Gomang is one of the three philosophical monastic colleges (tsennyi dratsang) that have survived at Drepung to the present day. Until 1959, it was second in size, after Loselling. Hard numbers are hard to come by but it is not unreasonable to assume that Gomang had two or three thousand monks in 1959, with a few hundred of them being actively involved in scholastic studies. Most of its monks came from Amdo and Mongolia, but some came from Central Tibet, Tsang, and Kham. Its main protectors were the Lion-Faced Goddess (Sengdongma), which was in charge of the college proper, and Gadong, who was in charge of protecting the scholastic manuals (yikcha). Special attention was also paid to the tenma, particularly Dorjé Drak Gyelma and Dorjé Yüdrönma.
Lion-Faced Goddess in the Loselling Assembly Hall.
Gomang was founded by Drung Drakpa Rinchen, about whom we know very little. He was a direct disciple of the founder of Drepung, Jamyang Chöjé (1379-1449 CE), but was not counted among the latter’s fourteen major disciples. Drakpa Rinchen’s two successors, Galep and Taklep, were more significant. They were the second and third abbots of Gomang and had an important role in making this monastic college one of the main scholastic centers at Drepung. The circumstances of the foundation of Gomang are not known. It is the oldest monastic college at Drepung and there are unconfirmed reports that it occupied at first what is now the Main Assembly Hall (Dukang) before moving to its present site. This move, however, did not occur completely smoothly. According to a legend, a monument residing in the Main Assembly Hall protested the move, saying, “I do not want to move.” The statue’s wish was respected. It was left in the Main Assembly Hall where it was known under the name of monument.
Despite its relatively modest size, Gomang has produced a number of important Geluk thinkers. Gungru Chökyi Jungné wrote some of its earliest scholastic manuals, which were later replaced by the more extensive writings of Jamyang Zhepa (1648-1721/1722 CE), who became the leading thinker of the monastery. This extremely prolific writer left his native Amdo in 1688 to start his scholastic career at Gomang. There he studied the topics contained in the scholastic manuals and the great commentaries of the Geluk tradition. He quickly came to show great promise as a scholar and after a few years he was advised to go on a scholastic tour at Sangpu. There he defended successfully Tsongkhapa’s views against the criticisms of Sakya thinkers such as Taktsang. At the age of twenty-eight he became a spiritual teacher (geshé) and moved to the Tantric Monastery of Lower Lhasa (Gyümé), where he spent five years studying the great tantric systems of the Geluk tradition. In 1681, he left the monastery to retire in a cave on Dge ’phel Mountain above Drepung. There he spent the next twenty years, dividing his time between contemplation and writing. It is there that he composed his great treatises whose study forms the core of the Gomang curriculum.
Despite his retirement, Jamyang Zhepa played an important role in the troubled politics of his day. The Fifth Dalai Lama (Talé Lama Kutreng Ngapa) had died in 1682 but his prime minister, Desi Sanggyé Gyatso (1653-1705 CE), refused to make his death public for another fifteen years. This unusual situation made the discovery of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) difficult, and even the recognition of the Sixth Dalai Lama (Talé Lama Kutreng Drukpa) did not solve all the problems. The new Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) did not behave as he was expected, refusing to follow the monastic path of his predecessors. The issue became entangled in the power struggle among the contenders for supremacy in Tibet, the Desi and his allies, the Geluk monastic seats, the various Mongol figures and tribes associated with Tibetan politics, and the emperor of China. It is in this difficult climate, in 1700, that the Desi appointed Jamyang Zhepa abbot of Gomang, a position he held for seven years. During this time, Jamyang Zhepa taught at Gomang, promoting his texts as the official manuals of the monastic college. He also, however, became more closely involved in politics, participating in the coalition that defeated the Desi’s attempts to take power. Although Jamyang Zhepa may not be responsible for the Desi’s execution, his role illustrates the complexity of the political role of the Geluk establishment of the time. Jamyang Zhepa had been appointed by the Desi, a ruler with whom he had a close relation for many years. And yet, in the confrontation between the Desi and his enemies, Jamyang Zhepa did not support his patron. The Desi’s death was followed by other tragic events. Drepung was attacked and the young Sixth Dalai Lama (Talé Lama Kutreng Drukpa) was taken prisoner, leading to his premature death. It is the midst of these tragic events that Jamyang Zhepa decided to leave the troubled world of Lhasa to retire to his native Amdo. There he created in 1709 the Labrang Tashikhyil monastery, an important branch of Gomang that became a major scholastic center in its own right.
Besides Jamyang Zhepa, Gomang has produced a number of distinguished Geluk thinkers such as Changkya, Sumpa Yeshé Penjor (1704-1788 CE), Tuken Chökyi Nyima (1737-1802 CE) and Gungtang Jampelyang. Gomang monks often state, not without some justification, that their monastic college may be the smallest among the major monastic colleges of the three Geluk monastic seats but that it has had the largest literary production in the last two or three centuries. Other colleges have produced good scholars but their literary production has remained limited, particularly after the adoption by these colleges of a fixed set of scholastic manuals in the sixteenth century. Gomang, on the other hand, has continued to produce interesting writings, even after its adoption of Jamyang Zhepa’s works. The reason for this prolific production is not entirely clear, since the college’s curriculum does not differ substantially from that of other colleges. It may be that this success may be due to its connection with its branch monastery at Labrang, where the curriculum has been less exclusively focused on scholastic studies and more open to the study of less obviously Buddhist topics such as grammar, literature and poetry.
The official name of this monastic college is the Auspicious Many Doors Monastic College (Trashi Gomang Dratsang). It seems to have been called auspicious because it was the first monastic college established at Drepung. The reason for its being called many doors is less obvious. One story is that this college had many highly realized beings in its ranks who were at times too absorbed into meditation to arrive on time at the religious services held in its assembly hall. As they came late, they would join the assembly through walls and closed doors thus giving the impression that there were many doors. Another and less extraordinary explanation is that this name refers to the classical Buddhist teaching of the three doors of liberation (namtar gosum). The monastery would then be the place where the doors to liberation were open by the practice of studies, reflection and meditation.
As its name (Trashi Gomang Dratsang) indicates, Gomang is not just a sub-unit of a larger monastery. Rather, it is a largely autonomous unit, with its own set of rituals, curriculum, and scholastic manuals. Moreover, Gomang had, prior to 1959, its own abbot, disciplinarian and complex administration. Hence, in many ways, Gomang was closer to a monastery than its English description as a monastic college would suggest. Although Drepung was founded by Jamyang Chöjé as a single monastery, it grew quickly and was divided during the fifteenth century into seven monastic sub-units led by abbots appointed by the founder himself. These seven sub-units at first functioned like colleges specialized by topics. Gomang specialized in the study of the prajñāpāramitā literature and madhyamaka, growing into one of the major scholastic colleges at Drepung. In the process, it absorbed the Vinaya Monastic College (Dratsang Dülwa), which was allowed to keep a separate abbotship while its monks became part of Gomang. Hence, prior to 1959, Gomang had a Vinaya [College] estate, which was the seat of the abbot (khenpo) of this nominal college, despite the fact that there were no Vinaya Monastic College monks.
Gomang South Entrance
Prior to 1959, Gomang had sixteen regional houses (khangtsen) where monks from different parts of the Tibetan Buddhist world (including Mongolia) would stay according to their regional origin. There, new recruits (dragyün) would find people able to understand and help them thus providing a means to integrate socially, culturally and linguistically large numbers of monks coming from vastly different groups and backgrounds. There were also monks from other countries, particularly Mongolians, who did not speak Tibetan at all (though they could debate in Tibetan). In a monastic seat of over ten thousand, a regional house, which usually grouped a few hundred monks, provided the kind of group in which newcomers could make connections. Houses also played an important role in the education of monks. They held weekly or monthly formal debates, which provided an arena where more young monks could watch and debate with seasoned scholars.
