Gonpawa Wangchuk Gyeltsen b.1016 - d.1083
Name Variants: Dzenggom Wangchuk Gyeltsen; Wangchuk Gyeltsen
Gonpawa Wangchuk Gyeltsen (dgon pa ba dbang phyug rgyal mtshan) was born in 1016 in Kham, the son of a tantrika. His family was evidently from the Dzeng ('dzeng) clan. He ordained at a young age, being given the name Wangchuk Gyeltsen. His parents both died suddenly and he requested a family friend for advice on what to do with the large number of books that his father owned. The friend suggested he bundle them up and go into retreat in a remote hermitage.
While preparing his provisions for the retreat, Wanchuk Dorje, heard about the Bengali monk Atisha Dīpaṃkara (c.982-1054) and Dromton Gyelwa Jungne ('brom ston rgyal ba'i 'byung gnas, 1004/1005-1064) from a merchant and resolved to meet them. Giving the books and provisions gathered thus far to his family friend, he set out for U-Tsang with the merchant. At Nyantso (nyan tsho), in Tsang, he encountered Dromton and requested teachings. Dromton, who would become his principle teacher, gave him complete transmission of Atisha's teachings, including the Lamrim and Aksobya and other tantric systems. The image above is from a painting that depicts a Yogacara lineage Wangchuk Gyeltsen received from Dromton and transmitted to his disciple Neusurpa Yeshe Bar (sne'u zur pa ye shes 'bar, 1042-1118).
Gonpawa also received teachings directly from Atisha. He was part of a group who received transmission at Bur (bur), where Atisha established a small hermitage. According to the Blue Annals, the first teaching Atisha gave Gonpawa was the "Offering of Jvalamukti" (kha 'bar ma'i gtor ma).
Wangchuk Gyeltsen is said to have been a highly advanced practitioner of the teachings he received, practicing in remote hermitages and thereby earning his epithet of "Gonpawa" or "one who dwells in isolation".
Wangchuk Gyeltsen's disciples included Neusurpa, Zhangkamapa Sherab Wo (zhang ka ma pa shes rab 'od, 1057-1131), Nyan Namewa (gnyan sna me ba, d.u.) and Drekodelungpa ('bre ko de lung pa, d.u.), collectively known as the Four sons of Gon (dgon gyi bu bzhi). He also taught Ben Gungyal Tsultrim Gyelwa ('ban gung rgyal tshul khrims rgyal ba, d.u.) and Karak Gomchung Wangchuk Lodro (kha rag sgom chung dbang phyug blo gros, d.u.).
Grags pa 'byung gnas. 1992. Gangs can mkhas grub rim byon ming mdzod. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 1422-1423.
Roerich, George, trans. 1996. The Blue Annals. 2nd ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, p. 266, ff.
Yongs 'dzin ye shes rgyal mtshan. 1980. Dge bshes dgon pa ba'i rnam thar. In Lam rim bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam thar, vol. 1, pp. 276-287. 'Bar khams: Rnga khul bod yig rtsom sgyur cus. Also: 1990. Dpal ldan mgon pa ba'i rnam thar. In Lam rim bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam thar, vol. 1, pp. 206-214. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang.
View this person's associated Works & Texts on the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center's Web site
- Historical Period