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The Mongolian incarnation of Jo nang pa Taranatha Kun dga' snying po: Ondor Gegeen Zanabazar Blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan (1635-1723): a case study of the Tibeto-Mongolian Relationship.

The paper investigates the appearance of the Mongolian line of incarnations of the Jonangpa Jetsundampa. After passing away of Taranatha Kunga Nyingpo (kun dga' snying po, 1575-1634) his reincarnation was found among the Mongols in the son of the powerful Khalkha Tushiyetu Khan Gombodorji. Though the subject was studied by many eminent scholars, (1) nevertheless it seems valuable to look once again at the sources and investigate how the information about the first Khalkha reincarnation called in Tibetan Yeshe Dorje (ye shes rdo rje), in Sanskrit Jna navajra, pronounced by the Mongols as Zanabazar, his enthronement and his early years developed.

It is interesting to see what was written about Taranatha Kunga Nyingpo's recognition in Khalkha in the biography of his incarnation, Zanabazar. The biography completed by 1702 by Zanabazar's disciple Zaya Pandita Lobsang Phrinlei (Blo bzang 'phrin las, in Modern Mongolian Luvsanprinlei, 1642-1715) entitled: Blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan dpal bzangpo'i khrungs rabs bco lnga'i rnam thar seems to be the most reliable source, not only on Zanabazar, but on the whole situation of Tibeto-Mongolian relations of that time. (2) About the Mongolian incarnation it says the following: (3)

"... He (i.e. Zanabazar) was born with many propitious omens on the morning of the 25th day of the ninth hor month in the year of Wooden Pig shing phag (1635). In the empty place left after moving the tent in which the Lord had been born, though it was winter, beautiful flowers appeared, as it was reported. At first at the age of four, Jampa Ling Nomon Khan4 was invited to take part in his hair-cutting [ceremony]5 and to renounce his vows of a lay follower genyen.

When he was three years old, though previously not learnt [by him] by heart, he recited the "Chanting the Names [of Manjusr!]" (Manjusrt-Ndmasamgttt)6 about two times a day as it was reported.

When he was five years old, he was enthroned. (7) Owing to [his enthronement] auspicious circumstances (8) were connected properly and the second reincarnation of Kedub Sangye Yeshe (9) called Bensa Tulku (10) acted as his preceptor of ordination. (11) He bestowed him the name: Lobsang Tenpe Gyeltsen12 and gave him Mahaka la's empowerment (rjes gnang) and explained it [to him].

And then [it was] reported to the masters, the Victorious Father and Son (i.e. the Dalai Lama and his regent) (13) and [they] identified [Zanabazar] as the reincarnation of Jetsundampa. (14)

Namkha Sonam Drakpa, (15) the master of Tantric [college] at the Drepung monastery was invited to become his (i.e. Zanabazar's) tutor [since] he was the one who prophesied from the bKa' gdams glegs bam. (16) He reminded [Jetsundampa] to study and practice and gave him the grand empowerment (abhiseka) of Vajrabhairava [Yamantaka] and many other teachings."

There is no mention about Taranatha or Jonangpa in this part of the biography. It is well understandable that Zaya Pandita who was educated in Tibet in the Gelugpa order could omit those facts in the biography of his teacher which were not convenient for the Gelugpa tradition. This is the point made by Junko Miyawaki in her article (1994). However, Taranatha is mentioned by his name in another fragment of the biography by Zaya Pandita: (17)

"All-knowing Panchen [Lama] confirmed that he was the reincarnation of the Lord Taranatha". (18)

Actually, in the Gelugpa writings contemporary to Zanabazar he is referred to as Jamyang Tulku ('jam dbyangs sprul sku). In the autobiography of the fifth Dalai Lama (b.1617-1682), first (or rather fourth) Panchen Lama (b.1570-1662), and writings of the regent Desi Sangye Gyatso (sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, b.1653-1705), the son of Tushiyetu Khan is called only by the name of the emanation of Jamyang. It was explained by the fifth Dalai Lama (19) and quoted in the later biography of Zanabazar written in 1839 by Ngaggi Wangpo (in Modern Mong. Agvantuvden Ravjamba), (20) that Tushiyetu Khan's son was regarded as the reincarnation of Jamyang Choje ('jam dbyangs chos rje, 1379-1449), who was the founder of the Drepung monastery. (21)

The problem of Zanabazar's recognition was raised by the Japanese Mongolist, Junko Miyawaki in her article (1994, p. 51) where she identified 'jam dbyangs as Manjusrl and where she also stated that the recognition was made several years later, when Zanabazar traveled to Tibet. (22)

