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Dromton Gyalwa Jungne Biography

Dromtonpa Gyalwai Jungne, 1004(?)-1064, ('brom ston rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas) was born in Tolung (stod lung) in 1004 or 1005, into the Drom ('brom) clan. His father was Kushen Yagsherpen (sku gshen yag gsher 'phen) and his mother was Ku'oza Lanchigma (khu 'od bza' lan gcig ma). He was given the name Chopel (chos 'phel).

As a youth he studied reading and writing for four years with Geshe Yungcho (dge bshes g.yung chos mgon). He took lay vows with Nanam Dorje Wangchug (sna nam rdo rje dbang phyug, 976-1060), who gave him the name Gyalwai Jungne. At the age of nineteen he studied Madhyamaka, rituals, and Nyingma tantra with a lama with the title Drumkyi Khenbu Chenpo Setsun (grum gyi mkhan bu chen po se btsun). With Pandita Smriti (paNDita smri ti) he studied Sanskrit and grammar. He never ordained, but apparently left home after a dispute with his step-mother.

In 1042, at the age of thirty eight, he went to Purang (spu hrangs) to meet Atisha Dipamkara and became his chief Tibetan disciple. Alternately, the two met in Panyul ('phan yul).

Dromtonpa has come down in history as both an enforcer of Second Propagation ethical standards and a holder of Atisha's tantric lineage. According to the Blue Annals, Dromton was charged with expelling tantric practitioners from Atisha's audience, this despite the fact that at Samye Chimpu (bsam yas 'chims phu) Atisha gave Dromton initiation into tantric systems, including the Doha tradition of Bengal. The Blue Annals credits him with revising the translations of both sutra and tantras, including the Ashtasahastrika Prajnaparamita, and the Jnanasiddhi Tantra.

Following Atisha's death in 1054, Dromton took many of Atisha's disciples and returned to Tolung. While there he was invited by a number of local lords to Reting (rwa sgreng), where, in 1057, at the age of fifty-four, he constructed a monastery, primarily under the patronage of Trangka / Pangka Berchung ('phrang kha / phang kha ber chung). Despite remaining a layman, he was renowned for his teachings on monastic precepts.

Dromton's three chief disciples were Potowa Rinchen Sal Chogle Namgyal (po to ba rin chen gsal phyogs las rnam rgyal, 1027-1105), Puchungwa Shonnu Gyaltsen (phu chung ba gzhon nu rgyal mtshan, 1031-1106) and Chennga Tsultrim Bar (spyan snga tshul khrims 'bar, 1038-1103).

Dromtonpa died at Reting in 1064 at the age of sixty.


Bsod nams grags pa. Bka gdams rin po che'i chos 'byung rnam thar nyin mor byed pa'i 'od snang. In Two Histories of the Bka'-gdams-pa Tradition. Gangtok: Gonpo Tseten.

'Jam mgon a myes zhabs. 1634. Bka' gdams chos 'byung.

Khetsun Sangpo. 1973. Biographical Dictionary of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Dharamsala: LTWA, Vol. 17.

Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 1252-1254.

Mi nyag mgon po. 1996. Gangs can mkhas dbang rim byon gyi rnam thar mdor bsdus. Beijing: Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, vol. 2, pp. 6-13.

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 bstan mdzes pa'i rgyan mchog phul byung nor bu'i phreng ba. Delhi: Ngawang Gelek Demo.

Alexander Gardner, February 2010

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

(The images below are only a selection of examples).