisation of Buddha Shakyamuni’s Prophecies
Lama Tsongkhapa lived during a time when many monasteries had abandoned the rules of the Vinaya (monastic codes of conduct) and the practices had degenerated. Lama Tsongkhapa was determined to revive the Buddha’s teaching by following the method of Atisha. He put much emphasis on morality and especially strict discipline with monasticism. His great attempt to revive monastic discipline is considered the most important of his greatest deeds.
Throughout his life, Lama Tsongkhapa wrote 210 treatises, compiled into 20 volumes. The treatises combine the paths of sutra and tantra, specifically written to unite the View of the Middle Way School with the practice of Anuttarayoga Tantra.
The Monlam Chenmo: The Great Prayer Festival
When he was 52 years old, Lama Tsongkhapa initiated the New Year ‘Great Prayer’ Festival (Monlam Chenmo) in Lhasa. Monlam Chenmo was celebrated in Lhasa for two weeks after the Tibetan New Year. All the monks, nuns and lay people from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism come together to pray and make offerings of thousands of butter lamps. During the two weeks period of Monlam Chenmo, which continues to this day, people perform virtuous actions to collect merits by making tremendous offerings, engaging in prostrations, going for spiritual retreats and looking for Sangha to sponsor. The Monlam Chenmo was one of the four great deeds of Lama Tsongkhapa.
Lama Tsongkhapa was a humble man who preferred not to show miraculous signs. However, there were few instances in which he showed his supernatural power. One day during the first Monlam Chenmo Festival, the flames from the thousands of butter lamps in the temple became uncontrollable. People were afraid the huge flames would burn the temple down. Upon hearing about the incident, Lama Tsongkhapa entered deep meditation and suddenly all the flames were extinguished as if they had been blown out by a gust of wind. He restrained showing his power although he was a powerfully realised being and had visions of the 84 Mahasiddhas perceiving them in the sky above Lhasa. He wanted people to study the Dharma, instead of striving to attain supernatural powers.
His remarkable life became the model for the monastic community to revive the Buddhist teachings. Through his clear teachings and specific guidance, the monastic codes of conduct were finally revived. His great accomplishment drew in more students and followers to the Dharma. He did not want to see Buddha’s doctrine degenerate in Tibet.
Maitreya Statue at Dzingji
Advised by Manjushri, Lama Tsongkhapa went to Dzingji Temple to see the Maitreya Statue. He was deeply saddened by the dilapidated state of the building and the icon within. The holy statue was covered in dust and dirt. He felt compelled to restore them but did not have enough funds to accomplish the task. Lama Tsongkhapa and his disciples then made offerings and requested for Vaishravana’s assistance, the Protector of Wealth, to bless them with enough resources to complete the restoration task. Whatever he requested would manifest due to his pure intention. At last, both Dzingji Temple and the Maitreya Statue within were restored to their former glory. The restoration of the Maitreya Statue is usually considered the first of his great deeds.
Gaden Monastery (Gaden means “Joyful”)
As his popularity grew, his students and followers asked Lama Tsongkhapa to build a monastery. He contemplated the idea and went to request guidance from the statue of Jowo Rinpoche at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Jowo Rinpoche advised him in his dreams to build Gaden Monastery in 1409 at the Drok Riwo Mountains. The monastery was the first and most central monastic institution of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism. His followers were first known as ‘Gadenpas’ before their name was changed to ‘Gelugpas’ – ‘the Virtuous Ones’.
Lama Tsongkhapa entrusted the construction of Gaden Monastery to one of his main disciples, Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen (1350 – 1413). He built the temple in accordance with the rules of Vinaya and with great perseverance. Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen first examined the site, and then asked permission from the Sangha to build. Once the Sangha granted permission and appointed him as the head builder, he took the responsibility for all aspects of the building, from excavating the land for the kitchen to completing the final touches on the temple and representations on the altar. Even the smallest of details such as the size of rooms was based on the Vinaya text. When the project was completed, he invited Lama Tsongkhapa and performed all of the three rounds of work in a manner that fully pleased his Guru.
Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen – The Holder of the Vinaya (1374 – 1434)
Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen was born in an area between central and western Tibet. A studious disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa, he made bodhicitta his innermost heart commitment and became a great treasury of scriptural knowledge and realised qualities. He was also known as one of the closest heart disciples of the great Lama Tsongkhapa, and realised that reliance upon the Guru is the root of all good qualities and realisation. After Lama Tsongkhapa passed away, he would not take his master’s place, but instead suggested Gyaltsab Je to take the throne of the Gaden Tripa, as the head of the lineage. Because of his deep love for Lama Tsongkhapa, he preserved Lama Tsongkhapa’s precious remains in a case made of sandalwood. Then he placed them in a vase container made from 18 ‘dre’ (30 lbs) of beaten silver.
After Lama Tsongkhapa’s passing, he continued his master’s legacy by founding Tsunmo Tsel (Queen’s Garden) Monastery at the site of the Gyamadar Palace Jampa Migyur Ling in Uruto. It was located at the place where the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo was born and where the queen’s retinue usually resided in the royal garden.
In his lifetime, he carried out the great task of reviving the Vinaya by writing a collection of works on the subject called ‘The Great Precepts of Vinaya’, ‘Advice for Novices’ and ‘The Ritual for the Three Bases’. He also wrote sadhanas for mandala accomplishments and commentaries, consecration rituals, outer offerings for Chakrasamvara, an offering manual for making offerings to the front-generated Akshobya Guyasamaja in reliance upon a heaped mandala, Ganthapa Five-Deity Sadhana, Accomplishment of Great Wheel Vajrapani, Mandala Ritual for Luipa Chakrasamvara, Sadhana of Red-Black Yamantaka, Mandala Rituals of Vajradhatu Ishvari, Ritual of Kunrig Vairochana, Commentary on Purifying Lower Realms and Ritual Practice in the Three Families of Kriya Tantra.
He was called the ‘Holder of Vinaya’ because of his extensive work in preserving the Dharma system from decline. Just saying his name ‘Dulwa Dzinpa’ is something that benefits the teachings.
At the age of 63, he went to Tsunmo Tsel and left his physical body to go to the feet of the Unconquerable Manjusrigarbha Tsongkhapa in the Dharma palace of Tushita Pureland.
After Gaden Monastery’s construction was completed, Lama Tsongkhapa instructed another of his disciples by the name of Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden (1379 – 1449) to build a monastery. He specifically instructed Jamyang Choje to build a monastery bigger than Gaden.
Lama Tsongkhapa offered him the conch shell that was unearthed during the construction of Gaden Monastery. Upon receiving the instruction, Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden proceeded to build the monastery that would be named Drepung, where the conch shell remained until the mid-20th Century. The construction commenced in 1416 and was completed in 1419.
In 1408 the Yongle Emperor of the Chinese Ming Dynasty (who reigned from 1402 to 1424) sent an invitation to Tsongkhapa inviting him to the royal court in Nanjing. Knowing that his arrival before the emperor would be celebrated with wealth and opulence, he refused the invitation. A second invitation was sent in 1413. This time, he sent his student Shakya Yeshe to represent him. Shakya Yeshe had a successful visit to China and received his title of Jamchen Choje from the Emperor. Great offerings were given to Shakya Yeshe after his visit, which he used to establish Sera Monastery.
The Gaden, Drepung and Sera Monasteries became three of Tibet’s most prominent Gelug monastic institutions and housed several thousand monks. Unfortunately, the original Gaden Monastery, the Gelugpas’ spiritual home, was damaged by Chinese troops during the 1959 uprising in Lhasa. It was during the uprising that Lama Tsongkhapa’s mummified body was ordered by the army to be burned. Presently, the Chinese government is rebuilding the monastery. After the exodus from Tibet to India in 1959, Tibetan lamas in exile re-established Gaden, Sera and Drepung Monasteries in Karnataka, India, where they continue to produce highly skillful and learned Dharma teachers and scholars.