However, other scholars, such as Cyrus Stearns (1999, p. 71) argued that there was no controversy about the fact, that Zanabazar was called Jamyang Tulku in the contemporary Tibetan Gelugpa sources. Stearns maintained that by calling Zanabazar the incarnation of Jamyang Choje the Gelugpa hierarchs could make their claims over Taranatha's estate, i.e. the monastery Dakden Damcho Ling (rtag brtan phun tshogs gling) justified. (23) Stearns wrote: "Clearly the reasons for his (Zanabazar's) recognition as the reincarnation of Taranatha were political, enabling the Geluk establishment to eliminate the possibility of a Taranatha rebirth as the new leader of the Jonang tradition". Then Stearns presents a passage from Zanabazar's biography to rationalize his rebirth as Taranatha. However, the passage is taken from the late biography of Zanabazar written by Ngaggi Wangpo (footnote 20) in 1839 which contains legendary materials. The Mongolian author claimed that in one of his sources, which is called sKyabs mgon sku gong ma'i rnam thar (the biography of the previous refuge lord) there is a statement of Taranatha that "he will spread the doctrine of Lord Tsongkhapa in a barbarian borderland". (24) However, there is no such statement in the biography of Zanabazar written by Zaya Pandita, contemporary to the events described and hence more reliable.

Also the quotation from the secret biography of Taranatha (Stearns 1999, p. 72) in which he mentions his dream that he be wearing a yellow hat, and which actually refers to Budon (bu ston, 1290-1364) rather than to Gelugpa, is not included in the biography of Zanabazar written by Zaya Pandita. It seems that this is a legendary material which was included in later biographies of Zanabazar to justify his embodiment as Taranatha's incarnation.

Another interesting information is provided, however, in those late biographies written in 1839 and 1847 and followed by others. In both texts it is explained that the reason why the name Yeshe Dorje was given to Tushiyetu Khan's son was the result of the divination based on the Kdlacakratantra. The biography of Ngawang Lobsang Dondub (1847) places this event in the fourth year of Zanabazar's life. During the divination the name Yeshe Dorje appeared together with the name Nagpo Chopa (Nag po spyod pa). (25) Nag po spyod pa or Krishnacarin, Krishnacarya (Krsna-carya) was one of the eighty four mahasiddhas. (26) Taranatha was regarded by his own teacher as the reincarnation of this mahasiddha. This is why the young son of Tushiyetu Khan was treated in turn as the reincarnation of Taranatha and called by the title Jetsundampa. Again it is explained in the biography of 1847 and stressed that at the same time he was regarded both as the reincarnation of Taranatha and as the reincarnation of Jamyang [Choje] by the Omniscent Panchen and the all-knowing and allseeing Great Fifth [Dalai Lama]. (27)

It has not been specified in either of the biographies who performed divination based on the Kdlacakratantra and gave the name Yeshe Dorje to Tushiyetu Khan's son. Perhaps Patu Siddhi, who was mentioned in the biography by Ngaggi Wangpo (1839, f. 7a5) was responsible for bringing the information about divination to the author of the biography. (28)

Junko Miyawaki elaborated, as well, upon the recognition of Zanabazar by both the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. She translated the expression rgyal ba yab sras--'Victorious Father and Son' used in his biography of Zanabazar by Zaya Pandita (p. 424-1) as the 'Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama' (Miyawaki 1994, p. 49). However, in the Mongolian version of the biography of Zaya Pandita this expression is translated only as 'the Dalai Lama' (p. 423-3). The term yab sras may refer to different bodies in a different context. According to the explanation by Christoph Cuppers (29) the expression rgyal ba yab sras in this context should be understood as 'the Dalai Lama and his regent' and not the Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is mentioned later in the biography, when Zanabazar visited Tibet in 164951 and 1655 (p. 430, 438).

The biography of Ngaggi Wangpo (1839) adds that when Zanabazar was 10 years old the official letter by the fifth Dalai Lama was sent along with his confirmation of the recognition of Zanabazar as Jamyang Tulku and embodiment of Kunga Nyingpo i.e. Taranatha. The biography says:

[11a3] "when he was 10 years old (30) from the all knowing Great Fifth [Dalai Lama] the message was sent that the incarnation of Jamyang Choje was born as the reincarnation of Kunga Nyingpo in the [body] of the son of Tushiyetu Khan and an official letter called 'the scent of Malaya (31) to be spread to the Vajra ear' (rdo rje'i rna bar 'thul ba'i ma la ya'i dri) was sent upon the request". (32)

In the autobiography of the fifth Dalai Lama it is noted that the versified letter was sent to Jamyang Tulku. (33) Though the information which dated the letter is given only in the late biography of Zanabazar, and repeated by the following biographies, nevertheless it may reflect the actual sequence of events and the fact that the Khalkha Mongols received confirmation from the Tibetan Gelugpa establishment about the prince's recognition in the form of a letter from the fifth Dalai Lama. We should remember that there were Tibetan Gelugpa teachers securing Zanabazar's proper Buddhist education. And in 1643 or 1644 Bensa Tulku, who was probably the most important representative of the Gelugpa interests in the region, died.

