Gendun Drub

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Tibetan name
Tibetan script :
དགེ་ འདུན་ གྲུབ
Wylie transliteration :
dge 'dun grub
Other spellings:
Gendun Drub

Gendün Drub ( Tib . : dge 'dun grub ;) ( 1391 - January 15, 1475 ) was a Buddhist monk from Tibet. He founded the Trashilhünpo Monastery , was its first abbot and was posthumously declared the first Dalai Lama .


Gendün Drub was born near the Sakya monastery as the third of five children to a nomad family and was given the name Pema Dorje . It is reported that the family was attacked by robbers on the evening of his birth and the mother hid the baby in a crevice before escaping. Until the parents returned, the child was guarded by a vulture, which was understood as the embodiment of the Mahakala and then became Gendun Drub's personal patron deity.

Because of the poverty of his parents, the young boy had to work as a cattle herder with neighbors, and he was only seven years old when his father died. He then sought refuge in the Kadampa monastery in Narthang . Under the supervision of the abbot he learned to recite, read and write, most recently mastered the Indian, Tibetan and Mongolian script and was a good calligrapher , accordingly he was also dubbed “Master of the Scriptures”.

In 1405 he was given the monk name Gendün Drubpa Pelzango, and in 1410 he was consecrated a full monk. He was already teaching in Narthang during his undergraduate studies. His name is often preceded by a epithets as omniscient, Penchen (scholar), Chaste, benefactors and a special Geshe -Titel testify to his reputation. Presumably he was already regarded as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara during his lifetime .

He received instruction and initiations in important monasteries, including Ganden , from around 60 high lamas of various schools; from 1415 he studied for almost 12 years as one of the seven closest students with his uncle Tsongkhapa , the founder and head of the Gelug order. Tsongkhapa ultimately used Gendün Drub as his lineage holder .

From 1426 to 1438 Gendün Drub traveled to important monasteries with his teacher and friend Je Sherab Sengge . They contributed significantly to the spread of the teachings of Tsongkhapa. From the age of 40 he began to write textbooks. In addition to the work of Tsongkhapa and two other of his main students ( Gyeltshab Je and Khedrub Je ), Gendun Drub's writings are considered to be the most important of the first Gelugpa epoch. His work on logic, on monastic discipline ( Vinayapitaka ) and on the secret writings of Atisha should be emphasized . Gendün Drub turned down the invitation to become abbot of Ganden twice in order to be able to devote himself fully to his studies and teaching. From 1438 he was in the rank of Gyelwa , was thus the highest lama of the Gelugpa and was even above Ganden Thripa , the abbot of the Ganden monastery. According to tradition, he also introduced the yellow headgear, which gave the Gelugpa the name "yellow hat school".

It is also assumed that the introduction of the Trülku system in the Gelug school goes back to Gendün Drub. Soon after his death, Gendün Gyatsho was recognized as his incarnation, when his reincarnation was later confirmed to Sonam Gyatsho , who first received the title of Dalai Lama . Thus Gendün Drub is considered the first Dalai Lama .

In 1447 Gendün Drub initiated the construction of the Trashilhünpo monastery in Samzhubzê , which he inaugurated in 1463. The monastery later became the seat of the Penchen Lamas .


  • 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


Web links

Commons : Gendün Drub  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Gendün Drub (alternative names of the lemma)
dGe 'dun grub pa, Gendun Drubpa, Gedun Zhuba 格敦 朱 巴, Gendun Zhuba 根 敦 朱 巴