Vanaratna

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Also known by his Tibetan name of nags kyi rin chen (1384-1468), a Bengali Paṇḍita and Māhasiddha, reportedly the "last great Indian Paṇdita to visit Tibet". He was born in Sadnagara, near present-day Chittagong. At age eight he received novice ordination from Buddhaghoṣa and Sujataratna. He took up his studies and perfected them very quickly. At age 20 he received full ordination from the same two masters, and went to Shri Lanka for six years, where he spent most of his time meditating in seclusion. Upon his return to India, he was greatly praised by the famous scholar Narāditya.

At Śrī Dhānya-kaṭaka mahā-caitya he met, in a vision, with Māhasiddha Shavaripa and received from him his unique transmission of the Sadaṅga-yoga, the Six-limbed Yoga of the Kālacakra tradition. Vanaratna eventually beheld a vision of Avalokiteśvara, who advised him to go to Tibet.

Vanaratna visited Tibet in 1426, 1433 and 1453 and spread the Kālacakra lineage and instructions of Paṇḍita Vibhūti-candra there, especially the Sadaṅga-yoga according to Anupamarakṣita, and many other teachings. He also assisted in the translation of many texts and treatises. Such famous Tibetan masters as Gö Lotsawa Shönnu Pal (1392-1481) and Thrimkang Lotsawa Sönam Gyatso (1424-1482) were his close students. He also spent time in Bhutan, where even nowadays there is a temple, near Paro, with a sacred statue of his and a rock that bears his name in old Bengali script. Vanaratna spent his final years in the Gopicandra Vihara in Patan/Kathmandu, now known as Pinthu Bahal, and passed away there. [TSD]

Primary Teachers

  • Buddhaghoṣa
  • Sujataratna
  • Shavaripa (in visionary experiences)
  • Śīlasāgara

Primary Students