In Tibetan Language, Gelug means “Be adept in commandment”, The gelug pa emphasizes strict observance of the commandments, Hence,it is neamed after hence it is called this name. Because the monks of this sect of religion wear yellow caps, so that it is also called “Yellow sect”.
The founder Tsongkhapa was originally a monk from Kadang sect of Tibetan Buddhism, therefore Gelug Pa is also regarded as a New kadang sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Gushi Khan (1582 AD – 1655 AD)
He is a important figure in Gelug pa as well as in Tibet history. he was a Khoshut prince, the leader of the Mongolian Khoshut Khanate Ministry in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty, leader of Oirat alliance, and the founder of Khoshut Khanate state, which was the Vassal state of Qing dynasty. He was enthroned by the Dalai Lama as Khan and protector-ruler of Tibet.
He is a turning point in the history of the Tibetan Plateau. At the invitation of Tibetan Gelug Pa regent Sonam Rapten and the fifth Dalai Lama and the fourth Panchen Lama, he came to Tibet to rescue Gelug Pa, overthrewing the Amdo and Kham regimes on the way.
In 1642 AD, he entered in Tibet and overthrewed the Tsangpa kingdom, established a new generation of Khushut Khanate and the Ganden Phodrang (administrative) government, and the leadership of the Gelug Sect in Tibet. Reconstructing the Potala Palace and expanding the Jokhang Temple.
Let Dalai lama stationed at the rebuilt Potala palace; Let Pabchen lama stationed at the Tashilunphuk monastery. Making Tibet is only part of its khanate, and had affected Tibet for hundreds of years.
Gushi Khan was not only a military leader of Tibet at that time, but also a political leader.
Gelug Pa was born in the early 15th century. It is generally believed that the construction of Ganden monastery in the 7th year of Yongle Year (1409 AD) of Ming Dynasty marked the official formation of this sect.
It became the largest sect due to the Dharma King Gushi Khan overthrowing the Kagyu Tsangpa kingdom.
The spreading of the Gelug pa to Mongolia was the Selong Shengen Wengshu (the 10th Shengen living Buddha). He was born in Kham in 1429 AD. He traveled to Mongolia and other places, committing to the spread of the Gelug Pa. he became the master of the Mongolian dynasty eventually
The first Gelug pa monastery was established at Ganden, and Ganden Tripa was the first head of Gelug pa. One of the most influential figures of Gelug Pa is “Dalai Lama”, whose successive had ruled Tibet from the mid-17th to mid-20th centuries.
The prime source for the studies of this tradition are the Six Scriptures written by Tsongkhapa as follows:
- The Great Exposition of the Stages of Path
- The Great Exposition of Tantra
- The Essence of Eloquence on Interpretive and Definitive Teachings
- The Praise of Relativity
- The Clear Exposition of Five Stages of Guhyasamaja
- The Golden Rosary
Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug school, was a great admirer of the Kadam school. He promoted the Kadam emphasis on the Mahayana principle of universal compassion as the fundamental spiritual orientation. This combination with the extensive writings on Madhyamaka and Nagarjuna’s philosophy of Sunyata marked a turning point in the history of philosophy in many ways of Tibet.
In 1577, Sonam Gyatso, whom was the third incarnation of Gyalwa Gendun Drup, formed an alliance with the most powerful Mongol leader, Altan Khan. As a result, Sonam-Gyatso was designated as the 3rd Dalai-Lama; “Dalai” is a translation into Mongolian of the name “Gyatso” , and Gyalwa Gendün Drup and Gendun Gyatso were posthumously recognized as the 1st and 2nd Dalai Lamas.
The three vital centers of Gelug pa are Ganden, Sera and Drepung Monasteries. The following below are the major monasteries.