The 1st Dalai Lama
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The 1st Dalai Lama

Update: Feb. 5th, 2013

Gendun Tsupa

Gendun Tsupa was the 1st Dalai Lama. In Tibetan language, the name of Gendun Tsupa is called dge-vdun-vgrub-pa. Gendun Tsupa is the great Living Buddha of Gelug Sect. He was born in 1391 and died in 1474. He was born in a pasture of Saiqyu River basin nearby Sakya Monastery of Southern Tibet. His ancestors were the herdsmen from Kang Region (Sichuan Province). His father was named Guanboduoji and his mother is named Juemonanji. There were 5 brothers in his family. He was the third one.

The 1st Dalai Lama – History

Gendun Tsupa was one of the disciples of Tsongkhapa – the great founder of Gelug Sect in Tibet Buddhism. He ordered his man to built Tashilhunpo Monastery in southern Tibet in his lifetime. It is located at the slope of Nyima Mountain on the outskirts of Shigatse and acted as the largest monastery in Shigatse Region. It acted as the traditional residence of the successive Panchen Lamas after the Fourth Panchen Lama lived here. Gendun Tsupa was subsequently confirmed as the 1st Dalai Lama later.

When he was a child, his family was very poor so that he once shepherd for others to support the family. When he was 7 years old, his father died. Afterwards he personally wrote a book named "Pharmacist Sutra" for his father. He has learns many different languages later such as Tibetan language, Sanskrit, and the language of the northern barbarian tribes in ancient China, etc. After he became a monk, he taught others to read and write. Afterwards he was highly respected as the great master. The Buddhism scriptures of Tashilhunpo Monastery were mostly written by him personally.

When he was 15 years old in 1405, he became a monk. The ceremony was held in Natang Monastery and he was given the name of "Sengcheng".

When he was 20 years old in 1410, he took Chengjiuhui – the great Buddhism master as his teacher and learned different Buddhism scriptures and Esoteric Buddhism, etc.

When he was 25 years old in 1415, he entered to Lhasa City and Shannan Prefecture with Raoqyue Pagye when Tsongkhapa was invited by the King of Tibet to teach the Buddhist scriptures in Zhashiduoka. Gendun Tsupa visited Chazhu Monastery and then Tangbogya Monastery. Gendun Tsupa met Tsongkhapa and been highly praised by Tsongkhapa mastery. Tsongkhapa presented a religious suit to him to encourage him. Since then on Gendun Tsupa took Tsongkhapa master as his teacher. Afterwards, he learned a lot from Tsongkhapa for 3 years even though he got back to Natang Monastery. In autumn of 1416, he visited Gadeng Monastery and listened to the sermon of Tsongkhapa master.

In 1419 Gendun Tsupa visited Drepung Monastery when Tsongkhapa had a sermon there. Afterwards, Tsongkhapa master had a sermon in Sera monastery and established the ashram to teach the esoteric Buddhism.

In 1426 when Gendun Tsupa was 36 years old, he got back to the southern Tibet. He gave the sermon to other Buddhists in Xiangle Monastery and Natang Monastery, etc. When he was 40 years old in 1430, he wrote a book about the esoteric Buddhism in Natang Monastery.

Next year he visited some other monasteries and famous monks here and there. Afterwards he met Panchen and was highly praised by Panchen.

In 1437 when he was 47 years old, he wrote a great book which has been still learned by other Buddhists.

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