The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
|Articles by alphabetic order|
The Gelug Tradition
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The Kadam Tradition
The forerunner of the Gelug, the Kadam School, emerged in the 11th century from the teachings of the Indian master Jowo Je Atisha (982 – 1054) and his principal Tibetan student, Dromtonpa (1008 – 1064) who founded Reting, the first Monastery of the Kadam School.
To inspire Faith:
1) Udanavarga (the Sanskrit Dhammapada, a collection of sayings by The Buddha)
2) Jataka Tales (stories of The Buddha’s previous lives)
To teach conduct:
3) Shantideva’s Shikshasamucchaya (Compendium of Training)
4) Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara (Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life)
5) Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (The Bodhisattva Stages)
6) Maitreya’s Mahayanasutralankara (Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras)
Although it no longer exists as an independent school, the Kadam’s teachings were incorporated into all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and in particular formed the basis of the later Gelug School.
The Gelug Traditon
The Gelug School places great emphasis on philosophical study of the classical Indian treatises, especially on Madhyamika (the Middle Way philosophy of Nagarjuna) and the view of Shunyata (Emptiness).
Within the Gelug tradition of Vajrayana, the three main Deity practices of Gelug
with Kalachakra also being emphasised.
Heruka Chakrasamvara and
“May this tradition of the Conqueror, Losang Dragpa,
That teaches the outward, calm and controlled demeanor of the hearer,
And the internal poise associated with the two stages of the yogic practitioner,
And adopts both Sutra and Tantra as mutually complementary paths, flourish.”
‘And as to what is achieved through the adoption of such a practice, we have the words:
“May this tradition of the Conqueror, Losang Dragpa
That takes the Emptiness explained in the Causal Vehicle (Sutra),
And the great bliss that is achieved through the Resultant Means (Tantra),
Conjoined with the essence of the collection of eighty-four thousand teachings flourish.”
The same can be said about the treatment in the Highest Yoga Tantra.
However, explaining exactly how the interdependence of things – how they are on the level of Appearances – can itself be used as a reason to establish their ultimate, empty nature is something peculiar to the works of Lama Tsong Khapa.
However, this is not so with Je Rinpoche.
His works represent a simplification and clarification of the philosophy set out in those works, but it is the same view, not something new.
I feel that if the original teachers were here now, if Chandrakirti, Buddhapalita and their master Nagarjuna were here now they would express their wholehearted agreement and satisfaction with the way that Je Rinpoche explained things.
The original texts, for example Prasannapada is very bulky.
However, (Je Rinpoche)]’s commentary is brief in comparison.
This is a special feature, something that really distinguishes these works from others.
If we look at another of Je Rinpoche’s works, something like his Golden Rosary of Eloquence, we see his brilliance really shining through in his ability to survey and summarize the whole Indian Prajnaparamita commentarial tradition.
Of those it is Guhyasamaja, that is the chief.
Therefore, whether one is engaged in study or practice, Guhyasamaja should be one’s focus.
Therefore, this tradition of practise of Guhyasamaja has been passed down through Je Rinpoche and his main disciples, via Jetsun Sherab Senge, and occupies an exceedingly important position in the Gelug.
Je Rinpoche used the earlier Kadam as his foundation and supplemented that with an emphasis upon the study and practice of Guhyasamaja and this is how the tradition has remained for the past six hundred years.
‘Now if we look at the institutions of study in the Gelug that have played a major role in the upholding of traditions; the most important ones in the central area of Tibet have been Sera, Drepung, Ganden and Tashi Lhunpo.