Tibetan Monasticism

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Lamayuru monastery Lamayurugate.jpg
Lamayuru monastery

Although there were many householder-yogis in Tibet, monasticism was the foundation of Buddhism in Tibet. There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet. However, nearly all of these were ransacked and destroyed by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. [1] Most of the major monasteries have been at least partially re-established, while many others remain in ruins.

In English translations of Buddhist texts, householder denotes a variety of terms. Most broadly, it refers to any layperson, and most narrowly, to a wealthy and prestigious familial patriarch. In contemporary Buddhist communities, householder is often used synonymously with laity, or non-monastics.

Tibet plateau region in Asia

Tibet is a historical region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in Inner Asia. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

Cultural Revolution socio-political movement in China

The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, its stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology within the Party. The Revolution marked Mao's return to a position of power after the failures of his Great Leap Forward. The movement paralyzed China politically and negatively affected both the economy and society of the country to a significant degree.

Mongolian Buddhism derives from the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. [2] In Mongolia during the 1920s, approximately one third of males were monks, though many lived outside monasteries. By the beginning of the 20th century about 750 monasteries were functioning in Mongolia. [3] These monasteries were largely dismantled during Communist rule, but many have been reestablished during the Buddhist revival in Mongolia which followed the fall of Communism. [4]

Gelug one of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism

The Gelug is the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), a philosopher and Tibetan religious leader. The first monastery he established was named Ganden, and to this day the Ganden Tripa is the nominal head of the school, though its most influential figure is the Dalai Lama. Allying themselves with the Mongols as a powerful patron, the Gelug emerged as the pre-eminent Buddhist school in Tibet and Mongolia since the end of the 16th century.

Tibetan Buddhism body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet

Tibetan Buddhism is the form of Buddhist doctrine and institutions named after the lands of Tibet, but also found in the regions surrounding the Himalayas and much of Central Asia. It derives from the latest stages of Indian Buddhism and preserves "the Tantric status quo of eighth-century India." It has been spread outside of Tibet, especially due to the Mongol power of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), founded by Kublai Khan, that also ruled China.

Mongolia Landlocked country in East Asia

Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia. Its area is roughly equivalent with the historical territory of Outer Mongolia, and that term is sometimes used to refer to the current state. It is sandwiched between China to the south and Russia to the north. Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, although only 37 kilometres (23 mi) separates them.

Monasteries generally adhere to one particular school. Some of the major centers in each tradition are as follows:

Nyingma lineage is said to have "six mother monasteries" each of which has numerous associated branch monasteries:

Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism

The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Ngangyur because it is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the eighth century. The Tibetan alphabet and grammar was created for this endeavour.

Mindrolling Monastery

Mindrolling Monastery, is one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma school in Tibet. It was founded by Rigzin Terdak Lingpa in 1676. Tendrak Lingpa's lineage is known as the Nyo lineage. The name in Tibetan means "Place of Perfect Emancipation". It is located in Zhanang County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, approximately 43 kilometers east of the Lhasa airport, on the south side of the Tsangpo river.

Katok Monastery One of the six principal monasteries of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism

Katok Monastery, also transliterated as Kathok or Kathog Monastery, is one of the six principal ("mother") monasteries of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Baiyu County, Garze Prefecture, Sichuan, China.

Dorje Drak

Dorjidak Gompa or Tupten Dorjidak Dorjé Drak Éwam Chokgar was one of the Six "Mother" Nyingma Monasteries in Tibet. It is located in the Lhoka (Shannan) Prefecture in the south of the Tibet Autonomous Region, older southeastern Ü-Tsang.

Samye the first monastery in Tibet, established by Padmasambhāva and Śāntarakṣita was later taken over by the Sakya tradition.

