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Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-F034-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (Dzongkaba Losang dragba), the founder of the dGa’-ldan-pa (Gandenba) school of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in Tsong-kha, in the extreme northeastern region of Tibet. He is often depicted as a type of reformer, putting great emphasis on moral precepts and interpreting Tantra in a way which would not create any conflict with the traditional Mahāyāna doctrines found in the sūtras and treatises. He was also an eclectic, drawing upon and synthesizing numerous different currents of Indian Buddhism – for example, he put forth a version of *Prāsaṅgika-Mādhyamika which was inextricably bound up with the logical tradition of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. On the Tibetan side, one of his major philosophical debts was undoubtedly to the gSang-phu (Sangpu) traditions stemming from the highly original thinker Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (Chaba Chögyi sengge, 1109–69). Finally, his dGa’-ldan-pa school subsequently became the dGe-lugs-pa (Gelukba), a predominantly monastic tradition which in time became the dominant current of Buddhism in Tibet. Tsong kha pa thus had, in addition to his philosophical influence, a long-term impact on the Tibetan political situation, contributing to the transfer of power from the southern provinces to the Lhasa region and laying the groundwork for the peculiarly Tibetan synthesis of religion and political power which was to be embodied in the institution of the Dalai Lamas.

Citing this article:
Tillemans, Tom J.F.. Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa (1357–1419), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-F034-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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