Born in the village of “Bamda,” a few kilometers from Tsangwa Monastery in the Dzamthang valley of Amdo, Bamda Tubten Gelek Gyatso was educated within the Jonang tradition at Dzamthang from the time he was a child. As a young man, Bamda Lama then traveled to the Derge district of Kham in eastern Tibet and became immersed in the Rime eclectic movement. While in Kham, he studied closely with Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (1813-99) and Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche (1880-87).
After several years of staying in Kham, Bamda Lama returned to his home in Dzamthang where he received extensive training in the Jonang Kalachakra tantric system. At that time, he studied intensively both Chogle Namgyal’s and Lochen Ratnabhadra’s instruction manuals (khrid yig) on the six-fold vajrayoga, the details concerning the specific yogic techniques and postures (‘khrul ‘khor), and the entire cycle of ancillary practices involved in the completion stage process.
Bamda’s comprehension and experience of these complex subjects are made clear in his own writings, especially his writings on the Kalachakra practices. These remain some of the most extensive and authoritative works on the Kalachakra according to the Jonangpa.