It was pointed out by Gene Smith already in 1969 that: "The recognition of Taranatha's incarnation as the son of the Tushiyetu Khan represents an extremely complicated bit of political manoeuvering on the part of the First Panchen's disciple, Mkhas-grub III Blo-bzang-bstan-'dzin-rgya-mtsho (i.e. Bensa Tulku). Not all of the great Gelugpa churchmen shared the 5th Dalai Lama's hostility to Taranatha. There was, indeed considerable factionalism within the Gelugpa church itself. The cleavages often followed provincial boundaries...." (34)

It seems that scholars who worked on Zanabazar's biographies earlier did not particularly pay attention to the Tibetans who accompanied Zanabazar in his childhood. The enigmatic person called Jampa Ling Nomon Khan was invited to give Zanabazar his first vows as genyen.

As to the name Jampa Ling Nomon Khan, the first part, Tib. byams pa gling (p. 422-1) means 'the temple of Maitreya' and may refer to several monasteries. The title 'Nomon Khan', which may be rendered as chos kyi rgyal po in Tibetan, was a title widely spread in Mongolia and given to lay people as well as to clergy. Konchok Chophel (dkon mchog (35) chos 'phel, 1573-1646), who was a tutor (yongs 'dzin) of the fifth Dalai Lama and became the 35th Throne Holder (khri pa) of Ganden monastery (1626-1637), was called the incarnation of Panchen Jampa Lingpa (pan chen byams pa gling pa'i skye ba) (36) since he was regarded an incarnation of Panchen Jampa Linpa Sonam Namgyal (pan chen byams pa gling pa bsod nams rnam rgyal, 1401-1475). (37)

There is a biography of Konchok Chophel composed by the fifth Dalai Lama entitled 'Jam dpal dbyangs chos kyi rje dkon mchog chos 'phel gyi rtogs brjod mkhas pa'i rna rgyan (TBRC W181) in vol. nya of the Collected Works (gsung 'bum) of the fifth Dalai Lama (19 folios). In this biography, however, there is no mention about the travel of Konchok Chophel to the Khalkha lands or about any contacts with Tushiyetu Khan and his son. (38) It would be quite impossible for such a high personality as the tutor of the Dalai Lama to travel to the Khalkha Mongols in his late age.

Thus, it might be the case that another person was also called Jampa Lingpa. If the name referred to a monastery, there were several sites bearing such a name, making connection to Je Tsongkhapa (rje tsong kha pa, 1357-1419), such as: Chab mdo byams pa gling, dGon lung byams pa gling and sKu 'bum byams pa gling--the latter two being famous Gelugpa monasteries in Amdo. According to the Mongolian scholar Dashbadrakh the person mentioned in the biography was "a famous master from the Jambaling monastery in Amdo". (39)

The sixth abbot of Sku 'bum monastery, Tashi Dondub (bkra shis don grub, called also rgyal ba chos rje bkra shis don grub), occupied the

throne (khri chen) between 1638 and 1642. According to the autobiography of the fifth Dalai Lama he was sent as a residential monk bla mchod to the Khalkha khan Sechen (Sholoi). (40) The same was repeated in the Sku 'bum gdan rabs. (41) And Sechen Khan was the one who was convinced about extraordinary qualities of the son of Tushiyetu Khan upon his birth and that he was an incarnation of a Buddhist master. He conferred upon the boy his name gegen keuken, i.e. Brilliant Child. (42) It would be quite probable therefore, that he sent his chaplain to take first vows of Tushiyetu Khan's son. However, since this master was famed among the Khalkha Mongols as erdene tsorj Tashi Dondub and not as jambaling nomun khan the identification still requires more evidence.

The name Jampa Lingpa is mentioned again in the biography of Zanabazar composed by Zaya Pandita when he describes the return of the first Jetsundampa from Tibet accompanied by 50 monastic specialists sent by the fifth Dalai Lama in order to help him to establish properly the monastery in Khalkha. In the biography it is said that a household official (gsol dpon) of the incarnation of Jampa Lingpa was sent along with them. (43)

In the Modern Mongolian translation of the biography of Zanabazar composed in Tibetan in 1912 by Shartsorj Dagvajantsan (shar chos rje grags pa rgya mtsho, 1855-1927) entitled rJe btsun dam pa rin po che'i rnam thar bstod tsig skal bzang dad gsos the Tibetan master was called mergen toin Jambaalin Nomun khan i.e. "the wise monk (of aristocratic origin) Jampa Ling Nomon Khan". (44)

In the Mongolian biography composed probably in 1859, elaborated further on in this paper, Jampa Lingpa was mentioned as: Jimbalid nom-un qayan blama, i.e. "Lama Nomon Khan of Jimbalid". (45) Dashbadrakh, who translated it into Modern Mongolian explained (46) that Jampa Lingpa Nomon Khan, a Tibetan master from a monastery in Amdo, came to spread Buddhism among the Khalkha and later Oirat Mongols. He suggested that he might be identified with the master called 'Tsagaan Nomon Khan', who was active mainly among the Oirat Mongols. However, this statement does not seem to be correct. (47)

Summing up, unfortunately, for the present moment it was impossible to identify with full certainty the incarnation of Jampa Lingpa who visited Khalkha in 1638 and who gave genyen vows to the young prince. It will be, however, quite safe to conclude that he was a Buddhist master of the Gelugpa order.

