Himalayan Art Resources

Teacher: Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen

Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen | Sakya Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Lama Dampa Biography (below)
- Khon Lineage
- Dzongpa Tradition
- Vajravali Mandalas (Lama Dampa Set)
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Jeff Watt [updated 3-2018]

Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen Palzangpo:

Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen Palzangpo, 1312-1375 [TBRC P1226], (bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, 1312-1375) was one of the most prominent teachers in the Sakya Tradition after the Five Patriarchs. He served as the Fourteenth Sakya throne holder, or Trizin (tri dzin). His father was Dagnyi Chenpo Zangpo Pal (bdag nyid chen po bzang pod pal) and his mother was Saluma Machig Shonnubum (za lu ma ma gcig gzhon nu 'bum). He was born at Zalu Kangsar (za lu khang gsar).

He ordained at the age of seventeen with Sonam Dragpa (bsod nams grags pa, d.u.) and Palden Sengge (dpal ldan seng ge, d.u.), who gave him the name by which he is known. He also studied with Namka Legpai Gyaltsen (nam mkha' legs pa'i rgyal mtshan, 1290-1364), Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (dol po pa shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1292-1361), Gyalse Togme Palzangpo (rgyal sras thogs med dpal bzang po, 1295-1369), and Buton Rinchen Drub (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290-1364), who gave him the Kalachakra empowerment.

Sonam Gyaltsan was the author of the famous genealogy, The Clear Mirror: A Royal Genealogy (rgyal rabs sal ba'i me long). His writings on the Lamdre (lam 'bras) tradition were collected in a volume called the Lamdre Ponag (lam 'bras pod nag), one of the first major written works on Lamdre. He also wrote a commentary on Shantideva's Bodhicharyavatara and sponsored the first edition of the collected works of the Five Patriarchs of Sakya (sa skya gong ma lnga).

Sonam Gyaltsan was a master in the lineage of the Ngog Lug (rngog lugs) of the Prajnaparamita. His students included Rendawa Shonnu Lodro (red mda' ba gzhon nu blo gros, 1349-1412) and Tsongkapa Lobsang Dragpa (tsong kha pa blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419), whom he taught at Nyetang (snye thang); and Longchen Rabjam Drime Ozer (klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer, 1308-1364). He also taught and conferred initiations on the Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen (ta'i si tu byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302-1364), the fourteenth century military and political figure whose reign initiated the Pagmodrupa Dynasty that supplanted Sakya-Mongol rule in Tibet.

Name Variants: Nyima Dewai Lodro; Sakyapa Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen; Sonam Gyaltsen


Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 1724-1725.

Lo chen byang chub rtse mo. (14th c.) Bsod nams rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar. Unpublished manuscript.

Ngag dbang kun dga' bsod nams. 1986. Sa skya'i gdung rabs ngo mtshar bang mdzod. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, p. 267 ff.

van der Kuijp, Leonard. 1993. "Fourteenth Century Tibetan Culture III: The Oeuvre of Bla ma dam pa Bsod nams rgyal mtshan (1312-1375)." Berliner Indologische Studien vol. 7, pp. 109-147.

van der Kuijp, Leonard. 1994. "Fourteenth Century Tibetan Cultural History 1: Ta'i situ Byang-chub rgyal-mtshan as a man of religion." Indo-Iranian Journal, vol 37 number 2, pp. 139-149.

Dominique Townsend, January 2010

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

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