There were also twenty-two affiliated houses (mitsen) connected with a particular regional house or with Gomang itself. The exact affiliation of some of these houses was not always easy to determine, since they seem to have shifted over time. This affiliation was determined on the basis of complex customary arrangements based on the regional origin of the monks arriving to the monastery and the particular agreements that had been entered into by the relevant parties. Some houses were affiliated with a particular regional house, often Samlo or Hardong, the two largest regional houses at Gomang. But some affiliated houses had a particular status. Two affiliated houses, Gadong and Bözhung, were not affiliated with any regional house but only to Gomang College itself, though its monks were part of the regional house determined by their origin. Other houses were affiliated with more than one regional house. For example, the Tsenpo house was affiliated with both Samlo and Hardong regional houses. Among its monks, those coming from nomadic areas were part of Hardong, a regional house regrouping people coming from nomadic areas, whereas those coming from agricultural areas would be part of Samlo Regional House (Samlo Khangtsen).
Monks were not free to choose which monastery and which regional house they would enter but were directed to a particular monastic college according to their exact place of origin. Each household was connected to a particular local monastery, which in turn was connected to one of the colleges of one of the three monastic seats (in the case of a non-Geluk monastery, monks would be assigned a monastic college according to their precise regional origin, though they may have had greater flexibility than their Geluk colleagues). The authorities of each college jealously kept a detailed register of all the monasteries with which they had a connection, and monks who desired to spend time at the three seats would be automatically directed to the college with which their particular local monastery was connected. In some cases, their local monastery would be connected to more than one college but even then the monks did not have any choice. Rather, the monastic authorities would decide for them by drawing lots to designate which monk would go to which monastic college. In the rare cases where monastic authorities were unable to agree on the affiliation of a candidate, a long dispute would ensue and a case might have to be brought in court against a rival college.
Upon entering a particular monastic college, each monk would be automatically assigned to a sub-unit, a regional house or an affiliated house, on the basis of his local origin. When arriving at the regional or at the affiliated house, the new recruit (dragyün) would often know some relative or indirect acquaintance, who would introduce him to the teacher of the house. This teacher would direct the newcomer to a room teacher (shakgi gegen). This would be one of the most important relationships that the monk would have in his entire life at the monastery. The room teacher lived with the young monk and was in charge of directing his daily life. He introduced him to monastic customs, making sure that he memorized the required texts, behaved properly and went to the required rituals. In the large Tibetan monasteries where each monk was financially self-sufficient and provided for himself, the room teacher was also in charge of the financial accounts. The young monk would give him all the money he had upon entering the monastery and what he got while being in the monastery. The teacher used this money to provide food, clothing and so on. He also provided the young monk with living quarters, often a room that has to be shared with other monks. Every year, teacher and student would establish a balance sheet, so that when the young monk left the monastery or became independent, the room teacher would be able to provide a full account. Any money left was returned to the monk who owned it. Finally, the room teacher was also the person responsible for the young monk. This meant that he was be held responsible by the monastic authorities for the behavior of his student. He would be punished if the young monk got in trouble.
Prior to 1959, Gomang had its own administrative, disciplinary, and religious structure. Its council, which was composed of the abbot, the representatives of the large regional houses, and important monastic officials, controlled the administration of the monastery. The abbot, who headed the monastery, was in charge of its religious activities, overseeing the admission of new monks, the curriculum as well as the ritual calendar. This position gave him great power. Together with the abbots of the other colleges, the abbot was in charge of the whole seat. Although he was limited in his power by the monastic constitution (chayik) and the extremely numerous and complex customary arrangements, he had many opportunities to impose his view and run the monastery according to his plans. He was also an automatic member of the National Assembly and with the agreement of the other abbots could block any measure that he considered to be against the interest of monasteries. He would be seconded in his work by the the college’s disciplinarian (dratsanggi gekö), who oversaw all disciplinary matters within the monastic college, checking that the monks assemble in the proper ways and at the proper time, ensuring that they maintain proper decorum and keep the disciplinary rules of the monastic college. Although he had considerable power, he had to defer to the seat’s two disciplinarians, who were the chief enforcers at Drepung.
The financial administration of Gomang was in the hands of a council of five stewards (chakbuk). Four were designated by the four large regional houses (Hardong, Samlo, Gungru and Drati) and were called chakbuk, whereas the last one represented the abbot and was called labrang chakdzö. These five administrators met on a daily basis and decided on all financial concerns of the monastery. Two secretaries and a representative of the smaller regional houses designated from either Zhungpa, Tewo or Chupzang houses helped the five administrators. If the decision was too important or the five administrators could not reach agreement, they would convey an exceptional council of fourteen members composed of the five administrators, the disciplinarian (gekö), the chant leader (umdzé) and representatives of the important regional houses. If this council could not decide, a plenary session of the monastery, involving representatives from all the regional houses, would meet.
Besides deciding financial matters, the council of the monastic college oversaw the other tasks that were part of the life of the monastery. For example, two store-managers (nyertsang depa) were in charge of providing the teas and food to be offered during the rituals of the college, whereas two caretakers (könnyer) were looking after its headquarters. There were monks in charge of preparing tea and food for the monks participating in the college’s rituals. There were also monks in charge of taking care of the various buildings of the monastic college such as the Assembly Hall (Dukang), the debating courtyard (chöra), the buildings of the administration, whereas others would prepare the offerings, make sure that all of its objects remain accounted for, and so forth. There were also monks in charge of performing the college’s rituals, particularly those of its protectors, marking the time for rituals.
If the structure of the monastic college and the role of regional and affiliated houses were well determined in the old days, it is much less so nowadays. In contemporary Tibet, monastic colleges are less important than they used to be. Although monks continue to belong nominally to one of the four colleges, most of the activities, including rituals and scholastic studies, are held together. Moreover, monastic colleges do not have separate administrative structures. Rather, the Democratic Management Committee (DMC, Mangtso Daknyer Uyön Lhenkhang) administers the whole of the monastery. Hence, it often makes little sense in this context to talk about colleges. The same applies to regional and affiliated houses, which do not play much of a role these days at Drepung. There are simply too few monks to staff separate houses and there is very little ritual or scholastic activity that is specific to particular regional houses. Moreover, the regional composition of the monastery has changed drastically. Whereas in the old days, most monks at Drepung would come from Eastern Tibet (mostly Amdo in the case of Gomang) and most regional houses would reflect their origin, nowadays only monks from Central and Western Tibet are allowed to stay at the monastery. Hence, there is little use for regional houses as structures of socialization and the affiliation to regional houses is largely irrelevant. The only function of regional houses is to provide residencies for the monks coming to Drepung.
In exile in India, Gomang has maintained its structure and administrative organization. The sixteen regional houses still exist and have kept some of their original functions, but in a population of refugees that has been in exile for several decades and has acquired a relatively standardized Tibetan language and culture, regional affiliation do not have the same meaning as they had in the old society where culture and language were to a large extent regional. The administrative structure of the college has been maintained. The abbot of the monastic college is chosen by the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) and the other officials, the disciplinarian, the chant leader, and the four steward monks (chakdzö) in charge of running the monastery, are designated by a vote of the monks. The running of the monastery, however, has been greatly simplified by the fact that the monastery is smaller than it used to be and has much fewer resources. The monastery does not have any estate to administer and the administration of its financial resources is limited to managing the revenue coming from the cultivation of the land, gifts from international sponsors and local Tibetan support. Although this is not always an easy task, it is a far cry from the complex work of administrators in the ancient system. Gone are the prestige and power that were associated with such positions. The governance of the monastery is now more democratic, with fewer decisions in the hands of the abbot and the administrators and more power given to the monks through a process of elections.