Samye Buddhist monastery in Tibet

Samye was the first gompa built in Tibet. It was probably first constructed between 775-9 under the patronage of King Trisong Detsen of Tibet who sought to revitalize Buddhism, which had declined since its introduction by King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. The monastery is in Dranang, Lhoka. It was supposedly modeled on the design of Odantapuri in what is now Bihar, India.

Padmasambhava Tibetan Lama

Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, was an 8th-century Buddhist master from the Indian subcontinent. Although there was a historical Padmasambhava, little is known of him apart from helping the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye, at the behest of Trisong Detsen, and shortly thereafter leaving Tibet due to court intrigues.

Śāntarakṣita Indian philosopher

Śāntarakṣita was a renowned 8th century Indian Buddhist and abbot of Nalanda. Śāntarakṣita founded the philosophical approach known as Yogācāra-Mādhyamika, which united the Madhyamaka tradition of Nagarjuna, the Yogacara tradition of Asanga, and the logical and epistemological thought of Dharmakirti.

Tibetan Buddhist monks at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim Lamas Rumtek.jpg
Tibetan Buddhist monks at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim

Kagyu monasteries are mostly in Kham, eastern Tibet. Tsurphu and Ralung are in central Tibet:

Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism

The Kagyu, Kagyü, or Kagyud school, also known as the "Oral Lineage" or Whispered Transmission school, is today regarded as one of six main schools of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism. The central teaching of Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra, "the Great Seal".

Sakya monasteries:

Young monk, Sikkim, India (1991) Young monk, wearing a special costume, Desert road in China, July-August 1991, Sikkim, India.jpg
Young monk, Sikkim, India (1991)

Gelug first three centers are also called 'great three' and are near Lhasa:

Jonang main centers of the more than 70 active monasteries:

Bön main two centers which has a Geshe program and its nunnery:

Other monasteries with particularly important regional influence:

The statue of Buddha in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia BuddhaUlaanbaatar.jpg
The statue of Buddha in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Footnotes

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Sakya Tibetan buddhist sect

The Sakya school is one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the others being the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug. It is one of the Red Hat Orders along with the Nyingma and Kagyu.

The Kalachakra is a term used in Vajrayana Buddhism that means "wheel(s) of time".

Jonang

The Jonang is one of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Its origins in Tibet can be traced to early 12th century master Yumo Mikyo Dorje, but became much wider known with the help of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, a monk originally trained in the Sakya school. The Jonang school was widely thought to have become extinct in the late 17th century at the hands of the 5th Dalai Lama, who forcibly annexed the Jonang gompas to his Gelug school, declaring them heretical.

Ganden Tripa title of the spiritual leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism

The Ganden Tripa or Gaden Tripa is the title of the spiritual leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, the school that controlled central Tibet from the mid-17th century until the 1950s. The 103rd Ganden Tripa, Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin died in office on 21 April 2017. Jangtse Choejey Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Palsangpo is the current Ganden Tripa.

The Dorje Shugden controversy is a controversy over Dorje Shugden, also known as Dolgyal, who some consider to be one of several protectors of the Gelug school, the school of Tibetan Buddhism to which the Dalai Lamas belong. Dorje Shugden has become the symbolic centre-point of a conflict over the "purity" of the Gelug school and the inclusion of non-Gelug teachings, especially Nyingma teachings.

Ü-Tsang Union of Ü and Tsang kingdoms in central Tibet, do not include Amdo (Qinghai) and Kham (Xikang) nor Ngari (western region, former Guge kingdom)

Ü-Tsang or Tsang-Ü, is one of the four traditional provinces of Tibet, the other being Amdo in the North-East, the Kham in the East and the Ngari in the North-West. Geographically Ü-Tsang covered the south-central of the Tibetan cultural area, including the Brahmaputra River watershed. The western districts surrounding and extending past Mount Kailash are included in Ngari, and much of the vast Changtang plateau to the north. The Himalayas defined Ü-Tsang's southern border. The present Tibet Autonomous Region corresponds approximately to what was ancient Ü-Tsang and western Kham.