There is no doubt, however, that the Tibetan teacher who was brought to Mongolia to be a tutor to Zanabazar was Namkha Sonam Drakpa from the Gelugpa tradition. He was a teacher both of Zanabazar and of his biographer, Zaya Pandita Lobsang Phrinlei. The biography depicts him as 'the lama of the Tantric college at Drepung'. (48) The same is said in the autobiography of the fifth Dalai Lama. (49) Perhaps the choice of a lama from the Drepung monastery as the tutor of Zanabazar also stressed his connection with Jamyang Choje, the founder of that monastery.

In the biography of Zanabazar by Zaya Pandita it was mentioned that Namkha Sonam Drakpa was the one famed for making prophecies from the Bka' gdams glegs bam. (50) He was a learned scholar known for his commentaries and illustrations (dper brjod) to the Kdvyddarsa, called also gnyal pa chos rje bsod nams grags pa and dka' chen bsod nams grags pa. (51) The title dka' chen refers to the geshe degree at the Tashilhunpo monastery. According to TBRC [P 4511] Namkha Sonam Drakpa's main seat was the Tashilhunpo monastery.

The very person of Bensa Tulku, who probably was the mastermind of the recognition of Zanabazar, is mentioned both in the biography written by Zaya Pandita and in the biography written in 1839 as the incarnation of Khedub Sangye Yeshe, as well as by his name Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso (52) and the title of Bensa Tulku. (53) Gene Smith in the Appendixes to the autobiography of the first Panchen Lama gave the list of incarnations of Bensa Tulku, consisting of 3 names. Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso is mentioned as the last one (Smith, 1969, p. 12.): 1. Khedub Sangye Yeshe (mkhas grub sangs rgyas ye shes) (1525-1590); 2. Yeshe Gyatso (ye shes rgya mtsho) (1592-1604); 3. Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso (blo bzang bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho) (1605-1643 or 1644). (54)

Bensa Tulku bestowed in 1639 also the title of rab 'byam pa Qutugtu on an important Buddhist scholar and missionary from the Western Mongolian tribes (otherwise known as Jungars), famed as the Oirat Zaya Pandita Namkhai Gyatso (nam mkha'i rgya mtsho, 1599-1662). (55)

It shows that Bensa Tulku Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso kept contacts and perhaps played Gelugpa policy among different Mongolian tribes. And what also became significant, was that after his death he was embodied by an Oirat Galdan Boshogtu (1644-1697), who was a grandson of Guushi Khan (or Gushri Khan, 1582-1655). (56) This identification had further ideological consequences since Galdan Boshogtu felt superior to Zanabazar. (57)

The biography of Zanabazar best known to the Mongols and Mongolists was written in Mongolian probably in 1859. (58) In comparison with the Zaya Pandita's account written in 1702 it includes many stories and legends which arose by the time of its composition. The narrative is much closer to the late Tibetan biographies of Zanabazar composed in 1839 and 1847, though not identical. However, in the Mongolian biography, names of Tibetan persons, places, monasteries, texts and religious ceremonies are distorted by Mongolian pronunciation to such an extent that not all of them were properly understood by researchers. Perhaps this is also the reason why scholars like Junko Miyawaki (59) insisted that Zanabazar was recognized as Taranatha and educated as Jonangpa and only later, upon his visit in Tibet, did he become the follower of the Gelugpa order.

In the Mongolian biography there is no mention about Zanabazar as the incarnation of Jamyang Choje, however. The recognition and the title of Jetsundamba are referred to in this biography only during Zanabazar's visit in Tibet. (60) This fact might have also contributed to the opinion of the Mongolists.

Through careful reading of the biographies written in Tibetan by Zaya Pandita (1702), Ngaggi Wangpo (1839) and Ngawang Lobsang Dondub (1847) it becomes clear, however, that Zanabazar was surrounded from his early childhood by masters connected with the Gelugpa tradition, such as Bensa Tulku Lobsang Tenzin Gyatso and educated by Namkha Sonam Drakpa, until he went to Tibet.