Four great regional houses
Eight middling regional houses
Four small regional houses
Nine affiliated with Hardong
Ten affiliated with Samlo
One affiliated with Zungchu
Two affiliated with Gomang
Loselling was founded by Lekden, one of the disciples of Jamyang Chöjé, the founder of Drepung. Not much is known about the beginnings of this institution, which seems at first to have been rather modest, Gomang being the first and more important scholastic college at Drepung. The rise of Loselling to being a prominent college may have started with Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor (1429-1504 CE), also known as Jamyang Gawé Lodrö, who became a very popular teacher at Drepung. He studied with Gungru Chökyi Lodrö and Baso Chöjé, Khedrup’s own cousin and an important figure in his own right in the formation of the Geluk tradition. After a prolonged training at the Lower College of Sangphu, where he became known for his scholarship, Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor went to Kham. He quickly came back to Central Tibet, however, and taught for more than twenty years at Loselling, gathering an impressive number of students among whom figures prominently Gendün Gyatso (1475-1542 CE), the retrospective Second Dalai Lama (Talé Lama Kutreng Nyipa). Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor was appointed as the Eighth Throne-Holder of Drepung (Drepung Tripa Gyepa). During his tenure, he continued his teaching activities at Loselling and with the support of the Nedong family built monument. His writings were the first scholastic manuals of the the Loselling Monastic College (Loselling Dratsang).
Penchen Sönam Drakpa as a Student in the Loselling Assembly Hall
Loselling’s rise continued with Penchen Sönam Drakpa (1478-1554 CE), one of the leading Geluk teachers of the sixteenth century. Born in a troubled time, Sönam Drakpa belonged to a generation of Geluk thinkers who saw their main task as defending and expending Tsongkhapa’s (1357-1419 CE) tradition in the face of the opposition from Kagyü and Sakya schools. This opposition took the form of virulent polemics against Tsongkhapa as well as political and military attacks against Geluk monasteries, all this taking place within the context of an on-going civil war between Central Tibet and Tsang. Jetsün Chökyi Gyeltsen (1469-1544 CE), the author of the scholastic manuals of Sera Jé, is typical of this difficult period during which the Geluk tradition was under duress. He wrote refutations of some of the most virulent polemics against Tsongkhapa, particularly those written by the Eighth Karmapa (Karmapa Gyepa) Mikyö Dorjé (1507-1554 CE), Gorampa (1429-1489 CE), and Shakya Chokden (1428-1509 CE).
Penchen Sönam Drakpa was less involved in polemical tasks. Perhaps, he considered that Chökyi Gyeltsen had already done this successfully and there was no need for further polemics. Or, he may have preferred a less confrontational approach. In any case, he devoted his life to writing numerous texts articulating the Geluk standpoint. His literary production was impressive, ranging from the scholastic manuals adopted by Loselling to the study of tantras, the history of the Geluk tradition, and the history of the Discipline (Dülwa, Vinaya). His writings were the expressions of a vast learning acquired by a keen mind well educated in the ways typical of the scholars of the time. He studied for many years at Sera, particularly with Jamyang Dönyö Penden and Penjor Lhündrup (1427-1514 CE). He then went on a scholastic tour of some of the main centers and successfully defended his views at Tsetang where he was given the title of Great Scholar (Rapjam). After that, he entered the Tantric Monastery of Upper Lhasa (Gyütö) where he studied extensively the Indian tantras, Tsongkhapa’s tantric works and the Geluk ritual lore. At the age of thirty-four (that would be 1511 by Tibetan reckoning), he was appointed as abbot of the Tantric Monastic College (Ngakpa Dratsang). A year later he was asked by Gendün Gyatso, by then Drepung’s uncontested leader, to teach at the Loselling Monastic College where he spent many years gathering a very large number of students around him. Together with Lekpa Chönjor, he is said to have been the most successful teacher at Drepung.
Loselling Courtyard and Assembly Hall
In 1529, Penchen Sönam Drakpa was appointed to dga’ ldan khri, a position he occupied for several years. In 1535, he seems to have retired from his official position and spent his time teaching and writing in his residency at Drepung. He was brought out of retirement by Gendün Gyatso’s death, which prompted the Nedong family and the Drepung authorities (Drepung chiso) to ask him to assume the leadership of the monastery. In this position, he restored the discipline of the monastery, which seems to have declined, perhaps due to the difficult times that the monastery had gone through in the early decades of the sixteenth century. He was very active as an abbot, repairing a number of buildings that had fallen apart in the earlier decades. He also assumed the Sera Throne (Sera Tri) and acted as abbot for the ordination of Sönam Gyatso (1543-1588 CE), the Third Dalai Lama (Talé Lama Kutreng Sumpa). When he died in 1554 at the age of seventy-six, he was greatly respected, being considered the foremost Geluk teacher of his day. Loselling, where he had taught for many years, adopted his scholastic texts as their official manuals in replacement of Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor’s earlier writings. Later on, repeated attempts to promote new texts as the official Loselling manuals failed in the face of the attachment of Loselling monks to Sönam Drakpa’s texts, despite the fact that these texts are not as complete as Jamyang Zhepa’s works, the manuals of Gomang, Loselling’s great rival at Drepung. But Sönam Drakpa’s influence has not been limited to Drepung. Many of his writings, particularly his History of the Vinaya (Dülwa Chönjung) and his General Presentation of the Tantras (Gyüdé Chinam) have been widely read in Geluk circles, and he continues to be one of the tradition’s major later thinkers.
It is likely that the preeminence of Loselling at Drepung dates back to the illustrious careers of these two great teachers, Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor and Penchen Sönam Drakpa. Afterwards, Loselling continued to grow, becoming by far the largest college in the three Geluk monastic seats. In the twentieth century, its monks may have numbered as many as six thousand and the number of its scholars was unmatched by any other college. Loselling was considered as the powerhouse of Geluk scholasticism, producing a number of holders of dga’ ldan khri, the position officially held by Tsongkhapa’s successor since the Fifth Throne-Holder of Drepung (Drepung Tripa Ngapa). Among the Geluk three seats of learning, only the Jé Monastic College (Dratsang Jé) of Sera could pretend rival with the scholarly achievements of this college.
Loselling Horse Stable
The curriculum at Loselling was rather typical of the Geluk seats of learning. Students started with the preliminary study of logic and epistemology and moved on the study of the five great treatises that constitute the core of the curriculum:
- Abhisamayālaṃkāra attributed to Jampa
- Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika
- Candrakīrti’s Madhyamakāvatāra
- Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa
- Guṇaprabha’s Vinayasūtra
These five treatises were studied one after the other through a program of fifteen classes, starting with the Collected Topics (Düdra) and ending with the study of the abhidharma. The abbot of the monastery oversaw this curriculum, making sure that the institution was running properly and the general schedule was kept. But the day to day running of the scholastic studies were in the hands of the college’s disciplinarian and the director of the studies (lama zhung lenpa). The former oversaw the overall discipline of the college and as such was in charge of the running of the debating courtyard. He would make sure that the proper rituals were held and that the debates were well organized, class by class. He would be seconded in this task by the leaders of each class (kyorpön) who were in charge of making sure that the right texts were memorized, the proper topics studied, and the debates well attended. These class-leaders would be overseen by a chief-class leader (karam kyorpön) in charge of overseeing the work of the leaders and of reporting to the disciplinarian. The studies director was in charge of overseeing some of the other aspects of the scholastic program such as ensuring that the proper exams were held, the candidates chosen according to their abilities, etc.
