Wylie:Gcod yul gyi dbang nam mkha' sgo 'byed du grags pa
Venerable Tāranātha (grol ba'i mgon po, 1575–1635) was one of the great polymaths of Tibet. At the age of one year he declared himself to be the Jonang master Kunga Drölchok (1507–1566) and was formally recognized as Kunga Drölchok’s reincarnation when he was four. He studied with disciples of Kunga Drölchok and received transmissions of all the schools, especially the Jonang and Shangpa lineages. He learned Sanskrit and studied with Indian yogins and scholars in Tibet, one of whom, Buddhaguptanātha, became his principal master. Tāranātha’s advancement of Dolpopa’s stunning philosophy of zhentong, or Great Madhyamaka, earned him dubious notoriety with the Gelukpa hierarchy under the fifth Dalai Lama, and his support for the rulers of Tsang, who opposed Gelukpa rule, ultimately resulted in the confiscation of Jonangpa monasteries in central Tibet and the suppression of Tāranātha’s works. Nevertheless, Tāranātha remains a towering figure in Tibet for his activities and huge literary legacy.
Of that enormous output, surprisingly few of Tāranātha’s texts are devoted to Severance—a total of merely fifty pages or so—and his autobiography mentions the transmission of Severance only a few times. What connection Tāranātha did have with the practice of Severance can probably be attributed mainly to his predecessor, Kunga Drölchok. That master compiled an anthology of one hundred eight different lineage practices, The Hundred Guides of Jonang, of which Severance is number six. This work is reprinted in volume 18 of The Treasury of Precious Instructions and indeed may have been the prototype for Jamgön Kongtrul’s own vast, eclectic collection. In any case, Kongtrul’s reverence for and deep connection to Tāranātha are evident everywhere in his work. The eclectic movement (ris med) in eastern Tibet spearheaded by Kongtrul helped to revive the Jonang tradition and zhentong view. Tashi Chöpel’s Record of Teachings Received notes that Kongtrul received the blessing empowerments of profound Severance of Evil Object in the Gyaltang tradition of the great adept Samten Özer based on Tāranātha’s Object Severance Empowerment Known as Opening the Sky Door. Its inclusion here ensured the continuation of this lineage of Severance up to the present.
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- Tāranātha, Collected Works. rJe btsun Tā ra nā tha’i gsung ’bum, vol. 1, p. 54.
- Tashi Chöpel, Record of Teachings Received, p. 772.
- Tāranātha’s story of this empowerment (gCod dbang nam mkha’ sgo ’byed kyi lo rgyus mu tig phreng ba), which must be read when it is conferred, can be found in his Collected Works (Dzamthang edition, 2000?), vol. 20, pp. 715–26.
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- Note from Ringu Tulku
- The Empoweremnt of Chod Called "Opening the Sky".
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As the only available unicode Tibetan text at the time, Nitartha International's version of the Paro Edition of the gdams ngag mdzod is provided here. However, note that it has not been thoroughly edited and that there may also be mistakes introduced through the conversion process. Eventually we will provide a fully edited version of the entire Shechen Edition, entered and edited multiple times by Pulahari Monastery in Nepal, but as of fall 2017 that project has not been finished. Note that the folio numbers that appear throughout were added by Nitartha Input Center at the time of input.