The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
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Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa
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Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drakpa [1122-93] (zhang g.yu brag pa brtson 'gru brags pa), also known as Gungtang Lama Zhang (gung-thang bla-ma zhang) and popularly simply as “Lama Zhang,” was the founder of the Tshalpa Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Although a prominent religious figure, Lama Zhang was also deeply, and controversially, involved in the political and military conflicts in the Tibet of his time.
Lama Zhang was probably the first to establish a system of theocratic rulership centered on the figure of the charismatic lama in the Lhasa area of Central Tibet. Together with Tsongkhapa, and Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo, Lama Zhang was considered as one of the "Three Jewels of Tibet" (bod nor bu rnam gsum).
Lama Zhang as born in August 1123 at Tsawaru (tsha ba gru), in Kyichu river valley located in the southern part of present-day Tsel Gungtang district, and given the name Darma Drak. He was the son of Zhang Dorje Sempa, a lay tantric practitioner belonging to the Nanam (sna-nam) clan, and Shümo Zamangkyi, who had formerly been a Buddhist nun. The Tibetan hagiographies relate many auspicious signs occurring at his birth and during his infancy.
During his childhood his mother encouraged his religious education, taking the young Zhang to listen to religious discourses by the woman teacherMajo Darma . On the other hand, in his autobiography Zhang also records his “contradictory traits” and struggles with evil impulses from an early age—including killing of and cruelty towards animals.
At the age of seven, Zhang received teachings in the basic Buddhist doctrines of Prajñapāramitā, Abhidharma and Pramāṇa from Sambu Lotsawa, and teachings in different tantras, including Hevajra and Māhākala, from Lama Ngokpa, one of his most important tantric teachers. At this time he also received teachings in the practice of black magic
A collection of the works of Lama Zhang in 9 volumes (edited by Khenpo Shedup Tenzin and Lama Thinley Namgyal) has recently been published as dpal ldan tshal pa bka' brgyud kyi bstan pa'i mnga' bdag zhang g.yu brag pa brtson 'grus grags pa'i gsung 'bum rin po che: (The Collected Works of Zhaṅ brtson 'grus grags pa 1123-1193). Kathmandu: Shree Gautam Buddha Vihar, 2004.