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The Hierarchy of the Dalai Lama (1406-1745).-By Rai SARAT CHANDRA
DAS Bahadur, C.I.E. The reformed Buddhist Church called Shwa-serl the school of yellow-cap Lamas, founded by Tsongkhapa acquired such a celebrity within a few years of its birth that in the year 1406 Yûnglo, the third Emperor of the Tā Ming dynasty, sent an invitation to the great reformer to visit Peking, Finding his time fully necessary for scriptural as well as monastic reformation, Tsongkhapa was unable to comply with Yûnglo's wish. He, however, sent his principal disciple to enlighten the devout monarch in the mysteries of Lamaism as developed in the reformed school, in the following year.
On his arrival at Peking, Çākya Yeçes found the Emperor suffer. ing from a serious illness. He performed several religious ceremonies, which were believed to have effected a speedy recovery. Under his direction a huge image of Maitreya, the coming Buddha, called Cham. chen, 3 was constructed and placed in the monastery of Yûng-ho-kung founded by Yung-lo himself. Çākya Yeçes was appointed high priest of this monastery and given the title of Chamchen Choije. He founded the great monastery of Hwang-sze or Yellow Temple in one of the imperial gardens situated to the north of Peking.On his return journey to Tibet he took the circuitous Mongolian route and paid a visit to his tutor and chief Tsongkhapa, making large presents to him. Shortly, after his return to Lhasa, in the year 1418, he founded the great monastery of Sera Theg cheling with the wealth which he had amassed during his residence in the capital of China. Sera, in time, rose to great distinction and was resorted to by Lamas as a seat of learning. It now contains 5,500 monks and is second only to Dapûng 6 in rank.
* This monastery is now presided over by an incarnate Lama and contains about 1,000 monks, mostly, Mongolians. I visited it several times during my residence in Peking, in 1885.
+ During my residence in Peking I was accommodated in this monastery as the gaest of Kusho Kudub-pa, agent of the grand Lama of Lhasa. It contains the marble tomb of great artistic workmanship and beauty erected by Emperor Kuenlong in honour of the Tashi Lama Paldan Yeçes, Warren Hasting's friend, who died of smallpox in Peking.
In 1408, shortly after establishing the grand annual congregational assembly called Monlam chenpol at Lhasa, Tsongkhapa founded the great monastery of Gahdan: with 3,300 monks at a place some 20 miles to the East of Lhasa, and presided over it as the minister of the reformed Church till his death. He laid down the rule that his successors in the ministerial chair of Gahdan should be elected from among the most pious and learned of the brotherhood irrespective of their position in birth. Constitutionally, therefore, the Gahdan Thipa & be. came as his successor in the ministry, the hierarch of the Yellow-cap Church.*
From that time Gahdan became the chief seat of the reformed Church, the monks of which put on the yellow-cap to distinguish themselves from the followers of the older sects who generally wore the red-cap* (shwa-mar) and were, therefore, called Shwa-ser Ge-lugs-pa, 6 i.e., the order of which the religious badge was the yellow-cap. They were also called Gahdan-pa from the name of their monastery.
In 1415, one of Tsongkhapa's disciples named Jam-yang Choije 6 founded Dapũng now the premier monastery of Tibet with 7,700 monks under the patronage of Namkha Zangpo,7 the then ruler of Tibet. In the year of the foundation of the monastery of Sera, the great reformer, whose real name was Lozang Tagpa 8 but who is better · known as I'songkhapa from the name of his birthplace Tsongkha (onion bank), in Amdo, passed away from mundane existence.
In 1446, Gadâu dûb 9 one of the later disciples of Tsogkhapa founded the grand monastery of Tashilhûnpo 10 in Tsang. The establishment of these four great monasteries,--first Gahdan, then Dapûng and Sera, and, lastly, Tashilhûnpo, --which have played such an important part in the political administration of the country, made
* In the recent negotiations with the British Government at Lhasa the Regent who signed the Treaty with Colonel Younghusband, was Gahdan Thipa (incorrectly named as Te-lama) in whose hands the Dalai Lama, at the time of his flight from Lhasa, had left the keys of the palace of Potala.