Monks debating at Loselling
In exile in India, Loselling has maintained its curriculum, structure and organization. The twenty-four regional houses still exist and have kept some of their original functions, but in a population of refugees that has been in exile for several decades and has acquired a relatively standardized Tibetan language and culture, regional affiliation do not have the same meaning as they had in the old society where culture and language were to a large extent regional. The administrative structure of the college has been maintained. The abbot of the monastic college is chosen by the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) and the other officials, the disciplinarian, the chant leader and the four steward monks in charge of running the monastery, are designated by a vote of the monks. The running of the monastic college, however, has been greatly simplified by the fact that it is much smaller (around two thousand at the turn of the twenty-first century) than it used to be and has much fewer resources.
In Tibet, Loselling has found it difficult to maintain its structure, curriculum and organization. The running of the whole of the monastic seat is in the hands of the DMC, which administers every details of the monastic life. In such a context, it makes little sense to speak of colleges or regional houses. Although monks continue to belong nominally to one of the four colleges, most of their activities, including rituals and scholastic studies, are held together within the context of the seat. Hence, there is little sense among the young monks of their belonging to a separate monastic college or a well-defined regional house, as it was the case prior to 1959. As for the curriculum, considerable efforts have been made to enable young monks to study as much as possible. But in a monastic population that is too small for the many tasks that have to be performed, it has been difficult to match the scholastic accomplishments of the past.
Three large regional houses
Six middling regional houses
Fifteen small regional houses
Deyang is the smallest of the three philosophical monastic colleges that have survived at Drepung. It has a number of intriguing characteristics such as a curriculum that differs from most of the other colleges and a close connection to the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) in general and the Fifth (Ngapa) in particular. Despite this connection, Deyang has remained a small college, with perhaps as many as six hundred monks in the 1950s. Because of its small size, Deyang never adopted the system of regional houses of the larger colleges, but just built a few large apartment houses (chikhang) to house its monks. Its administrative structure was also much simpler than that of larger colleges, with an abbot appointed by the Dalai Lama’s government, a disciplinarian in place for six months, a chanting master and a council composed of the four stewards of the college.
Entrance to the Deyang Temple Complex
Deyang was founded in 1440 by Chokpa Jangchup Penden (1404-? CE), a Kadam monk who had studied at Radreng and Drakyerpa. Jangchup Penden was a student of Chennga Rinpoché, a Kadam master, who wrote two histories of this tradition. He also became the student of Jamyang Chöjé, who entrusted him with the leadership of one of the seven colleges that were being created to accommodate the growth of the monastic population during the first half of the fifteenth century. Drepung was then divided into seven colleges specialized by subjects. Gomang and Loselling, which became the larger colleges, devoted themselves to the study of the prajñāpāramitā literature and madhyamaka philosophy, whereas Deyang was consecrated to the study of logic and epistemology. Hence, Deyang gave priority to the study of Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika, the main Indian Buddhist text on this topic. It was the first major text studied by the monks engaged in the scholastic curriculum, contrary to the two other colleges where the Abhisamayālaṃkara was given priority. It was also the text on which monks spent the greatest amount of time (up to six years), with each of the four chapters of the text being examined in great details. After finishing the study of this text, students examined the other major subjects, starting with the prajñāpāramitā literature and madhyamaka philosophy. After four more years to master these two major topics, they completed their curriculum with the study of the abhidharma and the Discipline.
Another interesting characteristic of the scholastic culture of this college was its adoption of some of the texts written by the Fifth Throne-Holder of Drepung (Drepung Tripa Ngapa) as its scholastic manuals. This was mostly for the study of the prajñāpāramitā literature and madhyamaka philosophy where the texts written by this great leader played a central role, whereas for logic and epistemology, Penchen Sönam Drakpa’s and Gendün Drup’s (1391-1474 CE) texts were considered authoritative. The reasons and circumstances under which these texts were adopted are unknown to this writer. One cannot but wonder, however, whether the adoption of the Fifth’s (Ngapa) texts and the close connection with this important figure symbolized by the adoption of these texts played a role in the continuous existence of this college, which survived despite its modest size. This contrasted with the fate of the other small colleges, which were absorbed into the larger colleges during the eighteenth century. Gomang absorbed the Vinaya Monastic College whereas Shakkor and Gyepa became part of Loselling. Only Deyang survived.
Nechung in the Maitreya Chapel
A close connection with the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) and his government was also clear in the protectors that the monastery propitiated, Nechung and the Great Goddess (Penden Lhamo). Nechung is a worldly deity, one in an important group of five deities named The Five Kings (Gyelpo Kunga lit., the five king-bodies) who are considered to be the manifestations of Pehar, the deity appointed by Padmasaṃbhava (Padma Jungné, 8th Century-? CE) as the main guardian of Buddhism in Tibet. the Great Goddess is a supra-mundane deity, the Tibetan equivalent of Mahādevī, the powerful goddess who protects her followers. Since the time of the Fifth Throne-Holder of Drepung (Drepung Tripa Ngapa), these two deities have been the official protectors of the Dalai Lama (Talé Lama) and the Tibetan Government and are known as “the red and black protectors” (sungma marnak nyi). They were also the protectors of Deyang. This is probably more than a coincidence and may explain the survival of this small college.
Deyang was not, however, the temple where Nechung was being officially propitiated, for this honor was reserved to the Nechung monastery just below Drepung. According to a legendary account, Pehar had been propitiated at Tsé Gungtang when a local lama decided to stop the practice. He placed the deity in a wooden box and threw it in the Kyichu, the river that flows through Lhasa. Jangchup Penden saw the deity floating toward Drepung and ordered his steward to recuperate the box and bring it to the monastery without opening it. But, as it is often the case in narratives, he was not obeyed and the box was open prematurely just below Drepung. Nechung came out of the box under the form of a black crow and merged into a tree. It is on this spot that the monastery officially in charge of its propitiation was established.
If Deyang managed to survive for a long time, its fate has been more difficult in recent times when it became engulfed in the difficult political events that overtook Drepung and the whole of the Tibetan world. These events have affected Deyang more than the other colleges. Since very few of its monks made it into exile, it has been unable to reestablish itself in India. In Tibet, monastic colleges have not been functioning as semi-independent institutions, as they used to do. Hence, Deyang, like the other colleges, is not fully functioning and with its small population it has found it difficult to maintain its traditions. Nevertheless, it reopened its old temple. Although the content of its Assembly Hall was entirely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, its building was saved by being used as a store-house. Hence, it has been able to function as one of the several temples that pilgrim visit when they come to Drepung. The college is also attempting to revive some of its traditions, such as the practice of the Medicine Buddha (Menla), which used to be one of the monastery’s main ritual practices. Similarly, the Protector (Gönkhang) has been refurbished with new statues made to the old specifications and the practices of protectors, particularly those connected with Nechung, are being revived.
The Tantric Monastic College is the only tantric institution at Drepung. It is also the smallest among the four colleges, a function of the goal of Drepung as a scholastic center focused on the study great exoteric texts of the Indian Buddhist tradition. This scholastic focus has differentiated Drepung from its sister institution Ganden, which was founded by Tsongkhapa as a monastery that combined the study and practice of both exoteric and esoteric aspects of the tradition. Hence, Ganden and its two colleges have been described as monasteries uniting sūtras and tantras (dongak züngdrelgyi dratsang), a description that does not apply to the main colleges of Drepung, which continue to follow the tradition started by the monastery’s founder.
Jamyang Chöjé’s view was that monks should train for a prolonged time in the purely exoteric tradition before entering the secret tantric domain reserved to elite practitioners. Jamyang Chöjé himself showed the example, focusing on the exoteric aspects of the tradition in his writings and teachings. He refused his students’ repeated entreaties to write or teach about tantras, arguing that such a task was for people much braver than himself (a likely pique at his great rival Khedrup whose tantric writings were quite extensive). In accordance with their founder’s wish, most monks at Drepung entered tantric practice only after achieving proficiency in the exoteric tradition. In the first years of their careers, young monks were not allowed to take tantric empowerments or even to keep tantric ritual texts in their rooms, a privilege reserved to monks who had reached seniority in the scholastic curriculum. The scholastic focus of Drepung did not necessarily imply that all the monks from these colleges, or even a majority of them, engaged in exoteric studies, for the monastic population was rather heteroclite. Most monks considered that joining the monastery and engaging in the appropriate rituals was meritorious enough. There was no need to bother with long and arduous studies. Still, the colleges themselves were devoted to the study of the exoteric curriculum. Hence, they were described as philosophical monastic colleges, in opposition to the Tantric Monastic College.
