The Life Story of Lama Tsongkhapa in art

Mar 5, 2016 | Views: 8,567
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I have mentioned several times before that learning about the lives of Great Masters in Buddhism is an incredibly important part of our spiritual progress. Take for example if you would like to be or have great interest in a particular politician, singer or a writer… would it not be natural to read a biographical book on famous people in our field of interest as reading their life story would tell us much about the difficulties, their experience, how they made it and so many more important points that can serve as lessons for our own success? Similarly, for the aspiring spiritual seeker, reading biographies of great masters who have accomplished the Buddhist path can help us learn and be inspired.

As a Buddhist practitioner or even spiritual practitioner, it is essential for us to know the biography of such a illustrious saint and master, Lama Tsongkapa. Below I have attached a brief biography about Lama Tsongkapa and his great life story depicted in 15 beautiful and meaningful paintings along with a commentary on what each painting signify. I hope by reading this, you will feel great inspiration to pursue your spiritual path with renewed enthusiasm. These set of thangkas are reproduced by various artists and painters for centuries as they serve to be a blessing, reminder and inspiration to all practitioners aspiring for higher mind development.

I hope very much by seeing, reading and understanding the life of Lama Tsongkapa, it will bless you very much to be firm and further dedicated on your spiritual path.

I have also included a free download of a set of these 15 high quality prints for your shrine, your home, office and or place of worship: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html?nggpage=3

Tsem Rinpoche

 

Introduction

A Brief Biography of Lama Tsongkapa

Tsongkapa Lobzang Drakpa was born in the Tsongkha region of Amdo in 1357. His mother was Shingza Acho and his father was Lubum Ge. Among the numerous miraculous incidents and omens believed to have taken place surrounding his birth, perhaps the most famous is that of a drop of blood from Tsongkapa’s umbilical cord that is said to have fallen on to the ground, giving rise to a sandalwood tree whose leaves bore symbols related to the Simhanada manifestation of the bodhisattva Manjushri, a deity with whom Tsongkapa would later be identified. His mother later built a stupa on this spot and over time further structures and temples were added. Today the location of Tsongkapa’s birth is marked by Kumbum Monastery, founded in 1583 by the 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588) on the spot of the original stupa.

At the age of three, Tsongkapa took lay upasaka vows from the Fourth Karmapa Rolpai Dorje (1340-1383) and received the name Kunga Nyingpo. Then at the age of eight he received the novice ordination of a sramanera, together with the name Lobzang Drakpa, from the Kadam master Choje Dondrub Rinchen. Dondrub Rinchen, a great practitioner of Vajrabhairava, had been in contact with Tsongkapa and his family since the boy’s birth, and is said to have received prophecies of the child’s importance from his own teacher and deity.

Tsongkapa spent much of his youth studying with Dondrub Rinchen; he is said to have been so sharp that he easily understood and memorized even the most complicated texts. From Dondrub Rinchen he received numerous tantric empowerments, most importantly that of Vajrabhairava. According to his secret biography, at the age of seven he experienced visions of Atisha Dīpaṃkara (982-1054) and the deity Vajrapani. Communication with various historical masters and deities would eventually become particularly central in the development of Tsongkapa’s understanding of Buddhism.

Lama Tsongkhapa in the centre with Vajrayogini (left) and Setrap (right)

At the age of 16 Lobzang Drakpa travelled to U-Tsang, never to return to his homeland. In U-Tsang he studied with more than 50 different Buddhist scholars. As noted in his autobiography, Fulfilled Aims, he studied at length texts and topics such the Five Treatises of Maitreya and 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) and his followers such as Aryadeva (3rd century). Following figures such as Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyeltsen (1182-1251) and Buton Rinchen Drub (1290-1364), it was Tsongkapa’s emphasis on philosophical study and logic that would eventually become some of the defining characteristics of the Gelug tradition.

Tsongkapa’s studies were mainly focused on the existing scholarly currents at that time, of which the most important were the Sakya tradition and the tradition of Sangpu, an important Kadam monastery. One of Tsongkapa’s main teachers was the Sakya master Rendawa Zhonnu Lodro (1349-1412) who was a strong proponent of the Prasangika view of Madhyamaka. Tsongkapa’s devotion to Rendawa was so great that he composed the famous Migtsema verse in praise of him. According to tradition, Rendawa felt that the verse was more applicable and descriptive of Tsongkapa’s qualities and thus offered the prayer back to him. Today this verse is still considered by the Gelug faithful as the principal method to invoke the blessings of Tsongkapa.

In addition to Dondrub Rinchen, some of Tsongkapa’s main tantric gurus included Chennga Sonam Gyeltsen (1378-1466), a Drigung lama from whom he received the Six Dharmas of Naropa; the Jonang lama Chokle Namgyel (1306-1386), from whom he received the Kalachakra cycle; and the Sakya master Rinchen Dorje, from whom he received the Lamdre teachings (lam ‘bras) and the Hevajra Tantra.

Perhaps most importantly, he received the Guhyasamaja cycle from Khyungpo Lepa Zhonnu Sonam a student of Buton Rinchen Drub, and the cycle of the body mandala (lus dkyil) of Heruka Cakrasamvara from the Sakya master Lama Dampa Sonam Gyeltsen Pelzangpo (1312-1375). Tsongkapa’s studies on tantra were not limited to the anuttarayoga tantras; he extensively studied the kriya, carya and yoga tantras as well, noting the importance of a gradual approach to the Vajrayana in his brief autobiography. Furthermore, although it would not become a doctrine of the later Gelug tradition, Tsongkapa also studied the Dzogchen teachings with Lodrak Drubchen Namkha Gyeltsen (1326-1401).

A wonderful old thangka of Lama Tsongkhapa

Through his studies Tsongkapa’s understanding of Madhyamaka philosophy became more concrete and experiential. By his early twenties he had begun composing his most important early work, The Golden Garland, which deals with Prajnaparamita. Tsongkapa would continue to write throughout his life, producing an 18-volume collection of texts.

Although Tsongkapa is credited with being the author of his writings, it is believed that many were composed through the instruction and inspiration of deities that he saw in visions, particularly Manjushri, as described in his secret biography. Tsongkapa is said to have initially relied on his teachers to communicate with various deities on his behalf. His Nyingma teacher Namkha Gyeltsen, for example, was believed to be able to communicate with Vajrapani and to have acted as an intermediary between the deity and Tsongkapa. Later in his life Tsongkapa was interested in travelling to India but was dissuaded to do so by Vajrapani through this medium.

In the same way Tsongkapa initially relied on his teacher Umapa Pawo Dorje, to act as an intermediary with Manjushri. Tsongkapa had met this Kagyu lama when he was 33. By this time Tsongkapa had completed his work on The Golden Garland and was, with Pawo Dorje, studying Candrakirti’s (7th century) Madhyamakavatara. Pawo Dorje and Tsongkapa undertook a retreat together during this period and Tsongkapa is said to have posed numerous questions to Manjushri through Pawo Dorje. Eventually, however, Tsongkapa himself began to experience visions and was able to communicate with Manjushri directly, receiving instructions and tantric empowerments, most importantly those related to Manjushri and Vajrabhairava. Over the course of his life Tsongkapa continued to receive visions of Manjushri as well as a host of other deities and masters such as Asanga and Nagarjuna. Although Tsongkapa is widely regarded as being a manifestation of Manjushri, the nature of his visions has nevertheless been contested by some non-Gelug masters, especially the Sakya scholar Gorampa Sonam Sengge (1429-1489), who was critical of Tsongkapa and his approach to Madhyamaka.

Apart from a short period of teaching, Tsongkapa continued to engage in intensive retreats. He and a community of eight disciples began a long retreat at Chadrel Hermitage in 1392, moving to Olkha Cholung several years later. During this retreat they famously completed extensive preliminary practices, for example completing 3,500,000 prostrations in conjunction with the practice of the Triskandhadharmasutra.

Following the retreat, Tsongkapa travelled to Dzingji where he performed his first out of four great deeds: the restoration of a famous statue of Maitreya. During this period, in 1398, Tsongkapa is believed to have attained realization and a perfect understanding of the Madhyamaka due to a vision of an assembly of the great Indian Prasangika masters. Immediately following this experience he composed the Praise to Dependent Origination. This experience began a new epoch in Tsongkapa’s life, one which shifted more towards composing and teaching to others what he had discovered. Thus in 1402, at the age of 46, while at Reting Monastery, he composed the Lamrim Chenmo, known in English as The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, undoubtedly his most famous work. Based on Atisha Dipamkara’s Bodhipathapradīpa, it described in detail the gradual path to enlightenment from the perspective of the Sutrayana. Echoing the doubt the Buddha felt after his Enlightenment that people would understand his teaching, it is said that Tsongkapa was initially disheartened by the thought that most readers would be unable to comprehend his explanations of emptiness which form the latter part of the work. A vision of Manjushri, however, inspired Tsongkapa to complete the composition.

In 1402 Tsongkapa performed his second great deed. While staying at Namtsedeng during the rainy season with his teacher Rendawa and Kyabchok Pelzangpo, he gave a detailed commentary on the Vinaya to a large assembly of monks. Apart from his emphasis on study, Tsongkapa is perhaps best known for the importance he places on the monastic discipline of the Vinaya.

Following the composition of the Lamrim Chenmo he composed 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 (lam rim ‘bring), known in English as The Medium-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, which is a condensed version of the Lamrim Chenmo.

Tsongkapa was a prolific author of tantric literature. As a companion volume to the Lamrim Chenmo, Tsongkapa wrote the Ngakrim Chenmo, The Great Treatise on the Tantric Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, in 1405, covering all the four classes of tantra according to the sarma traditions, with a detailed explanation of the two stages of anuttarayoga tantra. Other important tantric works include his works on Guhyasamaja, especially his 1401 Commentary on the Vajrajnanasamuccayanama Tantra and the 1411 Exposition of the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja. Texts on the Guhyasamaja Tantra feature prominently in Tsongkapa’s collected works, making up the majority of his 18 volumes of writings.

By this time Tsongkapa’s fame as a great scholar and realized practitioner had grown all over Tibet and even China. In 1408 the Yongle Emperor (1402-1424) of the Chinese Ming Dynasty sent an invitation to Tsongkapa to visit his court and capital in Nanjing. Tsongkapa refused, and a second invitation was sent in 1413. Although Tsongkapa again refused he delegated his student Shakya Yeshe (1354-1435) to go in his stead. Shakya Yeshe had a successful trip to China, receiving his title of Jamchen Choje from the emperor. The materials he received as offerings enabled him to establish Sera Monastery in 1419. Following the death of the Yongle Emperor in 1424, Shakya Yeshe visited the Xuande Emperor’s (1425-1435) new capital of Beijing. Through these visits the first links between Tsongkapa’s tradition and the emperors of China were established and would last until the fall of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in 1911.

A statue of Tsongkhapa may be found on traditional Gelug altars

In 1409 Tsongkapa instituted the Monlam Chenmo, or Great Prayer Festival, in Lhasa, which is celebrated around the time of the Tibetan New Year, Losar. This celebration is traditionally centered on the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and is counted as being Tsongkapa’s third great deed. At this time he also offered jeweled ornaments and a crown to the statue of the Jowo Sakyamuni, the most sacred statue in the Jokhang and the whole of Tibet. By offering these ornaments the statue was transformed from being a nirmanakaya representation of the Buddha Sakyamuni to one representing his sambhogakaya manifestation.

At his students’ request Tsongkapa established a monastery which was consecrated in 1410, the year following the inauguration of the Monlam Chenmo. The monastery was given the name of Ganden, the Tibetan translation of ‘Tushita’, the pure land of the future Buddha Maitreya. The monastery would eventually become the largest monastery in Tibet, perhaps the world, and is considered the principal monastery of the Gelug tradition. It was Tsongkapa’s wish to construct three-dimensional representations of the mandalas of his main three anuttarayoga tantra deities: Guhyasamaja, Vajrabhairava and Cakrasamvara. Temples for these constructions were completed in 1415 and the mandalas and deities were installed in 1417. These acts are counted as Tsongkapa’s fourth great deed. He is counted as the first throne-holder of Ganden, or Ganden Tripa, a title held by successive abbots of the monastery.

Tsongkapa entered clear light in 1419 at Ganden Monastery, the year after he completed his composition of The Elucidation of the Thought in 1418. He was 62 years old, and is believed to have attained enlightenment through yogic practices during the death process, attaining the illusory body. His body was entombed inside a jeweled stupa at Ganden. Tsongkapa’s death is commemorated with the annual festival of Ganden Ngacho, which translates as “The Ganden Offering of the Twenty-Fifth“, during which devotees light butter lamps on their roofs and windowsills. Tsongkapa designated Gyeltsabje Darma Rinchen (1364-1432) as his successor, who in turn appointed Khedrubje Gelek Pelzang (1385–1438) as the next throne-holder of Ganden.

Apart from his own teachers, many of whom Tsongkapa also taught in turn, Tsongkapa had a number of other illustrious students. These include Gyeltsab, Khedrub and Shakya Yeshe. His other students include Gendun Drub, who was posthumously identified as the 1st Dalai Lama (1391-1474) and Jamyang Choje Tasho Pelden (139-1449), the founder of Drepung Monastery in 1416. Today Khedrubje and Gyeltsabje are considered to have been Tsongkapa’s foremost disciples, although whether or not this is actually true has been contested by modern scholarship. Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen (1374-1434), a close disciple, for example, was relegated to a lesser status by later tradition. Nevertheless all of these students continued to spread Tsongkapa’s doctrine through their own teachings and writings as well as other means such as the establishment of monasteries, allowing for the Gelug tradition to take shape.