Bawden mentions (p. 45, note 8), that Schulemann wrote (p. 219-220) that the first Qutugtu (i.e. Zanabazar) was the reincarnation of the Maidari (i.e. Maitreya) Qutugtu, who died in 1635. Schulemann also "dismisses the identification of the Jebtsundamba Qutugtu with the historian Taranatha and says that Taranatha is an epithet of Maitreya". In the light of the writings of the fifth Dalai Lama, however, we can be sure that Zanabazar was regarded as the incarnation of both, Jamyang Choje (not ManjusrI and not Maitreya) and of Jetsundampa Taranatha Kunga Nyingpo.


The life story of the first Jetsundampa, which is known to us from the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist hagiographies (rnam thar), is told from the perspective of the Gelugpa tradition. Comparison of the sources seems to make it possible to conclude that there is no indication that Zanabazar ever received teachings other than from the Gelugpa teachers, right from the very beginning of his genyen vows and prior to his travel to Tibet.

Someone may regard as strange and inaccurate the fact, that the incarnation of the Jonangpa scholar Taranatha was recognized in the body of a Mongolian prince and accepted by the Gelugpa hierarchs who secured his Gelugpa education. However, at the same time, one may observe how the present ninth embodiment of the Khalkha Jetsundampa (b. 1932) educated in the Gelugpa environment was made responsible for preserving the Jonangpa tradition, especially the Jonangpa Kalacakra, by the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the most authoritative hierarch of the Gelugpa order. (61)







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SOMLAI, G., 1988, "The Lineage of Taranatha According to Klong-rdol bla-ma". In: Tibetan Studies. Proceedings of the 4th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, H. Uebach and Jampa Panglung (eds.), Munchen.

SONINBAYAR, Sh., 1995, Agvaantsultemjamts, Avralt itgelt Bogd Jivzundambyn khiid Baruun Khureenii garsan yosyg tovch oguulsen shudarga orshigchdyn chikhnii chimeg khemeekh orshvoi, Mongolyn burkhan shashny tov Gandantegchinlin khiid Ondor gegeenii neremjit Shashny deed surguul', Ulaanbaatar.

SONINBAYAR, Sh., 1998, "Ondor gegeen Zanabazaryn tovch namtar". In: Lavain egshig, No 1, Gandan Tegchenlin khiid.

STEARNS, C., 1999, The Buddha from Dolpo. A Study of the Life and Thought of the Tibetan Master Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, Suny Series in Buddhist Studies, State University of New York Press.

TERBISH, L., 2008, Oiradyn Burkhany shashny tovch tuukh (Short History of Buddhism of Oirats), Bibliotheca Oiratica [Series], Ulaanbaatar.

Vaidurya Serpo, Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Dga' ldan chos 'byung Bai durya ser po, Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang (Beijing 1989, 1991).

Internet sources

Nitartha--Tibetan-English online dictionary ( dictionary)

RY--Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dictionary

TBRC--The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (

Agata Bareja-Starzynska


(1) Pozdneyev 1879-80, 1896-98, Schulemann 1958, Lokesh Chandra 1963, 1982, Bawden 1961, Bira 1980, 1995, Somlai 1988, Miyawaki 1992, 1994, Khurelbaatar 1996, Soninbayar 1995, 1998, Byambaa 2004, Kaplonski 2004, Ichinnorov 2005 and many others.

(2) I agree in this respect with Sh. Bira (1980) p. 12. For more discussion about sources on Zanabazar's life see Bareja-Starzy riska (b, in print): "Biographies of the First Jetsundampa Ondor Gegeen Zanabazar Blo bzang bstan po'i rgyal mtshan (1635-1723)--Brief Survey of Sources" submitted for the Felicitation Volume dedicated to Veronika Veit.

(3) According to the Lokesh Chandra bilingual Tibeto-Mongolian edition of the biography, 1982, pp. 421-422. All references to this biography in the present article are made to this edition. The biography was translated into Modern Mongolian by Sh. Bira (1995).

(4) P. 422-1: Tib. byams pa gling no mon khang, Mong. jamba ling nomon qayan. Byams pa gling may refer to different Maitreya temples, see more discussion further in this paper.

(5) However, the information about hair-cutting is missing in the Mongolian version of the biography and in the Modern Mongolian translation by Bira 1985, p. 8.

(6) P. 422-3: mtshan brjod, Mong. namaa sanggiri. Full Tibetan title: 'jam dpal gyi mtshan yang dag par brjod pa bstod pa glur blangs pa'i rgyud.

(7) P. 422-3: khri 'don mdzad, Mong. siregen-eyarun. Later tradition used this expression to denote that he was 'summoned by the four tribes of the Khalkha to the throne' (Bawden 1961, f. 8r, p. 44) or even 'enthroned as the leader of Buddhism in Khalkha Mongolia' (Kaplonski 2004, p.146). However, it seems that it meant his enthronement as an ordained reincarnation, i.e. that during his ordination ceremony he was enthroned. About the growth of the religious authority of Jetsundampa see Bareja-Starzy riska 2008 and 2009.