Sera Monastery Buddhist monastery in Tibet

Sera Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa and about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Jokhang. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of its name is attributed to a fact that during construction, the hill behind the monastery was covered with blooming wild roses.

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery or Ganden Namgyeling is one of the "great three" Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, China. It is in Dagzê County, Lhasa. The other two are Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. Ganden Monastery was founded in 1409 by Je Tsongkhapa Lozang-dragpa, founder of the Gelug order. The monastery was destroyed after 1959, but has since been partially rebuilt. Another monastery with the same name and tradition was established in Southern India in 1966 by Tibetan exiles.

Drepung Monastery Drepung Manastırı

'Drepung Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the "great three" Gelug university gompas (monasteries) of Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery.

Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery, also known as Pel Sakya is a Buddhist monastery situated 25 km southeast of a bridge which is about 127 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri in Tibet.

Lama Kunga Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa, Tibet in 1935, the son of Tsipon Shuguba, The last treasurer in the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa.

Kumbum Monastery

Kumbum Monastery, also called Ta'er Temple, is a Tibetan gompa in Huangzhong County, Xining, Qinghai, China. It was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the historical Tibetan region of Amdo. Its superior monastery is Drepung Monastery, immediately to the west of Lhasa. It is ranked in importance as second only to Lhasa.

8th Arjia Rinpoche Tibetan Buddhist teacher and lama

8th Agya Hotogtu is one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and lamas to have left Tibet. At age two, Arjia Rinpoche was recognized by Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Je Tsongkhapa's father, Lumbum Ghe, the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery. He has trained with lineage teachers, such as the 14th Dalai Lama, the 10th Panchen Lama, and Gyayak Rinpoche—from whom he received many sacred teachings and ritual instructions.

Katok Tsewang Norbu' was a teacher of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism) who notably championed the shentong or "empty of other" view first popularised by the Jonang school as well as examining the Chan Buddhist teachings of Hashang Mahayana, known as Moheyan. Despite the shentong view being banned as heretical, he successfully taught and cultivated its teachings as a legitimate view among the Nyingmapa.

Trijang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso Buddhist lama

The Third Trijang Rinpoche, Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (1901–1981) was a Gelug Lama and a direct disciple of Pabongkhapa Déchen Nyingpo. He succeeded Ling Rinpoche as the junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama when the Dalai Lama was nineteen years old. He was also a lama of many Gelug Lamas who taught in the West including Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Rabten and Lama Yeshe. Trijang Rinpoche's oral teachings were recorded by Zimey Rinpoche in a book called the Yellow Book.

Ganden Phodrang organization

The Ganden Phodrang or Ganden Podrang was the Tibetan government that was established by the 5th Dalai Lama with the help of the Güshi Khan of the Khoshut in 1642. Lhasa became the capital of Tibet in the beginning of this period, with all temporal power being conferred to the 5th Dalai Lama by Güshi Khan in Shigatse. After the expulsion of the Dzungars, Tibet was under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty between 1720 and 1912, but the Ganden Phodrang government lasted until the 1950s, when Tibet was incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Kashag became the governing council of the Ganden Phodrang regime during the early Qing rule.

Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche was a master (tsenshab) of Tibetan Buddhism from the Gelug tradition. At the age of 34 in 1948 he was appointed from Ganden Jangtsey Monastery near Lhasa as one of seven teachers for the Dalai Lama.

Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga

Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga served as the 41st Sakya Trizin, the throne holder of the Sakya Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, from his appointment in 1952 until his retirement in 2017. His religious name is Ngawang Kunga Tegchen Palbar Trinley Samphel Wangyi Gyalpo. After passing the throne of the Sakya lineage to his elder son Ratna Vajra Rinpoche who became the 42nd Sakya Trizin on 9 March 2017, he is now known as Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche. He is considered second only to the Dalai Lama, in the spiritual hierarchy of Tibetan Buddhism.