The Treasury of Lives

A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya

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Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, the Thirty-third Menri Trizin, trained at Kyangtsang Monastery in Sharkhok, Amdo and received his geshe degree at the age of twenty-five. He had to leave his studies and teaching at Drepung behind and escape to exile in India in 1959. He spent a large part of his career studying, researching and teaching in the west, where he was brought by David Snellgrove through a Rockefeller Foundation grant. Lungtok Tenpai Nyima reestablished Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India and he ceaselessly worked to preserve and publish Bonpo texts.

Ara Drubtob Tarpai Gyeltsen was one of the most important Geluk scholar-saints of the sixteenth century. He began his studies at an early age at Sera Monastery and became known as both a highly learned scholar and advanced practitioner. Ara Khamtsen, a residential house of Sera Me where he lived, houses a small statue of Tarpai Gyeltsen within a larger image of another Sera master. This site remains a popular attraction for pilgrims to this day. Ara Drubtob spent his final years in the Lhatok region of Kham, where he engaged in retreat and gathered many disciples.


Tsonawa Sherab Zangpo

b.early 13th cent. - d.late 13th cent.
TBRC P1500

Tsonawa Sherab Zangpo was an important early Tibetan Vinaya scholar as well as a lineage holder of the Lamrim tradition. Two of his Vinaya texts are considered the most complete and lucid works on the Vinaya written in Tibet and are still studied in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the first incarnation in the line of Mon Tsona Tulkus.

Dungkar Lobzang Trinle was one of the so-called "Three Great Scholars" in the second half of the twentieth century, together with Tseten Zhabdrung and Muge Samten, credited with reinstituting scholastic Buddhism  and Tibetology as an academic discipline in China. Trained in Lhasa in the 1940s and 1950s, he survived the Cultural Revolution to serve at high levels of the Chinese government in the service of Buddhist learning and Tibetan cultural history more generally. His most famous publication is the Dungkar Encyclopedia.

Kunzang Sonam of Minyak studied widely, especially in the Geluk tradition, before becoming one of the principal disciples of Patrul Rinpoche and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. After his studies, he returned to his homeland of Minyak, where he spent time in isolated hermitages. He was renowned for his ethical conduct and his mastery of the Bodhicaryāvatāra, a text on which he wrote three major commentaries, including his monumental, 460-folio magnum opus, Excellent Vase. His writings also include a guide to Ngulchu Tokme Zangpo’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, commentaries on two sūtras, and, it is claimed, several texts published in the name of his own student, Loter Wangpo.