(8) P. 423-1: rten 'brel--in full: rten cing 'brel bar 'byung ba; Skt. pratitydsamutpdda--'dependent origination', Buddhist theory of causality, interdependence.

(9) P. 423-1: mkhas grub sangs rgyas ye shes sku'i skye ba, Mong. mergen sidatu budda zana-yin gegen-u qoyitu td'rd'l. The second reincarnation was Blo bzang bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho (1605-1643 or 1644), see Smith 1969, p. 12.

(10) P. 423-2: dben sa sprulpa'i sku. More information further in this paper and in Smith 1969 p. 12.

(11) P. 423-2: rab byung, Mong. mayad qar(a)qui. The Mong. term is a translation of another Tibetan expression: nges par 'byung ba, Skt. pravrdjaka, Lessing 1982, p. 1175a.

(12) P. 423-2: blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal pa'i rgyal mtshan. There is an obvious mistake in the Buryat manuscript which adds rgyal pa between bstan pa'i and rgyal mtshan, missing in the Zaya Pandita's blockprint edition (Lokesh Chandra ed. 1982, p. 127-2). In Mong. sumadi sajin-u duvaza.

(13) P. 423-3: rgyal ba yab sras kyi sku gzhogs su zhus pa. The Mong. translation reads: boyda dalai blam-a-yin gegen tan-a ayiladqaysan: '[it was] reported to the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama'. This fragment was not commented by Bira 1995 (p. 8). Explanation about the term yab sras follows further in the text of the present article.

(14) P. 424-1: rje btsun dam pa.

(15) P. 424-1: nam mkha' bsod nams grags pa. See more details further in this paper.

(16) P. 424-1: bka' gdams glegs bam pha chos bu chos--'Scriptures of the Kadampas, Father and Sons. Collected Teachings and Stories of Lord Atisa and His Disciples on the Precious Practice for the Kadampa Buddhism' [RY]. Mongolian scholar Ngawang Tshultrim Gyatso (ngag dbang tshul khrims rgya mtsho, Agvaantsultemjamts 1880-1938), wrote in his short biography of Zanabazar connected with the history of Baruun Khuree monastery, translated into Modern Mongolian by Soninbayar (1995, p. 10), that he was aware of the fact, that in the 23rd chapter of bKa' gdams glegs bam pha chos bu chos there should have been a fragment referring to the miracles performed by Zanabazar, though he was not able to confirm it.

(17) Lokesh Chandra 1982, p. 430-431, xyl. edition vol. nga, f. 63v, Lokesh Chandra 1981, vol. IV, p. 128.

(18) P. 430-2: pan chen thams cad mkhyen pas rje tdrandtha'i sku skye yin gsung ba.

(19) khal kha thu shi ye thu rgyal po'i sras 'jam dbyangs sprul sku ....khong

pa 'jam dbyangs chos rje'i sku skye'i dbang du btang ba DL5, vol. 1,

p. 309, Stearns 1999, p.71.

(20) Alias Ngag dbang ye shes thub bstan rab 'byams pa according to Dungkar 2002, p. 309. The biography was entitled: Khyab bdag 'khor lo'i mgonpo rje btsun dam pa blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar bskal bzang dang pa'i shing rta. On this biography see Bareja-Starzyri ska (b, in print).

(21) pan chen blo bzang chos kyi rgyal mtshan dang | kun gzigs lnga pa chen po gnyis kyis zhal mthun par rje ba'i nyid la 'jam dbyangs sprul pa'i sku zhes pa'i mtshan gsol bar mdzadpa Byambaa 2006 ed., f. 5a4. Stearns 1999, p. 71.

(22) Miyawaki 1994, pp. 51-54. And this was followed by Atwood 2004, p. 267, who repeated that the story about Zanabazar as the reincarnation of Jamyang Choje was made up later by the Gelugpas. It seems also that the idea of Miyawaki (1994, p. 53), that Zanabazar traveled to the monasteries of Jonangpa while visiting Tibet is a mere speculation. The Mong. biography (1859) mentions that he received valuable religious texts (such as Prajndpdramita in 10 000 verses) and images of Maitreya, Avalokitesvara and Tara, from the monasteries built by his previous incarnations, but it may well refer to Jamyang Choje. Bawden 1961, f. 8v, p. 45.

(23) About the monastery see TBRC G390.

(24) Stearns 1999, p. 72, quotation from Ngag gi dbang po (Lokesh Chandra edition 1982) p. 278, Byambaa 2006, f. 7a1-2.

