Taranatha in Mongolia

There is much lore about Taranatha in Mongolia. The link to Taranatha was initiated with the 1st Zanabazar, who traces his previous incarnation to Taranatha and his preceding succesion of embodiments. This connection endures to the present-day.

One artifact that gives evidence for this historic connection is a realist statue of Taranatha that is found in the personal collection of the first Zanabazar, in his winter palace. The statue is large and lifelike, with a full goatee, representative of Taranatha depictions that we trace to his lifetime. The statue likely dates to the period after Taranatha’s passing away in 1635, and was sent as a gift to the first Zanbazar in Mongolia from Tibet.

Like most statues, it was not clothed. This changed a few years ago when the 9th Jetsun Dampa, or Zanabazar, had a dream prior to his trip to Mongolia that Taranatha was shivering from the cold. Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche had a robe and full garm made for the statue, and during his last visit to Mongolia, before his passing, he clothed the statue, as seen in the picture.

For more on this history, see the previous post, Taranatha’s Travels in Mongolia.

Blog Category: Research Articles