The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

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The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:46 am

I recommend that you guys read this, it's amazing. Breathtaking. I'll post some quotes from it.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... khapa.html

Tsongkhapa was not like any ordinary child. He never misbehaved; he instinctively engaged in bodhisattva types of actions; he was extremely intelligent and always wanted to learn everything. And at the age of three, he took the lay vows from the Fourth Karmapa.

[...]

During this time, this teacher gave the boy various empowerments to Five-Deity Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, Yamantaka, and Vajrapani. By the age of seven, he had already memorized—and this is quite fantastic—at the age of seven he had already memorized the complete rituals of all of these, and had done the Chakrasamvara retreat, and was already doing the self-initiation.

[...]

Within one year—he was just seventeen and he’d already become a very skilled doctor. I mean, looking at everything else that he did, he was also a doctor on top of that.

[...]

And so, at that time, there was one great lama who was able to teach eleven different texts at the same time. So the students asked Tsongkhapa to do the same. So Tsongkhapa, instead of doing eleven, he did seventeen major sutra texts. He taught them all from memory. He never actually used a book; he taught them all from memory. And he did one session on each text every day. He started all seventeen on the same day, and he finished them all on the same day three months later. Always knew how much to teach each day so that it would all finish on the same day. And during the discourse, he refuted incorrect interpretations of each of them and established his own view. That’s astounding enough. But also during each day, during the discourse, he also did the self-initiation of Yamantaka with some of his disciples.

[...]

after teaching a little bit after that, Tsongkhapa went into a four-year retreat with eight of his close disciples. During this retreat—he was already in his mid-30s when he was doing this—and during this retreat, they did thirty-five sets of 100,000 prostrations, one to each of the thirty-five confession Buddhas, and eighteen sets of 100,000 mandala offerings.

[...]

But before teaching on tantra, he wrote extensive commentaries on the bodhisattva vows and the Fifty Stanzas on the Guru (Bla-ma lnga-bcu-pa, Skt. Gurupancashila); that was the foundation for tantra practice.

[...]

He attained enlightenment after his death by—instead of bardo, achieving an illusory body after the clear light of death and then went on from that to enlightenment. And this was to emphasize the need for monks to follow strict celibacy, because to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime requires practice with a consort at least once. Only once.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:13 am

It is really unfortunate that there is not a complete biography about Lama Tzongkhapa in English. There are just bits and pieces here and there. It is surprising, actually.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:24 am

JKhedrup wrote:It is really unfortunate that there is not a complete biography about Lama Tzongkhapa in English. There are just bits and pieces here and there. It is surprising, actually.


That could be a project for you.

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Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

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Re: The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:35 pm

I would love to be able to do something decent in the future in terms of a biography, as a group project with other translators because that is what really leads to high quality publications.
First, though, I have to refine my knowledge of classical written Tibetan- interpreting and written translation funnily enough are quite different skills.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby mandala » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:11 pm

JKhedrup wrote:It is really unfortunate that there is not a complete biography about Lama Tzongkhapa in English. There are just bits and pieces here and there. It is surprising, actually.


Good news - there IS one! (I have a copy - no idea where it came from though, it was a gift).
It's a large book (240 pages) titled "Dje Tsongkhapa" : compilation and translation by Francoise Wang, published by Detchen Eusel Ling Publications (2002).
The book also contains a beautiful set of 15 traditional Je Tsongkhapa thangkas that are kept in Sera monastery.

Let me know if you'd like any further info on the publication - it's a treasure well worth looking for.
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Re: The Biography of Tsongkhapa the Incomparable

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:19 am

mandala wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:It is really unfortunate that there is not a complete biography about Lama Tzongkhapa in English. There are just bits and pieces here and there. It is surprising, actually.


Good news - there IS one! (I have a copy - no idea where it came from though, it was a gift).
It's a large book (240 pages) titled "Dje Tsongkhapa" : compilation and translation by Francoise Wang, published by Detchen Eusel Ling Publications (2002).
The book also contains a beautiful set of 15 traditional Je Tsongkhapa thangkas that are kept in Sera monastery.

Let me know if you'd like any further info on the publication - it's a treasure well worth looking for.
:heart:
I rejoice in your merit. Time for me to search rare book stores.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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