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Jetsün Taranatha. Courtesy of Shechen Monastery.

Jetsün Taranatha (Skt. Tāranātha; Tib. རྗེ་བཙུན་ཏཱ་ར་ནཱ་ཐ་, Wyl. rje btsun tA ra nA tha) or Kunga Nyingpo (Tib. ཀུན་དགའ་སྙིང་པོ་, Wyl. kun dga' snying po) (1575-1634) was a great accomplished master of the Jonang and Shangpa Kagyü traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Though famed in Tibet as the author of many treatises on tantra and philosophy, he is especially known in the West for his masterly History of Buddhism in India. The name, Taranatha, which is of Indian origin, was given to him at the age of 20 in a dream by an Indian yogin, and exemplifies his strong connection with India, “the Land of the Aryas”. He learned effortlessly some of its languages including Sanskrit. He was the uncle of the Fifth Dalai Lama. He wrote his most famous work, History of Buddhism in India, in 1608.

The 5th Dalai Lama recognized the son of a Khalkha Mongol Khan as the reincarnation of Jetsün Tarnatha. This boy and his successive incarnations became the Jetsün Dampa Hutuktu (Tib. རྗེ་བཙུན་དམ་པ་ཧུ་ཐུག་ཏུ་, Wyl. rje btsun dam pa hu thug tu), the spiritual heads of the Gelug lineage in Mongolia.


Further Reading

  • David Templeman, Taranatha's Life of Krsnacarya/Kanha, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1989
  • David Templeman, 'Memories of a Past Life', in Religions of Tibet in Practice, edited by Donald S. Lopez Jr., Princeton University Press, 1997
  • Jo Nang Taranatha, The Origin of the Tara Tantra, translated and edited by David Templeman, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, first published in 1981, revised edition 1995.
  • Lama Chimpa, Alaka Chattopadhyaya and Debiprasad Chatterji, Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India, Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, 1990
  • Taranatha, The Essence of Other Emptiness, Snow Lion, 2007
  • Taranatha, The Golden Rosary of Tara, Shang-Shung Edizioni, 1985
  • Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambahava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005
  • Taranatha, The Seven Instruction Lineages, translated and edited by David Templeman, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2002
  • Taranatha's commentary on the Heart Sutra - A study, translation and critical edition by Adele Tomlin, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 2017 (ISBN 978-93-87023-01-7)

External Links