lha chen dgongs pa rab gsal

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892-975 or 832-915? - Lhachen Gongpa Rabsel, who helped to save the monastic lineage in Tibet [RY]

Also "bla chen dgongs pa rab gsal", "dge ba rab gsal" and "dge ba gsal" for short. He was born in far Eastern Tibet and took ordination from three Tibetan and two Chinese monks who had fled the persecution of ordained practitioners in Central Tibet, during King Langdarma's (glang dar ma) attempt to eradicate the practice of Buddhism. Over a century later monastic ordination was brought back to Central Tibet, where monks and nuns had not been seen for about a hundred years, by followers of his lineage. The dates given for him traditionally are 952-1035. This however seems a mistake repeated by all later Tibetan historians based on their dating the death of King Langdarma a whole sixty-year cycle too late. While 832-915 seems the most likely dating for Gongpa Rabsel, it can not be confirmed either by any of the histories dealing with this early period. Gongpa Rabsel's lineage, which was originally brought to Tibet by the Abbot Shantarakshita, is known as the Lower Vinaya (smad 'dul), as opposed to the Higher Vinaya (stod 'dul), which was introduced in the 10th century into Tibet by the East Indian Pandita Dharmapala. Both lineages are of the Indian Mulasarvastivada ordination tradition. The ordination lineage of Gongpa Rabsel survives to the present day, known as the "Mindroling Lineage" among Nyingma monastics and as the "Abbot's Lineage of Lachen" among followers of the Gelugpa monastic system. [TSD]