 

Painting 1 >>

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The 15 Paintings of Lama Tsongkapa’s Life

Jewels That Grant Your Every Wish

The original instructions for painting the 1000 faces by the All-Knowing Jamyang Shepay Dorje (1648 – 1721)

This is a book of instructions for depicting the life story of the great and holy Tsongkapa in 153 painted scenes, compiled within 15 paintings.

 

Painting 1

  1. Manjushri, the embodiment of the wisdom of all the Buddhas. His attributes are a book placed on a lotus flower above his left shoulder and the sword of wisdom which cuts the veil of ignorance above his right shoulder. Lama Tsongkapa is venerated as an emanation of Manjushri.
  2. Lama Tsongkapa. His hands are in the gesture (mudra) of teaching the Dharma.
  3. In a previous life, Lama Tsongkapa receives a prophecy from the Buddha Peak-of-Power (Indraketudhvaja). Buddha Indraketudhvaja, surrounded by an infinite number of bodhisattvas, sings praises to Lama Tsongkapa, foretelling how he will appear in an impure world to spread Worldview, as it is found in the teachings of the Diamond Way.
  4. Lama Tsongkapa takes rebirth as a young brahman. During the time of the Buddha, the emanation of Manjushri takes Tsongkapa by the hand and leads him into the presence of Buddha Sakyamuni. The young boy then offered a crystal mala (rosary) to the Enlightened One, setting in motion the chain of events that will cause his future disciples to perceive emptiness.
  5. The Buddha Sakyamuni teaches on the shore of the lake Anavatapta and the King of the Nagas offers him a conch shell, which the Buddha uses as a horn to assemble the monks during the summer retreat.
  6. On Vulture’s Peak (Gridhrakuta), the Buddha Sakyamuni prophesizes the appearance of Lama Tsongkapa in Tibet. The Buddha also prophesizes the monastery that will be founded by Lama Tsongkapa and hands over the conch shell to be used as the assembly horn of this monastery.
  7. On the Mount Kailas (Ti-Se Snow Mountain), the Buddha used the conch as a horn to assemble the great nagas and worldly deities. Here, the Buddha preaches the Dharma to these celestial beings and nagas.
  8. The conch is hidden on one of the mountains of Tibet.
  9. and 10. Great disciples of Lama Tsongkapa. To Lama Tsongkapa’s own right are Gyeltsabje and Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen. To his left are Khedrubje and Tsako Wonpo. Above them, to the left and right are the Eight Great Masters, the closest disciples of Lama Tsongkapa whom he took into deep retreat with him. Below them are Gendun Drupa (the 1st Dalai Lama), Jamyang Choje (founder of Drepung Monastery in 1416), Jamchen Choje (founder of Sera Monastery in 1419), and Sherab Senga (Founder of Gyume Tantric College in 1433).

 

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Painting 2

  1. In 1356, the father of Lama Tsongkapa, Dara Kache Lumbum Ge dreams a monk comes to dwell in their private temple on the upper floor.
  2. In his dream, the father sees Vajrapani (Chakna Dorje) throwing a vajra that melts in his wife’s body.
  3. The mother of Lama Tsongkapa dreams celestial beings are purifying her. As the dakini bathes the holy mother, the dakini sings ancient melodies of offering which was sung to Lord Buddha by the gods, as they washed him at his birth.
  4. Neighbors dream that the Jowo of Lhasa is being invited to their village.
  5. A local sage, the master Dondrup Rinchen has a vision of Vajrabhairava announcing the apparition of Lama Tsongkapa. In his dream, he begged the angel to come to him in real life. Vajrabhairava then pointed to the land of the Tsongka River and says, At about this time next year, I will be arriving in the hinterlands of that place. Until then, let your heart be at ease. With this dream, the great master understood that a great Dharma master, Tsongkapa was about to be born.
  6. In 1357, the mother Shingza Acho has a dream where people are calling out Chenrezig is coming! Greet his arrival! She then watches a grand procession of people playing drums and carry various auspicious offerings. Above in the sky appears the magnificent body of a holy being, shining as bright as the sun. He comes accompanied by sacred songs, surrounded by various dakas and dakinis. As he descends from the sky, he comes close to Shingza Acho until finally he melts into her very body. The assembly of people then stride in circles around her, presenting gifts and singing songs of good tidings.
  7. The night before giving birth, the mother of Lama Tsongkapa dreams a crystal door within her heart is opening, and that celestial beings appear to make the offering of bathing. At dawn, the great Lord Lama Tsongkapa is born.
  8. The Master Dondrup Rinchen sends protection pills for the newborn baby. At the same spot of Lama Tsongkapa’s birth, a white sandalwood tree springs up. The likeness of all different kinds of holy beings appear upon its leaves including the letters of the wisdom mantra, Arapachana dhi. In time, 100,000 leaves covered with holy images and words sprout from this tree, giving it the name Kumbum. Here, a great monastery with the same name is established.
  9. The Master Dondrup Rinchen offers cattle to the parents and requests that the child be entrusted to him.
  10. At the age of 3, the young child receives his lay vows from H.H. the 4th Karmapa Rolpay Dorje. In the text of the 4th Karmapa’s writings, it is stated how he looked into the future and declared that a second Buddha had come into our world.
  11. At the feet of Dondrup Rinchen, Lama Tsongkapa begins his studies at the age of seven, and later takes his vows of a novice monk a year later.
  12. The Master Dondrup Rinchen bestows secret empowerments to the child.
  13. Lama Tsongkapa has constant visions of Vajrapani and of the Indian Master Atisha. He soon masters arts such as the recitation of texts and mantras.
  14. At the age of 16, Lama Tsongkapa leaves for Central Tibet. In Tcham-do, Lama Tsongkapa has a vision of the 16 Arhats and of Mahakala. Here he predicts that a great monastery will be built.

 

Painting 3 >>

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Painting 3

  1. At the age of 17, Lama Tsongkapa receives teachings from Djen Na Chos-kyi Gyelpo, the Abbot of Drikung monastery, the most important center of the Drikung tradition of the Kagyu lineage of Tibet. From this great Abbot, Lama Tsongkapa receives an infinite number of great teachings – among them the secret instructions of String of Diamonds; the Six Yogas of Naropa; and the great seal Mahamudra.
  2. Lama Tsongkapa then travels to Gungtang, where he studies the eight branches of medical diagnosis with the great physician Lhadje Kon-chok Kyab. It is said that Lama Tsongkapa undertakes these medical studies as a symbolic act to show his pure dedication towards following the code of a bodhisattva; in the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, it is mentioned that a bodhisattva should train themselves in every useful art and science. Although Lama Tsongkapa mastered the subject perfectly, he never actually practiced medicine but was highly regarded by every sage of the healing arts. It was said that every physician who ever attends on Lama Tsongkapa ends up seeking Lama Tsongkapa’s own advice about the best possible treatment.
  3. In Nyerthang, he receives teachings from Tashi Senge and Densa Gekong.
  4. In Dewachen Monastery, he studies the four traditions of the way of the perfections at the feet of the Masters Yonten Gyatso and Loppun Ugyenpa.
  5. Lama Tsongkapa listens to the teachings of Djam-rin-pa on the Five Treatises of Maitreya.
  6. In Chos-dzong, Lama Sonam Gyeltsen bestows on him the empowerment of Manjushri Arapatsana and the empowerment of the mandala of the Body of Heruka according to the tradition of the Indian sage Drilpupa (Ghantapada). Lama Tsongkapa’s teacher hands his sage’s cape to Tsongkapa, signifying that he has passed on to him all the teachings of the tradition of Buton Rinpoche.
  7. When he is 19 years old, he takes part in the philosophical debates of Sangpu Monastery.
  8. He takes part in the philosophical debates of Dewachen Monastery and his fame spreads.
  9. In Shalu, the great Lotsawa Rinchen Namgyel, the famous student of Buton Rinpoche grants him explanations on Heruka with the Thirteen Deities according to the tradition of Maitripa.
  10. In Narthang, Lama Tsongkapa listens to many teachings at the feet of the great Sakya master Matiwa Lodru Gyeltsen (Mati Panchen).
  11. He takes part to the philosophical debates in Sakya Monastery and his fame increases.
  12. Philosophical debates in Sangden Monastery on the subject of the Perfection of Wisdom.
  13. Philosophical debates in Garong Monastery.
  14. Philosophical debates in Ngam-ring Monastery.
  15. In the monastery of Jonang, Lama Tsongkapa listens to teaching on the Six Applications of the Kalacakra by Tchok-le Namgyel, the Abbot of Jonang Monastery.
  16. In Maray Monastery, Tchi-po-lhe teaches him the Progressive Path of the Kadampa school. According to Gyeltsen Sangpo, he also learns the Tome of the Kadampas.
  17. He takes part in the philosophical debates in Er Monastery.
  18. In Narthang, the great translator Donsangwa gives him teachings on the Abhidharma and on the Valid Cognition (Pramana).
  19. He takes part in the philosophical debates in Ne-nying Monastery.
  20. He receives teachings on Parchin (Perfection of Wisdom) from Master Nyapon.

 

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Painting 4

  1. At the monastery of Tsechen, Lama Tsongkapa receives teaching on Abhidharma from the great Sakya sage Shunnu Lodru (Jetsun Rendawa).
  2. In Samling, in the region of Nyangto, he listens to the explanations of the Venerable Rendawa on the Auto-commentary of the Supplement to (Nagarjuna’s) Treatise on the Middle.
  3. The great translator Lotsawa Djang-chup Tsemo comes to the Potala, in Kyishu. Lama Tsongkapa receives teachings in Chos-dzong Hermitage.
  4. In Kyormo lung, he listens to the Great Commentary of the Vinaya-sutra at the feet of the Abbot Loselwa.
  5. During a prayer assembly, he enters a meditative state that lasts for several hours. Lama Tsongkapa memorize 17 folios of text a day, everyday.
  6. He suffers from back pains and goes to see Master Ugyen renowned for the efficiency of his rituals at Tulung. Although he receive some special personal teachings, it did not help remove the problem.
  7. With other learned disciples, Lama Tsongkapa heads to Ne-nying.
    7bis. At the request of many from Ne-nying, Lama Tsongkapa gives his first teaching on the Compendium of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharma samuccaya)
  8. During spring, passing through Narthang, he goes to Sakya where he receives teachings from the Venerable Rendawa. During this time, Lama Tsongkapa devotes himself primarily to learning and training in the Commentary of Valid Perception.
  9. Lama Tsongkapa receives teachings upon the Secret Teaching of Hevajra (Kye Dorje) in two parts, according to the system of the Sakyas, at the feet of Lama Dorje Rinchen-pa.
  10. At Sharwa Labrang of Sakya Monastery, Lama Tsongkapa receives special private teachings from one Geshe. Upon receiving the instructions, Lama Tsongkapa retires to a mountain behind Rinchen Gang Labrang where he performs the secret practice several times after which his illness is completely cleared.
  11. in 1370, Venerable Rendawa and Lama Tsongkapa go to Ngam-rim. Master Rendawa composes a developed commentary on the Compendium of Manifest Knowledge (Abhidharma Samuccaya). The young Tsongkapa also listens to his teaching on the commentary of the Pramana-vartika.
  12. In autumn, he receives news from his native country. In Lhalung, in the region of Mel, he devotes his energy to the training of mind in the Path of the Tantras under the direction of Lama Sonam Drakpa. He makes a retreat during which he studies a commentary of the Pramana-vartika. Extraordinary realizations came to him as he read the text; shivers of bliss keep rolling up his spine and tears fall in a steady stream from his eyes.
  13. At 1380, he spends the winter in Dewachen where he reads numerous scriptures and gains realizations into them. He leaves for Tsang.
  14. He reaches Narthang where he listens to a teaching on a commentary of the Pramana composed by the great Lotsawa Donsang. He spends the summer in this monastery and takes part in the philosophical debates.
  15. He receives teachings of classical poetry, Sanskrit language and calligraphy from Lotsawa Namka Sangpo. At this point he composes his Praise to Saraswati, the Lady of Song.
  16. He travels to Bodong where the great Lama Jetsun has arrived. Lama Tsongkapa receives teachings on the Madhyamaka.
  17. Lama Tsongkapa travels with Jetsun Rendawa to Sakya Monastery where he takes part in the philosophical debates. Despite Tsongkapa already knowing all the Ten Great Books, he still participates in the debate ground. His performance in the debates steals away the heart of every holy being present.
  18. At 1381 from Sakya, Lama Tsongkapa continues on to the province of U where he have philosophical debates in Soka Gungtang.
  19. At Sangpu, Lama Tsongkapa performs a retreat on Saraswati. As he finished 50 million mantras of Saraswati, he has a vision of the goddess herself. Lama Tsongkapa also takes part in the philosophical debates.

