Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

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Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:36 am

While I have read parts of the Lam Rim Chen Mo and obtained much from it, I am wondering at what point did the figure of Lama Tsongkhapa become a central meditation deity within the Gelug-pas? Did that occur shortly after he passed away or much later?
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby tomamundsen » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:19 am

Huseng wrote:While I have read parts of the Lam Rim Chen Mo and obtained much from it, I am wondering at what point did the figure of Lama Tsongkhapa become a central meditation deity within the Gelug-pas? Did that occur shortly after he passed away or much later?

Very interesting, I have been thinking about similar things today. I am also curious to hear this answer.
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:21 am

So Geshe Sonam states that when one visualizes the merit field the central figure varies but it is understood to be inseperable from one's guru, hence the name "guru-deity" or "guru-yidam". He told me that when Lama Tzongkhapa was still alive his students would have been visualizing him in the centre of the merit field because one's guru is an ideal object for prostration/worship as it is through them that we have access to the precious teachings. Whether they visualized Lama Tzongkhapa in his yellow hat form, for example, or perhaps visualized a figure of Buddha Shakyamuni with the understanding he was inseparable from LTK, I am not sure. It is interesting to note that many practices within the Gelug, for example the Jorcho or Preliminary Practice, still have Buddha Shakaymuni as the main figure.

According to my research, in terms of the liturgies that were developed with Tsongkhapa as the central figure, at least one seems to have been composed just shortly after Lama Tzongkhapa left his body. The principal ones in use and as daily practices of Gelugpas are the Lama Chopa/Guru Puja and the Ganden Lhagyama/Hundreds of Deities of Tushita practices.

The Lama Chopa was composed by Panchen Lama Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen, whose dates are 1570-1662, so this text must have been composed at that time. There is a wonderful commentary by Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen that is only available in Tibetan at the moment, but I understand there is a translation by David Gonsalez in the works. In this liturgy the central figure is a large Tsongkhapa, with a small Shakyamuni Buddha and smaller Vajradhara at his heart. This liturgy is considered extremely important by all the major Gelug masters, HH Dalai Lama mentions it is very precious because it contains a way to combine the practice of the three important deities: Yamantaka, Guyasamaja and Chakrasamvara (Heruka).

The practice of Ganden Lhagyama was composed by Dulnagpa Palden. It is a practice that integrates the seven limbs with a short guru yoga of Lama Tzongkhapa and recitation of his mantra. There is less information about the author of this text on the web, but it seems he was co-founder, along with his master Je Sherab Sengye, of Segyu Monastery in 1432. Lama Tsongkhapa passed away in 1419 so this text would likely have been composed very soon after. It involves a visualization of Tsongkhapa with his two main disciples in the form of lamas wearing the yellow hat.

So, short answer, students of LTK would have meditated on his as the guru-deity even while he was still alive, but I could not confirm that this was in the yellow hat form, perhaps it was Shakyamuni but knowing that he was "inseparable" from LTK. The first liturgy visualizing Tsongkhapa in his actual form can likely be dates to the early or mid 1400s, so probably very shortly after he passed away.
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby Namgyal » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:15 am

Even though I personally believe that the 'rangtong' view is a bit like parking a bus fifty yards short of the bus station, nevertheless I have boundless love and respect for the Gelugpa lineage and its teachers. Lama Zopa once gave me a beautiful image of Lama Tsongkhapa which he said had a unique blessing of protection. There is no doubt in my mind that Lama Tsongkhapa is a perfect personal deity :bow:
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:53 am

The Guru Yoga instructions in which Lama Tsongkhapa is visualised as a Deity comes from the Kadam Emanation Scripture that was given to Je Tsongkhapa by Manjushri himself. There are two principal yogas related to Je Tsongkhapa - The Ganden Lhagyema or Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land and Lama Chopa or Offering to the Spiritual Guide. These instructions were then extracted by Je Tsongkhapa (Ganden Lhagyema) and Panchen Losang Chogyan (Lama Chopa) and passed down their respective lineages to the present day Teachers.
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby plwk » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:59 am

huseng, I have in mind the famed Mitsegma chant (originally an offertory praise by Tsongkhapa to his guru Rendawa, which was offered back by the latter in the former's honor) in its variations which describes Je Tsongkhapa as having the qualities of various meditational deities like Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Vajrapani?
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:33 pm

There is the story of the Kadam Emanation scripture, but historically, and also a view held by many lamas, is that Ganden Lhagyama was composed by Dulnagpa Palden. I am not sure of the story behind how he received it, I would be interested to find out. Dulnagpa Palden credited as the author in both the texts in Tibetan I have seen at the monastic colleges in India, as well as the FPMT prayer books.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby heart » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:40 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:The Guru Yoga instructions in which Lama Tsongkhapa is visualised as a Deity comes from the Kadam Emanation Scripture that was given to Je Tsongkhapa by Manjushri himself. There are two principal yogas related to Je Tsongkhapa - The Ganden Lhagyema or Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land and Lama Chopa or Offering to the Spiritual Guide. These instructions were then extracted by Je Tsongkhapa (Ganden Lhagyema) and Panchen Losang Chogyan (Lama Chopa) and passed down their respective lineages to the present day Teachers.


So Termas basically?

/magnus
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:46 pm

Similar premise really. Just different terms to explain it.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:24 pm

Okay, thanks for all the details. :smile:
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:44 pm

Huseng wrote:While I have read parts of the Lam Rim Chen Mo and obtained much from it, I am wondering at what point did the figure of Lama Tsongkhapa become a central meditation deity within the Gelug-pas? Did that occur shortly after he passed away or much later?


In TB generally, the lama is considered the lama-deity, Brahma-Bhuto
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Re: Lama Tsongkhapa as a deity.

Postby Caz » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:53 pm

heart wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:The Guru Yoga instructions in which Lama Tsongkhapa is visualised as a Deity comes from the Kadam Emanation Scripture that was given to Je Tsongkhapa by Manjushri himself. There are two principal yogas related to Je Tsongkhapa - The Ganden Lhagyema or Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land and Lama Chopa or Offering to the Spiritual Guide. These instructions were then extracted by Je Tsongkhapa (Ganden Lhagyema) and Panchen Losang Chogyan (Lama Chopa) and passed down their respective lineages to the present day Teachers.


So Termas basically?

/magnus


Pretty much :thumbsup:
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