Sects, Orders & Consorts : Celebrating Tsongkhapa – Ep. 200

In this special podcast celebrating the 600th anniversary of the enlightenment of Tsongkhapa, Professor Thurman gives an in-depth teaching on his historical importance and impact upon Buddhism, Tibet and philosophy.

Opening this week’s episode with personal reflections upon “The Year of Tsongkhapa”, Robert A.F. Thurman uses the miss-titled “Tibetan Book of The Dead” core teaching of infinite interconnected, past and future lives to frame his exploration of the life, work and teachings of Je Tsongkhapa.

This two part podcast includes a reading of the first Panchen Lama Khedrup Gelek Pelzang’s account of Tsongkhapa’s attainment of the magic body and manifestation of Manjushri during his enlightenment.

Podcast includes a discussion of the use of spiritual consorts, Karmamudra, the history of the different schools, sects and “orders” within Pre-Invasion Tibet and a recommendation of the forthcoming biography of Tsongkhapa by Thupten Jinpa by Wisdom Publications.

About Lama Tsongkhapa and “International Year of Tsongkhapa”

​Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357-1419) was one of the greatest scholar-practitioners in the history of Tibetan Buddhism and the founder of the Gelug tradition. While still a young man, Tsongkhapa distinguished himself through intense study, a sharp intellect and meditative accomplishment. In the last three decades of his life, Tsongkhapa dedicated himself to practice, teaching, writing and establishing monasteries. Respected by all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Lama Tsongkhapa’s deeds contributed tremendously to the revitalization of Buddhism in Tibet.

On December 30th, 2018, the 104th Ganden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin, the supreme head of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism proclaimed that 2019 will be “International Year of Tsongkhapa.”

“I call upon all Gelukpas and well-wishers to render their support to spreading awareness of the eloquent teachings and writings of the great Master Tsongkhapa throughout the world. I encourage Geluk monasteries, centers, organizers, individuals and admirers of Master Tsongkhapa worldwide to initiate special activities throughout the year of 2019 to commemorate (the) 600th anniversary of the great master and to inspire beings to follow in his footsteps.”

Ganden Tri Rinpoche

Podcast concludes with a reading of the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti by Gary Gach.

Celebrating Tsongkhapa : Sects, Orders and Consorts - Ep. 200 of the Bob Thurman Podcast

This week’s episode’s of the Bob Thurman Podcast was brought to you in part through the support of the Tibet House US Membership Community and Menla Retreat and Dewa Spa in Phoenicia, New York and Wisdom Publications.

Suggested Reading:  “The Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa” Edited by Robert A.F. Thurman published by Wisdom Publication, 2018.

Celebrating Tsongkhapa : Sects, Orders and Consorts – Ep. 200 of the Bob Thurman Podcast was recorded during the “The Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa” Talk at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco in 2019.

Listen to more archive recordings from from past Robert AF Thurman teachings + public events please consider becoming a Tibet House US member. To learn about the benefits of Tibet House US Membership please visit:

Gary Gregory Gach is an author, translator, and editor living in San Francisco. A dynamic speaker and teacher in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism his works include the anthology “What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop” and the forthcoming “Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation is Not Enough”. To learn more about the writings and work Of Gary Gach please visit:

The song ‘Dancing Ling’ + ‘Trance Tibet’ by Tenzin Choegyal from the album ‘Heart Sutra‘ (2004) by Ethno Super Lounge is used on the Bob Thurman Podcast with artist’s permission, all rights reserved.

Podcast Extra

Robert Thurman: The Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa

It is generally accepted that the three greatest contributors in the annals of Tibet were Guru Padmasambhava, Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, all of whom appeared when a great teacher was needed.Professor Thurman, who held the Je Tsongkhapa chair at Columbia University for many years, will explain the Buddha’s enlightenment and the philosophical clarity that Je Tsongkhapa brought to the mind training systems disseminated through monastic and meditative traditions of Tibet. In this talk, in the 600th anniversary year of Je Tsonkhapa’s enlightenment, Robert Thurman will expand upon his memorable exposition on the life of Je Tsonkhapa: “We should strive to emulate Tsongkhapa’s peerless progress along the path. To hear as many teachings as possible and never to be satisfied with less than ultimate knowledge as the most important lessons that can be applied in life. It is imperative to appreciate and work towards the peerless goal of wishing to achieve enlightenment in order to help every other sentient being do exactly the same. Je Rinpoche’s example of scriptural learning and meditative application taken as a unified path show the essence of Buddha’s intent and the truly quick method of achieving enlightenment.“

Posted by Tse Chen Ling Center on Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Life and Teachings of Tsong Khapa

Je Tsong Khapa (1357-1419) is revered as one of the most significant Tibetan Buddhist teachers, whose eclectic and analytic studies and meditations in all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism resulted in the founding of …