The foundation of the Tantric Monastic College goes back to the creation of Drepung in 1416. With the support of the powerful Nedong family, Jamyang Chöjé conceived of his monastery as a fairly large project that included a tantric temple (ngakkhang). Hence, contrary to the other colleges, which were created later, the Tantric Monastic College was part of the original plan, though it may at first not have been conceived as a separate college. The tantric temple was built above the Main Assembly Hall, a site where a temple is said to have already existed. This original temple is at times described as a red house, perhaps a sign that it might have been devoted to the tantric deity Yamāntaka. In some parts of the temple the Tantric Monastic College one can still see double walls, perhaps a sign that the walls of an earlier building were included in a later construction.
Because the tantric temple was part of the original plan of the monastery, its precise starting point is hard to pin down. Desi Sanggyé Gyatso, our main source for the early history of Drepung, provides a list of twenty-one abbots up to the year 1680 starting with Gyeltsen Tsültrim. Other sources, however, present Mönlam Pelwa (1414-1491 CE), Jamyang Chöjé’s direct disciple, as the founder of the college. It is not sure where this difference comes from and what is its significance, but it may be that Mönlam Pelwa was the first leader of a not yet officially formed Tantric Monastic College and Gyeltsen Tsültrim its first official abbot.
Jamyang Chöjé’s original plan was to create a large institution where monks would study and practice the esoteric tradition only after completing their scholastic studies and receiving their spiritual teacher degrees. But this plan did not quite work as its author intended, for in 1433 Sherap Senggé (1383-1445 CE) founded the Tantric Monastery of Lower Lhasa, followed shortly after by the Tantric Monastery of Upper Lhasa. In short order these two monasteries became quite prestigious and attracted the scholars from Drepung, who ceased to attend the Tantric Monastic College at Drepung. As a result, the Tantric Monastic College became quite small, a fact that seems to have create repeated problems throughout its history. In 1953, for example, its population fell to a dangerously low level. The Drepung authorities decided to increase the population of the college by conscripting from neighbor districts a hundred monks. With this infusion of new blood, the college reached the level of 325 monks, which was small by Drepung’s standards but allowed the college to maintain the full range of its activities. Because of its size, the college never adopted the regional house system of the larger two colleges, but placed its monks in their various regional houses. Monks from the Tantric Monastic College seem to have been free to select their house, but they tended to choose one of the three great regional houses at Drepung, Samlo, Hardong and Tsa.
Although the Tantric Monastic College did not quite fulfill its original mission, it played an important role in the religious life of Drepung. For traditional Tibetans, receiving the protection and the blessing of deities was considered vital. This was also true of monasteries, which needed to propitiate the protectors of the dharma (chökyong sungma) and invoke the tantric deities. At Drepung, these tasks were entrusted to the Tantric Monastic College, which practiced the often very elaborate rituals of the complex tantric cycles that were practiced throughout the year. Like for the other colleges, the year at the Tantric Monastic College was divided between sessions (chötok) and breaks (chötsam), but instead of studying exoteric texts, the sessions of the Tantric Monastic College monks were devoted to the practice of the great tantric deities. In a year, the college went through nine great ceremonies (drupchö) focusing on a particular tantric cycle: Sangwa Düpa, Demchok, the Thirteen Deities of Vajrabhairava, the Nine Deities of Mikyöpa, Mahākaruṇika, the Five Deities of Heruka, the Medicine Buddha (Menla), the Nine Deities of Tsepakmé and Vairocana. For each of these nine ceremonies, the monks created a powdered maṇḍala and practiced the complete tantric cycle before doing an extensive concluding fire offering (jinsek).
During the times in the sessions when they were not engaged in such practice, the Tantric Monastic College’s monks attended their own debating courtyard three times a day. There, they debated on tantric topics, engaged in various smaller rituals and recited the twelve chapters of the root tantra of Sangwa Düpa, the central tantric text in the Geluk tradition.
Among the tantric cycles practiced by the college, the most important was the one consecrated to Vajrabhairava. Every year, the college practiced the full cycle of the deity. It also made sure that two monks would undergo a three-month retreat of the deity during hundreds of thousands of its mantras were recited. The practice of this deity has always been valued in the Geluk tradition. Its fierce nature has been considered appropriate to the nature of the present, which is seen as particularly degenerated. But this deity has also a closer connection to Drepung. It was Jamyang Chöjé’s tutelary deity (yidam) and prior to the establishment of the monastery, the site is said to have had a temple devoted to its practice (the red house mentioned above). Hence, it comes as no surprise that Vajrabhairava was chosen as the tutelary deity of the college, despite the fact that Sangwa Düpa is the more important tantra in the Geluk tradition. A particularly important statue was made for the college in which many sacred relics were placed. Particularly significant were the remains of the translator Ra Lotsawa (1016-1198 CE), who played a central role in the lineage of the practice of this deity. The statue was said to have had Ra’s complete remains, except for one finger, which had been lost. Hence, this statue was considered particularly valuable, an embodiment of the practice of this deity. It was one of the most sacred objects at Drepung, second only to Tsongkhapa’s conch. But unfortunately a fire destroyed this statue in the later years of the nineteenth century. Its ashes were carefully collected and placed within a new statue, whose value is said to equal that of the old one. Hence, Vajrabhairava’s statue is still considered as one the most sacred objects of the monastery. It is one of the main objects for the pilgrims who come to Drepung.
Besides these already onerous ritual duties, the Tantric Monastic College paid special attention to the propitiation of dharma protectors, particularly those connected to the Geluk tradition. Its main guardian deity was the Dharma-king (Damchen Chögyel), the supra-mundane deity bound to an oath by Tsongkhapa himself. But the college also propitiated the other protectors connected to Geluk tradition. The practice of this tradition is set up according to the model of the three scopes of the Stages of the Path (Lamrim) literature, and each of these scopes is connected to a particular protector: Six-armed Mahākāla (Gönpo Chakdruk) for the person of great scope, Vaiśravaṇa for the person of middling scope, and the Dharma-king for the person of small scope. TheTantric Monastic College focused its practice on these protectors of the three scopes (kyebu sumgyi sungma), though it also included other protectors such as the Great Goddess or Nechung.
Like for the other institutions at Drepung, the direction of the Tantric Monastic College was in the hands of a complex hierarchy that divided the tasks and maintained a balance of power. The college’s main officials were the abbot, the disciplinarian, the chant leader, and two overseers (parenval). Together, these five officials (dratsanggi lené nga) formed the highest authority at the college. The abbot was in charge of the religious aspects of the monastic life, particularly that of leading the nine great tantric practices performed by the college every year. The chant leader would lead the monastic assembly in its rituals, either during the tantric rituals held in the college’s temple or in the debating courtyard, whereas the disciplinarian was in charge of maintaining the discipline, making sure that its customs were respected and its usages maintained. The two overseers made sure that the timetable was respected, alerting the abbot and the disciplinarian of particular tasks and in general overseeing the lower echelons of the hierarchy. Below them, four stewards, a treasurer (ngülnyer), and three administrators in charge of the estates (zhidöpa) administrated the finances of the college, particularly the college’s estates.
