Research Articles

Shangpa Sites on Tibet Map

The Shangpa Kagyu tradition has had close historical connections with the Jonang since the sixteenth century. Starting with Kunga Drolchok , and his lineage successor Taranatha , the Jonang and Shangpa transmissions have passed in sync up to the present day. For more on these connections see the post, On the Shangpa & Jonangpa .

Because of the closeness between these traditions, and our work to preserve the Jonang Buddhist tradition and its affiliates, we have begun to document the Shangpa tradition in Tibet. Field work began on this project this past summer on the Jonang Foundation...

Taranatha in Mongolia

There is much lore about Taranatha in Mongolia. The link to Taranatha was initiated with the 1st Zanabazar, who traces his previous incarnation to Taranatha and his preceding succesion of embodiments. This connection endures to the present-day.

jf_taranatha_mongollia.jpg One artifact that gives evidence for this historic connection is a realist statue of Taranatha that is found in the personal collection of the first Zanabazar, in his winter palace. The statue is large and lifelike, with a full goatee,...

Jonang Takten Monastery 3D Map

An extension of our sites database and interactive satellite map of Jonang sites , we are happy to announce the launch of our 3D map of the campus of Takten Phuntsok Damcho Ling Monastery in southern Tibet.

Video Map Guide:

This map is the first in a multi-phased project that is visualizing Takten Monastery in an interactive three dimensional space. Takten Monastery was built by Tāranātha and completed in the year 1615. It served as headquarters for the Jonangpa until it was confiscated in 1650. This project utilizes digital architecture technology tools, images and blueprint sketches...

Finding the Original Jonang Monastery

The Jonangpa have longstanding historical and cultural ties to locality. [1] So much so that their very identity is derived from and enmeshed within their place of origin. The term “Jonang” is an abbreviation of “Jomonang,” the name of the valley where the first Jonangpas settled. [2]

Jonang historical texts as well as biographies of early Jonangpa masters reference this first settlement simply as, "Jonang Monastery" ( jo nang dgon pa ). These sources specify this as the founding site of the Jonang tradition.

Where Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361) lived and constructed the...

Tsewang Norbu at Jonang

jf_tsewang norbu_01.jpg Tsewang Norbu

The one who Hugh Richardson referred to in his 1967 article as “a Tibetan antiquarian” in describing his efforts to jot down stone pillar inscriptions in Lhasa and at Samye that date from the 8th and 9th centuries, the Nyingma master Rigzin Tsewang Norbu was a lover of rare books. [1] In fact, it seems that he was a bit of a Buddhist bibliophile.

About a hundred years after Tāranātha's death in the...

Dolpopa on Emptiness

The following post is titled, Emptiness of Self-nature and Emptiness of Other by Cyrus Stearns, a contributing author to the Jonangpa blog. It is an excerpt from the reprint of The Buddha from Dolpo (Snow Lion Publications, 2010). Posted here with permission from the author. [1]

The key in Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen's approach is to link his view of the absolute as empty only of other relative phenomena ( gzhan stong ) to the teachings of the Kṛtayuga, as opposed to the teachings of the Tretāyuga and later eons that emphasize even absolute reality is empty of self-nature ( rang stong...

The Quintessence of Rangtong

jf_sky2_diego_2022.jpg Sky over Tibet

A long time coming, actually a year to the day since my last January 13th posting, The Quintessence of Zhentong from the collection of 108 Quintessential Instructions , I thought to revisit these instructions with a complimentary post.

Each of these instructions was meant to act as a pith directive to the practitioner about how to cultivate a particular outlook on the nature of reality through contemplative experience. These 108 Quintessential Instructions of the Jonang continue to be...

On the Shangpa & Jonangpa

0452.jpg Dakini Niguma

Commentators on earlier posts have asked or made reference to relationships between the Shangpa lineage and the Jonangpa. [1] In response, I thought to sketch some of the overlapping threads among Shangpas and Jonangpas in order to draw a few historical connections.

The Shangpa lineage, as Tibetologist Matthew Kapstein has described, is like "some vine that adorns a whole forest without being able to stand by itself" so much so that it "may strike one who follows its twists and...

Rongton’s Praise to Dolpopa

Over the summer, I was browsing through a Tibetan book shop and I happened upon the recently reproduced collected works of Rongton Shakya Gyaltsen (1367-1449). As I opened the first volume to look at the table of contents, my eyes were drawn to the title, A Praise to the Great Omniscient Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen . [1]

Rongton was a fascinating figure whose writings have not received much attention by western scholars to date. He was the founder of Nalendra Monastery located north of Lhasa, the seat of the Nalendrapa sub-order of the Sakya tradition. Among his numerous teachers were Sonam Zangpo...

The Jonangpa Legacy

jf_stupa_diego_0459.jpg Jonang Stupa

A PDF version of the transcript from Michael Sheehy's talk on the oral history and local legacy of the Jonangpa in Tibet on July 17, 2009 is now available for download in the Essays section of the Jonang Foundation Library. This transcript is based on a partial recording and notes while at the Great Stupa of Jonang during the “Discovering the Jonang: A Pilgrimage through Central Tibet.”


Download the transcript here, The Legacy of...

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