 

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Painting 5

  1. In Tse-tang, Lama Tsongkapa takes part in the dialectical debates on four of the great Treatises of Maitreya. All who were present were thrown into amazement, lifting Lama Tsongkapa’s fame even higher.
  2. In Yarlung, surrounded by 20 monks, Lama Tsongkapa receives the vows of a fully ordained monk (bhiksu). Tsultrim Rinchen, the master of the Four Great Subjects acts as the vow master. The abbot of Jidzing Monastery acts as the ritual master, while Sonam Dorje the Umze of the monastery serves as master of secrets.
  3. He meets Djen Nga Drakpa Jam-chup in the Monastery of Tel. They exchange long conversations and the young Lobzang Drakpa offers this master some of his own compositions which brought overwhelming feelings of faith as tears flow from Djen Nga Rinpoche’s eyes. Tsongkapa receives teachings from this Master – among other things – the Six Practices of Naropa; the collected writings of Pakmo Drupa; the writings of Jikten Gonpo; and the teachings of Path and Goal.
  4. In Lharang Kheru, he gives teachings on Parchin, valid cognition (pramana) and Madhyamaka to Tsako Wonpo and a great number of other masters of scripture.
  5. In Tsel Monastery, he consults the works and the commentaries translated into Tibetan. During this time, Lama Tsongkapa examines and grasps the entire canons of the Kangyur and Tengyur, opening new insights into the entire body of Buddhist teachings to him. It was here that Lama Tsongkapa also begins to compose his commentary on Abhisamaya-alamkara, and engage in an informal memorization contest with three other monks; Ling Tsungme, Jampel Trashi of Domey, and Sakya Drup, who are already famous as master memorizers of scripture. Lama Tsongkapa emerge victorious as the greatest master of memorization.
  6. In Lhasa, he accomplishes with great zeal the practices of Nyune at the feet of the self-manifested statue of Avalokitesvara. Lama Tsongkapa and his disciples then have special dreams, and help each other to discover their deeper meaning.
  7. During spring, he teaches in Cha-yul to a gathering which includes 70 geshes.
  8. In winter, he goes to Dewachen and gives many lectures.
  9. He returns to Tsel Monastery where he continues the composition of his commentary of the Abhisamaya-alamkara.
  10. He ends this composition in Dewachen.
  11. In Kyormo lung, he receives teachings on the Kalacakra from Tokden Yeshe Gyeltsen, the teacher of H.H. the 4th Karmapa. Here, Lama Tsongkapa has an opportunity to learn in depth the Great Commentary to the Wheel of Time as well as related subjects such as the preparation of astrological charts.
  12. He spends the winter at Tso-may in Tolung where he studies the Kalacakra. He also gives many lectures.
  13. The following summer, he gives numerous explanations on the Sutra-pitaka in front of vast assemblies of scholars in Dewachen Monastery. Here he grants a great many explanations of scripture to a great gathering, a veritable ocean, of bright-minded disciples.
  14. He teaches in Dewachen.
  15. In Ngan-kar, he carries on his studies of the Kalacakra and teaches to highly learned monks.
  16. At the invitation of Drakpa Rinchen of Dzingchi, Lama Tsongkapa then travels to Sinpori. In Rik Nga Temple where he resides for the length of the spring, he grants teachings to over 70 masters of scripture.
  17. a. Lama Tsongkapa then travels to Yarlung, where he taught suitable disciples in Rik Nga Lhakang.
    b. During the autumn Lama Tsongkapa and Jetsun Rendawa reside together at Potala in Kyishu, where they engage in many spiritual discussions with each other and grant their disciples fine explanations of many subjects.
  18. During the summer at Okar Drak in Yarlung, he conducts a retreat of Heruka. He does a mantra practice, secret meditations and the rite of bringing himself into the secret world. He performs the Six Practices of Niguma and inner breathing exercises 100 times each during every session, and develops high realizations.
  19. Staying in Munkar, Lama Tsongkapa expounds 17 texts in a single series of teachings presented to a great gathering including 100 masters of scriptures. During the autumn, he gives lectures in front of vast assemblies.

 

Painting 6 >>

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Painting 6

  1. During the winter, Lama Tsongkapa gives lectures in a grotto of Kyormo lung.
  2. In 1390 when spring comes, yearning to listen to the Basket of the Tantra, he goes to the region of Tsang and arrives at Nubchu lung in Rong where he listens to the teaching and receives oral transmissions from high learned Masters such as the abbot Drakpa She-nyen.
  3. Lama Tsongkapa bestows the empowerment of Sarasvati to Lama Umapa. Through the mediation of Lama Umapa who has visions of Manjushri, Je Tsongkhapa asks Manjushri questions. He tells Lama Umapa that he must examine the Lama’s claim that Manjushri is appearing to him, and so Lama Tsongkapa begins asking questions of Manjushri. He digs to the very bottom with his questioning, checking carefully, and in the end he believes absolutely that Lama Umapa really is communicating with Manjushri.
  4. He goes to Taktsang. In Dzongka, the master translator Kyabchok Pel Sangpo acts as host to four great sages: the master translator Drakpa Gyeltsen, Jetsun Rendawa, the master translator Dunsangwa, and Lama Tsongkapa. Here, they pass their time together in spiritual teachings and discussions with each other. At this juncture, Master Drakpa Gyeltsen imparts his commentary on the perfection of wisdom to Lama Tsongkapa while Kyabchok Pel Sangpo does the same with his commentary upon the Secret Teaching of Lo Diamond in Two Sections; and Jetsun Rendawa with his explanation of the Commentary on Valid Perception.
  5. In Ba-U Bagner, he receives explanations on the Guhyasamaja tantra from the Venerable Rendawa. Lama Tsongkapa has a dream here, a foretelling where he sees that the Lama Gongsum Dechenpa has taken teachings 17 times from Buton Rinpoche on the Great Commentary to the Wheel of Time. He later learns from the Lama that this was indeed the case.
  6. In Chos-lung, he questions Manjushri through the mediation of Lama Umapa.
  7. At the year 1391, in Nyang-to, Lama Tsongkapa meets Rinpoche Gongsum Dechenpa Choskyi Pelwa. He offers him a golden towel of silk; on the following day, he makes a ritual offering of fine tea, and the gift of a bolt of emerald-colored silk. Lama Tsongkapa then requests him to give teachings on the entire transmission of the great commentary, and receives a complete explanation of both the root text and the commentary, along with word-by-word instructions on the actual practices, and a presentation of the six preliminary stages based on actual experience.
  8. Towards the end of spring, Lama Tsongkapa travels to Dechen in Nyangtu. He receives empowerment and oral transmission from Rinpoche Choskyi Pelwa. He learns the sacred dance, songs, and mandala construction related to the practice of the String of Diamonds. He also receives many teachings, empowerment, oral transmission, and personal advice on Vajrapani.
  9. In the border between Nyang-to and Nyang-me, in the Tri Tsakang, Lama Tsongkapa stays with Master Gunsang, a master of the yoga class of tantra. From him, Lama Tsongkapa studies ritual dances and melodies as well as the manner of tracing mandala and executing mudras. One night, Lama Tsongkapa has a dream where the Lama Shunnu Sunam comes to him wearing a jeweled head ornament and holding a ritual diamond and bell. The Lama honors Lama Tsongkapa by circling him in a dance three times. He then places the diamond and bell upon his head and says, “Karma Vajra“.
  10. He dreams that Master Kyungpo Lhe in Shalu shows him his heart in which a rosary of mantras is turning.
  11. He spends the autumn and winter at Shalu with Master Kyungpo Lhe and receives initiations and teachings on the yoga class of tantra. Lama Tsongkapa pleases his Lama by presenting him with offerings, and the circle of the gathering.
    11bis. Under the direction of Gyeltsen Drakpa, he studies the ritual dances and melodies as well as the manner of tracing mandalas and executing mudras.
  12. He listens to the teachings of Rinpoche Chos-kyi Pel in Panam Pakri on the Collection of the Commentaries of the Bodhisattvas, and the entire instructions of Buton Rinpoche.
  13. In 1392, during autumn, Lama Tsongkapa stays in Kadung in U region with Lama Umapa. Here he makes supplications to the image of the Lord Sakyamuni in Lhasa.
  14. Retreat with Lama Umapa. They stay in separate rooms for their practice but take their tea together. Again Lama Tsongkapa makes special supplications to his Lama.
  15. One day Lama Tsongkapa sees the holy one Manjushri within a sphere of lapis light, surrounded in a radiant rainbow of five different colors. He gazes upon Manjushri’s lovely form, unable to tear his eyes away. He receives the teachings of Manjushri in the form of a single warrior, and then instructions on the body mandala, the inner practice and the secret practice, with each teaching that Manjushri grants Lama Tsongkapa, Manjushri appears to him in the form of that particular divine being, granting his blessings. Lama Umapa continues to act as an intermediary. At one point he watches as Manjushri transforms into Yamantaka. It is at this time that Lama Tsongkapa, following the instructions of Manjushri, makes his decision to go into deep retreat at a mountain hermitage with a group of close followers known as the Purest Eight.
  16. Lama Tsongkapa stays in Lhasa with Lama Umapa. In the southern tower of Toktengma, he sets forth offerings and makes supplication to Manjushri. Manjushri appears to him and speaks a number of verses, which Lama Tsongkapa writes down on paper. These are the instructions about crucial points of personal practice, and include the lines: Live like the rhinoceros, who always lives alone; Like him, avoid the busyness of humanity.
  17. In a chapel atop the Gokang in Lhasa, Lama Tsongkapa imparts the four initiations of the Guhyasamaja to Lama Umapa.
  18. Lama Tsongkapa gives numerous teachings in Kyormo lung.

 

Painting 7 >>

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Painting 7

  1. In 1392, when he was 36 years old, during winter and having made a small boat, Lama Tsongkapa leaves Kyormo lung for Olka with eight disciples where they will go into deep retreat, abandoning every worldly activity.
  2. During the entire length of the winter and the following spring, Lama Tsongkapa and his eight disciples each focus their meditations upon the 35 Buddhas, devoting themselves to the practices of accumulating new good karma and purifying themselves of past bad karma. At this point, Lama Tsongkapa frequently has visions of the 35 Buddhas of Confession, Maitreya, Medicine Buddha, Maitreya and Amitayus.
  3. Lama Tsongkapa continues in deep retreat and keeps working until he reaches such a pure mastery of these practices that he feels much joy in them. He begins to think that he would like to come out of retreat and continue his mission of teaching; but Manjushri speaks to him the following advice: The people of this world, Are like wild beasts, And difficult to tame. It’s hard to say, Whether any great good, Would come from trying, To teach them. I think it better you remain in solitude, And master single-pointedness: Go and find that path, Which will bring both you, And others to ripening.
  4. In the summer of 1393, at 37 years of age, Lama Tsongkapa presents offerings to the great statue of Maitreya in Dzin-tchi Temple and prays with great fervor.
  5. In the winter, Lama Tsongkapa travels to Gyasokpu, at Menlung in Dakpo. Spiritual realizations are pouring down upon him at this point. He has a vision of Manjushri in the middle of a vast assembly of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas.
  6. Vision of Manjushri surrounded by numerous pandits and great yogis, including the Five of the Realized Father and his Sons (Arya Nagarjuna and his four sons: Master Aryadeva, Buddha Palita, Nagabodhi and Chandrakirti); the brothers Asanga (Masters Asanga and Vasubandhu); Dignaga; the Two Supreme Ones (Masters Gunaprabha and Shakyaprabha); Devendra Buddhi; Alankara Pandita; Kamalashila, Abhaya, and the eighty great sages. These visions plant seeds for Lama Tsongkapa’s use of the great classics composed by these holy beings to be of far-reaching benefit.
  7. Vajrabhairava appears in the middle of a blazing fire and melts in Lama Tsongkapa. From this point on, Lama Tsongkapa performs the ritual of bringing himself into the mandala every day, without missing. It was said that Lama Tsongkapa performs a fire puja on a stone platform which has been shaped for the purpose. A fierce snowstorm break out but not a single flake lands in the area around him; everyone present sees it.
  8. Vision of Manjushri surrounded by Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, pandits and yogis that entirety fill the space. A sword springs out from the heart of Manjushri and its tip comes to touch the heart of Lama Tsongkapa. Ambrosia flows down the sword into the heart of the Noble Master, filling his body. The pure bliss he then experiences increases in an inconceivable manner.
  9. As this was happening, Lama Tsongkapa had a further vision that there were an infinite number of disciples standing with their mouths opened to the sky; some aware and some were not. Into the mouths of these disciples nectar flew, and into the mouth of the infinite went many, into the mouths of many went some, and into the mouths of others went nothing. Seeing this, Lama Tsongkapa then made a foretelling in these words: The pleasure garden are booming, In the city of Kadhira, And many bees are frolicking there. They drink as well, Of that highest nectar. When Lama Tsongkapa mentions ‘many’, he means that there will come many disciples during his own life and in the future, who will practice the path to enlightenment. When he says “They will drink as well of the highest nectar” he means that there will come as well many who will reach the ultimate goal. Simply opening their mouths to the sky represents that we are making efforts in the two forms of the teaching on the steps of the path, trying to reach bliss an voidness. The simple act of opening our mouths to receive the nectar, even if none of the nectar comes to us now, creates seeds for us to attain this goal later.
  10. On the day of the celebration of the victory of Buddha Sakyamuni upon the heretics, Lama Tsongkapa presents lavish offerings for 15 days. When he invites those to whom the offerings are intended, he makes a particularly intense vow. Immediately, he sees the whole sky filled with Buddhas.

