Alak Dongak Gyatso

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Alak Dongak Gyatso (Wyl. a lags mdo sngags rgya mtsho) aka Tulku Japa Alak (or Gyawa) (Wyl. 'ja' pa a lags) (1824–1902) was a great scholar who studied widely, and in both the Sarma and Nyingma traditions. He was a disciple of Patrul Rinpoche, Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol and Dudjom Lingpa.

He famously lost a debate with Mipham Rinpoche which was moderated by Patrul Rinpoche. They debated for several days, yet when they started to discuss the topic of Dzogchen he clearly lost the debate. In his trilogy on the original mind (gnyug sems skor gsum), Mipham Rinpoche also mentions 'the position of Gyawa Dongak', which he then refutes.

In one of his biographies,[1] Dudjom Lingpa says of Alak Dongak Gyatso, “He is a lord among scholars”. But unfortunately his works are deemed lost at present. Alak Dongak Gyatso advised Anam Wangchen to sponsor Dudjom Lingpa and to request him to do a recitation practice for himself.

His students include Dodrupchen Jikme Tenpe Nyima and the 'four khenpos of Dodrupchen Monastery'. Amdo Geshe Jampal Rolwé Lodrö recognized his incarnation in the person of Lobzang Dongak Chökyi Gyatso.


  1. Dudjom Lingpa, ‘A Clear Mirror’, The Visionary Autobiography of a Tibetan Master’, The Outer Autobiography, translated by Chönyi Drolma, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2011 Page 83.

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