Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Teacher

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 80436)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground: Paper
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Monastic

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Jinba Gyatso (1629-1695 [TBRC P3451]), the Forty-sixth Ganden Tripa, throne holder of Ganden monastery, seat of authority for the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Forty-sixth Ganden Tripa, Jinpa Gyatso (dga' ldan khri pa 46 sbyin pa rgya mtsho) was born at Serdo (se mdo) in Amdo in 1629, the earth-snake year of the eleventh sexagenary cycle. The name of his place of birth also appears as Bido (bis mdo) as well as Shezhin (shes bzhin) in various sources.

At the very young age Jinpa Gyatso offered his crown-hair to Lamo Zhabdrung Ngama (la mo zhabs drung snga ma, d.u.) and then he was granted the primary vows of monk (rab byung) by the Choje of a local monastery, where presumably he had received some basic education and training.

According to his biography, the monastic community was then suffering a disturbance caused by an evil spirit that had possessed one of the monks. When Jinpa Gyatso told fellow monks not to listen the possessed monk he suddenly suffered from an acute pain and fell ill. It is said that he survive by escaping from the monastery, receiving a transmission on Yamāntaka and engaging in intensive meditation for about six months. It was said that most of the other monks involved in the incidence died soon after due to an epidemic.

Jinpa Gyatso travelled to Lhasa and matriculated in Samlo House of Gomang College of Drepung Monastic University ('bras spungs sgo mang bsam blo khang tshan) and commenced his studies by receiving teachings from Ponlob Garu (dpon slob rga ru, d.u.) followed by studies in Abhisamayālaṃkāra, Madhyamaka, Abhidharmakośa, and Vinaya under the tutorship of Ponlob Hor Rinpoche (dpon slob hor rin po che, d.u.). He also studied Pramanavartika, a subject on logics and epistemology. Thus he became a competent scholar and successfully stood for the traditional examination of Geshe Kazhipa (dge bshes dka' bzhi), a master in the four major subjects.

Jinpa Gyatso then enrolled in Gyume College and, for the next five years, studied the four sections of tantra (rgud sde bzhi) according to the Geluk tradition. He trained the generation and completion stage practice (bskyed rdzogs) of the major tantric deities, rituals, basic-drawings of maṇḍala and other tantric performances according to the Gyume tradition. He received a two month teaching on Tongkhapa's Jangchub Lamrim Chenmo from Ngawang Lobzang Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama (ta la'i bla ma 05 ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho, 1617-1682). At Olkha ('ol kha) he studied Lamrim and Yamāntaka and Guhyasamāja and engaged in intense practice. He also received transmissions from a number of distinguished teachers on a great verity of texts including the Kangyur, Tengyur, the six texts of Kadampas, the collected works of Tsongkhapa and of his two main disciples; the Second Dalai Lama Gendun Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 02 dge 'dun rgya mtsho, 1475-1542), Wensapa Lobzang Dondrub (dben sa pa blo bzang don sgrub, 1505-1568), Khedrub Sanggye Yeshe (mkhas grub sangs rgyas yeshes, 1525-1590), and other eminent lamas. It is said that the Dalai Lama himself affirmed Jinpa Gyatso's accomplishment in meditation.

Jinpa Gyatso served as the abbot of Dromda (grom mda') and then the chant leader at Gyume College and gave teachings at both these monasteries. At the age of fifty-two, in 1680, he was enthroned as the abbot of Gyume College. He subsequently travelled to Ngari where he was welcomed with great honor by the king. Among other services, he performed a fire offering (sbyin sreg) that was credited with dispelling an epidemic in the region.

At the age of sixty-four, in 1692, the year of water-monkey in the twelfth sexagenary cycle, Jinpa Gyatso was enthroned to the Golden Throne of Ganden as the Forty-sixth Ganden Tripa. He gave teachings and transmissions and led the Lhasa Monlam Chenmo by attending its sessions and giving special teachings on the past lives of the Buddha. Because of his extensive practice and the frequency with which he received and gave transmissions on the texts in the Kangyur, he was later known as Kangyurwa Jinpa Gyatso.

Among Trichen Jinpa Gyatso's teachers were Jamyang Drakpa ('jam dbyangs grags pa, d.u.) one of the main tutors of the Sixth Dalai Lama; Rabjam Choje Rinchen Gyatso (rab 'byams chos rje rin chen rgya mtsho, d.u.); Jamyang Namgyel ('jam dbyangs rnam rgyal, d.u.); Zhogpa Lobzang Donyo (zhog pa blo bzang don yod, the Forty-second Ganden Trichen?); and Jamyang Gewai Shenyen ('jam dbyangs dga' ba'i bshes gnyen, d.u.).

Trichen Jinpa Gyatso trained a large number of important lamas, including Jamyang Zhepai Dorje ('jam dbyangs bzhad pa'i rdo rje, 1648-1722), the founder and first throne holder of Labrang Tashikhyil in Amdo; Gelek Gyatso (sgrub khang pa dge legs rgya mtsho, 1641-1713) who was fifty-second in the Lamrim lineage; Dzaya Paṇḍita Lobzang Trinle (dza ya paNDi ta blo bzang 'phrin las 1642-1708); and Pabongkhapa Jamyang Drakpa (pha bong kha pa 'jam dbyangs grags pa, d.u.), to name only a few.

Trichen Jinpa Gyatso served the Golden Throne for about three years, from 1692 until his nirvana at the age of sixty-seven in 1695, the wood-pig year of the twelfth sexagenary cycle. Ngawang Jampel Yeshe Chopel (ngag dbang 'jam dpal ye shes chos 'phel), who was born in 1967 in Chamdo, was identified as one of his reincarnation. It is not known whether there has been identification of any reincarnation between him and Trichen.

Trichen Jinpa Gyatso's predecessor on the Golden Throne, Trichen Tsultrim Dargye (dga' ldan khri pa 45 khri chen tshul khrims dar rgyas, b. 1632), returned to the throne following Jinpa Gyatso's death.


Bstan pa bstan 'dzin. 2003. Chos sde chen pod pel ldan 'bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang grwa tshang gi chos 'byung chos dung g.yas su 'khyil ba'i sgra dbyangs. Lhasa: Dpal ldan 'bras spungs bkra shis sgo mang dpe mdzod khang, pp. 240-242.

Bstan pa bstan 'dzin. 1992. 'Jam mgon rgyal wa'i rgyal tshab gser khri rim byon rnams kyi khri rabs yongs 'du'i ljon bzang. Mundgod: Drepung Gomang Library, pp. 87-88

Grags pa 'byung gnas and Rgyal ba blo bzang mkhas grub. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 1818-1819.

Grong khyer lha sa srid gros lo rgyus rig gnas dpyad yig rgyu cha rtsom 'bri au yon lhan khang. 1994. Dga' ldan dgon pa dang brag yer pa'i lo rgyus, grong khyer lha sa'i lo rgyus rig gnas deb 02. Lhasa: Bod ljongs shin hwa par 'debs bzo grwa khang, p. 69.

Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho. 1989 (1698). Dga' ldan chos 'byung baiDU r+ya ser po. Beijing: Krung go bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, p. 95.

Samten Chhosphel December 2010

View other items in the Thematic Set: Prajnaparamita: Ganden Throne Holder Lineage