An online resource for the study of the Jonangpa, the Jonangpa.com weblog (“blog”) regularly publishes short posts in the form of research findings, translation excerpts, and reflections of the main author and contributing authors in order to encourage exchange and discussion. The purpose of the blog is to promote understanding and scholarship on the Jonangpa, and themes relevant to the Jonangpa. Content on Jonangpa.com is derived from ongoing field research in Tibet and from primary Tibetan language source materials, and is presented in the form of notes on related topics concerning Jonang history, zhentong philosophical thinking, the Kālachakra, tantric Buddhist art and practice, Tibetan literature, and issues relevant to the living Jonangpa.
Although the Jonang tradition was thought to have been extinct since its 17th century demise in Central Tibet, and its distinctive views and practices were thought to have survived only through transmissions upheld by alternative Tibetan traditions such as the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu, the Jonangpa have survived and are thriving in the northeastern cultural domain of Tibet, Amdo. Recognizing how often the Jonangpa have been portrayed in Tibetan literature through the lenses of non-Jonangpa (usually polemically rival) authors, and that the Jonang tradition has received little attention within western scholarship ― resulting in a lack of informed western language readings, this blog explores how primary sources from the Jonangpa offer us more nuanced understandings of this little-known tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
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Jonangpa (jo nang pa) n.; the proper Tibetan name referring to those who uphold the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The term originated in the late 13th century during the time Kunpang Thukjé Tsöndru (1243-1313) settled in the Jomonang valley, west of Shigatse in South Central Tibet. As the story goes, the female protector deity named Jomo Ngag Gyalmo visited Kunpangpa, and invited him to live in the valley of Jomonang. In 1294, Kunpang Thukjé Tsöndru arrived at Jomonang, and settled in Khachö Dedan or the “Bliss-Infused Enjoyment of Space” meditation cave.
Since Kunpangpa’s settling in the Jomonang valley, those who have followed in the transmission lineages associated with the place of Jomonang have been known as, “Jonangpa” and the tradition itself as, “Jonang.” Both terms are abbreviations made by local Tibetans of the name, “Jomonang.”