Jonangpa

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...

Reflecting 'The Crystal Mirror'

Maybe its the dark magnetism of impending all hallows' eve, but I'm feeling a mischievous urge to rile up all the ghouls and goblins of unapologetic dogmatism and have them stare in unison — — into The Crystal Mirror . That is, The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems by Thuken Losang Chökyi Nyima (1737-1802). Fortunately, this classical Tibetan polemical text is now available to the English reading world due to the clear translation of Geshe Lhundup Sopa and the lucid editing of Roger Jackson under the umbrella of The Library of Tibetan Classics series (Wisdom Publications, '09). [1]

Though the earliest attempt to translate...

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...

Tsoknyi Gyatso on Zhentong

Without jumping the gun (as we continue to set the text), I thought to write a post with the hope to help contextualize a forthcoming publication in the Tibetan language on the essential zhentong works by the Jonang master from Dzamthang, Ngawang Tsoknyi Gyatso (1880-1940). [1]

Zhentong — the contemplative view that the ultimate nature of reality is empty of all extraneous superficial characteristics while profusely full of the qualities that define enlightenment — has become a hallmark of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. From its early articulation by Tibetan forefathers of the Jonangpa in the eleventh century, up to Dolpopa Sherab...

A Ngor Kalachakra Mandala

Ngor Kalachakra Mandala Kalachakra Mandala Mandala

One of my favorite themes in tantric Buddhism is the mandala. The replicated symmetry of a perfected space and the implicit dialogue between the deity and the various facets of its environment have always fascinated me.

Recently, I had a chance to look closely at one specific mandala of the Kālachakra, one that is unlike the typical depiction. [1] This particular mandala was commissioned by Lhachok Sengé (1468-1535) from Ngor Evam Choden Monastery, and is one of...

Tāranātha’s Travels in Mongolia

There is an intriguing and somewhat mystifying narrative that has been popularized about the Tibetan Jonang master Tāranātha (1575-1635). This narrative suggests an account of Tāranāha's life story in which he traveled to Mongolia from his seat at
Takten Damchö Ling Monastery
in Central Tibet during the latter part of his life and that while there, he established several monasteries before finally passing away in Ulan Bator, the capital city in the republic of the Mongols.

This narrative on Tāranāha's travels and death in Mongolia has become so popular and widely accepted as factual that it is often the standard...

The Life of Buddhagupta-nātha

The following post is titled, A Brief Sketch of the Life of Buddhagupta-nātha . By Thomas Roth, a contributing author to the Jonangpa blog.

Buddhagupta02.jpg Buddhagupta

Jonang Jetsun Rinpoche, better known as Jonang Tāranātha (1575-1635), is well known for the many histories that he authored. Especially his famous History of Buddhism in India , The Seven Instruction Lineages and the Origin of the Tārā-Tantras , as well as his Kālacakra and Vajrabhairava histories, give us a fairly good idea of the development of many siddha lineages in...

Kongtrul's Jonangpa Connections

799.fpx&obj=iip,1.0&wid=637&hei=1100&rgn=0.0,-9.107468E-4,1.00000000,1_0.jpg Jamgon Kongtrul

One of the most fascinating figures in Tibetan history, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé (1813-1899) is also one of the most studied Tibetan masters. In addition to several articles on his life and works, numerous volumes of his writings and compendiums have now been translated into English and other European languages, including his autobiography, A Gem of Many Colors . [1] Though his works are well known and he is often considered a reviver of Tibetan traditions including the Jonang,...

Are there Geluk Zhentongpas?

Are there Geluk zhentongpas? This is a question that I've been asking for some time. Fortunately, a set of rare texts that were recently recovered from Tibet may shed some light on this. Made available in late 2007, there are four published books by two authors of the Geluk tradition that deserve particular attention. These manuscripts were collected from library archives in Tibet and reproduced via computer input as part of the longer Mes po'i shul bzhag series published by China’s Tibetology Publishing House (Beijing, 2007). This set of works includes the three volume Collected Works of Gungru Gyaltsen Zangpo (1383-1450), and one volume from the writings of Kunkhyen Lodrö...

Pages