Entering Clear Light
While he was teaching the Guhyasamaja Tantra at Drepung Monastery, Lama Tsongkhapa stopped teaching halfway and left without explanation. As he departed, there was a sudden earthquake and the sky became very dark; many rainbows and clear streams of light shone forth in the direction of Gaden Monastery.
On his way back from Drepung, he paid a visit to Jokhang Temple to make many offerings and prostrations to Jowo Rinpoche. His prayer was simple; it was that the Dharma exists forever.
When he finally reached Gaden Monastery, he made many offerings and dedicated the merit to all sentient beings and recited a Pure Land prayer. As the evening approached, he started to feel great pain all over his body and the monks performed prayers for him. He was accompanied by Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen, Gyaltsab Je and other close disciples. Gyaltsab Je begged Lama Tsongkhapa to grant advice. The Guru then took the sage’s cap from his head and tossed it into Gyaltsab Je’s lap. He also gave him his monk’s cloak before saying to all his close disciples, “Understand what I mean when I do this; now go and perfect the wish to become enlightened for others.” He gave these last instructions to his disciples and particularly to Gyaltsab Je whom he designated as his successor.
On the second day, knowing that he was going to depart from this world, he entrusted his position to his main disciple, Gyaltsab Je, who would become the 1st Gaden Tripa, Lama Tsongkhapa’s representative on earth. After Gyaltsab Je’s term as Gaden Tripa expired, Khedrup Gelek Pelzang became the 2nd Gaden Tripa.
On the morning of October 25, 1419, Lama Tsongkhapa entered into Samadhi meditation, made many inner offerings and took his last breath. Many saw his body transformed back into that of a 16-year-old boy (some say this is reminiscent of the youthful Manjushri) and rainbows emitting from his body. The rainbows were also seen when he last taught at Drepung Monastery. These auspicious signs signified Lama Tsongkhapa’s wish for his teachings to endure. He passed away at the age of 63, leaving behind him a great legacy of purified Dharma. To this day, the anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa’s passing in 1419 on the 25th day of the 10th month, is celebrated in Tibet and Mongolia as ‘Gaden Ngamcho’ or Lama Tsongkhapa Day.
Gyaltsab Je (1364 – 1432)
Gyaltsab Je or commonly known as Dharma Rinchen, was an ordained monk of the Sakya lineage who was an accomplished and eloquent scholar. His intellect had made him arrogant and he initially wanted to challenge Lama Tsongkhapa. It was not until he listened to the incomparable Lama Tsongkhapa’s profound teachings that he regretted his arrogance. Upon listening to Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching, he became completely devoted to this great teacher. He was also a direct student of Rendawa. Other than being the 1st Gaden Tripa, he wrote a famous commentary on the Bodhicharyavatara known as the Dar Tik.
Gyaltsab Je became the 1st Gaden Tripa (Gaden Throne Holder) after Lama Tsongkhapa entered clear light in order to continue his lineage. To this day, the Gaden Tripa is the official head of the Gelug School, not the Dalai Lama as is mistaken believed by some. The Gaden Tripa is an appointed position, with a seven-year term of office. The position is the symbol of Lama Tsongkhapa’s continuing legacy.
Khedrup Gelek Pelzang (1385 – 1438)
Khedrup Gelek Pelzang or better known as Khedrup Je was one of the main disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa. He was considered to be an emanation of Manjushri and the previous incarnation of Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen, the 4th Panchen Lama.
When Gelek Pelzang was 21, he studied under the guidance of Rendawa Zhonnu Lodro, with whom he took full ordination. He studied Darmakirti’s Pramanavartika, Abhidharma and the Five Books of Maitreya, Nagarjuna’s work on Madhyamaka and the Vinaya. He was already a learned Sakya scholar before becoming one of Lama Tsongkhapa’s foremost disciples, and he received instructions on both sutra and tantra from Lama Tsongkhapa. He was remembered as a charismatic teacher who wrote many excellent commentaries on the tantric practices, which Lama Tsongkhapa compiled and clarified.
