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Portrait of Atisha

Atisha Dipamkara Srijnana ( Bengali অতীশ দীপঙ্কর শ্রীজ্ঞান Atīśa Dīpaṅkara Śrījñāna , Tib . : atisha dI paM ka ra shrI dznyA na , also: jo bo rje ; birth name: Chandragarbha ; * 980 in Vikramapura , Dhaka (division) ; was an Indian . † 1054. ) Pandit and famous abbot of Vikramashila Monastery University during the Pala Dynasty in India.


Atisha studied almost all schools, philosophies and teaching systems of his time. Countless Buddhist and Hindu tantras , the art of music, logic and other arts. In addition to intensive practice and studies of Buddhist teachings, he also studied the teachings of Vishnu , Shiva and other faiths. At the age of 28 he was ordained into the Mahasanghika lineage by Abbot Shila Rakshita and a fully ordained monk ( bhikshu ). It is said that Atisha had over 150 teachers. He was both an eminent scholar and an accomplished yogi.

At the age of 32 (approx. 1012) Atisha traveled to Suvaranadvipa on the island of Sumatra , which, along with Java, was one of the most important centers for Buddhist studies in Indonesia at that time. There he studied for about 12 years under the guidance of Dharmakirti (also: Serlingpa of Sumatra ; Tib .: gser gling pa chos kyi grags pa ). Before he returned to India at the age of 44, Atisha briefly visited what is now Sri Lanka . He then spent another 15 years in India, where he was nicknamed Dhammapala ( protector of doctrine ) for his activity and promotion of Buddhism . At this time he also became the Maha Acharya ( Great Acharya ; Abbot ) of Vikramashila.

In the middle of the 11th century (around 1040/1042) Atisha was invited to Tibet by the eldest son of the then King of Guge , whereupon the phase of the new translations of Buddhist texts from Sanskrit into Tibetan , as well as the phase of the so-called second dissemination (Tib. : phyi dar ) of Buddhism in Tibet (after Langdarma ) began.

During the first three years of his stay in Tibet, the encounters with Changchub Öd (tib .: byang chub 'od ; also: Bodhiprabha , the son of the king), Lochen Rinchen Sangpo (tib .: rin chen bzang po ; also: Ratnabhadra , became the first translator of Sarma texts) and Dromtönpa , who helped him to organize the spread of Buddhist teachings in Tibet. Due to political tensions in Nepal , Atisha could not return to India and agreed to travel with Dromtönpa to central Tibet , where they met hundreds of monks in Lhasa and the surrounding area. In the next ten years or so Atisha and Dromtönpa undertook many more extensive trips through Tibet, during which they met with monks and gave teachings. Atisha died in Tibet in 1054.

to teach

When Atisha's teachings that especially on the sutras are oriented and especially on the second cycle of teachings of the Buddha Sakyamuni start, played refuge and bodhichitta a central role. His insistence on refuge as the foundation of all Buddhist practice earned him the nickname of refuge llama .

Of particular importance within Tibetan Buddhism is Atisha's Lamrim lamp on the Path of Awakening ( Bodhipathapradipam ).

The Lojong teachings ( blo sbyong ; mind training ), which were initially kept secret, were only taught publicly in Tibet generations after Atisha's death and integrated into all Tibetan Buddhist schools. An important piece of Atisha's writing on Lojong is the Bodhisattva's jeweled wreath .

Furthermore, Atisha is also considered a great Vajrayana master and important master in the transmission of Kalachakra tantra to Tibet. However, he kept Vajrayana exercises very secret. To his surprise, Atisha also discovered so-called hidden treasures , which were hidden centuries earlier by Padmasambhava and his closest disciples in order to preserve Buddhism for the post-Langdarma era.


  • Atisha, Dalai Lama : The lamp on the way. Levels of Buddhist Meditation . Diamant-Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-9810682-1-1 (original text by Atisha and commentary by the 14th Dalai Lama)
  • Atisha, Lobsang Dargyay (transl.): Bodhisattva's jeweled wreath . Tibet Institute, Rikon 1978, ISBN 3-7206-0000-9



  • Jamgon Kongtrul : The Great Path of Awakening. A Commentary on the Mahayana Doctrine of the Seven Points of Mental Exercise . From Tibet. by Ken McLeod. [Trans. ins German: Christiane Sautter] 2nd edition. Theseus, Küsnacht 1995, ISBN 3-89620-027-5
New translation directly from Tibetan into: Lodjong: the great way of awakening; Basic texts for Buddhist mind training / zsgest. and over. by Sönam Lhündrup, Norbu-Verlag, Badenweiler 2009, ISBN 978-3-940269-02-7


  • Gendun Drub , Glenn H. Mullin (transl.): Training the Mind in the Great Way . 2nd Edition. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca 1993, ISBN 0-937938-96-3
  • Geshe Sonam Rinchen: Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment . Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca 1997, ISBN 1-55939-082-4
  • Geshe Thupten Jinpa (Ed., Transl.): Mind Training: The Great Collection (Library of Tibetan Classics) . Wisdom Publications, 2006, ISBN 0-86171-440-7 (Original Scriptures of the Kadampa Teachings on Lojong)
  • Ringu Tulku : The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet . Shambhala Publications, 2006, ISBN 1-59030-286-9

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Portrait of Atisha, ca.1100
  2. atisa dipamkarasrijnana
  3. Banglapedia: Dipankar Srijnan, Atish
  4. a b Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen: The Great Kagyu Masters: The Treasury of the Golden Lineage . Otter Verlag, ISBN 3-933529-11-5 , pages 171-212
  5. chos kyi grags pa (* 10th century)
  6. byang chub 'od (11th century)
  7. rin chen bzang po (958-1055)
  8. A lamp for the path to enlightenment
  9. A bodhisattva's jeweled wreath
  10. Tulku Thondup: The Hidden Treasures of Tibet - An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of the Nyingma School of Buddhism . Appendix p. 210 ISBN 978-3-85936-067-9
Atisha (alternative names of the lemma)
Jo-bo rJe dPal-ldan A-ti-sha