 

Painting 8 >>

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Painting 8

  1. Benefactors making offerings.
  2. During spring, following the instructions of Manjushri, Lama Tsongkapa decides to repair the temple walls and roof of Dzin-tchi. At that instruction, the great master and his disciples (12 people altogether) collect anything they might have of any material value, from their personal items, to the materials they brought along for making tormas, and everything else. But altogether they add up to no more than 12 silver coins. Having no riches, he wants to propitiate Vaisravana to get help but he realizes he does not even have butter to make the tormas for the ritual. A monk suddenly appears and offers a small package of butter. The ritual is performed and the following day nomads bring plenty of butter mixed with cheese. From this point on, offerings begin to pour in. Every time later that they ever ask for any kind of help in this manner, the very same thing always happens.
  3. As soon as the new walls of the temple are finished, the mandala of Manjushri-endowed-with-secrets is created. Lama Tsongkapa conducts a developed consecration ceremony. He has a vision of Manjushri as a being of wisdom arriving and melting into it. They offer a tiny butterlamp before the mural, and it continues to burn for two and a half days.
  4. Lama Tsongkapa indicates to the artists the respective colors of the 35 Confession Buddhas after he makes supplication to the 35 Buddhas, and is then able to see each of them directly. It is said that an accomplished sage named Chakna Dorje, deep in practice elsewhere, had a vision of the 35 Buddhas traveling through the sky. He asks them where they are going, and they reply that they are on their way to the consecration ceremony being held at Dzin-tchi. At the same time Manjushri directs Lama Tsongkapa to compose several scriptures. A prophecy granted to Khenchen Chakna Dorje is fulfilled when a letter of introduction is sent to Lama Tsongkapa, imploring him to come to Lhodrak, which he complies.
  5. In 1395, he goes to Drao Gun Monastery in Lhodrak. Khenchen Tchakdor comes to welcome him and sees him as an emanation of Manjushri while Lama Tsongkapa sees Khenchen Tchakdor as an emanation of Vajrapani.
  6. Having listened to a teaching on Guru-yoga from Khenchen Tchakdor, both of them suddenly have a vision of Vajrapani who comes to melt into them. At dawn, Vajrapani comes to Khenchen Tchakdor and tells him to request teachings.
  7. When Khenchen Tchakdor approaches Lama Tsongkapa for the teaching, Lama Tsongkapa replies, Did Vajrapani tell you to ask me?, to which Khenchen Tchakdor replies, He did. And so Lama Tsongkapa instructs both Khenchen Tchakdor and the assembled monks of the monastery in this work. When Lama Tsongkapa gives a teaching on the Siksa-samuccaya, Khenchen Tchakdor sees above his head the Venerable Maitreya, while a White Manjushri appears above his right shoulder and the Goddess Sarasvati above the left. All around stands a vast assembly of Protectors and Dakinis headed by Mahakala.
  8. Khenchen Rinpoche receives empowerment and permission into the practice of the Five-Point Mantra and other teachings. While at the feet of Khenchen Rinpoche, Lama Tsongkapa listens to explanations on the Lamrim and receives initiations in the Heard lineage (Gnyen gyu). He has a vision of the Deities whose empowerment is conferred to him. He would later say that a major obstacle to his life appeared but was able to repel it by concentrating upon the practice of the Great Wheel.
  9. Lama Tsongkapa thinks of going to India to meet the Master Mitra Yogi. Vajrapani tells Khenchen Rinpoche that if Lama Tsongkapa goes to India, although amazing things will occur, it will however be detrimental for his disciples. Vajrapani further advises that great events will be set into motion if Lama Tsongkapa makes an offering to Manjushri of an entire set of accoutrements of one who has left the home life, along with verses of praise beginning with the crown of the Pure One. Manjushri advised Lama Tsongkapa to make these offerings saying that if he does so, then forces will be set for his founding of an order of greatly pure monks and nuns in the future. Following the instructions of Manjushri, Tsongkapa offers the three monastic robes, the bowl and so forth to the statue of Maitreya in the Temple of Dzin-tchi, and decided to head for Nyel instead of India.
  10. While he stays in Nyel, he takes part in the welcoming ceremonies of the great Tenrim, the work composed by Geshe Trinlay-pa. Lama Tsongkapa carefully reads this text and then gives teachings on it.

 

Painting 9 >>

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Painting 9

  1. At Dragor in Nyel, Lama Tsongkapa receives teaching from Khenchen Chos-kyap Sanpo, and in return also grants Khenchen oral transmissions on various subjects.
  2. He spends this summer retreat in the Yardren Monastery. He has a vision of the Venerable Manjushri and Vaisravana. Manjushri makes a prophecy that Lama Tsongkapa will grasp the worldview of the Middle Way by utilizing a classic text composed by one of the great sages of India.
  3. With 30 disciples, he goes to Tsari Chen. They visit the hermitage there and perform practices of the self-initiation of Heruka. Numerous portents of the future are revealed to them.
  4. On his way back to Nyel, they spend a day at the base of Mola Pass. He has a gigantesque vision of the Protector Maitreya who makes a prophecy about him.
    You must realize, o child of noble family, that your coming into the world is the same as a Buddha coming into the world. – Maitreya
    A tradition is rising which is like the coming of a Buddha into the world. – Vajrapani through Khenchen Rinpoche
    One is coming who will turn the Wheel of the Dharma in the same way that Lord Buddha did, when he came to Varanasi. – Machik Labdrun
    All of these statements are a revelation of the greatness and importance of Lama Tsongkapa.
  5. In Senge Dzong, he carefully examines the Six Applications of the Kalacakra and achieves a correct and firm comprehension. He has a vision of Kalacakra of golden color in his Solitary Hero form, who delivers a prophecy about him. He says, You have come into this world as did King Chandra Bhadra, to spread these teachings of the Kalacakra.
  6. The Goddess Sarasvati appears to tell him he will leave this world at the age of 57. Lama Tsongkapa then undertakes special practices of various deities and asks them whether there is some way to extend his life. However, each of them replies that the power of his prayers in the past and his concentration on developing wisdom has not had that much effect upon how long his physical body will remain. According to Tokdenpa, Manjushri appears in turn to indicate the methods that will enable to increase his longevity. Manjushri advises that if Lama Tsongkapa continues the practices that he has been doing so far in his life to prevent obstacles, and if he makes tremendous efforts to set in motion karmic forces to extend his life, then he will be able to prevent this early death. While staying in Senge Dzong, Lama Tsongkapa asks some questions to Manjushri who appeared to him in a vision. It was then that Manjushri advises Tsongkapa not to seek his advice so frequently and that if he comes across any small points that seem contradictory, he should debate it out with his learned disciples.
  7. At Serche Bumpa in Nyelme, Tsongkapa has an extremely remarkable vision of Manjushri who grants teachings on the Progressive Path. Lama Tsongkapa presents numerous offerings. Manjushri advises, You must now assure that you maintain every one of the most subtle outer points of discipline for those who have left the home life: everything from the ritual for assuring that water has no tiny living creatures in it before drinking it. Upon hearing this advice, Lama Tsongkapa attempts to reason with Manjushri on how difficult implementing such customs would be and pointed out how contrary to most people’s current thinking these instructions will be. However, Manjushri insists and simply replies, Do it and so Tsongkapa complies. Soon, both master and disciples begin to carry around with them all three of the monastic robes, the required cloth seat, and everything else of the like, the monk bowl and other monastic accoutrements. Their fame then rises as upholders of the monastic discipline.
  8. While staying in Kang-chung, Lama Tsongkapa gives teachings in front of vast assemblies of religious and lay devotees.
  9. Lama Tsongkapa gathers the inhabitants of the region of Nyel and bestows on them the vows of lay disciples, the vows of refuge, and so forth. He also exhorts them to make 100,000 tsa tsas (small clay votives), a custom which continues to the present time.

 

Painting 10 >>

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Painting 10

  1. Lama Tsongkapa spends the summer retreat in Reting. He meets Gyeltsabje who is the emanation of Kulika Pundarika (a legendary king of Shambhala who passed on the teachings of the Kalacakra). Gyeltsabje makes prostrations to Lama Tsongkapa and, racked with sobs, begs his permission to serve at his feet and never be separated from him for a moment, for as long as they both might live. Lama Tsongkapa grants this permission. Lama Tsongkapa then turns the wheel of Dharma for the assembled monks of the four great monastic communities of Nyel, thus instituting the spiritual festival known as the Great Assembly of Nyelung and encourages them to continue this festival annually, which is done to present times.
  2. At Dakpo Lhading Hermitage, Tsongkapa gives teachings in Ode Kun-gyel. He has a vision of Nagarjuna surrounded by his four Spiritual Sons. The Pandit Buddhapalita blesses Lama Tsongkapa with his work. Taking this as a sign, Lama Tsongkapa re-reads the Indian scripture known as Buddha Palita. He gains great realizations into the subject such as the difference between the higher and lower schools of the Middle Way on the question of just what it is that we deny exists when we say something is ‘empty‘. A renewed feeling of faith for Buddha arose, one that is based on knowledge instead of believing, which brought Tsongkapa to compose the text ‘A Praise of Dependent Origination‘. Tsongkapa then tells his disciples that it will be auspicious if his followers of later generations read this very work.
  3. In autumn, Tsongkapa gives teachings to the religious community of Karpuk.
  4. During the summer retreat in Ye-Tora, Lama Tsongkapa gives teachings.
  5. Tsongkapa gives teachings in Kawa-dong in Olka.
  6. During the celebration of the Victory of Buddha Sakyamuni upon the heretics, Lama Tsongkapa presents countless lavish offerings for 15 days in front of the statue of Maitreya in Dzin-tchi Temple. As a result of the intense prayer he makes, an infinite assembly of all the Buddhas of the five families fills the space around him.
  7. In spring, he give teachings to Gyeltsabje and other disciples.
  8. When Lama Tsongkapa arrives at Dring, his sage’s cap falls off his head into the river. Tsongkapa then makes a prediction about a monastery starting at Sangsang in Nyangpo, saying, Where this river flows, my teachings too will flow like a river. Where the cap stops, a tradition of the Middle Way will flourish. And just as is predicted, the Tekchen Chunkor Ling Monastery of Sangsang in Nyangpo is later built at this very location.
  9. Tsongkapa gives teachings in Dangdo Monastery in the region of Nyang. Tsongkapa spends the summer giving many teachings to the monks, and benefiting large groups of laypeople by giving them instructions in refuge and the like.
  10. In response to repeated requests from the government official Namka Sangpo, conveyed through Konchok Tsultrim, during the autumn, Lama Tsongkapa goes to the region of Ki-sho and stays in the Potala. In front of the monks of the three great monasteries of Sangpu, Dewachen and Kuntang, he gives various teachings.
  11. In 1400, Lama Tsongkapa travels and gives teachings in Kawa-dong. He teaches repeatedly on the commitments of the secret way, the bodhisattva vows, and how we must always honor these pledges.
  12. The Venerable Rendawa goes to Kawa-dong with some disciples. Lama Tsongkapa with his disciples greet Rendawa, and he makes three prostrations to Rendawa. The Master Rendawa then begins to return such gestures, but Lama Tsongkapa begs him not to do so, and prevents him from continuing.
  13. Lama Tsongkapa and Venerable Rendawa stay together and give numerous teachings.

