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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Tsong-Ka-Pa

(TSON-KHA-PA) (1357-1419). Eminent Tibetan Buddhist reformer and founder of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. One of his disciples and successors became the first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drup (1391-1474), which lineage continues up to this day.

Tsong-ka-pa studied under the Kadam tradition, which was founded by the Indian teacher Atisha in the 11th century. Tsong-ka-pa’s greatest work was The Great Graduated Path or The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lamrin Chenmo). It is an extensive work that covers the path to Buddhahood.

In 1409 he founded a monastery with his followers. This group eventually became the Gelugpa (or Geluk) Order, or the “Yellow Hat,” as distinguished from the “Red Hat,” “Black Hat,” and “White Hat” sects of Tibetan Buddhism. He also established the monasteries of Drepung and Sera. He is said to have had visions and received instructions from Manjusri, the bodhisattva of Wisdom.

According to Helena P. BLAVATSKY, Tsong-ka-pa enjoined the Arhats to make an attempt to enlighten the world every century. These, she said, have not been very successful (CW XIV:431). The establishment of the Theosophical Society in the last quarter of the 19th century is said to be one such attempt.

In the Mahatma Letters, the Mahatma KOOT HOOMI stated that Tsong Ka Pa was the last Adept who has attained the level of the Planetary Spirit, which is the highest form of Adeptship possible to human beings in our planet. “His spirit could at one and the same time rove the interstellar spaces in full consciousness, and continue at will on Earth in his original and individual body” (ML, p. 62).

V.H.C.

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