from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tsongkhapa in the Fifth Vision of Khedrub Je

Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Dragpa ( Tibetan རྗེ་ ཙོང་ ཁ་ པ་ བློ་ བཟང་ གྲགས་ པ་ Wylie rje tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa , * 1357 in Tsongkha ; † 1419 ) was a great reformer, from whose doctrine later the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism emerged .

The Gelug School is one of the New Translations ( Sarma ) traditions that spread in Tibet from the 11th century. These schools of the new translation period in Tibet today include the Kagyu , Sakya and Gelug schools, in contrast to the period of the old translations from the 8th and 9th centuries, from which the Nyingma tradition developed.


Tsongkhapa was born the fourth of six sons to a family near Kokonor Lake in Tibet. At the age of three he received lay ordination from the 4th Karmapa and at the age of seven he was ordained a novice monk and was given the name "Lobsang Dragpa". He received full ordination (Gelong / Bhikkhu ) at the age of 21. He learned from more than 100 masters of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions and mastered the teachings of various schools, such as the Drigung Kagyu School. His main teacher in Madhyamaka philosophy was the Sakya master Rendawa (1349-1412). Later he received the three lines of transmission of the Kadam School - two of them from the Nyingma master Lama Lhodrag Khenchen Namkha Gyeltshen (1326-1402) - and studied the most important tantras with masters of different schools.

The essence of the Gelug transmissions lies in Atisha's Mahayana teachings and the combined practice of Sutra and Vajrayana . He summarized the Mahayana teachings of the great Indian scholars Nagarjuna and Asanga in his work Lamrim Chenmo (“Great Explanation of the Gradual Path”) . In Vajrayana the union of the tantras of Guhyasamaja , Chakrasambhava and Yamantaka is emphasized. In addition, like Atisha, Tsongkhapa played a special role in maintaining the Kalachakra tantra. Tsongkhapa advocated consistently the ideals of the Kadam school and stressed the importance of Vinaya - rules out. In this way he reformed the monastic tradition in Tibet. For this reason, the Gelug attach great importance to monastic discipline and celibacy and are also known as the “Reformed School”.

It is said that Tsongkhapa had little faith in Tibetan comments. Above all, he studied the comments of the great Indian panditas , which are considered flawless. It is also said that he had direct visions from the bodhisattva Manjushri with whom he directly discussed his understanding and experiences. The text The Three Principal Aspects of the Way is said to have been dictated to him directly by Manjushri. He checked his visions again with Lama Umapa, from the Karma Kagyu School, who had a direct visionary connection with Manjushri. Tsongkhapa often went to meditation exams with Umapa and other close disciples. From Tsongkhapa comes the saying: “If one receives certain explanations or instructions from a teacher and sees that these do not correspond to the statements of the writings of the great Indian masters such as Nagarjuna or Asanga, one should rather forego the instructions of this teacher than the meaning of the give up large fonts. "

Most of Tsongkhapa's teachers became his students, and they taught and honored one another. So were z. B. Rendawa , Lama Lhodrag and Umapa both teachers and students of Tsongkhapa.

Tsongkhapa's legacy

In 1409 Tsongkhapa founded the Ganden Monastery near Lhasa . He left the world eighteen volumes of collected teachings containing hundreds of texts on all aspects of Buddhism and clarifying some of the most difficult points of sutra and tantra.

Major works among these are:

  • "The Great Exposition of the Steps of the Path" (Tib .: lam rim chen mo ),
  • "The Great Exposition of Tantras" (Tib .: sngags rim chen mo ),
  • "The Essence of the Explanations of the Interpretive and Final Teachings" (Tib .: drang nges legs bshad snying po )
  • "Praise of dependent existence " (Tib .: rten 'brel bstod pa ),
  • "The Great Exposition of the Five Levels of Guhyasamaja" (Tib .: gsang 'dus rim lnga gsal sgron ) and
  • “A golden wreath of excellent explanations” (Tib .: legs bshad gser gyi phreng ba ).

These scriptures are the main source for study in the Gelug tradition and still have the same authority as in his day. They are seen as protection against wrong views in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism.

Je Tsongkhapa is also considered to be the holder of the mystical "magic similar script of the Near Gadenlinie".

Tsongkhapa had many disciples. The most prominent among them were Ganden Thri Rinpoche Dharma Rinchen (1364–1431), Khedrub Geleg Pelsang (1385–1438) and Gyelwa Gendün Drub , the 1st Dalai Lama (1391–1474).

According to tradition, Tsongkhapa's death in 1419 was accompanied by various wonderful signs. It is said that it is hard to believe what he achieved when you look at the path of his life from the standpoint of what he studied, knew by heart and taught. But it is even more difficult to grasp what he achieved from the standpoint of what he wrote (The 18 Great Works) and practiced (meditation retreats with millions of bows, Manadaladar deliveries, purification practices and Vajrayana exercises on the most varied of deities and techniques, such as Tummo , one of Naropa's Six Yogas ).

The year since 1409 practiced prayer festival Monlam goes to his initiative and is regarded as one of the "four great deeds" Tsongkhapa. The "four great deeds" are:

  1. Restoration of the great Maitreya statue in Lhasa
  2. Clarity of his teachings regarding the Vinaya (Tib .: 'dul ba )
  3. Establishment of the “Great Mönlam Prayer Festival” (Tib. Smon lam chen mo ) and
  4. Commissioned the construction of the “great assembly hall in Ganden”.


  • Tsongkhapa, Cornelia Krause (transl.): The middle stepped path . Diamant-Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-9810682-3-8

See also

Web links

Commons : Tsongkhapa  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Spelling variants of the name

Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa, Tsongkapa, Zongkapa, Zongkhapa, Dzongkhapa, chin .: 宗喀巴 Zōngkābā, Je Tsongkhapa