 

Painting 11 >>

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Painting 11

  1. Wishing to make a retreat, Lama Tsongkapa and Venerable Rendawa along with a large group of masters of scripture go to Reting.
  2. Lama Tsongkapa gives teachings in Reting and then encourages his listeners to go into deep meditation upon this practice. As a result many of them develop an extraordinary level of meditative stillness. Tsongkapa also has long discussions with his Master Rendawa.
  3. In 1401, Lama Tsongkapa is invited in Drikung Monastery. He receives instructions on the Tantras from Djen-nga Rinpoche and himself gives numerous teachings. In the Summer, Jetsun Rendawa and Lama Tsongkapa, along with the master translator Kyabchok Pel Sangpo head to the monastic summer retreat at the Namtsip Teng Temple of Ar Chenpo Jangchub Yeshe. More than 600 monks attend, and teachings on the subject of monastic discipline are given by each of these three Masters of Dharma.
  4. In 1402, Lama Tsongkapa succeeds in instituting the monastic practices precisely. The monks begin to observe more strictly in their practices. They start holding ceremonies for confessing any violations of the monastic code, and also keep the kind of confession where we first re-bless and leave the robes. They perform the rituals for blessing their personal articles, and for setting off a kitchen area. They also begin keeping the rule about never being without their robes for a night, and such.
  5. Lama Tsongkapa and Kyabchok Pel Sangpo stay in the hermitage of Senge Shol near Reting.
  6. Lama Tsongkapa has a vision of all the Masters of the Lamrim tradition, from the Buddha to his actual Master. Lord Atisha then places his hand upon Tsongkapa’s head, saying, Work for the good of the teaching; I will help you to achieve enlightenment, and to serve all living beings. He then composes the Great Exposition of the stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chen-mo).
    6bis. Divinities take the oath to protect the Teaching.
  7. In 1403, Lama Tsongkapa teaches the steps of the path to many great masters. After Lama Tsongkapa completes his teachings, he instructs his disciples to perform extensive offerings. His disciples then go on to make butterlamp offerings and by the time Gyeltsabje comes to take a butterlamp cup, there are none left. Gyeltsabje then takes a large basin to be used as a butterlamp and offers it up. As Lama Tsongkapa gazes at the butterlamps, he tells the assembly to place all the butter in their lamps into the large basin. He then gives Gyeltsabje a special task, saying, I want the master of the 10 great books here to write up a record of what we taught, and compose a commentary based on these notes. What is said here is that in actuality, Lama Tsongkapa empowers Gyeltsabje as his successor. Later in 1404, at Gunsar in Lhepu, Tsongkapa teaches on the Commentary on Valid Perception. The assembly, be it gods or men, grasps the fact that this presentation is the one lantern for all those seeking the path to enlightenment.
  8. Lama Tsongkapa then receives an invitation from Drakpa Gyeltsen, and travels to Unde Chenteng where he undertakes the traditional summer retreat for the ordained, together with many hundreds of masters of scriptures. In 1405, at Lhashul Jampa Ling at Ode Gungyal, Tsongkapa gives teachings on the steps of the path as well as on the stages of creation and completion. With his disciples they engage in deep retreat. At this point, Tsongkapa gives the appearance of attaining the unshakable meditation experiencing bliss and voidness. A vision of Manjushri then exhorts Tsongkapa to compose an explanation of the Master Nagabodhi’s Steps of the Presentation which will be a great benefit to people.
  9. He stays in Ode Kun-gyel where he gives teachings on the Lamrim and composes the Great Exposition of the Stages of the Tantric Path (Ngak rim). During this time, a number of evil omens appear and so Lama Tsongkapa undertakes to write Total Victory over the Demons. He performs practices such as those for repelling demons, and thus stops the obstacles without any trouble.

 

Painting 12 >>

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Painting 12

  1. Lama Tsongkapa stays in Olka and expounds tantric teachings during winter.
  2. In 1406, while staying in the region of Sera for the summer retreats, he has a vision of Mahakala with six arms. From this time on Mahakala serves as his protector, never leaving his side. It is here too that Lama Tsongkapa meets Khedrubje for the first time.
  3. Lama Tsongkapa begins to compose the Root Text on the Wisdom of the Middle Way. He reaches a difficult point and makes supplication to his Lama and Manjushri, as one. With this, he has a vision of the Verses of Commentary appearing across the sky. All of Tsongkapa’s questions are answered immediately and he goes on to complete his composition.
  4. The envoys of the Ta Ming Emperor of China come to invite Lama Tsongkapa. They present many gifts to Tsongkapa and offer their respects. Lama Tsongkapa then sends Jamchen Chuje in his place, to explain why he cannot come.
    4bis. Tsongkapa gives teachings to over 600 spiritual master in the hermitage of Sera Chos-Ling. Tsongkapa then spends the monastic summer retreat here and stays for a total of two years.
  5. In 1407, Tsongkapa once again receives an invitation from Drakpa Gyeltsen. He then travels to Drumbu lung in Ki-may with over 1,000 disciples.
  6. In 1408, in preparation for Monlam festivals, he undertakes to restore old and damaged images, and the like. Tsongkapa has murals in temples repaired, applies gold leaf and fresh paint to all the paintings and statues, sews new silken clothes to dress the images, has religious banners made, etc. Various grand offerings are made. Both the laypeople and the monks and nuns of the place continue throughout the festival too to make their circumambulations; there is not a single moment of the day or night when no one is doing so. It was during this time that Lama Tsongkapa ensured the instauration of the Great Prayer Festival (Monlam chen-po).
  7. In 1409, at the foot of the image of Buddha Sakyamuni, Lama Tsongkapa searches for signs to guide him in selecting a place to build a new monastery. Indications come to him that Ganden is the best choice of sites, and so he travels to Drok Riwo Mountains, where Ganden Monastery will be built. He breaks the ground with his own foot, and then goes carefully and properly through all the steps required by the rules of monastic discipline. He sends Gyeltsabje and Duldzin to examine the land, making the necessary requests to the assembled monks and receiving their formal permission to build the monastery once the land has been properly examined. A monastic manager is assigned for the construction, and a separate kitchen area set off with stone walls is designated. Tsongkapa also ensures construction is keeping to other rules of discipline, such as the one which says that the lines of brick for the walls must not be laid too quickly, in a way which might collapse. All these happen as predicted by Manjushri.
  8. Teachings in Sera Chos-Ling.
  9. Teachings in Sanri.

 

Painting 13 >>

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Painting 13

  1. Ganden Monastery was founded by Lama Tsongkapa and construction of Ganden Monastery on the Drok Riwo Mountain starts.
  2. Lama Tsongkapa and his disciples move to Ganden.
  3. Lama Tsongkapa goes to Samten Ling in the region of Olka and gives numerous teachings. The abbot of Rabdrong has passed on and he has left Lama Tsongkapa offerings of 1000 weights of gold as well as silver and the like. Here Lama Tsongkapa spends the autumn retreat, making supplications to his Lama and Manjushri.
  4. On the 3rd day of the 12th month of the Year of the Cow, he has a vision of Manjushri in the middle of a mandala of 19 Deities. The central figure of the mandala reaches out towards Tsongkapa, handing him a precious vase. The Deity says, The sacred water in this vase comes from a time when Lama Atisha was sitting on the banks of the Kyichu river in Nyetang. From the time of Atisha, 310 yeaers have passed, and we have not been able to find anyone else worthy of presenting this vase. But now we give it to you.
  5. On the evening of the 4th day, he has a vision of Buton Rinpoche who entrusts him with the Root Tantra of Guhyasamaja. Buton Rinpoche takes the book up with his two hands and touches it down upon Tsongkapa’s head three times, each time repeating the mantra ‘HUNG VAJRA UTISHTHA‘.
  6. On the 5th day, Lama Tsongkapa achieves a firm comprehension of the Teachings of Marpa. And on the 6th day, Lama Tsongkapa comes to a deep understanding of the true intent of the realized being Nagarjuna and his spiritual son, Aryadeva. On the 7th day, Lama Tsongkapa is practicing the mixing of realizations, and he sees the text called Abbreviated Activity. He then sees that the stage of the practice of mixing where we mix sleep and our dreams exists, and with that he gains vast understanding on his visions. A vision Tsongkapa had where an offering set out to a deity with the note They have made the offering to the dead was not clearly understood that in later times, the secret teachings of Tantra would be lost, but because Lama Tsongkapa has elucidate them again, his efforts in these teachings were like making an offering to the deceased.
  7. On the 5th day of the 2nd month, while staying in Ganden, he composes several works.
  8. In 1411, Lama Tsongkapa suffers from serious health problems. In order to eliminate these hindrances, he makes an intensive practice of Vajrabhairava with a group of 30 disciples. Keeping it up for a long time, they begin to experience visions of all the different kinds of Buddhas and deities.
  9. In 1412 during autumn, Lama Tsongkapa remarked, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to teach you things over and over at this point. All I’m hoping for now is that we can cover the most important instructions of the four different classes of the secret word. Worried by these words, Tsongkapa’s principal disciples beseech him to enter a deep retreat to preserve his health. So on the 7th day of the 8th month, Lama Tsongkapa enters a retreat and experiences many extraordinary visions.
  10. On the 29th of the 2nd month of Tsongkapa’s 56th year, Lama Tsongkapa devotes himself to practice with seven close disciples. They make great efforts in recitation and meditation, so that one of the four spirits of harm makes a pledge that they will do no harm to any of the successive Lamas of this great monastery, for the length of 13th generations.
  11. He has a vision of the Buddha Sakyamuni who executes the mudra of the Victory upon demons.
  12. He has a vision of Protectors such as Mahakala with six arms and four arms, Yama, Vaisravana, and so forth who drag the troops of demons. The protecting spirit named Kshetra Pala drives the demon from behind, threatening him, and finally severs his head. Lama Tsongkapa then, with his meditation, stuffs the body into a demon pit. The four groups of the spirits cry out in despair, The war is lost! And they start to flee. Many in attendance of Tsongkapa hear these cries as well. After this, Lama Tsongkapa’s ailment gradually disappears.

 

Painting 14 >>

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Painting 14

  1. In 1414, during the summer of his 58th year, Lama Tsongkapa is invited by Miwang Drakpa Gyeltsen to go to Trashi Doka, in the region of On. Here in the words of the Crystal Mirror of Prophecy, it was said, This disciple of the Way of the Lotus, the monk named Source of Bliss, will become a monk in Tibet, a monk with the highest aspiration for virtue at the end; and he will greatly further the teachings of Lobsang Drakpa. At this time, he meets Je Gedun Drup (the 1st Dalai Lama) who was accompanying one of Tsongkapa’s principal spiritual sons, Trinley Namka. He gives teachings in front of vast religious assemblies.
  2. He stays in Ganden where he expounds the teachings. He has a vision of the Venerable Manjushri who makes a prophecy about him: From this point on, you must throw yourself into practicing the stages of creation and completion. If you do so, then you will quickly give birth to high realizations of the unsurpassed teachings of the secret world. Seven of your disciples – those with the fortune that comes from good deeds – will as well achieve extraordinary realizations of the path.
  3. Lama Tokden-pa dreams he arrives at one stupa and is told it is the stupa of Lama Tsongkapa. Dakinis holding ritual vases full of ambrosia purify and wash this stupa. The dakinis then say that it is not the right time to pour the nectar as they first need to be fixed and that after they’re fixed then the nectar will be poured. From 1415 to 1417, Lama Tsongkapa tells his disciples that if they perform secret practices at the assembly hall of the monastery, then other people will see empowerments that they are not ready to see, and see secret worlds that they are prohibited from seeing. As such, Lama Tsongkapa says they need to build a temple for these rituals which is isolated and private. In 1415, the foundation is laid for the Yangpa-chen Temple.
  4. While he is edifying Yangpa-chen Temple, Lama Tsongkapa has a vision of Buddha Sakyamuni, Maitreya, Amitabha and Yamantaka.
  5. During the construction of Yangpa-chen temple, he has a vision of Heruka with the mandala of the Deities. At that time, an assembly of Dakinis appears in the sky and presents offerings while singing praises.
  6. In 1417, during the inauguration ceremony of Yangpa-chen, a great roar like that of a dragon bursts forth from a perfectly cloudless sky, everyone present hears it fly down and melt into the Offerings Hall (chos-kang). At this same time, a number of great practitioners of the five stages say they see forms of Yamantaka, so huge that they cover the sky, approaching from the four directions. The entire surrounding land then is plunged into a time of wondrous fortune, due to the power of these events.
  7. In 1418, Lama Tsongkapa gives teachings on the commentaries of the Guhyasamaja and the Kalacakra.
  8. In the winter of the same year, Lama Tsongkapa says to his disciples that These protectors of the Dharma are also extremely pleased if, as we offer the torma cakes to them, we sing our chants out as loud as a lion’s roar. And so this is the way we should do it. While he is presenting tormas to the Protectors of the Law, he composes a particular melody for Yamantaka.
  9. In 1419, in the middle of numerous monks of the U and Tsang regions, he composes a commentary to the Root Tantra of Heruka and transmits his instructions.
  10. During autumn, he leaves Ganden for Lhasa at the request of his disciples, where he presents offerings to the Jowo and makes sincere vows.
  11. Staying in the region of Tolung, he gives numerous teachings to religious and lay devotees. Lama Tsongkapa visits the hot springs, but his legs only worsen. Lama Tsongkapa then sees the assembly of deities of the Secret Collections come and melt down into the abbey at Chumik lung and that he foretells that a monastery devoted to the secret teachings will come to be founded there.

