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Early Masters (13th–16th)

From Kunpang to Dolpopa&Disciples– up to 15th cent.

Gharungwa Lhai Gyaltsen

Gharungwa, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, studied at many Sakya and Kagyu monasteries before first meeting Dölpopa. After receiving the six-branch yoga and other instructions from Dölpopa, Gharungwa gained exceptional experience in meditation. He also received many profound transmissions from other major disciples of Dölpopa. Gharungwa became a great teacher and composed a number of important works, especially a biography of Dölpopa. Gharungwa was born at Nyetang (snye thang) in Central Tibet.

Rinchen Tsultrim

Rinchen Tsultrim, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, studied in many places as a young man, such as the Kagyu monastery of Tsurpu in Central Tibet and Sakya Monastery in Tsang. From Dölpopa and his other major disciples, Rinchen Tsultrim received a vast number of teachings, especially from the Kalacakra tradition. He later lived and taught in Central Tibet, emphasizing the study and practice of the Kalacakra. Rinchen Tsultrim was born in Jangzing (byang rdzing).

Menchukhawa Lodrö Gyaltsen

Menchukhawa, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, studied extensively as a youth at Sakya and other monasteries. While he was studying at Sakya, the goddess Vajravarahi appeared to him in a dream and urged him to meet Dölpopa. Menchukhawa then received countless teachings from Dölpopa and some of his other major disciples. In later life Menchukhawa mostly lived and taught in Central Tibet, spreading the Jonang view and the teachings of the Kalacakra tradition. Menchukhawa was born in Kyishö Tölung (skyid shod stod lung) in Central Tibet.

Tangpoche Kunga Bum

Tangpoche, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, was first educated mainly in the Sakya tradition. He was initially inspired to meet Dölpopa after seeing a copy of his General Commentary on the Doctrine. He received a vast number of teachings from Dölpopa and gained exceptional experience through the practice of meditation. Tangpoche became an active teacher of the Kalacakra Tantra and the Vimalaprabha. Tangpoche was born in upper Ling (gling stod). At seven years of age he went to Sangpu (gsang phu) Monastery and became a monk.

Shangtön Gyawo Sönam Drakpa

Shangtön Gyawo, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, studied widely in different traditions as a young man. Then he spent almost thirty years with Dölpopa, receiving all the great master's teachings. For the last fifteen years of his life Shangtön taught the massive Vimalaprabha commentary on the Kalacakra Tantra every year. Shangtön Gyawo was born in Kyishö (skyi shod) in Central Tibet. His mother was a leper, whose disease is said to have vanished immediately when she became pregnant.

Drigung Lotsawa Manikashri Jnana

Drigung Lotsawa, who was one of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples, was a master of Sanskrit studies. He also held the monastic seat of the great Kagyu monastery of Drigung as a young man. After studying with Dölpopa, Drigung Lotsawa became an ardent defender of the shentong view and spead the Kalacakra teachings of the Jonang tradition. Toward the end of his life he taught the Vimalaprabha for eight years at Jonang. Drigung Lotsawa was born in Gyerphu (gyer phu).

Kunpang Chödrak Palsang

Chödrak Palsang was the first of Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples. He was also the supervisor of all the construction work on Dölpopa's great stupa at Jonang. Chödrak Palsang became a great teacher and practitioner, especially of the Kalacakra tradition, and also translated Buddhist texts from Sanskrit. Toward the end of his life he traveled to China and taught the Chinese emperor. Kunpang Chödrak Palsang was born in Ralung (ra lung).

Chogle Namgyal

Chogle Namgyal (1306-1386), who was one of Dolpopa's fourteen major disciples, was the only master to hold the monastic seat of Jonang Monastery twice, for a total of about twenty years. He wrote many important works, especially a series of treatises on the sixfold vajrayoga of Kalachakra based on the teachings of Dolpopa. He also composed annotations to the Kalachakra Tantra and the Vimalaprabha.

Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen

Dolpopa was one of the most influential Buddhist masters in Tibetan history. He first became an important scholar of the Sakya tradition, but then moved to Jonang monastery. There he became the fourth holder of the monastic seat and constructed a monumental stupa. Dolpopa's ideas, specifically his famous formulation of the zhentong view and his interpretations of Mahayana and Vajrayana doctrine, have elicited controversy for nearly 700 years.

Sonam Zangpo

Sonam Zangpo (,i.bsod nams bzang po ,/), who was also popularly known as Nyakpuwa (gnyag/snyag phu ba), was one of the Dharma lord Dölpopa's fourteen major disciples. He also received many teachings from several of Dölpopa's other major disciples and was the main Dharma heir of Chogle Namgyal (phyogs las rnam rgyal, 1306–1386). He became the teacher of many great masters from different traditions and was particularly expert in the Kālacakra.