Table of Contents
While few outside academic circles have ever heard of the Jonang, it is not a new tradition. The Jonang trace their lineage back to India and the great Nalanda University. However, it did not become known by the name Jonang until its founder Kunpang Thukje Tsondru, settled in the Jomonang valley of Tibet during the 13th century.
One of the reasons that so few people are currently aware of the Jonang is due to the fact that they did not flee Tibet in 1959. So when the Tibetan Administration in Exile began registering traditions, the Jonang were absent. Therefore, very few foreigners were ever introduced to their authentic teachings.
It was not until 1990 that the first Jonang monks began to emerge from Tibet. Since then they have been requesting the Tibetan Administration to recognise their tradition as worthy of equal respect as the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug and Bön traditions. While great advances have been made in respect to this, unfortunately this work is still not complete.
There are two reasons why the Jonang Tradition is so vitally important in the world today:
- Firstly, the Zhentong Madhyamaka philosophy is recognised as the highest view by many of the most realised Tibetan masters. The Jonang is the only one of the five major Tibetan Buddhist schools that emphasises this unique doctrine and upholds its lineage.
- Secondly, the Kalachakra Tantra is the most comprehensive and effective system within Tibetan Buddhism. The Jonang is the only tradition that holds the entire Kalachakra system, including the unique completion practice known as the “Six Vajra Yogas”.
It is because the Jonang are the core holders of these two important lineages that it is crucial that the Jonang Dharma flourish. Failure to do so will result in the loss of these irreplaceable spiritual systems.