 

Painting 15 >>

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Painting 15

  1. Lama Tsongkapa leaves Tolung and goes in a palanquin to Drepung monastery. A rainbow appears in front of the palanquin.
  2. When he conducts the consecration ceremony of the statues of the tantric college of Drepung, the Wisdom Beings Vajrabhairava and Mahakala with six arms manifest themselves and Lama Tsongkapa forces these wisdom beings into the images.
  3. Teaching in Drepung in front of vast religious assemblies. During this time, rainbows of all five colors repeatedly pierce the area of the debate ground. One day, in the middle of a teaching, Lama Tsongkapa stops and looks out towards Ganden Monastery. He ends the teaching at the 9th chapter of the Secret Collection. Everyone there begs him to continue with the teachings and instructions but Lama Tsongkapa refuses and said, I’ve made up my mind, since yesterday. If I go now, it will be better for everyone. So we’ll go. By doing this, Lama Tsongkapa sets in motion deep causes for the lineage of explanation for both the secret and open teachings to remain for a long time.
  4. Leaving Drepung for Lhasa, he bows to the Jowo, presents offerings and pronounces vows for the durability of the Teaching.
  5. In Sera, at the request of Jamchen Chuje he teaches the Root Tantra of the Guhyasamaja and of Heruka. It was here that it occurs to Lama Tsongkapa that he has yet to establish a monastery dedicated to the teaching and study of the secret teachings. During teachings, the students are packed into the debate ground in a great mass. There in the middle of them sits Lama Tsongkapa as he asks, Is there any here among you who will be able to uphold this tradition of teaching the secret ways? He asks once, and then twice but not a single one of these sages is able to step forth to accept the task. Then Lord Sherab Senge rises, and prostrates himself to Lama Tsongkapa and said, I will do it, delighting Lama Tsongkapa who then presented him an auspicious gift.
  6. At Balam Tse, Lama Tsongkapa meets the lord and lady of Castle Drakkar. He advises them that he requires the building of a monastery dedicated to the secret teachings, and they on their part agree to do so.
  7. They ask Lama Tsongkapa whether he could perform a ceremony of consecration on that very spot, and he replies, Unless we do it now, it’s not going to be done. He then undertakes an extensive consecration ceremony.
  8. Teachings in Drakkar.
  9. On the road to Drushi, extraordinary sounds are heard.
  10. Travel in palanquin from Drushi to Ganden. Lama Tsongkapa stops in Yangpa-chen where he presents vast offerings.
  11. He takes part to a vast prayer assembly in Ganden. His reason for undertaking these extensive prayers of auspiciousness standing there within a veritable ocean of monks is to create deep causes for other things to come.
  12. Back to his room in Ganden, Lama Tsongkapa is seriously ill. With Duldzin, Gyeltsabje and others in attendance, Gyeltsabje begs Tsongkapa to grant some advice. Lama Tsongkapa then takes the sage’s cap from his head and tosses it into Gyeltsabje’s lap. He also gives his monk’s cloak as well. Tsongkapa then says 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 gives these last instructions to his disciples and particularly to Gyeltsabje whom he designates as his successor.
  13. Lama Tsongkapa then crosses his legs in meditation position, and places his hands in the gesture of meditation. When this is done he pretends that he is achieving enlightenment for the first time, passing into the precious body of clear light. A rain of flowers falls from the sky, rainbows appear and many other auspicious signs appear when Lama Tsongkapa passes away.

 

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For more interesting information:

 

Source:

  1. http://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Tsongkhapa-Lobzang-Drakpa/8986
  2. King of Dharma
  3. Dje Tsongkapa

 

 

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20 Responses to The Life Story of Lama Tsongkhapa in art

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  1. Anne Ong on Jan 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you very much Rinpoche for this very beautiful write up about Lama Tsongkhapa’s life story and i really his beautiful art paintings.

  2. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    In Picture 15 Lama Tsongkhapa still works to establish a monastery dedicated only for secret teachings and practices. Lama Tsongkhapa leaves the Secret Collection teachings unfinished, so creating deep causes for the lineage of explanation for both the secret and open teachings to remain for a long time. He also then assigns Gyeltsabje as the next successor to the Gaden throne. Lord Tsongkhapa sits in meditation, passes into clear light, many auspicious signs appear.

    Such was the great deeds and works of the second Buddha Lama Tsongkhapa.

  3. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 4, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    In Picture 14, Lama Tsongkhapa meets with ‘Je Gedun Drup’ the 1st Dalai Lama, and the 1st Dalai Lama is prophecized to further Tsongkhapa’s teachings. Lama Tsongkhapa suggests the building of Yangpa-chen Temple so monks could practice their secret practices in relative solitude.

  4. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 2, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Ganden Monastery is completed in Picture 13, and Lama Tsongkhapa and all his disciples occupy the monastery. Lama Tsongkhapa experiences serious illness and engages in serious retreat. During the retreat Lama Tsongkhapa experiences many extraordinary experiences and sees many visions. Threat to Lama Tsongkhapa’s life subsides.

  5. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 1, 2016 at 2:59 am

    In Picture 12 of these series, Lama Tsongkhapa meets Khedrupje who goes on to become his heart student, and who ascends the Gaden Throne after Gyalsabje. Je Rinpoche also starts out the Monlam Festival as a spiritual event for Tibetans which is one of 4 great deeds of Lama Tsongkhapa. In this picture Lama Tsongkhapa accepts the offering from his students to build Gaden Monastery, and kicks off the start of the construction works.

  6. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 30, 2016 at 3:44 am

    in Picture 11, Je Rinpoche, is successful in revitalizing monastic practices, the Vinaya is once again made pure by Lama Tsongkhapa. Here also Lama Tsongkhapa chooses Gyeltsabje as his successor.

    Lama Tsongkapa has a vision of all the Masters of the Lamrim tradition, from the Buddha to his actual Master. Lord Atisha then places his hand upon Tsongkapa’s head, saying, “Work for the good of the teaching; I will help you to achieve enlightenment, and to serve all living beings.“ He then composes the Great Exposition of the stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrim Chen-mo).

  7. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 27, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    In picture 10, Lama Tsongkhapa meets one of this key Heart Sons Gyaltseb Je who would eventually ascend the Gaden Throne after Lama Tsongkhapa. Gyaltseb Je was an emanation of a King of Shambhala, those spiritual kings who taught Kalachakra.

    Lama Tsongkhapa has a vision of Nagarjuna and the 4 spiritual sons, and Pandit Buddha Palita blessed Je Rinpoche. Je Rinpoche then revisits the scripture Buddhapalita , with renewed faith he composes the text ‘A Praise of Dependent Origination’.

  8. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 23, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    In picture 9, Manjushri and Je Rinpoche are constantly in communication. Many visions and even lamas foretell of the importance of Lama Tsongkhapa for the sentient beings, likening him as no other than Buddha himself to reestablish monastic order, and structure Buddha’s teachings once more so many people in the future can benefit from it. Such is the significance of Lama Tsongkhapa.

  9. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Je Rinpoche listens to the advice of Manjushri and does not proceed to India. He makes offerings three monastic robes, the bowl and so forth to the statue of Maitreya in the Temple of in Dzingji Temple.

    Earlier when Je Rinpoche wanted to repair the roofs of Dzingji Temple, they had sell everything of value he and his monks had, to do a puja to request Vaishravana to lend assistance. A monk suddenly appears and offers a package of butterlamp and they managed to do the ritual, from then on offerings kept coming in, and whenever they had a need to repair the temple, they always repeated the same process of propitiating Vaishravana.

  10. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    For the seventh picture Lama Tsongkhapa, engages in serious retreat with his great 8 disciples and has visions of buddhas and bodhisattvas. After this great retreat , he restores the Maitreya statue which is one of the 4 great deeds of Je Tsongkhapa.

  11. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 17, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Lama Tsongkhapa relies on his Nyingma teacher lama Umapa to converse directly with Manjushri. Wasting no time lama Tsongkhapa asks deep and profound questions to clarify and confirm dharma points.

  12. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 12, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Shown with the 4th Thangka the activities of Lama Tsongkhapa relying heavily on Jetsun Rendawa. Jetsun Rendawa passed on many teachings to Tsongkhapa and was a key teacher in passing on various teachings and lineages to Je tsongkhapa.

  13. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 10, 2016 at 5:33 am

    The third picture shows how much teachings Je Tsongkhapa received from the masters of his day.

  14. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 8, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    The second picture in the series of 15 pictures of Lama Tsongkhapa, show the many signs of Lama Tsongkhapa was a special being. At a very tender age his learning was accelerated and was able to take on many teachings from his teachers.

  15. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 8, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Lama Tsongkhapa’s coming was foretold as far back as Buddha Shakyamuni’s time. We are really fortunate to have an emanation of Manjushri passing us such immaculate Wisdom teachings.

  16. Fong on Jun 30, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    This is more than the life story of Lama Tsongkhapa in art. It is the life story of Lama Tsongkhapa.

    It traces the life of Lama Tsongkhapa from the time he was born to his entering clear light. All his great acts and works show us that we, too can do at least some of it as Lama Tsongkhapa accomplished them as a human – like his 3.5 million prostrations and great written works like the Lamrim Chenmo.

    But the explanations of the paintings do help in understanding. It is infact easier to understand the paintings than it is to try and memorize the written works. The artists too did a very good job of painting the thangkas.

    Thank you for the effort of writing and compiling the thangkas with its accompanying explanations.

  17. Stella Cheang on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    We are so lucky to have our Guru His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche to give us teaching on our lineage throne holder, Lama Tsongkhapa at this level of details and clarity. Personally, I revere the single-mindedness of Lama Tsongkhapa in learning and spreading dharma throughout his entire lifetime. For example, in between teachings, He travelled afar to Tsang in order to learn a tantric oral transmission (from Drakpa She-nyen). As a student of the Gelug lineage, I think we need to take the life story of Lama Tsongkhapa seriously.

    Thank you Rinpoche for this comprehensive teachings on Lama Tsongkhapa. I will learn it up properly.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  18. Choong on Mar 8, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you so much Rinpoche. Feeling inspired already. This article has more important details than the previous article on the same thangkas on Rinpoche’s blog. The details are very meaningful to me and I appreciate it very, very much. With folded hands, Choong.

  19. Alice Tay on Mar 6, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    宗喀巴大师大师(本名罗桑札巴)是众所周知的藏传佛教格鲁派的创始人,距离现在有大约660年的历史了。

    在宗喀巴大师大师传里,让我印象最深刻的包括:
    1. 宗喀巴大师从小修习佛法,天资聪颖,一学即悟。宗喀巴大师精进的修持,终于如愿的亲自见到本尊,文殊菩萨。

    2. 宗喀巴大师传授重要教诲,就是净治业障、忏悔和积极累积功德。宗喀巴大师在闭关时,虽然受伤了不过大师还坚持以苦行式修持曼陀罗供养和大礼拜只为了尽快消除业障。

    3. 宗喀巴大师重整佛教,注重于戒律,以戒为师。

    4. 宗喀巴大师第一部重要著作《菩提道次第广论》,讲述着大师对密教的修持法。而今天的《掌中解脱》就是取自于《菩提道次第广论》为根本典籍。

    5. 创建三大寺院流传至今天的甘丹寺、色拉寺与哲蚌寺。

    非常感谢仁波切在此分享这些特别与罕见的宗喀巴大师唐卡。由于唐卡是藏族文化中有着独具特色的艺术形式来记载佛教的历史、传说、文化等等。我们可以曾此机会来了解唐卡艺术的同时也可以了解藏传佛教祖师们的历史。

  20. Sarah on Mar 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    This visual method of teaching the life of Lama Tsongkhapa through art is very effective! In the old days, Tibetan teachers carried thangkas with them and used them as teaching tools. Nowadays, we have images on the internet and every detail can be explained using this new technology. The method is ancient but the tools are modern. I find this method of learning easy, enjoyable and highly effective.

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  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 06:42 PM
    According to the Buddhist teachings, we all have a unique blend of karma that determines where we are born, the circumstances of our birth and the quality of our life. Naturally, this is due to the actions that we performed in previous lives. Karma also dictates our characteristics and traits that determine how we act throughout our lives, which in turn leads to certain outcomes in this life and a determination of where we will take rebirth in the future.

    Karma, however, is not set in stone. We can change our circumstances through our own efforts – purification of karma and accumulation of merit. Tibetan astrology, based on these Buddhist principles, provides us the methods to ensure success in this life and a good rebirth in the future. Tibetan astrology can also predict what will happen to us in this life and our next rebirth based on the time of our birth.

    Discover your traits according to the Mewa, or Magical Square system of Tibetan astrology below, and find out how to purify your negative karma to improve your life!

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  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 05:24 PM
    Very interesting:


    Radin explained in his book: “For a Western-trained academic, the mere existence of, say, telepathy would be considered supernormal and thus wildly extraordinary. But for an experienced yogi, it’s just a boringly normal minor siddhi [a Sanskrit term for a meditation attainment, or power]. A skeptical scientist, not having the benefit of thousands of hours of practice in yoga and meditation, would require repeatable, rigorously obtained experimental data showing odds against chance of a gazillion to one. The yogi merely requires his own experience.”


    Very interesting read: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2157904-supernormal-abilities-developed-through-meditation-dr-dean-radin-discusses/?sidebar=morein
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:45 PM
    Its indeed a beautiful place …..away from the city hectic life to visit and could stay over night too.Just to get away from work to relax ,get some fresh air ,do meditation and so forth .At Kechara Forest RetreatI,Bentong is where the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world situated and we can receive blessing,make offering to the Buddhas as well as enjoy the tranquility of the beautiful gardens.I have recomended my friends and relatives to visit such a beautiful place at Bentong.
    Thank you Paul Yap for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 01:15 PM
    Well…all pendants are beautifully designed,hand crafted to match each and every sacred images on it to suit all occasion for the wearer.I can see a lot of hard work for those involed in desgning and making of it.
    All pendants are very unique, modern, timeless and also sacred ,thats all i could describe it.Hope more people will be wearing these beautiful pendants to get connected with the Buddhas.Thank you Rinpoche for sharing and Kechara’s Louise Lee for creating Dharma art in in the form of jewelry
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/timeless-and-sacred.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:41 PM
    This Mahasiddha is Kukkuripa (the dog lover). He loved dogs so much. When he meditated in the cave he had his doggie with him. She had kept him company for years in his cave. They shared bedding, food, water and company. When he gained high attainments, the Dakinis came to take him to Kechara Paradise. He was hesitant to go but the Dakinis insisted and he went with them.