His collected works total nine volumes in all, comprising a total of 58 treatises and many prayer books. In addition, he wrote an important text on Kalachakra that is still used by the current 14th Dalai Lama.
He was unanimously elected as the 2nd Gaden Tripa, succeeding Gyaltsab Je. He was also unanimously elected as Gaden Monastery’s third abbot (after Lama Tsongkhapa and Gyaltsab Je).
Qualtities of Gelug Monks
If we were to summarise the good qualities of Gelug monks from the Gaden tradition, it would come to 10 inspiring characteristics that Lama Tsongkhapa himself possessed:
- They are examined using debate, as emphasis is placed on logic and understanding in grounding one’s practice.
- They practise humility and do not show they have any special attainments. This is because the real attainments are mind transformation and the Six Paramitas, and not the supernatural abilities such as flying, walking fast, clairvoyance, etc. These are viewed as ordinary attainments.
- They focus on ethics and monastic discipline (Vinaya) as the core of their spiritual practice. Therefore, Gelug monks are celibate. They do not engage in consort practice.
- They rely on the combined sutric and tantric paths of method and wisdom for gaining attainments.
- They focus their teachings along the lines of of Dipamkara Atisha and followed the path of the Lamrim.
- They are committed to removing distractions due to mental wandering (e.g. annoyance, jealousy, pride, doubt and boredom).
- Their respect is not only based on rank, but also attainments. The system is meritocratic – a simple farmer boy who studies hard enough, can rise to the ranks of the Gaden Tripa (representative of Lama Tsongkhapa on earth, throne holder and head of the Gelug lineage).
- For scholar monks, who have compassion and the commitment to study, they may be able to turn the wheel of Dharma and preserve the teachings and traditions of Lama Tsongkhapa as lineage holders themselves.
- For worker and administrative monks, they serve the Sangha with compassion in order to relieve the scholar monks and lamas of secular work so they can focus on studying and teaching the Dharma.
- They are devoted to their teacher. To hold one’s teacher with the highest respect because without the teacher, we would not have access to the Dharma and gain any kind of realisation and insight into the higher teachings. We can study from books but that is not the same as having a teacher who elucidates the Dharma clearly and skillfully, and creates the conducive conditions for us to practice. Since we did not have the merits to learn from Buddha Shakyamuni, our teachers keep their commitments so that we are able to connect with the Dharma.
At the present day, the Gelug doctrine has been well-received all over the world with the existence of many great Gelug Monasteries. In this way, Lama Tsongkhapa’s legacy continues to live on. Some of these monasteries include:
- Gaden Monastery
- Drepung Monastery
- Sera Monastery
- Labrang Tashikyil Monastery
- Namgyal Monastery
- Tashilhunpo Monastery
- Kumbum Monastery
- Dhetsang Monastery
- Reting Monastery
- Denma Gonsa Monastery
- Riwo Choling Monastery and many others
The Iconography of Lama Tsongkhapa
Every element of the iconography of Lama Tsongkhapa carries great importance and meaning. Taking the time to understand the meaning of each symbol in his iconography will help us to visualise the correct representation of Lama Tsongkhapa during prayers and meditations. It is especially critical when inviting Lama Tsongkhapa’s statue or image to bless your house because the Buddha image should have the correct iconography.
The following are the meaning of Lama Tsongkhapa’s iconography:
- The face of a 16-year-old boy represents youthfulness.
- A smiling and happy face represents a pleasant state of mind.
- The lotus seat represents bodhicitta.
- The moon disc represents the realisation of emptiness.
- Lions represent protection against the four fears (demons): the demon of the delusions, the demon of contaminated aggregates, the demon of uncontrolled death and the Devaputra demon.
