Tangpoche Kunga Bum b.1331 - d.1402
Name Variants: Kabchu Tseden; Kunga Bum; Tangpochewa
Tangpoche Kunga Bum (thang po che kun dga' 'bum) was born in upper Ling (gling stod). At seven years of age he went to Sangpu (gsang phu) Monastery and became a monk. At the age of twelve he traveled to Gungtang Chokhor Ling (gung thang chos 'khor gling) Monastery and studied the vehicle of the perfections and epistemology for four years under the master Dondrub Pel (don grub dpal).
Then Tangpoche traveled to the great monastery of Sakya (sa skya) in the region of Tsang (gtsang), where he studied Prajñāpāramitā, epistemology, abhidharma, and the monastic code under a master named Jamyang Drakpa ('jam dbyangs grags pa, d.u.). At the Sakya hermitage of Khau (kha'u) up the valley from Sakya monastery, he received many tantric transmissions from the master Yeshe Pel (ye shes dpal, d.u.), such as the Vajrapañjara Tantra and the Sampuṭa Tantra of the Hevajra Tantra cycle, the esoteric instructions of the protector Caturmukha (zhal bzhi pa), the Six Dharmas of Niguma, and the Six Dharmas of Nāropa. He also received numerous teachings on the perfection of wisdom literature and the abhidharma from the Choje Dzumpa (chos rje 'dzum pa, d.u.) at Dzum Cholung ('dzum chos lung).
During this period Tangpoche saw a copy of Dolpopa Sherab Gyeltsen's (dol po pa shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1292-1361) supplication entitled A General Commentary on the Doctrine (bstan pa spyi 'grel) and felt deep devotion toward him, realizing that Dolpopa was a great paṇḍita. At the age of twenty-two Tangpoche traveled to Jonang monastery and met Dolpopa. When they had some conversations, it seemed to him that Dolpopa had opened the door to the treasury of the dharma, and Tangpoche felt like an anthill in the presence of Mount Meru. He thought, “ Until now I have not understood the dharma!”
Tangpoche then remained with Dolpopa constantly, first receiving the great initiation of Kālacakra in 1355, as well as other initiations such as the Sakya tradition of Hevajra and the Ra (rwa) tradition of Vajrabhairava. When he received all the various guiding instructions, such as the six-branch yoga of Kālacakra, exceptional experiences arose, and he beheld the forms of the eight tathāgatas and the pure realms of the buddhas. He also had visions of many deities, such as Vajrabhairava, and remained immersed in meditative concentration for five days focused on the forms of emptiness that manifested in the shape of mountains and valleys. Then he received countless further teachings from Dolpopa, such as the Bodhisattva Trilogy, the Tantra Trilogy of Hevajra, and Prajñāpāramitā, epistemology, and abhidharma.
At the age of forty-eight Tangpoche traveled to Tanak (rta nag) Monastery, where he assumed the monastic seat and gave profound teachings such as the great Vimalaprabhā commentary on the Kālacakra Tantra for the next six years. At the age of fifty-seven he was invited to the Yarlung (yar lung) region in U, where he was given a monastery and constantly taught the Vimalaprabhā.
It is said that when Tangpoche passed away at the age of seventy-two, his body remained immobile for five days as he rested in clear light. Various miraculous signs occurred at the time of his death and after the cremation wonderful relics manifested on his bones.
Gyal ba jo bzang dpal bzang po. 1992. Chos kyi rje kun mkhyen chen po yab sras bco lnga'i rnam thar nye bar bsdus pa ngo mtshar rab gsal. In The 'Dzam-thang Edition of the Collected Works (Gsung-'bum) of Kun-mkhyen Dol-po-pa Shes-rab rgyal-mtshan, Delhi: Shedrup Books, vol. 1: 559–629, pp. 602–605. The same work has also been published in Byang sems rgyal ba ye shes. 2004. Dpal ldan dus kyi 'khor lo jo nang pa'i lugs kyi bla ma brgyud pa'i rnam thar. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2004, 143–209.
Ngag dbang blo gros grags pa. 1992. Dpal ldan jo nang pa'i chos 'byung rgyal ba'i chos tshul gsal byed zla ba'i sgron me. Koko Nor: Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1992, p. 34.
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- Historical Period