The Treasury of Lives




Sonam Chopel

b.1595 - d.1658
TBRC P4436

Desi or Depa Sonam Chopel, also known as Sonam Rabten, exercised secular power over all or most of Tibet as the Fifth Dalai Lama's Desi. As the former Treasurer of the Fourth Dalai Lama, Sonam Chopel became the Chakdzo, Manager and Principal Attendant of the Fifth Dalai Lama from the time of his investiture, and in 1642 he became the Dalai Lama's Desi, or viceroy, regent or prime minister. Under Sonam Chopel's leadership and thanks to both Mongol military assistance and the pre-eminence of the Fifth Dalai Lama as a religious leader, the Geluk tradition rose to govern most of Greater Tibet. Subject to intermittent interference from neighboring countries, the government Sonam Chopel helped to found continued to rule at least the main area of central Tibet for over 300 years.

Dondrub Rinchen

b.1309 - d.1385
TBRC P1558

Choje Dondrub Rinchen was a Kadam master from Amdo who, after studying in central Tibet, established Shadrung and Jakhyung monasteries. He was Tsongkhapa's first teacher, the man who gave him his novice vows as well as the ordination name of Lobzang Drakpa,  and he remained a major source of guidance and inspiration throughout the latter's life.


b.11th cent. - d.11th cent.
TBRC P4849

Smṛtijñānakīrti is sometimes considered the first translator of the "later propagation" of Buddhism in Tibet, and the figure who inaugurated the "new translations." He was primarily based in Kham, at Drentang, near Langtang Dolma Lhakhang.


Go Khukpa Lhetse

b.early 11th cent. - d.late 11th cent.
TBRC P3458

Go Khukpa Lhetse was one of the most important translators and scholars of the early Tibetan renaissance. A teacher of Khon Konchok Gyeltsen, he went three times to India to study Guhyasamāja.


Norzang Gyatso was an early master of the Geluk Lamrim teachings. The author of several famous books on diverse topics, including Mahāmudrā and Kālacakra, he was a teacher of the Second Dalai Lama.