- His white skin represents attainment of bodhicitta.
- The tinge of red in his skin represents attainment of shunyata or emptiness.
- His three robes represent holding the vows (i.e. Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva and Tantric).
- He is seated in the vajra position representing the immutable, permanent stability in his realisations.
- His one face represents non-duality (seeing beyond the illusion of ‘I’ and ‘you’).
- His two hands represent the two truths: relative and ultimate truths.
- The dharmachakra mudra represents turning the wheel of Dharma.
- In his ‘long life’ form in which he holds a vase, this represents dispensing the nectar of immortality.
- The flaming wisdom sword represents oneness with Manjushri, cutting of ignorance and delusions.
- The Prajnaparamita Scripture / Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom resting on a lotus represents wisdom realising emptiness.
- The yellow pandit’s hat represents the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) school of Buddhism.
- The two flaps of the pandit’s hat represent the vast (method) and profound (wisdom) lineages.
- The pointed tip of the hat represents the stage of no more learning (enlightenment).
In his iconography, Lama Tsongkhapa holds a sword on a lotus on his right side. It symbolises the fact that as we listen and learn the Dharma, like a sword, the Dharma cuts through our ignorance. However, in the iconography, the sword is placed on a lotus. The lotus represents compassion and love. Therefore, the sword acts from compassion and love, and not from the intent to harm.
There is another lotus (compassion and love) on the left side with a Dharma book on it. The Dharma book has a ‘wish fulfilling jewel’ sitting on top of it. The jewel represents the benefits of the knowledge acquired when listening to and understanding the Dharma. When we make offerings and pray to Lama Tsongkhapa, our knowledge, intelligence and ability to communicate, especially through speech will increase.
Lama Tsongkhapa is always pictured in a meditation posture. The meditation posture represents that he has become enlightened by studying, understanding, engaging in retreat and meditation.
For more interesting information:
- The Life Story of Lama Tsongkhapa in Art
- 15 Thangkas of Tsongkhapa’s Life Story
- Tsongkhapa Resources from Kechara
- Tsongkhapa Retreat Instructions and Prayer Text
- Benefits and Miraculous Signs of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Statues
- A Song Rapidly Invoking Blessings
- Vajradhara and 84 Mahasiddhas
- Cosmic Tantra
- Lamrim – Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand
- His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche
- Buddha Shakyamuni – Comic Book
- All About Manjushri
- I Visited Gaden for the 1st Time with an Oxygen Tank
- I Visited the Holy Jokhang Temple
- Mount Kailash and More
- All About Rosaries
- Avalokiteshvara, Turkey Swamp, Marc and Me
- 4 Armed Chenresig
- Padmasambhava Meets Tsongkhapa
- The Great Council of Lhasa
- A Surprise Visit to Kechara House
- Wu Tai Shan
- Advice to a Yamataka Initiate
- Amitayus Sadhana Practice
- Dharma Protectors of Tibetan Buddhism
- His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
- A Tsongkhapa Meditation
- Tsongkhapa’s Daily Practice Video Commentary
- Tsongkhapa Prayers
- 27 Rules to Real Happiness
- Yanga Rinpoche
- Tsongkhapa Prayers
- The Jonang Lineage
- The Sakya Lineage and Dorje Shugden
- His Holiness Zong Rinpoche’s Commentary in Guhyasamaja
- Last Night I Spoke About Death Meditation in More Detail
- Tisarana and Purification
- An Important Purficiation Practice
- Making Water Offerings to the Buddha
- Dorje Shugden Retreat – a Powerful Practice to Fulfill Wishes
- Making Offerings to the Monastery
- The Miracles of Tsem Rinpoche
- Dorje Shugden Gyenze – to Increase Life, Merit and Wealth
- Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion
- Yonten Shigyurma
- Mandala Offering – A Powerful Method to Accumulate Merits
- Happy Family for Kalachakra
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