Drepung Monastery

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'bras spungs dgon pa
འབྲས་སྤུངས་དགོན་པ་

  • 'bras spungs dgon pa - Drepung Monastery [IW]
  • 'bras spungs dgon pa - The Drepung Monastery. See above [RY]
  • 'bras spungs dgon pa - Drepung Monastery [In U west of Lhasa at dge 'phel dbu rtse. One of three great Geluk monasteries established by Jamyang lord of Dharma Tashi Palden. The 5th Dalai, by means of uniting the two traditions of the stream of Geluk dharma, and Tibetan administration of the Tibetan government Tibet completely kha lo sgyur ba'i lam lugs de first built this monastery's Gandan palace.]. [IW]
  • 'bras spungs dgon pa - Drepung Monastery [W of Lhasa [R] [IW]

'bras spungs
འབྲས་སྤུངས་
Drepung

Brief History

Drepung Gonpa ('bras spungs dgon pa), was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden (1397–1449), one of Tsongkhapa's main disciples, and it was named after the sacred abode in South India of Shridhanyakataka. Drepung was the principal seat of the Gelugpa school and it retained the premier place amongst the four great Gelugpa monasteries. The second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso Palzangpo (1476–1541) built a residence in 1518 at Drepung. Called the Ganden Potrang (dga´ ldan pho brang), it was the residence and a hereditary seat of all subsequent Dalai Lamas until the Great Fifth Dalai Lama constructed the Potala.

Drepung was known for it’s high standards of academic study, and was called the Nalanda of Tibet. There were two centers of power in Drepung (gong ma 'og ma): the so-called lower chamber (gzim khang 'og ma) associated with the Dalai Lamas, and the upper chamber (gzim khang gong ma) associated with the Penchen Lamas descending Sonam Drakpa, an illustrious teacher who died in 1554.

Penchen Sonam Drakpa (paN chen bsod nams grags pa) (1478-1554) in 1535 succeeded the 2nd Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso on the throne of Drepung, both were important figures in the lineage history of the Geluk tradition. Before his death in 1554, Sonam Drakpa established the "Upper Chamber estate" (gzim khang gong ma), which was so named because of its location at the top of Drepung, just below the Ngakpa Dratshang debate-yard. His successor to the throne was the 3rd Dalai Lama Sönam Gyatso (1543-1588).

In the late 1930s Drepung was divided into four colleges, each housing monks from a different locality: "one being favored by Khampas, another by Mongolians, and so on." Each college was presided over by an abbot who had been appointed by the late 13th Dalai Lama. Drepung is now divided into what are known as the seven great colleges: Gomang (sgo mang), Loseling (blo gsal gling), Deyang (bde dbyangs), Shagkor (shag skor), Gyelwa (rgyal ba) or Tosamling (thos bsam gling), Dulwa ('dul ba), and Ngagpa (sngags pa).

Today the population at the monastery located in Tibet is much smaller with merely a few hundred monks, due to population capping. However, the institution has continued its tradition in exile with campuses on land in South India given to the Tibetan community in exile by Prime Minister Nehru. The monastery in India today houses around 3,000 at Drepung Loseling and some 2,000 at Drepung Gomang. Hundreds of new monks are admitted each year, many of them refugees from Tibet.