(25) Biography by Ngag gi dbang po (1839), f. 7a4-6: dus kyi 'khor lo'i rgyud las | lhan gcig skyes pa'i dga' ba las ni ye shes rdo rje la sogs 'byung bar byed | ces grub chen nag po spyod pa'i lung bstan gyi rjes su byung ba dang | rje nyid gyi mtshan sgra gsol bar thon pas rje de'i lung bstan yin par mkhan chen paatu siddhi sogs kyi gsung las byung ba ltar | rgyal bas lung bstan pa'i skyabs mgon rdo rje 'char rang byung ye shes rdo rje zhes ...

Biography by Ngag dbang blo bzang don grub (1847), f. 20b1-2: de nas dgung lo bzhi pa 'bru mang po zhes pa sa stag lo na | khal kha'i yul phul te dznyd na badzra'am ye shes rdo rje zhes dus rgyud du | nag po spyod pa dang lhan du lung bstan pa ltar mtshan gsol bar mdzad | Texts of both biographies reprinted in Byambaa 2006.

(26) Seventeenth on the list of the eighty four mahasiddhas prepared by Abhayadattasri and Viraprakasa, TBRC P3299.

(27) F. 20b5-6--21a1 pan chen thams cad mkhyen pa chen po dang kun gzigs lnga pa chen sogs bla ma rnams dang la mo chos skyong rnams su zhig gsal gyi lung bstan khus zhugs btsug par | rje btsun tdrandtha'i sprul skur ngos 'dzin mdzad de | 'jam dbyangs sprul pa'i sku zhes snyan pa'i rol mos nor 'dzin kun tu khyab par gyur to|. Byambaa 2006 ed.

(28) Lama Ngawang Khedrub (Ngag dbang mkhas grub), "later known as the Twelfth Abbot Wagindra Patu Siddhi, was born in Mongolia in 1779, began his monastic education at Tashi Gomang College at Urga and completed his Rabjampa Geshe degree at Drepung in Central Tibet. He received his final ordination in the presence of the eighth Dalai Lama. He then returned to Mongolia to become one of its leading teachers of the early nineteenth century". According to Ladner 2000, p. 81.

(29) Personal communication.

(30) It should be 1644 because later the Iron Pig year is mentioned, which was 1647. Also if Zanabazar was born in 1635 his 10th year would be 1644.

(31) The expression which was eagerly used by the fifth Dalai Lama. See Ahmad 1995, p. 3, note 37, p. 209.

(32) The letter has been preserved under the heading: 'jam dbyangs chos rje bkra shis dpal ldan pa'i skye bar grags pa jo nang sprul sku kun dga' snying po'i yang srid khar kha thu she ye thu rgyal po'i bu byung ba la springs pa rdo rje'i rna bar 'thul ba'i ma la ya'i dri. It is registered in TBRC under the number W20448. The letter is not dated, however. It glorifies the Ganden Phodrang, rule of the fifth Dalai Lama. I would like to thank Christoph Cuppers for making this letter available and for his valuable comments.

(33) DL5, vol. 1, p. 228: 'jam dbyangs sprul skur tshigs bcad kyi 'phrin yig bsrings.

(34) Footnote 9, on. p. 3 of the Introduction to Smith 1969.

(35) Written as cog according to the autobiography of the fifth Dalai Lama (DL5), vol. 1, p. 13, 87, 268. I would like to thank Christoph Cuppers for his kind assistance in locating the passages.

(36) Dungkar, p. 363; Vaidurya Serpo (history of Gelugpa written by Desi Sangye Gyatso) p. 90. See also TBRC P2565. I would like to thank Ganzorig Davaaochir for turning my attention to this person and his possible identification with Byams pa gling pa.

(37) Mentioned in the mchod sdong 'dzam gling rgyan gcig gi dkar chag p. 254 and 504, see TBRC P993.

(38) My best thanks go to Christoph Cuppers for making the text of the biography of dKon mchoh chos 'phel available to me and for his help in finding the right passages in the Vaidurya Serpo. In the biography there is a mention of a discussion that dKong mchog chos 'phel should visit the seat (gdan sa) of Byams pa gling pa. However, due to the great distance and his advanced age it was decided that he should not go (f. 17v5-6). The fact that he was recognized as the incarnation of Byams pa gling pa was proved when dKong mchog chos 'phel went to the Lhokha country and was faced with great drought there. Then he said that if he was the true incarnation of pan chen Byams pa gling pa, he should be able to cause rain and great rains followed (f. 16r3), Vaidurya Serpo, p. 90.

(39) Dashbadrakh 2001, note 96, p. 96. in his translation of the biography of Zanabazar of 1915.

(40) It says: se chen rgyal po'i bla mchod du sku 'bum chos rje bkra shis don grub brdzangs. DL5, vol. 1, p. 228.

(41) Sku 'bum gdan rabs, p. 52: rgyal dbang gi bka' bzhin se chen rgyal po'i bla mchod mdzad cing phyir phebs nas gdan sa 'dir bzhugs. TBRC P4463. I would like to thank Elliot Sperling for providing a copy of the text.

