GEDEN PHACHO BHUCHO
The Geden tradition of Tibetan Buddhism--also known as the Gelugpa School--was founded in the 14th century by the highly revered Buddhist master, scholar and yogi Je Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa's legacy is tremendous and he is credited with having revitalised many teaching lineages which would otherwise have become extinct. Lelung Rinpoche is now spearheading an important project to preserve Tsongkhapa's lineage for future generations.
The importance of pure lineage transmission in the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet is immense. It ensures a stream of undiluted Blessing from the Buddha himself to contemporary students and is considered essential for the ultimate realization of Buddhahood. If a lineage is broken, then the teachings themselves are threatened. Without qualified teachers giving correct personal oral transmissions, the extraordinary blessings, enlightened understanding and spiritual energy of previous masters cannot be passed on effectively.
Since 1959, when Tibetans began to leave Tibet and settle in many parts of the world, many precious teachings have already been lost. Often older Tibetan lamas pass away, without having fully transmitted the teachings they held to the younger generation. If this continues to happen, some of Tsongkhapa's precious legacy is at risk of being lost forever. Work on the preservation of the lineage teachings needs to be carried out now, or many of the vast and profound teachings of the Geden tradition may not survive for long. This will be a great loss not only to Tibetan Buddhists, but also to the whole world as this wise and unique tradition has much to offer humanity.
Je Tsongkhapa's legacy consists of two parts. The teachings comprising the Collected Works of Je Tsongkhapa and his two chief disciples are known as Phacho in Tibetan or "Teachings of the Fathers". The works of their immediate disciples and their followers, together with commentaries of Indian Buddhist scholars are known as Bhucho in Tibetan or "Teachings of the Sons".
The goal of Geden Phacho Bhucho is to preserve the sanctity and purity of the teachings of the Buddha for present and future generations. Since its inception in 2006, the following objectives have been realized:
- Establishment of main office and reference catalogue. In August 2006, an office was established in Dharamsala, India to act as a base for the huge task of collecting data and vital research so that the initial stage of the project could begin. A network of volunteer field researchers working in different regions was also established.
- Conferences and programme of oral transmissions and teachings.On the advice of Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister, our first conference was held at the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala in June 2006. In July 2007, at Ganden Monastery in South India, Lati Rinpoche gave rare and precious teachings to many hundreds of lamas and monks.
In the broader framework of the project, two phases remain:
- Phase One. Identification of the lineage holder/master and the disciple and the transmission of lineages. Rare teachings held by authentic lineage holders will be prioritised
- Phase Two. Completion and follow-up. Once the existing lineages are successfully transmitted from their holders to qualified students, the project will be said to be complete, but ongoing maintenance will be required to keep the reference catalogue up to date.
Geden Phacho Bhucho was conceived of by H.E. Lelung Rinpoche and has been widely applauded and endorsed by many great masters and tulkus of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Without the guidance of these individuals, it would be impossible to carry out this work. H.H. Dalai Lama is the Supreme Patron of the project and Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche is the Honorary Patron. (Please download the full project description for a full list of patrons and advisors.) It is extremely good fortune for the whole of humanity that this project has the blessings of these most highly revered teachers.
Presently, the project is coordinated from London and Dharamsala by Lelung Dharma Trust. We are urgently seeking financial assistance from individuals and organizations around the world to help support this project. A small sum has already been raised to cover the costs of the office in Dharamsala, but to continue to realize our goals we need your help. If you are inspired to help this project by making a donation, please see visit the project website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015, as a result of my research, I managed to find the oral transmission of Dulwa Tsotrik which is a Vinaya text by a great scholar called Kunkyen Tsonawa and is studied by all the schools of Tibet. Therefore, I arranged for the oral transmission to be passed to some enthusiastic students. I then gave a copy of the explanation of the teaching to those who were interested or suitable to receive it. In order to arrange when and where this should take place, I discussed it with Ganden Tri Rinpoche and Sharatse Jangtse Choeje. As a result, we sent our enthusiastic students to Tso Pemba where the teacher is located and so it was successfully transmitted in four or five days.
At that time I met and spent some time with Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Then my whole family visited Varanasi and I met up with Geshe Beri Jingme Wangyal. We rented rooms at the University Guest House and Chime, Thugden and myself were proof reading the texts of the 5th Lelung. After our proof reading , the work was then passed on to Beri Jingme to go through again, re checking. For the Damchen Bebum we had to invite experts on Damchen who could go over those texts in detail. The next task was for myself and four scholars to sit together reading and comparing four different versions of the same text. Some versions may be incomplete with chapters missing, some may be indistinct in places but we were able to complete a text with the best of all of them. So when that was completed the final stage was editing the corrections. This is very time consuming work and requires sitting still for long hours. During this stage I had a few days of feverish flu which caused numbness in my body but left my mind clear and I found I was able to sit for hours and days without feeling any pain in my limbs. So it was a useful illness to have at this time.
When all was done I took a week’s break and went on a pilgrimage to the Buddhist sacred sites with my family and friends. At each site we stopped and did circumambulations, prayers and chanting for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all the great teachers, and also for world peace.
This was meaningful and satisfying and a very fortunate opportunity. It was also a great chance to show our children the Buddhist way of life and culture.
Back in China in June this year, the Tibetology Research Centre in Beiijing organised for me to give a presentation on the Geden Pacho Bhucho Project to a group of about twenty Tibet experts. This was followed by questions and answers.
Then the Tibetology officials arranged for me to visit the Tibet museum in Beiijing which I found very interesting.
I was in Beiijing for a week and then moved on to Chengdu and was fortunate enough to meet Natsang Rinpoche again and we spent a few days together going through texts and teachings with a lot of discussion. I also received some oral transmissions from Rinpoche. I was able to give him some copies of texts that he needed and I also made photocopies of the teachings that I didn't have, sothe visit was very helpful.
I also met a few other scholars with whom I discussed the possibility of printing the 5th Lelung's work in Chengdu which would make it much easier to distribute to the China and Tibet areas.
I found many rare and precious teachings and met some great teachers, one of whom was in the Amdo region, Akhu Jamyang Gyatso Rinpoche. I managed to discuss with him the teachings that he had received. By studying his record book of these teachings I was able to see how many teaching lineages he holds and compare it with Akhu Gandun Gyatso's lineage record book.
I also met with Kumchen Jamyang Zhepai briefly who is the reincarnation of the founder of Labdrang Tashikyil monastery.
Once again I was pleased with the progress made but there is still so much to do there.
It was then necessary to go to Varanasi again so that Beri Jingme could do his reading and the editing of the next volumes, nos. 29-32.
This was a long visit and I was happy with what was achieved in the time.
Geden Phacho Bhucho Preservation Centre
The Geden Phacho Bhucho Preservation Centre is the headquarters of project activites. It opened in June 2006 and is located near the T.M.A.I. office in Dharamsala.
Geden Phacho Bhucho Preservation Centre
Dharamsala Pin-176 215
District Kangra, H.P.
Telephone: +91 1892 226601 or +91 1892 228261
Bank transfer information for donations
Geden Phacho Bhucho Project
c/o Barclays Bank
London W12 8GG
Account number: 50994944
Sort code: 204141
IBAN: GB04 BARC 2041 4150 9949 44