The Life and Collected Works of Tibetan Lojong Master Tokmé Zangpo (1295-1369)

Chien, Gloria I Ling, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lang, Karen, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This study concerns the biography and Collected Works of Tibetan Lojong master Tokmé Zangpo (1295-1369). Among diverse Buddhist spiritual exercises, the cultivation of compassion explored in Tibetan Lojong, or mind training, literature is arguably the most prominent and popular teaching about compassion meditation. Beginning in the early twelfth century, texts about Lojong teachings gradually evolved into a category of Lojong literature, which became a shared heritage across various Tibetan Buddhist schools. Tibetan master Tokmé Zangpo is renowned for explaining this material in his Collected Works. Tokmé Zangpo’s biography also reflects his Lojong character. This dissertation examines how Tokmé Zangpo is portrayed as a unique compassionate personality in his biography. The research also explores his Collected Works as a source to understand the Lojong tradition.
Chapter 1 investigates the relations between the earliest three Tokmé Zangpo biographies. I compare related information in the contents of these three works, as well as other textual evidence to determine their composition times. In so doing, I discover the true identity of the biographer, Zhönnu Gyeltsen Pelzangpo, and that Guide to Your Devotion could be the earliest existing version of Tokmé Zangpo’s biography. Chapter 2 chooses three themes with which to analyze Tokmé Zangpo’s childhood, educational background, and compassionate actions as described in Guide to Your Devotion. Chapter 3 contributes the first research on the authorship and editorship of four editions of Tokmé Zangpo’s Collected Works. This chapter investigates their compilation history. Chapter 4 analyzes the textual organization in Degé Collected Works and divides its one hundred and fourteen texts into ten different categories. This analysis discovers that Degé Collected Works functions as a central source for understanding Tokmé Zangpo’s Lojong philosophy. Chapter 5 shows that Tokmé Zangpo’s concept for his Lojong lineage was shaped by his involvement with Kadam masters and texts. I argue that the unique element of Tokmé Zangpo’s Lojong lineage is the inclusion of the five masters who are associated with Asaṅga. By so doing, Tokmé Zangpo created a better credibility for his Lojong lineage. In conclusion, this dissertation contributes to the study of Tokmé Zangpo’s biography and Collected Works as related to the subject on Lojong.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Tokmé Zangpo, Tokme Zangpo, Thokmé Sangpo, Ngülchü Tokmé, Gyelsé Tokmé, Gyalse Thogmey, Lojong, blo sbyong, mind training, seven-point mind training, Lojong lineage, Lojong transmission, biography, rnam thar, Collected Works, bka’ ’bum, gsung ’bum
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