The running of a tantric college also involved other tasks such as ceremonial recitations, the making of intricate offerings and the playing of musical instruments. Since the college was conceived as a place for the study of the tantras, it was important to maintain the study of the major tantric texts. This was done by senior monks (drelrimpa) who would recite every year the important tantric texts, particularly those concerning the practice of Vajrabhairava and the commentary of the Sangwa Düpa, the central tantra in the Geluk tradition.
The making of offerings was another important task at the Tantric Monastic College, particularly during the nine great ceremonies of the yearly ritual cycle and Mon lam chen mo held during the month of the Tibetan calendar. Since Drepung was in charge of this ritual, which was the most important one in the religious life of Central Tibet, the monastery had to oversee the ceremony in all of its aspects. The Tantric Monastic College was in charge of performing the appropriate rituals for the protectors which were held in a closed chapel, since the festival did not involve any official tantric element. The college was also in charge of making the offerings used during the festival. These offerings, which were called the Offerings of the Fifteenth (Chonga Chöpa), were made of butter especially for the festival and were displayed on the fifteenth of the month, the festival’s climax. The ritual life of the college also required the practice of musical instruments, particularly the Chinese clarinet (gyaling) and the large horn (dungchen). Monks chosen for this task underwent a preliminary training of three months and served for twelve years as instrument players.
Only the monk-sponsors (chödzé) would be exempted from such duties. They would sponsor a ritual at the college and provide the monks with donation. In exchange they received the title of monk-sponsor, which dispensed them from many of the ordinary chores but not from obeying the overall discipline of their institution. Such title existed at all the levels of the institution. The Great Assembly, the colleges and the regional houses had their own monk-sponsors, who received special privileges in the institution in exchange for donations. They would sit at a higher place in the assembly and would be dispensed from ordinary chores, but not from the overall requirements of the institutions. Hence, they followed the same training and had to undergo the same exams as the ordinary monks.
Nowadays, the Tantric Monastic College has found it difficult to continue its mission. Few of its monks made it to exile in India where they lacked the critical mass to recreate the college. In Tibet, colleges do not have any official function at Drepung where all the monks are part of a single administrative entity. Hence, it has been difficult for the Tantric Monastic College to reestablish itself. Moreover, nowadays there are few monks who have the knowledge necessary to the conduct of the complex rituals that are parts of the tantric cycles that used to be the specialty of the college. Elder monks have almost disappeared and the younger generations have found it difficult to get the training necessary to continue the complex tradition of this college. Nevertheless, young monks are being trained in the ritual arts of the college and efforts are being made to revive some of the traditional practices of the college.
Note: The glossary is organized into sections according to the main language of each entry. The first section contains Tibetan words organized in Tibetan alphabetical order. To jump to the entries that begin with a particular Tibetan root letter, click on that letter below. Columns of information for all entries are listed in this order: THL Extended Wylie transliteration of the term, THL Phonetic rendering of the term, the English translation, the Sanskrit equivalent, associated dates, and the type of term. To view the glossary sorted by any one of these rubrics, click on the corresponding label (such as “Phonetics”) at the top of its column.
|karma pa brgyad pa||Karmapa Gyepa||the Eighth Karmapa||1507-1554 CE||Person|
|karma pa gsum pa||Karmapa Sumpa||the Third Karmapa||1284-1339 CE||Person|
|karma pak shi||Karma Pakshi||1204-1283 CE||Person|
|kun dga’ rwa ba||Künga Rawa||the Teaching Compound||Monastery|
|kong jo ra ba||Kongtserawa||Place|
|bka’ brgyud pa||Kagyüpa||Monastery|
|bka’ gdams chos ’byung gsal ba’i sgron me||Kadam Chönjung Selwé Drönmé||Text|
|bka’ rams skyor dpon||karam kyorpön||chief-class leader||Term|
|bkra shis khang gsar||Tashi Khangsar||Organization|
|bkra shis sgo mang grwa tshang||Trashi Gomang Dratsang||the Auspicious Many Doors Monastic College||Monastery|
|bkra shis lhun po||Trashi Lhünpo||Monastery|
|skyes bu gsum gyi srung ma||kyebu sumgyi sungma||protectors of the three scopes||Term|
|skyor dpon||kyorpön||the leaders of each class||Term|
|khang dmar||khangmar||red house||Term|
|khang tshan||khangtsen||regional house||Term|
|khang tshan dge rgan||khangtsen gegen||house teacher||Term|
|khal kha rje btsun dam pa||Khalka Jetsün Dampa||Person|
|khri pa||tripa||holder of the throne||Person|
|mkhan po||khenpo||the abbot||Term|
|mkhar nag lo tsa ba||Kharnak Lotsawa||Author|
|mkhas grub dge legs dpal bzang||Khedrup Gelek Pelzang||1385-1438 CE||Person|
|gung thang ’jam dpal dbyangs||Gungtang Jampelyang||Person|
|gung ru chos kyi blo gros||Gungru Chökyi Lodrö||Person|
|gung ru chos kyi ’byung gnas||Gungru Chökyi Jungné||Person|
|go ram pa||Gorampa||1429-1489 CE||Person|
|grags pa rgyal mtshan||Drakpa Gyeltsen||1618-1655 CE||Person|
|grags pa rin chen||Drakpa Rinchen||Person|
|gral rim pa||drelrimpa||senior monk||Term|
|grwa rgyun||dragyün||new recruit||Term|
|grwa mang||dramang||majority of monks||Term|
|grwa tshang gi dge skos||dratsanggi gekö||the college’s disciplinarian||Term|
|grwa tshang gi dbu mdzad||dratsanggi umdzé||the college’s chanting master||Term|
|grwa tshang gi las sne lnga||dratsanggi lené nga||five officials||Term|
|grwa tshang ’dul ba||Dratsang Dülwa||Vinaya Monastic College||Monastery|
|grwa tshang byes||Dratsang Jé||the Jé Monastic College||Monastery|
|grwa sa chen po bzhi dang rgyud pa bstod smad chags tshul pad dkar ’phreng ba||Drasa Chenpo Zhi dang Gyüpa Tömé Chaktsül Pekar Trengwa||Text|
|dga’ gdong||Gadong||Buddhist deity|
|dga’ ldan khri||Ganden Tri||the Throne of Ganden||Term|
|dga’ ldan khri||Ganden Tri||the Throne of Ganden||Monastery|
|dga’ ldan khri pa||Ganden Tripa||the Throne-Holder of Ganden||Person|
