The Treasury of Lives

A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya

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The tenure of the Eighth Dalai Lama, Jampel Gyatso, was a tumultuous era in the Himalayan region, filled with battles and intrigues. This period saw the emergence of the first contacts between Tibet and the British, and the Manchurian representatives of the Qing Empire also managed to enhance its position in Tibet when it was called upon to eject the invading Gurkhas. The Eighth Dalai Lama was an active leader in the midst of all of this, despite being disinclined to rule.


b.mid 8th cent. - d.late 8th cent.
TBRC P7868

Buddhaguhya was an eighth-century Indian tantric master who is believed to have resided at Mount Kailash and composed numerous commentaries, treatises, and liturgies of broad scope, ranging from the Kriyā tantras to the Guhyagarbha Tantra of the Mahāyoga class.

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.

Chokyong Zangpo

b.1441 - d.1527

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.