    He arrived at Kechara (Paradise/Buddha abode of Heruka and Vajra Yogini) and enjoyed teachings and feasts up there and they asked him to stay longer if not forever…. But he kept thinking about his doggie left alone in the cave. He felt guilty and missed her. Kukkuripa would use his psychic powers to see his poor doggie alone and hungry waiting for him at the cave while enjoying the attention of the Dakinis and feasts. The cave was dark and had no food. The doggie had to go out and find small tiny scraps of food and was getting skinny. Kukkuripa saw this and it pained him. Worried she was not getting enough food. He use to share the offerings of food he would get from people with her. Doggie and him would delightfully eat the food together. Kukkuripa had no attachments to ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ in regards to sharing food with his dog. He had overcome this in his meditations. In ancient India, people would not co-habitate with a dog. It was considered unclean and filthy, but Kukkuripa had cast away those notions and loved his dog as she loved him. But he felt guilty to leave her alone while he was ‘enjoying’ himself in Kechara and could not stop thinking about his beloved dirty smelly dog in his cave alone…so he left Kechara Paradise and all it’s ‘delights’ for his doggie. He couldn’t abandon her. The Dakinis implored him to stay, but he was firm to return. The Dakinis said you will give up this paradise here for a mere dog???!! You can advance further in your meditations if you stay in Kechara and then help the dog later they attempted to persuade him. But Kukkuripa would not stay, he was loyal to his little dog as she had kept him company for many years in the lonely dark cave. She was loyal to him and how can he abandon her now. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t listen to the Dakinis. He left to join doggie. He never forget her companionship and loyalty. All the wonderful things in Kechara could not tempt him against his loyal friend the little doggie. He left everything for her.

    So he finally left Kechara to the Dakinis dismay and went back to his cave to be with his dog so she won’t be alone. Doggie was delighted to see her master and wagged her tail so much!! She licked him and he hugged her! She was skinnier for not eating well these few days he noticed. He fed her and hugged her and loved his doggie…He went back to his routine of meditation, receiving food offerings and sharing his food with doggie. They were happy together. One day, when he was scratching her in her favorite place and she licked him so his eyes were closed, when he opened his eyes she had suddenly turned into a Dakini shimmering with lights! The brilliance of the lights lit up the whole cave in front of Kukkuripa!! Kukkuripa was astonished to behold the splendourous lady in front of him! Of course this Dakini must be the Queen Herself he realized, as Vajra Yogini which was Kukkuripa’s main Yidam he had meditated on her for years in the cave. And She said to Kukkuripa, “Well done, you gave up paradise to be with just a dog..it shows you have given up attachements and projections of pleasant and unpleasant, now your Dakini will give you the final paradise (enlightenment)!”

    Kukkuripa attained full enlightenment blessed by Vajra Yogini by releasing the final subtle attachment to the non-existent self! After enlightenment his fame and name grew and many came to see him and he gave teachings to countless and benefitted many before he finally ascended to Kechara the second and final time. He was forever known as Kukkuripa the dog lover.

    I love him so much!!! This is one of my favorite Mahasiddhas along with Badrapa, Shantideva, Ghantapa and a few others. I wanted to share this story with you. I wanted you to know that there are many great true stories like this one about Kukkuripa that are true and can be applied to our lives. To inspire us.

    Tsem Rinpoche
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:29 PM
    The great and illustrious master Sonam Tsemo at the end of his life was described by an old woman who witnessed Sonam Tsemo depart. Standing on a rock at the holy spring near Sakya area known as Chumik Dzingka, his body ascended gracefully into the sky, still holding his dog. He loved his dog very much. Even today the footprints of Loppon Sonam Tsemo and the dog can be clearly seen in the rock, left for the benefit of living beings as a field from which to accumulate merit. It is a sign of a holy being when they can leave their footprints in stone for future generations to witness and make offerings on that spot to collect merits. This holy site was decorated by the great master Mantradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen later on. Other accounts say that he ascended from Gorum Library near Chumik Dzingka spring. A stupa containing his holy relics was erected there. Sonam Tsemo was a powerful practitioner of the Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini and at the end of his short life he ascended with his very body to Kechara paradise. He was 40 years old. Kechara is the sanksrit name of the special abode of Vajra Yogini. Those who practice Vajra Yogini to the highest level can ascend her paradise with their very bodies. Sonam Tsemo the great master of sutra and tantra was seen by an old woman flying off holding his beloved dog to ascend Kechara paradise. No one every found his body and his room was empty.
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Mar 27. 2017 12:27 PM
    Congratulations to Mitra for his first dharma teaching in Nepali to the expats. So glad that Dorje Shugden practise can reach out to many in various languages and to different people. Mitra has done a good job in introducing Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and guided them on the benefit and iconography of Dorje Shugden.

    May Lama Tsongkhapa lineage and Dorje Shugden practise continue to grow and benefit more people.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/mitra-teaches-bhagwan-dorje-shugden-in-nepali.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 04:15 PM
    Very clear explanation of what is Vajrayogini’s left foot stepping on. Each time when i have a look at the beautiful statue of Vajrayogini this question will comes back to me. i am glad came across these blog by chance, i saw and read to understand better.A clear explanation ..stampling left and right foot significant of desire ,hatred and ignorance that cause us to be in samsara and she she able to control.Vajrayogni’s practices is so powerful in heliping us and that is the reason Rinpoche always ask us to start now.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these short explanation in the video and the interesting story of Mahadeva.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/facebook-question-what-is-vajra-yoginis-left-foot-stepping-on.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:44 PM
    Rejoice to all the families who had setup a Buddhist altar at home and conducted a house blessing puja. There are diverse benefits of conducting the house blessing puja, which ranges from bringing well-being on all levels – in one’s health, relationships, business, and family – to purifying the home. The puja ceremonies will purify the environment which helps the people who live there and people who are visiting there to experience general well-being. The puja can be personalised based on the request or need of the individual. Thank you for sharing with us the many photos of the beautiful altar of these families, it is very heartwarming to know that they will always be blessed by the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/10-amazing-house-blessings-by-kechara-pastors.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 02:24 PM
    Thank you for sharing this mindfully planned itinerary for everyone who is interested in visiting Kechara Forest Retreat. Kechara Forest Retreat has different facets that showcase different elements of spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism in this wholesale venue. One can enjoy the flora and fauna of Mother Nature, or embrace the contemporary architectures that feature many magnificent Buddha statues and authentic Himalayan decorations. Not forgetting to mention, in Kechara Forest Retreat sits the largest Dorje Shugden statue in the world! This is a holy place we must never miss to pay homage for blessings from the Three Jewels.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/go-bentong.html
  • Pastor Shin Tan
    Sunday, Mar 26. 2017 01:07 PM
    金泽“财王”护法殿

    在禅修林的入口处的左边有一间小佛堂,是全天候二十四小时开放给大众的。这间佛堂的一砖一瓦都是由不同善心人士捐增的。也因为他们过后发了一笔小财,所以在大马文东,金泽护法一般被简称为“财王“。

    根据佛陀教诲,五蕴是组成众生的五个方面,分别是色、受、想、行、识。证悟者如多杰雄登能将五蕴分别化现成不同的本尊。金泽是多杰雄登“受”蕴的化现,作用是协助我们增长世俗和修行上的财富。“受”蕴是我们对愉悦或不悦感受的认知。我们执着于愉悦,避免不悦,而这正是导致我们受困和造下各种业,继而产生痛苦的因(此段原文: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d7edf5f0102x1n6.html)

    来到这里,我们首先要上香。做生意的朋友可要趁此机会拜拜,供养一个大的莲花蜡烛,上三根大香,祈求今年一帆风顺哦。

    摘自“GO BENTONG!与菩萨有约”
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120808
  • Lin Mun
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 11:02 PM
    Can’t imagine that a priest actually stabbed Pope John Paul. How can he do this when he as a priest is suppose to be compassion and love everyone but kill the religion leader. he should remember that he carries the name priest and hence must show good example and behaviour to others but instead took another person’s life.

    I respected Pope John who continued his trip even though he was injured. That shows the determination he had to teach so it can benefit others. Always put others first more than our own needs.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/pope-john-paul-stabbed-by-priest.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Saturday, Mar 25. 2017 08:13 PM
    It is admirable for Sine Lindholm & Mads Ulrik Husum to place their design as open source for everyone to download and copy to manufacture. This shows how farsighted they are in propelling self-sustainability. The first step is always the hardest, and I believe what Sine and Mads had done is towards the right direction. In this way, people from all the around the world who genuinely are passionate and interested in growing own vegetables will be able to start on their own. Without needing to rely on middleman or manufacturer who might end up making the brilliant idea a commercial white elephant. Thank you, Rinpoche for this sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html
  • Alice Tay
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 10:05 PM
    Many companies especially in overseas are very considerate and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. I personally think that this is a very good practice where the employees no longer have to worry about leaving pets at home alone. The work environments that cultivate loving kindness, caring and compassion create a much more positive and productive place to work. Besides, it may influence everyone especially those who do not have pet to be more kind to the animals.

    Nevertheless, the employer and employees may have to work together to maintain the safe and cleanliness work place such as reduce odour, provide clean air and many others.

    Thank you for this interesting article as a reminder to us to love and be kind to animals no matter where we are.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/inside-the-worlds-most-dog-friendly-office.html
  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Mar 24. 2017 07:06 PM
    Superb idea and very creative. Home farming in the cities ! Appreciate all the hardwork and ideas to produce Growroom. It’s just like putting a big puzzle and making the whole process so much easier to plant in cities where we always have limited spaces.

    We should support more people to come up with such ideas so we can eat our own food and cultivate self sustainability.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/build-your-own-growroom.html

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CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

What Am I Writing Now

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
yesterday
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
yesterday
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 week ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 week ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 week ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 week ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 week ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
3 weeks ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
3 weeks ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
4 weeks ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
4 weeks ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
2 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
2 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
2 months ago
This is a good one to read
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
2 months ago
Mumu is silly and cute and funny
Mumu\'s hair is messy and he looks funny
2 months ago
Mumu's hair is messy and he looks funny
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. 
I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. 
Feast your eyes! 

Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
I am in the process of creating beautiful Dorje Shugden and Kechara Forest Retreat watches at this time. So we can take precious protector and Kechara Forest Retreat wherever we go and be blessed everytime we see what time it is. I am perfecting the designs with a great team and will update when done but these are just some samples that arrived. Feast your eyes! Tsem Rinpoche
                        Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini\'s path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html  Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Pick the practice, devotion and precepts of Vajra Yogini's path over everything and anything in samsara. Samsara has nothing of value and nothing lasting to offer. You are born in suffering, live in suffering, die in suffering and enter bardo and future lives expecting more sufferings. This is not a negative way of looking at things but the truth. If the truth is negative, so it is the truth. Devote oneself to the guru, dharma work, dharma practice and bringing dharma to others compassionately. Choose to practice Vajra Yogini now with the preliminaries. You can start right now: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/starting-on-vajra-yogini-now.html Much care, Tsem Rinpoche
Message to Tibetans in English
3 months ago
Message to Tibetans in English
Message to the Tibetans
3 months ago
Message to the Tibetans
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
3 months ago
Left to right: Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, 101st Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal. Great lamas of Gaden Shartse Monastery
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
3 months ago
A beautiful Indian rendition of Gyenze Dorje Shugden manifesting in wealth form
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
This is my thoughts and determination to share with you. Please open and read. Thank you for your time. Tsem Rinpoche
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
3 months ago
Nepalese King Birendra receives His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche in Nepal
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
3 months ago
Guess what Zava Damdin Rinpoche did in Mongolia recently with 7,800 people??? Very interesting and it is a must read:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116206
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
4 months ago
This huge Buddha in Korea is magnificent
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
4 months ago
The very first oracle of Dorje Shugden in trance statue. I have commissioned this.
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
4 months ago
Such a old and ancient thangka painting of Dorje Shugden. He has been around in Tibet practiced for hundreds of years.
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
4 months ago
One of the "Four Exalted Brothers" Avalokiteshvara statues, Phagpa Wati of Kyirong, which is now with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
4 months ago
Kyabje Zemey, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
4 months ago
My Oser girl and Mumu boy are so adorable
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Wow this meditator in his cave in front of a painting of Yamantaka draped with a white khata of respect. He sits among bones to remind him of impermanence and our future. The bones inspire him strongly to let go of all attachments in this life and focus on dharma, meditation and liberation and he is doing so. Very beautiful and inspirational. Tsem Rinpoche
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
5 months ago
Tenzing Norgay found this in Nepal. Guess what it is?
Sir Edmund Hillary
5 months ago
Sir Edmund Hillary
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha\'s teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
5 months ago
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Wild natural plants and flowers are my favorite offering. Buddha's teachings on meditation and Yidam practice bring the ultimate results and happiness. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I\'ve seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
6 months ago
Previous lives do resemble current lives especially if they are a recognized incarnation. If notice how similar the previous and current Trijang Rinpoche looks. The eyes, bone structure, expression, long neck, thin and overall look. Beautiful. I've seen this phenomena over and over in many Rinpoche incarnations. Especially when you compare them with pictures of previous and current lives at around the same ages. Something powerfully karmic about this. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
6 months ago
It's nice to have monks visitors and resident monks in Kechara
                         Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
6 months ago
Taken in Lake Champlain in Canada. A huge water monster...neat...
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    ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བཀའ་སློབ་དོན་སྙིང་དེ།།གང་གི་རྣ་བར་བདུད་རྩི་མོད།།འོན་ཀྱང་འགའ་ཡི་རྣ་ལམ་དུ།། བྲག་ཆ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྱུར་སྲིད་མོད།། ཚང་མས་ཚར་རེ་གཟིགས་རོགས།། Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche telling people that it is important to have guru samaya. It use to be that way in the great monasteries. We should not create problems and schisms. If we want to practice a protector, then do so, if not it's okay, but don't make trouble. One should just practice the Buddha Dharma well. To do good practice. If you have faith in Dorje Shugden and trust all the way, he will definitely help you. But most important is to practice the dharma. This is his advice in short here. It's good to let more Tibetans hear this holy speech and appeal by this very senior Rinpoche. TR

ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • March 28, 2017 09:11
    Lia asked: If the ushnisha is actually supposed to be a bump, then do we change the visualization of the top knot and replace it with a bump covered in hair or do we keep the ushnisha as the thangkas show?
    No reply yet
  • March 27, 2017 04:19
    Dongho asked: I have been reading on the tunes of certain sects and would like to ask on this. From what I've read, there are certain tunes to each sect and school of certain chants. Exactly where can I find the sheet music for these percussion and horns with the chants, such as to the one for invoking Kache Marpo or Dorje Shugden? Would it be possible to use school instruments for this?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your question, it is good to see you back and asking more questions. Yes you are right, there are differences in the tunes and chants between the lineages. The differences can vary significantly between the traditions, for example the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is known for its extremely deep throat singing which is very powerful and is characterised by a low, booming voice, in contrast to the other traditions. Even within a particular tradition, there can be slight variations as to the manner in which the chants and tunes are performed. For example those monasteries are which are affiliated with Gyume will have one way of throat singing, where those affiliated with Gyuto will have another. As far as I am aware there is no professional sheet music for the rituals, most probably because the music is actually an integral part of the ritual itself. Therefore the music, tunes, and chants are all taught at the same time the ritual and prayers are. The tunes, and use of the instruments all have specific meanings, because they are considered to be offerings to the deities in the form of sound. The monasteries would not have copies of sheet music either, because sheet music is western practice. The use of ritual music within Tibetan Buddhism is more of one based on memory. In the Kechara organisation, the puja team was trained in such ritual instruments at the same time they learnt the particular ritual from monks from the monastery, such as the puja of Dorje Shugden. From what I saw of the training, the musical tunes, and use of instruments was not written down but taught experientially at the same time as the chanting. I have not come across any other instruments being used in pujas apart from the traditional ritual instruments, because even the instruments themselves have a specific meaning. That is not say that school instruments cannot be used. This is because, as long as the offering is sincere, the Buddhas and enlightened deities will accept it, and in turn you will generate great amounts of merit. Offerings should be made to the best of our ability, therefore if you do not have access to the ritual instruments, or do not know how to play them, but you know how to play other instruments, and use these instruments as offerings to the Buddhas during pujas, the amount of merit you generate will be the same. This is because you are sincere with your offering. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 26, 2017 02:14
    Kunga asked: Does the Gelug have Begtse a protector? If so, could you please provide a sadhana for him here?
    pastor answered: Dear Kunga, Yes the Dharma protector Begtse exists within the Gelug tradition. He is also known as Chamsing. Begtse’s practice stems from India and was introduced to Tibet and therefore Tibetan Buddhism by the translator Nyen Lotsawa. Marpa Lotsawa also practiced Begtse, and so the practice exists in the Kagyu traditions. This practice was eventually transmitted to Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the first of the five patriarchs of the Sakya tradition, who were the founding fathers of that tradition. Over time the practice of Begtse was incorporated into the Gelug tradition, founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, and was notably practiced by the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas. Over time the practice gained popularity within the lineage, especially when it spread to Mongolia. There the practice became an important one within the lineage as upheld there. Begtse is also affectionately known as the Dharma protector of Mongolia, because his practice is so popular there. If I am not mistaken, there is an oracle of Begtse in Mongolia as well. There is a mistaken account that the practice originated around the time of the 3rd Dalai Lama, with the subjugation of a Mongolian war god, but Begtse was definitely practiced before that time in the Gelug, Kagyu and Sakya traditions. While the practice of Begtse is very effective, I have not come across the practice of Begtse in my personal practice, therefore I do not have access to the Begtse sadhana to provide to you. Instead Begtse is propitiated in prayers that incorporate many other Dharma protectors, and Begtse is also considered one of the nine protectors of the Hayagriva (Tamdrin) cycle of tantric teachings. Therefore Begtse is included in the Dharma protector sections of the Hayagriva tantras. Surrounding Begtse are his sister, Sing Ma, and his main minister, Le Khan Mar Po. His inner retinue comprises of eight butchers who wield copper swords in their right hands and skull-cups full of blood in their left hands. They are portrayed as naked and are very ugly. His outer retinue comprises a further twenty-one butchers, who hold copper swords in their right hands, and this time, the entrails of butchered enemies. They wear the skins humans and oxen as clothes, with ornaments made from human bone. While this may seem violent, Begtse is actually a very powerful and beneficial protector, who helps practitioners clear their obstacles and create conducive conditions for their spiritual evolution. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 24, 2017 20:12
    Azair asked: Venerable Rinpoche, I am doing a study in Kalachakra Tantra and I've heard from most of the lama's too that if you practice the Kalachakra Tantra, you'll be able to take control of your next rebirth. Ofcourse, it has been said that we will get our rebirth according to our Karma and desires but whether those dreams will get fulfilled will depend upon the actions that we take in this life. Thus, practicing the Kalachakra(till the end) after initiation will give you the opportunity to take rebirth anywhere you desire regardless of your Karma. My question is that, is there some truth in this statement.? Does this statement hold true for other tantra practices, such as Vajrayogini Tantra, Ghuyasamaja Tantra, Heruka Tantra, etc. I would really really like to know. Thankyou in anticipation, regards, Azair
    pastor answered: Dear Azair, Thank you for your question. Yes there is truth to this statement, both from a scriptural perspective and also by example, as the great masters have shown us. This is a unique feature of all Anuttarayoga Tantras or Highest Yoga Tantras, which Kalachakra, Vajrayogini, Guhyasama and Heruka are all examples of. This category of tantric practice can actually lead a practitioner to full enlightenment in this very lifetime. Even if enlightenment is not reached, very high levels of attainment can be reached nonetheless. This includes the ability to take control over your next rebirth. This is primarily engaged in so that the practitioner is born in an environment where they can eventually pick up their practice and further their spiritual path to enlightenment, or in order to be born in a place where they can benefit sentient beings the most, as part of the spiritual journey over many lifetimes. One of the reasons such an ability is very necessary on the spiritual path, is that usual death and rebirth occurs at the mercy of ones karma, specifically what is known as the ‘throwing karma’ or the karma that dictates what sort of rebirth a person is going to take. This opens up at the time of ordinary death, which most people have no control over. During the death process, many of our disturbing emotions will arise. Whichever of these is the strongest at the point of death triggers open a latent karmic potential, which becomes the ‘throwing karma’ and dictates where we are going to take rebirth and if that life will generally be full of suffering or not. Within Anuttarayoga Tantra, one of the key points of practice is to prepare for one’s death. This is done by simulating the dying process during one’s meditations, so that one becomes familiar with it. At the most pivotal part of this process, one practices achieving either the rainbow body or great bliss (in the case of the father tantras); or clear light (in the case of mother tantras). The tantras themselves are not defined in terms of the gender of the central deity, but by the method used to gain enlightenment. This is either the rainbow body/great bliss (classified as male, therefore labelled ‘father’) or clear light (classified as female, therefore labelled ‘mother’). Non-dual tantras such as the Kalachakra tantra can employ either of the two methods, a mixture of both, or alternate methods. In the case of superior practitioners, due to the power of their practice, they can achieve either of these two methods in their current body. Since they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, and a particular method of practice, they can also achieve enlightenment during their physical death. The great Lama Tsongkhapa is said to have achieved enlightenment at the moment of physical death, using the second of these. For other practitioners, they may not be able to achieve this either in their meditations while they are alive, or during the death process. However because they have familiarised themselves with the dying process, they remain in complete concentration at the time of death, not allowing any disturbing emotions to arise. Due to this level of concentration, meditation and awareness during the dying process, they are able to control where they next take rebirth. This is evident in the tantric scriptures themselves, and the life stories of many masters, who can state exactly where, when and to whom they will take their next rebirth, as they are in full control of the dying and rebirth process. There is a type of meditation called ‘thukdam’ which has been translated into ‘death meditation’. This is a final meditation some masters choose to engage in. During this meditation, the master themselves consciously begin the physical dying process themselves, engage in the meditation of dissolving the winds into the heart centre and remain in the most pivotal part of the death process, the mind of clear light of death. During this point they engage in meditations, either the methods of the father or mother tantras as mentioned previously, and or consciously choose where they are to next take rebirth. They can remain in this death meditation for long periods of time, days at an end, in which their consciousness has not yet left their body, although for all intents and purposes they are dead according to medical science, e.g. they have no heartbeat. At the end of their meditation, a drop of blood will be emitted from their nostril, and their head will slump over a little. Masters who engage in this meditation usually sit in full meditation posture, and their body remain supple and soft even though they have passed away from a medical point of view. I hope this brief explanation helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2017 23:01
    Brad asked: What is the significance of offering the Seven precious emblems of royalty to the Buddhas and enlightened Dharma Protectors? What are we symbolically offering up?
    pastor answered: Dear Brad, Thank you for your question. The ‘saptaratna’ or seven precious emblems represent on the one hand the ultimate state of temporal power, and on the other hand the ultimate spiritual attainments that we can achieve. By offering these to the Buddhas, we are actually creating the causes to achieve what they represent. Therefore it is good to know the meaning of each, so we can understand what we are creating the causes for by offering them up: Please see below for an explanation of the seven royal emblems: 1. The Precious Wheel: a thousand spoked wheel, representing the universal power of the Buddhas, as well as the teachings of the thousand Buddhas of our aeon. It is represented by the Dharmachakra, symbolising the ‘turning of the wheel’ or teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, especially that of our own mind, thoughts, delusions and afflictions. 2. The Precious Jewel: an eight sided wish-granting gem, which fulfils all the needs of a universal emperor. This jewel has eight special qualities: it illuminates the night sky for hundreds of leagues; it is cooling when the temperature is hot and warming when the temperature is cold; it makes manifest whatever the holder wants; when thirsty it causes a fresh-water spring to appear; it has the ability to control the nagas, and other supernatural beings, as well as preventing natural disasters such as storms, floods, etc.; it gives off multi-coloured lighted which heals the various mental and emotional afflictions; it cures all illnesses; and it ensures that one dies a natural death, not an untimely one. It is a symbol of a universal emperor’s spiritual and temporal power. It is also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect mindfulness, or perfect discrimination, so one knows what to abandon and what to keep in the mindstream during the spiritual journey to enlightenment. 3. The Precious Queen: the most beautiful and virtuous of all women. She is described as a goddess who is the epitome of someone: with devotion; without jealousy; who is the embodiment of fertility; who works for the welfare of all beings; who possess feminine wisdom; speaks the truth; not attract to sensual pleasures or material possessions; and does not have false views. She is adored by all. She also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect effort. This is necessary to keep meditating until one gains spiritual attainments. 4. The Precious Minister: who has sharp intelligence, patience, and the ability to give wise counsel to the emperor. He is so attuned to the emperor that even before the emperor has spoken, the minister is already carrying out his command. He only wishes to support the Dharma, help sentient beings, and is an excellent strategist. He also represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect joy. This is also akin to the attainment of the first bodhisattva level, because you have come to an understanding of your own mind, which is like pouring ice-cold water into boiling water. The water stops boiling, as does the thoughts, projections, and delusions in the mind. He represents the path of the bodhisattva. 5. The Precious Elephant: who has the strength of a thousand normal elephants. He is white, with the perfect features that an elephant could have. He is majestic, graceful, and gentle, but in battle is fearsome, fearless and unyielding. He communicates with the emperor through a telepathic link. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect adaptability. This is important, as one needs to be able to adapt to the various mental afflictions as they arise, and suitably counter them. 6. The Precious Horse: who has all the marks of a celestial horse. Known as wind-horse, he is able to travel extremely fast, and can circumambulate the entire universe three time in just a single day. He is never fearful or startled, never makes a sound when galloping, and has extremely soft hairs on his body. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is single-pointed concentration. This is important because without this form of concentration, once cannot engage in the analytical meditations that lead to an understanding of emptiness, and therefore enlightenment. 7. The Precious General: who has mastered the arts of war and always wins in battle. He wears battle armour and holds many different weapons. He tries to avoid battle, but when necessary fights, and never gives up until he has won. He is fearless, and courageous in carrying out the emperors commands and ensures the emperors army carries out their duties. He represents one of the factors of enlightenment, which is perfect equanimity. This is because he overcomes all warfare, which is akin to the battle between things were are attached to and things we have an aversion for in our minds. In short, what you are offering up is the highest of all temporal treasures and abilities, as well as the entire path of the Dharma. Doing so creates the causes for you to receive all of this on your spiritual journey towards enlightenment. I hope this helps. Thank you.
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Dorje Shugden
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