The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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2nd Dalai Lama
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He was born near Shigatse at Tanak, in the Tsang region of central Tibet. His father, Kunga Gyaltsen (1432–1481) (Wylie: kun dga' rgyal mtshan), was a ngakpa (married tantric practitioner) of the Nyingma lineage, a famous Nyingma tantric master.
Legend has it that soon after he learned to speak, he told his parents his name was Pema Dorje, the birth name of Gendun Drup (1391–1474) and that his father was Lobsang Drakpa, which was Tsongkapa's ordination name.
He was a renowned scholar and composer of mystical poetry, who traveled widely to extend Gelugpa influence, and became abbot of the largest Gelugpa monastery, Drepung, which from this time on was closely associated with the Dalai Lamas.
It is said that Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, promised the First Dalai Lama in one of his visions "that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas."
Since the time of Gendun Gyatso, who formalised the system, monks have gone to the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnation through visions while meditating there. Gendun Gyatso is said to have been the first to discover the sacredness of Lake Lhamoi Latso.
In 1509 he went to southern Tibet and founded the monastery of Chokorgyel Monastery (Chokhor-gyal) close to lake Lhamo La-tso, about 115 km northeast of Tsetang and at an altitude of 4,500 m (14,764 ft), while the lake itself is at an altitude of about 5,000 m. (16,404 ft).
In 1517 he became abbot of Drepung monastery -both monasteries had been founded by Pema Dorje/Gendun Drup - and he revived the 'Great Prayer Festival' or Monlam Chenmo in 1518, presiding over the celebration with monks from the three large Gelug monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Gaden (Ganden was the original monastery of the Geluk order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa himself in 1409).
His Seat has been Drepung.