|dga’ ldan chos ’byung dpag bsam gdong po mkhas pa dgyes byed||Ganden Chönjung Samdongpo Khepa Gyejé||Text|
|dga’ ldan chos ’byung bai ḍūrya ser po||Ganden Chönjung Baidurya Serpo||Text|
|dga’ ldan pa||Gandenpa||Monastery|
|dga’ ldan pho brang||Ganden Podrang||the Ganden Palace||Monastery|
|dge skos||gekö||the disciplinarian||Term|
|dge ’dun grub||Gendün Drup||1391-1474 CE||Person|
|dge ’dun rgya mtsho||Gendün Gyatso||1475-1542 CE||Person|
|dge lugs pa||Gelukpa||Organization|
|dge bshes||geshé||spiritual teacher||Term|
|dge bshes dge ’dun blo gros||Geshé Gendün Lodrö||Author|
|dgon khang||Gönkhang||the Protector House||Monastery|
|mgon po phyag drug||Gönpo Chakdruk||Six-armed Mahākāla||Buddhist deity|
|dgon po phyag bzhi pa||Gönpo Chakzhipa||the Four-Armed Mahākāla||Buddhist deity|
|rgan blo bzang rgya mtsho||Gen Lobzang Gyatso||Person|
|rgan lam rim pa||Gen Lamrimpa||Person|
|rgya gling||gyaling||Chinese clarinet||Term|
|rgyal po sku lnga||Gyelpo Kunga||The Five Kings||Buddhist deity|
|rgyal tshab dar ma rin chen||Gyeltsap Darma Rinchen||1364-1432 CE||Person|
|rgyal mtshan tshul khrims||Gyeltsen Tsültrim||Person|
|rgyud stod||Gyütö||the Tantric Monastery of Upper Lhasa||Monastery|
|rgyud sde spyi rnam||Gyüdé Chinam||General Presentation of the Tantras||Text|
|rgyud smad||Gyümé||the Tantric Monastery of Lower Lhasa||Monastery|
|sgo mang grwa tshang||Gomang Dratsang||the Gomang Monastic College||Monastery|
|sgo mang bod pa gzhung||Gomang Böpa Zhung||Gomang Staff House||Monastery|
|sgrub mchod||drupchö||nine great ceremonies||Term|
|ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho||Ngawang Lozang Gyatso||1617-1682 CE||Person|
|ngor chen kun dga’ bzang po||Ngorchen Künga Zangpo||1382-1456 CE||Person|
|lnga pa||Ngapa||the Fifth||Person|
|sngags khang||ngakkhang||tantric temple||Term|
|sngags pa grwa tshang||Ngakpa Dratsang||the Tantric Monastic College||Monastery|
|bca’ yig||chayik||monastic constitution||Term|
|bco lnga mchod pa||Chonga Chöpa||the Offerings of the Fifteenth||Ritual|
|lcags po ri||Chakpo Ri||Iron Hill||Place|
|lcog pa byang chub dpal ldan||Chokpa Jangchup Penden||1404-? CE||Person|
|cha har dge bshes blo bzang tshul khrims||Chahar Geshé Lozang Tsültrim||Author|
|cha har dge bshes blo bzang tshul khrims kyi gsung bum||Chahar Geshé Lozang Tsültrimkyi Sungbum||The Collected Works of Chahar Geshé Lozang Tsültrim||Text|
|chos kyi rgyal mtshan||Chökyi Gyeltsen||Person|
|chos skyong srung ma||chökyong sungma||the protectors of the dharma||Term|
|chos sde chen po dpal ldan ’bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang gi chos ’byung chos dung gyas su ’khyil ba’i sgra dbyangs||Chöde Chenpo Penden Drepung Trashi Gomanggi Chönjung Chödung Gyesu Kyilwé Drayang||Text|
|chos rwa||chöra||debating courtyard||Term|
|jo nang kun dga’ grol chog||Jonang Künga Drölchok||1507-1565/1566 CE||Person|
|jo bo rin po che||Jowo Rinpoché||the Jowo Buddha statue||Monument|
|’jam dbyangs dga’ ba’i blo gros||Jamyang Gawé Lodrö||Person|
|’jam dbyangs chos rje||Jamyang Chöjé||1379-1449 CE||Person|
|’jam dbyangs don yod dpal ldan||Jamyang Dönyö Penden||Person|
|’jam dbyangs bzhad pa||Jamyang Zhepa||1648-1721/1722 CE||Person|
|’jam dbyangs legs pa chos ’byor||Jamyang Lekpa Chönjor||1429-1504 CE||Person|
|rje thams cad mkhyen pa tsong kha pa chen po’i rnam thar go sla bar brjod pa bde legs kun kyi byung gnas||Jé Tamché Khyenpa Tsongkhapa Chenpö Namtar Go Lawar Jöpa Delek Künkyi Jungné||Text|
|rje btsun chos kyi rgyal mtshan||Jetsün Chökyi Gyeltsen||1469-1544 CE||Person|
|gnyer tshang sde pa||nyertsang depa||store-manager||Term|
|tā ran ā tha||Taranatha||1575-1634 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma||Talé Lama||the Dalai Lama||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng lnga pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Ngapa||the Fifth Dalai Lama||1617-1682 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng bcu bzhi pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Chupzhipa||the Fourteenth Dalai Lama||1935-? CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng bcu gsum pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Chuksumpa||the Thirteenth Dalai Lama||1876-1933 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng gnyis pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Nyipa||the Second Dalai Lama||1476-1542 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng dang po||Talé Lama Kutreng Dangpo||the First Dalai Lama||1391-1474 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng drug pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Drukpa||the Sixth Dalai Lama||1683-1706/1746 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng bzhi pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Zhipa||the Fourth Dalai Lama||1589-1617 CE||Person|
|tā la’i bla ma sku phreng gsum pa||Talé Lama Kutreng Sumpa||the Third Dalai Lama||1543-1588 CE||Person|
|rtogs ldan ’jam dpal rgya mtsho||Tokden Jampel Gyatso||1356-1428 CE||Person|
|stag tshang lo tswa ba||Taktsang Lotsawa||Person|
|bstan pa bstan ’dzin||Tenpa Tendzin||Author|
|bstan ma||Tenma||Buddhist deity|
|bstan ma||tenma||Tenma deities||Term|
|bstan ma bcu gnyis||Tenma Chunyi||a set of twelve female deities in charge of protecting the Buddhist teaching||Term|
|thu’u bkwan chos kyi nyi ma||Tuken Chökyi Nyima||1737-1802 CE||Person|
|thos bsam gling||Tösamling||Monastery|
|dam can chos rgyal||Damchen Chögyel||the Dharma-king||Buddhist deity|
|dung chen||dungchen||large horn||Term|
|drung grags pa rin chen||Drung Drakpa Rinchen||Person|
|gdan sa||densa||monastic seat||Term|
|gdan sa chen mo||densa chenmo||great monastic seat of learning||Term|
|bde mchog||Demchok||Cakrasaṃvara||Buddhist deity|
|bde yangs grwa tshang||Deyang Dratsang||the Deyang Monastic College||Monastery|
|mdo sngags zung ’brel gyi grwa tshang||dongak züngdrelgyi dratsang||monasteries uniting sūtras and tantras||Term|
|’du khang||dukhang||Assembly Hall||Building|
|’du khang||dukhang||Main Assembly Hall||Building|
|’dul ba||Dülwa||Vinaya [College]||Monastery|
|’dul ba||Dülwa||Discipline||Vinaya||Doxographical Category|
|’dul ba chos ’byung||Dülwa Chönjung||History of the Vinaya||Text|
|rdo rje grags rgyal ma||Dorjé Drak Gyelma||Buddhist deity|
|rdo rje g.yu sgron ma||Dorje Yüdronma||Buddhist deity|
|rdo rje legs pa||Dorjé Lekpa||Buddhist deity|
|sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho||Desi Sanggyé Gyatso||1653-1705 CE||Person|
|sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho||Desi Sanggyé Gyatso||Author|
