Je Tsongkhapa ཙོང་ཁ་པ་
Je Tsongkhapa is the founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism and One of the most important people in the History of Tibetan Religion. When you travel to Tibet, you will hear about him and find statues in almost all the major monasteries in Tibet including some significant monasteries in the Lhasa area.
Tsongkhapa was born in 1357 in the Valley of Tsongkha in Amdo ( Qinghai province of China). He was born with a lot of miraculous events like a drop of blood from the birth grows in Sandal Wood tree. These events caught the interest of many learned master in the region. Master Choje Dhondup Rinchen gave livestock to his family and ask his father to make him responsible for the Young boy’s education. Later the Tsongkhapa family built a stupa at the very place he was born, and the monastic community was found by the third Dalai Lama. Now the monastery is known as the Kunbum monastery, and it is near Xining city.
Je Tsongkhapa’s Education and Practice
At the age of seven, Tsongkhapa went to live with Choje Dhondup Rinche for formal education and religious practice. The young boy learns to read and write to a very early age great ease. He then practices meditation at a very young age. At the eight of eight, Tsongkhapa received ordination as a novice monk and Named Lobsang Drakpa. He received many teachings and Tantric Empowerment from his master Choje Dhondup Rinchen.
At the age of Sixteen Tsongkhapa for central and southern Tibet to pursue his quest for knowledge, where he studied with more than fifty most prominent teachers. He received Tantric empowerment from many Important masters fro the different tradition. He was determined to combine the practice of both sutra and tantra. For this, he gains rigorous intellectual training and knowledge of both Sutra and Tantra.
He travels from most monastery to another to deepening his philosophical knowledge. One his primary teacher and a very close friend is Sakya master Rendawa Shönu Lodrö.
Tsongkhapa met with remarkable Lama Umapa at the age of thirty-three. Lama Umapa came from Tsang to met Tsongkhapa with the intention of studying with him. Umapa had a vision of Manjushri (Lord of wisdom). This vision changes his life from a simple cowherd. He took up the practice of related to Manjushri and eventually he can experience the constant presence of Manjushri.
While practicing together Lama Umapa Become Tsongkhapa’s means of communicating with Manjushri. During their retreat together Umapa conveyed Manjushri advice to Tsongkhapa and response the question Tsongkhapa has for Manjushri. Later Tsongkhapa himself had experience vision of Manjushri, who gave him teaching and bestowed empowerments on him.
Manjushri instructs him to stop all the teachings and withdraw from public activities to concentrate on an intense meditation. During the winter of 1392-1393, joined by eight carefully chosen students, begun practices for purification and accumulation of merit by reciting purification mantras, make prostration and offering mandala thousand of times.
In the year 1394, he and his group moved to Wölka. All experience vision of deities associated with the practice.
Je Tsongkhapa’s Beneficial Activities
Among Je Tsongkhapa many beneficial activities, the four are mention in particular.
- The renovation of the Maitreya statue and the grand festival he organizes during the Tibetan New Year of 1400.
- The extensive teaching on the code of discipline for the ordains monks along with other masters. This teaching lasts for several months and revitalizing the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.
- Establishment of the Great Monlam (Prayer) festival in Lhasa in 1409. During the festival, he donates everything he received from benefactors in support of the event to make ornaments of gold and precious stones to the famous statue of Buddha in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa.
- The construction of Ganden Monastery near Lhasa.
During the last year of his life. Tsongkhapa devoted much of his time in giving extensive teaching. He passed away in 1419. His new school of Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism had made a significant impact on the development of Buddhism in Tibet.
Je Tsongkhapa’s Prayer
༈ དམིགས་མེད་བརྩེ་བའི་གཏེར་ཆེན་སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། །
mikmé tsewé terchen chenrézik
drimé khyenpé wangpo jampal yang
düpung malü jomdzé sangwé dak
khangchen khépé tsukgyen tsongkhapa
lobzang drakpé shyapla solwa dep
Great treasury of non-referential compassion, Avalokiteshvara,
Powerful lord of flawless wisdom, Manjushri,
And destroyer of all the hosts of Mara, Vajrapani, Lord of Secrets—
Crowning glory amongst all the learned masters of the Land of Snows,
Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa, at your feet I pray!
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.