Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama)

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 65826)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

Dragpa Gyaltsen: one of the two principal spiritual sons of Je Tsongkapa. The other and first of the spiritual sons was Gyaltsab Dharma Rinchen. This system was later changed and Kedrub was added as the second heart-son. Regardless, this is a rare central depiction of an important figure in Gelug History. The painting forms part of a larger composition, a set of unknown number.

Seated at the top left side is Jampal Gyatso. Gyaltsab Dharma Rinchen is seated at the top right. At the bottom left is Sherab Sengge. At the bottom right is Geleg Pal Zangpo.

According to some followers and written texts of the Gelug Tradition, Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen was a pre-incarnation of the protector deity Dorje Shugden. This deity has recently been the subject of much controversy within the Tibetan Buddhist community.

This painting is in a unique style with slightly mixed elements of both Central Tibet and Kham style of painting possibly from the Chamdo region. The individual composition is from a larger set of unknown number with Je Tsongkapa likely to be the central painting. No other paintings from this set are currently known. A number of other documented paintings are now considered to be by the same artist.

Jeff Watt 2-2008


Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen Biography

Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen, 1374-1434, ('dul 'dzin grags pa rgyal mtshan) was born in Drangyul (sbrang yul), in U. A Kadampa monk, he was a main disciple of Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419) and Gyaltsab Je Dharma Rinchen (rgyal tshab rje dar ma rin chen, 1364-1432). He was regarded by some followers of the Gelug tradition as one of the Je Yabsesum (rje yab sras gsum), the two main disciples of Tsongkapa, in place of Khedrub Je Geleg Palzangpo (mkhas grub rje dge legs dpal bzang, 1385-1438). He ordained with Drigung Choje ('bri gung chos rje) and studied also with Drigung Kutog Nyernyipa ('bri gung sku thog nyer gnyis pa, d.u.). He later studied Vinaya at Dragtsan (brag tshan), and mastered the complete works of Buton Rinchen Drub (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290-1364).

Tsongkapa praised Dragpa Gyaltsen for his strict mastery of the monastic codes. He is known for his writing on the Vinaya as well as on the Sarvadurgati Parisodhana Tantra. Most of his known compositions are currently unaccounted for.

Dragpa Gyaltsen founded the monastery of Tsunmo Tsal (btsun mo tshal) in Tagtse Dzong (stag rtse rdzong), in U.

His students numbered all of the most important Gelug lamas of his day. Among them were Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden ('jam dbyangs chos rje bkra shis dpal ldan, 1379-1449), the founder of Drepung Monastery ('bras spungs).

Sources:

Tshe mchog gling yongs 'dzin ye shes rgyal mtshan. 1970 (1787). Byang chub lam gyi rim pa'i bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam par thar pa rgyal mtshan mdzes pa'i rgyan mchog phul byung nor bu'i phreng ba. New Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo. Vol I, pp. 822 ff.

Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 886-887.

Gene Smith, February 2010 [Extracted from the Treasury of Lives, Tibetan lineages website. Edited and formatted for inclusion on the Himalayan Art Resources website. April, 2010].

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