The Treasury of Lives




Rigdzin Pelchen Dupa, the reincarnation of Pema Norbu, served as the Ninth throne holder of Pelyul Monastery, from 1908 to his death in 1932. He founded Tosam Norbu Lhunpo College in 1922 and invited Khenpo Ngakchung to serve as its first abbot, taking over the position soon after.

Danzan Ravjaa, popularly known in Mongolia as the Fierce Drunken Lord of the Gobi, was an extraordinary polymath who authored hundreds of spiritual songs in Tibetan and Mongolian. He is remembered for his operetta called the Moon Cuckoo, which was performed throughout Mongolia until the early 20th century and is frequently interpreted as a critique of the Qing colonial presence in Mongolia. He travelled widely throughout Mongolia performing his works, and also founded a Buddhist center at Khamariin Khiid in the Gobi desert. A resurgence of interest in his story and legacy was heralded by the easing of religious restrictions in post-Soviet Mongolia. The end of communism in Mongolia resulted the unearthing of Buddhist texts, artifacts, and artworks that were kept hidden by successive generations of Ravjaa's followers who, since 1992, have worked toward rebuilding the Gobi settlement, contributing to a deeper understanding of religious practice in pre-communist Mongolia.

Zhalu Lotsāwa Chokyong Zangpo was a prominent teacher and translator based at Zhalu and Dratang who has forty-eight translation titles in the Tibetan canon. He wrote and taught extensively on Sanskrit, poetics, Tibetan grammar and tantric practices.

Ngawang Khedrub (Mongolian: Agvangqayidub) was a Khalkha Mongolian scholar who studied at Ganden Shedrubling of Ikh Khuree in Mongolia, and later at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa. Returning to Mongolia, he served as a choje and the vice abbot, and also as the abbot of Ikh Khuree. He contributed significantly to the development of Ikh Khuree, which would become the most influential monastic center in Mongolia. He trained a substantial number of disciples and wrote extensively, with five volumes comprising his collected works. When the Fourth Jebtsundamba unexpectedly died during a trip to Wutai Shan, Ngawang Khedrub is said to have acted as an interim representative until the Fifth Jebtsundamba was discovered. In addition to his writings, which covered poetry, prayers and supplications, fables, commentarial exegeses of Buddhist philosophy and tantra, polemics, biographies, catalogs, rituals, and practical advice, Ngawang Khedrub either himself created or at least commissioned several portraits of the Second Reting, and was responsible for the creation of numerous statues of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and the Fourth Jebtsundampa.


Tsarong Dundul Namgyal was a fourth rank civil servant of the Tibetan government in Lhasa and an official of the Drapchi Mint who also served the Central Tibetan Administration in exile in India. He wrote a biography of his father, the famous modernizing general Tsarong Dasang Damdul. Tsarong Dundul Namgyal was one of Tibet's first and most important photographers and he published a book of his photographs of Tibet, What Tibet Was: As Seen by a Native Photographer, in 1990.