Tibetan Buddhism

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...

At the Great Stupa of Jonang

The following is a transcript of a talk, The Legacy of the Jonangpa by Michael Sheehy at the Great Stupa of Jonang in Tibet on July 17, 2009.

Jonang stupa_0539.jpg Great Stupa at Jonang, '09

So, the actual name of this place is Jomonang, which is the name of the valley. [1] It is named "Jomonang" because the female local protector deity here is known as Jomo Ngag Gyalmo, who is said to live in the upper ridge right...

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...

The 21 Tārās of Sūrya-Gupta

The following post is titled, "A Description of the Various Aspects of Tārā as Contained in Jonang Tāranātha’s Ocean of Yidam Deities , the 100 Deities of Narthang and the Vajrāvalī of Abhayākara-Gupta." This is the 2nd in a 2 part series. By Thomas Roth, a contributing author to the Jonangpa blog.

There are at least four traditions of describing the 21 Tārās. [1] Those of Sūrya-Gupta (7th/8th cent.), Atīśa Dipaṃkara (982-1054), Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1363), and Terchen Chokgyur Lingpa (1829-1870). The latter three traditions are very similar in so far as the individual Tārās are described as varying only slightly in body color...

Tāranātha’s Descriptions of Tārā

The following post is titled, "A Description of the Various Aspects of Tārā as Contained in Jonang Tāranātha’s Ocean of Yidam Deities , the 100 Deities of Narthang and the Vajrāvalī of Abhayākara-Gupta." This is the 1st in a 2 part series. By Thomas Roth, a contributing author to the Jonangpa blog.

8green_tara2_600x845a.jpg 8 Armed Tara

Jonang Tāranātha’s famous compilation of yidam deities, known as the Ocean of Yidam Deities , contains the descriptions and short sādhanas for altogether 417 deities. Among them are no...

Pages