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Jeff Watt [updated 8-2017]
Kedrubje Geleg Palzang
Khedrubje Geleg Palzang [1385-1438. TBRC P55] (mkhas grub rje dge legs dpal bzang) was born in Tsang in 1385. His father, Gunga Tashi Palzang (kun dga' bkra shis dpal bzang), was a member of the Se clan, said to have originated in Khotan, and his mother was Budren Gyalmo (bu 'dren rgyal mo).
His name Geleg Palzang was given to him as a child when he took novice ordination at the age of seven from Khenchen Sengge Gyalsten (mkhen chen seng ge rgyal mtshan, d.u.). From the age of sixteen he studied at the Sakya monastery of Ngamring Chode (ngam ring chos sde), training with Bodong Panchen Jigdrel Chogle Namgyal (bo dong paN chen 'jigs bral phyogs las rnam rgyal, 1376-1451), the founder of the Bodong tradition, who taught him logic and philosophy.
When Geleg Palzang was twenty-one he studied with Rendawa Shonu Lodro (red mda' ba gzhon nu blo gros, 1349-1412), with whom he took full ordination. He studied Dharmakirti's Pramanavartika, Abhidharma, and the Five Books of Maitreya, Nagarjuna's works on Madhamaka, and the Vinaya.
At the age of twenty-three, in 1407, he went to U to meet with Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419) at Sera Choding (se ra chos sdings - not to be confused with the famous Sera Monastery). Kedrub Je received instructions on both sutra and tantra from Tsongkapa, and soon became one of his most devoted disciples, receiving teachings alongside Tsongkapa's other disciples such as Gyaltsab Je Darma Rinchen (rgyal tshab rje dar ma rin chen, 1364-1432) and Duldzin Dragpa Gyaltsen ('dul 'dzin grags pa rgyal mtshan, 1374-1434).
Geleg Palzang returned to Tsang and assumed the abbacy of Changra Monastery (lcang ra). He also founded the monasteries of Riwo Dangchen (ri bo 'dangs chen) and, at age thirty-four, was involved in the establishment of Palkor Chode (dpal 'khor chos sde) in Gyangtse (rgyal rtse), under the patronage of the Gyantse king, Rabten Kunzang Pak (rab brtan kun bzang 'phags).
At the age of forty-seven, in 1431, Geleg Palzang was asked by Gyaltsab Je to take the golden throne of Ganden (dga' ldan gser khri), becoming the third man to occupy the seat after Tsongkapa and Gyaltsab Je.
At Ganden Khedrubje taught extensively, gave many initiations, and personally guided some of the most renowned scholars of the era to mastery of the tradition. He passed away there at the age of fifty-three.Sources
Cabezon, Jose Ignacio. 1992. A Dose of Emptiness: An Annotated Translation of the sTong thun chen mo of mKhas grub dge legs dpal bzang. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 219-221.
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. 75-76
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 1, pp. 877 ff.
Miranda Adams, August 2007
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