Dromton Gyelwa Jungne

ISSN 2332-077X

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Dromton Gyelwa Jungne b.1004? - d.1064

Name Variants: Gyelwa Jungne

Dromtonpa Gyelwa Jungne ('brom ston rgyal ba 'byung gnas) was born in Tolung (stod lung) in 1004 or 1005, into the Drom ('brom) clan. His father was Kushen Yaksherpen (sku gshen yag gsher 'phen) and his mother was Kuoza Lenchikma (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 Wangchuk (sna nam rdo rje dbang phyug, 976-1060), who gave him the name Gyelwai Jungne.

At the age of nineteen he studied Madhyamaka, rituals, and Nyingma tantra with a lama with the title Trumkyi Khenbu Chenpo Setsun (grum gyi mkhan bu chen po se btsun). With Paṇḍita Smṛti (paNDita smr 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 Dīpaṃkara and became his chief Tibetan disciple. Alternately, the two met in Penyul (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 Astasahastrika Prajñāpāramitā, 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 Chokle Namgyel (po to ba rin chen gsal phyogs las rnam rgyal, 1027-1105), Puchungwa Zhonnu Gyeltsen (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.







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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