(42) Bawden 1961, f. 7v, translation on p. 43.

(43) P. 433-3--434-1 byams pa gling pa'i yin sku skye gsol dpon. However, Soninbayar translated this fragment of the biography by Shartsorj (1912) into Modern Mongolian as "the incarnation of Jambaaling Nomun Khan was sent as soivon" (soivond Jambaalingiiin khuvilgaan), Soninbayar 1995, p. 9.

(44) Soninbayar 1995, p. 5. The same expression was used by Ichinnorov (2005) in his monographic study about Zanabazar, p. 21.

(45) Bawden 1961, f. 8r6, see Bareja-Starzyriska (b, in print) esp. critical edition of the page with information about Byams pa gling pa where the phrase qalqayin Jimbalid nom-un qayan blama should be emended with vajartu on the basis of other manuscripts: qalqa-yin yajartu Jimbalid nom-un qayan blama ... --'in the Khalkha [lands] Jambalid Nomon Khan' ... and not 'Jambalid Nomon Khan of Khalkha' ..., see Bawden 1961, p. 44.

(46) Dashbadrakh 1995, note 25 on p. 44.

(47) The fifth Dalai Lama mentions Tsagaan Nomon Khan in his autobiography on several occasions, though never as Byams pa gling Nomon Khan. See also serious doubts of another Mongolian scholar, Terbish, who did not see any evidence that Tsagaan Nomon Khan had ever visited Khalkha lands (Terbish 2008, p. 68).

(48) P. 424-1: 'bras spungs sngags pa'i bla ma.

(49) DL5, vol. 1, p. 228: 'bras spungs sngags pa gnyal gung snang chos rje 'jam dbyangs sprul sku'i yongs 'dzin du 'byon. Also Soninbayar 1998, 1, p. 3 refers to him as: 'a close disciple of the fifth Dalai Lama'.

(50) P. 424-1: bka' gdams glegs bam nas lung bstan.

(51) Lung rigs ... 2000, p. 7. I would like to thank Magda Szpindler for providing this information.

(52) F. 10b4: mkhas grub sangs rgyas ye shes kyi sku'i skye ba dpe nas sprul sku rin po che blo bzang bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho. According to TBRC P8858 born in 1605, died in 1643 or 1644. Zanabazar is mentioned as his only disciple.

(53) Ngag gi dbang po (1839) adds rin po che (Byambaa 2006 ed., f. 10b4).

(54) Tashi Tsering informed in February 2007 that presently only the first two Bensa Tulkus are recognized as such (personal communication).

(55) In chapter 4 of the biography of the Oirat Zaya Pandita according to Hidehiro Okada and Junko Miyawaki-Okada 2008, p. 33. Bensa Tulku is called there Inzan Qutugtu. In his biography the Oirat Zaya Pandita is styled as 'the lama of the Seven-Banner (Khalkha) Mongols and the Four Oirats altogether', Hidehiro Okada and Junko Miyawaki-Okada 2008, p. 39.

(56) See Smith 1969, p. 12, note 11. Hidehiro Okada and Junko Miyawaki-Okada 2008, Atwood 2004, p. 193-4. He went to Tibet in 1656, became a disciple of the first/fourth Panchen Lama and then the fifth Dalai Lama. He went back home in 1666, but when his brother was assassinated, he renounced his vows. He was given the title of Khung-taiji (viceroy) and in 1678 the title Boshogtu 'Khan ('Khan with the Mandate') by the fifth Dalai Lama.

(57) In the last quarter of the 17th century Zanabazar was building up his position among Eastern Mongols and Galdan Boshogtu among Western Mongols. Since Eastern and Western Mongols for the last two hundred years fought for supremacy over all the Mongols, the clash was inevitable. When the conflict ripened in 1686-1688, it led to a large scale war between the Eastern and Western Mongols, in which the Manchu emperor took part. It eventually brought Galdan's death and the Manchu dominance over the Khalkha Mongols. More about the Oirat-Khalkha conflict of 1686-88 and the involvement of Buddhist rhetoric in Bareja-Starzy riska (c, in print).

(58) Bawden 1961. About manuscripts of this biography and the text itself see Bareja-Starzy riska (b, in print).

(59) Though she used some Tibetan sources, as well, Miyawaki 1994, p. 50-51.

(60) Bawden 1961, f. 8v, p. 44. See also footnote 22.

(61) He was enthroned as the right incarnation of the ninth Jetsundampa in 1991. He received the Jonangpa teachings mainly in his late age from Kalu Rinpoche. Interview by Agata Bareja-Starzy riska, 4.02.2007.
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Title Annotation:Religious History
Author:Bareja-Starzynska, Agata
Publication:The Tibet Journal
Article Type:Case study
Geographic Code:9MONG
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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