|bsdus grwa||Düdra||the Collected Topics||Doxographical Category|
|nam mkha’ bzang po||Namkha Zangpo||Person|
|gnas chung||Nechung||Buddhist deity|
|rnam thar sgo gsum||namtar gosum||the three doors of liberation||Term|
|padma ’byung gnas||Pema Jungné||Padmasaṃbhava||8th Century-? CE||Person|
|paṇ chen sku phreng bzhi pa||Penchen Kutreng Zhipa||the Fourth Penchen Lama||Person|
|paṇ chen blo bzang chos rgyan||Penchen Lobzang Chögyan||1570-1662 CE||Person|
|paṇ chen bsod nams grags pa||Penchen Sönam Drakpa||1478-1554 CE||Person|
|pe har||Pehar||Buddhist deity|
|po ta la ri||Potala Ri||Potala Hill||Place|
|dpal ldan lha mo||Penden Lhamo||the Great Goddess||Buddhist deity|
|dpal ’byor lhun grub||Penjor Lhündrup||1427-1514 CE||Person|
|dpe cha ba||pechawa||scholar||Term|
|spom ’bor ra||Pomborra||Monastery|
|spyan snga rin po che||Chennga Rinpoché||Person|
|spyan ras gzigs||Chenrezik||Avalokiteśvara||Buddhist deity|
|spyi khang||chikhang||apartment house||Term|
|sprul sku||trülku||reincarnated lama||Term|
|phun tshogs dbang rgyal||Püntsok Wanggyel||Person|
|phur lcog ngag dbang byams pa||Purchok Ngawang Jampa||Author|
|pho lha nas||Polhané||Person|
|pho lha nas bsod nams stobs rgyal||Polhané Sönam Topgyel||1689-1747 CE||Person|
|phyag mdzod||chakdzö||steward monk||Term|
|ba so chos rje||Baso Chöjé||Person|
|be ri rgyal po||Béri Gyelpo||King of Beri||Person|
|bod pa gzhung||Böpa Zhung||Monastery|
|byang chub rgyal mtshan||Jangchup Gyeltsen||1302-1364 CE||Person|
|byang chub dpal ldan||Jangchup Penden||Person|
|byams pa||Jampa||Maitreya||Buddhist deity|
|brag thog khang||Draktokkhang||Place|
|brag yer pa||Drakyerpa||Monastery|
|bla spyi chen mo||Lachi Chenmo||the Large Council||Organization|
|bla brang bkra shis ’khyil||Labrang Tashikhyil||Monastery|
|bla brang phyag mdzod||labrang chakdzö||treasurer||Term|
|bla ma 'jam dkar||Lama Jamkar||Person|
|bla ma gzhung len pa||lama zhung lenpa||the director of the studies||Term|
|blo bzang chos rgyan||Lobzang Chögyan||Person|
|blo bzang nyi ma||Lozang Nyima||1438-1492 CE||Person|
|blo gsal gling||Loselling||Monastery|
|blo gsal gling grwa tshang||Loselling Dratsang||the Loselling Monastic College||Monastery|
|dbu mdzad||umdzé||the chant leader||Term|
|dbyar gnas||Yarné||Rainy Season Retreat||Name|
|’bras spung khri||Drepung Tri||the Throne of Drepung||Term|
|’bras spung spyi gso||Drepung chiso||the Drepung authorities||Term|
|’bras spungs khri||Drepung Tri||the Throne of Drepung||Monastery|
|’bras spungs khri pa||Drepung Tripa||the Throne-Holder of Drepung||Person|
|’bras spungs khri pa brgyad pa||Drepung Tripa Gyepa||the Eighth Throne-Holder of Drepung||Person|
|’bras spungs khri pa lnga pa||Drepung Tripa Ngapa||the Fifth Throne-Holder of Drepung||Person|
|’bras spungs khri pa bdun pa||Drepung Tripa Dünpa||the Seventh Throne-Holder of Drepung||Person|
|’bras spungs chos ’byung||Drepung Chönjung||Text|
|’brug pa bka’ brgyud||Drukpa Kagyü||Organization|
|sbyin sreg||jinsek||fire offering||Term|
|ma las bu dga’ ba ’ong||malé bu gawa ong||one comes to prefer the son to the mother||Term|
|mar chen pom ra||Marchen Pomra||Place|
|mar pa||Marpa||1002/1012-1097 CE||Person|
|mi bskyod rdo rje||Mikyö Dorjé||1507-1554 CE||Person|
|mi bskyod pa||Mikyöpa||Akṣobhya||Buddhist deity|
|mi ’gro gsung byon||Midro Sungjön||The Not Going Speaking One||Buddhist deity|
|mi tshan||mitsen||affiliated house||Term|
|mud sras pa||Müsepa||Person|
|mud sras pa blo gros rin chen seng ge||Müsepa Lodrö Rinchen Senggé||15th Century-? CE||Person|
|dmag bzlog||Makdok||ritual to repel the armies||Ritual|
|dmangs gtso bdag nyer u yon lhan khang||Mangtso Daknyer Uyön Lhenkhang||Democratic Management Committee||Organization|
|dmangs gtso bdag nyer u yon lhan khang||Mangtso Daknyer Uyön Lhenkhang||DMC||Organization|
|sman bla||Menla||the Medicine Buddha||Buddhist deity|
|smon lam chen mo||Mönlam Chenmo||the Great Prayer Festival||Festival|
|smon lam dpal ba||Mönlam Pelwa||1414-1491 CE||Person|
|tsong kha pa||Tsongkhapa||1357-1419 CE||Person|
|rtsam pa||tsampa||roasted barley flour||Term|
|rtse nyag pa||Tsenyakpa||15th Century-? CE||Person|
|rtse gung thang||Tsé Gungtang||Monastery|
|tshe dpag med||Tsepakmé||Amitāyur||Buddhist deity|
|tshogs chen||Tsokchen||Great Assembly Hall||Building|
|tshogs chen dbu mdzad||tsokchen umdzé||the chanting master of the Great Assembly Hall||Person|
|tshogs chen shal ngo||tsokchen shelngo||head disciplinarian||Term|
|mtshan nyid grwa tshang||tsennyi dratsang||philosophical monastic college||Term|
|mtsho sngon po||Tso Ngönpo||the Blue Lake||Place|
|’dzam gling spyi bsang||Dzamling Chisang||the Summer Festival of Smoke Offerings||Festival|
|gzhan stong||zhentong||extrinsic emptiness||Term|
|gzhis sdod pa||zhidöpa||administrator in charge of the estates||Term|
|gzims khang gong ma||Zimkhang Gongma||the Upper Chamber||Monastery|
|yangs ba chen||Yangbachen||Place|
|yi dam||yidam||tutelary deity||Term|
|yig cha||yikcha||scholastic manual||Term|
|yu mo mi bskyod rdo rje||Yumo Mikyö Dorjé||Person|
|yon tan rgya mtsho||Yonten Gyatso||1589-1617 CE||Person|
|rang byung rdo rje||Rangjung Dorjé||1284-1339 CE||Person|
|rab ’byams||Rapjam||Great Scholar||Term|
|rwa lo tsa ba||Ra Lotsawa||1016-1198 CE||Person|
|lan hwa thi||Lenhati||Monastery|
|lam rim||Lamrim||the Stages of the Path||Doxographical Category|
|las chen kun dga’ rgyal tshan||Lechen Künga Gyeltsen||Author|
|legs pa chos ’byor||Lekpa Chönjor||Person|
|shākya mchog ldan||Shakya Chokden||1428-1509 CE||Person|
|shag gi dge rgan||shakgi gegen||room teacher||Term|
|shag tshang chen mo||shaktsang chenmo||large household||Term|
|shes rab seng ge||Sherap Senggé||1383-1445 CE||Person|
|sangs rgyas rgya mtsho||Sanggyé Gyatso||1653-1705 CE||Person|
|sum pa ye shes dpal ’byor||Sumpa Yeshé Penjor||1704-1788 CE||Person|
|se ra khri||Sera Tri||the Sera Throne||Term|
|se ra byes||Sera Jé||Monastery|
|seng gdong ma||Sengdongma||Lion-Faced Goddess||Buddhist deity|
|srung ma dmar nag gnyis||sungma marnak nyi||the red and black protectors||Term|
|srong btsan sgam po||Songtsen Gampo||604-650 CE||Person|
|gsang phu gling smad||Sangpuling Mé||Lower College of Sangpu||Monastery|
|gsang phu gling smad kyi chos rje||Sangpu Lingmekyi Chöjé||Lord of the Dharma of the Lower Monastery of Sangpu||Person|
|gsang ba ’dus pa||Sangwa Düpa||Guhyasamāja||Buddhist deity|
|bsam blo khang tshan||Samlo Khangtsen||Samlo Regional House||Monastery|
|bsod nams grags pa||Sönam Drakpa||Person|
|bsod nams rgya mtsho||Sönam Gyatso||1543-1588 CE||Person|
|bsod nams rab brtan||Sönam Rapten||1595-1658 CE||Person|