སྨོན་ལམ་ཆེན་པོ literally, th༠ great prayer meeting. *དགའ་ལྡན་
chair, « One of, i.e., chairman,
ཞུ་སེར་དགེ་ལུགས་པ “འཇམ་དབྱངས་ཆོས་རྗེ་ " ནམ་མཁའ་བཟང་པོ བློ་བཟང་གྲགས་པ་ དགེ་འདུན་གྲུབ བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལྷུན་པོ་
J. I. 11.
the provinces of Û and Tsang the headquarters of the Yellow Church. On account of his profound learning and holiness, though of humble and obscure parentage, Gadûndûb was regarded as a saint. He himself never pretended to have been of saintly origin, but people believed that he must have possessed in him the spirit of Bodhisattva Avalokiteçvara--the guardian saint of Tibet. About three years after Gadûndûb's death the possibility of the reappearance of the spirits of deceased Lamas for the first time dawned in the minds of the members of the reformed Church. The monks of Dapûng over which Gadûndûb had latterly presided thought that the spirit of one who had loved his country and all living beings so much could bardly have become freed from his longings, to work for them even when he had passed out of his mortal tenements. They, therefore, sent emissaries to the different places which the Lama had visited during his lifetime, to inquire if there was born, seven weeks after his demise, any child in whom could be traced the signs of its indicating any incidents of Gadûndûb's life. They also consulted their tutelary deities for guidance in the right identification of Gadûndûb's spirit should it have re-appeared in any child.
At last, a child was discovered at Tanag born in the family of Sreg-ton Darma, who had settled in Tsang from Lower Kham. It revealed some signs of having been the re-embodiment of the Lama's spirit and successfully claimed as his own certain articles for which Gadûndûb used to evince much liking and which were kept mixed up with other people's properties. This fortunate child was removed to Tashilhûnpo for religious and monastic education. His father, who was a lay Tantrik priest of the Nin-ma sect, instructed him in the Tantrik cult. When twelve years old he took the vows of an Upāsaka (lay devotee) from Panchen Lùngrig Gya-tsho of Tashilhûnpo; after which he was admitted into monkhood by the abbot of Ne-ñiñ 2 When he passed all the examinations in the sacred scriptures he was elevated to the highest rank in the order of monkhood, after being given the name of Gadun gya-tshol and placed on the high priest's chair in 1511. He ably presided over the monastery of Tashilhûnpo for a period of five years. He received instruction in the Buddhist scriptures and metaphysics from such eminent scholars as Ye-çes zang, hierarch of Gahdan, Yontan Gya-tsho of Tsang and Panchen yeços tse of Tashilhûnpo. He founded the monastery of Choikhor Gyal in the plain of Metog thang in 1508. In the 43rd year of his age, in the year 1516, he was appointed to the
abbotship of Dapung where he was better known by the title of Dapûng Talkul or Avatār. In later times this Avatār, in his successive incarnations, received the titles of Gyal-wa Rinphché, Gyalwai Wangpo, Talé Lama, eto.
With him, in fact, originated the institution of incarnations in Tibet which was but little kaowo before and which since then has become general all over Tibet and Mongolia.
In the 52nd year of his age the Lamas of Sera elected him as their high priest, which office he held till his death in 1541. Since Kyisho, tbe district of which Lhasa is the chief town, had passed under the ruler of Tsang named Rinchen Pûng-pa, for a period of nineteen years, the Lamas of Sangphu and Karma sects presided over the annual prayer assembly of Lhasa called the Monlam Chenpo. Under the auspices of Gadûn Gya-tsho the Lamas of Sera and Dapũng regained their lost authority over the grand institution. Gadda wrote several works on the different branches of the sacred literature. At the age of 68, in the year called Water-tiger, he departed from this life.
His spirit was discovered in a lad of four years born in the family of Ma Rinchen Choga at Toilûng 8 in the year 1546. When this boy was ten years old the Lamas of Dapũng placed him on the chair of their high priest under the title of Sonam Gya-tsho. Formerly, when the Tartar Emperor Khublai Khan made rich presents to his spiritual tutor Lama Phag-pa, the latter had predicted that in time to come he would reappear on this earth as a Lama bearing the name
Ocean," which in Mongolian was called Tālé-Dalai, while the Emperor himself would reign as a king of the name Altan signifying gold-in Mongolian.
Altan, the powerful Khan who ruled over Thumed Mongolia, being told by an astrologer that in a former life he was the great Khan of China, wished to know what became of the spirit of the Lama who had exercised so much influence over Emperor Khublai. Being informed that he too was reborn in the person of Sonam Gya-tsho, the incarnate Lama of Dapûng, the monarch sent his general Tashi Rabdan to bring him to Mongolia.
In 1557, Sonam Gya-tsho became High Priest of Sera. Being in charge of both Sera and Dapûng, he exercised great influence at Lbasa. In 1563, he took the final vows of monkhood. In 1573, he founded