The Bodongpa or Bodong tradition, is one of the smaller traditions of Tibetan Buddhism falling outside the classification of the four main schools.
The Bodong (bo dong) tradition has a long and complicated history.
The seat of what would become the institutionally independent Bodong lineage was the monastery Bodong E, which was founded in 1049 by Geshe Mudrapa Chenpo.
What teachings were current there is difficult to know, save that in the twelfth century Kodrakpa Sonam Gyeltsen invited the Nepali yogin Vibhūticandra to Tibet and received from him a new transmission of the six-branch practice of the Kālacakra.
Kodrakpa also propagated a lineage of Lamdre which was later subsumed into the Sakya tradition by Sonam Gyeltsen and Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo.
Its greatest representative was Bodong Paṇchen Chokle Namgyel, with whom the unique Bodong Tradition is commonly said to have begun. It is important to avoid confusing Bodong Panchen with Jonang Chokle Namgyel, a teacher of Tsongkhapa and proponent of the Zhentong view.
Bodong E Monastery (Wylie: bo dong e dgon pa), located in Yutok (Wylie: g.yu thog), in modern Zhaxigang (Wylie: bkra shis sgang shang), Lhatse County, was the main monastery of the Bodong tradition.
It was first established in 1049 by the Kadam teacher Mudra Chenpo (Wylie: bka 'dams pa dge bshes tra mu chen po)
Bodong tradition itself goes back to Bodong Rinchen Tsemo, who received teachings from Drubthob Semo Chewa.
Its most renowned figure, usually regarded as its founder, was the Bodong Penchen Lénam Gyelchok (Wylie: las rnam rgyal phyogs, 1376-1451), whose seat was at this monastery.
Bodong Penchen) authored over one hundred and thirty-five volumes and is known as the most prolific writer in Tibetan history.
His most famous work is the Compendium of Suchness (Wylie: de nyid 'dus pa) comprising one hundred and thirty-three volumes having about 500 folios (1000 pages) in each.
The extensive version contains one hundred and ten volumes; the medium version, twenty volumes; the condensed version, two volumes; and the extremely condensed version, one volume and this encyclopaedic work is considered the foundation of the tradition.
Je Tsongkhapa studied at Bodong E Monastery with the Lotsawa Namkha Zangpo (Wylie: lo tsā ba nam mkha' bzang po), who taught him the Mirror of Poetry (Wylie: snyan ngag me long).
A well-known tulku of this tradition is Samding Dorje Phagmo, one of the few female incarnation lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.
Bodong E Gonpa —- was almost completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution though some parts survived because it had been turned into a granary
Nönga Abbey (Wylie: mngon dga' chos sde), in modern Tingri County, Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region.
Chöde Monastery (Wylie: chos sde dgon), Nyêmo County, Lhasa. Founded in 750, converted to the Bodong school in 1250.
Pelmo Chöding (Wylie: dpal mo chos lding) in Nyalam County, Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region.
In 1989 the Pelmo Choding monastery (Porong Gompa) in exile was established at Dharamsala, India. A Porong Pelmo Choding monastery has also been built in Kathmandu, Nepal.
These monasteries were established by Tibetans from the Porong region of south west Tibet to preserve the Bodong tradition.