Today marks Lama Tsongkhapa Day, a celebration of the founder of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Traditionally in Tibet, this day is celebrated by making many colorful light offerings.

About Lama Tsongkhapa

Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 C.E.) was a great scholar-monk-yogi who studied with great master of his time from all the existing schools of Buddhism of Tibet. He re-examined the texts checking things against classical Indian sources to see what was authentic and what needed to be thrown out because of errors. Through his direct communication with Manjushri, Tsongkhapa was able to clarify the intended meaning of the scriptures and commentaries on the profound topic of emptiness.

A prolific writer, he composed both poems and thick reference books which are still in active use today. If you look at how much he wrote you would think that’s all he did in his life; if you look at how much Dharma practice and retreat he did you would think that’s all he did; and if you look at his great works to benefit others, such as establishing monasteries, festivals, and holy objects, you would think that’s all he did. But in fact, he managed to fit all of these into one lifetime. The tradition he created came to be known as the Ganden Tradition, or the Gelug lineage. Our center is part of that.

Practices to do on Lama Tsongkhapa Day

Lama Zopa has compiled a list of practices that one can do during this meritorious day. They can be found here. One of the suggestions is reciting the praise to Lama Tsongkhapa, also known as the “Migtsema”

Mig me tse wäi ter chen chän rä zig
Dri me khyen päi wang po jam päi yang
Dü pung ma lü jom dzä sang wäi dag
Gang chän khä pä tsug gyän tsong kha pa
Lo sang drag pä zhab la söl was deb

Avalokiteshvara, great treasure of non-objectifying compassion;
Manjushri, master of stainless wisdom;
Vajrapani, destroyer of the entire host of maras;
Tsongkhapa, crown jewel of the sages of the land of snow;
To Losang Dragpa, at your fee I make requests.

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