Tom wrote:I think the Kadampa masters first used the title Geshe. It seems that Bon teachers also use the title Geshe. Does anyone know if that has a long tradition? And are there any Western Bon pa Geshes?
Gelupas are the descendants of the Kadampas. Same DNA with a bit of Kagyu and Sakya thrown in.
This is a common myth. The historical facts are however that Tsongkhapa was Sakyapa originally, studied at Sakya, and refers to himself as a Sakyapa in some early commentaries. Further, his two main students were Sakyapas. It is indeed true that since his first master was a Kadampa Geshe, he always maintain an obvious affection for Lam rim, but in his training he was a Sakyapa. Most of the transmissions in Gelug come through Sakya because it is a little know fact that the Sakyapas were and still are the richest school in terms of total number of gsar ma tantric lineages from India. Probably because they were among the wealthiest religious families in Tsang. The Kagyu sngags mdzod is quite small when compared to the rgyud sde kun bdus.
Initially, Gelug was called Sakya gsar ma, i.e. new Sakyapas, until it was renamed Ganden pa after Tsongkhapa's monastery in Lhasa. "dge lugs" is a corruption of i.e. dga' lugs, short for dga' ldan pa'i lugs, i.e. "the school of the dga' ldan pas." The proper name for the Gelug school is actually "Ri bo dga' ldan pas", those of Tushita Mountain.
It is also true that Tsongkhapa received important transmissions from Drikung as well.